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


Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans

Editor/Staff Writer

It’s finally nice to see a contender go out and work their way back to the top for a rematch. Too many immediate rematches are given, even if a fight is one-sided or ends in a finish. For Chad Mendes, he’s hoping for a different result when he goes up against longtime champion Jose Aldo. Along with this fantastic main event, there are four other fights that bear analysis.

The first fight on the card pits Carlos Diego Ferreira against Beneil Dariush. Ferreira made his name known with a first-round submission win over Colton Smith and continued his improvement by knocking out Ramsey Nijem. Although the knockout was his first method of victory by his fists, his standup has grown and he boasts solid countering ability which I think will be the downfall of Dariush. Dariush last submitted Tony Martin with an arm-triangle choke in August and will be looking to take the fight to the ground and threaten Ferreira. Both fighters have excellent ground skills and a plethora of submission wins on their respective resumes. So of course, we’ll probably see a striking battle since neither man will get the fight to the mat. Due to that, I think Ferreira will do enough with his counters to score a decision victory.

The pick: Ferreira by split decision

Fight number two pits the grinding Darren Elkins against the streaking Lucas Martins. Elkins is coming off a loss to Jeremy Stephens where the difference in all-around skills was very apparent. While all of Elkins’ pressure and toughness can help him out of taxing situations, skills will come into play eventually. Simply put, I don’t think Elkins has the skills to deal with Martins. If Elkins cannot get this fight to the ground, there’s a good chance of his night ending early. Martins needs to keep this fight standing however he can. Elkins’ pace and cardio will be very tough to overcome, but after getting punched in the face a few times, that cardio could disappear quickly. Once again, I think counterpunching will make the difference and Martins will tag Elkins coming in and finish him.

The pick: Martins by TKO in the second round.

The third fight will most likely be a fan-friendly slobberknocker, which I can’t ever complain about. Surprisingly, Hans Stringer has more professional mixed martial arts bouts than Fabio Maldonado. Stringer boasts 30 fights while Maldonado has “only” 28. While that likely doesn’t make that much of a difference, the quality of fighters faced does play a factor. Maldonado has gone up against some strong names including Glover Teixeira and Stipe Miocic. This experience will push Maldonado ahead on my scorecard. It’s very hard for a training camp to replicate title contenders and Maldonado has firsthand experience with them. Most likely, these two will oblige each other on the feet and if this fight hits the ground, I would be surprised. If Stringer can get the fight to the ground, then he should be able to hold Maldonado down and pummel him from the top. But that’s easier said than done. The pace of Maldonado fights is like a less effective Diaz brother. All of the volume coming at Stringer is sure to cause problems with implementing his game plan. Without that game plan, this becomes Maldonado’s fight to lose.

The pick: Maldonado by unanimous decision.

This top-10 matchup is one I’ve looked forward to since it was announced. It will be the first fight for Glover Teixeira since his loss to Jon Jones, and the first for Phil Davis since his loss to Anthony Johnson. Both fighters are in a very similar spot, looking to get their names back into title contention with a big win over a heralded opponent. Glover Teixeira will need to get in close and negate the reach of Phil Davis. This plays right into the skillset of Teixeira as he loves to walk down fighters and exchange the whole way. If he can back Phil Davis into the cage and force him to fight off his back foot, then the wrestling advantage will disappear and Teixeira can look for a finish. However, if Davis controls the center of the octagon and jabs his brain out, he can control Teixeira and take him down at will. I really think the winner of this fight will be the one who can control distance and cage positioning. Without knockout power, Davis will have to work even harder to win this fight. Teixeria has shown that he hits hard in almost every fight, and I’m willing to bet that he finds the chin of Davis and walks him down. I expect a strong effort from Davis, but without proper power and technique, Texeira should beat him up on the feet and stuff his takedowns.

The pick: Teixeira by TKO in the 3rd round.

The main event is the fight I’m most excited for. Chad Mendes has earned his way back to the top of the featherweight decision and a title shot. With wins over Cody McKenzie, Yaotzin Meza, Darren Elkins, Clay Guida and Nik Lentz, Mendes has stayed busy and greatly improved his game. He now boasts a much stronger striking game compared when he first faced Aldo in early 2012. Four of those five wins were finishes, and he nearly finished Nik Lentz. Mendes has improved his angles, which bolster his accuracy greatly. He has become arguably the most well-rounded fighter in the division other than Aldo and I can’t wait for this improved version to test his limits against the champion. Jose Aldo is all about making his offensive output count. When he throws, he throws with wicked intentions and when the blow lands, it sounds like a piece of beef hitting the ground. This explosiveness is something that is impossible to mimic in the gym, even for a great organization like Mendes’ Team Alpha Male. Aldo’s combinations are always crisp and powerful. He always seems in a good position to accomplish something. Whether it’s pivoting away from a takedown or throwing a low kick, there is no wasted movement in Aldo’s game. That’s what Mendes needs to test. He needs to try and take Aldo out of his game and force him to fight in a new way. We saw Aldo on his back for a round against Mark Hominick and Aldo did not look very good. Chad Mendes has to replicate that for 25 minutes if he wants to win this fight. But pulling the trigger against a fighter who has a counter for everything and uses every part of his body is a tough assignment. Although he has greatly improved, I still don’t think Chad Mendes has enough to become the new featherweight king.

The pick: Aldo by unanimous decision.

By Andrew Jerrick

The fight that was supposed to happen between “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey and “Alpha” Cat Zingano a year and a half ago is now finally going to happen on January 3rd, 2015.

Does Zingano have what it takes to unseat Rousey as bantamweight champ? To even consider challenging a well-rounded fighter like Rousey, you have to have something more than just exceptional striking and ground work, you have to have heart. In UFC 178’s fight versus Amanda “The Lioness” Nunez, Zingano showed the world that she has the heart of a champion.

Intimidation Clothing

It was a hard-earned win for Zingano after almost three brutal rounds, and a satisfied smile from Rousey watching in the stands says she wouldn’t want it any other way. Cat Zingano left little doubt that she’s the best contender for Ronda Rousey.  Many thought the ref would call the fight in the first round when Nunez gave Zingano a beating that left the 32 year old fighter barely defending, sitting on the mat and trying to coax Nunez into a ground battle, but Zingano wouldn’t give up. “I wasn’t done” she said of the first round in the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. To the crowd’s amazement, she came back in the second round, seemingly uninjured even after an onslaught of head shots.   As Nunez’s energy and resolve waned, Zingano’s ramped up as she went for the ground and pound. The fight was stopped seconds after blood exploded from Nunez’s face under a flurry of heavy punches and Zingano stood to raise her arms in victory with an exhausted look.

She seemed nothing but eager in the post-fight interview, however, and that night UFC president Dana White announced, to the delight of UFC fans everywhere, that Zingano would be the next to challenge Rousey for the women’s bantamweight title in January.  Zingano was supposed to coach Ultimate Fighter 18 opposite Rousey but had to bow out due to a knee injury. Although disappointing, this allowed us to bask in the guilty pleasure that is the epic rivalry between Ronda Rousey and fellow MMA fighter Meisha Tate, who filled Zingano’s spot as the other coach.

After two losses for Tate against Rousey, Sarah McMann seemed the best contender to defeat the unstoppable armbar machine. She met her doom after 16 short seconds in the ring however, as Rousey showed the world that she can do more than just armbars and throws. Since then, the name Cyborg has been on every fan’s lips as the favorite to be next in line to take a shot at Rousey, that is until Zingano’s return was announced. Will Cat Zingano be a match for the champ? If it comes down to endurance and guts, yes.

As for the Lioness, Amanda Nunez has a bright future in MMA despite her loss. She showed us pure ferocity as well as technical skill in a fight that could have easily been scored in her favor right up until the end.


By Julie Ruddle & DFN Sports Staff Writer

UFC 178 features the first fight card in some time that I have been extremely excited to witness. From the main event down to the preliminaries, there are household names, champions, rivalries and more. Even with Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier being moved down the road, this card stacks up well on paper against any other in 2014.


The first fight on the main card pits the returning Cat Zingano against Amanda Nunes. Zingano was last seen in April of 2013 when she finished Miesha Tate in the clinch with knees and elbows. This clinch is going to be her key to victory in this fight. If Zingano can close the distance without being hit too often, then Nunes is going to be in a load of trouble. The pace that Zingano puts on can trouble the most conditioned of women in the bantamweight division. Nunes stands her best chance early in the fight if she can catch Zingano trying to tie her up. Perhaps an uppercut or short elbow would do the trick. In her losses, Nunes has faded and allowed her opponents to storm ahead. If she falters against Zingano, then she will be punished.

The pick: Zingano by 3rd round TKO.


Next up is a battle of middleweight contenders. Tim Kennedy is coming off the biggest win of his career when he decisioned Michael Bisping in April. A grinding wrestler with a sneaky power and submissions, Kennedy has primarily relied on his grappling and positioning to win him fights. On the other side, Yoel Romero is a flashy striker who is on a four-fight winning streak with three finishes. In fact, all but one of Romero’s eight wins are by some type of knockout. His game is based on landing thudding strikes and using the sprawl-and-brawl technique. It’s worth noting that Romero is also an Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling. However, he has yet to face an opponent of Kennedy’s caliber in the octagon. I expect both men to have their moments in this very close fight, but Kennedy’s takedowns, ground-and-pound and submission attempt will win him the fight.

The pick: Kennedy by decision, and I wouldn’t be surprised in a split.


The middle fight of this card has been dubbed “The people’s main event” by Ariel Helwani and I would be tempted to agree. There hasn’t been so much hype around a fighter for years and that’s just the way Conor McGregor likes it. So far he’s talked about how he’s going to win fights and then goes out and proves himself correct. That’s the kind of hyping and trash talk I can get behind. These two men have been going at each other for some time and when the bell rings I expect both of them to start exchanging. When that happens, both men have a great chance to be successful. They throw a lot of different strikes at each other and are very diverse. If the fight hits the ground, I give an advantage to Dustin Poirer. McGregor’s two losses have been by submission and we’ve seen Poirer’s excellent scrambling game before. However, the fight starts on the feet, so McGregor has a great chance to land something big and hurt “The Diamond”.

The pick: McGregor by decision in a competitive, close bout.


A new addition to the UFC roster is looking to make an immediate impact against a UFC veteran on the best run of his career. Even though I sound like a broken record, this fight also looks to be a beat-em-up blast. Eddie Alvarez is coming to town and he’s looking for a title shot. First, he has to find a way through the slashing tornado of limbs that is Donald Cerrone’s arms and legs. “Cowboy” has alternated submission and knockout wins in his last four fights and this bout could continue the trend if Cerrone finds a way to submit Alvarez. That’s easier said than done though. Cerrone doesn’t shoot for takedowns often, but he fights very well off his back and has some of the best finishing instincts in the sport. However, hurting Alvarez is a different story altogether. Alvarez is an ex-champion who managed to regain his belt after losing to Michael Chandler in 2011. His drive and determination are second to none along with his boxing skills. This skills are the way that Alvarez can win this fight. Combinations and footwork are more of his strengths and they will have to be top notch to deal with the output of Cerrone.

The pick: Cerrone continues his alternating finish streak with a third round submission after hurting Alvarez.


I don’t understand the hate for Demetrious Johnson. He goes out and dominates fighters. Johnson reminds me slightly of Georges St-Pierre with his ability to make good fighters look average. Aside from a draw with Ian McCall (which was avenged) and a little bit of trouble against John Dodson, “Mighty Mouse” has looked phenomenal at flyweight, dispatching of each challenger with little trouble. Chris Cariaso looks to change that. Although he doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, Cariaso also doesn’t have any outstanding strengths. There is no one skill that he has to threaten Johnson. Without a go-to weapon, I think Cariaso is going to look tentative and slow while he tries to adjust to Johnson’s speed advantage. Even if he does adjust, Cariaso is probably going to be down 20-18 or 30-27 and be forced to fight for a finish. That plays right into Johnson’s hands. “Mighty Mouse” can take advantage of over-aggression and mistakes better than anybody. Although Cariason doesn’t have much to lose and boasts and solid all-around game, the champion will retain his belt with another dominant performance.

The pick: Johnson submits Cariaso in the fourth round.

Posted in UFC.

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

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 & DFN Sports Staff Writer

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 Staff Writer

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 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