Lauzon/Pettis Booked for UFC 144, Poirier/Koch for 143

Anthony Pettis Clay Guida cage reverse kick showtime TUF 13 finale MMA gifs UFC gif Joe Lauzon Melvin Guillard UFC 136
(A classic battle of style vs. SUBstance.)

Fresh off his upset Submission of the Night victory over Melvin Guillard at UFC 136, Joe Lauzon was quick to call out former WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, who scored a decision victory over Jeremy Stephens at the same event. Well it looks like he’ll be getting his wish, as the two have been booked to lock horns at UFC 144, in what could easily be a Fight of the Night match-up. Prior to their 136 victories, Lauzon scored a quick and nasty kimura victory over Kurt Warburton at UFC Live 4 whereas Pettis was wrestlefucked into oblivion by Clay Guida at the TUF 13 Finale in June. This is the point where I’d normally say that a victory here would rocket either man near the top of the lightweight ladder, but considering that the division is currently more crowded than a So-Cal Quinceanera, let’s just say that a victory here will keep either man…from losing.

Anthony Pettis Clay Guida cage reverse kick showtime TUF 13 finale MMA gifs UFC gif Joe Lauzon Melvin Guillard UFC 136
(A classic battle of style vs. SUBstance.)

Fresh off his upset Submission of the Night victory over Melvin Guillard at UFC 136, Joe Lauzon was quick to call out former WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, who scored a decision victory over Jeremy Stephens at the same event. Well it looks like he’ll be getting his wish, as the two have been booked to lock horns at UFC 144, in what could easily be a Fight of the Night match-up. Prior to their 136 victories, Lauzon scored a quick and nasty kimura victory over Kurt Warburton at UFC Live 4 whereas Pettis was wrestlefucked into oblivion by Clay Guida at the TUF 13 Finale in June. This is the point where I’d normally say that a victory here would rocket either man near the top of the lightweight ladder, but considering that the division is currently more crowded than a So-Cal Quinceanera, let’s just say that a victory here will keep either man…from losing.

In other fight booking news, a battle between top featherweight contenders Dustin Poirier and Eric Koch has been set for UFC 143 in February, which also features the probable welterweight number 1 contender match between Josh Koscheck and Carlos Condit. Poirier most recently scored a brilliant submission via D’arce over Pablo Garza at the inaugural UFC on FOX card. Koch, on the other hand, is coming off a gritty decision victory over TUF 13 winner/existential caveman Jonathan Brookins in Brookins’ featherweight debut at UFC Fight Night 25. Depending on the outcome of the upcoming Aldo/Mendes clash at UFC 142, we could easily be looking at the next challenger to the title right here.

You know the deal, who takes these babies?

-Danga 

The Forward Roll: UFC on FOX Edition

Filed under: UFC, UFC on FOXTwo years ago, in the hours after UFC 103 in Dallas, I spoke to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira about one of the night’s big stars. Deep in the bowels of the American Airlines Center, the longtime MMA veteran had the look of a prou…

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Two years ago, in the hours after UFC 103 in Dallas, I spoke to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira about one of the night’s big stars. Deep in the bowels of the American Airlines Center, the longtime MMA veteran had the look of a proud father of his face. That was the night when his student Junior dos Santos officially joined the “in the mix” category that signifies contention status.

That was also the night that Nogueira made a prediction that would come true.

“He’s going to be a future champ for sure,” he told me at the time. “Without a doubt. He’s strong, fast, athletic. He has good wrestling, good ground game. He’s a complete fighter.”

dos Santos’ march through the UFC has been incredibly impressive to watch. In eight UFC fights, he’s unbeaten and has yet to lose even a single round among the 14 rounds he’s fought. That’s far short of the record (33) held by Georges St-Pierre, but with his well-rounded game, the 27-year-old Brazilian’s performances have shown no signs of slowing.

Since this column is designed as a look forward for the recent event’s participants, and we already know that dos Santos will take on the winner of December’s Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem fight, it’s fair game to project how he’d do against either.

Given dos Santos’ proven success in stopping takedowns, the Lesnar fight would likely be a more favorable matchup for him. He’s stopped 85 percent of takedowns, according to FightMetric, and Lesnar does not have the comfort level or arsenal to match him in a striking contest.

Overeem would be a more intriguing style matchup. As one of the most decorated strikers in MMA, he might be the only heavyweight with the firepower to bang with dos Santos.

Prediction: Overeem handles Lesnar’s wrestling and keeps things upright long enough to win, setting up a strikers’ delight against dos Santos

Cain Velasquez
It was a rough night for Velasquez, who never got his motor started before the ref was calling a halt to the action. He also faced post-fight criticism from UFC president Dana White regarding his game plan, but it’s never wise for a fighter to move in for a takedown without a setup. Velasquez likely felt he had five rounds to implement what he wanted, so there was no reason to rush. But apparently there was. It seems that he brought injuries into the fight that deserve some time to heal. Velasquez deserves the time to address his injuries and come back strong, maybe in the summer of 2012.

Prediction: Velasquez faces Shane Carwin in the summertime.

Ben Henderson
dos Santos vs. the Overeem-Lesnar winner wasn’t the only guaranteed fight we got out of UFC on FOX. We also learned that Ben Henderson would get a chance to face Frankie Edgar for the lightweight title in February.

Henderson’s improvement has been rapid since joining the UFC, as he’s learned how to seamlessly combine striking/wrestling transitions. That will be a great skill to bring in against Edgar, who has spent his last four fights competing against fighters who became quite reliant on throwing their hands. Henderson mixes up his game in a way that will make him a tougher matchup for Edgar than either BJ Penn or Gray Maynard, and that’s saying a lot.

Clay Guida
UFC’s Energizer bunny fought a spirited bout, responding from some early trouble to give Henderson a real fight, but saw his wildness exploited by Henderson’s technique. Guida remains a very popular fighter so there’s definitely still space for him on an upcoming main card against a relevant opponent.

Prediction: He faces Jim Miller early in 2012

Dustin Poirier
Since losing his Zuffa debut while in the WEC in August 2010, Poirier has turned heads with four straight wins. The featherweight captured his third straight bout since moving over to the UFC, defeating the tough Pablo Garza with a D’arce choke submission. At 22 years old, Poirier is one of those talents you hope the UFC moves up in a careful manner, matching him up with fighters of similar experience level. That leads me to this …

Ricardo Lamas
Since moving to featherweight, Lamas has won both of his fights, and finished his opponents in both fights. Lamas is 11-2 and Poirier is 11-1. You know where I’m going with this, don’t you?

Prediction: Poirier faces Lamas

Kid Yamamoto
Yamamoto was soundly out-grappled by Darren Uyenoyama in a three-round decision loss that marked a fourth loss in his last five fights. While Yamamoto was once one of the top lower-weight fighters in MMA, it appears that time has passed. In the past, his wrestling would have been enough to keep the fight upright where he enjoyed a sizable striking advantage, but he never came close to implementing that type of game plan against Uyenoyama. The only question now is whether Yamamoto gets cut, or gets one more chance.

Prediction: Yamamoto gets kept around, and faces an organizational newcomer at UFC 144 in Japan

Alex Caceres
In his first two UFC fights, Caceres looked out of his depth in the organization, getting outclassed in a pair of submission losses. After dropping to bantamweight, he looked recharged and refreshed, outworking Cole Escovedo in a strong decision win. The victory gives Caceres new life on a career that seemed like it could be destined to head back to the indies.

Prediction: Caceres faces Ivan Menjivar

 

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‘UFC on FOX’ GIF Party: The Fights They (Practically) Didn’t Want You To See

Knock it off, you two. We said “Gif Party”, not “Punch Face Party“! (Props: Cagewriter/Tracy Lee)

It’s not everyday that we’re treated to “the biggest fight in the history of the sport”, and even rarer that a single gif covers the pre-fight warm up, the bout, the post-fight celebration, and the after party at Ghost Bar. That calls for a GIF party. Though the sole focus of last night’s UFC on FOX event yielded precious little in terms of motion-picture awesomeness, the fighters relegated to the dark corners of social media came through in spades.

Join us after the jump for an incredible collection of throws, slams, submissions, knock outs, spinning everythings, and even some good old fashioned mid-fight showboating.

(Thanks to Zombie Prophet, as usual, for the gifs)

Knock it off, you two. We said “Gif Party”, not “Punch Face Party“!  (Props: Cagewriter/Tracy Lee)

It’s not everyday that we’re treated to “the biggest fight in the history of the sport”, and even rarer that a single gif covers the pre-fight warm up, the bout, the post-fight celebration, and the after party at Ghost Bar. That calls for a GIF party. Though the sole focus of last night’s UFC on FOX event yielded precious little in terms of motion-picture awesomeness, the fighters relegated to the dark corners of social media came through in spades.

Join us after the jump for an incredible collection of throws, slams, submissions, knock outs, spinning everythings, and even some good old fashioned mid-fight showboating.

(Thanks to Zombie Prophet, as usual, for the gifs)

CAIN VELASQUEZ vs JUNIOR DOS SANTOS

DAMARQUES JOHNSON vs CLAY HARVISON

MACKENS SEMERZIER vs ROBBIE PERALTA

‘UFC on FOX’ Aftermath: Thank God for Facebook

The shorts don’t lie. (Pic: UFC.com)

In the weeks leading up to last night’s Heavyweight Championship bout, Dana White trumpeted that “whether this fight goes 30 seconds or 30 minutes, this is going to be a fight right here.” It was a fight, and it was slightly longer than 30 seconds, but in the post fight analysis Dana appeared frustrated and was searching for a reason that his champion went down so quickly. With all of the buildup and hype, I can’t help but think that first time viewers were equally confused and found the whole affair to be anticlimactic. Were that all the action we got to see last night, we’d probably be disappointed as well, but thank god for Facebook.

With regards to the main event, there’s not a lot to say, really. Junior Dos Santos hits hard. Cain’s game plan has been under attack, but it’s not like he got butchered on his feet for two rounds while doggedly refusing to shoot for a single. Velasquez got nailed with a huge overhand right just 55 seconds into the bout after already trying unsuccessfully for a takedown. Obviously, getting Dos Santos off of his feet quickly would have been Cain’s best option, but for a versatile heavyweight fighting under the brightest lights ever shone on a UFC fighter, shooting in for a Couture-Toney ankle pick with the opening bell still ringing wouldn’t do. Props to Dos Santos for getting it done quickly and violently in the Knock Out of the Night. It wasn’t the most epic fight that the UFC and FOX could have hoped for, but it was a memorable one. That Dos Santos did it with a torn meniscus is all the more impressive.

The shorts don’t lie. (Pic: UFC.com)

In the weeks leading up to last night’s Heavyweight Championship bout, Dana White trumpeted that “whether this fight goes 30 seconds or 30 minutes, this is going to be a fight right here.”  It was a fight, and it was slightly longer than 30 seconds, but in the post fight analysis Dana appeared frustrated and was searching for a reason that his champion went down so quickly. With all of the buildup and hype, I can’t help but think that first time viewers were equally confused and found the whole affair to be anticlimactic. Were that all the action we got to see last night, we’d probably be disappointed as well, but thank god for Facebook.

With regards to the main event, there’s not a lot to say, really. Junior Dos Santos hits hard. Cain’s game plan has been under attack, but it’s not like he got butchered on his feet for two rounds while doggedly refusing to shoot for a single. Velasquez got nailed with a huge overhand right just 55 seconds into the bout after already trying unsuccessfully for a takedown. Obviously, getting Dos Santos off of his feet quickly would have been Cain’s best option, but for a versatile heavyweight fighting under the brightest lights ever shone on a UFC fighter, shooting in for a Couture-Toney ankle pick with the opening bell still ringing wouldn’t do. Props to Dos Santos for getting it done quickly and violently in the Knock Out of the Night. It wasn’t the most epic fight that the UFC and FOX could have hoped for, but it was a memorable one. That Dos Santos did it with a torn meniscus is all the more impressive.

It’s easy to say that the Henderson-Guida bout should have been broadcast in hindsight, but it was pretty obvious ahead of time as well. There was no doubt that their fight would be balls to the wall, and it may have been the organization’s best chance of finally securing the Prell sponsorship that’s eluded them for all these years. Guida’s style relies on a relentless pace and a controlling top game, but he met a superior wrestler and a cardio-equal in Bendo. His take down defense gave him control of the fight and his crisp striking allowed him to counter Guida’s wild barrages. It’s a shame that only a small fraction of those who caught the FOX broadcast are even aware of their Fight of the Night performance, but I’m sure the extra $65k makes up for it a little.

Cub Swanson headed into his bout with Ricardo Lamas with an abundance of confidence and some of the ugliest tattoos I’ve seen since “Katie’s Revenge”. After getting the better of Lamas in the striking department, Swanson nearly ended the fight with a deep guillotine in the first. He seemed indifferent as Lamas took him down and worked his way behind him, but that apathy was nowhere to be seen as he struggled to break free from an arm triangle. Lamas secured the tapout, and the Submission of the Night bonus, at 2:26 of R2.

Alex Caceres put on an absolute clinic against Cole Escovedo in his debut at 135 lbs. “Bruce Leroy” came after the former WEC champ from every possible angle with every strike in the book from the opening bell. On the ground Caceres was too much as well, coming close to sinking in a triangle and an armbar as he transitioned from one sub to the next. He picked up the unanimous decision—his first win in the Octagon–in his bantamweight debut.

Quick Notes:

Tough break for Mackens Semerzier. No one wants to get knocked out, but when it comes from an illegal (albeit accidental) headbutt it’s a lot harder to swallow. Hopefully he can get the “L” overturned.

It was judge Gene Lebell that scored Rosa-Lucas 28-28!

Darren Uyenoyama knows a thing or two about grappling. Kid Yamamoto is now 0-2 in the UFC with only one win in his past five fights, and once again JMMA looks to be on life support. I’m sure Kid will be kept on board for Zuffa’s upcoming visit to Japan. His slide started just after divorcing this. We’d be depressed too, Kid.

This was Clay Harvison’s second straight loss, and it came via knock out at the hands of a mid-pack fighter just 1:34 into the bout. It was a nice recovery for DaMarques Johnson, but I don’t think Clay’s up to snuff.

Full Results: (via: MMAWeekly.com)

Main Event (On Fox):
-Junior dos Santos def. Cain Velasquez by KO at 1:04, R1

Undercard (On Facebook and FoxSports.com):
-Benson Henderson def. Clay Guida by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
-Dustin Poirier def. Pablo Garza by submission (d’arce choke) at 1:32, R2
-Ricardo Lamas def. Cub Swanson by submission (arm triangle choke) at 2:16, R2
-DaMarques Johnson def. Clay Harvison by TKO at 1:34, R1
-Darren Uyenoyama def. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27)
-Robert Peralta def. Mackens Semerzier by TKO at 1:54, R3
-Alex Caceres def. Cole Escovedo by unanious decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
-Mike Pierce def. Paul Bradley by split decision (28-29, 30-37, 29-28)
-Aaron Rosa def. Matt Lucas by majority decision (28-28, 30-26, 30-26)

 

Dustin Poirier Suggests Erik Koch as Next Opponent Up UFC Featherweight Ladder

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — MMA Fighting spoke with rising featherweight Dustin Poirier following his submission win over Pablo Garza Saturday at UFC on FOX 1. Poirier talks about the D’arce choke finish, his involvement in the Fightville documentary and his immense passion for MMA.

 

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — MMA Fighting spoke with rising featherweight Dustin Poirier following his submission win over Pablo Garza Saturday at UFC on FOX 1. Poirier talks about the D’arce choke finish, his involvement in the Fightville documentary and his immense passion for MMA.

 

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Nine Ways of Looking at the UFC on FOX: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos

Filed under: UFC, UFC on FOXThe UFC’s debut on FOX is almost here and the talking is (thankfully) almost done. Before we all grab our popcorn and settle in for the big night, some thoughts, questions, predictions, and meandering musings for a Saturday …

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Cain Velasquez and Junior dos SantosThe UFC’s debut on FOX is almost here and the talking is (thankfully) almost done. Before we all grab our popcorn and settle in for the big night, some thoughts, questions, predictions, and meandering musings for a Saturday afternoon.

I. Best-case scenario for the UFC on Saturday night? Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos go back and forth in a seesaw bout that lasts at least three rounds, giving viewers the chance to freak out over Twitter and in emails/text messages/barely coherent phone calls to friends, thus driving up the ratings with each round. Worst-case scenario? The fight ends via questionable stoppage/injury/accidental foul 30 seconds in, and everybody goes to bed angry. Hey, this is MMA. Anything can happen.

II. But imagine the worst-case scenario does happen.
What then? FOX executives probably won’t tear up their contract with the UFC and leave it in tiny pieces in the parking lot of the Honda Center. Fight fans will recognize that sometimes this stuff just happens, and they won’t stay mad for long. Maybe these “millions of new viewers” we keep hearing about will smirk to one another as they change the channel. Maybe it will take a while to convince those people to give this another go, but it won’t be impossible. My point is, while the stakes are certainly high here, this isn’t make-or-break for the UFC. It’s more like make-or-bummer. Even if the fight goes as badly as it can possibly go, the sport and the UFC will survive. It’s not that first impressions don’t matter — they do. But then again, we’ve all heard stories where couples had disastrous first dates before eventually finding themselves in long, happy marriages.

III. There’s a lot of talk about what kind of ratings this show needs to do in order to be considered a true success.
Odds are we’ll still be arguing over the numbers and what they mean for weeks to come, but the way I see it there’s really only one true benchmark this show: you’ve got to beat Kimbo. EliteXC: Primetime averaged a little over 4 million viewers and peaked with about 6.5 million. Just for the sake of self-respect, not to mention bragging rights, the UFC has to beat the internet brawler and his off-brand employers.

IV. Just getting to fight day with both combatants healthy has to feel like a victory in itself.
After all the plugs for the “heavyweight championship of the world” during every quarter of every NFL game on FOX, can you imagine if one of these guys had pulled out with an injury last week? That would have been disastrous, and we can probably assume that the UFC took the time to impress that point upon both fighters. Now there are rumors that Velasquez suffered some injuries in training camp and you have to wonder if he might be soldiering through them even when it isn’t a good idea, all just to please his boss. If that results in a diminished performance against dos Santos, neither Velasquez’s nor the UFC’s interests will be served by it.

V. The response from the weigh-in crowd yesterday suggests that plenty of fans are aware of and interested in the Clay GuidaBen Henderson bout on this card, but what about the rest of the fights?
If you’re Dustin Poirier or DaMarques Johnson, is anyone but your friends and family thinking about you on Saturday night? Honestly, probably not. While the undercard is decent, there sure isn’t much star power there. That, combined with the 1:45 p.m. local start time could mean a lot of empty seats for guys who are still fighting their hearts out, regardless of whether anyone is watching.

VI. While we’re on the subject of collateral damage from this unique fight night situation, how about the poor souls on UFC 139 next weekend? Sure, the hardcores are looking forward to Dan Henderson and “Shogun” Rua going at it, but for the most part it’s been drowned out by the big media push for the FOX debut. UFC officials just haven’t had the time or energy to do much promotional work on it lately, and who can blame them? This event has understandably gotten the full-court press from the UFC’s PR staff, but that leaves next weekend’s pay-per-view standing in the shadows.

VII. On Thursday the UFC sent out a list of red carpet attendees who will lend their air of celebrity to this event by smiling and waving on their way into the arena. The list contained the names of a bunch of actors, most of whom I’d never heard of, and in parenthesis next to their names were the FOX TV shows that they’re on. Again, most of which I’d never heard of. One familiar name did make the list, however: Gina Carano. And in parenthesis next to the former “face of women’s MMA”? Haywire. As in, the upcoming Steven Soderbergh flick that has kept her away from the sport ever since her loss to “Cyborg” Santos. Sure, that’s what we all know Carano from. That movie none of us have seen yet.

VIII. Henderson and Guida are dealing with their network TV snub in the exact right way.
Every time it’s come up in interviews this week — and it’s come up a lot — they’ve both insisted that they aren’t disappointed by the lack of major TV exposure for their fight. That’s the kind of team player the UFC likes to see. But lest they be too easy-going and end up as doormats, they’ve both indicated that they want to hold the UFC president to his promise to get their fight on TV as soon as possible. Guida praised his boss as a “a magician” who will find a way to make it happen. Henderson put the responsibility on himself, saying that, “Some way, some how, this fight’s going to make it to air. …Dana White’s going to want to put this one on primetime television.” In other words, we won’t scream and cry about being slightly overlooked, but we won’t be ignored either.

IX. If you’re expecting to wake up to a brave new world of MMA awareness and appreciation on Sunday morning, don’t. Even if this event is as huge as White has repeatedly promised, the impact probably won’t be immediately apparent beyond the insulated walls of the MMA community. Why? Frankly, there’s kind of a lot going on across the sports news landscape right now. The Penn State child abuse scandal has dominated headlines this week, the NFL gets back to work on Sunday, and the Pacquiao-Marquez fight could potentially upstage the UFC by going last and closing out this fight night with a bang. That’s not to say that a great fight won’t bring MMA a few new converts, but the benefit with this FOX deal is long-term mainstream exposure. As White said, it’s about “investing in the future” and indoctrinating new fans. It’s bigger than one night or one fight. Let’s not forget that.

 

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