The third UFC event in as many weeks returns to Vancouver, British Columbia tomorrow night to rock Canadian fans a la UFC 131: Dos Santos vs. Carwin. “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (13-4) hopes to extend his three-fight win streak against UFC newcomer Vagner Rocha (5-1). In a middleweight battle, “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz and Demian Maia (13-2) will test one another’s limit where a win can launch one up into the 185lbs. title picture. Wrestling powerhouse “Pee Wee” Dave Herman (18-2) and Jiu-Jitsu black belt Jon Olav Einemo (6-1) make their debuts within the heavyweight division. But before the title elimination bout between “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (12-1) and Shane Carwin (11-1) closes out the night, a featherweight match is set when Muay Thai master “The Gun” Diego Nunes (15-3) prepares to rudely welcome former lightweight contender “Ken-Flo” Kenny Florian (13-5) down to the 145lbs. bracket. Although Florian tasted defeat in his last lightweight showing, a win over Nunes would promise an instant title shot at WEC transplant and reigning champ “Junior” Jose Aldo (18-1). Florian’s last hopes to make a convincing drive all comes at this fight but the controlled chaos of Nunes’ stand-up is going to do whatever it takes to make sure the engine crashes and burns.
Yet another installment of UFC Fight Night slams the Pacific Northwest and hits hard in the Key Arena of Seattle, Washington this Saturday night with UFC Fight Night 24: Nogueira vs. Davis. The main event has veteran of the game “Lil’ Nog” Antônio Rogério Nogueira (18-4) taking on uprising star, “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (7-0). “Rumble” Anthony Johnson (8-3) steps back in the cage after a lengthy lay-off with the hopes of making former top welterweight contender “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy (23-8) another victim of his knockout power. In a welterweight showcase, fan favorites and The Ultimate Fighter alumni meet when “Darkness” Damarques Johnson (15-8) and Amir Sadollah (4-2) step into the Octagon. In a repeat of 2010’s “Fight of the Year”, “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (10-3) steps up on short notice, replacing Nam Phan (18-9), to challenge WEC transplant “Bad Boy” Leonard Garcia (15-6-1) in a featherweight match-up. With Garcia getting the Split Decision victory in the first duel, will the “Zombie” rise from the dead to even the score or will Garcia prove he has Jung figured out? Come March 26, any doubts of their first fight will be answered only to have new questions asked. With the card free on Spike TV, there is no excuse to not tune in.
Before the Packers and Steelers take to the turf at Cowboys Stadium for Super Bowl XLV, the UFC follows up their New Year’s card with another stacked night of fights at UFC 126. In the main event, Middleweight Champion “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) puts his title on the line again for the record breaking eighth time against a striker of his caliber, “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-8). Two former champions collide when Forrest Griffin (17-6) meets who many consider to be his mirror image, “Ace” Rich Franklin (27-5), in a battle that can set the pace for their title contentions. Wrestling powerhouse Jake Ellenberger (22-5) welcomes prominent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu artist Carlos Eduardo Rocha (2-0) to the main card after his preliminary debut at UFC 122. “Bones” Jon Jones (11-1) will finally duke it out against fellow rising star “Darth” Ryan Bader (12-0) with one fighter being shot up into the highest echelon of the light heavyweight class. But before these UFC stand-outs grace the neon lights of Las Vegas, two products of the UFC/WEC merger will test each other when WEC favorites Miguel Angel Torres (37-3) and Antonio Banuelos (18-6) make their UFC debut. Familiar or not with the WEC, these two bantamweights promise to give the viewers a treat to start off the Super Bowl weekend.
This Saturday night the Ultimate Fighting Championship holds another mixed martial arts spectacle with UFC 126 at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. One of the most stacked fight cards in recent UFC history, the event will showcase Jackson’s Submission Fighting trained “Bones” Jon Jones (11-1) facing The Ultimate Fighter 10 alum “Darth” Ryan Bader (12-0), former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin (17-6) versus former UFC 185lbs. champ “Ace” Rich Franklin (27-5), and in the main event, top-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world and current UFC Middleweight Champion “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) against dangerous striker “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-8) for the middleweight belt. Though not on the main card, one of the most talked about fights offered at UFC 126 is the UFC debut of “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (12-4) against UFC veteran and former Wolfslair fighter Paul Kelly (11-3). Both of these men are well on their way to becoming truly well rounded fighters, but each comes from a different background. Cerrone is deadly on the ground with ten of his 12 victories coming by submission. On the other side, Kelly has proven a solid striker with five TKO’s in his 11 wins. The result is a meeting in the middle as the classic Striker vs. Grappler match is met with the kickboxer who can grapple and the submission fighter who can box.
This Saturday night The Ultimate Fighter 8 alum and WEC veteran George Roop (11-5-1) will face “The Machine” Mark Hominick (18-7) in a main card featherweight clash at UFC Fight for the Troops 2. The event also features “Handsome” Matt Wiman (12-5) taking on American Top Team stand-out “Magrinho” Cole Miller (17-4), a heavyweight tilt between fan favorite “Hype or Die” Pat Barry (4-3) and “The Mexicutioner” Joey Beltran (10-3), TUF 10 alum “Meathead” Matt Mitrione (3-0) facing “The Thrashing Machine” Tim Hague (10-4), and top lightweight Evan Dunham (10-1) versus “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard (25-8-2). Mark Hominick originally was slated to challenge WEC Featherweight Champion turned UFC featherweight champ “Junior” Jose Aldo (18-1) in his first UFC title defense at UFC 125 on New Year’s Day but an injury forced Aldo from the card. Now, Roop steps in for a fight Hominick can’t afford to lose. Following his stint on The Ultimate Fighter, Roop went 1-2 in the UFC and was consequently dropped by the organization. He went on to earn a win in a regional promotion then signed with the WEC 15 months after receiving his UFC pink slip. There, Roop found himself down a weight class, at featherweight, where he’s gone 1-1-1 including a second round head kick KO victory of “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (10-3). Mark Hominick has also had a run in the UFC previously, going 2-0 before dropping down from lightweight to featherweight and currently rides a four fight winning streak coming into his main card tilt with George Roop. The match has serious implications for both fighters, as a loss could easily result in being dropped from Zuffa’s roster once again.
So, here’s the thing about me – I’m really lazy. So, why would I choose to start this little weekly MMA wrap-up column after a week of UFC119, WEC51, Bellator and K1? Not to mention the fight between Scotch and my liver – it was a draw. Well, despite being lazy… really lazy… I’m also somewhat compulsive and couldn’t leave all of those fights just sitting there uncommented on. I don’t want to debut my column on a slow MMA week and disappoint dozens of you. (Hi, Mom!)
I’m told that I have more or less free reign with this column. So, I’m going to put that to the test. Notice that I haven’t even gotten to fights yet. Shut up. You love it. Okay, okay. I’ll wing it. I’m sure that writers who are less lazy, undisciplined and hungover than I am will give you the technical analysis. I’m going for the big picture.
Whether by default or design, Zuffa always manages to make up for lackluster showings by its respective organizations. As if to repay any dissatisfied fans for their fifty bucks spent on the highly criticized UFC 119, they delivered an outstanding card with WEC 51: Aldo vs. Gamburyan. There were impressive submissions and brutal knockouts and the fights that went to decisions kept fans on the edge of their seats with no room for complaint. There were plenty of exciting story lines on last night’s card as well, including the re-emergence of a former champion, a tutorial on how to effectively stop a zombie, the continuation of a grudge match, and the patience of an evolving champion. The WEC 51 card was presented for free on Versus, however many a fan would have received their money’s worth had this entire card been on Pay-Per-View. Let’s take a closer look at WEC 51, Clint-Eastwood-style, with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Tonight, the UFC’s little brother strikes again. This, of course, refers to the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) 51 card featuring the featherweight title match-up between the champion “Junior” Jose Aldo (17-1) and “Pitbull” Manny Gamburyan (11-4). This bout is touted as the main event but has all but been forgotten in light of another main card bout, a grudge rematch between “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (15-3) and Jamie Varner (16-3). As has become the norm, the WEC has put together an action packed card full of former TUF competitors, former title holders and contenders, UFC veterans, and all around crowd pleasers. This card promises to be full of fireworks and, more than likely, several exciting finishes. It wouldn’t even be surprising if there’s at least one candidate for Fight of the Year by the end of the night. After putting on a very lackluster card on Saturday with UFC 119, Zuffa may want to pay close attention to their smaller promotion and take notes on how to make on a successful and exciting card out of lesser known talent.
This is arguably one of the best cards a fan could ask for without having to pay. Earlier this year the WEC took its first steps into the world of Pay-Per-View with WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber. Six of the fighters featured on that card will be fighting on tonight’s card, including both participants of the early candidate for Fight of the Year “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (10-2) and Leonard Garcia (18-5-1). However, all of the focus seems to be on the long awaited grudge match between Cerrone and Varner. Those casual fans who turn off the TV following the hate filled battle between the “Cowboy” and his arch-rival will be in for quite a shock when they learn that the main event they had all but written off was the most exciting bout of the night.
World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) 51 will be hitting Broomfield, Colorado tonight with what promises to be an exciting evening of fights. With a card that boasts a main event pitting “Junior” Jose Aldo (16-1-0) against “Pitbull” Manny Gamburyan (11-5-0), the attention to the headliner may be detracted by a rematch between “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (10-4-0) and Jamie Varner (16-4-1). In what is anticipated to be a grudge match for the ages, many MMA and WEC fans are envisioning an absolute war that makes every other fight on the card look like a pillow fight.