What did we learn from last night’s trip to Denver? Take a look at five takeaways from UFC on FOX 23:
Luis Henrique da Silva may be a bust
Da Silva started his UFC career with much hype surrounding him due to his impressive 100% knockout percentage he accumulated in Brazil. Then the hype train continued rolling when he finished his first two opponents in the octagon. Now there have now been some major flaws exposed as far as his all around game. “Frankenstein’s” cannot hold his own when it comes to wrestling with more experienced grapplers. To make matters worse he is very slow on his feet. The nickname must have not just come from his physique and stoic expression. When you are facing guys that do not have much to offer in the Greco-roman department you can get away with telegraphing your stand up attacks. The UFC has very few fighters like that, especially at 205 lbs. Jordan Johnson followed the game plan set forth by Paul Craig in De Silva’s previous fight and absolutely manhandled his opponent on the ground in route to UD after 3 rounds. Henrique will have to improve his grappling skills unless he wants to find himself back fighting in his native country soon.
If the Referee does not see it, it did not happen
One of the great things about MMA compared to boxing is the sportsmanship between competitors before, after and during fights. This fact is even more evident when you attend smaller local shows. As time has gone on we are seeing a shift in from good to bad sportsmanship at the higher levels of the sport. This is partly due to MMA’s rise in popularity and a need to “sell” fights. Sportsmanship is great, but it does not pay the bills. All too often we see referees miss fouls, particularly headbutts. A troubling trend that could affect the records of some fighters is that more often we are starting to see the offending party give his opponent a break even when the ref has not called a stop to the action. One of the simplest rules in combat sports is “protect yourself at all times.” There has never ever been an official say to a fighter “hey, if I miss something that was illegal, please stop what you are doing and let me know about it.” With that being said Aljamain Sterling was hit with what appeared to be the second low blow in his fight against Raphael Assuncao in the second round at UFC on FOX 23. “Funk Master” immediately turned to the ref as if he thought the contest would be paused again like it had for a low blow in the first round. Assuncao obliged him by not a continuing to attack even though he appeared to think that the kick had landed cleanly on the inside of his thigh. This is never a smart move. As a fighter your job it to win the fight, period. Killer instinct is something that you must have when you make your living as a prizefighter. You will never get brownie points for being a nice guy inside of the cage. Luckily for Raphael, he ended up winning a split decision tonight but the fight could have easily gone the other way. Had Assuncao ended up with an “L” on Saturday, he would have been kicking himself for not going after his hurt opponent when he had the chance.
Aljamain Sterling has hit a ceiling
One of the hottest rising stars at bantamweight’s shine is starting to fizzle out. This marks his second defeat in a row since the UFC has decided to start stepping up the level of Sterling’s opposition. The once flashy fighter who started out with a 12-0 record and 4 UFC wins is now looking like a fighter who is afraid to engage and risk taking punishment. Instead, he looks like a fighter that would prefer to play it safe and win on point instead of putting on exciting fights and taking chances inside of the cage. Assuncao said before the fight that he believed Sterling was fearful of mixing it up and taking punches. That assessment turned out to be true as Aljamain constantly circled the heavy handed Brazilan and not do enough to sway the judges in a close fight. Sterling did not take much damage but he also did not go home with a victory either. The array of quick kicks and athleticism which was his appeal his major appeal has not been present in his last two fights. Tonight against a fighter ranked in the top ten he was unable to impress the crowd or judges. Performances like this one will cause him to quickly lose fans and be relegated to future appearances on undercards if he does not change his approach.
Masvidal is a force at 170 lbs
Going into his fight against Donald Cerrone most people recognized the talent of Jorge Masvidal. There were a lot of fans calling for the upset in this fight, but few saw it playing out as one-sided as it did. “Cowboy” has a history of floundering in big fights but this was probably his worse performance outside of losing a title fight to Rafael Dos Anjos in just over a minute of the first round. For Masvidal to control a former Muay Thai champion who had just knocked out Matt Brown by essentially only using a one-two combination was something a bit unreal. Even more impressive was the way that Jorge absorbed Cerrone’s kicks to his legs and body without even flinching. Fighters in the top ten better get ready because “Gamebred” appears to be a man on a mission. After the way he handled Cerrone tonight do not be surprised if Masvidal finds himself in a title eliminator fight soon.
Shevchenko can hold her own on the ground
Primarily know for her stand-up skill, tonight Valentina Shevchenko showed us that she can also get things done on the ground against the top fighters of the women’s bantamweight division when she has to. As expected, Pena closed the distance often and early to force the Muay Thai champion into clinches up against the cage. What was not expected was for the “Bullet” to be so hard to get to the ground. She actually managed to take Pena down twice herself with leg sweeps in the first round. Following the second leg trip, the Russian was able to keep the bigger woman on the ground for the rest of the round. In the second round, Valentina easily got back to her feet after “The Venezuelan Vixen’s” first successful takedown of the fight. After another takedown from Julianna, Shevchenko remained calm and set up an armbar that earned her the victory and rematch with champion Amanda Nunes. If she continues to improve her wrestling and jiujitsu at this rate, then she may be a serious threat to keep the revolving door moving when it comes to who is the women’s bantamweight champion.
Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”
Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:
Just make sure you don’t put cooking oil all over your body like Anderson did so it’ll be easy to grab ahold of you @lyotomachidafw 👌
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) October 17, 2017
Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”
Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.
“Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”
Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.
Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217
UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.
The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:
— Ovince Saint Preux (@003_OSP) October 19, 2017
It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.
Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.
Fight News update!!
— UFC (@ufc) October 19, 2017
This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.
With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th? Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.
*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)
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