The women return to Zuffa action Saturday as Strikeforce pits reigning undefeated Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey (5-0) against former champion Sarah Kaufman (15-1) in her first title defense. Supporting the championship affair is a card filled with some of the smaller Zuffa promotion’s best including a co-main event between former middleweight king “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (15-3) and Derek Brunson (9-1). Anchoring the Showtime main card is dangerous submission fighter “Sponge” Tarec Saffiedine (12-3) against knockout artist “Relentless” Roger Bowling (11-2). Lumumba Sayers (6-2) will find himself face to face with “Lionheart” Anthony Smith (16-8) in the second fight of the night and it will all kick off with a battle between red hot Tennessee journeyman “OSP” Ovince St.Preux (11-5) as he battles TJ Cook (12-4).
Dominique “Fallen Angel” Robinson is the man. We’ve had him and his friend and training partner, fighter James “9 Knuckles” Chaney on the radio show and they were both awesome cats. I’ve kept in touch with them on Twitter and when I heard they’d be out here in Vegas for Dom’s fight with Anderson Silva’s student Paulo Bananada at Superior Cage Combat 4, I had to go. The rest of the card had some impressive names too – like UFC vets Kendall Grove vs. Jay Silva in the main event.
Anyway, the kind folks at SCC gave me a press pass, despite my frequent assertions that I’m not a journalist. Hey, I’m better than a journalist; I’m a social media juggernaut. In fact, to their immense credit, when I offhandedly suggested via Twitter that they give a ticket to my Twitter friend and ammy fighter Jeff Wright, they did! All he had to do was live tweet the event and keep me company… and buy me a beer. Those last two were my stipulations. And for the record, he only lived up to the first two. He still owes me a beer.
Kendall Grove vs. Jay Silva: Silva via Technical Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke), Round 2, 1:52
John Gunderson vs. Justin Buchholz: Gunderson via Submission (Kimura), Round 3, 2:34*
Danny Davis Jr. vs. Jamie Yager: Yager via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Dominique Robinson vs. Paulo Goncalves Silva: Silva via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Brandon Bender vs. Marlin Weikel: Bender via Submission (Triangle Choke), Round 3, 2:30
Walt Harris vs. Anthony Hamilton: Harris via KO (Punches), Round 1, 1:15
Jimmy Jones vs. Joao Victor: Jones via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 3, 3:49
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.
June 11, nearly a year after their first taste, Vancouver, British Columbia will get a second dose of world class MMA as the UFC returns with a star studded card that will not disappoint the Canadian fans. Number one contender of the heavyweight title “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (12-1) will defend his right to a title shot with his lethal hands against the big man from Colorado and former title challenger “The Engineer” Shane Carwin (11-1) in the main event. Dos Santos was scheduled to meet former champion Brock Lesnar (5-2) but recent and serious health issues have prevented Lesnar from competing, and Carwin answered the call. Former two-time lightweight title challenger “Ken-Flo” Kenny Florian (13-5) will make his debut in his fourth weight class at featherweight against WEC veteran “The Gun” Diego Nunes (15-3) and both men know a victory could very well lead them to a featherweight title shot. Norway’s own BJJ black belt Jon Olav Einemo (6-1) takes on “Pee Wee” Dave Herman (18-2) in a heavyweight tilt, while a battle in the lightweight division between “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (13-4) and Vagner Rocha (5-1) kicks off the main card. A middleweight bout ties up two tacticians as former title contender and top level Jiu-Jitsu fighter Demian Maia (13-2) steps in across the cage from heavy handed brawler “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz (8-2). Both men are on two fight win streaks but only one will extend to three in their quest to capture UFC gold.
“Rampage” Quinton Jackson vs. “The Hammer” Matt Hamill: Jackson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Frank Mir vs. “Big Country” Roy Nelson: Mir via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26), Round 3, 5:00
“The Skyscraper” Stefan Struve vs. “Hapa” Travis Browne: Browne via KO (Punch), Round 1, 4:11
“All-American” Brian Stann vs. “Sandman” Jorge Santiago: Stann via TKO (Strikes), Round 2, 4:29
“The Pitbull” Thiago Alves vs. “The Horror” Rick Story: Story via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Hello, Icemigos. I hope your Thanksgiving was pleasant. I apologize for not enriching your life with a column last week but due to the holiday and the fact that nothing really happened in MMA, I decided to take a well-earned break. I trust that with the love and support of your family and friends and the knowledge that a new column would be coming your way via the magic of the interwebs, you were able to soldier on and get through that trying time. Well, rejoice, dear friends, because I’m back.
The UFC ended its twelfth season of The Ultimate Fighter last night at the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card was a fairly exciting night of lengthy bouts, most of which delivered for the entire 15 minutes. The card also featured the reemergence of two of MMA’s most heated issues. The first was the rhino in the sports living room: poor judging. The judges assigned by the NSAC were so horribly unqualified that it was borderline felonious. One decision was so ridiculous that in the following bout Joe Rogan stated that one of the fighters had easily won the round but, “If these are the same judges from the last bout the winner may be a mouse over in the corner or the lady selling beer”.
Rich Attonito vs. Dave Branch: Branch via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Fredson Paixao vs. Pablo Garza: Garza via KO (Knee), Round 1, 0:51
Will Campuzano vs. Nick Pace: Pace via Submission (Arm/Leg Triangle, “The Pace”) Round 3, 4:27
Sako Chivitchian vs. Kyle Watson: Kyle Watson via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Tyler Toner vs. Ian Loveland: Loveland via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Cody McKenzie vs. Aaron Wilkinson: McKenzie via Submission (Guillotine), Round 1, 2:03
Nam Phan vs. Leonard Garcia: Garcia via Split Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Johny Hendricks vs. Rick Story: Story via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Kendall Grove vs. Demian Maia: Maia via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Stephan Bonnar vs. Igor Pokrajac: Stephan Bonnar via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Jonathan Brookins vs. Michael Johnson: Brookins via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
—BONUSES and AWARDS—
Submission of the Night: Cody McKenzie wins $30,000
Knockout of the Night: Pablo Garza wins $30,000
Fight of the Night: Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia win $30,000 each
“The Ultimate Fighter”: Jonathan Brookins wins three-fight, six digit contract with the UFC
Rich Attonito: 185lbs.
Dave Branch: 185lbs.
Fredson Paixao: 145lbs.
Pablo Garza: 146lbs.
Will Campuzano: 136lbs.
Nick Pace: 138lbs.*
Sako Chivitchian: 156lbs.
Kyle Watson: 156lbs.
Tyler Toner: 146lbs.
Ian Loveland: 145lbs.
Cody McKenzie: 154lbs.
Aaron Wilkinson: 155lbs.
Nam Phan: 146lbs.
Leonard Garcia: 145lbs.
Johny Hendricks: 171lbs.
Rick Story: 170lbs.
Kendall Grove: 186lbs.
Demian Maia: 186lbs.
Stephan Bonnar: 205lbs.
Igor Pokrajac: 205lbs.
Jonathan Brookins: 154lbs.
Michael Johnson: 156lbs.
*Nick Pace decided not to cut the additional 2lbs. and thus forfeits 20% of his fight purse.
Saturday, December 4 marks the end of yet another season of the UFC’s flagship reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter. In this most recent season, the show’s twelfth, “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (20-2) and “Kos” Josh Koscheck (15-4) squared of as the coaches for the fourteen UFC hopefuls, but in the end, it will be two Team GSP fighters who face off for the prize. “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar (12-7) will co-headline the card against Team Cro Cop member Igor Pokrajac (15-6) with a supporting cast that includes middleweights Demian Maia (12-2) and “Da Spyder” Kendall Grove (12-7), and welterweights Johny Hendricks (9-0) and Rick Story (9-2). The card also holds the distinct honor of being the first UFC card ever to host fighters under the 155 lb. lightweight class as WEC featherweight slugger “Bad Boy” Leonard Garcia (14-6-1) faces the last man standing in the semi-finals from Team Koscheck, Nam Phan (16-7). The final two TUF cast members are GSP’s first and second picks Michael Johnson (12-6) and Jonathan Brookins (11-2), and they will fight for the UFC’s three-fight six figure contract and the title of “The Ultimate Fighter”.
Walking through the front door of the 7,000 square foot Fight Academy at 61 Valley Street in the tony, Mercedes filled neighborhood of South Pasadena, California I was immediately struck by two things; the cool urban feel of the graffiti art on the walls and the hip hop tracks playing in the background. It was clear the Fight Academy was different from the standard Dojo or gym layout that many of us are familiar with. This was not the generic, white walled, mall location Karate Academy full of heavy bags. It is instead a large converted industrial warehouse with 20 foot ceilings and exposed beams. The cavernous space holds a regulation MMA cage, two boxing ring style practice areas, heavy bags, a massive mat area fills the center of the floor with the cardio equipment at the back.
UFC on Versus: Jones vs. Matyushenko has promised to bring us a ton of action back in the pack of the UFC’s light, welter, and light heavyweight divisions. Joining a stellar card of mid-tier UFC warriors are middleweights “Thunder” Yushin Okami (24-5) and “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz (6-1). Both of these men are fighters who have proven themselves worthy of any middleweight athlete’s respect. Munoz has won three straight since his loss to “The Hammer” Matt Hamill (8-2) over a year ago, finishing two of his three opponents in a combined time of just over 10 minutes. Okami has gone 8-2 in the UFC with his only loses in the promotion coming at the hands of former champ “Ace” Rich Franklin (27-5) and current middleweight number one contender Chael Sonnen (24-10-1). Okami and Hamill both are strong wrestlers with powerful ground attacks, more than enough gas to keep up a hard pace from bell to bell, and a tendency to always seek the finish. This bout promises to be a wrestling fans dream come true, no lay and pray affair but an exciting ground fight with enough action to satisfy even the most KO hungry of the casual fans.