The UFC returns to the bayou when UFC Fight Night 25 takes place once again in New Orleans, Louisiana this Saturday night. Former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion and top contender Jake Shields (26-5-1) plans to get back into his winning ways when he meets fellow wrestling powerhouse “Juggernaut” Jake Ellenberger (24-5). “New Breed” Erik Koch (12-1) is charged with the task of welcoming back fellow featherweight Jonathan Brookins (14-1) in a promising fast-paced battle. In the co-main event, fan favorite TUF 11 winner “Crusher” Court McGee (11-1) takes on one of the silent killers of the middleweight division, “The Ox” Dongi Yong (5-1). Among all the action though, UFC veteran “The Athlete” Jason MacDonald (23-14) brings his crafty ground game to the cage when striking extraordinaire “The Talent” Alan Belcher (16-6) returns to face him after a lengthy lay-off. Belcher has been absent from combat for some time but his stand-up game is the weapon of choice he can always rely on. MacDonald might be creeping into the elder years in respect to MMA competition but with a tight submission game, Father Time might have to take a backseat for now as athleticism tries to shut down talent.
“The Predator” Patrick Cote (15-7), a man known for his powerful strikes and iron chin, is back to his winning ways with two solid decisions over former UFC fighters Kalib Starless (12-5) and “Bulldog” Todd Brown (15-4) following his release from the UFC last fall following a three-fight skid. Cote has been fighting in his homeland of Quebec, Canada under the promotion Ringside MMA where he is not only making his stock rise, but also putting fans in seats at every show in which he’s featured. Although his long term goal is to fight under the UFC banner once again, there are several other career choices he could take to get back on top, as he may benefit from dominating elsewhere prior to returning to the promotion that made his name.
It is no secret that “The Predator” wants to rejoin the ranks of the UFC’s middleweight roster, but will they even take him back after one or two more wins? With the buyout of Strikeforce, Cote could find himself in the hands of Scott Coker and neck deep in the talent rich 185lbs. division against the likes of Tim Kennedy (14-3), champion “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (13-2), and heavy handed slugger “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7). Needless to say, the California-based promotion would provide Cote with ample opportunity to shine. However, Cote would likely have to prove his worth against the up-and-comers before being permitted to once again step into the cage with the big dogs. A light heavyweight in his early career days with Canadian promotion TKO, Cote is a sizable middleweight. He has even won titles in both weight classes with the most notable coming at 185lbs. against “Dooms” Jason Day (16-10) and “The Athlete” Jason Macdonald (23-14). While it’s safe to say that “The Predator” is at home in the middleweight division, his frame does suggest that he could seek a new dawn in his career as a welterweight where his sizable stature may offer a distinct advantage.
One of Canada’s top MMA promotions, The Fight Club (TFC), brings its fans in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada TFC 12: Devastation on Friday, December 10. The Shaw Conference Centre plays host to a promising card featuring ten bouts, including two TFC title fights featuring a handful of Canadian MMA superstars like former TFC Light Heavyweight Champion and Maximum Fighting Championship (MFC) veteran “The Matrix” Victor Valimaki (16-6) taking on Karl Knothe (16-5) for title contention. Top contenders “Farmer” Craig Brown (7-3) and Chase Dagenhardt (4-1) were originallly scheduled to fight for the title but due to an injury to Dagenhardt and Brown’s upcoming January fight at Wreck MMA against “Dooms” Jason Day(16-10), the fight has been scrapped. The new main event scheduled to be a five round fight for the TFC’s vacant middleweight belt is now between “Chainsaw” Chad Cox (5-2) taking on Nick Hinchliffe (17-6). A battle between welterweights Sheldon Westcott (4-0) and Cleburn Walker (9-5) and a women’s MMA bout between Sy Jewett (2-0) and Anna Barone (1-2) help shore up the card alongside appearances from Jordan McKay (3-1) and undefeated Rio Wells (3-0).
A tumultuous week for Strikeforce has finally come to an end…hopefully. The “Henderson vs. Babalu” event this Saturday was in serious jeopardy when over the past six days three of its bouts, including two from the main card, were scrapped due to fighter injuries. The promotion scrambled to find last-minute replacements to fulfill the ten-fight card Strikeforce promised its fans. Fill-ins “Semtex” Paul Daley (22-10-2) and “MAK” Mike Kyle (14-7-1) stepped up to the plate to take on “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-7) and “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (13-2), respectively. Today it was announced that Strikeforce has filled its tenth and final slot with a match between “The Razor” Benji Radach (19-5) and Ovince St. Preux (8-4). The two fighters will meet in a welterweight match-up as the premier bout on the main card, which was originally intended for Herschel Walker (1-0) vs. Scott Carson (4-1).