Posts Tagged ‘Strikeforce’


MAIN CARD 

Donald Cerrone vs. KJ Noons

Donald ‘The Cowboy’ Cerrone fighting style is no secret, he stalks his opponents with vicious muay thai kicks, and can transition to a submission from virtually any position. KJ Noons is making his debut for the UFC, after coming over from the defunct Strikeforce promotion. Noons is also known for his tough, brawling style. This fight has the makings for either Fight of the Night, or a Sub of the Night for Cerrone.

Winner: Cerrone via submission rd 2

T.J. Grant vs. Gray Maynard (#1 Contender spot)

T.J. Grant has quietly earned this fight, riding a 4 fight win with his last being an impressive TKO over Matt Wiman. He has improved with each fight, and will be looking to capture a title shot with a win. Maynard is best known for his trilogy of fights with former champion Frankie Edgar. Twice, Maynard appeared to be just seconds away from the title, only to be thwarted by the heart of Edgar. The winner of this fight, has been guaranteed the next shot at champion Benson Henderson

Winner: Grant via unanimous decision

James Te Huna vs. Glover Teixeira

James Te Huna is one of the most talented fighters in the light heavyweight division. His only problem has been the fact that he is coincidentally making his rise with two of the most heralded light heavyweight prospect in recent history Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira.  Te Huna lost his second fight in the UFC to Gustafsson. Since that loss, Te Huna has rattled off 4 impressive wins including his last over Ryan Jimmo. Glover Texieira started his career at 2-2, since then he has won 18 consecutive fights. Now at 20-2, Texieira was last seen handing Rampage Jackson his walking papers via unanimous decision. An impressive win over Te Huna could set up a #1 contenders fight with Alexander Gustafsson.

Winner: Teixeira via Submission rd 2 (strikes set up a choke)

Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt

dos Santos is making his return to the Octagon for the first time since losing the title to Velasquez in December. Even though he lost the fight, his striking is still the best in the division. He will need to keep his opponent at the end of his jab, to effectively set up his power punches. Mark Hunt may be tailor-made to beat dos Santos, if his last fight against Stefan Struve is an indicator. Hunt was very effective at closing the distance, and neutralizing a sizable reach disadvantage, and eventually ended the fight with a spectacular knockout.  However, recent visa issues for Hunt (New Zealand) left the bout in limbo up until last week. This leaves Hunt only a small amount of time to acclimate to the environment, and that could be the intagible that gives dos Santos an advantage.

Winner: dos Santos via TKO rd 2

Main Event  Cain Velasquez vs Antonio Silva – for Heavyweight Title

The last time these two faced off in 2012, Velasquez dominated ‘Big Foot’ Silva for 3:36 and left the challenger busted and bloodied. Velasquez then went on to regain the heavyweight title. However, ‘Big Foot’ proved in his last fight, that the illusive creature was still a threat in the division when he destroyed the heavily favored Alistair Overeem in just over 2 rounds. Since rejoining American Top Team, Silva has shown tremendous improvement, and will present a threat on his feet or on the ground. Cain Velasquez is an absolute monster inside the cage. In his last fight he proved he could learn from defeat, and executed a game plan that gave his opponent virtually no chance at winning. After being dismantled by dos Santos, Velasquez came back and returned the favor by pummeling him for 5 rounds. Velasquez will probably utilize a very similar game plan in this fight, to counter the reach of Silva. The key for Silva, is to ride the “Rocky-like” momentum that thrust him in this position to begin with. His hunger to win, will be his best asset.

Winner: Velasquez via TKO rd 3

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By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

 

Rumors in the MMA world were bouncing like crazy this week, when TMZ prematurely reported that Ronda Rousey became the first ever woman fighter signed to the UFC. In a way, TMZ was correct but not in the traditional sense. The truth is Ronda Rousey is and has been signed under the Zuffa umbrella for quite some time.

In March 2011 Zuffa purchased the struggling California-based promotion, most believed the company would be folded in immediately, as was the WEC previously. However, Zuffa maintained the separation of both entities when Dana White was unable to negotiate a new television deal with Showtime; which consequently expires in February. After cancelling the last two events it was obvious that Zuffa’s red-headed step child was going to soon be left for dead. One obvious question beams. What happens to the fighters like Rousey, who are already under contract with Strikeforce.

The answer is still being debated, however several sources in China for the UFC of FUEL TV 6 event have confirmed that the UFC will not need to ‘sign’ any of these fighters, because they are already signed. They simply have to continue honoring their end of the deal. since Zuffa is the parent company for both entities, the UFC will simply pick and chose the fighters they want to keep, and fold them into to the current roster. Those that the UFC brass deem not to be ready, or worthy will surely be bought out of the remaining time left on their contract.

Is this large influx of talent good for the UFC? Unlike the WEC buyout(which brought two new weight classes), most of the upper echelon fighters in Strikeforce will be entering already congested waters. For fighters such as Luke Rockhold, Gilbert Melendez, Nate Marquardt, and Daniel Cormier there is not much to worry about. As the top dogs they will certainly be brought into the UFC realm. The women’s division  it seems would also be safe, as the UFC will need someone for Rousey to fight!. However the rest of the roster, aside from a few big name contenders are left in limbo.

Any infusion of talent should lead to more exciting fights. However, with the roster already swollen more events must result. Another interesting thought will be the importation of fighters into the Bellator tournament format, which is in need of a talent infusion.

All of this remains “unofficial” for now Strikeforce has one event left on their docket, but the writing is on the wall. Strikeforce’s imminent demise will certainly allow some other promotion to rise from the depths of obscurity. Rumors are already swirling that Showtime and CFA are in talks to pick up where Strikeforce left off. One man gathers what another man spills!

by: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

 

Only a small percentage of gladiators lived long enough too fight in Rome. However every single one hoped too not only live, but those that embraced this barbaric path dreamed of fighting on the grandest of all stages the Roman Colosseum. Since then nations have risen and fallen, with that gladiator code still festering in the few who continued the fighting spirit.

Today the closest thing we have to the Gladiator is the mixed martial artist, and the UFC is the only stage as grand or at least comparable too the Colosseum. Like the warriors before Mike Bruno (11-4 MMA) and Vagner Rocha (7-3 MMA 1-2 UFC) have been in each others company previously, coming through the ranks. However with a 3 fight stint in the UFC only Rocha has tasted the nectar of the UFC gods, a thirst he longs for still, and one he shares with Bruno

Although it is a normal scenario for Howard Davis’s Fight Time Promotions to feature a young promising fighter, against a UFC vet trying to get back to the show. This fight is anything but ordinary. Bad blood fueled by a team split, jealousy, and smack talk has led too a genuine feeling of disgust shared by both fighters. “When Vagner made it to the UFC, I was extremely jealous, and being young I made the mistake of running my mouth” Bruno said. Before the Brookins fight, Mike Bruno was heard on the Rudolfo Roman Show begging Brookins “To smash” his former teammate.

A salvo that Rocha believes was from a jealous ex-teammate. “I have openly apologized, because I was in a bad spot, but he apparently he is interested,” Bruno said.  Animosity between opponents is common, however the war of words between the two has at times, become quite volatile. Recently Rocha called out Bruno for being a jealous boring fighter, that lacked any quality finishing skills. With Rocha becoming more aggressive, the war of words was back on and has become increasingly personal. “I was willing to let it go, and just be professional, but either way the outcome will be the same, with me smashing him,” Bruno said, seemingly content to let his performance speak for itself.

The match up of styles adds to the intrigue of this bout. Rocha the savvy Brazilian Ju Jitsu veteran, is slick on the ground and possesses lethal submission skills from any position. “I know he is world class on the ground, he used to train at Top Team”, Bruno said. “He also has a very tough chin”, said Bruno referring to Rocha’s UFC fight with title contender Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, who peppered Rocha for three rounds, before winning a unanimous decision. With his world class wrestling pedigree the younger stronger Bruno is not afraid to enter the Brazilians world. “I have no problem putting my wrestling against his jujitsu.” Bruno said.

As the promotion stalwart, Bruno has fought victoriously 4 times in Fight Time, and in the main event 3 times. Training daily with American Top Team has enabled Bruno to grow tremendously with MMA veterans such as: Mike Brown, Cole Miller, Hector Lombard, Stefane Dias (strength coach), Thiago Alves.  His arsenal continues to improve.

At the helm of this project is Mike’s older brother and UFC veteran Steve ‘Hollywood’ Bruno, who also recently began fighting with the promotion. As a dynamic striker Steve has chiseled away at his  younger brother, turning a power wrestler, into  a well round mixed martial artist capable and comfortable wherever the fight may go. “Steve has been an amazing mentor for me, not only as my brother, but he has a very high MMA I.Q., he knows the business inside out,” Bruno said. With both Bruno’s scheduled to compete on this card, its sure to be a family affair.

Fight Analysis: Besides his wrestling and improved striking skills, Mike Bruno is freakishly strong at 155 lbs. He is notorious for is Rampage-esque slams, and his relentless ground-and-pound attack. Once in a dominant position, Bruno’s hands drop like pile-drivers, at lighting speed. His elbows are lacerating, and they seem to finish beneath his opponents. Vagner Rocha is very experienced and on paper his jujitsu is more refined. He will look to capitalize on a mistake, and try to catch an over aggressive Bruno. Although a very close match-up on paper, it seems Bruno has several advantages, with Rocha only holding one.

Prediction: Mike Bruno via TKO rd 2. I cannot see Rocha stopping Bruno’s relentless power doubles, or his ground and pound.

 

 

There is no road map to ensure a safe trip, between prospect and contender. Redemption is never guaranteed, and the only assurance your receive are nagging injuries, and bruised egos.  Strikeforce welterweight prospect Ryan Laflare is no stranger to any of these roadblocks. Currently 6-0 as a professional, and entering Strikeforce as the reigning Ring of Combat Welterweight Champion Laflare is entering a world of possibility, with a fight ethic and pedigree that shows great promise.

As an avid athlete, Laflare’s journey to the mixed martial arts world is an all too familiar one, with rather unusual results. As a high school and collegiate wrestling champion, Laflare’s foundation like many, began quite normally. After completing High School, he began to study the art of Brazilian Ju Jitsu. He excelled, but Laflare, wanted to become a well rounded fighter, so he decided to take up kickboxing! At the age of 23 he began training MuayThai, and studying under the tutelage of renown striking instructor Keith Trimble at Bellmore Kickboxing Academy. Immediately his striking showed incredible promise, odd for a grappler of his caliber and back-round. Although a gym taught wrestler, Laflare developed his early striking skills on the streets of Long Island. With a tough foundation, technique was built, quickly. After showing promise in two amateur fights, that ended decisively, Laflare was ready to turn pro. “Both my amateur fights ended quickly, with one win coming by armbar, the other by TKO” Laflare said.

With his brief amateur career in the rear-view mirror, and after consistently getting the better of pro teammates in sparring, Laflare booked his first professional fight with Ring of Combat. Normally first time professionals, feel a gambit of emotions that vary from nervous jitters, to intense energy. However, for Laflare it was much different. “When I was a wrestler I was my own worst enemy”, Laflare said. “But, now for some reason I don’t get nervous, maybe a little anxiety!” Anxiety, that he attributes to eagerness. “Once the cage closes, and I look into [my opponents] eyes,  its kill or be killed, there is no emotion!” Laflare said.

Compiling an impressive 6 fight win streak in Ring of Combat, Laflare became the promotion stalwart, and walked through everyone put in front of him leading to his first title, and eventually to a call from Strikeforce. With his dreams on the horizon, a bad rash of luck led to several injuries that left Laflare without an opponent, and then unable to fight. First a bad car accident led to wrist surgery, then while training a severe knee injury led ACL surgery.  With a long lay-off, his professional fate in limbo and a growing family Laflare was forced too re-dedicate himself to the sport across the board.

Now finally healthy, the welterweight prospect is ready to stake his claim in the Strikeforce welterweight division. However, Laflare knows the road is going to get more difficult, and he seems ready. One aspect of Laflare’s personality that makes him so magnetic, is his humble attitude. “I’m not looking to get in with Nate Marquardt right away, ‘Who am I’, I haven’t fought anyone yet.” Laflare said. Currently, there is a fight in the works, however it has not been announced yet, so it’s still anyone’s guess who Laflare will face first. “I just want to put on a good fight, I’m ready. Laflare said.

The injuries sustained may have prevented him from competing, however for the past 2 years Laflare has been assisting fellow Long Island Martial artists with their fight preparation, in nearly every capacity. Long Island has a real tight-knit community of MMA Fighters, so Laflare helped prepare UFC fighters like Costas Philippou and Chris Weidman (Team Serra/Longo), as well as his own promising team-mates  Chris Wade (3-0 MMA), Gregor Gillespie (former NCAA champion wrestler), and UFC fighter Dennis Bermudez (9-3 mma 2-1 UFC).

Although injured, the past two years were used to rehabilitate, and too improve on an already impressive arsenal of weaponry. “I spent some time down with the Blackzillian camp, and trained a lot with Henri Hooft” Laflare said. “If you think my striking was good before, I’ve had two years to improve on it!” It is hard to imagine how a fighter like Laflare can become more dynamic. Ryan already possesses a unique blend of dynamic striking, and explosive positioning. Whoever Scott Coker puts across from him, had better be ready for the intelligent fury that has thrust this young fighter from prospect to contender.