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Rampage Jackson Reportedly Returning To The UFC

December 20, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Hell has frozen over. One of the UFC’s most outspoken critics has reportedly signed a new deal to return to the octagon. Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rampage Jackson is returning to the UFC.

Rumors have been swirling all week regarding Rampage returning to the UFC. MMA journalist Josh Gross tweeted not that long ago that Scott Coker told him that Rampage is still under contract to Bellator. Either something has changed or Gross was lied to because it appears that Rampage is heading back.

Sherdog broke the news on Twitter Saturday night. “I have confirmed from sources that @Rampage4real has signed by the UFC.” – @Sherdoggy

Jackson left the UFC in 2013 when his contract expired. Jackson signed with Bellator for a deal that reportedly included television appearances and a contract with TNA Wrestling. Jackson only made a handful of appearances for TNA and never trained for pro wrestling. I don’t recall seeing Jackson hosting any non-MMA Spike specials.

Jackson went undefeated in Bellator and looked pretty damned good. Jackson went 3-0 and won the season 10 light heavyweight tournament final. Jackson had two wins by KO/TKO and went the distance in a big grudge match, winning a unanimous decision over King Mo. Jackson has been pretty quiet since, although many reports surfaced indicating Jackson didn’t want to fight again.

Jackson left the UFC off of a three-loss streak. Overall Jackson went 7-5 during his last UFC run, paying immediate dividends right away by drawing a monster rating for a title unification fight against Pride middleweight champion Dan Henderson on Spike TV. Jackson was never the same fighter after getting upset by Forrest Griffin for the light heavyweight title.

One of Jackson’s biggest criticisms of his UFC career was the matchmaking. Jackson complained that the UFC matched him up against too many wrestlers, thus making for boring fights. It will be really interesting to see how the UFC match up Jackson upon his comeback. Do they acquiesce to his demands or do as they please?

Jackson also accused the UFC about lying to fighters about UFC pay-per-view numbers. “In my opinion, I just feel like me and the rest of the UFC fighters are getting taken advantage of,” Jackson explained to MMA Heat. “I feel like the UFC is cleaning house. Like the pay-per-view dollars, they tell me one number, but then they tell the press one number. Pay me the numbers that you tell the press. Don’t tell me, ‘Oh, we only made this, we only sold this many.’ Then you tell the press, ‘Oh we sold this many.’ But then I’m like, ‘Hey, you only told me we only sold 800,000 buys, but you told the press you sold a million buys.’ [They say,] ‘Oh, we’re just saying that for the press.’ No, no, just pay me like what you told the press then, because you lying somewhere. You either lying to me or you lying to the press about the pay-per-view numbers. You know what I’m saying? If they’re doing it to me, I’m sure they’re doing it to other fighters.”

I think the move screams of desperation. The UFC are obviously responding to Bellator’s big Bonnar vs. Griffin rating with recent moves such as this one and signing CM Punk. Neither add anything to the UFC inside of the octagon, although both will take viewers away from Bellator and put them on the UFC. I can’t imagine either Jackson or Punk getting a UFC deal otherwise.

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Rampage Jackson Says TNA Had No Idea What They Were Doing

August 01, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

While most of the pro wrestling community was surprised to learn that TNA Wrestling would not be renewed by Spike TV, one former TNA star was not. Rampage Jackson says he saw the writing on the wall which is why we won’t ever be seeing him in TNA again.

Rampage was the first major MMA star to agree to work with TNA and earned TNA some much needed publicity when he came over. Many were skeptical but a hot confrontation between he and Kurt Angle created enough buzz to quiet any doubters. Fortunately for those doubters TNA immediately dropped the able creating frustration among fans and the former Pride FC champion.

Rampage recently appeared on The Fight Nerd and talked about his frustrating tenure in TNA. Jackson opened up for the first time about his frustrations and the lost opportunity between him and Angle.

To be honest with you, you haven’t seen me in a while. I soon as I saw the operation, there were no plans for me to go back. They had a lot of momentum with me when I came out with Kurt Angle…I was supposed to wrestle Kurt Angle. They lost all momentum. They didn’t utilize me. I gave them a couple of ideas on how to utilize me. They wanted me to wrestle professional fighters in pro wrestling. They had no idea what they were doing in my opinion so no you won’t see me in TNA ever again.

That is just absolutely amazing to me. I know TNA has its defenders but those plans are indefensible. According to Jackson they were going to book him to wrestle MMA fighters because you know, fans would rather pay to watch the same two guys go through a worked wrestling match as opposed to a real fight. That is just ludicrous to me! If that is the case and I have no reason to doubt him, he is right. They had no idea what they were doing and it’s a damned shame because for one week they had something special with Jackson and Angle. To be fair to the current creative team, Rampage’s creative was handled by the Hogan and Bischoff regime.

Jackson also tells the interviewed that he “saw the writing on the wall” in regards to TNA’s current instability. It’s fascinating in the sense that this guy, who has never worked in pro wrestling, knew how to book his angle better than the actual pro wrestling company.

Check out the interview and more on Rampage’s brief tenure in TNA below.

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Dixie Carter Defends TNA Wrestling Signing MMA Fighters

September 09, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

TNA Wrestling are at a crossroads and president Dixie Carter thinks she has found an answer with MMA fighters. The good news is that Dixie acknowledges that the company needs to develop new talent. The bad news is that she is looking outside of her company to do it. I guess it’s too late to get the money back from the Wrestling Matters campaign.

I’ll give Dixie Carter a lot of credit. Even in the face of criticism she is sticking to her guns. Dixie and TNA are looking for answers after major budget cuts and weeks of inconsistent ratings. Most suggested a change in creative direction yet the president disagreed. Dixie went searching for new talent and what she found were aged, injury-ridden former UFC stars.

Dixie has had a fascination with blending MMA stars into her company for awhile now. Unfortunately it has yet to work. She had the right idea with King Mo but it never seemed like she was on the same page with her creative team. She’s at it again with Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz and the jury is out on how that will all pan out.

Dixie is looking for answers. Dixie is looking for the next hot talent to build up and it is not the independent wrestling circuits she is scouting but the UFC loss columns as she told the Ministry of Slam podcast.

I’ve gotten criticism for bringing these guys in but when you’re looking for talent and there’s only two teams, where do you go to get your star players from? You’re going to mostly look to each other and then every once in a while, you’ve got to build your own talent which takes a lot of time.

So here are two guys that are major superstars. Both come from wrestling backgrounds, and both are training their butts off right now to be in the ring. I think it’s a great way of trying to find some superstar talent and not having to take so many years to try to grow somebody’s stardom. Both of these guys are so well-known and they love professional wrestling. They’re committed and they’re training, and I’m excited for people to see their potential. I think it’s a great way of looking for new talent, and talent that have never been seen before in our world.”

The irony in those statements is just amazing considering who they are coming from. Dixie has had a roster of her own talent for over ten years. In that time TNA never spent more than a few months building up any of their own talent sans AJ Styles every once in awhile. The idea that she is so concerned with building up her own talent on a show I just watched headlined by Bully Ray vs. Sting in an angle involving Ken Anderson is just ironic in so many ways.

I do agree with her on one point. She does need to get unconventional in her recruiting. I don’t think there is a problem at all with that philosophy. I don’t think there is a problem going out there and recruiting MMA fighters. The difference between TNA and the WWE is that if WWE signs you, you are a WWE talent. If TNA signs you, you are doing TNA part-time. If TNA were out there scouting amateur wrestlers and MMA fighters, signing them, and prohibiting them from competing in MMA that would be a great idea but that isn’t what they are doing.

TNA instead are signing aged MMA fighters who are broken down and have no interest in retiring from fighting at present. How can you invest money into these guys when there is a good chance they are going to be exposed as slow, hurt, and old in their fights? You can but it is just wasting money.

Either Dixie is flat out lying or she is being lied to if she thinks that Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson are that committed to their pro wrestling training. Rampage isn’t even planning on training until he is done fighting.

Well I’ve always wanted to be a pro wrestler since I was a kid, but now that I’m older and have had a lot of injuries, people don’t understand the toll that wrestling takes on your body. I just don’t think I can do that now while I’m fighting, but when I retire from fighting and go full time into pro wrestling, then I think I can go and get more extensive with my style and my moves.

Obviously these parties are not on the same page with company speak. As I said I think it’s a smart move to think outside of the box when it comes to scouting talent. Dixie just happened to stumble into the wrong box. What Rampage is even doing on television at this point other than promoting Bellator is another question. Tito hasn’t said it but how committed to training can he be after coming off of major back surgery?

Do you know what is really surprising to me about Dixie Carter? This is a woman that came from public relations. She may not know wrestling but she is supposed to know public relations. For a woman that says one dumb thing after another on Twitter or interviews you’d certainly never know it. Telling your critics that the answer to building new talent are Tito Ortiz and Rampage is just about the dumbest thing I have ever heard say…and that says a lot.

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Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Tito Ortiz Pros and Cons

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

Bellator MMA announced that their first pay-per-view event is scheduled for November 2, 2013 and the main event will feature Quinton “Rampage” Jackson against Tito Ortiz in a light heavyweight showdown. This is probably the best fight you can make outside of the UFC from a name value perspective. That maybe where the buck stops, however, as there are several pros and cons that can either make or break the event – and maybe even the company.

This is a fight we thought would never happen since the friendship between these two fighters is well documented as going back to the dark ages of the sport. When Tito ruled the Octagon, Rampage was slamming his way through the ranks of PRIDE. Both were trained by striking coach Colin Oyama and often had the same people in their entourage such as Tiki Ghosn and Justin McCully. However, this is not a fight that people were clamoring to see because their friendship basically made the bout out of sight, out of mind, unlike the proposed Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko fight that the masses wanted to see.

Bellator needs help in the promoting department because their television ratings are fair at best. Rampage and Tito are two of the best self-promoters in Mixed Martial Arts and can hype a fight like nobody’s business. Their names are more recognizable than the majority of current UFC champions and as a result, Bellator will gain access to promotional avenues they’ve never been granted before. This fight will peak the curiosity of casual fans who normally don’t give Bellator a second look. Holding the event at the Long Beach Convention Center is the perfect venue for this fight. Both sides of the main event reside in Southern California and should be able to sell out the arena which can hold 13,500 people for theater events.

The combative variables inside the cage are more than meets the eye. Tito Ortiz has never evolved passed simply taking someone down, propping them up against the fence and throwing punches and elbows enroute to a decision. Even the way he shoots for takedowns hasn’t changed by just going straight in for a power double with his head down half the time instead of using angles to time his shot. Quinton Jackson is more well-rounded but he has completely fallen in love with his Boxing over the last five years. Fighting on the ground is not an option for the Memphis native as only a highlight reel knockout will satisfy his pugilistic affinity. Mixing up shots to the head and body will keep Ortiz uncomfortable as he attempts to set him up to land a right hook. Ortiz has had great-to-bad cardio over the years. Rampage has never had good cardio. If that is the case on fight night, it will be easier for Ortiz to take him down and inflict damage.

Dana White’s statement of “No one watches Bellator for free” holds some merit, but the larger issue maybe the resume of the main attraction. Tito and Rampage are coming off of three straight losses. Tito is no longer the fighter he once was, Rampage has just started his downward slide and neither fighter is relevant in the championship discussion. As a result, this fight will be a turn off to anyone who favors sport of spectacle. It is, however, by far the most interesting thing Bellator has ever attempted to do. Before this announcement, I couldn’t convince anyone to come over my house to watch a Bellator card. Within minutes of the announcement, my phone and Facebook account was flooded with messages regarding the fight. Nostalgia is a powerful thing as Ortiz and Jackson were a lot of people’s first favorite MMA fighter. That could be the key to Bellator’s success because as of right now, more people are talking about them than ever before.

 

Atlee Greene is a columnist for Gerweck.net and Forces of Geek.com. He also writes about wrestling, mma and comic books on his own blog and can be read here.  Follow Atlee on Twitter @MidnightLogicGo

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Rampage Jackson Talks TNA Wrestling and Meeting Hulk Hogan

June 27, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

It’s been a few weeks since Rampage Jackson announced his Viacom dual contract with TNA Wrestling and Bellator MMA. The big question would be Jackson’s commitment to pro wrestling and but Rampage says he is ready to do whatever it takes!

Rampage made news after signing this contract in which he would not only fight in Bellator but learn professional wrestling and compete in TNA Wrestling. Immediately questions were asked by the MMA media regarding Jackson’s head and whether he would put the hard work in to learn wrestling. Jackson told MMAMania.com that TNA has nothing to worry about.

Well I’ve always wanted to be a pro wrestler since I was a kid, but now that I’m older and have had a lot of injuries, people don’t understand the toll that wrestling takes on your body. I just don’t think I can do that now while I’m fighting, but when I retire from fighting and go full time into pro wrestling, then I think I can go and get more extensive with my style and my moves. Right now, I just want to stick to what I know. I haven’t trained for wrestling but I know MMA and MMA is exciting. That’s why it has such a big following that it does now and I want to bring my style into my performance. Guys like Samoa Joe have an MMA style in their pro wrestling and stuff like that. I want to be different than him. I still like to slam and throw people and that’s why I did that so many years in my MMA career because I was a pro wrestler at heart. I wanted to bring some pro wrestling into my MMA back in Pride and now I want to bring some MMA into my pro wrestling.

That is an odd answer to say the least. On the one hand Jackson is telling the reporter that he will do whatever it takes to become an asset in TNA. On the other hand the way it sounds is like he won’t even begin to wrestle until he retires from MMA, which could be several years. That was a hard answer to read. I have been told that he will be wrestling at some point but this does blur the area a bit.

The one thing I would takeaway here is that Jackson is looking at this as a career move and not necessarily a quick payday. Of course he can say and do completely different things but it appears that Jackson is looking to make a full transition to the pros. If that’s the case I’d have to imagine that TNA will get no problems out of him regarding commitment.

The highlight thus far of this new dual contract for Rampage has been meeting Hulk Hogan. Jackson gives a great answer here when he talks about meeting The Hulkster. Jackson says he can now relate to when fans meet him and I thought that was cool to read. Jackson was asked if he could relate to fans who get awestruck meeting him now that he’s met Hogan.

Oh yeah. It taught me. When I met Hulk Hogan I was startstruck but what I did was I kept my damn mouth shut. I babbled a little bit but I kept my mouth shut. I shook his hands and I kept it to myself. Some fans want to pat you on the back, hug you, do weird things. For a guy like me, it’s hard to explain. You’d have to wear my shoes a bit to understand. I’ve got nothing against anybody but sometimes, you may not know this but I’m a germ freak. I don’t want to eat and have all these people shaking my hand, talking over my food. I don’t even want a waiter hovering over my food. If you sit down at a restaurant and order something, you don’t want to get interrupted. I might not always want to be approached or have fans get mad at me for not taking a picture because I’m in a rush because I’m always late for everything. I’m a human being in a human situation just like them and I thought of that when I met Hulk Hogan and I kept it to myself. I shook his hands, said “it’s an honor to meet you” and I wish a lot of fans could do the same thing. I do sympathize with them, though.

He’s saying all of the right things but it is hard to imagine the same guy being happy fighting in Bellator and wrestling in TNA who was miserable making millions fighting in the UFC. So far I’ll give him this, he’s off to a great start.

Check out the entire interview over at MMAMania.com. It’s an interesting read, especially Jackson’s mentality on fighting in Bellator at this point in his career.

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Rampage Jackson Signs With TNA Wrestling and Bellator MMA

June 04, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Who is the big TNA Wrestling free agent signing? That question has probably been answered today. Former UFC champion Rampage Jackson has signed a dual contract with TNA and Bellator MMA for what is being called a “landmark partnership.”

Spike TV broke the news on Tuesday afternoon with a press release. The press release immediately made waves in the social media world with a mixed reaction from both pro wrestling and MMA fans. The deal will also include a reality show which will promote Rampage’s Bellator debut.

Rampage is a true superstar both inside and outside the MMA cage” Bellator CEO & Chairman Bjorn Rebney said. “The partnership that we’ve created with Quinton is unlike anything that’s ever been done in the sports & entertainment arena and Rampage is the perfect athlete/entertainer to carry it off.

Rampage is one of the best known MMA fighters competing today,” said Carter. “He is a true cross-over star and his talent, big personality and popularity among a wide range of fans make him an extraordinary fit for our company,

We are thrilled to create this opportunity for one of the greatest athletes and personalities in MMA,” said Kevin Kay, Spike TV President. “Rampage is a proven ratings driver who brings incredible star power to both Bellator and TNA.

I would be more excited about this signing if TNA and Bellator’s other “landmark signing” didn’t turn out to be a complete flop. King Mo signed a dual contract over a year ago with a lot of hype. Mo has not done a much of anything in TNA at this point and was last seen being knocked out in Bellator. Some people never learn.

TNA president Dixie Carter has been hyping a big free agent signing since last week. The big reveal was supposed to come this Thursday on Impact. Needless to say we’re a little early here. I don’t think Rampage will do anything more than waste television time for TNA. Anyone that has watched Rampage in recent years has seen a guy who has appeared unmotivated and at the end of his career. All Rampage did in recent years in the UFC was complain. I can’t imagine how happy and motivated he’ll be to learn how to wrestle while training to fight in the twilight of his career.

TNA are in the midst of one of their worst ratings periods in recent years. Fans are not interested in the product whether it’s Aces & 8s, Hulk Hogan, or just general disinterest across the board. I can’t imagine any of those fans getting excited about this. Putting any resources into this guy at such a critical time in the company just seems ridiculous to me.

It’s funny because the most obvious choice for a hybrid pro wrestling/MMA free agent was Josh Barnett and it appeared nobody was interested. Barnett already knows wrestling, is a fantastic talker, and has a decent chance of beating some guys in Bellator. Why start from scratch teaching Rampage and Mo wrestling when they could have immediately pushed Barnett with confidence?

That said, I am inclined to think that this may be a swerve and Rampage may not be the big signing Dixie has teased. Why would Dixie tease this thing for a week only to be scooped by a press release from her own network? Either they were on different pages, word was about to leak out, or Dixie has another signee she’ll be revealing on Impact. At least I hope so because Rampage is not going to be much of a difference maker.

There is also the issue with Rampage the man. Rampage has not exactly been a model citizen in recent years. It is a little surprising that a wrestling company headed by a woman would sign him without caution.

Check back Wednesday for an update after the Rampage Jackson press conference. It ought to be good!

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UFC On FOX 6: Johnson Vs. Dodson Results and Wrap Up

January 28, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC has closed the book on another free event on network television and they have to be pleased with the results. Although the broadcast started with some technical issues, and many fans were left complaining when some Fox affiliates switched to re-runs of the Big Bang Theory during the main event of the evening, fans were treated to some exciting fights and brutal finishes throughout the night. Topping it all off is strong ratings results, which peaked at 3.77 million viewers for the broadcast.

Featuring a nasty, bloody and brutally violent ground and pound finish, some of the most scintillating striking on the planet, a Light Heavyweight slugfest and two of the UFC’s fastest athletes battling it out for a full 25-minutes, this card had it all. Let’s take a look at the fights, and see what’s next for each main card fighter.

Featherweight Bout: Ricardo Lamas defeated Erik Koch via TKO (Elbows and Punches) at 2:52 of Round 2

What began as a well-matched chess match between two great fighters got violent quickly. In the first Lamas looked to take Koch to the ground, but Koch defended well and was able to get off some decent shots before the closing of a very close first round. In the second round, an inadvertent slip by Lamas spelled the end for Koch. He tried to follow Lamas to the ground, but tripped himself and ended up underneath of Lamas after a brief scramble. From there Lamas fired off some nasty elbows and punches, one of which opened a gruesome cut on Koch’s face. It certainly left the Fox executives feeling antsy as they refused to show Koch after the fight and even spray-painted over the blood inside the cage.

What’s next for Lamas? Likely the winner of the upcoming UFC Featherweight title bout between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar at UFC 156 next weekend. Lamas is now 4-0 since dropping down to the Featherweight division and has looked more and more impressive with each consecutive win. Throw in the quality of names he’s beaten in his past three bouts Cub Swanson, Hatsu Hioki and Erik Koch and he surely deserves a shot.

What’s next for Koch? A bit of time to get back into the swing and a chance to rebuild himself. He needs to prove that he can handle talented grapplers as well as strikers, so someone well rounded enough to challenge his skills. Perhaps a bout with Nam Phan or Diego Nunes who both recently suffered losses would work for Koch.

Lightweight Bout: Anthony Pettis defeated Donald Cerrone via TKO (Liver Kick) at 2:35 of Round 1

This one had Fight of the Night contender written all over it, unfortunately for fans, it didn’t last long enough to live up to the hype. Anthony “Showtime” Pettis certainly lived up to his nickname, throwing a wild variety of flashy strikes at Cerrone en-route to a one-sided beating. In the end it wasn’t a capoeira wheel kick or a Showtime Knee off of the cage that did the job, but a steady liver kick that ended Cerrone’s night. With the TKO victory Pettis became the first man to ever stop Cerrone via Strikes.

What’s next for Pettis? Dana White was finally convinced that Pettis deserves a title shot that has eluded him in the past. With Benson Henderson scheduled to defend his Lightweight title against final Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez at the next UFC event on Fox, I would expect Pettis to be cage side for a post fight stare down.

What’s next for Cerrone? Let’s take a look at the people who have been successful against ‘Cowboy’ in the past, Pettis, Nate Diaz and Benson Henderson, the last title challenger, a future title challenger and the current champion. Cerrone remains a tough test for almost any other fighter and his success outside of the top 3 makes him a viable gatekeeper for the division. A bout with Joe Lauzon could be highly entertaining, as could a bout against Thiago Tavares.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Glover Teixeira defeated Quinton Jackson via Unanimous Decision after 3 Rounds

This was supposed to be Rampage’s final bout in the UFC and many people thought he would come in out of shape and simply there for a paycheck. That proved not to be the case, but he was still soundly outclassed by Teixeira. Teixeira was certainly not flawless in victory but he managed to land some big blows, including a few that wobbled the usually iron-chinned Rampage. He also used well-timed takedowns and ground and pound to control the action the rest of the way. It was a fairly dominant performance, but probably not quite enough to elevate him to top contender status as of yet.

What’s next for Teixeira? He looked good beating up on Rampage, but that story is kind of getting old for a lot of fans. Jackson isn’t the fighter he once was, and although the Brazilian dominated him, he still showed some weaknesses that will need to be shored up before his next contest. Only two fighters really make sense to me for him at this point, Ryan Bader who came off an impressive victory on the undercard, or Rashad Evans should he get by Lil’ Nog at UFC 156 next weekend.

What’s next for Rampage? Retirement maybe? It’s probably his best option, but there’s still a lot of money to be made for him in smaller organizations so I doubt he’ll hang ‘em up. He seemed to be admitting to himself after the fight that he wasn’t a top tier fighter anymore, but he’ll still command top dollar on the open market. I expect to see him in Bellator or regional promotions knocking out cans for years to come.

UFC Flyweight Championship Bout: Demetrious Johnson defeated John Dodson via Unanimous Decision after 5 Rounds

The first title defense for the UFC’s Flyweight champion got off to a bit of a rough start. He was dropped a couple of times in the first two rounds and seemed a bit surprised to be in the cage with someone who could match his speed. Still even after dropping a couple of rounds and being dropped, he continued to push the pace and in the championship rounds he let his conditioning to the talking for him. With Dodson’s gas fading Johnson showed off some impressive Muay Thai skills, battering the challenger with knees from the Thai plum. In the end he couldn’t find a finish in the final round, but he did seal up a Unanimous Decision.

What’s next for Johnson? Unfortunately with a division this young, there is a bit of a lack of challengers. That usually leads to rematches, which is somewhat unfortunate but necessary while the natural contenders emerge themselves. John Moraga and Louis Gaudinot are emerging as contenders, but the biggest stars other than the champion are Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall. They face off next weekend, with the winner likely to get a title shot even though they have a combined 0-2-1 record against Johnson in the past.

What’s next for Dodson? Anyone really. He’s a tough match up for anyone and he’s highly entertaining. Any Flyweight will probably do, but it’d be best to keep him away from the major up and comers. Perhaps a bout against Louis Gaudinot in a battle of former TUF alums.

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UFC On FOX 6: Johnson Vs. Dodson Predictions and Analysis

January 25, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Free fights, free fights, free fights! The UFC continues it’s 2013 roll with yet another night of free fights, this weekend it’s on major network television as the UFC presents UFC on Fox 6. After some weak ratings during 2012, Fox executives must have told the UFC to seriously step up their games for their Fox offerings in 2013, as this is the second straight UFC on Fox event to be headlined by a title fight. This weekend it’s the UFC’s smallest fighters who take center stage as the UFC Flyweight title will be on the line in the main event as Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson takes on TUF-champion John ‘The Magician’ Dodson.

Light Heavyweight action is slotted for the co-main event as Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson is set to make what is expected to be his final octagon appearance against the man he was supposed to battle months ago in Brazil; Glover Teixeira. A fight with Fight of the Year potential is also on the card as Lightweights Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis lock horns in a grudge match with serious title implications in the 155-pound division. Opening the main card is a Featherweight bout between top-10 fighters Erik Koch and Ricardo Lamas, where an impressive showing by either fighter could earn them a shot against the winner of next weekend’s UFC 156 Featherweight title main event.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Simeon Thoresen vs. David Mitchell

Simeon “The Grin” Thoresen is a 28-year-old fighter from Sandejford, Norway. He is a member of Hellboy MMA training under famed Norwegian fighter Joachim “Hellboy” Hansen in Oslo, Norway. Thoresen holds a professional record of 17-3-1. David “Daudi” Mitchell is a 33-year-old fighter from Windsor, California. Fighting out of Santa Rosa, California he is a member of the Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance. Mitchell holds a career record of 11-2.

Quick Pick: Simeon Thoresen via Submission in Round Two

Preliminary Card (FX): Middleweight Bout: Rafael Natal vs. Sean Spencer

Rafael “Sapo” Natal is a 30-year-old fighter from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu he is a member of the Gracie Fusion Gym in New York City, New York. He holds a career record of 14-4-1. Sean “Black Magic” Spencer is a fighter from Bluefield, Virginia. He will be making his UFC debut and trains out of the Octagon MMA Gym in Virginia. He holds a career record of 9-1.

Quick Pick: Rafael Natal via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Mike Stumpf vs. Pascal Krauss

Pascal “Panzer” Krauss is a 25-year-old German fighter from Breisach, West Germany. Krauss now trains in the United States with the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Krauss holds a career record of 10-1. Mike Stumpf is a 29-year-old fighter from Crystal Lake, Illinois. He is a member of the Team Curran Gym training under famed coach and fighter Jeff “Big Frog” Curran. He holds a career record of 11-3.

Quick Pick: Pascal Krauss via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (FX): Heavyweight Bout: Mike Russow vs. Shawn Jordan

Mike Russow is a 36-year-old fighter from Kankakee, Illinois. A police officer in his hometown of Chicago, he is also a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who trains with the DeatchClutch Gym in Minnesota. Russow holds a career record of 15-2-1. Shawn “The Savage” Jordan is a 28-year-old fighter from El Paso, Texas. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting Camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He holds a career record of 13-4.

Quick Pick: Mike Russow via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (FX): Light Heavyweight Bout: Ryan Bader vs. Vladimir Matyushenko

Ryan “Darth” Bader is a 29-year-old fighter from Reno, Nevada. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who was a cast member and the eventual winner of the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Bader trains with the Power MMA Team in Tempe, Arizona and holds a career record of 14-3. Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko is a 42-year-old fighter from Recyca, Russia. The Belarusian now trains and resides in El Segundo, California. He holds a career record of 26-6.

Quick Pick: Ryan Bader via TKO in Round One

Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Clay Guida vs. Hatsu Hioki

Clay “The Carpenter” Guida is a 31-year-old fighter from Round Lake, Illinois. Guida trains with Greg Jackson’s team in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Guida will be making his Featherweight debut in this fight. He holds a professional MMA record of 29-13. Hatsu “Iron Broom” Hioki is a 29-year-old fighter from Nagoya, Japan. Hioki trains at the ALIVE Shooto Academy in Nagoya, Japan but also spends time training in Canada at the Tristar Gym. Hioki holds a career record of 26-5-2.

Quick Pick: Clay Guida via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: T.J. Grant vs. Matt Wiman

T.J. Grant is a 28-year-old Canadian fighter from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. With a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who trains at the Fit Plus Gym in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He holds a career record of 19-5. “Handsome” Matt Wiman is a 29-year-old fighter from Denver, Colorado. Wiman trains with the Kline Brothers at Easton BJJ Gym in Arvada, Colorado. Wiman holds a career record of 15-6.

Quick Pick: T.J. Grant via Split Decision

Main Card (Fox): Featherweight Bout: Erik Koch vs. Ricardo Lamas

Erik “New Breed” Koch is a 24-year-old fighter from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Koch has been training in Tae Kwan Do since the age of four. Koch is a member of the Roufusport Gym training out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Koch joined the WEC in 2009 and has compiled a record of 5-1 inside the UFC and WEC, combined with 2 Knockout of the Night performances. He is a talented striker, but is competing for the first time in over a year after a major knee injury. He holds a career record of 13-1.

Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas is a 30-year-old fighter from Chicago, Illinois. He trains at the MMA Masters Gym in Miami, Florida. Lamas is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who is also a former NCAA Wrestler from Elmhurst College. Lamas is a talented grappler with a smothering top control game, nasty ground and pound and excellent submissions from the top. Lamas is currently 3-0 inside the UFC’s Featherweight division and is ranked in the top 5 in the weight class according to most publications, a strong showing here could catapult him to contender status. He holds a professional fighting record of 12-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Erik Koch was most recently scheduled to challenge Jose Aldo for the Featherweight title, but injuries have kept him out of action for over 16 months, that kind of ring rust will always have an effect on your performance. Koch is an aggressive and dynamic striker, while Lamas usually prefers a more ground-based approach, so it’ll certainly be an interesting contrast in game plans. Lamas is a former NCAA Wrestler and Koch has been controlled by a strong wrestler in Chad Mendes in the past. However, he has stuffed almost every other Featherweights takedowns in the UFC and has proven very tough to control. Koch will probably start slow, but he’s young and he can overcome the potential ring rust. After a shaky opening round he rallies back to win via TKO late in the fight. Erik Koch via TKO in Round Three

Main Card (Fox): Lightweight Bout: Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone

Anthony “Showtime” Pettis is a 25-year-old fighter from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the final WEC Lightweight Champion, who holds a career victory over current UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson. Despite being passed over a number of times for promised title shots, he remains at the top of his division and could earn a title shot with an impressive victory. Pettis is a talented and innovative striker who is best known for his famous ‘Showtime Kick’ in the WEC. Pettis owns a black belt in Tae Kwan Do and a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Pettis is a member of the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee, where he trains under famed Muay Thai kick boxer and MMA trainer Duke Roufus. He holds a professional MMA record of 15-2.

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is a 29-year-old fighter from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cerrone is a tough and well-rounded fighter but does his best work in the striking department. Cerrone is a former professional Muay Thai kick boxer and often relies on those skills as the basis of his overall MMA game. Cerrone is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico where he trains daily with some of the best fighters in the sport. Cerrone is an aggressive and highly entertaining fighter with excellent cardio who constantly puts the pressure on his opponents. Despite his excellent striker he is also a capable grappler with strong submissions from top control. Cerrone holds a professional record of 19-4 with 1 No Contest.

Analysis and Prediction: This one has Fight of the Night written all over it, in fact Dana has probably already prepared the bonus checks for these two. They’ve engaged in a war of words for well over a year now and will finally get the chance to settle their differences in the cage. Pettis is a talented and innovative striker, who is also competent on the ground. Cerrone is also a capable striker who has been much more active since Pettis has been off for injury. If Pettis can shake off the ring rust early and get into a rhythm he has all the skills to knock Cerrone off of his game. However, Cerrone is a dangerous fighter with big power and excellent kickboxing who throws with bad intentions all the time and has the cardio to do it for three full rounds. The only person with a ton of success against Cerrone was the volume-boxing style of Nate Diaz. That’s not Pettis’ bread and butter, but if he’s smart he’s watched that fight over and over and incorporated some of that volume striking into his game, the key for him will be to keep Cerrone on his toes and on the defensive, not allowing him to get comfortable for any extended periods of time. If he does that he takes what will surely be a close and entertaining decision victory. Anthony Pettis via Unanimous Decision


Main Card (Fox): Light Heavyweight Bout: Quinton Jackson vs. Glover Teixeira

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is a 34-year-old fighter from Memphis, Tennessee. Despite being only 34-years-old he has been fighting professionally since 1999, getting his start in King of the Cage, but becoming widely known for his time spent in PRIDE Fighting Championships in Japan. Jackson is highly entertaining both inside the cage and outside of it, but he has struggled in some of his more recent bouts. Many have credited his decision to begin acting on a part time basis as the reasons for his struggles. Despite those struggles, he remains a dangerous match up for almost any fighter as he has decent takedowns and knockout power in both of his hands combined with strong counter punching skills. He is a member of the Wolfslair MMA Academy in the UK, but also trains at his own gym in Irvine, California. Rampage holds a professional MMA record of 32-10.

Glover Teixeira is a 33-year-old fighter from Minas Gerais, Brazil. Despite his Brazilian heritage he now lives and trains in the United States with John Hackleman at The Pit in San Luis Obispo, California. Teixeira is an extremely talented grappler with excellent takedowns, a strong submission game from top control and nasty ground and pound. Teixeira is a former member of the Brazilian National Wrestling Team and combined with his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has one of the best ground games in the Light Heavyweight division. Teixeira holds a professional MMA record of 19-2 and hasn’t lost since March of 2005.

Analysis and Prediction: Rampage has been exposed on the ground before, most recently by wrestling standout Ryan Bader. While Teixeira may not be as an accomplished amateur wrestler as Bader, he is still a talented and capable grappler with strong takedowns who is sure to use a similar game plan. Rampage has two big weapons, his fists and that’s about it, otherwise he’s fairly one-dimensional. He has trouble adapting a new game plan mid-fight, he rarely checks leg kicks allowing his lead leg to get battered in the process and his defensive grappling from his back is almost non-existent. I hate to bash Rampage like this, but he’s not the feared Light Heavyweight that he once was and to be honest, the UFC probably won’t miss him when he’s gone. Teixeira is too smart to fight into Rampage strengths, so expect a steady stream of thudding leg kicks followed up by takedowns before the Brazilian eventually grabs hold of a submission in the second. Glover Teixeira via Submission in Round Two

Main Card (Fox): Flyweight Championship Bout: Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson

Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is a 26-year-old fighter from Madisonville, Kentucky. Johnson is the UFC’s first ever Flyweight Champion and will be defending his title in this bout. A former Bantamweight title challenger, he made the cut down to 125-pounds when the UFC announced the 4-man mini tournament for the title last year. Johnson is a member of the AMC Pankration Gym, training in Kirkland, Washington under the tutelage of world-class coach Matt “The Wizard” Hume. Johnson is a fast, accurate and technically sound striker who uses great movement, speed and footwork to compliment his boxing. Johnson is also a capable wrestler with strong takedowns and an excellent top control game. Johnson holds a career record of 16-2-1.

John “The Magician” Dodson is a 28-year-old fighter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is best known to fans as a cast member and the eventual winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Mayhem vs. Bisping season. Dodson is an accurate boxer who throws with a lot of power for a Flyweight. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico and holds a black belt in GaidoJutsu under coach Jackson. One of Dodson’s biggest assets is his physical strength and athleticism, as these traits make him incredibly difficult to take down and control. In fact on the show he claimed to have never been taken down in a fight. Dodson holds a career record of 14-5.

Analysis and Prediction: Dodson is a physically strong and athletic fighter who has speed and big power for the Flyweight division. He often foregoes tight, crisp boxing for wild haymakers that pack more power, but often leaves him exposed to counter-strikes. Sounds a lot like describing Joseph Benavidez there. If you remember correctly, Johnson just defeated Benavidez by using an approach custom tailored to avoid the big power shots of Benavidez and used excellent footwork to outland him. Given the similarities in opponents, I would expect a somewhat similar approach from Johnson this time around.

The key for Johnson against Benavidez was constantly circling away from the power punches of Benavidez and mixing his kicks and punches well to keep him off balance. Dodson is probably a better technical striker than Benavidez, but he often foregoes that technical approach in a more balls-to-the-wall striking style. The problem for Johnson will be that Dodson is probably the most athletically gifted and speediest fighter that he has come up against. Benavidez and Ian McCall are tough fighters who are quick on the feet and have good hand speed, but Dodson is certainly a slight step above them on the speed ladder.

In the end we know that Johnson has the gas tank to go for five solid rounds and while Dodson probably does too, I’ve seen it from Johnson. He keeps up an aggressive but not overly reckless style over five rounds. Ducking in and out and using leg kicks aggressively to keep the New Mexico native off balance and on the defensive. In the end, Johnson takes a close Decision victory. Demetrious Johnson via Unanimous Decision

UFC: Ultimate Fight Collection 2012

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UFC 2012-13 Winter Events Preview

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

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

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

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

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

UFC 155: Dos Santos vs. Velasquez II

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

UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Bisping

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

UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Dodson

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

UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar

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

UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald

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

UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche

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

Quick Hits – March & Beyond…

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

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

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

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

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Jose Aldo & Rampage Jackson Out Of UFC 153

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

The hits keep on coming for the UFC. Just when the dust started to settle from the UFC 151 fiasco, the UFC has another problem on their hands. In a matter of hours the UFC lost both of its top two fights on the upcoming UFC 153 Brazilian event.

If Dana White thought he had it bad trying to find one main-event to save UFC 151, he now has to find two fights to save the upcoming UFC 153. The good news is that the UFC has a month to find replacement fights. The bad news is that the company will have a real hard time satisfying a Brazilian audience now that their champion has been removed from the card.

Word broke shortly after the UFC 152 media call that Rampage Jackson was out of UFC 153. Jackson was set to fight Glover Teixeira in the co-headliner. White tweeted that Jackson was out with a back injury. This was a huge fight as it was Jackson’s last fight on his deal and a great opportunity to move Teixeira into the upper echelon of the light heavyweights with a win. The upper echelon of light heavyweights haven’t exactly been beating the UFC’s door down to fight Teixeira. Shogun Rua reportedly was fine with being cut rather than fighting Teixeira when asked. Finding a high profile replacement to fight Teixeira with a month out isn’t going to be easy.

No Rampage-Teixeira would have been fine if the main-event also didn’t happen to fall apart on the same day. The highly anticipated Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar UFC featherweight championship fight left as fast as it came. Aldo officially pulled out after suffering a motorcycle accident last week. Aldo was originally scheduled to fight Erik Koch who pulled out of that fight with an injury a couple of weeks back. This leaves UFC 153 with a main-event at this point of Erick Silva vs. Jon Fitch.

I am real curious to see how this plays out after all of the UFC 151 fallout. Dozens of UFC fighters publicly criticized Jon Jones for turning down a fight. Several including Anderson Silva claimed that they would have fought with no notice and saved the show after it had been cancelled. I am real interested to see if any of these fighters who all had problems with Jones for turning down a fight, turn down a proposed fight from Dana White with 30-days notice. This is a show that will likely be cancelled if nobody steps up. Let’s see how many of those fighters are willing to do on 30 days notice what Jones wouldn’t do with eight.

Count Urijah Faber in as a fighter that will stand behind his words. Faber has offered to step in and fight Frankie Edgar at UFC 153. At this point all reports indicate that the fight is under consideration. It is an interesting fight to think about, but I can’t imagine that anyone is really interested in paying to watch it. Plus, Frankie Edgar has everything to lose and nothing to gain. Edgar stepped down in weight to do the UFC a favor and in turn received a title shot. Putting that shot on the line against a guy that just recently lost could be devastating to the UFC’s future plans of an Edgar vs. Aldo fight. For that reason I don’t believe that the UFC will take Faber up on this offer. I think the UFC winds up pulling Edgar from the show to save one of the few marquee fights they have signed up for the future.

Anderson Silva is an interesting name. Silva did offer to fight at UFC 151 at light heavyweight with 8 days notice. This is bigger. This show is in Brazil and Silva was extremely upset when his fight against Chael Sonnen was moved from Brazil to the point that he almost refused to fight. Silva could not only save the event, but get that fight he wanted in front of his home audience. On the other hand, does the UFC really want to expose their marquee fighter on a fight with short notice? Say Silva fights and gets KO’d on a fluke. That would kill marketing efforts going forward. I have read some tweets suggesting a third Silva vs. Sonnen fight but at light heavyweight. It is very intriguing but with a potential big money fight in the future with Jones vs. Sonnen, would the company want to sacrifice Sonnen’s first light heavyweight bid against the Spider?

The UFC is likely to announce a replacement sometime before the end of the week. We’ll have the announcement and analysis immediately thereafter.

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