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.


UFC Live 4 Results & Recap: Brenneman upsets Story

nullNate Marquardt’s loss proved to be Charlie Brenneman’s gain.

“The Spaniard” had a crazy week in his own right, and it ended with him picking up a unanimous win over Rick Story in the co-main event of UFC Live 4 on Sunday night. It also all went down in his home town of Pittsburgh.

Originally scheduled to face T.J. Grant, Brenneman was told he wouldn’t have a fight early in the week after Grant came down with an illness.

Dana White and the UFC told Brenneman to make weight for Saturday and he would earn a winner’s payday. Somehow, that turned out to be a blessing for both parties as Nate Marquardt failed to get a license for his main event bout. Just 24 hours before UFC Live 4 took place, Brenneman was offered to fill in for Marquardt, and he accepted.

What happened in the octagon was Brenneman using his wrestling to keep Story on the ground for two rounds. Story won the third, but was unable to finish the scrappy Brenneman, who improves to 3-1 in the UFC with the win.

It was a tough spot for Story, who was looking to earn the biggest win in his MMA career and then had to take on a fight against an opponent he hadn’t trained for. To me, Story shouldn’t drop in the rankings, as he originally took the fight with Marquardt on short notice to raise his profile. Read the rest of this entry »


UFC Live 4 Picks & Predictions

nullThe show must go on!

Despite all the chaos surrounding Nate Marquardt and the main event of UFC Live 4, the event will still take place on Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET.

Here are my picks for the four main card bouts.

Heavyweight Bout – Cheick Kongo (25-6-2) vs. Pat Barry (6-2) – As much as I would like to see Barry win this fight, I think Kongo’s experience and grappling ability will pay off. Barry has the clear edge in terms of technical striking, but I expect Kongo to push Barry against the cage and win the clinch battle and also score some takedowns to get a decision victory.

Welterweight Bout – Rick Story (13-3) vs. Charlie Brenneman (13-2) – This is a tough spot for Rick Story as it is really lose-lose. He now fights a lesser opponent on 24 hours notice, and that guy is fully prepared for a war, since he was originally scheduled to fight on the card anyway. Brenneman has everything to gain in this fight. Still, I suspect Story will have the skills to control the fight and earn a tough decision.

Welterweight Bout – John Howard (14-6) vs. Matt Brown (13-10) – I am actually going to predict an upset in this one and go with Brown. Brown has done well against strikers and Howard has struggled lately against guys that can pack a punch and negate his striking. Brown also can mix in some takedowns and put on relentless pressure. I will take Brown to win by submission in the third round.

Heavyweight Bout – Matt Mitrione (4-0) vs. Christian Morecraft (7-1) – I like Mitrione to continue his rise up the ranks. He really has a nice diverse striking style that is tough for opponents to counter. I don’t suspect Morecraft has the striking or the grappling to really stop Mitrione from winning this fight. Give me the meathead by decision.


UFC Live 4 Odds: Story Favored To Beat Marquardt

nullThe odds for UFC Live 4 have been released, courtesy of BetOnFighting.com, and there are some interesting betting lines for the event.

In the main event, Rick Story is actually favored at -130 against Nate Marquardt, who is making his welterweight debut with a money line of +100.

Story is on a nice run, but Marquardt seems to have the better package to me. Marquardt may not be getting the respect due to his past struggles with wrestlers, but Story doesn’t have the same size that Marquardt had to deal with when he fought the likes of Chael Sonnen and Yushin Okami.

In the co-main event, Cheick Kongo is favored to beat Pat Barry as Kongo has a line of -205 while Barry has odds of +165.

Kongo has the experience factor on Barry, who has still not quite lived up to his potential. Barry has really been drilling his ground game, which will be key in this contest.

For complete odds for each of Sunday’s fights, check out the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »


UFC Live 4 Preview: Pat Barry vs. Cheick Kongo

nullThe heavyweight division is too big for the likes of Pat Barry and Cheick Kongo to both survive.

So, that is why it is important for both men to get a win on Sunday night when they face off at UFC Live 4 from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

Here is a look at both sluggers coming into this contest.

Pat Barry (6-2) – Pat Barry is a legend in his own mind. The kickboxer has some tremendous skills, but his failure to build on those skills have led to some poor losses to Tim Hague and Mirko CroCop. Barry has the skills to beat a lot of top level fighters, but he needs to develop better grappling skills and have more of a killer instinct. In this fight, he will likely have a striking edge, but he will lack the overall size that Kongo has and may not have the grappling skills to match his opponent.

Cheick Kongo (15-6-2) – Kongo isn’t as intimidating as he looks. He fights very stiff and doesn’t have a lot of good technique in any area of the fight game. His striking can be powerful, but it isn’t crisp. His grappling is okay, but not great. For this fight, he isn’t going to want to stand in front of Barry much, as he will have to eat some pretty bad leg kicks to do so. Look for Kongo to fight in the clinch and put his weight on Barry to tire him out.

Who Will Win: This is a tough one to call. Both men have obvious flaws. I think Barry has more potential, but Kongo has the experience to win this fight. I think Barry’s lack of grappling skills will be a big factor in this contest. As much as I would like to see a kickboxer like Barry win, I think Kongo will pull out a decision in this one.