It was a busy weekend for the UFC as they closed out not one but two seasons of The Ultimate Fighter, with UFC on FX 6 closing out The Smashes between Australia and the UK and The Ultimate Fighter 16 Live Finale marking the end of the Nelson vs. Carwin season. Both cards stepped away from the historical format of TUF finale cards in that neither featured a majority of the season’s cast members and instead framed the finale bouts and coaches’ showdown with more relevant bouts. The results both sent a message to the MMA world and had a much greater impact on the state of affairs in the UFC compared to other finale events. Aside from the outside-the-cage impacts that the cards had, they were, all things considered, a pair of solid MMA offerings that are a cut above what fans have come to expect in the finales. Also a bonus for MMA fans, the impact of having an electric finale follow a lackluster season as opposed to the usual finale that fails to live up to its hype should result in an overall TUF product from here out as the UFC puts renewed emphasis on fighters fighting to win as opposed to fighting not to lose while in the house by taking a few of the finale slots traditionally reserved for runners up and giving them to more relevant bouts.
Less than 24 hours after the winners of TUF: The Smashes are determined, the final offering from The Ultimate Fighter 16 will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada. As has become the trend of late, coach “The Engineer” Shane Carwin (12-2) injured his knee and thus the coaches will not be facing one another. Instead, “Big Country” Roy Nelson (17-7) will face fellow TUF 10 alum “Meathead” Matt Mitrione (5-1). The co-main will feature the two finalists of the TUF series’ latest installment with ”The Martian” Mike Ricci (7-2) of Team Carwin taking on Colton Smith (3-1) of Team Nelson. Anchoring the card is a clash of heavyweight kickboxers as “HD” Pat Barry (7-5) steps in the Octagon across from Shane del Rosario (11-1). The opening match will see “The Diamond” Dustin Poirier (12-2) against Jonathan Brookins (13-5) followed by a lightweight tilt between “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard (30-11-2) and “C-4″ Jamie Varner (20-7-1).
It is another tour of destruction when the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to follow up UFC 152 with its latest installment of UFC on Fuel TV: Struve vs. Miocic live from Nottingham, England. Welterweight bangers set the main card’s pace with “Beautiful” Che Mills (14-5) taking on “Bang” Duane Ludwig (21-13). It all goes bedlam when native countrymen “The Hitman” John Hathaway (15-1) and “The One” John Maguire (18-3) collide. Paul Sass (13-0) will look to lock his signature triangle offensive when he tangles with the ever-grinding pressure of “Handsome” Matt Wiman (14-6). For all the WEC aficionados, fight promoters heard their cries and lined up “One Punch” Brad Pickett (21-6) and “Tiger” Yves Jabouin (18-7) in the card’s anchor. “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy (24-10) will look to prove England belongs to him when he stands across fellow striker Amir Sadollah (6-3). “Skyscraper” Stefan Struve (24-5) and Stipe Miocic (9-0) are two heavyweight freight trains and will look to derail one another in the card’s main event. Here in the second segment of the Fuel TV breakdown, we’ll take a deeper look into the latter half of the night’s proceedings: Struve versus Miocic, Hardy against Sadollah, and Pickett with Jabouin. Anything can happen once that cage door closes, but here a few keys to victory are brought to light and give better insight on who could come out on top.
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 phrase “biggest card to date” has been tossed around when describing a night of mixed martial arts action but for once, the meaning is literal as the UFC presents its first heavyweights-only main card this Saturday with UFC 146. Newly-crowned champ “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (14-1) takes on former champion and lethal submission artist Frank Mir (16-5) in the night’s main event. Cain Velasquez (9-1) begins his quest back to the title when he welcomes “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (16-3) from the Strikeforce ranks. ”Pee Wee” Dave Herman (21-3) battles “Big Country” Roy Nelson (16-7) in the card’s anchor. Undefeated streaks are on the line when UFC prospect Stipe Miocic (8-0) plays host to Shane Del Rosario (11-0) in his promotional debut from Strikeforce. The card’s opener is sure to draw heads as “Skyscraper” Stefan Struve (23-5) and “Big” Lavar Johnson (17-5) are tied to do battle. Both Struve and Johnson have shown the best way to get the job done is to leave out of the judges’ hands. Come Saturday night, they will look to do just that.
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.
—MAIN CARD (on FOX)—
Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller: Diaz via Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 2, 4:09
Josh Koscheck vs. Johny Hendricks: Hendricks via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Rousimar Palhares vs. Alan Belcher: Belcher via TKO (Punches), Round 1, 4:18
Pat Barry vs. Lavar Johnson: Johnson via TKO (Punches), Round 1, 4:38
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.
The Garden State hosts mixed martial arts action Saturday night as East Rutherford, New Jersey’s IZOD Center is the battleground for UFC on FOX 3. Submission specialist “Toquinho” Rousimar Palhares (14-3) takes on stand-up extraordinaire “The Talent” Alan Belcher (17-6) in the opening bout of the main card. Expect heads to fly as the heavyweights take to the cage when “HD” Pat Barry (7-4) collides with fellow striker “Big” Lavar Johnson (16-5). In the main event “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (21-3) gets the homefield advantage when he challenges Nate Diaz (15-7) in a pivotal match-up in the lightweight division. “Kos” Josh Koscheck (17-5) and “Big Rig” Johny Hendricks (12-1) will meet before the night’s end in the co-main event. Koscheck has always been held high in the welterweight picture and looks to re-establish himself as a viable contender. Hendricks, on the other hand, is finally coming into his own and will look to keep the “Big Rig” moving on all gears.
Nate Diaz (15-7) and “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (21-3) will square off in a high octane lightweight showdown to headline the UFC on FOX 3 card this Saturday, but before they do, the UFC has built a strong card for the viewing public. “Kos” Josh Koscheck (17-5) and Johny Hendricks (12-1) will play second fiddle to the main event in a welterweight showdown and “Big” Lavar Johnson (16-5) will open the card in his second UFC bout against the always dangerous “HD” Pat Barry (7-4). In one of the night’s most interesting bouts, “Toquinho” Rousimar Palhares (14-3) will square off with “The Talent” Alan Belcher (17-6). The 28-year-old Belcher has built quite a resume as a mixed martial artist over his career with ten first-round finishes and seven submissions and eight KO/TKOs in 17 victories, a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and establishing himself as a dangerous striker under the tutelage of Duke Roufus. However, his opponent has earned a reputation as one of the most gifted grapplers in the world and has ten submissions in 14 wins, as well as a second place finish in his only ADCC appearance, to back it up.
The UFC will return to broadcast television network FOX for the third time this Saturday with lightweight frontrunners and event headliners Nate Diaz (15-7) and “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (21-3) locking horns in a submission fan’s dream match-up. Also making an appearance on the UFC on FOX 3 card will be polarizing welterweight top contender “Kos” Josh Koscheck (17-5) as he squares off against 7-1 UFC welterweight blue chipper Johny Hendricks (12-1). Submission ace “Toquinho” Rousimar Palhares (14-3) will go toe-to-toe with Roufusport striking machine “The Talent” Alan Belcher (17-6) and Strikeforce heavyweight prospect “Big” Lavar Johnson (16-5) will make his sophomore effort in the Octagon against former K-1 and WCL kickboxer “HD” Pat Barry (7-4). Both heavyweights are equally well known for their knockout power and their deficiencies on the mat, leading most fans to expect a bare knuckle, stand-up war in the opening bout of a card brimming with submission specialists.
The Pettis name is one that has infiltrated the MMA media and fan forums for the past several years, largely due to former WEC Lightweight Champion “Showtime” Anthony Pettis’ (15-2) numerous highlight reel knockouts, overall dominance of the 155lbs. division, and high-flying kicks, including an off-the-cage kick, dubbed “The Showtime Kick”, over now UFC lightweight champ “Smooth” Ben Henderson (16-2). However, a new family member is making the value of the Pettis last name soar even higher – “The Phenom” Sergio Pettis (3-0), another Roufusport prodigy and Anthony’s younger brother, is making his own name in the sport. Eighteen-year-old Sergio has gone 3-0 as a professional fighter and 4-0 as an amateur and now looks to make the cut from his usual bantamweight class to flyweight for his May 4 match-up against “Bad Boy” Chris Haney (3-2) at NAFC: Colosseum in Sergio’s hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. MMA Gospel staff writer Matt Homeyer sat down with Sergio just hours before his brother’s main card fight at UFC 144 to discuss training with one of the top camps in the sport, sparring with one of the most eccentric strikers in the UFC, “stealing” nicknames, and how he feels about taking on the 125lbs. division.
Is Joey Beltran’s mustache good for the sport? Does it make him look too Mexican? Does it alienate the non-Hispanic MMA fans? In case you haven’t picked up on it, I’m being sarcastic.
Back before I became an MMA journalist pundit …whatever the fuck it is I do, things were different. 98% of my Twitter followers didn’t know what MMA was or weren’t fans. Now, my Twitter feed is nothing but MMA fans. At first I enjoyed discussing upcoming fights and being in the loop on the latest news but coming up on two years since the birth of SBoI, I have to deal with the other side of it. The dark side… (cue over-dramatic music) A lot of MMA fans tend to over-analyze everything and make mountains out of molehills. Especially when it comes to what is or isn’t “good for the sport”. If some MMA fans obsessed over their children’s every action the way they do everything that happens in MMA, their kids would grow up to be neurotic freaks; possibly serial killers. MMA is gonna be fine. It’s time to cut the apron strings and let your baby grow up and you know, just try and enjoy it. Chael doing a Superstar Billy Graham isn’t going to ruin the sport. Relax. You have to realize that the so-called “casual” fans or potential future fans aren’t paying attention to all this minutia the way we sick bastards are. Anyway, feel free to continue being obsessed just try to do it with a sense of joy, passion, and humor rather than neurotic angst. If you can’t do that, try to keep it off my Twitter timeline. I’d appreciate it, you doughy wankers! (courtesy of @sonnench)
The Ultimate Fighting Championship ushered in the UFC on FOX era with its first free offering of the year as UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller hit the airwaves following live prelims on FUEL TV. The card was memorable in several ways. Aside from being the inaugural event in MMA’s first long-term network TV deal, it also featured a host of entertaining and fast paced bouts with everything from title contention to jobs on the line. “HD” Pat Barry (6-5) opened the night with a career-saving KO victory over Christian Morecraft (7-3). “The Hulk” Mike Easton (9-0) continued to impress with a Majority Decision win over newcomer Jared Papazian (13-7-1). UFC mainstays “Bang” Duane Ludwig (21-12) and “The Dentist” Josh Neer (33-10-1) met in a slugfest that saw Ludwig land several solid blows only to fall victim to a Guillotine Choke. In the main event, “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard (27-10-2) fell short yet again with potential title contention on the line as “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (21-3) weathered an early storm to end the bout with a Rear Naked Choke. Every fight impressed both the fans and the UFC brass, but for some fighters, the night did end as well as they would have liked and for others, it ended in utter disaster.