On Saturday, March 26 the Ultimate Fighting Championship lights up the night at the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington with UFC Fight Night 24: Nogueira vs. Davis. On the card are a host of interesting bouts such as the main event which pits MMA veteran “Lil’ Nog” Antônio Rogério Nogueira (18-4) against the undefeated up-and-comer “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (7-0). Muay Thai artist “Rumble” Anthony Johnson (8-3) returns from a long lay-off to take on former welterweight contender “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy (23-8) in what is sure to be an outstanding striking battle, and in a repeat of 2010’s “Fight of the Year”, “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (10-3) volunteers with short preparation time to replace Nam Phan (18-9) in an attempt to mow down “Bad Boy” Leonard Garcia (15-6-1) in a featherweight rematch. Garcia walked away with the Split Decision victory in the first bout, leaving a question mark as to weather or not the “Zombie” can gain some life and defeat Garcia. In the welterweight division, The Ultimate Fighter alum Amir Sadollah (4-2) has a nightmare in store for him when stands across from “Darkness” Damarques Johnson (15-8), provided Johnson remains healthy. The bout has had an albatross hovering over it since the beginning when Amir’s original opponent, “Bang” Duane Ludwig (20-11), was replaced by “Lightning” James Wilks (6-4) who then also fell victim to a training injury. If the bad luck of Duane and James passes over Johnson, the bout promises to be entertaining.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to the Versus network tonight for another compilation of free fights, this time rocking out the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. The main event features “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (17-4) butting heads with the fighter previously known as “The Nightmare” and now known as “The Dream” Diego Sanchez (22-4) for one of the welterweights to take a big step closer to putting his name in the hat for a top contender spot. Wrestling fans are in for a treat with the co-main event, a match-up between “The Doberman” CB Dollaway (11-2) and “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz (7-2) that is likely to turn into a clinic on MMA wrestling between the two Div. I NCAA competitors. Kicking off the main card is the return of former WEC Bantamweight Champion Brain Bowles (8-1) looking to climb back to the top ranks following his March 2010 loss to Dominick Cruz (16-1) by taking on Jackson’s Submission Fighting graduate “The Angel of Death” Damacio Page (10-6), preceded by former UFC top lightweight contender “Daddy” Joe Stevenson (31-11) taking on WEC transplant “Last Call” Danny Castillo (9-3). A bout that is sure to be a contender for “Fight of the Night” honors pits heavy-hitting Italian striker “Legionarius” Alessio Sakara (15-7) against UFC newcomer “The All-American” Chris Weidman (4-0) in a brawl that undoubtedly will end in spectacular fashion. Let’s have a closer look at this highly-anticipated bout.
Tonight the UFC rocks Acer Arena in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia with UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch. The evening promises to be electrifying with a main card studded with potential for brutal knockouts, breathtaking submissions, and “Fight of the Night” honors with former lightweight and welterweight champion “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-1) again moving up to the welterweight division to take on American Kickboxing Academy phenom and Guerilla Jiu-Jitsu black belt Jon Fitch (22-3). Also on the roster is The Ultimate Fighter 6 alum and Australian native George Sotiropoulos (14-2) facing German kickboxing champion Dennis Siver (17-7) in a lightweight bout of the classic striker vs. grappler match-up, and “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (30-17-5) welcomes UFC newcomer but seasoned veteran Brian Ebersole (39-13-1) to the Octagon after an offering from “KO” Kyle Noke (18-4-1) and Chris Camozzi (14-3) kicks off the evening. The co-main event, however, offers perhaps the best chance to see “Knockout of the Night” with two famed strikers going head-to-head with British slugger “The Count” Michael Bisping (20-3) teeing off against “El Conquistador” Jorge Rivera (18-7). With long-time UFC Middleweight Champion “The Spider” Anderson Silva (28-4) systematically picking off his challengers one-by-one, both Bisping and Rivera look to take one step closer to earning a shot at the UFC’s coveted 185lbs. title.
Strikeforce lights up Austin, Texas this Friday, February 18 at the Cedar Park Center with it’s ShoMMA: Challengers 14 fight card. Featured in the main event, undefeated slick submission artist “Fancy Pance” Lyle Beerbohm (15-0) steps in against the well rounded veteran that is “Bam Bam” Patrick Healy (20-15) with both martial artists looking to take a step closer to being a lightweight title contender. The co-main event for the evening features the highly regarded “Natural Light” Ryan Couture (1-0) attempting to live up to his father’s name – UFC Hall of Famer and multiple-time champion “The Natural” Randy Couture (19-10) – by taking on Lee Higgins (2-0) a practically unknown fighter who has an outstanding ground game and hails out of Houston, Texas. The main card also showcases three other bouts with the likes of Brazilian-born and current Bryan, Texas resident Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and Judo brown belt Carlo Prater (24-8-1) versus NCAA wrestler Bryan Travers (12-2), Vale Tudo fighter “Bad Apple” Erik Apple (10-2) taking on Houston native and BJJ brown belt Ryan Larson (5-2), and Cesar Gracie Academy kickboxer David Douglas (5-2) vs. Austin’s all around fighter “The Ghost” Nick Gonzalez (16-9). All in all, Challengers 14 offers a solid night of outstanding prospects looking to make waves in the lower ranks of the Strikeforce promotion.
This Saturday night the Ultimate Fighting Championship holds another mixed martial arts spectacle with UFC 126 at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. One of the most stacked fight cards in recent UFC history, the event will showcase Jackson’s Submission Fighting trained “Bones” Jon Jones (11-1) facing The Ultimate Fighter 10 alum “Darth” Ryan Bader (12-0), former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin (17-6) versus former UFC 185lbs. champ “Ace” Rich Franklin (27-5), and in the main event, top-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world and current UFC Middleweight Champion “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) against dangerous striker “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-8) for the middleweight belt. Though not on the main card, one of the most talked about fights offered at UFC 126 is the UFC debut of “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (12-4) against UFC veteran and former Wolfslair fighter Paul Kelly (11-3). Both of these men are well on their way to becoming truly well rounded fighters, but each comes from a different background. Cerrone is deadly on the ground with ten of his 12 victories coming by submission. On the other side, Kelly has proven a solid striker with five TKO’s in his 11 wins. The result is a meeting in the middle as the classic Striker vs. Grappler match is met with the kickboxer who can grapple and the submission fighter who can box.
This Saturday at the “Shark Tank” HP Pavillion in San Jose, California, Strikeforce presents two title fights with its Diaz vs. Cyborg card. The main event will feature current Strikeforce Welterweight Champion “Diablo” Nick Diaz (22-8) taking on “Cyborg” Evangelista Santos (17-13) for the 170lbs. title along with the co-main event showcasing the classic striker vs. grappler match-up with Jiu-Jitsu ace “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (12-2) defending his middleweight belt against slugger “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-6). The crowd will also be treated to Roger Gracie’s (3-0) return to the Strikeforce cage, fighting Lion’s Den graduate Trevor Prangley (22-6-1), as well as the highly anticipated return of 48-year-old former NFL star and current American Kickboxing Academy fighter Herschel Walker (1-0) taking on Scott Carson (4-1) in just his second appearance not only in the Strikeforce promotion, but in the cage. Let’s take a closer look at this fight.
UFC 125: Resolution ended with many shocking results – “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) coming to a Draw with “The Bully” Gray Maynard (10-0-1), underdog Brian Stann (10-3) TKOing “The Crippler” Chris Leben (21-8) in the first round, “The Carpenter” Clay Guida (27-11) getting Submission of the Night and completely overtaking “The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi (29-8), and Judoka “The Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim (10-4-2) catapulting his way into welterweight title contention after dominating the always rambunctious Nate Diaz (12-7). The real Earth shaker though came in the unexpected Unanimous Decision loss by the former top contender “The Fluke” Josh Grispi (14-2) to Dustin Poirier (9-1) in the prelims, which leaves a question as to who will face “Junior” Jose Aldo (17-1) for the first UFC featherweight title bout.
“The Polish Hammer” Chris Horodecki (16-3) is the most recent addition to a slew of fighters that have felt the wrath of Zuffa’s chopping block. It was announced Tuesday that the lightweight kickboxer, who partook in four bouts in the WEC over the last year, will in fact not be moving on to the big show with the impending WEC/UFC merger only a few days away. Sure the UFC is fickle about its roster and fighters come and go, but this cut in particular leaves a lot of MMA fans wondering how and why the 23-year-old Canadian could have been dubbed a UFC reject in the first place. Zuffa certainly is establishing its subsidiary the UFC as the mixed martial arts organization with the utmost top notch talent in the world, but many still wonder – was cutting Horodecki warranted?
The Ultimate Fighting Championship rocks the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on New Year’s Day putting on an incredible night of fights with UFC 125. The card is star studded, with promising matches between Nate Diaz (12-6) and Dong Hyun Kim (10-4-2), “The Truth” Brandon Vera (11-5) and Thiago Silva (15-2), “The Crippler” Chris Leben (21-7) and Brian Stann (9-3), and a lightweight title bout of epic proportions featuring “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1) taking on the undefeated “The Bully” Gray Maynard (10-0). Also on the card is a bout that is a sure candidate for Fight of the Night in “The Carpenter” Clay Guida (27-11) facing PRIDE and Shooto veteran “The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi (29-7). Let’s take a closer look at how this one could play out.
There’s no doubt “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (13-1) shocked a lot of people with his win over the now former WEC Lightweight Champion “Smooth” Ben Henderson (11-2) last Thursday night to claim the honors of being the very last ever WEC 155lb. title holder and earn his spot as the first man in line to face the winner of “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1) vs. “The Bully” Gray Maynard (10-0). Pettis came into the WEC 53 main event bout as the underdog, but it sure didn’t appear that way as “Showtime” controlled the pace and consistently landed the more damaging shots through much of the fight. And, in what will surely make MMA highlight reels for years to come, in the final round Pettis delivered an astonishing Matrix style off-the-cage kick that connected hard to the left side of Henderson’s skull and momentarily dropped the champion to the canvas. It is safe to say that his match against “Smooth” showcased Pettis’ best performance to date and proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that he indeed has earned his moniker “Showtime”.
Pettis’ next big task in his only three-year-old professional fighting career is to face either Frankie Edgar or Gray Maynard in hopes of dethroning the current champion or giving the top contender his first loss in order to unify the lightweight belt between the two promotions once they merge in 2011. One of these three men – “Showtime”, “The Answer”, or “The Bully” – will be the undisputed UFC Lightweight Champion. Both of the UFC fighters have unique fighting styles and each pose different threats to Pettis. How will “Showtime” fare against the upper echelon of the talent pool boasted by the UFC? What challenges does he face, and how will he overcome them? Let’s take a closer look at the potential match-ups for Anthony Pettis.
Strikeforce lightweight “The Punk” Josh Thomson (17-3-1) not only has one of the coolest nicknames in MMA but also is one of the best lightweight fighters in the world when it comes to putting a hurt on his opponents. Thomson infiltrates the Japanese MMA market once again and puts himself to the test at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama on New Year’s Eve when he faces PRIDE veteran and Shooto fighter Tatsuya Kawajiri (26-5-2) at DREAM: Dynamite 2010.
With that date quickly encroaching many hope to see former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion “The Punk” have a better camp than he did in his contested win over American Top Team graduate “JZ” Gesias Cavalcante (14-3-1) in October where Thomson himself admitted to MMAJunkie.com that “it was the worst camp ever.” He elaborated, “I had ankle injuries. I had a partially torn MCL in my leg and my knee. Obviously I was having hand and wrist problems.” With all those complications, one would wonder why Thomson didn’t forfeit the fight but, to earn a nickname like “The Punk” it would have to take a lot of grit and determination which Thomson displayed in his fight with not only being stitched in his head due to “a headbutt kind of thing”, as Thomson called it, but also getting caught in the arm-in Guillotine Choke of Cavalcante.
The WEC goes out with a bang tonight at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona with its final offering before merging with the UFC next month. WEC 53: Henderson vs. Pettis is sure to be an exciting card as the organization showcases some of the best fighters in its ranks: “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (11-4) takes on “The Polish Hammer” Chris Horodecki (16-4), WEC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz (15-1) squares off with “Young Guns” Scott Jorgensen (10-2) to not only retain his title but also become the first ever UFC Bantamweight Champion, “Prince of Persia” Kamal Shalorus (6-0-2) faces “Bartimus” Bart Palaszewski (34-14), and “The Mongolian Wolf” Zhang Tie Quan (8-0) meets with “Danny Boy” Dan Downes (6-1). In what is sure to be a crowd pleaser, the main event features “Smooth” Ben Henderson (11-1) making his third lightweight title defense by facing dangerous top contender “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (12-1). After tonight, either Henderson or Pettis will walk away as the very last WEC Lightweight Champion and will take on the winner of the UFC 125 “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1)/”The Bully” Gray Maynard (10-0) match-up for the unified lightweight title.
The Arizona desert comes to life this Thursday as the WEC closes its final chapter at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale. The promotion’s finale card, WEC 53: Henderson vs. Pettis, unfolds as an electric night filled with high octane match-ups that the UFC’s sister company has become well known for, including a pair of title fights – one of which will determine the very first UFC Bantamweight Champion after the companies merge next month. The main event sees “Smooth” Ben Henderson (11-1) defend his lightweight title belt against challenger “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (12-1) while Dominick Cruz (15-1) faces “Young Guns” Scott Jorgensen (10-2) in the co-main event to not only go down in history as the very last WEC Bantamweight Champion, but also as the UFC’s first. The main card also features bouts between “Bartimus” Bart Palaszewski (34-13) and “Prince of Persia”Kamal Shalorus (6-0-2) as well as “The Mongolian Wolf” Zhang Tie Quan (8-0) and “Danny Boy” Dan Downes (6-1). One of WEC 53′s offerings in particular has been hanging on the lips of MMA fans: the return of lightweight fan favorite “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (11-4) in taking on “The Polish Hammer” Chris Horodecki (16-2). Let’s have a closer look.
While most UFC 123 spectators will agree that “Hurricane” Gerald Harris (17-3) had an unexpectedly disappointing and lackluster performance against UFC newcomer “Big Rig” Maiquel Falcao (8-1), many were still shocked when it was announced today that Harris had been released from the UFC. To say the cut seems unwarranted is a vast understatement. Prior to his loss at UFC 123, Harris was coasting along on a ten-fight winning streak and boasted an undefeated 3-0 record in the UFC, with two of those victories earning “Knockout of the Night” honors. In his professional MMA career, “Hurricane” finished 15 of his 17 defeated opponents via TKO, KO, or submission, respectively. Clearly, Harris is no chump.