Alistair Overeem: Another quick fall in MMA

The MMA gods can be very cruel.

One minute you can be on top, the next you are at the very bottom.

Such is the case for heavyweight Alistair Overeem. His fight last night at UFC Fight Night 26 was almost a perfect example of how quickly a career can change.

Needing a win over respectable contender Travis Browne, Overeem seemed like the “Demoltion Man” early on, hammering Browne with big fists. He looked like a heavyweight contender once again.

However, just moments later Overeem ate a picture-perfect front kick that led to a surprising KO loss.

Now Overeem finds himself having lost two straight fights and, when you mix in a suspension that cancelled a title fight in 2012, he could be on the chopping block. It’s been a meteoric fall for Overeem, but he’s not the only one that has been in similar position. Here’s a few other notable quick collapses.

Chuck Liddell – The Iceman seemed unbeatable when he was the UFC Light Heavyweight champion in the mid-2000s, but that all changed with a Quinton “Rampage Jackson” hook. One big punch from Jackson ended Liddell’s title reign and set the course for his surprising demise in the UFC. Liddell went on to go 1-5 over the next three years, losing four times by KO. He was forced to retire in 2010 after being blasted by Rich Franklin.

Brock Lesnar – Lesnar seemed too good to be true, and he was. The physically imposing heavyweight broke onto the UFC scene in 2008 and was champion within a year. However, once Lesnar started to meet up with heavyweights that could match his strength and wrestling ability, he quickly turned into a softy. Though he beat Shane Carwin by submission, he was pummeled in the first round and that seemed to destroy his mystique. From there Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem ran right through him and Lesnar decided to retire from the sport.

B.J. Penn – Though Penn is still considered by many to be the greatest lightweight in MMA history, he didn’t go out on a high point in the UFC. He seemed to be a human wrecking ball at 155 pounds after dominating the likes of Kenny Florian, Sean Sherk and Diego Sanchez, but a pair of decision losses to Frankie Edgar seemed to put his career on the wrong track. While he did pick up a quick KO of Matt Hughes after, he looked sluggish in a draw against Jon Fitch and was thoroughly picked apart by Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald before taking time away. The fear Penn used to put into his opponents is long gone.

Weidman the clear underdog in rematch with Silva

It didn’t take long for Anderson Silva to change his mind about his fighting future.

Just moments after being knocked out by Chris Weidman in the main event of UF 162, the long-time middleweight champion said he no longer wanted to fight for the title, and a rematch with Weidman wouldn’t be happening.

A week later, the rematch has already been booked.

Weidman will make his first title defense against Silva as the main event of UFC 168 on Dec. 28 in Las Vegas.

The champion, Weidman, is the clear underdog in the rematch, as many feel Silva can beat Weidman as long as he doesn’t clown around.

It is not often that a champion comes into a fight, especially a rematch against an opponent he already beat, as the clear underdog.

Only a few come to mind when it comes to title fights.

Matt Serra vs. Georges St. Pierre at UFC 83: Serra shocked the world by winning the UFC Middlweight Championship, beating GSP at UFC 69, but most looked at the win as a fluke. Serra did little to fight off those opinions in the rematch, as St. Pierre dominated the bout and finished him off with body shots in under 10 minutes.

Frankie Edgar vs. B.J. Penn at UFC 118: Edgar won a controversial decision over Penn at UFC 112 for the UFC Lightweight Championship, and shocked the MMA world just by lasting 25 minutes with Penn. Many expected a motivated Penn to come out and run through Edgar in the rematch, but the opposite happened. Edgar fought a nearly flawless 25 minutes and earned the decisive decision over Penn. It was a fight that put Edgar on the map and forever dethroned Penn as the king of the lightweights.

Tim Sylvia vs. Andrei Arlovski at UFC 61: It was at UFC 59 that Arlovski looked to be set to successfully defend his UFC Heavyweight Championship against Syliva. He had rocked the challenger with a big hand that sent Sylvia crashing to the mat. However, Sylvia got up, and as Arlovski was in a flurry trying to finish the fight, Sylvia caught Arlovski right on the button and finished him for the shocking comeback win. Months later, the two had the immediate rematch and many expected Arlovski to get the best of Sylvia, but that didn’t happen. In a rather tame fight, Sylvia won a 25-minute decision. Arlovski was too timid and seemed to be afraid of getting knocked out. The former champion never seemed to be the same fighter after losing to Sylvia.

UFC 150 Results & Recap: Henderson Edges Edgar Once Again

nullAfter a close first encounter, a second fight was deemed necessary.

After UFC 150, we may need a third.

Benson Henderson managed to retain his UFC Lightweight Championship over Frankie Edgar in the main event of Saturday’s card, as two judges saw him winning a 48-47 decision, while another saw Edgar winning 49-46.

Most MMA writers feel that Edgar actually did win the fight, but most will also agree that neither man really dominated the fight.

Both fighters had high moments, but Edgar took on less damage this time around and Henderson didn’t seem to get into the same flow as he did in their first meeting.

Still, Edgar has now lost twice in a row to Henderson, no matter how close. It will be hard for the UFC to grant Edgar another title fight, as they have already committed to giving Nate Diaz the next shot.

In the co-main event, Donald Cerrone KO’d Melvin Guillard in an exciting and quick contest.

Guillard actually landed a big punch to open the fight and looked to be on the verge of an upset, but Cerrone gathered himself, and a minute later, landed a kick and right hand combo that put Guillard out cold.

The win for Cerrone keeps him in the discussion of top lightweight contenders, as his lone loss in the UFC is to Diaz by decision. Guillard now falls back out of the top 10, as he has been finished in the first round in two of his last three fights.

For complete results for UFC 150, click on the jump.

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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.

UFC on Versus 5 Recap: Lytle goes out a winner

nullUFC on Versus 5 took place Sunday night and the fights were as exciting as advertised.

The big winners on the night were Chris Lytle and Ben Henderson.

Lytle defeated Dan Hardy in the main event with a guillotine choke late in round 3. Lytle announced on Saturday night that he would be retiring win or lose after the contest and he shared a nice moment with his kids after the victory.

The fight was a slugfest as we expected, with Lytle doing a good job of working the body and Hardy landing some nice crosses. Surprisingly, neither man crashed to the ground and lasted nearly the whole fight before a big uppercut to the ribs forced Hardy to shoot on Lytle. Not having much wrestling experience, Hardy left his neck open for Lylte, who secured a very tight choke and got Hardy to tap with just 44 seconds left in the contest.

Lytle finished at 31-18-5 in his career and won five of his last six. He also secured Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night honors, a cool $130,000 in bonuses.

Hardy has now lost his last four in the UFC, but Dana White announced that Hardy will not be cut. Still, the colorful fighter seemed crushed by yet another loss.

In the co-main event, Jim Miller was unseated as the No. 1 contender in the lightweight division by Ben Henderson. Henderson put on the best performance of his career in dominating Miller for 15 minutes to earn a decision victory.

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Top 10 MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings

nullIt has been two months since my last pound-for-pound rankings list, and only one fighter on the list has competed in that time.

Bantamweight Champion, Dominick Cruz made his UFC debut, and successfully beat Urijah Faber, but his win wasn’t strong enough to move him ahead of Frankie Edgar. So, my top 10 is the same, but there could be some serious shakeups in the next few months with the UFC putting together a number of big fights in the fall and early winter.

1. Anderson Silva (28-4): Silva is still the most feared opponent of anyone in MMA due to his devastating and unique striking ability. Chael Sonnen is the only man to make him look beatable, but Silva still found a way to beat him by submission despite a serious rib injury. Yushin Okami is next up for “The Spider” at UFC 134, which will be a good test for Silva, who has an obvious weakness in wrestling.

2. Georges St. Pierre (22-2): GSP will return to action in October to take on Nick Diaz. The welterweight kingpin hasn’t been challenged much in his recent fights, but he also hasn’t been that impressive either. St. Pierre is in need of a dominant win with a finish to really be considered for the top spot.

3. Jose Aldo (19-1): Aldo is set to face off with Kenny Florian in early October, defending his featherweight title for the second time in the UFC. Aldo is similar to Silva in the fact that his striking is so strong that many opponents have a hard time coming up with a game plan that they can stick to when they face off with him. Florian will provide a good test for Aldo, but it may not be enough to beat “Junior.”

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UPDATE: UFC 136 to feature two title fights

nullIt has been a busy 24 hours for the UFC.

There have been a number of big bouts announced, most of which will take place at UFC 136. As always, MMAFighting.com was the first to report on many of the contests.

- In the biggest news, Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard will finally settle the score in a lightweight championship clash at UFC 136 on Oct. 8 from the Toyota Center in Houston. This is the second attempt for the UFC to put on this bout, as the two were originally schedule to fight at UFC 130, but both suffered injuries.

- The UFC also announced via Twitter that Jose Aldo will defend his featherweight championship against Kenny Florian at UFC 136. This will be Florian’s third attempt to win UFC gold while Aldo will be defending his UFC strap for the second time.

- Also set for the UFC 136 card in Houston is another lightweight showdown when Melvin Guillard faces Joe Lauzon. Guillard has quickly skyrocketed up the lightweight ladder with five-straight wins. However, Guillard has struggled in the past with submission fighters and Lauzon is a pitbull on the ground. Lauzon won’t back down from Guillard and the first five minutes of this fight should be very explosive.

- A third bout for UFC 136 was announced as middleweights Demian Maia and Jorge Santiago will square off. Both fighters are coming off of losses and need this win in order to remain a top-10 contender in the division.

- For UFC 137 on Oct. 29 in Las Vegas, heavyweight strikers Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo will battle it out. Both are coming off KO wins at UFC Live on Versus 4, with Kongo knocking out Mitrione’s friend, Pat Barry. This will be the biggest test to date for Mitrione, who is now 6-0 in his pro career.

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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With Diaz vs. GSP in place, many new options open in UFC

nullWednesday night, Dana White made a big announcement by saying Strikeforce welterweight champion, Nick Diaz, will now face UFC welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre, at UFC 137 in October.

Apparently White was able to tear up Diaz’ old contract and sign him to a new one that basically allowed White to make any matches involving Diaz that he pleased in either organization.

If White can do it once, he can do it as many times as he would like.

How about Gilbert Melendez?

The Strikeforce lightweight champion has been campaigning for a unification bout with the UFC champion and now, the planned order of contenders in the UFC seems to be shifting.

It appears that Anthony Pettis, who was the No. 1 contender after winning the WEC title, will now have to win two fights before getting a crack at the UFC strap, according to Fighters Only Magazine.

“That kid’s in a bad position. He’s supposed to be the next in line. All this craziness happens. [Edgar and Maynard] both get hurt, and it gets pushed back again. The first one is a draw, then they get hurt, and it gets pushed back again. But this is one of those things that happens in a sport like this,” says UFC president Dana White.

“I respect [Pettis] for stepping up and taking on a tough guy like Guida, and he’ll probably have to fight again before he gets a shot at one of those guys. Sucks for him. It’s a shi–y position for him to be in.”

If Pettis is fighting Guida before Edgar-Maynard III even takes place, why would he have to fight again? This tells me that White has someone else in mind as the next challenger for the UFC belt.

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