Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 8.23.13 100th Edition Extravaganza!
Posted by Robert Winfree on 08.23.2013
Thoughts on UFC Fight Night 26 including Chael Sonnen's win over Shogun Rua, Travis Browne's KO over Alistair Overeem and more! Plus news on Stefan Struve's heart condition and more!
Hello everyone, and welcome to a very special time to be Locked in the Guillotine. Why is this one special you ask? Well this right here, Friday August twenty third marks the very special one hundredth edition of Locked in the Guillotine. That's right folks, special number 100. I can't overstate how happy I am with the ability to write this column every week, for the great people here at 411mania.com who are always happy to support each other as we navigate the crazy world that we all choose to live in. It has truly been an honor to be one of the contributors to this wonderful site, and here's to another hundred editions. This week I've got a fight card to review, the second UFC event on Fox Sports 1 which I will also be covering live for the site, and there's the first event on Fox Sports 1 to look back on as it had some really good fights. Plus news about upcoming fights being scheduled and a heavyweight goes down with some serious medical issues. That makes for a lot to get through, so let's hope you guys can avoid tapping out, or passing out, until the end.
Quick start: James Vick defeated Ramsey Nijem by submission in the first round with a power guillotine. Nijem clearly wanted the fight on the ground, but he had a hard time keeping him down after a double leg attempt. Nijem left his neck exposed in the clinch and Vick locked up a power guillotine that forced Nijem to tap. Nijem's stock has really fallen lately, despite a couple of wins he's never evolved as a fighter. Vick looked pretty good for as short as the fight was. Quick and inoffensive start to the night.
Two fights, two finishes: Ovince St-Preux defeated Cody Donovan by TKO in the first round with some nasty left hooks from inside of Donovan's guard. OSP still has some obvious striking deficiencies, especially in the defensive area. OSP did counter a body lock takedown from Donovan to wind up in Donovan's guard. From there OSP landed some nice left handed blows to the face of Donovan that forced a stoppage. This was a good performance and finish from OSP, especially after the awkwardness that came about in his last fight with Gian Villante.
The Anvil wins: Manny Gamburyan defeated Cole Miller by unanimous decision. I personally scored the fight 29-28 for Miller, but the second round was close and could have gone either way with on the first and second rounds being clear in my eyes. Miller actually looked like he'd learned to use his reach in this fight, but his takedown defense is horrible. I think the judge who scored the fight 30-27 for Gamburyan had a Clucky moment because Miller controlled the whole first round. Not a bad fight overall though.
Cardio training is a real thing: Diego Brandao defeated Daniel Pineda by unanimous decision. The first round was a flurry of action that saw Brandao hurt Pineda multiple times with strikes but Pineda refused to be finished. In the second round both men slowed down but Pineda reversed position with a kimura sweep into mount on Brandao and landed some big shots. The third round was basically Brandao scoring takedowns to win the final round. Both men need serious work on their cardio because they gassed early in the second.
That was quick: Steven Siler defeated Mike Brown by TKO in the first round. Siler caught Brown with an uppercut when Brown was moving in that rocked him. Siler moved in with hammerfists and tossed aside the legs of Brown and came down with a big right hand that put Brown out old. This was a huge win for Siler, easily the biggest win of his career and a rather substantial upset. In an interesting side note, this makes Mike Brown a victim of the 411 interview curse. I've talked in the past about the 411mma unanimous pick curse, but the interview curse is easier to document and has a longer history. Every time a fighter's interview is posted to 411mania.com they lose their next fight. Someone will break this curse, but it wasn't Mike Brown on this occasion.
Dominant: Connor McGregor defeated Max Holloway by unanimous decision. McGregor looked really good here, his striking is diverse and very accurate and he displayed some grappling in this fight. Holloway doesn't have the best guard or takedown defense, so McGregor's dominance on the ground should be taken with a grain or two of salt. McGregor hurt his knee in the second round and made a great adjustment in the third round to disguise the issue. I'd like to see McGregor step up now, he's got a couple of wins and everyone seems to be behind him. As for Holloway, he's a very young fighter who should keep improving and hopefully will learn from this loss.
McDonald is still here: Michael McDonald defeated Brad Pickett by submission with a triangle choke in the second round. The first round was a crazy striking affair that saw Pickett get rocked more than once but he refused to go down despite being battered with punches. In the second round Pickett managed to score a takedown and did some good work for a minute or so but McDonald locked up a triangle arm bar in the blink of an eye. Pickett defended the arm bar attack McDonald used a roll to tighten the choke aspect and force the submission. McDonald was coming off of a loss to Renan Barao for them UFC interim bantamweight title, but if this was any indication he's only getting better and is almost a shoe in to be a champion in the future. Pickett isn't going anywhere, he's a talented fighter who fights in a very fan friendly manner which is a great recipe for a long term career in the UFC. Excellent fight all around.
Johnson wins: Michael Johnson defeated Joe Lauzon by unanimous decision. Clucky showed up to give Johnson a 30x25 score, and while that is a tad questionable, there's no denying that Michael Johnson won every round and basically outclassed Lauzon in every aspect. Lauzon looked slow and tired from the start of the fight and Johnson looked sharp in the striking department. Big win for Johnson here.
Forgettable: John Howard defeated Uriah Hall by split decision in a very forgettable fight. Hall just can't seem to adapt his game to a higher level of competition and while John Howard isn't truly elite he's better than the guys Hall fought in the TUF house. Howard had some solid leg kicks and was just generally more active and effective. Still, nothing special here folks.
That was impressive: Matt Brown defeated Mike Pyle by knockout early in the first round with some nasty ground and pound while Pyle was on the ground and Brown was standing. I picked Pyle for this fight and boy oh boy was I wrong. I gave Pyle's chin a little too much credit heading into this one. Brown extends his winning steak to six fights in a row, which is incredibly impressive in the welterweight division. Brown likely needs another win over a bigger name in his next fight, but with a win there or an injury to a key challenger Brown could get a title shot. For Pyle this is a set back, but he's unlikely to get cut after just one loss in his last five fights.
That went about as expected: Urijah Faber defeated Yuri Alcantara by unanimous decision. Faber was in trouble early, Yuri reversed a throw attempt and got full mount on Faber. Faber waited put some tough positions and then got on top in the closing ninety seconds or so. The second and third rounds were all Faber as he got takedowns and worked to land ground and pound over the remaining ten minutes. This was really just about what everyone expected out of this fight. Faber might have to win one more fight to allow time for Renan Barao and Dominick Cruz to sort out the title situation, after which he'll get another title shot which he will lose. I really want some kind of injunction against Faber and title shots after he loses the next one.
KO of the night: Travis Browne defeated Alistair Overeem by knockout in the first round. Overeem actually looked pretty good in the opening minutes, he landed some huge knees and punches to the body of Browne including dropping and nearly finishing him. Browne survived though, and managed to keep some distance and get his kicking game going. With less than a minute left in the opening round Browne threw a front kick that landed under the chin of Overeem and dropped him. A couple of hammerfists later and Travis Browne had finished Overeem. This is a big win for Browne, he has just one loss on his record and he got injured early on in that fight, without that hamstring injury the fight goes a little differently. Browne is now on the verge of getting a title shot, and while I wouldn't favor him over Cain or JDS, he's a tough guy who's making a name for himself.
Shogun is done: Chael Sonnen defeated Mauricio Rua by submission in the first round with a guillotine choke. More than being impressed with Sonnen, who didn't do anything all that different from every other fight he's ever been in, I realized that Shogun is done. Shogun has been in some great fights over the years but the toll on his knees, the multiple surgeries, he's just done as a top level fighter. Sonnen called out Wanderlei Silva after the fight, both men are attraction fighters at this point so why not make that fight.
Struve has heart problems: UFC heavyweight Stefan Struve got some unfortunate news this week, he was diagnosed with a leaky aortic valve and an enlarged heart. These are serious conditions, enlarged heart, depending on the severity, can be potentially life threatening and leaky valves are just never a good thing. Struve has sought the advice of top cardiologists, and will be taking medication over the next two months before deciding on potential surgical options. Struve was last inside the octagon on the receiving end of a nasty left hook from Mark Hunt that broke his jaw. I wish Struve the best, heart issues are nothing to mess around with and his health has to be the first thing on his mind.
Belfort to fight Henderson: It has been reported that UFC fighters Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort have verbally agreed to fight with the clash targeted to be on the November ninth card. No weight class has been announced, but were I to speculate I'd guess it would take place at light heavyweight. Vitor Belfort has said he will only fight the champion if he fights again at middleweight, and Dan Henderson's last fight at middleweight saw him gas out in the second round when he fought Jake Shields in Strikeforce. Henderson and Belfort have fought before, the two clashed at PRIDE 32, a fight which Dan Henderson won via unanimous decision.
The Dragon is dropping down: Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida has announced he will drop down to middleweight for his next fight. Machida has spent his entire career at light heavyweight to this point, but given his body type the cut to 185 shouldn't be too difficult for him. Welcoming the former champion to the division will be Tim Kennedy. Machida is coming off of a highly controversial decision loss to Phil Davis, while Kennedy is coming off of a lackluster decision win over Roger Gracie. Kennedy will likely be a massive underdog, but the fight should be a good test of how Machida will look and fare at the lower weight class.
Ares gets Ruthless: A big welterweight clash has been signed, Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler have agreed to fight with the bout targeted for UFC 167. MacDonald has lost just once in his professional career, a late third round stoppage loss to Carlos Condit, but has looked great since. Well, he looked great until he fought Jake Ellenberger, but both men looked like crap in that fight. Robbie Lawler has racked up two TKO victories in his current UFC run, stopping Josh Koscheck and the late substitute Bobby Voelker. The winner of this fight could easily claim the number one contender spot, depending on the outcome of the upcoming GSP vs. Johny Hendricks title fight. While the last fight featuring MacDonald was a disappointment, I'm going to have high hopes for this fight to deliver.
PPV business down: Two of the UFC's last PPV events have had some pretty dismal numbers. UFC 161, headlined by Rashad Evans taking on Dan Henderson in a three round fight, looks to have done somewhere in the neighborhood of 140,000 buys. This isn't terribly surprising as the card was seriously ravaged by injury and the main event was a late substitution for the originally scheduled main event of UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao defending the belt against Eddie Wineland had to be scrapped. To further the somewhat bad news, UFC 163 which was headlined by UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo defending the title against The Korean Zombie Chan-Sung Jung. It seems that particular card did something between 170-190,000 buys. Now both of those events also suffered because the UFC made a considerable effort to stack their debut on Fox Sports 1 with talent and names to help launch the new network. What this indicates, to me at least, is that the UFC fan base has realized that some events are skippable, especially with each PPV sporting a $65 price tag. Before all the prophets of doom come out and talk about diminished PPV presence and that the UFC is beginning to fade away and boxing is poised to make a comeback, the UFC's biggest draws are yet to fight this year. The next PPV event, which I'll be previewing next week, features the big rematch between UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis, and the UFC actually seems to have put a bit of effort into the promotional work. Plus there's still Jon Jones taking on Alexander Gustafsson, Georges St-Pierre taking on Johny Hendricks, Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos, plus the rematch between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman. 411's Mark Radulich has pledged to record himself ingesting a hat if any of those events do less than 200k buys.
Fox Sports 1 numbers: Some early numbers have come out about the UFC's numbers for Fox Sports 1, and they are quite good. The show reportedly drew an average audience of 1.7 million viewers with high numbers in the UFC's usual demographics of Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49, Men 18-34 and Men 18-49, and scored an overall rating of 1.33. The bad news, for Fox Sports 1 at least, comes from the very next show. Fox Sports Live, the theoretical Fox version of Sports Center lost nearly 75% of that audience. This is an issue with the UFC, and one that has also plagued WWE, that while the events they put on draw good numbers, the audience doesn't stick around. When Smackdown was pulled from the CW network a couple of years ago it was for just that reason, Smackdown did good numbers, but that audience didn't stay around to watch anything else that network put on. The UFC events on the new network are going to be key with it moving forward, but the other programs that network puts out are going to have to pick up some steam as well.
The UFC returns to Fox Sports 1 next Wednesday with a fight card headlined by a rematch of what was a pretty good fight the first time around. Of course the rest of the card isn't terribly exciting, but not all events are going to be stacked top to bottom. I'll have the live coverage for 411mania, so if you don't have the channel, don't want to watch it, or don't have the means to see it all live, hopefully my description of events as they transpire will help. So let's have a look at the main card then, and get my predictions.
Brad Tavares vs. "Bubba" McDaniel: A battle of two guys who failed to win their respective seasons of The Ultimate Fighter will kick off the main card. I'm having a really hard time caring about this fight, neither man is a great fighter and neither has been in especially memorable fights to this point. I'll go with Brad Tavares here, though that's based purely on the fact that he's fought in the UFC more than McDaniel.
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Erik Perez: Now this is a fight I've got no trouble getting behind. Erik Perez is the UFC's second most marketable Hispanic fighter, Cain Velasquez being the first, but Perez has the benefit of actually having been born in Mexico. Takeya Mizugaki has back to back wins coming into this fight for the first time since 2008 and is coming off of a decision victory over Bryan Caraway. Both men are scrappers, though Mizugaki might have the more technical hands, I think Perez has more power and very likely has superior grappling. This should be a fun fight from start to finish, but I think Perez is just a better fighter right now.
Court McGee vs. Robert Whittaker: The first ever Australian winner of TUF, yes it was the UK vs. Australia season, steps into the cage after claiming that crown to take on another TUF winner in Court McGee. Whittaker has some pretty substantial power in his punches, and based on his last fight his takedown defense has improved a great deal. Court McGee will be making his second appearance at welterweight, he won at middleweight and had been fighting there until a controversial decision loss to Nick Ring, and looked very good in his first fight against Josh Neer. McGee is a grinder, he never stops moving forward, has decent kicks, and a smothering wrestling style. If McGee has been working on his punching technique he'll be a decent force at welterweight. McGee also has a great chin, so I'm not sure if Whittaker can put him out with strikes. I'm going with McGee, either decision or late round submission, to continue his winning ways at welterweight.
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Brian Melancon: The latest winner of a season of TUF, Kelvin Gastelum, is set to make his debut at welterweight weight for the company and will be taking on Brian Melancon. Gastelum upset Uriah Hall to win the last season of TUF, using his wrestling and pace to take home a decision. Brian Melancon had a good outing in his last fight, stopping Seth Baczynski with one second left in the first round with some nasty ground and pound. Melancon will have the better striking for this fight, the question here comes from Gastelum's offensive wrestling and Melancon's takedown defense. It might be an upset pick, but I think Melancon can take this one. Gastelum has never cut to welterweight before, and he looked rather one dimensional during his season of TUF and in his win over Hall. I'm happy to be proven wrong here, but I'm going with Melancon to find Gastelum's chin at some point and finish him.
Donald Cerrone vs. Rafael dos Anjos: There's plenty of criticism that can be leveled at Donale Cerrone, but having a boring fight isn't one of them. Off the top of my head I can't think of a bad fight he's been involved in. Rafael dos Anjos has been on a mild roll of late, which is nothing to sneeze at when fighting in the lightweight division. Dos Anjos has won his last four fights, and knocked off some recognizable names in the process, against Kamal Shalarous, Anthony Njokuani, Mark Bocek, and Evan Dunham. Cerrone is coming off of a win over KJ Noons. This is a close fight, and will tell us a lot about Rafael dos Anjos because Cerrone only loses to top guys right now. I'm not sure dos Anjos is at that level, so I'm going with Cerrone to get a decision, but I wouldn't be shocked to see dos Anjos win here and move closer to a title shot.
Carlos Condit vs. Martin Kampmann: The rematch we've all been waiting for, well at least thinking about is here. Carlos Condit lost his UFC debut fight, a close split decision loss to Martin Kampmann, but recently challenged for the title and lost a competitive fight with Johny Hendricks in his last outing. Kampmann has never seemed able to crack into the truly elite category of fighter, but he's tough and always brings a fight. Kampmann is also coming off of a loss, also to Johny Hendricks but Kampmann was viciously KO'd in the first round. Carlos Condit has only gotten better since his fight with Kampmann, and I've got a really hard time picking against him here. Martin Kampmann has good kickboxing offense, solid leg kicks, good knees, and has a surprisingly good ground game. The big issue with Kampmann is his defense, he gets hit way too often for a guy with as much striking experience as he has, his chin isn't exactly bullet proof, and he's vulnerable to pressure. Carlos Condit will be pressuring him from the start of the fight to the end of it, Condit has more power in his hands and legs, has a more active submission game, the only area I'm unsure who holds the advantage is wrestling. I just have a really hard time seeing Condit lose here, he wont gas out like Jake Ellenberger did, he wont make a stupid tactical error like Thiago Alves did, he's going to fight to knock Kampmann's head into the third row at ringside, and I don't see why he wont do it. Kampmann is just too easy to hit and Condit has enough power and killer instinct to make sure this fight ends.
Alright boys and girls, that does it for the landmark one hundredth edition of Locked in the Guillotine. I've had no offers from other websites to write for them, so far at least, and I'm more than happy to keep on writing here for you guys at 411mania. I'll be on this weeks 411 Ground and Pound radio show where we'll preview Condit vs. Kampmann and the upcoming UFC 164 PPV headlined by UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson taking on challenger Anthony Pettis. I'll have the live coverage for UFC Fight Night 27, Condit vs. Kampmann here on Wednesday and next week I'll be reviewing the Condit and Kampmann card plus previewing UFC 164. You've all managed to survive being Locked in the Guillotine for the literal hundredth time, here's hoping for at least a hundred more.