Ranking the UFC title fights to end 2013

The UFC has made a lot of noise about its schedule to end 2013.

I can’t argue with the organization, because the year is ending (barring injuries) with a tremendous series of title fights. Here is how I rank which title fights I am most looking forward to:

7. Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland at UFC 165 (for UFC Interim Bantamweight title) – Barao is really a fighter that deserves more pound-for-pound credit. The guy has been a wrecking machine for quite some time. No disrespect to Eddie Wineland, who is a gritty fighter, but I don’t think he is in the same class as the champion. Wineland has a puncher’s chance, but this should be an easy defense for Barao.

6. Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate at UFC 168 (for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight title) – I have a great deal of respect for Rousey and her skills. She has already established herself as a dominant champion in this division. I just don’t see Tate being able to win this fight. Rousey made quick work of her the first time and I don’t think that will change the second time. Tate would have to overpower Rousey with striking, and that is not her game. I think a fight with Cat Zingano would have been much more entertaining and had a greater possibility for an upset.

5. Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos at UFC 166 (for the UFC Heavyweight title) – This is the trilogy fight for these two, but both fights have been decisive loses for each man. I think the second fight told more about the matchup than the first. Velasquez was able to tire dos Santos in the first round with his aggressive pace. As long as Velasquez can avoid the big punch from the challenger, he should be able to dominate this fight again with his wrestling and ground control.

4. Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 (for the UFC Light Heavyweight title) – Jones has been absolutely dominant in this division, but Gustafsson appears to be a new challenge for Jones. Like the champion, Gustaffson has the ability to use his length to gain a striking advantage. The length edge that Jones always has on his opponents won’t quite be as much of an advantage in this bout. The question coming into this fight is can the challenger handle Jones’ wrestling, and can he go 25 minutes if need be?

3. Georges St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 (for the UFC Welterweight title) – GSP has been the kingpin of this division for a long time, but Hendricks seems to have the right style to finally dethrone the champion. Hendricks has the wrestling background to contend with St. Pierre, but has the powerful hands to knock him out. The question will be if Hendricks can deal with St. Pierre’s jab and technical striking, and if he can go 25 minutes. If the fight ends quickly, Hendricks will be the champ. If the fight goes into the later rounds, you would have to think GSP will retain his title.

2. Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva at UFC 168 (for the UFC Middleweight title) – Was it a fluke when Weidman beat Silva? I think so, but the champion will have a chance to prove me wrong at UFC 168. I am looking forward to see how Silva approaches this fight. I truly believe if he is focused on winning and not putting on a show, he can’t be beat. I feel he could have beaten Weidman whenever he wanted to in the first fight, but was trying to embarrass the opponent instead, and got caught. This time around, will Silva take the fight seriously? Will he try to prove a point again? Weidman will probably have to have the fight of his life to win.

1. Ben Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis at UFC 164 (for the UFC Lightweight title) – Of them all, this fight has me the most excited. The first fight between these two was tremendous and non-stop action. Now, both fighters are greatly improved. Henderson has evolved as a powerful striker with great wrestling and scrambling ability. Pettis is one of the most skilled and dynamic strikers in all of MMA and he is tremendous at fighting off his back. Both men can go 25 minutes and have plenty of motivation to win this fight. I expect this fight to live up to the hype.

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.

Women’s MMA is stealing the show in the UFC

nullDana White once stated that he’d never have a women’s bout in the octagon that is the UFC.

White didn’t feel there was a market there.

Not only is there a market in women’s MMA, but the market is rising at a very fast pace.

Ronda Rousey put the women on the map in the UFC with her win over Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC 157 in February. Though the fight went just one round, it was exciting from start to finish and featured great grappling and striking.

On Saturday, in the season finale of The Ultimate Fighter 17, the UFC held its second women’s bout, with Miesha Tate taking on Cat Zingano.

These two bantamweights put on an even better show than Rousey and Carmouche did, going nearly 15 minutes before Zingano finished Tate with an impressive flurry of knees and elbows.

The crowd was electric for the fight, knowing the winner would face Rousey next and get a spot coaching against Rousey in The Ultimate Fighter Season 18. The two battled it out on the feet and on the ground for the entire duration of the fight. Each showed tremendous skills and a determination to win.

When the fight ended, it felt like the fans and viewers had just witnessed the main event. It is clear that the fans appreciate a good fight, and the women have been giving the fans great fights.

White isn’t stupid either. He is trying to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the women’s bantamweight division by having Rousey and Zingano coach TUF next season. With Rousey already pulling in over 400,000 pay-per-view buys, and Zingano stealing the show Saturday night, there is a lot of evidence that the UFC should look to expand its women’s crop to more divisions.

The women have showed an aggression that has been lacking in some of the marquee men’s fights as of late. The fans always want to see two fighters leave it all in the cage, and the women are doing exactly that.

I personally am excited to see upcoming women’s bouts because the bar has been set very high by Rousey and Zingano.

Ronda Rousey ripps Michael Phelps

This interview is hilarious. Apparently Michael Phelps needs to get over himself according to Strikeforce fighter Ronda Rousey.

Strikeforce recap

Bullz-Eye.com attended the event at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

If anyone, including myself, questioned women’s MMA, the Showtime event on March 5 in Columbus should have changed everyone’s minds. The women were the stars. They weren’t just good women’s fights; they were good MMA fights. Just as men’s MMA took some years to grow into its current greatness, women’s MMA is certainly coming around.

With stars like Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, Sarah Kaufman and Alexis Davis showing up and performing like they did, more and more world class athletes will join the women’s ranks. This will only bring more competition and excellence.

But let’s not forget the men. There were some outstanding performances by Kazuo Misaki, Roger Bowling, Pat Healy and Ryan Couture. All in all it was an excellent night of exciting fights. Check out the recap and pics below.

Check out the full fight recaps.