Posts Tagged ‘WEC 52’

Are You Ready Radio: Erik Koch

photo courtesy of MMA Weekly


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The MMA DieHards Radio Network welcomed Erik Koch to Are You Ready with Joe Martinez and Joe Rizzo.

Koch (pronounced COKE) won knockout of the night with his 96-second TKO of Francisco Rivera at WEC 52. He is rising quickly in the featherweight ranks with an 11-1 record, with his only loss coming against unbeaten Chad Mendes.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg with one of the up-and-coming personalities of MMA.  Koch broke down the fight, gave insight into life with Anthony Pettis, who is his roommate and main training partner, and did not hold back from telling about some of his questionable decisions in life.  Then there was the post-fight celebration you need to hear about!

WEC 52 also featured Martinez’s return to his post as cage announcer, so listen to hear about how he made a special delivery to the co-host.

The Closing Bell: UFC 122 Predictions, Flyweights in the UFC and more

UFC 122 Predictions

Nate Marquardt (L) and Yushin Okami (photo courtesy of MMA Junkie)

UFC 122 is probably going down as you’re reading this, but won’t air on this side of the Atlantic until Saturday evening. I definitely believe that as a fan, you should be aware of tape delayed events and stay away from the internet (as well as ESPN, apparently) at all costs on the day of the event if you don’t want it spoiled. If you insist on remaining “plugged in,” don’t complain when you find out the results before you’ve seen the fights. That said, I’d really like to see the UFC find a way to air these events live. Here is a quick breakdown of all the action:

Preliminary Card: There are several top prospects to keep an eye on here. Carlos Eduardo Rocha and Pascal Krauss come into the UFC with spotless records, while Alexandre Ferreira and Mark Scanlon also show promise. Hopefully, we’ll get time on the broadcast to see how some of them fare.

Rocha takes on Kris McCray in what should be an interesting fight. I could see McCray winning this on the feet, but I’ll say Rocha comes through with a submission win.

Seth Petruzelli should be able to stay composed and weather the early storm from Karlos Vemola. Once Vemola gasses, Petruzelli will score a TKO victory.

Duane Ludwig caught a bad break with an ankle injury in his last outing, but as long as he’s healthy I’ll take him for a decision win over Nick Osipczak.

Vladimir Matyushenko has never lost via submission, which is how his opponent Alexandre Ferreira tends to win. V-Mat might not be the most exciting fighter to watch, but he is experienced and knows how to win (unless he’s fighting a Jon Jones or Antonio Rogerio Nogueira). Ferreira has yet to prove he’s in the same league as anyone who has handed Matyushenko a loss over the last decade. V-Mat takes this one by decision.

The fight I’m most interested in off of the prelim card has to be Krauss vs. Scanlon. Both are making their Octagon debuts and Krauss comes in undefeated, while Scanlon has only suffered one loss. Both men finish opponents and either could pull off the victory here. I’d like to give the edge to Scanlon, since he’s trained with a higher level camp in Team Kaobon, but Krauss looked very comfortable and confident at the weigh-ins, so I’ll lean his way in this one.

Kyle Noke really let me down on The Ultimate Fighter. I had him pegged as the favorite going into the show’s eleventh season, but he couldn’t come through. His opponent, Rob Kimmons, is another fighter who has a great record, but can’t seem to take that next step. It’s another close fight, but I’ll say Noke finishes Kimmons by way of TKO.

Main Card: Who thought we’d see the day when Yushin Okami managed to headline a show again? It’s not that he isn’t deserving of a main event slot, but the UFC kept finding a way to put him as low on its cards as possible. The rest of the lineup definitely makes it obvious that this is a Spike TV card.

Okami might be headlining, but can he defeat Marquardt and convince the UFC that he should remain on the televised portion of future cards? It’s hard to say. Both fighters picked up their last loss against Chael Sonnen and have seemingly come back much improved. I like Marquardt’s fighting style better, but his performance against Sonnen leaves me with doubts and the fact that Okami is training with Chael for this fight just magnifies those concerns. With that in mind, I’ll say Okami takes a close decision in this one.

Jorge Rivera against Alessio Sakara could be an entertaining stand-up war. Both men have put together decent records in the recent past and can knock opponents out, but don’t exactly have solid chins of their own. Someone’s scoring a knockout here, and I’ll say it’s Rivera.

Dennis Siver’s recent decision loss to Ross Pearson didn’t leave me with the best impression of the German fighter. However, fighting in front of a crowd that will be on his side should be a nice advantage. Siver is also a notch above opponent Andre Winner in the skills department. Siver will use his spinning back kick at least once in this fight (that’s a no-brainer prediction), but he’ll score the TKO via a more conventional method.

Amir Sadollah against Peter Sobotta seems like a fight in which the UFC is killing two birds with one stone. They’re putting a German (with a 0-2 mark in the UFC) against a popular TUF winner looking to bounce back from a loss. It’s a perfect setup to put Sadollah back on the winning track, though nothing is ever guaranteed in MMA. Still, this one should go Sadollah’s way.

Krzysztof Soszynski was on a roll for a while there, but he’s fallen on some hard times with two losses over his last three outings. His opponent, Goran Reljic, didn’t find any luck in the middleweight division and is now returning to 205-pounds. K-Sos is a bit of a stiff test for someone who has just posted back-to-back losses against Kendall Grove and C.B. Dollaway. Reljic is about to pick up his third straight loss.

Strikeforce Challengers Predictions

Strikeforce Challengers 12 will go down next Friday in Jackson, Miss., with the main card airing live on Showtime. I won’t go into as much detail as with UFC 122, but here are my quick picks for the main card: Caros Fodor submits Derek Getzel, Jan Finney hands Liz Carmouche her first pro loss, Marius Zaromskis edges Waachiim Spiritwolf in a stand-up war, Ovince St. Preux stuns Antwain Britt via TKO and Vitor Ribeiro submits Justin Wilcox.

WEC 52 Thoughts

I’m sure WEC 53 will deliver another exciting night of fights – WEC never seems to fail on that front – but this past Thursday’s event really felt like the farewell tour. Afterall, you had Urijah Faber in the main event and just an overall aura of “farewell WEC, hello UFC.” Maybe that will continue through WEC 53, but somehow it just feels like the WEC’s poster boy (Faber) should be the one to turn out the lights.

WEC 52 itself was great. Urijah’s win is a perfect way to end his WEC tenure and assure him a top spot when the little guys enter the Octagon, Cub Swanson and Mackens Semerzier put on a great show and Demetrious Johnson quite possibly set himself up as the leader of a new division, should Zuffa actually go through with plans for a flyweight class.

An Ultimate Idea

Speaking of the flyweights, UFC president Dana White has started talking up the division again. It just seems that every time the potential of adding this class to the Zuffa roster comes up, the talk dies down after a couple of weeks and all is forgotten for another few months.

Now that the UFC has swallowed the WEC, it’s hard to imagine the division making an appearance in the Octagon anytime soon. However, Dana claims we will see it sooner than we think.

If he is truly serious about bringing the 125-pounders in, here’s a thought that benefits the division, its fans and the UFC: why not have a season of The Ultimate Fighter devoted to the flyweights, with the season winner crowned as the division’s champ?

Make it a 32 man field, with fighters from all over the world. The house hijinks have become stale and taken mostly a backseat on the show over the last few season anyway, so language barriers need not be an obstacle.

A portion of the field would likely consist of guys like Demetrious Johnson, Joseph Benavidez and other former WEC bantamweights capable of making the cut. Then, the UFC could bring in guys like Jussier da Silva (when his four-fight deal with Tachi Palace Fights expires), KOTC champ Mamoru Yamaguchi, Shooto champ Yasuhiro Urushitani and every other ranked flyweight they could find. Finally, hold the usual open tryout to fill out the cast, giving undiscovered talent a chance to blossom on national television.

Zuffa already has the table set for a possible Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz coached season of the reality series, why not take the opportunity to use the hype to introduce this new division?

Putting the flyweights on display on The Ultimate Fighter – with a set of established names as coaches – would introduce UFC fans to an exciting new weight class and develop at least a handful of top names to get things started. It might also help breathe new interest into a show that hasn’t exactly been creating many elite fighters in the already established divisions.

Come on, Dana, how about it?

Catch Up on MMA DieHards Features

First, let me welcome the newest addition to our writing staff, Bob Badders. It’s great to have another talented writer among our ranks. Check out his first feature, on UFC 122′s Andre Winner, as well as the rest of the great content from the past week here on MMA DieHards:


Are You Ready Radio: Scott Jorgensen

Ground N Pound Radio: Aaron Simpson, Antwain Britt and Danny Martinez

Rear Naked Choke Radio: BJ Penn


Frankie Edgar & Gregor Gracie Talk About Honoring the Real Heroes on Veteran’s Day

Jorge Rivera looking to bring fans excitement at UFC 122


Out of Obscurity: Looking Ahead (Nov. 8 – Nov. 14)

Joseph Benavidez: A Bright Future for Team Alpha Male

Damacio Page: “It feels good to be back.”

L.C. Davis: Mingling with the A-Listers

Combat Sports Report: College Wrestling, K-1 World MAX recap & 2010 No Gi Worlds

Kyle Noke expecting a great fight at UFC 122

Andre Winner ready for Dennis Siver at UFC 122, eyes big future

Nate Marquardt: Ablaze with Title Aspirations

Out of Obscurity: The Week in Review (Nov. 5 – Nov. 11)

WEC 52 Medical Suspensions

Faber, Koch, Swanson and Semerzier earn WEC 52 Bonuses

Faber, Mendes, Benavidez all win as Team Alpha Male dominates WEC 52

(L-to-R) Faber, Benavidez, Mendes (Twitter photo: @Fightersonlyusa)

Someone old did something new Thursay at WEC 52 in Las Vegas.

In his final appearance under the promotion’s banner, poster boy and former featherweight champion Urijah Faber reinvented himself as a bantamweight and might well be headed to a UFC title shot after choking Takeya Mizugaki out cold in the headlining match.

Faber capped off a Team Alpha Male Party started by Joseph Benavidez’s submission of BJJ ace Wagnney Fabiano and continued when Chad Mendes scored a unanimous decision victory over Javier Vazquez.  There was even some extra money thrown about, as Faber won submission of the night and $10,000 .  The other $10,000 bonuses went to Erik Koch, for his knockout of Francisco Rivera, and to Cub Swanson and Mackens Semerzier, who contested the fight of the night.  Swanson won by split decision.

Faber took Mizugaki’s back in the standing position and tried to sink in a rear naked choke.  While Mizugaki brokeout of it, Faber remained on his back when it went to the ground.  Faber was able to secure a rear naked choke near the fence, obscuring referee Josh Rosenthal’s view of the unconscious Mizugaki.  The fight was waved off with 10 seconds left in the first round.

“The Japanese, they have that fighting spirit,  this guy is known for going to the very end, so I knew I had to do something drastic to put him out,” Faber said.  “I wanted to finish, I’m a finisher, that’s what this division needs.  It’s time to step it up, get my belt in the UFC, live the dream.”

Faber figures to be near the top of the line for the UFC 135-pound belt that will be put on the line Dec. 16 in the final event of the promotion, WEC 53, in which champion Dominick Cruz will put the championship on the line against Scott Jorgensen.

Mendes (9-0) remained undefeated with a unanimous decision victory over Vazquez (15-5). using his superior wrestling to gain top control and staying active as Vazquez tried to play offense from the bottom. Vazquez never put Mendes in trouble and could not win a round on any of the judges’ scorecards. Content to play from the bottom, Vazquez allowed Mendes frequent takedowns, turning them into guard-pulls. The loss dropped Vazquez to 2-3 in his last five fights.

Koch (11-1) made quick work of previously unbeaten Rivera (5-1), earning a TKO midway through the first round of their featherweight fight.

Koch (pronounced “COKE”) caught Rivera with a left shin to the jaw, knocking down Rivera, then followed with a flurry of ground strikes before Steve Mazzagatti stepped in to call it at 1:36.

“That was perfect,” said Koch. “Hopefully I get a (knockout of the night) bonus for this. I thought it was a pretty good knockout.”

Koch was supposed to fight Josh Grispi, who was moved to the UFC 125 card for a title shot with featherweight champion Jose Aldo once the absorption of the WEC into the UFC was announced.

“I have to give it to Francisco,” Koch said. “He took it on two weeks notice … I’m glad he stepped it up.” Koch explained where he learned the kick that won him the fight. “That’s an Anthony Pettis kick,” he said, with Pettis, the WEC lightweight title challenger by his side. “I learned it from him and it works. Shoutout to my roomate, Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis.”

Benavidez said he eats Brazilian jiu jitsu black belts for breakfast, and Wagnney Fabiano became his latest meal.

Benavidez (13-2) submitted Fabiano at 2:45 of the second round with a guillotine choke, rebounding from a loss to Dominick Cruz in a championship match. Benavidez became just the second person to finish Fabiano (14-3), attacking his neck three times before finally emitting the tap out.

“I had all sorts of guillotines,” Benavidez said. “He’s a great grappler, but I finally got that Joe-jitsu on him on that third one, and he tapped.”

Demetrious Johnson took full advantage of the opportunity to fight Damacio Page, as the injury replacement scored an upset victory.  Johnson (7-1) came in for Eddie Wineland and ended up taking the victory over Page (15-5), who tapped to a guillotine choke at 2:27 of the third and final round.

The fight appeared to be even through two rounds, with Page taking the first and Johnson coming on strong in the second.  Page appeared to have slowed down significantly after taking a groin shot in the second.  Johnson fought for the second time in six weeks, as he defeated Nick Pace at WEC 51 on Sept. 30.  Page had been out of the cage for 13 months, and lost for the first time since August 2008, when Brian Bowles also caught him in a guillotine.  His last three defeats have come by submission.

Swanson came out on top of Semerzier in an undercard epic, winning the featherweight tilt 29-28 in the eyes of two of the judges, while Semerzier had it by the same score on the other judge’s card.

Swanson has alternated wins and losses over his last five fights. Semerzier (5-3) could be in danger of missing out when the WEC merges into the UFC after suffering his third straight loss, albeit in exciting fashion.  Semerzier punctuated his career-opening five-fight winning streak at WEC 43 by becoming the only person (before this event) to submit Fabiano, but has not won since.

Rafael Assuncao scored a unanimous decision victory over L.C. Davis in a featherweight bout. Assuncao (16-3) halted a two-fight losing streak by winning every round on all three judges’ cards to garner his first victory since beating Yves Jabouin at WEC 43 in October 2009.  He lost to Faber and Diego Nunes in between.  Davis (16-4) won his first three fights in the WEC, but has lost two straight, including a defeat to featherweight title contender Josh Grispi at WEC 49 in June.

Anthony Njokuani returned to the winning ranks, thanks to his elbow.

Njokuani (13-4) broke a two-fight losing streak, using a hard right elbow to earn a TKO at 4:54 of the second round against Edwin Faaloloto (2-1).  Njokuani overmatched the less-experienced fighter, securing a clinch late in the second round to set up the decisive elbow.  The win might have saved Njokuani from getting cut from Zuffa, as he had been finished by Shane Roller and Maciej Jewtuszko in the first round in his two previous fights.

Dustin Poirier exploded out of the gate with 53 seconds of relentless striking to earn a quick stoppage of Zack Micklewright in a lightweight match.

Poirier (8-1) rebounded from his only loss, to Danny Castillo at WEC 50 in August to earn his first win with the promotion.  Micklewright (7-2) opened his career with seven straight wins, including his promotional debut against Muhsin Corbbrey at WEC 45 last December.  But Micklewright now has dropped two straight, including a loss to Bart Palaszewski at WEC 50 in August.

Young Michael McDonald exploded onto the Zuffa scene with a quick arm-bar submission of Clint Godfrey in a bantamweight battle.

McDonald (11-1), although he is just 19, has finished his opponent in all 11 of his wins, and has already avenged the only defeat of his career, to Cole Escovedo.  He locked in the arm bar and got Godfrey (11-3) to tap at 2:42 of the first round.  McDonald’s two matches with Escovedo went to the second round, the only times McDonald has not finished in the opening frame.  Godfrey started his career 11-1 but now has dropped back-to-back matches, after falling to Fabiano at WEC 46 in January.

Yves Jabouin outpointed Brandon Visher in every round in the view of all the judges to win their featherweight match. Jabouin (15-6) stopped a two-fight losing streak en route to his first win in the WEC.  Visher (13-2) started his career with 13 straight wins, but has fallen to Jabouin and Tyler Toner in his two matches since, and dropped to 1-2 in the WEC.

Faber chokes out Mizugaki in headlining match at WEC 52

Mendes outlasts Vazquez in unanimous decision at WEC 52

Koch blasts Rivera for quick TKO at WEC 52

Benavidez finishes Fabiano with second-round guillotine at WEC 52

Johnson stuns Page with third-round guillotine at WEC 52

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