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The octagon returned to Florida for the first time since 2012 with a huge heavyweight tilt between top contenders Travis Browne and Fabricio Werdum plus a stacked card from top to bottom. In the end, it was Werdum who completely outclassed Browne, weathering an early storm from Browne and outclassing him in the later rounds both standing and on the ground to earn a unanimous decision.

Heavyweights opened up the card in a fight between two UFC debutantes in Jack May and Derrick Lewis. May was winning the first round until he blew his knee out on a takedown. Following that, Lewis teed off on him against the cage to pick up a TKO victory. Following the fight, Lewis told Joe Rogan in the cage that he felt “asleep”, and that Bruce Buffer had “hypnotized” him.

Following that, two extremely hyped prospects collided in the featherweight division. Mirsad Bektic and Chas Skelly fought to a three-round decision filled with entertaining spots. In the second round, Skelly landed two hard knees to Bektic against the cage when Bektic had his hand down and was deducted a point. Bektic appeared to be in la-la land inbetween rounds but came to in the third and showed crisp striking to pick up the victory.

To close out the Fight Pass prelims, flyweights Dustin Ortiz and prospect Ray Borg fought to a split decision. Borg displayed amazing ground technique and came extremely close to sinking in a rear naked choke many times. Ortiz clearly showed much stronger striking but a lack in the ground department. In the end, Ortiz took a split decision home through his superior striking and clinch work.

Jordan Mein and Hermani Perpetuo fought to a split decision where Mein displayed some serious ground and pound, especially in the first round. He seemed to let off the gas a bit as Perpetuo eeked out the third round on many scorecards. Mein would take rounds 1 and 2 on two scorecards for the split decision victory. Caio “Hellboy” Magalhaes then dominated Luke Zachrich in a 44 second TKO by punches.

Undefeated Alex White then fought Estevan Payan and scored a TKO in just 1 minute and 28 seconds. White landed a big jab that dropped Payan against the fence and then landed six clean undefended shots. Payan contested the stoppage, but it was evident that he was out.

Four unanimous decisions in a row came next as Jorge Masvidal defeated Pat Healy, Thiago Alves defeated Seth Baczynski, undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Rafael dos Anjos, and Yoel Romero defeated Brad Tavares. Masvidal displayed much improves speed and striking to defeat the very durable Healy. Alves, returning to the UFC after nearly two years, outstruck Baczynski and showed no sign of ring rust. Nurmagomedov looked as impressive as ever against his highest-ranked opponent yet, showing off his obviously world-class wrestling. Romero also displayed his Olympic-level wrestling, landing 7 of 12 takedowns and dominating Tavares through three rounds.

In what many expected to be the fight of the night, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Edson Barboza lit up their striking games and displayed great chins. Barboza landed hard shots in the beginning of the round and took hard shots from Cerrone but was dropped by a jab late in the round. Cerrone jumped right on his back, sunk in a choke, and finished the fight at 3:15 of the very first round.

Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche looked to get back on the winning track in Orlando, and it was a close one. Carmouche displayed great wrestling and took Miesha down several times in the first half of the fight but Tate took control late. I actually scored round 3 10-8 for Miesha, but in the end she won a unanimous decision.

In the main event of the evening, Fabricio Werdum dominated Travis Browne, showing excellent improvement and his striking and continued his position as the best ground game in the heavyweight division. Post-fight, it was revealed that Browne had broken his hand in the first round and perhaps had a broken rib. Nevertheless, Werdum solidified himself as the #1 contender for Cain Velasquez when he returns, perhaps set for a huge collision in Mexico City later this year.

Five Things we Learned at UFC on Fox 11

1. Fabricio Werdum’s striking is not to be underestimated. Werdum showed a granite chin and a vastly improved striking game, landing several hard shots in the second and third rounds before letting off the gas a little in the fourth.

2. The Lightweight division is becoming very interesting. 155 pounds has always been an interesting division, but it became even more interesting tonight. Khabib Nurmagomedov remains undefeated, Cowboy is storming back into the top 5, and Jorge Masvidal is back on track.

3. The UFC has a ton of great prospects coming in. Mirsad Bektic, Chas Skelly, Alex White, and Ray Borg all had very good showings tonight.

4. Thiago Alves doesn’t suffer from ring rust apparently. Alves didn’t skip a beat in his decision victory against Seth Baczynski and noted his desire to fight twice more this year.

5. Florida is back on the UFC’s radar. Following a disastrous showing in Miami, Dana White was very vocal about his hesitancy to return to Florida. Orlando showed up big tonight, giving the UFC one of its highest attendances for a non-PPV show and making a ton in gate money. The viewership should be interesting to see as well.

Storyline to Watch

Donald Cerrone’s 2014 crusade continues. Cerrone has two finishes in four months so far this year and is well on track to get his wish of six fights this year. It’ll be interesting to see who he gets next- he’s currently ranked 8th and many people are either injured(Grant) or not willing to fight at the moment(Diaz, Thomson). Bobby Green just pulled out of his fight against Jim Miller next week in Baltimore and Cerrone noted his desire to fill in, but fighters receive mandatory medical suspensions and probably won’t be able to do that. If that doesn’t happen, a bout between him and Khabib Nurmagomedov seems to make sense.

Prospect to Watch

Mirsad Bektic, even though he received a few illegal knees and was roughed up, has massive hype behind him and could do very well in a short amount of time in a very top-heavy featherweight division. No clue who he gets next but it should be interesting to see where he goes from here regardless.

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That time again folks. Let’s get right into it. I’ve added betting lines, current records, and x-factors to all fights. Betting lines are as of today(1/29) at around 5 PM EST.

INJURY BREAKDOWN

Of course the most prevalent story/injury on this card was that Dominick Cruz, the bantamweight champion who had been our for two years after double reconstructive surgery on his ACL, was scheduled to fight interim champion Renan Barao to determine the true champion. Cruz, however, tore his groin and was forced out of the bout. He was replaced by Urijah Faber, who previously fought Barao to determine the interim champion at UFC 149.

Abel Trujillo was expected to face Bobby Green at this event but was forced out with an injury and was replaced by Jamie Varner.

PREDICTIONS

RENAN BARAO(31-1) VS URIJAH FABER(30-6)
Current betting line: Barao(-325) Faber(+250)

It seems like after the last fight we questioned whether or not Faber would ever get another title shot, yet here he is after rattling off four dominant wins over Ivan Menjivar, Scott Jorgensen, Iuri Alcantara, and Michael McDonald.

Faber has a serious problem with taking a ton of damage to his lead leg. Aldo completely destroyed Faber’s leg with kicks and Barao didn’t do much less. Faber will want to get on the inside, but the problem is that Barao is a majorly defensive fighter and controls the distance extremely well. If Faber can’t get inside, stands in the pocket and takes a heavy volume of leg kicks, it could be a short night.

Going back to Barao’s defensive style, his defensive wrestling is excellent. Faber is great on the mat, but it won’t do much help if he can’t get there. And, again, if Faber has trouble getting on the inside, matwork won’t do much help.

The X-factor for this one is Faber’s speed. Barao has a bit of a plodding style, and if Faber can utilize his speed to frustrate Barao, get on the inside, shoot for takedowns, he could take this.

In the end, I think Barao is a bit more complete fighter. He has a great way of keeping opponents on the outside and that’s why he’s been so successful. Faber definitely has a shot, especially if he comes in looking like he did against Michael McDonald, but I think Barao takes this one to retain the belt, and I think it’ll happen by TKO.

PREDICTION: Barao via 3rd round TKO

JOSE ALDO(23-1) VS RICARDO LAMAS(13-2) 
Current betting line: Aldo(-570) Lamas(+430)

Ricardo Lamas has been on fire since dropping down to Featherweight. In this fight, however, he’s going to have a very tough time. I want to pick him so bad but it’s just a terrible matchup. Aldo will light him up on the feet with punches and kicks, so Lamas is going to want to put him on his back.

Putting Aldo on his back is going to be near-impossible, however, because Aldo has such an uncanny ability to push opponents back constantly. If you look at the Zombie fight, even when Aldo was shooting for takedowns because of his inability to throw kicks he was still pushing Jung back against the fence.

Lamas is an excellent counter-puncher and likes to keep the pace with his jab. He needs to throw caution to the wind here. Anyone who fights a cautious fight against Jose Aldo is going to get demolished, plain and simple. The reason for that is Aldo is so good at keeping up the pressure.

The X-factor in this fight is going to be Lamas’s ability to swarm his opponent when they’re in danger. We saw in the Koch fight that Lamas performs so well when he smells blood in the water. If Lamas can catch Aldo with a big punch, maybe knock him down, it could be lights out for Jose Aldo.

PREDICTION: Jose Aldo via 2nd round TKO

ALISTAIR OVEREEM(36-13) VS FRANK MIR(16-8)

Current betting line: Alistair Overeem(-325) Frank Mir(+250)

The loser of this fight could easily be getting their walking papers, but I honestly think these two are at entirely different points in their careers. Overeem is just on the bad side of a few losses, but Mir is on his way out of MMA entirely. Immediately that bodes well for Overeem.

The outcome of this fight comes down to the first few minutes of the first round in my mind. If Frank Mir can weather an early storm by Overeem, he could take it to the ground and submit Overeem. But I think Overeem is gonna come out swinging. He knows Mir has a suspect chin and was downed by knees against Josh Barnett.

Can the X-factor in this fight be anything but Overeem’s motivation/attitude? We’ve seen Overeem get cocky in his last two fights and get knocked out in both of them, and obviously Frank Mir has a chance to do the same.

PREDICTION: Alistair Overeem via 1st round KO

JOHN LINEKER(23-6) VS ALI BAGAUTINOV(12-2)

Current betting line: Ali Bagautinov(-135) John Lineker(+105)

I love this fight so much. Two flyweights with huge power is sure to provide fireworks. I’m also a big fan of Bagautinov, and think he poses and interesting threat to most flyweights in the division.

Despite his love for punching, Bagautinov can’t rely on it too much and get into a boxing match with Lineker, because he’ll have a really tough time. People often forget that Bagautinov is a world-class grappler and that’s a huge advantage for him. Lineker has been submitted in three of his six losses, notably to Louis Gaudinot and Felipe Arantes.

If Bagautinov can take this fight to the ground it can be the difference maker. He’ll be able to keep himself out of Lineker’s huge power and be able to submit him.

The X-factor here is Lineker’s ability to make weight. If Lineker misses weight again, he’ll probably come into the fight a bit demotivated, considering he’ll probably get cut if he misses weight again or be forced to move up to 135.

PREDICTION: Bagautinov via third round submission

ABEL TRUJILLO(11-5) VS JAMIE VARNER(21-8-1)

Current betting line: Abel Trujillo(+125) Jamie Varner(-155)

Tough fight to pick. Varner should look to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s strategy and use his wrestling to wear down Trujillo, but we’ve seen in the past that Varner would much rather go for broke and look to knock someone out or submit them.

You wouldn’t know it if you looked at his fight with Nurmagomedov, but Trujillo loves to take the fight to the mat and submit people, something Varner has been susceptible to.

The X-factor here is Trujillo’s defensive wrestling. If he takes control of the wrestling it could be a short night for Varner, but I don’t think it will go that way. I still like Trujillo to take it, but it’ll probably be a snoozefest.

PREDICTION: Trujillo via unanimous decision

UNDERCARD PREDICTIONS

John Makdessi def. Alan Patrick
Chris Cariaso def. Danny Martinez
Nick Catone def. Tom Watson
Al Iaquinta def. Kevin Lee
Clint Hester def. Andy Enz
Rashid Magomedov def. Tony Martin
Neil Magny def. Gasan Umalatov

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Don “The Predator” Frye is at it again, this time predicting all the winners for UFC 169: Urijah Faber vs. Renan Bararo.  The show is for Don Frye’s entertainment and not yours, so if you don’t like it go watch the view.

As always Don brings you his predictions slathered in booze, vulgarity and nice hooters.  He has to resort to a coin flip during the Overeem vs Mir matchup, but you will enjoy where he get’s the coin.

“…he’s like the tasmanian devil on crack…”

Don Frye’s Predictions

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It’s that time again folks: time for my preview and predictions of UFC on Fox 10. My current record for main card predictions through 3 events is 12-3. Headlined by a key matchup in the 155-pound division, former champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson takes on gritty veteran Josh “The Punk” Thomson. Henderson lost his title back at UFC 164 in August to Anthony Pettis after defending the belt 3 times against Frankie Edgar, Nate Diaz, and Gilbert Melendez. Pettis was the supposed to take on Thomson at UFC on Fox 9, but Pettis pulled out of the fight requiring knee surgery, so this matchup between “Smooth” and “The Punk” was set up. Who knows what this fight will lead to, as Pettis is still injured, we have TJ Grant(who was promised a title shot way back in May before suffering a concussion, which he has still not been cleared to come back from), no one seems to want to fight Russian wrestler Khabib Nurmagomedov, and our ole favorite Nate Diaz seems to want to sit around waiting for a title shot. Needless to say, the lightweight division is definitely interesting.

In the co-main event, rising heavyweight Stipe Miocic, who’s coming off a huge win over fan favorite Roy Nelson, takes on Brazilian veteran Gabriel Gonzaga. Gonzaga has won two straight, a 17-second knockout of Dave Herman at UFC 162 and another quick knockout of Shawn Jordan at UFC 166. Also on this card is a strangely-booked lightweight bout between Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Adriano Martins, and a featherweight bout between Darren “The Damage” Elkins and Jeremy “Lil Heathen” Stephens.

INJURY BREAKDOWN

Jared Rosholt was expected to face Oleksiy Oliynyk at this event, but Oliynyk was injured and Rosholt was pulled from the card.

A bout between Adam Khaliev and Pascal Krauss was expected to take place here, but both men were injured and forced off the card.

PREDICTIONS
BENSON HENDERSON VS JOSH THOMSON
Both of these men are BJJ black belts. Both of them have excellent stats in the wrestling department. Both of them have experience going 25 minutes. This is definitely going to be a tightly contested matchup. My only concern is whether or not Thomson can handle the volume of strikes that Henderson will throw at him. Thomson did fight Gilbert Melendez three times and in their third fight he took a staggering 132 total strikes(77 of them significant). So I believe he’ll be able to hang with Henderson’s striking capacity. Thus, this fight is about split down the middle.

However, Henderson has shown in the past the he has the uncanny ability to do just enough to take home a decision, especially in the second Edgar fight and in the Melendez fight. And I think he’ll do it again Saturday, based solely on the absence of intangibles that push the fight in either direction.

PREDICTION: Henderson via unanimous decision

STIPE MIOCIC VS GABRIEL GONZAGA 
Gabriel Gonzaga obviously has the capacity to knock anyone out. And he is very decorated with his jiu jitsu. But Stipe Miocic is such a talented wrestler that it’ll be tough for Gonzaga to do anything on the mat. Miocic is also significantly younger, has a better gas tank, and isn’t known for his capacity to get knocked out.

PREDICTION: Miocic via unanimous decision

DONALD CERRONE VS ADRIANO MARTINS

Am I the only one who thinks this is a very strange matchup? Cerrone, a perennial top-ten guy, against a relative unknown in Martins. Martins may have an extensive record, but it’s mostly against nobodies in Brazil. And he only has two wins in any major promotions, one against Jorge Gurgel in Strikeforce and most recently to Daron Cruikshank at UFC Fight Night 32 back in November. Despite this, Cerrone is much more experienced and a way better striker. I don’t see any way Cerrone doesn’t win this fight.

PREDICTION: Cerrone via 2nd round (T)KO

DARREN ELKINS VS JEREMY STEPHENS
Interesting fight. This is a typical grappler vs striker matchup. It’s simple: if Elkins wants to erase his KO loss to Chad Mendes and all the criticism about his chin that came with it, he needs to use his wrestling to stop Stephens from landing that big KO punch. However, if he’s going to be wrestling at all he needs to be willing to take shots in the clinch and on the outside. He can’t stand and trade with Stephens or it will end bad. Stephens is no slouch on the ground, though, with a black belt in jiu-jitsu, “Lil Heathen” could surprise us with his overall game. Still, based on Stephens’s inconsistency, I like Elkins to weather the storm and take home a decision

PREDICTION: Elkins via split decision

UNDERCARD PREDICTIONS
Sergio Pettis def. Alex Caceres
Eddie Wineland def. Yves Jabouin
Chico Camus def. Yaotzin Meza
Hugo Viana def. Junior Hernandez
Daron Cruikshank def. Mike Rio
Mike Rhodes def. George Sullivan
Walt Harris def. Nikita Krylov

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One of the most stacked cards of the year kicks off Saturday night from the SleepTrain Arena in Sacramento, California: UFC on Fox 9. The main card features a title fight rematch between Demetrious “Mighty Mouse Johnson and Joseph Benavidez, a highly anticipated bout between two bantamweight superstars in Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald, A featherweight matchup featuring Chad Mendes and Nik Lentz, and two lightweight fighters with their back against the wall in Joe Lauzon vs Mac Danzig. The full event card is as follows:

  • Demetrious Johnson(c) vs Joseph Benavidez
  • Urijah Faber vs Michael McDonald
  • Chad Mendes vs Nik Lentz
  • Joe Lauzon vs Mac Danzig
  • Court McGee vs Ryan LaFlare
  • Danny Castillo vs Edson Barboza
  • Bobby Green vs Pat Healy
  • Scott Jorgenson vs Zach Makovsky
  • Abek Trujillo vs Roger Bowling
  • Cody McKenzie vs Sam Stout
  • Darren Uyenoyama vs Alptekin Ozkilic

INJURY BREAKDOWN

This card has been hit with the injury bug big time. The card was first supposed to feature a lightweight title bout between Anthony Pettis and TJ Grant, however Grant told the UFC in late October that he was still facing the concussion symptoms that had forced him out of a bout with then-champion Benson Henderson at UFC 164 in August and would not be able to fight. Former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson stepped in to face Pettis on the card, but Pettis was subsequently forced off the card with a knee injury(and later forced to have surgery on his knee) and the fight was scrapped. Demetrious Johnson vs Joseph Benavidez II was moved from the TUF 18 finale card to this event.

Ian McCall was originally scheduled to fight flyweight newcomer Scott Jorgenson on this event, but McCall was forced off the card with a hand injury and replaced by former title challenger John Dodson. Dodson was revealed last week to have suffered a knee injury and was forced out of the bout, replaced by former RFA flyweight champion Zach Makovsky.

Jamie Varner was expected to face Pat Healy at this event but suffered an injury and was replaced by Bobby Green. Kelvin Gastelum was expected to face Court McGee in a welterweight bout but suffered a knee injury and was replaced by Ryan LaFlare. Former title challenger John Moraga was expected to face Darren Uyenoyama but also suffered an injury and was replaced by newcomer Alptekin Ozkilic.

Finally, a highly-anticipated bout between former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit and surging striker Matt Brown was expected to take place here, but Brown herniated two discs in his lower back and was forced off the card. Carlos Condit was also pulled off this card and is expected to fight at UFC 170 against an unnamed opponent.

PREDICTIONS

JOHNSON VS BENAVIDEZ II

A rematch of a previous fight for the inaugural UFC Flyweight Championship, Johnson won the previous fight via back-and-forth split decision in a classic fight. Since then, Johnson has defended his title against John Dodson via unanimous decision and John Moraga via round 5 armbar. Since his loss to “Mighty Mouse”, Benavidez has rattled off three impressive wins: a unanimous decision victory of Ian McCall, a round 2 knockout of Darren Uyenoyama, and most recently a TKO victory over Jussier Formiga back in September.

I think this fight will be different from the last, Benavidez has improved massively on the feet(arguably due to Duane Ludwig’s role in Team Alpha Male) and his quickness will be too much for Mighty Mouse. I don’t think he will knock out Johnson, but he will win the fight.

PICK: Benavidez via decision

URIJAH FABER VS MICHAEL MCDONALD

This is a highly anticipated fight that materialized after UFC Fight Night 26 in Boston where Michael McDonald impressively submitted Brad Pickett and Urijah Faber defeated Iuri Alcantara via decision.

This fight is incredibly hard for me to pick. I think both guys have major advantages in certain areas, McDonald on the feet and Faber on the ground. Faber’s grappling is incredible, the way he transitions from side to side and gets those chokes is crazy. However, no bantamweight hits harder than McDonald. The real story of this fight is a potential changing of the guard. If Faber can keep this on the ground it’ll be a bad night for McDonald but I don’t see that happening.

PREDICTION: McDonald via round 3 TKO

CHAD MENDES VS NIK LENTZ

Lentz is an interesting test for Mendes. he’s a real tough guy who gets in your face. However, with Chad Mendes probably being just one win away from a title fight, Mendes 2.0 will be in full force Saturday night.

PICK: Mendes via round 1 TKO

JOE LAUZON VS MAC DANZIG

Joe Lauzon is the definition of a hot and cold fighter. After a huge win in an amazing fight with Jamie Varner, Lauzon has lost two straight, a Fight of the Night performance against Jim Miller and a real stinker against Michael Johnson. Lauzon has never lost three in a row and I expect him to come up big against a guy who really shouldn’t even be in the UFC in Mac Danzig.

PREDICTION: Lauzon via round 2 submission

UNDERCARD PREDICTIONS

Court McGee def. Ryan LaFlare via decision
Edson Barboza def. Danny Castillo via decision
Bobby Green def. Pat Healy via round 3 TKO
Scott Jorgenson def. Zach Makovsky via decision
Abel Trujillo def. Roger Bowling via round 3 TKO
Cody McKenzie def. Sam Stout via round 2 submission
Darren Uyenoyama def. Alptekin Ozkilic via decision

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So, I was wracking my brain yesterday thinking of some interesting things to do on the blog to keep active and updated. I think the preview/predictions post for each event will be a mainstay. Live blogs will happen during the events. Event reviews will happen 24 hours after the event, those will have my thoughts on the card as a whole, where each fighter should go from there, things like that. I decided that to start out I would begin doing division rundowns, beginning with heavyweight and ending with flyweight. After that I thought I could do some prospect roundups, examining their skills and weaknesses, how much potential they have, things like that. And then we’ll go from there. Obviously I’ll write posts on current MMA happenings and things. So I’ll be writing the following:

  • Event previews and predictions(in the week leading to the event)
  • Live blogs for each event(during events)
  • Event reviews(one day after event)
  • Division rundowns(beginning tomorrow 12/11/13 running to 12/19/13)
  • Prospect analysis
  • Write-ups on current happenings

Any ideas on cool things to do on this blog would be welcome, and as always thanks for visiting!

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Photo credit to MMAFighting.com

It wasn’t too big of a shocker that long-time welterweight champion and future UFC hall of famer Georges St-Pierre left the sport back in early December for “personal reasons”. He stated after UFC 167 that he needed time away, and prior to his bout at UFC 167 rumors were flying around, in addition to statements from his managers and mentors, that St-Pierre would be retiring in the cage if he won. Surely enough, St-Pierre announced after the fight that he would be “taking some time away” before officially vacating the belt and walking away from the sport in early December.

Now, a month later, St-Pierre claims that it wasn’t only personal reasons that forced him into walking away from the sport.

Prior to his fight against Johny Hendricks back at UFC 167, Hendricks and St-Pierre both claimed they had interest in doing extra drug testing leading up to their fight. Hendricks proposed they use VADA, or the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. St-Pierre agreed and even offered to pay for Hendricks’ testing. Hendricks backed off however, stating he had questions about VADA’s impartiality.

Today, in an interview with RDS.ca, St-Pierre fired off at the UFC for not supporting him in extra testing for his fight against Hendricks.

“I tried to change the sport.” he said. “Unfortunately, there were other people, for different reasons, maybe for money, maybe in fear of losing money, because if you cancelled the fight because someone tested positive there are millions of dollars [lost]. Also, the sport’s image. If you start testing everyone, how many will get caught? I don’t want to say in public because I don’t want to accuse anyone, but the sport’s image will be hurt.

“Don’t forget, I have internal information. I am an athlete. I know what goes on, so that disappointed me greatly.” St-Pierre said.

St-Pierre ended up being the only one tested by VADA and hinted at his feelings regarding the matter in his conference call announcing his vacating if the belt. Many speculated this was part of the reason that St-Pierre walked away, and several media members asked UFC president Dana White about it on the conference call. White simply responded “no.”

“The only thing I want to say is, I wanted to do something to help those who are honest in this sport. Believe me or not, I never did drugs in my life. I’ll take a lie detector test, I don’t care. I’m for anti-doping tests. I think it’s a big problem in the sport.

“This is a relatively new sport. There’s only one organization that has a monopoly, so the fighters don’t have much power. They can’t really talk because if one says what he thinks, he will get punished.

“If we want the sport to be accepted worldwide, like baseball, hockey, football, soccer, I believe it’s the thing to do. I think it’s a matter of time before it happens, it’s just that I tried to make it happen now. Maybe they didn’t like the idea because if I did it now, it would lead to others doing it and that’s not something they wanted to happen.

“It disappointed me. You know there are things I can’t say. I’m holding back. I’m a public person.”

St-Pierre says his family was very supportive of his decision to walk away from the sport, but St-Pierre still left the possibility of a return open, depending on what happens with drugs in the sport in the next few years or so.

“No one wants to talk about it, but I think we need to talk about it. It’s a problem.” St-Pierre said in regards to drugs in MMA.

“I wanted to remain diplomatic, but unfortunately there were people who weren’t ready to change things. I’m certain it’s a question of time. And maybe if things change one day, I’ll return.”

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A great card that’s been flying under the radar is happening this Wednesday: #6 middleweight Luke Rockhold, who’s coming off a devastating head kick KO at the hands of Vitor Belfort back in May, fights #10 ranked middleweight Costa Philippou. Philippou lost a unanimous decision to Francis Carmont back at UFC 165 in September. In the co-main event, Hawaiian standout Brad Tavares faces off against Team Monsoon fighter Lorenz Larkin. Also on the card is a bantamweight matchup between TJ Dillashaw and Mike Easton, a great fight between Yoel Romero and Derek Brunson, and others. Let’s take a look.

INJURY BREAKDOWN

Thiago Silva was expected to face Ovince St. Preux at this event, but pulled out for undisclosed reasons and the bout was rescheduled for UFC 171.

Deadly Russian striker Adlan Amagov was expected to fight Jason High at this event, but pulled out and was replaced by Beneil Dariush. High then pulled out of the bout after having appendicitis and was replaced by veteran Charlie Brenneman.

PREDICTIONS 

LUKE ROCKHOLD VS COSTA PHILIPPOU

This is a really great middleweight matchup. Rockhold has a big advantage in a few areas: He’s got a longer reach, he’s taller, and he’s a bit younger, generally considered to be in his prime. But Costa needs a win here bad. He was just beaten by Francis Carmont, a fight he had the tools to win. He needs to come out here with that killer instinct. Philippou’s loss to Carmont was way worse than Rockhold’s loss to Vitor. Costa has something to prove, and I think he’ll go out there and get it done.

PREDICTION: Philippou via unanimous decision

BRAD TAVARES VS LORENZ LARKIN

Tough fight to pick. Tavares is definitely a live dog here, he’s agressive but smart at the same time. Larkin is coming off a win over Chris Camozzi at Fight for the Troops 3 while Tavares is coming off a win over Bubba McDaniel. Neither of these guys have big KO power and I think this one will be contested mostly on the ground, and therefore this one, in my mind, comes down to who can defend the takedown better and take control when on the mat. I think Tavares has the wrestling to get it done in this one.

PREDICTION: Tavares via unanimous decision

TJ DILLASHAW VS MIKE EASTON

Easton is another guy on this card who really needs a win bad. He’s coming off two straight losses to Rafael Assuncao and Brad Pickett. Dillashaw is coming off one loss to Rafael Assuncao, a fight many thought he did enough to win. Dillashaw has great power in his hands and has devastating knees, but Easton has shown his resiliency when taking hard shots. Tough to pick, but I’ll go with Dillashaw here.

PREDICTION: Dillashaw via split decision

YOEL ROMERO VS DEREK BRUNSON

Both of these men are wrestling standouts, but Romero has shown his striking power before, especially in the Ronny Markes fight. Brunson would be wise to look for the takedown in this one, but needs to be careful in doing so as Romero has been known to land some brutal combinations to stagger his opponent and keep them from securing the takedown. Based on the striking x-factor, I like Romero in this one.

PREDICTION: Yoel Romero via 2nd round TKO

JOHN MORAGA VS DUSTIN ORTIZ
This fight is a mismatch in my mind. Moraga, coming off a title fight loss to Demetrious Johnson, is better everywhere, especially on the mat. Moraga has never been finished by strikes, something Ortiz favors heavily. I don’t see any way Moraga doesn’t win this fight, and I think he’ll do it fairly quickly.

PREDICTION: Moraga via 1st round submission

COLE MILLER VS SAM SICILIA
The first fight on the main card here is a featherweight matchup between renowned grappler and jiu-jitsu black belt Cole Miller vs heavy-handed Sam Sicilia. If this fight goes to the ground, expect Miller to dominate. But if it stays standing, it plays right into Sicilia’s strengths. Tough fight to pick, but I think Miller has the ability to take some shots and get the fight to the ground in order to get the victory. I’m expecting a war between these two though.

PREDICTION: Miller via split decision

UNDERCARD PREDICTIONS

Ramsey Nijem def. Justin Edwards
Elias Silverio def. Isaac Vallie-Flagg
Trevor Smith def. Brian Houston
Alptekin Ozkilic def. Louis Smolka
Vinc Pichel def. Garrett Whiteley
Charlie Brenneman def. Beneil Dariush

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UFC Middleweight champion Chris Weidman’s previous run-ins with Anderson Silva were full of respect, dignity, and class. It looks like his fight with #1 contender Vitor Belfort, who has rattled off three straight head kick knockouts, will be totally different.

Weidman appeared on Ariel Helwani’s show The MMA Hour Monday to discuss his bout with Belfort, amongst other things, and had plenty to say about Belfort’s use of Testosterone Replacement Therapy(TRT). Belfort has drawn massive criticism for his use of TRT because of his past steroid bust in 2006 after his fight with Dan Henderson.

“How old is Vitor now, 36? And he’s allowed to have the testosterone of a 17-year old? I don’t think TRT belongs in the sport, where it’s a combat sport.” Weidman said.

The champ knows he’s going to have to face these questions about TRT and steroids over and over again leading up to this massive fight with Belfort, but the way he sees it, he’s got nothing to worry about.

“It’s more of a cloud for him.” Weidman said. “He’s the one who got cheating once. Now he’s taking TRT and I don’t think it’s right. I did hear from other TRT users, not to mention names, but I’ve heard TRT is a good way to cover up other things. I don’t know much about the business these guys are in, but that doesn’t seem cool to me, for a guy who’s not taking anything.”

Weidman also had some strong words on how he feels about this fight.

“I feel like I’m on another level.” Weidman said. “I think it’s a great fight for me, but I think I can beat him no matter what he’s on. I actually take more privilege if I’m beating up a juicehead, if that’s what you consider him.”

Weidman and Belfort’s bout is tentatively scheduled to take place in Vegas, where Nevada State Athletic Commision president Keith Kizer has stated Belfort will not be given a therapeutic use exemption(TUE) for continued use of his TRT. The fight is supposed to take place sometime in May or July.

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Matt Brown will not need surgery after all and his doctors are hopeful the MMA fighter can return in February.  Brown had to pull out of his much anticipated welterweight showdown with Carlos Condit at UFC on Fox 9  because of herniated discs.

“The Immortal would fight tomorrow if the decision were up to him” according to Brown’s wife. “If it is up to him, it’ll be sooner.  He’s very restless.  Can’t wait to get back in there”

 Matt Brown had won six straight fights before being injured.

 

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UFC president Dana White announced today during an afternoon edition of Sportscenter that UFC Brantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, who has been out of action since October 2011 after double ACL surgery, had torn his groin and would vacate the UFC Bantamweight champion. Interim champion Renan Barao, who is undefeated in his past 32 fights and has not lost in close to nine years, will be promoted to the official Bantamweight champion.

With Cruz out of the matchup, perennial 135 pound contender Urijah Faber will fight Barao for the second time. The two previously met at UFC 149 in July of 2012, with Barao winning a unanimous decision. Since then, Faber has rattled of four dominating wins again Ivan Menjivar, Scott Jorgensen, Iuri Alcantara, and most recently Michael McDonald.

Barao has two defenses of his interim title, a submission victory over Michael McDonald in February of 2013 and a brutal head kick KO of Eddie Wineland at UFC 165 in September.

In the co-main event, a Featherweight championship bout between long-reigning champion Jose Aldo and top contender Ricardo Lamas will take place. The UFC has stated that Barao/Faber II will remain in the main event slot, with Aldo-Lamas staying the co-main event. Both fights will be five round bouts.

Also on the card is what’s being called a “loser leaves town match” between former heavyweight interim champion Frank Mir and former Strikeforce, Dream, and K-1 Kickboxing heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. A key clash in the 125 pound division between surging Russian prospect Ali Bagautinov and oft-criticized Brazilian John Lineker will also take place, with the winner possibly getting a shot at the belt.

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The UFC’s first foray into Singapore and the first event on it’s brand new UFC Fight Pass network provided for a great night(morning i you’re in the US), as the final  Strikeforce welterweight Tarec Saffeidine snagged a unanimous decision victory over Korean fan favorite and rising prospect Hyun Gyu Lim in the main event of UFC Fight Night 34 at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore.

The two spent the first little bit feeling each other out, with Saffeidine frequently changing stances and angles, focusing his infamous leg kicks on Lim’s left leg. Saffeidine lost his balance and quickly got up, but not without a few knees from Lim. Lim then focused on going to the body, throwing some hard driving knees and then landed a hard right hand to end the round.

Lim came out in the second round hard and applied a ton of pressure, forcing Saffeidine to work from the outside. Saffeidine quickly turned the tables, however, and hit Lim with three nasty right hands that nearly dropped the Korean. Saffeidine also continued to apply pressure with the leg kicks to Lim’s lead left leg, and Lim had no answer to it.

Saffeidine dropped Lim with a mean two-punch combo to start the third. Lim got up quickly, but Saffeidine almost immediately got him to the ground after landing another hard right hand and shooting a double-leg. The two scrambled and Saffeidine hit the mat, but managed to get back to his feet. Saffeidine continued to pursue the lead leg kick, and dropped Lim twice with them. Saffeidine celebrated prematurely after the second leg kick that dropped Lim, but referee Leon Roberts did not stop the fight.

Round four was all Saffeidine, as Lim looked visibly tired and was on wobbly legs due to the continued abuse his legs were taking.  Saffeidine continued to apply pressure to the lead left leg, with Lim almost crumbling after every punishing blow. Saffeidine landed a hard knee to the body that dropped Lim. Following that, Saffeidine tried a few submissions with no success.

The fifth round began much the same as the previous, with Saffedine continuing to apply pressure to the lead left leg and almost dropping Lim with them. He dropped the Korean twice in the round with leg kicks, but didn’t want anything to do with fighting Lim on the ground, allowing Lim to stand up each time he dropped him. Lim landed a flurry of shots toward the end of the round, giving everything he had into the last few seconds, but couldn’t get it done that late in the fight.

The judges scored the contest 49-46, 48-47, and 48-47, all for Saffeidine.

“I was pretty hurt.” Saffeidine said, speaking of Lim’s efforts late in the fifth. “He caught me with a good punch. I got a bit dizzy, but was able to recover. He was really tough. He got prepared for me. He’s a great fighter.”

Saffeidine, in the post-fight presser, also spoke a bit on who he’d like to fight next. “I want to fight the top fighters, top 10 in the UFC.” Saffeidine said. “I want to fight those guys. I can’t wait to get back in the gym and train for those guys.”

Also on the card was a bout between fan favorite Tatsuya Kawajiri and American fighter Sean Soriano.

Soriano effectively withstood the takedown in the first until Kawajiri managed to get a trip against the cage, where the decorated Japanese submission artist went to work. Kawajiri took his back and tried a few chokes, but was unsuccessful. Following this, Kawajiri used a body triangle to set up indefensible strikes from his back.

The second was much different than the first, as Kawajiri immediately got the takedown and locked in a choke. Soriano tapped, but the ref didn’t see it, and Soriano passed out. The choke came at :50 of the 2nd round.

Take a look at the rest of the UFC Fight Night 32 results here:

Main card:
Tarec Saffiedine def. Hyun Gyu Lim via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)
Tatsuya Kawajiri def. Sean Soriano via submission (rear naked choke) at :50 of round 2 
Kiichi Kunimoto def. Luiz Dutra via DQ (illegal elbows) at 2:57 of round 1
Kyung-Ho Kang def. Shunichi Shimizu via submission (head and arm triangle) at 3:53 of round 3

Undercard:

Max Holloway def. Will Chope via TKO (strikes) at 2:27 of round 2
Katsunori Kikuno def. Quinn Mulhern via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Royston Wee def. Dave Galera via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Mairbek Taisumov def. Tae Hyun Bang via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Dustin Kimura def. Jon Delos Reyes via submission (armbar) at 2:13 of round 1
Russell Doane def. Leandro Issa via submission (triangle choke) at 4:59 of round 2

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The UFC’s first foray into Singapore and the first event on it’s brand new UFC Fight Pass network provided for a great night(morning i you’re in the US), as the final  Strikeforce welterweight Tarec Saffeidine snagged a unanimous decision victory over Korean fan favorite and rising prospect Hyun Gyu Lim in the main event of UFC Fight Night 34 at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore.

The two spent the first little bit feeling each other out, with Saffeidine frequently changing stances and angles, focusing his infamous leg kicks on Lim’s left leg. Saffeidine lost his balance and quickly got up, but not without a few knees from Lim. Lim then focused on going to the body, throwing some hard driving knees and then landed a hard right hand to end the round.

Lim came out in the second round hard and applied a ton of pressure, forcing Saffeidine to work from the outside. Saffeidine quickly turned the tables, however, and hit Lim with three nasty right hands that nearly dropped the Korean. Saffeidine also continued to apply pressure with the leg kicks to Lim’s lead left leg, and Lim had no answer to it.

Saffeidine dropped Lim with a mean two-punch combo to start the third. Lim got up quickly, but Saffeidine almost immediately got him to the ground after landing another hard right hand and shooting a double-leg. The two scrambled and Saffeidine hit the mat, but managed to get back to his feet. Saffeidine continued to pursue the lead leg kick, and dropped Lim twice with them. Saffeidine celebrated prematurely after the second leg kick that dropped Lim, but referee Leon Roberts did not stop the fight.

Round four was all Saffeidine, as Lim looked visibly tired and was on wobbly legs due to the continued abuse his legs were taking.  Saffeidine continued to apply pressure to the lead left leg, with Lim almost crumbling after every punishing blow. Saffeidine landed a hard knee to the body that dropped Lim. Following that, Saffeidine tried a few submissions with no success.

The fifth round began much the same as the previous, with Saffedine continuing to apply pressure to the lead left leg and almost dropping Lim with them. He dropped the Korean twice in the round with leg kicks, but didn’t want anything to do with fighting Lim on the ground, allowing Lim to stand up each time he dropped him. Lim landed a flurry of shots toward the end of the round, giving everything he had into the last few seconds, but couldn’t get it done that late in the fight.

The judges scored the contest 49-46, 48-47, and 48-47, all for Saffeidine.

“I was pretty hurt.” Saffeidine said, speaking of Lim’s efforts late in the fifth. “He caught me with a good punch. I got a bit dizzy, but was able to recover. He was really tough. He got prepared for me. He’s a great fighter.”

Saffeidine, in the post-fight presser, also spoke a bit on who he’d like to fight next. “I want to fight the top fighters, top 10 in the UFC.” Saffeidine said. “I want to fight those guys. I can’t wait to get back in the gym and train for those guys.”

Also on the card was a bout between fan favorite Tatsuya Kawajiri and American fighter Sean Soriano.

Soriano effectively withstood the takedown in the first until Kawajiri managed to get a trip against the cage, where the decorated Japanese submission artist went to work. Kawajiri took his back and tried a few chokes, but was unsuccessful. Following this, Kawajiri used a body triangle to set up indefensible strikes from his back.

The second was much different than the first, as Kawajiri immediately got the takedown and locked in a choke. Soriano tapped, but the ref didn’t see it, and Soriano passed out. The choke came at :50 of the 2nd round.

Take a look at the rest of the UFC Fight Night 32 results here:

Main card:
Tarec Saffiedine def. Hyun Gyu Lim via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)
Tatsuya Kawajiri def. Sean Soriano via submission (rear naked choke) at :50 of round 2 
Kiichi Kunimoto def. Luiz Dutra via DQ (illegal elbows) at 2:57 of round 1
Kyung-Ho Kang def. Shunichi Shimizu via submission (head and arm triangle) at 3:53 of round 3

Undercard:

Max Holloway def. Will Chope via TKO (strikes) at 2:27 of round 2
Katsunori Kikuno def. Quinn Mulhern via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Royston Wee def. Dave Galera via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Mairbek Taisumov def. Tae Hyun Bang via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Dustin Kimura def. Jon Delos Reyes via submission (armbar) at 2:13 of round 1
Russell Doane def. Leandro Issa via submission (triangle choke) at 4:59 of round 2

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Anderson Silva seems to be in betters spirits now after his brutal leg injury during his title fight against Chris Wiedman during their title fight this past Saturday.  He took to twitter and posted this picture following his surgery.

Silva had fighting on his mind before the surgery even took place:

“In the pre-op area, his question was, ‘When can I train?’” Sanders said. “And he asks every time I see him on my rounds – ‘When can I train?’ – and I always indicate to him he should be able to train. It’s important to be positive with your patient.”

Dr. Sanders believes that Silva could go back to training in as little as 6-9 months.

“In terms of the severity of the injury, it was fairly severe,” said Sanders, who called the injury one that trends toward being “unique” in his line of work. “But I can give examples of worse-case scenarios of what could have happened. The skin could’ve broken, which would have dramatically increased the chance of infection. He could have torn a blood vessel, which would hurt blood flow to the foot.”

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The questions were supposed to be answered. After a strange fight marred by controversy, this was supposed to be the end-all be-all. “Leave no Doubt”, the headline said. But this one also ended in odd, gruesome fashion.

Weidman and Silva came out to start the first round, and Weidman took the fight right to Anderson. They stood and traded for a bit, and then the champ tripped Anderson. Anderson got to the cage and stood up before landing a nasty knee to the body. Weidman then dropped Anderson with an overhand right, and almost had him knocked out, but Anderson weathered the storm. Weidman got into Anderson’s guard and landed brutal elbows before the round ended.

Round 2 was where things got hairy.

Weidman and Silva stood and traded for a bit, and then Anderson threw a hard leg kick which was checked by Weidman. This was the end. Silva’s shin broke in impact, dropping him to the floor in agony. The bout was immediately stopped by Herb Dean. Weidman knew it was over and began celebrating before going over and checking on Anderson.

Following the gruesome injury, the cameras did not show a replay and did not show Anderson on the ground for the remainder of the PPV broadcast. Reports from inside the MGM Grand state that doctors immediately put a cast on Anderson in the octagon, strapped him to a stretcher, and carted him out of the arena. Anderson screamed in agony as he was being carted off.

Following the end of the broadcast, UFC President Dana White gave some more info: Anderson was immediately undergoing surgery.

This wasn’t the way we wanted it to happen, but it did, and Chris Weidman is still the champion. He gets a bout with Vitor Belfort(24-10) next. Let’s take a look at some winners and losers.

WINNERS
Chris Weidman- It’s a bad way to get it done, but Chris Weidman is still the champion, and maybe his performance in the first round will silence some haters. Chris landed nasty elbows from top position and dropped Anderson before the injury. He gets a bout with Vitor Belfort next, which is a great test for him.

Ronda Rousey- Rousey utterly dominated Miesha Tate throughout their war and was never really in danger. Tate gave her the toughest fight of her career, but that’s not saying much. Ronda showed much-improved striking and especially a very powerful right hand, in addition to her already amazing judo game and groundwork. It was announced following the fight that Rousey would have a quick turnaround, facing Sara McMann as the main event of UFC 170 on February 22nd, 2014.

Uriah Hall- Hall proved that he belongs in the UFC after two lackluster performances and questions of his drive, determination, and “killer instinct” in the words of Dana White. Hall had a tough test in front of him with gritty veteran Chris Leben. Hall knocked Leben down in the first and just battered him with shots after that. Hal showed some hesitation in the middle of the round, but dropped Leben at the end of the 1st and came extremely close to knocking him out. Leben quit on the stool following the first round. Great performance by Hall.

LOSERS
Everyone- Everyone loses here, even Chris Weidman, even though I listed him as a winner. Weidman loses because people will still have questions about both his wins over Anderson. Silva loses because of obvious reasons. The UFC loses their biggest star. And the fans lose because we don’t get the fight we wanted to see.

Miesha Tate- Tate put up a valiant effort, but it wasn’t enough to beat the champ. She was the first to take Ronda out of the first round, but still lost to the armbar. Tate is now in the Junior dos Santos/Joseph Benavidez territory where she’s lost to the champ twice and probably won’t be getting a title shot any time soon.

Josh Barnett- After an impressive TKO victory over former champion Frank Mir, big things were expected by Barnett. But in his way was a monster named Travis Browne. After a hard right hook, Barnett went for the double leg but was pushed toward the cage and hit hard with four nasty elbows to the temple by Browne. I don’t think we’ll see Barnett, at his age, in the title picture any time soon.

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We’re just six days away from the most anticipated rematch in UFC history: Weidman vs Silva II. Hofstra University wrestling standout Chris Weidman stunned the world with his second-round knockout of the pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva back in July. Despite saying he wouldn’t be fighting for the belt after losing it, Silva signed on for the rematch and claims “I back. Trust me, I back:. Let’s take a look at the card and my predictions.

INJURY BREAKDOWN

A heavyweight bout between Shane del Rosario and Guto Inocente was supposed to take place on this card, however both men pulled out with injuries and we all know by now that del Rosario later suffered two sudden cardiac attacks and passed away on December 9th. In the co-main event of the evening, heated rivals Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate square off for a second time. However, Cat Zingano was originally supposed to get this title shot. Back at the TUF 17 finale in April, Zingano defeated Tate by TKO in the third round to win the coaching spot on TUF 18 and the future title shot. Unfortunately, Zingano blew out her knee in July and Tate was given the shot(and the coaching gig).

PREDICTIONS

CHRIS WEIDMAN VS ANDERSON SILVA

This fight comes as a rematch of the vicious knockout that Silva suffered back in July at the hands of Weidman. The two men took the first round finding each other’s range, and then, in typical Silva fashion, Anderson began taunting Chris and pretending like he was hurt. Weidman made him pay for it with a nasty left hook that instantly dropped Anderson, and Chris pounced on him, landed a few good hammer fists, and the fight was over.

Following the fight, Anderson announced that he would not be seeking a rematch, that he was tired of the responsibilities that holding the belt brings and would instead be seeking other bouts. Something changed, however, and on July 13th Anderson put out a video announcing his bout with Weidman, claiming “I back. Trust me, I back.”

This fight is nearly impossible to predict because there’s so many x-factors. Will Anderson clown around again? Can Weidman go a full five rounds? Will Anderson have the drive that he had before? How has Anderson’s ground game improved? In the end, I think Weidman will do in this fight what a lot of us thought he would do in the first. He’ll shoot for takedowns, hit Anderson with ground and pound, and I think it’ll end in submission.

PREDICTION: Weidman via round 4 submission

RONDA ROUSEY VS MIESHA TATE

This fight is fairly easy to predict for me, unlike the main event. Ronda has massive advantages on the mat, and can hold her own on the feet. I don’t see any way that Miesha can win this fight, especially after getting brutally knocked out by Cat Zingano in their fight back in April.

PREDICTION: Ronda Rousey via round 1 submission

TRAVIS BROWNE VS JOSH BARNETT

This is a great fight that is flying way under the radar. Browne is coming off a huge knockout win over Alistair Overeem, and Barnett just knocked out former champion Frank Mir back in August. Browne is a great striker and I think this will be the fight where Barnett finally shows his age. Browne has needed only a little over five minutes to get two knockout wins and $100,000 in bonus money. I think Browne gets it done here on December 28th and gets a #1 contenders fight against Fabricio Werdum.

PREDICTION: Browne via round 2 KO

JIM MILLER VS FABRICIO CAMOES

Does it seem to anyone else like they’re giving Miller an easy fight? Cause it does to me. Camoes is a great athlete and a powerful striker, but Jim Miller is on a whole other level. He’s a great grappler who needs to get back on the winning track.

PREDICTION: Miller via decision

DUSTIN POIRIER VS DIEGO BRANDAO

This is a great opportunity for Diego Brandao. Coming off three wins over Joey Gambino, Pablo Garza, and Daniel Pineda, the former Ultimate Fighter winner could crack the top ten with a win here. Only problem? Dustin Poirier is standing in front of him. Poirier, an elite wrestler, has showed off an entirely different side to him with great striking in his fights against Eric Koch and Cub Swanson. Poirier is quick, elusive, and has a ton of weapons in his arsenal. I think he gets it done in fairly convincing fashion.

PREDICTION: Poirier via decision

UNDERCARD PREDICTIONS

Uriah Hall def. Chris Leben via decision
Glieson Tibau def. Michael Johnson via round 3 TKO
Dennis Siver def. Manny Gamburyan via decision
John Howard def. Siyar Bahadurzada via round 2 TKO
Bobby Voelker def. William Macario via decision
Estevan Payan def. Robbie Peralta via round 2 submission

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2013 was undoubtedly the best year of the UFC’s history. We kicked off the year with a great superfight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar. Women’s MMA took the center stage. Nick Diaz and GSP finally settled their issues in the cage. After a season of TUF, Chael Sonnen talked his way into a bout with the Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones and came oh-so-close to winning the title via an injury TKO. Junior dos Santos clawed his way back for a trilogy while Cain Velasquez settled his business with Bigfoot Silva. Rashad Evans got back on the winning track against Dan Henderson. Then, Chris Weidman did the unthinkable and dethroned the king, Anderson Silva. Jose Aldo then had a tough fight against the very game Korean Zombie. Anthony Pettis finally won the title. Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson had possibly the greatest fight in the company’s history. Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos settled their grudge match. GSP won a razor-thin split decision against Johny Hendricks and subsequently retired, and we still have the rematch between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva left to go.

2014 probably can’t match the success the UFC has found in 2013, but it can sure come close. Let’s take a look at my predictions for 2014.

1) Johny Hendricks wins the vacant welterweight title and makes two more title defenses against Carlos Condit and Rory MacDonald(who wins two fights against Demian Maia and Tarec Saffeidine to win the title shot)

2) Chris Weidman makes two title defenses against Vitor Belfort and Jacare Souza

3) Cathal Pendred wins TUF 19

4) Carla Esparza wins TUF 20

5) The UFC’s digital network flops. This may be a shocking one. I think the UFC has a good idea in this digital network, but they are making a big mistake by having cards such as the Gustafsson vs Manuwa card only available on the digital network will polarize fans and a lot of fans will not watch because of this. We’ll see how it works out but I think it will flop.

6) Conor McGregor will win two fights in 2014 and crack the top 10 of the 145 pound division.

7) Jimi Manuwa loses to Alexander Gustafsson but rattles off three wins to also crack the top 10 of his division.

8) Gustafsson gets a rematch against Jones(who defeats Glover via unanimous decision) following his win over Manuwa in Stockholm. After a five-round war, Gustafsson wins a split decision to get the title.

9) Ronda Rousey continues to polarize fans and media members alike, angers the UFC with her refusal to do media, and loses her title to Cat Zingano following her return.

10) The UFC holds a pay-per-view that cracks 1,000,000 buys. However, by year’s end, they begin to move away from the dying PPV business.

11) Renan Barao defeats Dominick Cruz to win the true Bantamweight title. Urijah Faber gets a title shot but loses, then defeats Dominick Cruz in their grudge match.

12) Chad Mendes defeats Jose Aldo to win the title

13) Cain Velasquez and Anthony Pettis do NOT fight at all in 2014

14) The ten-point must system is done away with by the end of the year and replaced by a system much better suited for MMA(ok, maybe this one is a bit of wishful thinking…)

 

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Current Champion: Cain Velasquez(2 title defenses)

  • def. Antonio Silva at UFC 160
  • def. Junior dos Santos at UFC 166

The UFC’s heavyweight division has always been filled with unpredictability, highlight reel knockouts, and interesting characters. Cain Velasquez is the current champion with title defenses against Anotnio “Bigfoot” Silva and Junior dos Santos. He first won the title against Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 but quickly lost his next title defense to hard-hitting Brazilian boxer Junior dos Santos via a quick 1st-round knockout. Following that, he demolished Silva in a bloody battle and earned a rematch against dos Santos at UFC 155, where he won a five-round fight in very convincing fashion. He then challenged Silva again at UFC 160 where he won via 2nd round TKO. dos Santos earned a rematch against Velasquez following his UFC 160 highlight-reel headkick knockout of Mark Hunt, setting up arguably the most anticipated grudge match in UFC history. Velasquez won the fight via 5th round TKO in dominating fashion.

In my eyes, Velasquez and dos Santos are head and shoulders above the rest of the division. However, there’s some interesting fighters in the division. Let’s take a look at the rankings:

Champion: Cain Velasquez
#1: Junior dos Santos
#2: Fabricio Werdum
#3: Daniel Cormier
#4: Antonio Silva
#5: Travis Browne#6 Josh Barnett
#7: Alistair Overeem
#8: Mark Hunt
#9: Frank Mir
#10: Stipe Miocic

The next in line for a title shot following Velasquez’s victory over dos Santos is Fabricio Werdum, who is coming off a submission victory over Antonio Rodrigo Nogeuira. He poses an interesting threat in the clinch and on the mat, but I believe Velasquez’s wrestling will be too much for him to handle.

Daniel Cormier is coming off a victory over Roy Nelson, but is headed to Light Heavyweight to avoid fighting his AKA teammate Velasquez for the belt.

Travis Browne and Josh Barnett meet in a heavyweight clash at UFC 168. Browne is coming off a big win over Alistair Overeem and Barnett just finished former champion Frank Mir. This fight will likely determine the next contender for the belt. I like Browne in this fight solely because of his striking prowess and his age, though Barnett could easily win that fight.

Mark Hunt and Bigfoot Silva just had a war at UFC Fight Night 33 in Brisbane, considered by many to be the fight of the year. The fight was a majority draw, and Hunt broke his hand in two places and is out for at least six months. Silva escaped with no major injuries and should be back in action in April/May, perhaps against the loser of Barnett/Browne or a bout with dos Santos, who has nothing announced after his grudge match loss against Velasquez.

Alistair Overeem, a former K-1 world kickboxing champion, faces Frank Mir at UFC 169 in what’s being dubbed a “loser leaves town” match. Mir has lost three in a row to dos Santos, Cormier, and Barnett. Overeem has lost two in a row to Antonio Silva and Travis Browne. The loser of this fight will almost certainly be cut from the UFC.

Rounding out the top 10 of the heavyweight division is exciting yet somewhat unknown wrestler Stipe Miocic, who is coming off a big win over Roy Nelson at UFC 160, a fight he entered as a huge underdog. He fights Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC on Fox 10.

The UFC’s heavyweight division is thin and has little to no depth in terms of future challengers to Velasquez, which is why I believe Velasquez will hold the belt for a long time. Of course, the heavyweight division is very unpredictable and known for quick belt turnarounds, so anything can happen.

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0
This Is Not A Game
NO JOKE

Chael Sonnen better not take this fight lightly. He is starting to become the UFC’s version of a WWE pro wrestler. He can cut a promo like no one else in UFC, he carries a belt around that he calls the “Real“championship belt, and can do that without even cracking a smile. Sonnen is a very good fighter and put Anderson Silva to the test in their first fight. Most think he had the fight won until a well timed triangle arm-bar forced the submission, including all the judges. Silva was hit more times in the first fight with Sonnen than his entire UFC career according to Compu Strike #’s. He was hit a total of 208 times in his UFC career, and 289 times VS. Chael. This fight should be another good one, with both fighters bringing their A game to the table. While Sonnen sometimes acts a little over the top before and after the fights, Silva has been known to take a few rounds or even a fight or two not so serious. Dana White is hoping that having the fight on Silvia’s home turf in Brazil will bring out the dominate fighter we have come to know as the “Spider”.

105

John “bones”Jones and Rashad Evans have a long history together. Close friends training for the same team, but that was then this is now. Evans and Jones are going to fight for the Light- heavyweight championship belt at UFC 145. Jones is the current champion and, has been very impressive in every fight he has had. Rashad is also been on a tear since loosing to Lyoto Machida

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