Archive for MMA Mania

Midnight Mania! Watch Brock Lesnar Back in Training

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Welcome to Midnight Mania!

It’s been half a year since Brock Lesnar jumped into the cage and shoved newly crowned heavyweight kingpin Daniel Cormier, flashing decayed teeth as he cut a promo against the champion. The prospective bout with Cormier had a built-in roadblock, with Lesnar needing to finish out his USADA suspension for the anabolic steroids he was suspended for after UFC 200. (Mark Hunt is still angry about that, in case anyone was wondering). Six months on, its still unclear whether Lesnar will actually return to the cage. However, he did spend some time on the mats recently, which could be a good sign.

The skillset that brought Lesnar his fame and glory was developed in his college wrestling days. Now, Brock is back on the mats, practicing with Gable Stevenson at the University of Minnesota.

Could his motivation be to train for a bout with two-time Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier in the UFC’s Octagon? We will get our answer in 2019.


Insomnia

Alexander Volkanovski wins the ten-year challenge

Dana White’s entry was pretty funny too, courtesy of Michael Chiesa

Cub Swanson had a solid entry

Aljamain Sterling has stepped his beard game up

I never realized Angela Hill was an animator

This is the problem with superfights- the clog up the divisions every single time.

Darren Till vs. Jorge Masvidal is going to be an interesting staring contest

Lando Vannata drilling striking combinations

I don’t usually include John Danaher in Midnight Mania because he writes novels for captions, but something about the geometry in this triangle choke setup was aesthetically appealing.

Tony Ferguson needs to get his title shot in 2019, or we riot.

Anthony Pettis against Stephen Thompson seems like a mismatch, but Pettis is just here for the glory and the loot.

I love Dustin Poirier’s positive mentality.

Amanda Nunes was all over the place on Twitter today, but confirmed she seems to have no interest in a rematch with Cris Cyborg

Okay… what is going on with her account?

Megan Anderson says Nunes should be stripped if she won’t defend

Tatiana Suarez is the strawweight champion in waiting

Ben Askren and Kelvin Gastelum went back and forth on Twitter

I had never seen this incredible one-shot fight scene

Sumo has questionable decisions too

Ouch

On this note…

Sleep well, Maniacs! A better tomorrow is always possible. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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Cejudo Willingly Sacrificed Money To Fight Dillashaw

Henry Cejudo’s head coach revealed prior to “The Messenger’s” title fight against Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227 that the Olympic gold medalist took a pay cut to face “Mighty Mouse.”

Now, Henry says he once again sacrificed some cash to face TJ Dillashaw at the upcoming UFC on ESPN+ 1 event on Saturday night (Jan. 19, 2019) in Brooklyn, N.Y., seeing as how he could’ve earned a bit more if the fight was on pay-per-view (PPV). Cejudo didn’t mind, though, as he says he did it for the sake of the Flyweight division.

Plus headlining the first-ever UFC on ESPN fight card was an added bonus.

“Look at the opportunity they gave me,” Cejudo said during a recent media scrum via MMA Junkie. “It’s a Cinderella story. I beat this guy, resurrect the flyweight division, and that’s all there is to it. I’m willing to sacrifice some of my money for the sake of others. After this fight, let it be known I’m a prizefighter. So Uncle Dana and everybody is going to have to cough up, because I ain’t fighting for free,” he added.

“I’m not here just for a victory for myself and to add to my legacy, but also to all the 125 pounders who are someday looking to become a world champ in the UFC,” Cejudo said. “This is much bigger than me.”

Should Cejudo retain his flyweight title with a win over TJ, he wants to make sure he can lock down another title fight with “Viper,” this time for his Bantamweight strap. But make no mistake, he wants to get paid next time around.

“Once I beat him, we’ll talk to Uncle Dana. I feel like once I beat T.J. Dillashaw, it’s like the champ can’t defend his title unless he fights the other champ that beat him. That’s going to be a negotiation stop with the UFC. At the end of the day I’m a prizefighter. I’m looking to get paid whether I fight at ’25 or ’35.”

The narrative — one Dana White has sort of been hinting at — is that the 125-pound weight class will stay put should Cejudo win. If TJ wins, then most seem to think that’s all she wrote for flyweights competing inside the Octagon.

To see the most up-to-date UFC on ESPN+ 1: “Cejudo vs Dillashaw” fight card click here. And to subscribe to ESPN+ 1 click here.

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Blaydes Draws ‘Big Pretty’ For UFC Nashville

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a heavyweight showdown of titanic proportions to the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., when Curtis Blaydes collides with Justin Willis at UFC on ESPN+ 6 on March 23, 2019.

That’s according to a report from Flo Combat.

Blaydes (10-2, 1 NC) is looking to rebound from his technical knockout loss to Francis Ngannou at UFC Beijing back in November. Losing to “The Predator” snapped a five-fight win streak for “Razor,” which included victories over Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem.

Speaking of Hunt, Willis (8-1) is coming off a unanimous decision nod over the since-departed “Super Samoan” in their UFC Adelaide co-main event just last month. “Big Pretty” is now the winner of seven straight with four knockout finishes.

UFC Nashville is also expected to feature the striking showcase between Anthony Pettis and Stephen Thompson, after “Showtime” made the decision to bump up to welterweight. Expect additional fight announcements in the coming weeks.

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Midnight Mania! McGregor Somehow Ranked 9th Fittest Athlete of 2018

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Welcome to Midnight Mania!

This seems… wrong. Conor McGregor, who is not even close to the fittest athlete in mixed martial arts, was ranked the 9th fittest athlete in the world for 2018 by Sports Illustrated, ahead of athletes like Canelo Alvarez, Russell Westbrook, Luka Modric, triathlete Patrick Lange, and two-time Olympic gold medalist rower Hamish Bond.

To back up their claim, SI cited McGregor’s ability to compete in both boxing to mixed martial arts. There are a couple problems with that. Firstly, McGregor’s lone boxing match didn’t take place in 2018. Secondly, while McGregor certainly gave as good an account of himself as anyone could reasonably expect in terms of skill, Mayweather was still able to finish him… because he gassed. In McGregor’s lone MMA bout in 2018, he gassed again, giving up a fourth-round rear-naked choke to exhausting grappler Khabib Nurmagomedov. This is not the first trouble McGregor has had with his fitness. He lost to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 because he got tired and then Diaz rocked him; he struggled in the rematch to overcome the same symptoms of fatigue, but pressed through to a five-round victory in his most impressive display of fortitude to date. It is hard to imagine ranking McGregor 9th on any fitness list when his cardio-respiratory fitness is, in fact, a recurrent problem for him. You can read SI’s stated selection criteria here.

Sports Illustrated needn’t have looked far for a better delegate from mixed martial arts. The insanely conditioned Max Holloway, McGregor’s successor as featherweight champion, returned from a worrying health scare to set an all-time UFC record for the most strikes landed in a round and a fight. Robert Whittaker outlasted a clobbering from Yoel Romero due to his phenomenal conditioning in the Fight of the Year. Khabib Nurmagomedov destroyed both McGregor himself and Al Iaquinta with apparent ease. Dustin Poirier and Tony Ferguson both used their phenomenal conditioning to win tough, spectacular fights, as did UFC featherweight contender Alexander Volkanovski. If they want to cite an ability to compete in multiple combat sports, Israel Adesanya transitioned from an extremely successful kickboxing career to beat ranked mixed martial artists in impressive fashion within a year of his UFC debut. The point is, there are a lot of mixed martial artists Sports Illustrated could have chosen, but their only real metric appears to have been fame, in this case.


Insomnia

Paige VanZant on Good Morning America

Takeru training with Duane Ludwig

This fight seems like it could be fun, but also kinda pointless.

Edson Barboza vs. Justin Gaethje is much more exciting. Gaethje should be the favorite, but Barboza is tough as nails, throws excellent body shots, and could really do some damage kicking Gaethje on his way in.

Jackie Chan was an incredibly talented martial artist

This guy got more than he bargained for

It would be funny if TJ Dillashaw made weight and Henry Cejudo missed

Combat sports are back with a vengeance this weekend

Alistair Overeem is focusing on the important things in life

The pop lock was amazing

Kevin Lee gets his ass kicked by little girls at gymnast exercises. Its amazing how hard it is doing stuff that was easy as a little kid.

Matt Brown is back kicking the pads

Derrick Lewis is back with the content, and this guy is… not quite right.

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Coked up

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Amanda Nunes and Nina Ansaroff are a cute couple.

“There is no reason to be alive” is a peak mystical caption from Gunnar Nelson. Just how much weight is he lifting?

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There is no reason to be alive…

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Slips, Rips, and Sumo Clips

Spinning elbows are always cool

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I love the variety in sumo wrestling. Sometimes a match is a back-and-forth battle of footwork

Sometimes its a head-on clash

Sometimes a sumo wrestler will play the matador with success

Sometimes its a tactical battle of position that ends with a throw


Random Land

This was hilarious above and beyond politics. We can see his brain slowly melting in real time

Sleep well, Maniacs! A better tomorrow is always possible. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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Holm Vs Nunes In 2019?

Amanda Nunes made history by becoming the first female mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter to hold two belts simultaneously for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), defeating Cris Cyborg via first round knockout (see it) to be able to put the Featherweight strap alongside her Bantamweight belt.

While many expected Cris to get an immediate rematch after dominating the division for so long, it doesn’t seem to be in the cards. At least not for a couple of years. But there are those who do feel Cris deserves an instant do-over, as former 145-pound title contender, Holly Holm, says if anyone is deserving of an instant rematch it’s Cyborg.

“She deserves a rematch for being somebody in a dominant position like that for so long getting knocked out? Yes, they absolutely deserve a rematch,” Holm told MMA Junkie. “That’s the way it goes. I believe she deserve the chance to go fight again. I don’t think she needs people to talk her into it. Rematches after getting knocked out, it needs to come from the fighter themselves. If Cyborg comes forward saying, ‘I want the rematch I can absolutely do.’ Yes, I think Amanda should honor that.”

Holm knows all-too well just how dominant Cris can be, coming up short against the fearsome striker at UFC 219 two years ago. After getting back on the winning track against Megan Anderson, Holly will look to score back-to-back wins when she faces Aspen Ladd at UFC 235 on March 2, 2019.

With a win and if the opportunity presents itself to fight for the title against Amanda Nunes, the former boxing champion won’t turn it down.

“I’ve been focusing on this particular fight because I don’t want to overlook who I’m facing now and then run into a loss because I was looking too far into the future. I’m never promised another day and another fight, so I need to make the most of what’s in front of me,” she said.

“I’m going to have this fight with Aspen Ladd and we’ll see what happens going forward. There’s always short goals and long goals. Yes, I would love to be able to fight with Nunes. It’s one of the things that could happen. I’m just 100 percent into Aspen Ladd right now.”

A fight with Holm would provide an interesting challenge for the current “champ-champ,” as Holly would definitely be the most-technical striker she’s faced to date. On the flip side, if “Lioness” can score a win over Holly, her resume would be unmatched as she would become the only fighter to defeat Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey, Holm and the aforementioned Cyborg.

That’s GOAT-type stuff.

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Here’s Mike Perry Dropping His Girlfriend In Sparring

The video is affectionately titled, “Platinum Punishment.”

Having watched Mike Perry prance around in a Native American war bonnet, ululating and promising to smash “Cowboy” Cerrone for his crimes against humanity, I realized that “Platinum” is the type of guy who is going to do whatever the heck he wants.

To whoever the heck he wants.

That includes his longtime girlfriend, Danielle Nickerson, who had some pretty mean things to say about UFC welterweight Alan Jouban, further establishing that she is probably the right person to be dating Perry at this point in his life.

In fact, she didn’t seem too bothered that “Platinum” dropped her at the end of their training session. And hey, I’m all for tough love (and hard sparring) but there was something unnerving about his promise to “fuck her up” following a glove malfunction.

Hey, at least it wasn’t this D-bag.

Perry (12-4), who has 11 knockouts in 12 wins, is currently unbooked at this time, but is expected to return to the Octagon in the coming weeks, presumably against someone of the same gender.

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Midnight Mania! Did a Pair Of Tight Jeans Just Kill a UFC Division?

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Amanda Nunes doesn’t like being fluffy, evidently, as the UFC double champion is having trouble fitting into her wardrobe… but did she just kill the women’s featherweight division over it?

UFC women’s featherweight was always a strange division. Rankings for it never really existed; it was created to showcase one woman: Cris Cyborg, the queen of 145. Amanda Nunes ended Cyborg’s 13-year reign in less than a minute. Afterwards, perhaps out of sheer pettiness, she said she plans on making Cyborg wait two years for a rematch, saying she wants to drop back to bantamweight and defend her belt in that weight class. Dana White also shot down Cyborg’s call for an immediate rematch.

Cyborg, perhaps the only female fighter (possibly excepting Megan Anderson) on the roster who can’t make 135, has one fight on her contract… but only if the UFC offers her that fight before March. Once March comes and goes, she’s a free agent, with stated ambitions to try her hand at boxing. The UFC have shown they are willing to contemplate closing down whole weight classes, with the future of men’s flyweight currently unclear. With Nunes dragging her feet on any possible rematch, could this be the end of the UFC’s strangest division?

The good news here? Nunes’ girlfriend, fellow UFC fighter Nina Ansaroff, says she still loves her.


Insomnia

Will this scientific-looking approach to Dillashaw’s brutal weight cut work for him?

According to him, the weight cut is over- the rest is academic.

TJ Dillashaw is the most illustrious veteran of The Ultimate Fighter, ever.

Hindsight is 20/20

Darren Till was excited that Jorge Masvidal wanted to fight him

Leon Edwards wasn’t so pleased with the callout

Oleksandr Usyk could end up being the greatest heavyweight boxer of our time, and he’s not even a heavyweight.

Amateur and professional MMA events have declined year over year in the United States since 2013, when the UFC really began to establish its stranglehold on the sport. That might not be the cause at all, but its definitely an interesting trend.

On that note. the plaintiffs in the anti-trust lawsuit are claiming 99% of fighters were harmed because the UFC was able to pay them less than half of what they would have received in a competitive market. That seems about accurate judging by the effects of the Reebok deal alone.

When you do a book report on the Cliff Notes:

Florida Man headlines, but with Mike Perry’s face, remain the best.

Stipe Miocic is still angling for his rematch with Daniel Cormier

Yeah, this fight poster is pretty amazing.

AJ Agazarm could be a force to watch in MMA

Nate Diaz and Khabib Nurmagomedov got into it on social media about their scuffle

Johnny Walker is having Too Much Fun

“Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance”

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How being able to spar today made me feel.

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Tony Ferguson can dance

Why would Dillon Danis pick a fight with Jakie Shields, when Shields beat him in grappling?

Speaking of MMA fighters that are better grapplers than Danis, here’s Garry Tonon:

Frankie Edgar and Eddie Alvarez are the most likely friends you could imagine in MMA

Mike Perry sparring

Cain Velasquez keeps trying to convince us that he’s really coming back. I’m not buying it yet.

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No days off. Can’t wait! #UFCPhoenix @somosdpana

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Jacked Cejudo

Dustin Poirier made it weird

Brian Ortega in a bowtie

Cory Sandhagen found himself a new opponent, UFC newcomer Mario Bautista

Tito Ortiz is a treasure

This is funny by Leslie Smith

Anthony Pettis is still angling for this funhouse scrap with Stephen Thompson

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Derrick Lewis hasn’t gotten his free Popeyes for life ticket yet, even though its ten minutes from his house.


Slips, Rips, KO Clips

Yair’s elbow was better but I posted so many knockouts I forgot about this gem:

An old classic from MMA pioneer Yves Edwards

Another oldie:

Closing the door with a headkick worked out really well for Arman here

Back and forth

This guy throws down

Just want to let everyone know, Sumo is back.

Old-school heavyweight


Random Land

Geometry

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London’s calling

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Sleep well, Maniacs! A better tomorrow is always possible. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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Predictions! UFC ‘Brooklyn’ ‘Prelims’ Preview – Pt. 1

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to both ESPN+ and ESPN this weekend (Sat., Jan. 19, 2019) when UFC Fight Night 143: “Cejudo vs. Dillashaw” storms Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC Fight Night 143 “Prelims” party with the first installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

With the FOX deal going the way of Spike TV, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) enters 2019 in the greener pastures of ESPN and ESPN+, hitting Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.., this Saturday (Jan. 19, 2019) with its inaugural card. In the main event, T.J. Dillashaw drops 10 pounds in a bid to become a double champ against newly minted Flyweight king Henry Cejudo, while the controversial Greg Hardy debuts in the co-main against Allen Crowder. Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans will also get to see blue-chip Lightweight prospect Gregor Gillespie take on all-action Yancy Medeiros and the venerable Joseph Benavidez face the resurgent Dustin Ortiz.

Two of the six “Prelims” undercard bouts take place on ESPN+, just like the main card. Let’s begin, shall we?

155 lbs.: Dennis Bermudez vs. Te Edwards

Dennis Bermudez (16-9) enters the cage this Saturday on a four-fight losing streak, though only his knockout loss to Chan Sung Jung was definitive. His subsequent defeats to Darren Elkins, Andre Fili and Rick Glenn all came by split decision, with the majority of MMA media scoring them for “The Menace.” This will be his first Lightweight bout in more than eight years.

Te Edwards (6-2) smashed his way to UFC with a 28-second one-punch knockout of Austin Tweedy on “Contender Series,” his fifth consecutive win by first-round stoppage. The Muay Thai stylings of Don Madge proved too much, however, as the South African put him away with a head kick seconds into the second round. He stands two inches taller than Bermudez and will have a six-inch reach advantage.

Frankly, I expected quite a lot more from Edwards against Madge, but his lack of striking craft and defensive grappling showed themselves. He’s still got plenty of potential and those problems can be chalked up to a lack of experience; unfortunately, they’re not the sort of shortcomings that can be fixed in three months. He’s going to struggle against an experienced wrestler, even one he has two inches of height and six inches of reach on.

Bermudez has a bad habit of getting dropped and Edwards has the power to score an early finish. If Bermudez can survive a rough start, though, expect him to exploit Edwards’ lack of experience in deep waters and ground-and-pound the tiring “T” on his way to some 29-28s.

Prediction: Bermudez via unanimous decision

170 lbs.: Belal Muhammad vs. Geoff Neal

Belal Muhammad (14-2) started his UFC career 1-2, but has since assembled a four-fight win streak that includes an upset decision of Tim Means. “Remember the Name” was last seen defeating late replacement Chance Rencountre, and was going to face Brazilian knockout artist Elizeu “Capoeira” in Sept. 2018 before pulling out because of an injury. He will give up three inches of reach to Geoff Neal (10-2).

“Handz of Steel” made the move to 185 pounds for his “Contender Series” bout with Chase Waldon, making short work of the former RFA title challenger to earn a contract. He dispatched Brian Camozzi with a no-hooks rear-naked choke in his UFC debut, then laid an unholy beating on Frank Camacho before leveling him with a head kick in Sept. 2018. Six of his eight stoppage wins have come by form of knockout.

I procrastinated on picking this one — it’s not the closest fight on the card in terms of odds, but it’s tough to get a good read on it. Neal’s superior power has me leaning his way, but Muhammad has come a long way since getting dropped left and right by Alan Jouban and Vicente Luque. Indeed, he’s evolved into a genuine contender despite his lack of stopping power.

This will come down to how much success Muhammad has with his takedowns. Neal’s reach advantage will make it difficult to get inside, though, and he’s shown that he can keep up an impressive pace, making it unlikely that Muhammad can wear him down and take over late. Expect a competitive striking battle until Neal finds the mark with something nasty.

Prediction: Neal via second-round technical knockout

Four more UFC on ESPN+ 1 “Prelims” undercard bouts to preview and predict, including multiple top prospects and the latest from “Cowboy” Cerrone. Same time as always, Maniacs.

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 143 fight card on fight night, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

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Bisping: Is Jones Clean, Or Dirty And Getting Away With It?

Michael Bisping is glad to have Jon Jones back inside the Octagon.

Sure, “The Count” has been an outspoken critic of the reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion, who reclaimed his crown at UFC 232 last month in Calif., but that is the price a fighter must pay when flunking multiple drug tests.

It’s like a fighter who habitually misses weight, the doubt will always be there.

But now that Jones has passed his UFC 232 drug tests, Bisping wants to know if the embattled pound-for-pound great is truly clean, or just dirty and getting away with it, thanks to so much about his case that is unknown, even by the supposed “experts.”

Like picograms and pulsing effects, for example.

“That was the narrative going into this fight: ‘Listen, this is remnants, it was leftover from whenever it was.’ But the point of the matter is that Jeff Novitzky was saying, everyone was saying this could be in his system for a long, long time and then, lo and behold, he tests clean,” Bisping said on his Believe You Me podcast (via MMA Fighting). “I’m glad he tested clean, I really am. I hope he continues to do so. I hope he stays clean. I don’t hope he passes his tests and gets away with it. They’re two very different things. I don’t hope he gets away with it. I hope he’s competing on a level playing field and we get to see the best Jon Jones that we can.”

He certainly looked like the best Jon Jones at UFC 232.

Jones returned from his UFC 214 disciplinary suspension last fall, only to once again test positive for trace amounts of Turinabol. The argument from UFC and its band of merry men was that “Bones” already served time for that exact substance and what was found — multiple times — was no different than finding Thanksgiving leftovers in your fridge.

Assuming you only open your fridge once a year.

As of this writing, Jones is scheduled to return to action — along with a battery of new drug testing protocols — at the UFC 235 pay-per-view (PPV) event in March, assuming Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) buys his story about this battery of tests.

Time will tell.

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Coach: Adesanya’s Striking Pedigree Is Superior To Silva’s

With UFC 233 cancelled postponed, the next UFC pay-per-view is UFC 234 on Saturday February 9th in Melbourne, Australia. Headlining that fight is a solid match-up between Aussie champ Robert Whittaker and challenger Kelvin Gastelum. Also on a lot of fans’ radars: a legend vs. prospect fight between Anderson Silva and Israel Adesanya.

Adesanya is the new hotness, while many think Anderson may be old and busted. That certainly seems to be the opinion of Israel’s striking coach Eugene Bareman.

“They’re on two different levels,” Bareman said in a Adesanya video blog (via MMA Junkie). “Israel’s a highly refined specialist at what he does. Anderson’s been doing MMA for most of his life, but that’s what makes it so interesting. It’s not a striking fight. In a striking fight it wouldn’t be a competition. It’s an MMA fight, which is like the great equalizer so to speak. That’s what makes it an interesting contest. It’s not a striking fight; it’s an MMA fight and has all those other aspects.”

“In a striking fight, the casual fan is definitely not going to agree with me,” he continued. “But that’s why they’re a casual fan. A striking match is not a competition with Israel Adesanya. His pedigree is much higher, and he’s a more high-caliber fighter. But this is an MMA fight, and that makes it more interesting. It makes the playing field more even, and that’s what makes it such an interesting fight.”

Who knows, maybe this is some 4D chess attempting to convince Anderson Silva he needs to stay standing with Adesanya to prove a point. We’re not 100% sure we’re willing to agree that Israel is better than Anderson on the feet, even with the advantage of youth. But we’re sure “The Spider” has a way better ground game, one Adesanya doesn’t particularly want to test.

That reluctance to get into it on the ground has led “The Stylebender” to work real hard on his takedown defense, and there’s a good chance Silva couldn’t take this thing down even if he tried. It’s clear what the UFC and Adesanya want: a stand up war that gives them a clear new #1 contender. Now we just have to see whether Silva has enough left in the tank to spoils things by winning.

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