MMA 5&1 3.10.14: Jones Vs Gustafsson II
Posted by Jon Butterfield on 03.10.2014
Gina Carano is your "& 1" Model of the Week, Jon Jones takes on Alexander Gustafsson in a Vs rematch, thoughts on the results out of UFC Fight Night 37 and more!
Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania's MMA 5&1! Last week's edition was largely focussed on the decision made by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to ban therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy – this week, however, things return to some degree of normality, as we discuss the results of UFC Fight Night: London, a pair of significant fighter retirements, but also the fallout of the aforementioned TRT ban... want to know more? Read on!
Disclaimer: This work may not be ENTIRELY my own... but I did contribute... slightly...
Oh, and on an unrelated note, thanks to Remo Signori for the original (and now supposedly unrecognizable) banner-work...
First things first, however, because it's time to put the Versus Community to the test once again with another pair of tough, tough fights to choose from. Last week, UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez picked up a sensational 54-43 majority against the now-retired PRIDE legend Fedor Emelianenko. In the most-voted Versus match since I took over, Cain scored a 55.67 % share, making him the greatest heavyweight in the history of MMA according to the Versus Community.
That wasn't the only titanic heavyweight collision, however, as Junior dos Santos posted a quite remarkable 67-22 majority against the Croatian sensation Mirko ‘Cro Cop' Filipovic, a score that represented a 75.28 % share. That's right, three-quarters of the Versus Community plumped for JDS in what would surely have been one of the greatest striking battles of all time! Congratulations to both Velasquez and dos Santos on their victories.
Moving on to this week, and Alexander Gustafsson earned the right to a rematch with UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones this past weekend, so we're going to get the opinion of the Versus Community on that upcoming extravaganza! Gustafsson pushed Jones all the way in their first encounter, winning over those fans convinced that Jones was by far and away the best the 205 lb division had to offer. With the gulf between the two nowhere near as wide as some had previously thought, it's time to reassess this coming rematch right here, right now on Versus!
Since we're on the topic of rematches, I'll throw another potential return fight at you: try Johny Hendricks vs Georges St Pierre II on for size! Much like the first bout between Jones and Gustafsson, GSP-Hendricks I did not see the coronation of a new champion, but was close enough to have some sectors clamouring for an immediate rematch. Hendricks pushed GSP all the way in a five round tilt, and there are certainly some who say Hendricks should have taken home the gold that night. That didn't happen, but if they were to fight again in the future, who would win? For now, YOU, the Versus Community decide!
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd nooooooooooooow, the MMA 5:
This week, we're starting off with the news that both Jay Hieron [23-7] and Cyrille Diabate [19-10-1] have announced their respective retirements.
Two battle-tested warriors of the cage, Hieron (37) and Diabate (40) have both been fighting at the highest levels for many years, with Hieron having competed in the UFC, IFL, Bellator, Strikeforce and Affliction, and Diabate having fought in UFC, PRIDE FC and Cage Rage.
Welterweight Hieron first fought in the UFC in 2004, suffering a TKO defeat to Georges St Pierre, before earning a second fight in the company in another losing effort to Jonathan Goulet. In the intervening years, Hieron would defeat all of Pat Healy, Jake Ellenberger, Jason High, Joe Riggs, and Brett Weedman, but goes out with a record of 1-3 in his last four outings, having dropped decisions to Ben Askren and Jake Ellenberger. Hieron's final fight went down in February 2013, when Tyron Woodley upset him in just 36 seconds. Still, Hieron's record speaks for itself, with ‘The Thoroughbred' having cemented himself as one of the toughest welterweights to have graced the division.
French light heavyweight Cyrille Diabate goes out with a 4-4 record in the UFC, having defeated the likes of Luiz Cane, Steve Cantwell, Tom DeBlass and Chad Griggs. He was last seen fighting this past Saturday, suffering a first round submission defeat to Swedish prospect Ilir Latifi. Diabate had announced that the fight with Latifi would be his last even before the disappointing outcome, and at 40 years old the seasoned veteran striker has certainly earned his stripes in the sport.
To both fighters, we here at the 411 5&1 would like to wish you all the best for the future, as well as thanks for the memories!
While we're on the subject of retirements, Chael Sonnen announced this week that he may be forced to follow Diabate and Hieron out of the sport following the decision by the NSAC, the Brazilian Athletic Commission, and the UFC to ban TRT. Sonnen, a high profile exponent of TRT, once claimed that he could ‘die' if not allowed to use testosterone, was quick to come out and say that the rules are the rules and there's no use complaining about it. It does, however, leave the Oregon native with a real headache about his future in the UFC and the sport of MMA on the whole.
Sonnen, who has failed drug tests in the past, has seen his greatest success come in recent years, attaining three major title shots, two against then-UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva, as well as a bout with UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. Sonnen was unsuccessful in all three bouts, but has maintained his relevance at the highest level with the aid of a victory over Mauricio Rua. Now, though, the game may very well be up.
He commented: "If it doesn't work, I may have to stop the sport. It's as simple as that."
The game does not appear to be up for Vitor Belfort, however, as Dana White has said the recently axed top contender in the middleweight division is still a potential future opponent for the winner of the Weidman-Machida fight.
Dana said: "Sure, he's still in line. That doesn't take him out of line at all. The fights he's won, he's won. And I can tell you this: Every time he was tested by us (while on TRT), he was within his levels (of acceptable testosterone in his system). He was where he was supposed to be. And I also told you guys we were going to test the s–t out of him, and we did. He was always within his levels."
Please direct your thoughts to the comments section!
If one thing is certain in MMA, it's that the Diaz brothers will court controversy. Most recently, it was Nate Diaz that grabbed headlines after apparently requesting his release from the UFC on his Twitter account. Diaz posted: "I would like to request to be released from the @ufc. It's time for me to be on my way .. ?"
Dana White responded recently by playing down talk that the talented lightweight fighter was not happy in the UFC. White stated that: "He hasn't called me. Is that how we do these things? You tweet? The answer would be no, (I would not let him out)... He just signed a new contract that he was happy with a month ago. That's definitely not controversial for the Diaz brothers – that's called normal. I've got 500 guys under contract, and there's always something. Every day when I wake up, there's something."
Attentions then moved on to the fact that the Diaz brothers will BOTH be coaching for Gilbert Melendez on the upcoming series of The Ultimate Fighter. Melendez, who recently signed a lucrative new deal with the UFC, will coach opposite current UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis, with 11 female strawweights competing inside the house. White contributed that: "I can't wait. I can't wait. The crazy thing about this this is, I actually like the Diaz brothers. Are they nutty as hell? Yes they are. But I like both of them, and they're fun to watch fight."
If nothing else, watching Melendez's team should be worth your time alone...
In the heavyweight division, long-time top contender and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos will face Stipe Miocic at UFC 173. With the contracts signed, the fight will go down in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 24th and will occupy the co-main event slot, with Weidman-Machida taking top spot in their UFC Middleweight title bout.
This fight has been long rumoured, ever since Alistair Overeem apparently ruled himself out of a bout with JDS, a move that led Dana White to question Overeem's motivation to do so. Whether or not Overeem now accepts an ‘easier' fight, as White suggested he might, remains to be seen – but one thing is for sure, the winner of JDS-Miocic will be near the head of the queue for a bout with reigning Champion Cain Velasquez.
JDS, of course, is 1-2 down against Cain, but has thus far disposed of all other competition in the division, cementing his place as the number two heavyweight in the world. Miocic, meanwhile, has been on an impressive tear since his late 2012 defeat to Stefan Struve, having now steamrollered both Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonzaga. Miocic has shown marked improvements in every fight, and is now considered one of the most useful strikers in the UFC heavyweight division. Miocic has used his excellent footwork and tight boxing to undo the flatter-footed Nelson and Gonzaga, but will that help him against arguably the best pure striker in the division in dos Santos? Or will JDS land another devastating KO, once again repelling the challenge of yet another promising new contender?
Alexander Gustafsson earned a rematch with UFC Light Heavyweight Jon Jones, posting a near-flawless performance against previously-unbeaten British stand out Jimi Manuwa this past Saturday at UFC Fight Night: London. ‘The Mauler', who pushed Jones all the way in a previous encounter, looked simply too good for ‘The Posterboy', using his outstanding footwork, boxing, and ever-improving wrestling to great effect on his way to recording a second round TKO victory.
While Manuwa came up short, his performance was certainly an eye-opener for viewers as yet unfamiliar with the talented Londoner, as Jimi refused to succumb to Gustafsson's heavy top game, getting back to his feet before stuffing a takedown late in round one – but in the second round, Gustafsson recalibrated his focus, rocked Manuwa on the feet and finished with aplomb.
Brad Pickett won his flyweight debut and took a giant stride closer to a title shot, picking apart promotional newcomer Neil Seery in a three-round decision. Seery fought well, earning praise from both Pickett and UFC President Dana White, but his job was always a tough one having stepped in at late notice to replace the injured Ian McCall. Ultimately, despite putting on a fine striking display, he was unable to match the well-rounded Pickett, but will no doubt be offered another chance to impress on the world's biggest stage.
Icelandic phenom Gunnar Nelson also won, remaining undefeated after a first round submission win over tough Russian prodigy Omari Akhmedov. Thus far, the stoic, unfaltering Nelson has looked outstanding in wins over DaMarques Johnson and the vastly-experienced Jorge Santiago, and with his highly proficient and technical BJJ game complimented by a high-pressure karate attack on the feet, he looks a very, very difficult prospect for anyone at 170 lbs. Who Nelson faces next is anyone's guess, but it wouldn't be much of a surprise to see him stepping up to the plate against a top 10 welterweight in the near future. Who would you like to see him face, and why?
Meanwhile, a disappointing bout between Michael Johnson and Melvin Guillard saw the former pick up a unanimous decision, despite fighting as a short notice replacement for the injured Ross Pearson. Guillard never got going against the ever-improving Johnson, and this defeat looks particularly costly for the Louisiana native.
This week's model of the week is Gina Carano! (whom Dana White says he would welcome to the fold in the UFC with open arms!)