Vinny Magalhaes is the current world champion in jiu-jitsu. He has also rattled off 5 straight victories in M-1, before vacating his title and rejoining the UFC roster. He now makes his return to the octagon against Igor Pokrajac at UFC 152 and says he will pull something fancy out of his bag of tricks to submit his opponent.
What does one do after winning a battle that belongs on the list of Fight of the Year candidates? Why, you go to Disneyland, of course.
But Miesha Tate has more on her mind than celebrating her thrilling comeback victory over Julie Kedzie on Saturday night in San Diego.
Tate, whose bout with Kedzie was her first since losing the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title to Ronda Rousey and getting a dislocated elbow in the process, didn’t feel right before, during, or after the bout.
And as she told Ariel Helwani while calling into Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour on her way to Disneyland, she’s going to take some time to rediscover the fire which took her to the top of the women’s MMA game.
“I didn’t feel the passion and fire I felt in all my previous fights,” Tate said of her third-round submission victory. “I felt out of my element, I didn’t feel normal in there whatsoever. It was very strange, it was not a feeling I enjoyed and not something I want to experience again, I don’t really know what my next step is here.”
To the outside observer, the match between Tate and Kedzie was simply a classic barnburner, with the veteran Kedzie at the top of her game and Tate raising her game when pushed to her limits. Indeed, Tate made sure to credit Kedzie for her performance in the fight.
“I thought she was going to run a little bit more,” said Tate. “You know, I was happy to exchange with her, I think it made for a much more exciting fight. I struggled a bit on some of the takedowns, I had some really deep shots … she was just on point as far as defending, she really made me work for it. But that’s what you have to expect when you come in there for a fight. You can’t expect it to be easy, or you’re going to get the first takedown, so I was OK with that. She shut down the takedown the first couple times. I kept working for it and eventually I got it. I was able to prove that for the most part, she definitely couldn’t hang with me on the ground, it is what it is.”
Tate rallied to take the second round, but found herself deep in danger in round three after finding herself on the wrong end of a Kedzie head kick. At that point, she knew a finish was probably necessary.
“She got that head kick and I think if I hadn’t finished fight at that point, she could have stole it with the head kick,” she said. “She dropped me, she did a good amount of damage and that was the significant point up to that point in the round. So I knew when I was working on my back, man, man, I gotta go. I’ve got to get this move in, we’ve had a very competitive fight, she got round one, I’ve got round two, and at this point, she just dropped me and I gotta finish the fight.”
Tate got the victory when Kedzie tapped with about 90 seconds left in the fight. But, displaying a level of honesty and self-awareness that fighters don’t often admit to in public, Tate knew, coming out of the fight, that she’s not ready for a rematch with Rousey, and that she needs to go back to the drawing board. The point was emphasized when she found herself staring across the cage at Kedzie before the fight.
“Even when I was when lined up with Julie, across the cage, I was like, ‘Is this really happening right now? Am I really here? Am I really in this fight?’ I felt like I was kind of just in this twilight zone. I did not like that. It’s not how I normally feel, not how emotions really run. Normally I’m excited to be there, I’m amped and pumped, and I felt little to nothing, and I mean, she literally elbowed me and got my lip really good and I was like ‘ehh, whatever.’ She kicked me in the face, ‘ehh, whatever,’ It was not, it wasn’t a normal circumstance for me I don’t know why that is but I’m asking myself a lot of questions.”
Tate, who said she’s considering seeing a sports psychologist, figures it will take her about six months to a year to get back on the right path.
“I think I need to take a step back, relax a minute, and evaluate it,” she continued.
“I need to find a way to fire myself up again and get that passion, because I know there’s so much I still want to accomplish in MMA. I absolutely want to fight Ronda Rousey twice, but at this point, you know, mentally and emotionally, I’m not right. I shouldn’t be getting into the cage if I’m not going into it wholeheartedly for this fight. It’s hard for me to admit that, but that’s the honest truth. I didn’t feel like it for this fight like I did for other fights. I don’t know how to explain that, I guess it’s something I just have to figure out at this point.”
At some point, we’ll see a different script. At some point, Ronda Rousey will learn what the second round feels like, if only to do it, and maybe then, she’ll be pushed. Maybe then she’ll be challenged.
But needless to say, that point didn’t come on Saturday night.
Instead, Rousey did what she always does, submitting former champion Sarah Kaufman with a first-round armbar in the main event of Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman, needing only 54 seconds to complete the first defense of her Strikeforce bantamweight belt. It was just another stunning, classic performance — another unbelievable moment in a young career already full of them — and as dust settled, the Twitter world rose to its metaphorical feet to sing the praises of its peerless queen of women’s MMA.
The “Cowboy” openly lobbied for a spot on the card in his home state of Colorado, and the effort paid off, netting him $ 120,000 in bonuses.
Cerrone earned the $ 60,000 Knockout of the Night award for his first-round finish of Melvin Guillard, and he also collected the same amount for his half of the wild 76-second bout, which earned the duo the Fight of the Night.
Cerrone found himself in trouble early in the fight, wobbled by a left hand from the powerful Guillard. But Cerrone withstood the barrage that followed, and moments later, uncorked a head kick that left Guillard on rubbery legs. Cerrone pounced and drilled him with a straight right that put Guillard out for the finish.
Amazingly, it was only the second career knockout for Cerrone, who has earned 13 of his 19 career wins via submission.
The Submission of the Night was earned by Dennis Bermudez, who also overcame a rocky start to finish Tommy Hayden with a first-round guillotine. That was an easy decision for UFC brass, since it was the only tapout finish of the night.
Meanwhile, six of the 10 fights were finished by knockout or TKO.
Imagine, for a moment, that you are Lyoto Machida or Ryan Bader. Either of them. It makes little difference which one. On Monday you sit through a media conference call where your boss announces that the two other guys on the call — Mauricio Rua and Brandon Vera– will be fighting for a title shot. You and your opponent? You’ll just be fighting for money, fame, respect — the usual.
Then the next day the boss calls you up to tell you he changed his mind. Now he’s decided to open up the title shot sweepstakes to all four of you. Whoever looks “most impressive” in victory on Saturday night will get the next crack at the UFC light heavyweight title. Could be any one of you.
My question is: if you’re Machida or Bader, and you went from out of the running to “in the mix” after a little public outcry and a change of plans, what are you supposed to do with this information? Now that you know your fortunes can be changed with a win deemed more impressive than whatever happens in the other fight, which you have no control over, how can it not mess with your head — not to mention your game plan — at least a little bit?
“It’s there in the back of my head,” Bader admitted when I put this question to him on Wednesday afternoon. But then, he added, maybe it shouldn’t be. After all, he was already planning on winning the fight and looking good doing it.
“It was kind of like, okay, I just have to beat Lyoto regardless, and then I’ll at least be closer to a title shot,” Bader said. “But then [White] came back and said that, so my hopes are up again. It got me a little bit more excited.”
Machida admitted to having a similar reaction after hearing the change of plans.
“I really respected Dana’s opinion on that, and I believe the UFC always positions itself the right way in those matters,” he said through a translator. “But I did think it was a little unfair of them to say that only the winner of the main event would get the title shot.”
Now that the title shot is up for grabs among the four fighters at the top of Saturday night’s UFC on FOX 4 card, the dynamic has undeniably changed. Obviously, all four of them had planned on winning and winning big even before the stakes shifted, but now there’s a built-in way for them to win and still lose. If victory itself isn’t enough, what vague value judgments will their performances be subjected to?
Typically, there are a lot of different ways to look impressive in a fight. A quick finish is one way. A long, dominant performance is another. The bouts that win the ‘Fight of the Night’ bonuses are usually back-and-forth battles where each man has his moments. But as several fighters and trainers have pointed out in the past, getting ‘Fight of the Night’ means you probably got beat up at least some of the time. What’s so impressive about that?
“I think ultimately the fans want to see knockouts,” said Bader. “You think you’ve got to go out and knock someone out for it to be an impressive win. But it’s kind of hard to even know what an impressive win means.”
It’s also sometimes hard to make it happen all on your own. Is a win in an exciting, competitive fight more impressive? And if so, how do you guarantee that you’ll have a willing dance partner?
That’s a question both Bader and Machida will have to face. While Bader has his share of one-punch knockouts, the smart play for him might involve using his wrestling to nullify Machida’s striking game. Then again, takedowns and top control aren’t known for being all that impressive to most MMA fans.
It’s the same for Machida, who’s known for his “elusive” stand-up. Striking technicians and karate purists might appreciate a few rounds of hit-and-run mixed with sprawl-and-brawl, but would it be impressive enough to result in a title shot?
In Bader, Machida said he sees a fighter who “plays a lot with strategy” and “fights the way he can.” But for this fight, Bader made very sure that he wouldn’t be thrown off by Machida’s unorthodox style. His team brought in a karate world champion from Las Vegas to give him a Machida-esque look in training, he said.
“A lot of guys haven’t seen that in practice, so it’s a surprise when they get in the Octagon with him,” Bader said. “We put on the headgear and sparred some when he first came down, and you couldn’t tell that it wasn’t Machida. Same stance, same style.”
But then, in training he wasn’t focused on winning according to someone else’s definition of what’s impressive. He was focused on being the better of the two fighters in the cage rather than the most impressive of the four guys at the top of the card. And make no mistake, there is a difference.
Both Bader and Machida will tell you that this new wrinkle doesn’t change anything. Intellectually, they know that winning is always the first priority, regardless of what the boss says will happen later. Worrying too much about how you win is a good way to get yourself beat. But then, who wants to be the guy who gets passed over for playing it too safe? Who wouldn’t be thinking about ways to earn that title shot, whether they admit it before the fight or not?
Bader isn’t pretending that this doesn’t add a little bit of extra pressure. The whole impressive win contest that the light heavyweights have going on this time around “kind of makes you want to open up a little more and be reckless and careless and swing for the fences a little bit,” he said.
“But at the same time, that might get you in trouble,” he added. “Or it might win you a title shot.”
Harkening back to the days of soccer kicks and stomps, UFC and Bellator veteran Roger Huerta was savagely albeit legally soccer kicked into unconsciousness at the 3:53 mark of round two in his bout with Zorobel Moreira. Huerta tried to rush ‘Zoro’ early, but by the end of the first round the Brazilian had found his range.
In the second frame it was all Moreira. The Brazilian dominated Huerta throughout the period with a wide arsenal of strikes, hurting the former top prospect at several points. It was one strike from Moreiera – a right hand in the second – that spelled the beginning of the end for ‘El Matador’. After the right connected and clearly stunned Huerta, Moreira followed up with several strikes from the clinch and eventually sealed the deal with a brutal soccer kick that rendered Huerta prostrate on the canvas.
Huerta has now lost six of his last seven fights. Moreira, by contrast, holds wins over Roger Huerta, Andy Wang, Ferrid Khederand Felipe Enomoto.
A right hand from Tatsuya Mizuno surprised and temporarily floored Sobral in the early moments of round one, even drawing blood in the process. Mizuno was too reckless, however, and the jiu-jitsu black belt scored an armbar submission victory in just 31 seconds into the first round.
Full fight card results for ONE FC 4: Destiny of Warriors is as follows:
Recently departing from long-time Vegas camp, Xtreme Couture, Gray Maynard has returned to his wrestling roots, joining AKA to train with current Strikeforce champ, Luke Rockhold. Maynard clarified with ESPN’s MMA Live that there was no hard feelings in his departure. “Xtreme Couture is still there in my heart. I grew up there throughout my career. …
In what most observers are calling a highly questionable if not indefensible decision by judges in Nevada, Timothy Bradley won a split decision victory over Manny Pacquiao Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Bradley won 115-113 on two scorecards. Pacquiao took 115-113 on only one judge’s ledger. MMA Fighting scored the bout 117-111 in favor of Pacquiao. The victory makes Bradley the new WBO welterweight champion.
Pacquiao appeared to be en route to a clear unanimous decision win. According to the punching statistics shown in the HBO pay-per-view broadcast, Pacquiao landed 190 of 493 power punches to Bradley’s 108 of 390. In terms of overall punches, Pacquiao also outlanded Bradley: 253 of 751 for Pacquiao, 159 of 839 for Bradley.
Bradley fought more competitive rounds later in the fight, but was battered early with hard punches. Bradley was never out of the bout, but was rocked several times and controlled by Pacquiao’s superior punching power.
As part of the contractual terms in the signing of tonight’s bout, a Bradley victory meant Pacquiao would earn an automatic rematch November 10th of this year.
“It’s part of the game,” Pacquiao told HBO commentator Max Kellerman after the decision was announced. “I accept that whole-heartedly. I did my best, but my best wasn’t good enough.” Pacquiao did state, however, he believed he won the fight.