Category: Fight News

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.

Al Iaquinta On The UFC: “It’s Not Going To Work.”

The Ultimate Fighter Live Weigh In

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.

Rise of The Red King

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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.

Bellator 179 Results

Bellator 179 took place at the SSE Arena in London, England last night and featured the Bellator debut of Rory MacDonald. The promotion seemed to miss the mark with fans by airing the event via tape delay, but the event itself delivered a big night of exciting fights.

Main Card

Rory MacDonald def. Paul Daley via submission (rear-naked choke)(Round 2, 1:45)

Linton Vassell def. Liam McGeary via submission (arm-traingle)(Round 3, 2:28)

Cheick Kongo def. Augusto Sakai via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Alex Lohore def. Dan Edwards via technical knockout (Round 2, 0:56)

Kevin Ferguson Jr. def. Daryl Griffin via technical knockout (Round 1, 3:40)

Undercard

Alfie Davis def. Jay Dods via first-round TKO (2:34)

Stav Economou def. Dan Konecke via submission (guillotine) (R1, 1:05)

Amir Albazi def. Jamie Powell via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26, 30-26)

Nathan Jones def. User Kayani via submission (RNC) (R1, 4:35)

Fabian Edwards def. Rafal Cejrowski via first-round KO (3:44)

Jeremy Petley def. Chase Morton via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-26)

Mike Shipman def. Marcin Prostko via first-round TKO (2:39)

Salih Kulucan def. Diego Barbosa via submission (heel hook) (R1, 2:18)

Garbrandt Off UFC 213

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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.

UFC 211: Weigh Ins

The official early weigh ins have been conducted and UFC 211 is ready to go. After a successful morning of weight cuts the Main Card remains intact suffering no more losses since the Cejudo vs Pettis cancellation on Thursday.

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Champ Stipe Miocic (246) vs. Junior Dos Santos (245) – for Heavyweight title
  • Champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (115) vs. Jessica Andrade (114.5) – for Strawweight title
  • Demian Maia (170.5) vs. Jorge Masvidal (171)
  • Frankie Edgar (145.5) vs. Yair Rodriguez (146)
  • David Branch (185) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (185)

PRELIMINARY CARD (FX, 8 p.m. ET)

  • Eddie Alvarez (156) vs. Dustin Poirier (156)
  • Jason Knight (146) vs. Chas Skelly (146)
  • Jared Gordon (n/a)* vs. Michel Quinones (145.5)
  • Marco Polo Reyes (154) vs. James Vick (156)

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:15 p.m. ET)

  • Jessica Aguilar (115) vs. Cortney Casey (116)
  • Rashad Coulter (241) vs. Chase Sherman (250)
  • Enrique Barzola (146) vs. Gabriel Benitez (145.5)
  • Gadzhimurad Antigulov (204) vs. Joachim Christensen (204.5)

UFC 211 Cancellation: Cejudo vs Pettis

As the UFC 211 card is on the cusp of kicking off in Dallas, tragedy strikes. Henry Cejudo has pulled out of his Flyweight bout against Sergio Pettis. Cejudo cited a hand injury as the cause for having to pull out of the fight. As a result Pettis will have to make weight on Friday just to collect his show money.

The UFC has yet to announce if they are going to pursue finding a replacement to allow Pettis a chance to fight for his win bonus. However, with this fully stacked card, it appears as if Pettis will have no option but to weigh in without a fight.

While this isn’t the most significant loss on the card in terms of overall fan anticipation, it marks the biggest loss for our sports bettors. Pettis was slated as a +350 underdog, making him the most profitable bet on the card. We may never know how this fight would have went down, but the line was off and Cage Prophet was saying bet the dog. We will be posting an updated list of our favorite underdog bets soon, but until then, who is your favorite underdog?