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.

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.