UFC 134 returns to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after a 13-year span to present one of the biggest cards of the year. Two Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts and heavy-handed fighters collide when the native “Banha” Luiz Cane (9-3) welcomes Stanislav Nedkov (5-0) to the cage. “The Hybrid” Brendan Schaub (7-1) continues to build his case as contender when he meets “Minotauro” Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (32-6-1) in a heavyweight battle. A rematch of the ages closes the main card when former light heavyweight champions “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (19-5) and Forrest Griffin (18-6) meet again with Rua looking to even the score. In the main event, “Thunder” Yushin Okami (26-5) will attempt to pull a stunning upset in Rio when he battles the hometown favorite and an old nemesis, “The Spider” Anderson Silva (28-4). In between all this action, the lightweight division makes its presence known when “The Real Deal” Ross Pearson (17-6-1) travels across the pond to take on Edson Barboza Jr. (8-0). With both always seeking to press the action, a win in Brazil could be just what they need in order to raise their stock significantly in the 155lbs. division.
Welterweight “Doomsday” John Howard (14-7) and lightweight Andre Winner (12-6-1) are the latest members of the UFC’s roster to have their necks stretched across the Zuffa chopping block. It was announced today that the heavy-handed Boston native Howard and The Ultimate Fighter 9 runner-up from Team Rough House, Winner, have had their last fights inside the UFC Octagon.
“Doomsday” introduced himself to UFC fans worldwide with a four-fight winning streak, taking out opponents such as “The Barn Cat” Tamdan McCrory (11-3) and MMA veteran “Superman” Dennis Hallman (45-13-2). His tear through the UFC’s welterweight division however was put to an abrupt stop by Jake Ellenberger (24-5) in August 2010. Howard followed up his loss to Ellenberger with two more consecutive defeats, the most recent of which was at the hands of “The Immortal” Matt Brown (12-10) in June, prompting the UFC to cut ties with “Doomsday”. Howard announced via his Twitter that he is now looking to sign with Bellator or DREAM, or “whoever makes the best offer”.
—MAIN CARD (on Pay-Per-View)—
Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber: Cruz via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben: Leben via KO (Punches), Round 1, 0:27
Dennis Siver vs. Matt Wiman: Siver via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader: Ortiz via Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 1, 1:56
Carlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun Kim: Condit via TKO (Flying Knee and Punches), Round 1, 2:58
Tomorrow night the UFC returns to The Land Down Under for its second event in the island nation with UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch, a stacked card with several potential title contention positions on the line. In the main attraction, former UFC Lightweight and Welterweight Champion “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7) takes on American Kickboxing Academy stand-out Jon Fitch (22-3) in a barn burner match-up that will decide who moves closer to a shot at the welterweight belt that seemingly is a perpetual staple of “Rush” Georges St. Pierre’s (21-2) wardrobe. The co-main event pits the face of MMA in the UK, “The Count” Michael Bisping (20-3), against dangerous knockout artist “El Conquistador” Jorge Rivera (18-7) in a match-up that will determine a top contender spot in the 185lbs. division. Additionally, Australian-born southpaw “KO” Kyle Noke (18-4-1) welcomes The Ultimate Fighter 11 alum Chris Camozzi (14-3) in his UFC main card debut while dangerous striker “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (30-17-5) faces off against fellow seasoned veteran Brian Ebersole (39-13-1). Also on the card is Australian native and The Ultimate Fighter 6 alum George Sotiropoulos (14-2) looking to keep his undefeated streak in the UFC alive as he takes on the dangerous German kickboxer Dennis Siver (17-7) in a bout that will move the victor one step closer to taking on the winner of “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) and “The Bully” Gray Maynard (10-0-1) in their championship rubber match. Let’s take a closer look at this high-stakes main card bout.
“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” — Bob Dylan
So after last week’s exciting showdown between Josh Koscheck and MMA’s most famous male nurse, Brad Tate, this weeks’ TUF had nary a glimpse of Brad. Talk about loose ends. That’s just bad storytelling. Was Brad asked to leave? Did he leave on his own? Was he there but they chose to cut him out as to not take focus away from the two fights on the show? Whatever, but you can’t just build your story up to such a dramatic showdown as TUF did last week and then just drop it like it never happened.
Kris McCray vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha: Rocha via Submission (Kneebar), Round 1, 2:21
Seth Petruzelli vs. Karlos Vemola: Vemola via TKO (Punches and Elbows), Round 1, 3:46
Kyle Noke vs. Rob Kimmons: Noke via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2, 1:33
Pascal Krauss vs. Mark Scanlon: Krauss via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Alexandre Ferreira: Matyushenko via TKO (Punches and Elbows), Round 1, 2:20
Nick Osipczak vs. Duane Ludwig: Ludwig via Split Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Goran Reljic vs. Krzysztof Soszynski: Soszynski via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Peter Sobotta vs. Amir Sadollah: Sadollah via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Andre Winner vs. Dennis Siver: Siver via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1, 3:37
Alessio Sakara vs. Jorge Rivera: N/A. Sakara withdrew from the competition due to illness.
Yushin Okami vs. Nate Marquardt: Okami via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Knockout of the Night: Karlos Vemola – $60,000
Submission of the Night: Dennis Siver – $60,000
Fight of the Night: Pascal Krauss and Mark Scanlon – $60,000 each
This Saturday, the eyes of MMA fans worldwide will be glued to the Octagon affixed in the center of the Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany in anticipation of another action-filled night that the UFC has become known for. UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami boasts a roster full of The Ultimate Fighter standouts including “The Savage” Kris McCray (5-1), “KO” Kyle Noke (17-4-1), “Slick” Nicholas Osipczak (6-2), “The Polish Experiment” Krzysztof Soszynski (20-10-1), Amir Sadollah (3-2), Andre Winner (12-4-1), Jorge Rivera (18-7), and “The Great” Nate Marquardt (30-9-2), as well as Strikeforce alum “Bang” Duane Ludwig (19-4), IFL veteran “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (24-5), and more. The main event between Marquardt and Japanese southpaw Yushin Okami (25-5) is a battle for title contention, as the winner is the next man in line for a shot at UFC Middleweight Championship, after current champ “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) faces “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-8), supposedly at UFC 126 in February.
Exactly how UFC 122 will unfold remains to be seen, but here’s what MMA Gospel staff members are predicting for the event’s main card:
German fans will receive their second visit from the UFC when the world’s premier MMA promotion brings UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami to the Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen. The main event is a middleweight title contention bout between “The Great” Nate Marquardt (30-9-2) and “Thunder” Yushin Okami (25-5). The card also includes TUF standouts “The Polish Experiment” Krzysztof Soszynski (20-10-1) and Amir Sadollah (3-2), light heavyweight prospect Goran Reljic (8-2), German native Peter Sobotta (6-2), UFC veterans Jorge Rivera (18-7) and Alessio Sakara (15-7), and what promises to be a very entertaining fight between spinning back kick aficionado Dennis Siver (16-7) and British TUF Season 9 runner-up Andre Winner (12-4-1). Both Siver and Winner have eclectic striking styles that lend themselves to all sorts of fan pleasing flare as well as underrated ground games. They also have a rather unique place among UFC fighters; they have solid records with the promotion, ensuring they are in no danger of facing one of “The Mad Butcher” Dana White’s Donald Trump-style dismissals following a loss, but haven’t put together the strings of impressive victories necessary to move further into the limelight of the stacked lightweight division.
Any show would have had trouble following the incredible card that was UFC 117: Silva vs. Sonnen. It was an action packed event that played right into the interests of almost every breed of fan; in short, it was the people’s card. At UFC 118, Dana White and the Zuffa crew followed the same elephant in the living room theme they did at UFC 117. The card was filled with loose ends that needed to be tied up. Unfortunately for Dana and the boys, UFC 118, while a solid and entertaining card, has a lame duck follow up to the bonanza that was UFC 117. The night started on Spike TV with a fight that functioned very well as a sedative between Andre Winner (12-4-1) and “The Canary” Nik Lentz (16-3-2). Lentz took lay and pray to a whole new level in his decision victory over Winner and served to set a less that enthusiastic outlook for the rest of the night. The main card started with the one sided drumming that earned Nate Diaz (12-6) and “The Irish Hand Grenade” Marcus Davis (17-7) fight of the night honors, followed by another of “The Bully” Gray Maynard’s (10-0) classic lead blanket NCAA wrestling matches against “KenFlo” Kenny Florian (13-5) and an active but uneventful ground battle between Demian Maia (12-2) and Mario Miranda (10-2). The co-main event resulted in the expected “I told you so” first round obliteration of “Lights Out” James Toney (0-1) by “The Natural” Randy Couture (19-10) and provided a brief moment of entertainment before “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1) defended his belt in a relatively dull five round tilt with “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (15-7-1). Like all cards, several fighters came out ahead, some came out behind, and some came out looking like they didn’t belong in the cage.