Tag Archive for Primer

UFC 225 Primer: Breaking Down The Ricardo Lamas-Mirsad Bektic Fight

With so many events on pay-per-view, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2 and UFC Fight Pass, the featherweight affair between former title challenger Ricardo Lamas and Mirsad Bektic is one that could headline a lower-tier card.

Instead, the featherweight bout is buried a bit on the FS1 prelims this Saturday night at UFC 225 from the United Center in Chicago.

On a night stacked with two title fights, CM Punk, Alistair Overeem, Rashad Evans and a handful of others, it’s easy to not really focus in on Lamas-Bektic. But the two could be show-stealers for the crowd and fans watching.

This will be a homecoming for Lamas, as the Chicago native looks to get back in the win column after falling to Josh Emmett in December. Lamas was originally set to meet Jose Aldo in a rematch that night, but Aldo was moved to another bout and he agreed to take on Emmett.

The defeat snapped a two-fight win streak for the former NCAA Div. III All-American wrestler from Elmhurst College. Lamas had finished Jason Knight via strikes and submitted Charles Oliveira after a three-round decision loss to current UFC champion Max Holloway.

Lamas’ other four losses in his career came to Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo for the belt, Iuri Alcantara and Danny Castillo.

Bektic rebounded from his first career loss by finishing Godofredo Pepey this past January. Early in 2017, he suffered a third round knockout loss to Darren Elkins, putting a halt to his 11-fight win streak.

That run included UFC victories over Russell Doane, Lucas Martins, Paul Redmond and Chas Skelly.

Bektic, a 27-year-old from Bosnia and Herzegovina, trains out of Florida and American Top Team. He’s also spent time at Tristar Gym working with some of the best fighters in the world.

Below is the current UFC 225 fight card:

MAIN CARD (PPV/10 p.m. ET)

UFC Middleweight Championship
Robert Whittaker (c) vs. Yoel Romero

Interim UFC Welterweight Championship
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington

Female Featherweight: Holly Holm vs. Megan Anderson

Heavyweight: Andrei Arlovski vs. Tai Tuivasa

Welterweight: CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson

PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX Sports 1/8 p.m. ET)

Heavyweight: Alistair Overeem vs. Curtis Blaydes

Strawweight: Claudia Gadelha vs. Carla Esparza

Featherweight: Ricardo Lamas vs. Mirsad Bektic

Heavyweight: Rashad Coulter vs. Chris de la Rocha

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass/6 p.m. ET)

Light Heavyweight: Rashad Evans vs. Anthony Smith

Flyweight: Joseph Benavidez vs. Sergio Pettis

Lightweight: Clay Guida vs. Charles Oliveira

Featherweight: Mike Santiago vs. Dan Ige

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UFC 225 Primer: Is There Room for Joe Benavidez in this World?

At one point, Joseph Benavidez was the second-best flyweight around. In fact, when we last saw him back in 2016, he was the man who could beat everyone except champ Demetrious Johnson.

But Benavidez was relegated to the “injured list” soon after, and had to have all sorts of procedures done to cobble together some sort of athletic functionality, and, well, you know how well those go in combat sports…

Which is to say, this weekend Benavidez returns to face Sergio Pettis on the Fight Pass prelims of UFC 225, and we’re going to learn if there is any room for the great Almost Champ in this modern world.

These are the facts:

  • Benavidez beat Henry Cejudo, Zach Makovsky, Alie Bagautinov, Ian McCall, John Moraga… the list goes on.
  • He’s only ever lost to Dominick Cruz and “Mighty Mouse”.
  • He’s been fighting since 2006, and all that wear and tear takes a toll – regardless of how much surgery and rehab fixes a person.

Saturday night could be inspiring, or it could be incredibly sad. Either way, we’re going to know where Benavidez fits in.

Here’s a preview vid for your troubles.

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UFC 225 Primer: Is There Room for Joe Benavidez in this World?

At one point, Joseph Benavidez was the second-best flyweight around. In fact, when we last saw him back in 2016, he was the man who could beat everyone except champ Demetrious Johnson.

But Benavidez was relegated to the “injured list” soon after, and had to have all sorts of procedures done to cobble together some sort of athletic functionality, and, well, you know how well those go in combat sports…

Which is to say, this weekend Benavidez returns to face Sergio Pettis on the Fight Pass prelims of UFC 225, and we’re going to learn if there is any room for the great Almost Champ in this modern world.

These are the facts:

  • Benavidez beat Henry Cejudo, Zach Makovsky, Alie Bagautinov, Ian McCall, John Moraga… the list goes on.
  • He’s only ever lost to Dominick Cruz and “Mighty Mouse”.
  • He’s been fighting since 2006, and all that wear and tear takes a toll – regardless of how much surgery and rehab fixes a person.

Saturday night could be inspiring, or it could be incredibly sad. Either way, we’re going to know where Benavidez fits in.

Here’s a preview vid for your troubles.

The post UFC 225 Primer: Is There Room for Joe Benavidez in this World? appeared first on Caged Insider.

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UFC 225 Primer: How Long Will Robert Whittaker Reign?

Robert Whittaker is the middleweight champ, and although he seized the throne via some decent wins, there was a healthy dose of kismet involved in his ascension.

First, Georges St. Pierre rightfully won the belt when he defeated Michael Bisping – a total money-grab of a match-up for the UFC that blew up in their face when GSP said, “Yeah, I don’t need to defend this title, see ya!”

Second, Whittaker beat Yoel Romero to earn the interim title, and now, in his first title defense, Whittaker gets to face… Romero again in the main event of UFC 225.

Finally, Whittaker was supposed to fight sooner – like against former champ Luke Rockhold – but injuries have kept him on the sidelines.

I don’t know, I just expect more from my UFC champs, and thus far, Whittaker hasn’t shown that he’s truly the best in the world.

Anyway, here’s a little preview vid of some content the UFC is churning out on his behalf.

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UFC Fight Night 130 Primer: Does Till Have What It Takes to Beat Wonderboy?

Does Darren Till have what it takes to beat Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at today’s UFC Fight Night 130?

I mean, sure, anyone can beat anyone if they land the right punch at the right time, and of course a striker like Till has a likelier chance to do so. But taking the figurative banana peel that Wonderboy would have to slip on out of the equation, can Till do it?

The facts are thus:

  • Till missed weight, and was forced to weigh in under 188 pounds today – which not only negates his ability to fully rehydrate and get back up to his normal fight-time weight, it will make him slightly more depleted.
  • Thompson is an elite fighter. So elite that he’s fought the champ, Tyron Woodley, twice, and both bouts were close ones.
  • Till, on the other hand, has beaten “no names” for much of his Octagon career, and when he beat Donald Cerrone… well, let’s just say Cerrone is smaller and older.
  • Finally, there’s an intangible factor involved in this match-up. The UFC wanted to break into Liverpool, England, and needed hometown hero Till to maximize their market impact. Maybe, just maybe, this is the only reason Till is getting thrust into the spotlight. In other words, he might not be ready for this kind of jump up in competition.

Technically, Wonderboy’s a much better fighter at distance – his karate background, and ability to maintain range just out of an opponent’s reach, has enabled him to wreck dudes who must get in close to strike.

Till of course has the hometown advantage. He’s going to have all of Liverpool cheering him on. But I can’t recall a fight where that made someone impervious to getting knocked out.

So what do you think – can Till do it?

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UFC Fight Night 130 Primer: That Darren Till Hype Is About to Die

It’s an amazing confluence of events that goes into making a star. First, there’s the stellar performance in the cage – which, with Darren Till, came when he wrecked superstar Donald Cerrone. Then there’s the promotional opportunity, usually created with a new market for the UFC to break into. Again, with Till, it came when the organization decided they wanted to hold an event in Liverpool, England – and hey, guess what? Till is from Liverpool!

So it is that Till gets to headline UFC Fight Night 130 this weekend, in front of his hometown crowd, and against welterweight contender Stephen Thompson.

Yup, it’s an amazing confluence of events for Till. Too bad he’s going to get murdered.

Look, Till is a game little scrapper, and in five UFC appearances has done everything right. But taking one of the very elite members of the division – and especially Thompson, who does what Till does only better – that’s a surefire recipe for the Liverpool crowd to witness their local hero get destroyed.

Maybe Till will get a few good licks in. Maybe he’ll even look impressive for a little while. But Thompson is going to karate-kick that accent right out of Till’s mouth, and that’s all there is to it.

Anyway, here’s a little hype reel devoted to Till.

The post UFC Fight Night 130 Primer: That Darren Till Hype Is About to Die appeared first on Caged Insider.

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UFC Fight Night 129 Primer: The Definitive Maia/Usman Preview Post

Like a just and benevolent god in charge of all things violence, the UFC is bringing us another edition of fistic goodness this weekend. UFC Fight Night 129 is the official moniker, and it comes to us from Santiago, Chile.

As the backwater location suggests, this isn’t one of those major UFC events. It certainly lacks star power, with the biggest name on the card – Demian Maia – taking on TUF winner Kamaru Usman in the main event and the rest of the roster stocked with “Who the heck is that?” and “Oh, that guy? Yeah, I sort of remember him…”

But whatevs. It’s fighting, right?

Having challenged then-champ Anderson Silva back in the day, and more recently challenging Tyron Woodley for the belt, Maia has established himself as a talented dude who will never, ever be king. He’s still good though, with his jiu-jitsu magic keeping at bay Father Time. For now, at least…

Then there’s Usman, who won TUF a while back, has kept up the win streak, and managed to never get big fights. Maia is going to be one heck of the test.

The other fighters on the card have their respective appeal. Alexa Grasso was scooped up from Invicta FC as possibly a female superstar for the Central American market. Brandon Moreno is another Mexican star on the cusp of greatness. And Brazilian Michel Prazeres has been racking up wins for a pretty decent streak.

So… who’s tuning in and watching on Saturday?

The post UFC Fight Night 129 Primer: The Definitive Maia/Usman Preview Post appeared first on Caged Insider.

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UFC Fight Night 129 Primer: The Definitive Maia/Usman Preview Post

Like a just and benevolent god in charge of all things violence, the UFC is bringing us another edition of fistic goodness this weekend. UFC Fight Night 129 is the official moniker, and it comes to us from Santiago, Chile.

As the backwater location suggests, this isn’t one of those major UFC events. It certainly lacks star power, with the biggest name on the card – Demian Maia – taking on TUF winner Kamaru Usman in the main event and the rest of the roster stocked with “Who the heck is that?” and “Oh, that guy? Yeah, I sort of remember him…”

But whatevs. It’s fighting, right?

Having challenged then-champ Anderson Silva back in the day, and more recently challenging Tyron Woodley for the belt, Maia has established himself as a talented dude who will never, ever be king. He’s still good though, with his jiu-jitsu magic keeping at bay Father Time. For now, at least…

Then there’s Usman, who won TUF a while back, has kept up the win streak, and managed to never get big fights. Maia is going to be one heck of the test.

The other fighters on the card have their respective appeal. Alexa Grasso was scooped up from Invicta FC as possibly a female superstar for the Central American market. Brandon Moreno is another Mexican star on the cusp of greatness. And Brazilian Michel Prazeres has been racking up wins for a pretty decent streak.

So… who’s tuning in and watching on Saturday?

The post UFC Fight Night 129 Primer: The Definitive Maia/Usman Preview Post appeared first on Caged Insider.

Caged Insider

UFC Fight Night 129 Primer: The Definitive Maia/Usman Preview Post

Like a just and benevolent god in charge of all things violence, the UFC is bringing us another edition of fistic goodness this weekend. UFC Fight Night 129 is the official moniker, and it comes to us from Santiago, Chile.

As the backwater location suggests, this isn’t one of those major UFC events. It certainly lacks star power, with the biggest name on the card – Demian Maia – taking on TUF winner Kamaru Usman in the main event and the rest of the roster stocked with “Who the heck is that?” and “Oh, that guy? Yeah, I sort of remember him…”

But whatevs. It’s fighting, right?

Having challenged then-champ Anderson Silva back in the day, and more recently challenging Tyron Woodley for the belt, Maia has established himself as a talented dude who will never, ever be king. He’s still good though, with his jiu-jitsu magic keeping at bay Father Time. For now, at least…

Then there’s Usman, who won TUF a while back, has kept up the win streak, and managed to never get big fights. Maia is going to be one heck of the test.

The other fighters on the card have their respective appeal. Alexa Grasso was scooped up from Invicta FC as possibly a female superstar for the Central American market. Brandon Moreno is another Mexican star on the cusp of greatness. And Brazilian Michel Prazeres has been racking up wins for a pretty decent streak.

So… who’s tuning in and watching on Saturday?

The post UFC Fight Night 129 Primer: The Definitive Maia/Usman Preview Post appeared first on Caged Insider.

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UFC Fight Night 129 Primer: Old Demian Maia and Young Kamaru Usman

Once again, it’s time for the old, salty veteran to test the mettle of the young up-and-comer.

UFC Fight Night 129 is coming to us this weekend from Santiago, Chile, because why not. And of course, the main event features old timer Demian Maia taking on TUF 21 winner Kamaru Usman. You may remember Maia from his sometimes absolutely dominant displays of jiu-jitsu and sometimes utterly embarrassing fights when that jiu-jitsu wasn’t able to be employed.

You may remember Usman from… ha, just kidding. You don’t remember Usman. Because although he’s managed to stay undefeated since winning TUF, he’s fought no one. Nada. Just a bunch of no-name dudes.

But hey, he’s finally got an opponent with some name recognition in Maia, so this could be Usman’s chance to turn that corner!

Other than a dismal outing against Tyron Woodley, Maia hasn’t really shown that he’s slowing down. Usman could always counter-wrestle him, drawing upon those high-level collegiate wrestling skills of his, but I don’t know if the young buck truly has it in him to trounce the ancient jiu-jitsu man. Not yet at least.

Here’s Maia doing what he does best.

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