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.

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

What Happened?

What Happened? (UFC 220: Miocic vs. Ngannou)

Another great night of fights have ended when two of the baddest men on the planet faced off for the heavyweight title in Boston, Massachusetts. Now it is time to see how the fights went down and how my predictions fared at UFC 220: Miocic vs. Ngannou:

Thomas “Thominhas” Almeida vs. Rob Font

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The striking in this fight was super close throughout the first and second round. However, it was well placed right from Rob Font that sent Thomas Almeida stumbling. Font capitalized by going after Almeida and landing a vicious headkick that took away Almeida’s equilibrium. Font finished him off with some ground-and-pound for the win. I though Almeida was going to have the speed advantage in this one, but Font proved me wrong as he was able to land on Almeida and push the pace in this contest.

Winner: Rob Font via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 2

Gian Villante vs. Francimar “Bodao” Barroso

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This went exactly how I wrote it in my predictions. Gian Villante was doing the pressuring while Francimar Barroso was playing defense. Even though Barroso was doing well with his countering, it just wasn’t enough as Villante was able to constantly have him on the cage and advanced for the majority of the fight.

Winner: Gian Villante via Decision

Calvin Kattar vs. Shane “Hurricane” Burgos

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Shane Burgos defense was non-existent in this fight. Calvin Kattar was able to land the jab on Burgos more often than you can count. This really stifled Brugos as he was unable to give much offense in the first round. The pace picked up for Burgos in the second round as he was able land more shots and countered the jab more efficiently. However, in the beginning of the third round Kattar was able to land a big right on Burgos that rocked him. Kattar sealed the deal when he continued with more punched that put Burgos down and ultimately got the finish. Expect Kattar to get a ranked opponent in his next bout after this impressive performance.

Winner: Calvin Kattar via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 3

Daniel “DC” Cormier (c) vs. Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir

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Daniel Cormier did the same thing he does with every powerhouse striker who fights. He stood with them for a moment to test the waters, then he gets the takedown and smashes them on the ground. Although I did pick a submission in the second round, Cormier decided to go with the crucifix position and smash his opponent until the referee stepped in. It was a valiant effort from Volkan Oezdemir, but there was no stopping a determined Cormier who wanted to erase the stench of Jon Jones from him (and it was a vile stench). This cemented Cormier as the undisputed champion at light heavyweight which is what he wanted all along.

Winner: Daniel Cormier via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 2

Stipe Miocic (c) vs. Francis “The Predator” Ngannou

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I don’t think anyone predicted this fight going down like this (if you did then my hat is off to you). Stipe Miocic had the brilliant strategy of tiring Francis Ngannou and bringing him into deep waters (similar to Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman). This was a brilliant strategy as Ngannou gassed as soon as the second round started. Miocic was then able to take down Ngannou with ease. Even though Miocic got hurt a few times from Ngannou’s powerful fists, he was able to get the win by utilizing an age-old strategy against big muscle, powerhouse strikers.

Winner: Stipe Miocic via Decision

Predictions vs. Actual Results:

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

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  • 40% of winners picked correctly
  • 20% of predictions were perfect
  • My predictions were crap (this time)
Who You Got?

Who You Got? (UFC 220: Miocic vs. Ngannou)

The UFC returns to Boston when the two baddest men on the planet go head to head 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:

Thomas “Thominhas” Almeida vs. Rob Font

These two fast paced strikers will not let this fight anywhere near the judges as you can surely expect a knockout. Thomas Almeida so far has only lost to top contenders Jimmie Rivera and Cody Garbrandt (which is nothing to be ashamed of). Meanwhile, Rob Font is an up-and-comer who utilizes his boxing to wear down his opponents and isn’t afraid to go for takedowns either. The big difference between these two will be speed. Almeida clearly has the faster hands that can surely put Font’s lights out in this one. Font would also be overwhelmed by Almeida’s constant push and ability to stand and trade in the pocket. The ground game is also a no-no for Font as Almeida is a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Expect a quick win for Almeida via his sharp and accurate punches.

Predicted winner: Thomas Almeida via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

Gian Villante vs. Francimar “Bodao” Barroso

This fight could be sleeper as both Gian Villante and Francimar Barroso are known for their conservative striking approach in the octagon. The difference of the two is that, even though Barroso has a Black Belt in both Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Villante just seems a bit more faster and accurate with his strikes. His striking isn’t always pretty but I feel it will get the job done against the tentative Barroso. Also, Barroso won’t be able to utilize his Jiu-Jitsu because Villante’s takedown defense is superb. Villante does have a chance to get a knockout but I think the fight goes the distance as Barroso will mainly play defense to ensure a knockout from the lethal Villante does not happen.

Predicted winner: Gian Villante via Decision

Calvin Kattar vs. Shane “Hurricane” Burgos

A third striker vs. striker match on this card makes me wonder if the UFC is looking for all knockouts here in Boston. Regardless, this one has two men on impressive win streaks going head-to-head. Both Shane Burgos and Calvin Kattar has utilized their impressive boxing to defeat their foes inside the octagon. Burgos, however, has the greater defense of the two as he is able to roll with the punches thrown at him and also is great at baiting his opponents in to throwing at him so that he can counter. A big question that I have about this fight is ‘who is going to be the one pressuring in this fight?’ This could be the determining factor for ho wins but I still have to go with Burgos who is undefeated and may also shoot for some takedowns if he ever gets in a jam. A finish seems possible, but I think Kattar’s skills should last him to the final horn.

Predicted winner: Shane Burgos via Decision

Daniel “DC” Cormier (c) vs. Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir

I once predicted that Volkan Oezdimir would get a title shot, but I didn’t say he will win it. Daniel Cormier is one of the best wrestlers the UFC has ever seen. I have total confidence that DC will be able to land a takedown on Oezdimir in “No Time.” This will zap the energy right out of Oezdemir as he struggles to get up. This would result in Oezdemir losing his devastating knockout power. He might be able to survive the first, but I predict the second round being where DC puts him away with a submission similar to how DC did against Anthony Johnson (twice).

Predicted winner: Daniel Cormier via Submission in Round 2

Stipe Miocic (c) vs. Francis “The Predator” Ngannou

This matchup is frustrating to pick due to both guys being able to knock each other out. It is all about who is faster on the draw. After watching their footage repeatedly and very closely, I have to go with Francis Ngannou on this one. My reasoning is that Stipe Miocic has been to hittable in his fights where as Ngannou has been great at defense. Miocic can definitely put anybody down with his hands but I feel he will have to eat a few shots before it happens. And if those shots come from Ngannou, then I do not see a clear path for victory. Then again, Miocic does have an impressive wrestling pedigree that can put “The Predator” on his ass. However, I see this being only to stall as I don’t think he can keep Ngannou down or do enough damage from the top. So in the end, I see Ngannou putting Miocic to sleep via one of those devastating nukes he calls fists early in the fight

Predicted winner: Francis Ngannou via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1