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UFC on FOX 8: Johnson vs. Moraga Results and Wrap Up

July 29, 2013 By: Category: UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

People can continue to rag on the UFC Flyweight division. Complaints about lack of depth in the division might have some truth to them, but complaints about the quality of fights that the division have put on need to be laid to rest. With the co-main event of this card filled with trash talking and bad blood, the UFC Flyweight Championship headliner took a back seat to the Welterweight grudge match. In the end, it was the Flyweights who turned in a Fight of the Night performance while the Welterweights stunk up the arena and were showered with boos for the majority of their fifteen minute dance-routine.

In the main event UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson put on a dominant display, outstriking, outhustling and straight up outworking the overmatched challenger John Moraga for four straight rounds. Clearly up on the scorecards, Johnson decided not to coast for a victory and continued to press on, his efforts were rewarded as he earned the first stoppage of his Flyweight career with a late submission via arm bar. In the co-main event the action was light and neither man looked overly interested in getting knocked out by an opponent who had talked so much trash. In the end Rory MacDonald used an excellent jab to badly outstrike Jake Ellenberger for the full fifteen minutes. Despite the dominant performance, MacDonald did nothing to up his stock in the division, as the action-light affair was showered with boos and even earned some rage from UFC President Dana White at the post-fight press conference.

As usual, it’s time to take a look at what’s next for the UFC main card winners and losers, and take a look at where they go from here.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Liz Carmouche defeated Jessica Andrade via TKO (Elbows and Punches) at 3:57 of Round Two

21-year old Brazilian newcomer Jessica Andrade looked fairly impressive in the first round. She was well composed and picked her spots wisely, but was often overmatched physically by Liz Carmouche. In the second round, Carmouche completely took over. Andrade rushed Carmouche but was slammed to the ground for her efforts. From there Carmouche mounted the Brazilian and began a vicious ground and pound onslaught. Andrade survived and rolled for a good three and a half minutes, but Carmouche was with her every step of the way, holding dominant positions and continuing to drop bombs. Eventually referee Herb Dean had seen enough and he stopped the fight with just over a minute left in round two.

What’s next for Carmouche? There’s a bit of a crowd forming at the top of the Women’s Bantamweight division, so Carmouche is going to need to win a few more bouts before she gets another crack at champion Ronda Rousey. Canadian grappler Alexis Davis recently made a successful UFC debut, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see these two ladies hook it up next.

What’s next for Andrade? She stepped up when the UFC needed her to, and at only 21-years-old she is still a solid prospect that will likely remain with the UFC. She’ll probably get a slight step down in competition for her next bout. Rosi Sexton is coming off of a loss, but I could also see the UFC pairing her up with an Invicta FC Fighter who might be making her UFC debut.

Welterweight Bout: Robbie Lawler defeated Bobby Voelker via KO (Head Kick) at 0:24 of Round Two

Joe Rogan was having a slight love affair with Lawler during the commentary for this bout, showering him with praise and compliments. Lawler for his part, deserved most of it. He looked relaxed, composed and in-shape for his two round destruction of Bobby Voelker. Voelker was a late replacement, but was coming off a slugfest with Patrick Cote where he showed an incredible chin. Didn’t matter to Lawler who beat him up for most of the first round with uppercuts, flying knees and solid combinations. In the early part of the second round a massive head kick landed for Lawler that dropped Voelker and a few follow up shots sealed the deal.

What’s next for Lawler? He was originally expected to face the final Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Tarec Saffiedine at this bout, before an injury changed the plans for that bout. That bout still makes sense, but Saffiedine doesn’t have a lot of name recognition and two straight knockouts for Lawler may move him past that bout. Still it’s probably the fight that makes the most sense.

What’s next for Voelker? He’s lost two straight bouts in the UFC, but he loves to stand and trade and was willing to take on a dangerous fighter on short notice, basically he’s the UFC’s favorite kind of fighter. I expect him to get a more favorable match up in his next bout. The loser of the upcoming bout between Jason High and James Head might make sense. They might also use him to rebuild Strikeforce imports Jordan Mein or Tyron Woodley after tough losses though.


Welterweight Bout: Rory MacDonald defeated Jake Ellenberger via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

Don’t watch this fight. Unless you’re a massive fan of the jab’s use in modern MMA and want to see just how terrible striking defense can be at the top level of the Welterweight division. Rory MacDonald used a strong, fast, accurate jab and not much else to defeat Jake Ellenberger handily for three rounds. For his part Ellenberger looked flat and frozen for much of the bout, unable to get anything going. He rarely shot for takedowns, he threw punches that weren’t even close and he chose not to utilize any head movement as he stalked forward. It was a dominant performance for MacDonald but his lack of urgency or aggression will likely due him no favors in the UFC’s and fan’s eyes.

What’s next for MacDonald? He’s clearly a top talent and he keeps calling out Carlos Condit wanting to avenge his only career loss. The bout makes sense as they are two of the top fighters at Welterweight. However, Condit is already set to square off against Martin Kampmann at UFC Fight Night 27 on Fox Sports 1. If Condit wins that bout he should fight MacDonald. If Kampmann scores the upset, then he should take the bout against MacDonald instead.

What’s next for Ellenberger? The loss is bad news for Ellenberger. He talked a ton of trash heading into this bout and then did nothing to back it up. Not only did he get beaten and beaten badly, he looked pretty bad doing it, in a fight that the fans booed non-stop. His stock has certainly tumbled. A bout with Nick Diaz would make sense if Diaz decides to fight in the UFC again. If not Josh Koscheck might make sense as would a bout against Thiago Alves if he can get back into the cage after multiple injuries over the past year.

UFC Flyweight Championship Bout: Demetrious Johnson defeated John Moraga via Submission (Armbar) at 3:43 of Round Five

The UFC’s Flyweight Champion turned in his most dominant championship performance to date. Johnson’s submission actually beat out Anderson Silva’s previous record for latest stoppage in UFC history. Johnson was 12 for 12 in his takedown attempts and passed guard for dominant positions a staggering 14 times during the contest. Moraga found brief success with a massive right hand in the fourth round, but that was about his only highlight from the bout as he spent the rest of his time trying to handle the offensive onslaught of Mighty Mouse.

What’s next for Johnson? He’s defeated all of the top contenders in the division and he’s talking about superfights with Bantamweights, which Dana seemed open to at the press conference. Unfortunately the UFC Bantamweight and Flyweight Champion doesn’t have the same allure as GSP-Silva or Silva-Jones, but it’s an option. Joseph Benavidez dropped a very close Split Decision to Johnson in the inaugural title bout, and he will have three straight wins if he defeats Jussier da Silva at UFC Fight Night 28. I’d expect Benavidez to get the next crack if Johnson doesn’t face Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao next.

What’s next for Moraga? He took this fight after two straight Facebook fights, so it’s likely it was a case of too much, too soon for him. Still he’s a promising fighter with a decent skillset. Heading into this bout, his lone loss was against John Dodson at a regional show in 2010. With both of them being the last men to lose to the Flyweight Champion a rematch makes some sense for both men. Plus it would be a highly entertaining scrap.

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UFC on FOX 8: Johnson vs. Moraga Predictions and Analysis

July 26, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks since Chris Weidman shocked the world at UFC 162. The UFC is finally breaking from a couple of weeks of downtime and returning to action this weekend, this time on free network television. This Saturday night the UFC presents UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Moraga from the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. Once again in the main event, the Flyweight title will take center stage in a free television show as UFC Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson takes on fast-rising contender John Moraga.

The co-main event of the evening features a Welterweight grudge match between GSP-lite Rory “The Waterboy” MacDonald and hard-hitting knockout artist Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger. Other main card bouts include a Women’s Bantamweight bout between Liz Carmouche and the debuting Jessica Andrade, as well as a potential slugfest between a pair of Strikeforce Welterweight imports; “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler and Bobby Voelker.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: John Albert vs. Yaotzin Meza

John “Prince” Albert is a 26-year-old fighter from Reno, Nevada. He now resides in Puyallup, Washington where he trains with the Victory Athletics Team. Albert is a former cast member from The Ultimate Fighter season 14. He holds a professional MMA record of 7-4. Yaotzin Meza is a 32-year-old fighter from Santa Ana, California. He is a member of the MMA Lab training in Glendale, Arizona. He will be dropping to Bantamweight after making his UFC debut at 145-pounds. His professional record stands at 18-8.

Quick Pick: John Albert via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Aaron Riley vs. Justin Salas

Aaron Riley is a 32-year-old fighter from Tell City, Indiana. He now resides and trains in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he is a member of the Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting Gym. Riley has fought for a number of major MMA promotions across his career including Bodog Fight, PRIDE, IFL and Shooto. He holds a professional MMA record of 30-13. Justin “J-Bomb” Salas is a 31-year-old fighter from Green River, Wyoming. He is a member of the Grudge Training Center, training in Denver, Colorado. Salas is a former NCAA Division 1 wrestler from the University of Wyoming. He holds a professional MMA record of 10-4.

Quick Pick: Justin Salas via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Julie Kedzie vs. Germaine de Randamie

Julie “Fireball” Kedzie is a 32-year-old fighter from Chicago, Illinois. She is a black belt in Tae Kwan Do and also excels in submission grappling. She is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico, where she also helps Coach Jackson to run the day-to-day operations of the gym. Her professional MMA record is 16-11. Germaine “The Iron Lady” de Randamie is a 29-year-old fighter from Utrecht, Netherlands. She is a former professional kick boxer who now trains in the United States with the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California. She holds a professional MMA record of 3-2.

Quick Pick: Julie Kedzie via Submission in Round Two


Preliminary Card (FX): Middleweight Bout: Ed Herman vs. Trevor Smith

Ed “Short Fuse” Herman is a 32-year-old fighter from Vancouver, Washington. Herman is a former cast member from the early seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. He now trains with Team Quest in Fort Collins, Colorado where he holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He holds a professional MMA record of 20-9 with 1 No Contest. Trevor “Hot Sauce” Smith is a 32-year-old fighter also from Vancouver, Washington. He is a member of the Ring Demon Jiu Jitsu Gym in Tukwila, Washington. He is a former Strikeforce fighter who will be making his UFC debut. He holds a professional MMA record of 10-3.

Quick Pick: Ed Herman via Submission in Round Two

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Yves Edwards vs. Daron Cruickshank

Yves “The Thugjitsu Master” is a 36-year-old fighter from Nassau, Bahamas. He is an MMA veteran who has fought for the UFC, PRIDE, WEC, Strikeforce, Bellator and Elite XC and has been fighting professionally since 1997. He is a member of the American Top Team in Woodlands, Texas. He holds an MMA record of 42-19-1. Daron “The Detroit Superstar” Cruickshank is a 28-year-old fighter from Detroit, Michigan. He was a cast member on the The Ultimate Fighter: Live. He is a black belt in Tae Kwan Do, but is also a former NCAA wrestler. He trains with the DC Prodigies Gym in Wayne, Michigan. His professional MMA record stands at 12-3.

Quick Pick: Daron Cruickshank via TKO in Round One

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Mac Danzig vs. Melvin Guillard

Mac Danzig is a 33-year-old fighter from Cleveland, Ohio. He is best known as the vegan winner of the sixth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He trains with the PKG Gym in Los Angeles, California. Danzig holds a pro record of 21-10. Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard is a 30-year-old fighter who debuted for the UFC on the second season of The Ultimate Fighter. He is one of the Lightweight division’s hardest punchers and most dangerous strikers, however, he is also well known for his propensity to make mistakes in the cage. He is a member of the Grudge Training Center, but has been bouncing from camp to camp during his recent struggles. He holds a professional record of 30-12-2 with 1 No Contest.

Quick Pick: Melvin Guillard via TKO in Round Two


Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Danny Castillo vs. Tim Means

Danny “Last Call” Castillo is a 33-year-old fighter from Sacramento, California. He is a member of Team Alpha Male training with Urijah Faber and company at the Ultimate Fitness Gym. Castillo was a stand out high school wrestler who also holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Castillo holds an MMA record of 15-5. Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means is a 29-year-old fighter from Wilburton, Oklahoma. He is a member of the Power MMA Gym in New Mexico. Means is a former King of the Cage Lightweight and Junior Welterweight Champion. He holds a professional record of 18-4-1.

Quick Pick: Tim Means via Split Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Michael Chiesa vs. Jorge Masvidal

Michael “Maverick” Chiesa is a 25-year-old fighter from Aurora, Colorado. He was a cast member on The Ultimate Fighter: Live and was the eventual winner of the show’s tournament. Chiesa is a member of Team Alpha Male, but resides and trains in Spokane, Washington. He holds a perfect pro record of 9-0. Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal is a 28-year-old fighter from Miami, Florida. Masvidal is a member of the American Top Team. Masvidal has fought for a number of major North American promotions including Bodog Fight, Strikeforce and Bellator. He holds a professional MMA record of 24-7.

Quick Pick: Jorge Masvidal via TKO in Round Three

Main Card (FOX): Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Liz Carmouche vs. Jessica Andrade

Liz “Girl-rilla” Carmouche is a 29-year-old fighter from Lafayette, Louisiana. Carmouche is most notable for being the second half of the first ever Women’s MMA bout in the UFC opposite champion Ronda Rousey. Carmouche is also notable as being the first openly gay fighter in the UFC and also for her time spent in the Marine Corps serving the United States. Despite her outside the cage accolades, she’s also a talented fighter inside the cage with solid grappling skills and serviceable boxing. She is a member of the Team Hurricane Awesome Gym in San Diego, California. She holds an MMA record of 8-3.

Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade is a 21-year-old fighter from Parana, Brazil. She will be making her UFC debut in this contest and will be taking a pretty big step up in competition. Andrade is a talented grappler who has finished all of her opponents either via TKO or Submission, but has choked out five of her last six opponents. Andrade is a member of the Parana Vale Tudo Gym in her hometown where she constantly works on her wrestling and grappling. This may be tough to accomplish against Carmouche who is very physically strong and often dominated the clinch game against her opponents. She holds a professional record of 9-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Andrade is a talented grappler, but it’s going to be very tough to get Carmouche to the ground. Carmouche is a tough and physically strong fighter with excellent takedown defense and is smothering in the clinch game. Many of Andrade’s takedowns come from trips or throws from the clinch, but that’s unlikely to work against Carmouche. The more likely result is that Carmouche earns the takedowns and forces Andrade to work from the bottom. I haven’t seen enough from the young Brazilian to think she can survive the ground and pound from there for long. Liz Carmouche via TKO in Round One

Main Card (FOX): Welterweight Bout: Robbie Lawler vs. Bobby Voelker

“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler is a 31-year-old MMA veteran from San Diego, California. Lawler has been competing in professional MMA since 2001. He is a former Middleweight fighter who has held titles in a number of promotions most notably ICON Sport. He is a member of the American Top Team but also trains at Matt Hughes’ H.I.T. Squad Gym where he is a part owner. Lawler is known for his brawling style and his iron chin, having been stopped only once in his entire career. He recently made a triumphant return to the UFC with a first round TKO over Josh Koscheck. He holds a professional record of 20-9 with 1 No Contest.

“Vicious” Bobby Voelker is a 34-year-old fighter from Kansas City, Kansas. Voelker is a member of the Finney’s MMA Gym. Voelker is a former Strikeforce fighter who came over when the promotion was closed. Voelker is primarily a striker who loves to get involved in brawls. He recently made his UFC debut, dropping a close decision to Patrick Cote. Voelker is a powerful striker who has earned 19 wins via stoppage. Voelker is best known for his trilogy of exciting fights against Roger Bowling in Strikeforce, a trilogy that he eventually went 2-1 in. Overall his professional record stands at 15-9.

Analysis and Prediction: As we saw in Voelker’s UFC debut against Cote, and as we’ve seen in the past, he doesn’t mind getting into brawls. That’s probably a bad strategy against a striker as capable as Lawler. At this point in his career, Lawler isn’t surprising anyone and he isn’t good enough for a run at the title, but his skillset is enough to tag Voelker a few times, and his power is enough that tagging Voelker a few times is all it will take. I think he eventually lands a big counter shot that turns Voelker’s lights out. Robbie Lawler via KO in Round Two

Main Card (FOX): Welterweight Bout: Rory MacDonald vs. Jake Ellenberger

Rory “The Waterboy” MacDonald is a 24-year-old fighter from Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada. MacDonald is a tough and well-rounded young fighter who began training specifically in MMA without focusing on any one discipline. He is a talented grappler however, who holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. MacDonald is a member of the Tristar Gym where he trains regularly alongside UFC Welterweight Champion and close friend, Georges St. Pierre. MacDonald is a top prospect in the Welterweight division and holds a professional MMA record of 14-1, with the lone loss coming against top contender Carlos Condit.

Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger is a 28-year-old fighter from Omaha, Nebraska. He is a member of the Reign Training Center in Orange County, California. Ellenberger is a former NCAA Division 2 wrestler from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Despite his well-documented wrestling skills, Ellenberger is also known for his powerful striking. He is a tight and compact boxer who can generate a lot of power in his strikes. Ellenberger holds a professional MMA record of 29-6, with 18 knockouts.

Analysis and Prediction: MacDonald should have one glaring advantage heading into this contest and that is his cardio. Ellenberger has been prone to fading late in fights and he could be in trouble against MacDonald if he does. Rory is going to need to be careful during the first round, this is when Ellenberger is most dangerous. His shots pack the most power in round one and he’s willing to throw with bad intentions, as evidenced during his Knockout of the Night performance against Nate Marquardt. I like MacDonald, but he seems a bit too hittable to me, his striking defense has some flaws. If he can survive the first half of the fight, he should be able to take over in the late stages. But I think he gets clipped early. Jake Ellenberger via TKO in Round One

Main Card (FOX): UFC Flyweight Championship Bout: Demetrious Johnson vs. John Moraga

Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is a 26-year-old fighter from Madisonville, Kentucky. He is the reigning and defending UFC Flyweight Champion. Johnson trains with the AMC Pankration Gym in Kirkland, Washington where he trains under famed coach Matt “The Wizard” Hume. Johnson is a cardio machine, who often outworks his opponents over the course of five rounds as they begin to fade from trying to keep up with his pace. Johnson is a talented and technical striking who is very defensively minded and is very difficult to hit with power shots. Johnson holds a professional MMA record of 14-2-1.

John Moraga is a 29-year-old fighter from Phoenix, Arizona. Moraga is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Arizona State University. Moraga is a member of the MMA Lab, training in his hometown of Phoenix. At almost 5’7” Moraga will hold a notable height and reach advantage in this bout. Moraga is undefeated in the UFC holding a 2-0 record and has a near perfect pro record of 13-1, with the lone loss coming against John Dodson.

Analysis and Prediction: No one has been able to solve the mystery of Mighty Mouse at Flyweight quite yet, but Moraga might have close to the style to do it. He’s taller and has excellent wrestling to control the smaller champion. Unfortunately, he’s also a bit slower and a bit more plodding in his movements, while Johnson on the other hand is extremely fluid and moves around the cage very well. Moraga also hasn’t shown me a striking skillset diversified enough to handle what Johnson brings into the octagon.

I expect a similar performance to those that we’ve seen from Johnson in the past. He’s going to force Moraga to work, he’s going to push the pace constantly. Moraga has never been to the championship rounds of a fight and that’s where Johnson excels, so I expect the champion’s punch output to continue to rise and rise with each passing round. In the end, I don’t think he’ll get a stoppage, but it could be a fairly one-sided decision. Demetrious Johnson via Unanimous Decision

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UFC 155 Dos Santos Vs. Velasquez Results and Wrap Up

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

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

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

Derek Brunson defeated Chris Leben via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

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

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

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

Yushin Okami defeated Alan Belcher via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Miller defeated Joe Lauzon via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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UFC 155 Results: Cain Velasquez Regains UFC Title

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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UFC 155 Dos Santos Vs. Velasquez 2 Predictions & Analysis

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

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

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

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

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

Quick Pick: John Moraga via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Max Holloway via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Todd Duffee via KO in Round One

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

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

Quick Pick: Michael Johnson via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Melvin Guillard via TKO in Round Three

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

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

Quick Pick: Erik Perez via Submission in Round One

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

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

Quick Pick: Brad Pickett via TKO in Round Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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