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UFC 161 Evans vs. Henderson Results and Wrap Up

June 17, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Another weekend has come and gone, and with it, the UFC has had its first successful show in yet another new market. This past Saturday night, the UFC held their first ever event in the Canadian province of Manitoba, holding UFC 161 on Pay Per View live from the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Although some fans complained about a lack of big name value, or high-profile fights on the card (both very legitimate complaints after the cancellation of the planned main event; an Interim Bantamweight Championship bout between Eddie Wineland and Renan Barao) the event did deliver some fireworks and it also helped to raise the stock of a few fighters, while it sent the stock of some other fighters plummeting. Let’s recap the card and take a look at what’s next for the main carders.

Heavyweight Bout: Shawn Jordan defeated Pat Barry via TKO (Punches) at 0:59 of Round One

At just under a minute, this bout didn’t last too long. Everyone figured these two bangers would put on an exciting show and they definitely got the night started on the right foot. After feeling each other out quickly, Jordan landed a right uppercut that immediately had Barry wobbled. Jordan blitzed his opponent and earned a swift TKO moments later with follow up punches on the mat.

What’s next for Jordan? He’s got a couple wins in a row now and he deserves to take a step up in competition after this win. A bout against Todd Duffee makes a lot of sense. They’re both big, tough, hard-hitting sluggers in the Heavyweight division, so it’s a good fight to make from a rankings and entertainment standpoint.

What’s next for Barry? It’s hard to say. He hasn’t looked overly impressive lately, but he always comes to fight and he’s got a pretty big and loyal fan following. My guess is the UFC keeps him around simply to plug him in places where they need a good entertaining Heavyweight slugfest on a card. The loser of the upcoming Brandon Vera and Ben Rothwell fight probably makes the most sense for Barry but he doesn’t have a whole lot of options right now.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Alexis Davis defeated Rosi Sexton via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

It wasn’t the most exciting victory in the world, but Alexis Davis did what she had to do to get the win. In the opening round things were pretty even as both ladies lobbed a lot of leather at each other before the ending exchange where Sexton went after a takedown and Davis went after a triangle choke from her back. Over the next two rounds Davis used her superior grappling skills to control the action on the mat. Despite being taken down by Sexton at times, she was able to sweep and reverse the positions to take top control for the majority of the time. In the end she took a unanimous verdict even though she wasn’t able to earn herself a finish.

What’s next for Davis? It wasn’t a world-beating performance, but she still got the victory which is very important in a division as shallow as the Women’s Bantamweight division is. At the top of the division you have Rousey and Tate and then Cat Zingano when that ends, after that the door seems wide open. There seems to be one upcoming bout that makes the most sense for Davis, Liz Carmouche and UFC newcomer Jessica Andrade will battle at UFC on Fox 8. The winner of that bout is probably in the same position in the pecking order as Davis.

What’s next for Sexton? The UFC isn’t going to build a division around her, so she’s going to have to leave the UFC or keep fighting ten pounds heavier than she should be. If she chooses to stay in the UFC she should welcome a newcomer or she should face Sheila Gaff who recently lost to Sara McMann in the UFC.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Ryan Jimmo defeated Igor Pokrajac via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

Before making his UFC debut, Jimmo was hated on by a number of fans and media members for being a “boring fighter.” A couple of slugfests in his first two UFC bouts and everyone seemed to forget that. On Saturday night, he gave everyone a reminder of why he was so hated heading into his UFC debut. The crowd booed through most portions of this action light contest and I would recommend you avoid watching this on replay unless you enjoy clinch-heavy, action-light bouts. At the end of the day, Jimmo earned a pretty decisive victory, but impressed very few people by doing so.

What’s next for Jimmo? It’s hard to say, since he’s in a weird position rankings wise. His two UFC victories are over weaker competition and he got blasted the first time he took a step up in competition. I think the UFC should simply put him to the test to see what he can do against an upper-tier fighter. The two names I’ve heard tossed around I think both make excellent since. Thiago Silva could make an exciting fight if he can pressure Jimmo into a striking battle, or Robert Drysdale, the BJJ expert set to make his UFC debut soon who would force Jimmo to avoid a close-quarters grapple-fest.

What’s next for Pokrajac? Likely some fights in Europe or some organization not named the UFC. He hasn’t looked good and he really doesn’t have a lot of name value. If the UFC keeps him around it will simply be for a bout in Europe during the next foreign card, but I think he’s probably getting the axe.

Heavyweight Bout: Stipe Miocic defeated Roy Nelson via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

Heading into this fight, Roy Nelson was on the last fight of his UFC contract and was hoping to add another stoppage victory to his resume to beef up his bargaining price. Stipe Miocic had other plans. Miocic shored up some of his defensive striking liabilities and used excellent footwork and a strong boxing game to outwork Nelson over three full rounds. Miocic would have finished most Heavyweight fighters, as his onslaught was relentless and actually made Nelson set a UFC record for Significant Strikes absorbed, but Nelson is tough as nails and lasted the entire fifteen minutes, although he wasn’t close to winning at any point.

What’s next for Miocic? Miocic’s stock was sure to rise with an upset victory, but his stock has skyrocketed with the dominating performance he turned in. He reminded everyone why he was such a hot prospect when he entered the UFC. He’ll get a big match up in his next bout for certain, as the Heavyweight division is thin on contenders. Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione have an upcoming bout at UFC on Fox 8, and the winner of that bout has the kind of name value that the UFC will be looking to pit Miocic against.

What’s next for Nelson? He gambled big and it didn’t pay off. He doesn’t have a UFC contract anymore, and he’s going to have a hard time asking for a ton more money from the UFC after getting dominated. Still, he’s a fan favorite who is good to knock someone out, or get beat up standing for fifteen exciting minutes, so I doubt the UFC will let him walk away. There’s not a lot of great match ups for Nelson, but let him face off against Mark Hunt. It’ll probably be an exciting brawl, so why not give the fans something they actually want to see?

Light Heavyweight Bout: Rashad Evans defeated Dan Henderson via Split Decision after Three Rounds

Evans battled back from a tough first round to edge a Split Decision in front of a very hostile crowd. In the first round Henderson landed a jab and a follow up punch sent Evans to the ground and Henderson swarmed. Still Evans was able to survive the first. In the second and third, Evans crowded up against Henderson and made him fight from the clinch, not giving Henderson any room to roll off the big overhand right. Evans was the quicker fighter from outside, landing good combinations, in a solid winning effort. It was a split decision, but most people myself included had a pretty reasonable 2 rounds to 1 victory for Evans.

What’s next for Evans? With the win, he shook off the notion he wanted to head to Middleweight, which I think is a mistake. Evans is simply not a very big Light Heavyweight (although he looked a little bit bulked up for this bout.) He would have a decided size advantage over many Middleweights, and he’s got the name recognition to get a title shot after only a couple of wins. I really think his management and coaches should advise him to try the cut anyways even with the victory. If he goes to Middleweight he has a number of potential matches. If he stays at 205-pounds, there is only one that makes sense; Glover Teixeira.

What’s next for Henderson? With his age and this loss, his chances of vying for a UFC title are probably long gone. Still, he’s probably not retiring and is more of a stand-up fighter than anything else nowadays, so the UFC will keep him around. The UFC should really just be using Henderson in dynasty fights from now on, since he’s willing to scrap just about anyone, any time and he’s still a good litmus test for where a fighter stands in the division. He’s had two memorable bouts against Wanderlei Silva in Japan, why not let them have a rubber match in the UFC? Makes good sense to me.

GSP – The Way of the Fight Book

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Chael Sonnen Says He and Henderson Set Up Jon Jones

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

UFC 151 is the story that just won’t seem to go away. The infamous show fell through when Jon Jones refused to fight Chael Sonnen on short notice. Most criticized Jones but a new revelation by the American Gangster may change some opinions.

The beauty of Chael getting a weekly slot on UFC Tonight is that you just never know what he is going to say. Likely by design, Chael has been kind enough to offer up a juicy quote at least once a week on the Fuel TV UFC magazine show. His newest though is likely to open up some old wounds.

Jon Jones is still having a hard time winning fans months after refusing to defend the UFC light heavyweight title with short notice against Sonnen. Critics, including UFC president Dana White felt that Jones would have been had a massive advantage over Sonnen since Sonnen had not even been in camp. Jones’ team felt otherwise and accused Sonnen and Henderson of a conspiracy. Greg Jackson felt that Sonen had indeed been in camp and had been working with Hendo secretly to prepare for the fight well before Henderson officially withdrew. A new revelation from Sonnen supports that theory.

You know, it really got put together through Little Nog’s cowardice,” Sonnen said. “I’ve been training for Shogun for a while. I knew this was going to happen. This kind of reminds me of the time me and Dan Henderson set up Jon Jones on eight days’ notice.

Sonnen then turned to the camera and said, “he finally admitted it.

The one thing you have to always keep in mind with Chael is whether he is toying around with the media or if he is really telling the truth. If he is telling the truth, that would make his manager Mike Roberts a liar. Roberts was adamant back in September that Chael had not been in camp and would be coming into the fight with only one-week of training.

Everybody’s saying that Chael knew about Dan being hurt, that’s why he was talking about Jon (Jones). No, Chael was talking about Jon because Jon is the 205-pound champion and that is where Chael is shooting for; that’s who he wants to fight.”

Does it make you feel any different about Jones refusing the fight? I am going to guess that it does nothing to change the opinion of Dana White. I have always felt that Jones was getting much more blame about the show falling apart than he deserved. Knowing that he was being set up is just more reason to leave it alone and bury the incident once and for all.

If and this is a big if Chael is telling the truth, it is disappointing that nobody in the media ever picked up on this story. The same media that were brutalizing Jones for refusing the fight either didn’t do enough investigative work or were sworn to secrecy by Sonnen’s camp. Either way I wonder what the questions at that infamous conference call would have sounded like if someone in the media were able to corroborate the accusations from Jones’ camp.

GSP – The Way of the Fight Book

Anderson Silva – MMA Instruction Manual: The Muay Thai Clinch, Takedowns, Takedown Defense, and Ground Fighting

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UFC 2013 Spring/Summer Events Preview

April 18, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

As the UFC schedule continues to roll along at breakneck speeds, MMA fans should be gearing up for an action-packed Spring-Early summer schedule as the world’s leading promotion has a number of events scheduled over the next few months. In this blog we’ll take a look at a schedule of the upcoming cards and highlight the fighters and fights to watch out for. Before we get started, I should point out the usual UFC disclaimer that all fight cards are scheduled to change, and if the past is any indication, there could be a number of these cards shuffled, main events scrapped or changed as fighters become injured.

APRIL

Event: UFC on Fox 7: Henderson vs. Melendez

Date: April 20, 2013

Venue: HP Pavilion in San Jose, California

The first stop on our preview takes us to the Sunshine State of California where Benson Henderson will once again defend his UFC Lightweight title on free television. He’ll welcome Striekforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez to the UFC in a match between two champions. The co-main event will see debut of Heavyweight star Daniel Cormier as he makes his UFC debut by taking on former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir. A lightweight scrap that seems destined for Fight of the Night honors is also on tap as Nate Diaz battles Strikeforce import Josh Thompson. Recently debuted Jordan Mein fresh off his impressive stoppage of Dan Miller at UFC 158 replaces injured Dan Hardy to take on the surging Matt Brown.

CARD GOES HERE

Fight of the Night Award Projection: Nate Diaz vs. Josh Thompson or Joseph Benavidez vs. Darren Uyenoyama

Event: UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen

Date: April 27, 2013

Venue: Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey

Grudge match? Says who? If you watched the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter you certainly wouldn’t think that these two men were bitter rivals preparing for a huge battle against each other. While I’m sure the UFC was banking on fireworks and trash talk, Jones and Sonnen remained mostly courteous and calm when dealing with each other during the show. Trash talk will certainly ramp up as the show ends and Sonnen goes into full on promotion mode. The co-main event of the evening features another grudge match as Middleweight sluggers Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher are set to square off. Also featured on the main Pay Per View card is a Heavyweight fight between Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo, a Light Heavyweight bout between Phil Davis and Vinny Magalhaes and a Lightweight bout between Jim Miller and Pat Healy.

CARD GOES HERE

Fight of the Night Award Projection: Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher or Erik Perez vs. Johnny Bedford

MAY

Event: UFC on FX 8: Belfort vs. Rockhold

Date: May 18, 2013

Venue: Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil

The UFC returns to one of it’s new favorite destinations as they head to Brazil for yet another summer card on FX. The main event is a highly intriguing bout between Brazilian MMA pioneer Vitor Belfort and the final Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold. Both men are well known for their striking prowess, so I would expect that the majority of this bout will take place on the feet, at least until someone gets knocked out. The co-main event of the evening features 2 more rising stars in the Middleweight division as Constantios Philippou looks to continue his winning streak against debuting Strikeforce veteran Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza. That bout will certainly be an interesting styles-clash pitting the powerful boxing of Philippou against the top-level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu of Souza. Other main card bouts include Rafael dos Anjos vs. Evan Dunham in a potential Lightweight thriller and Chris Camozzi battling Rafael Natal in Middleweight action.

CARD GOES HERE

Fight of the Night Award Projection: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Evan Dunham or Vitor Belfort vs. Luke Rockhold

Event: UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2

Date: May 25, 2013

Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada

Heavyweight action is on the docket for the UFC’s return to Las Vegas. Although the main event is a rematch that no one was really asking for, it’s nice to see a title bout where the challenger actually earns his shot. Something that Antonio Silva did by smashing former number one contender Alistair Overeem. Speaking of Overeem he was expected to battle Junior dos Santos in a Heavyweight grudge match in the co-main event, but an injury to him has seen him replaced by former K-1 kickboxer Mark Hunt. Other main card action sees Glover Teixeira trying to continue his run up the Light Heavyweight rankings as he battles hard-hitting James Te-Huna. A pair of Lightweight bouts round off the main card in what could both be potential Fight of the Night award winners. First off Donald Cerrone battles Strikeforce import KJ Noons in a battle between two guys who love to stand and trade. The second is a bout between fringe contenders in the Lightweight division TJ Grant and Gray Maynard.

CARD GOES HERE

Fight of the Night Award Prediction: Donald Cerrone vs. KJ Noons or Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Abel Trujillo

JUNE

Event: UFC on Fuel TV 10: Nogueira vs. Werdum

Date: June 8, 2013

Venue: Paulo Sarasate Arena in Fortaleza, Brazil

This event will serve as the finale for the second season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Head coaches for the season are Heavyweights Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum, those two men will square off in the main event with a potential title shot likely looming for the victor. The card will feature the finals of the Welterweight season of the show. Other main card bouts scheduled for the show include Light Heavyweights Thiago Silva taking on former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Rafael Cavalcante and Welterweight young guns Erick Silva and John Hathaway.

CARD GOES HERE

Fight of the Night Award Projection: Erick Silva vs. John Hathaway or Thiago Silva vs. Rafael Cavalcante

Event: UFC 161: Barao vs. Wineland

Date: June 15, 2013

Venue: MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The UFC makes its debut in Winnipeg as they head to the MTS Centre, the home of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. The card features a main event for the UFC’s Interim Bantamweight Championship as Renan Barao defends his title against former WEC Bantamweight Champion Eddie Wineland. A throwback to the golden days of PRIDE is also planned for the co-main event as Mauricio Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira rematch in Light Heavyweight action. Former Light Heavyweight Champions do battle when Rashad Evans battles Dan Henderson. A women’s Bantamweight bout will open the Pay Per View event as Rosi Sexton battles Alexis Davis. Heavyweight action rounds out the main PPV card as Pat Barry battles Shawn Jordan.

CARD GOES HERE

Fight of the Night Award Projection: Mauricio Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira or Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland

JULY & BEYOND

Event: UFC 162: Silva vs. Weidman

Date: July 6, 2013

Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Spider finally returns to the octagon, as Anderson Silva is set to defend his Middleweight title in the main event against undefeated challenger Chris Weidman. Weidman is an interesting style match up for the champion and that combined with his undefeated professional record has many people interested in this bout. The co-main event of the night has fireworks written all over it as top Featherweight contenders Chan Sung Jung and Ricardo Lamas do battle for a shot at the UFC Featherweight Championship. Middleweight scrappers Mark Munoz and Tim Boetsch will look to get their octagon careers back on the right track against one another. More top Featherweight contenders will be in action as Frankie Edgar looks for his first victory in his new weightclass when he battled Charles Oliveira. In the opening bout of the Pay Per View Featherweight sluggers Cub Swanson and Dennis Siver will lock horns.

CARD GOES HERE

Fight of the Night Award Projection: There are just way too many on this card. Without exception all of the fights on the PPV card could be potential Fight of the Night candidates, some of them maybe even Fight of the Year candidates. Since that’s a bit of a cop out, I’ll take Siver vs. Swanson as my pick.

Event: UFC on Fox 8

Date: July 27, 2013

Venue: Key Arena in Seattle Washington

Currently the only bout announced for this card is a bout between struggling Lightweights Melvin Guillard and Mac Danzig. I don’t suspect those two will even earn a spot on the Fox card by the time this event fills up, especially with the way the UFC has been stacking these cards recently. I would expect to see a title defended in the main event. The leading contender is probably the Flyweight title, provided that champion Demetrious Johnson can recover from his injury in time.

Event: UFC 163: Aldo vs. Pettis

Date: August 3, 2013

Venue: HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Georges St-Pierre: The Way of the Fight Book

Anderson Silva: Like Water

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Dan Henderson Vs. Rashad Evans Official For UFC 161

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

Medical clearances have been received and the UFC officially announced a big light heavyweight showdown for UFC 161. Former Strikeforce and Pride FC champion Dan Henderson will battle former UFC champion Rashad Evans in Canada on June 15.

This marks what has to be the quickest turnaround for both fighters in quite some time. Both fighters are coming off of big losses in the division and hope to rebound on the big event. The marquee fight will reportedly serve as a co-main event with a headliner expected to be announced soon.

Henderson wasn’t kidding when he said he wanted to get back into the octagon quickly. Henderson is coming off a controversial loss to Lyoto Machida. Personally I think he was robbed but that isn’t going to change anything. Henderson not only lost the fight but lost his place as the number-one contender to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

Rashad Evans is also coming off of a loss, his I think more devastating than Henderson’s. This is a far cry from the proposed super fight he would have gotten with Anderson Silva had he won his last fight. Evans dropped back to back decisions in the division after losing to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a fight where Evans looked lethargic and unmotivated.

As big as this fight is, I can’t get overly excited about it. The styles of Henderson and Evans really don’t make for a great fight. Henderson is fighting a guy who once again doesn’t like to engage. This fight really could be nothing more than Evans dancing his way to a decision. At the same time if Evans comes in with the same attitude as he had in his previous fight, he could get KO’d quickly.

I wouldn’t expect either one of these guys to get cut with a loss, although you never know with Henderson. Evans is a UFC guy for life with more job security than just about anyone. Henderson makes a lot of money and had had his disagreements with UFC president Dana White in the past. I would be surprised but not shocked if he was let go with a loss, especially a KO or TKO.

This marks the second marquee light heavyweight fight on UFC 161. Little Nog will be facing Mauricio Shogun Rua in another light heavyweight showdown in Canada. It is hard to predict who will get the main-event slot. Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman are a possibility, although I keep reading that they won’t be fighting until July. Ronda Rousey is also another name to look for in the top spot on the card.

Confirmed UFC 161 fights…
Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Mauricio Rua
Jake Shields vs. Tyron Woodley
Stipe Miocic vs. Soa Palelei

Anderson Silva: Like Water Documentary

UFC: Ultimate Fight Collection 2012

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Dan Henderson Down For Heavyweight Super Fight

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

UFC veteran and former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson is looking to bounce back quick after a recent loss to Lyoto Machida. Henderson is so desperate for competition that he is willing to move up a weight class for a super fight at heavyweight.

I am a big Henderson fan and this is exactly why. The guy is a warrior. Henderson wants the best competition and he is willing to jump out of the division to do it. Henderson did exactly that shortly before heading back to the UFC when he KO’d the great Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce. Hendo is willing to add a few pounds once again for a shot knocking out the big boys.

Evan Shorman has a great interview with Henderson posted on his Tumblr page. One of the questions Shorman asked Hendo was about taking a super fight at heavyweight. The former champion is interested.

I’d consider fighting anybody. As long as I didn’t have to cut too much weight, I’d pretty much fight anybody. I just want to get back in there as soon as possible. I hated the long layoff. I want to fight any one of the top 5 guys and I know I’m capable of beating them. That’ll keep me right up in there. I’ll take any one of them. I could sit here and b*tch (about the Machida fight), but it doesn’t help anything. I just want to be active and give the fans what they should have seen the other night.

Henderson does mention that a return to 185 pounds is also a possibility. I just don’t see that happening given the UFC’s reluctance to book a rematch with Anderson Silva. There have been rumblings about a fight at light heavyweight with former champion Rashad Evans. I say this as a big Henderson fan but I have zero interest in seeing that fight and I think I speak for a lot of fans. I am certainly not interested in watching Hendo against another guy who won’t engage for three rounds.

Henderson is at a crossroads. At 42 years old he really needs to get a big win in his next fight or he is in trouble. Considering the recent rash of budget cuts it is not inconceivable to see Henderson cut if he was to lose another boring fight (not that I’d credit him with that).

I’d love to see Henderson step up at heavyweight for a big fight, although I’d be the best to tell you that the term super fight really wouldn’t apply. I’d love to see a fight with Henderson vs. Junior Dos Santos or even the world champion. Roy Nelson could also be another fun matchup considering that both have a tendency to engage. Josh Barnett would have been perfect if the UFC was able to sign him.

Henderson’s next fight is arguably the most important of his career. An exciting win against heavyweight competition may be the right way to turn his misfortune around.

Anderson Silva: Like Water Documentary

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UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche Results and Takeaways

February 25, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Do Women really deserve a place in the UFC? Can Ronda Rousey really deliver the goods and headline a major UFC Pay Per View event? The PPV numbers aren’t in yet, but the overwhelming answers to those first questions are emphatic yeses. UFC 157 took place last night from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California and early gate figures are showing that Rousey and women’s MMA pulled over 15,500 people into the Honda Center and created a live gate of $1.4 million.

In the main event of the evening Rousey overcame a slight stumble early on in the fight and escaped the most dangerous moment of her fighting career to notch yet another first round victory via submission. In the co-main event of the evening Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida defeated Dan Henderson in a somewhat lackluster affair to claim another crack at the UFC Light Heavyweight title. Let’s recap what happened on the main card and what’s next for the fighters.

Welterweight Bout: Robbie Lawler defeated Josh Koscheck via TKO (Punches) at 3:57 of Round One

Koscheck’s goal was to take this fight to the ground and given his wrestling prowess and Lawler’s previous struggles against wrestlers it seemed like it was probably the winning strategy. Apparently Lawler learned how to sprawl and brawl as he put on an excellent display of fending off Koscheck’s takedown attempts during this fight. Lawler landed a couple of big punches to a crawling Koscheck and stunned his opponent. Koscheck turtled instead of fighting back and the referee stopped the fight. Some complained that the stoppage was early, but nonetheless Lawler pulled off a big upset.

What’s next for Lawler? Despite beating a former top contender in Koscheck, it’s most likely that the UFC decides to bring Lawler along somewhat slowly. A striker at heart, it’s probably most intriguing if the UFC matches him up with another striker for the most entertainment value. A bout against fellow main card fighter Court McGee could make sense, or a bout between the winner of the upcoming bout between Nate Marquardt and Jake Ellenberger.

What’s next for Koscheck? After his former AKA teammate Jon Fitch got cut last weekend, it’s hard to imagine that Koscheck is going to be able to survive this loss. Like Fitch he is expensive, in fact he makes more per fight than Fitch did and he’s fallen even further down the rankings. If he does somehow survive the next round of cuts then a bout with Erick Silva would make some sense as both men try to rebuild themselves.

Welterweight Bout: Court McGee defeated Josh Neer via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

Court McGee looked mighty impressive in his Welterweight debut. Neer is a talented grinder, but McGee outworked him everywhere that the fight went. McGee out struck Neer all over the fight and dominated him on the ground, coming close to sinking in a couple of submissions but ultimately taking a clear-cut unanimous decision.

What’s next for McGee? He looked mighty impressive in his Welterweight debut. As I mentioned earlier he could be a good match for Robbie Lawler. British wrestler John Hathaway could also be an interesting match up to see how McGee handles another grinding wrestler.

What’s next for Neer? Likely unemployment. Neer has been bounced from the UFC before, but he always seems to make his way back due to his willingness to fight on short notice against almost anyone. I imagine his next fight comes outside the UFC.

Bantamweight Bout: Urijah Faber defeated Ivan Menjivar via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:34 of Round One

Urijah Faber dominated this fight the whole way. Faber is excellent with his takedowns and transitions, and his ability to gain dominant positions from scrambles. Faber’s transition to the back in this fight was very slick and he continues to prove that he can bounce back even after tough losses.

What’s next for Faber? He really needs to fight a top contender, but it’s getting annoying how poorly he’s doing against the champions but continues to knock the top contender’s off their perch and eliminating new title challengers. He’s got to fight another top contender though and give him a chance to knock someone else out of contention. Eddie Wineland is the only one that makes a whole lot of sense right now.

What’s next for Menjivar? A bout with Brian Bowles might make the most sense as they’re the two most recent fighters to lose to Faber. Should Brad Pickett lose to Mike Easton in their upcoming bout at UFC on Fuel TV, then that bout could also be highly entertaining.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Lyoto Machida defeated Dan Henderson via Split Decision after Three Rounds

This fight was light on action, but Machida did what he does best. He stuck and moved and avoided most of Henderson’s power shots while delivering several of his own. Although the crowd disliked a lot of this fight, it’s hard to discount the technical striking game that Machida brings to the table and his ability to avoid taking damage. Unfortunately for Machida, despite being promised a title shot, it could be up for grabs due to the nature of his unimpressive performance.

What’s next for Machida? Likely the winner between Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones. However the split decision nature of this win could leave the door open for someone else to steal that title shot, namely Alexander Gustafsson who has an upcoming bout with Gegard Mousasi and was also promised a title shot with an impressive victory. Either way, Machida will remain close to title contention.

What’s next for Henderson? He already said he wasn’t retiring, so that’s out the window. A potential bout with Rashad Evans could prove to be entertaining but Evans wants a different opponent (Shogun) so the UFC could be going with that. A fan favorite bout between Henderson and Forrest Griffin could deliver an epic knockout.

Women’s Bantamweight Championship Bout: Ronda Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche via Submission (Armbar) at 4:49 of Round One

Rousey had a lot to lose in this bout, as did the UFC, but luckily for them despite a scary moment at the beginning of the fight the fight went exactly as expected. Rousey overcame the most difficult test of her career so far and still snagged another first round armbar. Rousey set herself up for trouble by focusing too much on getting the armbar and not enough on winning the fight, it’s probably something she’ll have to work on going forward.

What’s next for Rousey? Cyborg Santos isn’t happening right now, so as much as Eric wishes it to happen, it’s probably not on the docket. The winner of the upcoming bout between Cat Zingano and Miesha Tate is the most likely candidate.

What’s next for Carmouche? Sara McMann is a former American wrestler who was scheduled to fight Liz Carmouche in Strikeforce in the past before the event was cancelled. With McMann recently signed to the UFC and without a first opponent, this bout still makes a lot of sense.

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UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche Predictions and Preview

February 22, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC delivered another successful free card last weekend on Fuel TV but it’s time for the UFC to head for the record books. The UFC returns to the land of Pay Per View this weekend with UFC 157 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. History will be made in the main event as the event is headlined by the first Women’s MMA bout in UFC history as UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey takes on the UFC’s first openly gay fighter in Liz Carmouche.

The co-main event of the evening features what could certainly be one of the most entertaining Light Heavyweight bouts of the year as Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida takes on Dan Henderson in a bout that could certainly determine the next contender for the UFC Light Heavyweight title. Former WEC poster boy Urijah Faber takes on Ivan Menjivar in Bantamweight action on the main card. Two Welterweight bouts will open the main card as Robbie Lawler returns to the UFC to take on Josh Koscheck in the opening bout. The other bout features Court McGee making his Welterweight debut against the always-tough Josh Neer.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Yuri Villefort

Nah-Shon “The Rock-n-Rolla” Burrell is a 23-year-old fighter who is making his UFC debut after a career in Strikeforce. He trains out of the Fight Firm Gym in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He holds a career record of 8-2. Yuri Villefort is a 21-year-old fighter coming over from Strikeforce. Villefort is a member of the Blackzillians, training at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. Villefort holds a career record of 6-1.

Quick Pick: Nah-Shon Burrell via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Jon Manley vs. Neil Magny

Jon Manley is a 26-year-old fighter from Adams, Massachusetts. Manley is a former cast member from the sixteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He now trains with Team Link in Ludlow, Massachusetts and holds a career record of 7-1. Neil Magny is a 25-year-old fighter from Brooklyn, New York. Like his opponent he fought on the sixteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He is a member of the Torres MMA Gym in Chicago, Illinois training under Miguel Torres. He holds a professional record of 7-1.

Quick Pick: Neil Magny via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Kenny Robertson vs. Brock Jardine

Kenny Robertson is a 29-year-old fighter from East Peoria, Illinois. He trains with the Central Illinois Combat Club in Spring Bay, Illinois. Robertson holds a career record of 11-2. Brock “The Machine” Jardine is a 27-year-old fighter from Fergus, Ontario, Canada. Jardine now resides and trains at the Pit Elevated Fight Team in Orem, Utah. He holds a professional record of 9-2.

Quick Pick: Brock Jardine via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice

Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez is a 26-year-old from Saugerties, New York. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who was a cast member on the fourteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter where he was the runner up. He holds a career record of 9-3. Matt “The Real One” Grice is a 31-year-old fighter from Harrah, Oklahoma. Like his opponent he is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler. Grice trains with the Titan Martial Arts Gym in Oklahoma. He holds a career record of 15-4.

Quick Pick: Dennis Bermudez via Submission in Round Three

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Sam Stout vs. Caros Fodor

Sam “Hands of Stone” Stout is a 28-year-old fighter from London, Ontario, Canada. A UFC veteran and former professional kick boxer, he trains with the Team Tompkins Gym in his hometown. Stout holds a professional MMA record of 18-8-1. Caros “The Future” Fodor is a 29-year-old fighter from Kirkland, Washington. Fodor is a member of the AMC Pankration Gym in Washington training with UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson. He holds a career record of 7-2 and is making his UFC debut after an extended Strikeforce career.

Quick Pick: Sam Stout via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Michael Chiesa vs. Anton Kuivanen

Michael “Maverick” Chiesa is a 25-year-old fighter from Aurora, Colorado. He is best known for his stint on the live season of The Ultimate Fighter where he was the eventual winner of the reality show. He now trains with the Sikjitsu Gym in Spokane, Washington. He holds a perfect professional record of 8-0. Anton Kuivanen is a 28-year-old fighter from Helsinki, Finland. He is a member of Team MMA Finland, but also trains in the USA with American Top Team. He holds a professional record of 17-5.

Quick Pick: Michael Chiesa via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Heavyweight Bout: Brendan Schaub vs. Lavar Johnson

Brendan “The Hybrid” Schaub is a 29-year-old fighter from Aurora, Colorado. He was the runner-up on the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter featuring only Heavyweights. He is a former NFL linebacker and now trains with the Grudge Training Center in Colorado. He holds a professional MMA record of 8-3. Lavar “Big” Johnson is a 35-year-old fighter from Madera, California. A former Strikeforce fighter he came to the UFC in 2012 and quickly racked up two impressive knockout victories. He is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California. He holds a professional MMA record of 17-6.

Quick Pick: Lavar Johnson via TKO in Round One

Main Card (Pay Per View): Welterweight Bout: Josh Koscheck vs. Robbie Lawler

Josh “Kos” Koscheck is a 35-year-old fighter from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Koscheck was a cast member on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and is a former UFC Welterweight title challenger. Koscheck now trains with the Dethrone Base Camp in Fresno, California. Koscheck’s wrestling is his bread and butter game but his striking has improved over his career. He holds a career record of 17-6.

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“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler is a 30-year-old fighter from Davenport, Iowa. Despite being only 30 he has a long and decorated history in the sport of MMA competing as a pro since 2001. He has fought for a number of major MMA promotions including the UFC, Strikeforce, Icon Sport, Pride, Elite XC and the IFL. Lawler is a striker with big power, who has spent the majority of his career at Middleweight, but is dropping to 170-pounds for his return to the UFC. He is a member of the H.I.T. Squad in Granite City, Illinois. He holds a professional record of 19-9 with 1 No Contest.

Analysis and Prediction: Koscheck doesn’t have the greatest chin or the greatest striking defense, as he’s been chin-checked in the past by lesser strikers than Lawler. With that said, Lawler has slowed significantly recently and is likely in the twilight of his career. Lawler is a decent wrestler, but he’s poor at fighting from his back, which is where Koscheck is most likely to put him. Koscheck will likely test his striking against Lawler, but I expect that if he struggles at all he’s going to shoot for a takedown. From there ground and pound will likely set up a submission. Josh Koscheck via Submission in Round One

Main Card (Pay Per View): Welterweight Bout: Court McGee vs. Josh Neer

Court “The Crusher” McGee is a 28-year-old fighter from Layton, Utah. He is best known as the eventual winner of the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. McGee is a true grinder and is well rounded mixing his striking and takedowns. McGee holds a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He trains with The Pit Elevated Fight Team in Orem, Utah. He is making his Welterweight debut after a two fight losing streak in the UFC’s Middleweight division. McGee holds a professional record of 13-3.

Josh “The Dentist” Neer is a 29-year-old fighter from Des Moines, Iowa. He formerly trained under Pat Miletich but now trains with the Cesar Gracie Fight Team in California. Neer holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is a tough, well-rounded fighter with strong takedowns and excellent top control. Despite not yet being 30 years old Neer has been fighting as a pro since 2003 and has over 45 career bouts. Neer holds a career record of 33-12-1, with 29 stoppage victories.

Analysis and Prediction: Both of these fighters are grinders, so this one is likely going to come down to who can impose their will on the other one. Neer has decent cardio, but he has slowed down in the third rounds of fights before, if the other fighter makes him work. Provided McGee doesn’t lose a ton of his cardio with the weight cut, he should be able to push the pace on Neer and wear him down. McGee uses takedowns and top control to take a decision. Court McGee via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Bantamweight Bout: Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar

Urijah “The California Kid” Faber is a 33-year-old fighter from Isla Vista, California. Faber is a former WEC Featherweight Champion, a title that he held for over two years in the WEC. Faber is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from the University of California at Davis. He holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has continually improved his striking throughout his career. Faber is a member of and one of the founders of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. Faber holds a career record of 26-6.

Ivan “The Pride of El Salvador” Menjivar is a 30-year-old fighter from La Paz, El Salvador. He holds the distinction of being Georges St. Pierre’s first career opponent. Menjivar holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and now trains at the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Menjivar is an aggressive grappler who continually seeks submissions on the ground and has 10 career submission victories. Still, as aggressive as his guard is, Menjivar does his best work from top control. Menjivar is a veteran fighter with this being his 35th career bout, he holds a professional record of 25-9.

Analysis and Prediction: This is actually a rematch from Canadian promotion TKO in 2006, which ended in controversy after Menjivar was DQ’ed for landing an illegal kick. Things have changed since then, and Menjivar is probably going to struggle mightily in this bout. There’s not really an area where Menjivar holds the edge over Faber. Faber struggled against Renan Barao in his last bout and was beaten to the punch multiple times, but he’s still technically sound enough to get the better of Menjivar and still packs decent power in his punches. On the ground Menjivar isn’t going to be able to confuse and outwork Faber, who excels in quick scrambles for position and is a smothering wrestler from the top. Faber batters Menjivar, but the El Salvadorian survives to drop a decision. Urijah Faber via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Light Heavyweight Bout: Lyoto Machida vs. Dan Henderson

Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida is a 34-year-old Brazilian fighter from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Machida is one of the top fighters in the Light Heavyweight division and is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Machida is an excellent striker whose unorthodox style confuses and frustrates many of his opponents. Machida is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and also holds a 3rd dan black belt in Shotokan Karate. Machida is a member of the Black House Gym in Brazil training with longtime friends Anderson Silva and the Nogeuira brothers. He holds a professional record of 18-3.

Dan “Hollywood/Hendo” Henderson is a 42-year-old fighter from Downey, California. Henderson was the final Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion and is a former Welterweight and Middleweight Champion in Pride Fighting Championships and is the only fighter to ever hold two titles in two different weight classes at the same time. Henderson is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who represented the USA in Greco-Roman Wrestling at the Olympics. Henderson is a head coach and one of the founding members of the Team Quest Gym. Henderson is best known for his wrestling prowess, his powerful right hand and his iron chin, having never been knocked out in 37 career fights. Henderson holds a career record of 29-8.

Analysis and Prediction: This is probably the most intriguing fight of the night and has the potential to be either a Fight of the Night contender or a snoozer, depending on how things play out. Machida is usually cautious and willing to wait for opportunities in the striking department, but Henderson is a patient striker himself. Henderson has also never been knocked out in his career, so he’s usually willing to take a few punches to look for an opening for the H-Bomb. Machida’s speed advantage is going to be extremely important if he wants to be successful.

One of the other big stories of this fight will be Machida’s willingness to engage. In his bout against Rampage he landed more punches and landed more accurately but he allowed Rampage to be the aggressor and it ended up costing him a decision. With Henderson’s strong Greco-Roman background a similar strategy could be disastrous if Henderson is able to get hold of him and pressure him against the cage. Machida will need to keep himself separated from Henderson and stay away from the power punch.

The likely outcome for this fight is that Machida uses his elusive style to slip and move and stays on his bicycle long enough to stay away from Henderson. The smart money says that Machida takes a decision. But I’ve never hidden my man-crush on Henderson, so I’m taking him via knockout via H-Bomb. WAR HENDO! Dan Henderson via KO in Round Three

Main Card (Pay Per View): Women’s Bantamweight Championship Bout: Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche

“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey is a 26-year-old fighter from Riverside County, California. She is quickly becoming one of the sports most recognizable and popular fighters. She was the final Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion and is the reigning and defending UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Rousey is a talented grappler with a 4th dan black belt in Judo. She is one of the most accomplished Judo practitioners in US history winning a bronze medal in Judo at the 2008 Olympic games. Rousey is a talented grappler who now trains with the Cesar Gracie Fight Team in Santa Monica, California. Rousey holds a perfect professional record of 6-0, with all 6 of her victories coming via first round submissions from arm bars.

Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche is a 29-year-old fighter from Lafayette, Louisiana. Carmouche is a yellow belt in Kenpo Karate and holds a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Carmouche is a former member of the United States Marine Corps and served time overseas. Carmouche is notable for being the UFC’s first openly gay fighter, although that should definitely not overshadow her in-ring accomplishments. Carmouche is a talented grappler who does his best work from top control, but also has been improving her striking. She holds a career record of 8-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Hopefully Carmouche has been doing a whole lot of arm bar defense during his training camp. That’s one of the dangerous things about fighting Rousey right now, while you’re busy making sure she doesn’t arm bar you, she’s training and getting better in every area of the fight game. Carmouche is a decent fighter, but I think she’s likely going to be a step behind no matter where this fight goes. If she’s tentative Rousey will become the aggressor and stalk her down. If Carmouche tries to be the aggressor she risks running into Rousey’s vaunted Judo game and being tossed to the mat where she enters the grappling domain of Rousey and opens her up for the arm bar.

No matter where this fight goes, I don’t think Carmouche stands too much of a chance. Rousey, first round, arm bar. Ronda Rousey via Submission in Round One

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Dan Henderson Is Underappreciated By The UFC

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

You wouldn’t know it but arguably the greatest American fighter in MMA history is fighting at UFC 157. If you listened to Dana White you’d probably think I meant Ronda Rousey. Nope, I am talking about Dan Henderson.

I can’t think of a more underappreciated fighter in recent years by the UFC than Dan Henderson. Henderson is truly at a point where he is a living legend. If you are going to use Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell as the barometer, than Dan Henderson is not only right there with them, he may be the greatest of all time.

There is nobody more poorly promoted in the UFC than Henderson. Henderson’s critics will say he is not a draw and that’s true, he doesn’t have a good track record at the box office. But is that Henderson’s fault or the UFC’s fault? If Hendo was promoted the way Couture and Liddell were promoted, maybe more fans would buy his fights? It is certainly a two-way street and the UFC has never held up their end of the bargain.

Some of you may be reading this and waiting to leave a comment telling me what an idiot I am. That’s fine but let’s look at the facts before you jump to those comments. Henderson has been a successful fighter through three generations of fighting. How many other fighters can say that? Generally the pattern of a good fighter is that either they decline due to age or not evolving with the sport. Henderson has beaten father time and has never had a problem shutting down the new flavor of the month. This man has been a winning fighter through three different decades! Who else can say that?

Dana White loves to promote Ronda Rousey as a former Olympic medalist. Heck he basically said her career was better than Tito Ortiz’s simply due to this alone. Henderson didn’t medal in the Olympics but he got their twice. That is a huge accomplishment! Who else has made that kind of successful transition from the Olympics to MMA? This is not only a great fighter, but one of the greatest athletes ever! Think about it. He has been competing at a high level since the early 1990s if you go back to the Olympic trials.

His achievements in MMA are remarkable. The man has been a dominant fighter in two different divisions. He is the only man to ever hold a belt in Strikeforce and Pride Fighting Championships. He has won tournaments in the UFC and RINGS. The man has also never lost more than two fights in a row. That is unbelievable when you look at the level of competition he has fought in his career.

In action he has consistently been one of the most exciting fighters in MMA. He is always going for the knockout and has pulled out some unbelievable come from behind wins in his career. He has had legendary fights that will be talked about forever by the MMA fans that witnessed them. Maybe even most impressive is that the guy never ran from competition. He has consistently fought the best and to be able to continue as a dominant fighter in his 40s after all of those fights is just simply remarkable.

In recent years he has done nothing but win. The guy has one loss in his last eight fights going back to 2008. He has wins over Fedor Emelianenko, Shogun Rua, Rafael Cavalcante, Michael Bisping, and Rich Franklin which again at his age is something that is truly an accomplishment. Not only does he have wins, but he has also had some of the most exciting fights in history during that time period. Once again, the man is simply remarkable.

Which brings me back to my original point and that is that Dan Henderson is underappreciated, dare I say disrespected by the UFC. Henderson has now had two championship fights which he more than earned taken away from him. Would it have killed the UFC to sit him out for another month and a half and match him up with Jones? Dana and the UFC have their favorites and the way they promote those favorites compared to fighters like Henderson is obvious.

There is no reason that the last man to hold the Strikeforce light heavyweight title, coming off of a KO of Fedor, should be fighting anyone but the UFC champion period. Dana has not guaranteed Hendo anything even with a win over Machida. The UFC 151 injury and the way it was handled turned into a debacle. I get that. But is this a sport or is this high school? The man earned a title shot and now it is two times that the UFC has taken away his opportunities.

It is time to recognize the greatness of Henderson and his legendary career. The UFC won’t do it but that won’t change my mind. Ronda Rousey may be headlining UFC 157 but I’ll be watching for Dan Henderson.

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10 Most Anticipated UFC 2013 Fights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Daniel Cormier Could Fight Jon Jones In UFC Debut

January 03, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The fast track to receiving a UFC light heavyweight championship is now clear. The less you fight in the division, the better chance you have of being named number one contender.

2012 was a game changing year in the UFC. It was the first year that the UFC made it perfectly clear that they more interested in business than sport. How else would you explain a sport where the champion is defending his title against two guys that haven’t won fights in his division in years, and set to fight another that has never fought a fight in his entire career at light heavyweight?

Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier has signed his UFC contract and after fulfilling his last obligation to Strikeforce, will step inside the UFC octagon. This is a move that was widely expected for months. What wasn’t expected is that Cormier could be coming to the UFC outside of his division. Even more unexpected is how the heavyweight champion will be greeted by Dana White.

[Cormier] is going to bring a lot of excitement to the heavyweight or light heavyweight division,” White said. “And he could be next in line to fight (Jon) Jones.

Back that up! The UFC president is handing a fighter a title shot in a division that he has never even fought in? Has the UFC suddenly turned into DREAM? If Cormier does debut as a challenger to the light heavyweight champion that would make three challengers in a row that haven’t won a fight in the division in years or ever. Say what you will about Chael and Vitor but hey, at least they fought at light heavyweight at one point in their careers!

I don’t think it is a bad thing to make an exception for someone every once in awhile. For example if Jon Jones decided one day that he wants to fight at heavyweight, I wouldn’t have a huge issue at giving him a title shot in his debut. If Georges St-Pierre wanted to move to middleweight, sign me up for a title shot immediately. But Daniel Cormier?

It makes no sense. So Cormier who is a Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix champion gets an immediate title shot and the actual Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem and the last light heavyweight champion have to win fights to get title shots? The idea that Cormier would get a title shot over Dan Henderson who was the actual light heavyweight champion, came to UFC as champion, and has actually defeated top ranked fighters has to take a backseat to Cormier is about as absurd as it gets.

In the long run I think this kind of entertainment over sport booking is going to catch up with the UFC. Say Jon Jones defeats Cormier. You have a guy in Jones that has an impressive streak of wins but no credibility as champion. How do you market that? What about the fans like me that enjoyed the investment of watching someone rise through the ranks and earn their title shot? Those title fights are a heck of a lot more intriguing to me than the one-sided fights against undeserving challengers with bigger names.

For what was once the most intriguing division in the UFC has now turned into an absolute joke!

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