An interview with UFC President Dana White

nullAs I mentioned yesterday, I had the chance to do an interview with UFC President Dana White on Tuesday afternoon to discuss this week’s UFC on FOX 7 event.

You can read the entire interview, which was done for Bullz-Eye.com, here.

Below are a few excerpts from the interview:

One of the things I was really excited about with this deal with FOX was being able to bring big fights back to free television. That has always been my goal since we bought this company. Coming off “The Ultimate Fighter” finale last weekend, every fight was sick, it was an amazing finale. We pulled 1.7 million viewers. We were the highest-rated thing on network and cable television with males 18-34. This fight on FOX is going to be a big one. Ben Henderson is defending his lightweight title again, this time against Gilbert Melendez, who is probably the toughest guy at 155 pounds that has never had a shot in the UFC. Everybody thinks this guy might be the best in the world, so we are going to find out on Saturday.

I have been thrilled with the Strikeforce fighters. A lot of bad stuff happened at Strikeforce. A lot of guys didn’t get paid for a while and these guys are hungry. First of all, they are happy to be back fighting and getting paid to do it. These guys want to prove to the world that they can fight and become the best in the world. The UFC is the place to do that. These guys have been fighting like maniacs, and I love it.

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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 135 Picks and Predictions

nullUFC 135 kicks off an amazing two-month span for the premiere MMA organization.

The card features a light heavyweight championship bout and a number of exciting fights.

Here are my picks for the main card bouts.

UFC Light Heavyweight Championship – Jon Jones (13-1) vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-8) – Jones faces his biggest challenge to date in his young MMA career while Rampage is looking to stay in the spotlight of the UFC. There are some big questions here as Jones has yet to face any adversity in the octagon or really have his chin tested. Jackson has big power in both his hand, and if he can get inside the reach of Jones, he can knock him out. However, Rampage is somewhat one dimensional, using just boxing to win fights. I have no doubt that Jones has the ability to get Jackson to the ground if he so chooses. I think he will use his kicks and jabs to keep Jackson uncomfortable in the beginning and then eventually get the fight to the ground where I see him finishing Jackson with ground-and-pound strikes. Look for Jones to win this one in the third round.

UFC Welterweight Bout – Matt Hughes (46-8) vs. Josh Koscheck (17-5) – Hughes was originally scheduled to face Diego Sanchez, but an injury forced Koscheck into the mix. Hughes had a better chance of beating Sanchez in my opinion as I don’t see him being able to wrestle Koscheck to the ground. Koscheck seems to be the better wrestler and the better striker in this fight. Koscheck’s only issue is that he is a wild striker, so he could leave himself open to a counter by Hughes. Hughes doesn’t have great power, but Koscheck doesn’t have a great chin. Still, I see Koscheck doing enough to earn a decision win over the UFC Hall of Famer.

UFC Heavyweight Bout – Travis Browne (11-0-1) vs. Rob Broughton (15-5-1) – Browne appears to be a rising star in the heavyweight division. He has some great striking as he uses his powerful fists and mixes in nice leg kicks. Broughton is tough, but I think he is the sacrificial lamb in this fight to push Travis Browne into the MMA spotlight. Look for Browne to win by TKO in the first round.

UFC Lightweight Bout – Nate Diaz (13-7) vs. Takanori Gomi (32-7) – Gomi fought Nick Diaz years ago in an amazing fight and I see this bought being just as exciting. The big issue with Gomi is that he tires easily and that will allow Diaz to get him to the ground and secure a choke. I like Nate Diaz to win by rear-naked choke in the third round of this one.

UFC Heavyweight Bout – Ben Rothwell (31-7) vs. Mark Hunt (6-7) – Hunt was promising back in the day, but he just doesn’t have the skills to compete with most in the UFC. I see Rothwell overwhelming him early in the fight and getting a TKO finish with a flurry of punches in the first round.

UFC 135 Weigh-In Results – All Fighters Make Weight

nullThe fight card for UFC 135 is official as all 20 fighters came in on weight on Friday for Saturday’s card.

The main event of Jon Jones vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson had a little intensity added to the anticipation of the fight as the two had an intense stare down after each weighing in at 204 pounds for their UFC Light Heavyweight Championship bout.

Jones, who typically looks off to the side during a stare down, looked right in the eyes of Jackson, which led Rampage to look back and tell him “I’m going to end your hype.” Jones kept yelling “Let’s Go” back, but nothing physical took place. Both men looked in good shape and ready for a war on Saturday night.

Matt Hughes weighed in at 170 pounds for his welterweight showdown with Josh Koscheck, who came in at 170.5 pounds. There wasn’t much added by their stare down, as they stayed pretty distant from each other. Koscheck had a very intense and focused mindset, as he looked like he was ready to get into the cage as soon as possible.

For the full weigh-in results for Saturday’s UFC 135 card, check out the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

UFC 135 just keeps getting better: Gomi vs. Nate Diaz booked

UFC 135 is already shaping up to be a pretty interesting event with Jones vs. Rampage and Hughes vs. Sanchez, but now it is even better.

MMAFighting.com is reporting that Nate Diaz is making the move back down to lightweight and will face Takanori Gomi.

What has me and other fans excited about this is the legendary matchup between Nick Diaz and Gomi back at Pride 33. Diaz won via submission, but the bout was ruled a no contest after Diaz failed a drug test after the fight.

Still, it was a very entertaining fight, which you can see below. Hopefully Nate Diaz and Gomi can recreate this bout to a certain level.