With three solid showings already, the FOX network broadcasts a card deserving a spot on the Pay-Per-View rotation as the UFC presents UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs. Vera. “Quick” Mike Swick (14-4) returns after a two-year hiatus to battle with “Darkness” Damarques Johnson (15-10) in the main card opener. “C-4″ Jamie Varner (20-6-1) hopes to continue his resurgence in the lightweight division when he meets submission specialist “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-7). In the co-main event, “Darth” Ryan Bader (14-2) returns after an impressive victory at UFC 144 to take on the unorthodox “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (17-3). The landscape of the light heavyweight division is bound for drastic change as a title shot is up for grabs in the main event. Former champion “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-6) will try to make his way to the top of the mountain, but he will have to challenge a fellow Muay Thai wrecking machine, “The Truth” Brandon Vera (12-5). Each has dawdled in the light heavyweight division rankings but now that the path to gold is set in stone for them, it’s crucial for both men to make the best out of this opportunity.
The UFC returns this Saturday with a highly Pay-Per-View worthy fight card to be broadcast for free in their fourth installment on the FOX network. “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-7) and former WEC champion Jamie Varner (20-6-1) will meet in a promising lightweight match-up. The 205lbs. division is bound to get a new change in scenery as “Darth” Ryan Bader (14-2) meets former champion “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (17-3) in the co-main event. PRIDE veteran and former UFC champ “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-6) and “The Truth” Brandon Vera (12-5) battle it out to close the night’s proceedings in the main event. As if three big fights were not enough, the card will begin with a welterweight showdown between previous The Ultimate Fighter titans as “Darkness” Damarques Johnson (15-10) welcomes “Quick” Mike Swick (14-4) back to the eight-sided cage. Each man is in dire need of a win and with the same task to set the pace for the main card, Swick and Johnson are poised to draw fireworks come fight night.
The card has been afflicted by a slew of injuries and has undergone multiple replacements but is now set in stone as UFC 149 comes live out of the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on June 21. “The Menace” Chris Clements (11-4) takes on “Deep Waters” Matt Riddle (6-3) in the main card opener. “Bad Boy” Brian Ebersole (50-14-1) steps in on short notice to take on James Head (8-2) in a welterweight battle. Heavyweight action is set for the Canadian crowd as “The Savage” Shawn Jordan (13-3) and Cheick Kongo (17-7-2) are locked to do battle in the card’s anchor. In the main event, “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (26-5) will clash with the always lethal Renan Barao (28-1-1) with the interim bantamweight title on the line. The co-main event has its own share of buzz surrounding it as “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (15-4) replaces an injured “All American” Brian Stann to welcome the long-awaited UFC debut of former Bellator champion “Lightning” Hector Lombard (31-2).
It was an amazing weekend for MMA. The UFC kicked off its flyweight division with an entertaining, non-stop, action-packed scrap between Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall and Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson on Friday night. And Saturday night saw women’s MMA reinvigorated by two great fights between Sarah Kaufman and Alexis Davis and the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Title bout between Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey. However, it wasn’t all good…
Here on MMA Gospel, we do a column after fights called “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and I’m going to use that format with my own spin: The Epic and the WTF?! It was originally going to be “The Epic, the Shitty and the WTF?” but I found it hard to separate the shitty from the WTF.
After ten long years the UFC is returning to the Land of the Rising Sun and the former stage of the legendary PRIDE FC with a record-setting seven-fight main card on Pay-Per-View. Former WEC 155lbs. champion “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (14-2) and “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-6) are slated for battle in the opening bout of UFC 144. Former Sengoku featherweight king Hatsu Hioki (23-4) will face IFL and WEC veteran “Bartimus” Bart Palaszewski (35-14). Former middlweight title contender “Thunder” Yushin Okami (26-6) will fight for the first time in Japan since 2006, his opponent the rough and tough “Barbarian” Time Boetsch (14-4) who seems to have reformed his career at 185lbs. Former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion and former 170lbs. title contender Jake Shields (26-6) looks to avoid three straight losses when he faces Japanese superstar “Sexyama” Yoshihiro Akiyama (14-5). PRIDE and K-1 powerhouse “Super Samoan” Mark Hunt (7-7) will bring his granite chin and bone breaking kickboxing against fellow striker Cheick Kongo (17-6). Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (31-9), also of PRIDE fame, returns to the stage that started his career when he faces TUF 8 winner “Darth” Ryan Bader (13-2). The main event of the night pits the UFC’s 155lbs. king – “The Comeback Kid”, “The Ironhorse of New Jersey”, “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (14-1) – against the former WEC lightweight title holder “Smooth” Benson Henderson (14-2) with the winner earning the title of the best 155lbs. fighter in the world.
It’s been some time but the UFC will make its long awaited return to Japan this Saturday with UFC 144. Lightweights are charged with kicking off the main card when “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-6) encounters “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (14-2). Japanese sensation Hatsu Hioki (23-4-2) will meet “Bartimus” Bart Palaszewski (35-13) and “Thunder” Yushin Okami (26-6) takes on “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (14-4). Jake Shields (26-6-1) and “Sexyama” Yoshihiro Akiyama (14-5) engage in a promising welterweight showdown. Cheick Kongo (17-6-2) could be in for a kickboxing clinic when he battles K-1 veteran “Super Samoan” Mark Hunt (7-7). Before “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (14-1-1) defends his lightweight title against “Smooth” Ben Henderson (14-2) in the main event, a co-main event of epic proportions has been set as “Darth” Ryan Bader (13-2) flies to foreign territory to take on “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (31-9). Jackson, an accomplished veteran, and Bader, a promising star, are at pivotal points in their careers and a victory at UFC 144 can be the very defining moment on which to perch their futures.
It seems that the man who boasts a highlight reel filled career full of head-kick knockouts isn’t permanently hanging up his fight shorts after all. PRIDE legend and UFC veteran “Cro Cop” Mirko Filipovic (27-11-2), toting a 16-7 kickboxing record, is returning to the place that started his legendary career, K-1. After eight years away from kickboxing to pursue MMA, the Croatian is trading the cage for the ring and his four ounce gloves for ten.
“Cro Cop” currently is recovering from a surgery dealing with a ruptured bicep on his right arm, an injury at least one of his doctors advised him was his last chance to repair. However, Mirko is doing much more than just recovering and preparing to fight in K-1, he is also helping organize the event in his home country of Croatia. Dubbed K-1: Final Fight the event is scheduled to take place at the Zagreb Arena on March 10, 2012. An opponent has not yet been named, but “Cro Cop” promises it will be a big K-1 name so that all his fans will enjoy an electric bout.
The Ultimate Fighter serves as a chance to quicken the careers of promising mixed martial artists but UFC 140 will display what the top of the food chain has to offer come Saturday night from Toronto, Ontario, Canada’s Air Canada Center. The light heavyweight title is up for grabs when current champ “Bones” Jon Jones (14-1) tries to cap off his year in spectacular fashion against the former 205lbs. king “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (17-2). A heavyweight rematch is set when Frank Mir (15-5) takes on “Minotauro” Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (33-6-1) in the co-main event. Hometown heroes “The Prince” Claude Patrick (14-1) and “The Machine” Mark Hominick (19-8) will try to make their country proud when they meet Brian Ebersole (44-14-1) and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (11-3), respectively. In the middle of all the action, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz (16-9-1) tries to make good of his 2011 when he meets an equally dangerous fighter in “Little Nog” Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Both posses the hands and the grappling credentials to get the job done and with each returning with a loss behind them, they will go at whatever lengths possible to break back into the winning circle.
UFC 139 was not only a solid offering in the box office, it was one of the best overall MMA cards in recent memory headlined by a fight that is at the front of the running for greatest UFC fight of all time. In a five-round war that left both fighters unable to stand for several moments after the final bell, the victorious “Hendo” Dan Henderson (29-8) was carried from the Octagon on the arms of his corner men, much as “The Russian Bear” Oleg Taktarov (14-5-2) was after winning UFC 6, and “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-6) was bloodied, swollen, and barely able to speak in his post-fight interview he was so exhausted. “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (35-11-1) overcame a very rough first round to knock out three-time world kickboxing champion Cung Le (7-2) in the co-main. “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (26-5) put on a stunning performance in his domination of Brian Bowles (10-2), earning a rubber match against “The Dominator” Dominick Cruz (18-1). Welterweights “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (18-5) and “The Horror” Rick Story (11-4) clashed in a mostly stand-up war to restore their place in the divisional rankings and “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar (14-7) ran the show against light heavyweight hopeful “Kingsbu” Kyle Kingsbury (12-3). While it is difficult to truly find fault with any fighter involved in such a stellar card, not everyone can come out a winner in the big picture.
The UFC followed up its monumental FOX debut with one of the best cards of the year, UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson. It was a one-sided affair when former The Ultimate Fighter alumni met in the card’s opener. It was a battle of attrition between two of the welterweight’s most demanding forces. The bantamweight division saw its next title contender break out of the pack in flying colors. The co-main event was a matter of “do-or-die” between the hometown hero and a legend still proving to show he is a threat to be taken seriously. The main event was an instant classic when PRIDE veterans met for the very first time and did not leave a single seat in San Jose’s HP Pavilion disappointed. Now that all has been said and done, here’s a recap of each of the main card’s bouts as well as potential fights that could be put together later on down the road for the victors.