UFC returns to Atlantic City

UFC is returning to Atlantic City for the first time since 2005 for an event on June 22nd. Ranked lightweights Gray Maynard and Clay Guida will headline the event. Maynard and Guida are both coming off losses to the men who fought for the 155-pound title last month, Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson. This lightweight bout will go for five rounds.

This should be a huge event in Atlantic City as it’s packed over the summer and there’s nothing like a fight to get the town buzzing. People will be lining up to bet the fights of course, and if you can’t make it you’ll be check out sportsbook reviews to join in the fun.

It’s also important for the UFC and MMA to spread its wings and keep hitting more cities in order to bring this sport to the masses. Both of these fighters really need a win to get back in contention, so it should be a real battle.

  

MMA News and Notes – Henderson vs. Guida set, Diaz skips media event

nullLost in the announcement of Lesnar vs. Overeem on Tuesday were some other big news in the world of MMA, mostly concerning the UFC.

– In another big fight announcement, MMAFighting.com is reporting that top lightweight contenders, Ben Henderson and Clay Guida will collide on the UFC on FOX undercard. Henderson is coming off his dominant win over Jim Miller at UFC on Versus 5 while Guida defeated Anthony Pettis at the Ultimate Fighter Finale. The winner of this bout could find themselves in top contender status for the lightweight title. It should be a good grappling match, but I see Henderson favored based on styles.

MMAFighting.com also reported that Matt Hughes has accepted a fight with Josh Koscheck for UFC 135. Koscheck will replace Hughes’ original opponent, Diego Sanchez. Sanchez had to pull out of the fight with a broken hand.

– You can’t a teach a dog new tricks apparently. Despite Dana White insisting that Nick Diaz would conform to the various media requests that are expected of a top contender for his UFC 137 title bout with Georges St. Pierre, apparently the Strikeforce welterweight champion skipped a press conference on Tuesday in Toronto to promote the event. The UFC had to explination for his absence according to the Winnipeg Free Press, but another scheduled press conference is to take place today in Las Vegas. Will Diaz be there? Will he be punished for his absence?

– Fedor Emelianenko will return to action on Nov. 12 when he takes on Jeff Monson for a M-1 event in Russia according to MMAMania.com. Fedor has lost his last three bouts and will face Monson, who is coming off a loss to Daniel Cormier on the undercard of Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum. Stylistically, this is a good matchup for Fedor, but will do nothing to get him back into the American spotlight.

– Another announcement that took place on Tuesday is that the UFC is heading back to Japan in 2012. Sherdog.com reports that Feb. 26, 2012 is the set date for the organization to make its return to Japan, which is nearly 14 years since the UFC first stepped foot in Japan. Expect to see many of the countries top starts on that card.

  

The UFC Lightweight Grand Prix

nullThe Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix has made some waves with MMA fans everywhere.

Considering the log jam that is the UFC lightweight division, I thought it might be a good idea for the UFC to consider a lightweight grand prix to crown an undisputed champion. Before I unveil my quarterfinal matchups, consider that I kept any fights that are already in the works and am using just UFC fighters, not Strikeforce.

So, without further ado, here are my quarterfinals:

Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard – I would have all the fights in the tournament be five round contests, so it wouldn’t take away from this planned trilogy bout. While many might think this could be the finals, why not just let these two settle the score.

Jim Miller vs. Benson Henderson – Again, these two are already signed up to fight. Miller is the expected No. 1 contender in waiting while Henderson is right on the border of being a top-5 lightweight in the UFC. This should be a great grappling contest.

Anthony Pettis vs. Melvin Guillard – Who wouldn’t want to watch these two trade blows? Despite both being strikers, each has very different styles. There will be a lot of fireworks and probably a KO of some sort.

Clay Guida vs. Dennis Siver – Guida and Siver have both established their cases to move up the contender ladder. Guida may have the wrestling to neutralize Siver, while Siver has the striking ability to best Guida. It would be a great contest between two legit lightweight contenders.

  

Top 10 Lightweight Rankings

nullThe lightweight division is as impressive a group as any in MMA.

The top 10 list features a number of different styles and contenders, but each fighter could arguably beat everyone else on the list.

Still, here are my updated top 10 lightweight rankings.

1. Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) – Edgar holds on to the top spot as he still is the UFC champion. An injury kept him from facing Gray Maynard in their long-awaited trilogy fight, but those two should collide soon and be able to settle the score as to who deserves to be the champion.

2. Gray Maynard (10-0-1) – Maynard is still unbeaten but missed out on his opportunity to win the championship when he had Edgar beaten at UFC 125. Now, he will have to wait for a third shot at Edgar this fall where he can perhaps prove to the world that he is the top lightweight in the world.

3. Gilbert Melendez (19-2) – Melendez could legitimately compete for the UFC title, but he hasn’t had the opportunity to do so. Now that the UFC is tapping into Strikeforce, perhaps a champion vs. champion bout is in the near future. Until then, Melendez looks as if he will continue to tear up Strikeforce competition.

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UFC Ultimate Fighter Finale Recap: 2011 hates Anthony Pettis

nullIf 2010 was the year of Anthony Pettis, 2011 is certainly doing all it can to be the opposite.

It all started with the end of 2010 where Pettis won the WEC lightweight championship over Ben Henderson and was told he would be the No. 1 contender for the UFC belt.

Well, on the very first day of 2011, Pettis watched Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar fight to a draw and his title shot was pushed back.

Then, even though Dana White said Pettis would still be next in line for a title shot after Edgar-Maynard III, both fighters got injured for a planned title fight and Pettis was then told he would have to win twice in the UFC to get the title shot.

Then, Saturday happened.

Pettis made his UFC debut against Clay Guida and Guida was able to use his wrestling to keep Pettis on his back for most of the fight, giving Guida the unanimous decision victory.

Pettis showed some solid strikes and an active guard, but he couldn’t lock in a submission or hit a big strike to end the fight.

The loss certainly set Pettis back and he will now need a strong run to ever earn a title shot. Guida will now move into the top 5 discussion for UFC contenders.

The other featured bout of the night was the championship of The Ultimate Fighter Season 13 where Tony Ferguson defeated Ramsey Nijem by knockout in the first round.

Ferguson showed strong wrestling and absorbed a few flurries from Nijem before landing a big left hand that put out the lights of Nijem.

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