Highs, Lows, and Oh-No’s: UFC 153 Edition

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Editorials

Glover Texeira - Via UFC.com

Glover Texeira – Via UFC.com

UFC returned to Brazil for UFC 153 and the card was riddled with injury replacement after injury replacement. In the end we ended up with what Dana White said would be “a fun fight” and the night of action was extremely entertaining.

Jon Fitch actually fighting an entertaining fight. Maybe it is because he hasn’t fought in nearly a year, maybe it is because in his two fights in the past two years he is just 0-1-1 with his loss coming by way of extremely quick knockout. Maybe it is because after all of his victories inside the cage his cash reserves were starting to shrink up and Fitch was very vocal about his need for funds. Regardless of the reasoning, Fitch fought the most memorable fight of his career against Erick Silva. When Silva had a rear naked choke locked in, I was certain Fitch was going to go to sleep, lose the fight and get cut from the promotion. But he battled his way out of the choke hold and then some. Silva who has stated he has zero respect for his opponents’ skill sets, learned a valuable lesson.

Finding a fight for Anderson Silva that will be competitive. Yes this was the “fun fight” that we expected. Bonnar came forward, ate a punch and landed a punch just like he said he was going to. Then Silva stood still against the cage with his arms down at his sides and said punch me. Bonnar did, but Silva barely moved. And then Silva did it a second time. After letting Bonnar hit him straight in the face, he turned around and landed a knee to the solar plexus of Bonnar and was the first person to finish him by technical knockout. What’s left for Silva in the middleweight division is Chris Weidman and possibly Michael Bisping. Other fights that are intriguing are against other champs Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones. While Silva has stated he doesn’t want to fight Jones, Dana White said he would offer him gobs of cash. Silva is in a very unique position in that he seems to be invincible, yet could find himself without a massive fan base as everyone EXPECTS him to just win at this point while making his opponent look silly.

Fabio Maldonado and Glover Teixeira were billed as two extremely heavy handed fighters with granite like chins. Both fighters proved this theory. While Teixeira was the first to land and hurt his opponent, when he took a second to almost gloat, Maldonado returned fire and it was Teixeira who was in danger. But Teixeira recovered and kept his pin-point striking aimed at Maldonado’s head. Even when on the ground working punches and elbows, it seemed like it was impossible to knock Maldonado out. A massive cut was caused by one of the elbows and Maldonado said he could still fight after the doctor checked it. He continued on, getting pummeled by Teixeira and stumbled to his corner after the bell sounded the end of the second round. Thankfully for Maldonado, the doctor saw enough and called the fight.

Highs, Lows, and Oh-No’s: Bellator 76 Edition

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Editorials

Bellator 76 Poster

Bellator 76 Poster

The third event during Bellator’s seventh season is in the books and what a way to kick off the featherweight tournament. All the action took place in Windsor, Canada.

Wagnney Fabiano submitting Akop Stepanyan in the first round. The former WEC star made his Bellator debut and reminded everyone how good he truly is. Originally tapped to fight during the season six featherweight tournament, an injury delayed his return to the cage. Nearly two years since his last fight, Fabiano was relentless with his takedown attempts. Once he got Stepanyan to the canvas, he locked in a fight ending armbar and told everyone he was the man to beat in the tournament.

Unlike Bellator’s heavyweight division where the champ forfeited his title and the tournament is going to crown a new champ, Bellator’s featherweight division is starting to stack up challenger after challenger. The mess started back in 2011 as then champ Joe Warren expressed an interest in fighting in the bantamweight tournament. He won the title in September of 2010 and then fought Marcos Galvao in April of 2011 in a non-title fight. Patricio Freire won the right to challenge Warren a month later, but because Warren was set to fight in the bantamweight tournament, the fight was put on hold. Bellator proceeded with another featherweight tournament that summer in which Pat Curran won the right to challenge the winner of the as yet to be determined Warren-Freire fight. Freire got injured and Curran was able to step in and become champ. Curran’s first defense was to be against Freire in August of 2012, but Curran suffered an injury. While the fight with Curran and Freire was being promoted, Daniel Straus was able to win the season six featherweight tournament and earn his right to challenge for the title. Now with Curran recovering from an injury, two number one contenders and a soon to be third, the featherweight division is too stacked at this point in time.

It’s no secret that Eddie Alvarez was at the end of his Bellator contract. Arguably the face of the promotion since the first season, Alvarez had been promoted as the best lightweight in the world. Even after suffering his loss to Michael Chandler, he was still promoted as a top three lightweight by Bellator. But now, one of the long time staples is about to hit the free market and it couldn’t have come with a better send off for Alvarez. Bellator paired him off against Patricky Freire for his last fight as Freire has heavy hands and if someone was going to give Alvarez a fight it was him. And while Freire did catch Alvarez at one point and had him stumbling around on weak legs, Alvarez was able to recover and knock Freire out with just six seconds left in the first round. While Bellator would have a hard time matching ANY offer made to Alvarez by the UFC, Alvarez just made his services even more valuable. Both Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta both tweeted at Alvarez that they were excited to talk to the lightweight. Bellator will be able to recover from the loss of a single fighter, but it still is unfortunate to see a long-time fan-favorite of an organization possibly go to the competition.

Highs, Lows, and Oh-No’s: UFC on Fuel TV 5

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Matt Wiman - via UFC.com

Matt Wiman – via UFC.com

It’s time to check in for another edition of Highs, Lows and Oh-No’s to see what was the best, the worst, and the oh-no moments from UFC on Fuel TV 5.

Matt Wiman submitting Paul Sass by armbar. Sass has had thirteen victories and all but one of those victories was finished by a submission. And while there were times when he nearly had Wiman in a submission, it was even more surprising to see Wiman actually grab ahold of the arm and lock in an armbar. At first Sass was defending it well, but when Wiman was able to fully extend the arm, it was just a matter of time before Sass either tapped or his arm was broken. Thankfully he chose the former.

Brad Pickett knocked out Yves Jabouin with a massive uppercut. Back at UFC 91 Jeremy Stephens landed a massive uppercut on Rafael dos Anjos in what was dubbed a wii-bowling uppercut. Pickett seemed to have studied that tape, because he landed a massive uppercut that sent Jabouin to the canvas. Pickett pulled back and fired the punch straight in between Jabouin’s arms and it quickly became the knockout of the night.

Duane Ludwig suffering a knee injury in his fight with Che Mills to end the fight. It’s no secret that Ludwig likes to stand and trade and Mills seemed like the perfect opponent for that scenario. Mills was actually getting the better of Ludwig but then a crazy thing happened. Ludwig stood up from a takedown, shifted to one side and then collapsed and verbally submitted. Thankfully Mills didn’t throw a big punch to the non-defending Ludwig, but it was not the fight that anyone, including Mills and Ludwig wanted.

Kyle Kingsbury suffered multiple fractures above his eyes and nose in his loss to Jimi Manuwa. Manuwa, a former body builder before turning to mixed martial arts, posses serious punching power. And while Kingsbury wanted a third round, it was evident that his eye was swollen shut and it should have been stopped by the doctor. The question now is, will Kingsbury be able to fly home or not due to the facial fractures.

Phillipe Nover

Highs, Lows, and Oh-No’s: Bellator 74

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Editorials

Phillipe Nover

Phillipe Nover

Bellator season seven kicked off with the welterweight tournament quarterfinals last night in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The night saw plenty of action, some good, some bad, and even a oh-no moment.

Alexandre “Popo” Bezerra defeating Matt McCook by rear naked choke decisively. Bezerra said he felt he wasn’t aggressive enough in his loss to Marlon Sandro earlier this year and that’s what cost him the split decision. Wanting to show that he is hungry and able to go on the attack, he came out with head kicks and never let up the pressure on McCook. When he took him down and took McCook’s back, it was just a matter of time for him to lock in the rear naked choke and secure the victory.

Marius Zaromskis defeated Nordine Taleb in a very close back and forth battle. Zaromskis seemed unfazed by Taleb’s kicks and was always ready to block them. Every now and then a short punch would slip by his defenses and get through, but Zaromskis seemed to remain calm through out the fight. The heavy handed striker kept coming forward at Taleb, even when Taleb seemed to land a punch that stopped Zaromskis mid-combo. The fight was a close battle but Zaromskis pulled the decision.

Derrick Kennington not tapping out to Phillipe Nover’s rear naked choke. Yes Kennington did put up a good fight in the first round, but Nover was relentless in the second. And when Nover was able to get his arm under the chin of Kennington, there was no escaping. But Kennington didn’t even seem to try and fight off the submission, he just laid there and was rendered unconscious by the choke. I get the not wanting to tap part, but he should have at least tried to escape rather than just sit in the choke.

Lyman Good getting a point deducted with just two seconds left in his fight with Jim Wallhead. He was already warned once for an accidental low blow and in the final seconds he rushed forward to try and end the fight in an exciting fashion. The only problem was he landed another low knee, and this time a point was taken away. While the fight was close, all three rounds were in Good’s favor thankfully. Had just one round gone towards Wallhead, the result would have been a draw.

Michail Tsarev not knowing the rules that were being used in Bellator. When Tim Welch opponent took him down and was working from within the guard, Tsarev kicked Welch not once, but twice in the head. Both times Welch was clearly a grounded opponent, and the second kick was a full on upkick sending Welch backwards. A timeout was called and the rules were reviewed again with Tsarev and his translator. Tsarev even was asking about an opponent on a single knee as he was unclear on the ruling. Even the commentators mentioned that the rules were gone over in the back and this shouldn’t have been an issue. We nearly had a fighter move onto the semi-finals due to a disqualification.

Highs, Lows, and Oh-No’s UFC 152 Edition

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Editorials

Cub Swanson - via UFC.com

Cub Swanson – via UFC.com

Welcome to a new feature here at MMARecap entitled Highs, Lows, and Oh-No’s where we talk about all the good, the bad, and either an extremely good or bad thing about an event. For our inaugural article we figured we would spotlight UFC 152.

Jon Jones retains his title with his fourth round submission over Vitor Belfort. The victory marks the eighth straight victory for Jones and fourth successful title defense. He is slowly creeping in on Tito Ortiz’s rein as it seems no one has the answer to stop Jones.

Cub Swanson finishes his third straight fight making a big name for himself in the featherweight division. Right now most people are talking about Jose Aldo and his fight against Frankie Edgar. Others were talking about Ricardo Lamas as he is arguably one of the top guys in the division. And even though Lamas has a victory over Swanson, it is hard to ignore what Swanson has done since earning either a knockout or technical knockout against his opponents.

The crowd booing during the Demetrious Johnson – Joseph Benavidez flyweight title fight. The fight was non-stop action from start to finish and was twenty-five minutes long. Rogan commentated how it seemed like Johnson was seeing everything before it happened and for most of the fight it was. Benavidez nearly finished after landing a big punch and jumped on with the guillotine choke, but Johnson escaped and the fight went on. How the crowd was booing that fight is beyond me. Even Dana White had something to say to those fans stating “Don’t ever buy another UFC card. I don’t want your money. You’re a moron, you don’t like fighting, you don’t appreciate great talent or heart, if you didn’t like that flyweight fight.”

Vitor Belfort almost became the UFC light heavyweight champion just minutes into his fight with Jones. After Jones took him down as part of his game plan, Belfort locked in an armbar that was extremely tight Jones’s elbow popped a bit. Belfort released the pressure just for a second after hearing the pop and that enabled Jones to escape the submission. The mma world would be completely abuzz in a different manner had Belfort actually broken the arm of Jones and walked away the victor.

UFC 152 Facebook Preliminary Card Preview

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UFC 152 is set to excite fans from top to bottom. Sure the co-main event will crown the first flyweight champ as Demetrious Johnson takes on Joseph Benevidez and Jon Jones defends his light heavyweight title against Vitor Belfort, but the preliminary card has amazing fights as well.

The start of the night will be a welterweight battle between Charlie Brenneman and Kyle Noke. Brenneman is coming into the fight after losing to Erik Silva in June. Brenneman has become a fan favorite for his high paced style. Noke meanwhile is dropping down to welterweight for the first time after suffering back-to-back losses in the middleweight division. This is an important fight for both as the loser could potentially receive their walking papers.

In bantamweight action Mitch Gagnon takes on Walel Watson. Gagnon made his promotional debut at UFC 149 losing to Bryan Caraway by rear naked choke in the third round. He will likely be amped for the fight, not only because he knows he needs a victory, but because he is fighting in his home country. Watson is also on the verge of being cut after losing to TJ Dillashaw and Yves Jabouin. Watson has devastatingly fast punching power as was on display against Joe Sandoval at UFC Live 6.

The last fight of the night on the facebook stream features Seth Baczynski versus Simeon Thoresen. Baczybnski is coming into the fight on a five-fight win streak since being release the first time. He has finished four of those five opponents, all before the halfway point in the fight. Thoresen made his UFC debut a successful one as he beat Besam Yousef in Sweeden. Thoresen is extremely dangerous with his submission skills, having won fifteen of his seventeen victories by submission.

UFC 152 takes place on Saturday, September 22 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

UFC 152, FX Preliminary Card preview

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Editorials

UFC 152 Poster

UFC 152 Poster

The top prelims of the night will play-out on FX before the start of the main card for UFC 152. The event takes place at the Air Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on September 22. The preliminary card packs a punch as some key match-ups take place, headlined by a highly anticipated UFC return.

Vinny Magalhaes vs. Igor Pokrajac, Evan Dunham vs. TJ Grant, Lance Benoist vs. Sean Pierson and Marcus Brimage vs Jim Hettes are all set for the FX showing. The card will begin airing live at 8PM ET/5PM PT.

Magalhaes is making his UFC return, but he isn’t starting at the bottom. He went 0-2 in the organization, losing in the final of The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 Finale, and dropping a decision to Eliot Marshall afterwords. Magalhaes has since gone 7-1, picking up his three most recent wins in M-1.

The Jiu Jitsu prodigy will but up against still competition in Pokrajac, who is on a three-fight win-streak in the UFC. 25-8 overall, Pokrajac has proven himself in tough fights against many UFC veterans. While Magalhaes will want this fight on the ground, it is clear that Pokrajac should have a stand-up advantage.

Dunham rebounded from two back-to-back losses against Sean Sherk and Melvin Guillard with a pair of wins against Shamar Bailey and Nik Lentz. He is ready for the spotlight again, and will have to earn his way back to the main-cards with an impressive win against Grant.

Grant is quickly becoming a UFC veteran, having eight appearances in the octagon, accumulating to a 5-3 UFC record and 18-5 overall. Dominantly a grappler, Grant has finished 13 opponents by way of submission. Against Dunham, Grant will be looking to edge him out in each aspect of wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu and become the first ever to submit him.

Benoist is 1-1 in the UFC, being edged out in his last fight via split-decision. He faces a more familiar face in the UFC in Pierson, who recently got back to his winning ways with a decision win. Benoist may be a better grappler than Pierson, and will likely want to take the fight to the floor.

Undefeated and up-and-coming in the UFC, Hettes has started off hot at 2-0 in the UFC. A phenomenal grappler, Hettes has submitted 9 of his 10 opponents. He will be looking to tap Brimmage out. Brimmage is 5-1, with a matching 2-0 UFC record. Brimmage will look to implement his counter-wrestling and submission defense for a victory against Hettes.

Jon Jones - via UFC.com

UFC’s Champs And Title Contenders Should Be Ready Any Time

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Editorials

Jon Jones - via UFC.com

Jon Jones – via UFC.com

This past week was a historic week in the mixed martial arts world as Dana White announced that an entire fight card, UFC 151, was canceled just eight days out. The reasoning was that Dan Henderson was forced out due to injury and the light heavyweight champion Jon Jones declined a fight with Chael Sonnen on the short notice.

Before we dive into the why challengers and champs should be ready at any time, let’s first take a look at the other side of the argument. Fighters train hard for their opponent and when an injury changes that opponent, details tend to change as well. Even if fighter A was supposed to fight a wrestler and the replacement is another wrestler, there are still differences. Spending nearly three months preparing for a single fighter, only to have that change, could be difficult. This isn’t just a physical thing, but also a mental thing as well. We have seen it before where a late notice fighter upsets the other fighter, and most of the time it is because of a mental lapse.

Now regardless of the reasons behind canceling an entire event, the one thing that was hammered over and over was that fighters should be willing to fight any time against any other fighter. After all it is their job right?

The time-line of events is something along the lines of the follow (please note this may or may not be 100% accurate and should not be considered as such):

  • Dan Henderson gets injured and let’s Dana White and the UFC know about it
  • UFC informs Jones about the injury and a replacement fight is being looked at
  • UFC asks Machida and Shogun to step in on short notice, both decline
  • Chael Sonnen is asked and immediately accepts
  • Jones is given the fight and declines to fight Sonnen
  • Machida initially agreed to fight Jones on a month’s notice and it was announced Jones vs Machida would headline the next card (UFC 152)
  • Machida then declines the fight as it only gives him a month to prepare instead of six weeks
  • Vitor Belfort jumps up in weight and accepts a fight with Jon Jones on a month’s notice

The biggest problem I have with this is how many people declined to fight. Let me restate that, the biggest problem wasn’t that the UFC canceled an event, but that SEVERAL fighters declined fights for one reason or another.

For all the talk about how mma isn’t main stream yet, this is the single biggest reason why in my opinion. Here’s a better way to look at this. Imagine if during Super Bowl XLVI between the Giants and the Patriots if Tom Brady got injured. Now imagine if the Giants declined to continue to play because Brady was out of the game and the number two quarterback was in. Can you see that happening? Now imagine it was even crazier and the backup quarterback went out with an injury on his first play; unlikely, but plausible. Now with the only two quarterbacks that were allowed to play that day, the Patriots resort to their kicker who happened to play quarterback a semester in college before choosing to be a kicker. With all of that happening, the Giants would still play the Patriots and that is essentially what happened with Jones and Sonnen (no offense to Sonnen).

Jones, the champ, declined to fight a fighter who was coming off a loss, and was moving up in weight all because it was only on three days notice. While that’s an injustice, the fact still remains that Machida and Shogun also both turned the fight down.

Why? Because they wanted to be the best that they could be against Jones. While Shogun is understandable, Machida, shouldn’t have this excuse. After both of them came off their UFC on Fox 4 victories, it was Machida who was told he would be fighting Jones next. Machida should have been in the gym training and preparing almost immediately. Title shots in the light heavyweight division don’t seem to come when planned, and getting another one might take more than a year (just ask Rashad Evans).

While it is completely disappointing that the entire card got cancelled, and yes it was ultimate a decision by the UFC to cancel it, the fact of the matter remains that none of the fighters should have not been ready to fight.

Flawless FC Featured Fighter: Jake O’Brien

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Editorials

In our first article featuring fighters from Flawless FC we featured Adam Ward. The next fighter that caught our eye and deserves a mention is former UFC fighter, Jake O’Brien. He will be taking on Miodrag Petkovich on the night’s professional card.

O’Brien made his UFC debut in August of 2006 at UFC Fight Night 6 against Kristof Midoux. He won via technical knockout in the second round on the night’s undercard. He continued his win streak with a pair of unanimous decisions over Josh Shockman and Heath Herrig.

He then suffered his first loss of his career at UFC 82 when he fought Andrei Arlovski. Arlovski earned the technical knockout in the second round. He was then pitted against a then up and comer Cain Velasquez. Valasquez showed why he was someone to take note of with a first round technical knockout over O’Brien.

Six months later O’Brien rebounded from his back-to-back losses with a split decision over Christian Wellisch after dropping down to the light heavyweight division. And while the victory saved his career, he was given another up-and-comer for his next fight.

At UFC 100 he faced Jon Jones on the night’s undercard. Jones, only two fights into his UFC career at that point was starting to showcase his skills and O’Brien was his first finish of Jone’s career when he was submitted in the second round.

After the loss, O’Brien was cut from the UFC and sought out fights on the regional scene. His first fight was against David Hess and O’Brien finished him before the end of the second round.

He followed the victory up with a unanimous decision over Toni Valtonen at Fight Festival 27. With back-to-back victories, he got the call to fight Gegard Mousassi at Dream 15. It was a quick fight as he was submitted in 31 seconds.

In March of 2012, O’Brien took on James Shaw at Indy MMA and his submission skills were on display needing just over a minute to submit Shaw with an arm triangle.

Flawless FC takes place on Saturday August 4th at the UIC Forum.

Flawless FC Featured Fighter: Adam Ward

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Editorials

Flawless FC Adam Ward Poster

Flawless FC Adam Ward Poster

Flawless FC will be hosting their first event in Chicago on Saturday, August 4th at the UIC Forum. The event is billed as a multi-national event with fighters from multiple nations set to go to battle against one another inside the cage. This series, looks to showcase the local talent that will be taking part in the debut show. First up is Adam Ward out of Gilbert Grappling.

Ward made his professional debut outside of the country in 2009 when he took on Manfred Chavarria at MMA Costa Rica in 2009. The fight was a quick victory for Ward, lasting just 2:22 before he was able to secure the submission victory.

He then dropped his first of two fights in February of 2010 against Ryan Vaccaro, losing by unanimous decision. Unhappy with his performance, he vowed to return to the cage more vicious then before and did just that.

His next fight was against Bryan Fielder at Chicago Cagefighting Championship 2. It was a three-round hard fought battle, but Ward had made sure that Fielder felt his punishment. At the end of the fight Ward’s white shorts were pink from all of the blood his opponent spilled in the fight.

Ward continued his assault and wanting to make people bleed at Hoosier Fight Club 6 in January of 2011. He took on Lydell Rhodes and while he bested Rhodes with a triangle choke in the second round, again, his opponent showed visible damage and Ward was soaked in blood.

He traveled to Mansfield Ohio on a two-fight win streak to take on Cody Stevens at Big Guns 8. He battled Stevens for fifteen minutes, but the stars were not aligned and Ward suffered the second loss of his career.

Again wanting to prove that he wasn’t just another Midwest fighter with a so-so record, Ward sought a difficult matchup and found it in David Love at HFC 8. Love a veteran of 26 fights prior to fighting Ward brought the fight to him, but Ward was able to fend off Love’s attacks and launch some of his own. Just after the four minute mark in the second round, Ward was throwing punch after punch and earned the technical knockout victory over Love.

Four months later Ward found himself fighting at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates at XFO 42 against Daniel Rodriguez. Exactly two minutes into the fight he knocked Rodriguez out cold, tying his best win streak to date.

He then flew out to Las Vegas to audition for The Ultimate Fighter and made it past the first round. And while he was successful in passing subsequent interview rounds, when the final numbers were being released, Ward was unfortunately not apart of the top 32 chosen to fight his way onto the show.

Once cleared and able to fight again, Ward took a fight at XFO 43 against Bobby Ferrier. Again, victory came quickly as he sunk in a rear naked choke in the first half of the first round.

Now with a record of 6-2 and a three-fight win streak, Ward is looking to test his skills against Oliver Petrovski. Petrovski a native of Macedonia returned to action in late 2011 after a near three year layoff, and earned a quick twenty second knockout victory. The question is, will he be able to lay hands on Ward as quick as he did in his last fight, or will Ward look to bring the fight to the ground and show how deadly his submission game is.