Although it may not be as prestigious as fighting on a PPV or Fox card (especially where the cheddar, as Rampage would say, is concerned), with little fanfare, the UFC has delivered two Fight Pass cards full of entertainment, (T)KOs and subs in the last week that have been just as exciting, if not more so, than some of their more recent higher-profile offerings. The latest FP event was yesterday’s card from London, England, and while it may have felt eerily similar to watching Bamma or Cage Rage, due to the accents (although with better fighters, and no Paul Daley), in terms of action, it unquestionably delivered. Sometimes the hardest thing to do in any sport is beat the opposition you’re supposed to, and while Manuwa didn’t appear to be an incredibly difficult hurdle to a title shot for the number one contender, anything can happen in the Octagon. Still, credit is due to the Mauler, who accomplished what everyone expected and dismantled the previously undefeated Brit inside of two rounds to earn his rematch with double J. (No offence to the Poster Boy, but there’s a huge leap between the likes of Ryan Jimmo and the top LHW contenders.) While initially even on the feet, with Jimi’s power vs. Alex’s range, footwork and technique, the end began for Manuwa early in the second when Gustafsson locked on a quick Thai clinch and landed a huge knee on his shorter opponent. From there, the Mauler lived up to his nickname, pouncing on his foe and the fight was quickly waved off. With the win, the UFC stated that Gustafsson would challenge the winner of the upcoming Jones/Teixeira LHW title match-up, despite the champ’s suggestion that the Swede should face Daniel Cormier for the right to challenge him next, looking by Glover in the process. Considering how close and exciting their first contest was, not to mention the significant threat Cormier presents to Jones as well, it appears the champ is politicking, trying to soften up his next opponent without ever setting foot in the cage, as well as not taking Teixeira as seriously as he should, which could be a grave mistake, considering Glover’s KO power.
Yeah, we know, this is the second Fight Pass event in a row we’ve been unable to get picks up for beforehand (even though we do have FP, honest). We apologize, but life is sometimes… difficult. And, man, those FP events just sneak up on you out of nowhere. Regardless, we’ll be back with gifs and insights as soon as the event concludes/is humanly possible. As well, we’re picking the Mauler by impressive stoppage to earn his LHW title rematch, as well as Johnson, Pickett and Gunnar to earn victories.
Remember when everyone would rag on Dong Hyun Kim for being a “boring” positional fighter who’d take you down and grind out a win (and not without some merit)? Stun Gun was obviously listening to the criticisms and decided to do something about it. First, he KO’d the living hell out of Erick Silva. And for his latest trick, he pulled a magnificent spinning-back-elbow out of his hat to fell John Hathaway. While Kim came out of the gate firing, dropping Hathaway early, he appeared to gas a bit after the first and it looked like the London Shootfighter might be able to work his way back into the match. Well, Kim put a vicious end to that notion, slipping an elbow John threw without a proper set-up and countering with the aforementioned magnificent spinning-back-elbow. Impressively, it was the first time Hathaway had been finished in his career. Ignoring Dong’s loss to Demian Maia (which was the result of an injury suffered during a Maia takedown early in their fight) for a moment, he’s only been defeated by former interm WW title holder and perennial contender Carlos Condit. With the welterweight division wide open for the first time in years, following GSP’s OCD-inspired “hiatus” and abdication of the title, Kim is set to at least once again challenge the division’s elite for potential future title consideration.
Say what you want about Rampage at this point in his career, but if you’re not a top UFC light-heavyweight, odds are you’re going to get KO’d brutally by the former UFC LHW king. Sure, he’s no longer a member of the A-Team (see what we did there?), but against B(ellator)-Team-level competition, he has ultra-violent KOs in his two outings. His latest victim was former Bellator LHW champ Christian M’Pumbu, who made a huge error in judgement when he claimed he was going to “retire” Rampage prior to their match-up. Well, things didn’t exactly go TonTon’s way, and he’s now on a three-fight skid and has just suffered his first stoppage by strikes. Our advice: never antagonize a guy named “Rampage.” What’s next for Quinton? Well, he’s got a date with King Mo, who took a very lacklustre, and iffy, unanimous decision last night over Mikhail Zayats to set-up the LHW tournament final Bellator so desired. As well, current interm champ Emanuel “the Hardcore Kid” Newton is waiting in the wings to either get impressively KO’d against Rampage or take his third victory over the King. With the way Mo has been fighting recently, our money is on Rampage finishing him and then KOing the Kid to win the Bellator LHW title.
Well, that went pretty much how we expected it to. While SI was unable to get picks up for this morning’s UFC Fight Night 37, due to some life issues, involving family members and hospitals, we did manage to wake up way too early and watch the event. While there were some surprises and unexpected results — did not see Kim’s epic spinning back-elbow KO coming — one fight that went pretty much as expected was Mitrione’s clash with Jordan. Sure, it was competitive for a bit, but it was only a matter of time before the bigger, stronger, yet deceptively quick and agile Meathead found his range, hurting Jordan and then obliterating him against the fence with a volley of punches. While Mitrione has faltered against B-level talent, against C-level, he gets the job done. No offence to Jordan, but at only six-feet, he’s simply not big enough to compete in the HW division, and his frame is much better-suited to 205.
And you thought Nick was the crazy brother. While the tweet was quickly taken down, and it remains to be seen whether Nate will employ the “hacked” defence, although said tweet was re-tweeted by manager Cesar Gracie, Nate Diaz’s twitter account posted this gem today:
Raise your hand if you actually thought Cummins had any chance against DC? Now slap yourself. Sure, respect is due to Cummins for stepping up to the plate against a fighter of Cormier’s caliber on nine days notice, but we’re talking about a man who would be in line for a title shot at heavyweight if his friend and training partner didn’t have the belt, and look to keep it for some time. While Cummins is a promising prospect at 205, and should get another chance for stepping in short notice, DC is a title contender. Considering what he was able to do to the likes of Josh Barnett, Bigfoot Silva, Roy Nelson and Frank Mir, and the burgeoning ill will between him and LHW champ Jon Jones, depending on how double J’s fight with Teixeira goes, and the upcoming tilt between Gustafsson and Manuwa, if Jones gets through Glover unscathed, and Alexander wins ugly, gets injured or even loses, DC could be fast-tracked into a title shot.
Well, that was one strange-looking arm-bar from the Rowdy one. While Ronda’s fight with fellow Olympic medallist Sara McMann was shorter and didn’t play-out the way many predicted (SI included), the outcome was the same as every single one of her previous contests: a decisive victory and finish. Although we didn’t see any flashy throws or slams, we did witness both fighters meet in the middle of the Octagon and exchange, refusing to give an inch. While it appeared that Sara stung the champ (who really needs to work on taking her head off centre-line when she throws), she couldn’t stop Rousey from muscling her up against the cage and working her over with hard knees to the body in the clinch. After wearing on her for a bit, Ronda landed a hard left knee to McMann’s liver that dropped her and made her go limp for a split-second. Some are decrying the stoppage, and Dean could have let it go a bit longer, as McMann did attempt to rise right as Herb rushed in, but Sara had just been flattened via liver shot (which you just don’t recover from in a few seconds) and was absorbing unanswered strikes. What’s next for Ronda? Hollywood, obviously, but in terms of opponents when she returns, Cat Zingano is waiting in the wings, recovering from both physical and emotional trauma, while Cyborg is smack-talking her from Invicta, claiming she can now make 135-lbs. without “dying” and wants to “retire” Rousey. Cyborg is the money match-up (that is, if Cristiane is brought into the UFC and built correctly), but it remains to be seen if she can actually make 135-lbs., and she does already have a 145-lbs. title fight in Invicta in her new future.
Despite being taken down and controlled for the bulk of round one, the Canadian Weirdo, Rory MacDonald, managed to fend off Maia’s advances and rebounded in the second and third, utilizing a combination of spiral takedown defence and sprawl’n’brawl that would have made Pride-era CroCop crack a smile, if ever so slightly. It was an impressive performance from Ares, who stuffed 20 of Maia’s 22 takedown attempts and significantly outlanded him in the second and third. What’s next for the Canadian? Considering his loss to Lawler still looms large, he’ll need another impressive performance or two to insert himself back into title contention. Rory has made no secret of his desire to rematch Carlos Condit (which fell through due to injury), and if Carlos can’t get by Woodley, the KO power of “the Chosen One” would make for a good test, considering MacDonald was rocked and punished by the heavy-hitting Lawler.