—MAIN CARD (on NBC Sports Network @ 9:30pm ET)—
Andrei Arlovski vs. Anthony Johnson: Johnson via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Tyson Nam vs. Marlon Moraes: Moraes via KO (Head Kick and Punches), Round 1, 2:55
Paulo Filho vs. David Branch: Branch via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Josh Burkman vs. Aaron Simpson: Burkman via KO (Knee and Punches), Round 1, 3:04
Gesias Cavalcante vs. Justin Gaethje: Gaethje via TKO (Doctor Stoppage – Cut), Round 1, 2:27
The dreaded “injury bug” in MMA is nothing new, but recently the problem seems to have come to a head. UFC 151 was a card that had already been plagued with injuries when one half of its headliner, “Hendo” Dan Henderson (29-8), pulled out with a very late injury. After much scrambling and some controversial decisions by a few parties, the event was canceled. UFC 153 was saved from one injury when “New Breed” Erik Koch (13-1) was replaced by featherweight-come-lately “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (14-3) to face 145lbs. kingpin Jose Aldo (21-1). UFC 153 would not avoid further injuries, however. Both co-main events were marred when “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (32-10) and Jose Aldo pulled out within hours of each other with respective ailments. It has left the UFC, fans, and the media in an absolute stupor, with everyone voicing any number of opinions and solutions for this problem. Some point to over-training as the root of the problem. They suggest the idea of shorter notice fights that will in turn, lead to shorter training camps and less likelihood of injuries. Others go to the extreme of suggesting PRIDE-style late fight announcements to prevent the debacle of constantly switching out injured opponents – not exactly feasible for a juggernaut like the UFC. Others suggest scaling back the ever-growing number of cards the UFC puts on every year, allowing more opportunities for better stacked cards where undercard fights can take center stage when emergencies arise. But there is a much broader opportunity that can benefit both fighters and promotions. A fighter’s walking weight could be the solution to the injury bug problem.
The Garden State hosts mixed martial arts action Saturday night as East Rutherford, New Jersey’s IZOD Center is the battleground for UFC on FOX 3. Submission specialist “Toquinho” Rousimar Palhares (14-3) takes on stand-up extraordinaire “The Talent” Alan Belcher (17-6) in the opening bout of the main card. Expect heads to fly as the heavyweights take to the cage when “HD” Pat Barry (7-4) collides with fellow striker “Big” Lavar Johnson (16-5). In the main event “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (21-3) gets the homefield advantage when he challenges Nate Diaz (15-7) in a pivotal match-up in the lightweight division. “Kos” Josh Koscheck (17-5) and “Big Rig” Johny Hendricks (12-1) will meet before the night’s end in the co-main event. Koscheck has always been held high in the welterweight picture and looks to re-establish himself as a viable contender. Hendricks, on the other hand, is finally coming into his own and will look to keep the “Big Rig” moving on all gears.
It’s been three days since Nick Diaz lost to Carlos Condit for the interim UFC welterweight title. Three days of controversy, outrage and suffering…Well, for me it was suffering. I wanted Nick to win. I wanted Nick to fight Georges St. Pierre and to beat him. I wanted the fearless, scrappy kid from Stockton to overthrow the Canadian golden boy and bring some excitement and “fuck you” attitude back to MMA.
However, unlike most Nick Diaz fans, I couldn’t find solace in thinking that the loss was a “robbery” or that Condit just “ran away” the whole fight because both of those sentiments are ridiculous. I’m blessed and cursed with having the ability to see things from a lot of different angles and perspectives and not just the ones that fit into my desired reality. So, it’s not so easy for me to come to terms with certain things without that ability to just ignore certain facts. But after days of absorbing everything that I saw Saturday night as I sat in my awesome seats at Mandalay Bay like a pimp and all the different points of view that fans have shared via that beautiful yet diseased harlot I like to call “the internet”, I’ve got some things worked out. I suffer, struggle, and come up with answers and now share them with you so that you may be saved. Kinda like Jesus… okay, exactly like Jesus.
The UFC has come and gone and the once deafening roar of the Brazilian crowd is now silenced following an electric night of first-round stoppages at UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes. Headlining the all too brief card was UFC Featherweight Champion “Junior” Jose Aldo (20-1) who successfully defended his title in front of a fanatical hometown crowd by blasting the title dreams, consciousness, and undefeated record of “Money” Chad Mendes (11-1) into non-existence with a brutal knee strike. Former UFC Heavyweight Tournament and Light Heavyweight Champion “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (21-9) came to the cage looking dangerously eager to face ill-fated former welterweight “Rumble” Anthony Johnson (10-4) and made quick work of his foe, submitting “Rumble” with a Rear Naked Choke. “Toquinho” Rousimar Palhares (16-5) sent a clear message to the rest of the division against Mike Massenzio (13-6) as he added yet another vicious Heel Hook submission win to his record. Controversy filled the air when Erick Silva (8-3) completely destroyed Carlo Prater (28-11-1) in just 29 seconds only to have his victory taken from him as referee Mario Yamasaki ruled the bout a disqualification due to illegal strikes. The opening fight of the night saw British brawler Terry Etim (15-4) suffer one of the most spectacular KO losses in MMA history as Edson Barboza (10-0) nailed him square on the jaw with a spinning hook kick. In a night where all but one bout fails to go past the first round, it is very clear who the winners and losers are, but divining the level to which those victories and defeats impact a fighter’s career takes The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
—MAIN CARD (on Pay-Per-View)—
Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes: Aldo via KO (Knee), Round 1, 4:59
Vitor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson: Belfort via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1, 4:49
Rousimar Palhares vs. Mike Massenzio: Palhares via Submission (Heel Hook), Round 1, 1:03
Erick Silva vs. Carlo Prater: Prater via DQ (Illegal Blows to the Head), Round 1, 0:29
Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim: Barboza via KO (Spinning Hook Kick), Round 3, 2:02
While the main event at UFC 142 will be an exciting championship clash of top featherweights, the co-main event of this card features a most intriguing catchweight clash between two of the most prominent fighters in the UFC. “Rumble” Anthony Johnson (10-3) was slated to make his middleweight debut, facing off against tough veteran and former light heavyweight champion “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (20-9). Both fighters will be looking for not only a win, but for a chance to re-establish themselves as elite fighters in the world’s premier MMA promotion. This is Belfort’s fifth fight in the 185lbs. class, but he will have his hands full with the “rookie” to the division in Johnson.
—MAIN CARD (on Pay-Per-View)—
Jose Aldo: 145lbs.
Chad Mendes: 144lbs.
Vitor Belfort: 186lbs.
Anthony Johnson: 197lbs.*
Rousimar Palhares: 186lbs.
Mike Massenzio: 184lbs.
Erick Silva: 169lbs.
Carlo Prater: 170lbs.
Edson Barboza: 154lbs.
Terry Etim: 155lbs.
The UFC makes its return to Brazil this Saturday with UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes. After a sell-out night in August at UFC 134, the Zuffa brass move to strike again as undefeated Edson Barboza (9-0) looks to add another tic to his win column as he takes on Terry Etim (15-3), an Englishman with intentions of stringing together his own winning streak. Welterweight “Indio” Erick Silva (8-2) is making his second appearance in the UFC, this time against MMA journeyman and Strikeforce, WEC, Legacy FC, and Shine Fights veteran “Neo” Carlo Prater (27-11). Brazil’s submission hulk “Toquinho” Rousimar Palhares (15-5) is looking to make it three in a row against the tough and determined Mike Massenzio (13-5). Devastating striker and former champion “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (20-9) steps into the Octagon in front of his hometown crowd for the first time in well over a decade to face middleweight debutee “Rumble” Anthony Johnson (10-3). The main event of the evening sees top ranked pound-for-pound fighter and UFC featherweight king “Junior” Jose Aldo (19-1) defend his title against undefeated Team Alpha Male fighter “Money” Chad Mendes (11-0). Aldo is known for his explosive stand-up including crippling kicks and devastating knees, but will it be enough to overcome the wrestling pedigree of Mendes?
The first UFC offering of 2012 comes to fans this Saturday in the form of UFC 142 where UFC Featherweight Champion “Junior” Jose Aldo (19-1) will defend his belt against “Money” Chad Mendes (11-0). The card marks the organization’s second return to the country of Brazil since the beginning of the Zuffa era and, as is often the case when the UFC travels abroad, it features a majority of fighters from that country. “Toquinho” Rousimar Palhares (15-5) will take on American middleweight Mike Massenzio (13-5), “Indio” Erick Silva (8-2) will face off with fellow Brazilian “Neo” Carlo Prater (27-11-1), and Edson Barboza (9-0) will put his undefeated record on the line against British striker Terry Etim (15-3). Serving as the co-main event is a middleweight match-up with a serious impact on the top of the division’s food chain. Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and UFC 12 Tournament winner “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (20-9) will seek to further erase his loss to current champion “The Spider” Anderson Silva (29-4) by knocking out former welterweight contender “Rumble” Anthony Johnson (10-3) who will be making his 185lbs. divisional debut.