This past weekend at UFC Fight Night 89 Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson with a win became the unanimous number one contender for the UFC welterweight championship, which is being held by Robbie Lawler. Wonderboy took his fight win streak into Ottawa Canada, the promotion debut in the city, and looked amazing. Wonderboy dominates his former training parter, Rory MacDonald, in a 5 round fight. His unorthodox striking had MacDonald hesitant all fight long, even made MacDonald pull guard during the fight. Wonderboy has a background in Kempo karate and American kickboxing, which is why he has amazing kicks that can hurt anyone in the division. In the last round of the fight he hurt MacDonald, even broke his nose and had him bleeding. Wonderboy is 8–1 in the UFC and carrying a 7 fight win streak, his only loss coming to “The Immortal” Matt Brown. At 33, he has already beaten a former champion and the future of the division, Rory MacDonald. Many didn’t see this coming from Wonderboy, but it was evident when you saw previous fights. Compiling great Knockout victories, specially a spinning hook kick against Jake Ellenberger. This weekend he walked into the octagon as the underdog since Rory MacDonald, GSP protege, was fighting at home in Canada and has been looking like a destroyer. MacDonald was coming of a lost were he was winning against the champion Robbie Lawler until he got his face broken in the last round and then stop by the champ. This was, also, MacDonald’s last fight with a UFC contract, now stepping into free agency. A lot of pundits already believe Wonderboy deserved a tittle shot after destroyed former champ Johnny Hendricks in the first round. With his latest victory Wonderboy leaves no doubt who the next in line is, the only question is who will have the belt when he challenges for it next. Robbie Lawler is defending his belt against his current training partner and underdog Tyrone Woodley.
On memorial weekend Cody Garbrandt had a coming out party. He when into the fight unranked but that didn't stop him from making a statement. In the main event in he Mandalay Bay event center he took down 22-0 Thomas Almeida from famed camp "Chute Box." In a night where every fight on the main card went to a judges decision, Cody's KO in the first round as he predicted was how "No Love" made his mark this weekend, and I also made him get a "Performance of the Night" bonus. He used his amazing boxing, which he has a 35-1 amateur boxing record, to the best of his ability. First rocking Almeida with his right hand, but he stayed discipline and didn't go for the kill, he let it come to him. His power and hand speed had Almeida confused from the start. Cody stayed in boxing range, not in Muay Thai range, which is where Almeida thrives in. This win puts Garbrandt a fight or two away from a tittle shot, but in one of the most stacked division it would be smart or him to stay in shape and healthy.
Rick Story returned to the octagon in what is an amazing story. He had disk replacement surgery, which just got approve by the FDA, and returned after 2 years of inactivity. He took on amazing kick boxer Tarec Saffiedine. He looked better than ever, staying on top of Tarec, and not letting the kick boxer settle and unleash his kicks and punches. Story fought a Smart and discipline, and tooled deadly inside kicks by Tarec but that didn't waiver when it came to his pressure game. In what it is one of the best comeback stories in the sport, Story's return to the cage was very impressive. Just him making it to fight week was a win, and him beating the former Strikeforce champion, was just the cherry on top.
On on the co-main event Renan Barao moved up in weight to take on "Lil' Heathen" Jeremy Stephens. A very close fight that on "Fight of the Night" honors, but the power of Stephens was the difference in the fight. Barao looked good, but not compare to how he looked as he champion. It was visible that those fights with TJ Dillashaw changed him as a fighter. Barao got rocked multiple times in the fight, but his chin held on. An impressive showing by big fighters, but Stephens was too big and too strong for Barao last night.
In in the other main event, the fight pass main event, Bryan Caraway put away one of the division's most promising prospect. Aljamain Sterling was being called by many the next king of the division, but Caraway had other thoughts. I personally scored the fight a draw. Giving Sterling the first round a 10-8, a round where dominated Caraway on the ground. But that was all the success he had. The second round didn't had that much action but Caraway closed the round with a takedown and control. The third was the same, Sterling looked gassed, and Caraway capitalized on it. As arrive veteran he stayed patient and when to his strengths. The judges gave him a split decision, but many due to the first round score it a draw. Sterling showed promised during the fight, but that wasn't enough to take out a smart crafty veteran.
In a extremely fight for both Jessica Eye took on Sara McMann in the main feature bout of the prelims on FS1. The first round was one of the worst in history of the sport. Both fighters stayed inactive, extremely inactive. The second started the same way, but with 30 seconds to go McMann finally was able to take the fight to the ground, which was be only offense any of the fighters had in the fight so far. In the third she continue to use her Olympic wrestling to control the fight and win it. In a fight needed by big fighters, neither looked good.
This is my preview of tonight’s Fight Night card that takes place at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. A fight card where the smaller guys are front and center. The main even of the FightPass we have “The Funkmaster” Aljamain Sterling taking on Mr. Tate aka Bryan Caraway. This is a very anticipated fight after Sterling tested the free agency market and re-signed with the UFC. He is taking a step up in competition taking on a solid veteran, and an excellent grappler. Sterling thrives in taking the fight to the ground and controlling his opponents, but he is facing Caraway who will have the advantage on the ground. Good test in competition to see if Sterling is who we think he is, a superstar in the making.
The next fight that i find really compelling is the main fight of the prelims: Sara McMann vs Jessica Eye. Both fighters coming of 1-3 record in their last 4 fights, this is a extremely important fight in the career of both fighters. The looser will take a huge step back in the tittle picture. McMann has been training with Firas Zahabi of the famed Tristar Gym. Zahabi is the genius behind GSP and Rory McDonald, so we will likely see a smarter and better McMann in the cage tonight. Eye is feeling the momentum of her teammate capture the Heavy Weight championship in Curitiba, Brazil. She is, also, looking to fight at her hometown this September coming off a win. Thought fight for both girls, Eye has great hands and McMann is a silver medalist olympic wrestler. I believe Eye has to keep it standing to win, and McMann will look to control the fight and take it to the ground.
Now on to the main card, “Gamebred” Jorge Masvidal takes on “the Monsoon” Lorenz Larkin in a stand up super fight in the welterweight division. Masvidal has great standup but his advantage comes in the grappling department. Larkin has very unorthodox striking due to his background in Kung Fu. Two fun fighters who come to fight and have a very fan friendly style. Larkin is having success at welterweight but is coming off a loss to Albert Tumenov who is a stud. This is in my eyes the fight of the night to watch, due to styles of both fighters.
Renan Barao is moving up in weight after two beatings by the former champion TJ Dillashaw. We all know Barao has struggle to make weight, and once was removed from a fight card for passing out the day of weight-ins after collapsing cutting weight in the tub. Now he is moving up to 145lb limit and taking on heavy handed Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens. Stephens is the hardest hitter in the featherweight division after Conor Mcgregor. A lot of people believe Barao will never be the same, after loosing for first time after 10 years when he lost to TJ. Barrio is a solid fighter who is flat footed but has great kicks and stand up, but this is will be his first fight where he wont have the power advantage As a co-main event this is a great fight. Former champion moving up in weight, and taking on a heavy handed Heathen.
In the main event we have two undefeated fighters looking to become super stars. Thomas Almeida who is ranked #7 in the UFC Rankings, takes on unranked “No Love” Cody Garbrandt. I believe Cody can win the fight as the underdog and from there is off to the races. He has great stand up, has an amateur boxing record of 35-0, also, has solid wrestling from being an outstanding high school wrestler and trains at the world class Team Alpha Male Team. Cody has the looks and the style to be a super star, but he is facing a monster. Almeida has near perfect Muay Thai when it comes to MMA. Great clinch work, elbows, and punching combinations. The bantamweight division needs superstars, and the winner of this fight will create one, either in the USA or Brazil. Almeida has the firepower to take the division by storm, but Cody stands in the weight and looking to upset the party and become a star of his own.
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UFC 198 takes place tonight May 14, 2016 in Curitiba, Brazil. The main event is Fabricio Werdum vs Stipe Miocic. But, the fight card is stacked all over. The main event for the Fight Pass portion of the card is a fun fight between Patrick cummins and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira aka Little Nog. Pat is famous for his short notice fight vs Daniel Cormier, having a rivalry with Daniel from the olympic wrestling team and trials. A great wrestler who is having his 4th fight down in Brazil. He is a facing a legend, Little Nog has great boxing but his chin has been leaving him with age. Stylistically Pat has what it takes to beat Little Nog in a grinding fashion. He has best in class wrestling ability, and top control which has develop from training at black house with fighters like Shogun and Fabricio Werdum. It will be a fun fight, can Little Nog pull one more fight at home, or will Patrick Cummins take him down and grind out another victory to redeem his lost to Glover in Brazil.
The next fun fight is the next on the card, to open the FS1 portion: John Lineker vs Rob font. Lineker is powerful puncher that can put anyone down with a single punch, while Font is a prolific stand up fighter with good kicks and combinations. This fight is a fun fight with a lot of fireworks to be expected. If Lineker wins this fight he can start making his climb up the title challenge at 135.
Next for me is Demian Maia vs Matt Brown. Brown made the fight more interesting by flipping off the crowd at the weight ins, double birds. Brown is a slugger, old school in your face make it dirty kind of fighter, while Maia is a human octopus. Maia might be the best submission grappler to ever grace the octagon, his display of jiujitsu in the cage is a beauty. If brown can keep the fight standing he can make it a dog fight, but Brown is a competent fighter on the ground, but a brown belt might not be enough to save him from one of the best jiujitsu fighters in the world.
Now we move on to the main card, PPV portion of the night. To start the card we have Warley Alves vs the Sage destroyer (Bryan Barbarena). Bryan Barbarena didn't show much, he just beat Sage Northcut by being more of a man than him, a man vs kid fight. Warley Alves has just been fucking people up in the octagon. Undefeated and the winer of TUF3:Brazil, he is no joke at welterweight. He is one of the best prospect at that weight class. He is young, he is complete, and can finish the fight on the ground and feet.
Another Brazilian legend fighting is Shogun Rua, who is taking on the man with the worst nick name Corey Anderson. I can not root for someone who goes by “beastin 25/8.” Also, Shogun has great standup and looks to be revitalize with Rafa Cordeiro at Black House. Plus training with Patrick Cummins will help him the wrestling of Corey on fight night. Only being 34 but with a lot of miles on his body Shogun is on the back 9 of his career, but i believe he has what it takes to put Corey, a one dimensional fighter, away in Curitiba.
After Shogun, we have the anticipated debut of Cyborg Santos. After putting away Gena Carano, she took the title of “the baddest woman on Earth,” and even though Ronda was breaking records in the UFC, she didn't take that away from Cyborg. Leslie Smith will be taking on a monster, literally a monster tonight when she fights Cyborg Santos. Is she wins it will be a real Davil vs Goliath type of story. Anything can happen in the cage, but Cyborg has not been slowing down and this seems business as usual for her. The problem with the fight is that if Cyborg looks too impressive she might keep scaring girls with a bigger name to move up in weight an fight her. It is public knowledge that Holly Holm rejected the fight, but if Cyborg gives Leslie Smith a Cyborg-esque type of beating she might just move back to Invitcta and fight cans over there.
The co-main event of the evening puts Jacare vs the Phenom. One of the most successful fighters on the mat vs one of the most successful man on the octagon. Jacare is a great jiujitsu fighter and has develop lately solid stand up, but Vitor’s hand speed is still legit. Post-TRT Vitor seems to have no tank but the first round he is as dangerous as ever. In his title fight vs Weidman he looked impressive even hurting him, but once the fight got to the ground he got dominated. Jacare is coming off a fight where he got dominated by Yoel Romero, an olympic medalist wrestler. Two Brazilians superstars that have made their name on different parts of the octagon, one on the floor, and the other on his feet, will compete for once lance chance for one of them. If Vitor wins he might be next for the title. And, Jacare is looking to rebound and put his name back on the line.
The main event is a can't miss fight. Go horse defends his tittle against Stipe Miocic, Cleveland’s best chance to bring a championship to “the land.” Fabricio Werdum will finally get to defend his belt, but he is a facing the best prospect in the HW division. An amazing athlete with great hand speed, Stipe is no joke and poses a real challenge for the belt. If he can keep the fight standing and avoid Werdums legendary ground game he can win. Werdum has submitted the Last Emperor and Cardio Cain, two legends in the eyes of many, so if stipe can keep the fight away he has a legit chance of taking the belt back to the ‘Land.
canelo takes down a "king"
Great fights this weekend in both UFC and boxing. We witness Canelo overcome speed, and a Dutchman fly.
Golden boy promotions had a fun pay-per-view card full of mismatches that were fun to watch. The card was headline by the New Mexican boxing superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, a flat footed hard hitting boxer. Before the fight I predicted Canelo would struggle to adjust to the hand speed of Khan in the first 4 rounds, and it happened like that. Canelo was chasing and hitting nothing but air. Khan's phenomenal hand speed translated into the middleweight fight, but his weak chin, also, was part of the trip up in weight class. By the 5th round Canelo was connecting beautiful solid strikes to the body and establishing a jab, a jab he is to perfection to set up the knockout. We all knew the knockout was coming, only reason to tune in was to see how good would Canelo look to make a fight against the pound for pound King, Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin. Canelo has 15 days to sign the contract to fight GGG or get stripped of the belt he won from Miguel Cotto. GGG would be a great test for Canelo, as we saw he still hasn't learned his lesson from facing Floyd mayweather Jr. Nor Erislandy Lara. Canelo only thrives when he is being attacked, he prefers to counter punch than being the action to his opponent. The question is can he handle the pressure and power of one of the sports hardest hitters today, no one has to date. Canelo will be he smaller and slower guy in the fight, and would be taking on a complete fighter. A fighter that has power but, also, is a great combination artist thag hunts for both head and body. The fight would take place in the fall, and jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, wants the fight in his 100,000+ stadium. To many it is the biggest fight the sport can make, after the flop that was Mayweather/Pacquiao. After his fight Canelo told Kellerman of HBO he welcomes the challenge, but he rejected the fight before, wanting GGG to come down to the 154lb limit, something GGG is adamant he will not do. Now we all sit back and wait to see if boxing and it's politics can gives us a great intriguing fight when two fighters are at their prime, or will we wait 7 years like Mayweather and Pacquiao made us wait. Great champions through the history of the sport always move up in weight to prove they belong in the history books, it is what creates legends. Canelo has a chance to become of the best boxers that Mexico has produce in their rich contribution and history in the sport of boxing, but in that he faces one of the best boxers ever.
UFC Fight Night 87 took place in Rotterdam, Netherlands and was headline by Alistair Overeem vs Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski. Both teammates, but not friends. It is public knowledge that they have a feud that was born from sparring, where Overeem injured the former UFC heavyweight champion. After the Dutch kick off the night with 2 knockouts prior to the main even, that both Stefan Struve and Germaine de Randamie earned Performances of the Night bonus of $50,000 each, it was time for the main event. The first round between Overeem and the Pitfall started off with fireworks. Arlokski showed that he still had phenomenal and speed, and landed quick combinations that Overeem scrambling and backing up. The round ended on the ground, Overeem got a takedown and controlled the rest of the round on the ground. The second round started and the war continued, and all of the sudden Overeem became the flying Dutchman. Landing a crane kick, made famous by The Karate Kid, which came out in theatre in 1984. After the kick landed Overeem followed it up with a few punches that led to a stoppage by the referee. With this win, Overeem has become the clear challenger for this upcoming weekend heavyweight tittle fight between Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic, that takes place in a stadium in Arena de Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil. Overeem is 1-1 vs the current champion Werdum, loosing via kimura back in Pride in 2006, and then beating Werdum via unanimous decision in Strikeforce . The trilogy would be an intriguing fight between two veterans that have change and evolve with time. But Stipe poses a tough challenge for the current champion. Bringing to the octagon great hands and amazing wrestling, the former multi-sport athlete is seemed by many to be the favorite going in the tittle fight in Brazil. Alistair after his KO win said he wants to challenge for the belt this upcoming November in New York, where the governor Andrew Cuomo just signed into law the legalization of MMA. The heavyweight division still carries an aura around so bringing that belt to the mecca of sports would be great, and Overeem showed us this past weekend that he is game.