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UFC 159: Jones Vs. Sonnen Predictions and Analysis

April 26, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks with loads of free fights for fans to sink their teeth into. But all of those free shows come with the knowledge that eventually it’s back to the land of Pay Per View where the UFC saves the really big marquee matches. Things are no different this week as the UFC returns to the PPV airwaves with UFC 159 from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. After spending a season coaching opposite one another on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, supposed rivals, but sometimes frenemies Chael Sonnen and Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones will battle for the title in the main event.

The co-main event of the evening is a Middleweight slugfest between two fighters who really don’t like each other. There have been a number of proposed car and tattoo bets between Alan Belcher and Michael Bisping, as well as several hilarious videos on YouTube leading up to this fight. In Heavyweight action Roy Nelson battles Cheick Kongo. A Light Heavyweight fight between wrestling standout Phil Davis and grappling specialist Vinny Magalhaes is on the main card. Opening the main card is a Lightweight tilt between top Strikeforce Lightweight contender Pat Healy and one of the top UFC Lightweights over the past two years Jim Miller.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Steven Siler vs. Kurt Holobaugh

“Super” Steven Siler is a 26-year-old fighter from Anaheim, California. He is a former The Ultimate Fighter cast member from the final season on Spike TV. He trains with the Pit Elevated Team in Orem, Utah. Siler holds a career record of 21-10. Kurt Holobaugh is a 26-year-old fighter from Independence, Louisiana. He is an import from Strikeforce who will be making his UFC debut. He trains with the Gracie Barra Northshore Gym in Louisiana and holds a professional MMA record of 9-1.

Quick Pick: Kurt Holobaugh via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Nick Catone vs. James Head

Nick “The Jersey Devil” Catone is a 31-year-old fighter from Brick Township, New Jersey. He is a former Middleweight fighter, who has recently made the drop to 170 pounds. Catone is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler for Rutgers University. He trains at his own gym, the Nick Catone MMA Academy in New Jersey. His professional record stands at 9-4. James Head is a 29-year-old fighter from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Head is a grappler who trains at Lovaito’s School of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Oklahoma City. He holds a professional MMA record of 9-3.

Quick Pick: James Head via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Leonard Garcia vs. Cody McKenzie

Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia is a 33-year-old fighter from Plainview, Texas. Best known for being a wild brawler with a strong chin, he has become a fan favorite for his style, more so than his Win-Loss record. He trains with Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico and holds a pro MMA record of 15-10. Cody “The AK Kid” McKenzie is a 25-year-old fighter from Cordova, Alaska. He is a former cast member of the twelfth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Best known for his string of wins with his ‘McKenzietine’ Choke, he trains at the Glendale Fighting Club in Spokane, Washington. He holds a professional record of 13-3.

Quick Pick: Leonard Garcia via TKO in Round Three
Preliminary Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Bryan Caraway vs. Johnny Bedford

Bryan “Kid Lightning” Caraway is a 28-year-old fighter from Yakima, Washington. He was a cast member on the final season of The Ultimate Fighter to air on Spike TV but has also fought for a number of MMA promotions including Strikeforce, Elite XC and the WEC. He is a member of the Team Alpha Male Gym in Sacramento, California holding a professional record of 17-6. “Brutal” Johnny Bedford is a 30-year-old fighter from Woodville, Ohio. Bedford was a cast member of the same season of The Ultimate Fighter as his opponent Caraway. He trains with the Fitness Fight Factory Gym in Fort Worth Texas and is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler. He holds a pro record of 19-9-1.

Quick Pick: Bryan Caraway via Submission in Round Three
Preliminary Card (FX): Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Sara McMann vs. Sheila Gaff

Sara McMann is a 32-year-old fighter from Takoma Park, Maryland. She is a former Olympic Wrestler and was the first American woman to win a Silver medal in Olympic Wrestling. McMann trains at the Revolution MMA Gym in Gaffney, South Carolina. McMann holds a perfect professional MMA record of 6-0. Sheila “The German Tank” Gaff is a 23-year-old fighter from Eschwege, Germany. She trains with the Energy Gym Fight Team in her hometown. This fight will be Gaff’s UFC debut but will also be her first fight in the USA. She holds a professional record of 10-4-1.

Quick Pick: Sara McMann via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Light Heavyweight Bout: Gian Villante vs. Ovince St. Preux

Gian Villante is a 27-year-old fighter from Wantagh, New York. Villante is a former NCAA football player and was once considered a top defensive prospect before leaving football to pursue MMA. Villante trains at the Bellmore Kickboxing Academy in Bellmore, New York but also spends time at Long Island MMA. He holds a professional record of 10-3. Ovince St. Preux is a 30-year-old fighter from Miami, Florida who is of Haitian descent. St. Preux was also a standout football player at the University of Tennessee but made the switch to MMA after failing to make the NFL. He trains with the Knoxville MMA Gym in Knoxville, Tennessee. He holds a professional record of 12-5.

Quick Pick: Gian Villante via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Rustam Khabilov vs. Yancy Medeiros

Rustam “Tiger” Khabilov is a 26-year-old Russian fighter from Makhachkala, Russia. Khabilov is a former Combat Sambo world champion and is an International Master of Sports in Sambo. Before making his UFC debut in his last fight he made the switch to Greg Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He holds record of 15-1, with the lone loss coming in the form of a controversial split decision. Yancy “Frisson” Medeiros is a 25-year-old fighter from Wai’Anae, Hawaii. He is a former state champion wrestler from Hawaii who will be making his UFC debut. Medeiros is a member of the Team Hakuilua Gym and has a perfect professional record currently standing at 9-0.

Quick Pick: Rustam Khabilov via Submission in Round Three

Main Card (Pay Per View): Lightweight Bout: Jim Miller vs. Pat Healy

Jim Miller is a 29-year-old fighter from Sparta Township, New Jersey. He is the younger brother of UFC Welterweight fighter, Dan Miller. Miller is one of the most talented grinders in the Lightweight division, with decent striking skills and a smothering top control game. Miller trains at the AMA Fight Club under head trainer Mike Constantino. Miller is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Virginia Tech and he also holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Miller is quite possibly the very definition of Lightweight gatekeeper as every fighter that has ever defeated him has gone on to challenge for or hold the UFC Lightweight title. Miller’s professional record is 22-4, and he’s coming off of a Fight of the Year victory over Joe Lauzon at UFC 155 in December.

Pat “Bam Bam” Healy is a 29-year-old fighter from Salem, Oregon. Healy was one of the top Lightweight contenders in Strikeforce and will be making his return to the UFC after a 7 year absence in this bout. Before joining Strikeforce, he was the MFC Welterweight Champion, one of the top MMA titles in Canada. Healy trains with the Sports Lab in St. Louis, Missouri. Healy will be returning to the UFC on the strength of a six-fight winning streak in Strikeforce, leading up to a Lightweight title shot that he was never able to cash in on. Healy fights a very similar style to that of Miller, so it will be interesting to see how his wrestling and close range striking match up against a similarly talented grinder. Healy holds a professional MMA record of 29-16.

Analysis and Prediction: Healy had a successful run in Strikeforce, but that’s not gaining him any favors from the UFC. To put it bluntly this is a pretty bad stylistic match up for Healy. Both of these guys fight similar styles, but Miller is a bit better at everything. He’s a more accomplished amateur wrestler, his striking is more technical and solid than that of Healy and he’s got a BJJ black belt and is more adept at finding submissions and sweeps from bad positions or during scrambles. Healy is tough as hell and Miller isn’t exactly known as a finisher, but I expect this one could be somewhat one-sided. Miller busts up Healy on the feet across three rounds, sprinkled with some late takedowns and top control to seal a decision victory. Jim Miller via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Light Heavyweight Bout: Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes

Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis is a 28-year-old fighter from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Davis is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Penn State University where he won an NCAA title in 2008. Davis trains as a member of Alliance MMA in San Diego, California. Davis has an excellent top control and is a tall and lanky fighter, although he is still developing his striking from a distance. He has however added a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Lloyd Irvin and has shown a strong awareness of potential submission opportunities during his fights. Davis holds a nearly perfect professional record of 10-1 with 1 No Contest, and the lone loss coming against Rashad Evans in a title eliminator bout.

Vinny “Pezao” Magalhaes is a 28-year-old fighter from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Magalhaes was a cast member and the runner up on the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Magalhaes started his career in the UFC poorly and was subsequently released, which allowed him to reset his career and he has experienced a resurgence by winning the M-1 Global Light Heavyweight Championship. Magalhaes is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and one of the top Light Heavyweight grapplers in MMA. He is a member of the Xtreme Couture Gym in Las Vegas and also works as a BKJJ coach with Team Quest. Magalhaes has competed in and medalled in a number of major grappling and Jiu Jitsu competitions including the Abu Dhabi Combat Club and World Jiu Jitsu Championships. His professional MMA record is 10-5 with 1 No Contest.

Analysis and Prediction: Magalhaes asked for this fight by calling out Davis, so he must see something that he can take advantage of. With that said, if there is one thing we’ve learned in the modern era of mixed martial arts, it’s that the wrestler usually beats the Jiu Jitsu guy. I think that trend continues here. Neither man is an extremely talented striker, in fact they’re probably both subpar for their division, but Davis should be able to control the action on the ground. He’ll usually be the one on top, since his wrestling should be strong enough to fend off any of the Brazilian’s takedowns. If he’s smart, he should be avoiding the ground at all costs, since that’s the one area where Magalhaes can capitalize on his mistake. He should use a strong jab and work from range to bust Magalhaes up on the feet over three rounds. Phil Davis via TKO in Round Three

Main Card (Pay Per View): Heavyweight Bout: Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo

Roy “Big Country” Nelson is a 36-year-old fighter from Las Vegas, Nevada. Nelson was a contestant on the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter that featured only Heavyweights and was the eventual winner of the show. Nelson is also notable as being the final International Fight League Heavyweight Champion. Nelson holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training under Renzo Gracie. Nelson trains with the Country Club Gym in Las Vegas. In addition to his strong grappling credentials Nelson is also known for his iron chin, his ability to absorb punishment, big time knockout power and one of the least impressive physiques in MMA. Nelson holds a professional record of 18-7, including 16 wins via stoppage.

Cheick Kongo is a 37-year-old fighter from Paris, France. Kongo is a member of the Wolfslair MMA Academy in England. Kongo is a former professional Savate Kick boxer and has also competed in Muay Thai in the past, all before making the switch to MMA. In addition to his technical stand up skills, Kongo has recently been improving his grappling skills. His takedowns and top control are much improved, so much so that he often resorts to taking his opponents down and using ground and pound to control them on the mat, rather than risk brawls on the feet. Kongo holds a professional record of 18-7 with 2 Draws.

Analysis and Prediction: Despite being a professional kick boxer in the past, Kongo has been blitzed by a number of strikers in the Heavyweight division. This is probably the reason for the improvement in his wrestling skills. Still, Nelson is a very talented grappler and is not easily taken down. Nelson is also relentlessly moving forward, even when he’s taking a beating, because of his iron chin. Kongo doesn’t do well against heavy handed strikers who crowd him up if he can’t take them down. Kongo should be using a lot of kicks and a strong jab to keep Nelson at bay, but I think Nelson will simply walk right through those shots and land a big overhand right of his own. Kongo’s chin can’t handle the fire power than Nelson has in his hands, and I expect a knockout for Big Country. Roy Nelson via KO in Round Two

Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher

Michael “The Count” Bisping is a 34-year-old fighter from Manchester, England although he was originally born on a British military base in Cyprus. Bisping was a cast member and the eventual winner of the Light Heavyweight portion of The Ultimate Fighter 3. Bisping is also a former Cage Rage Light Heavyweight Champion, one of the top titles in the UK. Bisping is a member of the HB Ultimate Training Center in Manchester, England. Bisping is a solid technical boxer with strong takedown defense. Bisping has solid footwork, which he usually uses to his advantage (the lone exception being his knockout loss to Dan Henderson where he continuously circled into the overhand right.) Although not known as a knockout artist, Bisping has respectable power having won 14 bouts via KO or TKO during his career. He holds a professional record of 23-5.

Alan “The Talent” Belcher is a 28-year-old fighter from Jonesboro, Arkansas. Belcher is a tough, well-rounded fighter who holds black belts in a number of martial arts disciplines, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Tae Kwan Do and Judo. Belcher is a member of the Roufusport Gym in Biloxi, Mississippi training under famed kick boxer and MMA coach Duke Roufus. Belcher is a talented Muay Thai kick boxer with underrated grappling abilities. Belcher is going to be facing one of the best technical strikers that he’s ever faced so using leg kicks and body kicks to establish range is going to be extremely important for him in this bout. One of Belcher’s biggest weaknesses is his Fight IQ, which often leads to mistakes, especially in his last bout against Yushin Okami where he constantly put himself into bad positions, searching for a Guillotine Choke that was never really there. Belcher holds a professional record of 18-7.

Analysis and Prediction: Belcher has the ability to hang with Bisping, but he’s going to need to fight a perfect fight for him to win, and given his low Fight IQ and propensity to brawl, I just don’t think he has it in him. He’d be best off trying to emulate Vitor Belfort’s win over Bisping, but I doubt he’ll go that route. I expect Belcher to get out-boxed in the pocket, but he might be able to score effectively with kicks from the outside. Bisping’s wrestling is also somewhat underrated and I expect he might shoot for a takedown if things get hairy on the feet, or simply to steal a close round. The ability to steal those close rounds might be important, as this one is headed for the scorecards I think. Michael Bisping via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): UFC Light Heavyweight Championship Bout: Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen

Jon “Bones” Jones is a 25-year-old fighter from Rochester, New York. He is the reigning and defending UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and is one of the most dominant fighters of all time. At 6’4” and with an 84.5 inch reach, he is one of the most physically and athletically gifted fighters in the UFC. Jones is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is definitely Coach Jackson and Coach Winkeljohn’s prized pupil. Jones is the youngest fighter to ever win and to ever defend a UFC title. Jones is a former JUCO national champion wrestler from Iowa Central Community College and uses his wrestling well during his bouts. Jones also holds the distinction of being the first fighter to be marketed globally by major clothing brand Nike. Jones holds a nearly perfect pro record of 16-1, with the lone loss coming via DQ for illegal elbows in a fight that he was well on his way to winning anyways.

Chael “The American Gangster” Sonnen is a 36-year-old fighter from Milwaukie, Oregon. Sonnen is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from the University of Oregon where he earned All-American honors. Sonnen has also served as an Alternate to the US Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling team. Sonnen is one of the UFC’s most controversial fighters but is also one of the best at promoting fights, which is likely why he earned this bout, despite coming off of two losses at the Middleweight division to champion Anderson Silva. Sonnen knows what he is good at and isn’t ashamed to use his wrestling to smother opponents, it’s definitely his best asset. His willingness to blanket fighters nearly earned him a win over Anderson Silva in their first contest. Sonnen holds a professional record of 27-12-1.

Analysis and Prediction: Despite the number of complaints and criticisms this fight has endured, it could prove to be an entertaining and intriguing bout. Or it could also turn out to be the complete mismatch that everyone expects it to be. Sonnen really has only one chance to win this and it’s to smother Jon Jones for five rounds or at least three of five rounds and survive the other two. This is going to be tough for him for a number of reasons. Jones is a huge fighter, very lanky, very hard to get close to and is very athletic, I’m sure Jones is drilling takedown defense. The other issue is, Jones is a fairly capable grappler and Sonnen’s weakness is definitely submission defense.

For Jones the path to victory seems relatively simple. Pick Sonnen apart from the outside, use that ridiculously long reach to smash him up with jabs and leg kicks. Basically, avoid being taken down by Sonnen at all costs. Jackson is a smart coach and he’ll have Jones well prepared to fend off takedowns. I expect to see a measured pace from the champion, looking to time a big counter shot or knee as Sonnen rushes in for a takedown. The other possibility I could see is forcing a clinch with Sonnen and trying to earn a takedown himself. From there he should easily be able to ground and pound his way either to a stoppage or at least enough to create an opportunity to latch onto a submission.

We’ll probably be able to tell if this fight will be exciting or lopsided within the first minute. If Sonnen comes out and spams takedowns relentlessly he’s got a shot. If he tries to box, or goes for some spinning back fist like he did against Anderson he’s going to get pummeled. In fact, he might even get beat up anyways. I just hope that he makes it exciting either way and calls out Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez next, because hey why not take another title shot? Jon Jones via Submission in Round Two

Georges St-Pierre: The Way of the Fight Book

Anderson Silva: Like Water

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UFC 155 Dos Santos Vs. Velasquez Results and Wrap Up

December 30, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC made its return to the land of Pay Per View last night and although some fights left fans wanting a bit more, the other bouts were loaded with action that more than made up for it. If you were unable to see some of the undercard bouts, I highly suggest you try to do so by any means possible. Melvin Guillard versus Jamie Varner, while slightly slower than expected was an entertaining bout. As well the Featherweight tilt between Leonard Garcia and Max Holloway was a highly entertaining slugfest that went for a full fifteen minutes. Add in impressive TKO victories for Heavyweight Todd Duffee and Bantamweight Erik Perez and there is some top shelf violence for those of you that like it that way.

Moving on to the main card, some of the bouts didn’t quite live up to the hype. Others such as the co-main event between Lightweights Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller more than exceeded the hype, as those two men engaged in a bloody back and forth brawl that is a definite contender for Fight of the Year consideration. The Main Event was also solid as two of the best Heavyweights in the world collided in a much better effort than their first bout on UFC on FOX 1. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers from this card and take a look at what could be next for them.

Derek Brunson defeated Chris Leben via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

The boo-birds were out right away at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for this Middleweight fight that kicked off the PPV. Although Leben is often a fan-favorite due to his slugging style, his wrestling-based opponent Brunson wanted no part of it. Brunson crowded Leben throughout the contest using clinches and takedowns to control Leben and give him very little space to get his offense going. Leben himself offered little resistance, as after a year off due to suspension, he looked like a man who wasn’t used to being in the Octagon. He looked tired and slow, and his takedown defense was almost non-existent. He was never really in too much trouble, but he definitely wasn’t ever close to winning either. Unfortunately as commentator Joe Rogan stated, the unamused look on Chris Leben’s face after Brunson’s celebration after the fight might have been the most entertaining part of the bout.

What’s next for Brunson? This card was loaded with Middleweight talent, so one might think a winner from one of the Middleweight bouts up the card would make sense for Brunson, but I think that’s too large a step for him right now. Although he earned a victory, he didn’t look great doing it and it definitely wasn’t a breakout performance. With Strikeforce officially closing its doors, I think the best fight for him would be to welcome one of his former promotion-mates to the UFC. Tim Kennedy is facing Trevor Smith at the final Strikeforce event and the winner of that bout makes some sense.

What’s next for Leben? He’s got problems, everyone knows that, but he’s always going to have a spot in the UFC because of his style. Alan Belcher got knocked off by Yushin Okami later in the card, and would prefer an opponent who would keep the fight standing. Leben fits that bill and would likely produce an entertaining rebound fight for one of the two. Belcher is almost the perfect opponent for him right now.

Yushin Okami defeated Alan Belcher via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

In the pre-fight hype videos Alan Belcher claimed that Yushin Okami couldn’t beat him if he kept the fight standing. Apparently he convinced everyone, including Okami, of that fact. Okami did what he usually does, a solid one-two jab combination right into takedown attempts and top control. Belcher had a few bright spots, as he snagged a couple of submission attempts, but none were ever close and they all ended with him in the unenviable position of being beneath Okami. In the end the Japanese fighter cruised to a Unanimous Decision.

What’s next for Okami? He’s turning into the Middleweight version of Jon Fitch. He’s good enough to beat almost anyone in the division, but he’s going to get absolutely slaughtered against the champion. Add to that he’s got a somewhat boring wrestling based approach to fighting and it’s hard to keep giving him meaningful fights where he’s likely going to knock off top contenders or up-and-comers with little fanfare. Still he moves up the ladder and a bout against other main card victor Costa Philippou might make sense. The other potential bout is one against Hector Lombard who recently scored an impressive stoppage against Rousimar Palhares.

What’s next for Belcher? Belcher’s hot streak got seriously derailed and he’s going to need to prove he can handle a wrestler like Okami before he ever gets a shot at a serious top contender at Middleweight. Still, he’s going to need a rebound fight and like I said, previous main card loser Chris Leben is the perfect foil for him. Someone who is willing to stand and trade with him and who is weak on the ground if things go bad. If the UFC wants to rebuild Belcher, he’ll get Leben next.

Costa Philippou defeated Tim Boetsch via TKO (Punches) at 2:11 of the Third Round

This wasn’t a breakout performance for Philippou that many people thought it might be. In fact, this was a truly bizarre fight. Boetsch controlled the opening round, throwing wild, looping punches that were scoring against the usually competent striking defenses of Philippou. In between rounds Boetsch complained to his corner of a broken hand and in the second, an accidental head butt opened a massive gash on his forehead and an eye poke only increased his vision problems. In the third round, he was reduced to pulling guard, but didn’t have an answer for Philippou’s ground and pound, as the referee stepped in to save Boetsch in the third round after he seemed to be looking for a way out.

What’s next for Philippou? Considering the bizarre circumstances of his win, his slow start, and the less than impressive fight from him overall, I wouldn’t complain about a possible rematch between these two. However, with Boetsch’s broken hand, he’s going to need time off. Philippou should still receive a step up in competition and needs to prove he can handle a talented wrestler, which is why I think a bout against other main card victor Yushin Okami makes a lot of sense. If they choose to go another route, former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza, should be making the leap to the UFC soon enough. If he wins his bout at the final Strikeforce show against Ed Herman, I think Souza is another good fight for Philippou.

What’s next for Boetsch? Hand surgery, I guess. In all honesty, this is kind of a crappy result for Boetsch, since he took some unfortunate illegal shots to derail his game plan, which was definitely working in the first round. Still, he was undefeated in the Middleweight division until last night, so I doubt they give up hope on him yet. He’s not going to drop severely down the rankings with the circumstances surrounding the loss, so he’s in kind of a weird spot matchmaking wise. I really don’t know what they do with him here, I guess he’s going to take a step down. Karlos Vemola was supposed to fight Leben on the card, but pulled out due to injury maybe him. That or throw him against Belcher or Leben, although I think Leben is too far a step down, and I think those two should fight each other. Other than that maybe Jake Shields if he stays at Middleweight.

Jim Miller defeated Joe Lauzon via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

This one earned Fight of the Night honors and it definitely deserved it. These two guys engaged in a bloody brawl that was back and forth and had action until the final bell. Miller looked the best I’ve ever seen him and his recent loss to Nate Diaz seems to have lit a fire inside him. He may be a permanent gatekeeper in the ultra-packed Lightweight division, but he’s a tough one. His conditioning was top notch for this bout and his dirty boxing looked better than ever, as he used a tight clinch to deliver some big punches and short elbows in the first round that caused the giant gash that caused Lauzon to lose a ton of blood. To his credit Lauzon proved how tough he was in this bout, even with blood pouring out of that massive cut, he refused to let the doctor stop it and he kept coming until the final bell, sinking in a late leg lock that nearly stole the fight and in fact stole him the round on a couple of scorecards.

What’s next for Miller? He’s had fourteen fights in the UFC and he’s won most of them. His only three losses have come to the current Lightweight Champion and two of the last three Number One Contenders in Nate Diaz and Gray Maynard. He’s a true grinder and his improving striking is only going to make him an even tougher challenge for most guys. I think Rafael dos Anjos has been impressive lately and deserves a step up in competition, as the Lightweight Gatekeeper, that puts him right in Miller’s wheelhouse.

What’s next for Lauzon? He proved he’s as tough as they come and dangerous any time he’s still in the fight. He’s always going to struggle against powerful wrestlers and the elite fighters of the Lightweight division, but he’s a highly entertaining fighter with decent striking and dangerous submissions. Sounds like another top Lightweight that recently lost a title fight. Indeed a bout between Lauzon and fellow TUF 5 alumnus Nate Diaz could be an action packed affair. Give the two of them a headlining slot on an FX or Fuel TV card and give them five rounds to go bananas, fireworks are sure to follow whether that fight takes place on the feet, on the ground or anywhere in the building.

Cain Velasquez defeated Junior dos Santos to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship via Unanimous Decision after Five Rounds

For those that wrote off former champion Velasquez after his poor performance in their first bout, they were treated to a significant wake up call. Velasquez came out guns blazing against Dos Santos and immediately brought the fight to the Brazilian Champion. Although many expected Cain to be somewhat laid back like he was in their first bout, he caught everyone, including Dos Santos off-guard when he came right after him in the first round. That first round told the story of what would end up being a very one-sided contest. Cain scored an early takedown and Dos Santos was able to slip through and get back to his feet, but it didn’t slow Velasquez down. He continued forward, pressing him against the cage. Partway through the round he landed a big right hand that dropped Dos Santos for the first time in his UFC career and ended the round battering him with ground and pound. Dos Santos was clearly gassed after the first round and spent several of the next rounds trying to recover, while Velasquez continued to push the pace. Although he eventually slowed himself, he was still able to outwork Dos Santos both in the grappling department and somewhat surprisingly in the striking department en-route to a clean sweep of the scorecards, winning with scores of 50-45, 50-44 and 50-43.

What’s next for Velasquez? The Heavyweight division has a whole lot of top fighters, but they are in a weird position, where they don’t have any clear cut favorites to become the number one contender. Alistair Overeem is expected to get the first crack at Velasquez, but he’s going to need to get by Antonio Silva first, and that’s no guarantee considering what we’ve seen in the past from fighters returning from year-long suspensions. The other option is Fabricio Werdum should he emerge victorious against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, but that fight isn’t taking place until after the filming and airing of TUF: Brazil 2. The leading candidate was Daniel Cormier who recently won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix and is heading to the UFC, but Velasquez and Cormier are teammates and have already said they wouldn’t fight each other. No matter what happens, Overeem or Werdum or someone else entirely, Velasquez could be facing a bit of a layoff while the division sorts itself out.

What’s next for Dos Santos? He’s going to need to get a win or two before he gets another crack at the title. Granted if things shake out the right way, he may only need one impressive victory like Velasquez did, but the list of contenders is long and growing in the Heavyweight division. The best two possible matches I can think of for Dos Santos are the loser of the upcoming Mark Hunt and Stefan Struve fight at the UFC’s next London event, (provided it’s Hunt, since a rematch with Struve is probably not necessary for Dos Santos.) The other option is the loser of the upcoming Alistair Overeem and Antonio Silva bout, since either one of those two would be an intriguing bout, especially with the bad blood between Dos Santos and Overeem.

Full UFC 155 results & winners…
Cain Velasquez defeated Junior Dos Santos via unanimous decision to regain the UFC heavyweight title
Jim Miller defeated Joe Lauzon via unanimous decision
Costa Philippoud efeated Tim Boetsch via third-round TKO
Yushin Okami defeated Alan Belcher via unanimous decision
Derek Brunson defeated Chris Leben via unanimous decision
Eddie Wineland defeated Brad Pickett via split decision
Erik Perez defeated Byron Bloodworth via first-round TKO
Jamie Varner defeated Melvin Guillard via split decision
Myles Jury defeated Michael Johnson via unanimous decision
Todd Duffeed efeated Phil De Fries via first-round TKO
Max Holloway defeated Leonard Garcia via split decision
John Moraga defeated Chris Cariaso via submission

Chael Sonnen: The Voice of Reason: A V.I.P. Pass to Enlightenment

Anderson Spider Silva (Em Portugues do Brasil

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UFC 155 Results: Cain Velasquez Regains UFC Title

December 30, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Cain Velasquez is an animal! Velasquez mauled Junior Dos Santos in their UFC 155 rematch proving to the MMA world that his 64 second loss to the JDS was a fluke. Velasquez won a unanimous decision to regain the UFC heavyweight title in one of the most one-sided UFC title wins in years.

Dos Santos could not stop the shot. Velasquez dominated the former champion on their feet and taking him to the ground. Velasquez had his way with Dos Santos at UFC 155, absorbing very little to punishment at all from the champion. UFC commentator Jor Rogan proclaimed at one point that he had not seen such a dominant performance by a challenger over a champion since Anderson Silva defeated Rich Franklin for the middleweight title several years ago.

Velasquez opened up looking to strike and takedown the former champion. Dos Santos did a good job early on of avoiding any serious damage until Velasquez connected with a right hand. Dos Santos was never the same after eating the shot. Velasquez swarmed in and tried to end the fight in the first round to no avail yet the tone was set by the challenger.

The rest of the fight saw Velasquez have his way with Dos Santos. Velasquez practically took Dos Santos down at will. Junior had very little offense throughout the fight and looked tired and beaten when he came out for the second round. Velasquez never stopped and was relentless in his attacks. I’ll give Dos Santos credit as he hung around for five rounds, longer than I thought he would. Dos Santos did connect on a nice uppercut as the third round. Unfortunately Dos Santos had nothing left and couldn’t follow up.

Velasquez nailed a body shot followed by an uppercut in the fourth round that staggered Dos Santos. Somehow or another Junior held on. Junior again put something together towards the end of the fourth round but couldn’t follow up. Velasquez’s cardiovascular conditioning throughout the fight was just unbelievable.

Seeing Junior standing at the start of round five after being brutalized throughout by Cain was real impressive. Junior stopped Cain from getting a takedown and wound up hitting a nice left to Cain’s body. Junior seemed to recover well by this point. Dos Santos hit a right hand and kept Cain’s takedowns at bay. Velasquez finally got the takedown at about 2:30. Cain smothered him with ground and pound. Junior got back up. Junior connected in a clinch. Velasquez hit a head kick with about :30 seconds to go. Junior looked like he had been brutalized while Cain looked like he wasn’t even scratched as the fifth and final round closed. Velasquez was shortly named new UFC champion by unanimous decision.

What’s next for the UFC world champion? In my opinion I think Cain is the most well rounded UFC heavyweight champion in history. He should have a dominant reign as champion barring an injury. He could face either Alistair Overeem or Fabricio Werdum if either man wins their next fight. Overeem would be the favorite but Dana White mentioned that Werdum would be a top contender if he wins his next fight against Big Nog.

I’d love to see a third fight between JDS and Velasquez. I think this rivalry has the potential to be one of the greatest trilogies of all time. It wouldn’t shock me to see fight number three in the fall or winter of 2013.

Look for a full recap and analysis of UFC 155 here on the Camel Clutch Blog shortly by Lee McGregor.

Full UFC 155 results & winners…
Cain Velasquez defeated Junior Dos Santos via unanimous decision to regain the UFC heavyweight title
Jim Miller defeated Joe Lauzon via unanimous decision
Costa Philippoud efeated Tim Boetsch via third-round TKO
Yushin Okami defeated Alan Belcher via unanimous decision
Derek Brunson defeated Chris Leben via unanimous decision
Eddie Wineland defeated Brad Pickett via split decision
Erik Perez defeated Byron Bloodworth via first-round TKO
Jamie Varner defeated Melvin Guillard via split decision
Myles Jury defeated Michael Johnson via unanimous decision
Todd Duffeed efeated Phil De Fries via first-round TKO
Max Holloway defeated Leonard Garcia via split decision
John Moraga defeated Chris Cariaso via submission

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Anderson Spider Silva (Em Portugues do Brasil

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UFC 155 Dos Santos Vs. Velasquez 2 Predictions & Analysis

December 29, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC returns to the land of Pay Per View this weekend with their traditional New Year’s Eve card. Despite not technically taking place on New Year’s Eve, the UFC has more than made up for it by packing this card with talent and intriguing match-ups from top to bottom. Headlining the card is a rematch that everyone has been clamoring for since their first meeting as the headliner for the UFC’s first event on the Fox Network as UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos battles the man he defeated for the title Cain Velasquez.

The co-main event of the evening features a Lightweight tilt that will move the winner significantly up the ladder in terms of placement in what is arguably the UFC’s deepest division as Joe Lauzon battles Jim Miller. Three Middleweight bouts are on the docket for the rest of the main card and many of them feature top ranked contenders. First up are Middleweight brawlers Tim Boetsch taking on Constantinos Philippou. The next Middleweight contest features former number one contender Yushin Okami taking on emerging contender Alan Belcher. The opening contest of the Pay Per View Main Card features fan and Dana White favourite Chris Leben taking on Strikeforce import Derek Brunson.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Flyweight Bout: Chris Cariaso vs. John Moraga

Chris “Kamikaze” Cariaso is a 31-year-old fighter from Oakland, California. He is a member of the Fight and Fitness Gym in San Francisco, California. Cariaso holds a career record of 14-3 and recently won his UFC Flyweight debut at UFC on Fuel TV 4. John Moraga is a 28-year-old former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Phoenix, Arizona. He is a member of the MMA Lab in Arizona where he trains with UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson. He holds a career record of 12-1.

Quick Pick: John Moraga via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Leonard Garcia vs. Max Holloway

Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia is a 33-year-old fighter from Plainview, Texas. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s Team training in New Mexico. The brawler and fan favourite holds a career record of 15-9, but has never been knocked out and hasn’t been in a boring fight throughout the course of his career. Max “Blessed” Holloway is a 21-year-old fighter from Waanae, Hawaii and is the youngest fighter on the UFC roster. He is a member of the Gracie Technics Gym in his hometown and holds a career record of 6-1.

Quick Pick: Max Holloway via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Heavyweight Bout: Phil De Fries vs. Todd Duffee

Phil De Fries is a 26-year-old fighter from Sunderland, England. The massive Brit is a talented grappler who now trains in the USA with the Alliance MMA Gym in Chula Vista, California. He holds a career record of 9-1 with 1 No Contest. Todd Duffee is a 27-year-old fighter from Evansville, Indiana. Duffee is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California and those striking skills have earned him the record for the fastest Knockout in UFC history at 7 seconds. He holds a career record of 7-2.

Quick Pick: Todd Duffee via KO in Round One

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Michael Johnson vs. Myles Jury

Michael “The Menace” Johnson is a 26-year-old fighter from St. Louis, Missouri. He is a member of the Blackzillians training in Boca Raton, Florida. The former TUF cast member holds a career record of 12-6, but is currently on a three fight winning streak. Myles “The Fury” Jury is a 24-year-old fighter from Hazel Park, Michigan. He is a member of the Alliance MMA Gym in San Diego, California. He holds a perfect professional record of 10-0.

Quick Pick: Michael Johnson via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner

Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard is a 29-year-old fighter from New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a member of the Blackzillians training out of the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. He holds a career record of 30-11-2 with 1 No Contest. Jamie “The Worm” Varner is a 28-year-old fighter from Phoenix, Arizona. He is a former WEC Lightweight Champion who trains out of the AMA Fight Club in New Jersey. He holds a career record of 20-7-1 with 2 No Contests. This bout was supposed to take place two weeks ago at The Ultimate Fighter finale, but a last minute illness to Varner forced the bout to be postponed.

Quick Pick: Melvin Guillard via TKO in Round Three

Preliminary Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Erik Perez vs. Byron Bloodworth

Erik “Goyito” Perez is a 23-year-old fighter from Monterrey, Mexico. He now resides in the USA and trains with Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He holds a career record of 12-4, but is 2-0 in the UFC with two stoppage victories. Byron Bloodworth is a 29-year-old fighter from Lynchburg, Virginia. Bloodworth is a member of the Iron Clutch Fitness Gym in Atlanta, Georgia. He holds a professional record of 6-2.

Quick Pick: Erik Perez via Submission in Round One

Preliminary Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Eddie Wineland vs. Brad Pickett

Eddie Wineland is a 28-year-old fighter from Houston, Texas. Wineland was the inaugural WEC Bantamweight Champion. He trains out of the Duneland Vale Tudo Gym in Portage, Indiana. Wineland holds a career record of 19-8-1 with 16 Stoppage victories. Brad “One Punch” Pickett is a 34-year-old fighter from London, England. A former Cage Rage Featherweight Champion he now trains stateside with the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. Pickett holds a career record of 22-6.

Quick Pick: Brad Pickett via TKO in Round Two

Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson

Chris “The Crippler” Leben is a 32-year-old fighter from Portland, Oregon. Leben is a fan favourite known for his iron chin and his brawling style, but lately he’s also become known as a troubled fighter who will be returning from a one-year-suspension. He was a cast member on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and has been in the UFC ever since. He is a member of the Icon Fitness MMA Gym in Oahu, Hawaii. The brawler holds a career record of 22-8.

Derek “Wrecking Ball” Brunson is a 28-year-old fighter from Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a former NCAA Division 2 All-American Wrestler from the University of North Carolina. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico. Brunson has power in his hands, but his technical striking skills are still developing. He does his best work on the mat, when he can control his opponents by using his top shelf wrestling skills. After starting his career undefeated at 9-0, he has suffered two straight defeats in 2012 to move his record to 9-2.

Analysis and Prediction: To me I think this one comes down a lot to how Leben responds to being off for a year. Brunson has shown some promise in his fights, but he still remains a pretty raw and unproven talent against top shelf competition. Besides Jacare Souza, Leben will be by far his stiffest competition and he’s taking the fight on late notice. Leben is a more complete striker and he’s probably been drilling takedown defense since his loss to Mark Munoz. Really I have a hard time imagining Brunson winning this fight, unless Leben looks like a shell of his former self. Chris Leben via TKO in Round Two

Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Yushin Okami vs. Alan Belcher

Yushin “Thunder” Okami is a 31-year-old fighter from Kanagawa, Japan. A former UFC Middleweight Title Challenger, Okami is one of the top Middleweight fighters in the UFC. Okami is a talented grinder, who does his best work using a ground based, wrestling and top control oriented game plan. He holds a black belt in Judo, which he uses well to earn trips and takedowns when standing. Okami is a member of Team Quest, training with Chael Sonnen in Portland, Oregon. He actually holds a career victory over Belcher already, having defeated Belcher in his UFC debut. Okami holds a professional record of 27-7.

Alan “The Talent” Belcher is a 28-year-old from Jonesboro, Arkansas. Recently after an eye injury caused a yearlong layoff and almost cost him his career, he has reeled off four straight stoppage victories and has emerged as a rising contender in the Middleweight division. Belcher is a talented striker who holds a black belt in Tae Kwan Do and a black belt in Duke Roufus Kickboxing. Belcher is also an underrated grappler who holds a brown belt in Judo and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Belcher is a member of the Roufusport Gym in Biloxi, Mississippi training under famed kick boxer Duke Roufus. He holds a career record of 18-6.

Analysis and Prediction: Belcher is a talented striker and his grappling game is definitely significantly underrated by a lot of people, but this isn’t a great match up for him. Okami is massive for Middleweight and he’s strong and perfectly content to wrestle his way to victories. In his last bout Okami was thoroughly dominating Tim Boetsch on the ground until a third round miracle comeback. Belcher is talented and dangerous on the feet, but I really don’t think Okami is going to give him time to get comfortable there. I expect a steady stream of one-twos and takedowns from Okami as he wrestles his way to a decision victory. Yushin Okami via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Tim Boetsch vs. Constantinos Philippou

Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch is a 31-year-old fighter from Lincolnville, Maine. He is a former NCAA Wrestler from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and often uses his wrestling skills to grind against his opponents on the mat. Boetsch is also a talented striker with big power, who owns a black belt in Jeet Kune Do. The former Light Heavyweight fighter has enjoyed a string of success since dropping to the UFC’s Middleweight division as he is currently on a four fight winning streak, including victories over Nick Ring, Kendall Grove, Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard. Boetsch is a member of the AMC Pankration Gym in Maine. He holds a career record of 16-4.

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Constantinos “Costa” Philippou is a 33-year-old fighter who was born in Limassol, Cyprus. He now resides and trains in New York City, New York where he is a member of the Serra-Longo Fight Team. Philippou is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but does his best work in the striking department. He is a talented and powerful striker who is technically sound and can throw bombs with the best of the Middleweight division. Currently riding a four fight-winning streak, Philippou holds a pro record of 11-2 with 1 No Contest.

Analysis and Prediction: Philippou has come a long way since his UFC debut where he was outworked on the mat by Nick Catone, but the game plan to defeat him likely remains the same. Boetsch has had a successful run since making the drop to Middleweight and he’s simply massive for the weight class. His style has remained the same as he remains a true grinder. He does his best work in close, using clinches to utilize dirty boxing and score trips and takedowns from there where he can work his top control game and ground and pound. Philippou needs to keep this fight at a distance if he wants to be successful, but I don’t think his footwork can keep him at range long enough to win this fight. Despite some success for Philippou I think Boetsch moves his way up the ladder another rung. Tim Boetsch via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Lightweight Bout: Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller

Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon is a 28-year-old fighter from East Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Lauzon is best known for his highly entertaining style of fighting, as he’s taken home 11 post-fight bonuses during his UFC career. Lauzon’s striking is decent and fundamentally sound, although at times he uses a bit too much boxing and not enough kicks to be wholly effective. Still, he does his best work on the mat, as the purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is excellent at creating submission opportunities during sweeps on the mat. The former Ultimate Fighter cast member is the head trainer of his own gym Lauzon MMA in Massachusetts and holds a career record of 22-7.

Jim Miller is a 29-year-old fighter from Sparta Township, New Jersey. Miller is taking this fight as a late replacement for Gray Maynard. Miller is one half of the Miller Brothers, as his older brother Dan also competes in the UFC as a Welterweight. Miller is a member of the AMA Fight Club in New Jersey, where he is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Miller is an aggressive fighter who is constantly moving forward against his opponents. His striking is fairly rudimentary, but he has decent power and a strong one-two which transitions well into takedown shots that he blends well. On the mat, Miller is a talented grappler who is dangerous anytime that there is a scramble on the mat. He holds a career record of 21-4.

Analysis and Prediction: Both of these guys are aggressive and love to fight balls to the wall. Both are also decent strikers that do their best work on the mat, so it will be an interesting styles clash to say the least. Lauzon has to be one of the best first round fighters in the UFC, as he absolutely storms out of the gates constantly searching for a finish, if he’s smart he’s been watching Nate Diaz’s one sided beat down of Miller over and over to glean some tips from it. That loss may also be important to Miller, since it will be his first fight since and how he responds to that loss will say a lot about how this fight goes down. Miller has the skills to grind out a decision using his wrestling to control and dominate Lauzon on the mat, but Lauzon is very dangerous at any time. As it is I think Miller uses takedowns and top control to wear out Lauzon and eventually comes away with a decision victory, sealing the deal in the third round. Jim Miller via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Heavyweight Championship Bout: Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez

Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos is a 28-year-old Brazilian fighter from Santa Catarina, Brazil. He is the reigning and defending UFC Heavyweight Champion, a belt that he won from his challenger Cain Velasquez. Dos Santos is one of the most talented and hardest hitting strikers in the Heavyweight division, owning 11Knockouts in 15 career victories. Dos Santos also has excellent grappling skills, holding a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under famed fighter Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Dos Santos is a member of the Black House Gym, training with Team Nogueira in Bahia, Brazil. Dos Santos is a dangerous fighter, who already holds a career victory via first round knockout against Velasquez. He holds a professional record of 15-1 and hasn’t lost since November of 2007.

Cain Velasquez is a Mexican-American fighter from Salinas, California. The 30-year-old is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Arizona State University. Velasquez is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California and is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion. Velasquez holds a brown belt in Guerilla Jiu Jitsu, which is a form of submission grappling more suited to modern MMA. Despite his previous loss to Dos Santos, many people have claimed that he took the bout with a significant knee injury since it was the UFC’s debut on Fox, and really shouldn’t have been fighting in the first place. Still, he remains a dangerous fighter wherever the bout takes place, as his striking has been rapidly improving and he’s a nightmare for anyone to handle on the mat. In his last bout he absolutely demolished Antonio Silva on the ground and left him a bloody mess, before finally earning a TKO in the first round. Velasquez holds a career record of 10-1, with his only loss coming against Dos Santos.

Analysis and Prediction: For many people the biggest question heading in to this contest is ‘Can Cain earn a takedown against Dos Santos?’ A man who has proven to be nearly impossible to takedown in the UFC, in fact he’s only been taken down once in his entire UFC career and it lasted for only seconds. For me, I think a more important question to consider is how is Dos Santos going to be able to handle himself if he does in fact end up underneath of Velasquez.

Cain has one of the most aggressive and nasty top games in the Heavyweight division. He throws ground and pound with bad intentions and his elbows can absolutely end your night as they cause significant damage. Cain is also a better striker than he showed in the first bout and to be honest, I think the injuries to both fighters are significant enough that the results of the first contest are barely even useful in a true fight analysis. Dos Santos’ trainers claim that he has one of the best ground games in the Heavyweight division, but even that isn’t going to be enough to contain Cain Velasquez, if he manages to score a takedown.

Dos Santos is surely going to be focusing on keeping this bout upright. Despite his claims that he’s ready to submit someone in the UFC, I’m not convinced he’s going to be pulling guard against a wrestler as talented as Velasquez. So for him, he’ll need to use footwork and an effective sprawl and brawl style to keep the bout standing and look for the big knockout shot. He’s shown that he can knock out almost anyone, if he hits them cleanly. Unfortunately I don’t think Velasquez will be nearly as slow or hittable as he was in their last encounter.

I don’t think Dos Santos can keep Velasquez at bay, and I think his advantage on the ground is far more significant that Dos Santos’ edge on the feet. That alone, combined with the fact that we’re going to see a significantly better and strong Velasquez make me think it’s going to be time for the challenger to reclaim his belt. I think he stops Dos Santos with strikes in the third round. Cain Velasquez via TKO in Round Three

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Anderson Silva’s Camp Want GSP, Franklin, Or Diaz

August 01, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Ed Soares Anderson SilvaThe UFC has a big problem on their hands. The UFC has a champion that only wants to fight marquee fighters as opposed to the “amateurs.” Anderson Silva’s camp doesn’t care what your record is. If you aren’t a name, go to the back of the line.

While the UFC middleweight champion doesn’t do much speaking, his managers Ed Soares and Jorge Guimaraes do plenty. Both managers (because when you are that good, you need more than one) recently talked to the press about potential upcoming fights for their champion and let’s just say they aren’t nearly as excited about a Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva fight as you are.

Silva’s co-manager Guimaraes was the first to make headlines last week when he was asked about Silva’s next opponent.

“No opponent makes sense for Anderson at this moment. Unless we do a catchweight against Georges St-Pierre,” said Silva’s co-manager to Tatame.com. “They (the UFC) didn’t offer the fight, but he’s the only one that could do a super fight. Anderson has the biggest paycheck in the UFC, and you can’t promote an event with these amateur kids that are coming up now.

Yep, that is right. Silva’s management team is referring to the growing list of potential middleweight title challengers as “amateurs”. “That’s a big joke,” Guimaraes said. “Everybody saw that it worked for Chael, and he got really famous with that, and now everybody wants to be in the spotlight.

The more level headed manager, Ed Soares was a little more tactful in his response to the same question to MMAJunkie.com.

I don’t think any opponent in that category is a joke,” Soares said. “I just think that some of his opponents just aren’t as attractive. When I look at Weidman, I think he’s a very talented guy. He’s got a bright future. But when I look at it, he’s 9-0. Anderson has got double the wins he has in his career in the UFC. So I just don’t see the value of being able to fight a guy like this right now. That’s my opinion.

Soares reiterated the champion’s desire to fight Georges St-Pierre but also mentioned a familiar name. Soares said that Silva would be interested in a third fight with Rich Franklin. You know, the same Rich Franklin Silva brutalized on two different occasions.

A new potential super fight recently emerged when Nick Diaz’s camp challenged Anderson to a super fight. Soares was very receptive to the challenge on Twitter.

I think the idea of @SpiderAnderson vs @nickdiaz209 is pretty good. Let’s see what the @ufc thinks?” – @edblackhouse

There is something very obnoxious about these statements coming from Silva’s camp. These people sit around complaining about amateurs and lack of competition, while calling out or being open to fights with fighters that either Silva would undoubtedly destroy or have big weight disadvantages against their fighter. It is one thing to complain about lack of competition or insult other fighters, but it is a whole other story when you do this while ducking the obvious choice…Jon Jones.

Anderson has outright refused to fight Jon Jones. I don’t think anyone reading this blog could disagree that Jones would give Silva his biggest test in MMA. Additionally, Silva has already fought at light heavyweight and is undefeated in UFC’s division. This isn’t a case of GSP or Diaz moving up in weight or anyone being at a weight disadvantage. This is a fight that would pit arguably the two best in the sport against each other with all odds being even. Yet Silva’s camp refuses to even consider the fight, while complaining about a lack of competition?

Whether Silva’s team think that the crop of challengers are amateurs or not, is irrelevant as long as their client holds the title. Silva needs to defend against the top contenders as deemed by the UFC. I can understand Silva wanting to get the most money for his fights with high profile dream fights. That is fine, but if that is the case than Silva needs to relinquish the middleweight title. His camp can’t have it both ways.

At the end of the day this is all a real easy decision to make. Stop picking on the fighter that fights in a division below yours and take the fight against Jones. Unless Silva is that scared of getting KO’d by Bones, it is the only option. The fact they refuse to fight him and complain about lack of competition is the real joke.

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UFC On FOX 3 Predictions & Preview

May 04, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC On Fox 3 predictionsGood day CCB readers hopefully you’re all still reading this despite my awful prognostication skills at UFC 145. I’ll admit that many of those bouts didn’t go nearly as expected and some serious hype trains were derailed, but hey that’s the breaks in the sport where “anything can happen.” The UFC continues its onward march into the busy summer schedule with a free offering on network television this weekend. The UFC presents UFC on FOX 3 live from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey this Saturday night.

The UFC on FOX shows have been a bit of a mixed bag so far for fight fans. The first offering, which the UFC openly admitted was a bit of a trial run, was widely criticized by fans. Despite offering a Heavyweight Title fight for free, the bout lasted less than one round and many felt it was a bit anti-climactic. In their second attempt at network television they decided to load up on big names and bouts with serious title implications. The result was three relatively slow-paced fights that all went to decision. Whether or not you agree with the excitement on their past offerings, one thing we should all agree on is that they likely have the formula right for this show.

The main event features a potential Number One Contender’s bout for the UFC’s Lightweight Championship as Nate Diaz battles Jim Miller. Other bouts on the Fox-televised main card include a sure-fire Heavyweight slugfest between Pat Barry and Lavar Johnson that is highly unlikely to make it to the judge’s scorecards. As well as a Welterweight bout with huge title implications as Josh Koscheck looks to avenge Jon Fitch’s loss to the surging contender Johnny Hendricks. Finally a Middleweight bout between two finishers opens the card as Rousimar Palhares takes on Alan Belcher.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Roland Delorme vs. Nick Denis

Roland “Stunning” Delorme is a Canadian fighter from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He was a competitor on the Mayhem Miller vs. Bisping season of The Ultimate Fighter. Delorme fights out of the Winnipeg Academy of Mixed Martial Arts. Delorme is a well-rounded fighter with all of his career victories coming by stoppage. At the Ultimate Fighter Finale he scored a third round submission which showed off just how smooth his ground skills are, as he quickly dropped his opponent with a punch, hopped on his back and locked up the hold. Delorme holds a career record of 7-1.

Nick “The Ninja of Love” Denis is a Canadian fighter from North Bay, Ontario. Denis has since transplanted himself to Montreal, Quebec, Canada where he is a member of the Tristar Gym. Denis is a purple belt in BJJ and a black belt in Kyokushin karate. Denis has looked impressive since making the drop to 135 pounds and is 2-0. He looked very impressive in his UFC debut where he flattened Joseph Sandoval with standing elbow strikes that knocked him out cold. Denis remains an elite striker, but his grappling skills have looked somewhat lackluster in his previous bouts. Still he owns a career record of 11-2, with all of his wins coming via stoppage.

Analysis and Prediction: Denis has shown a glaring weakness against capable wresters and grapplers in the past. He’s not awful on the ground, but he is significantly stronger in a striking battle. Delorme looked decent on the ground in his UFC debut, but he doesn’t have the striking to set it up against someone as capable as Denis. Expect another highlight reel of violence from the Ninja of Love as he earns a TKO in the second. Nick Denis via TKO in Round Two.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Mike Massenzio vs. Karlos Vemola

Mike “The Master of Disaster” Massenzio is an American fighter from Teaneck, New Jersey. Massenzio was a standout wrestler in high school, where he was a two-time high school state champion. In 2004 Massenzio was a National Wrestling Champion at the Junior College Level. He is a member of the Team Ironhorse MMA Gym in Patterson, New Jersey. Massenzio is a stellar grappler who has won numerous tournaments and awards in grappling tournaments and although he has struggled to make his high school wrestling pedigree translate well to MMA, he does have decent takedowns and is quite capable on the mat. His striking is fairly basic and is probably the weakest aspect of his overall game. Massenzio has a career record of 13-6.

Karlos “The Terminator” Vemola is a fighter from Olomous, Czech Republic. He is an extremely strong and compact fighter who is a former 6-time Czech Republic National Wrestling Champion. Vemola is now a member of the London Shootfighters Gym in London, England. This will be Vemola’s first bout at Middleweight and because of his muscular build it might be tough for him to make the weight. Provided he makes the weight without issue he definitely has the skills to defeat Massenzio in this bout. He owns some of the nastiest ground and pound out there and has the strength and ability to drag the fight to the ground and being underneath the hulking Czech is not where anyone wants to be. Vemola has a career record of 8-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Massenzio is a capable grappler and he can definitely win this bout by controlling Vemola on the ground. Unfortunately for him that means that he’s going to need to get close to Vemola, which doesn’t end well for very many people. Vemola is making the cut to Middleweight for the first time, so I have a hard time trusting a guy who has shown cardio issues in the past making a cut down another weight class. If Massenzio is able to survive the opening salvo, this is an upset waiting to happen. Mike Massenzio via Submission in Round Three.

Preliminary Card (FUEL TV): Featherweight Bout: Dennis Bermudez vs. Pablo Garza

Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez is an American fighter from Saugerties, New York. He was a contestant on the Bisping vs. Mayhem Miller season of The Ultimate Fighter where he lost at the finale to the winner Diego Brandao. Bermudez is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who is now a part of the Long Island MMA Gym. Bermudez uses his wrestling well in his bouts, often searching out takedowns and using ground and pound to grind out his opponents. After opening his career with a 7-0 mark, he has lost his last three bouts, but they have all been against big name opponents, bringing his current pro record to 7-3.

Pablo “The Scarecrow” Garza is a fighter from North Dakota who like a number of fighters already mentioned is a former cast member of The Ultimate Fighter reality television series. Garza is a strong grappler with a number of his career wins coming by way of submission. He owns a purple belt in BJJ and at 6’1” is one of the lengthier fighters competing in the UFC’s Featherweight division. His stand up isn’t excellent, but he is becoming better at fighting to his height and has been improving his ability to dictate the range and pace of his bouts. Still grappling is his strong point, but he may find it difficult to get this bout to the ground against a wrestler as strong as Bermudez. Garza’s professional MMA record is 11-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Garza has a couple of extremely impressive highlight reel finishes that I think causes people to believe that he is better than he really is. At 6’1” he’s lanky and lengthy for a Featherweight but his striking is nothing to write home about and short of his flying triangle, his grappling hasn’t looked great either. Bermudez was faring well against Diego Brandao before his aggression got the better of him. His wrestling skills allow him to dictate the placement of this fight and that allows him the ability to control Garza for a unanimous decision. Dennis Bermudez via Unanimous Decision.

Preliminary Card (FUEL TV): Lightweight Bout: Danny Castillo vs. John Cholish

Danny “Last Call” Castillo is an American fighter who is a member of Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male Gym in California. However, due to the live filming of the The Ultimate Fighter and Castillo’s role as an assistant coach to Team Faber he has spent most of his time training for this bout in Las Vegas at the UFC Training Center. Castillo is a former NAIA All American Wrestler. Castillo is a grinding wrestler who uses takedowns to constantly pressure his opponents. His striking is fairly mediocre, but he uses it well to close the distance against his opponents. Castillo has a career record of 13-4.

John Cholish is an American fighter from Hackettstown, New Jersey. The 28-year-old is a grappler who is currently training in New York City, New York at Renzo Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Cholish is well known for his work outside of the cage as well as inside it. He is a Cornell University Graduate who holds a full time job on Wall Street. Cholish is an excellent submissions grappler with a knack for finishing fights, with 3 TKOs and 4 Submissions on his resume. Cholish lost his pro debut, but hasn’t tasted defeat since and has a career record of 8-1.

Analysis and Prediction: These two are extremely evenly matched, which is very accurately reflected in the current betting line for this bout. Castillo holds an edge in power punches, while Cholish is the more accurate striker. Castillo is a smothering wrestler, but Cholish has an impressive submission game. Flip a coin for this one, I’ll take Cholish by the slimmest of margins. John Cholish via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FUEL TV): Flyweight Bout: Louis Gaudinot vs. John Lineker

Louis “Goodnight” Gaudinot is a 27-year-old fighter from Yonkers, New York. He is a veteran of the New Jersey based Ring of Combat promotion and is the promotion’s former Flyweight Champion. He made his UFC debut by entering the Ultimate Fighter as a Bantamweight. A member of the Team Tiger Schulmann Gym in Hoboken, New Jersey Gaudinot is a competent grappler who began his martial arts training at the age of six. After struggling with the size of the larger Bantamweights in the UFC he is making the drop to his more natural weight of 125 pounds. His grappling and submission game is his bread and butter, as Gaudinot will look for takedowns to work his dominant top game on his opponent. Gaudinot owns a career record of 5-2.

John “Mao-de-Pedra” Lineker is a 22-year-old Brazilian fighter who is one of the top young prospects in the world at the Flyweight division. He is a former Jungle Fights Bantamweight Champion. Lineker is a member of the EMPORIUM Gym in Brazil. Lineker is a brawling fighter who isn’t afraid to charge head first into a fight. He is currently riding a 13-fight winning streak and hasn’t lost since December of 2009. This will be Lineker’s first fight at Flyweight as well as his first fight outside of Brazil and his UFC debut, a whole lot of factors that may affect him come fight time. Still he remains a thoroughly entertaining fighter who loves to swing for the fences and has the power to knock out fighters significantly larger than himself. Lineker has a professional MMA record of 19-5.

Analysis and Prediction: Gaudinot looked pretty awful against Johnny Bedford and took one of the worst beatings in TUF Finale history. A drop to Flyweight is what Gaudinot hopes will bring brighter fortunes, unfortunately he’s drawn a tough test for this one. Lineker has made a career fighting larger fighters and has been more successful than Guadinot. Lineker is extremely aggressive and poses a well-rounded skill set which makes him a handful for anyone to deal with. It’s his UFC debut and his first bout outside Brazil, so there’s always the chance he duds out for this one, but if he’s on his came, he should be able to pound out a second round stoppage. John Lineker via TKO in Round Two.

Preliminary Card (FUEL TV): Welterweight Bout: John Hathaway vs. Pascal Krauss

John “The Hitman” Hathaway is a 24-year-old fighter from Brighton, England. He was dubbed as one of the next big things after smothering victories over Rick Story and Diego Sanchez, however Mike Pyle and Kris McCray have done work to derail that hype train. Hathaway is a former Rugby player who transitioned to MMA in 2006. Hathaway has strong wrestling, especially since he is from England, a nation who is often criticized for it’s lack of credible wrestlers. Hathaway is a member of the London Shootfighters Gym in London, England but also spends time in the US with American Top Team and Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Gym. Hathaway has a career record of 15-1.

Pascal “Panzer” Krauss is a German fighter from Breisach, West Germany. Krauss began boxing in Germany at the age of 14 and was a top ranked amateur boxer in the country. He was a German Jr. Boxing Champion and ranked second at the German Boxing Championships. In addition to his strong striking abilities Krauss is a talented grappler, who currently holds a blue belt in BJJ. Krauss has traveled the world to hone his skills travelling to Brazil, California, New York and Japan to train. He is now a member of the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he trains under kickboxing legend Duke Roufus. Krauss is undefeated as a professional with a 10-0 record including 9 victories via stoppage.

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Analysis and Prediction: If this bout was happening a year ago I would be calling for an upset special, as I’ve been very impressed by Krauss’ skills. However, he hasn’t fought in over a year due to injuries and that long of a layoff is sure to hurt anyone. Still, if he’s managed to overcome the layoff, he has the tools to upset Hathaway here. Krauss has strong kickboxing skills and an impressive ground game, Hathaway is a smothering wrestler without much else to offer. Don’t expect fireworks for this one. John Hathaway via Unanimous Decision.

Preliminary Card (FUEL TV): Flyweight Bout: John Dodson vs. Tim Elliott

John “The Magician” Dodson is a 27-year-old fighter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was the winner of the Bisping vs. Miller season of The Ultimate Fighter, a season where he competed 10 pounds above his natural weight class. Dodson is a member of Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque and has a strong camp around him. Dodson showed incredible skills during his time on The Ultimate Fighter scoring a couple of Knockouts on his way to the live finale where he fought tournament favorite TJ Dillashaw. Dodson absolutely dominated Dillashaw and scored a TKO victory in the first round. Dodson claims that he has never been taken down in a fight, and given his amazing strength and athletic ability, it may be close to true. Dodson owns a career record of 12-5.

Tim Elliott is a 25-year-old fighter from Kansas City, Missouri. He is one of the USA’s top prospects at 125 pounds who is currently on an 8-fight winning streak. Elliott was a state wrestling champion in high school, before moving on to wrestle at the University of Central Oklahoma. Elliott is a member of the Grindhouse MMA Gym in Kansas City where he has been working on developing his stand up to complement his strong wrestling. From the videos I have seen however, his striking still looks fairly rudimentary and sloppy, and he often relies solely on his ground skills. Elliott is taking this bout on short notice, after Dodson’s original opponent was injured. Elliott has a career record of 8-2-1.

Analysis and Prediction: You have to give Elliott props for stepping up on late notice and he’s been on a hell of a run lately, but he’s running into a brick wall here, almost literally. Elliott relies mostly on his wrestling skills to earn takedowns and work his top control. Dodson is an amazing athlete, he packs a lot of power in his punches and he has impressive footwork to keep his opponents outside of range. Elliott’s striking skills don’t stack up and he’ll struggle to close the distance against Dodson. From there, he’s going to get desperate and if he gets desperate, he’s going to get hurt. John Dodson via KO in Round Two.

Preliminary Card (FUEL TV): Lightweight Bout: Tony Ferguson vs. Michael Johnson

Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson is a 28-year-old fighter from Muskegon, Michigan. Ferguson a career Lightweight moved up to Welterweight to compete on the Lesnar vs. Dos Santos season of The Ultimate Fighter. Ferguson mowed through the Ultimate Fighter house stopping all of his opponents en-route to the live finale where he earned a KO victory in the first round. Since his time on the show, he has dropped to the Lightweight division and has put on two impressive performances thus far. Ferguson has slick boxing with excellent hand speed and footwork, Ferguson also has big power in both of his hands as evidenced in his bout with Aaron Riley where he broke his opponent’s jaw, forcing a stoppage in between rounds. Ferguson is also a former NCAA Division II wrestler, and uses that background mostly to keep his bouts standing, but can also use it to earn takedowns and keep his opponents off-balance. Ferguson owns a career record of 13-2.

Michael “The Menace” Johnson is a 25-year-old fighter from St. Louis, Missouri. Johnson was a competitor on the GSP vs. Koscheck season of The Ultimate Fighter. Johnson was the runner up that season, losing at the finale to Jonathan Brookins, in a bout where he dominated the first round, but subsequently gassed out and faded before losing rounds two and three. Johnson is now a member of the “Blackzillians” training out of Imperial Athletics in Boca Raton, Florida. Johnson has decent if somewhat basic boxing skills with decent hand and foot speed, along with a solid wrestling top game, but he’ll need to put it all together well to take out Ferguson. Johnson owns a career record of 7-5.

Analysis and Prediction: I’ve never really been high on Johnson, I thought he was handed favorable matches during his time on The Ultimate Fighter. However, he proved me wrong in his bout against Shane Roller. Unfortunately for him, I don’t think he can do it again. Ferguson is tailor built to exploit fighters like Johnson. Ferguson has big power and the wrestling ability to keep this bout standing. Johnson’s stand up is improving and he may even have a slight speed advantage, but it’s not enough to penetrate the long range of Ferguson who’ll take a decision. Tony Ferguson via Unanimous Decision
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Main Card (FOX): Heavyweight Bout: Pat Barry vs. Lavar Johnson

Pat “HD” Barry is a 32-year-old fighter from New Orleans, Louisiana. Barry is a former professional kick boxer who has since transitioned to MMA full time. Although he most recently trained at the DeathClutch MMA Gym, he is still trained in striking under Duke Roufus and does spend time occasionally at the Roufusport Gym in Wisconsin. Barry is mainly a striker and isn’t afraid to admit it, although he has claimed in interviews that his grappling is improving, we have yet to see any evidence of that actually take place in a fight. Still his kickboxing skills are very impressive as his compact frame allows him to throw kicks and punches with speed and power. One of his biggest disadvantages is his size, as at 5’11” he is often at a significant reach disadvantage against other strikers. Still Barry is a highly entertaining fighter who holds a 7-4 professional MMA record.

Lavar “Big” Johnson is just that, a big, bruising Heavyweight fighter from Madera, California. He is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy and like his opponent for this bout, would much rather stand and trade with his opponents than wage a ground war. His propensity to brawl as well as his impressive personal story have made him a crowd favorite. In 2009, Johnson was shot at his family home during a fourth of July BBQ, he battled through that to make his return to fighting full time. Johnson recently made his UFC debut stopping the granite-chinned Joey Beltran with strikes in the first round. Johnson holds a career record of 16-5 and holds an impressive distinction of never fighting to a decision in his career, win or lose, this guy comes to fight.

Analysis and Prediction: These two have an open gentleman’s agreement to keep this bout standing and I would say that is the exact reason that they are being tapped to kick off the broadcast. Johnson’s never been to a decision and I doubt that this is going to be the first time. Barry is the better technical striker, but no one can deny the power that Johnson has in his hands. Barry will need to utilize leg kicks against Johnson if he wants to be successful. Powerful kicks to the big man’s legs will certainly slow him down and throw off his footwork. At the end of the day, Barry is at a significant reach disadvantage, but it’s not something he’s not used to, as he’s the smaller fighter in every bout. If he fights wisely he can win via second round stoppage, if he gets cute or stupid, he’s going out. I’ll take the former, but wouldn’t be surprised to see the latter. Pat Barry via TKO in Round Two

Main Card (FOX): Middleweight Bout: Rousimar Palhares vs. Alan Belcher

Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares is a 32-year-old fighter from Brazil. Palhares is known for his impressive Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and leg lock skills, as well as his somewhat oddball behavior during fights. Palhares is a short and extremely muscular fighter who can use that build to unleash powerful punches from inside the clinch. Palhares is a member of the Brazilian Top Team who holds a black belt in BJJ. Palhares is a strong grappler, with a smothering top game and vicious ground and pound who is able to set up his submissions simply by pounding away on his opponents and forcing them into mistakes. Palhares has been prone to mental mistakes in the past including complaining that Nate Marquardt was greased before getting knocked out cold, as well as a premature celebration in a bout against Dan Miller. Still Palhares is a very dangerous opponent who holds a career record of 14-3.

Alan “The Talent” Belcher is a 28-year-old fighter from Jonesboro, Arkansas. Belcher currently trains at his own gym in Biloxi Mississippi as well as the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Belcher is a talented kick boxer who can fight well from a range, when he is able to dictate the pacing and spacing of the bout. Belcher is also a significantly underrated grappler who owns a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. However, due to the dangerous ground game of Palhares, it’s unlikely that a ground battle is what Belcher wants to engage in. Belcher will need to use solid footwork and leg kicks to keep the bout away from clinches where Palhares will be able to excel. Belcher recently made his successful return to the UFC after over a year away with a career threatening eye injury. Belcher owns a career record of 17-6.

Analysis and Prediction: This bout is going to tell us a lot about both fighters and their potential against the upper echelon of the Middleweight division. Belcher has all the tools at his disposal to win this bout, he needs to stay on the outside and use his superior speed and kick boxing abilities to keep Palhares away from him. He will need to be cautious about throwing too many kicks, because all it will take is for Palhares to catch one and then Belcher might be in a whole world of trouble on the ground against the leg lock specialist. What it comes down to for me is that while Belcher does have all of the tools to keep Palhares at bay, the smallest of slip-ups will open the door for Palhares. I expect the Brazilian to struggle through the first round, before finding his range in the second. He slips inside nails a few big punches to stun the Roufusport fighter and then drags him to the ground for the big submission finish. Rousimar Palhares via Submission in Round Two.

Main Card (FOX): Welterweight Bout: Josh Koscheck vs. Johnny Hendricks

Josh “Kos” Koscheck is an American fighter from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania who is one of the most hated fighters in the UFC. Koscheck was first introduced to fans on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter where he was known for his wrestling skills and trash talk. He has perfected his role as the Welterweight divisions resident heel, which has gained him prominence as well as a legion of haters. Koscheck is a former NCAA Division I Wrestler who uses his wrestling skills extensively in bouts. He has solid takedowns and a smothering top control game. Despite the fact that he was widely criticized as a lay-and-pray fighter at the beginning of his career, he has since added solid striking skills to his repertoire matched by big knockout power in both hands. Koscheck is a former member of the American Kickboxing Academy but has since left and joined the Dethrone Base Camp. Koscheck owns a career record of 17-5.

Johnny Hendricks is a 28-year-old fighter from Ada, Oklahoma. Like his opponent for this bout Hendricks is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler while he was competing for Oklahoma State University. Hendricks is a member of the Team Takedown Gym fighting out of Dallas, Texas. Hendricks has also improved his striking skills, using tight boxing combinations and big power punches to throttle his opponents. Hendricks is coming off of a career-defining win, starching Jon Fitch in only 12 seconds to become the first man to ever stop Fitch in the UFC. Hendricks also has excellent dirty boxing skills and has been able to dominate several opponents in the clinch, utilizing nasty uppercuts from up close. Hendricks has tasted defeat only once in his professional career, he has a record of 12-1.

Analysis and Prediction: This is another ridiculously close bout, this time between two men with very similar styles. Both have excellent collegiate wrestling credentials, with Hendricks having a bit more success at the NCAA level, while Koscheck is probably better at using his wrestling in MMA. Hendricks is the quicker and more technical striking, but his defense has looked porous and Koscheck’s overhand right can put anyone in the division to sleep if he lands it cleanly. Both men have one recent common opponent, Mike Pierce who both defeated via Split Decisions, while that is a testament to how tough Pierce is for any fighter at Welterweight I thought Hendricks had more success against him striking and grinding. This one is going to come down to a few takedowns and a few late flurries to steal the rounds, I don’t think anyone is getting stopped, once again I’ll go back to my handy, dandy coin and take Koscheck. Josh Koscheck via Split Decision.

Main Card (FOX): Lightweight Bout: Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller

Nate Diaz is a 27-year-old fighter from Stockton, California. He is the younger brother of former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion and current UFC Welterweight Nick Diaz. Nate is also successful for more than just being the younger brother of Nick, he was a cast member and the eventual winner of the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Diaz is an extremely talented grappler with a dangerous submission game and a black belt in BJJ. Diaz is a member of the Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu Gym where he trains regularly with brother Nick, Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez. In addition to his impressive grappling skills, Nate is an extremely capable boxer. Although he throws very few kicks, he is an expert at controlling the range of a fight by cutting off the cage and walking down his opponents. Diaz doesn’t throw any particular punch with big power, but instead relies simply on a volume punching style. Diaz throws a lot of leather and is extremely accurate and in his last bout against Donald Cerrone he set a number of records by landing 82% of the strikes he threw, as well as landing a record 238 significant strikes in a three round fight. Diaz has struggled against smothering wrestlers in the past, however, his jiu jitsu and judo skills make him a tough fighter to simply hold down, as he is very active from guard, constantly threatening with submission attempts and sweeps. Diaz holds a career record of 15-7.

Jim Miller is an American fighter from Sparta Township, New Jersey. Miller is a member of the AMA Fight Club out of New Jersey and will surely have the hometown advantage come fight night on Saturday. Miller is the epitome of a grinder. Miller constantly moves forward, plugging behind double leg takedowns and a gritty stand up style. One of Miller’s best assets is his strong gas tank and his ability to take a punch. In his last bout, he took a big punch from Guillard but was able to recover and takeover by dragging Guillard to the ground and outworking him en-route to a submission victory. Miller will need to fight intelligently against Diaz, he’ll need to avoid getting caught up in striking exchanges and focus simply on getting the bout to the mat. Miller owns an impressive grappling game of his own, but unlike Diaz who can threaten from the top and the bottom, Miller relies on being on top and smothering his opponents while searching out submission opportunities. Miller owns a career record of 21-3.

Analysis and Prediction: This bout will quite simply come down to who can impose their will on the other fighter. Miller is a grinder, always pushing forward and always looking to pressure his opponents. He has one hell of a chin and has never been stopped in his entire career. He has an impressive and smothering top control game and while his takedowns aren’t always of the textbook variety, they usually get the job done. He’s got a stellar grappling game himself and is able to completely blanket fighters when he gets in top control. His game plan is going to rely a lot on getting Diaz to the ground, getting on top and working from there.

For Diaz, the game plan will be the exact opposite. He’s got excellent boxing and his pitter-patter volume punching style absolutely massacred Donald Cerrone in their last fight. It also appeared to overwhelm him, as instead of changing game plans, Cerrone just kept coming in to take the punches, I would expect Miller to avoid a similar game plan. Diaz is an excellent submission grappler with an extremely active guard, which dissuades a lot of fighters from trying to take him down, I don’t expect Miller will be one of those fighters, so Diaz had better have been working on his sprawl and brawl techniques. Although Miller’s stand up is decent, he’s not on Diaz’s level, and Diaz also has a stellar chin, so even for those times when Diaz takes a punch, you know he can take it and he’s going to be throwing four or five more back.

Miller must make this fight dirty. His best chance is to close the distance early and often. Diaz isn’t a power puncher so there isn’t the fear of a massive haymaker waiting for him for wading in too close, but Miller needs to do it quickly, or he’ll be eating a steady diet of leather from Diaz as he backs away. Miller is the exact type of fighter that Diaz has struggled with in the past, the grinding wrestler who can control him on the ground and not allow him to get into a rhythm on the feet. This fight is also five rounds, but neither man has shown a lot of cardio issues in the past, so I just expect two more rounds of action. I’m going to take Miller in this fight, I really like Diaz, but Miller is custom built to give him problems. Rory MacDonald completely manhandled Nate Diaz at Welterweight and while Miller doesn’t have the size and strength advantages over Diaz that MacDonald did at Welterweight, he should still be able to implement a similar game plan. Enough so that he can take three out of five rounds and take the decision. Jim Miller via Unanimous Decision.

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UFC Fight Night 25: Shields Vs. Ellenberger Analysis & Predictions

September 17, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC Fight Night 25 SHIELDS vs. ELLENBERGERThis weekend the UFC makes its long-awaited return to the state of Louisiana, as the organization makes their first trip to the state since 2002. Set to be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, the UFC is bringing a card that is being somewhat over-shadowed by the huge boxing Pay Per View on the same night.

The “Battle on the Bayou” as it is being called is headlined by a Welterweight bout with an immediate impact on the title picture at 170 pounds, as Jake Shields takes on Jake Ellenberger. The four-fight main card takes place on Spike TV starting at 9:00 PM Eastern. The entire preliminary card will be streamed on Facebook.

Although the card might be somewhat lacking in name-power, there is still a number of interesting matches and several opportunities for bettors to lay their money down. There’s nothing that makes a fight more exciting to watch than having a little action on the side, so whether you’re beating your friends or your bookie, here is a breakdown of the night’s fights. As always, all betting lines are the current best available market lines from Best Fight Odds (www.bestfightodds.com)

Preliminary Bout (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Jorge Lopez (-350) vs. Justin Edwards (+325)

Justin “Fast Eddy” Edwards is a Sanshou and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter from Ohio. He was a cast member of the most recent season of the Ultimate Fighter where he was a member of Team dos Santos. Before entering the Ultimate Fighter house, he was undefeated on the regional fight scene where he was 6-0, stopping each of his opponents in the first round. He won five of those fights via Submission and one by TKO. In his last fight, he made his UFC debut against fellow cast-member Clay Harvison in a fight which he lost by close Split Decision. Despite his lone TKO win, he has shown very limited stand up ability and has struggled if he cannot drag his opponents to the mat.

Jorge “Lil’ Monster” Lopez is 11-1 and is a very highly touted prospect making his UFC debut. He is a member the Wand Fight Team where he trains under the tutelage of Wanderlei Silva and has been referred to by Wanderlei himself as his apprentice. Lopez is a former high school wrestling standout with a rapidly improving stand up game to match his wrestling skills. Lopez has finished five of his opponents in his career by TKO or KO. His lone loss was a close Split Decision loss in only the second fight of his career.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: Lopez is a huge favorite in this one and he probably deserves to be. Edwards has shown very limited stand up ability in his career and Lopez has shown continually improving stand up skills. Edwards needs to get the fight to the floor if he has any chance of winning the fight, but doing so against a strong, athletic wrestler like Lopez may be too tall of a task. I don’t really like the line in this one, it’s just too much juice to lay with Lopez, so I’m going to stay away from this fight from a betting perspective. As for a pick, I’ll take Lopez to win via TKO late in the second round.

Preliminary Bout (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Robert Peralta (-145) vs. Mike Lullo (+140)

Robert Peralta is a Honduran-Mexican fighter who fights out of San Diego, California. He is a member of Team Kadillac and has shown strong boxing with decent wrestling skills in his career so far. He holds a professional record of 14-3, and is coming off the most impressive win of his career, in his last fight under the Strikeforce banner. In that fight he defeated DREAM Featherweight Champion Hiroyuki Takaya by Decision (he has defeated all of his other opponents by stoppage, 11 by KO or TKO and 2 via Submission.)

Mike Lullo is a former Lightweight fighter who is now making the cut to 145-pounds. He is a member of the Midwest Training Center fighting out of Illinois. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Submission wrestling fighter who has shown relatively mediocre stand up skills in his past few fights. In fact in his UFC debut he faced highly touted Edson Barboza and was defeated by TKO due to leg kicks after Barboza continually attacked with leg kicks and eventually left Lullo unable to stand.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: Peralta will likely have the stand-up edge in this fight. Luckily for Lullo, Peralta prefers straight boxing over Kickboxing, so he likely shouldn’t have to deal with quite so many leg kicks in this one. On the ground however, Peralta has shown some holes in his grappling game, looking somewhat clumsy and off-balance in extender periods on the ground. If Lullo is able to get this fight to the ground, he should be able to exploit some of those holes and earn a stoppage. Getting +140 with Lullo in a close bout is a worthy of a small bet here. Mike Lullo via Submission in round two.

Preliminary Bout (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: TJ Waldburger (-225) vs. Mike Stumpf (+210)

TJ Waldburger is a 23-year-old fighter from Temple Texas. He is a member of the Grappler’s Lair Gym, where is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under John Moore. Waldburger began his martial arts career training for MMA specifically. As such he is a fairly well-rounded fighter with skills at kickboxing and BJJ. Active as a professional since 2005, he has a professional MMA record of 13-6.

Mike Stumpf is a late-notice replacement for Daniel Roberts who was injured late last week. Stumpf is stepping into this fight with only six days’ notice. He is a member of Team Curran where he trains with current UFC fighter Jeff Curran and Bellator stand out Pat Curran. Stumpf is a submission fighter who has fought mostly for the XFO on the regional scene. He will need to avoid Waldburger grinding him down as the bright lights of his UFC debut, could prove to be a bit much for the young fighter.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: From a betting perspective, I’m not at all interested in this fight. Waldburger has a well-rounded game and needs a win here. Stumpf is a young fighter who is taking a big step up in competition, making his UFC debut and doing it all on only a week’s notice. All of those combined make Waldburger the favorite and I think the line is fairly well set. TJ Waldburger via Decision.

Preliminary Bout (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Seth Baczynski (-155) vs. Clay Harvison (+140)

Clay “Heavy Metal” Harvison is a thirty-year-old fighter from Marietta, Georgia. He is a kick boxer from the Iron Clutch Kickboxing gym. At 6’1″ he is a fairly tall Welterweight, with a 73-inch reach. He is best known for his stint on the last season of the Ultimate Fighter. He has amassed a career record of 7-1 and in his last fight he defeated fellow TUF alumni Justin Edwards via Split Decision. Harvison is a strong stand up fighter who uses his length to control the range of the fight and has shown strong takedown defense inside the cage.

Seth Baczynski is a fighter from Honolulu, Hawaii. Like his opponent he is a former cast member of the Ultimate Fighter, although Baczynski was on Team Liddell vs. Team Ortiz season of the show. He is a member of the Power MMA and Fitness team in Arizona where he trains with the likes of Ryan Bader, C.B. Dolloway and Aaron Simpson. He is quite tall and lanky for a Welterweight, standing 6’4″ tall. He has compiled a professional MMA record of 13-6, winning all of his fights by stoppage. Training with the solid ground fighters at Power MMA, Baczynski is a strong ground fighter, with good wrestling and solid submission skills.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: The stand-up fight favors Harvison as he has the more technical striking abilities because of his kickboxing background, however, Baczynski is the more well-rounded fighter. While he may be slightly out-gunned on the feet, he will likely hold a significant advantage on the ground. His tall frame will also allow him to dictate the range and pace of the fight, which should allow him to control the cage and keep Harvison at bay. At -155 the price is probably pretty close to right, although there might still be a bit of value for a bet on Baczynski if you feel like it. Seth Baczynski via Submission in the third round.

Preliminary Bout (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Ken Stone (-155) vs. Donny Walker (+140)

Donny “Eagle Eye” Walker is an American fighter from Cleveland, Ohio. The 31-year-old fighter has been a professional fighter since 2004 and has over 20 fights on his record. He is a Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter who trains with the Griffin Rawl MMA Academy. Walker holds a career record of 15-7, who has proven himself on the regional fight scene, but has struggled against some of the upper-tier fighters. In his last fight he made his UFC debut, but struggled against Jeff Hougland and lost a Unanimous Decision.

Ken Stone is a Jiu Jitsu fighter who was a highly-touted prospect until he fell on hard times in his last two fights. He is a member of the American Top Team out of Coconut Creek, Florida. He has a professional record of 9-3, stopping all of his opponents before the third round. Stone is going to be at a serious advantage on the ground, but may be over-matched on the feet. However, the second the fight hits the ground, it’s likely that Stone will be able to run a clinic on Walker.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: I actually like a bet on Stone at the current price. Walker did not impress me in his debut and although he likely has a stand up advantage, it’s unlikely that he will be able to exploit it for very long. Stone will be able to earn takedowns, use ground and pound to batter Walker and wear him down en-route to a third round submission. Ken Stone via Submission in round three.

Preliminary Bout (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Matt Riddle (-185) vs. Lance Benoist (+175)

Matt Riddle is a former cast member of the Ultimate Fighter 7. He entered the Ultimate Fighter house with no professional record, but has had 7 fights all within the octagon. He is a former collegiate wrestler in 2005, when he wrestled for East Stroudsburg University. Riddle has made progress with his stand up abilities, but his skills remain raw and unpolished. His stand-up was exploited in his last fight against Sean Pierson, a fight he lost by Unanimous Decision. Riddle will likely want to return to his wrestling roots in this fight, unless he has vastly improved his stand up. Riddle is a member of the Throwdown Training Center in Las Vegas.

Lance Benoist is a fighter from Missouri. He made his professional MMA debut in January of 2010. Since then he has compiled a professional record of 5-0, stopping all of his opponents in the first round. During his time as an amateur he also compiled a 6-0 record with 5 KO’s. He has an impressive submission game, winning several of his pro fights within a couple of seconds of the fight hitting the mat. He will however be facing a significant step-up in competition when he takes on Riddle.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: This line seems a bit off to me, but I’m not really into backing Riddle. His performances have been sporadic at best. However, Benoist hasn’t really shown himself to be an expert standing, and Riddle has proven extremely tough to submit. It’s likely that this fight will see sloppy stand-up exchanges, before Riddle shoots for a takedown and takes this to the ground. Once there Riddle will likely work a ground and pound clinic, Benoist might earn a scramble or two, but will likely be unable to secure a Submission. But like I said, I’m done betting on Riddle. Matthew Riddle via Unanimous Decision.

Preliminary Bout (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Evan Dunham (-400) vs. Shamar Bailey (+350)

Evan “3-D” Dunham is a 29-year-old fighter from Eugene, Oregon. He is a BJJ black belt, with strong wrestling and good boxing. He is a member of the Throwdown Training Center in Las Vegas. After turning pro in 2007, he ran up an impressive 11-0 record, with impressive wins over Efrain Escudero and Tyson Griffin. He was a top-ranked prospect at Lightweight before losing a controversial decision to Sean Sherk and then being TKO’ed by Melvin Guillard. He is looking to rebound and get himself back on track and into contention in the very deep and very talented UFC Lightweight division.

Shamar Bailey is a 28-year-old fighter from Chicago, Illinois. He is a former Strikeforce fighter who was also a competitor on the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter. Bailey is a former high school wrestler, where in his senior season he went undefeated. Since becoming a professional fighter he has compiled a record of 12-3. Bailey has shown very limited striking skills and will be looking to take this fight to the ground. However, that will not guarantee him a win by any means, as being on the ground with Dunham is not a cakewalk, as he is able to use his lanky frame to search for submissions constantly.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: There’s not a lot to say here. Dunham is the far superior stand up fighter. He should be able to control the distance and control the fight standing. On the mat Dunham’s defensive Jiu Jitsu should be enough to frustrate and sweep Bailey. However, with all of that said, I’m not interested in laying 4-to-1 on Dunham, or anyone really for that matter. So no bet for me on this one, but it’s a fight that Dunham should win. Evan Dunham via TKO in round three.

Preliminary Bout (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Cody McKenzie (+155) vs. Vagner Rocha (-165)

Cody “AK Kid” McKenzie is a 23-year old fighter. He is fairly tall for a Lightweight, as he stands at 6’0″ tall with a 74-inch reach. He is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and also has background in kickboxing. He compiled an impressive 11-0 record on the regional circuit, before joining the Ultimate Fighter Season 12. He is looking to bounce back from his only career loss in his last fight to Yves Edwards. McKenzie is a decent stand up fighter, but is not a world beater by any means. He has one of the most dangerous Guillotine chokes in MMA, nicknamed the “McKenzietine” he won ten fights in a row with the hold on the Regional circuit.

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Vagner Rocha is a Brazilian born fighter from Rio de Janeiro. The 29-year-old currently trains in Pembroke Pines, Florida with the Pablo Popovitch BJJ Center. He is a BJJ Black belt but will be at a significant height disadvantage against McKenzie in this fight. He owns a professional record of 6-2, with 4 wins via Submission. He made his UFC debut in his last fight, taking a late notice fight against Donald Cerrone. He showed an impressive ability to hang in tough fights, as he showed in a mostly stand-up battle against Cerrone, where he managed to survive to the bell, despite being battered.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: I would love to pick the underdog in this one, but I just can’t pull the trigger. McKenzie was soundly out-struck by Yves Edwards in his last fight and looked to tire significantly as the fight wore on. Against Rocha, it will be nearly impossible to secure a submission and Rocha showed the ability to at least hang in there with a strong striker in Cerrone. Vagner Rocha via TKO in the third round.

Main Card (Spike TV): Middleweight Bout: Alan Belcher (-265) vs. Jason MacDonald (+250)

Alan “The Talent” Belcher is making his return to the UFC after emergency eye surgery caused him to lose vision in his right eye, and leading to a 16-month layoff from competition. He is a strong Muay Thai kick boxer who also holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He is a member of the Roufusport Fight Team, training under Duke Roufus in Biloxi, Mississippi. He is a fairly large Middleweight, with a bulky and compact 6’2″, 185-pound frame. He mixes his kicks and punches very well and is a very fan friendly fighter.

Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald is a veteran fighter from my homeland of Canada. Despite the fact that Belcher is the stronger striker, MacDonald will hold a 6-inch reach advantage come fight time. The 36-year-old is a veteran of the fight game, and this will be his 40th professional fight. He holds a record of 25-14 with 19 wins coming by way of Submission. He is a member of the Gracie Barra Fight Team in Calgary, Alberta where he is a 1st degree black belt in BJJ. MacDonald has decent stand up skills, but lacks the power and technical ability to hang with a striker like Belcher. His best chance is to take this fight to the mat and exploit his edge in grappling.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: I actually like MacDonald, as a big underdog in this one. He is a crafty veteran with great submission skills and great conditioning. MacDonald is a veteran and should have no doubts about his best chance of winning this fight and will likely be looking to get the fight to the mat as soon as possible. Belcher’s condition coming into this fight is also cause for concern for me. He has shown suspect cardio in the past, and coming in after over a year layoff, who knows how he will look. Belcher should be the favorite, as he is the stronger fighter physically and is the better striker. He is also no slouch on the ground and possesses decent grappling skills. However, I think with the long layoff and the fact that MacDonald is Canadian, I’m going to back him with a small bet in this one. Jason MacDonald via Submission late in round three.

Main Card (Spike TV): Featherweight Bout: Jonathan Brookins (+180) vs. Erik Koch (-190)

Jonathan Brookins is a 26-year-old fighter and was the winner of the twelfth season of the Ultimate Fighter. The former Lightweight fighter is dropping to Featherweight for this fight. Brookins is from Portland, Oregon, but now trains with the Gracie Barra Fight Team in Orlando, Florida. The 6’0″ tall Featherweight has a reach of 74-inches but his stand-up is relatively basic and while technically sound is not his strong point. Instead, he uses his strikes to set up potential takedowns where he can work his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and submission game against his opponents. Fighting professionally since 2006, Brookins has compiled a career record of 12-3, with 8 wins via Submission. He is entering the fight after a bit of a layoff, this will be his first fight since winning The Ultimate Fighter on December 4, 2010.

Erik “New Breed” Koch is a 22-year-old fighter, who is a highly touted prospect in the Featherweight division. He is a kickboxing fighter, who also has a background in Tae Kwan Do. Koch is a member of the Roufusport Fight Team where he trains with the likes of Anthony Pettis, Matt Mitrione and Alan Belcher. Koch is a strong striker with under-rated ground skills. He has compiled a career record of 12-1, with his lone loss coming against the extremely talented and undefeated Chad Mendes in the WEC. Koch will be vying for his third straight “Knockout of the Night” bonus in this fight.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: I actually think the line on this fight is fairly well set. Koch’s stand up is devastating and is beginning to get more and more creative. Koch also comes to finish fights and will move forward to press the action. Brookins is the better wrestler and he should be looking for takedowns constantly in this fight. Koch is no slouch on the ground, but Brookins is a good wrestler with a strong base who shouldn’t leave any openings for Submissions. For Koch to win he’s going to need some good Sprawl and Brawl to keep this fight standing for as long as possible. Overall, I think it’s going to be a close fight and Koch may hit a bump or two along the road, but he should take a late stoppage or a Decision. No bets on this one, but I’ll take Erik Koch via TKO in round three.

Main Card (Spike TV): Middleweight Bout: Court McGee (-160) vs. Dongi Yang (+155)

Court “The Crusher” McGee is a 26-year-old fighter and the winner of the eleventh season of the Ultimate Fighter. His life story was a focal point of the show, where it was revealed that he is a former heroin addict, who has recovered and been clean since 2006 when he picked up MMA. In his youth, McGee had competed in over 100 karate bouts, he also holds a professional boxing record of 2-0. McGee has an impressive career record of 13-1 with the lone loss coming to MMA veteran Jeremy Horn by Decision. McGee trains out of The Pit in San Diego, California under John Hackleman (the trainer of Chuck “Iceman” Liddell.) McGee has submitted both of his UFC opponents and is currently riding a 7 fight winning streak.

Dongi “The Ox” Yang is a 26-year-old fighter from South Korea. He has been a professional since 2007 and most of his early career fights were in Asian, before getting signed to the UFC. He is a Judo fighter, who also has a background in Tae Kwan Do. He is a member of the Korean Top Team Gym in South Korea. Yang has shown decent stand up skills and has shown a willingness to stand and bang with his opponents. Yang has a career record of 10-1, with 9 wins via TKO or KO and 1 via Submission. He is often looking to finish his opponents, but has shown a propensity to tire as the fight drags on, as he did in his lone career loss, a close Split Decision to Chris Camozzi.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: I like Court McGee in this fight. I think the line is close because of Yang’s last performance and his ability to stand and trade, where McGee has been outmatched before. However, despite Yang’s Judo base and his background in freestyle wrestling, McGee is still a better wrestler who always fights with a strong game plan. McGee will be looking to clinch up and get this fight to the ground as quickly as possible. On the ground, he is extremely aggressive, attacking from all angles and not allowing his opponents time to rest. This combination of takedowns and ground and pound will wear down Yang and set up McGee for another Rear Naked Choke victory late in the second round. At -160, I think there’s still a bit of value on McGee as well, so I’ll be placing a bet on him in this one. Court McGee via Submission in round two.

Main Event – Main Card (Spike TV): Welterweight Bout: Jake Shields (-175) vs. Jake Ellenberger (+170)

Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger is a 26-year-old fighter from Omaha, Nebraska. Ellenberger is a wrestler with rapidly improving stand up skills. Before becoming a professional fighter, Ellenberger was an NCAA Division II wrestler and is currently an assistant wrestling coach for the National Champion University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is a somewhat short and compact Welterweight who carries knockout power in both of his hands. Ellenberger has compiled a career record of 25-5 with an impressive 21 stoppage victories. Ellenberger is 4-1 in the UFC, with his lone loss coming via close Decision to Carlos Condit in a fight that he took on short notice.

Jake Shields is a veteran MMA fighter, from the Cesar Gracie Gym in California. Shields has been a world champion for a number of promotions including Rumble on the Rock, Elite XC, Shooto and Strikeforce. Shields is a strong wrestler with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. His stand up is fairly rudimentary as it is used to close the distance and set up takedowns. Shields like his opponent was also a former NCAA Division II Wrestler. He is making his return to the octagon for the first time since dropping a five-round Unanimous Decision to current Welterweight Champion GSP in his last fight. Although in that fight, he did break GSP’s streak of 33 consecutive rounds won, but snatching two rounds on a couple of judge’s scorecards. Still Shields has one of the most impressive resumes in MMA defeating a number of top-tier fighters including Dan Henderson, Martin Kampmann, Jason Miller, Paul Daley, Carlos Condit and Yushin Okami.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: I think that this fight is closer than the current betting line indicates. Ellenberger is a solid wrestler with big power in his hands. However, Shields has shown an uncanny ability to take a punch and continue. In Shields’ fight against Dan Henderson he was dropped by the famous “H-Bomb” right hand from Henderson and looked extremely close to being finished. He finished the round and went on to dominate the next four rounds of the title fight. On the ground Shields is a grappling wizard, who can constantly search for submission attempts if he ends up in top position on the ground. In Ellenberger’s fight against Carlos Rocha we saw him escape a number of submission attempts.

One other thing that I hate to bring up, but needs to be at least considered entering this fight is that last week Jake Shields’ father and manager Jack Shields died at the age of 67. I definitely commend Shields for deciding to stay on the card and fight in the main event, it’s hard to say how this will affect him. He could have a Brett Favre like performance (Favre’s father died two days before he was set to play the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football. Favre decided to play and passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns.) Or he could be completely without focus and lay an egg in the cage.

I think he’s unlikely to completely melt under the pressure, as Shields has always been a strong mental fighter, but the timing along with the already close match up has me wanting to take a small flyer bet on the underdog Ellenberger. Jake Ellenberger via close but Unanimous Decision.

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