Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 1.25.13 Goodnight Sweet Count Edition
Posted by Robert Winfree on 01.25.2013
News and thoughts on Vitor Belfort's win over Michael Bisping at UFC on F/X 7, Fox rebranding their channels, possible title challengers for Jon Jones, a look at Rampage Jackson's last UFC fight at UFC on FOX 6 and more!
Boys and girls welcome back to the Guillotine. It's a nice Friday, well most Friday's are nice, and it's time to get into the best MMA news article on Friday. There's some really good stuff to go over, including the breakdown of the big flyweight title fight coming up on FOX. Of course there's also that fun little bit about the FOX networks re-branding themselves, which could wind up being a big short term headache for the UFC. There's also the fights from last week to look back on, and one in particular that brings a smile to my face. I suppose you already know, but read on to make sure you're right. As you're Locked in the Guillotine again you'd better get reading before your vision get's too blurry.
Trinaldo wins: Francisco Trinaldo submitted CJ Keith with an arm triangle choke in the second round. I didn't get to watch this fight due to guests at the house, but Trinaldo getting the win is good. Trinaldo needed a win after getting completely shut down by Gleison Tibau in his last fight, and he got it in the way he should have.
Alcantara scores the submission: Ildemar Alcantara defeated Wagner Prado with a knee bar in the second round. Alcantara was clearly out of his element on the feet, but he pulled off a decent attack from half guard on the bottom into the knee bar that finished the fight. Prado has lots of work to do if he wants to keep his job in the UFC at this point. As for Ildemar he won a fight above his natural weight class and I'm kind of a sucker for leg submissions, but his striking needs work. All in all not a bad fight though.
No Contest: Yuri Alcantara and Pedro Nobre fought to a No Contest. I'm not going to lie, I thought there was odd stuff in this fight. Alcantara looked really good, his striking was on point and he dove on a kimura that was incredibly close to being finished. After Nobre survived the kimura he wound up giving up his back and Alcantara was landing blows from that position. Here's where things get dicey because Nobre indicated he'd been hit in the back of the head and the referee paused the action. It was then determined that Nobre couldn't continue and the fight was ruled a No Contest. The issue there is that looking at the replay seemed to indicate that none of the blows Alcantara was throwing actually hit the back of Nobre's head. I think Nobre was hurt and just wanted a way out of the fight personally.
Barboza back on track: Edson Barboza defeated Lucas Martins by submission with strikes in the first round. Barboza looked on point here, his kicks and punches were accurate and fast, and he dropped Martins with a jab and then pounced on him to force the finish. Barboza has a couple of highlight reel finishes and a great style, but I'd love to see him step up in competition and not just keep beating lower tier fighters.
Lentz wrestles to victory: Nik Lentz defeated Diego Nunes by unanimous decision. Nunes had no answer to the wrestling of Lentz, he could never get the necessary separation to strike for a prolonged period of time as every time he got to his feet Lentz was glued to his back and would force him back to the mat. I was hoping Lentz would look more for a submission to end the fight, instead he just controlled the position and landed some ground and pound to take a clear decision.
Markes gets a win: Rony Markes defeated Andrew Craig by unanimous decision in a pretty uneventful fight. Markes was able to secure takedowns against the cage but did very little with his position. He made one attempt at a kimura in the first round, but other than that he seemed content to just win two rounds and go home. His corner even told him to be conservative in the third because he'd won the first two. Andrew Craig has some good upside, but he needs to get a better training camp behind him. As for Markes, he's pretty one dimensional but will find moderate success at middleweight just because the division isn't stacked.
Split decision: Godofredo "Pepey" Castro defeated Milton Vieira by split decision in a fight that really could have gone either way. The only clear round was the second round which I gave to Castro. This was a pretty fun fight all in all, if nothing special at the end of the day.
The Eagle has landed: Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Thiago Tavares by TKO in the first round. Nurmagomedov caught Tavares with a lead shovel punch that dropped him and he proceeded to assault him with elbows from top position that forced the stoppage. This was the type of performance that I was hoping for out of Nurmagomedov, because the guy has all the talent in the world and needed a rebound after his last fight. Nurmagomedov has since indicated he'd like to fight Nate Diaz next, which might be too much too soon for him, but if that fight does happen I'll be really looking forward to it.
Gonzaga gets the win: Gabriel Gonzaga submitted Ben Rothwell with an arm in guillotine choke in the second round to get his second win in a row. Gonzaga was actually landing a straight right hand with surprising regularity prior to the end of the fight. Rothwell actually had some decent takedown defense in this fight, but was unable to get his striking going and kept getting hit by Gonzaga. For Gonzaga it was a decent win, but he'll never be a threat to the title again.
Split decision again: CB Dollaway defeated Daniel Sarafian by split decision in a fight that actually didn't suck as much as I thought it would. Sarafian looked decent on the feet, he had good movement and was landing his right hand pretty consistently, but he got tagged at the end of the second round and the flurry by Dollaway stole the round. As for the third, it was a back and forth affair that could have gone either way and two judges thought it went to Dollaway. Nothing really impressive here, but nothing terribly offensive.
Bisping goes down: Vitor Belfort defeated Michael Bisping by TKO in the second round with a really nice head kick and follow up strikes to force the stoppage. Bisping looked a little uncomfortable out there, he was constantly ducking to his right, which is into the power of a left handed fighter like Vitor Belfort. In this fight Belfort was more acting with kicks, which is different than his normal punching based approach and it looked to catch Bisping a little off guard. Towards the end of the first round Bisping got clipped by Belfort, but the round saved him. In the second Belfort kept a methodical approach and landed a big head kick. After the fight Belfort called Chael Sonnen a clown for doing The Ultimate Fighter as a coach and called out Jon Jones wanting a rematch. The promo was very Lex Luger like, or even Ultimate Warrior because it was hard to understand but the crowd was very into it. Bisping seemed OK with loss, he wasn't angry and didn't complain about the stoppage, just promised to be back and better than before. Actually with this loss he could wind up fighting Hector Lombard, Lombard is coming off of a win over lower level competition and Bisping just lost a title opportunity. Plus Bisping had some very negative and insulting things to say about Lombard and their fight could easily draw money as a co-main event or a featured fight. For Belfort, he's unlikely to get a title shot at middleweight or at light heavyweight, but this was a good performance for him. Not a bad way to end the night at all.
OK, it's not as good as the Henderson picture but it's still pretty good.
Hughes retires: On Thursday UFC President Dana White announced that UFC hall of famer Matt Hughes is officially retired and now working with the company in a different capacity. Hughes' new official title is Vice President of athlete development and government relations. This was further described as essentially placing Hughes in a mentor role to the other fighters in the UFC. As I'm not a big fan of Matt Hughes I was kind of hoping to see him knocked out again before he retired, but if the UFC feels the need to keep him employed this is a decent way to do it.
Silva not re-signed yet: A few weeks ago Dana White announced that Anderson Silva had requested a new ten fight contract as his current one is approaching the final fights. While Silva may have requested that he hasn't yet signed it. The contract has been sent to Silva but he has yet to officially sign as of press time.
FOX to rebrand: It has long been speculated that the FOX networks would undergo some kind of rebranding effort, and now it's coming true. Perhaps as early as this summer the FOX family of networks will undergo some fairly significant overhauling. F/X will stop airing sports events, the channel currently known as Speed will be renamed Fox Sports 1 and Fuel TV will be changed to Fox Sports 2. No one is quite sure what this means for the reality series The Ultimate Fighter, because it could be classified as an entertainment show instead of a sport show. Current indicators are that it will remain on F/X, though if the ratings for the current season don't show improvement over last years it wouldn't be too much of a shock to see it moved to Fox Sports 1 or 2 by sometime next year. This move wont have any effect on the handful of events that take place on big FOX every year. While this move makes sense from an overall standpoint, especially to the parent company of Fox, it will be a pain for the UFC and in some cases the other sports effected. Messing with viewer habits is a tricky thing, just switching a show or events time slot can have negative effects, but switching channels, and with the original channels changing names, this could cause some problems for everyone involved for a while. Ultimately I don't think it will hurt anything too much, but short term this will cause confusion especially among casual fans.
Henderson ahead of Cormier: Dana White recently commented on the state of potential challengers for the UFC light heavyweight championship. He said that Dan Henderson is considered ahead of Daniel Cormier, this makes sense since Cormier is still technically a heavyweight and there's no definitive answer as to if he actually can safely make 205. Of course if Henderson is beaten by Machida, which is possible, then the situation will have to be re-evaluated, but for now Henderson is the front runner after Jones beats Chael Sonnen. Further muddying the waters is the announced fight between Alexander Gustafsson and promotional newcomer Gegard Mousasi. A win by either man makes a strong case for a title shot, so in many ways were in wait and see mode because there are still fights and the ever present threat of injury.
The UFC returns to FOX on Saturday, and they're bringing another title fight and another recognizable name to the table. This seems to be the strategy for these FOX events, present a division or a champion that has trouble drawing on the same card with a name everyone knows and at least one fight that's pretty much guaranteed not to miss. It's a good strategy, so let's look at the card.
Erik Koch vs. Ricardo Lamas: You know, it was just last year we were talking about Erik Koch being Jose Aldo's next victim. Then injuries, and Frankie Edgar dropping to featherweight changed those plans and now Koch is taking on Ricardo Lamas. Ricardo Lamas has been coming on strong the last couple of years, he was the last guy to beat Cub Swanson and in his last fight upset Hatsu Hioki. Koch hasn't fought since September of 2011 when he defeated Jonathan Brookins by decision. Given that layoff, and the way Lamas has been fighting lately, I have to favor Lamas to take this one, likely by decision.
Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis: How can you not be at least a little excited for this fight? Both Pettis and Cerrone are known for exciting fights, both are dynamic strikers, both are active grapplers, and neither has had a boring fight since they fought Jeremy Stephens. For as much as both men are strikers first and foremost, don't be surprised to see one of them shoot for a takedown in this fight if they don't like how the striking is going. In the wrestling department I have to give a slight edge to Cerrone, though I could very easily be wrong about that. Striking it's interesting, Cerrone throws more combinations, usually with some nice leg kicks, while Pettis is more of a one punch or one kick striker. Of course he's got the power to use that style effectively. Both men are durable, but Cerrone is a bit more prone to being hit given his head positioning and lack of head movement. I've gone back and forth on this one, but for some reason I keep ending up picking Cerrone. I think his reach will play to his advantage and I think his volume striking style will keep Pettis off of his normal gameplan.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Glover Teixeira: Well this is the final fight in the UFC for former light heavyweight champion Rampage Jackson. The issues Jackson has had with the UFC since he took time off to film the A-Team movie have been well documented. He's not right on all of them, and on some he's borderline crazy, but the bottom line is he doesn't want to be in the UFC anymore and this is his chance to go out with a bang. Standing across from him is Glover Teixeira, a guy who got famous because Shogun Rua said he didn't want to fight him. Of course Teixeira also has some serious skills of his own, as he's demonstrated in his two UFC fights. Neither of his previous opponents have had close to the skills of Rampage though. If Rampage comes into this fight motivated, ready to use all facets of MMA, and with a desire to increase his drawing power after leaving the UFC he certainly has the ability to win here. Unfortunately Rampage has looked flat footed and one dimensional for his last several fights, and that wont work well against Teixeira. I think as long as Glover doesn't get too comfortable with his positioning when standing in close quarters then he has the tools to beat Rampage. Given how Rampage has looked I can't pick him here, this is a chance for Teixeira to shine.
Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson: I'm really torn as far as flyweight's go in general. They have a fast pace, a lot of good technique, and are rarely short on action. On the flip side it feels like it doesn't really mean much because there's little damage or chance of a finish most of the time. I know that last bit sounds somewhat uneducated and an unnecessary downer, but it remains a part of my emotional response. In this fight we actually have one of the guys at flyweight who has power in his hands in the form of challenger John Dodson. Dodson has fought three times in the UFC, twice at flyweight once at bantamweight, and finished his opponent twice. He stopped TJ Dillashaw at bantamweight and former top ranked flyweight fighter Jussier Formiga with punches. Conversely the champion Johnson hasn't finished a fight since 2010 when he choked out Damacio Page. Both men are very fast in the cage, but Johnson does a better job of mixing up his techniques. He also has very good timing on his takedowns and pretty good scrambles. While Johnson doesn't have anything close to knockout power in his hands his striking is quick and technical and keeps you off balance for when he shoots. Dodson is a good wrestler in his own right, but he prefers to keep fights standing where he has a power advantage. The primary thing that makes me pick against Dodson in this fight is the somewhat passive approach he takes at times. He seems content to sit back and try to counter punch. Against someone with the hand speed and quick movements of Demetrious Johnson that's not a winning strategy. Dodson will get in a few shots that will hurt Johnson, but I'm not sure he can finish the champion, or land enough shots to win at least three of the five rounds. I think Johnson gets another decision victory here.
That does it for this week in the MMA world, but rest assured I'll be back next week. I'm looking forward to the fights this week, as well as the Royal Rumble on Sunday. I haven't been much into wrestling for a while, but the Rumble is almost always worth watching just for the match itself plus this year there's CM Punk taking on The Rock. So with those events to look forward too I'd better let you all out of the Guillotine so you can enjoy the rest of your Friday, and I'll see you back here in seven days.