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April 15, 2012

Shogun Fights VI: Highlights






















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Shogun Fights VI at 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore was an action-packed MMA fight card. Here are highlights from 10 exciting bouts. (Kevin Richardson/The Baltimore Sun video)

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April 9, 2012

Shogun Fights VI: Hear from the fighters






















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March 28, 2012

Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans: Who will win?

jonesevansblog.gifThe last several months, former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (above, right) has presented his case to the media like a court-appointed attorney. All of the evidence has shown that he has no shot at winning his case (fight), but if he can show a reasonable doubt, he might have a chance.

Jonathan Dwight Jones vs. Rashad Anton Evans will take place at UFC 145 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta on April 21.

All of the physical evidence is overwhelming and in favor for Mr. Jones. The champion, Jon Jones (left), has destroyed every top contender and former champion he has faced in the octagon.

Case in point:

Continue reading "Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans: Who will win?" »

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 6:29 AM | | Comments (4)
        

March 15, 2012

Cowboy Cerrone is looking for a title shot this year





















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UFC lightweight Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone believes that 2012 is his year. He is looking for a title shot before the year ends.

 

“See last year I think I had the wrong mentality, I said I just wanted to fight, and I didn’t care about the title,” said Cerrone. “We’re here to get that belt. So hopefully two more (fights), win this one and win one more and then I will start calling people out.”

 

Cerrone was scheduled to fight an old friend of his in lightweight Yves Edwards, but Edwards had to drop out due to injury. The UFC replaced Edwards with hard-hitting veteran Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens. The fight is the co-main event at UFC on Fuel TV on May 15, in Fairfax, Va.

 

Cerrone and Stephens are both known for exciting fights with toe-to-toe action. Cerrone has won a combined seven UFC & WEC “Fight of the Night” honors, while Stephens has won three UFC “Knockout of the night” and one “Fight of the Night” honors.

 

“Stephens and I are going to be a barn burner, action-pack, non-stop in your face, kicking (expletive),” said Cerrone.

 

I have interviewed Cerrone on several occasions and each time I walk away respecting him more and more for his honesty. He’s a guy that doesn’t bite his tongue and he’s straight forward on everything.

 

“Last year was my first year in the UFC, my feet was still wet and I was scared” he said. “A lot comes with holding that (championship) belt, you have to present yourself and be mentally and physically ready to defend it at all-times.”

 

After winning six fights in a row, Cerrone lost his last fight to Nate Diaz and the critics and haters hit to Twitter and to MMA websites doubting his fighting skills. Cerrone is a fan of Chael Sonnen, and just like Sonnen, Cerrone has a word for his critics (haters), “Haters are like crickets, they talk a lot of crap until you walk up on them”

 

The lightweight division is a highly competitive weight class. But Cerrone believes his time has come and this is his year.

 

“I wasn’t ready last year, but 2012 is the year,” he said. “I’m coming hard, harder than I ever had, in shape and a pissed off Cowboy.”

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 4:13 PM | | Comments (0)
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March 7, 2012

Ronda Rousey vs. Cyborg: Who would win?

Strikeforce women's champion Ronda Rousey (5-0) has become the buzz of the MMA world with her recent  submission win over former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Miesha Tate. I couldn’t turn away from her pre-fight rants and trash talking. She has become the face of women’s MMA and the female version of Chael Sonnen.

And with a comparison to Sonnen, it’s only right to have her fight the female equivalent to Sonnen’s next opponent -- Anderson Silva. That is Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (10-1-1), the best pound-for-pound women’s fighter in the world.

The only hold-up in this fight is that Santos is serving a year-long suspension after testing positive for an anabolic steroid. She isn’t due back in the cage until early 2013, so a fight around this time next year would work. A bout of this magnitude would only elevate women’s MMA even more in the eyes of hardcore fans.

Here are some of the comparisons between Cyborg and Silva, and the comparisons of Rousey and  Sonnen.

Cyborg and Silva both started their fighting careers at the Chute Boxe Academy. They are both Brazilians and are considered the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Both haven’t lost a fight in more than six years.

Rousey and Sonnen both have Olympic ties; Rousey competed at the Olympics and Sonnen was an Olympic alternate. They are both from the West Coast, and they display lots of charisma in front of the camera. Both are considered by many to be the best in MMA at promoting and selling a fight. I thought no one could play a heel (bad guy) like Sonnen, until I heard Rousey before and after the Tate fight.

A Rousey vs. Santos title fight, along with maybe a men’s title fight, could easily be a pay-per-view card for Strikeforce.

But first, Rousey would first need to submit her next opponent, Sarah Kaufman.

With a 1-year suspension, Cyborg has plenty of time to come down in weight.

Who would like to see Rousey take on Cyborg for the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight championship belt?

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 4:55 PM | | Comments (17)
        

March 4, 2012

Rousey's win over Tate for Strikeforce title lived up to the hype

Finally, a fight that lived up to the hype.

Undefeated Ronda Rousey (5-0, 3-0 Strikeforce) submitted former champion Miesha Tate (12-3, 4-2 Strikeforce) in the first round to win the women’s bantamweight championship at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Strikeforce “Tate vs. Rousey” was the main-event fight of the evening of an action-packed card.

For several months leading up to the fight, Rousey and Tate gave promotional interviews to sell the fight. At times the back-and-forth trash talking seemed to become personal and not to just sell tickets. Even at the start of the fight the referee gave the final instructions to both fighters and he ended by saying, “I understand that we are not touching gloves.” 

The fight started with Tate connecting on several punches to the face of her opponent. Rousey counted by taking Tate down and gaining side control. Rousey them transitioned to her first armbar submission but Tate escaped. 

She was able to gain the back of Rousey and attempt a rear-naked choke. After a brief scramble both fighters made it back on their feet. Tate connected on three punches and Rousey grabbed her and display her world-class judo by executing a hip toss.

Rousey then got a full mount and was able to ground and pound Tate with several punches before transitioning to an armbar submission at 4:36 of the first-round.  

After a tough bout most fighters show respect to their opponent by shaking their hand. But not in this case, Rousey expressed her feelings about Tate, “At the weigh-in when she got into my face and I pushed her back, and she said ‘I should be fined for head butting her,’ I thought if you are going to try an act hard then back it up.”

Rousey's next opponent should be former champion Sarah Kaufman, who won a majority decision over Alexis Davis on the undercard. 

In the co-main event, former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson (19-4, 9-3 Strikeforce) won a unanimous decision over KJ Noons (11-5, 3-3 Strikeforce) by out=wrestling him for three rounds. For the 15 minutes of the fight, Thomson was able to keep the fight on the ground for 10 minutes and 28 seconds. When asked about his performance, he wasn’t too pleased, “It’s was (expletive),” he said. “How else can you explain it, it was (expletive).”

But when asked about fighting lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez next, he said, “I’m going back to the way I used to train, and if I get hurt, I get hurt. I’m going to go back to training super hard and super aggressive for 12 weeks. I’m going to make sure that I whoop Gilbert’s (expletive).” 

Below are the full undercard results:

 

Continue reading "Rousey's win over Tate for Strikeforce title lived up to the hype" »

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March 3, 2012

UFC on FX 2: Kampmann wins and a big scoring mistake

 In the main event at UFC on FX 2, welterweights Thiago “Pitbull” Alves (19-9, UFC 11-6) and Martin “Hitman” Kampmann (19-5, UFC 10-4) had a good battle for almost three rounds. But in the end, Alves made one crucial move that cost him the match in front of a sellout crowd at Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia.

 

After connecting on a combination of punches, Alves tried a double-leg takedown in the waning seconds of the third round. Kampmann secured a guillotine choke on the Brazilian and rolled on top, and Alves tapped out with 48 seconds left in the bout.

 

“I was behind in there. I’ll be honest, Thiago was getting me with some good shots, and I wanted to take him down,” Kampmann said. “I was walking into too many punches, and that was not a part of the game plan. It’s a good thing I have a good chin and can eat some shots.”

 

For his performance, Kampmann earned the “Submission of the Night” and he also secured his hold as one of the top 10 welterweights in the UFC. He said afterwards, “I felt that I really had to finish the fight, and it wouldn’t do me any good to keep it standing. I just squeezed, because I knew that was my window, and I didn’t want to miss it.”

 

The UFC held its first-ever flyweight (125 lbs.) tournament with four of the top flyweights in the world competing to become the UFC flyweight champion. But at the end of the night only Joseph Benavidez had moved on in the tournament.

 

Benavidez (16-2, UFC 3-0) showed the newly formed flyweight division that he is the heavy favorite to become its first champion. The Team Alpha Male fighter took on veteran Japanese fighter Yasuhiro Urushitani (19-5-6, UFC 0-1), in the second tournament bout of the evening.

 

The former Shooto champion Urushitani is known for his kicks, but is was his kicking that got him in trouble during the match. Urushitani attempted to kick, but Benavidez countered with a big right hook that knocked Urushitani to the canvas.

 

“I knew he threw a lot of kicks, and that’s a perfect time to counter somebody,” Benavidez said.

 

Benavidez pounded his opponent with several more punches before the referee stepped in and stopped the bout after 11 seconds into the second round. With the TKO, Benavidez showed fans that flyweight division fighters could have knockout power as well. 

 

"I bring great power to the 135-pound division, so now that I’m hitting guys my size (125 pounds) it’s just the sign of things to come,” Benavidez said.

 

In the other flyweight tournament final, Demetrious “Might Mouse” Johnson (14-2-1, UFC 2-1-1) was declared the winner at the end of a three-round battle against Ian “Uncle Creepy “ McCall (11-2-1, UFC 0-0-1).

 

But just like the last two UFC events, controversy was the theme for this fight. After the decision for Johnson, it was later revealed that the judge made an error, resulting in a change from a majority win to a majority draw.

 

McCall was considered the top-ranked fighter in the tournament, but that didn’t stop Johnson from pressing the action for the first two rounds. The third round is where the controversy took place because McCall dominated the round and one judge scored it a 10-8 round for McCall. That would have made the bout a majority draw. The commission incorrectly calculated the scorecard and gave the decision to Johnson.

 

The rule that was in place for the flyweight tournament in case of a draw was to have an additional round to determine the winner.

 

Now the two flyweights will meet in a rematch in April to see who will advance to the tournament to fight Benavidez.

 

The miscalculation of the scores was embarrassing, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this was an awesome fight. Both guys earned “Fight of the Night” bonuses for the effort.

 

Below are the full undercard results:

Continue reading "UFC on FX 2: Kampmann wins and a big scoring mistake" »

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February 28, 2012

Wanderlei Silva getting ready for 'TUF' Brasil

The Ultimate Fighter Countdown to Brasil show features coaches Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort, who head teams of featherweight and middleweight UFC hopefuls competing in a tournament format.

 

Before starting his rigorous taping schedule, Silva took time out to meet the fans, and pay a surprise visit to fighters at XGYM in Rio for a pep talk and to exercise his coaching skills. The Ultimate Fighter Brasil debuts on March 25. Check ufc.com for listings and airdates.

 

One of the Brazilian fans asked Wanderlei Silva, "When are you going to kill Chael Sonnen?" He said, "Soon".

 

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 10:57 AM | | Comments (0)
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February 26, 2012

UFC 144: Henderson new lightweight champion, and he deserves it

Former WEC lightweight champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson put on a dominating performance at UFC 144 and took a unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) over former champion Frankie Edgar to win the UFC lightweight title. Henderson (16-2, 4-0 UFC) pressured Edgar (14-2-1, 9-2-1 UFC) throughout the fight and landed several big leg kicks in every round in the main event at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Lately it seems that every UFC main event decision has come with controversy. UFC president Dana White along with many fans believes Edgar won the fight. “I had it even going into the last round and I give the last round to Frankie (Edgar)," White said.

I disagree. I thought Henderson put on a championship performance and clearly looked like the better fighter for four of the five rounds.

I spoke to Henderson a day before the fight and asked him what sets him apart from Edgar. He said, “I’m as confident as any fighter on the planet. I feel as though I have the advantage everywhere. Whether it’s boxing or wrestling, or cardio or anything.”

It was clear to me after the fight that Henderson had the better cardio and he out-boxed, wrestled and kicked his way to victory over Edgar. It also was Henderson's octagon aggression that set him apart and the deciding factor in the win. Henderson landed the most-devastating kicks and finishes. Henderson landed the biggest hit of the fight with an upkick that dropped the champion.

Despite the fight having a controversial decision, I was glad to hear after the fight that White did not call for a rematch. Edgar has had a rematch against his last two opponents, Gray Maynard and BJ Penn.

Henderson and Edgar shared “Fight of the Night” honors.

In the co-main event, a confident Ryan Bader (14-2, 7-2 UFC) out-fought a slow and overweight fighter in Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-10, 7-4 UFC). Ryan won a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), and clearly looked like the better fighter throughout. Rampage's one bright spot was in the second round when he lifted Bader into the air and slammed him. It was Jackson’s only damaging move throughout the fight. Bader was the faster and more complete fighter.

I was surprised at the end of the fight that Rampage didn’t get on the microphone with ringside commentator Joe Rogan and announce his retirement. But leading up to the fight, Rampage let it be known that he really disliked talking to Rogan. Veteran fighters BJ Penn and Nick Diaz both announced their retirement after losses in the octagon. It just felt like Rampage would call it quits in the country he had some of his most memorable moments of his career.

It was also fitting the Bader would receive 20 percent of Rampage's purse, for Rampage not making weight. Several days before the fight UFC's White asked Rampage about his weight and he said, “You don’t want to know,” and White said, “I didn’t ask.”

Since the A-Team movie that Rampage starred in, he really hasn’t been the same fighter.

After the fight, Jackson said to mmafights.com that he hurt his knee during training and took the fight because he didn't want to disappoint his Japanese fans.

Below are the full undercard results:

 

Continue reading "UFC 144: Henderson new lightweight champion, and he deserves it" »

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 8:53 AM | | Comments (1)
        

February 24, 2012

GSP goes to school in spiritual home of martial arts





















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The UFC sent this on GSP in Japan and I thought the readers of MMA Stomping Grounds would like it.

While in Tokyo, Japan for this Saturday’s UFC 144 super-card, martial arts aficionado Georges St-Pierre took the opportunity to train in the birthplace of hand-to-hand combat.
 
The reigning UFC welterweight champion, who has always considered himself a martial artist first and foremost, takes instruction on how to use a katana (traditional Japanese curved sword) from children from the Kawai Kindergarden School in Tokyo.
 
‘GSP’ – who has mastered so many martial arts and added them to his Octagon skillset – was taken to school by the kids when it came to Kenjutsu.
 
“In school in Canada, we play hockey,” said St-Pierre. “I always wanted to be a Samurai when I was a kid, but those kids hit me pretty hard.”
 
St-Pierre fared much better when he visited the Kyokushin Karate school. The champ took an appreciative class through a series of katas (Japanese for ‘form’, practicing individual techniques) and was clearly very excited to be at the birthplace of the ancient martial art. 
 
“Karate was the first martial art I was every taught,” he said. “It is an honor to be here where it started. For me, karate will always be a very important part of me. It is not just a fighting style, it is a way of life.”
 
GSP, along with UFC President Dana White also exchanged gifts with Saitama City Mayor Hayato Shimizu during a visit to Saitama City Hall. 

 

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 6:04 PM | | Comments (0)
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Remembering the last time the UFC was in Japan





















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At UFC 144 Edgar vs. Henderson, it will mark the first time 12 years that the UFC has held an event in Japan.

 

Many familiar fighters were on that first card in Japan at UFC 29. A young Tito Oritz was defending his middleweight belt (now the light heavyweight division) for the first time. Also on the card were Pat Miletich, Chuck Liddell, Evan Tanner, Matt Hughes, Matt Lindland, Dennis Hallman and Jeff Monson.

 

This was the last Ultimate Fighting Championship event held under the ownership of SEG. Zuffa would take over the organization at UFC 30 in Atlantic City, NJ.

 

Dojo TV recorded hundreds of hours of the early years of the UFC, getting behind-the-scenes footage of the fighter and at ringside.

 

In the videotape of UFC 29 Japan, you can see how much the organization has grown in 12 years. There were about 30 people at the weigh-in in Japan, compared with the thousands who now show up at the weigh-in events. The fighters were weighed on bathroom scales, and referee Mario Yamasaki demonstrated that if a fighter leaned forward or backward, he could change how much he weighed.

 

Tito Ortiz talked about his experience at UFC 29. It was his first time fighting outside the country, and he needed to monitor his diet. “When I fought in Japan, food was a big factor. I made sure I ate the right food,” Ortiz said. “People don’t understand, once you make weight, you have to eat the right carbs and the right proteins. The best of both worlds is sushi. I ate a lot of fresh fish and white rice and got my weight back up.”

 

Dojo TV also captured Ortiz after he lost his belt in a taxicab in Japan. I asked Tito whether he recounted losing the belt in a taxicab, and he didn’t recall it happening (check out the video).

 

Liddell was in the opening fight on the main card, against fellow American Jeff Monson, and won by unanimous decision. Liddell recalled how much of a low-budget event SEG would operate. “Back then, they would fly us in the day of the weigh-in,” Liddell said. “So I would cut weight at the airport. I would get to the weigh-in, and we would use bathroom scales. So when Zuffa took over, you got commissions and certified scales. A lot more organized.”

 

The biggest surprise for Liddell and Ortiz in Japan was the fans' reactions during fights. “I think it’s the only place in the world you can hear a pin drop in between rounds,” Ortiz recalled. “They are so quiet because they have so much respect for MMA fighters.”

 

Liddell remembered being in the corner of Dan Henderson in Japan. “I was at a arena in Japan that had 18,000 fans, and I had earphones on my ears. I was yelling instructions to Dan Henderson during the fight. Someone told me to take my earphones off, and it was so quiet,” Liddell said. “I could have been 50 yards away and he could have heard me because it was so quiet.”

 

 

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 4:28 PM | | Comments (0)
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February 9, 2012

Nick Diaz tested positive for drug at UFC 143

Nick Diaz tested positive for marijuana at UFC 143, Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer said in a statement:

"The following athletes were tested: Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit, Fabricio Werdum, Josh Koscheck, Renan Barao, Ed Herman, Dustin Poirier, Max Hollaway, Matt Riddle, Henry Martinez, Edwin Figueroa, Alex Caceres, Matt Brown, Chris Cope, Rafael Natal, Michael Kuiper, Stephen Thompson and Dan Stittgen. All results received thus far have been negative, except Mr. Diaz tested positive for marijuana metabolites. A complaint for disciplinary action against Mr. Diaz has been filed."

This is Diaz's second positive test. He first tested positive in 2007 for marijuana when he fought Takanori Gomi at Pride 33, also in Las Vegas. Diaz's submission win over Gomi was overturned because of the positive test.

Had Diaz won his interim welterweight title fight against Carlos Condit at UFC 143 this past weekend, that victory would have been overturned as well.

Diaz might have suspected the test would come back positive, and that might have been his reason for not accepting a rematch with Condit.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 6:09 PM | | Comments (1)
        

February 5, 2012

UFC 143: Condit wins title over Diaz

In the main event at UFC 143 in Las Vegas last night, former WEC champion Carlos “Natural Born Killer“ Condit (28-5-0, 5-1 UFC) won by unanimous decision over former Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz (26-8-0, 7-5 UFC) for the UFC interim welterweight championship.

Condit hadn’t lost in Las Vegas in five fights and Diaz has won 11 fights in a row, with his last loss coming in 2007.

Like most of Diaz’s fights, the stare-down before the opening bell is an event in and of itself.

As referee Steve Mazzagatti gave the final instructions for the fight, both fighters began butting foreheads and had to be separated by security in the cage.

Starting out, Diaz was the aggressor, but it was Condit who landed the effective leg kicks. Diaz, at 6 feet, had never fought a fighter who was taller than the 6-foot-2 Condit with equivalent reach (76 inches).

Diaz didn't punch as hard as Condit, but the accumulation of punches often won his fights. In his last match against BJ Penn, Diaz broke the record for the most punches in a fight: more than 200 significant punches that landed on his opponent.

In Rounds 1 through 4, Condit used leg kicks, quick punches and an even temperament to frustrate Diaz. By his own admission, Diaz has said he is low on patience. So Condit's corner knew that the fighter needed to be patient and to frustrate Diaz to get the win.

In between rounds, Diaz’s corner never instructed him to change his game plan, believing that Diaz’s cardio would eventually wear out his opponent. Condit was winning the rounds by striking and landing the most kicks throughout the fight. The one area on the score card that Diaz held was for octagon aggression -- he kept coming forward throughout the fight.

By the fifth round, Diaz realizes that he had someone who could finally match him in cardio, strength and movement.

It wasn’t until the final minute that Diaz decided to take Condit down and end the fight. Condit was able to hold on to the end and win by unanimous decision (48–47, 49–46, 49–46) to become the new UFC interim welterweight champion.

 “It’s pretty surreal," Condit said after the win. "I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and teammates. They prepared me for this fight and now I walk away with the victory.”

The biggest loser of the night may be the UFC, because it would have benefited from a larger pay-per-view if Nick Diaz had won. His next opponent would have been UFC champion Georges St. Pierre, with whom he has exchanged words. Diaz called out St. Pierre after one of his fights, and the champion has let it be known that he was rooting for Diaz in this fight so that he could destroy him in the cage.

After the fight, Diaz -- much like his last opponent, BJ Penn -- announced after the fight that he was retiring.

“I think that I’m done with this MMA. It’s been great out here, I had a good career,” Diaz said. “You guys pay me way too much [money], but I don’t think I’m going to get enough to keep on in this.”

I think the one thing that would get Diaz back in the cage is if St. Pierre calls out Diaz after he beats Condit for the belt. That would make for good drama and a big payday for all.

Below are the full undercard results:
 

Continue reading "UFC 143: Condit wins title over Diaz" »

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 8:39 AM | | Comments (11)
        

January 29, 2012

UFC on Fox: Next up for Evans is Jon Jones

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( Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune / January 28, 2012 )

The Ultimate Fighting Championship blew into Chicago for UFC on Fox and it was Rashad Evans facing Phil Davis in a light-heavyweight bout at the United Center. The last time the UFC had held an event in Illinois was UFC 90 in 2008.

In the main event, Evans (22-1-1, 12-1-1 UFC) won a unanimous decision over Davis (9-1, 5-1 UFC). The five-round bout was scored 50-45. The loss was the first for Davis in his 10-fight career, but more surprisingly was the way in which he lost the fight, by being outwrestled.  

Davis was a four-time NCAA Division I All-American at Penn State, so being outwrestled had to be a blow to his game plan.

Davis standup was much improved from his previous bouts, but his lack of maturity as a complete MMA fighter was evident throughout the fight. His transitions from standup to takedowns were not as fluent as you would want facing an ex-champion in Evans. “MMA takedowns come down to transitions, so you can be the best college wrestler in the sport, but if you don't have good transitions from your punch to your takedowns then you're not going to have a good shot,” said Evans. 

Evans also believes it was his experience in the cage that helped him win the decision. "I believe that he (Davis) needs a couple of more years before his stand up is better than mine," Evans said.

With the win, Evans' next bout will come against UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones. The bout is scheduled to take place at UFC 145 in Atlanta at the Philips Arena on April 21. 

This is a battle of former training partners under Greg Jackson's Submission Fighting. Evans left Jackson’s gym after it became apparent that the two would eventually have to fight for the title.

Evans now fights out of Imperial Athetics (aka "Blackzilians”) in Boca Raton, Fla., a gym he co-founded with several Brazilian fighters.  

On MMAjunkies.com, Evans said, "I want to put the rivalry to bed and more importantly get the chance to get my belt back," he said. "I think I can beat Jon Jones, and I see areas where I can capitalize."

In the co-main event, Chael Sonnen (27-11-1, 6-4 UFC) took a unanimous decision over Michael Bisping (22-4, 12-4 UFC): 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28. 

Sonnen knew he had take the fight to the canvas and score takedowns to win the bout. But to his dismay the Brit Bisping found his way back on his feet throughout the fight. Often using the cage to get back on his feet and in the standing position throughout the first and second rounds.

In the third round, Sonnen tried to keep the bout in the center of the cage, so that Bisping couldn’t use the cage to stand back up. With the win, Sonnen secures a rematch with the middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

Never a loss for words, Sonnen believes Silva is a myth created by the media. “The myth the media has created, has created nothing short of jealousy for me. You’re finding out why jealousy is one of the 'Seven Deadly Sins,' ” he said. “I’m jealous of him and it has created an anger and I’m going to bring him down and I make no apology.”

Sonnen was asked about fighting the bout in Silva’s home country of Brazil. “I’m not fighting him in Brazil, I’m not fighting in Chicago, I’m not fighting in Vegas, I’m fighting in the octagon,” he said. “They can set that thing up any where they want, I have never not shown up and I have never backed down and this will not be the first.” 

Sonnen delivered a message to the fans, “He’s the champion, but I’m the best.”

An earlier version of this article had the name of Submission Fighting's Greg Jackson incorrect.

The full undercard results:    

 

Continue reading "UFC on Fox: Next up for Evans is Jon Jones" »

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 8:25 AM | | Comments (2)
        

January 17, 2012

UFC Mark Munoz is out against Chael Sonnen

The UFC is reporting that middleweight Mark Munoz has sustained an injury and is out of the UFC of Fox 2 fight card. His replacement for the Jan. 28 fight against American Chael Sonnen (27-1-1) will be British fighter Michael Bisping (23-3-0), with the winner getting a chance to fight Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title.

Bisping was already scheduled for fight on the card that night against Demian Maia. Bisping's biggest concern now will be his fighting strategy. He was preparing to fight a jiu-jitsu fighter and now will be taking on a world-class wrestler in Sonnen.

"UFC on FOX 2: Rashad Evans versus Phil Davis" takes place at the United Center in Chicago.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 6:28 PM | | Comments (1)
        

January 15, 2012

UFC 142: Featherweight champion Jose Aldo was awesome

UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo (21-1, 3-0 UFC) has solidified himself as one of the top three, pound-for-pound fighters in the world, with his impressive knockout victory over American Chad Mendes (11-1, 2-1 UFC).

Aldo’s win came in front of his fans at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday at UFC 142.

Each week MMA fighters are judged by writers and fans as the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. After Aldo’s performance it would be hard not to consider him as one of the top three fighters in the world, behind Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. 

Going into the fight Mendes knew he had to take Aldo down to have a chance at winning the title. For the first four minutes of the fight, both guys exchanged leg kicks. Mendes, a member of Team Alpha Male gym, tried a double-leg takedown and was able to get the champion down but for only a moment.  Mendes was able to transition to a rear waistlock on Aldo and tried to pick the champion up to slam him, but Aldo grabbed the cage and was warned by referee Mario Yamasaki.  

As the round was coming to an end, Mendes remained at Aldo’s back. With only seconds left in the round Aldo spun around and threw a knee that landed on the jaw of Mendes, knock him to the canvas. Aldo then connected with two hard right-handed punches before Yamasaki could stop the damage. The fight officially ended with just one second left in the opening round.

"I knew he was going to go for my legs, and I knew I had to throw that knee,” Aldo said through a translator. “Thankfully, I put it on the right spot.” 

After a bout, most fighters parade around the cage and receive congratulations from their corner. But not Aldo, he bolted into the crowd and for a moment was lost in the sea of Brazilian fans that came to cheer him.

“My fans give me so much love and so much good energy so there’s nothing better than celebrating with them,” Aldo said. 

In the co-main event, UFC veteran Vitor Belfort stopped American Anthony “Rumble” Johnson with a choke submission at 4:49 of the first round. The Brazilian Belfort first fought in the octagon at UFC 12 in 1997.  His opponent at UFC 142, Johnson was just 12 years old in 1997.  Belfort was better known as “The Phenom” at that time, a black belt in jiu-jitsu under his adopted father, the legendary Carlson Gracie.

Despite having a jiu-jitsu background, this was the first submission win for Belfort in 11 years. He took down Bobby Southworth by rear-naked choke back in 2001.

Belfort's plan for the fight was to have Johnson quit.

"Anthony is a very strong guy, he kept shooting on me (trying to take me down) I (just) block(ed) him. The plan was to make him quit or knock him out,” Belfort said.

His plan almost didn’t come to fruition. The day before the fight, Johnson got sick and couldn’t make the required weight. He was fighting for the first time at 185 pounds, he normally fight at 170 pounds. Becasue of the illness, he showed up at the weigh-in at 197 pounds.  

Belfort questioned Johnson's professionalism, “The guy was not even professional he didn’t make weight, not even close," Belfort said.

Next for Belfort is fellow Brazilian Wanderlei Silva. He first fought Silva at UFC 17.5 Ultimate Brazil in 1998 and won in spectacular fashion in 44 seconds.  This time they will both be coaches on the UFC reality series “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.” 

The full undercard results:   

Continue reading "UFC 142: Featherweight champion Jose Aldo was awesome" »

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 8:23 AM | | Comments (0)
        

December 31, 2011

UFC 141: Jimy Hettes a star in the making

Fighting for only the second time in the UFC, Pennsylvania native Jimy “The Kid” Hettes (10 wins, 0 losses) put on a ground-and-pound clinic for the MMA world to see at UFC 141. It was the first time he went the distance in a three-round fight, but he clearly dominated every minute.

Hettes outfought veteran fighter Nam Phan (17-10) so badly that he earned a score of 30-25 on two of the judges' scorecards.

The person that was most impressed with Hettes was UFC president Dana White.

White was asked at the post-fight news conference about Hettes' performance against Phan. “You guys heard me talk a lot about the new breed [of fighter] that's coming up and how they train differently. There’s one of them right there," White said pointing towards Hettes.

“That kid is nasty," White continued. "Tonight, it was fun watching him perform. Once he gets more comfortable here and starts to feel like this is really his home and this is his place, that kid is going to be putting on some shows."

The first time I saw Hettes fight live was at Shogun Fights I in 2009 in Baltimore. It was Hettes' third professional fight and the first professional MMA match in Maryland. Hettes won in 1:25 of the first round over Steven Baker.

But it wasn’t until I saw him fight five months later at Shogun Fights II that I thought this guy could be special. He fought a veteran fighter in James “Binky” Jones in Jones' hometown and beat him in 28 seconds. After that fight, the rumors spread that the UFC was looking to add him to the roster.

Hettes showed that he was a man of his word. He was offered a contract to fight in the UFC, with the first bout scheduled to take place at The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck Finale, but he turned the offer down due to prior engagements with another promotion. That took some guts and maturity.

In July 2011, Hettes officially signed with the UFC and made his debut on Aug. 14, 2011 against Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres. He won via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:12 of round 2.

Before the fight, UFC color commentator Joe Rogan said, “This is a spectacular opportunity and the door is open. Let’s see if Jimy Hettes can storm through the gates”

I wrote back then, “He not only stormed the gates, he has the keys to a bright future in the UFC.”

And after hearing the praise that Dana White heaped on him after UFC 141, Hettes not only has a bright future in the UFC, but he could be a future superstar.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 1:27 PM | | Comments (2)
        

UFC 141: Brock Lesnar loses, retires and it's probably for the best

At UFC 141, heavyweight Alistair Overeem (36-11, 1-0 UFC) defeated former UFC champion Brock Lesnar (5-3, 4-3 UFC) by technical knockout in the first round. After the bout, Lesnar announced that he was retiring from mixed martial arts. He didn’t say what his future plans were but many fans speculate that he will be returning to pro wrestling.  

Standing in the center of the cage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. “Tonight is the last time you will see me in the Octagon," Lesnar said. “I'm here to say that Brock Lesnar has officially retired. I promised my wife, my kids. If I won this fight I'd fight one more time for the title. If I lost, I'd retire.” 

It was probably the right decision because during the fight Lesnar once again looked liked a fish out of water in the Octagon. Despite being a two-time NCAA All-American wrestler, Lesnar decided to stand and fight Overeem instead of using he superior wrestling skills.

Overeem kicked Lesnar in the liver and the former UFC champion fell to the canvas and covered up. Overeem followed with several punches and referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bout at 2:26 of the first round.  

At the post-fight press conference Overeem said, “I’m not a guy that believes in superstition stuff, but yesterday I said I would do a liver kick.”

Lesnar told UFC president Dana White after the fight that he believe he has a broken rib.

White said, “We’ll figure it out,” when asked about Lesnar’s contract with the UFC and if he would be allowed to go to WWE if he is still under contract.  

In the co-main event, “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (17-4, 4-1 UFC) lost a unanimous decision to Nate Diaz (15-7, 10-5 UFC) in a lightweight bout. It looked to me like Cerrone wasn't fighting to win the bout, but was fighting to win the “Fight of the Night” $75,000 bonus. He seemed to follow the exact game plan of his training partner Leonard Garcia -- standing toe-to-toe and exchanging punches with your opponent. Even though you may be losing the fight, your chance of winning a bonus is greater.  

Cerrone talked to mmafighting.com earlier in the week about being broke despite fighting four times this year. He pocketed more than $200,000 in post-fight bonuses alone.

"And it's gone," Cerrone told reporters with a Dennis the Menace grin earlier this week, explaining, "I now own everything I ever wanted." 

For three straight rounds, both fighters would do the same thing. Cerrone would land several leg sweeps and Diaz would land many punches to the mouth of Cerrone.

It makes for an entertaining fight, but it's very frustrating for the corner men and fans of the fighters. You know what he needs to do to win, but the fighter chooses otherwise. 

The “Knockout of the Night” went to Johny Hendricks (12-1, 7-1 UFC) in a bout before Diaz vs. Cerrone. Only one punch was thrown, a left jab to the jaw of UFC No. 2 welterweight contender Jon Fitch (23-4-1, 16-2-1 UFC). The big overhand left land directly on Fitch’s jaw, knocking him out instantly at 12 seconds of the first round.

Light-heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson (13-1, 5-1 UFC) did his best Jon Jones impersonation with a TKO (punches) of Vladimir Matyushenko (26-6, 7-4 UFC) at 2:13 of round one. 

Pennsylvania's own Jimy “The Kid” Hettes (10-0 2-0 UFC) but on a ground and pound clinic and won by a lopsided unanimous decision against welterweight Nam Phan.

Below are the full undercard results.

 

Continue reading "UFC 141: Brock Lesnar loses, retires and it's probably for the best" »

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 3:48 AM | | Comments (8)
        

December 13, 2011

A new nickname chosen for Jon Jones?

What else can be written about UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones and the legacy he is creating in the sport of mixed martial arts?

Many considered Jones the future of MMA. With such a heavy title thrown upon him, he needs only one thing – a new nickname.

That’s right, a new nickname – one that reflects his fighting spirit and the person he has become inside and outside the cage.

Jones – the brother of Ravens defensive lineman Arthur Jones – got the nickname “Bones” in high school while playing football.

“I was a football player that couldn’t catch," he said. "I couldn’t throw but I was really tall and skinny. They put me on the defensive line with these huge shoulder pads and really big helmet. When you look at my upper body I looked like a really big guy, but I had these little chicken legs coming out of the uniform. So everyone start calling me ‘Bones’ and my brother ‘Beefy’ so I kept the name."

When you look at other nicknames of fighters in the UFC, they seem to reflect something about the fighters.

 

• BJ Penn is the “Prodigy” – Most people need a decade or more to achieve a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but Penn received his after only three years. And weeks later he became the first non-Brazilian to win the black-belt division at the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Now that’s a Prodigy.

 

• Vitor  Belfort is the “Phenom” ­– He was 19 years old when he became the youngest fighter in the UFC to ever win inside the cage. He beat two fighters in his debut event in the UFC, winning the UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament.

 

• Stefan Struve is the “Skyscraper” – At 6’11” tall, Struve is currently the tallest man fighting in the UFC.

 

• Chan Sung Jung is “The Korean Zombie” – When you see his ability to take punches and keep coming forward like a zombie.

 

Demetrious Johnson is “Mighty Mouse”– Johnson is the smallest fighter in the UFC at 5-foot-3 and 135 pounds. He also looks like Mighty Mouse.

 

• Donald Cerrone is “Cowboy” – Cerrone not only lives on a 10-acre ranch but he is a cowboy. He was a bull rider before he started fighting.

 

Before I unveil the nickname I think best describe Jon Jones, let’s look at his background and the person he has become inside and outside the octagon.

I asked Jones two-months ago about his career, and what would people say about him after his fighting career is over.

“I want to be remembered as a person who was a hard worker, who had fun and changed the game and dared to be himself and dared to be different and exceeded all odds,” he said.

Talking about his legacy, Jones told Sport Illustrated, "I don't want people to say, I want to fight like Jon Jones. I want them to say, I want to be Jon Jones. I want to transcend the sport, to inspire people.”

Jones dad is a minister and he grew up a Pentecostal Christian, he describes himself as a “hardcore Christian.”

So I believe the nickname that best fits Jon Jones is “The Chosen One.”

“I don’t think he would like it,“ Arthur Jones said when asked about the suggestion.

What nickname would you suggest for Jon Jones, or do you like "Bones"?

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 1:59 PM | | Comments (14)
        

December 11, 2011

UFC 140: Jon Jones chokes out the competition

UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones (15-1, 9-1 UFC) successfully defended his title for the second time this year. He won by executing a standing guillotine choke on former champion Lyoto Machida (17-3, 9-3 UFC) in the main event at UFC 140 on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

The first round started in typical Jon Jones fashion. The champion crawled to the center of the Octagon just like he did against his last opponent, Quinton Jackson. Asked after the Jackson fight why he starting the fight with such an unorthodox stance. Jones said, “I had a little epiphany before the fight that I would try a single-leg from a low wrestling crouch.” It didn’t work then and it didn’t work this time.

The 24-year-old champion was the aggressive fighter throughout the first round, but it was the southpaw Machida that landed the biggest punch of the opening round. The Brazilian landed a hard left that stumbled the champion, who looked to be off-balance as well.

“He didn’t have me hurt, but he did punch me pretty good and wobbled me a bit,”Jones said during the UFC post-fight news conference.

The knock on Jon Jones the past several years by his critics has been that he hasn’t taken a big punch from any of his opponents. Taking the left to the jaw by Machida, Jones has silenced his critics once again.

“I just got this feeling that I will never be the same after this fight. I feel as if I’m going to grow from this fight,” Jones said.

I had Machida winning the first round 10-9. Of the four fights Jones has had this year, this is the only round I have scored for his opponent.

In the second round, the champion attempted to cut off the ring from his counter-punching opponent.  Machida would hit-and-run but Jones remained patience and landed a solid right hand. Jones scored a big takedown and threw an elbow that cut Machida instantly on his forehead.

Referee John McCarthy stopped the bout to call in the ringside doctor, who gave the OK for the fight to continue. Once the fight resumed, Jones connected on a short left to the Brazilian and followed with a knee to the gut. Machida was then pressed against the cage and Jones executed a standing guillotine choke. Machida's body went limp and he fell to the canvas unconscious as the referee stopped the bout at 4:26 of the second round. It is the first time Machida had ever been submitted.

Jones said afterward, “I got hit a lot, but I learned a lot from it, so I would rank it as good as any other fight.”

For their efforts, the fight was voted “Fight of the Night” and both took home an additional $75,000.

In the co-main event, former heavyweight champion Frank Mir submitted Brazilian Antonio “Big Nog” Nogueira with a kimura at 3:38 into the opening round.

Nogueira looked to have the fight won after landing a hard right hand behind the ear of Mir, wobbling the legs of the two-time world champion. The fight went to the canvas and Nogueira tried an anaconda choke, but Mir reversed to top position. Mir was able to get a kimura, but the Brazilian was able to roll free. Then a determined Mir maintained the hold. Nogueira tapped out at 3:38 of the first round after suffering a broken arm.

“I kept flat, chest heavy and was able to break it. That’s what I trained for,” said a candid Mir.

Watching the UFC play the video of Nogueira’s arm being broken over and over again, the organization can only wish something like this isn’t on the UFC Fox network fights. It would receive a lot of negative reaction from first-time viewers. It’s not like pro wrestling where you could determine the outcome.

Below are the full card results. Click here to see a photo gallery of the event.

Continue reading "UFC 140: Jon Jones chokes out the competition" »

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 9:25 AM | | Comments (5)
        

December 5, 2011

TUF 14 finale: Mayhem Miller is bullied by Bisping

After watching the finale of the “The Ultimate Fighter 14” series, I have come to the conclusion that it should only be about the fighters in the house and not the coaches. TUF coaches Jason “Mayhem” Miller (23-8) and Michael “The Count” Bisping (22-3) may have fought the worst-looking main event in the last five years in UFC. 

After the fight, ringside color commentator Joe Rogan said to the winner Bisping, “This moves you in a position now to possibly take on Anderson Silva.”

Silva would have beaten both fighters on the same night in the same round.  

Miller displayed some of the worst boxing I have ever seen in a UFC main event. “Mayhem is wildly striking, a little bit sloppy. ... it’s very awkward and it’s not very fast,“ Rogan said during the broadcast."

Play-by-play man Mike Goldberg was much friendlier with his assessment, calling Miller “unorthodox with his striking.”

Miller's attempt at boxing made even Brock Lesnar look good on his feet. UFC President Dana White tweeted, “The most one-sided fight I might have ever seen in the UFC!”

Before the fight Miller said, “Michael Bisping is a British point fighter, he jabs and jogs. He’s not going to be able to do that to me. I’m going to show the world that I’m one of the top middleweights on the planet.” 

Really? 

We may have seen Miller's last fight in the UFC. The one bright spot in Miller’s performance is that he can take a punch. It took an out-of-shape Bisping three rounds to win by TKO (knees to the body and punches) and send Miller to the hospital.

As for the rest of "The Ultimate Fighter 14” finale at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, it was awesome! 

At the start of TUF 14, Bisping picked featherweight Diego Brandao (14-7) number one for his team. The well-rounded Brazilian Brandao dominated his competition.  

He reminds me of Chris Leben, but with a ground game. Every punch he throws is attended to knock his opponent out. The 24-year-old Brandao is a born fighter, with something you can’t teach in the gym. He has that “killer instinct,” the drive that separates the best from the rest. Brandao is fighting not just for himself, put he see it as a means to help his family back in Brazil.

Brandao used his aggression to knock his opponent Dennis Bermudez (7-3) to the canvas with an overhand right. But the featherweight from New York recovered and scored his own knockdown with a stiff right hand on Brandao.  

Bermudez stood over Brandao and tried to ground and pound the Brazilian into submission. But Brandao, a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, grabbed Bermudez's left arm and executed a textbook straight armbar for the win by submission at 4:51 of the first round. 

“That kid is something special,” Goldberg said about Brandao after the fight.

The first time I saw Brandao fight was last year at a UWC 8 event in Fairfax, Va. It was the last time he lost a fight, but even in defeat you saw that this guy was going to be special. Also on the card were two other TUF 14 finalists from this year. Dustin “The Disciple“ Pague won his bout and so did John “The Magician” Dodson in the main event fight. 

In the first bantamweight TUF finale fight between Dodson and T.J. Dillashaw (4-1), it took less than two minutes for Dodson to win the six-figure contract and become this season’s winner. Dodson showed why he was one of the favorites to win this season's TUF 14.

Dodson, an Albuquerque, N.M., native, has been fighting since 2004, and has a professional record of 12-5. Dodson and Diego Brandao have a close friendship like two other Greg Jackson fighters, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia. Dodson made quick work of Dillashaw after both fighters spent a minute checking each other out. Dodson landed a devastating left hook to the side of Dillashaw's head. He quickly followed his opponent to the canvas and landed several more hammer fists before referee Herb Dean stopped the bout at 1:54 of round one.

Below are the full-card results:  

 

Continue reading "TUF 14 finale: Mayhem Miller is bullied by Bisping" »

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 8:17 AM | | Comments (0)
        

November 15, 2011

My UFC wish list for 2012

With the success of UFC of Fox and the heavyweight matchup between Cain Velasquez and the new champion Junior dos Santos, we should see even more top contenders battling in the octagon in 2012.

Here’s my list of fights I would love to see in 2012:

 

Anderson “The Spider” Silva against Chael Sonnen

If I could only see one fight next year, this would be it. One scenario that would work is if the UFC could have both guys as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter reality TV series. Silva could coach a Brazilian team and Sonnen a America team, with all of the fighters living in a beach home in Brazil.

 

Clay “The Carpenter” Guida against Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard

This would be an awesome main event on Fox. Both guys have excellent cardio, and they enjoy to stand and bang. The winner could get a shot at the lightweight title.

 

Cheick Kongo against Cain Velasquez

This would be a rematch of their fight from 2009. Among the differences this time is a much more improved Kongo, who has more confident in his standup, a sharper jab and better takedown defense. This could be a main event or co-main event on any card. It might go just 25 seconds or five rounds, but it would be exciting.

 

Matt “Meathead” Mitrione against Roy “Big Country” Nelson

Two fighters that would keep the action going for 3 to 5 rounds, and both are headhunters. I could see this as a “Fight of the night” and co-main event.

 

Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz against Jose “Scarface” Aldo

Cruz is tall enough to carry the extra pounds to fight at featherweight. Both guys have fought and beaten Urijah Faber, and both have only one loss on their records. This could be the first Superfight “Champion vs. Champion” in the UFC.

 

Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez against Anthony “Showtime” Pettis

Welcome Melendez to the UFC with a bout against the human highlight reel, Anthony Pettis. Pettis would need to stay away from Melendez's overhand right and take him down a couple of times per round to win. This would be a great five-round fight and an excellent bout for FOX.

 

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone against Jorge Masvidal

These are two of my favorite fighters in all of mixed martial arts. They are both good on their feet, and they both put on action-packed fights whenever they’re in the octagon. Masvidal would have to be signed by the UFC for this fight to happen.

 

Junior dos Santos against Alistair Overeem

Overeem has fought 47 fights (35-11-1) and is one of the most well-rounded heavyweight fighters in all of MMA. He is a kickboxing and Muay Thai specialist that has fought some of the biggest names in MMA. Junior dos Santos is the best boxing heavyweight in the UFC and he also has great take down defense. I don’t see this fight going to the ground, but I see this as a stand up war with both fighters swinging for a knockout.  

 

Jon “Bones” Jones against Cheick Kongo

If and when Jones decides to move up in weight, this would be a good first match. Kongo happens to be 12 years older, but as UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg would say, “everything else is virtually identical.”  Both guys are 6-foot-4 and both have some of the longest arms in MMA (Jones' reach is 84 ½ inches & Kongo is 82 inches).  It would be good to see if Jones could stand and fight with someone that has the reach and strength of Kongo.

 

What are some of the fights you would like to see in 2012?

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 4:25 PM | | Comments (1)
        

November 13, 2011

In a minute, Dos Santos is new UFC heavyweight champ

Ultimate Fighting Championship held its first live event on network television from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday night. The main event was a heavyweight title match between champion Cain Velasquez and No.1 contender Junior dos Santos.

Before the fight UFC president Dana White said about Velasquez “I believe he is the best heavyweight world.” And former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, working as a color commentator, said he believed Velasquez would win the fight.  

But fights aren’t won or lost with words. They are settled in the cage. And in the cage it took dos Santos (14-1) just 64 seconds to become the new UFC heavyweight champion.  

Ringside announcer Bruce Buffer took longer to introduce the fighters before the fight, than the entire fight itself.

The first 40-seconds had Velasquez coming forward with both fighters connecting on punches. At the 55-second mark, the challenger dos Santos hit Velasquez with an overhand right to the side of Velasquez's head. The punch wobbled the champion. “He kind of messed up my equilibrium and it was a good shot and he has a lot of power,” Velasquez said. 

After Velasquez fell to the canvas, dos Santos stood over the former champion and pounded out a TKO (punches) win at 1:04 of the first round. "It's amazing, my life. I have a lot of good people around me," dos Santos said. “Cain Velasquez was for sure my toughest opponent. I was scared to fight him because he is tough.”

In the end it was a bad game plan by Velasquez, who decided to box with a boxer. Velasquez's strength is his wresting and his incredible stamina and he didn’t get a chance to display either.

The Brazilian dos Santos walked out to the cage to the theme song from Rocky.  

Getting strong now

Won't be long now

Getting strong now

He walked out to the cage the underdog, but left the top dog. 

It was announced that 60 million people watched the fight in his native Brazil.

Below are the full undercard results.  

Continue reading "In a minute, Dos Santos is new UFC heavyweight champ" »

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 12:04 AM | | Comments (3)
        

November 9, 2011

UFC president Dana White on witnessing history

Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White wrote this editorial for The Baltimore Sun to express the significance of the UFC showing a live sporting event on network television and how this would elevate mixed martial arts like never before.

danawhiteblog.gif One of the great things about being a sports fan is remembering exactly where you where when a moment in history was created. For baseball fans, that day might be Oct. 15, 1988, when an injured Kirk Gibson hit a stunning walk-off home run off Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the World Series.
 
For football fans, maybe you recall where you were on Jan. 3, 1993, when the Buffalo Bills pulled off “The Comeback” against the Houston Oilers, erasing a 32-point deficit to win the now legendary playoff game. And for boxing fans, maybe it was Feb. 11, 1990, when heavyweight champion Mike Tyson suffered a dramatic upset at the hands of Buster Douglas in Tokyo, Japan.
 
Regardless of the year, the teams or the outcome, sports give us an outlet and an opportunity to be a part of history. It’s something we can tell our kids about decades later, something we relive with our buddies over beers as we recount where we were and how our lives have changed since.
 
In just a few days, we at the Ultimate Fighting Championship are presenting fans across the world with another opportunity to be a part of sports history. This Saturday, live and free on FOX from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., the UFC heavyweight championship of the world will be decided when undefeated Cain Velasquez defends his crown against knockout artist and number one contender Junior dos Santos.
 
Not only does this mark our first event on FOX since we announced a multi-year broadcast agreement with the network this past summer, but it marks a return to the glory days for many sports fans. It signals a return to the days when sports’ biggest prize – the world heavyweight title – is decided live and free on network television.
 
If you’re interested in watching an epic heavyweight title fight, we hope you’ll tune in this Saturday at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. You don’t have to choose between UFC and the Pacquiao fight, either. We’re on before the Filipino sensation even hits the ring, so feel free to check out both events. It will be a great night for sports fans.
 
We’re bringing live sporting events on network television to the next level. We wouldn’t want you to miss out.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 9:31 AM | | Comments (1)
        

October 30, 2011

UFC 137: Diaz beats Penn convincingly

Former Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz put on a dominating performance at UFC 137 Saturday night.

He won a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-28) over former UFC champion BJ "The Prodigy" Penn (16-8-2, 12-7-2UFC). Diaz (26-7, 7-4 UFC) pressured Penn throughout the fight with an arsenal of combinations in the main event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

Diaz entered the cage looking all business, even skipping the customary hugging of your cornerman. Referee Josh Rosenthal had to hold both fighters back while giving instructions before the opening bell.  

The fighters stood toe-to-toe with Diaz pressing the action and using his 6-inch reach advantage. Both fighters had good exchanges in the opening round. Penn was able to take Diaz down and briefly take Diaz's back, but he scrambled back to his feet. After the first round ended, Diaz shoved his shoulder into Penn’s face while heading back to his corner.

In the second round Diaz started to test Penn's cardio by applying pressure throughout the round. He used the “Stockton Slap,” a half jab that is used to keep a fist in your opponent's face. Diaz also mixed in body shots and combinations that started to swell the left eye of Penn. 

In the third round, Diaz and Penn turned the fight into an old-fashioned brawl. Both fighters landed punches throughout the round. But at the end of the third round Diaz raised his hands and Penn walked to his corner looking rejected.

When ring announcer Bruce Buffer announced Diaz the winner, the Stockton, Calif., native raised his hands in victory. He stared into the camera and screamed at the top of his lungs, “Where you at George, where you at (expletive)?”

Calling out the champion has now become the customary victory speech and a way of pressuring the UFC for a title shot.  We saw Chael Sonnen calling out Anderson Silva at UFC 136 and earlier on this card, a half-joking heavyweight Roy Nelson called out the winner of the Heavyweight championship fight between the champion Cain Velaquez and Junior Dos Santos. 

At the postfight press conference, Dana White announced that middleweight champion George St. Pierre has agreed to fight Diaz on the Super Bowl weekend fight card.

Diaz talked about getting the title shot at the postfight press conference. “I have to come off like that just to get a fight,” Diaz said. “You going to point the finger, make me the bad guy. I’m the bad guy now, I get to fight.” 

The biggest surprise of the night had to be the announcement by Penn after the fight. Talking to UFC commentator Joe Rogan in the cage. "Hats off to Nick Diaz," he said to Joe Rogan. "He's the man. Joe, this is probably the last time you see me in here. I want to perform at the top level. That’s it Joe, I’ll shake your hand right now. I've got a daughter. I've got another daughter on the way. I don't want to go home looking like this."

Continue reading "UFC 137: Diaz beats Penn convincingly" »

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 8:20 AM | | Comments (0)
        
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Kevin Richardson has been a fan of mixed martial arts competition ever since UFC 3, when 600-pound sumo wrestler Emmanuel Yarborough was beaten by Keith Hackney. Kevin will cover the world of MMA — in Baltimore, nationally and internationally. He plans to take readers into the locker rooms and MMA schools, where they'll hear from local fighters and trainers. If you have a news tip or suggestions for the blog, please e-mail him.

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