UFC 152 Results & Recap – Jones subs Belfort

nullJon Jones maintained his hold on the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship on Saturday with a fourth-round submission win over Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC 152.

Jones came into the fight as the heavy favorite and he dominated most of the fight. Jones did nearly get caught in an armbar in the early going, but escaped and controlled the fight from there. Jones used his grappling and elbows to bloody up Belfort, and in the fourth round, caught the challenger in an Americana for the victory.

Belfort deserves credit for his effort and taking the fight on short notice in a bigger weight class, but Jones is just the better man.

With Dan Henderson dealing with his injury, there is no clear contender for Jones in the 205-pound division. That champion is becoming as dominant in his class as Anderson Silva is at 185 pounds.

In the co-main event, Demetrious Johnson won the first ever UFC Flyweight Championship with a decision victory over Joseph Benavidez.

The fight had a fast pace and was very competitive, as expected. The difference in the bout was the array of leg kicks that Johnson landed on Benavidez. The kicks slowly wore down Benavidez and allowed Johnson to control the pace. Benavidez still did enough to earn the victory on one of the scorecards, but Johnson was the victor on the other two cards, and in the eyes of most of the fans.

Johnson now is the first 125-pound champion in the UFC. It will be interesting to see how this division grows in the near future with a thin roster of talent in the weight class.

In another big bout, middleweight Michael Bisping defeated Brian Stann by decision to improve his ranking in the 185-pound class.

Bisping was able to out-point Stann with his technical striking and wrestling ability. Bisping actually utilized some nice takedowns in the latter stages of the fight to neutralize Stann.

Looking at Bisping, his resume is pretty strong and it appears he deserves a title shot. He has never been given a crack at the gold but has steadily been near the top of the division for years.

Check out the full results after the jump.

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UFC 147 Results & Recap: Franklin Decisions Silva Again

nullThe sequel looked a lot like the original, only a little bit longer.

Rich Franklin once again defeated Wanderlei Silva by decision in another exciting fight to headline UFC 147 in Brazil on Saturday, but this fight went five rounds instead of three.

Each fighter had their moment in the contest, with Silva nearly finishing Franklin to end the second round following a flurry, but “Ace” survived and went on to dictate the rest of the fight with his crisp, technical striking.

The win was impressive for the former middleweight champion, as he took this bout on short notice and fought in Silva’s raucous home country.

Now, the question is, what is next for both men?

Franklin is still one of the best, but he isn’t quite enough any more to challenge for a title. Silva is clearly far from what he was in the PRIDE days, but still entertaining. He has become somewhat of a gate keeper in the middleweight division.

In the co-main event of Saturday’s card, Fabricio Werdum improved to 2-0 in his return to the octagon, as he ran through Mike Russow.

Werdum continued to show his improved striking, as he quickly overwhelmed the inexperienced Russow with an array of strikes. Once Werdum rocked Russow, he quickly finished up on the ground and earned the TKO stoppage midway through the first.

Werdum is making a strong case to be considered a top 5 UFC heavyweight with his two impressive showings since coming back to the UFC. Perhaps a battle with the likes of Frank Mir could be next in the cards.

For complete results from UFC 147, check out the jump

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UFC 147 Main Event: Worst Ever?

nullIf you weren’t paying attention, you may not realize that UFC 147 is taking place this Saturday.

Part of the reason you may not realize this is because the UFC isn’t really going overboard trying to promote it.

The injury bug played a role in this card as the original main event was set to be Vitor Belfort vs. Wanderlei Silva. The event is taking place in Brazil and these two coached the inaugural season of “The Ultimate Fighter Brazil.”

While that fight lacks star power in the U.S., it was still a major fight in Brazil and had some meaning as Belfort was working his way back to a title shot.

However, Belfort broke his hand, and now the main event is Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva 2, a rematch of their UFC 99 main event back in June of 2009.

While the fight itself could be very entertaining, it could be one of the worst main events in UFC history in regards to what the fight actually means.

Neither fighter is anywhere near a title shot and both are on the tail end of their careers. Their UFC 99 main event was somewhat of a stretch as it was, and it has even less meaning now.

Again, I want to state that when I say “worst main event” I am not referring to the actual entertainment value of the fight. To me, main events should be left for title fights or elite top contender matchups. This main event at UFC 147 is neither.

Sure, there have been some shaky main events before like Chris Leben vs. Mark Munoz or Yushin Okami vs. Nate Marquardt, but those took place in events that aired on live television. This is actually a PPV that costs $45 to watch ($55 if you want HD).

You could even compare it to the likes of UFC 119, which had Frank Mir vs. Mirko Cro Cop as the main event, but Frank Mir was much closer to a title fight then than Franklin or Silva are now.

Really the closest fight by comparison is the main event at UFC 115 when Franklin faced Chuck Liddell. But, even that featured Liddell in a “retirement fight” that garnered some extra interest.

Hopefully the fight is explosive and gives people a reason to watch that pay their money. But, given the talented roster the UFC has these days, these types of main events should be closer and closer to extinction.

Belfort injured, Wanderlei Silva to face Cung Le at UFC 139

nullJust a few weeks after Vitor Belfort announced he would be taking on Cung Le at UFC 139, he has now had to announce he will not be fighting after all.

According to MMAFighting.com, Belfort suffered an injury that will force him out of the fight. But, the UFC was quick to find a replacement, as Wanderlei Silva will step in to take on Le at UFC 139.

Wanderlei Silva will make his return to the Octagon on November 19 in San Jose, when he takes on former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le at UFC 139.

UFC President Dana White announced today that Vitor Belfort had to pull out of his fight with Le because of an injury, and as a result Silva will step in and take it.

Belfort vs. Le had the makings of a great fight because of the speed and quickness both have in their striking.

However, Le vs. Silva should be just as good, if not better, because Silva is relentless and is willing to be knocked out in order to put on a show. Belfort is more hesitant in his striking. With Silva now in, expect fireworks and an explosive knockout when he and Cung Le face off.

UFC Matchmaking update – UFC 140 gets main event

nullLost in a weekend that saw the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals take place were some big fight announcements from the UFC.

Here is a look at three different UFC events that have added to their cards.

- UFC 140 in Toronto go its main event as heavyweights Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will have their rematch. The two met back at UFC 92 with Mir handing Nogueira his first stoppage loss. Mir KO’d Big Nog in the second round. Nogueira claimed a staph infection hindered his abilities and has been seeking a rematch since. Mir has won his last two fights and looking to get back into the title hunt with a win while Nogueira is coming off his KO win over Brendan Schaub at UFC Rio. UFC 140 also added Tito Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Brian Ebersole vs. Rory MacDonald to the lineup.

- UFC 139 picked up a big fight as middleweight Vitor Belfort will return to action when he takes on former Strikeforce champion, Cung Le. This will be a battle of perhaps the two fastest strikers in all of MMA. Le hasn’t fought since June of 2010, when he KO’d Scott Smith to avenge his only loss. Belfort is coming off a KO win over Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133. This fight should come down to which fighter strikes first.

- Jon Fitch will make his long-awaited return to the octagon at UFC 141 when he faces off with Johny Hendricks. Fitch hasn’t competed since February when he had a draw against B.J. Penn. Fitch had shoulder surgery that put him on the shelf for a while. Fitch hasn’t lost since his 2008 title fight with Georges St. Pierre. Hendricks has one loss in his career, to Rick Story back in December of 2010. He has won his last two fights, but is facing the toughest opponent of his career when he squares off with Fitch.

Top 10 Middleweight Rankings

nullThe middleweight division had a big fight this past weekend but the result wasn’t too surprising.

Anderson Silva maintained his top spot in my top 10 middleweight rankings with his win on Saturday and it seems he has only one man that can truly pose a threat to his championship.

Here is a look at the top 10 in the 185-pound division in my eyes.

1. Anderson Silva (31-4) – Silva made Yushin Okami look like an amateur last Saturday and he has cemented himself as the best middleweight in UFC history. Next up for Silva will likely be a rematch of some kind, with either Chael Sonnen or Dan Henderson.

2. Chael Sonnen (25-11-1) – Sonnen hasn’t competed since pushing Silva to the limit last fall, but he is scheduled to face Brian Stann at UFC 136 in early October. Sonnen appears to be the lone hope to dethrone Silva someday, but the champion still managed to submit Sonnen despite an injured rib and 20 minutes of pummeling.

3. Vitor Belfort (20-9) – Belfort showed his explosive ability in his quick knockout of Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133. He still may have the fastest hands in the division, but he missed his opportunity when he faced Silva back in February. A few more wins for Belfort may get him another crack at the title.

4. Yushin Okami (26-6) – Okami also had his chance, but couldn’t find a way to make his fight with Silva a grappling one. He seemed to passive and allowed Silva to get comfortable on his feet, and that is always a losing combination. Okami has to go back to the drawing board, and will likely need a long winning streak to get another title fight.

5. Michael Bisping (21-3) – Bisping is going to face off with Mayhem Miller later this year for a chance to propel himself into title contention. Bisping is still looking for a marquee win in his career and he hasn’t been terribly impressive since his TKO win over Denis Kang back at UFC 105 in 2009. Bisping needs an emphatic victory over Miller to really be considered a title contender.

6. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (14-2) – The Strikeforce Middleweight Champion is set to return to action next week against Luke Rockhold, who is good competition in the Strikeforce organization, but not a great opponent on the world stage. Someday, with Strikeforce slowly merging into the UFC, I would expect Souza to compete in the elite organization someday.

7. Brian Stann (11-3) – Stann faces his toughest test to date when he squares off with Chael Sonnen at UFC 136. Stann has established himself as a feared striker in the division with respectable grappling skills. In this fight, he will need to have tremendous takedown defense to keep the relentless Sonnen from getting top position.

8. Mark Munoz (11-2) – Munoz will take on Chris Leben at UFC 138 in the highest-profile fight of his career. Munoz is a grinder that has some big punching power without the technique. His strength is his wrestling, but he will mix it up with anyone. He should probably stick to the wrestling in his bout with Leben.

9. Chris Leben (22-7) – Leben breaks into my top 10 list after his impressive KO of Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132. Leben clearly has the striking power to beat anyone on this list, but lacks the grappling skills and pure boxing technique to really become a top 5 contender. His bout with Munoz will test how far his grappling has come and show if he is ready to make a serious run at the title.

10. Alan Belcher (16-6) – Alan Belcher will make his return to action in a couple weeks after an eye injury sidelined him for more than a year. Belcher was on his way to becoming a title contender before getting hurt. When he returns on Sept. 17, he will face off with Jason MacDonald, another UFC veteran. The long layoff will be something Belcher has to overcome, but a win over the submission specialist will be a nice start for his return.

UFC 134 Preview: Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami

nullThe main event of Saturday’s UFC 134 is a middleweight championship contest with Anderson Silva defending his title against Yushin Okami.

Okami is actually the last man to beat Silva, as he won by DQ over “The Spider” back in 2006 as part of Rumble on the Rock. Silva threw an illegal upkick that forced Okami to stop fighting.

Here is a look at both fighters, more than five years since their last meeting.

Anderson Silva (30-4) – Widely considered the best single fighter in the world in any weight class, Silva is the most lethal striker in all of MMA. Both of his hands and feet have one-strike KO power and he also has a jiu-jitsu black belt under the Nogeuira brothers. Silva is on a 14-fight win streak and is coming off an impressive KO of Vitor Belfort at UFC 126. Silva seems unbeatable, but his one weakness appears to be wrestling, where Okami is at his strongest.

Yushin Okami (26-5) – “Thunder” has had a long road to a title fight, as this is his 12th fight in the octagon. Since a tough decision loss to Chael Sonnen, Okami has won three straight, including decision wins over Nate Marquardt and Mark Munoz. Like Sonnen, Okami is a grinder that fights a very ugly style. He likes to clinch and grapple, using his strength to keep his opponent from going on the attack. If Okami can get the fight to the ground, he can win. If the fight remains on the feet, I don’t see him coming out on the winning end.

Who Will Win – It’s hard to see any scenario where Silva doesn’t win, but Okami does have the style that has given Silva the most problems. Sonnen, Dan Henderson, and Travis Lutter were all able to score takedowns on Silva. Sonnen has some very strong wrestling skills, but he isn’t an aggressive fighter. He must be aggressive early and not allow Silva to find his flow. Eventually, I see Silva getting a KO in the second round against Okami, as Silva is just too fast for Okami to get his hands on.

UFC 133 Results & Recap: Evans at his best

nullIt had been 14 months since Rashad Evans (AP Photo) competed inside the UFC Octagon, but clearly he was making the most of his time off.

The former light heavyweight champion looked as good as he ever has in a second round TKO win over Tito Ortiz in the main event of UFC 133 on Saturday.

Evans looked thicker, faster, and smarter in the octagon. His lone hiccup came when he was slightly taken down by Ortiz early in the fight, but he suffered no damage and turned the tide in his favor soon after.

Evans peppered Ortiz with heavy punches in the first round, but Ortiz managed to make the bell.

The dominance continued in the second round, as Evans landed a big slam of Ortiz and then beat on him for a few minutes before ending the fight with a knee to the sternum and a flurry of punches from the ground.

Evans clearly has established himself as the No.1 contender for the UFC title, and now he waits for the Jon Jones-Rampage Jackson winner. I think Evans has a style that could cause Jones a lot of problems, and he already owns a win over Jackson.

For Ortiz, he deserves credit for taking the fight on short notice. But, his performance on Saturday seems to be a better representation of his current abilities in the UFC than his win over Ryan Bader at UFC 132.

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UFC 133 Picks & Predictions

nullUFC 133 takes place on Saturday night from the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia.

The card is somewhat tame for the UFC as of late, but still has some exciting fights.

Here are my picks for the five bouts on the main card.

Light Heavyweight Bout – Rashad Evans (20-1-1) vs. Tito Ortiz (17-8-1) – In this rematch, I like Evans to win. Ortiz is taking the fight on short notice and Evans has evolved much more since their first meeting. Evans should have a striking edge and probably has more explosive takedowns. My pick is for Evans to win by decision.

Middleweight Bout – Vitor Belfort (19-9) vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-3) – Akiyama has a style that could pose problems for Belfort, but I ultimately see Belfort winning by TKO in the second round. Belfort has to stay out of the clinch and off his back, which I think he will find a way to do.

Welterweight Bout – Dennis Hallman (65-13-2) vs. Brian Ebersole (47-14-1) – This is a fight of two war-torn veterans of MMA. Both men have excellent grappling ability and respectable striking. I expect this to be a war, but I ultimately see Hallman coming out on top due to his past competition and experience in the UFC.

Middleweight Bout – Jorge Rivera (18-8) vs. Constantinos Philippou (7-2) – Rivera is a tough guy, but I don’t think he has the skills to really compete at a high level in the UFC. Philippou is unproven, but I expect this hungry fighter to get past Rivera by TKO with some ground and pound in the second round.

Welterweight Bout – Rory MacDonald (11-1) vs. Mike Pyle (21-7-1) – Pyle is a great grappler, but so is MacDonald. I think MacDonald has the better striking and is just the overall more-skilled fighter. Look for the young Canadian to continue to rise up the rankings with a decision win over the one-dimensional Pyle.

UFC 133 Weigh-In Results: All main card fighters make weight

nullUFC 133 weigh ins took place on Friday evening and all of the main card fighters made weight for the event.

Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz (AP photo) had an intense stare down following their weigh ins. Evans played the role of the villain to the Philadelphia crowd while Ortiz pandered to the audience by wearing Philadelphia sports clothing. Despite just weighing a pound more at 205.8 to 204.4, Ortiz looks like a much bigger fighter than Evans.

In the co-main event, Vitor Belfort (185.4) and Yoshihiro Akiyama (184.6) made weight for their middleweight contest. The two are battling for position in division with Belfort possibly earning a title shot with an impressive win.

In an interesting contest, welterweights Rory MacDonald (170.6) and Mike Pyle (170.8) had an intense stare down of their own following their weigh ins. Pyle is the veteran looking to upset the promising star in MacDonald.

The lone fighter to not make weight on Friday was bantamweight, Ivan Menjivar, who weighed in at 138 pounds and opted to take the financial hit as opposed to attempt to lose two more pounds.

For complete weigh in results, check out the jump.

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