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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 150 Henderson Vs. Edgar II Results – Henderson Retains Via Decision

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

Frankie Edgar wasn’t supposed to be challenging for the UFC lightweight title at UFC 150. Yet after a public campaign, Edgar wound up getting the immediate rematch. Edgar and Henderson picked up where they left off in Japan and ended with even more controversy than before.

Ben Henderson retained the UFC lightweight title over Frankie Edgar via split decision in Denver, Colorado Saturday night at UFC 150. The five-round fight saw some high moments, yet I found it to be pretty disappointing as compared to their first fight. You won’t see any real highlight moments such as the up kick from their last fight but what you will see is a decision that I think was one of the worst in UFC history.

I was stunned when Bruce Buffer read the cards and announced Benson Henderson as the winner. I almost expected him to interrupt the post-fight interview and say that he read the wrong name. Did Frankie Edgar dominate Benson Henderson for three rounds? No, but there is no way that Ben Henderson did enough through five rounds to come away with the win. I’ll give him the first round, but I watched Frankie Edgar win and barely win the next four rounds of the battle.

Henderson opened up with a series of brutal kicks to Edgar’s left calf. Edgar’s calf was already starting to swell up by the end of round 1. Henderson wound up catching Edgar in a choke as the round closed. It was a clear win of a round for the champion. I cannot understand for the life of me why Henderson got away from the kicks for the rest of the fight. Frankie started catching some kicks but I can’t imagine Edgar even standing past round four if Henderson continued what he started in the first round.

Instead Henderson fought either scared or overconfident in my opinion for the rest of the fight. Henderson never pushed the pace or engaged, other than throwing up a couple of kicks from time to time. Edgar never exactly pushed the pace either but he did more in my opinion to engage the champion than anything Henderson did for the final four rounds. Edgar had Henderson in a choke twice and rocked him a couple of times but was unable to put him away. In the end I think Edgar was robbed, but he has nobody to blame but himself for allowing the fight to go to the judges.

One thing I don’t want to read is how Frankie Edgar is too small for the division. I was outraged after their last fight with all of the blogs and columns calling for Frankie to leave the division. Edgar not only held his own with Henderson, I believe he won. I would like to see Edgar hang around the division and go through whoever it is he needs to go through in order to get a rematch. It certainly wasn’t the most exciting fight in the world, but I do think Edgar deserves more of a rematch now than he did after their first fight in Tokyo.

UFC president Dana White has been adamant all week that there will be no immediate rematch. Nate Diaz is next in line no matter who won and how. I can say this much about Nate Diaz. Nate Diaz vs. Benson Henderson will not be a boring fight. There is no such thing as a boring fight with Nate Diaz. I will be surprised to see the fight go to the judges. Either Diaz finishes it or he leaves himself open for Henderson to put him away. I would be shocked to see the fight go five rounds.

Full UFC 150 Henderson vs. Edgar 2 results & winners…
Benson Henderson defeated Frankie Edgar via split decision
Donald Cerrone defeated Melvin Guillard via first-round KO
Jake Shields defeated Ed Herman via unanimous decision
Yushin Okami defeated Buddy Roberts via second-round TKO
Max Holloway defeated Justin Lawrence via second-round TKO
Dennis Bermudez defeated Tommy Hayden via submission (guillotine)
Michael Kuiper defeated Jared Hamman via second-round TKO
Erik Perez defeated Ken Stone via first-round TKO
Chico Camus defeated Dustin Pague via unanimous decision
Nik Lentz defeated Eiji Mitsuoka via first-round TKO

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UFC 150 Henderson Vs. Edgar II Predictions & Analysis

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

The UFC will be looking to build on an impressive Fox card with their return to Denver, Colorado. The last time the UFC took to the mountains of Colorado, the card featured a number of big athletes slowing down in the thin mountain air, leading to lackluster affairs and slow paced brawls. The UFC seems to have learned from past mistakes, as this card features men no larger than the Middleweight limit of 185-pounds.

The main event features re-match virtuoso and former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar looking to regain his title from the man that took it from him “Smooth” Benson Henderson. The co-main event features a Lightweight tilt that seems to have Fight of the Night written all over it, as former teammates collide when Melvin Guillard battles Donald Cerrone. Other main card action features two Middleweight tilts and a potential Featherweight slugfest. In Middleweight action Jake Shields returns to the division for the first time in the UFC as he takes on resurgent veteran Ed Herman. Japanese standout Yushin Okami looks to get back to his winning ways in a bout against late-replacement Buddy Roberts. Kicking off the main card is a Featherweight bout between Max Holloway and Justin Lawrence.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Nik Lentz vs. Eiji Mitsuoka

Nik “The Carny” Lentz is an American fighter from El Paso, Texas. Lentz is a member of the American Top Team Gym based out of Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Lentz is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from the University of Minnesota. This will be Lentz’s first bout at 145-pounds, after spending the majority of his career at Lightweight. Lentz owns a professional MMA record of 21-5-2. Eiji Mitsuoka is a Japanese fighter from Handa, Aichi, Japan. The 36-year-old is a member of the Wajyutsu Keisuyaki RJW Dojo in Saitama, Japan. Mitsuoka has a background in Freestyle Wrestling and has fought for a number of major Asian MMA Promotions including DREAM, World Victory Road, PRIDE, Shooto and DEEP. He holds a professional record of 18-8-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Both of these fighters rely on their wrestling to get them through fights. While neither fighter is completely awful in the striking department, neither one of them is going to be looking to keep this bout standing. This means that it will likely become a battle of takedowns and submission attempts. In a wrestling battle I’ll usually favor an NCAA alumnus versus a Japanese wrestler (unless it’s Yushin Okami), so I think Lentz lands more takedowns and is able to stay out of submissions from on top and grinds out a decision victory. Just don’t expect fireworks. Nik Lentz via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Dustin Pague vs. Chico Camus

Dustin “The Disciple” Pague is an American fighter from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The 25-year-old is a member of the TapouT Ranch in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Pague is best known from his stint on the fourteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter where he lost in the semi-finals. Pague has a pro record of 11-6 and has finished all eleven of the opponents that he’s defeated. Chico “King” Camus is a member of the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This fight will be Camus’ UFC debut and Pague will represent a pretty significant step up in competition for him. While most Roufusport fighters are excellent strikers, Camus isn’t really a kickboxing expert but is fairly well rounded. He holds a career record of 11-3.

Analysis and Prediction: Pague is definitely not the world’s greatest striker, but he will hold a height and reach advantage, which will probably negate some of Camus’ striking edge. Despite being well rounded he’s definitely going to be overmatched by Pague’s grappling skills on the mat. The question then becomes whether Pague can work the fight to the mat often enough to take advantage of that edge. I think he eventually does and secures a rear-naked choke late in the second. Dustin Pague via Submission in Round Two 

Preliminary Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Ken Stone vs. Erik Perez

Ken Stone is an American fighter from Holliston, Massachusetts. He is a member of the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. Stone is a former NCAA wrestler from Bridgewater State University. Stone is a very well rounded fighter but has had a rough go in his Zuffa career. His ability to fight at a distance could prove to be a huge edge in this fight. He holds a career record of 11-3. Erik “Goyito” Perez is a 22-year-old fighter from Monterrey, Mexico. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Perez is a high-octane grappler who excels in fast-paced grapple-heavy bouts where he can take advantage of quick scrambles and latch onto submissions. He holds a career record of 11-4, with 7 wins coming by way of tap out.

Analysis and Prediction: Stone is definitely the more well rounded of these two fighters. Perez looked very impressive in his UFC debut against John Albert in a one-round bout that took place almost exclusively on the mat. Stone however has shown a solid ability to sprawl in some of his more recent fights. That ability will be integral to this bout as his strategy will surely be to use a steady diet of kicks and sprawl-and-brawl, while Perez will surely be looking to drag the fight to the mat. If Stone can keep the bout upright, he wins, if not expect Perez to turn him into a pretzel. Ken Stone via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Middleweight Bout: Jared Hamman vs. Michael Kuiper

Jared “The Messenger” Hamman is an American fighter from Atascadero, California. Hamman is a former Light Heavyweight fighter who didn’t have much success at the weight class and has since dropped to Middleweight. Hamman actually played college football at the University of Redlands before becoming a fighter. He is a member of the VMAT Gym training under the tutelage of MMA pioneer Vladimir Matyushenko. Hamman holds a career record of 13-4. Michael “Judo” Kuiper is a Dutch fighter from Riel, Netherlands. The 23-year-old is a member of the Gracie Barra Gym in Tiburg, Netherlands. Like his nickname suggests he has a background in Judo and holds a black belt in the sport. Kuiper is also an excellent striker in addition to his Judo black belt and grappling skills. He holds a career record of 11-1, with ten stoppage victories, with the lone loss being his UFC debut.

Analysis and Prediction: Kuiper actually was fairly impressive in his UFC debut but began to tire at the end of the bout, mostly because he was outmuscled and leaned on by a larger fighter. Hamman has had some success but he hasn’t been able to do much against UFC competition except get beat up until his opponent gasses and then take advantage on the ground. I expect Kuiper will be more acclimated to fighting in the US and for the UFC in this bout and his cardio won’t be an issue. He is a more talented striker than Hamman and throws with enough power to stop anyone in their tracks. Hamman will have a wrestling advantage, but Kuiper’s judo may be the ace in the hole that helps him avoid the ground game. If Kuiper can keep a solid pace I think his striking will get earn him a stoppage, if he punches himself out or the thin Denver air gets to him, Hamman will be right there ready to take advantage. Still, I’ll stick with the Dutchman. Michael Kuiper via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Dennis Bermudez vs. Tommy Hayden

Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez is an American fighter from Saugerties, New York. He is a 25-year-old fighter from the Long Island MMA Gym. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Bermudez was a finalist on the fourteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He holds a professional record of 8-3. Tommy “Wildcard” Hayden is an American fighter from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is a member of the Jorge Gurgel MMA and Fitness Academy in his hometown. Hayden is a talented grappler, but looked completely out of sorts in his UFC debut against Fabricio Camoes who absolutely worked him on the ground. Still Hayden holds a career record of 8-1, with his lone loss being the aforementioned UFC debut loss to Camoes.

Analysis and Prediction: Hayden is a grappler with a knack for searching out submissions. Bermudez has struggled in the past against talented submission artists, but seems to have plugged those holes in his game. In his last bout against Pablo Garza (a talented grappler in his own right) Bermudez simply smothered him on the ground, using ground and pound to keep Garza at bay and on the wrong-end of a beating on the mat. If Bermudez gets sloppy on the mat Hayden definitely has the tools to make him pay for it. But I expect to see a lot of takedowns and a lot of smothering top control from Bermudez en-route to a decision victory. Dennis Bermudez via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (PPV): Featherweight Bout: Justin Lawrence vs. Max Holloway

Justin “The Hammer” Lawrence is an American fighter from Pacific, Missouri. The 22-year-old is a member of the Blackhouse MMA Gym in Los Angeles, California. As a member of the Black House he trains with some of Brazil’s top fighters including Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and the Nogueira brothers. Lawrence is a talented striker with international credentials including Pan-American Kickboxing Champion (twice) and being the St. Louis Golden Gloves champion twice. Lawrence is undefeated as a professional fighter, holding a career record of 4-0.

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Max “Blessed” Holloway is an American fighter from Waianae, Hawaii. The 20-year-old made his UFC debut as a late replacement fighter against Dustin Poirier and put up a hell of a fight before succumbing to the grappling skills of Poirier. Holloway like his opponent is a talented striker who incorporates a number of flashy kicks and knees into his striking. Holloway is a competent boxer who has an excellent jab and seems to be from the Nick Diaz school of MMA striking as he happily throws punches to the body often. Holloway holds a professional MMA record of 5-1, with his lone loss coming on short-notice to Dustin Poirier.

Analysis and Prediction: Despite the relative inexperience of these two fighters, they are both extremely talented strikers with a wealth of kickboxing experience. Lawrence is probably the more technically precise striker and throws a more textbook kickboxing style at you. Holloway on the other hand incorporates a number of kicks, knees and elbows in his game and fights very well from the inside. I’ll put it out there, that this is my dark horse pick for Fight of the Night as it should be a mostly stand up affair. I think Holloway’s flashy style wins over the judges as he takes a very close decision. Max Holloway via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (PPV): Middleweight Bout: Yushin Okami vs. Buddy Roberts

Yushin “Thunder” Okami is a Japanese fighter from Kanagawa, Japan. He is a former title challenger in the UFC’s Middleweight division and is one of the top fighters in the division. He is looking to right the ship after a recent loss to Tim Boetsch where he dominated the first two rounds of the fight, before succumbing to strikes in the third round in a Comeback of the Year performance. Okami is a member of the Team Quest Gym when training in the USA and is a member of the Wajyutsu Keisyukai Dojo in Japan. Okami is a talented wrestler who has excellent top control and is also a black belt in Judo. Okami has shown improvements in his striking in his more recent bouts, but he still does his best work by pressing forward in search of takedowns and using ground and pound to smother his opponents. Okami is also one of the biggest and strongest Middleweights in the UFC. He holds a professional record of 26-7.

Buddy Roberts is a 29-year-old fighter from Fort Worth, Texas. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s Camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Roberts is actually a late-replacement to fight Okami, but was in training to fight Chris Camozzi on this card before Camozzi was forced to withdraw. Roberts is a talented striker who showed excellent takedown defense in his UFC debut against Caio Magalhaes. Despite his success against Magalhaes he will not want to give Okami many chances to engage in clinches or get close enough to shoot for takedowns as Okami has some of the best wrestling in the Middleweight division. Roberts will need to fight at a range, using leg kicks and a strong jab to maintain distance while avoiding the excellent jab that Okami has begun throwing in recent bouts. Roberts holds a career record of 12-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Although he showed excellent abilities to shrug off takedowns in his UFC debut, Roberts will have a much tougher time shrugging Okami off of him. Once Okami gets his hands on an opponent, it’s rare that they are able to shake him off. Okami is coming off back-to-back knockout losses so he may be slightly gun-shy in close, if that happens, Roberts must be ready to take advantage of even the slightest openings and strike quickly. I like Okami a lot in this bout and I think he’ll come out with the right game plan to close the distance, pummel Roberts in the clinch and work the fight to the ground. From there he should be able to batter Roberts and either take a lopsided decision or pound out a late stoppage. Yushin Okami via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (PPV): Middleweight Bout: Jake Shields vs. Ed Herman

Jake Shields is finally making his return to his more natural weight of 185-pounds. Despite challenging for a title at 170-pounds, Shields often looked tired and gassed easily, at 185-pounds he shouldn’t struggle so much with the cut and should actually improve his strength and stamina. Shields is a member of the Cesar Gracie Fight Team fighting out of San Francisco, California. Shields is a former NCAA Division 2 Wrestler from Cuesta College and is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Shields’ striking game remains relatively weak, as he uses it solely to close the distance to a spot where he can shoot for takedowns effectively. However, his wrestling and top control is excellent and he is very dangerous from the top. Instead of simply grinding on his opponents, Shields is very active from top control, constantly using ground and pound and passing guard to more advantageous positions while searching out submission opportunities. Shields is a former Strikeforce and Elite XC Middleweight Champion with a professional record of 27-6-1.

Ed “Short Fuse” Herman is an American fighter who is in the middle of a career resurgence. The 31-year-old from Vancouver, Washington suffered an awful knee injury in a 2009 bout against Aaron Simpson and was sidelined for nearly two years. Since returning to the cage Herman is 3-0 with three stoppage victories. Herman is a former cast-member of The Ultimate Fighter 3 and actually made it to the finals before losing to the show-winner Kendall Grove. Herman is a member of the Team Quest Gym in Fort Collins, Colorado and is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Like his opponent Herman isn’t going to be winning any boxing titles, but uses his striking to close the distance. Herman holds a career record of 20-8.

Analysis and Prediction: Herman has looked good since returning to action after nearly a two-year layoff, however, Shields is his toughest test to date. Both fighters are talented wrestlers and excellent grapplers, but both of them due their best work from top position. While Herman prefers aggressive ground and pound, Shields is constantly looking to pass guard and advance his position on the search for submissions. In the past Shields has struggled against strikers who can keep him from taking them down. Herman’s striking doesn’t pose much of a threat and I think Shields will look significantly more impressive physically at 185-pounds than he did at 170. I expect Shields uses constant takedowns and smothering top control to take a Unanimous Decision, although a late submission isn’t impossible either. Jake Shields via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (PPV): Lightweight Bout: Donald Cerrone vs. Melvin Guillard

Donald “The Cowboy” Cerrone is a 29-year-old fighter from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cerrone is a member of Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting Camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Cerrone is a former professional Muay Thai kick boxer and has translated his striking skills well into his octagon career. Under the training of Greg Jackson though Cerrone has also put together impressive grappling credentials and has submitted 13 of his career opponents. At 6’0” tall and with a 73-inch reach he will be at a slight advantage in the range department and will likely look to keep Guillard from getting inside against him. Cerrone’s best bet in this bout would be to work this fight to the ground and search for a submission against the submissionally challenged Guillard, but Cerrone usually isn’t one to back down from a stand up brawl. Cerrone holds a career record of 18-4.

Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard is an American fighter from New Orleans, Louisiana. He was a cast-member on the second season of The Ultimate Fighter. Guillard is a former teammate of Cerrone’s from the Jackson’s MMA camp but has since relocated to join the Blackzillians in Boca Raton, Florida. Despite a somewhat spotty record inside the UFC, Guillard remains one of the most dangerous strikers in the division. He is also one of the most athletically gifted fighters in all of the UFC and certainly in the entire Lightweight division. Guillard has quick hands and excellent footwork and has the knockout power to end anyone’s night in one shot. Guillard has a career record of 30-10-2 with 1 No Contest, including 19 wins by KO or TKO.

Analysis and Prediction: This one could be a Fight of the Night earning brawl or it could be an extremely short fight, it likely depends on what kind of game plan Cerrone brings to the table. Guillard’s grappling is a huge liability, submissions have accounted for nine of his ten career losses and at times he looks completely helpless on the mat. Cerrone is a talented grappler with excellent submissions, so really he should be looking to shoot for a takedown and drag this fight to the mat as early as possible. The problem is, I don’t think he will. Cerrone is never one to back down from a striking match, even if it isn’t to his advantage, something he proved in his one-sided loss to Nate Diaz. Cerrone has an incredible chin and has never been finished in a kickboxing bout or MMA bout in his career, which spans over 50 bouts. However, he also relies on his chin a lot, as he is extremely hittable at times (again using the Diaz fight as an example he was tagged by a record 260 strikes throughout the course of the bout.) Frankly, the longer Cerrone keeps this fight standing the longer he puts himself in harms way. Despite his strong chin, I think he’s playing with fire to just keep giving Guillard free chances to land the kill shot. The smart money says that Cerrone works the bout to the mat and taps Guillard easily. I think the more likely outcome is that Cerrone comes to brawl and ends up paying for it. Melvin Guillard via TKO in Round Three

Main Card (PPV): Lightweight Championship Bout: Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson

Frankie “The Answer” Edgar is an American fighter from Toms River, New Jersey. He is a former UFC Lightweight Champion and is re-matching the man who took that title from him. It’s his third straight title rematch and it’s notable that he’s currently 2-0 in rematches for the Lightweight title. Edgar is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. However, in his bouts he employs a more boxing heavy style as of late. This style has worked well for him, as he employs great footwork and head movement to keep himself out of range of his opponents and ducks in and out against his opponents. He is a technically sound boxer with a good jab and strong 1-2 combinations. Edgar is a member of the Renzo Gracie Combat Team training under noted BJJ stars Ricardo Almeida and Renzo Gracie. Edgar holds a professional MMA record of 14-2-1, with his only losses coming to Gray Maynard and Benson Henderson.

Benson “Smooth” Henderson is the reigning and defending UFC Lightweight Champion. Henderson is a 28-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colorado and is a complete package when it comes to MMA. He is an aggressive striker who constantly presses forward while dictating a high-tempo fight pace on his opponents. Henderson has excellent Muay Thai kick boxing skills and is a talented grappler as well, with a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Henderson also owns a black belt in Tae Kwan Do and is a former NAIA Wrestler from Dana College. Henderson is a member of the MMA Lab fighting out of Glendale, Arizona. Henderson is a very large Lightweight fighter and the size differential between himself and Edgar (who cuts very little weight to make 155 pounds) was visibly noticeable in their first bout, he’ll likely be looking to use his size and strength advantage in this bout once again by working from in close. Henderson holds a professional record of 16-2.

Analysis and Prediction: The first bout between these two men was extremely close with many MMA publications and website who were scoring the fight admitting that they had no clue where the scores would end up. With that said, I am somewhat surprised to see how uneven this betting line has become. In the opening bout I think a couple of things hurt Edgar. Number one was the up kick that crumpled him in the second round, which I think he could have won had it not been for the kick that floored him, as well he never seemed to fully regain his composure after that shot. The second thing that went against him was how badly beat up his face looked, despite landing similar numbers of strikes in the bout Edgar’s face was badly damaged while Henderson looked relatively fresh. This can most likely be chalked up to the size advantage that Henderson enjoys against Edgar.

I’ll start by breaking down what I think Edgar needs to do to win his championship back before moving onto Henderson’s keys to victories. Firstly, Edgar needs to stop catching Henderson’s kicks and doing nothing with it. I believe that the judges didn’t appreciate the amount of kicks he was catching and blocking because of how little he did with it afterwards. Henderson didn’t stop throwing those kicks across the whole five round fight the first time, despite many of them being caught, so it’s unlikely he’ll abandon that strategy again in this fight. Edgar should look to kick Henderson’s legs out from under him, or deliver power shots when he catches those kicks in this bout. Secondly, Edgar needs to do more with his takedowns in this fight. Despite soring 5 takedowns to Henderson’s 1, he rarely could corral Henderson on the mat and mount any significant offense. Edgar needs to stop rushing things on the mat, once he scores a takedown off a single leg or with a power double, he needs to relax, take control and then work on advancing his position and using light ground and pound until he can get comfortable. In the first bout, he simply started swinging away at times, instead of focusing on keeping Henderson under control. Lastly, more striking volume and more movement. He definitely had Henderson flustered at times with his movement, but instead of rushing in, he needs to choose his shots better. And when Edgar steps in to range, he knows he’s going to get hit, but he needs to be willing to take a shot to give off 3 or 4 of his own.

Now let’s take a look at Henderson’s keys to victory. Henderson did a lot of things right in the first bout and he’s probably going to want to keep up with many of those things. Let’s start with the body kicks from the first round. Like I wrote for Edgar, if he isn’t going to capitalize on catching the kicks, the judges will likely count it as effective aggression for Henderson, so he should be looking to throw those kicks until Edgar gives him a reason not to.  In the first bout Henderson only landed one takedown, I think he should be shooting more often in this bout. Edgar doesn’t throw a lot of knees, so it’s tough to think that Edgar is going to land a big knee as Henderson shoots, the only problem is tracking Edgar’s movement enough that you can corner him into a spot where you can actually land the takedown. In the first bout Henderson did everything right when Edgar took him to the ground. He grabbed hold of a submission or scrambled almost immediately back to his feet, that’s the perfect way to negate the wrestling of Edgar, Henderson will want to repeat that if he gets taken down in this bout. Finally one of Henderson’s biggest advantages will be his size and strength advantage. Henderson should look to engage in more clinches where he can overpower Edgar and control him.

Prediction time. Both men have ways to win this bout and the first bout was extremely close and I actually scored it 48-47 for Edgar. One thing that has always impressed me about Edgar was his ability to adapt for rematches and he always looks significantly better in rematches than he did in the first bout. I think that’s probably what’s going to happen in this bout. Still, anything less than Edgar’s best isn’t going to be enough and the bout is still going to be back and forth and will likely be an extremely close, high-octane bout. It’s definitely another strong contender for Fight of the Night. But I think Edgar makes the right adjustments and takes another close decision 48-47 across the board. Frankie Edgar via Unanimous Decision

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