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UFC 133: Evans Vs. Ortiz Results – Rashad Wins Via TKO, Belfort KO’s Akiyama

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

Rashad Evans vs. Tito Ortiz picked up right where they left off four years ago with an exciting UFC 133 main-event. Ortiz put in a valiant effort after taking the fight on short notice, but he was no match for Evans in Philadelphia.

They opened up tentative, feeling each other out in the early moments. Ortiz went for takedowns and took down Evans during the first round. He wasn’t able to hold him long and Evans came up swinging. The two broke out into a wild slugfest, with Tito coming out on the losing end of the stick. Evans trapped Ortiz against the cage at one point but was unable to finish. The round ended with Evans dropping down strikes on a fallen Ortiz.

The second round started with both fighters circling looking for position. Evans finally charged but Ortiz caught him in a guillotine choke, similar to the one he just used five weeks to go beat Ryan Bader. The crowd went nuts! Evans was able to finally wiggle out. Unfortunately Tito put himself in a bad position with Evans on top, and Evans just went to town with strikes. Evans tried to get a crucifix but Ortiz escaped. The finish came with Evans delivering a brutal knee to Ortiz’s chest. Ortiz collapsed and the ref stopped the fight at 4:48 for Evans.

I’d say Evans dominated the majority of the fight. Evans definitely came out much more aggressive than he has in his last few fights. Evans also looked more willing to strike than usual. Evans will be a really tough fight for Jon Jones. Dana White said that Evans would get the Bones vs. Rampage Jackson winner. Regardless of who wins, Evans will not be a pushover. His stand up looked better than ever and I think most of us are really underrating him against Bones.

For Ortiz, it was a no lose situation. Most didn’t expect him to win with short notice. He put up a good fight early on but was really out of his league once Evans started to open up. Ortiz was close to pulling off one of the biggest upsets of all time with the choke in round two, but that was about as close as he got to ending it. Ortiz will likely find himself in the octagon against another elite light heavyweight before the end of the year, probably Lyoto Machida.

Was the Ryan Bader win a fluke? I don’t think so. I think Bader was overrated. I think Ortiz can still hang with guys of Bader’s level in the middle of the pack. However, I don’t think he has the speed anymore to hang with the top of the light heavyweight pack. Evans was just too fast for him and I can’t imagine it would be much different with Machida or even Jackson. Regardless, Ortiz earned a lot of respect for taking the fight on short notice and was shown a lot of respect from the fans in Philadelphia for his effort.

Vitor Belfort opened up the hands and put on a vintage performance in the semi-main event. Belfort swarmed in with strikes and knocked out Yoshihiro Akiyama. This is the Vitor Belfort UFC fans were hoping to see when he fought Anderson Silva. It came one fight later, but the Phenom is back and Akiyama is laying face-first on the canvas!

Belfort first clipped Akiyama with a shot to the temple and then jumped on his opponent for the kill. Akiyama was out cold at 1:52 of the first round and Belfort got his second win since returning to the UFC. Immediately after the fight Belfort screamed to the announcers, “I am back!” This makes Belfort’s ninth win in the UFC, all via decisive finish.

This win certainly puts Belfort back into the middleweight championship mix. If Belfort could put a couple more wins like that together, I could easily see Dana White giving him a UFC middleweight championship match. I’d like to see him fight the Chael Sonnen vs. Brian Stann winner, but that would require him staying dormant for about five-six months so I wouldn’t count on it.

Brian Ebersole defeated Dennis Hallman in another very exciting fight on the undercard. Hallman came into the fight wearing tiny purple trunks. Hallman got Ebersole’s back early and looked like he was going to finish within the first minute. Ebersole finally broke free and opened up on Hallman. Ebersole finally put him away with a barrage of strikes at the 4:28 mark of Round 1. I don’t know if I would call it a great come-from-behind win, but it was exciting nonetheless.

UFC 133: Evans Vs. Ortiz results…
Rashad Evans defeated Tito Ortiz via TKO in Round 2
Vitor Belfort defeated Yoshihiro Akiyama via TKO in Round 1
Brian Ebersole defeated Dennis Hallman via TKO in Round 1
Constantinos Philippou defeated Jorge Rivera via split decision
Rory MacDonald defeated Mike Pyle in Round 1 via TKO
Alexander Gustafsson defeated Matt Hamill via TKO in Round 2
Chad Mendes defeated Rani Yahya via unanimous decision
Ivan Menjivar defeated Nick Pace via unanimous decision
Johny Hendricks defeated Mike Pierce via split decision
Mike Brown defeated Nam Phan via unanimous decision
Rafael “Sapo” Natal defeated Paul Bradley via unanimous decision

Punishment Tito Ortiz UFC 133 Walkout T-Shirt [Black]

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

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UFC 133: Evans Vs. Ortiz Betting Analysis & Predictions

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

UFC 133 is set to air this Saturday night, live from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This might be one of the most injury-plagued cards that the UFC has seen in a long time. What was once a stellar fight card has been bitten several times by the injury bug and has caused a number of fight changes or cancellations.

Just to punish ourselves about what might have been, let’s take a look at some of the fights that we are no longer seeing on Saturday night, before we get into the ones that we will see. Let’s start at the top, the original Main Event of this card was set to feature Rashad Evans challenging new Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones for the title, however, a hand-injury forced Jones off of the card and he was soon replaced by undefeated prospect Phil Davis. A torn ligament in Davis’ knee a few weeks later caused his withdrawal from the fight, and after some very public and very confusing negotiations (covered frustratingly well by our friend Eric here at CCB) with Lyoto Machida and Tito Ortiz, Ortiz finally answered the call and is now taking on Evans in a rematch of their fight from UFC 72 in 2007. I’ve already offered my opinions on Evans vs. Ortiz 2 on the CCB, check out that article here.

And that was just the main event. Other fights that have been lost or changed include, the original co-headliner of Rich “Ace” Franklin and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. A shoulder-injury suffered by “Lil Nog” caused him to withdraw and despite being offered another opponent Franklin chose to wait for a bigger name opponent and was removed from the card as well. Other fighters who were rumored to be fighting in Philadelphia but won’t be come Saturday night include: Michael McDonald, Jose Aldo, Riki Fukuda, Vladmir Matyushenko and Jorge Rivera.

However, even with all of those injuries there remains a number of solid, intriguing bouts with lots of opportunities for betting. Once again the UFC will be offering us a plethora of options to watch the fights this weekend as they feature four preliminary card fights on Facebook, 2 on Spike TV and the five fight Main Card, live on Pay Per View. But enough rambling, let’s get to the fights and let’s make some money.

As always all betting lines are the current best available market lines from BestFightOdds.com (www.bestfightodds.com)

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Rafael Natal (+110) vs. Paul Bradley (-115)

Rafael “Sapo” Natal is a Brazilian born fighter from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He stands 6’0″ and has a career MMA Record of 12-3-1. Natal is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter, who holds a black belt and trains out of the Gracie Fusion camp. Natal holds a career record of 12-3-1, with 7 wins via Submission. He however has struggled inside the Octagon and is currently 0-1-1 in the UFC. In his last fight at UFC 124 Natal was able to outwrestle and out grapple Jesse Bongfeldt for two rounds, before gassing in the final frame and losing a 10-8 round where he was dominated thoroughly. The end result was a majority draw. Natal has decent stand up, but his bread and butter is to earn takedowns and work his top game to ground and pound and look for openings for submissions. Looking for his first UFC win in his third try, Natal is likely looking at a pink slip with a loss in this one.

Paul Bradley is making his UFC debut and is stepping into the fight on just over two weeks notice. The injury bug that has plagued this card caused Natal’s original opponent to move elsewhere on the card and Bradley now steps in. Bradley is most notable for his brief appearance on Season 7 of The Ultimate Fighter where he was forced to leave the show due to a skin infection. Standing 5’9″ and mixing his time between 170 and 185 pounds, he will be giving up some size to his opponent, but he is a strong wrestler who owns a career mark of 18-2 with an equal number of wins via TKO, Submission or Decision. He is currently riding a five-fight win streak, finishing all of his opponents in that stretch.

Prediction: This is really Bradley’s fight to lose. Despite stepping in on short notice he should be able to control Natal in this fight. The size disparity is somewhat concerning but considering Bradley’s strong wrestling skills he should be able to negate that. Neither man has great stand up, but both are solid on the ground, so expect a tactical match on the ground when the fight gets there. This one isn’t likely to win fight of the night, but I think Bradley should be able to do enough to earn a somewhat close but ultimately Unanimous Decision.

Betting Analysis: This fight is pretty close and the betting line reflects that. Bradley actually opened as a slight underdog and I would bet him as an underdog. However, I’m not confident laying a lot of money on him, so I’ll avoid this one.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Mike Brown (-205) vs. Nam Phan (+185)

Mike Thomas Brown is seemingly at a crossroads in his career. He has looked like a shell of his former self since entering the UFC, despite being a former WEC Featherweight Champion and demolishing Urijah Faber twice, he has been unable to secure his first win inside the octagon and is likely facing possible unemployment. What’s been wrong with his latest performances is anyone’s guess, but when Brown is on his game he is one of the best 145-Pound fighters in the world. Brown has strong power punching with great offensive wrestling and nasty ground and pound, but he has yet to show it off inside the UFC. If the American Top Team fighter is planning to turn things around inside the UFC he’s going to need to get back to his old ways, focusing on big power punches, while working for takedowns and blasting away from top position.

Nam Phan is an experienced MMA fighter searching for his first win inside the Octagon, however he should have already received it. In his last fight, he lost a close and very controversial Split Decision to Leonard Garcia at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale. Phan is a well-rounded fighter with strong boxing and swift footwork matched with black-belt level skills in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Karate. With a career record of 16-8, Phan is well experienced on MMA’s big stage but has had mediocre results. He will likely be the quicker fighter in the cage on Saturday night and if he wants to win, he’s going to need to use his quick footwork to dart around and frustrate Brown while standing and avoid the big power of Brown.

Prediction: This is a very tough fight to call, mainly because it’s hard to say what version of Mike Brown will show up. If it is the same fighter that has shown up for his previous two fights, both disappointing losses to Rani Yahya and Diego Nunes then it is a much closer fight. If we see the same Brown who was able to steamroll the WEC Featherweight division before the arrival of Jose Aldo then it will be a long night for Phan. With that said, I’ll withhold an official prediction until the betting analysis of this one.

Betting Analysis: I’m actually going to take a shot with Nam Phan in this one. He was basically robbed of a win against Leonard Garcia, so he should be 1-0 heading into this fight. I am a huge Mike Brown fight, but if he shows up the same way he has in his last two fights, I can see Phan pulling off the upset. However, it’s just the shot that Brown is at the end of his career, and no longer the fighter he once was. At +185 it’s enough for me to take a very small shot. Nam Phan by close Unanimous Decision for half a unit.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Johny Hendricks (-120) vs. Mike Pierce (+125)

Johny Hendricks is a 27-year-old fighter from Ada, Oklahoma. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler, winning the NCAA Title at 165 pounds in 2005 and 2006. He now trains with Team Takedown in Dallas, Texas. Starting his MMA career as a wrestler he has begun to develop strong stand up skills to compliment his wrestling. He has a career record of 10-1 with 6 wins via TKO and 1 via Submission. His lone loss was to Rick Story in a close fight where the difference may have been Story’s aggressiveness and takedowns.

Mike “Megatron” Pierce is a 30-year-old fighter from Portland, Oregon. He stands 5’8″ and like Hendricks is a strong wrestler. He spent his college days wrestling at Portland State University, although never earning the accolades that his opponent did. Pierce fights out of the Sports Lab and is a training partner of the only man to defeat Hendricks, Rick Story. Surely Pierce will be gaining valuable information from Story as he game plans for this fight. Pierce’s lone UFC loss is to Jon Fitch and he holds a career record of 12-3, with 7 wins via stoppage. He is currently on a three fight-winning streak and has finished his last two opponents.

Prediction: There are usually two possible outcomes for a fight between two strong wrestlers. Number one is that they forget wrestling, assuming that the other’s strength at wrestling will negate takedowns and they instead choose to stand and trade. The other is a grapple-fest where the person who scores more takedowns is often the winner. One fight can deliver fireworks, the other often leaves fans making their way to the beer vendors. I think that this one is more likely to be of the fireworks variety. Both have improved their striking to the point that they should feel comfortable there. Also, both have promised to put on a show for the fans in the hype-talk leading into the fight. In a stand up fight, one would have to say that Hendricks has shown the superior boxing skills and should hold an advantage there. I doubt he is able to stop Pierce and there could be a lot of trouble for him in this one, but I think Hendricks can box his way to a close decision. Johnny Hendricks via Unanimous Decision.

Betting Analysis: I definitely do not trust Hendricks enough in this one to lay money with him. I think he should be the favorite, but the fight is close and when two strong wrestlers go at it, who knows what might happen. It could be a grappling fest, where the person who ends the fight on top wins. I’m not willing to gamble on that, so I’m staying away.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Ivan Menjivar (-200) vs. Nick Pace (+200)

Ivan Menjivar “The Pride of El Salvador” is a veteran fighter with 30 fights on his resume. Despite being the Pride of El Salvador, Menjivar trains out of the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He has a career record of 22-8, although it’s important to note that he spent many of his early years fighting well above his natural weight (in fact Menjivar has competed as heavy as Welterweight.) Menjivar is a very well rounded fighter with strong boxing and Muay Thai skills with big power in his hands. He also has sound grappling skills with decent wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In his career he has proved very tough to finish, losing by stoppage only twice in 30 fights, while stopping his opponents 17 times in 22 career wins.

Nick Pace is a young up-and-coming fighter from New York City, New York. Pace trains at the Tiger Schulmann Fight Team in New Jersey, along with former Bellator Welterweight Champion Lyman Good. Despite his relative inexperience he has proven himself to be a strong grappler and wrestler. He owns a career record of 6-1, with the lone loss coming to current Bantamweight Number One Contender Demetrious Johnson. He won his last fight by Pillory Choke, the first time the move was ever used in the UFC.

Prediction: Menjivar would likely prefer to keep this fight standing. Pace has shown strong grappling skills, but his boxing looked fairly rudimentary against Will Campuzano in his last fight. If Menjivar can avoid the takedown he will likely be able to outbox the youngster. However on the ground, I think Pace can control the fight well. He has strong submissions and excellent takedowns, so if he can earn some well-timed takedowns, the fight will swing to his favor. However, Menjivar is no slouch on the ground and is extremely tough to finish. I think this one is closer than most people think and I think the youngster might actually be able to pull off the upset, especially if he’s able to spend most of his time in top control. Nick Pace by Split Decision.

Betting Analysis: Menjivar should be the favorite in this one. He’s clearly more experienced in big fights and is a strong fighter. However, Pace is a strong grappler and has shown a lot of promise in his young career. Getting 2-to-1 makes this a small play for me. I’m wagering a half unit on Nick Pace.

Preliminary Card (Live on SPIKE TV): Featherweight Bout: Chad Mendes (-555) vs. Rani Yahya (+475)

Chad “Money” Mendes is an undefeated and highly touted young fighter from the Team Alpha Male camp. The 26-year-old was considered the consensus Number One Contender to the UFC Featherweight Championship, but an injury to Aldo delayed his title shot and Mendes has chosen to fight instead of waiting for his shot. It is a good plan for a strong fighter who is still gaining experience. At 10-0 he has been criticized by some for his inability to finish his opponents. Mendes is a former NCAA wrestler, wrestling for California Polytechnic in San Luis Obispo. Since entering professional MMA in 2008, he has added strong but somewhat basic boxing and Muay Thai skills to his wrestling skills. Mendes’ submission defense will be tested in this fight, and he needs a strong showing to cement his place as the Number One Contender to the UFC title.

Rani Yahya is a Brazilian fighter from Brasilia, Brazil. Yahya is an extremely talented grappler with strong submission skills and black-belt level skills in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He is the 2007 winner of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Grappling tournament in the 66 kg division. He owns a career MMA record of 16-6, with an amazing 14 wins via Submission. Yahya is coming off of a strong showing against Mike Brown a fight that he won by Unanimous Decision.

Prediction: Everything points to this being Mendes fight. His teammate at Team Alpha Male Joseph Benavidez was able to thrash Yahya, defeating him by TKO in only 1:35 of the first round. Mendes will surely be looking to Benavidez for guidance and strategy heading into this one. Yahya is a game competitor but struggles against strong wrestlers who are able to neutralize his submissions and will likely be at a significant disadvantage in the striking department. I expect Mendes to silence his critics and deliver a statement win, dominating Yahya the whole way before stopping him in the second round. Chad Mendes via TKO in Round 2.

Betting Analysis: I think Mendes is the big favorite for good reason, but I’m not laying -555 with him. That means I’m going to take a look at Yahya at nearly a 5-to-1 underdog. At +475 he is being given a 17% chance of winning this fight. I think that’s probably about right, so despite the tempting long odds, I’m staying away.

Preliminary Card (Live on SPIKE TV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Matt Hamill (+165) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (-165)

Matt “The Hammer” Hamill is a 34-year-old fighter from Loveland, Ohio who now fights out of Utica, New York. Hamill is a former NCAA Division 3 Wrestling champion. He is most notable as being a member of The Ultimate Fighter three as well as being deaf. Hamill is a strong wrestler who is developing solid boxing skills to compliment his wrestling, but often overly relies on his wrestling in fights. He owns a career record of 10-3, but has struggled against elite level competition like Rich Franklin, Jon Jones and most recently Quinton Jackson. The key to defeating Hamill is to stop his takedowns as evidenced by Jackson’s win over Hamill. During that fight Hamill was 0 for 17 on his takedown attempts, while offering little else in the way of offense.

Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson is 24-year-old fighter from Stockholm, Sweden. He is a large Light Heavyweight standing at 6’5″ and with a 76.5-inch reach. Gustafsson previously trained as an amateur boxer, leading to his strong stand up skills. He has also developed strong Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills and now has a blue belt in BJJ. Gustafsson owns a career record of 11-1 with the lone loss coming to undefeated prospect Phil Davis at UFC 112. Since then, he has submitted his past two opponents, both via Rear Naked Choke after dropping them standing. Gustafsson was originally expected to face Vladimir Matyushenko but an injury caused Hamill to replace Matyushenko. Since his loss to Davis, he has become a training partner of Davis’ spending some time at Alliance MMA to improve his wrestling skills.

Prediction: The key to this fight is going to come down to Gustafsson’s takedown defense. The Swede has the stronger boxing skills and will have a significant reach advantage which he should put to use by utilizing a strong jab to maintain distance and make Hamill shoot from outside, neutralizing his wrestling. Hamill will surely have watched the Davis-Gustafsson fight and will looking to be shoot for takedowns at every opportunity. However, even in that fight Gustafsson showed solid takedown defense and was able to stuff several of Davis’ takedowns, before finally succumbing to a takedown. This could very well be a statement fight for the Swede. Alexander Gustafsson by TKO in Round 3.

Betting Analysis: I think Gustafsson has a clear path to victory here. But the line has been bet into a good position. When the line opened Gustafsson was only a -140 favorite, but has been bet to -165. This means they’re giving him about 63% chance of winning and he’s probably right around 65% so I’ll pass up a play here. I don’t like hitting small edges, especially against a wrestler as good as Matt Hamill. No bet.

Main Card (Live on PPV): Welterweight Bout: Rory MacDonald (-270) vs. Mike Pyle (+246)

Rory “Ares” MacDonald is a 22-year-old fighter from Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada. He has long been considered one of Canada’s greatest MMA prospects. He is a young fighter, who actually began training specifically for MMA competition. He has strong wrestling, great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and solid boxing skills. He owns a career record of 11-1, with the lone loss to surging Welterweight fighter Carlos Condit, in a fight that MacDonald dominated for the first two rounds. MacDonald owns 4 victories via TKO and 6 via Submission, showing great finishing skills. Since his loss to Condit he has begun training with Georges St. Pierre at the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec.

Mike “Quicksand” Pyle is a 35-year-old and a veteran of the sport. Pyle is a well-rounded fighter with decent boxing but very strong ground skills, he owns a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He is a member of the Xtreme Couture gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pyle has a career record of 21-7-1 with the majority of his wins coming by way of Submission. Pyle is on a bit of a career renaissance as he is currently riding a 3-fight winning streak. He also has enjoyed playing spoiler to up-and-coming prospects as he derailed the John Hathaway hype train back at UFC 120 in London, England in a fight where he dominated the previously undefeated Hathaway.

Prediction: This is a fight between two fighters at very different stages of their careers. Pyle took a close Unanimous Decision in his last fight against Ricardo Almeida at UFC 128, but I think showed some holes in his game. In his last fight MacDonald absolutely dominated Nate Diaz over three rounds at UFC 129. He was able to outbox, out grapple, outwork and overpower Diaz, including rag-dolling Diaz with three German Suplexes in the third round. The move to Tristar has proven to be very good for MacDonald, as he now has strong training partners and excellent coaches to put all of his raw talent to work with a proper game plan. MacDonald should be the better boxer in the fight, and should be able to use his wrestling skills to control where the fight takes place. The fight instantly becomes more winnable for Pyle if he is able to earn a takedown, but MacDonald is very fast and very aware inside the cage and should be able to scramble quickly. There may be some trouble along the way and this is a strong test for the youngster, but MacDonald has the tools to earn a Unanimous Decision victory. Rory MacDonald via Unanimous Decision.

Betting Analysis: This is one that I keep thinking I should bet as the line gets better and better for Pyle. Pyle is a strong, experienced, tough veteran, who can pull off the upset if he’s able to outwrestle and outwork MacDonald. However, I really like MacDonald and his style of fighting. He’s young and hungry and I’m not going to bet against that unless the line gets closer to +300 for Pyle. Currently no bet.

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Main Card (Live on PPV): Middleweight Bout: Jorge Rivera (-135) vs. Constantinos Philippou (+130)

Jorge “El Conquistador” Rivera is a 39-year-old veteran of the fight game. He is a strong stand up fighter with great Thai Boxing skills but a lacking ground game. He trains with the Sityodong fight team in Massachusetts. He holds a career record of 19-8, with 13 wins via TKO, but only 2 by Submission, clearly Rivera relies heavily on his hands to get the job done. Despite his strong boxing skills, he has shown a somewhat fragile chin, being rocked and knocked out by several of the other big punchers in the Middleweight division.

Constantinos “Costa” Philippou is a fighter from the Cyprus Islands in Greece. He is a member of the Serra-Longo Fight Team in New York. He is a relative newcomer to the sport, with a total of 10 career fights since turning pro in May 2008. In those 10 fights he holds a career record of 7-2 with 1 No Contest. He is seeking his first career UFC victory after a failed debut against Nick Catone. Philippou has never been finished in his career despite facing solid strikers, if he can survive the power punches of Rivera and get the fight to the mat, it is likely that he will be able to earn rounds by taking advantage of Rivera’s weak ground skills.

Prediction: This fight could easily go either way. However, I don’t think Philippou showed a whole lot in his UFC debut against Catone. However, he should still have the ground skills to work a clinic on Rivera and he has never been finished, so he at least as the ability to survive some punishment. I’ll always pick the guy who can win the ground game and I think that’s Philippou, but I wouldn’t be betting the house on someone who showed so little in his last fight. Constantinos Philippou via Submission in Round 2

Betting Analysis: Philippou has the ground skills to outwork and out grapple Rivera on the ground. He’s a slight underdog, but I think the fight is closer to a pick ‘em contest given the likely edge that Philippou has on the mat. However, I’m not totally sold on Philippou as the next coming of Demian Maia, so I’m only making a small half unit play.

Main Card (Live on PPV): Welterweight Bout: Dennis Hallman (-110) vs. Brian Ebersole (+105)

Dennis Hallman is a 35-year-old veteran of the sport. He owns a very impressive resume as a professional, carrying a record of 50-13-2-1 into this fight. He is best known for his skills on the mat, holding an overwhelming 38 wins via Submission. He is a former state champion wrestler. Hallman is likely well known for his dominance of former Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes. (He has defeated Hughes twice by submission in a combined 38 seconds.) He is 2-1 since returning to the UFC in 2009, but his lone loss came by KO in the final 30 seconds of a fight that he was cruising to a Decision win in.

Brian Ebersole is a 30-year-old fighter from Indiana, but now fighting out of Australia. He is a veteran of the MMA world like his opponent, fighting professionally over 60 times. He has also fought as heavy as Heavyweight in his past fights, before dropping to Light Heavyweight, then Middleweight and finally Welterweight. Ebersole is known for his iron chin, never being KO’ed in 63 fights. He owns a career record of 47-14, and recently made a successful debut against Chris Lytle dominating with strong striking skills and ground control.

Prediction: This is definitely a fight that I would never expect to see on the main card of a UFC Pay Per View. The UFC does not have too many fighters with this kind of MMA experience on their roster and to see them taking on one another is a treat for hardcore fans. With over 125 fights between them, there will be a lot of experience in the cage. Ebersole likely holds the stand up edge as he showed some strong skills against Chris Lytle, but on the mat Hallman should have the grappling advantage. Ebersole has lost 9 of his 14 career losses via Submission, which is a bright spot for Hallman. Dennis Hallman via Submission in Round 2.

Betting Analysis: This will likely be my biggest play of the night. The current line is extremely close with Hallman getting only a slight edge. At -110 Hallman is getting only a 52% chance of winning, however, given his strong grappling and wrestling skills and Ebersole’s penchant for getting caught in submissions and struggling against Submission Experts I think he should be closer to a 55-60% favorite. I’ll take a full unit on Hallman to win this one.

Main Card (Live on PPV): Middleweight Bout: Vitor Belfort (-295) vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama (+280)

Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort is an MMA pioneer from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The 34-year-old made his professional debut at the age of 19. During his career he has fought a plethora of big names and has been most well known for his inconsistent results. However, he had been on a bit of a career resurrection since 2007, before running into Anderson Silva and his Steven Seagall inspired front kick. With that aside, Belfort still owns some of the best stand up in the Middleweight division, with extremely fast hands and devastating knockout power. He also holds a black belt in Brazilian-Jiu-Jitsu and improving wrestling skills from his time spent at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.

Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama is a Japanese fighter and a cult-hero in his home country. He is a strong boxer and a third degree Judo black belt. The 35-year-old fighter from Osaka, Japan recently made the move stateside to begin training with the famed Jackson’s Submission Fighting Camp in New Mexico. Prior to becoming a professional fighter, Akiyama was a decorated Judoka winning the 2001 and 2002 Asian Games in Judo, representing both Korea and Japan. As a fighter, he owns a professional record of 13-3. Since his octagon debut where he defeated Alan Belcher, he is on a two fight-losing skid, losing to both Chris Leben and Michael Bisping. He is likely fighting for his job in this one, as the threat of three straight losses would likely earn him a pink slip.

Prediction: This fight is being contested at Middleweight, but there will likely be a significant size difference between these two. Akiyama does not cut much weight to make the 185-Pound limit, while Belfort is a former Light Heavyweight Champion and has fought as a Heavyweight in his MMA career. Akiyama has dangerous submission skills with his background in Judo, but he rarely uses them in fights, preferring instead to bang it out on the feet. This earns him a lot of fans and all three of his UFC fights have won Fight of the Night honors, but doesn’t do him any favors in this fight. In a stand up fight Belfort is too fast and hits too hard for Akiyama to handle. Expect a pretty one-sided fight until Belfort unloads a big combination that stops Akiyama in the second. Vitor Belfort via KO in Round 2.

Betting Analysis: Belfort is the heavy favorite and he should be. This is a solid bounce back fight for him. He has an opponent who is very likely to stand and trade with him and while Akiyama is no slouch in the boxing department, Belfort hits harder and will likely be faster in the cage. Belfort is being given a 75% chance of winning the fight, it’s probably a bit closer to 80% or so, so I’ll take a small half unit bet. But I hate laying that much juice and if you choose not to I wouldn’t blame you.

UFC 133 Main Event (Live on PPV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Rashad Evans (-400) vs. Tito Ortiz (+365)

I’ve already analyzed this fight in depth in my previous post when the main event was first announced. I’ll go ahead and give a quick preview of my thoughts on the fight, but for more detailed analysis check out that post here.

Prediction: I think Evans takes this one relatively easily. Evans is several times the fighter that he was when these two first fought. He has improved his stand up skills significantly and should be the quicker, stronger, more athletic fighter in the cage on Saturday night. However, his previous problems with his gas tank in the third rounds of his fights against Thiago Silva and Rampage are enough to give me cause for concern as Ortiz has one of the best gas tanks in the Light Heavyweight Division. Nonetheless I’ll take Evans via Decision. Rashad Evans via Unanimous Decision.

Betting Analysis: I’m not betting this fight. Ortiz’s win over Bader didn’t show us much, it was over with one punch before it really got going. We still don’t know how Ortiz is going to handle a strong wrestler taking him down. On the flipside Rashad has the chance of significant ring rust, having not fought in over a year and given his previous gas tank problems, I’m not comfortable laying 4-to-1 with him. No bet here for me.

Enjoy the fights everyone!

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

Punishment Tito Ortiz UFC 133 Walkout T-Shirt [Black]

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

TapouT Rashad Evans Warrior UFC 133 Walkout T-Shirt

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

UFC 133 Official Program

UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie DVD

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UFC 133: Evans Vs. Ortiz Preview & Predictions

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

UFC 133: Jones vs. Evans, I mean Evans vs. Davis, I mean Evans vs. Ortiz

This Saturday’s UFC 133 card has gone through some major revisions as you can see by my sarcastic headline, but I’m in a positive mood today so I should point out the following: I like Phil Davis and think he’s a future title contender in the division, but Tito Ortiz versus Rashad Evans is an improvement to the headliner, especially given Tito’s recent upset over Ryan Bader. Even with the litany of other injuries (Lil Nog, Vladimir Matyushenko, Alessio Sakara, Riki Fukuda), the Philly crowd will still be a sight to behold and I’d give 5-1 Vegas odds on an attention-stealing catfight breaking out like the one at UFC 101. Here’s the preview:
UFC 133 Rafael Natal over Paul Bradley (FB)
Mike Brown over Nam Phan (FB)
Mike Pierce over Johny Hendricks (FB)
Ivan Menjivar over Nick Pace (FB)
Chad Mendes over Rani Yahya (Spike)
Alexander Gustafsson over Matt Hamill (Spike)

UFC 133 MAIN CARD (Pay-Per-View)
Rory MacDonald vs. Mike Pyle (Welterweight)
In my humble opinion, this is the most intriguing fight on the main card between a young, rising prospect and a veteran spoiler (ok, potential spoiler). Twenty-two year old Rory MacDonald is 11-1 with his only loss to top WW title contender Carlos Condit (fun fact: both share gyms with current champ GSP at Tristar Gym & Jackson’s respectively) and is coming off a very impressive win where he suplexed the hell out of Nate Diaz towards a unanimous decision at UFC 129. Pyle has a longer resume at 21-7-1 and is riding a three-fight winning streak after beating Jesse Lennox, John Hathaway (another young prospect at 170) and Ricardo Almeida. With youth and superior striking on his side, MacDonald should be able to control the fight and put Pyle away, but Pyle is a tough guy with solid ground skills so he is going to have to work for it.

Jay’s Pick: MacDonald via TKO, R3

Jorge Rivera vs. Constantinos Philippou (Middleweight)
Between Alessio Sakara’s unlikely decision loss to Chris Weidman at UFC Live: Sanchez vs. Kampmann and Rivera’s controversial loss to Michael Bisping at UFC 127, I think everyone was looking forward to third time being a charm and those two finally getting in the Octagon to let out their frustrations one another’s skulls. Unfortunately, Sakara’s last minute injury means that Philippou, a Serra-Longo fighter who’s 0-1 in the UFC after a long stint in NJ-based Ring of Combat promotion, gets bumped up from his original undercard fight against Rafael Natal. Great opportunity for the Cypriot-born Philippou to rebound from that debut loss to Nick Catone, but given the quick turnaround and Rivera’s knock out power, I don’t like his chances.

Jay’s Pick: Rivera via KO, R1

Dennis Hallman vs. Brian Ebersole (Welterweight)
Sandwiched between two fights I’m predicting will both be won by nasty TKOs, we have two journeymen fighters who’ve fought in just about every major MMA entity over the past 15 years and have a combined 97 wins. After returning to the UFC from Strikeforce, Hallman is on a two fight winning streak after knocking out the head case known as Karo Parisyan and earning a UD against Ben Saunders. The slightly younger Ebersole has not lost since 2008 and is coming off a decision win over Chris Lytle. Both lean on their grappling with the nod in striking going to Ebersole. This fight is a bit of a tossup so I’m going to go with Ebersole based on his stronger string of recent performances, including the Fight of the Night win over Lytle.

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Jay’s Pick: Ebersole via decision

Vitor Belfort vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama (Middleweight)
After losing his title fight at UFC 126 to Anderson Silva via The Steven Segal Front Kick of Doom, Belfort has been given a chance to rebound with Akiyama, a fighter whom it’s hard not to lament over given poor performances (a split decision win in his debut over Alan Belcher at UFC 100 followed by more recent back-to-back losses to Chris Leben and Michael Bisping) against lofty expectations upon his arrival stateside. Simply put, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, I think Akiyama is better suited at welterweight and would provide some interesting matchups at 170, but hey, I’m just a keyboard ‘warrior’ for this website and not Joe Silva. Belfort is bigger, stronger and has much better standup. Even if Akiyama can utilize his world-class judo skills, Belfort’s a black belt in both judo and BJJ and won’t get bullied that easily. Plus, after the Segal Front Kick, I’d have to imagine Belfort is pretty pissed off and looking to make a statement (although, based on past behavior, we can never be too sure). Still, he finishes Sexyama with strikes.

Jay’s Pick: Belfort via TKO, R2

Rashad Evans vs. Tito Ortiz (Light Heavyweight)
Suga Rashad just can’t get no love. He’s 4-1 in his last five with the lone loss coming at the hands of now-former LHW champ Lyoto Machida. Three out of those four wins were over perennial fan favorites: Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin and Rampage Jackson so it’s hard to win over the masses. His wrestling-first style has not made him the most exciting at times with 50% of his victories coming via decision. To top it all off, his one chance to possibly turn the corner as a fan favorite by beating current champ Jon Jones (ya know, the guy who sort of stole his camp, teammates, coaches and has started to rub the MMA fan base the wrong way with his ego) goes out the window first in favor of Phil Davis, a young, rising star whom nobody outside of hardcore fanbase really cared about and who would have not really helped his career by beating, and then for Tito Ortiz…who steps in after Davis went down with an injury and has become an unlikely, late-in-his-career underdog, thus turning Rashad into the, excuse the pro wrestling lingo, ‘heel’ once again.

Yes, that last sentence was grammatically incorrect run-on but I wrote it like I was saying it and am now gasping for air. The last time Evans and Ortiz fought it was declared a draw after Ortiz lost points for grabbing the fence so there is some history, which again makes this fight more marketable than the Davis/Evans fight. Evans, however, is a different fighter this time around. Yes, his wrestling is his base (as is Tito’s) but he has shown to have great movement and fast hands. Now, Tito’s shocking first round guillotine win over Ryan Bader was very exciting and even though he hadn’t had a win in five years up until that point, he’s only ever been finished due to strikes by Chuck Liddell so I don’t see Evans landing the big bomb like he, interestingly enough, did to Liddell himself. Instead, this one goes to the scorecards and sets up Evans vs. the winner of Jones/Rampage next spring for the belt.

Jay’s Pick: Evans via decision

Punishment Tito Ortiz UFC 133 Walkout T-Shirt [Black]

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

TapouT Rashad Evans Warrior UFC 133 Walkout T-Shirt

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

UFC 133 Official Program

UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie DVD

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UFC 73 Flashback: Tito Ortiz Vs. Rashad Evans 1

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

It may have taken four years but MMA fans are finally getting three more rounds of Tito Ortiz vs. Rashad Evans. The former UFC light heavyweight champions face off once again at UFC 133. I thought it would be fun to take a look back at their first fight and how it could play into their rematch.

Evans vs. Ortiz 1 took place at UFC 73: Stacked on July 7, 2007 in Sacramento, California. Ortiz vs. Evans was a co-headliner on an event that included two UFC championship fights. At UFC 133, Ortiz and Evans will be the main-event, as Ortiz steps in on less than a month’s notice after Phil Davis pulled out of the fight. Unlike UFC 73: Stacked, UFC 133 is all about Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans.

A lot has changed in four years for these two fighters. Going into UFC 73, Ortiz was undefeated since returning to the UFC, having lost his last fight two years earlier. Tito Ortiz was hot coming off of The Ultimate Fighter 3 and his two subsequent destructions of Ken Shamrock. There were questions surrounding Ortiz as he turned down a rematch with Forrest Griffin at UFC 72. Four years later, Ortiz is coming off his first win in five years and was one fight away from being cut at UFC 132 before beating Ryan Bader.

Rashad Evans was still wet behind the ears as a UFC fighter going into UFC 73. Evans was undefeated as a UFC fighter, winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 as a heavyweight. Evans ran off four wins at light heavyweight and was coming off his flashiest win ever over Sean Salmon via knockout. The hype was there but the questions about Evans’ lack of real competition were also there. Ortiz was certainly a huge step up in competition for Evans.

The UFC 73 odds going into this fight had this at more or less a pick ‘em. One line I saw had Ortiz at -130 and Evans at +100, while another blogger handicapped it more evenly with Ortiz at -120 and Evans at -110. Evans was certainly getting his respect going into the fight.

There was a bit of a grudge here going into the fight. The guys had words going into the fight. Ortiz called Evans a “nappy-headed ho” playing off of the Don Imus controversy. Ortiz said it was a joke. There was a heated blowup on a conference call leading into the fight where Evans said that Ortiz was “half the fighter he used to be” and Ortiz just went off. Well, at least some things haven’t changed four years later.

Finally, it should be pointed out that Ortiz was not at 100% for the fight. As a matter of a fact, Ortiz blew out his back in training two weeks before the fight. The injury greatly impacted Ortiz’s cardiovascular training going into the fight.

Evans is booed pretty heavy during the ring introductions. Remember, this is California and Ortiz is the “Huntingdon Beach Bad Boy.” Ironically Ortiz gets a mixed reaction. In other words, neither one of these guys is that well liked by the fans inside the Arco Arena. Remember, these guys weren’The announcers point out how much bigger Ortiz looks than Evans. I did notice that Evans looks a lot smaller here than he does today, so that makes sense.

Ortiz opens up with a head kick and shoots for the double leg takedown. Ortiz takes Evans down quickly. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think this was going to be a one-sided affair by the looks of the open. The crowd is going nuts! Evans is sitting up and trying a wall walk on the fence which Randy Couture says is great technique. Mike Goldberg says that Tito told him he is finally healthy again. Couture says that Tito over trained which is why he used to get hurt. Chants of “Tito”! Rashad walks his way up the fence and the guys are now standing up.

They break along the cage and this turns into a wild slugfest. Rashad is swinging wildly, Ortiz is looking to counter, and nobody is doing any real damage here. Both guys tie up again. Ortiz has Evans up against the cage and nails a nice elbow inside. Ortiz hits some shoulder punches and an uppercut up against the cage onto Evans. Evans looks confused. John McCarthy breaks it up. Evans lost his mouthpiece.

Both guys are back in the center of the octagon. Evans is moving wildly, Tito is stalking, but no action just yet. Tito misses an inside kick and subsequent left hook. Joe Rogan thinks that the initial takedown is causing Evans to be tentative. Ortiz hits two nice leg kicks. Evans swarms in with fists but Ortiz covers up. Ortiz goes for another takedown, Rashad blocks it, but Ortiz nails a sick knee strike to the mid section, the announcers say it hit the groin. Evans winces.

Ortiz drops down as Evans is up against the cage. Evans does a crotch lift, sits through, and reverses on Ortiz. Evans now has Ortiz’s back. Ortiz quickly escapes but is now back-to-fence. Ortiz has a cut underneath his eye. Tito re-pummels with double under hooks on Rashad and now has Evans up against the cage. Ortiz sets up a knee and then a left hand. Evans pushes the fight back to mid-octagon. Ortiz pushes him back to the cage and continues using under hooks to “stifle Rashad” as Couture says. Ortiz goes for a high single leg takedown but Evans stays on his feet. The round ends. No doubt this was Tito Ortiz’s round.

Rashad opens up with a ton of footwork and waves his hands around. Ortiz stalks him but looks a little slower at the start. Ortiz looks to strike with hands and feet but has nothing. Ortiz looks real tired whereas Evans looks faster than he did at the start of the fight. Evans goes for the takedown but Ortiz sprawls to counter. Evans quickly gets out of there before Ortiz has a chance to open up. Ortiz is continuing to stalk, looking for a slugfest, but Evans keeps moving. Rogan says that Rashad can’t find his rhythm. The announcers continue to talk about the psychological effect that the quick first round takedown is having on Evans.

Evans uses under hooks to push Ortiz up against the cage. Ortiz grabs a Muay Thai Plum and starts opening up with knee strikes. Both guys exchange elbows. Evans is looking for a takedown while Ortiz continues to clinch and strike. Referee John McCarthy warns Tito about grabbing the fence. The guys get off the fence and break into a quick slugfest once again. Evans continues to jump in, Ortiz clinches, Evans looks for a takedown, Ortiz sprawls. This happens a few times.

Tito goes in deep on a double leg takedown and has Evans up against the fence. Tito finally picks him up and takes him down. The announcers point out that Rashad was walking around at 205 last week while Ortiz was at 222 pounds. Yikes! Evans is hitting Ortiz on the sides as Ortiz continues holding on. Evans reverses and McCarthy once again warns Ortiz about holding on to the fence and yes, he is holding on to the fence, no doubt about it. Evans picks up Ortiz, McCarthy screams, “Let go of it,” and then deducts a point from Tito for holding the fence. You can’t say he wasn’t warned and you definitely can’t say he wasn’t holding on to it.

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Evans and Ortiz go to the ground and Ortiz grabs an arm-in guillotine, similar to the one he used to beat Bader. Unfortunately for him, it comes with only ten seconds left in the round. Additionally, his positioning is off so it probably wouldn’t have finished Evans anyway. Ortiz rolls on top of Evans, choking from a mount as the round ends. Wow! To me, that was clearly Ortiz’s round but as we know now, that point deduction was a killer. Joe Rogan thinks that was very close to being finished. Couture points out that he has it a 9-9 round with the missing point.

It is do or die time for Rashad Evans. Funny thing is after I just wrote that, Rogan said the same thing. I’d hate to think that we think alike. Anyway, Rashad has been fairly dominated for most of the fight and really needs to come out looking for the finish. Ortiz is cut while Evans does have some swelling over his left eye. Ortiz steps right into a left hook by Evans. Couture says that even with the lost point, Ortiz is winning the fight. Couture says that Evans needs to stop dancing and do something. And THAT is Rashad Evans legacy summed up right there by Randy Couture.

The guys are down on the ground again with Evans’ back against the fence. Couture thinks that Evans is over trained. The announcers are talking as if this is a clear Ortiz win at this point. Ortiz looks real tired, which is understandable after you learn about the back injury. Ortiz mounts him for about a second as Evans stands up out of it. Ortiz has Evans’ head and is opening up with some knees. The guys continue wrestling along the fence and the announcers continue pointing out that Rashad needs to make something happen. McCarthy breaks them up on the fence which I think is ridiculous because Ortiz was nailing him with shoulder shrugs and working.

Ortiz and Evans are now brought to the center of the octagon to restart. Evans continues to dance and tries to open up but Ortiz blocks. Ortiz looks extremely sluggish on his feet. With 1:15 to go, Randy Couture says that this could be a draw unless Evans opens up. This is ridiculous! Ortiz is real slow here but Evans just continues dancing around and moving away. He is fighting scared. This is what absolutely annoys me about Evans to no end. Even when he is losing, he’ll still dance around and refuses to engage.

Finally! We are under a minute and the guys are opening up on their feet. This is a terrible move by Ortiz. He is winning the fight and is continuing to stand. Well then again he was doing the right thing by working the fence and yet McCarthy broke them up anyway. Evans nails some good shots here and Ortiz is wobbly. Ortiz has had enough and finally shoots the takedown. Evans sprawls. Ortiz continues to tie up Evans here along the fence. Evans finally gets the takedown with 10 seconds to go. He opens up a few elbows but not the flurry you’d expect from someone losing the fight.

Okay a few things here about this fight. That point of course killed it but he really was holding the fence. If there was any call I had a problem with it was McCarthy breaking them up in the third round when Tito was doing damage. This fight was a lot like the Lyoto Machida vs. Tito Ortiz fight except Ortiz couldn’t catch Machida. Evans looked like he had a game plan and stuck to it, even when losing which aggravated me to no end. Ortiz was also much more aggressive throughout the fight while Evans was just looking to move a lot and stick as little as possible. It wasn’t a great fight, but it wasn’t as bad as some people remember it to be either.

How does this fight relate to Saturday? It is a little unfair to say since Ortiz is a lot older and Evans is a lot more experienced. If I were Ortiz, I’d be very confident that I can go out there and take Evans down and that is exactly what he is probably going to attempt to do. Of course Evans knows this and has probably worked hard to correct those flaws from their previous fight.

I think a huge difference here could be the size. Evans looks a lot heavier now than he did back at UFC 73. Ortiz probably had about a 15-20 pound advantage in this fight. I think that will be much more leveled at UFC 133 which would make those takedowns a lot harder to come by for Ortiz. On the other hand, Evans may be over trained for this one and that could give Ortiz a slight advantage deeper in the fight. Remember, Ortiz was injured going into this fight. Maybe with less time to prepare, Ortiz doesn’t fall into the trap of over training and really does come in at 100%?

Either way this rematch is long overdue. Quite frankly it is ridiculous to think that we had to wait four years for it, but it is here. I’d love to see Ortiz get the win because he certainly should have gotten it at UFC 73, but if I had to go out on a limb I’d go with Evans via decision.

Punishment Tito Ortiz UFC 133 Walkout T-Shirt [Black]

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

TapouT Rashad Evans Warrior UFC 133 Walkout T-Shirt

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

UFC 133 Official Program

UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie DVD

Shop Now at the Official UFC Store