UFC 152 Results & Recap – Jones subs Belfort

nullJon Jones maintained his hold on the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship on Saturday with a fourth-round submission win over Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC 152.

Jones came into the fight as the heavy favorite and he dominated most of the fight. Jones did nearly get caught in an armbar in the early going, but escaped and controlled the fight from there. Jones used his grappling and elbows to bloody up Belfort, and in the fourth round, caught the challenger in an Americana for the victory.

Belfort deserves credit for his effort and taking the fight on short notice in a bigger weight class, but Jones is just the better man.

With Dan Henderson dealing with his injury, there is no clear contender for Jones in the 205-pound division. That champion is becoming as dominant in his class as Anderson Silva is at 185 pounds.

In the co-main event, Demetrious Johnson won the first ever UFC Flyweight Championship with a decision victory over Joseph Benavidez.

The fight had a fast pace and was very competitive, as expected. The difference in the bout was the array of leg kicks that Johnson landed on Benavidez. The kicks slowly wore down Benavidez and allowed Johnson to control the pace. Benavidez still did enough to earn the victory on one of the scorecards, but Johnson was the victor on the other two cards, and in the eyes of most of the fans.

Johnson now is the first 125-pound champion in the UFC. It will be interesting to see how this division grows in the near future with a thin roster of talent in the weight class.

In another big bout, middleweight Michael Bisping defeated Brian Stann by decision to improve his ranking in the 185-pound class.

Bisping was able to out-point Stann with his technical striking and wrestling ability. Bisping actually utilized some nice takedowns in the latter stages of the fight to neutralize Stann.

Looking at Bisping, his resume is pretty strong and it appears he deserves a title shot. He has never been given a crack at the gold but has steadily been near the top of the division for years.

Check out the full results after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

What did we learn this week? For May 6, 2012

nullIt has been a while since I have posted on here, but I am back with weekly looks at MMA, mainly the UFC.

So, here is a look at what we learned this week.

- Nate Diaz may be an unsolvable problem for 155 pounders – Nate Diaz looked more than impressive against Jim Miller in the UFC on FOX 3 main event on Saturday. Miller had the kind of style that I expected to give Diaz some trouble, but he ran right through him. Diaz’ long reach has really been a problem for his opponents and he seems to be a vastly improved fighter since moving back from welterweight to lightweight. Miller was one of the top fighters in the division and Diaz made him look like a first timer. Diaz could legitimately become the UFC champion as I don’t know that a Benson Henderson or Frankie Edgar will be able to outwork him or deal with his jabs.

- Where does Josh Koscheck go from here? – Certainly it would be hard to say that Josh Koscheck was dominated by Johny Hendricks and you could maybe make the argument that he beat Hendricks on Saturday. Regardless, Koscheck certainly didn’t dominate Hendricks either. Koscheck seems to have become a fighter that refuses to go back to his roots when needed. He is one of the top wrestlers, and perhaps most explosive wrestler, in the 170 pound division. Koscheck is relying on his big swings and limited striking to try and win fights, even when it is clear he is not winning. Koscheck has only been out-wrestled one time in his career, and that was by Georges St. Pierre. In a fight like Saturday’s, I would have liked to see him take Hendricks down and work his ground striking as opposed to hoping for a knockout punch. Now Koscheck is lost in the welterweight division and not capable, in my mind, to make a run at middleweight. He needs to reinvent himself if he hopes to ever win UFC gold.

- Where would Alan Belcher be if he never got injures? – Belcher had about as good of a performance as Diaz, as he stopped Rousimar Palhares in the first round with some vicious ground and pound. Belcher was on a nice run in the UFC prior to an eye injury that nearly ended his career and sidelined him for over a year. Since his return, Belcher has first round finishes of Jason MacDonald and Palhares and he has won four straight overall. The middleweight division has quickly become very competitive with the addition of Hector Lombard. With Chael Sonnen, Brian Stann, Mark Munoz, and Michael Bisping all in the mix, Belcher should be right there with them.

Top 10 Middleweight Rankings

nullThe middleweight division had a big fight this past weekend but the result wasn’t too surprising.

Anderson Silva maintained his top spot in my top 10 middleweight rankings with his win on Saturday and it seems he has only one man that can truly pose a threat to his championship.

Here is a look at the top 10 in the 185-pound division in my eyes.

1. Anderson Silva (31-4) – Silva made Yushin Okami look like an amateur last Saturday and he has cemented himself as the best middleweight in UFC history. Next up for Silva will likely be a rematch of some kind, with either Chael Sonnen or Dan Henderson.

2. Chael Sonnen (25-11-1) – Sonnen hasn’t competed since pushing Silva to the limit last fall, but he is scheduled to face Brian Stann at UFC 136 in early October. Sonnen appears to be the lone hope to dethrone Silva someday, but the champion still managed to submit Sonnen despite an injured rib and 20 minutes of pummeling.

3. Vitor Belfort (20-9) – Belfort showed his explosive ability in his quick knockout of Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133. He still may have the fastest hands in the division, but he missed his opportunity when he faced Silva back in February. A few more wins for Belfort may get him another crack at the title.

4. Yushin Okami (26-6) – Okami also had his chance, but couldn’t find a way to make his fight with Silva a grappling one. He seemed to passive and allowed Silva to get comfortable on his feet, and that is always a losing combination. Okami has to go back to the drawing board, and will likely need a long winning streak to get another title fight.

5. Michael Bisping (21-3) – Bisping is going to face off with Mayhem Miller later this year for a chance to propel himself into title contention. Bisping is still looking for a marquee win in his career and he hasn’t been terribly impressive since his TKO win over Denis Kang back at UFC 105 in 2009. Bisping needs an emphatic victory over Miller to really be considered a title contender.

6. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (14-2) – The Strikeforce Middleweight Champion is set to return to action next week against Luke Rockhold, who is good competition in the Strikeforce organization, but not a great opponent on the world stage. Someday, with Strikeforce slowly merging into the UFC, I would expect Souza to compete in the elite organization someday.

7. Brian Stann (11-3) – Stann faces his toughest test to date when he squares off with Chael Sonnen at UFC 136. Stann has established himself as a feared striker in the division with respectable grappling skills. In this fight, he will need to have tremendous takedown defense to keep the relentless Sonnen from getting top position.

8. Mark Munoz (11-2) – Munoz will take on Chris Leben at UFC 138 in the highest-profile fight of his career. Munoz is a grinder that has some big punching power without the technique. His strength is his wrestling, but he will mix it up with anyone. He should probably stick to the wrestling in his bout with Leben.

9. Chris Leben (22-7) – Leben breaks into my top 10 list after his impressive KO of Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132. Leben clearly has the striking power to beat anyone on this list, but lacks the grappling skills and pure boxing technique to really become a top 5 contender. His bout with Munoz will test how far his grappling has come and show if he is ready to make a serious run at the title.

10. Alan Belcher (16-6) – Alan Belcher will make his return to action in a couple weeks after an eye injury sidelined him for more than a year. Belcher was on his way to becoming a title contender before getting hurt. When he returns on Sept. 17, he will face off with Jason MacDonald, another UFC veteran. The long layoff will be something Belcher has to overcome, but a win over the submission specialist will be a nice start for his return.

Chael Sonnen is back, and he is swinging for the fences

Chael Sonnen is free to fight, and it looks like he wants to fight everyone, especially anyone from Brazil.

Sonnen sat down with MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani prior to UFC 132 and he was in classic form. The full 19-minute interview is below.

Sonnen throws bombs at nearly everyone from Brazil, especially Anderson Silva and Wanderlei Silva. Despite his attacks toward Team Blackhouse, it appears that Sonnen will make his return to the UFC against rising middleweight, Brian Stann.

I don’t know that Sonnen will be able to insult an American hero and make people laugh, but we will have to wait and see.

Top 10 Middleweight Rankings

nullThis week the rankings move back to the middleweight division.

The 185-pound weight class had some interesting developments over the last few months as Chael Sonnen has had his return to the UFC pushed back and one of the top fighters, Nate Marquardt, is moving down to 170 pounds.

Nonetheless, here is what the top 10 in this weight class looks like.

1. Anderson Silva (28-4) – Silva is not only No. 1 on this list, but also on my pound-for-pound list. I think he has a tough test ahead of him in Yushin Okami at UFC 134, as Silva has shown a weakness against big wrestlers. Still, many of Silva’s opponents show him too much respect, which plays right into his hands.

2. Yushin Okami (26-5) – I am moving Okami up to number two because Sonnen’s future is in question and he seems to be losing steam with each passing day. Okami has beaten many of the best in the UFC, but he now has a chance to face the very best in Silva. Okami is a grinder, and that is what will be the most dangerous opponent for Silva to face.

3. Chael Sonnen (25-11-1) – Sonnen has a good skill set, but his mouth and his poor choices have caused him to have a questionable future. Despite the fact that he pushed Silva to his limit, Sonnen still was unable to come through with a win. Sonnen has a clear weakness against submission specialists, but he has easily handled some of the top fighters in this division.

Read the rest of this entry »

A few thoughts from UFC 130

nullWell, UFC 130 is in the books.

The PPV was a little uneventful but still had plenty of intriguing storylines emerge. Here are some thoughts I took away from Saturday’s event.

- Rampage had a solid performance despite what the fans thought – The main event might have had a number of boos surround it, but I thought that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson had a solid performance against Matt Hamill. You have to consider a few things. First, Rampage had a fractured hand coming into the bout and still peppered Hamill with some big punches that didn’t manage to send him down. Second, Rampage stuffed each and every takedown attempt Hamill had with ease. To me, Rampage looked about as good as I have ever seen him and I think a healthy Rampage that shows that kind of takedown defense could pose a real threat to Jon Jones, if he is indeed the next in line for a title fight.

- Roy Nelson really needs to do something with himself – In the co-main event, Frank Mir had little difficulty winning a decision over Roy Nelson. Mir simply had to survive the opening five minutes and then Nelson could barely breathe for the final two rounds. Nelson has the talent to be a real impressive fighter. He has the ground skills and the punching power to contend with anyone, but his lack of conditioning and his desire to stick with his obese physique is hampering his career. I would like to see Nelson commit to losing weight and see where that takes him. Maybe he fights as a smaller heavyweight, or maybe he can even cut down to light heavyweight. The window for him to succeed is closing, and the blueprint for beating him is out there. It is only a matter of time before his UFC run ends because he fails to commit to change.

Read the rest of this entry »

UFC 130 Results & Recap

nullUFC 130 took place on Saturday night with a card that lacked a marquee fight, but provided plenty of entertainment.

- In the main event, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-8) def. Matt Hamill (10-3) by unanimous decision in a light heavyweight contest. Hamill came into the fight expecting to be able to score takedowns, but Jackson showed impressive defense by stuffing every shot Hamill had. Jackson landed some big punches and knees, but never could do enough to put Hamill down. Jackson’s defense and superior striking were enough to earn him a unanimous decision after 15 minutes of fighting.

- Frank Mir (15-5) made his case to still be considered a top 5 heavyweight with a decision win over Roy Nelson (15-6). Neither fighter was that impressive, but Mir showed more conditioning and better grappling against a fatigued Nelson. Joe Rogan often pointed out how Nelson’s fat shape is affecting his MMA career. Will “Big Country” make any changes, or will he stick with his gimmick?

- Travis Browne (11-0-1) made a big statement in the heavyweight division with his brutal KO of Stefan Struve (21-5) in the first round. The two traded heavy kicks early in the bout but Struve attempted a kick late in the first round and Browne land a big straight punch that sent Struve crashing. Browne added two hammer fists, but Struve was already out. The fight ended at 4:11 of the first round.

- Rick Story (13-3) showed that he is a legit title contender in the welterweight division by beating Thiago Alves (18-8) by unanimous decision. Story was able to get Alves to the ground often in the opening two rounds and then took a number of big punches in the third round but was never knocked to the ground. Story did enough to win the bout 29-28 on all three scorecards.

-“The All American” Brian Stann (11-3) picked up another big KO victory, as he disposed of Jorge Santiago (23-9) in the second round of their middleweight contest. Stann flattened Santiago with a big left hook in the first round and then continued to land big shots before closing out the fight in the second round with another big punch and a furious follow up. The fight concluded at 4:29 in the second round. Stann is now 3-0 since moving down to the middleweight division.

Check out the quick results after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

UFC 130 Picks & Predictions

nullI have been breaking down UFC 130 all week with my takes on each contest.

Here are my full picks for the five bouts on the main card for Saturday night’s event, which airs live on PPV at 9PM ET. Check back tonight for complete results from the show.

UFC Light Heavyweight Bout – Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (31-8) vs. Matt Hamill (10-2) – I think this will be a very tough fight for Jackson if Hamill is in the right mindset. Hamill has the ability to get Jackson on his back, and that has been Jackson’s weakness as of late. Still, I think Hamill will get caught up in the moment of his first PPV main event and show Jackson too much respect, which will allow Rampage to win by decision by being the more aggressive fighter.

UFC Heavyweight Bout – Frank Mir (14-5) vs. Roy Nelson (15-5) – This should be a good scrap, but Mir’s desire to trade strikes in recent bouts will be his downfall tonight. I see Nelson getting an opportunity to land a clean punch, and that will lead to the end of the fight. Look for it in the second round.

UFC Middleweight Bout – Brian Stann (10-3) vs. Jorge Santiago (23-8) – In this clash of strikers, I see Stann coming out on top. He has crisper boxing and is the stronger fighter. Santiago has the ability to land a big kick or a big knee, but I see him trying for something flashy and leaving himself open to a big counter punch from Stann that will lead to a second round TKO.

UFC Welterweight Bout – Thiago Alves (18-7) vs. Rick Story (12-3) – There should be some fireworks here as Story will bring the fight to Alves. Story has the right style to pull off the upset, but I think he lacks that explosion in his takedowns to really get Alves on his back. I see “The Pitbull” using his punches and kicks to slowly tire Story before getting a TKO finish in the third round.

UFC Heavyweight Bout – Travis Browne (10-0-1) vs. Stefan Struve (21-4) – This is a classic grappler vs. striker contest and I see the striker winning. Struve has struggled with powerful strikers in the past and I look for Browne to come out quickly and win by first round TKO.

UFC 130 Preview: Brian Stann vs. Jorge Santiago

nullSomething has to give.

Brian Stann and Jorge Santiago are both on the rise in the middleweight division. But, at UFC 130, one fighter will continue to make the climb up the ladder, while the other will fall back.

Here is a look at both fighters heading into this key contest for Saturday’s PPV.

Brian Stann (10-3) – Not much was known or expected of Brian Stann when it was announced that he was moving from light heavyweight to middleweight after a loss to Phil Davis at UFC 109. But, Stann has won his first two bouts at 185 pounds, both by finish. He really broke onto the scene with his first round KO of Chris Leben at UFC 125 and is now being considered a legitimate threat in the division. Stann has big power in his hands and is under rated on the ground. As a former member of the Naval Academy and Marine Corps, Stann is a fighter that won’t panic, as he has faced much greater danger in his life than being inside the octagon. Stann is still developing his style in MMA and has not really faced a fighter with the muay thai ability that Santiago has. Stann’s grappling and clinch game will be very important in this contest if he hopes to win.

Jorge Santiago (23-8) – Santiago had a stint in the UFC back in 2006, but he went 1-2 with losses to Leben and Alan Belcher, both by KO. Since that time he has went 11-0 with five knockouts and five submissions. Santiago is slick on the ground as he is a great jiu-jitsu fighter, but he also has a lot of power with his hands, knees, and kicks. Santiago likes to throw some crazy knees and has the ability to be very explosive. Where Santiago will have to be careful is to not sit in the pocket and trade punches with Stann. It is things like that that caused him to go 1-2 in the UFC before. Santiago will also have to keep Stann from putting his weight on him and slowing him down.

Who Will Win: I like Stann in this fight. Santiago is a skilled and exciting fighter, but I like the poise and focus that Stann has. I look for Stann to weather an early storm from Santiago before hitting a big right hand in the second round that will lead to a TKO finish for the “All American”.

Fighters react to news of Osama Bin Laden’s death

nullGiven the historical significance of last night’s announcement from President Barack Obama that 9/11 mastermind, Osama Bin Laden, was found and killed; I thought it would be insincere to focus on UFC 129 this morning.

I will get back to some follow up thoughts on Saturday’s event later today, but for now, I thought I would post some tweets from last night on fighter’s reactions to the President’s announcement.

@BrianStann (Brian Stann) – Bin Laden is dead, I hope this continues the movement towards more freedoms for the people in the middle east and an end to ops for our forces

@danhardymma (Dan Hardy) – One less murdering lunatic in the world. Always good news.

@aaronsimpson (Aaron Simpson) – Go F yourself Osama.

@TimKennedyMMA (Tim Kennedy) – I find myself kind of sad that Osama Bin Ladin is dead. I have fantasized about killing him almost as much as zombies… I will have to find a replacement.

@NateRockQuarry (Nathan Quarry) – This just in: Steven Seagal kicks Osama Bin Laden with front kick

Read the rest of this entry »