Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 3.14.14 New Champion Edition
Posted by Robert Winfree on 03.14.2014
Thoughts on Alexander Gustafsson's win over Jimi Manuwa and the rest of UFC Fight Night 37! Plus a look ahead to the middleweight title fight, the rest of this weekend's UFC 171 and more!
Greetings everyone and it's nice to see you guys get Locked in the Guillotine again. Pretty quiet week on the news front, but some fun fight cards to discuss. UFC 171 is coming up this week, and it will be the first time a new UFC welterweight champion is crowned in over six years, it's also the first time since 2006 we've had a title fight without Georges St. Pierre being involved in it. Time to see how the division does without the biggest draw in company history. Alexander Gustafsson also earned himself another crack at the light heavyweight belt, plus the rest of the card from England will be talked about. While reading this be sure to check out the Radulich in Broadcasting network, we've got something for everyone, and if we don't have it right now we're more than likely working on it.
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Alright, you've got quality internet radio going on, let's get to the MMA action.
Green hair wins: Louis Gaudinot defeated Phil Harris with a guillotine choke in the first round, actually just outside of the first minute. Gaudinot has had some trouble recently, he's been beaten by guys who are better wrestlers or who can avoid his grappling and strike with him, but here he was able to grab the neck of Harris while Harris tried for a single leg and force the submission. Gaudinot is a pretty entertaining fighter so it was good to see him get a win here.
Ground fighting: Igor Araujo defeated Danny Mitchell by unanimous decision in a fight that was contested mostly on the ground but neither guy did a lot of stalling and there was plenty of action. Araujo was a better grappler, he constantly had dominant position and was looking either for punches or for a submission. Mitchell held his own, he got a little hung up on going for heel hooks which let Igor get on top. This was a reminder that just because guys are fighting on the ground doesn't mean a fight is necessarily boring.
Hannibal wins: Claudio da Silva defeated Bradley Scott by unanimous decision. Silva had a good first round, his grappling was superior to Scott's, but the second was a good round for Scott as he landed accurate punches and avoided being taken down. The third was a closer affair, but da Silva was able to avoid being hit too much, got a takedown including some time with the back, and took the final frame. This was another fight that wasn't boring at least, and that's more or less the foundation of what I ask of fighters.
Big Slow wins: Luke Barnatt defeated Mats Nilsson by TKO in the first round. Barnatt is proving to be a legitimate prospect at middleweight, he has busy hands but is accurate and stands 6'6 which is huge for the division. I was really impressed with Barnatt, he fought smart, circled well, landed his shots and put Nilsson down when Nilsson was hurt. Barnatt is improving rapidly, but I'd like to see him take on a strong wrestler just to see how he'll fare against someone with that style, but a big win for the big man.
The Snake is done: Ilir Latifi defeated Cyrille Diabate with a power guillotine choke in the first round. Latifi waited for his opportunity to get the fight down and then worked towards getting that choke, and once he had it locked in he wasn't letting go until Diabate tapped out. This was Diabate's last fight, he announced that he was retiring after this one no matter the outcome. Latifi got a win, which should help move us on from his pedestrian performance against Gegard Mousasi in Latifi's last UFC fight.
Gunnar Nelson returns: Gunnar Nelson defeated Omari Akhmedov via submission with a guillotine choke in the first round. I went out on a bit of a limb and picked Akhmedov, I figured he was a live underdog choice and it had been over a year since Nelson's last fight. Well, I was wrong. Nelson looked like he hadn't missed a beat, he avoided most of the punches from Akhmedov, landed a nice straight left punch that wobbled the Russian then got full mount where he stayed until he decided he wanted to move. Nelson landed some nice ground and pound shots, threatened with the armbar, and transitioned beautifully from mount towards the choke and forced the tap. Nelson is the real deal guys and gals, move that man up in competition. As for Akhmedov, he was over matched, but he at least came to fight and hopefully will just get better from this performance.
Pickett wins: Brad Pickett defeated Neil Seery by unanimous decision in what I felt was fight of the night. Pickett and Seery went at each other for three rounds, both men threw some serious punches and wouldn't back down. The deciding factor was Pickett's wrestling as he was able to take Seery down almost whenever he wanted too. I said when previewing this one that this was a get well fight for Pickett, I stand by that general assessment but Seery knew he had a chance to make an impression and he made the most of it in a losing effort. Picket was the last man besides Dominick Cruz who beat UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, now Johnson is worlds better than he was when those two fought back at WEC WEC 48 in 2010 but that's still a rematch that could be sold if Pickett keeps winning at flyweight.
Johnson wins: Michael Johnson defeated Melvin Guillard by unanimous decision in co-main event. Guillard looked out of sorts, I don't know if it was a mental or a physical issue but he never got into a rhythm that worked. Johnson was able to land better shots and had a higher volume of strikes thrown. Guillard spent a lot of this fight backing up, and while I don't consider that to be "running", it can be viewed that way if you don't know how to fight while backing up and Guillard just wasn't able to be effective off of the back foot. Big win for Johnson who has won three in a row and has looked impressive as of late, time to move him up in competition, maybe against Jim Miller if Miller needs an opponent.
Gustafsson mauls the Poster Boy: Alexander Gustafsson defeated Jimi Manuwa by TKO in the second round to cap off the night. Gustafsson had a good showing, he got hit a couple of times but took the punches well and didn't seem rattled at all. Gustafsson landed a big knee in the clinch that wobbled Manuwa, followed up with punches and forced the stoppage in the second, Gustafsson spent a good part of the first round with top position. Manuwa may have raised his profile even in defeat as he was an injury replacement following a back injury to Little Nog, and this is just the first loss of his professional career. Gustafsson earned himself another crack at Jon Jones with this win, assuming Jones defeats Glover Teixeira of course. Their first fight was close and I'm personally hoping we get a rematch.
Two shows, same day: There wasn't a whole lot of news this week, but this one interesting tidbit did hit the wire. The UFC is planning on returning to Germany on May 31 this year. Now that in and of itself isn't terribly interesting, but May 31 is also the date that Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva are scheduled to fight. Sonnen and Silva are currently coaching opposite each other on the third season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Originally they were thought to be meeting at UFC 173, but they were changed to a Fox Sports 1 card, likely Fight Night, that will air on May 31. Now the UFC has talked in the past about running two shows on the same day, when they returned to Japan last year there was talk of running another show that same day which never fully materialized. Now in this case the timing could work, a Fight Pass card from Germany leading into what I assume would at least be a Fox Sports 1 main card for Silva and Sonnen. I think it's pushing the interest of the fans to run two shows in one day, though card quality will be the biggest factor when it comes to seeing if this can be done successfully, but personally speaking devoting an entire day to the UFC is more than I'm likely to do. Unless I've got to cover both of them.
So for the first time in six years the UFC will have a new welterweight champion. Sorry Carlos Condit, but interim titles mean nothing. If you've heard the 411 Ground and Pound radio show, and if you haven't there's a handy link up there, you heard me express my apathy with the build to this fight. Well the UFC has done nothing to change that, though their By the Numbers piece was laughably inaccurate, but I'm not here to talk with you guys about the promotional efforts or why I don't like them, we're here to talk about the fights and what I think will go down. So let's take a look at the main card.
Ovince St. Preux vs. Nikita Krylov: OSP has never really impressed me. He's got a good record and is coming off of a KO win, but St. Preux hasn't ever had a defining career win, or even a defining performance to date. OSP was better than most of the guys he fought in Strikeforce, except Gegard Mousasi who he lost too, but was never able to truly shine. Nikita Krylov is coming off of a quick TKO win over Walt Harris at heavyweight, though he had an absolutely horrible fight before that against Soa Palelei. I'm not sure here, but OSP is just a bit too middle of the road for me to pick him right now, and Krylov is coming off of a fight I actually remember, so let's go with the Russian.
Jake Shields vs. Hector Lombard: I hate Jake Shields. In fact I've referred to him as the embodiment of everything that is wrong with the sport of MMA. Hector Lombard has been really hot and cold, he either takes you out quickly and impressively or the fight is so bad your eyes start bleeding. Logic says Shields is able to get close, get takedowns, and stay on top long enough to win a decision. However I'm going to go with my heart, with what I want to have happen, and I want Hector Lombard to knock Shields into next week. I'm picking Lombard, hopefully via KO in the first as Shields is either throwing a kick or trying to close distance.
Diego Sanchez vs. Myles Jury: I'm really kind of apathetic towards this fight. Sanchez hasn't had a boring fight in a long time, but his fights just don't seem to mean anything and that makes it hard to get excited for them. Sanchez also hasn't finished a fight since 2008. Now that isn't necessarily bad, just an interesting point. Jury is undefeated and likely on the rise as a fighter, but I can't see him being too successful in this one. It will likely be a loss that makes him a better fighter in the future though.
Carlos Condit vs. Tyron Woodley: Tyron Woodley is another guy who I tend to think of as personifying the issues with contemporary MMA. Carlos Condit is not, so you can probably guess where my loyalties are going to be for this one. Woodley could easily revert to clinch and takedown mode, then wet blanket a decision. With Condit's shaky takedown defense and penchant for being pushed against the fence it's a real possibility that is exactly what winds up happening here. I'm going the other way though, Woodley doesn't have the best striking defense or the best chin and Condit will exploit both of those weaknesses given any kind of opportunity to do so. I think Condit catches him with something in the second and he doesn't let Woodley recover.
Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler for the vacant UFC welterweight title: I'm setting aside my apathy towards the build and looking at this just for the fight itself. This should be an awesome fight. Both men have serious knockout power, though Lawler is a substantially better striker than Hendricks, and neither man is afraid to swing some leather. The difference here will be the wrestling of Johny Hendricks. While Lawler has improved his sprawl, sprawling isn't the best way to defend takedowns, and it's virtually useless against the types of takedowns Hendricks tends to use. Johny Hendricks likes to get in close and clinch, then use body locks or single leg attempts from there to get his opponent on their back. I think we get a wild first round, but if neither man finishes the other in that stanza we're likely to see Hendricks start using his wrestling to finish out the fight. Either way I have to favor Hendricks for this fight and to take home the title.
And on that note, you've escaped the Guillotine again. Mark Radulich will be taking care of live coverage this Saturday here at 411 mania for UFC 171, and the 411 expert panel will be back on Sunday at 9pm eastern to discuss everything that went down at UFC 171. I'll be back here next week, bringing you all the news as well as breaking down UFC 171, until then keep your heads up and your necks safe.