The UFC’s annual super bowl weekend event has undergone some massive changes in the past 48 hours. Coming into this week UFC 196 featured a heavyweight title fight between current champ Fabricio Werdum (20-5-1) and former champ Cain Velasquez (13-2). We were finally going to see whether altitude was really the difference in their first fight. Instead, the pay per view card simply fell apart.

On January 24th UFC officials announced that due to a back injury Cain Velasquez would not be able to compete at UFC 196 on February 6th. It was a crushing blow to an already thin pay per view card, but the MMA gods came to the rescue. Stipe Miocic (14-2) was going to step in to the role of challenger and get a crack at the heavyweight title held by Fabricio Werdum. It was a worthy replacement and just as intriguing as the original matchup.

As the saying goes, when it rains it pours.One day after Cain Velasquez was pulled from the UFC 196 main event, Fabricio Werdum pulled out also citing various injuries as the cause.The UFC was then left with a tough decision, find a replacement for Werdum and have him fight Miocic for an interim title, or scrap the title fight altogether and move the co main event up to main event status.They went with the second option and decided to promote Johny Hendricks (17-3) vs. Stephen Thompson (11-1) to the main event, but with a wrinkle. Instead of it being a pay per view event the card has been moved to Fox Sports 1.Despite offers to save the card from the multiple fighters including former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, UFC 196 will now come without a price tag.

With the current lineup, this is a solid fight card for Fox Sports 1. The new welterweight main event between Johny Hendricks and Stephen Thompson promises to be an interesting clash of styles. The co main event is now a heavyweight fight between Roy Nelson (20-12) and Jared Rosholt (14-2), rounding out the main card are Rafael Cavalcante (12-6-1NC) vs. Ovince St. Preux (18-7) and Joseph Benavidez (23-4) vs. Zach Makovsky (19-6). It should be an entertaining evening and for up to date coverage keep checking back with profightingfans.com.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans

Editor/Staff Writer

Thanks to Chris Weidman the UFC’s middleweight division is wide open for the first time in years.  That’s what makes UFC Fight Night 36 so interesting.  The final two bouts on Saturday night could very well determine the next man to challenge for the 185lb crown, when Lyoto Machida faces Gegard Mousasi and Ronaldo Souza meets Francis Carmont.  Depending on how they win, one of these four men will likely be the number one contender.  All in all there are 5 bouts on the main card and it promises to be a pretty entertaining event, so here are the predictions.

 

Andy Ogle vs. Charles Oliveira

I like Andy Ogle’s enthusiasm, but unfortunately that won’t help much when he steps into the cage with Charles Oliveira on Saturday night.  Oliveira looked pretty good in his last fight against Frankie Edgar, despite losing he was never completely out of the fight.  I think the Brazilian’s skillset is just too diverse for Ogle and I can’t see Oliveira losing.  Ogle will come out aggressive and that’s going to land him on the mat where Charles Oliveira will truly shine.

Prediction: Charles Oliveira via Submission Round One

 

Viscardi Andrade vs. Nicholas Musoke

I’ll be honest I don’t know much about Viscardi Andrade.  However, I do know that I really liked what I saw from Nicholas Musoke in his UFC debut when he submitted tough veteran Alessio Sakara.  He’s a huge welterweight and he should be able to get a win at UFC Fight Night 36.  It’s going to go the distance and Musoke will remain unbeaten inside the UFC octagon.

Prediction: Nicholas Musoke via Unanimous Decision

 

Takenori Sato vs. Erick Silva

It’s true that Erick Silva has never quite lived up to his potential since joining the UFC.  He’s been pretty inconsistent, especially in his last outing when he was brutally knocked out by Dong Hyun Kim.  That being said, this should be a pretty winnable bout for Silva and if he does end up losing, he should begin to rethink his strategy.  Sato is making his octagon debut and will be in over his head on Saturday night.

Prediction: Erick Silva via Submission Round Two

 

Francis Carmont vs. Ronaldo Souza

This is a very interesting matchup.  Carmont has bored fans with his grinding wrestling style, yet he remains unbeaten in the UFC.  Meanwhile, “Jacare” Souza has looked spectacular in his first two UFC fights, submitting Chris Camozzi and knocking out perennial middleweight contender Yushin Okami.  He was once known as a nasty submission fighter, but recently Souza has shown ever-improving striking skills.  The outcome of this fight really depends on where it is contested.  If Carmont can use his length to fight from a distance and turn it into a technical kickboxing affair I really like his chances.  But, if it’s a slugfest or a ground battle I am favoring Souza.  It’s kind of a toss-up and I’m going with Ronaldo Souza.  The win will get him another big fight and it’s possible that he’ll be competing for UFC gold by the end of the year.

Prediction: Ronaldo Souza via Submission Round Two

 

Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi

Yes, Gegard Mousasi is extremely talented.  However, I truly think he is underestimating Machida heading into this fight.  I expect Mousasi to take a lazy approach in this one and he’s going to be shocked when Machida is the aggressor early and often.  Machida may not be able to get a finish, but I do think he can do enough to outpoint his opponent for the unanimous decision victory.  It’s likely “The Dragon” will get the next crack at the UFC middleweight title.  He’ll just have to wait to see if he is going to face Chris Weidman or Vitor Belfort.  I’m taking Machida for the win on Saturday night!

Prediction: Lyoto Machida via Unanimous Decision

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

It’s a rarity when the UFC has two title fights on the same card, but it is Super Bowl weekend, so Dana White is going big with UFC 169.  A Jose Aldo fight always carries the potential for excitement, combine that with Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber and that potential becomes a guarantee.   B.S. Predictions has been on a serious roll for the last couple of UFC events.  Let’s see if we can keep it going.

Jamie Varner vs. Abel Trujillo

When Jamie Varner returned to the UFC and shocked Edson Barboza, it seemed like he would quickly establish himself as a contender in the UFC’s lightweight division.  Since then Varner has been somewhat inconsistent in his recent fights with Melvin Guillard and Gleison Tibau.  When he steps into the cage at UFC 169, opposite Abel Trujillo, there will be no room for inconsistency.  Trujillo is a massive lightweight with serious power in his hands and is capable of taking out anyone in the 155lb division.  If he doesn’t gas out I see Trujillo’s size being too much for Varner to handle.

Prediction: Abel Trujillo via TKO Round 2

 

Ali Bagautinov vs. John Lineker

At Friday’s UFC 169 weigh-ins all eyes were on John Lineker and surprise, surprise he once again failed to make weight on his initial attempt.  However, unlike in the past, this time Lineker was successful when he stepped on the scale 45 minutes later.  It’s a good thing Lineker did make weight, because his matchup with Ali Bagautinov will likely determine the next challenger for Demetrious Johnson’s UFC Flyweight title.  There is no doubt that the Brazilian is a legitimate knockout artist, but I think Bagautinov’s superior grappling skills will be the difference in this one.  I like Ali Bagautinov to grind out a three round decision.

Prediction: Ali Bagautinov via Unanimous Decision

 

Frank Mir vs. Alistair Overeem

Although a loss won’t necessarily force retirement for either of these heavyweights, the loser will likely have to continue their career outside of the UFC.  Neither Alistair Overeem nor Frank Mir has been super-impressive in any of their recent outings, which is why I’m not too excited for this fight.  Overeem should be able to dominate the stand-up exchanges; he just needs to be careful that he doesn’t get taken down.  If this fight does hit the mat all bets are off, because that is Frank Mir’s world and he is extremely dangerous from top position or off his back.  I just can’t see how Mir will get Overeem down to the ground before he gets knocked out.

Prediction: Alistair Overeem via TKO Round 2

 

Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas

In my opinion the closest Jose Aldo has come to losing since joining the UFC was in his promotional debut against Canadian Mark Hominick.  It was Aldo’s cardio that caused him to struggle in that fight.  In the later rounds when the Brazilian tired, Hominick was able to take advantage and get takedowns, which is where he did the most damage.  This is the same strategy Ricardo Lamas should go with at UFC 169.  If the “Bully” can withstand Aldo’s initial offensive onslaught, his wrestling could win him this fight.  However, that is one huge “if”, because Aldo is a striking master and can finish a fight at any time.  The only problem is I love an upset story and Lamas is going to get it done on Saturday night.

Prediction: Ricardo Lamas via Unanimous Decision

 

Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber

Urijah Faber’s 2013 was quite impressive as he went 4-0, most recently submitting a very tough Michael McDonald in December.  That being said, on Saturday night he’ll be taking on the last man to beat him, Renan Barao, with less than 2 months’ notice.  If Faber couldn’t beat Barao with a full training camp, I don’t see anything changing this time around, especially when he’s taking this fight on such short notice.  The one thing that will change is how Barao gets the win.  In the first fight Renan Barao won a hard fought unanimous decision.  At UFC 169 I see him finishing Faber.  He’ll catch “The California Kid” with punches and then submit him on the ground.  Don’t ask me why I’m thinking this way.  I just have a feeling that’s all.

Prediction: Renan Barao via Submission Round 2

Brent Haugh

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

With a couple brutal kicks to the liver the UFC gained yet another title contender in the suddenly stacked middleweight division.  While Luke Rockhold looked very impressive this past weekend he will still need a couple more wins before he can truly stake a claim for a title shot.  Rockhold wasn’t the only fighter to raise some eyebrows this past weekend.  There were several up and coming fighters who made big strides towards that coveted belt everyone is chasing.  With that being said let’s jump into the newest edition of Pro Fighting Fan’s UFC fighter rankings.

Women’s Bantamweight

There were no women’s bouts on the UFN35 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 2 flyweight bouts on the UFN35 card this past Wednesday.  The first flyweight bout of the night may have introduced us to the next big thing in the 125lb division.  Louis Smolka got the unanimous nod from the judges against Alptekin Ozkilic.  Coming into the fight many people (including myself) thought this would be a nice showcase for Alptekin Ozkilic who was expected to run through Smolka on his way to being one of the top prospects in the flyweight division, but Smolka had other plans.  He was able to win the striking exchanges and utilized great reversals when he was taken down on his way to the upset win.  Look for the 22 year old Hawaiian to make some serious waves in the shallow 125lb division.

The 2nd flyweight fight showcased former title contender John Moraga against Dustin Ortiz who was coming off of an impressive UFC debut in November.  It was a close fight, but Moraga earned the split-decision victory over the very game Ortiz.  Moraga won’t be shooting up the rankings with this win, but it keeps him firmly in the top 10 with just a few wins away from another title shot.  As for Ortiz I think a fight against Alptekin Ozkilic would make a lot of sense and would help separate who really has a future in the UFC.

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

T.J. Dillashaw rebounded nicely from his very controversial loss his last time out.  He was able to thoroughly dominate a very tough veteran in Mike Easton.  While he was unable to put him away, Dillashaw never was in any serious trouble and cruised to the unanimous decision win.  I wouldn’t mind seeing Dillashaw against a top 5 opponent in his next bout.  Maybe a fight against Michael McDonald to truly gauge how he stacks up against the elite of the division?  Easton on the other hand is on a 3 fight skid in the UFC.  I don’t think he will be cut since these losses have been against some of the better fighters in the division (Raphael Assuncao, Brad Pickett, and of course Dillashaw).  He will certainly be desperate for a victory in his next bout.

 

C – Renan Barao

1 – Urijah Faber

2 – Dominick Cruz

3 – Raphael Assuncao

4 – Eddie Wineland

5 – Michael McDonald

6 – T.J. Dillashaw +2

7 – Brad Pickett -1

8 – Takeya Mizugaki -1

9 – Erik Perez

10 – Francisco Rivera +NR

*Mike Easton fell out of the top 10 (previously #10)*

Featherweight

Cole Miller continued his surprising resurgence with a 2nd round rear-naked choke against Sam Sicilia which earned him the submission of the night bonus.  This may have been the best Miller has looked in the UFC and seems to have finally figured out how to use all facets of his game inside the cage.  We have seen Miller go on streaks like this before only to lose once he faced tougher competition.  It will be interesting to see if these performances are a product of weak competition or if Miller has finally figured out how to utilize his tools in the octagon.

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 – Darren Elkins

Lightweight

There were 4 lightweight bouts on the UFN35 card and none of them really had any top 10 implications.  Beneil Dariush got the 1st round rear-naked choke victory at the expense of Charlie Brenneman and Vinc Pichel got the decision win against Garett Whiteley.  Also in the 155lb division Elias Silverio scored the decision win over Isaac Vallie-Flagg.  In the final lightweight bout of the night Ramsey Nijem got the decision victory against Justin Edwards.

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 – Myles Jury

10 – Donald Cerrone

 

 

Welterweight

There were no welterweight bouts on the UFN35 fight card.

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

The middleweight division was obviously the weight class that stole the show at UFN35.  The entire card was headlined by Luke Rockhold and Costas Philippou and the bout gave us one of the nastiest body shots in recent memory and the KO of the night.  Rockhold ended Philippou’s night in the very first round with 2 violent kicks to the liver that sucked the air right out of Philippou’s lungs.  The ref was forced to intervene and the former Strikeforce middleweight champ got his elusive first win inside the octagon after losing in epic fashion to Vitor Belfort 2.0.  Rockhold is a legit challenger to the middleweight strap and I expect he will be a regular in the top 10 of the middleweight division for years to come.  On the other hand Philippou has now lost 2 straight after having a surprising surge into the top 10.  He will need a win to regain that stature and will hope to avoid a 3 fight skid his next time in the cage.

Brad Tavares was able to keep his UFC win streak alive after getting the decision victory over Lorenz Larkin.  The win makes 5 straight for Tavares who should be given a higher profile fight his next time out.

The next middleweight bout was arguably the most exciting of the night and it was awarded fight of the night.  For the first 2 rounds Derek Brunson dominated Yoel Romero.  He was even able to take down the former Olympic silver medalist multiple times and looked to be cruising to a huge win.  Romero had other plans.  In the last round he was able to TKO Brunson with big shots and finished by delivering some of the most violent elbows to the body I have ever seen. It was a huge win for the Cuban and I’m very curious to see who he will face next.  Brunson will have to work on his cardio before his next fight because he looked exhausted and that may have cost him the fight.  He is a promising prospect and should bounce back from this set back.

In the last middleweight bout of the night Trevor Smith won a close split-decision fight against former football player Brian Houston.

C – Chris Weidman

1 – Vitor Belfort

2 – Lyoto Machida

3 – Anderson Silva

4 – Ronaldo Souza

5 – Luke Rockhold +1

6 – Michael Bisping -1

7 – Francis Carmont

8 – Tim Kennedy

9 – Mark Munoz

10 – Brad Tavares +NR

*Costas Philippou fell out of the rankings (previously #10)*

 

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

There were no heavyweight fights at UFN35.

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

I’ve never been a UFC champion.  But, I imagine that once you have the belt, losing it sucks, a lot.  Benson Henderson was the UFC lightweight champion for ? years.  He successfully defended his crown ? times, including wins over Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez.  ? months before Henderson lost his belt to Anthony Pettis he was on top of the world.  He had just defended the title for the 3rd time and his longtime girlfriend had accepted his marriage proposal in the cage after the fight.  All that glory and he had it taken away from him in a matter of seconds when Anthony Pettis forced him to tapout due to an armbar.

The memories of the second Pettis fight are likely still fresh in Henderson’s mind as he prepares to face Josh Thomson at UFC on FOX 10.  And when you are one of the best lightweight fighters on the planet, the challenges don’t get any easier, even if you aren’t the champion.

Josh Thomson made a triumphant return to the UFC last April with a 2nd round TKO victory over perennial contender Nate Diaz.  He is also well known for his incredible Strikeforce title fights with Gilbert Melendez.  Thomson is an MMA veteran and a guy who is truly well-rounded.  It’s a tough fight for Benson Henderson, but an impressive win could get him another title shot.  And when you are in the business of fighting, title shots are what motivate you to keep going.  So far there are no signs that Benson Henderson is anywhere close to slowing down.  And although not many people are interested in seeing him face Anthony Pettis for a third time, that won’t stop Henderson on his pursuit to reclaim gold.

UFC on FOX 10 takes place from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on Saturday, January 25th.  The event will be headlined by the pivotal lightweight bout between former UFC champion Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson.  In the evening’s co-main event heavyweights Gabriel Gonzaga and Stipe Miocic will meet to see who is worthy of stiffer competition.  For more news on UFC on FOX 10 keep checking back with Profightingfans.com.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Staff Writer

To kick off 2014 RFA is bringing you Brian “T City” Ortega (7-0) vs. Keoni “Evil Genuis” Koch (5-0).  If the undefeated records alone don’t get you excited about this fight, maybe a look closer look will.

Koch is fighting out of one of the Midwest’s most elite teams, HardDrive MMA which also ome to fellow former RFA champion Jared Downings.   Downings isn’t the only HardDrive MMA member you might be familiar with, Steve Carl (WSOF champion) Cliff Wright Jr. (Bellator fighter) and Derrick Mehmen (WSOF fighter) also find themselves working alongside Keoni in preparation for battle.  Also pointed out in past interviews, Keoni is no stranger to Roufusport, where his younger brother Erik Koch trains.  Koch cross-trains with the guys at Roufusport multiple times a year, which may be helpful going up against Ortega who is no stranger to the ground game.

Brian Ortega trains out of Black House MMA, a team most MMA fans are familiar with.  Names like Anderson Silva or Glover Teixeira might come to mind when Black House MMA is talked about.

Ortega holds a professional record of 7-0 with 4 wins coming by way of submission.  Meanwhile, Koch is 5-0, with 4 submission finishes as well.  This has all the ingredients for a very exciting fight. Although submissions will be watched for throughout the fight, don’t expect anything but exciting, as both these men will look to do whatever it takes to earn that RFA gold come Friday.

RFA 12 will be held January 24th from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California.  The main card, which is headlined by Ortega vs. Koch will air live on AXS TV at 10pm ET.  In the evening’s main event Ultimate Fighter 17 alumni Kevin Casey takes on UFC and Strikeforce veteran Eddie Mendez in a middleweight bout.

Chuck Woods

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

 

Following the success of the last B.S. Predictions column for UFC Fight Night 35, I was excited to get right back to the magic.  This week we have another stellar free fight card from the UFC.  It’ll be headlined by a very important lightweight matchup between former lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson.  Of course Henderson lost his belt the last time out to Anthony Pettis, while Thomson shocked fans with a TKO of Nate Diaz in his return to the UFC.  Along with 3 other main card bouts this event will not disappoint, so let’s get to it.

 

Donald Cerrone vs. Adriano Martins

On paper I think Donald Cerrone is the better fighter in this matchup.  However, when you take a closer look it’s not so clear cut.  Adriano Marins is a very talented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and he did take out a dangerous striker in Daron Cruickshank when he made his UFC debut in November of last year.  It probably helped that Martins was fighting in his home country of Brazil, while he’ll be facing Cerrone on American soil.  But, the difference maker is going to be the level of competition Cerrone has faced thus far in his career.  He’s shared the cage with some very tough and talented fighters.  It might take “Cowboy” a round or so to get comfortable and when he does he’ll be able to easily outpoint Adriano Martins for a unanimous decision victory.

Prediction: Donald Cerrone via Unanimous Decision

 

Darren Elkins vs. Jeremy Stephens

Now here’s a striker vs. grappler matchup I can get into.  Darren Elkins is a grinder with the ability to wear down anyone in the UFC’s 145lb division.  Meanwhile, Jeremy Stephens hits very hard and he’s always looking for the finish.  Since dropping from lightweight to featherweight, Stephens has been on fire.  In his last bout he went into Brazil and absolutely destroyed Rony Jason.  The only trouble Darren Elkins has run into in his last 7 fights was when he was stopped by Chad Mendes, another hard hitting featherweight.  I actually have Elkins as a slight favorite in this one, but I’m going to say Jeremy Stephens will pull off the upset.

Prediction: Jeremy Stephens via TKO Round 2

 

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Stipe Miocic

The co-main event at UFC on FOX 10 is an interesting heavyweight bout between Gabriel Gonzaga and Stipe Miocic.  Other than a knockout loss to Travis Browne, Gonzaga is experiencing a career resurgence as of late with 4 wins in his last 5 UFC appearances.  However, Miocic looked ultra-impressive in his June 2013 victory over Roy “Big Country” Nelson.  He was able to avoid Nelson’s power punches and was the superior boxer inside the cage on that night.  Although Gonzaga is likely faster than Roy Nelson, I still think Miocic can out strike him and his defensive wrestling should be good enough to keep the fight standing.  Miocic will once again surprise many people on his way to a unanimous decision win.

Prediction: Stipe Miocic via Unanimous Decision

 

Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thomson

Josh Thomson shocked MMA fans when he defeated Nate Diaz in his UFC return.  It wasn’t so much the fact that he won that was shocking, but the way Thomson did it.  The former Strikeforce champion became the first man to finish Diaz by TKO, which is something his next opponent Benson Henderson was not able to do.  That doesn’t necessarily give Thomson an edge over Henderson, especially since Benson is coming off his first UFC loss.  It wasn’t just a normal loss either, it cost Henderson his UFC lightweight title and made him winless in two fights against Anthony Pettis.  It is definitely the kind of loss that stings.  We can expect “Smooth” to show up on January 25th with something extra to prove.  The winner of this fight could be next in line for a title shot, seeing as Thomson was originally scheduled to face Anthony Pettis for the title in December of last year before the champ pulled out due to injury.  Benson Henderson is my choice to get his hand raised at UFC on FOX 10, but it won’t come easily.  Thomson is going to give him all he can handle and it could very well end up being another one of those infamous split decision victories that Henderson has become known for in his UFC career.

Prediction: Benson Henderson via Split Decision

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Staff Writer