UFC On Fuel TV 8 Japan 2013: Silva Vs. Stann

March 01, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Fresh off the successful debut of Women scrapping inside the UFC octagon, the UFC is bringing another weekend of free fights. The octagon returns to the land of the rising sun for UFC on Fuel TV: Silva vs. Stann live from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The main event of the evening features a Light Heavyweight bout between two Middleweight brawlers who decided they didn’t want to cut weight for this fight as Wanderlei Silva battles Brian Stann.

The rest of the main card features a number of Japanese and Korean fighters for the local flavor, as is the norm for overseas events. The card also promises a lot of potential excitement and there are a couple of bouts which could move fighters ever closer to title shots in their respective divisions. In the co-main event Heavyweights do battle as Stefan “The Skyscraper” Struve battles former PRIDE FC fan favorite Mark Hunt. Former PRIDE Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi battles Diego Sanchez in Lightweight action. In Middleweight action former Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard battles perennial Middleweight contender Yushin Okami. Let’s not waste any more time, let’s jump right into the fights.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Marcelo Guimaraes vs. Hyun Gyu Lim

Marcelo “Magrao” Guimaraes is a 29-year-old fighter from Itapemirim, Brazil. Guimaraes is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who is a member of the Fight Society Team in Vila Velha, Brazil. He holds a professional record of 8-0-1. Hyun “The Ace” Gyu Lim is a 28-year-old fighter from South Korea. Lim is a member of Korean Top Team in Seoul, South Korea. He holds a professional record of 10-3-1.

Quick Pick: Hyun Gyu Lim via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Alex Caceres vs. Kyung Ho Kang

Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres is a 24-year-old fighter from Miami, Florida. Caceres is a member of the Young Tigers Foundation Gym in Miami. Caceres was a cast member on the twelfth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He holds a career record of 8-5. Kyung “Typhoon” Ho Kang is a 25-year-old fighter from Busan, South Korea. He has fought for a number of major Asian MMA promotions including Spirit MC, DEEP, Sengoku and Road FC. A member of the Busan Team M.A.D. in South Korea. He holds a career record of 11-6.

Quick Pick: Alex Caceres via Split Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Cristiano Marcello vs. Kazuki Tokudome

Cristiano Marcello is a 35-year-old fighter from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was a cast member on the live season of The Ultimate Fighter. Marcello is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who trains with the Chute Boxe Academy in Brazil and is a part time BJJ coach for the Team Alpha Male Gym. Marcello holds a career record of 13-4. Kazuki Tokudome is a 25-year-old fighter from Tokyo, Japan. Tokudome is a member of the Paraestra Hachioji Dojo in Tokyo. He holds a career record of 11-3.

Quick Pick: Kazuki Tokudome via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Takeya Mizugaki vs. Bryan Caraway

Takeya Mizugaki is a 29-year-old Japanese fighter from Ibaragi, Japan. Mizugaki is a member of the Shooting Gym Hakkei Dojo in Kanagawa, Japan. Mizugaki is a former WEC Bantamweight title challenger, who holds a professional record of 16-7-2. Bryan “Kid Lightning” Caraway is a 28-year-old fighter from Yakima, Washington. Caraway was a cast member on the fourteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter who trains with the Team Alpha Male Gym in California. Caraway holds a professional record of 17-5.

Quick Pick: Takeya Mizugaki via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Riki Fukuda vs. Brad Tavares

Riki “Killer Bee” Fukuda is a 32-year-old fighter from Gifu, Japan. He is a member of the Kiguchi Dojo in Tokyo, Japan but is currently training with the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California. Fukuda holds a career record of 19-6. Brad Tavares is a 25-year-old fighter from Kailua, Hawaii. He was a cast member on the 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter who now trains with the Team Tomkins Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada as well as the Xtreme Couture Gym in Nevada. He holds a career record of 9-1.

Quick Pick: Brad Tavares via Split Decision

Main Card (Fuel TV): Welterweight Bout: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Siyar Bahadurzada

“The Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim is a 31-year-old fighter from Suwon, South Korea. Kim has fought for a number of major Asian MMA promotions including DEEP and Spirit MC. Kim is a black belt in Judo at the 4th dan level. He trains in Busan, South Korea as a member of the Busan Team M.A.D. Gym. Kim uses his Judo skills to take his opponents down often and is smothering from top control. At 6’1” Kim is a fairly large Welterweight who cuts a lot of weight to make 170 pounds and uses his size and strength well in his fights. He holds a career record of 16-2-1 with 1 No Contest.

Siyar “The Great” Bahadurzada is a 28-year-old fighter from Kabul, Afghanistan. A former Light Heavyweight fighter, he has shed a lot of weight to transform himself into a Welterweight. Bahadurzada is a talented striker who has a strong background in kickboxing. He has trained with a number of top flight gyms across the globe including Golden Glory in the Netherlands, the Blackzillians in Florida as well as the Reign Training Center in California. Bahadurzada also packs a ton of power in his punches with 11 TKO victories, but is better rounded than he is often credited for and holds an additional 6 victories via submission. Overall his professional record stands at 21-4-1.

Analysis and Prediction: Bahadurzada made his UFC debut in April of 2012, nearly a year ago. Since then a number of injuries have kept him out of action. He does his best work when he can strike from a distance. Kim’s specialty is crowding and suffocating his opponents. He will need to close the distance early and often, keeping his chin covered until he can get his hands on Bahadurzada. Bahadurzada’s game relies a lot on timing and I think he’ll take some time to get into his rhythm, unfortunately that also gives Kim time to get into his rhythm. I expect Kim survives the odd scare but otherwise smothers him en-route to a decision victory. Dong Hyun Kim via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Fuel TV): Featherweight Bout: Mizuto Hirota vs. Rani Yahya

Mizuto “Pugnus” Hirota is a 31-year-old fighter from Nagasaki, Japan. Hirota is a former World Victory Road Lightweight Champion and a former DEEP Lightweight Champion. Hirota is a member of the Cave Dojo in Tokyo, Japan. Hirota is a tough and well-rounded fighter who does his best work by using takedowns and ground and pound to control his opponents. However, in one of his most notable bouts against Shinya Aoki he looked nearly helpless off of his back and was eventually gruesomely injured due to a Hammerlock. Hirota holds a professional record of 14-5-1.

Rani Yahya is a 28-year-old Brazilian fighter from Brasilia, Brazil. Yahya is a former winner of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling Championships. Yahya is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who does his best work on the mat. He is a member of the Constrictor Team training in his hometown of Brasilia. Yahya has been improving his striking skills, but he’s still a bit wild and uses his skills mostly as a means to close the distance and drag his opponents to the ground. He holds a career record of 17-7, including 15 victories via Submission.

Analysis and Prediction: Yahya is absolutely dangerous on the ground and while Hirota is no slouch on the mat, he’s not great off of his back. Hirota was embarrassed by Shinya Aoki and was most recently outwrestled by Pat Healy. He’ll need to stay off his back if he wants to have any chance in this fight. If Yahya can keep his striking fairly basic and keep himself out of trouble on the feet while he closes the distance he stands a decent chance of earning a submission. I just don’t think Hirota has the ability to keep Yahya off of him. Rani Yahya via Submission in Round Two

Main Card (Fuel TV): Middleweight Bout: Yushin Okami vs. Hector Lombard

Yushin “Thunder” Okami is a 31-year-old fighter from Kanagawa, Japan. Okami like many of his fellow countrymen in MMA holds a black belt in Judo. Okami trains with the Wajyutsu Keisyukai Dojo in his hometown in Japan, but also trains in the US with Chael Sonnen at Team Quest in Oregon. Okami is a massive Middleweight fighter with a smothering top control game who was a former Middleweight title challenger. Okami’s striking has been improving steadily and he puts basic boxing combinations together well, but his game plans still revolve mostly around taking his opponents down and controlling them on the mat. His size, physical strength and Judo background make him a dangerous fighter from the clinch. He holds a career record of 28-7.

Hector “Lightning” Lombard is a 35-year-old fighter from Matanzas, Cuba. Lombard like his opponent holds a black belt in Judo and competed in the Olympics in Judo representing his home country of Cuba. Lombard also holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but is best known for his powerful striking and knockout power. Lombard is a member of the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. Lombard is also a former Bellator Middleweight Champion. He holds a career record of 32-3-1 with 1 No Contest.

Analysis and Prediction: Make all the jokes you want about Thunder battling Lightning in this bout, but this bout is very intriguing. Both men are excellent practitioners of Judo and the clinch and ground battle between these two men could be top level. Okami has been knocked out in the past, so many people are leaning towards a Lombard knockout victory. However, Okami is a massive Middleweight, while Lombard has a short and stocky frame that could be better suited to 170-pounds. Okami uses his size and reach advantages en-route to an Okami-like decision victory. Yushin Okami via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Fuel TV): Lightweight Bout: Takanori Gomi vs. Diego Sanchez

Takanori “The Fireball Kid” Gomi is a 34-year-old fighter from Kanagawa, Japan. Gomi is a former Shooto Welterweight Champion and was the only ever Pride Lightweight Champion. During his time in Pride, he was regarded as the best Lightweight on the fighter, but his stock has dropped significantly since joining the UFC. However, in his last bout against Mac Danzig he showed an improved game and an increased well roundedness. Gomi trains with the Kugayama Rascal Gym in Tokyo. He holds a career record of 34-8 with 1 No Contest.

Diego “The Nightmare/The Dream” Sanchez is a 31-year-old fighter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sanchez was a cast member and the eventual Middleweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter Season One. Sanchez is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico. He holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a black belt in Gaidojutsu. Sanchez is a tough, well-rounded fighter who is unfortunately better known as an oddball than his considerable fighting talent. Sanchez is a tough fighter who has never been stopped by strikes, with the exception of a TKO via cut against BJ Penn. Sanchez is also well known for getting involved in brawls and being extremely aggressive, having won the Fight of the Night bonus award six times in his UFC career. He holds a professional record of 23-5.

Analysis and Prediction: Gomi looked much improved during his last bout against Mac Danzig but he’s still a step or two behind his days in Pride. Sanchez is extremely aggressive, very durable and constantly pressures his opponents. Gomi has shown cardio issues in the past and that’s likely going to be his downfall in this one. Even if he lands a big shot when Sanchez gets reckless, he’ll have a tough time turning his lights out completely. Sanchez grinds Gomi throughout the first two rounds, tiring him out before earning a stoppage via Submission in the third. Diego Sanchez via Submission in Round Three

Main Card (Fuel TV): Heavyweight Bout: Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve

Mark “The Super Samoan” Hunt is a 38-year-old fighter from South Aukland, New Zealand. Hunt is a former Super Heavyweight fighter who has gotten himself in considerably better shape than early in his career. Hunt is a former K-1 Kick boxer who was the winner of the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix Tournament. Now living in New South Wales, Australia he trains with the American Top Team in the USA. Hunt is known for his big time punching power and his iron chin, being able to take massive amounts of punishment during his bouts. Hunt holds a career MMA record of 8-7.

Stefan “The Skyscraper” Struve is a 25-year-old fighter from Beverwijk, Netherlands. Struve is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but his extremely long limbs make him very dangerous on the mat. Struve is extremely tall and at nearly 7’0” he is the tallest fighter in the UFC. Struve is a pupil of Bob Schreiber and trains with Team Schreiber in his hometown. At only 25-years-old he is finally beginning to grow into his massive body and has put on a significant amount of weight and muscle mass in his more recent fights. Struve is also beginning to fight more to his size, using his extreme length and reach to pepper his opponents with stiff jabs from the outside and using thudding leg kicks. He holds a career record of 25-5.

Analysis and Prediction: Struve seems to have one weakness that has been glaring throughout his career, a glass jaw (his three losses in the UFC are all via TKO or KO.) Hunt seems tailor made to exploit that weakness, unfortunately, that’s his only chance of winning. Hunt is a subpar grappler and if Struve gets this fight to the ground, it’s likely that he’ll be able to lock in a submission against a fairly helpless Hunt. The biggest struggle for Struve will be safely closing the distance to work the fight to the ground. If he keeps his hands up and uses leg kicks to slow Hunt down and chop him down to size, he should be able to find the opening he needs to work the fight to the ground. From there it’s academic. Stefan Struve via Submission in Round One

Main Card (Fuel TV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann

Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva is a 36-year-old Brazilian fighter from Curitiba, Brazil. Silva is a legend in the sport of MMA and is likely a lock for the UFC Hall of Fame when he retires from the sport. Silva is known for his aggressive and at times reckless style, causing an extremely high number of stoppages on his resume (both wins and losses.) Silva was a former Pride Middleweight Champion and won the 2003 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix. Silva is a dangerous Muay Thai striker with dangerous knees and elbows and a devastating clinch game. Silva also holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and although he is a talented grappler, he rarely uses that side of his game during his fights. He is a member of the Wand Fight Team and a former member of the Chute Boxe Academy, who now trains and resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. He holds a career record of 34-12-1 with 1 No Contest.

Brian “The All-American” Stann is a 32-year-old American fighter from Pennsylvania, although he was actually born on an Air Base in Tokyo, Japan. Stann is a former US Marine who has been awarded the Silver Star. Stann is a former WEC Light Heavyweight Champion who now fights at Middleweight, but is taking on Silva in a “one-off” bout at 205-pounds. Stann is a black belt in MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program) and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He trains with Greg Jackson’s Camp in New Mexico. Stann is a powerful striker with knockout power in his hands, who has been improving his technical proficiency to match his power punching abilities. He holds a career record of 12-5 with 9 victories via Knockout.

Analysis and Prediction: This bout being contested at 205 pounds makes things slightly more interesting. Stann is a big time power puncher at Middleweight and giving him an extra 20 pounds of force should only enhance those power shots. Silva on the other hand is a more diversified striker who likely has more tools in his toolbox. Silva has struggled against power punchers in his recent career having been stopped by strikes or rocked and dazed in many of his bouts.

Stann struggled in his most recent bout against Michael Bisping who used a measured approach to striking to beat Stann to the punch with a strong jab and good use of takedowns. It’s unlikely however that Silva will try such an approach. The more likely outcome is that he tries to rush Stann, which could be a problem for the Brazilian, since Stann is a decent counter puncher who only needs one big shot to land to turn the tide of the fight. Silva has fought at 205 pounds in the past, as has Stann but of the two, Stann is probably going to be better suited to pack on the additional 20 pounds.

Silva’s best chance is to use a well-rounded strategy similar to the one that Bisping employed against Stann. Stann has struggled on the ground in the past and although Silva’s wrestling isn’t great, his BJJ is significantly underrated and he could actually submit Stann on the ground. However, the nostalgia of fighting in Japan could be detrimental to Silva. With his fans cheering him on, I think he might be more likely to engage in a wild, reckless, brawl. That kind of fight favors Stann who packs more power, has a better chin and will be more prepared to react with a counter punching style. Brian Stann via TKO in Round Three

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UFC On Fuel TV 6 Franklin vs. Le Winners and Wrap-Up

November 12, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

The UFC made another landmark first this Saturday morning as they brought their first live event from China to the masses. UFC on Fuel TV 6 went live early Saturday morning on Fuel TV. While not every bout delivered fireworks, there were a number of exciting bouts, capped off by a short main event punctuated by a big knockout and an even bigger upset.

With another night of fights in the book, it’s time to look forward at what’s next for each fighter. Usually I like to focus solely on the main card, but since the preliminary card for this bout was relatively small, only three bouts, I’ve decided to take a look at all of the bouts from the night and take a look at what’s next for all of the fighters, as well as giving you a short breakdown of the night’s action.

Riki Fukuda defeated Tom DeBlass via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

DeBlass used leg kicks to try and slow the grinding attack of Riki Fukuda, unfortunately for him it didn’t work very well. Fukuda landed a number of takedowns throughout the three rounds and controlled the action on the mat and pressured DeBlass while the bout was standing. Although two judges gave one round to DeBlass, I thought the fight was relatively one-sided and Fukuda deserved a 30-27 sweep of the scorecards.

What’s next for Fukuda? Fukuda is currently 2-2 and with the victory secured his place in the UFC for a while longer. It’s most likely that the UFC holds off on Fukuda and saves him for the next UFC card in Japan. A step up in competition is needed for Fukuda and someone like Brad Tavares would make a lot of sense.

What’s next for DeBlass? Likely unemployment, as he’s now 0-2 in the UFC and hasn’t really looked all that impressive in either bout. If he somehow manages to earn another shot in the UFC, it’s likely going to be a loser leaves town kind of deal. Perhaps a bout against Tom “Kong” Watson.

 John Lineker defeated Yasuhiro Urushitani via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

 Lineker’s cardio was his biggest issue in his last bout and he looked to have corrected his problems with weight cutting for this bout. The bout took place mostly on the feet over the course of three rounds and both men had high points. In the end Lineker’s rapid fire pace and aggressive punching style were too much as he took home a unanimous decision.

What’s next for Lineker? After struggling and missing weight in his UFC debut, Lineker seems to have righted the ship. The Flyweight division is relatively thin in the UFC, so finding the ideal opponent for Lineker might be tough to do. A bout against John Moraga who recently defeated Ulysses Gomez might be the ideal match up for the Brazilian bomber.

What’s next for Urushitani? Although he’s now 0-2 in the promotion, the UFC’s ranks at Flyweight are thin as previously mentioned. He’s a highly entertaining fighter who comes to strike, so despite a less than impressive record, he’s likely earned another bout in the UFC. A bout against American Phil Harris could work.

 Alex Caceres defeated Motonobu Tezuka via Split Decision after Three Rounds

 The man they call “Bruce Leeroy” was facing a last minute opponent switch, but it didn’t seem to bother him. Showcasing his trademark smile throughout the duration of the fight, he struggled early against the takedown heavy attack of Tezuka, but found his groove throughout the later rounds. He controlled the stand up and was constantly threatening with submission attempts and strikes when the bout was on the mat. Although it was a Split Decision, I didn’t think the bout was ever in question, it’s hard to argue that Tezuka won any rounds other than the first and even that is debatable.

What’s next for Caceres? He’s now 3-1 in the UFC’s Bantamweight division, and if it weren’t for a couple of unlucky point deductions, he could easily be 4-0. He’s shown decent striking and an improved ground game, it’s time for a step up in competition. Chico Camus or Johnny Bedford would probably make good sense.

What’s next for Tezuka? He stepped up late notice and took a bout as a solid for the UFC. That’s going to earn him another shot. Perhaps a bout against UFC newcomer and Caceres’ original opponent Kyung Ho Kang would work.

 Takeya Mizugaki defeated Jeff Hougland via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

 Although two judges gave him a 30-27 win, one gave him a 30-25 win, including two 10-8 rounds. Because of how badly he dominated Hougland, I’d be more inclined to agree with the 30-25 score. Mizugaki used excellent top control and nasty ground and pound to dominate Jeff Hougland over all three rounds.

What’s next for Mizugaki? He’s faced a slew of top competition in the UFC and WEC and he continues to impress, so he’s likely looking at another top fighter next. The Ultimate Fighter runner up TJ Dillashaw would prove an interesting contrast in styles and to see how Mizugaki deals with the wrestling prowess of Dillashaw would be interesting.

What’s next for Hougland? Bellator? World Series of Fighting? Super Fight League in India? Anything but the UFC. He’s not looked impressive and probably won’t be back in the UFC octagon until he gets some wins on the smaller stages of MMA.

 Jon Tuck defeated Tiequan Zhang via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

 This ended up being a highly entertaining grappling based affair, which is what many people expected from two top-level grapplers like Tuck and Zhang. Tuck won the opening two rounds with his constant submission based attack on the ground, but tired late and nearly opened the door for a Zhang comeback. Unfortunately for the Chinese crowd, the comeback came up a bit short and Tuck was able to hold on for the decision.

What’s next for Jon Tuck? He won in his UFC debut against a tough grappler and he did it in his opponent’s home country. With the octagon jitters out of the way, he’ll need to take another step forward in the UFC’s ultra-stacked Lightweight division. Fortunately there will be no shortage of potential opponents. The winner of the Ramsey Nijem and Joe Proctor bout at UFC on Fox 5 would be a decent opponent.

What’s next for Zhang? Unfortunately for him, like a couple of other fighters this was probably the end of the line for Zhang. He’s only 1-4 in his last five bouts under the Zuffa banner. If he somehow gets another shot in the promotion a fighter like Danny Castillo or even Al Iaquinta might be the right way to go.

 Takanori Gomi defeated Mac Danzig via Split Decision after Three Rounds

 This was an extremely close bout and the judge’s scorecards reflect it perfectly as Gomi took a Split decision. I agree with the score of 29-28 for Gomi myself as I scored rounds 1 and 3 for Gomi with round 2 going to Danzig. Gomi actually looked like he had some pep in his punches and seemed to be comfortable fighting in the cage for the first time in a long time. Danzig looked a little bit tentative at the beginning of the bout and it cost him the first round in my opinion. Gomi was tired at the end of the bout, but Danzig still wasn’t able to take advantage and dropped the close decision.

What’s next for Gomi? He’s been hot and cold inside the UFC, but he looked comfortable in the cage tonight and was starting to throw with the power and aggressiveness that once made him one of the most feared fighters on the planet. With his big name value, he’ll probably get another big name fighter. Gleison Tibau might make the most sense, but undefeated Russian prospect Khabib Nurmagomedov might be the fight he gets.

What’s next for Danzig? The UFC loves it’s TUF winners, so despite a fairly mediocre run since his time on the reality show, Danzig is likely still going to stick around. He’s basically been relegated to gatekeeper status. He’s well rounded and he’ll be a good measuring stick for up and coming fighters looking to breakthrough. With that in mind TUF:Brazil’s Francisco Trinaldo might be a good candidate.

 Dong Hyun Kim defeated Paulo Thiago via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

 Dong Hyun Kim said before this bout that he wanted to eliminate the memory of his most recent loss from his mind. I’m not sure if it worked, but he managed to dominate Paulo Thiago on the ground for all three rounds to take a clear-cut decision. Thiago’s judo skills have been well documented in the past and he continues to impress with his ability to control opponents on the ground and as he continues to become more aggressive with his submission attempts and ground and pound, he’ll continue to gain more fans.

What’s next for Kim? At the post-fight press conference he asked for a rematch with Demian Maia after their last bout ended with a strange injury TKO. I don’t think he’s likely to get that match up as Maia seems to be on to bigger and badder fish in the Welterweight division. However, a number of decent match ups could await the Korean. Englishman John Hathaway has found himself on a nice winning streak and it would be interesting to see how his wrestling compares to the judo skills of Kim.

What’s next for Thiago? He’s faced a number of stiff tests throughout his UFC career, although he hasn’t been perfect in his bouts, he’s showed up to fight in nearly all of them. With upcoming fight cards for Brazil needing to be filled, it’s likely that the UFC keeps the part time fighter, part time cop on the payroll. Yoshihiro Akiyama is in a similar spot in his UFC career and with both their penchants for striking first, it could be an entertaining bout.

 Thiago Silva defeated Stanislav Nedkov via Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) at 1:45 of Round Three

 I predicted this to be a fairly one-sided fight and for the most part it was. Unfortunately it wasn’t the fighter that I expected that was dominating. Nedkov needed to fight the bout at close quarters and that’s exactly what he did. Throughout the first two rounds he crowded Silva and kept the Brazilian on his toes. At the end of the second round Nedkov dropped Silva with a haymaker and the Brazilian may have been saved by the bell. In between the second and third rounds, Silva’s corner told him he needed a finish and finish he did. He came out with a fire in the third and immediately took the bout to the ground and worked a beautiful arm-triangle choke to coax a tap out and seal the comeback victory.

What’s next for Silva? He really needed this win and despite it not being pretty, he came though when he needed and got the finish in the third round. He’s faced a lot of the top talent at 205-pounds in the UFC, so finding the right match up for him might be tough. Cyrille Diabate and Chad Griggs have an upcoming bout next weekend, the winner from that bout might be the best option for Silva.

What’s next for Nedkov? This was only Nedkov’s first career loss, so it’s not the end of the world for him. He looked very impressive throughout the first two rounds, and something seemed to be amiss with him as the bout ended. His grinding style and heavy hands aren’t going to be a friendly match up for anyone. Brazilian Wagner Prado might be a good option for ‘Stucky.’

 Cung Le defeated Rich Franklin via Knockout (Punch) at 2:17 of Round One

 This one didn’t last very long. In the early going Le looked a little bit flat-footed and he was behind with his timing of counter punches. Throughout the first 90 seconds Franklin looked to be in nearly complete control of the feeling out process. Then he put his hands down and threw out a lazy kick. Cung Le made him pay and crushed Franklin with a huge overhand right that put Franklin out cold immediately.

What’s next for Le? Despite what Jon Anik or Kenny Florian seem to think about Le being back in the mix at Middleweight, I’m not sure I agree. Le had no interest in getting right back into the cage and at 40 years old, he’s entering the twilight of his career. The winner of the bout between Hector Lombard and Rousimar Palhares at the next UFC on FX card would make the most sense.

What’s next for Franklin? Probably whatever the UFC needs from him, but after taking a lot of short notice fights, he’s probably due for some time off. When he gets back he’ll probably still command a big fight. If he’s willing to stay on the sidelines I would think that the UFC waits for the Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping fight in Brazil. Should Bisping lose, a bout between Franklin and Bisping is something that a lot of fans will be interested in.

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UFC On Fuel TV 6 Results: Le KO’s Franklin

November 10, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC made history on Saturday when it brought its first-ever event to the country of China. A mixed show broadcast live on Fuel TV that saw a highly anticipated fight end quickly with one of the most stunning knockouts of the year.

Cung Le pulled off a major upset in the UFC on Fuel TV 6 main-event when he KO’d former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin. In just over two minutes the former Strikeforce champion floored the former UFC champion with a single right handed punch. The big overhand right earned Cung his second UFC win in a row and his first KO/TKO win in over two years.

The fight really wasn’t much of a fight at all. The first 90 seconds saw both fighters feeling each other out with Franklin dancing in and out landing strikes. I thought Cung actually looked a lot heavier on his feet than Franklin and that he was toast if this fight went past the first round. Le caught Franklin with a big right to the jaw countering a kick and earning the win at 2:17. Le’s KO also won the UFC Knockout of the Night bonus.

Le called the win “the biggest fight of my life” and referred to the winning strike as a “lucky punch.” “… I came in and waited for him to punch, and I just came in with the overhand right and caught him.”

It has been more than four years since Franklin has been able to put together back to back wins. He’s looked mixed but appeared at times to be in the mix for a third UFC middleweight title fight against Anderson Silva (well at least according to Silva). This was Franklin’s first middleweight fight since defeating Travis Lutter at UFC 82 back in 2008. Franklin has become more or less a utility guy for the UFC, filling in for injured fighters. At 38-years old I think it is fair to say that Franklin is on the downside of a pretty good UFC career.

I don’t know where you go with Le. I have always found Le to be one of the most exciting fighters in MMA, but he has slowed down quite a bit in recent years. I know that is a weird thing to say after he gets a quick KO win but overall it is to be expected at 40-years old. He now has back to back wins for the first time ever in the UFC and the first time since 2008. I can’t imagine the UFC would try and sell a title run here for Le but he is probably due a big fight coming up. Maybe he gets the Boetsch-Weidman loser and a title shot with a win?

Light heavyweight contender and Fuel TV regular Thiago Silva pulled off an impressive upset over undefeated Stanislav Nedkow in the semi-main event. Silva recovered after being dropped by Nedkov in the second round. I was almost sure that Nedkov was seconds away from winning the fight in the third. However, Silva was able to take Nedkov down and get a full mount. Silva finished him with a head and arm choke. It was a much needed win for Silva after suffering a devastating loss to Alexander Gustafsson back in April on Fuel TV. A loss here would have put Silva at 0-3-1 and quite possibly on the bubble. He not only saved his job here but also likely winds up back in the mix of top UFC light heavyweights.

Overall it was a pretty mixed show. I wouldn’t ever call a show with so many decisions good. The final two fights were fun, not great. I think whether you think this was a good show or not comes down to your expectations of the main-event. If you wanted a fast KO, you’re happy. If you wanted a long action-filled fight well then you may be disappointed.

Full UFC On Fuel 6 results and winners…
Cung Le defeated Rich Franklin via KO at of 2:17 round 1
Thiago Silva defeated Stanislav Nedkov by submission at 1:45 of round 3
Dong Hyun Kim defeated Paulo Thiago via unanimous decision
Takanori Gomi defeated Mac Danzig by split decision
Jon Tuck defeated Zhang Tiequan via unanimous decision
Takeya Mizugaki defeated Jeff Hougland via unanimous decision
Alex Caceres defeated Motonobu Tezuka by split decision
John Lineker defeated Yasuhiro Urushitani by unanimous decision
Riki Fukuda defeated Tom DeBlass via unanimous decision

UFC On Fuel TV 6 Franklin vs. Le Predictions and Analysis

November 09, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

This Saturday marks a monumental occasion for the UFC and possibly the sport of MMA in general, as the world’s leading mixed martial arts promotion makes it’s debut in China.  The event will air on Fuel TV and the main card features a number of intriguing bouts. Unfortunately for fight fans, they’re going to need to set their alarms early if they want to have any chance of seeing the bouts live as the event starts at 9 a.m. Fortunately for those of you like me, who hate to be awake for nearly any reason there will be a replay later in the night on Saturday.

Live from the CotaiArena in the Venetian Casino on the Cotai Strip, Macau UFC on Fuel: Macao is headlined by former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin taking on former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Cung Le. Other main card bouts include Thiago Silva taking on Stanislav Nedkov, Dong Hyun Kim taking on Paulo Thiago, Takanori Gomi battling Mac Danzig, Motonobu Tezuka taking on Alex Caceres as a late replacement and the UFC’s only Chinese fighter Tiequan Zhang opens the main card against Jon Tuck.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: David Mitchell vs. Hyun Gyu Lim

David “Daudi” Mitchell is a 33-year-old American fighter from Windsor, California. Mitchell is a member of the Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance Gym in Santa Rosa, California. Mitchell is a talented grappler who is likely fighting for his UFC life, as he is currently 0-2 in the promotion. Mitchell holds a career record of 11-2, including 9 wins via submission. Hyun “The Ace” Gyu Lim us a South Korean fighter that will be making his UFC debut in this bout. At 6’2” with an 80-inch reach, Lim is a large Welterweight and will hold a pretty significant size advantage. Although he’s known more for his strong striking skills, Lim trains with a talented gym at Korean Top Team and should be well prepared for his debut. He holds a career record of 10-3-1, with 7 victories via Knockout.

Analysis and Prediction: Mitchell is probably going to be overmatched anywhere this fight takes place. Lim is absolutely massive and he has destroyed anyone who has chosen to strike with him in the past. He comes from a strong camp at Korean Top Team and he’ll be well prepared for his UFC debut. Add to that he’s not travelling across the world to make his debut and I don’t see any way that Mitchell can steal this one. Hyun Gyu Lim via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Takeya Mizugaki vs. Jeff Hougland

Takeya Mizugaki is a Japanese fighter from Ibaragi, Japan. The 28-year-old is a member of the Shooting Gym Hakkei in Kanagawa. A former Shooto fighter and WEC veteran, he is one of the toughest and scrappiest fighters in the UFC’s Bantamweight division. He holds a career record of 15-7-2, but has faced some of the top talent in the UFC and WEC including Brian Bowles, Urijah Faber, Scott Jorgensen and Miguel Torres. Jeff “Hellbound” Hougland is an American fighter from Chicago, Illinois. The 34-year-old is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is a member of the Combat Sport and Fitness Gym in Enumclaw, Washington. Hougland is a tough fighter, who was on a 9 fight-winning streak before making his UFC debut and subsequently being battered for three straight rounds by Yves Jabouin. Hougland holds a career record of 10-5.

Analysis and Prediction: Hougland looked pretty impressive on the regional circuit before making his UFC debut. However, he was soundly beaten by Jabouin over the course of three rounds. He doesn’t have the striking skills to hang with Mizugaki. Mizugaki has also faced better wrestlers and better overall competition in his career, Hougland won’t be able to work this bout to the ground and control Mizugaki there. Mizugaki doesn’t have a lot of stopping power and Hougland proved that he was durable as hell against Yves Jabouin, so he’ll probably survive, but that’s about it. Takeya Mizugaki via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Riki Fukuda vs. Tom DeBlass

Riki “Killer Bee” Fukuda is a Japanese fighter from Gifu, Japan. The 31-year-old is a member of the Kiguchi Dojo in Tokyo, Japan. Before making his UFC debut Fukuda fought for a number of major Japanese promotions like Dream and Deep. Fukuda is a grinder who first and foremost uses his wrestling to win him bouts. As a youth he was a Japanese All-University Champion wrestler. Since making his MMA debut in 2004, he has compiled an 18-6 pro record. Tom DeBlass is an American fighter from New Brunswick, New Jersey. DeBlass is a former Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight champion of the Ring of Combat promotion. DeBlass is a top grappler with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Training out of the Ocean County Jiu Jitsu Gym in Forked River, New Jersey he holds a professional record of 7-1, with the lone loss coming in his UFC debut against Cyrille Diabate.

Analysis and Prediction: Fukuda is probably never going to make it to the top of his division. He’s pretty one-dimensional with limited striking but a dominating top game. DeBlass was having cardio problems at Light Heavyweight so I can’t imagine that cutting another twenty pounds is going to help there. Fukuda grinds out a late stoppage victory. Riki Fukuda via TKO in Round Three

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Flyweight Bout: Yasuhiro Urushitani vs. John Lineker

Yasuhiro Urushitani is a Japanese veteran of the sport of MMA. Urushitani is a member of the Wajyutsu Keisyukai RJW Dojo in Tokyo, Japan. He is a talented counter-striker who has had most of his career bouts under the Shooto promotion’s banner. Currently ranked as a top five Flyweight in the world, he’s competed in 30 career bouts. He holds a career record of 19-5, with an astonishing 6 draws. John “Mao-de-Pedra” Lineker is a Brazilian fighter. Before joining the UFC he fought for a number of smaller promotions including Samurai FC, Shooto and Jungle Fight. Lineker entered the UFC with a lot of hype, mainly due to his iron chin and his extremely aggressive fighting style, but he was unsuccessful in his debut, marking his first loss after a 13 fight-winning streak. Still the member of the EMPORIUM Gym owns a career record of 19-6.

Analysis and Prediction: Urushitani is a talented fighter and a decent counter-striker, but he got absolutely torched by Joseph Benavidez. Lineker is certainly not comparable to Benavidez at this stage of their careers, but he offers some of the same problems. Lineker has an iron chin and aggressive striking mixed with knockout power. Urushitani might win the opening exchanges, but he doesn’t have the power to make Lineker stop chasing him down. From there it’s only a matter of time before he lands the big shot. John Lineker via TKO in Round Two

Main Card (Fuel TV): Lightweight Bout: Tiequan Zhang vs. Jon Tuck

Tiequan “The Mongolian Wolf” Zhang is a Chinese fighter who holds the distinction of being the first Chinese fighter to ever compete for the UFC. Unfortunately since joining the WEC and now the UFC, he hasn’t had a whole lot of success. Zhang is a talented grappler who holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He is a member of the China Top Team Gym, as well as the Black Tiger Fight Team in Beijing, China. Zhang will be returning to 155-pounds after an unsuccessful stint at Featherweight, where he went 1-2 in the UFC. He holds a career record of 15-3.

Jon “Super Saiyan” Tuck is a Guamanian fighter who will be making his UFC debut. Despite that, this may not be the first time UFC fans have seen or heard of Tuck, as he was eliminated by Al Iaquinta in the elimination round of The Ultimate Fighter: Live. Tuck is also a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is a very experienced grappler having competed for Guam in the World Professional Jiu Jitsu Cup as well as competing in the ADCC submission grappling tournaments. Training out of The Arena in Southern California, Tuck has a perfect professional record of 6-0.

Analysis and Prediction: Zhang has shown limited skills throughout his WEC and UFC careers. Tuck didn’t look overly impressive in his TUF: Live bout against Al Iaquinta, but he has more established grappling skills and can probably win most of the striking exchanges. Zhang is positionally aware on the mat, probably so much so that he won’t get caught in a submission, but Tuck should still take it. Jon Tuck via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Fuel TV): Bantamweight Bout: Motonobu Tezuka vs. Alex Caceres

Motonobu Tezuka is a Japanese fighter from the Cobra Kai MMA Dojo in Nagano, Japan. The 25-year-old is a veteran of the Asian MMA scene having competed for major MMA promotions like Pancrase, Powergate and Deep. Tezuka is taking this bout on late notice after an injury to Kyung Ho Kang forced him to withdraw. Tezuka does his best work on the ground, as his striking is fairly basic. On the ground Tezuka is excellent at controlling his opponents and passing guard. This makes him dangerous as he constantly searching for submissions, however his lack of ground and pound sometimes makes him easy to sweep, and he is prone to giving up positional advantage if he gets too aggressive. He holds a career record of 19-4-4 and has lost only one bout since 2008.

Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres is a 24-year-old American fighter. He is best known for his stint on the twelfth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Despite being little more than comic relief on that season due to his personality and his start in a backyard-fighting league, he has turned into a decent prospect since dropping to the Bantamweight division. Caceres is a member of the Young Tigers Foundation training out of Miami, Florida. Caceres has technical striking and although he lacks stopping power, he has some flashy strikes and solid fundamentals. On the ground Caceres is an aggressive grappler who has earned the majority of his wins via Submission. He holds a career record of 7-5.

Analysis and Prediction: Caceres has found new life as a Bantamweight fighter. He has gone 2-1, and should have won the lone loss, as he was deducted 2 points during the bout. Tezuka is taking this bout on late notice and even with time to prepare, he likely wouldn’t be able to hang with Caceres on the feet. He’ll struggle to take Caceres down and even if he gets it there, his sloppiness might hurt him as he leaves himself open to getting swept or submitted by Bruce Leeroy. Alex Caceres via Submission in Round Two

Main Card (Fuel TV): Lightweight Bout: Takanori Gomi vs. Mac Danzig

Takanori “The Fireball Kid” Gomi is a Japanese fighter from Kanagawa, Japan. Although he has struggled since debuting in the UFC, Gomi was once one of the most feared Lightweight fighters on the planet. He is a former PRIDE Fighting Championships Lightweight Champion and before becoming a full time fighter was a four-time All Japan Combat Wrestling champion. Gomi’s style is that of a typical wrestle-boxer, using excellent takedown defense to keep the bout standing where he can use his massive striking power to land a knockout punch. While at home in Japan, Gomi trains at the Kugayama Rascal Dojo but also trains in the USA at the American Kickboxing Academy. Gomi holds a career record of 33-8 with 1 No Contest.

Mac Danzig is a 32-year-old American fighter who is best known as the winner of the sixth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Danzig is a former King of the Cage champion. Danzig does his best work on the ground, as he is a talented grappler. Despite that he has shored up some holes in his striking and has improved his footwork and defensive movement should allow him to avoid many of Gomi’s big power shots. Danzig was a longtime member of the Xtreme Couture Gym, but has since uprooted himself to Southern California, where he trains with the PKG Gym as well as spending time at the American Kickboxing Academy. Danzig holds a career record of 21-9-1.

Analysis and Prediction: Gomi has looked tentative in his most recent bouts. Short of flattening Tyson Griffin (who is no longer with the UFC) Gomi hasn’t really done anything noteworthy during his time with the UFC. Danzig hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since winning The Ultimate Fighter, but he has been improving rather than getting worse. If Gomi comes in gun-shy, Danzig is going to pepper him from the outside before dragging him to the mat. Gomi isn’t a strong enough grappler to battle Danzig in a grappling battle from his back, so if Danzig earns a takedown he has a strong chance. Gomi can still throw with crushing power if he lets his hands go. If he doesn’t come out with that fire, Danzig cruises to a decision. Mac Danzig via Unanimous Decision

 Main Card (Fuel TV): Welterweight Bout: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Paulo Thiago

Dong “The Stun Gun” Hyun Kim is a Korean fighter from Suwon, South Korea.  Kim is a Judo specialist who holds a fourth degree black belt in the sport. Kim has fought for major Asian MMA promotions like Spirit MC and Deep. In addition to his excellent Judo skills, Kim is also a talented kick boxer. Kim is a member of the Busan Team M.A.D. in Busan, South Korea. One of Kim’s biggest assets is his size, as he is extremely large for a Welterweight fighter. This size helps him control his opponents on the ground and his reach also allows him to fight well from a distance. He holds a career record of 15-2-1, with 1 No Contest.

Paulo Thiago is a Brazilian fighter from Brasilia, Brazil. Thiago is well known for the impressive number of talented fighters he’s fought in the UFC, and despite not having a perfect record, he has fared well against many of them. In addition to being a fighter, Thiago is also a full-time police officer, a member of the BOPE Special Forces unit in Brazil. Thiago is a member of the Contrictor Team in Brazil, which is an affiliate gym of the Black House Fight Team. Thiago holds black belts in both Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He holds a career record of 14-4, with 10 stoppages.

Analysis and Prediction: Thiago has faced an absolute murderer’s row of talent in the UFC’s Welterweight division. That trend continues as he takes on Kim who is certainly going to want to erase the memory of his last loss. Thiago gets a lot of respect for his knockout victory over Josh Koscheck, but he hasn’t knocked anyone out since then and hasn’t really come close. Thiago doesn’t have the grappling skills to keep Kim from controlling him on the ground. Striking it’s a lot closer, but Kim has become a competent kick boxer himself, and if things get heated, he should start looking for a takedown. If Kim fights smart and doesn’t put himself in any unnecessary danger he should cruise to a decision. Dong Hyun Kim via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Fuel TV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Thiago Silva vs. Stanislav Nedkov

Thiago Silva is a Brazilian fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The 29-year-old holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under famed trainer Jorge Patino. Silva is a talented striker who also has an underrated ground game. Silva is also an extremely tough fighter, able to take a lot of punishment, he has been knocked out only once in his career, by Lyoto Machida. Silva is a former member of the famed Chute Boxe Academy in Brazil, but more recently has switched camps and now trains with the Blackzillians at the Imperial Athletics Gym in Boca Raton, Florida. Silva holds a career record of 14-3-1.

Stanislav “Stucky” Nedkov is a Bulgarian fighter. The 30-year-old is a member of the Bushido Bulgaria Gym in the city of Veliko Tarnovo. Nedkov holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is a former Bulgarian national champion wrestler. Nedkov is a short and compact fighter who can throw big punches and has a number of victories by knockout, but that compactness may give him fits against Thiago Silva, who is a taller fighter. Although somewhat untested, Nedkov still holds a perfect professional record of 12-0, with 10 stoppage victories.

Analysis and Prediction: Nedkov has proven to be a fairly impressive talent and wins over Travis Wiuff and Kevin Randleman have done nothing but make us believe in his talent. However in his latest fight against Luiz Cane he looked a little bit too hittable. A flaw like that could prove costly against someone like Silva who has the power to flatten anyone in the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division. Add to that injuries and visa issues that have kept him out of the cage for over a year and I’m not sure I like his chances. Nedkov is largely untested on the ground and if he’s like any of the American wrestlers, he won’t like being put on his back. Silva earns takedowns and controls Nedkov en-route to a fairly one-sided decision. Thiago Silva

Main Card (Fuel TV): Middleweight Bout: Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le

Rich “Ace” Franklin is an American fighter from Cincinnati, Ohio. Franklin is a former UFC Middleweight Champion who before becoming a full-time fighter was a high school math teacher. Despite not being a stereotypical tough guy, Franklin is one of the toughest fighters in the Middleweight division who has only lost to the division’s elite fighters, Anderson Silva twice, Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson. Franklin has a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training under Jorge Gurgel. He is also known as one of the UFC’s best ‘company men’ someone who has always been willing to step in on late notice when he’s asked by the promotion. That loyalty combined with Franklin’s strong skills and fan friendly style have basically ensured him a job for life. Despite that he remains a tough test for anyone and is getting no freebie fights from the UFC. He holds a career record of 29-6 with 1 No Contest.

Cung Le is an American fighter, but was born in Saigon, South Vietnam. Before becoming an MMA fighter he was a former Sanshou Kick Boxer and a former International Kickboxing Federation world champion. Le is a former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion, but vacated the title to pursue a career as an actor. Le is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but he does his best work in the striking department. Le throws a number of flashy and untraditional kicks, a number of which aren’t seen by most MMA fighters, making them difficult to defend against. Le holds a professional MMA record of 8-2.

Analysis and Prediction: For all of Cung Le’s flashy strikes and the stories of him sacrificing a lot for this fight, I don’t give him a whole of chance here. Le is coming into this fight with a foot injury, which he’s admitted won’t be 100% come fight time. He’s also been more focused on acting lately as opposed to actually fighting and his last fight was a competitive one against Patrick Cote, although Le eventually did pull off a victory.

Franklin is a tough, well-rounded opponent and is a tough stylistic match up for almost anyone. Especially true if you’re a kick boxer with a fairly limited ground game. Rich is also pretty big for a Middleweight, having fought fairly competitively at 205-pounds, so he’ll be able to muscle Le around should the bout be fought at close quarters. Add to that Franklin is a pretty decent kick boxer in his own right and probably punches with more power (admittedly the edge in kicking power goes to Le) and the stand up could actually lean more Franklin’s way.

In the end they both have a common recent opponent in Wanderlei Silva. Franklin dominated him over the course of five rounds at UFC 147 in Brazil to take a clear-cut decision victory. When Le fought Silva he was beaten to the punch fairly often and was eventually stopped via TKO in the second round. Le’s cardio and chin are suspect, while Franklin has only been stopped by Lyoto Machida, Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort. Franklin has fought for five rounds in the past, and Le oftentimes looks like he can’t fight for a full three rounds without gassing. There’s just too many advantages for him in this fight, and over the course of five rounds, I think Rich finds a stoppage in the fourth or fifth. Rich Franklin via TKO in Round Four

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UFC On Fox 1 Prelim Fights – Predictions & Analysis

November 10, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC on Fox 1Hello fight fans, an epic evening will be dawning on us soon, as this Saturday night the UFC makes it’s long awaited debut on network television. For the first time the UFC will be showing a live fight card on FOX TV. While this card technically isn’t a part of the 7-year deal that the UFC and FOX Sports negotiated, it is more of a preview of the new look of the UFC, a look that Dana White has promised will be more professional and more modern. Say goodbye to the Roman Gladiator folks, the UFC is in the big time now.

All kidding aside, I think the UFC has somewhat dropped the ball on this one a little bit. Dana White recently announced that no matter what, the UFC will show only one fight on the live Fox broadcast, even if the Heavyweight Title contest between challenger Junior Dos Santos and Champion Cain Velasquez goes only thirty seconds. While it’s hard to complain about a Heavyweight title fight being shown for free, in primetime, on a network TV station, it’s easy to question the UFC’s thought process.

This is going to generate a lot of casual fan interest. What better time than to show off some of your younger, fresh fighters. A probably Lightweight Title eliminator fight between Clay Guida and Benson Henderson on live TV would not only guarantee potential fireworks, but it would also introduce casual fans to two fighters, one of whom will likely be headlining an upcoming PPV against Lightweight kingpin Frankie Edgar.

But folks, that is neither here nor there. And those gripes are best suited for another place and another time, where keyboard warriors can argue about how much they think they know about MMA and about business in general. We here at the CamelClutchBlog have more important things to talk about, like who is going to come out on top this weekend. In a slight change of pace, we’re going to ignore the gambling side of MMA for this one and instead focus on the fights themselves for entertainment value, not for making crazy bets and parlays. So without further adieu, let’s get right into the fights.

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and Light Heavyweight Bout: Aaron Rosa vs. Matt Lucas

Aaron “Big Red” Rosa is a Mexican-American fighter from San Antonio, Texas. He is a member of the Rodrigo Pinheiro BJJ Gym in Texas. At 6’3″ tall, Rosa wasn’t overly tall to fill out his formerly 260-pound frame. He has chosen to make the drop to Light Heavyweight class for this bout and after seeing some of his previous performances at Heavyweight, I can’t say that it’s a bad decision. Rosa opened his career with a 10-0 mark, but has struggled since hopping to the bigger stages of Strikeforce and the UFC. He is making his sophomore trip to the Octagon after losing his debut to Joey Beltran at UFC 131. Rosa is a fairly slow and sloppy brawler, but who possesses decent grappling and BJJ skills. Rosa possesses a career mixed martial arts record of 16-4, with 10 stoppage victories.

Matt “Luke Duke” Lucas is a fairly unknown fighter who is making his big stage debut after a long career in the Rage in the Cage promotion. Lucas is a strong fighter, who is a former college wrestler. He is a member of the Arizona Combat Sports gym which has allowed him to transition his wrestling skills into a solid base for mixed martial arts. He has added a decent Thai boxing to his regimen of top control and ground and pound to compliment his skill set. At 6’1″ he may be fairly undersized for this weight class and is in fact a former 185-Pound fighter, despite that he does hold a decided advantage in dictating where the fight takes place.

Analysis and Prediction: I’ve never been overly impressed with Aaron Rosa to be perfectly honest. He looked sloppy and unprepared for his UFC debut against Joey Beltran and will be likely fighting for his contract in this one. I don’t know how well the cut is going to go for Rosa but dropping 55 pounds is surely not going to be fun. I think the weight cut will hinder his performance greatly and Lucas will be able to control the pace of the fight, and use constant takedowns to wear out Rosa and ground and pound his way to a late second round stoppage. Matt Lucas via TKO Round 2

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and Welterweight Bout: Mike Pierce vs. Paul Bradley

Mike “Megatron” Pierce is an American from Oregon who is a member of the Team Quest and Sports Lab gyms in Portland and Beaverton, Oregon respectively. Pierce is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Portland State University. Pierce has fared well in his Octagon career losing only to the elite wrestlers of the division including Jon Fitch and Johny Hendricks both via decision (and the latter via close Split Decision.) Pierce uses wrestling and top control to earn points on the judge’s scorecards. It’s not the prettiest way to fight, but it has been effective for him so far. Pierce has a career MMA record of 12-4.

Paul “The Gentleman” Bradley is a fighter from Minnesota. I haven’t been able to find out much about him except that he is a member of the Academy MMA Gym/Team Deathclutch Gym in Minnesota. After dropping his octagon debut to Rafael Natal at UFC 133 he is making the drop to the 170-pound class and isn’t getting a very warm welcome. At 5’9″ he was undersized for Middleweight, but that meant he was fairly muscular. It might be interesting to see how his body handles the weight cut. Overall, Bradley has a career record of 18-3.

Analysis and Prediction: Overall this one is likely going to come down to wrestling. Pierce has better offensive wrestling and a better overall MMA game. He’s likely going to take this one to the mat and ground and pound away for the better part of three rounds all on his way to a Unanimous Decision. Mike Pierce via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and Bantamweight Bout: Alex Caceres vs. Cole Escovedo

Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres is a former Lightweight and Featherweight fighter. Best known for his stint on The Ultimate Fighter: GSP vs. Koscheck season where he was a member of Team GSP. The young fighter from Miami, Florida where he is a member of the Young Tigers Foundation. Caceres is a Jeet Kune Do and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter with strong grappling skills. He is making the drop to the Bantamweight division for the first time in his career. Despite finding some measure of fame on the show, he has struggled since and has yet to taste victory inside the UFC. Overall, Bruce Leroy has a career MMA record of 5-4.

Cole “The Apache Kid” Escovedo is a fighter from Fresno, California where he is a member of the Pacific Martial Arts team. Escovedo is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter, with decent boxing skills to compliment his ground skills. Escovedo has also not tasted victory inside the Octagon, but has faced significantly tougher competition in his MMA career. Escovedo has fought against some of the top names in the Bantamweight division including Michael McDonald, Michihiro Omigawa, Renan Barao and Takeya Mizugaki. Despite his somewhat mediocre 17-8 record, Escovedo remains a decent talent who is a solid measuring stick to separate the contenders from pretenders in the UFC’s lower divisions.

Analysis and Prediction: Caceres is basically still employed because of his antics inside the TUF house where he gained some minor fan-dom. However, the UFC is not easily impressed by antics and three straight losses will surely mean the end for one of these fighters. This fight is meant to bounce Caceres from the UFC and give Escovedo a reason to stick around in my opinion. Escovedo has faced tougher competition, has more experience and has better MMA skills, I expect him to earn a Submission victory in the very first round. Cole Escovedo via Submission Round One

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and Featherweight Bout: Mackens Semerzier vs. Robert Peralta

Mackens “Da Menace” Semerzier is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt under Jeff Curran and is a member of the Team Curran gym in Miami, Florida. Semerzier also has decent technical boxing skills and under-rated wrestling skills to back up his grappling. In high school he was a State Wrestling runner up and is a former member of the U.S. Marines, which is where he learned his boxing skills. He entered the WEC back in 2009 and scored a huge upset by submitting Wagney Fabiano in his first bout. He struggled after that, going 0-3 against tough competition, but was handed a bit of a tune-up fight in his Octagon debut against the previously mentioned Alex Caceres. He is looking to make it two in a row inside the Octagon on Saturday night. Semerzier holds a professional record of 6-3.

Robert Peralta is a Mexican-Honduran fighter. Despite his Mexican heritage he now resides and fights out of San Diego, California. He is a wrestle-boxer, with decent take downs and an ability to throw hands with most fighters. A member of the Team Kadillac Gym, Peralta proved me wrong in his last fight by out-striking, out-hustling and overall out-working Mike Lullo en-route to a Unanimous Decision victory in his UFC debut. Peralta holds a career MMA record of 15-3.

Analysis and Prediction: This is an extremely tight match up to call. Both fighters are decent but not great boxers, so consider that a wash. Wrestling edge is a slight lean to Peralta, but Semerzier has top notch BJJ skills to employ if he is planted on his back. The deciding factor for me is momentum. Semerzier’s last win was over fairly unimpressive competition, while Peralta is entering this bout on an 8-fight winning streak. Speed and takedowns will be what earns Peralta a close decision victory in this one. Robert Peralta via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and Bantamweight Bout: Norifumi Yamamoto vs. Darren Uyenoyama

Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto was formerly one of Japan’s hottest MMA prospects. However, the hype train seems to have derailed a bit slightly in previous years and his UFC debut against Demetrious Johnson went right ahead and completely shot the train off of the tracks. Despite his recent struggles, ‘Kid’ remains a tough match up for just about anyone. The former pro kick boxer from Tokyo, Japan has strong Muay Thai skills with an impressive Freestyle wrestling base. He was previously considered one of the world’s top Bantamweight and Featherweight fighters, but has struggled recently and is just 1-3 in his previous fights. Overall, the Southpaw Yamamoto still holds an impressive 18-4-1 record with 13 wins via Knockout or Technical Knockout.

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Darren “BC” Uyenoyama is a 32-year-old fighter from San Francisco, California. The American is a member of the Faito Tamashii Combat Club in Southern California. He made his MMA debut in 2002 but has been fighting sporadically since, including a five year layoff between his debut and his second MMA fight. Uyenoyama is a fairly well-rounded fighter with decent if not overly impressive boxing skills and a solid grappling base. He has fought both overseas and in the USA but has never been able to accumulate any momentum in his career, most likely due to his inconsistent fight schedule. Overall, his professional record is 6-3.

Analysis and Prediction: It’s pretty safe to say that ‘Kid’ Yamamoto wasn’t the highly touted prospect that everyone thought he was, however, he still has all of the tools to win this fight. Losing a relatively close decision to Demetrious Johnson is nothing to be overly ashamed of. Yamamoto will be able to dictate where this fight takes place and the pacing of the fight. I expect the Japanese fighter to pressure Uyenoyama with punches early on, before shooting for a takedown and unleashing some nasty ground and pound, all en-route to a late stoppage victory. Norifumi Yamamoto via TKO in Round Three

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and Welterweight Bout: DaMarques Johnson vs. Clay Harvison

DaMarques “The Darkness” Johnson is yet another fighter from The Ultimate Fighter reality show who seem to populate the undercards of these free shows. He was the runner-up from the USA vs. UK season of the show and was notable for his nearly physical confrontation with rival coach Michael Bisping. The 29-year-old fights out of the Elite Performance Gym in Sandy, Utah, where he trains under MMA veteran Jeremy Horn. Johnson is a boxer first, with decent ground skills coming from his blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Horn. Before joining The Ultimate Fighter he mostly competed on regional shows in Utah, including the UCE shows. He has had a bit of an up and down career within the octagon and could possibly be fighting for his contract in this one, as he enters the fight have lost two of his last three bouts. Johnson has a professional MMA record of 12-9.

Clay “Heavy Metal” Harvison is another veteran of The Ultimate Fighter reality show. Harvison was a cast member for the thirteenth season of the show. He was born in Marietta, Georgia and fought most of his early professional fights in the Georgia region, before joining TUF. Harvison is a kick boxer who prefers to fight on his feet using an array of kicks and knees from his Muay Thai background. He is a member of the Riven Academy Fight Team from Orem, Utah. Harvison made it to the quarterfinals of his season before losing to eventual runner-up Ramsey Nijem, however, he has since begun training with Nijem to improve his overall MMA skills. He and Johnson were supposed to fight at Ultimate Fight Night 25, but an injury forced Johnson to withdrawal and Harvison was soundly pounded and submitted by late replacement Seth Baczynski.

Analysis and Prediction: Harvison is a fan friendly fighter, as most of the time he prefers to stand and trade. However, Johnson is simply the better more well-rounded fighter and is a significantly better grappler. Johnson’s striking and length should be enough to keep Harvison guessing before he shoots for a takedown, from there it’s likely only a matter of time before some ground and pound opens up a submission opportunity and Johnson will snatch it up. DaMarques Johnson via Submission in Round Two

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and Featherweight Bout: Cub Swanson vs. Ricardo Lamas

Cub Swanson is a veteran of the WEC and was one of the Featherweight divisions early standout fighters. Throughout his WEC career he earned Fight of the Night awards three times in eight fights. After losing his MMA debut, Swanson rallied off 11 straight victories with a number coming by way of Submission. He has since lost to some of the elite fighters of the Featherweight division including Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes. Swanson is a member of Jackson’s Submission Fighting team, although he also has a home gym in his hometown of Palm Springs, California. Swanson is a true MMA fighter, with decent skills in kickboxing, wrestling and BJJ. The sometimes oft-injured Swanson holds a professional record of 15-4 with 11 wins via stoppage, he will be making his UFC debut in the fight.

Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas is a 29-year-old fighter from Chicago, Illinois. Lamas is a BJJ fighter who holds a brown belt under World No-Gi Jiu Jitsu champion Daniel Valverde. Lamas trains with Team Top Notch in Elmhurst, Illinois. Lamas was also a collegiate wrestler, although not as decorated as some members of the UFC roster, Lamas was an All-American in wrestling in NCAA Division III at Elmhurst, College. During his fights he uses his strong wrestling skills to plant his opponents on the mat before uncorking some ground and pound to try and soften his opponents up, all the while searching for submissions. Lamas holds a career record of 10-2 and is coming off of an impressive UFC debut where he TKO’ed Matt Grice after a highlight head kick.

Analysis and Prediction: This bout is very close as both fighters are fairly well rounded. What may be the determining factor is big show experience and ring rust. Swanson’s year away from MMA due to injuries may require a feeling out process, but against someone like Lamas he won’t get time to adapt. Lamas will pressure constantly, always searching for takedowns and working his ground and pound. It won’t be pretty and it will probably be close with some rough spots along the way, but I think Lamas can take a Unanimous Decision in this one. Ricardo Lamas via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and Featherweight Bout: Dustin Poirier vs. Pablo Garza

Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier continues his rise up the Featherweight ladder in this fight. Poirier is a 22-year-old fighter from LaFayette, Louisiana where he trains out of the Gladiator Gym under UFC veteran Tim Credeur. Poirier is a BJJ purple belt under Credeur, but also has solid boxing fundamentals to back up his grappling. He is a smart fighter for his age and knows how to use his advantages inside the Octagon. His footwork is solid as he moves well inside the cage and has great hand speed when throwing his punches. He has tasted defeat only once in his MMA career and currently holds a record of 10-1.

Pablo “The Scarecrow” Garza is another well rounded fighter who was a cast-member of The Ultimate Fighter. However, he never made it into the house, as during the debut episode he lost a two-round decision to Michael Johnson in an Elimination bout. Garza is a blue belt in BJJ at the Academy of Combat Arts in Fargo, North Dakota. Garza stands 6’1″ making him one of the larger fighters in the division. After losing his WEC debut, he has bounced back with highlight reel victories in his two bouts inside the UFC, a flying knee KO of Fredson Paixao and a Flying Triangle Choke submission over Yves Jabouin at UFC 129. Overall Garza’s MMA record is 11-1.

Analysis and Prediction: Both fighters are young up-and-coming prospects. Both are fairly well-rounded in all aspects of the game, with Poirier likely being the better striker and Garza being the better grappler. Despite the size difference, both fighters have an identical reach so Poirier should be able to use leg kicks and a strong jab to dictate the pacing of the bout. Garza’s best chance for victory is to get the fight to the mat, if he can do that, I believe he can pull off a victory, but Poirier is very well-coached and is an intelligent fighter. He’ll be able to avoid the grappling game and will use Garza’s size against him, as he tees off with leg kicks and a strong jab to earn points on the judge’s cards all on the way to a Unanimous Decision. Dustin Poirier via Unanimous Decision

**Slight Sports Betting Note: I told Eric that I’d stop focusing on the gambling side of things, but I can’t help myself here. This fight is extremely close and Garza is definitely a live underdog, however the books don’t seem to agree as he is nearly a 3-to-1 underdog. If you’re feeling tempted go get some of that.

That wraps up the Preliminary Card of this show. I’ll be back to highlight the Main Event Heavyweight showdown between Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez tomorrow. Also, I’ll include some in-depth analysis about the Lightweight Title eliminator bout between Clay Guida and Benson Henderson.

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