Posts Tagged ‘Jose Aldo’

By: Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

Champions emerge, by a culling of the common. A lone figure atop a mountain of vanquished demons. The UFC 194 main card exemplifies these laws of natural selection. A historic event with epochal implications. Simply put, if you are going to buy a combat sports PPV this year this is your huckleberry!

When Conor Mcgregor began his meteoric climb through he UFC rankings it became obvious that a matchup with Jose Aldo would be down the line. Once the fight was signed the hype train was derailed by an Aldo rib injury. Forcing McGregor to fight for the interim belt against divisional stalwart Chad Mendes, who he picked apart methodically. Now that Aldo has healed the fight appears inevitable, just days away and the excitement level could not be higher. Both fighters have fight ending-one punch power and can win in a host of different ways. The odds may determine a favorite but in actuality this fight is an absolute toss up!

The hype generated by this matchup alone is leaving some of the Hollywood elite without ticket options. When you add in the fact that the Weidman vs Rockhold middleweight title fight is the chaser for the featherweight shot on the marquee, you might want to consider a cab ride home.

The co main event might end up being the best fight on the card. Chris Weidman has been dominate since rising to the top of the middleweight division. Unblemished, his win over Vitor Belfort in May proved his durability as he withstood Belforts best punches before slamming him to the mat and swarming him for the finish. His opponent challenger Luke Rockhold may be his toughest test to date. Rockhold possesses a unique blend of speed and athleticism that translate well to all areas inside the cage, and his speed and length may prove to be a nuisance for the champion. Another even matchup that only odds makers could fine a margin of advantage.

Also on the card is a middleweight showdown between Yoel Romero and ‘Jacare’ Souza. The classic matchup of wrestler vs jiujitsu will be on display in this fight that will most likely decide the next title contender. Neither fighter has tasted defeat in quite some time, and when you add in the title implications this fight could be a closely contested battle that goes into deep waters. Standing both fighters have advantages, with Romero the stronger of the two fighters he will have a power advantage. However ‘Jacare’s’ ever evolving standup game with grant him with a significant technique advantage. Another very close contest on paper, that will produce a future contender.

Featherweights Max Holloway and Jeremy Stephens will face off in yet another intriguing battle. Both fighters are at a similar junctions in the title picture, teetering on earning a top 5 ranking. If either fighter is going to become a legitimate contender the time is now, and this fight will solidify that claim. Holloway is riding a 7 fight win streak since his decision loss to Conor McGregor, a run that showcased victories over Cub Swanson and Charles Olivera. In his way is one tough son of gun, Jeremy ‘Lil Heathen’ Stephens. Owner of some of the most powerful punches in the division, Stephens is coming of a big win over Dennis Bermudez and is also at the point where he needs to make some noise. At 29 and with alternating wins and losses, this is a huge opportunity for Stephens to steal some thunder by landing some lighting.

Rounding out the main card is welterweight fight that will also have title implications, featuring two grappling wizards. Both Gunnar Nelson and Demian Maia are absolute masters on the mat. Maia having a career resurgence at 170 lbs has been on a roll (pun absolutely intended) since finding a new weight class.  Outside of his close decision losses to Rory McDonald and Jake Shields, Maia has been nothing short of a menace inside the octagon. Fresh off a dominant win over Neil Magny, the Brazilian submission expert is yet again on the verge of another title shot. His opponent Gunnar Nelson will neutralize much of the ground advantage that Maia is used to enjoying over his opponents which could lure him into a slugfest. A grappling expert himself, Nelson also has some accurate hands. Should a toe-to-toe slugfest emerge, Nelson should maintain a significant striking advantage. However with those little gloves anyones lights can go out at anytime, so don’t blink.

However the card ends up, whoever wins, only time will reveal. Two champions will emerge but so too will claim staking contenders nipping at those champions heels. For in MMA you can only celebrate for as long as the champaign stays cold. Once those grapes go stale, the culling will continue. This card not only serves a holiday feast for fight fans, it also sets the table for the next banquet.

NOTE: Urijah Faber will take on Frankie Saenz in a must see fight on the undercard. Also Jocelyn Lybarger will be making her promotional debut against American Top Teams Tecia Torres. This is another promising fight that could produce entertaining results.

Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor For UFC Featherweight Title
Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold For UFC Middleweight Title
Yoel Romero vs. Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza
Max Holloway vs. Jeremy Stephens
Demian Maia vs. Gunnar Nelson
UNDERCARD
Marcio Alexandre Jr. vs. Court McGee
Warlley Alves vs. Colby Covington
Kevin Lee vs. Leonardo Santos
Magomed Mustafaev vs. Joe Proctor
Urijah Faber vs. Frankie Saenz
John Makdessi vs. Yancy Medeiros
Jocelyn Lybarger vs. Tecia Torres

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By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Folklore has to start somewhere. Legends are born of actuality, rarely do they exist without some sort of merit based on reality. UFC 189 may still only be an infant as far as timeline is concerned,  but it ages, much like a fine wine, it will become widely accepted as the greatest night in not only MMA history, but it may have been the single greatest evening in combat sports history.

For 21 minutes the world was treated to a fight that will forever serve as the bench mark for excellence in mixed martial arts. UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and his vanquished foe Rory MacDonald engaged in a back and forth blood bath that had the entire arena on their feet the entire fight. Early on, the champion was in charge only to find himself virtually knocked out by the challenger late in the fourth round.

However in true champion form, Lawler emerged in the fifth and final round and quickly regained the momentum, cracking Macdonald’s severely damaged nose with a pinpoint straight left hand that had him instantly in survival mode. One more removed all of Macdonald’s motivation, as undoubtedly the pain in his shattered face began to over come his senses.

The fight, an instant classic came before a crowd that wasn’t even expecting, as the Irish flags can attest.

The UFC has long been building their Irish superstar, and it appeared to many that maybe they were making the mistake that many other promoters before them made. Simply put, many did not believe the hype. McGregor for all his bravado and bolstering was set to face a bulldozer in Chad Mendes, and at some point he was going to be tested.

Moments of uncertainty grew, and pundits became semi erect when Mendes grounded the striking assault of McGregor for the better part of the first and second rounds. A elbow inspired gash from a strategic Mendez elbow certainly reinforced those doubters. However McGregor then did what he does so well. He threaded the needle with a few pinpoint strikes, that exposed Mendez’s short camp, and quickly his gas tank empty. Repeated kicks to the body from McGregor increased the leak, and eventually the tank emptied and Mendes shut down.

The win for McGregor earned him the moniker as the UFC interim Champion in the featherweight division. A label he will be forced to wear until Jose Aldo is ready to compete in order to unify the titles.

These two fights may go down as the greatest one two punch in combat sports history. Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey are the biggest fighters in the UFC not because of the MMA fans, but because they translate outside of the sport. Love them or hate them, people have an opinion about them and they want to see them.

UFC 189 was full of casual fans who don’t necessarily follow the sport. Many people there like Anthony Macauley were brought there by friends, with no real expectations but instead had eye opening experiences that could make them life long fans of a sport they only casually knew about. “I went out to Vegas with some buddies and wasn’t even planning on going to the fight.” Macauley said. “I’ve always loved boxing but never got into the UFC.” After finally deciding to attend, Macauley was blown away by the event “The intensity in that arena leading up to the main event was unbelievable… I picked a hell of a first UFC event to attend, Im hooked for sure!” Macauley said.

These experiences are what will grow our sport to the next level. UFC 189 may be the night Conor McGregor earned the crown he claimed so long ago, but it will be remembered as the night Rory and Robbie went to war, and the rest of the world couldn’t help but watch!

 

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh

Video By:Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

On any given day you can walk into Systems Training Center in Hawthorne CA and bear witness to the next generation of UFC superstars. One of them, Christos ‘The Spartan’ Giagos (10-2 MMA UFC Debut) will not be there however, because right now he is in Rio, cutting weight for his UFC debut against Gilbert Burns (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC).

Giagos punched his ticket with a huge KO victory over Dakota Cochrane (17-7 MMA) at RFA 17. ‘The Spartan’ dropped Cochrane with a hellacious flying knee that removed his opponent from his senses.  Already a blip on the UFC’s radar, Giagos secured his spot with the highlight reel KO. Once Giagos signed it was announced he would be making his promotional debut in Brazil, against an undefeated Brazilian! Certainly not an easy debut…

Burns, is without a doubt the toughest test yet for Giagos. The submission expert has also reeled off a few finishes via strikes, so a complete game plan will be needed. That is where coach Ian Harris comes into the mix. Harris, is a scientist when it comes to planning a fight. Quickly becoming one of the best kept secrets in MMA, Harris will need to develop a plan to keep Giagos in his comfort zone, without offering any opportunities. Together the two will construct a floating game plan that will adapt(if necessary) to the style of Burns.

The key for Giagos is too not only keep the fight standing, but to pester Burns relentlessly on the feet. Burns maybe physically stronger than Giagos, but no where near as fast. If Christos is able to move in and out of Burns range, and effectively score on the entrance and exits, it could be a long frustrating night for Burns.

According to pedigree Burns will look for the take down at some point, especially if Giagos is scoring on his feet. However very often a grapplers egos get the best of them, and they decide they want to become strikers. Should this be the case, Giagos will win the fight! Especially if Burns thinks he can rely on the ground late in the fight. Giagos has excellent wrestling defense.

Of course every prediction has a short shelf life. Saturdays predictions will vanish as results are carved, Hopefully when that happens, the UFC finally spells the name right! ITS GIAGOS, not GLAGOS!

Prediction: Giagos via TKO Rd3

 

 

 

 

By Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Video By: Bob Fisher and Alex Linares

Manny Gamburyan burst on the scene as a contestant on the ultimate fighter early in the genesis of that reality incarnation. At first he was known for his grappling, being the cousin of Karo Parisyan, Gamburyan possessed a slick judo game but his striking was always an issue. However at only 5’5 inches tall, the vertically challenged Gamburyan was constantly at a size disadvantage, and usually ended up losing most of his power as he reached for his opponents. His punches landing past their peak power.

Still he was able to maintain a pretty good record, and eventually when the UFC began to take on the lighter weight classes, Gamburyan began to test the waters. At 145 lbs, Gamburyan made it all the way to the number 1 contender spot, earning a shot against WEC champion Jose Aldo, when he was ale to knock out divisional stalwart Mike Brown. Since that win Gamburyan has gone 2-4 with 1 no contest.

After Gamburyan lost a 3 round decision to Nick Lentz, dietician guru Mike Dolce joined him in the cage and told him it was time to try 135 lbs. Under Dolce’s guidance Gamburyan rearranged his training and diet in order to drop the weight. Gamburyan is now set to make his mark in a division that is full of young hungry lions frothing for a title shot. Gamburyan’s power and pure judo automatically make him a dangerous opponent for anyone in the division.

For “The Anvel”, the new division is not an excuse to just hang around. In his eyes, this is his last shot at making a legitimate run for a title. It doesn’t matter who or when, Gamburyan is ready. The question remains, is the division?

Manny Gamburyan trains at The Glendale Fighting Club under the watchful eye of head coach Edmond Tarverdyan. Make sure to tune in to the UFC 178 preliminary card to see Manny take on Cody Gibson.

 

TRU MMA

Cub Swanson with Brother Steven Coach Joel Diaz and his TRU MMA Team

By: Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

To begin the story of Cub Swanson (21-5 MMA), lets start halfway through the tale, to eliminate the 300 lbs elephant. In June 2009, Swanson ate a knee :08 seconds into his fight with Jose Aldo that ended the night for Swanson. ow he lost has since been the screw his haters turn whenever Swanson gets close to that title shot again. The problem is, it appears the UFC is listening, or at least agreeing.

Cub Swanson is a throwback fighter, in a world where title shots are talked into existence, Swanson prefers to let the wins pile up. His 6 fight win streak was punctuated with a 5 round dismantling of Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night. Still after the win Swanson stayed true to his mantra, “I don’t beg!” Swanson said. Should he have too?

His current win streak has seen him beat Denis Siver, Ross Pearson, Dustin Poirier, and Charles Oliveira, as well as the aforementioned Stephens, with four of those six wins coming via stoppage.

Currently champion Jose Aldo is set to face Chad Mendes in Los Angeles in August. What is odd is that the same stereotype that haunts Swanson (vicious loss to Aldo) should also haunt Mendes (who was also KO’d by an Aldo Knee), however for some reason it doesn’t. Both fighters have been on a roll since the tile loss. Mendes has maintained an unblemished record, where as Swanson stumbled once when he was caught in a triangle by former title challenger Ricardo Lamas. (A fight Swanson was dominating before getting caught in the submission!)

So, whose next? If the UFC had its way, they would probably lobby for Connor MacGregor. Who is quickly replacing Chael Sonnen as the mouth of the UFC. Will he be able to talk his way into contention? What happens if Mendes gets hurt while preparing?

Hopefully Swanson’s status as a headliner at a Fight Night Event, was the UFC’s way of seeing if he was a viable headliner. As the UFC grows glaring hole has been the amount of legitimate headliners that can sell a PPV. Recent declines in numbers have people wondering if the amount of events (some weekends now how 2 events!) have watered down interest.

Sure this is all conjecture, and monday morning quarterbacking, but I question anyone to find someone more deserving of a title shot than Cub Swanson. Its been 5 years since he lost to Aldo the first time. In that time, no featherweight has shown more improvement. Each win has been punctuated by drastic improvements.

Swanson is also not the type to ‘ride out a win’. As his win over Stephens showed, even when clearly ahead on points, Swanson is constantly looking for the finish. Winning decisively is not enough for ‘Killer Cub’, he has to finish. This determination is what makes him one of the UFC’s most entertaining fighters to watch.

To deny a fighter what he has earned, because of what others perceive is shameful. It reduces effort, and makes the sport look more and more like a popularity contest, than a combat sport competition!

Maybe if the sport was actually regulated by the ranking system already in place, we wouldn’t run into these issues. The Bottom line is the UFC decides who fights who, not the rankings.

We can only hope that the deserving, and the anointed are one in the same!

by: Jonathan King

JOSEPH BENAVIDEZ VS IAN MCCALL
 
This fight is an interesting match up. Both fighters can stake a claim for a title shot against champion Demetrious Johnson with a decisive win. Benavidez is as strong as they come in the 125 lbs weight division. His wrestling maybe the best in the division. Ian McCall brings a very dynamic striking game to the table. McCall is 0-1-1 against the current champion. Benevidez will need to avoid McCall’s counter punching to secure a take down. If he is able to bring the fight to the mat, he may be able to secure the win. McCall will need to utilize his wrestling defense, to avoid any take downs. However, if he does get put on his back McCall will need to stay active from the bottom as he has in the past. Both fighters bring a contrasting style that should provide great entertainment.
 
Prediction: Joseph Benavidez Unanimous Decision.
 
JON FITCH  VS DEMIAN MAIA
 
Very often we hear the term “Grinder” when referring to a fighters style. No one exemplifies that label better than Jon Fitch. Fitch has been a contender at the 170lbs division for nearly a decade. His wrestling and conditioning, have become legendary. He has wins over some of the biggest names in the sport, and has even gone the distance with Georges St Pierre. His only sign of weakness came by way of a  flash KO at the hands of Johnny Hendricks. Demian Maia is also known as a legend. His grappling and jujitsu game may be one of the most feared in the sport. At 185 lbs, Maia was out gunned by stronger fighters. Now comfortable at 170 lbs, Maia’s power increase will only serve to strengthen his grappling. 
 
Prediction: Jon Fitch Unanimous Decision
 
ALISTAIR OVEREEM VS ANTONIO SILVA
 
In his first fight after being suspended for having testosterone in his system, Alistair Overeem is already looking for a title shot. Unfortunately for him, standing in his way is another mountain sized heavyweight named Antonio Silva. Silva is coming off a dominating win over Travis Browne, and feels that Overeem is disrespecting him.  With a long history of animosity between the two fighters, stemming from their camp decisions (Silva left the Blackzilians and rejoined American Top Team once Overeem signed on with the camp) there should be no shortage of heavy exchanges. Overeem will hold a clear advantage in the striking department, while Silva will have an edge if the fight goes to the ground. Both fighters have extremely heavy hands, and are capable of knocking the other out. 
 
Prediction: Alistair Overeem via TKO
 
RASHAD EVANS VS ROGERIO NOGUEIRA
 
Rashad Evans may be the most talented fighter in the UFC without a belt. His wrestling background, and versatile striking have kept Evans at the top of the division, since his brief reign as champion. He will need to utilize his excellent head movement to counter the tremendous boxing skills of Rogerio Nogueira. “Lil Nog” (as he is known) for a long time has been over looked in 205 lbs division. Known for his precision boxing skills Nogueira like his brother is also deadly on the ground. If he is able to stagger Evans, or somehow able to drag him to the mat, he will have a distinct advantage. As dynamic as his boxing is, Evans will still have an advantage on his feet through sheer athleticism alone. Evans will look to land effectively at distance, setting up his own take downs in order win the fight. However, if he is too aggressive in Nogueira’s guard, he could very easily get caught in a submission. 
 
Prediction: Rashad Evans via 2nd rd TKO
 
MAIN EVENT FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT
 
FRANKIE EDGAR V JOSE ALDO (CHAMPION)
 
Jose Aldo is one of the most dynamic fighters in any weight class. His combination of speed and technique have laid waste to an all star cast of opponents. His reign at the top, has never been challenged and his name is very often mentioned at the top of the pound for pound rankings. Frankie Edgar embodies the dark horse spirit. His history of exciting fights, and come from behind win seem to be from the pages of a Hollywood script. Edgar’s chin and ability to recover may be his best attribute in a very crowded quiver of mma weapons. If Edgar is able to close the distance and grab a hold of Aldo he might be able to slow the pace and grind on the champion. Both fighters are no strangers to late rounds, and both can take a punch so look for this fight to head into deep water. However, lets not forget one very important wild card in this fight, the referee. Steve Mazzagatti could play a role in a questionable stoppage!
 
Prediction: Frankie Edgar via Split Decision
 

by Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Professional Baseball, Football, Basketball, and Hockey all share one common trait. They all have extensive off seasons. Athletes are able to recover, rest, and regenerate. Slowly the athletes prepare in preseason workouts and scrimmages, allowing their bodies to peak physically in accordance with the lengthy season ahead. Still these athletes consistently fall pray to injury. Pugilistic or martial arts based sports are not given the luxury of off seasons. Although they do not compete every day, they fight everyday. Simply because that is how fighters train, they fight.

A Mixed Martial Arts gym is quite an amazing site. To the untrained eye, it would appear that teammates would be fighting with intent to injure or to at least appear victorious. However, that is not the case. The art of sparring and pulling punches while training allows fighters to train somewhat safely, in a rather chaotic environment. Still, accidents happen and injuries result.

Recently, the UFC scrapped the entire UFC 151 card due to events that stemmed originally from an injury. The soap opera that ensued after Dan Henderson tore his knee is well documented. Challenges were made, egos inflated, feelings were hurt, sour grapes resulted, and several fighters were left without pay-days. Some blamed Jon Jones for not accepting a replacement fight Chael Sonnen on short notice, some blamed the UFC for not having a backup plan, or for having a deep enough card. Blame however, has become last weeks discerning water cooler topics for MMA fans. Now a chronic issue, a solution has become tantamount too accountability.

With the news that both Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, and Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo are both injured, the fate of the main event for UFC 153 is in jeopardy. The fight world is again left in limbo. Jackson sustained a undisclosed training injury, while Jose Aldo has a rather serious foot injury. With the both headlining fights scrapped the UFC is scrambling to avoid a second cancellation in less than a month.

The recent rash of injuries, and a ever expanding roster the UFC is posed with its most vexing problem of late. One solution would be to have larger purse fights on the under-cards. The younger fighters that use these spots for growth and opportunity could be given a minor league event or showcase that would enable them to advance. This would enable the company too move more recognizable names into the Pay Per View slots. In Pride established fighters such as Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Vitor Belfort, and both Nogueira brothers have fought multiple times in slots that would be considered to be under-card bouts in the UFC. The answer may not be easy, but the need to find a solution has become glaringly apparent.

Dana White, Joe Silva and the Ferttita brothers have already discussed possible ways to deal with the injury bug. Having fighters in a sort of ‘standby’ status has worked once or twice, most notably with Michael Bisping. However replacing a Jose Aldo v Frankie Edgar title fight in Brazil, may be impossible to replace.

 

The new Flyweight division is set to kick of on March 3, 2012. Beginning with a 4 man tournament, the UFC will eventually crown the winner the first ever Flyweight champion.  The initial fights will see Ian McCall in his octagon debut against former bantamweight contender Demetrious Johnson(14-2 MMA). The winner of this fight will square off against the winner of Joseph Benevides vs.  Yasuhiro Urushitani (also making UFC debut) .

The 125lb limit weight class, will be on display for a  worldwide audience. The flyweight division will be featured as part of the UFC on FOX 2 which is still without a venue.  Johnson was initially scheduled to fight Eddie Wineland at bantamweight, it is unclear who, or if  Wineland will fight on that evening, now that Johnson will be competing in the tournament.

Ian McCall(11-2 MMA), is widely regarded as the best flyweight in the world. He enters the octagon for the first time, as the current Tachi Palace Fights Flyweight Champion. The 27-year-old is undefeated (4-0) since dropping down in weight.  Yasuhiro Urushitani at 35 years old may be making is UFC debut, however he is no stranger to the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Urushitani (19-4-6 MMA) is currently riding a five fight win streak, and is the current Shooto Champion.

Joseph Benevides (15-2 MMA) is looking to solidify himself as a champion. His only two losses came to current Bantamweight Champion, and Team Alpha Male slayer Dominick Cruz. With Cruz set to fight Alpha Male teammate Urijah Faber, and Jose Aldo set to defend his Featherweight Title against Chad Mendes, Benevides is looking to solidify his teams dominance in the lighter weight divisions.

The flyweight division will offer fight fans, fast paced fights, that feature extraordinary technique.