(image via Zuffa, LLC/ article by Adam LeBarr)
To the real fans of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), it's finally happening, the 125lbs division will be the headlining fight of a PPV (Pay-Per-View) event.
Previously, the flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson has defended his title on free T.V - It be a Fight Night card, or featured on FOX. Now, after building a greater fan base and showing what the 125lbs weight division is all about, he's set to defend his title in UFC 174's main event against Ali Bagautinov.
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ryan Jimmo -
Saint Preux is currently on an impressive 4 fight win streak in the light heavyweight division, but his opponent, Jimmo, has the skills and tools to provide the fans in Vancouver with an upset.
Saint Preux is currently ranked #13 in the world within the 205lbs division - Considering Ryan Jimmo is yet to achieve a top 15 rank, this may spark a fire under the ass of Jimmo, making him a huge threat in their up-and-coming bout.
Despite what Jimmo may feel towards rankings and putting on an upset, on this one, I'm sticking to the numbers. Again, Ovince is on a great streak, and only getting better and better with every fight he takes.
Pick: Ovince Saint Preux
Brendan Schaub vs. Andrei Arlovski -
A warning; I may have a bias opinion on this one due to Arlovski being a favorite growing up as a kid. However, his 'welcome back' opponent isn't going to be a "walk in the park" for Arlovski.
Brendan Schaub, TUF (The Ultimate Fighter) contender on the 10th season, has grown a great deal within the world of MMA since his finale loss to Roy Nelson. Schaub is currently riding a 2 fight win streak, defeating Lavar Johnson and Matt Mitrione. Since his last victory, it has been 9 months since he last stepped foot inside the UFC octagon. We've seen 'ring rust', we've also witnessed fighters returning to the cage better then when they left. Schaub has recently moved, hoping the new environment will help point him in the right direction for a title run.
Arlovski is also on a 2 fight win streak. In the most recent years he has turned his fighting career completely around, as I'm sure you knew with him signing back with the UFC after 6 years of being away - fighting elsewhere. Late 2011, 'The Pitbull' picked up a TKO victory over Ray Lopez, it was nothing but success from that point forward.
In his return to the UFC, I can only assume Arlovski plans on making a huge statement towards Brendan Schaub, as well as the rest of the division. Dana White in a media scrum stated: "Arlovski is reaching the end of his career" - This weekend we find out.
Pick: Andrei Arlovski
Ryan Bader vs. Rafael Cavalcante -
Ryan Bader, ranked #9 in the 205lbs division has his eyes set on a title run. Though hes been close, he hasn't quite reached that level of combat competition. Cavalcante, ranked #12, has had a taste of gold. Prior to the UFC buying out Strikeforce, Cavalcante defeated 'King' Mo, obtaining the light heavyweight Strikeforce championship. Cavalcante is in search of his lost treasure, as to where Bader is looking for what was once almost in reach.
What impressed me was Ryan Bader's fight with Glover Teixeira - He lost, but rocked and looked to be just moment away from walking out of the octagon victorious against a man who was on a 20 fight win streak.
Bader has fought a long list of top UFC veterans, and will be looking to use that experience against Cavalcante.
Pick: Ryan Bader
Rory MacDonald vs. Tyron Woodley -
After Georges St-Pierre walked out of UFC 171 victorious after a controversial decision against Johny Hendricks, the French Canadian stated he needed a break from MMA. Shortly after making his statement in the octagon and in the post-fight press conference, on a conference call with Dana White and St-Pierre, he announced he was stepping away from the sport officially, giving up the title. This completely opened up the Welterweight division.
Since GSP has left (for now(we hope)), Lawler, Brown, Woodley, MacDonald + more have moved to the top of the division, all racing for a shot at the new title holder, Johny Hendricks. Matt Brown is set to take on Robbie Lawler in a no.1 contender bout, and at UFC 174 in the co-main event, Rory MacDonald takes on Tyron Woodley, and depending on the fight outcome, winner may be faced with a shot at gold.
MacDonald, ranked #2 and Woodley, ranked #3 are set to enter the UFC octagon, looking to prove either one of them is ready for the top position in the welterweight division, currently held by Johny Hendricks since St-Pierre's leave.
Both MacDonald and Woodley are coming off of impressive performances, now it's all about who truly wants it more. MacDonald for a while now has been top 5 in the 170lbs division, states he's only getting better and with his last victory over Damian Maia, it shows.
Pick: Rory MacDonald
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov -
In the main event, for the flyweight title, champion Demetrious Johnson takes on Ali Bagautinov. This will be the first time a 125lbser has headlined a PPV fight card.
Going into this fight, Demetrious Johnson over and over again has proven he's faster, stronger and an all around better fighter than anyone within the flyweight division - all but one.
Bagautinov is currently riding an 11 fight win streak, and last February, Bagautinov got the unanimous decision victory over John Lineker, solidifying his shot at the title.
Everyone that has built up an impressive enough resume to take on Johnson has fallen. Every fight, Johnson gets faster, and more explosive, as we saw in his last title defense against rival Joseph Benavidez.
Pick: Demetrious Johnson
Main card (PPV at 10 p.m. ET)
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov
Rory MacDonald vs. Tyron Woodley
Ryan Bader vs. Rafael Cavalcante
Andrei Arlovski vs. Brendan Schaub
Ryan Jimmo vs. Ovince St. Preux
Undercard (FX at 8 p.m. ET)
Daniel Sarafian vs. Kiichi Kunimoto
Valerie Letourneau vs. Milana Dudieva
Yves Jabouin vs. Mike Easton
Kajan Johnson vs. Tae Hyun Bang
Undercard (UFC Fight Pass at 7 p.m. ET)
Roland Delorme vs. Michinori Tanaka
Jason Saggo vs. Josh Shockley
Victory never tastes so sweet. Article by Adam LeBarr/image via Zuffa LLC/Getty Images, video via UFConFox
You know those lackluster UFC events that people pay for, and then rant a rave because they're not happy with their purchase (due to "boring" fights)? Tonight, with what's being posted on all social networks and media websites, I can almost guarantee there's more people wishing they got the UFC 173 PPV fight card.
May 24th, in Las Vegas, Nevada, UFC history was made. What was one of the most stacked fight cards of 2014, it certainly wouldn't disappointing. The card was impressive, from top to bottom, filled with nothing but talent.
The first two fights of the PPV fight card; James Krause vs. Jamie Varner and Takeya Mizugaki vs. Francisco Rivera. Both were high energy and exciting, also a little disappointing and sad. The good: Mizugaki vs. Rivera was a high energy fight. Though Mizugaki dominated most of the fight, Rivera held on, taking the fight to a decision where Takeya Mizugaki was announced victorious. The bad: Mid-way through round #1 of his fight, Varner sustained an injury to his ankle. It got to the point he would collapse to the mat, after giving all he had to give. He fought all the way to the bell, but announced to his corner he injured (possibly broke) his ankle, and the fight was stopped there.
Robbie Lawler, after his upsetting loss to Johny Hendricks, made it his mission to remain active, work hard, and be back in the octagon ASAP (as soon as possible (you should know this)). Welcoming him back, after only a short period of time was Jake Ellenberger, ranked #4 inside the welterweight division and looked at to be a future champion.
Early in the fight, Lawler quickly let Ellenberger know he's not wasting anytime. He would proceed to throw hard hitting head kicks, as well as a list of other strikes. After easily dominating the first 2 rounds, it was the third and final round Lawler would put Ellenberger to the mat, where he would finish him by way to TKO (technical knockout).
Does a huge, dominant performance over Ellenberger put Lawler back in line for a title shot once Hendricks is healed up and ready to fight? If not that, we can only assume it's Lawler vs. the winner of Woodley/MacDonald.
Your co-main event of the evening, Daniel Cormier vs. Dan Henderson was a completely lop-sided fight, in favor of the former Heavyweight, Cormier.
Throughout round 1, 2 and 3, Cormier was literally picking Henderson up, and tossing him to the mat as he pleased. Out of just under a 14 minute fight, Cormier dominated on the mat for 11+ minutes. Nearing the end of the 3rd round, in a crazy scramble, Cormier was successfully able to sink in a rear naked choke, putting Henderson to sleep.
It was told that winner of Cormier/Henderson gets a title shot against winner of Jones/Gustafsson. We the fans of waited long enough, Cormier is finally getting his shot.
Your main-event of the evening, Renan Barao, the man Dana White (president of the UFC) thinks is the top P4P (pound for pound) fighter in the world was set to defend his bantamweight championship against TJ Dillashaw, ranked #4 in the division and a 8-1 underdog.
TJ Dillashaw put on one of the greatest performances the UFC octagon has witnessed to date, in tonight's main-event title fight against Renan Barao. Throughout the fight with, Dillashaw displayed incredible speed, striking accuracy and endurance. Early in round #1, he rocked Barao, putting him to the mat where he had him hurt, but couldn't quite finish him. After that, it was pure domination and deviation, in favor of the challenger, Dillashaw. After completely outclassing Barao for 4 rounds, most would think to just take it easy, take the fight to decision and take the easy win. TJ Dillashaw, as proven tonight, isn't about to let that happen. Closing in on the final minute of round #5, Dillashaw opened up with a flurry of strikes, after landing a huge head kick. Barao would fall to the mat, attempt to defend himself, but it wasn't enough...
The ref (Herb Dean) stepped in, pulling Dillashaw away from the now former champion, solidifying the championship win for the "underdog".
TJ Dillashaw is the first man out of Team Alpha Male to win a championship title. Post-fight, he shared the octagon with fellow training partners, Faber, Benavidez and striking coach "BANG" Ludwig, where tears would shed.
Main card (PPV):
T.J. Dillashaw def. Renan Barao via fifth-round TKO
Daniel Cormier def. Dan Henderson via submission (rear-naked choke)
Robbie Lawler def. Jake Ellenberger via third-round TKO
Takeya Mizugaki def. Francisco Rivera via unanimous decision
James Krause def. Jamie Varner via first-round TKO (injury)
Michael Chiesa def. Francisco Trinaldo via unanimous decision
Tony Ferguson def. Katsunori Kikuno via first-round TKO
Chris Holdsworth def. Chico Camus via unanimous decision
Mitch Clarke def. Al Iaquinta via submission
Vinc Pichel def. Anthony Njokuani via unanimous decision
Sam Sicilia def. Aaron Phillips via unanimous decision
Li JingLiang def. David Michaud via split decision
Fight of the Night: TJ Dollashaw vs. Renan Barao
Performance of the Night: TJ Dillashaw and Mitch Clark
(article by Adam LeBarr/ image via Zuffa LLC)
Saturday, May 24th, the UFC heads to Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC 173: Renan Barao vs. TJ Dillashaw. What was originally set to be Chris Weidman defending his title against Vitor Belfort/Lyoto Machida was quickly sidelined due to injured, leaving Dana White (President of the UFC) and the rest of the organization to find a replacement.
Now, the current Bantamweight champion, Renan Barao is set to defend his championship against ranked #4 TJ Dillashaw.
Jamie Varner vs. James Krause -
Jamie Varner and James Krause are set to open the PPV (Pay-Per-View) fight card, and after a rocky couples of years, both are going to be looking to set the bar high for the rest of the fight card.
Both Varner and Krause are 1-3 in their last 4 fights, another loss for either of these lightweight warriors could make or break their career with the UFC.
Jamie Varner's previous preference against Abel Trujillo was one for the ages, and possibly in the running for top fight of 2014. After pushing the pace, and dominating in many different areas, nearing the end of the fight, Trujillo landed with a devastating hook, putting Varner to the mat, resulting in a KO (knockout) defeat. He was dominant prior to the knockout blow, and that kind of loss leaves us to believe he's only going to come back stronger, with fire in his eyes.
Pick: Jamie Varner
Takeya MIzugaki vs. Francisco Rivera -
Mizugaki, ranked #4 in the bantamweight division takes on ranked #10, Rivera, and there's one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb and that's that Rivera is a dangerous finisher, as to where Mizugaki is 4-1 in his last 5 fights, all ending via: Decision.
Both are on impressive streaks, and with a fight finish this weekend, they're nearing closer and closer to the championship gold. That I can only assume will bring the best out of both Mizugaki and Rivera, presenting the fans around the world with a fast-paced war. If Mizugaki's in search of an impressive finish, he can bet Rivera's doing the same, looking to move further and further through the top 10 rankings.
Pick: Francisco Rivera
Robbie Lawler vs. Jake Ellenberger -
Georges St-Pierre just months ago made the announcement that he was taking a break from MMA and would vacate his title, leaving Robbie Lawler, currently ranked #1 in the welterweight division to take on Johny Hendricks. In a 5 round back and forth war, it was Hendricks who would walk out the champion after holding 'Ruthless' on the mat in the 5th and final round, leaving Lawler in disappointment, and on the immediate road back to the top spot.
There's one man in the way of Lawler possibly getting another shot at Hendricks, and that's ranked #5, Jake Ellenberger. Ellenberger's coming off of a tough loss to Rory MacDonald, but previous to that, he was on a division tear, dominating some of the best welterweights in the world. This is now his time to prove he's worth of the top 5, and also a title shot.
Robbie Lawler lost to Hendricks in a close, close fight, and that's just it - It was insanely close. Lawler has been the only man to deliver that kind of beating to Hendricks, and with the motivation to get back to the top, fighting for the world championship again, there seems to be no stopping 'Ruthless' Robbie Lawler.
Pick: Robbie Lawler
Daniel Cormier vs. Dan Henderson -
Daniel Cormier, ranked #4, a former heavyweight contender who was in line for a title shot stepped down to the light heavyweight division, avoiding a title fight against current training partner/friend, Cain Velasquez. While in the heavyweight/light heavyweight division, he has proven to be a dominant force, taking out all who stand in his way of the top spot.
Dan Henderson, ranked #6 is the one man left between Cormier and a long-awaited title shot.
Henderson, former Pride middleweight, welterweight and Grand Prix champion also is faced with the same opportunity. Winner of Cormier/Henderson will be rewarded a championship fight against the winner of Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson II (jones/gustafsson not 100% confirmed, White insists it's happening).
Henderson has some wicked power, the ability to put any man in the UFC to sleep. However, Cormier's speed, wrestling and ground dominance will be a huge factor in this fight if he's to preform as well as he has in his past performances.
Pick: Daniel Cormier
Renan Barao vs. TJ Dillashaw -
Leading up to this main-event title fight, many questioned if it will succeed as a PPV headliner. After Barao's years of dominance and the performance Dillashaw is coming off of, which led him to a victory over Mike Easton, we're left to assume this is going to be a fast, epic battle.
No one outside of the UFC or in have been able to figure out the current champion, Barao. Barao was awarded the title after Dominick Cruz was forced yet again to back out of a fight due to injury, leaving Dana White to strip Cruz of his championship, crowning Renan Barao the new bantamweight champion.
TJ Dillashaw's fast, and in his most recent fights, has displayed a whole new level of striking. Training with Team Alpha Male tends to do that to people...
Despite the power and speed Dillashaw possess, is it enough to dethrone who Dana White states is the #1 pound for pound fighter in the world, Renan Barao?
Pick: Renan Barao
Main Card (10pm EST):
Renan Barao vs. T.J. Dillashaw Title Fight
Daniel Cormier vs. Dan Henderson
Jake Ellenberger vs. Robbie Lawler
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Francisco Rivera
James Krause vs. Jamie Varner
FOX Sports 1 Prelims (8 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Michael Chiesa vs. Francisco Trinaldo
155 lbs.: Anthony Ferguson vs. Katsunori Kikuno
135 lbs.: Chris Holdsworth vs. Chico Camus
155 lbs.: Al Iaquinta vs. Mitch Clarke
Fight Pass Prelims (6:30 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Anthony Njokuani vs. Vinc Pichel
145 lbs.: Aaron Phillips vs. Sam Sicilia
170 lbs.: Jingliang Li vs. Danny Mitchell
image via Zuffa LLC/Getty images/ video via UFC on FOX
Sometimes the most unforgettable fights are not the biggest names or on the most “stacked” PPV cards. In a time where too often we hear about market saturation and too many mma fights, its easy to overlook a card like UFC Fight Night 40 on FOX Sports 1. We already knew Matt Brown vs Erick Silva was going to be a good fight but we weren’t expecting to have a Fight of the Year candidate on our hands!
Brown vs Silva delivered an EPIC battle to cap off a great card that saw many underdogs defying the odds and coming out on top. Ed Herman grinded out a win over Rafael Natal. Soa Palelei went Hulk mode and smashed Ruan Potts. Daron Cruickshank proved too much for Erik Koch rocking him with a brutal head kick and finishing him with a flurry of punches once he hit the ground. Costas Philippou made a statement in his UFC comeback with a KO of Lorenz Larkin. But all that was just an appetizer for the main course. Erick Silva and Matt Brown both entered the cage with impressive finishes and a heaping amount of confidence backing them up, and they wasted little time getting down to business. Silva delivered a brutal body kick to Brown, crumpling the crowd favorite and quickly took his back. That would have been the end of the fight for the average MMA fighter but Matt Brown showed the world he’s far from average. After gutting out Silva’s relentless ground attack and managing to regain his composure, Brown managed to fight his way back to his feet and narrowly escaped the first frame.
The rest of the fight was a battle of wills. Brown came back hard against Silva rocking the Brazilian with some brutal elbows and knees. Silva unwilling to go down, fired back against Brown with everything he had. Neither man seemed willing to break but Brown’s relentless pace finally started to wear down Silva and by the third round scored a take down and delivered some brutal ground and pound which prompted referee Herb Dean to stop the fight. With the crowd on their feet, Matt Brown got his armed raised, took home Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night honors. More importantly he solidified his spot as a legitimate threat in the stacked welterweight division.
We’ve got a full schedule of MMA fights in the next coming weeks, and if even half of the fights are as exciting as UFC Fight Night 40 was, we’re in for a very good summer!
Full fight card results after the jump