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UFC 155 Fight Prediction: Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez

Junior “Cigano” dos Santos (15-1-0) vs. Cain Velasquez (10-1-0) When you talk to fans, the general consensus is that the first fight between Cain and JDS was a fluke. It’s the same sentiment that many have for Manny Pacquiao’s recent knockout loss. The question is, is there such a thing as a lucky punch? JDS …

The post UFC 155 Fight Prediction: Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez appeared first on Caged Insider.

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UFC 155 fight card: Junior dos Santos vs Cain Velasquez 2 preview

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The two most dangerous heavyweights on the planet will look to settle a year-old score tomorrow night (Dec. 29, 2012) as Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos looks to defend his title against the man he dethroned, Cain Velasquez, in the main event of UFC 155 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Dos Santos has been a wrecking machine since joining the UFC, crushing everyone in his path either via TKO, knockout or the occasional extremely one-sided decision. He fought Velasquez a year ago in the UFC’s debut on Fox, crushing the Mexican American with a right hand and ground and pound to take his title in emphatic fashion. Now, with hopefully no injuries in the way, he can truly make his mark in the division.

Velasquez was a symbol of pride for the UFC’s growing latino fanbase, exploding into popularity when he took the title from Brock Lesnar in 2010. He failed to defend the title against dos Santos after suffering a pretty bad knee injury in the lead-up to the bout but bounced back in a big way by absolutely thrashing Antonio Silva earlier this year to earn another crack at the belt. He’s got an extremely large amount of pressure on him to win.

Will dos Santos prove himself the true champion by removing all doubt and stopping Velasquez again? Can a healthy Velasquez put on a significantly better performance and turn this into a true rivalry? What’s the key to victory for both men?

Junior dos Santos

Record: 15-1 overall, 9-0 in the UFC

Key Wins: Cain Velasquez (UFC on Fox), Shane Carwin (UFC 131), Frank Mir (UFC 146)

Key Losses: none

How he got here: Junior dos Santos made one hell of a first impression in his UFC debut with a tremendous first round uppercut knockout over Fabricio Werdum at UFC 90 back in Oct. 2008. The Brazilian proceeded to run the gauntlet of heavyweights from Stefan Struve, Mirko “Cro Cop”, Gilbert Yvel and Gabriel Gonzaga, scoring stoppage victories in each fight.

“Cigano” was finally awarded a number one contender’s match against Roy Nelson at UFC 117. Dos Santos laid into “Big Country” with everything he had for three consecutive rounds and he would go on to win a lopsided unanimous decision.

Dos Santos was all set to face Velasquez for the title, but the champ went down with a shoulder injury. Instead of waiting on the sidelines while the AKA standout recovered from surgery, he signed on to coach The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 13 against former champion Brock Lesnar with the intent on facing Lesnar in another number one contender’s match.

However, when Lesnar pulled out of his fight with a relapse of diverticulitis, former title challenger Shane Carwin stepped up to face dos Santos in the main event. Dos Santos nearly finished “The Engineer” with strikes in the first round, but instead went on to win another lopsided decision.

Dos Santos captured the UFC title in his next bout, knocking the champion Cain Velasquez out in just 64 seconds on national television. After defending his belt against former champ Frank Mir earlier this year, he’s ready for a second go around against Velasquez.

How he gets it done: We’ve all heard that he’s got an underrated ground game, but this is not, I repeat not the platform to be debuting it. It doesn’t matter if he recently received a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. “Cigano” has some of the heaviest hands in the heavyweight division and his technical boxing is elite. It won him the title originally and has won him every bout in the UFC thus far. Unlike many other heavyweights, he doesn’t throw his entire body into his punches so he should be safe standing and trading with Velasquez without fear of overcommitting to a big strike and getting taken down.

Dos Santos needs to keep his hands high and be prepared to sprawl early and sprawl often. He’s been quick and athletic enough to defend everyone who’s tried to take him down in the past and he’ll need every ounce of strength he’s got to keep Velasquez at bay.

The champion needs to strike while the iron is hot. While he’s never truly gassed in a fight, he’s slowed down a bit against Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin and if that happens against Velasquez, he’s going to get punished. Look for “Cigano” to try and counter Velasquez’s pressure with heavy shots because all it takes is one clean blow and he could be swarming Cain once more and putting a stamp on his title reign.

Cain Velasquez

Record: 10-1 overall, 8-1 in the UFC

Key Wins: Brock Lesnar (UFC 121), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (UFC 110), Antonio Silva (UFC 146

Key Losses: none

How he got here: Velasquez, despite being undersized throughout his wrestling career, was able to become a two-time NCAA Division I All-American while competing at Arizona State University. When he was done with college, he immediately transitioned into mixed martial arts (MMA).

Trainers and other MMA fighters immediately began raving about his potential and he was signed by the UFC after just his second professional fight. He was built up slowly, earning victories over the likes of Brad Morris, Jake O’Brien and Denis Stojnić in his first year with the promotion

But, after a spirited effort against Ben Rothwell, it was time for the big dogs.

Velasquez battled Pride FC legend “Minotauro” Nogueira in the main event of UFC 110 for the UFC’s debut in Australia, knocking out the former interim UFC champion before the midway point of the first round. This earned him a fight against Lesnar for the title. When they finally met, Velasquez weathered the early storm and then destroyed Lesnar with punches and knees standing, following it up with precise ground and pound to become the new UFC heavyweight champion.

He was injured in the bout but returned a year later in the promotion’s network debut on Fox, but was defeated via first round knockout by Junior dos Santos. After healing a knee injury, he made mince meat out of Antonio Silva’s face in one of the most violent and bloody fights of 2012 to earn another shot at the title.

How he gets it done: Velasquez is incredibly athletic and has cardio for days. As long as his knee is 100 percent, he has the best speed, agility and conditioning in the heavyweight division.

The key for Velasquez is to be dangerous enough in the stand up department to have his Brazilian foe respect him there. It didn’t work out last time because he was slow and a bit plodding, not even getting to the point where he could shoot in and force dos Santos to have the takedown in the back of his mind. Expect him to be much lighter on his feet this time around and to really try to neutralize dos Santos’ weapons either with clinch or takedown attempts.

Another key for the champion is to push a relentless pace. “Cigano” is very powerful early in a fight, but he’s faded in the third round a bit against Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin. If Velasquez can wear on him either in the clinch or on the ground, he’ll be setting himself up for a big payoff in the later rounds. Time is definitely on Velasquez’s side.

The most important part of the American Kickboxing Academy’s gameplan is to close the distance while avoiding getting popped with a heavy shot on the way in. Angles, pressure and timing are going to be a huge part in him winning back his belt. .

Fight X-Factor: The first major X-Factor for this fight has to be how healthy both men are compared to their first bout. They were both nursing knee injuries, although it seemed Velasquez’s was worse heading in. He looked a step or two slow and it cost him big time. If Velasquez is back to 100 percent and has that explosiveness back, he’ll be in significantly better shape. He can’t afford to slow down against dos Santos this time around.

The other factor is dos Santos’ power. You can have all the technical skill in the world with wrestling, clinching, speed, explosiveness and conditioning, but as we saw in the last fight, all it takes is one big shot. Cain needs to neutralize dos Santos’ weapons for up to five full rounds while “Cigano” only needs to land that one big punch to completely turn the tides in his favor. Avoiding that heavy blow will be huge for Velasquez.

Bottom line: The first bout, while entertaining with a quick knockout, was underwhelming after a significant build-up. This time around, both men appear healthy and ready to deliver that epic heavyweight war that most fight fans only dream of. Both fighters are in great shape, hit hard and have incredibly well-rounded skill-sets. As long as they fight to their potential, this could be one of the most entertaining heavyweight contests in UFC history. It all just depends on whether or not both men can rise to the occasion. We’ll find out tomorrow night.

Who will come out on top at UFC 155? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!

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UFC 155 – Jim Miller Hoping For “Fight Night” Bonus Versus Joe Lauzon

Click here to view the embedded video.

MMA H.E.A.T.’s Karyn Bryant talks with UFC lightweight Jim Miller and hears what he has to say about his upcoming fight with Joe Lauzon, set to to take place at UFC 155 on December 29th, 2012 in Las Vegas, NV. Jim talks about the opportunity he may have to get a Fight of the Night bonus with Lauzon, how he has learned to fight smarter, what went wrong in the Nate Diaz bout and how he feels about playing Kris Kringle for his family.

TheMMANews

UFC 155 Fight Prediction: Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller

Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon (22-7-0) vs. Jim Miller (21-4-0) The co-main event between ground specialist Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller has fight of the night written all over it. While both fighters have shown to have power in their hands, their fights almost always hit the ground. They generally use their hands to hurt their opponent …

The post UFC 155 Fight Prediction: Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller appeared first on Caged Insider.

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Marloes Coenen to face Fiona Muxlow on DREAM 18 New Year’s Eve fight card

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Former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen returns to familiar grounds as the latest addition to one of Japan’s traditional New Year’s Eve events.

Coenen (20-5), a native of Holland who was a pioneer of Japanese women’s MMA dating back to her teenage years, fights for the 15th time in that country against Australian “Ferocious” Fiona Muxlow (6-1), in a 145-pound battle. It is the only woman’s fight announced so far on a marathon show promoted by Glory Sports International at the Saitama Super Arena, just outside of Tokyo.

The 22-fight card, which combines kickboxing matches and MMA fights, is using the DREAM name for the MMA portion. The show airs in two parts in North America on CBS Sports Net, with the kickboxing on Monday night at 10 p.m. ET and the MMA on Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET.

In Japan, it’s part of a head-to-head battle, with a combination MMA, pro wrestling and kickboxing show being put together under the IGF banner, a pro wrestling company headed by Antonio Inoki, which runs at Sumo Hall in Tokyo. Inoki popularized the New Year’s Eve tradition with a pro wrestling event in 2000, and then produced an MMA event that drew big ratings on network television in 2001 called Inoki Bom Ba Ye, which spawned a tradition in that country. His show features stars of New Year’s Eve past in Japan, when big matches drew television audiences of 20 million to 53 million, using the major names from that era such as Bob Sapp, Naoya Ogawa, and Mirko Cro Cop.

This year’s events, with the decline in popularity of MMA and kickboxing, have the least amount of interest of any year since that time.

Coenen was one of the first female MMA stars, winning an eight-woman open weight tournament at Budokan Hall in Tokyo on Dec. 5, 2000, when she was only 19 years old. She first garnered attention and popularity in Japan by forcing Dan Severn-protege Becky Levi, who was more than 200 pounds, to submit to a flying armbar.

She continued to fight, mainly in Japan through 2007, before debuting with Strikeforce in the U.S. in 2009. She lost when challenging Cris “Cyborg” Santos for the 145 pound title, but came back to beat Sarah Kaufman on Oct. 9, 2010, to win the bantamweight title. She lost the title to Miesha Tate on July 30, 2011, in Hoffman Estates, Ill., via arm triangle submission in the fourth round.

She was part of the fallout of Zuffa getting rid of several of the Golden Glory fighters in late 2011 and has only fought once since losing to Tate. She scored a win over Romy Ruyssen in the main event of the first Invicta Fighting Championships show on April 28 in Kansas City. She would have been a logical opponent for Ronda Rousey in UFC, but a combination of UFC officials getting the word that she could no longer drop to 135 pounds, and perhaps as much, the ongoing issues of Zuffa and Golden Glory, provided serious obstacles.

As Strikeforce bantamweight champion, Coenen made her lone successful title defense on March 5, 2011, in Columbus, OH, submitting Liz Carmouche, who faces Rousey in that fight, with a triangle from the bottom.

“Knowing that I already submitted one-half of the UFC’s first-ever female fight, I’m keen on testing myself here in the Far East where martial arts started,” said Coenen via press release. “I’m still one of the world’s top females and have been ever since winning my first world title in Japan in 2000. I’m strong in my mission to dominate the women’s MMA world.”

Muxlow, 35, has fought her entire career in Australia and New Zealand, with three submission wins and one knockout.

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UFC 155 fight card: Alan Belcher vs Yushin Okami 2 preview

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Alan Belcher

Record: 18-6 overall, 9-4 in the UFC
Key Wins: Rousimar Palhares (UFC on Fox 3), Ed Herman (UFC Fight Night 15), Jason MacDonald (UFC Fight Night 25)
Key Losses: Yoshihiro Akiyama (UFC 100), Jason Day (UFC 83), Kendall Grove (UFC 69)

How he got here: Still just 28 years old, Alan Belcher has been competing in mixed martial arts since 2004. After getting off to a slow 2-2 start to his career, “The Talent” went on a seven fight win streak to earn a berth in the UFC.

He had a rude awakening in the promotion, getting thrown in against top middleweight Yushin Okami in his debut, getting physically dominated en route to a unanimous decision loss. Belcher would bounce back with a quick knockout of Jorge Santiago but Kendall Grove sent him back down to Earth with a D’Aarce choke.

Belcher really began to work on improving his ground game after the loss to Grove and it showed with a guillotine choke of Sean Salmon at UFC 71. After suffering a huge upset to Jason Day in a fight where he was completely controlled by Day’s tricky rubber guard and eventually overwhelmed, Belcher began an impressive streak of top level performances.

It began with a close split decision over Ed Herman and continued with a fantastic guillotine choke victory over Denis Kang which would earn him “Submission of the Night” honors. “The Talent” would earn “Fight of the Night” at the infamous UFC 100 show, losing a razor thin split decision to Yoshihiro Akiyama in a fight that many felt he won.

He got back on track with consecutive finishes against WIlson Gouveia and Patrick Cote, again earning two more fight night bonuses to run his streak to four straight and even called out Anderson Silva afterwards.

He was instead booked to fight Demian Maia but the bout would never take place as Belcher lost vision in his right eye. He had to have surgery and many felt he would never fight again. After 17 months away from the cage, he returned to stop Jason MacDonald via strikes.

Belcher followed up his strong showing by smashing Rousimar Palhares, avoiding the Brazilian’s leg locks and blasting him with heavy punches until the fight was stopped. Now, he’ll be getting a chance to redeem himself against Okami, the man who handed him his first UFC defeat.

How he gets it done: Belcher’s go-to skills have always been his striking. He entered the UFC as a Muay Thai specialist and has been able to add other facets to his overall game since teaming up with famed MMA coach Duke Roufus over in Milwaukee.

Belcher has some very powerful punches and he’s very strong in the clinch but he would be wise to avoid allowing Okami to get close enough to even think about taking him down . “The Talent” will have a slight reach advantage against Okami so look for him to pick “Thunder” apart with his punches, particularly since Okami isn’t nearly as aggressive with his striking after some scares in his recent bouts.

I know that Belcher has put a lot of time into his ground skills, even knocking out MacDonald and Palhares with ground and pound in his last two fights, but he would be wise to avoid going to the ground with Okami and risk being put on his back.

Belcher has terrific kicks but he’ll have to be a little cautious throwing them as he likely doesn’t want to have one caught and be taken down. This is a fight where his boxing and ability to keep the match standing should be the deciding factor. He’ll need to snap his leg back quickly if he’s going to throw it and he can’t telegraph it.

Yushin Okami

Record: 27-7 overall, 11-4 in the UFC
Key Wins: Mark Munoz (UFC on Versus 2), Nate Marquardt (UFC 122), Alan Belcher (UFC 62)
Key Losses: Anderson Silva (UFC 134), Chael Sonnen (UFC 104), Tim Boetsch (UFC 144)

How he got here: With a strong history in wrestling, Yushin Okami began his career competing primarily in Japan, where he made appearances with the Pride, Pancrase and GCM promotions. His most notable early career appearance was during the infamous Rumble on the Rock event where he was struck by Anderson Silva with an illegal blow to win via disqualification.

He would lose in the next round to Jake Shields, but undeterred, he won his next two fights which earned him an invite to the UFC, where he defeated Alan Belcher via unanimous decision in his promotion debut.

While in the UFC, Okami was always doing just enough to be in the talks for title contention, but never quite getting over the top of the hill and get his shot. He didn’t exactly have the most fan-friendly fighting style with his wrestling, top control and more pressure-based striking attack in the stand-up.

At UFC 72, he had a four fight promotional win streak snapped by Rich Franklin which would have given him a title shot. After another three fight winning streak, he would be derailed once more by Chael Sonnen at UFC 104. The Japanese grinder would move to Team Quest after the Sonnen defeat and put together another solid three fight winning streak, this time knocking off top middleweights Mark Munoz and Nate Marquardt to finally capture his title shot.

Unfortunately, the rematch with Anderson Silva did not go very well as Okami was humiliated by “The Spider” via second round technical knockout in a bout he was not competitive in whatsoever. He was hoping to get back on track against Tim Boetsch his native Japan but was stunned in the third round and finished after dominating most of the fight.

He picked up the pieces against Buddy Roberts, going back to what brought him here with a dominant ground display and he’ll be right back in the mix if he can halt Belcher’s streak. .

How he gets it done: Okami has some crisp boxing and some terrific clinch-based takedowns. While his stand-up has improved by leaps and bounds since his debut with the promotion, it would be wise to avoid standing against a powerful striker like Belcher.

Okami’s wrestling won him the fight the last time he took on Belcher and it will absolutely be the deciding factor in this bout. He’ll need to take away Belcher’s weapons by closing the distance in the clinch or dumping “The Talent” on the canvas where he’s least comfortable, off his back.

If he can put Belcher on the ground, Okami needs to go to work with ground and pound and do as much damage from a superior position as possible. Belcher is probably too tough to finish, but the more dominant ground display he can put on, the better.

Fight X-Factor: The biggest X-Factor for this fight could be Yushin Okami’s hesitancy in the stand-up. He was really starting to become a seasoned striker in the middleweight division but after getting embarrassed by Anderson Silva and blitzed by Tim Boetsch, he lost his edge. He even got rocked a couple times by Buddy Roberts on the feet in his last fight.

It’s going to be much more difficult for Okami to take Belcher down and wear him out if he can’t make “The Talent” respect his stand-up, instead telegraphing takedown attempts. This is a completely different Alan Belcher than the man that Okami completely dominated with his grappling back in 2006. It’s not going to be nearly as easy especially if he can’t force the former kickboxer to drop his guard a bit.

Bottom Line: If Belcher can force this fight to remain standing, this fight has all the potential in the world. Belcher has already said he’s looking to score an emphatic knockout to not only get the loss back but to also work himself into the title picture. On the ground, Okami has looked strong in his last two fights, advancing position, dropping repeated punches and doing some damage but he won’t have as easy of a go with it this time around against Belcher. If Okami is able to put him on his back, he might be forced to win the fight with top position alone instead of making the bout more interesting with activity.

Who will come out on top at UFC 155? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!

Poll
Which middleweight will win a long-awaited rematch on the UFC 155 main card this Saturday night?




  91 votes | Results

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UFC on FX 7 Fight Card: Bisping vs. Belfort

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The UFC on FX 7 fight card, featuring a middleweight showdown between Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort, will take place Jan. 19 at the Ibirapuera Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Belfort, who has won three of his past five fights, fell short against Jon Jones in a light heavyweight title match at UFC 152 in his last Octagon appearance. Bisping has won five of his past six fights, including a unanimous decision over Brian Stann at UFC 152.

Check out the fight card below.

Main Card
Vitor Belfort vs. Michael Bisping
Daniel Sarafian vs. C.B. Dollaway
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ben Rothwell
Thiago Tavares vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Undercard
Godofredo Castro vs. Milton Vieira
Ronny Markes vs. Andrew Craig
Diego Nunes vs. Nik Lentz
Edson Barboza vs. Justin Salas
Yuri Alcantara vs. George Roop
Wagner Prado vs. Roger Hollett

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Morning Report Holiday Edition: Eight Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez UFC fight videos

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It was one of those rare, quiet weekends; the kind where the sport just treads water while the rest of us get ready to stuff our faces and generally revert back to acting like children again. Though at this point no news is probably good news, because I’m sure the last thing you want to be reading right now is some Mayan prediction come true about Cain Velasquez blowing out his knee while climbing a flight of stairs, or some other absurd yet fitting way to close out this inexplicable year.

So instead we’ve left the bad news behind and come bearing gifts. Tons of knockouts — eight of which come courtesy of Velasquez and Junior dos Santos — another round of Ultimate Answers, plus Wanderlei Silva reminiscing fondly on his glory days with Pride FC. But first, let’s get to some headlines.

Enjoy the holidays, everyone!

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6 MUST-READ STORIES

Best of 2012. It’s that time of year again. Join us as we each look back at the 12 months that were and pick out the best of the best for MMA Fighting’s Best of 2012 awards. Check out Luke Thomas’ rundown of Submission of the Year, Dave Doyle’s Knockout of the Year list, and yours truly recalling the zombie apocalypse with Fight of the Year.

Henderson answers coach. Dan Henderson responded succinctly to his coach’s complaints about Ronda Rousey headlining UFC 157: “I am perfectly fine as the co-main. I will get to relax and enjoy the women go at it. … I’m just happy to be getting in the Octagon again.”

Kennedy calls out Strikeforce fighters. Following yet another injury to Strikeforce’s final card, Tim Kennedy implied his co-workers’ injuries may not be as serious as they seem: “Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. It’s pathetic and convenient for every single marquee fighter in all of Strikeforce, that we all know to be going over to the UFC, are pulling out of their fights, two weeks before the final card. It’s like, are you guys fighters, or are you just a bunch of little vaginas?”

Bellator releases former champ. Bellator MMA cut its inaugural bantamweight champion, Zach Makovsky, following a narrow split decision loss to Anthony Leone at Bellator 83. Makovsky racked up a 6-2 record inside the promotion.

FUEL TV to reportedly be rebranded. According to a report from our own Dave Meltzer and the Wrestling Observer, FUEL TV could be rebranded as “Fox Sports 2″ sometime in mid-to-late 2013.

Ortiz talks Cyborg weight. Speaking to MMA Interviews, Cris Cyobrg’s manager Tito Ortiz reiterated his client will likely be unable to meet Ronda Rousey’s 135-pound demands: “You’ve got to understand, she’s small. She’s cutting from 170 down trying to make 135. That’s a big, big, big, big cut. That’s a lot for a woman to cut. And it’s just health reasons when it comes down to it. We want to see an exciting fight. Do it at 140-pounds, I think that would make the best difference.”

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MEDIA STEW

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the most violent edition of “Road to the Title” we’ve seen all year. Just try to rank these eight fights

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Jon Jones calling his own number like LeBron James. I dig the confidence. Funny thing is, neither man is wrong. (International geo-blocked users, this may help.)

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Reason No. 146 why Russians make for gnarly fighters: Combat sambo, aka legal headbutt KOs.

(HT: The UG)

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And here is the point where we all shed a single, collective tear as Wanderlei Silva reflects back on his Pride FC days.

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Between the bizarre Korean announcer and the 20-second near-double-knockout, this video easily wins the weekend. (For the lazy, jump to 1:10.)

(HT: MiddleEasy)

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CHAMP NO MORE

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STRONG WORDS

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ZOMBIE UPDATE

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MOVIN’ ON UP

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#STRIKEFORCENEVERDIE

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HOLIDAYS IN THE 209

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WARNING: GRUESOME KNEE INJURY PIC INCOMING

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LAST CHANCE. DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANY COMPLAINING.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced over the weekend (Friday, December 21, 2012 – Sunday, December 23, 2012):

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today’s Fanpost of the Day comes from John S. Nash, who reaches back into the vault for some highly-recommended holiday reading: Forgotten Golden Age of Mixed Martial Arts

“The evolution of martial arts since 1993 (since the UFC came around) martial arts have evolved more than they have in the last 700 years. We know exactly now what works in a real live situation with two warriors fighting; for a long time that was just speculation.”

- Joe Rogan

It is common knowledge amongst fans of the sport of mixed martial arts that the first Ultimate Fighting Championship ushered in a “golden age” of MMA. Sure, it had a predecessor in Brazilian Vale Tudo and Japanese “shooto” wrestling matches, but those were merely the prologue for what was to follow.

What Art Davie and Rorion Gracie unleashed with UFC 1 was something unseen in the annals of unarmed combat: the opportunity for the best fighters in the world from two different disciplines to test themselves, and their art, in a simulation of a real world combat scenario.

No longer would we have to imagine who would win in a hypothetical matchup between, say, a wrestler and a judoka, or try to calculate who employed the more effective striking between a savateur, a boxer, or a karateka; because now we would be given the definitive answer.

For the first time since the ancient Greeks participated in pankration, martial arts would move beyond the philosophical to the empirical. Thus, a “golden age” was born.

Unfortunately, none of the above is true.

What most fans of MMA are not aware of, is a previous “golden age” of mixed martial arts existed, one where much of the progress we currently enjoy was made and where most of our questions were answered. This previous era saw unrivaled progress in ancient disciplines, the emergence of new hybrid fighting styles, the pitting of the different disciplines against one another in no-holds-barred combat, and the presence of some of history’s greatest unarmed combatants.

All of this existed a century before the first fighter ever stepped foot in the Octagon; during the “golden age” that was the Belle Époque.

All four parts have been posted.

Part I: The Golden Age of Wrestling & the Lost Art of American Catch-as-Catch-can

Part II: The Rise of Judo & the Dawn of a New Age

Part III: Sherlock Holmes, Les Apaches & the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence

Part IV: Ultimate Fighting of the Belle Époque

Found something you’d like to see in the Morning Report? We’ll be off for the next few days, but just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we’ll include it in Friday’s column. Have a happy holidays!

MMA Fighting – All Posts

Pic: Forrest Griffin’s knee that knocked him out of UFC 155 Phil Davis fight

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Well this is disgusting.

Forrest Griffin was all set to return to action at the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) annual year-end event, UFC 155: “Dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2″ on Sat., Dec. 29, 2012, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Then, he hurt his knee in training and was forced to pull out.

These things happen in MMA but normally we aren’t privy to the gruesome images of it. And this one is nasty, coming by way of Forrest’s Twitter account with the following message:

“This is what you get for Christmas when your (sic) naughty.”

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Yuck.

No timetable has been set for his return.

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Alan Belcher’s run at middleweight title starts with statement fight against Yushin Okami at UFC 155

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It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that Alan Belcher was taking a cue from Chael Sonnen and using whatever microphone was put in front of him to call for a middleweight title shot against reigning division champion Anderson Silva. At first, the proposition seemed crazy. After all, when he first started talking about it, he was barely a .500 fighter in the UFC.

Now, it’s not so crazy.

That’s because he’s ripped off four wins in a row, a mark that would be at seven if not for an extremely controversial decision loss to Yoshihiro Akiyama back at UFC 100 in July 2009.

That’s in the past, though, and he’s rebounded strong, even overcoming a detached retina that not only threatened his career but his eyesight, as well. Despite that, he’s chugging along with four finishes in a row. Up next is a main card match-up at UFC 155: “Dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2″ on Sat., Dec. 29, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nevada, against Yushin Okami.

As Belcher tells Bleacher Report, if he wants to make sure his 2013 fight campaign leads to a title shot, he’s got to close out 2012 in style.

“I think it’s huge for me and I have to make a statement. I have to prove that I deserve a big fight against one of the big-name guys-which I already have and I need to stay there. If I really want 2013 to be my run at the title, this is a great way to kick it off. I’m just looking for the “W” more than anything else, but I think my drive and my abilities right now are going to make it a very strong statement. If it’s not a real clean win for me, it’s just because Yushin Okami is a very good fighter. It could very well be a really hard win for me, but I’ll do what it takes to get the “W” and I feel pretty confident about it.”

Considering the dearth of challengers at 185-pounds currently, there’s no reason to think a few impressive victories wouldn’t shoot “The Talent” to the front of the line.

Anyone hoping he gets there sooner rather than later?

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