It hasn’t been a fun holiday weekend for Jason Mayhem Miller. Miller lost a unanimous decision to at UFC 146 to C.B. Dollaway and was immediately cut from the UFC following a backstage incident. Less than 48 hours later, Miller announced his retirement from MMA on Memorial Day…for right now
The announcement was made on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour on Monday afternoon. The announcement shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to those who follow Miller in the social media. Miller made a lot of promises prior to his fight with Dollaway and one was that if he can’t perform in the octagon, he shouldn’t be there. Miller apparently felt that he could no longer compete at an elite level and has retired.
Jason Miller will be remembered by this writer as a guy with a lot more bark than bite. I always found Miller the kind of a guy whose pre-fight quotes were a lot more exciting than his fights. Some fighters are known for a particular move or submission that fans are accustomed to seeing during fights. For me, that move will be Miller sitting flat on his behind, back up against the wall, acting as if he was in control when yet it was the opponent keeping him at bay.
Miller will leave MMA after a brief second run in the UFC. Miller returned last year filling the open slot of coach on The Ultimate Fighter against Michael Bisping. Miller got the spot after Chael Sonnen was denied a license by the California State Athletic Commission. Miller was fun to watch as a coach but a bore to watch as a fighter once he stepped into the octagon with Bisping. Miller gassed out fast and appeared terribly out of shape for the fight.
UFC president Dana White offered Miller one last opportunity. Miller signed to fight C.B. Dollaway, a fighter that he probably should have beaten on paper. Miller did a lot of talking before the fight yet failed to back any of it up at UFC 146. Dollaway dominated the majority of the fight that saw Miller gas out once again. Yet it would be a backstage incident that got the most action out of Miller on Saturday. Miller reportedly yelled at a UFC staff member and was immediately fired after the show by Dana White.
“I wouldn’t call it an incident,” Miller told The MMA Hour. “It was my mask. (UFC coordinator Burt Watson) suddenly started yelling about my mask. I had a gas mask for the troops underneath my paper bag, the crazy paper bag that I painted, and Burt started telling me right as I’m walking out to fight. I’m trying to get focused there, instead of arguing about a paper bag.
The “incident” at UFC 146 was certainly not Miller’s first controversy in MMA. Miller is also responsible for starting the riot in Nashville at a Strikeforce show in 2010. Miller was given a three-month suspension for his part and a fine. More importantly, the brawl was a big reason that CBS declined to produce and air future Strikeforce shows on the network.
Instead of looking work outside of the UFC, Miller decided to call it a day on Helwani’s show. Miller is looking to capitalize on his gift of gab and parlay that into an entertainment or MMA broadcasting career (presumably not in the UFC).
“Every fighter gives the same answer when they say they’re retired,” said Miller. “Pretty much every fighter says ‘I’m retired until I need money.’ I’m a pretty smart dude, I have other avenues open to me.”
Miller was the host of “Bully Beatdown” which aired on MTV for three seasons. Miller has appeared on G4′s American Ninja Warrior and is a regular on The Jason Ellis Show which airs on Sirius/XM radio. Keep in mind that Miller did say “for right now.” In other words, if those entertainment opportunities don’t come along, expect to see him back in MMA action.
Miller ends an 11-year career in MMA that saw more flash than substance. From 2001-08 Miller had a nice run of 20-5 in MMA competition. Miller fought in various weight classes from welterweight-heavyweight. Miller’s biggest wins came on lower-level MMA shows unless you call a win over Tim Stout impressive. Miller’s win over Tim Kennedy in 2007 was probably his best, although his win over Kazushi Sakuraba is probably his most notable. To his credit, Miller was able to craft an image that camouflaged that record and highlighted his pro-wrestling-like charisma.
Was UFC 146 the last we’ll see of Miller fighting in MMA? In the UFC yes, but I suspect that we will see him back in action at some point elsewhere.
The UFC 146 all heavyweight fight show delivered what you wanted if you expected fast knockouts, exciting fights, and lots of blood. It was only fitting that the main-event would end with a 6’3” 261 pound man flat on his back in the championship fight.
Junior Dos Santos throttled Frank Mir with a second round TKO. Dos Santos kept the fight up top and refused to go to the ground with Mir. Dos Santos noted after the fight that his hand hurt which could signify a broken hand for the champion. Otherwise it was a fairly crisp performance for a first-time heavyweight title defense.
Frank Mir told the world he was going to open up the fight and immediately try and take Dos Santos down in the guard and that is exactly what he did. Unfortunately for him Dos Santos was ready and didn’t go down. Mir wound up fighting a stand up fight which saw the fight come very close to ending for the challenger as the bell rang. Dos Santos connected on a body shot and then nailed Mir with a right hook before opening up a flurry of strikes. Mir was in bad shape and arguably saved by the bell as the first round ended.
JDS continued picking Mir apart in round two. It appeared it was only a matter of time as the round started and it was. JDS dropped Mir with a right, jumped on him, and the fight was stopped at 3:04. Mike Goldberg called it a great performance out of Dos Santos. I don’t know if I’d call it great but it was very good. He won but I got the feeling that a faster, healthier Cain Velasquez would have picked him apart as opposed to the slow, plodding Mir. That is more than I can say for Mir who looked like he came into the fight with one game plan and when that failed he knew it was over.
In the semi-main event, Cain Velasquez brutalized Antonio Silva with a first round TKO. Velasquez made a serious statement tonight and looked better than ever. Velasquez caught a Silva kick in the open and took him down. The former UFC heavyweight champion immediately opened up a nasty cut with a series of elbows and ground and pound. Silva was drenched and could barely see past the blood. After a check by the doctor, the fight continued, and Velasquez just brutalized Silva with ground and pound until the referee stopped the fight at 3:36 via TKO.
I said it after the Velasquez-Dos Santos fight and I am more convinced than ever that there is no way that a healthy Velasquez would get dominated the way he did by Dos Santos. It has since been reported that Velasquez was hurt going into that title fight and I think it was obvious tonight. I can’t recall seeing a guy beaten that badly for a title coming back with such a dominant performance. Cain looked simply awesome at UFC 146 dominating the giant Antonio Silva.
It is an interesting predicament that the UFC has when it comes to Velasquez. The money fight right now is obviously Velasquez vs. Dos Santos in a rematch. Cain should probably win another fight before getting the title match, but the dominant performance shoots him right to the top in my opinion. I can’t think of anyone besides Velasquez deserving of the title shot other than Alistair Overeem who can’t fight until next year anyway. Does the UFC go with Velasquez vs. Mir in Cain’s next fight? While I think Cain would win, a loss would be devastating. I think the UFC plays the hot hand and we get Dos Santos vs. Velasquez in September or October (depending upon Junior’s hand) in what will be one of the most anticipated UFC heavyweight title fights in history.
As for the heavyweight division, it was painfully obvious to me how much the UFC and the division misses Brock Lesnar. I know that he is a polarizing figure to MMA fans but the UFC heavyweight division is not nearly as deep without him. Past Mir, Dos Santos, and Cain you have a pretty stale division. I understand Brock was on the downside due to his medical conditions, but he could have possibly put a short run together if he stuck around for one more year. Alistair Overeem had a shot at taking that spot but he is out of the mix until early next year. I know Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett are right around the corner, but they are hardly the intriguing fighter that Brock was.
Brock was actually at the show in the audience. I will make a prediction now and that is Brock Lesnar will fight again. I believe that when his WWE deal expires next April that he will make one more go at the UFC. There is just way too much money waiting for Brock in the octagon for him to stay away. Unfortunately I think his health will probably make it a one and done come back. I think Frank Mir is the opponent and I think they complete the trilogy in 2013.
Full UFC 146: Dos Santos vs. Mir results & winners…
Junior Dos Santos defeated Frank Mir via second-round TKO
Cain Velasquez defeated Antonio Silva via first-round TKO
Roy Nelson defeated Dave Herman via first-round TKO
Stipe Miocic defeated Shane del Rosario via second-round TKO
Stefan Struve defeated Lavar Johnson via submission (armbar)
Diego Brandao vs. Darren Elkins
Jamie Varner defeated Edson Barboza via first-round TKO
C.B. Dollaway defeated Jason Miller via unanimous decision
Dan Hardy defeated Duane Ludwig via first-round KO
Paul Sass defeated Jacob Volkmann via submission (triangle armbar)
Glover Teixeira defeated Kyle Kingsbury via submission (arm triangle)
Mike Brown defeated Daniel Pineda via unanimous decision
The UFC returns to the Pay Per View airwaves this weekend with a massive card featuring five bouts all in the Heavyweight division (see what I did there?). After a number of highly entertaining and not to mention free bouts featuring the lighter weight classes at UFC on Fox 3 and UFC on Fuel TV 3, the UFC brings nearly 2500 pounds of fighting this Saturday! Saturday! Saturday! (If you don’t know what I’m referring to, check out the awesome old school promo video for UFC 146 that was created by the promotion. http://youtu.be/1o7yp6JpsSE)
Headlined by a Heavyweight Championship bout between reigning champion Junior dos Santos defending his title against newly minted number one contender Frank Mir. In co-main event action former champion Cain Velasquez looks to right the ship and work his way back towards the UFC title when he takes on the debuting Antonio “Big Foot” Silva. Rounding out the main PPV card are three more Heavyweight tilts including: Stefan Struve taking on late replacement and undefeated in the UFC Lavar Johnson, undefeated records are on the line when Strikeforce import Shane del Rosario battles Stipe Miocic, and fan-favorite Roy Nelson battles Dave Herman.
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Mike Thomas Brown vs. Daniel Pineda
Mike Thomas Brown is an American fighter from Portland, Maine. He is a former WEC Featherweight Champion notable for dethroning Urijah Faber at WEC 41. Brown is a former state champion wrestler in high school who currently trains with the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. Brown is a veteran fighter who is extremely well rounded. He possesses heavy hands and crisp boxing, top level wrestling skills and an excellent submission game. Though he has struggled recently he still has the tools to be one of the top fighters at 145-pounds. Brown owns a career record of 25-8.
Daniel “The Pit” Pineda is an American fighter from Dallas, Texas. Pineda is a Muay Thai fighter with a wildly aggressive style. Pineda is a member of the 4 oz. Fight Club in Houston, Texas. Pineda is an interesting case of fighting style, he’s extremely aggressive, winging wild punches and haymakers at anything that’s stupid enough to stand in front of him. Add to that fact that he’s an extremely capable grappler with 13 submission victories and he’s definitely a handful for any fighter to deal with. Pineda owns a career record of 17-7 and has finished every one of his victories by TKO or Submission.
Analysis and Prediction: In the past I would take Brown in a second. His style is custom built to throw off renegade brawlers like Pineda. However, his more recent bouts have been a mixed bag, and he’s looked far from the dominant fighter that he once was. Still the fact remains that if he follows a tight game plan he has the wrestling and boxing skills to handle Pineda and grind him out for three rounds. You never really know which Mike Brown will show up, but if the fighter that once defeated Urijah Faber shows up, he should win this one. Mike Thomas Brown by Unanimous Decision
Kyle “Kingsbu” Kingsbury is a 30-year-old American fighter from San Jose, California. He is most notable for his stint on the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter reality television series. The former NCAA football star has made a relatively smooth transition to MMA, however he was dealt a significant thrashing in his last bout at the hands of Stephan Bonnar. Kingsbury is a well-rounded fighter who’s striking is solid and has a decent wrestling game, likely due to his background as a Defensive tackle. He is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose and owns a career record of 11-3, with 1 No Contest.
Glover Teixeira is a Brazilian fighter, who has long been one of the top Brazilian prospects to never fight in a major American MMA promotion. Teixeira is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who has won the Brazilian ADCC trials in his weight class in the past. He also owns incredible kickboxing skills with big power in all of his strikes. Teixeira is currently riding a fifteen fight-winning streak with notable victories over Ricco Rodriguez, Marvin Eastman and Marcio Cruz. Despite his Brazilian heritage, Teixeira actually trains in The Pit in San Luis Obispo, California under the tutelage of John Hackleman (the trainer of former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell.) Teixeira owns a career record of 17-2.
Analysis and Prediction: Despite running up a nice win streak inside the Octagon, Kingsbury was absolutely exposed in his last bout against Stephan Bonnar. Although the world expected a brawl, it became apparent to everyone early in that fight that Kingsbury could not stop Bonnar from taking him down, so Bonnar rode that to victory. Glover Teixeira is a highly touted prospect with better wrestling and better striking than Bonnar, expect a similar show to the clinic Bonnar gave Kingsbury, but Teixeira finds an opening to stop this one. Glover Teixeira via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Jacob Volkmann vs. Paul Sass
Jacob “Christmas” Volkmann is an American fighter from Fergus Falls, Minnesota. A former Welterweight in the UFC, he lost his first two bouts at the weight class before making the cut to Lightweight. Since that drop he has gone 5-0, although his steady stream of grinding decision victories, seems to have him stuck on the undercards. Despite all that, another win should at least guarantee him a shot at the top ten Lightweight fighters in the UFC, and with it a shot at some TV time. Volkmann is a former NCAA Division 1 All-American wrestler from the University of Minnesota who has translated those wrestling skills well to the game. Although his striking remains relatively raw, his wrestling and top control is top notch. A member of the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy he owns a career record of 14-2.
Paul “Sassangle” Sass is an English fighter born in Liverpool, England. At only 23-years old and currently undefeated he is one of the UK’s top fighters. Sass has an outstanding ground game, whose stand up is fairly limited. However, his grappling ability is top notch. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt currently owns eleven of his twelve career victories via submission, his favorite of which is the Triangle choke which he has used to finish over half of his opponents, most in the first round. Sass is a member of the Team Koabon Gym in Liverpool and owns a career record of 12-0.
Analysis and Prediction: This bout could be a highly entertaining high-octane, quick paced grappling show, or it could be turned into a slow, dull and boring wrestle fest. I expect that the boo-birds might come out for this one. Neither guy is known for their striking skills, although Sass is probably the more talented of the two. Volkmann will certainly take the bout to the ground, but Sass is extremely talented and dangerous from the bottom. If Volkmann relies that, he’s going to be extremely careful on the mat, causing the pace to slow, if Sass can make him work from the bottom, than he’s going to create openings where his lights out Jiu Jitsu can create submission opportunities. Because of an extended layoff due to injuries, I think Volkmann rides another decision here. Jacob Volkmann via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Dan Hardy vs. Duane Ludwig
Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy is a 30-year-old English fighter and a former UFC Welterweight title challenger. Since earning that shot however, he has hit a skid and is currently on a four-fight losing streak. Hardy is a kick boxer and not much else, his wrestling skills and grappling skills are basically non-existent. He does have the ability to end someone’s night with one big power punch, but for someone who’s whole game relies on striking, he isn’t even that great at his one skill. Still, he is a favorite fighter of UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta, so he is still employed, but who knows if that will last after a five-fight losing streak. Hardy owns a career record of 23-10.
Duane “Bang” Ludwig is an American fighter from Denver, Colorado. He is a former professional kick boxer and a longtime veteran of the MMA game. Combined Ludwig has over 80 career combat bouts spread between pro kickboxing and pro MMA. Not surprisingly Ludwig relies on his Muay Thai skills in nearly all of his fights. Ludwig has been constantly working on his grappling skills, but he is still not nearly refined as a top level MMA fighter should be nowadays. Luckily for him the ground game is unlikely to be a factor in this bout. He holds a professional MMA record of 21-12.
Analysis and Prediction: I’ll just go ahead and say it, neither one of these guys is ever going to even come close to earning a title shot in the future. However, this is surely on the card to please fans. Both fighters prefer to stand and brawl and that’s what they’re expected to do come Saturday night. I’m not of the opinion that Hardy is vastly overrated, although he was the beneficiary of the UFC marketing machine making him look impressive in video footage for his fight against GSP. Still Ludwig is on the tail end of his career and Hardy should still have some time in the cage. Hardy probably needs a win here more as well. Dan Hardy by Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Middleweight Bout: Jason Miller vs. C.B. Dollaway
Jason “Mayhem” Miller is one of the UFC’s most colorful personalities. An entertainer first and fighter second, Miller has enjoyed success outside of the cage as the host of the MTV reality television Bully Beatdown. He is also notable as one of the coaches of the last season of The Ultimate Fighter to be aired on Spike. Mayhem is a talented grappler with decent takedowns but fairly basic striking skills. In his last bout against Michael Bisping he fared well in the first round before gassing out and being pummeled the rest of the way. It is worth noting that Mayhem actually went five rounds with then Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Jake Shields, and was competitive in the latter rounds, so cardio usually isn’t an issue for Mayhem. Miller is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and along with Tom Lawlor is known for some of the most entertaining cage entrances in the UFC today. Miller’s professional MMA record is 27-8 with 1 No Contest.
C.B. “The Doberman” Dollaway is an American fighter who is best known as a finalist on the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Arizona State University. Dollaway relies mainly on his wrestling in his bouts, preferring to take his opponents down and grind them out from top position while avoiding the striking department as much as possible. Although his striking has improved since his time on the show, he is still fairly one-dimensional as a boxer, with basic combinations and not a whole lot of varied offense. He owns a career record of 11-4.
Analysis and Prediction: In the last performance from both of these fighters they let excellent first rounds get away from them due to gassing horribly. For Dollaway that seems to be the norm, for Miller it’s not. I’m guessing an extended layoff hurt Miller’s cardio and since I’ve seen him go for five hard rounds, I have more faith that he can fight for a full three rounds. I expect a wrestling heavy attack from Dollaway in the first, but as he fades later in the fight Miller picks him apart on the feet and eventually secures a fight-ending choke in the third. Jason Miller via Submission in Round Three
Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Edson Barboza vs. Jamie Varner
Edson “Junior” Barboza is a Brazilian fighter from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is a former professional Muay Thai kick boxer who has lethal striking skills, with a wide variety of kicks and punches. Barboza is also very well rounded and has strong grappling skills, including a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Barboza is probably best known for his last bout, a highly entertaining back and forth scrap with Terry Etim that he eventually won with a highlight reel knockout with a spinning wheel kick. Barboza is undefeated as a professional mixed martial artist owning a career record of 10-0 with eight finishes.
Jamie “C-4” Varner is an American fighter from Phoenix, Arizona. Varner is a former WEC Lightweight Champion who is actually making his octagon return in this bout a as a late replacement for the injured Evan Dunham. Varner struggled near the end of his WEC career, but since his release from the promotion has gone 3-1, with three stoppage victories. Varner is a wrestler first and foremost, who uses takedowns to control the pace of his bouts. His striking skills are actually not bad either, although he’s somewhat slow, he more than makes up for it with a lot of power. Varner recently made a switch in training camps and now trains with AMA Fight Club in Whippany, New Jersey. Varner owns a professional record of 19-6-1, with 2 No Contests.
Analysis and Prediction: This was a much more enjoyable and entertaining match before Evan Dunham was injured. However, this is what we have now. Varner is likely going to want to get this bout to the ground quickly, unfortunately for him Barboza has excellent sprawl and a punishing Thai Clinch, making anyone unsuccessful at taking him down pay the price. He’s also taller than Varner and will have a significant reach advantage in the fight. Add to that fact that he’s the better striker and fights well at range and you can expect that it’s going to be a long night for Varner. Expect another KO for the highlight reel of Barboza. Edson Barboza via KO in Round Three
Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Diego Brandao vs. Darren Elkins
Diego “Ceara” Brandao is a Brazilian fighter from Manaus, Brazil. He was the winner of the fourteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He is a fairly well rounded fighter who trains with Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He dominated during his time on The Ultimate Fighter stopping all of his first three opponents with TKOs in the first round of each bout. He then won the finale via arm bar after being rocked by punches, showing his impressive composure and ability to remain calm even under intense pressure. It’s a bit of a strange spot for his first bout after winning the show to be on a PPV undercard, but he is still a highly entertaining fighter with some decent upside. He owns a professional record of 14-7.
Darren “The Damage” Elkins is an American fighter from Hobart, Indiana. Elkins was a state champion wrestler in high school and uses a traditional wrestling based approach to fighting. His striking is fairly basic, as he offers not a whole lot more than basic one-two combinations and leg kicks. However, on the mat he has become quite a handful at 145-pounds. He has strong submissions and although his submission defense looked poor earlier on in his career, he looked very impressive in his most recent bouts at fending off submissions from talented grapplers like Teiquan Zhang and Michihiro Omigawa. Elkins as career record of 13-2.
Analysis and Prediction: I will say that when I saw this betting line I nearly laughed myself out of the chair. Brandao is heavily favored and the only reason is his win of The Ultimate Fighter. Though I think he is talented and dangerous, Elkins seems like a fighter tailor made to beat him and is a tough match up coming straight off of the show. Elkins is a smothering wrestler with solid submission defense. Brandao should be favored as he has the better, more powerful striking, but his grappling isn’t likely to bail him out in a wrestling match. If he’s taken down it could be a bad night for the Ultimate Fighter winner. I think I smell an upset. Darren Elkins via Split Decision
Main Card (PPV): Heavyweight Bout: Stefan Struve vs. Lavar Johnson
Stefan “The Skyscraper” Struve is a Dutch fighter from Beverwijk, Netherlands. At 6’11” and over 250 pounds he is an absolutely huge fighter who is a handful for anyone to deal with. At only 24-years-old he is still continuing to fill out his massive frame and looks improved at fighting to his full size, by using a strong jab and showing improved striking defense. He is also a highly talented grappler with 15 submission victories on his resume, the ground game is definitely an area that favors the big Dutchman. Struve owns a career record of 23-5.
Lavar “Big” Johnson is making a quick turnaround for this fight, fighting on just under a month’s rest and just under two weeks of notice. Johnson is an American fighter from the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California who is 2-0 since debuting in the UFC, both of those bouts being first round knockouts. He is a huge power puncher with strong striking skills, his ground game however is another story. On the mat he is basically terrible, in his most recent bout he was taken down, controlled and nearly submitted on the ground by Pat Barry, someone who is definitely not known for his grappling prowess. Still Johnson is a highly entertaining fighter with a fan friendly style, he has a career record of 17-5.
Analysis and Prediction: I was scared when I heard Struve’s first interview after Lavar Johnson was named as the replacement for the injured Mark Hunt. “I think my stand up is better than his,” was the quote. And although that may be true, Johnson is a huge puncher and that’s been Struve’s kryptonite in the UFC as big punchers before like Junior dos Santos and Roy Nelson have stopped him. However, he followed that up by saying he wasn’t an idiot and that he was taking this fight south. Johnson looked terrible against Pat Barry on the ground, and Struve is significantly more dangerous on the mat than Barry. The fight starts standing, so it’s hard to count out Johnson’s big power punches, but if Struve gets this fight to the mat at any time, Johnson is getting submitted. Stefan Struve via Submission in Round One
Main Card (PPV): Heavyweight Bout: Stipe Miocic vs. Shane del Rosario
Stipe Miocic is a Croatian-American fighter from Euclid, Ohio. Miocic is a rare blend of talents as he is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who also won the Golden Gloves title as an amateur boxer in his home state of Ohio. Miocic is a member of the Strong Style Fight Team in Independence, Ohio. He is a highly touted prospect, who is extremely athletically gifted. In addition to his NCAA Wrestling skills and Golden Gloves championships, he also played Division 1 baseball in college and received interest from numerous MLB teams. His decision to stick with fighting has been a successful one though, as he is undefeated with an 8-0 record, with only the very tough Joey Beltran surviving to a decision.
Shane del Rosario is like his opponent a top undefeated prospect in the Heavyweight division. The 28-year-old from Hacienda Heights, California is a former professional kick boxer who has also added an impressive grappling game to compliment his striking. Del Rosario has trained extensively with Team DeathClutch and it has improved his wrestling abilities significantly. He is excellent at working for takedowns through the clinch and through trips. From there he is able to pass guard effectively and mixes in his ground and pound well enough to create submission opportunities. This is del Rosario’s first fight in nearly two years, after a terrible car accident nearly ended his career. Numerous surgeries on his back have occurred during his time off, and despite his claims of health, it’s hard to judge how something that major, as well as ring rust might affect him. His pro record is 11-0.
Analysis and Prediction: Both of these guys are red-hot prospects, and I like many others would have preferred to see them battle other main card fighters rather than each other. I think del Rosario is actually the better fighter, the only reason I’m not all over him is because of his recent layoff. Back injuries are nothing to joke about as Shane Carwin’s career can attest to. Since Miocic has dominated four opponents since del Rosario’s last fight, I think he may be too much for the Strikeforce import to handle. Stipe Miocic via TKO in Round Three
Main Card (PPV): Heavyweight Bout: Roy Nelson vs. Dave Herman
Roy “Big Country” Nelson is the rotund fan favorite fighter who is most notable as the winner of the Heavyweights only tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He is a former IFL Heavyweight Champion, as well as the winner of the 2007 IFL Heavyweight Grand Prix. A bit of a loner, Nelson is known for spending the majority of his training camps training himself, but he trains primarily in and around Las Vegas, Nevada. Nelson is a BJJ black belt with smothering top control, a powerful overhand right and an incredibly durable chin. In fact Nelson has been stopped only once in his career and most recently survived three rounds of hellacious beatings from Frank Mir, Junior dos Santos and Fabricio Werdum. Nelson has a pro record of 16-7.
Dave “PeeWee” Herman is the beneficiary of some untimely injuries and the gimmick of having an all Heavyweight main card. After some initial card shuffling, Nelson was expected to face Gabriel Gonzaga but an injury opened the door for Herman who is returning after a TKO loss to Stefan Struve. Herman is a 27-year-old fighter from Columbia City, Indiana who now trains out of Temecula, California with Team Quest. Despite his wrestling based training camp, Herman prefers to stand in the pocket and trade. He has big power in his punches and has knocked out 15 of his career opponents. He uses his wrestling and grappling skills more as a means of escaping back to his feet rather than to smother his opponents. He holds a career record of 21-3.
Analysis and Prediction: Herman is simply a slugger and a brawler. He hits hard, but that doesn’t matter to Roy Nelson’s chin, which wouldn’t even go out when Junior dos Santos was teeing off on it. Herman is fairly inexperienced on the ground and would rather make dumb statements like “Jiu Jitsu doesn’t work against me,” rather than work on getting better. If Nelson is smart, he takes this fight to the ground in a hurry. Nelson is a capable striker in his own right, and probably has the power to KO Herman standing, but on the ground he can simply smother Herman and work towards a TKO finish in the second round. Roy Nelson via TKO in Round Two
Main Card (PPV): Heavyweight Bout: Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva
Cain Velasquez is a Mexican-American fighter and is the former UFC Heavyweight Champion. He has been in a number of high-profile UFC bouts including defeating Brock Lesnar for the UFC title and losing that title to Junior dos Santos on the first UFC on Fox event. Despite that setback, Velasquez remains one of the sport’s best Heavyweights. He has heavy hands, impressive cardio, solid wrestling and grappling abilities and is extremely quick on his feet for a Heavyweight fighter. He is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy where he is teammates with Strikeforce Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier, who was also the last man to defeat Silva, so he should have a strong game plan heading into Saturday night. Velasquez has a career record of 9-1, with his only loss being the aforementioned setback against dos Santos.
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva is another one of the major acquisitions from Strikeforce’s heavyweight roster. The Brazilian born fighter from Paraiba, Brazil he is an absolutely massive fighter, who used to fight at well north of 300 pounds in the Super Heavyweight division. He is a Muay Thai kick boxer, with black belts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo, giving him a well-rounded fighting style. His career-defining fight happened in 2011 against Fedor Emelianenko, when he was able to out grapple the famed Russian on the mat and pound him out for an eventual TKO victory. Silva is a member of the Black House/ X-Gym fight team where he is training partners with Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, Junior dos Santos and the Nogueira brothers. He holds a career record of 16-3.
Analysis and Prediction: I hate to get preachy rather than offer real insight into a bout, but if any of you haven’t watched Daniel Cormier vs.. Antonio Silva do it now. Velasquez is basically a smaller, lighter, quicker version of Daniel Cormier, who probably hits harder. Silva is simply too slow and too plodding to be competitive against top-level fighters nowadays. His striking defense is poor and if Brock Lesnar couldn’t outwrestle Velasquez, I don’t think Silva can either. Velasquez earns an impressive knockout in Round One, solidifying his space as a top contender. Cain Velasquez via KO in Round One
Main Event (PPV): Heavyweight Championship Bout: Junior dos Santos vs. Frank Mir
Junior “Cigano” dos Santos is the reigning and defending UFC Heavyweight Champion. Dos Santos is a Brazilian fighter from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Although he holds the rank of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt under Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, we have rarely seen his groundwork, which may end up being a key to this bout. His stand up however remains his bread and butter. He has tight, crisp boxing and he throws very accurate and quick combinations inside the cage. He also hits with a ton of power, with only two of his opponents surviving to a decision (And in both of those bouts, both fighters were damaged significantly over the course of the bout.) Dos Santos is simply a wrecking ball inside the cage, he prefers an offense-minded attack over that of a defensively sound traditional boxer. Instead of covering up to avoid damage, dos Santos would rather return fire with his punches and know that his chin can hold up and that he can land the big shot against his opponent. Junior holds a professional record of 14-1, and has never been defeated in the UFC.
Frank Mir is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion who was originally scheduled to fight Cain Velasquez in the co-main event. A failed drug test to original number one contender Alistair Overeem opened the door for Mir to step through. Despite the late change, the bout works well for the UFC as there is a factor of revenge for dos Santos as Mir has defeated his coach Antonio Nogueira in devastating fashion twice, becoming the first man to TKO Nogueira and the only man to submit Nogueira. Mir is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and probably the most dangerous grappler in the Heavyweight division. Although his striking has improved over his career, it’s still fairly basic and not nearly on the same level as the Champion; dos Santos. Mir will likely look to cover up and wade through some early punches and look for a Thai Clinch. From there Mir can use his size to throw knees and look for a takedown. The ground game is his best bet against someone as unproven on the mat as dos Santos. Mir holds a pro record of 16-5 with over ten years of experience in the sport.
Analysis and Prediction: This is a terrible stylistic match up for Mir. Dos Santos is extremely tough to work to the ground, hits like a freight train and will likely be the quicker fighter in the cage on Saturday night. For Mir, it’s all about tight defense. Junior is all offense, throwing bombs at all times, this leaves his chin open for counter punches frequently. Unfortunately to take advantage of that, means you have to open yourself up to his incoming punches. Expect Mir to cover up and try to move forward and close the distance relatively quickly against dos Santos. Although dos Santos is a great boxer, he prefers more of a traditional boxing stance than a more balanced for MMA Muay Thai approach. I think if Mir can get close enough to clinch with dos Santos he can work some dirty boxing and look to get the fight to the mat, which is his best path to victory.
Unfortunately that means you have to get in close with the champion. Dos Santos has demolished anything that’s stood in front of him and if Mir isn’t careful, there’s no reason it won’t happen to him. Despite some of the deficiencies in his striking, no one has been able to test the chin of dos Santos, so it’s hard to say how he’d react to taking power punches. Mir is likely to slow to capitalize in a striking match, so dos Santos’ focus should remain on staying upright. No matter how good you are on the ground, Mir is extremely dangerous, no one knows better than dos Santos’ mentor and training partner Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Dos Santos also has excellent uppercuts, he’ll need them on fight night. When Mir tries to get in close for a clinch and dirty boxing, dos Santos needs to fire back with big uppercuts. Mir will leave his chin tucked, but exposed if he initiates a clinch and a well-timed uppercut will definitely have what it takes to turn Mir’s lights out. I have a hard time imagining that Mir is the first fighter to test dos Santos on the ground, simply because I think it will take a more talented wrestler than Mir to work dos Santos down and keep him there. Standing this bout heavily favors dos Santos, but on the ground everything starts going for the challenger. Still I expect a fairly one-sided, one-round thrashing for the champ. Junior dos Santos via KO in Round One
The UFC will be gearing up for one of its most exciting winter seasons in years. With three UFC championship matches and a heavyweight collision for the ages, the UFC is posed for one of its most exciting winters in company history.
The UFC have borrowed pro wrestling’s “card subject to change” a lot lately due to a collection of injuries which have taken a number of fights off the summer and fall schedule. The good news is that summer and fall losses are winter’s gain.
Keeping in mind recent history of match changes, here is a quick UFC 2011 winter events preview. Come back closer to fight day to read full previews of the cards. Today I take a look at the biggest fights of the summer and how they will impact future UFC matchups going forward.
Finally, as of this writing there are no matchups available past the UFC 143 show. Unfortunately I’ll have to end the winter preview there, whereas technically winter doesn’t end until March. To make up for it, I’ll start a little early since winter doesn’t officially begin until December 22.
The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale, December 3, Las Vegas, NV
The final The Ultimate Fighter season on Spike TV comes to an end in a big way on December 3. Head coaches Michael Bisping and Jason Miller will headline the live telecast in a middleweight main-event. In addition to the battle of coaches, you will also get your usual TUF final and a few fights sprinkled in with this season’s cast members.
Personally, I could care less about Bisping or Mayhem. Neither of these guys are exciting fighters with unappealing personalities to boot. Bisping is the better fight in my opinion and I expect him to win a long, drawn out decision over the returning UFC fighter.
Last season’s TUF winner Tony Ferguson will also fight live on the broadcast. Ferguson will fight MMA veteran Yves Edwards in what is likely a semi-final or co-headliner spot. This should be a high paced fight with lots of stand up action. I am much more interested in this fight than the battle between the coaches.
UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida December 10 Toronto, Ontario
So long TUF 14 and welcome UFC 140. Talk about a card you can really sink your teeth into. The main-event features one of the most intriguing fights of the year between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and former champion Lyoto Machida. Machida steps in for an injured Rashad Evans as the challenger to champion. Some argue that Machida has the best chance of beating Jones in the division. Jones will arguably have his toughest task to date in what could go down as one of the most exciting fights of the year.
Former UFC champions Tito Ortiz and Frank Mir return to action underneath. Mir will rematch with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira while Little Nog will fight Ortiz in a fight that was scheduled to take place months ago. Throw in fights featuring Rory MacDonald and Mark Hominick underneath and you have one of the most solid shows of the year on paper.
The UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida scheduled fight card…
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship bout: Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida
Frank Mir vs. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira
Tito Ortiz vs. Antônio Rogério Nogueira
Rory MacDonald vs. Brian Ebersole
Mark Hominick vs. Chan Sung Jung
Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Igor Pokrajac
John Makdessi vs. Dennis Hallman
Claude Patrick vs. Rich Attonito
Mark Bocek vs. Nik Lentz
Mitch Clarke vs. John Cholish
UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem, December 30 Las Vegas, NV
This has the potential to be the biggest non-title heavyweight fight in UFC history. You have two bulldozers in Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem stepping inside the octagon in what some have labeled the ultimate heavyweight dream fight. If you are looking for heavy hitters and high intensity, this is certainly the fight for you.
UFC 141 won’t have nearly the same support underneath that UFC 140 or even the TUF 14 finale will have. Donald Cerrone vs. Nate Diaz co-headlines the event, which is pretty weak if you ask me. Jon Fitch also returns to action that night taking on Johny Hendricks in a fight that could go either way in terms of excitement. Other than that, this is a one-fight show. Fortunately for the UFC that one fight is certainly worth the price of an entire pay per view.
The UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem scheduled fight card…
Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem
Donald Cerrone vs. Nate Diaz
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Jon Fitch vs. Johny Hendricks
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Sean Pierson
Jacob Volkmann vs. TJ Grant
Manvel Gamburyan vs. Diego Nunes
Junior Assunção vs. Ross Pearson
UFC 142: Aldo vs. Ebersol, January 14 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The UFC returns to Brazil after a successful summer show with a tentative event announced for January 14. We are a little far out to get any kind of a full card, but the main-event has already been leaked and it is certainly an interesting one.
Jose Aldo will defend the UFC featherweight championship in front of his hometown crowd against number one contender Chad Mendes. As of this writing, this is the headliner. However, I would be shocked not to see a stronger main-event added in the next couple of weeks. Coming off such a strong lineup the first time around, this would be a major disappointment if this were the main-event.
Brazilian MMA superstar Vitor Belfort will return home to fight the division debuting Anthony Johnson. This has potential for some real fireworks and you would have to think that Belfort would want to give his hometown fans a show to remember. While the title match will likely go on last, I would certainly put this fight above it as the ticket seller. In Brazil, Belfort is regarded as the biggest current superstar in MMA. Paying money to watch this show headlined by Belfort in Brazil may work, but they are going to have to make some additions if they expect fans in America to pay money to watch this event on pay per view.
The UFC 142 scheduled fight card…
Vitor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson
Thiago Tavares vs. Sam Stout
Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim
Fabio Maldonado vs. Stanislav Nedkov
Erick Silva vs. Siyar Bahadurzada
Rousimar Palhares vs. Mike Massenzio
Felipe Arantes vs. Antonio Carvalho
UFC On FX 1, January 20
As if the winter isn’t stacked already, the UFC will make its live debut on FX on January 20. The show features a dandy in the headline spot with Melvin Guillard vs. Jim Miller in a welterweight fight. Guillard is coming off a loss after being closer to the championship than ever, while Miller is coming off a decision loss to top contender Benson Henderson.
The UFC on FX 1 scheduled fight card…
Jim Miller vs. Melvin Guillard
Duane Ludwig vs. Josh Neer
Pat Barry vs. Christian Morecraft
Kamal Shalorus vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Reza Madadi vs. Rafaello Oliveira
UFC On Fox 2, January 28
The main-event will match up light heavyweights Rashad Evans and Phil Davis. Their previous fight was scrapped after Davis got hurt. This is a big fight and a huge gamble for Evans and the UFC, with a money fight against Jon Jones on the table. If the UFC was going for a fight that would last more than the debut headliner, well they certainly found it with Jones and Evans.
MMA’s biggest mouth Chael Sonnen will make his Fox debut as he takes on middleweight grappler Mark Munoz. The idea behind this one is that the winner will move at the top of the line to fight Anderson Silva for the championship. This should be a real exciting fight with two guys that have strong games both on the ground and on their feet.
The scheduled UFC on Fox 2 fight card…
Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis
Chael Sonnen vs. Mark Munoz
Michael Bisping vs. Demian Maia
Evan Dunham vs. Paul Sass
Michael Johnson vs. Cody McKenzie
Cub Swanson vs. George Roop
John-Olav Einemo vs. Mike Russow
Demetrious Johnson vs. Eddie Wineland
UFC 143: St-Pierre vs. Diaz February 4 Las Vegas, NV
The UFC will bring in the big guns on Super Bowl weekend with arguably the most anticipated UFC championship fight of the last twelve months. After a lot of match changes and game playing, the UFC will finally give the fans the fight they want on Super Bowl weekend as Georges St-Pierre defends the UFC welterweight championship against Nick Diaz.
I thought this fight had the potential to be the biggest drawing GSP headliner at UFC 137. Now, I think this fight may have the potential to be the biggest drawing fight in UFC history. The UFC took a big gamble by placing Diaz in a fight with BJ Penn but not only did it payoff, but the post fight action took this championship fight to a whole new level. Now we are talking grudge match and grudge matches are the biggest sellers for the UFC.
In addition to the fantastic Dream Fight on top, Carlos Condit will also fight on the event. Jake Ellenberger is Condit’s rumored opponent, although that is not official. Exciting lightweights Anthony Pettis and Joe Lauzon are also rumored to be fighting underneath, although that fight has not been confirmed as of this printing.
The scheduled UFC 143: St-Pierre vs. Diaz card..
UFC Interim Welterweight Championship bout: Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz
Erik Koch vs. Dustin Poirier
Alex Caceres vs. Edwin Figueroa
Jorge Lopez vs. Amir Sadollah
Rafael Natal vs. Michael Kuiper
UFC 144, February 28, Saitama, Japan
The UFC will make its long awaited return to Japan with a card that looks more like an Ultimate Fight Night special. There are rumors that this card will air live on FX, but those have not been confirmed. I sure hope it is airing for free somewhere, because there isn’t much worth paying for taking place on this day in Japan.
Benson Henderson will challenge Frankie Edgar for the UFC lightweight championship in the scheduled main-event. Both guys are coming off big wins and for hardcore MMA fans, this is a very enticing fight. It will be real interesting to see how Henderson handles Edgar’s unique fighting style, while it will be equally interesting to see how Edgar handles the power of Benson. I love this fight, but the reality is that it isn’t a fight that is going to sell many pay per view buys.
The card will feature Japanese UFC fighters Yushin Okami and Yoshihiro Akiyama. Former Pride FC star Rampage Jackson returns to Japan and will fight Ryan Bader. Call me crazy but I have the biggest hunch that this winds up as the main-event. Meanwhile Joe Lauzon vs. Anthony Pettis will go toe to toe on the undercard in a fight that has potential to be Fight of the Night.
The UFC 144 scheduled fight card…
UFC Lightweight Championship bout: Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson
Quinton Jackson vs Ryan Bader
Cheick Kongo vs Mark Hunt
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Jake Shields
Joe Lauzon vs Anthony Pettis
Steve Cantwell vs Riki Fukuda
Yushin Okami vs Tim Boetsch
Kid Yamamoto vs Vaughn Lee
Takeya Mizugaki vs Chris Cariaso
Takanori Gomi vs George Sotiropoulos
Tiequan Zhang vs Leonard Garcia
Hatsu Hioki vs Bart Palaszewski
It pays to pre-order video games these days, even if they aren’t going to be released until next year. Pre-order UFC Undisputed 3 now through the release date and you can have your choice at everything to extra fighters to several bonus packs.
These days, I think it is pretty silly not to pre-order a video game you know you are going to buy. There are always incentives, some which you will never get once the game is actually released. THQ is hoping to rebound from a disappointing UFC Undisputed 2010 with several rewards for eager game owners that will make the game that much better once it leaves the box. So as Mike Goldberg would say, “Here we go!”
For the second edition in a row, GameStop will once again offer bonus fighters with UFC Undisputed 3 pre orders. GameStop has definitely stepped up their game from last time, which offered four fighters from The Ultimate Fighter 10. Forget about the TUF graduates, this time GameStop will be offering up the coaches and more.
Buyers will receive “The Contender Fighters Pack” featuring four exclusive fighters. The biggest name in the pack is Nick Diaz. While it is exciting to see Diaz offered with pre-orders here, it is a bit disappointing you can’t get him out of the box with everyone else. Here is what THQ said about the pack.
Consumers who pre-order UFC Undisputed 3 at GameStop in the United States or EB Games in Canada will have access to the Contenders Fighter Pack featuring prominent UFC newcomers Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Brian Stann, Phil Davis and Nick Diaz. Miller is currently scheduled to coach opposite fellow middleweight Michael Bisping in The Ultimate Fighter Season 14, premiering Wednesday, September 21 on SPIKE TV, while Stann, a former WEC light heavyweight champion and decorated captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, will face Chael Sonnen in a middleweight division matchup at UFC 136 on October 8 in Houston, Texas. Davis is a former NCAA Division I All-American wrestling champion at Penn State University who boasts a promising 5-0 record in his young UFC light heavyweight career, while Diaz, a former Strikeforce, WEC and IFC Welterweight Champion, will take on BJ Penn in his UFC debut at UFC 137 on October 29 in Las Vegas, Nev.
If you’re more into the Create-A-Fighter mode than you may want to check out Amazon.com’s Ultimate Knockout Artist Pack. In short, you can immediately boost an Undisputed 3 CAF immediately without going through the hours of training. There was a cheat in the first UFC Undisputed game that allowed this, which was great if you wanted to create say Fedor Emelianenko and use him immediately against the UFC elite rather than take him into the gym in the last edition and boost him up the hard way. Here is how THQ describes the pack.
Consumers who pre-order UFC Undisputed 3 at Amazon in the United States or FutureShop in Canada will have access to the Ultimate Knockout Artist Boost Pack, enabling the player to build his or her own specially created knockout artist using instant upgrade tips from UFC Undisputed 3game designers. This boost to a player’s Create-a-Fighter will save an estimated 8-10 hours of gameplay time that would traditionally be spent training the ideal knockout artist.
Walmart.com is offering up the Ultimate Fights: Knockout Pack to the early birds who order through them. In short, players will get five additional fights to recreate, all which ended by memorable knockout. For me, I’d much rather have the bonus fighters or boost pack for CAFs but if you like the Ultimate Fights mode this will probably be more your cup of tea. Here is what THQ says about the pack.
Consumers who pre-order UFC Undisputed 3on Walmart.com in the United States or Canada will have access to the Ultimate Fights: Knockout Pack featuring five of the most memorable knockouts in UFC history. The Ultimate Fights Knockouts Pack will serve as a complement to the game’s Ultimate Fights Mode, a challenge-based system that encourages players to recreate famous UFC fights in order to unlock authentic fight montages, behind the scenes footage and fighter interviews.
Walmart is also offering a $10 eGift card with pre-orders.
Best Buy has jumped into the fight game with its own pre-order bonus. Best Buy is the only one I see here who is offering multiple incentives in its bonus, which definitely makes this one worth thinking about. Gamers will get what is called an Early Access Pass with all Best Buy pre-orders. Once again, if creating fighters is your thing than this may be something of interest of you. In short, the code will automatically unlock in-game extras for CAF fighters, saving you the time of earning them the old fashioned way. Owners will also get bonus fights in the Ultimate Fights Mode. Here is how THQ describes the bonus. Finally, one bonus fighter will also come with the pack.
Consumers who pre-order UFC Undisputed 3 at Best Buy in the United States or Canada will have early access to a variety of content without spending hours to complete multiple game modes. Players will automatically unlock 150 in-game items for created fighters, including t-shirts, hoodies and caps, as well as a variety of unique nicknames like “The Prince of Pain,” “Wild Thing” and “The Bone Collector.” In addition, they will have access to new bouts in Ultimate Fights Mode, including Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez (UFC 121), Chuck Liddell vs. Rich Franklin (UFC 115) and Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin (UFC 101), as well as a “Legendary Chuck Liddell” playable fighter.
So there you have it. It is nice to see THQ offering a variety of bonuses to reward players who enjoy one particular aspect of the game over another. The only problem I have with this is that I think THQ is holding back a little too much content from the game as a reward for the early birds. The idea that gamers will have to wait until April to access Nick Diaz in the game is pretty ridiculous. The same goes with the extra Ultimate Fights. I could see offering the legendary fighters like old school Chuck Liddell or Royce Gracie as bonuses, but this is a little unfair to the mass public who will be spending the same $60 on January 4 and beyond as the customers who order early.
However, don’t worry too much about choosing one over the other if more than one of these packs interests you. All of these bonus packs will be up on Ebay.com by noon January 3. Unfortunately they will probably go for $12-20 a pack so now you are looking at spending $80 on a game to get four additional characters or extra fights. If it is worth it to you, go for it. If not, the extra fights and fighters should be available for DLC 90 days after the game is released.