The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to the States after last weekend’s showing in Sweden with the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia hosting UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans this Saturday night. Journeyman “The Natural” John Alessio (34-10) returns to the UFC for the fourth time to challenge Jiu-Jitsu artist Mark Bocek (10-4). “The Filipino Phenom” Eddie Yagin (15-5-1) will match up against fellow featherweight “The Machine” Mark Hominick (20-10). Heavyweight action graces Atlanta when “The Hybrid” Brendan Schaub (8-2) stands opposite IFL veteran “Big” Ben Rothwell (31-8). The welterweight division is bound for a change in scenery when “Ares” Rory MacDonald (12-1) meets British sensation “Beautiful” Che Mills (14-4) in the co-main event. Closing out the night is a long-awaited fight as friends-turned-foes collide as current light heavyweight champion “Bones” Jon Jones (15-1) takes on another former champ in “Suga” Rashad Evans (17-1-1). Bantamweight action anchors the main card with “Mayday” Michael McDonald (14-1) battling former WEC 135lbs. king “Angel” Miguel Torres (40-4). McDonald has been making serious waves in what is considered a young career while the tested Torres has always been a big dog in the bantamweight division’s yard. McDonald has the weapons needed to get the job done but Saturday night will be presented his stiffest challenge to date.
Some people watch The Ultimate Fighter purely for the fights and don’t like the reality TV element. These people tend to be party-pooping wet blankets who think that they’re too good for a little mindless voyeuristic entertainment. Either way, the stuffy “purists” were treated to almost two hours of nothing but fights on the Season 14 premiere of TUF on Wednesday. The fights were pretty solid – as to be expected from bantamweight and featherweight fighters.
February 6, 2010. Mandalay Bay Events Center – Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC 109: A bag of ice spilled all over the Octagon in the corner of Ronnys Torres in between rounds. Joe Rogan filled the time while the cornermen tried to clean the ice up by doing a play-by-play of the chaos. Many were amused – myself included. Three days later, yours truly was born on Twitter.
Yes, icemigos, this Wednesday will be the one year birthday/anniversary of the SBoI Twitter account being born. I believe my first tweet was “Don’t blame me, @JoeRogan. I’m helpless to the laws of gravity!” From there, the UFC added me to their official fighters list and Mr. Rogan tweeted about me and soon I had an audience. I never intended to have an audience nor did I ever imagine that any of the crazy ride that the last year has been would’ve happened. Once I had an audience I realized that I also had a voice. Smart ass commentary on the world of MMA that would now be appreciated because it would be read by MMA fans who would actually get my references. Try making a Krazy Horse or Nick Diaz’s bong joke to the general public. Guess what? Most of them don’t get it. Sad, I know, but true. Then again, I attribute all the awesome stuff that has happened as a result of starting the SBoI account to the fact that I didn’t have an agenda other than to have people think I’m funny and enjoy it. I didn’t set out to be a “journalist” and clearly, I still don’t. I didn’t set out to write a column or be on MMA radio shows or to get to meet Phil Baroni and his awesome dog. I merely wanted people to be like “That dude writes some funny ass tweets.” But as the wise man says: “Do what you love and the rest will follow.”
The night before the Green Bay Packers won their thirteenth national football championship, the Ultimate Fighting Championship gave fans a night to remember with one of the most action packed and talent stacked cards of the promotion’s storied existence. UFC 126 saw middleweight king “The Spider” Anderson Silva (28-4) remind the world why he is the greatest living fighter on the planet when he faced former light heavyweight champion “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-9). It saw the return of Forrest Griffin (18-6) and ascendance of “Bones” Jon Jones (12-1). Most importantly, it saw the UFC again abolish all doubt that it is in fact the single MMA superpower in the world and reassert itself as peerless as a promotion. However, it also saw several fighters fall short of their expectations and still more fall further from glory. MMA Gospel explores this with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
—PRELIMINARY CARD (Un-aired)—
Kenny Robertson vs. Mike Pierce: Pierce via TKO (Punches), Round 2, 0:29
Ricardo Romero vs. Kyle Kingsbury: Kingsbury via TKO (Punches), Round 1, 0:21
Gabe Ruediger vs. Paul Taylor: Taylor via KO (Head Kick and Punches), Round 2, 1:42
—FACEBOOK LIVE STREAM—
Demetrious Johnson vs. “KID” Norifumi Yamamoto: Johnson via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Michihiro Omigawa vs. Chad Mendes: Mendes via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Paul Kelly vs. Donald Cerrone: Cerrone via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2, 3:48
—MAIN CARD (Pay-Per-View)—
Antonio Banuelos vs. Miguel Torres: Torres via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Carlos Eduardo Rocha vs. Jake Ellenberger: Ellenberger via Split Decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Ryan Bader vs. Jon Jones: Jones via Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 2, 4:20*
Rich Franklin vs. Forrest Griffin: Griffin via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00 (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Vitor Belfort vs. Anderson Silva: Silva via KO (Strikes), Round 1, 3:25**
*In the wake of his victory, the UFC made the surprise announcement that Jon “Bones” gets the next shot at UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (19-4) at UFC 128 in five weeks. The original challenger, “Sugar” Rashad Evans (15-1-1), dropped out of the fight due to a knee injury.
**Silva retains the UFC Middleweight Championship belt after his record breaking eighth consecutive title defense and 14th consecutive victory.
Tomorrow night the UFC brings its live audience at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada and the millions watching worldwide on Pay-Per-View one of the most stacked cards in UFC history with UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort. The event showcases a wealth of electrifying match-ups including former WEC warriors “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (12-4) and Miguel Torres (37-3) gracing the UFC Octagon for the very first time and taking on British slugger Paul Kelly (11-3) and Antonio Banuelos (18-6), rising stars “Bones” Jon Jones (11-1) and “Darth” Ryan Bader (12-0) in a light heavyweight clash, NCAA wrestling coach “The Juggernaut” Jake Ellenberger facing dangerous submission expert Carlos Eduardo Rocha (9-0), and two former champions battling it out for light heavyweight supremacy following an inactive 2010 with Forrest Griffin (17-6) and “Ace” Rich Franklin (27-5). The highly anticipated main event pits UFC Middleweight Champion and arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) against deadly striker “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort. Anderson has been not only invincible in the UFC, but damn near untouchable. The lone hiccup in his UFC career came when he was controlled for nearly five rounds by Chael Sonnen (24-11) at UFC 117 but turned the tables and finished his opponent in the closing minutes with a Triangle Choke. Anderson Silva is riding a thirteen fight win streak including a flawless 12-0 record inside the UFC, and tomorrow night will make his record breaking eighth title defense. Vitor Belfort on the other hand more or less earned his title shot with one recent win inside the UFC over Rich Franklin at a catch-weight. He has however won five in a row, but is very middling (7-5) in his past twelve fights, compared to a perfect dozen victories that Anderson Silva has put up. Come the conclusion of UFC 126 tomorrow night, either Anderson Silva walks out of the cage with the middleweight title belt rightfully cinched around his waist for the ninth consecutive time, leaving any questions about his skill and dedication answered, or the world’s most recognizable UFC champion will have fallen and given way to a new era in the 185lbs. division with the vicious striker Vitor Belfort as its reigning king.
—PRELIMINARY CARD (Un-aired)—
Kenny Robertson: 170lbs.
Mike Pierce: 172lbs.*
Ricardo Romero: 205lbs.
Kyle Kingsbury: 205lbs.
Gabe Ruediger: 155lbs.
Paul Taylor: 156lbs.
—FACEBOOK LIVE STREAM—
Demetrious Johnson: 136lbs.
“KID” Norifumi Yamamoto: 135lbs.
Tomorrow night the UFC brings its fans an astounding night of mixed martial arts action with UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort. The stacked card features former WEC fighter “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (12-4) taking on British slugger Paul Kelly (11-3), submission expert Miguel Torres (37-3) making his UFC debut against fellow former WEC bantamweight Antonio Banuelos (18-6), top contenders “Darth” Ryan Bader (12-0) and “Bones” Jon Jones (11-1) in a light heavyweight tilt, International Fight League (IFL) and BodogFIGHT veteran Jake Ellenberger (22-5) squaring off against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Carlos Eduardo Rocha (9-0), and in the main event, “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) makes a record breaking eighth title defense, this time against dangerous striker “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-8). One of the more thought-provoking fights on this card though is a light heavyweight clash between two former champions: Forrest Griffin (17-6) and “Ace” Rich Franklin (27-5). Griffin and Franklin are two very capable fighters that also happen to be two of the most popular fighters on the UFC’s roster – they’re also incredibly evenly matched, thus making it difficult to predetermine the ultimate outcome of this main card bout. Let’s have a crack at it.
This Saturday the UFC presents the fans with UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort from its home stomping grounds at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card features the biggest threat to “The Spider” Anderson Silva’s (27-4) middleweight crown to date as he takes on the blistering hand speed and undeniable power of “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-8), as well as a host of other great match-ups. Forrest Griffin (17-6) will be making his long awaited return to the Octagon against the man that Silva took the middleweight title from in 2006, “Ace” Rich Franklin (27-5), and light heavyweight superstar “Darth” Ryan Bader (12-0) will put his undefeated record on the line against the man Bruce Buffer called “the next Muhammad Ali”, “Bones” Jon Jones (11-1). Also in action are former WEC warriors “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (12-4) and Miguel Torres (37-3) as they make their UFC debuts against Paul Kelly (11-3) and Antonio Banuelos (18-6), respectively. The last main card combatants are the NCAA wrestling coach “The Juggernaut” Jake Ellenberger (22-5) and his opponent, the deadly submission fighter Carlos Eduardo Rocha (9-0). The match is a test for both men, as Ellenberger saved his reputation by defeating up-and-coming prospects and Rocha is just such a prospect looking to send a message to the rest of the welterweight division.
Dan Griffin, MMA Gospel CEO
Donald Cerrone vs. Paul Kelly: Kelly via TKO, Round 2
Miguel Torres vs. Antonio Banuelos: Torres via TKO, Round 1
Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader: Jones via TKO, Round 2
Jake Ellenberger vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha: Rocha via Submission (Heel Hook), Round 2
Forrest Griffin vs. Rich Franklin: Griffin via Unanimous Decision, Round 3
Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort: Belfort via KO, Round 1
Mallory Mejia, MMA Gospel Editor-in-Chief
Donald Cerrone vs. Paul Kelly: Kelly via TKO, Round 2
Miguel Torres vs. Antonio Banuelos: Torres via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2
Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader: Jones via TKO, Round 2
Jake Ellenberger vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha: Rocha via Submission (Kneebar), Round 1
Forrest Griffin vs. Rich Franklin: Franklin via TKO, Round 3
Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort: Silva via TKO, Round 4
Superbowl Sunday is undoubtedly one of the biggest sports day of the year, and to conclude the NFL 2010-2011 season the Pittsburgh Steelers will meet the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, February 6 in Dallas, Texas. However, on the eve of the big game, the UFC will be hosting one of the biggest mixed martial arts shows of the year live from its hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada in the form of UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort. The event is considered to boast the most stacked card since UFC 100, with former WEC bad boy “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (12-4) facing Wolfslair Academy graduate Paul Kelly (11-3), fan favorite Miguel Torres (37-3) making his UFC debut against fellow former WEC bantamweight Antonio Banuelos (18-6), a collision between former champions with Forrest Griffin (17-6) facing “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) defending his belt for a record eighth time against dangerous striker “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-8). Another bout on this star studded fight card features a match-up between arguably two of the premier young light heavyweights in the world, when Jackson’s Submission Fighting trained “Bones” Jon Jones (11-1) meets undefeated The Ultimate Fighter 10 alum “Darth” Ryan Bader (12-0). The lone blemish on Jones’ record came via disqualification due to some illegal elbows in a fight he was dominating against “The Hammer” Matt Hamill (9-2). The winner of this fight will most certainly be considered a top five light heavyweight in the UFC, if not the world.
Before the Packers and Steelers take to the turf at Cowboys Stadium for Super Bowl XLV, the UFC follows up their New Year’s card with another stacked night of fights at UFC 126. In the main event, Middleweight Champion “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) puts his title on the line again for the record breaking eighth time against a striker of his caliber, “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-8). Two former champions collide when Forrest Griffin (17-6) meets who many consider to be his mirror image, “Ace” Rich Franklin (27-5), in a battle that can set the pace for their title contentions. Wrestling powerhouse Jake Ellenberger (22-5) welcomes prominent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu artist Carlos Eduardo Rocha (2-0) to the main card after his preliminary debut at UFC 122. “Bones” Jon Jones (11-1) will finally duke it out against fellow rising star “Darth” Ryan Bader (12-0) with one fighter being shot up into the highest echelon of the light heavyweight class. But before these UFC stand-outs grace the neon lights of Las Vegas, two products of the UFC/WEC merger will test each other when WEC favorites Miguel Angel Torres (37-3) and Antonio Banuelos (18-6) make their UFC debut. Familiar or not with the WEC, these two bantamweights promise to give the viewers a treat to start off the Super Bowl weekend.
The WEC has promised to go out with a bang with WEC 53 tomorrow night. The promotion has headlined its finale event with a title fight between “Smooth” Ben Henderson (11-1) and “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (12-1), and has shored up the card with the likes of “Prince of Persia” Kamal Shalorus (6-0-2), “Bartimus” Bart Palaszewski (34-14), “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (11-4), “The Polish Hammer” Chris Horodecki (16-2), “The Mongolian Wolf” Zhang Tie Quan (8-0), and “Danny Boy” Dan Downes (6-1). The co-main event of the evening pits WEC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz (15-1) against fan favorite “Young Guns” Scott Jorgensen (10-2) in a bout that won’t be just for the WEC title, but also the for newly minted UFC bantamweight belt. Cruz has proven to be unstoppable at 135 with his speed, strikes from all angles, and endless gas tank, but will the grit and power of Jorgensen be enough to dethrone the champion?
The UFC has given the sports-loving demographic yet another reason to be glued to a big screen TV on Superbowl weekend in the form of UFC 126. Lightweight “Hands of Stone” Sam Stout (16-6-1) vs. Britain’s Paul Kelly (11-3) has just been added to the card already featuring the long awaited UFC Middleweight Championship battle between current champ “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) and “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort, as well as allegedly offering fan favorite Forrest Griffin (17-6) taking on “Ace” Rich Franklin (27-5), light heavyweight title contenders “Darth” Ryan Bader (12-0) and “Bones” Jon Jones (11-1), Antonio Banuelos (18-6) facing former WEC Bantamweight Champion Miguel Torres (37-3), and Jake Ellenberger (22-5) vs. Jon Fitch (22-3)*. The event will air live from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 5.