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.
On September 22 the UFC returns to Toronto, Ontario, Canada for UFC 152 at the AIR Canada Center. The headlining feature fight brings UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Bones” Jon Jones (16-1) to his fourth title defense against the former UFC Heavyweight Tournament Champion and former Light Heavyweight Champion, “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (21-9). Former WEC bantamweights Joseph Benavidez (16-2) and “Mighty Mouse” Demetrious Johnson (15-2) fight for the first ever UFC flyweight title in the co-main event of the evening. England’s own ”The Count” Michael Bisping (22-4) takes on the familiar role of the villain against a real American hero and former WEC Light Heavyweight Champion “All-American” Brian Stann (12-4) in a middleweight bout that will send the winner into title contention talks. “The Hammer” Matt Hamill (10-4) returns from a 13-month retirement to face a late replacement in MFC veteran ”The Hulk” Roger Hollett (13-3) in a 205lbs. tilt that will surely produce fireworks for the Tornoto crowd. Starting off the night is a battle in the featherweight division as surging star Cub Swanson (17-5) looks for three consecutive wins as he faces “Do Bronx” Charles Oliveira (16-2) and his arsenal of dangerous submissions.
The UFC follows up on its best FOX card to date with a highly anticipated Pay-Per-View as UFC 150 comes out of Denver, Colorado’s Pepsi Center this Saturday night. Featherweights set the pace when “Blessed” Max Holloway (5-1) and the undefeated “The American Kid” Justin Lawrence (4-0) kick off the five-fight main card. “Thunder” Yushin Okami (26-7) will try to return to the winner’s circle when he takes on Buddy Roberts(12-2). It’s a battle of submission specialists when “Short Fuse” Ed Herman faces former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields (26-7). Before “Smooth” Ben Henderson (16-2) makes his first title defense against the man he took the title from, “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (14-2-1), the co-main event sees teammates-turned-foes when “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard (30-10-2) steps across the cage from “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (18-4). Both used to stand side-by-side at the world-renowned Jackson’s MMA but now that the camaraderie has ceased, each is looking to use the other as a stepping stone to elevate in rank.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship sets up shop at Atlantic City, New Jersey’s Revel Casino on Friday night to present UFC on FX 4. “The Real Deal” Ross Pearson (13-5) battles Cub Swanson (16-5) in the main card’s opening bout. The highly eccentric veteran “Bad Boy” Brian Ebersole (49-14-1) will take on submission ace TJ Waldburger (15-6) in the welterweight division. The co-main event sees the final battle of an epic rivalry as “Hands of Stone” Sam Stout (17-7-1) and “The King” Spencer Fisher (24-8) battle it out once again with each man hoping to break the tie in this famous trilogy. Rounding off the card though sees another pivotal match-up in the 155lbs. division as “The Carpenter” Clay Guida (29-11) takes on his fellow contender “The Bully” Gray Maynard (10-1-1). Each man has stumbled in their past endeavors but with the lightweight division as competitive as ever, it’s crucial at this point for each fighter to come out on top.
The UFC took broadcast network airwaves for the third time last night as UFC on FOX 3 delivered another excellent showing for hardcore and casual fans alike. In the main event, Nate Diaz (16-7) further asserted his place as a top lightweight with a dominant submission win over “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (21-4). The co-main saw “Big Rig” Johny Hendricks (13-1) emerge as a title contender with a hard-fought win over his second perennial top 10 opponent, “Kos” Josh Koscheck (17-6). Submission ace “Toquinho” Rousimar Palhares (14-4) saw his hype train definitively derailed by “The Talent” Alan Belcher (18-6), and Strikeforce transplant “Big” Lavar Johnson (17-5) made his presence known with a brutal TKO of “HD” Pat Barry (7-5). As in every show, there were winners and there were losers. To sort them out, MMA Gospel has The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
The following fight bonuses were awarded for UFC on FOX: Diaz vs. Miller
Submission of the Night:
Nick Diaz (over Jim Miller) receives $65,000
Knockout of the Night:
Lavar Johnson (over Pat Barry) receives $65,000
Fight of the Night:
Louis Gaudinot and John Lineker each receive $65,000
Click here for the full list of UFC 145 results.