Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 4.26.13 Jones Will Smash Sonnen Edition
Posted by Robert Winfree on 04.26.2013
Thoughts on Ben Henderson's win over Gilbert Melendez and the rest of UFC on FOX 7, a preview of UFC 159, news and thoughts on Anderson Silva re-signing with UFC, GSP's next fight and more!
Welcome one and all, Fight Month rolls on in fine fashion. I'm not going to lie to you guys, my arms are starting to feel the strain of keeping you all Locked in the Guillotine for this long. Hopefully you all are holding up just fine though. This week we've got a big fight, a really big fight for the light heavyweight title to look at. I'm certainly looking forward to the upcoming fight card, so let's get to it before my arms start giving out.
Finish to start things off: Yoel Romero defeated Clifford Starks by KO in the first round with a big flying knee to the face. The beginning of the round was more of a feeling out process, though Romero looked loose and fluid on the feet and threw a big flying knee that landed flush on Starks' face and followed up with some solid shots on the ground the put his opponent out. Good UFC debut and a good way to get the night started. Romero was clearly making a play to get on the main card broadcast with a 90 second victory.
More finishes: Anthony Njokuani defeated Roger Bowling by TKO in the second round. The fight was pretty good, some back and forth action both on the feet and on the ground. Bowling had some success on the feet in the first round, and secured a takedown, but that seemed to just fire up Njokuani. In the second Njokuani landed a beautiful left hook as Bowling was moving forward to put him down and a few shots on the ground finished it off. Good showcase for Njokuani and his striking remains quite good. Two fights, two finishes, no complaints.
Even more finishes: TJ Dillashaw defeated Hugo Viana by TKO in the first round with some solid striking. Viana landed some good shots, but his striking is way too wild and hook based to be reliably effective. Dillashaw caught Viana coming in with a nice straight right hand and followed up, refusing to let Viana recover. Dillashaw looked good with his hands, his kicks remained laughably ugly, but if he keeps improving he could make some waves.
Masvidal edges the decision: Jorge Masvidal defeated Tim Means by unanimous decision in a fun fight. On the feet and on the ground both guys were active and looking for damaging shots. Tim Means spent much of the second round on his back, but he was landing some effective elbows there, including one that cut open Masvidal. Masvidal used top position and staying busy from there to win two of the three rounds, but the fight wasn't boring at all. Both guys came away looking pretty good, so while the string of finishes is over this was the type of fight that you want to have if it goes to decision.
Liver shot: Joseph Benavidez defeated Darren Uyenoyama by TKO in the second round with some nice body work. The fight was all Benavidez, but I was a little surprised at his hesitance to engage on the ground with Darren. Uyenoyama has some really good grappling, but his takedowns are lacking, and his striking wasn't up to snuff here. Benavidez landed good punches and kicks all fight, and it was a beautiful left hook to the liver that finally put Uyenoyama down for the finish. I'm a sucker for a liver shot and body work in general, so that was a pretty sweet finish. Benavidez should get the next title shot after a performance like this, especially since he probably should have had the current one. Good performance from Benavidez.
My perfect night goes out like a light: Myles Jury defeated Ramsey Nijem by KO in the second round with a nice counter right hook. The first round was a pretty fun ground battle with positional reverses and tactical decisions. Neither guy has good striking, that was obvious, but in the second Ramsey got caught with a nice counter right hook that knocked him out cold. Nijem was leaning with his strikes and throwing them wide, and Jury just got the timing and landed a flush punch that ended the fight. This was a nice finish for Jury.
Bad judging: Francis Carmont defeated Lornez Larkin by unanimous decision in a fight that I personally scored for Larkin. Carmont had almost no success with his takedowns and was eating leg kicks and missing with his strikes. I just didn't see Carmont being effective at all in this fight, but I'm also not a judge. I thought Larkin won, and he did show his improved takedown defense and his striking, I imagine he'll get another shot. Nothing special here thought.
Mendes finishes again: Chad Mendes defeated Darren Elkins by TKO in the first round. Mendes has now finished his last three fights with strikes in the first and by all rights should get the next title shot. Mendes was just landing good shots through the fight, and a nice right hand to the temple finished off Elkins. I don't think Mendes will beat Jose Aldo, but he's more than earned a return title fight at this point.
Matt Brown breaks another: Matt Brown defeated Jordan Mein by TKO in the second round with a barrage of shots. Brown moved forward the entire fight, throwing punches and kicks, never letting Mein get his footing or timing. The one time in the second round that Mein was able to land some good shots he landed a nice liver shot that dropped Brown, but he was unable to follow up. Brown came storming out again in the second, he attacked relentlessly, forced the clinch where he landed knees and elbows and just wore out Jordan Mein. This was a great performance from Brown, he looked good and showed his style of fighting. Great fight for Brown, he'll never be a contender but he is improving.
Thomson stops Nate: Josh Thomson defeated Nate Diaz by TKO in the second round, becoming the first guy in the UFC to stop him. This was a great display for Thomson, his kicks were on point, his elbows in the clinch were accurate, and his movement was impressive. Thomson's ability to stick to the game plan was impressive, he kept mobile, landed kicks to the head and body, basically avoided everything Nate was trying to do. Thomson looked absolutely phenomenal here, I'm excited for his next fights in the UFC lightweight division. As for Diaz, he said before this fight that win lose or draw he wanted to go back to welterweight, which I don't think will fare well for him, but I could be wrong about that. I'm really unsure about the future of Nate Diaz now, he has plenty of talent but I think he tries too hard to fight like his brother, and I personally believe a change of camp would do him worlds of good. Sadly it wont happen, and a couple of losses at welterweight could spell the end of his UFC career at this point.
That was unexpected: Daniel Cormier defeated Frank Mir by unanimous decision in a fight that went a little differently than everyone expected. Cormier fought most of the fight in the clinch, holding Mir against the fence and landing short shots the body and face. I thought Cormier would be much more active on the feet and would find Mir's chin more frequently. Still, a win is a win as far as Cormier is concerned right now. There were a few improvements as far as Mir's game went, his cardio looked better than ever, and his movement early in the first round was pretty good. The fight wasn't memorable or all that exciting though.
Split decision again: UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson retained his title by defeated Gilbert Melendez by slit decision. The fight was close and competitive from start to finish, though I was a little surprised that two judges gave the fight to Henderson. Melendez seemed to be better at controlling the fight. Henderson again came on stronger as the fight progressed, but he seemed a bit more cautious than normal, and he again was a tad over-reliant on his kicks. Melendez looked good in his UFC debut, his boxing was better than previously shown and his distance and timing seemed better as well. I wouldn't be shocked to see a rematch between these two in the near future, it was a close split decision and plenty of people are saying they'd pay for the rematch. I do have to call out the crowd here though, I feel booing a man proposing to his girlfriend isn't something you should boo. I get that most of the people there were hoping Melendez would win, thought he did, didn't enjoy the fight itself, or something along those lines, but come on. I think a bit of respect for someone proposing isn't too much to ask.
Silva re-signs: Anderson Silva has reportedly signed the contract extension the UFC offered him last year. The deal is for ten fights, a departure from normal UFC contracts of eight or so, and there was a lot of talk when the deal was offered. In fact UFC President Dana White announced that Silva had signed it before he actually had, earning some laughs from the MMA community, and Silva has finally signed the deal now. I can't imagine Anderson Silva going anywhere else to fight, and I don't know why it took him so long to sign the new contract, but I'm not a business manager or privy to the details of this or any UFC contract. I'm just glad he'll be sticking around as long as he likes at this point.
Big Rig is next for GSP: Earlier this week Dana White said that the next fight for UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre would either be a middleweight fight with champion Anderson Silva or defending his title against Johny Hendricks. By all accounts GSP has elected to meet Johny Hendricks with Dana White suggesting an August date as a potential time for the two to meet. While many people are still interested in seeing GSP and Anderson Silva fight, I'm not sure it's going to happen at this point, so Georges defending the title against a deserving challenger is what he should be doing.
UFC on FOX 8 fills out: The UFC's eighth show on FOX finally got some fights announced for it, the big one being the main event fight for the UFC flyweight championship between champion Demetrious Johnson and challenger John Moraga. That fight had long been linked to the event but hadn't been mad official yet, so that's good. The flyweights still need the type of exposure that they get from free TV cards, and hopefully the audience will be intrigued by the fight between these two and the division will start to gain a little traction. Also announced was a female bantamweight fight between Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche. Both women are coming off of losses, Carmouche to champion Ronda Rousey and Tate in a title eliminator bout to Cat Zingano. This should be an interesting fight, but I can't help but think this is tailor made for Tate to get back on the winning track. This will be the first card to feature multiple female fights as a fight between Julie Kedzie and Germaine de Randamie is also set for the event. Should be a good night of fights when we get to it.
The big month of fights concludes with a light heavyweight title fight, and an all around solid card of fights. So let's get a look at what's going to happen according to yours truly.
Jim Miller vs. Pat Healy: This will be a great way to kick off the PPV portion of this card. Jim Miller has never been in a boring fight, well maybe that one with Gray Maynard, and his last fight with Joe Lauzon was my personal fight of the year. With new found aggression, clinch striking, and his great wrestling and submission game Jim Miller has actually be vocal about wanting a title fight. He'll need an impressive performance against Pat Healy. Healy is a tough veteran with solid wrestling and grappling who was supposed to fight Gilbert Melendez for the Strikeforce lightweight title before Melendez injured his shoulder and the fight had to be scrapped. Healy went 7-1 in Strikeforce and will be looking to make the most of his UFC debut. Unfortunately for him I think Miller is just better everywhere. Jim Miller isn't a fighter who rests on his laurels or overlooks fighters, he's long been a top contender but has never had a shot at the belt. I think Miller lands better shots standing and probably gets a submission in the second or third round.
Vinny Magalhaes vs. Phil Davis: I don't think Vinny has a chance here, I'm just going to be honest. Vinny has a very good bottom game, and knows how to use a closed guard to his advantage. While some people will point to Davis against Rogerio Nogueira as similar, I don't think they are. Little Nog has a very different submission game than Magalhaes, Vinny uses closed guard and snaps his way up the body to attack the arms or neck, Nogueira is more an open guard fighter who looks for sweeps or mistakes from his opponent. That said, Vinny doesn't have the ability to get Davis on his back. This fight will only hit the mat if Davis wants it there, and if he's smart he'll only go for takedowns when he can land in superior position as opposed to full guard, and he could just choose to beat Vinny standing for three rounds too. Unless he makes a big mistake I think Davis takes this one pretty easily.
Cheick Kongo vs. Roy Nelson: I'm really kind of dreading this fight. That's nothing against either guy, but Kongo is the type of fighter who I always get hesitant when I hear he's fighting because his strategy seems to be clinch to victory with a healthy dose of short grabbing and crotch kneeing. I am glad he's fighting Roy Nelson, because Nelson has only had one really bad fight in his UFC run. If Nelson isn't ready for Kongo to clinch him against the fence he could be in trouble, but overall Nelson's grappling is wolds better than Kongo's and if this fight hits the ground Kongo will be in trouble. On the feet Kongo will have reach and kicks on his side, but his chin is a tad suspect and Nelson has some serious power. I still see Frank Mir landing a solid punch to Kongo and dropping him in my head, and if Roy Nelson gets anywhere near that level of contact with Kongo's head he's going down and out in a hurry. I can't imagine Kongo avoiding being on his back or the power punches of Nelson for a full fifteen minutes, go with Nelson by finish of some sort.
Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher: There's really almost no reason Michael Bisping should lose this fight. I don't like the guy, but he's a solid fighter who's proven reliable in most fights. I don't see Bisping having too much trouble with Belcher. Belcher will need to get Bisping circling either left or right consistently and try to land a head kick. Belcher might also be served well to get into the clinch with Bisping and try to rough him up with knees to the body, but at the end of the day I think Bisping lands a higher volume of strikes, gets a couple of takedowns here and there, and gets a decision.
Chael Sonnen vs. Jon Jones: I hate to write off a fighter in MMA, because we've seen crazy things happen in this wonderful sport of ours. We all figured Matt Serra was just a can for GSP's first title defense, that BJ Penn would be the king of lightweight forever, that Jon Jones would just steamroll Vitor Belfort, that Joseph Benavidez would be the Team Alpha Male member who actually held a UFC title, and we were pretty wrong on those counts. That said, I don't think Chael Sonnen has a chance of beating Jon Jones. Sonnen is effective when moving forward, knows how to bull rush his opponents and secure a takedown, isn't afraid to get hit on the way in, and doesn't stop until the final bell sounds or the referee steps in. That said, he doesn't have the skills to trouble the champion. Jon Jones hasn't been taken down in the UFC, and he's faced better wrestlers in the form of Ryan Bader, Matt Hamill, and Rashad Evans. Sonnen doesn't have the power in his hands to land a Serra like shot that rocks the champion, and he doesn't have the submission skills to snatch an arm or neck during a transition. Sonnen will have a ten inch reach disadvantage to wade through, he'll have to contend with the clinch game of Jones if he can get close, and he'll have to secure takedowns wile avoiding elbow strikes, choke attempts, kicks, and the defensive wrestling of Jon Jones over the course of 25 minutes. As long as there isn't some kind of in cage injury to Jones he'll win this fight, and I see him choking Sonnen out in the second much like he did to Bader or Machida.
That wraps up this edition of the Guillotine, just seven more days my arms have to hold out. I'll see you back here next week where I'll discuss Jon Jones' victory and everything else that went down on the card, plus looking ahead after Fight Month ends.