It was a busy weekend for the UFC as they closed out not one but two seasons of The Ultimate Fighter, with UFC on FX 6 closing out The Smashes between Australia and the UK and The Ultimate Fighter 16 Live Finale marking the end of the Nelson vs. Carwin season. Both cards stepped away from the historical format of TUF finale cards in that neither featured a majority of the season’s cast members and instead framed the finale bouts and coaches’ showdown with more relevant bouts. The results both sent a message to the MMA world and had a much greater impact on the state of affairs in the UFC compared to other finale events. Aside from the outside-the-cage impacts that the cards had, they were, all things considered, a pair of solid MMA offerings that are a cut above what fans have come to expect in the finales. Also a bonus for MMA fans, the impact of having an electric finale follow a lackluster season as opposed to the usual finale that fails to live up to its hype should result in an overall TUF product from here out as the UFC puts renewed emphasis on fighters fighting to win as opposed to fighting not to lose while in the house by taking a few of the finale slots traditionally reserved for runners up and giving them to more relevant bouts.
The Ultimate Fighter may be struggling to retain its relevance in the USA, but The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes, featuring emerging fighters from the UK against the best journeymen Australia has to offer, has from all accounts been a resounding success. Friday night, just 24 hours prior to the finale of its American counterpart, the second international season of The Ultimate Fighter will come to a close as coaches George Sotiropoulos (14-4) faces off against “The Real Deal” Ross Pearson (13-6). Australian superstar and former Bellator Middleweight Champion “Shango” Hector Lombard (31-3-1) will make his sophomore UFC effort in a middleweight tilt with dangerous submission machine “Toquinho” Rousimar Palhares (14-4). Rounding out the card are the two TUF: The Smashes finale bouts featuring Brad Scott (8-1) against Robert Whittaker (9-2) at welterweight and “Freakshow” Colin Fletcher (8-1) against “Stormin’” Norman Parke (16-2) at lightweight.
The Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden hosts the UFC’s second installment of UFC on Fuel TV this Saturday with UFC on Fuel 2: Gustafsson vs. Silva. The bantamweights start off the main card as “The Angel of Death” Damacio Page (15-6) clashes with “One Punch” Brad Pickett (20-6). Ultimate Fighter alumni “The Darkness” DaMarques Johnson (15-9) takes on fellow welterweight “The One” John Maguire (17-3). Paulo Thiago (14-3) is charged with the task of welcoming long awaited prospect “The Killer” Siyar Bahadurzada (20-4-1) in his UFC debut in the welterweight division. In the co-main event, “Legionarius” Alessio Sakara (15-8) and “The All-American” Brian Stann (11-4) are set to engage in a middleweight match-up. Thiago Silva (14-2) makes his return to action after a year long lay-off to take on the hometown hero, “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (13-1) in the main event. In the middle of all this action, two featherweights are set to meet when “The Gun” Diego Nunes (17-2) welcomes Dennis Siver (19-8) from the lightweight division. With both men being strikers at heart who refuse to back down, it is a fight that all will be dying to watch.
—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
UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch is in the books following a very entertaining night of mixed martial arts action highlighting some of the best fighters in the world. The card continued the UFC’s recent trend of exciting throwdowns that began earlier this year in stark contrast to the multiple events that fell flat in the fans’ eyes at the close of 2010. The card featured several pages from every fans’ MMA story book with emerging competitors, underdog victories, classic striker vs. grappler matches, and even the dreaded “to be continued” cliff hanger fight, this time the main event majority draw between “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-2) and Jon Fitch (22-3-1). Of course, it wouldn’t be the UFC without some sort of controversy to set the fans against the judges, various fighters, and themselves, and UFC 127 provided that with a horribly botched preliminary fight decision, the aforementioned draw which immediately sets each fighter’s fans against each other, and a questionable rules violation followed by some post-fight antics that may have been ill advised. Some fighters can crawl through the muck and come out clean on the other side, others couldn’t save puppies from a burning building and repair what they did to their reputations here. To sort them out is The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Mark Hunt vs. Chris Tuchsherer: Hunt via KO (Punches), Round 2, 1:41
Curt Warburton vs. Maciej Jewtuszko: Warburton via Unanimous Decision, Round 3 (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Tiequan Zhang vs. Jason Reinhardt: Zhang via Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 1, 0:48
Anthony Perosh vs. Tom Blackledge: Perosh via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1, 2:45
Australia will get its second helping of UFC action tomorrow night as the world’s premier MMA promotion returns with UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch. The card kicks the night off with a good ole’ fashioned slugfest as The Ultimate Fighter alums Chris Camozzi (14-3) and “KO” Kyle Noke (18-4-1) take the cage. The night follows with a rematch between “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (30-17-5) and Brian Ebersole (39-13-1) before launching into back-to-back fights with potential title implications as Dennis Siver (17-7) faces George Sotiropoulos (14-2) and “El Conquistador” Jorge Rivera (18-7) squares up with the vocal British TUF product “The Count” Michael Bisping (20-3). However, the fight on everyone’s mind is the main event clash between two polar opposites as the mercurial finishing machine “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-1) faces the consistently effective grinder Jon Fitch (22-3). Fans all seek to learn whether or not a trip to welterweight is what BJ needed to take his career seriously again and nothing would prove that better than following his brutal 21 second KO of Matt Hughes (43-8) with a win over Fitch. Fitch has other plans though as a win over arguably the most talented fighter of all time would put him right in line for a second shot at the title held by the only man to defeat him in nearly a decade, “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (21-2).
Tonight the UFC rocks Acer Arena in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia with UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch. The evening promises to be electrifying with a main card studded with potential for brutal knockouts, breathtaking submissions, and “Fight of the Night” honors with former lightweight and welterweight champion “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-1) again moving up to the welterweight division to take on American Kickboxing Academy phenom and Guerilla Jiu-Jitsu black belt Jon Fitch (22-3). Also on the roster is The Ultimate Fighter 6 alum and Australian native George Sotiropoulos (14-2) facing German kickboxing champion Dennis Siver (17-7) in a lightweight bout of the classic striker vs. grappler match-up, and “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (30-17-5) welcomes UFC newcomer but seasoned veteran Brian Ebersole (39-13-1) to the Octagon after an offering from “KO” Kyle Noke (18-4-1) and Chris Camozzi (14-3) kicks off the evening. The co-main event, however, offers perhaps the best chance to see “Knockout of the Night” with two famed strikers going head-to-head with British slugger “The Count” Michael Bisping (20-3) teeing off against “El Conquistador” Jorge Rivera (18-7). With long-time UFC Middleweight Champion “The Spider” Anderson Silva (28-4) systematically picking off his challengers one-by-one, both Bisping and Rivera look to take one step closer to earning a shot at the UFC’s coveted 185lbs. title.
—Main Card (Pay-Per-View)—
Jon Fitch: 77.2kg (169.8lbs.)
BJ Penn: 76kg (167.2lbs.)
Michael Bisping: 84.2kg (185.2lbs.)
Jorge Rivera: 84kg (184.8lbs.)
George Sotiropoulos: 70.8kg (155.8lbs.)
Dennis Siver: 71.2 kg (156.6lbs.)
Chris Lytle: 77.2kg (169.8lbs.)
Brian Ebersole: 77.2kg (169.8lbs.)
Chris Camozzi: 84.2kg (185.2lbs.)
Kyle Noke: 83.6kg (183.9lbs.)
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.
UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch goes down under to the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia to follow their astounding reception at UFC 110 one year ago. Jon Fitch (22-3) takes on “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-1) in the hopes of further supporting his position as the next definite welterweight contender. The face of MMA in England, “The Count” Michael Bisping (20-3) will clash with “El Conquistador” Jorge Rivera (18-7) who returns to the cage after two consecutive TKO victories. George Sotiropoulos (14-2) enjoys a home-field advantage when he meets one of the lightweight division’s most lethal kickboxers Dennis Siver (17-7). The opening bout features two The Ultimate Fighter standouts American Chris Camozzi (14-3) and Australian-born “KO” Kyle Noke (18-4-1) seek to raise their stock in the middleweight division. In one of the more highly decorated battles, “Bad Boy” Brian Ebersole (39-13-1) steps in to replace “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit (26-5) when his baptism by fire into the UFC is hosted by fan-favorite “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (30-17-5).
Dan Griffin, MMA Gospel CEO
George Sotiropoulos vs. Dennis Siver: Sotiropoulos via Submission (Kneebar), Round 2
Chris Lytle vs. Brian Ebersole: Lytle via TKO (Strikes), Round 1
Mallory Mejia, MMA Gospel Editor-in-Chief
George Sotiropoulos vs. Dennis Siver: Siver via TKO (Kicks and Punches), Round 2
Chris Lytle vs. Brian Ebersole: Lytle via TKO (Ground-and-Pound), Round 2
Gary Friedman, MMA Gospel Radio Host
George Sotiropoulos vs. Dennis Siver: Sotiropoulos via Unanimous Decision
Chris Lytle vs. Brian Ebersole: Lytle via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2
This Saturday night the UFC treks across the globe to Sydney, Australia for a second time as “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-1) takes on Jon Fitch (22-3) to headline UFC 127. The card presents an outstanding smack talk-driven bout between “The Count” Michael Bisping (20-3) and Jorge Rivera (18-7) as well as bouts featuring the crowd pleasing warriors Dennis Siver (17-7), George Sotiropoulos (14-2), and “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (30-17-5) in addition to the UFC debut of IFL veteran Brian Ebersole (39-13-1). As usual, the UFC has decided to showcase some local talent for the Aussie fans and joining Sotiropoulos and Mark Hunt (5-7) on the list of Australian fighters is The Ultimate Fighter 11 semi-finalist “KO” Kyle Noke (18-4-1). Opposite the former Xtreme Fighting Championship (XFC) champion will stand American prospect and Noke’s one time TUF cast mate Chris Camozzi (14-3). The pairing should prove a real crowd favorite as both men like to trade leather and keep things moving on the mat.