April 6 the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to Fuel TV when it touches down live in Stockholm, Sweden. As explored in Part I of MMA Gospel’s UFC on Fuel TV 9 pre-fight breakdown, the first half of the main card kicks off with Akira Corassani (10-3) taking on Robbie Peralta (16-3), “The Scarecrow” Pablo Garza (12-3) battling “Ceara” Diego Brandao (16-8) in a featherweight showcase, and “The Hulk” Mike Easton (13-2) taking on fellow striker “One Punch” Brad Pickett (22-7). In this latter half of the main card breakdown, a quick look begins with the heavyweight battle between “Meathead” Matt Mitrione (5-2) and Philip DeFries (9-2). The co-main event sees “The Real Deal” Ross Pearson (14-6) welcoming Strikeforce transplant Ryan Couture (6-1). Two new faces grace the light heavyweight division in the main event as Ilir Latifi (9-2) steps in on less than a week’s notice for his injured teammate, perennial contender “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (15-1), to meet “The Dreamcatcher” Gegard Mousasi (33-3-2). Both men grace the eight-sided cage for the first time and with each getting top-billing for their debut, a win at this stage can open many doors for them at 205 pounds.
The UFC returns after a wildly successful sojourn to Montreal at UFC 158 to offer its fifth free card of 2013, UFC on Fuel TV 9 from Stockholm, Sweden. Headlining the event is newcomer “The Sledgehammer” Ilir Latifi (7-2) as he debuts beside Dream and Strikeforce standout “The Dreamcatcher” Gegard Mousasi (33-3-2). “The Real Deal” Ross Pearson (14-6) looks to continue his recent success following TUF: The Smashes at the expense of second-generation prodigy Ryan Couture (6-1). “Meathead” Matt Mitrione (5-2) will struggle to find his winning way again as he meets Philip De Fries (9-2) in a bout that will likely leave one of the two jobless. The lower half of the main card also shows promise with “The Hulk” Mike Easton (13-2) looking to right the ship after a disappointing decision loss at the expense of “One Punch” Brad Pickett (22-7) in the anchor slot. Deadly finisher “Ceara” Diego Brandao (16-8) will meet “The Scarecrow” Pablo Garza (12-3) in the second match of the evening, and kicking things off is a pairing of featherweights looking to come out from under the radar, Akira Corassani (10-3) and “Problems” Robbie Peralta (16-3). Here in Part I of the UFC on Fuel TV 9 pre-fight breakdown, MMA Gospel examines the first three of the night’s match-ups.
Friday night The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada played host to the fifth annual Fighters Only MMA Awards. The awards focused on the best the world of mixed martial arts had to offer during the entire 2012 calendar year, with the 21 categories honoring fighters, media organizations, apparel companies, technical equipment, and much more. The winners though were determined by fan votes. Check out the full list of 2012 World MMA Awards below, and tune in to Fox Sports Net on January 20 to catch the ceremony broadcast.
As has been the case every time the UFC has hit the network airwaves, UFC on FOX 5 delivered in a fairly big way. While the discussion of who benefited more, FOX or the UFC, has been a bone of contention as of late, the fans remain a clear winner when the world’s premier MMA organization hits the biggest stage in all of sports. This time, the UFC delivered a card with the kind of depth that is reminiscent of the days when they held six to ten cards a year. “Quick” Mike Swick (15-5) opened the card against “The Immortal” Matt Brown (16-11) but was quickly found to be the less prepared fighter as Brown controlled the ground battle in the first and scored the KO in the second. “Ares” Rory MacDonald (14-1) stepped off in “The Prodigy” BJ Penn’s (16-9-2) butt though he may have stepped in it so to speak with his less than sportsmanlike behavior. “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (15-1) was the clear winner over “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (21-7), showing new depth in his skill set with a handful of clean takedowns, and in the main event, “Smooth” Benson Henderson (18-2) left little doubt as to who reigns over the lightweight division by utterly dominating Nate Diaz (16-8) for five rounds. However, not every winner wins and not every loser loses in the big scheme of things so The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is here to sort it out.
—MAIN CARD (on FOX @ 8:00pm ET)—
Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz: Henderson via Unanimous Decision (50-43, 50-45, 50-45), Round 5, 5:00
Mauricio Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson: Gustafsson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26), Round 3, 5:00
BJ Penn vs. Rory MacDonald: MacDonald via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Mike Swick vs. Matt Brown: Brown via KO (Punches), Round 2, 2:31
The world’s premier mixed martial arts organization will hit the biggest stage in MMA history, the FOX broadcast network, for a fifth time as UFC on FOX 5 hits the airwaves on December 8. The main card action begins with a welterweight contest between TUF original “Quick” Mike Swick (15-4) and hard-nosed TUF 7 alum “The Immortal” Matt Brown (15-11). Second in the rotation is the return of mercurial lightweight superstar “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-8-2) as he steps back up to 170lbs. to face fast-rising welterweight star “Ares” Rory MacDonald (13-1). The co-main pits fallen former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (21-6) against highly touted title contention prospect “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (14-1). In the main event, two lightweights of tremendous talent collide for the 155lbs. title. “Smooth” Benson Henderson (17-2) rules the UFC lightweight division with an iron fist, undefeated since coming to the UFC and 10-1 under the Zuffa umbrella. Nate Diaz (16-7) is 11-5 in the UFC and has long been a figure in the lightweight title picture.
December 8 the UFC will set the stage for a lightweight title showdown between “Smooth” Benson Henderson (17-2) and Nate Diaz (16-7) at the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. Before the lightweights face off, UFC on FOX 5 has several high quality matches to offer including an opening bout between “Quick” Mike Swick (15-4) and “The Immortal” Matt Brown (15-11). A welterweight showdown between “Ares” Rory MacDonald (13-1) and “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-8-2) anchors the card and the co-main will feature rising light heavyweight star “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (14-1) against former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (21-6). The 205lbs. match-up is one that holds major career implications, especially for the young Swede, and could be a “Fight of the Night” contender for fans of fast-paced kickboxing exchanges.