Kevin discusses UFC Fight Night 111 and talks with UFC Featherweight Kyle Bochniak about his upcoming fight against Jeremy Kennedy.
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.
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.
The injury bug strikes again! This time it has taken the UFC 213 main event from us. Cody Garbrandt vs TJ Dillashaw has been removed from UFC 213. Cody Garbrandt recently sustained a back injury in training for his title defense. Dana White sent the champ to his personal Doctor in Germany to undergo a procedure that could get him healthy in time for the July 8th bout, but to no avail.
Garbrandt revealed through a Facebook post, “No I’m not fighting on the 8th. This has been my dream to get to the top and I want to have longevity!”
However, fear not, this will likely be a rescheduled matchup. The public interest coupled with TJ solidly at the top of the Bantamweight contender pile points to us seeing this matchup as soon as the Champ regains his health. In another one of his posts, Cody stated, “4 more weeks of recovery! Then I can slowly start to train and test it out.”
On behalf of all fans everywhere: we wish Cody a full speedy recovery. It would be a shame to watch a fight of this caliber without both men at 100%. So until the fight happens I guess we can just rerun TUF episodes or scroll through their twitter timelines. Because for these two the only substitute for a fist fight is verbal assault and you’ll be seeing a lot of it for a couple more months now.
If you haven’t listened to the latest Cage Prophet Podcast you probably should. The podcast is under 15 minutes and covers most of the bets on this page. However, there are a few bets on here that are new and some people are just old fashioned and want to read anyways. So for all you nerds that still like to read, here are the Cage Prophet picks of UFC 211.
- Stipe Miocic -125
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk -175
- Damien Maia +115
- Frankie Edgar -120
- Dustin Poirier -120
- James Vick -350
- Jason Knight +110
- Enrique Barzola +120
- Dustin Poirier By KO/TKO +365 hedge with Alvarez by KO/TKO +565
- Dustin Poirier wins in Round 2 +725
- Chas Skelly vs Jason Knight – Under 2.5 Rounds +165
- Maia vs Masvidal – Under 1.5 Rounds +165
And If you’re feeling squirrelly – 4 line Parlay: Joanna, Edgar, Vick, Stipe
The second installment of the Cage Prophet Podcast has arrived. In this episode Kevin lays out some betting picks and predictions for the much anticipated UFC 211 card.
Share your predictions with Cage Prophet in the comments below, or on twitter. Enjoy the fights!
UFC Heavyweight Francis Ngannou will be moving from his current home of France to Las Vegas, Nevada. The Heavyweight contender recently tweeted, “I’m officially move to Las Vegas and get ready for the next level”
Cage Prophet has one thing to say to the UFC Heavyweight division: Be afraid, be very afraid. Since making his UFC debut, Ngannou has gone 5-0 all by finish. Ngannou has racked up 4 KO/TKO finishes as well as a first round submission. He quickly plowed through the competition climbing his way through the ranks, leading him to a first round knockout over the legendary former champ Andrei Arlovski.
You may ask, “Does moving to Las Vegas really give him an edge?” and the answer is yes, it absolutely does. The UFC has recently put the finishing touches on it’s state of the art campus. While in Las Vegas, Ngannou will be able to enjoy the benefits of the UFC’s world class fighter specific facilities. Benefits will include: medical monitoring, nutritionists, strength and conditioning, not to mention the best coaching staff and training partners in the world. If anything is going to take Ngannou to the next level it will be full time training in Las Vegas.
While we eagerly await to hear who Ngannou will be taking on next, you can bet that it will be a top five opponent. Ngannou has been vocal about his hopes for a Title shot and his latest emphatic win over Arlovski has him in the running. Cage prophet expects the UFC to give him at least one more top five opponent before giving him a shot at Stipe Miocic for the Belt. Still, stranger things have happened. His time to challenge the champ may be sooner than we think.
When do you think Francis Ngannou will fight for the belt? Let us know in the comments below.
Anthony Pettis is returning to Lightweight. After a 2 fight stint in the Featherweight division, in which Pettis earned a title shot after 1 fight, he has decided it’s time to head back to 155. Pettis failed to make weight for his Interim Championship fight against Max Holloway. The bout became a title fight for only Holloway as a result of Pettis’ inability to make weight, but Holloway still had to earn it. Holloway did just that, winning the belt by a definitive TKO stoppage in the third round.
It seems that the weight cut to 145 may have been too much for Pettis as he looks to reinvigorate his career at 155. The former UFC Lightweight Champion has since experienced a tough road in the Lightweight division. He has suffered 3 straight losses in division to Dos Anjos, Alvarez, and Barboza. He looks to Miller to get his career back on track, but this fight is much more dangerous than people are making it out to seem.
Jim Miller is a very well rounded and crafty veteran that you can never count out. With a record of 28-9 MMA he is 17-8 in the UFC. While Pettis is 19-6, he is only 6-5 in the UFC. Meaning: Showtime has only really showed up half of the times he has stepped into the octagon.
The two men are set to square off on July 8 at UFC 213.
Cage Prophet’s Prediction: this is going to be a very close fight and I would bet this on a prop line to go to decision on the judges score card. Don’t be surprised if Miller finds a way to win.