Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 3.07.14 Fight Pass Cards
Posted by Robert Winfree on 03.07.2014
News and thoughts on Junior dos Santos facing Stipe Miocic at UFC 173, Lyoto Machida replacing Vitor Belfort against Chris Weidman, more commissions banning TRT, a preview of this weekend's Fight Night and more!
Hello everyone, and I'd like to thank you all for clicking that link and getting Locked in the Guillotine. This was a pretty slow week for me and my column. See, news of various athletic commissions banning testosterone replacement therapy broke early on Thursday of last week, which meant I had time to talk about it last week immediately after it happened. It does mean I have to talk about other stuff this week, and sadly there wasn't a whole lot in the news, and apart from a couple of fight pass cards not much is going on. So while you're reading this, give a listen to the Radulich in Broadcasting network, you're guaranteed to find something that speaks to your interests among the many shows hosted on the network.
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Alright, let's get into the MMA action.
So the UFC has wrapped up the first ever season of The Ultimate Fighter: China. I haven't seen the whole card, but I'll give you my thoughts on the fights I have seen.
Doctor stoppage: Wang Anying defeated Albert Cheng after the first round when the doctor stepped in and waved off the fight. Anying was landing some good punches, one of which apparently broke the orbital bone of Cheng's right eye. The swelling was so bad Cheng couldn't open the eye and couldn't see out of it, and the doctor had to stop the fight. For a guy who had just a 1-1 professional record coming into this fight Anying looked solid.
Hioki wins: Hatsu Hioki defeated Ivan Menjivar by unanimous decision. This was Menjivar's first fight at featherweight in the UFC, and he was clearly smaller than Hioki who was able to convincingly take the decision. Menjivar just isn't an elite level fighter, but he's likely to get another couple of fights because having an extra body in either the bantamweight or featherweight division isn't a bad thing. Hioki looked about the same as he's looked for his UFC tenure so far, which is pretty average.
Heavyweights go boom: Matt Mitrione defeated Shawn Jordan by KO in the first round. This fight wasn't pretty, both guys were kind of just throwing punches and hoping something landed, but at least it wasn't boring. Mitrione landed a pretty sweet combination at the end of the first and KO'd Jordan at the last second. Jordan hasn't really done a whole lot in the UFC, despite being a very athletic guy he's just never been able to hit the next level. Losing a little of his excess muscle mass would probably be a good first step. Mitrione is still pretty much the same as he's been for a while, a decent striker who at least rarely makes you want to gouge your eyes out in frustration or boredom.
Stun Gun impresses: Dong Hyun Kim defeated John Hathaway via KO with a sweet spinning back elbow in the third round. Kim has been looking good lately, this is his second consecutive KO finish and his only official losses in the UFC right now are to Carlos Condit and Demian Maia. Kim was looking to set up a spinning attack all fight, and since Hathaway obliged him by always moving towards the spinning side it was kind of inevitable that he'd land one. That isn't to detract from the finish, it was impressive, just noting that Kim shouldn't telegraph his attacks so much. Kim should be on a short list for possible title challengers, though he'll likely need one more fight. Rory MacDonald needs an opponent, Jake Ellenberger and Tarec Saffeidine are fighting later this year and the winner of that one could be a realistic opponent in a title eliminator fight. As for Hathaway, he's been out with injuries a lot and needs to stay healthy as well as learn to use his advantages in fights instead of allowing his opponent to dictate how the fight goes.
Belfort is out, Machida is in: Following the Nevada State Athletic Commission deciding to ban the use of testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT, Vitor Belfort has pulled out of his title fight with UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Now there's been a bit of controversy about either Belfort pulling out of the fight or the UFC deciding to pull him, but at the end of the day Belfort is no longer fighting for the title. Now Belfort's camp have said that Vitor will need roughly 90 days to adjust to life and training without TRT. I find that number a little suspicious as 90 days tends to correlate with drug related suspensions, regulatory cycles, or cycling off of various substances. Now we know Belfort was administered a random drug test not too long ago, but the results of that test aren't going to be made public. The reason is that Belfort is not currently licensed to fight in Nevada, and apparently isn't seeking a license to fight in that state at this time. The testing was a requirement for him to be licensed, but as he isn't currently licensed or seeking one the results will only be made public with consent from Belfort, which he apparently isn't giving. I don't know if Belfort failed the test or not, nor do I think it's terribly relevant right now. Belfort isn't fighting, and likely wont be fighting during the time he would theoretically be suspended for, so the results aren't terribly interesting to me personally. Stepping in to face Weidman is Lyoto Machida, fresh off of a unanimous decision victory over Gegard Mousasi. Machida, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, is 2-0 at middleweight and was likely for a shot at the belt after Weidman and Belfort fought. Machida actually has a better chance of beating Weidman, and the fight should prove to be one worth watching.
More bans for TRT: The controversial testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT, usage is getting the ax in more than just Nevada. Not long after the UFC supported the decision and encouraged other commissions to do the same, other commissions did the same. Most notably CABMMA, the governing body for MMA in Brazil, announced it had given out it's last therapeutic use exemption, or TUE, for TRT this year and has now banned the practice. The last recipient of a TUE was Dan Henderson who will be allowed to use TRT for his upcoming fight with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, but no more TUE's will be given. Thursday it was announced that the California State Athletic Commission had also effectively banned the practice. Why effectively you might ask, well the CSAC has announced that if you're going to apply for a TUE for TRT you will be required to meet the standards of the World Anti-Doping Agency(WADA) if you want an exemption. This means that in all but the most extreme cases fighters wont be granted a TUE. I assume that the majority of athletic commissions will be following suit in the coming weeks and months.
Miocic and dos Santos will meet: In heavyweight news that is sure to please fans of that division, UFC 173 got a co-main event featuring a heavyweight showdown between Stipe Miocic and former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. UFC 173 will be headlined by the middleweight title fight between champion Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida, but the heavyweight fight makes for an intriguing co-main event. If Miocic could upset dos Santos he's likely in line for a title shot depending on the health of Cain Velasquez, and assuming he gets passed the winner of the upcoming fight between Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne. As for dos Santos, he's in a strange place as he's rather comfortably the second best heavyweight fighter in the UFC but has lost twice to current champion Cain Velasquez and wont likely get another shot in the near future. Dos Santos also isn't a fighter who can change weight classes, he's a legitimate heavyweight fighter who will just have to either win enough times in a row to get another shot at the belt, or wait for Velasquez to lose and then go after the new champion.
Well the UFC has another card this weekend, and again it's available only on Fight Pass. 411Mania will have your live coverage, I'm not sure who it'll be but someone will have it if you can't watch live or just want to follow along. Let's take a look at the main card.
Gunnar Nelson vs. Omari Akhmedov: I'm actually looking forward to this one, both Nelson and Akhmedov are decorated fighters and haven't had a bad fight that I can recall. Nelson is a talented grappler who isn't afraid to strike, while Akhmedov is a powerful striker who isn't afraid to grapple. Sounds like a good fight on paper. Both men are good, and Nelson had some hype behind him when he debuted, but it's been over a year since Nelson last fought while Akhmedov has kept a much more normalized schedule. In a close fight I'll take the more active fighter, I think Akhmedov picks up the upset.
Brad Pickett vs. Neil Seery: I'm pretty sure this is a designated win for Brad Pickett. Pickett was a decent bantamweight, but never anything special and with losses to Renan Barao and Michael McDonald it was clear he wasn't getting near the top of that division. Now he's cutting to flyweight for the first time, and unless he loses power and a substantial amount of conditioning he's got a win here. Likely a decision but flyweight fights are usually at least fast paced.
Michael Johnson vs. Melvin Guillard: These two guys have been pretty inconsistent in their careers, I mean Johnson lost to Myles Jury before Jury became a real fighter and Guillard's list of inconsistent performances could be written about at length. That said, Guillard has proven to be a little chinny and his striking defense is suspect. Couple that with how good Johnson has looked in his last two fights and I think Johnson gets the win here, likely with strikes in the first or second.
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jimi Manuwa: Alexander Gustafsson is the only guy in recent years to have a competitive fight with light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, a fight that many people argue he won. Jimi Manuwa is undefeated but is taking a monumental step up in competition from his last opponent, Ryan Jimmo, to a man many people think should be fighting for the title if not holding it around his waist. Gustafsson should be able to keep Manuwa outside with his jab and leg kicks, maybe score a takedown in the later rounds and get a submission. Now Manuwa has won his last two fights via injury, both Cyrille Diabate and Ryan Jimmo suffered leg injuries against him, but if it happens again the man may have figured out some kind of secret fighting voodoo. Random injury does remain his best chance of victory though. Officially I'm going with Gustafsson by submission.
And on that note, you've escaped the Guillotine. Be sure to follow along with the guy doing coverage here for that event, and I'll be back next week with a preview of UFC 171. Plus you can always hear me on the 411 Ground and Pound radio show, which I'll be hosting this week and I'll be taking calls, the number to get on air is (323) 657-0901. Until next week then, keep your heads up and your necks safe.