The latest edition of UFC on FOX takes place Saturday courtesy of New Jersey’s IZOD Center. Big” Lavar Johnson (16-5) will look to make his sophomore appearance in the organization a success when he stands against fellow banger “HD” Pat Barry (7-4). The middleweights are next as “The Talent” Alan Belcher (17-6) squares off with “Toquinho” Rousimar Palhares (14-3). Welterweights “Big Rig” Johny Hendricks (12-1) and “Kos” Josh Koscheck (17-5) square off in the co-main event. In the night’s closer, Nate Diaz (15-7) looks to tie together a three-fight win streak, but that would come at a steep price against “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (21-3). Both men have the contender status attached to their name with just cause but after Saturday, only one can make the step closer to gold.
—MAIN CARD (on Versus)—
Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry: Kongo via KO, Round 1, 2:39
Rick Story vs. Charlie Brenneman: Brenneman via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Matt Brown vs. John Howard: Brown via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Matt Mitrione vs. Christian Morecraft: Mitrione via KO (Punches), Round 2, 4:28
The third UFC event in as many weeks returns to Vancouver, British Columbia tomorrow night to rock Canadian fans a la UFC 131: Dos Santos vs. Carwin. “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (13-4) hopes to extend his three-fight win streak against UFC newcomer Vagner Rocha (5-1). In a middleweight battle, “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz and Demian Maia (13-2) will test one another’s limit where a win can launch one up into the 185lbs. title picture. Wrestling powerhouse “Pee Wee” Dave Herman (18-2) and Jiu-Jitsu black belt Jon Olav Einemo (6-1) make their debuts within the heavyweight division. But before the title elimination bout between “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (12-1) and Shane Carwin (11-1) closes out the night, a featherweight match is set when Muay Thai master “The Gun” Diego Nunes (15-3) prepares to rudely welcome former lightweight contender “Ken-Flo” Kenny Florian (13-5) down to the 145lbs. bracket. Although Florian tasted defeat in his last lightweight showing, a win over Nunes would promise an instant title shot at WEC transplant and reigning champ “Junior” Jose Aldo (18-1). Florian’s last hopes to make a convincing drive all comes at this fight but the controlled chaos of Nunes’ stand-up is going to do whatever it takes to make sure the engine crashes and burns.
Feast or Famine. Such is life. Such is MMA. I think over the last week there were about 738 fights. UFC on Versus: Kampmann vs. Sanchez, Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson, Bellator 35 aka The Welterweight Tournament, Chicago Cagefighting Championship with lovable Twitter Smartass/Badass Felice Herrig and the venerable legend and fan favorite Jens “Lil Evil” Pulver headlining. GASP! That’s too much, Billy!! ( From Buffalo 66 http://twitpic.com/4784p3 ) See, now you’re all in on my references. And yes, for the record, I shot that from my TV & uploaded it, just so you would get the reference. I love you that much… Well, either that or I was just procrastinating. Tomato – Tomahto.
So what do I do? Do I focus on a few key fights and ignore everything else or do quick thoughts on everything? Decisions, decisions. Damn, the new season of The Ultimate Fighter is coming up soon and I’ll have that to add to everything else to write about. I need a nap.
The third installment of UFC: Live on Versus gave the fans of Louisville, Kentucky and viewers at home all the bang without the buck this past Thursday night. More acquisitions from the WEC/UFC merger made their UFC debut and put their divisions on high alert, a newcomer made his UFC debut within weeks of taking a fight on short notice, two middleweights pleaded their case on their ascension to the top of the 185lbs. division mountain, and two welterweights battled in a possible “Fight of the Year” candidate. Though the undercard also had its share of the action, here are some possible match-ups that should happen for the victors off the UFC: Live on Versus 3 main card.
“Last Call” Danny Castillo (10-3) defeats “Daddy” Joe Stevenson (31-12) via Unanimous Decision
Able to survive Stevenson’s takedown attempts and patented Guillotine Chokes, “Last Call” Castillo passed his first UFC test with flying colors. The Facebook-featured match showcased Castillo besting Stevenson with wildfire striking and staggering the former lightweight challenger during the 15-minute contest. If approaching the closing bell there were any doubt beset as to who the fight would have gone to, the final takedown of the match was executed by the former WEC standout “Last Call” and accompanied by Stevenson receiving an unwelcome rain of fists from above, further aiding in handing him his third loss in a row.
Todd Brown vs. Igor Pokrajac: Pokrajac via TKO (Knees and Punches), Round 1, 5:00
Rousimar Palhares vs. David Branch: Palhares via Submission (Heel Hook), Round 2, 1:44
Dongi Yang vs. Rob Kimmons: Yang via TKO (Punches), Round 2, 4:47
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Reuben Duran: Mizugaki via Split Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Thiago Tavares vs. Shane Roller: Roller via KO (Punches), Round 2, 1:28
Lost amid all the backwash of UFC 127 and the numerous discussions of the drama involved therein, one can find a card stacked with new talent and old favorites as the UFC gives fans their third free card to be broadcast on the Versus network tomorrow night. UFC on Versus 3: Sanchez vs. Kampmann features a great sampling from the lightweights with a fight between “Daddy” Joe Stevenson (31-11) and “Last Call” Danny Castillo (9-3) and pulls two excellent match-ups from the organization’s middleweight roster with “Legionarius” Alessio Sakara (15-7) vs. Chris Weidman (4-0) and “The Doberman” CB Dollaway (11-2) vs. “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz (7-2). Slated for main event duty are long time welterweight stand-outs “The Nightmare” Diego Sanchez (22-4) and “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (17-4) in a bout that may lock a future contendership contest for the winner. The UFC has not forgotten the deep roster of top flight smaller fighters it brought into the fold from the WEC either with UFC on Versus 3, either. A bout of particular interest to fans of the now-defunct UFC sister organization will take place in the newly formed UFC bantamweight division as “The Angel of Death” Damacio Page (10-6) steps up to redeem himself in a rematch against the once beaten former king of the division, Brian Bowles (8-1) who has not been seen since losing the WEC belt in March of 2010. Both men are coming off losses and have a lot to prove to their new bosses and the tried and true WEC fans can’t wait to see them do it.
Just five days after the world’s premier MMA organization delivered in a big way in Sydney, Australia with UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch, the UFC returns stateside to Louisville, Kentucky’s 1 Arena Plaza for UFC on Versus 3. Headlined by The Ultimate Fighter’s first champion “The Nightmare” Diego Sanchez (22-4) and the Dutch kickboxing expert “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (17-4), the UFC’s third free offering on the former home of the WEC also features “The Doberman” CB Dollaway (11-2), “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz (7-2), “Legionarius” Alessio Sakara (15-7), Chris Weidman (4-0), Brian Bowles (8-1), and “The Angel of Death” Damacio Page (10-6). Also slated for the fans’ viewing pleasure is a solid lightweight bout between two men with something to prove to Dana White and the UFC brass. “Daddy” Joe Stevenson (31-11) is the TUF Season 2 winner and a one time title contender with a UFC record of 8-6, but has gone 3-4 since failing to capture the lightweight belt, carries back-to-back loses into this fight, and desperately wants to prove he’s still relevant in the UFC’s deepest division. “Last Call” Danny Castillo (9-3) is a 5-3 WEC transplant who understands that he needs to win and win impressively if wants to keep his spot of the UFC lightweight roster, arguably the most prestigious single division roster in the sport.
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.
The UFC sets out tonight to show their appreciation for the men and women of the United States Armed Forces once again with the second installment of UFC Fight for the Troops at Fort Hood, Texas. The card features several prominent names and UFC veterans including “Handsome” Matt Wiman (12-5), dangerous boxer “The Mexicutioner” Joey Beltran (10-3), heavyweight fan favorite “Hype or Die” Pat Barry (4-3), WEC veteran “The Machine” Mark Hominick (18-7), “The Thrashing Machine” Tim Hague (10-4), and The Ultimate Fighter alums “Meathead” Matt Mitrione (3-0), George Roop (11-5-1), and “Magrinho” Cole Miller (17-4). For the main event, the UFC has provided the troops with a sure fire action packed crowd pleaser between two of the most promising young lightweights in the organization’s journeyman ranks with “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard (25-8-2) taking on top prospect Evan Dunham (10-1). Guillard enters the bout riding a three fight win streak and a 5-1 record since 2008 after a rocky start following his stint on TUF Season 2. Dunham steps into the cage looking to redeem himself after suffering his first loss in a very narrow and controversial Split Decision against “The Muscle Shark” Sean Sherk (34-4-1) at UFC 119 in August. Both men have exciting styles and every reason to go for broke in their quest to prove they belong at the top of the lightweight division.
The MGM Grand Garden will host the UFC’s annual New Year’s card, UFC 125: Resolution. The marquis bout between “The Bully” Gray Maynard (10-0) and “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1) is the fight perhaps most prominent on the fans’ minds but there are several rather notable matches on the card as well. Thiago Silva (15-2), “The Truth” Brandon Vera (11-5), “The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi (29-7), “The Carpenter” Clay Guida (27-11), “The Crippler” Chris Leben (21-7), and Brian Stann (9-3) help round out the card, but one of the more interesting Pay-Per-View bouts features welterweight warriors Nate Diaz (12-6) and “Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim (10-4). The Stockton, California native and brother of Strikeforce champion “El Diablo” Nick Diaz (23-7) takes on the tough and well rounded Korean-born Hyun Kim, who is unbeaten in the UFC, in a race for a chance at welterweight king “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (21-2). Both men are dynamic ground fighters with contrasting clinch fighting styles that will make for a very interesting battle to the mat.
So, UFC 124. Man, you twitterers were brutal. You had a big bucket of salt ready for my wounds. It’s like that, huh? Well, let me state for the record that I’m not Tomas Rios. I don’t sit here and smugly tell you exactly how I think the fight is going to down like it’s law and then turn out to be wrong. I’m asked by MMA Gospel to make my picks with the rest of the staff and I do so. Sometimes I’m confident in my picks, sometimes not. For UFC 124, I thought the picks were exceptionally hard. Especially since… look, anyone can pick all the favorites and the odds will likely play out in their favor. That doesn’t make you a genius. I decided to pick all underdogs but with valid reason. Like I said, if I was betting my life savings I wouldn’t have made the same picks but where’s the fun in that?
So let me break down UFC 124 but with my reasoning for making the picks I made included.
With UFC 124 in the books, the MMA world has again turned to its typical speculation over the fight results that go beyond a mere victory or defeat. In the case of UFC 124, the fighters on the card set out to prove just why it is that every card is important and every fight has an effect on the division in which it is fought. This event was condemned by many as “being all about one fight” or “the UFC putting together a shitty undercard because they knew the main event would sell it out” and the vast majority of the MMA community felt that the card would have little or no impact on the UFC big picture. Those naysayers were wrong. UFC 124 provided the MMA community with a comeback, a second chance, and at least two solid title contenders. However it also sent several men back to the drawing board or worse, potentially out of the UFC.
Pat Audinwood vs. John Makdessi: Makdessi via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
TJ Grant vs. Ricardo Almeida: Almeida via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Matt Riddle vs. Sean Pierson: Pierson via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Jesse Bongfeldt vs. Rafael Natal: Draw, Round 3, 5:00
—LIVE ON UFC.COM—
Mark Bocek vs. Dustin Hazelett: Bocek via Submission (Triangle Choke), Round 1, 2:33
Joe Doerksen vs. Dan Miller: Miller via Split Decision, Round 3, 5:00
—MAIN CARD on PPV—
Thiago Alves vs. John Howard: Alves via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Joe Stevenson vs. Mac Danzig: Danzig via KO, Round 1, 1:54
Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira: Miller via Submission (Kneebar), Round 1, 1:59
Stefan Struve vs. Sean McCorkle: Struve via TKO, Round 1, 3:55
Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck: St. Pierre via Unanimous Decision, Round 5, 5:00
Knockout of the Night: Mac Danzig wins $100,000
Submissions of the Night: Mark Bocek (vs. Dustin Hazelett) and Jim Miller (vs. Charles Oliveira) each win $50,000
Fight of the Night (decided by fans): Georges St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck each win $100,000
Tonight, “Kos” Josh Koscheck (15-4) will step into the Octagon to fight for the welterweight championship for a second time against dominant champion “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (20-2). The card beneath them is filled with several quality match-ups featuring fellow welterweights “The Pitbull” Thiago Alves (16-7) and “Doomsday” John Howard (14-5), lightweights “Mongoose” Jim Miller (18-2), Charles Oliveira (14-0), “Daddy” Joe Stevenson (31-10), and Mac Danzig (19-8-1), and heavyweights “Skyscraper” Stefan Struve (17-4) and “Big Sexy” Sean McCorkle (10-0), but the bout may as well stand alone atop the Pay-Per-View card. The hype surrounding this title fight is of a magnitude unseen since UFC 100, eclipsing even the Chael Sonnen (24-11-1)/”The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) fight at UFC 117. This fight is the perfect storm of marketing factors that hits every angle a fight possibly can. GSP is a beloved champion fighting on his home soil against “Kos”, a figure so easy to hate that his presence alone incites the rage of MMA fans – especially Canadian ones. They are fighting a rematch backed not only by the UFC marketing dynamo but by a season’s worth of animosity created by The Ultimate Fighter. It even exploits the international angle by pitting an American against an international opponent. The UFC could easily have raised their PPV price another 10 bucks and scrapped every other bout on the card and still set buy rate records with this fight, and the fact that these two athletes truly are the best two welterweights in the world ensures that the fight will live up to what should be the UFC’s crowning marketing achievement.