The MMA 5 & 1 3.24.14: Rousey vs. Cyborg
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 03.24.2014
Felice Herrig is your "& 1" Model of the Week and Ronda Rousey takes on Cris Cyborg in Vs! Plus the results from Shogun vs. Henderson 2, Anderson Silva discusses his future and more!
Happy Monday (ha!) everyone, welcome to the latest edition of the 411 MMA 5&1! Jon Butterfield will return next week but I'm stepping up on short notice like it's an amateur MMA card! This column kicks off the week to come by counting down the top five news stories in mixed martial arts. Plus, for no particular reason, before this concludes, you can catch pictures of Felice Herrig because why the hell not?
Thanks to Remo Signori for the graphic (edited by JB himself). I didn't have the heart to change it a second time…
As you have come to expect from this feature, we kick off the 5&1 by pitting two fighters against one another in a fantasy-style fight. You get to pick the winner and in next week's column, the result will be confirmed and we can settle the debate.
But, before we move ahead to this week's match-up, let's take a quick look back at last weeks pair of TRANSCONTINENTAL SUPERFIGHTS!
B.J. Penn scored the decisive victory over Japan's grappling superstar Shinya Aoki by a 54-12 margin. While we never were able to see this fight transpire in reality, it was always one of the more talked about lightweight super fights. Two of the greatest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in this weight class, you would automatically give the edge in most other regards to the Hawaiian.
Aoki is infamous for his struggles as a striker whereas Penn's time as UFC lightweight champion was chock full off outstanding boxing displays (ask Joe Stevenson or Diego Sanchez). Meanwhile, Aoki managed to do poorly in two of his three fights on United States soil. He lost to Gilbert Melendez in 2010, submitted Lyle "Fancy Pants" Beerbohm in 2011 before being knocked out by Eddie Alvarez in 2012. Taking those fights out of the picture, you would have to go back to 2009 when he fought a welterweight to find a defeat. Ironically, Penn also struggled in recent years as a welterweight.
In the second transcontinental superfight, Chris Weidman eked out a win against former Pride FC superstar Kazushi Sakuraba, 39-22. I'm not sure of the mindset you, the readers, voted in this one because a modern day match-up would not be a fair contest at all. Sakuraba is an old, broken down fighter who maintained his fighting spirit while his body has not. However, a match-up of both men in their primes would be an immensely intriguing fight and one I'm not sure who would be the favorite. I venture to say it would depend on where the fight took place, the ring in Japan or the octagon in America. I'd pay money to find out, but too bad the time machines are not around yet.
Now, let's move on to the new match-up for this week. Excuse my lack of imagination, but this may be the only legitimate DREAM FIGHT possible in the UFC today.
Versus Community, you will decide this week who is the best fighter in women's MMA! Is it the Olympic Judo star and undefeated UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey? Or is it the feared Brazilian powerhouse and reigning Invicta featherweight champion Cris Cyborg?
The hope is these two fighters will lock horns by the end of 2014, assuming Cyborg can actually cut down to 135-pounds safely and neither fighter loses before then. It COULD happen!
Now, let's rock with the MMA 5:
UFC on Fox: Werdum vs. Browne is less than a month away, April 19, in Orlando, Florida and the UFC is still confirming fights for the card (More action? Sweet!).
The one fight I am highlighting here, however, is a women's bantamweight clash that will hopefully air on the Fox Sports 1 portion of the prelims. 25-year-old Brazilian Amanda Nunes (9-3) is undefeated in the octagon, winning each of her two fights in the UFC last year by TKO. She finished Sheila Gaff at UFC 163 with strikes and followed up by stopping Germaine de Randamie at the UFC Fight for the Troops show courtesy of elbows. Both fights ended in the first round.
Nunes' opponent will be making her UFC debut in her sixth pro bout. Alexis Dufresne debuted as a pro in 2012 and has amassed five consecutive wins, each inside the first round. Fighting out of American Top Team, she choked out her first two opponents before stopping the next three with strikes. Her last win came last month when she stopped Kim Couture in 45-seconds.
Yes, the combined pro record for Dufresne's opponents is 7-20, but we'll find out quick whether her hot start has any legs when she takes on Nunes. If she can pull off the upset, the bantamweight division has a new name to look out for. If not, Nunes remains undefeated inside the octagon.
For those not keeping track, here are the confirmed fights for the April 19 Fox card as of the weekend:
FOX--Fabricio Werdum vs. Travis Browne; Miesha Tate vs. Liz Carmouche; Donald Cerrone vs. Edson Barboza; Brad Tavares vs. Yoel Romero
FS1--Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Rafael dos Anjos; Thiago Alves vs. Seth Baczynski; Jorge Masvidal vs. Pat Healy
TBA--Josh Samman vs. Caio Magalhaes; Jordan Mein vs. Hernani Perpetuo; Amanda Nunes vs. Alexis Dufresne; Jack May vs. Derrick Lewis; Mike Brown vs. Estevan Payan; Mirsad Bektic vs. Chas Kelly
Arguably the greatest fighter of all-time, former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva spoke to the media over the past week and let out a few juicy details to educate everyone.
Silva, who is still recovering from the nasty leg fracture suffered in his fight with Chris Weidman on December 28, told Combate, a Brazilian media outlet, that he is definitively not returning to action in 2014. "There is a chance I'll fight in the first half of 2015," he said.
He also spoke about potential retirement, though it appears that is still a way down the road. He does not believe he will fulfill all future fights on his current 10-fight deal with the UFC. However, he is a competitor at heart and still loves fighting.
Perhaps the juiciest tidbit to come from Silva was the statement that he would in fact be okay with fighting friends Lyoto Machida and Jacare Souza.
In past years, Anderson has been staunchly against competing against his friends and sometimes training partners. However, knowing that each of them are at the top of the food chain in the middleweight division has seemingly changed his attitude. Also, the facts are both Machida and Souza have stated publicly that they would be willing to fight Anderson, so it's a bit easier to see why he talked about this.
The man is no dummy. When he eventually does return to the octagon, he will not be fighting for the championship and if Lyoto and Jacare are potential fights for him, can he be so selective to shoot them down? It's possible neither man may be in that position, if Souza and Machida go winless this year but keeping ones options open is always smart.
Bellator 113 went down Friday night on Spike TV from the Kansas Star Arena and had a bit of everything.
In the main event, Emanuel Newton defeated reigning light heavyweight champion Attila Vegh to become the new and undisputed champ. It was a five-round battle with the cage-side judges scoring the action 48-47, 47-48 and 49-46, good for a split decision.
WIth the win, Newton avenged his split decision loss to Vegh in 2012 and improves his Bellator record to 6-1 (23-7-1 overall). His sights now to turn to the first ever Bellator pay-per-view on May 17 and the tournament final between "Rampage" Quinton Jackson and "King Mo" Muhammed Lawal. Barring health of the principles involved, look for Newton's first title defense against the winner to happen in the fall.
Meanwhile, the season ten lightweight tournament kicked off with the following results in the quarterfinals:
Patricky "Pitbull" Freire def. David Rickels via second-round knockout (punches) Marcin Held def. Rodrigo Cavalheiro via first-round submission (toe hold) Derek Camps def. Tim Welch via unanimous decision Derek Anderson def. Brandon Girtz via second-round knockout (knee)
This Friday in Utah, Bellator will showcase the middleweight and featherweight divisions. Champion Alexander Shlemenko will defend the 185-pound crown against Brennan Ward. Meanwhile, Kendall Grove and Brett Cooper battle in a middleweight semifinal. Plus, Desmond Green fights Will Martinez and Matt Bessette challenges Daniel Weichel in featherweight semifinal bouts.
There is a very real chance Carlos Condit may be 31-years-old by the time he fights again. At the moment, the former WEC champion and mainstay in the UFC's welterweight division is only 29-years-old and the reason for the delay in his next fight is a dreaded injury.
Last week, Condit suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a partially torn meniscus in his right knee during the fight with Tyron Woodley at UFC 171. The injury is believed to have emerged during a takedown completed by Woodley.
As of Wednesday, Condit's manager Malki Kawa said there was no confirmed timetable to when we may expect the top contender back in action. With the help of the UFC, they are in the process of finding the proper surgeon and surgery is not yet scheduled.
The Albuquerque, New Mexico fighter is 29-8 as a pro MMA fighter and despite the fact he is 1-3 in his last four fights, he has been a perennial top-five welterweight since 2011.
This is his first serious injury, though he had to drop out of two different fights (against Paul Daley in 2008 and Chris Lytle in 2011) due to hand and knee injuries, respectively.
Assuming his surgery, recovery and a healthy training camp take at least a year combined, a realistic timetable would then put Condit's return to action at spring 2015.
If it's one thing we've learned over the past decade in this sport, you can never count out Dan Henderson.
Last night from Brazil, down after two rounds on the judge's scorecards, he finished Shogun Rua in the third round with a barrage of strikes. Referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at a point when Rua was clearly out of it. To make the turn of events even more amazing, it appeared Henderson may have been knocked out cold for even a second towards the end of the first round. However, whether he was out or not, Dean let the fight continued as Henderson maintained some level of intelligent defense until the round ended.
In defeat, the bloodied Rua still has not won consecutive fights since he knocked out Chuck Liddell in 2009. The loss also marks only the second time in his legendary 31-fight career he has been finished due to strikes.
Meanwhile, Henderson, now one fight into his newest UFC contract, earned his first win since he defeated Rua in their classic war at UFC 139 in 2011. For his performance yesterday, he also earned $100,000 in bonus money for the "Fight of the Night" and "Performance of the Night" in addition to his purse money.
Other results from the UFC Fight Night include:
-C.B. Dolloway def. Cezar Ferreira by first round (0:39) TKO due to strikes
-Leonardo Santos and Norman Parke fought to a DRAW (split decision)
-Fabio Maldonado def. Gian Villante by unanimous decision
-Michel Prazeres def. Mairbek Taisumov by unanimous decision
-Rony Jason def. Steven Siler by first round (1:17) TKO due to strikes
-Thiago Santos def. Ronny Markes by first round (0:53) TKO due to strikes
-Jussier "Formiga" da Silva def. Scott Jorgensen by first round (3:07) submission (rear naked choke)
-Kenny Robertson def. Thiago Perpetuo by first round (1:45) submission (rear naked choke)
-Hans Stringer def. Francimar Barroso by split decision
-Godofredo Castro def. Noad Lahat by first round (2:39) KO (flying knee)
The action inside the octagon was not all of the newsworthy notes from Brazil. The fight card was one bout short because of the UFC's decision early Sunday to release Will Chope from his contract due to revelations reported by Bleacher Report.
Both Chope and his planned opponent Diego Brandao made weight Saturday but then the BR report which covered Chope's past transgressions was published online. The report covered a 2009 series of events in which he abused his then-wife and then served five-months confinement with a bad conduct discharge from the U.S. Air Force. This turn of events stands to question how the UFC did not previously know of his history because such a charge would appear on even basic background checks. The 23-year-old Sacramento native debuted in the UFC in January with a TKO loss to Max Holloway. If they were aware of this story when they signed him, then they chose to fold completely due to the BR story. After all, there are other fighters who have faced domestic assault charges years ago, but have either returned or continue to compete in the company today. After the news of his release, Chope wrote on Facebook that he and his ex-wife would release a statement to the public later this week concerning how they have grown since 2009.
It's not over yet….
This week's model is FELICE HERRIG!
You can follow her on Twitter (@feliceherrig) and check her out on the UFC's Fall 2014 season of The Ultimate Fighter on Fox Sports 1. She will be one of more than a dozen fighters competing for the new UFC strawweight championship.