Originally posted on MMATorch.com on 02-19-2017
Should UFC book a de Germaine vs. Holly Holm rematch in light of the late punches, or should the priority be for Holly to get another win first and trying to book de Randamie vs. Cyborg?
MICHAEL GROCKE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think Holly Holm got a raw deal in her fight against GDR at UFC 208. It was a failure by the NYSAC on multiple levels. I won’t even get into the travesty that was the scoring for the Anderson Silva vs. Derek Brunson fight since it isn’t the topic for this discussion.
For Todd Anderson to allow Germaine de Randamie to land punches after the horn sounded at the end of the second round, and then again after the end of the third round without penalty, was inexcusable. Holm was clearly rocked from the shots that landed after the rounds had ended and, in my opinion, it had an effect on the outcome of the fight. GDR won the fight with scores of 48-47, 48-47, 48-47. Had Anderson done his job and deducted a point from GDR, we are now looking at a draw. Fight results aside, Anderson’s main priority is looking out for the health and welfare of the fighters inside that cage. There again is where he failed.
With that rant out of the way, I don’t want to see a rematch… yet. While I think Holm deserves a rematch, I’m tired of the UFC holding up divisions with rematches and fights that take place outside of the champion’s division. Now that Cyborg is cleared to fight, she should be next up to fight de Randamie. In the meantime, Holly can take another fight and work her way back to a title shot.
Bellator MMA travels overseas to the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland for Bellator 173. Former light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary takes on Brett McDermott in the main event. McGeary was originally scheduled to face Ireland’s own Chris Fields, but an injury forced him to have to pull out of the fight. Then, due to VISA issues Vladimir Filipovic was pulled, forcing Bellator to book their third opponent in Brett McDermott. The co-main event features Ireland native James Gallagher as he goes up against Kirill Medvedovsky.
The four fight Bellator main card continues with another Ireland based fighter in Sinead Kavanah. She puts her undefeated record on the line when she steps into the cage opposite Iony Razafiarison. In the welterweight division Colin Fletcher takes on Alex Lohore.
BAMMA 28 also takes place on Friday and teams up with Bellator MMA for their second co-promoted event. The main event takes place in the lightweight division with Paul Redmond taking on UFC veteran Norman Parke.
Coverage of the Bellator main card starts at 8 p.m. CT on Spike.
Brett McDermott (7-4) vs. Liam McGeary (11-1) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Liam McGeary enters his fight against Brett McDermott looking to get back into title contention after losing the belt to Phil Davis at Bellator 163. McGeary lost by decision in a one sided affair (43-50, 45-50, 44-50), in a fight that never lived up to the hype.
Brett McDermott makes his Bellator debut after agreeing to take the fight on extremely short notice. Of McDermott’s 7 career wins as a professional, 6 are by KO/TKO. McDermott is 3-3 over his last 6 fights, alternating wins and losses. His most recent fight was at Full Contact Contender 17 where he finished Dan Konecke in the second round. A win here would certainly do wonders for his career.
Phil Davis was able to dominate McGeary by taking him down and outwrestling him for five rounds. McGeary’s strength is in his striking, but in order to get the belt back he must work on his takedown defense. Filipovic doesn’t have the skill sets of Phil Davis so I don’t expect him to be able to copy his game plan. This fight will most likely play out on the feet and that’s where McGeary shines. Of his 10 career wins, 5 are by knockout and 5 are by submission.
McGeary should get a fairly easy win, and the odds will reflect that. I would recommend taking a look at the rounds total under in this one.
Pick: McGeary by TKO
Kirill Medvedovsky (7-3) vs. James Gallagher (5-0) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Ireland’s own Jack Gallagher is 5-0 and 2-0 under the Bellator banner. Of his 5 professional wins, all but one were by submission. The 20 year old up and comer is a fighter to keep an eye on as he has the potential to make a run in the featherweight division.
Kirill Medvedovsky enters the fight on a two fight skid with his most recent loss coming at Bellator 164 against Georgi Karakhanyan, which also happened to be his Bellator debut. 5 of his 7 career wins have come within the distance, and he’ll be looking to make a name for himself by taking out the hometown favorite. That’s going to be easier said than done.
I expect Medvedovsky to test Gallagher early, but ultimately this is Gallagher’s fight to lose.
Pick: Gallagher by submission
Iony Razafiarison (1-1) vs. Sinead Kavanagh (4-0) – Catchweight 140 lbs.
Iony Razafiarison makes her second appearance for Bellator on Friday when she takes on Sinead Kavanagh. Iony dropped a decision to Bryanna Fissori in her debut at Bellator 139.
Sinead Kavanagh is also making her second appearance for Bellator. She won her debut by decisioning Elina Kallionidou at Bellator 169. She started her professional career in BAMMA where she went 3-0. The Irish born Kavanagh fights out of SBG Ireland and will be a contender in Bellator’s featherweight division.
Pick: Kavanagh by TKO
Colin Fletcher (13-7) vs. Alex Lohore (10-1) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Alex Lohore makes his Bellator debut on Friday. He enters the fight riding a six fight win streak with his latest victory coming against Harry Marple at Fightstar Championship 8. Of his 10 career wins, 8 have been by either knockout or submission.
MMA veteran Colin Fletcher will be stepping into the Bellator cage for the first time on Friday. Fletcher split his last two fights, he first lost to John Maguire by submission at M4tC 21, he then returned at M4tC 22 where he defeated Aymard Guih by submission.
Pick: Lohore by decision
Norman Parke (22-5-1) vs. Paul Redmond (11-5) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
UFC castoff Norman Parke makes his BAMMA debut when he takes on Paul Redmond for the vacant lightweight title. After parting ways with UFC after a loss to Rustam Khabilov at UFC Fight Night 84, Parke beat Andrew Fisher at ACB 47 in his most recent fight. After going 0-2 in UFC Paul Redmond made his debut for BAMMA at BAMMA 26 where he decisioned Chris Singer.
Pick: Parke by TKO
Andy Young (10-8) vs. Dominique Wooding (3-0) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Up and comer Dominique Wooding takes on Andy Young for the interim flyweight title. Wooding is 3-0 as a professional with all of his fights taking place under the Warrior Fight Series banner. All three of wins are by stoppage. Andy Young split his last two bouts with the latest coming at WWFC Cage Encounter 5 where he beat Alexander Barabash by TKO.
Pick: Wooding by TKO
Ronnie Mann (25-8-1) vs. Damien Lapilus (14-7-1) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
The BAMMA featherweight title is on the line as Ronnie Mann takes on Damien Lapilus. Ronnie Mann is coming off of a knockout victory over Graham Turner at BAMMA 25. He is 2-2 over his last four fights. Of his career 25 wins, 11 came via submission and 5 by KO/TKO. Damien Lapilus is 1-1 over his last two fights. After beating Alikhon Khasanov by decision at ADW Road to Abu Dhabi 3, he got knocked out at LFC 7 by Fares Ziam.
Pick: Mann by decision
Rhys McKee (5-0) vs. Tim Barnett (3-0) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
In what should be the fight of the night on the BAMMA card, Rhys McKee defends his BAMMA Lonsdale lightweight title against Tim Barnett. Both fighters come into the bout undefeated. All three of Barnett’s wins ended in the first round either by submission or TKO. While not all in the first round, all five of McKee’s wins ended inside the distance.
Pick: McKee by TKO
Prelims Quick Look
Herbert over Owens
Kilifin over Murphy
Rutkowski over Smith
Olejniczak over Reid
Irvine over McCabe
McClurkin over Fleury
Brookins over Dalton
Gustab over Hughes
Enjoy the fights!
Originally posted on MMATorch.com on 10-25-2016
Do you want to see the McGregor vs. Mayweather fight happen? If it happens, how do you think it will play out once the bell rings?
MICHAEL GROCKE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Despite the recent news of this fight getting closer to fruition, I just don’t see it happening. While I understand the public’s enthusiasm for such a fight, there are too many obstacles standing in the way. It took six years for Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao to get made, how long do you think this will take?
That said, let’s just say the fight happens. While I am in no way a fan of Floyd Mayweather or his fighting style, if he truly comes into the fight looking to prove a point, then I think Conor gets knocked out in the first round. However, if Mayweather is more interested in putting on an exhibition, then the fight will be just like all of his other fights… boring as f—.
The UFC travels north of the border for UFC Fight Night 105. The event takes place at the ScotiaBank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The main event takes us to the heavyweight division where Derrick Lewis looks to continue his rise up the rankings. He’ll take on Travis Browne who will be looking to end a two fight skid. The co-main event pits heavy handed Hector Lombard against Johny Hendricks.
The six-fight main card rounds out with Sam Sicilia taking on Gavin Tucker in the featherweight division, Elias Thoedorou taking on Cezar Ferreira in a battle of light middleweights, then we go to the women’s bantamweight division for Sara McMann vs. Gina Mazany and finally back to the men’s lightweight division for Paul Felder vs. Alessandro Ricci.
The early prelims will air on Fight Pass starting at 5:30 PM CT, with Fox Sports 1 taking over at 6 PM CT for the prelims. Keep it on FS1 for the main card starting at 8 PM CT.
Derrick Lewis (17-4, 1 NC) vs. Travis Browne (18-5-1) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Current Odds: Lewis -120; Browne -110
Not long ago Travis Browne was a top contender and a serious threat to anyone in the heavyweight division. He’s now lost four of his last six fights. More recently he is 0-2 losing to the best the division has to offer in Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum. This is a big fight, Browne needs a win in order to stay relevant. While I don’t think a loss gets him cut, it definitely brings him one step closer to a big Bellator debut.
Derrick Lewis enters the fight riding a five fight win streak, with all but one ending in a knockout. Moreover, 16 of his 17 career wins have been stoppages, including 15 by knockout. The lone decision was against Roy Nelson who has granite for a head and is darn impossible to knockout.
Browne presents an interesting challenge for Lewis. He has an excellent jab and is a strong counter-puncher, and has the size and reach to keep distance. While his takedown defense isn’t the best, he is very dangerous when pressed against the fence. I think these are all advantages for Browne coming into the fight.
However, I think Derrick Lewis has zero interest in standing with Browne. I expect Lewis to get the fight to the ground early and often. Regardless of Browne’s ability to defend on bottom, Lewis has the strength to get past his guard. He’ll administer some heavy ground and pound eventually wearing Browne down leading to a stoppage.
Next up for Derrick Lewis will be Francis Ngannou in a number one contender bout.
Pick: Lewis by TKO
Johny Hendricks (17-5) vs. Hector Lombard (34-6-1, 2 NC) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Lombard -125; Hendricks -105
Johny Hendricks enters his fight against Hector Lombard on a three fight losing streak. Ever since he lost to Robbie Lawler at UFC 181 he just hasn’t been the same fighter. It seems like the fire he once had inside him is gone, and quite frankly I question his desire to even want to continue fighting.
Hector Lombard is on a two fight skid with his last win coming in March, 2014 at UFC 171 against Jake Shields. His most recent fight at UFC 199 where he suffered a highlight reel knockout at the hands of Dan Henderson.
Lombard and Hendricks are two fighters in dire need of a victory. Both fighters have the ability to end the fight with one punch. While Hendricks is an accomplished wrestler, I don’t see him having much success getting takedowns. Lombard has excellent takedown defense and if Johny gets careless he can very easily find himself either getting caught by a big shot coming in or in a submission.
While Hector Lombard’s speed and overall skills aren’t what they used to be, I just think Johny Hendricks might be done after this fight. I hope I’m wrong because I’ve always been a big fan of his and who knows, maybe moving up to 185 pounds will give him an advantage. But, until I see it with my own eyes, it’s impossible to back him.
Pick: Lombard by TKO
Sam Sicilia (15-7) vs. Gavin Tucker (9-0) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Tucker -165; Sicilia +135
After winning two fights in a row, Sam Sicilia has dropped his last two. He was stopped in both, first by Doo Ho Choi at UFC Fight Night 79 and most recently by Gabriel Benitez at UFC Fight Night 94. Of his 15 career wins, 12 came inside the distance. Of his 7 career losses, he was stopped 6 times. Sicilia possesses power but leaves himself open for getting countered. I think he’ll try to keep the fight standing and look an opening hoping to land the knockout.
Gavin Tucker is undefeated and makes his UFC debut on Sunday night. Of his 9 wins on the regional circuit only 1 went the distance. He seems to have all the skills necessary to be a threat in the featherweight division. He’s a technical fighter who looks to pick his spots. If Sicilia tries to pressure and close distance then I think Tucker will have success by sitting back, staying patient and landing big counter strikes. Add to it the fact that Sicilia is easy to hit and I think it all adds up to Gavin Tucker going to 10-0.
Pick: Tucker by decision
Elias Theodorou (12-1) vs. Cezar Ferreira (12-5) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Ferreira -115; Theodorou -115
Elias Theodorou is 4-1 under the UFC banner. He got back in the win column by taking a decision over Sam Alvey at UFC Fight Night after suffering his first loss at the hands of Thiago Santos at UFC Fight Night 80. Of Theodorou’s 12 career wins only 5 were by knockout so I don’t expect him to stop Ferreira. I expect him to push the pace and be the more active fighter. He mixes up his offense extremely well keeping his opponents guessing.
Cezar Ferreira enters Sunday’s bout on a modest three fight win streak. He subbed Jack Hermansson at UFC Fight Night 100 for his most recent win. Ferreira is the better overall athlete. He works a slower pace than Elias and packs a heavier punch.
If Cezar is successful in keeping distance and getting takedowns I think his ground game can carry him to a decision. However, I think Theodorou will be able to get inside, score in the clinch and outwork Ferreira earning a hard fought decision.
Pick: Theodorou by decision
Sara McMann (10-3) vs. Gina Mazany (4-0) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: McMann -600; Mazany +425
Gina Mazany makes her official debut for the UFC after amassing a 4-0 record outside of the organization. She finished all but one of her wins in the first round either by knockout or submission. Gina is taking the fight on short notice due to Liz Carmouche bowing out due to injury. Mazany prefers to stand and strike with her opponents due to her still developing a ground game.
After losing two in a row to Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes, McMann rebounded and has won two straight. She decisioned Jessica Eye at UFC Fight Night 88 and then subbed Alexis Davis at The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale. While Sara’s striking has improved, her biggest advantage lies in her wrestling skills. McMann is the better athlete with more ways to win this fight. While I give Gina Mazany credit for taking the fight, expecting her to beat a fighter the likes of Sara McMann is just too tall a task at this stage of her career.
Pick: McMann by TKO
Paul Felder (12-3) vs. Alessandro Ricci (10-4) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Felder -360; Ricci +280
Paul Felder was on two fight winning streak until losing to Francisco Trinaldo by TKO at UFC Fight Night 95. Felder is an accurate striker who prefers to stay on the feet. Of his 12 wins, 7 are by knockout. He likes to press and picks his spots well.
Alessandro Ricci is coming off of a loss also. He dropped a decision to Jeremy Kennedy at UFC on FOX 21. Ricci is a striker who likes to work in the clinch. Half of his 10 wins are by knockout. This is one fight in particular I don’t expect to take place on the ground. As long as Paul Felder pressures and is successful in closing distance it’s his fight to lose.
Pick: Felder by decision
Prelims Quick Look
Ponzinibbio over Taleb
Esparza over Markos
Zahabi over Vieira
Marshman over Santos
Meerschaert over Janes
Enjoy the fights!
Bellator 172 comes to the SAP Center in San Jose, California on Saturday night. The main event features the return of Fedor Emelianenko. The legendary MMA fighter will make his Bellator debut after signing a multi-fight deal with the organization. The co-main event is a battle of lightweight contenders when Patricky Freire takes on Josh Thomson.
The five fight main card rounds out with veteran Cheick Kongo taking on Oli Thompson in a battle of heavyweights, in the welterweight division Josh Koscheck makes his long awaited Bellator debut when he steps into the cage with Mauricio Alonso and in the women’s flyweight division newcomer Brook Mayo goes up against Veta Arteaga.
The prelims will stream live on Bellator.com starting at 6 PM CT with Spike TV taking over at 8 PM CT for the main card.
Fedor Emelianenko (36-4) vs. Matt Mitrione (11-5) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Current Odds: Mitrione -120; Emelianenko -110
Fedor will be coming into his Bellator debut against Matt Mitrione riding a five fight win streak. His most recent win came via decision over Fabio Maldonado many people thought he should have lost. Three of the five wins were first round knockouts.
Matt Mitrione is 2-0 since jumping from the UFC to Bellator. Both wins were stoppages with the first one coming against Carl Seumanutafa at Bellator 157, and the most recent coming at Bellator 158 over Oli Thompson.
After struggling to earn the decision in his fight with Fabio Maldonado, it remains to be seen what he has left for this run. That said, I do expect him to be prepared and put forth a great effort. Mitrione has a tendency to carry his hands low so there’s a chance Fedor can land a big punch and put Mitrione to sleep. Matt has been hurt by lesser opponents. If Fedor is to win, it will be by stoppage. I think Matt Mitrione has more left in the take and will grind out a decision.
Pick: Mitrione by decision
Josh Thomson (22-8) vs. Patricky Freire (16-8) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Thomson -225; Freire +175
Former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson will be making his third appearance for Bellator when he steps into the cage on Saturday night. He’s 2-0 with two stoppages since leaving the UFC for Bellator. He subbed Mike Bronzoulis at Bellator 142 and most recently he stopped Pablo Villaseca by TKO at Bellator 147. A win here should earn him the next shot at Michael Chandler.
Patricky Freire was riding a modest two fight winning streak until he was destroyed by Michael Chandler at Bellator 157 for the vacant lightweight title. A win here will at least get him back in the hunt for another shot at the title.
I expect Freire to keep the fight standing and try to turn the fight into a brawl. He took the same game plan into his fight against Michael Chandler and that fight was stopped in the first round. Freire isn’t the most technical striker so he tends to leave himself open just asking to get countered.
Josh Thomson has better all-around skills with more ways to win. While it won’t be a walk in the park, I do expect Thomson to come out ahead on the judge’s scorecards in the end. My only hesitation is the possibility of Thomson showing some ring rust early, getting caught with a big shot and getting knocked out.
Pick: Thomson by TKO
Cheick Kongo (25-10-2) vs. Oli Thompson (17-9) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Current Odds: Kongo -285; Thompson +225
After dropping a decision to King Mo at Bellator 134, Cheick Kongo has rattled off three straight wins. All three wins were by decision with the latest coming against Tony Johnson at Bellator 161. A win here keeps him in the upper echelon of Bellator heavyweights.
Oli Thompson was on a five fight win streak until he lost his Bellator debut by getting knocked out in the second round by Matt Mitrione at Bellator 158. Because of Kongo’s style I see Oli trying to push the pace and pick his spots. Of Thompson’s 17 career wins, 13 were by either knockout or submission, so he will go for the finish whenever possible.
Thompson has to be patient and refrain from rushing in giving Kongo the opportunity to capitalize on his mistakes early. Kongo likes to work in the clinch and take the fight to the ground where he can work his ground and pound. Cheick doesn’t possess overwhelming power, of his 25 career wins only 12 were by knockout. Furthermore, of his 35 career fights, 43% of them has gone the distance. Kongo likes to slow the pace and grind his opponents down. I see this fight going like most of Kongo’s fights.
Pick: Kongo by decision
Josh Koscheck (17-10) vs. Mauricio Alonso (12-7) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Koscheck -300; Alonso +240
After losing five straight fights in the UFC, Josh Koscheck bolted for Bellator in June of 2015. After pulling out of two previous fights due to injury, Koscheck is finally set to make his Bellator debut. Taking into account his age, injuries and recent performances it’s impossible to predict what we’re going to see out of Josh Koscheck on Saturday night.
Mauricio Alonso will be making his second appearance for Bellator. He lost his debut to Nick Pica by decision at Bellator 142. Since that loss he’s gone 2-0 on the regional circuit with his latest win coming by way of decision against Justin Baesman. Alonso returns in search of his first win under the Bellator banner.
I expect this fight to take place primarily on the ground. Grappling and wrestling are both fighter’s strengths. The question then becomes who has the better cardio. Again, I don’t know what to expect from Koscheck but if his recent fights are any indication of where his skills are then backing him in this or any fight isn’t possible.
Pick: Alonso by decision
Brook Mayo (0-0) vs. Veta Arteaga (2-1) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Current Odds: N/A
Brook Mayo makes her Bellator debut after going 5-1 as an amateur. Three of her five wins were by either submission or knockout. She takes on Veta Arteaga who is making her third appearance under the Bellator banner. She is 1-1 with Bellator, dropping a decision to Anastasia Yankova at Bellator 161 in her most recent fight. All four of Arteaga’s career fights have gone the distance.
Pick: Arteaga by decision
Prelims Quick Look
Tokov over France
Terry over Douglas
Jackson over Gonzalez
Cardenas over Vargas
Sumner over Vaesau
Rocha over Reger
Do over Escalante
Ramirez over Murphy
Herzog over Sano
Bolanos over Perez
Okanovich over Vaovasa
Tenedora over Reyes
Enjoy the fights!
The UFC makes its way to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York for UFC 208. Holly Holm takes on Germaine de Randamie for the new women’s featherweight division title. The co-main event features the return of Anderson Silva. He’ll step into the cage against fellow top 10 contender Derek Brunson.
The five-fight main card rounds out with Jacare Souza taking on Tim Boetsch in the middleweight division, Glover Teixeira goes up against Jared Cannonier in a battle of light heavyweights, and in the lightweight division Dustin Poirier faces off against Jim Miller.
The early prelims will air on Fight Pass starting at 5:30 PM CT, with Fox Sports 1 taking over at 7 PM CT for the prelims. The main card airs on PPV beginning at 9 PM CT.
Holly Holm (10-2) vs. Germaine de Randamie (6-3) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: de Randamie -135; Holm +105
Holly Holm was on quite the tear winning ten straight fights, including being the one to “break” Ronda Rousey. After handing Rousey the first loss of her career and winning the bantamweight title, she dropped it to Miesha Tate on her very first title defense. Holm was up on all the judge’s scorecards until she got caught in a rear naked choke and went to sleep with 1:30 left in the fight. Holly followed up that loss with a lackluster performance against Valentina Shevchenko at UFC on FOX 20, dropping a decision and earning her second straight loss.
After losing to Amanda Nunes at UFC Fight Night 31, Germaine de Randamie has rattled off two straight wins. Both wins were by knockout; first, Larissa Pacheco at UFC 185 and then Anna Elmose at UFC Fight Night 87.
Holly Holm’s striking and footwork is as good as it gets and will de Randamie’s biggest challenge. This is going to be an excellent fight and one that I can see going either way. I think if Germaine sits back and is patient, her chances of winning increase. However, if she pressures and tries to continuously close distance I think it’s going to be a long night for her. I also favor GDR’s chin over Holly’s. While Germaine won’t go away easily, I do expect Holm to return to form and win the title in a hard fought, very close fight.
Pick: Holm by decision
Anderson Silva (33-8, 1 NC) vs. Derek Brunson (16-4) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Brunson -150; Silva +120
We all know what Anderson Silva means to the UFC and mixed martial arts. For me, he’s the greatest of all time. We also know there comes a time when an athlete just isn’t the same one we want to remember. Silva hasn’t officially won a fight since he stopped Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153, and quite frankly hasn’t looked the same since losing to Chris Weidman.
Derek Brunson was on a five-fight winning streak until getting stopped by Robert Whitaker at UFC Fight Night 101. Four of the five wins during the streak were by first round knockouts. Brunson is clearly still a fighter on the rise with more going for him at this stage in his career compared to Silva. But, does that mean he beats “The Spider?”
Anderson Silva is one of the best counter-strikers in MMA history. If Derek Brunson learned anything from his last fight against Robert Whitaker, it’s don’t be too aggressive. If Brunson pressures and constantly tries to close distance I see Silva having great success with counter strikes. I can also see him landing a knockout punch. However, if Brunson is capable of showing patience and picking his spots I think he’ll have more success.
Brunson leaving Jackson-Wink is another reason I’m a bit hesitant to back him. Ultimately though I’m going to go with Derek Brunson, but I won’t be a bit surprised if the greatest of all-time pulls off the upset.
Pick: Brunson by TKO
Ronaldo Souza (23-4, 1 NC) vs. Tim Boetsch (20-10) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Souza -525; Boetsch +385
Jacare Souza enters his fight against Tim Boetsch with a future title shot on the line. With a win here’s he’s all but assured a fight against the winner the Michael Bisping vs. Yoel Romero title fight. While nothing has been made official the speculation is a May fight between the two. After losing a split decision to Yoel Romero at UFC 194; which many feel Souza won, myself not included, he returned at UFC 198 where he stopped Vitor Belfort in the first round.
Tim Boetsch is riding a two fight winning streak with his latest win coming against Rafael Natal at UFC 205. This is a big fight for Boetsch in his own right. A win against a number one contender would do wonders for his ranking and future potential fights. Like Souza, Boetsch possess a formidable ground game. The problem is by taking the fight to the ground it plays right into Jacare’s wheel house. Of Jacare’s 23 career wins, 16 were by submission.
If Tim is to have any chance of winning the fight he must keep it standing. I’m not saying the heavy-handed Boetsch doesn’t have a chance at pulling off the huge upset, after all it is a fight and anything can happen, but there’s a reason he’s almost a 4 to 1 underdog.
I’m not one to lay such heavy odds, so my recommendation would be on the rounds total under.
Pick: Souza by submission
Glover Teixeira (25-5) vs. Jared Cannonier (9-1) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Teixeira -210; Cannonier +165
Glover Teixeira was on a nice three fight winning streak until he got knocked out by Anthony Johnson in 13 seconds at UFC 202. Teixeira has fought the very best in the light heavyweight division.
Up and comer Jared Cannonier is primarily a boxer who very seldom, if ever looks for the takedown. The idea of the fight staying on the feet suits him just well. Cannonier is 2-0 since coming to the UFC and will be making a huge step up in competition when he steps into the cage against Teixeira.
Connonier is a very accurate striker with power. The problem is he’s facing a fighter with a ton of experience and more ways to win. Teixeira will look to take the fight to the ground whenever possible. Once there he will eventually get the submission. The only question I have is, how will Teixeira respond to his devastating loss to “Rumble?”
Pick: Teixeira by submission
Dustin Poirier (20-5) vs. Jim Miller (29-8, 1 NC) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Poirier -450; Miller +340
Dustin Poirier was on a four fight winning streak until getting knocked out by Michael Johnson at UFC Fight Night 94. While Poirier is capable on the ground I think he’s going to do everything he can to keep the fight standing. He’s a high output striker with tremendous accuracy. If Poirier is successful in defending the takedown and avoiding the ground, he’ll win the fight inside the distance.
Long time UFC veteran Jim Miller enters the fight winning three straight. In his most recent fight he took a decision over Thiago Alves at UFC 205. Miller does everything well. He mixes up his offense keeping his opponents guessing. But its Jim Miller’s wrestling skills that gives him an advantage over Poirier. I see him trying to utilize his ground game early and often in an effort to get the fight to the mat where he can work his submissions.
This fight comes down to which fighter will be more successful in executing their game plan. My money is on Dustin Poirier.
Pick: Poirier by TKO
Prelims Quick Look
Brown over Muhammad
Reis over Sasaki
Makhachev over Lentz
McCall over Brooks
Tybura over Henrique
LaFlare over Carneiro
Glenn over Nover
Enjoy the fights!
Originally posted on MMATorch.com on 10-25-2016
If Bobby Lashley were to sign with UFC, play match-maker and name your top two choices that you think would make the most sense for him to face first. He doesn’t make our Heavyweight Rankings. How close is he to making your top ten or top 15 list, and where is he coming up short?
MICHAEL GROCKE, MMATorch contributor
The two names that come to mind are Travis Browne and Brock Lesnar. Travis Browne makes sense because he’s a fighter who’s currently ranked no. 9 by the UFC and no. 12 here at MMATorch, and he’s also a fighter who seems be trending downward. The problem is I don’t think Bobby Lashley would fare too well against anyone ranked in the top 10 in the UFC as the skill level is leaps and bounds superior to that of Bellator’s heavyweight division. I think the UFC would have a hard time selling a fight between Lashley and a fighter ranked in the 12-15 range due to the fact Bobby Lashley doesn’t have the name value of C.M. Punk or Brock Lesnar.
Speaking of Brock Lesnar, the lifelong wrestling fan in me would love to see a showdown between the two part-time professional wrestlers. While it might not be a fight die-hard MMA fans would be interested in, I think it would definitely draw in the casual fan.
Brian Stann sat down with Chan Sung Jung, “The Korean Zombie” prior to his fight against Dennis Bermudez. Here is the full interview.
Stann welcomes Jung back to the UFC and asks what he missed the most in his absence:
Jung as translated on Fight Pass: “First and foremost I really missed being in the Octagon. Going in there and hearing the roar of the crowd. Also, while I was away, a lot of Korean fighters were doing really well. Watching my friends and peers do so well lit a fire inside me. I wanted to perform alongside them. I thought about that a lot.”
Stann asks how he mentally prepared to leave his MMA career and enter the service:
Jung: “Before I left, I was focused on the two years and felt that it would be a very long time. But, after I was there and now that I’m done, I really feel that I served my country and did my duty. I actually wish I would have gone and done it earlier.”
Stann asks what exactly did he do during his service to his country:
Jung: “I did basic training and learned how to fight in battle if I was needed. For my actual service though, due to my separated shoulder injury from my fight with Jose Aldo, I was given a government office job.”
Stann says regardless of what job he had it was still a large sacrifice, then asks if he was proud of it:
Jung: “This is something that all able-bodied Korean men are supposed to do. It’s our duty. I’m glad that I did it. I’m glad that I’m done with it. But, I’m very happy that I was able to fulfill my duty.”
Stann mentions that other celebrities in Korea found a way to avoid having to serve, he then asks if he feels he’s gained more fans for serving:
Jung: “I never thought about not going. I always planned on doing my duty. It was just a matter of when. It was a matter of timing. I think people understand why I served the way that I did. They know that physically I had some issues keeping me from serving in the regular military. I feel regretful about that but I did what I had to do.”
Stann asks if he feels like he’s a better version now than we saw prior to him serving his country:
Jung: “For the last two years, I was only able to train an hour a day or on the weekend. Even though I wasn’t able to train as hard as I would if I was in camp, I did not waste my time. I feel the skills I developed over the last two years will allow me to easily defeat Dennis Bermudez.”
Stann talks about him doing some fencing in an effort to improve his footwork, then asks how did he like it:
Jung: “Because I was only able to train an hour or two a day, I wanted to focus on my weaknesses. I decided to practice fencing because the footwork skills were very complementary with MMA. So for about six months I trained hard with fencing and really worked on my weak points.”
Stann mentions he has two new baby girls and asks what that’s like and how has that made being a professional fighter different:
Jung: “Brian, I’m sure you understand the feelings that I have about that. Before I had kids, before I was in the army, money didn’t matter much to me. I was fighting in the UFC. I wanted to become champion. I wanted to become famous. But after having kids, I have two daughters now, my focus has completely changed. Now it’s just not about being famous and having fans. I need to take care of my family.
Stann asks if his daughters have changed him more:
Jung: “Yes, absolutely. 100 %.
Stann asks after this much time off from the sport, if he wins, what is it going to feel like to have his hand raised:
Jung: “I’m always excited for every win. But, it’s been almost five years since my last win. My last fight was three years ago. So if I win, I will have a lot of people to thank in Korea for their support.”
Stann asks what does he have to prove tonight?
Jung: “Before I left for my government service, I was ranked third in the division. My whole career, I’ve stated that I want to become champion and be the best. Now it’s my time to prove that I have the skills and the abilities to become champion.”
Chan Sung Jung, better known as “The Korean Zombie” returned to the octagon after a three and a half year absence and stunned Dennis Bermudez with a first round knockout. He got rocked early, but recovered and never looked back. His takedown defense was stellar and clearly still possesses knockout power.
The knockout also earned Jung one of the $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses. After the fight a shot of his wife crying in her seat was shown. It was the first time she got to see her husband fight in the octagon. During Jung’s post fight interview he mentioned the situation in his homeland of Korea not being great. He said morale is low, but he just wanted to wish his country to be strong and to live in harmony.
It was great to see “The Korean Zombie” back inside the cage and getting back in the win column. I, for one, have a lot of respect for Chan Sung Jung and look forward to seeing him back in the octagon soon.
Here are few tweets from his peers after his stunning knockout.
UFC Fight Night 104 is live on Saturday night from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. The main event features Dennis Bermudez as he looks to continue his climb up the featherweight ladder. He takes on the “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung who will be making his return to the cage after a three and a half year absence. The co-main event takes us to the women’s strawweight division as rising star Alexa Grasso takes on veteran Felice Herrig.
The six-fight main card rounds out with Abel Trujillo taking on Jams Vick in the lightweight division, Ovince Saint Preux taking on Volkan Oezdemir in a battle of light heavyweights, Anthony Hamilton vs. Marcel Fortuna and back to the women’s strawweight division for Jessica Andrande vs. Angela Hill.
The early prelims will air on Fight Pass starting at 6 PM CT, with Fox Sports 1 taking over at 7 PM CT for the prelims. Keep it on FS1 for the main card starting at 9 PM CT.
Dennis Bermudez (17-5) vs. Chan Sung Jung (13-4) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Bermudez -200; Jung +160
After dropping two in a row against Ricardo Lamas and Jeremy Stephens, Bermudez has won his last two fights. Both wins were by decision, first against Tatsuya Kawajiri and most recently against Rony Mariano Bezerra. I expect Bermudez to keep the fight on the feet in an effort to stay away from Jung’s superior submission game. The only problem with that game plan is Bermudez’s suspect chin. He gets dropped rather easily so that is a bit of a concern. I do like his cardio and think the longer the fight lasts, the better Bermudez’s chances are of getting his hand raised.
The last time the Korean Zombie was inside the cage it was against Jose Aldo at UFC 163 back in June of 2013. In the fourth round of the fight Jung injured his shoulder to which Aldo capitalized on by attacking, thus winning by TKO. Three and a half years later, Jung is back and looking to get back in the hunt in the featherweight division. Look for Jung to try and take the fight to the ground. Eight of his thirteen wins are by submission. Ironically, four of Bermudez’s five career losses are by submission.
The question here comes down to how will Jung look after such a long layoff? At +160 there is value in backing him here. While my official pick to win the fight might be Bermudz, it’s not one of confidence. In fact, I won’t be a bit surprised if the Korean Zombie looks like the same fighter he did prior to the shoulder injury.
Pick: Bermudez by decision
Alexa Grasso (9-0) vs. Felice Herrig (11-6) – Strawweight 115 lbs.
Current Odds: Grasso -315; Herrig +255
MMA veteran Felice Herrig has been in Bellator, Invicta FC and the UFC and has fought some of the toughest in women’s MMA. She is 3-3 over her last six fights, alternating wins and losses. Her most recent fight came at UFC on FOX 20 where she tapped Kailin Curran by rear naked choke in the first round. Herrig has looked better in her recent fights and I expect her to give Grasso a tough fight. While she doesn’t have Alexa’s striking skills, she is an above average grappler. In order for Herrig to win this fight I think she has to be able to pressure early, take Grasso down and work her submission game. The key for Herrig is she needs to get going early. She doesn’t have the best cardio so the longer the fight goes on, the smaller her window of opportunity becomes.
After going 4-0 in Invicta FC, Alexa Grasso debuted in the UFC at UFC Fight Night 98 where she took a decision against Heather Clark. The UFC is starting to put their weight behind showcasing her and it’s every bit deserved. Keep in mind she’s only 23 years old so she is still learning the finer points of her craft. We’ve yet to see her ground game due to her strength being in stand-up. Grasso is a very sound, technical striker. If there is one negative to her striking it’s her lack of power, but if she is successful in stuffing Herrig’s takedown attempts she should be able to cruise to a decision.
Abel Trujillo (15-5, 1 NC) vs. James Vick (9-1) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Vick -120; Trujillo -110
This will be a fun fight. James Vick was on quite a roll until Beneil Dariush knocked him out in the first round at UFC 199. Vick has above average boxing and with his height and reach it usually gives him the advantage over his opponents. He also has a solid ground game and works in submissions well. Vick’s boxing skills will be put to the test here. He has to be able to utilize his jab in an effort to maintain distance. Vick also has the advantage in cardio so the chances of him outworking Trujillo in the latter rounds and taking a decision is there.
Abel Trujillo comes into the fight on a three-fight win streak. His most recent win was a decision over Jordan Rinaldi at UFC Fight Night 88. Over his last ten fights Trujillo is 8-2 with the two losses coming against Tony Ferguson at UFC 181 and Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 160. Trujillo is a good striker with ridiculous power. He likes to use his strength to force his way inside where he can do serious damage. If he has success closing distance and doesn’t get too reckless I think he gets the knockout.
I like the rounds total under in this one.
Pick: Trujillo by TKO
Ovince Saint Preux (19-9) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (12-1) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Saint Preux -320; Oezdemir +250
OSP has lost three out of his last four fights. He is 0-2 coming into the fight, dropping a decision to Jon Jones at UFC 197 and then getting knocked out by Jimi Manuwa at UFC 204. Although his record of late isn’t the best, he has fought the very best the division has to offer. This is a big fight for Ovince. He needs this win in order to stay in the hunt at light heavyweight. OSP is the better athlete with more ways to win the fight. I think he’ll take advantage of his opponent’s lack of movement and defense. He gets back on track with a win on Saturday night.
Volkan Oezdemir makes his UFC debut on Saturday night. Of his thirteen career fights, only two have gone the distance. Of his twelve career wins, ten were stoppages. Of those ten, nine are by knockout. Impressive numbers. But, he has yet to face anyone close to Saint Preux’s skill level. This will be by far Oezdemir’s toughest fight. Oezdemir is a striker with heavy hands, but that’s about it. A fighter with the power of Oezdemir is always dangerous. All it takes is one well-placed strike and the fight can be over that fast.
I like the rounds total under in this one.
Pick: Saint Preux by submission
Anthony Hamilton (15-6) vs. Marcel Fortuna (8-1) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Current Odds: Hamilton -185; Fortuna +155
Marcel Fortuna makes his UFC debut when he takes on Anthony Hamilton. Five of his career wins have come by either knockout or submission. Fortuna will be giving up a lot of weight since he is a natural 205’er. I think he will want to avoid getting into a slug fest since he’s giving up four inches in reach. The problem is if he takes the fight to the ground, Hamilton is more than comfortable on the mat.
Anthony Hamilton has alternated wins and losses over his last seven fights. His last fight came at UFC Fight Night 102 where he was tapped by Francis Ngannou. So this means he should win this one, right? Hamilton should be able to score with takedowns and be able to control Fortuna on the ground. I think between his superior wrestling and size advantage he’ll wear Fortuna down and get the finish late in the fight.
Pick: Hamilton by TKO
Jessica Andrade (15-5) vs. Angela Hill (2-2) – Strawweight 115 lbs.
Current Odds: Andrade -525; Hill +385
After going 1-3 in the UFC, Angela Hill went to Invicta FC and rattled off four straight wins. She returns on Saturday night to take on Jessica Andrade. The winner of this fight has a strong argument that they should be next in line for a title fight. Hill has looked great since she went to Invicta FC. She’s worked on her defense, she maintains distance and works from the outside much better as well. The problem for Angela is she doesn’t possess a ton of power so in order for her to win this fight she’s going to have to outwork Jessica which I just don’t see happening.
After getting subbed by Raquel Pennington at UFC 191, Andrade dropped down to 115 and has won her last two fights. She beat Jessica Penne by TKO at UFC 199 and tapped Joanne Calderwood at UFC 203. Andrade is super aggressive and likes to pressure her opponents. She also has serious power and is excellent at controlling opponents.
This should be an exciting fight. Both fighters will come out aggressively and look to finish the other. Andrade is the better all-around fighter and has looked great since dropping down to strawweight.
Pick: Andrade by decision
Prelims Quick Look
Blaydes over Milstead
Skelly over Gruetzemacher
Tanaka over Ramos
Torres over Rawlings
Morono over Price
Roundtree over Jolly
Enjoy the fights!
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