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M-1 Challenge 25: Magalhaes, Zavurov win title fights

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Punch Drunk Radio: Len Bentley’s weekly TUF 13 spot, UFC 129 preview, SF hero Pedro Arrigoni

Punch Drunk Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network

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Punch Drunk Radio with Pete Sumulong and Cameron Chow returned to MMADieHards.com and the MMA DieHards Radio Network with Len Bentley’s weekly TUF 13 spot, plus a preview of UFC 129. We also were honored to have a very special guest in hero Pedro Arrigoni, who is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor that stopped a criminal that was assaulting a San Francisco Police officer.

The show airs live weekly right here on MMADieHards.com at 8:30 p.m. ET, 5:30 PT.  If you did not catch it live, it’s available on demand right here in this post!

Rear Naked Choke Radio: UFC 129′s Ryan Jensen, John Makdessi

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Rear Naked Choke Radio streamed live from LA Boxing in Paramus, N.J. as Joe Rizzo and Jeremy Fullerton welcomed UFC 129 fighters Ryan Jensen and John Makdessi. Joe and Jeremy also gave their picks against the betting odds.

Ryan is fighting Canada’s Jason MacDonald, while John takes on Kyle Watson. It marks the third week in a row that RNC Radio has had on a guest from Omaha, Nebraska, where Ryan is from.

John is Canadian and should have the home crowd behind him in Toronto’s Rogers Centre.

Jon Jones’ injury thrusts Phil Davis into UFC light heavyweight title mix

Phil Davis could be two wins from the light heavyweight belt (Rob Tatum/MMADieHards.com)

The last time something like this happened, Jon Jones ended up rocketing to the UFC light heavyweight title.

Now Jones is the one with the injury.  And while Phil Davis is not stepping in for a direct shot at the belt, he is at least receiving the chance to take Rashad Evans’ spot in line.

Jones pulled out of his first title defense, against Evans at UFC 133 on Aug. 6 in Philadelphia, due to a recurring tissue injury between the thumb and forefinger of his right hand, according to his management.

“This is an injury that’s been recurring since I was a college wrestler,” Jones said via press release.  “It doesn’t affect my punching or grappling, but I am taking the time and the proper measures to correct this now, so that it doesn’t happen again.  I look forward to getting back to training and to my first title defense.”

Following a meteoric rise similar to that of Jones, Davis was selected to come in and face Evans.  It was mere months ago that Evans was set to fight Maurcio “Shogun” Rua in an effort to get back the UFC belt he lost to Lyoto Machida, but an injury forced him out and opened the door for Jones, who then was his teammate at Greg Jackson’s MMA.  Jones, despite having no time to savor his victory over Ryan Bader, took the spot and won the title by smashing Rua weeks later.

Dana White slated the teammates against one another, and word wars through the media and Twitter commenced soon thereafter.  Previously, Evans and Jones said they would never fight one another.  Jackson went as far as removing himself from training either fighter for a match against one another.

In the time after the title fight with Rua, many comparisons were made between Jones and Davis, who cruised past Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC Fight Night 24 a week after Jones won the title.  Although Davis is three years older than Jones, he is seen as the more precocious of the pair.  But any doubts that Davis was ready for the next step were made irrelevant when White announced Monday that “Mr. Wonderful” was stepping in to face Evans.

While Jones is on the sidelines taking the time needed to let his hand heal, his attention will be on both potential title suitors.

“As for Rashad, let’s see what happens with Phil Davis,” Jones said.  “I will be watching that fight with great interest.”

Evans was clearly geared up for the match with Jones, and generating rhetoric is one of his strong suits.  He had been going full force, even sucking Jones into it perhaps a little more than the champion would have liked.

Now he’ll certainly turn that focus on Davis, who, like Evans, is a former Big Ten wrestler.  Evans starred at Michigan State and Davis was a champion at Penn State.

“I’m looking forward to fighting Phil Davis August 6 at UFC 133,” Evans said.  “He’s a strong wrestler and a rising star in the light heavyweight division.  I wish Jon Jones a speedy recovery, he has something that belongs to me and when he’s ready, I’ll be waiting.”

Evans will be waiting only if he beats Davis.  Judging by the way things have been happening for the new stars in the light heavyweight division, he might end up waiting a long time.

Hale, M’Pumbu secure light heavyweight finals berths at Bellator 42

M'Pumbu KOs Carpenter (Bellator photo)

Richard Hale and Christian M’Pumbu might not have been the top two choices to meet in the finals of the Season 4 light heavyweight tournament, but with wins on Saturday at Bellator 42, each underdog punched his ticket.

Hale, who scored a highlight-reel submission in the quarterfinals, was less spectacular but earned a split-decision win against D.J. Linderman.  M’Pumbu needed just 2:08 to TKO Tim Carpenter.

“It should be explosive from start to finish,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said of the final.

In the other featured fight of the evening at the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, Okla., Ronnie Mann dominated with a unanimous decision victory over Josh Arocho.  Mann won every round, and had a pair of 10-8 choices in the mind of one judge.

Hale had the edge in the first and third rounds, while Linderman was better in the second.  With the inverted triangle submission Hale pulled off in the previous fight against Nik Fekete a thing of the past, Hale had to grind this one out.  The difference came in the final round.

With just under three minutes left, Hale mounted Linderman, who was pressing Hale against the cage while trying to take him down.  Hale then took Linderman’s back and forced him to defend a rear naked choke for the remainder of the fight.  With Linderman forced to play defense, Hale secured the win.

“I definitely thought I could take adavnatge there,” Hale said about achieving the mount.  “He defended the rear naked choke well, though.”

M’Pumbu needed significantly less time, and that usually is a big advantage in the Bellator tournament format, where advancing fighters come back on notice much shorter than what most fighters are accustomed.

M’Pumbu used his countering style to lure in Carpenter, who had won the first seven fights of his career.  Now training in France, M’Pumbu buckled Carpenter with a straight right.  Appearing out on his feet and half bent over, Carpenter accepted a right uppercut that sent him to the canvas, ended the fight and sent M’Pumbu to the finals.

M’Pumbu, who was emotional after the victory, is 4-1 in his last five fights, winning each by knockout.

Also on the card, former Bellator Season 1 middleweight tournament finalist Jared Hess returned to the cage with a triangle choke submission of Chris Bell 100 seconds into their fight.  Hess had been sidelined for nearly a year after severely dislocating his knee in a loss to Alexander Shlemenko in the Season 2 middleweight semifinals.  The win over Bell, who missed weight and forced this to be a catch-weight contest at 190 pounds, likely propels Hess into the next middleweight tournament.

The televised portion of the card, which aired on MTV2, also included Luis Nogueira unanimous decision win over Jerod Spoon.

Bellator takes a rare Saturday off on April 30 and will run a show that recaps the fourth season to date.  Rebney has made no secret that Bellator adjusts its schedule with regard to bigger shows, and UFC 129 takes place that night.  Additionally, the recap show will air two hours earlier than it’s usual 9 p.m. ET slot.

Bellator 42 Results: Hale, M’Pumbu win light heavyweight semifinals

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Rolles Gracie rolls, Arantes-Main ends in contested no contest

Rolles Gracie gets back on the winning track. (Photo: Matt Leung/MMADieHards.com

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — The UCC 4 card on Friday can be remembered as the possible first step in the return of Rolles Gracie, overshadowed by an anticlimactic and contested finish to the main event.

Gracie submitted an overmatched Braden Bice in 65 seconds, but the headlining featherweight title match between Andy Main and Felipe Arantes ended in a no contest at 4:31 of the first round.

Arantes and Main battled through a hotly contested round when Arantes connected with a knee to the head of Main, who was ruled as being down by referee Kevin Mulhall.  Main was checked by the ringside physician, who ruled he was unable continue and waved off the fight.

The fight was ruled no contest because the knee was deemed inadvertent.  It left the confused crowd booing, Arantes and his corner furious, and the UCC 145-pound title vacant.

Arantes, his Gold Team Fighters USA teammates and New Jersey State Athletic Commission Counsel Nick Lembo reviewed the exclusive video from MMADieHards.com after the conclusion of the event.  It appeared Arantes buckled Main with a right hand, then connected with his knee to Main’s head while Main was falling.  Initial reviews proved inconclusive as to whether or not Main was in a downed position when the knee stuck his head.

Mulhall immediately stepped in.  The ringside physician put Main, who was clearly dazed, through a quick test.  The wobbly Main did not pass, and the doctor immediately waved off the fight.  She had to wave it off numerous times before most observes even realized the fight was over.

“If I wasn’t on the ground, they should give him the win,” said Main, who was still dazed minutes  after the fight ended. “If not, then it should be a no contest.  I have to see the video.”

“I threw the knee, but he was falling because the punch knocked him out,” Arantes, through translator Plinio Cruz, told MMADieHards.com.  “The referee said he put his hands on the ground and it wasn’t legal, but it was.  He should be man enough to accept that he lost, because I really knocked him out.  He told the doctor he could not keep going.  He was playing it smart because he knew he would get knocked out again.”

L-R, clockwise: Arantes, Lucas Pimenta, Maggie Krol, Nick Lembo (Joe Rizzo/MMADieHards.com)

Before leaving the cage, promoter Chris Sblendorio asked the fighters back for UCC 5 in June.  Both fighters appeared to agree, although Main remained confused and Arantes needs a translator to understand English.

“I want to do the rematch like a title defense,” Arantes said.  “I am the champion, I won the title.  I want to do it, but I want to do it like the champ – defend the title, beat him up and come back the champ again.”

Gracie earned the tap via head and arm choke, although the official record said a headlock.  Trying to earn his way back into the UFC after a lackluster one-and-done performance in a loss to Joey Beltran 14 months ago, Gracie overmatched Bice with a quick takedown and advanced into side control before putting him away.

“I kept trying to get him in the guillotine,” Gracie said.  “I was trying to keep his arm trapped and I finally found the head and arm choke.”

Gracie has run the Renzo Gracie Academy in Holmdel, N.J. for the two years it has been open.

“This is the best place to be,” said Gracie, who now only heads back to Brazil for one or two weeks a year.  “I like to fight in my home state now.  New Jersey is my home.”

Sean Santella eeked out a split decision over Sidemar “Sedico” Honorio to win the 135-pound UCC title, earning a 29-28 nod in the eyes of two judges, while the other had Honorio by the same score.  Santella appeared to have a slight edge in the first two rounds, using his work in the final seconds to steal each.

In the waning moments of the first round, Santella connected with a stiff right hand and a flying knee just before the bell sounded.  In the second, Santella hit a late takedown.  Honorio had a clear edge in the third, and after the decision was announced, he gave a thumbs-down to the pro-Santella crowd.

“There is no way a Brazilian is going to win a decision against an American in an event like this,” Honorio said.

Mike Stewart closed what had been a very tight fight with Glen Sandull with a heavy right hand that knocked out Sandull cold with 11 seconds remaining in the contest.  Stewart might have had the edge due to a series of right-leg kicks that slowed the former Division II All-American wrestler.  Sandull attempted the only two takedowns of the fight, but Stewart was able to stuff both.

Chris Foster defeated Kevin Roddy in a featherweight bout, winning every round on the judges’ scorecards.  Foster pressed the action was extremely calm throughout.  Roddy’s attempted guard-pulls might have cost him.

Aljamain Sterling was dominant in his professional debut against Sergio Da Silva, winning a unanimous decision that included a 30-25 scored by judge Jeff Blatnik.   Sterling nearly had the fight finished in the first round with a D’Arce choke he transitioned into a neck crank, but Da Silva made a terrific escape, only to have his forehead and bridge of his nose cut up later in the fight.

Lucas Pimenta (2-0) of Brazil defeater Istanbul’s Yusef Yoldas via unanimous decision, using a series of hard slams decision to earn the victory.  Pimenta, Arantes’ teammate, won despite being penalized by referee Dan Miragliotta for an illegal knee to the head of the downed Turkish fighter.

The fight between Mike Budnik and Gabriel Miglioli was canceled, as Budnik neither showed up at the arena nor contact the promoter.  Miglioli was awarded his show purse and a $500 bonus.

UCC 4 Results: Rolles Gracie wins, Arantes-Main ends in no contest

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Belfort-Akiyama, Hallman-Ebersole added to UFC 133 on Aug. 6

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UCC 4 Weigh-in Results: Gracie, Main, Arantes, Santella, Honorio set

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