Category: Fight News

UFC 217 Looks To Impress

What does UFC 217 have in store for us? A LOT. The UFC looks to impress as it returns to Madison Square Garden in New York City to conduct it’s second card in the world’s most famous arena. This card is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated of the year very quickly.

UFC 217 will be headlined by Michael Bisping’s UFC middleweight title defense against returning former welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre

Cody Garbrandt will be defending his Bantamweight Title against former champion, teammate and current nemesis TJ Dillashaw.

Stephen Thompson will meet Jorge Masvidal in a matchup of welterweight contenders. Thompson is coming off of two consecutive title shots where he failed to secure the strap while Masvidal is coming off of a loss to the most recent title challenger Damien Maia. Both men are looking to get back in the win column and as a result the winner should be in a good position to earn a shot at the Title.

These three fights alone could headline and sell a card by themselves, as more bout agreements continue to be signed this card can only get better.

 

UFC 217 Announcements: Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw

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Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw for the UFC Bantamweight Title is officially set for UFC 217. After the bout was cancelled from UFC 213 fans have waited anxiously to hear the results of Garbrandt’s back rehab. It seems that whatever the doctor has been cooking up for Garbrandt has worked and Cody will be putting his Bantamweight title on the line against former Team Alpha Male member and current nemesis: TJ Dillashaw.

With all the smack talk since TUF and the cancellation of UFC 213, it’s a relief to see these two with a date set to finally settle the score. Dominick Cruz is no doubt waiting in the wings to challenge whoever wins for a shot at redemption.

 

Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series: Week 6 Recap

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Another entertaining night of fights is in the books for the Contender Series. Dana White wrapped up his sixth episode by awarding 2 more UFC contracts. This week Charles Byrd (Middleweight) and Grant Dawson (Featherweight) both earned their way into the UFC by way of rear naked choke victories. Charles Byrd’s victory also sets a record of its own, being the first and only fighter to win twice on the contender series.

As for the bets: Cage Prophet went 100% on the night. However, it was a light betting card. It’s tough with the limited tape available to make good reads on who to bet in these fights on the Contender Series. I mostly watch to get a feel for the new blood coming down the pipe, but I saw a few things I liked on this card. Alvarez is a versatile fighter with the ability to finish fights standing or grappling, he has a solid chin too. When I was looking at his opponent Martin Day, I think Day has a lot of potential and will grow, but is still green. He has gone to decision a fair bit and only has one KO win on his record, I saw Alvarez as a solid bet and it panned out for me. And for the first female fight on the Contender Series, a quick glance at these ladies’ records on paper sent me straight to the over 1.5 rounds line. Colleen takes fights into deep water, she has multiple 5 round fights, Tiffany is green and while she finishes early, her level of competition has been low. Both women performed well but as we expected well over 1.5 rounds.

I also saw a few things I didn’t like. Karl Reed at 2-0 as a professional and -310 favorite over a seasoned 8-3 pro in Cameron Olson. That’s a pass for me. Sorry to those who lost coin on betting Reed, but in the future don’t buy the hype on unproven fighters. Olson +255 was… Disrespect.

Paul Daley vs. Lorenz Larkin set for Bellator 183

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Paul Daley (39-15-2) is set to meet Lorenz Larkin (18-6) at Bellator 183. Both fighters are looking to jump back into the win column on September 23. Daley is coming off a second round submission loss to Rory Macdonald at Bellator 179 and Larkin lost his Bellator debut on the judges score cards against current Welterweight champion Douglas Lima.

This fight is set to be a strikers delight as both men are primarily stand and bang practitioners. Larkin typically finds early success with heavy leg kicks and with little threat of Daley wanting to take this fight to the ground I expect to see dynamic striking on full display right away. However, after seeing Rory MacDonald absolutely dismantle Daley by quickly taking the fight to the floor will we see Lorenz follow a similar game plan? Only time will tell, but on paper this fight jumps out as must see TV.

Bellator 183 takes place at SAP Center in San Jose, California on September 23. The card airs on Spike.

The Bellator 183 card currently includes the following fights:

  • Benson Henderson vs. Patricky Freire
  • Javy Ayala vs. Roy Nelson
  • Paul Daley vs. Lorenz Larkin
  • Aaron Pico vs. opponent TBA

Mayweather vs. McGregor: Public Opinion Continues to Change

Hailed by many to be the sh*t show of our generation the May Mac World tour had it’s ups and downs (Geez New York was painful). Vegas line movement has been all over the place as bettors swarm to the sports books in droves throwing money at tellers faces in hopes of cashing on what looks to be the biggest fight in decades. Conor opened at +900 and has now dipped as low as +400 in some books. But why the change? It appears the media tour has spurred a more significant change in public opinion than anyone thought. According to a Cage Prophet poll of 178 people, 28% of respondents claim the media tour changed their opinion on how the fight will go.

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That’s right. Watching Floyd and Conor talk shit for four days straight has changed the opinion of 28% of people. Pretty impressive, but the more telling stat is the 35% that are more interested even though they didn’t change their opinion. This is important because it shows that the media tour worked. It did it’s job by either changing people’s minds or making them more interested. And at the end of the day that’s all the promotion wants: to sell the fight.

Jorge Masvidal on MMA Eye Poking And Nelson-Ponzinibbio Controversy

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In a recent interview on BJ Penn Radio, Jorge Masvidal pulled no punches sharing his views on eye poking in MMA. “It’s something that they need to work on dramatically.” Masvidal stated when talking about the recent fight directly effected by eye poking between Gunnar Nelson and Santiago Ponzinibbio. Gunnar Nelson suffered a first round KO against Santiago Ponzinibbio in the main event of UFC Glasgow. What looked to be a minor eye poke in real time later proved to be multiple fight altering eye pokes that appear to be deliberately delivered. Seen Here:

Not Deliberate in any way right? Of course not. The most concerning part about eye poking is obviously health concerns, it is illegal for a reason. But secondary to that is you gain significant advantage over your opponent when you damage their vision, even accidentally. If a fighter becomes very good at camouflaging intentional eye pokes as accidental byproducts of defense or offense it can be used as a tool to gain an edge on their opponent, in other words: cheating. The rules need to be changed to protect fighters from these actions, whether it turns into automatic point deductions or more rest time to recover. Masvidal’s argument on BJ Penn Radio was a compelling one:

“If you’ve ever been poked in the eye, man, it sucks,” he said. “It sucks in practice, and it sucks even more in the fight. Depending how hard you get poked, you can man up and keep going –I’ve done things like that – but your vision is off. One eye is swollen at the time. For some reason, you’re getting that blurred double vision, because one eye is at a different focus than the other eye that didn’t get poked. That takes time [to recover from]. That’s not like, oh a second later, because the doctor looked at it and you said you’re ok. We’re only saying we’re ok because we’re fighters.

“There needs to be a legitimate rule, if anybody touches the eye, well I should be able to get five to ten minutes,” he said. “The most important thing in the fight is vision. If I can’t see, well I’m going to get beat up, you know? It’s crazy. They need to do that. They need to stay on top of that. I don’t understand what the big nonsense is.

“It’s BS. When I fought Larkin, he gave me a pretty hard eye-poke. I had to stop. The doctor came in, and asked ‘can you see?’ [I said] ‘Yeah, I can see,’ but I really couldn’t see at that time that he asked me. I had a big blur in my vision. But of course if I say I can’t see, I’m not fighting. So, I can’t see, and the doctors were like ‘ok let’s go fight.’ What do you mean ‘let’s go fight?’ Give me my fucking time. It’s not like I poked myself in the eye. What’s fair is to let me heal up. Let me say when my eye is ready. But they don’t do that. I think I had about 15 seconds, something like that, 20 seconds.”

And there-in lies the problem. The victim of the eye poke is subject to fight at a disadvantage with no time to recover, while the offender gains an upper hand with no consequences. Cage Prophet agrees that the rules need to be adjusted to prevent eye poking. How about you?

Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series: Week 2 Recap

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I’m hooked on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. DWTCS is everything TUF isn’t and I love it. No drama, no bullshit, just fighting. Well, fighting and Snoop Dog ripping blunts whilst sipping on gin and juice. After years of The Ultimate Fighter playing up dramatic school yard verbal battles it’s so refreshing to finally just see athletes compete for a chance to achieve their dream. They don’t have to be held hostage in a house with no contact to the outside world, they just have to show up and fight. This is how it should be and for that I applaud the UFC for creating this new format for fans to see the UFC newcomers fight for a chance at a contract. If you missed week two I suggest going back and checking it out. At the very least you have to see Sean O’Malley dismantle Alfred Khashakyan earning himself the lone contract of the evening.

That’s right, only one contract was awarded last night. This came as a shock to many fans who believed that Thanh Le deserved a UFC contract for his second round KO victory over American Top Team prospect Lazar Stojadinovic. Le displayed great technique, composure, and Octagon control. Overall, Le was in my opinion the most technically sound and well rounded fighter. I thought he displayed more than enough to get a shot in the UFC. With that being said, Sean O’Malley brought the flash and showmanship that Dana was looking for and was the only fighter to walk away with a contract. Something tells me this won’t be the last we see of Le, only time will tell though. Listed below are the full results.

Casey Kenney def. Cee Jay Hamilton via Unanimous Decision

Sidney Outlaw def. Michael Cora via Unanimous Decision

Thanh Le def. Lazar Stojadinovic via Round 2 KO

Sean O’Malley def. Alfred Khashakyan via Round 1 KO

Dan Spohn def. Angel DeAnda via Round 1 Submission (Arm Triangle)

Sage Northcutt Will Return to Lightweight for UFC 214

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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.

Romero vs. Whittaker: Officially Set for UFC 213

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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.

 

Why The Middleweight Interim Belt is What We Need

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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.