Jon Fitch Says That The UFC Is Not Sport

June 13, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The war of words between former between Jon Fitch and his former employer UFC president Dana White continue. After debating the merits of money Fitch now accuses the promotion of being more entertainment than sport.

I have to admit that I am enjoying the back and forth between Fitch and White. Both have made valid points while at the same time both have said some things that make them look quite silly to the casual eye. Most of their debate has been about money but now Fitch has taken an even deeper shot, Fitch is questioning the UFC’s integrity.

Fitch, who was fired in February after losing to Demian Maia, believes that the UFC are only putting guys in position to win who are marketable. Fitch points to Maia himself as evidence that the UFC are more interested in promoting the entertainment over competition in regards to Maia’s next fight against Josh Koscheck.

“That’s a fight that doesn’t do anything for Demian Maia,” Fitch said. “They don’t want to put him in a situation where he can climb the ladder, because they don’t feel like he can make them money.”

Quite frankly he’s right. I know there are a lot of fans out there who despise Fitch, more for his style of fighting than his personality. However, like him or not Fitch is now piggybacking on a popular topic as of late in the MMA world of social media. Especially when the UFC is booking more challengers in championship fights coming off losses than at any other time in UFC history.

Back to Maia. He is dead right and the fight really doesn’t make a lot of sense. It is fairly uncommon for the UFC to promote a fight between two fighters coming off losses. It certainly happens but there really is something odd about promoting a fight between a fighter coming off of two losses against a fighter on a three-fight winning streak.

I think you can make a case that the UFC are holding Maia back from progressing to a championship fight. Fitch was in that same boat in the UFC although he never closed the deal when he had a chance. Johny Hendricks is another guy that comes to mind who should have had a title fight by now. It is obvious that the UFC are scared to death of promoting another championship fight with Maia. Now some of that blame has to be put on Maia who fought an embarrassing fight when he was given a title shot against Anderson Silva. However, that was also three years ago and a lot has changed. Maia isn’t the same fighter and while he is never going to erase those UFC 112 memories away from fans who saw the fight, he certainly deserves better than Josh Koscheck.

Fitch compared it to pro wrestling and remarked how tough it is to be the best in the world when you aren’t given those opportunities. Again Fitch did have his opportunities as Dana White pointed out so a lot of this comes off as sour grapes. Yet if you take the name out of the statement, it would read like something that is tweeted often by MMA fans upset at recent UFC match making.

I can’t imagine that Dana White would have anything to say about this.

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UFC 156: Edgar Vs. Aldo Results and Wrap Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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UFC 156 Edgar Vs. Aldo Predictions and Analysis

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

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

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

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

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

Quick Pick: Francisco Rivera via TKO in Round 2

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

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

Quick Pick: Chico Kamus via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Yves Edwards via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Jacob Volkmann via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Tyron Woodley via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Evan Dunham via TKO in Round 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top 20 MMA Fights Of 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UFC: Ultimate Fight Collection 2012

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UFC 2012-13 Winter Events Preview

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

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

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

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

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

UFC 155: Dos Santos vs. Velasquez II

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

UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Bisping

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

UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Dodson

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

UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar

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

UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald

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

UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche

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

Quick Hits – March & Beyond…

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

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

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

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UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar Post Show Analysis

October 15, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

Monday Morning Retrospective: A Look Back at UFC 153 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The dust has settled and once again UFC fans were treated to a highly entertaining night of fights. A main card that featured six bouts completely delivered in every fight. Five out of six fights on the main card ended without the need for the judge’s scorecards and the only one that required the services of the judge’s won the bonus check for Fight of the Night. Let’s take a look at all of the fights from Saturday’s Pay Per View card and examine what went wrong for each fighter, what went right for each fighter, and most importantly, where they go from here.

Demian Maia defeated Rick Story via Submission (Neck Crank/Rear Naked Choke) in Round 1

Domination. That’s the only word that comes to mind when you take a look at his fight. In the pre-fight hype it came down to whether or not Maia; an accomplished grappler and BJJ black belt could earn a takedown against a wrestler as solid as Rick Story. The answer was a resounding yes, as Maia effortlessly worked a takedown, transitioned to back mount and locked in a Rear Naked Choke so brutal that it caused Story’s nose to bleed. With the victory, his second straight first round stoppage since dropping to Welterweight, he put the 170-pounders in the UFC on notice that he is a force to be reckoned with.

What’s next for Maia? He’s now beat two solid mid-level fighters. It’s time for a step up in competition, and perhaps someone with the wrestling credentials to force him to test his striking skills. John Hathaway recently improved his record at Welterweight and has the wrestling skills to test Maia.

What’s next for Story? Story was once considered a top prospect at 170-pounds, but has suffered a couple of setbacks recently. Despite past wins over top fighters like Johnny Hendricks and Thiago Alves, Story needs to take a slight step back in competition. Jay Hieron recently lost to Jake Ellenberger and would provide a good measuring stick for Story’s current place in the UFC.

Phil Davis defeated Wagner Prado via Submission (Anaconda Choke) in Round 2

For all the talk of how bad Davis’ striking looked in the opening minutes of his first bout with Prado, before the eye-poke fiasco, he didn’t fare too badly in this bout. Davis showed an increased awareness in the striking game, pawing his jab before switching levels and working for takedowns. On the ground he completely controlled the Brazilian and showed why he is a top grappler at 205-pounds. His finishing transition was seamless and impressive as he transitioned from a deep side choke straight into an anaconda choke for the victory.

What’s next for Davis? The former Penn State Wrestler is in a bit of a weird spot here. He just got dominated by Rashad Evans in a Light Heavyweight Title Eliminator fight, and has been tied up with a relative unknown in Prado since. He needs a significant step up in competition, but there are not very many fighters available that fit the bill. The best I can think of is the Winner of the upcoming Thiago Silva/Stanislav Nedkov bout, or Mauricio “Shogun” Rua should he lose to Davis’ teammate and training partner Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on Fox 5.

What’s next for Prado? Prado looked kind of helpless on the mat, but Davis is one of the best grappler’s in the division, so we have to cut him some slack. A bout against Kyle Kingsbury would make sense, but he’d probably have to wait for Kingsbury’s face to heal after his most recent loss. Maybe Joey Beltran, he’s always willing to throw hands, at least it would make an entertaining fight before someone gets a pink slip.

Jon Fitch defeated Erick Silva via Unanimous Decision

Jon Fitch may have solved all of his problems with one highly entertaining bout. Lauded for years as playing it too safe, or being boring, Fitch brought the fight to Silva. It nearly cost him in the second round, as Silva had a tight submission, but Fitch fought through all that. He came back in the third round and completely laid into Silva, blasting him with leather from full mount, trying desperately to earn a finish. He didn’t get it, but he did earn a Fight of the Night bonus, something he’s very unaccustomed to.

What’s next for Fitch? Jake Ellenberger has a similar skillset to Fitch and has big power in his hands. Both are headed towards the upper echelon of 170-pound contender’s, it would only make sense for them to meet each other on the way up.

What’s next for Silva? He looked impressive in defeat and handled adversity well compared to some others who have folded against the ground attack of Fitch. He’s still very young and still has a ton of potential. A fight against a big name opponent like Dan Hardy would do well. But the UFC prefers to match up fighters coming off of a loss, so perhaps Amir Sadollah might make more sense.

Glover Teixeira defeated Fabio Maldonado via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) in Round 2

Fabio Maldonado has one hell of a chin and a ton of heart. That’s what he showed in this bout, despite the massive ass kicking he was taking he was still dishing it out and wanted to keep fighting even as the doctors waved the fight off. Glover Teixeira in defeat looks absolutely like the top prospect at 205-pounds that he was billed to be. Ten rounds of pummeling Maldonado on the ground left his opponent’s face a mess and the rest of the division nervous.

What’s next for Teixeira? In the post-fight press conference he expressed interest in a fight with Rampage Jackson, which was the original plan for his bout at UFC 153. A number of opponents turned down a fight with Glover, and after watching his performance at UFC 153 I’m sure many of them were happy about it. Rampage said he still wants to fight Teixeira, I say make it happen.

What’s next for Maldonado? His showing of heart and chin is sure to earn him a reprieve from the company. Dana and company love a guy who’s willing to step up on late notice and throw leather even when they’re getting pummeled, which is basically all that Maldonado showed in this fight. A fight against other main card loser Wagner Prado might make the most sense.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defeated Dave Herman via Submission (Armbar) in Round 2

Many people, myself included thought that Nogueira may be losing a step or two as he headed into the Octagon in front of his countrymen. He proved us all wrong by dominating Dave Herman in all aspects of the fight game. He also made Herman eat his words that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a useless art form, as he used a dazzling display of BJJ to earn an armbar submission as well as the Submission of the Night bonus check.

What’s next for Nogueira? After the bout he dispelled rumors of possible retirement and said he’s ready to keep fighting. The question of who to match him up with is an intriguing problem. Some time ago he was scheduled to fight Cheick Kongo before he had to pull out due to injury, that bout still makes sense. But perhaps the most intriguing would be a third meeting between Big Nog and Josh Barnett if the latter moves to the UFC from Strikeforce.

What’s next for Herman? Unemployment possibly? The UFC is likely to keep him since they could always use Heavyweights who are willing to trade leather, because really what fan doesn’t love a Heavyweight slugfest? Perhaps a bout with Lavar Johnson that would surely lead to fireworks and a possible pink slip for the loser.

Anderson Silva defeated Stephan Bonnar via TKO (Punches) in Round 1

It was what it was supposed to be. A relatively one-sided thrashing for the Middleweight Champion. Bonnar found a slight bit of success early on in the fight, charging in for a takedown and pressuring Silva against the cage. Once he realized that he couldn’t take Anderson down, that’s when the wheels fell off. The Brazilian clowned around for a few minutes, walking with his hands down and taking a few shots on the chin just to prove something. From there he went on the offensive and a huge knee to the sternum put Bonnar in the fetal position. A few punches from there and that was all she wrote.

What’s next for Silva? If you’re to believe Dana White a bout with Jon Jones, however, Anderson said in a post-fight interview with Joe Rogan that he was done fighting at Light Heavyweight. Perhaps a catch weight bout with Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre is finally in the cards, provided GSP gets by Carlos Condit in November. If not maybe Chris Weidman finally gets his Middleweight title shot.

What’s next for Bonnar? Retirement… again. Bonnar was in a brief hiatus/semi-retirement before this bout came to pass. According to Bonnar himself he was only looking for big fights, with guys who have more Twitter followers than him… seriously. If he chooses to forego a return to retirement, perhaps the unnecessary third fight with Forrest Griffin (provided he loses to Chael Sonnen at UFC 155.) A fight that would prove a fitting end to both men’s careers.

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UFC 153 Results: Silva TKOs Bonnar In Round 1

October 14, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Anderson Silva came to Brazil, he saw, and he dominated. Silva earned his sixteenth UFC win at UFC 153 with a brutal win over Stephan Bonnar. The strange main-event was every bit a mismatch inside the octagon as it was on paper.

Bonnar charged Silva immediately. They fought up against the cage as Bonnar hit a few knee strikes on Silva’s leg. Bonnar and Silva exchanged knee strikes against the cage. Bonnar was trying to take Silva down unsuccessfully. They fought for position up against the cage for about two minutes. Bonnar got a few short punches in. They exchanged a few strikes briefly. Silva hung out by the cage waiting for Bonnar. Bonnar missed a spinning kick. Silva appeared to be mocking him at this point with his defense. Silva laid flat against the cage with his hands down while Bonnar struck to no avail. Silva tripped Bonnar, followed in with a brutal knee strike, and finished with 21 seconds to go. A devastating knee was what did the damage here.

The fight sounded a lot more interesting than it was. The majority of the round saw Silva just lay and wait on the cage. It was a typical Anderson Silva mismatch that saw Silva screw around for four minutes before actually engaging his opponent. Bonnar talked a great game about bringing the fight to Silva but at the end of the day all Bonnar did was try and go for the takedown. Once Bonnar couldn’t take him down he knew he was screwed, Silva knew Bonnar was screwed, and it was over.

The odd main-event came about after Jose Aldo was injured in a motorcycle accident and had to pull out of his scheduled main-event against Frankie Edgar. The UFC middleweight champion had offered to save UFC 151 a few weeks earlier and the UFC president called his bluff with UFC 153. Silva offered to fight on short notice to save the show and perform in front of his home country. Stephan Bonnar was the sacrifice.

Anderson Silva is being heralded as a hero in many circles for taking the fight against Bonnar on short notice. I tend to disagree and have a bit of a cynical point of view on the fight. I think that Silva took the fight to buy time. Silva wants to fight Georges St-Pierre at the expense of dodging challengers in the middleweight division. After defeating Chael Sonnen several weeks ago Silva said he wasn’t fighting again until 2013. The opportunity for UFC 153 came up and the fight with Bonnar was a brilliant move by the champion that allowed him to stall while waiting for GSP and in turn take a very easy fight that was accepted as heroic. Heroic would have been fighting Chris Wiedman or a top middleweight contender. Heroic is not fighting Stephan Bonnar no matter how you slice it.

Quite frankly this headliner was a joke. It was an intriguing fight…for a free show. To charge fans for the fight was ridiculous. I have heard many defend the main-event by asking, “What was the UFC supposed to do?” Oh I don’t know, not allow their middleweight champion to take an easy fight while holding the division hostage? The whole thing just didn’t sit well with me from the start and after seeing it play out, I was even less thrilled with the decision making here.

Silva is now in a position where he is holding out for a fight against Georges St-Pierre. The greatest fighter in MMA will go from Stephan Bonnar to a fighter he outweighs by at least 30 pounds, while avoiding the best in his division and the best in the light heavyweight division. Silva outright refuses to fight Jon Jones and continues to show little interest in defending his title against the top contenders. Silva has no interest in fighting in the light heavyweight division yet takes a fight with +700 underdog?  Call me crazy but I have a hard time with the greatest in any sport avoiding the best competition.

The hot rumor right now is that the UFC are moving towards Rashad Evans vs. Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title. Excuse me if I don’t get too excited. Silva wants super fights and I get that, but Rashad Evans? Fool me once (with the Rampage fight) shame on you, fool me twice (with the Bones fight) shame on me. Rashad talks a great game yet at the end of the day is a boring, uninspired fighter in these kinds of situations. Evans vs. Silva is a fight between two UFC stars but at the end of the day Silva is once again avoiding the best in both divisions he competes in to take an easier fight.

Silva told Joe Rogan in the post fight interview that he was not taking any more fights at 205. If Dana White is as great a promoter as he thinks he is, he has to make Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva. That is the match, not Silva vs. GSP. How Silva can just blow off this fight is something else. Can you imagine any other athlete saying he won’t fight the best? Maybe it’s posturing but the UFC is going to desperately need this fight at some point. If Silva retires without taking that fight, it will absolutely be a black mark on his career.

This is probably coming off like a bash Anderson Silva blog and quite frankly it is. As a fan, I am more disappointed in the path that arguably the greatest fighter of all-time has chosen. I can understand Silva wanting to retire undefeated in the UFC. But if he is just going to pick and choose easy fights, retire now. I just want to see the best fight the best and I feel like we were all duped tonight as part of Silva’s master plan. Even more disappointing is that the UFC is a willing accomplice in this charade.

The other big story of the night was Jon Fitch. Jon Fitch fought like an animal in defeating Erick Silva. I can’t put into words how great this fight was. Fitch was caught badly in a choke at one point and survived. This was a huge fight for Fitch who desperately needed a win here. Fitch has made his financial problems public as of late and has said on several occasions that not only did he need the win, but he needed a bonus for Fight of the Night. He certainly earned it. The second round here is a candidate for Round of the Year. I don”t know where this Jon Fitch has been for the last six years because the Fitch that fought tonight was aggressive, intense, and just outright brutal in his assault on Silva. Silva gassed out badly in the final round while Fitch kept coming. I have no problem seeing Fitch get another title shot if he continues fighting with this kind of intensity.

Full UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar results and winners…
Anderson Silva defeated Stephan Bonnar via TKO in Round 1
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defeated Dave Herman via submission in Round 2
Glover Teixeira defeated Fabio Maldonado via 2nd round TKO
Jon Fitch defeated Erick Silva via unanimous decision
Phil Davis defeated Wagner Prado via submission
Demian Maia defeated Rick Story via submission
Rony Jason defeated Sam Sicilia via second-round TKO
Gleison Tibau defeated Francisco Trinaldo via unanimous decision
Diego Brandao defeated Joey Gambino via unanimous decision
Sergio Moraes defeated Renee Forte via submission
Chris Camozzi defeated Luiz Cane via unanimous decision
Cristiano Marcello defeated Reza Madadi via split decision

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UFC 153 Silva Vs. Bonnar Predictions & Analysis

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

The UFC returns to the airwaves of Pay Per View once again this weekend, as the promotion returns to the home of MMA once again in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Originally scheduled to be headlined by a Featherweight title bout between Jose Aldo and Frankie “The Answer” Edgar; the UFC was once again bitten by the injury bug. However, the UFC called upon one of their biggest stars and Middleweight Champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva stepped up to the plate to fight in front of his fellow countrymen, he’ll battle “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar in a Light Heavyweight tilt.

In the co-main event of the evening Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira also steps up to help the UFC by taking a late notice Heavyweight bout against Dave Herman. Four other bouts round out the Pay Per View main card, all of them featuring a Brazilian. In Light Heavyweight action rising star Glover Teixeira takes on former professional boxer Fabiano Maldonado. All-American Wrestler Jon Fitch battles Brazil’s top Welterweight prospect Erick Silva. Another Light Heavyweight bout features American wrestler Phil Davis re-matching Brazilian bomber Wagner Prado after their first bout ended after a controversial eye-poke. Kicking off the PPV portion of the event BJJ expert Demian Maia battles American wrestler Rick Story in a Welterweight bout.

Let’s get right into it.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Cristiano Marcello vs. Reza Madadi

Cristiano Marcello is a Brazilian fighter from Curitiba, Brazil. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who was formerly the head BJJ Coach at the famed Chute Boxe Academy. Marcello is a former cast member of The Ultimate Fighter Live and has also competed for many notable MMA promotions like Pride, Vale Tudo and Fury FC. Marcello holds a career record of 12-4. Reza “Mad Dog” Madadi is a Swedish-Iranian fighter from Stockholm, Sweden. Madadi is a wrestling specialist with strong ground skills. Although his striking looked a little bit subpar in his UFC debut, he’s still a better striker than Marcello. Madadi holds a career record of 12-2 and hasn’t lost since 2008.

Analysis and Prediction:: Marcello is an extremely talented grappler, in fact he’s probably in the top 15 or so % in pure grappling in the Lightweight division. However, there is one glaring problem with his game, he doesn’t have the wrestling ability to take the fight there without pulling guard. Madadi is a very strong wrestler and although he started somewhat slowly in his UFC debut, we can probably blame that on Octagon jitters. Marcello is a pretty awful striker and although Madadi isn’t exactly the second coming of Floyd Mayweather, he’s got a reach advantage and the speed to beat Marcello to the punch most of the time. Unless Madadi gets completely wild on the ground with Marcello, he can probably pound out a stoppage in the second round. Reza Madadi via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Luiz Cane vs. Chris Camozzi

Luiz “Banha” Cane is a 31-year-old Brazilian fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is a former Light Heavyweight fighter who will be making his Middleweight debut in the UFC. Cane was once one of the top prospects at Light Heavyweight, but a string of knockout losses has forced him to retreat to the Middleweight ranks. Cane is a BJJ black belt, but relies heavily on his striking in bouts. He holds a career record of 12-4-1, with 10 knockout wins. Chris Camozzi is a 25-year-old American from Alameda, California. He is a member of the Factory X Muay Thai Gym in Lakewood, Colorado. Camozzi was a cast-member on the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. Camozzi holds a career record of 17-5 including five wins via TKO and 6 via Submission.

Analysis and Prediction:: Luiz Cane was one of the top prospects in the Light Heavyweight division before he got rocked by a couple of heavy hitters in the upper echelon of 205’ers. Now he’s making the drop to Middleweight, and if there’s one thing I dislike it’s fighters making the drop after several losses. Camozzi is far from a top-tier Middleweight fighter, but he’s also not a fun match up for anyone. He’s tough and durable, having never been knocked out in his career. He’s also a big Middleweight, big enough that I think he may actually have a size and strength advantage against Cane. My guess is that no matter what Camozzi loses the first round, but if he can survive, he can probably start to turn the fight around in the second round. Clinches against the cage and dirty boxing will wear down Cane and once the Brazilian slows, Camozzi can take advantage and steal the last two rounds and the fight. Chris Camozzi via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Sergio Moraes vs. Renee Forte

Sergio “Serginho” Moraes is a 30-year-old Brazilian fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He was a cast-member on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Moraes has trained with a number of notable gyms in Brazil including Team Nogueira, Alliance Jiu Jitsu and Universidade da Luta (University of Fighting.) Moraes is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who relies heavily on his ground skills to win him fights. He has a career record of 6-2 including five wins via Submission. Renee Forte is another cast-member of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Forte is also a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu expert, who has finished four career opponents. Forte holds a career record of 7-1, but looked rather unimpressive during his relatively short run on the show.

Analysis and Prediction:: I hate to be overly negative in these reviews, but in my opinion Forte just isn’t UFC caliber. He looked overmatched during his season of The Ultimate Fighter and his striking skills were almost non-existent. He is capable and talented on the ground, but that’s not going to be enough to get by in the UFC. Moraes himself showed some pretty sloppy striking during his time on the show. However, he is a BJJ expert and a former ADCC competitor, he’s significantly better than Forte on the ground. Moraes is a better striker, but the fight won’t be there long. He likely lands a quick takedown and from top control he works himself into a dominant position and ends this one in the first round. Sergio Moraes via Submission in Round One

Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Diego Brandao vs. Joey Gambino

Diego “Ceara” Brandao is a Brazilian fighter from Fortaleza, Brazil. He was the winner of the fourteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Brandao is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who trains out of Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Brandao is a highly aggressive Muay Thai striker who has twelve stoppage victories on his resume. He holds a career record of 14-8. Joey “The Raging” Warrior Gambino is an American fighter from Port Charlotte, Florida. He now trains out of his Team Raging Warriors Gym in Saugerties, New York. Before making his UFC debut Gambino was ranked as one of the top prospects in the world at Featherweight. Gambino is a talented wrestler who uses takedowns and top control to earn points against his opponents. He holds a career record of 9-1.

Analysis and Prediction:: Gambino has only one loss in the UFC and it came at the hands of Steven Siler, who has turned out to be significantly better than his showing on TUF. Gambino is a talented wrestler who entered the UFC with a ton of hype. He’s not the first top prospect who’s fallen flat in their UFC debut and he won’t be the last, the question is how he can rebound. He’s drawn a stiff test for his return to the cage. Brandao is a TUF winner, who is extremely aggressive both striking and on the ground. Brandao has two big problems, cardio and striking defense. He works with a smart camp in New Mexico, they have surely done a lot of work on his striking defense. Cardio might be another issue, he just needs to pace himself a little more and not go for the throat every time he senses blood. A more measured approach to his aggression should save his cardio a bit, but against Gambino in might not matter. Brandao and Coach Jackson have surely watched the Siler-Gambino fight. Expect a similar game plan from Brandao. He gets top control and pounds his way to back mount, before securing a Rear Naked Choke. Diego Brandao via Submission in Round One

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Gleison Tibau vs. Francisco Trinaldo

Gleison Tibau is a Brazilian fighter who now resides and trains in Coconut Creek, Florida with the American Top Team Gym. Tibau is one of the largest lightweights in the UFC, with rumors saying that he often weighs up to 185-pounds by fight time after weighing in at 155-pounds the day before. Tibau holds a career record of 25-8. Francisco “Massaranduba” Trinaldo is a 34-year-old Brazilian fighter who was a cast-member on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Although he competed as a Middleweight on the show, Trinaldo has actually spent most of his career competing at Lightweight, however, this may be the first time he’s cut this much weight in a significant amount of time, so there may be some effects from a hard cut on his cardio. Trinaldo is a member of the Constrictor Team in Brazil and an occasional member of Brazilian Top Team. He holds a career record of 11-1.

Analysis and Prediction:: Trinaldo is a Lightweight fighter, despite having fought at Middleweight on the show. What concerns me is how he deals with cutting weight after fighting at 185-pounds for so long. Tibau is a massive Lightweight, but he’s never really had issues making weight and it rarely affects his performances come fight night. Trinaldo showed good takedown defense against Delson Heleno in their bout. Tibau is a more capable wrestler than Heleno and despite being a Lightweight he’s probably close to the same size. This fight relies on how well Trinaldo handles the weight cut. He has the talent to sprawl and brawl against Tibau, but if he’s anything but 100% this fight swings more and more in Tibau’s favor. I think he takes a Unanimous Decision. Gleison Tibau via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Rony Mariano Bezerra vs. Sam Sicilia

Rony “Jason” Mariano Bezerra is a 28-year-old fighter from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Bezerra was the Featherweight winner of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Even with all those credentials it still wasn’t quite enough to get him on the main card of this stacked show. Bezerra is a talented striker who showcased impressive ground skills as well as he ran through the TUF house on his way to the finals. Bezerra holds a career record of 11-3. Sam Sicilia is an American fighter from Spokane, Washington. He was a competitor on the live season of The Ultimate Fighter. Sicilia is a decent wrestler who prefers to use his wrestling to keep the fight standing, but who also packs significant power in his hands. Sicilia owns a career record of 11-1.

Analysis and Prediction:: Rony Bezerra is going to hold a six-inch reach advantage for this fight and it’s probably going to get worse for Sicilia from there. For one he doesn’t really set up his strikes well, instead he throws looping wild punches that leave him wide open to counters. Although his striking wasn’t the best on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, Bezerra is able to counter relatively effectively, it should help against someone who telegraphs his shots like Sicilia. Add to that the fact that Bezerra is a more talented grappler with the wrestling skills to control this bout on the mat and he’s got fifteen minutes to earn a submission if he’s smart. I think he plays this one safe and earns the submission on the ground. However, if he gets reckless and trades with Sicilia he might get his chin-checked. Bezerra was rocked in two of his fights on TUF: Brazil and Sicilia was dropping guys at Lightweight, if he catches Bezerra on the chin, he’s probably got the upset in the bag. As it is, I think Bezerra snatches a submission in the first round. Rony Mariano Bezerra via Submission in Round One

Main Card (PPV): Welterweight Bout: Demian Maia vs. Rick Story

Demian Maia is a Brazilian fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is a 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is one of the top practitioners of the sport. Maia is a member of the Wand Fight Team training out of Sao Paulo. It has been under the tutelage of head coach Wanderlei Silva where Maia has rapidly improved his striking skills. He is still not a world-beater in the striking department, but he throws tight and technical combinations, with solid defense and footwork. Maia is a former ADCC Submission Wrestling World Champion, winning the 87 kg division in 2007. The former Middleweight title hopeful is 1-0 since dropping to the Welterweight division. Maia owns a career record of 16-4.

Rick “The Horror” Story is an American fighter from Tacoma. Washington. Story is a wrestler, often relying on takedowns and top control to win rounds against his opponents. Story was once considered a top prospect in the Welterweight division, but back-to-back defeats to Charlie Brenneman and Martin Kampmann significantly slowed that hype train. Story is a member of the Brave Legion Gym in Vancouver, Washington. Story holds notable career victories over Thiago Alves and Johnny Hendricks. Story holds a professional record of 14-5.

Analysis and Prediction:: Maia has been rapidly improving his all around MMA game, especially his striking skills. Despite that, his best chance at finishing any bout is still likely going to be to snag a submission on the ground. It’s hard to draw any conclusions by a bout like Maia’s versus Dong Hyun Kim that ended with a strange injury. But if there’s one thing that you can take from the fight, it’s how well Maia was doing against a smothering wrestler like Kim, he was actually working towards taking his back before the injury occurred. Kim is a significantly larger and more smothering wrestler than Story is, if he couldn’t get Maia to the ground easily, I don’t think Story can. In a striking battle, I’d probably actually favor Maia. He’s more technically sound and has been rapidly improving his striking. Story prefers to swing wildly and his defense isn’t the greatest. If Story wants to win this one, he’s going to need to grind away for all three rounds. That’s a lot of time on the ground with one of the best BJJ talents in the Welterweight division. Maia eventually snags a submission late. Demian Maia via Submission in Round Three

Main Card (PPV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado

Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis is an American fighter from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Davis is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Penn State University, where he won the NCAA title in 2008. Davis has been improving his striking skills throughout his career, but his striking is still somewhat stiff and robotic. Davis is also a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training under coach Lloyd Irvin. Davis is a current member of the Alliance MMA Gym in Chula Vista, California. Davis holds a career record of 9-1, with 1 No Contest, with his only career loss coming against Rashad Evans.

Wagner “Caldeirao” Prado is a 24-year-old Brazilian fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Prado made his UFC debut in his last bout against Davis, but the fight ended in a No Contest after an inadvertent eye-poke left him unable to continue against Davis. Prado is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but his biggest strength is his explosive Muay Thai skills, along with the big power that he packs into his strikes. Prado is a very large and muscular fighter, although he will likely be outmuscled in the clinch against a wrestler as strong as Davis. Prado holds an undefeated professional record of 8-0, with 1 No Contest.

Analysis and Prediction:: The easy pick in this bout is certainly Davis. His wrestling is smothering and his ground skills have been rapidly improving. His striking still leaves a bit to be desired. In his bout against Rashad Evans he was a step behind the entire fight. Davis also carries his hands a bit too low at times and he often gets caught flat-footed while he’s preparing to make a move; either shooting for a takedown or closing the distance to clinch up. Prado is relatively untested and we didn’t see a whole lot of him in his first bout with Davis before the eye poke. He’s still a massive Light Heavyweight who has big power in his hands and a whole lot of nasty in his uppercuts. If Davis plays this smart he works for a takedown as soon as possible, as his top control is excellent and his ground and pound strong. But if he decides to test himself against Prado, it could be upset time. I predicted a Prado upset last time, and I still think he can pull it off. Davis seems like he wants to prove something to himself and that could turn into a problem for him. Wagner Prado via TKO in Round One

Main Card (PPV): Welterweight Bout: Jon Fitch vs. Erick Silva

Jon Fitch is a UFC veteran of over 16 career bouts inside the UFC’s Octagon. Fitch is a member of the famed American Kickboxing Academy training out of San Jose, California. Fitch is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Purdue University. Fitch also holds a black belt in Guerrilla Jiu Jitsu (a combination of BJJ, Judo and Wrestling.) Fitch is known for his less than fan-friendly style, consisting mainly of takedowns and smothering top control, Fitch is one of the best wrestlers in the Welterweight division. Fitch has not been overly active in the past year and a half, suffering a shoulder injury as well as a torn MCL, which has kept him out of the cage since December 2011. Fitch holds a career record of 23-4-1, with 1 No Contest.

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Erick “Indio” Silva is a Brazilian fighter from Vila Velha, Brazil. Silva was the inaugural Jungle Fight Welterweight Champion, a title that he never actually lost. Silva is an extremely quick and aggressive striker with excellent Muay Thai skills. In addition to his excellent stand up skills, Silva is no slouch on the ground holding black belts in both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo. Silva is a member of the Team Nogueira Gym in Brazil. Silva holds a career record of 14-2 with 1 No Contest, although one of those losses is in extremely controversial fashion as he was defeated via Disqualification in a bout he was dominating.

Analysis and Prediction:: Silva is a top prospect at 170-pounds. He is highly aggressive, extremely quick and agile and very creative. He really should be 3-0 inside the UFC, since his lone loss was via DQ in a bout that he had in the bag. Despite that, there’s not a whole lot of tape to glean anything from, since no opponent has gotten out of the first round with him. Likewise for Fitch he has been extremely inactive since a knee injury and shoulder injury have kept him sidelined for most of the year. His last bout was in December of 2011 and it lasted only twelve seconds. Many people believe that the fight against Hendricks was the beginning of a slide for Fitch, but I think it’s hard to make that assumption after only twelve seconds. Likewise, it’s hard to tell exactly how good Silva is from his brief body of work. Fitch has shown that he can fight for three hard rounds, Silva we don’t know that about. Another interesting aspect of this fight may be the crowd reaction to Fitch’s ground based attack, and how the referee reacts to the crowd noise. I’ll bank on what I know best, and that’s Fitch’s ground game can deal with anyone not named GSP. Silva might be good enough to frustrate Fitch on the ground and work for a decision, but I just think Fitch grinds away for another less than entertaining decision victory. Jon Fitch via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (PPV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Glover Teixeira vs. Fabio Maldonado

Glover Teixeira is a Brazilian fighter from Minas Gerais, Brazil. Before recently joining the UFC he was one of the top Light Heavyweight prospects in the world, not fighting in the UFC. Despite his Brazilian heritage, Teixeira now trains and resides in California, training at The Pit in San Luis Obispo. Teixeira is a black belt in BJJ who also has strong striking skills. Teixeira was originally scheduled to face Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in this bout, but an injury to Jackson forced a change in opponent. Teixeira holds a career record of 18-2, with 16 stoppage victories.

Fabio Maldonado is a 32-year-old Brazilian fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Maldonado is a former professional boxer competing in Brazil. As a professional boxer, he held a record of 22-0 with 21 knockout victories. Maldonado is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training with the Team Nogueira Gym. As one might expect based on his past as a professional boxer, Maldonado is a competent striker with decent footwork, although at times he struggles with his striking defense. Maldonado asked for this bout when Quinton Jackson was injured, but is entering the bout after back-to-back losses and is likely fighting for his job in this bout. He holds a career record of 18-5, with 15 stoppage victories.

Analysis and Prediction:: Teixeira has long been considered one of the top Light Heavyweight prospects in the world that wasn’t fighting in the UFC. In his UFC debut he proved why as he absolutely obliterated Kyle Kingsbury standing, before taking control on the mat and earning a quick submission victory. Maldonado on the other hand lost a grinding decision to Kingsbury, mainly because he was unable to stop the takedown. While MMA Math doesn’t always work out, this is one case where it is likely very important. Despite his past as a professional boxer, Maldonado’s striking defense is pretty bad. He keeps his hands low and his footwork is less than impressive, overall he’s just far too hittable. On the ground Maldonado has BJJ skills, but he’s never shown them in a fight. Teixeira is a handful on the ground and his mixture of ground and pound and submission awareness will be far too much for Maldonado to handle. I expect to see an early takedown, a bit of positional groundwork and then ground and pound to finish this bout early. Glover Teixeira via TKO in Round One

Main Card (PPV): Heavyweight Bout: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Dave Herman

Antonio “Minotauro” Rodrigo Nogueira is a Brazilian fighter from Bahia, Brazil. He is a legend in the sport of MMA, and is one of the most popular MMA fighters of all time. He is best known for his battles under the PRIDE FC banner in Japan in the early 2000s, where he was the first Heavyweight Champion in the promotion. Nogueira is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a black belt in Judo and is one of the top ground fighters in the Heavyweight division. Nogueira is also a talented striker, with excellent technical boxing skills, although he has slowed somewhat considerably as his career has advanced. He is a member of the Black House MMA Gym and the head trainer of Team Nogueira. He holds a professional record of 33-7-1, with 1 No Contest.

Dave “Pee Wee” Herman is an American fighter from Columbia City, Indiana. Herman won the first fifteen bouts of his professional career, all but one of them via stoppage in the first round and had considerable hype behind him. Herman is a big power puncher who has won 15 of his career bouts via some form of knockout. Herman trains at the Team Quest Gym in Temecula, California. Herman has shown somewhat questionable cardio in the past, slowing significantly in almost all of his bouts that have made it past the first round. Herman is an aggressive striker who is willing to trade blows with anyone, this has caused him problems in his last two bouts, both of which ended with him on the wrong side of a Knockout punch. Herman is still a dangerous fighter with big power, who owns a professional record of 21-4.

Analysis and Prediction:: Big Nog was actually doing extremely well in his bout against Frank Mir. His striking looked good, his combinations were crisp, he was keeping his hands up to defend himself, and then he rocked Frank Mir with a straight punch, that’s where it went downhill for him. Instead of going for a TKO win by ground and pound, he went for a submission, got reversed and got his arm broken. Both men expect that they can hurt each other standing and since they’re both Heavyweights with questionable chins, that’s probably true. Herman looked less than impressive in his loss to Nelson, but he was doing well in the first round of his fight against Stefan Struve, but the wheels fell off in the second round. Nogueira has way more ways to win. He’s way better than Herman on the ground and if he can work the fight there, it’s likely that he can earn a submission. However, Nogueira has looked slow in some of his most recent bouts and a career of getting pummeled has got to catch up to him at some point. Nogueira is the rightful favorite, but Herman is certainly a live underdog as long as this fight stays standing. To make it interesting I’ll pick Herman to steal the upset and shock the crowd. Dave Herman via KO in Round One

Main Card (PPV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar

Anderson “The Spider” Silva is a Brazilian fighter from Sao Paulo. He is one of the pound for pound greatest fighters of all time. Although this bout is in the Light Heavyweight division, he is the reigning UFC Middleweight Champion. After an injury scrapped the main event of this card, Silva stepped up to take on an opponent at Light Heavyweight on short notice. Silva holds a number of UFC records including the longest winning streak, most title defenses and longest title reign. Silva is one of, if not the most dynamic striker in all of Mixed Martial Arts. He is an extremely technical and tactical fighter whose counter punching skills and striking defense are among the best in the world. Silva is a member of the Black House Gym in Torrance, California. In addition to his excellent striking skills, Silva is extremely talented in the grappling realm. Silva holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a black belt in Judo and a black belt in Tae Kwan Do. He holds a career record of 32-4 and has not lost since 2006.

Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar is a 25-year-old fighter from Munster, Indiana. He is actually returning from a brief retirement to take this bout, but is entering the fight on a three fight-winning streak. Like Silva, Bonnar is a black belt in BJJ and Tae Kwan Do, as well as holding a black belt in Kyrpa Karate. Bonnar is most notable as being a part of one of the most popular fights in MMA history; his first bout against Forrest Griffin at the first Ultimate Fighter Finale. Bonnar has spent time in Thailand training Muay Thai, but his best fighting is done on the ground, when he can take down his opponents and control them from top position. Bonnar is a member of the One Kick Nick’s Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bonnar holds a career record of 14-7.

Analysis and Prediction:: Bonnar has a couple of things going for him in this fight. He’s a large Light Heavyweight fighter, his ground skills and wrestling skills are relatively under rated and he’s tough as nails, having never been knocked out in his career. With that said, Silva also has a few things going for him in this bout he’s an extremely powerful puncher, he’s one of the most dynamic counter-strikers in the sport and he’s on a sixteen fight winning-streak.

Bonnar will enjoy a slight reach advantage in the fight, but that’s likely going to be offset by the counter-striking skills of Silva. Add to that fact that any time Bonnar spends trying to strike with Silva is probably time poorly spent for him. If there’s anything that Silva’s most recent bouts have proven it’s that there is a blue print to beat him. Rush him, take him down and hold him there, smother him. It’s not going to be pretty and it doesn’t have to be but that’s how it has to be done. Can Bonnar do that? Possibly, it’s certainly more likely that he steals two rounds out of three, as opposed to three out of five.

Really, Bonnar’s best game plan is to put his head down, throw a haymaker and move forward. He should have a size advantage against Silva and his best chance is to make Silva fight ugly. The longer the two men stand at range is longer that Silva has to get comfortable and establish range. Silva is an extremely accurate striker who moves well and he has made significantly better strikers than Bonnar look foolish inside the ring. Silva is going to need to keep the fight at range, constantly circling to avoid getting pressed against the cage. Silva is a master at controlling the octagon, and using his movement to keep the bout at a range where he wants it. Sonnen found some success by simply blitzing Silva, but as soon as he slowed down and tried to set up his advances with strikes he was reversed, knocked down and knocked out by the Middleweight Champion.

Silva is the pound for pound best fighter in the world for a reason. The likely outcome of this fight is that he earns a late TKO or a dominant decision. I would expect that fighting in front of his home crowd, he’s willing to go after it a little bit more. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing for Bonnar remains to be seen. I’ve already called a couple of upsets on this one, and I’d love to predict another one, just to act like a genius if it happens to go down, but I really don’t think it’s going to. Bonnar does have a chance in this bout, maybe better than a lot of people are giving him credit for, but he’s still a pretty sizeable underdog to the pound for pound champion. Anderson Silva via Unanimous Decision

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Jon Fitch Is Responsible For Jon Fitch’s Problems

October 11, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Jon Fitch has been a fixture on UFC events for the last six years, and has fought in many high profile fights. That is why MMA fans were stunned recently when Fitch cried poverty. Yet a closer look at his situation shows a fighter that has nobody to blame but himself for his dire financial situation.

I have been reading quite a bit lately about how Jon Fitch is broke, behind on his mortgage payments, and crying foul when it comes to his position in the UFC. Fitch believes he deserves better and after six years in the UFC is frustrated with both his financial position and position within the company. Jon Fitch seems like a nice guy but anyone who has followed Fitch will have a hard time feeling sorry for the falling fighter.

Fitch recently revealed his economic woes to

The economy itself is slow. It’s a lot harder to make money outside the UFC now, as far as sponsors and stuff go. The sponsors have kinda dried up. The appearances have almost dried up.”
Fitch said he’s “very careful with my money,
” but he also has the strain of two mortgages. He bought a condo before the real-estate market got real bad, and the property is steadily losing value, and he also bought a larger house for his family after he got married.

Fitch is coming off of a bad loss to Johnny Hendricks, a fight which Fitch now says he had no right to take. According to Fitch he only took the fight because he needed the money.

I shouldn’t have fought that night. I had no business fighting that night. I had a second degree MCL tear; my mind wasn’t in the fight. The only reason I stepped through that cage door is because I needed the money … I had a pregnant wife and two mortgages. If I didn’t fight, I probably would have had to retire and get a day job. I did what I set out to do in that fight. I have no negative feelings towards that fight at all.

Fitch even went further in an interview where he opened up about his frustrations with pay in the UFC. According to Fitch, he is not paid nearly as handsomely as he believes MMA fans think he gets paid.

We don’t make millions of dollars as it is, but if you’re not fighting, you’re not getting paid, so things have been a little bit rough in the bank account … It can go away in a flash. We get paid okay money. It’s not great money. We’re not making NFL or NBA money; we’re making okay money. But if you’re not fighting, you don’t get paid. So that okay money is gone and now you have (expletive) money“.

It only gets worse for the captain of the AKA team. Fitch says if not for his sponsors, the elite UFC fighter would have to take another job.

“I have some really good sponsors and they’ve really been helping me out. Without them, I probably would have had to get another job because money has been tight.”

Now before you go on the attack and throw bombs at the UFC for underpaying their fighters, you really need to take a deep look at Jon Fitch’s situation. I feel empathy for almost anyone that is struggling with family, but Jon Fitch unfortunately is not one of them.

For starters, Fitch is complaining about two mortgages. Call me crazy and this may be totally out to left field here, but sell one of your homes! Sure his condo is taking a loss but wouldn’t it be better to get out completely as opposed to hanging on to this mortgage that is dragging you down? He is also living in California, a very expensive place to live. Jon Fitch fights all over the world. Move! Complaining about your two mortgages in one of the most expensive places to live in the United States is nothing I have a lot of empathy for.

Two, how underpaid is Jon Fitch? The beauty of Jon Fitch is that his salary is made public. Let’s take a look at Fitch’s pay for his last four fights.

Fitch made $120,000 in 2011 with a win and a draw.
Fitch made $162,000 for his UFC 117 win with bonus.
Fitch made $108,000 for his UFC 111 fight and that was with a win bonus.

Those figures don’t even include sponsors and whatever kinds of bonuses he may or may not have received from the UFC after buyrates came in. Should anyone be sitting around and crying poverty to the MMA audience with those kinds of payouts? This is obviously a guy who is living well beyond his means who could live very comfortably within his means if he was to step back and get a little clarity on his situation.

Fitch has also complained for years about not getting title shots with his record. What Fitch never mentions in any of these interviews is that he had plenty of opportunities to get those title shots. All he had to do was fight the number one contender, Josh Koscheck. Koscheck is Fitch’s training partner and the two refused to fight each other. Fitch even made a remark to Dana White when this was broached during a press conference that they would only fit in the gym to which White mocked him by saying that they would make no money that way. If Fitch fought Koscheck and won years ago, he would have had his second title shot, and most likely a high six-figure payoff in the process. Dana White gave him the option and he refused which is why more than anything when it comes to Fitch, I can’t feel sorry for him.

Finally, Fitch fights a very boring style of fighting. I am not saying that is wrong because it did bring Fitch a lot of wins, but in turn he is not a sellable fighter. As a matter of a fact, fans turn away when they hear Fitch’s name. Maybe if Fitch changed up his style a bit and offered fans more exciting fights, he would find himself in a better place within the UFC, which in turn would make him a wealthier man. Dana White has flat out said that Fitch would receive title fights if he changed his style. At the end of the day while this is sport, it is also show business.

It is time for Jon Fitch to look himself in the mirror and take some personal responsibility here. I don’t want to see anyone with a family go broke but in this case Jon Fitch created his own problems and Jon Fitch needs to accept responsibility for that.

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UFC 141: Lesnar Vs. Overeem Results – Overeem TKOs Lesnar, Brock Retires

December 30, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

UFC 141 pictureAlistair Overeem certainly made a memorable first impression tonight at UFC 141. Overeem stopped Brock Lesnar at 2:26 of the first round after a series of brutal body shots and strikes to win his UFC debut and a shot at the UFC heavyweight title.

This was one of those fights that you knew wasn’t going to last long and it didn’t. While you didn’t get your money’s worth inside the octagon, you certainly got your money’s worth in atmosphere and anticipation. This fight had something that the UFC has been missing for quite a while and that is the emotion in and out of the octagon of a big time fight. It wasn’t long but it likely will never be forgotten.

The story going into the fight was simple. If Brock could take Overeem down, he’d likely win. If Overeem could keep this one up top, he would likely win and that is what happened. Lesnar and Overeem started off with a few missed shots. Lesnar went for the single leg takedown which Overeem blocked beautifully. Overeem nailed a few knee strikes on Lesnar early which appeared to hurt the former champion. At that point it looked like Overeem’s game plan was to tie up Lesnar in the corner, pulverize him with knee strikes, and drop the big man. Eventually that is what happened. Overeem followed a few knee strikes with a kick to the liver (going right for the diverticulitis) that rocked Lesnar. Lesnar dropped, Overeem swarmed in with strikes, and the fight was stopped at 2:26 in favor of Overeem.

If there is one thing that Overeem has been criticized for, it would be not defeating top competition. I don’t think anyone could level that criticism at the former Strikeforce champion any more. He came into the UFC, took on the former UFC heavyweight champion in his debut, and dominated him for the win. While Brock Lesnar may not be at the level of a Cain Velasquez or Junior Dos Santos, he is still a former champion. It is time to start giving Overeem his due.

Overeem became a superstar tonight in my opinion. It is one thing to come into the UFC and win via TKO or KO in your debut. It is another thing to drop Brock Lesnar to his knees with body shots and put the former champion down in Round 1. Between the win, his look, his performance, and his charisma, he has enormous potential in the UFC if he can snag the UFC heavyweight championship from Junior Dos Santos.

The win will give Overeem a title shot at Dos Santos, barring any kind of injury to either man. On paper, this is without question Overeem’s fight to lose. I am still not convinced Junior Dos Santos is this unbeatable force at heavyweight. He couldn’t finish Roy Nelson or Shane Carwin, and actually looked tired in the third round against Nelson. Is he really that good or was Cain Velasquez a lot more hurt than he let on going into the fight? I think that is the bigger question and a question that will get answered when he fights Overeem.

Overeem is without a doubt the best striker in the division until proven otherwise. I think he can handle Junior pretty handily up top if that is where they decide to go. Overeem’s biggest test in my opinion will come from Cain Velasquez. I still think that Velasquez is the most well rounded fighter in the division. If Velasquez can get past the JDS loss, I think he would be too quick on his feet for Overeem. Regardless, it will likely go down as the biggest title fight of 2012 if the UFC can pull it off.

Brock Lesnar announced after the fight that he was retiring. “I’ve had a really difficult couple years with my disease,” said Lesnar. “And I’m officially going to say this is the last time you’ll see me in the octagon.” Whether this was an emotional decision or something he had planned before the fight is something we won’t know for awhile. It is incredibly difficult for anyone to walk away from $3 million payoffs but only he really knows how much he has left in the tank following his battles with diverticulitis.

If this really was Lesnar’s farewell, the man has nothing to be ashamed of. What he accomplished in such a short time is nothing short of remarkable. You can criticize his striking skills and it is certainly a criticism worth making, but I think that makes what he accomplished that much more impressive. Winning the UFC heavyweight title and defeating guys like Frank Mir, Randy Couture, and Shane Carwin with the little experience he had is even more impressive when you look back at how quickly he rose to the top in MMA.

Calling Vince McMahon!

The UFC 141: Lesnar Vs. Overeem full results…
Alistair Overeem defeats Brock Lesnar via TKO in Round 1
Nate Diaz defeats Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision
Johny Hendricks defeats Jon Fitch via KO in 12 seconds
Alexander Gustafsson defeats Vladimir Matyushenko via TKO in Round
Jim Hettes defeats Nam Phan via unanimous decision
Ross Pearson defeats Junior Assuncao via unanimous decision
Danny Castillo defeats Anthony Njokuani via split decision
Dong Hyun Kim defeats Sean Pierson via unanimous decision
Jacob Volkmann defeats Efrain Escudero via unanimous decision

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