World Series of Fighting 8 goes down in Hollywood, Florida Saturday January 18th. Headlined by Justin Gaethje vs. Richard Patishnock for the inaugural WSOF lightweight title, a light heavyweight bout with Mike Kyle taking on Anthony "Rumble" Johnson, Jessica Aguilar vs. Alida Gray & more. Join us live as we bring you all the action cageside!
(article by Adam LeBarr/images via Zuffa LLC/Getty Images)
The 2014 MMA schedule is starting to come together quickly but before we jump into the fray(and partly because we had to ride out our New Years hangover) we're going to take one final look back at 2013 for the fights and athletes that made last year so memorable. Thanks to Adam from Fighters Blog for the articles and here's to a new year full of ass-kickery!
Looking back on UFC in 2012; it was a rough year. It was a year filled with dropouts and even an event cancellation. Lots of problems, many disappointments. Dana White looking forward really needed a good year to bounce back from what a "disaster" 2012 was for the UFC organization. 2013 would be it.
Over the course of the year, 2013; we saw great knockouts, amazing submissions and also epic wars within the octagon. Here are our picks for top 3 fights of 2013 -
Fight of the Year #3: Rousey vs Tate
What started their huge rivalry was what was said leading up to their first bout inside Strikeforce. Miesha Tate at the time, the champion; Ronda Rousey as the challenger. Both female warriors leading up to the fight had many words towards one another, none good. Come fight night, Rousey would finish as she always does, arm bar within the first round over Tate. Rousey was crowned the new Women's Bantamweight champion.
How these women built their first encounter made a huge impression on President of the UFC, Dana White. White at one point stated to TMZ when asked: "when are women going to fight in the UFC?" White replied: "never". Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate's rivalry would change everything. Less then 2 years after White made that statement to TMZ reporters, it was announced the UFC would now have a Bantamweight Women's division. The first fight would be Ronda Rousey as champion vs. Liz Carmouche.
Rousey defeated Carmouche. Rousey not having a fight after that, there was a #1 contender fight in the works. Cat Zingano vs. Miesha Tate, winner would not only get a shot at the title, but coach TUF 18 opposite the women's Bantamweight champion, Rousey. Zingano vs. Tate was one of the best fights to date; (you may be wondering why it's not on our top 3 fights of 2013, that because of the story this fight holds) both Zingano and Tate went to war, both landing big shots, showcasing amazing cardio and also heart. It was a back and forth bloody brawl. In the end, Zingano won via: TKO. Cat Zingano would now coach TUF 18 opposite of champ, Rousey.
Zingano, with The Ultimate Fighter season 18 not far off was injured. She was not only forced out of coaching against Rousey, but also a title shot for the time being.
Ronda Rousey showed up to the TUF gym not knowing of any injury her opponent obtained. Miesha Tate was in the gym and asked what she was doing there, she replied "I'm here to coach". With Zingano out, Tate would step in to coach against Rousey and when the show was finished, fight for the title. This time, Rousey the champ, Miesha looking to get revenge.
December 28th, UFC 168, the last event of 2013. Ronda Rousey would now square off against Miesha Tate for the second time. Rousey, in all of her fights has won via: Arm bar, all within the first round. Tate would do what no one has done before. Throughout the fight, Rousey was displaying amazing judo throws, also aggression. Dispite Tate being taken down, she would still continue to fight her heart out, avoiding submission attempts of Rousey. These women would not only go to the 2nd round, but Tate would take Rousey to the 3rd. With the fight being a back and forth war; both landing huge shots and great takedowns, Ronda Rousey would do it again. Less then 1 minute into the 3rd round, Rousey would sink in the arm bar and force Tate to tap.
Fight of the year #2: Sanchez vs Melendez
You like blood, you like stand up brawls? That's why we've picked Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez as the 2nd greatest fight of 2013.
Melendez coming off of a loss to former champion, Benson Henderson and Sanchez a very close win over Takanori Gomi, both went into the octagon looking to make a statement. A statement they made.
A fight with Sanchez in the mix will almost always make for great entertainement. This fight wouldn't fail the fans as it was looked at to be the FOTN (fight of the night). The first 2 rounds were the rounds Gilbert would be able to control the fight. Though still entertaining, the 3rd round is where things got interesting.
The later rounds, as we've seen before seems to always be when Sanchez finally lets go and leaves it all in the octagon. He did the same at UFC 166 against Melendez. Sanchez not willing to give in that easy exploded, making a huge come back in the 3rd and final round. The whole fight was a bloody brawl, huge haymaker's thrown from both Sanchez and Melendez. Either fighter willing to fall despite the damage taken.
In the end, Gilbert Melendez was victorious via: Decision.
You hear plenty of commentators, other people within the UFC organization saying "don't blink" that statement really applied for this fight. The pace these two Lightweight gladiator's were able to keep throughout the fight was amazing, and made for one of the best fights of the year.
(article by Adam LeBarr/images via Zuffa LLC/Getty Images)
Throughout 2013, we saw great finishes involving devastating knockouts and gruesome submissions. Only one of each would be the most outstanding of the year.
Knockout of the year goes to: Chris Weidman!
Chris Weidman as explained many times before did what no man could and that was defeat Anderson Silva. In their first bout at UFC 162, Weidman would not only beat the G.O.A.T but he would put his record breaking streak to a hault with a huge knockout.
Anderson Silva known for "playing games" inside the octagon always made him look 'invincible'. Silva with his hands down would dodge all your strikes, only to follow up and land with a flurry of his own. Weidman would be the only man to date able to look through the mind games and take the gold away.
With Chris Weidman being able to stop total and complete dominance by Silva via: Knockout (not to mention his second victory over Anderson Silva), we're awarding him the knockout of the year for 2013.
Submission of the year goes to: Anthony Pettis!
'Showtime' Pettis over the years has shown great ability with in the octagon; having built a resume with victories over top UFC Lightweights, it was only a matter of time before he would get his chance at gold.
Back in 2010, December 16th, Pettis took on the current WEC champion Benson Henderson for the title. It was a back and forth battle. Little did Pettis know, he would perform one of the most amazing 'showtime' kicks, not only did it help in giving him the victory, but it's one of the top MMA highlights to date.
Pettis and Henderson now in the UFC would cross paths again. Henderson the defender and Pettis the challenger. It was a huge fight in the fact that Henderson had something to prove. He needed to show that the first fight was a fluke, not something that would happen twice. Henderson was right, the second fight wouldn't go as the first did. Pettis, late into round #1 sunk in a tight arm bar, forcing Henderson to tap and give up his title once again to 'Showtime'.
What happened in their first bout made the second come together of these warriors that much more important. A huge submission victory as preformed in the first round would push this to one of the top submission finishes of the year (2013).
(article by Adam LeBarr/images via Zuffa LLC/Getty Images)
Looking back onto 2013, we witnessed amazing fights, great heart and new talent. We witnessed war; domination. We witnessed something we never thought we would see.
Fighter of the Year goes to: Chris Weidman!
We chose Chris Weidman as 'Fighters of the Year' because he was successfully able to not only beat the best pound for pound fighter in the world Anderson Silva twice.
Chris Weidman, leading into 2013 had a rough year. He was able to finish Mark Munoz in incredible fashion, but what followed would be a huge set back. Weidman was hit with an injury, forcing him out of his bout with Tim Boetsch, then his home was hit by hurricane Sandy. The hurricane took nearly everything Weidman had in his home away. With time needed to recorver, he would set his sights on returning in 2013.
Not long after going through a devistating year, it was announced he would get a title shot against Anderson Silva. Weidman, trying to not focus on "ring rust" would do nothing but train his ass off, preparing for the most important fight of his life.
July 6th, 2013, Weidman would now step into the octagon, only to look across and see the best to ever do it, Anderson Silva. As prepared as he could be, Weidman was ready. Once the fight started, it looked like a regular Silva fight. Bobbing and weaving, taunting, and trying to feel out his opponent. That being done, Weidman expressed "it pissed me off". Leading into the 2nd round, Weidman admitted to having fire in his eyes. Silva still trying to dance around Weidman, he was hit and rocked; falling to the floor where Weidman would finish the fight via: Knockout.
AND NEW! Chris Weidman was crowned the Middleweight Champion, also the only man able to beat Anderson Silva inside the UFC octagon.
(photo via: WSOF)
Anthony Johnson, since featured in the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) has had an undefeated, dominant run. His current opponent, Mike Kyle, who he fights January 18th, was suppose to be a bout for the past. Leading into WSOF 7, Kyle broke his toe and was forced out of his bout with Johnson.
WSOF 8, the 18th is the date these two finally meet. Both fighters healthy, they both state on the WSOF 8 pre-fight Conference Call they'll both be looking to knock each others heads off.
Johnson with his undefeated record with in WSOF, he's said to receive a title shot with a victory over his opponent, Kyle. For Mike Kyle, it seemed uncertain. Kyle in 2013 has an 'up and down' year; with 1 win, 2 loses and an injury. Kyle may have more on his plate before a possible title shot.
With it officially being announced Johnson with a victory will receive a title shot, he wasn't ready to focus on that. Johnson has his mind set on his up and coming opponent Kyle; when all is said and done, he'll then set his eyes on the LHW gold.
With a possible first LHW title contender chosen with a win on the 18th, an opponent for Johnson is unknown. Abdel-Aziz stated on the Conference Call - "We would need more time. We've looked into making LHW contender fights, but an official opponent won't come for a few months".
(Trust us man, we feel your pain. Photo via Zuffa LLC/Getty Images)
Some guys can't buy a break. CBS Sports reports that Dominick Cruz has been forced out of UFC 169 due to a groin injury. UFC president Dana White has announced Cruz has vacated the Bantamweight title making interim champ Renan Barao the new undisputed champ. Cruz was scheduled to face Barao in a much anticipated champion vs champion fight which would also be Cruz’s return to the Octagon. He has been out of action for 2 years as he recovered from multiple injuries. Cruz has not fought since October 2011 and with another injury his future still remains uncertain.
Stepping in on short notice Urijah Faber will get the nod against Barao to contest the title. Former WEC champ Faber with a record of 30-6 has looked impressive lately and will once again get a chance at the much coveted title. Faber lost the previous time he fought Barao via unanimous decision on July 2012.
(photos via MADCreativity.com)
Following UFC 168 and the losses of some of his contemporaries from his era, UFC vet Din Thomas announced his retirement from MMA. Thomas was a product of American Top Team and was involved in many of the UFC's early PPV cards going up against the top names in his division. He has shared the Octagon with the likes of BJ Penn, Clay Guida, Matt Serra, and many more. He released the following press release earlier this week:
"UFC 168, Weidman vs Silva, could have driven the last nail in the coffin of any idea that anybody from my era could still be champion. Anderson Silva failed to re-claim his title after suffering the 2 worse losses of his career to the undefeated, Chris Weidman. Whether Silva manages to ever return to the Octagon or not, this fight was career ending. Josh Barnett, our last heavyweight hopeful was unsuccessful at moving closer to owning the UFC heavyweight title that he once owned. His plans were foiled by Travis Browne. This trend is not necessarily a testament of the evolution of the new UFC athlete, but provides further evidence that my colleagues from the Golden Age of MMA are now of the "Olden Age" of MMA.
Despite the sorrow that this harsh reality brings to me, any relevant fighter from the 90s, or the old-school, genuine fans that supported us, it certainly brings comfort to my decision to officially retire over this monumental weekend. I suppose, misery does love company.
Yet instead of pondering over "what ifs", "should'ves", and "could'ves", I appreciate and celebrate my time spent, devotion given, and influence I had on MMA. Fighting BJ Penn at the Meadowlands at UFC 32 in the UFC's first show on Pay Per View since it had been banned for years, was an immeasurable experience. Being a part of the first ever sanctioned UFC fight in Las Vegas history against Fabiano Iha at UFC 33 is something that only Mr. Iha and I can claim (Dana White later joked to me that UFC 33 was the event that made him want to kill himself). Being invited to participate on The Ultimate Fighter season 4: The Comeback was life changing and I met some of the greatest guys I've ever known. My list goes on...
Reminiscing over a professional MMA career that has spanned close to 15 years, I acknowledge that none of it could have been as meaningful or possible without Dan Lambert, Dana White, the Fertitta Brothers, Joe Silva, Burt Watson, and the UFC. Their work, dedication, and vision has impacted and shaped the evolution of MMA on every level worldwide.
"As I move forward and pursue other avenues of life, I will continue to support the UFC and their new, evolved athletes like Tyron Woodley and Dustin Poirier, and of course, perhaps our last great promising title contender from the Golden Age, Robbie Lawler."
Our photographer had a chance to shoot Thomas at his gym in Port St Lucie, FL. during an earlier assignment. Check out the rest of the pics after the jump and on behalf of the staff here at Models and MMA, we would like to thank Mr. Thomas for the memories and extend the best wishes in his future endeavors. Follow him on twitter @DinThomas to keep up with his post fighting career.
(article by Adam LeBarr/image by NixsonMMAPosters)
UFC 168, a night of stacked fights and huge finishes. Rivalries and rematches. This event (UFC 168) would be the final of the year, and the UFC certainly went out with a bang.
Travis Browne vs. Josh Barnett, a highly ranked Heavyweight fight. Winner would go on to fight Werdum, winner of that fight gets a shot at Velasquez for the Heavyweight gold. With those thoughts in the eyes of both these warriors, they both came at each other full force. As Barnett would go in to land a few shots, Browne would counter with his own, which looked to have thrown Barnett off his game. Barnett while trying to push Browne against the cage receive a knee to the head, stunning him and shortly leading him into a world of pain and sleep. Browne “Gonzaga’d” Barnett with elbow’s to the head, knocking him unconscious. In Browne’s post interview with Joe Rogan he stated - “Looks like I have a date with Werdum. Lets go sweet heart”.
Up next was the co-main event of the evening, Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate for the Women’s Bantamweight championship. During the bout, ‘Cupcake’ Tate was by far the fan favorite. As the ref said “fight”, both fighters ran at each other throwing bombs, both looking for an early finish. With neither Rousey or Tate able to get a quick victory, the fight turned into a ground and pound brawl. While Rousey came close to sinking in a few submission, Tate was successfully able to escape. The fight would continue on, bringing these female warriors into the 3rd round. That being the farthest Ronda Rousey has ever been brought. 58 seconds into the 3rd round, Rousey, as you could have guess sunk in and submitted Tate via: Arm Bar submission. After submitting Tate, Tate went to shake the hand of Rousey. Rousey looked at her and walked away, declining the handshake. The crowed didn’t like that. Rousey in her interview with Joe Rogan did state Miesha Tate did an amazing job and is an amazing fighter. Wouldn’t shake the hand of Tate because of previous statements made towards Rousey’s family.
And now… IT’S TIME! Your main-event of the evening, the rematch, Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva II. In their first bout, Silva in the 2nd round was and I quote - “Playing Games” knocked out via: Punches. Resulting in Weidman becoming the new Middleweight Champion of the world. Not only that, but defeating a man who went his whole career inside the octagon without a single loss. In the first round of the second fight, Weidman was able to gain a take down, leading to heavy ground and pound which looked to have almost finished the former champ, Silva. Silva able to survive, he was left on the bottom of Weidman for the rest of the round. Round #2, the round Silva was finished in their first fight, looking to avoid the same from happening. Silva, as we all know seems to gain strength and intelligence, leaning his opponent as the rounds go on. While those facts were being displayed, Silva went for a fast and powerful leg kick, breaking Silva’s leg in half as Weidman checked the kick. Silva quickly fell to the floor, Weidman backed off and the fight was over… Chris Weidman yet again defeated the best to ever do it, Anderson Silva via: Injury.
(image courtesy of Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA today Sports)
Article by Adam Lebarr/image and video via UFC
2013 was perhaps one of the best years for the UFC. We as fans, writers and lovers of the sport witnessed so much heart and great fights inside the octagon. Previous years, we've seen plenty of dropouts, even event cancellations. 2013 had no room for that, only success and it showed. Huge trilogy endings, knockouts, submissions and battles were put on by many fighters within the UFC. This all being said, we're still not done...
December 28th, 2013, we witness the biggest rematch in MMA history. July 6th, the #1 pound for pound fighter in the world would finally fall, losing his championship but gaining more hunger. Anderson Silva will take on the man who shocked the world, Chris Weidman.
Starting off, we had into the Heavyweight division. Josh Barnett, a former Pride & Strikeforce warrior is set to take on Travis Browne. Both these men are coming off huge victories inside their division. Barnett recently defeating Frank Mir and Browne victorious over Alistair Overeem. Both fights ended in round #1 KO/TKO. With fire under their feet and gold nearly in reach, both Browne and Barnett are going to come into the octagon hunger and looking for a vicious finish.
Josh Barnett, despite having fought in early UFC, looks to show the fans and the division he's here and championship material.
Your co-main event of the evening is also, a highly anticipated rematch. We saw them feud on TUF season 18, in Strikeforce, now we see them settle it inside the octagon. Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate 2.
Back in April, Tate fell to Women's Bantamweight competitor, Cat Zingano. Zingano after the victory was told and she would coach against Ronda Rousey in TUF 18. All was going planned until an injury accrued, forcing Zingano to undergo surgery and drop her TUF 18 coaching gig. Dana White, despite Zingano's injury would still go forward with the Women coaching TUF 18, only, Rousey would now coach against her rival, Tate. Rousey not happy about the decision and the fact she had to be around Tate, the season of TUF would show the world what real hate these two had for each other.
TUF 18 is over, the winners announced and the focus to defend/takeaway gold is in order. In their first fight, Rousey won via: armbar submission. This time around, Tate is going to look to avoid any submission attempts from Rousey and turn this into a war.
And now... IT'S TIME!
The BIGGEST rematch in UFC history takes place, December 18th, 2013. Chris Weidman will now defend his Middleweight title against former champion, Anderson Silva.
Anderson Silva, for a long time was ranked #1 P4P in the world and still is by most. Silva was knocked out by Weidman, losing his championship and undefeated record inside the UFC. After his loss, he showed no interest in fighting Weidman or for the title again... Until a short while after. Once he expressed interest into the fight and wanted his title back, Dana White was quick to set the rematch between these two.
Chris Weidman leading up to the rematch has stated he's very confident he'll be able to not only defeat Anderson Silva again, but finish him. Most say Silva lost because he was "playing games" while in the octagon with Weidman, which lead to his knockout. Silva, the former champion will look to take this fight more serious.
The final event of 2013 is on. A night full of hard hitters and rivalry rematches airs the 28th on Pay-Per-View.