What's up, everyone? I am back again for another jam-packed column to enlighten you on the latest news from the UFC. Let's waste no time and get down to business.
Review of UFC on FOX 5
Last weekend the UFC held its 5th event on Fox since November of last year in what ended up being probably the most entertaining card in the last couple of years. Let's take a look at how things went down from Seattle Saturday evening.
UFC Lightweight Title- "Smooth" Ben Henderson (18-2) defeated Nate Diaz (16-8) by unanimous decision- Great main event here although very one sided with Henderson taking every round convincingly and never letting Nate get his rythm standing. On paper, this looked to be a pretty even fight but Henderson used some solid takedowns and a strength advantage to out muscle and beat up on Nate for the full five rounds on route to a unanimous decision victory. Nate tried to put some punches together early but Henderson was able to land a solid punch of his own that hit Diaz in the eye and took him out of the game from that point on. What's next for Henderson remains to be seen but with Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez making his way to the UFC early next year and a fight between Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis coming up, the winner of the latter or Gilbert would be tough tests for Henderson while the loss will still keep Nate in the mix near the top ten of his division.
Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson (15-1) defeated Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (20-7) by unanimous decision- Gustafsson looked like a beast in this one, being the quicker of the two and weaving in and out of Shogun's offense and leaving little doubt that he could potentially give invincable current champion Jon Jones a run for his money in the immediate future. Coming off a fairly flat performance earlier this year on the last Fox show, Shogun showed up looking the same again on Saturday and never got going in his fight, instead falling victim to the reach and powerful punches of the lanky Swede. Looks like there's a high probability that Gustafsson will take on the winner of the Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida fight early next year in a number one contenders fight once the next season of TUF materializes and a winner between Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen emerges.
Rory MacDonald (14-1) defeated BJ "The Prodigy" Penn (16-9-2) by unanimous decision- Risingstar Rory MacDonald was able to capitalize on a tremendous reach advantage and an undersized Penn on route to an impressive and dominant unanimous decision over UFC legend BJ Penn. Penn pushed the pace early on and was succesful on a couple of takedowns against the cage but as is often the case in Penn fights, he slowed down midway through the first frame and Rory took over from there. MacDonald was not only able to show off his ability to get back to his feet quickly in this one but also was able to batter Penn with kicks and body shots and came close to a stoppage in the second round. Following the fight Rory challenged Carlos Condit to a fight which would be a rematch of a fight from 2010 in which Rory was finished with only 7 seconds to go in the fights. If Penn is ever able to return to fighting then he's going to have to cut the extra 15 pounds and make it to 155 pounds because at this point he's 1-5-1 and welterweight in his last 7 fights in that division.
Matt "The Immortal" Brown (16-11) knocked out Mike "Quick" Swick (15-5) at 2:31 of the second round- This was a very strong opener but went much different than many anticipated as Mike Brown put together his fourth win in a row after dominating Swick early and then putting him away with some brutal strikes.
Swick may want to re-evaluate his fighting career at this point as even though Brown has won four in a row, he's the type of fighter that Swick used to be able to blow away before all his injuries and if you can't get past Brown then there aren't going to be many opponents that you can. A fight with a Dan Hardy or Erick Silva would be a good test for Brown in his next fight.
Yves Edwards (42-18-1) defeated Jeremy Stephens (20-9) by knockout at 1:55 of the first round
Raphael Assuncao (19-4) defeated Mike "The Hulk" Easton (13-2) by unanimous decision
Ramsey Nijem (7-2) defeated Joey Proctor (8-2) by unanimous decision
Daron Cruickshank (11-2) knocked out Henry Martinez (9-2) at 2:57 of the second round
Abel "Killa" Trujilo (10-4) defeated Marcus Levesseur (21-7) by tko at 3:56 of the second round
Dennis Siver (21-8) defeated Nam Phan (18-11) by unanimous decision
Scott "Young Guns" Jorgensen (14-6) submitted John "Prince" Albert (7-4) to a rear naked choke at 4:59 of the first round
Preview of UFC on FX 6
After a few months and a more entertaining season than its American counterpart, TUF Smashes comes to a finale this Saturday live from Australia.
George Sotiropolous (14-4) vs Ross Pearson (13-6)- When these two guys were first introduced as the coaches for TUF Smashes: UK vs Australia I originally thought, why? However these two men actually seem to despise one another and this season of TUF has been far an above better than its American counterpart. Sotiropolous is coming off two losses in a row and with bad blood brewing for the last few months, he's looking to get a much needed win over the hard hitting Pearson who’s returning to lightweight after mixed results at featherweight including a knockout loss in his last outing against Cub Swanson. George's strong suit has always been his submission game but his striking is no joke either although his chin may be questionable. Pearson's always been an aggressive striker with a suspect ground game and I think the styles of both men should see George looking for the takedown while Ross tries to keep this one upright. I'm currently leaning towards George to avoid the early flurries or Pearson and dump the Brit on his back where he looks for a submission but Pearson landing an early punch to finish George in his hometown is not only a possibility but also a probability.
Prediction: Sotiropolous by submission
Hector Lombard (31-3) vs Rousimar Palhares (14-4)- It's very seldom that you get such a high calibre submission specialist against a world class striker but that's what we get here as submission ace Rousimar Palhares looks to submit hard hitting Hector Lombard. Both men are coming of disappointing losses in their last outings with Palhares being defeated by tko by Alan Belcher and Lombard losing by split decision to Tim Boetsch in one of the most boring fights of the year. Palhares has all of the tools to submit Lombard if he can get him to the mat but to do that he's going to need to get in close on him and trip him to the ground and in doing soi he leaves himself in firing range for one of Lombard's flurries. Lombard didn't look good in his first UFC fight but Palhares' inability to take a punch seems like a glaring weekness that Lombard will most likely be able to exploit. I give Palhares a lot of credit for what he's been able to accomplish thus far in the UFC and he can definitely finish Lombard if he gets the fight to the ground but that's all dependant on surviving the first exchange which won't be easy.
Prediction: Lombard by tko
Robert Whittaker (9-2) vs Brad Scott (8-1)-Whittaker may have been the most impressive looking welterweight on this seasons cast and with a solid submission game to go along with his flashy striking he seems to have all the tools to beat Scott. Scott seemingly had an easier road to the finals than Whittaker and his one dimensional wrestling game doesn't seem like enough to grind out a tough athlete like Whittaker despite a size advantage. I like Whittaker here to take this one which ever way he pleases and be the more aggressive of the two on route to becoming the first TUF Australian winner.
Prediction: Whittaker by tko
Colin Fletcher (8-1) vs Norman Parke (16-2)- Colin Fletcher may be the most goofy looking guy you've ever seen but this Carnie by trade has shown to be one of the most polarizing characters in TUF history but standing in his way at his dream is fellow UK mate Norman Parke. Both of these men were early favorites to win this season and neither disappointed as they both walked through their quarterfinal and semifinal opponents on the way to the finals. Fletcher is a tall and lanky guy with limited takedown defense however his submission offense and striking see him usually adept enough to keep a fight upright. Parke's a takedown and toss you are type fighter and I think if he can stay on the balls of his feet and stay the aggressor here then he should be able to ground Fletcher continuously and pick up the judges decision however, if he decides to stand and trade with Fletcher then the reach advantage is going to give him problems. This should be a very entertaining fight and solid finale.
Prediction: Parke by unanimous decision
Chad "Money" Mendes (12-1) vs Yaotzin Meza (18-7)- Prediction: Mendes by unanimous decision
Mike Pierce (15-5) vs Seth Baczynski (18-8)- Prediction: Pierce by unanimous decision
Joey Beltran (14-8) vs Igor Pokrajac (25-9)- Prediction: Pokrajac by unanimous decision
Manuel Rodriguez (9-3) vs Ben Alloway (12-3)- Prediction: Rodriguez by unanimous decision
Nick Penner (11-2) vs Cody Donovan (7-2)- Prediction: Penner by unanimous decision
Mike Wiklinson (7-0) vs Brendan Loughnane (5-0)- Prediction: Wilkinson by unanimous decision
Breakdown of TUF 16 Finale
In a season that seems to have been cursed with terrible fights and a coach pulling out of his fight due to yet another injury, this Saturday the bleeding stops and we finally get an end to perhaps the least talented and least entertaining season in TUF history. Let's take a look at what Saturday has in store for us.
Roy "Big Country" Nelson (17-7) vs Matt Mitrione (5-1)- After several months building to a fight between Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson coaching opposing one another on the 16th season of the Ultimate Fighter, it only makes sense that Matt Mitrione steps in to replace an injured Shane Carwin making this the second season in a row where the coaches don't fight and the third in the last four. Props should be given to Matt Mitrione for taking this fight but this is nowehere close to being as intriguing of a match-up than Cvarwin/Nelson and Mitrione may been in over his head here. Both Mitrione and Nelson are familiar with one another since they were both on the heavyweight season of TUF but somehow the tournament saw the two compete on opposing teams and not compete against each other. Roy Nelson is the better fighter all around thank Mittrione as his ground game and submissions are far and above Mittrione. The only area that Mittrione has a definitive edge is his movement as he's a quick heavyweight and moves his feet well. That being said, Mittrione has a chance here if he fights Nelson at a distance and pumps his jab but I think eventually Nelson will be able to get the takedown and work the crucifix which he does so well until the referee calls a stop to the fight. Mitrione is a former football player and has decent core strength and takedown defense which may force Nelson to look for other ways of getting the fight to the mat but I see Nelson winning this one by pounding out Mitrione on the ground.
Prediction: Nelson by tko
Shane Del Rosario (11-1) vs Pat Barry (7-5)- Don't blink during this one as both Barry and Del Rosario start fights with a lot of steam and the two will more than likely look to end this one quick. Barry may have a spotty record in the UFC but he's fought some tough guys to mixed results while Shane is a newcomer to the UFC and yet to face the upper echeloen of talent. As vicious as Barry's leg kicks and hands are, he's abysmal on the mat and Shane has a significant edge with the submission game. If both men look to stand and trade then Barry may have some success but if Shane comes out and gets a takedown then I can see him walking out of Vegas was a submission of the night bonus and more than likely one of Barry's arm. Both men can be flaky at times in the cage so Shane deriving from his takedowns and getting knocked out on the feet is a probability as well but regardless of the outcome, this could end up being one of the fights of the night.
Prediction: Del Rosario by submission
Melvin Guillard (30-11-2) vs Jamier Varner (20-7-1)- On paper this fight has the potential to be a fight of the year candidate as both men are coming off fantastic fights as Guillard was knocked out by Donald Cerrone in one of the best one minute fights ever while Varner had a legit fight of the year candidate with Joe Lauzon on the last UFC on Fox show. When it comes to knockout power, few guys can compete with Melviin Guillard but Varner is a far more technical and tactful game planner with strong kickboxing and a more advanced ground game than Guillard. Varner seems to have more ways of winning this fight and if he can get Melvin down then he can most likely finish him or ride out a decision but if Melvin lands one of his flying knees or big looping punches then its lights out for Varner. I could see this one going either way but I think Guillard's chances of finishing Varner on the feet are pretty good here.
Prediction: Guillard by tko
Mike Ricci (7-2) vs Colton Smith (3-1)- After a season on opposing teams the finals comes down to a cocky Canadian with a questionable hair choice against an American marine. In a season filled with disappointing personalities and fights, few stars shined this year but Smith and Ricci certainly did. Ricci is a flashy striking with a solid submission game and trains with Rory MacDonald and GSP at Tri Star in Montreal and is the favourite to win this one and justifiably so as Smith is coming off some disappointing wins and has show only a one dimensional wrestling game and little in the way of stand-up. I think it’s a safe bet to say that Ricci should be able to put away Smith on the feet or on the mat if either man chooses to bring it there.
Prediction: Ricci by tko
Mike Pyle (23-8-1) vs James Head (9-2)- Prediction: Pyle by unanimous decision
Dustin Poirier (12-2) vs Jonathan Brookins (13-5)- Prediction: Poirier by unanimous decision
TJ Waldburger (15-7) vs Nick Catone (9-3)- Prediction: Waldburger by unanimous decision
Reuben Duran (8-3-1) vs Hugo Vianna (6-0)- Prediction: Duran by unanimous decision
Marcos Vinicius Borges Pancini (20-3-1) vs Johnny Bedford (18-9-1)- Prediction: Pancini by unanimous decision
Tim Elliott (8-3-1) vs Jared Papazian (14-8)- Prediction: Elliott by tko
Vinc Pichel (6-0) vs Rustam "Tiger" Khabilov (14-1)- Prediction: Khabilov by unanimous decision
Mike Rio (8-1) vs John Cofer (7-2)- Prediction: Rio by unanimous decision
My Thoughts on Attending a UFC Show Live
Its one thing to sit down and enjoy watching a UFC show in the privacy of your own home but at some point your curiousity kicks in and you decide that you want to see a show live and in person. Well, if you’re going to jump into attending a UFC live show then there are a few things to keep in mind, especially if you compare it to a WWE live event.
For starters, UFC events usually range anywhere from 9 to 13 fights and being that the winner is not predetermined, this show could last anywhere from 4 to 6 hours. Even for the most die hard of fans, 6 hours of anything can be a little much especially when you've never heard of many of the undercard fighters (or can even pronounce their names). If you want to still have a voice and energy for the main card and main event than attending the show too early may drain you and leave you looking forward to the card just being over which is never fun when you"ve invested over a hundred dollars into a ticket and also cancelled on a Saturday night in favour of the show. The fact that a fight may last all of one minute and there may not be another for upwards of 25 minutes also can leave you frustrated.
If you're a drinker then attempting to smuggle in beer or a flask of any other delicious alcoholic beverage is almost a must as some arenas can charge upwards of $13 a drink eventhough you can buy a 24 for the price of two or three drinks at your local beer store. Let's also do the math that if you do choose to buy drinks at the show and are there for all of the fights then this can prove very costly.
Lastly, the merch table is a must whether you’re attending a concert, wrestling show or mma event and even though there is a good selection of clothing from hats to shirts, often times the items are over priced. For example, a UFC championship belt is $400 while you can by a replica WWE title for around $200 on-line.
There's nothing better than a live crowd to get you pumped up for an event but you may want to keep these things in mind next time you impulsively get a ticket to a UFC event.
UFC 155 from Las Vegas, Nevada- December 29th, 2012
UFC Heavyweight Title- Junior Dos Santos (15-1) vs Cain Velasquez (10-1)
"Mr. Wonderful" Phil Davis (10-1-1) vs
Jim Miller (21-4) vs Joe "J-Lau" Lauzon (21-7)
Costa Philippou (11-2-1) vs Tim "The Barbarian" Boetsch (16-4)
"Crippler" Chris Leben (22-8) vs Karlos Vemola (9-3)
Alan "The Talent" Belcher (18-6) vs Yushin Okami (27-7)
Todd Duffee (7-2) vs Philip De Fries (9-1-1)
Brad "One Punch" Pickett (22-6) vs Eddie Wineland (19-8-1)
Erik "El Goyito" Perez (12-4) vs Byron Bloodworth (6-2)
Michael Johnson (12-6) vs Myles Jury (10-0)
Leonard "Bad Boy" Garcia (15-9-1) vs Cody McKenzie (13-3)
John Moraga (12-1) vs Chris Cariaso (14-3)
UFC on FX 7- January 19th, 2013 from Sao Paulo, Brazil
Michael "The Count" Bisping (23-4) vs Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort (21-10)
Daniel Sarafian (7-2) vs CB Dollaway (12-4)
Gabriel Gonzaga (13-6) vs Ben Rothwell (32-8)
Thiago Tavares (17-4-1) vs Khabib Nurmagomedov (18-0)
Godofredo Castro (8-1) vs Milton Viera (13-7-2)
Ronny Markes (13-1) vs Andrew Craig (8-0)
Nik "The Carnie" Lentz (22-5-2) vs Diego Nunes (18-3)
Edson Barboza (10-1) vs Justin Salas (10-4)
"Judo" Michael Kuiper (12-1) vs Caio "Hellboy" Magalhaes (5-1)
Yuri Alcantara (28-4) vs George Roop (12-9-1)
Wagner Prado (8-1) vs Roger Hollett (13-4)
Francisco Trinaldo (11-2) vs CJ Keith (8-1)
UFC on FOX 6- January 26th, 2013 from Chicago, Illinois
UFC Flyweight Title- Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson (16-2-1) vs John Dodson (14-5)
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (32-10) vs Glover Texeira (19-2)
Anthony "Showtime" Pettis (15-2) vs Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone (19-4)
Hatsu Hioki (26-5-2) vs "The Carpenterz" Clay Guida (29-13)
Erik "New Breed" Kock (13-1) vs Ricardo Lamas (12-2)
TJ Grant (19-5) vs Matt Wiman (15-6)
Mike Russow (15-2) vs Shawn Jordan (13-4)
Pascal "Panzer" Krauss (10-1) vs Mike Stumpf (11-3)
Rafael "Sapo" Natal (14-4-1) vs Magnus "Jycken" Cedenblad (10-4)
UFC 156- February 2nd, 2013 from Las Vegas, Nevada
UFC Featherweight Title- Jose Aldo (21-1) vs Frank Edgar (14-3-1)
"The Demolition Man" Alistair Overeem (36-11) vs Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (17-4)
"Sugar" Rashad Evans (17-2-1) vs Antonio Rogerio "Minotoro" Nogueira (20-5)
Jon Fitch (24-4-1) vs Demian Maia (17-4)
Joseph Benavidez (16-3) vs Ian "Uncle Creepy" McCall (11-3-1)
Evan Dunham (13-3) vs Gleison Tibau (26-8)
Erick Silva (14-3) vs "The Thoroughbred" Jay Hieron (23-6)
UFC on Fuel 7- February 16th, 2013 from London, England
UFC Bantamweight Title- Renan "Barao" Pegado (29-1-1) vs Michael "Mayday" MacDonald (15-1)
Che Mills (15-5-1) vs Matthew Riddle (7-3-1)
Josh "The Fluke" Grispi (14-4) vs Andy Ogle (8-2)
Paul "Sassangle" Sass (13-1) vs Danny "Last Call" Castillo (14-5)
Terry Etim (15-4) vs Renee Forte (7-2)
Vaughan Lee (12-8-1) vs Motonobu Tezuka (19-5-4)
"Useless" Ulysses Gomez (9-3) vs Phil "Billy" Harris (21-10-1)
UFC 157- February 23rd, 2013 from Anaheim, California
UFC Women's Bantamweight Title - "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey (6-0) vs Liz "Girl-Rilla" Carmouche (7-2)
Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida (18-3) vs Dan Henderson (29-8)
"The California Kid" Urijah Faber (26-6) vs Ivan "The Pride of El Salvador" Menjivar (24-9)
UFC on Fuel 8- March 2nd, 2013
Stefan "Skyscraper" Struve (25-5) vs Mark Hunt (8-7)
That’s all for this week everyone but check back in two weeks for a breakdown of the year end UFC 155 show, results of the TUF 16 Finale and UFC on FX 6 as well as my thoughts on some of the big fights that 2013 may produce . Take care everyone!