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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 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.


Diego Nunes won by unanimous decision over Manny Gamburyan.

Jacob Volkmann won by unanimous decision over Efrain Escudero.  

Dong Hyun Kim won by unanimous decision over Sean Pierson.

Danny Castillo won by split decision over Anthony Njokuani.  

Ross Pearson won by unanimous decision over Junior Assuncao.

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.

John Cholish won by TKO (Punches) over Mitch Clarke at 4:36 of the second round.

Jake Hecht won by TKO (Elbows & Punches) over Rich Attonito at 1:10 of the second round.

Mark Bocek won by unanimous decision over Nik Lentz.

Ynes Jabouin won by split decision over Walel Watson.

Dennis Hallman won by submission (Rear-Naked Choke) over John Makdessi at 2:58 of the first round.

Constantinos Phillippou won by KO (Punches) over Jared Hamman at 3:11 of the first round.

Igor Pokrajac won by KO (Punches) Krzysztof Soszynski at 0:35 of the first round.

Chan Sung Jung won by KO (Punches) over Mark Hominick at 0:07 of the first round.

Brian Ebersole won by split decision over Claude Patrick.

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira won by TKO (Punches to the body) over Tito Ortiz at 3:38 of the first round.

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.” 


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:  


Bryan Caraway won by submission (Rear-Naked Choke) over Dustin Neace at 3:38 of the second round. 

Steven Siler won by unanimous decision over Josh Clopton.

Roland Delorme won by submission (Rear-Naked Choke) over Josh Ferguson at 0:22 of the third round. 

John Albert won by TKO (Punches) over Dustin Pague at 1:09 of the first round. 

Marcus Brimage won by unanimous decision over Stephen Bass.

Johnny Bedford won by TKO (Knees to the Body) over Louis Gaudinot at 1:58 of the third round. 

Tony Ferguson won by unanimous decision over Yves Edwards.

John Dodson won by TKO (Punches) over T.J. Dillashaw at 1:54 of the first round.

Diego Brandao won by submission (Armbar) over Dennis Bermudez at 4:51 of the first round.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 8:17 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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