With only a week left before a new year of MMA begins I bring to you the last Fightin' Words column of the year.
Review of UFC on FX
Two weeks ago the UFC held a rare two events in two days with both the American Ultimate Fighter finale and the TUF Smashes: UK vs Australia.
The weekend may have been void of big names but ended up being a really strong show for MMA with only one or two of the 21 fights being disappointing which is a really good statistic coming off some of the flat shows this summer.
Let's take a look at the first of the two shows in UFC on FX.
Ross Pearson (14-6) defeated George Sotiropolous (14-5) by tko at 0:41-
I was a little confused when the UFC pitted these two men against one another as opposing coaches on TUF but the hatred these two men had for one another seemed genuine and by the time these two were set to do battle, there was a fair deal of excitment in the fight.
Pearson seemed to be the more likeable of the two on the show and seemed to actually care about his team while George seemed happy to just be there and did very little in helping to hone his team’s skills.
Pearson pretty much dominated this fight with his far superior striking and exploited George's questionable chin on four different occasions, dropping the Australian multiple times and eventually getting the doctor's stoppage.
George never really got into this fight except for at the end of the first round when he was able to get Pearson to the mat but ultimately the round ended before he could really get anything going and George's window of opportunity went with it.
George may find himself without employment from Zuffa following this fight as it's his third loss in a row and second tko in as many fights while Pearson seems to have a solid future at lightweight since returning to the division after mixed results at featherweight.
Robert Whittaker (10-2) defeated Brad Scott (8-2) by unanimous decision- This
was a pretty competetive fight with Whittaker getting the nod on the judges scorecard making himself the first TUF winner of all time over a very game Brad Scott.
This fight was fought all over the cage and Whittaker made the biggest impression with some solid striking and movement on the feet.
The UFC's welterweight division is absolutely stacked at this point and it'll be difficult for either man to make an impact given the level of competition but I feel that both men should be able to interject themselves nicely if the UFC is patient in letting them work their way up then they should have employment with Zuffa for quite some time.
Norman Parke (17-2) defeated Colin "Freakshow" Fletcher (8-2) by unanimous decision-
Fairly one sided fight here with the favorite, Fletcher being outwrestled by friend and teamate Norman Parke.
This was the finals of the TUF: Smashes season as both men advanced through wins over Australians and did the U.K. Proud by advancing themselves to the finale.
Parke looked good in this one as he was able to secure the takedowns here before Fletcher was even aware that they were being attempted.
I don't know if either man has all that bright of a future in the UFC but both men are very likeable and I would think that they should be used in some of the UFC's overseas cards next year.
Hector Lombard (32-3) defeated Rousimar Palhares (14-5) by knockout at 3:38 of the first round-
This was the type of performance many were expecting from Lombard when he joined the UFC but unfortunatley his debut against with Tim Boetsch was very underwhelming and Lombard was handed the split decision loss.
Lombard came into this fight very aggressive and was able to shrug off the takedown attempts of Palhares early and then pummeled Palhares with serveral punches which dropped him and ended the Brazilians night.
Post fight, Lombard called out Michael Bisping and Mark Munoz for his next fight and with guys getting the opponents they request as of late then I would think that a fight with either guy may be on the horizon in early 2013.
For Palhares, the bloom is off the rose as he's shown in his last two fights that if you can keep the fight upright and have a strong punch then he's incapable of taking punishment and can be beaten.
Great performance here for Lombard.
Chad "Money" Mendes (13-1) defeated Yaotzin Meza (18-8) by knockout at 1:55 of the first round
Joey Beltran (15-8) defeated Igor Pokrajac (25-10) by unanimous decision
Mike Pierce (16-5) defeated Seth Baczynski (18-9) by unanimous decision
Ben Alloway (13-3) defeated Manuel Rodriguez (9-4) by knockout at 4:57 of the first round
Mike Wiklinson (8-0) defeated Brendan Loughnane (5-1) by unanimous decision
Cody Donovan (8-2) defeated Nick Penner (11-3) by knockout at 4:35 of the first round
Recap of UFC TUF 16 Finale
The UFC held the finale of its 16th season of TUF and keeping with the tradition of bad fights all season long, the finale between the contestans was the stand out bad fight on an otherwise entertaining card.
Roy "Big Country" Nelson (18-7) defeated Matt Mitrione (5-2) by tko at 2:58 of the first round-
After several months as opposing coaches in arguably the worst season of TUF the bad luck continued when Shane Carwin was forced to pull out of his fight with Roy Nelson when he went down with a knee injury and stepping in as a late replacement was bottom of the heavyweight divisions Matt Mittrione.
Mittrione worked his movement early and was succesful in a couple exchanges but eventually Nelson connected with a left hand to Mittrione's face and follow up punches until the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
The win does very little for Nelson as Mittrione is nowhere near the level of fighter as Carwin but a win is a win and considering that this is his second in a row, Nelson may find himself in the cage next fight with a top ten fighter while Mittrione may find himself in a must win fight in his next outing considering this being his second loss in a row.
Pat Barry (8-5) defeated Shane Del Rosario (11-2) by knockout at 0:26 of the second round-
Very fun fight here with Pat Barry surviving an early scare where Del Rosario had applied a rear naked choke in the first round and eventually hammered Shane with a vicious straight right hand that ended his evening.
Barry cut a fantastic promo following the fight relating to the senseless murders the previous day where students were murdered by a classmates and reached out to everyone saying that people need to squash senseless beefs and to hug and let those who are important to you know it.
Words just don't do this promo justice and I would definitely recommend going out of your way to find it.
Along with a much needed win, Pat Barry was given an additional $40 000 for knockout of the night.
Colton Smith (4-1) defeated Mike Ricci (7-3) by unanimous decision-
This went much different than anyone who had followed this season would have expected as Ricci's stand-up was not good enough to keep this fight on the feet and instead Smith took him down in every round and grinded out a unanimous decision.
This was most likely the most boring fight of the weekend and the less aid about this one, the better.
Both men seem to have their eyes on a drop to lightweight for their next fights but I wouldn't expect either guy to still have a job in the UFC one or two years from now as this season featured the least amount of talented fighters on a TUF season in seven years of running this show..
Dustin Poirier (13-2) submitted Jonathan Brookins (13-6) to a D'Arce choke at 4:15 of the first round-
Great opener here with Brookins looking real good standing early and having Poirier in trouble but eventually Poirier was able to land a jab that stunned Brookins and that second of opportunity was all Poirier needed as he slapped on a D'Arce choke and forced Brookins to tap out.
This fight was all action even if it only last 4 minutes and as a replacement for Jamie Varner/Melvin Guillard, it was definitely a suitable replacement.
Coming off a loss to top ranked Korean Zombie before this fight, Poirier should see himself still inside the top ten at featherweight with this victory.
Mike Pyle (24-8-1) defeated James Head (9-3) by tko at 1:55 of the first round
Johnny Bedford (19-9-1) defeated Marcos Vinicius Borges Pancini (20-4-1) by knockout at 1:00 of the second round
Rustam "Tiger" Khabilov (15-1) defeated Vinc Pichel (6-1) by knockout at 2:15 of the first round
TJ Waldburger (16-7) submitted Nick Catone (9-4) to a triangle choke at 1:04 of the second round
Hugo Vianna (7-0) submitted Reuben Duran (8-4-1) at 4:05 of the first round
Mike Rio (9-1) submitted John Cofer (7-3) to an armbar at 4:11 of the third round
Tim Elliott (9-3-1) defeated Jared Papazian (14-9) by unanimous decision
Breakdown of UFC 155
This weekend the UFC holds its last pay per view show of the year and eventhough this show has had a lot of cancellations, the replacement fights are very intriguing and this show should end up being one of the most entertaining of the year.
Let's take a look at what's going down this Saturday.
UFC Heavyweight Title- Junior Dos Santos (15-1) vs Cain Velasquez (10-1)-
This is a rematch from last year in a fight that saw junior land one punch to the head of Cain and end the Mexican's evening and title reign.
Going into their first fight, Cain pulled his ACL and decided to tell no one which limited the spring in his step needed to secure a takedown and kept him on his feet, a dangerous area to be against someone with Junior's punching power.
Both guys have fought only once since their last meeting as Cain was able to dominate Antonio Silva with relentless takedowns and ground and pound while Junior obliterated Frank Mir.
Cain has shown in the past that he can have problems taking a punch and if he stands in front of Junior like last time then he may find himself in a similair situation as their first encounter.
This fight seems like a very evenly matched fight on paper but I'm currently leaning towards Cain to repeat his performance against Antonio Silva and drill Junior with takedowns on route to a unanimous decision or stoppage due to punches.
Hopefully this fight lasts longer than their previous encounter and is a more even match-up.
Prediction: Velasquez by unanimous decision
Jim Miller (21-4) vs Joe "J-Lau" Lauzon (21-7)-
Originally this fight was scheduled to be Lauzon vs Gray Maynard but an injury to Gray sees Jim Miller step in which may actually be an improvement in terms of fan friendly fights.
Jim Miller has a solid stand-up game, strong submissions and fantastic wrestling which stylistically should play into Lauzon's crafty submissions off his back.
Lauzon is coming off a fight of the year candidate over Jamie Varner on the fourth Fox show and has had mixed results this year while Miller is coming off his first submission loss to Nate Diaz on the third Fox show.
If Jim Miller is going to see success in this fight then he's most likely going to want to keep this fight on the feet and not tempt fate by grappling on the ground as Lauzon is very aggressive off his back and has the skills to put Miller in trouble but Lauzon's had cardio problems in the past and I can see Miller trying to take advantage of that as the rounds progress.
I like Miller to win this one by grinding out Lauzon for three rounds or getting a late stoppage via submission if Lauzon becomes exhausted by the pace Miller cuts which I believe is a strong possibilty.
Prediction: Miller by unanimous decision
Costa Philippou (11-2-1) vs Tim "The Barbarian" Boetsch (16-4)-
Originally this fight was to be Tim Boetsch vs Chris Weidman in a number one contenders match-up but due to Weidman getting injured and seperating his shoulder he had to pull out and now his teamate Costa Philoppou steps in as his replacement.
Coming off four wins in a row, Costa has strong stand up skills and an underated submissiion game and can not be underestimated in this fight.
Tim Boetsch is a tough and durable guy who’s coming off a flat and uninspiring victory over Hector Lombard and knowing that a title shot may emerge with an imprssive showing here, Boetch should look to use his wrestling to ground and pound on Costa.
If this one stays on the feet for any prolonged amount of time then I would say it favours Costa but if it’s fought on the ground then I'd give the edge to Boetsch.
Prediction: Boetsch by uinanimous decision
Alan "The Talent" Belcher (18-6) vs Yushin Okami (27-7)-
Another rematch here as Okami used superior wrestling and grappling to earn a unanimous decision in a 200f match-up.
Since that fight, both men have evolved and Belcher has become one of the most underated fighters in the UFC's middleweight division and if it weren't for injuries and a lack of a consistant fighting schedule then he most likely would have been granted a title shot at some point.
Since his loss to Okami, Belcher has gone 9-3 and riding a 4 fight win streak with stoppages of Rousimar Palhares, Jason MacDonald, Patrick Cote and Wilson Gouveia.
In the case of Okami, since last facing Belcher he's gone 10-4 but prior to his last victory, he suffered losses in two in a row albeit against Anderson Silva and Tim Boetsch.
Okami plays it safe in fights and tends to get his opponents against the cage and hold them their or grapple them to the mat which usually works for him but Belcher is a much different fighter now then when that strategy orignally worked for him and I don't think Okami will be able to keep Belcher inactive for two long and Belcher's striking may be able to overwhelm Okami if he can keep his space.
I like Belcher in this one but it's a pretty close fight and Okami can find a way to win this one as well so counting hom out completely would not be wise.
Prediction: Belcher by tko
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 UFC on Fox 4 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
"Crippler" Chris Leben (22-8) vs Derek Brunson (9-2)- Prediction: Leben by tko
Todd Duffee (7-2) vs Philip De Fries (9-1-1)- Prediction: Duffee by tko
Brad "One Punch" Pickett (22-6) vs Eddie Wineland (19-8-1)- Prediction: Pickett by unanimous decision
Erik "El Goyito" Perez (12-4) vs Byron Bloodworth (6-2)- Prediction: Perez by knockout
Michael Johnson (12-6) vs Myles Jury (10-0)- Prediction: Johnson by unanimous decision
Leonard "Bad Boy" Garcia (15-9-1) vs Max Holloway (6-1)- Prediction: Holloway by tko
John Moraga (12-1) vs Chris Cariaso (14-3)- Prediction: Moraga by unanimous decision
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 Carpenter" Clay Guida (29-13)
Ryan Bader (14-3) vs Vladimir Matyushenko (26-6)
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)
David "Daudi" Mitchell (11-2) vs Simeon "The Grin" Thoresen (17-3)
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)
Francisco Rivera (8-2-1) vs Edwin Figueroa (9-1)
Jacob "Christmas" Volkman (16-3) vs Bobby "King" Green (19-5)
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)
Jimi Manuwa (12-0) vs Cyrille "Snake" Diabate (19-8)
Dennis Siver (20-7) vs Cub Swanson (18-5)
James Te Huna (15-4) vs Ryan "Big Deal" Jimmo (17-1)
Gunnar Nelson (10-0-1) vs Justin Edwards (8-2)
Stanislav Nedkov (12-0-1) vs Tom "Kong" Watson (15-5)
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)
Josh Koscheck (17-6) vs "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler (19-9-1)
Lavar "Big" Johnson (17-6) vs Brendan Schaub (8-3)
Chad "Money" Mendes (12-1) vs Manvel "Pitbull" Gamburyan (12-7)
Dennis "The Menace" Bermudez (9-3) vs Matt "Wolverine" Grice (15-4)
Neil Magny (7-1) vs Jon Manley (7-1)
Court "Crusher" McGee (14-3) vs Josh Neer (33-12-1)
Mike "Maverick" Chiesa (8-0) vs Anton Kuivanen (17-5)
Caros "The Future" Fodor (7-2) vs Sam "Hands of Stone" Stout (18-8-1)
UFC on Fuel 8- March 2nd, 2013
Brian Stann (12-5) vs Wanderlei Silva (34-12-1)
Stefan "Skyscraper" Struve (25-5) vs Mark Hunt (8-7)
Diego "The Dream " Sanchez (23-5) vs Takanori "The Fireball Kid" Gomi (34-8-1)
Dong-Hyun Kim (16-2-1) vs Siyar "The Great" Bahadurzada (21-4-1)
Brad Tavares (9-1) vs Riki Fukuda (19-6)
Takeya Mizugaki (16-7-2) vs Bryan "Kid Lightning" Caraway (17-5)
Marcelo Guimaraes (8-0-1) vs Hyun Gyu "Ace" Lim (10-3-1)
Alex "Bruce Leroy" Cacares (8-5) vs Kyung-Ho Kang (11-6)
Cristiano Marcello (13-4) vs Kazuki Tokudome (11-3-1)
UFC 158- March 16th, 2013
UFC Welterweight Title- Georges "Rush" St. Pierre (23-2) vs Nick Diaz (26-8-1)
Johnny Hendricks (14-1) vs Jake Ellenberger (28-6)
Rory MacDonald (14-1) vs Carlos Condit (28-6)
Patrick Cote (18-8) vs Bobby "Vicious" Voelker (24-8)
That’s all for this week everyone but check back in two weeks for a breakdown of UFC on FX 7: Bisping vs Belfort, a recap and review of the winners and losers at UFC 155 as well as my thoughts on some of the big fights that 2013 may produce .
Take care everyone and happy holidays!