UFC Grudge Fights Rarely Deliver

January 06, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

After months of talking and threats, Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier delivered the fight I expected. Jones dominated Cormier in a long, boring, one-sided fight that surprised nobody who has followed the history of UFC grudge fights.

Grudge fights have become a blessing and a curse for the UFC. The blessing is that fans, casual and hardcore get caught up in the pro wrestling style banter leading up to the fight. Generally that interest returns a nice dividend for the UFC through big buyrates. The curse however is that new fans drawn to the UFC for the first-time who expected a fight for the ages are probably not coming back any time soon.

Unfortunately you have many in the MMA media who have incredibly short memories. Minutes after Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier got into their memorable press conference skirmish, those same media members took to social media and other outlets and became UFC’s best salesmen and saleswomen getting caught up in the hype and failing to report the obvious. This fight, like the big grudge fights before them, never had a prayer of delivering what was expected.

I didn’t buy it for a second. Any savvy fan could see the Jones-Cormier fight on paper for what it was. It was an over-hyped mismatch. Cormier’s 2-0 record at light heavyweight came against an unranked fighter and an aged veteran past his better years. Jones has been fighting the elite of the sport for the past few years and only once was he in a competitive fight. Yet for some reason fans and media got caught up in the moment failing to recognize the fantasy that was being perpetrated by the UFC.

The fight was everything I thought it would be. It was five rounds of Jones at his best and Cormier failing to do much damage. Sure, Cormier had his moments in Round 2 but that was hardly the fight the frenzied fans expected to see. Even today some MMA pundits are trying to convince themselves it was a good fight. To hardcore MMA fans, yes it was an intriguing battle. But for the casual audience that expected to see a war, it was a waste of time, money, and energy that they should have seen coming.

I started thinking about the great grudge matches in UFC history and how those fights turned out. I picked ten of what I thought were some of the greatest grudge fights in UFC history. All of these fights had the talking, the threats, the hype, and all of the promises of a war that you could have asked for. Yet very few delivered what many would consider great fights. Let’s take a look.

Ken Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz – Some will call this the greatest rivalry in UFC history, yet all of their fights were one-sided, destructions in favor of the same guy. As great as their promos and hype were leading up to the fights, they did not deliver the fight fans expected.

Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell – Let’s stay with Tito for a minute. Like his fight with Shamrock, both fights were one-sided destructions. The difference was that Tito was the one getting pounded in these uneventful fights. I’ll say this. They were certainly intense going in, but neither were the battles fans expected.

Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir II – The number one selling fight in the history of the UFC was Brock vs. Mir. Mir’s insults and Brock’s threats had fans on the edge of their seats expecting a war. What they got was Brock dominating Mir for under ten minutes, giving Mir nothing in the fight. Again an intense fight for sure, but nowhere near what was expected.

Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva – Now this is the outlier in this list. I feel that both fights delivered as expected. The first was a classic, maybe my favorite fight of all-time. The second, while over in two rounds, I think went exactly was you’d design it if you were scripting it.

Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans – Jones biggest fight up until Cormier was Rashad Evans. The storyline was taken right out of an old-school pro wrestling territory. Fans were expecting Evans to hang with Jones and teach him a lesson (as the teacher of course). Instead what they got was a snoozer that saw Jones win a unanimous decision that made Jones-Cormier look like Silva-Liddell.

Rashad Evans vs. Rampage Jackson – Let’s stick with Evans, who has talked his way into some of the biggest fights in UFC history. Unfortunately for the fans who bought into his big mouth, they were served up a big plate of boring and it doesn’t get more boring than this one. Sans a flurry late in the fight by Jackson, it was a one-sided affair which saw Evans tie up Jackson for five rounds and take a unanimous decision.

Nick Diaz vs. GSP – The man who coined the term “Wolf Tickets’ would know a lot about them as he sold plenty for his fight with GSP. Diaz made a lot of promises and offered some of the craziest quotes you’d ever hear leading up to a title fight before the match. Fans were pumped, the media was pumped, and GSP was pumped to dominate the living hell out of Diaz for five, one-sided, dull rounds winning a unanimous decision 50-45 by all three judges.

GSP vs. BJ Penn – This one had all of the makings of a classic fight yet wound up producing a frustrating, uneventful rematch. This rare battle of champions saw GSP (accused of greasing by Penn), just ground and pound an outsized Penn for four rounds, brutalizing the champion before Penn’s mercifully stopped the carnage.

So there you have it. Two guys cutting promos on each other for several months, pushing each other at press conferences, and the UFC president telling you about his next biggest fight of all-time does not make for a good fight. The odds of the fight delivering the brawl you are hoping to see are slim to none with none being the better bet.

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UFC 170 Main-Event Makes No Sense

December 17, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC is gearing up for 2014 with at least one lackluster main-event. The UFC 170 headliner has been confirmed and it will feature a battle of light heavyweights. Unfortunately it is one of the strangest fights the UFC has put together in awhile.

Rashad Evans will fight Daniel Cormier in the UFC 170 main-event in a light heavyweight fight. Cormier will make his debut at 205 in this fight. The fight is odd for a few reasons. The most prevelant being that the UFC is taking a huge gamble here with Cormier with little payoff in the interim.

The UFC has nothing for Jon Jones after an Alexander Gustaffson rematch and that is not guaranteed. While hot shotting Daniel Cormier to the front of the light heavyweight line makes little sense, a winnable fight to get there is logical. Rashad Evans in a five-round fight is probably the least winnable fight for Cormier to take in his 205 debut.

The UFC headlining with this also makes little sense to me. Evans is not a draw. Fans respect him but don’t want to pay money to watch him in the headline fight. His style of fight is not a big secret and after eight years fans know what they are going to get. The last time the UFC tried to headline with Evans, he and Dan Henderson drew the lowest buyrate of the year. To put it into perspective, The Korean Zombie vs. Jose Aldo reportedly outdrew Henderson vs. Evans.

What if Evans wins? I am already predicting a win here for the former light heavyweight champion. Cormier may be bigger but Evans has far superior conditioning to outlast Cormier in five-rounds. Theoretically Evans should go to the front of the line with his third straight win. Which begs the question, who in the world wants to see another Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans fight? I certainly don’t.

So what is the payoff here? I could see putting the fight together and mortgaging the Cormier-Jones fight if this was some kind of a big draw. It’s not. While Cormier has dominated since entering the UFC, he hasn’t had any exciting fights. How in the world could the UFC rationalize putting this on as a pay per view headliner?

I’ll dig a little deeper here for a conspiracy. The UFC wants Cormier to stay at heavyweight. Cormier has no interest in fighting the champion so he is moving to 205. What does Cormier do if he loses? I think the UFC are banking on Cormier losing and moving back to heavyweight. Friend or not, is Cormier going to stay in a division and damage his marketability or go back to a division in which he is undefeated? At that point the UFC are thinking that Cormier goes back to heavyweight and Velasquez has a much-needed new opponent past Fabricio Werdum or Barnett/Browne.

The conspiracy sounds ridiculous, I get it. Why would the UFC take a bath on a pay per view just to get Cormier back to heavyweight? Maybe they think that what he would draw with Velasquez will more than make up the loss?

That’s the only explanation I got.

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UFC 161 Evans vs. Henderson Results and Wrap Up

June 17, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Another weekend has come and gone, and with it, the UFC has had its first successful show in yet another new market. This past Saturday night, the UFC held their first ever event in the Canadian province of Manitoba, holding UFC 161 on Pay Per View live from the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Although some fans complained about a lack of big name value, or high-profile fights on the card (both very legitimate complaints after the cancellation of the planned main event; an Interim Bantamweight Championship bout between Eddie Wineland and Renan Barao) the event did deliver some fireworks and it also helped to raise the stock of a few fighters, while it sent the stock of some other fighters plummeting. Let’s recap the card and take a look at what’s next for the main carders.

Heavyweight Bout: Shawn Jordan defeated Pat Barry via TKO (Punches) at 0:59 of Round One

At just under a minute, this bout didn’t last too long. Everyone figured these two bangers would put on an exciting show and they definitely got the night started on the right foot. After feeling each other out quickly, Jordan landed a right uppercut that immediately had Barry wobbled. Jordan blitzed his opponent and earned a swift TKO moments later with follow up punches on the mat.

What’s next for Jordan? He’s got a couple wins in a row now and he deserves to take a step up in competition after this win. A bout against Todd Duffee makes a lot of sense. They’re both big, tough, hard-hitting sluggers in the Heavyweight division, so it’s a good fight to make from a rankings and entertainment standpoint.

What’s next for Barry? It’s hard to say. He hasn’t looked overly impressive lately, but he always comes to fight and he’s got a pretty big and loyal fan following. My guess is the UFC keeps him around simply to plug him in places where they need a good entertaining Heavyweight slugfest on a card. The loser of the upcoming Brandon Vera and Ben Rothwell fight probably makes the most sense for Barry but he doesn’t have a whole lot of options right now.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Alexis Davis defeated Rosi Sexton via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

It wasn’t the most exciting victory in the world, but Alexis Davis did what she had to do to get the win. In the opening round things were pretty even as both ladies lobbed a lot of leather at each other before the ending exchange where Sexton went after a takedown and Davis went after a triangle choke from her back. Over the next two rounds Davis used her superior grappling skills to control the action on the mat. Despite being taken down by Sexton at times, she was able to sweep and reverse the positions to take top control for the majority of the time. In the end she took a unanimous verdict even though she wasn’t able to earn herself a finish.

What’s next for Davis? It wasn’t a world-beating performance, but she still got the victory which is very important in a division as shallow as the Women’s Bantamweight division is. At the top of the division you have Rousey and Tate and then Cat Zingano when that ends, after that the door seems wide open. There seems to be one upcoming bout that makes the most sense for Davis, Liz Carmouche and UFC newcomer Jessica Andrade will battle at UFC on Fox 8. The winner of that bout is probably in the same position in the pecking order as Davis.

What’s next for Sexton? The UFC isn’t going to build a division around her, so she’s going to have to leave the UFC or keep fighting ten pounds heavier than she should be. If she chooses to stay in the UFC she should welcome a newcomer or she should face Sheila Gaff who recently lost to Sara McMann in the UFC.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Ryan Jimmo defeated Igor Pokrajac via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

Before making his UFC debut, Jimmo was hated on by a number of fans and media members for being a “boring fighter.” A couple of slugfests in his first two UFC bouts and everyone seemed to forget that. On Saturday night, he gave everyone a reminder of why he was so hated heading into his UFC debut. The crowd booed through most portions of this action light contest and I would recommend you avoid watching this on replay unless you enjoy clinch-heavy, action-light bouts. At the end of the day, Jimmo earned a pretty decisive victory, but impressed very few people by doing so.

What’s next for Jimmo? It’s hard to say, since he’s in a weird position rankings wise. His two UFC victories are over weaker competition and he got blasted the first time he took a step up in competition. I think the UFC should simply put him to the test to see what he can do against an upper-tier fighter. The two names I’ve heard tossed around I think both make excellent since. Thiago Silva could make an exciting fight if he can pressure Jimmo into a striking battle, or Robert Drysdale, the BJJ expert set to make his UFC debut soon who would force Jimmo to avoid a close-quarters grapple-fest.

What’s next for Pokrajac? Likely some fights in Europe or some organization not named the UFC. He hasn’t looked good and he really doesn’t have a lot of name value. If the UFC keeps him around it will simply be for a bout in Europe during the next foreign card, but I think he’s probably getting the axe.

Heavyweight Bout: Stipe Miocic defeated Roy Nelson via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

Heading into this fight, Roy Nelson was on the last fight of his UFC contract and was hoping to add another stoppage victory to his resume to beef up his bargaining price. Stipe Miocic had other plans. Miocic shored up some of his defensive striking liabilities and used excellent footwork and a strong boxing game to outwork Nelson over three full rounds. Miocic would have finished most Heavyweight fighters, as his onslaught was relentless and actually made Nelson set a UFC record for Significant Strikes absorbed, but Nelson is tough as nails and lasted the entire fifteen minutes, although he wasn’t close to winning at any point.

What’s next for Miocic? Miocic’s stock was sure to rise with an upset victory, but his stock has skyrocketed with the dominating performance he turned in. He reminded everyone why he was such a hot prospect when he entered the UFC. He’ll get a big match up in his next bout for certain, as the Heavyweight division is thin on contenders. Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione have an upcoming bout at UFC on Fox 8, and the winner of that bout has the kind of name value that the UFC will be looking to pit Miocic against.

What’s next for Nelson? He gambled big and it didn’t pay off. He doesn’t have a UFC contract anymore, and he’s going to have a hard time asking for a ton more money from the UFC after getting dominated. Still, he’s a fan favorite who is good to knock someone out, or get beat up standing for fifteen exciting minutes, so I doubt the UFC will let him walk away. There’s not a lot of great match ups for Nelson, but let him face off against Mark Hunt. It’ll probably be an exciting brawl, so why not give the fans something they actually want to see?

Light Heavyweight Bout: Rashad Evans defeated Dan Henderson via Split Decision after Three Rounds

Evans battled back from a tough first round to edge a Split Decision in front of a very hostile crowd. In the first round Henderson landed a jab and a follow up punch sent Evans to the ground and Henderson swarmed. Still Evans was able to survive the first. In the second and third, Evans crowded up against Henderson and made him fight from the clinch, not giving Henderson any room to roll off the big overhand right. Evans was the quicker fighter from outside, landing good combinations, in a solid winning effort. It was a split decision, but most people myself included had a pretty reasonable 2 rounds to 1 victory for Evans.

What’s next for Evans? With the win, he shook off the notion he wanted to head to Middleweight, which I think is a mistake. Evans is simply not a very big Light Heavyweight (although he looked a little bit bulked up for this bout.) He would have a decided size advantage over many Middleweights, and he’s got the name recognition to get a title shot after only a couple of wins. I really think his management and coaches should advise him to try the cut anyways even with the victory. If he goes to Middleweight he has a number of potential matches. If he stays at 205-pounds, there is only one that makes sense; Glover Teixeira.

What’s next for Henderson? With his age and this loss, his chances of vying for a UFC title are probably long gone. Still, he’s probably not retiring and is more of a stand-up fighter than anything else nowadays, so the UFC will keep him around. The UFC should really just be using Henderson in dynasty fights from now on, since he’s willing to scrap just about anyone, any time and he’s still a good litmus test for where a fighter stands in the division. He’s had two memorable bouts against Wanderlei Silva in Japan, why not let them have a rubber match in the UFC? Makes good sense to me.

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UFC 2013 Spring/Summer Events Preview

April 18, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

As the UFC schedule continues to roll along at breakneck speeds, MMA fans should be gearing up for an action-packed Spring-Early summer schedule as the world’s leading promotion has a number of events scheduled over the next few months. In this blog we’ll take a look at a schedule of the upcoming cards and highlight the fighters and fights to watch out for. Before we get started, I should point out the usual UFC disclaimer that all fight cards are scheduled to change, and if the past is any indication, there could be a number of these cards shuffled, main events scrapped or changed as fighters become injured.


Event: UFC on Fox 7: Henderson vs. Melendez

Date: April 20, 2013

Venue: HP Pavilion in San Jose, California

The first stop on our preview takes us to the Sunshine State of California where Benson Henderson will once again defend his UFC Lightweight title on free television. He’ll welcome Striekforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez to the UFC in a match between two champions. The co-main event will see debut of Heavyweight star Daniel Cormier as he makes his UFC debut by taking on former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir. A lightweight scrap that seems destined for Fight of the Night honors is also on tap as Nate Diaz battles Strikeforce import Josh Thompson. Recently debuted Jordan Mein fresh off his impressive stoppage of Dan Miller at UFC 158 replaces injured Dan Hardy to take on the surging Matt Brown.


Fight of the Night Award Projection: Nate Diaz vs. Josh Thompson or Joseph Benavidez vs. Darren Uyenoyama

Event: UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen

Date: April 27, 2013

Venue: Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey

Grudge match? Says who? If you watched the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter you certainly wouldn’t think that these two men were bitter rivals preparing for a huge battle against each other. While I’m sure the UFC was banking on fireworks and trash talk, Jones and Sonnen remained mostly courteous and calm when dealing with each other during the show. Trash talk will certainly ramp up as the show ends and Sonnen goes into full on promotion mode. The co-main event of the evening features another grudge match as Middleweight sluggers Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher are set to square off. Also featured on the main Pay Per View card is a Heavyweight fight between Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo, a Light Heavyweight bout between Phil Davis and Vinny Magalhaes and a Lightweight bout between Jim Miller and Pat Healy.


Fight of the Night Award Projection: Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher or Erik Perez vs. Johnny Bedford


Event: UFC on FX 8: Belfort vs. Rockhold

Date: May 18, 2013

Venue: Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil

The UFC returns to one of it’s new favorite destinations as they head to Brazil for yet another summer card on FX. The main event is a highly intriguing bout between Brazilian MMA pioneer Vitor Belfort and the final Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold. Both men are well known for their striking prowess, so I would expect that the majority of this bout will take place on the feet, at least until someone gets knocked out. The co-main event of the evening features 2 more rising stars in the Middleweight division as Constantios Philippou looks to continue his winning streak against debuting Strikeforce veteran Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza. That bout will certainly be an interesting styles-clash pitting the powerful boxing of Philippou against the top-level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu of Souza. Other main card bouts include Rafael dos Anjos vs. Evan Dunham in a potential Lightweight thriller and Chris Camozzi battling Rafael Natal in Middleweight action.


Fight of the Night Award Projection: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Evan Dunham or Vitor Belfort vs. Luke Rockhold

Event: UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2

Date: May 25, 2013

Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada

Heavyweight action is on the docket for the UFC’s return to Las Vegas. Although the main event is a rematch that no one was really asking for, it’s nice to see a title bout where the challenger actually earns his shot. Something that Antonio Silva did by smashing former number one contender Alistair Overeem. Speaking of Overeem he was expected to battle Junior dos Santos in a Heavyweight grudge match in the co-main event, but an injury to him has seen him replaced by former K-1 kickboxer Mark Hunt. Other main card action sees Glover Teixeira trying to continue his run up the Light Heavyweight rankings as he battles hard-hitting James Te-Huna. A pair of Lightweight bouts round off the main card in what could both be potential Fight of the Night award winners. First off Donald Cerrone battles Strikeforce import KJ Noons in a battle between two guys who love to stand and trade. The second is a bout between fringe contenders in the Lightweight division TJ Grant and Gray Maynard.


Fight of the Night Award Prediction: Donald Cerrone vs. KJ Noons or Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Abel Trujillo


Event: UFC on Fuel TV 10: Nogueira vs. Werdum

Date: June 8, 2013

Venue: Paulo Sarasate Arena in Fortaleza, Brazil

This event will serve as the finale for the second season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Head coaches for the season are Heavyweights Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum, those two men will square off in the main event with a potential title shot likely looming for the victor. The card will feature the finals of the Welterweight season of the show. Other main card bouts scheduled for the show include Light Heavyweights Thiago Silva taking on former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Rafael Cavalcante and Welterweight young guns Erick Silva and John Hathaway.


Fight of the Night Award Projection: Erick Silva vs. John Hathaway or Thiago Silva vs. Rafael Cavalcante

Event: UFC 161: Barao vs. Wineland

Date: June 15, 2013

Venue: MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The UFC makes its debut in Winnipeg as they head to the MTS Centre, the home of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. The card features a main event for the UFC’s Interim Bantamweight Championship as Renan Barao defends his title against former WEC Bantamweight Champion Eddie Wineland. A throwback to the golden days of PRIDE is also planned for the co-main event as Mauricio Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira rematch in Light Heavyweight action. Former Light Heavyweight Champions do battle when Rashad Evans battles Dan Henderson. A women’s Bantamweight bout will open the Pay Per View event as Rosi Sexton battles Alexis Davis. Heavyweight action rounds out the main PPV card as Pat Barry battles Shawn Jordan.


Fight of the Night Award Projection: Mauricio Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira or Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland


Event: UFC 162: Silva vs. Weidman

Date: July 6, 2013

Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Spider finally returns to the octagon, as Anderson Silva is set to defend his Middleweight title in the main event against undefeated challenger Chris Weidman. Weidman is an interesting style match up for the champion and that combined with his undefeated professional record has many people interested in this bout. The co-main event of the night has fireworks written all over it as top Featherweight contenders Chan Sung Jung and Ricardo Lamas do battle for a shot at the UFC Featherweight Championship. Middleweight scrappers Mark Munoz and Tim Boetsch will look to get their octagon careers back on the right track against one another. More top Featherweight contenders will be in action as Frankie Edgar looks for his first victory in his new weightclass when he battled Charles Oliveira. In the opening bout of the Pay Per View Featherweight sluggers Cub Swanson and Dennis Siver will lock horns.


Fight of the Night Award Projection: There are just way too many on this card. Without exception all of the fights on the PPV card could be potential Fight of the Night candidates, some of them maybe even Fight of the Year candidates. Since that’s a bit of a cop out, I’ll take Siver vs. Swanson as my pick.

Event: UFC on Fox 8

Date: July 27, 2013

Venue: Key Arena in Seattle Washington

Currently the only bout announced for this card is a bout between struggling Lightweights Melvin Guillard and Mac Danzig. I don’t suspect those two will even earn a spot on the Fox card by the time this event fills up, especially with the way the UFC has been stacking these cards recently. I would expect to see a title defended in the main event. The leading contender is probably the Flyweight title, provided that champion Demetrious Johnson can recover from his injury in time.

Event: UFC 163: Aldo vs. Pettis

Date: August 3, 2013

Venue: HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Dan Henderson Vs. Rashad Evans Official For UFC 161

March 06, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Medical clearances have been received and the UFC officially announced a big light heavyweight showdown for UFC 161. Former Strikeforce and Pride FC champion Dan Henderson will battle former UFC champion Rashad Evans in Canada on June 15.

This marks what has to be the quickest turnaround for both fighters in quite some time. Both fighters are coming off of big losses in the division and hope to rebound on the big event. The marquee fight will reportedly serve as a co-main event with a headliner expected to be announced soon.

Henderson wasn’t kidding when he said he wanted to get back into the octagon quickly. Henderson is coming off a controversial loss to Lyoto Machida. Personally I think he was robbed but that isn’t going to change anything. Henderson not only lost the fight but lost his place as the number-one contender to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

Rashad Evans is also coming off of a loss, his I think more devastating than Henderson’s. This is a far cry from the proposed super fight he would have gotten with Anderson Silva had he won his last fight. Evans dropped back to back decisions in the division after losing to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a fight where Evans looked lethargic and unmotivated.

As big as this fight is, I can’t get overly excited about it. The styles of Henderson and Evans really don’t make for a great fight. Henderson is fighting a guy who once again doesn’t like to engage. This fight really could be nothing more than Evans dancing his way to a decision. At the same time if Evans comes in with the same attitude as he had in his previous fight, he could get KO’d quickly.

I wouldn’t expect either one of these guys to get cut with a loss, although you never know with Henderson. Evans is a UFC guy for life with more job security than just about anyone. Henderson makes a lot of money and had had his disagreements with UFC president Dana White in the past. I would be surprised but not shocked if he was let go with a loss, especially a KO or TKO.

This marks the second marquee light heavyweight fight on UFC 161. Little Nog will be facing Mauricio Shogun Rua in another light heavyweight showdown in Canada. It is hard to predict who will get the main-event slot. Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman are a possibility, although I keep reading that they won’t be fighting until July. Ronda Rousey is also another name to look for in the top spot on the card.

Confirmed UFC 161 fights…
Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Mauricio Rua
Jake Shields vs. Tyron Woodley
Stipe Miocic vs. Soa Palelei

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UFC 156: Edgar Vs. Aldo Results and Wrap Up

February 04, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Another weekend has come and gone, and with it, another UFC event is now in the books. The UFC returned to the Pay Per View airwaves this weekend with their traditional Superbowl weekend card. By all accounts, this one was quite the success. Despite some fairly lackluster fights, the opening Flyweight tilt and the Featherweight Championship Main Event provided some great action and early estimates have place the number of Pay Per Views over the 400,000 buys marker, which should definitely be considered a success for the UFC.

There were many stories heading into this bout and a number of fighters who could make big steps towards their title aspirations with victories on Saturday night. Unfortunately for them, most of them fell short as it was a night where many of the underdogs reigned supreme. Admittedly my predictions were pretty far off on this card, and my wallet took a bit of a pounding as well from some misplaced bets, but hey, not very many people could have accurately predicted this evening of upsets. Let’s take a look at the main card fighters and predict what might be next for them, now that title shots have evaporated for most of them and see what’s next for those underdogs who threw wrenches into the UFC’s plans.

Flyweight Bout: Joseph Benavidez defeated Ian McCall via Unanimous Decision after 3 Rounds

The Flyweights continued to deliver entertainment, kicking off the main card broadcast with a fun back and forth battle between two of the division’s best. In the first round Benavidez used an aggressive striking approach featuring a heavy dosage of leg kicks to win the round. McCall stormed back in the second, landing a big takedown after a right hand and delivering some big shots on the mat. In the third and final round, Benavidez made the fight his. Again using a sprawl and brawl style featuring a lot of kicks, Benavidez outworked McCall in a close final round to lock up the Unanimous Decision victory.

What’s next for Benavidez? He hinted that he might like one more fight before getting a rematch against Johnson, but he’s the clear number one contender in the division. It’s likely he takes a title shot, but if the champion Demetrious Johnson chooses to take a bit of time off then it will leave Benavidez open for another match. The problem is he’ll likely knock off another top contender which puts the UFC in a difficult spot. I predict a match against the champion, but if not top contender John Moraga makes sense.
What’s next for McCall? Originally brought into the UFC as the top Flyweight in the world, he’s lost two straight fights and is winless in his last three. Luckily it’s against the UFC’s best in the division and they’ve been very close, so he’s still a top talent. A bout against either Chris Cariaso or Ulysses Gomez would make sense to help get McCall on the right legs in the UFC.

Welterweight Bout: Demian Maia defeated Jon Fitch via Unanimous Decision after 3 Rounds

Jon Fitch got Fitch’ed. That’s the easiest way to sum up how this fight went down. Long known for his grinding style and his willingness to blanket opponents, Fitch got a taste of his own medicine. Maia refused to do any striking and rushed Fitch at the opening bell and never relented. He took Fitch down and spent the majority of all three rounds testing Fitch’s submission defense with a plethora of submission attempts and dominant positions. Although he never managed to lock in a submission for the win, it was his most impressive performance to date and he looks like a force to be reckoned with at the Welterweight class.

What’s next for Maia? He’s now 3-0 in the UFC and has dominated some of the division’s best wrestlers on the ground. He looks big and strong at his new weight class and is definitely deserving of a top contender. The winner of the upcoming bout between Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit makes a lot of sense for Maia.

What’s next for Fitch? He’s still a tough fighter and one of the best in the UFC’s Welterweight class. He shouldn’t take too far of a step down, but he has dropped a bit in the Welterweight standings. Bouts against Martin Kampmann or Nate Marquardt probably make the most sense for Fitch right now.

Heavyweight Bout: Antonio Silva defeated Alistair Overeem via Knockout (Punches) at 0:25 of Round 3

Alistair Overeem knew he was better than his opponent heading into their bout on Saturday night and for the first two rounds he proved it. In the third however, he got a little bit too cocky. After dominating rounds 1 and 2 with strong striking and a few well-timed takedowns, Overeem looked well on his way to coasting to victory in the third. Instead he got cocky, put his hands down and stuck his chin out for a big time power puncher who made him pay. Silva tested Overeem’s somewhat shaky chin and had him out on his feet delivering some heavy leather in the best knockout of the year so far. Overeem was expected to get a title shot with a win, but Silva ruined those plans.

What’s next for Silva? Despite Overeem being expected to get a title shot with a victory, it’s unlikely that Silva gets that chance instead. He looked pretty bad in the opening two rounds and the memory of Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez pummeling and bloodying Silva into oblivion is still fresh in most fans’ minds. It’s more likely he gets a top fighter next but not the champion. A bout with Josh Barnett would make sense if Barnett does indeed sign with the UFC. If not I would say the winner of the bout between Mark Hunt and Stefan Struve at the upcoming UFC on Fuel TV event.

What’s next for Overeem? The UFC missed out on the money match in having Overeem fight for the title. Fortunately for them all is not nearly lost. Junior dos Santos needs a fight and the bad blood between he and Overeem has been well documented in the social media realm. The UFC needs to go ahead and let these two headline a free card as their trash talk would definitely bring viewers and leapfrog the winner right back into title contention.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira defeated Rashad Evans via Unanimous Decision after 3 Rounds

I hate to rag on fights, but this one was an absolute snoozer. The first round was difficult to score because so little happened. Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg were struggling to find anything of note to talk about on commentary during the fight because so little happened.  It’s hard to point to any significant moments in the fight as highlights, because frankly there weren’t any. Rashad had a lot to gain by winning this fight, as he was all but guaranteed a shot at Anderson Silva, apparently he didn’t want it very badly since his game plan made it seem like he was doing all he could to not get locked in a cage with the Middleweight Champion. In the end Nogueira took the last two rounds to win a Unanimous Decision.

What’s next for Nogueira? Glover Teixeira has spent some time training with the Nogueira brothers in the past, so it’s hard to say if they would be willing to fight one another. But he is definitely the fighter that makes the most sense. He’s the most high profile and would do the most benefit for each fighter’s career. It’s really the only option I can think of for Lil Nog, because otherwise I would consider the top fight the winner between the upcoming bout of Ryan Jimmo and James Te Huna. So I think Teixeira is really the only way to go.

What’s next for Evans? UFC President Dana White called Evans out after the show in a brutally honest way, saying it was the worst performance he’d ever seen from Evans and saying he had lost the hunger to be competitive. While his performance did suck, and his game plan was even worse than his performance, Evans should still be a tough fight for anyone at Light Heavyweight if he gets his swagger back. Many moons ago he was scheduled to face Mauricio Rua for the Light Heavyweight title before an injury opened the door for the ascension of Jon Jones to Light Heavyweight supremacy. That bout between Shogun and Suga makes sense now, with both men coming off of losses to high-profile opponents.

Featherweight Championship Bout: Jose Aldo defeated Frankie Edgar via Unanimous Decision after 5 Rounds

Poor Frankie Edgar, the guy just can’t catch a break, as he lost yet another close and some would say controversial decision. Aldo came out firing as he usually does and used his speed advantage to pepper Edgar with power punches and chop away at him with leg kicks. Aldo did some damage to Edgar’s face and opened up a cut in his nose that continued to bleed for the rest of the bout. Aldo clearly won the first two rounds. The third is where things get dicey. With Aldo beginning to tire, Edgar began to pour it on. Continuing his high octane style he moved in and out with precision striking and ate some counters from the champion for his trouble. The fourth was Edgar’s best round as he landed a big slam and some ground and pound against the champion. The fifth again seemed like another round for Edgar as he continued to push the pace against his tiring opponent. In the end the judges sided with the champion and made it a clean sweep for the Brazilians on the main card.

What’s next for Aldo? I actually scored the contest for Aldo 48-47, but I thought the third round was razor close and don’t hate people who scored it for Edgar. In fact I think Edgar 48-47 is a much better score than 49-46 Aldo, which two judges managed to find. Aldo’s next fight could prove to be interesting. Ricardo Lamas should be the number one contender in the Featherweight division, so that fight makes sense. But at the post fight media scrum Dana White unveiled some interesting news that Anthony “Showtime” Pettis the Lightweight division’s number one contender expressed some interest in dropping to Featherweight to fight Aldo. That fight is highly intriguing and something I’d rather see than Aldo-Lamas at this point.

What’s next for Edgar? Edgar has to be one of the unluckiest fighters in the world, but his style just doesn’t impress the judges. He’s a bit of a slow starter and his face just gets banged up a bit too easily. I think that’s where a lot of his problems lie, as after the fight he’s landed more punches, but has done less damage while his face looks like he’s been beaten with a bat. What’s next for Edgar depends on whether he’ll stay at Featherweight or go back to Lightweight. I think it’s most likely he stays at Featherweight, since he was actually smaller than Aldo. But it is imperative that he gets a win in his next fight. There’s not a lot of options with a former champion who has lost four fights in a row, even if he could have won three of them. Without stepping too far down the rankings potential bouts against Diego Nunes or Hatsu Hioki would make sense. The other option would be the loser of the upcoming bout between Dustin Poirier and Cub Swanson, or even Erik Koch.

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UFC 156 Edgar Vs. Aldo Predictions and Analysis

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

After a couple of weekends of free violence on the Fox family of channels, the UFC is returning to it’s bread and butter game of making you pay for the privilege of watching two dudes beat the hell out of each other inside a cage. Stacked UFC events on the weekend of the Superbowl are nothing strange for the world’s largest MMA promotion, so it’s no surprise to see another stacked event this weekend.

In the main event of the evening former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar is finally making the drop to a more natural weight class of Featherweight to take on reigning kingpin Jose Aldo. Light Heavyweight action is featured in the co-main event as ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans takes on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Heavyweight wrecking machine Alistair Overeem returns from a 9-month drug suspension to take on Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva. Other main card bouts feature Welterweight stars Jon Fitch and Demian Maia colliding in a bout that will shoot the winner up the Welterweight rankings and a Flyweight scrap between Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez that is likely going to be as action packed as last weekend’s Flyweight title fight on Fox.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Edwin Figueroa vs. Francisco Rivera

Edwin “El Feroz” Figueroa is a 28-year-old American fighter from McKinney, Texas. He is a member of the Mohler MMA Gym in his hometown. He holds a professional record of 9-1. Francisco “Cisco” Rivera is a 31-year-old fighter from Whittier, California. He is a member of the United Mixed Martial Arts Gym in Buena Park, California. He holds a career record of 8-2 with 1 No Contest.

Quick Pick: Francisco Rivera via TKO in Round 2

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Chico Camus vs. Dustin Kimura

Chico “King” Camus is a 28-year-old fighter from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Camus is a member of the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee training with the likes of Anthony Pettis and Erik Koch. He holds a career record of 12-3. Dustin “Diamond” Kimura is a 23-year-old fighter from Honolulu, Hawaii. Kimura is a member of the Gracie Technics Gym in Hawaii. He holds a perfect professional record of 9-0.

Quick Pick: Chico Kamus via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Yves Edwards vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg

Yves “Thugjitsu Master” Edwards is a 36-year-old fighter from Nassau, Bahamas. Edwards is an MMA veteran with over 60 career bouts for a number of major MMA promotions such as Pride, WEC, Bellator and Elite XC. Edwards is a member of the American Top Team in Texas and holds a professional MMA record of 42-18-1. Isaac Vallie-Flagg is a 34-year-old American fighter from Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico who is making his UFC debut after a 2-0 stint in Strikeforce. His professional record currently stands at 13-3.

Quick Pick: Yves Edwards via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Jacob Volkmann vs. Bobby Green

Jacob “Christmas” Volkmann is a 32-year-old fighter from Fergus Falls, Minnesota. A former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from the University of Minnesota, Volkmann trains at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Volkmann holds a career record of 15-3. Bobby “King” Green is a 26-year-old fighter from Fontana, California. King is making his UFC debut after spending time in Strikeforce, he trains at the Pinnacle Jiu Jitsu Gym in his hometown of Fontana. He holds a career record of 19-5.

Quick Pick: Jacob Volkmann via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Tyron Woodley vs. Jay Hieron

Tyron “T-Wood” Woodley is a 30-year-old fighter from Ferguson, Missouri. A former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who is making his UFC debut after a career built mostly in Strikeforce, Woodley trains with the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. Woodley holds a professional MMA record of 10-1. Jay “The Thoroughbred” Hieron is a 36-year-old from Freeport, New York. Hieron is a member of the Xtreme Couture Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada who will be competing in his 30th career bout. He holds a pro record of 23-6.

Quick Pick: Tyron Woodley via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Gleison Tibau vs. Evan Dunham

Gleison Tibau is a 29-year-old fighter from Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Tibau now trains in the USA with the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. He holds a professional MMA record of 26-8. Evan Dunham is a 31-year-old fighter from Eugene, Oregon. He is a member of the Xtreme Couture Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada and also holds a black belt in BJJ. He has a professional record of 13-3.

Quick Pick: Evan Dunham via TKO in Round 3

Main Card (PPV): Flyweight Bout: Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall

Joseph “JoeBen” Benavidez is a 28-year-old fighter from San Antonio, Texas. Benavidez was a high school state-wrestling champion in New Mexico, wrestling at 103 pounds. Benavidez is a member of the Team Alpha Male Gym in Sacramento, California where he trains with the likes of Chad Mendes and Urijah Faber. Benavidez is a former Bantamweight title contender and has since dropped to the Flyweight division, where he is 1-1, with the lone loss coming to current champion Demetrious Johnson. A quick and unorthodox striker with big power, Benavidez is one of the most dangerous fighters in the division. Benavidez holds a professional MMA record of 16-3, with his only losses coming to current UFC champions.

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Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall is a 28-year-old fighter from Dana Point, California. He is a member of the Team Oyama Gym in his hometown. McCall is a former Tachi Palace Fights Flyweight Champion. McCall is a well-rounded and versatile fighter who is dangerous anywhere the fight goes. This will be his first fight since a pair of bouts with current Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. McCall has a professional MMA record of 11-3-1.

Analysis and Prediction: This is likely going to be a number one contender’s bout, despite both men recently losing to champion Demetrious Johnson. Benavidez is well-rounded, hits hard and has cardio for days. McCall is similarly well rounded and also has excellent cardio. This one is going to come down to positional dominance and work rate on the feet. In a bout like that, I favor Benavidez, although only slightly. I really like McCall and I definitely think he can win this one, but I slightly favor Benavidez. Joseph Benavidez via Split Decision

Main Card (PPV): Welterweight Bout: Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia

Jon Fitch is a 34-year-old fighter from Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is one of the top Welterweight fighters in the world over the past few years. Fitch is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Purdue University. Fitch is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California. Fitch is one of the most talented grinders in the Welterweight division. His takedowns are sharp and his top control is excellent. Despite being known as a somewhat boring fighter, with a ‘lay and pray’ label attached to him, but his most recent bout with Erick Silva proved to be a highly entertaining affair. He holds a professional MMA record of 24-4-1 with 1 No Contest.

Demian Maia is a 35-year-old fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Maia is a former Middleweight title challenger, who failed in his bid to unseat Anderson Silva. However, since making the drop to the Welterweight division he is 2-0 with 2 stoppage victories. Maia is a 4th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is one of the most accomplished grapplers in the UFC. Maia is a former Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling Champion and a Pan American Jiu Jitsu Champion. Maia trains with the Wand Fight Team in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He holds a career record of 17-4.

Analysis and Prediction: Maia is a talented grappler who has looked extremely impressive since making the drop to the Welterweight division. His striking has been rapidly improving and his submission game is excellent. Unfortunately, I think he’s still a bit behind Fitch in most areas of the fight. Maia does his best work submission-wise when he’s in top control, he’s unlikely to take down an excellent wrestler like Fitch and from the top, Fitch hasn’t been submitted since his first professional bout by Mike Pyle, which was in 2002. Maia isn’t a power puncher, so Fitch doesn’t have to worry about being aggressive with his striking and he’s more than capable of holding his own on the ground. I think he can wear down Maia en-route to a third round TKO victory. Jon Fitch via TKO in Round 3

Main Card (PPV): Heavyweight Bout: Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva

Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem is a 32-year-old Dutch fighter. Overeem is a decorated former professional kick boxer who is a K-1 World Grand Prix Champion. Overeem is a former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion and a former DREAM Heavyweight Champion. Overeem will be making his return to action after a 9-month drug suspension for high testosterone levels. He has come under some scrutiny for his massive increase in muscle mass over the past few years. Overeem is a new member of the Blackzillians, training at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. He holds a professional MMA record of 36-11 with 1 No Contest.
Antonio “Big Foot” Silva is a 33-year-old fighter from Campina Grande, Brazil. Silva is a former Elite XC Heavyweight Champion and is a former Super Heavyweight fighter. Silva is a decorated martial artist who holds black belts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo and Karate. Silva is best known to casual fans for his 2011 upset victory over Fedor Emelianenko. Silva trains with the Black House MMA Gym in Brazil, with the likes of Lyoto Machida, Anderson Silva and the Nogueira brothers. He holds a professional MMA record of 17-4.

Analysis and Prediction: Overeem is returning after a long layoff due to a drug suspension and it’ll be interesting to see how the layoff affects his performance. He’s one of the most talented strikers in the Heavyweight division and he packs a hell of a punch. Silva is a dangerous match for Overeem, since his submission skills and wrestling skills are significant. Unfortunately, Big Foot gets hit a little bit too much. Silva’s best chance at pulling off the upset here is to simply run for the first round and let Overeem tire himself out looking for the homerun punch. From there, if he can work the fight to the mat he has a chance at earning a stoppage or submission. Still the more likely outcome is that he eats a huge punch or a knee looking for that takedown and ends up out cold in the first. Alistair Overeem via KO in Round 1

Main Card (PPV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

“Suga” Rashad Evans is a 33-year-old fighter from Niagara Falls, New York. Evans was a cast member and the eventual winner of the Heavyweight portion of the second season of The Ultimate Fighter. Evans is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Michigan State University. Evans holds black belts in BJJ and Gaidojutsu and is a former pupil of Greg Jackson. Evans has since left New Mexico and is now a member of the Blackzillians training in Boca Raton, Florida. Evans is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. He holds a professional MMA record of 17-2-1.

Antonio Rogerio “Minotoro” Nogueira is a 36-year-old fighter from Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil. Nogueira is a talented boxer who is one of the top ranked amateur boxers in Brazil and was a Brazilian amateur champion. Nogueira is also a talented grappler who has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Nogueira spent the majority of his early career in Japan competing for promotions such as DEEP, Pride and UFO. He holds a professional record of 20-5, but has been stopped only once in his career.

Analysis and Prediction: This bout could end up being very entertaining, or highly lethargic depending on how these two men want to play it out. Nogueira is definitely the more technically sound striker, as his boxing is crisp and clean. Evans on the other hand packs more power, but his wild, loopy strikes often leave him open to counter shots, and he’s not really known for having the greatest chin. On the ground Nogueira is a world-class grappler with excellent submissions, but Evans is a top-notch wrestler who has strong ground and pound and excellent submission defense. I think the striking will be pretty close to break even at the start, but Nogueira will probably run out of gas quicker than Evans, as the Brazilian fades, expect the Blackzillian product to kick it into high gear with a relentless ground and pound attack. I expect Rashad to get a late stoppage. Rashad Evans via TKO in Round 3

Main Card (PPV): Featherweight Championship Bout: Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar

Jose “Scarface” Aldo is a 26-year-old fighter from Manaus, Brazil. Aldo is the first ever and currently reigning UFC Featherweight Champion. Aldo holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but he does his best work in the striking department using his dangerous Muay Thai skills. Aldo has been out of action for over a year due to injuries, and this will be his first bout since January 2012. Aldo throws some of the nastiest leg kicks in the UFC and has used those thudding kicks to completely hobble opponents in the past and significantly stunt their ability to move effectively. Aldo is an aggressive striker who always looks to finish his opponents. He holds a career record of 21-1 with the lone loss coming in 2005.

Frankie “The Answer” Edgar is a 31-year-old fighter from Toms River, New Jersey. Edgar is a former UFC Lightweight Champion who will be making the drop to Featherweight for the first time. Despite this being his first weight cut to 145-pounds, he shouldn’t struggle since he was one of the smallest Lightweights on the UFC’s roster and cut very little weight when fighting at 155-pounds. Edgar is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has become a very formidable striker. Edgar has tight and technical boxing skills, highlighted by excellent hand speed and quality footwork. Edgar is a member of the Renzo Gracie Fight Team training out of his hometown. Edgar holds a professional MMA record of 15-3-1.

Analysis and Prediction: This one is going to be a highly entertaining bout for a number of reasons and there are plenty of factors going into this bout that can be looked at. Edgar is known for his amazing chin and his ability to recover from big shots, the problem has been in the past that he eats about one or two of those big shots every fight. Aldo is a world class finisher who swarms immediately the second that he senses his opponent is weak, if Edgar gets rocked like he did against Maynard, I don’t expect that Aldo will let him survive it. The other downfall for Edgar is that Benson Henderson showed that you could kick Edgar low almost at will. Jose Aldo throws absolutely nasty leg kicks and he’s definitely going to be looking to chop those legs out from under Edgar and slow him down. If Edgar doesn’t have a plan for those leg kicks, he’s going to be hobbled by the end of round one, and probably unconscious by the end of the third.

What’s going well for Edgar? Well, probably for the first time in his career he won’t be massively dwarfed in size by his opponent. My guess is that Aldo is still actually bigger than Edgar, but it won’t be by nearly as much as his bouts against Henderson and Maynard. Edgar’s footwork and hand speed were top notch at Lightweight and that’s likely going to translate well in the Featherweight division. It’ll be interesting to see how Aldo deals with a fighter who is closer to his speed than some of the more plodding power punchers that he’s faced in the past. Aldo has chewed through a number of wrestlers in the past, but Edgar may be the best that he’s ever faced. In fact, against Chad Mendes, Aldo was on his way to the ground before grabbing the fence allowed him to land a big knee that changed the entire course of the fight. Against another strong wrestler like Edgar it will be interesting to see what he’s capable of from the bottom.

Many people favor Aldo in this bout, and it’s a decent assumption, I however like Edgar in the fight. Aldo has been out of the cage for over a year, which is a significant layoff for a fighter who’s game relies a lot on speed and timing. Edgar has been far more active and I think he was absolutely robbed in his second bout against Henderson. Aldo has also shown some flashes of poor cardio, especially in his bout against Mark Hominick, if Edgar can push the pace and make Aldo work, he may be able to test the champion’s gas tank. I expect that it’s close the whole way, but Edgar comes alive in the championship rounds as Aldo begins to fade from a tough fight and takes a close decision. But damn he better have a plan for those leg kicks, or everything I just said is going out the window. Frankie Edgar via Split Decision

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Top Five UFC The Ultimate Fighter Coaches Of All-Time

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

To date there have been fifteen seasons of The Ultimate Fighter that have aired in the USA on Spike TV and FX, plus a sixteenth season that is currently airing on FX. Add to that a completed season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil and a currently airing season of The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes (UK vs. Australia) and there have been thirty professional fighters who have served time as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter.

With the recent announcement of Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen as upcoming coaches for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, many people have seen through the UFC’s charade, and are criticizing the UFC’s decision to forego the sporting aspect of the UFC and instead focus solely on the business aspect of the UFC. Despite what fans may believe about the decision to use Sonnen and Jones as coaches on the next season of the UFC’s flagship reality show, they are still intriguing choices as coaches. Not only for the potential entertainment value of the trash talk and banter between the two, but also due to the wealth of MMA talent and knowledge that these two men can pass on to the future athletes of the UFC.

In honor of the potential that Jones and Sonnen bring to the next season of The Ultimate Fighter on FX, here is a look back at the history of The Ultimate Fighter. A look at the Top Five Coaches in The Ultimate Fighter history.

Honorable Mention – Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz

Record as a Coach: 16-11

Record in Coach’s Bouts: 1-0 (Victory over Ken Shamrock)

Winner’s Coached: Kendall Grove (Season 3), Michael Bisping (Season 3)

Tito Ortiz was one of the original stars of the UFC so it was no surprise that he was called on to coach one of the first seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. Ortiz coached the third season opposite his nemesis Ken Shamrock in the third fight of their trilogy of fights. Creating high ratings and high entertainment because of the constant squabbling between the two coaches, the competition much like the fights between Ortiz and Shamrock were fairly one-sided. Ortiz was the coach of both the winners of the third season. Ortiz also fared well as a coach on his second stint during TUF 11 opposite Chuck Liddell. However, he wasn’t able to finish the season or participate in the coach’s bout due to a back injury that removed him from the show.

Honorable Mention – Georges “Rush” St. Pierre

Record as a Coach: 11-3

Record in Coach’s Bouts: 1-0 (Victory over Josh Koscheck)

Winner’s Coached: Jonathan Brookins (Season 12)

Despite being one of the biggest draws in the history of the UFC and a long-reigning Welterweight Champion, GSP has surprisingly appeared on The Ultimate Fighter as a head coach once. Coaching opposite Josh Koscheck for the twelfth season of the reality show, GSP’s team went 5-2 throughout the first round of the competition, and both of the finalists were from Team Rush. In addition to his impressive coaching performance, GSP also dominated Koscheck in the coach’s bout. GSP was responsible for coaching Jonathan Brookins to victory during his season as a coach. GSP also coached briefly during The Ultimate Fighter 4: The Comeback, but during that season there were no head coaches, only fighters stopping by to help out.

#5 – Rich “Ace” Franklin (The Ultimate Fighter 2, The Ultimate Fighter 11)

Record as a Coach: 3-2

Record in Couch’s Bouts: 1-0 (Victory over Chuck Liddell)

Winner’s Coached: Rashad Evans (Season 2)

Franklin has always been known as the UFC’s company man for his willingness to step up on late notice and fight at different weights. Whatever his bosses needed. That was also the case for his second stint as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter. During the eleventh season of the show an injury to coach Tito Ortiz caused the UFC to need a suitable replacement for the post-show coaches bout. In stepped Rich Franklin both as a replacement fighter and as a coach for the final episodes of the show, during that episode he managed to advance his only remaining fighter Kris McRay into the live finale. Franklin also served as a coach on the second season of the reality show, although he coached against his good friend Matt Hughes and there was no post-show coaches bout. Franklin’s fighters during the second season dominated the Heavyweight portion of the competition and he was the coach of eventual winner and future UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans. In his late replacement bout against Chuck Liddell, Franklin scored a victory by TKO over Chuck Liddell.

#4 – Urijah “The California Kid” Faber (The Ultimate Fighter 15/ TUF: Live)

Record as a Coach: 10-5

Record in Coach’s Bouts: 0-1 (Loss to Renan Barao)

Winner’s Coached: Michael Chiesa (Season 15)

Faber coached opposite his Bantamweight rival Dominick Cruz on the debut season of The Ultimate Fighter on FX. Adding a live twist to the show, it failed to produce a significant ratings hike. Faber brought in his Team Alpha Male teammates to help him coach and provided a lot of guidance to his fighters. A talented wrestle-boxer himself, Faber made a bit too much of an effort to shape his fighters into that mold. Still one can’t argue with his results as his team was able to take five of the eight first round bouts, and the two finalists of the show were from Team Faber. Despite his impressive record as a coach, a knee injury to Dominick Cruz scrapped the traditional coaches bout at the end of the show. Instead Faber faced off against replacement Renan Barao Pagado for the Interim Bantamweight Championship but was soundly outworked over five rounds and lost the bout.

#3 – Michael “The Count” Bisping

Record as a Coach: 15-13

Record in Coach’s Bouts: 1-1 (Loss to Dan Henderson, Victory over Jason Miller)
Winner’s Coached: Ross Pearson (Season 9), James Wilks (Season 9), Diego Brandao (Season 14)

Bisping is famous for not only being a Light Heavyweight winner from the third season of The Ultimate Fighter, but also for being extremely successful as a coach on the show. Bisping made his first appearance on the show coaching Team United Kingdom opposite Dan Henderson and Team USA on the UK vs. USA edition of The Ultimate Fighter. Bisping coached his UK brethren to victory in both the Lightweight and Welterweight divisions. Despite coaching both winners from this season of the show, he was posterized in highlight reel fashion at UFC 100 by an H-Bomb from Henderson in the second round. Bisping coached opposite Jason “Mayhem” Miller in the final season on Spike TV before transferring to FX. Despite a fairly even coaching gig against Miller, Bisping dominated him in the coach’s fight and coached another winner as Diego Brandao won the Featherweight division of the show.

#2 – Rashad “Suga” Evans

Record as a Coach: 13-1

Record in Coach’s Bouts: 1-0 (Win over Quinton Jackson)
Winner’s Coached: Roy Nelson (Season 10)

Rashad Evans is another one of the former winners of The Ultimate Fighter that eventually made his way to the other side of the table and served time as a coach on the Heavyweights only tenth season of TUF. Coaching opposite his arch-rival Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Rashad’s season was filled with trash-talk and back and forth bickering between not just the coaches, but also the fighters. Rashad’s fighters dominated Jackson’s throughout the entire competition, including posting a 7-1 mark in the first round of the competition. Evans completely out-coached Jackson and then when the coach’s bout came up at UFC 114, Evans out-classed Jackson inside the octagon. Evans’ accomplishments are also most notable for having the highest ratings in the history of The Ultimate Fighter. Although the inclusion of internet sensation Kimbo Slice was definitely a major factor, the grudge between coaches was an important factor that helped the show gather a peak viewership of 7.25 million.

#1 – Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell

Record as a Coach: 12-6 (although the format for TUF 1 was different than following seasons)

Record in Coach’s Bouts: 1-1 (Victory over Randy Couture, Loss to Rich Franklin)

Winner’s Coached: Forrest Griffin (Season 1), Diego Sanchez (Season 1), Court McGee (Season 11)

Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell is not only one of the most popular fighters in the history of the UFC, perhaps even the most popular, but he was also one of the most successful coaches in the history of the show. Coaching the original season of the show opposite Randy Couture, Liddell’s team was extremely successful. The format of the show was significantly different to following versions, mainly because of the inclusion of team challenges, which eliminated fighters before they even fought. However, Liddell’s team excelled at challenges, winning nearly all of the team competitions for the season and eliminating many of Couture’s fighters before they even fought inside the octagon. When it came down to the finals of the show, Liddell’s fighters dominated as both Griffin and Sanchez won their respective divisions under Liddell’s tutelage. In the coach’s bout after the show, Liddell knocked out Couture to win the UFC Light Heavyweight title.

During his second coaching gig opposite Tito Ortiz, Liddell once again found his fighters dominating. An injury to Tito eventually led to an opponent switch, which opened the door for Rich Franklin to step in and take a bout against Liddell at UFC 115. Despite coaching another fighter to victory on this season of the show (Court McGee), Liddell was on the wrong end of a knockout in this coach’s bout, as Franklin flattened Liddell in the first round and sent the Iceman into retirement.

Despite his loss in his final coaches bout, Liddell remains a successful coach from the show and is responsible for launching the careers of several big names who are still in the UFC today. Names like Forrest Griffin, Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, Kenny Florian, Court McGee, Brad Tavares and Kyle Noke.

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Anderson Silva: Who’s Next?

October 18, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

I had made a gentlemen’s bet on UFC 153’s main event with a friend of mine. “Bonnar won’t make it out of the first round,” he said.   Based on Bonnar’s chin, size advantage and jiu-jitsu, I had confidence in Bonnar to at least make it out of the first round.  “I think he’ll lose, sure, but I think he’ll make it to at least the second round before he gets knocked out,” I said in reply.

…in related news, I hate losing a bet, even one without any money on the line.

Anderson Silva is the pound-for-pound best fighter in mixed martial arts, having left sixteen bodies in his wake without a loss since joining the UFC in 2006.  Okay, that might be a bit of hyperbole if “leaving bodies in his wake” means he finished everyone he’s faced in the company.  If we’re going by those standards, he’s left thirteen in his wake, one was spared due to a fluke injury and the other two were treated to a well-improvised clowning/dancing clinic.

THE POINT IS he’s undefeated and has become very vocal about who his next opponents should and should not be.

As our own Lee McGregor alluded to at the end of his always thorough and insightful UFC 153 wrap up, Silva’s next opponent is somewhat already determined, but playing wheelchair matchmaker is a fun game we MMA fans love to play so let’s boogie, shall we?

The “Price Better Be So Right That I Relent” Option

Chris Weidman is a good fighter.  He’s a big guy with good wrestling credentials and is undefeated at 9-0.  In the eyes of the Champ, however, he is too green to be worth risking the streak and the ol’ piggy bank.  Weidman will take on a surging Tim Boetsch in December to help increase his stock, but unless he enrolls in the “Chael Sonnen School of S*** Talk” and graduates with honors really quickly, I don’t foresee this fight happening for another year or more until he pads his resume to Silva’s liking.  Yes, I understand the UFC can undoubtedly make Silva an offer he can’t refuse if they want this fight to happen, but there are more intriguing prospects out there before Strong Island’s own gets a crack at The Spider.

The “Cash Across The Pond” Option

Oh, bloody hell.  I’ll admit it. I want to hate Michael Bisping, but the bloke has grown on me.  He may not be magnificent at any one particular discipline, but this is mixed martial arts.  The Count has become not only well rounded in the Octagon, but his brash personality and wit on camera and on the interwebs has gone past obnoxious to the point of being funny and even charming.   He is clearly the golden boy of the U.K. and a title fight in England, while still one that I think Silva wins handily, would be a fight Bisping could sell the heck out of and would make our British brethren very happy to be hosting a big name title fight.  If Silva’s potential next opponent (which we’ll get to in just a minute) is injured, I think this would be worth his while given the continued exposure and big money involved.

The “Dream Fight” Option

Let’s get this one over with: Jon Jones.  Both he and Silva have publicly stated they have no desire to fight one another.  However, this would be pay-per-view gold, my friends.  I’m open to differing analogies, but for sports fans who only dabble in watching MMA, this would be like watching a still-dominant-though-heading-toward-the-end-of-his-career Michael Jordan against Lebron James in Game 7 of the NBA Championship.

Given how prize fighting is structured (one-on-one competitions among differing weight classes) it is harder to determine who is truly best in the world.  I understand that there is a degree of subjectivity to “rankings” in this sport and, unlike conventional team sports where there are playoff systems and elimination rounds to determine a league champion, the best in any MMA weight class may not necessarily be declared the best in that league by the system at large.

When you have the consensus #1 and #2 fighters within reasonable weight and size limits of one another in the biggest promotion in the world, however, shouldn’t they duke it out to find out who really is THE best?  I have no doubt if the fans want it, Dana & Co. will make it happen come hell or high water, but I think we’ll have to wait just a little bit longer for it.  As the old saying goes, “good things come to those who wait (unless you’re Rashad Evans).”

The “Most Likely To Happen Next” Option

Georges St-Pierre, despite the long layoff, is still one of the best fighters in mixed martial arts and will go down in history as perhaps the greatest welterweight of all time.  The idea of GSP vs. Silva in a whatever-weight bout seemed to be the “Dream Fight” before GSP’s injury and Jon Jone’s meteoric rise over the past year and a half.  Is GSP vs. Silva still a fight that people want to see that’d do “boy band” numbers on PPV? Absolutely.  Has it fizzled a bit for the reasons I just described? Perhaps.  Silva has stated that he wants GSP next even if GSP loses his title unification bout with Carlos Condit on November 17th, but I do believe that if GSP rolls through Condit in impressive fashion, GSP vs. Silva earns back some of that sizzle and, barring injury, would make for an incredible spring event in 2013.

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Vitor Belfort Intense UFC 152 Training Video Posted

September 19, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

Vitor Belfort may be a huge underdog going into UFC 152, but that hasn’t slowed him down. A behind the scenes video shows Belfort enduring grueling workouts en route to Bones. If you thought for a second that Belfort wasn’t taking this fight seriously, you need to see this video!

This dramatic video was posted by Ryan Loco and goes inside of Belfort’s training camp with the Blackzilians. MMA fans will recognize Rashad Evans and Alistair Overeem (who looks surprisingly smaller than usual) training with Vitor and evaluating his chances against Jon Jones. Needless to say, the Blackzilians think they have themselves a winner.

This video is nice to see after rumors started buzzing in recent days about Belfort possibly being hurt. Those rumors were found not be true and it appears from this video that Belfort is not only healthy, he is a man possessed with pulling off one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. I love the intensity from Belfort that comes through this video.

Keep in mind that Belfort has taken this fight on short notice. It is impressive to see the endurance Belfort has developed with such little time to prepare a full camp. While there are a lot of combat sports athletes who always look better in training than they do in action, I have to say that I am a little more of a believer in Belfort after seeing this video. There is something about this video that makes me want to pull for him even more in the title fight.

I have seen some websites giving Belfort as high as +625 odds going into Saturday. When you consider that Belfort is not only a former champion, but is 7-8 in his last eight with his only loss coming against Anderson Silva, you really have to wonder how accurate these odds are. As someone that has seen Vitor fight since the beginning, I think he has a damned better shot of beating Jones than most including any of Jones’ previous challengers.

Whether Vitor gets thrashed or not is something we will find out Saturday. Yet I can tell you one thing for sure after watching this video. The man is ready for war!

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