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.
It was the conclusion to yet another successful and entertaining season for Bellator Fighting Championships, last night docking in Caesars Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey for the bantamweight and heavyweight tournament finals and the return of UFC veteran and hometown fighter “Batman” Kurt Pellegrino (16-7) against heavy-handed Brazilian “Pitbull” Patricky Freire (4-1). ”The American Soldier” Eric Prindle (6-1) faced “Big Monster” Thiago Santos (6-1) for the Season 5 Heavyweight Tournament title and a shot against champion “The Polar Bear” Cole Konrad (8-0). Bantamweights “The Executioner” Alexis Vila (10-1) and Eduardo Dantas (9-2) faced off in the youth versus experience, speed versus power match-up. A late addition to the main card in TUF Season 8 runner-up “The Filipino Assassin” Phillipe Nover (5-4) and Polish prospect Marcin Held (12-2) started off the night with a three-round battle between the young fighters looking to steal the spotlight of the organization’s 155lbs. division. Controversial decisions and stoppages aside, the evening closed out Bellator’s fifth season with the bang that is sure to leave fans clamoring for the start of Season 6.
—MAIN CARD (on MTV2 and EPIX HD)—
Season 5 Heavyweight Tournament Finals Fight
Thiago Santos vs. Eric Prindle: Fight is ruled a No Contest due to Santos’ inadvertent groin strike
Lightweight Feature Fight
Patricky Freire vs. Kurt Pellegrino: Freire via TKO (Strikes), Round 1, 0:50
Season 5 Bantamweight Tournament Finals Fight
Alexis Vila vs. Eduardo Dantas: Dantas via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Lightweight Feature Fight
Marcin Held vs. Phillipe Nover: Held via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
The last of the Bellator Season 5 tournament finals are under way this Saturday in Atlantic City, New Jersey with the heavyweights and bantamweights taking to the cage determined to earn a bonus check to the tune of $100,000 as well as a shot at his division’s respective champion. Forty-year-old knockout artist and bantamweight underdog “The Exorcist” Alexis Vila (10-0) will face the young and wild Brazilian Eduardo Dantas (7-2) for the 135lbs. title shot against “Fun Size” Zach Makovsky (14-2). Boxing stand-out ”The American Soldier” Eric Prindle (6-1) will face the giant from Brazil in “Big Monster” Thiago Santos (6-1) for a shot at Bellator Heavyweight Champion “The Polar Bear” Cole Konrad (7-0). A treat for the locals will be the return to the cage and Bellator debut of UFC veteran and New Jersey native “Batman” Kurt Pellegrino (16-6); welcoming him to the cage is heavy handed “Pitbull” Patricky Freire (3-1). A 170lbs. bout was scheduled between former Bellator Welterweight Champion “Cyborg” Lyman Good (11-2) and Michael Costa (10-5), however a last-minute injury forced the bout off the card. Now a lightweight showdown between UFC veteran and TUF Season 8 runner up ”The Filipino Assassin” Phillipe Nover (5-3) and returning one-time Bellator veteran and Polish prodigy Marcin Held (11-2) will take the honors of opening up the Bellator 59 main card on MTV2.
—MAIN CARD (Pay-Per-View)—
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Jon “Bones” Jones: Jones via TKO (Strikes), Round 3, 2:37
Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland: Faber via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00 (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Nate Marquardt vs. Dan Miller: Marquardt via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00 (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic vs. Brendan Schaub: Schaub via TKO (Punches), Round 3, 3:44
Jim Miller vs. Kamal Shalorus: Miller via TKO (Strikes), Round 3, 2:15
—MAIN CARD (Pay-Per-View)—
UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua: 205lbs.
Title challenger Jon “Bones” Jones: 205lbs.
Urijah Faber: 135.5lbs.
Eddie Wineland: 135.5lbs.
Nate Marquardt: 186lbs.
Dan Miller: 185lbs.
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic: 229lbs.
Brendan Schaub: 245lbs.
Jim Miller: 155.5lbs.
Kamal Shalorus: 155lbs.
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 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.
The year 2010 showcased a wealth of fights and events for the mixed martial arts world to marvel over. “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1) defeated one of the greatest lightweights of all time in “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-1). Boxing great “Lights Out” James Toney (0-1) stepped into the the cage to face UFC Hall of Famer “The Natural” Randy Couture (19-10) in what was intended to determine the superior combat sport, MMA or boxing. Couture pummeled Toney for nearly three minutes of pure fan delight before submitting him via Arm Triangle Choke. The MMA world was shaken and the heavyweight rankings sent into a state of disarray when the top ranked “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-2) was handed his first legitimate loss via first round submission to Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1).
To follow up with the 2009 roster exchange agreement between the Strikeforce, DREAM, and M-1 Global MMA promotions, the UFC ended 2010 with the intake of the WEC organization. With all the memorable fights and events that have taken place in the last 12 months, 2011 is the year where prospects can become contenders, fighters inflicted with injury or tribulations return to fight their way to a title, and champions become legends.
Here are some of the top fighters to look out for in 2011.
On July 3, 2010 the UFC returned to the MGM Grand Garden Arena to determine not only the promotions heavyweight champion, but the man who many would consider the number 1 heavyweight fighter in the world. In addition to the showdown between the unbeaten interim champ Shane Carwin (11-1) and returning heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar (5-1) there were also bouts between lightweight standouts George Sotiropoulos (13-2) and “Batman” Kurt Pellegrino (16-5), a rematch between TUF alumni “American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar (12-7) and “The Polish Experiment” Krzysztof Soszynski (20-10-1), a middleweight affair between Yoshihiro Akiyama (14-3) and “The Crippler” Chris Leben (21-7), and a welterweight war featuring “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (29-17-5) and “Immortal” Matt Brown (11-9). UFC 116 delivered like no one thought possible with every fight. From the prelims to the main card every single fight delivered non-stop action and most of the bouts showcased the entire spectrum of true MMA skill sets. However, like every contest, there were winners and losers at UFC 116, but in MMA nothing is ever that simple. Some winners lose, some losers win, and some losers, well, let’s just say they lose more than just the fight. This is an analysis of who came out ahead, who came out a little rough, and who would have been better of staying at home called The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
The UFC doesn’t need my praise, or anyone else’s praise for that matter. It is the world’s top promotion. The praise belongs squarely on the fighters that stood in the cage and gave what could go down as one of the most entertaining nights in MMA history. Being the biggest dog on the block can lead to a stale product, but once again tonight proved that a promotion is only as good as the fighters it keeps.
On July 3, the UFC returns to its old stomping ground at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin. Once again, the UFC will show just how deep its roster is packing its fourth card in five weeks with several quality under card bouts and a main card that features not only the title affair between Brock Lesnar (4-1) and “The Engineer” Shane Carwin (11-0) but also a collection of fights pulled from the middle ranks of the UFC’s talent pool. The main card starts with a lightweight tilt between Australian submission fighting ace George Sotiropoulos (12-2) and New Jersey bred wrestler “Batman” Kurt Pellegrino (16-4). These two lightweights have put together impressive winning streaks in their efforts to break into the upper echelon of the division and will now meet in a battle that promises to be a fast paced affair that will be the grappling fans delight. The only question that remains is what will be the deciding factor, Pellegrino’s superior wrestling or Sotiropoulos’ more well rounded BJJ centric skill set.