The UFC’s traditional New Year’s card went off in a very big way last night to usher in a new year of elite level mixed martial arts. With the FOX deal and more new fans than ever before waiting in the wings, it was extremely important that the UFC start 2012 off on the right foot and UFC 141 certainly achieved that goal. To open the card, undefeated newcomer “The Kid” Jimy Hettes (10-0) announced his presence to the featherweight division in emphatic fashion with an extremely one-sided thrashing of TUF alum Nam Phan (19-11). Rising star “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (13-1) continued to impress with a quick KO of long-time gatekeeper “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (26-6) only to be outdone by Johny Hendricks (12-1) in the very next bout when he blasted top welterweight contender Jon Fitch (22-4-1) from consciousness in only 12 seconds. The co-main saw a “Fight of the Night”-winning performance from Nate Diaz (14-8) who handily out-boxed “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (16-5) and in the main event, titanic heavyweights “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (33-12) and Brock Lesnar (5-3) squared off with only the Dutch kickboxing machine left standing after 2:26 of action. The event was a clear winner for the UFC and the fans who got more than their $50 worth, but to assess the damage and gains to the fighters themselves, we turn to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
—MAIN CARD (on Pay-Per-View)—
Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem: Overeem via TKO (Strikes), Round 1, 2:26
Nate Diaz vs. Donald Cerrone: Diaz via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Jon Fitch vs. Johny Hendricks: Hendricks via KO (Punch), Round 1, 0:12
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Alexander Gustafsson: Gustafsson via TKO (Punches), Round 1, 2:13
Nam Phan vs. Jimy Hettes: Hettes via Unanimous Decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26), Round 3, 5:00
—PRELIMS (on Spike TV)—
Ross Pearson vs. Rafael Assuncao: Pearson via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Anthony Njokuani vs. Danny Castillo: Castillo via Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29), Round 3, 5:00
–PRELIMS (on Facebook)—
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Sean Pierson: Kim via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Jacob Volkmann vs. Efrain Escudero: Volkmann via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Manny Gamburyan vs. Diego Nunes: Nunes via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
*Matt Riddle vs. Luis Ramos has been scrapped due to Riddle sustaining a thus far unnamed illness.
The UFC solidifies its 2011 calendar year as one of the biggest in the promotion’s history, closing it out tonight with UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem. The honors of starting off the main card on Pay-Per-View go to The Ultimate Fighter 12 alum Nam Phan (19-10) and undefeated fellow featherweight “The Kid” Jimy Hettes (9-0). Forty-year-old IFL veteran “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (26-5) looks to stay in the good graces of the UFC brass with a defeat over rising 205lbs. prospect “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (12-1). Former welterweight title challenger Jon Fitch (22-3-1) pits his wrestling credentials against those of rising talent Johny Hendricks (11-1). The co-main event features one of the most volatile grudge matches in recent memory, with former WEC stand-out “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (16-4) teeing off against Stockton, California native Nate Diaz (13-8). Serving as the promotion’s final bout in 2011 is the long-awaited UFC debut of K-1, DREAM, and Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (32-12) as he takes on an equally mammoth-sized former UFC champion in Brock Lesnar (5-2).
“Anything can happen in MMA”, especially when it comes to thoughtful pairings like those featured on the UFC 141 main card. Below, the MMA Gospel staff takes a crack at predicting how the night could play out.
The last UFC of the year will step back from its traditional date, the closest Saturday to New Year’s Day, as the world’s premier MMA organization presents UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem on Friday, December 30. Opening what is always one of the biggest events of the year is a featherweight competition between TUF alum Nam Phan (19-10) and undefeated Jiu-Jitsu ace “The Kid” Jimy Hettes (9-0). “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (26-5) will look to continue his 4-1 UFC career renaissance against the hard hitting Swede “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (12-1). Anchoring the card is long-time welterweight title hopeful Jon Fitch (22-3-1) who will face rising talent Johny Hendricks (11-1), and red hot former WEC lightweight “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (16-4) will take on Cesar Gracie stand-out Nate Diaz (13-8). Serving as the lynch-pin for the entire card is a main event heavyweight bout that old school and new wave fans of the sport have debated since 2008: former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar (5-2) against former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (32-12). One thing is certain, the only thing bigger than the spectacle in the cage Friday night, will be the pair of men who will provide the main show.
Brock Lesnar: 266lbs.
Alistair Overeem: 263lbs.
Nate Diaz: 157lbs.*
Donald Cerrone: 156lbs.
Jon Fitch: 171lbs.
Johny Hendricks: 170lbs.
Vladimir Matyushenko: 205lbs.
Alexander Gustafsson: 203lbs.
Nam Phan: 146lbs.
Jimy Hettes: 145lbs.
Ross Pearson: 145lbs.
Rafael Assuncao: 145lbs.
Anthony Njokuani: 154lbs.
Danny Castillo: 156lbs.
Dong Hyun Kim: 171lbs.
Sean Pierson: 171lbs.
Jacob Volkmann: 155lbs.
Efrain Escudero: 155lbs.
Matt Riddle: 170lbs.
Luis Ramos: 171lbs.
Manny Gamburyan: 146lbs.
Diego Nunes: 145lbs.
*Nate Diaz was able to shed the additional pound during the extra hour he was provided.
The world’s premiere MMA organization finishes off the year with a bang this Friday night with UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem. Undefeated featherweight prospect “The Kid” Jimy Hettes (9-0) takes on Nam Phan (19-10) in the main card’s opening bout. “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (26-5) collides with the fast rising “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (12-1) to see whose stock gets a lift in the light heavyweight division. Johny Hendricks (11-1) is looking to get into the higher echelon of the welterweight class but will first have to grind it out against former title challenger Jon Fitch (22-3). The main event is seen as the classic “grappler versus striker” formula as former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar (5-2) and current K-1, DREAM, and Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (34-11) fill the roles, respectively. The co-main event is receiving just as much acclaim as the marquee feature as Nate Diaz (13-8) and “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (16-4) butt heads in a lightweight match-up. Diaz and Cerrone are two of the sport’s most enigmatic personalities but once the cage door seals, this clash of personalities will turn into a battle truly worthy of remembering.
On December 30, the UFC returns after a two-week hiatus and brings the big guns to bear at UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem. Headlining the traditional UFC New Years card are two titanic heavyweights looking for a shot at UFC gold – former UFC champ Brock Lesnar (5-2) and Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (32-12). The lightweights will also see action as Nate Diaz (13-8) takes on “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (16-4). Long-time middleweight contender “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (26-5) will face off with “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (12-1) and the featherweights will open the night as Nam Phan (19-10) attempts to build his first UFC win streak against undefeated Jimy Hettes (9-0). The anchor bout for UFC 141 is a welterweight competition with potential title implications as Johny Hendricks (11-1) pits his 6-1 UFC mark against one of the most successful fighters on the current UFC roster, 13-1-1 former title contender Jon Fitch (22-3-1). The bout is made all the more exciting with the looming introduction of an interim welterweight belt, and both men will bring their A-game in the attempt to get a crack at it.
Back after an extended break for the holidays, Ed Perdomo and Johnny Rodriguez bring the next step in the current arc of MMA Gospel’s Technique of the Week. This time, Johnny manages to get his arm out of position from last week’s Inverted Gi-Less Clock Choke, forcing Ed to take a different path to victory. He does so with a straight Armbar from the head and arm position. The sudden reversal of the pressure between the two attacks will actually cause the opponent to assist in setting up the Armbar itself, but Ed must be quick to pull off this simple switch effectively.
The UFC will cap off a dynamic 2011 calendar year at the MGM Grand Garden Arena December 30 with UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem. The titular marquee fight pits two of the biggest heavyweights against each other in a title eliminator as Brock Lesnar (5-2) returns from longstanding medical issues to battle former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion, “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (35-11). Nate Diaz (14-7) will try to stop “The Cowboy” Donald Cerrone’s (17-3) emphatic rise up the lightweight ranks in a sure-fire thriller. Long-reigning #2 welterweight Jon Fitch (23-3-1) takes on Johny Hendricks (11-1) in a match that will propel either fighter into contention talk. Nam Phan (17-9) looks to put a win streak together as he faces young submission ace, “The Kid” Jimy Hettes (9-0). The lone light heavyweight tilt on this card gives up-and-comer “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (12-1) a stern test in grinding veteran “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (26-5). Should Alex pass this test, he will likely draw much stiffer competition on his way up the UFC ladder.
The old classic Friday Night Fights aura surrounds the December 30 date for UFC 141 and rounds out the promotion’s year rather nicely. Perhaps the most dangerous heavyweight striker in all of MMA, former Strikeforce, DREAM, and K-1 Heavyweight Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (34-11), steps into the Octagon tp begin his long awaited UFC career. In his way of a shot at UFC gold though is the villainous former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar (5-2). Red hot former WEC title contender “The Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (16-4) and Nate Diaz (13-8) of Cesar Gracie tutelage will bring their heated encounter from months before to the surface as they face off in the co-main event. Top-ranked welterweight Jon Fitch (22-3) returns since his lackluster Draw against former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn (16-8) to face heavy-handed WEC veteran Johny Hendricks (11-1). Exciting young fighter Alexander Gustafsson (12-1) has yet to go past the second round in his UFC career but his toughest test to date will tower in front of him in the form of long-time UFC veteran “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (26-5) who has looked better than ever with two knockout wins supporting him going into this match-up. Starting off the UFC 141 main card is undefeated “The Kid” Jimy Hettis (9-0) who has submitted all of his opponents – six in the first round and three in the second, teeing off against the tough and relentless Nam Phan (19-10), who recently made UFC history for his rock ‘em sock ‘em battle with “Bad Boy” Leonard Garcia (15-8). Both men are guaranteed a tough fight in each other, and it is one that surely will serve as an entertaining opener to the Pay-Per-View card.