Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 8.30.13: Henderson vs. Pettis II Edition
Posted by Robert Winfree on 08.30.2013
Thoughts on Carlos Condit's big with and the rest of UFC Fight Night 27, a preview of UFC 164, the latest signings by Bellator and more!
Hello hello everyone, and welcome back. Big edition of the Guillotine this week, Wednesday saw the UFC's second event take place on Fox Sports 1, so there's that to review, and of course this Saturday is the big PPV event Henderson vs. Pettis 2 for the UFC lightweight championship. So that's a lot to get through. I hope you're ready to stay Locked in the Guillotine because this could be a long one.
No Contest: Able Trujillo and Roger Bowling fought to a No Contest after Trujillo landed an inadvertent illegal knee. The fight was a pretty good one, both men were throwing, both men were landing, and both men were tiring at about the same pace. I don't like guys getting tired, but if they tire at the same pace it generally means the fight will still be entertaining. In the second round Trujillo escaped a guillotine attempt and threw a couple of knees at the still down Bowling. The first knee landed on the chest, a perfectly legal blow, the second hit Bowling in the face and immediately got the fight halted. The doctor ruled that Bowling couldn't continue and we got a No Contest. I wouldn't hate these two being booked in a rematch because the fight itself wasn't awful.
Cummings is here: Zak Cummings defeated Benny Alloway with a d'arce choke in the first round to finish off the facebook prelims. Cummings looked pretty good, he moved forward well, had a good clinch game, and grabbed that submission with relatively little space all things considered. Good win for Cummings who was making his welterweight debut here.
High finally gets a win: Jason High defeated James Head by submission with a guillotine choke in the first round. High scored a pretty quick double leg and transitioned into a guillotine choke when Head tried to get up. High transitioned to mount with the choke and forced Head to tap out. This was a good win for High, the guy finally got a win in the UFC despite this being his third stint with the company. Good win for High, hopefully he can get another win in the UFC.
Elkins rolls on: Darren Elkins defeated Hatsu Hioki by unanimous decision to get back on the winning track after losing to Chad Mendes. Hioki had some good moments in the first round, he hurt Elkins to the body more than once, had a good top game, but in the second and third rounds Elkins just moved forward relentlessly, scored takedowns, and never let Hioki get back into the fight. Elkins needs another top fighter to get back into title contention, and it's a shame that Connor McGregor is out for as long as he is because I wouldn't mind seeing those two fight.
Comeback: Dylan Andrews defeated Papy Abedi by TKO in the third and final round after being down two rounds pretty decisively. The comeback was impressive, Abedi had controlled the rounds with good grappling and some nice strikes. In the third round Andrews managed to land an uppercut on the tiring Abedi that rocked him and Andrews landed a few more shots that put Abedi out. I'm a sucker for a comeback, and that was a pretty big one.
Learning experience: Takey Mizugaki defeated Erik Perez by split decision. Mizugaki was just landing better shots over the fight, and his takedown defense and ability to regain his feet were on display here. I scored the fight for Mizugaki, but one judge giving Perez two rounds isn't out of the realm of sanity. I expect Perez to learn from this fight and come back better than ever. For Mizugaki, that's three in a row and he's just been looking better and better during his UFC tenure.
Pressure: Court McGee defeated Robert Whittaker by split decision in a fight that saw Clucky show up. The scores were 30-27 Whittaker, 30-27 McGee, and 29-28 for McGee. I feel 30-27 either way is questionable, but 30-27 for Whittaker was clearly a Clucky decision. McGee moved forward for the entire fight, threw a high volume of strikes, just basically had a Court McGee fight. Whittaker had a good first round, but he just seemed to lose his timing and distance as the fight wore on. Good win for McGee, but Whittaker didn't look bad by any stretch of the imagination.
Gastelum is here: Kelvin Gastelum defeated Brian Melancon by submission in the first round. I picked Melancon in this fight, but Gastelum came out and looked great. He landed a good combination that dropped Melancon and he immediately jumped on the back and locked in the rear naked choke. Gastelum looked darn good here, consider me impressed.
Dos Anjos wins: Rafael dos Anjos defeated Donald Cerrone by unanimous decision. Dos Anjos used better striking and a good top game to take the first two rounds, then just kind of existed for the third round to take the decision. Cerrone didn't look good here, he seems to have a real problem with southpaw fighters. Dos Anjos keeps climbing the ladder, his cardio is a big issue based on this performance but if he keeps winning more power to him.
Condit is back on track: Carlos Condit defeated Martin Kampmann by TKO in the fourth round to finish the night. Kampmann had a good first round, but his gameplan seemed to be focused on taking Condit down. Between the first and second round Condit adjusted to the takedown heavy offense from Kampmann and started picking him apart with strikes before he finally landed the flurry that ended Kampmann's night in the fourth. Condit had a good gameplan and he adjusted well between rounds. Kampmann seems gun shy after his loss to Johny Hendricks. Kampmann has a decent chin, the problem is his striking defense, which needs a lot of work, and his lack of power. Good win for Condit, I'd love to see him fight Jake Ellenberger again next, or the winner of Jake Shields and Demian Maia. I'd also love to see him fight Matt Brown, just because those two would have a hell of a fight. Kampmann isn't going to be cut, but he needs some serious adjustments to his style if he wants to stay near the top of the division.
Silva and Sonnen not happening: According to reports the discussed fight between Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen isn't happening in the near future. There seem to be a couple of different reasons for this, one being that Wanderlei Silva requested PPV points for the potential fight and was shot down by UFC President Dana White. I can't help but side with Silva here, he's one of the few fighters on the roster right now who I willingly pay to see fight and I think that should qualify him to get some PPV points to help his payday. Not only that, but the fight itself would likely be the main or co-main event of any given card, meaning that particular fight is a part of the draw for the card. The other reason, Dana White said in a recent interview that Silva is injured and can't really train until January. In the interim, Chael Sonnen is pushing hard to be on the upcoming UFC 167 event which will be headlined by UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre taking on Johny Hendricks. With that date in mind, the most likely fight for Sonnen would be Phil Davis. Davis recently got a Clucky decision over Lyoto Machida, and Sonnen would be a step back in competition level, but as of right now that seems to be the most likely fight for Sonnen should he make UFC 167 which will serve as the promotions twentieth anniversary card. More news to come as it breaks.
Kongo in Bellator: Former UFC heavyweight fighter Cheick Kongo has singed onto the next heavyweight season for Bellator MMA. This isn't a huge shock, Kongo has a relatively recognizable name and heavyweight is a horribly shallow division all over the world. It looks more and more like Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney's claim that they didn't want to become a home for UFC castoffs was just a line to avoid hiring Jon Fitch after Fitch was released by the promotion. Rebney further cemented his status as being generally full of it by claiming that "If you're an MMA fan, you're a Cheick Kongo fan." Apparently I no longer qualify as an MMA fan, and I dare say that particular sentiment is echoed by almost everyone else here at 411mania. Well, maybe not Mark Radulich, but he loves all heavyweights so you have to consider that somewhat warped logic to begin with. Time will tell how Kongo does in his new promotion.
Bellator's PPV grows: Unsurprisingly Bellator has continued stacking their inaugural PPV with as much talent as possible. Added to the card this week is a clash for the featherweight title, champion Pat Curran will be defending his title against tournament winner Daniel Straus. Pat Curran is considered by many, myself included, to be the second best featherweight in the world. If not number two I can't imagine him much below three, he's just looked that impressive since dropping to 145. In fact he hasn't lost at the new weight class. This will marks the third announced title fight for the event, which will be headlined by two former UFC light heavyweight champions, Quinton Jackson and Tito Ortiz fighting. Jackson is on a three fight losing streak, Ortiz has just one win to his name since 2006 and is also on a three fight skid. Bellator is using those two to draw the audience, but staking the rest of the card with their champions. In addition to the featherweight title fight, Eddie Alvarez will return to the cage to fight Michael Chandler in a rematch from one of the best fights of all time according to 411MMA. Also an interim light heavyweight title fight is scheduled, Emanuel Newton will take on Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal in a rematch. The first fight saw Newton knock Lawal out cold with a spinning back fist. Bellator light heavyweight champion Attila Vegh was pulled from the event for undisclosed reasons and replaced with Lawal.
Askren wants out: Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren's contract with the company is about to run out. Askren has made some waves recently, saying he wants to move to the UFC and test himself against the best in the world. So far Bellator has appeared amicable to those requests from Askren, but the dark cloud of how they handled the situation of Eddie Alvarez is looming over this potential shift for Askren. I'd like to see Askren in the UFC, not because he'll become a champion, or even have tons of success, but he's exponentially better than the competition in Bellator and he wont change his style until he's forced to, and fighting guys like Josh Koscheck, Jake Ellenberger, Carlos Condit, Martin Kampmann etc. will force him to evolve. Or he'll lose a few in a row, get cut, and hope he can get back into Bellator. In other Askren related news, the Countdown special for UFC 164, which features the promotional return of former champion Josh Barnett, apparently fails to mention that Barnett was stripped of the heavyweight title following his win over Randy Couture for testing positive for steroids. Askren took to twitter to mention that omission and Barnett responded with profanities. Such is life I guess, but you'd think that since Barnett has been busted for performance enhancing substances more than once he'd lose the enormous chip on his shoulder about it.
That's right baby, we've got a big one tomorrow. The main event alone is worth the price of admission if it's anything approaching the caliber of the first fight, which was ranked as the tenth best fight of all time in 411's recent top twenty five fights of all time feature and was a little higher than ten on my personal list. In addition there's a really solid all around card to compliment the big rematch. I'm definitely psyched for this one so let's get to the main card.
Dustin Poirier vs. Erik Koch: You know, both of these men have been linked to either title fights or title eliminators very recently, sadly both men lost those fights. Dustin Poirier has been an upper ranked featherweight for quite some time, but he's never truly been able to capture a truly elite spot. His striking has been somewhat deficient, specifically his striking defense and his propensity to engage is wild brawls and ignoring his good ground game. Erik Koch was linked to a title shot against Jose Aldo before a couple of injuries wound up nixing that fight and he got a fight against Ricardo Lamas and lost via TKO. Koch will be the better striker here, there's little doubt about that unless Poirier has spent a ton of time working specifically on the technical issues with his striking. On the other side, Poirier has a very active ground game with good offensive submissions. Koch has good offensive striking, but I'm wondering in this fight how he'll deal with pressure that Poirier will likely bring. I'm going with Poirier here, I've just never been sold on Koch as all that great, he's good no question but I'm not sure if he can deal with everything that Poirier will be bringing.
Brandon Vera vs. Ben Rothwell: I'm going to go out on a limb and say this fight will kind of suck. Brandon Vera doesn't have the best track record as far as watchable fights goes, and the same is generally true of Ben Rothwell. If Ben Rothwell is going to win this fight, he needs to blitz Vera early and not let him establish his range or rhythm. Vera has decent fighting from the outside when he's able to land leg kicks and dictate the pace and distance of the fight. I have no real desire to see these two fight at all, but it's on the main card and I have to talk about it a little bit. I'm going with Rothwell here, hopefully Vera will get cut from the promotion again and stay gone this time, but either guy is capable of winning here.
Chad Mendes vs. Clay Guida: I don't pick against Clay Guida very often, mostly because his smother hump style gets judges to think he is winning fights. If Guida can't secure a takedown though, he's got absolutely nothing to offer his opponent. Don't believe me? Check out his fight with Gray Maynard. I don't think Guida can take down Chad Mendes, so I don't think he has any chance of winning here. Mendes has better wrestling, better striking, the only thing he might fall off in is pure cardio. Mendes will take this one, it's as close to a sure bet as you've got.
Frank Mir vs. Josh Barnett: Two heavyweight fights on the main card, that can't go wrong, right? Right?! Josh Barnett is back in the UFC and he's taking on another former champion in the form of Frank Mir. Both men are former champions, both men are ground specialists, and of the two main card heavyweight fights this one actually has some intrigue to it. I just don't think Mir is better than Barnett in any aspect of MMA. Mir has a good offensive jiujitsu game, but Barnett is a catch wrestling expert and will be ready for the submissions of Mir. Standing Barnett is better, has better cardio, has better ground and pound, this is basically a really tough fight for Mir and I'm going with Barnett here.
Benson Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis: This is the big one, the rematch that we've all been wanting to see for a while now. While the first fight was a great encounter, both men have grown from their first encounter and this fight will be its own entity. Neither fighter should look too much at the first fight, both men have grown since then and if either tries to replicate what happened in that one they'll be in for a rude awakening. Anthony Pettis has some of the most dynamic striking in the UFC, all of MMA possibly, and while the UFC shows highlights of his flashy kicks that miss, his fundamental techniques and striking is very good as well. The way that Pettis picked apart both Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone was textbook, though granted neither man has the level of skill of Benson Henderson. Pettis took the loss in his UFC debut to Clay Guida, where he was smother humped, and adapted his striking to be wary of wrestling heavy offenses, including using offensive wrestling to beat Jeremy Stephens. Anthony Pettis also displayed some good grappling in their first fight, he was able to get good positions, reverse some takedowns, and I got the impression that this grappling acumen threw Henderson off. Benson Henderson took that eventual loss and became a better fighter. His UFC debut was against Mark Boeck and he dominated him, he followed that up by dominating Jim Miller and Clay Guida en route to his title shot. Henderson then beat Frankie Edgar twice (though I think Edgar won the second fight), smashed Nate Diaz, and beat Gilbert Melendez. There's no debate about who has been facing the better level of competition, because Benson Henderson has been fighting the very best of the best that the UFC could put forward. Benson Henderson has probably the best submission defense in MMA, though I'd be happier if he didn't get caught in as many submissions as he did, and he does better at fighting at a high pace than anyone I've seen. Henderson also fights incredibly well in the clinch, his non-stop pace and high intensity style has overwhelmed plenty of opponents. So how do I think this fight goes. This is still a close fight, Anthony Pettis has in fact beaten Benson Henderson before, but I'm leaning towards Henderson. I don't think Pettis will be able to deal with Henderson's pressure if Henderson is smart about it. Henderson needs to move forward, he needs to get the clinch if at all profitable, and he needs to get on top and use some control. Clay Guida, for all the crap I give him, knows how to control his opponents and that is a problem that Henderson has occasionally run into. Henderson cannot get too wild if he gets top position, he needs to work to control Pettis and not get too eager or wild with his ground and pound or transitions. I'm just leaning towards Henderson all the way, but Pettis is more than capable of winning this.
Alright that does it for me this week. I'll have live coverage of the next UFC fight night head lined by Ryan Bader taking on Glover Teixeira. I would normally preview that here, but there's only so much space for me to work with here. I'll also be on the 411 Ground and Pound radio show reviewing UFC Condit vs. Kampmann and UFC 164, so check me out there. I'll be back next week reviewing UFC 164 and Bader vs. Teixeira and feel free to check out my podcast Everyone Loves a Bad Guy in the middle of the epic countdown to the end of Breaking Bad. Until next week, you survived the Guillotine for another week.