What's Going On?

What’s Going On? (Mar 11th – 17th)

A whole new week means a whole new set of MMA news and events that needs to be discussed by yours truly. So let’s get right into it with some interesting topics for this week.

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Demetrious Johnson vs. TJ Dillashaw?

The superfight between the UFC’s two smallest male champions has been anticipated for months but still ha not been finalized. This largely in part has to do with Demetrious Johnson being unwilling to fight TJ Dillashaw without the proper pay. Now Johnson is stating that he has no interest in the UFC Bantamweight Championship.

I’m going to be frank and honest, if I went up there and beat T.J. Dillashaw at 135 pounds, I have no interest whatsoever in staying at 135. People are like ‘why not?’ and I’m like I have no interest in fighting guys who walk around at 160 pounds.” – Demetrious Johnson

This is reasonable thinking for the flyweight champion as he would have to deal with a lot of guys who would be considerably bigger than him. His ability to not let the pressure get to him is also admirable. Meanwhile, former middleweight champion Michael Bisping stated that Johnson needs this fight to cement his legacy. Legacy is great and all but nowadays it is all about the green stuff. Bisping should know better than that.

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Amanda Nunes vs. Cris Cyborg?

While we are on the topic of superfights, Amanda Nunes vs. Cris Cyborg has been a women’s fight that many MMA fans are hopeful to see. However, Nunes appears to be backtracking her desire to face off against the dominant featherweight champion. She put emphasis on the fact that her division is starting to grow and that more contenders are lining up to face her. Nunes feels she is obligated to fight the top contenders instead of fight another champion in another division. Some feel that Nunes does not want to fight Cyborg and that she is using this as an excuse to avoid her. Whatever the case, I like the stance. Champions should be obligated to fight their top contenders. Maybe after a few solid defences then they can look for super fights.

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UFC 225 News

UFC 225 is starting to shape up as Chicago has no got three big names added to the show. The main event will be Robert Whittaker defending his middleweight title in a rematch of his last fight against Yoel Romero. But if that isn’t enough then the Chicago crowd will be happy to learn that one of their own, CM Punk, will be making his return to the octagon. His opponent is still unknown. I love the main event, it will be just as exciting as their last bout, but the addition of CM Punk is surely to make the real MMA fans groan. His UFC debut was a disaster and now he is getting a second chance. Hopefully this will be his last bout because, whether he wins or loses, there is pretty much nobody left that CM Punk can even come close to hanging with.

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Ronda Rousey Retired?

In a recent interview, Ronda Rousey stated that a return to the octagon is as likely as a return to the Judo Olympic scene. This is very disappointing for any fan that wanted to see Rousey strap on those gloves again, even if it was one more time. I feel this is the best call for her as she is having tremendous success with her WWE run and seems to be really happy there. Back in the UFC, she may take another beating and will also be boo’d by a bunch of anti-Rousey fans. I still think she can beat a lot of women in the UFC, but her days as champion are done.

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Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping III?

Trash talk has been going back and forth between Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping on Twitter (I would post it here but there are too many to post). The fight should happen as it is the norm for a trilogy fight to happen if both fighter have one win a piece. However, Bisping doesn’t know if he fights again. He believes he may have fought for the last time but Rockhold is hoping for a final shot to redeem his embarrassing loss to The Count. Let’s all just hope and pray this fight gets made because there is bound to be a finish and this rivalry is as real as it gets.

Bisping doesn’t know if he fights again

Other News:

Tuesday Top Ten

Tuesday Top Ten: First Round Finishes From Current UFC Champions

At UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya we saw one of the most dominant performances in a championship bout. This gave me the brilliant idea for this week’s top ten list. The current list of UFC champions right now have multiple first round finishes under their belts. Just about all of them have been dominant. So here is the top ten first round finishes from current UFC champions. We are excluding non-title fights they have competed in.

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#10. Stipe Miocic vs. Fabricio Werdum

Many people were pretty sure that Fabricio Werdum was going to beat Stipe Miocic after seeing his performance against Cain Velasquez that won him the UFC Heavyweight Championship. So when Miocic put the former champion to sleep with a perfect cross counter during one of Werdum’s rushes, it came as a massive shock for the MMA community. It was just a sign of things to come from Miocic’s legendary title run.

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#9. Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo

Henry Cejudo was the best chance, since John Dodson, to beating Demetrious Johnson. He was an undefeated fighter and an olympic wrestler. This did not seem to matter to Johnson however, as he went in there and took Cejudo out in the first round with a series of knees in the clinch.

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#8. Stipe Miocic vs. Junior Dos Santos

Stipe Miocic continued his dominant championship run when he faced one of the two men to ever beat him in his MMA career. Although Junior Dos Santos looked promising as he was landing some leg kicks to Miocic, one would eventually hurt him, Miocic would eventually land a devastating right hand that dropped JDS to get the win in devastating fashion.

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#7. Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

This was the biggest upset win on this entire list. Rose Namjunas was subject to a lot of verbal abuse by Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the lead up to the fight. This ended up blowing up in Jedrzejczyk’s face however, as Namajunas was able to drop her adversary with a lead hook and then deliver some ground and pound that led her Jedrzejczyk to tap to the strikes (yes it was a tap).

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#6. Amanda Nunes vs. Miesha Tate

When this fight was named the main event to UFC 200, many people felt like it would not serve as a proper close to what should be an epic card (thanks Jon Jones and Conor McGregor). But when the fight took place, fans were stunned by Amanda Nunes’ quick annihilation of Miesha Tate that gave her the championship. She bludgeoned Tate with her fists of stone until Tate was a bloody mess and was forced to curl up in a ball until the ref stepped in.

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#5. Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya

In the most recent fight on this list, Cris Cyborg absolutely destroyed Yana Kunitskaya in this impressive performance by a champion. Kunitskaya had an oppurtunity to win when she took Cyborg’s back, but all hope was lost when Cyborg powered her way out and continued to throw bombs at Kunitskaya to get the victory in this dominant win.

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#4. Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez

In their first fight, Demetrious Johnson defeated Joseph Benavidez by decision. Benavidez felt confident the second time around as he had been working on his striking with the addition of Duane Ludwig to Team Alpha Male. Sadly for him though, Johnson had also been working on his striking. The feeling out process was going on for quite a bit in the first round and as Joe Rogan was complimenting Johnson’s form in his striking, Johnson caught Benavidez with a well placed hook/uppercut that shut the lights off for Benavidez (and his dreams of becoming champion).

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#3. Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey

The hype behind Ronda Rousey’s return was insane. Many were hoping she came back and reclaim her title in dominant fashion like the fighter of old. This was not meant to be. Amanda Nunes, angered by the lack of media attention to her, absolutely destroyed the MMA darling and sent her into retirement via one-sided beat down that was mercifully stopped before Rousey even went down.

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#2. Tyron Woodley vs. Robbie Lawler

Tyron Woodley may get a lot of criticism for being a boring fighter, but when he captured the UFC Welterweight Championship from Robbie Lawler, it was anything but boring. Similar to the Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez fight, both fighters were feeling each other out and looking for an opening. Leg kicks were thrown and they had a little clinch battle as well. But the only significant strike that was thrown on the feet was by Woodley when he threw a killer overhand right that shattered the iron chin that Lawler had. It was a real eye-opener as Woodley has been a tough puzzle to solve ever since that punch was thrown.

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#1. Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo

This is, without a doubt, the most dominant victory of any current UFC champion. It only took thirteen seconds and one punch for Conor McGregor to dethrone the former P4P king Jose Aldo from the featherweight throne. It’s what made McGregor the larger than life fighter that he is known to be. Now if only he can defend that belt of his. Oh well.

What Happened?

What Happened? (UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya)

Another great night of fights have ended when the baddest woman on the planet defended her belt in Paradise, Nevada. Now it is time to see how the fights went down and how my predictions fared at UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya:

Cat Zingano vs. Ketlen Vieira

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Cat Zingano has hit a major slump in her career that continued tonight when she faced off against expert grappler Ketlen Vieira. In the fight, Vieira used her superior Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo to neutralize Zingano and control her for all three rounds (just as I predicted. Zingano had a chance to rally back in the final round but was too late in trying to get the finish. Vieira could see herself getting a title shot in the very near future while Zingano needs to change something fast or her best days may have been long gone.

Winner: Ketlen Vieira via Split Decision

Stefan Struve vs. Andrei Arlovski

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Although I picked Andrei Arlovski to win this fight, the manner in which he did was surprising to me and most viewers. The stand-up fight between the two were even throughout the fight, but what helped Arlovski gain the upper hand was his ability to take Stefan Struve to the canvas. As was noted by the commentators of the fight, Arlovski got more takedowns in this fight than he did in his entire UFC career. This was a pleasant surprise as it shows he is able to mix up his arsenal to get the win. I doubt Arlovski can avoid getting knocked out by the killers at the top of the division but he definitely has a chance now. Struve, meanwhile, needs some new guidance because his style does not work anymore. He has only been Surviving on his height which can only get him so far.

Winner: Andrei Arlovski via Unanimous Decision

Sean O’Malley vs. Andre Soukhamthath

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One of the best performances of the night and one of the worst performances of the fight. Sean O’Malley dominated Andre Soukhamthouth with his superior striking skills. He nearly got the finish in the first but became too wild to get it. Around the third round it looks like he was just going to ride out an easy decision, until he hurt his leg on a botched head kick. Soukhamthath had to ability to finish his opponent but instead of standing with the one-legged man, he decided to take him down and hold him there until the round was over. Are you kidding me? He had a golden opportunity but showed low fight IQ in that moment by going for the takedown instead of the knockout. Absolutely ridiculous decision-making from a young fighter. O’Malley on the other hand needs to continue to develop because his takedown defense will be something future fighters will look to test in his future fights.

Winner: Sean O’Malley via Unanimous Decision

Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega

UFC 222: Edgar v Ortega

This had to be the biggest shocker of the night. Frankie Edgar was known for being an incredibly hard guy to finish due to his ability to keep the fight on the feet and his superb boxing. However, Brian Ortega was on a mission to capture the UFC Featherweight Championship. He got one step closer to doing that in this fight as he was able to counter one of Edgar’s patented rushing attacks with a straight elbow to the face. This seriously hurt Edgar, until Ortega was able to drop him with a vicious uppercut and then followed it up with a brief ground and pound for the win. Edgar has nothing to be ashamed of here in his first knockout loss. He lost to one of the brightest stars in the UFC today that many are considering a future champion. As for Ortega, he has all the makings of a champion but still needs to go through Max Holloway to get the illustrious title.

Winner: Brian Ortega via Knockout in Round 1

Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya

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Another dominant victory for Cyborg as she dismantled Yana Kunitskaya in this fight. Kunitskaya got hurt immediately in this fight after an overhand punch from Cyborg connected. She then reacted by taking Cyborg to the ground and taking the back of the champion. The momentum quickly went back the other way as Cyborg was able to escape that position and then did what she did best. She blasted Kunitskaya with multiple punches until her opponent turtled up for her to get the victory. Cyborg has got to be the hardest puzzle to crack in MMA right now as nobody has come even close to beating her. Hopefully a rightful challenger presents themselves. As for Kunitskaya, there is always the Bantamweight division waiting for her. It’s her choice.

Winner: Cris Cyborg via Technical Knockout in Round 1

Predictions vs. Actual Results:

Here are my prediction results with some interesting stats to go along with it::

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  • 80% of winners picked correctly
  • 40% of predictions were perfect
  • Best prediction percentage since UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2
  • My predictions were so close to perfect (thanks Ortega)
Who You Got?

Who You Got? (UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya)

The UFC returns to Paradise when the most dominant Women’s champion the world has ever seen defends her belt against a massive underdog in the main event of the evening. Here are my picks and predictions for how all of the main card fights of the night will go down:

Cat Zingano vs. Ketlen Vieira

Undefeated fighter, Ketlen Vieira, looks to continue her winning streak by defeating former title challenger Cat Zingano. With Zingano being on a small losing streak as of late, this win can be do or die for her at this point in her career. I feel her losing streak will continue as both are known for grappling in their fights, and Vieira being the more superior grappler. Zingano has been taken down a few times in her prior fights while Vieira has defended roughly 90% of the takedowns shot at her in last three fights. To further back up this claim, Zingano is only a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu whereas Vieira is a black belt in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. Zingano is hard to finish, however, so I predict this fight going the distance.

Ketlen Vieira via Decision

Stefan Struve vs. Andrei Arlovski

This can’t possibly go the distance, right? Two heavyweights who are on the brink of irrelevance clash in this main card bout. Somebody is more than likely getting finished, but who? My answer: Stefan Struve. Let me explain. Andrei Arlovski finally picked up a win after a five fight losing streak. He didn’t get the finish but his opponentat the time, Junior Albini, had never been knocked out before then. So it is safe to assume that he is a hard guy to take out with strikes. Meanwhile, Stefan Struve has had a mixed record as of late with his last knockout win coming against the now released and fragile chinned Antonio Silva. His other knockout win before that, however, was against current champion Stipe Miocic. The problem is that it took place all the way back in 2012. So now let’s look at Arlovski’s recent knockout losses that led some to believe he now has a glass chin. Arlovski’s last three knockout losses were to Francis Ngannou, Alistair Overeem, and Stipe Miocic. How unlucky for him to be thrown in against those monsters. This is honestly a coin flip in terms of how likely each fighter is to win since heavyweight fights are always the most unpredictable fights on every card. But looking at Struve’s striking defense compared to Arlovski, I got to go with the ‘Pitbull.’

Andrei Arlovski via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

Sean O’Malley vs. Andre Soukhamthath

The latest thing to come out of the UFC hype machine, Sean O’Malley, is set to fight Andre Soukhamthath in what should be an exciting fight. O’Malley is known for his unique striking style and impressive head movement that has made him a fan favorite. Soukhamthath is also an exciting fighter who has the power to knockout his opponents with either punches or a flying knee. The most significant factor in this fight is going to be both fighters’ striking defense. O’Malley showed, especially in his debut fight, that he is an insanely hard fighter to hit as he moves his head around in all sort of angles. Soukhamthath in contrast to O’Malley has been very hittable in his fights. Although he has never been knocked out, I think this will be the time it happens since O’Malley’s striking is lethal.

Sean O’Malley via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega

Both of these fighters each have large a legion of fans pulling for their fighter to win. Frankie Edgar is known for his impressive boxing and elite level wrestling while Brian Ortega is known for his crazy submission game. Many predict Ortega using his grappling game to submit the former Lightweight Champion. However, I see Edgar using his wrestling to keep the fight on the feet and using his boxing to outstrike Ortega on the feet. Ortega is no slouch on the feet, even though he was largely outstruck by Cub Swanson in his last fight, so I see him surviving the full fifteen minutes with Edgar.

Frankie Edgar via Decision

Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya

This is considered by many a one-sided contest for the UFC title. Not one fighter has been able to even come close to conquering Cris Cyborg. Holly Holm had the best chance of any fighter and even took Cyborg to the distance for the first time since 2008. Yana Kunitskaya is a poor replacement for Holm and will probably not do as well (if you want to call Holm’s performance well). I expect a quick night for Cyborg as she takes care of business as usual.

Cris Cyborg via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1