On May 26 the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will shake under the weight of the all-heavyweight card, UFC 146: Dos Santos vs. Mir. Headlining the collection of giants is none other than UFC Heavyweight Champion “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (14-1) as he puts the most prized title on the line against former two-time heavyweight champion Frank Mir (16-5). Former UFC heavyweight king Cain Velasquez (9-1) returns to the cage to welcome Strikeforce veteran “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (16-3) to the Octagon. Powerful undefeated boxer Stipe Miocic (8-0) will tee off against fellow knockout artist and M-1 and Strikeforce veteran Shane del Rosario (11-0). Opening the card and coming off his May 5 knockout over “HD” Pat Barry (7-5) looking to make it three wins in a row inside the UFC is “Big” Lavar Johnson (17-5) as he faces UFC veteran “Skyscraper” Stefan Struve (23-5). Playing the anchor role is a bout between battle-tested striker “Pee Wee” Dave Herman (21-3) and former IFL champ “Big Country” Roy Nelson (16-7) in a match that will surely put in a bid for “Fight of the Night”. Each man is looking to break into the title picture that the UFC has filled with top ten talents and each must face a stiff test to get there.
The welterweights went to war last night at the popular Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut in front of a welcoming crowd. Eight men entered the Bellator circle as part of the Season 6 Welterweight Tournament Quarter-Finals, but only four were allowed to move up the ladder to the semi-finals. “Killa B” Ben Saunders (13-4) took on “Smash Mode” Raul Amaya (9-1) in the opening tournament match-up. “The Caveman” David Rickels (10-0) put his undefeated record on the line against veteran “Mata Ele” Jordan Smith (17-3). Former 185lbs. tourney contender “The Beast” Bryan Baker (17-3) faced Brazilian fight ciruit journeyman and Bellator newcomer “Indio” Carlos Alexandre Pereira (33-10) in a battle of the strongmen of the 170 lbs. division. In the main event MMA Gospel Young Gun and Bellator gladiator “The Cleveland Assassin” Chris Lozano (9-3) took on M-1 veteran “Pyscho” Karl Amoussou (14-4) in a bad blood fight that finally came to a head when they faced off in the cage.
After gathering returning contenders and signing new talent, Bellator Fighting Championships has set the match-ups for the first round of the Season 6 Middleweight Tournament. With Bellator king “Shango” Hector Lombard (31-2) scheduled for his second title defense and rematch with “The Storm” Alexander Shlemenko (34-5) in the late spring or early summer, both he and his challenger have eyes on yet another title contender who will rise from the eight fighters to earn the chance for a shot at the gold around Lombard’s waist.
Did you miss me? Well, dry your tears icemigos. I have returned. There was a rough few weeks with no MMA events – at least none that I was able to see. And now… now… I have three events to draw from. Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson, Strikeforce Challengers: Voelker vs. Bowling III, and Bellator 47.
Let’s start from the top. What’s up with Fedor? Sure, anyone can get knocked out by Dan Henderson but before that Fedor was swinging wildly. Yes, Fedor is known to try and finish a fight when he has someone hurt but there was an almost desperate recklessness in Fedor’s attempt to finish – not the precision timing that KO’d Andrei Arlovski in mid-air.
“Psycho” Karl Amoussou (12-3-2) entered the lion’s den of European MMA with three first-round submission wins that earned him the honor of cutting his teeth in the ranks of the world famous M-1 Global promotion. Toting an 8-2 record within the organization, of which only two bouts saw the judges, Amoussou’s explosive style and finishing power established him as a fan favorite and a powerhouse amongst European fighters. In August 2009 the Frenchman made his US debut also under the M-1 banner in the promotion’s first ever live televised event in the United States, M-1 Global: Breakthrough. Despite disposing of his opponent John Doyle (9-16) in impressive fashion via first-round Rear Naked Choke, the Judo black belt Amoussou still went relatively unnoticed in the landscape of US MMA.
Six months later in February 2010, Amoussou entered the Strikeforce cage against South African fighter Trevor Prangley (23-7) in a bout that many believed the more experienced Prangley would dominate. Against Prangley, Amoussou showed that he’s no pushover. He got the better exchanges and was picking Prangley apart until he received an accidental eye poke and consequently was unable to see or continue the fight. The match was ruled a Draw and despite his commanding performance, the memory of all but the outcome faded in many fans’ minds.
Amoussou would not compete again on American soil until May 21 at Bellator 45. The main card feature fight pitted the 25-year-old M-1 veteran and undercover police officer against King of the Cage veteran “Smiling” Sam Alvey (13-2) for a spot in the Bellator Season 5 Middleweight Tournament. After a three-round battle in which “Psycho” arguably dominated at least 10 of the 15 minutes, two out of the bout’s three judges gave the nod to Alvey and sent Amoussou back to France without a spot in Bellator’s upcoming 185lbs. tournament.
MMA Gospel staff writer Cole Moorman recently interviewed the “Psycho” in hopes of turning the American eye to the bright future of Karl Amoussou.
The inaugural Bellator light heavyweight king was crowned last night in front of fans at the L’Auberge Du Lac in Lake Charles, Louisiana at the promotion’s season-ending show, Bellator 45, as Christian M’Pumbu (5-1) and Richard Hale (12-4) went to war for the titles of Bellator 205lbs. champ and Bellator Season 4 Light Heavyweight Tournament Champion. The main event was preceded by another Season 4 finals bout, with 145lb-ers Daniel Straus (16-3) and “Pitbull” Patricio Freire (9-1) locking horns to determine the next man to take on reigning champ Joe Warren (7-1). Before the pair of tournament bouts fans were treated to a competitive match-up in the middleweight division between former college wrestler and King of the Cage veteran “Smiling” Sam Alvey (14-2) and the well-rounded former M-1 fighter “Psycho” Karl Amoussou (12-3) with the winner gaining a spot in the Bellator Season 5 Middleweight Tournament. The evening wrapped up a season filled with solid fights, surprising upsets, and emerging contenders.
“The Titan” Lew Polley (10-4) is a name that, up until just a couple of months ago, may not have been particularly well known among many MMA fans. The ability to fly under the radar certainly changed for Polley once he accepted the role as wrestling coach for Team Dos Santos on the most recent installment of Spike TV and Zuffa’s hit reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. An otherwise relatively mellow season has been a roller coaster ride of highs and lows for “The Titan”, whose own experience on TUF 13 left much to be desired; ultimately, after several weeks of back-and-forth conflict and escalating tension levels between Polley and “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (12-1), Polley was asked by the Black House fighter to leave the show. It was a first for The Ultimate Fighter.
Following the controversial dismissal, MMA Gospel Editor-in-Chief Mallory Mejia spent 120 minutes talking to Lew and getting his take on The Ultimate Fighter 13. This two-part interview explores Polley’s own credentials in respect to MMA, his favorite previous seasons and coaches of The Ultimate Fighter, changes he would make to the TUF program, who he found to be the most viable contenders among the Season 13 fighters, his response to both the shit talkers and the supporters, and of course, a whole lot about the highly publicized feud between himself and his friend, TUF 13 head coach opposite Brock Lesnar (5-2), Junior Dos Santos.
Tonight, Bellator Fighting Championships debuts its inaugural Light Heavyweight Tournament in the state of Mississippi in Tunica at the Harrah’s Tunica Hotel and Casino. Starting off the night is MMA Gospel Young Gun “The Professional” Chris Davis (10-2), who brings his destructive power into the Bellator cage against French import Christian M’Pumbu (1-1, 15-3 NSF). Rage In The Cage veteran Richard Hale (10-3-1) goes against Nik Fekete (3-0) who owns a victory over Strikeforce rising force Ovince St. Preux (9-4). Bellator veteran Raphael Davis (10-1) will look to continue a nine-fight win streak as he goes against D.J. Linderman (8-1), a former heavyweight who dropped down to compete in the first ever 205lbs. tournament. Then in the main event, returning to MMA competition after five years, is a member of the legendary Gracie family and PRIDE and International Fight League (IFL) veteran, Daniel Gracie (4-2). The submission specialist will go against undefeated Bellator veteran Tim Carpenter (6-0) who sees this as a way to earn bragging rights by defeating a member of the Gracie family.
The British Association of Mixed Martial Arts (BAMMA) steps away from its usual stomping grounds of London and Birmingham in the United Kingdom to bring MMA fans in the City of Manchester a blistering card with BAMMA 5: Daley vs. Shirai this Saturday night.
BAMMA 5 is highlighted with bouts between some of the UK’s well known top prospects and local fan favorites, while its main event and co-main event feature names the American audience may find more familiar. Recent UFC castaway and The Ultimate Fighter 10 alum “The Hammer” James McSweeney (4-6) takes on a seasoned veteran and former UFC Heavyweight Champion in “Suave” Ricco Rodriguez (44-11) in the evening’s co-main event heavyweight tilt. The main event pits UFC veteran and heavy-handed British slugger “Semtex” Paul Daley (23-10-2) against Pancrase and M-1 veteran and DEEP Welterweight Champion Yuya Shirai (13-8), where the winner will earn the title of BAMMA’s very first welterweight king. The stakes of Saturday night’s championship bout are particularly high for Daley, who was recently dubbed the top contender to challenge Strikeforce Welterweight Champion “Diablo” Nick Diaz (23-8) for the UFC-rival promotion’s 170lbs. belt. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has stated that should Daley come out on the winning end of his BAMMA 5 bout, he gets the title shot – if not, “the deck gets reshuffled”, according to MMA Junkie.
It has been rumored* from sources close to “The Professional” Chris Davis (10-2) that the MMA Gospel Young Gun has been signed to compete in the upcoming Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament on MTV2 this Spring. Davis has posted an impressive resume in his two-year-old MMA career with five submission and five TKO/KO victories, all but two of which came in the first round, and he is expected to maintain this quality of performance against the other hungry blue chip prospects that Bellator has assembled to compete for a shot at Bellator light heavyweight gold.