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.
All good things must come to an end. In this case, the good thing is the Strikeforce promotion that has essentially served as a UFC feeder league, as well as a home for those high profile fighters on the Zuffa poo-poo list, since its inception. The California-based, Zuffa-owned promotion will lock its cage doors one last time Saturday night as “The Great” Nate Marquardt (32-10-2) defends his Strikeforce Welterweight Championship for the first and only time against dangerous submission fighter “Sponge” Tarec Saffiedine (13-3). Co-headlining the event is Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion Daniel Cormier (10-0) who will face “The Soldier” Dion Staring (28-7). “The Warmaster” Josh Barnett (31-6) will make his first appearance since losing in the finals of the Grand Prix as he goes toe-to-toe with “The Hun” Nandor Guelmino (11-3-1) in the anchor bout, and “The Dream Catcher” Gegard Mousasi (32-3-2) will face the always dangerous “Mak” Mike Kyle (19-8-1). Opening duties for the main card fall squarely on the shoulders of “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (16-3) who looks to continue rebuilding his title dreams at the expense of “Short Fuse” Ed Herman (20-8).
The card has been afflicted by a slew of injuries and has undergone multiple replacements but is now set in stone as UFC 149 comes live out of the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on June 21. “The Menace” Chris Clements (11-4) takes on “Deep Waters” Matt Riddle (6-3) in the main card opener. “Bad Boy” Brian Ebersole (50-14-1) steps in on short notice to take on James Head (8-2) in a welterweight battle. Heavyweight action is set for the Canadian crowd as “The Savage” Shawn Jordan (13-3) and Cheick Kongo (17-7-2) are locked to do battle in the card’s anchor. In the main event, “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (26-5) will clash with the always lethal Renan Barao (28-1-1) with the interim bantamweight title on the line. The co-main event has its own share of buzz surrounding it as “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (15-4) replaces an injured “All American” Brian Stann to welcome the long-awaited UFC debut of former Bellator champion “Lightning” Hector Lombard (31-2).
It started in April of 2011 at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley. “Mak” Mike Kyle (15-8) was set to face former DREAM middleweight king and former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi (32-3). However, a broken hand that Kyle suffered in his near upset loss to heavyweight “Big Foot” Antonio Silva (15-3) sidelined him from the fight. Again the two were set to face each other in September 2011 at the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Semi-Finals, but this time it was Mousasi who withdrew from the fight. Now, after a year of trying to come to the same crossroads, the two veterans will finally face each other in the Strikeforce cage.
Strikeforce hits the ground running in 2012 as it dishes out MMA action this Saturday night from the Hard Rock Cafe and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The California-based promotion’s veterans welcome new faces to the main card and hope to stake their claim within their respective divisions. Knockout artist ”The Evolution” Tyler Stinson (22-7) takes on “The Sponge” Tarec Saffiedine (11-2) in the main card’s opener. One of the welterweight division’s top dogs, “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (11-0) collides with the fast rising Jordan Mein (22-6). “The Monsoon” Lorenz Larkin (11-0) takes a step out from the Strikeforce: Challengers series to face his stiffest test to date, “King Mo” Muhammed Lawal (8-1). Just as many who watch NASCAR hope to see a crash, the casual MMA observer comes to watch someone get knocked out and with Adlan Amagov (2-0) and “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-8) suited against each other, the crowd should be on the edge of their seats. Middleweight gold is up for grabs in the main event when champion Luke Rockhold (8-1) defends his newly earned title for the first time against “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine (16-9-2). Strikeforce has stepped up its game over the past several years, and if this card is any indication of what’s to come, fans are in for an exciting year.
Paul “Semtex” Daley is arguably the hardest hitting Welterweight in MMA. Nick Diaz began his fight with “Semtex” Saturday night by walking towards him, taunting him with his hands down at his side. That’s some crazy shit. Crazy like a fox? I think so. Diaz showed the cocky Brit how cocky is done – 209 style. But there’s definitely a method to Diaz’s madness. The conventional wisdom was that Diaz should try to get the fight to the ground where Daley is weakest and the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu master has a huge advantage… but Nick Diaz ain’t no bitch. He’s said as much on many occasions. Nick doesn’t change the way he fights based on his opponent. He comes out, starts trash talking, looks for his openings and begins picking his opponent apart with his unorthodox but accurate and effective striking and if the fight happens to go to the ground, well, he’s certainly okay with that too.
Strikeforce’s latest showcase in San Diego, California last night put its stamp down in the Sunshine State. In the wake of recent tragedies, a Japanese submission machine took on one of the sport’s most colorful personalities as a message to stay strong to his native homeland. A fighter steps in on short notice to challenge a former champion in the hopes of regaining success under one of the largest promotions in the world. Two lightweights meet again in a rematch from their former PRIDE days, only this time a ten-pound strap of gold and pride is on the line. In the main event, a man bearing explosive striking from across the ponds takes on the hometown champion with the goal of stealing a title. With Strikeforce cards known not to pull any punches, here’s a recap of the events that took place. Added along is a look as to who the victors might see themselves standing against sometime soon.
—MAIN CARD (Showtime)—
Main event: Strikeforce Welterweight Championship
Nick Diaz vs. Paul Daley: Diaz via TKO (Strikes), Round 1, 4:57
Co-main event: Strikeforce Lightweight Championship
Gilbert Melendez vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri: Melendez via TKO (Elbows), Round 1, 3:14
Gegard Mousasi vs. Keith Jardine: MAJORITY DRAW (29-27, 28-28, 28-28), Round 3, 5:00
Shinya Aoki vs. Lyle Beerbohm: Aoki via Submission (Neck Crank), Round 1, 1:33
Strikeforce is set to take over Showtime this Saturday night with another full card of promising fights. Kicking off the main card, the master of flying submissions Shinya Aoki (19-5) returns to take on Lyle Beerbohm (15-1) who seeks to get back in the winner’s circle after tasting defeat for the first time back in February. UFC veteran “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine (15-9-1) steps in on a week’s notice to take on current DREAM Light Heavyweight Champion “The Dreamcatcher” Gegard Mousasi (24-3-1). The lightweight title is up for grabs when “El Nino” Gilbert Melendez (18-2) faces beloved Japanese grappler “Crusher” Tatsuya Kawajiri (26-5-2). With San Diego saturated with already main-event worthy fights, British slugger “Semtex” Paul Daley (23-10-2) hopes to get his hands on another professional title when welterweight champion “Diablo” Nick Diaz (23-8) greets him in the headlining match. Capturing the title will prove Daley to be truly one of the top players of the game but with the recent tear Diaz is on, winning is easier said than done. Will it be a successful sophomore effort in Strikeforce for the lethal British brawler or will the native of “the 209” add another win to his growing streak? Let’s have a closer look at this match-up.