MMA 5&1 04.14.2014: Gaethje vs Alvarez; Karakhanyan vs Curran
Posted by Jon Butterfield on 04.14.2014
Kelli Hutcherson is your "& 1" Model of the Week, Justin Gaethje battles Eddie Alvarez in Vs, Liz Carmouche says Ronda Rousey would beat Carano in seconds, a look at Nick Diaz's next possible opponents and more!Shlemenko vs Ortiz, Carmouche says Rousey would beat Carano in seconds, and Nick Diaz's prospective next opponents - all this and more!
Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of 411mania's MMA 5&1! With 5 of the top news stories in MMA this last week up for discussion as well as 1 of the hottest women the sport has to offer, this is a must-read article to satiate all your Monday morning MMA news needs!
This week we discuss results from the UFC and Bellator, the most recent booking announcements including Tito vs Shlemenko, the potential return of Nick Diaz 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, a UFC Superfight saw reigning UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones see off the legendary Chuck Liddell in a battle of two of the finest 205 pounders of ALL TIME. Jones picked up a 35-17 winning margin, equating to a 67.31 percentage. One of the most well-rounded fighters to have emerged since the dawn of MMA, Jones has shown precious few weaknesses and more than two-thirds of the Versus Community were convinced he could overcome a prime ‘Iceman'.
Meanwhile, over in PRIDE, former heavyweight kingpin Fedor Emelianenko steamrollered the Brazilian ‘Axe Murderer' Wanderlei Silva, chalking up an impressive 40-9 scoreline. Fedor, who never tasted defeat in PRIDE, is considered one of the most formidable fighters to ever don grappling gloves, and the Versus Community felt sure he would have the skill set to turn back Wanderlei's relentless aggression. Fedor's percentage was a stunning 81.63.
Moving forward, this week's Versus fights will pit Bellator champions against World Series of Fighting champions, starting with the lightweight division:
Justin Gaethje has emerged as one of the most promising prospects in the game, already holding wins over the likes of Gesias Cavalcante, Brian Cobb and Drew Fickett, with all but one of his 11 wins coming by way of a finish. With outstanding striking, Gaethje is a terrifying proposition for future opponents, but if anybody has the skills to stop a runaway train like Gaethje, it could be Eddie Alvarez. With a record of 25-3, Alvarez holds wins over all of Michael Chandler, Shinya Aoki, Pat Curran and Tatsuya Kawajiri – and is always liable to put on a memorable fight!
So who do you think would win, Versus Community?
Meanwhile, in the featherweight division, two-time Bellator Featherweight Champion Pat Curran is back in the saddle after avenging defeat against Daniel Straus last month, but he's in for the fight of his life against highly-rated WSOF Featherweight Champion Georgi Karakhanyan. Karakhanyan hasn't lost since going 2-2 in Bellator back in 2011, and has beaten Hiroyuki Takaya, Din Thomas and Lance Palmer to improve to an overall record of 22-3-1. Curran meanwhile holds a record of 20-5, and is 10-2 in Bellator overall. Roger Huerta, Patricio Freire, Joe Warren and Marlon Sandro all count amongst his conquests, and Curran currently ranks as a top 5 featherweight anywhere in the world. So who's got this one? Curran or Karakhanyan? YOU DECIDE.
Until next week, Versus Community...
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd nooooooooooooow, the MMA 5:
The Bellator 120 PPV is taking shape with some big names and Tito Ortiz is the latest amongst them. Ortiz, who was set to fight Quinton ‘Rampage' Jackson in Bellator's previous pay-per-view false start, is now scheduled to line up alongside matches like Alvarez-Chandler III and Rampage-King Mo as he faces Bellator Middleweight Champion Alexander Shlemenko in a 205 lb tilt.
Russian standout Shlemenko, who possesses a record of 50-7, has dominated the Bellator 185 lb division ever since the departure of top-ranked Hector Lombard, and hasn't lost since October 2010. Ortiz, meanwhile, has yet to fight since his departure from the UFC following his defeat to Forrest Griffin in July 2012, and holds just one win since 2006 when he bested Ken Shamrock twice in back-to-back bouts. Ryan Bader represents his sole victim in a near-8 year time span.
So how do you feel about this fight? Are you interested in it? And who wins? Let us know in the comments section, and tell us what you think about Bellator's PPV lineup thus far...
Bellator 120 PPV Lineup:
Lightweight Title: Eddie Alvarez vs Michael Chandler III
Light Heavyweight Bout: Rampage Jackson vs King Mo
Light Heavyweight Bout: Tito Ortiz vs Alexander Shlemenko
Some big news (literally) broke this week with the announcement that Alistair Overeem will be joining up with Team Jackson-Winkeljohn where he'll hook up with fellow top-ranked heavyweight Travis Browne. Overeem, who departed Dutch-based gym Golden Glory in 2011 after the UFC opted to release all Golden Glory fighters over a dispute over the way fighters were paid, has since been training with the Blackzilians team – only to split with the highly-touted camp ahead of his fight with Frank Mir.
Overeem headed East to Phuket, Thailand and cut to 257 lbs before emerging victorious in a three-round unanimous decision. Now, Overeem will link up with one of the two men who hold UFC wins over the former K-1 Champion kickboxer, and Browne says he's just fine with that: "I actually embrace the idea. When you have top athletes that are in the same weight class, sometimes they can butt heads, but the way I look at it is iron sharpening iron. If the stars ever align again and him and I meet in the cage, then it will be an even better fight than it was last time."
Browne added: "Just having somebody there to push you when you need it is great. It's not going to be about just me benefiting from this. He's going to learn a lot too being out here at Jackson's. I always say that during our camps here at Jackson's, if you don't sit down with yourself a couple times per camp and question if you really want to do this sport, then you're not pushing yourself hard enough. Here at Jackson's, I've had multiple days where I've questioned myself and if I want to do this. We just push each other so hard to be the best, and he'll see what that feels like – and in a good way, not in a bad way. I don't intend to threaten anybody. It's the hard work here that's get you through."
"I don't have a problem with inviting other heavyweights in (as well). If they train hard in the gym and they work their way up to fight me or I work my way up to fight them, then it is what it is. This is our job; this is what we do. We train every day for free by punching each other in the face and killing each other in the gym, so why not earn a decent paycheck doing it?"
But what do YOU say? Let us know in the comments section what you think of this move, and how it will impact the careers of Overeem and Browne – is this the move that will really solidify Overeem as top 5 heavyweight in the world? Or will the impact be limited?
Nick Diaz could be closer to a return to the octagon having been away from the cage since his 2012 defeat to Georges St Pierre, though no fight has been officially announced. Diaz, who is on record as saying he would only be interested in a title fight, could yet compete if the UFC can put together a sufficiently appealing offer. With UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks out of action after surgery to repair a torn bicep sustained in his win over Robbie Lawler, the UFC are apparently looking to match Diaz up with fellow contender and former Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard.
UFC President Dana White stated that Diaz was offered the Lombard fight and that Diaz ‘liked it', but that Diaz hadn't been heard from since – but Lombard isn't the only prospective opponent for Diaz, particularly if Strikeforce standout KJ Noons has his way. Noons commented that: "If I can get a couple wins and get back in the top 10 and be a contender again, I think there's definitely a rubber match there because I definitely got robbed in that second fight, I think. There's a rubber match there. I don't care what weight. But I feel like he's at the top. He's lost a couple too, but I feel like I'd like to work my way up in the UFC a little more and get my name out there. If it's a draw and people want to see it, I'm definitely down for it."
So what do you think? Does Diaz-Lombard appeal? Is Diaz being reasonable by asking for title shots on the back of a two-fight losing streak? And does Noons have the relevance to challenge someone of Diaz's supposed stature? Answers in the comments section!
Liz Carmouche recently offered her two cents regarding a prospective UFC Women's Bantamweight title bout between champion Ronda Rousey and former Strikeforce starlet Gina Carano, stating that she "would be surprised if [Carano] lasted more than 10 seconds against Ronda," and that she would "think it's something that would end pretty shortly."
Carano, who hasn't fought since a 2009 loss to Cristiane Justino, is rumoured to be high on Dana White's wishlist as one of Women's MMA's biggest stars – but Carmouche obviously isn't impressed. "I don't know about her training," Carmouche said. "I know she's participating in a lot of different films these days, and that her main focus has been Hollywood. I don't know how her training has been in the last five years." Carmouche did add, however, that "If it happens, awesome, I'll definitely watch the fight because I always watch the woman fight, and that includes Ronda Rousey."
Any possible deal remains some distance off, however, as Carano has yet to nail her colours to the mast in regards to a return to MMA, and it could be that Carano would be expected to fight in a warm-up bout in order to get to Rousey – though the UFC could be tempted to cash-in on such a superfight sooner rather than later.
What do you think? Is Carmouche spot on when she says Rousey will beat Carano in seconds? Or is she simply angling to become Carano's first opponent in the UFC? If so, who would win THAT fight? Answers in the comments section!
Bellator 116 saw unbeaten Bulgarian heavyweight Blagoi Ivanov secure a first round Americana submission victory over UFC and Strikeforce veteran Lavar Johnson. Ivanov, who advanced to 11-0 with the win, progresses to the finals of the ongoing Bellator heavyweight tournament where he will meet Alexander Volkov in the finals.
Ivanov, who first sprung to prominence when he became the first man to defeat Fedor Emelianenko under Combat Sambo rules in years, continues to live up to the hype in spite of a serious incident that occurred in 2012 that saw Ivanov in critical condition in an intensive care unit. Ivanov has rattled off four wins in Bellator since making a full recovery, finishing three of those fights in the first round.
Volkov, for his part, defeated Siala-Mou Siliga by first round head kick knock out to move a step closer to a rematch with reigning Bellator Heavyweight Champion Vitaliy Minakov. Also on the show, Joey Beltran defeated fellow UFC veteran Vladimir Matyushenko, whilst Adam McDonough defeated Strikeforce veteran Nathan Coy. Catch the highlights here:
At UFC Fight Night 39 from Abu-Dhabi, Roy Nelson scored a first round KO of legendary Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, ending ‘Minotauro's' night with a vicious right hook at 3:37. Nelson, who upped his record of KO wins to 13, snapped a two-fight losing streak to re-establish himself as a top ten heavyweight. Nogueira, meanwhile, has lost five of his last eight, and has been finished in every UFC defeat – a stark contrast to his PRIDE run, where Nogueira had never been stopped. Watch Nelson's victory interview (and replays of the KO) here:
At featherweight, Clay Guida picked up a unanimous decision win over Japanese ace Tatsuya Kawajiri in a fun encounter, successfully out-wrestling Kawajiri and even knocking down inside the first round with an overhand right. Kawajiri looked to utilize his grappling and submission games to no avail, as Guida re-enforced his position as a top ten featherweight.
Canadian Ryan LaFlare remains perfect with a dominant decision win over John Howard, Ramsey Nijem made short work of snapping Beneil Dariush's unbeaten run, and Thales Leites needed just 45 seconds to stop Strikeforce veteran Trevor Smith.
This week's model of the week is former Strikeforce ring girl Kelli Hutcherson!