Tag Archive for Pettis
This is the UFC on FOX 10 undercard live blog for the UFC on FOX 10 event at the United Center in Chicago.
There will be seven fights on the UFC on FOX 10 undercard. Alex Caceres vs. Sergio Pettis, Eddie Wineland vs. Yves Jabouin, Chico Camus vs. Yaotzin Meza, Junior Hernandez vs. Hugo Viana, Daron Cruickshank vs. Mike Rio, George Sullivan vs. Mike Rhodes, and Walt Harris vs. Nikita Krylov be featured on the prelims.
Check out the UFC on FOX 10 undercard below.
Walt Harris vs. Nikita Krylov
Round 1: Harris opens southpaw, Krylov is orthodox. Both fighters open up with strikes, but just seconds into the bout, Krylov fires a right head kick that lands around the gloves of Harris, which were blocking the kick. Still, it landed enough and Harris is in trouble. Krylov follows up with strikes as Harris turtles up. The ref has no choice but to stop it.
Nikita Krylov def. Walt Harris via TKO (strikes) at :25 of round 1
George Sullivan vs. Mike Rhodes
Daron Cruickshank vs. Mike Rio
Junior Hernandez vs. Hugo Viana
Chico Camus vs. Yaotzin Meza
Eddie Wineland vs. Yves Jabouin
If the whole Randy Couture/Ryan Couture experience has taught us anything, it’s that it can be nigh impossible to live up to the expectations fans may have over a particular last name. Such is the case with Sergio Pettis, who’s scrapping at UFC on Fox 10 on Saturday night, and whose big brother Anthony is […]
Benson Henderson ready to start climb back to the top — and hopefully Anthony Pettis is the man there waiting
GLENDALE, AZ — The first time Benson Henderson felt like this, he spent a month living as a hermit. It was late 2010, just before Christmas, and like a bandit in the night, Anthony Pettis had seized Henderson’s holiday bounty — his prized golden belt and the promise of one just a bit shinier — and left nothing in its stead but tiny lumps of regret, each one as hard and black as the coal that lines the stockings of bad little boys and girls each year.
That particular holiday season wasn’t so festive. By his own admission, Henderson didn’t go anywhere. He didn’t answer or return any phone calls, his e-mail inbox flooded with unchecked concerns and well wishes each morning. And still Henderson sat, heartbroken. Feeling sorry for himself at first, then after a while feeling sorry for himself for still feeling sorry for himself.
Of course, as far as rebounds are concerned, Henderson did alright. Within four months’ time, he’d battered poor Mark Bocek up, down and across the Octagon, and kicked off a run of seven straight conquests that would eventually link his name to that of division pioneer B.J. Penn, tied for the greatest statistical championship reign in UFC lightweight history.
Yet for such a merry chapter to come to an end so abruptly, so anticlimactically… in a small way, it must have felt like déjà vu. Harley Hometown Throwdown emblems scattered throughout the arena. Pettis, once more the hungry and slighted challenger. UFC 164 had all the makings of a classic sequel, a Godfather II or Empire Strikes Back of face-punching.
Instead, it was a rout.
That Henderson’s record-tying reign penned its own conclusion in just four and a half minutes — by submission, no less — is a result few could have anticipated. But truly, is a last-second miracle kick in the closing moments of a championship round any less of a deus ex machina? Either way, for Henderson, the internal pain still felt the same. That much is certain.
So if the lessons of WEC 53 and that lost hermit Christmas taught Henderson anything for this second go-round, it’s that the sooner one gets back on the horse that trampled them, the sooner one can start stacking bodies and going about making things right.
“Actually, that was the easy part,” Henderson says, easing back into his seat as the Arizona afternoon sun streaks through the lobby of The MMA Lab. “I can be sad about it for a month. I can be sad about it for six months. I can be sad about it for three years. But at some point in time, I have to just man up and move on. There’s a lot more horrific life-changing things that happen to people everyday — a lot worse than losing a UFC title.
“I think it took me a couple days, then I was like, eff it. I lost. I’m sad, but at some point in time I have to get over it. Might as well be now. Might as well be early so I don’t waste that week, so I don’t waste that six months. I might as well do it as soon as possible so that I could get back and work on making those mistakes, those holes, smaller.”
Make no mistake, Henderson knows exactly where things went wrong.
The puzzle piece that finished Henderson-Pettis II never seemed to fit right. But then again, in MMA it rarely does. No one expected Pettis, the young striking savant, to submit the competition black belt who rolls through jiu-jitsu tournaments for fun; the unsubmittable Gumby who may bend and twist, but before UFC 164, never, never broke. Especially not in the first round, and especially not with an armbar from inside his own guard.
How could it happen? Well, Henderson will explain it in admirably thorough detail if you ask. But really, it comes down to one thing: a simple “momentary lapse.”
“I didn’t have the good posture that I like inside someone’s guard,” Henderson says, admitting, not surprisingly, that he’s replayed the moment back in his head a few times. “Normally I have pretty good posture to where, for them to even go for an armlock is hard.
“I made a mistake. I hung down too low, allowed [Pettis] to go for the armlock. He went for the armlock, I went for one of my favorite defenses, which is to trap my own arm, to not give him this arm. I trapped it, not allowing it to be given to him, and he did a great adjustment, turning it into a shoulder lock — trying to turn the angle.
“I didn’t want to tap to that, so I moved my arm and gave him the straight armlock on my elbow,” Henderson continues. “It was a great, technical armlock on Anthony’s part. He did a really good job of going from the armlock, switching to the shoulder — slight adjustment of his body, the angle of his squeeze going to my shoulder — and then when I protected my shoulder, he switched right away and went for the elbow.
“I made mistakes against Frankie Edgar. I made mistakes against Nate Diaz, Gilbert Melendez. Just so happens, Anthony Pettis was the first guy to really capitalize on my mistakes and to end the fight.”
Earlier in the afternoon, a cameraman from a local Arizona news station props Henderson up against a white wall of the gym, hits record, and slowly works his way through a generic list of questions — easy stuff meant to appeal to non-MMA types. How’s camp? How’s married life? You want your belt back? Henderson soldiers along, laughing at a few points and generally attempting to give non-cliché answers at others, all while ignoring the sounds of the Barrett-Jackson car auction droning quietly from TVs in the lobby.
Though one question in particular seems to come from nowhere. So you’re the No. 1 contender, huh? What’s that like?
It’s true, Henderson is the No. 1 ranked lightweight on the official UFC rankings. For someone unaccustomed to the strange world we live in, it’d be an easy mistake to make, to think that the No. 1 ranked guy would be the next in line. But in MMA, one plus one doesn’t always equal two. All No. 1′s are not created equal, and Henderson is less Alexander Gustafsson, more Chad Mendes circa-2012.
“For whatever the UFC rankings are worth — we know how much those rankings are worth — yes, I am No. 1 on the UFC rankings,” Henderson tells me later, acknowledging that the number doesn’t really mean much. When I ask about the cameraman’s question, though, Henderson answers as casually as he did a half-hour before.
“I am the No. 1 contender. I am the ex-champ, I had the belt last. So yes, I am the No. 1 contender.”
It’s an interesting thought to ponder, even if the reality isn’t so black and white. Truthfully, just like former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, Henderson right now is caught in the Franklin void. He still holds wins over the No. 2, No. 5, No. 8 (x2) and No. 9 ranked lightweights. He was supposed to fight the No. 3 guy until a concussion cast the No. 3 guy into no-man’s land, and now he’s readying to fight the No. 4 guy in a few days. Throw in a pair of wins over the No. 3 featherweight, plus a win over the No. 9 featherweight (also the last man to beat Pettis), and Henderson’s case gets pretty compelling.
Even so, No. 1 doesn’t mean much when you’ve already lost twice to the guy who happens to hold the belt. That’s not how this kind of stuff works. UFC President Dana White said as much after UFC 164, and Henderson acknowledges that he could have a long road ahead of him.
“That’s totally, 100 percent up to Dana White, Sean Shelby, Joe Silva, those guys,” he says. “We all know, some guys have gotten title shots, and we were surprised at their selection of who’s getting a title shot. That’s the way this sport goes. So really, I have no idea. Could be one fight, could be seven fights, could be 10 fights.”
For flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez, it took three impressive wins to get the title rematch he coveted. For Urijah Faber, four. For Mendes, it’s taken five to even re-enter the conversation. History says Henderson will likely need a similar stretch of dominance to achieve his own goals, especially if Pettis’ continued injury woes keep his title defenses few and far between. But the precedent is still there, and Henderson is nothing if not patient.
And so Henderson returns to the familiar home of his title run, network giant FOX, to take down the first man on his list, Josh Thomson. If Henderson was looking for an easy out, promotion matchmakers did him no favors for UFC on FOX 10.
In Thomson, Henderson meets a man who’s seen and done it all.
“He’s one of the most true veterans,” Henderson says. “He’s been everywhere, he’s seen everything. Not just with who’s he’s fought — he’s fought all over the world, he’s fought a ton of different guys — but also, who he trains with. People don’t realize, it’s who you train with. He’s seen all these new tricks, all these different tricks. Oh yeah, you’ve got a new trick? I saw that 10 years ago. Kawajiri tried to do that against me. There’s not going to be anything that surprises him.
“He’s been in big wars, big fights. Title fights with Gilbert Melendez. He’s been on the winning side of some decisions, he’s been on the losing side of some close decisions. But he’s just one of those guys, man, a true veteran. He’s always going to be prepared, always going to be ready. He’s like that career back-up quarterback. Never plays, never plays, never plays. Starting quarterback gets hurt and he gets in the game in the fourth quarter, and he does just fine, because he’s a veteran. He’s been there before. He’s not shaken up. He’s ready to go.”
An impressive win over a respected name like Thomson’s would unquestionably pay dividends in bolstering Henderson’s claim. From there though, with Pettis out until at least the summer, and a long line of contenders cannibalizing each other seemingly every week, things grow far more uncertain.
Then again, uncertainty seems to be a running theme given Henderson’s current predicament. And really, if the former champ is sure of anything, it’s that once the time comes, he won’t mind if an old friend is there to greet him by the penthouse gates.
“When I get my belt back, I hope the man who has the belt still is Anthony Pettis,” Henderson says thickly. “We’ll see. I have no idea, but I’m getting my belt back. And if he’s the one I’m taking it from, fine by me.”
Anthony Pettis says he doesn’t see a need for Anderson Silva to return to MMA after breaking his leg in his previous bout because “The Spider” has already done everything he’s going to do in the sport.
While most fight fans hope that former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion Anderson Silva returns to the Octagon following the horrific leg break he suffered at UFC 168 on Dec. 28, 2013, during his title fight against Chris Weidman, Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis hopes otherwise.
Not because he isn’t a fan of “The Spider,” but because according to “Showtime,” Silva has nothing left to prove in mixed martial arts (MMA), accomplishing just about everything possible inside the eight-walled cage.
Pettis broke it down to Yahoo Sports:
“I hope he doesn’t [come back], because why? His legacy is already fulfilled. What’s he going to come back and win the belt? He’s done what he’s going to do in the sport. I couldn’t even watch it. It was disgusting. It sucks because he’s one of the greatest of all-time. He’s the Muhammad Ali of MMA and the way he went out sucks.”
As far as having to look away, you’re not alone, “Showtime.”
Pettis, however, will make a comeback of his own once he is ready and able following a knee surgery that forced him out of his first-ever title defense against Josh Thomson at UFC on Fox 10 this past December.
“I have no pain. I didn’t even take pain pills. Now it’s just a waiting process. You have to wait for it to heal back up. The hardest thing to build back up is the confidence. Going in there [the Octagon] and knowing nothing is wrong.”
Speaking of injured (former) champions, Dominick Cruz was recently stripped of his Bantamweight strap after he suffered yet another injury (groin), which forced him out of his title unification match against Renan Barao at UFC 169.
While the circumstances are truly unfortunate for “The Dominator,” Pettis understands that the show must go on. And if he is ever out for an extended period of time, he would have no issues if he gets stripped of his 155-pound belt.
“I feel for him. Injuries are a part of the game and for someone to be out that long, I understand. But, if I’m out for a year, give someone else a chance. I was waiting for the title for a long time, so I understand that.”
Though Pettis would be fine never seeing Silva fight inside the cage again — for his legacy’s sake — all signs are pointing to “The Spider” continuing on with his MMA career.
Music to the ears of most fight fans everywhere.
Submission of the Year: Anthony Pettis is pitch perfect in armbar execution against Benson Henderson
What makes a great submission?
A few things, but there are five elements that are most notable: the creativity of the submission; the ability to pull it off in a high-stakes, high-pressure situation; the lethality of the particular submission; the quality of the opponent on which the submission is being applied and the point in the fight or match when the submission is secured. When a contest between two opponents features three or more of these elements, you have something particularly special.
It is with these considerations in mind we name the submission finish from the main event from August’s UFC 164 between then-UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and now-UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis as our Submission of the Year.
Let’s establish some context, though. An armbar isn’t necessarily the most creative submission available to fighters or grapplers, but for reasons many may not consider, it’s also one of the trickiest. The fight between Henderson and Pettis demonstrated that and so much more.
For starters, this bout was a rematch after their instant classic in the last WEC bout ever at WEC 53 in December of 2010. While Pettis eventually won the contest – punctuated by the celebrated Showtime Kick – the fight itself was an extraordinarily competitive contest. The rematch was largely expected to follow in that vein if not the round by round particulars.
In addition, Henderson had developed a reputation as a grappling savvy MMA fighter. He’d not only earned his black belt in the time between fights as well as trained in the gi, but videos had surfaced of Henderson competing and winning in various grappling tournaments. He was scheduled to compete at ADCC 2013 win or lose at UFC 164. The MMA Lab lightweight also had a record of escaping any number of seemingly locked in submission attempts from excellent competitors during his fighting career.
None of that, however, would stop or affect Pettis’ decision making.
The main event rematch between the two started out normally enough. Pettis looked to have strong takedown defense, but Henderson kept the pressure on him from the opening bell. That, of course, is when and why everything changed.
Pettis tagged Henderson with a right hand to the body followed by four kicks to the same spot. The strikes worked as Pettis later described the proof: Henderson’s face changed shape as he tried to not grimace in pain. This gave the Milwaukee native a spark, which compelled him to throw a handstand kick, one which eventually backfired and put him on the ground as the opportunistic Henderson seized the momoment to extricate himself from a striking contest with the challenger. In the end, he only sealed his own fate.
From guard, Pettis was instantly proactive. As Henderson tried to establish his posture and get his hands and elbows set for ground and pound, Pettis whipped his hips counterclockwise and elevated off the mat like the un-turn of a screw. It was an act remarkable not simply for the speed by which everything transpired, but for it’s technical beauty. Pettis established the proper angle with the hip turn, but also managed to get his hips high enough so Henderson couldn’t elbow escape. Pettis closed the proverbial walls around Henderson with an additional adjustment underneath with is elbow by positioning it for even greater destruction. One can only imagine the cascading feeling of terror and disappointment that must’ve washed over him as he knew the only thing keeping Pettis from becoming the new champion was the mere formality of his own surrender.
And surrender he did, although not with the characteristic physical tap but a verbal tap only the pair could hear. Some have suggested this partially ruined the submission by making it anti-climactic. While the home crowd eventually celebrated their new champion, there was a moment between Pettis letting go of the arm and the audience comprehending what had just happened. After all, only Pettis heard the verbal tap Henderson gave him.
But that intimacy is precisely what elevates the submission. Pettis managed to secure it in a title fight for a divisional belt in what is arguably the UFC’s toughest weight category. And not only did he achieve the result against a rival who is nothing if not defensively strong and often heralded for his particular ability to withstand submission attempts, he did so with a submission so vicious and damaging that Henderson resorted to telling Pettis he was done because tapping with a physical hand wouldn’t be quick enough to spare himself from injury.
Pettis knows how Henderson gave up and no one else does. He not only gets to keep the belt, but the sound of Henderson’s voice frantically pushing through his mouthguard to hurriedly acquiesce is his and only his to enjoy.
There’s often another overlooked aspect to Pettis’ outstanding finish, namely, armbar submissions from the guard are rare in high-level competition. That’s true both in MMA and especially sport jiu-jitsu. The truth is securing that particular submission from standard closed guard is extremely hard to do. Why? It’s hard to break your opponent’s posture. It’s hard to move underneath quickly enough to get the clamp. Defense from that position, relatively speaking, is easy.
Yet, everyone once in a while, they happen, but only when the attacker is quick enough, technical enough and has the athletic courage to try.
Pettis managed to make it work perfectly. That he did so in the most important fight of his career against a seasoned opponent with hometown pressure and for a UFC title in MMA toughest division is utterly remarkable. It’s also why, without the slightest hint of doubt, Pettis’ armbar finish of Henderson is the 2013 MMA Submission of the Year.
For two rounds, the top two atomweight women in mixed martial arts put on a dazzling display of grappling talent. As each moved, the other countered. Heading into the third round of the bout, the fighters proved their viability and purpose for being there. It was anyone’s fight for the taking.
That’s when Penne, then the reigning champion who had been masterfully finishing opposition even while competing in a relatively lighter weight class, took over. She yanked Waterson to the mat and through a series of attacks, had her foe on the run. Penne moved from knee on belly to mount to back mount. Waterson did her best to survive, constantly changing position to keep Penne adjusting her offense, but the champion was always one step ahead. Waterson was in such bad shape that Penne had her arm fully extended in an armbar attempt. Only through the low percentage hitch hiker escape did Waterson manage to stay in the fight and push the contest into the championship rounds.
Things seemed to be picking up in the fourth round largely where they left off. Waterson was doing well enough, fighting off a number of takedown attempts from Penne, but it was the champion pressing the attack. That is, until a single leg attempt from Penne couldn’t be finished. Waterson eventually surrendered the position, but kept half guard and threatened with a kimura grip on the far side. As Penne tried to establish top position, Waterson, who wisely kept her angles and points of control throughout the scramble, expertly switched to the near arm, kicked up her hips for the armbar, forcing an almost immediate tap from the champion.
Sometimes submissions happen when you least expect them, but they’re so inventive and new they deserve a nod of recognition. In an otherwise unremarkable bout on the preliminary card of an event that had hype for its main event, Robertson put himself on the map with a particularly tortuous submission seldom used, but named after UFC veteran Amar Suloev.
Robertson managed to take the back of Jardine, but strayed far from the norm. No rear naked chokes or belly down armbars – the staple submissions from that position – were in play. There was also almost no ground and pound. Instead, Robertson elected to keep his hooks in with hip pressure as Jardine went to turtle, but also to reach for one of Jardine’s posted heels to the side of him. Robertson was high on Jardine’s back and Jardine likely felt if he could get to his base and lean forward, Robertson might fall off.
Instead, Robertson kept locked on to Jardine’s body while he used both of his hands to pull behind Jardine’s left heel, badly stretching his hamstring. After just seconds, Jardine tapped in excruciating pain and in surprise as he defended a submission he likely didn’t even know existed until he became a victim of it.
It’s rare two submissions from the same card both make the top 5 of the best submissions of the year, but UFC 157 wasn’t an ordinary event. This was a night of history, the first time two women appeared on a UFC card and in this case a headlining role. UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who entered the bout with as much mainstream interest and media attention as UFC fighter ever, was to face Liz Carmouche, a respected competitor, but one believed to be overmatched.
Yet, in a game as chaotic as mixed martial arts, events rarely unfold as expected. Rousey started strong with her now famous judo skills, launching Carmouche with a harai goshi to the mat. Carmouche, however, used the cage to reverse position. Rousey scrambled too quickly and in the process, ended up giving up her back. Rousey stood to her feet with Carmouche attached to her like a back pack. Carmouche tried for several rear naked choke attempts, but couldn’t get them, opting instead for crushing lateral neck cranks. So strong were Carmouche’s attempts that Rousey’s teeth unintentionally left bite marks in Carmouche’s forearm after the fight.
Just as it seemed as an upset was set in motion, Rousey turned the tide. She managed to free one of Carmouche’s hooks and dump her to mat. Rousey quickly assumed mount and turned her hips into s-mount to finish her foe off with her borderline unstoppable armbar. Carmouche defended by locking up her own bicep and Rousey’s inside thigh, but the champion was simply too good. She re-sat in the position after unhooking Carmouche’s last line of defense, leaned back for the armbar and made history with another first-round submission only this time under the bright lights of the Octagon. It will always remain the first time a woman has done so under the Zuffa banner.
Every once in a while a submission is so brutal, you have to admire its path of destruction.
Recent UFC-castoff Jon Fitch was set to make his WSOF debut in June of 2013. He’d lost a clear decision to Demian Maia in his last UFC bout and to the consternation of the MMA fanbase, lost his UFC employment. No bother, Fitch said. He was ready to do work in WSOF, win a title and get back to dominating.
Josh Burkman, however, wasn’t prepared to help Fitch with his perceived inevitability.
Fitch and Burkman had faced one another roughly seven years prior in the UFC with Fitch claiming the second-round submission finish. Many expected the rematch to look largely the same. Sure, Fitch wasn’t at his peak and Burkman was on a roll, but few had the insight to predict they had shifted places.
Burkman drew the first and only blood in their rematch, landing a three-punch combo that rocked the former top contender. Fitch tried to scramble to his feet and onto Burkman for a takedown, but in the process, Burkman secured an unobstructed guillotine and sat to his back to crank with neck-breaking might. Just a few seconds later Fitch was thoroughly unconscious, lifeless in Burkman’s arms. Fitch, the man the best UFC welterweights – including world champion jiu-jitsu black belts – could not submit, had just been put to sleep outside of the UFC by a man Fitch previously submitted himself.
The referee failed to intervene in time, so Burkman tossed Fitch’s limp body off of him. To emphasize the win, he stood over his torpid opponent, gazed defiantly at the crowd and raised his fist. It was one of those rare occasions where a fighter both celebrates the win and what the win means in a single act of contemptuous glee.
Honorable mention (in no particular order):
Fabricio Werdum vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, UFC on FUEL TV 10
Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate, UFC 168
Mike Guymon vs. Aaron Miller, Bellator 106
Rousimar Palhares vs. Mike Pierce, UFC Fight Night 29
Michael Chandler vs. Rick Hawn, Bellator 85
Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald, UFC on FUEL TV 7
Ronaldo Souza vs. Ed Herman, Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine
After outpointing Will “The Thrill” Campuzano last month at UFC 167, undefeated bantamweight prodigy Sergio Pettis has been quickly booked for his second Octagon appearance — which will take place just ten weeks after his UFC debut. As first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Pettis will compete at UFC on FOX 10: Henderson vs. Thomson (January 25th, Chicago) against Alex Caceres.
Though Caceres first became known for his wacky “Bruce Leroy” persona on TUF 12, the Miami-based former yard-fighter has developed into one of the most durable mid-level contenders in the UFC bantamweight division. If not for his weed-related no-contest earlier this year, Caceres would currently be on a three-fight win streak, with all wins by split-decision. (Four of Caceres’s last five fights ended in split-decision, which I guess makes him the Leonard Garcia of his generation.)
Pettis vs. Caceres becomes the 12th fight added to the Bendo vs. Punk card card — which also includes such notable scraps as Gonzaga vs. Miocic, Cerrone vs. Martins, and Rosholt vs. Oliynyk — though its exact placement on the lineup has yet to be announced. Shoot your predictions in the comments section, and swing by Fightland to read about the time Caceres trained with the real Bruce Leroy before his UFC debut, which turned out to be a terrible decision on every level.
UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis may be on the shelves, but his younger brother is staying busy. As first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, UFC flyiweght – and brother to Anthony Pettis – Sergio Pettis and Alex Caceres have verbally agreed to face one another at UFC on Fox 10.
UFC on FOX 10 takes place on January 25, 2014 and is set to be held at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The event is headlined by a lightweight bout between former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson.
Morning Report: Dana White says UFC not interested in interim titles while Cain Velasquez and Anthony Pettis recover from injuries
With UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and lightweight champion Anthony Pettis both shelved with injuries, UFC president Dana White says he isn’t interested in creating interim titles for their respective divisions.
“We know when Cain’s coming back. We know when Pettis is coming back,” White told media following UFC on FOX 9 Saturday evening. “We do those when we don’t know when somebody’s coming back or what’s going on.”
Velasquez underwent surgery Dec. 10 to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder after waiting nearly three months without improvement. Advised to completely rest the repaired shoulder for six months, Velasquez isn’t expected to return until at least fall 2014. This isn’t the first time Cain has tried avoiding surgery. He tore his right rotator cuff in his 2010 bout with Brock Lesnar, waiting two months to have it surgically repaired. He returned to action against Junior dos Santos nearly 13 months removed from the injury, earning his only career loss.
Pettis, who underwent surgery Dec. 12 to repair a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, says he’s anticipating a six month recovery before he’s able to fight again. Just the latest of his 2013 injury woes, Pettis was also forced to withdraw from a featherweight title bout with champion Jose Aldo at UFC 163 after suffering a torn meniscus.
Both Velasquez and Pettis have now potentially cost contenders their shots at the title. Fabricio Werdum was reportedly set to challenge Velasquez at UFC 172 in Mexico (now Baltimore), while Josh Thomson was set to meet Pettis this past weekend at UFC on FOX 9. Werdum will now face the winner of Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne set for UFC 168 while Thomson meets Benson Henderson in the main event at UFC on FOX 10 on Jan. 25.
With multiple oft-injured champions sidelined and one walking away indefinitely, should the UFC reconsider its stance? With the promotion recently instituting time limits for injured champions, does a deadline lose its essence if it extends too long? At least in the case of now former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, it would seem uncertainly weighs heavier than a long layoff.
“Look at the Georges St-Pierre situation,” says White. “I didn’t tell Georges, ‘listen, you’re going to give up that title.’ He gave up the title because he knows it’s the right thing to do. One of the biggest moments in Georges’ career, when everyone started to love him, is when he dropped down to his knees and said, ‘please give me that belt. I want it so bad.’ Well, there’s a whole roster of guys that feel that way. To put that belt on hold until he came back, it wasn’t the right thing to do.”
An apprehension towards interim titles seems understandable, given their recent history in the UFC. For a period from February to November 2012, the promotion employed two such champions in Carlos Condit and Renan Barão, neither enjoying the status of top dog, while suddenly becoming the hunted. While St-Pierre put an end to Condit’s waiting at UFC 154 by regaining his welterweight title, Barão will have waited 18 months for his opportunity as Dominick Cruz returns to defend his bantamweight crown.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Fortunes changed for five. Dave Meltzer tells us where UFC on FOX 9′s biggest winners and losers go from here.
Aftermath. Dave Doyle breaks down the best and worst of all that was UFC on FOX 9.
Fights to make. Whether they won or not at UFC on FOX 9, see who each fighter on the card could be facing next.
UFC on FOX 9 Post-fight Press Conference.
Fight Club Q&A with Josh Thomson.
Paul Daley vs. Romario Manoel da Silva at BAMMA 14.
More highlights from BAMMA 14: Daley vs. da Silva.
Finishes from XFC 27.
Team Alpha Male reacts to Urijah Faber’s win.
Gracie Breakdown on Ronda Rousey’s arm bar.
Bruno Parrudo vs. Celso Baldow at Gringo Super Fight 8.
Adonilton Dony Terrier vs. Daniel Ortegas at Golden Fighters 8.
Rafael Ogro vs. Daniel Baiano at Golden Fighters 8.
Felipe Nilo vs. Oseas Viana at Wocs 32.
It’s amazing how much a little tape can hold you back. (Skip to about 9:20)
As always, check out our ‘Pro’s react’ piece for an instant reaction to UFC on FOX 9.
The victory lap.
Now that I’m finally home I wanted to say thanks again to all my fans and supporters Joe B was a tough opponent #teammighty
@TheNotoriousMMA thanks brotha can’t wait to see u back in there hope recovery is going well
— Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouseUFC) December 15, 2013
— Urijah Faber (@UrijahFaber) December 15, 2013
Thx for the war @niklentz ur a tough sob!
— chad mendes (@chadmendes) December 15, 2013
Thank you everybody for the support! Thank you my coaches and partners! I’m blessed to have great people surrounding me! God bless everyone
I’d like to thank everyone for their support. Its almost impossible to respond everyone back so I apologize if I didn’t get back to u
Better luck next time.
Feel like I woke up in a bad dream but nope it’s just real life wanting to see what your made of. #Obstacles
Just wanted to put on a good fight.
— Joseph Benavidez (@JoeJitsu) December 15, 2013
And who the hell says Flyweights don’t hit hard…
— Joseph Benavidez (@JoeJitsu) December 15, 2013
@JoeJitsu thank you joe b for the great fight. I hope you are okay. You will be back stronger it’s in your character..remember milkshake
— Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouseUFC) December 15, 2013
I will be back a new person in my next fight. This is just a minor set back on my road to the title. Thanks for the support everyone!
— Nik Lentz (@NikLentz) December 15, 2013
It was an excellent display of martial arts and warrior spirit on both sides. I love this sport. I’m proud of Mac, he fought hard and…
…gave it everything. As a friend and corner man. I couldn’t ask for any more. Keep supporting those fighters. They all deserve your love.
— Dan Hardy (@danhardymma) December 15, 2013
Leaving Sacramento, thank u to all the fans out here. i apologize for my performance last night. Hats off to my opponent
I wanna say a huge thanks to everyone wached the fight and supported me it means the world to me ! Ill get that belt !
Thank you to everyone who ruined my nap by waking me up texting me about the fights… don’t care @MightyMouseUFC still has what’s mine
— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) December 15, 2013
Congratulations to Andy Enz, signing w the UFC. Ak boys gotta stick togather
I broke 4000 followers and I paid for each and every one of them lol not !
— Mike Kogan (@MikeKogan) December 15, 2013
I have a gut feeling Alex won the cover by default no disrespect to him just a feeling! Congrats to him anyway way better than me lol.
Want to see it again?
I’ve been getting bombarded from the fans about Condit/Ellenberger II fight -If that’s what you guys want, I’m in!
Still getting eye fixed from the broken socket. Excited to get back to being healthy and training pic.twitter.com/cytAAOZs5l
— OnlyMildlyCreepy (@mattmitrione) December 12, 2013
Jesus this eye itches so f’n bad. My God I want to cut these stiches out MYSELF.
— OnlyMildlyCreepy (@mattmitrione) December 15, 2013
One good thing about my arm being completely numb is I can give myself an amazing “stranger”
Strength training +speed/footwork drills on this $ Sunday…prepping 4 the fight grind coming up this… http://t.co/DIJHukCJ6x
— Dominick Cruz (@TheDomin8r) December 15, 2013
Cool pre-fight exchange.
— Urijah Faber (@UrijahFaber) December 15, 2013
More love for GSP.
GSP is my hero and always will be. Happy for him. Get some sleep my friend! #bestever
About @GeorgesStPierre retirement. Smartest thing he could do. Leave when u are on top n be healthy enough to enjoy everything u achieved!
Not good. (deleted)
Announced this weekend (Dec. 13-15 2013)
Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira at UFC 172
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today’s Fanpost of the Day comes via Da Headbanger.
Overall I think that the UFC is happy with how the night went. They had a title fight that wasn’t epic (especially when you compare it to last weeks main event), but certainly had a definitive and entertaining ending. They had their poster boy for the lighter weight classes come out in what was his most dominating performance in the UFC. And though the card was overall decision heavy, there were a number of entertaining bouts that kept the audience engaged.
Lets establish the most notable thing though. Demetrious Johnson should not be looked at as the underdog going into any fight for a very long time. His KO of Joseph Benavidez was about the most unexpected result of the match. Who knew that Johnson could KO someone who has never been stopped before? He established his place as one of the most dominant champions in the company and seems to be improving with every fight. That is a very scary thought for any challengers in the flyweight division. Or if you simply aren’t a fan of Johnson. I may be going out on a limb as I say this, but talks of him facing the bantamweight champion in a superfight wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility in the near future. He knows how to neutralize his weaknesses to the point that it is difficult to pinpoint what they might be. At this point, expect Johnson to be the champion for a long, long time.
Found something you’d like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we’ll include it in tomorrow’s column.