The dreaded “injury bug” in MMA is nothing new, but recently the problem seems to have come to a head. UFC 151 was a card that had already been plagued with injuries when one half of its headliner, “Hendo” Dan Henderson (29-8), pulled out with a very late injury. After much scrambling and some controversial decisions by a few parties, the event was canceled. UFC 153 was saved from one injury when “New Breed” Erik Koch (13-1) was replaced by featherweight-come-lately “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (14-3) to face 145lbs. kingpin Jose Aldo (21-1). UFC 153 would not avoid further injuries, however. Both co-main events were marred when “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (32-10) and Jose Aldo pulled out within hours of each other with respective ailments. It has left the UFC, fans, and the media in an absolute stupor, with everyone voicing any number of opinions and solutions for this problem. Some point to over-training as the root of the problem. They suggest the idea of shorter notice fights that will in turn, lead to shorter training camps and less likelihood of injuries. Others go to the extreme of suggesting PRIDE-style late fight announcements to prevent the debacle of constantly switching out injured opponents – not exactly feasible for a juggernaut like the UFC. Others suggest scaling back the ever-growing number of cards the UFC puts on every year, allowing more opportunities for better stacked cards where undercard fights can take center stage when emergencies arise. But there is a much broader opportunity that can benefit both fighters and promotions. A fighter’s walking weight could be the solution to the injury bug problem.
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.
—MAIN CARD (on Pay-Per-View)—
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Dan Henderson: Henderson via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47), Round 5, 5:00
Wanderlei Silva vs. Cung Le: Silva via KO (Strikes), Round 2, 4:49
Urijah Faber vs. Brian Bowles: Faber via Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 2, 1:27
Martin Kampmann vs. Rick Story: Kampmann via Split Decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29), Round 3, 5:00
Stephan Bonnar vs. Kyle Kingsbury: Bonnar via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25), Round 3, 5:00
The Ultimate Fighting Championship blasts into San Jose, California tomorrow night, bringing with it perhaps one of the most rousing cards of the year, much to the delight of fans both in the HP Pavilion stands and watching via Pay-Per-View from even the furthest reaches of the world. Kicking off the UFC 139 main card at 9pm ET is a light heavyweight affair between two TUF alum, seasoned gatekeeper “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar (13-7) and hometown fighter “Kingsbu” Kyle Kingsbury (12-2). Next up, top-ranked Danish welterweight “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (17-5) pits his renowned Muay Thai against the ground game of collegiate wrestler “The Horror” Rick Story (11-3). Two former WEC champions collide when oversized bantamweight “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (25-5) takes on American Top Team’s Brian Bowles (10-1) in what will mark both men’s third bout in their new home promotion. The co-main event sees former PRIDE superstar and mauler “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (34-11-1) act as former IKF Light Heavyweight San Shou World Champion and Strikeforce veteran Cung Le’s (7-1) rather tough welcome to the UFC. Closing out the night is a match that MMA fans have salivated over for the better part of a decade: Chute Boxe fighter and former UFC light heavyweight champ “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-5) versus fellow former PRIDE star and current Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion “Hendo” Dan Henderson (28-8).
This Saturday night the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California plays host to UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson much to the delight of fans both in the crowd and around the world via Pay-Per-View. Light heavyweight funnyman “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar (13-7) takes on “Kingsbu” Kyle Kingsbury (11-2). Welterweight stand-outs “Hitman” Martin Kampmann (17-5) and “The Horror” Rick Story (13-4) duke it out to regain relevance. UFC newcomer and former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Cung Le (7-1) takes on legendary slugger “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (33-11-1) in what is a guaranteed firefight. “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (25-5) and Brian Bowles (10-1) look to claim their shot at bantamweight gold in a #1 contendership fight. The main event is a hardcore MMA fan’s dream as PRIDE legend and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-5) takes on the only man to hold the PRIDE welterweight and middleweight belts, “Hendo” Dan Henderson (28-8). The winner will regain traction in the 205lbs. division and given both fighters penchant for slugging, this fight could go down in history as one of the all-time greats.
After a momentous showing in their FOX network debut, the UFC’s latest installment takes back to Pay-Per-View with UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson. Light heavyweight action is set to take place when “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar (13-7) and “Kingsbu” Kyle Kingsbury (12-2) prepare to engage in a promising back-and-forth battle. “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (17-5) tries to break back into the winner’s circle but fellow welterweight “The Horror” Rick Story (11-3) will pit his own skill set against the Dane to send him to the back of the line. The pace quickens when the bantamweights are present, especially when former champions “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (25-5) and Brian Bowles (10-1) are pitted against one another. In the main event, it is a PRIDE FC dream match when former UFC light heavyweight champ “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-5) welcomes former PRIDE middleweight and Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion “Hendo” Dan Henderson (28-8) back to the Octagon. The co-main event though has all the potential to steal the show when the latest Strikeforce transplant Cung Le (7-1) makes his organizational debut against the legend of the sport “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (34-11-1). Le has been a force in Strikeforce’s middleweight division but when he enters against Silva, he will face a different level of aggression that he has yet to face.
San Jose, California’s HP Pavilion Center is known as Strikeforce territory but come Saturday night, the UFC holds the keys when it presents UFC 139. “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-5) welcomes a familiar face from PRIDE, “Hendo” Dan Henderson (28-8), back to the UFC when the two square off in the main event. Cung Le (7-1) makes the jump over from Strikeforce when he battles the always dangerous “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (34-11-1) in the co-main event. Welterweight action is set when “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (17-5) takes on “The Horror” Rick Story (11-3). The main card is guaranteed to start off with a bang when the dogs of war “Kingsbu” Kyle Kingsbury (12-2) and “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar (13-7) duke it out in a light heavyweight exhibition. In the midst of all the action, a bantamweight title shot is on the line when “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (25-5) takes on Brian Bowles (10-1). Faber and Bowles have held gold before and with the promise of another chance to hold it again, both will go to all lengths to secure their spot as number one contender.
Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-5) and current Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion “Hendo” Dan Henderson (28-8) will square off this Saturday to the delight of PRIDE fans everywhere as they headline UFC 139. Co-main duties for the solid Pay-Per-View event will fall squarely on the shoulders of the extremely exciting “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (34-11-1) and fellow vaunted striker Cung Le (7-1). The UFC continues to bring the excitement as fans move down the card and find a bantamweight showdown between former WEC champions “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (25-5) and Brian Bowles (10-1) and an opening contest featuring the streaking “Kingsbu” Kyle Kingsbury (12-2) and the UFC’s ultimate gatekeeper “American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar (13-7). Bolstering up the middle of the event is a welterweight contest between struggling former title hopefuls. “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (17-5) and “The Horror” Rick Story (11-3) have hit stumbling blocks in their climbs towards“Rush” Georges St.Pierre’s (22-2) welterweight title and will be eager to get things back on track with a dominant win at UFC 139.
The UFC returns to its bread and butter high profile Pay-Per-View events following its one-fight teaser on FOX for UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson. The card has drawn a little heat from a small percentage of fans who have already begun to feel entitled to free MMA, despite the two months between now and the official UFC on FOX launch, but it is nevertheless an outstanding card of champions, former champions, and top talents. Headlining the event is a pair of bouts that offer something for everyone as former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-5) takes on current Strikeforce 205lbs. king “Hendo” Dan Henderson (28-8) in a PRIDE dream match, and “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (34-11-1) faces Cung Le (7-1) in a bout that pits raw aggression against the purest of technical stand-up. Also on the card are two bouts with serious title implications as bantamweight top contenders “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (25-5) and Brian Bowles (10-1) meet for another crack at the top and fallen welterweight warriors “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (17-5) and “The Horror” Rick Story (11-3) seek to salvage their championship dreams at the other’s expense. Opening the card and setting the stage for the entire evening is a fight between two extremely exciting TUF alums in “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar (13-7) and “Kingsbu” Kyle Kingsbury (12-2).
“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 at UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones two highly touted light heavyweight fighters will clash in an effort to decide who is the king of the UFC’s 205lbs. division. There is no doubt that in the immortal words of Optimus Prime: “One will rise, and one will fall”, when reigning champion “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (19-4) puts his title on the line against the fast rising prospect “Bones” Jon Jones (12-1). Jones has cut through the division with an efficiency previously reserved only for seasoned MMA greats like “The Iceman” Chuck Liddell (21-8) or “The Spider” Anderson Silva (28-4). Facing undoubtedly the toughest opponent of his career in tonight’s main event, Jon Jones looks to make a case for being the top light heavyweight in the world with a victory over the esteemed former PRIDE powerhouse “Shogun” Rua.
UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch goes down under to the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia to follow their astounding reception at UFC 110 one year ago. Jon Fitch (22-3) takes on “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-1) in the hopes of further supporting his position as the next definite welterweight contender. The face of MMA in England, “The Count” Michael Bisping (20-3) will clash with “El Conquistador” Jorge Rivera (18-7) who returns to the cage after two consecutive TKO victories. George Sotiropoulos (14-2) enjoys a home-field advantage when he meets one of the lightweight division’s most lethal kickboxers Dennis Siver (17-7). The opening bout features two The Ultimate Fighter standouts American Chris Camozzi (14-3) and Australian-born “KO” Kyle Noke (18-4-1) seek to raise their stock in the middleweight division. In one of the more highly decorated battles, “Bad Boy” Brian Ebersole (39-13-1) steps in to replace “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit (26-5) when his baptism by fire into the UFC is hosted by fan-favorite “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (30-17-5).