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UFC 155 Dos Santos Vs. Velasquez Results and Wrap Up

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

The UFC made its return to the land of Pay Per View last night and although some fights left fans wanting a bit more, the other bouts were loaded with action that more than made up for it. If you were unable to see some of the undercard bouts, I highly suggest you try to do so by any means possible. Melvin Guillard versus Jamie Varner, while slightly slower than expected was an entertaining bout. As well the Featherweight tilt between Leonard Garcia and Max Holloway was a highly entertaining slugfest that went for a full fifteen minutes. Add in impressive TKO victories for Heavyweight Todd Duffee and Bantamweight Erik Perez and there is some top shelf violence for those of you that like it that way.

Moving on to the main card, some of the bouts didn’t quite live up to the hype. Others such as the co-main event between Lightweights Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller more than exceeded the hype, as those two men engaged in a bloody back and forth brawl that is a definite contender for Fight of the Year consideration. The Main Event was also solid as two of the best Heavyweights in the world collided in a much better effort than their first bout on UFC on FOX 1. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers from this card and take a look at what could be next for them.

Derek Brunson defeated Chris Leben via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

The boo-birds were out right away at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for this Middleweight fight that kicked off the PPV. Although Leben is often a fan-favorite due to his slugging style, his wrestling-based opponent Brunson wanted no part of it. Brunson crowded Leben throughout the contest using clinches and takedowns to control Leben and give him very little space to get his offense going. Leben himself offered little resistance, as after a year off due to suspension, he looked like a man who wasn’t used to being in the Octagon. He looked tired and slow, and his takedown defense was almost non-existent. He was never really in too much trouble, but he definitely wasn’t ever close to winning either. Unfortunately as commentator Joe Rogan stated, the unamused look on Chris Leben’s face after Brunson’s celebration after the fight might have been the most entertaining part of the bout.

What’s next for Brunson? This card was loaded with Middleweight talent, so one might think a winner from one of the Middleweight bouts up the card would make sense for Brunson, but I think that’s too large a step for him right now. Although he earned a victory, he didn’t look great doing it and it definitely wasn’t a breakout performance. With Strikeforce officially closing its doors, I think the best fight for him would be to welcome one of his former promotion-mates to the UFC. Tim Kennedy is facing Trevor Smith at the final Strikeforce event and the winner of that bout makes some sense.

What’s next for Leben? He’s got problems, everyone knows that, but he’s always going to have a spot in the UFC because of his style. Alan Belcher got knocked off by Yushin Okami later in the card, and would prefer an opponent who would keep the fight standing. Leben fits that bill and would likely produce an entertaining rebound fight for one of the two. Belcher is almost the perfect opponent for him right now.

Yushin Okami defeated Alan Belcher via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

In the pre-fight hype videos Alan Belcher claimed that Yushin Okami couldn’t beat him if he kept the fight standing. Apparently he convinced everyone, including Okami, of that fact. Okami did what he usually does, a solid one-two jab combination right into takedown attempts and top control. Belcher had a few bright spots, as he snagged a couple of submission attempts, but none were ever close and they all ended with him in the unenviable position of being beneath Okami. In the end the Japanese fighter cruised to a Unanimous Decision.

What’s next for Okami? He’s turning into the Middleweight version of Jon Fitch. He’s good enough to beat almost anyone in the division, but he’s going to get absolutely slaughtered against the champion. Add to that he’s got a somewhat boring wrestling based approach to fighting and it’s hard to keep giving him meaningful fights where he’s likely going to knock off top contenders or up-and-comers with little fanfare. Still he moves up the ladder and a bout against other main card victor Costa Philippou might make sense. The other potential bout is one against Hector Lombard who recently scored an impressive stoppage against Rousimar Palhares.

What’s next for Belcher? Belcher’s hot streak got seriously derailed and he’s going to need to prove he can handle a wrestler like Okami before he ever gets a shot at a serious top contender at Middleweight. Still, he’s going to need a rebound fight and like I said, previous main card loser Chris Leben is the perfect foil for him. Someone who is willing to stand and trade with him and who is weak on the ground if things go bad. If the UFC wants to rebuild Belcher, he’ll get Leben next.

Costa Philippou defeated Tim Boetsch via TKO (Punches) at 2:11 of the Third Round

This wasn’t a breakout performance for Philippou that many people thought it might be. In fact, this was a truly bizarre fight. Boetsch controlled the opening round, throwing wild, looping punches that were scoring against the usually competent striking defenses of Philippou. In between rounds Boetsch complained to his corner of a broken hand and in the second, an accidental head butt opened a massive gash on his forehead and an eye poke only increased his vision problems. In the third round, he was reduced to pulling guard, but didn’t have an answer for Philippou’s ground and pound, as the referee stepped in to save Boetsch in the third round after he seemed to be looking for a way out.

What’s next for Philippou? Considering the bizarre circumstances of his win, his slow start, and the less than impressive fight from him overall, I wouldn’t complain about a possible rematch between these two. However, with Boetsch’s broken hand, he’s going to need time off. Philippou should still receive a step up in competition and needs to prove he can handle a talented wrestler, which is why I think a bout against other main card victor Yushin Okami makes a lot of sense. If they choose to go another route, former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza, should be making the leap to the UFC soon enough. If he wins his bout at the final Strikeforce show against Ed Herman, I think Souza is another good fight for Philippou.

What’s next for Boetsch? Hand surgery, I guess. In all honesty, this is kind of a crappy result for Boetsch, since he took some unfortunate illegal shots to derail his game plan, which was definitely working in the first round. Still, he was undefeated in the Middleweight division until last night, so I doubt they give up hope on him yet. He’s not going to drop severely down the rankings with the circumstances surrounding the loss, so he’s in kind of a weird spot matchmaking wise. I really don’t know what they do with him here, I guess he’s going to take a step down. Karlos Vemola was supposed to fight Leben on the card, but pulled out due to injury maybe him. That or throw him against Belcher or Leben, although I think Leben is too far a step down, and I think those two should fight each other. Other than that maybe Jake Shields if he stays at Middleweight.

Jim Miller defeated Joe Lauzon via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

This one earned Fight of the Night honors and it definitely deserved it. These two guys engaged in a bloody brawl that was back and forth and had action until the final bell. Miller looked the best I’ve ever seen him and his recent loss to Nate Diaz seems to have lit a fire inside him. He may be a permanent gatekeeper in the ultra-packed Lightweight division, but he’s a tough one. His conditioning was top notch for this bout and his dirty boxing looked better than ever, as he used a tight clinch to deliver some big punches and short elbows in the first round that caused the giant gash that caused Lauzon to lose a ton of blood. To his credit Lauzon proved how tough he was in this bout, even with blood pouring out of that massive cut, he refused to let the doctor stop it and he kept coming until the final bell, sinking in a late leg lock that nearly stole the fight and in fact stole him the round on a couple of scorecards.

What’s next for Miller? He’s had fourteen fights in the UFC and he’s won most of them. His only three losses have come to the current Lightweight Champion and two of the last three Number One Contenders in Nate Diaz and Gray Maynard. He’s a true grinder and his improving striking is only going to make him an even tougher challenge for most guys. I think Rafael dos Anjos has been impressive lately and deserves a step up in competition, as the Lightweight Gatekeeper, that puts him right in Miller’s wheelhouse.

What’s next for Lauzon? He proved he’s as tough as they come and dangerous any time he’s still in the fight. He’s always going to struggle against powerful wrestlers and the elite fighters of the Lightweight division, but he’s a highly entertaining fighter with decent striking and dangerous submissions. Sounds like another top Lightweight that recently lost a title fight. Indeed a bout between Lauzon and fellow TUF 5 alumnus Nate Diaz could be an action packed affair. Give the two of them a headlining slot on an FX or Fuel TV card and give them five rounds to go bananas, fireworks are sure to follow whether that fight takes place on the feet, on the ground or anywhere in the building.

Cain Velasquez defeated Junior dos Santos to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship via Unanimous Decision after Five Rounds

For those that wrote off former champion Velasquez after his poor performance in their first bout, they were treated to a significant wake up call. Velasquez came out guns blazing against Dos Santos and immediately brought the fight to the Brazilian Champion. Although many expected Cain to be somewhat laid back like he was in their first bout, he caught everyone, including Dos Santos off-guard when he came right after him in the first round. That first round told the story of what would end up being a very one-sided contest. Cain scored an early takedown and Dos Santos was able to slip through and get back to his feet, but it didn’t slow Velasquez down. He continued forward, pressing him against the cage. Partway through the round he landed a big right hand that dropped Dos Santos for the first time in his UFC career and ended the round battering him with ground and pound. Dos Santos was clearly gassed after the first round and spent several of the next rounds trying to recover, while Velasquez continued to push the pace. Although he eventually slowed himself, he was still able to outwork Dos Santos both in the grappling department and somewhat surprisingly in the striking department en-route to a clean sweep of the scorecards, winning with scores of 50-45, 50-44 and 50-43.

What’s next for Velasquez? The Heavyweight division has a whole lot of top fighters, but they are in a weird position, where they don’t have any clear cut favorites to become the number one contender. Alistair Overeem is expected to get the first crack at Velasquez, but he’s going to need to get by Antonio Silva first, and that’s no guarantee considering what we’ve seen in the past from fighters returning from year-long suspensions. The other option is Fabricio Werdum should he emerge victorious against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, but that fight isn’t taking place until after the filming and airing of TUF: Brazil 2. The leading candidate was Daniel Cormier who recently won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix and is heading to the UFC, but Velasquez and Cormier are teammates and have already said they wouldn’t fight each other. No matter what happens, Overeem or Werdum or someone else entirely, Velasquez could be facing a bit of a layoff while the division sorts itself out.

What’s next for Dos Santos? He’s going to need to get a win or two before he gets another crack at the title. Granted if things shake out the right way, he may only need one impressive victory like Velasquez did, but the list of contenders is long and growing in the Heavyweight division. The best two possible matches I can think of for Dos Santos are the loser of the upcoming Mark Hunt and Stefan Struve fight at the UFC’s next London event, (provided it’s Hunt, since a rematch with Struve is probably not necessary for Dos Santos.) The other option is the loser of the upcoming Alistair Overeem and Antonio Silva bout, since either one of those two would be an intriguing bout, especially with the bad blood between Dos Santos and Overeem.

Full UFC 155 results & winners…
Cain Velasquez defeated Junior Dos Santos via unanimous decision to regain the UFC heavyweight title
Jim Miller defeated Joe Lauzon via unanimous decision
Costa Philippoud efeated Tim Boetsch via third-round TKO
Yushin Okami defeated Alan Belcher via unanimous decision
Derek Brunson defeated Chris Leben via unanimous decision
Eddie Wineland defeated Brad Pickett via split decision
Erik Perez defeated Byron Bloodworth via first-round TKO
Jamie Varner defeated Melvin Guillard via split decision
Myles Jury defeated Michael Johnson via unanimous decision
Todd Duffeed efeated Phil De Fries via first-round TKO
Max Holloway defeated Leonard Garcia via split decision
John Moraga defeated Chris Cariaso via submission

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

Anderson Spider Silva (Em Portugues do Brasil

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

UFC 155 Results: Cain Velasquez Regains UFC Title

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

Cain Velasquez is an animal! Velasquez mauled Junior Dos Santos in their UFC 155 rematch proving to the MMA world that his 64 second loss to the JDS was a fluke. Velasquez won a unanimous decision to regain the UFC heavyweight title in one of the most one-sided UFC title wins in years.

Dos Santos could not stop the shot. Velasquez dominated the former champion on their feet and taking him to the ground. Velasquez had his way with Dos Santos at UFC 155, absorbing very little to punishment at all from the champion. UFC commentator Jor Rogan proclaimed at one point that he had not seen such a dominant performance by a challenger over a champion since Anderson Silva defeated Rich Franklin for the middleweight title several years ago.

Velasquez opened up looking to strike and takedown the former champion. Dos Santos did a good job early on of avoiding any serious damage until Velasquez connected with a right hand. Dos Santos was never the same after eating the shot. Velasquez swarmed in and tried to end the fight in the first round to no avail yet the tone was set by the challenger.

The rest of the fight saw Velasquez have his way with Dos Santos. Velasquez practically took Dos Santos down at will. Junior had very little offense throughout the fight and looked tired and beaten when he came out for the second round. Velasquez never stopped and was relentless in his attacks. I’ll give Dos Santos credit as he hung around for five rounds, longer than I thought he would. Dos Santos did connect on a nice uppercut as the third round. Unfortunately Dos Santos had nothing left and couldn’t follow up.

Velasquez nailed a body shot followed by an uppercut in the fourth round that staggered Dos Santos. Somehow or another Junior held on. Junior again put something together towards the end of the fourth round but couldn’t follow up. Velasquez’s cardiovascular conditioning throughout the fight was just unbelievable.

Seeing Junior standing at the start of round five after being brutalized throughout by Cain was real impressive. Junior stopped Cain from getting a takedown and wound up hitting a nice left to Cain’s body. Junior seemed to recover well by this point. Dos Santos hit a right hand and kept Cain’s takedowns at bay. Velasquez finally got the takedown at about 2:30. Cain smothered him with ground and pound. Junior got back up. Junior connected in a clinch. Velasquez hit a head kick with about :30 seconds to go. Junior looked like he had been brutalized while Cain looked like he wasn’t even scratched as the fifth and final round closed. Velasquez was shortly named new UFC champion by unanimous decision.

What’s next for the UFC world champion? In my opinion I think Cain is the most well rounded UFC heavyweight champion in history. He should have a dominant reign as champion barring an injury. He could face either Alistair Overeem or Fabricio Werdum if either man wins their next fight. Overeem would be the favorite but Dana White mentioned that Werdum would be a top contender if he wins his next fight against Big Nog.

I’d love to see a third fight between JDS and Velasquez. I think this rivalry has the potential to be one of the greatest trilogies of all time. It wouldn’t shock me to see fight number three in the fall or winter of 2013.

Look for a full recap and analysis of UFC 155 here on the Camel Clutch Blog shortly by Lee McGregor.

Full UFC 155 results & winners…
Cain Velasquez defeated Junior Dos Santos via unanimous decision to regain the UFC heavyweight title
Jim Miller defeated Joe Lauzon via unanimous decision
Costa Philippoud efeated Tim Boetsch via third-round TKO
Yushin Okami defeated Alan Belcher via unanimous decision
Derek Brunson defeated Chris Leben via unanimous decision
Eddie Wineland defeated Brad Pickett via split decision
Erik Perez defeated Byron Bloodworth via first-round TKO
Jamie Varner defeated Melvin Guillard via split decision
Myles Jury defeated Michael Johnson via unanimous decision
Todd Duffeed efeated Phil De Fries via first-round TKO
Max Holloway defeated Leonard Garcia via split decision
John Moraga defeated Chris Cariaso via submission

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

Anderson Spider Silva (Em Portugues do Brasil

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

UFC 155 Dos Santos Vs. Velasquez 2 Predictions & Analysis

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

The UFC returns to the land of Pay Per View this weekend with their traditional New Year’s Eve card. Despite not technically taking place on New Year’s Eve, the UFC has more than made up for it by packing this card with talent and intriguing match-ups from top to bottom. Headlining the card is a rematch that everyone has been clamoring for since their first meeting as the headliner for the UFC’s first event on the Fox Network as UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos battles the man he defeated for the title Cain Velasquez.

The co-main event of the evening features a Lightweight tilt that will move the winner significantly up the ladder in terms of placement in what is arguably the UFC’s deepest division as Joe Lauzon battles Jim Miller. Three Middleweight bouts are on the docket for the rest of the main card and many of them feature top ranked contenders. First up are Middleweight brawlers Tim Boetsch taking on Constantinos Philippou. The next Middleweight contest features former number one contender Yushin Okami taking on emerging contender Alan Belcher. The opening contest of the Pay Per View Main Card features fan and Dana White favourite Chris Leben taking on Strikeforce import Derek Brunson.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Flyweight Bout: Chris Cariaso vs. John Moraga

Chris “Kamikaze” Cariaso is a 31-year-old fighter from Oakland, California. He is a member of the Fight and Fitness Gym in San Francisco, California. Cariaso holds a career record of 14-3 and recently won his UFC Flyweight debut at UFC on Fuel TV 4. John Moraga is a 28-year-old former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Phoenix, Arizona. He is a member of the MMA Lab in Arizona where he trains with UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson. He holds a career record of 12-1.

Quick Pick: John Moraga via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Leonard Garcia vs. Max Holloway

Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia is a 33-year-old fighter from Plainview, Texas. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s Team training in New Mexico. The brawler and fan favourite holds a career record of 15-9, but has never been knocked out and hasn’t been in a boring fight throughout the course of his career. Max “Blessed” Holloway is a 21-year-old fighter from Waanae, Hawaii and is the youngest fighter on the UFC roster. He is a member of the Gracie Technics Gym in his hometown and holds a career record of 6-1.

Quick Pick: Max Holloway via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Heavyweight Bout: Phil De Fries vs. Todd Duffee

Phil De Fries is a 26-year-old fighter from Sunderland, England. The massive Brit is a talented grappler who now trains in the USA with the Alliance MMA Gym in Chula Vista, California. He holds a career record of 9-1 with 1 No Contest. Todd Duffee is a 27-year-old fighter from Evansville, Indiana. Duffee is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California and those striking skills have earned him the record for the fastest Knockout in UFC history at 7 seconds. He holds a career record of 7-2.

Quick Pick: Todd Duffee via KO in Round One

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Michael Johnson vs. Myles Jury

Michael “The Menace” Johnson is a 26-year-old fighter from St. Louis, Missouri. He is a member of the Blackzillians training in Boca Raton, Florida. The former TUF cast member holds a career record of 12-6, but is currently on a three fight winning streak. Myles “The Fury” Jury is a 24-year-old fighter from Hazel Park, Michigan. He is a member of the Alliance MMA Gym in San Diego, California. He holds a perfect professional record of 10-0.

Quick Pick: Michael Johnson via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner

Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard is a 29-year-old fighter from New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a member of the Blackzillians training out of the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. He holds a career record of 30-11-2 with 1 No Contest. Jamie “The Worm” Varner is a 28-year-old fighter from Phoenix, Arizona. He is a former WEC Lightweight Champion who trains out of the AMA Fight Club in New Jersey. He holds a career record of 20-7-1 with 2 No Contests. This bout was supposed to take place two weeks ago at The Ultimate Fighter finale, but a last minute illness to Varner forced the bout to be postponed.

Quick Pick: Melvin Guillard via TKO in Round Three

Preliminary Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Erik Perez vs. Byron Bloodworth

Erik “Goyito” Perez is a 23-year-old fighter from Monterrey, Mexico. He now resides in the USA and trains with Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He holds a career record of 12-4, but is 2-0 in the UFC with two stoppage victories. Byron Bloodworth is a 29-year-old fighter from Lynchburg, Virginia. Bloodworth is a member of the Iron Clutch Fitness Gym in Atlanta, Georgia. He holds a professional record of 6-2.

Quick Pick: Erik Perez via Submission in Round One

Preliminary Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Eddie Wineland vs. Brad Pickett

Eddie Wineland is a 28-year-old fighter from Houston, Texas. Wineland was the inaugural WEC Bantamweight Champion. He trains out of the Duneland Vale Tudo Gym in Portage, Indiana. Wineland holds a career record of 19-8-1 with 16 Stoppage victories. Brad “One Punch” Pickett is a 34-year-old fighter from London, England. A former Cage Rage Featherweight Champion he now trains stateside with the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. Pickett holds a career record of 22-6.

Quick Pick: Brad Pickett via TKO in Round Two

Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson

Chris “The Crippler” Leben is a 32-year-old fighter from Portland, Oregon. Leben is a fan favourite known for his iron chin and his brawling style, but lately he’s also become known as a troubled fighter who will be returning from a one-year-suspension. He was a cast member on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and has been in the UFC ever since. He is a member of the Icon Fitness MMA Gym in Oahu, Hawaii. The brawler holds a career record of 22-8.

Derek “Wrecking Ball” Brunson is a 28-year-old fighter from Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a former NCAA Division 2 All-American Wrestler from the University of North Carolina. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico. Brunson has power in his hands, but his technical striking skills are still developing. He does his best work on the mat, when he can control his opponents by using his top shelf wrestling skills. After starting his career undefeated at 9-0, he has suffered two straight defeats in 2012 to move his record to 9-2.

Analysis and Prediction: To me I think this one comes down a lot to how Leben responds to being off for a year. Brunson has shown some promise in his fights, but he still remains a pretty raw and unproven talent against top shelf competition. Besides Jacare Souza, Leben will be by far his stiffest competition and he’s taking the fight on late notice. Leben is a more complete striker and he’s probably been drilling takedown defense since his loss to Mark Munoz. Really I have a hard time imagining Brunson winning this fight, unless Leben looks like a shell of his former self. Chris Leben via TKO in Round Two

Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Yushin Okami vs. Alan Belcher

Yushin “Thunder” Okami is a 31-year-old fighter from Kanagawa, Japan. A former UFC Middleweight Title Challenger, Okami is one of the top Middleweight fighters in the UFC. Okami is a talented grinder, who does his best work using a ground based, wrestling and top control oriented game plan. He holds a black belt in Judo, which he uses well to earn trips and takedowns when standing. Okami is a member of Team Quest, training with Chael Sonnen in Portland, Oregon. He actually holds a career victory over Belcher already, having defeated Belcher in his UFC debut. Okami holds a professional record of 27-7.

Alan “The Talent” Belcher is a 28-year-old from Jonesboro, Arkansas. Recently after an eye injury caused a yearlong layoff and almost cost him his career, he has reeled off four straight stoppage victories and has emerged as a rising contender in the Middleweight division. Belcher is a talented striker who holds a black belt in Tae Kwan Do and a black belt in Duke Roufus Kickboxing. Belcher is also an underrated grappler who holds a brown belt in Judo and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Belcher is a member of the Roufusport Gym in Biloxi, Mississippi training under famed kick boxer Duke Roufus. He holds a career record of 18-6.

Analysis and Prediction: Belcher is a talented striker and his grappling game is definitely significantly underrated by a lot of people, but this isn’t a great match up for him. Okami is massive for Middleweight and he’s strong and perfectly content to wrestle his way to victories. In his last bout Okami was thoroughly dominating Tim Boetsch on the ground until a third round miracle comeback. Belcher is talented and dangerous on the feet, but I really don’t think Okami is going to give him time to get comfortable there. I expect a steady stream of one-twos and takedowns from Okami as he wrestles his way to a decision victory. Yushin Okami via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Tim Boetsch vs. Constantinos Philippou

Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch is a 31-year-old fighter from Lincolnville, Maine. He is a former NCAA Wrestler from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and often uses his wrestling skills to grind against his opponents on the mat. Boetsch is also a talented striker with big power, who owns a black belt in Jeet Kune Do. The former Light Heavyweight fighter has enjoyed a string of success since dropping to the UFC’s Middleweight division as he is currently on a four fight winning streak, including victories over Nick Ring, Kendall Grove, Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard. Boetsch is a member of the AMC Pankration Gym in Maine. He holds a career record of 16-4.

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Constantinos “Costa” Philippou is a 33-year-old fighter who was born in Limassol, Cyprus. He now resides and trains in New York City, New York where he is a member of the Serra-Longo Fight Team. Philippou is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but does his best work in the striking department. He is a talented and powerful striker who is technically sound and can throw bombs with the best of the Middleweight division. Currently riding a four fight-winning streak, Philippou holds a pro record of 11-2 with 1 No Contest.

Analysis and Prediction: Philippou has come a long way since his UFC debut where he was outworked on the mat by Nick Catone, but the game plan to defeat him likely remains the same. Boetsch has had a successful run since making the drop to Middleweight and he’s simply massive for the weight class. His style has remained the same as he remains a true grinder. He does his best work in close, using clinches to utilize dirty boxing and score trips and takedowns from there where he can work his top control game and ground and pound. Philippou needs to keep this fight at a distance if he wants to be successful, but I don’t think his footwork can keep him at range long enough to win this fight. Despite some success for Philippou I think Boetsch moves his way up the ladder another rung. Tim Boetsch via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Lightweight Bout: Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller

Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon is a 28-year-old fighter from East Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Lauzon is best known for his highly entertaining style of fighting, as he’s taken home 11 post-fight bonuses during his UFC career. Lauzon’s striking is decent and fundamentally sound, although at times he uses a bit too much boxing and not enough kicks to be wholly effective. Still, he does his best work on the mat, as the purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is excellent at creating submission opportunities during sweeps on the mat. The former Ultimate Fighter cast member is the head trainer of his own gym Lauzon MMA in Massachusetts and holds a career record of 22-7.

Jim Miller is a 29-year-old fighter from Sparta Township, New Jersey. Miller is taking this fight as a late replacement for Gray Maynard. Miller is one half of the Miller Brothers, as his older brother Dan also competes in the UFC as a Welterweight. Miller is a member of the AMA Fight Club in New Jersey, where he is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Miller is an aggressive fighter who is constantly moving forward against his opponents. His striking is fairly rudimentary, but he has decent power and a strong one-two which transitions well into takedown shots that he blends well. On the mat, Miller is a talented grappler who is dangerous anytime that there is a scramble on the mat. He holds a career record of 21-4.

Analysis and Prediction: Both of these guys are aggressive and love to fight balls to the wall. Both are also decent strikers that do their best work on the mat, so it will be an interesting styles clash to say the least. Lauzon has to be one of the best first round fighters in the UFC, as he absolutely storms out of the gates constantly searching for a finish, if he’s smart he’s been watching Nate Diaz’s one sided beat down of Miller over and over to glean some tips from it. That loss may also be important to Miller, since it will be his first fight since and how he responds to that loss will say a lot about how this fight goes down. Miller has the skills to grind out a decision using his wrestling to control and dominate Lauzon on the mat, but Lauzon is very dangerous at any time. As it is I think Miller uses takedowns and top control to wear out Lauzon and eventually comes away with a decision victory, sealing the deal in the third round. Jim Miller via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Heavyweight Championship Bout: Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez

Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos is a 28-year-old Brazilian fighter from Santa Catarina, Brazil. He is the reigning and defending UFC Heavyweight Champion, a belt that he won from his challenger Cain Velasquez. Dos Santos is one of the most talented and hardest hitting strikers in the Heavyweight division, owning 11Knockouts in 15 career victories. Dos Santos also has excellent grappling skills, holding a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under famed fighter Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Dos Santos is a member of the Black House Gym, training with Team Nogueira in Bahia, Brazil. Dos Santos is a dangerous fighter, who already holds a career victory via first round knockout against Velasquez. He holds a professional record of 15-1 and hasn’t lost since November of 2007.

Cain Velasquez is a Mexican-American fighter from Salinas, California. The 30-year-old is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Arizona State University. Velasquez is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California and is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion. Velasquez holds a brown belt in Guerilla Jiu Jitsu, which is a form of submission grappling more suited to modern MMA. Despite his previous loss to Dos Santos, many people have claimed that he took the bout with a significant knee injury since it was the UFC’s debut on Fox, and really shouldn’t have been fighting in the first place. Still, he remains a dangerous fighter wherever the bout takes place, as his striking has been rapidly improving and he’s a nightmare for anyone to handle on the mat. In his last bout he absolutely demolished Antonio Silva on the ground and left him a bloody mess, before finally earning a TKO in the first round. Velasquez holds a career record of 10-1, with his only loss coming against Dos Santos.

Analysis and Prediction: For many people the biggest question heading in to this contest is ‘Can Cain earn a takedown against Dos Santos?’ A man who has proven to be nearly impossible to takedown in the UFC, in fact he’s only been taken down once in his entire UFC career and it lasted for only seconds. For me, I think a more important question to consider is how is Dos Santos going to be able to handle himself if he does in fact end up underneath of Velasquez.

Cain has one of the most aggressive and nasty top games in the Heavyweight division. He throws ground and pound with bad intentions and his elbows can absolutely end your night as they cause significant damage. Cain is also a better striker than he showed in the first bout and to be honest, I think the injuries to both fighters are significant enough that the results of the first contest are barely even useful in a true fight analysis. Dos Santos’ trainers claim that he has one of the best ground games in the Heavyweight division, but even that isn’t going to be enough to contain Cain Velasquez, if he manages to score a takedown.

Dos Santos is surely going to be focusing on keeping this bout upright. Despite his claims that he’s ready to submit someone in the UFC, I’m not convinced he’s going to be pulling guard against a wrestler as talented as Velasquez. So for him, he’ll need to use footwork and an effective sprawl and brawl style to keep the bout standing and look for the big knockout shot. He’s shown that he can knock out almost anyone, if he hits them cleanly. Unfortunately I don’t think Velasquez will be nearly as slow or hittable as he was in their last encounter.

I don’t think Dos Santos can keep Velasquez at bay, and I think his advantage on the ground is far more significant that Dos Santos’ edge on the feet. That alone, combined with the fact that we’re going to see a significantly better and strong Velasquez make me think it’s going to be time for the challenger to reclaim his belt. I think he stops Dos Santos with strikes in the third round. Cain Velasquez via TKO in Round Three

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UFC On FOX 1 Results – Junior Dos Santos KO’s Cain Velasquez in Round 1

November 12, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Junior Dos SantosAfter weeks of hype, the highly anticipated first UFC on Fox 1 main-event ended in just over a minute. Junior Dos Santos knocked out Cain Velasquez to win the UFC heavyweight championship in quite possibly the most watched fight in UFC history.

It was almost like a replay from the fight in which Cain Velasquez won the UFC heavyweight title, but this time it was Velasquez out cold shortly after the bell rung. The fight started off with Velasquez connecting on Dos Santos with leg kicks. He went for a takedown that was blocked. Junior found a powerful overhand right to the champ’s head which put him down. Dos Santos swarmed in for the with shots and the fight was stopped at 1:04 of Round 1 in Dos Santos’ favor.

There may be more to this story than meets the eye. There were rumors that Velasquez was hurt going into the fight. Velasquez also weighed in at 249 and looked softer than usual for the fight. Velasquez reportedly weighs in somewhere between 235-244. He looked slower than usual during the fight so my hunch is that sometime in the next few days we will hear word of an injury.

For Junior Dos Santos, his next fight will be with the winner of the upcoming Alistair Overeem vs. Brock Lesnar UFC 141 fight. Either fighter would be a huge money match against the new champion. The fight takes place in a few weeks so my guess is that we would be looking at a March championship defense for Dos Santos.

Can Brock Lesnar beat Junior Dos Santos? I certainly think he has a much better chance of beating JDS for the title than winning a rematch against a healthy Cain Velasquez. If Lesnar can withstand an early storm by the champion, he could take advantage of a tired Dos Santos on the ground in the deeper rounds. Dos Santos slowed down in the later rounds against Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin. I am not convinced he could go the distance in a five rounder. On the other hand, Lesnar doesn’t like to hit and if Dos Santos can get in there early like tonight, we could see a repeat of his championship win when he fights the former WWE champion.

Can Alistair Overeem beat Junior Dos Santos? It would be a completely different fight than the one described above. I believe that Overeem is the best striker in the UFC heavyweight division. Dos Santos would have to rely on his ground game to beat Overeem, yet Dos Santos prefers to stand. I think these guys have a standup fight ten times and each guy would win five. It really comes down to a lucky strike when you talk about such heavy hitters. While Lesnar chasing the title is the bigger money fight, I think Overeem vs. Dos Santos would be the more exciting fight.

Overall it was an interesting experience seeing the UFC on Fox. The pre-fight production pieces on the fighters were fantastic. Brock Lesnar appeared to be a natural as an analyst appearing calm and charming. Dana White was a bit rough around the edges, talking a little bit too fast at times. I also think the arena sound was better produced as you could hear the crowd come through during the fight more so than I can remember for similar UFC fights. I liked it, but they did leave little room for post-fight analysis if the fight went five rounds.

In what would probably be described as the co-headliner, Benson Henderson defeated Clay Guida via unanimous decision. This fight certainly lived up to the hype and produced an expected three round war. Henderson was just too much for Guida on the ground. He appeared calm during Guida’s charges, nullifying most of Guida’s standup striking. He wound up in a few chokes but never seemed in any real trouble of tapping. Henderson will likely get the next UFC lightweight title fight against Frankie Edgar. Deserved, but a big disappointment in regards to the business Guida would have done as challenger.

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UFC On Fox 1 Velasquez Vs. Dos Santos – Predictions & Analysis

November 11, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC on Fox 1 PredictionsWelcome back MMA fans, as promised I’m here to finish my recap of the UFC’s landmark event on FOX this weekend. I saved the biggest two fights for a separate piece so I could dive into a little bit more detail on these two. So let’s not waste any time, let’s get right into it.

Preliminary Card (Facebook or FOXSports.com): Lightweight Bout: Clay Guida vs. Benson Henderson

This bout is likely going to determine the number one contender to Frankie Edgar’s Lightweight title. Both fighters are entering this fight on a roll and both are coming off of career victories over highly rated competition. Guida enters the fight on the strength of a Unanimous Decision over the final WEC Lightweight Champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, while Henderson enters after a dominating win over formerly world-ranked Jim Miller.

Clay “The Carpenter” Guida is a 29-year-old veteran of the sport of MMA. Not yet even thirty years old, Guida has already competed in 40 professional MMA fights. Guida was the first ever Strikeforce Lightweight Champion and is currently a consensus Top 10 Fighter in the Lightweight division. Guida is a former High School wrestler, who despite not finding College Wrestling success has been able to translate his wrestling skills well into his MMA style. In addition to his strong wrestling skills, Guida also has fairly under-rated BJJ skills. Guida is a member of the Jackson Submission Fighting Camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Guida is most known for his long flowing locks and his unbelievable cardio. Affectionately known as the ‘Energizer Bunny on steroids’ by UFC commentator Joe Rogan, Guida uses his cardio as one of his biggest strengths, as he is constantly coming forward and forces his opponents to fight at a near breakneck pace. At 5’7”, Guida is not overly tall and is fairly short and stocky, so his reach is definitely not an advantage. Instead he uses his punches as basically flailing movements, before changing levels and shooting for takedowns. From there he is unrelenting constantly pressuring and passing guard and attacking with ground and pound. Guida has a career MMA record of 29-11.

Benson “Smooth” Henderson is a 27-year-old fighter from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Henderson is a former WEC Lightweight Champion. He is known for his extreme flexibility and his ability to escape from seemingly inescapable Submissions (just watch his fights against Donald Cerrone for evidence) as well as his aggressive wrestling based style. Henderson’s style is a hybrid of wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai Kickboxing. Henderson owns a brown belt in BJJ and was an NAIA Division 1 Wrestler in college, he also owns a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Henderson is a member of the MMA Lab, fighting out of Glendale, Arizona.

Henderson stands 5’9” tall and with a 70 inch reach, he will hold a slight reach advantage in the fight. Henderson like Guida has stellar cardio, has strong wrestling, will likely hold the edge in BJJ skills and will hold a fairly significant edge in the stand up department. Henderson constantly pressures his opponents, mixing strikes and takedown attempts very well. Once on the ground, Henderson is not content to sit in guard and roll around, instead he has some of most aggressive ground and pound in the Lightweight division. Henderson holds a career record of 14-2.

Analysis and Prediction: This is going to be a high-paced, high energy fight. Expect fireworks in this one and definitely expect a Fight of the Night performance from both fighters. Conditioning won’t be a factor in this one as both have extremely good cardio. Henderson will likely hold the stand up advantage and will look to keep the fight standing for as long as possible. Standing he will be able to exploit Guida and earn points on the scorecards. From there, expect a few late round takedowns and some nasty ground and pound to seal the deal as Henderson takes a Unanimous Decision victory. Benson Henderson via Unanimous Decision

Main Event (Live on FOX): Heavyweight Championship Bout: Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez

Junior “Cigano” dos Santos is a Brazilian Heavyweight fighter from Cacador, Santa Catarina. JDS is a 27-year-old Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt under Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Dos Santos is also an extremely solid boxer who like Nogueira has spent some time training with the Cuban and Brazilian national Boxing teams. At 6’4” and with a 77-inch reach, combined with his strong boxing and knockout power in both of his hands he is a serious threat to anyone who tries to stand with him. He has torn through the UFC’s Heavyweight rankings and has reeled off seven straight victories, including five via stoppages from strikes.

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Junior is possibly best known to the casual fan from his time spent as a coach on the last season of The Ultimate Fighter where he coached opposite Brock Lesnar. However, Lesnar came down with a case of diverticulitis and JDS instead took on Shane Carwin. Dos Santos dominated Carwin throughout the fight, battering and bloodying Carwin with strikes and also showing off some improved wrestling skills by landing two takedowns in the third round of that fight. He is a member of the famed Black House camp, where he is training partners with Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and the Nogueira brothers.

If there has been one criticism I’ve seen of dos Santos thus far in his octagon career is his overall lack of variety. It’s hard to argue with success, so perhaps it’s just that he’s never need ed to do so, but he rarely uses kicks or knees in his offensive arsenal, instead relying solely on his punches. He is also a muscular fighter, which can cause his body to use a lot of oxygen, however, it hasn’t proven to be a problem yet in his career. Dos Santos is able to use angles well and can often switch it up as needed. His uppercut is also one of his best weapons and possibly one of the best uppercuts in MMA today.

Cain “Brown Pride” Velasquez is the Mexican-American UFC Heavyweight Champion. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Arizona State University. Velasquez is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California. He is a brown belt in Guerrilla Jiu Jitsu, which he uses in addition to his already sterling wrestling skills. At 29-years-old Cain is still a relative newcomer to the MMA game, having under ten professional fights.

Despite his lack of experience, he is still the reigning and defending UFC Heavyweight Champion. He has also shown a very impressive ability to finish his opponents as he has won eight of his nine career victories by either KO or TKO. In fact, UFC Heavyweight Cheick Kongo is the only man to make it to a decision against the former Arizona State wrestler. At 240 pounds, Cain is nowhere near the gargantuan size that some former UFC Heavyweight champions are, but he has found success by using his size as an advantage. He is extremely agile and speedy for a Heavyweight and he has solid footwork, which he’s going to need all of if he wants to avoid the quick hands of dos Santos.

The thing that is likely to hurt Velasquez is his long layoff due to injuries. Some fighters (Chael Sonnen for example) show very little after effects from being off for over a year, others such as Paulo Filho do show lots of negative effects, including poor cardio, tentativeness and overall poor timing. It’s hard to say before fight night which one of these two athletes Cain will be, but if there is some sort of ring rust for the champion, he could be in for a long night.

Analysis and Prediction: This is going to be another tight battle. It stands to reason that the longer these two big men stay on their feet, the more it favors the Brazilian challenger. Although Velasquez may not admit it, it’s likely that JDS has the better boxing and the more power in his hands. Additionally, although many people credit it more to a poor performance from Velasquez than a stellar showing by Kongo, the champ was rocked a couple of times in that fight, getting tagged that many times against a finisher like dos Santos is sure to spell trouble.

On the other hand, despite having decent BJJ credentials, we have yet to see what dos Santos offers grappling wise from his back and the answer is likely not a lot. Especially if he’s underneath someone with as strong a wrestling game as Velasquez. On top Velasquez is extremely aggressive from top control, so it’s hard to think that being on the ground with the champion is where the challenger wants to be.

So it comes down to who can impose their game plan on their opponent. If Velasquez wants to win, he’ll need to avoid lengthy exchanges, push the pace of the fight and constantly be searching for takedowns. If the challenger wants to win, he’ll need to avoid the ground game at all costs. He’ll want to force the champion to stay in the pocket and throw hands for as long as possible. With the improved wrestling that he showed in his last fight, I have some faith in JDS’ ability to keep this fight upright. Overall, I think the challenger has what it takes to win this fight. I think if he frustrates Cain by shrugging off a few of his opening takedowns he can exploit it later. Throwing knees and uppercuts as Velasquez shoots for a takedown is a surefire way to end the champion’s reign before it even really begins. I think JDS keeps it standing and earns enough rounds on the scorecards to take a close decision. Junior dos Santos via Unanimous Decision

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UFC On Fox 1 Prelim Fights – Predictions & Analysis

November 10, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC on Fox 1Hello fight fans, an epic evening will be dawning on us soon, as this Saturday night the UFC makes it’s long awaited debut on network television. For the first time the UFC will be showing a live fight card on FOX TV. While this card technically isn’t a part of the 7-year deal that the UFC and FOX Sports negotiated, it is more of a preview of the new look of the UFC, a look that Dana White has promised will be more professional and more modern. Say goodbye to the Roman Gladiator folks, the UFC is in the big time now.

All kidding aside, I think the UFC has somewhat dropped the ball on this one a little bit. Dana White recently announced that no matter what, the UFC will show only one fight on the live Fox broadcast, even if the Heavyweight Title contest between challenger Junior Dos Santos and Champion Cain Velasquez goes only thirty seconds. While it’s hard to complain about a Heavyweight title fight being shown for free, in primetime, on a network TV station, it’s easy to question the UFC’s thought process.

This is going to generate a lot of casual fan interest. What better time than to show off some of your younger, fresh fighters. A probably Lightweight Title eliminator fight between Clay Guida and Benson Henderson on live TV would not only guarantee potential fireworks, but it would also introduce casual fans to two fighters, one of whom will likely be headlining an upcoming PPV against Lightweight kingpin Frankie Edgar.

But folks, that is neither here nor there. And those gripes are best suited for another place and another time, where keyboard warriors can argue about how much they think they know about MMA and about business in general. We here at the CamelClutchBlog have more important things to talk about, like who is going to come out on top this weekend. In a slight change of pace, we’re going to ignore the gambling side of MMA for this one and instead focus on the fights themselves for entertainment value, not for making crazy bets and parlays. So without further adieu, let’s get right into the fights.

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and FoxSports.com): Light Heavyweight Bout: Aaron Rosa vs. Matt Lucas

Aaron “Big Red” Rosa is a Mexican-American fighter from San Antonio, Texas. He is a member of the Rodrigo Pinheiro BJJ Gym in Texas. At 6’3″ tall, Rosa wasn’t overly tall to fill out his formerly 260-pound frame. He has chosen to make the drop to Light Heavyweight class for this bout and after seeing some of his previous performances at Heavyweight, I can’t say that it’s a bad decision. Rosa opened his career with a 10-0 mark, but has struggled since hopping to the bigger stages of Strikeforce and the UFC. He is making his sophomore trip to the Octagon after losing his debut to Joey Beltran at UFC 131. Rosa is a fairly slow and sloppy brawler, but who possesses decent grappling and BJJ skills. Rosa possesses a career mixed martial arts record of 16-4, with 10 stoppage victories.

Matt “Luke Duke” Lucas is a fairly unknown fighter who is making his big stage debut after a long career in the Rage in the Cage promotion. Lucas is a strong fighter, who is a former college wrestler. He is a member of the Arizona Combat Sports gym which has allowed him to transition his wrestling skills into a solid base for mixed martial arts. He has added a decent Thai boxing to his regimen of top control and ground and pound to compliment his skill set. At 6’1″ he may be fairly undersized for this weight class and is in fact a former 185-Pound fighter, despite that he does hold a decided advantage in dictating where the fight takes place.

Analysis and Prediction: I’ve never been overly impressed with Aaron Rosa to be perfectly honest. He looked sloppy and unprepared for his UFC debut against Joey Beltran and will be likely fighting for his contract in this one. I don’t know how well the cut is going to go for Rosa but dropping 55 pounds is surely not going to be fun. I think the weight cut will hinder his performance greatly and Lucas will be able to control the pace of the fight, and use constant takedowns to wear out Rosa and ground and pound his way to a late second round stoppage. Matt Lucas via TKO Round 2

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and FoxSports.com): Welterweight Bout: Mike Pierce vs. Paul Bradley

Mike “Megatron” Pierce is an American from Oregon who is a member of the Team Quest and Sports Lab gyms in Portland and Beaverton, Oregon respectively. Pierce is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Portland State University. Pierce has fared well in his Octagon career losing only to the elite wrestlers of the division including Jon Fitch and Johny Hendricks both via decision (and the latter via close Split Decision.) Pierce uses wrestling and top control to earn points on the judge’s scorecards. It’s not the prettiest way to fight, but it has been effective for him so far. Pierce has a career MMA record of 12-4.

Paul “The Gentleman” Bradley is a fighter from Minnesota. I haven’t been able to find out much about him except that he is a member of the Academy MMA Gym/Team Deathclutch Gym in Minnesota. After dropping his octagon debut to Rafael Natal at UFC 133 he is making the drop to the 170-pound class and isn’t getting a very warm welcome. At 5’9″ he was undersized for Middleweight, but that meant he was fairly muscular. It might be interesting to see how his body handles the weight cut. Overall, Bradley has a career record of 18-3.

Analysis and Prediction: Overall this one is likely going to come down to wrestling. Pierce has better offensive wrestling and a better overall MMA game. He’s likely going to take this one to the mat and ground and pound away for the better part of three rounds all on his way to a Unanimous Decision. Mike Pierce via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and FoxSports.com): Bantamweight Bout: Alex Caceres vs. Cole Escovedo

Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres is a former Lightweight and Featherweight fighter. Best known for his stint on The Ultimate Fighter: GSP vs. Koscheck season where he was a member of Team GSP. The young fighter from Miami, Florida where he is a member of the Young Tigers Foundation. Caceres is a Jeet Kune Do and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter with strong grappling skills. He is making the drop to the Bantamweight division for the first time in his career. Despite finding some measure of fame on the show, he has struggled since and has yet to taste victory inside the UFC. Overall, Bruce Leroy has a career MMA record of 5-4.

Cole “The Apache Kid” Escovedo is a fighter from Fresno, California where he is a member of the Pacific Martial Arts team. Escovedo is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter, with decent boxing skills to compliment his ground skills. Escovedo has also not tasted victory inside the Octagon, but has faced significantly tougher competition in his MMA career. Escovedo has fought against some of the top names in the Bantamweight division including Michael McDonald, Michihiro Omigawa, Renan Barao and Takeya Mizugaki. Despite his somewhat mediocre 17-8 record, Escovedo remains a decent talent who is a solid measuring stick to separate the contenders from pretenders in the UFC’s lower divisions.

Analysis and Prediction: Caceres is basically still employed because of his antics inside the TUF house where he gained some minor fan-dom. However, the UFC is not easily impressed by antics and three straight losses will surely mean the end for one of these fighters. This fight is meant to bounce Caceres from the UFC and give Escovedo a reason to stick around in my opinion. Escovedo has faced tougher competition, has more experience and has better MMA skills, I expect him to earn a Submission victory in the very first round. Cole Escovedo via Submission Round One

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and FoxSports.com): Featherweight Bout: Mackens Semerzier vs. Robert Peralta

Mackens “Da Menace” Semerzier is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt under Jeff Curran and is a member of the Team Curran gym in Miami, Florida. Semerzier also has decent technical boxing skills and under-rated wrestling skills to back up his grappling. In high school he was a State Wrestling runner up and is a former member of the U.S. Marines, which is where he learned his boxing skills. He entered the WEC back in 2009 and scored a huge upset by submitting Wagney Fabiano in his first bout. He struggled after that, going 0-3 against tough competition, but was handed a bit of a tune-up fight in his Octagon debut against the previously mentioned Alex Caceres. He is looking to make it two in a row inside the Octagon on Saturday night. Semerzier holds a professional record of 6-3.

Robert Peralta is a Mexican-Honduran fighter. Despite his Mexican heritage he now resides and fights out of San Diego, California. He is a wrestle-boxer, with decent take downs and an ability to throw hands with most fighters. A member of the Team Kadillac Gym, Peralta proved me wrong in his last fight by out-striking, out-hustling and overall out-working Mike Lullo en-route to a Unanimous Decision victory in his UFC debut. Peralta holds a career MMA record of 15-3.

Analysis and Prediction: This is an extremely tight match up to call. Both fighters are decent but not great boxers, so consider that a wash. Wrestling edge is a slight lean to Peralta, but Semerzier has top notch BJJ skills to employ if he is planted on his back. The deciding factor for me is momentum. Semerzier’s last win was over fairly unimpressive competition, while Peralta is entering this bout on an 8-fight winning streak. Speed and takedowns will be what earns Peralta a close decision victory in this one. Robert Peralta via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and FoxSports.com): Bantamweight Bout: Norifumi Yamamoto vs. Darren Uyenoyama

Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto was formerly one of Japan’s hottest MMA prospects. However, the hype train seems to have derailed a bit slightly in previous years and his UFC debut against Demetrious Johnson went right ahead and completely shot the train off of the tracks. Despite his recent struggles, ‘Kid’ remains a tough match up for just about anyone. The former pro kick boxer from Tokyo, Japan has strong Muay Thai skills with an impressive Freestyle wrestling base. He was previously considered one of the world’s top Bantamweight and Featherweight fighters, but has struggled recently and is just 1-3 in his previous fights. Overall, the Southpaw Yamamoto still holds an impressive 18-4-1 record with 13 wins via Knockout or Technical Knockout.

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Darren “BC” Uyenoyama is a 32-year-old fighter from San Francisco, California. The American is a member of the Faito Tamashii Combat Club in Southern California. He made his MMA debut in 2002 but has been fighting sporadically since, including a five year layoff between his debut and his second MMA fight. Uyenoyama is a fairly well-rounded fighter with decent if not overly impressive boxing skills and a solid grappling base. He has fought both overseas and in the USA but has never been able to accumulate any momentum in his career, most likely due to his inconsistent fight schedule. Overall, his professional record is 6-3.

Analysis and Prediction: It’s pretty safe to say that ‘Kid’ Yamamoto wasn’t the highly touted prospect that everyone thought he was, however, he still has all of the tools to win this fight. Losing a relatively close decision to Demetrious Johnson is nothing to be overly ashamed of. Yamamoto will be able to dictate where this fight takes place and the pacing of the fight. I expect the Japanese fighter to pressure Uyenoyama with punches early on, before shooting for a takedown and unleashing some nasty ground and pound, all en-route to a late stoppage victory. Norifumi Yamamoto via TKO in Round Three

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and FoxSports.com): Welterweight Bout: DaMarques Johnson vs. Clay Harvison

DaMarques “The Darkness” Johnson is yet another fighter from The Ultimate Fighter reality show who seem to populate the undercards of these free shows. He was the runner-up from the USA vs. UK season of the show and was notable for his nearly physical confrontation with rival coach Michael Bisping. The 29-year-old fights out of the Elite Performance Gym in Sandy, Utah, where he trains under MMA veteran Jeremy Horn. Johnson is a boxer first, with decent ground skills coming from his blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Horn. Before joining The Ultimate Fighter he mostly competed on regional shows in Utah, including the UCE shows. He has had a bit of an up and down career within the octagon and could possibly be fighting for his contract in this one, as he enters the fight have lost two of his last three bouts. Johnson has a professional MMA record of 12-9.

Clay “Heavy Metal” Harvison is another veteran of The Ultimate Fighter reality show. Harvison was a cast member for the thirteenth season of the show. He was born in Marietta, Georgia and fought most of his early professional fights in the Georgia region, before joining TUF. Harvison is a kick boxer who prefers to fight on his feet using an array of kicks and knees from his Muay Thai background. He is a member of the Riven Academy Fight Team from Orem, Utah. Harvison made it to the quarterfinals of his season before losing to eventual runner-up Ramsey Nijem, however, he has since begun training with Nijem to improve his overall MMA skills. He and Johnson were supposed to fight at Ultimate Fight Night 25, but an injury forced Johnson to withdrawal and Harvison was soundly pounded and submitted by late replacement Seth Baczynski.

Analysis and Prediction: Harvison is a fan friendly fighter, as most of the time he prefers to stand and trade. However, Johnson is simply the better more well-rounded fighter and is a significantly better grappler. Johnson’s striking and length should be enough to keep Harvison guessing before he shoots for a takedown, from there it’s likely only a matter of time before some ground and pound opens up a submission opportunity and Johnson will snatch it up. DaMarques Johnson via Submission in Round Two

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and FoxSports.com): Featherweight Bout: Cub Swanson vs. Ricardo Lamas

Cub Swanson is a veteran of the WEC and was one of the Featherweight divisions early standout fighters. Throughout his WEC career he earned Fight of the Night awards three times in eight fights. After losing his MMA debut, Swanson rallied off 11 straight victories with a number coming by way of Submission. He has since lost to some of the elite fighters of the Featherweight division including Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes. Swanson is a member of Jackson’s Submission Fighting team, although he also has a home gym in his hometown of Palm Springs, California. Swanson is a true MMA fighter, with decent skills in kickboxing, wrestling and BJJ. The sometimes oft-injured Swanson holds a professional record of 15-4 with 11 wins via stoppage, he will be making his UFC debut in the fight.

Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas is a 29-year-old fighter from Chicago, Illinois. Lamas is a BJJ fighter who holds a brown belt under World No-Gi Jiu Jitsu champion Daniel Valverde. Lamas trains with Team Top Notch in Elmhurst, Illinois. Lamas was also a collegiate wrestler, although not as decorated as some members of the UFC roster, Lamas was an All-American in wrestling in NCAA Division III at Elmhurst, College. During his fights he uses his strong wrestling skills to plant his opponents on the mat before uncorking some ground and pound to try and soften his opponents up, all the while searching for submissions. Lamas holds a career record of 10-2 and is coming off of an impressive UFC debut where he TKO’ed Matt Grice after a highlight head kick.

Analysis and Prediction: This bout is very close as both fighters are fairly well rounded. What may be the determining factor is big show experience and ring rust. Swanson’s year away from MMA due to injuries may require a feeling out process, but against someone like Lamas he won’t get time to adapt. Lamas will pressure constantly, always searching for takedowns and working his ground and pound. It won’t be pretty and it will probably be close with some rough spots along the way, but I think Lamas can take a Unanimous Decision in this one. Ricardo Lamas via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card Bout (Facebook and FoxSports.com): Featherweight Bout: Dustin Poirier vs. Pablo Garza

Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier continues his rise up the Featherweight ladder in this fight. Poirier is a 22-year-old fighter from LaFayette, Louisiana where he trains out of the Gladiator Gym under UFC veteran Tim Credeur. Poirier is a BJJ purple belt under Credeur, but also has solid boxing fundamentals to back up his grappling. He is a smart fighter for his age and knows how to use his advantages inside the Octagon. His footwork is solid as he moves well inside the cage and has great hand speed when throwing his punches. He has tasted defeat only once in his MMA career and currently holds a record of 10-1.

Pablo “The Scarecrow” Garza is another well rounded fighter who was a cast-member of The Ultimate Fighter. However, he never made it into the house, as during the debut episode he lost a two-round decision to Michael Johnson in an Elimination bout. Garza is a blue belt in BJJ at the Academy of Combat Arts in Fargo, North Dakota. Garza stands 6’1″ making him one of the larger fighters in the division. After losing his WEC debut, he has bounced back with highlight reel victories in his two bouts inside the UFC, a flying knee KO of Fredson Paixao and a Flying Triangle Choke submission over Yves Jabouin at UFC 129. Overall Garza’s MMA record is 11-1.

Analysis and Prediction: Both fighters are young up-and-coming prospects. Both are fairly well-rounded in all aspects of the game, with Poirier likely being the better striker and Garza being the better grappler. Despite the size difference, both fighters have an identical reach so Poirier should be able to use leg kicks and a strong jab to dictate the pacing of the bout. Garza’s best chance for victory is to get the fight to the mat, if he can do that, I believe he can pull off a victory, but Poirier is very well-coached and is an intelligent fighter. He’ll be able to avoid the grappling game and will use Garza’s size against him, as he tees off with leg kicks and a strong jab to earn points on the judge’s cards all on the way to a Unanimous Decision. Dustin Poirier via Unanimous Decision

**Slight Sports Betting Note: I told Eric that I’d stop focusing on the gambling side of things, but I can’t help myself here. This fight is extremely close and Garza is definitely a live underdog, however the books don’t seem to agree as he is nearly a 3-to-1 underdog. If you’re feeling tempted go get some of that.

That wraps up the Preliminary Card of this show. I’ll be back to highlight the Main Event Heavyweight showdown between Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez tomorrow. Also, I’ll include some in-depth analysis about the Lightweight Title eliminator bout between Clay Guida and Benson Henderson.

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