The UFC presented its third offering of the new year to fans on the FX network Saturday night as they returned to Sao Paulo, Brazil to pit former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (22-10) against elite middleweight title hopeful “The Count” Michael Bisping (23-5). The night was loaded with named talent facing hometown heroes. Fast rising Russian blue-chipper “The Eagle” Khabib Nurmagomedov (19-0) backed up the comments printed on his weigh-in shirt when the Sambo International Master of Sports dominated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Thiago Tavares (17-5-1) of Santa Catarina, Brazil. “Napao” Gabriel Gonzaga (14-6) sent “Big” Ben Rothwell’s (32-9) UFC record back into the sub .500s with a devastating Arm-in Guillotine Choke submission. In the “Fight of the Night”, TUF: Brazil stand-out Daniel Sarafian (7-3) came up short in his UFC debut when “The Doberman” CB Dollaway (13-4) used his wrestling to edge out the Brazilian in the final frame.
Back in Brazil for the fifth time in the Zuffa era, the UFC has set its seventh offering on the FX cable network for January 19. This time Thiago Tavares (17-4-1) will start the show against “The Eagle” Khabib Nurmagomedov (18-0) followed by a heavyweight showdown between “Napao” Gabriel Gonzaga (13-6) and “Big” Ben Rothwell (32-8). Following the Brazil vs. the world theme of the evening, the de facto co-main will see TUF: Brazil standout Daniel Sarafian (7-2) face TUF 7 alumni “The Doberman” CB Dollaway (12-4). Capping off the event is a marquee feature with major title implications as “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (21-10) looks to blast his way into another shot at the middleweight crown by handing “The Count” Michael Bisping (23-4) his second KO loss. The wily Brit of course has other ideas as he is certain that destiny will one day award him the 185lbs. crown.
The UFC hits the airwaves again just seven days following its final consumption of former rival promotion Strikeforce to bring the fans of Sao Paulo, Brazil a night of bouts headlined by brutal KO artist “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (21-10) and savvy British striker “The Count” Michael Bisping (23-4). UFC on FX 7 offers fight fans an additional trio of quality MMA pairings on the main card starting with Thiago Tavares (17-4-1) against “The Eagle” Khabib Nurmagomedov (18-0). Next out, “Napao” Gabriel Gonzaga (13-6) looks to continue rebuilding his stock in the UFC, this time at the expense of struggling heavyweight “Big” Ben Rothwell (32-8). The de facto co-main event of the evening features “The Doberman” CB Dollaway (12-4) against UFC newcomer Daniel Sarafian (7-2). While Sarafian appears a rather easy mark for the far more accomplished TUF 7 finalist, Dollaway is hardly in a position to take any opponent for granted, especially a hungry young blood eager to spit in the odds makers’ faces.
January 19 the UFC returns to Sao Paulo, Brazil to invade the Geraldo Jose de Almeida State Gymnasium for a battle of the nations. The UFC on FX 7 main event is slated to be a title contention bout for the seemingly unattainable middleweight belt as Old Guard fighter and former UFC light heavyweight king “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (21-10) puts on a show for his native fans as he takes on England’s trash-talking top contender “The Count” Michael Bisping (23-4). Preceding the marquee match-up is TUF 7 alumni “The Doberman” CB Dollaway (12-4) battling fellow submission expert Daniel Sarafian (7-2) in front of the latter’s hometown crowd. Former heavyweight title contender and long-time UFC veteran “Napao” Gabriel Gonzaga (13-6) and aptly-nicknamed IFL veteran “Big” Ben Rothwell (32-8) will go to war in the evening’s anchor bout, while opening honors go to UFC veteran Thiago Tavares (17-4) and the well-versed, undefeated “The Eagle” Khabib Nurmagomedov (18-0) to start off the night with a likely barn burner for the international audience.
—MAIN CARD (on Pay-Per-View)—
Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes: Aldo via KO (Knee), Round 1, 4:59
Vitor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson: Belfort via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1, 4:49
Rousimar Palhares vs. Mike Massenzio: Palhares via Submission (Heel Hook), Round 1, 1:03
Erick Silva vs. Carlo Prater: Prater via DQ (Illegal Blows to the Head), Round 1, 0:29
Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim: Barboza via KO (Spinning Hook Kick), Round 3, 2:02
—MAIN CARD (on Pay-Per-View)—
Jose Aldo: 145lbs.
Chad Mendes: 144lbs.
Vitor Belfort: 186lbs.
Anthony Johnson: 197lbs.*
Rousimar Palhares: 186lbs.
Mike Massenzio: 184lbs.
Erick Silva: 169lbs.
Carlo Prater: 170lbs.
Edson Barboza: 154lbs.
Terry Etim: 155lbs.
First of all. I gotta say, I missed Joe Rogan. Kenny Florian does a fine job on “MMA Live” but for commentary he lacks Joe’s enthusiasm and humor that plays so well off Goldie’s… umm… Goldieisms. It’s hard to argue that Mike Goldberg isn’t the Goldiest.
In a prelim fight that was shown three times (well, it was only forty seconds long), Erick Silva caught Luis Ramos with a huge right hand that had Ramos not out cold but you could almost imagine the birds chirping and flying in a circle around his head. Then Silva jumped in and threw another thirty or so punches in about two seconds to finish it. Nice debut, kid.
—MAIN CARD (on PPV)—
Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami: Silva via TKO (Strikes), Round 2, 2:04
Forrest Griffin vs. Mauricio Rua: Rua via KO (Punches), Round 1, 1:53
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Brendan Schaub: Nogueira via KO (Punch), Round 1, 3:09
Luiz Cane vs. Stanislav Nedkov: Nedkov via TKO (Strikes), 4:13, Round 1
Edson Barboza vs. Ross Pearson: Barboza via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Feast or Famine. Such is life. Such is MMA. I think over the last week there were about 738 fights. UFC on Versus: Kampmann vs. Sanchez, Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson, Bellator 35 aka The Welterweight Tournament, Chicago Cagefighting Championship with lovable Twitter Smartass/Badass Felice Herrig and the venerable legend and fan favorite Jens “Lil Evil” Pulver headlining. GASP! That’s too much, Billy!! ( From Buffalo 66 http://twitpic.com/4784p3 ) See, now you’re all in on my references. And yes, for the record, I shot that from my TV & uploaded it, just so you would get the reference. I love you that much… Well, either that or I was just procrastinating. Tomato – Tomahto.
So what do I do? Do I focus on a few key fights and ignore everything else or do quick thoughts on everything? Decisions, decisions. Damn, the new season of The Ultimate Fighter is coming up soon and I’ll have that to add to everything else to write about. I need a nap.
Todd Brown vs. Igor Pokrajac: Pokrajac via TKO (Knees and Punches), Round 1, 5:00
Rousimar Palhares vs. David Branch: Palhares via Submission (Heel Hook), Round 2, 1:44
Dongi Yang vs. Rob Kimmons: Yang via TKO (Punches), Round 2, 4:47
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Reuben Duran: Mizugaki via Split Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Thiago Tavares vs. Shane Roller: Roller via KO (Punches), Round 2, 1:28
This Saturday night the UFC presents their second edition of Fight for the Troops out of Fort Hood, Texas. The card may lack the typical plethora of mainstream contenders, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because names such as “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (29-8) or “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (21-2) are not on the card that this is a lackluster event. UFC Fight for the Troops 2 presents a who’s who of fighters ready to take their game to the next level. In the main event the Greg Jackson protege “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard (25-8-2) takes on the rising star of Evan Dunham (10-1). Former NFL star and The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 stand-out Matt Mitrione (3-0) will encounter King of the Cage veteran “The Thrashing Machine” Tim Hague (10-4) and the newly acquired WEC featherweights will make their UFC debut with Mark Hominick (18-7), currently riding a four fight win streak, against another TUF alum in George Roop (11-5) who is returning to the Octagon after a second round head kick knockout of “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (10-3). Two of the UFC’s heavyweight colossuses will encounter in a fan-friendly stand-up war when “Hype or Die” Pat Barry (4-3) meets with “The Mexicutioner” Joey Beltran (10-3), but the honors of kicking the main card go to three-time Submission of the Night winner “Magrinho” Cole Miller (17-4) and three-time Fight of the Night winner “Handsome” Matt Wiman (12-5). These two not only will be given the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of America’s servicemen and women at Fort Hood, Texas, they will set the bar for the night to follow.