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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

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

UFC 155 Results: Cain Velasquez Regains UFC Title

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anderson Spider Silva (Em Portugues do Brasil

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

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 150 Henderson Vs. Edgar II Results – Henderson Retains Via Decision

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

Frankie Edgar wasn’t supposed to be challenging for the UFC lightweight title at UFC 150. Yet after a public campaign, Edgar wound up getting the immediate rematch. Edgar and Henderson picked up where they left off in Japan and ended with even more controversy than before.

Ben Henderson retained the UFC lightweight title over Frankie Edgar via split decision in Denver, Colorado Saturday night at UFC 150. The five-round fight saw some high moments, yet I found it to be pretty disappointing as compared to their first fight. You won’t see any real highlight moments such as the up kick from their last fight but what you will see is a decision that I think was one of the worst in UFC history.

I was stunned when Bruce Buffer read the cards and announced Benson Henderson as the winner. I almost expected him to interrupt the post-fight interview and say that he read the wrong name. Did Frankie Edgar dominate Benson Henderson for three rounds? No, but there is no way that Ben Henderson did enough through five rounds to come away with the win. I’ll give him the first round, but I watched Frankie Edgar win and barely win the next four rounds of the battle.

Henderson opened up with a series of brutal kicks to Edgar’s left calf. Edgar’s calf was already starting to swell up by the end of round 1. Henderson wound up catching Edgar in a choke as the round closed. It was a clear win of a round for the champion. I cannot understand for the life of me why Henderson got away from the kicks for the rest of the fight. Frankie started catching some kicks but I can’t imagine Edgar even standing past round four if Henderson continued what he started in the first round.

Instead Henderson fought either scared or overconfident in my opinion for the rest of the fight. Henderson never pushed the pace or engaged, other than throwing up a couple of kicks from time to time. Edgar never exactly pushed the pace either but he did more in my opinion to engage the champion than anything Henderson did for the final four rounds. Edgar had Henderson in a choke twice and rocked him a couple of times but was unable to put him away. In the end I think Edgar was robbed, but he has nobody to blame but himself for allowing the fight to go to the judges.

One thing I don’t want to read is how Frankie Edgar is too small for the division. I was outraged after their last fight with all of the blogs and columns calling for Frankie to leave the division. Edgar not only held his own with Henderson, I believe he won. I would like to see Edgar hang around the division and go through whoever it is he needs to go through in order to get a rematch. It certainly wasn’t the most exciting fight in the world, but I do think Edgar deserves more of a rematch now than he did after their first fight in Tokyo.

UFC president Dana White has been adamant all week that there will be no immediate rematch. Nate Diaz is next in line no matter who won and how. I can say this much about Nate Diaz. Nate Diaz vs. Benson Henderson will not be a boring fight. There is no such thing as a boring fight with Nate Diaz. I will be surprised to see the fight go to the judges. Either Diaz finishes it or he leaves himself open for Henderson to put him away. I would be shocked to see the fight go five rounds.

Full UFC 150 Henderson vs. Edgar 2 results & winners…
Benson Henderson defeated Frankie Edgar via split decision
Donald Cerrone defeated Melvin Guillard via first-round KO
Jake Shields defeated Ed Herman via unanimous decision
Yushin Okami defeated Buddy Roberts via second-round TKO
Max Holloway defeated Justin Lawrence via second-round TKO
Dennis Bermudez defeated Tommy Hayden via submission (guillotine)
Michael Kuiper defeated Jared Hamman via second-round TKO
Erik Perez defeated Ken Stone via first-round TKO
Chico Camus defeated Dustin Pague via unanimous decision
Nik Lentz defeated Eiji Mitsuoka via first-round TKO

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UFC 150 Henderson Vs. Edgar II Predictions & Analysis

August 10, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC will be looking to build on an impressive Fox card with their return to Denver, Colorado. The last time the UFC took to the mountains of Colorado, the card featured a number of big athletes slowing down in the thin mountain air, leading to lackluster affairs and slow paced brawls. The UFC seems to have learned from past mistakes, as this card features men no larger than the Middleweight limit of 185-pounds.

The main event features re-match virtuoso and former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar looking to regain his title from the man that took it from him “Smooth” Benson Henderson. The co-main event features a Lightweight tilt that seems to have Fight of the Night written all over it, as former teammates collide when Melvin Guillard battles Donald Cerrone. Other main card action features two Middleweight tilts and a potential Featherweight slugfest. In Middleweight action Jake Shields returns to the division for the first time in the UFC as he takes on resurgent veteran Ed Herman. Japanese standout Yushin Okami looks to get back to his winning ways in a bout against late-replacement Buddy Roberts. Kicking off the main card is a Featherweight bout between Max Holloway and Justin Lawrence.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Nik Lentz vs. Eiji Mitsuoka

Nik “The Carny” Lentz is an American fighter from El Paso, Texas. Lentz is a member of the American Top Team Gym based out of Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Lentz is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from the University of Minnesota. This will be Lentz’s first bout at 145-pounds, after spending the majority of his career at Lightweight. Lentz owns a professional MMA record of 21-5-2. Eiji Mitsuoka is a Japanese fighter from Handa, Aichi, Japan. The 36-year-old is a member of the Wajyutsu Keisuyaki RJW Dojo in Saitama, Japan. Mitsuoka has a background in Freestyle Wrestling and has fought for a number of major Asian MMA Promotions including DREAM, World Victory Road, PRIDE, Shooto and DEEP. He holds a professional record of 18-8-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Both of these fighters rely on their wrestling to get them through fights. While neither fighter is completely awful in the striking department, neither one of them is going to be looking to keep this bout standing. This means that it will likely become a battle of takedowns and submission attempts. In a wrestling battle I’ll usually favor an NCAA alumnus versus a Japanese wrestler (unless it’s Yushin Okami), so I think Lentz lands more takedowns and is able to stay out of submissions from on top and grinds out a decision victory. Just don’t expect fireworks. Nik Lentz via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Dustin Pague vs. Chico Camus

Dustin “The Disciple” Pague is an American fighter from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The 25-year-old is a member of the TapouT Ranch in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Pague is best known from his stint on the fourteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter where he lost in the semi-finals. Pague has a pro record of 11-6 and has finished all eleven of the opponents that he’s defeated. Chico “King” Camus is a member of the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This fight will be Camus’ UFC debut and Pague will represent a pretty significant step up in competition for him. While most Roufusport fighters are excellent strikers, Camus isn’t really a kickboxing expert but is fairly well rounded. He holds a career record of 11-3.

Analysis and Prediction: Pague is definitely not the world’s greatest striker, but he will hold a height and reach advantage, which will probably negate some of Camus’ striking edge. Despite being well rounded he’s definitely going to be overmatched by Pague’s grappling skills on the mat. The question then becomes whether Pague can work the fight to the mat often enough to take advantage of that edge. I think he eventually does and secures a rear-naked choke late in the second. Dustin Pague via Submission in Round Two 

Preliminary Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Ken Stone vs. Erik Perez

Ken Stone is an American fighter from Holliston, Massachusetts. He is a member of the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. Stone is a former NCAA wrestler from Bridgewater State University. Stone is a very well rounded fighter but has had a rough go in his Zuffa career. His ability to fight at a distance could prove to be a huge edge in this fight. He holds a career record of 11-3. Erik “Goyito” Perez is a 22-year-old fighter from Monterrey, Mexico. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Perez is a high-octane grappler who excels in fast-paced grapple-heavy bouts where he can take advantage of quick scrambles and latch onto submissions. He holds a career record of 11-4, with 7 wins coming by way of tap out.

Analysis and Prediction: Stone is definitely the more well rounded of these two fighters. Perez looked very impressive in his UFC debut against John Albert in a one-round bout that took place almost exclusively on the mat. Stone however has shown a solid ability to sprawl in some of his more recent fights. That ability will be integral to this bout as his strategy will surely be to use a steady diet of kicks and sprawl-and-brawl, while Perez will surely be looking to drag the fight to the mat. If Stone can keep the bout upright, he wins, if not expect Perez to turn him into a pretzel. Ken Stone via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Middleweight Bout: Jared Hamman vs. Michael Kuiper

Jared “The Messenger” Hamman is an American fighter from Atascadero, California. Hamman is a former Light Heavyweight fighter who didn’t have much success at the weight class and has since dropped to Middleweight. Hamman actually played college football at the University of Redlands before becoming a fighter. He is a member of the VMAT Gym training under the tutelage of MMA pioneer Vladimir Matyushenko. Hamman holds a career record of 13-4. Michael “Judo” Kuiper is a Dutch fighter from Riel, Netherlands. The 23-year-old is a member of the Gracie Barra Gym in Tiburg, Netherlands. Like his nickname suggests he has a background in Judo and holds a black belt in the sport. Kuiper is also an excellent striker in addition to his Judo black belt and grappling skills. He holds a career record of 11-1, with ten stoppage victories, with the lone loss being his UFC debut.

Analysis and Prediction: Kuiper actually was fairly impressive in his UFC debut but began to tire at the end of the bout, mostly because he was outmuscled and leaned on by a larger fighter. Hamman has had some success but he hasn’t been able to do much against UFC competition except get beat up until his opponent gasses and then take advantage on the ground. I expect Kuiper will be more acclimated to fighting in the US and for the UFC in this bout and his cardio won’t be an issue. He is a more talented striker than Hamman and throws with enough power to stop anyone in their tracks. Hamman will have a wrestling advantage, but Kuiper’s judo may be the ace in the hole that helps him avoid the ground game. If Kuiper can keep a solid pace I think his striking will get earn him a stoppage, if he punches himself out or the thin Denver air gets to him, Hamman will be right there ready to take advantage. Still, I’ll stick with the Dutchman. Michael Kuiper via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Dennis Bermudez vs. Tommy Hayden

Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez is an American fighter from Saugerties, New York. He is a 25-year-old fighter from the Long Island MMA Gym. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Bermudez was a finalist on the fourteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He holds a professional record of 8-3. Tommy “Wildcard” Hayden is an American fighter from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is a member of the Jorge Gurgel MMA and Fitness Academy in his hometown. Hayden is a talented grappler, but looked completely out of sorts in his UFC debut against Fabricio Camoes who absolutely worked him on the ground. Still Hayden holds a career record of 8-1, with his lone loss being the aforementioned UFC debut loss to Camoes.

Analysis and Prediction: Hayden is a grappler with a knack for searching out submissions. Bermudez has struggled in the past against talented submission artists, but seems to have plugged those holes in his game. In his last bout against Pablo Garza (a talented grappler in his own right) Bermudez simply smothered him on the ground, using ground and pound to keep Garza at bay and on the wrong-end of a beating on the mat. If Bermudez gets sloppy on the mat Hayden definitely has the tools to make him pay for it. But I expect to see a lot of takedowns and a lot of smothering top control from Bermudez en-route to a decision victory. Dennis Bermudez via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (PPV): Featherweight Bout: Justin Lawrence vs. Max Holloway

Justin “The Hammer” Lawrence is an American fighter from Pacific, Missouri. The 22-year-old is a member of the Blackhouse MMA Gym in Los Angeles, California. As a member of the Black House he trains with some of Brazil’s top fighters including Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and the Nogueira brothers. Lawrence is a talented striker with international credentials including Pan-American Kickboxing Champion (twice) and being the St. Louis Golden Gloves champion twice. Lawrence is undefeated as a professional fighter, holding a career record of 4-0.

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Max “Blessed” Holloway is an American fighter from Waianae, Hawaii. The 20-year-old made his UFC debut as a late replacement fighter against Dustin Poirier and put up a hell of a fight before succumbing to the grappling skills of Poirier. Holloway like his opponent is a talented striker who incorporates a number of flashy kicks and knees into his striking. Holloway is a competent boxer who has an excellent jab and seems to be from the Nick Diaz school of MMA striking as he happily throws punches to the body often. Holloway holds a professional MMA record of 5-1, with his lone loss coming on short-notice to Dustin Poirier.

Analysis and Prediction: Despite the relative inexperience of these two fighters, they are both extremely talented strikers with a wealth of kickboxing experience. Lawrence is probably the more technically precise striker and throws a more textbook kickboxing style at you. Holloway on the other hand incorporates a number of kicks, knees and elbows in his game and fights very well from the inside. I’ll put it out there, that this is my dark horse pick for Fight of the Night as it should be a mostly stand up affair. I think Holloway’s flashy style wins over the judges as he takes a very close decision. Max Holloway via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (PPV): Middleweight Bout: Yushin Okami vs. Buddy Roberts

Yushin “Thunder” Okami is a Japanese fighter from Kanagawa, Japan. He is a former title challenger in the UFC’s Middleweight division and is one of the top fighters in the division. He is looking to right the ship after a recent loss to Tim Boetsch where he dominated the first two rounds of the fight, before succumbing to strikes in the third round in a Comeback of the Year performance. Okami is a member of the Team Quest Gym when training in the USA and is a member of the Wajyutsu Keisyukai Dojo in Japan. Okami is a talented wrestler who has excellent top control and is also a black belt in Judo. Okami has shown improvements in his striking in his more recent bouts, but he still does his best work by pressing forward in search of takedowns and using ground and pound to smother his opponents. Okami is also one of the biggest and strongest Middleweights in the UFC. He holds a professional record of 26-7.

Buddy Roberts is a 29-year-old fighter from Fort Worth, Texas. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s Camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Roberts is actually a late-replacement to fight Okami, but was in training to fight Chris Camozzi on this card before Camozzi was forced to withdraw. Roberts is a talented striker who showed excellent takedown defense in his UFC debut against Caio Magalhaes. Despite his success against Magalhaes he will not want to give Okami many chances to engage in clinches or get close enough to shoot for takedowns as Okami has some of the best wrestling in the Middleweight division. Roberts will need to fight at a range, using leg kicks and a strong jab to maintain distance while avoiding the excellent jab that Okami has begun throwing in recent bouts. Roberts holds a career record of 12-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Although he showed excellent abilities to shrug off takedowns in his UFC debut, Roberts will have a much tougher time shrugging Okami off of him. Once Okami gets his hands on an opponent, it’s rare that they are able to shake him off. Okami is coming off back-to-back knockout losses so he may be slightly gun-shy in close, if that happens, Roberts must be ready to take advantage of even the slightest openings and strike quickly. I like Okami a lot in this bout and I think he’ll come out with the right game plan to close the distance, pummel Roberts in the clinch and work the fight to the ground. From there he should be able to batter Roberts and either take a lopsided decision or pound out a late stoppage. Yushin Okami via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (PPV): Middleweight Bout: Jake Shields vs. Ed Herman

Jake Shields is finally making his return to his more natural weight of 185-pounds. Despite challenging for a title at 170-pounds, Shields often looked tired and gassed easily, at 185-pounds he shouldn’t struggle so much with the cut and should actually improve his strength and stamina. Shields is a member of the Cesar Gracie Fight Team fighting out of San Francisco, California. Shields is a former NCAA Division 2 Wrestler from Cuesta College and is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Shields’ striking game remains relatively weak, as he uses it solely to close the distance to a spot where he can shoot for takedowns effectively. However, his wrestling and top control is excellent and he is very dangerous from the top. Instead of simply grinding on his opponents, Shields is very active from top control, constantly using ground and pound and passing guard to more advantageous positions while searching out submission opportunities. Shields is a former Strikeforce and Elite XC Middleweight Champion with a professional record of 27-6-1.

Ed “Short Fuse” Herman is an American fighter who is in the middle of a career resurgence. The 31-year-old from Vancouver, Washington suffered an awful knee injury in a 2009 bout against Aaron Simpson and was sidelined for nearly two years. Since returning to the cage Herman is 3-0 with three stoppage victories. Herman is a former cast-member of The Ultimate Fighter 3 and actually made it to the finals before losing to the show-winner Kendall Grove. Herman is a member of the Team Quest Gym in Fort Collins, Colorado and is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Like his opponent Herman isn’t going to be winning any boxing titles, but uses his striking to close the distance. Herman holds a career record of 20-8.

Analysis and Prediction: Herman has looked good since returning to action after nearly a two-year layoff, however, Shields is his toughest test to date. Both fighters are talented wrestlers and excellent grapplers, but both of them due their best work from top position. While Herman prefers aggressive ground and pound, Shields is constantly looking to pass guard and advance his position on the search for submissions. In the past Shields has struggled against strikers who can keep him from taking them down. Herman’s striking doesn’t pose much of a threat and I think Shields will look significantly more impressive physically at 185-pounds than he did at 170. I expect Shields uses constant takedowns and smothering top control to take a Unanimous Decision, although a late submission isn’t impossible either. Jake Shields via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (PPV): Lightweight Bout: Donald Cerrone vs. Melvin Guillard

Donald “The Cowboy” Cerrone is a 29-year-old fighter from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cerrone is a member of Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting Camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Cerrone is a former professional Muay Thai kick boxer and has translated his striking skills well into his octagon career. Under the training of Greg Jackson though Cerrone has also put together impressive grappling credentials and has submitted 13 of his career opponents. At 6’0” tall and with a 73-inch reach he will be at a slight advantage in the range department and will likely look to keep Guillard from getting inside against him. Cerrone’s best bet in this bout would be to work this fight to the ground and search for a submission against the submissionally challenged Guillard, but Cerrone usually isn’t one to back down from a stand up brawl. Cerrone holds a career record of 18-4.

Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard is an American fighter from New Orleans, Louisiana. He was a cast-member on the second season of The Ultimate Fighter. Guillard is a former teammate of Cerrone’s from the Jackson’s MMA camp but has since relocated to join the Blackzillians in Boca Raton, Florida. Despite a somewhat spotty record inside the UFC, Guillard remains one of the most dangerous strikers in the division. He is also one of the most athletically gifted fighters in all of the UFC and certainly in the entire Lightweight division. Guillard has quick hands and excellent footwork and has the knockout power to end anyone’s night in one shot. Guillard has a career record of 30-10-2 with 1 No Contest, including 19 wins by KO or TKO.

Analysis and Prediction: This one could be a Fight of the Night earning brawl or it could be an extremely short fight, it likely depends on what kind of game plan Cerrone brings to the table. Guillard’s grappling is a huge liability, submissions have accounted for nine of his ten career losses and at times he looks completely helpless on the mat. Cerrone is a talented grappler with excellent submissions, so really he should be looking to shoot for a takedown and drag this fight to the mat as early as possible. The problem is, I don’t think he will. Cerrone is never one to back down from a striking match, even if it isn’t to his advantage, something he proved in his one-sided loss to Nate Diaz. Cerrone has an incredible chin and has never been finished in a kickboxing bout or MMA bout in his career, which spans over 50 bouts. However, he also relies on his chin a lot, as he is extremely hittable at times (again using the Diaz fight as an example he was tagged by a record 260 strikes throughout the course of the bout.) Frankly, the longer Cerrone keeps this fight standing the longer he puts himself in harms way. Despite his strong chin, I think he’s playing with fire to just keep giving Guillard free chances to land the kill shot. The smart money says that Cerrone works the bout to the mat and taps Guillard easily. I think the more likely outcome is that Cerrone comes to brawl and ends up paying for it. Melvin Guillard via TKO in Round Three

Main Card (PPV): Lightweight Championship Bout: Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson

Frankie “The Answer” Edgar is an American fighter from Toms River, New Jersey. He is a former UFC Lightweight Champion and is re-matching the man who took that title from him. It’s his third straight title rematch and it’s notable that he’s currently 2-0 in rematches for the Lightweight title. Edgar is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. However, in his bouts he employs a more boxing heavy style as of late. This style has worked well for him, as he employs great footwork and head movement to keep himself out of range of his opponents and ducks in and out against his opponents. He is a technically sound boxer with a good jab and strong 1-2 combinations. Edgar is a member of the Renzo Gracie Combat Team training under noted BJJ stars Ricardo Almeida and Renzo Gracie. Edgar holds a professional MMA record of 14-2-1, with his only losses coming to Gray Maynard and Benson Henderson.

Benson “Smooth” Henderson is the reigning and defending UFC Lightweight Champion. Henderson is a 28-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colorado and is a complete package when it comes to MMA. He is an aggressive striker who constantly presses forward while dictating a high-tempo fight pace on his opponents. Henderson has excellent Muay Thai kick boxing skills and is a talented grappler as well, with a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Henderson also owns a black belt in Tae Kwan Do and is a former NAIA Wrestler from Dana College. Henderson is a member of the MMA Lab fighting out of Glendale, Arizona. Henderson is a very large Lightweight fighter and the size differential between himself and Edgar (who cuts very little weight to make 155 pounds) was visibly noticeable in their first bout, he’ll likely be looking to use his size and strength advantage in this bout once again by working from in close. Henderson holds a professional record of 16-2.

Analysis and Prediction: The first bout between these two men was extremely close with many MMA publications and website who were scoring the fight admitting that they had no clue where the scores would end up. With that said, I am somewhat surprised to see how uneven this betting line has become. In the opening bout I think a couple of things hurt Edgar. Number one was the up kick that crumpled him in the second round, which I think he could have won had it not been for the kick that floored him, as well he never seemed to fully regain his composure after that shot. The second thing that went against him was how badly beat up his face looked, despite landing similar numbers of strikes in the bout Edgar’s face was badly damaged while Henderson looked relatively fresh. This can most likely be chalked up to the size advantage that Henderson enjoys against Edgar.

I’ll start by breaking down what I think Edgar needs to do to win his championship back before moving onto Henderson’s keys to victories. Firstly, Edgar needs to stop catching Henderson’s kicks and doing nothing with it. I believe that the judges didn’t appreciate the amount of kicks he was catching and blocking because of how little he did with it afterwards. Henderson didn’t stop throwing those kicks across the whole five round fight the first time, despite many of them being caught, so it’s unlikely he’ll abandon that strategy again in this fight. Edgar should look to kick Henderson’s legs out from under him, or deliver power shots when he catches those kicks in this bout. Secondly, Edgar needs to do more with his takedowns in this fight. Despite soring 5 takedowns to Henderson’s 1, he rarely could corral Henderson on the mat and mount any significant offense. Edgar needs to stop rushing things on the mat, once he scores a takedown off a single leg or with a power double, he needs to relax, take control and then work on advancing his position and using light ground and pound until he can get comfortable. In the first bout, he simply started swinging away at times, instead of focusing on keeping Henderson under control. Lastly, more striking volume and more movement. He definitely had Henderson flustered at times with his movement, but instead of rushing in, he needs to choose his shots better. And when Edgar steps in to range, he knows he’s going to get hit, but he needs to be willing to take a shot to give off 3 or 4 of his own.

Now let’s take a look at Henderson’s keys to victory. Henderson did a lot of things right in the first bout and he’s probably going to want to keep up with many of those things. Let’s start with the body kicks from the first round. Like I wrote for Edgar, if he isn’t going to capitalize on catching the kicks, the judges will likely count it as effective aggression for Henderson, so he should be looking to throw those kicks until Edgar gives him a reason not to.  In the first bout Henderson only landed one takedown, I think he should be shooting more often in this bout. Edgar doesn’t throw a lot of knees, so it’s tough to think that Edgar is going to land a big knee as Henderson shoots, the only problem is tracking Edgar’s movement enough that you can corner him into a spot where you can actually land the takedown. In the first bout Henderson did everything right when Edgar took him to the ground. He grabbed hold of a submission or scrambled almost immediately back to his feet, that’s the perfect way to negate the wrestling of Edgar, Henderson will want to repeat that if he gets taken down in this bout. Finally one of Henderson’s biggest advantages will be his size and strength advantage. Henderson should look to engage in more clinches where he can overpower Edgar and control him.

Prediction time. Both men have ways to win this bout and the first bout was extremely close and I actually scored it 48-47 for Edgar. One thing that has always impressed me about Edgar was his ability to adapt for rematches and he always looks significantly better in rematches than he did in the first bout. I think that’s probably what’s going to happen in this bout. Still, anything less than Edgar’s best isn’t going to be enough and the bout is still going to be back and forth and will likely be an extremely close, high-octane bout. It’s definitely another strong contender for Fight of the Night. But I think Edgar makes the right adjustments and takes another close decision 48-47 across the board. Frankie Edgar via Unanimous Decision

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UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit Results – Condit Wins, Diaz Retires

February 05, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

UFC 143 winnerThe never ending saga of Nick Diaz has taken another strange twist following his loss to Carlos Condit at UFC 143. Nick Diaz told Joe Rogan after the fight that he is done with MMA after suffering his first loss in 12 fights, ending and an 11 year career.

Diaz’s announcement came after losing a unanimous decision to Carlos Condit. Diaz called Condit’s leg kicks “baby kicks” and mocked Condit for “running away from him” for five rounds. Diaz said he gets paid way too much for this and then ended his interview by telling Joe Rogan that he would continue to help out his teammates but that he was done “with this sh*t.”

I can certainly understand the frustrations of Diaz. Condit really did a phenomenal job of staying disciplined for the full five rounds and keeping Diaz at a distance for most of the fight. I wouldn’t call it running away, but Condit did his best not to engage with Diaz. On the other hand, Diaz was a one trick pony at UFC 143. His game plan was obviously to strike with Condit and when that wasn’t working, he had nothing. I can understand Diaz’s frustrations but quite honestly he was outsmarted by a more disciplined fighter tonight.

The UFC really boxed themselves into a corner leading up to UFC 143. The company spent more time promoting a Nick Diaz vs. Georges St-Pierre fight than the actual fight that was headlining UFC 143. So now the UFC is caught in a situation where they have to sell the fight that nobody wants, including their own company. Quite frankly the company backed the wrong horse at UFC 143 and it bit them in the behind.

Condit could have saved this and made himself those missed Diaz millions. Rogan asked Condit about fighting GSP after the fight. Condit could have cut a pro wrestling style promo on the UFC and GSP for overlooking him and created a new grudge match. Instead he said it was an honor and made fans even more disappointed that they weren’t listening to Nick Diaz trash talking GSP. I admire his professionalism, but professionalism isn’t going to help promote a fight that nobody wants to see.

It really is a bitter pill for Georges St-Pierre. GSP now has very little motivation to work harder to recover from his injury. Dana White recently told Ariel Helwani that GSP would be back in action by the summertime and that he was ahead of schedule. Mike Goldberg said that GSP told him that he won’t begin full MMA training until June and was targeting a November return. How could Dana White even say such a thing if GSP won’t even begin to fully train in June? In other words, don’t count on GSP fighting in the summer.

Condit is now the UFC interim welterweight champion. I really don’t understand why the UFC created an interim title for this fight. The announcers mentioned throughout the night that the winner would be challenging Georges St-Pierre for the title and referred to GSP as the champion. If GSP is still recognized as the champion, what is the point of this interim title?

The fight business is an interesting game. It would not shock me whatsoever to see Carlos Condit suffer some kind of “mysterious” injury in September or October, setting up Diaz vs. GSP in November after all. I am not a big conspiracy theory guy but there is a lot of money on the line here and in the end, this business is about making money.

I would be surprised to see Diaz retire and never fight again. He has threatened to enter the boxing game and maybe that is what he does. However, he makes a lot of money fighting in the UFC, money he would likely never make boxing. In the end, all Diaz needs is one win to justify a GSP fight. I think he returns to fighting by the summer and UFC fans get that Diaz vs. GSP fight sooner than later.

Full UFC: Diaz vs. Condit results…
Carlos Condit defeated Nick Diaz via unanimous decision to win the UFC interim welterweight championship
Fabricio Werdum defeated Roy Nelson via unanimous decision
Josh Koscheck defeated Mike Pierce via split decision
Renan Barao defeated Scott Jorgensen via unanimous decision
Ed Herman defeated Clifford Starks via rear-naked choke
Dustin Poirier defeated Max Holloway via submission (triangle/armbar)
Edwin Figueroa defeated Alex Caceres via split decision
Matt Brown defeated Chris Cope via second-round TKO
Matt Riddle defeated Henry Martinez via split decision
Rafael Natal defeated Michael Kuiper via unanimous decision
Stephen Thompson defeated Dan Stittgen via first-round KO

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UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit Predictions & Analysis

February 03, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit Predictions & AnalysisThe UFC returns to the Pay Per View airwaves this weekend with their traditional Super Bowl Weekend card; UFC 143 live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz will be looking to give Tom Brady and Eli Manning a tough act to follow.

With both of their fan friendly styles this main event has a ton of potential for fireworks. With GSP on the shelf until at least September these two will do battle over five rounds for the UFC’s interim Welterweight Championship. The two are backed by a number of bouts that show solid promise for entertainment value as the UFC hopes to rebound from what some people are calling a substandard performance last weekend on Fox.

In the co-main event of the evening Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum makes his return to the UFC after a long social media campaign when he takes on everyone’s favorite rotund grappler Roy “Big Country” Nelson. Perennial Top-10 Welterweight Josh Koscheck returns to the cage against the always-tough grinder Mike Pierce.

In Middleweight action the always tough Ed Herman takes on undefeated Middleweight prospect Clifford Starks. The lighter weight-classes of the UFC take center stage to open the PPV Main Card as surging Brazilian prospect Renan “Barao” Pegado takes on Scott Jorgensen in a Bantamweight bout. But let’s get started with the undercard.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Dan Stittgen vs. Stephen Thompson

Dan “The Anvil” Stittgen is a 31-year-old fighter from Schaumburg, Illinois. Stittgen is a grappler and submissions expert from the Midwest Training Center MMA Gym. Stittgen has fought mostly on the regional MMA circuit but has compiled an impressive resume there. In his most recent bout, a victory over Mark Stoddard it was the first time any of his bouts escaped the first round. His ground skills have proven to be his most effective weapon, as Stittgen possesses fairly mediocre striking skills. However, on the mat he has managed to secure five submissions and a TKO all because of his strong mat fighting. Overall, he possesses a career record of 7-1.

Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is a former professional kick boxer who only recently transitioned to MMA. Thompson has been kickboxing since the age of three years old, and as a professional kick boxer he owned a record of 56-0, with 40 Knockouts. Since switching to MMA in 2010 he has also gone undefeated in this sport, soundly outboxing all of his opponents on his way to a 5-0 record. Thompson is a member of the Pitch Black MMA Gym where he has worked with a number of fighters to improve his overall MMA skill set. In addition to his kickboxing skills, Thompson is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a black belt in Kenpo Karate.

Analysis and Prediction: This bout is surely going to come down to whether or not Thompson can keep himself upright long enough to win. Stittgen is a legit grappler with a strong submission game, but standing up he will surely be cannon fodder for “Wonderboy.” Thompson has added a number of grappling and wrestling coaches to his camp and has likely been drilling these aspects of his game in preparation for his UFC debut. He’s fought under the big lights before and knows what to expect when the cage door shuts, while his opponent may be dealing with some octagon jitters. Expect to see mostly sprawl and brawl from Thompson as he kicks and punches his way to a second round stoppage. Stephen Thompson via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Rafael Natal vs. Michael Kuiper

Rafael “Sapo” Natal is a Brazilian born fighter from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The 29-year-old now trains stateside where he is a member and instructor of the Gracie Fusion Gym in New York City, New York. Natal is a BJJ black belt under Vinicius Magalhaes. Natal’s boxing isn’t the cleanest, but he does pack one hell of a punch which can sometimes make up for his technical deficiencies. On the mat Natal is a handful for nearly anyone to deal with. A muscular fighter with a smothering top game and a strong submission awareness he can create opportunities when given even the smallest openings. Natal owns career victories over notable fighters like Danillo Villefort and Travis Lutter. He recently got his first victory inside the UFC bringing his career record to 13-3-1.

“Judo” Michael Kuiper is a Dutch fighter from Riel, Netherlands. Kuiper is one of Europe’s top prospects in the fight game. The 22 year old is a member of the Gracie Barra Netherlands Gym in Tilburg, Netherlands. Kuiper owns a black belt in Judo as well as a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has excellent grappling skills. Due to his background in Judo, he has a number of throws at his disposal which he can use to take fights to the mat. Kuiper has also shown himself to have solid striking skills, technically sound with some serious power in both hands. He has stopped all but one of his opponents either by submission (4) or by TKO (6). Kuiper holds an undefeated pro record of 11-0.

Analysis and Prediction: It’s hard to make an accurate assessment of Kuiper’s skills because of the relatively weak competition that he has faced in Europe. Footage of his fights has him looking impressive, but that can often be misleading when your opponent is completely overmatched. Despite that, I don’t think Natal is overly impressive and in a bout where one man’s Judo is likely to negate the other’s BJJ skills, this one is going to come down to striking. Natal can hit hard, but Kuiper throws better combinations and is more composed. I smell an upset. Michael Kuiper via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Matthew Riddle vs. Henry Martinez

Matthew “Monster Mash” Riddle is a 26-year-old from Allentown, Pennsylvania. He is a former cast member from the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. Riddle is a wrestling based fighter who trains at the Throwdown Training Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Riddle is the only fighter in the modern era of MMA to have fought all of his career bouts in the UFC. His last bout at UFC 141 was called off on the day of the fight due to Riddle becoming ill and being unable to compete on the day of the event. Riddle usually uses his wrestling to take down his opponents and grind away on them with ground and pound. However, in recent bouts he has fallen a bit in love with his subpar striking and has been dragged into brawls that do not serve him well, which has caused him to drop his past two bouts. Riddle’s pro record is 5-3.

Henry Martinez is a fighter from Jackson’s MMA Gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I haven’t been able to find much footage of Martinez, but it’s worth noting that he is taking this fight as a late replacement, stepping in on just over a week’s notice for the injured Jorge Lopez. His last bout was actually only two weeks ago on January 21 when he scored a submission victory over Ali Hanjani at a Jackson’s MMA Event. Martinez is 8-1 as a pro fighter, with 2 wins via TKO and 4 via Submission, however, his record is mostly against regional level fighters, and Riddle will be a significant step up in competition for him.

Analysis and Prediction: I usually have on golden rule, never bet on Matthew Riddle. You never know what you’re going to get, take his fight against Lance Benoist as an example. He was lit up on the feet for two rounds, but continued to oblige his opponent before finally dominating the third round by using takedowns and ground and pound. However, there is one major factor that is changing my mind. Martinez is taking this bout on extremely short notice, he just fought over two weeks ago and is a Lightweight fighter, who has fought as low as Featherweight in his career! Riddle is a massive Welterweight who could easily outweigh Martinez by 20 pounds or more come fight time. All the skill in the world isn’t going to overcome that kind of weight discrepancy against a smothering wrestler like Riddle, he’ll get back on track in this one. Matt Riddle via TKO in Round Three

Preliminary Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Matt Brown vs. Chris Cope

Matt “The Immortal” Brown is a 31-year-old fighter from Xenia, Ohio. Brown is a former cast member of the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. Brown is a Muay Thai and Judo based fighter who is working towards his black belt in Judo and also owns a blue belt in BJJ. Despite his solid ground-fighting credentials Brown prefers to stand and brawl with his opponents, despite it not being the best for his record it sure does make the fans love him. Brown’s Muay Thai skills are fairly basic, but he throws with decent power, but could stand to put his combinations together with more frequency. Too often Brown relies on winging power punches, instead of setting them up properly. Still Brown has solid takedown defense and can hit with big power if his winging punches connect. He owns a professional MMA record of 12-11 with 11 stoppage victories.

Chris “C-Murder” Cope is also a former cast member of The Ultimate Fighter, competing on the thirteenth season of the show. Fighting out of San Diego, California Cope is a member of the Arena MMY Gym. Cope is mostly a striker with a background in Muay Thai and a black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Cope has a strong sprawl and brawl style, but in this bout it’s unlikely that he’ll need to sprawl very much. Cope was formerly an amateur kick boxer and should be better than Brown at fighting at a distance. He’ll need to establish that range early on in this bout, or we might be seeing a replay of his fight against Che Mills at UFC 138. Cope owns a professional record of 5-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Brown has one fatal weakness and that is his submission defense, nine of his eleven career losses have come via submission. Luckily for him in this bout, he won’t have to worry. Cope is a competent kick boxer with decent technical striking, but he doesn’t have the wrestling skills to take Brown to the ground and isn’t a strong enough striker to keep up with Brown in a slugfest. With no options, he’s going to be forced to fight Brown’s fight, a dirty, tight close brawl where Brown is at his best. Brown can be devastating in the clinch and Cope can be overwhelmed on the feet as Che Mills showed, expect something similar to that bout in this one. Matt Brown via TKO in Round One

Preliminary Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Alex Caceres vs. Edwin Figueroa

Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres is a former Lightweight and Featherweight fighter. Best known for his stint on The Ultimate Fighter: GSP vs. Koscheck season where he was a member of Team GSP. The young fighter from Miami, Florida where he is a member of the Young Tigers Foundation. Caceres is a Jeet Kune Do and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter with strong grappling skills. In his last bout he made his bantamweight debut and scored an impressive upset over Cole Escovedo, soundly outworking the veteran fighter for three rounds and taking a Unanimous Decision. Overall, Bruce Leroy has a career MMA record of 6-4.

Edwin “El Feroz” Figueroa is a 26-year-old fighter from the Janjira Muay Thai Gym in McKinney, Texas. Figueroa has been training in boxing and kickboxing since the age of six, fighting numerous times throughout his teenage years as an amateur. Figueroa is a heavy handed striker who has stopped six of his opponents with strikes. As he proved in his UFC debut against Michael McDonald, Figueroa is an extremely tough and durable fighter who can take a ton of punishment, but keep coming back for more. Figueroa owns a professional record of 8-1.

Analysis and Prediction: I have to admit that Caceres made me eat some humble pie in his last bout. I predicted that he would get outworked and beaten badly by Cole Escovedo. Instead he showed significant improvements in his striking and an aggressive grappling game that saw him dominate Escovedo from start to finish. Figueroa is a strong striker, but looked somewhat sloppy in his bout against McDonald. If he looks like that again on Saturday night, it could be another upset win for Bruce Leroy. I think this is a close bout, that’s destined for the scorecards, and I think Figueroa takes it, but I won’t be surprised either way. Edwin Figueroa via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway

Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier is one the top prospects in the UFC’s Featherweight division. The 23-year-old from Tim Credeurs Gladiator Louisiana Gym in Lafayette, Louisiana has proven to be a force to be reckoned with in his UFC career. Poirier has shown a very versatile game in his career so far, sometimes showing quick and accurate striking skills, other times showing an impressive grappling acumen. A former Lightweight fighter, Poirier is a large 145-pound fighter who can often bully his opponents in the clinch and on the ground, despite his wrestling skills not being top-notch. He prefers to strike with his opponents, but is perfectly willing to take the bout to the mat if things aren’t going his way in the striking department. His ability to fight well in multiple facets of the game is what makes him such a dangerous opponent. Poirier owns a career record of 11-1.

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Max “Lil Evil” Holloway at 20-years-old is probably the youngest fighter on the UFC’s current payroll. However, despite his age and relative inexperience he has proven to be quite a talent in his young career. Fighting out of Waianae, Hawaii he has shown excellent striking skills in his young career. He is also the current X-1 World Events Lightweight Champion. At 6’1” he is a lean and lanky Featherweight fighter who strings punches and kicks together well and has the cardio to strike for days against anyone who is willing to trade with him. His high output style of striking often overwhelms his opponents, causing them to shell up, allowing him to continue his pressure cooker offense with little fear of return fire. Holloway is undefeated as a pro fighter owning a record of 4-0.

Analysis and Prediction: Holloway is tall and lanky with a striking style that can give anyone fits. Poirier at 6’1” and a former 155-pound fighter is one the largest fighters in the division, he also has the wrestling and grappling ability to control where this bout takes place. Poirier prefers to strike, but isn’t stupid or proud enough to let that interfere with him winning this bout. I think he tests himself on the feet and if things aren’t looking great, he’ll force Holloway to the mat and work him over with ground and pound to set up a submission opportunity. Holloway is a legitimate talent and at 20-years-old has plenty of time to mature, but he’s taking this fight on late notice and likely isn’t experienced enough yet to take down Poirier. Dustin Poirier via Submission in Round Two

Main Card (PPV): Middleweight Bout: Ed Herman vs. Clifford Starks

Ed “Short Fuse” Herman is a 31-year-old fighter from the Team Quest Gym in Fort Collins, Colorado. Herman is the epitome of a grinder, who is amazing at nothing but strong enough at everything to outwork his opponents. Herman is a black belt in BJJ and the mat is his favorite place to be. From top control Herman shows great positional awareness as he is able to constantly pressure his opponents by passing guard and raining down ground and pound. Herman is a former cast member of the third season of The Ultimate Fighter, where he was a finalist, losing to the show’s winner Kendall Grove. After suffering a severe knee injury in 2009, he overcame complete reconstructive knee surgery to return to the UFC and has gone 2-0 since, TKO Tim Credeur inside one round and then snatching a heel hook submission against Kyle Noke also in under a round. Herman owns a pro record of 19-7.

Clifford Starks is a 30-year-old fighter from Pomona, California. He is a wrestler and a kick boxer who now trains at the Arizona Combat Sports Gym in Tempe, Arizona. Starks is a former NCAA Division 1 wrestler who competed at Arizona State University and was a teammate of former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez. Starks won his UFC debut over Dustin Jacoby in a rather sloppy affair based mainly on the strength of his wrestling game and his takedowns. However, once getting the fight there, he was unsuccessful in making much else happen or inflicting much damage on Jacoby, something he’ll need to address if he wants to hang with Herman in this bout. Starks is undefeated as a pro fighter with a record of 8-0.

Analysis and Prediction: Despite basically dominating Dustin Jacoby in his UFC debut, Starks didn’t look overly impressive. He outworked him on the ground but never really came close to finishing the bout. Starks prefers to fight at a more measured pace, but against an opponent like Herman he’s not going to have that luxury. Herman will press forward and constantly pressure Starks. Herman’s ground game definitely makes up for his below average striking game, but unless Starks has another level to his game than what he showed against Jacoby it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to take advantage of Herman’s suspect striking. Expect Herman to constantly come forward and constantly pressure, securing a trip takedown from the clinch before sinking in a fight ending Rear Naked Choke near the end of round one. Ed Herman via Submission in Round One

Main Card (PPV): Bantamweight Bout: Renan Pegado vs. Scott Jorgensen

Renan “Barao” Pegado is a 25-year-old fighter from Natal, Brazil. He is one of the top prospects from Brazil’s famed Nova Uniao Gym. He is a Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter who has an array of kicks, knees and punches in his stand up attack, well complimented by black belt level skills in BJJ. Barao lost his professional debut in 2005, but has not tasted defeat since, going 27-0-1 since the first bout of his career. In his last bout he showed impressive overall skills by going toe-to-toe with dangerous striker Brad Pickett for four minutes, before landing a massive knee and then latching onto a fight-ending Rear Naked Choke. Overall, Pegado owns a pro record of 27-1-1.

Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen is a former challenger for Dominick Cruz’s Bantamweight title, though at the time it was still the WEC Championship. Regardless, the 29-year-old is one of the toughest match-ups at 135-pounds. A former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Boise State, Jorgensen now trains at the Combat Fitness Club in Boise, Idaho. Jorgensen has some limitations as a striker, but when he can get inside and use the clinch to his advantage he can throw serious power punches as he showed against Ken Stone at The Ultimate Fighter 13 finale. Jorgensen has an explosive shot and will likely be looking to take this fight to the mat early and often, rather than risk getting into a firefight with the hard-hitting Brazilian. Jorgensen owns a professional MMA record of 13-4.

Analysis and Prediction: This is a very intriguing bout for a number of reasons. It is a very interesting clash of styles. Pegado is the Brazilian stereotype a strong BJJ player with an impressive arsenal of striking attacks. On the other side of the cage the American wrestler. Jorgensen doesn’t stand a chance in the striking department and if he chooses to strike for an extended period of time, it’s likely going to end with him staring at the lights. He’ll look to move forward by pumping his jab and closing the distance quickly. Despite Pegado’s impressive record and grappling skills, we haven’t seen what he can do against a top-notch wrestler who might be able to control him on the ground. Pegado should be constantly sprawling and brawling, while using leg kicks to Jorgensen’s lead leg to slow down the impressive takedown shot of the American. Overall, I think Jorgensen has the tools to beat Pegado, but he’ll be in danger all the way and will need to fight an extremely intelligent fight. I’m not sure if he can do it and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pull off the upset in this one. Scott Jorgensen via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (PPV): Welterweight Bout: Josh Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce

Josh “Kos” Koscheck is the “heel” of the UFC’s Welterweight division. The 33-year-old from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania is best known for his stint on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. He is a former four-time NCAA Division 1 All-American wrestler. In the early days of his career he relied heavily on his wrestling, but he has made great strides in his striking game and now possesses solid boxing with big power in his right hand. Koscheck is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy and is coming off of an impressive thrashing of Matt Hughes at UFC 135. Koscheck holds a career record of 15-5.

Mike “Megatron” Pierce is an American from Oregon who is a member of the Team Quest and Sports Lab gyms in Portland and Beaverton, Oregon respectively. Pierce is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Portland State University. Pierce has fared well in his Octagon career losing only to the elite wrestlers of the division including Jon Fitch and Johny Hendricks both via decision (and the latter via close Split Decision.) Pierce uses wrestling and top control to earn points on the judge’s scorecards as well as an unorthodox but oftentimes effective stand up game. It’s not the prettiest way to fight, but it has been effective for him so far. Pierce has a career MMA record of 13-4.

Analysis and Prediction: Many people are expecting a blowout in this one, but I don’t think it’s likely to happen. Pierce is a pretty poor match up stylistically for Koscheck and I think both fighters know this. Take a look at Pierce’s only two UFC losses a close Split Decision to Johny Hendricks (that I actually scored 29-28 for Pierce) and close loss to Jon Fitch (which I scored 29-28 for Fitch.) Both of those fighters are similar to Koscheck in that they are both wrestlers with improving stand up skills. Pierce needs to make this fight dirty. Koscheck hits hard, but his striking is still pretty basic and he can get sloppy at times. In fact he was being outboxed by Matt Hughes in his last bout, before he was able to land that massive overhand right that put Hughes to sleep.

Pierce is going to need to avoid that specific punch if he is to have a chance in this one. He has a very strong chin, but I’m not sure even he can take a couple of Koscheck’s best shots and keep coming back for more. Pierce is also a strong wrestler who has excellent takedown defense. Koscheck will try taking the bout to the mat if things don’t go his way, so Pierce will need to sprawl effectively to keep the fight standing. That’s his best chance to pull off the upset. GSP laid out the game plan to beat Koscheck. Avoid the power punch by simply jabbing Koscheck to death, a strong jab was able to disrupt Koscheck’s entire striking offense and I think Pierce can implement a game plan similar enough to GSP’s to get results. Either way this bout is likely going to be close and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Split Decision here, but as it is, I’ll roll with an upset special. Mike Pierce via Split Decision

Main Card (PPV): Heavyweight Bout: Roy Nelson vs. Fabricio Werdum

Roy “Big Country” Nelson is a 35-year-old from Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who has fought for a number of big name MMA promotions. He is a former IFL Heavyweight Champion and was also the winner of the Heavyweights only season of The Ultimate Fighter. Best known to most fans for his rotund stature he actually possesses surprising skills for a guy who looks like he should work at a comic book store. Nelson is one of the best Heavyweight grapplers in MMA today, who does his best work from top control where he can use his girth and strength to pin his opponents. One of his favorite positions is the top control crucifix, a position that he showed off on TUF versus fan favorite Kimbo Slice as he was able to pin Slice and deliver a number of uninterrupted blows. Standing Nelson has decent hands with big power in his overhand right. Nelson also has an extremely durable chin and can take a wealth of punishment as shown by him being able to survive an absolute beating from current Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos. Nelson owns a professional record of 16-6 with 14 career stoppage victories.

Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum is a 34-year-old Brazilian fighter from Port Alegre, Brazil. He is making his return to the UFC after a stint in Strikeforce and a long social-media campaign to get back into the UFC. He is best known to fans as the first man to ever decisively defeat Fedor Emelianenko in an MMA bout, defeating the Russian star via Triangle Choke in the first round. Werdum is an elite level grappler, with a black belt in BJJ and a number of wins on the Brazilian Mundials and ADCC Submission Grappling circuit. Werdum is also a black belt in Judo and a black belt in Muay Thai kickboxing, although he often overly relies on his grappling skills, which causes his striking to be overshadowed. Werdum owns a pro record of 14-5-1.

Analysis and Prediction: Both of these guys are elite grapplers of the Heavyweight division. The most likely result on the mat is that both men’s skills cancels the other’s out, leading to mostly a stalemate. Werdum is the quicker fighter, but Nelson undoubtedly hits harder. Werdum has also shown himself to have somewhat suspect striking defense as he was hit repeatedly in his last bout by Alistair Overeem, was rocked by Fedor before grabbing onto the Triangle choke and has also been absolutely demolished by Junior dos Santos.

Werdum’s odd strategy against Overeem in his last bout proved to be his undoing. He constantly tried to pull guard instead of pressing forward on Overeem who clearly wanted no part of a grappling contest against Werdum. Nelson won’t be intimidated on the mat, but it’s likely that whoever is in top control will be considered winning, while the fighter on the bottom is unlikely to create a whole lot of room to manoeuvre. I expect speed to be the difference for Werdum. I think he can move in and out of the pocket against Nelson when he’s striking and from there win rounds on the judge’s scorecards. JDS couldn’t stop Nelson and I highly doubt Werdum will either, the most likely result is that he takes home a Unanimous Decision victory. Fabricio Werdum via Unanimous Decision

Main Event (PPV): Interim Welterweight Championship Bout: Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit

Nick Diaz is the man that every UFC fan loves to hate right now. The brash brawler from Stockton, California has come a long way since his first run in the UFC. Previously he was a decent fighter with strong grappling, but who was able to be controlled by the wrestlers who populate the Welterweight division. He hasn’t fought many elite wrestlers since his last stint in the UFC, but he has made vast improvements in his overall MMA game. Diaz is one of the most unorthodox but most effective strikers in the Welterweight division. Diaz is sometimes criticized for his pitter-patter boxing skills, but the results speak for themselves. Despite a relatively slow start in his last bout against BJ Penn, he came alive in the second and third rounds, setting a then record for most strikes landed in a round (a record that baby brother Nate has since broken.) Diaz is also an amazing BJJ player with an incredibly active submission game from the bottom. He has made vast improvements in this area of his game, as it is no longer safe to simply take Diaz down and ride out top control. Diaz is constantly searching for submissions from the bottom, trying to create sweeps and creating room to work his submission expertise. Diaz has one of the best chins in MMA, being stopped by strikes only once in his entire 34-fight career. Diaz is a member of the Cesar Gracie Fight Team and trains BJJ under Gracie himself, and is also training boxing under highly respected boxer Andre Ward. Diaz owns a professional record of 26-7 with 1 No Contest and hasn’t been defeated since 2007.

Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit is a 27-year-old fighter training out of Greg Jackson’s Camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Condit is the former and final WEC Welterweight Champion, before the division was dissolved into the UFC. Condit is a strong all around fighter with strong technical Muay Thai skills, a great gas tank, extensive grappling skills and a vicious killer instinct. All of these factors combine to make him a very fan friendly and highlight reel-friendly fighter. Condit was originally scheduled to replace Diaz at UFC 137 to battle GSP for the Welterweight title, but an injury forced the champion from the card. With the champions knee-injury putting him out of action until at least September, Condit found himself thrown in with Diaz for a shot at an interim title.

Analysis and Prediction: I anticipate that this bout is going to be the leading contender for Fight of the Night when everything is said and done. Both fighters are extremely aggressive strikers who are constantly moving forward. Both of them have cardio for days and are extremely durable so expect multiple rounds of combat from these two. Condit is a pretty good striker, who is able to mix it up well and has an amazing finishing instinct, while Diaz is perhaps the best boxer in the sport.

The first two or three minutes will likely be the only tentative minutes of this bout as the two feel each other out and test their range. Condit will have the edge in ranged striking as he is more effective at using a Muay Thai approach to MMA striking with a solid balance between leg kicks, high kicks and knee attacks from inside the clinch. Diaz on the other hand prefers more of a straight boxing style, instead relying on his legs simply for footwork, creating angles to effectively employ his volume punching style. Diaz also relies on his chin heavily, as he is often more than willing to take a shot or two in order to get off a few combinations of his own from in the pocket. It also needs to be said that Diaz is the best current MMA striking for attacking the body of his opponents. Often used in boxing to accumulate damage and slow the pace of their opponents, the body punch has lost it’s way in MMA, but Diaz is on a one-man mission to bring it back.

On the ground, this bout is fairly even as well. Diaz has been controlled in the past by stifling wrestlers, but that isn’t exactly the mould that Condit fits into. Condit can wrestle well and has a fairly strong takedown as well as nasty ground and pound from top control. Diaz has spectacular takedown defense and has improved his overall BJJ game to the point where he is a threat from the bottom, constantly rotating his hips to create space for sweeps as well as submission opportunities.

Condit is a solid grappler in his own right, and it’s unlikely that Diaz will catch him in any straight forward submission holds, if he wants to win this bout by Submission, he’ll likely need to catch Condit in something coming out of a sweep or a scramble on the mat. Diaz does need to be wary of the ground game though, because even though he is extremely aggressive from his back, Condit is effective from top control and NSAC judge’s notoriously ignore the work of the fighter on the bottom, believing that the fighter on top must be “winning” the fight.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of game plan Condit chooses to employ here. We all know that Diaz is coming to bang and it’s unlikely that he’s going to deviate from that style and even if he wanted to, he doesn’t have the offensive wrestling capabilities to take down a solid grappler like Condit. It’s likely going to be up to the Team Jackson fighter to pick his poison as they say. The dangerous guard of Diaz or the stand up realm where Diaz is able to employ his volume boxing style. It’s likely that Greg Jackson will have a game plan to handle Diaz, it’s one of his best traits as a coach, as his fighters are often composed and prepared.

Both of these guys have amazing cardio so this one isn’t going to slow down and they both are too tough to be finished by anything but this biggest punches or nastiest submissions, so I do expect this one to go to the judge’s scorecards a fair amount of the time. I think Condit will look to keep the striking at range, using kicks to Diaz’s lead leg to slow the Stockton slugger down and then switching it up to attack the body and head with kicks while staying outside of the lanky arms of Diaz. Diaz is going to need to close the distance and get inside with Condit. In the pocket Condit is significantly outgunned by Diaz who just throws too much leather for nearly anyone to handle. The key will be controlling the cage for both men, because once Diaz gets into a groove, he is so relentless it’s nearly impossible for his opponents to escape and they often begin to wilt under the pressure of his attack. Condit should also be looking to land a few well-timed takedowns near the ends of rounds. It’s dangerous to just sit on the mat with Diaz, but it’s hard to argue that a late result could swing a close round into his favor.

Condit is likely going to be the stiffest test that Diaz has fought in a long time. He has better cardio than BJ Penn does, albeit with slightly sloppier boxing. He has a more well-rounded fight game than Paul Daley and Mariusz Zaromskis and he is a more composed fighter than some of the berserkers like Evangelista Santos and Scott Smith that have taken on Diaz recently. He’s going to need to make Diaz uncomfortable in the cage for five rounds, because once Diaz gets into a groove, he’s tough to stop. I’m not sure he can do it though. He’s not measured to try and lay and pray a decision, instead I think he eventually gets frustrated and begins going toe-to-toe with Diaz which in the end will be a losing battle for him. Diaz will be able to take a close but ultimately Unanimous Decision victory. Nick Diaz via Unanimous Decision

Lee McGregor is the owner and editor-in-chief of Source4MMA.com which will be launching in early 2012.

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