MMA 5 & 1 3.31.2014: Couture vs Velasquez
Posted by Jon Butterfield on 03.31.2014
Aline Franzoi is your "& 1" Model of the Week, Randy Couture meets Cain Velasquez in this week's Vs, the results of Bellator 114 and WSOF 9 and more!
Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania's MMA 5&1! Many thanks go to Jonathan Solomon for covering last week and ensuring a seventh successive edition of the column went out bang on time for everybody's Monday morning MMA news needs, and now it's me once again for week 8 (whether you like it or not)!
This weekend we've seen action from Bellator and World Series of Sports, so we'll recap the action there, plus news of Cristiane ‘Cyborg' Justino taking on Jarina Baars in a kickboxing fight, the supposed UFC uniforms, this week's UFC matchmaking changes, and more!
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...
Last week, Jonathan Solomon tested the Versus Community with a tantalizing fantasy bout between women's MMA's 145 lb supremo Cristiane Justino and UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey! The Versus Community delivered their verdict with a 48-20 landslide in favour of Rousey!
The ‘Rowdy' one chalked up an impressive 71 % majority, ensuring her continued reign as the number one fighter amongst the fairer sex, so thank you Versus Community for your input. This week, we're going to have not one, but TWO bouts for you to determine the outcome of, starting with this...
That's right, we're back to a past vs present format in the heavyweight division, with former multiple division UFC Champion Randy Couture taking on current, reigning UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez!
Love him or hate him, Couture was one of the greatest tacticians and technicians to ever enter the Octagon, and if anybody could find a way to dethrone Velasquez, it could be a prime ‘Natural' Randy Couture! Or maybe not? You decide, Versus Community!
But that's not all! Bas Rutten will forever be remembered as one of the greatest strikers in the heavyweight division, dominating in Pancrase and the UFC before retiring with a four-year unbeaten streak under his belt! The Dutch striking ace meets another Dutch striking ace right here, as he takes on Alistair Overeem!
A K-1 kickboxing world champion, Overeem has fought in various promotions before finally entering the UFC octagon and posting a 2-2 record to date. After convincingly beating Frank Mir, Overeem is looking to bigger and better things, but he'll have to get past Bas first! So what do you say, Versus Community? Who is the best Dutch MMA striker of all time?
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd nooooooooooooow, the MMA 5:
Mention the words ‘UFC uniforms' online right now and you'll likely be directed to either a supposed preview of what the uniforms will look like, disgruntled fighters past or present objecting about their implementation, or serious discussion about how they might affect the finances of the modern day fighter.
Whatever your opinion on the UFC imposing such uniforms on their fighters, one thing is for sure – you have NOT heard the last of this saga as it rumbles on. As yet, the UFC insist that no deals have been signed and no decisions have been made, but that hasn't stopped some media entities claiming to have access to ‘leaked' material from ‘official' sources.
Front Row Brian, a Twitter account who claimed last week to have had the inside line on proceedings posted the following image of Chris Weidman in a supposed UFC uniform:
The UFC has since claimed that it has had a number of such images made, each examples of possibilities featuring various sports apparel lines. Until such time as the UFC finalizes an agreement with a successful company, however, such images only serve to stoke the fires of discussion and debate.
Well, this is your turn – tell us what you think of the Chris Weidman ‘uniform', and how close you think this may come to the end result! See you in the Comments section!
Former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St Pierre suffered a serious blow to his chances of competing at the top level again in the future when he announced he had torn his ACL in his left knee. GSP, who is currently on hiatus indefinitely, already suffered a torn ACL in his right knee in 2011, and was kept out of action for most of 2012. While some will question his performances since then (he has beaten all of Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks, with varying degrees of conviction), this news will undoubtedly dampen the spirits of diehard fans wanting to see GSP challenging for ‘his' title in the near future.
Whatever the result of GSP's mental health issues that are currently keeping him out of action (voluntarily), a second torn ACL is bad news for the Canadian legend – and with such injuries having drastically altered fighters' ability to perform in the past, it remains to be seen how GSP fares trying to come back with both knees now affected. Certainly GSP's wrestling-heavy style will be heavily impacted, and with some suggesting that Nick Diaz would never have defended seven GSP takedowns had GSP not suffered that initial ACL tear, it's possible that this will be seen as another nail in the coffin of one of the greatest careers in MMA history.
If this does indeed hinder St Pierre in the future, it's doubtful that GSP's stock will fall below that of being an all-time great. GSP successfully defended the UFC Welterweight title no fewer than nine times, and has held the belt on two separate occasions, either side of a one-of-a-kind loss to Matt Serra. GSP holds wins over the likes of BJ Penn, Matt Hughes and Jake Shields amongst others, and his legacy will last a lifetime.
So what do you think? Will this end GSP's chances of fighting in the UFC again? Or are there still some fights you'd like to see him take? Let us know in the Comments section!
Dana White this week confirmed that UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao (32-1) will defend his title against top contender TJ Dillashaw (9-2) at UFC 173 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Barao last defended his title against Urijah Faber, and despite Faber's camp claiming that the fight was stopped too early, the UFC has decided to move on and offer the Brazilian a fresh match up.
Dillashaw most recently defeated Mike Easton, but lost his previous bout by split decision to Raphael Assuncao. Outside of the Assuncao defeat, Dillashaw had bested all of Walel Watson, Vaughan Lee, Issei Tamura and Hugo Viana – and while that doesn't necessarily represent a who's who of UFC Bantamweights, Dillashaw has shown marked improvements fight after fight.
For those wondering who Assuncao (22-4) did not get the fight, the answer is simple – a fractured rib sustained at UFC 170 will keep him out of action come May 24, but there's no question that the Brazilian's 6-fight win streak in the UFC puts him at the head of the queue for any future shots.
An excited Dillashaw had this to say on hearing the news: "I just couldn't sleep at all, everything was going through my head about how things are going to change. In my mind, I am going to be the new UFC champion of the world... I get chills being the one who has a chance to bring that belt back to Sacramento and Team Alpha Male."
So what do you think of Dillashaw's chances? Can he topple the brilliant Barao? Or is he undeserving of such an accolade? Let us know in the Comments section!
Top women's MMA fighter Cristian ‘Cyborg' Justino suffered a defeat this past weekend, dropping a kickboxing bout to Jorina Baars, who was already in possession of a 35-0-3 record in the sport. The bout took place at Lion Fight 14, and can be viewed here:
Baars, who had taken a three-year hiatus from the sport, remains unbeaten, whilst Justino looked to have dropped muscle mass, most likely in preparation for her crusade to wear down the UFC's ability to resist pitting her against 135 lb Women's Champion Ronda Rousey!
Rousey-Justino remains a mouth-watering match for WMMA fans, but with Justino taking a beating like this, she may yet need a couple more wins in MMA before that fights is allowed to happen – having said that, Justino is unbeaten since 2005 in mixed martial arts, and most recently defeated highly touted grappler Marloes Coenen in Invicta.
So what do you think? Is the defeat to Baars a setback? Or was her kickboxing career merely an irrelevant sideshow? Should results in another sport count against her in her quest to face Rousey? And what would YOU think of a Rousey-Justino bout in the UFC in the near future? Answers in the Comments section!
At World Series of Fighting 9, UFC veteran and leglock specialist Rousimar Palhares made short work of reigning WSF Welterweight Champion Steve Carl, sinking in a heel hook after just 69 seconds! Palhares took Carl down in the opening seconds of the bout and it wasn't long before the Brazilian managed to achieve a degree of separation, instigate a mini-scramble, lock up the limb and force the tap! Palhares now faces a first title defence against another UFC veteran in Jon Fitch come WSOF 11.
In the night's co-main event, Marlon Moraes became the inaugural WSOF Bantamweight Champion with a victory over Josh Rettinghouse with a lopsided decision victory. Moraes took all five rounds, including one 10-8 round, as he cruised to victory to extend his winning streak to seven in total, and five inside the WSOF. Rettinghouse, who defeated Bellator veteran Alexis Vila to earn this opportunity, is now 10-3 overall. The Spokane, Washington native will now look to bounce back as Moraes looks forward to a first title defence.
Meanwhile, Yushin Okami was too much for Svetlozar Savov in his WSOF debut, stopping the Bulgarian by arm triangle choke submission in the second round. Okami is now 30-8 having been released by the UFC following a single defeat to ‘Jacare' Souza that snapped a three-fight winning streak. Despite recent wins over Alan Belcher and Hector Lombard, Okami was deemed dispensable by Zuffa, and their loss appears to be WSOF's gain as the Japanese star proved too much for the European upstart.
In other WSOF results, Josh Burkman bounced back from defeat against Steve Carl to defeat Tyler Stinson by first round KO.
In Bellator, Middleweight kingpin Alexander Shlemenko improved to an impressive 50-7 after racking up a 13th successive win. The outstanding Russian last lost to Hector Lombard in 2010, but has been unbeaten since and proved too much for challenger Brennan Ward. Ward found himself submitted by guillotine choke early in the second round, and joins the likes of Doug Marshall, Maiquel Falcao, Julio Paulino, and Ikuhisa Minowa on Shlemenko's list of conquests.
Another hugely experienced fighter reigned supreme at Bellator 114, as Germany's Daniel Weichel moved to 33-8 with a victory over Matt Bessette at 155 lbs. Weichel has now won 5 straight, including two in Bellator, since losing to Musa Khamanaev in M-1 Global. Weichel picked up the win by unanimous decision to progress to the finals of the featherweight tournament. There, he will meet Desmond Green (11-2), who defeated Will Martinez by unanimous decision earlier in the night.
Brett Cooper was also victorious in his middleweight tournament semi-final against Kendall Groves, while Justin Wilcox and Bubba Jenkins also won respective bouts against Jason Fischer and Sean Powers respectively on the undercard.
This week's model of the week is Brazilian UFC ring girl, Aline Franzoi!