Featuring all the results from this weekend’s major MMA action as well as a heap of match announcements and what we’ve got lined up for this week…
The Strikeforce invasion of the UFC is on! We’ve had announcements that Gilbert Melendez will challenge for Benson Henderson’s Lightweight title at UFC on FOX 7 on April 20th. They’ll be joined on that card by Daniel Cormier making his Octagon debut against UFC veteran Frank Mir and Dan Hardy getting the match he asked for against Matt Brown.
That’s turning into a hell of a card.
We’ve also had confirmation that Alexander Gustafsson will welcome Gegard Mousasi to the UFC at an event in Stockholm on April 6th, likely to be UFC on FUEL TV 9. That’s another awesome match, although I just hope the UFC give Gegard some promotional backing so that casual fans appreciate his quality.
Elsewhere, we still have no confirmation as to whether Josh Barnett will sign with the UFC, Luke Rockhold seems to be angling for a match with Costa Phillipou and following Saturday’s UFC card, Khabib Nurmagomedov has called out Nate Diaz. I want to see all of these matches…
Closer to home, Cage Warriors have announced the main event of CW52 in London as being a Welterweight title fight between Gael Grimaud and Cathal Pendred in what should be a fantastic bout.
Bellator 85: Chandler vs. Hawn
Thursday 17 January
Arguably the biggest MMA card if the week didn’t come from the UFC as Bellator produced two compelling title matches and a pair of upsets in their debut show on Spike.
As predicted, Pat Curran and Patricio Friere out on an excellent advert for MMA in a bout that lacked nothing but a finish. The split decision win for Curran was probably about right but you’ve got to feel for Friere who has twice fallen short in title matches by the slimmest of margins. Curran will go on to face last season’s tournament winner, Daniel Straus.
I expected Michael Chandler to get the win over Rick Hawn, but I didn’t expect him to submit the judoka. Hawn is no joke and Chandler is easily the best lightweight outside the UFC at this point in time, to the point that its hard to see anyone on Bellator’s roster toppling him.
In the LHW tournament, name fighters Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral and Seth Petruzelli were eliminated by the relatively unheralded Mikhael Zayats and Jacob Noe respectively. Zayats in particular impressed and is just another one of the coming crowd of Russian sambo practitioners making a real impact in US MMA.
• Jacob Noe def. Seth Petruzelli via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 2:51 – light-heavyweight tournament opening round
• Michael Chandler def. Rick Hawn via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 3:07 – to retain lightweight title
• Mikhail Zayats def. Renato Sobral via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 4:49 – light heavyweight tournament opening round
• Pat Curran def. Patricio Freire via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) – to retain featherweight title
• Aaron Miller def. Joe Camacho via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
• Jason Lambert def. Hector Ramirez via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 3:59
• J.J. Ambrose def. Brian Warren via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 0:50
• Emanuel Newton def. Atanas Djambazov via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:21 – light-heavyweight tournament opening round
• Savant Young def. Mike Guymon via KO (punch) – Round 2, 0:48
• Joe Williams def. Jamie Yager via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 4:02
Cleber Luciano def. Mario Navarro via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Resurrection Fighting Alliance 6
Fri, 18 Jan
Kansas City, Missouri
Just to remind everyone that there is a vibrant MMA scene in the US that isn’t on network television, RFA offered up a compelling card which had notable wins for UFC veteran Brock Larsen and fighters who’ve had a handshake with the big time James Krause and Dakota Cochrane.
RFA are one of many nascent MMA organisations in the states and its always worth keeping an eye on the alphabet soup to see if anyone is making a real name for themselves.
• James Krause def. Toby Imada via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
• Brock Larson def. Eduardo Pamplona via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
• Kevin Croom def. Brian Davidson via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 0:42
• Dustin Ortiz def. Aaron Ely via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
• Dakota Cochrane def. Deivison Ribeiro via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 4:32
• Mark Dickman def. Aaron Derrow via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:35
• Bobby Cooper def. Nick Compton via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
• Cody Peterson def. Tyler Stokes via submission (armbar) – Round 2, 2:06
UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs. Bisping
Sat, 19 Jan
The UFC’s first card of the year served up the usual mix of shocks and confirmations of what we already knew.
Michael Bisping fell at the last hurdle for the THIRD time, losing by TKO2 to Vitor Belfort who showed a more varied kicking game than we’ve ever seen before. Bisping was gracious in defeat, but must know he needs to string a few good wins together and actually beat a gatekeeper for once if he is ever going to get the title shot the UFC are so keen to give him. Mind you, losing hasn’t stopped the likes of Nick Diaz and Chael Sonnen from getting shots, so stranger things have happened…
Belfort then proceeded to call out Jon Jones, in what I’m going to assume was an act of bravado designed to get cheers from the Brazilian crowd, who would happily cheer Vitor against Jones, or Chael Sonnen but not so much against the almost deified Anderson Silva.
Elsewhere, Gabriel Gonzaga continued his career resurgence with a submission win over Ben Rothwell and Khabib Nurmagomedov continued the Russian invasion with a first round stoppage of Thiago Tavares – having already antagonised the Brazilians by inferring that jiujitsu is inferior to Sambo.
Nurmagomedov is now 19-0 and 3-0 in the UFC and is knocking on the door of the top level at 155lbs. He’s called out Nate Diaz next, and I’m all for that…
The most controversial moment of the night came when Yuri Alcantara took Pedro Nobre’s back and started reigning down blows. Nobre turned his head and referee Dan Miragliotta warned Alcantara about hitting the back of the head, only to stop the bout a second later with only one more blow thrown – a blow that really didn’t hit the back of the head.
Nobre lay there, clutching the absolute centre of the back of his head and saying he couldn’t continue, compelling the referee to call the match off as a no contest due to an accidental foul.
Now, I’m off the mind that Alcantara’s blows were legal, that Nobre tried to move his head so he got hit in the back and he could escape without a loss on his record and reinforced that by groaning and holding his head in a place where he hadn’t been hit. What is this, football?
Basically, Nobre stole a win from Alcantara via gamesmanship which is expressly outlawed in the unified rules. Not cool.
• Vitor Belfort def. Michael Bisping via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 1:27
• CB Dollaway def. Daniel Sarafian via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
• Gabriel Gonzaga def. Ben Rothwell via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 1:01
• Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Thiago Tavares via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:55
• Godofredo Castro def. Milton Vieira via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
• Ronny Markes def. Andrew Craig via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
• Nik Lentz def. Diego Nunes via unanimous decision (30-28, 30-27, 30-26)
• Edson Barboza def. Lucas Martins via submission (punches) – Round 1, 2:38
• Yuri Alcantara vs. Pedro Nobre via ruled a no-contest (accidental punches to back of head) – Round 1, 2:11
• Ildemar Alcantara def. Wagner Prado via submission (kneebar) – Round 2, 2:39
Francisco Trinaldo def. CJ Keith via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 1:50
It never stops! This week, we have UFC on FOX 6 and Bellator 86 previews for you as well as some articles on whether its acceptable to boo at MMA events and if I can get it started, our beginners guide to MMA.
Hope you’ll check it out.