Kevin discusses UFC Fight Night 111 and talks with UFC Featherweight Kyle Bochniak about his upcoming fight against Jeremy Kennedy.
UFC Fight Night 110 ended with a bang in Auckland, New Zealand. The card was headlined by heavyweight titans Mark Hunt and Derrick Lewis in what was billed to be the slugfest of the year. To the shock of most fans, and Vegas oddsmakers, the fight lasted into the forth round until referee Mark Goddard called the fight for Mark Hunt by TKO stoppage. It was the correct decision, Lewis had curled up and wasn’t even trying to defend himself. But the result left the fans of Derrick Lewis questioning why the big man gave up.
Lewis, a seemingly perpetual underdog, has shown so much heart and resilience in his career that to see him break under the pressure of Hunt was somewhat shocking. Who could forget when Travis Browne had broken Lewis ribs with teep kicks to the body and Lewis unleashed a hellish tornado of punches that put Browne away. Or when Roy Nelson kept taking him down and Lewismanaged to get back to the feet over and over. But in the forth round he buckled under the constant pressure of Hunt.
Hunt, the Vegas underdog at +143, displayed more technical and patient striking than Lewis. Lewis threw a high volume of leg kicks and short bursts of punches trying to catch Hunt with power shots early in the fight. For his efforts Lewis only resulted in tiring himself out in the first two rounds, in the third round we began to see Lewis even dropping his hands completely or posing with his hands on his hips to catch his breath. The main issue is cardio, yes, but Lewis also claimed to have a back injury that contributed to this. Which makes sense, seeing him stand with his hands on his hips in front of Hunt looked like insanity until I heard this. I fractured two lumbar vertebrae ten years ago and even after corrective surgery, I still have weakness in my lower back that causes me to stand the same way during workouts and between rounds of jiu jitsu. It feels like your chest is too heavy and your lower back is carrying too much strain, in an attempt to alleviate the pain the most natural posture is to arch your shoulders back and posture your hands on hips to help brace the weight loaded on your spine. To the average viewer Lewis’ behavior looked like exhaustion, which there was plenty of, but to someone who’s endured significant lower back injuries the writing was on the wall that he was in serious trouble for more reasons than just an expended gas tank.
If I could say anything to Lewis right now it would be this: “You don’t need to retire you need a break.” since coming to the UFC in 2014 Lewis’ longest break between fights has been 5 months. He’s fought ten times in 3 years. He even asked for time off after the Travis Browne victory but instead signed a bout agreement for Mark Hunt within two weeks of his fight. The man is burnt out and maybe even a little emotional after the old war horse put an end to his six fight win streak. I’d like to see Lewis take the rest of 2017 off to heal his mind and body, and return with a new fire in 2018. While significant back injuries tend to stay with you forever, it’s possible with rest and proper rehab Lewis could get back into the cage healthy next year. Until we hear more from Lewis, I’ll have my fingers crossed.
Its official! Jason Knight (20-2) has replaced the Korean Zombie to face #3 ranked Featherweight Ricardo Lamas (17-5) at UFC 214 in Anaheim, California.
This bout marks Knight’s first opportunity at a top 5 opponent. A win could launch him directly into title contention. After beating Chas Skelly by TKO, Knight had publicly stated he wanted a top ten opponent in Yair Rodriguez, in response the UFC delivered a top 5 contender in Ricardo Lamas.
Lamas stands as the toughest challenge of Knight’s career to date. His only two losses in his last six fights came from Chad Mendes and the current Featherweight Champion Max Holloway. This fight is as much of a giant opportunity for Knight to jump into the mix of title shot discussions, as it is for Lamas to stake his claim for a shot at Holloway.
Cage Prophet’s initial prediction: it’s all about Jason Knight! Kevin stated on the Podcast that Jason Knight should be climbing the ranks to a title shot over the course of the next year. But we didn’t expect an opportunity this fast. Knight and Lamas are both exciting strikers and we should see plenty of action on the feet early, but we expect to see Knight finish the fight on the ground inside of 2.5 rounds.
UFC 212 is upon us. Headlined with what looks to be (on paper) one of the best fights of the year in Aldo vs. Holloway, the clock is ticking down to kicking off another great card. For Cage Prophet’s betting picks this card is all about the dogs.
- Silva +120
- Assuncao +185
- Kowalkiewicz +295
- Holloway +125
All of these are great underdog lines to bet. If i had to point at one to be way off its Kowalkiewicz at +295 that raises my eyebrow the most. Considering this is a 3 round fight if Claudia gets her takedowns early and works a grinding ground game this could be a bad night for Karolina, but if she manages to stay standing we could see a big dog cash. For me Karolina at +295 is too good to pass up, she has extremely powerful striking and a fight resume that should put her way closer to Claudia in odds than the line indicates. As for Holloway, facing one of the all time greats is a tall order for any man. However, in the midst of a ten fight win streak Max Holloway is a special kind of contender, if anyone in the featherweight division has a shot at dethroning Aldo it would be Holloway. To maximize profit margins I would suggest if you are betting Holloway to take him inside the distance at +430. For those of you in the Aldo camp I would play Aldo to win by Decision for a return of +170.
UFC Fight Night 109 will be taking place this Sunday, 11 AM for the American East coast and a shockingly early 8 AM for those of us in PST. While this card should be exciting to watch there aren’t too many sure bets for me. with that being said here are my favorites:
- Alex Nicholson +140 (KO/TKO +325)
- Chris Camozzi -180
- Ben Saunders -110
- Cirkunov -400 (Inside the Distance: -160)
- Big Dog Bet: Glover Teixeira +270 (KO/TKO +600)
Some of these can be shied away from, namely Glover Teixeira and Chris Camozzi. In the case of Glover Teixeira the most likely outcome of this fight is to see Gustafsson victorious by decision, maybe a late TKO, but the power and wrestling prowess of Teixeira shouldn’t be discounted. At +270, Glover is worth a small wager to see him get the W. To maximize this bet I will be playing Teixeira to win inside the distance at +435. To win by KO/TKO is even greater at +600, which is the most likely method of Glover winning due to his powerful punches. With that being said, I would still just play ITD because a submission is always a possibility. In short don’t let the odds fool you there is great value in Glover with a small correctly played wager.
Chris Camozzi coming off two straight losses doesn’t seem to be the hottest ticket in town. But there is value in him, his losses came from Dan Kelly and Thales Leites. While these aren’t the top names of the division they are still solid competition and tough outings for Camozzi. In Camozzi’s opponents last four fights, Smith has only won two. Both by decision. I see this as an opportunity for Camozzi to settle into his rhythm without too much danger and establish his game plan. To me this fight looks like a decision victory for Camozzi, but we can always hope he gets the job done inside the distance.
As for my other picks, confident on all. When it comes to Nicholson, Saunders, and Cirkunov getting the job done its a mix and match parlay buffet. Maximize profits by taking Cirkunov inside the distance, which is my most confident play on the card. I expect to see Saunders get the job done on the ground via ground and pound KO/TKO or SUB, and Nicholson via KO at +325 is a great bet, but taking him straight up as a dog at +140 is a sure fire way to kick the card off.
What are your picks? be sure to share with Cage Prophet, and if you disagree we want to hear why. We’re always ready to discuss our picks and share our reasoning if we gloss over some details in the article. And for the bettors that pay for services, follow us and see how much money you make for free before paying for a service. Because the betting services will charge you for what you get here for free. No one has all the answers, just educated predictions.
Sage Northcutt vs. Claudio Puelles is officially booked for UFC 214. The fight will take place at lightweight in the wake of Northcutt losing 2 fights at welterweight in 2016. Those two losses are significant in the fact that they make up the only losses on Northcutt’s professional record. At 8-2, the 21 year old Texan looks to get his career back on track with a win in the Lightweight division.
Northcutt’s opponent Claudio Puelles (7-2) is earned his way into the UFC as a finalist on last year’s The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America. Puelles has not fought since losing by TKO in November on the show’s season finale.
Cage Prophet’s prediction: This fight looks like a perfect matchup for Northcutt to get back on track. While still only 21, Northcutt has several fights under the UFC banner and is well established in the roster. He had two very tough tests last year in Bryan Barberena and Mickey Gall. Both of those loses are to two men that will continue to climb the ranks of the welterweight division. Dropping down to a lower weight class and fighting a UFC newcomer seems like the perfect equation for “Super” Sage to get back in the win column. We expect Sage to be a heavy favorite, but anything in the -200 range would be a great deal. We will have to wait and see for the betting lines, but regardless of odds we expect to see Sage Northcutt get his hand raised at UFC 214.
In the wake of Bisping’s injury announcement the UFC has scheduled an interim Middleweight title fight. Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero will square off for the middleweight interim belt at UFC 213.
Yoel Romero (13-1) will get his first shot at a UFC title after streaking to the top of the division with 8 wins in the octagon. The former Olympian has wins over Chris Weidman, Jacare Souza, Lyoto Machida, and Tim Kennedy in his last four outings. An impressive resume indeed.
Robert Whittaker brings a stellar resume to the table as well. Having most recently knocked out Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, he also has a first round KO over Derek Brunson. Currently on a 7 fight win streak with a record of 19-4, this young contender is only 26 years of age. Regardless of outcome, Whittaker has cemented himself at the top of the division for years to come as well as the opportunity to be crowned Australia’s first UFC champion.
Stylistically, Whittaker brings striking to the table while Romero offers a world class wrestling pedigree. While also a striker in his own right, Romero carries a considerable advantage in ground game. Can he implement a game plan to nullify the game plan of the young dangerous striker? We will have to wait and see at UFC 213.
With the news of Michael Bisping’s recent injury the UFC has decided to move on from booking a Middleweight title fight with the current champion. Instead they have decided to put an interim Middleweight belt up for grabs. Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero will both enter the cage as contenders at UFC 213, but one will emerge with the title of champion.
This announcement is music to the ears of fight fans around the world who have grown increasingly vocal with displeasure over the state of the Middleweight division. Often referred to as “log jammed” there is a bevy of viable contenders lined up waiting for a title shot while the UFC has seemed to have no sense of urgency to deliver anyone in the top ranks a shot at the champ. Names like Yoel Romero, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Gegard Mousasi, Chris Weidman, Robert Whittaker, and Anderson Silva all sat on the sidelines begging for a shot at the champ to no avail.
Since Bisping shocked the world after stepping in on two weeks notice with a first round KO over Luke Rockhold at UFC 199, he has defended his belt once. Bisping put his belt on the line against UFC legend, and longtime rival, Dan Henderson. While legendary, Henderson was not ranked in the top five nor anywhere near his prime. Before entering the fight, 46 year old Henderson made it clear that he was retiring regardless of the outcome of the fight. Win or lose. After a five round war lisping received the nod from the judges and retained his title. And still, the contenders were left wanting.
The UFC announced George St. Pierre would receive the next shot at the Middleweight title. While George was the King of the Welterweight division before his retirement, he has not fought in years let alone proved his mettle in the middleweight ranks. After announcing the fight George has since decided he will not be ready to compete until October, so the waiting game continues. With the Middleweight division put on hold yet again the UFC decided to deliver an interim title fight to appease the anxious fans. As a result we received Romero vs. Whittaker.
With two of the top five contenders finally getting a shot at gold, this bout marks the most relevant title fight (in terms of rankings) for the middleweight division in a year. While Bisping vs. Henderson was an exciting fight with a backstory, at the end of the day what really matters is the rankings. What makes this sport so great has been and should always be about the legitimacy of claiming the title of champion of the world. The top honor of a mixed martial artist is the UFC belt. It states that you have reached the pinnacle of your career, and above all displayed dominance over all competition.
As a purist, I believe in the rankings and what they represent. An order and hierarchy to the madness that is Mixed Martial Arts. Introducing an interim belt to two top contenders in the midst breaks the mold of the current system that appears to care more about the ratings than the resume. And for that I thank the UFC. The Middleweight interim title will get this division back on track, and when Michael Bisping is healthy we will finally see the title defense he should have had in the first place.
A warning to readers: this article contains colorful language courtesy of Al Iaquinta. If you are not a fan of naughty words, proceed with caution.
In the wake of the UFC fighter’s retreat in Las Vegas, Al Iaquinta has resurfaced as the most disgruntled fighter on the roster yet again. As you may recall, Al has been very vocal about his discontent with the UFC and their subjective awarding of performance bonuses following his first round knock out victory over Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night Nashville.
Iaquinta is currently on a five fight win streak and 13-3-1 overall. He has been extremely outspoken about his current ban from receiving UFC performance bonuses. Who could argue against him when taking into account the nature of his wins? Of his last five fights he has won 4 by way of KO/TKO yet he remains banned from receiving performance bonuses due to an Instagram post. The post included a picture of him at the beach instead of attending a fighter summit. As a result Iaquinta received a 3 fight ban from performance bonuses which is still in effect. Even with the loss of up to $150,000, his distaste for his employer runs much deeper than performance bonuses. Al holds a much deeper grudge that stems from injuries sustained in the octagon.
Iaquinta stated on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, “I fought three times in two weeks, who’s done that? Three times in two weeks. I fucking ruined my knee forever. Done… and you’re not going to pay for my shit. Fuck you.” This statement is in reference to a knee injury that sidelined Iaquinta’s career for two years. Previous to his fight with Diego Sanchez on April 22 of 2017, Iaquinta had not stepped foot in the octagon since he defeated Jorge Masvidal by split decision on April 4th of 2015.
While attending the Fighter’s retreat the UFC announced that they would be partnering with Hopsital Special Surgery, the treatment facility that Iaquinta paid out of his pocket for his knee reconstruction when the UFC said it was too expensive to foot the bill. Iaquinta researched his options and decided to use Hospital Special Surgery even when the UFC encouraged him to use a Cheaper option that they would pay for. It would seem that logic would side with Iaquinta that when it comes to saving a star athlete’s career, a promotion should provide top quality care. Unfortunately, this didn’t appear to be the case with how the UFC handled Iaquinta’s medical care. As a result Iaquinta went with the facility he deemed to provide the best services. After proving Hospital Special Surgery to be a career saving facility the UFC re-evaluated their thoughts. So much in fact that they have officially partnered with the medical center for future athlete care. Without paying for Al’s medical bills first.
“I was the one that put them in touch with the UFC they didn’t want to pay for my shit and they’re best friends now…I don’t think it’s working It’s not going to work. That’s it fuck them.” It’s apparent that Iaquinta feels wronged but he also feels insulted. The UFC officially partnered with the same medical facility they refused to pay for. Meanwhile, the UFC continues to pay for unnecessary entertainment items like hiring Snoop Dog for a private concert at the Athlete Summit. “Fucking snoop dog was there. fucking pay me. I’m hurt, pay me!” Iaquinta yelled during his interview with Ariel Helwani.
Whether you like Al Iaquinta or not, you have to admit he raises real concerns with how the UFC handles the medical well being of fighters on their roster. Cage Prophet hopes that Iaquinta and the UFC brass can find a way to sort out their differences. It would be a true shame to see Iaquinta walk away from the promotion at the height of such a promising career. While he doesn’t always present himself eloquently nor speak his mind poetically, the man is an artist in the octagon. Regardless of behavior this writer believes the UFC has an obligation to tend to the medical welfare of their athletes. But what do you think? Let us know in the comments below or @CageProphet on Twitter.
Bellator 179 took place at the SSE Arena in London, England last night and featured the Bellator debut of Rory MacDonald. MacDonald is touted as the promotion’s biggest and most anticipated acquisition of the year. Bellator was able to sign “The Red King” when MacDonald’s UFC contract expired in August of 2016.
The road to the end of MacDonald’s UFC career began at UFC 189. MacDonald faced the then Champion Robbie Lawler in what is considered to be the most violent UFC brawl of all time. Both men met in the center of the Octagon to begin the fifth round, Lawler saw his opening. Lawler threw a devastating cross which crushed MacDonald’s already broken nose. MacDonald collapsed and Lawler secured his victory by TKO stoppage. While most fans thought this was just the end of one of many great title fight brawls Rory would offer in the UFC, it proved to be his last. Rory went on to fight the future Title Challenger Stephen Thompson and once again broke his nose. Not only did he break his nose, he lost the bout and completed his UFC contract all in one night.
It was time for Rory to reassess his career and heal. Rory even stated in interviews he may need a full year just to heal before accepting another bout. In the midst of negotiating a new contract, Rory’s wishes to take time off may not have been what the UFC wanted to hear. Maybe they thought he had taken too much damage, maybe they thought he wasn’t up to snuff. But whatever they thought, they thought wrong.
Bellator took full advantage of MacDonald’s free agent status. “There’s no denying that Rory MacDonald was the cream of the crop when it comes to free agents in MMA,” Bellator president Scott Coker said in a statement. They quickly signed Rory to an exclusive multi-year multi-fight deal.
It seems the concerns about Rory’s health proved to be a non issue in his Bellator debut bout against Paul Daley. Rory ran through the Bellator contender with a brutal 10-8 first round followed by a rear naked choke victory in the second round. It appears that the Bellator Promotion has found it’s next big thing in the form of “The Red King”. Rory issued a warning to both the current Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima, and title challenger Lorenz Larkin. Rory stated that he will “take your belt and your health”. Bellator may have a dominant champion on the horizon, and it’s time for us to just sit back and enjoy the show.