Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 10.04.13: Goodbye to Thunder
Posted by Robert Winfree on 10.04.2013
News and thoughts on Michael Bisping being replaced by Lyoto Machida at UFC Fight Night 30 and the release of Yushin Okami! Plus a breakdown of UFC Fight Night 29, including the main event of Jake Shields vs. Demian Maia and more!
That's right ladies and gentlemen, Friday is here again and we all know what that means. It means it's time for you guys to get Locked in the Guillotine again. There's a card to preview, I don't blame you if you didn't know about it, and some news to talk about so that all makes me a happy camper. So with all that stuff to get to, let's get to it.
Before we get any further though, have you checked out the Radulich in Broadcasting Network? Seriously guys, there's tons of great shows on it and more coming in all the time as we welcomed another addition last week. Of most relevance for you is probably the 411 Ground and Pound show which is held on that network ever Sunday at 9pm Eastern time, but there's also my personal show Everyone Loves a Bad Guy which, if you're reading this on the Friday it goes live, will be back tonight at 9pm eastern talking about Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers to kick off the month of October.
There's tons of stuff there guys, and all of it is good. Also I'd like to give a shout out to a couple of new writers here on 411mania, Robert Proctor just started up writing What's Next here in the MMA zone and it's a good insightful bit of reading. If you haven't given his column a look yet, do so, we like new guys coming around when other guys drop off and supporting them is a big part of keeping them here.
Also, on a completely unrelated note, I would like to thank everyone associated with the production and distribution of Breaking Bad, which came to an end last Sunday. I have enjoyed the show from the first time I watched it and it will be missed greatly. OK, enough of that stuff, let's get to the MMA.
Bisping out, Machida in: Some fights got shuffled around this week as UFC middleweight Michael Bisping had to pull out of his fight with Mark Munoz. The two were supposed to headline the upcoming UFC Fight Night 30 on October 26th in Manchester England, Michael Bisping's home town. Bisping suffered a detached retina, which is a serious injury, and will be out for the immediate future as the injury is assessed and heals up. Stepping in to replace Bisping is former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Machida was scheduled to make his middleweight debut against Tim Kennedy on November 3rd at a Fight for the Troops event, but will now face Munoz instead. The fight is a worse fight for Munoz in many ways, but with Machida having never cut to middleweight before we have no idea how he will perform. Kennedy, who was left without an opponent for the November 3rd event, took to Twitter and in hilarious fashion called out every other middleweight fighter on the roster. In a day and time when the UFC seems to put a stupid amount of weight into fighter grudges or Twitter feuds this was a funny send up to that methodology. Answering the call to step up and fight in in that event is Rafael Natal. The Brazilian is on a three fight winning streak and his only loss in his last six fights was a comeback KO loss to Andrew Craig. I maintain that The Iron Sheik should accompany him to the ring, preferably holding Ahmed the dead Terrorist on a stick. Natal was originally scheduled to take on Ed Herman at UFC 167, Thales Leites has replaced Natal for that fight. Lots of shuffling around, but none of the fights are downgrades. Well maybe Thales Leites, but there's no way to help that until he starts having exciting fights.
Nepotism pays off sometimes: The UFC has signed flyweight fighter Sergio Pettis, younger brother of reigning UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. The younger Pettis is undefeated in his MMA career so far at 9-0 and won titles in smaller organizations at both bantamweight and flyweight. With both those divisions grateful to have more bodies in them Pettis is a smart sign for the company. Pettis is going to debut in the bantamweight division and will take on Vaughn Lee at UFC 167.
Dos Santos and Velasquez get Primetime treatment: The UFC is doing another Primetime series to help promote the upcoming title match between UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and former champion Junior dos Santos. The two men have fought twice before, dos Santos knocked out Velasquez in the first minute of their first meeting while Cain dominated JDS for the entire twenty five minutes of the rematch. What annoys me about this is that the UFC is using the word "trilogy" far too liberally here. By definition a trilogy is a set of three, and these two will fight each other more than three times. Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez are the two best heavyweight fighters in the world, and number three is a distant third. It wouldn't shock me to see these two fight each other in the neighborhood of seven times over their careers. Neither Cain or JDS can cut to light heavyweight, both men are heavyweights for the duration of their careers, and both men are far too good to be kept out of the title picture for more than three fights at the absolute most. The UFC selling this as a trilogy does the situation a huge disservice, on the plus side it will be amusing to see the promotional angle they take for the inevitable fourth fight. Unless they cut one of them between now and then, which is more possible than you might think given the next bit of news.
Yushin Okami gone: This week the UFC released long time middleweight contender Yushin Okami. Okami had been with the UFC since 2006 and fought Anderson Silva for the middleweight title once, he lost via TKO in the second round. The release is somewhat surprising as Okami has a UFC record of 13-5, only losing to Rich Franklin, Chael Sonnen, Tim Boetsch, Anderson Silva, and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza in his last fight. While the release is a bit surprising, it falls in line with the "Jon Fitch precedent". Fitch and Okami were in a similar situation where they beat pretty much everyone except the champion, but they aren't exciting fighters to draw in an audience and no one wants to see them fight for the title again after their losses to those champions. While UFC President Dana White mentioned Okami had become a gatekeeper, but I feel that isn't entirely accurate. Okami fell more into the role of spoiler, beating fighters they wanted to build up and move towards a title shot. In that respect Okami was hypothetically costing the UFC money, a prospective contender needs another win before facing the champion, loses to Okami, and the UFC misses out on that guy fighting for the belt and now have to try and rebuild him. The UFC has room for mediocre fighters like Chris Leben because they fight in an "entertaining" fashion, depending on your preference I suppose, and because of that, or time spent on the dying equine that is The Ultimate Fighter, they will be fighting within the UFC for the duration of their careers as long as they don't do anything horribly stupid. Let me also be clear, I do understand the logic here. Okami isn't a draw, isn't an exciting fighter, beats guys they want to build up, and couldn't believably fight for the title again. I do understand that, it's not an illogical move to release him. I just don't like it very much, especially when fighters like Dan Hardy get chance after chance. Again, I do understand, I just don't like it.
Yes, there's a fight card coming up on Wednesday. It's OK if you forgot about it, I only knew about it because I hate passing up a chance to preview fights and feel I should bring some professionalism to this column by knowing what's coming up. But let's take a look at the fights and what I think will happen.
Rafael Assuncao vs. TJ Dillashaw: Both men are on nice winning streaks in the bantamweight division, and it wouldn't be too far out of the realm of possibility that with this and another win one of these two could fight for the title. Dillashaw is more likely to get a shot since he came off of TUF afterall, but he's got a stiff test here in Rafael Assuncao. Assuncao hasn't lost since dropping to bantamweight and has had some impressive fights at 135. Assuncao has great grappling, as does Dillashaw, both men have good striking but I think Assuncao has a bit more power. Team Alpha Male hasn't lost since bringing in Duane Ludwig to help with their striking, which is an impressive statistic, but Dillashaw is in for a fight here. I think Assuncao breaks the streak for Alpha Male and beats Dillashaw.
Rousimar Palhares vs. Mike Pierce: Mike Pierce, Samer Kadi's second favorite welterweight behind GSP, has had a rough go of late. Not in terms of wins and losses, his last loss was a very debatable split decision loss to Josh Koscheck, as he's won his last four fights. The man just doesn't seem to get any respect, his last fight was the first fight of the night on the Facebook prelims for crying out loud. Palhares is dropping down from middleweight for this fight, and Palhares is always a tough guy to pick. His leg lock game is impressive, but he doesn't seem to have the mental stability and toughness for MMA as he mentally breaks as soon as he's in a bad position. Mike Pierce is as tough as they come, he wont break and unless Palhares gets a heel hook in the first round he's going to win this fight because he wont stop. Palhares also has a slightly questionable chin and Pierce has proven to have some power, look for Pierce to finish this late in the first or in the second with strikes.
Fabio Maldonado vs. Joey Beltran: If you're a fan of standup exchanges, two guys with good chins just going to town on each other, this is the fight for you. Joey Beltran had a good outing in his last fight, originally a unanimous decision victory over Igor Pokrajac that was overturned after he tested positive for steroids. Maldonado got his first win in four fights his last time out, but he's never had an unwatchable fight with the UFC. This wont be a technical masterpiece, but I'm almost positive this will be a fun fight to watch. As for the winner, I'm looking at Maldonado here. Beltran doesn't have the movement to avoid close quarters fighting and in that position Maldonado rips to the body like few others in the division. Beltran has a great chin, but body work has done in plenty of guys with great chins and I think Maldonado wears him down and wins a decision or a late stoppage after the accumulation of body blows.
Thiago Silva vs. Matt Hamill: I don't care much about this fight. Thiago Silva is a guy the UFC likes to hype as a killer and inevitable challenger to the title, but he never gets there, either because his skills aren't adequate or because he fails a drug test. Matt Hamill is another guy the UFC wants to be good, he's a great feel good story and he was on The Ultimate Fighter which is worth a million internets or something like that. Hamill is just a wrestler, yes his striking isn't as bad as it used to be but his game still revolves around getting his opponents down. Silva has good enough defensive wrestling, he'll push a good pace standing, he's just a better fighter than Hamill so he's a relatively easy pick here.
Erick Silva vs. Dong Hyun Kim: This is a fight I'm looking forward too, mostly because I'm curious to see how Silva will do against a higher level of competition. Silva's only real loss was a decision loss to Jon Fitch, and he came back from that with an impressive performance against Jason High, but Jason High isn't on the same level that Kim is. Kim has only lost twice, a TKO loss to Carlos Condit and an injury in the first round against Demian Maia. Kim is a very effective fighter, and this is the first time since fighting Fitch that Silva will be fighting a grinding wrestler with a high level of skill and success under his belt. If Silva learned anything from his loss to Fitch it will be on display here, and I think it will be. Silva is more dynamic and his wrestling defense has improved, plus he's much better on the feet than Kim is. I wouldn't be shocked to see Kim grind out another win, but I'm picking Silva.
Demian Maia vs. Jake Shields: I don't like Jake Shields. I've said that before in various forms, and I stand by it. The man just doesn't have good fights, which isn't to discount his skill because his grappling is some of the best in MMA, but I can't recall seeing a Jake Shields fight that I enjoyed. He also hasn't had tremendous success in the UFC, in fact the only decisive win in Shields' UFC career was a fight with Yoshihiro Akiyama, his other wins have been close split decisions which probably shouldn't have gone his way. Demian Maia has looked great since dropping to welterweight, and his submission game is probably the best in MMA, in terms of pure submissions at least. I just feel Maia is better than Shields everywhere, though if we get some good grappling exchanges out of this fight I'll be happy. Maia likely takes home a decision that looks similar to his win over Jon Fitch.
Alright guys and gals, that does it for me. You've survived another Guillotine, I'll be back here next week. You can hear me every week talking about MMA on the 411 Ground and Pound radio show at 9pm Eastern standard time every Sunday evening. Please remember to support the great writers here at 411mania, we do this because we love it so hearing from you guys is always welcome. I'll see you next week so you can get caught in another Guillotine.