UFC 154 has come and gone and admittedly things didn’t go exactly as I predicted they might. Such is often the case with MMA though, as it’s one of the toughest sports to predict. But luckily for me there’s another card in only a few short weeks and another chance to right the ship of my predictions. And for the fighters that competed on the main card there’s always looking forward to their next bouts. Let’s take a look at what happened and who they should be battling inside the octagon next.
First a couple of notes about the undercard fighters. A bout between Middleweight fighters Nick Ring and Costa Philippou was scheduled for the main card, but was called off at the last minute due to an illness to Ring and him being deemed unfit to fight by UFC doctors. A rematch between the two is expected to take place at an upcoming card. Additionally a Middleweight bout between Patrick Cote and Alessio Sakara ended in controversy after Sakara was disqualified for illegal shots to the back of the head. A rematch between those two is also expected. Let’s check out what happened on the main card.
Featherweight Bout: Pablo Garza defeated Mark Hominick via Unanimous Decision
Hominick came out from the opening bell aggressively, something that’s cost him in the past before. Hominick isn’t a kill-shot puncher, that’s not his game, he’s a more refined striker than that, apparently in preparation for this bout, no one told him that. Instead of striking from a distance and allowing his more technical skills to earn him the bout, Hominick went chasing after Garza and paid for it several times. The end result left his face a bloodied and swollen mess and allowed him to be outstruck by a fighter with significantly less striking skills than himself.
What’s next for Garza? Beating Hominick isn’t as impressive as it was when Jose Aldo did it, but it’s still a win for someone who was in need of one. Garza’s striking looked a lot better than it has in the past and he still has a well-rounded ground game to go with it. Canadian Featherweight Antonio Carvalho notched a win on the same card and a bout with Garza makes a lot of sense for both fighters.
What’s next for Hominick? There’s a lot of talk about Hominick retiring and that’s probably not a bad idea for him as he hasn’t exactly been impressive in his last couple of fights. Still he’s a talented fighter and he comes to bang, so the UFC will certainly keep him around if he chooses. If he sticks around a fight against Maximo Blanco could be a highly entertaining slugfest to fill out a Fuel TV card.
Lightweight Bout: Rafael dos Anjos defeated Mark Bocek via Unanimous Decision
Rafael dos Anjos continues to impress with his evolution as a fighter. He showed improved cardio and pushed the pace throughout the entire three round affair with Bocek. Although he couldn’t earn a finish dos Anjos’ improved striking left Bocek’s face a battered mess. The Brazilian showed improved takedown defense and managed to keep Bocek from landing any takedowns or really any significant damage of any kind throughout the entire fifteen minutes. He took home a well-earned Unanimous Decision.
What’s next for dos Anjos? A step up in competition certainly. Takanori Gomi looked pretty good in his last win over Mac Danzig but there might actually be a better fight for dos Anjos. Someone who could challenge his improving wrestling skills and should Michael Johnson get by his bout against Myles Jury at UFC 155, I’d love to see a bout between dos Anjos and Johnson.
What’s next for Bocek? Back to the middle of the pack in a very crowded Lightweight division. Evan Dunham is an exciting grappler with decent striking who is always up for a fight. He just lost a close fight to TJ Grant in a Fight of the Night effort and could be a solid test for Bocek on the ground. Book it.
Middleweight Bout: Francis Carmont defeated Tom Lawlor via Split Decision
What happened in this fight? Not a whole hell of a lot. Lawlor imposed his will on Carmont throughout the entire three round affair, pressing the French fighter against the cage and grinding at him with light punches. Although Carmont clearly got the better of the exchanges at a distance, he was taken down several times including multiple times in the second and third rounds. Somehow the judges scored the contest for Carmont, despite him not really controlling the octagon or effectively striking or grappling against Lawlor.
What’s next for Carmont? He got the W here, but that’s about it, and he surely didn’t gain any new fans. His grappling skills still look relatively raw when he’s taken down and he’s fairly inactive against a grinder. Still he’s 4-0 in the UFC, and they’re probably best off to give him a fight against someone who can challenge him. Everybody’s favorite Middleweight ginger just got a No Contest out of a tough fight against Jake Shields and he’s probably a good litmus test for Carmont.
What’s next for Tom Lawlor? He’s entertaining as hell outside the octagon, but his fighting style isn’t always the prettiest. With very mixed results inside the octagon, he could definitely be on his way to a pink slip, but due to the controversial and close Split Decision, my guess is that the UFC gives him one last chance. A bout against Tim Credeur is probably a good stylistic match up.
Welterweight Bout: Johnny Hendricks defeated Martin Kampmann via KO (Punch) in Round One
What happened in this fight? Again… not a whole hell of a lot, but it was way more exciting than the Carmont-Lawlor fight. After a brief feeling out process, Hendricks lunged in with a right hook that Kampmann mostly blocked, but he never saw the left hand coming behind it. Hendricks drilled him right on the button and put Kampmann out cold instantaneously.
What’s next for Hendricks? This was a supposed title eliminator fight, and with an emphatic Knockout of the Night victory like that it’s hard to think that anyone is going to argue with him getting the next shot at GSP’s title. He’s said he doesn’t want to fight until he gets his shot, so his next bout will be against GSP, although when exactly that might occur is anyone’s guess.
What’s next for Kampmann? He’s shown an ability to take a punch and keep going, but not this time. This is a blow to his hopes at getting into title contention, but a big win over another top fighter should get him back into the proverbial mix. A rematch with Carlos Condit makes some sense, especially since their last fight was so close. I’d like to see him take on someone like Erick Silva myself though.
Welterweight Bout: Georges St. Pierre defeated Carlos Condit via Unanimous Decision
It wasn’t as pretty as it has been in the past, and it wasn’t as dominant as the judge’s scorecards made it look. GSP managed to survive a huge scare in the third round after a Condit landed a head kick that rocked the champion and sent him crashing to the mat. GSP managed to score takedowns in every round and controlled the action on the mat from top position. In the first round he opened a huge cut on the side of Condit’s face, which bled out throughout the whole fight. Condit was extremely aggressive from the bottom, attacking St. Pierre with submission attempts, punches and elbows from the bottom. At the end of 25 minutes St. Pierre took home a well-deserved Unanimous Decision but his face was a swollen, busted up mess as a reminder of one of his toughest challenges to date.
What’s next for St. Pierre? If you ask Dana White, Anderson Silva is next. In reality, it really should be Johnny Hendricks. There is a crop of new contenders at 170 and 185-pounds in the UFC and they shouldn’t be putting each division on hold to make this super fight. It would be a massive moneymaker if they do, but St. Pierre seemed disinterested by the prospect of fighting Silva after his bout against Condit and is more likely to take the bout against Hendricks in my opinion.
What’s next for Condit? Condit gave GSP one of his toughest fights to date and was possibly seconds away from stopping the Welterweight champ and scoring a huge upset. He’s still one of the top fighters in the division. Although he’s been closely linked to a potential bout with Nick Diaz I’d really like to see Condit take on Josh Koscheck. Koscheck is a strong wrestler and we can see if Condit has any new tricks up his sleeve to deal with a dominant wrestler and hopefully he can knockout the Welterweight that everyone loves to hate.
The question going into UFC 154 was whether a 19-month layoff would hamper Georges St-Pierre. The UFC welterweight champion answered that with a thrilling victory over Carlos Condit. Now the question is whether GSP will continue to defend the championship or accept the challenge of Anderson Silva.
A rabid Montreal crowd welcomed back George St-Pierre at UFC 154. GSP pushed forward early with strikes. GSP swung for the fences a few times with no luck early. GSP got the first takedown. Georges got into half guard in the final two minutes-plus and dropped a few strikes. Condit tried going for the arm bar with no luck. GSP really pushed the pace here with strikes. Georges dominated the first round with the bell ringing with GSP on top. Condit was cut really bad from an elbow.
St-Pierre nailed Condit with a right hand at around 3:58. Joe Rogan pointed out right about here that Condit was hesitating. GSP continued pushing the fight. Condit caught GSP with a combination of jabs at around 3:10. GSP caught Condit jumping in with a beautifully timed right hand counter. Condit’s nose was busted open at this point. GSP got another takedown at 2:08. GSP dropped an elbow on the cut and opened it back up. GSP was just mauling him on the ground at this point. The right side of Condit’s face was a bloody mess as the round closed. The round finished with both trading on their feet. This was turning into a great fight at this point, arguably the most exciting GSP fight in a long time.
Condit nailed a high kick to GSP to open up the third round which floored GSP. Condit got on top and turned the fight around. GSP absorbed a lot of strikes here. I almost think that Condit was too tired or weak to finish here because he looked like he had GSP in a heap of trouble. GSP got back to his feet and this fight was turning into a classic. GSP connected against the cage and took down Condit. GSP’s right eye swelled up quite a bit from the kick. Condit was striking the eye from the ground.
Condit connected on a kick again early in Round 4 but with no results. Georges got on top again but the action slowed down a bit here. Condit did a great job of connecting from the bottom. Georges escaped a triangle attempt and dropped a few strikes. Condit reversed a takedown and got on top briefly. Condit’s face was a bloody mess. Condit was constantly looking for the kimura throughout the fight but never sealed the deal. Georges’ grappling was dominant throughout the fight to this point.
Georges nailed a combination left hook and right leg kick early in the fifth round. GSP got another takedown at 3:45 but Condit got back up. GSP was looking for the finish. Condit to his credit kept coming but couldn’t connect on the champion. GSP opened up with some jabs and took down Condit at around 2:08. GSP was trying to mount in the final minute or so of the fight but Condit fought him off. GSP got Condit’s back at 1:01. Condit was able to roll out of it. GSP closed out the round dominating Condit on the ground. The fight closed with GSP dropping elbows.
This was a hell of a fight. I’d say other than the high kick this was a dominate performance by the champion. Condit kept coming making this one a lot more dramatic than anyone expected. GSP now goes to 23-2 overall and 17-2 in the UFC.
Most presume that UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva would be up next for Georges St-Pierre in a catch weight fight. GSP was asked about it by Rogan and said he needed to take a long vacation and think about it. Silva has talked about doing the fight at 177 or 178. UFC president Dana White said earlier this week that he’d like to sign the fight for May. I still have my doubts about whether this fight comes off or not. GSP has virtually shown no interest in the fight and looks annoyed when asked about it. If I had to bet I’d say that this fight does not come off, but the momentum certainly seems to be going in that direction.
I am real sick of the Silva vs. GSP talk and have very little interest in that fight. GSP has repeatedly said he doesn’t want to move up, so why make him? The real superfight that the UFC should be making is between Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones. I really don’t understand why the UFC is putting the pressure on him and not Silva and Jones. The welterweight division is stacked and there is no reason for GSP to take any fights out of it right now. There are plenty of credible challengers ready for GSP yet I think it is one in particular that intrigues everyone most of all.
My bet is that Nick Diaz will actually wind up as GSP’s next victim. Dana White has gone from saying that Diaz had to get a win when he comes back before getting another title shot to just recently saying he wasn’t sure. While the UFC did a tremendous gate for UFC 154, it was not the fast sellout that you’d expect with GSP’s return. Once I started reading about slower than expected ticket sales I immediately concluded that Diaz vs. GSP was going to happen. As great of a fighter as Condit is, he isn’t a draw. Diaz is and Diaz vs. GSP is a blockbuster fight. Whether Diaz deserves a title shot or not is irrelevant anymore in the UFC. Once Chael Sonnen got a title shot with no wins in the division off of a loss I think championships lost credibility.
I also think there is a big part of St-Pierre that wants to fight Diaz. It is easy to say Diaz needs a win to get to GSP but there is way too much at stake for that to happen. Let’s face it. The UFC has already tried to put this fight together twice and haven’t been able to pull it off. I think GSP demands this fight behind the scenes and the UFC caves. The only thing that prohibits this fight from happening in May or June is Diaz having issues getting licensed by the commission.
Johny Hendricks has to be in the hunt for a title shot after his fast KO win over Martin Kampmann tonight. The win was one of the most impressive I have ever seen in the UFC. He has a lot of hype right now coming out of UFC 154. Nick Diaz may be bigger on paper but you put a tape together of Hendricks KO’ing a bunch of fighters and I think you could have something there with Hendricks vs. GSP. While I’d rather see Diaz as a fan get the shot, Hendricks certainly deserves it.
Another interesting scenario would be a Hendricks vs. Diaz fight. That would be one hell of an intriguing fight given Hendricks’ KO ability and Diaz’s propensity for throwing a lot of standing strikes. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if that is the way things go if St-Pierre does wind up taking the Silva fight.
Lee McGregor will have a full rundown of UFC 154 right here on the Camel Clutch Blog later in the week with analysis and reaction to all of the big fights. Check back next week for the blog.
Full UFC 154 results and winners…
Georges St-Pierre defeated Carlos Condit via unanimous decision
ohny Hendricks defeated Martin Kampmann via first-round KO
Francis Carmont defeated Tom Lawlor via split decision
Pablo Garza defeated Mark Hominick via unanimous decision
Mark Bocek vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Patrick Cote defeated Alessio Sakara via disqualification
Cyrille Diabate defeated Chad Griggs via submission
Antonio Carvalho defeated Rodrigo Damm via split decision
John Makdessi defeated Sam Stout via unanimous decision
Matthew Riddle defeated John Maguire via unanimous decision
Ivan Menjivar defeated Azamat Gashimov via submission (armbar)
Darren Elkins defeated Steven Siler via unanimous decision
The UFC makes it’s long awaited return to La Belle Province this weekend as it also makes its return to the airwaves of Pay Per View. Live from the Bell Center in Montreal, Quebec, Canada the UFC brings UFC 154 live this Saturday night. Featuring the return of UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre defending his title against Interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit, this card should bring tons of excitement. And with the potential of Anderson Silva being in the building, possibly or possibly not to call out St. Pierre after the bout, this Saturday should hold a lot of intrigue for a number of fight fans.
As usual the UFC has loaded a lot of the preliminary card with local Canadian grown talent and although this card has been criticized for lacking big name value outside of the main event there are a number of bouts that should offer sufficient fireworks for fight fans. In the co-main event of the evening Martin Kampmann will take on Johny Hendricks in a bout that could easily determine the next contender for the UFC Welterweight title. In other main card action Canadian Featherweight fighter Mark Hominick tries to get back on track against Pablo Garza. In Middleweight action Nick Ring takes on Costa Philippou in a bout that could turn into a slugfest quickly. The other main card bout features GSP’s training partner Francis Carmont taking on the always-entertaining Tom Lawlor.
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Steven Siler vs. Darren Elkins
Steven “The Miller Killer” Siler is an American fighter from Anaheim, California. He was a cast member on the final season of The Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV as a member of Team Mayhem Miller. Siler is a member of the Pit Elevated Fight Team, training out of Orem, Utah. At 5’11” with a 70-inch reach Siler is one of the taller fighters in the Featherweight division and he has improved at fighting well at a range, using his height to pepper his opponents from the outside. On the ground he is a talented grappler with strong submissions. Siler holds a career record of 21-9, but has won 16 of his last 18, finishing 15 of those 16 opponents.
Darren Elkins is a talented wrestler from Hobart, Indiana. The 28-year-old is a former state champion wrestler from Portage High School in Indiana. Elkins is a very tough and durable fighter as he proved in his bout against Diego Brandao where he took a hell of a beating in the first round, but stormed back using a wrestling heavy attack to control an exhausted Brandao over the final two rounds. Elkins also holds a notable victory over Bellator Champion Pat Curran. Elkins trains at the Duneland Vale Tudo Gym in Hobart, Indiana. He holds a career record of 14-2, but is a perfect 3-0 inside the UFC since dropping to Featherweight.
Analysis and Prediction: Siler is tall for the division, somewhat lanky and very aggressive on the ground. He’s highly underrated as a grappler and is dangerous in both the striking realm and off of his back. Elkins is a talented wrestler who is durable and tough as he showcased in his bout against Diego Brandao. But still he’s fairly one-dimensional and probably would have lost if Brandao didn’t gas as badly as he did. Siler just fought a talented wrestler in Joey Gambino and Gambino had nothing for him, Elkins is a better fighter, but his style doesn’t match up well against Siler. Steven Siler via Submission in Round One
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Ivan Menjivar vs. Azamat Gashimov
Ivan “The Pride of El Salvador” Menjivar is a Canadian fighter who was born in El Salvador. The 30-year-old is a veteran of MMA, making his professional debut in January of 2001. Menjivar is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who now trains at the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec. Menjivar is a tough fighter who has not been stopped since an early career bout in 2002. Menjivar is a well-rounded fighter and will be fighting on his home court, he may be tough to beat. Menjivar holds a career record of 24-9.
Azamat “Tough Guy” Gashimov is a Russian fighter from Makhachkala, Russia. Gashimov has recently moved stateside and is training out of Greg Jackson’s Camp in New Mexico, but has also spent time at the American Kickboxing Academy in Fairfield, New Jersey. Gashimov will be making his UFC debut and it will also be his first bout outside of Russia or the Ukraine. Gashimov has a pro record of 7-1, but it has been against less than stellar competition.
Analysis and Prediction: Basically, Gashimov breaks all of my rules for predicting fighters to win. He’s a sizeable underdog, he’s making his UFC debut, it’s his first fight in North America and he’s basically fought nobody of note. He’s got a background in Combat Sambo, which has proven to be an excellent starting ground for MMA, but he’s overmatched here in almost any way I can think of. Depending on how tough he is, he might make round three, but I can’t imagine he wins. Ivan Menjivar via TKO in Round Three
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Matthew Riddle vs. John Maguire
Matthew “Deep Waters” Riddle is an American fighter from Allentown, Pennsylvania. The 26-year-old is a wrestler who made his debut on the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. He holds the rare feat of having all of his professional bouts inside the UFC’s octagon. Although he is a talented wrestler with good top control, Riddle sometimes favors the striking game where he is oftentimes at a disadvantage. Riddle is a member of the Throwdown Training Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. He holds a career record of 6-1 with 1 No Contest.
John “The One” Maguire is an English fighter from Peterborough, England. The 29-year-old is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Maguire is a submission specialist who has won 10 of his 18 career bouts via submission. At 5’9” Maguire will be at a somewhat significant size disadvantage come fight night. Maguire is a member of the Tsunami Gym in Cambridge, England. Maguire has fought for a number of major European MMA promotions including Ultimate Challenge MMA, Cage Rage and BAMMA. He holds a career record of 18-4.
Prediction and Analysis: Maguire is a talented grappler, but he was most recently dispatched by John Hathaway. Riddle is a more talented wrestler than Hathaway and is massive for a Welterweight fighter. He’s been prone to stupidity and getting into brawls in the past, but against Maguire he actually might be the better striker and I don’t think Maguire can submit him from the bottom. Riddle takes a decision. Matt Riddle via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Antonio Carvalho vs. Rodrigo Damm
Antonio “Pato” Carvalho is a Canadian fighter from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The 33-year-old has been competing in MMA since 2002 and has competed for a number of promotions like Shooto, TKO, MFC and Warrior-1 MMA. Carvalho has been training in martial arts for a number of years and holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a black belt in Shotokan Karate and a green belt in Judo. He is a member of the Brazilian Top Team Canada and Abe Ani Combat Club training out of Oshawa, Ontario. He holds a career record of 14-5.
Rodrigo Damm is a 32-year-old Brazilian fighter from Vila Velha, Brazil. He has fought for a number of major MMA promotions throughout his career including World Victory Road, Jungle Fight, BODOG Fight, Shooto and Strikeforce. He made his UFC debut by appearing on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Like many Brazilian fighters he holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and does his best work in the grappling department. He is a member of the Alliance Jiu Jitsu team training out of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He holds a career record of 10-5.
Prediction and Analysis: Damm has been around the block when it comes to big fight experience, but Carvalho is no slouch either. Damm is a talented grappler and a decent striker, but he’s not physically imposing and he’s not really an excellent wrestler. Carvalho isn’t a great grappler, but his striking is lights out and he is able to counter really effectively. If Damm can keep spamming takedowns than Carvalho might not be able to stay off of his back. But the more likely scenario is that he eats a couple of punches coming in and gets rocked. Antonio Carvalho via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Sam Stout vs. John Makdessi
Sam “Hands of Stone” Stout is a Canadian fighter from London, Ontario, Canada. The 28-year-old is a former student of the late Shawn Tompkins, training out of the Team Tompkins Gym in his hometown of London, Ontario. Stout is a talented striker who is a former professional kick boxer, he is also known for having a very strong chin, as he has never been knocked out in his MMA career. In his last fight he showed off a new wrinkle in his game by using takedowns and top control to outwork Spencer Fisher. Stout holds a career record of 18-7-1.
John “The Bull” Makdessi is a 27-year-old Canadian fighter from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is a kickboxing and karate based fighter who does his best work in the striking realm. Makdessi is a member of the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec but also trains at his own facility at the Team Bull Gym in Laval, Quebec. Makdessi owns a black belt in Shotokan Karate and has a background in Tae Kwan Do as well. Despite being a talented striker he has struggled in the past by being far too passive, looking to counter instead of pressuring his opponents. He holds a career record of 9-2.
Prediction and Analysis: Makdessi has had two major weaknesses in his career so far; tentativeness and his ground game. Stout despite his nickname might not have the most power in his punches, but he’s a solid kick boxer who can put combinations together well and pressure opponents. He’s also shown an ability to use his wrestling effectively, as he did in his bout against Spencer Fisher. If Stout comes in with a smart game plan, there’s no reason he doesn’t take a decision victory. Sam Stout via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Mark Bocek vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Mark Bocek is a Canadian fighter from Toronto, Ontario. Bocek is a talented grappler who is known as one of the top grapplers from Canada. Bocek is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and also holds a black belt in Kempo Bocek is an enormous talent on the mat, but his striking skills are not as far along as his ground skills and he has struggled in the past against strikers who are able to fend off his takedowns. Bocek is a Jiu Jitsu coach at the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec. He holds a career record of 11-4.
Rafael dos Anjos is a Brazilian fighter from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Dos Anjos is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, who has also made great strides in improving his striking skills. He has improved Muay Thai skills and possesses big power in his hands. In his last bout he showcased his improved striking skills as he outworked talented kick boxer Anthony Njokuani for a Unanimous Decision victory. Dos Anjos is a member of the Evolve MMA Gym in Brazil and Singapore. He holds a career record of 17-6.
Prediction and Analysis: Bocek is a talented grappler, but his offensive wrestling skills aren’t the greatest. He gets takedowns more so through technique than raw strength. His striking skills are also a little bit below par. Dos Anjos has been improving his wrestling skills as of late and is far and above a better striker than Bocek. I think dos Anjos should be able to keep the bout standing long enough to land a big shot and ruin Bock’s night. Rafael dos Anjos via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (FX): Light Heavyweight Bout: Cyrille Diabate vs. Chad Griggs
Cyrille “The Snake” Diabate is a French fighter from La Celle-Saint-Cloud, France. He is a former professional kick boxer who compiled a professional kickboxing record of 41-8-2. At 6’6” he is one of the biggest Light Heavyweights in the UFC. The 39-year-old has been competing in combat sports for almost half his life. With an 81.5-inch reach he is one the lankiest strikers in the UFC and is excellent at using his range well. He trains with his own striking team, The Snake Team, as well as spending time at the Team Quest Gym in California. Diabate holds a career record of 18-8-1.
Chad “The Gravedigger” Griggs is an American fighter from Tucson, Arizona. Griggs is best known for his Strikeforce career where he upset former WWE superstar Bobby Lashley and highly hyped prospect Gian Villante at Heavyweight. He’s also well known for his excellent muttonchops sideburns. Griggs is a decent grinder who does his best work at close distance. He’s also extremely durable as he showcased in the bout against Lashley. Griggs in addition to being a fighter works as a fulltime fire fighter and paramedic in his hometown of Tucson. He holds a career record of 11-2.
Prediction and Analysis: I feel like I’m picking a bit against the pack here, but I like Griggs in this fight. Diabate is a talented striker who is tall and uses his range well. However, he’s pretty poor on the ground and although Griggs isn’t the most talented grappler, he’s a grinder who can make the fight ugly. He’s going to have to get inside quickly and use a couple of takedowns to win some points against the Frenchman. If he can get inside and get the bout to the ground consistently, I think he can score a decision win. Chad Griggs via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Middleweight Bout: Patrick Cote vs. Alessio Sakara
Patrick “The Predator” Cote is a Canadian fighter from Rimouski, Quebec. He is a former TKO Middleweight champion. Cote spent time in the Canadian armed forces, where he learned to box. He then learned kickboxing and wrestling in addition to compliment his martial arts background. Cote is a member of the Tristar Gym in Montreal but also trains with BTT Canada and trains his Muay Thai at Sityodong Boston. Cote is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu although he rarely uses his grappling skills and prefers to stand and trade on the feet. Cote holds a professional MMA record of 17-8 with 8 wins coming by way of knockout.
Alessio “Legionarius” Sakara is an Italian fighter from Rome, Italy. The 31-year-old is a former professional boxer, who compiled an 8-1 record in that sport. He is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu formerly training under Ricardo Almeida, but like Cote prefers to settle bouts with his fists. Sakara is an excellent striker, he puts combinations together well and can mix it up when he needs to. His biggest problem as of late has been his chin, as he’s been finished a number of times in his career and has been rocked in nearly every bout since 2009. He now trains with the American Top Team in Florida. Sakara holds a professional MMA record of 15-9 with 1 No Contest.
Analysis and Prediction: Sakara is a talented striker but he’s been betrayed by his chin more often than not. Cote is definitely not going very far during his current UFC tenure but he likely has the power to touch Sakara’s chin and put it to the test. Cote was soundly outworked in his last bout against Cung Le and Sakara can probably employ a similar game plan. The question is always whether or not he can do it without getting knocked out in the process. Really, I think Cote probably wins this one, and it might even be his last win in the UFC. Patrick Cote via KO in Round One
Main Card (Pay Per View): Featherweight Bout: Mark Hominick vs. Pablo Garza
Mark “The Machine” Hominick is a Canadian fighter from Thamesford, Ontario. The 30-year-old is a training partner of Sam Stout and is a former pupil of the late Shawn Tompkins. He is a member of the Adrenaline Training Center/Team Tompkins Gym in London, Ontario. Hominick was a former UFC Featherweight title contender, but has fallen on hard times and has lost three straight bouts, he very well could be fighting for his job on Saturday night. Hominick is a talented kick boxer who puts his combinations together well, unfortunately in his last couple of bouts, we haven’t seen much of that. Hominick holds a career record of 20-11.
Pablo “The Scarecrow” Garza is an American fighter from Fargo, North Dakota. The 29-year-old is a former cast member of the twelfth season of The Ultimate Fighter, though he failed to gain entry into the house after losing his elimination bout against Michael Johnson. Garza is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is a decent grappler, but has been controlled by strong wrestlers in the past. Though his Muay Thai striking skills are continuing to improve, he still does his best work on the mat where he has secured 7 Submission victories in the past. Garza trains out of the Academy of Combat Arts in Fargo as well as The Academy in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. He holds a career record of 11-3.
Prediction and Analysis: It’s been a pretty long fall for Hominick since he fought for the UFC Featherweight title and this basically seems like a fight designed to get him back on track. Although his bouts against Eddie Yagin and Chan Sung Jung were supposed to do the same thing, Garza doesn’t have the wrestling to take him down and his striking is definitely a few steps below that of Hominick. Unless Hominick gets reckless and goes to the ground with Garza for some reason, he should be able to out strike him on the feet en-route to a decision. Mark Hominick via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Nick Ring vs. Costa Philippou
Nick “The Promise” Ring is a Canadian fighter from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Ring is a 33-year-old who is best known for his being a cast member of the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. After a strong start on the show, he was eventually forced to withdraw due to a knee injury. He trains at the BDB Martial Arts Gym in Calgary as well as the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec. Ring is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a decent Muay Thai striker whose best skill is arguably his ability to earn close decisions from judges, even though he may not always be the clear victor. He has had success in the octagon however, and sports a 13-1 professional record.
Constantinos “Costa” Philippou is a Greek Cypriot fighter who now lives in New York, New York. The 32-year-old is a member of the Serra-Longo fight team in New York, training under former Welterweight Champion Matt Serra. Philippou is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but his real strength lies in his boxing skills. Like his opponent for this bout, he was a cast member on the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter, however Philippou never made it into the house as he lost his elimination bout. Philippou is a talented striker, with big power in his hands, but at times he’s too focused on pure boxing instead of mixing it up with a variety of kicks and takedown attempts. Still he’s found recent success and is on a three-bout winning streak, he holds a career record of 11-2.
Prediction and Analysis: Ring is a grinder and he’s the kind of fighter who could easily give Philippou fits, but the man from New York has been on a tear as of late. Ring also has a strange way of mesmerizing judges into giving him decisions that he doesn’t necessarily deserve. Ring will need to keep his feet moving and stay outside the range of Philippou’s strong strikes. I don’t really think he can run for three rounds without getting tagged somewhere along the way. I like Ring, but this might be a tough match up for him. Costa Philippou via TKO in Round Three
Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Francis Carmont vs. Tom Lawlor
Francis “Limitless” Carmont is a French fighter from Saint-Tropez, France. Recently he began spending part of his training at the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. At that gym he has become a training partner of Georges St. Pierre and has become somewhat of a prodigy of the Welterweight champion. He is currently riding an eight-fight winning streak and is 3-0 in the UFC so far. Carmont is a tall athletic fighter who is able to throw knees and kicks both at a distance and in the clinch. Carmont has proven to be a tough match up for anyone in the UFC both on the mat and in the striking realm, but he’s made a few mistakes along the way, but no one has found the ability to make him truly pay for it yet. Carmont holds a career record of 19-7.
“Filthy” Tom Lawlor is an American fighter from Fall River, Massachusetts. The 29 year old was a cast member on eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter. A talented and tough grinder who wrestled for the University of Central Florida before becoming a professional fighter. Lawlor is a member of Team Aggression fighting out of Lauzon MMA in Providence, Rhode Island. Lawlor is best known for his brash personality and highly entertaining ring entrances. He holds a career record of 8-4 with 1 No Contest.
Prediction and Analysis: Carmont is a true talent and he has proven to be a possible Middleweight up-and-comer and Lawlor should prove to be a good litmus test to see where his skills stand. Lawlor is a tough grinder who can use top control and takedowns to control Carmont on the mat. Carmont has the striking and the aggressive submission game that could carry him to victory, but he’s been prone to a few mental lapses in the past. If Carmont is smart and avoids taking any unnecessary risks, he should be able to stop Lawlor. Francis Carmont via TKO in Round Two
Main Card (Pay Per View): Welterweight Bout: Martin Kampmann vs. Johny Hendricks
Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann is a Danish fighter from Aarhus, Denmark. Kampmann is a member of the Xtreme Couture Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a talented kick boxer who also holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and can be dangerous wherever the fight goes. Despite being overwhelmed and on the verge of defeat in his last two bouts, Kampmann somehow found a way to storm back and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. His durability and ability to pull out those hail-mary victories are one of the Dane’s strongest traits. Kampmann has a career record of 20-5, although his most recent two losses to Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez via Decision were highly controversial.
Johnny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks is an American fighter from Ada, Oklahoma. The 29-year-old is a former NCAA All-American wrestler from Oklahoma State University. During his high school wrestling career he also won three Oklahoma State titles. Hendricks is a member of Team Takedown training out of Dallas, Texas. He has been rapidly improving his striking skills and recent victories over Josh Koscheck (decision) and Jon Fitch (knockout) have showcased that improved striking. Still Hendricks is at heart a wrestler and does his best work when he uses takedowns and top control to control his opponents. He holds a career record of 13-1.
Analysis and Prediction: A lot of people are very high on Johny Hendricks, but I’m not completely sold. His bouts against Mike Pierce and Josh Koscheck were extremely close split decisions, and I actually think Koscheck won their bout. His KO against Fitch doesn’t say a whole lot, since it ended before it even really got started. But these two are former training partners and should be slightly familiar with one another since it was Hendricks who is at least partially responsible for helping the Dane to improve his wrestling skills. Hendricks has fallen in love with his hands a bit too much lately and though he might have the power to stop Kampmann if he hits a big shot, I think he’ll be at a disadvantage in the stand up. If he’s not willing to change game plans in mid-fight, this might be another upset in the making. Martin Kampmann via Split Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Welterweight Championship Bout: Georges St. Pierre vs. Carlos Condit
Georges “Rush” St. Pierre is a Canadian fighter from Saint-Isidore, Quebec. GSP is the reigning and defending UFC Welterweight Champion. St. Pierre has a longtime background in martial arts beginning to learn karate at the age of seven. He holds a 3rd dan black belt in Kyokushin karate, a 1st degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a black belt in Gaidojutsu and a black belt in Shidokan. St. Pierre is also a talented wrestler with an explosive double leg takedown. St. Pierre is an excellent boxer, who used to rely heavily on a Muay Thai style, but has more recently switched to more of a straight boxing approach to striking, ever since training heavily with famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach. St. Pierre will be making his first appearance inside the octagon since April 2011 as a torn ACL has kept him on the sidelines for the past year. He holds a career record of 22-2.
Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit is an American fighter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Condit is a former WEC Welterweight Champion and is currently the UFC Interim Welterweight Champion. A Muay Thai kick boxer with a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Condit is a dangerous grappler and has a strong striking arsenal. In his last bout against Nick Diaz, Condit completely outworked Diaz using a boxing game plan with strong footwork to take a unanimous decision. Condit is a member of Greg Jackson’s MMA in his hometown, training under the tutelage of head coach Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn. Condit holds a career record of 28-5, including 26 victories via stoppage.
Prediction and Analysis: It’s hard to make a lot of assumptions about this fight. St. Pierre hasn’t fought in over a year, but the layoff has been nearly as long for Condit who hasn’t fought since defeating Nick Diaz. In that bout Condit used an excellent game plan and strong footwork and boxing to outwork Diaz all the way to a decision victory. However, he has struggled against controlling wrestlers who are able to take him down and control him on the mat, nullifying his aggressive submission game.
Before the injury, GSP was a top three pound for pound fighter. It’s hard to say what version of St. Pierre is going to be in the cage on Saturday night. He’s a talented kick boxer with great takedowns, but he relies a lot on timing and the explosiveness behind his shots. To compare his injury to other sports, many star Running Backs in the NFL are never the same again after surgeries like the one GSP just underwent. If that surgery has slowed his speed or agility, he might not be the same fighter that was once feared and respected in the Welterweight division.
As former training partners, these two are likely going to be very familiar with one another. However, coach Greg Jackson removed himself completely from the bout, so it will be interesting to see what assistant coaches like Firas Zahibi and Mike Winkeljohn will have come up with for each of their fighters. GSP is likely going to be trying to take a similar approach to the one he used to use before he was injured. Working his striking behind a solid jab, he’s going to want to close the distance and shoot for takedowns early and often. Condit is an aggressive grappler with a very active guard, so it won’t be enough to just lay in Condit’s guard, he’ll need to be active and careful to avoid getting caught with anything on the mat.
Condit has proven himself to be an excellent striker with great counter punching skills. His ability to punch to the body may also become an integral part of his game plan. He showed a lot of body punches in his bout against Diaz, in addition to his strong footwork. If you remember when Matt Serra shocked the world against GSP, he used a couple of big body punches to make GSP lower his hands before going for the kill shot. It’s unlikely that Condit can outwork GSP for a decision, so if he wants to win he’s got to finish him.
It’s not really a secret that I dislike GSP, and I’m not a big fan of his wrestling based style. His lack of finishing ability has earned him some flack from fans in the past, but he’s promised that he’ll be searching for the finish in this bout. If that’s true, he might leave himself more open to counter punches. Also, if his knee injury has impacted his ability at all, then it’s going to make an upset even more likely. Carlos Condit via KO in Round Three
Full UFC fight card…
Georges St-Pierre vs Carlos Condit
Martin Kampmann vs Johny Hendricks
Francis Carmont vs Tom Lawlor
Nick Ring vs Constantinos Philippou
Mark Hominick vs Pablo Garza
Patrick Cote vs Alessio Sakara
Cyrille Diabate vs Chad Griggs
Mark Bocek vs Rafael Dos Anjos
Sam Stout vs John Makdessi
Antonio Carvalho vs Rodrigo Damm
Matthew Riddle vs John Maguire
Ivan Menjivar vs Azamat Gashimov
Steven Siler vs Darren Elkins
We aren’t even into summer yet and the UFC is moving ahead with some big fall plans. According to several reports, two big championship fights are heading your way and the UFC has tentative dates for both headline fights.
The first big and I do mean big fight will head to Toronto, Canada on September 22. The UFC have targeted UFC 152 to hold the highly anticipated Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez UFC heavyweight championship rematch. The fight will be supported underneath in the co-main event with BJ Penn returning to the octagon to fight Canadian Rory MacDonald.
The second big championship fight will touch down on November 3 at UFC 154 also in Canada, specifically Montreal. Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will return after a lengthy hiatus to defend (or challenge) his belt against UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit. The date is tentative as GSP is still recovering from a torn ACL. Johny Hendricks vs. Martin Kampmann will support in the semi-main event.
These are two huge fights and the UFC will close the year out with big numbers thanks to these two headline fights. In my opinion the Dos Santos vs. Velasquez rematch will be the biggest fight of the year and could rival UFC 100 for the top buy rate spot. 5.7 million people tuned in to Fox to watch their first fight. Over 500,000 people paid to watch their last fights on the UFC 146 event recently. There are a lot of people who know who these fighters are, have watched both knock out opponents, and appreciate the rivalry. I don’t think there is any other fight on the books right now that can rival this series.
The tipping point in my mind is Cain Velasquez’s brutal TKO victory over Big Foot Silva at UFC 146. Fight fans love a great heavyweight fight, especially when it comes to two sluggers. Fans expect to see a knock out here and if they expect heavy hands, they will buy the fight. This one has the makings of an all-time classic when it comes to hype and I think Velasquez just sold himself to any doubters that think Dos Santos would run through him again.
The GSP fight is a tricky one to predict. Georges is still one of the most recognizable and popular fighters in the UFC. He still draws on his name alone and people are curious to see how GSP reacts coming off of a big injury. Unfortunately for the UFC, this is not the fight the fans want to see. The fans want to see Diaz vs. GSP and that could be a problem here. I am intrigued by seeing Condit vs. GSP but the timing is just off when it comes to business.
Add Dan Henderson vs. Jon Jones to the September docket and you have a jam packed fall schedule for the UFC. With Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen fighting in early July, there is a great chance that the winner would also be ready to fight before the year is up. While things can always change due to injuries, fight fans have a lot to get excited about come this fall courtesy of the UFC.
UFC fighter Jon Fitch told MMACanada.net this week that he is angry at himself, the UFC, Nick Diaz, and just irritated in general. The irony here is that if Fitch fought with this same kind of aggression in the UFC, he probably would be a much more likeable fighter.
Jon Fitch is one of the most polarizing fighters in MMA. There is no denying his skills and the fact that he is one of the best fighters in the sport, arguably the second best overall in his division. Yet Fitch is undefeated in his last six fights and continues to be overlooked in championship fights. Needless to say, Fitch is angry and appears to be done playing Mr. Nice Guy.
For those of you that don’t know Fitch’s story, Fitch fought BJ Penn to a draw in his last fight at UFC 127. Fitch dominated the final round and most felt (not me for the record) that Fitch was robbed of a win. The winner was to determine the number one contender for the UFC welterweight championship. A hand injury canceled their rematch at UFC 132, delaying their fight until October. After agreeing on an October date with Penn, the UFC and Penn have moved on and scheduled Penn to fight Carlos Condit in October, leaving Jon Fitch on the outside looking in once again. Yeah, I may be a little angry myself.
According to Fitch in the interview, he was under the impression that everything was ready to go for a rematch. Fitch noted that he and Penn even agreed to stir it up on Twitter to sustain interest in their rematch. Fitch was surprised and “irritated” when he heard that Penn would instead be fighting Condit on October 29, saying he would have been ready for October or November. He does admit that he hasn’t been able to get medical clearance for the date, which is why the UFC refused to book the fight.
I never particularly liked Fitch as a fighter, but I like the guy I see in this interview. I think Fitch should do more interviews like this and show UFC fans how angry he is. Fitch mentioned in the interview that he was told in the past that he would be getting a title shot, only to have plans change without reason. There is certainly a story here that even his biggest critics can sink their teeth into.
One thing that won’t help Fitch is his continued stance on fighting teammates. It is one thing to say it behind closed doors, but he continues to anger critics when he just outright refuses to fight Josh Koscheck. This is obviously a reason that the UFC is afraid to book him in a championship fight. Fitch says he would rather murder someone than fight his teammate. Now he just sounds downright stupid.
The UFC and Jon Fitch have had a very tenuous relationship over the last few years. UFC president Dana White actually cut Fitch in 2008 because Fitch refused to sign his name and likeness over to the UFC. Of course this all got resolved, but White has been “irritated” at Fitch’s refusal to fight Koscheck. Fitch told White at a press conference that the only way that the fight would happen would be in a gym, to which White responded “That fight would make a lot of money.”
Which made it kind of odd to hear Fitch tell the interviewer he was offended when Nick Diaz insulted the UFC because he is a “UFC guy.” I don’t know if that loyalty has ever been reciprocated by the organization.
Fitch is also not shy about his “love” for Nick Diaz. To put it mildly, he can’t stand him. The interviewer asks him about a potential fight in which Fitch responds, “we’ll fight.” He also says that he doesn’t think Nick Diaz is a complete fighter because of his lack of takedown defense. Well, he is a lot more colorful when he breaks down his analysis of Diaz.
With Penn, Condit, Diaz, and GSP all booked up, he thinks that Martin Kampmann is his next likely opponent. That could be a real fun fight but until he gets doctor’s clearance, he can only sit back and wait.
Jon Fitch is upset and he is letting people know. I don’t know if he ever gets back to Georges St-Pierre, but GSP made some really interesting comments about Fitch. Even though GSP dominated Fitch in their first fight, he called Fitch his toughest opponent. He said Fitch was “unkillable.”
Words like that and interviews like this could turn a boring rematch on paper into a must-see fight in 2012.
This is certainly one of the more interesting fights on remaining 2011 UFC calendar. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a must-win fight for either guy. I think that term is thrown out way too often and is just more drama than reality in most cases. But for Diego Sanchez, he will be doing a lot of soul searching if he can’t put away the aging Hughes.
About the only thing that these two warriors have in common other than weight is the fact that they were both recently dominated by former UFC champion BJ Penn (both also have finished Joe Riggs but those fights were years ago). Penn rocked Hughes in 0:21 of their fight while Penn took Sanchez deep into the fifth round before the doctor stopped the fight due to a nasty cut. Other than being owned by Penn there aren’t a whole lot of similarities between them.
I think that Matt Hughes has nothing to lose at this point in his career. Hughes put together a three-fight winning streak from 2009-10 after being demolished in back to back fights by Georges St-Pierre and Thiago Alves. I don’t think anyone expected him to beat GSP but the Alves loss was a fight that I still have a big problem with. Alves missed the weight cut yet Hughes took the fight anyway. Alves looked like he had 20-30 pounds on Hughes so I have a real hard time taking much away from that fight other than Hughes made a bad decision taking it.
Just as I don’t take much out of his loss to Alves, I don’t take anything out of the Renzo Gracie win he had back at UFC 112. I have always found Matt Serra to be highly overrated (and annoying) and Hughes was a big favorite, but it was a nice win nonetheless. On the flip side, his win over Ricardo Almeida took everyone by surprise. Hughes was an underdog going in and the win revitalized what looked like an embarrassing end to a storied career. Unfortunately reality set in when he fought Penn.
Sanchez is another guy I have always liked. How can you not after those wars with Clay Guida and Martin Kampmann? Sanchez is currently riding a two-fight winning streak, something he hasn’t been able to do in a long time. With back to back wins over Kampmann and Hughes, Sanchez would have to find himself in the championship mix of the division.
I couldn’t imagine Sanchez getting cut with a loss, so I won’t label it a must-win in that sense for Sanchez. However, between both fighters, Sanchez definitely needs this fight more. A win over Hughes could put Sanchez back into the title picture. He already has a history with Nick Diaz (and recently called him out on Twitter) and won a unanimous decision over the former Strikeforce champ in 2005 giving Sanchez his biggest career win at the time.
Against GSP, well I don’t think he would have much of a prayer. Although I do think it would be a fun fight.
I love Matt Hughes but a Hughes win would really screw up the division. You can’t put Hughes back into the championship mix after the way he was destroyed by Penn. He’d need another win or two before that happens. He will be 38 in October and I can’t imagine him doing much over the next couple of years. A win from Hughes takes Sanchez out of the top mix and keeps the division just as stale as it was before UFC 135.
I am going to go with Sanchez for an early pick. I just think he is too quick for Hughes. If Hughes has lost anything over the last couple of years it would be his reflexes. He can hang with fighters like Renzo Gracie and Matt Serra who have feet of stone. But against speedy fighters like Sanchez and even Penn, he will struggle. Sanchez isn’t a finisher so I wouldn’t expect it here. I think Sanchez wins a long, and maybe even boring decision over the former champion.
Dana White announced last week that all UFC main-events will be five rounds going forward. I have seen mixed reaction on the move in the MMA community. Yet in my opinion, I don’t think there is anything wrong with more fighting.
The move is certainly a big game changer. Fighters will now have to come into to non-title main-event fights with a bigger emphasis on cardio. Fighters who are known to strike early and fast will now have to pace themselves for a potential grueling two additional rounds. Fans will also get more bang for their buck with the addition of more rounds to their headliners. It seems good to me.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t drawbacks with the change. With the addition of two more rounds, we probably will see less classic non-title headlining fights as guys will be more cautious with their pace. The intrigue of seeing how a new challenger will fair in a five-round title fight is gone. The “championship rounds” will now be replaced by the “main-event rounds.” Plus, every once in a while you will get stuck with a main-event you hardly cared about seeing with three rounds (Jackson vs. Hamill) now prolonged with more fight time.
It should also be noted that not every main-event you see on future UFC fight cards will be five rounds. Dana White clarified over the weekend that if two guys sign a fight agreement for three rounds and are bumped up to the main-event due to a headliner being scrapped (UFC 130, Rampage-Hamill), that fight would still remain a three-round fight whether it is the main-event or not.
Yet I look back at the history of the UFC and wonder how things would have been different with classic non-title headlining fights if they would have had two more rounds. There have been plenty of fights that went to decision that looked like they were one round away from ending. Unfortunately a lot of those fights saw fighters on the losing end of the score cards for two rounds turn things around in the third round which wound up being too little too late. Even worse is watching the other guy who just got bloodied and battered have his hand lifted signaling a win, while the other fighter looks ready to go for more rounds.
Quite frankly, I doubt a lot of the three round classic main-events would have been as good if the two fighters knew they had to fight a five-rounder, but for three rounds these guys fought a war. With two additional rounds history would have likely been different all the way around, which won’t be an issue going forward. So today I look back in no particular order at fifteen UFC main-event fights (non-title) that could have used two more rounds.
Michael Bisping vs. Chris Leben: UFC 89: Bisping vs. Leben - Now let me preface this by saying that Chris Leben tested positive for steroids after the fight so regardless of extra rounds the fight would have resulted in a Bisping win. At the end of round three Leben dropped his hands and invited Bisping to take a shot, he did, and some say it may have cost Leben the fight. Bisping took a controversial decision that probably would have been justified with another solid round or two.
Randy Couture vs. Brandon Vera – UFC 105: Couture vs. Vera - How Brandon Vera lost this fight is one of the biggest UFC mysteries to me. Vera appeared to be landing more damaging strikes throughout the fight which makes me think that Couture wouldn’t have survived another two rounds. Of course Couture has always been known for his conditioning so who knows what would have happened, but these guys definitely deserved two more rounds.
Diego Sanchez vs. Martin Kampmann – UFC Live: Sanchez vs Kampmann - This was a great back and forth fight that saw both guys slugging it out as the third round ended. The result was a questionable UFC decision that could have been much different if the fight continued.
Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida – The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale - Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida are probably going to be two guys most impacted by the move since both are regular Spike TV headliners. Who wouldn’t want to see two more rounds in this one?
Rashad Evans vs. Rampage Jackson – UFC 114: Rampage vs. Evans - One of the UFC’s biggest grudge matches turned into a rather boring fight for two and a half rounds. Yet after being dominated for two rounds, Rampage came alive and had Evans in big trouble in the third round. Jackson appeared to get stronger as the round ended, throwing punches at the close of the round. Additionally with all of the hype for the grudge match, it just felt kind of flat going with only three rounds. I wanted more!
BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch – UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch - I am in the minority of fans who really liked this fight. Penn started out hot and faded as the third round came to a close. The fight ended in a draw which very likely wouldn’t have happened with two more rounds. I hope these guys get a five-round rematch in the near future.
Rampage Jackson vs. Lyoto Machida – UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida - Another questionable decision that could have been avoided with two more rounds. Machida easily won the third round in the fight, although according to the judges he lost the first two. Lyoto Machida looked fresh and ready for more as the third round ended and I believe he would have either bested Jackson in a decision or put him away with more time.
Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson – UFC 93: Franklin vs. Henderson - Henderson squeezed out a decision here, but the fight was going Franklin’s way when the third round ended. The fight ended with a lot of excitement and would have likely continued into the “championship rounds.”
Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar – The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale - If I was putting this list in order this one would probably be number one. Three violent rounds yet the boys looked like they were ready to go for more. History may have been a lot different with two more rounds.
Randy Couture vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira – UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira - This was a really great fight that is probably underrated among casual MMA fans. Nogueira won the decision but Randy kept coming as the round ended. The fans were on their feet as the third round came to a close and were ready for two more.
Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz 2 – UFC 106: Ortiz vs. Griffin 2 - The rematch was supposed to settle everything and well, it sort of did. Ortiz came out strong in the first two rounds and in my opinion, won them both. Yet something happened in round three and he just gassed out and did nothing as Griffin picked him apart. Griffin got a questionable split decision here, but with another two rounds all questions would have been answered.
Rampage Jackson vs. Keith Jardine – UFC 96: Jackson vs. Jardine - Yet another highly underrated fight that could have used two more rounds. Jackson finished strong after surviving an onslaught by Jardine in the second round. Jackson looked like he was going to put him away in the third with a terrific combination of strikes but couldn’t deliver the magic moment. I think we were about one minute away from seeing a knockout if this fight would have had a fourth round.
Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva – UFC 108: Evans vs. Silva - This was a really bizarre fight. Evans dominated the majority of the fight but got rocked in the third. In yet another one of the biggest UFC mysteries in history with Evans dazed, Silva just started mocking Evans and refused to move in for the kill. Quite frankly Silva’s stupidity has probably cost him millions in a headlining fight, but nonetheless another round would have likely seen Silva finish Evans who was lucky to be standing as the fight ended.
Diego Sanchez vs. Karo Parisyan UFC Fight Night Six - I can’t imagine anyone arguing for an extra two rounds in this battle. This was a great back and forth fight that would have kept fans on their feet with two more rounds.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin UFC 99: The Comeback - I certainly won’t argue that the wrong guy won, but this fight was turning around as the bell came to a close. I titled my post-fight report, “A finish for the ages“ because it was just that good. The fight ended with Silva obliterating Franklin with a series of elbows to the face, trapping Franklin up against the cage as the bell sounded. I don’t know if he could have continued the assault in the fourth round but I would have loved to see him try.
Honorable mention – Three round non-main event UFC fights that could have used two more rounds…
Chuck Liddell vs. W. Silva UFC 79
Matt Hamill vs. Michael Bisping UFC 75
Clay Guida vs. Tyson Griffin UFC 72
Wanderlei Silva vs. Michael Bisping UFC 110
Sean Sherk vs. Evan Dunham UFC 119
Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz UFC 59
Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann UFC 121
Georges St-Pierre vs. BJ Penn UFC 58
Rashad Evans vs. Tito Ortiz UFC 73
I am sure there are more but these are the fights that come off the top of my head. Think I missed one? Let me know and leave a comment.
Big thanks to Brett Clendaniel of Wrestlechat.net for helping with the lists.
One week removed from a solid UFC 120 in the UK, the promotion returns stateside for what will more-than-likely be one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, PPV of 2010 as heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar takes his slightly slimmer, bearded physique into the Octagon to face undefeated Cain Velasquez.
I sincerely hope Lesnar keeps the beard for fight night because the clean-shaven, flat top WWE thing is getting stale. In the event that the Yankees somehow push the ALCS to game 7 on Saturday, I will no longer be watching this fight at home and will instead relocate to a bar where I can watch both events and lose my sanity in a public setting with lots of beer.
UFC 121 Undercard & Spike Prelim Quick Picks
Jon Madsen over Gilbert Yvel
Dong Yi Yang over Chris Camozzi
Sam Stout over Paul Taylor
Daniel Roberts over Mike Guymon
Tom Lawlor over Patrick Cote
Court McGee over Ryan Jensen
UCF 121 Main Card Predictions Brendan Schaub vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
I was in Vegas a few weeks ago and actually met Gabe Gonzaga at Xtreme Couture. I got to watch him train. He is a large man. Unfortunately, so is Brendan Schaub and Schaub is even taller. At 1-2 in his past three fights (KO’d by Junior dos Santos at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones this past March, TKO-ing Chris Tuchscherer at UFC 102 last August and getting KO’d by Shane Carwin last March at UFC 96), Gonzaga needs a win. What better way to get back on track than beating Schaub, a Team Jackson striker who’s only loss came to Roy Nelson during their TUF 10 Finale. Other than that, he’s finished everyone with strikes. Given his experience, Gonzaga is the slight favorite. I know Greg Jackson probably has made a great game plan for Schaub, but I think if Gonzaga weathers the storm and gets this to the ground, his superior jiu-jitsu could be the deciding factor. I think the Brazilian is due.
Jay’s Pick: Gonzaga by submission, R2
Matt Hamill vs. Tito Ortiz
If you’ve followed Tito Ortiz’s not-so-obvious tweets lately, you know he’s having a hard time. Could it be the litany of injuries he’s had? Maybe. Could it be his seemingly rocky relationship with his ex-porn star wife Jenna Jameson? Maybe. Does Matt Hamill care about any of this? No. Tito’s injuries and the fact that he has not won since 2006 don’t bode well for him. Hamill, on the other hand, is technically riding a 4 fight winning streak (the italics is because his DQ win over Jon Jones was just that: a technicality. He was getting destroyed for the rest of that fight), I expect Hamill to take it and I look forward to an entertaining list of excuses from Tito talking to Joe Rogan after the fight.
Diego Sanchez vs. Paolo Thiago
The next two fights on the card were tougher than the first two. Sanchez recently rejoined the welterweight ranks and was greeted with a decision loss to John Hathaway at UFC 114. Thiago is also coming off a decision loss to Martin Kampmann (who we’ll get to momentarily). I’m glad Sanchez has returned to Jackson’s Camp in New Mexico as I am sure Yoda will come up with a great game plan for him. At +100, he’s a solid underdog with a great chin and amazing cardio, but given the level of competition Thiago’s faced in this weight class (losses to Kampmann & Fitch, wins over #1 contender Josh Koscheck, Jacob Volkmann & Mike Swick), I think he’ll edge out the decision.
Jay’s Pick: Thiago by decision
Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann
Speaking of Kampmann, he gets to fight for the Strikeforce Middleweight belt on Saturday during a UFC fight! Wait, they already put it up for grabs and Jacare Souza won it? Guess I missed the memo…
In all seriousness, Shields makes his UFC debut after dominating Dan Henderson for the Strikeforce MW strap. The Cesar Gracie Black Belt has not lost since 2004 with notable wins over Yushin Okami, Carlos Condit, Paul “Suckerpunch” Daley, and Jason Miller. He’s not exactly what you’d call an exciting fighter (roughly half of his wins have gone the distance) but his grappling/jiu jitsu skills are undeniable. Kampmann, on the other hand, is 17-7 having finished 13 of those fights and who’s only loss in the UFC at welterweight was to Paul Daley. Unlike Shields, Kampmann will look to sprawl, keep the fight standing and pick apart Shields with his superior muay thai. Shields is the favorite at -210, but I am smelling an upset and fear Shields is looking past Kampmann to his potential title shot at the winner of GSP/Koscheck.
Jay’s Pick: Kampmann by TKO, R3
Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez – UFC Heavyweight Championship
I don’t think this fight needs much of an introduction, do you? Let’s not get into the whole USA vs. Mexican pride thing for a minute (since Velasquez is from California, but hey, lets not split hairs over obvious geographical borders) and get down to in-cage performance. Unlike Shane Carwin in Lesnar’s previous fight, Cain will not exhaust in the second round. He has insane cardio for a man of his size and I am sure would love to drag Lesnar into deeper water and test Lesnar’s gas tank.
He’s undefeated at 8-0 (most recently KO-ing Big Nog at UFC 110) and is a two time All-American D1 wrestler out of ASU. Despite being a slight underdog, a lot of people are picking him to be the one to derail the Lesnar Freight Train…but alas, my friends, I am not picking Cain to win this fight. True, Brock looked like a little kid having a bad dream as Carwin slugged the snot out of him against the fence, but he took a lot of shots that would have put almost anyone else out. He then went on to take down Carwin in R2, pass guard, get side control and secured an arm triangle for the win. Was it pretty? No, but it proved he’s got a lot of heart and a solid chin. Cain will more than likely try to make up for the quality of punches with quantity but Brock’s focused more on his boxing and I don’t think will make the same mistakes again. The Yankees may be almost out of the MLB Playoffs, but I think after Saturday we’ll still be in Brocktober.
The news is hardly a surprise to anyone who has followed this story over the last few months. Shields became a free agent after fulfilling his contract to Strikeforce at Strikeforce: Nashville. Shields headlined the CBS event defeating former UFC and Pride superstar Dan Henderson by decision. Strikeforce never signed Shields to a champion’s clause, thus allowing Shields contract to expire while holding their middleweight title. Strikeforce refused to get into a bidding war for Shields and let their champion a couple of weeks back.
The UFC signing Shields is hardly groundbreaking news. Shields and the UFC have had a good relationship for awhile. Shields was an assistant coach on Chuck Liddell’s team on this past The Ultimate Fighter but was never acknowledged on camera. Dana White began courting Shields immediately after Strikeforce: Nashville. One week later, White tipped his hat early when he sat with Jake Shields at WEC 48 and mouthed, “He’s mine” referring to Strikeforce’s middleweight champion. The only thing newsworthy about this story is that it took almost three months for the deal to get done.
I don’t know what kind of a coup it is to sign Jake Shields. There is no denying that Jake Shields is a very talented fighter. But if there is anything that Dana White likes entertaining fighters, first in some cases to talent. Jake Shields is hardly an entertaining fighter. Hardcore MMA fans love his style of ground and pound wrestling. Casual MMA fans have grown to detest Shields due to this same style. Other than sticking it to Strikeforce, I can’t understand why Dana White has made such a huge fuss over Jake Shields. Believe me, a couple of fights like the one he had against Mayhem Miller and Shields will be back in Strikeforce before you know it.
The other interesting nugget to this story is that Jake Shields will be fighting at welterweight. Shields reportedly wanted to compete at middleweight, so the drop in weight class was the UFC’s doing. Shields will be fighting Martin Kampmann at UFC 121 with the winner ideally fighting the Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koshcheck winner. Shields vs. either one of those guys has the potentially to be deadly boring, especially GSP. A Koshcheck vs. Shields match would probably be just downright brutal. I think a fight against Anderson Silva at middleweight would have been much more intriguing and exciting. This isn’t to say it won’t happen, but I think the road to GSP or Koshcheck is a much less interesting road than the payoff of a Jake Shields vs. Anderson Silva middleweight champion vs. middleweight champion clash.
Of course Jake Shields has to get through Martin Kampmann first and as we have seen many times in MMA, things rarely go as planned. All of the sudden I just became a huge Martin Kampmann fan.