The UFC returns to Rio in Brazil for the second time in less than a year this weekend and although there are a couple intriguing fights in the line up, this card really lacks the star power that the last Brazilian show had and would most likely be better suited for a FOX show as opposed to one of the UFC's "numbered cards" which people have to pay for.
Let's take a look at what's in store for
Brazil on the 14th.
UFC Featherweight Title- Jose "Scarface" Aldo (20-1) vs Chad "Money" Mendes (11-0)-
This bout pits one of the most dominant UFC champions against a one trick pony in Mendes and although Mendes may only have one trick, that one trick he performs to perfection.
Chad Mendes trains with the boys at Alpha Male and although Urijah Faber and Joe Benavidez can both pack a mean punch, those skills seem to have eluded Mendes who sticks strictly to wrestling to win his fights.
Although I may be being a little rough on Mendes, the truth is that he has some of the best double leg takedowns in the UFC and the ability to stay in a dominant position with ease and doesn't do anything risky that may leave him open for a submission.
Aldo came into the UFC with a lot of hype after winning the WEC featherweight championship against Mike Brown and dominating challengers Urijah Faber and Manny Gamburyan but in the UFC, although going 2-0, he's shown to have a couple of kinks in his amour that someone may be able to exploit at some point.
Aldo has some flashy and effective stand-up and defeated both Mark Hominick and Kenny Florian by using those skills but his ground game and takedown defense seem like areas where Aldo needs a little bit of work and that definitely may play well into the hand that Mendes is bringing into the fight.
Aldo is a pretty smart fighter who likes to utilize flying knees and kicks in his fights but I can see him only using those when Mendes shoots in for the takedown and not anytime sooner since Mendes will be looking to uses those as his opportunities to get the fight to the mat.
I am fairly confident that Mendes may get a takedown or two but he's not a finisher or much of a submission guy and if he plans on winning the fight he'll need five takedowns which I don't think he gets and the minute Aldo smells blood in this one, he's going in for the kill.
I can see this one going only a couple rounds and Mendes succumbing to Aldo on the feet.
An upset here is definitely a possibility as Hominick was able to take advantage of a gassed Aldo in the fifth round of their fight and get a takedown to administer a beating and that's one of the reasons Mendes does have a legitimate chance here but for a young guy, he's got a lot of pressure fighting in his first UFC main event, being in Brazil and taking on the hometown champion and a significant rise in competition make for a lot of odds I do not think Mendes is able to overcome.
Prediction: Aldo by knockout
Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort (20-9) vs Anthony Johnson (10-3)-
This should be a terrific fight while it lasts with two of the UFC's most exciting strikers looking to knock out the other.
This is Johnson's first fight at middleweight after being the biggest welterweight in the UFC for the past few years and Vitor's first fight back following a knockout win of Yoshihiro Akiyama last year.
Johnson's shown a more improved ground game in the last couple fights and although it's doubtful that he gets subbed by Vitor on the ground, he's going to find Vitor to be difficult to get to the mat.
Both of these men have one punch knockout power and I see this one ending in a knockout. Johnson's used to facing smaller guys then him and guys not as strong as Vitor.
Flip a coin cause this fights definitely a pick 'em fight but I like Vitor's patience to be the factor here and land a counter punch that ends Johnson's night, most likely in the first round.
Belfort by tko
Edson Barboza (9-0) vs Terry Etim (14-3)-
As good as Etim is, when he faces mid-card or above talent he usually loses while Barboza has dominated everyone in his path since entering the UFC last year.
Barboza's stand-up and leg kicks are BRUTAL and although Etim has a good frame and punch, his strong suit is on the ground and Barboza's ground game has yet to be tested.
I like Barboza in this one to pick apart Etim with leg kicks and lessen his chances of Etim shooting in for the takedown.
Barboza will either finish the fight standing or destroy Etim for the full 15 minutes.
Prediction: Barboza by tko
Thiago Tavares (16-4-1) vs Sam "Hands of Stone" Stout (17-6-1)-
Stout's an accurate volume striker with good takedown defense while Tavares is one of the biggest lightweights in the UFC with the ability to take people down due to his size.
This is Stout's first fight since losing his trainer Shawn Tompkins and since then no one on Stout's team has been able to pick up a victory.
Stout's takedown defense is good but Tavares has no problem keeping Stout against the cage and keep himself out of harms way even if the strategy does anger the fans.
Tavares can be knocked out and Stout can definitely do it but if Tavares is able to implement his gameplan he's going to win this one in front of his home crowd.
Prediction: Tavares by decision
Erick Silva (13-1) vs Carlo "NEO" Prater (29-10-1)-
Silva seems to be the next big Brazilian stand out and Prater seems to have beenb brought in to get Silva another impressive win against a durable veteran.
Although Silva's only fought in the UFC once, he won his debut in
Brazil within a minute by knockout over the debuting Luis Ramoslast year and I think he has what it takes to win this fight wherever he chooses to have it contested.
Prater is no 'tin can" but I don't think that that limited striking he brings to the fight is going to win him this one.
Prediction: Silva by tko
Rousimar Palhares (13-3) vs Mike Massenzio (13-5) - Prediction: Palhares by submission
Edinaldo "Lula" Oliveira (13-1) vs Gabriel "Napao" Gonzaga (12-6) - Prediction: Gonzaga by knockout
Felipe "Sertanejo" Arantes (13-4) vs Antonio "Pato" Carvalho (13-4) - Prediction: Carvalho by decision
Mike "Quicksand" Pyle (21-8-1) vs Ricardo Funch (8-2) - Prediction: Pyle by submission
Michihiro Omigawa (12-10-1) vs Yuri "
Marajo" Alcantra (26-3) - Prediction: Omigawa by unanimous decision
Fabio Maldanado (18-4) vs Caio "Hellboy" Magalhaes (5-0) - Prediction: Maldanado by knockout
Preview ofUFC on FX 1: Guillard vs Miller
Next weekend the UFC hosts a show live from
Tennessee and to viewers watching on FX with what should be an explosive main event.
Jim Miller (20-3) vs Melvin "The Young Assassin" Guillard (29-9-2)-
Although both of these men are coning off one sided losses, they are both considered top ten UFC lightweights and this fight has all the makings to end with a thrilling submission or knockout.
Guillard is coming oiff a disappointing poerformance against Joe Lauzon in his hoinmetown of Houston a few months ago but the submissioin loss came when an overdconfident Guillard left himself oipen while swarmins Lauzon and was stumbled with a glancing blow which Lauzon jumped on and got the submission quickly with a rear naked choke.
I've mentioned before that Guillard may be a little overrated but I think his fight with Lauzon was a case of coming in overconfident and looking past his opponent, in other words, I doubt if he and Joe fought again ten times that Melvin would lose any of those fights.
Guillard packs a mean punch and his sprawl has looked really good in the last couple years but Jim Miller is the type of guy that can and should be able to test Melvin's takedown defense and the submission skills to exploit that part of Guillard's game.
Jim Miller came just a fight or two away from a title shot at Frank Edgar when he ran into Ben Henderson earlier this year who defeated Miller soundly.
Miller is a very motivated fighter who should be looking to finish Guillard in impressive fashion and make another case for a title shot if he can continue to put wins together.
Miller should be able to get Guillard down and submit him but if he decides to stand and trade then it's probably lights out for Miller.
Prediction: Miller by submission
Josh Neer (32-10-1) vs Duane "Bang" Ludwig (21-11) - This fight pits two underated veterans against one another in what should be a real entertaining fight.
You don't get a much more definitive "striker" vs "grappler" fight then this one right here as Ludwig's a former top level kickboxer and Neer a highly credentilaled submission expert.
Both men are coming off wins in their last fight and both should be looking to climb the level of competition with a victorty.
Although Ludwig's hands are not something you want to test, I see Neer getting the fight to the mat where he shows off his skills and newly learned "Diaz Jui Jitsu" to either finish Ludwig on the mat or control him there for 15 minutes.
Watch out for Neer's elbows if he gets himself in a dominant position.
Prediction: Neer by decision
Christian Morecraft (7-2) vs Pat Barry (6-4) -
Barry is a dynamic striker with an EXTREMELY limited ground game who is in desperate need of a win while his opponent, Morecraft has a questionable chin and decent takedowns.
I really could see either guy picking up the victory based on the limitations of his opponent but I have to think that with Barry training with Brock Lesnar that his takedown defense has improved and he should be able to keep this one on the feet where he should be able to finish Morecraft.
Prediction: Morecraft by submission
Reza "Mad Dog" Madadi (11-2) vs Fabricio "Morango" Camoes (13-6-1)- Camoes is a UFC vet with a losing record who see's himself make the card due to an injury to Madadi's original opponent.
I don't know much about Madadi other than that this is his UFC debut and that he's coming in with a lot of hype as someone who could be a "future star".
Look for Madadi to take this fight wherever it goes.
Prediction: Madadi by unanimous decision
Habib Nurmagomedov (16-0) vs Kamal Shalorus (7-1-2)- Prediction: Nurmagomedov by unanimous decision
Mike Thomas Brown (25-8) vs Vagner Rocha (7-2)- Prediction: Brown by unanimous decision
Eric "Ravishing Red" Schafer (12-6-2) vs Jorge "El Conquistador" Rivera (19-9)- Prediction: Rivera by unanimous decision
Ryan "Big Deal" Jimmo (16-1) vs Karlos "The Terminator" Vemola (8-2)- Prediction: Jimmo by unanimous decision
Charlie "The Spaniard" Brenneman (14-3) vs Daniel "Ninja" Roberts (12-3)- Prediction: Brenneman by unanimous decision
Nick "Ninja of Love" Denis (10-2) vs Joseph Sandoval (6-1)- Prediction: Denis by unanimous decision
Mike "The Hulk"
Easton (11-1) vs Jared Papazian (14-6)- Prediction:
Easton by tko
Recap of Strikeforce: Rockhold vs Jardine
Last weekend, Strikeforce returned to Showtime television and
Nevada for their first show of 2012.
Strikeforce Middleweight Title- Luke Rockhold (9-1) defeated "The Dean of Mean" Jardine (17-10-2) by tko at 4:26 of the first round-
Going into this fight everyone felt that Jardine was a low calibre opponent to be challenging for a title epecially at a weight he had never previously fought at and Rockhold proved those experts right when he overwhelmed and walked right through Jardine.
Rockhold was the younger and faster fighter and blasted Jardine with punches which had Jardine stumbling all over the cage.
Referee Herb Dean was slow on the stoppage and Jardine took FAR too many punches here which left fans feeling akward witnessing a defensless man being pummeled way more than he had to be.
Rockhold said following the fight that hewants to test himself against some of the UFC's best which may or may not happen soon.
Although the Strikeforce middleweight division doesn't have the depth that the UFC does, top ranked Tim Kennedy is a legit challenge for Rockhold and should probably find himself challenging him for the championship later on this year.
"Ruthless" Robbie Lawler (19-8) defeated Adlan Amagov (9-2-1) by tko at 1:48 of the first round-
This fight didn't last all that long which was expected from these hard hitters.
Amagov got the takedown early and soon enough a scramble ensued which saw Amagov land a knee to Lawler's head which of course is illegal.
Lawler was given some time to recover and when the fight was restarted, it wasn't long before Lawler landed a flying knee and punches on the ground as Amagov went limp and the referee stopped the fight.
Lawler really needed a win here as he had lost three of his last four fights prior to this one.
A lot of Strikeforce competitors have moved to the UFC however it is expected that Lawler will stay in Strikeforce until the contract with Showtime is complete as he's one of the highest paid and exciting fighters that Strikeforce currently has.
Muhammed Lawal (9-1) defeated Lorenz "The Monsoon" Larkin (12-1) by knockout at 1:32 of the second round- The story of the fight was Mo taking down and pounding on Larkin with some pretty devestating ground and pound until a defenseless Larkin could do nothing to defend himself and the referee was forced to step in.
Larkin's capable of fighting at 185 due to the extra pounds he carries and following this fight I wouldn't doubt it if he makes the cut in his next fight.
Mo has a lot of charisma and is definitely someone who could make the UFC "some money" as he's got a good look, gimmick and personality.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Mo join the UFC sometime this year and fight someone the likes of Rampage Jackson as the two already have some heat between one another.
Tyron Woodley (10-0) defeated
Jordan "Young Gun" Mein (23-8) by split decision-
This was one of the worst fights I've ever seen and Tyron layed on top of Mein for the majority of the fight.
The crowd HATED this fight and due to Tyron literally just laying on top he almost lost the fight as Mein was fairly active on the bottom and a judge saw him winning the fight due to staying so busy.
It's very seldom that a fight is ruled in favor of the guy who stayed on the bottom and it's mostly a testament to how bad of a fight this was and how one dimensional Tyron really is.
Honestly I don't want to rag to much on this but this fight was so bad that Tyron should actually be ashamed of himself whether he won or not.
Tarec Saffiedine (12-3) defeated Tyler "The Evolution" Stinson (22-8) by split decision-
Real fun fight here with Stinson aggressively bringing the fight to Saffiedine and cuttinbg him open with punches in the opening roiund only for Saffiedine to come back and win the second and third rounds standing and returning the favor by cutting openb Stinson with punches of his own.
Good fight for both guys as neither guy is a "name" and they definitely had a good amount of eyes on them by opening the show.
Nah-Shon Burrell (8-1) defeated James Terry (11-4) by split decision
Gian Villante (9-3) defeated Trevor “Hot Sauce” Smith (9-2) by tko at 1:05 of the first round
Ricky Legere Jr. (14-4) defeated Christopher Spang (4-1) by unanimous decision
Estevan Payan (13-3) defeated Alonzo Martinez by unanimous decision (35-16-1)
Review of UFC 141: Lesnar vs Overeem
A couple of weeks ago, the UFC put on their final show of 2011 and although it was pretty much a two fight show, the event produced some interesting results and the retirement of one of the UFC's biggest stars.
Alistair "The Reem" Overeem (36-11)deafeated Brock Lesnar (5-3) by tko at 2:26 of the first round-
Brock came out looking lost in this one as he started the fight by throwing and landing a couple leg kicks which was thought to be a questionable call as Brock's never been a 'kicker' and Overeem is a beast when it comes to standing and trading.
At one point, Overeem baited Brock into going for a takedown when he went in for a knee and kept his knee out there which Brock looked to capitalize on the chance but was unable to after a half hearted single leg.
Reem was evenatually able to put Brock in trouble when he started landing punches, knees and punches to the body and Brock began to stumble around the ring until one more knee dropped Brock and some punches on the ground forced the referee to stop the fight.
The win will see Reem challenge UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos later this year while the loss may be Brock's last as he retired from MMA following the fight which leaves the UFC in a tough spot now that their top two draws are not currently competing in the UFC (GSP out the majority of 2012 with an injury and now Brock retired)
Nate Diaz (15-7) defeated Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone (17-4) by unanimous decision-
Although I felt that Cerrone was going to come out and beat Diaz senseless, I was proved wrong in this one as Diaz anihilated Cerrone and left no doubt following the fight who the better fighter was.
Cerrone never got anything going in this fight and even sprinted out to start the fight however, Cerrone never commited to any takedowns and was little more than a punching back for Diaz during the full 15 minutes.
Diaz has a terrific submission game and lengthy frame which makes it difficult to avoid his punches and really made Cerrone look like he didn't belong in the same cage as Diaz.
Diaz was able to mark up Cerrone's face with punches and although Cerrone was able to sweep him a couple times, he never chased Diaz to the mat when he had the opportunity.
Diaz is now 2-0 at lightweight since returning from a stint at 170 and the win should put him in the title picture with people like Joe Lauzon, Gray Maynard, Anthony Pettis and Jim Miller.
Although the loss was one sided, Cerrone should not have that much of an obstacle to overcome to get back in line for a potential title shot as he's 4-1 since entering the UFC in 2011 and he should stay in competition with other top ten fighters in 2012.
Johnny Hendricks (12-1) knocked out Jon Fitch (23-4-1) at 0:12 of the first round- Hendricks had being saying for weeks now that he was going to finish Fitch on the feet and he did just that when he knocked Fitch silly with a left and landed one more on the mat as the referee jumped in to stop the fight just 12 seconds follwing the oipening bell.
It's doubtful that we'll see a rematch that could tell us if the punch was just a lucky one or not but the win for Henndricks puts him near the top of the welterweight picture with the likes of Josh Koscheck, Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit ad Jake Ellenberger and perhaps even only a one or two away from a title shot while Fitch's loss is particularly sad for him since he had been undefeated since a loss to GSP in 2007 and with the title picture open due to GSP's injury, many thought a win over Hendricks would put Fitch in line for a title shot perhaps sometime in 2012.
Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson (13-1) defeated "The Janitor" Vladimir Matyushenko (26-6) at 2:13 of the first round- As good as Vladdy's takedown's are, he was never able to get a hold of Gustafsson and decided instead to try out his improved striking which may have been a bad decision.
Not much happened in this one other than Vladdy getting knocked out with a beautifully placed jab and the referee charging in to stop the fight after Gustafsson was able to land some follow up punches on the ground.
With a show in
Sweden planned for early 2012 and Gustafsson being Swedish, I would anbticipate Gustaffson getting a big named opponent for his next outing, perhaps against Lyoto Machida, Forrest Griffin or Rich Franklin.
Jim Hettes (10-0) defeated Nam Phan (17-10) by unanimous decision-
The story of this fight was Hettes pressing forward on Pham and never letting Pham get a comfortable stance to get anything off, doing a good job of closing the distance.
Pham spent the entire fight on the defence and was never able to get Hettes in any kind of trouble throughout the three rounds.
Not a terrific opener to the card but still a pretty fun fight.
Ross Pearson (13-5) defeated Junior Assuncao (13-5) by unanimous decision
Danny "Last Call" Catillo (13-4) defeated Anthony Njokuani (14-6) by unanimous decision
Dong-Hyun "Stun Gun" Kim (15-1-1) defeated Sean Pierson (11-6) by unanimous decision
Jacob Volkman (14-2) defeated Efrain Escudero (18-4) by unanimous decision
Diego "The Gun" Nunes (17-2) defeated Manny Gamburyan (11-7) by unanimous decision
UFC on FOX 2 from
Illinois- January 28th, 2012
"Sugar" Rashas Evans (16-1-1) vs "Mr. Wonderful" Phil Davis (9-0)
Chael Sonnen (26-11-1) vs Mark "The Philippine Wrecking Machine" Munoz (12-2)
Michael "The Count" Bisping (21-3) vs Demian Maia (15-3)
Mike Russow (14-1) vs Jon Olav Einemo (6-2)
Mitch Gagnon (8-1) vs Johnny "Brutal"
Evan Dunham (12-2) vs Nik "The Carnie" Lentz (21-4-2)
Charles "Do Bronx" Oliveira (14-2) vs Eric "Little Lee" Wisely (19-6)
Shane Roller (10-5) vs Michael Johnson (9-6)
George Roop (12-8-1) vs Cub Swanson (15-5)
Chris Camozzi (15-5) vs Dustin Jacoby (6-1)
Joey Beltran (13-6) vs Lavar "Big" Johnson (15-5)
UFC 143 from
Nevada- February 4th, 2012
Interim UFC Welterweight Title- "The Natural Born Killer" Carlos Condit (27-5) vs Nick Diaz (26-7)
Kos" Koscheck (16-5) vs Mike Pierce (13-4)
Dustin Poirier (10-1) vs Ricardo Lamas (11-2)
Roy "Big Country" Nelson (16-6) vs Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1)
Renan "Barao" Pegado (27-1) vs Scott "Young Guns" Jorgensen (13-4)
Matthew Riddle (5-3) vs Jorge "Lil Monster" Lopez (11-2)
Ed "Short Fuse" Herman (19-8) vs Clifford Starks (8-0)
Dustin Poirier (11-1) vs Max Holloway (4-0)
Edwin Figueroa (8-1) vs Ale "Bruce Leroy"
Michael "Judo" Kuiper (11-0) vs Rafael "Sapo"
Matt Brown (12-11) vs Chris "C-Murder" Cope (5-2)
Justin Edwards (7-2) vs Mike Stumpf (11-3)
UFC on Fuel from
Nebraska- February 15th, 2012
Jake Ellenberger (26-5) vs Diego "The Dream" Sanchez (23-4)
Dave "Pee Wee" Herman (21-2) vs Stefan Struve (22-5)
Aaron Simpson (11-2) vs Ronny Markes (12-1)
Jonathan Brookins (12-4) vs Vagner Rocha (7-2)
Ivan "The Pride of El Salvador" Menjivar (23-8) vs John "Prince" Albert (6-1)
Stipe Miocic (7-0) vs Philip De Fries (8-0)
T.J. Dillashaw (4-1) vs Walel "The Gazel" Watson (9-3)
UFC 144 from
Japan- February 26th, 2012
UFC Lightweight Title- Frank "The Answer" Edgar (14-1) vs Ben Henderson (14-2)
Jackson (32-9) vs Ryan "Darth" Bader (12-2)
Jake Shields (26-6-1) vs Yoshihiro "Sexyama" Akiyama" (13-4)
Anthony "Showtime" Pettis (14-2) vs Joe "J-Lau" Lauzon (21-6)
Cheick Kongo (17-6-2) vs Mark Hunt (7-7)
Tie Quan "The Mongolian Wolf" Zhang (15-2) vs Leonard "Bad Boy" Garcia (15-8-1)
Yushin Okami (26-6) vs Tim Boetsch (14-4)
George Sotiropoulous (14-4) vs Takanori "Fireball Kid" Gomi (32-8)
Hatsu Hioki (25-4-2) vs Bart "Bartimus" Palaszewski (36-14)
Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto (18-5) vs Vaughan Lee (11-7-1)
Takeya Mizugaki (15-6-2) vs Chris "Kamikaze" Cariaso (11-3)
Riki Fukuda (17-5) vs Steve Cantwell (7-5)
UFC on FX 2 from
Australia- March 4th, 2012
Thiago "Pitbull" Alves (19-8) vs Martin "Hitman" Kampmann (17-5)
Joseph Benavidez (15-2) vs Yasuhiro Urushitani (19-4-6)
Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson (9-2) vs Ian "Uncle Creepy" McCall (11-2)
Costa Phillipou (9-2) vs Court "The Crusher" McGee (14-1)
Aaron Rosa (17-4) vs James Te Huna (13-5)
Cole Miller (18-5) vs Steve "Super" Siler (19-9)
Anthony "TJ" Waldburger (14-6) vs Jake Hecht (11-2)
Jared Hamman (13-4) vs Kyle "KO" Noke (19-5)
Nick Penner (11-1) vs Anthony "The Hippo" Perosh (12-6)
Shawn "The Savage"
Jordan (12-3) vs Oli Thompson (9-2)
Mackens Semerzier (6-3) vs Robert Peralta (15-3)
UFC 146 from
Canada- March 24th, 2012
Rory "Ares" MacDonald (12-1) vs Che Mills (14-4)
Travis Browne (12-0-1) vs
Chad "The Gravedigger" Griggs (11-1)
Mark Bocek (10-4) vs Matt Wiman (14-6)
Brendan Schaub (8-2) vs Ben Rothwell (31-8)
Mark Hominick (20-10) vs Eddie "The Phillipino Phenom" Yagin (15-5-1)
Mac Danzig (20-9-1) vs Efrain Escudero (18-4)
UFC on FUEL 2 from
Sweden- April 14th, 2012
Brian Stann (11-4) vs Alessio "Legionarius" Sakara (15-8)
Damarques Johnson (13-9) vs John Mcguire (17-3)
Papy "Makembo" Abedi (8-1) vs James Head (7-2)
Georges "The Last Viking" Kruth (5-0) vs Cyrille "Snake" Diabate (17-8-1)
Paulo Thiago (14-3) vs Siyar Bahadurzada
Francis “Limitless” Carmont (17-7) vs Magnus Cedenbald (10-3)
Simeon “The Grin” Thoresen (16-2-1) vs Besam Yousef (6-0)
That's all for this week everyone but I will be back in two weeks with a recap of UFC 142: Aldo vs Mendes, a review of the UFC on FX show and a breakdown of the second UFC on Fox show with a triple main event.
Take care everybody!