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UFC 159: Jones Vs. Sonnen Predictions and Analysis

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

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks with loads of free fights for fans to sink their teeth into. But all of those free shows come with the knowledge that eventually it’s back to the land of Pay Per View where the UFC saves the really big marquee matches. Things are no different this week as the UFC returns to the PPV airwaves with UFC 159 from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. After spending a season coaching opposite one another on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, supposed rivals, but sometimes frenemies Chael Sonnen and Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones will battle for the title in the main event.

The co-main event of the evening is a Middleweight slugfest between two fighters who really don’t like each other. There have been a number of proposed car and tattoo bets between Alan Belcher and Michael Bisping, as well as several hilarious videos on YouTube leading up to this fight. In Heavyweight action Roy Nelson battles Cheick Kongo. A Light Heavyweight fight between wrestling standout Phil Davis and grappling specialist Vinny Magalhaes is on the main card. Opening the main card is a Lightweight tilt between top Strikeforce Lightweight contender Pat Healy and one of the top UFC Lightweights over the past two years Jim Miller.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Steven Siler vs. Kurt Holobaugh

“Super” Steven Siler is a 26-year-old fighter from Anaheim, California. He is a former The Ultimate Fighter cast member from the final season on Spike TV. He trains with the Pit Elevated Team in Orem, Utah. Siler holds a career record of 21-10. Kurt Holobaugh is a 26-year-old fighter from Independence, Louisiana. He is an import from Strikeforce who will be making his UFC debut. He trains with the Gracie Barra Northshore Gym in Louisiana and holds a professional MMA record of 9-1.

Quick Pick: Kurt Holobaugh via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Nick Catone vs. James Head

Nick “The Jersey Devil” Catone is a 31-year-old fighter from Brick Township, New Jersey. He is a former Middleweight fighter, who has recently made the drop to 170 pounds. Catone is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler for Rutgers University. He trains at his own gym, the Nick Catone MMA Academy in New Jersey. His professional record stands at 9-4. James Head is a 29-year-old fighter from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Head is a grappler who trains at Lovaito’s School of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Oklahoma City. He holds a professional MMA record of 9-3.

Quick Pick: James Head via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Leonard Garcia vs. Cody McKenzie

Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia is a 33-year-old fighter from Plainview, Texas. Best known for being a wild brawler with a strong chin, he has become a fan favorite for his style, more so than his Win-Loss record. He trains with Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico and holds a pro MMA record of 15-10. Cody “The AK Kid” McKenzie is a 25-year-old fighter from Cordova, Alaska. He is a former cast member of the twelfth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Best known for his string of wins with his ‘McKenzietine’ Choke, he trains at the Glendale Fighting Club in Spokane, Washington. He holds a professional record of 13-3.

Quick Pick: Leonard Garcia via TKO in Round Three
Preliminary Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Bryan Caraway vs. Johnny Bedford

Bryan “Kid Lightning” Caraway is a 28-year-old fighter from Yakima, Washington. He was a cast member on the final season of The Ultimate Fighter to air on Spike TV but has also fought for a number of MMA promotions including Strikeforce, Elite XC and the WEC. He is a member of the Team Alpha Male Gym in Sacramento, California holding a professional record of 17-6. “Brutal” Johnny Bedford is a 30-year-old fighter from Woodville, Ohio. Bedford was a cast member of the same season of The Ultimate Fighter as his opponent Caraway. He trains with the Fitness Fight Factory Gym in Fort Worth Texas and is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler. He holds a pro record of 19-9-1.

Quick Pick: Bryan Caraway via Submission in Round Three
Preliminary Card (FX): Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Sara McMann vs. Sheila Gaff

Sara McMann is a 32-year-old fighter from Takoma Park, Maryland. She is a former Olympic Wrestler and was the first American woman to win a Silver medal in Olympic Wrestling. McMann trains at the Revolution MMA Gym in Gaffney, South Carolina. McMann holds a perfect professional MMA record of 6-0. Sheila “The German Tank” Gaff is a 23-year-old fighter from Eschwege, Germany. She trains with the Energy Gym Fight Team in her hometown. This fight will be Gaff’s UFC debut but will also be her first fight in the USA. She holds a professional record of 10-4-1.

Quick Pick: Sara McMann via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Light Heavyweight Bout: Gian Villante vs. Ovince St. Preux

Gian Villante is a 27-year-old fighter from Wantagh, New York. Villante is a former NCAA football player and was once considered a top defensive prospect before leaving football to pursue MMA. Villante trains at the Bellmore Kickboxing Academy in Bellmore, New York but also spends time at Long Island MMA. He holds a professional record of 10-3. Ovince St. Preux is a 30-year-old fighter from Miami, Florida who is of Haitian descent. St. Preux was also a standout football player at the University of Tennessee but made the switch to MMA after failing to make the NFL. He trains with the Knoxville MMA Gym in Knoxville, Tennessee. He holds a professional record of 12-5.

Quick Pick: Gian Villante via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Rustam Khabilov vs. Yancy Medeiros

Rustam “Tiger” Khabilov is a 26-year-old Russian fighter from Makhachkala, Russia. Khabilov is a former Combat Sambo world champion and is an International Master of Sports in Sambo. Before making his UFC debut in his last fight he made the switch to Greg Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He holds record of 15-1, with the lone loss coming in the form of a controversial split decision. Yancy “Frisson” Medeiros is a 25-year-old fighter from Wai’Anae, Hawaii. He is a former state champion wrestler from Hawaii who will be making his UFC debut. Medeiros is a member of the Team Hakuilua Gym and has a perfect professional record currently standing at 9-0.

Quick Pick: Rustam Khabilov via Submission in Round Three

Main Card (Pay Per View): Lightweight Bout: Jim Miller vs. Pat Healy

Jim Miller is a 29-year-old fighter from Sparta Township, New Jersey. He is the younger brother of UFC Welterweight fighter, Dan Miller. Miller is one of the most talented grinders in the Lightweight division, with decent striking skills and a smothering top control game. Miller trains at the AMA Fight Club under head trainer Mike Constantino. Miller is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Virginia Tech and he also holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Miller is quite possibly the very definition of Lightweight gatekeeper as every fighter that has ever defeated him has gone on to challenge for or hold the UFC Lightweight title. Miller’s professional record is 22-4, and he’s coming off of a Fight of the Year victory over Joe Lauzon at UFC 155 in December.

Pat “Bam Bam” Healy is a 29-year-old fighter from Salem, Oregon. Healy was one of the top Lightweight contenders in Strikeforce and will be making his return to the UFC after a 7 year absence in this bout. Before joining Strikeforce, he was the MFC Welterweight Champion, one of the top MMA titles in Canada. Healy trains with the Sports Lab in St. Louis, Missouri. Healy will be returning to the UFC on the strength of a six-fight winning streak in Strikeforce, leading up to a Lightweight title shot that he was never able to cash in on. Healy fights a very similar style to that of Miller, so it will be interesting to see how his wrestling and close range striking match up against a similarly talented grinder. Healy holds a professional MMA record of 29-16.

Analysis and Prediction: Healy had a successful run in Strikeforce, but that’s not gaining him any favors from the UFC. To put it bluntly this is a pretty bad stylistic match up for Healy. Both of these guys fight similar styles, but Miller is a bit better at everything. He’s a more accomplished amateur wrestler, his striking is more technical and solid than that of Healy and he’s got a BJJ black belt and is more adept at finding submissions and sweeps from bad positions or during scrambles. Healy is tough as hell and Miller isn’t exactly known as a finisher, but I expect this one could be somewhat one-sided. Miller busts up Healy on the feet across three rounds, sprinkled with some late takedowns and top control to seal a decision victory. Jim Miller via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Light Heavyweight Bout: Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes

Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis is a 28-year-old fighter from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Davis is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Penn State University where he won an NCAA title in 2008. Davis trains as a member of Alliance MMA in San Diego, California. Davis has an excellent top control and is a tall and lanky fighter, although he is still developing his striking from a distance. He has however added a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Lloyd Irvin and has shown a strong awareness of potential submission opportunities during his fights. Davis holds a nearly perfect professional record of 10-1 with 1 No Contest, and the lone loss coming against Rashad Evans in a title eliminator bout.

Vinny “Pezao” Magalhaes is a 28-year-old fighter from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Magalhaes was a cast member and the runner up on the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Magalhaes started his career in the UFC poorly and was subsequently released, which allowed him to reset his career and he has experienced a resurgence by winning the M-1 Global Light Heavyweight Championship. Magalhaes is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and one of the top Light Heavyweight grapplers in MMA. He is a member of the Xtreme Couture Gym in Las Vegas and also works as a BKJJ coach with Team Quest. Magalhaes has competed in and medalled in a number of major grappling and Jiu Jitsu competitions including the Abu Dhabi Combat Club and World Jiu Jitsu Championships. His professional MMA record is 10-5 with 1 No Contest.

Analysis and Prediction: Magalhaes asked for this fight by calling out Davis, so he must see something that he can take advantage of. With that said, if there is one thing we’ve learned in the modern era of mixed martial arts, it’s that the wrestler usually beats the Jiu Jitsu guy. I think that trend continues here. Neither man is an extremely talented striker, in fact they’re probably both subpar for their division, but Davis should be able to control the action on the ground. He’ll usually be the one on top, since his wrestling should be strong enough to fend off any of the Brazilian’s takedowns. If he’s smart, he should be avoiding the ground at all costs, since that’s the one area where Magalhaes can capitalize on his mistake. He should use a strong jab and work from range to bust Magalhaes up on the feet over three rounds. Phil Davis via TKO in Round Three

Main Card (Pay Per View): Heavyweight Bout: Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo

Roy “Big Country” Nelson is a 36-year-old fighter from Las Vegas, Nevada. Nelson was a contestant on the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter that featured only Heavyweights and was the eventual winner of the show. Nelson is also notable as being the final International Fight League Heavyweight Champion. Nelson holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training under Renzo Gracie. Nelson trains with the Country Club Gym in Las Vegas. In addition to his strong grappling credentials Nelson is also known for his iron chin, his ability to absorb punishment, big time knockout power and one of the least impressive physiques in MMA. Nelson holds a professional record of 18-7, including 16 wins via stoppage.

Cheick Kongo is a 37-year-old fighter from Paris, France. Kongo is a member of the Wolfslair MMA Academy in England. Kongo is a former professional Savate Kick boxer and has also competed in Muay Thai in the past, all before making the switch to MMA. In addition to his technical stand up skills, Kongo has recently been improving his grappling skills. His takedowns and top control are much improved, so much so that he often resorts to taking his opponents down and using ground and pound to control them on the mat, rather than risk brawls on the feet. Kongo holds a professional record of 18-7 with 2 Draws.

Analysis and Prediction: Despite being a professional kick boxer in the past, Kongo has been blitzed by a number of strikers in the Heavyweight division. This is probably the reason for the improvement in his wrestling skills. Still, Nelson is a very talented grappler and is not easily taken down. Nelson is also relentlessly moving forward, even when he’s taking a beating, because of his iron chin. Kongo doesn’t do well against heavy handed strikers who crowd him up if he can’t take them down. Kongo should be using a lot of kicks and a strong jab to keep Nelson at bay, but I think Nelson will simply walk right through those shots and land a big overhand right of his own. Kongo’s chin can’t handle the fire power than Nelson has in his hands, and I expect a knockout for Big Country. Roy Nelson via KO in Round Two

Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher

Michael “The Count” Bisping is a 34-year-old fighter from Manchester, England although he was originally born on a British military base in Cyprus. Bisping was a cast member and the eventual winner of the Light Heavyweight portion of The Ultimate Fighter 3. Bisping is also a former Cage Rage Light Heavyweight Champion, one of the top titles in the UK. Bisping is a member of the HB Ultimate Training Center in Manchester, England. Bisping is a solid technical boxer with strong takedown defense. Bisping has solid footwork, which he usually uses to his advantage (the lone exception being his knockout loss to Dan Henderson where he continuously circled into the overhand right.) Although not known as a knockout artist, Bisping has respectable power having won 14 bouts via KO or TKO during his career. He holds a professional record of 23-5.

Alan “The Talent” Belcher is a 28-year-old fighter from Jonesboro, Arkansas. Belcher is a tough, well-rounded fighter who holds black belts in a number of martial arts disciplines, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Tae Kwan Do and Judo. Belcher is a member of the Roufusport Gym in Biloxi, Mississippi training under famed kick boxer and MMA coach Duke Roufus. Belcher is a talented Muay Thai kick boxer with underrated grappling abilities. Belcher is going to be facing one of the best technical strikers that he’s ever faced so using leg kicks and body kicks to establish range is going to be extremely important for him in this bout. One of Belcher’s biggest weaknesses is his Fight IQ, which often leads to mistakes, especially in his last bout against Yushin Okami where he constantly put himself into bad positions, searching for a Guillotine Choke that was never really there. Belcher holds a professional record of 18-7.

Analysis and Prediction: Belcher has the ability to hang with Bisping, but he’s going to need to fight a perfect fight for him to win, and given his low Fight IQ and propensity to brawl, I just don’t think he has it in him. He’d be best off trying to emulate Vitor Belfort’s win over Bisping, but I doubt he’ll go that route. I expect Belcher to get out-boxed in the pocket, but he might be able to score effectively with kicks from the outside. Bisping’s wrestling is also somewhat underrated and I expect he might shoot for a takedown if things get hairy on the feet, or simply to steal a close round. The ability to steal those close rounds might be important, as this one is headed for the scorecards I think. Michael Bisping via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): UFC Light Heavyweight Championship Bout: Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen

Jon “Bones” Jones is a 25-year-old fighter from Rochester, New York. He is the reigning and defending UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and is one of the most dominant fighters of all time. At 6’4” and with an 84.5 inch reach, he is one of the most physically and athletically gifted fighters in the UFC. Jones is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is definitely Coach Jackson and Coach Winkeljohn’s prized pupil. Jones is the youngest fighter to ever win and to ever defend a UFC title. Jones is a former JUCO national champion wrestler from Iowa Central Community College and uses his wrestling well during his bouts. Jones also holds the distinction of being the first fighter to be marketed globally by major clothing brand Nike. Jones holds a nearly perfect pro record of 16-1, with the lone loss coming via DQ for illegal elbows in a fight that he was well on his way to winning anyways.

Chael “The American Gangster” Sonnen is a 36-year-old fighter from Milwaukie, Oregon. Sonnen is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from the University of Oregon where he earned All-American honors. Sonnen has also served as an Alternate to the US Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling team. Sonnen is one of the UFC’s most controversial fighters but is also one of the best at promoting fights, which is likely why he earned this bout, despite coming off of two losses at the Middleweight division to champion Anderson Silva. Sonnen knows what he is good at and isn’t ashamed to use his wrestling to smother opponents, it’s definitely his best asset. His willingness to blanket fighters nearly earned him a win over Anderson Silva in their first contest. Sonnen holds a professional record of 27-12-1.

Analysis and Prediction: Despite the number of complaints and criticisms this fight has endured, it could prove to be an entertaining and intriguing bout. Or it could also turn out to be the complete mismatch that everyone expects it to be. Sonnen really has only one chance to win this and it’s to smother Jon Jones for five rounds or at least three of five rounds and survive the other two. This is going to be tough for him for a number of reasons. Jones is a huge fighter, very lanky, very hard to get close to and is very athletic, I’m sure Jones is drilling takedown defense. The other issue is, Jones is a fairly capable grappler and Sonnen’s weakness is definitely submission defense.

For Jones the path to victory seems relatively simple. Pick Sonnen apart from the outside, use that ridiculously long reach to smash him up with jabs and leg kicks. Basically, avoid being taken down by Sonnen at all costs. Jackson is a smart coach and he’ll have Jones well prepared to fend off takedowns. I expect to see a measured pace from the champion, looking to time a big counter shot or knee as Sonnen rushes in for a takedown. The other possibility I could see is forcing a clinch with Sonnen and trying to earn a takedown himself. From there he should easily be able to ground and pound his way either to a stoppage or at least enough to create an opportunity to latch onto a submission.

We’ll probably be able to tell if this fight will be exciting or lopsided within the first minute. If Sonnen comes out and spams takedowns relentlessly he’s got a shot. If he tries to box, or goes for some spinning back fist like he did against Anderson he’s going to get pummeled. In fact, he might even get beat up anyways. I just hope that he makes it exciting either way and calls out Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez next, because hey why not take another title shot? Jon Jones via Submission in Round Two

Georges St-Pierre: The Way of the Fight Book

Anderson Silva: Like Water

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UFC 155 Dos Santos Vs. Velasquez Results and Wrap Up

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

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

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

Derek Brunson defeated Chris Leben via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

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

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

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

Yushin Okami defeated Alan Belcher via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Miller defeated Joe Lauzon via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anderson Spider Silva (Em Portugues do Brasil

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UFC 155 Results: Cain Velasquez Regains UFC Title

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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UFC 155 Dos Santos Vs. Velasquez 2 Predictions & Analysis

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

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

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

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

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

Quick Pick: John Moraga via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Max Holloway via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Todd Duffee via KO in Round One

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

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

Quick Pick: Michael Johnson via Unanimous Decision

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

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

Quick Pick: Melvin Guillard via TKO in Round Three

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

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

Quick Pick: Erik Perez via Submission in Round One

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

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

Quick Pick: Brad Pickett via TKO in Round Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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UFC On FX 3: Johnson Vs. McCall Predictions & Analysis

June 08, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC returns to the land of free television with two of the world’s top Flyweight fighters set to headline. The UFC returns to Southern Florida for the first time since 2007, as the UFC heads to the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. After a tabulation error caused their first bout to end in controversy, Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall will lock horns once again. Initially announced as a victory for Demetrious Johnson, at the post-fight press conference it was revealed that a math error was the culprit and the actual result of the bout was a Majority Draw.

Although somewhat lacking in big name talent, the card has a number of intriguing bouts. Not to mention the fact that Johnson vs. McCall has the potential to be an extremely exciting bout. The other bouts on the four fight main card on FX feature Erick Silva and Charlie Brenneman in a Welterweight tilt, Mike Pyle and Josh Neer battle in a fight between two Welterweight veterans and finally Bantamweights Eddie Wineland and Scott Jorgensen will battle in a fight featuring two former WEC stars.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Jake Hecht vs. Sean Pierson

Jake “The Hitman” Hecht is an American fighter from St. Louis, Missouri. Hecht is a wrestling specialist who uses takedowns and top control to smother his opponents. He is a member of the Fiore MMA Clinic in Springfield, Illinois. Hecht holds a professional record of 11-3. Sean “Pimp Daddy” Pierson is a Canadian fighter from Toronto, Ontario. A former full-time police officer, the promise of a UFC career led him to have a career change and focus on fighting full time. He is a striking based fighter, who has struggled in his last two bouts. Pierson is a member of the Grant Brothers MMA Gym in Toronto. Pierson has a career record of 11-6. Sean Pierson via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Bernardo Magalhaes vs. Henry Martinez

Henry Martinez is an American fighter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s MMA team in New Mexico. Martinez made his UFC debut against Matt Riddle and jumped two weight classes to battle the enormous Riddle. Martinez holds a career record of 8-2. Bernardo “Trekko” Magalhaes is a Brazilian born fighter who no trains and resides in Sydney, Australia. He is a member of the TP Fight Team in Australia and is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specialist. His game plan usually revolves around top control and grappling. He holds a career record of 11-2. Henry Martinez via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Middleweight Bout: Buddy Roberts vs. Caio Magalhaes

Buddy Roberts is an American fighter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s MMA Camp in New Mexico. Most of his wins have come on the regional circuit, but he remains a well-rounded fighter who will likely hold the wrestling edge in this bout. Roberts has a professional fight record of 11-2. Caio “Hellboy” Magalhaes is a Brazilian fighter from Ceara, Brazil. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who is a member of the Nova Uniao gym in Brazil. This will be his first bout outside of his native Brazil, as well as his octagon debut. He is an undefeated prospect with a professional record of 5-0. Buddy Roberts via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Lightweight Bout: Tim Means vs. Justin Salas

Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means is an American fighter from Wilburton, Oklahoma. A member of the Fit NHB Gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a former King of the Cage champion who has the majority of his wins by KO or TKO. He is a strong striker, who has shown excellent use of the Muay Thai clinch in his past fights. He holds a pro record of 17-3-1. Justin “J-Bomb” Salas is an American fighter from Green River, Wyoming. He is a member of the Grudge Training Center in Denver, Colorado. Salas is a wrestling based fighter who uses takedowns and top control to outwork his opponents. Salas has a pro record of 10-3. Tim Means via TKO in Round Three

Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Bantamweight Bout: Dustin Pague vs. Jared Papazian

 Dustin “The Disciple” Pague is a 24-year-old American fighter from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He a former Ring of Combat Bantamweight Champion, who is a member of the Tapout Ranch. He was a cast-member on the Bisping vs. Miller season of The Ultimate Fighter. He holds a professional record of 10-5. Jared “The Jackhammer” Papazian is a young fighter who is better than his somewhat lackluster record indicates. Despite his 14-7 record, with 1 No Contest he is a gritty fighter who is a dangerous opponent for most. Jared Papazian via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Featherweight Bout: Leonard Garcia vs. Matt Grice

Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia is an American fighter from Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting Camp. Garcia is best known for his brawling, fan friendly style and his iron chin. Despite having never been knocked out in his MMA career, he has struggled in his most recent bouts, having only a record of 3-5-1 in his past nine bouts, but two of those victories came by controversial split decisions and he could easily be 1-8 in his last nine. This is likely a win-or-go home fight for Garcia, who holds a career record of 15-8-1. Matt “The Real One” Grice is a wrestling based fighter from Midwest City, Oklahoma. He trains with Titan Martial Arts in Oklahoma, where he is the main wrestling coach. Grice relies mostly on takedowns and top control to grind out victories against his opponents. He has a professional record of 14-4, with all of his losses coming inside the octagon. Leonard Garcia via Split Decision

Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Welterweight Bout: Seth Baczynski vs. Lance Benoist

Seth “The Polish Pistola” Baczynski is an American fighter from Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a former cast-member of The Ultimate Fighter but struggled at the show’s Middleweight weight class. He is a member of the Power MMA team where he trains regularly with Ryan Bader, CB Dollaway and Aaron Simpson. Baczynski holds a professional record of 15-6. Lance Benoist is a young up-and-coming fighter from St. Louis, Missouri. Benoist made a serious statement in his Octagon debut by out-grappling and out-striking Matt Riddle for two rounds, before surviving a late surge and hanging on for the victory. Benoist is undefeated as a professional with a record of 6-0. Seth Baczynski via Submission in Round Two

Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Welterweight Bout: Mike Pierce vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha

Mike Pierce is an American fighter from Portland, Oregon. Pierce is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Portland State University. He is a member of the Sports Lab Fight Team in Portland. Pierce is the epitome of a grinder inside the octagon. Despite being 1-2 in his last three bouts, the two losses were to top contenders Josh Koscheck and Johnny Hendricks, both by split decision in bouts that could have gone his way. Pierce has a professional record of 13-5. Carlos “Ta Danado” Eduardo Rocha is a Brazilian fighter. Rocha is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and a judo black belt with a strong ground game. Rocha has a professional record of 9-1, with all of his wins coming by way of stoppage. Mike Pierce via TKO in Round Three

Main Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Eddie Wineland vs. Scott Jorgensen

Eddie Wineland is an American fighter from Houston, Texas. Wineland is a former WEC Bantamweight Champion who is currently ranked in the top ten in most major MMA sites Bantamweight rankings. Wineland is a member of the New Breed MMA Academy in Chicago. He is one of the tallest and strongest fighters in the Bantamweight division. Wineland is a strong striker who uses his range well and has some serious power in his hands, he will surely be looking to keep this bout standing for as long as possible. Wineland has a professional record of 18-8-1.

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Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Boise State University. In college he was a 3-time Pac-10 Champion Wrestler in his weight class and he has transitioned that wrestling base to his fight game very well. He is a member of the Twisted Genetiks Fight Team based out of Boise, Idaho. He is a top five Bantamweight fighter whose only losses have come against the elite fighters of the division. Jorgensen uses top control and ground and pound to control his opponents and outwork them on the mat. Jorgensen has a professional record of 13-5.

Analysis and Prediction: Wineland is a dangerous striker who packs massive power in his hands, in fact he almost scored an upset over Joseph Benavidez by rocking him with a big punch. Jorgensen however will surely look to take the fight to the mat early and often. Wineland’s takedown defense will be the key to his bout, if he is able to sprawl and brawl effectively he has the chance to steal this bout. If Jorgensen is able to take the fight, it’s unlikely that Wineland has the bottom game to score a submission against the dangerous top control of Jorgensen. Wineland is an extremely tough fighter, so I don’t think Jorgensen can finish him, but he should be able to control all three rounds on the mat. Scott Jorgensen via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Mike Pyle vs. Josh Neer

 Mike “Quicksand” Pyle is a 36-year-old fighter from Desden, Tennessee. Pyle is a member of the Xtreme Couture Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pyle is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is a very competent grappler. His striking skills are fairly basic, but he can definitely use them to get the job done. The job in this particular bout is likely going to be to try and plant Neer on the mat early and often and use his Jiu Jitsu skills to control the pace of the bout and search for submissions. Pyle holds a career record of 22-8-1.

Josh “The Dentist” Neer is an American fighter from Des Moines, Iowa. Despite not yet being 30 years old he already has over 40 career bouts. Neer is a member of the Miletich Fighting System training under famed coach and former fighter Pat Miletich. Neer is on a bit of a career resurgence as he is currently riding a six-fight winning streak. Neer is an extremely aggressive striker with an iron chin and loves going for broke early and often. Neer will likely be looking to bully his way to the inside so he can punish Pyle in the clinch. Neer has a career record of 33-10-1.

Analysis and Prediction: This is a tale of two fighters with two different game plans. Pyle does his best work on the mat controlling the tempo of the fight. Neer is slightly weak on the ground and has been controlled by strong wrestlers in the past. If Neer’s sprawl is up to snuff he can try to punish Pyle when he gets too close. The problem is that Neer has been controlled on the mat before. Though he hates being laid and prayed as he says it, it’s up to him to do something about it. I’m not sure he’s up to the challenge. He might make it exciting along the way, but Neer won’t have an answer for Pyle’s ground game. Mike Pyle via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Erick Silva vs. Charlie Brenneman

Erick “Indio” Silva is a Brazilian fighter from Vila Velha, Brazil. Silva is a former Jungle Fight Welterweight Champion and is a member of the X-Gym and Team Nogeuira. Silva has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as in Judo. Silva is one of the top prospects, who has spent an impressive 69 seconds in the octagon over two pro fights. Silva is an extremely aggressive striker who has gone immediately after both of his opponents inside the octagon, crumpling both in less than a minute. Silva is also a very competent grappler, as one would expect from someone training under Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Silva owns a professional record of 13-2 with 1 No Contest.

Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman is an American fighter from the AMA Fight Club in Pennsylvania. Despite an impressive career in MMA, Brenneman is probably best known as the winner of Spike TV’s Reality TV show Pros vs. Joes. Brenneman is a wrestler who excels at making his opponents fight at his pace. Despite lacking in power or a quality submission game, Brenneman makes up for it simply by outworking his opponents on the mat. Despite solid mat skills, Brenneman’s striking is fairly rudimentary and that may be a serious liability in this fight. He holds a career record of 15-3.

Analysis and Prediction: This one will come down to whether or not Brenneman can rinse and repeat takedowns and top control for three full rounds without getting his head knocked off by the Brazilian in the process. The problem for Brenneman will be that Silva knows exactly what he’s going to try and do and should be able to stop if from happening. Brenneman can’t strike with Silva so he’s going to try and shoot from the outside, without setting up the shot he’s setting himself up to be knocked out. Eventually Silva gets his hands on Brenneman and that should be all she wrote. I think it goes down in the first. Erick Silva via KO in Round One

Main Card (FX): Flyweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout: Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall

Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is an American fighter from Madisonville, Kentucky. Johnson is a member of the AMC Pankration Gym in Seattle, Washington training under Matt Hume. Johnson is an extremely quick and accurate striker who constantly beat McCall to the punch in their first fight. Although somewhat lacking in power, Johnson throws tight, crisp boxing combinations. Johnson is a strong wrestler, although in his last two bouts against both Dominick Cruz and the first bout with McCall he struggled at getting takedowns and instead looked to strike. Johnson owns a professional record of 14-2-1, with the 1 coming in his last bout against McCall and the 2 losses coming against Dominick Cruz and Brad Pickett.

Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall is a 27-year-old fighter from Dana Point, California. McCall is a former Tachi Palace Fights Flyweight Champion. McCall is an extremely well rounded and versatile fighter. In the first bout against Johnson he struggled in the early stand up exchanges but came alive in the final round, completely dominating and battering Johnson in the third. McCall was beaten to the punch constantly at a distance, but in close McCall was able to capitalize and batter Johnson. McCall is also the more powerful puncher, if he’s able to get his hands on Johnson in the clinch once again he might be able to hurt him with some dirty boxing in tight. McCall is a member of the Team Oyama in California who has a professional record of 11-2-1.

Analysis and Prediction: It will be interesting to see what adjustments both fighters have made after the first bout. Johnson has blamed his third round on a lack of carbs and has promised that an improved diet will avoid any of the same problems. What this will come down to is who will have made the more significant improvements in their game plans.

McCall needs to understand that he can’t win a kickboxing match against Johnson. While McCall has stellar footwork himself, he was simply a step behind every time and was constantly beaten to the punch in their first bout. If he tries to strike with Mighty Mouse, Johnson will surely be happy to dodge in and out and outpoint him for three rounds. The thing to remember is also that McCall is an entertainer and would rather go out on his sword than fight in a boring fight.

However, he does have significant keys to victory. In the first bout he was significantly stronger at the weight class and was able to control Johnson every time he got his hands on him. His takedowns looked good and his ability to control Johnson was very impressive. McCall’s guard passing ability and ground and pound is second to none as he’s able to constantly rain down blows while not allowing his opponents any opportunities to scramble away.

For Johnson the key will be simply to keep the bout standing as long as possible. Although his wrestling and top control game is solid, he’s risking danger by wading in too close to McCall. Shooting for a takedown may lead to it being stuffed and could end up in a clinch or with McCall on top, that’s not what Johnson wants. He knows that he is the faster fighter and has more technical striking. He also knows his deficiencies in power, but that’s actually a benefit to Johnson. Knowing he’s not going to stop McCall allows him to weave in and out of close quarters seamlessly without ever over-committing to a single punch and getting himself into trouble.

I think for me this fight is a near pick ‘em. The betting line has McCall as a slight underdog, and I think there’s value in wagering on McCall. McCall is an intelligent fighter who studies a lot of tape. He had a lot of areas of success in the last bout and I think he will definitely learn from those areas of success and figure out new ways to exploit Johnson. I also think McCall has more tools to win the fight, while it’s unlikely that Johnson can submit or knock McCall out, it’s entirely possible that McCall can do either to him. Expect a close and exciting high-octane bout, but one that McCall eventually squeaks out. Ian McCall via Unanimous Decision

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UFC 136: Edgar Vs. Maynard III Results – Edgar & Aldo Retain, Sonnen Returns

October 08, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

Edgar Maynard IIIUFC 136 was headlined by two championship matches but it was a post match promo that will be most remembered. Chael Sonnen was the man who stole the headlines with his post fight challenge, turning the UFC upside down with his WWE style challenge to Anderson Silva.

Chael Sonnen returned after a fourteen month layoff and defeated Brian Stann in the second round with an arm-triangle. Sonnen just smothered Stann with ground and pound for a round and a half before finally ending Stann’s misery. As impressive as Sonnen was during the fight, it was what Sonnen said after the fight that is making headlines.

Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck. Super Bowl, weekend, the biggest weekend but we’re upping the stakes. I beat you, you leave the division. You beat me, I will leave the UFC forever.

Sonnen upped the stakes and said that he would leave the UFC if he lost and asked that Anderson leave the middleweight division if the champion lost. This challenge has had the world of MMA buzzing the entire night.  Check out more on this in a full blog I wrote earlier on the challenge and fight.

Once the dust settled it was Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard that would close out the show with an exciting main event. Edgar and Maynard picked up right where they left off at UFC 125 with round eight! Maynard connected early with an uppercut and was all over Edgar. It was just like their last fight with Edgar just absorbing a ton of punishment yet getting out of the round. It appeared that Maynard broke Edgar’s nose with the shot. Somehow Edgar escaped as did Maynard’s chances at becoming UFC lightweight champion.

Edgar was able to rebound in the following round and seemed to confuse Maynard for the remainder of the fight. Maynard appeared to be looking for the knockout punch while Edgar just got in and out with strikes and kept on moving. Maynard never appeared in any real danger in the second round but Edgar certainly edged him out.

The next two rounds saw more of the same. It just appeared to me that Maynard was to one dimensional here just looking for another punch rather than mixing it up on the ground. In the fourth round the two had a scramble for a takedown and Edgar just rocked Maynard hard with an uppercut. Edgar swarmed with strikes and the fight was over at 3:54 of the fourth round.

Frankie Edgar is just indestructible. Once again, he survives a brutal onslaught of strikes and comes back seemingly from the dead to finish and win this particular fight. It would appear that Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez will be Edgar’s next challenger. There were rumors that Melendez would step inside of the cage following the fight and challenge the winner but that never happened.

In the co-headliner, Jose Aldo successfully defended the UFC featherweight title against Kenny Florian. I wouldn’t call it a bad fight but it certainly wasn’t a great fight. They went the distance with Florian surprising Aldo early but Aldo itching it out for the remaining rounds. Florian tried closing the distance throughout the fight but Aldo quickly stifled those attempts.

I have to say that while Aldo is undefeated since coming to the UFC, he is hardly the fighter that he was in the WEC. Big things were expected out of Aldo when he came over and so far he has been fairly underwhelming. The talent is definitely there but something is not clicking. In his last eight WEC fights, only one went the distance. In the UFC, both fights have gone the distance and he was almost badly by Mark Hominick in the final round at UFC 129. A win is a win, but this is hardly the dominating fighter he was  in the WEC.

Full UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard 3 results…
Mike Massenzio defeated Steve Cantwell via unanimous decision
Aaron Simpson defeated Eric Schafer via unanimous decision
Darren Elkins defeated Tiequan Zhang via unanimous decision
Stipe Miocic defeated Joey Beltran via unanimous decision
Anthony Pettis defeated Jeremy Stephens via split decision
Demian Maia defeated Jorge Santiago via unanimous decision
Joe Lauzon defeated Melvin Guillard via submission – Round 1
Nam Phan defeated Leonard Garcia via unanimous decision
Chael Sonnen defeated Brian Stann via submission – Round 2
Jose Aldo defeated Kenny Florian via unanimous decision to retain the UFC featherweight title
Frankie Edgar defeated Gray Maynard via TKO – Round 4 to retain the UFC lightweight title

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UFC 136: Edgar Vs. Maynard III Predictions & Analysis

October 07, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC 136The UFC invades Houston, Texas this weekend with a blockbuster that is stacked from top to bottom. Despite losing possibly one of it’s more intriguing match-ups when the Heavyweight tilt between Dave Herman and Mike Russow was scrapped, the card still offers a number of potential slugfests and back and forth brawls.

The main event features the trilogy fight between Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. The co-main event features Featherweight kingpin and destruction specialist Jose Aldo taking on the newly dieted Kenny Florian. Rounding out the main card is a possible Middleweight number-one contender’s bout between the always trash-talking Chael Sonnen and former US Marine Brian Stann, a rematch featuring Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia and a Lightweight bout between rising contenders in Joe Lauzon and Melvin Guillard.

In my opinion this card is full of excitement from top-to-bottom both in entertainment value (let’s be honest, if a Lightweight bout between Jeremy Stephens and Anthony Pettis is on the undercard, the main card must be stacked!) But it is also full of gambling opportunities. Those of you who have read my previous entries would know that I love a good underdog and there are a number of live underdogs in this one (at least in my opinion) so let’s take a look at some of them. As always all betting lines are the current best available market lines from Best Fight Odds (www.bestfightodds.com)

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Steve Cantwell (-140) vs. Mike Massenzio (+125)

Steve “The Robot” Cantwell is a 24-year-old former Light Heavyweight fighter. He was the last reigning WEC Light Heavyweight Champion, before the promotion folded it’s heavier fighters into the UFC. Cantwell is a Muay Thai fighter who fights out of the One Kick’s Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition to his solid striking he has a black-belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and is perhaps most famous for breaking the arm of UFC newcomer Razak Al-Hassan. Cantwell is making the drop to Middleweight for the first time in his career after a recent skid at 205 pounds. He has a career record of 7-4.

Mike “The Master of Disaster” Massenzio is a 28-year-old fighter from New Jersey. He fights out of the Team Ironhorse MMA Gym in Patterson, New Jersey. Like his opponent his skills lie in his black belt BJJ level skills, backed by decent wrestling and improving Muay Thai skills. He is a former NAGA and Grappler’s Quest Champion. He is returning to the Middleweight division after a failed attempt at 205 pounds. Massenzio has a career record of 12-5.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: This bout sees the former WEC Light Heavyweight champion as a slight favorite. I’m inclined to agree with that, but there is always the chance that Cantwell’s weight-cut goes poorly, or he struggles to make weight. If that’s an issue, he might tire easily and allow Massenzio the chance to get back into the fight. The grappling is likely a wash, with the edge to whoever gets the takedown and Cantwell is likely the better striker, so because of that I’ll pick him. Although, with potential weight cutting problems, I’m not betting on it. Steve Cantwell by Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Aaron Simpson (-325) vs. Eric Schafer (+325)

Aaron “A-Train” Simpson is a 37-year-old fighter from Colorado. He is now a member of the Power MMA team in Phoenix, Arizona. Simpson is a wrestler first who is rapidly improving his boxing skills. Simpson was a former NCAA All-American wrestler for Arizona State University. He uses his strong wrestling base to control the pace of his fights and control his opponents, choosing whether to use stand up, or his ground and pound skills. He is entering the fight on a two-fight winning streak. Simpson’s career MMA record is 10-2, with his only losses coming against upper-tier Middleweights like Mark Munoz and Chris Leben.

Eric “Red” Schafer is a 34-year-old fighter who is making his return to the UFC after a brief absence. Schafer’s main strength is a black belt level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills. Of his 12 career wins, 9 of them have come from Submission. Schafer’s weakness has long been his ineptitude with the striking portion of the game, so he will likely be an underdog in the fight standing. Schafer’s MMA record is 12-5-2.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: Simpson is a huge favorite and it’s not really hard to see why. He possesses better stand up skills and better wrestling, meaning it will be tough for Schafer to get the fight to the ground where he could exploit his grappling advantage. With no ability to get the fight to the ground, Schafer will struggle standing and will take some big punches before finally being overwhelmed late in the second round. If you don’t mind laying big money you could place a small wager on Simpson, but there are other fights I like better, so I’m laying off. Aaron Simpson by 2nd Round TKO

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Zhang Tie Quan (-120) vs. Darren Elkins (+110)

Zhang “The Wolf” Tie Quan is a Chinese fighter who is likely a potential investment for the UFC. The UFC gaining popularity in a country as big as China could be huge business for the company, so some fans have accused the UFC of giving him beneficial match making, but that doesn’t appear to be the case in this close Featherweight bout. Quan is a Sanshou Kickboxer who is also a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He has ten career victories by submission and has finished the fight in all 13 of his career victories, all but one in the first round. The member of Team Quest China and China Top Team holds a record of 13-1.

Darren “The Damage” Elkins is a wrestling based fighter from Hobart, Indiana. He is a member of the Duneland Vale Tudo Gym in Hobart. Elkins holds career victories over a number of notable fighters including Michihiro Omigawa, Duane Ludwig and Pat Curran. Elkins has fairly mediocre stand up and often uses his smothering wrestling to control his opponents on the ground and uses ground and pound to earn rounds on the judge’s scorecards. His professional MMA record if 12-2.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: Elkins is seen by many as a live underdog and money has actually been coming in on him recently, closing the line closer to a Pick’Em contest. However, I think he is being overvalued here. He is a strong wrestler and could possibly blanket his way to a decision, however, his stand up skills aren’t great and his submission defense has been exposed in the past, most notable to Charles Oliveira. Zhang is an excellent grappler and is very crafty on the ground, don’t count out the Chinese grappler getting hold of a limb and forcing a submission. At -120, the line is fairly well set, but Zhang could be good for a bet up to about -130, so I’ll make a small one here. Zhang Tie Quan via Submission in Round Two

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Heavyweight Bout: Joey Beltran (+210) vs. Stipe Miocic (-230)

Joey “The Mexecutioner” Beltran is a Mexican-American fighter from San Diego, California. The 29-year-old fighter is somewhat of a gate-keeper for the Heavyweight division in the UFC and will be welcoming a highly touted prospect to the cage on Saturday night. Beltran is a straight up brawler who is extremely tough. He is somewhat undersized for a Heavyweight, usually weighing in at a soft 240 pounds and standing just over 6′ tall. He is a member of the Alliance MMA gym, where he is continuing to add more levels to his skills, including a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Beltran has a career record of 13-5.

Stipe Miocic is an American fighter of Croatian descent. The 29-year-old is a relative newcomer to the sport of MMA, but is a highly touted prospect who is making his UFC debut. Miocic has a very strong background for MMA, as he was a former NCAA Division 1 wrestler at Cleveland State University. He also won the Golden Gloves Championship as an amateur boxer. He holds an undefeated professional record of 6-0, with all of his wins coming by way of strikes.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: Miocic is a big prospect with a seemingly perfect skill set for MMA. He is a strong wrestler with great technical boxing skills. At 6’4″ and 245 pounds, he is a very large man and will not be overwhelmed by some of the giants that inhabit the UFC’s Heavyweight division. There’s always the chance he chokes because of the “big-stage gitters” but Miocic holds the wrestling and boxing advantage over Beltran. Although Beltran is very durable and tough to finish, there’s no reason to think that the brawler can pull off an upset here. But remember, everyone said the same thing when Beltran faced Rolles Gracie in the latter’s UFC debut. Not interested in laying the huge juice, so I’ll stay away. Stipe Miocic by TKO in Round Three

Preliminary Card (SPIKE TV): Lightweight Bout: Anthony Pettis (-270) vs. Jeremy Stephens (+250)

Anthony “Showtime” Pettis was the final WEC Lightweight champion and rose to instant fame for his now YouTube famous “Showtime Kick” where he scaled the cage to deliver a kick straight to Ben Henderson’s face. He was promised a Lightweight title shot when he entered the UFC, but due to a draw between Edgar and Maynard in their last fight, he chose to fight instead and lost a decision to Clay Guida, in a fight where Guida simply outmuscled and out-wrestled the youngster. Pettis is a 24-year-old fighter from the Roufusport gym in Milwaukee. He has an extensive background in martial arts including a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwan Do and a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Showtime also possesses great stand up skills, with solid Muay Thai fundamentals backed by a great striking coach and loads of creativity. Pettis has a career MMA record of 13-2.

Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens may have one of the worst nicknames in the UFC, but he is no joke. The 25-year-old fighter from Iowa likely has a lifetime employment gig from the UFC due to his fan-friendly fighting style. Fighting as a professional since the age of 16, Stephens is very experienced for his young age and has a strong striking style backed by Muay Thai and Boxing skills. Stephens fights out of the Alliance MMA gym in San Diego, California. Stephens is mostly known for his exciting stand up style and his heavy hands. He holds a career MMA record of 20-6.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: This is actually one of my favorite bets on the card. I think that at +250 Stephens is being significantly undervalued. Pettis (despite being one of my favorite fighters) isn’t likely to try and out-wrestle or grapple with Stephens so throw those advantages out the window. This fight is likely to be a three-round (or shorter) kickboxing contest. Pettis should have the edge here, as he’s quicker and more technically sound, but he’s been hit before and Stephens ends fights when he hits you. Pettis should be the favorite, but not by as much as he is. Getting 2.5-to-1 on Stephens seems like a bit of a trap, but if it is, I’m falling head over heels into it. Jeremy Stephens via TKO in Round Three

Preliminary Card (SPIKE TV): Middleweight Bout: Demian Maia (-260) vs. Jorge Santiago (+255)

Demian Maia is a 33-year-old fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is one of the world’s best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners who currently competes in MMA. He is also a former Judoka in addition to being a 3rd degree black belt in BJJ. Maia has also recently shown an improvement in his boxing skills, likely attributed to his time spent training with Wanderlei Silva at the Wand Fight Team gym. The former Middleweight Number One Contender holds a career MMA record of 14-3 with 8 wins via Submission.

Jorge “Sandman” Santiago is a Brazilian fighter from Rio de Janeiro. He is a former Sengoku Middleweight Champion. Santiago is a somewhat erratic fighter who is known for his talent potential, but often failing to live up to it. Santiago is also a black belt in BJJ, but is nowhere near the level of grappling when compared to his opponent in this fight. However, he is also a strong Muay Thai fighter, who will possess a standing edge against Maia. Santiago is a member of American Top Team based in Coconut Creek, Florida. He holds an MMA record of 23-9.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: Ugh, I can’t believe I’m actually going to say it, but I like Santiago in this fight. I’ve hemmed and hawed about this one for the majority of the week, but I think he holds a significant stand up edge and should have the ability to at least keep himself out of trouble on the ground. He’ll also likely be the stronger wrestler, mainly from being in the cage against more wrestlers during his career, so I think he may be able to keep the fight standing. If Maia tries to test out his improved striking for too long, he may find himself too far behind on the scorecards to catch back up. But then again, Santiago has a way of losing fights he should probably win. A quick check on my sports betting account says a parlay with Santiago and Stephens will pay $45 on a $5 bet, if you’re feeling lucky take a swing. Jorge Santiago via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (PPV): Lightweight Bout: Melvin Guillard (-340) vs. Joe Lauzon (+310)

Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard is a 28-year-old fighter who is finally living up to all of the hype he had as a young man. The former cast-member of the Ultimate Fighter Season 2 is a kickboxer with strong wrestling and a brown belt in Judo. He trains with Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Guillard has a very fan-friendly style incorporating the speed of his stand up attack with his extremely heavy hands. Guillard enters this fight on a five-fight win streak stopping his last two opponents in the first round. Guillard’s career MMA record stands at 29-8-2 with 1 No Contest.

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Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon is a 27-year old from Brockton, Massachusetts. He is a boxer and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter who is more known for his excellent grappling skills than his technical boxing skills. Like his opponent Lauzon was also a cast-member of the Ultimate Fighter, although Lauzon was on the fifth season of the show. Of twenty career victories, Lauzon owns 16 by way of Submission. He holds a career record of 20-6.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: This one seems eerily similar to Guillard’s fight against Evan Dunham. Everyone said that if Dunham could just wrestle the fight to the ground he would likely exploit Guillard’s Achilles heel, his inferior grappling skills. In that fight, Dunham was asleep before he ever dragged Guillard to the ground. This fight is much the same, although Dunham tested his stand up a little more than Lauzon is likely going to. At over 3-to-1 there might be a chance that Lauzon snags a limb and earns a submission but it’s more likely that Guillard obliterates him and steamrolls his way towards a Lightweight title shot. Melvin Guillard via TKO (but for those of you interested, that $5 Parlay with the addition of Lauzon now pays out $190….)

Main Card (PPV): Featherweight Bout: Leonard Garcia (+205) vs. Nam Phan (-210)

Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia is a 32-year-old fighter from Texas. He currently trains with Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting. He is a boxer who is most well-known for his exciting brawling style which is great for fans, but not always for himself. Garcia is also a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, although he rarely shows it off in fights, choosing instead to slug it out on the feet. Garcia continually moves forward, winging huge hooks and looping punches towards his opponents. When they land they can definitely do damage, unfortunately they don’t always hit their marks. Garcia is 15-7 as a professional but has never been stopped by strikes. Garcia actually holds a win over Phan in a fight that took place nearly a year ago, although the decision was hotly-contested and most people feel that Phan won the fight.

Nam Phan is a California based fighter, who is most known to casual fans from his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter: GSP vs. Koscheck. Phan is a very well-rounded fighter with a number of martial arts backgrounds on his resume. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a black belt in Karate and a black belt in Quyen Dao. Phan also has strong Muay Thai skills with great counter punching ability. Despite struggling in his past two outings, he has shown strong footwork and good counter-punching skills, which will be on full display against a fighter like Garcia. The member of the Ma Du Academy in Garden Grove, California holds a career record of 16-9.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: This fight is just a watch for me. It holds a lot of interest to me as a fan, but nearly none as a bettor. The fact that Garcia won the last fight was absolutely nuts to me and I don’t feel like losing money on that again. Garcia will likely again move forward behind looping punches and a brawling style while Phan will use effective footwork, kicks and counter-punching to be more effective. Plus after losing the last one in controversial fashion, Phan might have the judge’s looking for a reason to balance the score. Nam Phan via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (PPV): Middleweight Bout: Chael Sonnen (-260) vs. Brian Stann (+230)

Chael Sonnen is returning to the UFC after a miraculous loss to Anderson Silva in a fight where he gave it away in the final round, followed by a failed drug test and a slew of personal problems. He has not fought since that loss to Silva in August, 2010. The usual trash-talking expert has remained relatively low-key for this fight, although he has been openly campaigning for a rematch against Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. Sonnen is a wrestler with a smothering top game, serviceable boxing skills and horrible submission defense. Sonnen is a member of Team Quest Oregon and the former Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Alternate has a career record of 25-11-1.

Brian “All-American” Stann is a former US Marine turned professional fighter. He is one of the best ambassador’s of the UFC which has likely caused the lack of trash-talk from his opponent in this fight. Stann was a struggling Light Heavyweight in danger of being cut from the UFC, but since a drop to Middleweight he has rolled with three straight victories all by way of stoppage and with a win over Sonnen is likely staring at a shot at the Middleweight title. Stann is a kickboxer with good Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Submission wrestling skills. He is a black belt in MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program) and is also a member of Jackson’s Submission Fighting camp, where he has excelled under the tutelage of coach Greg Jackson. Stann’s MMA record as a pro is 11-3.

Betting Analysis: I’m going to go ahead and warn you that I hate Chael Sonnen. I think his style is boring, but I did predict him to stand a good shot at defeating Anderson Silva in his last fight. However, I do like Stann in this fight for a couple of reasons. One is the number of distractions and time off in Chael Sonnen’s life. The failed drug test, money laundering case, etc… has to be wearing on him mentally, and any time that a fighter takes more than a year off of fighting, you have to worry about ring rust being an issue. Stann has also shown improved submission skills and takedown defense since his switch to Jackson’s. If he can keep the fight on the feet, he will have the chance of putting his hands all over Sonnen who’s stand up is technically sound but is nowhere near elite level. It’s a long-shot, but I think there’s a bit of value on Stann at +230, so I’ll make a small wager on him. Brian Stann via TKO in Round One (by the way, that $5 parlay with the addition of Stann is now up to $619)

Main Card (PPV): Featherweight Championship Bout: Jose Aldo (-320) vs. Kenny Florian (+300)

Jose “Scarface” Aldo is the reigning and defending UFC Featherweight Champion. From Manaus, Brazil Aldo is a Muay Thai Fighter with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that is rarely used. Aldo is one of the fastest fighters in the UFC with great hand and foot speed as well as massive KO power and finishing ability. He is a member of the famed Brazilian camp Nova Unaio. Aldo has a number of highlight reel clips on his YouTube channel including stoppage victories over Mike Brown, Cub Swanson and Manny Gamburyan.

Kenny “Ken-Flo” Florian is a long-time UFC fighter from Westwood, Massachusetts. The 35-year-old fighter is making his third attempt at a UFC title, this time at an even lower weight class than the first two times. Florian is a very intelligent fighter who often has excellent game plans entering his fights, but who is known as a bit of a choke-artist, often coming up short in title fights or other big fights. Florian is most notable for his hosting duties on MMA Live as well as his other analyst jobs for MMA. He is perhaps best known to long-time fans for his stint on the first season of the Ultimate Fighter where he actually fought as a Middleweight. Florian has a career record of 15-5.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: A lot of people are making a big deal about the recently released YouTube video of Jose Aldo struggling to make weight for UFC 129 and his subsequent performance at UFC 129 (the video has recently been changed to private.) However, to play that card one has to look across the cage and see a former Middleweight fighter who is making the cut to 145-pounds for only the second time. All of that aside, this is Aldo’s fight to lose hence the heavy favorite status. He holds the stand up edge, the grappling is likely a wash and Aldo is the younger, more athletic fighter. These guys are both finishers, so this fight could end at any time, but even ignoring Florian’s obvious penchant for choking in big fights, it’s not hard to see why Aldo is such a big favorite. Despite the long odds, I think this line is fairly well set and I’m not interested in laying cash down on either fighter, so I’ll just be watching as a fan for this one. As for a prediction, I’ll take, Jose Aldo via TKO Round Three

Main Event (PPV): Lightweight Championship Bout: Frankie Edgar (-125) vs. Gray Maynard (+120)

Frankie “The Answer” Edgar is the reigning and defending UFC Lightweight Champion. He is a 29-year-old fighter from New Jersey. He is a well-rounded fighter, with a number of backgrounds all folded into his MMA game including Wrestling, Boxing, BJJ and Muay Thai. He was an NCAA Division 1 Wrestler at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Renzo Gracie Combat Team from Toms River, New Jersey. Edgar has only one career loss and it was to Maynard in 2008. In his last fight, he fought to a Split Draw against Maynard, in a fight where he rallied from a severe beating in the first round to outwork his opponent for the rest of the fight. Edgar uses his wrestling to earn well-timed takedowns and control the pace of his bouts. He uses strong footwork and strong technical boxing, backed up by an excellent jab to dart in and out against his opponents and outscore them on the feet.

Gray “The Bully” Maynard is a 32-year-old fighter from Phoenix, Arizona. Maynard is a member of the Xtreme Couture Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. Like his opponent, Maynard was a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler, although Maynard spent his collegiate career at Michigan State University. Maynard’s stand up is somewhat raw and unpolished. He often throws winging, loopy punches, which generate a lot of power, but often leave him susceptible to counters from quicker opponents. Maynard has never been defeated in his MMA career, holding a perfect record of 10-0-1. Maynard relies extensively on his wrestling background in his fights, often searching for takedowns and then unleashing ground and pound on his opponents.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: I picked Maynard to win the last fight, and although I was impressed with Edgar’s comeback, I think Maynard simply punched himself out in that first round and never really recovered. Clearly Edgar can take a punch and stay in the fight, so this fight is almost surely destined for the scorecards. Edgar will try to dart in and out to pepper his jabs at Maynard while constantly retreating and searching for openings to counter his slower opponent. However, I still think that Maynard holds the edge in physical strength and wrestling ability. Those are what he’s going to need to rely on if he wants to win this fight and claim the Lightweight Championship. He’s never shown a problem to be a bit of a blanket, which is likely his best path to victory in this fight. At +120 you’re not getting a lot, but this fight should probably be even, so I’m making a small play on Maynard. Gray Maynard via Unanimous Decision

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Tito Ortiz out of Fight Night, Phil Davis vs. Lil’ Nog set

February 22, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Tito Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is a must win for OrtizUFC president Dana White may have to wait a few months before he makes good on his threats to fire Tito Ortiz. Tito Ortiz has pulled out of his UFC Fight Night fight against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. A cut to Ortiz’s eye has canceled the fight and arguably delayed the inevitable.

Dana White said several weeks ago that if Tito Ortiz did not win his next fight he would be cut. The news was surprising to some but not to most MMA fans who recognize that it has been years since Ortiz has been able to deliver on any of his many promises at victory. While Ortiz hasn’t been knocked out or tapped since returning to the UFC, his high price tag makes it tough for the UFC to continue promoting the guy in high profile matches who has gone 0-2 since returning to the UFC in 2009.

Dana White made the official announcement on his Twitter of Ortiz pulling out of the fight. This seems to be a recurring pattern with Ortiz who pulled out of UFC 115 and a big fight with Chuck Liddell due to injury. White was so upset that he pulled Ortiz in the middle of his coaching gig on The Ultimate Fighter. Tito Ortiz said on his Twitter that the cut needed 22 stitches. Additionally the ex-champion said that he suffered a concussion.

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Maybe if he can’t get through training without suffering injuries it may be time for Tito to seriously consider retirement. Just saying!

Like him or not, a lot of UFC fans were excited to hear that they would get the chance to watch Tito Ortiz’s next fight for free on Spike TV. The contract between the UFC and Spike is coming due which is resulting in the UFC stepping up the star power of the live broadcasts. Ortiz’s last fight on Spike vs. Ken Shamrock shattered records. A “must win” situation for both Ortiz and Lil’ Nog would have been a ratings hit as the event is already close to selling out live.

Phil Davis will step in for the Huntington Beach Bad Boy with a new main event of Phil Davis vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira on Fight Night: Seattle. Davis won’t have the same appeal amongst casual MMA fans that Ortiz has, but this is actually a much better fight. Davis is 8-0 but hasn’t faced anyone with the credentials of Nogueira. Davis’ biggest win would probably be a decision over Brian Stann at UFC 109.

Davis vs. Nogueira offers a battle of two grappling experts. Hardcore MMA fans are getting excited, but this won’t have the same appeal to casual fans that a standup battle between Lil’ Nog and Ortiz would have had. I would assume this is still a “must win” fight for Nogueira so I give him credit for accepting a fight with a more dangerous replacement in Davis. Nog lost a decision to Ryan Bader and looked bad in doing so back at UFC 119. Like Ortiz, he has a lot to prove on Fight Night and it hasn’t gotten any easier.

As a whole, the Fight Night card on paper may be the strongest lineup that UFC has ever put on Spike for a Fight Night. Almost every fight on the broadcast would have been a past Fight Night main-event. The opener featuring Garcia vs. Phan is a highly anticipated rematch and could be the show stealer.

The main UFC Fight Night: Seattle card…
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Phil Davis
Dan Hardy vs. Anthony Johnson
Duane “Bang” Ludwig vs. Amir Sadollah
Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan

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