So, the biggest MMA news of the week is the merger between the UFC and the WEC. People seemed a lot more shocked by this than I was. After all, both companies are owned by Zuffa, LLC. This merger was inevitable. Dana White has said in the past that the main reason for keeping the two separate was the fact that Spike TV had a deal with the UFC and Versus had a deal with the WEC. I’m not sure what was worked out to make this no longer an issue. But the signs were there when UFC began having Fight Nights on Versus. It makes sense for Versus since the UFC is a much bigger name but Spike’s motivation isn’t so clear. My theory is that since the WEC and some of its star fighters like Urijah Faber, Jose Aldo, Miguel Torres, Ben Henderson and, more recently, Anthony Pettis have become bankable names, Spike feels it’s worth it to have those fighters on their network. Basically, Spike gets to showcase those fighters and Versus gets the UFC brand recognition. The question is whether it is good for the fighters and MMA fans. The overwhelming consensus is yes. The fighters get more money and more exposure -which also equals more money in endorsements. The merger of the overlapping 155lb. divisions makes for more potential match-ups and fighters at 155 in the UFC who may be more suited for 145 can now move down to that weight class without losing the bigger pay day and exposure that fighting in the UFC offers. Former WEC fighters will now be entitled to UFC Pay-Per-View pay scale. So for the fighters it seems almost entirely good – aside from some of the weaker of the merged 155lb. division being cut, but I think most of those fighters are probably the aforementioned ones who would be better suited for 145 and will likely make the cut and fight there. Most fans seem to see it as a positive thing. Overall I do as well. I will miss the WEC. They almost always had amazing cards – for free, no less! However, it stands to reason that drawing from a bigger talent pool will make the UFC cards higher quality overall. Sorry, I have no jokes about this… But hey, keep reading, I’m giving away a DVD you entitled bastards!
Hiroshi Izumi defeats James Zikic via split decision (30-29, 29-30, 30-29)
Brian Cobb defeats Kazunori Yokota via split decision (28-28, 29-30, 28-28)*
Maximo Blanco defeats Kiuma Kunioku via KO (punches), Round 1, 4:26
Keita Nakamura defeats Takuya Wada via submission (punches), Round 1, 3:30
Yasubey Enomoto defeats Taisuke Okuno via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-25, 30-25)
Taiyo Nakahara defeats Shintaro Ishiwatari via split decision (19-20, 19-19, 20-20)*
Akitoshi Tamura defeats Shoko Sato via split decision (19-18, 19-20, 20-19)
Shunichi Shimizu defeats Wataru Takahashi via unanimous decision (20-19, 20-18, 20-18)
Manabu Inoue defeats Jae Hyun So via unanimous decision (20-19, 20-18, 20-18)
Kazuo Yakahashi defeats Chang Seob Lee via submission (Armbar), Round 1, 2:28
* indicates judges scored a must-decision.
The final event of Bellator’s third season concluded at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida with two title fights. Bellator champion (27-2) “Shango” Hector Lombard took on Russian knockout artist “The Storm” Alexander Shlemenko (29-4) for the middleweight belt, and the world’s pound-for-pound best female fighter “Mega Megu” Megumi Fujii (22-1) went up against striking sensation “The Warrior Princess” Zoila Frausto (10-1) to crown the first Women’s 115lb. Champion. The dangerous striker and multiple-time Cuban Judo Champion Hector Lombard was expected by many to don his usual style of vicious striking and finish his opponent within the first round, whereas Fujii/Frausto was anticipated to be a showcase in the war of disciplines: striker vs. grappler. Both Fujii and Lombard were favorites in the title fights. However, only Lombard would deliver, but not with the expected results. “Mega Megu” put on a world class performance but in the end became just another name on the list of Japanese superstars to fall in the American MMA arena.
Bellator’s season-ending fight takes place in Hollywood, Florida at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino with two world title fights to cap off the night. The first title fight of the evening is to crown the Bellator 115lb. Women’s Championship, when the world’s top pound-for-pound female fighter “Mega Megu” Megumi Fujii (22-0) squares off against knockout artist “Warrior Princess” Zoila Frausto (9-1). Fujii and Frausto are the cream of the crop of the Season Three Women’s Tournament, having torn through fellow competitors Jessica Pene (7-1), Lisa Ward (14-4), Aisling Daly (5-1), Carla Esparza (3-1), “Jag” Jessica Aguilar (9-4), and Lynn Alvarez (5-2), respectively. Bellator 34′s main event sees the multiple-time Cuban National Judo Champion and Bellator Middleweight Champion “Shango” Hector Lombard (27-2) defend his belt against Season Two Middleweight Tournament winner “The Storm” Alexander Shlemenko (29-3) in a bout that will certainly end with a knockout. Shlemenko claims the belt will belong to the “true striker”, and that he will return to his homeland of Russia with the belt after knocking out the champion. Lombard promises to finish his opponent quickly and keep the belt tightly clinched around his waist. The champion, who tipped the scales at 183.25lbs of solid muscle, broke out of his usual silence when he spoke out at the weigh-ins. “Shango” said he plans on ending the fight with a submission, whether by strikes or his Judo-based grappling, leaving his fans and others to speculate until he takes on “The Storm” tonight in defense of his beloved belt.
UFC President Dana White announced today on a national conference call that the UFC and WEC will be merging in 2011. He said, “Everybody’s been talking about it. I think everybody wanted this to happen, from the fans to the media guys writing it should be done.” White continued, “It was a timing thing. As we start opening these other markets, it made sense.”
Randy Thorsvig is a man who has overcome alcoholism, morbid obesity, and being confined to a wheelchair. He is a man that had a dream to feel the glory of fighting in a cage. He is a man who faced the odds, and won.
Thorsvig made his professional MMA debut when he faced Jason Cook (then 0-0) at the North Dakota-based Impact Fighting Championship’s inaugural event, IFC: Inception last Saturday in Bismarck. The 40-year-old Randy silenced naysayers when he put on a dominant performance, submitting Cook with a Kimura just past the two-minute mark in the very first round.
After our previous coverage of Randy’s then-upcoming fight, MMA Gospel got the change to sit down with him yet again to see how he feels about his long-anticipated debut in the professional mixed martial arts world, his future in the sport, and much more.
MMA Gospel’s Technique of the Week is dedicated to focusing on the area’s of grappling that are extremely important in mixed martial arts but are overlooked in most online training resources. As always, MMA Gospel has called upon Hapkido master Ed Perdomo for his insight into the world of MMA ground work. This time, we have chosen to focus on defensive grappling. Every fighter and fan has heard the infamous “submissions are great in practice but their a lot harder to pull off when you’re getting punched in the face” line and it is a very true statement. Often in MMA world class submission fighters get thrashed in their own guard, unable to muster even an attempt at a submission, when faced with an aggressive ground-and-pound attack. This week, MMA Gospel focuses on just that, defending G-n-P. Ed will display how to defend against an opponent’s punches and use the defense to move into a classic Elevator Sweep to the mount position.
Just over a year-and-a-half ago, “Shango” Hector Lombard (27-2) was a name that was known only by hardcore fans and the few people who followed his dominant performances in lesser known Australian organizations. Get ready for that to change. In addition to being an elite mixed martial artist, Lombard is also a multiple-time Cuban National Judo Champion and former member of the Cuban Olympic Judo team. He is the first and current Bellator Middleweight Champion as well as the reigning 185lb. champion of the Australia-based Cage Fighting Championships.
Lombard currently trains at the prestigious American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida and resides in Sydney, Australia, which has been a second home to him for the past decade. Since 2004 he spent the majority of his MMA career in The Land Down Under until he went international with his aggressive style in 2006. The Judo champion was virtually unknown to American MMA fans until April 2009 when he made his Bellator debut with an explosive knockout victory over Virgilio Lozano Soto (6-2). Some still doubted the Cuban black horse even in the wake of his astonishing US debut. His critics were quieted to a whisper after he blasted through the rest of the middleweight tournament and claimed the Bellator Middleweight Championship with calm but destructive power. Lombard’s incredible aggression and brutal knockout power has led him to amass a 19-fight, four-year-long winning streak and has made one thing certain – those who see him fight either for the first time or the tenth won’t forgot Hector Lombard and the energy he prompts from the audience.
MMA Gospel was built on the principle of bringing MMA fans an insight into the MMA world they couldn’t find elsewhere. Continuing in that tradition, MMA Gospel began to search the country for aspiring professional fighters who were looking for that “one big break”. These men would represent the diamond in the rough, the truly talented warriors who have yet to be noticed by the mainstream mixed martial arts media. Today, MMA Gospel welcomes only the second man to be added to the ranks of the MMA Gospel Young Guns, “The Professional” Chris Davis (10-2).
Chris is a former U.S. Marine who grew up in Gadsden, Alabama. He stumbled upon mixed martial arts while selling phonebook ads in Anniston, Alabama and just one year later had amassed an impressive 9-0 amateur MMA record and decided to turn pro and never look back. Chris is the Rumble at the Raxx Light Heavyweight Champion and trains out of the Headhunter Combatives Crossfit and MMA Training Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama under Mike Taylor. He is set to face TUF alum and UFC veteran Eliot Marshall (9-2) at Nemesis Fighting: MMA Global Invasion in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic on November 13. MMA Gospel CEO and staff writer Dan Griffin sat down with Chris Davis and this is what “The Professional” had to say:
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Heavyweight bout: Brett Rogers defeats Reuben Villareal via unanimous decision
Catchweight (190 lbs): Roy Boughton defeats Murilo Rua via unanimous decision
Light heavyweight bout: Roger Hollett defeats Mychal Clark via unanimous decision
Welterweight bout: Sean Pierson defeats Ricky Goodall via TKO (Punches) – Round 1, 1:44
Middleweight bout: Matt MacGrath defeats Ryan Machan via unanimous decision
Featherweight bout: Douglas Evans defeats Tristan Johnson via submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 3, 1:55
Featherweight bout: Musa Tolliver defeats Jason MacKay via unanimous decision
Middleweight bout: Nordine Taleb defeats Chad Cox via unanimous decision
Catchweight (190 lbs): Jeremy Hamilton defeats Chris Johnson via submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 1, 2:56
Welterweight bout: Jeremiah Bernard defeats Todd Henry via KO (head kick) – Round 1, 2:20
Featherweight bout: Pat Schilling defeats Tom Waters via submission (Kneebar) – Round 1, 2:34
Bantamweight bout: Michael Imperato defeats Jeff Black via submission (Armbar) – Round 1, 4:36
UFC 121 may go down in the books as one of the most pivotal cards in MMA history. The stacked card saw the first Mexican world heavyweight champion in either a major MMA or major boxing organization crowned, it saw the first top level Strikeforce fighter face Octagon-level competition, and it saw three generations of TUF fighters prove that their place in the UFC is deserved. With the dethroning of Brock Lesnar (5-2), the heavyweight rankings, and the UFC heavyweight division, have been thrown into a chaotic mess. The careers of a few of the men who lost at UFC 121 have also now enter a state of discord. To find out who won (whether their hand was raised or not), who lost, and who really damaged their career, MMA Gospel seeks out The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Gilbert Yvel vs. Jon Madsen: Madsen via TKO (Punches), Round 1, 1:48
Chris Camozzi vs. Dongi Yang: Camozzi via split decision, Round 3, 5:00
Sam Stout vs. Paul Taylor: Stout via split decision, Round 3, 5:00
Michael Guymon vs. Daniel Roberts: Roberts via submission (Anaconda Choke), Round 1, 1:13
Patrick Cote vs. Tom Lawlor: Lawlor via unanimous decision, Round 3, 5:00
Court McGee vs. Ryan Jensen: McGee via submission (Arm-Triangle Choke), Round 3, 1:21
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Brendan Schaub: Schaub via unanimous decision, Round 3, 5:00
Matt Hamill vs. Tito Ortiz: Hamill via unanimous decision, Round 3, 5:00
Diego Sanchez vs. Paulo Thiago: Sanchez via unanimous decision, Round 3, 5:00
Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann: Shields via split decision, Round 3, 5:00
Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez: Velasquez via TKO (Punches), Round 1, 4:12
Submission of the Night: Daniel Roberts (vs. Michael Guymon) – $70,000
Knockout of the Night: Cain Velasquez (vs. Brock Lesnar) – $70,000
Fight of the Night: Diego Sanchez and Paulo Thiago – $70,000
UFC 121 promises the fans a night of stellar performances from the best fighters MMA has to offer. Opening bouts featuring “Napao” Gabriel Gonzaga (11-5), “The Hybrid” Brendan Schaub (5-1), “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz (15-7-1), “The Hammer” Matt Hamill (8-2), “Nightmare” Diego Sanchez (21-4), and Paulo Thiago (9-2) will provide an entertaining prelude to the card’s two headline fights, a welterweight match between “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (17-3) and Jake Shields (25-4-1) and the main event showdown between UFC Heavyweight Champion of the World Brock Lesnar (5-1) and undefeated superstar wrestling ace Cain Velasquez (8-0). The MMA world is in an uproar of excitement over the title affair with as many fans and pundits favoring the Mexican hype machine to win as the former WWE superstar. Velasquez is a man who many felt should have faced Brock Lesnar before “The Engineer” Shane Carwin (11-1), who fell to the champ in the second round of their July 3 bout. The undefeated young heavyweight is a world class wrestler with punching power beyond that of nearly any pro-boxer and the cardio to throw and throw hard from bell to bell every round. The champion, Brock Lesnar, was a two-time NCAA All-American Wrestler, a two-time Big Ten Conference Champion and an NCAA Div. I National Champion wrestler with an overall record of 106-5. His double leg takedown has proven to be completely unstoppable so far in the Octagon and his punches have the power to stop anyone in any weight class. This title fight is the kind of match-up that clearly displays why the UFC Heavyweight World Championship is the single most prestigious title in all of combat sports.