The Flying Knee MMA Your Source For The Latest In MMA News and Analysis Fri, 01 Aug 2014 06:12:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bellator 122 Results and Recap: Koreshkov Blasts to Second Welterweight Title Shot Fri, 01 Aug 2014 06:11:23 +0000 In the first event under new president Scott Coker’s regime, Bellator 122 ended their fourth summer series with a bang.

After a fairly disappointing open to the summer series, in what can only be called the worst main event in history, Bellator 122 came back strong with 2 tournament finals. The event was headlined by former tournament winner Andrey Koreshkov, and Cinderella story tournament finalist Adam McDonough. After upsetting veteran Jesse Juarez in a Unanimous Decision and knocking out former Sportfight and MFC welterweight champion Nathan coy, McDonough came into this fight looking for a third straight upset. Unfortunately for McDonough, Koreshkov had other plans.

The first round started out like most Koreshkov fights do, with Koreshkov stalking. Koreshkov controlled the first round using his great timing and controlled the distance keeping it at a kickboxing range with crisp combos, Koreshkov also showed a great new found take down defense. The second round was more of the round saw more of the same until about the mid way point were Koreshkov landed a wheel kick right on the chin. Koreshkov followed up but couldn’t finish, he proceeded to dominate the rest of the fight on route to a unanimous decision.

Koreshkov now becomes only the third man in two tournaments in the same weight class. He will face Douglas Lima for the welterweight title in season 11.

After completely dominating his way to the tournament finals, Bellator prospect Brandon Halsey made short work of former title contender and tournament runner-up Brett Cooper. After putting former Ultimate Fighter winner Kendall Grove out in his last fight, Brett Cooper came in as the slight favorite but that didn’t faze the young Halsey. The NCAA wrestler went straight to his bread and butter in which he proceeded to take Cooper down and attempt and arm bar. After having a few difficulties Halsey made the adjustments and went belly down forcing him to tap out in the first round.

In other action, Bubba Jenkins scored a dominant TKO victory over tough veteran Poppies Martinez with Takedowns, heavy ground and pound and improved stand up, leading him to his 3 straight win in the Bellator cage. Also in a very impressive performance, top Light heavyweight prospect Liam McGeary finished top notch veteran Egidijus Valavicius. Valavicius (undefeated in the Bellator cage), was stopped in just 2:10 seconds of the first round in a rare standing TKO.

Liam McGeary will be going on to the Summer Series Light Heavyweight finals to take on Kelly Aundson at an undetermined time.

Main card
Andrey Koreshkov def. Adam McDonough via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Brandon Halsey def. Brett Cooper via submission (armbar) at 2:09 of round 1
Liam McGeary def. Egidijus Valavicius via TKO (strikes) at 2:10 of round 1
Karo Parisyan def. Phil Baroni via KO (punches) at 2:06 of round 1

Kelly Aundson def. Philipe Lins via first-round TKO (injury, 1:40)
Bubba Jenkins def. Poppies Martinez via first-round TKO (4:10)
Dmitriy Sosnovskiy vs. Manny Lara
Augusto Sakai def. Matt Frembling via TKO (strikes) at 3:32 of round 3
Linton Vassell vs. Virgil Zwicker
Fernando Gonzalez def. Karl Amoussou via unanimous decision (29-28)
Saad Awad def. Joe Duarte via first-round TKO (1:18)
Sergio Rios def. Stephen Martinez via second-round KO (0:20)

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UFC on Fox 12: Lawler vs Brown Preview and Predictions Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:00:22 +0000 Live Saturday, July 26, 2014 from the SAP Center in San Jose, California we are being treated to a pay per view worthy card for FREE. No titles are on the line, but the main card fights all have serious title implications. If you’re not excited for this event you definitely should be!

Josh Thomson vs Bobby Green

Josh Thomson returns to the octagon for the first time since being robbed of his number one contender status. In his last outing at UFC on Fox 10, Thomson clearly won a decision over Benson Henderson, but somehow the judges awarded Henderson the win. None the less, Thomson looks to put that fight behind him and move back into the top tier at 155lbs.

Filling in on short notice for Michael Johnson, Bobby Green has the opportunity of a lifetime against Thomson on Saturday night. A win over the top 5 ranked Thomson would make it eight in a row for the Green and would vault him into the front running for a title shot. He’ll look to take full advantage and get a signature win.

Who wins the fight and how

I respect Bobby Green and definitely see him as a top 15 lightweight fighter. However, I see Thomson being on a whole other level above him. Thomson is one of the top wrestlers at 155lbs and possesses a suffering top game, to go along with great grappling. He’s going to embrace the grind against Green and pull him into deep waters from the opening bell. Expect multiple takedowns, vicious ground and pound, as well as numerous submission attempts. I see Green being able to defend all submissions and survive the full 15 minutes, but by the end of the fight Thomson will be the clear winner and prove why he’s still a top contender.

The Final Verdict

Thomson defeats Green via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)

Dennis Bermudez vs Clay Guida

Dennis Bermudez has a six fight win streak and now finally gets the chance to prove he’s an elite 145lb fighter, on national television none the less. Having not lost since December 2011, a recent third round TKO over Jim Hettes at UFC 171 showed that Bermudez can be a finisher and that he’s finally ready for top competition.

To get to the top of the division Bermudez will have to get past the ultimate gatekeeper, Clay Guida. Guida will never win a championship, but will also likely never be released from the company. He’s the proving ground, and if you beat him it shows you’re legit. In his most recent victory over Kawajiri, Guida finally got back to his old crowd-pleasing ways with an exciting unanimous decision victory. Just 2-3 in his past five fights, Guida will be looking for some consistency and to continue on the winning track, proving all doubters (myself included) wrong along the way.

Who wins the fight and how

I see Dennis Bermudez as good all around fighter, but I believe he’s had a little help from the judges to get to this fight. He’s got a solid overall game, but if vintage Guida shows up on Saturday night Bermudez will be in trouble. I believe this is a great stylistic matchup for Guida, as Bermudez will look to push the pace, which is exactly what Guida wants. Clay will win most of the scrambles and end up on top more often than not. He’ll pound away on Bermudez for 15 minutes, never really leaving an opportunity for Bermudez to get things going. It’s an exciting affair but when the judge’s scorecards are read, it’s all Clay Guida.

The Final Verdict

Guida defeats Bermudez via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Rogerio “Lil Nog” Nogueira vs Anthony Johnson

It appears we will finally see Lil Nog back inside the octagon. After numerous injuries have kept him out of fights since February 2013, He’s booked for a fight with big title implications at 205lbs. He was last seen out working (and putting us all to sleep in the process) Rashad Evans at UFC 156. That made it two in a row for the Brazilian and an impressive win Saturday night could mean he’s in a title fight by 2015.

Opposite of Lil Nog is Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. After two years away from the UFC, Rumble returned to the octagon this past April at 205lbs and made a huge statement. He controlled the highly ranked Phil Davis and even made him look like an amateur at times. That win made it seven in a row for Rumble, and considering the shallow pool of talent in the light heavyweight division he could be looking at a number one contenders fight (if not a title fight) by late 2014, early 2015.

Who wins the fight and how

I could sit here and tell you this will be a close fight, but it’s going to be quite the opposite. On one side you have 38 year old Lil Nog, who’s fought twice in the past two and a half years. The other side you have Rumble Johnson, an athletic freak who’s been ripping his competition apart and staying active. This fight was a mismatch from the get go and we’ll see that on Saturday night. Rumble Johnson will pick apart the well-past-his-prime Nogueira in the first round before coming out at the start of the second and starching his opponent with a huge right hand. Then, just like his brother did against Roy Nelson, Lil Nog falls stiff to the canvas and it’s all over.

The Final Verdict

Johnson defeats Nogueira via second round KO

Robbie Lawler vs Matt Brown

Robbie Lawler started the year off with a title shot, and it appears he may finish the year off with one as well. After suffering a decision loss in a Fight of the Year candidate with now champion Johny Hendricks at UFC 171 Lawler could not have bounced back any better. He was last seen at UFC 173 dismantling and then TKO’ing Jake Ellenberger in the third round of their bout, after somewhat of a quick turn around. Lawler has 19 knockouts in 23 career victories and he’ll be looking to put those hands to good use Saturday night, where a win guarantees him a title shot by years end.

Opposite of Lawler is another man who’s been gunning for a title shot for quite some time now, Matt “The Immortal” Brown. Winner of seven in a row and undefeated since 2011, it may finally be Brown’s time. He was last seen in what I see as the clear Fight of the Year front runner (as of now anyways) back in May, when he chewed up and spit out Erick Silva after a three round beat down of epic proportions. A win Saturday night would without a doubt be the biggest of Brown’s career, so look for him to come out with a killer instinct.

Who wins the fight and how

I cannot even begin to describe the amount of awesome that is packed into this fight. The UFC could sell this fight alone on a pay per view and I’m sure it would still do great numbers – so this means it’s sure to disappoint, right? I don’t think so. These are the two most entertaining and destructive fighters at 170lbs right now and I think they’re going to put on a fantastic show Saturday night. Lawler is the more technical and possibly more powerful striker, while Brown will likely be the aggressor and make Lawler work at his pace. I see this being a very back and forth fight. Both men will have their high spots and hurt their opponent on more than one occasion. I see the first two rounds being split, but in the third round Lawler’s ever improving kicks will begin to unfold as the difference makers. Constant body and head kicks eventually take their toll. Third round Lawler catches Brown to the body and drops him, but Brown escapes to the fourth. Unfortunately for Brown, in the fourth round Lawler fakes another body kick, Brown bites and Lawler goes upstairs with a beautiful shin to the dome. Brown drops and is instantly out. Follow up shots happen before the referee steps in, although they’re not necessary. Lawler wins and we’ll see a rematch for the welterweight title by years end.

The Final Verdict

Lawler defeats Brown via fourth round KO

The Rest of the Card

Masvidal defeats Cruickshank via unanimous decision

Cummins defeats Kingsbury via unanimous decision

Means defeats Perpetuo via second round TKO

Ortega defeats Torre via unanimous decision

Siler defeats Lahat via unanimous decision

Stahl defeats Burns via unanimous decision

Jedrzejczyk defeats Lima via unanimous decision

Bonus Winners

Fight of the Night – Lawler vs Brown

Performance of the night – Johnson and Guida

After a 5-1 Fight Night 45 and a perfect 4-0 Fight Night 46 I’m now 80-26-1 overall and am very confident I’ll go 4-0 for this event. Enjoy everyone and thanks for reading!

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Fight Forecast: Robbie Lawler vs Matt Brown Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:00:22 +0000 UFC on FOX 12 comes our way live from San Jose, California Saturday night, and the main event between “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler and Matt “The Immortal” Brown has all of the makings of an absolute barnburner. I rarely claim that a fight is a “can’t miss” or guaranteed to deliver, but I’ll go on record as saying that I am absolutely giddy for this matchup. Each man is on an ultra-impressive tear and have honestly never looked better, with Brown riding an improbable seven-fight win streak, and Lawler fresh off a bounce back win after his epic title clash with Johny Hendricks. With the way these guys match up, this fight is guaranteed to deliver the goods.

Matt Brown may be the most aggressive fighter in the entire UFC. As soon as each round starts, Brown immediately takes the center of the Octagon and establishes the pace that he wants to fight at, forcing his opponents to adapt to his game or face the consequences. He is the definition of a volume striker, always looking to out work his opponents while moving forward. He isn’t really the heaviest-handed puncher, however his sheer aggression leaves many openings in his opponents defense that he has been able to exploit in the past, as was the case in his fights with Mike Swick, Mike Pyle, and Erick Silva. His best work standing is done in the clinch, where he is a viable 8-point striker, always looking for the kill. He does have several noticeable defensive flaws on the feet though, particularly his propensity to absorb damaging body shots and his inability to consistently check leg kicks. As for wrestling, Brown does like to take fights to the ground in match-ups where he feels he can exploit his opponents weaknesses, or if he feels that things are getting out of hand standing. He generally closes the distance with punches, works to the clinch and looks for trips, which he is fairly proficient at. Offensively, his ground game is very solid as well, where he has been known to land ferocious ground and pound, and aggressively works to pass guard. From bottom, he threatens actively with submissions and sweeps, but has been prone to leave openings for his opponents, as he is evidenced by his nine career submission losses.

Robbie Lawler has “Ruthless” aggression in his own right, and has a track record that speaks for itself. Lawler has experienced a career rejuvenation since returning to the UFC, going 4-1 with the lone loss coming in his grueling back and forth title scrap with Johny Hendricks this past March. Lawler’s incredible transformation from veteran journeyman to top caliber title contender in such a short time is nothing short of remarkable. Dropping back down to welterweight and switching camps to train full-time at American Top Team in Florida have truly done wonders for Robbie, and he continues improve and impress each time out. Lawler is an explosive striker with a solid wrestling background, which he generally uses defensively to keep fights on the feet. Known formerly as a brawler, nowadays Robbie utilizes more harnessed aggression, picking his spots and unloading when he finds an opening. Lawler very well may be the most dangerous striker in the welterweight division, and scrolling through his highlight reel full of knockouts, it’s easy to back that statement up. He has very heavy hands, as well as devastating knees and has even begun to thrown a lot more kicks over the past couple of years, which is more bad news for opponents. As far as his ground game and wrestling are concerned, he doesn’t often look for his own takedowns, and doesn’t have an offensive guard to speak of. He does utilize a solid butterfly guard that he uses to create space to stand back to his feet. He also has very solid takedown defense, which was on full display against Hendricks and Ellenberger in his last two bouts, as well as for spurts in the Rory Macdonald and Josh Koscheck fights.  He has really only had difficulty being controlled by larger opposition at middleweight, and even then it was usually against the very best of the best. He also has very good cardio, having been scheduled for five rounds numerous times in the past and proving up to the task.

This bout will be a classic clash of similar styles, and the winner is going to be the man who is able to establish dominance on the feet. This is why I favor Robbie Lawler to walk away the victor. While his seven fight win streak is undeniably impressive, I have to question the caliber of opponents that Matt Brown has faced en-route to his top ten ranking, having only defeated one ranked opponent (an inconsistent, at times underwhelming Erick Silva) along the way. In fact, when looking closer at the matchups, one can argue that while Brown was an underdog in several of his fights along the way in his streak, he was never significantly overmatched in any one area that he couldn’t adjust his gameplan to compensate for. The opposite can be said about Lawler’s reinvigorated run, as he has run up against a who’s who of top welterweights, most of whom he was (on paper) at a distinct stylistic disadvantage against, yet still managed to overcome that perceived handicap.

I expect Brown to come out aggressive, as he always does, and try and take the fight to Lawler. Robbie will be anticipating this, and should be savvy enough defensively to pick his shots to capitalize. If things get hairy on the feet for Brown, he will likely look to find a way to the clinch, where he will try and use his trips to take Lawler down. Again, I believe that Lawler will be able to thwart these attempts, having done so successfully against tougher competition. Lawler should be the stronger fighter, and is more athletic and explosive than Brown, and I’m just not sure what Brown will be able to do to counteract those disparities. I expect Lawler to utilize a lot of low kicks, as those have proved effective for him in the past, and Brown doesn’t usually check leg kicks. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lawler then uses those low kicks to set up something upstairs, or even goes to the body with them later in the fight. Again, Brown has proven to be weak to the body in the past, and despite being known for his durability and never being stopped by strikes in his career, I think that Lawler will be able to score a stoppage at some point. If he does manage to survive early, things will only get worse for him later, as the cardio advantage in this fight is also in Lawler’s favor.

I certainly fancy a play on Lawler here, having grabbed him at -310 earlier in the week. While he is currently sitting at -350, I still think there is value in Lawler at that number as parlay material. Lawler by TKO/KO is a solid play at -165 as well, and I also favor the fight to end under 2.5 rounds, which is currently sitting at -140. I have a very strong feeling on this fight, as I feel that Lawler holds the advantage in virtually every area.

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UFC Fight Night 46: McGregor vs. Brandao Preview and Predictions Wed, 16 Jul 2014 15:25:54 +0000 Live, Saturday, July 19, 2014 from The O2 in Dublin, Ireland we’re in for a fantastic Fight Night card. The prelims begin at Noon ET, while the main card gets underway at 3pm ET. With locals Neil Seery and Conor McGregor, as well as crowd favourites Brad Pickett and Ian McCall, you can be sure this one will produce a lot of highlights!

Naoyuki Kotani vs Norman Parke

Naoyuki Kotani is finally back in the UFC. I know, you’re saying to yourself “Never heard of the guy, what gives”. A two-fight stint in 2007 saw him lose to Thiago Tavares and Dennis Siver, before being cut by the organization. However, undefeated since 2010 and winner of 13 straight fights, the Japanese native has been given a second chance and will look to take full advantage.

Coming off of a disappointing majority draw with Leonardo Santos at UFC Fight Night 39, Norman Parke will look to get back on the winning track and erase the memories of his last performance. Like his opponent, Parke is undefeated since 2010. However, he is five years younger than his opponent and will be looking to show it on Saturday.

Who wins the fight and how

Kotani is 33-10-7 overall in MMA and has a significant experience advantage over his opponent. However, in the thirteen victories he’s compiled in the last four years, all have come in his native Japan, where competition is definitely limited. Although I don’t believe Parke has faced the best competition himself, I still see him having the edge. I see Parke clinching Kotani up against the fence, taking him down at will and grinding him out, easily winning all three rounds (possibly even picking up a 10-8 round from a few judges).

The Final Verdict

Parke defeats Kotani via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)

Ian McCall vs Brad Pickett

Ian McCall is back in the octagon! One of the most popular flyweight’s in the division hasn’t seen action since he picked up his first UFC victory over Iliarde Santos, at UFC 163. McCall knows the 125lb division is shallow and a win on Saturday will go a long way towards a title shot. Expect him to come out ready to dominate and make a big statement.

Another man looking to make a statement is Brad Pickett. Coming off of an impressive decision win over Neil Seery earlier this year, Pickett finally gets his crack at McCall and he’ll look to take full advantage. At 35 years old, Pickett knows this is his last chance at a title shot.

Who wins the fight and how

I see this being the best candidate for fight of the night, by far. Both of these combatants possess good overall MMA skillsets, but choose to throw caution to the wind and please the crowd above all else, and I don’t imagine Saturday to be any different. Pickett has the best chin at 125 or 135lbs and I see that playing a big roll in this fight. It will be very back and forth on the feet, but McCall will land the cleaner shots more often than not. However, Pickett will always be willing to stand and trade, never flinching. McCall possesses some of the best takedowns in the division and I think he’ll use that to his full advantage. Setting up his shots with well-timed strikes, I see this fight being close, however McCall will pull away with late takedowns and ground and pound. It’s a close fight with many highlights, but overall I see McCall being too much to handle and getting his hand raised.

The Final Verdict

McCall defeats Pickett via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)

Zak Cummings vs Gunnar Nelson

Zak Cummings is set for a relatively quick turn around in this one. Replacing Ryan LaFlare, Cummings will fight for the second time in about 60 days when he steps into the cage on Saturday. In his last outing he defeated the previously unbeaten Yan Cabral via unanimous decision at Fight Night 40 in May. He’ll be looking to add another victory to his current four-fight winning streak and move one step closer to the welterweight top ten.

Another man looking to crack the top ten with a win Saturday is his opponent, Gunnar Nelson. Unbeaten as a professional, at 12-0-1 overall, Gunnar Nelson is being heralded by the UFC as a future star, but unlike many of their past fighters, they’re building him up the right way. Already a relatively impressive 3-0 inside the octagon, Nelson looks to add to his total and show everyone why he’s “the next big thing” at welterweight.

Who wins the fight and how

I cant even begin to tell you how excited I was for the Nelson vs LaFlare matchup. Both undefeated inside the octagon and looking to move into possibly the top ten in the division with a win. Unfortunately, that fight will not happen, not now anyways. For now we’re stuck with Nelson vs Cummings. Taking nothing away from Zak Cummings, because I was very impressed with his win over Yan Cabral, but I don’t think he stands a chance in this one. He’s outmatched in every facet of the game and outside of landing a miracle shot I don’t see him coming away victorious. Instead, I see Nelson touching Cummings up on the feet, before eventually working things down to the mat and then taking his back for the rear-naked-choke finish. Easy, yet impressive.

The Final Verdict

Nelson defeats Cummings via first round submission

Conor McGregor vs Diego Brandao

Finally, we get to see the return of “Notorious” Conor McGregor. When he steps into the octagon Saturday it will be nearly 11 months since we last saw him in action. His last time out, McGregor was seen systematically picking apart Max Holloway for an easy decision victory. Winner of 10 straight fights, and undefeated since 2011, McGregor will look to show us all on Saturday why he’s thought of as a future champion at either 145 or 155lbs.

Standing in his way is the always tough Diego Brandao. Coming off of a first round TKO loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 168, Brandao will definitely be looking to make a statement in this fight. 7-2 in his past nine fights, look for Brandao to embrace his role as the heel and take out the hometown McGregor with a bang.

Who wins the fight and how

The man who defeats Conor McGregor will be someone with great wrestling and a smothering top game – like a Chad Mendes, Nik Lentz or a Clay Guida. Unfortunately, Diego Brandao doesn’t fit into this list. Brandao is a powerful striker who is always down for a brawl. However, that could not make it any easier for McGregor to defeat him on Saturday night. Expect Brandao to come straight forward for the first round, hands down, chin up. McGregor will tag him repeatedly and hurt him bad. Second round begins and McGregor connects with a jab-cross combination that floors Brandao. McGregor pounces on him for the win and the fireworks begin in Dublin!

The Final Verdict

McGregor defeats Brandao via second round TKO

The Rest of the Card

Troeng defeats Smith via second round submission

Latifi defeats Dempsey via unanimous decision

Seery defeats Harris via unanimous decision

Pendred defeats King via unanimous decision

Sampo defeats Holohan via unanimous decision

Krylov defeats Donovan via first round KO


Fight of the Night – McCall vs Pickett

Performance of the Night – Nelson and McGregor

Although I won’t be writing a column for Fight Night 45: Cerrone vs Miller, or going too in depth in my predictions, I will still post my official main card picks here:

Alex White defeats Lucas Martins via first round TKO

John Lineker defeats Alptekin Ozkilic via second round TKO

Joe Proctor defeats Justin Salas via unanimous decision

Rick Story defeats Leonardo Mafra via unanimous decision

Edson Barboza defeats Evan Dunham via unanimous decision

Donald Cerrone defeats Jim Miller via fourth round submission

After a 3-1 Fight Night 43, 3-1 UFC 175 and 4-1Ultimate fighter 19 Finale my main card record moves up to a stellar 71-25-1. With the possibility of a 6-0 Fight Night 45 and a 4-0 Fight Night 46 I’ve got a chance for another successful week. Here’s to hoping it happens!

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UFC Fight Night 45: Gadelha vs Lahdemaki Fight Forecast Wed, 16 Jul 2014 15:18:04 +0000 On Wednesday night, UFC fans will be treated to the introduction of the women’s strawweight division as Claudia Gadelha and Tina Lahdemaki square off. With the next season of The Ultimate Fighter dedicated to crowning the division’s inaugural champion, I think that the winner of this bout is very likely going to be in line for a title shot in the not too distant future.

Make no mistake about it, this bout is a classic set up fight. And the set up is for Claudia Gadelha to pick up her first UFC win and remain undefeated. Tina Lahdemaki may be undefeated herself, but she has literally fought a list of nobodies back in her native Finland. After watching tape of her fights, it was apparent that her opponents were none too skilled, and some of them even had losing records, or in one instance, no previous fights. As for Lahdemaki’s own skills, she comes from a boxing background. She doesn’t come out very aggressive, often sitting back and feeling out her opponents in each round before thoroughly engaging. She has decent footwork, but her defense is a bit suspect. She likes to clinch and grind her opponents down to the mat after extended exchanges standing, and once on top she is normally able to out-muscle her opposition and drop effective ground and pound.

Unfortunately for her, her opponent, the aforementioned Gadelha, is superior to her in all areas, even in the stand-up in my opinion. Gadelha comes out very aggressive, and puts out a good volume of strikes. Her defense does have holes, but she has proven to be more than capable of taking a big shot. Her goal is always to push forward, find the clinch, and secure a trip, which she is very successful at doing. Once on top, Gadelha is a nightmare for opponents, with smothering top control and very aggressive guard passing. Once her opponent is left vulnerable, she will attack with ground and pound or look to latch onto a submission, staying busy and always working for a finish. While she has gotten too aggressive in the past and lost position, she is more than capable off of her back and is very dangerous with sweeps of her own.

On paper, this looks to me like a squash match. Lahdemaki is fighting outside of Finland for the first time of her career, and is taking a huge step up in competition. She also has been fighting in two round fights, so her cardio may be a question mark. On the other hand, Gadelha has faced much better opponents, and has proven relentless. Due to the combination of factors working against Lahdemaki, I not only give her little chance of winning this matchup, I also think that she will be finished, which provides us with two very good betting opportunities. Currently, Gadelha wins inside the distance is priced at +160, and the under 2.5 rounds is priced at +165. I fancy both of those for a play, as I am extremely confident that Gadelha will be able to dispatch of Lahdemaki with relative ease.

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UFC Fight Night 45 – Cerrone vs. Miller Fight Forecast Tue, 15 Jul 2014 22:38:35 +0000 As far as Wednesday UFC main events are concerned, you really can’t ask for much more than this match-up. Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller are tried and true veterans of the Octagon, each having wowed and awed fans with great fights and spectacular finishes throughout their UFC careers. What’s even more impressive is that along with their thoroughly enjoyable styles, each also ranks near the top of the UFC’s most competitive division, the 155 pound lightweight gauntlet.

Donald Cerrone comes into this bout riding a three fight winning streak, and is looking for his third victory already this calendar year. A very well rounded fighter, Cerrone came into MMA with a striking background, going undefeated as a kickboxer. He truly is an “eight-limbed” striker, as I like to say, throwing deadly combinations of knees, kicks, punches and elbows.  His 73 inch reach gives him a length advantage over most lightweight competitors, however he is successful at fighting from distance or inside. Cerrone is most effective when he is able to dictate the pace, and loves to come forward and press the action. In addition to his striking acumen, he is also incredibly dangerous on the ground as well. In fact, although being known as a striker, 15 of Cerrone’s 23 wins have came via submission, as opposed to only 3 stoppages from strikes. Cerrone is extremely skilled off of his back, and his guard is a tricky one for even the best ground fighters. He uses butterfly guard effectively, as well as rubber guard, and actively looks for submission opportunities to either sweep his opponent or effectively end the fight. If I had to single out one weakness in his overall game, I’d say that it would be his wrestling, which is still above average.

His opponent, Jim Miller, is also riding a wave of momentum himself, as he is officially on a three fight win streak (one of his last four bouts was a loss to Pat Healy, overturned to a no-contest due to Healy testing positive for marijuana). Miller is an extremely talented grappler with improved striking and above average wrestling. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Miller has 13 career submission victories, and has acquired them from a wide array of methods. Miller is great in the scramble, and is able to score submissions off of his back or from top control, which he is able to gain from his takedowns, which are fairly solid. He uses rubber guard to control opponents who gain top position on him, and likes to set up the armbar from that spot. As far as his stand-up is concerned, it’s still a work in progress, but has shown vast improvements over the last few years. He likes to close the distance on his opponents and make fights ugly, utilizing short punches and elbows to do damage. He also has a very solid inside leg kick, and as a southpaw this has proved to be a very effective weapon against orthodox fighters in the past.

Looking at them individually, both of these fighters are very well rounded, but I have to give a slight edge in overall skills to Cerrone. This is a particularly interesting fight from my perspective because by my estimation, a win here for either fighter will be the biggest (in terms of caliber of opponent) of their career. Cerrone will enjoy a height and reach advantage, and will undoubtedly have the advantage on the feet. Cerrone has struggled some with southpaws in the past, but I just don’t think Miller will be able to exploit him there. Miller will need to close the distance to be effective, and will likely have to force Cerrone back into the fence to work any kind of effective striking. Miller is a good kicker, as I mentioned earlier, but Cerrone is better and I’m not sure Miller we be able to comfortably set up those kicks from range. Miller will need to score a takedown to have a real shot at finishing the fight, but again this will not be easy. Cerrone has stuffed takedowns from top wrestlers in the past (Varner, Henderson), and while I definitely can see Miller getting him down, I doubt he will be able to get hold him there. The scrambles on the ground should be very entertaining, and I actually give Miller the slight advantage there, but not by a wide margin. Also not to be overlooked here is that this bout is five rounds, a territory Jim Miller has never ventured into before. Cerrone has gone a full five rounds twice in his WEC career. Miller has shown signs of slowing down in fights before, namely against Joe Lauzon and Pat Healy, and I think this fight could be another high paced affair, in which I give the cardio advantage to Cerrone.

I’m picking Donald Cerrone to win this bout, primarily because he holds the biggest advantage in the fight; his striking. Miller has never been stopped by strikes before, but he certainly has been hurt in the past and I believe Cerrone will be able to hurt Miller, and either TKO him on the ground or find a quick submission as he has done time and time again. Cerrone will need to be careful, as Miller can grab a submission in a split second, but Cerrone has all of the tools to come out victorious.

As for a bet, Cerrone is currently sitting at -240, which is a little too high for me. The under 3.5 rounds (which I also favor), is also a bit too pricey for my liking at -140, even though I think that this doesn’t see the fourth round. One bet I do like is Cerrone inside the distance +115, as I think he breaks Jim Miller down on the feet and forces him into a position he can’t continue from.

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A Bettor’s Guide to UFC 175: Weidman vs Machida Sat, 05 Jul 2014 19:08:25 +0000 As every MMA fan can tell you, there is nothing bigger than International Fight Week. For those that will be wagering on fights this weekend, UFC 175 is surely the main attraction. Two title fights, a few squash matches, big names, UFC 175 has a little bit of everything. After analyzing each matchup, I’ve pinpointed several prime opportunities.

Please note that all odds quoted in this article are current as of the time this guide was posted, and obviously are subject to change. Bet accordingly.

Middleweight Championship: Chris Weidman (-175) vs Lyoto Machida (+165)

Chris Weidman returns to the Octagon for the first time since his second devastating win over former pound for pound king Anderson Silva. His fight with Machida will be his second defense, and will go a long way toward determining the legacy and status of both men. A Weidman win solidifies him as a top pound for pound force, while a win for Machida makes him a two division champion, a feat only accomplished by two other men.

This fight is really intriguing, and very close on paper. I’ve seen sharps on both sides of this bout, and I myself also have a position. Many people are still selling Weidman short after his consecutive title wins over Silva, calling fluke. And while each bout ended in astonishing fashion, I look at the fights in their entirety to draw my conclusions. Weidman did a great job of avoiding strikes, as well as closing the distance to land his own. The only significant strikes that Weidman absorbed in those two bouts in fact were Silva’s leg kicks, which Weidman corrected after the first fight and eventually stifled in the second. In addition to Weidman’s powerful top control, which is what comes to mind first when you think of his offensive arsenal, he also is very strong in the clinch, managing to hurt Silva badly and even drop him in their second fight. All things considered, I feel there are many positives to take away from those bouts. Weidman also has undoubtedly improved since then, as was evident between his title win and his first defense.

As for Machida, he’s looked ultra impressive since dropping to middleweight, bringing with him all of the tools that made him so dangerous at 205, and perhaps being even faster and more elusive than before. He scored a sick knockout of Mark Munoz in his debut, then proceeded to dominate Gegard Mousasi to ultimately earn his title shot. Machida will look to keep this fight standing with his solid take down defense and shifty foot work. As long as the fight is in his realm, Weidman will be at a disadvantage.

As for how I see it playing out, I believe Weidman will be able to put early pressure on Machida to close the distance and try and work Machida into the fence, where from there he can shoot for a takedown or work in the clinch. This will not be easy, but I believe Weidman is smart enough to come in without being caught and will pick his shots carefully. Once there, Weidman won’t be looking to grind out a win. I believe he will aggressively pursue a better position, and will work his way toward a finish. Machida won’t go lightly, but after examining his bouts with Jon Jones and Shogun Rua (his two stoppage losses), you can see that he struggled to deal with fighters that can effectively close distance on him. Also, his “loss” against Phil Davis showed further that fighters with length and solid wrestling cause him further difficulties. Weidman’s cardio is still a relative unknown, whereas Machida is solid in that area, but I’m of the opinion it won’t matter, as I see Weidman finding a way to stop Machida somewhere inside the first three rounds. I like Chris Weidman -175 for a straight play or parlay, and also favor the UNDER 4.5 (-130), as I see either fighter’s most likely avenue to victory coming by stoppage.

Women’s Bantamweight Championship: Ronda Rousey (-1000) vs Alexis Davis (+800)

I’ll spare you guys the lengthy breakdown here; this is a terrible matchup for Davis. Her primary strength is grappling, which just so happens to be Rousey’s as well. As we know, Ronda is so dominant in the grappling game that few women have even given her any resemblance of a challenge. Even as a BJJ black belt, I don’t think that Davis will pose much threat simply because she is a far inferior athlete to Rousey. Just looking at the two of them stand next to each other, you can visibly see the athletic differences. Rousey will be too strong, too fast and too explosive for Davis to handle. I see Rousey being dominant no matter where the fight takes place. Davis does have a ton of heart, and is very tough, so when the fight ends is a question to me, but I am nonetheless confident that this bout does end inside the distance. Rousey ITD -461 is good for a parlay, as well as Rousey points handicap -9.5 (-625) for those who are a bit more conservative. I’ll also being throwing a flier on Rousey by TKO +600, namely because of the athletic discrepancy I touched on above.

Quick thoughts on the other bouts…

  • There are a several one-sided matchups littered on this card, and I intend to take advantage of them. Alex Caceres is nowhere near the class of fighter that Urijah Faber is. This is a curious pairing, and I have no doubts that Faber takes care of business. Faber has only ever lost to championship caliber fighters, and he usually handles lesser competition in impressive fashion. Caceres will be game, but Faber should be able to dictate the pace in this fight and find a finish. I threw Faber in a parlay when he opened, but the value on the straight line has diminished. Faber points handicap -3.5 (-450) is much better to play, and I’ll also be on Faber ITD -160.
  • Sticking with the one-sided fights tune, I think that Thiago Santos is being fed to Uriah Hall. The UFC has placed this bout on the main card, and they are obviously looking to get one of their favorite guys a win. Hall is superior in all areas, and always has the potential for a spectacular finish. He also has the potential to be madly frustrating to watch, but I think his advantages here are so clear that I’ll be parlaying Hall -400.
  • Chris Camozzi is also matched up favorably here, as he should have physical advantages over Bruno Santos. If Camozzi is able to sprawl and brawl here, which I believe he will, he’ll be on his way to a clear win. Santos also looked poor at the weigh-in, further solidifying my confidence in Camozzi -220. He’s definitely parlay material.
  • My lone underdog play on the card is on Kenny Robertson. He’s consistently undervalued by the betting public, and has a history of cashing as an underdog. His opponent, Ildemar Alcantara, is conversely overrated by bettors, and I’m not really sure why. He’s quite sloppy, standing and on the mat, and has questionable cardio. Robertson, to the surprise of some, should be the more capable grappler here, and I foresee him locking in a submission and upsetting Alcantara. I grabbed Robertson +130 yesterday, and I’d still recommend a play at the current line. I’ll also be taking a stab at Robertson by submission.

Hope you all enjoy the fights! Feel free to hit me up on Twitter @JoeyGMMA for questions about fights/odds.

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A Bettor’s Guide to World Series of Fight 11: Gaethje vs Newell Sat, 05 Jul 2014 16:42:40 +0000 The biggest fight weekend of the year is upon us, and it all kicks off Saturday afternoon as World Series of Fighting makes its debut on NBC. The card has several recognizable names, and is not short of a few intriguing matchups and betting angles. Only the four main card bouts are currently lined, so we’ll take a look at each of them.

Please note that all odds quoted in this article are current as of the time this guide was posted, and obviously are subject to change. Bet accordingly.

Lightweight Championship: Justin Gaethje (-420) vs Nick Newell (+340)

As interesting as this fight is hypothetically, in reality it’s quite straightforward. Nick Newell has been a tremendous story so far throughout his young career, but I think his undefeated aura comes to an end here. Gaethje is far and away the best fighter that Newell has ever faced, and that aside, he’s also one of the best young lightweights in the sport. Gaethje has superior wrestling and far superior striking, both of which will cause severe issues for Newell, who relies on his relentless aggression to drag fights into his domain, and often looks to secure one of his patented chokes. Gaethje is more than aware of this, and will be able to thwart Newell’s attempts. The longer this fight stays standing, the worse it will be for Newell, and I’m just not sure he’ll be able to handle to heat. The over/under is set at 1.5 rounds, with the under priced at -120. I think those odds are very generous, as I favor Gaethje to simply be too much for Newell and stop him early in the fight. Gaethje is also a valuable parlay piece at -420, which is think is underpriced by a large margin.

Jon Fitch (-340) vs Dennis Hallman (+280)

In a battle of two former UFC competitors, I can’t help but think that’s the only thing relevant about this fight. Fitch has been in a significant decline over the past several years, and has not been the dominant force WSOF thought he would be when they signed him. Hallman, on the other hand, hasn’t sniffed relevancy for years, and was only brought in as a late replacement and placed on this main card for name value. As far as how the fight plays out, Fitch should be able to gain top position and control Hallman en route to a decision. Fitch is fighting a relative mirror image of himself that happens to be undersized for the weight class and also little threat to him on the feet, an area that has led to some of his more recent demises. Hallman is a bit crafty on the ground, but there are very, very few scenarios where I see Fitch losing to him at this point in Hallman’s career. On a bit of a side note, it was announced yesterday at the weigh-in that this bout had been changed to a catchweight bout, as a part of an agreement that the fighters apparently agreed to beforehand. I’m not really sure what to make of this; maybe one (or both) of the fighters had trouble making the weight, or perhaps there is an underlying health issue. Regardless, this situation turns me off from wanting to wager on this bout. Unless we see a significant dip in the price on Fitch, this will be a pass.

Melvin Guillard (-160) vs JZ Cavalcante (+140)

Classic Melvin Guillard fight. The way these two matchup up, you would think that Melvin would be the clear favorite. JZ excels in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but will likely be unable to find a way to get the fight to the ground to employ his skillset. Add that to the fact the JZ often neglects his BJJ anyway, instead electing to stand and bang, even often times in unfavorable situations like the one he faces here against Melvin, and you would think that Guillard would be a huge favorite. But, as always, you must take into extraneous factors as well when it comes to Guillard, such as: Will he even show up to fight? He certainly didn’t against Michael Johnson in his last outing. And, even if he does show up and bring the fight, will his head be in the game or will he make stupid mistakes like the ones that cost him in fights with Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller? Don’t get it twisted, JZ is no J-Lau or Jimmy Miller, but he does possess the ability to capitalize on mistakes, which Melvin has been known to make a ton of. Put this all together, and then consider that Melvin also missed weight for this bout, and this is the definition of a pass. I favor Melvin to win still, but no way would I recommend you touch him with your money.

Cody Bollinger (-215) vs Pablo Alfonso (+170)

This fight screams set up to me. Cody Bollinger is a young fighter with a tad of notoriety from his days on TUF and in Bellator, and he also has a decent skill set to boot. As far as Alfonso is concerned, he’s really no more than an MMA journeyman with a surprise win over Miguel Torres (much to the chagrin of WSOF). Bollinger is the better fighter, with perhaps Alfonso’s only advantage coming in the submission game. Bollinger should be able to win on the feet, or even if the fight hits the ground, I feel fairly confident that it will be on Bollinger’s terms. While I obviously favor Bollinger to win the fight, again there are outliers involved, as Bollinger was unable to make the bantamweight limit yesterday. He also made a comment on Twitter just a few days ago that he had not even made arrangements to travel to Florida for the fight, so there may also be a concern with his preparation. This is unfortunate, as again I do favor him to win this bout, but the outside factors are a bit deterring to me. For now, I’ll continue to monitor this line.

Be on the lookout for my UFC previews, which should be posted early Saturday. Also, be sure to hit me up on Twitter @JoeyGMMA for any questions about the fights or odds.

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UFC 175: Weidman vs Machida – Preview and Predictions Fri, 04 Jul 2014 19:10:28 +0000 Live Saturday, July 5, 2014 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada we’ve got two title fights in one night. Chris Weidman is on the heels of yet another Anderson Silva TKO and Ronda Rousey looks to defend her Bantamweight title against fresh challenger Alexis Davis – strap in because we’re in for a great night of fights!

Marcus Brimage vs Russell Doane

It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen Marcus Brimage inside the octagon. He was last seen in April of 2013, when he was defeated handily by Conor McGregor via first round TKO. None the less, he’s won four of his last five fights and is always dangerous. I’m sure he’ll be anxious to get back into the cage and remind us why he’s in the UFC.

Standing opposite of Brimage is Hawaii native Russell Doane. Coming off of a successful octagon debut, when he defeated Leandro Issa this past January, Doane will be looking to take advantage of Brimage’s long layoff. A win in impressive fashion Saturday night would do wonders for Doane’s stock.

Who wins the fight and how

I’m very interested to see how Brimage returns from such a long layoff. Will he be rusty? Tentative? Only Saturday night will tell, but for my money, I’ve still got to say he’ll win this fight. Doane did what he was supposed to do, when he disposed of Issa in his UFC debut. However, nothing in that fight showed me that he will beat a guy like Marcus Brimage. Brimage will use his superior striking to his advantage, jabbing and crossing (stuffing all takedown attempts as well) his way to a unanimous decision victory.

The Final Verdict

Brimage defeats Doane via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Uriah Hall vs Thiago Santos

The highly touted Uriah Hall finally picked up his first official UFC victory this past December, at UFC 168. He picked apart and utterly demolished a past his prime Chris Leben. Trying to live up to all the hype he was given during his run on The Ultimate Fighter, Hall will be looking to win in violent fashion on Saturday.

Standing in Hall’s way is Thiago Santos, a man who’s coming off of one of the biggest upset victories in UFC history. Santos was last seen in March, when he decimated the heavily favoured Ronny Markes in just 53 seconds. A second win in a row, over a guy with the reputation of Hall, would be huge for Santos’ career.

Who wins the fight and how

I give Santos a lot of credit for taking out Ronny Markes. It was an incredible victory, and a huge upset. However, I don’t see him making it two in a row. Uriah Hall’s striking repertoire is too complex and too diverse for Santos to handle. Hall will come out in the first round, constantly mixing up his strikes and confusing Santos. As the second round begins Santos is fading and Hall picks up the pace. He eventually catches Santos with a kick to the body that floors him. Follow up punches by Hall and the referee steps in to stop the fight.

The Final Verdict

Hall defeats Santos via second round TKO

Matt Mitrione vs Stefan Struve

“Meathead” Matt Mitrione is coming off of a pretty impressive KO of Shawn Jordan, back in March of this year. At 7-3 overall (all his fights have been in the UFC), Mitrione is still young in the sport, but at 35 years old his time to make a title run may be passing him by. Mitrione knows the heavyweight division is shallow right now and a few victories in a row may put him right up there as a contender. A win on Saturday night may go a lot farther than most people are thinking.

In the opposite corner is a man who’s quite literally the opposite of Matt Mitrione, in Stefan Struve. A veteran of 31 professional fights (25-6 overall), Struve is just 26 years old and still evolving. A heart condition has sidelined the 6’11” Dutchman, but he assures he’s back and better than ever. Winner of four of his last five fights, Struve is one of the most exciting fighters in the heavyweight division and will be looking to put on a show Saturday night.

Who wins the fight and how

Power advantage and takedowns likely go to Mitrione, while technical striking and all aspects of grappling go to Struve. I see a somewhat tentative first round that could go either way. Second round begins and Mitrione lands a right hand and follows it up with a takedown of Struve. However, Struve possesses one of the best guards in the division, and he shows it as he locks up a triangle choke from his back. Mitrione tries to get some breathing room and sit out but it’s no use, he taps out.

The Final Verdict

Struve defeats Mitrione via second round submission

Ronda Rousey vs Alexis Davis (for the Women’s Batamweight title)

Don’t look now, but Ronda Rousey has some serious striking. This past February at UFC 170, Rousey finished an opponent with something other than an arm bar for the first time in her career. She took out top-level wrestler, and a woman some saw as the biggest threat to her throne, Sara McMann via TKO in just over a minute. The always dangerous and ever evolving face of woman’s MMA will be looking to add another impressive win to her resume this Saturday night.

Standing in her way is a woman who’s quietly worked her way up the rankings, Alexis Davis. The Canadian has reeled off five straight victories, three of which came in the UFC. In her last bout she outworked and ultimately outpointed Jessica Eye, just a few fights before Rousey, at UFC 170.

Who wins the fight and how

I like Alexis Davis and I admire what she’s been able to do over the past two years, during her current winning streak. However, I see absolutely no way she wins this fight. Rousey is better in every aspect of MMA and can win no matter where the fight goes. I see a minute or two of feeling out before Rousey hits a judo hip toss, gains side control, and slaps on an arm bar for another signature win.

Chris Weidman vs Lyoto Machida (for the Middleweight title)

You didn’t think he could do it once, but Chris Weidman did the unthinkable TWICE, he beat Anderson Silva. Whether you think it was a “fluke” or unlucky break, Weidman got his second TKO victory over the former #1 pound-for-pound king, when he defeated Silva at UFC 168 in December 2013. At 11-0 overall, Weidman looks to be the next big thing in MMA, and he’s well on his way to superstardom.

Looking to put an end to Weidman’s title reign is former 205lb champion Lyoto Machida. “The Dragon” is 2-0 since his drop down to middleweight and was last seen easily outpointing Gegard Mousasi at a Fight Night event this past February. Machida will be looking to join Randy Couture and BJ Penn as the only multi-divisional champions in UFC history.

Who wins the fight and how

I’ll let you in on a little secret – I’m quite possibly Chris Weidman’s number one fan. He is an absolute beast. No matter where the fight goes he is dangerous and the scary thing is, he’s only getting better. I believe he’s primed for an Anderson Silva like title run in the middleweight division. So as you can tell, as much as I admire Machida, he’s nothing but a stepping stone here. Bold words for such a talented fighter, but Weidman is on a whole other level here. Unlike most Machida opponents, just like he did to Silva, Weidman will outwait his opponent and pick his shots. He will not go all out and swing for the fences, but piece by piece standing up he will pick Machida apart in the first round. And whenever he wants to, in the second round he will take Lyoto to the mat. There he will land steady shots from the guard and eventually advance his position. Working for submissions, he’ll eventually decide to just reign down punches and Machida will fade. Third round begins and Weidman will drop Machida with a right hand, pounce, and Machida will go unconscious. And STILL champion, Chris Weidman!

The Rest of the Card
Faber defeats Caceres via first round submission
Robertson defeats Alcantara via unanimous decision
Camozzi defeats Santos via unanimous decision
Font defeats Roop via second round KO
Bush defeats Casey third round TKO
Zachrich defeats Vasconcelos via unanimous decision


Fight of the Night – Font vs Roop
Performance of the Night – Weidman and Faber

After another impressive 5-1 night (thanks to a questionable decision victory for Clint Hester) at UFC Fight Night 44 I’m now 61-22-1 overall. With a possibility of a 5-0 night at UFC 175 I’m ready and raring to go. Enjoy the card everyone and thanks for reading!

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UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs Stephens Preview and Predictions Fri, 27 Jun 2014 13:00:35 +0000 Live this Saturday, June 28, 2014 from the AT&T Center, in San Antonio, Texas the UFC attempts two events in one day, yet again. Lucky for us, the much more intriguing event, Fight Night 44, is still on somewhat regular timing. Have your coffee and energy drinks handy though, as the prelims kick off at 7:30pm ET, and the main card at 10pm ET (likely meaning the main event wont be over until around 1am). But with such stars on the card as Cub Swanson, Jeremy Stephens and Ricardo Lamas, we’re sure to be entertained from start to finish!

Joe Ellenberger vs James Moontasri

It may have seemed doomed at the start, but it appears Joe Ellenberger will finally make his UFC debut. With an impressive 14-1 MMA record (the lone loss coming to current UFC fighter Justin Salas), Ellenberger has all the tools to be a star. The brother of UFC welterweight Jake Ellenberger, Joe is coming off of a long layoff, as his last victory was a December 2012 TKO of Joe Wilk.

The man who it appears will welcome Ellenberger to the cage is Black House fighter James Moontasri. Having fought just over two weeks ago, at RFA 15, where he won via second round knockout, Moontasri looks to make a statement in his UFC debut.

Who wins the fight and how

In this fight I don’t know who’s at more of a disadvantage. The guy who hasn’t fought in 18 months and may forget what real battle feels like, or the man who fought less than 18 days ago, and will likely come into the fight tired and over trained. I don’t know a lot about these guys, but for my money I’ve got to go with Ellenberger. I’ve seen tape on a few of his fights and he has real potential if he can stay healthy. Both guys will come into the fight with “octagon jitters”, making them a bit hesitant. However, as stated earlier, Moontasri fought just over two weeks ago. I believe they split the first two rounds, but Ellenberger takes advantage of his tired foe, taking him down and grinding him out for a decision victory.

The Final Verdict

Ellenberger defeats Moontasri via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Clint Hester vs Antonio Braga Neto

Don’t look now, but Clint Hester is on a bit of a role in the middleweight division. Winner of six straight overall, and three straight inside the octagon, the Ultimate Fighter veteran will be looking for a big win on Saturday night, so he can get a big step up in competition his next time out.

Standing in his way is the always dangerous Antonio Braga Neto. His last time out, over a year ago, he made quick work of Anthony Smith, submitting him with a knee bar in under two minutes. Sporting seven submissions in nine career victories, it’s pretty clear Neto wants this fight down to the ground as soon as he can.

Who wins the fight and how

This is very clearly a striker vs grappler kind of matchup, the question is, who wins? Hester is on an impressive win streak, and he could very well knockout Neto at any point. However, most of the wins on his current streak have come against Ultimate Fighter veterans who aren’t of the highest caliber. Now I’m not saying Neto has faced the toughest competition, because he hasn’t, but I’ve got to think the Team Nogueira product can get the fight to the mat and dominate. I see a somewhat early takedown, little bit of work into side control and before the round is out Neto locks up a kimura and forces the tap out.

The Final Verdict

Neto defeats Hester via first round submission

Hacran Dias vs Ricardo Lamas

With a 21-2-1 overall record, Hacran Dias is certainly a veteran of the sport. However, thanks to numerous injuries and opponent drop outs, he’s only fought twice in two years in the UFC. His last time out it was too little too late, as a third round rally wasn’t enough to get him past the ultra tough Nik Lentz.

Opposite Dias is another man coming off of a loss, in Ricardo Lamas. Despite taking the fifth round against champion Jose Aldo, Lamas lost a clear cut unanimous decision and was sent home without the title. Still, Lamas has won four of his last five fights and looks to get right back into title contention with a big win.

Who wins the fight and how

I see this being an extremely competitive and entertaining battle between two top level featherweights. Both men have the skills to defeat the other, but I believe this fight comes down to who can impose his will and maintain top position when the fight hits the mat. I’ve got to give a slight advantage to Ricardo Lamas in this one. He’s been into the deep waters with the champion, and although he lost I think it’ll make him a better fighter and we’ll see that in this fight. It will be competitive all the way up until the final bell, but I think Lamas connects with more strikes on the feet and can stay on top long enough to grind out rounds and do damage to his opponent.

The Final Verdict

Lamas defeats Dias via split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)

Andrew Craig vs Cezar Ferreira

Once thought to be a serious threat at 185lbs, Andrew Craig has now lost two of his last three fights. His last lost came in October of 2013, a submission defeat to Luke Barnatt. At 3-2 in the UFC and just 28 years of age now is the time for Craig to string some wins together and make a title run.

Another man in need of a victory is Cezar Ferreira. Coming off an embarrassing 39 second knockout to CB Dollaway, Ferreira will want to make us all forgot about loss as soon as possible. The best way the TUF Brazil winner can do that is with a statement win on Saturday night.

Who wins the fight and how

This is a very close fight and a very tough one to call. Both men have shown flashes of brilliance, but have also shown very large holes in their games. I believe the knockout at the hands of Dollaway will change Ferreira significantly for this fight, as he will have a much more conservative and smart game plan. Although Craig will likely land some good strikes on the feet and very well could show us all another come from behind win, I don’t see it here. I see Ferreira grinding Craig out and taking him down for a good majority of the fight, picking up a lackluster victory.

The Final Verdict

Ferreira defeats Craig via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Kelvin Gastelum vs Nicholas Musoke

Ultimate Fighter winner Kelvin Gastelum is quietly making his way up the welterweight ladder. Now at 3-0 inside the octagon, Gastelum is coming of his biggest win to date, a decision victory over Rick Story. A win Saturday night and Gastelum may be just a few fights away from a title shot.

Opposite of Gastelum is another man looking to make waves in the 170lb weight class. Nicholas Musoke is 2-0 in the UFC, with his latest win coming this past February via decision, over Viscardi Andrade. A win over Gastelum Saturday night would go a long way for the Swedish fighter.

Who wins the fight and how

This is a battle of two of the welterweight divisions rising prospects. 22 year old Gastelum and 28 year old Musoke both have very bright futures in the UFC, unfortunately, only one man can be victorious in this one. The man with the higher ceiling and better overall skillset, in my opinion, is Gastelum. I see this as a competitive fight with both men showing their true potential. However, eventually I see Gastelum wearing Musoke down and early in the third round he will secure a takedown. After Musoke gives up his back Kelvin doesn’t hesitate to sink in his hooks and force the tap, via rear-naked choke.

The Final Verdict

Gastelum defeats Musoke via third round submission

Cub Swanson vs Jeremy Stephens

A top five featherweight, Cub Swanson may finally get his rematch with Jose Aldo. A win Saturday night would make in six in a row for Swanson, all over elite competition. His last win came nearly a year ago, when he TKO’d Dennis Siver at UFC 162.

Standing opposite of Swanson is another featherweight looking for elite status, Jeremy Stephens. Since dropping down to 145lbs in May of 2013, Stephens is 3-0. A win over Swanson would certainly go a long way for Stephens title hopes of his own.

Who wins the fight and how

This is a very intriguing and very interesting matchup. You have two of the division’s best strikers, who are looking to make a big statement. Both are good overall fighters, but they prefer to stand and trade whenever possible. Although Stephens certainly possesses a power advantage I see Swanson to be the much more technical and accurate striker, and that will make all the difference in this one. Swanson will slowly pick Stephens apart on the feet. Both men will land impressive strikes in this one, but eventually in the championship rounds Swanson will prove too much. The fourth round begins and Swanson comes out fast. After tagging Stephens with a leg kick he connects with a hard right hook that connects with Stephens jaw. Stephens drops and Swanson swarms, landing a few unanswered shots before the referee intervenes.

The Final Verdict

Swanson defeats Stephens via fourth round TKO

The Rest of the Card
Hamilton defeats Oliynyk via first round KO
Borg defeats Howell via unanimous decision
Enz defeats Guimaraes via unanimous decision
Bedford defeats Gibson via second round TKO
Ferreira defeats Smith via first round submission


Fight of the Night: Hacran Dias vs Ricardo Lamas
Performance of the Night: Swanson and Gastelum

Thanks to a somewhat questionable Andrei Arlovski decision victory, a perfect main card escaped me at UFC 174. None the less, I went 4-1 and improved my main card record for 2014 to 56-21-1. With the opportunity for a 6-0 night on Saturday I’ll be raring to go, with my eyes glued to the television – Enjoy!

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