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UFC On Fuel TV 6 Franklin vs. Le Winners and Wrap-Up

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

The UFC made another landmark first this Saturday morning as they brought their first live event from China to the masses. UFC on Fuel TV 6 went live early Saturday morning on Fuel TV. While not every bout delivered fireworks, there were a number of exciting bouts, capped off by a short main event punctuated by a big knockout and an even bigger upset.

With another night of fights in the book, it’s time to look forward at what’s next for each fighter. Usually I like to focus solely on the main card, but since the preliminary card for this bout was relatively small, only three bouts, I’ve decided to take a look at all of the bouts from the night and take a look at what’s next for all of the fighters, as well as giving you a short breakdown of the night’s action.

Riki Fukuda defeated Tom DeBlass via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

DeBlass used leg kicks to try and slow the grinding attack of Riki Fukuda, unfortunately for him it didn’t work very well. Fukuda landed a number of takedowns throughout the three rounds and controlled the action on the mat and pressured DeBlass while the bout was standing. Although two judges gave one round to DeBlass, I thought the fight was relatively one-sided and Fukuda deserved a 30-27 sweep of the scorecards.

What’s next for Fukuda? Fukuda is currently 2-2 and with the victory secured his place in the UFC for a while longer. It’s most likely that the UFC holds off on Fukuda and saves him for the next UFC card in Japan. A step up in competition is needed for Fukuda and someone like Brad Tavares would make a lot of sense.

What’s next for DeBlass? Likely unemployment, as he’s now 0-2 in the UFC and hasn’t really looked all that impressive in either bout. If he somehow manages to earn another shot in the UFC, it’s likely going to be a loser leaves town kind of deal. Perhaps a bout against Tom “Kong” Watson.

 John Lineker defeated Yasuhiro Urushitani via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

 Lineker’s cardio was his biggest issue in his last bout and he looked to have corrected his problems with weight cutting for this bout. The bout took place mostly on the feet over the course of three rounds and both men had high points. In the end Lineker’s rapid fire pace and aggressive punching style were too much as he took home a unanimous decision.

What’s next for Lineker? After struggling and missing weight in his UFC debut, Lineker seems to have righted the ship. The Flyweight division is relatively thin in the UFC, so finding the ideal opponent for Lineker might be tough to do. A bout against John Moraga who recently defeated Ulysses Gomez might be the ideal match up for the Brazilian bomber.

What’s next for Urushitani? Although he’s now 0-2 in the promotion, the UFC’s ranks at Flyweight are thin as previously mentioned. He’s a highly entertaining fighter who comes to strike, so despite a less than impressive record, he’s likely earned another bout in the UFC. A bout against American Phil Harris could work.

 Alex Caceres defeated Motonobu Tezuka via Split Decision after Three Rounds

 The man they call “Bruce Leeroy” was facing a last minute opponent switch, but it didn’t seem to bother him. Showcasing his trademark smile throughout the duration of the fight, he struggled early against the takedown heavy attack of Tezuka, but found his groove throughout the later rounds. He controlled the stand up and was constantly threatening with submission attempts and strikes when the bout was on the mat. Although it was a Split Decision, I didn’t think the bout was ever in question, it’s hard to argue that Tezuka won any rounds other than the first and even that is debatable.

What’s next for Caceres? He’s now 3-1 in the UFC’s Bantamweight division, and if it weren’t for a couple of unlucky point deductions, he could easily be 4-0. He’s shown decent striking and an improved ground game, it’s time for a step up in competition. Chico Camus or Johnny Bedford would probably make good sense.

What’s next for Tezuka? He stepped up late notice and took a bout as a solid for the UFC. That’s going to earn him another shot. Perhaps a bout against UFC newcomer and Caceres’ original opponent Kyung Ho Kang would work.

 Takeya Mizugaki defeated Jeff Hougland via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

 Although two judges gave him a 30-27 win, one gave him a 30-25 win, including two 10-8 rounds. Because of how badly he dominated Hougland, I’d be more inclined to agree with the 30-25 score. Mizugaki used excellent top control and nasty ground and pound to dominate Jeff Hougland over all three rounds.

What’s next for Mizugaki? He’s faced a slew of top competition in the UFC and WEC and he continues to impress, so he’s likely looking at another top fighter next. The Ultimate Fighter runner up TJ Dillashaw would prove an interesting contrast in styles and to see how Mizugaki deals with the wrestling prowess of Dillashaw would be interesting.

What’s next for Hougland? Bellator? World Series of Fighting? Super Fight League in India? Anything but the UFC. He’s not looked impressive and probably won’t be back in the UFC octagon until he gets some wins on the smaller stages of MMA.

 Jon Tuck defeated Tiequan Zhang via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

 This ended up being a highly entertaining grappling based affair, which is what many people expected from two top-level grapplers like Tuck and Zhang. Tuck won the opening two rounds with his constant submission based attack on the ground, but tired late and nearly opened the door for a Zhang comeback. Unfortunately for the Chinese crowd, the comeback came up a bit short and Tuck was able to hold on for the decision.

What’s next for Jon Tuck? He won in his UFC debut against a tough grappler and he did it in his opponent’s home country. With the octagon jitters out of the way, he’ll need to take another step forward in the UFC’s ultra-stacked Lightweight division. Fortunately there will be no shortage of potential opponents. The winner of the Ramsey Nijem and Joe Proctor bout at UFC on Fox 5 would be a decent opponent.

What’s next for Zhang? Unfortunately for him, like a couple of other fighters this was probably the end of the line for Zhang. He’s only 1-4 in his last five bouts under the Zuffa banner. If he somehow gets another shot in the promotion a fighter like Danny Castillo or even Al Iaquinta might be the right way to go.

 Takanori Gomi defeated Mac Danzig via Split Decision after Three Rounds

 This was an extremely close bout and the judge’s scorecards reflect it perfectly as Gomi took a Split decision. I agree with the score of 29-28 for Gomi myself as I scored rounds 1 and 3 for Gomi with round 2 going to Danzig. Gomi actually looked like he had some pep in his punches and seemed to be comfortable fighting in the cage for the first time in a long time. Danzig looked a little bit tentative at the beginning of the bout and it cost him the first round in my opinion. Gomi was tired at the end of the bout, but Danzig still wasn’t able to take advantage and dropped the close decision.

What’s next for Gomi? He’s been hot and cold inside the UFC, but he looked comfortable in the cage tonight and was starting to throw with the power and aggressiveness that once made him one of the most feared fighters on the planet. With his big name value, he’ll probably get another big name fighter. Gleison Tibau might make the most sense, but undefeated Russian prospect Khabib Nurmagomedov might be the fight he gets.

What’s next for Danzig? The UFC loves it’s TUF winners, so despite a fairly mediocre run since his time on the reality show, Danzig is likely still going to stick around. He’s basically been relegated to gatekeeper status. He’s well rounded and he’ll be a good measuring stick for up and coming fighters looking to breakthrough. With that in mind TUF:Brazil’s Francisco Trinaldo might be a good candidate.

 Dong Hyun Kim defeated Paulo Thiago via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

 Dong Hyun Kim said before this bout that he wanted to eliminate the memory of his most recent loss from his mind. I’m not sure if it worked, but he managed to dominate Paulo Thiago on the ground for all three rounds to take a clear-cut decision. Thiago’s judo skills have been well documented in the past and he continues to impress with his ability to control opponents on the ground and as he continues to become more aggressive with his submission attempts and ground and pound, he’ll continue to gain more fans.

What’s next for Kim? At the post-fight press conference he asked for a rematch with Demian Maia after their last bout ended with a strange injury TKO. I don’t think he’s likely to get that match up as Maia seems to be on to bigger and badder fish in the Welterweight division. However, a number of decent match ups could await the Korean. Englishman John Hathaway has found himself on a nice winning streak and it would be interesting to see how his wrestling compares to the judo skills of Kim.

What’s next for Thiago? He’s faced a number of stiff tests throughout his UFC career, although he hasn’t been perfect in his bouts, he’s showed up to fight in nearly all of them. With upcoming fight cards for Brazil needing to be filled, it’s likely that the UFC keeps the part time fighter, part time cop on the payroll. Yoshihiro Akiyama is in a similar spot in his UFC career and with both their penchants for striking first, it could be an entertaining bout.

 Thiago Silva defeated Stanislav Nedkov via Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) at 1:45 of Round Three

 I predicted this to be a fairly one-sided fight and for the most part it was. Unfortunately it wasn’t the fighter that I expected that was dominating. Nedkov needed to fight the bout at close quarters and that’s exactly what he did. Throughout the first two rounds he crowded Silva and kept the Brazilian on his toes. At the end of the second round Nedkov dropped Silva with a haymaker and the Brazilian may have been saved by the bell. In between the second and third rounds, Silva’s corner told him he needed a finish and finish he did. He came out with a fire in the third and immediately took the bout to the ground and worked a beautiful arm-triangle choke to coax a tap out and seal the comeback victory.

What’s next for Silva? He really needed this win and despite it not being pretty, he came though when he needed and got the finish in the third round. He’s faced a lot of the top talent at 205-pounds in the UFC, so finding the right match up for him might be tough. Cyrille Diabate and Chad Griggs have an upcoming bout next weekend, the winner from that bout might be the best option for Silva.

What’s next for Nedkov? This was only Nedkov’s first career loss, so it’s not the end of the world for him. He looked very impressive throughout the first two rounds, and something seemed to be amiss with him as the bout ended. His grinding style and heavy hands aren’t going to be a friendly match up for anyone. Brazilian Wagner Prado might be a good option for ‘Stucky.’

 Cung Le defeated Rich Franklin via Knockout (Punch) at 2:17 of Round One

 This one didn’t last very long. In the early going Le looked a little bit flat-footed and he was behind with his timing of counter punches. Throughout the first 90 seconds Franklin looked to be in nearly complete control of the feeling out process. Then he put his hands down and threw out a lazy kick. Cung Le made him pay and crushed Franklin with a huge overhand right that put Franklin out cold immediately.

What’s next for Le? Despite what Jon Anik or Kenny Florian seem to think about Le being back in the mix at Middleweight, I’m not sure I agree. Le had no interest in getting right back into the cage and at 40 years old, he’s entering the twilight of his career. The winner of the bout between Hector Lombard and Rousimar Palhares at the next UFC on FX card would make the most sense.

What’s next for Franklin? Probably whatever the UFC needs from him, but after taking a lot of short notice fights, he’s probably due for some time off. When he gets back he’ll probably still command a big fight. If he’s willing to stay on the sidelines I would think that the UFC waits for the Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping fight in Brazil. Should Bisping lose, a bout between Franklin and Bisping is something that a lot of fans will be interested in.

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UFC On Fuel TV 6 Results: Le KO’s Franklin

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

The UFC made history on Saturday when it brought its first-ever event to the country of China. A mixed show broadcast live on Fuel TV that saw a highly anticipated fight end quickly with one of the most stunning knockouts of the year.

Cung Le pulled off a major upset in the UFC on Fuel TV 6 main-event when he KO’d former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin. In just over two minutes the former Strikeforce champion floored the former UFC champion with a single right handed punch. The big overhand right earned Cung his second UFC win in a row and his first KO/TKO win in over two years.

The fight really wasn’t much of a fight at all. The first 90 seconds saw both fighters feeling each other out with Franklin dancing in and out landing strikes. I thought Cung actually looked a lot heavier on his feet than Franklin and that he was toast if this fight went past the first round. Le caught Franklin with a big right to the jaw countering a kick and earning the win at 2:17. Le’s KO also won the UFC Knockout of the Night bonus.

Le called the win “the biggest fight of my life” and referred to the winning strike as a “lucky punch.” “… I came in and waited for him to punch, and I just came in with the overhand right and caught him.”

It has been more than four years since Franklin has been able to put together back to back wins. He’s looked mixed but appeared at times to be in the mix for a third UFC middleweight title fight against Anderson Silva (well at least according to Silva). This was Franklin’s first middleweight fight since defeating Travis Lutter at UFC 82 back in 2008. Franklin has become more or less a utility guy for the UFC, filling in for injured fighters. At 38-years old I think it is fair to say that Franklin is on the downside of a pretty good UFC career.

I don’t know where you go with Le. I have always found Le to be one of the most exciting fighters in MMA, but he has slowed down quite a bit in recent years. I know that is a weird thing to say after he gets a quick KO win but overall it is to be expected at 40-years old. He now has back to back wins for the first time ever in the UFC and the first time since 2008. I can’t imagine the UFC would try and sell a title run here for Le but he is probably due a big fight coming up. Maybe he gets the Boetsch-Weidman loser and a title shot with a win?

Light heavyweight contender and Fuel TV regular Thiago Silva pulled off an impressive upset over undefeated Stanislav Nedkow in the semi-main event. Silva recovered after being dropped by Nedkov in the second round. I was almost sure that Nedkov was seconds away from winning the fight in the third. However, Silva was able to take Nedkov down and get a full mount. Silva finished him with a head and arm choke. It was a much needed win for Silva after suffering a devastating loss to Alexander Gustafsson back in April on Fuel TV. A loss here would have put Silva at 0-3-1 and quite possibly on the bubble. He not only saved his job here but also likely winds up back in the mix of top UFC light heavyweights.

Overall it was a pretty mixed show. I wouldn’t ever call a show with so many decisions good. The final two fights were fun, not great. I think whether you think this was a good show or not comes down to your expectations of the main-event. If you wanted a fast KO, you’re happy. If you wanted a long action-filled fight well then you may be disappointed.

Full UFC On Fuel 6 results and winners…
Cung Le defeated Rich Franklin via KO at of 2:17 round 1
Thiago Silva defeated Stanislav Nedkov by submission at 1:45 of round 3
Dong Hyun Kim defeated Paulo Thiago via unanimous decision
Takanori Gomi defeated Mac Danzig by split decision
Jon Tuck defeated Zhang Tiequan via unanimous decision
Takeya Mizugaki defeated Jeff Hougland via unanimous decision
Alex Caceres defeated Motonobu Tezuka by split decision
John Lineker defeated Yasuhiro Urushitani by unanimous decision
Riki Fukuda defeated Tom DeBlass via unanimous decision

UFC On Fuel TV 6 Franklin vs. Le Predictions and Analysis

November 09, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

This Saturday marks a monumental occasion for the UFC and possibly the sport of MMA in general, as the world’s leading mixed martial arts promotion makes it’s debut in China.  The event will air on Fuel TV and the main card features a number of intriguing bouts. Unfortunately for fight fans, they’re going to need to set their alarms early if they want to have any chance of seeing the bouts live as the event starts at 9 a.m. Fortunately for those of you like me, who hate to be awake for nearly any reason there will be a replay later in the night on Saturday.

Live from the CotaiArena in the Venetian Casino on the Cotai Strip, Macau UFC on Fuel: Macao is headlined by former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin taking on former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Cung Le. Other main card bouts include Thiago Silva taking on Stanislav Nedkov, Dong Hyun Kim taking on Paulo Thiago, Takanori Gomi battling Mac Danzig, Motonobu Tezuka taking on Alex Caceres as a late replacement and the UFC’s only Chinese fighter Tiequan Zhang opens the main card against Jon Tuck.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: David Mitchell vs. Hyun Gyu Lim

David “Daudi” Mitchell is a 33-year-old American fighter from Windsor, California. Mitchell is a member of the Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance Gym in Santa Rosa, California. Mitchell is a talented grappler who is likely fighting for his UFC life, as he is currently 0-2 in the promotion. Mitchell holds a career record of 11-2, including 9 wins via submission. Hyun “The Ace” Gyu Lim us a South Korean fighter that will be making his UFC debut in this bout. At 6’2” with an 80-inch reach, Lim is a large Welterweight and will hold a pretty significant size advantage. Although he’s known more for his strong striking skills, Lim trains with a talented gym at Korean Top Team and should be well prepared for his debut. He holds a career record of 10-3-1, with 7 victories via Knockout.

Analysis and Prediction: Mitchell is probably going to be overmatched anywhere this fight takes place. Lim is absolutely massive and he has destroyed anyone who has chosen to strike with him in the past. He comes from a strong camp at Korean Top Team and he’ll be well prepared for his UFC debut. Add to that he’s not travelling across the world to make his debut and I don’t see any way that Mitchell can steal this one. Hyun Gyu Lim via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Takeya Mizugaki vs. Jeff Hougland

Takeya Mizugaki is a Japanese fighter from Ibaragi, Japan. The 28-year-old is a member of the Shooting Gym Hakkei in Kanagawa. A former Shooto fighter and WEC veteran, he is one of the toughest and scrappiest fighters in the UFC’s Bantamweight division. He holds a career record of 15-7-2, but has faced some of the top talent in the UFC and WEC including Brian Bowles, Urijah Faber, Scott Jorgensen and Miguel Torres. Jeff “Hellbound” Hougland is an American fighter from Chicago, Illinois. The 34-year-old is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is a member of the Combat Sport and Fitness Gym in Enumclaw, Washington. Hougland is a tough fighter, who was on a 9 fight-winning streak before making his UFC debut and subsequently being battered for three straight rounds by Yves Jabouin. Hougland holds a career record of 10-5.

Analysis and Prediction: Hougland looked pretty impressive on the regional circuit before making his UFC debut. However, he was soundly beaten by Jabouin over the course of three rounds. He doesn’t have the striking skills to hang with Mizugaki. Mizugaki has also faced better wrestlers and better overall competition in his career, Hougland won’t be able to work this bout to the ground and control Mizugaki there. Mizugaki doesn’t have a lot of stopping power and Hougland proved that he was durable as hell against Yves Jabouin, so he’ll probably survive, but that’s about it. Takeya Mizugaki via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Riki Fukuda vs. Tom DeBlass

Riki “Killer Bee” Fukuda is a Japanese fighter from Gifu, Japan. The 31-year-old is a member of the Kiguchi Dojo in Tokyo, Japan. Before making his UFC debut Fukuda fought for a number of major Japanese promotions like Dream and Deep. Fukuda is a grinder who first and foremost uses his wrestling to win him bouts. As a youth he was a Japanese All-University Champion wrestler. Since making his MMA debut in 2004, he has compiled an 18-6 pro record. Tom DeBlass is an American fighter from New Brunswick, New Jersey. DeBlass is a former Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight champion of the Ring of Combat promotion. DeBlass is a top grappler with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Training out of the Ocean County Jiu Jitsu Gym in Forked River, New Jersey he holds a professional record of 7-1, with the lone loss coming in his UFC debut against Cyrille Diabate.

Analysis and Prediction: Fukuda is probably never going to make it to the top of his division. He’s pretty one-dimensional with limited striking but a dominating top game. DeBlass was having cardio problems at Light Heavyweight so I can’t imagine that cutting another twenty pounds is going to help there. Fukuda grinds out a late stoppage victory. Riki Fukuda via TKO in Round Three

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Flyweight Bout: Yasuhiro Urushitani vs. John Lineker

Yasuhiro Urushitani is a Japanese veteran of the sport of MMA. Urushitani is a member of the Wajyutsu Keisyukai RJW Dojo in Tokyo, Japan. He is a talented counter-striker who has had most of his career bouts under the Shooto promotion’s banner. Currently ranked as a top five Flyweight in the world, he’s competed in 30 career bouts. He holds a career record of 19-5, with an astonishing 6 draws. John “Mao-de-Pedra” Lineker is a Brazilian fighter. Before joining the UFC he fought for a number of smaller promotions including Samurai FC, Shooto and Jungle Fight. Lineker entered the UFC with a lot of hype, mainly due to his iron chin and his extremely aggressive fighting style, but he was unsuccessful in his debut, marking his first loss after a 13 fight-winning streak. Still the member of the EMPORIUM Gym owns a career record of 19-6.

Analysis and Prediction: Urushitani is a talented fighter and a decent counter-striker, but he got absolutely torched by Joseph Benavidez. Lineker is certainly not comparable to Benavidez at this stage of their careers, but he offers some of the same problems. Lineker has an iron chin and aggressive striking mixed with knockout power. Urushitani might win the opening exchanges, but he doesn’t have the power to make Lineker stop chasing him down. From there it’s only a matter of time before he lands the big shot. John Lineker via TKO in Round Two

Main Card (Fuel TV): Lightweight Bout: Tiequan Zhang vs. Jon Tuck

Tiequan “The Mongolian Wolf” Zhang is a Chinese fighter who holds the distinction of being the first Chinese fighter to ever compete for the UFC. Unfortunately since joining the WEC and now the UFC, he hasn’t had a whole lot of success. Zhang is a talented grappler who holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He is a member of the China Top Team Gym, as well as the Black Tiger Fight Team in Beijing, China. Zhang will be returning to 155-pounds after an unsuccessful stint at Featherweight, where he went 1-2 in the UFC. He holds a career record of 15-3.

Jon “Super Saiyan” Tuck is a Guamanian fighter who will be making his UFC debut. Despite that, this may not be the first time UFC fans have seen or heard of Tuck, as he was eliminated by Al Iaquinta in the elimination round of The Ultimate Fighter: Live. Tuck is also a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is a very experienced grappler having competed for Guam in the World Professional Jiu Jitsu Cup as well as competing in the ADCC submission grappling tournaments. Training out of The Arena in Southern California, Tuck has a perfect professional record of 6-0.

Analysis and Prediction: Zhang has shown limited skills throughout his WEC and UFC careers. Tuck didn’t look overly impressive in his TUF: Live bout against Al Iaquinta, but he has more established grappling skills and can probably win most of the striking exchanges. Zhang is positionally aware on the mat, probably so much so that he won’t get caught in a submission, but Tuck should still take it. Jon Tuck via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Fuel TV): Bantamweight Bout: Motonobu Tezuka vs. Alex Caceres

Motonobu Tezuka is a Japanese fighter from the Cobra Kai MMA Dojo in Nagano, Japan. The 25-year-old is a veteran of the Asian MMA scene having competed for major MMA promotions like Pancrase, Powergate and Deep. Tezuka is taking this bout on late notice after an injury to Kyung Ho Kang forced him to withdraw. Tezuka does his best work on the ground, as his striking is fairly basic. On the ground Tezuka is excellent at controlling his opponents and passing guard. This makes him dangerous as he constantly searching for submissions, however his lack of ground and pound sometimes makes him easy to sweep, and he is prone to giving up positional advantage if he gets too aggressive. He holds a career record of 19-4-4 and has lost only one bout since 2008.

Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres is a 24-year-old American fighter. He is best known for his stint on the twelfth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Despite being little more than comic relief on that season due to his personality and his start in a backyard-fighting league, he has turned into a decent prospect since dropping to the Bantamweight division. Caceres is a member of the Young Tigers Foundation training out of Miami, Florida. Caceres has technical striking and although he lacks stopping power, he has some flashy strikes and solid fundamentals. On the ground Caceres is an aggressive grappler who has earned the majority of his wins via Submission. He holds a career record of 7-5.

Analysis and Prediction: Caceres has found new life as a Bantamweight fighter. He has gone 2-1, and should have won the lone loss, as he was deducted 2 points during the bout. Tezuka is taking this bout on late notice and even with time to prepare, he likely wouldn’t be able to hang with Caceres on the feet. He’ll struggle to take Caceres down and even if he gets it there, his sloppiness might hurt him as he leaves himself open to getting swept or submitted by Bruce Leeroy. Alex Caceres via Submission in Round Two

Main Card (Fuel TV): Lightweight Bout: Takanori Gomi vs. Mac Danzig

Takanori “The Fireball Kid” Gomi is a Japanese fighter from Kanagawa, Japan. Although he has struggled since debuting in the UFC, Gomi was once one of the most feared Lightweight fighters on the planet. He is a former PRIDE Fighting Championships Lightweight Champion and before becoming a full time fighter was a four-time All Japan Combat Wrestling champion. Gomi’s style is that of a typical wrestle-boxer, using excellent takedown defense to keep the bout standing where he can use his massive striking power to land a knockout punch. While at home in Japan, Gomi trains at the Kugayama Rascal Dojo but also trains in the USA at the American Kickboxing Academy. Gomi holds a career record of 33-8 with 1 No Contest.

Mac Danzig is a 32-year-old American fighter who is best known as the winner of the sixth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Danzig is a former King of the Cage champion. Danzig does his best work on the ground, as he is a talented grappler. Despite that he has shored up some holes in his striking and has improved his footwork and defensive movement should allow him to avoid many of Gomi’s big power shots. Danzig was a longtime member of the Xtreme Couture Gym, but has since uprooted himself to Southern California, where he trains with the PKG Gym as well as spending time at the American Kickboxing Academy. Danzig holds a career record of 21-9-1.

Analysis and Prediction: Gomi has looked tentative in his most recent bouts. Short of flattening Tyson Griffin (who is no longer with the UFC) Gomi hasn’t really done anything noteworthy during his time with the UFC. Danzig hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since winning The Ultimate Fighter, but he has been improving rather than getting worse. If Gomi comes in gun-shy, Danzig is going to pepper him from the outside before dragging him to the mat. Gomi isn’t a strong enough grappler to battle Danzig in a grappling battle from his back, so if Danzig earns a takedown he has a strong chance. Gomi can still throw with crushing power if he lets his hands go. If he doesn’t come out with that fire, Danzig cruises to a decision. Mac Danzig via Unanimous Decision

 Main Card (Fuel TV): Welterweight Bout: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Paulo Thiago

Dong “The Stun Gun” Hyun Kim is a Korean fighter from Suwon, South Korea.  Kim is a Judo specialist who holds a fourth degree black belt in the sport. Kim has fought for major Asian MMA promotions like Spirit MC and Deep. In addition to his excellent Judo skills, Kim is also a talented kick boxer. Kim is a member of the Busan Team M.A.D. in Busan, South Korea. One of Kim’s biggest assets is his size, as he is extremely large for a Welterweight fighter. This size helps him control his opponents on the ground and his reach also allows him to fight well from a distance. He holds a career record of 15-2-1, with 1 No Contest.

Paulo Thiago is a Brazilian fighter from Brasilia, Brazil. Thiago is well known for the impressive number of talented fighters he’s fought in the UFC, and despite not having a perfect record, he has fared well against many of them. In addition to being a fighter, Thiago is also a full-time police officer, a member of the BOPE Special Forces unit in Brazil. Thiago is a member of the Contrictor Team in Brazil, which is an affiliate gym of the Black House Fight Team. Thiago holds black belts in both Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He holds a career record of 14-4, with 10 stoppages.

Analysis and Prediction: Thiago has faced an absolute murderer’s row of talent in the UFC’s Welterweight division. That trend continues as he takes on Kim who is certainly going to want to erase the memory of his last loss. Thiago gets a lot of respect for his knockout victory over Josh Koscheck, but he hasn’t knocked anyone out since then and hasn’t really come close. Thiago doesn’t have the grappling skills to keep Kim from controlling him on the ground. Striking it’s a lot closer, but Kim has become a competent kick boxer himself, and if things get heated, he should start looking for a takedown. If Kim fights smart and doesn’t put himself in any unnecessary danger he should cruise to a decision. Dong Hyun Kim via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Fuel TV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Thiago Silva vs. Stanislav Nedkov

Thiago Silva is a Brazilian fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The 29-year-old holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under famed trainer Jorge Patino. Silva is a talented striker who also has an underrated ground game. Silva is also an extremely tough fighter, able to take a lot of punishment, he has been knocked out only once in his career, by Lyoto Machida. Silva is a former member of the famed Chute Boxe Academy in Brazil, but more recently has switched camps and now trains with the Blackzillians at the Imperial Athletics Gym in Boca Raton, Florida. Silva holds a career record of 14-3-1.

Stanislav “Stucky” Nedkov is a Bulgarian fighter. The 30-year-old is a member of the Bushido Bulgaria Gym in the city of Veliko Tarnovo. Nedkov holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is a former Bulgarian national champion wrestler. Nedkov is a short and compact fighter who can throw big punches and has a number of victories by knockout, but that compactness may give him fits against Thiago Silva, who is a taller fighter. Although somewhat untested, Nedkov still holds a perfect professional record of 12-0, with 10 stoppage victories.

Analysis and Prediction: Nedkov has proven to be a fairly impressive talent and wins over Travis Wiuff and Kevin Randleman have done nothing but make us believe in his talent. However in his latest fight against Luiz Cane he looked a little bit too hittable. A flaw like that could prove costly against someone like Silva who has the power to flatten anyone in the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division. Add to that injuries and visa issues that have kept him out of the cage for over a year and I’m not sure I like his chances. Nedkov is largely untested on the ground and if he’s like any of the American wrestlers, he won’t like being put on his back. Silva earns takedowns and controls Nedkov en-route to a fairly one-sided decision. Thiago Silva

Main Card (Fuel TV): Middleweight Bout: Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le

Rich “Ace” Franklin is an American fighter from Cincinnati, Ohio. Franklin is a former UFC Middleweight Champion who before becoming a full-time fighter was a high school math teacher. Despite not being a stereotypical tough guy, Franklin is one of the toughest fighters in the Middleweight division who has only lost to the division’s elite fighters, Anderson Silva twice, Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson. Franklin has a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training under Jorge Gurgel. He is also known as one of the UFC’s best ‘company men’ someone who has always been willing to step in on late notice when he’s asked by the promotion. That loyalty combined with Franklin’s strong skills and fan friendly style have basically ensured him a job for life. Despite that he remains a tough test for anyone and is getting no freebie fights from the UFC. He holds a career record of 29-6 with 1 No Contest.

Cung Le is an American fighter, but was born in Saigon, South Vietnam. Before becoming an MMA fighter he was a former Sanshou Kick Boxer and a former International Kickboxing Federation world champion. Le is a former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion, but vacated the title to pursue a career as an actor. Le is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but he does his best work in the striking department. Le throws a number of flashy and untraditional kicks, a number of which aren’t seen by most MMA fighters, making them difficult to defend against. Le holds a professional MMA record of 8-2.

Analysis and Prediction: For all of Cung Le’s flashy strikes and the stories of him sacrificing a lot for this fight, I don’t give him a whole of chance here. Le is coming into this fight with a foot injury, which he’s admitted won’t be 100% come fight time. He’s also been more focused on acting lately as opposed to actually fighting and his last fight was a competitive one against Patrick Cote, although Le eventually did pull off a victory.

Franklin is a tough, well-rounded opponent and is a tough stylistic match up for almost anyone. Especially true if you’re a kick boxer with a fairly limited ground game. Rich is also pretty big for a Middleweight, having fought fairly competitively at 205-pounds, so he’ll be able to muscle Le around should the bout be fought at close quarters. Add to that Franklin is a pretty decent kick boxer in his own right and probably punches with more power (admittedly the edge in kicking power goes to Le) and the stand up could actually lean more Franklin’s way.

In the end they both have a common recent opponent in Wanderlei Silva. Franklin dominated him over the course of five rounds at UFC 147 in Brazil to take a clear-cut decision victory. When Le fought Silva he was beaten to the punch fairly often and was eventually stopped via TKO in the second round. Le’s cardio and chin are suspect, while Franklin has only been stopped by Lyoto Machida, Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort. Franklin has fought for five rounds in the past, and Le oftentimes looks like he can’t fight for a full three rounds without gassing. There’s just too many advantages for him in this fight, and over the course of five rounds, I think Rich finds a stoppage in the fourth or fifth. Rich Franklin via TKO in Round Four

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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’s Camp Want GSP, Franklin, Or Diaz

August 01, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Ed Soares Anderson SilvaThe UFC has a big problem on their hands. The UFC has a champion that only wants to fight marquee fighters as opposed to the “amateurs.” Anderson Silva’s camp doesn’t care what your record is. If you aren’t a name, go to the back of the line.

While the UFC middleweight champion doesn’t do much speaking, his managers Ed Soares and Jorge Guimaraes do plenty. Both managers (because when you are that good, you need more than one) recently talked to the press about potential upcoming fights for their champion and let’s just say they aren’t nearly as excited about a Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva fight as you are.

Silva’s co-manager Guimaraes was the first to make headlines last week when he was asked about Silva’s next opponent.

“No opponent makes sense for Anderson at this moment. Unless we do a catchweight against Georges St-Pierre,” said Silva’s co-manager to Tatame.com. “They (the UFC) didn’t offer the fight, but he’s the only one that could do a super fight. Anderson has the biggest paycheck in the UFC, and you can’t promote an event with these amateur kids that are coming up now.

Yep, that is right. Silva’s management team is referring to the growing list of potential middleweight title challengers as “amateurs”. “That’s a big joke,” Guimaraes said. “Everybody saw that it worked for Chael, and he got really famous with that, and now everybody wants to be in the spotlight.

The more level headed manager, Ed Soares was a little more tactful in his response to the same question to MMAJunkie.com.

I don’t think any opponent in that category is a joke,” Soares said. “I just think that some of his opponents just aren’t as attractive. When I look at Weidman, I think he’s a very talented guy. He’s got a bright future. But when I look at it, he’s 9-0. Anderson has got double the wins he has in his career in the UFC. So I just don’t see the value of being able to fight a guy like this right now. That’s my opinion.

Soares reiterated the champion’s desire to fight Georges St-Pierre but also mentioned a familiar name. Soares said that Silva would be interested in a third fight with Rich Franklin. You know, the same Rich Franklin Silva brutalized on two different occasions.

A new potential super fight recently emerged when Nick Diaz’s camp challenged Anderson to a super fight. Soares was very receptive to the challenge on Twitter.

I think the idea of @SpiderAnderson vs @nickdiaz209 is pretty good. Let’s see what the @ufc thinks?” – @edblackhouse

There is something very obnoxious about these statements coming from Silva’s camp. These people sit around complaining about amateurs and lack of competition, while calling out or being open to fights with fighters that either Silva would undoubtedly destroy or have big weight disadvantages against their fighter. It is one thing to complain about lack of competition or insult other fighters, but it is a whole other story when you do this while ducking the obvious choice…Jon Jones.

Anderson has outright refused to fight Jon Jones. I don’t think anyone reading this blog could disagree that Jones would give Silva his biggest test in MMA. Additionally, Silva has already fought at light heavyweight and is undefeated in UFC’s division. This isn’t a case of GSP or Diaz moving up in weight or anyone being at a weight disadvantage. This is a fight that would pit arguably the two best in the sport against each other with all odds being even. Yet Silva’s camp refuses to even consider the fight, while complaining about a lack of competition?

Whether Silva’s team think that the crop of challengers are amateurs or not, is irrelevant as long as their client holds the title. Silva needs to defend against the top contenders as deemed by the UFC. I can understand Silva wanting to get the most money for his fights with high profile dream fights. That is fine, but if that is the case than Silva needs to relinquish the middleweight title. His camp can’t have it both ways.

At the end of the day this is all a real easy decision to make. Stop picking on the fighter that fights in a division below yours and take the fight against Jones. Unless Silva is that scared of getting KO’d by Bones, it is the only option. The fact they refuse to fight him and complain about lack of competition is the real joke.

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

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UFC 147: Franklin Vs. Silva II Results – Franklin Wins A War

June 24, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

UFC 147 turned was turned into a joke on blogs and in social media in the days leading up to the fight. Yet the joke was on any fan who passed on watching the event as they missed out on an outstanding main-event between Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva.

While the undercard for this card was terrible on paper, I never understood the outrage at the main-event. Many criticized the headliner as a weak fight and mocked the two fighters as if they were past their primes. In the end pride took over and these two warriors went out there and had an absolute war for five rounds silencing critics and having fans scrambling to order the replay.

Rich Franklin defeated Wanderlei Silva in the main-event by unanimous decision in the Fight of the Night. All three judges gave Franklin the fight with 49-46 scores. Franklin controlled most of the fight but in typical Axe Murderer fashion, he never stopped coming.

The two former champions opened up the fight at a high pace, both looking for an early knockout. Wanderlei landed some nice shots but it was Franklin who padded the majority of the round with strikes. Silva’s best round was the second as he had Franklin in big trouble. Silva came very close to finishing the fight with knees and punches. Franklin barely survived the final 20 seconds while I highly doubt he would have made it out of the round if the onslaught came earlier.

Franklin said after the fight that he didn’t even remember anything from that point through the end of the fight. Should the fight have been stopped there? It is tough to say but Silva did have Franklin rocked to the point where he couldn’t remember the fight.

The rest of the fight saw Franklin get the better of Silva in the stand up game. Both fighters embraced going into the fifth round in a real classy moment. Ironically the final seconds ended the same way their first fight did with Silva laying in strikes as the fight closed. Silva nailed Franklin on the chin and just went crazy on the Ace. Unfortunately it was too little too late as the round came to a close, the same way their first fight did as Silva had Franklin trapped and laid in successive elbows. Franklin did nail Silva with a hard strike of his own though as the fight closed.

While Franklin got the win on paper, I think this was a huge win for Silva. People have been counting Silva out since Leben tagged him last July in 0:27. There were numerous questions about whether the UFC would continue booking Silva if he got knocked out. Not only did Silva not get knocked out, he proved that his chin is not an issue. He took plenty of strikes from Franklin for five full rounds and ended the fight swinging. Wanderlei’s career is far from over. All accounts after the fight are that Silva will finally get his fight opposite The Ultimate Fighter Brazil coach Vitor Belfort at the next UFC Brazil event in October.
It is really hard to guess what is next for Franklin. The UFC does owe Franklin for bailing them out of a jam here (and plenty of other times). Franklin was talking title shot after the event but let’s face it. The man is 3-3 in his last six, with his three wins coming over a Chuck Liddell who was past his prime and two over Silva. Those wins shouldn’t earn anyone a title shot. Nobody wants to see Anderson vs. Franklin again but Jones vs. Franklin could be a fun fight. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the UFC give Franklin a title eliminator fight as payback against one of the top light heavyweight fighters.

All in all there was a lesson learned here for MMA fans. A weak event on paper can easily turn into a great night of fights once the bell rings. If you missed UFC 147, you missed a fun show and a great main-event.

Full UFC 147 Franklin vs. Silva 2 results & winners…
Rich Franklin defeated Wanderlei Silva by unanimous decision
Cezar Ferreira defeated Sergio Moraes by unanimous decision
Rony Mariano Bezerra defeated Godofredo Pepey by unanimous decision
Fabricio Werdum defeated Mike Russow by TKO in round 1
Hacran Dias defeated Yuri Alcantara by unanimous decision
Rodrigo Damm defeated Anistavio Medeiros by submission in round 1
Francisco Drinaldo defeated Delson Heleno by TKO in round 1
Hugo Viana defeated John Teixeira by split decision
Thiago Perpétuo defeated Leonardo Mafra by TKO in round 3
Marcos Vinicius defeated Wagner Campos by TKO in round 3
Milton Vieira vs. Felipe Arantes is ruled a draw


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Rich Franklin & Wanderlei Silva’s Awkward Elevator Meeting – Video

June 23, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

This is an awesome video! What would happen if two UFC rivals were to wind up in the same elevator a day before they are scheduled to headline a UFC event? Well you are about to find out as Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva find themselves in an awkward situation.

I love this video. It really shows the class of both Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin in my opinion. The video was shot on Friday after the UFC 147 weigh-ins. Franklin is about to get on the elevator before realizing Wanderlei and his team are in the elevator. The guys have a lot of fun including one of Wandy’s team members who yells, “Let’s get him!”

You can check out the video for yourself here. As much crap as these guys are taking online for being a subpar main-event, they appear to be loose, calm, and in fun spirits. It is obvious watching this video that there is little to no bitterness between these two and their fight is strictly business on Saturday night.

Now if only someone can set up a similar situation between Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva shortly before UFC 148.


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UFC 147: Silva Vs. Franklin II Predictions & Analysis

June 23, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The second UFC event this weekend is a Pay Per View offering from Brazil. Originally scheduled to be headlined by Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen 2, the inability to secure a national soccer stadium began a downward spiral for this card. The card then shifted to an indoor venue, the Estadio Journalista Felipe Drumond in Belo Horizonte, Brazil for Saturday June 23, 2012. The new main event was announced as a battle between the two coaches of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil; Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort. Unfortunately for the UFC the injury-bug then proceeded to continue reeking havoc on the card.

A broken hand suffered in training forced Vitor Belfort to withdraw and brought in late replacement Rich Franklin, a man who has already defeated Silva once in his career. Another major injury took out Daniel Sarafian a Middleweight finalist on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil. He is now being replaced by the man he defeated in the semi-finals Sergio Moraes. The undercard; which will be aired on both FX and Facebook is filled with mostly unknown talents from the Ultimate Fighter Brazil show, however, this has been an impressive season for the Portuguese language show and many of these fighters are great talents. Despite this card lacking in name value recognition, it will likely be one of the more entertaining cards of the year, it’s unfortunate that many casual fans will likely pass, due to lack of star power.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Felipe Arantes vs. Milton Vieira

Felipe “Sertanejo” Arantes is a Brazilian fighter born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. However, to focus on his MMA career he has moved stateside to train with the Macaco Gold Fight Team in Newark, New Jersey. Arantes is a talented striker with a black belt in Muay Thai and a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He holds a career record of 14-4 with 2 No Contests. Milton “Miltinho” Vieira is a Brazilian fighter from Teresopolis. He is a member of the Brazilian Top Team and is most notable for being the grappler that invented the Anaconda Choke. He holds a career record of 13-7-1. Felipe Arantes via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Marcos Vinicius Pancini vs. Wagner Campos

Marcos Vinicius “Vina” Pancini is a Brazilian fighter, who like his opponent had little success on the show. He will enjoy a size and strength advantage and should be able to punish his opponent in close quarters and inside the clinch. Pancini is also notable for his 100% finishing rate in pro competition, where he holds a record of 19-3-1. Wagner “Galeto” Campos is a Brazilian fighter who failed to get much going during his time on the show. He is actually undersized for the weight class and has a history of fighting ten pounds south of Featherweight in the Bantamweight division. He was Team Wanderlei’s final Featherweight pick on the show, and his results showed it. He holds a career record of 11-3. Marcos Vinicius Pancini via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (FX): Middleweight Bout: Thiago Perpetuo vs. Leonardo Mafra Texeira

Thiago de Oliveira Perpetuo is a former Light Heavyweight fighter who dropped to Middleweight for the show. He is a talented grappler who has absolutely vicious ground and pound skills. He relies on his grappling skills in nearly all of his bouts and has a career record of 8-1-1. Leonardo Mafra “Macarro” Texeira is actually fairly undersized for 185 pounds, and has fought at Welterweight in the past. He was Team Wanderlei’s last pick in the Middleweight division, despite having a highly entertaining fight style. He holds a career record of 5-0, but he’s fighting a guy who will likely have 20-30 pounds on him come fight night, that’s just too much. Thiago Perpetuo via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: John Teixeira vs. Hugo Viana

John “Macapa” Texeira is an undefeated Featherweight prospect that is a high-level grappler. He sets a relentless pace on the mat, constantly threatening with submission attempts and scrambling around, although his striking has at times looked fairly mediocre. He holds a career record of 13-0-1. Hugo “Wolverine” Viana entered the show as a dark horse, but became one of the more popular and dangerous fighters on the show. He was a semi-finalist on the show and showed flashes of extreme aggression with his knockout of Alexandre Ramos to get into the house. He is another top prospect with a perfect professional record of 5-0. Hugo Viana via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Middleweight Bout: Delson Heleno vs. Francisco Drinaldo

Delson “Pe de Chumbo” Heleno was one of the more veteran fighters on the Brazilian season of The Ultimate Fighter with nearly 30 career bouts. He has fought in big time organizations in the past like the IFL, but usually fights at 170 pounds. He holds a career record of 23-6. Francisco “Massaranduba” Drinaldo is a former Jungle Fight Champion in the Lightweight division. Despite usually fighting at 155 pounds, he decided to enter the show as a Middleweight because he couldn’t physically lose another ten pounds. He holds a career record of 10-1. Francisco Drinaldo via TKO in Round Three

Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Anistavio Medeiros vs. Rodrigo Damm

Anistavio “Gasparzinho” Medeiros was the final overall pick in the Featherweight division of the show. He is most notable for his strange antics and behavior inside the house, basically making him the Brazilian version of Junie Browning. He holds a career record of 15-7. Rodrigo Damm was one of the top fighters heading into the TUF Brazil house and was easily the biggest “name” talent on the show. He actually never lost on the show, but was eliminated when he was not cleared to fight due to Dehydration issues from repeated weight cuts on the show. He is a talented, well-rounded fighter with a career record of 9-5, against some very big name talent. Rodrigo Damm via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Featherweight Bout: Yuri Alcantara vs. Hacran Dias

Yuri “Marajo” Alcantara is a Brazilian fighter from Marajo, Brazil. He is a member of the Pattaya Fight Team in Brazil who holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Alcantara is a former Jungle Fight Lightweight Champion. Alcantara is an extremely aggressive and talented striker. He is constantly moving forward and is very accurate with his strikes, which he varies well switching between kicks and punches very well. He also has a number of flashy moves, most notable the spinning back elbow he landed against Michihiro Omigawa. Alcantara also has considerable ground skills and actually looked to have impressive takedowns in his bout against Felipe Arantas. He holds a career record of 28-3.

Hacran “Barnabe” Dias is a Brazilian fighter from Rio de Janeiro. He is making his UFC debut in this bout, but comes with an impressive resume and is riding an impressive winning streak. Dias was originally scheduled to be a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, but was instead passed over for the show and offered an immediate contract. A member of the Nova Uniao camp Dias is a talented grappler who has controlled any opponent on the mat that he’s been able to takedown. Therein might lie his problem, as he sometimes struggles against fighters that he cannot take down. He has a career record of 20-1-1.

Analysis and Prediction: Dias is an extremely talented grappler and probably holds the edge on the ground if he can get on top of Alcantara. The problem is he’s got to get close to Alcantara to earn a takedown and his striking is definitely below the level of Alcantara. After that, Alcantara is a talented grappler himself who has shown impressive wrestling skills for a non-American, all these things are turning into big problems for Dias. He remains a talented prospect with tons of upside, but this is a tough fight for him and a tough go for his UFC debut. Yuri Alcantara via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Heavyweight Bout: Fabricio Werdum vs. Mike Russow

Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum is a Brazilian fighter from Porto Alegre. Werdum is probably the most talented grappler in the UFC’s Heavyweight division from a pure BJJ point of view. He is a 2nd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a black belt in Judo and a black belt in Muay Thai. He is a member of the Kings MMA Gym in Porto Alegre and is a former Abu Dhabi Combat Club submission-grappling champion. Despite his impressive grappling credentials, he has made significant improvements to his striking game and showed off his new striking skills in his last bout against Roy Nelson, where he basically used ‘Big Country’ as a walking, breathing punching bag. Werdum is probably best known to the casual fan as the man who started Fedor Emelianenko’s Strikeforce losing skid. He holds a career MMA record of 15-5-1.

Mike Russow is an American fighter, one of only two on the card. He is a former Police officer from Chicago, Illinois. He is now a member of the DeathClutch Gym training out of Alexandria, Minnesota. Russow is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who is currently riding an eleven fight-winning streak. He is the epitome of a grinding Heavyweight fighter. He uses takedowns and top control, sprinkled with ground and pound to control and outwork his opponents. His striking is rather basic and he’s a touch on the slow side, but he does have big one-shot knockout ability in both of his hands, which he showed in his huge comeback victory over Todd Duffee in May 2010. He has a career record of 15-1, with 1 No Contest.

Analysis and Prediction: Russow is undefeated in the UFC, but probably gets less respect than half of the guys in the Heavyweight division. Some of this is due to his rather fan unfriendly style of wrestling and top control, as well as a somewhat lackluster appearance and personality, but he is still a very talented fighter. The problem for him is he’s screwed anywhere this fight goes. Werdum is more athletic and quicker than he is and has better striking skills. On the mat, Werdum is as dangerous as they come, with dangerous grappling, so taking him down isn’t a great solution for Russow either. He hits hard enough to always have a chance, but it’s not a big one. Fabricio Werdum via TKO in Round Three

Main Card (Pay Per View): The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Featherweight Tournament Finals: Godofredo Castro vs. Rony Mariano Bezerra

Godofredo “Pepey” Castro is a Brazilian fighter from Fortaleza, Brazil. He is a member of the Marcio Cupim Team in his hometown of Fortaleza. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu whose entire MMA game revolves around his ability to get the bout to the floor. He is dangerous from both top position as well as bottom position, but I believe that he allows himself to fight off his back for too long during some bouts. His stand up is fairly bad to be brutally honest. He’s probably improved since the show, but on the show his striking featured him pawing jabs lazily, before spamming takedowns from across the cage. Against a talented striker like Bezerra that’s not going to fly. Castro holds a career record of 10-3.

Rony “Jason” Mariano Bezerra was the number one pick on the show and was one of the most impressive fighters throughout. He is an extremely talented fighter who has big fight experience against the likes of Renan Barao and Felipe Arantes. He holds the notable distinction of finishing all of his opponents. Bezerra is a member of the Team Nogueira Gym in Brazil, where he trains with a very talented team. He has dynamic striking skills, is very quick and is a talented grappler in his own right. Add to that the fact that he wears a sweet Jason mask out to the cage and you’ve got a fighter I can support.

Analysis and Prediction: What this comes down to for me is “Pepey’s” limited ability to strike. If he can’t find a better way to close the distance he’s going to get peppered by Bezerra who is a competent grappler with solid takedown defense. Shooting from outside won’t work, so that means Castro needs to get close and that puts him in significant danger. Cardio could be a problem for Bezerra but it’s only a three round fight, so long as he controls himself and the pacing of the bout, he should be able to notch a late stoppage. Rony Bezerra via TKO in Round Two

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Main Card (Pay Per View): The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Middleweight Tournament Finals: Cezar Ferreira vs. Sergio Moraes

Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira is a Brazilian fighter from Belo Horiztone, so he will be fighting in front of a hometown crowd. Despite his Brazilian heritage he actually trains in the United States with his coach from the show Vitor Belfort at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ferreira holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and actually began wrestling and grappling in his early childhood. Ferreira is also a dangerous, albeit sometimes careless striker who can deliver big pop in his punches. During his time on the show he often used his striking to set up the finishes, as he stopped all of his opponents (two by submission, one by knockout.) Mutante holds a career record of 4-2.

Sergio “Serginho” Moraes is fighting on his second life come Saturday night. The 29-year-old fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil actually lost in the semi-finals of the show. However, an injury to the man that defeated him for the spot in the finals Daniel Sarafian opened the door for him to return to a slot in the finals. Moraes is a very talented grappler with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, who is actually a Jiu Jitsu coach at the Team Nogueira/Black House Gym in California. In the house he showed solid submissions, defeating both his opponents by submission. However, in his bout against Sarafian he was somewhat exposed as a poor striker as he was knocked out cold by Sarafian. He holds a career record of 6-1.

Analysis and Prediction: This is a fight, which will be very different depending on where it spends the most time. Ferreira is the more talented striker, with more power. It’s not so much that Moraes is a bad striker, just that he’s tentative and doesn’t pick his spots well. On the ground Moraes is the more capable and more dangerous black belt. The thing for me is I don’t think Moraes is so much better on the ground against a decent grappler like Ferreira as he is overmatched on the feet. Ferreira takes this one by late TKO. Cezar Ferreira via TKO in Round Three

Main Card (Pay Per View): 190-Pound Catchweight Bout: Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin

Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva is a Brazilian fighter and one of the legends in the sport of MMA. For years he dominated the Light Heavyweight division in PRIDE FC over in Japan and he was well known for his relentless aggression and ability to withstand huge punishment in order to dish out his own. Fast-forward five years and Wanderlei is no longer the same fighter. He can’t take the same kind of punishment that he used to, although he still likes to engage in the same kind of firefights that made him famous in Japan, even if they aren’t necessarily to his advantage any longer. Even though his chin is deteriorating and his body is beginning to slow down, he is still a handful for any fighter to deal with. His balls to the wall approach to fighting and his ability to land a one-punch knockout forces all of his opponents to be on their toes at all times. Wanderlei also has underrated ground skills, holding a black belt in BJJ. The member of the Reign Training Center and the head of the Wand Fight Team owns a professional record of 34-11-1 with 1 No Contest.

Rich “Ace” Franklin is the former UFC Middleweight Champion who ruled the 185-pound division before Anderson Silva showed up and rearranged his face… twice. Franklin is a well-rounded fighter with a huge fan-base, he is also loved by his bosses at the UFC for his willingness to step up on late notice and fill cards when they need him to. Rich actually owns a career victory over Wanderlei Silva from UFC 99 in Cologne, Germany. Franklin is a well-rounded fighter, he has excellent technical boxing skills and constantly mixes it up between punches, kicks, knees and elbows. On the mat, Franklin is a capable grappler who has solid wrestling skills for someone who never wrestled at the collegiate level. He relies a lot on his strength and size for his ability to control the pacing and dictate the range at which his fights are contested. Throwing Franklin out of his rhythm is one of the keys to success against him as shown in his losses to Anderson Silva, Forrest Griffin and Vitor Belfort, Franklin can sometimes struggle against opponents that he cannot impose his will on. Franklin holds a professional MMA record of 28-6-1.

Analysis and Prediction: These two fought in 2009, with Franklin winning a Unanimous Decision that was never really contested or debated. Usually I like to delve deep into main events, but I’m not sure this fight warrants a whole lot of detail. Like Eric said in a column earlier this week, there have been worse main events in UFC history, although I’m not so sure all ten of them on his list were worse (sorry Eric.) However, this is still a rematch that no one really wanted, including fans and both fighters involved, but the damned injury bug gave it to use anyways.

In their first fight Franklin was faster and more technically sound on the feet. Wanderlei was able to win the second round with his trademark aggression but Franklin stayed composed and won the third round, in addition to the first, which he won handily and took the decision. Since that fight Silva has looked slower and less impressive. Rich definitely isn’t getting any younger and although his results have been mixed since their last fight, I think Rich has had the tougher schedule.

In a five-round fight I think Rich’s trademark cardio becomes a big factor. Wanderlei can still win exchanges and rounds with his crazy balls out aggression, but throwing every punch to kill and running around the cage takes the toll on the gas tank. Rich on the other hand has cardio to fight for days and can fight in a much more composed manner. Expect the more technically proficient Franklin to win the exchanges from the outside and use some well-timed takedowns to wear out Wanderlei before finishing him in the later rounds. Rich Franklin via TKO in Round Four

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10 Main Events Worse Than UFC 147

June 20, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC 147 headliner featuring Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin 2 has been dubbed by many the worst main-event in UFC history. However, a look back tells us that there have been far less interesting fights sold as UFC main-events.

I am certainly not thrilled about the fight but at the same time I think it is absurd to call this the worst headliner in UFC history. I have watched UFC since the start and I can tell you that there have been far worse mismatches passed off as main-events by Zuffa. This got me to thinking and with a little refresher help from Wikipedia, I was able to easily come up with ten fights that were far worse main-events on paper than the UFC 147 headliner.

Now to be fair not all of these fights were sold on pay per view. Some of these fights were given away for free on Spike TV. Yet they still qualify as UFC main-events in my mind because they headlined a UFC numbered show. I did not include headliners from non-numbered UFC events. So with that said, here are ten fights off the top (in no particular order) of my head that are much worse than what the UFC is trying to sell this Saturday night.

UFC 122: Nate Marquardt vs. Yushin Okami - This was a joke! Yes it aired on free television but yet the idea that this was passed off as a legitimate headliner by the UFC was an insult. Dana White proclaimed the fight a championship eliminator which gave us yet another unfortunate main-event that would have made the list if I went with a top fifteen.

UFC 133: Ortiz vs. Rashad Evans - This band aid of a main-event came after numerous fight changes to the card. Injuries to Phil Davis and Jon Jones forced this rematch of a long forgotten draw between these two former champions. Ortiz was coming off his first win in six fights and five years while Evans was the recognized number one contender. As big of a mismatch as this was on paper, it was every bit as one-sided in the octagon.

UFC 130: Hamill vs. Jackson - If I was ranking this list in order this one would probably be at the top. Once again, this fight was a backup plan once Thiago Silva was injured going into his fight with Rampage Jackson. The original main-event Edgar vs. Maynard was also scrapped which pushed this one to the top. I know circumstances were beyond the UFC’s control but their hype machine was in full b.s. mode when it came to pushing this fight. This fight lived up to all expectations…it stunk!

UFC 105: Randy Couture vs. Brandon Vera - This won’t be the first time Couture makes the list. Once again the UFC offered up a free show from England and mucked it up with this ridiculous choice of main-event. The fight wasn’t actually that bad but just the idea that the UFC would sell anything with Brandon Vera in it as a main-event is beyond preposterous…wait a second!

UFC 112: Anderson Silva vs. Demian Maia - By all rights Maia was due a title shot but I don’t think anyone thought for a second that this would be an entertaining fight. Silva went out of his way to make sure that didn’t happen to the point where Dana White refused to get into the octagon and wrap the belt around Silva following the win. UFC 112 had a pretty loaded show when it came to star power so even with a bogus main-event, fans had plenty of reasons to buy this show. The headliner though was not one of them.

UFC 119: Frank Mir vs. Mirko Cro Cop -
If I was ranking this list this fight would probably come in second (actually I am starting to rank the list). I find the outrage over UFC 147 hilarious considering the insult of a main-event that the UFC served up at UFC 119. Wanderlei and Franklin could put on a better fight in their sleep than Mir or Cro Cop could at this stage of their careers. Just remember before you nominate a fight to be the worst on selling headliner in UFC history that there was a little show called UFC 119 with an even bigger insult to your intelligence.

UFC 97: Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites - A win over Drew McFedries suddenly catapulted Leites to the number one contender’s spot and a title shot against Anderson Silva. Nobody with an MMA brain thought Leites had a chance to win and he proved us right. To his credit he lasted five rounds but that was more Silva playing games than anything else. To show you how “main-event” worthy Leites was to the UFC he was released following his next fight.

UFC 55: Andrei Arlovski vs. Paul Buentello - Yep, it happened. This fight came about after UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir was injured and the UFC needed to create a new champion. Buentello did rattle off some wins but selling him in the main-event was laughable. Buentello did his best to prove that after getting knocked out in a mere fifteen seconds by the Pit Bull.

UFC 53: Andrei Arlovski vs. Justin Eilers - This is still regarded as one of the most controversial fights in UFC history in regards to Eilers getting a title shot coming off a loss. See, you only thought that happened in Strikeforce! Arlovski literally beat the crap out of Eilers as Eilers left the fight with a broken nose, a torn ACL, and two broken hands and the UFC left UFC 53 with very little credibility when it came to the UFC heavyweight (or interim in this case) title.

UFC 109: Randy Couture vs. Mark Coleman - The battle of “legends” took place at UFC 109. The idea behind this senior’s battle was that Coleman and Couture were scheduled to fight years earlier and someone had the misguided idea that UFC fans were still awaiting the cancelled fight. They were wrong. In all fairness the fight did draw 1.7 million viewers on Spike yet keep in mind that it was free and had a strong undercard or recognizable names.

Silva vs. Franklin 2 doesn’t sound so bad now does it?

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Wanderlei Silva Vs. Rich Franklin II Set For UFC 147

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

The injury bug has bit the UFC once again, forcing the promotion to scramble for a new main-event. In the case of UFC 147 the new main-event is actually an old main-event. Former MMA champions Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva will now square off on June 23 in Brazil.

The fight announcement was a bit of a surprise. Silva’s original opponent Vitor Belfort officially pulled out of the main-event against Wanderlei last week after suffering a hand injury. Silva and Belfort are opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil. The coach vs. coach homeland headliner was scrapped in favor of a rematch of the UFC 99 main-event.

Silva vs. Franklin was not on anyone’s radar when it came to predicting the new Brazilian main-event. Franklin was originally signed to fight Cung Le at UFC 148. Personally I was hoping to see Alan Belcher get the call but it was not to be. This is certainly a strange fight to rematch considering the first one ended with relatively little controversy. The reshuffled fight now leaves Le without an opponent underneath the biggest fight card of the year.

While I have little interest in seeing Silva vs. Franklin again I will say that I absolutely loved their first fight. Franklin won a unanimous decision in their first fight. Although I didn’t think the fight was as one-sided as some did, I had no problem with Franklin winning the decision. The fight was better than I expected, but it was the finish of the fight that had me on my feet.

After dominating the majority of three rounds, Franklin narrowly escaped a brutal assault by Silva in the final 30 seconds of the fight. Here is how I described it when I recapped the fight two years ago in my blog.

The final 30 seconds of the Round 3 will make the highlight films. Silva stood up from a Franklin takedown. Franklin was still holding Silva from behind and leaning on the cage. Silva began to fire rocket elbows at Franklin’s face, reminding me of Gary Goodrich from the old UFC days. Franklin was trapped and saved by the bell. Another 30 seconds and Silva would have pulled off one of the most exciting knockouts in UFC history.

Silva will get another shot at the knockout. I am a big Silva fan but I don’t expect the same fight as the first. Silva’s better days are behind him and I think he is getting knocked out in his home country at UFC 147. Franklin is coming off a decision loss to Forrest Griffin but I still think he is the better fight at this stage of the game. Wanderlei did show me something with his TKO win over Le but Franklin is a much more polished fighter than Le.

The irony here is that this is Franklin’s second stint as a replacement in a The Ultimate Fighter coach vs. coach main-event. Franklin stepped in for Tito Ortiz back at UFC 115 and sent Chuck Liddell into retirement with a first round KO. Unfortunately for Silva fans, it looks like Franklin could be sending his second legend into retirement on June 23.


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UFC Announces Two Big Summer Fights

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

Cung Le UFCThe UFC worked hard this past weekend finalizing two big fights. Two fights that some hardcore MMA fans could dub “Dream Fights” are confirmed and will be heating up an already red hot summer for the UFC.

A battle of former champions will take place this July at UFC 148. Former Strikeforce champion Cung Le returns to action to take on former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin in a battle of middleweight stars at the MGM Grand.

Franklin is returning to action after a 17-month layoff that saw him booked and removed from last summer’s UFC 133 show in Philadelphia. Franklin has been idle due to a shoulder injury although his name has popped up from time to time in rumored fights. Franklin will be returning to middleweight for the first time since he defeated Travis Lutter at UFC 83.

Cung Le returns to the UFC after a dazzling yet disappointing debut last year at UFC 139. Le was knocked out with 11 seconds remaining in the second round against MMA icon Wanderlei Silva. Le came to the UFC as a Strikeforce favorite, going 7-1, as one of the company’s top stars.

I am real intrigued by this fight. I have always been a big Le fan and I think Franklin is a great opportunity for him. Le should win a striking contest against the former champion, yet could have a difficult time if Franklin can take this one to the ground. The move back to middleweight is probably best for Franklin who is coming off a 1-2 record in the division.

In a fight that already has me pumped, Clay Guida will fight Gray Maynard at UFC on FX 4. I think this clearly the strongest main-event on paper that the UFC has given any of the FX events. If matchups make great fights, this has the makings of a classic.

The lightweights will try and sort out a messy division which has been put on hold barring the result of the upcoming rematch between Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson. Both fighters are coming off of exciting losses and will find themselves further away from an opportunity at the lightweight champion.

On paper I would have to give the early edge to Maynard. As exciting as Guida is, he just can’t put the elite fighters away. He has had many opportunities that saw him one fight away from earning a title shot only to lose out to his opponent. Guida has become something of a gatekeeper to the champion. Although to be fair, he probably should have earned a title shot with his win over Anthony Pettis at the TUF 13 finale.

I have always liked Gray Maynard although he can be hit or miss in the excitement department. Frankie Edgar has been Maynard’s kryptonite as he rolled off eight wins in the division before his two championship matches against Edgar. I can’t imagine that the UFC would rush to make another Edgar vs. Maynard title fight if both guys win but you never know. Strange things happen and with the rash of injuries that the UFC is likely to see this year, these two guys could wind up back on opposing sides of the octagon sooner than you think.

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Rampage Jackson Explains Missed Weight For UFC 144 Fight

February 25, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

Rampage JacksonIt is easy to understand the outrage across the Internet with Rampage missing weight for his UFC 144 showdown with Ryan Bader. However, this interview following the weigh-ins with Jackson does provide some clarity to a polarizing situation.

Rampage Jackson continues to be one of the most polarizing fighters in the UFC. Unfortunately for Jackson, the haters will speak much louder after he screws up, including missing weight for a fight. Jackson has the unfortunate timing of missing weight while the topic is still red hot following Anthony Johnson’s incident in Brazil.

I am a Jackson fan, although his antics outside of the octagon have diminished my enthusiasm for the former Pride FC fighter over the years. But even I will offer Rampage the benefit of the doubt on this one after hearing his side of the story. As a matter of a fact, I think Jackson’s story (if true) really gives you a behind-the-scenes look at what more fighters probably struggle with coming into a fight than we realize.

Jackson spoke to his new wing man Ariel Helwani following the weigh-in and offered a very plausible explanation about the missed weight. Jackson tells Helwani that he suffered an injury in camp which prevented him from doing the necessary cardio to cut weight. He claims the injury is healed and expected to make weight, but was surprised when he found out he gained weight coming over to Japan. He also says that the injury has healed and he is ready to fight.

If Jackson is telling the truth (and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt), you have to feel for the guy. Jackson begged to fight on the card after being left off the original lineup. Faced with the choice of pulling out of the show or going on knowing that he may miss weight and his cardio could be off, he opted to fight through the injury and take a shot at making weight. For all of the criticism he is getting, he could have just as easily pulled out of the fight and he didn’t.

Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin called Jackson missing weight “ridiculous.” Jackson was very upset about this and threatened Franklin in the interview with Helwani. It is a tricky call for Franklin. The first instinct is to bash Jackson, but as a fighter you’d hope that Franklin would at least reach out to Jackson’s camp for an explanation before jumping all over him. Or, maybe we have ourselves a grudge match in the making?

I’d be real surprised to see Jackson pull this off at UFC 144. Something is hurting him and if Bader can get lucky and target that injury, this fight could get ugly. Jackson will also be struggling with cardio so does he come out fast and furious or take a more cautious pace? Regardless, I think the guy deserves a bit of a break here and more praise for gutting through a camp that he probably should have abandoned weeks ago.

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