UFC cancels UFC 151, conveniently puts all blame on Jon Jones

nullIn case you have been under a rock today, UFC 151 has been cancelled.

The short story is Dan Henderson injured his knee and couldn’t fight next Saturday, prompting the UFC to offer Jon Jones a replacement opponent of Chael Sonnen. Jones, after speaking with his team, declined to take the fight on such short notice.

So, the UFC, instead of finding a new main event, or just running with the card they setup sans the main event, decided to just axe the event altogether.

In the process, they completely threw the light heavyweight champion under the bus.

Normally, I am on Dana White’s side of things. He is a hot head, no doubt, but he usually tells it like it is.

However, blaming Jones for the canceling of an event is simply a convenient way to take the blame off of himself and the UFC.

First off, canceling an entire UFC event is a big deal. It impacts the fighters, the venue, the host city and those that would be working the event.

Many fighters rely on a small paycheck from fighting on the under card simply to make ends meet. Due to the UFC’s venom spewed at Jones, many of those fighters are now taking their anger and frustration out on the champion as well.

But, let’s all take a deep breath and take into consideration two things:

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Ranking Fedor Emelianenko among the MMA greats

nullLast week, “The Last Emporer” Fedor Emelianenko decided to call it a career following his first round KO win over Pedro Rizzo at a M-1 Global event.

It wasn’t the way many envisioned Fedor stepping away from MMA.

For a man that went undefeated for a 10-year span, Fedor should have been someone that ended his career in a blaze of glory.

Instead, he ended his career on a three-fight win streak over fighters that had passed their prime long before he did.

The lasting images of Fedor seem to be a tapout to Fabricio Werdum, a bloody face at the hands of Antonio Silva, and face-down body thanks to a big hand from Dan Henderson.

There is no shame in Fedor’s losses, as time makes cowards of us all, but we all hoped for greater things from Fedor. Perhaps greater than he could really achieve.

Fedor is following in the footsteps of many MMA legends before him.

There was a time that Tito Ortiz seemed unbeatable in the UFC. Now, he is not even top 10 in the light heavyweight division.

Chuck Liddell was untouchable when he finally won the UFC title, but he soon developed a glass jaw and simply couldn’t beat anyone.

Matt Hughes is still referenced as the greatest welterweight champion in UFC history, but he has not been a title contender for five years.

All of these men should have no shame. Nobody can sustain a level of performance that they achieved for very long.

Even today, the likes of Jon Jones and Anderson Silva appear to be flawless. But, there will be a day when they too must accept the fate of time.

Looking back, it is hard to imagine anyone will have the kind of run Fedor did during the first 10 years of the new millennium. He won 28 fights in that time without a single loss and fought the majority of the top fighters in the heavyweight division at that time. He also did so as an undersized heavyweight.

Anderson Silva has been unbeaten since 2006 and has done so very impressively, but in today’s age of MMA, with fighters evolving so quickly, you have to imagine someone will have his number sooner rather than later.

The same can be said for Jon Jones. A better, younger, and stronger Jon Jones is being built right now in gyms around the world.

Fedor did what few have. He managed to stay ahead of the game for 10 years. It is a feat that may never be repeated. For that reason, it is fair to call him the greatest heavyweight in MMA history and maybe even the greatest fighter in all of MMA history.

Dan Henderson defeats Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

Last night at UFC 139 we had some great fights:

UFC 139 didn’t have a title fight as the main event, but the battle between Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua couldn’t have been any better.

The two competed in the first five-round non-title fight since the UFC added the new five-round rule to any main event, and in the end, Henderson managed to narrowly out-point Rua for a unanimous decision.

It appeared that Henderson would end the fight early as he landed some big right hands on Rua, but the former UFC champion survived and pushed the fight into the later rounds where Henderson became exhausted. The final seven minutes were all Rua, but it was too little, too late, as Henderson had done enough to win 48-47 on all three judges’ scorecards.

The win pushes Henderson into the top 5 of the UFC light heavyweight division, but an immediate rematch with Rua may be in order due to the reaction from the fans and UFC brass on the fight itself.

Check out the link above for more results.

Henderson vs. Shogun planned for UFC 139

nullDan Henderson disposed of one former PRIDE legend, can he do it again in his return to the octagon.

MMAWeekly.com is reporting that the current Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion has agreed to return to the UFC to take on former PRIDE champion, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.

Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua have verbally agreed to face off at UFC 139 on Nov. 19, MMAWeekly.com has learned.

Independent sources confirmed the fight, which will stand as Henderson’s return to the organization after defeating Russian heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce.

The bout will likely be the new main event for the card that saw its prior main event between heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and no. 1 contender Junior dos Santos get moved to the main event of the Nov. 12 UFC on Fox fight card.

This is an exciting addition to UFC 139 and likely could be a No. 1 contender’s match in the division after Rashad Evans takes on the winner of Jon Jones vs. “Rampage” Jackson.

It’s surprising that these two never met in PRIDE, as both were legends and champions in the organization.

Both men have one-punch KO power and formidable skills on the ground, with Henderson being a wrestling specialist, and Rua being a submission specialist.

UFC already looking to Silva vs. Henderson II prior to UFC 134

nullDid the UFC bite off more than it can chew with scheduling a live event on FOX in November?

The premiere MMA organization wants to put on the two best fights possible for its premiere on the broadcast network on Nov. 12, but reports from Tatame have the UFC setting up a possible rematch between Anderson Silva and Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion, Dan Henderson.

Problem is, Silva is fighting Yushin Okami this Saturday at UFC 134.

Anderson Silva will put his belt on the line this Saturday, but the organization is already thinking on his next title defense. According to sources close to the situation, the middleweight champion is in talks with the UFC to fight Dan Henderson at UFC’s first show on FOX, scheduled to November 12, in California.

Anderson, who already defeated the former Pride champion in his long UFC career, tapping him in a rear-naked choke at UFC 82, fights the highly underdog Yushin Okami this Saturday, at UFC Rio, while Henderson waits to define his future with the end of his contract with Strikeforce.

Sources also indicated that if Henderson didn’t agree to move down to middleweight months after a heavyweight showdown against Fedor Emelianenko, Chael Sonnen is the option to replace him against Silva.

Sonnen is set to fight Brian Stann at UFC 136, and if Henderson doesn’t take this fight, he’d be taken out to fight Anderson. Stann, on the other hand, would potentially fight Vitor Belfort.

While Silva is the clear favorite to win this Saturday, we have seen in the past that it is never smart to schedule a match before another one is completed.

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UFC 134 Preview: Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami

nullThe main event of Saturday’s UFC 134 is a middleweight championship contest with Anderson Silva defending his title against Yushin Okami.

Okami is actually the last man to beat Silva, as he won by DQ over “The Spider” back in 2006 as part of Rumble on the Rock. Silva threw an illegal upkick that forced Okami to stop fighting.

Here is a look at both fighters, more than five years since their last meeting.

Anderson Silva (30-4) – Widely considered the best single fighter in the world in any weight class, Silva is the most lethal striker in all of MMA. Both of his hands and feet have one-strike KO power and he also has a jiu-jitsu black belt under the Nogeuira brothers. Silva is on a 14-fight win streak and is coming off an impressive KO of Vitor Belfort at UFC 126. Silva seems unbeatable, but his one weakness appears to be wrestling, where Okami is at his strongest.

Yushin Okami (26-5) – “Thunder” has had a long road to a title fight, as this is his 12th fight in the octagon. Since a tough decision loss to Chael Sonnen, Okami has won three straight, including decision wins over Nate Marquardt and Mark Munoz. Like Sonnen, Okami is a grinder that fights a very ugly style. He likes to clinch and grapple, using his strength to keep his opponent from going on the attack. If Okami can get the fight to the ground, he can win. If the fight remains on the feet, I don’t see him coming out on the winning end.

Who Will Win – It’s hard to see any scenario where Silva doesn’t win, but Okami does have the style that has given Silva the most problems. Sonnen, Dan Henderson, and Travis Lutter were all able to score takedowns on Silva. Sonnen has some very strong wrestling skills, but he isn’t an aggressive fighter. He must be aggressive early and not allow Silva to find his flow. Eventually, I see Silva getting a KO in the second round against Okami, as Silva is just too fast for Okami to get his hands on.

Top 10 Light Heavyweight Rankings

nullI waited a week to release my latest light heavyweight rankings as I wanted to see how the UFC 133 main event turned out.

Rashad Evans did as I expected and beat Tito Ortiz, but his performance was very impressive and it made me consider putting him on top of the list.

You have to consider the quality of opponents that Evans has over Jones. Granted, Jones has been unphased in any fight. But, he also hasn’t fought the best of the best throughout his career.

Still, I left Jones on top for now, but No. 2 is a lot closer than he was a few months ago.

1. Jon Jones (13-1): Jones will defend his UFC championship next month against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, in his biggest fight to date. Jones has yet to face any adversity, but a win over Jackson would prove that he can handle almost anyone in MMA. Wrestling will likely be the key in this one, as I don’t think Jones will want to slug it out with Rampage.

2. Rashad Evans (16-1-1): Evans bulked up in his time away from fighting and he looks like a determined fighter. He seems angry based on what happened with Greg Jackson and Jones, and it seems to have improved his skills as opposed to hurt them. Evans is next in line for a title shot. Only time will tell if he and Jones will finally square off.

3. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-8): Rampage has had some issues away from the cage, having his trainer decided to leave camp over “creative differences.” Still, Rampage says he is ready to go. He will face a fighter unlike anything he has really seen. It will be interesting to see how Rampage plans to attack Jones at UFC 135.

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Strikeforce, Zuffa done with Fedor Emelianenko

nullFedor Emelianenko may not be ready to retire, but Zuffa thinks he probably should.

While the company didn’t specifically say that, it was made pretty clear that they have no more interest in Fedor when they decided they will not pursue a new contract with him.

According to MMAFighting.com, Dana White made his feelings about Fedor pretty clear.

Fedor Emelianenko will be cut from the promotion following his loss to Dan Henderson at last Saturday’s Strikeforce/M-1 Fedor vs. Henderson event.

UFC president Dana White — a co-owner of Strikeforce parent company Zuffa LLC — confirmed the news following the UFC 133 press conference on Thursday.

“He’s being cut, yeah,” White told the media. “Why? Do you think we should keep him?”

“You guys thought he was the pound-for-pound best in the world, but I thought he was overrated for years.”

After being unbeaten for 10 years, Fedor has now lost three straight, all by stoppage.

While he still seems competitive, it is clear the mystique behind “The Last Emperor,” has clearly dissolved. His drawing power is not what it was, and Zuffa is no longer interested.

You can’t blame Zuffa from a business stand point, as dealing with Fedor’s extra management of M-1 Global was hard enough when he was on top of the MMA world, it could be even more ridiculous now that he doesn’t have the same credibility.

Fedor Emelianenko: The Fall of the Last Emperor

nullWith every great moment in sports history, there is typically one that is just as sad a little further down the road.

No matter how invincible we think people like Anderson Silva or Georges St. Pierre are, time will make a coward of them all.

Such is the case with Fedor Emelianenko.

From 2000-2010 Fedor was considered a god in MMA. He went 10 years without losing a fight. It seemed impossible, but he kept finding ways to win. Through PRIDE to Affliction to Strikeforce, he kept finding himself on top.

But, as time moved on, fighters kept improving, while Fedor has hit a standstill with his evolving in the sport.

Now, a loser of three straight after being stopped by Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva, and now Dan Henderson, “The Last Emperor” looks like someone that has been dethroned.

Is Fedor still a top-level fighter? Yes.

He is still someone that can compete with the best.

But, he is far from the legend that he created over the last 10 years.

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Strikeforce Recap: Henderson hands Fedor another loss

nullAnother big Strikeforce event is in the books and the storied career of Fedor Emelianenko continues to have a somber ending.

“The Last Emperor” suffered a first round TKO loss to Dan Henderson in a heavyweight clash that saw Emelianenko basically taking on a light heavyweight.

The action was fast and furious in the bout, with Fedor coming out swinging early. After surviving a few big punches early, Henderson answered with some of his own and then controlled most of the round in the clinch.

The end came after Fedor landed a big uppercut that sent Henderson to the ground. As Fedor looked for the finish, Henderson managed to reverse the position and land a big right during a scramble that put Fedor down. A few punches later, referee Herb Dean stopped the fight just 4:12 into the contest.

Fedor has now lost three straight fights, all by stoppage. His future is in doubt while Henderson is on a nice roll and just secured one of the biggest wins in his legendary career.

In the co-main event, Miesha Tate pulled off a surprising arm triangle submission on submission specialist Marloes Coenen to win the Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight Championship.

The fight was close from the start, with Tate surviving a second round that saw Coenen on her back for nearly the full five minutes. Still, in the fourth round Tate managed to score a takedown and catch Coenen off guard with a quick transition to an arm triangle that force the champion to tap at 3:03.

For full main card results from Saturday’s fights, check out the jump.

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