After every UFC event we here at Pro Fighting Fans love to play matchmaker. In this column we’ll tell you who we think the winners and losers of each fight should face next.  So check back with Pro Fighting Fans after a UFC event to see what we think the next step is.

Sage Northcutt

Who he should fight next: Scott Holtzman

The UFC put a lot of effort into promoting 19 year old Sage Northcutt (7-1). Then he met Bryan Barberena at UFC on FOX 18 and suffered his first professional loss. Not only did he lose, he was also roasted on social media by fellow fighters, especially for the “quick tap” nature of the loss.

It was Northcutt’s third fight in as many months so he should take some time off. When he comes back it should be against a beatable opponent who still presents challenges for him. Fellow lightweight Scott “Hot Sauce” Holtzman (8-1) would be a great starting point on the comeback trail for Sage.

Holtzman is also coming off his first professional loss and is looking for a return to the win column. Holtzman and Northcutt have similar experience levels so this would be an even matchup. “Hot Sauce” wouldn’t be an easy fight for Northcutt, but then again in the UFC there are no easy fights. This is a fight that should happen sometime in 2016.

 

Iuri Alcantara

Who he should fight next: Eddie Wineland

Iuri Alcantara (33-7-1NC) has now lost two of his last three fights inside the octagon. Although his loss to Jimmie Rivera earned him “fight of the night” honours, Alcantara knows winning is what matters most at this point in his career. The 35 year old is a tough matchup for anyone. But if he wants to make a final push at a UFC title he’ll have to keep taking on solid opposition.

Eddie Wineland (21-11-1) is on a two fight losing skid and is in desperate need of a victory. He and Alcantara are in similar positions right now. They both need to start winning again as they aren’t getting any younger. Wineland is 3-5 since joining the UFC but just like Alcantara he’s faced some of the best bantamweight fighters in the world.

Even if neither of these gets a title shot in their UFC career this would be a highly entertaining bout. The loser could be in jeopardy of getting his pink slip so the stakes would be high.

 

Josh Barnett

Who he should fight next: Retire or fight Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva

Realistically UFC heavyweight Josh Barnett (34-8) has nothing left to prove in the sport of mixed martial arts. He’s a former UFC heavyweight champion and has fought all over the world for many years. He’s fought a who’s who of heavyweight contenders since turning pro in 1997. It’s incredible to think that before he lost to Ben Rothwell at UFC on FOX 18 he’d never been submitted in his lengthy career.

So if Barnett decided to retire no one would hold it against him. However, he’s a fierce competitor and going out on a loss may not sit well with “The Warmaster”. If he must fight again “Bigfoot” Silva (19-8) would be an excellent foe. He’s also on the tail end of his fighting career but wanting to stay relevant in a thin heavyweight division. This would be the perfect main event for a UFC event overseas in Asia and a nice curtain call for the 38 year old Josh Barnett.

 

Ryan Bader

Who he should fight next: Alexander Gustafsson

Just because Anthony Johnson made quick work of Ryan Bader (20-5) at UFC on FOX 18 doesn’t mean Bader isn’t a top ten light heavyweight. The problem for Bader is that he’s already fought most of the guys in the top ten. But one guy he hasn’t faced is two time title challenger Alexander Gustafsson (16-4).

Gustafsson has lost two straight fights but those losses were to Anthony Johnson and Daniel Cormier. In the fight with Cormier, Gustafsson once again rose to the occasion in a title fight and took the champ to his limits. A win over a guy like Gustafsson would be absolutely huge for Ryan Bader and would put him right back into the title picture at 205lbs.

Neither guy is currently booked for a fight so a late spring, early summer matchup would be perfect for these two light heavyweights. It would be one of the biggest fights in the division for 2016 and one that fans would love to see.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

After every UFC event we here at Pro Fighting Fans love to play matchmaker. In this column we’ll tell you who we think the winners and losers of each fight should face next.  So check back with Pro Fighting Fans after a UFC event to see what we think the next step is.

 

Bryan Barberena (11-3)

Who he should face next: Drew Dober (16-7-1NC)

Bryan Barberena brought the Sage Northcutt hype train to a screeching halt with a second round submission victory over the 19 year old prodigy. He took the fight on short notice so he was doing the UFC a favour.  Hopefully the UFC will return the favour and give him a solid challenge in his next fight.

Fellow lightweight fighter Drew Dober would be a great matchup for Barberena the next time he steps inside the octagon. Dober is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Scott Holtzman earlier this month at UFC 195.  In his UFC career Dober owns a win over former WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner.

Bryan Barberena may have stopped Sage Northcutt, but if we’re being realistic he still has a lot of room for improvement. There is no reason for the UFC to rush him along and Dober is a perfect step up in competition for Barberena

 

Jimmie Rivera (19-1)

Who he should face next: Thomas Almeida (20-0)

Jimmie Rivera faced the biggest challenge of his career at UFC on FOX 18 when he took on Brazilian Iuri Alcantara. Rivera came away with a well-earned decision victory despite being knocked down.  He had some key takedowns that were likely the difference in the minds of the judges.

Rivera is on a eighteen fight win streak and should be on the cusp of breaking into the top ten of the UFC’s bantamweight division. Therefore he deserves a top ten opponent and Thomas Almeida is another rising superstar who’s looking to prove he’s ready for the big time.  Almeida has a perfect 21-0 record and has started his UFC career with four straight victories, including a knockout victory over veteran Brad Pickett in his last fight.

The outcome of this fight would determine which man is ready for the biggest fight of his career. There is no doubt it would be an entertaining scrap and would be the perfect co- main event for a Fight Night card.

 

Ben Rothwell (36-9)

Who he should face next: Cain Velasquez (13-2)

Unfortunately for Ben Rothwell the UFC’s heavyweight division is falling apart and it’s unclear what his submission win over Josh Barnett actually means. It’s one of the biggest wins of Rothwell’s career and with three straight stoppage victories he should be put into a title eliminator the next time we see him in the octagon.

Cain Velasquez lost his heavyweight title to Fabricio Werdum then dropped out of the rematch due to injury. Velasquez was dominated in the first fight and many fans were disappointed that he was getting an immediate rematch.

So why not have him and Ben Rothwell fight for the right to a title shot? It’s a rematch as well, Velasquez stopped Rothwell with strikes way back in 2009 at UFC 104.  This fight would give us a legitimate number one contender in the heavyweight division.  In the meantime current champ Fabricio Werdum can defend his belt against Stipe Miocic, a more deserving contender than Velasquez at the moment.

 

Anthony Johnson

Who he should face next: Winner of Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier II

If it wasn’t already it official it definitely is now, Anthony Johnson is the scariest knockout artist in the UFC today. He’s so scary Ryan Bader tried to take him down from across the cage in an attempt to avoid getting hit.  It didn’t work out well for Bader and Johnson ended up smashing him until he lost consciousness.

Johnson is only two fights removed from a UFC title shot, but with the win over Bader at UFC on FOX 18 it looks like he is ready for another shot. Yes, he could keep taking fights while he waits for Jones and Cormier to go at. It is just a really big risk.  However, like Daniel Cormier said on Saturday night, if Johnson can make easy money knocking guys out while waiting for a shot he should do it.

We should know soon when Jones and Cormier will fight. No matter what happens Anthony Johnson is the number one contender and deserves to be next.

For more coverage of UFC on FOX 18 keep checking back with Pro Fighting Fans.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

To open up the main card of UFC on FOX 18 rising star Sage Nortchutt (7-1) met Bryan Barberena (11-3) in a welterweight matchup. Barberena took the fight on eight days’ notice when Northcutt’s original opponent Andrew Holbrook dropped out due to injury.

Barberena proved to be a worthy opponent for the 19 year old prodigy. He took some solid shots from Northcutt and was even knocked down at one point in the first round.

Every time Northcutt created distance on the feet he was able to land punches and kicks. However, Bryan Barberena scored a takedown late in the first round that changed the momentum of the fight. Northcutt got right back to his feet that time, but to begin the second round it was a different story.

Barberena settled into Northcutt’s guard and stayed active with some solid ground and pound. He opened up a cut on Sage’s forehead and for the first time in his career the 19 year old was getting beat up.

Around the two minute mark of the second round Barberena started to work on an arm triangle submission. Despite not having proper position Barberena was able to tighten his grip enough to force a tap from Sage Northcutt.  Many believe it was a quick tap from Northcutt, but in his post-fight interview Bryan Barberena said it’s a submission he gets all the time in the training room.

The victory puts Barberena back in the win column after having his seven fight winning streak broken by Chad Laprise last April. It’s likely the biggest win of his career and now ten of his eleven victories have come by way of stoppage.

Sage Northcutt has now tasted defeat for the first time and this could very well be a crossroads in his career. He can learn from the mistakes he made and use them to improve, or he could never recover and fall into obscurity.  Either way Northcutt will continue to be the topic of many conversations for a long time to come.

For more coverage of UFC on FOX 18 please keep checking back with profightingfans.com.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

Going into the UFC on FOX 18 main event the gameplans were straight forward for both Anthony Johnson (21-5) and Ryan Bader (20-5). Johnson wanted to keep the fight standing and go for the knockout, while Bader wanted the fight on the ground where he could utilize his wrestling ability.

Once the fight started both men stuck to their gameplans. Almost immediately after the opening bell Ryan Bader shot for a takedown.  It was a sloppy attempt that Johnson easily stuffed.

Bader then found himself underneath “Rumble” and quickly grabbed onto an arm.  “Darth” tried for a Kimura but eventually he had to let it go.  Johnson got into mount and landed bombs.

It was a matter of seconds before Bader was out cold on the mat.  Officially the fight lasted 88 seconds, but it seemed a lot faster than that. The loss snaps a five fight winning streak for Ryan Bader and the All American wrestler will need to go back to the drawing board. Bader has been finished in all five of his professional losses and has never lost a decision.

Anthony Johnson is a very scary man. He has now won two straight since losing to Daniel Cormier last May in a light heavyweight title fight.He’s also all but guaranteed himself another shot at the belt.  Or, he could take another fight instead of waiting for Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier to do battle again.  Cormier thinks it would be easy money for Johnson if he decided to take another fight before a title shot.

Either way Anthony Johnson is deserving of another title shot and is a tough fight for anyone in the division, just ask Ryan Bader. For more post fight coverage of UFC on FOX 18 keep checking back with Pro Fighting Fans.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

 

 

 

With another UFC event taking place this weekend it’s time to bring back an old tradition here at Pro Fighting Fans. One of the best things about sports is trying to figure out who is going to win and who is going to lose.  That’s why we are excited to announce the return of…BS Predictions! Write your picks in the comments and we’ll compare after Saturday night!

Bryan Barberena (10-3) vs. Sage Northcutt (7-0)

Judging by the amount of hype the UFC has put behind 19 year old Sage Northcutt it’s safe to say he’s being given winnable fights. It doesn’t mean he’s a guarantee or that his opponents are total bums, but Dana White wouldn’t want the train to fall off the tracks before it has even hit its stride.

That made it even more interesting when Northcutt was tapped to face Andrew Holbrook at UFC on FOX 18. Holbrook is also undefeated as a professional at 11-0 and in his last fight he came away with a split decision victory over Ramsey Nijem.  He could have been a solid test for the youngster, so it may have been a blessing in disguise when Holbrook dropped out of the bout due to injury.

Instead Northcutt will face Bryan Barberena on Saturday night. It’s a short notice fight and one that pits the unbeaten Northcutt against a man coming off a loss way back in April of 2015.  Northcutt is the busier of the two men and this will no doubt be a factor.  He will dazzle early and often, coming away with a TKO victory in the first round.

Prediction: Sage Northcutt via TKO Round One

 

Iuri Alcantara (33-6-1NC) vs. Jimmie Rivera (18-1)

This fight is cruising under the radar and it’s unfortunate because it promises to be a pretty good scrap. Maybe Jimmie Rivera and Iuri Alcantara are not household names, but that doesn’t mean they won’t put on a show at UFC on FOX 18.

In his last fight Alcantara got back in the win column, after a loss to Frankie Saenz snapped a three fight winning streak, by defeating Leandro Issa. Alcantara has faced some great competition since joining the UFC in 2011, most notably Urijah Faber at UFC Fight Night 26.  He’ll need that experience when he meets Jimmie Rivera.

Rivera hasn’t lost in just over 7 years and sports an impressive record of 18-1. He’s coming off a split decision victory over Pedro Munhoz in November 2015 at UFC Fight Night 77.  12 of his 18 victories have gone the distance, so don’t expect a finish from him at UFC on FOX 18.

Iuri Alcantara has a 5 inch height advantage and a 6 inch reach advantage; he’d be smart to utilize these against Rivera. If he can keep the fight at a distance and occasionally threaten with takedowns he’s got a great shot at coming out on top.

Prediction: Iuri Alcantara via Unanimous Decision

 

Josh Barnett (34-7)vs. Ben Rothwell (35-9)

Call me a skeptic, call me negative but I have not been looking forward to this fight one bit since it was announced. It might be due to the fact that there is a very good chance this fight ends up crawling to the final bell. These are two guys with a lot of wear on their bodies.  Although they’ve combined for a total of 12 stoppages in their last 13 victories I still can’t be convinced we’re in for a barnburner at UFC on FOX 18.

Josh Barnett is 2-1 since returning to the UFC in 2013 after an 11 year absence from the sports premier organization. He’s taken out Roy Nelson and Frank Mir respectively.  Neither of those guys are anywhere near a title shot so let’s take that into account when we’re discussing Barnett’s most recent wins.  He’s a submission ace and his best shot at winning this fight with Rothwell is on the mat, that’s all there is to it.

Rothwell is no slouch on the ground either, 12 of his 35 victories have come by submission. It’s at least a possibility that he could keep Barnett at bay if the fight gets to the ground.  That’s where my concerns become valid; I see this fight taking place against the cage.  In other words it’s going to be a three round grind.

If it is a three round grind I’m going to have to give it to Josh Barnett. He just might have the better cardio between the two of them.

Prediction: Josh Barnett via Split Decision

 

Anthony Johnson vs. Ryan Bader

If you’re looking for in depth analysis of this fight you’ll find a bit of that in my Breakdown column from earlier this week on Pro Fighting Fans. Right now I’m just going to call it like I see it.

Ryan Bader wants nothing to do with Anthony Johnson’s striking. Anthony Johnson wants nothing to do with Ryan Bader’s smothering wrestling game.

Bader has been known to charge forward with reckless abandon, watch his UFC on FOX 4 bout with Lyoto Machida. That is a dangerous move against someone with the type of power Anthony Johnson possesses in his fists.

It’s sad because Bader has been on a tear, but this one isn’t getting out of the 1st round.  I’m taking Anthony Johnson by way of complete destruction.

Prediction: Anthony Johnson via TKO Round One

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

With Aldo VS Pettis having being booked, Benson Henderson recently took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with the fight, calling it “horse manure.”  Henderson believes he deserves a shot at the 155 lb. title, and voices his opinion, while at the same time acting as Dana White’s squeaky, clean antithesis.

Benson Henderson has become the fighter that the fans love to hate for all of the painfully obvious reasons.  He tries as hard as possible to be a good Christian boy in a sport where we want to see knockouts, submissions, and fight of the night performances.  I think the fans would be much more willing to accept his “onward Christian soldier” attitude if he actually delivered on the excitement.  Whenever I see Benson Henderson do anything except fight, he reminds me of Rocky Maivia before turning heel and becoming The Rock.  He wanted to be liked so bad that it was actually revolting.

Turning back to his fight performances, Henderson may have gotten the job done to be considered a top challenger, but the fact of the matter is that he has not been winning in impressive fashion.  Three of his last four fights were won by controversial split-decision, even the unanimous decision victory over Frankie Edgar was called into question.

Now, being completely honest, one must ask themselves how much Henderson’s skill plays into getting a title shot and the realization is that it probably does not at all.  Is Henderson one of the very best at 155 lbs? Absolutely, but he is so uninteresting and painfully awkward in front of a microphone, that there are much better matchups to be made right now.  Henderson may be upset that one of the pound-for-pound best is moving up in weight to challenge for his former title, but I can reassure Mr. Henderson, that we the fans are not.

he best choice Benson could make would be to attend an acting class.  He auditioned for the Ultimate Fighter while in the WEC and was not selected.  Why would we want this guy challenging for the title when the UFC didn’t think he was interesting enough to be on a TV show about fighters?  It’s about as easy as it gets and somehow Benson makes it hard on himself.  It’s about time to turn heel, because nice guy Benson Henderson is finishing last.

Brian Johnson

Pro Fighting Fans Staff Writer

UFC on Fox 10 was not the strongest card on paper, but it turned out to be a fun night of free fights.  Fans were treated with a couple spectacular knockouts and a fun back and forth main event which left plenty of room for debate on the outcome.  Whether or not you agreed with the decision, it helped clear the muddy waters of the UFC lightweight title picture.  So without further ado please enjoy the newest edition of Pro Fighting Fans’ UFC fighter rankings!

Women’s Bantamweight

 There were no women’s bouts on the UFC on Fox 10 card.

C – Ronda Rousey

1 – Cat Zingano

2 – Sara McMann

3 – Alexis Davis

4 – Jessica Eye

5 – Amanda Nunes

6 – Sarah Kaufman

7 – Miesha Tate

8 – Liz Carmouche

9 – Jessica Andrade

10 – Bethe Correia

Flyweight

 There were no bouts in the 125lb division.

C – Demetrious Johnson

1 – John Dodson

2 – Ian McCall

3 – Joseph Benavidez

4 – John Lineker

5 – John Moraga

6 – Jussier Formiga

7 – Ali Bagautinov

8 – Louis Gaudinot

9 – Tim Elliott

10 – Chris Cariaso

Bantamweight

There were 4 bouts inside the 135lb division this last weekend starting with Hugo Viana’s unanimous decision win against Junior Hernandez.

 Next Chico Camus was able to get the decision victory over Yaotzin Meza.

 The next bantamweight bout showcased the most recent challenger to the bantamweight title in Edie Wineland.  He was able to get back on track and reminded people how dangerous he really is.  He used his boxing to pick apart the more athletic Yves Jabouin and was able to finish the fight by TKO in the 2nd round.  Wineland belongs in the top 5 of this weight class and should fight an opponent who is closer to him in skill level his next time out.

 The last bantamweight bout gave us a little bit of an upset as fan favorite Alex Caceres got the rear-naked choke victory over Sergio Pettis.  Pettis was crowned the next big thing and I believe Caceres was supposed to be the sacrificial lamb to help move Pettis up the ladder.  Caceres must not have got the memo and was able to walk out with $100,000 in bonus checks after receiving both the sub of the night and the fight of the night.  This was a huge win for Caceres and sets him up for a much bigger fight in his next bout.  Pettis is still super young and will most likely be a great fighter in the UFC for a long time.  He may have been rushed a little too quickly by the UFC because of his obvious marketing advantage of being the younger brother of a title holder.  He will hopefully be brought up a little slower until he is truly ready to fight some of the better UFC fighters in the 135lb division.

C – Renan Barao

1 – Urijah Faber

2 – Dominick Cruz

3 – Raphael Assuncao

4 – Eddie Wineland

5 – Michael McDonald

6 – T.J. Dillashaw

7 – Brad Pickett

8 – Takeya Mizugaki

9 – Erik Perez

10 – Francisco Rivera

Featherweight

 In the only featherweight bout of the night Jeremy Stephens dominated Darren Elkins for the full 15 minutes and earned the unanimous decision victory.  Stephens has looked fantastic since moving down to the 145 division and is now on a 3 fight win streak.  Elkins is no joke and Jeremy was able to thoroughly dominate him the entire fight.  He should have a top 10 fighter in his next matchup.

C – Jose Aldo

1 – Chad Mendes

2 – Ricardo Lamas

3 – Cub Swanson

4 – Dustin Poirier

5 – Frankie Edgar

6 – Dennis Siver

7 – Chan-Sung Jung

8 – Nik Lentz

9 – Erik Koch

10 – Jeremy Stephens +NR

*Darren Elkins fell out of the top 10 rankings (previously ranked #10)*

Lightweight

 Another Benson Henderson fight and yet another controversial win for the former lightweight champ.  Many people (including myself) scored the fight for Josh Thomson.  While I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was a robbery, the fact that one of the judges scored 4 rounds for Henderson is one of the most horrendous things I have ever seen.  Judging in MMA is so inconsistent and it has the potential to ruin careers.  Something has to be done all though I’ll admit I don’t have the answers.  What Benson’s win did do was clear up the title picture a little bit.  Before this fight there were arguably 4 or 5 fighters who could honestly make a claim to fight for the title.  We can now cross Thomson’s name off the list (at least for now).  While I think Henderson is the 2nd best lightweight in the division he will need to do more to force the UFC to give him another crack at Pettis after losing to him twice already.  Thomson also hinted at retirement at the post fight presser.  Hopefully he was just frustrated after losing a fight he thought he won with a broken hand.

 The main event wasn’t the only lightweight bout on Saturday.  Donald Cerrone continued to look like his old self with a vicious head kick KO of the night against the overmatched Adriano Martins.  Cerrone has had moments when he looks like a title contender and other fights he looks like the gatekeeper of the lightweight division.  He looked like the former this past weekend and claims he has the competitive fire back inside of him after a couple lackluster performances.  He has stated he wants to fight 6 times this year because he has blown all of his money.  This KO bonus check is a good start for the Cowboy’s new beer fund.

 The last lightweight bout of the night gave us another spectacular head kick.  Daron Cruickshank landed an incredible wheel kick to Mike Rio’s head and followed it up with punches until the ref was forced to call the fight.  Cruickshank has looked great lately and is a force to be reckoned with inside the 155lb division.

C – Anthony Pettis.

1 – T.J. Grant

2 – Gilbert Melendez

3 – Benson Henderson

4 – Khabib Nurmagomedov

5 – Josh Thomson

6 – Nate Diaz

7 – Rafael Dos Anjos

8 – Jim Miller

9 – Donald Cerrone +1

10 – Myles Jury -1

Welterweight

 In the only welterweight bout of the night George Sullivan got the decision win over Mike Rhodes.

C – Vacant

1 – Johny Hendricks

2 – Carlos Condit

3 – Robbie Lawler

4 – Matt Brown

5 – Rory MacDonald

6 – Martin Kampmann

7 – Jake Ellenberger

8 – Jake Shields

9 – Demian Maia

10 – Tyron Woodley

Middleweight

 There were no middleweight fights on the card.

C – Chris Weidman

1 – Vitor Belfort

2 – Lyoto Machida

3 – Anderson Silva

4 – Ronaldo Souza

5 – Luke Rockhold

6 – Michael Bisping

7 – Francis Carmont

8 – Tim Kennedy

9 – Mark Munoz

10 – Brad Tavares

Light Heavyweight

 There were no fights in the light heavyweight division.

C – Jon Jones

1 – Alexander Gustafsson

2 – Glover Teixeira

3 – Rashad Evans

4 – Phil Davis

5 – Antonio Rogerio Nogueria

6 – Gegard Mousasi

7 – Dan Henderson

8 – Chael Sonnen

9 – Mauricio Rua

10 – Ryan Bader

Heavyweight

 In the lone heavyweight fight the undersized 21 year old Russian Nikita Krylov scored the big upset over Walt Harris by TKO.  He landed a nice head kick and finished him off with some punches.

C – Cain Velasquez

1 – Daniel Cormier

2 – Travis Browne

3 – Fabricio Werdum

4 – Junior Dos Santos

5 – Antonio Silva

6 – Stipe Miocic

7 – Josh Barnett

8 – Mark Hunt

9 – Roy Nelson

10 – Gabriel Gonzaga

Pound For Pound

1 – Jon Jones

2 – Jose Aldo

3 – Cain Velasquez

4 – Demetrious Johnson

5 – Chris Weidman

6 – Renan Barao

7 – Anthony Pettis

8 – Johny Hendricks

9 – Ronda Rousey

10 – Alexander Gustafsson

Thanks for reading and make sure to follow me on my brand new twitter and let me know what you agree and disagree with @BriceJSchroeder and make sure to follow @ProFightingFans to satisfy your MMA fix.

Brice Schroeder

Pro Fighting Fans Staff Writer

Sometimes it plays kid brother to the knockout, but a submission finish in MMA can be just as spectacular.  In fact, I often prefer a slick tapout over a one punch KO.  2013 had its fair share of impressive subs and we’ve narrowed the list down to our two favorites.

 

Ronda Rousey def. Liz Carmouche via Armbar (UFC 157)

Do you remember not that long ago when Dana White said women would never compete in the UFC?  Well 2013 was the year that all changed.  Not only did women fight in the UFC, the very first women’s bout was the main event for UFC 157 which took place on February 23, 2013 in Anaheim, California.  It featured the inaugural women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey putting her title on the line against former U.S. Marine Liz Carmouche.

In the months leading up to UFC 157 the UFC did their best to hype Rousey up as this unbeatable monster.  She had won all 6 of her professional fights by armbar in the 1st round.  Basically Liz Carmouche was being thrown to the wolves, she had no chance.  It seemed as though the only thing needing to be decided that night was how quickly Ronda would get the win.

Instead of going along with the script Carmouche attempted to get her own piece of history.  She came out very aggressive and was able to secure Rousey’s back in no time.  What happened next caused pandemonium in the crowd.  Liz Carmouche locked in a nasty neck crank and it looked like she might behead Rousey.  Needless to say, Ronda didn’t look very comfortable.  But the champion remained calm and was able to shake Carmouche off her back.  Rousey got ground control and it was only a matter of time before she forced Liz to tap from an armbar.

It wasn’t the fact that Rousey won by armbar that earned her our Submission of the Year award, it was what she had to overcome that did it.  Ronda Rousey was in serious danger of losing her bantamweight title and her UFC debut.  However, she fought through adversity and remained the champion.  It was an incredible show of heart and something tells me this won’t be the last time she wins Pro Fighting Fans Submission of the Year.

 

Anthony Pettis def. Benson Henderson via Armbar (UFC 164)

The final show in the history of the WEC was headlined by a five round war between Benson Henderson and current UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.  Of course we all remember the Showtime kick that Pettis executed, but the most important thing was the fact that he won the fight by unanimous decision.  When the UFC announced the two would meet again at UFC 164 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Pettis’ hometown, MMA fans expected another epic battle.  What they got instead was something completely different.

The opening bell rang and the two familiar foes came out rather tentative.  They traded strikes here and there, but nothing too aggressive.  Then Pettis attempted an unsuccessful cartwheel kick and somehow landed on his back with Henderson in his guard.  It was a strange chain of events, yet Pettis ultimately benefitted from it in the end.  He isolated one of Henderson’s arms and locked in an armbar, from his guard.  It is one of the first submissions you’d learn if you took Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes and Pettis made it look very simple.  Sure it wasn’t a flying armbar or calf slicer, but it was effective nonetheless.  Pettis pulled this off on the biggest stage of all, a UFC championship fight, and that alone is worthy of a submission of the year award.

So there you have it, two separate armbar stoppages were named the Pro Fighting Fans Submission(s) of the Year.  Please continue to check back with profightingfans.com for more of our 2013 MMA awards and keep your hands up fight fans.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Staff Writer

 

For some guys the bright lights of the big show are just too much to handle, they crack under the pressure.  If history is any indication, Anthony Johnson is one of those guys.  His UFC career was full of failed weight cuts and disappointing performances inside the cage.  It all came to a head when “Rumble” showed up 11lbs overweight for a middleweight bout with Vitor Belfort and on fight night Johnson was easily submitted by the Brazilian.  Following the incident he was subsequently released from the promotion.

That experience may have been the wake-up call Anthony Johnson needed.  Because, since being released from the UFC, Johnson has gone a perfect 6-0, with 4 TKO victories.  That run has now included 3 fights with the World Series of Fighting, where he has really come into his own.  Unfortunately injuries have prevented him from fighting as often as he might like.  However, last night at WSOF 8 Johnson returned to action for the first time in 10 months to face Strikeforce veteran Mike Kyle.

From the moment Anthony stepped on the scales at weigh-ins it was obvious he was in shape and prepared to do battle.  Fight night was no different as Johnson came out right away and established himself as the aggressor.  He patiently stalked Kyle around the cage in the opening moments, wearing him down with some thudding leg kicks.  With his back to the fence Johnson began to engage and it only took one huge right hand to flatten Mike Kyle, putting him face down on the mat.

It was a devastating knockout victory for “Rumble” and it just happens to have come when he is at the end of his WSOF contract.  A win like the one last night won’t hurt once Johnson as he heads into negotiations with the organization.  Anthony Johnson may never return to the UFC.  But, if he can thrive elsewhere, is there really anything wrong with that?  Because being the king of a smaller hill is a lot better than constantly falling off the highest peak and not learning from your mistakes.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Staff Writer

There were a lot of stars shining on Wednesday night at UFC Fight Night 35.  Of course some were brighter than others and we’ve narrowed it down to three in this most recent edition of Pro Fighting Fans Three Stars, buckle your seatbelt, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Third Star: Yoel Romero

Yoel Romero is an absolute beast, no doubt about it.  But, going into the third round of his UFN 35 bout with Derek Brunson, Romero looked completely exhausted.  It didn’t help matters that he was likely down two rounds to none.  He didn’t let this bother him because the former Cuban Olympic wrestler came out in the final frame looking for a finish, which is exactly what he got.  Somehow Romero found the energy to aggressively attack Brunson, who up until then had looked pretty good.  After the bout it was confirmed that when Romero finished the fight he fractured Brunson’s jaw in the process.  That’s a good enough reason to give our third star to Yoel Romero.  Watch out for this guy, he could do some damage in the UFC’s middleweight division.

 

Second Star: TJ Dillashaw

I’ll be honest, I’ve always been a fan of TJ Dillashaw and I was pretty disappointed when he lost his last fight to Raphael Assuncao by a narrow split decision.  My disappointment was quickly replaced with satisfaction when he faced fellow bantamweight Mike Easton at UFC Fight Night 35 on Wednesday evening.  It might have been Dillashaw’s best performance since officially joining the UFC after a stint on the Ultimate Fighter 14.  The Team Alpha Male member was in control for most of the fight.  He definitely showed the ability to dominate no matter where the fight went, on the mat or standing.  While his teammate Urijah Faber will be fighting for the bantamweight championship in February, it is unclear what will be next for TJ Dillashaw.  Although Michael McDonald is coming off a loss, he would be an excellent test for Dillashaw.  Regardless of what happens, TJ is worthy of our second star for his UFN 35 performance.

 

First Star: Luke Rockhold

Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold wanted nothing more than to erase his knockout loss to Vitor Belfort from everyone’s memory.  It was his UFC debut and he was fighting on Belfort’s home turf of Brazil.  If he needed excuses they were there for the taking.  Instead, Rockhold went back to the gym and worked his butt of to prepare for his next opponent, Costa Philippou.  All the hard worked was evident in his UFN 35 performance, because looked like a man on a mission right from the opening bell.  Rockhold’s attacks were on point and it was clear he was the more dynamic striker inside the cage.  It was a series of nasty body kicks that brought the bout to an end in the very first round.  At this point the UFC’s middleweight division is wide open, so another impressive win for Luke Rockhold could put him right into the title picture, the same place he was before the loss to Belfort.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Staff Writer