Earlier this year when the card for UFC 198 was announced; many said it was not only the best Brazilian card they had seen but potentially the most stacked UFC card to date. The talent on the display was such, that even with the late withdrawal of an exciting match-up between the great Anderson Silva and the ever entertaining Uriah Hall; UFC 198 could still be held up as one of the best events that the promotion has put together.
If it looked good on paper, then UFC 198 was even better on canvas, as a record-setting Brazilian crowd at the Arena de Baixada in Curitiba, witnessed their compatriots go 10-2 on the night. After a strong start to proceedings, Brazilian fighters were 7-0 in their bouts before Bryan Barberena defeated Warley Alves via unanimous decision in the first fight on Pay-Per-View. However, it was the second Brazilian loss of the night that would leave an arena full of people stunned as Stipe Miocic took under one round to knock out Fabricio Werdum and take home the UFC Heavyweight belt.
Whether it was that win for Miocic, Jacare Souza solidifying his claim for a Middleweight title shot or the dominant UFC debut of Cris Cyborg, UFC 198 has set a number of stories rolling; so here are a few of the things we have learned from the weekend’s fights.
Stipe Miocic vs Alistair Overeem is Likely the Next Heavyweight Title Fight
Where else to start but with the crowning of a new UFC Heavyweight champion?
Not once during fight week did Stipe Miocic look like he was under pressure, whether it was during interviews or at the weigh-ins he was at ease with the situation and this was especially true of the 2 minutes and 47 seconds he spent inside the octagon. It was obvious early on that his activity in the last 12 months benefitted his performance as he was loose and relaxed, stuffing a Werdum takedown and connecting with his jab on multiple occasions, before landing a shuddering right hand going backwards that sent Werdum to the canvas. It was as decisive a win as the Cleveland native could have hoped for and in knocking out the champion in the first round, Miocic ensured that an instant rematch for the Brazilian looks highly unlikely.
When it comes to immediate rematches, I believe that unless it was an extremely close decision like the fight between Robbie Lawler vs Carlos Condit earlier this year, they should be avoided at all costs. The manner in which Miocic finished this fight to take home the UFC Heavyweight gold leads me to believe that we will not be seeing an immediate rematch of Saturday’s main event. Instead, Miocic’s first title defence will almost certainly come against Alistair Overeem, a man who has called for the fight as recently as two weeks ago after he defeated Andre Arlovski at UFC Rotterdam.
Overeem had mentioned that he would like to fight for the belt in November at UFC 205 in New York and whether that is likely to materialise is yet to be seen, however, I do expect to see Miocic and Overeem square off inside the octagon before the end of 2016.
Jacare is More Than Worthy of a Middleweight Title Shot
Prior to his fight against Vitor Belfort this past weekend, Jacare Souza had been questioned by many as a legitimate title contender at Middleweight. Partly due to the perceived lack of quality opposition he has faced inside the octagon, but also because of his loss to fellow contender Yoel Romero, Jacare was doubted as having the necessary ability to get over the hump for a title fight. However, these doubts were blown away by the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master as he swept aside Vitor Belfort inside a round to put himself firmly at the head of the queue for the next shot at the 185lb gold.
After his 4 minute 38 second TKO finish of the former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Souza will now turn his attention towards UFC 199 and the Middleweight title rematch between Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman, where he will likely find out his next opponent and it would seem the Brazilian has a preference for who he would like to fight for the belt. In his post-fight interview, he stated “I’ve earned a title shot, I deserve it… I’m going to finish Luke Rockhold”. If Jacare gets his way we would see a rematch of a 2011 Strikeforce bout in which Rockhold took Souza’s Middleweight title via a decision win that the Brazilian feels was unjust.
However, regardless of who wins the UFC Middleweight title on June 4th, it seems that their next opponent will be a primed and dangerous Jacare Souza and on the basis of Saturday night, they will have their work cut out for them.
Expect to See Cris Cyborg in the UFC Again, But For Now Only at a 140lb Catch-Weight
The knock on Cristiane Justino, or Cris Cyborg as she is more commonly known, has long been that she could not make weight at 135lbs and therefore qualify to fight in the heaviest of the UFC’s female weight classes. That is seemingly now a moot point as she made her promotional debut at a 140lb catch-weight in Curitiba on Saturday; she weighed in at 139lbs and looked great on the scale, as did her opponent Leslie Smith.
The fight itself was a very routine win for Cyborg, as many predicted beforehand it did not last long, in fact, Smith didn’t make it past the 2nd minute of the 1st round. Viciously short and sweet; the Invicta Featherweight champion made short work of the gritty American, who, despite her protestations at the stoppage, was overwhelmed by the superior striker and took a large amount of damage without reply.
In her post-fight interview Cyborg addressed the elephant in the room and admitted that for now at least, she wants to defend her Featherweight title with Invicta. She went on to say that rather than push her body to make the cut down to Bantamweight which would signal a permanent move to the UFC, she would like to continue to take catch-weight fights with the organisation, around her schedule with Invicta.
At the Very Least, Demian Maia is in the Welterweight Title Conversation
Where can a 4 fight winning streak and a ranking of 6th in the UFC’s Welterweight division get you? Apparently it doesn’t even get you on the main card of a huge Pay-Per-View event in your home country; however it seems that Demian Maia will not be getting sold short on his demand for more recognition much longer.
This past weekend Maia scored a submission victory over Matt Brown and extended his unbeaten streak to 5 fights, this is a feat that surely cannot be overlooked by the UFC brass as the dominance of Maia’s win was something to behold. Not only did he subdue the dangerous Brown on the feet, he proceeded to out grapple Brown at every turn when he took the fight to the mat. The 4th degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt displayed once again why he has one of, if not the best ground game in the sport by smothering Brown in every round, before making the American tap with a rear naked choke late in the 3rd round.
Such was Maia’s dominance that a couple of my colleagues and myself believe he may have had one if not two 10-8 rounds in the books before the finish at 4:31 of the 3rd. Though it is unlikely we will see him fight for the belt next, this was a performance that puts the Brazilian very much in the title picture at 170lbs. It is probable that lying in wait is a number one contender fight against the winner of Rory MacDonald vs Stephen Thompson which takes place at UFC Ottawa on June 18th.
Whether that is the next step for Maia or not remains to be seen, and with the UFC’s Welterweight division being as talent stacked as it currently is then he may have to wait for a couple of fights to get his shot at the gold. That said, with this most recent win the 38-year-old Maia has certainly thrust himself into the title picture.
Brazilian Fans Are So Passionate & It Sometimes Boils Over
The fact that the 45,000 tickets for UFC 198 sold out in 24 hours, making it the 3rd biggest crowd in UFC history, proved once again that Brazilian MMA fans are some of the most passionate in the sport and their ability to vocalise that passion is surely unmatched. Whether they were cheering their own fighters or booing their opponents, the volume of the crowd in the stadium was constantly on high from the first prelim fight to the main event, topping out at 110 decibels when Jacare Souza finished Vitor Belfort in the co-main event.
As always the infamous chants of, “uh vai morrer!” translated to English as “You’re going to die!” echoed around the Arena de Baixada during the entrance and introduction of every non-Brazilian fighter, however, there was one man in particular who garnered a lot of negative attention from the Brazilian fans. That man was Matt Brown, whose ill-advised antics at the weigh-ins made him a target for punches from the crowd as he embarked upon his ring walk; never one to shy away from a fight the Ohio native returned the blows.
Despite this, UFC 198 showed us, beyond any doubt, why the nation of Brazil is so important, not only to the UFC but the sport of Mixed Martial Arts as a whole with their overwhelming support of every aspect of the fight game.
Top to bottom, the card will be remembered as a huge success for the UFC and it’s safe to say the company has started a busy period strong as UFC 198 is the first of many events coming up in the next 6 weeks, the culmination of which is at International Fight Week with UFC 200 on July 9th in Las Vegas.
*Live Updates* UFC Gdsank Official Results
The UFC hosted their second event in the country of Poland, as UFC Gdsank took place at the Ergo Arena. The card was headlined by a welterweight fight between Donald Cerrone and Darren Till.
Cerrone (32-9) was coming off a close unanimous decision loss to former 170-pound champion Robbie Lawler in July. It was the only time in “Cowboy’s” MMA career that he had suffered consecutive losses.
Till (15-0-1) improved his undefeated record in September, defeating Bojan Veličković by unanimous decision. It was a case of old school vs. new school in this headliner, as the up and comer Till hoped to secure the biggest win of his career over Cerrone.
MAIN CARD – UFC Fight Pass – 8PM BST
- Donald Cerrone (32-9) vs. Darren Till (15-0-1) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Darren Till def. Donald Cerrone via TKO (punches) Round 1 – 4:20
- Karolina Kowalkiewicz (11-2) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-3) – Women’s strawweight bout
- Result: Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Jodie Esquibel via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jan Blachowicz (20-7) vs. Devin Clark (8-2) – Light heavyweight bout
- Result: Jan Błachowicz def. Devin Clark via SUB (rear-naked choke) Round 2 – 3:02
- Oskar Piechota (10-0) vs. Jonathan Wilson (7-3) – Middleweight bout
- Result: Oskar Piechota def. Jonathan Wilson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results
Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.
Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.
Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)
Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)
Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)
Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card
Bellator is once again heading to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut, and this time they are bringing with them one of the most anticipated former UFC fighter turned Bellator stars’ debut. Gegard Mousasi will be making his first appearance in the Bellator cage against a former Bellator champion in Alexander Shlemenko. Although this event has lost some of its star power over the last several weeks, it is still stacked and you can bet that the main event will bring some fireworks.
Earlier in the month, it was announced that King Mo had suffered an injury that had forced him out of his co-main event fight with former middleweight champion Liam McGeary. Bellator worked quickly to secure a replacement opponent for McGeary in Bubba McDaniels. Unfortunately for McDaniels and the fans alike, McGeary had later suffered an injury of his own and the fight was removed from the card.
This left a spot open in the co-main event slot, which would be filled by a welterweight matchup between Brennan Ward and David Rickels. Just four days out from the fight, Bellator announced that Ward had also become injured and the fight has been removed from the card as well. The main card has been shuffled around and the welterweight bout between Neiman Gracie and Zak Bucia will now serve as the co-main event.
Main Card- Spike TV (US/Canada) Spike UK (UK)- 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT, 2 pm UK
- Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
- Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
- Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
- Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
- Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)
Preliminary Card- Live Stream (MMA Latest New)- 7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT, 12 pm UK
- 195 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
- Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
- Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
- Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
- Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
- 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
- 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
- Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
- Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez (6-4) vs. Billy Giovanella (9-5)
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