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Fabricio Werdum sets sights on Cain Velasquez

Renko Styranka
Apr 23rd, 2014

Fabricio Werdum (L) and Travis Browne square-off at the weigh-ins.

Last weekend The UFC held a heavyweight elimination bout between 6’4” Brazilian and  BJJ wizard Fabricio Werdum and 6'7" Hawaiian freak-of-nature Travis Browne, the winner getting the dubious task of facing current champion and freak-of-nature Cain Velasquez. Werdum won the honor in a grueling if one-sided fight. 

UFC 171: Johny Hendricks defeats Robbie Lawler

Renko Styranka
Mar 15th, 2014

Johny Hendricks (L) and Robbie Lawler square off at the weigh-ins for UFC 171. Screen capture courtesy of Dana White's Twitter page.

UFC 171 in Dallas was Johny ‘Bigg Rigg’ Hendricks’ opportunity to get the UFC welterweight belt he sorely wanted. He did so fair and square but looking a lot worse for wear than his opponent, ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler. And I’m not talking about his god-awful Hatfield and McCoy beard.

Hendricks’ fans had pointed to GSP’s bloody face after The Canadian won a close decision over Hendricks late last year as proof Hendricks had won. But damage doesn’t necessarily equal victory on a judge’s scorecard. This fight was more proof.

Hendricks had a lot more tricks in the bag tonight, throwing leg kicks, moving laterally more than he has in past fights, and not relying so much on his right hand or a ten second KO.

UFC 170 fails to deliver

Renko Styranka
Feb 22nd, 2014

Champion Ronda Rousey (L) faces challenger  Sara McMann at the weigh-ins. McMann was in only her second UFC bout. Screen capture courtesy Dana White's Twitter page.

The UFC holds a lot of events every year now. Often the best ones aren’t the ones we expected to shine. Sometimes free TV events and not the highly-promoted PPVs are stellar, and preliminary bouts can be the best fights of the night in fan’s eyes. Not every hockey game, football game, or UFC event can be a good one, and UFC 170 sure wasn’t.

The headliner with Ronda Rousey was hardly deserved. I’m as big a fan of women’s mixed martial arts as anyone, but I’m honest enough to admit the talent pool is shallow. Rousey fought just two months ago, has no other competition yet (except perhaps Cris Cyborg, and maybe Cat Zingano, who is injured), and having her as a five round headliner---against relatively unknown Sara McMann in only her second UFC fight---is indicative of the predicament and is ballsy to say the least.

UFC Fight Night 36: Lyoto Machida dominates Gegard Mousasi

Renko Styranka
Feb 15th, 2014

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida (L) and Gegard Mousasi square off at the weigh-ins. Screen capture courtesy Dana White's Twitter page.

UFC Fight Night in Brazil began with a long string of decisions and ended with two very interesting matchups: middleweights Lyoto ‘The Dragon’ Machida v. Gegard Mousasi and Francis 'Limitless' Carmont v. Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza.

Five-round fight with title-fight implications

Iranian born Dutch fighter Mousasi is an unknown commodity to many fans who only follow the UFC. He is a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion and all-around journeyman who has only recently moved to the UFC. He won his first bout in a ho-hum three round decision against I forget who.

UFC 169: Renan Barao finishes Urijah Faber

Renko Styranka
Feb 1st, 2014

Featherweight champion Jose Aldo (L), bantamweight champion Renan Barao (C), and UFC president Dana White (R) at the post fight press conference. Screen capture courtesy UFC's Youtube page.

UFC 169 in Newark, New jersey, came with some fine fights and bizarre endings, and a UFC record for decisions, leaving some fans scratching their heads while they gear up for Superbowl Sunday.

Bantamweights

135 pound champion Renan Barao defended his title against an uber improved Urijah Faber, utilizing stunning quickness but nothing much more than straight rights down the pipe. Faber, who has been sharper than a Japanese sword lately looked dull compared to the Brazilian.

The California kid was staggered twice. The second time, Barao jumped all over him, hammering blows to Faber, who turned turtle and tried covering up. Referee Herb Dean, the UFC’s best along with Big John McCarthy, called a stop to the bout.

UFC Fight Night 34: the UFC may be getting too big for its britches

Renko Styranka
Jan 5th, 2014

Tarec Saffiedine (L) and Hyun Gyu Lim square off prior to UFC Fight Night 34 in Singapore. Photo Courtesy Tarec Saffiedine's Twitter page.

UFC Fight Night 34 was in Singapore this week, and while the fights were entertaining enough, the card was one more step by the UFC to go global. But there are two sides to that coin: on the one side it’s good because people everywhere can train try to become a fighter in the promotion, or fans can watch and follow local talent; on the flip side, the monster becomes too big for its britches, too big to follow.

In the past the UFC has had competition. In the early 2000s, PRIDE in Japan was a formidable alternative to the UFC. A lot of fans preferred the rules and boxing ring (which is totally inappropriate for MMA), as well as the intrigue of fighters from places like Russia and Japan. The WEC held the best of the lighter weight classes. By purchasing those promotions, the UFC gained the contracts and a lock on the best fighters.

UFC 168: Chris Weidman retains the UFC middleweight belt in stunning fashion

Renko Styranka
Dec 28th, 2013

Middleweight champion Chris Weidman (L) faces a serious Anderson Silva, who held the belt for more than six years and who held his hands up to show he wasn't joking. Screen capture courtesy Dana White's Twitter page.

What UFC fighter in history could have ever dreamed being an undefeated champion with his last two wins a KO and TKO victory over MMA’s greatest fighter ever, Anderson 'The Spider' Silva? Chris 'The All-American' Weidman, and he never doubted it.

The rematch between these two middleweights was meant to answer one question: can Weidman beat an Anderson Silva who isn’t showboating, who isn’t playing games in the Octagon? The second fight, which ended with Anderson Silva breaking his shin bone when Weidman checked a leg kick, may still leave doubters re Weidman’s legitimacy, and that’s too bad.

UFC on Fox 9: Demetrious Johnson knocks out Joseph Benavidez

Renko Styranka
Dec 14th, 2013

Demetrious 'Mighty Mouse' Johnson (L) faced off against Joseph Benavidez in the weigh-ins Friday. Photo courtesy Dana White's Twitter page.

The UFC on Fox this weekend was held in Sacramento,  the home turf of Team Alpha Male, a camp with a number of top contenders in the lighter weight classes. Headlining the card was Champion Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson against Team Alpha Male fighter Joseph Benavidez.

Flyweight championship

Johnson is considered by many to have the best technique of any UFC fighter. While that may be true, it’s a hard claim to prove with fighter’s like Anderson Silva around. The majority of fans and pundits picked the technical Mighty Mouse to win the 125 pound championship via decision by using his vastly superior speed and footwork. Those who thought Benevidez would claim the belt pointed to his power and the close split decision he lost to Mighty Mouse a couple of years ago from which he had learned.

Georges St. Pierre vacates UFC welterweight belt

Renko Styranka
Dec 13th, 2013

GSP ecstatic after his fight with Hendricks and his decision to step away. Screen capture courtesy GSP's Twitter page.

Today UFC welterweight champion Georges 'Rush' St. Pierre announced he is vacating the title in order to take some time off and regroup, but indicated he may not return to fight in the Octagon. The announcement didn’t come as much of a surprise  after GSP told Joe Rogan after UFC 167 that he needed to step away.

GSP has held the belt nearly six years---since April 2008 when he beat Matt Sera in a rematch in Montreal to regain a belt he’d lost a year earlier. In that time GSP has had his critics. After his  2007 KO loss to Sera, the Canadian became more cautious and cerebral. Since TKOing Sera in 2008, GSP’s only other finish was v. BJ Penn in 2009. His other eight fights went to a decision.

UFC Fight Night 33: walking the fine line

Renko Styranka
Dec 7th, 2013

The Super Samoan (L) and Bigfoot square off at the UFC Fight Night 33 weigh-ins. Screen capture courtesy Dana White's Twitter page.

On Friday night (Saturday in Australia) the UFC was in Brisbane to host UFC Fight Night 33, which was free on TV. The headliner was former K-1 kickboxing champion Mark 'The Super Samoan' Hunt, who now lives in Australia, versus Brazilian Antonio 'Bigfoot’ Silva.

Journalists, pundits, bloggers, and fight fans are calling this the greatest heavyweight fight of all time. It’s hard to disagree given the fact that Hunt is a KO artist who has KOed the likes of 6’11” Stefan Struve, and Silva recently KOed another former K-1 kickboxing champion, Alistair Overeem, yet over five brutal rounds neither could knock out the other.

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