The Good, The Bad & the Ugly: UFC on FOX 11 Edition

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Im gradually coming to realise that I might be too old to reliably sit up and watch the fights. I only managed until Thiago Alves’ fight before passing out. Thanks be for sites like -redacted- which allow me to catch up in the morning…

The Good:

First of all, it was awesome to see one of our favourite fighters, Thiago Alves return to the cage after more than two years. Even better, he put in a good performance like he’d never been away and we hope for more ‘Pitbull’ based goodness in the near future.

The card provided consistently good action despite a few less compelling fights, with particular mention going to the awesome flyweight scrap between Dustin Ortiz and Ray Borg, Mirsad Bektic vs. Chas Skelly, Alves vs. Baczynski, the gunfight between Donald Cerrone and Edson Barboza and Fabricio Werdum‘s fine performance in the main event to win a title shot.

The Bad:

Aside from some screwy judging – one split decision that shouldn’t have been and one that went the wrong way IMHO – the worst thing was Chas Skelly’s illegal knees to Mirsad Bektic.

Interesting to see the referee give Bektic time, as if it had been a groin shot and take a point before allowing the match to continue. Bektic also deserves warrior points for continuing and giving as good as he got in the remainder of the fight to take the majority decision.

It produced a compelling fight and a new fighter for me to be a big fan of, but was it the right call with fighter safety and the letter of the law in mind?

The Ugly:

For a night that saw it’s fair share of blood, there was nothing especially gory or egregiously uncool from a fighting or officiating point of view. Good work folks.

If We Had The Chequebook…

Fight of the Night:

Easily Dustin Ortiz vs. Ray Borg for a back and forth bout which saw some high impact strikes and some awesome grappling exchanges. For me, this was an advert for all that is good in MMA and it’s lack of acknowledgement in the UFC’s post fight dissection is a travesty.

Performance of the Night:

Mirsad Bektic for being aggressive and entertaining before the illegal knees and having the sheer stones to see the fight out afterwards. Such performances are what makes you a fan favourite.

Finish of the Night:

Donald Cerrone for his quick reactions in hopping onto Edson Barboza’s back and slapping on a tight rear naked choke after rocking him with a nice jab. Even more impressive considering that Barboza had the best of the early exchanges.

Full Results:

MAIN CARD
Fabricio Werdum def. Travis Browne via unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45) – Round 5, 25:00
Miesha Tate def. Liz Carmouche via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) – Round 3
Donald Cerrone def. Edson Barboza via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:15
Yoel Romero def. Brad Tavares via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) – Round 3

PRELIMINARY CARD
Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Rafael dos Anjos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) – Round 3
Thiago Alves def. Seth Baczynski via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) – Round 3
Jorge Masvidal def. Pat Healy via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) – Round 3
Alex White def. Estevan Payan via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:28
Caio Magalhaes def. Luke Zachrich via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 0:44
Jordan Mein def. Hernani Perpetuo via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) – Round 3

FIGHT PASS PRELIMINARY CARD
Dustin Ortiz def. Ray Borg via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) – Round 3
Mirsad Bektic def. Chas Skelly via majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28) – Round 3, 5:00
Derrick Lewis def. Jack May via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:23

 

 

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UFC on FOX 11: Werdum vs. Browne Preview

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Sat, 19 Apr 2014 – Anway Center – Orlando, Florida

The UFC are billing the eleventh edition of UFC on FOX as the most exciting card yet aired in the network and that hyperbole could well be proven true on fight night.

Headlining the card, we have a heavyweight title eliminator between Travis Browne (16-1-1) and Fabricio Werdum (17-5-1) to decide a fresh challenger for Cain Velasquez (who’s last five fights have been against the same two fighters.)

Werdum had been a fixture near the top of the heavyweight rankings for over a decade and all of his losses have come to elite fighters who were at the peak of their powers at the time. Now riding a perfect 3-0 streak since his return to the UFC he has added an accomplished Muay Thai game to his always dangerous jiujitsu and is a clear and present threat to anyone in the division.

Oh, and he’s the guy who gave Fedor his first clean defeat. That was kind of a big deal.

Across the cage, Browne has been steadily climbing the ladder in the UFC, overcoming some huge names and galling setbacks (such as his only loss which was more down to a freak leg injury than Antonio Silva beating him up) and coming off three first round knockouts over super-tough veterans, he couldn’t have better momentum.

Browne has youth, reach and an edge in the striking game on his side, while Werdum has experience and a superior ground game in his corner.

However it works out, it should be a top notch bout between two supremely talented fighters.

The co-main event sees former title contenders Miesha Tate (13-5) and Liz Carmouche (9-4) face off with both looking to reinsert themselves into the title picture.

Tate is just coming off her second defeat to Ronda Rousey but the vehemence of their rivalry and her (perplexing, to me at least) popularity means she’ll always be just a win or two from another shot.

Carmouche has gone 1-1 since her loss to Rousey, handily defeating Jessica Andrade before dropping a tight decision to Alexis Davis back in November.

Both women are well rounded with good wrestling, submission and striking skills and while Tate will be the favourite, Carmouche is not to be discounted.

The rest of the main card looks plenty fun as entertaining strikers Edson Barboza and Donald Cerrone look set to engage in a gunfight while accomplished wrestler/boxers Yoel Romero and Brad Tavares meet with the top ten of the middleweight division in wait for the winner.

Even the undercard is stacked, with Rafael dos Anjos vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov both bringing significant win streaks into their match, this is a clear indication of the preliminary headliner being a bigger match than half the main card bouts.  The winner could well be in line for a title shot, or an eliminator bout at least.

We’ve also got the long awaited return of Thiago Alves facing Seth Baczynski alongside veterans Pat Healy and Jorge Masvidal facing off.

It’s a great card. We’ll be staying up to watch (you don’t need to get up early on Easter Sunday, do you?) and we’d advise you to do the same.

MAIN – BT Sport – midnight GMT
• Travis Browne vs. Fabricio Werdum
• Liz Carmouche vs. Miesha Tate
• Edson Barboza vs. Donald Cerrone
• Yoel Romero vs. Brad Tavares

PRELIMINARY – BT Sport – 10pm GMT
• Rafael dos Anjos vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
• Thiago Alves vs. Seth Baczynski
• Pat Healy vs. Jorge Masvidal
• Estevan Payan vs. Alex White
• Caio Magalhaes vs. Luke Zachrich
• Jordan Mein vs. Hernani Perpetuo

PRELIMINARY – UFC Fight Pass, 8:30pm GMT
• Ray Borg vs. Dustin Ortiz
• Mirsad Bektic vs. Chas Skelly
• Derrick Lewis vs. Jack May

MMA Monday – 28 January 2013

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Is it Monday already? Wow. Well, contained within we have the full results of last week’s UFC and Bellator cards and quick thoughts on those events. We’ve also got a passing comment on the enduring Ballad of Eddie Alvarez and a quick look ahead at what we’ve got lined up for this week.

The Ballad of Eddie Alvarez: Verse Two

So, following Bellator matching the UFC’s contract offer in pedantic fashion despite clearly operating a very different business model, the UFC made it clear they’d like to book Eddie at April’s UFC 159 event and ‘ugliness’ predicted by Dana White came out to play in full force.

On Saturday, a judge upheld Bellator’s assertion that they had ‘matched’ the UFC’s contract offer and torpedoed the possibility of Alvarez being allowed to turn out at UFC 159. The case is nowhere near closed and has a ways to run yet, though.

For my part, this looks like the first serious shot in Bellator’s attempt to be seen as an equal to the UFC and I see similarities with a promotional rivalry which informed a chunk of my teenage years. There may be an article in that…

Bellator 86: Askren vs. Amoussou
Thu, 24 Jan 2013
Thackerville, Oklahoma

Looking to capitalise on last week’s successful debut on Spike TV, Bellator produced another compelling show, helped in no small way by an evident evolution of their Welterweight champion.

We had expected a Ben Askren title retention to be in the form of a unanimous decision, but for the first time since claiming gold, he finished an opponent showing that while his wrestling hasn’t lost a step, he’s added the weapon of fearful ground and pound to his arsenal, working from half and full guard to make a real mess of Karl Amoussou’s face until the doctor stopped the fight as Amoussou’s left eye swelled dangerously.

The other big draw of the evening was Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal’s Bellator debut and he took less than a round to stamp his passport into the Light Heavyweight semi finals with his trademark heavy hands. With the elimination of Renato Sobral, Lawal is surely the heavy favourite for that tournament.

We also had the Welterweight quarter finals, with the most impressive wins going to former winner Douglas Lima and Raul Amaya wining with TKOs. Brett Weedman and Ben Saunders join them in the semis following decision wins. Is there any among them that can seriously challenge the new and improved Ben Askren? I guess time will tell.

MAIN (Spike TV, 10 p.m. ET)
• Ben Askren def. Karl Amoussou via TKO (doctor stoppage) – Round 3, 5:00 – for welterweight title
• Muhammed Lawal def. Przemyslaw Mysiala via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 3:52 – light-heavyweight-tournament opening round
• Douglas Lima def. Michail Tsarev via TKO (leg kicks) – Round 2, 1:44 – welterweight-tournament opening round
• Ben Saunders def. Koffi Adzitso via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) – welterweight-tournament opening round

PRELIMINARY (Spike.com, 8 p.m. ET)
• Hunter Tucker def. Javier Obregon via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 3:17
• Jason Sampson def. Chris Pham via submission (armbar) – Round 3, 4:55
• Brent Weedman def. Marius Zaromskis via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27) – welterweight-tournament opening round
• Raul Amaya def. Jose Gomes via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:12 – welterweight-tournament opening round
• Damon Jackson def. Zach Church via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:43
Cortez Coleman def. Matt Jones via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

UFC on FOX 6: Johnson vs. Dodson
Sat, 26 Jan 2013
Chicago, Illinois

The first UFC title bout of the year was decided in characteristically athletic fashion and not without a small degree of controversy. Over five rounds of disconcertingly speedy action, John Dodson pressed Demeterious Johnson all the way, with Dodson taking the first few rounds with his heavy hands while Johnson came more into the fight towards the end with perhaps better cardio, title match experience (this is his third time to five rounds after all) and wrestling.

Most observers and two of the judges saw it three rounds to two, giving Johnson the 48-47 win (one judge saw it 4-1 Johnson, but there’s always one…) however there was an illegal knee landed by Johnson in the fourth round that the referee chose not to take a point for (clearly ruling it as accidental) which could have ended the match as a draw.

However, stats show that Johnson outstruck Dodson by 127 significant strikes to 57 and also landed five takedowns to ‘the Magician’s one so the belt probably ended up staying in the right place.

Elsewhere on the main card, Glover Teixeira escorted Quinton Jackson to the UFC exit with a less compelling brawl than we’d hoped. At some points Rampage looked his old self, but for the most part Teixeira had the advantage in striking and wrestling and was never seriously in jeopardy en route to the decision win.

Anthony Pettis showed that ring rust hasn’t affected him when a canny decision to come out as a southpaw combined with his always incisive striking led to a first round KO via liver kick over Donald Cerrone. Pettis is now the de facto no.1 contender for the second time in his career and says he won’t make the same mistake as last time and will wait for the winner of Ben Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez.

Cerrone on the other hand is starting to look like a gatekeeper, always advancing to the point of title contention before losing to the eventual challenger. That’s a shame.

Rounding out the main card, Ricardo Lamas earned an impressive TKO win over former title challenger in waiting, Erik Koch and is looking like the logical next challenger to whoever walks away from next week’s Aldo vs. Edgar contest for the Featherweight belt.

The prelims provided a record breaking submission win for Ryan Bader, a real statement of intent from TJ Grant and an impressive comeback win for Shawn Jordan. Always, always watch the prelims…

MAIN (FOX, 8 p.m. ET)
• Demetrious Johnson def. John Dodson via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47) – to retain flyweight title
• Glover Teixeira def. Quinton Jackson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
• Anthony Pettis def. Donald Cerrone via TKO (body kick, strikes) – Round 1, 2:35
• Ricardo Lamas def. Erik Koch via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 2:32

PRELIMINARY (FX, 5 p.m. ET)
• TJ Grant def. Matt Wiman via KO (elbows) – Round 1, 4:51
• Clay Guida def. Hatsu Hioki via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
• Pascal Krauss def. Mike Stumpf via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
• Ryan Bader def. Vladimir Matyushenko via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 0:50
• Shawn Jordan def. Mike Russow via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 3:48
• Rafael Natal def. Sean Spencer via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 3, 2:13

PRELIMINARY (Facebook, 4:30 p.m. ET)
David Mitchell def. Simeon Thoresen via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Incoming

As usual, we’ve got previews of the week’s Bellator offering and for the third week in a row (I love it) a UFC card to preview, this time featuring the Featherweight title bout between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar. We’ve also got articles discussing the potential for genuine competition between the UFC and Bellator, a start on our (not entirely serious) glossary of MMA terms and if there’s time, we’ll start our buildup to UFC Wembley.

Hopefully, there’s something there to tickle your fancy, thanks for dropping by.

UFC on FOX 6: Johnson vs. Dodson Preview

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UFC on FOX 6: Johnson vs. Dodson
Sat, 26 Jan 2013
Chicago, Illinois, USA

In 2012 some of the UFC’s FOX cards were criticised for being underpowered, lacking in significant or fun fights. However, that criticism has clearly been taken seriously by the UFC brass who have followed up the very successful UFC on FOX 5, headlined by Benson Henderson defending the Lightweight belt against the always exciting Nate Diaz with a card topped by another title match and backed up by a potentially explosive undercard.

This time, it’s the still embryonic Flyweight division getting the chance to shine on the network TV stage as Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (16-2-1) makes the first defence of his newly minted title against John “the Magician” Dodson (14-5).

Johnson made a habit of beating larger men in the WEC and UFC before the advent of the 125lb division and his wins over legends like Norifumi Yamamoto and Miguel Torres stand alongside his title winning effort against Joseph Benavidez as a testament to his skills and athleticism. Indeed, he’s only lost to Brad Pickett and Dominick Cruz, which isn’t bad going for someone who spent years of his career significantly outsized.

Dodson had been a name in the independent flyweight circuit for years before winning the Ultimate Fighter and has gone 3-0 in the UFC, with two KO finishes making him easily the most attractive #1 contender at this point.

Both of these fighters are known for their athleticism and sheer speed, with Johnson being perhaps the more grappling orientated fighter and Dodson more of a dynamic striker. If I had to bet on this, I’d say that Johnson has the superior record and also the experience of going into the championship rounds which could prove the difference.

As is always the case with the lighter weight classes, don’t be surprised if this match goes the distance but remains far from dull but on the other hand, don’t be surprised if it ends very quickly indeed.

The co-main event features one of the UFC’s most popular fighters Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-10) making his last appearance for the promotion following a protracted deterioration of his relationship with management.

Once among the most exciting fighters in the sports most dynamic divisions, Rampage has slipped to a 0-2 streak and hasn’t had a truly impressive win since 2008.

Escorting him to the end of his UFC tenure is one of the most exciting prospects (if you can call a 33 year old a prospect) in the division, as Glover Teixeira (19-2) looks to stake a claim as a legitimate contender by making sure Rampage leaves the UFC on a loss.

Once upon a time, Jackson was an exciting striker with a strong wrestling base but in recent years he’s seemed one dimensional and flat footed, with his wins coming more from his opponents showing his striking too much respect and losses coming whenever an opponent came prepared for his preferred weapon.

Sadly for Quinton, Glover is unlikely to be afraid having taken Fabio Maldonado’s best shots en route to his second successive stoppage win in the UFC. Teixeira is riding a seventeen fight winning streak dating back to 2005 with all but one of those wins coming by stoppage. He would have been in the UFC a long time ago if it wasn’t for visa issues and I can’t see him letting his big chance to claim a truly memorable scalp slip by him this time.

For Jackson, this fight is about proving his detractors wrong and in reading his market value for prospective employers outside the UFC while for Teixeira this is about seizing his chance now that he has it and inserting himself into the conversation regarding who gets the next 205lb title shot after Chael Sonnen in April.

For me, ambition and momentum wins out over saving face and making money every time.

Next up is a bout that could main event a lesser card, a possible eliminator for a Lightweight title shot between Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (15-2) and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (19-4) who are both riding 2-0 streaks following losses in 2011.

Pettis is the last man to defeat the current Lightweight champion, Ben Henderson having ripped the WEC 155lb belt from him at the last WEC card in December 2010. A ground out loss to the most boring version of Clay Guida we’ve ever seen followed but Pettis has reasserted his star with compelling wins over Jeremy Stephens and Joe Lauzon before being out of action for most of 2012 through injury.

Cerrone is a fellow WEC alumnus who rode a 6-0 streak into his December 2011 loss with Nate Diaz, where he never got out of second gear.

Rehabilitating himself with wins over Jeremy Stephens (him again) and Melvin Guillard, Cerrone is a less appealing contender for the belt due to his two WEC losses to Henderson but has managed to insert himself into the conversation despite his tepid display against Diaz.

Of course, the next title shot has already been awarded to Strikeforce champion, Gilbert Melendez and this bout between two exciting, popular fighters could easily make the challenger to whenever emerges from UFC on FOX 7 with the belt all the easier to decide.

Both Pettis and Cerrone are finishers, with accomplished striking and submission games. Classically, Pettis is as likely to finish via KO or tapout while Cerrone tends to batter his opponents into the foetal position with his crisp kickboxing and then sink in a choke.

Just don’t expect a cautious, wrestling based matchup…

The main card is rounded out with a contest between someone who was actually booked into a title match last autumn but missed out due to injury and a fighter who is looking to finally earn a shot after next but one twice before.

Erik Koch (13-1) had been slated to fight Jose Aldo for the Featherweight title at UFC 153 before the injury bug had its way with that card. With Frankie Edgar stepping in to the #1 contender spot, Koch had to earn his shot all over again.

Ricardo Lamas (12-2) made a statement when he defeated Hatsu Hioki back in July and having been on the cusp of title shots twice in the WEC before falling at the last to Danny Castillo and Yuri Alcantara, he’ll be keen to seal the deal this time.

Both of these fighters are well rounded and hungry, but I can’t help feeling that as Koch is the younger fighter and tends to finish more often, he’s better placed to take advantage of Lamas’ tendency to get knocked out than Lamas is to try and outlast the “New Breed.”

The prelims provide the usual strange mix of name fighters trying to get back into a winning way and lesser known fighters trying to earn their way onto the main card with the standout matches featuring Clay Guida (29-13) making his Featherweight debut against Hatsu Hioki (26-5-2) and Ryan Bader (14-3) looking to climb the Light Heavyweight ranks against veteran gatekeeper Vladimir Matyushenko (26-6).

The UFC have stacked this card as they look to really exploit the FOX deal in light of the renewed competition from Bellator, and it looks like being a great night of fights.

Viewing in the UK will as usual be provided by Facebook and http://www.ufc.tv for the prelims and on ESPN from 1am for the main card.

Our live tweeting will be provided by @RossStevenson at @TeamKumite and please feel free to spark up a conversation.

MAIN (FOX, 8 p.m. ET)
• Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson – for flyweight title
• Quinton Jackson vs. Glover Teixeira
• Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis
• Erik Koch vs. Ricardo Lamas

PRELIMINARY (FX, 5 p.m. ET)
• T.J. Grant vs. Matt Wiman
• Clay Guida vs. Hatsu Hioki
• Ryan Bader vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
• David Mitchell vs. Simeon Thoresen
• Shawn Jordan vs. Mike Russow
• Pascal Krauss vs. Mike Stumpf

PRELIMINARY (Facebook, 4 p.m. ET)
• Rafael Natal vs. Sean Spencer

P.S. For those who notice such things, you’ll have seen that the usual UFC ring girls, Brittney and Arianny weren’t at the last broadcast in Brasil. We have it on good authority they’ll be front and centre for this FOX show but if you just can’t wait, here’s a little Brittney to tide you over.
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