The UFC returned to the MGM Grand Garden Arena for the first time in six months to deliver their traditional New Year’s card. This time, the fans were treated to a five-round war of attrition between Cain Velasquez (11-1) and “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (15-2) for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Leading up to the main event was the “Fight of the Night”, a bloody three-round battle between elite lightweight grapplers “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (22-8) and “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (22-4). Unfortunately for both the UFC and the fans, the opening three bouts were nowhere near as exciting. Constantinos Philippou (12-2) scored a third-round TKO over “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (16-5) in the anchor fight. “Thunder” Yushin Okami (28-7) used his Judo and wrestling to shut down “The Talent” Alan Belcher (18-7), but he also shut down the audience as the fight dragged on at an abysmally slow pace. “The Crippler” Chris Leben (22-9) returned to the Octagon to face Strikeforce transplant Derek Brunson (10-2) in the opening bout, but his lay-off appeared to have greatly affected him and the combined performance of Brunson and Leben prompted Dana White to apologize for putting the fight on the main card. The main event was good, the anchor was bad, and the opening bout was just ugly, but the fighters themselves and how they fared may be a different story.
As MMA’s 2012 calendar year draws to a close, the UFC returns from its globe-trot to its home in Las Vegas for UFC 155: Dos Santos vs. Velasquez II on December 29. The MGM Grand Garden Arena plays host to a night of thrilling fights including “The Crippler” Chris Leben (22-8) returning to the Octagon against Derek Brunson (9-2). “The Talent” Alan Belcher (18-6) looks to stake his title claim at middleweight against “Thunder” Yushin Okami (27-7). Another surging middleweight, “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (16-4), takes on Serra-Longo prospect Constantinos Philippou (11-2). “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (22-7) looks to keep his win streak alive against the always-tough Jim Miller (21-4). The marquee fight closes out the year perfectly as the UFC Heavyweight Championship is put on the line in a rematch of arguably the two toughest heavyweights on the planet in champ “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (15-1) and the man from whom he took the title, Cain Velasquez (10-1).
The UFC will return to the combat sports superfight Mecca that is the MGM Grand Garden Arena for its annual New Year’s event, set to take place on December 29. The world’s premier MMA organization has once again scheduled a major title contention for the main event, pitting reigning heavyweight king “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (15-1) against the man he captured the crown from, Cain Velasquez (10-1). Opening the night’s festivities is a sure-fire crowd pleaser as “The Crippler” Chris Leben (22-8) returns after a year-long suspension to take on Strikeforce transplant Derek Brunson (9-2). Next out “Thunder” Yushin Okami (27-7) will look to build a winning streak by ending the current four-fight run of “The Talent” Alan Belcher (18-6). “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (16-4) will collide with another middleweight on a four-bout hot streak, Constantinos Philippou (11-2), and lightweight submission wizards Jim Miller (21-4) and “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (22-7) will meet in the night’s co-main. Recent history has not been kind to either lightweight and each is eager to put a 1-1 2012 behind them.
The UFC closes out the mixed martial arts action for 2012 on a high note with UFC 155, as heavyweight king “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (15-1) and Cain Velasquez (10-1) face off one more time to claim the heavyweight title as their own. Co-main event duties are handed to “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (22-7) and “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (21-4) in a possible “Fight of the Night” candidate. “The Talent” Alan Belcher (18-7) will try to keep his rise in the middleweight division alive as he takes on “Thunder” Yushin Okami (27-7) in a rematch from their organizational debut. Derek Brunson (9-2) makes the jump from Strikeforce to the UFC 185lbs. division with “The Crippler” Chris Leben (22-8) waiting to greet him. In the middle of all the action, “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (16-4) takes on short notice Constantinos Philippou (11-2). Each are riding a wave of success so far in the division but once they’re locked in the cage together, only one is guaranteed to see themselves take a step up in the middleweight food chain.
December 19 the UFC closes out its 2012 back at the MGM Grand Garden Arena with UFC 155 live and direct on Pay-Per-View. “The Crippler” Chris Leben (22-8) greets 185lb. Strikeforce transplant Derek Brunson (9-2) in the card’s opener. “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (16-4) meets Constantinos Philippou (11-2) in a pivotal match-up for both men. The pace is going to be set to “frantic” and “erratic” in the co-main event when fan favorites and submission artists “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (22-7) and “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (21-4) collide in a lightweight showdown. In the main event, Cain Velasquez (10-1) will seek redemption as he tries to take the heavyweight title back from the man that took it from him and handed him his first loss: “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (15-1). Before this tale of revenge gets played, one more rematch is in order when “Thunder” Yushin Okami (27-7) takes on “The Talent” Alan Belcher (18-6) once again. It was Okami who proved triumphant in their debut at UFC 62 in 2006 but with six years passing and experience gained, Belcher is looking to even the score.
The UFC returns to its home base at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 29 for the annual New Years card. UFC 155 will feature a rematch for the UFC Heavyweight Championship between “Cigano” Junior dos Santos (15-1) and Cain Velasquez (10-1). Also on the slate, Jim Miller (21-4) pits his submission skills against those of “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (22-7). “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (16-4) will continue his rise up the middleweight ranks against the always dangerous Constantinos Philippou (11-2) with each man’s four-fight streak on the line. “Thunder” Yushin Okami (27-7) will do battle with another middleweight who has had his title hopes derailed by a few key losses, “The Talent” Alan Belcher (18-6). Opening the card is a middleweight bout between another pair of middleweights who have found themselves in an interesting sort of career limbo. Out of the cage legal screw-ups have set “The Crippler” Chris Leben’s (22-8) career back almost as much as his recent losses. Derek Brunson (9-2) came into MMA strong with a 9-0 start before a bad career decision completely derailed his hype train before he rolled into a loss against the former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion. Each man needs to right the ship at the other’s expense.
The UFC’s youngest champion “Bones” Jon Jones (16-1) returns Saturday night to defend his light heavyweight title against seasoned veteran “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (21-9) as the main event for UFC 152. Toronto, Ontario, Canada will further see the crowning of the first UFC Flyweight Champion when “Mighty Mouse” Demetrious Johnson (15-2-1) and Joseph Benavidez (16-2) meet in the co-main event. “The Hammer” Matt Hamill (10-4) returns from retirement for another go in the 205lbs. division as he welcomes native countryman “The Hulk” Roger Hollett (13-3) into the UFC. The Pay-Per-View card opens up with exciting featherweight action when WEC veteran Cub Swanson (17-5) takes on submission specialist “Do Bronx” Charles Oliveira (16-2) . The card’s anchor is worthy of headliner status, with middleweights “The Count” Michael Bisping (22-4) and “The All-American” Brian Stann (12-4) primed for battle.
The world’s premiere mixed martial arts organization returns from a month-long hiatus as the UFC presents UFC on FUEL TV 2 live from the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden this Saturday. “The Angel of Death” Damacio Page (15-6) and “One Punch” Brad Pickett (20-6) open up the main card with bantamweight action. ”The One” John Maguire (17-3) takes on “The Darkness” DaMarques Johnson (15-9) in a welterweight exhibition. “The Killer” Siyar Bahadurzada (20-4-1) makes his long awaited UFC debut when he takes on the very dangerous Brazilian submission specialist Paulo Thiago (14-3). Featherweights collide when “The Gun” Diego Nunes (17-2) takes on Dennis Siver (19-8) in a “Fight of the Night” frontrunner. Before Thiago Silva (14-2) and “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (13-1) battle it out in the card’s headliner, they will have to try to surpass the bar set by “Legionarius” Alessio Sakara (15-8) and “The All-American” Brian Stann (11-4) in the co-main event. Stann and Sakara are two of the middleweight’s top names with the damage to show. However, only one of them can climb higher up the division’s ladder after their showdown in Stockholm.
The UFC brings MMA action to Saitama, Japan for their latest production of UFC 144 this Saturday night. In the main event, “Smooth” Ben Henderson (14-2) will attempt to add the UFC lightweight title to his mantle when he takes on current champion, “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (14-1-1). “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (31-9) will make his return to Japan for the first time since his PRIDE FC days when he battles fellow power hitter “Darth” Ryan Bader in the co-main event (13-2). It is a kickboxer’s dream match-up when “Super Samoan” Mark Hunt clashes with fellow heavyweight Cheick Kongo (17-6-2). “Thunder” Yushin Okami (26-6) will meet with “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (14-4) in the middleweight division in a return match since his attempt at the 185lbs. strap. Submission-savvy Hatsu Hioki (23-4-2) and seasoned vet “Bartimus” Bart Palaszewski (35-14) will lock horns and in the card’s opener, “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (14-2) and “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-6) will engage in a lightweight showcase. The middleweight highlight of the card is between one of Japan’s favorite sons, “Sexyama” Yoshihiro Akiyama (14-5), and American wrestling stand-out Jake Shields (26-6-1). Each competitor has dealt with a persistence of loss but when they are locked within that eight-sided cage, the stakes could not be any higher to come out with a win.
After a momentous showing in their FOX network debut, the UFC’s latest installment takes back to Pay-Per-View with UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson. Light heavyweight action is set to take place when “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar (13-7) and “Kingsbu” Kyle Kingsbury (12-2) prepare to engage in a promising back-and-forth battle. “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (17-5) tries to break back into the winner’s circle but fellow welterweight “The Horror” Rick Story (11-3) will pit his own skill set against the Dane to send him to the back of the line. The pace quickens when the bantamweights are present, especially when former champions “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (25-5) and Brian Bowles (10-1) are pitted against one another. In the main event, it is a PRIDE FC dream match when former UFC light heavyweight champ “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-5) welcomes former PRIDE middleweight and Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion “Hendo” Dan Henderson (28-8) back to the Octagon. The co-main event though has all the potential to steal the show when the latest Strikeforce transplant Cung Le (7-1) makes his organizational debut against the legend of the sport “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (34-11-1). Le has been a force in Strikeforce’s middleweight division but when he enters against Silva, he will face a different level of aggression that he has yet to face.
The UFC’s most recent trip across the pond has concluded and UFC 138 is in the books following solid performances from several veterans and a few newcomers to the organization. The main event saw TUF Season One mainstay “The Crippler” Chris Leben (22-9) fell to “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz (10-2), WEC veteran “One Punch” Brad Pickett (19-6) was put away quickly by the red hot Renan Barão (9-1) who has won 27 straight bouts since 2005 when his many unregulated bouts in Brazil are considered, and perennial welterweight top talent “Pitbull” Thiago Alves (18-8) handed Papy Abedi (5-1) his first loss. The main card as a whole went rather quickly; in fact, after the opening bouts saw Terry Etim (15-3) submit “Falo” Edward Faaloloto (5-2) in under 20 seconds and “The Hippo” Anthony Perosh (12-6) choke out “The Snake” Cyrille Diabate (17-8-1), only 22 minutes and 41 seconds of action took place in the cage.
Chris Leben vs. Mark Munoz: Munoz via TKO (Corner Stoppage), Round 2, 5:00
Brad Pickett vs. Renan Barão: Barão via Submission (Neck Crank), Round 1, 4:09
Thiago Alves vs. Papy Abedi: Alves via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1, 3:32
Cyrille Diabaté vs. Anthony Perosh: Perosh via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2, 3:09
Terry Etim vs. Edward Faaloloto: Etim via Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 1, 0:17
This Saturday night the LG Arena in Birmingham, England will welcome the UFC back to the UK for the first time since UFC 120 in October of last year. After several planned events failed to materialize, UFC 138 came through for the British fans with not only the city’s second helping of action from the always exciting “The Crippler” Chris Leben (22-8), but the UFC’s first ever five-round non-title bout, a practice that is to become the norm for all main events. Squaring off with Leben is powerhouse middleweight ground-and-pounder “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz (9-2) who is riding high on three straight wins. Kicking things off is a match between “The Snake” Cyrille Diabate (17-7-1) and “The Hippo” Anthony Perosh (11-6) and other bouts include “Pitbull” Thiago Alves (17-8) vs. Papy Abedi (5-0), Terry Etim (14-3) vs. “Falo” Edward Faaloloto (5-2) and “One Punch” Brad Pickett (19-5) vs. Renan Barao (8-1). The card has gone through many renovations as multiple injuries have cost the UFC at least three main card fights, however, the card should still shine through as an excellent night of MMA action.