Saturday, November 3rd kickboxer Tyrone Spong made his long awaited MMA debut at the World Series of Fighting 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 27-year old Spong won by knockout against Travis Bartlett in the night’s first main card fight. He looked very comfortable on his feet and was able to dictate the entire fight. As he continues to evolve his game I am sure the Blackzillians camp will be very helpful.

Spong has an extremely impressive professional kickboxing record with 68 wins, 6 losses and 1 draw. Some of those victories came against well-known fighters like Ray Sefo, Peter Aerts and Melvin Manhoef. In one his most popular fights Spong faced Allistair Overeem in the quarter final of the K-1 World Grand Prix. Spong lost the fight, but he gave Overeem a run for his money.

It was obvious Saturday night that Spong wanted nothing to do with ground fighting. It also worked out for him that his opponent was willing to stand in front of him and take huge shots. As the competition level becomes tougher Tyrone Spong will need to round out his overall MMA game. He is in the right place for that with the Blackzillians.

This guy is for real. He is a deadly striker and all of his strikes are thrown with awful intentions. If Spong becomes a true mixed martial artist and expands his skillsets he could be a dangerous opponent for anyone in the heavyweight or even light heavyweight divisions. It would be safe to say that he will be spoon fed a few more challengers before he faces a real test. I look forward to that test.

Until next time,
Brent Haugh
MMA Staff Writer

The UFC returns to action with another live Fight Night event on Saturday, November 10th in Macau at the CotaiArena, Venetian Macau Resort Hotel. Four fights are scheduled for a Facebook broadcast through the UFC official Facebook page while the other six fights will be aired live on FOX-owned Fuel TV.

David Mitchell vs. Hyun Gyu Lim
Promotional newcomer Hyun Gyu Lim (10-3-1) will test his skills versus submission specialist David Mitchell (11-2) in a UFC on Fuel TV 6 preliminary contest that will be fought at 170 pounds.

Mitchell, 33, is a California based mixed martial artist who fights out of the Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance in Santa Rosa.  The 6’0” Mitchell made his professional debut in July of 2006 and won eleven straight to begin his career while competing in mid-level organizations like Tachi Palace Fights and Gladiator Challenge.  Mitchell signed with the UFC in late 2010, however has dropped back to back bouts in addition to battling injuries over the two plus years with the company.  He lost his UFC Fight Night 22 debut in September 2010 via decision against TJ Waldburger and then was defeated by Paulo Thiago at UFC 134 in August 2011 in his most recent appearance.

Lim, 27, is a South Korean native who fights out of the Korean Top Team.  “The Ace” made his professional debut in February 2006 and won five of his first nine while traveling across a variety of different countries fighting for notable promotions such as Deep, M-1 Challenge, and Spirit MC.  Lim has won his last five fights dating back to February 2010 while fighting primarily for Pacific Xtreme Combat in Guam and the Philippines.  His most recent win took place in July at PXC 32 submitting Ryan Biglar for the company’s Welterweight Title.

PREDICTION – LIM DECISION

 

Takeya Mizugaki vs. Jeff Hougland
Intimidation - MMA Apparel & Fight GearWEC veteran Takeya Mizugaki (15-7-2) looks to try and get back on track at UFC on Fuel TV 6 in a preliminary card bout versus Jeff “Hellbound” Hougland (10-5) in bantamweight action.

Mizugaki, 28, is a Japan native who fights out of Kanagawa with the Shooting Gym Hakkei.  The 5’7” Mizugaki made his professional debut in early 2005 and began fighting for the Shooto organization where he stayed for two years posting a 6-2-2 mark.  A 5-0 run in the GCM Cage Force organization was followed with a mediocre period of fighting for the WEC from April 2009 through November 2010.  He began competing for the UFC over a year and a half ago and has split his four bouts.  He has lost two of his last three including a unanimous decision at UFC 144 this past February against Chris Cariaso.

Hougland, 34, is an Illinois born mixed martial artist who has relocated to the state of Washington where he fights out of Combat Sport and Fitness.  “Hellbound” made his professional debut in 2002 and lost four of his first five overall.  He turned it around by winning eight in a row from March 2005 through May 2011 while competing in regional organizations across Washington and California.  The 5’9” Houghland transitioned into the UFC in 2011 and won his UFC 132 debut with a unanimous decision victory over Donny Walker.  This past May at UFC on Fuel TV 3 Houghland was defeated via unanimous decision against Yves Jabouin.
PREDICTION – MIZUGAKI DECISION

 

Riki Fukuda vs. Tom DeBlass
Japanese based Riki Fukuda (18-6) is trying to pick up his second win inside the octagon at UFC on Fuel TV 6 against Tom DeBlass (7-1) on the preliminary card in middleweight action.

Fukuda, 31, is a Japanese born mixed martial artist who is fighting out of the Killer Bee team in Tokyo.  The 6’0” 185-pound Fukuda made his professional debut in 2004 and won six of his first eight while competing in Japanese promotions.  He earned a promotion into the Elite XC organization and split a pair of fights.  Once the company disbanded, Fukuda then returned to fight in Japan for Deep and DREAM organizations from 2008-10 winning 9 of 10 and earning a UFC contract.  He transitioned into the UFC in 2011 and has lost two of his three bouts so far.  After splitting his first two inside the octagon, Fukuda was outscored on the scorecards for a majority decision loss at UFC on Fuel TV 2 this past April against Cyrille Diabate.

PREDICTION – FUKUDA DECISION

 

Yasuhiro Urushitani vs. John Lineker
Longtime Japanese based veteran Yasuhiro Urushitani (19-5-6) is still in search of his first win inside the octagon and again will try at UFC on Fuel TV 6 on the preliminary card versus Brazil native John Lineker (19-6) in flyweight action.
Urushitani, 36, is a Japanese based mixed martial artist who fights out of Wajyutsu Keisyukai RJW.  The 5’5” Urushitani made his professional debut over ten years ago in January of 2001.  He spent the majority of his career fighting in the one place where 125 pound fights were available, Japan.  Prior to coming into the UFC, Urushitani captured the Shooto Bantamweight (123 lbs.) title and defended it once.  He was defeated in the UFC on FX 2 first round of the four man flyweight tournament via TKO against Joseph Benavidez.  Urushitani also has spent time fighting for notable organizations such as GCM Cage Force and MARS.

Lineker, 22, is a Brazil native who fights out of the Emporium.  The 5’3” Lineker made his professional debut in September of 2008 and posted a 6-5 mark in his first year of competition.  From February 2010 through September 2011, Lineker won thirteen straight bouts competing in notable promotions such as Jungle Fight and Shooto Brazil.  He lost his only UFC bout to date this past May at UFC on Fox 3 in a fight of the night performance via technical submission against Louis Gaudinot.

PREDICTION – LINKER DECISION

 

Tiequan Zhang vs. Jon Tuck
WEC veteran Tiequan Zhang (15-3) is trying to shake his two fight losing streak at UFC on Fuel TV 6 when he meets promotional newcomer Jon Tuck (6-0) in a lightweight bout that is on the preliminary card.

Zhang, 34, is a Chinese born mixed martial artist who fights out of the China Top Team.  The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt made his professional debut in late 2005 and won his first thirteen bouts of his career competing across the China and Philippines regional circuits.  His impressive career earned him a call into the WEC organization in September 2010 and he split a pair of bouts for the California based organization.  After the WEC closed their doors, Zhang was brought into the UFC and quickly won his UFC 127 debut.  Since that victory however, the submission based fighter has dropped a pair of fights losing against Darren Elkins at UFC 136 and against Issei Tamura at UFC 144 this past February.

Tuck, 28, is a Guam born mixed martial artist who fights out of The Arena.  The “Super Saiyan” made his professional debut in early 2007 and submitted three of his first four opponents before knocking out his last two.  The Pacific Xtreme Combat and Guerilla Warfare veteran last fought in November of 2011 winning via KO over Tristan Arenal at PXC 28.

PREDICTION – ZHANG SUBMISSION

 

Alex Caceres vs. Motonobu Tezuka
The Ultimate Fighter 12 semifinalist Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres (7-5) challenges promotional rookie Motonobu Tezuka (19-4-4) in a bantamweight bout that will be positioned on the main card at UFC on Fuel TV 6.

Caceres, 24, is a Florida based mixed martial artist who fights out of the Young Tigers Foundation.  “Bruce Leroy” made his professional debut in November of 2008 and was 5-2 before earning a position on the twelfth season of The Ultimate Fighter.  The Team George St. Pierre pick lost in the semifinals of the TUF 12 tournament before transitioning into the UFC.  He began his octagon career as a featherweight, however struggled going 0-2 at 145 pounds.  He dropped to the bantamweight division and has won two of his last three including his UFC on Fuel TV 4 submission victory over Damacio Page this past July.

Tezuna, 25, is a Japanese native who fights out of Cobra Kai MMA Dojo in Nagano.  The 5’7” Tezuna made his professional debut in 2005 and began his career competing in small Japanese promotions.  Tezuna built a reputation for being a strong fighter losing only one bout since April of 2008 while competing in notable organizations like GCM, DEEP, and Pancrase.  Currently, Tezuna is on a three fight win streak including a 2-0 mark in 2012 fighting for the Pancrase organization.

PREDICTION – CACERES SUBMISSION

 

Takanori Gomi vs. Mac Danzig
Hard hitting Japanese legend Takanori “The Fireball Kid” Gomi (33-8, NC) is trying to make it back to back victories at UFC on Fuel TV 6 against Mac Danzig (31-9-1) in a lightweight contest that will be on the event’s main card.

Gomi, 34, is a Kanagawa, Japan based mixed martial artist who fights out of the American Kickboxing Academy and Kugayama Rascal teams.  “The Fireball Kid” made his professional debut in 1998 and shot through his competition to a 14-0 start competing in his native country for organizations such as Shooto and Vale Tudo.  After losing back to back bouts in 2003, Gomi moved into the PRIDE FC organization and was impressive winning 13 of his 15 bouts as well as becoming the company’s Lightweight Champion.  When PRIDE FC closed their doors, Gomi transitioned into the Sengoku organization and split four bouts there.  He eventually moved into the UFC in 2010 and is 2-3 so far.  The wrestling based boxer won his most recent fight at UFC 144 this past February with a TKO finish of Eiji Mitsuoka.

Danzig, 32, is an Ohio born mixed martial artist who now fights out of Los Angeles, CA.  The 5’8” Danzig made his professional debut in 2001 and was 16-3-1 after stints as the King of the Cage Lightweight Champion and stints with the WEC, IFC, and Gladiators Challenge.  In 2007, Danzig lost his only PRIDE FC bout before earning a position on The Ultimate Fighter 6.  The Team Hughes fighter won the TUF 6 competition and his UFC 83 follow-up bout over Mark Bocek.  He fell into a slump in 2008-09 losing three straight fights, but rebounded and has alternated wins with losses over his last five fights.  Danzig has been victorious in two of his last three fights including a UFC 145 unanimous decision over Efrain Escudero this past April.

PREDICTION – DANZIG SUBMISSION

 

Dong Hyun Kim vs. Paulo Thiago
Former welterweight contenders Dong Hyun “Stun Gun” Kim (15-2-1, NC) and Paulo Thiago (14-4) will meet in a UFC on Fuel TV 6 main card bout for divisional relevance.

Kim, 30, is a South Korean native who fights out of the Busan Team M.A.D.  “Stun Gun” made his professional debut in April of 2004 and went undefeated over his first ten bouts prior to joining the UFC roster in 2008.  The DEEP and Spirit MC veteran also went unbeaten through his first six inside the octagon including a victory over Nate Diaz.  His first loss came in the July 2011 UFC 132 event losing via KO against Carlos Condit.  After rebounding with a victory at UFC 141, Kim dropped his most recent fight at UFC 148 when injuring his rib in a loss against Damian Maia this past July.
Thiago, 31, is a Brazil native who fights out of the Constrictor Team in Brasilia.  The 5’11” Thiago made his professional debut in July of 2005 and won his first ten bouts while competing in his home country for organizations like Jungle Fight.  He won three of his first four inside the octagon including an impressive UFC 95 debut KO of Josh Koscheck.  After climbing into contention early in his career, Thiago has dropped off after losing three of his final four for the company.  His most recent bout was a UFC on Fuel TV 2 KO loss against Siyar Bahadurzada this past April.

PREDICTION – KIM DECISION

 

Thiago Silva vs. Stanislav Nedkov
Ultra aggressive Thiago Silva (14-3, NC) will meet undefeated light-heavyweight Stanislav Nedkov (12-0) in a UFC on Fuel TV 6 main card bout.

Silva, 29, is a Brazil native who now fights out of Florida with the Imperial Athletics team.  The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt made his professional debut in September 2005 and won his first nine bouts while competing across Brazil in regional organizations.  Silva moved into the UFC in May of 2007 and won five of his first six inside the octagon picking up victories over the likes of James Irvin, Houston Alexander and Keith Jardine.  Since his fast start inside the octagon, Silva has slumped going winless in almost three years.  He did originally win at UFC 125 over Brandon Vera but a failed urine test changed the result to a no decision.  Silva also lost at UFC on Fuel TV 2 this past April dropping a decision against Alexander Gustafsson.

Nedkov, 30, is a Bulgaria native who fights out of the Bulgarian Federation of Mixed Martial Sports.  “Stucky” made his professional debut in April of 2006 and won his first eleven winning only twice via decision.  Early in his career Nedkov fought primarily in his native country, however he eventually moved his career to fight in Japan.  He picked up victories over veterans Travis Wiuff and Kevin Randleman while fighting in World Victory Road’s Sengoku organization.  He transitioned into the UFC last year with a TKO victory at UFC 134 over Luiz Cane.

PREDICTION – NEDKOV DECISION

 

Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le
Former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich “Ace” Franklin (29-6, NC) meets former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Cung Le (8-2) in the UFC on Fuel TV 6 main event.

Franklin, 38, is an Ohio born mixed martial artist who fights out of Team Extreme in Cincinnati.  “Ace” made his professional debut in June of 1999 and went undefeated after his first twelve bouts while fighting in regional shows.  He transitioned into the UFC in 2003 and was 5-0 for the organization when he captured the 185-pound title at UFC 53 from Evan Tanner.  Franklin defended his title twice before losing via TKO against current Champion Anderson Silva at UFC 64.  He climbed his way back up the ladder to challenge for the title again at UFC 77 in October 2007 but was lost via TKO once again.  Since his second chance at Silva, Franklin has built a 5-3 record while fighting at 185-pounds and 205-pounds.  He has won two of his last three including a unanimous decision victory over Wanderlei Silva this past June at UFC 147.

Le, 40, is a South Vietnam born mixed martial artist who fights out of American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, CA.  Le was also a professional kick boxer and posted a 17-0 mark while wrapping his career in 2005.  He moved into MMA one year later and won seven of his eight fights for the Strikeforce organization including a March 2008 victory over Frank Shamrock for the 185 pound title.  Since moving over into the UFC, Le has split a pair of bouts.  He lost at UFC 139 in November 2011 against Wanderlei Silva via TKO and then picked up a unanimous decision victory over Patrick Cote at UFC 148 this past July.

PREDICTION – FRANKLIN TKO

 

By Nick Russell
ProFightingFans.com Senior MMA Writer

Bellator’s 170 pound division is one of their most active crowning tournament champions in Seasons 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and another welterweight tournament expected during their 7th season. After Lyman Good became the Season 1 winner and first Bellator Welterweight Champion he was unseated by Ben Askren at Bellator 33. While Askren has now defended his title twice, defeating Jay Hieron by split decision at Bellator 56, his utter domination of Douglas Lima at Bellator 64 is likely his best performance to date.

Given the tournament format of Bellator leaving little debate in terms of rankings, it is still important to look at the big picture of recent activity from each fighter as well as their historic results.

And now the ranking of the best of the Bellator Welterweight Division…

 

Top Bellator Welterweight Fighter Rankings:

1. Ben Askren – (10-0, 7-0 BFC) – With just three fights under his belt before making his Bellator debut, the former U.S. Olympic wrestler won Bellator’s Season 2 Welterweight Tournament beating Dan Hornbuckle by decision at Bellator 22. He followed the win by defeating Champion Lyman Good at Bellator 33 by decision and has defended his title once defeating Jay Hieron last Fall by split decision. While Askren is 10-0 and the 170 lb Champion for Bellator, his inability to finish top-level competition will undoubtedly be brought up by his critics, ProFighting-fans.com included. However, few fighters can bring in an obvious game plan to each fight and thoroughly dominate the way Askren dominated Douglas Lima at Bellator 64. Until someone proves they can beat him at his own game, or fend off his takedowns, Askren is the kingpin of Bellator’s 170 lb division and deserves a spot in the worldwide Top 10 rankings of MMA Welterweights.

2. Douglas Lima – (21-5, 3-1 BFC) – Undefeated in his last 9 fights prior to Bellator 64, Douglas Lima showed that the pre Bellator Season 5 Welterweight Tournament hype was warranted, but when matched up with Askren he was highly overmatched. With the loss expect to see Lima in a future Bellator Welterweight Tournament, hopefully along with Jay Hieron in the Fall of 2012.

3. Karl Amoussou – (16-4-2, 4-1 BFC) – Amoussou, a veteran of M-1 Global and Strikeforce, joined Bellator’s Season 6 Welterweight Tournament with an impressive finish of Bellator vet Chris Lozano at Bellator 63 and followed the win by topping previously unbeaten David Rickels by split decision at Bellator 67. In the tournament finals Amoussou locked in a heel hook to defeat Bryan Baker in just 56 seconds at Bellator 72 to earn a title shot opposite Askren.

4. Brian Foster – (18-5, 0-0 BFC) – Despite never having stepped into the Bellator cage Brian Foster has one of the most impressive resumes of anyone on the promotion’s roster. Foster went 3-2 with the UFC before being cut and is riding a 4-fight win streak that he was hoping to extend at Bellator 63 but he was not medically cleared to fight by the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation. It is hopeful that Foster can gain medical clearance in the future and that he is completely healthy as the talented welterweight could make some major waves in Bellator’s 170 pound division.

5. Bryan Baker – (18-4, 8-3 BFC) – One of the most veteran fighters in the Bellator organization with 11 fights inside the Bellator cage, Bryan Baker was a Season 2 Middleweight Tournament finalist, Season 5 Middleweight Tournament semifinalist and fell to Amoussou in the Season 6 Welterweight Tournament final. The 5 year pro went 2-1 in three fights with the WEC and 2-0 for the Canadian MFC promotion prior to signing with Bellator in 2009.

 

Honorable Mention:  David Rickels, Ben Saunders

While Bellator’s Lightweight division may be the promotion’s deepest, Bellator’s Heavyweight division is was likely the thinnest in terms of top-level talent. Not to take anything away from Bellator’s attempts to build a roster of solid heavyweight fighters, but their own lack of tournaments speaks volumes. Bellator’s initial Heavyweight Tournament came during the Fall of 2010 in Season 3 where Cole Conrad emerged and won the Bellator Heavyweight Championship defeating Neil Grove. A year later they returned the Heavyweights to the cage and while exciting finishes were the norm throughout the tournament, an anti-climactic ending when a Thiago Santos kick to Eric Prindle’s groin left Prindle unable to continue resulting in a No Contest. Prindle eventually was rewarded the tournament championship after Santos could not make weight and Conrad defended his title with relative ease submitting Prindle in round one at Bellator 70.

Given the tournament format of Bellator leaving little debate in terms of rankings, it is still important to look at the big picture of recent activity from each fighter as well as their historic results.

And now the ranking of the best of othe Bellator Heavyweight Division…

 

Top Bellator Heavyweight Fighter Rankings:

 

1. Cole Conrad – (9-0, 7-0 BFC) – A 2-time NCAA National Championship wrestler from Minnesota, Cole Conrad is undefeated in his first 9 pro MMA bouts and became the promotion’s first Heavyweight Champion at Bellator 32 in October 2010. While Conrad has fought just twice since winning the belt, he was successful in his first title defense to remain atop the Bellator heavyweight division. With several recent signings it appears that Bellator will have yet another heavyweight tournament during Season 7 this Fall.

2. Eric Prindle – (9-2-1, 3-1-1 BFC) – Bellator Season 5 Heavyweight Tournament finalist Eric Prindle edges his Tournament final opponent Thiago Santos on this list based on a more impressive resume of wins. While the two still have yet to fight, Prindle was awarded the tournament championship and title shot after an illness kept Prindle from fighting one week and Santos’ inability to make weight forced Bellator’s hand on the third attempt. Prindle faced TUF 10 vet Abe Wagner at Bellator 52 to advance to the semifinals and knocked out previously unbeaten Ron Sparks at Bellator 56 to make the finals. Expect to see Prindle in the 8-man tournament field this Fall.

3. Thiago Santos – (10-1-1, 2-0-1 BFC) – Thiago, Prindle’s fellow Bellator Season 5 Heavyweight Tournament finalist, was on the giving end of the kick that caused a fair amount of controvery at the conclusion of Bellator’s 5th season. Deemed an inadvertant kick, Santos was to face Prindle once again to decide which fighter will get a shot at Cole Conrad’s Championship belt, but he could not make weight. Santos made his way into the tournament thanks to a win over Josh Burns at Bellator 53 to determine a reserve for the tounament and a subsequent injury to open the door for Santos. He followed the win with a 1st round submission of Neil Grove at Bellator 56 to advance to the final opposite Prindle.

4. Ron Sparks – (8-1, 3-1 BFC) – Ron “The Monster” Sparks entered Bellator’s Season 5 Heavyweight Tournament as one of the more hyped fighters at 7-0 as a pro with 5 KO/TKO wins. After a KO win over Mark Holata at Bellator 52 Sparks got a taste of his own medicine getting knocked out early in the 1st round to end his run at Bellator 56. He was scheduled to fight at Bellator 69 in a probable tournament qualifier, but a medical issue kept Sparks out of the fight.

Possibly the most difficult division to rank within the Bellator MMA promotion is their Light Heavyweight Division. The most inactive division of all, the organization has held just two Light Heavyweight Tournaments coming in Season 4 during the Spring of 2011 and during the 2012 Summer Series. To add to the complexity of ranking these fighters the Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion, Christian M’Pumbu, became the lone Bellator Champ to lose in a non-title fight for the promotion when he dropped a unanimous decision to Travis Wiuff at Bellator 55. On top of M’Pumbu’s unimpressive showing these rankings become even more difficult as Bellator has signed several young 205 lb fighters who have since been unable to take advantage of their opportunities as well as two bigger names in King Mo Lawal and Babalu Sobral.

Given the tournament format of Bellator leaving less debate in terms of rankings, it is still important to look at the big picture of recent activity from each fighter as well as their historic results.

And now the ranking of the best of othe Bellator Light Heavyweight Division…

Top Bellator Light Heavyweight Fighter Rankings:

1. Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal – (9-1-1, 1-0 BFC) – Likely the biggest name on Bellator’s roster across all divisions, the former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Lawal has an interesting role with his employer. Because Viacom owns Bellator as well as TNA Wrestling, Lawal is under contract with both and has already made his pro wrestling debut. His Bellator debut came at Bellator 86 in the opening round of the Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament as he tournament favorite scored a 1st round KO to advance.

2. Attila Vegh – (28-4-2, 4-0 BFC) – One of the favorites heading into the Summer Series 2012 Light Heavyweight Tournament, Attila Vegh was highly impressive in his three tournament fights earning the title shot against Christian M’Pumbu. While an injury has delayed the Bellator 84 scheduled fight to 2013, Vegh seems likely to be the favorite to be Bellator’s next 205lb champ. Vegh started his pro MMA career with 9 straight wins and stays active having fought 20 times in 2009 & 2010 combined.

3. Travis Wiuff – (68-16-1, 4-1 BFC) – The only man to defeat Bellator’s Light Heavyweight Champion, Christian M’Pumbu inside the Bellator cage, Wiuff advanced to the finals of the eight-man Summer Series 2012 Light Heavyweight Tournament by defeating Chris Davis and Tim Carpenter. After a surprising TKO loss to Atilla Vegh, Wiuff returned to action in November 2012 and dropped a split decision with an international promotion.

4. Christian M’Pumbu – (18-4-1, 3-1 BFC) – The promotion’s Light Heavyweight Champion, M’Pumbu gets the #3 spot, literally backing his way out of  the top spots based on a thin pool of talent (in comparison to their other divisions) around him after dropping a unanimous decision to Travis Wiuff at Bellator 55 in a non-title fight. M’Pumbu was slated to fight Vegh in his first title defense at Bellator 84 but an injury postponed the fight to 2013.

5. Mikhail Zayats – (20-6, 1-0 BFC) – After defeating one of Bellator’s bigger-name signees in Babalu Sobral, Zayats immediately deserves consideration for the Top 5 given Bellator’s thin roster of high-level 205lb fighters. A winner of 11 of his past 12 fights, Zayats has fought most of his career for the M-1 promotion before signing with Bellator.

 

Honorable Mention:  Tim Carpenter, Chris Davis, Emanuel Newton, Jacob Noe

 

Complete Bellator Rankings:

 

The atmosphere at Titan 22 in Kansas City, Kansas was unbelievable and the night was full of exciting fights. The undercard was stacked with local talent and Tony Cardello won the Amateur TFC Middleweight Championship. He plans on defending the title once or twice and then think about making his pro debut because he is 33 years old and is 5-0 and knows his game time is running out.

The first fight on the main card featured top prospect Mirsad Bektic. Mirsad is making a name for himself in Titan as one of the rising stars. He is now 4-0 and has finished every one of his opponents. He took out Willie Mack in the 2nd round by KO which was a late stoppage by the referee and the Kansas Athletic Commission pulled the ref for the rest of the night since the safety of fighters is the most important thing. After the fight Mirsad said he is looking to fight “whoever has a good name”.

One thing I really enjoyed from Titan 22 was Rudy Bears entrance. He told his kids class “If they work hard he will let them walk out with him”. Rudy told me “ To be honest that was a little more pressure on me cause 2 of them are my kids and I can’t let them see daddy get hurt.” Luckily for Rudy he fought like a beast and put all the pressure on Nolte and pounded on him until he made him tap from strikes. Rudy Bears has had his ups and downs in the sport and really needed that win. One thing I can say about Rudy Bears is that he always takes tough fights and I respect that.

In my opinion Andrew Whitney Vs. Jose Vega should have been for the Bantamweight Title. These 2 guys are the top Bantamweights in this area and had a lot of respect for each other coming into the fight. Andrew Whitney showed that he is top talent and that he can take out tough opponents and moves his record to 8-1 with a Knockout victory over Jose Vega 2:55 seconds into the very first round. Andrew Whitney told me after the fight “Jose Vega is one of the best guys in the Midwest and I made short work of him.” With this win Andrew Whitney proves he is one of the top Bantamweight fighters outside of the UFC.

LC Davis was one of the casualties of the WEC/UFC merger and was on a 3 fight losing streak coming into this fight at Titan 22. Davis felt like this fight with Bill Kamery was a must win for him. LC came out strong and beat Kamery in every aspect of the game and had a spectacular Bantamweight debut. Davis is back in the winning column and is looking to stay there. I talked with LC Davis after the fight and he told me “I just want to keep winning.” It was great to see LC Davis get the win because I have been following his career since his IFL days.

The Main Event of the evening ended up being more of a cat and mouse game with Dave Branch playing the smart game and trying to stay away from the power of Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson. I feel like Anthony Johnson chased him the whole fight and never cut off the cage. You would think with all the drama behind Johnson that he would come out to finish the fight but it was the opposite. Not only did Anthony Johnson have to make the fight a catchweight of 195 lbs. but he didn’t even seem to come to fight. If there is a health issue with Johnson from trying to cut too much weight then he just needs to fight at 205. If you can’t make 185 then you need to sign for a catchweight fight. Any promoter that gives ‘Rumble’ a chance has to know that missing weight is a possibility.

 

By Chris Gregory – @ChrisGregoryMMA
ProFightingFans.com Guest MMA Writer

UFC 146 Preliminary Card Predictions:

Mike Brown vs. Daniel Pineda

Longtime Zuffa employee Mike Brown (25-8) will attempt to win his second in a row inside the octagon when he meets Daniel “The Pit” Pineda (17-7) in a UFC 146 preliminary card bout that will be shown on Facebook.

Brown, 36, is a Maine born mixed martial artist who is a longtime member of the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt made his professional debut in 2001 and won 9 of his first 10 while fighting on the east coast in a series of regional organizations to earn his first UFC bout. He was submitted by Genki Sudo at UFC 47 in April of 2004 while competing as a lightweight. After losing inside the octagon, Brown won 9 of his next 11 for promotions like DEEP and Bodog Fight to earn a WEC opportunity. During his two plus years in the WEC, Brown won 6 of his 8 fights and was the organizations’ Featherweight Champion. After defending the belt twice, Brown lost his title but transitioned into the UFC anyway. He has lost 2 of his 3 bouts for the UFC so far, although he did come out on top at UFC 133 last summer defeating Nam Phan by decision.

Pineda, 26, is a Dallas, Texas born mixed martial artist who fights out of the 4 oz. Fight Club in Houston. “The Pit” made his professional debut in 2007 and won 8 of his first 10 bouts. Climbing up the minor league ranks, Pineda hit a rough patch and dropped 5 of his next 7. Eventually he would find his place with Legacy FC and won five straight bouts to earn a chance inside the UFC. Since joining the UFC earlier this year, Pineda has won back to back bouts defeating Pat Schilling and Mackens Semerzier in January and March respectively. Pineda has also fought in Bellator and Elite XC.

Prediction – Brown Submission

 

Kyle Kingsbury vs. Glover Teixeira

The Ultimate Fighter 8 veteran Kyle Kingsbury (11-3, NC) will try and get back in the winner’s circle at UFC 146 in a Facebook streamed preliminary card bout versus promotional newcomer Glover Teixeira (17-2).

Kingsbury, 30, is a California based mixed martial artist who fights out of San Jose with the American Top Team. Kingsbury made his professional debut in 2006 and won 7 of his first 9 while fighting for King of the Cage and Rage in the Cage organizations. The wrestling based Kingsbury was an injury replacement on TUF 8 and competed as part of Team Nogueira. He didn’t win the competition or his official octagon debut at the TUF 8 Finale but kept his place with the organization after winning his next four bouts. Among his four straight victories included two “Fight of the Night” bonuses after wins over Razak Al-Hassan and Fabio Maldonado. His four fight win streak was stopped last November at UFC 139 when he lost a unanimous decision bout against Stephan Bonnar.

Teixeira, 32, is a Brazil born mixed martial artist who fights out of The Pit in California. The hard hitting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt made his professional debut in 2002 and split his first four bouts. After a 2-2 start, Teixeira won three in a row for the WEC organization in 2006. After the organization cut its heavier weight classes, Teixeira returned to Brazil and continued to win and build his winning streak to its current position at 15 in a row. The Bitetti Combat, Impact FC, and Shooto Brazil veteran has defeated opponents like Antonio Mendes, Marvin Eastman, and Ricco Rodriguez during his current winning streak.

Prediction – Teixeira TKO

 

Dan Hardy vs. Duane Ludwig

Former title challenger Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy (23-10, NC) will meet longtime MMA veteran Duane “Bang” Ludwig (21-12) in an FX streamed preliminary card bout at UFC 146.

Hardy, 29, is a British born mixed martial artist who fights out of Nottingham, England. “The Outlaw” made his professional debut in 2004 and posted a 19-6, NC mark after fighting for almost four years with promotions across Japan, England, and the United States. The taekwondo based fighter made his UFC debut in 2008 and won his first four bouts inside the octagon to earn a 170 pound title fight. In March 2010 at UFC 111, Hardy was outpointed by current Champion George St. Pierre in his title appearance. The loss set off a string of bad luck, Hardy hasn’t won since before his title fight losing four in a row including his most recent fight last summer at UFC on VS 6 where he was submitted by Chris Lytle.

Ludwig, 33, is a Colorado based mixed martial artist who fights out of the Grudge Training Center near Denver. “Bang” made his professional debut in 2000 and won 9 of his first 11 to earn his first opportunity inside the octagon. At UFC 42 in April 2003, Ludwig defeated Japanese fighter Genki Sudo by decision. He won his second bout inside the octagon almost three years later at UFC Fight Night 3 where he knocked out Jonathan Goulet. After his knockout victory over Goulet, Ludwig fought for Strikeforce, Ring of Fire, and Sengoku for almost three full years before returning to the UFC in early 2010. Since his return over two years ago, Ludwig has posted wins in just two of his five appearances. He has his two fight winning streak snapped in his most recent fight this past January at UFC on FX where he was submitted by Josh Neer.

Prediction – Ludwig Decision

 

Jacob Volkmann vs. Paul Sass

Rising lightweight Jacob “Christmas” Volkmann (14-2) will go for his sixth straight win inside the octagon at UFC 146 in a Facebook streamed preliminary card bout against undefeated lightweight Paul Sass (12-0).

Volkmann, 31, is a Minnesota based mixed martial artist who fights out of the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy. The former NCAA Division I wrestler made his professional debut in 2007 and won his first 9 bouts on the regional circuit. He joined the UFC in late 2009 and lost back to back welterweight bouts to begin his octagon career. With his job on the line, Volkmann dropped to 155 pounds and has won five in a row. In his most recent action, “Christmas” defeated Efrain Escudero at this past December’s UFC 141.

Sass, 23, is a British based mixed martial artist who fights out of Liverpool with Team Kaobon. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt made his professional debut in 2007 and won his first 10 bouts while fighting in regional organizations across England. Sass made the move into the UFC in late 2010 and has won both of his bouts in the octagon since. He first submitted Mark Holst at UFC 120 in October 2010 and then submitted Michael Johnson at UFC on VS 5 this past October.

Prediction – Sass Decision

 

Jason Miller vs. CB Dollaway

Popular mixed martial arts veteran Jason “Mayhem” Miller (23-8, NC) will try and post his first win for the organization at UFC 146 in a FX televised middleweight bout that is positioned on the preliminary card against TUF 7 runner-up CB Dollaway (11-4).

Miller, 31, is a Georgia born mixed martial artist who fights out of Las Vegas with the Reign Training Center. “Mayhem” made his professional debut in 2001 and won 11 of his first 14 competing in local events like Extreme Challenge and Super Brawl. He earned a bout at UFC 52 against George St. Pierre but came up short losing via decision at the April 2005 event. Miller spent the next six plus years winning 12 of his first 16 in organizations like the WEC, Strikeforce, Dream, HD Net Fights and Icon Sport. After a successful coaching stint on The Ultimate Fighter 14, Miller was dominated at the December 2011 TUF 14 Finale losing via TKO against opposite Coach Michael Bisping.

Dollaway, 28, is an Ohio born mixed martial artist who fights out of Arizona at Power MMA and Fitness. “The Doberman” made his professional debut in 2006 and won his first six bouts fighting in a variety of regional promotions. He then earned a position on TUF 7 and represented Team Rampage in the Finale where he lost and finished as runner up to Amir Sadollah. After losing his June 2008 debut, Dollaway won five of his next six inside the octagon posting victories over opponents like Goran Reljic and Joe Doerksen. Dollaway has come up short though over his last two fights, losing bouts to Mark Munoz at UFC on VS 3 and losing to Jared Hamman at the August 2011 UFC on VS 6.

Prediction – Miller Submission

 

Diego Brandao vs. Darren Elkins

The Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Brandao (14-7) will make his first appearance since winning the fourteenth edition of the show against Darren Elkins (13-2) in a featherweight bout that will be part of the FX televised preliminary card at UFC 146.

Brandao, 24, is a Brazil born mixed martial artist who fights out of Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts in New Mexico. The muay-thai specialist made his professional debut in 2005 and won six of his first nine while in his native country fighting in regional organizations. After making the move to the United States and winning seven of his next eleven in the regional fight circuit, Brandao signed on to fight for The Ultimate Fighter 14. The Team Bisping competitor easily ripped through the competition on the show and finished it with a submission victory over Dennis Bermudez at the December Finale. Brandao won both “Fight of the Night” and “Submission of the Night” bonuses for his performance.

Elkins, 27, is an Indiana born mixed martial artist who fights out of the Duneland Vale Tudo. Elkins made his professional debut in 2007 and won ten of his first eleven while fighting on the Indiana and Illinois regional circuits. Elkins then won his UFC on VS debut with a TKO victory over Duane Ludwig in March of 2010. He followed up with a submission defeat to Charles Oliveira at another UFC on VS event in August of 2010. After his first loss inside the octagon, Elkins made the move to the 145 pound division and has since posted back to back unanimous decision victories. He defeated Michihiro Omigawa at UFC 131 last June and then picked up the victory over Zhang Tiequan at UFC 136 last August.

Prediction – Brandao TKO

 

UFC 146 PPV Predeictions

 

Shane Del Rosario vs. Stipe Miocic

Stipe Miocic UFC
UFC Heavyweight Stipe Miocic

Strikeforce import Shane Del Rosario (11-0) will try and keep his undefeated record as he meets another undefeated prospect in Stipe Miocic (8-0) in a UFC 146 main card heavyweight bout.

Del Rosario, 28, is a California born mixed martial artist who fights out of Team Oyama in his home state. The muay-thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist made his professional debut in 2006 and won his first 8 bouts while competing mostly for M-1 Challenge and Elite XC. His last three wins have come while fighting for Strikeforce including his most recent last February at “Fedor vs. Silva” where he submitted current UFC fighter Lavar Johnson.

Miocic, 29, is an Ohio based mixed martial artist who fights out of the Strong Style Fight Team in Cleveland. The former Cleveland State wrestler made his professional MMA debut in February 2010 and won his first six bouts competing mostly for NAAFS in his home state. His NAAFS 7 Heavyweight Championship victory over Bobby Brents last June earned him the opportunity to fight inside the octagon. Also a Golden Gloves Boxer, Miocic won his October 2011 UFC 136 debut with a unanimous decision victory over Joey Beltran. In his follow up bout this February at UFC on Fuel TV, Miocic earned his second straight octagon victory knocking out Phil De Fries in 43 seconds.

Prediction – Del Rosario Decision

 

Roy Nelson vs. Dave Herman

The always durable Roy “Big Country” Nelson (16-7) is trying to win just his second fight in over two years at UFC 146 when he welcomes journeyman Dave “Pee-Wee” Herman (21-3) in a main card heavyweight match up.

Nelson, 35, is a Nevada born mixed martial artist who remains in his home city and fights out of his own County Club. “Big Country” made his professional debut in 2004 and won 13 of his first 15 including a stint as the IFL Heavyweight Champion. Nelson was signed to compete on the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter despite losing his final two bouts prior. It turned out to be a good choice for both parties as Nelson ripped right through the competition and won TUF 10 with a KO victory over Brendan Schaub at the live Finale. Also defeated Stefan Struve via TKO at March 2010 UFC Fight Night 21, but lost back to back bouts following his good start. Losses to Frank Mir and Junior dos Santos were followed with a 1 st round TKO victory over Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic at UFC 137 last October, however Nelson was defeated in his most recent appearance this February losing to Fabricio Werdum at UFC 143.

Herman, 27, is an Indiana-born mixed martial artist who fights out of Team Quest in California. “Pee-Wee” made his professional debut in December 2006 and won his first eleven fights competing in regional events across the Midwest United States. In 2008 Herman began competing for larger organizations like Elite XC, Sengoku, Bellator, and Shark Fights winning 9 of his next 11 including victories over notables Don Frye and Yoshihiro “Kiss” Nakao. The UFC wait was well worth it after Herman won “Fight of the Night” in his UFC 131 debut with a TKO finish against Jon-Olav Einemo. He had a small setback in his follow-up bout at UFC on Fuel TV where he was knocked out by Stefan Struve this past February.

Prediction – Nelson TKO

 

Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva

Former Champion Cain Velasquez (9-1) will try and remain in the title picture at UFC 146 when he fights former Cage Rage and Elite XC Heavyweight Champ Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (16-3) in the night’s co-main event.

Velasquez, 29, is a California based mixed martial artist who fights out of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose. The former Arizona State wrestler made his professional debut in 2006 and won just twice on the regional circuit before signing with the UFC in 2008. He won six straight inside the octagon including a UFC 110 bout in February 2010 over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to earn a chance to fight for the title. In his first title fight at UFC 121 in October 2010, Velasquez defeated Brock Lesnar via 1 st round TKO to become the Heavyweight Champion. In his first title defense at UFC on Fox this past November, Velasquez was knocked out in 1:04 by current Champion Junior dos Santos.

Silva, 32, is a Brazil born mixed martial artist who fights out of Team Nogueira. “Bigfoot” made his professional debut in March 2005 and won his first seven fights including the Cage Rage HW Title before suffering his first career defeat in late 2006. The BJJ, Judo, and karate black belt made the move to Elite XC in 2007 and won all four of his bouts for the organization including the Heavyweight Championship in July 2008. After Elite XC folded, Silva competed for both World Victory Road and Strikeforce winning five of his last seven bouts. After Silva upset Fedor Emelianenko in the quarterfinals, Silva himself was upset by Daniel Cormier at the September semifinals in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament.

Prediction – Velasquez TKO

 

UFC 146 Main Event – Junior dos Santos vs. Frank Mir

Current UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos (14-1) will defend his belt for the first time against former two-time UFC Champ Frank Mir (16-5) in the UFC 146 main event.

Dos Santos, 27, is a Brazil born mixed martial artist who fights out of Team Nogueira. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt made his professional debut in 2006 and won six of his first seven fights while competing in small organizations across his native country. Dos Santos joined the UFC in late 2008 and stopped his first five opponents inside the octagon; four by TKO and one via submission. He then had to grind out back to back unanimous decision victories over Roy Nelson at UFC 117 and Shane Carwin at UFC 131. In his most recent fight last November at UFC on Fox, dos Santos earned a 1 st round KO victory over then-Champ Cain Velasquez to become the new Champion.

Mir, 32, is a Las Vegas based mixed martial artist who fights out of The University of Grappling. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt made his professional debut in 2001 and won only twice on the regional circuit before joining the UFC heavyweights in late 2001. He won the UFC Heavyweight Title in just his seventh bout at UFC 48 in June of 2004 over Tim Sylvia. Mir had to vacate the belt and take almost two years off of competition after suffering injuries after a motorcycle accident. Upon his return, Mir lost two of his first three but did rebound to win three in a row to become the Interim Heavyweight Champion at UFC 92. He lost to Brock Lesnar at UFC 100 and to Shane Carwin at UFC 111 in title fights. Since his loss to Carwin over two years ago, Mir has piled up three more victories including his most recent at UFC 140 last December where he submitted Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

Prediction – Dos Santos TKO

 

By Nick Russell
ProFighting-fans.com Senior MMA Staff Writer

 

UFC logo & fighter pictures used with permission from the Ultimate Fighting Championship