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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 On FOX 3 Predictions & Preview

May 04, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC On Fox 3 predictionsGood day CCB readers hopefully you’re all still reading this despite my awful prognostication skills at UFC 145. I’ll admit that many of those bouts didn’t go nearly as expected and some serious hype trains were derailed, but hey that’s the breaks in the sport where “anything can happen.” The UFC continues its onward march into the busy summer schedule with a free offering on network television this weekend. The UFC presents UFC on FOX 3 live from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey this Saturday night.

The UFC on FOX shows have been a bit of a mixed bag so far for fight fans. The first offering, which the UFC openly admitted was a bit of a trial run, was widely criticized by fans. Despite offering a Heavyweight Title fight for free, the bout lasted less than one round and many felt it was a bit anti-climactic. In their second attempt at network television they decided to load up on big names and bouts with serious title implications. The result was three relatively slow-paced fights that all went to decision. Whether or not you agree with the excitement on their past offerings, one thing we should all agree on is that they likely have the formula right for this show.

The main event features a potential Number One Contender’s bout for the UFC’s Lightweight Championship as Nate Diaz battles Jim Miller. Other bouts on the Fox-televised main card include a sure-fire Heavyweight slugfest between Pat Barry and Lavar Johnson that is highly unlikely to make it to the judge’s scorecards. As well as a Welterweight bout with huge title implications as Josh Koscheck looks to avenge Jon Fitch’s loss to the surging contender Johnny Hendricks. Finally a Middleweight bout between two finishers opens the card as Rousimar Palhares takes on Alan Belcher.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Roland Delorme vs. Nick Denis

Roland “Stunning” Delorme is a Canadian fighter from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He was a competitor on the Mayhem Miller vs. Bisping season of The Ultimate Fighter. Delorme fights out of the Winnipeg Academy of Mixed Martial Arts. Delorme is a well-rounded fighter with all of his career victories coming by stoppage. At the Ultimate Fighter Finale he scored a third round submission which showed off just how smooth his ground skills are, as he quickly dropped his opponent with a punch, hopped on his back and locked up the hold. Delorme holds a career record of 7-1.

Nick “The Ninja of Love” Denis is a Canadian fighter from North Bay, Ontario. Denis has since transplanted himself to Montreal, Quebec, Canada where he is a member of the Tristar Gym. Denis is a purple belt in BJJ and a black belt in Kyokushin karate. Denis has looked impressive since making the drop to 135 pounds and is 2-0. He looked very impressive in his UFC debut where he flattened Joseph Sandoval with standing elbow strikes that knocked him out cold. Denis remains an elite striker, but his grappling skills have looked somewhat lackluster in his previous bouts. Still he owns a career record of 11-2, with all of his wins coming via stoppage.

Analysis and Prediction: Denis has shown a glaring weakness against capable wresters and grapplers in the past. He’s not awful on the ground, but he is significantly stronger in a striking battle. Delorme looked decent on the ground in his UFC debut, but he doesn’t have the striking to set it up against someone as capable as Denis. Expect another highlight reel of violence from the Ninja of Love as he earns a TKO in the second. Nick Denis via TKO in Round Two.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Mike Massenzio vs. Karlos Vemola

Mike “The Master of Disaster” Massenzio is an American fighter from Teaneck, New Jersey. Massenzio was a standout wrestler in high school, where he was a two-time high school state champion. In 2004 Massenzio was a National Wrestling Champion at the Junior College Level. He is a member of the Team Ironhorse MMA Gym in Patterson, New Jersey. Massenzio is a stellar grappler who has won numerous tournaments and awards in grappling tournaments and although he has struggled to make his high school wrestling pedigree translate well to MMA, he does have decent takedowns and is quite capable on the mat. His striking is fairly basic and is probably the weakest aspect of his overall game. Massenzio has a career record of 13-6.

Karlos “The Terminator” Vemola is a fighter from Olomous, Czech Republic. He is an extremely strong and compact fighter who is a former 6-time Czech Republic National Wrestling Champion. Vemola is now a member of the London Shootfighters Gym in London, England. This will be Vemola’s first bout at Middleweight and because of his muscular build it might be tough for him to make the weight. Provided he makes the weight without issue he definitely has the skills to defeat Massenzio in this bout. He owns some of the nastiest ground and pound out there and has the strength and ability to drag the fight to the ground and being underneath the hulking Czech is not where anyone wants to be. Vemola has a career record of 8-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Massenzio is a capable grappler and he can definitely win this bout by controlling Vemola on the ground. Unfortunately for him that means that he’s going to need to get close to Vemola, which doesn’t end well for very many people. Vemola is making the cut to Middleweight for the first time, so I have a hard time trusting a guy who has shown cardio issues in the past making a cut down another weight class. If Massenzio is able to survive the opening salvo, this is an upset waiting to happen. Mike Massenzio via Submission in Round Three.

Preliminary Card (FUEL TV): Featherweight Bout: Dennis Bermudez vs. Pablo Garza

Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez is an American fighter from Saugerties, New York. He was a contestant on the Bisping vs. Mayhem Miller season of The Ultimate Fighter where he lost at the finale to the winner Diego Brandao. Bermudez is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who is now a part of the Long Island MMA Gym. Bermudez uses his wrestling well in his bouts, often searching out takedowns and using ground and pound to grind out his opponents. After opening his career with a 7-0 mark, he has lost his last three bouts, but they have all been against big name opponents, bringing his current pro record to 7-3.

Pablo “The Scarecrow” Garza is a fighter from North Dakota who like a number of fighters already mentioned is a former cast member of The Ultimate Fighter reality television series. Garza is a strong grappler with a number of his career wins coming by way of submission. He owns a purple belt in BJJ and at 6’1” is one of the lengthier fighters competing in the UFC’s Featherweight division. His stand up isn’t excellent, but he is becoming better at fighting to his height and has been improving his ability to dictate the range and pace of his bouts. Still grappling is his strong point, but he may find it difficult to get this bout to the ground against a wrestler as strong as Bermudez. Garza’s professional MMA record is 11-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Garza has a couple of extremely impressive highlight reel finishes that I think causes people to believe that he is better than he really is. At 6’1” he’s lanky and lengthy for a Featherweight but his striking is nothing to write home about and short of his flying triangle, his grappling hasn’t looked great either. Bermudez was faring well against Diego Brandao before his aggression got the better of him. His wrestling skills allow him to dictate the placement of this fight and that allows him the ability to control Garza for a unanimous decision. Dennis Bermudez via Unanimous Decision.

Preliminary Card (FUEL TV): Lightweight Bout: Danny Castillo vs. John Cholish

Danny “Last Call” Castillo is an American fighter who is a member of Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male Gym in California. However, due to the live filming of the The Ultimate Fighter and Castillo’s role as an assistant coach to Team Faber he has spent most of his time training for this bout in Las Vegas at the UFC Training Center. Castillo is a former NAIA All American Wrestler. Castillo is a grinding wrestler who uses takedowns to constantly pressure his opponents. His striking is fairly mediocre, but he uses it well to close the distance against his opponents. Castillo has a career record of 13-4.

John Cholish is an American fighter from Hackettstown, New Jersey. The 28-year-old is a grappler who is currently training in New York City, New York at Renzo Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Cholish is well known for his work outside of the cage as well as inside it. He is a Cornell University Graduate who holds a full time job on Wall Street. Cholish is an excellent submissions grappler with a knack for finishing fights, with 3 TKOs and 4 Submissions on his resume. Cholish lost his pro debut, but hasn’t tasted defeat since and has a career record of 8-1.

Analysis and Prediction: These two are extremely evenly matched, which is very accurately reflected in the current betting line for this bout. Castillo holds an edge in power punches, while Cholish is the more accurate striker. Castillo is a smothering wrestler, but Cholish has an impressive submission game. Flip a coin for this one, I’ll take Cholish by the slimmest of margins. John Cholish via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FUEL TV): Flyweight Bout: Louis Gaudinot vs. John Lineker

Louis “Goodnight” Gaudinot is a 27-year-old fighter from Yonkers, New York. He is a veteran of the New Jersey based Ring of Combat promotion and is the promotion’s former Flyweight Champion. He made his UFC debut by entering the Ultimate Fighter as a Bantamweight. A member of the Team Tiger Schulmann Gym in Hoboken, New Jersey Gaudinot is a competent grappler who began his martial arts training at the age of six. After struggling with the size of the larger Bantamweights in the UFC he is making the drop to his more natural weight of 125 pounds. His grappling and submission game is his bread and butter, as Gaudinot will look for takedowns to work his dominant top game on his opponent. Gaudinot owns a career record of 5-2.

John “Mao-de-Pedra” Lineker is a 22-year-old Brazilian fighter who is one of the top young prospects in the world at the Flyweight division. He is a former Jungle Fights Bantamweight Champion. Lineker is a member of the EMPORIUM Gym in Brazil. Lineker is a brawling fighter who isn’t afraid to charge head first into a fight. He is currently riding a 13-fight winning streak and hasn’t lost since December of 2009. This will be Lineker’s first fight at Flyweight as well as his first fight outside of Brazil and his UFC debut, a whole lot of factors that may affect him come fight time. Still he remains a thoroughly entertaining fighter who loves to swing for the fences and has the power to knock out fighters significantly larger than himself. Lineker has a professional MMA record of 19-5.

Analysis and Prediction: Gaudinot looked pretty awful against Johnny Bedford and took one of the worst beatings in TUF Finale history. A drop to Flyweight is what Gaudinot hopes will bring brighter fortunes, unfortunately he’s drawn a tough test for this one. Lineker has made a career fighting larger fighters and has been more successful than Guadinot. Lineker is extremely aggressive and poses a well-rounded skill set which makes him a handful for anyone to deal with. It’s his UFC debut and his first bout outside Brazil, so there’s always the chance he duds out for this one, but if he’s on his came, he should be able to pound out a second round stoppage. John Lineker via TKO in Round Two.

Preliminary Card (FUEL TV): Welterweight Bout: John Hathaway vs. Pascal Krauss

John “The Hitman” Hathaway is a 24-year-old fighter from Brighton, England. He was dubbed as one of the next big things after smothering victories over Rick Story and Diego Sanchez, however Mike Pyle and Kris McCray have done work to derail that hype train. Hathaway is a former Rugby player who transitioned to MMA in 2006. Hathaway has strong wrestling, especially since he is from England, a nation who is often criticized for it’s lack of credible wrestlers. Hathaway is a member of the London Shootfighters Gym in London, England but also spends time in the US with American Top Team and Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Gym. Hathaway has a career record of 15-1.

Pascal “Panzer” Krauss is a German fighter from Breisach, West Germany. Krauss began boxing in Germany at the age of 14 and was a top ranked amateur boxer in the country. He was a German Jr. Boxing Champion and ranked second at the German Boxing Championships. In addition to his strong striking abilities Krauss is a talented grappler, who currently holds a blue belt in BJJ. Krauss has traveled the world to hone his skills travelling to Brazil, California, New York and Japan to train. He is now a member of the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he trains under kickboxing legend Duke Roufus. Krauss is undefeated as a professional with a 10-0 record including 9 victories via stoppage.

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Analysis and Prediction: If this bout was happening a year ago I would be calling for an upset special, as I’ve been very impressed by Krauss’ skills. However, he hasn’t fought in over a year due to injuries and that long of a layoff is sure to hurt anyone. Still, if he’s managed to overcome the layoff, he has the tools to upset Hathaway here. Krauss has strong kickboxing skills and an impressive ground game, Hathaway is a smothering wrestler without much else to offer. Don’t expect fireworks for this one. John Hathaway via Unanimous Decision.

Preliminary Card (FUEL TV): Flyweight Bout: John Dodson vs. Tim Elliott

John “The Magician” Dodson is a 27-year-old fighter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was the winner of the Bisping vs. Miller season of The Ultimate Fighter, a season where he competed 10 pounds above his natural weight class. Dodson is a member of Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque and has a strong camp around him. Dodson showed incredible skills during his time on The Ultimate Fighter scoring a couple of Knockouts on his way to the live finale where he fought tournament favorite TJ Dillashaw. Dodson absolutely dominated Dillashaw and scored a TKO victory in the first round. Dodson claims that he has never been taken down in a fight, and given his amazing strength and athletic ability, it may be close to true. Dodson owns a career record of 12-5.

Tim Elliott is a 25-year-old fighter from Kansas City, Missouri. He is one of the USA’s top prospects at 125 pounds who is currently on an 8-fight winning streak. Elliott was a state wrestling champion in high school, before moving on to wrestle at the University of Central Oklahoma. Elliott is a member of the Grindhouse MMA Gym in Kansas City where he has been working on developing his stand up to complement his strong wrestling. From the videos I have seen however, his striking still looks fairly rudimentary and sloppy, and he often relies solely on his ground skills. Elliott is taking this bout on short notice, after Dodson’s original opponent was injured. Elliott has a career record of 8-2-1.

Analysis and Prediction: You have to give Elliott props for stepping up on late notice and he’s been on a hell of a run lately, but he’s running into a brick wall here, almost literally. Elliott relies mostly on his wrestling skills to earn takedowns and work his top control. Dodson is an amazing athlete, he packs a lot of power in his punches and he has impressive footwork to keep his opponents outside of range. Elliott’s striking skills don’t stack up and he’ll struggle to close the distance against Dodson. From there, he’s going to get desperate and if he gets desperate, he’s going to get hurt. John Dodson via KO in Round Two.

Preliminary Card (FUEL TV): Lightweight Bout: Tony Ferguson vs. Michael Johnson

Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson is a 28-year-old fighter from Muskegon, Michigan. Ferguson a career Lightweight moved up to Welterweight to compete on the Lesnar vs. Dos Santos season of The Ultimate Fighter. Ferguson mowed through the Ultimate Fighter house stopping all of his opponents en-route to the live finale where he earned a KO victory in the first round. Since his time on the show, he has dropped to the Lightweight division and has put on two impressive performances thus far. Ferguson has slick boxing with excellent hand speed and footwork, Ferguson also has big power in both of his hands as evidenced in his bout with Aaron Riley where he broke his opponent’s jaw, forcing a stoppage in between rounds. Ferguson is also a former NCAA Division II wrestler, and uses that background mostly to keep his bouts standing, but can also use it to earn takedowns and keep his opponents off-balance. Ferguson owns a career record of 13-2.

Michael “The Menace” Johnson is a 25-year-old fighter from St. Louis, Missouri. Johnson was a competitor on the GSP vs. Koscheck season of The Ultimate Fighter. Johnson was the runner up that season, losing at the finale to Jonathan Brookins, in a bout where he dominated the first round, but subsequently gassed out and faded before losing rounds two and three. Johnson is now a member of the “Blackzillians” training out of Imperial Athletics in Boca Raton, Florida. Johnson has decent if somewhat basic boxing skills with decent hand and foot speed, along with a solid wrestling top game, but he’ll need to put it all together well to take out Ferguson. Johnson owns a career record of 7-5.

Analysis and Prediction: I’ve never really been high on Johnson, I thought he was handed favorable matches during his time on The Ultimate Fighter. However, he proved me wrong in his bout against Shane Roller. Unfortunately for him, I don’t think he can do it again. Ferguson is tailor built to exploit fighters like Johnson. Ferguson has big power and the wrestling ability to keep this bout standing. Johnson’s stand up is improving and he may even have a slight speed advantage, but it’s not enough to penetrate the long range of Ferguson who’ll take a decision. Tony Ferguson via Unanimous Decision
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Main Card (FOX): Heavyweight Bout: Pat Barry vs. Lavar Johnson

Pat “HD” Barry is a 32-year-old fighter from New Orleans, Louisiana. Barry is a former professional kick boxer who has since transitioned to MMA full time. Although he most recently trained at the DeathClutch MMA Gym, he is still trained in striking under Duke Roufus and does spend time occasionally at the Roufusport Gym in Wisconsin. Barry is mainly a striker and isn’t afraid to admit it, although he has claimed in interviews that his grappling is improving, we have yet to see any evidence of that actually take place in a fight. Still his kickboxing skills are very impressive as his compact frame allows him to throw kicks and punches with speed and power. One of his biggest disadvantages is his size, as at 5’11” he is often at a significant reach disadvantage against other strikers. Still Barry is a highly entertaining fighter who holds a 7-4 professional MMA record.

Lavar “Big” Johnson is just that, a big, bruising Heavyweight fighter from Madera, California. He is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy and like his opponent for this bout, would much rather stand and trade with his opponents than wage a ground war. His propensity to brawl as well as his impressive personal story have made him a crowd favorite. In 2009, Johnson was shot at his family home during a fourth of July BBQ, he battled through that to make his return to fighting full time. Johnson recently made his UFC debut stopping the granite-chinned Joey Beltran with strikes in the first round. Johnson holds a career record of 16-5 and holds an impressive distinction of never fighting to a decision in his career, win or lose, this guy comes to fight.

Analysis and Prediction: These two have an open gentleman’s agreement to keep this bout standing and I would say that is the exact reason that they are being tapped to kick off the broadcast. Johnson’s never been to a decision and I doubt that this is going to be the first time. Barry is the better technical striker, but no one can deny the power that Johnson has in his hands. Barry will need to utilize leg kicks against Johnson if he wants to be successful. Powerful kicks to the big man’s legs will certainly slow him down and throw off his footwork. At the end of the day, Barry is at a significant reach disadvantage, but it’s not something he’s not used to, as he’s the smaller fighter in every bout. If he fights wisely he can win via second round stoppage, if he gets cute or stupid, he’s going out. I’ll take the former, but wouldn’t be surprised to see the latter. Pat Barry via TKO in Round Two

Main Card (FOX): Middleweight Bout: Rousimar Palhares vs. Alan Belcher

Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares is a 32-year-old fighter from Brazil. Palhares is known for his impressive Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and leg lock skills, as well as his somewhat oddball behavior during fights. Palhares is a short and extremely muscular fighter who can use that build to unleash powerful punches from inside the clinch. Palhares is a member of the Brazilian Top Team who holds a black belt in BJJ. Palhares is a strong grappler, with a smothering top game and vicious ground and pound who is able to set up his submissions simply by pounding away on his opponents and forcing them into mistakes. Palhares has been prone to mental mistakes in the past including complaining that Nate Marquardt was greased before getting knocked out cold, as well as a premature celebration in a bout against Dan Miller. Still Palhares is a very dangerous opponent who holds a career record of 14-3.

Alan “The Talent” Belcher is a 28-year-old fighter from Jonesboro, Arkansas. Belcher currently trains at his own gym in Biloxi Mississippi as well as the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Belcher is a talented kick boxer who can fight well from a range, when he is able to dictate the pacing and spacing of the bout. Belcher is also a significantly underrated grappler who owns a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. However, due to the dangerous ground game of Palhares, it’s unlikely that a ground battle is what Belcher wants to engage in. Belcher will need to use solid footwork and leg kicks to keep the bout away from clinches where Palhares will be able to excel. Belcher recently made his successful return to the UFC after over a year away with a career threatening eye injury. Belcher owns a career record of 17-6.

Analysis and Prediction: This bout is going to tell us a lot about both fighters and their potential against the upper echelon of the Middleweight division. Belcher has all the tools at his disposal to win this bout, he needs to stay on the outside and use his superior speed and kick boxing abilities to keep Palhares away from him. He will need to be cautious about throwing too many kicks, because all it will take is for Palhares to catch one and then Belcher might be in a whole world of trouble on the ground against the leg lock specialist. What it comes down to for me is that while Belcher does have all of the tools to keep Palhares at bay, the smallest of slip-ups will open the door for Palhares. I expect the Brazilian to struggle through the first round, before finding his range in the second. He slips inside nails a few big punches to stun the Roufusport fighter and then drags him to the ground for the big submission finish. Rousimar Palhares via Submission in Round Two.

Main Card (FOX): Welterweight Bout: Josh Koscheck vs. Johnny Hendricks

Josh “Kos” Koscheck is an American fighter from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania who is one of the most hated fighters in the UFC. Koscheck was first introduced to fans on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter where he was known for his wrestling skills and trash talk. He has perfected his role as the Welterweight divisions resident heel, which has gained him prominence as well as a legion of haters. Koscheck is a former NCAA Division I Wrestler who uses his wrestling skills extensively in bouts. He has solid takedowns and a smothering top control game. Despite the fact that he was widely criticized as a lay-and-pray fighter at the beginning of his career, he has since added solid striking skills to his repertoire matched by big knockout power in both hands. Koscheck is a former member of the American Kickboxing Academy but has since left and joined the Dethrone Base Camp. Koscheck owns a career record of 17-5.

Johnny Hendricks is a 28-year-old fighter from Ada, Oklahoma. Like his opponent for this bout Hendricks is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler while he was competing for Oklahoma State University. Hendricks is a member of the Team Takedown Gym fighting out of Dallas, Texas. Hendricks has also improved his striking skills, using tight boxing combinations and big power punches to throttle his opponents. Hendricks is coming off of a career-defining win, starching Jon Fitch in only 12 seconds to become the first man to ever stop Fitch in the UFC. Hendricks also has excellent dirty boxing skills and has been able to dominate several opponents in the clinch, utilizing nasty uppercuts from up close. Hendricks has tasted defeat only once in his professional career, he has a record of 12-1.

Analysis and Prediction: This is another ridiculously close bout, this time between two men with very similar styles. Both have excellent collegiate wrestling credentials, with Hendricks having a bit more success at the NCAA level, while Koscheck is probably better at using his wrestling in MMA. Hendricks is the quicker and more technical striking, but his defense has looked porous and Koscheck’s overhand right can put anyone in the division to sleep if he lands it cleanly. Both men have one recent common opponent, Mike Pierce who both defeated via Split Decisions, while that is a testament to how tough Pierce is for any fighter at Welterweight I thought Hendricks had more success against him striking and grinding. This one is going to come down to a few takedowns and a few late flurries to steal the rounds, I don’t think anyone is getting stopped, once again I’ll go back to my handy, dandy coin and take Koscheck. Josh Koscheck via Split Decision.

Main Card (FOX): Lightweight Bout: Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller

Nate Diaz is a 27-year-old fighter from Stockton, California. He is the younger brother of former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion and current UFC Welterweight Nick Diaz. Nate is also successful for more than just being the younger brother of Nick, he was a cast member and the eventual winner of the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Diaz is an extremely talented grappler with a dangerous submission game and a black belt in BJJ. Diaz is a member of the Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu Gym where he trains regularly with brother Nick, Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez. In addition to his impressive grappling skills, Nate is an extremely capable boxer. Although he throws very few kicks, he is an expert at controlling the range of a fight by cutting off the cage and walking down his opponents. Diaz doesn’t throw any particular punch with big power, but instead relies simply on a volume punching style. Diaz throws a lot of leather and is extremely accurate and in his last bout against Donald Cerrone he set a number of records by landing 82% of the strikes he threw, as well as landing a record 238 significant strikes in a three round fight. Diaz has struggled against smothering wrestlers in the past, however, his jiu jitsu and judo skills make him a tough fighter to simply hold down, as he is very active from guard, constantly threatening with submission attempts and sweeps. Diaz holds a career record of 15-7.

Jim Miller is an American fighter from Sparta Township, New Jersey. Miller is a member of the AMA Fight Club out of New Jersey and will surely have the hometown advantage come fight night on Saturday. Miller is the epitome of a grinder. Miller constantly moves forward, plugging behind double leg takedowns and a gritty stand up style. One of Miller’s best assets is his strong gas tank and his ability to take a punch. In his last bout, he took a big punch from Guillard but was able to recover and takeover by dragging Guillard to the ground and outworking him en-route to a submission victory. Miller will need to fight intelligently against Diaz, he’ll need to avoid getting caught up in striking exchanges and focus simply on getting the bout to the mat. Miller owns an impressive grappling game of his own, but unlike Diaz who can threaten from the top and the bottom, Miller relies on being on top and smothering his opponents while searching out submission opportunities. Miller owns a career record of 21-3.

Analysis and Prediction: This bout will quite simply come down to who can impose their will on the other fighter. Miller is a grinder, always pushing forward and always looking to pressure his opponents. He has one hell of a chin and has never been stopped in his entire career. He has an impressive and smothering top control game and while his takedowns aren’t always of the textbook variety, they usually get the job done. He’s got a stellar grappling game himself and is able to completely blanket fighters when he gets in top control. His game plan is going to rely a lot on getting Diaz to the ground, getting on top and working from there.

For Diaz, the game plan will be the exact opposite. He’s got excellent boxing and his pitter-patter volume punching style absolutely massacred Donald Cerrone in their last fight. It also appeared to overwhelm him, as instead of changing game plans, Cerrone just kept coming in to take the punches, I would expect Miller to avoid a similar game plan. Diaz is an excellent submission grappler with an extremely active guard, which dissuades a lot of fighters from trying to take him down, I don’t expect Miller will be one of those fighters, so Diaz had better have been working on his sprawl and brawl techniques. Although Miller’s stand up is decent, he’s not on Diaz’s level, and Diaz also has a stellar chin, so even for those times when Diaz takes a punch, you know he can take it and he’s going to be throwing four or five more back.

Miller must make this fight dirty. His best chance is to close the distance early and often. Diaz isn’t a power puncher so there isn’t the fear of a massive haymaker waiting for him for wading in too close, but Miller needs to do it quickly, or he’ll be eating a steady diet of leather from Diaz as he backs away. Miller is the exact type of fighter that Diaz has struggled with in the past, the grinding wrestler who can control him on the ground and not allow him to get into a rhythm on the feet. This fight is also five rounds, but neither man has shown a lot of cardio issues in the past, so I just expect two more rounds of action. I’m going to take Miller in this fight, I really like Diaz, but Miller is custom built to give him problems. Rory MacDonald completely manhandled Nate Diaz at Welterweight and while Miller doesn’t have the size and strength advantages over Diaz that MacDonald did at Welterweight, he should still be able to implement a similar game plan. Enough so that he can take three out of five rounds and take the decision. Jim Miller via Unanimous Decision.

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Sonnen & Evans Winners On UFC On Fox 2

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

UFC on Fox 2 resultsIt was a bitter sweet night for the UFC when it comes to UFC on Fox 2 results. On the bright side, they got the right winners for their future UFC money matches. On the downside, they probably won’t have many new viewers the next time out on Fox after tonight’s grinding broadcast.

The UFC took advantage of new viewers and publicity with their first FOX broadcast and delivered expected fireworks. Unfortunately for a show that needed to follow that momentum, they came up real small tonight in Chicago. Three decision fights with very little fire power may have stalled any momentum from the first broadcast right in its place.

Let me be clear as an MMA fan, I enjoyed most of the night. Yet even I couldn’t find much redemption in the opening fight. As much as I enjoyed the Bisping vs. Sonnen fight, I can’t imagine many casual viewers stuck around to watch the fight or the headliner. It was certainly not a great night in terms of the broadcast.

Quite frankly, the choice of matchups boggled my mind all along. Booking Demian Maia, Michael Bisping, and Rashad Evans on such a high profile show just sounded absurd to me. If there is one thing that most of these guys have in common, it is that they have boring fights. They are all grinders and they delivered exactly what any regular MMA follower would have expected. The UFC has nobody to blame but their own matchmakers for tonight’s debacle. I still have no idea what they were thinking.

The highlight of the night to me was Chael Sonnen defeating Michael Bisping via unanimous decision. I thought this fight was much better than most according to the early feedback I read. Bisping never seemed out of it like Phil Davis did, which had me excited about watching the Count pull off a possible comeback. Unfortunately those casual eyes unfamiliar with the fun back and forth between Bisping and Sonnen probably didn’t find it as interesting.

Sonnen will now go on to fight Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title. The fight is currently scheduled for June in Brazil, although Silva has been very non-committal about the date. I have mixed feelings on the fight. I think when a challenger is popped for PEDs after a title fight, that there needs to be a lengthy period before he could even think about a title shot. The ramifications would not have been good if Sonnen did beat Silva, ended his streak, won the title, and then got popped for the PEDs. Sonnen put the company in a lot of jeopardy which is why I don’t understand why he is being quickly rewarded.

But I get it and business is business. This has the potential to be the biggest fight in UFC history. Between the background, Chael’s wacky interviews, the Brazilian atmosphere, and the long anticipation, I predict that this fight will break UFC records. So I do get it. Lucky for Chael he won’t have to worry about any commissions fighting in Brazil. How convenient.

In the main-event, Rashad Evans dominated Phil Davis, winning a unanimous decision. Davis just looked slow and completely outclassed from the start of the fight. Evans didn’t finish him which is always a criticism of the former champion, but he didn’t look to be in real danger at any point in the fight. He went five rounds and didn’t appear to be gassed. It was a great showcase, but hardly the kind of fight you want to use as a selling point for UFC 145.

Evans vs. Jones will take place at UFC 145, or at least that is the plan. This fight has been canceled several times due to injuries to both fighters. I know Evans may not have looked as dangerous as he did against Tito Ortiz but I am still picking him over Jones. I think Evans is one of the smartest fighters in MMA. He studies his opponents and adjusts his style to break their will and dominate them. I think he will do the same against Jones and do enough to capitalize on Jones’ inexperience. You may find that hard to believe after watching his fight tonight, but the guy is a chameleon. I think he regains the title at UFC 145.

The next UFC on Fox broadcast is scheduled for March. If the ratings come in where I think they’ll come in, they will have enormous pressure on them with the UFC on Fox 3. Cain Velasquez vs. Frank Mir is rumored to headline the show which is a fight that could go either way. Regardless, the UFC really needs to do a better job of putting better matches together for the broadcast. They need to put on smaller, faster guys, big guys with knockout power, and styles that make better fights. If not, they will wind up finding themselves swimming upstream for the remainder of the FOX contract.

While this isn’t pro wrestling and nothing can ever go as expected, sadly for the UFC every fight went as expected tonight.

Full UFC on Fox 2 results…
Chris Camozzi defeated Dustin Jacoby, Submission, Round 3
Lavar Johnson defeated Joey Beltran, KO, Round 1
Michael Johnson defeated Shane Roller via unanimous decision
Charles Oliveira defeated Eric Wisely, Submission, Round 1
Cub Swanson defeated George Roop, KO, Round 2
Mike Russow defeated John-Olav Einemo, unanimous decision
Evan Dunham defeated Nik Lentz, TKO, ref stoppage due to cut, end of Round 2
Chris Weidman defeated Demian Maia via split decision
Chael Sonnen defeated Michael Bisping via unanimous decision
Rashad Evans defeated Phil Davis via unanimous decision

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UFC On Fox 2 Predictions & Analysis

January 27, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC on Fox 2It has been a whirlwind of activity lately for the world’s largest Mixed Martial Arts promotion. The UFC continues to start 2012 with a roar of activity this weekend with their return to network television as the UFC presents UFC on FOX 2 from Chicago, Illinois. The main card features a trio of fights, capped off by Light Heavyweight and Middleweight title eliminator bouts. A late injury to former main event fighter Mark Munoz caused some card-shuffling, but many would argue that this has only made the card more exciting with more marketable bouts.

In the main event of the evening “Sugar” Rashad Evans continues his never-ending quest towards former teammate and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones when he takes on Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis. The co-main event of the evening sees a battle between two trash talking experts as Chael Sonnen battles Michael “The Count” Bisping. The final scheduled bout for the main card features former Middleweight contender Demian Maia taking on fast-rising prospect Chris Weidman. The undercard broadcast on Fuel TV features eight more bouts, several of which have serious potential for fireworks. But enough talking about it, let’s get right into breaking down these fights.

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Chris Camozzi vs. Dustin Jacoby

Chris “Kamikaze” Camozzi is a 25-year-old fighter from the Factory X Muay Thai and MMA Gym in Lakewood, Colorado. Camozzi is a former competitor on the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. Camozzi is a well-rounded fighter whose best strength is probably his grit and determination. Camozzi is a very workmanlike fighter, his striking is technically sound, but he doesn’t really possess KO power, relying instead on damage accumulation and point scoring in his strikes. On the ground he’s a capable grappler, but isn’t exactly a submission aficionado. Camozzi holds a professional MMA record of 15-5.

Dustin Jacoby is a young up-and-coming fighter from Fort Morgan, Colorado. The 23-year-old is a member of the HIT Squad Gym in Springfield, Illinois, so he should have some hometown support as he searches for his first Octagon victory in his second try. Undefeated at 6-0, he was given his first shot at the UFC at 137 where he suffered a decision loss to the also debuting Clifford Starks. At 6’4” with five first-round stoppages on his resume, Jacoby looked to be a hot prospect but his wrestling defense and grappling skills were severely exposed in the bout against Starks. He’ll need to have shored up some of those deficiencies if he’s going to have any chance against Camozzi in this one. Jacoby enters the fight with a career record of 6-1.

Analysis and Prediction: Camozzi may not be great at anything, but he is well-rounded enough to win this fight. In his UFC debut Jacoby looked absolutely terrible on the ground and was unable to mount any offense whatsoever from guard. At 6’4” with decent striking, Jacoby definitely has the physical tools to control this bout, if he can effectively control the range. But it’s more likely that Camozzi closes the distance searches out a takedown and completely outworks Jacoby for three rounds. Chris Camozzi via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card Bout (Fuel TV): Heavyweight Bout: Joey Beltran vs. Lavar Johnson

Joey “The Mexecutioner” Beltran is a Mexican-American fighter from San Diego, California. Despite his relatively mediocre record inside the octagon (3-3) he is probably one of the fighters who enjoys the most job-security due to his fan-friendly brawling style. Beltran is a straight up brawler, who relies on his iron chin and his heavy-handed stand up style. He is a member of the Alliance MMA gym and also a member of the Blackline Fight Group. Beltran’s biggest weapons are by far his hands, as he constantly pushes forward, no matter what his opponents throw at him. His 11 victories by way of knockout or TKO prove that fact. Overall Beltran owns a professional record of 13-6.

Lavar “Big” Johnson has one of the most impressive stories of anybody in professional MMA today. During a family reunion in 2009, he was shot twice only to survive and return to the cage a year later. Johnson is an extremely powerful puncher who owns 13 wins by way of KO or TKO. However, he is severely lacking in the ground game department, as in his past two fights he was somewhat exploited on the ground by superior grapplers. Nevertheless, he remains dangerous as he can end the fight at any time that the fight remains upright. Johnson also owns a rare statistic that he has never had a fight go to a decision, win or lose this guy comes to fight. He owns a professional record of 15-5.

Analysis and Prediction: My early prediction is that this fight is a serious contender for Fight of the Night. This has all the makings of a potential brawl and it’s likely that fans are going to be treated to a Heavyweight slugfest. Johnson is absolutely terrible on the ground, but unless he is getting completely smashed on the feet, Beltran is unlikely to search for a takedown to exploit it. In a stand up game, Beltran’s defense is horrible and he’s never met a punch he didn’t mind taking on the chin, luckily for him however, that chin is made of granite. However, that poses a big liability for him as Johnson is likely going to be the most powerful puncher that he has ever faced. If Beltran is smart he’d take this fight to the mat, it’s more likely he goes out there and brawls for the fans. He’s never been KO’ed but he’s never fought a power puncher like Johnson. In a brawl, I like the upset here. Lavar Johnson via KO in Round Two

Preliminary Card Bout (Fuel TV): Lightweight Bout: Michael Johnson vs. Shane Roller

Michael “The Menace” Johnson is a former cast member of The Ultimate Fighter: GSP vs. Koscheck, he finished the season as the runner-up, losing at the live finale to champion Jonathan Brookins. Johnson is primarily a wrestler, who relies on his takedowns and top control to win him fights. Johnson is a 25-year-old from St. Louis, Missouri, he now however trains out of Boca Raton, Florida with the Imperial Athletics Team. Johnson has been working to improve his boxing skills, but he still is a fairly rudimentary striker, who uses his punches simply to set up takedowns and close distances. Johnson owns a career record of 9-6.

Shane Roller is a 32-year-old fighter from Bixby, Oklahoma. He has a very decorated background as a collegiate wrestler for Oklahoma State University where he was a three-time All-American. Roller is a member of the Team Takedown Gym based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, where he is continually working on his stand up skills to compliment his strong wrestling. Roller has transitioned his wrestling skills well to MMA, as he is a very competent grappler, who uses ground and pound to search for submission opportunities and has actually won most of his fights by Submission. Roller has struggled in his past few bouts, going 1-2 during the stretch and is in need of a win, still he does own a solid professional resume with a 10-5 record with most losses coming to some very high-level 155-pounders.

Analysis and Prediction: These two men are very likely fighting for their jobs, because anything other than impressive performances from both will likely earn the loser a pink-slip. Unfortunately, both fighters’ backgrounds are rooted in wrestling so a brawl isn’t likely in the cards. Roller is a big power puncher who can end the fight any time that he connects with that big right hand and he’s too good of a wrestler to be taken down and controlled by Johnson. Without the takedown Johnson doesn’t have a solid path to victory and it’s likely he gets controlled on the mat by a superior wrestler in Roller. Expect Roller to use ground and pound to set up a submission late in the second round. Shane Roller via Submission in Round Two

Preliminary Card Bout (Fuel TV): Featherweight Bout: Charles Oliveira vs. Eric Wisely

Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira is a Brazilian fighter and was a highly touted prospect when he entered the UFC. He has since struggled slightly, but at only 22-years old and having recently dropped to the Featherweight division he is looking to get his career back on track and has plenty of time to do so. Oliveira like most of his Brazilian counter-parts is a Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter, who owns a brown belt in BJJ. Oliveira is a very aggressive fighter who is constantly pushing the pace against his opponents and is always looking for a finish. In 17 career bouts, he has gone to a decision only once. He has a professional record of 14-2, with 1 No Contest.

Eric “Little Lee” Wisely is a 27-year-old fighter from the Team Conquest camp in Clinton, Iowa. A decent striker with a solid grappling acumen he most recently fought at a Strikeforce event where he gave top Lightweight prospect Pat Healy all he could handle on the mat. Wisely owns career victories over former UFC fighters Matt Veach and Hermes Franca, outworking both fighters on the mat using his submission savvy style. Wisely is also making the drop to Featherweight for this bout as well as it being his UFC debut, he gets a stiff test though in Oliveira. Wisely’s career record stands at 19-6.

Analysis and Prediction: Oliveira may look like he’s getting thrown a softball here, but really he has a lot to lose. He came into the UFC with a lot of hype and while he deserved most of it, he didn’t deliver. He’s being given an opponent with zero name value, but who can provide a stern and scrappy test by turning this fight ugly on Oliveira. What the Brazilian needs to do is use his strong boxing skills to control the distance that this fight gets fought at. Using leg kicks will slow down Wisely and allow him to control the pace. From there in the second and third rounds he can open up a bit, and use takedowns to set up an eventual win via Submission. Charles Oliveira via Submission in Round Three

Preliminary Card Bout (Fuel TV): Featherweight Bout: Cub Swanson vs. George Roop

Cub Swanson is a 28-year-old fighter from Palm Springs, California. A veteran of the WEC, Swanson is a Jackson’s MMA disciple with a strong background in kickboxing and decent grappling skills to compliment. Swanson is best known as the victim of Jose Aldo’s flying knee KO which is the feature of almost every Aldo highlight reel, however, he is a very fan-friendly fighter who prefers to stand and trade with his opponents and is always fighting at a high pace. Swanson is really not great in any particular area, but is solid in all aspects of the fight game, however, he has proven to be a bit to happy to exchange in brawls where it does not suit him. Nonetheless he has enjoyed some success in his career and holds a record of 15-5 as a professional.

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George Roop has been one of the most surprising comeback stories in UFC history. He is a former cast member of the Ultimate Fighter who made his debut in the stacked 155-Pound class. After going 1-2 in the UFC he was promptly released which caused him to return to his natural weight of 145-pounds. At 6’1” Roop is the largest Featherweight fighter on the UFC’s payroll and provides a stylistic mismatch for any striker in the division due to his long limbs and range. Roop is a Team Tompkins striker whose expertise lies in the striking department. He uses kicks well to establish range and then picks his opponents apart from the outside utilizing his massive reach. Despite early struggles in the UFC, Roop has shown rapid improvement in his overall MMA game as of late. He holds a pro record of 12-8.

Analysis and Prediction: If you asked me who would win this fight when both men were still in the WEC, I would have picked Swanson in a heartbeat, however Roop has shown a lot of improvement lately. Many people felt that he actually defeated Hatsu Hioki, and while I scored that bout 29-28 in favor of Hioki, the fight was a lot closer than I expected. Roop’s biggest strength is his size and he has finally learned to use his height to his advantage. Instead of fighting crunched up, he now stands tall and throws tons of kicks to keep his opponents at bay. Swanson is well rounded enough to stick with Roop every step of the way, but I think he’ll struggle getting inside on Roop, which could lead to him taking a few knees and elbows from a clinch. It’ll be close but it’ll be Unanimous for Roop. George Roop via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card Bout (Fuel TV): Heavyweight Bout: Mike Russow vs. John-Olav Einemo

Mike Russow is a 35-year-old fighter from Chicago, Illinois who will be fighting in front of some hometown fans for this bout. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler and is a former member of Brock Lesnar’s DeathClutch Gym in Minnesota. Russow has decent wrestling skills, but is best known for his ability to take punishment and brawl his heart out. Most fans would recognize Russow from his fight against Todd Duffee where he absorbed nearly 13 minutes of punishment and was well on his way to losing a decision before blasting Duffee with a huge overhand right that knocked the massive Heavyweight out cold. Russow holds a pro record of 14-1 with 1 no contest and is currently riding a ten fight winning streak.

John-Olav “The Viking” Einemo is a fighter from Oslo, Norway. Despite being 36-years-old he is one of the Heavyweight divisions best grapplers and one of the top BJJ practitioners in the world. He is the 2003 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Champion in the 98 KG weight-class and holds the distinction of being the only man to defeat Roger Gracie in the Abu Dhabi tournament. He is a black belt in BJJ and is a member of the Golden Glory Gym, the former home of Alistair Overeem. Despite taking a five year break he gave Dave Herman all he could handle in his last bout at UFC 131, and will be looking for his first octagon victory in this bout. He holds a pro record of 6-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Despite his somewhat impressive record, I’ve never been overly impressed by Russow. His striking is decent, loaded with power, but it’s often slow and sloppy. He’s also shown a propensity to gas slightly in the later rounds of fights, which could come back to haunt him in a bout against a solid grappler like Einemo. Einemo is a very large Heavyweight, who will enjoy a four inch height advantage and a fifteen or so pound weight advantage. Russow has strong wrestling, but like most wrestlers is very poor fighting from his back. If Einemo can hold his own boxing long enough to snatch a takedown he can easily win this bout by out-grappling the American. I smell an upset. John-Olav Einemo via Submission in Round Three

Preliminary Card Bout (Fuel TV): Lightweight Bout: Evan Dunham vs. Nik Lentz

Evan “3-D” Dunham is a 30-year-old fighter from Eugene, Oregon who now trains at the Throwdown Training Center and Xtreme Couture Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dunham is a solid striker who throws combinations well but can be somewhat poor defensively. However, when the fight hits the mat is when he excels. He has strong wrestling with good takedowns and is a black belt in BJJ. Dunham is an aggressive fighter who constantly pressures opponents, oftentimes forcing them into mistakes where he can take advantage with power punches or by searching for submissions. Dunham was one of the top prospects of the Lightweight class before a Knockout loss to Melvin Guillard, he will be looking to put the hype train back in full gear with a big win in this bout. He enters the bout with a pro record of 12-2.

Nik “The Carnie” Lentz is actually a late-replacement for Paul Sass, taking this fight on just over a month’s notice. The 27-year-old from El Paso, Texas recently lost one of the most impressive winning streaks in MMA after going 15 fights without a loss, he was recently out-grappled and out-worked by Canadian Mark Bocek at UFC 140. Lentz is a former NCAA Division 1 wrestler from the University of Minnesota. A member of the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, he relies heavily on his wrestling base to win him fights. He often struggles against fighters that he cannot overwhelm with wrestling as he lacks a strong striking game to back up his grappling prowess. Lentz holds a pro record of 21-4-2 with 1 no contest.

Analysis and Prediction: While some people are impressed by Lentz’s long unbeaten streak, I think it had a lot to do with luck and circumstance. He was being completely demolished by Charles Oliveira before an Illegal Knee turned an eventual TKO loss into a No Contest. The biggest factor in this fight is Lentz’s last bout against Mark Bocek. Bocek was able to overpower him with wrestling and superior grappling positioning. Dunham is a better wrestler with just as much positional awareness as Bocek and more aggression. However, Lentz is still incredibly tough to finish having been stopped only twice in his career. As it is, I expect an almost exact replica of the Bocek fight for Lentz but with more damage taken. However, he’ll likely make it to the final bell. Evan Dunham via Unanimous Decision

Main Card Bout (FOX): Middleweight Bout: Demian Maia vs. Chris Weidman

Demian Maia is a 34-year-old fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is among the best pure grapplers in the UFC’s Middleweight division and is adding strong technical boxing to back up his impressive BJJ skills. A 4th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Maia is a former winner of the acclaimed ADCC Submission Fighting World Championships. To improve his striking skills Maia has recently joined the Wand Fight Team. He is a former title challenger for the UFC’s Middleweight title and also has decent Judo skills which he often uses in lieu of straight wrestling takedowns to get the fight to the mat. Maia is an aggressive grappler who is always searching for submission opportunities, but he fares much better when he is in top position as opposed to fighting from his back. Maia owns a career record of 15-3 with 8 wins via Submission.

Chris “The All-American” Weidman is a highly touted prospect from Baldwin, New York. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Hofstra University where he was a two-time Division 1 All-American. Weidman has continued to add to his wrestling base and is rapidly improving his submission grappling skills under the tutelage of coach Matt Serra. Weidman is part of the Serra-Long Fight Team in Long Island, New York. Weidman like his opponent for this bout does not possess great striking skills, however he has been consistently improving his stand up skills as he matures as a fighter. Weidman is a late-replacement for Michael Bisping who received a promotion to the co-main event, Weidman accepted this fight on less than three weeks notice. Currently undefeated as a professional, Weidman owns a record of 7-0 with 5 wins via stoppage in the first round.

Analysis and Prediction: This is a very interesting bout with a lot of angles that could play out. I actually like this bout more than Maia and original opponent Michael Bisping. Let’s breakdown some of the areas of the fight. Strength and athleticism edge has to go to Weidman, although he has gassed in the later rounds of previous fights, while Maia is usually able to go the full three rounds at top speed. The grappling edge is pretty much a toss-up, Maia has better grappling skills, but will spend most of this fight on his back, which is not somewhere that he excels at submission offense. Weidman holds the clear wrestling edge, which will likely be the key path to victory for him. Standing, both have shown raw but improving stand up and have good coaches in their corners, again I’d say this one is a toss up, with Maia having a slight edge.

So where does that take us? Weidman is likely going to shoot for takedowns early and often, and if they get stuffed, he’s likely going to throw a couple of punches and then shoot again and again until he earns a takedown. He’ll need to have improved his cardio, because if he slows down in the third round it’s very likely that Maia will be able to latch onto a limb for a submission. However, it’s more likely that Weidman uses his strong wrestling base to control Maia on the mat and negate his grappling edge. Maia is too smart positionally to be caught in any intricate submissions by Weidman, so the only likely way Weidman wins by Submission is by a guillotine or Rear naked choke. The most likely outcome is that Weidman uses his wrestling to control the bout on the mat, using a lot of ground and pound to wear out Maia en-route to a Unanimous Decision victory

Main Card Bout (FOX): Middleweight Bout: Michael Bisping vs. Chael Sonnen

Michael “The Count” Bisping is an English fighter from Manchester, England. He is a member of the Wolfslair MMA Academy in the UK. Bisping is best known to fans for his brash and cocky attitude and his trash-talking skills, but has legit fighting skills to go along with all his talking. Bisping was the Light heavyweight winner of the third season of The Ultimate Fighter. Bisping lacks strong wrestling skills, however, he has solid takedown defense and strong defensive BJJ, although his main focus is creating sweeps to get back to his feet as opposed to searching for takedowns. His striking is technically sound and although he doesn’t strike with power, he is an expert at using his quick footwork to dart in and out against opponents, landing in combinations and retreating before taking too much damage. Bisping owns a career record of 22-3 with his lone losses coming from the elite fighters of the sport Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans.

Chael Sonnen is quite possibly the most hated fighter in the UFC. He will continue his quest for a rematch with Middleweight champion Anderson Silva on network television and if he gets a microphone after this fight, look out, because sparks will surely fly. Sonnen is a 34-year-old fighter from West Linn, Oregon. Sonnen is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from the University of Oregon, and was also a USA Olympic team alternate for Greco-Roman Wrestling. Sonnen is a member of the Portland, Oregon chapter of Team Quest. His striking skills are fairly mediocre, however, his wrestling is top notch. He uses strong wrestling and top control to grind away at and pound away at his opponents. He is best known to casual fans for his bout against Anderson Silva, where he controlled the champion on the mat for nearly five full rounds, before being submitted in the last minute of the fight. Submission defense has always been Sonnen’s Achilles heel, as he has eight career losses by way of Submission. Sonnen enters this fight with a career record of 26-11-1.

Analysis and Prediction: A lot of people seem to be hyping a Michael Bisping upset special, but I think many gamblers are being lured by the long-shot odds currently being offered by bookies to Bisping supporters. Bisping has earned the nickname “Pillowfists” on the internet, and while I don’t necessarily agree with the criticism, it’s hard to argue as Bisping relies on cumulative damage as opposed to one-punch KO’s. Nevertheless, he will still hold the stand up edge against Sonnen whose striking game is fairly rudimentary and used only as a means to close distance and shoot for a takedown.

The question for Bisping will be how good is his takedown defense? How long can he sprawl-and-brawl and keep himself upright before Sonnen drags him to the mat. Everyone knows Sonnen’s game plan, it’s not hard to figure out, the hard thing is stopping his constant takedowns from eventually getting you to your back. Bisping must constantly change angles and stay away from Sonnen if he is going to have any chance at stealing this fight. However, I think the more likely outcome is three rounds of Sonnen takedowns followed by grinding ground and pound all the way to a clear cut devision victory. Sonnen’s submission defense is basically non-existent and there is always the chance that Bisping throws up a hail mary triangle choke from guard, but his grappling is more focussed on getting himself to his feet than searching for submissions from his back, so I think the likelihood of that happening is relatively slim. Chael Sonnen via Unanimous Decision

Main Card Bout (FOX): Light Heavyweight Bout: Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis

“Sugar” Rashad Evans is a 32-year-old fighter from Niagara Falls, New York. Evans was the winner of the Heavyweight division of the Ultimate Fighter 2 and is also a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Evans has a background in wrestling as he was a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Michigan State University. However, Evans has continually improved his overall game and has some extremely slick boxing skills to go along with his excellent wrestling base. Evans is a former Team Jackson fighter who after a public feud with current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion (and current Greg Jackson Fighter) Jon Jones, he left the camp to join the Imperial Athletics Gym in Boca Raton, Florida. Earlier in his career Evans received a reputation as a lay and pray fighter who used wrestling to control his opponents, but could do little else. His knockout victories over Sean Salmon, Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell have definitely changed that assumption. He possesses great hand speed and some of the best footwork in the Light Heavyweight division. Evans owns a professional record of 16-1-1.

Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis is a 27-year-old fighter from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Undefeated as a professional, Davis is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from the Penn State University. Now fighting out of San Diego, California he is a member of the Alliance MMA Team where he trains regularly with fights such as Dominick Cruz, Brandon Vera and Alexander Gustafsson. Davis mostly utilizes his wrestling skills to search for takedowns and top control to earn points on the judge’s scorecards. However, he has continued to improve his striking skills and has rapidly improved his submission offense from top control. Davis holds a career record of 9-0.

Analysis and Prediction: This is yet another intriguing bout and is one of the main reasons why I’m looking so forward to this weekends card, (that and the fact that it’s on free TV.) Wrestlers have a constant criticism that follows them wherever they go, that they can’t fight off of their backs and it is almost universally true. The question here will be, which fighter is more likely to impose his game plan on his opponent and actually what will each fighter’s game plan be? Let’s breakdown each fighter’s most likely path to victory.

For Phil Davis to win this fight, he’s going to need to rely on his ground game. Rashad has constantly improved his stand up game and while working with Dominick Cruz and Alexander Gustafsson is sure to have improved Davis’ skills, he’s likely still far behind Evans in terms of striking abilities. However, Evans has never really been put on his back against a strong wrestler and Davis is the superior grappler of the two men, so should the fight hit the mat with him on top it will be interesting to see what he does with it. His long limbs allow him to throw ground and pound, while still being able to control his opponents on the mat, and those limbs also allow him a strong ability to latch onto chokes while on the ground, if he can get Evans to the mat, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him snatch a submission if Evans gets careless. There is also the issue of Evans’ less-than-stellar chin. Rashad has been rocked in fights before, but that was against big name strikers like Thiago Silva, Rampage Jackson and Lyoto Machida, so while it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Davis rocks Rashad with strikes, it’s more likely that the key to his victory comes on the ground.

Rashad Evans will likely be looking to strike. Once a feared wrestler known for his controlling lay-and-pray style, Evans has tossed that version of himself aside. Now he instead thinks of himself as the second-coming of Muhammed Ali, preferring to stand and trade with nearly all of his opponents. He will likely have the striking advantage and definitely holds the edge in hand and foot speed, so he should be able to outwork Davis in the stand up department. Davis is also a wrestler, which means he would likely fare poorly from his back. Rashad can still control fighters, look at his first two rounds against Rampage for proof, and if he executes a similar game plan against Davis, it’s unlikely that Davis has the grappling skills to catch a submission from the bottom.

Overall I think Evans just has more ways to win. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either fighter walk out of the main event with their hand raised, but Evans has more ways to accomplish that feat. If he can keep the bout standing it’s likely that he will beat Davis to the punch consistently and accumulate damage against his younger foe. On the mat, I’d give the edge to whoever ends up on top. My best guess is that Davis throws a couple of curveballs to Evans along the way, but Evans earns the Unanimous Decision nod after the dust settles. Rashad Evans 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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UFC Live: Cruz Vs. Johnson Analysis & Predictions

October 01, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC LiveThis Saturday the UFC returns to your airwaves, continuing their fall assault on television viewers. But fear not, there will be no damage to your wallet this weekend, no they’re saving that for next weekend. This Saturday night the UFC makes it’s first live appearance in Washington, D.C. This also marks the final event to be broadcast on Versus for free, before the UFC makes it’s anticipated switch to network television with the UFC on FOX in November.

Interestingly enough the UFC is headlining this event with a free title fight, although there has been little fanfare leading into this weekend’s exciting match up. Unfortunately, the rest of the card is a little bit lacking in star power, but with some of the names included on the card, there is sure to be a few brawls worth the price of admission (free.)

As mentioned, the card is headlined by a Bantamweight Championship Bout as Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson takes on champion Dominick ‘The Dominator’ Cruz. In the Co-Main Event Heavyweight sluggers collide as kick boxer Pat Barry takes on the towering frame of Stefan Struve. Anthony Johnson will see if he can shed thirty-some-odd pounds to make the Welterweight limit of 170 pounds, before taking on Charlie Brenneman; who is making a rise after defeating Rick Story on one-day’s notice in his last fight. A much-anticipated rematch rounds off the Versus TV main card as Mac Danzig seeks revenge against ‘Handsome’ Matt Wiman in a bout that is eighteen months in the making.

As always, even if the fights don’t seem all that exciting, there’s always the option of throwing down a little bit of cash to make the fights a little bit more interesting. Here’s a look at some of the bouts that I’m interested in this weekend. As always, all lines are the current best available market lines from Best Fight Odds (www.bestfightodds.com)

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Walel Watson (EV) vs. Joseph Sandoval (-110)

Walel “The Gazelle” Watson is a fighter from California. He is making his UFC debut on the strength of eight wins in his past nine fights. Watson is a 27-year-old grappler who has shown a decent ability to strike and has shown a strong ability to finish. In ten professional bouts Watson has never made it to a decision. In fact, Watson has never even been in the third round. He has a pro record of 8-2, with 7 wins by way of Submission.

Joseph Sandoval is also making his UFC debut. He is a relative newcomer to the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and has been fighting professionally only since April of 2010. He has grown a bit of hype however, as he has reeled off a 6 fight winning streak to open his career. During that span he has proven an exciting fighter with a strong striking game. He has earned three career wins via Decision, two via KO and one via Submission, mostly under the Shark Fights banner.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: I haven’t seen a whole lot from either fighter as their YouTube selections have very sparse content. However, from the limited amount I have seen Sandoval looks to be the more well-rounded fighter. Watson, is likely the stronger grappler, but Sandoval has shown decent enough wrestling for me to believe that he can keep the fight standing and exploit his edge. I don’t like to bet on two guys I know very little about, so I’m not touching this one. As for a prediction I’ll take Sandoval. Joseph Sandoval via Unanimous Decision.

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Josh Neer (-250) vs. Keith Wisniewski (+225)

Josh “The Dentist” Neer is a 28-year-old veteran fighter from Des Moines, Iowa. Neer is a former Miletich Fighting Systems fighter, who has recently switched camps to the Des Moines MMA Academy. He is a decent wrestler with strong kickboxing skills and a propensity to brawl with his opponents. He often uses his wrestling skills to keep the fight upright against his opponents. Despite being only 28-years-old he has over 40 career fights on his resume, and has amassed a career record of 31-10-1. He has proven himself to be a very tough fighter, being stopped by Knockout only once in 42 career fights.

Keith “The Polish Connection” Wisniewski is also a veteran of the sport, although his exposure to UFC fans should be significantly less than his opponent. He trains at the Duneland Vale Tudo Gym in Indiana. He is a strong grappler who throughout the years has made strides to make his game more well-rounded. He still however favors the submission game, with 15 career victories via Submission. Wisniewski holds a career MMA record of 28-12-1 and is entering this bout on a six fight winning streak.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: Unfortunately, I think that this line is fairly well-set. Wisniewski likely has a slight grappling edge, but won’t be able to unleash his full potential underneath the strong ground and pound of Neer. Neer also holds the edge in wrestling, so he should likely be able to dictate where the fight goes and will likely prefer to stand and trade against Wisniewski. On the feet, he has a decided advantage that he will likely exploit, en-route to a stoppage in the third round. No bets, but I’ll take Josh Neer via Third Round TKO

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Shane Roller (-180) vs. TJ Grant (+170)

Shane Roller is a 32-year-old former College Wrestling standout who transitioned to MMA in 2007. Roller fights out of the Team Takedown gym in Las Vegas, Nevada alongside Jake and Jared Rosholt and Johny Hendricks. During his college wrestling career, Roller was a three-time All American at Oklahoma State University. Roller uses his strong wrestling extensively in his fights, using takedowns and ground and pound to earn rounds against his opponents. He has a career record of 10-4, with most of his losses coming to the elite fighters of the Lightweight division.

TJ Grant is a Canadian fighter from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Grant is a strong grappler with a solid Muay Thai Kickboxing base. Grant is also a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He trains at the Fit Plus gym in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Grant has decent striking ability, but has shown a weakness against wrestlers who are able to control him on the ground. He is making the cut to Lightweight for the first time in this fight. Overall, Grant has a career record of 16-5, with 12 wins via Submission.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: I actually like a small bet on the favorite in this fight. Roller is a strong wrestler and although his stand up is somewhat lacking, he should be able to out-wrestle Grant. Roller has struggled against the elite fighters of the Lightweight division, which Grant is not. This will be a good litmus test to see what kind of skills Roller has and if he has made any improvements to his overall MMA game, but it’s ultimately a fight tailor made for him to win. Just a small bet for me, but I’ll take Roller. Shane Roller via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Mike Easton (-345) vs. Byron Bloodworth (+305)

Mike “The Hulk” Easton is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai fighter from the DC area, so he may have a bit of “home-field” advantage in this one. Easton trains out of the Alliance MMA gym in Temple Hills, Maryland. He is a black belt in BJJ and was a former Ultimate Warrior Challenge Bantamweight champion before signing with the UFC. He is making his UFC debut coming off of what was likely his biggest win to date over Chase Beebe. Easton holds a career record of 10-1.

Byron Bloodworth is a relative newcomer to the sport of MMA, making his debut less than three years ago. He is entering the fight on three-fight winning streak, but is taking the fight on extremely short notice (in fact, he missed weight at the weigh-ins today, due to his lack of prep time.) He took this fight only four days ago, giving him barely a work-week’s notice to make his UFC debut. His YouTube channel has very little insight to offer, save for an impressive Highlight Reel KO via Flying Knee. He holds a pro MMA record of 6-1.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: This fight is probably a good fight if you don’t mind laying a bit of juice. Easton is a legitimate threat at 135 pounds and has a lot of experience in the fight game. Bloodworth is taking this fight on short-notice, isn’t as well experienced and likely isn’t as far along in his overall game as Easton. This could be a bit of a letdown spot though, Bloodworth will probably go for broke early and swing for the fences. Easton should be able to weather the early storm before taking over later in the first round and then stopping Bloodworth in the second. Just a small bet though, because it’s a lot of juice. Mike Easton via TKO in Round Two.

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Michael Johnson (-175) vs. Paul Sass (+160)

Michael “The Menace” Johnson is a 25-year-old fighter from St. Louis, Missouri. He is probably best known to fans as the runner-up on The Ultimate Fighter: GSP vs Koscheck. He is a wrestler with decent boxing skills to compliment. He is a member of the Springfield Fight Club, which is a Gracie Barra affiliate gym, based out of Springfield. Johnson bounced back from his loss in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter with a TKO victory over Edward Faaloloto at the last event on Versus. Johnson has a career record of 9-5 with a significant number of losses by way of Submission.

Paul “Sassangle” Sass is an English fighter from Liverpool. He is a member of the Next Generation MMA Gym. At 23-years-old he entered the UFC with a lot of hype as one of Europe’s most promising prospects. Sass is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter, with improving stand up skills. He holds a brown belt in BJJ and has had some success in European Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments. Sass holds an undefeated professional record of 11-0, with 10 wins via Submission.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: The general betting public seems to be backing the underdog in this one and it’s not hard to see why. Sass is a stellar grappler with underrated stand up technique, while Johnson is a decent wrestler with over-rated skills and a weakness against Submissions. I hate siding with the general public, as it seems like a huge trap, but it’s hard to argue with the logic. Johnson doesn’t have the ability to finish Sass and on the ground, he’s a huge liability to make a mistake and put his head where it doesn’t belong, leading to a choke. Paul Sass via Submission.

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Yves Edwards (-165) vs. Rafaello Oliveira (+150)

Yves “The Thugjitsu Master” Edwards is a fighter from Nassau, Bahamas. He is a veteran fighter, with nearly 60 fights on his professional record. Edwards has backgrounds in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai and boxing, in fact he holds a 2-0 professional boxing record. He is a very experienced fighter who has faced a number of elite fighters throughout his career and has fought for nearly every major fighting organization. He now trains with American Top Team in Texas. Edwards has a career record of 40-17-1 and is returning after a highlight KO loss to Sam Stout in his last fight.

Rafaello “Tractor” Oliveira is a Brazilian fighter, who trains at the Knoxville Next Level Training facility in Knoxville, Tennessee. Oliveira is a grappler and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt. Oliveira was previously in the UFC, but was released after going 1-2 in the promotion. He then returned to the regional fight scene and won four straight fights, before being brought back into the UFC as a late-replacement to fight Gleison Tibau. In that fight, he was submitted via Rear Naked Choke and was the first submission loss of his career. Oliveira has a pro record of 14-4.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: I like Edwards in this one and I think the line is being slightly clouded because of his last performance. Getting knocked out in highlight fashion never does anything good for your image and I think that is causing people to think this fight may be closer than it truly is. Oliveira is a strong grappler, but Edwards is a wily veteran who has been grappling since before Oliveira was born. Edwards also has an edge in the stand up department and due to his MMA experience, he will likely have the edge in wrestling. I think Edwards will likely have the edge anywhere this fight takes place, so I’m willing to lay the bit of juice on Edwards. Yves Edwards via Unanimous Decision.

Main Card Bout (Versus TV): Lightweight Bout: Matt Wiman (-205) vs. Mac Danzig (+195)

“Handsome” Matt Wiman is a fighter from Denver, Colorado. He is probably best known to casual fans as a former cast-member of the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He currently trains at the Easton Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym in Arvada, Colorado. Wiman is a wrestler and a grappler with strong cardio. He mixes takedowns with very active and very aggressive ground and pound to wear down his opponents and search for submission openings. He holds a professional record of 13-6, with losses to the stronger fighters in the Lightweight division.

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Mac Danzig is from Cleveland, Ohio and is best known as the winner of the sixth season of the Ultimate Fighter. He has had mixed results since winning his contract with the UFC however. He is a strong grappler with decent boxing, but has shown poor cardio in some of his past fights. He trains with Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas and with PKG Training and Performance in LA. He actually has a career loss to Wiman in the past, although it came via controversial finish, when the referee ruled that he was choked unconscious, despite him being clearly conscious and immediately protesting. Danzig has a career record of 20-8-1 with ten wins via Submission.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: Standing the edge likely goes to Danzig who possesses faster hands and better technical knowledge. On the ground, Danzig may be a slightly better grappler, but it will mean little from the bottom under the relentless ground and pound of Wiman. The wrestling edge goes to Wiman, who has better takedowns and a nasty top game. Overall, I think this fight will be a few quick exchanges before Wiman can time a takedown and then work his ground and pound on Danzig. Danzig is tough and won’t be finished as easily as the last time, so this one is likely destined for the scorecards. I think the line is well set, so I won’t be betting, but for a prediction, I’ll take Wiman. Matt Wiman via Unanimous Decision.

Main Card Bout (Versus TV): Welterweight Bout: Anthony Johnson (-185) vs. Charlie Brenneman (+190)

Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is a wrestler and boxer who is extremely large for the Welterweight division. It is rumored that Johnson cuts from over 200 pounds, losing thirty or more pounds to make the Welterweight limit of 170 pounds. He is a good wrestler with strong takedowns and good takedown defense. He is also extremely large and strong for a Welterweight, which makes him difficult to control, but has also affected his cardio in the past. Johnson trains at the American Kickboxing Academy under the tutelage of Cung Le. Johnson has shown a weakness against strong wrestlers who are able to control him on the ground, but has also shown huge KO power in both his hands and his feet. He holds a professional MMA record of 9-3.

Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman is returning to the Octagon after his “Rocky-like” victory over Rick Story at the last UFC event on Versus. Brenneman was the winner of the first season of the Spike TV show Pros vs. Joes. He is a former collegiate wrestler who uses those skills, as well as his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blue belt skills to outwork his opponents on the ground. Brenneman is a member of the AMA Fight Club in New Jersey. Brenneman holds a career record of 14-2.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: A lot of people are thinking that Brenneman can pull off another big upset in this one. I’m not so sure. Brenneman is likely the better wrestler technically, but he’s not overly large for a Welterweight and Johnson is probably the biggest guy in the division. With only a slight edge in wrestling skill, that edge might be easily negated by the size and strength advantage of Johnson. Standing the fight isn’t even close as Johnson has more speed, more power and more technique. I think if Brenneman can get on top of Johnson, he has the ability to win the fight, by riding out top control with ground and pound. But if he can’t get on top, it might be a long night for him, or a short one depending on how long it takes Johnson to land the kill shot. I think the line is well-reflective of the true odds of the fight, so I’m not betting it, but I think Rumble rolls in this one. Anthony Johnson via TKO in Round One.

**ALSO: Remember our conversation last time about Arbs? Good, because there’s another great shot here. Bet 185 on Johnson to win and $100 on Brenneman to win and hope for the upset. If Johnson wins (Lose $100 and Win $100) then you break even. If Brenneman pulls off the upset you win $5 (Lose $185 but win $190) Who doesn’t love free money?!

Main Card Bout (Versus TV): Heavyweight Bout: Pat Barry (-170) vs. Stefan Struve (+170)

Pat “HD” Barry is a striker with solid kickboxing skills, but a terrible sense of game planning. The 32-year-old is from New Orleans, Louisiana, but fights out of the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Barry is a former professional kick boxer with a record of 18-6-1. In MMA competition he has been somewhat plagued by his short stature and his ineptitude on the ground. At only 5’11” he is one of the smallest Heavyweight fighters in the UFC. He holds a pro MMA record of 6-3.

On the other side of the cage will be Stefan “The Skyscraper” Struve, who lives up to his nickname and is the tallest fighter in the UFC at 6’11”. Struve is a Dutch fighter from Beverwijk, Netherlands. During this fight he will enjoy a height of advantage of a full foot and a reach advantage of almost ten inches. Struve has solid Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills, holding a purple belt. He also has decent Muay Thai skills, although he has a few pitfalls. One of those pitfalls to his stand up game is his desire to block punches with his face, instead of using solid defensive techniques, Struve often allows himself to be punched far too often, this has been the cause for all of his UFC losses. His other downfall is his ability to use his size well in fights, he doesn’t “fight big” as they say. Instead of using leg kicks and his jab to keep opponents away from him and dictate range, he gets in close and allows himself to be tagged by the power punchers of the division. He holds a professional MMA record of 21-5.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: I actually like the underdog in this one. Struve has admitted in interviews that he is aware of his downfalls and says that he has taken steps to remedy this. Barry is the better striker, but will need to overcome significant obstacles to get inside against Struve (provided Struve wasn’t lying in his interviews.) The other scary thought is Barry’s awful grappling skills. If at any time this fight hits the mat, it won’t take long for Struve to use those long legs and arms to lock up some kind of submission on the usually clueless Barry. However, Barry can throw bombs and Struve has proven that he doesn’t mind taking a punch on the chin, but has also shown that sometimes those punches can turn off his lights. As it is, I’ll take a shot with Struve as the underdog, I actually think it should be slightly closer to even, and would even lean to him being a favorite if he had shown the ability to use his range better in previous fights. Stefan Struve via Submission in Round Two.

Main-Event Bout (Versus TV): Bantamweight Championship Bout: Demetrious Johnson (+390) vs. Dominick Cruz (-440)

Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is 25-year-old fighter from Madisonville, Kentucky. Johnson is a wrestler with developing stand up skills, who uses his speed and wrestling skills to win fights. He moves quickly and throws punches that often confuse his opponents, before switching levels and shooting for lightning fast takedowns. On the ground he uses control and ground and pound to wear out his opponents and win rounds on the judge’s scorecards. Johnson trains at the AMC Pankration Gym in Seattle, Washington under the tutelage of Matt “The Wizard” Hume. Johnson holds a professional record of 10-1, with his lone loss coming under the WEC banner to Brad Pickett.

Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz is the reigning and defending UFC Bantamweight Champion. He is a 26-year-old fighter from Tucson, Arizona who now trains at Alliance MMA in San Diego, California. Cruz is a very well rounded fighter who meshes a number of martial arts disciplines to create his own unique style. He has crafty footwork from boxing and attacks from all angles while standing. Cruz is not a power puncher, instead choosing to throw combinations that damage through accumulation instead of searching for the one knockout punch. Cruz is also a strong wrestler who uses his skills both offensively (to earn takedowns and ground and pound his opponents) as well as defensively (to avoid being taken down by his opponents and to scramble back to his feet quickly, if he is taken down.) Like his opponent, Cruz has tasted defeat only once in his career, although he has done it against significantly tougher competition. The champion has an MMA record of 18-1.

Betting Analysis and Prediction: I’m not going to touch this fight because I think the line is fairly well set. There is no solid game plan out there for beating Cruz, but it’s going to involve controlling the pace and the range of the fight, which is extremely tough to do against the combinations that Cruz is able to throw at all angles, before retreating to safety. You also need to pressure Cruz and move him backwards and force him to retreat, instead of allowing him to move freely and dance around. Johnson doesn’t have near the stand up abilities to hurt Cruz standing, so he’s going to need to close the distance and earn a takedown. Easier said than done as the strong wrestlers of Team Alpha Male like Joseph Benavidez and Urijah Faber have proven largely unsuccessful at doing it so far. I expect Cruz to put on another great performance and show how exciting the lighter weight classes can be. Johnson is a gamer and will likely be around for all five rounds, but I don’t think he can do enough against the champion to take three of those five rounds. As it is, I expect Cruz to do his usual, dance around the outside while throwing combinations from all angles and basically outworking and out-striking Johnson straight to a clean sweep on the scorecards. No bets, but for a prediction, I like the champ. Dominick Cruz via Unanimous Decision.


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