Cerrone steps in for Stout, to face Siver at UFC 137

nullThe passing of trainer Shawn Tompkins has had its impact on the MMA world.

For Sam Stout, who was a brother-in-law and training partner with Tomkins, the impact has been even greater.

MMAJunkie.com confirmed that Stout has withdrawn from his fight with Dennis Siver at UFC 137 on Oct. 29 and former WEC star, Donald Cerrone, will fill in.

Donald Cerrone (16-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has stepped in for Sam Stout (17-6-1 MMA, 6-5 UFC) and now meets Dennis Siver (19-7 MMA, 8-4 UFC) at October’s UFC 137 event.

As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) first reported earlier today, Stout recently withdrew from the event for undisclosed reasons. Event sources confirmed the opponent switch.

Fellow lightweight Cerrone now takes his spot on the card and fights for the fourth time in 2011.

Cerrone is 3-0 in the UFC and is coming off a first-round TKO of Charles Oliveira at UFC Live 5 earlier this month.

Siver has won his last four, including a close decision victory over Matt Wiman back at UFC 132 in July.

The winner of this contest will quickly emerge as one of the top contenders in the lightweight division.


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.


UFC 132 Recap & Review – Too Much To Cover

nullWell, where do I begin?

UFC 132 took place last night and was one of the most entertaining PPV’s I have seen in quite some time.

There were so many storylines that emerged from the event, but I guess I will have to start with the main event.

Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber put on quite a show, proving that bantamweights can headline a PPV. In the end, Cruz won a close unanimous decision that had Faber crushed and Cruz looking very joyous and relieved (AP Photograph).

I personally felt Cruz won 48-47 based on scoring rounds, but I don’t feel like the fight had a true winner or loser. I didn’t think Faber did enough to warrant winning the title, but I think he should be considered for an immediate rematch.

Faber’s quickness did nullify some of Cruz’ movement, but Cruz still seemed to dictate the pace and style of the fight. The ground scrambles were really impressive from both men and that essentially made the fight a standup battle, where Cruz landed a lot more strikes.

In the co-main event, Chris Leben defeated Wanderlei Silva by KO in just 27 seconds. Coming in, many thought Tito Ortiz would be fighting his last fight, but it may have been Silva that did, as he suffers another big time KO and is just 2-6 in his last eight fights.

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UFC 132 Picks & Predictions

nullUFC 132 takes place Saturday night from Las Vegas with a stacked card.

The main card features five exciting bouts and here are my picks for the contest.

UFC Bantamweight Championship – Dominick Cruz (17-1) vs. Urijah Faber (25-4) – In this rematch I see Cruz winning by unanimous decision. His movement and wrestling will be too much for Faber to deal with. Cruz is a much different fighter than the one that met Faber before and I expect his footwork to pose problems for Faber and his explosive takedowns will be too much for Faber to stuff.

Middleweight Bout – Wanderlei Silva (33-10-1) vs. Chris Leben (21-7) – In this battle of strikers, I like Silva as I think his striking is a little more diverse. I think Silva’s chin is a little weaker, but I expect Silva to land the big punch first. Leben has a big heart, but he has struggled against strikers in the past. Look for Silva to win by second round TKO.

Light Heavyweight Bout – Tito Ortiz (16-8-1) vs. Ryan Bader (12-1) – This should be Ortiz’ final bout with the UFC as I see Bader winning by decision. I think the fight should be competitive, but Bader’s athleticism and combination of wrestling and striking should be too much for Ortiz, who will have to score takedowns in order to win.

Welterweight Bout – Carlos Condit (26-5) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (14-0-1) – This should be a very close fight, but I like Kim to remain unbeaten. His size and strength should be too much for Condit. I see Kim putting his weight on Condit against the fence and then scoring some judo throws and takedowns to control Condit. Look for Kim to win by decision.

Lightweight Bout – Dennis Siver (18-7) vs. Matt Wiman (13-5) – Siver is a short, compact striker that is hard to get to the ground because of his low center of gravity. I see Wiman struggling to get the fight to the ground, and that will allow Siver to out-point Wiman with his striking. My pick is Siver by decision.


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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