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

 

Bec Rawlings (7-4)

Who she should face next: Aisling Daly (16-6)

Bec Rawlings was able to stay active and outpoint Seo Hee Ham on Sunday. It made it two straight wins for the Australian strawweight. She was visibly the slower fighter and it’s possible she may have been the recipient of good fortune in regards to the judge’s scores.

However, Rawlings still won a second fight in a row in a division that is still very low on talent. She’s had a rocky start so it’s hard to imagine she’ll be given a huge challenge next time out, the UFC will give her a winnable fight. Although Aisling Daly has a big experience advantage over Bec Rawlings, she’s 2-1 in the octagon and has stumbled at times. Three wins in a row for Rawlings would do wonders for her as she moves up in the rankings.

 

Steve Bosse (11-2)

Who he should face next: Tim Boetsch (18-10)

Steve Bosse made up for a disappointing performance in his UFC debut by starching James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night 85. Bosse’s first fight lasted 29 seconds and the fight with Te Huna was only 52 seconds long. What this means is that it is still way too early to tell what kind of UFC fighter Steve Bosse will be. We know he has punching power and that’s it.

Tim Boetsch has been around a long time as both a middleweight and light heavyweight in the UFC. He’s fought some pretty big names and he’s not a pushover in any sense of the word. Putting Bosse up against a guy like Boetsch, who is nearing the of his career, would be a perfect way to see where the Canadian stands as of now.

 

Daniel Kelly (11-1)

Who he should face next: Elias Theodorou (11-1)

After his win at UFC Fight Night 85, Daniel Kelly said he’ll be taking some time off to coach Judo in the upcoming summer Olympics. At 38 years old it’s unlikely Kelly will make any sort of title run in the UFC, but if he wants that chance he needs to be willing to take on big challenges in the future.

His only loss was against Sam Alvey via TKO, he’s since won two straight fights. Kelly’s TUF: Nations cast mate Elias Theodorou holds an identical record and to make this potential matchup even more intriguing, Elias defeated Sheldon Westcott in the show’s finale, Westcott eliminated Kelly from the tournament. This would be a tough fight to call and entertaining to watch.

 

Jake Matthews (10-1)

Who he should face next: Magomed Mustafaev (13-1)

Jake Matthews showed all kinds of potential when he took out veteran Johnny Case by submission on Saturday night. Matthews is still very young and needs to keep developing if he wants to compete with top 15 UFC lightweights.

Magomed Mustafaev is a perfect 2-0 since joining the UFC with victories over Joe Proctor and Piotr Hallmann. He also holds a win over Abubakar Nurmagomedov, the younger brother of UFC lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov. Mustafaev is definitely capable of giving the 21 year old Matthews a solid challenge.

 

Neil Magny (18-4)

Who he should face next: Carlos Condit (30-9)

Neil Magny took all kinds of punishment in the first round of his fight with Hector Lombard at UFC Fight Night 85. Lombard wasn’t able to convince the ref to stop the fight so it continued. Magny made it out of the round and by the end of the 2nd he was the one trying to force a stoppage. When the third started it was obvious Magny was going to get the win it was just a matter of when. Finally referee Steve Percival stopped the fight early in the final round. He’s proven that he is a legitimate contender at 170lbs and Magny should be close to a title shot.

In the minds of a lot of UFC fans, Carlos Condit should be the current welterweight champion, but unfortunately he lost a close decision to Robbie Lawler at UFC 195. Condit could possibly get a rematch with Lawler, if that doesn’t happen he should fight Neil Magny in a title eliminator. The length of both men would make for a very interesting battle.

 

Mark Hunt (12-10-1)

Who he should face next: Josh Barnett (34-8)

Mark Hunt has now won two straight fights for the first time since 2013. His knockout of Frank Mir reminded us that he has the power to stop any heavyweight on the planet. Age is not on his side but as long as he wants to fight, the UFC will have opponents for him.

Josh Barnett currently finds himself in a spot very similar to the one Mark Hunt is in. They’re both nearing the end of their respective careers, yet they can still hang with the best the UFC has to offer. Hunt also said he’s interested in rematches and Barnett defeated the New Zealander 10 years ago under the Pride banner. The winner of this fight might have one last title push left in him, only time will tell.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

So we are getting a bit of a late start to the year-end awards here at Pro Fighting Fans, but like I always say, better late than never.  Last year was a great year for the sport of MMA, with the big three promotions making major progress, of course they are the UFC, WSOF and Bellator.  There was the first ever women’s MMA bout in UFC history, as well as the fall of Anderson Silva and many, many more incredible moments.  We’ll begin our yearly awards with fight of the year.  With a ton of fights to choose from it made it extremely difficult to come up with one, so we have two instead.  Buckle up, grab a beverage and prepare to be entertained, because here are the two best fights of 2013 according to Pro Fighting Fans.

 

Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jon Jones (UFC 165)

Not every title fight lives up to the hype.  Frankly, some of them end up being stinkers.  However, Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson for the UFC light heavyweight title was a major exception.  The bout headlined UFC 165 and took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on September 21, 2013.  Prior to that night Jones had defended his title 5 times, but never before had we seen him tested as much as he was against Gustafsson.  In fact, other than Vitor Belfort’s armbar attempt at UFC 152 and a couple of strikes from Lyoto Machida, Jones had never been in real danger.  That all changed against “The Mauler”, not only was Jones hurt, cut and battered; many fans feel that he may have lost the fight.  I still don’t know if Jones did enough, I do know that it was an epic 5 round war, and quite possibly one of the greatest title fights in UFC history.  Both men were so exhausted at the end of it that I spent the entire 5th round expecting one of them to pass out from exhaustion.  Will we get to see the rematch in 2014?  I sure hope so.  Before that happens Jones must get past Glover Texeira and Gustafsson has a stiff test in Jimi Manuwa standing in front of him.  Regardless, Jones vs. Gustafsson was unquestionably my choice for 2013 fight of the year, and a definite (early) front runner for fight of the decade.

 

Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva (UFC Fight Night 33)

If it for wasn’t for Antonio Silva failing his post-fight drug test, the choice for fight of the year might have been a much tougher decision to make.  That being said, I can assure you that never before has a fight made me stand on my couch, screaming at the television like Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva did.  I could not believe what I was witnessing.  Two heavyweights, neither of them really in the title picture, went toe to toe for five full rounds in what might have been the best fight in heavyweight MMA history.  Was the fight a draw? Who cares, it was entertaining and that is all that should matter.  Personally, after watching it a second time I scored the fight for Silva, but I can certainly see why some would think Hunt won it.  At different times throughout the fight both men were on the verge of being finished, somehow they survived, maybe a few brain cells less than when they started, they were still standing, barely, when the bell rang after 25 minutes.  Now, unlike the previous fight I mentioned in this column, this is a rematch I could care less to see again.  What’s the point really?  It was amazing and there is no need to run it back, even if it ended up being just as great the second time around.

 

There you have it; those were the two best fights of 2013 according to Pro Fighting Fans.  I’ve never been much of a fan for honorable mentions, but if I must, I’d say Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler II and Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva (the first time) are worthy contenders.  Keep checking back with Profightingfans.com for more 2013 awards, and keep your hands up fight fans.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Staff Writer

UFC Fight Night 33 took place Friday night from Brisbane, Australia.  It was headlined by a heavyweight classic between Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva.  There was no shortage of action and overall it was a pretty successful event.  Obviously on a night like this there will always be shining stars and of course the UFC’s most recent fight card had its fair share.  Here are the three standouts from UFC Fight Night 33.

Third Star: Shogun Rua

Maybe he’s not completely “back”, but he is still slightly relevant and after knocking out James Te Huna, UFN 33’s Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will be looking for a big matchup next time around.  Te Huna is not quite top ten material; oh well, he’s still a legitimate tough guy and remember, Glover Texeira couldn’t stop him with strikes.  Therefore I think the knockout victory is absolutely huge for Shogun, it ends his first ever losing streak, which will give the former light heavyweight champion some relief.  It’s unfortunate though that most of the top ten light heavyweights are already scheduled to fight in the near future.  It means he might have to settle for an opponent like Dan Henderson or Ryan Bader who has alternated wins and losses in his last 4 bouts.  Regardless of what his future holds, Shogun is back, for now, let’s hope he can regain a bit of his old form because I really enjoy watching him put guys to sleep.

 

Second Star: Nam Phan vs. Takeya Mizugaki

When the main event between Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva ended, I immediately felt sorry for Nam Phan and Takeya Mizugaki.  Up until that point the bantamweights were well on their way to winning fight of the night bonuses.  However, Hunt and Silva had other plans, which you’ll read about below.  Phan vs. Mizugaki was easily the second best fight of the evening.  These two went back and forth for three full rounds and unlike the main event, this was a very technical affair.  Although Phan clearly lost the first two rounds, he never gave up, hurting Mizugaki before the final bell sounded.  It sucks that Phan lost, he’s now dropped 5 of 7, but he always entertains, even when he is on the losing end of things.  I watched this bout again and it confirmed my suspicion that it was worthy of my second star for UFN 33.

 

First Star:  Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva

There won’t be any arguments about this selection.  No doubt about it, the main event was the star of the show in Brisbane on Friday night.  Mark Hunt and Antonio silva slugged it out for five rounds, with both guys coming close to finishing the other.  Who cares if it wasn’t technical at all times, it was still an entertaining bout and a certain nominee for fight of the year.  I do think that everyone had low expectations heading into it, which is one of the reasons we are all raving about it.

The first time I watched it I thought Hunt won, but I was happy with the draw.  I’ve watched it once more and I ‘m still satisfied with the draw, except now I’m leaning towards “Bigfoort”.  In my opinion he won rounds 1,2 and 4. Regardless, it was an incredible fight and one I’ll likely remember for quite some time.  I’m not always in favor of immediate rematches, in this case I am, there isn’t really any other exciting matchups in the division for these guys and why not run it back once more.  I’ll gladly fork out money for a pay-per-view with Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva as the co-main event, maybe GSP-Hendricks II could be the headliner, just sayin’.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Staff Writer

Mark Hunt, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Julie Kedzie are all legends in their own right.  They are also all a part of Friday night’s UFC Fight Night 33 card, that takes place live from Brisbane, Australia.  Compared to some of the more recent free UFC events, this one has a fair amount of star power.  The main event, a heavyweight tilt between Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva should provide some fireworks.  If anything it gives me a chance to perfect my prediction capabilities, so let’s get to it.

Julie Kedzie vs. Bethe Correia

Thanks to a late scratch this fight will now be a part of the main card and it could be an interesting one.  It pits WMMA veteran Julie Kedzie against undefeated newcomer Bethe Correia.  Kedzie is on a three fight losing streak for the first time in her career and she desperately needs a win to keep her job.  This will be the biggest challenge of Correia’s short 6 fight career; she’ll want to impress her new boss with a big win.  I think Kedzie has one more win left in her and I see her grinding out a unanimous decision.

Prediction: Julie Kedzie via Unanimous Decision

 

Dylan Andrews vs. Clint Hester

These guys were teammates on season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter, though they never fought on the show, this is an interesting matchup.  I’d have to say Andrews is probably the more technical striker, but Hester has a ton of raw power.  In his UFC debut Hester knocked out Bristol Marunde with one of the nastiest standing elbows I’ve ever seen.  However, in this fight I think Andrew’s experience will prove to be too much for him and Clint will lose a frustrating unanimous decision to the New Zealander.

Prediction: Dylan Andrews via Unanimous Decision

 

Pat Barry vs. Soa Palelei

Somebody is getting knocked out in this fight, I guarantee it!  Barry is 2-2 in his last 4 fights and all of them were ended by TKO or KO.  Meanwhile, Palelei has won 9 straight fights all by TKO, including his return to the UFC against Nikita Krylov in August 2013.  Soa Palelei will have a significant size advantage, something Barry is used to since he is a very small heavyweight.  I like Pat Barry, he’s an entertainer and unfortunately he is also incredibly inconsistent.  He lost his last fight to Shawn Jordan, so he’ll want to get back in the win column.  I just don’t see that happening tonight, Soa Palelei is going to finish him and he’ll do it quickly in front of a hometown crowd.

Prediction: Soa Palelei via Knockout Round One

 

Ryan Bader vs. Anthony Perosh

Perosh is coming off a big knockout victory over Vinny Magalhaes in August.  But does anyone think he can actually beat Ryan Bader?  One thing I know about Bader is that he excels against mid-level competition and Perosh is no superstar.  It will probably be a lot like his fight with Vladimir Matyushenko.  Bader got that fight to the ground quickly and submitted his opponent with a guillotine choke.  The same thing is going to happen this time around; unfortunately for Ryan Bader a victory proves absolutely nothing.

Prediction: Ryan Bader via Submission Round One

 

Mauricio Rua vs. James Te Huna

Dana White has made it very clear that he thinks a loss for “Shogun” will force the former light heavyweight champion into retirement.  I feel the same way, although this should be a very winnable fight for him.  James Te Huna is usually game, however he is not a top ten fighter and that was proven in his bout with Glover Texeira.  He might be able to take a punch, but he was no match for Texeira, who will get the next shot at 205lb champion Jon Jones.  Te Huna’s best chance of winning this fight would be to survive the first round and wait for Rua to tire before pouncing.  I don’t see it getting out of the first, because I believe Rua will show up ready to prove the doubters wrong.  Antoher fight or two and retirement will be the best choice, but for now Rua has what it takes to come out on top Friday night in Australia.

Prediction: Mauricio Rua via TKO Round One

 

Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva

Antonio Silva has one positive on his side heading into UFC Fight Night 33; he’s not fighting Cain Velasquez!  The current UFC heavyweight champion is the only man to have defeated Silva since he came over from Strikeforce in 2012 and Cain has done it twice.  Of course, you can’t have a positive without a negative and unfortunately for Silva it’s a pretty big negative.  He just happens to be fighting in Australia, which is close enough to Mark Hunt’s birthplace of New Zealand that the crowd will be cheering for the “Super Samoan”.  Not only that, but Hunt has ridiculous power as well as an iron chin.  If Silva really wants to win this fight he’ll need to wear Hunt down and his best chance of doing that would be to utilize a Muay Thai clinch.  If he can hold on to his opponent, battering him with knees, Silva will get the victory.  Everyone knows I love me an underdog, so I’m actually going the other way with this one.  I think Mark Hunt is going to end this fight in devastating fashion in the very first round.

Prediction: Mark Hunt via TKO Round One

Mark Hunt has made it very clear that he doesn’t mind earning his living by getting punched in the face.  And for the most part he wins more often than he loses, especially since he’s joined the UFC roster.  He knocked out Stefan Struve, a much taller fighter, but he was stopped in his last fight with Junior dos Santos.  Before the loss Hunt had won four straight fights.  When he heads back to Australia on December 6th, he’ll be facing his biggest (literally) challenge yet when he steps into the cage with Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.  There are certain elements of success that will be required if Mark Hunt has any chance of winning this fight.

Elements of Success: Super Human Chin

Aside from a cinder block to the temple, there aren’t many things that will knock Mark Hunt unconscious.  Junior Dos Santos was only able to do so when he threw Hunt off balance with a spinning heel kick and then finished him with ground and pound.  The best part about having a solid chin is that you are always in a fight.  This is good for Hunt, because judging by his recent performances Antonio Silva is going to show up ready for a war.  Silva has serious power and Hunt’s spectacular chin will only keep him in this fight as long as he can continue retaliate.  One slip could give “Bigfoot” a knockout or TKO victory.

Elements of Success: Violent Power

Looking at Mark Hunt one may assume he goes to the Roy Nelson School of Conditioning and Fight Preparation.  Don’t let his physique fool you, Hunt is a world class striker and possesses lethal power in both hands.  The difference between Hunt and Nelson is that the latter wasn’t always known as a knockout artist.  Meanwhile Hunt competed in K1 for years before he began training MMA.  In other words, he’s been dropping bombs longer than the UFC has been relevant.  Antonio Silva can’t take this fight lightly; if he does he’ll regret it later, that’s a guarantee.  It is obvious that his violent power is just one of the elements of success that could catapult Mark Hunt to a victory over the massive Antonio Silva and right back into the heavyweight title picture.

Elements of Success: Absolutely Nothing to Lose

Let’s face it, at this point in his career Mark Hunt has nothing to lose.  Whether he gets a title shot or not, it will have no negative impact on his legacy.  His opponent, Antonio Silva, knows what it is like to fight for a UFC title and he is likely hungry to get back there.  It would be amazing if Hung could fight for a belt, but if he doesn’t something tells me he’ll continue to get enjoyment from knocking people out.  Don’t be surprised if Hunt fights like a man with nothing to lose, because it will be one of his elements of success come Friday night.

Conclusion: Do I think Mark Hunt can win his fight with Antonio Silva?  I doubt it, and if you want to know why you’ll just have to read “Bigfoot” Silva’s Element of Success article later this week.  However, I’m not crazy and I realize that Hunt does have the skills to shock the MMA world.  He could eat a hundred punches from Silva and land one nasty shot of his own that ends the fight.  It’s his best chance to win, if he shows up with nothing to lose and prepared to take a few punches, he just might do it!

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Staff Writer

 

It was a few years back when I met former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos but I remember the occasion vividly to this day. In truth it wasn’t all that long ago, the UFC Fan Expo at Earls Court in October 2010 to be exact. Fighters in attendance were there to greet fans, give autographs and take photos –  they did so in pairs.

I recall really wanting to queue for Rich Franklin, he was the first guy on the roster I latched on to and idolised but his line was way too long. The same was true of Randy Couture who attracted hundreds of fans to his table. So my brother and I impatiently decided to pick one of the lesser subscribed lines with Cigano and lightweight Gray Maynard as our prize at the end – both of whom fought at last weekend’s fantastic UFC 160 with polar opposite fortunes.

To be perfectly honest I didn’t care too much for Maynard, still don’t but to be fair to him he did go on to fight for the belt at 155 pounds and so he has my respect at least. I was so excited to meet JDS though. We had a photo together, he signed a poster of himself and he was very polite in conversation. I bizarrely asked him where “Big Nog”, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, was and he told me that his close friend couldn’t be there because he was opening a new gym back home. I said that I could not wait for him to fight for and win the title, he smiled in the way that only Cigano can and that was it.

Subsequently I, like UFC fans around the world, have witnessed JDS conduct himself brilliantly whilst assuming the role of a coach on season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter opposite Brock Lesnar. He went on to win the belt, defend the belt and eventually lose the belt to the quite exceptional Cain Velasquez.

Prior to UFC 160, we were waiting to see how he would bounce back, whether he would alter anything drastically in his training camp and if he would return a rejuvenated warrior. Prior to his drubbing at the hands of a much-improved Velasquez, JDS would almost soley rely on his boxing and usually that was all he needed. Always looking for that single power shot, he would have his right hand cocked and wait for the most opportune moment to pull the trigger. Many had fallen, he seemed too quick and powerful. But he did appear one dimensional and unwilling to utilise any kicks or his high quality BJJ.

What we saw in his victory over Mark Hunt last weekend was more variation and an ability to take the fight where he wanted it to be – either standing or on the floor. Again, initially, there was that reliance on a single blow but once he took his time he was able to work the body and pop an effective right into Hunt’s face. He used more combinations and did not rush in for the kill. JDS still needs to keep his hands up and move more when he is defending so his opponent does not get comfortable but if need be – he can take a punch. There are signs of real maturity coming through and what better way to seal a comeback victory then by an unorthodox spinning heal kick.

The belt will be harder to win back but the gentle giant is ready and waiting.

By Haseeb Malik     @HaseebMalik85

Profightingfans.com Staff Writer

Posted in UFC.

Wow, UFC 160 not only lived up to the hype, it may have surpassed most of my expectations.  Did I really think Junior dos Santos would stand and trade punches with Mark Hunt for most of their three round fight?  Absolutely not, I figured JDS would get hit a couple of times and realize he needed to take the fight to the mat.  What about TJ Grant?  Who would have thought he’d not only beat Gray Maynard but do so in such an awesome way?  Then there was the main event, Cain Velasquez proved he truly is a new breed of heavyweight.  UFC 160 gave me tons to write about, except that with all the excitement it did make it difficult to choose only three stars.  Somehow I did it, so here are my three stars for UFC 160.

Third Star: Cain Velasquez

Ok, we all knew Cain was going to win Saturday night, I just didn’t expect him to do it so quickly.  Maybe the stoppage was a bit early, but let’s be honest; Antonio Silva was only going to take more damage.  As we know from the past, the UFC heavyweight title is almost impossible to defend.  Cain defended it alright and now we wait for Velasquez vs. Dos Santos III.  Trilogies are rare and even after a third fight there is still a chance the two men will meet a couple more times.  If the main event hadn’t been for a title Donald Cerrone probably would have earned my third star for his total dominance of KJ Noons.  Instead, Velasquez remained champion, which was good enough for me.  He really is on a different level than the heavyweight fighters in the UFC and across the globe.

Second Star: Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt

It wouldn’t be fair to not include Mark Hunt in my three stars.  Anyone else would have been napping after the first overhand right that connected for Dos Santos.  The Samoan took the punch and still looked for the home run.  And to his credit, Junior took some pretty solid shots from Hunt as well.  Although JDS was clearly ahead on the score cards as the fight was nearing the end, he kept looking for a finish.  Did Vitor Belfort teach him the fight ending wheel kick?  Maybe, I just know it was spectacular to watch, and then the punch that put Hunt out for good was absolutely nasty.  Even if Dos Santos had cruised to victory, he still would have earned a title shot.  The wheel kick just made the hype for a third fight with Velasquez that much bigger!

First Star: TJ Grant

Heading into UFC 160, TJ Grant was the last person I expected to be my first star.  I’m a fellow Canadian, yet I figured Gray Maynard would use his wrestling to neutralize Grant’s attack.  Unfortunately for Maynard he didn’t have time to do that.  Gray landed some good punches that only seemed to wake Grant up and encourage him to go for the finish.  The way the Canuck finished Maynard off against the cage was very reminiscent of Frankie Edgar’s knockout win at UFC 136.  A lot of fans may not be too familiar with TJ Grant, if they watched UFC 160 that has changed now.  Grant sent a message to the rest of the UFC lightweight division, especially champion Benson Henderson.  This kid is for real and I can’t wait to see how does now that he’s earned a title shot.  One thing is for sure, he won’t be intimidated by the size of Benson Henderson, because he used to fight welterweights before dropping down to lightweight.  It’s rumored that a fight between Grant and Henderson could be the headliner for the first event on FOX Sports 1 and if you ask me, it’s a great idea!

I could have very easily renamed this column to Ten Stars for UFC 160.  It’s not often that an event lives up to such high expectations from the UFC and its fan base.  But, this one didn’t disappoint and if for some reason you were unhappy with the results, watch the event again, you must have missed something.

Keep your hands up fight fans.

Brent Haugh

Profightingfans.com Staff Writer

 

So UFC 160 has finished, and man it was an action packed event. There is always the concern that when there is so much build up to an event that it won’t live up to the hype.  Tonight that was not the case. Every fight on the main card was fantastic, with vicious knockouts, underdogs shocking the favorites, quick submissions and back and forth three round battles. What more could we have asked for?

The main card was kicked off in style, with former Strikeforce title challenger KJ Noons, taking on two year UFC veteran Donald Cerrone. Noons did not seem to be on his game. On the outside he was a stationary target for Cerrone, without his usual crafty head movement.  He did not seem to make it his main goal to rough Cerrone up on the inside, which was his best chance to win. Cerrone showed his speed advantage and avoided the big punches from Noons, as well as taking him down multiple times and dominating the former boxer on the ground. The famous UFC jitters seemed to be more than apparent in the fight and Noons was stiff. However, he did show his heart and went the full distance, despite being a bloody mess after round two.  It was a dominant unanimous decision win for Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

The shock of the main card was definitely TJ Grant finishing the favored Gray Maynard before the three minute mark of the first round. Maynard started fast with a nice uppercut and landed a few right hands on the chin, but it seemed possible the tide would turn, sure enough it did. After roughing up Maynard against the cage, a few clean right hands on the chin would secure Grant the biggest win of his career, knockout of the night, and a shot at reigning Lightweight Champion, Benson Henderson.  It was an amazing knockout win for the Canadian TJ Grant.

The next fight would be the first of two to feature Brazil vs. New Zealand, with James Te Huna challenging the dangerous Glover Teixeira. Te Huna, a 3 to 1 underdog showed his Maori warrior spirit and that he was not afraid to stand with the Brazilian. With both men looking sharp on the feet, Teixeira chose to take it to the ground. While Te Huna again showed his skill, by avoiding damage and making it back to his feet, but moments later he found himself in a guillotine, which would signal the end for the Kiwi. Again, it was a solid victory for the Brazilian wrecking machine, showing how quick he can finish a fight.  Teixeira also earned himself submission of the night honors in the process.

Next up it was the people’s main event, with two top heavyweight strikers, Junior Dos Santos and Mark Hunt battling for a potential title shot.  The fight started with Hunt clipping Dos Santos early with jabs and out-kicking the former champ. Then the right hand from hell that finished Cain Velasquez sent Hunt to the canvas, but he got back to his feet. Dos Santos landed more right hands and jabs, but Hunt still marched forward.  Dos Santos continued to dominate in the second round with his faster hands.  However, Hunt did manage to land a few punches against the cage and Dos Santos’ face started to swell a little bit. Dos Santos scored a take down at the end of the round, but did little damage. The third round was back and forth.  Both men were tired and ate punches from the other. Then a jab from Junior made Hunt stumble and he was clearly hurt. Out of nowhere, with less than a minute to go in the fight, Dos Santos threw a spinning heel kick that clipped the Samoan on the top of the head, he went down and a brutal right hand finished the fight for Dos Santos.  The winner by TKO and the next in line for a title shot, Junior Dos Santos, what a fight!

To finish off a great night was the night main event, where Antonio Silva challenged two time heavyweight champion of the world, Cain Velasquez. Although most people predicted the outcome of this one, anything can and sometimes does happen in the UFC.  It was expected that Silva would try to move a lot more this time and not throw kicks.  Velasquez shot in twice in less than a minute and was unsuccessful. However, Big Foot seemed to abandon his jab and went for an uppercut which was countered by a devastating Velasquez right cross to the temple, hammer fists followed and the fight was stopped.  It was over quicker than the first fight and Cain was even more dominant, if that was possible. Big Foot smartly chose to abandon his kicks, but he then chose to do the second worst thing he could do against Velasquez, fight him at his own range! Most fighters know you should fight a shorter and quicker fighter from the outside. Unfortunately for Silva he chose to go straight for the knockout in the first minute of a five round fight, and that was the mistake that cost him the victory.  The winner by TKO at 1:07 of round 1 was Cain Velasquez, who successfully defended his UFC heavyweight championship.

Everyone went home knowing that this fight card definitely delivered. We also now know that the next heavyweight championship bout will be the third matchup between Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez. I can hardly wait for that one!

Christopher McMillan

Profightingfans.com Staff Writer

On May 25th the co-main event of UFC 160 will feature two of the world’s deadliest MMA strikers, in a Heavyweight Title eliminator; Junior “Cigano” dos Santos and Mark “Super Samoan” Hunt. Former champion Dos Santos is on his way to regain the title he lost to Cain Velasquez in his last fight. While former Pride super star, Mark Hunt who currently has the best winning streak of all top 10 heavyweights gets the biggest opportunity of his MMA career. The odds currently have Dos Santos as a 4 to 1 favorite.

We have to start off with the striking department. If you have followed either man’s career you should know that this is a classic match-up of speed vs. power. Dos Santos is known for having the fastest speed in the heavyweight division in the hands and feet. Mark Hunt is famous for one punch knockout power, especially in his right hand. Both men also have been vulnerable to the other’s strengths. Right hands were what had Dos Santos on the canvas in round one of his last fight. Despite surviving there was little resistance from Dos Santos for the rest of the fight. The same right hands in 2010 against Roy Nelson were what cut him in the second round where he seemed too tired to evade them. Hunt on the other hand has shown in his last fight against Stefan Struve that he is more than susceptible to quickness. We saw Hunt in the second and third rounds take several shots before he managed to finish the fight. So both men have shown they can be beaten by the other’s style.

What well help decide who will come out on top is stamina and cardio. Stamina will be as important in this fight as striking. Both men have proven they can go the distance, even though they normally don’t have to. However neither was that good in their last fights. Both were tired after the first round. Dos Santos didn’t even throw his usual flurries of punches that make him tired; he just slowed down rather quickly. Whether it was the extra muscle, or the constant pressure he was under from the first bell he was far from his usual self. As for Hunt he was visibly tired in the latter rounds of his fight with Struve. We can say it was possibly ring rust that may have drained him. Or a fair point is that he literally had to jump off the canvas to reach his almost seven foot opponent, which would definitely tire a fighter out, something he won’t have to do against Dos Santos. So by looking at that you wonder who has the advantage in the stamina area. Since both men are known for better cardio than their last fights showed we will have to wait and see who has improved the most.

Now on to the ground game, both men have their ground game accolades to boast. Dos Santos is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under the Nogueira Brothers. Mark Hunt on the other hand was surprisingly happy to battle Struve on the ground, when he could easily have stood up. We did see Hunt defend many submission attempts from Struve in their fight and JDS was not handed many submissions to defend against from Velasquez. So you could say that Hunt has had to defend more submissions in his recent fight and can possibly defend one or two against Dos Santos. It is worth noting that Dos Santos has never attempted a submission in his UFC career. Hunt on the other hand actually came close to submitting the legendary Fedor Emelianeko in Pride, which is big. The odds seem to pick JDS but a fighter does not normally do something different in a big fight, they normally resort back to what they know best. So we could possibly see the only submission attempts to come from Hunt.

So I look at this fight as a real toss-up. Both men stylistically, can beat the other in each department which makes this very exciting. For me it makes me wonder why the odds have Dos Santos as a 4 to 1 favorite. Many fans must be assuming that we will see a different JDS than what we saw in December and that the speed will beat power. Let’s not forget Hunt has upset the critics before. Dana White actually said himself, “he shocked everyone”; by managing to get to where he is in the UFC, after entering on a five fight losing streak. Plus he has wins over Wanderlai Silva and Mirko Cro Cop in Pride, when he was still a very inexperienced MMA fighter. So there are definitely reasons to say that this is another fight where the odds can be defied rather than proven come May 25th.

Chris McMillan

Profightingfans.com Staff Writer

 

I really do admire Mark Hunt’s fan base.  After his knockout of Stefan Struve they were calling for title shots and high profile fights.  I get it.  He is a talented veteran striker with a vast amount of fighting experience and is a big time fan favorite.  That doesn’t change the fact that his MMA record is barely over the .500 mark at 9-7.  Sure, we can’t ignore that he’s taken out two mid-level heavyweights in Stefan Struve and Cheick Kongo.  I just don’t see how that puts him in the title picture. 

Anyways, all the title talk aside, Mark Hunt is now facing Junior Dos Santos at UFC 160 in May.  Dos Santos was scheduled to fight Alistair Overeem, who has now dropped out due to injury.  What does this mean for Mark Hunt?  Well, I don’t see too many positives in this situation, other than the possibility that he catches the former champ with a lucky punch. 

Junior Dos Santos is coming off the worst loss of his professional career.  He is not going to want to stand around and play games with Hunt.  I think we will see a motivated and focused Dos Santos on May 25th.  That is bad news for Mark Hunt.  He’s just riding the wave of success and it’s leading him right into the octagon with an angry Brazilian. 

I think Roy Nelson would have been a better option for Hunt.  Dos Santos is going to be too fast, too technical and too dangerous.  It’s the wrong time to fight Junior, truthfully, I also feel as though it was the wrong time for Overeem to face him as well. 

I guess Mark Hunt’s fans will get what they want.  I doubt it’s going to go the way they planned though.   And how is the fight going to go?  In my opinion, Mark Hunt will find himself face down on the mat while Junior Dos Santos asks for a rematch with current champion Cain Velasquez.  We will have to wait and see what happens.  My only advice to Mark Hunt, baby steps man, but I guess it’s too late for that. 

UFC 160 is set for May 25th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The event is being headlined by a UFC heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.  James Te Huna will meet Glover Teixeira, while in the lightweight division Gray Maynard takes on TJ Grant.  This is going to be an amazing card!  Check back with Profightingfans.com for more updates. 

Brent Haugh

Profightingfans.com Staff Writer