Your Weekend in Combat Sports

As always, live fights are in BOLD.

Live/premiere programming is in ITALICS.

MMA programming is in ORANGE.

Boxing programming is RED.

Kickboxing/Karate/Muay Thai programming is in BLUE.

Wrestling/Grappling/Jiu Jitsu programming is in PURPLE.

Movies are in AQUA.

Misc/multiple sport programming is in GREEN.

 

Friday April 4

3:00am: Luis Ortiz vs. Monte Barrett/Gerald Washington vs. Skipp Scott (Fox Sports 1)
5:00am: UFC Ultimate Insider (Fox Sports 1)
6:00am: UFC on FOX: Henderson vs. Diaz (Fox Sports 2)
7:00am: M-1 Challenge 47 (m-1global.tv)
8:00am: The Ultimate Fighter: Nations (Fox Sports 2)
8:00am: 24/7 Pacquiao vs. Bradley (HBO2)
8:30am: Face Off With Max Kellerman: Pacquiao (HBO2)
9:00am: UFC Tonight (Fox Sports 2)
9:00am: 2014 FloNationals (Flowrestling.com)
10:00am: UFC Reloaded (Fox Sports 2)
10:30am: 2014 USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals (Flowrestling.com)
2:30pm: UFC Ultimate Insider (Fox Sports 2)
3:00pm: UFC Tonight (Fox Sports 2)
7:00pm: Bellator 115 Prelims (Spike.com)
7:00pm: Antoine Douglas vs. Luca Messi/Douglas Otieno Okola vs. Jerry Odom ($9.99 GoFightLive)
8:00pm: The Ultimate Fighter: Nations (Fox Sports 2)
8:00pm: UFC Reloaded (Fox Sports 2)
9:00pm: Inside MMA w/Michael Schiavello, Pat Miletich (AXS)
9:00pm: Bellator 115 (Spike)
10:00pm: Amir Mansour vs. Steve Cunningham/Curtis Stevens vs. Tureano Johnson (NBC Sports)
10:00pm: Legacy Fighting Championship 30 (AXS)
11:00pm: UFC Tonight (Fox Sports 2)
11:00pm: Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Tate (Showtime Extreme)

 

Saturday April 5

12:30am: Inside MMA w/Michael Schiavello, Pat Miletich (AXS)
1:30am: Legacy Fighting Championship 30 (AXS)
2:00am: UFC Ultimate Insider (Fox Sports 2)
3:05am: 24/7 Pacquiao vs. Bradley (HBO)
4:30am: Inoki Genome Federation 1 ($4.82 nicovideo.jp)
8:30am: 2014 USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals (Flowrestling.com)
9:00am: Best of WEC (Fox Sports 2)
10:00am: 2014 FloNationals (Flowrestling.com)
12:00pm: UFC Reloaded (Fox Sports 2)
2:00pm: Legend 3 ($9.99 GoFightLive)
2:15pm: Face Off With Max Kellerman: Pacquiao vs. Bradley (HBO)
2:30pm: 24/7 Pacquiao vs. Bradley (HBO)
4:00pm: Heavy Hitters (ESPN Deportes)
4:30pm: UFC Tonight (Fox Sports 2)
5:00pm: Duel for Domination 7 ($9.99 GoFightLive)
5:30pm: UFC Ultimate Insider (Fox Sports 2)
6:00pm: UFC Reloaded (Fox Sports 2)
7:00pm: Frank Galarza vs. Franklin Gonzalez/Manuel de los Reyes Herrera vs. Rafael Vazquez ($9.99 GoFightLive)
7:30pm: American Predator Fighting Championship 16 ($14.99 GoFightLive)
8:00pm: US Freedom Fighter Championship 17 ($9.99 GoFightLive)
9:00pm: Heavy Hitters (ESPN Deportes)
9:00pm: UFC Unleashed (Fox Sports 2)
9:30pm: Rumble in the Cage 49 ($16.99 GoFightLive)
10:00pm: UFC Ultimate Insider (Fox Sports 2)
11:30pm: 24/7 Pacquiao vs. Bradley (HBO)

 

Sunday April 6

1:00am: World Series of Fighting 9 (NBC Sports)
6:00am: UFC on FOX: Diaz vs. Miller (Fox Sports 2)
7:00am: RoadFC 3: Brazil vs. Korea ($9.99 Ustream)
8:00am: The Ultimate Fighter: Nations (Fox Sports 2)
9:00am: The Ultimate Fighter: Nations (Fox Sports 2)
9:00am: ProFC 53 ($9.99 Epicentre.tv)
9:00am: 2014 USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals (Flowrestling.com)
10:00am: The Ultimate Fighter: Nations (Fox Sports 2)
10:00am: 2014 FloNationals (Flowrestling.com)
10:30am: 24/7 Pacquiao vs. Bradley (HBO)
11:00am: The Ultimate Fighter: Nations (Fox Sports 2)
12:00pm: The Ultimate Fighter: Nations (Fox Sports 2)
1:00pm: The Ultimate Fighter: Nations (Fox Sports 2)
1:35pm: Fightville (Showtime Next)
2:00pm: The Ultimate Fighter: Nations (Fox Sports 2)
3:00pm: The Ultimate Fighter: Nations (Fox Sports 2)
4:00pm: The Ultimate Fighter: Nations (Fox Sports 2)
5:00pm: The Ultimate Fighter: Nations (Fox Sports 2)
6:00pm: The Ultimate Fighter: Nations (Fox Sports 2)
7:00pm: Best of WEC (Fox Sports 1)
7:00pm: Australian National Boxing Championships (FREE Epicentre.tv)
8:30pm: UFC Ultimate Insider (Fox Sports 2)
10:00pm: The Ultimate Fighter: Nations (Fox Sports 1)

 

Top-10 Viewing Options: A man so paralyzed with joy that RiffTrax is on TV and had to write this column via blinking tries to direct your viewing habits.

gfl  1. Legend 3: Normally the time and the fact that it’s a pay-card would knock it down, but not this time.  An absolutely loaded kickboxing card, at a watchable hour, for TEN BUCKS?!  Groenhart, Souwer, Daley, Lil’ Petrosyan, and lots more.  This is the pick.

nbc_sports_network_hd  2. Amir Mansour vs. Steve Cunningham/Curtis Stevens vs. Tureano Johnson: I’m probably more excited about this card than 99% of you, but I’m a gigantic Steve Cunningham fan and I think Mansour’s story is very, very interesting, and although I’d wish USS would stay at Cruiserweight, there are more opportunities for him at Heavyweight.

spike_hd  3. Bellator 115: Though I’d love Minakov to stomp a hole in Kongo’s ass, I feel this is going to be a boring, plodding afair like most Kongo fights.  The only saving grace of this card is watching Koreshkov knee his poor opponent into another zip code.

axs_tv  4. Legacy Fighting Championship 30: Welp, after Cyborg got kicked back down to Earth, a nation turns your Rousey-hating eyes to you, Ms. Holm.

axs_tv  5. Inside MMA: Required viewing.

hbo  6. 24/7 Pacquiao vs. Bradley: Please don’t sing, Manny, please don’t sing, Manny, please d…

ustream  7. RoadFC 3: Brazil vs. Korea: Nice concept and a pretty good card Road has.  They brought in fighters from good Brazilian promotions, including WOCS champ Giovanni Diniz.

Niconico_logo  8. Inoki Genome Fight 1: As always with Inoki cards, watch with a jaded eye, but the card is solid enough.

fox_sports2_au  9. The Ultimate Fighter Nations Marathon: Not the greatest season, but could be worse and at least it’s all in one place.

epi  10. Australian National Boxing Championships: Free morning boxing with amateur Aussie hopefuls trying to represent Australia in the Commonwealth Games and beyond.

 

Under The Radar: Fighters who will be in action this weekend away from your TV.

  • Carl Frampton [vs. Hugo Fidel Cazares, April 4, Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland]
  • Mike Lee [vs. Peter Lewison, April 4, Liacouras Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]
  • Giovani Segura [vs. Felipe Salguero, April 5, Arena Tecate, Tijuana, Mexico]
  • Marco Antonio Rubio [vs. Domenico Spada, April 5, Gran Estadio, Chihuahua, Mexico]
  • Armen Petrosyan [vs. Alim Nabiev, April 5, Legend 3, Mediolanum Foum, Milan, Italy]
  • Sitthichai Sotsongpeenong [vs. Mohamed Khamal, April 5, Legend 3, Mediolanum Foum, Milan, Italy]
  • Paul Daley [vs. Alexander Surjko, April 5, Legend 3, Mediolanum Foum, Milan, Italy]
  • Andy Souwer [vs. Yuri Bessmertny, April 5, Legend 3, Mediolanum Foum, Milan, Italy]
  • Pavel Zhuravlev [vs. Tomasz Szcepkowski, April 5, Legend 3, Mediolanum Foum, Milan, Italy]
  • Murthel Groenhart [vs. Dzhabar Askerov, April 5, Legend 3, Mediolanum Foum, Milan, Italy]
  • James Terry [vs. Rick Reeves, April 4, Bellator 115, Reno Events Center, Reno, Nevada]
  • Jeff Monson [vs. Chaban Ka, April 4, M-1 Challenge 47, Orenburzhye Sport Hall, Orenburg, Russia]
  • DaMarques Johnson vs. Dan Stittgen [April 5, American Predator Fighting Championships, Odeum Expo Center, Villa Park, Illinois]
  • Jeremy Horn [vs. Dan McGlasson, April 5, American Predator Fighting Championships, Odeum Expo Center, Villa Park, Illinois]
  • Carson Beebe [vs. Steve Kinnison, April 5, American Predator Fighting Championships, Odeum Expo Center, Villa Park, Illinois]
  • Louis Taylor [vs. Tom Angeloff, April 5, American Predator Fighting Championships, Odeum Expo Center, Villa Park, Illinois]
  • Philip De Fries vs. Satoshi Ishii [April 5, Inoki Genome Fight 1, Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan]
  • Ikuhisa Minowa [vs. Goran Jettingstad, April 5, Inoki Genome Fight 1, Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan]
  • Guram Gugenishvili [vs. Tony Benello, April 5, Inoki Genome Fight 1, Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan]
  • Brett Rogers [vs. Yusuke Kawaguchi, April 5, Inoki Genome Fight 1, Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan]
  • Oli Thompson [vs. Gzim Selmani, April 5, BAMMA 15, Copper Box Arena, London, England]
  • Colin Fletcher vs. Tony Hervey [April 5, BAMMA 15, Copper Box Arena, London, England]
  • Corey Hill [vs. Eric Calderon, April 5, US Freedom Fighter Championship 17, The Sound Dock, Beaufort, South Carolina]
  • A Sol Kwon [vs. Giovanni Diniz, April 6, RoadFC Korea 3: Korea vs. Brazil, Grand Hilton Seoul Convention Center, Seoul, South Korea]

 

Bold, Yet Fruitless Predictions: I went 4-1 in my WSOF picks, so the message is clear.  As long as nobody else wants to submit predictions, I am a STUD.

Best Fight of the Weekend: Amir Mansour vs. Steve Cunningham
If My Life Depended on One Pick: Carl Frampton over Hugo Fidel Cazares
Most Disappointing Fight of the Weekend: Cheick Kongo vs. Vitaly Minakov
Best Card of the Weekend: Legend 3
Most Underrated Fight of the Weekend: Sitthichai Sotsongpeenong vs. Mohamed Khamal
Upset of the Week: Yusuke Kawaguchi over Brett Rogers

Fighters of the Week

Luke Irwin:

1. Jorina Baars: That’s how you make a name for yourself. Knocked down Cris Cyborg multiple times, fought an awesome fight, and took home what should have been a wider decision and the Lion Fight Women’s Welterweight strap.
2. Rousimar Palhares: Did what Paul Harris does and latch onto a limb for dear life. Of course, because he’s a neanderthal, he held onto it too long, but at least he didn’t mangle anyone this time and hopefully he doesn’t try to eat or fuck his WSOF Welterweight title.
3. Alexander Shlemenko: Brennan Ward fought a very good and very smart fight, easily taking the first round…but Storm is Storm and there’s a reason he’s the most entertaining fighter in the world, it’s because he knows roughly 833 ways to kill a man, and he unleashed a new one Friday.
4. Sergey Kovalev: Kovy was obviously in a class above Cedric Agnew, but fought a great fight anyway, especially after hitting the canvas after a shot in the pills and ralled for a 7th-round knockout.
5. Gui Mendes: Was the only man in Metamoris to get a submission of a not last-minute replacement, so gets the spot here.
6. Batu Khasikov: This is a man to keep an eye on. He had more than 200 amateur bouts before finally turning pro, and, at the age of 33, has put together a 9-1 record including a win over Gago Dragon and two wins over Mike Zambidis. He’s a late-bloomer that you’ll be seeing more of.
7. Josh Burkman: Tyler Stinson is a tough, tough, motherfucker, and Burkman isn’t really known for his power, but hot damn did he lay some lumber against Stinson in the first round and show that he is for real and is next in line for a shot at the Fitch-Palhares winner.
8. Konstantin Erokhin: The rising Russian heavyweight prospect dispatched “The Grim” Rogers via UD in the main event of Fight Nights: Battle of Moscow 15.
9. Marlon Moraes: Josh Rettinghouse wasn’t on Moraes’s level and it showed badly. He couldn’t seem to finish the tough Rettinghouse, but Moraes put an epic beating on him, resulting in the rare 50-44 x3 decision to retain his WSOF strap.
10. Eddie Bravo: At the end of the bout, it was ruled a draw. But to those who watched, we know the truth. Bravo destroyed Royler Gracie in their rematch at Metamoris 3, controlled the action, got into side control, and even conformed to more ridiculous Gracie rules about his pants, and weathered more dirty Gracie fouls to prove that the first time wasn’t a fluke.
11. Brett Cooper: Survived a nasty beating in the first to rebound and TKO Kendall Grove in the second round to advance in the Bellator middleweight tournament.
12. Yushin Okami: Thunder was obviously served an inferior opponent for his first fight from the UFC and looked as dominant as you could and getting a submission win of all things over Svetlozar Savov. He should have never been cut in the first place, and it was good to see him back on TV.
13. Daniel Weichel: The German worked his way to a tough UD over Matt Bessette to advance in the Bellator Featherweight tournament.
14. Desmond Green: Des, and his awesome hair, ground Will Martinez into the canvas to advance to the Bellator Featherweight finals against Daniel Weichel.
15. Gregory Choplin: In the five-round main event of Lion Fight 14, Choplin defeated Marco Pique in the super middleweight division.

Honorable Mention:

Abu Azaitar: It only took 34 seconds in the main event of Cage Warriors Fight Night 10 for Azaitar to TKO tough Cage Warriors veteran Jack Marshman.
Petr Petrov: Stopped Christopher Rudd after four rounds to earn a shot to the Boxcino Lightweight tournament finals.
Fernando Carcamo: Took a majority dcision over Miguel Gonzalez to meet Petrov on the Boxcino lightweight finals.
Ernesto Montilla: Took home PXC veteran Ale Cali’s arm via submission in the first round of the PXC 43 main event.
Thomas Dulorme: In the HBO co-main event, Dulorme outpointed Karim Mayfield in a blah affair.
Isao Kobayashi: In the main event of a stacked Pancrase 257 card, Kobayashi improved his record to an impressive 15-1-4 with a third-round TKO of Kuniyoshi Hironaka.
Kiyotaka Shimizu: In the co-main of Pancrase 257, Shimizu, who’s in our rankings, decided that soccer kicks would be his finisher of choice over Atsushi Yamamoto.
Jorge Loren: Took an upset win over Bogdan Stoica, despite a very, very bizarre and off performance from Stoica. Not his finest moment to be sure.

 

6th_Place_Ribbon  

Batu Khasikov [defeated Mike Zambidis, UD, Fight Nights: Battle of Moscow 15]

 

5th_Place_Ribbon__44932.1311694534.1280.1280  

Gui Mendes [defeated Samir Chantre, Submission, Metamoris 3]

 

4th_Place_Ribbon__85639.1311694476.1280.1280  

Sergey Kovalev [defeated Cedric Agnew, R7 TKO]

 

3rd_Place_Ribbon__57259.1311694401.1280.1280  

Alexander Shlemenko [defeated Brennan Ward, R2 Submission, Bellator 114]

 

2nd_Place_Ribbon__53794.1311693864.1280.1280  

Rousimar Palhares [defeated Steve Carl, R1 Submission, World Series of Fighting 9]

 

1st_Place_Ribbon__94822.1311693785.1280.1280  

Jorina Baars [defeated Cris Justino, UD, Lion Fight 14]

Around the Combat World

 

(Welcome to another installment of Around the Combat World, where we take a look back at fighters who were in action over the weekend away from the magic of television.)

  • Travis Fulton lost to Donovan Dennis [R2 TKO]
  • Eddie Chambers defeated Tomas Mrazec [R6 TKO]
  • Nate Campbell defeated Gilbert Venegas [UD]
  • Mike Zambidis lost to Batu Khasikov [UD, Fight Nights: Battle of Moscow 15]
  • Cedric Manhoef drew Amansio Paraschiv [MD, SuperKombat New Heroes in Ploiseti]
  • Bogdan Stoica lost to Jorge Loren, UD, SuperKombat New Heroes in Ploiseti]
  • Dean Lister drew Renato Sobral [TLD, Metamoris 3]
  • Kevin Casey lost to Keenan Cornelius [Submission, Metamoris 3]
  • Clark Gracie drew Rafael Mendes [TLD, Metamoris 3]
  • Eddie Bravo drew Royler Gracie [TLD, Metamoris 3]
  • Quinn Mulhern defeated Josh Lanier [Submission, Triple A MMA 18]
  • Brett Rogers lost to Konstain Erokhin [UD, Fight Nights: Battle of Moscow 15]
  • Norman Paraisy defeated Allan Love [UD, Cage Warriors Fight Night 10]
  • Rad Martinez defeated James Edson Berto [UD, Bellator 114]
  • Justin Wilcox defeated Jason Fischer [UD, Bellator 114]
  • Bubba Jenkins defeated Sean Powers [UD, Bellator 114]
  • John Gunderson lost to Chris Gruetzemacher [UD, World Series of Fighting 9]
  • Mike Corey defeated Shane Kruchten [R2 Submission, World Series of Fighting 9]
  • Azamat Gashimov defeated Zhenhonga Lu [UD, RUFF 12]
  • Luis Santos defeated Alfredo Morales [R3 KO, XFC International 3]
  • Allan Nascimento defeated Matias Vasquez [R3 Submission, XFC International 3]
  • Leandro Silva defeated Yoshiaki Takahashi [UD, Pancrase 257]
  • Eiji ishikawa lost to Yoichiro Sato [R3 TKO, Pancrase 257]
  • Yuki Kondo defeated Masayuki Naruse [MD, Pancrase 257]
  • Kiyotaka Shimizu defeated Atsushi Yamamoto [R1 TKO, Pancrase 257]
  • Vanessa Porto defeated Ana Maria [UD, Fatality Arena 6]

World Series of Fighting 9 Picks

 

World Series of Fighting Welterweight Championship: Steve Carl (c) (21-3) vs. Rousimar Palhares (15-5)

Luke Irwin: This is Carl’s first taste of major gold, and he’s already said he’s scard of Palhares. Rousimar has been on bigger stages though I want him to get his teeth caved in, Carl isn’t the main to do it. Only heavy hitters can keep Palhares at bay, and I think Carl comes out tentative in the first, then tries to win it in the second only to be on the shelf for a year. Palhares via R2 Submission.

 

World Series of Fighting Bantamweight Championship: Josh Rettinghouse (10-2) vs. Marlon Moraes (12-4-1)

Luke Irwin: Rettinghouse has put together a solid career, and beating Alexis Vila is still quality, but this belt belonged to Marlon Moraes ever since he beat Miguel Torres. Too long of a wait. Moraes via R1 KO.

 

Welterweight Bout: Josh Burkman (26-10) vs. Tyler Stinson (26-9)

Luke Irwin: This should be a really, really entertaining fight. Both of these guys are seasoned veterans and both have had their shares of entertaining wins and losses. Fun Fact: Both guys have lost via technical submission to Steve Carl. Regardless, I see these guys’ talents matching up perfectly, leading to a controversial decision. Stinson via SD.

 

Middleweight Bout: Svetlozar Savov (12-4) vs. Yushin Okami (29-8)

Luke Irwin: One of the most despicable releases in UFC history is going to show the world who he is. Thunder has a dominant first and then puts the hammer down in the second. Okami via R2 TKO.

 

 

 

Featherweight Bout: Mike Corey (12-3-1) vs. Shane Kruchten (11-2)

Luke Irwin: Kruchten’s record is fine, but he doesn’t have half of the resume that Corey has. His only loss since 2007 is to Daniel Straus and has beaten some legit fighters. Should be an easy ride. Corey via UD.

Your Weekend in Combat Sports

As always, live fights are in BOLD.

Live/premiere programming is in ITALICS.

MMA programming is in ORANGE.

Boxing programming is in RED.

Kickboxing/Karate/Muay Thai programming is in BLUE.

Wrestling/Grappling/Jiu-Jitsu programming is in PURPLE.

Movies are in AQUA.

Misc./multiple combat sports programming is in GREEN.

 

Friday March 28

12:00am: 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships (ESPNU)
12:00am: Warrior (Spike)
12:00am: UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Henderson II (Fox Sports 2)
2:00am: The Ultimate Fighter Nations (Fox Sports 2)
2:30am: 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships (ESPNU)
5:00am: 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships (ESPNU)
6:00am: UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Moraga (Fox Sports 2)
7:30am: 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships (ESPNU)
8:00am: UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Henderson II Prelims (Fox Sports 2)
10:00am: The Ultimate Fighter Nations (Fox Sports 2)
12:00pm: UFC Tonight (Fox Sports 2)
1:10pm: Cage Warriors Fight Night 10 Prelims (Facebook)
2:00pm: Cage Warriors Fight Night 10 (MMAjunkie.com)
6:30pm: World Series of Fighting Future Champions (NBC Sports)
6:30pm: UFC Tonight (Fox Sports 2)
7:00pm: World Series of Fighting 8 (NBC Sports)
7:00pm: Bellator 114 Prelims (Spike.com)
8:00pm: The Voice Versus Tito Ortiz (AXS)
8:00pm: Unified MMA 18 ($9.99 GoFightLive)
9:00pm: Fernando Carcamo Garcia vs. Miguel Gonzalez/Christopher Deon Rudd vs. Petr Petrov (ESPN2)
9:00pm: World Series of Fighting 7 (NBC Sports)
9:00pm: Bellator 114 (Spike)
9:00pm: Inside MMA w/Eddie Bravo, Rousimar Palhares (AXS)
10:00pm: Adrien Broner vs. Paulie Malignaggi/Johnathan Banks vs. Seth Mitchell (Showtime Extreme)
10:00pm: Lion Fight 14 (AXS)
10:00pm: BAMMA USA Badbeat 12 ($14.99 GoFightLive)
11:00pm: World Series of Fighting 6 (NBC Sports)
11:30pm: Fernando Carcamo Garcia vs. Miguel Gonzalez/Christopher Deon Rudd vs. Petr Petrov (ESPN Deportes)
11:30pm: Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley (HBO2)

 

Saturday March 29

12:30am: Ruslan Provodnikov vs. Timothy Bradley (HBO2)
12:30am: Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth (HBO Comedy)
12:30am: Inside MMA w/Eddie Bravo, Rousimar Palhares (AXS)
1:00am: World Series of Fighting 5 (NBC Sports)
1:30am: Lion Fight 14 (AXS)
4:30am: Fantastic Finishes (Fox Sports 2)
6:00am: UFC Tonight (Fox Sports 2)
6:30am: RUFF 12 (Letv.com)
7:00am: UFC Reloaded (Fox Sports 2)
8:00am: Pacific Xtreme Combat 43 ($10 Ustream)
10:00am: Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley (HBO2)
11:00am: Ruslan Provodnikov vs. Timothy Bradley (HBO2)
12:00pm: Best of WEC (Fox Sports 2)
2:00pm: UFC Reloaded (Fox Sports 2)
4:00pm: Heavy Hitters (ESPN Deportes)
5:00pm: The Ultimate Fighter Nations (Fox Sports 2)
6:00pm: World Series of Fighting 9 Prelims (wsof.com)
6:00pm: Fantastic Finishes (Fox Sports 2)
7:00pm: Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman (ESPN Deportes)
7:00pm: Metamoris 3 ($20 metamoris.com)
7:30pm: World Series of Fighting Future Champions (NBC Sports)
8:00pm: Jungle Fight 67 (ESPN Deportes)
8:00pm: World Series of Fighting Future Champions (NBC Sports)
8:00pm: Triple A MMA: Redemption at the Rock ($9.99 GoFightLive)
8:30pm: World Series of Fighting Future Champions (NBC Sports)
9:00pm: World Series of Fighting 9 (NBC Sports)
9:00pm: Cedric Agnew vs. Sergey Kovalev/Lionell Thompson vs. Radivoje Kalajdzic (HBO)
11:30pm: XFC International 3 (FREE xfcmma.com)

 

Sunday March 30

12:00am: 24/7 Pacquiao vs. Bradley #1 (HBO)
12:30am: Face Off With Max Kellerman: Bradley vs. Pacquiao (HBO)
1:00am: Best of WEC (Fox Sports 2)
1:30am: World Series of Fighting 9 (NBC Sports)
2:00am: The Ultimate Fighter Nations (Fox Sports 2)
3:00am: Best of Pride (Fox Sports 2)
5:30am: Fantastic Finishes (Fox Sports 1)
6:00am: UFC Unleashed (Fox Sports 2)
7:00am: UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Henderson 2 (Fox Sports 2)
10:00am: Cedric Agnew vs. Sergey Kovalev/Lionell Thompson vs. Radivoje Kalajdzic (HBO)
12:00pm: 24/7 Pacquiao vs. Bradley #1 (HBO)
12:30pm: Face Off With Max Kellerman: Bradley vs. Pacquiao (HBO)
1:00pm: UFC Unleashed (Fox Sports 2)
2:00pm: Best of WEC (Fox Sports 2)
3:00pm: The Ultimate Fighter Nations (Fox Sports 2)
4:00pm: UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Henderson 2 Prelims (Fox Sports 2)
4:45pm: Cedric Agnew vs. Sergey Kovalev/Lionell Thompson vs. Radivoje Kalajdzic (HBO2)
7:30pm: UFC Ultimate Insider (Fox Sports 1)
8:00pm: UFC Presents: Anthony Pettis: Showtime (Fox Sports 1)
10:00pm: The Ultimate Fighter Nations (Fox Sports 1)
11:00pm: UFC Presents: Anthony Pettis Showtime (Fox Sports 2)

 

Top-10 Viewing Options: A man who’s just trying to survive until Mad Men’s final season premieres….WHOOOOAAAA FAT BETTY BLAM A LAM!

nbc_sports_network_hd  1. World Series of Fighting 9: STACKED card here. Okami and Palhares, that passes for a main and co-main in UFC these days.

spike_hd  2. Bellator 114: ALEXANDER BY GOD SHLEMENKO. If you’re not down with Storm, you’re no friend of mine.

metamoris2  3. Metamoris 3: Not a damned thing wrong with high-level professional BJJ on PPV. What I don’t like is having to choose between Eddie Bravo or a Gracie.

hbo  4. Cedric Agnew vs. Sergey Kovalev/Lionell Thompson vs. Radivoje Kalajdzic: Crusher should be fighting Adonis to the titilating joy to all involved, but alas, we’ll have to settle with him smashing a non-Stevenson.

axs_tv  5. Lion Fight 14: Love the Lion Fight! Muay Thai on free TV is always a win, and I really want to implant a camera on Rousey’s TV so I can see her reaction when she watches Cyborg.

espn_2_hd  6. Fernando Carcamo Garcia vs. Miguel Gonzalez/Christopher Deon Rudd vs. Petr Petrov: Back to a more pedestrian FNF after a rather top-heavy card last weekend.

hbo  7. 24/7 Pacquiao vs. Bradley #1: WOOOOO! 24/7! The fact that both of these guys are really, really boring might take away from this a tad.

XFC-LOGOnew1  8. XFC International 3: XFC keeps rolling out these International cards, and they’re good, they’re free, and this one is on a completely vacant evening.

hbo  9. Face Off With Max Kellerman: Bradley vs. Pacquiao: Want to see three grown man sit like AC Slater at The Max?! HAVE I GOT A SHOW FOR YOU!

nbc_sports_network_hd  t10. World Series of Fighting Future Champions: Two brand-new edition of WSOF Future Champions in the lead up to WSOF 9 is the picture-perfect way to get hyped for a free Saturday night.

axs_tv  t10. Inside MMA: Required viewing.

espn_deportes_hd  t10. Jungle Fight 67: Not a tremendous Jungle Fight card on paper, but MMA on ESPN will always be awesome and surreal.

let  t10. RUFF 12: Not entirely sure on the pay situation there, as they’ve only broadcasted a few shows, but if you want to see high, HIGH end production values and a promotion that has its act together, buy low on RUFF before the UFC influence in China explodes.

 

Under The Radar: Fighters who will be performing this weekend without the magic of television.

  • Quinn Mulhern [vs. Josh Lanier, March 29, NO GI SUPERFIGHT, Triple A MMA 5: Redemption at the Rock, Camel Rock Casino Events Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico]
  • Mike Zambidis [vs. Batu Khasikov, March 28, Fight Nights: Battle of Moscow 15, Luzhniki Palace of Sports, Moscow, Russia]
  • Bogdan Stoica [vs. Jorge Loren, March 29, SuperKombat New Heroes in Ploiesti, Olimpia Sports Hall, Ploiesti, Romania]
  • Cedric Manhoef [vs. Amansio Paraschiv, March 29, SuperKombat New Heroes in Ploiesti, Olimpia Sports Hall, Ploiesti, Romania]
  • Brett Rogers [vs. Konstantin Erokhin, March 28, Fight Nights: Battle of Moscow 15, Luzhniki Palace of Sports, Moscow, Russia]
  • Norman Paraisy [vs. Allan Love, March 28, Cage Warriors Fight Night 10, King Hussein Youth City Boxing Arena, Amman, Jordan]
  • Jack Marshman [vs. Abu Azaitar, March 28, Cage Warriors Fight Night 10, King Hussein Youth City Boxing Arena, Amman, Jordan]
  • Justin Wilcox [vs. Jason Fischer, March 28, Bellator 114, Maverik Center, West Valley City, Utah]
  • James Edson Berto vs. Rad Martinez [March 28, Bellator 114, Maverik Center, West Valley City, Utah]
  • Travis Marx [vs. Isaac De Jesus, March 28, Bellator 114, Maverik Center, West Valley City, Utah]
  • Bubba Jenkins [vs. Sean Powers, March 28, Bellator 114, Maverik Center, West Valley City, Utah]
  • Tommy Hayden [vs. Udi Lima, March 29, Talent MMA Circuit 7: Etapa Osasco 2014, Geodesico Gymnasium, Sao Paulo, Brazil]
  • Azamat Gashimov [vs. Zhenhong Lu, March 29, Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation 12, Hongkou Indoor Stadium, Shanghai, China]
  • Kiyotaka Shimizu vs. Atsushi Yamamoto [March 30, Pancrase 257, Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium, Yokohama, Japan]
  • Leandro Silva [vs. Yoshiaki Takahashi, March 30, Pancrase 257, Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium, Yokohama, Japan]
  • Eiji Ishikawa [vs. Yoichiro Sato, March 30, Pancrase 257, Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium, Yokohama, Japan]
  • Yuki Kondo [vs. Masayuki Naruse, March 30, Pancrase 257, Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium, Yokohama, Japan]
  • Vanessa Porto [vs. Ana Maria, March 30, Fatality Arena 6, Caio Martins Sports Complex, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil]

 

Bold, Yet Ultimately Fruitless Predictions: 4-6 on Fight Night. FOUR AND SIX. The worst part? I considered that a relief because I started 1-5. God help me.

Best Fight of the Weekend: Alexander Shlemenko vs. Brennan Ward
Most Underrated Fight of the Weekend: Azamat Gashimov vs. Zhenhong Lu
Best Fight Card of the Weekend: World Series of Fighting 9
If My Life Depended on One Pick: Yushin Okami over Svetlozar Savov
Upset of the Weekend: Konstantin Erokhin over Brett Rogers
Most Disappointing Fight of the Weekend: Eddie Bravo vs. Royler Gracie

 

Fighters of the Week

Luke Irwin:

1. Jesse Delgado/Tony Ramos/Logan Stieber/Jason Tsirtsis/Alex Dieringer/David Taylor/Chris Perry/Ed Ruth/J’Den Cox/Nick Gwiazdowski: Congrats to all the NCAA national wrestling champions! And to…ugh…Penn State for another team championship.
2. Emanuel Newton: It wasn’t pretty, but Newton is now the undisputed Bellator Light Heavyweight champion.
3. Dan Henderson: All it takes is one. Hendo showed that Sunday. He got his ass kicked religiously for two and a half rounds, then got some space and unleashed an H-Bomb on Shogun to claim his second win over Rua. I don’t know what the future holds for either fighter, but if Henderson wants to hang them up, I can’t think of a better opportunity.
4. Patricky Freire: Was able to KO the notoriously tough David Rickels to advance to the semis and now has to be viewed as the favorite in the Bellator lightweight tournament.
5. Marcin Held: When Held is on his game, it is fantastic to watch him in action. Got a first-round toe hold. A TOE HOLD. IN MAJOR MMA.
6. CB Dollaway: It took less than a minute to dispatch of Cezar Ferreira in the co-main of UFC’s Fight Night in Natal.
7. Julian Williams: In the main event of a rare Monday boxing card on Fox Sports 1, Williams put Freddy Hernandez to sleep in the third round of their junior middleweight contest.
8. Sergei Kharitonov: Took another huge win over a game KOTC Heavyweight Champion Tyler East, and did it brutally. He needs to be in the UFC yesterday, but his price tag might be a bit high for them.
9. Myron Dennis: Is the Legacy Heavyweight Champ after going the distance and defeating Paul Buentello. Obviously Dennis did not fear the consequences.
10. Tony Thompson: The 42-year old American isn’t dead yet and continues to be a legitimate Top-10 heavyweight with his win over Odlanier Solis.
11. Vanes Martirosyan: After suffering his first career loss to Demetrius Andrade, Vanes rebounded with a dominant shutout of Mario Lozano in the main event of Friday Night Fights.
12. Nicolas Dalby: Won the Cage Warriors welterweight championship thanks to a thundering right head kick in the championship rounds and due for a shot at the bigs soon.
13. Thiago Santos: Took down the well-overweight Ronny Markes in the first round and absolutely bought himself some more fights in the UFC.
14. Michal Materla: Kept his KSW Middleweight Title thanks to a convincing win over Jay Silva at KSW 26.
15. Derek Anderson: Nothing like a knee KO to make a name for yourself. Anderson, not the awful former Browns quarterback, kneed his way to the semis of the Bellator lightweight tournament.

Honorable Mention:

Ken Hasegawa: The Japanese fighter upped his undefeated record to 8-0-1 with a win over hard-hitting veteran Kazuhiro Nakamura.
Fabio Maldonado: Put on a body shot and boxing clinic against Gian Villante, putting him out on his feet and should have been a stoppage.
Jonathan Brookins: Returned from backpacking across Eurasia to choke out Cody Fuller in the co-main of Legacy 29.
Hicham El Gaoui: Goes home with the Enfusion 80kg World Championship with a second-round TKO of Aidan Brooks at Enfusion Live in Dublin.
Derek Campos: Took a lopsided decision over Tim Welch to advance in the Bellator lightweight semis.
Anthony Peterson: Better known as “not Lamont” has been rather inactive lately, but picked up a dominant win in the co-main of FNF to advance his record to 33-1.
Pat Barry: Made his return to kickboxing in a big way, scoring a second-round KO over Ed Burris in his return bout.

 

6th_Place_Ribbon  

CB Dollaway [defeated Cezar Ferreira, R1 TKO, UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Henderson II]

 

5th_Place_Ribbon__44932.1311694534.1280.1280  

Marcin Held [defeated Rodrigo Cavalheiro, R1 Submission, Bellator 113]

 

4th_Place_Ribbon__85639.1311694476.1280.1280  

Patricky Freire [defeated David Rickels, R2 KO, Bellator 113]

 

3rd_Place_Ribbon__57259.1311694401.1280.1280 

Dan Henderson [defeated Mauricio Rua, R3 TKO, UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Henderson II]

 

2nd_Place_Ribbon__53794.1311693864.1280.1280  

Emanuel Newton [defeated Attila Vegh, SD, Bellator 113]

 

1st_Place_Ribbon__94822.1311693785.1280.1280  

Jesse Delgado/Tony Ramos/Logan Stieber/Jason Tsirtsis/Alex Dieringer/David Taylor/Chris Perry/Ed Ruth/J’Den Cox/Nick Gwiazdowski [NCAA Individual Champions]

 

Rankings Updated

Cory Braiterman took to his parchment after a busy, busy weekend in MMA to update our male rankings.  Where’d Hendo end up?  How far did Shogun fall?  Emanuel Newton is now the undisputed Bellator Light Heavyweight champion, where does he fit in?  Check out the Rankings tab up above!

Shedding Light on a Dark Situation: Undercard Superstar Talks with Will Chope, and did the UFC Handle his Situation Correctly?

Courtesy: Marinabaysands.me

 

Contributor: Josh Hall

UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs Henderson is in the books and it included a mix of incredible action at times tempered by some questionable officiating and a couple of less than enthralling fights.  Whether you want to look at the good or the bad there is plenty to talk about, but the one thing that sticks out to me the most is the one fight that didn’t happen.

The evening before Will Chope was scheduled to take on Diego Brandao, a story was released by Jeremy Botter at Bleacher Report that revealed Chope had been discharged from the US Air Force and served five months in jail for multiple assaults on his now ex-wife.  The details were not pretty, with the last assault involving a threat with a knife and Chope beating his ex-wife’s head on the floor in a fight over a credit card.  Once the story became public the UFC took fairly swift action in the face of public pressure, pulling the Chope/Brandao bout from the card the next morning and quickly releasing Chope from the organization.  They got a bad guy away from the big stage and made a statement about the sort of conduct that is expected from UFC fighters.  Problem solved, right?

When I first heard of Chope’s release, my knee jerk reaction was exactly that.  Domestic abuse is a disgusting thing, and it gets kicked up a notch when there is a pro fighter doing the beating.  Upon looking into the story a bit more though I am not sure that releasing Chope was the proper thing to do, and the way the UFC went about it was absolutely and totally unprofessional.  Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting sat down with Chope after his release and that interview added some interesting context to the situation.

Right out of the gate we are hit with the news that Chope found out about his release on Twitter and had to track down Jon Anik and Brian Stann for confirmation that he was fired, because no one with the UFC had contacted him at all and he couldn’t find anyone else around at the office.  Unprofessional doesn’t begin to cover that.

“All the news, I’ve been just like a regular fan finding out on Twitter.”

Chope talked about being in contact with his ex-wife throughout all of this and how they have grown to become good friends, and how they are planning on taking their daughter to Disney World after his fight because he will be visiting the US (Chope resides and trains in Thailand).  He says that his ex has forgiven him for what he did and they have both moved past it, and asks why everyone else can’t do the same.  If his ex really does feel that way, does he have a point?  Domestic abuse is such a horrible thing because of the damage it does to the victim, both physically and emotionally.  If she says that he has changed and grown into a better person and that she has forgiven him, should we still judge him as harshly now for the person he used to be?

From Chope’s FB page (posted by his ex-wife initially, reposted by him with her permission):

 

Even if the answer to that question is no, the UFC would have been totally justified to pass on signing him in the first place.  Not wanting fighters with that sort of past is certainly their right, and as such they ask about a criminal record on the fighter applications.  In his interview with Cruz, Chope said that he plead guilty to misdemeanor assault for attacking his ex-wife and included that on his application.

Before hearing that I was operating under the assumption that Chope had failed to disclose his record, but apparently that was not the case.  The day after he was released I reached out to Will to see if he could clarify a few points regarding this and whether there was any update in his situation.

The first thing I wanted to know was after getting released via breaking Twitter news if he had actually spoken with anyone from the UFC now that a day had passed.  He said that his manager had spoken with them some, but that he still had not been contacted directly by anyone from the UFC.  He told me he was still expecting to be cut, but that it will not be official until he gets his release letter.

In his interview with Cruz, Will mentioned the UFC releasing him based upon a “zero tolerance” policy they have towards domestic abuse.  I asked him if that was something that they actually specified in the fighter application.

“They have zero tolerance for doing anything illegal when [you’re] signed but as far as past issues there is nothing.  I wrote I had a criminal record and they didn’t make any inquiry.”

I could have understood the UFC’s actions if the information had not been disclosed by Chope (even though they should have caught it themselves in a background check), but they knew he had a record from the moment he signed with them.  If they were concerned about it, they could have dug into it and found the same record of his appeal that was released by Bleacher Report.  They could have asked Chope himself for details.  They did neither.  Either someone was negligent in the hiring process, or the UFC didn’t care about his record until it became public knowledge and a bad look for the organization.

As a fan of the UFC, it really disappoints me to see the extreme backlash against Chope in large part because they simply failed to communicate with him over and over again.  They weren’t worried enough to simply inquire about his record.  When it became public, they didn’t call him or look any further into it then either, and when he was pulled from the card and unofficially released they didn’t even give him the courtesy of a phone call to let him know.  The UFC has done a lot to legitimize MMA as a sport, but they have shown a lack of professionalism throughout this process that should never happen.  They are usually better than this, but serious mistakes were made here.

I asked Will whether the UFC had communicated any reason to him through his manager that his case was different than the other fighters on the roster with similar criminal records.

“They just cited a zero tolerance policy towards domestic violence.”

From a Cage Potato article, December 6, 2012:

Abel Nazario Trujillo, another cage fighter scheduled to compete on the UFC fight card on Dec. 8th in Seattle, has twice pleaded guilty to Domestic Abuse Assault Causing Bodily Injury, an aggravated misdemeanor. In both cases, the victim was identified as the mother of his child. In May 2007, Trujillo also pleaded guilty to Obstruction of an Emergency Communication.

    In the plea agreement, Trujillo acknowledged that the crime required the State to prove that his alleged assault victim was making a 911 call, Trujillo knew that she was making a 911 call, and Trujillo hung up the phone. Trujillo competes under the nickname “Killa.”

Zero Tolerance… they keep using that term.  I don’t think it means what they think it means.  The Culinary Union dug up evidence about Abel Trujillo’s past from 5 years ago two days before he was scheduled to fight at UFC on Fox 8.  He was not released immediately under the zero tolerance policy.  He fought on the card as scheduled and as far as I can find the UFC never issued an official statement regarding his past at all.  Trujillo has fought 5 times under the UFC banner since his record of domestic violence was brought to light.

I personally don’t care for zero tolerance policies because they remove the gray from difficult and complex situations and force them to be black and white, but at least they are a consistent standard that everyone knows to abide by.  I don’t know how the UFC can tell someone (or his manager, in this case) that they are fired for a zero tolerance policy when there is a glaring exception to that rule on the active roster that has fought for them 5 times in the last 16 months.  That is such a blatant double standard that it is ridiculous.

Looking at the Trujillo case as an example, this statement that Chope told me seems perfectly reasonable and logical.

“I had no idea past transgressions from 5 years ago before I was ever a fighter would affect me fighting in the UFC.”

I’m not bringing this up to try and get Trujillo released as well.  His case is relevant here because it shows that the zero tolerance policy isn’t exactly what the name implies, and Trujillo and Chope’s crimes and the timing of the release of their respective pasts to the public (1-2 days before scheduled fights) are virtually identical.  Both men pled guilty to misdemeanor assault charges in conjunction with assaulting their wives, and both committed his crime roughly 5 years before it became public knowledge.  Rules are worthless if they are not applied to everyone equally, and a zero tolerance policy does not exist if there is an exception to it.

There is the argument to be made that a zero tolerance policy for domestic abusers is a good thing for the sport and the UFC brand, and I would certainly agree that anyone that is a UFC fighter that commits domestic abuse while under contract should be cut.  But zero tolerance policies when it comes to the past eliminate the possibility for people to change.  Look at someone like Alexander Gustafsson.  He served 15 months in Swedish prison in 2005 after being convicted of his third offense, the last being aggravated assault causing grievous bodily harm.  It may not have been domestic abuse, but it was serious enough to merit more than a year in jail and was a crime of violence.

Like Trujillo’s case, the UFC did not make a big deal about the reveal of these past troubles.  Gustafsson admitted to them himself in an interview with Swedish language site Expressen.se, expressing remorse for the things he had done and crediting MMA with helping him to turn his life around.  He is pretty clearly not that same person anymore though, and it is a textbook example of how people grow and change.  It is not an easy thing to realize you are not a good person and make an effort to change. With so many people getting into MMA from rough backgrounds having bad things in their past, the ones that change for the better should be included and can be a great example for future fighters that they don’t have to be defined solely by their mistakes.

When I questioned Chope why he would have been released where the other situations had been so different, he thought the way his past was revealed to the public played a factor.

“I think it was just how bad Bleacher Report posted the article but me and my ex-wife will address this when I am back in the USA on Wednesday.”  

Whether Chope falls into the same rehabilitated category as Gus still remains to be seen.  The fact that his ex-wife is supporting him in this and that they have become good friends after all that has happened would indicate that is a real possibility though.  I don’t know the man personally so I can’t speak to his character but I would be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt if the victim of his crime says he has changed.  Based on the precedent the UFC has set in handling these types of cases I think that they should at least consider softening the stance they have taken in this case.

I took a deeper look into the UFC’s official Code of Conduct they instituted last year, and it would appear there should still be quite a bit to happen before Chope is released for his misconduct.  Domestic violence is one of the first things they mention that a fighter can be disciplined for, but there is no mention of any specific policy regarding it as more severe than other offenses listed.  The disciplinary process is especially interesting though.

Disciplinary Process:

Upon discovery of potential fighter misconduct, UFC will direct an investigation, which may include interviews and information-gathering from medical expert, law enforcement officers, and other relevant professionals.  As appropriate, the affected fighter and/or his/her designee will have the opportunity to provide information on the conduct at issue.  Upon conclusion of the investigation, UFC will have full authority to impose disciplinary measures on the fighter as warranted in its sole discretion.

Discipline may take the form of fines, suspension, and cessation of service and may include conditions to be satisfied prior to the resolution of the incident.

Determination of the appropriate discipline for an incident will be based on the nature of the misconduct will be based on other relevant factors.

Immediate disciplinary measures may be imposed, provided that following a full investigation of the incident, UFC may review the measures and make appropriate adjustments.  Unless the incident involves significant harm, a first offense will generally not result in immediate disciplinary measure until an investigation is completed.

Previous violations of this Policy may be taken into consideration in making disciplinary statements and may result in immediate disciplinary action.  Misconduct prior to a fighter’s provision of service to the UFC may also be considered.

The last line of the disciplinary section is the only mention of prior misconduct that I saw anywhere in the Code of Conduct, and it seems to fairly narrowly construe it toward factoring in toward discipline for current offenses.  The good thing about the Code if you read the whole thing (you can do so in the linked version) is they do have a listed appeal process, so Chope should eventually get his opportunity to speak his case to the powers that be.  After the swift and harsh initial reaction from the UFC, as long as the Code is followed regarding the disciplined fighter we may end up with a just result after all.

All in all, that is what really matters out of this.  There is no argument about the morality of what has been done in the past (domestic abuse is always wrong and should never be condoned), but only that the UFC handles the situation in a way that is fair and consistent with their rules and the precedents they have set in the application of said rules.  They have not handled the situation in the most professional way possible to this point, but there is still the opportunity for them to remedy that.  Before they sever all ties with Chope if they take the time to go through the full process they have listed in the Code, learn the whole story, and then make a decision based on all the information available on him then and on who he is now.  If with all the information the UFC feels he doesn’t belong, so be it.  Either way we will have a fair decision made in a professional manner, and for fans, fighters and the UFC that is the best outcome we can ever ask for.

 

-Josh can be reached @jhall282 or at jhall282@yahoo.com

Around the Combat World

(Welcome to another installment of Around the Combat World, where we review fighters who fought over the weekend away from your television screen.)

  • Sonny Boy Jaro defeated Jovel Romasasa [R1 KO]
  • Tony Thompson defeated Odlanier Solis [SD]
  • Kid Galahad defeated Sergio Prado [UD]
  • Vivian Harris defeated Jorge Paez Jr. [MD]
  • Humberto Soto defeated Juan Carlos Abreu [UD]
  • Anselmo Moreno defeated Javier Nicolas Chacon [UD]
  • Pat Barry defeated Ed Burris [R2 KO, Combat Sports Challenge 39: USA vs. The World]
  • Sergei Kharitonov defeated Tyler East [R2 TKO, Tech-Krep Fighting Championship: Prime]
  • LC Davis defeated Tory Bogguess [R1 Submission, Bellator 113]
  • Fallon Fox defeated Heather Bassett [R2 Submission, Xtreme Fighting Organization 50]
  • Michal Materla defeated Jay Silva [UD, KSW 26]
  • Nick Rossborough lost to Marcin Rozalski [R2 TKO, KSW 26]
  • Goran Reljic defeated Karol Celinski [UD, KSW 26]
  • Paul Slowinski lost to Michal Andryszak [R1 KO, KSW 26]
  • Kazuhiro Nakamura lost to Ken Hasegawa [MD, Deep 65 Impact]
  • Masakazu Imanari lost to Yuki Motoya [UD, Deep 65 Impact]
  • Yoshiyuki Yoshida defeated Shigetoshi Iwase [UD, Deep 65 Impact]
  • Andre Winner defeated Jeremy Petley [Europa MMA: Backstrom vs. Coga]
  • Nazareno Malegarie defeated Derinaldo Guerra da Silva [R1 Submission, Arena Tour 2]
  • Ricardo Tirloni defeated Esteban Bonaveri [R2 Corner Stoppage, Arena Tour 2]
  • John Maguire lost to Damir Hadzovic [R1 KO, Cage Warriors 66]
  • Godofredo Castro defeated Noad Lahat [R1 KO, UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Henderson 2]

Ben’s Breakdowns: Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Rua II

 

Contributor: Ben Kohn

In a rematch of one of the greatest slobberknockers MMA fight fans have ever had the pleasure, privilege, horror, and general “holy shit what the fuck is happening right now” of seeing, Dan Henderson and Shogun Rua are going to dust off their knees, iron chins, and atomic bombs for fists and go to battle for another five rounds as the main event of UFC Fight Night 38. While they put on one of the all-time great fights since MMA began, I want to say that I don’t like that this rematch was booked. Both of these men took years of each other’s lives and it’s incredibly unrealistic to assume they will have a repeat of their magical performance. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let’s get down to what adjustments these two need to make from their first fight in order win this rematch.

This article is going to focus almost entirely on their first fight and the adjustments they need to make in order to win the rematch. Only at the end will I address their more recent fights because I do think they matter in the grand scheme of things but, for the most part, they have not changed their styles at all. That’s my second disclaimer in two paragraphs, is that a record? Alright on to what’s been going on in their careers since their first fight.

Since UFC 139, a day fight that will not soon be forgotten, neither man has exhibited much success but Shogun has had some at least while Hendo has had absolutely none. Dan Henderson is currently on a three fight losing streak to Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, and Vitor Belfort respectively. Vitor was the one to finally finish Hendo by strikes, blasting the legendary chin of Henderson just 1:17 into the first round. Shogun in the meantime has had four fights, beating Brandon Vera and James Te Huna, by TKO and KO respectively, and losing a decision to Alexander Gustafsson and being submitted by Chael Sonnen. Despite both of them being fighters for over a decade (Shogun for 12 years and Henderson for 17 years), there is a massive age gap that separates them as Shogun is 32 and Henderson 11 years older at 43. Henderson’s three fight losing streak is a bit worrisome, especially with the vicious KO he recently suffered, and it concerns me a bit. Shogun on the other hand, in his last fight, looked far better than he has in years. He came in looking trim and fit, moving much better, and overall exhibited a flash of the old Shogun from when he won the title. IF that Shogun shows up to fight the old Hendo that has recently fought, it’s going to be a very interesting fight. But enough of that, let’s move on to see what happened in the first fight round by round and how each fighter, assuming they come in shape and ready to go like they were before, should make adjustments to take the victory the second time around.

The first three rounds of the first fight are the ones that, to me, stick out as the most important ones. Henderson was able to control the pace of the fight because of Shogun’s willingness to brawl and fight at Henderson’s pace rather than pushing the notoriously prone to gassing Hendo to fight at a faster clip. Despite Shogun having some successes in the first 3 rounds, most of the time Hendo was outstriking a man who should have had a distinct advantage in technical ability on the feet. Shogun had range attacks, power, and an iron chin (as was displayed) and he most definitely had the more varied attack. So what went wrong exactly and how was Hendo able to land a game-changing punch almost immediately? Well the answer lies in Shogun’s completely stationary positioning throughout the fight. What exactly do I mean by that? Well Shogun isn’t exactly known for his head movement but he definitely can move when he wants to. Henderson is extremely slow and plodding and relies on his opponents remaining in front of him in order to land that H-bomb. Usually he’ll have to try and corral fighters into the right hand but Shogun, for some inexplicable reason, decided to stand right in front of him and allow Dan to land the punishing right hand over and over again throughout the fight.

You can see from the images above how Shogun was not using lateral movement at all in the fight and was almost always to be found directly in front of Henderson for the first three rounds of the fight. This lack of any sort of footwork or movement to escape the path of Hendo’s attacks culminated in Shogun getting cracked a lot.

 

Here’s a perfect example of Shogun being blasted with a right hand by Henderson after just hanging out directly in front of him. Shogun is standing within punching range and gets cracked behind the ear/head and drops to a knee from the impact of it.

While this is definitely not ideal, there were ways he could have escaped from Hendo’s onslaughts relatively easily. While expecting Shogun, who is also known for having a small gas tank as well, to constantly move around may be a bit much, it isn’t too much to expect him to circle away when Hendo would charge forward recklessly right? Wrong.

Here we see Hendo throw a telegraphed right hand from way out of range and Shogun easily avoids it by moving back. Hendo continues plowing forward throwing a left hook that connects but without much power because of Hendo’s foot position. Shogun continues to just move further back coming up on the cage very quickly. Hendo re-establishes his footing into an orthodox stance and lands a hell of a right hand on the chin of Shogun. Shogun covers up and backs up against the cage where Hendo starts throwing uppercuts and hooks for all he’s worth. This sequence leads into a final issue that Shogun demonstrated in the first few rounds of the fight.

Hendo would absolutely tee off on Shogun whenever he was pressed against the cage. Shogun had a tendency to cover up and try and wait out the punching storm rather than get out of the way of them or stifle the barrage of punches. The fact is that the only reason Shogun was able to survive those three rounds is because of Dan’s inability to sustain the attack against him. Every bit of Dan’s effective offense complimented one another beautifully and Shogun’s constant mistakes in defending really cost him the fight as well many brain cells.

Before moving onto the final two rounds where Hendo had less gas than a Tesla Roadster, I do want to point out the successful attacks Shogun did display in their fight.

Dan Henderson stands with a very linear stance to maximize the power in his right hands. The drawback to this is that his left hook and jab are generally ineffective and lack enough to power to trouble many fighters he faces. Shogun had the most success in the fight countering these weak jabs and hooks with his right hand. While there were not many successes for Shogun, whenever Dan needed space or a break he would fling out the left. Shogun actually dropped Henderson with a right uppercut counter to a feinted jab in the fourth round.

The reason why Shogun was finally able to land the punch had a few components. First, Hendo was extremely tired at this point. Second, Hendo ducked down whenever he throws a left in order to dip away from the expected cross counter Shogun kept attempting. The problem is that it exposes him to the incredibly telegraphed, yet powerful, uppercut Shogun loves. Because Hendo was too tired to do anything about it though, he got blasted with the punch that completely changed the complexion of the fight. After this point, the fight was virtually all Shogun as Hendo was just too gassed out to really fight back. Shogun was landing punches on the feet immediately after the huge uppercut and after taking him down at the end of the round. Shogun also rode out the entire fifth round in top position landing tons of ground and pound from mount but he was unable to finish due to being so tired. The round most definitely should have been a 10-8 though and the fight should have ended in a draw but alas it did not. So in order to win the rematch, what do these two men need to do?

In Henderson’s last fight, he was knocked out for the first time in his career (although it was not a clean KO and was a TKO) but many feel that his chin may still be intact after that beatdown by Belfort. For his sake I hope so because he will need it in this fight. Shogun displayed in his fight with James Te Huna almost everything he needed to change in order to come out of this fight victorious. He was in shape and was moving around, not standing in front of Te Huna and continually using lateral movement. In the short fight, he also actively worked to circle away from the cage when his back was against the fence which is very good news. Finally, he was using his infamous leg kicks when he was at range with the powerful boxer. Against Henderson, who will need Shogun to stand still, this Shogun most definitely needs to show up to fight. The most important thing in my opinion though is that Shogun needs to move around. If he can force Dan to move and not present a stationary target, than he can avoid the infamous inside leg kick to right hand combination of Hendo.

Hendo, for his part, needs to display exactly what he did in the first fight with a bit more restraint. Shogun is just as tough as Hendo and expecting to finish him is not very smart. I understand chasing down the opponent and trying to finish but after their first fight, Hendo needs to be a bit more conservative when going for the kill. Aside from that, Hendo basically fought the perfect fight. He avoided grappling when he could and clinched when he was tired. Shogun on the other hand inexplicably did not work to grapple with Hendo in the earlier rounds. Hendo’s weak cardio and less than stellar game off his back should have been a go-to in their first fight and Shogun would be wise to try and tire Hendo out on the feet.

Overall, their first fight was only close because of Hendo’s inability to fight for so many rounds at that pace. Henderson basically dominated the fight before gassing and the Shogun that fought him then cannot show up again or it will be the same exact fight again. Shogun needs to fight exactly like he did against Te Huna. Never giving Hendo a stationary target is something Machida and Evans did in their fights while Belfort….well yea. Shogun can definitely win this and looking as good as he did in the fight with Te Huna gives me hope that he can actually beat Hendo the second time. For that reason I am picking Shogun to fight smart and show up in shape (yes I know how ridiculous that notion is).

Final Prediction: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua by TKO Round 3.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 42 other followers