Alistair Overeem Vs. Frank Mir Added To UFC 167

September 06, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC is gearing up for a super show at UFC 167. A big fight has been added underneath the GSP vs. Johny Hendricks main-event with more at stake than the welterweight title. Frank Mir and Alistair Overeem will be fighting for high stakes in Vegas.

Fallen heavyweight heroes Frank Mir and Alistair Overeem will match up in one of the more intriguing fights of 2013. Both heavyweights are in the midst of losing streaks after putting together impressive wins. A loss would likely send the fighter out of the octagon or out of the UFC indefinitely.

Mir wasted no time signing the fight after coming off a highly controversial loss to Josh Barnett. I have watched the fight a few times and yes, the fight was stopped early. However, it appeared to me that Mir was going down and was not getting out of it. Stranger things have happened (Cheick Kongo KO’ing Pat Barry) but I saw no way that Mir was going to survive that onslaught.

On the other hand, there was nothing controversial about Overeem’s loss. Travis Browne KO’d Overeem who appeared to gas out two fights in a row after coming out strong. Overeem is truly fighting for his job. I can’t imagine the UFC keeping him with a third loss. The UFC reportedly paid Overeem handsomely to come over with big money aspirations for a championship run. Overeem has been a huge disappointment to say the least.

Mir’s future is tough to call if he were to lose the fight. A loss would put Mir at four in a row. I am sure Mir has a big contract which is not worth the record at this point. Mir has always been a company man and has been a part of the UFC since 2001. Mir has done some announcing in the past for Zuffa so my gut tells me that he moves over to the announcing role permanently and retires as opposed to getting outright cut.

On paper this looks like an easy fight for Overeem. I loved Mir in the past but the new Frank Mir is older and much slower. The big question here is Overeem’s stamina. We all know Overeem is going to come out strong and fast. But can he keep that up? He didn’t against Bigfoot Silva and he certainly couldn’t against Browne. Mir hasn’t gassed out in awhile and went the distance with Daniel Cormier. If Mir can hang around he can certainly pull off the upset.

Overeem has had a fast fall from grace. Just a few years ago he was the Strikeforce champion, K1 Grand Prix champion, and the darling of MMA heavyweights. Fans salivated over seeing what he could do in the UFC against the elite heavyweights. Overeem came in and lived up to the hype sending Brock Lesnar into retirement. From there Overeem was popped for PED use in embarrassing fashion, lost his heavyweight title shot and his KO power. The coincidences here cannot be overstated. Overeem needs this win not just for his UFC contract but for his credibility and reputation.

The heavyweight fight joins arguably the most star-studded UFC event of the year. The 20th anniversary show features GSP vs. Hendricks for the title, Rory MacDonald vs. Robbie Lawler, Mir vs. Overeem, and Chael Sonnen vs. Rashad Evans.

Yes please!

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Is It Time For The UFC To Cut Alistair Overeem?

August 20, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Alistair Overeem came into the UFC with more hype than any other heavyweight since Brock Lesnar. Two losses in a row following a shady failed PED test add up to one of the biggest UFC busts in recent memory.

It is one thing to come into the UFC with Dana White telling the world how great you are. It is another when the world is telling Dana White how great you are. Overeem came into the UFC with many fans in the MMA world recognizing him as one of the top heavyweight fighters in the sport. A year and a half later Overeem is not even in a the top five of the division.

Overeem entered the UFC as an unbeaten Strikeforce heavyweight champion and K1 Grand Prix champion. The UFC had never seen anyone at heavyweight with Overeem’s striking pedigree…on paper anyway. The UFC immediately capitalized on Overeem with a gigantic money match against Brock Lesnar. Overeem came in and manhandled the monster Brock, making one of the strongest UFC debuts in years. It was time to cash in against the champ!

The UFC wasted no time signing Overeem vs. Junior Dos Santos for the UFC heavyweight title. It had potential to go down was one of the biggest heavyweight title fights of all-time. Unfortunately Overeem was popped for PEDs and the fight was scrapped. Life has never been the same for the Demolition Man.

Overeem campaigned hard to jump right back into the title picture when he got off suspension. At one point he even tried to get Dana White to cancel a planned JDS vs. Cain Velasquez fight so he could step in and take Velasquez’s spot. That never happened and it’s unfortunate for everyone because it appears that the UFC will never get the money back for Overeem’s title fight ever again.

Overeem was stunned when he came back and was KO’d by Bigfoot Silva. Sure Bigfoot handled Fedor but Overeem was expected to manhandle the big man. Overeem did just that for most of the fight but then out of nowhere he just ran out of gas. A slimmer Overeem was tired, sluggish, and caught with his hands down. How does something like this happen to the K1 Grand Prix champion?

Anyone can have a bad night and anyone can get caught by a lucky punch (just as GSP). Overeem ironically tested for dangerously low levels of testosterone after the fight. Some chalked it up as low testosterone, some chalked it up to disrespect for Silva, but very few thought that Overeem was done. Guess what? He was done.

Yet again another slimmed down version of Overeem showed up to fight Travis Browne in Boston. Browne is a tough fighter but he certainly is not a world beater. The K1 Grand Prix champion should have disposed of him easily and he almost did. Then yet again whether it was due to fatigue, disrespect, or just plain sloppiness, Overeem was caught and dropped. Just like that the UFC’s blockbuster heavyweight contender fell to the point of no return.

I said that Overeem could come back against Silva. He can’t come back after this loss. Whether deserved or not, there is a big public image problem here that Overeem brought on himself. Going 0-2 and getting KO’s twice after a drastic size difference following his PED failure has turned him into a joke. Overeem is no longer the smasher fans want to see get a shot at the champ. Overeem is perceived right or wrong as the fighter who can’t fight without performance enhancement drugs. There aren’t much worse things you can come back from.

Should the UFC outright cut Overeem? Overeem is reportedly making a lot of money. Quite frankly and I used to be a big fan but the man won’t deliver the return on investment for the UFC. The only possibility left is a JDS-Overeem fight if Dos Santos loses to Cain. There is already a grudge between the two and Junior is about the only guy on the roster right now that Overeem can draw with. If JDS wins there is no reason for Overeem to stay.

Was I suckered into looking past the obvious changes in physique over the years and believing that a mediocre light heavyweight could suddenly turn into the best heavyweight in MMA? I think I was but so was the UFC and so were a lot of people. I don’t know if I would call Overeem’s UFC run a failure to live up to potential. I’d look at it more as a guy that was exposed for exactly what he is without a little help…an average fighter.

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Alistair Overeem Expected To Return At UFC 164

May 14, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The Reem is gearing up for a comeback! Alistair Overeem hopes to put to sleep the KO highlight of getting knocked cold by Big Foot Silva with a big win at UFC 164. Overeem is ready to return to fighting and early rumors suggest that Travis Browne will get the call at 164.

Alistair Overeem is coming up on what is arguably the most important fight of his career. With only one round to go before earning a shot at the UFC title and his biggest payday, Overeem gassed out and KO’d by Big Foot Silva. A second loss in a row would be devastating. This is as big of a must-win as it gets in any sport and it would certainly be in the best interest of the UFC to see the former Strikeforce champion come out on top.

I like Travis Browne but I don’t think he is in the same class of fighters as Overeem. To me, this is the UFC teeing it up for Overeem with a fight he is supposed to win. That said, I thought the same thing when he was booked against Antonio Silva. This fight with Browne is interesting on so many levels that I am probably more excited about this than most.

Browne is the kind of fighter to me that looks great against lower tier talent but can’t hang with the big boys, kind of like Ryan Bader. Browne looked great against Gabriel Gonzaga at the TUF 17 Finale, KO’ing the heavyweight with elbows shortly into the first round. Yet at the same time Browne was coming off a fight in which he was the victim of the KO/TKO against Overeem’s dream crusher, Antonio Silva.

Overeem has probably had more fights changed since joining the UFC than anyone. Between PED tests and injuries, Overeem has been in and out of the UFC heavyweight title situation a couple of times. Overeem was previously scheduled to fight rival Junior Dos Santos at UFC 160. The fight was scrapped when Overeem pulled out due to injury. On paper Browne is a much easier fight yet that is the same kind of psychology that generally leads to upsets in sports.

I am curious what the plan here will be for Overeem. Overeem would have gotten a heavyweight title shot with a win over either Silva or JDS. I can’t imagine that he would shoot to the top with a win over Browne. Promoting Overeem is a real test for the UFC. Zuffa knows that he is money in a heavyweight title fight but also knows he is susceptible to an upset. A loss here would be terrible for the company. But do they actually have the brass ones to shoot him right into a title fight with a win?

Let’s be honest here. The criteria used for UFC fighters to get title shots has never been more murky for the promotion. The last two guys to get championship fights on pay per view were both coming off of losses, the last guy coming off a second round TKO without even a win in the division. Overeem getting a title shot next would not surprise me in the least as wrong as it would be.

Junior Dos Santos would be the obvious road block here. If JDS beats Mark Hunt there is no way that you can shoot Overeem to the front of the line over the former champion. But what if he doesn’t? I could easily see the UFC moving Overeem ahead of Hunt, which I’d disagree with. JDS and Overeem winning with JDS not being able to take the fight for awhile due to injury is the best scenario for the UFC.

Regardless, Travis Browne has a lot of pressure on him at UFC 164 if the rumors are right but nowhere near as close as Overeem and the UFC will have that night.

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UFC Signs Two Big Heavyweight Fights For UFC 160

February 12, 2013 By: Category: UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC is gearing up for another top heavyweight May event. A new report indicates that the UFC will roll out its two biggest heavyweight fights on deck for the event which should set the table for the remainder of 2013 in the heavyweight division at UFC 160.

Dave Meltzer reports on his latest podcast that while the UFC aren’t committing to another all-heavyweight card, they are coming back with heavyweight headliners for their May event. If all things go as planned the event will see a rematch one year in the making with a lot more at stake than was in their previous battle.

Cain Velasquez will likely defend the UFC heavyweight title against Antonio Bigfoot Silva in the main-event. I have to admit that this surprised me. I’ll give the UFC a lot of credit here. The fight certainly isn’t what’s best for business right now. Yet the UFC finally do what’s right and give a guy a title shot who by all rights just earned one.

That said, I don’t know how much interest there is in this fight. I love a rematch but not when a guy obliterated his opponent in their first fight. Velasquez’s massacre of Silva in 2012 has gone down in UFC history as one of the most brutal and impressive wins. Silva does have the KO over Overeem but it wasn’t like he was real impressive earlier in the fight. I like the fight in that it’s credible when it comes to the title and for that I’ll watch.

The co-headliner is the fight that is likely to draw the crowd that night. Alistair Overeem and Junior Dos Santos will finally settle their grudge if the UFC has its way. Overeem and JDS were scheduled to fight last May for the title before Overeem got suspended for a positive PED test. Both fighters have talked a lot of trash for the last year. This is a ready-made grudge fight that has the potential to do big business thanks to fighter promotion.

I really like that the table will be set for the rest of the year with this card. Other than a long, boring decision, the Overeem vs. Dos Santos fight will determine a number one contender. I know a lot of people had fun with Overeem losing the million dollar fight against Cain but if Overeem can finish JDS, I don’t think there will be any money lost if he gets Cain next.

Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of wiggle room here if things don’t go as planned such as an injury to the Overeem vs. JDS winner or a long, boring fight. Overeem and Dos Santos are it when it comes to viable contenders. Quite frankly I’d bet even with a loss their next win would put them right back to the front of the line due to the lack of depth at the top of the division.

The division desperately needs Jon Jones to make the move to heavyweight by the end of 2013. If things go right, you can have the next title fight in December along with Jones’ heavyweight debut. I’d rush Jones to the title but at least you can let things simmer for 2014 this way. Without Jones moving up the division is in for a lean year in 2013 at this rate.

Keep in mind that none of these fights are actually signed yet and all are in negotiations. Anything can change but as of now the plan for UFC 160 is in full motion.

Update: The fights are now official!

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Don’t Count Out Alistair Overeem Just Yet

February 08, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The sky is falling, the sky is falling is how the MMA media described Alistair Overeem’s stunning loss to Bigfoot Silva at UFC 156. Yet a closer look at MMA history shows that the drama was nothing more than a big overreaction by fans and media.

I love certain members of the MMA media (and this goes in all sports to be fair) who are ready to predict the demise of a fighter over one loss. While nobody went as far as to predict the end of Alistair Overeem, many in the media and in social media proclaimed that the UFC lost millions of dollars with the loss. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t, but that is something hardly confirmed with one shocking upset.

You need to follow certain writers or social media members to get a handle on it but it was clear right away who the haters and the fans were. The haters were the ones who have criticized Overeem since he walked into the UFC and crushed Brock Lesnar in 2011. These are the same haters who criticized Overeem even before that for his massive gains in size and favorable schedule. These are the same critics who wanted to see Overeem fail and had one hand on the keyboard and a big smile on their face waiting to type about the over-hyped UFC heavyweight. In other words these are hardly what I’d call objective opinions.

The idea that a guy could lose one fight and all of the sudden lose all of his marketability is preposterous. Chuck Liddell, Brock Lesnar, Randy Couture, Georges St-Pierre, BJ Penn, and countless others have lost fights and either not lost a thing at the box office or wound up drawing more money at some point after suffering their first loss in the UFC. Anyone predicting the end of Overeem as big draw against Velasquez is someone who hasn’t followed UFC history. It’s almost as if none of these writers or fans remember their heroes ever losing in their primes.

Let’s face it, the situation isn’t good. The worst idea here would be to move forward with Overeem challenging Velasquez, which is something that is not in the UFC’s plans. I won’t insult you by telling you that Overeem losing was a good thing. It wasn’t. But MMA fans have short memories. Heck, Cain Velasquez was knocked out in front of one of the biggest MMA audiences in history in under a minute! All he needed was one fight in which he absolutely obliterated Antonio Silva to earn back his credibility. Now the guy is regarded as unbeatable.

How about this scenario? Alistair Overeem wins his next two fights handily with knockouts or TKO’s. Fast forward to 12-18 months from now and are you really going to tell me that an indestructible Velasquez against a red hot Overeem is going to draw any less than what the fight would have drawn if Overeem survived against Bigfoot? Of course not! The fight would be huge and lucky for Overeem, the competition right now at heavyweight isn’t very stellar. The only real threat to Overeem is Junior Dos Santos. If Overeem can either beat JDS or avoid the fight entirely, it is not impossible to for Overeem to get two decisive wins in a row.

So before I am ready to jump off of a building and mock the fall of Alistair Overeem I’ll wait and see what happens in his next two fights. His next fight is the kicker. It’s time to panic if Overeem can’t pull of anything less than a dominating win. One big win, followed by another, and the UFC will be right back in the driver’s seat with its blockbuster heavyweight title fight.

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UFC Champ Cain Velasquez: Who’s Next?

February 05, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC is still reeling days after their planned heavyweight championship showdown fell apart thanks to a big, nasty giant. So what is next for Cain Velasquez? Let’s take a look at the division and breakdown some possible matchups for the champ.

It was too easy yet the UFC got cute and fell on their faces. Alistair Overeem walked into the UFC looking like a Greek God and sent the former heavyweight kingpin Brock Lesnar into retirement. The aura was created, the fans bought in, and a million dollar challenger was born.

Even with a failed PED test (which had a ton of comedy around it), Overeem was still promised the next title fight. Then Overeem and the UFC made the ultimate gamble and set up their golden challenger with a tune up fight. Unfortunately this isn’t pro wrestling and there is never a guaranteed win in MMA. They both found out the hard way and now Cain Velasquez is looking around for his next victim.

The heavyweight division is in bad shape right now but there are a few intriguing possibilities. The UFC can look in several directions for Velasquez’s next challenger. Here are a few possibilities which may not be as juicy on paper as Velasquez vs. Overeem, but could turn out to be some pretty interesting fights.

Junior Dos Santos: JDS is the obvious choice here. He is the only heavyweight now that you can argue truly deserves a title shot. The problem here is that he and the UFC made Velasquez get a win, so JDS should have to do the same. He does hold a win over Cain and he was never put away in their last fight. It certainly won’t draw the intrigue of Overeem vs. Cain but of any possibilities, it makes the most sense.

Bigfoot Silva: If Overeem was the number one contender and Silva KO’d him, shouldn’t he get the title shot? Logically you can make a strong argument that he deserves it. Unfortunately it hasn’t even been a year since Velasquez absolutely mauled Bigfoot in what was arguably the most brutal beating seen in UFC in 2012. There will be little intrigue here and the fact is that most will see this as a lopsided matchup. He does deserve the title shot but he’ll need 1-2 big wins before people start to buy into him. Based on sport I’d go with Bigfoot. Based on business I’d look elsewhere.

Josh Barnett: Now to be clear the Babyfaced Assassin hasn’t even signed with the UFC yet, but negotiations are underway. Barnett is coming off a lopsided win over a guy that nobody would recognize. He hasn’t had a big win in a long time in America, unless you count Brett Rogers. Selling him as a deserving challenger is going to be rough. However, you can play the UFC heavyweight champion card. Barnett technically never lost the title in a ring or octagon. Barnett is smart enough to promote the fight in such a way that people will eventually want to buy into either seeing Cain shut him up or him taking his belt back. Dana White says he’s not in consideration. I don’t believe it for a second.

Alistair Overeem: That’s right I said it. Why not? Nick Diaz, Frankie Edgar, and Chael Sonnen are all getting title shots off of losses right? The UFC has booked more on business than sport over the last several months and this fight still makes the most sense for business. Overeem is a star and a draw and while he did hit the ground, I think enough people would be interested in a Cain vs. Overeem strike-fest to make it viable. Do I think he’ll get the title shot? No, but stranger things have happened in the UFC.

Jon Jones: I brought this up in my post-UFC 156 blog on Saturday night just shortly after Overeem hit the mat. The UFC light heavyweight champion has said on more than one occasion that he is planning to move up to heavyweight this year. He is obligated to a title defense in April so Cain would have to wait. But, what if Jones decides after Sonnen that he is done in the division? The UFC could book this fight on their July super show and promote it as something very special. Would anyone really have a problem with a champion moving up and getting an immediate title shot? I doubt it. The big question here is whether the UFC wants to cut their nose off to spite their face and weaken one division to strengthen another.

Daniel Cormier: The Strikeforce Grand Prix heavyweight tournament winner says that he will not fight his teammate Cain Velasquez, but does he mean it? Cormier has never made UFC money or anything close to what he’d make as UFC heavyweight champion. Jon Jones said he’d never fight his teammate either and he eventually did. This is a sport and in sports, friends play against each other all of the time, sometimes even family members. I will take Cormier at his word for now, but I am not convinced that a fighter who hasn’t made the big money would turn away millions for one fight. If Cormier accepts, you have one intriguing matchup for fight fans.

Fabricio Werdum: Let me make this perfectly clear. I can’t stand the man! I have grown to have a large distaste for Werdum after he sat on the mat and made a mockery of his entire fight with Alistair Overeem. But, if you are looking for a credible heavyweight he could fit the bill. He will be fighting Big Nog in June which is the problem as you’d have to keep Velasquez idle until the end of the year for a fight. Werdum is on a 2-0 streak and a win over Big Nog would give him three and probably a title shot at the end of the year. Unfortunately he is locked into the Brazilian The Ultimate Fighter so pulling him now isn’t feasible.

Roy Nelson: If not for his loss to Werdum I’d shoot him right into the top of the mix. Nelson is a funny guy because he’s always hanging around the top of the division but like Michael Bisping, he can never close the door when he needs to for a title shot. Roy vs. Cain would be a lot more intriguing to me than it may be to some people. He does have a fight scheduled with Cheick Kongo in April so you run into the same scheduling problems with him as you would with Jones. However, if Nelson can pull off the win why not give him the title fight? Don’t tell me you wouldn’t watch!

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UFC 156: Edgar Vs. Aldo Results and Wrap Up

February 04, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Another weekend has come and gone, and with it, another UFC event is now in the books. The UFC returned to the Pay Per View airwaves this weekend with their traditional Superbowl weekend card. By all accounts, this one was quite the success. Despite some fairly lackluster fights, the opening Flyweight tilt and the Featherweight Championship Main Event provided some great action and early estimates have place the number of Pay Per Views over the 400,000 buys marker, which should definitely be considered a success for the UFC.

There were many stories heading into this bout and a number of fighters who could make big steps towards their title aspirations with victories on Saturday night. Unfortunately for them, most of them fell short as it was a night where many of the underdogs reigned supreme. Admittedly my predictions were pretty far off on this card, and my wallet took a bit of a pounding as well from some misplaced bets, but hey, not very many people could have accurately predicted this evening of upsets. Let’s take a look at the main card fighters and predict what might be next for them, now that title shots have evaporated for most of them and see what’s next for those underdogs who threw wrenches into the UFC’s plans.

Flyweight Bout: Joseph Benavidez defeated Ian McCall via Unanimous Decision after 3 Rounds

The Flyweights continued to deliver entertainment, kicking off the main card broadcast with a fun back and forth battle between two of the division’s best. In the first round Benavidez used an aggressive striking approach featuring a heavy dosage of leg kicks to win the round. McCall stormed back in the second, landing a big takedown after a right hand and delivering some big shots on the mat. In the third and final round, Benavidez made the fight his. Again using a sprawl and brawl style featuring a lot of kicks, Benavidez outworked McCall in a close final round to lock up the Unanimous Decision victory.

What’s next for Benavidez? He hinted that he might like one more fight before getting a rematch against Johnson, but he’s the clear number one contender in the division. It’s likely he takes a title shot, but if the champion Demetrious Johnson chooses to take a bit of time off then it will leave Benavidez open for another match. The problem is he’ll likely knock off another top contender which puts the UFC in a difficult spot. I predict a match against the champion, but if not top contender John Moraga makes sense.
What’s next for McCall? Originally brought into the UFC as the top Flyweight in the world, he’s lost two straight fights and is winless in his last three. Luckily it’s against the UFC’s best in the division and they’ve been very close, so he’s still a top talent. A bout against either Chris Cariaso or Ulysses Gomez would make sense to help get McCall on the right legs in the UFC.

Welterweight Bout: Demian Maia defeated Jon Fitch via Unanimous Decision after 3 Rounds

Jon Fitch got Fitch’ed. That’s the easiest way to sum up how this fight went down. Long known for his grinding style and his willingness to blanket opponents, Fitch got a taste of his own medicine. Maia refused to do any striking and rushed Fitch at the opening bell and never relented. He took Fitch down and spent the majority of all three rounds testing Fitch’s submission defense with a plethora of submission attempts and dominant positions. Although he never managed to lock in a submission for the win, it was his most impressive performance to date and he looks like a force to be reckoned with at the Welterweight class.

What’s next for Maia? He’s now 3-0 in the UFC and has dominated some of the division’s best wrestlers on the ground. He looks big and strong at his new weight class and is definitely deserving of a top contender. The winner of the upcoming bout between Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit makes a lot of sense for Maia.

What’s next for Fitch? He’s still a tough fighter and one of the best in the UFC’s Welterweight class. He shouldn’t take too far of a step down, but he has dropped a bit in the Welterweight standings. Bouts against Martin Kampmann or Nate Marquardt probably make the most sense for Fitch right now.

Heavyweight Bout: Antonio Silva defeated Alistair Overeem via Knockout (Punches) at 0:25 of Round 3

Alistair Overeem knew he was better than his opponent heading into their bout on Saturday night and for the first two rounds he proved it. In the third however, he got a little bit too cocky. After dominating rounds 1 and 2 with strong striking and a few well-timed takedowns, Overeem looked well on his way to coasting to victory in the third. Instead he got cocky, put his hands down and stuck his chin out for a big time power puncher who made him pay. Silva tested Overeem’s somewhat shaky chin and had him out on his feet delivering some heavy leather in the best knockout of the year so far. Overeem was expected to get a title shot with a win, but Silva ruined those plans.

What’s next for Silva? Despite Overeem being expected to get a title shot with a victory, it’s unlikely that Silva gets that chance instead. He looked pretty bad in the opening two rounds and the memory of Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez pummeling and bloodying Silva into oblivion is still fresh in most fans’ minds. It’s more likely he gets a top fighter next but not the champion. A bout with Josh Barnett would make sense if Barnett does indeed sign with the UFC. If not I would say the winner of the bout between Mark Hunt and Stefan Struve at the upcoming UFC on Fuel TV event.

What’s next for Overeem? The UFC missed out on the money match in having Overeem fight for the title. Fortunately for them all is not nearly lost. Junior dos Santos needs a fight and the bad blood between he and Overeem has been well documented in the social media realm. The UFC needs to go ahead and let these two headline a free card as their trash talk would definitely bring viewers and leapfrog the winner right back into title contention.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira defeated Rashad Evans via Unanimous Decision after 3 Rounds

I hate to rag on fights, but this one was an absolute snoozer. The first round was difficult to score because so little happened. Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg were struggling to find anything of note to talk about on commentary during the fight because so little happened.  It’s hard to point to any significant moments in the fight as highlights, because frankly there weren’t any. Rashad had a lot to gain by winning this fight, as he was all but guaranteed a shot at Anderson Silva, apparently he didn’t want it very badly since his game plan made it seem like he was doing all he could to not get locked in a cage with the Middleweight Champion. In the end Nogueira took the last two rounds to win a Unanimous Decision.

What’s next for Nogueira? Glover Teixeira has spent some time training with the Nogueira brothers in the past, so it’s hard to say if they would be willing to fight one another. But he is definitely the fighter that makes the most sense. He’s the most high profile and would do the most benefit for each fighter’s career. It’s really the only option I can think of for Lil Nog, because otherwise I would consider the top fight the winner between the upcoming bout of Ryan Jimmo and James Te Huna. So I think Teixeira is really the only way to go.

What’s next for Evans? UFC President Dana White called Evans out after the show in a brutally honest way, saying it was the worst performance he’d ever seen from Evans and saying he had lost the hunger to be competitive. While his performance did suck, and his game plan was even worse than his performance, Evans should still be a tough fight for anyone at Light Heavyweight if he gets his swagger back. Many moons ago he was scheduled to face Mauricio Rua for the Light Heavyweight title before an injury opened the door for the ascension of Jon Jones to Light Heavyweight supremacy. That bout between Shogun and Suga makes sense now, with both men coming off of losses to high-profile opponents.

Featherweight Championship Bout: Jose Aldo defeated Frankie Edgar via Unanimous Decision after 5 Rounds

Poor Frankie Edgar, the guy just can’t catch a break, as he lost yet another close and some would say controversial decision. Aldo came out firing as he usually does and used his speed advantage to pepper Edgar with power punches and chop away at him with leg kicks. Aldo did some damage to Edgar’s face and opened up a cut in his nose that continued to bleed for the rest of the bout. Aldo clearly won the first two rounds. The third is where things get dicey. With Aldo beginning to tire, Edgar began to pour it on. Continuing his high octane style he moved in and out with precision striking and ate some counters from the champion for his trouble. The fourth was Edgar’s best round as he landed a big slam and some ground and pound against the champion. The fifth again seemed like another round for Edgar as he continued to push the pace against his tiring opponent. In the end the judges sided with the champion and made it a clean sweep for the Brazilians on the main card.

What’s next for Aldo? I actually scored the contest for Aldo 48-47, but I thought the third round was razor close and don’t hate people who scored it for Edgar. In fact I think Edgar 48-47 is a much better score than 49-46 Aldo, which two judges managed to find. Aldo’s next fight could prove to be interesting. Ricardo Lamas should be the number one contender in the Featherweight division, so that fight makes sense. But at the post fight media scrum Dana White unveiled some interesting news that Anthony “Showtime” Pettis the Lightweight division’s number one contender expressed some interest in dropping to Featherweight to fight Aldo. That fight is highly intriguing and something I’d rather see than Aldo-Lamas at this point.

What’s next for Edgar? Edgar has to be one of the unluckiest fighters in the world, but his style just doesn’t impress the judges. He’s a bit of a slow starter and his face just gets banged up a bit too easily. I think that’s where a lot of his problems lie, as after the fight he’s landed more punches, but has done less damage while his face looks like he’s been beaten with a bat. What’s next for Edgar depends on whether he’ll stay at Featherweight or go back to Lightweight. I think it’s most likely he stays at Featherweight, since he was actually smaller than Aldo. But it is imperative that he gets a win in his next fight. There’s not a lot of options with a former champion who has lost four fights in a row, even if he could have won three of them. Without stepping too far down the rankings potential bouts against Diego Nunes or Hatsu Hioki would make sense. The other option would be the loser of the upcoming bout between Dustin Poirier and Cub Swanson, or even Erik Koch.

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Bigfoot Silva KO’s Alistair Overeem At UFC 156

February 02, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

Antonio Bigfoot Silva has shocked the MMA world once again. Bigfoot pulled off a gigantic upset at UFC 156 when he shut the lights on Alistair Overeem.

This is why you don’t cute in MMA. The plan was easy. Alistair Overeem was supposed to challenge for the UFC heavyweight title. The fight was set until Overeem was pulled after failing a PED test. The UFC could have played it safe and booked Overeem right back in the title fight upon his return. Instead they gambled and they lost big, to the tune of millions of dollars.

Overeem made his return to the UFC after a 13+ month layoff. Overeem was matched up against Antonio Silva. On paper this was supposed to be an easy tune up fight for Overeem. Overeem mocked Silva over the last few weeks in the media. He called him a moving big target. Well that moving big target rocked his world at UFC 156.

The heavyweight collision saw a lot of Overeem and Silva tying up in the first two rounds with Overeem winning most of those battles. There wasn’t a whole lot of action although Overeem did connect on some knees in those cage battles. The two engaged a few times but nothing came out of it. Silva did come on strong at the close of round two. At one point Overeem took Silva down. It looked like an easy win for Overeem…and then came round three.

“Fight and win inside the cage, not outside,” Silva said after the fight. “He talked a lot of s— but I believe in myself.”

Joe Rogan pointed out during the fight that Overeem was showing less and less respect for Silva’s punching as the fight progressed. He dropped his hands, stuck out his chin, and practically mocked Silva. He even had words for Silva as the two separated to end round two. I don’t know what he said but he woke up a sleeping giant. Silva went for broke and teed off on Overeem. Silva landed 10 nasty punches to drop Overeem like a ton of bricks at the 25-second mark of the round with a KO finish you will see replayed for the next ten years.

Silva now has the honor of stopping the two favorites of the Strikeforce Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament and the honor of costing the UFC millions and millions of dollars. Overeem vs. Velasquez is out and even though they can always get it back, it will never be the same. Overeem was seen as an unstoppable machine. That aura can never come back and that is something that will cost the UFC big time.

Not all is lost on Overeem. The loss sets up a great situation for the UFC to book Overeem vs. Junior Dos Santos. These two have been talking trash on each other for almost a year. It really is a win-win at that point for the UFC. The winner gets a UFC championship shot and the UFC can cash in on a grudge match that fans will pay money to see. The downside here is that neither man will likely recover from a loss so it becomes an all or nothing situation for both men. A spectacular win by either man will bring a lot of money into a heavyweight title fight with the champ.

The biggest question here is what do you do with Cain Velasquez? There is nobody out there remotely deserving of a title fight. Daniel Cormier would solve everything but he and Velasquez are teammates and won’t fight. I suppose you can go right back to a rematch with JDS but they made Cain get a win back, so JDS should theoretically have to as well. Silva would be ideal if not for the fact that he got massacred by Velasquez last year. Roy Nelson would probably be the only other option at this point and I can’t imagine that is where the UFC would like to go.

I can’t help but also think that this helps former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett. Barnett is currently in negotiations to return to the UFC. The heavyweight division desperately needs depth, especially if Cormier moves down to light heavyweight. Barnett is a known commodity and could jump right into that top mix of heavyweights. It wouldn’t even surprise me to see the UFC justify giving him a title shot right off the bat.

Keep an eye out on Jon Jones. Jones can be the wild card here. Jones is fighting Chael Sonnen in April but he has said he’d like to move to heavyweight in 2013. Going to Jones vs. Velasquez would result in keeping Velasquez idle for a long time so maybe that isn’t the answer. However, if the UFC can’t figure anything out maybe they do sit Velasquez and wait on Jones. The fight would be perfect for the annual summer super show.

There is a lesson to be learned here. When you have a money fight, you don’t get cute, you take it. The UFC got cute tonight and got burnt. I would suspect you won’t see that happening again in the near future.

Check back soon for full results and a rundown of the entire UFC 156 event.

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UFC 156 Edgar Vs. Aldo Predictions and Analysis

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

After a couple of weekends of free violence on the Fox family of channels, the UFC is returning to it’s bread and butter game of making you pay for the privilege of watching two dudes beat the hell out of each other inside a cage. Stacked UFC events on the weekend of the Superbowl are nothing strange for the world’s largest MMA promotion, so it’s no surprise to see another stacked event this weekend.

In the main event of the evening former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar is finally making the drop to a more natural weight class of Featherweight to take on reigning kingpin Jose Aldo. Light Heavyweight action is featured in the co-main event as ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans takes on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Heavyweight wrecking machine Alistair Overeem returns from a 9-month drug suspension to take on Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva. Other main card bouts feature Welterweight stars Jon Fitch and Demian Maia colliding in a bout that will shoot the winner up the Welterweight rankings and a Flyweight scrap between Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez that is likely going to be as action packed as last weekend’s Flyweight title fight on Fox.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Edwin Figueroa vs. Francisco Rivera

Edwin “El Feroz” Figueroa is a 28-year-old American fighter from McKinney, Texas. He is a member of the Mohler MMA Gym in his hometown. He holds a professional record of 9-1. Francisco “Cisco” Rivera is a 31-year-old fighter from Whittier, California. He is a member of the United Mixed Martial Arts Gym in Buena Park, California. He holds a career record of 8-2 with 1 No Contest.

Quick Pick: Francisco Rivera via TKO in Round 2

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Chico Camus vs. Dustin Kimura

Chico “King” Camus is a 28-year-old fighter from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Camus is a member of the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee training with the likes of Anthony Pettis and Erik Koch. He holds a career record of 12-3. Dustin “Diamond” Kimura is a 23-year-old fighter from Honolulu, Hawaii. Kimura is a member of the Gracie Technics Gym in Hawaii. He holds a perfect professional record of 9-0.

Quick Pick: Chico Kamus via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Yves Edwards vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg

Yves “Thugjitsu Master” Edwards is a 36-year-old fighter from Nassau, Bahamas. Edwards is an MMA veteran with over 60 career bouts for a number of major MMA promotions such as Pride, WEC, Bellator and Elite XC. Edwards is a member of the American Top Team in Texas and holds a professional MMA record of 42-18-1. Isaac Vallie-Flagg is a 34-year-old American fighter from Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico who is making his UFC debut after a 2-0 stint in Strikeforce. His professional record currently stands at 13-3.

Quick Pick: Yves Edwards via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Jacob Volkmann vs. Bobby Green

Jacob “Christmas” Volkmann is a 32-year-old fighter from Fergus Falls, Minnesota. A former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from the University of Minnesota, Volkmann trains at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Volkmann holds a career record of 15-3. Bobby “King” Green is a 26-year-old fighter from Fontana, California. King is making his UFC debut after spending time in Strikeforce, he trains at the Pinnacle Jiu Jitsu Gym in his hometown of Fontana. He holds a career record of 19-5.

Quick Pick: Jacob Volkmann via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Tyron Woodley vs. Jay Hieron

Tyron “T-Wood” Woodley is a 30-year-old fighter from Ferguson, Missouri. A former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who is making his UFC debut after a career built mostly in Strikeforce, Woodley trains with the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. Woodley holds a professional MMA record of 10-1. Jay “The Thoroughbred” Hieron is a 36-year-old from Freeport, New York. Hieron is a member of the Xtreme Couture Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada who will be competing in his 30th career bout. He holds a pro record of 23-6.

Quick Pick: Tyron Woodley via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Gleison Tibau vs. Evan Dunham

Gleison Tibau is a 29-year-old fighter from Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Tibau now trains in the USA with the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. He holds a professional MMA record of 26-8. Evan Dunham is a 31-year-old fighter from Eugene, Oregon. He is a member of the Xtreme Couture Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada and also holds a black belt in BJJ. He has a professional record of 13-3.

Quick Pick: Evan Dunham via TKO in Round 3

Main Card (PPV): Flyweight Bout: Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall

Joseph “JoeBen” Benavidez is a 28-year-old fighter from San Antonio, Texas. Benavidez was a high school state-wrestling champion in New Mexico, wrestling at 103 pounds. Benavidez is a member of the Team Alpha Male Gym in Sacramento, California where he trains with the likes of Chad Mendes and Urijah Faber. Benavidez is a former Bantamweight title contender and has since dropped to the Flyweight division, where he is 1-1, with the lone loss coming to current champion Demetrious Johnson. A quick and unorthodox striker with big power, Benavidez is one of the most dangerous fighters in the division. Benavidez holds a professional MMA record of 16-3, with his only losses coming to current UFC champions.

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Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall is a 28-year-old fighter from Dana Point, California. He is a member of the Team Oyama Gym in his hometown. McCall is a former Tachi Palace Fights Flyweight Champion. McCall is a well-rounded and versatile fighter who is dangerous anywhere the fight goes. This will be his first fight since a pair of bouts with current Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. McCall has a professional MMA record of 11-3-1.

Analysis and Prediction: This is likely going to be a number one contender’s bout, despite both men recently losing to champion Demetrious Johnson. Benavidez is well-rounded, hits hard and has cardio for days. McCall is similarly well rounded and also has excellent cardio. This one is going to come down to positional dominance and work rate on the feet. In a bout like that, I favor Benavidez, although only slightly. I really like McCall and I definitely think he can win this one, but I slightly favor Benavidez. Joseph Benavidez via Split Decision

Main Card (PPV): Welterweight Bout: Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia

Jon Fitch is a 34-year-old fighter from Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is one of the top Welterweight fighters in the world over the past few years. Fitch is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Purdue University. Fitch is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California. Fitch is one of the most talented grinders in the Welterweight division. His takedowns are sharp and his top control is excellent. Despite being known as a somewhat boring fighter, with a ‘lay and pray’ label attached to him, but his most recent bout with Erick Silva proved to be a highly entertaining affair. He holds a professional MMA record of 24-4-1 with 1 No Contest.

Demian Maia is a 35-year-old fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Maia is a former Middleweight title challenger, who failed in his bid to unseat Anderson Silva. However, since making the drop to the Welterweight division he is 2-0 with 2 stoppage victories. Maia is a 4th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is one of the most accomplished grapplers in the UFC. Maia is a former Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling Champion and a Pan American Jiu Jitsu Champion. Maia trains with the Wand Fight Team in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He holds a career record of 17-4.

Analysis and Prediction: Maia is a talented grappler who has looked extremely impressive since making the drop to the Welterweight division. His striking has been rapidly improving and his submission game is excellent. Unfortunately, I think he’s still a bit behind Fitch in most areas of the fight. Maia does his best work submission-wise when he’s in top control, he’s unlikely to take down an excellent wrestler like Fitch and from the top, Fitch hasn’t been submitted since his first professional bout by Mike Pyle, which was in 2002. Maia isn’t a power puncher, so Fitch doesn’t have to worry about being aggressive with his striking and he’s more than capable of holding his own on the ground. I think he can wear down Maia en-route to a third round TKO victory. Jon Fitch via TKO in Round 3

Main Card (PPV): Heavyweight Bout: Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva

Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem is a 32-year-old Dutch fighter. Overeem is a decorated former professional kick boxer who is a K-1 World Grand Prix Champion. Overeem is a former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion and a former DREAM Heavyweight Champion. Overeem will be making his return to action after a 9-month drug suspension for high testosterone levels. He has come under some scrutiny for his massive increase in muscle mass over the past few years. Overeem is a new member of the Blackzillians, training at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. He holds a professional MMA record of 36-11 with 1 No Contest.
Antonio “Big Foot” Silva is a 33-year-old fighter from Campina Grande, Brazil. Silva is a former Elite XC Heavyweight Champion and is a former Super Heavyweight fighter. Silva is a decorated martial artist who holds black belts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo and Karate. Silva is best known to casual fans for his 2011 upset victory over Fedor Emelianenko. Silva trains with the Black House MMA Gym in Brazil, with the likes of Lyoto Machida, Anderson Silva and the Nogueira brothers. He holds a professional MMA record of 17-4.

Analysis and Prediction: Overeem is returning after a long layoff due to a drug suspension and it’ll be interesting to see how the layoff affects his performance. He’s one of the most talented strikers in the Heavyweight division and he packs a hell of a punch. Silva is a dangerous match for Overeem, since his submission skills and wrestling skills are significant. Unfortunately, Big Foot gets hit a little bit too much. Silva’s best chance at pulling off the upset here is to simply run for the first round and let Overeem tire himself out looking for the homerun punch. From there, if he can work the fight to the mat he has a chance at earning a stoppage or submission. Still the more likely outcome is that he eats a huge punch or a knee looking for that takedown and ends up out cold in the first. Alistair Overeem via KO in Round 1

Main Card (PPV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

“Suga” Rashad Evans is a 33-year-old fighter from Niagara Falls, New York. Evans was a cast member and the eventual winner of the Heavyweight portion of the second season of The Ultimate Fighter. Evans is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Michigan State University. Evans holds black belts in BJJ and Gaidojutsu and is a former pupil of Greg Jackson. Evans has since left New Mexico and is now a member of the Blackzillians training in Boca Raton, Florida. Evans is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. He holds a professional MMA record of 17-2-1.

Antonio Rogerio “Minotoro” Nogueira is a 36-year-old fighter from Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil. Nogueira is a talented boxer who is one of the top ranked amateur boxers in Brazil and was a Brazilian amateur champion. Nogueira is also a talented grappler who has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Nogueira spent the majority of his early career in Japan competing for promotions such as DEEP, Pride and UFO. He holds a professional record of 20-5, but has been stopped only once in his career.

Analysis and Prediction: This bout could end up being very entertaining, or highly lethargic depending on how these two men want to play it out. Nogueira is definitely the more technically sound striker, as his boxing is crisp and clean. Evans on the other hand packs more power, but his wild, loopy strikes often leave him open to counter shots, and he’s not really known for having the greatest chin. On the ground Nogueira is a world-class grappler with excellent submissions, but Evans is a top-notch wrestler who has strong ground and pound and excellent submission defense. I think the striking will be pretty close to break even at the start, but Nogueira will probably run out of gas quicker than Evans, as the Brazilian fades, expect the Blackzillian product to kick it into high gear with a relentless ground and pound attack. I expect Rashad to get a late stoppage. Rashad Evans via TKO in Round 3

Main Card (PPV): Featherweight Championship Bout: Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar

Jose “Scarface” Aldo is a 26-year-old fighter from Manaus, Brazil. Aldo is the first ever and currently reigning UFC Featherweight Champion. Aldo holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but he does his best work in the striking department using his dangerous Muay Thai skills. Aldo has been out of action for over a year due to injuries, and this will be his first bout since January 2012. Aldo throws some of the nastiest leg kicks in the UFC and has used those thudding kicks to completely hobble opponents in the past and significantly stunt their ability to move effectively. Aldo is an aggressive striker who always looks to finish his opponents. He holds a career record of 21-1 with the lone loss coming in 2005.

Frankie “The Answer” Edgar is a 31-year-old fighter from Toms River, New Jersey. Edgar is a former UFC Lightweight Champion who will be making the drop to Featherweight for the first time. Despite this being his first weight cut to 145-pounds, he shouldn’t struggle since he was one of the smallest Lightweights on the UFC’s roster and cut very little weight when fighting at 155-pounds. Edgar is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has become a very formidable striker. Edgar has tight and technical boxing skills, highlighted by excellent hand speed and quality footwork. Edgar is a member of the Renzo Gracie Fight Team training out of his hometown. Edgar holds a professional MMA record of 15-3-1.

Analysis and Prediction: This one is going to be a highly entertaining bout for a number of reasons and there are plenty of factors going into this bout that can be looked at. Edgar is known for his amazing chin and his ability to recover from big shots, the problem has been in the past that he eats about one or two of those big shots every fight. Aldo is a world class finisher who swarms immediately the second that he senses his opponent is weak, if Edgar gets rocked like he did against Maynard, I don’t expect that Aldo will let him survive it. The other downfall for Edgar is that Benson Henderson showed that you could kick Edgar low almost at will. Jose Aldo throws absolutely nasty leg kicks and he’s definitely going to be looking to chop those legs out from under Edgar and slow him down. If Edgar doesn’t have a plan for those leg kicks, he’s going to be hobbled by the end of round one, and probably unconscious by the end of the third.

What’s going well for Edgar? Well, probably for the first time in his career he won’t be massively dwarfed in size by his opponent. My guess is that Aldo is still actually bigger than Edgar, but it won’t be by nearly as much as his bouts against Henderson and Maynard. Edgar’s footwork and hand speed were top notch at Lightweight and that’s likely going to translate well in the Featherweight division. It’ll be interesting to see how Aldo deals with a fighter who is closer to his speed than some of the more plodding power punchers that he’s faced in the past. Aldo has chewed through a number of wrestlers in the past, but Edgar may be the best that he’s ever faced. In fact, against Chad Mendes, Aldo was on his way to the ground before grabbing the fence allowed him to land a big knee that changed the entire course of the fight. Against another strong wrestler like Edgar it will be interesting to see what he’s capable of from the bottom.

Many people favor Aldo in this bout, and it’s a decent assumption, I however like Edgar in the fight. Aldo has been out of the cage for over a year, which is a significant layoff for a fighter who’s game relies a lot on speed and timing. Edgar has been far more active and I think he was absolutely robbed in his second bout against Henderson. Aldo has also shown some flashes of poor cardio, especially in his bout against Mark Hominick, if Edgar can push the pace and make Aldo work, he may be able to test the champion’s gas tank. I expect that it’s close the whole way, but Edgar comes alive in the championship rounds as Aldo begins to fade from a tough fight and takes a close decision. But damn he better have a plan for those leg kicks, or everything I just said is going out the window. Frankie Edgar via Split Decision

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10 Most Anticipated UFC 2013 Fights

January 09, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

2012 will go down as a mixed year in the UFC. Unable to deliver the big super fights, the UFC will attempt to rebound in 2013 with several highly anticipated fights both scheduled and in planning.

If there was one disappointment with the UFC in 2012 it was the inability to pull off big fights. Even realistic super fights in division like Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz failed to materialize for a variety of reasons. With an all-star roster on deck featuring new fighters from Strikeforce, the UFC has the potential to blow away 2012 with several big fights this year. Now whether the UFC can pull these off or not is another story altogether.

I sat down with the idea of writing about the 10 most anticipated UFC fights of 2013. Unfortunately I had a rough time coming up with anything past five. It isn’t as if the big fights aren’t available, it just appears that the biggest ones aren’t close to taking place. So in order to get to ten, I had to throw a lot of hypothetical matchups into the mix. I tried keeping it realistic and staying away from fights like GSP vs. Silva which while gigantic, doesn’t appear to be taking place in 2013. Of course the UFC is always full of surprises but on the first week of January, here is a look at what I think are the 10 most anticipated fights both signed and likely to happen in the next twelve months.

Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz UFC 158 – This one is signed but is far away from being sealed, and further away from being delivered. Diaz is still unlicensed so until he appears before the NSAC to get reinstated, this fight is far from a lock. However, if everything comes together as planned this is undoubtedly the biggest fight on the docket in 2013 now and for the rest of the year. Grudge fights sell in the UFC and I can’t think of a bigger grudge that will be settled in 2013 than this one.

Chael Sonnen vs. Jon Jones UFC 159 – If you are a hardcore fan and have followed Sonnen and Jones over the last few months, you are probably less excited about this fight than you were when it was announced. If you are a casual fan who peeks in and out, well then you are probably just as amped. So far the “grudge” between these two has turned into a bit of a love affair. I have to think that as the fight grows closer that Sonnen will go into his usual bag of promotional tricks and start talking. Regardless you have a fight between two stars with a title on the line. That will always draw to an extent.

Anderson Silva vs. Michael Bisping/Chris Weidman TBD – Anderson’s next move is as much of a mystery as anything else in the UFC. Dana White has said that Silva would fight Bisping if he wins his next fight but when is the last time Bisping hasn’t choked in this scenario? If it isn’t Bisping than Chris Weidman looks to be the next man up for the Spider. Regardless of the opponent, Anderson will always be a draw on pay per view. Unfortunately it isn’t likely to be the two opponents that would draw him the most money in either GSP or Bones Jones.

Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo UFC 156 – I am probably one of the few MMA fans incredibly psyched for this fight. I am a big fan of both and I think that this one has enormous potential to be fight of the year. Unfortunately neither are a draw on pay per view, yet I think the weak schedule puts this one at least in consideration for top 10 anticipated fights.

Cain Velasquez vs. Alistair Overeem TBD – Now is where we start diving into hypothetical fights. Have you seen Bigfoot Silva fight elite competition? He doesn’t fare so well. So I am going to presume that Overeem beats him. This one has the makings of a classic. Overeem has something that nobody else in the heavyweight division has had since Brock Lesnar left…charisma. That charisma equals money and that charisma matched up with Velasquez’s mystique will draw mega money here.

Ronda Rousey vs. Cristiane Cyborg Santos TBD – Rousey and White can scream all that they want about Cyborg having to make 135 but at the end of the day I am still of the belief that this fight happens. Dave Meltzer recently reported that negotiations are very close to making this fight happen at 135. I think you have the makings of what could be the third or fourth biggest fight of 2013 in the UFC. I hate to say it but the fate of the women’s division rests on this fight.

Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks TBD – This one could come sooner than you think if Diaz can’t play ball in time for UFC 158. Hendricks is on an impressive winning streak in the division and by rights, should be the number one contender. Hendricks has one more hurdle to jump and I can’t imagine him stumbling at this point. Another Hendricks KO will bring some big money to this welterweight title fight. The KO artist vs. the supreme athlete is gold. Hendricks is already running his mouth about GSP. By the time this fight happens you’ll have yourself a nice grudge match. I smell a lot of green here.

Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson TBD – I’ll continue with the hypothetical fights here and go back to the light heavyweight division. Dana White has talked about Daniel Cormier getting the next title shot but I think a Hendo win over Machida seals the deal. Henderson continues to talk trash about Jones and as fickle as Jones is, I can see him demanding a fight to shut him up. Ticket sales weren’t strong for their first scheduled fight but I think this one is different. Henderson’s streak and list of victims will be a who’s who in the division and will make him a believable contender against Jones. This division desperately needs a credible contender. Continuing the circus with Cormier will do nobody any favors. I think Henderson gets the next shot and these guys do some better than expected business.

Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez TBD – There are grumblings that this first time battle of Strikeforce vs. UFC champions will take place at the UFC on FOX 7 broadcast, although those are just rumors right now. One thing is confirmed and that is that the UFC is working hard to make this fight happen. I think Henderson has now solidified himself as one of the faces of the UFC and the idea of someone with Melendez’s pedigree and winning streak coming in to challenge him is money. Additionally, there is always added intrigue when you have a battle of champions. I know this division has struggled for attention since BJ Penn lost the title but I think Henderson brings it back to relevance in 2013.

Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira TBD – I’ll close out the hypothetical schedule with a fight that I think could be absolutely huge. Unfortunately Teixeira did himself no favors in his fight with Fabio Maldonado. He won but I think a bit of the mystique was off. He’ll have the chance to snatch that back when he fights on network television against Rampage Jackson. If he can brutalize Jackson as most expect, he’ll make himself a star overnight. He will look like the unstoppable killing machine getting ready to end the reign of Jones. There is major money in this fight if Teixeira gets past Rampage convincingly. Maybe they go with Teixeira vs. Henderson, Gustaffson, or Cormier in an eliminator first, but I think Teixeira gets his crack at Jones by year’s end in what turns out to be a big time fight.

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