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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

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

UFC 155 Dos Santos Vs. Velasquez Results and Wrap Up

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

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

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

Derek Brunson defeated Chris Leben via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

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

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

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

Yushin Okami defeated Alan Belcher via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Miller defeated Joe Lauzon via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anderson Spider Silva (Em Portugues do Brasil

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

UFC 155 Results: Cain Velasquez Regains UFC Title

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anderson Spider Silva (Em Portugues do Brasil

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

UFC 155 Dos Santos Vs. Velasquez 2 Predictions & Analysis

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

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

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

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

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

Quick Pick: John Moraga via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Max Holloway via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Todd Duffee via KO in Round One

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

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

Quick Pick: Michael Johnson via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Melvin Guillard via TKO in Round Three

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

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

Quick Pick: Erik Perez via Submission in Round One

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

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

Quick Pick: Brad Pickett via TKO in Round Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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UFC 2012-13 Winter Events Preview

December 28, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Happy Holidays, CamelClutchBlog faithful.  I sincerely hope everyone enjoyed whatever holiday they may or may not have celebrated this year.  I don’t think there is a politically incorrect way (and if there is, please tell me) for me to address the arrival of 2013 so I’d like to start by wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year.

Speaking of healthy, I think we’d all like to wish a healthier 2013 for so many fighters who’ve been injured.  Yes, there is the purely selfish part of all of us who wants them healthier so they can entertain through this sport we love so much, but they obviously suffer from the lack of a paycheck.  Is GSP’s “Camp For Only One Fighter Like In Boxing” approach the answer, as Dana White recently mentioned? I have no idea.  If I knew how to stop fighter injuries, I feel like that information would be very valuable to promoters, gyms and bookies and I’d probably have heard from somebody by now.

But alas, I digress.  With over 30 events between pay-per-view, cable and free TV this year, not to mention compilations and weekly T.U.F. episodes, the UFC has been busy.  With one heavyweight title fight to go and a 2013 that’s shaping up nicely, let’s take a 30,000 foot view of what’s coming up and key fights look for in the year ahead.  Honestly, I could speak at length about each and every one of the fights that’ll be mentioned (particularly the Super Bowl weekend card) but again, this is more of a snapshot.  I’ll leave the in-depth analysis to our very own Lee McGregor, who’ll paint you a detailed portrait, complete with flowers and shading and colors and happy little trees.

These are just my thoughts, mind you, so if there’s something you feel I missed or a grievance with anything I say, throw it in the comments. Just don’t immediately jump to trolling. Let’s talk. No big whup.

UFC 155: Dos Santos vs. Velasquez II

What a difference a year makes.  Last November, the UFC debuted on Fox with then-champ and “we’d-later-confirm-he-was-injured” Cain Velasquez getting KO’d in 64 seconds by Junior dos Santos.   This Saturday, the UFC rings in the New Year with the anticipated rematch.  Since then, JDS successfully defended the title against Frank Mir and Velasquez healed up, turning the Octagon into a crimson Jackson Pollack at UFC 146 (using Bigfoot Silva’s face as the palette) along the way.  A healthy Velasquez looking to avenge his only loss makes him even more dangerous so I don’t see JDS swinging for the fences and clubbing him into 2013, but either way, this is a great fight.  As for the rest of the card, losing Forrest Griffin/Phil Davis was a bit of a blow, but if anything, I am most pumped about Jim Miller/Joe Lauzon in the co-main event.  Other key fights on the undercard are Brad Pickett/Eddie Wineland, Melvin Guilliard/Jamie Varner and the return of Todd “Don’t Let the Mike Russow Punching Bag Punch You Back” Dufee to the heavyweight division against Phil De Fries.

UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Bisping

Time to save your pennies with a PPV-less January since the UFC doubled up for February (more to come later).  No need to go into withdrawal, though, since there are back-to-back weekends of free fights, starting January 19th with Belfort vs. Bisping on FX.  The Brazilian returns home both in terms of geography (the fight is in Sao Paolo) and weight (his new home of 185) after moving up to LHW against champ Jon Jones.  Barring that near-upset armbar, Belfort spent most of the title fight getting beaten like a redheaded stepchild, but there’s no shame in that considering it was against Jonny Bones.  Bisping rebounded from a questionable decision loss to Chael Sonnen in January with a solid UD win over Brian Stann in September.  A win for either fighter should raise the question of a title shot, if only for the fact that the division is shallow and the idea of Silva vs. GSP or Jones super fights have subsided.  I’m prematurely picking Belfort, but Bisping’s surprising me lately so if he can survive the onslaught, I wouldn’t put it past him to get a tight decision.  Also, T.U.F: Brazil finalist Daniel Sarafian makes his UFC debut against C.B. Dolloway, Gabriel Gonzaga takes on Ben Rothwell in heavyweight action and undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on Thiago Tavares.  Finally, be sure to catch Edson Barboza against Justin Salas on the Fuel undercard.  His hype train got derailed a bit by Jamie Varner at UFC 146, but he’s an exciting fighter with lots of KO power and I see him getting back on track in a big way in his home country.

UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Dodson

I like the UFC’s decision to put a flyweight title fight on free TV with some great support behind it.  “Mighty Mouse” and Dodson, the first T.U.F. finalist to get a title shot since season 5, will make viewers at home think they hit fast-forward with a breakneck pace that’ll hopefully get some lighter weight class fighters their dues.  Johnson has only one finish between his stint in WEC and now the UFC, but I for one didn’t expect him to hold off Joseph Benavidez to become the promotions first 125 lb champ.  I’ll give Dodson the power advantage so if he can frustrate Johnson by stuffing his takedowns and landing a few shots, I think he’ll pull off the win.  Much like a good sitcom with an excellent supporting lead, Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis has early “Fight of the Year” potential and puts the winner in LW title shot discussion (perhaps more so for Pettis than Cerrone given the story around a Pettis/Henderson rematch).  While it might not have direct title-shot implications, Glover Teixeira vs. Rampage is the kind of fight you invite your non-MMA friends to watch since there’s a good chance someone is getting knocked out.  On the undercard, Ryan Bader tries to stay relevant at 205 against Vladimir Matyushenko and hopefully Clay Guida does not employ his “punch and run” game plan like he did against Gray Maynard when he takes on Hatsu Hioki.

UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar

The first super card of 2013 is happening Super Bowl weekend on February 2nd.  It feels like we’ve been waiting forever now to get the featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar.  I personally blame motorcycle accidents and rematches.  After questionable back-to-back title losses at lightweight  (I know I’ve said questionable twice already, once when referring to Bisping/Sonnen, but really watch Henderson/Edgar 1 and 2 and tell me Edgar didn’t win at least one of those fights), Edgar moves down to 145, the weight class everyone keeps saying he belongs in.  Aldo has not lost since 2005 and is one of the most exciting fighters in all of MMA. Edgar is going to have to drag Aldo into deep water, where we saw shades of him fading against Mark Hominick. Again, another “Fight of the Year” potential before March.  Before you even get to the title fight, though, the main card has three other fights that could headline a Fox or FX event in Rashad Evans vs. Lil Nog, Alistair Overeem vs. Bigfoot Silva (should Overeem win, he’ll probably be given a shot at the winner of JDS/Cain) and Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia.  Oh, but my favorite fight on the undercard? Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall, who both came up short in the inaugural flyweight tournament, but this could be a #1 contender fight to face the winner of Johnson/Dodson.

UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald

Kudos yet again to the UFC for giving an interim title some legitimacy and not using it as a marketing ploy to be used for unification bouts! Renan Barao, fresh off handing Urijah Faber what seems like his 100th title-fight loss at UFC 149, will defend his interim bantamweight title against Michael McDonald.  No, not the guy from The Doobie Brothers.  The guy who knocked Miguel Torres out of the UFC at UFC 145 and hasn’t lost under the Zuffa banner. Yup. That guy. Add to that a main card with two swing-for-the-fences LHW fights in James Te Huna vs. Ryan “Greatest Robot/Split Celebration in Octagon History?” Jimmo and undefeated Jimi Manuwa vs. Cyrille Diabate. Oh, and Brock Lesnar’s German kickboxing mini-me (!) Denis Siver looks to extend his featherweight winning streak to 3 against Cub Swanson.  All in all, I love this card and how it’s booked.  The UFC is ever so slightly increasing exposure for up-and-coming fighters but minimizing their own risk of underperforming by putting it on Fuel.  Paul Sass, if you’re reading this, another “Sassangle” submission on Danny Castillo on the undercard would be just fine with me.

UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche

Welcome to the “Rhonda Rousey Show,” ladies and gentlemen.  UFC’s first ever women’s champion Rhonda Rousey will have the first ever women’s MMA fight in the promotion against Liz Carmouche, who’s riding a two-fight winning streak coming out of Invicta FC.  Again, if we’re playing wheelchair matchmaker and the “business” around the card’s composition, the UFC is supporting this inaugural lady’s scrap very well with a potential #1 contender fight at 205 between Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida, perennial contender Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar, two struggling but game HWs in Lavar Johnson and Brendan Schaub plus the return of Robbie Lawler both to the UFC and to welterweight to fight Josh Koscheck.  While I don’t necessarily agree with the timing since the UFC will be hot off a big card like 156 and I fear people might get tight with their wallets with two fights in one month, they’ve paired Rousey up with a tough fighter to build a story around and it should make for a solid landing.  No disrespect to Carmouche, but I, like many, anticipate another armbar victory for Rousey.

Quick Hits – March & Beyond…

– UFC on Fuel TV (March 3): Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann and Stefan Struve vs. Mark Hunt? The fans of Saitama Super Arena will go home happy.  One, if not two, of those fighters will need to be woken up by smelling salts.  Not sure if Siyar Bahadurzada will be able to match his 42 second KO of Paulo Thiago against a durable Kim Dong-Hyun, but it’ll be fun to see him try. Also, Diego “The Dream” (really, you have to chuckle) Sanchez returns yet again to 155 against Japanese legend Takanori Gomi. TONY ROBBINS. YES.

- UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz (March 16): GSP fighting in his hometown of Montreal again? I’m shocked.  Not sure I agree with Nick Diaz jumping Johnny Hendricks for a title shot after a loss/weed suspension, but it’s a bigger draw and GSP’s been very vocal about wanting to take out the “disrespectful” Diaz.  Speaking of Hendricks, he’s slated to fight Jake Ellenberger and Carlos Condit looks to rebound from his loss to the champ in a rematch against Rory Macdonald.  Lots of potential storylines for the UFC welterweight division hang in the balance.  Grab a Labatt Blue and enjoy.

– BEYOND: April 27 is when Chael Sonnen gets his shot at the LHW belt against fellow T.U.F. coach and current champion Jon Jones in NJ. In related news, Twitter and wit will get you title fights regardless of records in that particular weight class and this season of T.U.F. will actually be worth watching; Anderson Silva will return mid-late 2013 in a non-super fight.  If he wants Anderson Silva money, my bet is he’s hoping Bisping beats Belfort in January; for the love of God, will someone get Eddie Alvarez, Gilbert Melendez and Daniel Cormier in the UFC already?

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UFC On FX 3: Johnson Vs. McCall Predictions & Analysis

June 08, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC returns to the land of free television with two of the world’s top Flyweight fighters set to headline. The UFC returns to Southern Florida for the first time since 2007, as the UFC heads to the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. After a tabulation error caused their first bout to end in controversy, Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall will lock horns once again. Initially announced as a victory for Demetrious Johnson, at the post-fight press conference it was revealed that a math error was the culprit and the actual result of the bout was a Majority Draw.

Although somewhat lacking in big name talent, the card has a number of intriguing bouts. Not to mention the fact that Johnson vs. McCall has the potential to be an extremely exciting bout. The other bouts on the four fight main card on FX feature Erick Silva and Charlie Brenneman in a Welterweight tilt, Mike Pyle and Josh Neer battle in a fight between two Welterweight veterans and finally Bantamweights Eddie Wineland and Scott Jorgensen will battle in a fight featuring two former WEC stars.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Jake Hecht vs. Sean Pierson

Jake “The Hitman” Hecht is an American fighter from St. Louis, Missouri. Hecht is a wrestling specialist who uses takedowns and top control to smother his opponents. He is a member of the Fiore MMA Clinic in Springfield, Illinois. Hecht holds a professional record of 11-3. Sean “Pimp Daddy” Pierson is a Canadian fighter from Toronto, Ontario. A former full-time police officer, the promise of a UFC career led him to have a career change and focus on fighting full time. He is a striking based fighter, who has struggled in his last two bouts. Pierson is a member of the Grant Brothers MMA Gym in Toronto. Pierson has a career record of 11-6. Sean Pierson via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Bernardo Magalhaes vs. Henry Martinez

Henry Martinez is an American fighter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s MMA team in New Mexico. Martinez made his UFC debut against Matt Riddle and jumped two weight classes to battle the enormous Riddle. Martinez holds a career record of 8-2. Bernardo “Trekko” Magalhaes is a Brazilian born fighter who no trains and resides in Sydney, Australia. He is a member of the TP Fight Team in Australia and is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specialist. His game plan usually revolves around top control and grappling. He holds a career record of 11-2. Henry Martinez via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Middleweight Bout: Buddy Roberts vs. Caio Magalhaes

Buddy Roberts is an American fighter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s MMA Camp in New Mexico. Most of his wins have come on the regional circuit, but he remains a well-rounded fighter who will likely hold the wrestling edge in this bout. Roberts has a professional fight record of 11-2. Caio “Hellboy” Magalhaes is a Brazilian fighter from Ceara, Brazil. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who is a member of the Nova Uniao gym in Brazil. This will be his first bout outside of his native Brazil, as well as his octagon debut. He is an undefeated prospect with a professional record of 5-0. Buddy Roberts via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Lightweight Bout: Tim Means vs. Justin Salas

Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means is an American fighter from Wilburton, Oklahoma. A member of the Fit NHB Gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a former King of the Cage champion who has the majority of his wins by KO or TKO. He is a strong striker, who has shown excellent use of the Muay Thai clinch in his past fights. He holds a pro record of 17-3-1. Justin “J-Bomb” Salas is an American fighter from Green River, Wyoming. He is a member of the Grudge Training Center in Denver, Colorado. Salas is a wrestling based fighter who uses takedowns and top control to outwork his opponents. Salas has a pro record of 10-3. Tim Means via TKO in Round Three

Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Bantamweight Bout: Dustin Pague vs. Jared Papazian

 Dustin “The Disciple” Pague is a 24-year-old American fighter from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He a former Ring of Combat Bantamweight Champion, who is a member of the Tapout Ranch. He was a cast-member on the Bisping vs. Miller season of The Ultimate Fighter. He holds a professional record of 10-5. Jared “The Jackhammer” Papazian is a young fighter who is better than his somewhat lackluster record indicates. Despite his 14-7 record, with 1 No Contest he is a gritty fighter who is a dangerous opponent for most. Jared Papazian via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Featherweight Bout: Leonard Garcia vs. Matt Grice

Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia is an American fighter from Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting Camp. Garcia is best known for his brawling, fan friendly style and his iron chin. Despite having never been knocked out in his MMA career, he has struggled in his most recent bouts, having only a record of 3-5-1 in his past nine bouts, but two of those victories came by controversial split decisions and he could easily be 1-8 in his last nine. This is likely a win-or-go home fight for Garcia, who holds a career record of 15-8-1. Matt “The Real One” Grice is a wrestling based fighter from Midwest City, Oklahoma. He trains with Titan Martial Arts in Oklahoma, where he is the main wrestling coach. Grice relies mostly on takedowns and top control to grind out victories against his opponents. He has a professional record of 14-4, with all of his losses coming inside the octagon. Leonard Garcia via Split Decision

Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Welterweight Bout: Seth Baczynski vs. Lance Benoist

Seth “The Polish Pistola” Baczynski is an American fighter from Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a former cast-member of The Ultimate Fighter but struggled at the show’s Middleweight weight class. He is a member of the Power MMA team where he trains regularly with Ryan Bader, CB Dollaway and Aaron Simpson. Baczynski holds a professional record of 15-6. Lance Benoist is a young up-and-coming fighter from St. Louis, Missouri. Benoist made a serious statement in his Octagon debut by out-grappling and out-striking Matt Riddle for two rounds, before surviving a late surge and hanging on for the victory. Benoist is undefeated as a professional with a record of 6-0. Seth Baczynski via Submission in Round Two

Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Welterweight Bout: Mike Pierce vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha

Mike Pierce is an American fighter from Portland, Oregon. Pierce is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Portland State University. He is a member of the Sports Lab Fight Team in Portland. Pierce is the epitome of a grinder inside the octagon. Despite being 1-2 in his last three bouts, the two losses were to top contenders Josh Koscheck and Johnny Hendricks, both by split decision in bouts that could have gone his way. Pierce has a professional record of 13-5. Carlos “Ta Danado” Eduardo Rocha is a Brazilian fighter. Rocha is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and a judo black belt with a strong ground game. Rocha has a professional record of 9-1, with all of his wins coming by way of stoppage. Mike Pierce via TKO in Round Three

Main Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Eddie Wineland vs. Scott Jorgensen

Eddie Wineland is an American fighter from Houston, Texas. Wineland is a former WEC Bantamweight Champion who is currently ranked in the top ten in most major MMA sites Bantamweight rankings. Wineland is a member of the New Breed MMA Academy in Chicago. He is one of the tallest and strongest fighters in the Bantamweight division. Wineland is a strong striker who uses his range well and has some serious power in his hands, he will surely be looking to keep this bout standing for as long as possible. Wineland has a professional record of 18-8-1.

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Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Boise State University. In college he was a 3-time Pac-10 Champion Wrestler in his weight class and he has transitioned that wrestling base to his fight game very well. He is a member of the Twisted Genetiks Fight Team based out of Boise, Idaho. He is a top five Bantamweight fighter whose only losses have come against the elite fighters of the division. Jorgensen uses top control and ground and pound to control his opponents and outwork them on the mat. Jorgensen has a professional record of 13-5.

Analysis and Prediction: Wineland is a dangerous striker who packs massive power in his hands, in fact he almost scored an upset over Joseph Benavidez by rocking him with a big punch. Jorgensen however will surely look to take the fight to the mat early and often. Wineland’s takedown defense will be the key to his bout, if he is able to sprawl and brawl effectively he has the chance to steal this bout. If Jorgensen is able to take the fight, it’s unlikely that Wineland has the bottom game to score a submission against the dangerous top control of Jorgensen. Wineland is an extremely tough fighter, so I don’t think Jorgensen can finish him, but he should be able to control all three rounds on the mat. Scott Jorgensen via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Mike Pyle vs. Josh Neer

 Mike “Quicksand” Pyle is a 36-year-old fighter from Desden, Tennessee. Pyle is a member of the Xtreme Couture Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pyle is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is a very competent grappler. His striking skills are fairly basic, but he can definitely use them to get the job done. The job in this particular bout is likely going to be to try and plant Neer on the mat early and often and use his Jiu Jitsu skills to control the pace of the bout and search for submissions. Pyle holds a career record of 22-8-1.

Josh “The Dentist” Neer is an American fighter from Des Moines, Iowa. Despite not yet being 30 years old he already has over 40 career bouts. Neer is a member of the Miletich Fighting System training under famed coach and former fighter Pat Miletich. Neer is on a bit of a career resurgence as he is currently riding a six-fight winning streak. Neer is an extremely aggressive striker with an iron chin and loves going for broke early and often. Neer will likely be looking to bully his way to the inside so he can punish Pyle in the clinch. Neer has a career record of 33-10-1.

Analysis and Prediction: This is a tale of two fighters with two different game plans. Pyle does his best work on the mat controlling the tempo of the fight. Neer is slightly weak on the ground and has been controlled by strong wrestlers in the past. If Neer’s sprawl is up to snuff he can try to punish Pyle when he gets too close. The problem is that Neer has been controlled on the mat before. Though he hates being laid and prayed as he says it, it’s up to him to do something about it. I’m not sure he’s up to the challenge. He might make it exciting along the way, but Neer won’t have an answer for Pyle’s ground game. Mike Pyle via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Erick Silva vs. Charlie Brenneman

Erick “Indio” Silva is a Brazilian fighter from Vila Velha, Brazil. Silva is a former Jungle Fight Welterweight Champion and is a member of the X-Gym and Team Nogeuira. Silva has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as in Judo. Silva is one of the top prospects, who has spent an impressive 69 seconds in the octagon over two pro fights. Silva is an extremely aggressive striker who has gone immediately after both of his opponents inside the octagon, crumpling both in less than a minute. Silva is also a very competent grappler, as one would expect from someone training under Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Silva owns a professional record of 13-2 with 1 No Contest.

Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman is an American fighter from the AMA Fight Club in Pennsylvania. Despite an impressive career in MMA, Brenneman is probably best known as the winner of Spike TV’s Reality TV show Pros vs. Joes. Brenneman is a wrestler who excels at making his opponents fight at his pace. Despite lacking in power or a quality submission game, Brenneman makes up for it simply by outworking his opponents on the mat. Despite solid mat skills, Brenneman’s striking is fairly rudimentary and that may be a serious liability in this fight. He holds a career record of 15-3.

Analysis and Prediction: This one will come down to whether or not Brenneman can rinse and repeat takedowns and top control for three full rounds without getting his head knocked off by the Brazilian in the process. The problem for Brenneman will be that Silva knows exactly what he’s going to try and do and should be able to stop if from happening. Brenneman can’t strike with Silva so he’s going to try and shoot from the outside, without setting up the shot he’s setting himself up to be knocked out. Eventually Silva gets his hands on Brenneman and that should be all she wrote. I think it goes down in the first. Erick Silva via KO in Round One

Main Card (FX): Flyweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout: Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall

Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is an American fighter from Madisonville, Kentucky. Johnson is a member of the AMC Pankration Gym in Seattle, Washington training under Matt Hume. Johnson is an extremely quick and accurate striker who constantly beat McCall to the punch in their first fight. Although somewhat lacking in power, Johnson throws tight, crisp boxing combinations. Johnson is a strong wrestler, although in his last two bouts against both Dominick Cruz and the first bout with McCall he struggled at getting takedowns and instead looked to strike. Johnson owns a professional record of 14-2-1, with the 1 coming in his last bout against McCall and the 2 losses coming against Dominick Cruz and Brad Pickett.

Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall is a 27-year-old fighter from Dana Point, California. McCall is a former Tachi Palace Fights Flyweight Champion. McCall is an extremely well rounded and versatile fighter. In the first bout against Johnson he struggled in the early stand up exchanges but came alive in the final round, completely dominating and battering Johnson in the third. McCall was beaten to the punch constantly at a distance, but in close McCall was able to capitalize and batter Johnson. McCall is also the more powerful puncher, if he’s able to get his hands on Johnson in the clinch once again he might be able to hurt him with some dirty boxing in tight. McCall is a member of the Team Oyama in California who has a professional record of 11-2-1.

Analysis and Prediction: It will be interesting to see what adjustments both fighters have made after the first bout. Johnson has blamed his third round on a lack of carbs and has promised that an improved diet will avoid any of the same problems. What this will come down to is who will have made the more significant improvements in their game plans.

McCall needs to understand that he can’t win a kickboxing match against Johnson. While McCall has stellar footwork himself, he was simply a step behind every time and was constantly beaten to the punch in their first bout. If he tries to strike with Mighty Mouse, Johnson will surely be happy to dodge in and out and outpoint him for three rounds. The thing to remember is also that McCall is an entertainer and would rather go out on his sword than fight in a boring fight.

However, he does have significant keys to victory. In the first bout he was significantly stronger at the weight class and was able to control Johnson every time he got his hands on him. His takedowns looked good and his ability to control Johnson was very impressive. McCall’s guard passing ability and ground and pound is second to none as he’s able to constantly rain down blows while not allowing his opponents any opportunities to scramble away.

For Johnson the key will be simply to keep the bout standing as long as possible. Although his wrestling and top control game is solid, he’s risking danger by wading in too close to McCall. Shooting for a takedown may lead to it being stuffed and could end up in a clinch or with McCall on top, that’s not what Johnson wants. He knows that he is the faster fighter and has more technical striking. He also knows his deficiencies in power, but that’s actually a benefit to Johnson. Knowing he’s not going to stop McCall allows him to weave in and out of close quarters seamlessly without ever over-committing to a single punch and getting himself into trouble.

I think for me this fight is a near pick ‘em. The betting line has McCall as a slight underdog, and I think there’s value in wagering on McCall. McCall is an intelligent fighter who studies a lot of tape. He had a lot of areas of success in the last bout and I think he will definitely learn from those areas of success and figure out new ways to exploit Johnson. I also think McCall has more tools to win the fight, while it’s unlikely that Johnson can submit or knock McCall out, it’s entirely possible that McCall can do either to him. Expect a close and exciting high-octane bout, but one that McCall eventually squeaks out. Ian McCall via Unanimous Decision

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UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones Predictions & Preview

March 18, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Shogun Rua vs. Jon Jones headlines UFC 128To say it’s been a big week in the MMA world is a bit of an understatement. I mean, our very own editor and CamelClutchBlog overlord, Eric Gargiulo, got married! That is HUGE. That is way more important than Zuffa purchasing Strikeforce and creating a virtual monopoly on the sport’s landscape (in all seriousness, EG, congrats to you and the new Mrs. in case some of my sarcasm was lost).

Love them or hate them, you have to give Zuffa/UFC credit: a mere week before a huge PPV that pits your rising star against a revered veteran champion, you drop the biggest news the sport has seen in quite some time. In the process, you create a lot of headlines and leverage since, not-so-coincidentally, this event is also being done in Newark at the Prudential Center, a major league sports arena standing in the shadows of NYC where the sport is trying be sanctioned.

Okay that was a slight tangent and may have been over analyzed, but hey, if you agree or disagree, throw some comments at the bottom. Otherwise, let’s go to the picks.

UFC 128 Undercard Quick Picks
Nick Catone over Costantinos Philippou
Erik Koch over Raphael Assuncao
Joseph Benavidez over Ian Loveland
Gleison Tibau over Kurt Pellegrino (Facebook)
Mike Pyle over Ricardo Almeida (Facebook)
Edson Barboza over Anthony Njokuani (Spike)
Luiz Cane over Eliot Marshall (Spike)

UFC 128 MAIN EVENT PPV
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Brendan Schaub
Not terribly unlike the main event, we begin the PPV broadcast with a grizzled PRIDE veteran facing a young, hungry up-and-comer. Mirko Cro Cop has back and forth so many times between stating he wants to hang it up and he’s ready for a comeback that I think I have vertigo just listening to him. His rear naked choke victory over Pat Barry at UFC 115 was more due to the fact that I think Barry wanted to get his autograph rather than win and his most recent fight, a 3rd round KO loss to Frank Mir at UFC 119, was just embarrassing. Brendan Schaub on the other hand, is developing nicely at Greg Jackson’s and showed improved boxing in his decision win over Gabe Gonzaga at UFC 121. I think between youth and the game plan, Schaub will be able to outpoint the Croatian.

Jay’s Pick: Schaub via decision.

Nate Marquardt vs. Dan Miller
Don’t you just love family gatherings? The UFC has paired the Dan and Jim Miller in back to back fights. How cute. Unfortunately, there’s the possibility that one or both of them could lose, thus bringing immense shame to their family and guaranteeing a lot of questions and tears at the next Miller Family BBQ. All joking aside, I give Miller a lot of credit for taking this fight on such short notice since Marquardt’s original opponent, Yoshihiro Akiyama, pulled out due to the devastating events currently happening in his homeland of Japan.

Miller has great jiu-jitsu and rebounded from a three-fight losing streak by rattling off back-to-back wins over John Salter and Joe Doerksen. Nate The Great, on the other hand, has gone 1-2 in his last three, bookending two decision losses to #1 contender Yushi Okami and former #1 contender Chael Sonnen with a KO of Rousimar Palhares at UFC 122. I bet on Marquardt to be hungry last time and it didn’t pan out for me with the stronger Okami, but with the short turnaround and superior striking, I’ll bank on him again. Miller Family starts the night 0-1.

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Jay’s Pick: Marquardt via TKO, R2

Jim Miller vs. Kamal Shalorus
Will the Miller Family rebound with younger brother Jim taking on recent WEC import Kamal Shalorus? Both fighters have impressive records, with Shalorus using his wrestling and stand up to amass an undefeated 7-0-2 and Miller utilizing the Miller Family Jiu-jitsu to become a definite lightweight prospect at 19-2. I thought ground wizard Charles Oliveira was going to get him in his last fight, but he wound up pulling off a beautiful knee bar in the first round. Given the level of competition he’s faced (only losses coming to current LW champ Frankie Edgar back in ’06 and most recently to #1 contender Gray Maynard at UFC 96) I think his toughness and ground game will get him #20…and the Miller family bats .500.

Jay’s Pick: Jim Miller via submission, R3

Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland
Finally, Urijah Faber is in the UFC. The former featherweight champ, who may have single-handedly carried WEC long enough so they could be absorbed into the UFC, is looking for another shot at gold, this time at Bantamweight against former BW champ Eddie Wineland. I sure as heck hope Urijah is not thinking about champ Dominick Cruz because Wineland is on a 4 fight winning streak, with his last two fights earning KO of the Night Honors (Can there be extra money thrown in if you KO someone via slam?

I am pretty sure Ken Stone’s life is dramatically shorter from that insane ‘spine buster’ Wineland laid on him at WEC 53). I do think oddsmakers having Faber favored at 5-1 is a bit much here, but I am still betting on The California Kid, who looks to be in phenomenal shape in his new weight class and made a nice splash with his rear-naked choke win over Takeya Mizugaki at WEC 52. Some say that stretch of losses to Brown/Aldo at FW meant Faber’s best days were behind him. Tomorrow, I think he’ll prove them wrong.

Jay’s Pick: Faber via submission, R2

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Jon Jones – Main Event (UFC Light Heavyweight Title)
In the words of Ron Burgundy: that escalated quickly. This title fight has gotten a lot of press over the past few weeks all over the blogosphere to Jon Jones‘ article in the Wall Street Journal to TV specials and press conferences. So many questions about Jones’ youth, Rua’s knees, Jones’ unorthodox style, Rua’s striking, etc. have been put forth that I am tempted to forego precious sleep for the NYC Half Marathon I am running on Sunday at 7:30 AM just to see this damned fight!

Quick review of recent accomplishments: The Champ is 3-1, with his most recent two being the controversial loss to Lyoto Machida followed by his KO win over Machida at UFC 113 to win the gold. Jones fought just a little over a month ago at UFC 126, where he barely broke a sweat in choking out Ryan Bader in a little over a round. If the increasingly brash Jon Jones thinks trying to stand and trade with a guy like Shogun, who’s experience and technique is leagues above anyone he’s faced and the fact that he can generate 2749 lbs of force with his leg kicks (thanks, Sports Science), he is in for a rude awakening Sunday morning.

He may also be in for a similarly wicked, multi-colored bruise on his leg not unlike that of Faber’s after the Jose Aldo fight. However, while I think in terms of straight boxing/muay thai technique Rua is the far better fighter, Jones is a beast with his wrestling and ability to control the fight’s direction and tempo. We know Shogun Rua is a black belt in BJJ, but I give the edge to the youngster on the floor…where I think he will finish it with some ground and pound/vicious elbows from the mount. Ladies and Gentlemen, your new LHW champ and further proof that the belt in this particular division is like a game of hot potato, Jon “Bones” Jones.

Jay’s Pick: Jones via TKO, R3

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