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The Camel Clutch Blog MMA 2011 Year In Review

December 29, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

It is that time of the year again, time for the MMA Year End Awards. 2011 was certainly an interesting year in and out of the octagon for the UFC and MMA. A promotional acquisition and the emergence of a young prodigy are arguably the two biggest headlines of the year.

MMA Fighter of the Year

Eric Gargiulo – Jon Jones: This was probably the easiest award to pick here and maybe any other year. I can’t remember an MMA fighter with as strong a year as Jon Jones. Four fights, a championship win, and two successful title defenses thrust Jones to the top of the list.

Hardcore MMA fans were well aware of Jones and his vicious elbows before he stepped into the octagon at UFC 128 and dismantled Shogun Rua. The potential was never in question, yet some wondered if the UFC were taking things too slowly with Bones. How would Bones do with ramped up competition? The answer is simple, he is even better than anyone thought.

Fighting four times in one year in the UFC is an accomplishment in itself. Handily winning three fights against the elite of the division is something else altogether. In a matter of eight months Jones has dominant wins over Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, and Lyoto Machida. Sure champions fight more than once a year in the UFC, but rarely is their competition as good as Jones’.

Jones finishes the year with a highlight finish over Machida. Entering 2012 he is looking at potential fights with Rashad Evans and most likely Dan Henderson. At this point I can’t imagine anyone picking against him. The end game here has to be Anderson Silva. Whether Silva takes the fight or not is another story. Without the Silva fight in 2012, at this current pace he could clean out the division by next year’s end.

He may not be your favorite, but I don’t think anyone would have a hard time with giving this guy his props for a phenomenal MMA year.

Honorable Mentions: Nick Diaz, Dan Henderson, and Junior Dos Santos.

Brett Clendaniel of WrestleChat.net- Jon “Bones” Jones: If you would have told Jon Jones at the beginning of the year that his opponents in 2011 would be Ryan “Darth” Bader, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, he probably would have settled for going 2-2 and getting a bit of experience under his belt. It was these 4 fighters, Jon Jones, and Rashad Evans that made up the Top 6 in the most stacked, competitive division that the UFC has to offer. Instead of backing down from the task at hand and wilting from the pressure, Jones rattled off four incredible victories that has many MMA pundits calling it the greatest single year for a fighter in MMA history. Not only were they four victories, but they were all dominating, decisive stoppages that earned Jones the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. He entered 2011 as a young, promising, up-and-comer who had the potential to be great one day. Instead, he proved to be a fighter who very well may dominate his weight class like Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre have. The only fighters that could potentially cause a problem for Jones are Rashad Evans (who he was set to fight twice over the course of the year), Phil Davis (whose tall, lanky frame and A+ wrestling ability could prove to be a threat), and Dan Henderson (who has never been stopped and can KO anybody). Those three fighters are almost definitely on the agenda for Bones in 2012. If Bones gets through those three, you might as well give him the 2012 Fighter of the Year Award as well.

Honorable Mention: Dan Henderson, Nick Diaz, Ben Henderson, and Junior dos Santos

Jay Perrone – Jon Jones: I will get right to the point: Jon Jones. It’s true that fighters like The Hendersons (Ben and Dan), Frankie Edgar and Donald Cerrone all had great 2011’s, but Jones was on another level. From LHW contender to champ to defending the belt twice within one calendar year, Jones finished all four of his opponents, three of whom were former champs (ok, Shogun actually WAS the champ, so he is now a former champ…again). Barring any injuries, I anticipate another dominant year for Jones in 2012.

Lee McGregor of Source4MMA.com Fighter of the Year: Jon “Bones” Jones: In my opinion, no one had a better year than Jones in 2011. What criteria would one use for judging a fighter of the year? Let’s see…. Wins? Jones had four of them, all over consensus Top 15 Fighters. Losses? Jones had none. Stoppages? All four of Bones’ wins came via stoppage (3 Submissions and 1 TKO.) Titles? Jones defeated Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in dominant fashion to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, then defended it twice. Most UFC Champions don’t fight more than twice in a year, Bones did it four times and dominated every fight that he was in.

MMA Fight of the Year

Eric G – Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber, July 2, 2011 (UFC 132): Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber will go down as one of the great main-event fights in UFC history. These two guys fought at a frenetic pace for 25 minutes, never slowing down for five full rounds of action. I think that at the end of the day this fight came down to a few takedowns in favor of Cruz.

These guys barely left their feet nor slowed down throughout the entire fight. I can’t remember seeing a five round fight with this much excitement in a long time or maybe even ever. Cruz went for takedowns but Faber popped right back up. Faber regularly connected on Cruz coming out of the clinch which I thought may have been a difference maker here. Both men were rocked a few times, yet I never got the impression that either man was close to being knocked out or tapped at any point of the fight.

In addition to delivering a classic, Cruz and Faber had a world of pressure on their shoulders and they delivered. As the first bantamweight fight to headline a UFC pay per view, anything less than a great fight would have set the entire division back. The UFC took a big risk here putting the smaller guys in the spotlight and it paid off. I think what Cruz and Faber did at UFC 132 has been understated. UFC fans now get just as excited to see the smaller guys fight in the top spot as they do the big boys.

Honorable Mentions: Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Shogun Rua (UFC 139), Nick Diaz vs. Paul Daley (Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley), Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler (Bellator 58), Nick Diaz vs. BJ Penn (UFC 137), Clay Guida vs. Ben Henderson (UFC on Fox), Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard (UFC 125), Mark Hominick vs. Jose Aldo (UFC 129)

Jay P – Chandler vs. Alvarez Bellator 58 & Shogun Rua vs. Dan Henderson UFC 139 (tie): Unlike Jones, who I truly believe is damned near impossible to argue against for Fighter of the Year (yes, I concede this is all subjective), there were two fights in 2011 that stood out. Michael Chandler versus Eddie Alvarez for the Bellator LW strap was a four round contest of awesome with fantastic back and forth boxing, several near finishes and an ending that saw Chandler get the upset win by rear naked choke. As great it was, however, Dan Henderson’s decision over Shogun at UFC 139 (which happened to occur several hours later on November 19, 2011) was nothing short of cinematic and, in my eyes, takes the honor for Fight Of The Year. Sure, the technical proficiency was not on par with the Chandler/Alvarez fight, but that is like saying Rocky vs. Ivan Drago in Rocky IV was less epic in the later rounds since it essentially became a street fight (yes, I know it was a movie, folks, but you see my point). Henderson landed some bombs in rounds one through three that would have put most men out. Shogun, bloodied, broken and bruised, pulls a Frankie Edgar-esque rabbit of his very short trunks and not only endures, but taps into his reserve gas tank and puts a two-round beating on Henderson to go the distance. It was the kind of war that goes down as one of the most memorable fights of all time and will be talked about for years to come.

Lee M – MMA Fight of the Year: Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua – UFC 139: I went back and forth a lot between this bout and the Bellator Lightweight Championship bout between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler. In the end what sealed the deal for me was that this fight went all five rounds and each round was a war jam packed with excitement. Where most fights usually have a lull in the action or a slow round this fight didn’t. These two warriors threw everything at one another and didn’t slow down and the fifth round is one of the most memorable in history. Knowing he needed a finish to taste victory, Shogun threw everything including the kitchen sink at Henderson, but Hendo was able to hang in there. Add in the fact that these were two storied veterans of the MMA game who were meeting for the first time in their respective careers, it was a very special fight. Throw in the post-fight photo at the hospital… win. http://cdn0.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/2319846/shogun-hendo-injured_large.jpg

Brett C – Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (UFC 139): Going in to UFC 139, many people (myself included) really doubted the quality of the card as a whole. Henderson was in his first fight back in the UFC since 2009 and fresh off his stunning knockout of Fedor Emelianenko. Rua was coming off a pretty quick, easy victory over Forrest Griffin at UFC: Rio. Both of these PRIDE legends were on a roll heading into their matchup. It ended up being a fight that has already been heralded as one of the best fights in the history of mixed-martial arts. Even UFC honcho Dana White was comparing this fight to that of Forrest Griffin vs Stephan Bonner in the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. It was a brutal battle that saw both men out of breath and drenched in blood. Either fighter was thought to be “on-the-ropes” a few times over the course of the fight. I can recall four times off the top of my head where I thought this fight was over. Nonetheless, both of these warriors continued to battle back and just refused to quit. In the end, it was Dan Henderson who was awarded the decision. What’s next for either guy is anyone’s guess. Henderson is considered to be in the mix at both 185 and 205, but I think the big money for the UFC is an immediate rematch between Henderson and Rua.

Honorable Mention: Michael Chadler vs Eddie Alvarez (Bellator 58), Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard II (UFC 125), Nick Diaz vs Paul Daley(Strikeforce: Diaz vs Daley), Ben Henderson vs Clay Guida (UFC on Fox 1), Diego Sanchez vs Martin Kampmann (UFC on Versus 3), Cheick Kongo vs Pat Berry (UFC on Versus 3), and Jose Aldo vs Mark Hominick (UFC 129)

MMA Upset of the Year

Eric G – Tito Ortiz submits Ryan Bader at UFC 132: I had a real hard time with this award, real hard time. I went back and forth between this fight and Antonio Silva’s win over Fedor Emelianenko for quite a while. However, when I went back to look at the betting odds going into the fight, Tito was a bigger underdog than Silva so I went with Tito.

Now as much as I like Ortiz, I think there is a serious question that needs to be asked. Did Tito really pull off the upset or was Bader overrated? I tend to lean towards Bader being overrated and overhyped, however if you judge by the betting odds Ortiz pulled off the bigger upset.

I don’t want to minimize Ortiz’s win here. He had more pressure on him than in years. He was told flat out that a loss would send him out of the UFC. Ortiz had not won a fight against anyone not named Ken Shamrock since 2006. That is five years! Now he is going in there with a kid reputed to be faster, stronger, and comparable on the ground with him and he pulls off the choke in 1:56 of the first round? On top of that, Ortiz hadn’t finished a fight with a submission since cranking Yuki Kondo at UFC 29 eleven years prior. This win was huge.

Honorable Mentions: Antonio Silva defeats Fedor Emelianenko in the Strikeforce Grand Prix Opening Round, Dan Henderson defeats Fedor Emelianenko (Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson), Charlie Brenneman defeats Rick Story (UFC Live 4), Joe Lauzon defeats Melvin Guillard (UFC 136), Clay Guida defeats Anthony Pettis (TUF 13 Finale), Dan Henderson defeats Rafael Cavalcante (Strikeforce: Fejiao vs. Henderson), Rick Story vs. Thiago Alves (UFC 130), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defeats Brendan Schaub (UFC 134)

Lee M – MMA Upset of the Year: I’m going to go with Michael Chandler over Eddie Alvarez in Bellator for the Lightweight title. There were a couple of big upsets in 2011 Ortiz over Bader, Brenneman over Story and Joe Lauzon over Melvin Guillard all come to mind, but I’ve got to give props to Chandler. He may not have been the biggest betting underdog out of that list, but no one expected him to shed his prospect status and un-seat Alvarez as the Lightweight Champion of Bellator. You’ve got to consider the stakes of this fight and give Chandler a bit of a boost because of the championship status of the bout.

Brett C – Tito Ortiz defeats Ryan Bader at UFC 132: Tito Ortiz entered his match with Ryan Bader as a 5-to-1 underdog and was admittedly on the chopping block after five straight matches without a victory. In fact, Ortiz’s most recent win had come in 2006 against Ken Shamrock. A loss against Bader would have definitely been the end of his UFC (and, probably, MMA) career. With his back against the wall, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” got the break he was looking for. At little over a 1:30 into Round 1, Ortiz caught Bader with a right hand that sent him crashing to the mat. Ortiz quickly jumped on him with a flurry of punches before sinking in a guillotine choke which caused Bader to tap at just under two minutes in the first round. It was a stunning victory over a rising prospect for a guy that many had thought was done. This victory was enough to give Ortiz two more fights after it in 2011.

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Honorable Mention: Charlie Brenneman vs. Rick Story (UFC on Versus 4), Antonio “Big Foot” Silva over Fedor Emelianenko (Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva), Daniel Cormier vs. Antonio “Big Foot Silva (Strikeforce: Grand Prix), Chan Sung Jung vs. Mark Hominick (UFC 140), Jake Ellenburger vs. Jake Shields (UFC Fight Night: Shields vs. Ellenberger)

MMA Story of the Year

Eric G – Zuffa, LLC purchases Strikeforce: It doesn’t get much bigger than this does it? The UFC for the second time in several years bought their only real competition. While I wouldn’t call Strikeforce competition at the time, they certainly had the most potential to give the UFC some headaches. That all ended this past March when news broke that the parent company of the UFC was now in possession of its rival.

A bigger part of this story may be the slow dismantling of the company since Zuffa took it over in March. Since the acquisition, Strikeforce has lost three of its champions to the UFC. Strikeforce’s two biggest draws in Nick Diaz and Fedor are gone. While rumors of a new television deal to keep Strikeforce on Showtime are running wild, nothing has been confirmed. Additionally, many of the key staff including the fight maker has been replaced.

“Business as usual”, according to Dana White.

Honorable Mentions: Nick Diaz returning to the UFC, Randy Couture retiring, the emergence of Jon Jones, the rash of injuries and match changes in the UFC, five-round non-title UFC main-events, Miguel Torres firing, The UFC-Fox network deal, Brazil TUF, Chael Sonnen’s return, the UFC canceling Diaz vs. GSP UFC 137 over Diaz not showing up for a press conference, GSP’s injury, the signing of Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem, Bellator moving to Spike TV, Fedor Emelianenko not fighting for a major United States promotion

Jay P – Zuffa LLC purchases Strikeforce & UFC on Fox (tie): Standing tall above the many news-worthy MMA stories this year were the UFC’s two huge announcements: its purchase of Strikeforce back in March and their network debut on Fox in November with Velasquez/dos Santos for the HW belt. While it was certainly not the first time an MMA promotion had been aired on broadcast TV (see: Elite XC hastily crossing the network finish line first a few years back on CBS), the Strikeforce deal gets the silver medal and here’s why: market share. Strikeforce, in my eyes, was never going to be bigger than the UFC, simply because the Zuffa machine was so far out ahead of the competition with superior talent (the few exceptions are now slowly trickling over to the Mother Ship), production value and marketing. While the actual HW title fight only lasted sixty-four seconds, the November 12th Fox card kicked off a multi-year deal across several properties including FX, FUEL, Fox Deportes and various regionally-specific Fox Sports Nets. While it is very weird to hear Joe Buck plugging UFC fights during Sunday football, the exposure to a noticeably larger cable/satellite/telco subscriber base and the media coverage that comes along with it could be unparalleled. For years the promotion was waiting for ‘the right deal’ and now, Dana & Co. have it.

Lee M – MMA Story of the Year: For me, it’s the UFC signing up with Fox. This is a landmark television deal for the UFC as the biggest MMA promotion in the world makes it’s debut on Network Television. It’s an absolutely huge deal and one that is going to benefit the sport of MMA for years to come. Their debut event went off with a couple of hitches, mainly Junior dos Santos making the fight last for only 2 minutes, but their second offering looks to be an extremely intriguing night of fights. Add in all of the UFC related programming on Fox Sports Net, Fuel TV and FX including UFC All Access, The Ultimate Fighter and Ultimate Fight Night events, this has to be the biggest story to come out of 2011.

Brett C – UFC Purchases Strikeforce: On March 13, 2011, one of the biggest MMA stories in years happened when Zuffa, Inc. (the parent company of UFC) purchased its main competitor, Strikeforce. It came at a time when Strikeforce was really starting to get their name out there as a formidable number two company. Big names such as Fedor Emelianenko, Nick Diaz, Dan Henderson, Alistair Overeem and Jake Shields called Strikeforce home and their performances had fans clamoring for dream fights that they thought weren’t possible. Instead, Zuffa jumped in, bought the competition (a la WWE/WCW), and the rest is history. Fedor is back in Russia fighting cans, while Diaz, Henderson, Overeem and Shields now call the UFC home. Pretty soon the entire Strikeforce Heavyweight division (unless it just seems that way) will call the UFC home. Don’t be shocked of Gilbert Melendez, “King” Mo Lawal, Gegard Mousassi, and Luke Rockhold follow suit before too long.
Honorable Mention: The Rise of Jon “Bones” Jones, UFC Merges with WEC (January 2011), UFC Announces Five Round Non-Title Fights, UFC on Fox Debut, and The Injury Bug Ravages UFC Main Eventers

MMA Knockout of the Year

Eric G – Cheick Kongo knocks out Pat Barry (UFC Live: Kongo vs. Barry): 2011 saw some fantastic knockouts but none was more exciting than Cheick Kongo seemingly coming back from the dead to knockout Pat Barry in spectacular fashion live on Versus. It wasn’t so much the knockout but how and when it came about that still has people talking about this punch.

This was an unbelievable fight that only lasted a little over two minutes. The heavyweight collision saw Pat Barry rock Cheick Kongo early and nearly finish the fight. Barry dropped Kongo and swarmed in with an onslaught of punches. Kongo somehow managed to get up but was dropped again. Kongo then out of nowhere nails Barry (who had his arms down) with a punch and an uppercut and knows Barry out cold for the win at 2:39 of the first round. The visual of this action must be seen to be believed.

Honorable Mentions: Anderson Silva KOs Vitor Belfort (UFC 126), Lyoto Machida KOs Randy Couture (UFC 129), Dan Henderson KOs Fedor Emelianenko (Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson), Nick Diaz KOs Paul Daley (Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley), Chris Leben KOs Wanderlei Silva (UFC 132), Junior Dos Santos KOs Cain Velasquez, Sam Stout KOs Yves Edwards UFC 131, John Makdessi KOs Kyle Watson (UFC 129), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira KOs Brendan Schaub (UFC 134)

Jay P – Anderson Silva KOs Vitor Belfort UFC 126: How do you define “Knock Out Of the Year”? Do you base it on how hard the recipient gets rocked? The technique? The situation? These are all the things that were running through my head when trying to determine KOTY honors. I originally was going to go with Cheick Kongo’s hail mary KO of Pat Barry at UFC on Versus back in June simply for the “victory from the jaws of defeat” factor. Then I started thinking about Pat Barry’s tendency to make stupid mistakes in his recent fights and wondered if it was more of his running chin first into Kongo than anything else. Instead, yes, I am going with the consensus number one KOTY: Anderson Silva’s “That. Just. Happened” front kick KO of Vitor Belfort. It was beautiful. Silva took a front kick, one that in my novice-level martial arts experience use simply to create some distance when I am getting my butt whipped in the gym, and snapped it like a jab out of hell to put Belfort down before a few follow up shots sealed it. In related news, between that and Machida’s crane kick of Randy Couture, Steven Segal narrowly edges out Greg Jackson as Coach of the Year (just kidding).

Lee M – MMA Knockout of the Year: I have to give this one to Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida for his knock out of Randy Couture at UFC 129. Sure Anderson Silva did it first with the knockout of Vitor Belfort. But I think that Machida’s was just a bit flashier. Throw in the head feint to start it all off and the leaping front kick, magic. You also have to consider a slight bonus point for Machida since that knockout sent Couture straight into retirement, in very highlight reel fashion.

Brett C – Cheick Kongo KO’s Pat Berry at UFC on Versus 4: As opposed to explaining it, I think it’s better that you see this knockout for yourself. There’s a reason that this fight is the Knockout of the Year and an Honorable Mention for Fight of the Year. Take the threeminutes and enjoy! http://youtu.be/JzKEOYO_8TE

Honorable Mention: Anderson Silva vs Vitor Belfort (UFC 126), Lyoto Machida vs. Randy Couture (UFC 129), Chan Sung Jung vs. Mark Hominick (UFC 140), Sam Stout vs. Eves Edwards (UFC 131), and Stefan Struve vs. Travis Browne (UFC 130)

This  post sponsored by Poker.ca Canada

Lee McGregor is the editor in chief & owner of www.source4mma.com.

Brett Clendaniel is the owner and managing editor of http://www.WrestleChat.net.

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UFC Passes On Immediate Faber vs. Cruz Rematch

July 22, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

I am a big opponent of immediate rematches in MMA for any decision other than a draw. Yet, I must admit that I became a bit of hypocrite after watching Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber tear it up at UFC 132. Unfortunately, there will be no immediate UFC rematch.

However, all is not lost. If both fighters win their next fight, the UFC has given fans that a trilogy would be in the cards for the UFC bantamweight stars. In the meantime, Dominick Cruz will have to get through Demetrious Johnson while the “California Kid” will have to get through Brian Bowles to make that trilogy happen.

The good news here for UFC fans is that Dominick Cruz vs. Demetrious Johnson will air live on free television. The UFC bantamweight championship match will headline UFC on Versus 6 on October 1. The title fight marks the first time a UFC championship bout has aired on free television since UFC 75 featured Dan Henderson vs. Rampage Jackson for the UFC light heavyweight championship.

Fans will have to pay to see Urijah Faber vs. Brian Bowles square off in the octagon. Here is the rundown of the fight according to the UFC website.

Two of the top bantamweights in the world will meet in one of the most intriguing bouts of 2011, as Urijah Faber takes on Brian Bowles. This verbally agreed to clash of former WEC champions will take place at UFC 139 in November.”

Dana White also confirmed on the website that Cruz vs. Faber 3 is on deck provided both guys win their fights.

Before a possible trilogy can be considered between Urijah Faber and his rival, Champion Dominick Cruz, he will take on one of the division’s truly elite fighters, former Bantamweight Champion Brian Bowles,” said UFC President Dana White. “A win over Faber would be massive for Bowles’ bid to challenge for the belt that was once his. The stakes are high and the fight will be intense.

The fights actually make a lot of sense and should theoretically increase awareness in a third Cruz vs. Faber fight. Exposing a massive television audience to an exciting fighter like Cruz should make him a bigger draw on UFC pay per views. At the same time, putting Urijah Faber on a pay per view in his home town will give casual UFC fans the impression that Faber is a bigger star than he probably is. At the end of the day this is pretty smart booking on the UFC’s part.

It is hard to get upset about seeing two great fights in favor of waiting to see the rematch most fans want to see. I would pick Cruz beating Johnson a lot faster than I would pick Faber beating Brian Bowles. Bowles vs. Cruz would be a fun rematch regardless, but I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to see another five rounds after the Fight of the Half-Year a few weeks ago.

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Jon Fitch Is Irritated & Wants To Hurt Some People

July 22, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

UFC fighter Jon Fitch told MMACanada.net this week that he is angry at himself, the UFC, Nick Diaz, and just irritated in general. The irony here is that if Fitch fought with this same kind of aggression in the UFC, he probably would be a much more likeable fighter.

Jon Fitch is one of the most polarizing fighters in MMA. There is no denying his skills and the fact that he is one of the best fighters in the sport, arguably the second best overall in his division. Yet Fitch is undefeated in his last six fights and continues to be overlooked in championship fights. Needless to say, Fitch is angry and appears to be done playing Mr. Nice Guy.

For those of you that don’t know Fitch’s story, Fitch fought BJ Penn to a draw in his last fight at UFC 127. Fitch dominated the final round and most felt (not me for the record) that Fitch was robbed of a win. The winner was to determine the number one contender for the UFC welterweight championship. A hand injury canceled their rematch at UFC 132, delaying their fight until October. After agreeing on an October date with Penn, the UFC and Penn have moved on and scheduled Penn to fight Carlos Condit in October, leaving Jon Fitch on the outside looking in once again. Yeah, I may be a little angry myself.

According to Fitch in the interview, he was under the impression that everything was ready to go for a rematch. Fitch noted that he and Penn even agreed to stir it up on Twitter to sustain interest in their rematch. Fitch was surprised and “irritated” when he heard that Penn would instead be fighting Condit on October 29, saying he would have been ready for October or November. He does admit that he hasn’t been able to get medical clearance for the date, which is why the UFC refused to book the fight.

I never particularly liked Fitch as a fighter, but I like the guy I see in this interview. I think Fitch should do more interviews like this and show UFC fans how angry he is. Fitch mentioned in the interview that he was told in the past that he would be getting a title shot, only to have plans change without reason. There is certainly a story here that even his biggest critics can sink their teeth into.

One thing that won’t help Fitch is his continued stance on fighting teammates. It is one thing to say it behind closed doors, but he continues to anger critics when he just outright refuses to fight Josh Koscheck. This is obviously a reason that the UFC is afraid to book him in a championship fight. Fitch says he would rather murder someone than fight his teammate. Now he just sounds downright stupid.

The UFC and Jon Fitch have had a very tenuous relationship over the last few years. UFC president Dana White actually cut Fitch in 2008 because Fitch refused to sign his name and likeness over to the UFC. Of course this all got resolved, but White has been “irritated” at Fitch’s refusal to fight Koscheck. Fitch told White at a press conference that the only way that the fight would happen would be in a gym, to which White respondedThat fight would make a lot of money.”

Which made it kind of odd to hear Fitch tell the interviewer he was offended when Nick Diaz insulted the UFC because he is a “UFC guy.” I don’t know if that loyalty has ever been reciprocated by the organization.

Fitch is also not shy about his “love” for Nick Diaz. To put it mildly, he can’t stand him. The interviewer asks him about a potential fight in which Fitch responds, “we’ll fight.” He also says that he doesn’t think Nick Diaz is a complete fighter because of his lack of takedown defense. Well, he is a lot more colorful when he breaks down his analysis of Diaz.

With Penn, Condit, Diaz, and GSP all booked up, he thinks that Martin Kampmann is his next likely opponent. That could be a real fun fight but until he gets doctor’s clearance, he can only sit back and wait.

Jon Fitch is upset and he is letting people know. I don’t know if he ever gets back to Georges St-Pierre, but GSP made some really interesting comments about Fitch. Even though GSP dominated Fitch in their first fight, he called Fitch his toughest opponent. He said Fitch was “unkillable.”

Words like that and interviews like this could turn a boring rematch on paper into a must-see fight in 2012.

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Matt Hughes Picks GSP To Beat Diaz, Would Beat Anderson

July 06, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

UFC Hall of Fame fighter Matt Hughes was asked about a little upcoming fight you may have heard about between Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz. Hughes not only thinks GSP will win, but also thinks his former rival would take care of The Spider.

Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes knows Georges St-Pierre pretty well. Hughes has fought GSP more than anyone else. As a matter of a fact, he even handed one of GSP’s only two losses in MMA. That is why I tend to give Hughes a lot more credibility in breaking down the fights of someone he spent over twenty minutes of time with in competition.

The UFC offers their fan club members an opportunity to speak to a UFC star over the weekend at a UFC live event. Matt Hughes drew that duty at UFC 132 and answered a variety of questions from fans at the UFC 132 Q & A. I don’t think anyone should be surprised that Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz was a hot topic at the Q & A.

Add Matt to the list of just about everyone that thinks GSP is beating Nick Diaz.

Against Diaz, I think he’s (St-Pierre) gonna do real good. This will be the first time that he’s gonna be facing somebody that will be in better shape than he is. Diaz is in great shape and that will be the only thing I think Diaz is gonna have an edge on is the shape. But GSP is not gonna wear out. I think Striking, submissions and ground work, he’s gonna win every one of them,” Hughes said. “I think the only thing, Diaz is so different with his striking. Maybe he’s gonna land something like he did against Robbie Lawler that one time that’s gonna kinda come out of left field, but I see GSP winning. To take that a step further, I think if he fights Anderson Silva, if GSP has his head screwed on straight, I see him winning that fight as well.

The prognostication on a potential Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva fight is a very interesting one. I love GSP but I think Anderson would dominate him. My prediction is based more on size than actual technique. Silva reportedly walks around at 210-220. GSP is going to have to work hard just to put on the necessary weight to move up to middleweight. I just think that Silva is going to be too big for GSP to throw around and smother on the ground with his ground and pound style.

While that may sound like glowing praise, Hughes did offer a poignant critique of St-Pierre. Hughes doesn’t believe that GSP has the “eye of the tiger” so to speak. Hughes thinks that GSP has gotten a little too caught up in his own hype and with a little focus, could be even better. Hughes thinks that GSP is more interested in “defending the belt” as opposed to his mentality of “winning a new belt” every time he fought as champion.

I think mentally is where GSP would have a weak spot (speaking of the Diaz fight). I think he maybe does go in where he has the attitude where he’s the champ right now, he’s making good money and he sees maybe that loss would put a little blunder there. I really think that if he got over that…When I was champion, I stepped into my rematches or my title defenses as not, I didn’t want to lose my belt, but I was gonna go in and win a new belt. So that was my mentality every time I had a defense, it was, ‘I’m gonna win a new belt.’ Not, ‘I’m defending my belt.’ He’s defending his belt.

Hughes certainly has his own critics but if there is anyone that knows what he is talking about, it is him. Hughes was a beast in his prime as UFC welterweight champion. I was a big fan and what I loved the most was that killer mentality he had when he stepped into the octagon. Matt Hughes currently holds the record for most wins in the UFC with 18. Hughes has also fought in twelve UFC championship matches.

As for GSP, it certainly makes a lot of sense. Remember when GSP stepped into the octagon and would just rock his opponents with strikes? Sometimes I get the impression that GSP uses most of his fights to test or improve his wrestling which is fine, it just doesn’t make for exciting fights for casual MMA fans. I do think that Diaz has the kind of personality to really get under St-Pierre’s skin and bring out the monster in him. Josh Koscheck certainly did a good job of that and had a rearranged face to show for it.

Hughes went 1-1 on his UFC 132 picks. Hughes picked Bader and Leben on his blog.

Thanks to CagePotato.com for the tip!

Made in America: The Most Dominant Champion in UFC History

The Matt Hughes Story

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Affliction Georges St-Pierre Reversible UFC 129 Walkout Icon T-Shirt [Red]

UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie DVD

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Give Wanderlei Silva One More UFC Fight

July 05, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Wanderlei Silva delivered on his promise to UFC fans at UFC 132. Wanderlei promised a brawl and for 0:27, he gave them one. Silva is being rewarded for this great fight with the possibility of losing his job.

People love him so much because of the way he fights and his style and the type of person he is,Dana White said. “But yeah, (it’s) probably the end of the road for Wanderlei.”

Dana White always complains when UFC fighters give fans boring fights. Yet one of the few UFC fighters who promised and delivered an exciting fight is facing the prospect of losing his job for it. Wanderlei Silva promised the UFC fans that he would give them a brawl, he did, and 0:28 later is on the verge of being cut. Wanderlei deserves more, especially at least one more fight before the UFC terminates his contract.

Wanderlei Silva is probably my favorite MMA fighter of all time so yes, this may come off as a little biased. Even as a big fan of Wanderlei’s I know that it didn’t look good seeing Silva get knocked out in 0:27 seconds. I know that Silva’s record in the UFC is terrible. However, an objective look at this situation shows a man that is about to get totally screwed by the UFC.

Here is the deal. It isn’t as if Silva was dropped in 0:27 by a mediocre striker. This is Chris Leben! Leben has arguably the heaviest hands in the entire division. 14 of his 26 wins have come by knockout or TKO. I could see if Silva was knocked out by someone like Demian Maia in 0:27 but he was dropped by a guy who has won over 50% of his fights with his fists. I don’t know of many fighters who could survive a brawl with Chris Leben without being knocked out.

Silva also campaigned for this fight. Why? Because he wanted to pick an opponent that he could have an exciting fight with for the UFC fans. Silva’s last two fights were against guys who weren’t known for their knockout power and both fights went the distance. Neither guy wanted to stand up with Silva which made both dull fights for the most part. Knowing the prospect of winning a slugfest is 50/50, Silva wanted one anyway to give back to the MMA fans.

Not only did Silva want a slugfest, he handpicked arguably the heaviest hitter in the division. Silva turned down several fights to the displeasure of the UFC in order to get the fight against Leben. Wanderlei even used Twitter to campaign for a fight with Leben knowing full well that it would be a standup war.

Silva tweeted, “I think with chris Leben I go have a tuff figth him is good opponent,he want and I want lets go figth(t)“.

Could you imagine if Wanderlei did not engage with Leben after publicly campaigning so heavily for this fight?

I think this sends a bad message to the rest of the UFC fighters. Don’t have boring fights but hey, if you engage and get knocked out, you may be fired. I thought these guys were supposed to be rewarded for having exciting fights? Why would anyone get into the octagon with a heavy hitter and slug it out after seeing Wanderlei cut for delivering as promised? It is a fine line the UFC is walking here if they really do go through with cutting Silva.

This is also not the same as Chuck Liddell who got rocked two fights in a row. Silva has gone the distance in his two fights prior to fighting Leben. Granted he does have three knockout losses in five years, but none came as quickly as the loss to Leben. Wanderlei can still fight, he just doesn’t have the reflexes to stand there and slug it out with heavy strikers.

I think the UFC either owes him one more fight or moves him to Strikeforce. Cutting a legend like Wanderlei outright after losing in these circumstances just isn’t fair. Silva gets knocked out again in under a minute and I am right there with the UFC on their decision o cut him. Until then, give him one more fight. The fans deserve it and more importantly, he deserves it.

How does Wanderlei feel about this?

I cried, I felt ashamed of you, I thought a lot of crap, but now only think of one thing: Revenge boss

I love that guy!

Wanderlei Silva “Greatest Hits… Kicks and Knees to the Face”

UFC 132: Faber Vs. Cruz DVD

UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber Official Program

Punishment Tito Ortiz UFC 132 Walkout T-Shirt [Black]

Brock Lesnar’s autobiography – Death Clutch: My Story of Determination, Domination, and Survival

UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie DVD

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UFC 132: Cruz Vs. Faber Results – Cruz Retains, Ortiz Survives (Video)

July 02, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

The UFC delivered fireworks Saturday night at UFC 132 with exciting fights, fast knockouts, and an absolute classic five-round main-event between UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber.

Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber will go down as one of the great main-event fights in UFC history. These two guys fought at a frenetic pace for 25 minutes, never slowing down for five full rounds of action. I think that at the end of the day this fight came down to a few takedowns in favor of Cruz.

These guys barely left their feet nor slowed down for five rounds. Cruz went for takedowns but Faber popped right back up. Faber regularly connected on Cruz coming out of the clinch which I thought may have been a difference maker here. Both men were rocked a few times, yet I never got the impression that either man was close to being knocked out or tapped at any point of the fight.

Cruz and Faber had a world of pressure on their shoulders and they delivered. As the first bantamweight fight to headline a UFC pay per view, anything less than a great fight would have set the entire division back. The UFC took a big risk here putting the smaller guys in the spotlight and it paid off. I think what Cruz and Faber did tonight was open the doors for both the bantamweight and featherweight divisions. UFC fans will now get just as excited to see the smaller guys fight in the top spot as they do the big boys.

I don’t think anyone would complain about seeing an immediate rematch. I am not a big fan of immediate rematches because I think if a guy lost, he lost. However, this one was just too good not to follow up with a rematch. Cruz really established himself to a new audience as a great champion and Faber will always sell tickets. If I am Dana White, I put these guys in the top spot in Houston at UFC 136.

Chris Leben knocked out Wanderlei Silva in an exciting albeit short co-main event. The fight started as many predicted with a slug fest. Wanderlei swarmed in with reckless abandon and the two went toe-to-toe. Leben connected on a counter and held Wanderlei as he released a series of uppercuts that dropped the Axe Murderer at 0:27 of the first round. Wanderlei was so out of it that he almost attacked the referee when he woke up.

This was a huge win for Leben. Leben was on a roll with a three fight winning streak, one fight away from a probable title shot against Anderson Silva before coming up short against Brian Stann. Leben is back in the mix after releasing the “Silva bullet” as he called it and getting the win. Although I hoped this would go longer, it was fun while it lasted.

The irony here is that Wanderlei Silva was originally scheduled to fight Brian Stann. It likely would have been a much different fight if it were Silva vs. Stann. However, Silva didn’t want to fight Stann (or Vitor Belfort) and campaigned on Twitter to fight Leben instead. I still think Silva would have lost, but I don’t think Brian Stann would have put him down in 0:27. As the old saying goes, “be careful what you wish for.”

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Sadly I think the UFC career of the Axe Murderer is in serious jeopardy here. Silva is now 2-6 in his last eight fights and only has two wins during his second run with the UFC. This was the shortest loss in Silva’s career, his only other in under a minute coming against Vitor Belfort in 1998. If Dana White was serious about cutting Tito Ortiz if he lost, he really has to be thinking long and hard about the future of Wanderlei. I love Wanderlei and he is probably my favorite fighter of all time, but it is time for him to go home.

Tito Ortiz fought his best fight since returning to the UFC. Ortiz tapped out Bader in round 1 of their fight. Ortiz dropped him with a big right hand, swarmed in with punches, and cinched in a guillotine choke that tapped Bader. The fight was exciting for as long as it lasted and was Ortiz’s first win since October of 2006.

The UFC president Dana White told the MMA media coming into the fight that Ortiz would be cut if he lost the fight. Ortiz was literally fighting for his career. It was an amazing performance from a guy who had his back literally up against the wall. After the fight Ortiz thanked White for “pushing him to the limit.”

On the one hand I wouldn’t get that excited about beating Ryan Bader. Bader has been somewhat exposed in his last two fights against Jon Jones and Ortiz as being a bit overrated if you ask me. Everyone made a big deal after the fight that Ortiz beat top competition. I love the story and I am a big Ortiz fan but let’s keep the win in perspective.

Punishment Tito Ortiz UFC 132 Walkout T-Shirt [Grey]

I also think that the stuff about Ortiz being cut was a bit overplayed. I watched Ortiz come out and at the weigh-ins and the guy was arguably the biggest star on the show. He hasn’t been knocked out and has fought decent-top competition during his string of losses. It is one thing to cut or retire a guy after being knocked out by a subpar opponent. It is another thing cutting a guy who has taken all of his opponents to the distance even in the midst of a losing streak.

Overall this was a fantastic show and in my opinion, the best I have seen in a long time from top to bottom from the UFC. UFC 132 had everything from short fights, quick knockouts, and an intense five round championship main-event that delivered as promised. I can’t imagine anyone not liking this show. This now makes two fantastic UFC shows in a row if you take into account the UFC on Versus 4 event last week.

After a busy six weeks the UFC will take a brief hiatus until August 6 when they return with UFC 133. The UFC is red hot right now and summer is just getting started.

Full UFC 132: Cruz Vs. Faber results…
Dominick Cruz defeated Urijah Faber via unanimous decision to retain the UFC bantamweight championship
Chris Leben defeated  Wanderlei Silva via knockout in Round 1
Dennis Siver defeated Matt Wiman via unanimous decision
Tito Ortiz defeated Ryan Bader via submission in Round 1
Carlos Condit defeated Dong Hyun Kim via TKO in Round 1
Melvin Guillard defeated Shane Rolle via knockout in Round 1
Rafael dos Anjos defeated George Sotiropoulos via knockout in Round 1
Brian Bowles defeated Takeya Mizugaki via unanimous decision
Aaron Simpson defeated Brad Tavares  via unanimous decision
Anthony Njokuani defeated Andre Winner via unanimous decision
Jeff Hougland defeated Donny Walker via unanimous decision

UFC 132: Faber Vs. Cruz DVD

Form Athletics Urijah Faber UFC 132 Walkout T-Shirt

UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber Official Program

Punishment Tito Ortiz UFC 132 Walkout T-Shirt [Black]

Brock Lesnar’s autobiography – Death Clutch: My Story of Determination, Domination, and Survival

UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie DVD

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Tito Ortiz Backtracks On Criticisms Of Ryan Bader’s Wrestling

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

Tito Ortiz called out Ariel Helwani the middle of a UFC 132 press conference for trying to “start sh*t” between him and Ryan Bader but a further look back indicates that Tito may be doing a bit of back tracking. Imagine that.

I watched the UFC 132 press conference on Thursday and was a bit taken back when Tito attacked Helwani for asking Bader about the accusations Ortiz made about Bader’s weak wrestling. Unless I missed something, Ortiz did criticize Bader’s wrestling earlier in an interview earlier in the week with…Helwani! So I took a look back at the original interview and the press conference to see whether Helwani was starting trouble or accurately quoting Ortiz. I’ll give you one guess as to how this is going to turn out?

It all started in mid-week on MMAfighting.com. Helwani caught up with Tito Ortiz during a media day for a video interview. Helwani asked Ortiz some tough questions about whether this was Tito’s last fight or if he actually had to beg to get his job. Ortiz handled the questions well and didn’t appear to have any personal issues at that time with Helwani.

The interview concluded with Helwani asking Ortiz about Ryan Bader. Helwani asked Ortiz, “What are the holes in Ryan Bader’s game that you think you can exploit on Saturday night?” Here is how Ortiz responded to the question.

His takedowns, his takedown defense, he doesn’t have much of a takedown defense. I look at his fights and there has only been one person that’s shot on him and took him down, Johnny Bones Jones. Nobody else ever took him down. They want to pound, they want to punch with him. Usually a wrestler’s kryptonite is another wrestler. I am going to go in, I’m going to push the game, I’m going to push the tempo, and he doesn’t look that good backing up. We’ll see what happens.

What do you take out of that answer? Looking at that response (and Tito’s smirk when delivering it), I would think that Tito doesn’t have a whole lot of respect for Bader’s wrestling game. Ortiz was asked point blank about Bader’s defenses and he said point blank his wrestling. That is why I was a bit surprised when Tito completely backtracked on his analysis and tried to embarrass Helwani during the UFC 132 presser on Thursday.

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Helwani asked Bader, “When I asked Tito about weaknesses in your game he brings up your wrestling. Does that surprise you considering your background is in wrestling?

Now to me, that is a very logical question to ask by a reporter. As a matter of a fact, Helwani wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t ask it considering he was the one that got the comments from Tito, right? Not according to Tito Ortiz.

Ortiz interrupted the answer and said, “I never said he had weak wrestling. What are you starting sh*t for dude?

Hmm. I am taking either one of three things away from Ortiz’s hostile attack on Helwani. One, he doesn’t want to reveal his game plan to Bader which is to attack his wrestling. Two, he watched recent videos of Nick Diaz and Rampage Jackson bullying Helwani and figured he would jump on the bandwagon and deflect his statements made earlier on the week. Three, he remembers Matt Hamill dominating him on the ground at UFC 121 and doesn’t want to look like a fool for questioning Bader’s wrestling and then Bader pointing back to this press conference as motivation after he smothers Ortiz for three rounds at UFC 132. What do you think?

I am sure it had to be a mistake because Ortiz is certainly no liar. It isn’t like he said a couple of days before his UFC 106 fight with Forrest Griffin that he is 100% healthy and won’t make excuses and then two days later in the post fight press conference made a ton of excuses and blamed his injured back.

Watch the videos and decide for yourself who is starting sh*t and who is telling the truth.


Punishment Tito Ortiz UFC 132 Walkout T-Shirt [Grey]

Punishment Tito Ortiz UFC 132 Walkout T-Shirt [Black]

Relentless: Tito Ortiz -vs- Ken Shamrock: The Untold Truth Behind UFC’s Legendary Feud

Tito Ortiz’s autobiography This Is Gonna Hurt: The Life of a Mixed Martial Arts Champion.

Brock Lesnar’s autobiography – Death Clutch: My Story of Determination, Domination, and Survival

UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie DVD

Shop Now at the Official UFC Store

UFC 132: Faber Vs. Cruz Betting Preview & Picks

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

UFC 132: A Look Through the Eyes of a Gambling Man

This Saturday live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada the UFC returns with yet another offering that was robbed of it’s headliner. Although this one wasn’t as last minute as last weekend’s Marquardt vs. Story cancellation, this card is surely hurting from a slight lack of star power after the loss of BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch 2. However, what remains is still a very solid fight card, with a lot of intriguing fights and of course, several great betting opportunities. Let’s take a look at some of them.

The first thing that anyone looking to bet on MMA needs to learn about is the website BestFightOdds (www.bestfightodds.com) this is a must check for the serious gambler. It provides up to the minute line movements on every major MMA fight as they occur. All of the betting lines that I will be using for this post are the best available market lines from BestFightOdds.

Now onto the UFC 132 fights…

Bantamweight Bout: Jeff Hougland (+200) vs. Donny Walker (-205) – Live on Facebook

Two UFC newcomers meet in a 135-Pound contest to get the night started. Admittedly I don’t know a whole lot about either fighter but will comment on what little I have seen. Both are fairly experienced veterans. Walker if 15-6 and seems to be the more technical striker of the two. Hougland, also an American is 9-4 and appears to have better ground skills but can oftentimes get himself in trouble by brawling. I think that will likely be his downfall in this fight, as it’s likely that Walker’s stand up abilities will be superior and too technical for Hougland to overcome.

Bets: With the little information I have, I don’t feel comfortable backing either fighter in this one. No bets for me here.

Prediction: Donny Walker via Unanimous Decision

Lightweight Bout: Andre Winner (+135) vs. Anthony Njokuani (-145) – Live on Facebook

This is the kind of fight that every fan wants to see. This one is likely going to spend most of the time on the feet as both men are stand up specialists. Winner is a British born fighter and seems to suffer from the same condition that many Brits struggle with a lack of wrestling or ground skills. However, standing Winner is quite formidable. Njokuani has had mixed results in his career, but in his last fight against the very tough and talented Edson Barboza Jr. he showed a new level. He was able to counter-strike consistently and was able to land several significant strikes against the Brazilian. Njokuani also has some options if the fight goes to the ground, so if he decides to shoot for a takedown it’s likely that he’s able to ground and pound effectively as Winner hasn’t shown much of a ground game during his time in the Octagon. This is likely a pink-slip fight for the loser, so both men should be leaving it all in the cage for this one.

Bets: Laying only -145 with Njokuani is a pretty attractive price. That represents a 59% chance of winning the fight for Njokuani. I think the true line is probably more like 60-65% for Anthony Njokuani. So it’s a small advantage, but one that I’m going to take a small shot with. Half a unit on Njokuani for me on this one.

Prediction: Anthony Njokuani via TKO in Round 3

Middleweight Bout: Brad Tavares (+240) vs. Aaron Simpson (-240) – Live on Facebook

Undefeated and highly hyped prospect Brad Tavares, the former cast-member of The Ultimate Fighter receives the stiffest test of his young career when he takes on Aaron “A-Train” Simpson. Simpson is an excellent wrestler, and with a career record of 9-2, has only lost to upper-tier Middleweights (Chris Leben and Mark Munoz.) Tavares has shown good stand up skills, although at times he tends to get dragged into brawls, however, he is still undefeated. However, he has yet to face someone with the wrestling credentials of Simpson. Since his losses Simpson has focused more on out-wrestling his opponents and I expect him to do much of the same in this fight. Three straight rounds of wrestling, top control and ground and pound. It probably won’t be pretty and there might be some rocky moments along the way, but I’m fairly confident that Simpson can win 30-27 on all three scorecards in this fight.

Bets: This line is fairly well set. Tavares can hit hard, but it took Chris Leben a lot of trying to finally drop Simpson and I don’t think Tavares hits quite as hard as Leben. But Simpson has a clear path to victory with his wrestling. However, I’m not interested in laying that kind of juice as I think there are better opportunities on this card. So no bets for me.

Prediction: Aaron Simpson via Unanimous Decision

Bantamweight Bout: Brian Bowles (-340) vs. Takeya Mizugaki (+300) – Live on Facebook

Brian Bowles is a former WEC Bantamweight Champion who is continuing his comeback trail. Bowles has strong wrestling as well as huge power in his hands. On the other side of the cage is Takeya Mizugaki who is one hell of a tough guy. Mizugaki isn’t great in any one area, but he seems bred to fight and oftentimes gets sloppy and relies on his toughness to win. Bowles is very quick and has a devastating right hand that can end the fight at any time, he will likely be looking to land that big shot on the Japanese fighter, who will be looking to grind on Bowles. Bowles should have the advantage on the feet, and his strong wrestling should allow him to dictate the pace and placement of the fight, which will likely be enough to earn him the victory.

Bets: There may be a bit of value left on Bowles, but I’m definitely not interested in laying over 300 in juice. That’s just too much chalk to lay for me, so I’m going to stay away from his one. Mizugaki’s best asset is his toughness, which doesn’t bode well against that thundering right hand of Bowles’ but still too much chalk.

Prediction: Brian Bowles via TKO in Round 2

Lightweight Bout: Rafael Dos Anjos (+205) vs. George Sotiropoulos (-220) – Live on SPIKE TV

George Sotiropoulos who was; until his last fight, considered to be a top contender at 155 Pounds, now sees himself relegated to the preliminary card. No matter where he fights though, it is hard to deny his talent for submission grappling. The Aussie is 7-1 inside the UFC with 4 Submissions inside the Octagon to his name. Rafael dos Anjos is no slouch on the ground either, owning an impressive record, with a fair number of submissions. This fight is likely going to come down to who can get top position, which will mean who can initiate the takedown. Sotiropoulous’ stand up looked quite weak against Dennis Siver in his last fight, but Siver is a much better striker than dos Anjos. Sotiropoulous should be able to use his height and reach advantages to close the distance and earn takedowns. From there it’s unlikely that dos Anjos is able to avoid the dangerous submission game of the Aussie.

Bets: At -220 George Sotiropoulos is being given a 68.75% chance of winning the fight. I think the true line is somewhere close to 70%, so the line is pretty well set. However, the Australian is fighting to get himself back into contendership in the very deep Lightweight division and he should be in fine form looking for the win in this fight. I think as long as he has worked on his stand up and closing the distance he should be able to earn a takedown and from there, should be able to search out a submission against the Brazilian. However, it’s not a big discrepancy so I’m only betting a Half Unit on George Sotiropoulos here.

Prediction: George Sotiropoulos via Submission in Round 2

Lightweight Bout: Melvin Guillard (-265) vs. Shane Roller (+245) – Live on SPIKE TV

Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard continues his career renaissance against one of the WEC’s best wrestlers. Shane Roller is a strong wrestler who often uses takedowns and top control to earn rounds while grinding away his opponents. His last fight he scored a huge right hand to earn a come from behind victory over Thiago Tavares in a fight he was sure to lose in a Decision. Melvin Guillard is one of the most physically gifted 155-Pound fighters in the UFC. He has strong wrestling and incredible speed and power in his hands. He has had his share of mental mistakes and problems in the past, however, those seem to be behind him as he is now riding a four fight win streak. Roller’s stand up is pretty weak and he often carries his hands low and moves slowly. This is a deadly combination against a powerful striker like Guillard. It is possible that Roller is able to hit some takedowns on Guillard, but I think the more likely scenario is that Roller is unsuccessful in his shots and will take some big punches on the way in. If any of those punches land clean, it’s going to be lights out for Roller.

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Bets: I hate laying big money on fighters. Hate it. I usually try to avoid laying over -250 on any fighter, and refuse to do it for any big amount of money. So I refuse to bet on this fight. The high odds, along with Guillard’s past propensity to make mental mistakes and give fights away is enough for me to stay away from this one.

Iron Star Melvin Guillard UFC 132 Young Assassin Walkout T-Shirt [Black]

Prediction: Melvin Guillard via TKO in Round 2

Lightweight Bout: Matt Wiman (+110) vs. Dennis Siver (-115) – Live on Pay Per View

Siver is coming off of one of the biggest wins of his career after defeating jiu-jitsu phenom George Sotiropoulos. He has struggled against some of the elite fighters in the division but seems to be finding his stride and is currently on a three fight win streak. Siver has great technical kickboxing ability. Siver showed improved takedown defense in the fight against Sotiropoulos and will likely need to do the same to earn a victory in this one. His opponent is very durable and very talented on the ground, so Siver will need to use his sprawl and brawl to earn him the decision. Good takedown defense and solid counter-punching will be his keys to success.

“Handsome” Matt Wiman is a very tough and durable fighter, who while great at nothing seems to have a fairly strong overall MMA game. Wiman is on a three fight win streak of his own, although one has to slightly discount the win over Mac Danzig which was largely due to referee error. In his last fight he showed a very workmanlike style as he outhustled and out-grinded Cole Miller for three rounds to earn a Unanimous Decision. For him to win this fight, he’s going to need to nail takedowns and smother Siver with strong top control.

Bets: I’m still not totally sold on either fighter here. A win would surely earn the winner a step up in competition for their next fight, but I’m still not sure that either is ready. A lot of pundits are jumping on Siver after his performance against Sotiropoulos, however, the Australian was unable to earn any takedowns to work his submission game. Wiman I believe has the wrestling ability to take the fight to the ground, more so than Sotiropoulos at least. But +110 isn’t enough for me to back the underdog here, I’m going to stay away from this one.

Prediction: Matt Wiman via Unanimous Decision

Welterweight Bout: Carlos Condit (+110) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (-110) – Live on Pay Per View

“The Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim is undefeated in his career and is 5-0 (with 1 No Contest) in the UFC. The Korean born fighter doesn’t have much of a stand up game but has a smothering, grinding wrestling style. He is a Judo black belt and is also very large for a Welterweight. He uses his size and strength advantages to implement a wrestling based strategy against his opponents. Kim hasn’t fought since a Unanimous Decision win over Nate Diaz on New Year’s Day. Kim will be looking to do the same thing that he always does in fights, get the fight to the ground and work his top control to earn a Decision victory.

Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit is a very experienced MMA fighter. He is 3-1 inside the UFC, with his only loss a very close and somewhat controversial Split Decision loss to Martin Kampmann. Condit is an extremely game fighter with smooth stand up and a great submission game. Condit is coming off of two huge Knockout victories, one over Dan Hardy in October 2010 and one over Rory MacDonald. Condit also comes from a strong camp, as he is part of Greg Jackson’s MMA. If Condit wants to win this one, he is going to need to find a way to avoid being dragged to the mat and let loose with his explosive stand up.

Bets: This is a very close fight and the betting line indicates that. Condit is a slight underdog and he probably should be going against the undefeated Korean. This is a bad style match up for Condit, as Kim is likely going to earn takedowns at some point during the fight, the question is what can Condit do before those takedowns and what can he do on the ground. The bright point for Condit is that during his win over Diaz, Kim slowed considerably at the end of the second round and Diaz was able to land some big punches in the third round. Condit has amazing conditioning and if he can take advantage of that, he may be able to pull off another come from behind victory. However, I’m too much of a sissy to bet this one right now.

Prediction: Carlos Condit via TKO in Round 3

Light Heavyweight Bout: Ryan Bader (-500) vs. Tito Ortiz (+435) – Live on Pay Per View

I really don’t think I need to spend a whole lot of time on this one, it’s pretty ridiculous that Tito Ortiz is still fighting in the UFC. And this is likely to be his last hurrah. For those Ortiz haters (Myself included) we should be able to enjoy his head being beaten into retirement in this fight. Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz is a legend in MMA, but is nowhere near the fighter he used to be. Ortiz uses strong wrestling and ground and pound to negate his nearly non-existent stand up skills. Ortiz is currently on a three fight losing streak and hasn’t won a fight since beating Ken Shamrock in 2006. His last QUALITY win was over a very inexperienced Forrest Griffin in March of 2006.

Ryan “Darth” Bader is an extremely strong and extremely athletic Light Heavyweight Fighter. He is a strong wrestler with developing stand up skills and great takedowns. Simply put Bader is a younger, stronger, more athletic fighter with better stand up and better wrestling. He has only one career loss, in his last fight against now Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. He’ll be looking to get back into the Win column and back to climbing the Light Heavyweight Ranks with a statement win over Ortiz.

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Bets: In the gambling community a line like this is what we call a bridge jump bet. This is for two reasons, firstly the long odds that you have to lay, secondly, you feel like jumping off of a bridge when you lose. I’m rarely interested in betting such big favorites, but I’m actually on Bader for 2 units. I was able to get a slightly better price by betting when this fight was announced and have Bader at -350. At current lines I wouldn’t recommend betting too much on it. -500 represents an 83.33% chance of winning and it’s probably closer to 85-90% in Bader’s favor here, but that’s a whole lot of juice.

Prediction: Ryan Bader via Unanimous Decision

Middleweight Bout: Wanderlei Silva (-160) vs. Chris Leben (+155) – Co-Main Event Live on Pay Per View

Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva is another legend of the sport, who is fighting into what seems to be the twilight of his career. Despite owning solid jiu-jitsu and grappling abilities Silva prefers to stand and brawl, using his Muay Thai to search for a knockout. Silva seems to be fading as he ages, which would make sense for someone who has spent their career in some of the greatest wars in MMA history. However, he still remains a dangerous fighter. There are a lot of questions about Silva however, he is fighting for the first time in 17 months after knee surgery, how that knee holds up will be one question, and how his already damaged chin and aging body will hold up is another entirely. This fight is going to be fought almost exclusively on the feet so if Silva wants to win, he is going to need to be quicker to the punch than Leben, which he should be. He’s going to need to accumulate some big punches to put a dent on the granite chin of Leben.

Chris “The Crippler” Leben is also a veteran of the UFC with 17 fights inside the Octagon’s fenced walls. This is going to be Leben’s kind of fight as it is likely going to look like something similar to Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots in the middle of the cage. Silva is likely the quicker puncher as Leben tends to wing big, looping haymakers, so it’s going to be a case of trading a punch or two for the chance to land the bomb for Leben. Chris has also shown improvements in his overall stand up by adding leg kicks to his arsenal. He should be able to throw those leg kicks with reckless abandon since Silva will not likely be looking for a takedown.

Bets: There are a lot of unknowns in this fight, but I think that it should be closer to a pick ‘em fight. In his prime, Silva should be a sizeable favorite over Leben, however Silva is far past his prime. Coming in off of a 17 month layoff is never good, especially for a fighter who was having mixed results before that. Leben is coming off of a pretty one-sided beat down loss to Brian Stann on New Year’s Day, and should be looking for vengeance in this one. At +155 he is being given a slightly less than 40% chance of winning this fight. As I said, I think with the unknowns about Silva this fight should be closer to a 50/50 fight, so I think there is value on the underdog Leben. As such I am placing a small One Unit bet on Chris Leben.

Prediction: Chris Leben by TKO in Round 3

Bantamweight Championship Bout: Urijah Faber (+140) vs. Dominick Cruz (-150) – Main Event Live on Pay Per View

The main event of the evening is a rematch several years in the making. Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz is looking to avenge his only career loss against the man that defeated him in 2007, Urijah Faber. However, that bout was 4 years and 1 weight class ago. Now at Bantamweight, Cruz seems extremely comfortable and confident. He is riding an 8 fight win streak since his loss to Faber and has captured the UFC Bantamweight Title with dominant performances along the way. He has a strange stand up style, using his speed and technique to attack from strange angles before darting back out of range. Cruz throws a lot of feints and a lot of fancy footwork to confuse his opponents and then swings away with big combinations. He has also greatly improved his takedown defense since his loss to Faber in 2007 and has made considerable improvements to his stamina and conditioning.

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Urijah “The California Kid” Faber is the former poster-boy for the WEC who after an unsuccessful title bid against Jose Aldo at 145 Pounds has dropped to Bantamweight. He has since won 2 fights at his new weight class to earn him a shot at Cruz. Faber is a strong wrestler with good speed and decent stand up skills. He is also one of the best in the sport at creating and taking advantage of scrambles on the mat. If Faber is going to solve the enigma that is Dominick Cruz, he’s going to have to do it from in close. From a distance it is unlikely that Faber can keep up with Cruz and out strike him. His best chance is to get inside and use clinches and tie ups to dirty box and make the fight ugly.

Bets: This is an extremely compelling fight and I can’t wait to see it. However, I have a hard time picking a winner as there are so many things that can affect the outcome of this fight. The current line I believe is well set. Cruz is a tough style match up for anyone, including Faber, but the challenger will still have several ways to capture victory. Another thing that causes me to avoid this fight, is Cruz’s style can often confuse his opponents, but also can confuse judges. In his Split Decision win over Joseph Benavidez I though Cruz won soundly, but the judge’s didn’t agree.

Cruz fights so fast and aggressively that he often looks like he is brawling. However, his stand up is some of the best in the sport of MMA. Faber on the other hand is a wrestler first and will always be searching for takedowns. From there he can create scrambles and look for chances to search out submission attempts. With all that in mind, I’m going to sit this one out and watch this one only as a fan.

Prediction: Dominick Cruz via Unanimous Decision

Betting Recap:

– 0.5 Units on Anthony Njokuani @ -145
– 0.5 Units on George Sotiropoulos @ -220
– 2 Units on Ryan Bader @ -350
– 1 Unit on Chris Leben @ +155

Lee McGregor is a fan of all combat sports including both Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts. When not catching fights or watching hockey, he can be found as an Author and Editor at his own website MyManCave.ca

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UFC 132: Faber Vs. Cruz Preview & Predictions

June 30, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

It has been a wild week in Zuffaland: Nate Marquardt was cut from the UFC one day before UFC on Versus 4 due to a failed medical, Cheick Kongo showed what a great chin and your opponents’ lowered hands can do by knocking out Pat Barry in spectacular fashion, and the production unit must be running on fumes between last Friday’s Strikeforce: Challengers show, UFC on Versus, and, the subject at hand, UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber, live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV this Saturday night.

The main event, while not being billed as such, is a rematch between current Bantamweight champ, Dominick Cruz, and former Featherweight champ, Urijah Faber, who handed Cruz his first and only loss back at WEC 26 in March 2007. That being said, “let’s take a look at the Board” to quote Will Ferrell ala Alex Trebek on SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy (What? That’s a dated reference, you say? Really? It’s not 2001?).

UFC 132 PRELIMINARY CARD (Aired on Facebook & Spike TV)

Donny Walker over Jeff Hougland (FB)
Anthony Njokuani over Andre Winner (FB)
Brad Tavares over Aaron Simpson (FB)
Brian Bowles over Takeya Mizugaki (FB)
George Sotiropoulos over Rafael dos Anjos (Spike TV)
Melvin Guillard over Shane Roller (Spike TV)

UFC 132 MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view)

Dennis Siver vs. Matt Wiman (Lightweight)
Siver is riding high after securing his most significant UFC win over prospect (and he of the recently demoted to the undercard) George Sotiropoulos at UFC 127 this past February by unanimous decision. Utilizing some great takedown defense and fantastic standup, he was able to remove the Aussie’s superior ground game from the equation and pick him apart.

This doesn’t bode well for Wiman, who himself is riding a three fight winning streak with wins over Shane Nelwson, Mac Danzig (however dubious and quick the submission stoppage was), and Cole Miller. If Siver implements the same game plan he did against Sotiropoulos, which given Wiman’s wrestling strengths I think he will, he’ll outpoint towards another win.

Jay’s Pick: Dennis Siver by decision

Carlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun Kim (Welterweight)
At 27 years old, Carlos Condit has had over 30 fights and has already fought some of the better young fighters in the division with his only UFC loss coming to Martin Kampmann. Most recently, he did the USA proud by earning KO of the Night over Dan Hardy in Hardy’s English backyard at UFC 120 with a devastating counter left hook. Unfortunately, “The Stun Gun” (Ed. Note: one of my favorite nicknames in MMA) is 14-0-1 (1 NC), most recently beating Nate Diaz via UD at UFC 125.

Kim mixes in wrestling with his 4th degree blackbelt in judo to dictate his fights. His last three wins have all been decisions which is starting to make him not the most popular fighter, but hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t start throwing haymakers just to make us fans happy if it’ll get you knocked the heck out. Unless Condit has been working on his sprawl in hopes of finishing Kim on the feet or securing top position for ground and pound, I think this one goes to the cards.

Jay’s Pick: Kim via decision

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Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader (Light Heavyweight)
Poor Tito. The UFC brass wanted him to hang it up after his most recent loss to Matt Hamill at UFC 121 last October, his public feud with baby Mama Jenna Jameson is so sad it’s not even amusing, he hasn’t won a fight since beating Ken Shamrock back in October 2006 and, to top it all off, when his original opponent Antonio Roguerio Nogueria pulled out of this fight due to an injury, his replacement was a guy who not only beat Lil Nog himself, but has only one loss to his record to current LHW champ Jon Jones.

Punishment Tito Ortiz UFC 132 Walkout T-Shirt [Grey]

To his credit, unlike recent retiree and nemesis Chuck Liddell, Tito has been getting the wrong end of multiple decisions, is still competitive and can take at least one good shot to the face without crumpling on the mat. However, between his youth, superior wrestling credentials and increasingly powerful stand up, Bader will put Tito into retirement…but no one should be surprised to hear a litany of excuses during Ortiz’s post-fight interview.

Jay’s Pick: Ryan Bader via TKO, R3

Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben (Middleweight)
Anyone expecting technically sound striking, varying takedowns, and multiple submission attempts out of this fight is smoking something amazing (please call me. Sharing is caring). Fans (and by fans I mean at the very least, me) have been looking forward to this fight since Leben began calling out Silva after replacing him and winning via triangle against Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 116 last July.

Silva, the perennial fan favorite from his days in Pride, won a tight decision over Michael Bisping last February but has been sidelined with injury. “The Axe Murderer” always comes looking to throw leather, as does Leben, who was riding a nice three fight winning streak before Brian Stann became just the 2nd man to finish Leben with strikes since Anderson Silva. At 2-3 since entering the UFC in ’07, Silva is worn in, but I think his superior striking will outweigh Leben’s left arm billy club attack and he’ll score enough points to win a decision.

Jay’s Pick: Silva via decision

Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber – Bantamweight Title Fight
After reigning supreme over the featherweight division in the WEC, Urijah Faber’s record since losing the belt to Mike Brown at WEC 36 in November ’08 has been checkered between impressive submission wins and title fight losses. After Jose Aldo turned his leg into an eggplant, Faber dropped down to 135 in hopes of another shot at gold. Looking to not only continue Faber’s 3 title fight losing streak but avenge his only loss on a stellar 17-1 record is Cruz, who is creeping up on a lot of people’s scorecards as one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world.

Form Athletics Urijah Faber UFC 132 Walkout T-Shirt

A dominant win over The California Kid in the UFC’s first Bantamweight title fight and PPV main event could put him in the top 5. Both fighters have been very verbal about their dislike towards the other and the animosity should make for a good fight. While many have watched Cruz evolve over the years using his quick boxing and effective takedowns, the opposite could be said as of late about Faber, who’s flashy, unorthodox striking mixed with a strong wrestling base has become a bit more predictable.

While I’d give Faber the edge in terms of power, I think Cruz has a better chance of slipping in and out and retaining the belt. Sorry for all the decision bets, folks. I hope I am right about the outcomes but wrong about a few of the endings.

Jay’s Pick: Cruz by decision

Full UFC 132: Cruz Vs. Faber Fight Card…
Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber for the UFC bantamweight championship
Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben
Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader
Carlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Dennis Siver vs. Matt Wiman
Melvin Guillard vs. Shane Rolle
George Sotiropoulos vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Brian Bowles vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Brad Tavares vs. Aaron Simpson
Anthony Njokuani vs. Andre Winner
Jeff Hougland vs. Donny Walker

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UFC 2011 Summer Events Preview

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

The UFC is gearing up for one of the hottest summers in company history. MMA fans will get six UFC shows to sink their teeth into over the next three months. The UFC saved the best for last as UFC 134 headlines the summer UFC events calendar.

The UFC have borrowed pro wrestling’s “card subject to change” a lot lately due to a collection of injuries which have taken some of UFC’s biggest summer fights off of the schedule. Four UFC champions will sit on the disabled list this summer giving way for a lot of top contenders to set the stage for the fall and winter of the UFC.

Keeping in mind recent history of match changes, here is a quick UFC 2011 summer events preview. Come back closer to fight day to read full previews of the cards. Today I take a look at the biggest fights of the summer and how they will impact future UFC matchups going forward.

The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale, June 4 Las Vegas, NV - The Ultimate Fighter Season 13 will come to a close (couldn’t come fast enough) on June 4 pitting the welterweights finalists against one another for a UFC contract. In addition to the TUF 13 finals, one of the most exciting fighters in MMA takes the main-event spot as Clay Guida returns to Spike TV to fight former WEC champion Anthony Pettis.

Guida vs. Pettis has the potential to be one of the most exciting fights in 2011. Guida rarely disappoints on Spike and has participated in some classics on free television including his war against Diego Sanchez in 2010. Pettis has been chomping at the bit to fight in the UFC, risking a title fight against Frankie Edgar to take the fight with Guida. I predict a standup war and if sitting through one of the dullest seasons of TUF in history to get to Guida vs. Pettis is the price to pay, I’d do it all over again.

The TUF 13 fight card…
TUF 13 Welterweight Finals
Anthony Pettis vs. Clay Guida
Jonathan Brookins vs. Jeremy Stephens
Ed Herman vs. Tim Credeur
Josh Grispi vs. George Roop
Scott Jorgensen vs. Ken Stone

UFC 131: Dos Santos vs. Carwin, June 11, Vancouver, British Columbia - The first real hit of the summer came when Brock Lesnar had to withdraw from his scheduled fight at UFC 131 against Junior Dos Santos. In my opinion, the UFC came up with the best case alternative offering up Shane Carwin as a replacement. Carwin vs. Dos Santos pits two of the heaviest hitters in the UFC against each other in a battle to determine the number one contender to champion Cain Velasquez. It won’t be as big of a spectacle as seeing Brock Lesnar fight but it has the potential to provide the kind of excitements that MMA fans expect from the heavyweight division.

Kenny Florian returns to the UFC after a lengthy absence at UFC 131. The former TUF 1 competitor will make his UFC debut at featherweight. There is certainly the intrigue of seeing Florian in faster division, but other than that the undercard doesn’t have a whole lot to offer. Also, former ADCC Submission Wrestling World champion Jon Olav Einemo makes his UFC debut against Dave Herman. The debut of Einemo gives the aging heavyweight division a badly needed fresh face and potentially a tough challenge for Cain Velasquez in the future.

The UFC 131: Dos Santos vs. Carwin fight card…
Junior dos Santos vs. Shane Carwin
Kenny Florian vs. Diego Nunes
Jon Olav Einemo vs. Dave Herman
Demian Maia vs. Mark Munoz
Donald Cerrone vs. Vagner Rocha
Sam Stout vs. Yves Edwards
Jesse Bongfeldt vs. Chris Weidman
Nick Ring vs. James Head
Dustin Poirier vs. Jason Young
Michihiro Omigawa vs. Darren Elkins
Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Igor Pokrajac
Joey Beltran vs. Aaron Rosa

UFC on Versus 4: Marquardt vs. Johnson June 25, Pittsburgh, PA - The UFC completes their over saturated June schedule (and I am not even counting the Memorial Day weekend show on May 28) with its fourth show in five weeks. The UFC saves its best for last with what I think is a fairly loaded lineup for a free television broadcast.

Perennial UFC middleweight Nate Marquardt makes his UFC welterweight debut in the headliner against Anthony Johnson. Marquardt has never been the most exciting fighter so the idea of selling an event on his debut in another weight class is going to be tough, especially with so much going on in June. Am I really supposed to get excited about Marquardt working towards a potential snoozer with GSP? Although to be fair, I think Johnson is good enough to push the fight and get Marquardt out of his comfort zone.

Cheick Kongo returns to competition after a lengthy layoff. Kongo is one of those guys that I look at on paper who should be a top contender yet can never seem to get past that hump of mid-great competition. I think the same of Pat Barry who really should be on to bigger things if not for the Cro Cop upset. This fight has the potential to be just as boring as it could be exciting. I am hoping that Barry pushes the pace here but my gut tells me that Barry tries to ground Kongo who is practically defenseless off of his feet to a three round decision.

Martin Kampmann and Matt Mitrione also fight on the undercard. Both of those guys are generally exciting fighters so at least on paper, this show has enormous potential. Of course when it comes to the main-event fights it has the same potential to hit the crapper as well.

The UFC on Versus 4 fight card…
Nate Marquardt vs. Anthony Johnson
Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry
Martin Kampmann vs. John Howard
Matt Mitrione vs. Christian Morecraft
Tyson Griffin vs. Manvel Gamburyan
Joe Stevenson vs. Javier Vazquez
Joe Lauzon vs. Curt Warburton
Matt Brown vs. Rich Attonito
Nik Lentz vs. Charles Oliveira
Ricardo Lamas vs. Matt Grice
Michael Johnson vs. Edward Faaloloto

UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber 2, July 2, Las Vegas, NV - The good news here is that the UFC finally hits fans with a main-event worth paying for. The bad news is that this main-event comes after an onslaught of five shows in six weeks. The burnout factor may be too much for even Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz to overcome but both guys are doing their best promotional jobs to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Cruz vs. Faber 2 will be a real test here for the UFC to see if the large spectrum of MMA fans will pay $50 to watch the smaller guys headline a pay per view. I think there are enough hardcore MMA fans excited about this fight that it will do better than people think. Add in the promos Cruz and Faber have been cutting on each other with highlights from both fighter s and you just may be able to get enough attention to turn this into a successful pay per view.

As for the fight itself, I couldn’t think of a better fight all summer to spend my $50 on. These two guys have the potential to throw down and give the UFC fans a war. UFC fan favorites Wanderlei Silva and Chris Leben will also go toe to toe in a fight that fans have been demanding for years. Throw in Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader and you have a fairly solid card here.

The UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber 2 card…
Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber
Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben
Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader
Carlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Dennis Siver vs. Matt Wian
Melvin Guillard vs. Shane Roller
George Sotiropoulos vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Brian Bowles vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Jason Miller vs. Aaron Simpson
Nigeria Anthony Njokuani vs. Andre Winner
Erik Koch vs. Cub Swanson

UFC 133: Evans vs. Davis, August 6, Philadelphia, PA - The UFC finally gives their live event crew a few weeks off with a five week break following UFC 132. The UFC returns to Philadelphia with a show lacking a star-studded main-event, yet supported by one of the best fight cards of the summer.

In addition to UFC 131, 133 was the other summer casualty thanks to the injury bug. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones pulled out of a title defense with Rashad Evans due to questionable circumstances. The UFC scrambled and signed Phil Davis to take Jones’ place pitting two of the best light heavyweights in the division against one another. As great as this fight sounds on paper I have no confidence that I will see an exciting fight out of Rashad Evans. It has been a long time since he has given the UFC fans a fun fight so why expect it now?

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Fans may not get a great fight in the main-event, but two undercard matchups have enormous potential to be great fights. Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin returns to action to take on Antônio Rogério Nogueira. Nogueira really needs a win here to keep his UFC contract so anything less than a maximum effort would surprise me. Vitor Belfort also returns to action to take on Yoshihiro Akiyama. After suffering an embarrassing loss to Anderson Silva, Belfort needs an exciting win here if he expects to remain in the championship mix.

Jorge Rivera, Vladimir Matyushenko, Nam Phan, and Mike Brown always bring the potential to have exciting fights and all will be featured on the UFC 133 undercard. UFC 133 is a far cry from the UFC’s last Philadelphia effort which featured Forrest Griffin vs. Anderson Silva and a B.J. Penn lightweight title defense. Yet with a break in events and a show sprinkled with familiar names, I’d be surprised if this one disappointed.

The UFC 133: Evans vs. Davis fight card…
Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis
Vitor Belfort vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
Rich Franklin vs. Antônio Rogério Nogueira
Jorge Rivera vs. Alessio Sakara
Dennis Hallman vs. Brian Ebersole
Johny Hendricks vs. Mike Pierce
Riki Fukuda vs. Rafael Natal
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Mike Brown vs. Nam Phan
Ivan Menjivar vs. Nick Pace
Mike Pyle vs. Rory MacDonald

UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami, August 23, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - The UFC saves arguably the best for last this summer with its long awaited return to the home of BJJ. The UFC will celebrate its return to Brazil with a star-studded fight card featuring three of the biggest MMA fighters ever to call Brazil home.

I don’t think it gets any bigger than Anderson Silva defending the UFC middleweight championship against the last man to beat him in his home country. Silva’s notoriety is at an all time high in Brazil following his win over Vitor Belfort in the battle of Brazilian UFC stars. The home town atmosphere combined with a rematch against the last man to defeat the unbeatable Silva promises to be the biggest spectacle of the summer.

Silva will be joined by two fellow Brazilian MMA heroes at UFC 134. Former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio Shogun Rua returns to action after his devastating loss to Jon Jones. Rua takes on fellow former champion Forrest Griffin in a rematch of Rua’s debut. Griffin defeated Rua with a rear naked choke in a classic four years prior so the storyline combined with the homecoming should provide a great atmosphere for this long awaited rematch.

Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira also returns home to fight up and comer Brendan Schaub. The BJJ God will be fighting his first professional fight in Brazil at UFC 134. The intensity for this one should be off the charts and will make for an exciting fight whether it goes to the ground or the two stay on their feet. Talk about throwing Schaub into the lion’s den. Like his brother, Nogueira desperately needs a win here, although I can’t imagine he’d be cut with a loss. The former UFC interim champion has gone 3-2 in the UFC, 1-2 in his last fights. Nogueira is hanging on by a thread right now in the mix of top UFC heavyweights so a loss here likely takes him out of the running for any potential championship match in the near future or ever.

The UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami fight card…
Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami
Mauricio Rua vs. Forrest Griffin
Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Brendan Schaub
Ross Pearson vs. Edson Barboza
Luiz Cane vs. Stanislav Nedkov
Thiago Tavares vs. Spencer Fisher
Paulo Thiago vs. David Mitchell

 

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