Posts Tagged ‘highlight’

Punch Drunk Radio: Demetrious Johnson, Bellator cutman Dean Lassiter

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Here at Punch Drunk Radio, we can’t do anything halfway. Ever notice that about us? We don’t want a petite filet. We want a giant freaking t-bone. Other shows bring on one guest. We’ve gotta go out and get two. Other shows bring on contenders. We track down the champs. It’s a disease. It’s a problem. But it’s a good problem – and you get to benefit.

 

Tonight, Amy and Alex welcome to Punch Drunk Radio UFC flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Bellator MMA cut man Dean Lassiter.

 

Johnson (Twitter: @MightyMouseUFC) next week defends his 125-pound title for the first time since winning it in September at UFC 152 in Toronto. He’ll put his belt on the line in the main event of UFC on FOX 6 against John Dodson next week in Chicago. But tonight, the longtime friend of the show will be back on to talk about his preparation for the fight and what will be just his second visit to the Windy City.

 

Lassiter (Twitter: @CarCrashCutMan) joins us at the perfect time. One of Bellator MMA’s cut men and the promotion’s operations manager, Lassiter will join us to talk about the company’s big move from MTV2 to Spike TV. That takes place this Thursday with the premiere of the eighth season when lightweight champ Michael Chandler defends against Rick Hawn and featherweight champ Pat Curran puts his belt on the line against Patricio “Pitbull” Freire in Irvine, Calif.

 

Tune in to Punch Drunk Radio every Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET for exclusive fighter interviews, special guests, breaking news, contests, event recaps and much more – only on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. If you can’t be here live, you can catch the archive on demand right HERE following the broadcast or at iTunes.

Charlie Brenneman is moving down to climb up

Former UFC welterweight Charlie Brenneman. (Photo: Hector Castro/MMADieHards.com)

It’s just a matter of dropping 15 pounds, garnering a few wins and Charlie Brenneman expects to be back in the big show.

Brenneman (Twitter: @SpaniardMMA) is approaching his first fight outside the UFC in nearly three years.  “The Spaniard” will battle Eric Irvin on Jan. 19 at VFL 40 at the Jaffa Shrine in Altoona, Pa.

Brenneman endured eight fights in the Octagon before the UFC released him.  During his time in the promotion, Brenneman displayed some exciting performances, most notably his courageous bout against Rick Story.  Brenneman took the match on less than 24 hours’ notice and bested a top contender, Story, in a three round decision.  Following the gutsy outing from Brenneman, it appeared as if he was accelerating to the top of the UFC welterweight division, however, the Pennsylvania native went just 1-3 in his next four bouts.

Brenneman lost to Anthony Johnson, Erick Silva and Kyle Noke en route to being released from the UFC, but two of the three stoppages could be argued as premature.  Johnson and Noke both dropped Brenneman, yet he was quick to recover.  In each instance, the referee decided Brenneman had enough and halted the match.   Brenneman verbally contested both losses in the cage, but there was not much he could do but accept the blemishes on his record and wonder where the stability is.

“It’s hard to real say what’s fair in this sport,” Brenneman told MMADiehards.com.  “You see one thing one day and the complete opposite the next day, so I’m not really sure if there’s a balance to say what’s fair and what’s not.  They were definitely questionable stoppages, so it’s not like I went out horribly.  It’s could’ve been worse, so I am hoping they realize that.”

Now, Brenneman is gearing up for Irvin, and preparations themselves have a new approach when not getting ready to fight a combatant that isn’t at the top of the MMA food chain.

When Brenneman would prepare for a fight against a UFC fighter, he was able to watch their previous matches with ease.  Seeing as Irvin isn’t the most popular fighter on the planet, Brenneman had some difficulties getting educated on his opponent’s strengths, although, “The Spaniard” isn’t taking the less experienced fighter lightly.

“I couldn’t find a lot of video on him, but I did my research,” Brenneman said.  “He seems like a wrestler, he’s got almost all finishes, but his level of competition is obviously not what I have faced in the past.  On the other hand, he is a finisher and that always presents a danger.”

Competing outside the UFC isn’t something Brenneman hasn’t done in the past, but his bout against Irvin marks the first time the AMA Fight Club teammate will test his mettle at lightweight.

Brenneman has competed throughout his entire career in the 170-pound division.  He has done a mock weight cut to ensure that he can make the lightweight category of 155 pounds and was successful.  Brenneman’s drop in weight classes wasn’t due to being bullied by larger opponent’s, but rather a part of his intelligent ploy to get back in the UFC.

“I thought my best approach at getting back to the UFC would be to drop down,” Brenneman said.  “I was a small welterweight anyways, so I figured I showed them what I can do at welterweight, which was average, but I feel I have a lot more to offer.  I figured I’d start fresh at lightweight.”

Brenneman is still on good terms with his former employer.  He is ready to show and prove what he can do at 155 pounds.  Now, it’s just a matter of when “The Spaniard” will be called upon, but no matter what, Brenneman will be ready.

“It could be one win, it could be five wins, who knows?” Brenneman said.  “I know I want to make it back to the big show, that being the UFC, and I’ll be close enough to weight that I can even take a fight on short notice when they call me.”

Strikeforce: Sometimes these things happen in MMA

Strikeforce is a thing of the past, but sometimes these things happen in MMA.

Strikeforce presented their final show on Saturday, and the promotion put on an event that exhibited dominant performances, back and forth wars and even an upset in the main event.  In the years leading up to “Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine,” the mixed martial arts promotion was also responsible for breeding new fighters, reviving old stars, as well as some of the sport’s greatest debacles.

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker started the promotion as a kickboxing organization in 1985, however, we’re going to focus on the MMA Strikeforce that was incepted in 2006.

On March 10, 2006, Strikeforce displayed their first MMA event.  The show had bouts including some of today’s well-known names such as, Gilbert Melendez, Josh Thomson, Clay Guida, Brian Ebersole, Matt Horwich, Mike Kyle, Krzysztof Soszynski, Cung Le and Nate Diaz.  A battle between Frank Shamrock and Cesar Gracie also took place that evening and set the pace for the breakthrough organization.

The San Jose based promotion spent the next couple years building their roster out of fighters from smaller companies and UFC rejects.  Once Strikeforce found its niche in the sport, they started to catch the respect of MMA fans looking for another outlet to watch their favorite sport besides the UFC.

In 2008 and 2009, Strikeforce really flourished.  The promotion acquired fighters, as well as the combatants’ video libraries from Pro Elite (parent company to EliteXC).  Those mixed martial artists included the likes of Nick Diaz, Jake Shields, Scott Smith, Robbie Lawlor, amongst others.  Another seldom seen thing in MMA, Strikeforce struck deals with Japanese organizations, which allowed fighters to have cross-promotion matches.  This idea gave fans the ability to see elite fighters from two different promotions do battle.  They also put an emphasis on promoting the females of the sport, which birthed superstars in WMMA and encouraged fans to take a look at what women can offer in the cage.

By then, Strikeforce wasn’t relying on journeymen and beyond-their-prime fighters to flesh out a card.  Strikeforce had an identity and began building their superstars.

(Nick) Diaz, a longtime fan-favorite in MMA, entered Strikeforce with his take no nonsense attitude and took out Shamrock in his first bout under contract with the promotion.  Diaz went on a six-fight undefeated streak, while grasping the welterweight belt in Strikeforce during his time with the organization.  The aforementioned Melendez, Diaz’s homie, built his name in Strikeforce en route to becoming the lightweight champion and cementing a legendary trilogy of scraps with Thomson.  A couple of women by the names of Gina Carano and Cris “Cyborg” Santos put female fighting on the map when the two combatants headlined a Strikeforce event on Showtime.  It was the first time two females were ever the main event of an MMA card, and man, they delivered.

Strikeforce was beginning to look like a promotion that could co-exist with the ginormous UFC.  Strikeforce attained UFC top contender Dan Henderson and a fighter considered to be one of the best in the world, Fedor Emelianenko, which were two essential assets to obtain in 2010 MMA.  They were embarking on the beginning of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, which included Alistair Overeem.  They had their own fighters that represented the organization, inked network television deals and we’re expanding, which established the promotion in the sport.  They were intent on making their next move, however, the hiccups and turmoil began.

In Henderson’s inaugural bout in the Strikeforce cage, he was bested by Shields in a middleweight title affair.  Emelianenko won his first match in the promotion against Brett Rogers, yet was annihilated in his final three Strikeforce outings.  And, lest we forget, the Nashville brawl that followed the Shields vs. Henderson main event, which had Diaz and crew rush Jason Miller in the cage after an uninvited plug to get his shot against the middleweight champ.  Then the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix started as a great concept, but after Overeem fell to injury, and Daniel Cormier replaced “The Demolition Man,” fans had to wait eight months for the tournament to finalize.  It questioned the legitimacy of the tourney and the promotion.

While Strikeforce was ironing out their wrinkles, they were purchased by Zuffa, parent company of the UFC.  The UFC was quick to gobble up the fighters who were UFC-ready.  Diaz, Henderson, Lavar Johnson, Antonio Silva, amongst others were absorbed immediately.  Yet, Strikeforce was expected to continue as its own entity, it was business as usual, UFC president Dana White claimed.

Strikeforce had champions like Luke Rockhold, perennial contenders like Tim Kennedy, new stars like Cormier, yet the inevitable happened in the autumn of 2012.  They announced the doors would be closed on the promotion following their event on Saturday.

Though, many fans expected Strikeforce to become defunct after Zuffa purchased the company, some still had hope the promotion would continue.  MMA fanatics loved having an option other than UFC, they enjoyed the quirky commentating booth, they appreciated an outlet supporting fighters that didn’t go with the UFC grain, yet they were let down.

After Tarec Saffiedine defeated Nate Marquardt vie decision last Saturday, the promotion was laid to rest.

Strikeforce is now a thing of the past, and in the words of former Strikeforce commentator Gus Johnson, sometimes these things happen in MMA.

Punch Drunk Radio: Hector Lombard, Jon Anik

Punch Drunk Radio

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Tonight’s episode of Punch Drunk Radio takes you from the cage to the booth.  Hosts Amy Barton and Alex Donno welcome UFC middleweight Hector Lombard and UFC commentator Jon Anik.

Lombard (Twitter: @HectorLombard) has gone 1-1 since joining the UFC. The former Bellator middleweight champion is coming off a recent KO victory over Rousimar Palhares, and is slated to face perennial top contender Yushin Okami at UFC on FX 8.

Anik (Twitter: @Jon_Anik) joined the UFC broadcast team following the UFC and Fox deal.  The former host of ESPN MMA Live has spent his duration in the company thus far commentating for the FX and Fuel shows, as well as a stint on TUF: Live. Recently Anik got a taste of PPV broadcast duties alongside UFC color-commentator Joe Rogan.
Tune in to Punch Drunk Radio every Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET for exclusive fighter interviews, special guests, breaking news, contests, event recaps and much more – only on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. If you can’t be here live, catch the archive on demand right HERE following the broadcast – or on iTunes!

Ryan Ford: ‘War Machine ain’t sh*t to me’

Bellator welterweight Ryan Ford. (Photo courtesy of Sherdog)

Ryan Ford knows what he wants, and what he wants is War.

A Bellator welterweight competitor, Ford (Twitter: @RyanFordMMA), has yet to compete in the prestige Bellator tournament.  Though, Ford has not had the opportunity to showcase his skills in a tourney, he is vying for a chance to take out one of the most hyped up participants originally in the Bellator Season 8 welterweight tournament; War Machine.

Ford didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to pick a fight with War Machine.  The idea of the scrap initiated from the powers of social media, but then War Machine fueled the fire and now Ford said he is ready to put hands on the former UFC fighter.

“Someone wrote him on Twitter saying, ‘You and Ryan would be a good fight,’ or something like that,” Ford told MMADiehards.com.  “On Twitter you have the option of leaving that person’s name out or putting it in when you comment on them.  He added my name to the comment, saying he’d like a bit more of a challenge.  Once you speak my name you better back it up.  I don’t call people out, but War Machine, that’s the dude I want to fight next.  Hopefully Bellator will make it happen so I can punch this kid out.”

War Machine’s release from prison and entrance to the Bellator “Vote for the Fight” tournament was highly publicized, however, this is not a ploy for Ford to gain attention.

Since Ford’s inception to the organization, he has an undefeated record of 2-0.  His Bellator debut pitted Ford against Louis Santos.  The Canadian recovered from a vicious head kick absorbed in Round 1, and knocked Santos out in the second frame with a knee.  Ford’s most recent outing in the Bellator cage saw “The Real Deal” batter Kyle Baker for a full 15 minutes en route to earning a very decisive decision victory.

When comparing Ford’s achievements to War Machine’s in Bellator, the former MFC welterweight No. 1 contender believes he ranks higher within the organization.

“I believe I got a bigger stock than him already in Bellator,” Ford said.  “Look at his record, who has he fought?  What, Roger Huerta?  He’s a (lightweight).  Look at who I fought.  I fought Louis Santos in my Bellator debut and knocked him out in the second round.  War Machine would have made his debut in the Bellator welterweight tournament, but his ass would’ve got knocked out.

“I believe he has a lot of followers because he was a porn star and all that, so I might pick up a few fans from beating him.  But, for me, War Machine ain’t shit to me.  I’m better than him and I know it.”

War Machine has tweeted that Ford is not worthy of fighting him, nor is the Canadian main card status.  Ford is already doing battle on Bellator main cards and if it weren’t for Visa issues preventing him from competing in the U.S., he thinks he would be involved in the four-man tourney in place of War Machine.

Ford said he is looking to be back in competition come February, preferably against War Machine.  Ford wants to shut War Machine up and the only way to do that is by defeating him in the cage and not via trash talk on Twitter.

“Talk is talk, but once you get in that cage and the door closes it’s a different story,” Ford said.  “Who knows if War Machine will read this article, but if he does he needs to know I’m ready to scrap.  Bellator knows that and we need to make this fight happen.”

MMADieHards.com’s highlights of 2012

With 2012 being full of so many outstanding fights, MMADiehards.com managed to narrow down the top five for a few different categories.

Fighters of the Year

Cain Velasquez

UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez (R) punches Junior dos Santos (L) at UFC 155. (Photo courtesy of lasvegassun.com)

Velasquez began the year coming off a loss in November 2011 to Junior dos Santos, which was the end of the Mexican’s reign as UFC heavyweight champion.  In his first bout of 2012, Velasquez manhandled Antonio “Big Foot” Silva in Round 1 TKO victory that was one of the bloodiest fights of the year.  Velasquez was granted a rematch with dos Santos and a chance to get his belt back.  Velasquez met dos Santos at UFC 155 and wrecked the champ for the majority of 25 minutes as he went on to win a unanimous decision, plus be crowned the UFC heavyweight champ once again.

Mike Pyle

Mike Pyle (L) punches Josh Neer (R). (Photo courtesy of Zuffa)

It’s puzzling to me how Pyle isn’t atop of many lists for top fighter of the year.  Aside from amassing three victories in 2012, Pyle dismantled every opponent via KO/TKO in Round 1.  His competition of Ricardo Funch, Josh Neer, and James Head are not the elite level of the UFC welterweights, however, they are viable opponents.  That, coupled with the fashion in which Pyle defeated them is enough for me to call him one of the best fighters of 2012.

Demetrious Johnson

Demetrious Johnson (L) takes down Joseph Benavidez (R) (Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report)

Johnson ended the year with a 2-0-1 record.  At the beginning of 2012, Johnson was elected to participate in the first-ever UFC flyweight tournament to crown the inaugural 125-pound division champion.  Johnson met UFC newcomer Ian McCall in the opening round and was declared the winner, but after the event it was realized the judges made a mistake and the bout was deemed a draw.  Johnson took to setback in stride and decisively beat McCall in a rematch via decision.  Johnson went on to defeat the other finalist, Joseph Benavidez, in the championship match and make history as the first-ever UFC flyweight champion.

Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey (T) punches Sarah Kaufman (B) (Photo courtesy of mmafighting.com)

Rousey was the victor in both her outings in 2012; obviously both wins via armbar.  In one of the most entertaining matches of the year, Rousey caught Miesha Tate in an armbar – the second of the bout- to win the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion.  Tate was the first combatant to last with Rousey outside the first minute, but still couldn’t make it pat Round.  In Rousey’s first title defense, she squared off against Canadian Sarah Kaufman.  It was back to her old ways as she forced Kaufman to tap out from an armbar just 54 seconds into the opening round.

Andrey Koreshkov

Andrey Koreshkov (L) punches Marius Zaromskis (R)

Undefeated Koreshkov entered the Bellator Season 7 welterweight tournament and kept his record intact when the tourney finalized.  Koreshkov battered Jordan Smith in the quarterfinals of the tourney en route to a decision victory.  In the semifinals, Koreshkov met Lithuanian striker Marius Zaromskis.  The Russian welcomed Zaromskis to a battle on the feet and knocked out his Lithuanian counterpart in the first round.  Koreshkov faced Lyman Good in the tournament finale, a fight in which he was an underdog.  Koreshkov bested Good in all aspects of the fight, put on his best performance of the tourney and won a decision, which secured the Bellator $100,000 check, as well as a welterweight title shot in the future.

Knockouts of the Year

Eddie Alvarez vs. Patricky Freire
Bellator 76 at Caesars Palace in Windsor, Ontario

Eddie Alvarez (L) head kicks Patricky Freire (R)

The finish to this bout, coupled with the circumstances surrounding the match made for a monumental main event.

After becoming the inaugural Bellator lightweight champ and first well-known name in the promotion, Alvarez vs. Freire could possibly be the Philadelphia native’s last fight under the Bellator banner.  Alvarez dropped “Pitbull” with a left hook and pounced on the Brazilian early in Round 1.  Freire managed to recover and get back to his feet, then struck back with a flurry of punches, which had Alvarez backpedaling and trying to regain composure after absorbing a few shots.

The two combatants spent the next couple minutes trading strikes and grappling in an effort to capitalize on a mistake.  With under 10 seconds remaining in the opening frame, Alvarez stalked Freire until “Pitbull’s” back was against the cage and threw a head kick.  Alvarez planted his left shin on Freire face and the Brazilian went stiff as he timbered to the canvas.  Alvarez picked up a knockout victory at 4:54 of Round 1.

If the former Bellator lightweight champ competed for the last time under the promotion, he definitely went out with a bang.

Noteworthy knockouts of the year:

 

Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon
UFC 144 at Saitama Arena in Saitama, Japan
Pettis def. Lauzon via KO (head kick), Rd 1, 1:22

Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim
UFC 142 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Barboza def. Etim via KO (spinning wheel kick), Rd 3, 2:02

Donald Cerrone vs. Melvin Guillard
UFC 150 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo.
Cerrone def. Guillard via KO (head kick, punch), Rd 1, 1:16

Brian Rogers vs. Vitor Vianna
Bellator 61 at Horseshoe Riverdome in Bossier City, La.
Rogers def. Vianna via KO (flying-knee), Rd 1, 4:14

Submissions of the Year

Charles Oliveira vs. Eric Wisely
UFC on Fox 2 at the United Center in Chicago, Ill.

Charles Oliveira (B) setting up calf slicer on Eric Wisely (T). (Photo courtesy of Yahoo)

Oliveira’s debut in the featherweight division wasn’t the only new thing on display.

Oliveira initiated attack by utilizing hard leg kicks.  Oliveira, on the defensive side, caught a kick from Wisely and tripped his opponent to the mat.  Oliveira worked his ground and pound before dropping back for a heel hook, which Wisely defended, but put himself in a worst position.  Oliveira switched to a calf slicer, which made Wisely tap out in agony.

Oliveira clocked in the submission victory at 1:43 Round 1.  The calf slicer Oliveira executed was the first-ever in the UFC.

Noteworthy submissions of the year:

Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate
Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Tate at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio
Rousey def. Tate via submission (armbar), Rd 1, 4:27

Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller
UFC on Fox 3 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
Diaz def. Miller via submission (guillotine-choke), Rd 2, 4:09

Martin Kampmann vs. Thiago Alves
UFC on FX 2 at Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia
Kampmann def. Alves via ubmission (guillotine-choke), Rd 3, 4:12

Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier
UFC on Fuel TV 3 at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va.
Jung def. Poirier via submission (d’arce choke), Rd 4, 1:07

Fights of the Year

Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon
UFC 155 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas

Joe Lauzon (R) and Jim Miller (L) battle at UFC 155. (Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report)

Miller bloodied Lauzon to the point that the canvas looked like a Hollywood crime scene.

Miller rushed Lauzon with punches and elbows that found their way through the “TUF 5” participant’s defense.  Lauzon had a deep gash on his forehead and blood streaming down his face.  Referee Herb Dean interrupted the match to have a cageside doctor inspect the cut.  Lauzon was approved to continue fighting and the bout commenced again, which resulted in Miller battering his opponent until the end of Round 1.

Lauzon entered Round 2 with a horrific cut on his brow and a laceration on the top of his head.  Miller continued to bring the pain to Lauzon, but fortunately for the Boston native, he avoided additional significant cuts.  Miller was up 2-0 after the second frame, but the third stanza exhibited some of Lauzon’s skill set.

Though, Lauzon was overworked and punished to a bloody mess, Miller seemed to have emptied his gas tank in his efforts to finish his foe.  Lauzon took advantage and began winning the exchanges on their feet.  Lauzon didn’t put Miller in much trouble in the striking department, however, he did go for a flashy finish in the dying seconds.  Lauzon dropped to the mat, intentionally, and swept Miller’s legs out in an attempt the secure a heel hook.  Miller said following the bout that the submission was on tight, but he got out of the lock.  As Miller slipped out of the heel hook, Lauzon latched on a guillotine-choke until time ran out in the fight.

It was a lightweight classic that took place on the final UFC card of 2012, in which Miller picked up a unanimous decision (29-28×3) victory.  The match won “Fight of the Night” honors.  The nightly bonus was Jim Miller’s fifth, and No. 12 for Lauzon.

Noteworthy fights of the year:

Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier
UFC on Fuel TV 3 at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va.
Jung def. Poirier via submission (d’arce choke), Rd 4, 1:07

Joe Lauzon vs. Jamie Varner
UFC on Fox 4 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif.
Lauzon def. Varner via submission (triangle-choke), Rd 3, 2:44

Jake Ellenberger vs. Diego Sanchez
UFC on Fuel TV 1 at the Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Neb.
Ellenberger def. Sanchez via decision (29-28×3)

Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate
Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Tate at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio
Rousey def. Tate via submission (armbar), Rd 1, 4:27

UFC 155 recap: Velasquez wins belt in rematch, Miller bests Lauzon in instant classic, Philippou earns fifth straight victory

UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez (R) punches Junior dos Santos (L) at UFC 155. (Photo courtesy of lasvegassun.com)

In the final UFC event of 2012, UFC 155 provided a new heavyweight champion and a night full of night of blood, bruises and bumps.

Cain Velasquez lived up to the name of his sponsor and dethroned royalty at UFC 155.

Junior dos Santos, the fighter who took Velasquez’s UFC heavyweight title in November 2011, was expected to come out on top again in their rematch, but midway through Round 1 it apparent history was not about to repeat itself.  Velasquez avoided the thunderous punches from dos Santos, while attacking and pummeling the champ.  Before dos Santos had a chance to find his range, Velasquez had the Brazilian dizzied from manhandling him with punches and takedowns.

Velasquez kept this performance up through four rounds, although dos Santos did show some life in the final frame.  In Round 5, dos Santos appeared to have caught his second wind and put together combinations, landing blows that had Velazquez playing the side of caution in order to hold on to a unanimous decision victory.

Velazquez became a two-time UFC heavyweight champion with the victory over dos Santos.  With a win each on their side and both combatants being at the top of the heavyweight division, Velasquez vs. Dos Santos could be a trilogy similar to bouts involving Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell.

In the evening’s co-main event, Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon put on a fight that will be talked about for years to come.

Miller rushed Lauzon with punches and elbows that found their way through the “TUF 5” participant’s defense.  The elbows caused a deep gash on the forehead of Lauzon, leading to blood streaming down his face.  Referee Herb Dean interrupted the match to have a cageside doctor inspect the cut.  Lauzon was approved to continue fighting and the bout recommenced, which resulted in Miller battering his opponent until the end of Round 1.

Lauzon entered Round 2 with a horrific cut on his brow and a laceration on the top of his head.  Miller continued to bring the pain to Lauzon, but fortunately for the Boston native, he avoided additional significant cuts.  Miller was up 2-0 after the second frame, but the third stanza exhibited some of Lauzon’s skill set.

Though, Lauzon was overworked and punished to a bloody mess, Miller seemed to have emptied his gas tank in his efforts to finish his foe.  Lauzon took advantage and began winning the exchanges on their feet.  Lauzon didn’t put Miller in much trouble in the striking department, however, he did go for a flashy finish in the dying seconds.  Lauzon dropped to the mat, intentionally, and swept Miller’s legs out in an attempt the secure a heel hook.  Miller said following the bout that the submission was on tight, but he got out of the lock.  As Miller slipped out of the heel hook, Lauzon latched on a guillotine-choke until time expired in the fight.

Miller took home a decision victory (29-28×3) and is hovering around the top of the UFC lightweight division rankings, which means a win in his next bout could put the New Jersey native in title contention.

Constantinos Philippou climbed another rung on the proverbial UFC middleweight ladder with a win over Tim Boetsch.

Philippou was pinned against the cage by Boetsch early in the opening round, which nullified the Cypriot’s striking offence; his biggest asset.  Boetsch continued mauling his opponent and tried his best to wear down Philippou in Round 1, but fatigue seemed to set in on “Barbarian.”

In the second round, Philippou was getting the better of the exchanges on their feet and cut open Boetsch’s forehead with a punch.  With Boetsch bleeding, he shot for a takedown but was inadvertently poked in the eye.  After a brief pause in action the bout continued and Boetsch searched for another takedown.  He was ineffective in his efforts and Philippou landed on top of the American.  Philippou rained down elbows until the round ended.

In the third stanza, Philippou sprawled to avoid another of Boetsch’s takedowns, this time with ease, and ended up on top of “Barbarian” again.  Philippou planted elbows on Boetsch’s face and the cut began to bleed heavily.  Philippou dropped a series of hammerfists on Boetsch’s head until referee Kim Winslow halted the bout at the 2:11 mark of Round 3.

The victory gives Philippou five consecutive wins inside the Octagon and most definitely puts him in the mix.

In a match that was expected to be fairly equal beforehand, Yushin Okami dominated Alan Belcher.

Okami clinched with Belcher and shut down all offense from “The Talent.”  Whenever Belcher tried to put his Duke Roufus-trained striking to work, Okami would tie him up or take him down.  Once on the canvas, Belcher attempted to attack off his back, but Okami pressed his opponent to the floor and evaded damage.

Okami won a decisive unanimous decision (30-27×2, 29-28).

In a lackluster fight to kick off the main card, UFC newcomer by way of Strikeforce Derrick Brunson defeated Chris Leben.

Brunson was wise enough to stay out of the range of Leben’s powerful hands that have put many foes asleep in the past.  Once Leben closed the distance, Brunson was able to latch on bodylocks and take “The Crippler” at will.  Leben did attempt multiple submissions from the bottom, but was never close to securing one that threatened Brunson.

Brunson’s takedowns, which didn’t lead to much offense, were the story of the match.  Leben’s return to the Octagon following a nearly 14-month layoff may be to blame for his shabby performance, but the larger Brunson seemed to outclass the “TUF 1” veteran with wrestling.

Kudos to Brunson for earning a decision victory over “The Crippler,” but that was absolutely not Leben’s best performance.  The UFC newcomer’s next opponent ought to provide a viable challenge for the former Strikeforce middleweight.

A handful of fighters, fans and media reflect on MMA in 2012

MMADiehards.com gathered an assorted group of fighters, media and fans to hear their favorite or most memorable moment from MMA in 2012.  The topics consist of a wide variety, some as obvious as Ronda Rousey’s breakthrough into the world’s premier MMA league, others are plain humorous and worth a read.  Check them out below and enjoy.

Joe Rizzo @rearnakedchoke
“The moment Ronda Rousey joined the UFC, everything changed.

Rousey was the pioneer who busted into the boys-only club.  She had to overcome the sexism prevalent in fight sports and convince Dana White that she was The One.

Rousey’s domination inside the cage and her charisma outside of it changed White’s mind. He flipped his stance, made Rousey the 135-pound champion, and matched her with a gay fighter, Liz Carmouche, to headline a pay-per-view event.  It opened even more doors.

There are few things more advancing in society than when sexist and racist barriers fall.  That is what makes this a landmark moment.

MMA might be on network television, but it’s certainly not for everyone.  When it comes to women fighting, many staunch MMA fans who have paddled against the mainstream to convince their family and friends about the wonderment of “their” sport have been quick to voice their distaste for women battling it out.

There is a reduced faction of the MMA world that has been fighting the fight for the women all along, like the co-founder of the all-female Invicta Fighting Championships, Shannon Knapp. Or cage veterans like Tara LaRosa and Shayna Baszler, who have endured a litany of lies, un-kept promises and bad paydays to keep fighting.  Or even Elisabeth Nuesser, founder of the FightChix clothing line, who scratched out support for many girls you’re about to hear of, when those fighters had little more than aspirations.

Rousey’s entrance into the UFC validated their work and and the many who have done their bit to advance women’s entrance into the sport’s grand palace.”

Mark Hominick @Mark Hominick
“I think the biggest thing for me would be the elevation of the game, seeing where it’s at this year.  The sport has come a long way and that really showed this year, especially in the UFC.  If you’re in any division in the UFC you have to be at the top of your game.  There’s no easy fights anymore.  Look at the last Ultimate Fighter, there was nobody from the house besides the finalists that were on the main card and they weren’t even the main event.  On top of that there were only about 13 guys that got signed.  That kind of shows you where the talent level is at now.  This year really showed how high the talent is at the top of the food chain this year.”

Charlie Brenneman @SpaniardMMA
“The thing that really stood out to me was the Fox/UFC deal.  It’s still being built and it’s not the perfect product yet, but I think they’re doing a heck of a job with it.  It’s awesome to see fighters in mainstream ads and mainstream sponsors.  Not just Anderson Silva, it’s trickling down to the other guys.  I think it’s good for each individual fighter to get that exposure now like they never could in past years.”

Ryan Ford @RyanFordMMA
“For me, it would be the Louis Santos fight.  A lot of people counted me out in that fight, not just before we stepped in the cage, but I know I was counted out when I caught that head kick.  My favorite moment in 2012 was me coming back from that kick in the second round like nothing even fazed me and knocking Santos out.”

Chris Olech @ChrisOlech
“It’s much too hard to just pick one favourite moment in MMA in 2012 so I’ll cheat and pick two. Most memorable would definitely be The Last Emperor Fedor Emelianenko retiring. The aura and sheer devastation he displayed while reigning over the Heavyweight division throughout his career cannot be overlooked, coupled with his stone cold demeanor, he will surely be missed.

As for my favourite moment in 2012, it would have to be Rory Macdonald’s destruction of ‘The Prodigy’ B.J. Penn. Rory at 23 years of age put the world on notice that he is a force of nature, not to be taken lightly in the UFC welterweight division.”

Conner Cordova @ConnerCordova
“As an MMA Fan and Journalist, I have to pick a moment in 2012 that transcends our sport. At “UFC on Fuel TV 5″ Brad “One Punch” Pickett lived up to his name with a devastating knock out of dangerous Yves Jabouin. Though this was a stellar finish, I picked this moment in MMA history for what happened directly following his KO. Right after Ref. Leon Roberts pulled Picket off, “One Punch” looked to the crowd… and began to Gangnam Style! That arena almost exploded with how much awesomeness was in one place at one time! For Picket, I give his KO a 9 out of 10, but his sweet moves a 20 for style!”

Tommy Toe Hold @TommyToeHold
“Favorite moment of the year has to be UFC 151. It was such a good card, and that title fight between Dan Henderson and Jon Jones was really something to see. Even more impressive was Jones defending his title again only three weeks later against Vitor Belfort.”

Michael Steczkowski @stetsfox
“My favorite moment of 2012, would have to be Ronda Rousey defeating Miesha Tate for the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title last Feb in Columbus, Ohio.  To say there was a vibe in the air would be an understatement!  It was palpable! It didn’t just feel like you were at an MMA fight card, it felt like an event!  Comparable to how people spoke of Mike Tyson fights during the 1980′s, Rousey–in my opinion–has created that type of feeling now whenever she fights.  Instead of turning into to watch someone get knocked out, people are tuning in to see someone’s arm get ripped off!  Now in a little over a year from that time she is the inaugural UFC women’s bantamweight champion headlining UFC 157.  PPV numbers could be getting their arms ripped off next!!!”

Mark Hensch @HMHensch
“My favorite moment in 2012 MMA was the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 3 between Dustin Poirier and Chan Sung Jung. The two featherweights earned main event status in epic fashion, delivering the year’s best bout via four rounds of frantic action.

It was a memorable pairing mixing the drama of theater with elite MMA’s savage beauty. For starters, it was surreal seeing an ocean of South Korean flags flying for Jung only 40 minutes from Washington D.C. After that, both men laid all on the line for their shot at UFC glory. There were thus gallons of blood, sweat and tears to go around. It’s too early to call it the new “fight of the decade” Poirier predicted pre-fight, but for now, it’s damn close.”

Stephen Quadros @StephenQuadros
“2012 was kind of a blur for me. So many shows and events, it was almost like “work” trying to watch them all. In MMA the things that stood out were Anderson Silva making child’s play of Chael Sonnen & Stephan Bonnar, Ronda Rousey’s reign of terror at 135lbs in Strikeforce and the absolute athleticism of Benson Henderson. In kickboxing it’s hard to match the GLORY 3 tournament win by pound-for-pound king Giorgio Petrosyan, although the GLORY 4 heavyweight grand slam 16-man tournament on New Years in Japan, with Schilt, Ghita, Aerts, Bonjasky, et al, will surely test that statement!”

Ivan Menjivar @Ivanmenjivar
“Ok, for me the best moment of 2012 is my full time training.  I have the chance of be a real pro MMA fighter because it is not easy to just do training and fight.  Before I was full time worker and full time fighter and it was really hard with family life.  Good moments in MMA this year would be the success of all MMA Canadian fighters.

It is fun to see Canada, which has a small population, with so goods talented athletes.”

John Makdessi @JohnMakdessiMMA
“The last fight of Anderson Silva when he faced Stephan Bonnar was crazy. Just how he fought was in a different world. The way he makes it look easy when he fights his opponents is amazing and he had some very impressive performances in 2012.  He didn’t lose a step, as a matter of fact, if anything he got better.  I look forward to watching “The Spider” compete again in 2013.”

Corey Charron @charronkotd
“As a Canadian, I have to pick GSP’s long awaited return.  A close second would be what Chael (Sonnen) did to Michael Landsberg (on TSN).  It was therapeutic and comforting to watch.  The tears of laughter masked the tears of abandonment from when my father walked out on me as a child.”

Josh Hill @gentlemanhill
“My personal favorite moment in MMA in 2012 was beating John Fraser in the main event at The Score Fighting Series in my hometown and becoming the No. 1 bantamweight in Canada not signed to the UFC.  Also, seeing my teammates Antonio Carvalho and Mitch Gagnon getting their first wins in the UFC.  I’m looking forward to 2013.  It’s going to be the year of “The Gentleman.”

Amy Barton @amesbelle
“A lot of cool things happened in MMA in 2012, but my favorite thing about the sport was reviving Punch Drunk Radio.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with my co-host Alex Donno and we had some unique guests on the show in 2012.  We gave the show an identity and blended mixed martial artists and MMA personalities to produce multiple episodes this year, which gained us a solid following and a plethora of listeners.  I look forward to continuing in 2013 with Donno and more terrific guests.”

Jason Kelly @JayMMADieHards
“Obviously there were countless knockouts, submissions and fights that come to mind when I reflect on 2012, but the thing that stands out the most is not something positive for me.

In 2012 we witnessed an enormous amount of injuries, not just in the UFC, but throughout the sport.  Many events were altered and some of the year’s most anticipated matches were scrapped.  It became so puzzling as to why injuries were frequently occurring that MMA analysts began searching for a reason, UFC president Dana White chalked up as a curse and fans claimed fighters were ducking one another.  As disappointing as it was, there isn’t much anyone can do besides hope that 2013 doesn’t have as many cards fall apart in the same fashion.”

Hammerfisting MMA Podcast – Episode 137

Stand Up Comedians Luis J. Gomez and Kris Tinkle talk MMA news and rumors! On this episode Julian Vance and Mike Ford return to the show to celebrate Christmas! They interview the producers of the doc “Such Great Heights” and discuss UFC 155, Rousey as a headliner, the return of Robbie Lawler, the Fistie Awards, and more!

MMA Diehards Awards: Breakthrough fighters of the year

UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey. (Photo Courtesy of mmabay.co.uk)


(The MMA Diehards staff has compiled lists for the best fighter of the year, fight of the year, KO of the year, submission of the year and breakthrough fighter of the year to close out 2012.)

“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey

Love her or hate her, Ronda Rousey is MMA’s biggest revelation of 2012.

For starters, “Rowdy” debuted for Strikeforce in March with a limb-snapping, submission of the year victory over Miesha Tate. Proving that armbar wasn’t a fluke, she destroyed Sarah Kaufmann with the same move during a 54-second rout last August.

Such dominance didn’t go unnoticed, and Rousey was soon trailblazing to bigger and better things. Closing 2012 by breaking the UFC’s gender barrier, she’s now the first female in the world’s premier fighting league. Given the Olympic judoka remains undefeated, no other star jumped higher last year.

Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson

UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson. (Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com)

For one of the UFC’s smallest fighters, Demetrious Johnson made big waves last year.

“Mighty Mouse” first entered the history books in 2012 as a founding father of the UFC’s new flyweight division. From there, he defeated the dangerous Ian McCall not once, but twice, for a shot at the division’s vacant title. By besting Joseph Benavidez in September, “Mighty Mouse” made his most lasting mark serving as the UFC’s first 125 lb. champion.

Stefan “The Skyscraper” Struve

UFC heavyweight Stefan "The Skyscraper" Struve. (Photo courtesy of mmafighting.com)

Stefan Struve signed with the UFC long before last year, but he showed he’s its most improved heavyweight in 2012.

Racking up a 3-0 record over seven months, Struve can now stand tall after years of criticism for his unorthodox style. He began by knocking out Dave Herman in February, continued by subbing Lavar Johnson in May and ended with a TKO starching of Stipe Miocic in September. It’s an epic run, and one Struve spent proving he’s got better striking, fight IQ and guts than he’s often credited for.

Rory “Ares” MacDonald

UFC welterweight Rory "Ares" MacDonald. (Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com)

Is there any bigger villain in 2012 MMA than Rory MacDonald?

The answer’s a resounding “no” after seeing “Ares” pulverize B.J. Penn earlier this month. Fighting at UFC on Fox 5, MacDonald humiliated the beloved icon for three rounds before millions of shocked viewers. Watching MacDonald gleefully toy with Penn for 15 minutes, one sensed he could’ve finished him at any time but didn’t out of sheer sadism. If that doesn’t make MacDonald one of MMA’s most fearsome fighters, his April beatdown of Che Mills certainly does.

Matt “The Immortal” Brown

UFC welterweight Matt "The Immortal" Brown. (Photo courtesy of mysportsportal.com)

Matt Brown’s making his most successful run in pro MMA after 2012.

Entering the sport seven years ago, Brown showed promise but could never put together a strong win streak. In 2011, for example, “The Immortal” inked a 1-2 score. Changing tactics last year, he’s since won his last four fights and shows no signs of slowing down. As 2013 dawns, Brown has a second wind at his back and a bright future going forward.

Mark Hensch is an avid MMA fan who became interested in the sport through wrestling and karate. When not covering the hurt business, he serves as a digital editor for the Washington Times’ Times247.com in Washington D.C.

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