UFC 132 is in the books and can largely be considered one of the greatest cards of the five the UFC presented in the past six weeks. Two welterweights battled it out in order to draw closer to their much wanted title shot. The lightweight rankings were shaken when two contenders-to-be battled in a three-round war. A former king of the light heavyweight pride went head to head with a young lion in order to keep his job with the UFC. The co-main event saw an icon of the sport take on one of his kind when two brawlers met with explosive results. The main event had all the makings of the perfect fight: well-rounded fighters, five rounds to perform, a belt, and the subplot of a rivalry underneath to heighten the tension. Now that the fights are in the books and the damage has been dealt, here is a brief recap of the action that took place this Fourth of July weekend as well as potential fights that could be coming up soon in their future.
Tomorrow night Zuffa reloads and fires again with another top flight card that displays just how deep their talent pool is. This time it’s UFC on Versus 4: Kongo vs. Barry and this time it’s free. As far as free on TV cards go, this line-up is definitely one of the more loaded, despite the loss of long-time middleweight title contender “The Great” Nate Marquardt (31-10-2). The main event was originally slated to be his first bout in the welterweight division, but an undisclosed issue saw Nate “The Great” fail to pass his pre-fight medical screening, resulting in his removal from both the card and the UFC roster. Never missing a step, the UFC has pushed heavyweight kickboxing juggernauts Cheick Kongo (15-6-2) and “Hype or Die” Pat Barry (5-3) up to the main event slot while Charlie Brenneman (13-2) has agreed to face blue chip nightmare “The Horror” Rick Story (11-2). Ailing welterweights “Doomsday” John Howard (14-6) and “The Immortal” Matt Brown (11-10) will also climb in the cage and opening up the night of fan favored fights are a pair of bouts that scream excitement as TUF 10 pariah turned heavyweight wrecking machine “Meathead” Matt Mitrione (4-0) goes against Christian Morecraft (7-1) and lightweight gatekeeper Tyson Griffin (14-5) cuts to 145 to face “The Anvil” Manny Gamburyan (11-6). The card is free, the match-ups are great, and the organization is proving once again that it is the best.
Oklahoma will be treated to a night of Bellator MMA action for a third time with a stacked fight card that features heavy hitters and Jiu-Jitsu aces as well as the Season 4 Welterweight Tournament final between former IFL Welterweight Champion and Strikeforce and UFC veteran ”The Thoroughbred” Jay Hieron (18-4) and the undefeated Judo Olympian Rick Hawn (11-0). Bellator 43 will take place at the First Council Casino and Hotel in Newkirk and will feature three solid supporting bouts in the middleweight, heavyweight, and bantamweight divisions. The co-main event features UFC and Strikeforce veteran “Diesel” Joe Riggs (33-13) and Season 2 Tournament finalist “The Beast” Bryan Baker (11-2) with the winner likely gaining a spot in the Season 5 Middleweight Tournament. Also on the card, former WEC Bantamweight Champion and Jiu-Jitsu wizard “The Rage” Chase Beebe (16-5) will face off with returning Season 3 Bantamweight Tournament semi-finalist Jose Vega (8-4). A heavyweight tilt was scheduled between “Goliath” Neil Grove (10-3) and Bellator newcomer Zach Jensen (10-6), but due to an injury Grove was pulled from the bout and Bellator announced on May 5 that “The Monster” Ron Sparks (3-0) would return to the cage against Vince Lucero (20-18) as a late replacement for the bout.
February 6, 2010. Mandalay Bay Events Center – Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC 109: A bag of ice spilled all over the Octagon in the corner of Ronnys Torres in between rounds. Joe Rogan filled the time while the cornermen tried to clean the ice up by doing a play-by-play of the chaos. Many were amused – myself included. Three days later, yours truly was born on Twitter.
Yes, icemigos, this Wednesday will be the one year birthday/anniversary of the SBoI Twitter account being born. I believe my first tweet was “Don’t blame me, @JoeRogan. I’m helpless to the laws of gravity!” From there, the UFC added me to their official fighters list and Mr. Rogan tweeted about me and soon I had an audience. I never intended to have an audience nor did I ever imagine that any of the crazy ride that the last year has been would’ve happened. Once I had an audience I realized that I also had a voice. Smart ass commentary on the world of MMA that would now be appreciated because it would be read by MMA fans who would actually get my references. Try making a Krazy Horse or Nick Diaz’s bong joke to the general public. Guess what? Most of them don’t get it. Sad, I know, but true. Then again, I attribute all the awesome stuff that has happened as a result of starting the SBoI account to the fact that I didn’t have an agenda other than to have people think I’m funny and enjoy it. I didn’t set out to be a “journalist” and clearly, I still don’t. I didn’t set out to write a column or be on MMA radio shows or to get to meet Phil Baroni and his awesome dog. I merely wanted people to be like “That dude writes some funny ass tweets.” But as the wise man says: “Do what you love and the rest will follow.”
The night before the Green Bay Packers won their thirteenth national football championship, the Ultimate Fighting Championship gave fans a night to remember with one of the most action packed and talent stacked cards of the promotion’s storied existence. UFC 126 saw middleweight king “The Spider” Anderson Silva (28-4) remind the world why he is the greatest living fighter on the planet when he faced former light heavyweight champion “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-9). It saw the return of Forrest Griffin (18-6) and ascendance of “Bones” Jon Jones (12-1). Most importantly, it saw the UFC again abolish all doubt that it is in fact the single MMA superpower in the world and reassert itself as peerless as a promotion. However, it also saw several fighters fall short of their expectations and still more fall further from glory. MMA Gospel explores this with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
—PRELIMINARY CARD (Un-aired)—
Kenny Robertson vs. Mike Pierce: Pierce via TKO (Punches), Round 2, 0:29
Ricardo Romero vs. Kyle Kingsbury: Kingsbury via TKO (Punches), Round 1, 0:21
Gabe Ruediger vs. Paul Taylor: Taylor via KO (Head Kick and Punches), Round 2, 1:42
—FACEBOOK LIVE STREAM—
Demetrious Johnson vs. “KID” Norifumi Yamamoto: Johnson via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Michihiro Omigawa vs. Chad Mendes: Mendes via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Paul Kelly vs. Donald Cerrone: Cerrone via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2, 3:48
—MAIN CARD (Pay-Per-View)—
Antonio Banuelos vs. Miguel Torres: Torres via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Carlos Eduardo Rocha vs. Jake Ellenberger: Ellenberger via Split Decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Ryan Bader vs. Jon Jones: Jones via Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 2, 4:20*
Rich Franklin vs. Forrest Griffin: Griffin via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00 (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Vitor Belfort vs. Anderson Silva: Silva via KO (Strikes), Round 1, 3:25**
*In the wake of his victory, the UFC made the surprise announcement that Jon “Bones” gets the next shot at UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (19-4) at UFC 128 in five weeks. The original challenger, “Sugar” Rashad Evans (15-1-1), dropped out of the fight due to a knee injury.
**Silva retains the UFC Middleweight Championship belt after his record breaking eighth consecutive title defense and 14th consecutive victory.
What will become of the legacy of “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4), who fights tonight at UFC 126? When his career has faded into the grainy memory of mixed martial arts, what will be remembered? Will it be his vicious, calculated striking? Will fans talk of the daunting 12 consecutive wins that he currently holds within the toughest promotion on the planet? How will the MMA community remember his demolition of “Ace” Rich Franklin (28-5) not once, but twice in a shocking symphony of punches and kicks that left “Ace” crumpled on the floor, humbled and broken? Or will we remember the indifferent, stand-offish Silva? The one who danced around “The Predator” Patrick Cote (13-7) at UFC 90. When the fighter who toyed with Thales Leites (18-4) and Demian Maia (14-2), the latter of which was so painful to watch that even Silva’s biggest supporters shook their heads, puzzled as to why one of the most gifted fighters the sport has ever seen would act in such a pathetic and classless manner.
Much of the mystique of UFC Middleweight Champion and pound-for-pound best fighter in the world “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) comes from the fact that many fighters have tried to figure him out but few have been able to survive long enough to do so. Tonight at UFC 126, “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-8) hopes to finish what Chael Sonnen (24-11-1) started at UFC 117 by exploiting the vulnerabilities of the champion and making him pay for his egotistical toying with his opponents. Vitor has been billed as the man with the striking to match Anderson Silva and with the humbling beatdown Silva took from Sonnen still fresh on the minds of many fans, it is certainly easy to believe that Belfort could be the man to beat the champ at his own game. The real questions, however, regard Silva and Belfort’s respective mental states coming into this middleweight championship bout. How did Sonnen affect Silva’s colossal ego? Has his God complex grown even more with the last-second submission win, or has the champ returned to reality? What about Vitor? Will he crack under the pressure of the title fight like he did so many times before? Will he arrive focused and ready to fight or will he show up looking as if he wishes he were somewhere else? As the main event to cap off a spectacular evening of fights, this will be one of the more intriguing battles taking place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center tomorrow night.
As a prelude to Super Bowl XLV, tonight’s stacked UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort card promises an exhilarating night of fights for both the casual and avid fans. The bout that many fans are looking forward to in particular is the main event’s 185lbs. clash between longtime UFC Middleweight Champion and top rated pound-for-pound fighter in the world “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) and PRIDE veteran “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-8). After seeing Silva dominated for nearly all 25 minutes of his bout against the previous title challenger Chael Sonnen (24-11-1) at UFC 117 in August, the aura of invincibility that once shrouded Silva has been nearly destroyed, leaving many fans to believe that Vitor Belfort will be the man to expose Silva’s human vulnerabilities once and for all and dethrone the champion. At the very least, the vast majority of the MMA community agree that Belfort’s combination of hand speed and power will be enough to force Silva into fighting seriously and showing vestiges of the vintage Anderson Silva that finished his first five UFC opponents in a combined time just under 22 minutes. For his part, Belfort has looked amazing since 2006, the year when both he and Silva last lost. However, many pundits will point out that Vitor has faced less than UFC caliber competition since his last defeat, leaving naysayers to question whether “The Phenom” truly has the tools to push Anderson Silva or if he was simply made to look good by sub-par opponents. This fight will further reveal the mystique of the champion in one way or another, but more than that it will tell fans about the true abilities of Vitor Belfort.
Tomorrow night the UFC brings its live audience at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada and the millions watching worldwide on Pay-Per-View one of the most stacked cards in UFC history with UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort. The event showcases a wealth of electrifying match-ups including former WEC warriors “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (12-4) and Miguel Torres (37-3) gracing the UFC Octagon for the very first time and taking on British slugger Paul Kelly (11-3) and Antonio Banuelos (18-6), rising stars “Bones” Jon Jones (11-1) and “Darth” Ryan Bader (12-0) in a light heavyweight clash, NCAA wrestling coach “The Juggernaut” Jake Ellenberger facing dangerous submission expert Carlos Eduardo Rocha (9-0), and two former champions battling it out for light heavyweight supremacy following an inactive 2010 with Forrest Griffin (17-6) and “Ace” Rich Franklin (27-5). The highly anticipated main event pits UFC Middleweight Champion and arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) against deadly striker “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort. Anderson has been not only invincible in the UFC, but damn near untouchable. The lone hiccup in his UFC career came when he was controlled for nearly five rounds by Chael Sonnen (24-11) at UFC 117 but turned the tables and finished his opponent in the closing minutes with a Triangle Choke. Anderson Silva is riding a thirteen fight win streak including a flawless 12-0 record inside the UFC, and tomorrow night will make his record breaking eighth title defense. Vitor Belfort on the other hand more or less earned his title shot with one recent win inside the UFC over Rich Franklin at a catch-weight. He has however won five in a row, but is very middling (7-5) in his past twelve fights, compared to a perfect dozen victories that Anderson Silva has put up. Come the conclusion of UFC 126 tomorrow night, either Anderson Silva walks out of the cage with the middleweight title belt rightfully cinched around his waist for the ninth consecutive time, leaving any questions about his skill and dedication answered, or the world’s most recognizable UFC champion will have fallen and given way to a new era in the 185lbs. division with the vicious striker Vitor Belfort as its reigning king.
—PRELIMINARY CARD (Un-aired)—
Kenny Robertson: 170lbs.
Mike Pierce: 172lbs.*
Ricardo Romero: 205lbs.
Kyle Kingsbury: 205lbs.
Gabe Ruediger: 155lbs.
Paul Taylor: 156lbs.
—FACEBOOK LIVE STREAM—
Demetrious Johnson: 136lbs.
“KID” Norifumi Yamamoto: 135lbs.
Tomorrow night the UFC brings its fans an astounding night of mixed martial arts action with UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort. The stacked card features former WEC fighter “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (12-4) taking on British slugger Paul Kelly (11-3), submission expert Miguel Torres (37-3) making his UFC debut against fellow former WEC bantamweight Antonio Banuelos (18-6), top contenders “Darth” Ryan Bader (12-0) and “Bones” Jon Jones (11-1) in a light heavyweight tilt, International Fight League (IFL) and BodogFIGHT veteran Jake Ellenberger (22-5) squaring off against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Carlos Eduardo Rocha (9-0), and in the main event, “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) makes a record breaking eighth title defense, this time against dangerous striker “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-8). One of the more thought-provoking fights on this card though is a light heavyweight clash between two former champions: Forrest Griffin (17-6) and “Ace” Rich Franklin (27-5). Griffin and Franklin are two very capable fighters that also happen to be two of the most popular fighters on the UFC’s roster – they’re also incredibly evenly matched, thus making it difficult to predetermine the ultimate outcome of this main card bout. Let’s have a crack at it.
This Saturday the UFC presents the fans with UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort from its home stomping grounds at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card features the biggest threat to “The Spider” Anderson Silva’s (27-4) middleweight crown to date as he takes on the blistering hand speed and undeniable power of “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-8), as well as a host of other great match-ups. Forrest Griffin (17-6) will be making his long awaited return to the Octagon against the man that Silva took the middleweight title from in 2006, “Ace” Rich Franklin (27-5), and light heavyweight superstar “Darth” Ryan Bader (12-0) will put his undefeated record on the line against the man Bruce Buffer called “the next Muhammad Ali”, “Bones” Jon Jones (11-1). Also in action are former WEC warriors “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (12-4) and Miguel Torres (37-3) as they make their UFC debuts against Paul Kelly (11-3) and Antonio Banuelos (18-6), respectively. The last main card combatants are the NCAA wrestling coach “The Juggernaut” Jake Ellenberger (22-5) and his opponent, the deadly submission fighter Carlos Eduardo Rocha (9-0). The match is a test for both men, as Ellenberger saved his reputation by defeating up-and-coming prospects and Rocha is just such a prospect looking to send a message to the rest of the welterweight division.
Dan Griffin, MMA Gospel CEO
Donald Cerrone vs. Paul Kelly: Kelly via TKO, Round 2
Miguel Torres vs. Antonio Banuelos: Torres via TKO, Round 1
Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader: Jones via TKO, Round 2
Jake Ellenberger vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha: Rocha via Submission (Heel Hook), Round 2
Forrest Griffin vs. Rich Franklin: Griffin via Unanimous Decision, Round 3
Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort: Belfort via KO, Round 1
Mallory Mejia, MMA Gospel Editor-in-Chief
Donald Cerrone vs. Paul Kelly: Kelly via TKO, Round 2
Miguel Torres vs. Antonio Banuelos: Torres via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2
Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader: Jones via TKO, Round 2
Jake Ellenberger vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha: Rocha via Submission (Kneebar), Round 1
Forrest Griffin vs. Rich Franklin: Franklin via TKO, Round 3
Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort: Silva via TKO, Round 4