UFC Fight Night 52 Main Event Preview: Mark Hunt vs. Roy Nelson

Every couple of months, a fight comes around that makes me glad that I became interested in this sport. Sometimes it’s a ground battle of superior submission artists. Sometimes it’s a five-round war between two unknown fighters that catapult their careers into the limelight. But this time it’s a clash of two men with rockets in their hands and brick-wall chins. I’ve guaranteed knockouts before and been wrong by a mile, but this fight has to end in a finish. It’s only right and fair and I would almost feel cheated if it didn’t because we all secretly want to see one of these fabled chins cracked.

Now I know that both of these fighters have been knocked out before, but the spectacle of seeing the heaviest-handed men in the largest division try and pummel each other to unconsciousness remains.

Mark Hunt’s situation is a little different than Roy Nelson’s. Hunt is coming off a fight of year contender with Antonio Silva where both men gave their best shots and took many in return. Before that, he was knocked out by a Junior Dos Santos hook kick after two rounds of bludgeoning. He’s on a decline. Hunt hasn’t had his chin tested this much during his career in such a short span of time. While Nelson has looked overmatched against Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic, his chin has held up in those contests. However, Hunt still holds an advantage over Nelson in the area where this fight is most likely to take place.

On the feet, Hunt has shown to have a much more diverse and effective striking game. He throws kicks to the legs and the head, which could surprise Nelson during the fight. Along with those are a multitude of hooks, jabs, straights and uppercuts. Hunt always looks comfortable while on his feet and if he uses this array of weapons, he can pick Nelson apart. However, he will have to watch out for the big overhand right of big country. Nelson has been knocking out contenders and pretenders with his right hand for years. and if Hunt gets lazy, Nelson will find his chin.

This brings me to my next point. Both men are extremely hittable. Junior Dos Santos can attest to that as he battered both men. In their losses, both fighters look overmatched against men who are quicker and more accurate. So if one man is able to use superior footwork and angles, I think that he would emerge victorious. Whoever moves straight back or stands flat-footed is going to get hit hard. I think that Hunt holds a slight advantage over Nelson in this department, but big county certainly has the skills to go toe to toe and win.

I’d like to mention that while there are fights between excellent stand-up fighters that become grappling battles, I don’t think this will become one. However, there is always a chance and I believe that the ground is where Roy Nelson has his best chance to win. It is often forgotten that Roy Nelson is a brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie. Nelson won many fights in the early part of his career via submissions. He is surprisingly strong and can definitely take Mark Hunt down and put him in an arm-triangle choke. Hunt’s ground defense has definitely improved, but he hasn’t been forced to work and constantly defend off of his back. If Nelson looks to land ground and pound or a submission, then Mark Hunt might have a long night ahead of him.

Overall, I think that Hunt gets the job done on the feet and knocks out Nelson. Both men are pretty evenly matched on the feet but I believe the stubbornness of Nelson will prove his undoing.

The pick: Hunt by KO in the 2nd round.

 

By Andrew Jerrick
ProFightingFans & DFN Sports MMA Staff Writer

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UFC Fight Night Preview: Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva

When I was first becoming interested in MMA, I saw Chris Lytle submit Matt Brown with an impressive inverted triangle/straight armbar combination. From that, I got on the Lytle bandwagon and promptly forgot about Matt Brown. That was my fault. Brown eventually worked himself out of his funk and 18 months later began his current 6 fight win streak with a TKO victory against Chris Cope. Since then, he has continued to look impressive against consistently tougher opponents. His most recent victim was Mike Pyle in August of 2013. With that victory, he called out the champion at the time, Georges St-Pierre. Although he didn’t receive that title shot, he has received yet another step up in competition with Erick Silva.

While Silva is not on a winning streak like Brown, he is certainly Brown’s toughest opponent so far. Rebounding from an awkward knockout loss to Dong-Hyun Kim, Silva pounded out Takenori Sato in less than a minute. Since entering the UFC, Silva has been up and down. He has the skillset to blow by lower competition, but has struggled when his opponents sneak into the top 15 range. That isn’t to say that Silva couldn’t have won those fights. He nearly finished Jon Fitch and was winning the Kim fight until a spinning elbow and follow up punches ended his night.

When this fight was made, the bonus for “Fight of the Night” was virtually guaranteed. Both of these men go 100 percent in the octagon at all times. They’re not afraid to brawl or engage in a more technical battle on the feet. One of the main factors that will determine the winner is whoever sets the pace. From what we’ve seen, Brown enjoys stalking his opponents, constantly applying pressure and looking to make the fight dirty. This is going to be a problem for Silva who usually relies on short explosive bursts of offense that are easier to pull off when given some room to move. If Silva doesn’t improve his movement and gets stuck on the cage, he will most likely lose this fight. Brown’s clinch game is excellent. His elbows are lethal and a great tool that could make Silva’s night a short one.

However, if the fight goes to the ground, then the story is much different. Matt Brown has been submitted nine times in his career. Coincidentally, Silva has nine wins by submission in his career. His last one was against Jason High and was an inverted triangle armbar. Hmm, pretty similar to how Brown lost to Lytle. But, I’m not saying we’re going to see another crazy submission like that. Although the edge on the ground goes to Erick Silva, I think this fight will most likely be contested on the feet.

In all, this fight is going to be a fun one wherever it goes. There will be two guys who bring the action every second that they’re in the octagon. I think this is pretty much a dead even fight and if you’re a betting man, there might be money to put on Matt Brown, who is coming in as an underdog.

The pick: Brown by 3rd round TKO

 

By Andrew Jerrick
ProFightingFans.com & DFN Sports Staff Writer

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Jones vs Teixera Preview

The rise of Jon Jones has been of Cinderella quality. Starting by learning techniques from online videos to training with Greg Jackson at Jackson’s MMA, Jones has had a Hollywood career. The scariest part is that he still has room to grow. He’s 26 years old and already has made a case for best light-heavyweight in mma history and on his way to becoming one of the best fighters of all time. But the road doesn’t get any easier. Standing in his way is Glover Teixeira.

A man who has a record of 22-2 and a perfect 5-0 mark in the UFC, Teixeira is coming off of a knockout win against Ryan Bader back in September. In that fight, Teixeira was rocked and nearly finished by Bader before brutally ending his night early with a TKO victory. He probably won’t have those opportunities against Jones who is going to hold a substantial reach advantage. Teixeira’s best bet is to get inside and try and rough Jones up and hopefully catch him with an uppercut or one of those nasty hooks he landed against Bader or Fabio Maldonado. However, that plays into another strength of Jones: his clinch game.

We all remember the sight of Jones choking Lyoto Machida unconscious. Although a standing guillotine choke might not be the result of this fight, Jones will be able to control Teixeira in the clinch and can use his size and length to dictate where the fight goes. If he wants to utilize a sweep or throw, then he will. If he wants to land elbows or push away to put distance between them, he will.

Similar to all his other fights, Jones holds an advantage in virtually all important categories. However, coming off a tough decision win against Alexander Gustafsson in which he was finally threatened, Jones’ will and heart are going to be questioned. However, I think that these questions were answered in round four of that fight as he hurt Gustafsson with a spinning elbow and proceeded to win the final two rounds and the fight.

Jones will be the large favorite in this fight and with good reason. He’s good enough on the feet to keep Teixeira at bay. Jones’ leg kicks and teeps will annoy Teixeira and cause him to spend a large amount of energy throwing heavy punches and trying to close the distance. When he finally does get close enough, I think Jones will either circle out, or duck under and try for a takedown and work for a submission.

The only time Jones has been threatened on the ground was against Vitor Belfort when he was nearly armbarred from guard. But, he powered through and eventually submitted “The Phenom” with an americana. Even though Teixeira is a 2nd degree black belt, I don’t think he’s going to give Jones any problems with submissions or sweeps. When Jones has time to work, he produces results and he’s going to get another win under his belt on Saturday.

The pick: Jones by 3rd round submission

 

By Andy Jerrick
ProFightingFans.com Staff Writer

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TUF China Finale Preview: Dong Hyun Kim vs. John Hathaway

John Hathaway’s biggest win was against Diego Sanchez at UFC 114. That was almost four years ago. With that, Sanchez upped his worth in the Welterweight division and got a fight against Mike Pyle. However, that fight didn’t work out in his favor as he lost a unanimous decision. He was out-wrestled and outgunned by an underdog. This Saturday, he looks to mimic Pyle as he goes up against a confident and skilled Dong Hyun Kim.

Since his loss to Pyle, Hathaway has gone undefeated in the octagon, but his extended absences have made his stock suffer. This directly influences his octagon skills. There’s no doubt that he is an excellent fighter, but rust will always be a factor when only fights once a year. His last fight was in September of 2012.  Yes, it was a victory over John Maguire, but Kim has won three fights since then.

The largest problem that Hathaway will have is dealing with the size and wrestling ability of Kim. Mike Pyle out-wrestled him to a decision and the smart money would be that Kim will do the same. If the fight stays on the feet, I believe that Kim still has the advantage. He is more willing to experiment with his strikes and has a longer reach than Hathaway. Kim has also shown to be quite durable. He absorbed some bombs from Erick Silva and managed to land a hallelujah haymaker for the KO victory.

Now I don’t think that this fight is going to end with a knockout, but anything can happen. However, Kim is more likely to get a spectacular finish. But he has to look out for the lead knee of Hathaway. Diego Sanchez felt that knee in their fight and was nearly finished. If Kim doesn’t keep his head out of the way and charges in for a sloppy double-leg, he could get put down and out.

But this all comes full circle. Since Kim has been training nonstop for the last three years, he has improved. His wrestling is just as good as it has always been, and his judo is still top-notch. In addition to this, his punches and overall striking has been refined and in a state of constant upgrading. Hathaway has been dealing with one injury after another and hasn’t been able to get a rhythm together in his camps. This will be his undoing since he isn’t coming back to fight a “nobody”. He’s coming back to fight a fringe top-10 fighter who is a beast. Kim wins a unanimous decision due to his wrestling and judo.

 

By Andy Jerrick
ProFightingFans.com Staff Writer

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B.S. Predictions: UFC Fight Night 36

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

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Benson Henderson Finishes Last

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

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Anthony Johnson Comeback Adds Intrigue To UFC 172

The 2014 calendar for UFC has already become a very interesting one because of the rather sudden absence of not just Georges St. Pierre, but Anderson Silva, too. The sport, to an extent, is reeling and anticipating what is likely an inevitable (if hopefully temporary) drop-off in popularity without its two most prominent fighters. Anthony Johnson UFCHowever, one of the early 2014 events that has been getting significant attention in the wake of the St. Pierre and Silva retirements is UFC 172, where Jon “Bones” Jones will seek to stake his claim as the biggest name in mixed martial arts.

The headline event at UFC 172 will feature Jones defending his light heavyweight title against Brazilian jiu jitsu natural and former Chuck Liddell trainee Glover Teixeira in what is being billed as a major fight. It’s an interesting headline bout, though a look at the actual odds on the fight makes things seem a bit less interesting. The Betfair news sports betting section has early odds on UFC 172 posted, and it has Jones listed as a fairly overwhelming favorite (at 1/5 backing odds) to win the fight. By contrast, the site offers 9/2 odds for Teixeira to pull off the upset, indicating perhaps a slightly wider gap between the fighters than some fans might expect.

However, for those thinking that UFC 172 may feature a lopsided bout at the top of the card, some intrigue was added this past week when it was announced that Anthony Johnson would be making a return to UFC, and was added to the card in a fight with Phil Davis.

While Johnson has not exactly put together a remarkable career in UFC, returns are always interesting, and he’s had a fairly convincing run in fights outside the octagon. MMA Junkie discusses that after Johnson was let go by UFC for failing to make weight one too many times, he’s essentially gone on an impressive winning spree with Titan Fighting Championships and WSOF.

Now on his way back to UFC, Johnson is actually a particularly entertaining fighter, having taken six of his seven UFC victories via knockout. His overall record is not that impressive (7-4 in UFC fights), and he’s by no means a definite favorite over Phil Davis, who is on a four match winning streak of his own (betting odds for the fight should emerge shortly). But in the end, this fight should add some excitement to a card that UFC is starting to depend on rather heavily in early 2014.

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B.S. Predictions: UFC 169

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

 

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UFC Rankings Post UFC on FOX 10 as of 1/31/14

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

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UFC Rankings: Post UFC Fight Night 35 as of 1/18/14

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

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