Frankie Edgar’s UFC TUF Gamble with BJ Penn

September 24, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Frankie Edgar will coach opposite B.J. Penn on The Ultimate Fighter season 19 and will be fighting him for a third time next year. The odds are in Edgar’s favor, considering he’s already beaten him twice, and they are fighting in a weight class that is uncharted water for the “The Prodigy”. The risk is minimal, the reward is great, but the damage will be severe if Edgar fails to find the answer.

MMA is a funny animal. The hardest of hardcore fans and the media vie to keep the purity of the sport intact by recognizing what a fighter has actually accomplished, but they constantly focus on what a fighter should have accomplished. Take Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos for example. Many expected Velasquez to win their first fight and Dos Santos knocked him out in ninety seconds. Many expected the sequel to go in Velasquez’s favor as well, even though he lost the first time, and he brutalized Dos Santos for twenty five minutes. They are 1-1 against each other with the rubber match in October, but Velasquez is considered the best heavyweight in the world so therefore, Dos Santos’ victory doesn’t hold up even though it’s begrudgingly mentioned because it actually happened.

Frankie Edgar won a unanimous decision over BJ Penn to win the title in a fight that a lot of people felt he lost and expected him to do so. Edgar convincingly shutout Penn in their rematch, but it didn’t erase any doubt. Penn looked lethargic which meant he was simply off his game as opposed to giving credit to Edgar for actually keeping Penn confused and uncomfortable for five rounds. In my opinion, an in shape and totally focused BJ Penn is the best fighter in the world, but I’m not going to give him a bye because he failed to show his advanced skill set on a particular evening. This has already happened once before in Penn’s favor during his series with Jens Pulver where he lost the first fight, won the second fight and that first loss no longer counts in the court of public opinion because he was supposed to destroy him the first time.

Frankie Edgar has garnered a reputation that has endeared him to fans as being the ultimate blood and guts warrior who truly looks for a way to win all the way to the final horn. That all goes away if the BJ Penn that dominated Uno, Sherk Sanchez, Florian, Stevenson, and Hughes arrives on fight night and dispatches Edgar. BJ Penn does his best work at 155 lbs., so logic says he will be in rare form at 145 lbs. He will have plenty of time to perfect his cut of ten additional pounds since season 19 starts filming on October 15th and won’t air until April which means the fight will happen in late June or early July of 2014.

In reality, a fighter deserves to lose if they simply fail to prepare or took an opponent lightly just as much as if they were fully prepared and got beat by the better man. In actuality, that is never the case, which is a shame, because hard work and meritorious achievement get lost in the back ground of the anointed elite who will always get the benefit of the doubt. Chris Weidman’s win over Anderson Silva will be expeditiously dismissed if he falls victim to the Spider on New Year’s Eve. The same thing will happen to Frankie Edgar if he gets Caol Uno’ed the third time around and everything he has accomplished after his victories over Penn will all be for not because it never should have happened in the first place. I truly hope I’m wrong about this. Besides the two fights with Machida vs. Shogun, history dictates that Edgar’s gamble may be greater than the reward.

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UFC 156: Edgar Vs. Aldo Results and Wrap Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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UFC 156 Edgar Vs. Aldo Predictions and Analysis

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

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

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

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

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

Quick Pick: Francisco Rivera via TKO in Round 2

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

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

Quick Pick: Chico Kamus via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Yves Edwards via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Jacob Volkmann via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Tyron Woodley via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Evan Dunham via TKO in Round 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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10 Most Anticipated UFC 2013 Fights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top 20 MMA Fights Of 2012

January 07, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

2012 was a mixed year for Mixed Martial Arts on the biggest stages. There were some major highs and some serious lows. Let’s start with the highs which included the emergence of several big name MMA promotions including One FC in Asia and the World Series of Fighting in the USA. Other highs included the addition of Women’s MMA to the UFC as the women will finally get their chance to shine on the world’s biggest stage for fighting, and they owe a lot of that to the work of all-female fight promotion Invicta FC. Georges St. Pierre, the UFC’s king of Pay Per View made his long awaited return from injury in a classic bout against Carlos Condit, the addition of the UFC’s Flyweight division has yet to put out a boring fight and the UFC’s deal with Fox continues to prove a strong move for both the UFC and the Fox networks.

Unfortunately for all the highs this year brought, they may have been more than equally brought down by the lows of 2012. The injury bug ran rampant across the UFC causing a number of bouts being scrapped, switched at the last minute or delayed, moving forward this is going to be a serious hurdle for the UFC and the MMA world and they need to figure out a way to get a handle on it. Other lows included the complete cancellation of UFC 151, something that no fans of the world’s biggest fight promotion could have ever saw coming. Perhaps the biggest low of 2012 has to go to Zuffa’s poor handling of the Strikeforce brand leading to its slow death, which is set to occur early in 2013.

Still with all of the highs and all of the lows and all of the cancelled and late-notice replacement fights in the middle, 2012 was still a highly entertaining year for fight fans. We were treated to more UFC events than ever before, many of them for free on Fox, FX or Fuel TV. The emergence of Bellator and ONE FC as viable alternatives to the UFC putting on exciting cards throughout the year has also added a new avenue for fight fans to get their daily dose of violence. Moving forward anyone can see it’s a great time to be a fight fan. During the slow start to the MMA season in 2013, (the UFC doesn’t have an event until January 19th and Bellator doesn’t kick off their season on Spike TV until January 17th,) there is ample time for you to check out some fights that you may have missed in 2012. For those of you looking to sate your fight fix, here are the top 20 Mixed Martial Arts bouts of 2012.

20. Lightweight Bout: Eduard Folayang vs. Felipe Enomoto at ONE Fighting Championship: Pride of a Nation. August 31, 2012 at Smart Araneta Coliseum – Manila, Philippines

The Fight: These two men engaged in what was basically a kickboxing bout for a full three rounds. Both men threw with bad intentions throughout the fight, stringing together excellent punching combinations as well as a few flashy kicks and knee strikes. The most entertaining moment of the bout came late in the second round when Folayang dropped his opponent with a huge right hand and followed it up with nasty ground and pound, but couldn’t quite seal the deal. The only thing that really stopped this fight was the lack of a finishing effort from either fighter in the third round, Folayang was content to coast to a victory and Enomoto should have been trying harder for a comeback finish.

The Finish: After three rounds all three judges scored the contest 30-27 for Folayang earning him a clean sweep of the scorecards.

19. Lightweight Bout: Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim at UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes. January 14, 2012 at HSBC Arena – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Fight: Etim has always been known for being in exciting fights, and this bout in Brazil was no exception. Etim pushed forward in the opening round, but Barboza was one step ahead of him the whole way. Shrugging off takedown attempts and landing a lot of damaging leg kicks. The pace slowed slightly in the second round, but remained an entertaining slugfest that continued to take place largely on the feet. Heading into the third round, many people felt that each fighter had a round each and the third would likely decide the fight. Early in the second round Etim continued looking for a takedown but was shocked when Barboza threw a Spinning Heel Kick that landed flush on the jaw and Etim was out cold.

The Finish: Barboza won the fight via Knockout from the spinning heel kick at 2:02 of Round Three. It also earned him Knockout of the Night honors.

18. Lightweight Bout: Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller at UFC 155: Dos Santos vs. Velasquez. December 29, 2012 at MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas, Nevada

The Fight: This bout was entertaining from the opening seconds as both men surged out of their corners and met in the middle of the cage. A very dominant first round for Miller ensued as his striking looked sharper than ever. He used a variety of punches and short elbows to open a nasty gash on Lauzon’s forehead and it looked like this one might be over early. In the second round it was more of the same, the cut on Lauzon’s face opened almost immediately but that didn’t slow him down as he was taken down and nearly mounted. Lauzon would quickly reverse the position and spent the end of the second round punching from the top and looking for a leg lock submission. The third and final round was just as intense as the rest of the fight as the two men went right back to it as soon as the round started. Lauzon pushed forward through a battered and bloody face searching for a way to steal the fight. Miller landed the better punches throughout the round, but Lauzon was constantly moving forward. A late submission attempt almost landed for Lauzon, but in the end it wasn’t quite enough.

The Finish: After three rounds Jim Miller took home a Unanimous decision, winning with three straight scores of 29-28.

17. Flyweight Bout: Louis Gaudinot vs. John Lineker at UFC on Fox 3: Diaz vs. Miller. May 5, 2012 at IZOD Center – East Rutherford, New Jersey

The Fight: So far ever since the UFC has introduced the Flyweight class to the world, it has provided nothing but exciting bouts. While there may be nothing like the big Heavyweight hitters for the casual fan, many MMA fans can’t get enough of the 125-pound class. This bout was no exception. Within about thirty seconds this bout looked more like rock-em-sock-em robots than a professional MMA bout. The first round was filled with wild punches and reckless striking exchanges, back and forth ground action and a couple of near submissions. The second just picks up right where the first left off, in the second Lineker went fishing for a takedown and got trapped in a guillotine for his trouble. He tried to fight it off, but it was no use and he went to sleep before he tapped out.

The Finish: With only seconds left in the second round, Lineker shot for a takedown and Gaudinot was able to lock up a guillotine choke. He refused to let up and eventually choked the Brazilian out cold earning himself a technical submission with only six seconds to go in the second round.

16. Featherweight Championship Bout: Joe Warren vs. Pat Curran at Bellator 60. March 9, 2012 at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino – Hammond, Indiana

The Fight: Warren has always done his best work as a wrestler, after a couple of lopsided losses because of him being reckless on the feet, he was looking to wrestle his way to a victory in this fight. Early on he pressured Curran constantly, trying to earn a takedown, but Curran did an excellent job of keeping himself upright, and landing punches during these exchanges. In the second round Warren managed to actually get the bout to the ground. Although he didn’t have much success, he did manage to open up a small cut on Curran’s face. In the third round Warren was again looking for a way to work the fight to the mat. Curran continued to defend well and landed a beautifully timed knee that rocked Warren. Curran pressured the champion to the fence and poured on an onslaught of punches that Warren absorbed without going over. Despite him being clearly out on his feet, the referee gave him way too long to recover.

The Finish: After the big knee in the third round, Curran simply butchered Warren against the cage. He threw everything he had at Warren and it still wasn’t enough to drop Warren, whose chin is absolutely insane. Despite not going down though, it was clear that Warren was out on his feet and was basically defenseless as the referee allowed him to take way too many shots. Despite the impressive third round TKO victory at 1:25 for Curran, this one was marred by the terrible officiating.

15. Lightweight Bout: Evan Dunham vs. TJ Grant at UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort. September 22, 2012 at Air Canada Centre – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Fight: Evan Dunham has long been known for being in exciting scraps, in fact his bout against Nik Lentz came in around number 22 or so when I was re-watching fights compiling this list. TJ Grant is a bit more known as a grinder, but these two put on a great fight for the fans in Toronto. The first round saw Dunham try to work his striking from the outside, while Grant was constantly pushing forward and trying to work in close. The second round saw both guys simply swinging for the fences. Dunham went for some kicks and Grant landed a massive knee that absolutely tore Dunham’s face open. Despite the blood pouring from the open wound on his face, Dunham continued to push the pace near the end of the round swinging wild punches and looking for a couple of late head kicks. In the third, with blood covering his face and likely needing a finish to win, Dunham set to work at doing just that. Flying knees, head kicks, haymaker punches, takedowns, ground and pound he threw it all at Grant, but the Canadian was able to make it to the final bell.

The Finish: After three rounds many people thought that Grant would have it in the bag, but with takedowns in each of the rounds, some people believed Dunham might have done enough to steal a decision. When the scores were read it provided some strange results 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 all for Grant, who took a Unanimous Decision.

14. Women’s Bantamweight Bout:  at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman. August 18, 2012 at Valley View Casino Center – San Diego, California

The Fight: These two women were the final preliminary caMiesha Tate vs. Julie Kedzierd bout and it certainly seemed like it pissed them off. Kedzie was an up-and-comer in the division and Tate had just lost her title to Ronda Rousey and was looking to get back on track. In the first round, despite being a substantial betting underdog Kedzie absolutely brought the fight to Tate. Coach Greg Jackson laid out a sprawl and brawl game plan for Kedzie and she followed it to perfection, even landing a big head kick that almost had Tate out cold near the end of the first. The second round was nearly the exact opposite of the first. Early on Tate scored a takedown and from there spent nearly the entire round trying to land submission after submission. She came close with a rear naked choke, then a triangle, then a guillotine, then full back mount with ground and pound. In the third round Kedzie opened up with some great low kicks, before landing a head kick to Tate’s face that dropped her once again. As she pounded away looking for a finish, Tate managed to snag an arm and look for submission, after a failed attempt, she transitioned to an armbar and in a bout of irony won with the move that ended her title reign.

The Finish: After getting dropped by a headkick early in the third round it looked like the upset was ready to happen, but Tate toughed it out and managed to compose herself enough to grab a submission. After losing the triangle, she did an excellent job to secure the armbar and force the tapout from her opponent at 3:28 of the final round.

13. Heavyweight Grand Prix Championship Bout: Daniel Cormier vs. Josh Barnett at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier. May 19, 2012 at HP Pavilion – San Jose, California

The Fight: This bout was an entertaining story as Cormier; a late replacement and tournament alternate battled grizzled veteran Josh Barnett in the finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. This was the fight to prove if the unbeaten Cormier was the real deal or not. He proved to everyone not only is he the real deal, but he is a serious top contender in the Heavyweight division. This fight lasted all five rounds, so I’m not going to go into detail about the whole bout. Cormier showed off a significantly improved striking game as he outworked the veteran Barnett on the feet over the course of the entire 25-minutes. Cormier’s NCAA Wrestling background also came into the spotlight as he had little trouble landing several takedowns over the course of the fight and controlling the usually crafty Barnett on the ground rather easily.

The Finish: Although Barnett survived to the final bell, he was never really in control of the fight and never had a quality shot of winning. One judge gave him a round, but the other two saw it as a clean sweep as Daniel Cormier won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Championship via scores of 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46.

12. Featherweight Bout: Eddie Yagin vs. Mark Hominick at UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans. April 21, 2012 at Philips Arena – Atlanta, Georgia

The Fight: This one was supposed to be a tune-up fight for Hominick. A way to get the Canadian former title contender back in the win column. Apparently no one told Yagin that as he came to scrap it out. Hominick was definitely the more talented and technical striker, but Yagin did his best to not allow Hominick to get comfortable. He stayed aggressive throughout the entire first round, constantly pressing and constantly throwing punches, a slip from Hominick lead to some nasty ground and pound from Yagin that left Dominick’s face a mess. As the second started Yagin again tried to prevent Hominick from getting comfortable. As the Canadian’s eye continued to swell shut, Yagin continued to pound away at that side of his face. Despite Yagin controlling the opening four minutes or so of the round, Hominick came alive near the end of the second and was firing big punches and working the body well. At the end of the second both men’s faces were bloodied and battered. The third round was by far the best for the Canadian but he couldn’t earn a stoppage despite doing significant damage to his opponents face. In the end, some good natured ribbing ended the fight as Hominick ended with some push ups in the Octagon while Yagin responded by doing some sit ups of his own.

The Finish: After a bloody and fun three rounds it came down to the judges. The scores read 29-28 Yagin, 29-28 Hominick and 29-28 for the winner by Split Decision Eddie Yagin.

11. Lightweight Bout: Donald Cerrone vs. Melvin Guillard at UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar II. August 11, 2012 at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado

The Fight: One minute and sixteen seconds, that’s how long this fight lasted. That 76-seconds was non-stop action as these two went right for it from the opening bell. After throwing a head kick with bad intentions that missed, Cerrone ate a huge left hand and was rocked early. Guillard swarmed with a flying knee and follow up punches, somehow Cerrone survived. Cerrone again went for a high kicked and although it was mostly deflected, it managed to wobble Guillard slightly. Cerrone smelled blood in the water and attacked with a huge right hand that floored Guillard, knocking him completely out.

The Finish: After the glancing high kick Cerrone could see that Guillard was hurt. He threw a big right hand that landed right on the button and put Guillard out for good. The Knockout of the Night victory came at 1:16 of Round One.

10. Welterweight Bout: Jon Fitch vs. Erick Silva at UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar. October 13, 2012 at HSBC Arena – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Fight: Jon Fitch has never really been known for being an exciting fighter, more of a boring wrestling-based grinder who uses takedowns to defeat his opponents. His opponent for this bout Erick Silva was a top up-and-comer from Brazil, who was known for a string of first round stoppages. Many people thought this one had snoozer written all over it, the others were hoping for a quick knockout for the young Brazilian, everyone was wrong. Fitch didn’t stray too far from his wrestling based offense, but instead of being content to control his opponents with light ground and pound, Fitch looked like a man possessed. He threw huge ground and pound and was constantly creating submission opportunities in the first round, a significant change from his usually conservative style. The second was by far the best round for the Brazilian as he scored early with some strikes before landing a takedown of his own. Silva managed to grab the back mount midway through the round but was unable to fully sink in the choke. In the third, Fitch’s gas tank took over. Silva is a quick finisher, not known for his gas tank when the fight goes late, Fitch has been there plenty of times and he took over in the final round.

The Finish: This fight did make it to the judge’s cards, but it was not a typical lay-and-pray outing from Jon Fitch. After the scores were read, Fitch had taken home a Unanimous Decision with scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28. After the bout Fitch admitted that he knew he had to become more of a showman and a more exciting fighter if he wanted another chance at the Welterweight belt.

9. Light Heavyweight Bout: Mauricio Rua vs. Brandon Vera at UFC on Fox 4: Shogun vs. Vera. August 4, 2012 at Staples Center – Los Angeles, California

The Fight: This was another fight that was supposed to be a blow out for one of the fighters. Everyone expected Shogun to simply obliterate Vera en-route towards a possible rematch against Jon Jones. Vera was apparently out of the loop on that. The first round was as one-sided as most expected it to be. Shogun earned a quick takedown and threw elbows early. Vera later pulled guard and was close with a guillotine, but Shogun finished the round pounding away at Vera. In the second round, Rua really started to slow down. A big punch early hurt Vera, but he managed to battle through it and even landed a big shot of his own that rocked Shogun. Despite being out landed on the feet, Vera was sticking with Shogun through most of the round and even managed to score a late takedown to possibly steal the round. By the third round, both fighters were exhausted and the round was light on significant action. In the fourth round, there was finally the big punch that the crowd was looking for. Rua pushed Vera against the fence and began landing a few shots, the final one sending Vera to the canvas. Rua was relentless on the ground and despite being given all kinds of time to recover by the referee, he was finally forced to wave it off.

The Finish: With both fighters so exhausted heading into the fourth round, it looked like this one might be destined for the scorecards. However, against the fence Shogun landed some big clean shots, finally sending Vera to the ground. Despite the exhaustion Rua gutted it out on the mat and continually blasted Vera with ground and pound, finally earning a TKO victory at the 4:09 minute mark of the fourth round.

8. Welterweight Championship Bout: Georges St. Pierre vs. Carlos Condit at UFC 154: Condit vs. St. Pierre. November 17, 2012 at Bell Centre – Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Fight: This was a fight that many fans were waiting for. UFC Welterweight Champion was returning to the cage after more than a year off due to a significant knee injury and follow-up surgery to take on Interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit. A lot of people questioned how GSP would look after such a long time off and if ring rust would play a factor in the contest. After watching the first round, it certainly didn’t appear that way. GSP did what GSP does, some light striking to set up a takedown and top control. Despite that, Condit was very active from his back and landed some decent punches and elbows from the bottom. GSP however landed an excellent elbow that opened up a nasty gash on Condit’s forehead that was coated with blood instantly. The second round featured more of the same, but in the third, things began to change. Condit found more success in the stand up game. His unorthodox combos began to confuse the champion and Condit was able to land a massive headkick that sent the Canadian Champion sprawling to the mat, clearly rocked. Condit pounced on GSP and smashed away with great punches and elbows, but GSP managed to hang on. He even scored a late takedown to try and steal back the round. The fourth and fifth rounds were nearly mirror images of one another, with GSP setting up takedowns and controlling Condit from the top. To his credit though, Condit never gave up fighting from the bottom, constantly throwing elbows, punches and looking for possible submissions.

The Finish: After the full 25 minutes, this one went to the scorecards. Georges St. Pierre defended his title via Unanimous Decision, taking the contest by scores of 49-46, 50-45 and 50-45.

7. Welterweight Championship Bout: Nate Marquardt vs. Tyron Woodley at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy. July 14, 2012 at Rose Garden – Portland, Oregon

The Fight: Once one of the best Middleweights in the UFC, Marquardt looked excellent as he made the cut to 170-pounds for his Strikeforce career. Taking on undefeated Tyron Woodley for the vacant Welterweight Championship, he was looking to secure himself a home in Strikeforce. Woodley was a talented wrestler who was undefeated, but was criticized for a couple of less than entertaining fights. This bout was exactly what both men needed. They were at each other looking for a finish from the opening bell. The first round saw Woodley stagger Marquardt, only to see Marquardt return the favor a minute later and nearly sink in a guillotine choke. The second saw both men continue to move forward aggressively, alternating turns as the aggressor. The third round was the best for Woodley as he was able to drop Marquardt with a short punch. Woodley followed up with some big offense that seemed to tire him, as his pace slowed significantly near the end of the round. The fourth round was where these two warriors finally found a finish.

The Finish: Other than Edson Barboza’s wheel kick knockout, this one for me is the knockout of the year as it was a thing of absolute beauty and brutality all rolled into one. Battling against the fence, Marquardt landed two short elbow strikes, a left hook and then an absolutely massive uppercut that put Woodley out cold. The official knockout victory came at 1:39 of Round Four.

6. Welterweight Bout: Jake Ellenberger vs. Diego Sanchez at UFC on Fuel TV 1: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger. February 15, 2012 at Omaha Civic Auditorium – Omaha, Nebraska

The Fight: This was a promising fight from the get-go as Ellenberger is always willing to bang and Diego Sanchez isn’t known for boring, slow-paced fights. Although the bout started somewhat slow, it didn’t take too long for them to get going. After about 90 seconds these two went toe to toe, banging it out. The close round ended with a couple of big punches that rocked Sanchez, sealing it for Ellenberger. Ellenberger continued to batter Sanchez on the feet in the second round, landing a steady stream of counter punches, while avoiding most of the big punches from his opponent. Near the end of the round Ellenberger landed a big takedown and finished the round with some ground and pound from the top. Knowing he would likely need a finish in the third round to steal this bout, Sanchez charged out and went after it from the first second of the round.

The Finish: Sanchez couldn’t find the finish he needed to steal the fight, so this one went to the judge’s scorecards. In scores that surprised no one in the audience, Ellenberger took home a Unanimous decision. The scores were29-28 for Ellenberger across the board.

 5. Lightweight Championship Bout: Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson at UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson. February 26, 2012 at Saitama Super Arena – Saitama, Japan

The Fight: The first bout between these two Lightweights was one of the best fights of the year. This bout went the full 25-minutes and it was nearly non-stop action across the whole time. I won’t go into full round by round details here, because this is one fight you have to see to believe. The striking was very even throughout the entire fight and the action was non-stop on the ground as well. The best strike of the bout by far came in the second round when Henderson landed a huge up kick that flattened Edgar and bloodied his nose. The rest of the bout was filled with rollicking back and forth action that took mostly on the feet, but with some interesting grappling moments thrown in there. After 25 minutes this one headed for the judge’s scorecards.

The Finish: This was one of the most highly controversial judging decisions of the year, probably followed up only by the second bout between these two. Both men felt they had done enough to win the bout, and even members of the media who were scoring the bouts for websites like Sherdog and MMAJunkie, were split on who had won this bout. In the end it was a Unanimous decision for new champion Benson Henderson, who took it by scores of 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47.

4. Women’s Bantamweight Championship Bout: Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate at Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey. March 3, 2012 at Nationwide Arena – Columbus, Ohio

The Fight: Last year it was Nick Diaz vs. Paul Daley for the Welterweight title, this year it’s Ronda Rousey taking on Miesha Tate for the Women’s Bantamweight title that has the honor of the best one-round fight of the year. Wild striking exchanges, trip takedowns, stellar grappling and a gruesome submission were all involved in this entertaining bout. At the end of the day Ronda Rousey became the champion and started her rise as a media darling.

The Finish: After a highly entertaining four minutes of action Rousey began to unleash a wild assault of ground and pound. She then seized an opportunity to sink in her patented armbar submission and torqued it with everything she had. It took her elbow popping before Tate would finally submit, but at the 4:27 mark of the first round that’s what happened.

3. Flyweight Tournament Bout: Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall at UFC on FX 2: Alves vs. Kampmann. March 3, 2012 at Allphones Arena – Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

The Fight: This was the first bout in the UFC’s Flyweight tournament to crown the first ever UFC Flyweight Champion. It turned out to be an excellent bout with plenty of action everywhere the fight took place. Despite there being a lot of exciting striking in this contest, I think the most exciting action took place on the mat. Sweeps, scrambles, submission attempts and ground and pound were all in heavy supply for this one. As the second round ended the fight still was incredibly close, but Johnson was beginning to look tired while ‘Uncle Creepy’ looked fresh and ready to go. It certainly seemed that way as the third round started as McCall came out firing off kicks. With less than a minute to go, McCall landed a beautiful takedown and absolutely unloaded with everything he had working for a finish.

The Finish: This one was also marred in controversy. Despite being one of the best fights of the year, it was not immune to a little bit of suspect judging. After three rounds, this bout went to the judges. The scores were 29-28 Johnson, 29-28 Johnson and a 28-28 Draw. Afterwards at the post fight conference it was announced that a mathematical error lead to the scores being announced improperly. The actual scores should have been 29-28 Johnson, 28-28 Draw and 28-28 Draw for an outcome of a Majority Draw. Instead of sudden death overtime, these two men would face off again later in the year.

2. Lightweight Bout: Joe Lauzon vs. Jamie Varner at UFC on Fox 4: Shogun vs. Vera. August 4, 2012 at Staples Center – Los Angeles, California

The Fight: If you were going to show someone who is new to MMA what this whole UFC thing is all about, this is absolutely the fight you should have them watch. Late notice replacement Jamie Varner and the always exciting Joe Lauzon came to absolutely throw down in this Lightweight war. Both of these guys threw all kinds of exciting strikes and it started with the opening round. The first round was contested entirely on the feet, as Lauzon and Varner threw low kicks, high kicks, flying knees, elbows and punches at each other. The second round started the same way that the first ended, with punches winging through the air. The second round featured some slick grappling as both men scored takedowns, only to watch the other reverse the position and hunt for a submission of their own. In the third round Varner looked noticeably tired but came out swinging for the fences anyways. The finishing flurry itself was a thing of beauty, as this fight won a very deserved Fight of the Night award.

The Finish: This submission finish was truly a sight to behold. With Varner in trouble and tiring quickly, he shot for a takedown and landed it successfully. Lauzon pulled off an excellent sweep from the bottom to reverse the position and get Varner’s back. As Lauzon was searching for a rear naked choke, Varner managed to switch it back over. Lauzon took the opening to throw his legs up and snatch Varner in a triangle choke. Varner did his best, but Lauzon landed a few elbows from the bottom, clamped the hold in tighter and Varner had no choice but to tap at the 2:44 mark of round three.

1. Featherweight Bout: Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier at UFC on Fuel TV 3: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier. May 15, 2012 at Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virgina

The Fight: And that brings us to the best fight of the year in my opinion. If Lauzon-Varner at number two is what you should show people to introduce them to MMA, this is the fight you should show them to make them love MMA. I’m not even going to talk about this fight at all, except to say that it’s in my top ten fights of all time and that’s saying a lot. Wild punching exchanges, exciting ground work, excellent submission offense and a couple of near misses all along the way. Watch this fight.

The Finish: A minute into the fourth round and it seemed like the tide might be turning in the bout. But after the Korean Zombie landed a flying knee, Poirier shot for the takedown immediately. Dangerous move against the crafty Korean who snatched up a D’Arce Choke from the headlock position and cinched it in tight for the victory.

UFC: Ultimate Fight Collection 2012

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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?

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

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Jose Aldo & Rampage Jackson Out Of UFC 153

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

The hits keep on coming for the UFC. Just when the dust started to settle from the UFC 151 fiasco, the UFC has another problem on their hands. In a matter of hours the UFC lost both of its top two fights on the upcoming UFC 153 Brazilian event.

If Dana White thought he had it bad trying to find one main-event to save UFC 151, he now has to find two fights to save the upcoming UFC 153. The good news is that the UFC has a month to find replacement fights. The bad news is that the company will have a real hard time satisfying a Brazilian audience now that their champion has been removed from the card.

Word broke shortly after the UFC 152 media call that Rampage Jackson was out of UFC 153. Jackson was set to fight Glover Teixeira in the co-headliner. White tweeted that Jackson was out with a back injury. This was a huge fight as it was Jackson’s last fight on his deal and a great opportunity to move Teixeira into the upper echelon of the light heavyweights with a win. The upper echelon of light heavyweights haven’t exactly been beating the UFC’s door down to fight Teixeira. Shogun Rua reportedly was fine with being cut rather than fighting Teixeira when asked. Finding a high profile replacement to fight Teixeira with a month out isn’t going to be easy.

No Rampage-Teixeira would have been fine if the main-event also didn’t happen to fall apart on the same day. The highly anticipated Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar UFC featherweight championship fight left as fast as it came. Aldo officially pulled out after suffering a motorcycle accident last week. Aldo was originally scheduled to fight Erik Koch who pulled out of that fight with an injury a couple of weeks back. This leaves UFC 153 with a main-event at this point of Erick Silva vs. Jon Fitch.

I am real curious to see how this plays out after all of the UFC 151 fallout. Dozens of UFC fighters publicly criticized Jon Jones for turning down a fight. Several including Anderson Silva claimed that they would have fought with no notice and saved the show after it had been cancelled. I am real interested to see if any of these fighters who all had problems with Jones for turning down a fight, turn down a proposed fight from Dana White with 30-days notice. This is a show that will likely be cancelled if nobody steps up. Let’s see how many of those fighters are willing to do on 30 days notice what Jones wouldn’t do with eight.

Count Urijah Faber in as a fighter that will stand behind his words. Faber has offered to step in and fight Frankie Edgar at UFC 153. At this point all reports indicate that the fight is under consideration. It is an interesting fight to think about, but I can’t imagine that anyone is really interested in paying to watch it. Plus, Frankie Edgar has everything to lose and nothing to gain. Edgar stepped down in weight to do the UFC a favor and in turn received a title shot. Putting that shot on the line against a guy that just recently lost could be devastating to the UFC’s future plans of an Edgar vs. Aldo fight. For that reason I don’t believe that the UFC will take Faber up on this offer. I think the UFC winds up pulling Edgar from the show to save one of the few marquee fights they have signed up for the future.

Anderson Silva is an interesting name. Silva did offer to fight at UFC 151 at light heavyweight with 8 days notice. This is bigger. This show is in Brazil and Silva was extremely upset when his fight against Chael Sonnen was moved from Brazil to the point that he almost refused to fight. Silva could not only save the event, but get that fight he wanted in front of his home audience. On the other hand, does the UFC really want to expose their marquee fighter on a fight with short notice? Say Silva fights and gets KO’d on a fluke. That would kill marketing efforts going forward. I have read some tweets suggesting a third Silva vs. Sonnen fight but at light heavyweight. It is very intriguing but with a potential big money fight in the future with Jones vs. Sonnen, would the company want to sacrifice Sonnen’s first light heavyweight bid against the Spider?

The UFC is likely to announce a replacement sometime before the end of the week. We’ll have the announcement and analysis immediately thereafter.

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

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Frankie Edgar In, Erik Koch Out Vs. Jose Aldo At UFC 153

August 31, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Well that didn’t take long did it? Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar will make his featherweight debut in a championship fight. USA Today reports that Edgar will replace Erik Koch against Jose Aldo at UFC 153 in Brazil.

Obviously, we’ve had a rough couple of weeks here at the UFC, and then sure enough, I walk in to work today, and Erik Koch is hurt,” White told USA TODAY Sports. “But Frankie Edgar, being the stud and the warrior that he is, steps up and accepts this fight.

The news comes a week after the UFC had to not only cancel a scheduled title fight with Jon Jones and Dan Henderson, but had to shut down an entire show. In this case, the champion will get plenty of time to prepare for his opponent. Aldo and Edgar won’t square off until October 13, giving both fighters ample time for training camps.

This is a rare case where the UFC winds up with a better main-event due to injury. The last time I can remember this happening was Tito Ortiz stepping in for Phil Davis at UFC 133 against Rashad Evans. Edgar is a huge boost over Koch with all respect to Koch. Quite frankly I am sure the UFC were salivating over the idea of making this fight change. Compound that with the fact that the event will be taking place in Aldo’s home country of Brazil and you have just turned a forgettable headliner into one of the most anticipated fights of the year.

Edgar is moving down after a successful run at lightweight for over five years. Edgar is coming off back to back losses to UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson. Edgar leaves the UFC lightweight division with a record of 9-2-1 which included a championship win over the legendary BJ Penn. Edgar has never fought at featherweight at any time throughout his career.

I hate to spoil the party here but it should be pointed out that Edgar will now be the UFC fighter getting a championship fight on his division debut this fall. Vitor Belfort who hasn’t fought in the UFC light heavyweight division in over seven years will be getting a shot at Jon Jones at UFC 152. At least in the case of Belfort you can make a case that Belfort won seven of his last eight fights. Not so much in this case!

I am a Frankie Edgar fan but let’s be frank about this. The man is 1-2-1 in his last four fights. He hasn’t won a fight in close to a year! If the UFC defended the Vitor call on his 7-1 record, how do they defend this? I like Edgar and I want to see Edgar fight Aldo, but in no way does he deserve a title shot. It is unfair to the others in the division and it greatly diminishes the credibility of UFC championships.

I was never a fan of Edgar moving down in weight, especially after the last fight with Henderson. It just seems odd to me that a guy who was so close to winning the title (and should have won) would be pressured into dropping a division. The right call in my eyes was to either give Edgar an immediate rematch or a title eliminator fight. Hopefully when this charade is all said and done Edgar can go back to the division where he belongs. I just don’t see the reasoning other than finding a drawing opponent for Edgar to send the guy to another division.

Unfortunately the more the UFC overextends themselves on shows, the more you are going to see situations like Edgar vs. Aldo or even Jones vs. Belfort. It is almost as if Vince McMahon is booking the fights these days.

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Frankie Edgar Announces Move To Featherweight

August 22, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC moving truck continues to busy in August with fighters moving up and down in division. The latest is former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. Edgar has caved into the pressure and announced his move to the featherweight division.

I have to admit that I was stunned when I read this announcement. The calls for Edgar moving to featherweight have been loud since he was first defeated by Ben Henderson earlier this year. Edgar was adamant that he had no interest in moving. Even after his most recent fight he still was adamant that he was not moving. Guess what? He’s moving.

UFC president Dana White has been putting the public pressure on Edgar to move for awhile. In my opinion, this is more about Jose Aldo than it is about Edgar. Jose Aldo is so good, that he has practically no competition in the division. As a draw he is about as poor as it gets right now. Moving Edgar allows the UFC to finally cash in on Aldo for a fight or series with Edgar.

I don’t get this whatsoever in looking at the big picture. I blogged extensively in the past about why the calls for Edgar to move to featherweight were ridiculous. In short, the man has only lost one fight in his entire UFC career in the division. The man has beaten every top lightweight fighter he has ever been matched up with up until Ben Henderson. Even with Henderson, he was never finished. Plus and this is a huge plus, he was robbed of the title in their last fight! I am not a big Edgar fan but I’ll call a spade when I see it and Edgar deserves a rematch no matter what was promised to Nate Diaz. I don’t understand why you would sacrifice one of the most dominant lightweights in history for one money fight. I don’t get it.

Sure they could move Edgar back to the division after the Aldo series should he lose, but what is the point? You are taking one of the most dominant fighters in the division away for an extended period of time. Could Edgar stick around and help build the featherweight division? I guess so but here is a dirty little secret nobody in Zuffa would ever admit. Nobody wants to watch the featherweights! They are fun for a fight here and there but they aren’t draws. Casual MMA fans want to watch big guys slug it out or go to the ground, not little guys bounce around for five rounds. If that was the case Jose Aldo would be the biggest draw in the UFC!

Edgar was told that he must win one fight before getting a title shot. That sounds legitimate doesn’t it? One fight makes a top contender? In one breath Dana White is telling Chael Sonnen he needs more than one win to get a title shot yet in the other he says it is okay for Frankie Edgar. Maybe I am putting too much stock into the titles but I have a real hard time with the credibility of a title fight when the challenger is getting the shot off of one win. Edgar needed three to get to BJ Penn and in my opinion that is the way all title paths should be.

There is also the whole issue of weight cutting. Weight cutting is a part of fighting but it is a very dangerous game. Edgar is a fighter known for the fact that he doesn’t cut weight for his fights. Now you have pressured the guy into a situation where he needs to cut weight and then rehydrate by fight time. I won’t even get into the fact that you have a real unfair situation to Aldo in that case, but such is life in the UFC and their phony divisions.

I know Edgar isn’t a big draw but I am disappointed we won’t be getting Henderson-Edgar III, Edgar vs. Diaz, Edgar-Maynard IV, Edgar-Pettis, Edgar-Guida, Edgar-Lauzon, or Edgar-Miller in the foreseeable future. As a fight fan I think this may be one of the most short-sighted moves I have seen from Zuffa in a long time.

I guess I’ll get excited for Frankie Edgar vs. Chad Mendes instead.

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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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