Who You Got?

Who You Got? (UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov)

The UFC returns to London when two top ranked heavyweights battle it out 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:

Leon “Rocky” Edwards vs. Peter Sobotta

This fight will be a stylistic matchup. Although both are comftorable with a stand-up fight, Leon Edwards would love to get this fight to the mat. That will be easier said than done as Peter Sobotta is a hard competitor to put on his back. This will lead to a striking battle between the two in which I see Sobotta taking the victory. But because Edwards is a tough fighter to finish, I predict Sobotta winning by the judges’ decision.

Predicted winner: Peter Sobotta via Decision

Tom “Fire Kid” Duquesnoy vs. Terrion “Flash” Ware

This will definitely be the most difficult fight to pick on this card. Both Tom Duquesnoy and Terrion Ware love to strike so expect this to stay standing (unless somebody gets dropped). An interesting statistic though is that neither men have been finished due to strikes. This will more than likely go the distance with one of them edging the other out. I pick Duquesnoy due to his slightly better hand speed, knockout power, and ability to mix up his weapons in his arsenal. Ware will have to pressure Duquesnoy immensely but will probably eat an elbow or knee in the process. Tough fight to call, but my gut says Duequesnoy.

Predicted winner: Tom Duequesnoy via Decision

Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa vs. Jan Blachowicz

This may be the most exciting fight on the card despite their last encounter not being so eventful. Jimi Manuwa will play the striker in this fight while Jan Blachowicz will play the grappler. Manuwa’s biggest problem in his career has been his inability to takeout top-tier strikers. Although Jan Blachowicz is an excellent fighter, he is by no means a top tier striker. I see Manuwa’s boxing dominating this fight as Blachowicz struggles to take Manuwa down to the canvas. I also feel that Manuwa’s boxing has gotten better since these two mens’ last bout so I think Manuwa gets the finish this time around, but it won’t be immediate. It will probably happen in the second round.

Predicted winner: Jimi Manuwa via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 2

Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum vs. Alexander “Drago” Volkov

An odd main event for this London crowd, but it should be anything but boring. Fabricio Werdum is a master submission artist and is able to submit any of his opponents when he takes them to the ground. Taking down Alexander Volkov is no easy feat though. The striking game will be a bit close but I see Werdum gaining the slight advantage, especially in the later rounds as he gets his rhythm and timing down. Werdum should defeat Volkov but will probably not get the finish as knocking Volkov out or taking him down is too difficult for most fighters to do.

Predicted winner: Fabricio Werdum via Decision

What's Going On?

What’s Going On? (Mar 4th – 10th)

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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Darren Till vs. Rafael Dos Anjos?

Darren Till has expressed interest in fighting former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos in a recent interview.

Just because of his fan base there, and I’ve obviously lived there. I’ve got a lot of fans there, and I can speak the language. It would be a good sell in Brazil, if he’s willing to do it… I know he’s waiting for [Tyron] Woodley but Woodley doesn’t seem to want to come back.” – Darren Till

As fun as a fight this would be, Dos Anjos has earned the right to fight for the title and should not have to fight the #7 ranked fighter in his division. This would be a repeat of the Jacare Souza situation. Maybe Till can fight Colby Covington in the mean time (I know a lot of people want to see that guy get knocked out badly).

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Mackenzie Dern‘s Debut Draws Viewers

According to Dave Meltzer, Mackenzie Dern’s UFC debut was the most watched portion of the UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kuntskaya prelims. It was also a bigger draw than the crazy Wilder vs. Ortiz boxing fight. Although Mackenzie Dern herself wasn’t that impressive in her debut (completely lacking in the striking department), she has proven to be a pretty big cash cow for the UFC. I expect them to give her the Sage Northcutt treatment to make he a household name and protect her record. I just hope see fixes her striking or uses her grappling much more effectively, otherwise see will end up like Ronda Rousey when she was exposed in the striking department.

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Conor McGregor, Max Holloway, and Burger King

Conor McGregor and Max Holloway continued to poke jabs at each other after UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya.

So when McGregor announced that he was partnering with Burger King, similar to Anderson Silva, the UFC Featheweight Champion decided to take this opportunity to mock his former advisory.

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Don’t you just love when two fighters get along? In all seriousness, I don’t understand why McGregor is even talking trash to Holloway. I guess he may want to face him when either of those killers, Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson, take his belt. Regardless, in about a month only one of them can call themselves champion.

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Derrick Lewis vs. Francis Ngannou?

Derrick Lewis has been campaigning for a fight with recent title challenger Francis Ngannou. He said recently on a podcast that he would like to get the fight as soon as possible. This would definitely be an entertaining fight and would be easy for the UFC to sell as a must-watch bout. Ngannou may not want to fight Lewis now, especially after coming short against heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, but this could be the fight that would propel him back into title contention. Plus, the rivalry between these two has been bitter from the start. Let’s just hope that when they do fight, the UFC reinforces the octagon cage walls.

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Fabricio Werdum wants to be in WWE

This is probably the most surprising news of the week. Fabricio Werdum has stated that he will meet with WWE executives to talk about a potential crossover into the world of professional wrestling. Werdum then went on the record to say that the idea was nixed and instead he would be considering lucha libre style wrestling. This is a very off move as Werdum feels that he can balance both worlds which has me skeptical. If he ever does go to WWE, however, then I would love to see him and Brock Lesnar in a cage match. The cage should also be in the shape of an octagon.

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.

News

Stipe Miocic vs. Junior Dos Santos 2 is official for UFC 211 in Dallas

The UFC Heavyweight Champion, Stipe Miocic, will face off against a familiar foe in Junior Dos Santos at UFC 211 in the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The decision to place Dos Santos in a title match when there are three other contenders that are ranked higher has sparked up a bit of controversy. Let’s discuss why “Cigano” was picked for the matchup over his competition. Alistair Overeem is ranked right above JDS and had recently failed in his opprtunity (although he was close) to capture the illustrious title. Overeem is set to face Mark Hunt at UFC 209 which would undoubtedly keep him from challenging for the title a second time for the time being. In additon to that, a fighter getting a rematch just after failing to secure the title does not make a whole lot of sense for a main event fight.

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Stipe Mioci disposed of Alistair Overeem in the second round to retain his UFC Heavyweight Championship.

Not even Chael Sonnen got an immediate rematch against Anderson Silva after almost handing “The Spider” his first loss in the UFC. Ranked number two on the heavyweight contenders list is Cain Velasquez who was set to face the number one ranked contender but had to withdraw due to injury. Velasquez’s leg injury may be too much for the former heavyweight champion to compete right now which is why he was not considered for the fight. Plus, the guy ranked above him is much more deserving of a title shot. Fabricio Werdum is the number one contender for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. He lost the belt to Miocic back at UFC 198 in Brazil. After the loss Werdum would go on to win his next bout against Travis Browne at UFC 203 in Cleveland, Ohio. A lot of times the UFC would give an immediate rematch to champions that lost their belts (such as Ronda Rousey). But more often than not, the UFC would have the former champion work his way to a rematch. This is evident by the fact that fighters like Jon Jones and Rafael Dos Anjos, who were dominant in their divisions, did not get immediate rematches. Werdum did go on to claim the number one contender spot and seemed like the most likely canidate to face Miocic in Dallas. However, the UFC loves to find the best matchup they can and would ignor the rankings for the biggest draw and most interesting fights. Most recently this happened when Cody Garbrandt skipped several ranked bantamweights to dethrone Dominick Cruz and claim the UFC Bantamweight Championship.

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Cody Garbrant skipped several top bantamweight contenders to fight for and capture the UFC Bantamweight Championship.

Although it was ridiculous to see that occur, the fight was amazing and Cruz got the toughest fight of his life. The UFC probably thinks that this is the more exciting fight and would give a fresh matchup and challenge for the champion. The heavyweights usually put on a huge show and they say that everything is bigger in Texas. Dallas should get a treat when these two meet. Hopefully Dos Santos vs Miocic can bring us that same magic that Cruz vs Garbrandt brought. If it does then there will be no complaints from the MMA community (maybe).