The UFC made its return to the land of Pay Per View last night and although some fights left fans wanting a bit more, the other bouts were loaded with action that more than made up for it. If you were unable to see some of the undercard bouts, I highly suggest you try to do so by any means possible. Melvin Guillard versus Jamie Varner, while slightly slower than expected was an entertaining bout. As well the Featherweight tilt between Leonard Garcia and Max Holloway was a highly entertaining slugfest that went for a full fifteen minutes. Add in impressive TKO victories for Heavyweight Todd Duffee and Bantamweight Erik Perez and there is some top shelf violence for those of you that like it that way.
Moving on to the main card, some of the bouts didn’t quite live up to the hype. Others such as the co-main event between Lightweights Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller more than exceeded the hype, as those two men engaged in a bloody back and forth brawl that is a definite contender for Fight of the Year consideration. The Main Event was also solid as two of the best Heavyweights in the world collided in a much better effort than their first bout on UFC on FOX 1. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers from this card and take a look at what could be next for them.
Derek Brunson defeated Chris Leben via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds
The boo-birds were out right away at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for this Middleweight fight that kicked off the PPV. Although Leben is often a fan-favorite due to his slugging style, his wrestling-based opponent Brunson wanted no part of it. Brunson crowded Leben throughout the contest using clinches and takedowns to control Leben and give him very little space to get his offense going. Leben himself offered little resistance, as after a year off due to suspension, he looked like a man who wasn’t used to being in the Octagon. He looked tired and slow, and his takedown defense was almost non-existent. He was never really in too much trouble, but he definitely wasn’t ever close to winning either. Unfortunately as commentator Joe Rogan stated, the unamused look on Chris Leben’s face after Brunson’s celebration after the fight might have been the most entertaining part of the bout.
What’s next for Brunson? This card was loaded with Middleweight talent, so one might think a winner from one of the Middleweight bouts up the card would make sense for Brunson, but I think that’s too large a step for him right now. Although he earned a victory, he didn’t look great doing it and it definitely wasn’t a breakout performance. With Strikeforce officially closing its doors, I think the best fight for him would be to welcome one of his former promotion-mates to the UFC. Tim Kennedy is facing Trevor Smith at the final Strikeforce event and the winner of that bout makes some sense.
What’s next for Leben? He’s got problems, everyone knows that, but he’s always going to have a spot in the UFC because of his style. Alan Belcher got knocked off by Yushin Okami later in the card, and would prefer an opponent who would keep the fight standing. Leben fits that bill and would likely produce an entertaining rebound fight for one of the two. Belcher is almost the perfect opponent for him right now.
Yushin Okami defeated Alan Belcher via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds
In the pre-fight hype videos Alan Belcher claimed that Yushin Okami couldn’t beat him if he kept the fight standing. Apparently he convinced everyone, including Okami, of that fact. Okami did what he usually does, a solid one-two jab combination right into takedown attempts and top control. Belcher had a few bright spots, as he snagged a couple of submission attempts, but none were ever close and they all ended with him in the unenviable position of being beneath Okami. In the end the Japanese fighter cruised to a Unanimous Decision.
What’s next for Okami? He’s turning into the Middleweight version of Jon Fitch. He’s good enough to beat almost anyone in the division, but he’s going to get absolutely slaughtered against the champion. Add to that he’s got a somewhat boring wrestling based approach to fighting and it’s hard to keep giving him meaningful fights where he’s likely going to knock off top contenders or up-and-comers with little fanfare. Still he moves up the ladder and a bout against other main card victor Costa Philippou might make sense. The other potential bout is one against Hector Lombard who recently scored an impressive stoppage against Rousimar Palhares.
What’s next for Belcher? Belcher’s hot streak got seriously derailed and he’s going to need to prove he can handle a wrestler like Okami before he ever gets a shot at a serious top contender at Middleweight. Still, he’s going to need a rebound fight and like I said, previous main card loser Chris Leben is the perfect foil for him. Someone who is willing to stand and trade with him and who is weak on the ground if things go bad. If the UFC wants to rebuild Belcher, he’ll get Leben next.
Costa Philippou defeated Tim Boetsch via TKO (Punches) at 2:11 of the Third Round
This wasn’t a breakout performance for Philippou that many people thought it might be. In fact, this was a truly bizarre fight. Boetsch controlled the opening round, throwing wild, looping punches that were scoring against the usually competent striking defenses of Philippou. In between rounds Boetsch complained to his corner of a broken hand and in the second, an accidental head butt opened a massive gash on his forehead and an eye poke only increased his vision problems. In the third round, he was reduced to pulling guard, but didn’t have an answer for Philippou’s ground and pound, as the referee stepped in to save Boetsch in the third round after he seemed to be looking for a way out.
What’s next for Philippou? Considering the bizarre circumstances of his win, his slow start, and the less than impressive fight from him overall, I wouldn’t complain about a possible rematch between these two. However, with Boetsch’s broken hand, he’s going to need time off. Philippou should still receive a step up in competition and needs to prove he can handle a talented wrestler, which is why I think a bout against other main card victor Yushin Okami makes a lot of sense. If they choose to go another route, former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza, should be making the leap to the UFC soon enough. If he wins his bout at the final Strikeforce show against Ed Herman, I think Souza is another good fight for Philippou.
What’s next for Boetsch? Hand surgery, I guess. In all honesty, this is kind of a crappy result for Boetsch, since he took some unfortunate illegal shots to derail his game plan, which was definitely working in the first round. Still, he was undefeated in the Middleweight division until last night, so I doubt they give up hope on him yet. He’s not going to drop severely down the rankings with the circumstances surrounding the loss, so he’s in kind of a weird spot matchmaking wise. I really don’t know what they do with him here, I guess he’s going to take a step down. Karlos Vemola was supposed to fight Leben on the card, but pulled out due to injury maybe him. That or throw him against Belcher or Leben, although I think Leben is too far a step down, and I think those two should fight each other. Other than that maybe Jake Shields if he stays at Middleweight.
Jim Miller defeated Joe Lauzon via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds
This one earned Fight of the Night honors and it definitely deserved it. These two guys engaged in a bloody brawl that was back and forth and had action until the final bell. Miller looked the best I’ve ever seen him and his recent loss to Nate Diaz seems to have lit a fire inside him. He may be a permanent gatekeeper in the ultra-packed Lightweight division, but he’s a tough one. His conditioning was top notch for this bout and his dirty boxing looked better than ever, as he used a tight clinch to deliver some big punches and short elbows in the first round that caused the giant gash that caused Lauzon to lose a ton of blood. To his credit Lauzon proved how tough he was in this bout, even with blood pouring out of that massive cut, he refused to let the doctor stop it and he kept coming until the final bell, sinking in a late leg lock that nearly stole the fight and in fact stole him the round on a couple of scorecards.
What’s next for Miller? He’s had fourteen fights in the UFC and he’s won most of them. His only three losses have come to the current Lightweight Champion and two of the last three Number One Contenders in Nate Diaz and Gray Maynard. He’s a true grinder and his improving striking is only going to make him an even tougher challenge for most guys. I think Rafael dos Anjos has been impressive lately and deserves a step up in competition, as the Lightweight Gatekeeper, that puts him right in Miller’s wheelhouse.
What’s next for Lauzon? He proved he’s as tough as they come and dangerous any time he’s still in the fight. He’s always going to struggle against powerful wrestlers and the elite fighters of the Lightweight division, but he’s a highly entertaining fighter with decent striking and dangerous submissions. Sounds like another top Lightweight that recently lost a title fight. Indeed a bout between Lauzon and fellow TUF 5 alumnus Nate Diaz could be an action packed affair. Give the two of them a headlining slot on an FX or Fuel TV card and give them five rounds to go bananas, fireworks are sure to follow whether that fight takes place on the feet, on the ground or anywhere in the building.
Cain Velasquez defeated Junior dos Santos to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship via Unanimous Decision after Five Rounds
For those that wrote off former champion Velasquez after his poor performance in their first bout, they were treated to a significant wake up call. Velasquez came out guns blazing against Dos Santos and immediately brought the fight to the Brazilian Champion. Although many expected Cain to be somewhat laid back like he was in their first bout, he caught everyone, including Dos Santos off-guard when he came right after him in the first round. That first round told the story of what would end up being a very one-sided contest. Cain scored an early takedown and Dos Santos was able to slip through and get back to his feet, but it didn’t slow Velasquez down. He continued forward, pressing him against the cage. Partway through the round he landed a big right hand that dropped Dos Santos for the first time in his UFC career and ended the round battering him with ground and pound. Dos Santos was clearly gassed after the first round and spent several of the next rounds trying to recover, while Velasquez continued to push the pace. Although he eventually slowed himself, he was still able to outwork Dos Santos both in the grappling department and somewhat surprisingly in the striking department en-route to a clean sweep of the scorecards, winning with scores of 50-45, 50-44 and 50-43.
What’s next for Velasquez? The Heavyweight division has a whole lot of top fighters, but they are in a weird position, where they don’t have any clear cut favorites to become the number one contender. Alistair Overeem is expected to get the first crack at Velasquez, but he’s going to need to get by Antonio Silva first, and that’s no guarantee considering what we’ve seen in the past from fighters returning from year-long suspensions. The other option is Fabricio Werdum should he emerge victorious against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, but that fight isn’t taking place until after the filming and airing of TUF: Brazil 2. The leading candidate was Daniel Cormier who recently won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix and is heading to the UFC, but Velasquez and Cormier are teammates and have already said they wouldn’t fight each other. No matter what happens, Overeem or Werdum or someone else entirely, Velasquez could be facing a bit of a layoff while the division sorts itself out.
What’s next for Dos Santos? He’s going to need to get a win or two before he gets another crack at the title. Granted if things shake out the right way, he may only need one impressive victory like Velasquez did, but the list of contenders is long and growing in the Heavyweight division. The best two possible matches I can think of for Dos Santos are the loser of the upcoming Mark Hunt and Stefan Struve fight at the UFC’s next London event, (provided it’s Hunt, since a rematch with Struve is probably not necessary for Dos Santos.) The other option is the loser of the upcoming Alistair Overeem and Antonio Silva bout, since either one of those two would be an intriguing bout, especially with the bad blood between Dos Santos and Overeem.
Full UFC 155 results & winners…
Cain Velasquez defeated Junior Dos Santos via unanimous decision to regain the UFC heavyweight title
Jim Miller defeated Joe Lauzon via unanimous decision
Costa Philippoud efeated Tim Boetsch via third-round TKO
Yushin Okami defeated Alan Belcher via unanimous decision
Derek Brunson defeated Chris Leben via unanimous decision
Eddie Wineland defeated Brad Pickett via split decision
Erik Perez defeated Byron Bloodworth via first-round TKO
Jamie Varner defeated Melvin Guillard via split decision
Myles Jury defeated Michael Johnson via unanimous decision
Todd Duffeed efeated Phil De Fries via first-round TKO
Max Holloway defeated Leonard Garcia via split decision
John Moraga defeated Chris Cariaso via submission
Cain Velasquez is an animal! Velasquez mauled Junior Dos Santos in their UFC 155 rematch proving to the MMA world that his 64 second loss to the JDS was a fluke. Velasquez won a unanimous decision to regain the UFC heavyweight title in one of the most one-sided UFC title wins in years.
Dos Santos could not stop the shot. Velasquez dominated the former champion on their feet and taking him to the ground. Velasquez had his way with Dos Santos at UFC 155, absorbing very little to punishment at all from the champion. UFC commentator Jor Rogan proclaimed at one point that he had not seen such a dominant performance by a challenger over a champion since Anderson Silva defeated Rich Franklin for the middleweight title several years ago.
Velasquez opened up looking to strike and takedown the former champion. Dos Santos did a good job early on of avoiding any serious damage until Velasquez connected with a right hand. Dos Santos was never the same after eating the shot. Velasquez swarmed in and tried to end the fight in the first round to no avail yet the tone was set by the challenger.
The rest of the fight saw Velasquez have his way with Dos Santos. Velasquez practically took Dos Santos down at will. Junior had very little offense throughout the fight and looked tired and beaten when he came out for the second round. Velasquez never stopped and was relentless in his attacks. I’ll give Dos Santos credit as he hung around for five rounds, longer than I thought he would. Dos Santos did connect on a nice uppercut as the third round. Unfortunately Dos Santos had nothing left and couldn’t follow up.
Velasquez nailed a body shot followed by an uppercut in the fourth round that staggered Dos Santos. Somehow or another Junior held on. Junior again put something together towards the end of the fourth round but couldn’t follow up. Velasquez’s cardiovascular conditioning throughout the fight was just unbelievable.
Seeing Junior standing at the start of round five after being brutalized throughout by Cain was real impressive. Junior stopped Cain from getting a takedown and wound up hitting a nice left to Cain’s body. Junior seemed to recover well by this point. Dos Santos hit a right hand and kept Cain’s takedowns at bay. Velasquez finally got the takedown at about 2:30. Cain smothered him with ground and pound. Junior got back up. Junior connected in a clinch. Velasquez hit a head kick with about :30 seconds to go. Junior looked like he had been brutalized while Cain looked like he wasn’t even scratched as the fifth and final round closed. Velasquez was shortly named new UFC champion by unanimous decision.
What’s next for the UFC world champion? In my opinion I think Cain is the most well rounded UFC heavyweight champion in history. He should have a dominant reign as champion barring an injury. He could face either Alistair Overeem or Fabricio Werdum if either man wins their next fight. Overeem would be the favorite but Dana White mentioned that Werdum would be a top contender if he wins his next fight against Big Nog.
I’d love to see a third fight between JDS and Velasquez. I think this rivalry has the potential to be one of the greatest trilogies of all time. It wouldn’t shock me to see fight number three in the fall or winter of 2013.
Look for a full recap and analysis of UFC 155 here on the Camel Clutch Blog shortly by Lee McGregor.
Full UFC 155 results & winners…
Cain Velasquez defeated Junior Dos Santos via unanimous decision to regain the UFC heavyweight title
Jim Miller defeated Joe Lauzon via unanimous decision
Costa Philippoud efeated Tim Boetsch via third-round TKO
Yushin Okami defeated Alan Belcher via unanimous decision
Derek Brunson defeated Chris Leben via unanimous decision
Eddie Wineland defeated Brad Pickett via split decision
Erik Perez defeated Byron Bloodworth via first-round TKO
Jamie Varner defeated Melvin Guillard via split decision
Myles Jury defeated Michael Johnson via unanimous decision
Todd Duffeed efeated Phil De Fries via first-round TKO
Max Holloway defeated Leonard Garcia via split decision
John Moraga defeated Chris Cariaso via submission
The UFC returns to the land of Pay Per View this weekend with their traditional New Year’s Eve card. Despite not technically taking place on New Year’s Eve, the UFC has more than made up for it by packing this card with talent and intriguing match-ups from top to bottom. Headlining the card is a rematch that everyone has been clamoring for since their first meeting as the headliner for the UFC’s first event on the Fox Network as UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos battles the man he defeated for the title Cain Velasquez.
The co-main event of the evening features a Lightweight tilt that will move the winner significantly up the ladder in terms of placement in what is arguably the UFC’s deepest division as Joe Lauzon battles Jim Miller. Three Middleweight bouts are on the docket for the rest of the main card and many of them feature top ranked contenders. First up are Middleweight brawlers Tim Boetsch taking on Constantinos Philippou. The next Middleweight contest features former number one contender Yushin Okami taking on emerging contender Alan Belcher. The opening contest of the Pay Per View Main Card features fan and Dana White favourite Chris Leben taking on Strikeforce import Derek Brunson.
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Flyweight Bout: Chris Cariaso vs. John Moraga
Chris “Kamikaze” Cariaso is a 31-year-old fighter from Oakland, California. He is a member of the Fight and Fitness Gym in San Francisco, California. Cariaso holds a career record of 14-3 and recently won his UFC Flyweight debut at UFC on Fuel TV 4. John Moraga is a 28-year-old former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Phoenix, Arizona. He is a member of the MMA Lab in Arizona where he trains with UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson. He holds a career record of 12-1.
Quick Pick: John Moraga via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Leonard Garcia vs. Max Holloway
Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia is a 33-year-old fighter from Plainview, Texas. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s Team training in New Mexico. The brawler and fan favourite holds a career record of 15-9, but has never been knocked out and hasn’t been in a boring fight throughout the course of his career. Max “Blessed” Holloway is a 21-year-old fighter from Waanae, Hawaii and is the youngest fighter on the UFC roster. He is a member of the Gracie Technics Gym in his hometown and holds a career record of 6-1.
Quick Pick: Max Holloway via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Heavyweight Bout: Phil De Fries vs. Todd Duffee
Phil De Fries is a 26-year-old fighter from Sunderland, England. The massive Brit is a talented grappler who now trains in the USA with the Alliance MMA Gym in Chula Vista, California. He holds a career record of 9-1 with 1 No Contest. Todd Duffee is a 27-year-old fighter from Evansville, Indiana. Duffee is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California and those striking skills have earned him the record for the fastest Knockout in UFC history at 7 seconds. He holds a career record of 7-2.
Quick Pick: Todd Duffee via KO in Round One
Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Michael Johnson vs. Myles Jury
Michael “The Menace” Johnson is a 26-year-old fighter from St. Louis, Missouri. He is a member of the Blackzillians training in Boca Raton, Florida. The former TUF cast member holds a career record of 12-6, but is currently on a three fight winning streak. Myles “The Fury” Jury is a 24-year-old fighter from Hazel Park, Michigan. He is a member of the Alliance MMA Gym in San Diego, California. He holds a perfect professional record of 10-0.
Quick Pick: Michael Johnson via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner
Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard is a 29-year-old fighter from New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a member of the Blackzillians training out of the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. He holds a career record of 30-11-2 with 1 No Contest. Jamie “The Worm” Varner is a 28-year-old fighter from Phoenix, Arizona. He is a former WEC Lightweight Champion who trains out of the AMA Fight Club in New Jersey. He holds a career record of 20-7-1 with 2 No Contests. This bout was supposed to take place two weeks ago at The Ultimate Fighter finale, but a last minute illness to Varner forced the bout to be postponed.
Quick Pick: Melvin Guillard via TKO in Round Three
Preliminary Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Erik Perez vs. Byron Bloodworth
Erik “Goyito” Perez is a 23-year-old fighter from Monterrey, Mexico. He now resides in the USA and trains with Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He holds a career record of 12-4, but is 2-0 in the UFC with two stoppage victories. Byron Bloodworth is a 29-year-old fighter from Lynchburg, Virginia. Bloodworth is a member of the Iron Clutch Fitness Gym in Atlanta, Georgia. He holds a professional record of 6-2.
Quick Pick: Erik Perez via Submission in Round One
Preliminary Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Eddie Wineland vs. Brad Pickett
Eddie Wineland is a 28-year-old fighter from Houston, Texas. Wineland was the inaugural WEC Bantamweight Champion. He trains out of the Duneland Vale Tudo Gym in Portage, Indiana. Wineland holds a career record of 19-8-1 with 16 Stoppage victories. Brad “One Punch” Pickett is a 34-year-old fighter from London, England. A former Cage Rage Featherweight Champion he now trains stateside with the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. Pickett holds a career record of 22-6.
Quick Pick: Brad Pickett via TKO in Round Two
Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson
Chris “The Crippler” Leben is a 32-year-old fighter from Portland, Oregon. Leben is a fan favourite known for his iron chin and his brawling style, but lately he’s also become known as a troubled fighter who will be returning from a one-year-suspension. He was a cast member on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and has been in the UFC ever since. He is a member of the Icon Fitness MMA Gym in Oahu, Hawaii. The brawler holds a career record of 22-8.
Derek “Wrecking Ball” Brunson is a 28-year-old fighter from Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a former NCAA Division 2 All-American Wrestler from the University of North Carolina. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico. Brunson has power in his hands, but his technical striking skills are still developing. He does his best work on the mat, when he can control his opponents by using his top shelf wrestling skills. After starting his career undefeated at 9-0, he has suffered two straight defeats in 2012 to move his record to 9-2.
Analysis and Prediction: To me I think this one comes down a lot to how Leben responds to being off for a year. Brunson has shown some promise in his fights, but he still remains a pretty raw and unproven talent against top shelf competition. Besides Jacare Souza, Leben will be by far his stiffest competition and he’s taking the fight on late notice. Leben is a more complete striker and he’s probably been drilling takedown defense since his loss to Mark Munoz. Really I have a hard time imagining Brunson winning this fight, unless Leben looks like a shell of his former self. Chris Leben via TKO in Round Two
Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Yushin Okami vs. Alan Belcher
Yushin “Thunder” Okami is a 31-year-old fighter from Kanagawa, Japan. A former UFC Middleweight Title Challenger, Okami is one of the top Middleweight fighters in the UFC. Okami is a talented grinder, who does his best work using a ground based, wrestling and top control oriented game plan. He holds a black belt in Judo, which he uses well to earn trips and takedowns when standing. Okami is a member of Team Quest, training with Chael Sonnen in Portland, Oregon. He actually holds a career victory over Belcher already, having defeated Belcher in his UFC debut. Okami holds a professional record of 27-7.
Alan “The Talent” Belcher is a 28-year-old from Jonesboro, Arkansas. Recently after an eye injury caused a yearlong layoff and almost cost him his career, he has reeled off four straight stoppage victories and has emerged as a rising contender in the Middleweight division. Belcher is a talented striker who holds a black belt in Tae Kwan Do and a black belt in Duke Roufus Kickboxing. Belcher is also an underrated grappler who holds a brown belt in Judo and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Belcher is a member of the Roufusport Gym in Biloxi, Mississippi training under famed kick boxer Duke Roufus. He holds a career record of 18-6.
Analysis and Prediction: Belcher is a talented striker and his grappling game is definitely significantly underrated by a lot of people, but this isn’t a great match up for him. Okami is massive for Middleweight and he’s strong and perfectly content to wrestle his way to victories. In his last bout Okami was thoroughly dominating Tim Boetsch on the ground until a third round miracle comeback. Belcher is talented and dangerous on the feet, but I really don’t think Okami is going to give him time to get comfortable there. I expect a steady stream of one-twos and takedowns from Okami as he wrestles his way to a decision victory. Yushin Okami via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Tim Boetsch vs. Constantinos Philippou
Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch is a 31-year-old fighter from Lincolnville, Maine. He is a former NCAA Wrestler from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and often uses his wrestling skills to grind against his opponents on the mat. Boetsch is also a talented striker with big power, who owns a black belt in Jeet Kune Do. The former Light Heavyweight fighter has enjoyed a string of success since dropping to the UFC’s Middleweight division as he is currently on a four fight winning streak, including victories over Nick Ring, Kendall Grove, Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard. Boetsch is a member of the AMC Pankration Gym in Maine. He holds a career record of 16-4.
Constantinos “Costa” Philippou is a 33-year-old fighter who was born in Limassol, Cyprus. He now resides and trains in New York City, New York where he is a member of the Serra-Longo Fight Team. Philippou is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but does his best work in the striking department. He is a talented and powerful striker who is technically sound and can throw bombs with the best of the Middleweight division. Currently riding a four fight-winning streak, Philippou holds a pro record of 11-2 with 1 No Contest.
Analysis and Prediction: Philippou has come a long way since his UFC debut where he was outworked on the mat by Nick Catone, but the game plan to defeat him likely remains the same. Boetsch has had a successful run since making the drop to Middleweight and he’s simply massive for the weight class. His style has remained the same as he remains a true grinder. He does his best work in close, using clinches to utilize dirty boxing and score trips and takedowns from there where he can work his top control game and ground and pound. Philippou needs to keep this fight at a distance if he wants to be successful, but I don’t think his footwork can keep him at range long enough to win this fight. Despite some success for Philippou I think Boetsch moves his way up the ladder another rung. Tim Boetsch via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Lightweight Bout: Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller
Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon is a 28-year-old fighter from East Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Lauzon is best known for his highly entertaining style of fighting, as he’s taken home 11 post-fight bonuses during his UFC career. Lauzon’s striking is decent and fundamentally sound, although at times he uses a bit too much boxing and not enough kicks to be wholly effective. Still, he does his best work on the mat, as the purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is excellent at creating submission opportunities during sweeps on the mat. The former Ultimate Fighter cast member is the head trainer of his own gym Lauzon MMA in Massachusetts and holds a career record of 22-7.
Jim Miller is a 29-year-old fighter from Sparta Township, New Jersey. Miller is taking this fight as a late replacement for Gray Maynard. Miller is one half of the Miller Brothers, as his older brother Dan also competes in the UFC as a Welterweight. Miller is a member of the AMA Fight Club in New Jersey, where he is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Miller is an aggressive fighter who is constantly moving forward against his opponents. His striking is fairly rudimentary, but he has decent power and a strong one-two which transitions well into takedown shots that he blends well. On the mat, Miller is a talented grappler who is dangerous anytime that there is a scramble on the mat. He holds a career record of 21-4.
Analysis and Prediction: Both of these guys are aggressive and love to fight balls to the wall. Both are also decent strikers that do their best work on the mat, so it will be an interesting styles clash to say the least. Lauzon has to be one of the best first round fighters in the UFC, as he absolutely storms out of the gates constantly searching for a finish, if he’s smart he’s been watching Nate Diaz’s one sided beat down of Miller over and over to glean some tips from it. That loss may also be important to Miller, since it will be his first fight since and how he responds to that loss will say a lot about how this fight goes down. Miller has the skills to grind out a decision using his wrestling to control and dominate Lauzon on the mat, but Lauzon is very dangerous at any time. As it is I think Miller uses takedowns and top control to wear out Lauzon and eventually comes away with a decision victory, sealing the deal in the third round. Jim Miller via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Heavyweight Championship Bout: Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez
Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos is a 28-year-old Brazilian fighter from Santa Catarina, Brazil. He is the reigning and defending UFC Heavyweight Champion, a belt that he won from his challenger Cain Velasquez. Dos Santos is one of the most talented and hardest hitting strikers in the Heavyweight division, owning 11Knockouts in 15 career victories. Dos Santos also has excellent grappling skills, holding a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under famed fighter Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Dos Santos is a member of the Black House Gym, training with Team Nogueira in Bahia, Brazil. Dos Santos is a dangerous fighter, who already holds a career victory via first round knockout against Velasquez. He holds a professional record of 15-1 and hasn’t lost since November of 2007.
Cain Velasquez is a Mexican-American fighter from Salinas, California. The 30-year-old is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Arizona State University. Velasquez is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California and is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion. Velasquez holds a brown belt in Guerilla Jiu Jitsu, which is a form of submission grappling more suited to modern MMA. Despite his previous loss to Dos Santos, many people have claimed that he took the bout with a significant knee injury since it was the UFC’s debut on Fox, and really shouldn’t have been fighting in the first place. Still, he remains a dangerous fighter wherever the bout takes place, as his striking has been rapidly improving and he’s a nightmare for anyone to handle on the mat. In his last bout he absolutely demolished Antonio Silva on the ground and left him a bloody mess, before finally earning a TKO in the first round. Velasquez holds a career record of 10-1, with his only loss coming against Dos Santos.
Analysis and Prediction: For many people the biggest question heading in to this contest is ‘Can Cain earn a takedown against Dos Santos?’ A man who has proven to be nearly impossible to takedown in the UFC, in fact he’s only been taken down once in his entire UFC career and it lasted for only seconds. For me, I think a more important question to consider is how is Dos Santos going to be able to handle himself if he does in fact end up underneath of Velasquez.
Cain has one of the most aggressive and nasty top games in the Heavyweight division. He throws ground and pound with bad intentions and his elbows can absolutely end your night as they cause significant damage. Cain is also a better striker than he showed in the first bout and to be honest, I think the injuries to both fighters are significant enough that the results of the first contest are barely even useful in a true fight analysis. Dos Santos’ trainers claim that he has one of the best ground games in the Heavyweight division, but even that isn’t going to be enough to contain Cain Velasquez, if he manages to score a takedown.
Dos Santos is surely going to be focusing on keeping this bout upright. Despite his claims that he’s ready to submit someone in the UFC, I’m not convinced he’s going to be pulling guard against a wrestler as talented as Velasquez. So for him, he’ll need to use footwork and an effective sprawl and brawl style to keep the bout standing and look for the big knockout shot. He’s shown that he can knock out almost anyone, if he hits them cleanly. Unfortunately I don’t think Velasquez will be nearly as slow or hittable as he was in their last encounter.
I don’t think Dos Santos can keep Velasquez at bay, and I think his advantage on the ground is far more significant that Dos Santos’ edge on the feet. That alone, combined with the fact that we’re going to see a significantly better and strong Velasquez make me think it’s going to be time for the challenger to reclaim his belt. I think he stops Dos Santos with strikes in the third round. Cain Velasquez via TKO in Round Three
UFC 154 has come and gone and admittedly things didn’t go exactly as I predicted they might. Such is often the case with MMA though, as it’s one of the toughest sports to predict. But luckily for me there’s another card in only a few short weeks and another chance to right the ship of my predictions. And for the fighters that competed on the main card there’s always looking forward to their next bouts. Let’s take a look at what happened and who they should be battling inside the octagon next.
First a couple of notes about the undercard fighters. A bout between Middleweight fighters Nick Ring and Costa Philippou was scheduled for the main card, but was called off at the last minute due to an illness to Ring and him being deemed unfit to fight by UFC doctors. A rematch between the two is expected to take place at an upcoming card. Additionally a Middleweight bout between Patrick Cote and Alessio Sakara ended in controversy after Sakara was disqualified for illegal shots to the back of the head. A rematch between those two is also expected. Let’s check out what happened on the main card.
Featherweight Bout: Pablo Garza defeated Mark Hominick via Unanimous Decision
Hominick came out from the opening bell aggressively, something that’s cost him in the past before. Hominick isn’t a kill-shot puncher, that’s not his game, he’s a more refined striker than that, apparently in preparation for this bout, no one told him that. Instead of striking from a distance and allowing his more technical skills to earn him the bout, Hominick went chasing after Garza and paid for it several times. The end result left his face a bloodied and swollen mess and allowed him to be outstruck by a fighter with significantly less striking skills than himself.
What’s next for Garza? Beating Hominick isn’t as impressive as it was when Jose Aldo did it, but it’s still a win for someone who was in need of one. Garza’s striking looked a lot better than it has in the past and he still has a well-rounded ground game to go with it. Canadian Featherweight Antonio Carvalho notched a win on the same card and a bout with Garza makes a lot of sense for both fighters.
What’s next for Hominick? There’s a lot of talk about Hominick retiring and that’s probably not a bad idea for him as he hasn’t exactly been impressive in his last couple of fights. Still he’s a talented fighter and he comes to bang, so the UFC will certainly keep him around if he chooses. If he sticks around a fight against Maximo Blanco could be a highly entertaining slugfest to fill out a Fuel TV card.
Lightweight Bout: Rafael dos Anjos defeated Mark Bocek via Unanimous Decision
Rafael dos Anjos continues to impress with his evolution as a fighter. He showed improved cardio and pushed the pace throughout the entire three round affair with Bocek. Although he couldn’t earn a finish dos Anjos’ improved striking left Bocek’s face a battered mess. The Brazilian showed improved takedown defense and managed to keep Bocek from landing any takedowns or really any significant damage of any kind throughout the entire fifteen minutes. He took home a well-earned Unanimous Decision.
What’s next for dos Anjos? A step up in competition certainly. Takanori Gomi looked pretty good in his last win over Mac Danzig but there might actually be a better fight for dos Anjos. Someone who could challenge his improving wrestling skills and should Michael Johnson get by his bout against Myles Jury at UFC 155, I’d love to see a bout between dos Anjos and Johnson.
What’s next for Bocek? Back to the middle of the pack in a very crowded Lightweight division. Evan Dunham is an exciting grappler with decent striking who is always up for a fight. He just lost a close fight to TJ Grant in a Fight of the Night effort and could be a solid test for Bocek on the ground. Book it.
Middleweight Bout: Francis Carmont defeated Tom Lawlor via Split Decision
What happened in this fight? Not a whole hell of a lot. Lawlor imposed his will on Carmont throughout the entire three round affair, pressing the French fighter against the cage and grinding at him with light punches. Although Carmont clearly got the better of the exchanges at a distance, he was taken down several times including multiple times in the second and third rounds. Somehow the judges scored the contest for Carmont, despite him not really controlling the octagon or effectively striking or grappling against Lawlor.
What’s next for Carmont? He got the W here, but that’s about it, and he surely didn’t gain any new fans. His grappling skills still look relatively raw when he’s taken down and he’s fairly inactive against a grinder. Still he’s 4-0 in the UFC, and they’re probably best off to give him a fight against someone who can challenge him. Everybody’s favorite Middleweight ginger just got a No Contest out of a tough fight against Jake Shields and he’s probably a good litmus test for Carmont.
What’s next for Tom Lawlor? He’s entertaining as hell outside the octagon, but his fighting style isn’t always the prettiest. With very mixed results inside the octagon, he could definitely be on his way to a pink slip, but due to the controversial and close Split Decision, my guess is that the UFC gives him one last chance. A bout against Tim Credeur is probably a good stylistic match up.
Welterweight Bout: Johnny Hendricks defeated Martin Kampmann via KO (Punch) in Round One
What happened in this fight? Again… not a whole hell of a lot, but it was way more exciting than the Carmont-Lawlor fight. After a brief feeling out process, Hendricks lunged in with a right hook that Kampmann mostly blocked, but he never saw the left hand coming behind it. Hendricks drilled him right on the button and put Kampmann out cold instantaneously.
What’s next for Hendricks? This was a supposed title eliminator fight, and with an emphatic Knockout of the Night victory like that it’s hard to think that anyone is going to argue with him getting the next shot at GSP’s title. He’s said he doesn’t want to fight until he gets his shot, so his next bout will be against GSP, although when exactly that might occur is anyone’s guess.
What’s next for Kampmann? He’s shown an ability to take a punch and keep going, but not this time. This is a blow to his hopes at getting into title contention, but a big win over another top fighter should get him back into the proverbial mix. A rematch with Carlos Condit makes some sense, especially since their last fight was so close. I’d like to see him take on someone like Erick Silva myself though.
Welterweight Bout: Georges St. Pierre defeated Carlos Condit via Unanimous Decision
It wasn’t as pretty as it has been in the past, and it wasn’t as dominant as the judge’s scorecards made it look. GSP managed to survive a huge scare in the third round after a Condit landed a head kick that rocked the champion and sent him crashing to the mat. GSP managed to score takedowns in every round and controlled the action on the mat from top position. In the first round he opened a huge cut on the side of Condit’s face, which bled out throughout the whole fight. Condit was extremely aggressive from the bottom, attacking St. Pierre with submission attempts, punches and elbows from the bottom. At the end of 25 minutes St. Pierre took home a well-deserved Unanimous Decision but his face was a swollen, busted up mess as a reminder of one of his toughest challenges to date.
What’s next for St. Pierre? If you ask Dana White, Anderson Silva is next. In reality, it really should be Johnny Hendricks. There is a crop of new contenders at 170 and 185-pounds in the UFC and they shouldn’t be putting each division on hold to make this super fight. It would be a massive moneymaker if they do, but St. Pierre seemed disinterested by the prospect of fighting Silva after his bout against Condit and is more likely to take the bout against Hendricks in my opinion.
What’s next for Condit? Condit gave GSP one of his toughest fights to date and was possibly seconds away from stopping the Welterweight champ and scoring a huge upset. He’s still one of the top fighters in the division. Although he’s been closely linked to a potential bout with Nick Diaz I’d really like to see Condit take on Josh Koscheck. Koscheck is a strong wrestler and we can see if Condit has any new tricks up his sleeve to deal with a dominant wrestler and hopefully he can knockout the Welterweight that everyone loves to hate.
The question going into UFC 154 was whether a 19-month layoff would hamper Georges St-Pierre. The UFC welterweight champion answered that with a thrilling victory over Carlos Condit. Now the question is whether GSP will continue to defend the championship or accept the challenge of Anderson Silva.
A rabid Montreal crowd welcomed back George St-Pierre at UFC 154. GSP pushed forward early with strikes. GSP swung for the fences a few times with no luck early. GSP got the first takedown. Georges got into half guard in the final two minutes-plus and dropped a few strikes. Condit tried going for the arm bar with no luck. GSP really pushed the pace here with strikes. Georges dominated the first round with the bell ringing with GSP on top. Condit was cut really bad from an elbow.
St-Pierre nailed Condit with a right hand at around 3:58. Joe Rogan pointed out right about here that Condit was hesitating. GSP continued pushing the fight. Condit caught GSP with a combination of jabs at around 3:10. GSP caught Condit jumping in with a beautifully timed right hand counter. Condit’s nose was busted open at this point. GSP got another takedown at 2:08. GSP dropped an elbow on the cut and opened it back up. GSP was just mauling him on the ground at this point. The right side of Condit’s face was a bloody mess as the round closed. The round finished with both trading on their feet. This was turning into a great fight at this point, arguably the most exciting GSP fight in a long time.
Condit nailed a high kick to GSP to open up the third round which floored GSP. Condit got on top and turned the fight around. GSP absorbed a lot of strikes here. I almost think that Condit was too tired or weak to finish here because he looked like he had GSP in a heap of trouble. GSP got back to his feet and this fight was turning into a classic. GSP connected against the cage and took down Condit. GSP’s right eye swelled up quite a bit from the kick. Condit was striking the eye from the ground.
Condit connected on a kick again early in Round 4 but with no results. Georges got on top again but the action slowed down a bit here. Condit did a great job of connecting from the bottom. Georges escaped a triangle attempt and dropped a few strikes. Condit reversed a takedown and got on top briefly. Condit’s face was a bloody mess. Condit was constantly looking for the kimura throughout the fight but never sealed the deal. Georges’ grappling was dominant throughout the fight to this point.
Georges nailed a combination left hook and right leg kick early in the fifth round. GSP got another takedown at 3:45 but Condit got back up. GSP was looking for the finish. Condit to his credit kept coming but couldn’t connect on the champion. GSP opened up with some jabs and took down Condit at around 2:08. GSP was trying to mount in the final minute or so of the fight but Condit fought him off. GSP got Condit’s back at 1:01. Condit was able to roll out of it. GSP closed out the round dominating Condit on the ground. The fight closed with GSP dropping elbows.
This was a hell of a fight. I’d say other than the high kick this was a dominate performance by the champion. Condit kept coming making this one a lot more dramatic than anyone expected. GSP now goes to 23-2 overall and 17-2 in the UFC.
Most presume that UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva would be up next for Georges St-Pierre in a catch weight fight. GSP was asked about it by Rogan and said he needed to take a long vacation and think about it. Silva has talked about doing the fight at 177 or 178. UFC president Dana White said earlier this week that he’d like to sign the fight for May. I still have my doubts about whether this fight comes off or not. GSP has virtually shown no interest in the fight and looks annoyed when asked about it. If I had to bet I’d say that this fight does not come off, but the momentum certainly seems to be going in that direction.
I am real sick of the Silva vs. GSP talk and have very little interest in that fight. GSP has repeatedly said he doesn’t want to move up, so why make him? The real superfight that the UFC should be making is between Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones. I really don’t understand why the UFC is putting the pressure on him and not Silva and Jones. The welterweight division is stacked and there is no reason for GSP to take any fights out of it right now. There are plenty of credible challengers ready for GSP yet I think it is one in particular that intrigues everyone most of all.
My bet is that Nick Diaz will actually wind up as GSP’s next victim. Dana White has gone from saying that Diaz had to get a win when he comes back before getting another title shot to just recently saying he wasn’t sure. While the UFC did a tremendous gate for UFC 154, it was not the fast sellout that you’d expect with GSP’s return. Once I started reading about slower than expected ticket sales I immediately concluded that Diaz vs. GSP was going to happen. As great of a fighter as Condit is, he isn’t a draw. Diaz is and Diaz vs. GSP is a blockbuster fight. Whether Diaz deserves a title shot or not is irrelevant anymore in the UFC. Once Chael Sonnen got a title shot with no wins in the division off of a loss I think championships lost credibility.
I also think there is a big part of St-Pierre that wants to fight Diaz. It is easy to say Diaz needs a win to get to GSP but there is way too much at stake for that to happen. Let’s face it. The UFC has already tried to put this fight together twice and haven’t been able to pull it off. I think GSP demands this fight behind the scenes and the UFC caves. The only thing that prohibits this fight from happening in May or June is Diaz having issues getting licensed by the commission.
Johny Hendricks has to be in the hunt for a title shot after his fast KO win over Martin Kampmann tonight. The win was one of the most impressive I have ever seen in the UFC. He has a lot of hype right now coming out of UFC 154. Nick Diaz may be bigger on paper but you put a tape together of Hendricks KO’ing a bunch of fighters and I think you could have something there with Hendricks vs. GSP. While I’d rather see Diaz as a fan get the shot, Hendricks certainly deserves it.
Another interesting scenario would be a Hendricks vs. Diaz fight. That would be one hell of an intriguing fight given Hendricks’ KO ability and Diaz’s propensity for throwing a lot of standing strikes. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if that is the way things go if St-Pierre does wind up taking the Silva fight.
Lee McGregor will have a full rundown of UFC 154 right here on the Camel Clutch Blog later in the week with analysis and reaction to all of the big fights. Check back next week for the blog.
Full UFC 154 results and winners…
Georges St-Pierre defeated Carlos Condit via unanimous decision
ohny Hendricks defeated Martin Kampmann via first-round KO
Francis Carmont defeated Tom Lawlor via split decision
Pablo Garza defeated Mark Hominick via unanimous decision
Mark Bocek vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Patrick Cote defeated Alessio Sakara via disqualification
Cyrille Diabate defeated Chad Griggs via submission
Antonio Carvalho defeated Rodrigo Damm via split decision
John Makdessi defeated Sam Stout via unanimous decision
Matthew Riddle defeated John Maguire via unanimous decision
Ivan Menjivar defeated Azamat Gashimov via submission (armbar)
Darren Elkins defeated Steven Siler via unanimous decision
The UFC makes it’s long awaited return to La Belle Province this weekend as it also makes its return to the airwaves of Pay Per View. Live from the Bell Center in Montreal, Quebec, Canada the UFC brings UFC 154 live this Saturday night. Featuring the return of UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre defending his title against Interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit, this card should bring tons of excitement. And with the potential of Anderson Silva being in the building, possibly or possibly not to call out St. Pierre after the bout, this Saturday should hold a lot of intrigue for a number of fight fans.
As usual the UFC has loaded a lot of the preliminary card with local Canadian grown talent and although this card has been criticized for lacking big name value outside of the main event there are a number of bouts that should offer sufficient fireworks for fight fans. In the co-main event of the evening Martin Kampmann will take on Johny Hendricks in a bout that could easily determine the next contender for the UFC Welterweight title. In other main card action Canadian Featherweight fighter Mark Hominick tries to get back on track against Pablo Garza. In Middleweight action Nick Ring takes on Costa Philippou in a bout that could turn into a slugfest quickly. The other main card bout features GSP’s training partner Francis Carmont taking on the always-entertaining Tom Lawlor.
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Steven Siler vs. Darren Elkins
Steven “The Miller Killer” Siler is an American fighter from Anaheim, California. He was a cast member on the final season of The Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV as a member of Team Mayhem Miller. Siler is a member of the Pit Elevated Fight Team, training out of Orem, Utah. At 5’11” with a 70-inch reach Siler is one of the taller fighters in the Featherweight division and he has improved at fighting well at a range, using his height to pepper his opponents from the outside. On the ground he is a talented grappler with strong submissions. Siler holds a career record of 21-9, but has won 16 of his last 18, finishing 15 of those 16 opponents.
Darren Elkins is a talented wrestler from Hobart, Indiana. The 28-year-old is a former state champion wrestler from Portage High School in Indiana. Elkins is a very tough and durable fighter as he proved in his bout against Diego Brandao where he took a hell of a beating in the first round, but stormed back using a wrestling heavy attack to control an exhausted Brandao over the final two rounds. Elkins also holds a notable victory over Bellator Champion Pat Curran. Elkins trains at the Duneland Vale Tudo Gym in Hobart, Indiana. He holds a career record of 14-2, but is a perfect 3-0 inside the UFC since dropping to Featherweight.
Analysis and Prediction: Siler is tall for the division, somewhat lanky and very aggressive on the ground. He’s highly underrated as a grappler and is dangerous in both the striking realm and off of his back. Elkins is a talented wrestler who is durable and tough as he showcased in his bout against Diego Brandao. But still he’s fairly one-dimensional and probably would have lost if Brandao didn’t gas as badly as he did. Siler just fought a talented wrestler in Joey Gambino and Gambino had nothing for him, Elkins is a better fighter, but his style doesn’t match up well against Siler. Steven Siler via Submission in Round One
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Ivan Menjivar vs. Azamat Gashimov
Ivan “The Pride of El Salvador” Menjivar is a Canadian fighter who was born in El Salvador. The 30-year-old is a veteran of MMA, making his professional debut in January of 2001. Menjivar is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who now trains at the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec. Menjivar is a tough fighter who has not been stopped since an early career bout in 2002. Menjivar is a well-rounded fighter and will be fighting on his home court, he may be tough to beat. Menjivar holds a career record of 24-9.
Azamat “Tough Guy” Gashimov is a Russian fighter from Makhachkala, Russia. Gashimov has recently moved stateside and is training out of Greg Jackson’s Camp in New Mexico, but has also spent time at the American Kickboxing Academy in Fairfield, New Jersey. Gashimov will be making his UFC debut and it will also be his first bout outside of Russia or the Ukraine. Gashimov has a pro record of 7-1, but it has been against less than stellar competition.
Analysis and Prediction: Basically, Gashimov breaks all of my rules for predicting fighters to win. He’s a sizeable underdog, he’s making his UFC debut, it’s his first fight in North America and he’s basically fought nobody of note. He’s got a background in Combat Sambo, which has proven to be an excellent starting ground for MMA, but he’s overmatched here in almost any way I can think of. Depending on how tough he is, he might make round three, but I can’t imagine he wins. Ivan Menjivar via TKO in Round Three
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Matthew Riddle vs. John Maguire
Matthew “Deep Waters” Riddle is an American fighter from Allentown, Pennsylvania. The 26-year-old is a wrestler who made his debut on the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. He holds the rare feat of having all of his professional bouts inside the UFC’s octagon. Although he is a talented wrestler with good top control, Riddle sometimes favors the striking game where he is oftentimes at a disadvantage. Riddle is a member of the Throwdown Training Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. He holds a career record of 6-1 with 1 No Contest.
John “The One” Maguire is an English fighter from Peterborough, England. The 29-year-old is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Maguire is a submission specialist who has won 10 of his 18 career bouts via submission. At 5’9” Maguire will be at a somewhat significant size disadvantage come fight night. Maguire is a member of the Tsunami Gym in Cambridge, England. Maguire has fought for a number of major European MMA promotions including Ultimate Challenge MMA, Cage Rage and BAMMA. He holds a career record of 18-4.
Prediction and Analysis: Maguire is a talented grappler, but he was most recently dispatched by John Hathaway. Riddle is a more talented wrestler than Hathaway and is massive for a Welterweight fighter. He’s been prone to stupidity and getting into brawls in the past, but against Maguire he actually might be the better striker and I don’t think Maguire can submit him from the bottom. Riddle takes a decision. Matt Riddle via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Antonio Carvalho vs. Rodrigo Damm
Antonio “Pato” Carvalho is a Canadian fighter from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The 33-year-old has been competing in MMA since 2002 and has competed for a number of promotions like Shooto, TKO, MFC and Warrior-1 MMA. Carvalho has been training in martial arts for a number of years and holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a black belt in Shotokan Karate and a green belt in Judo. He is a member of the Brazilian Top Team Canada and Abe Ani Combat Club training out of Oshawa, Ontario. He holds a career record of 14-5.
Rodrigo Damm is a 32-year-old Brazilian fighter from Vila Velha, Brazil. He has fought for a number of major MMA promotions throughout his career including World Victory Road, Jungle Fight, BODOG Fight, Shooto and Strikeforce. He made his UFC debut by appearing on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Like many Brazilian fighters he holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and does his best work in the grappling department. He is a member of the Alliance Jiu Jitsu team training out of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He holds a career record of 10-5.
Prediction and Analysis: Damm has been around the block when it comes to big fight experience, but Carvalho is no slouch either. Damm is a talented grappler and a decent striker, but he’s not physically imposing and he’s not really an excellent wrestler. Carvalho isn’t a great grappler, but his striking is lights out and he is able to counter really effectively. If Damm can keep spamming takedowns than Carvalho might not be able to stay off of his back. But the more likely scenario is that he eats a couple of punches coming in and gets rocked. Antonio Carvalho via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Sam Stout vs. John Makdessi
Sam “Hands of Stone” Stout is a Canadian fighter from London, Ontario, Canada. The 28-year-old is a former student of the late Shawn Tompkins, training out of the Team Tompkins Gym in his hometown of London, Ontario. Stout is a talented striker who is a former professional kick boxer, he is also known for having a very strong chin, as he has never been knocked out in his MMA career. In his last fight he showed off a new wrinkle in his game by using takedowns and top control to outwork Spencer Fisher. Stout holds a career record of 18-7-1.
John “The Bull” Makdessi is a 27-year-old Canadian fighter from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is a kickboxing and karate based fighter who does his best work in the striking realm. Makdessi is a member of the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec but also trains at his own facility at the Team Bull Gym in Laval, Quebec. Makdessi owns a black belt in Shotokan Karate and has a background in Tae Kwan Do as well. Despite being a talented striker he has struggled in the past by being far too passive, looking to counter instead of pressuring his opponents. He holds a career record of 9-2.
Prediction and Analysis: Makdessi has had two major weaknesses in his career so far; tentativeness and his ground game. Stout despite his nickname might not have the most power in his punches, but he’s a solid kick boxer who can put combinations together well and pressure opponents. He’s also shown an ability to use his wrestling effectively, as he did in his bout against Spencer Fisher. If Stout comes in with a smart game plan, there’s no reason he doesn’t take a decision victory. Sam Stout via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Mark Bocek vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Mark Bocek is a Canadian fighter from Toronto, Ontario. Bocek is a talented grappler who is known as one of the top grapplers from Canada. Bocek is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and also holds a black belt in Kempo Bocek is an enormous talent on the mat, but his striking skills are not as far along as his ground skills and he has struggled in the past against strikers who are able to fend off his takedowns. Bocek is a Jiu Jitsu coach at the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec. He holds a career record of 11-4.
Rafael dos Anjos is a Brazilian fighter from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Dos Anjos is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, who has also made great strides in improving his striking skills. He has improved Muay Thai skills and possesses big power in his hands. In his last bout he showcased his improved striking skills as he outworked talented kick boxer Anthony Njokuani for a Unanimous Decision victory. Dos Anjos is a member of the Evolve MMA Gym in Brazil and Singapore. He holds a career record of 17-6.
Prediction and Analysis: Bocek is a talented grappler, but his offensive wrestling skills aren’t the greatest. He gets takedowns more so through technique than raw strength. His striking skills are also a little bit below par. Dos Anjos has been improving his wrestling skills as of late and is far and above a better striker than Bocek. I think dos Anjos should be able to keep the bout standing long enough to land a big shot and ruin Bock’s night. Rafael dos Anjos via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (FX): Light Heavyweight Bout: Cyrille Diabate vs. Chad Griggs
Cyrille “The Snake” Diabate is a French fighter from La Celle-Saint-Cloud, France. He is a former professional kick boxer who compiled a professional kickboxing record of 41-8-2. At 6’6” he is one of the biggest Light Heavyweights in the UFC. The 39-year-old has been competing in combat sports for almost half his life. With an 81.5-inch reach he is one the lankiest strikers in the UFC and is excellent at using his range well. He trains with his own striking team, The Snake Team, as well as spending time at the Team Quest Gym in California. Diabate holds a career record of 18-8-1.
Chad “The Gravedigger” Griggs is an American fighter from Tucson, Arizona. Griggs is best known for his Strikeforce career where he upset former WWE superstar Bobby Lashley and highly hyped prospect Gian Villante at Heavyweight. He’s also well known for his excellent muttonchops sideburns. Griggs is a decent grinder who does his best work at close distance. He’s also extremely durable as he showcased in the bout against Lashley. Griggs in addition to being a fighter works as a fulltime fire fighter and paramedic in his hometown of Tucson. He holds a career record of 11-2.
Prediction and Analysis: I feel like I’m picking a bit against the pack here, but I like Griggs in this fight. Diabate is a talented striker who is tall and uses his range well. However, he’s pretty poor on the ground and although Griggs isn’t the most talented grappler, he’s a grinder who can make the fight ugly. He’s going to have to get inside quickly and use a couple of takedowns to win some points against the Frenchman. If he can get inside and get the bout to the ground consistently, I think he can score a decision win. Chad Griggs via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Middleweight Bout: Patrick Cote vs. Alessio Sakara
Patrick “The Predator” Cote is a Canadian fighter from Rimouski, Quebec. He is a former TKO Middleweight champion. Cote spent time in the Canadian armed forces, where he learned to box. He then learned kickboxing and wrestling in addition to compliment his martial arts background. Cote is a member of the Tristar Gym in Montreal but also trains with BTT Canada and trains his Muay Thai at Sityodong Boston. Cote is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu although he rarely uses his grappling skills and prefers to stand and trade on the feet. Cote holds a professional MMA record of 17-8 with 8 wins coming by way of knockout.
Alessio “Legionarius” Sakara is an Italian fighter from Rome, Italy. The 31-year-old is a former professional boxer, who compiled an 8-1 record in that sport. He is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu formerly training under Ricardo Almeida, but like Cote prefers to settle bouts with his fists. Sakara is an excellent striker, he puts combinations together well and can mix it up when he needs to. His biggest problem as of late has been his chin, as he’s been finished a number of times in his career and has been rocked in nearly every bout since 2009. He now trains with the American Top Team in Florida. Sakara holds a professional MMA record of 15-9 with 1 No Contest.
Analysis and Prediction: Sakara is a talented striker but he’s been betrayed by his chin more often than not. Cote is definitely not going very far during his current UFC tenure but he likely has the power to touch Sakara’s chin and put it to the test. Cote was soundly outworked in his last bout against Cung Le and Sakara can probably employ a similar game plan. The question is always whether or not he can do it without getting knocked out in the process. Really, I think Cote probably wins this one, and it might even be his last win in the UFC. Patrick Cote via KO in Round One
Main Card (Pay Per View): Featherweight Bout: Mark Hominick vs. Pablo Garza
Mark “The Machine” Hominick is a Canadian fighter from Thamesford, Ontario. The 30-year-old is a training partner of Sam Stout and is a former pupil of the late Shawn Tompkins. He is a member of the Adrenaline Training Center/Team Tompkins Gym in London, Ontario. Hominick was a former UFC Featherweight title contender, but has fallen on hard times and has lost three straight bouts, he very well could be fighting for his job on Saturday night. Hominick is a talented kick boxer who puts his combinations together well, unfortunately in his last couple of bouts, we haven’t seen much of that. Hominick holds a career record of 20-11.
Pablo “The Scarecrow” Garza is an American fighter from Fargo, North Dakota. The 29-year-old is a former cast member of the twelfth season of The Ultimate Fighter, though he failed to gain entry into the house after losing his elimination bout against Michael Johnson. Garza is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is a decent grappler, but has been controlled by strong wrestlers in the past. Though his Muay Thai striking skills are continuing to improve, he still does his best work on the mat where he has secured 7 Submission victories in the past. Garza trains out of the Academy of Combat Arts in Fargo as well as The Academy in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. He holds a career record of 11-3.
Prediction and Analysis: It’s been a pretty long fall for Hominick since he fought for the UFC Featherweight title and this basically seems like a fight designed to get him back on track. Although his bouts against Eddie Yagin and Chan Sung Jung were supposed to do the same thing, Garza doesn’t have the wrestling to take him down and his striking is definitely a few steps below that of Hominick. Unless Hominick gets reckless and goes to the ground with Garza for some reason, he should be able to out strike him on the feet en-route to a decision. Mark Hominick via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Nick Ring vs. Costa Philippou
Nick “The Promise” Ring is a Canadian fighter from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Ring is a 33-year-old who is best known for his being a cast member of the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. After a strong start on the show, he was eventually forced to withdraw due to a knee injury. He trains at the BDB Martial Arts Gym in Calgary as well as the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec. Ring is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a decent Muay Thai striker whose best skill is arguably his ability to earn close decisions from judges, even though he may not always be the clear victor. He has had success in the octagon however, and sports a 13-1 professional record.
Constantinos “Costa” Philippou is a Greek Cypriot fighter who now lives in New York, New York. The 32-year-old is a member of the Serra-Longo fight team in New York, training under former Welterweight Champion Matt Serra. Philippou is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but his real strength lies in his boxing skills. Like his opponent for this bout, he was a cast member on the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter, however Philippou never made it into the house as he lost his elimination bout. Philippou is a talented striker, with big power in his hands, but at times he’s too focused on pure boxing instead of mixing it up with a variety of kicks and takedown attempts. Still he’s found recent success and is on a three-bout winning streak, he holds a career record of 11-2.
Prediction and Analysis: Ring is a grinder and he’s the kind of fighter who could easily give Philippou fits, but the man from New York has been on a tear as of late. Ring also has a strange way of mesmerizing judges into giving him decisions that he doesn’t necessarily deserve. Ring will need to keep his feet moving and stay outside the range of Philippou’s strong strikes. I don’t really think he can run for three rounds without getting tagged somewhere along the way. I like Ring, but this might be a tough match up for him. Costa Philippou via TKO in Round Three
Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Francis Carmont vs. Tom Lawlor
Francis “Limitless” Carmont is a French fighter from Saint-Tropez, France. Recently he began spending part of his training at the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. At that gym he has become a training partner of Georges St. Pierre and has become somewhat of a prodigy of the Welterweight champion. He is currently riding an eight-fight winning streak and is 3-0 in the UFC so far. Carmont is a tall athletic fighter who is able to throw knees and kicks both at a distance and in the clinch. Carmont has proven to be a tough match up for anyone in the UFC both on the mat and in the striking realm, but he’s made a few mistakes along the way, but no one has found the ability to make him truly pay for it yet. Carmont holds a career record of 19-7.
“Filthy” Tom Lawlor is an American fighter from Fall River, Massachusetts. The 29 year old was a cast member on eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter. A talented and tough grinder who wrestled for the University of Central Florida before becoming a professional fighter. Lawlor is a member of Team Aggression fighting out of Lauzon MMA in Providence, Rhode Island. Lawlor is best known for his brash personality and highly entertaining ring entrances. He holds a career record of 8-4 with 1 No Contest.
Prediction and Analysis: Carmont is a true talent and he has proven to be a possible Middleweight up-and-comer and Lawlor should prove to be a good litmus test to see where his skills stand. Lawlor is a tough grinder who can use top control and takedowns to control Carmont on the mat. Carmont has the striking and the aggressive submission game that could carry him to victory, but he’s been prone to a few mental lapses in the past. If Carmont is smart and avoids taking any unnecessary risks, he should be able to stop Lawlor. Francis Carmont via TKO in Round Two
Main Card (Pay Per View): Welterweight Bout: Martin Kampmann vs. Johny Hendricks
Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann is a Danish fighter from Aarhus, Denmark. Kampmann is a member of the Xtreme Couture Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a talented kick boxer who also holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and can be dangerous wherever the fight goes. Despite being overwhelmed and on the verge of defeat in his last two bouts, Kampmann somehow found a way to storm back and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. His durability and ability to pull out those hail-mary victories are one of the Dane’s strongest traits. Kampmann has a career record of 20-5, although his most recent two losses to Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez via Decision were highly controversial.
Johnny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks is an American fighter from Ada, Oklahoma. The 29-year-old is a former NCAA All-American wrestler from Oklahoma State University. During his high school wrestling career he also won three Oklahoma State titles. Hendricks is a member of Team Takedown training out of Dallas, Texas. He has been rapidly improving his striking skills and recent victories over Josh Koscheck (decision) and Jon Fitch (knockout) have showcased that improved striking. Still Hendricks is at heart a wrestler and does his best work when he uses takedowns and top control to control his opponents. He holds a career record of 13-1.
Analysis and Prediction: A lot of people are very high on Johny Hendricks, but I’m not completely sold. His bouts against Mike Pierce and Josh Koscheck were extremely close split decisions, and I actually think Koscheck won their bout. His KO against Fitch doesn’t say a whole lot, since it ended before it even really got started. But these two are former training partners and should be slightly familiar with one another since it was Hendricks who is at least partially responsible for helping the Dane to improve his wrestling skills. Hendricks has fallen in love with his hands a bit too much lately and though he might have the power to stop Kampmann if he hits a big shot, I think he’ll be at a disadvantage in the stand up. If he’s not willing to change game plans in mid-fight, this might be another upset in the making. Martin Kampmann via Split Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Welterweight Championship Bout: Georges St. Pierre vs. Carlos Condit
Georges “Rush” St. Pierre is a Canadian fighter from Saint-Isidore, Quebec. GSP is the reigning and defending UFC Welterweight Champion. St. Pierre has a longtime background in martial arts beginning to learn karate at the age of seven. He holds a 3rd dan black belt in Kyokushin karate, a 1st degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a black belt in Gaidojutsu and a black belt in Shidokan. St. Pierre is also a talented wrestler with an explosive double leg takedown. St. Pierre is an excellent boxer, who used to rely heavily on a Muay Thai style, but has more recently switched to more of a straight boxing approach to striking, ever since training heavily with famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach. St. Pierre will be making his first appearance inside the octagon since April 2011 as a torn ACL has kept him on the sidelines for the past year. He holds a career record of 22-2.
Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit is an American fighter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Condit is a former WEC Welterweight Champion and is currently the UFC Interim Welterweight Champion. A Muay Thai kick boxer with a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Condit is a dangerous grappler and has a strong striking arsenal. In his last bout against Nick Diaz, Condit completely outworked Diaz using a boxing game plan with strong footwork to take a unanimous decision. Condit is a member of Greg Jackson’s MMA in his hometown, training under the tutelage of head coach Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn. Condit holds a career record of 28-5, including 26 victories via stoppage.
Prediction and Analysis: It’s hard to make a lot of assumptions about this fight. St. Pierre hasn’t fought in over a year, but the layoff has been nearly as long for Condit who hasn’t fought since defeating Nick Diaz. In that bout Condit used an excellent game plan and strong footwork and boxing to outwork Diaz all the way to a decision victory. However, he has struggled against controlling wrestlers who are able to take him down and control him on the mat, nullifying his aggressive submission game.
Before the injury, GSP was a top three pound for pound fighter. It’s hard to say what version of St. Pierre is going to be in the cage on Saturday night. He’s a talented kick boxer with great takedowns, but he relies a lot on timing and the explosiveness behind his shots. To compare his injury to other sports, many star Running Backs in the NFL are never the same again after surgeries like the one GSP just underwent. If that surgery has slowed his speed or agility, he might not be the same fighter that was once feared and respected in the Welterweight division.
As former training partners, these two are likely going to be very familiar with one another. However, coach Greg Jackson removed himself completely from the bout, so it will be interesting to see what assistant coaches like Firas Zahibi and Mike Winkeljohn will have come up with for each of their fighters. GSP is likely going to be trying to take a similar approach to the one he used to use before he was injured. Working his striking behind a solid jab, he’s going to want to close the distance and shoot for takedowns early and often. Condit is an aggressive grappler with a very active guard, so it won’t be enough to just lay in Condit’s guard, he’ll need to be active and careful to avoid getting caught with anything on the mat.
Condit has proven himself to be an excellent striker with great counter punching skills. His ability to punch to the body may also become an integral part of his game plan. He showed a lot of body punches in his bout against Diaz, in addition to his strong footwork. If you remember when Matt Serra shocked the world against GSP, he used a couple of big body punches to make GSP lower his hands before going for the kill shot. It’s unlikely that Condit can outwork GSP for a decision, so if he wants to win he’s got to finish him.
It’s not really a secret that I dislike GSP, and I’m not a big fan of his wrestling based style. His lack of finishing ability has earned him some flack from fans in the past, but he’s promised that he’ll be searching for the finish in this bout. If that’s true, he might leave himself more open to counter punches. Also, if his knee injury has impacted his ability at all, then it’s going to make an upset even more likely. Carlos Condit via KO in Round Three
Full UFC fight card…
Georges St-Pierre vs Carlos Condit
Martin Kampmann vs Johny Hendricks
Francis Carmont vs Tom Lawlor
Nick Ring vs Constantinos Philippou
Mark Hominick vs Pablo Garza
Patrick Cote vs Alessio Sakara
Cyrille Diabate vs Chad Griggs
Mark Bocek vs Rafael Dos Anjos
Sam Stout vs John Makdessi
Antonio Carvalho vs Rodrigo Damm
Matthew Riddle vs John Maguire
Ivan Menjivar vs Azamat Gashimov
Steven Siler vs Darren Elkins
Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen had the improbable task of living up to two years of hype in 25 minutes at UFC 148. Remarkably they did just that in close to 7 minutes of intense action which saw a costly mistake result in a victory for Anderson “The Spider” Silva.
The first round started off where the fifth round left off of their UFC 117 fight. Silva came out looking to stand and Sonnen took him right down. Unlike their first fight, Sonnen was held at bay on the ground by Silva. Silva held Sonnen in the half-guard for the majority of the round, locking up Sonnen’s leg, preventing him from advancing or teeing off. Sonnen eventually got free and got a full mount on the champion in the final minute. Sonnen controlled the action as the round ended. It appeared that this was Sonnen’s fight to lose going into Round 2…or so I thought.
Round 2 started with Silva and Sonnen tied up on the cage. Silva was once again looking to keep it up high but unlike the first round, Sonnen gave in. Silva was pressing the stand up action with his hands down in typical Spider fashion. Instead of going for the takedown, Sonnen played the stand up game and missed a spinning backfist. Anderson made him look like a fool (as he often does when fighters try to stand with him) as the missed spin put him on the ground and cost him the fight. Silva immediately ran in and thrust a brutal knee to Sonnen’s midsection or shoulder depending upon how you saw it. Silva then proceeded to unleash an onslaught of strikes until Yves Lavigne called a stop to the round at 1:55 and awarded the fight to the champion.
Silva’s children rushed into the cage once the fight was over. You could really see how emotional this win was to Anderson and his family watching his children cry as they hugged their father after the fight. It was a great moment and a human moment for a guy that has been more mythical than real in many fan’s eyes.
The post fight was something unexpected. Silva made a remark about he and Sonnen giving fans a show. That was real interesting because I had been tweeting the last few days about how I felt Silva was playing things up as opposed to Chael getting in his head. Silva then invited Sonnen over (Chael looked like he wanted to be anywhere else) as the Brazilian fans booed. Silva told the fans that Brazilians have manners, he shook Sonnen’s hand, and then proceeded to invite him over for a barbecue (referencing a remark that Chael made about coming over and having Silva’s wife cook him a steak). Chael even laughed at that one. It was probably classier than anyone expected coming from a man that just tried to attack Sonnen a day prior at a press conference and threatened to send him home on a stretcher.
This was a tough loss for Chael Sonnen. It was Sonnen who once again cost himself the fight by making a mental mistake. It was evident to me early on that if Sonnen stuck to his game plan and continued to go for takedowns that he could have won a dominant decision for five rounds. Instead, he fell into the trap of either getting overconfident or just having a mental lapse and decided to stand with one of the greatest strikers in MMA history. Making matters worse was that after all of Chael’s talking, it was a missed spinning backfist that put him on his behind which cost him the fight.
The big question people will be asking is if the fight lived up to the hype. It is a hard question to answer. Someone reading about the fight who may not be an MMA fan would probably say no. However, I would have to say that the fight lived up to the fight in that it brought the drama, the intensity, and the surprise ending fans hoped to see coming off their famous first fight. For me, I found this to be two of the most thrilling rounds in UFC history but it all comes down to tastes and expectations. This fight ended much more decisively than their last, giving a rematch little legs to sell to the fans. Additionally, Silva inviting Sonnen over for dinner squashes any perceived animosity the UFC could use to make a rematch.
The future of both men are also in question. At 37 the clock is ticking on Anderson’s career. He has completely cleaned out the division by this point. There isn’t anyone left in the division that can bring much fan interest in a fight with Silva. Silva has dabbled in the light heavyweight division before but he and Jon Jones have both said that they have no interest in fighting each other. Would a Vitor Belfort rematch really sell at this point? A Michael Bisping fight would be fun but the UFC has given The Count plenty of chances to win a title shot and he just can’t pull it off. Hector Lombard maybe? Please do not give me Rich Franklin for a third time.
Chael has opened up the doors for several grudge fights in and out of the division. All of his talk about Brazil certainly opens up grudge matches against Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort, or Lyoto Machida at catchweight. Sonnen is a great talker and as long as he can keep winning, he’ll bring eyes to the television sets. However, another loss would turn Chael into a laughing stock and make him look more foolish than brash with his tough talk and losing record.
Tito Ortiz fought his last UFC fight at UFC 148 as he went down via unanimous decision to Forrest Griffin. It was a very exciting fight that saw the two open up immediately in the first round. Tito got a nice takedown in Round 1 but failed to get any good ground and pound going. Round two saw another back and forth fight but it was obviously that Tito was running out of gas here. Round 3 saw Tito nail Forrest with a punch that knocked Griffin down. Griffin admitted after the fight that he was seeing stars. Unfortunately Ortiz had no gas left in the tank and couldn’t follow up. Both fighters ended swinging although both were out of gas.
The real fireworks erupted after the fight with a real bizarre scene. Griffin ran immediately out of the octagon like what he did after losing to Anderson Silva. Dana White chased him down and Griffin came into the octagon. He then grabbed the microphone and started interviewing Tito. Tito looked annoyed and Griffin took a pot shot during the interview when he asked Tito about getting tired. It was an odd moment and a bit classless if you ask me considering it was Ortiz’s final fight. Griffin then talked to Rogan and was again flippant and arrogant. I am not sure why this guy is so well liked by the fans because it is obvious he is more arrogant than just about anyone I have ever seen fight in the UFC. Griffin tried to give Ortiz his t-shirt but Ortiz blew him off.
Full UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen II results & winners…
Anderson Silva defeated Chael Sonnen via TKO in Round 2
Forrest Griffin defeated Tito Ortiz via unanimous decision
Cung Le defeated Patrick Cote via unanimous decision
Demian Maia defeated Dong Hyun Kim via TKO in Round 1
Chad Mendes defeated Cody McKenzie via TKO in Round 1
Mike Easton defeated Ivan Menjivar via unanimous decision
Melvin Guillard defeated Fabricio Camoes via unanimous decision
Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Gleison Tibau via unanimous decision
Constantinos Philippou defeated Riki Fukuda via unanimous decision
Shane Roller defeated John Alessio via unanimous decision
Rafaello Oliveira defeated Yoislandy Izquierdo via unanimous decision
One of the biggest grudge matches in UFC history goes down this weekend as the UFC returns to the world of Pay Per View for UFC 148.
There have been some notable grudge matches before; Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir, Urijah Faber vs. Dominick Cruz and Rashad Evans vs. Jon Jones all come to mind, but this one may be the biggest of them all as Anderson Silva once again defends his Middleweight title against Chael Sonnen. That championship bout caps off what was once an amazingly stacked card, but has been hampered by injury problems. Still the main card features a number of big names and a few intriguing match-ups and if there’s one thing that we’ve learned in the past, it’s that grudge matches do big business for the UFC anyways.
As mentioned the card is headlined by a UFC Middleweight Title Bout between champion Silva and challenger Sonnen. The Co-Main Event features the trilogy bout between Forrest Griffin and Tito Ortiz in what is supposed to be Ortiz’s final bout before retirement. Middleweights Cung Le and the returning Canadian Patrick Cote battle on the main card, as will the new and improved, slimmer version of Demian Maia as he drops to the Welterweight class for the first time to battle Korean wrestling specialist Dong Hyun Kim. Rounding out the six-bout main card are a pair of bouts featuring the smaller weight classes as Chad Mendes looks to get back into Featherweight title contention with a bout against Cody McKenzie and a potentially explosive Bantamweight bout between Ivan Menjivar and Mike Easton.
Main Card (Pay Per View): Bantamweight Bout: Ivan Menjivar vs. Mike Easton
Ivan “The Pride of El Salvador” Menjivar is a veteran fighter who is a member of the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Menjivar is a talented striker who has a wide variety of strikes that he likes to throw. He’s been fighting professionally since 2001, so there’s a ton of tricks of the trade that he’s seen and there isn’t a whole lot that can surprise him in the stand up game. Menjivar is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but he is a highly capable grappler, despite his not holding a black belt. Menjivar is also very strong in the clinch, where he can employ inside elbows and knees with precision. Against a strong, muscular fighter like Easton, he may struggle at wading into clinches. Menjivar has a career record of 24-8, although it’s important to note that most of his prior fights happened at significantly higher weight classes than his natural 135-pounds.
Mike “The Hulk” Easton is an American fighter from Washington DC. Easton is a very well rounded fighter with a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Easton also has serviceable wrestling skills and his muscular frame allows him to outmuscle most of his opponents at 135-pounds. Easton is a member of Team Alliance, where he trains under coach Lloyd Irvin in Temple Hills, Maryland. Easton’s striking is strong, but he focuses mainly on a boxing approach, throwing combinations with his hands and utilizing a decent jab, but rarely mixing in knees or kicks. Despite being known in the past as somewhat of a brawler with big power, Easton has been patient in the striking department in all of his UFC bouts so far. Easton has big power in his hands and if Menjivar isn’t careful, he may get put to sleep. Easton has a professional record of 12-1.
Analysis and Prediction: The Las Vegas line currently has this bout as a dead even pick ‘em contest and I think the odds makers have it right. This is truly a tough fight to handicap as neither man holds significant edges anywhere the fight goes. Both men are also very well rounded and very tough to finish, which also makes it tough to handicap. Menjivar is probably the more dynamic and more talented fighter, but Easton definitely hits harder and Menjivar has gotten a bit sloppy at times in his past couple of fights. On the ground they are both talented grapplers who excel in scrambles, enough so that their ground skills will probably cancel each other out. In bouts like this, I like to take the guy who is more likely to end up on top if the fight hits the floor. Easton is the physically stronger guy and is the better wrestler, if only slightly better. But that’s enough for me in an extremely close fight. Mike Easton via Split Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Featherweight Bout: Chad Mendes vs. Cody McKenzie
Chad “Money” Mendes is an American fighter from Hanford, California. He is a member of the Team Alpha Male Gym in Sacramento, California. Mendes is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler for the California Polytechnic State University where he was a Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year. Mendes utilizes his wrestling well in his fights, and has been able to control all of his opponents on the ground, save for his last bout against UFC Champion Jose Aldo. He is often criticized for what many fans perceive as a lay and pray style, however, he has been making improvements in his striking game. His wrestling base allows him to often dictate the placement of the fight, and his takedown ability forces his opponents to always be wary of a possible double leg attempt, which gives Mendes the opportunity to open up with his hands more often and with more success. He holds a career record of 11-1, with the lone loss in his last bout to Jose Aldo.
Cody “The AK Kid” McKenzie is an American fighter from Cordova, Alaska. He is best known to casual fans as a former cast-member of The Ultimate Fighter as well as his famed ‘McKenzie-tine’ a Guillotine Choke that has earned him all but one of his career victories. He currently splits his time in training between the Throwdown Training Center in Spokane, Washington and the Cesar Gracie Fight Team in Stockton, California. After going on a two-fight losing skid, McKenzie was able to right the ship in his last bout and earned a stoppage over talented wrestler Marcus LeVesseur, which makes his timing on dropping a weight-class somewhat curious. He holds a career record of 13-2.
Analysis and Prediction: Mendes is returning from losing in a fight for the UFC title, McKenzie is fresh off of a two-fight losing skid and hasn’t looked overly impressive. This seems like a softball for Mendes to get back on track. In McKenzie’s last bout he was controlled on the ground by a strong wrestler in LeVesseur, before his opponent stuck his head and neck right into a waiting choke, LeVesseur though was having success standing and on the ground. Mendes is a more talented wrestler and probably has better striking than LeVesseur does. Maybe McKenzie thinks he’ll be stronger at 145-pounds, but his lanky frame against Mendes’ compact, muscular frame, I still think Mendes is stronger. He dominates standing and on the ground for most of round one, before finishing the fight in round two. Chad Mendes via TKO in Round Two
Main Card (Pay Per View): Welterweight Bout: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Demian Maia
Dong Hyun “The Stun Gun” Kim is a 30-year-old fighter from Suwon, South Korea. He is a strong wrestler, as well as having a black belt in Judo. Kim is also one of the largest Welterweights in the division and is one of the strongest physically. His striking is mostly a work in progress, but he throws a decent jab and mainly uses it to control distance before shooting in for a takedown. Kim has fought for a number of big name Asian promotions like DEEP and Spirit MC, before being signed to the UFC. Kim trains out of the Busan Team M.A.D. in Busan, South Korea. Kim has dealt with cardio issues in the past, but has often credited it to jet lag, but it remains a possible chink in the armor. Kim holds a professional record of 15-1-1 with 1 No Contest.
Demian Maia is a Brazilian fighter and one of the most talented submission grapplers in the world. He is a third degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is a member of the Wand Fight Team in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In his early UFC fights he was mostly a ground specialist, willing to pull guard to take fights to the floor by any means necessary. However, since joining with Wanderlei Silva his striking has improved considerably. He can throw solid combinations and mixes in leg kicks effectively. One of the biggest improvements has also been his footwork, as he looks significantly more comfortable on his feet and this allows him to shoot for takedowns more smoothly than in the past. This will be Maia’s first fight at Welterweight. He holds a professional record of 15-4, but his career losses have all come to elite Middleweight fighters.
Prediction and Analysis: Maia is making solid improvements in his striking, but he has struggled against wrestlers in the past. One needs only to look at his two losses to Chris Weidman and Mark Munoz as examples. I’m weary of fighters who are making their debut in a new weight class and this is no different. Kim is a tough draw for any Welterweight and he’s massive for 170-pounds. Maia surprisingly enough is probably the better striker and he is an extremely dangerous submission artist. However, Kim’s takedowns are relentless and Maia hasn’t shown the ability to stuff very many takedowns in the past. Kim has a background in Judo, so he’s not clueless on the mat, add to that fact he’s often willing to spend a lot of time in top control doing very little and it means there aren’t likely to be very many openings for Maia to capitalize on. This is a tough test for Maia and one that I’m not sure he can pass, in the end there’s just too many factors against him for me to pick the Brazilian. Dong Hyun Kim via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Cung Le vs. Patrick Cote
Cung Le is an American fighter, formerly from Saigon, Vietnam. He is a former professional Sanshou Kick boxer and at 40 years old has begun to branch off into acting in addition to his fighting career. He is a former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion. Le is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California. Le has a black belt in Tae Kwan Do, which combined with his Sanshou background makes him tough to takedown. For those unsure what Sanshou is, it’s a style of kickboxing that also allows takedowns and judo throws, but no ground fighting. Le’s best weapons are definitely his flashy strikes, as he’s able to throw a wide variety of kicks and punches from all kinds of different angles. He has strong takedown defense with good sprawl and has rarely been taken down in his fights, though he’s yet to face an elite ground fighter. This fight is likely no different. Le holds a professional record of 7-2, but is still searching for his first UFC win.
Patrick “The Predator” Cote is a 32-year-old fighter from Rimouski, Quebec, Canada. Cote is a member of the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec and also spends time at the Team Sityodtong Muay Thai Gym in Boston, Massachusetts. Cote is an aggressive striker, who loves to move forward behind looping power punches, however, this sometimes leaves him open to counter punchers. Cote was actually recently released by the UFC in 2010, but has since gone 4-0 in regional MMA to earn a ticket back to the big stage. Cote is actually a replacement fighter for Rich Franklin, who was moved to fight Wanderlei Silva in Brazil at UFC 147. Cote has a strong chin and has never been stopped by strikes in his career. He holds a career record of 17-7.
Analysis and Prediction: This might be a potential candidate for Fight of the Night, mostly depending on how Cote wants to play it. Le is a dangerous striker, but at times his kicks are more flash than actual substance. However, Le is light on his feet and is highly capable of outworking his opponents on the feet, as he showed against Wanderlei Silva. Le has struggled on the mat before and if Cote wants to fight smart, he could probably go searching for takedowns. Cote is by no means an elite wrestler, but he’s strong enough and trains with a number of strong wrestlers, enough so that he could probably get Le to the mat. If Cote chooses to strike with Le, he could still win as he certainly packs a bigger punch and has the chin to withstand some of Le’s big shots, but there’s definitely a safer, easier path to victory for the Canadian. Patrick Cote via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Light Heavyweight Bout: Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz
Forrest Griffin is an American fighter best known as the Light Heavyweight winner of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Griffin is also a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Griffin trains out of the Throwdown Training Center as well as the Xtreme Couture Gym, both of which are located in Las Vegas, Nevada. Griffin may not be best known for his skill in the cage, but he can definitely fight. Griffin always comes into bouts well prepared and with a strong game plan. He makes excellent use of leg kicks, as well as a strong jab. Griffin is also an extremely large fighter for Light Heavyweight and usually dwarfs most of his competition come fight night. Griffin holds a professional record of 18-7.
Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy/The People’s Champ” Ortiz is an American fighter from Santa Ana, California. Ortiz has stated that this is likely going to be his last professional fight before retirement and the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion will actually be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame before this bout. Ortiz is the founder of Team Punishment in Big Bear, California where he regularly trains for his bouts. Ortiz was once one of the most dominant ground and pound fighters in the world, but his better days are certainly behind him. Significant back injuries, neck injuries and a plethora of other ailments brought on by a life of cage fighting has taken most of the explosiveness out of Tito. Despite his past accomplishments, the fact remains that Tito has only one win in his past eight fights. He is not the same fighter he once was, but will likely be looking to leave everything in the cage for his last career fight. He holds a professional MMA record of 16-10-1.
Analysis and Prediction: A lot of people are talking about this being Ortiz’s swan song and how he is likely to put it all on the line to try and win his last fight and that is a valid argument. However, his poor record shows itself, he’s been knocked out in his last two fights and while I don’t think Forrest is at the same level of either of those two fighters, I’m sure he’s at least watched the tapes of those fights and has gathered some notes. I’m willing to forgive Griffin’s poor performance in his last bout against Mauricio Rua, because his wife was going into labor and he was clearly distracted, but Griffin seems to be fading away from the fight game as he grows older. Griffin should be able to shrug off most of Ortiz’s takedown attempts and Griffin has the better striking. Griffin has also surely seen how susceptible Ortiz is to body attacks in his most recent bouts and I would be surprised if he didn’t employ similar tactics.
Editor’s Note: Silva vs. Sonnen will have its own blog coming soon.