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.
*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results
The UFC returns to Canada for the final Fight Night card of 2017. In the cold of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC will host eleven of the originally twelve scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Tim Elliot will not fight in the north country. His scheduled opponent, Pietro Menga, a newcomer to the promotions roster, failed to make weight after taking the bout with just over a weeks notice.
An exciting main card will be capped off with a potential contender eliminator bout featuring, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. The former champions (Lawler at welterweight, Dos Anjos at lightweight) both put together impressive win streaks which dispatched top contenders in their respective divisions. Elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on the outspoken Mike Perry.
The card begins on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30/1:30 ETPT.
UFC Winnipeg Official Results:
MAIN CARD – FOX – 8PM/5PM ETPT
- #2 Robbie Lawler (28-11) vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos (27-9) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
- #3 Ricardo Lamas (18-5) vs. Josh Emmett (12-1) – Catchweight bout (148.5 lbs)
- Result: Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punch) 4:33 round 1
- #10 Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-1) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- #3 Glover Teixeira (26-6) vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov (13-3) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (punches) 2:45 round 1
PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 5PM/2PM ETPT
- #14 Jared Cannonier (10-2) vs #15 Jan Blachowicz (20-7) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Julian Marquez (6-1) vs. Darren Stewart (7-2) – Middleweight bout
- Result: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (standing guillotine) 2:42 round 2
- Chad Laprise (13-2) vs. Galore Bofando (5-2) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (punches) 4:10 round 1
- Nordine Taleb (13-4) vs Danny Roberts (14-2) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (head kick and punch) :59 round 1
- John Makdessi (14-6) vs Abel Trujillo (15-7) – Lightweight bout
- Result: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Alessio Di Chirico (10-2) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3) – Middleweight bout
- Result: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (knee) 2:14 round 2
EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 4:30PM/1:30PM ETPT
- Jordan Mein (29-12) vs. Erick Silva (19-8) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando
The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) December 14, 2017
Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.
It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.
Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.
In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.
Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.
In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.
UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida Officially Headlines UFC Belem
Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida is officially booked to headline UFC Belem in Brazil.
Following his unanimous decision victory over Markus Perez on last weekends, UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Swanson, undefeated middleweight, Eryk Anders, called for the match-up with former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida. The UFC heard, and obliged.
First reported by The MMA Kings (@mma_kings.)
EXCLUSIVE: My sources tell me that Eryk Anders (@erykanders) has gotten his wish. He'll headline UFC Fight Night: Belem against Lyoto Machida (@lyotomachidafw) in Brazil. Ask and you shall receive. #UFC pic.twitter.com/qX62A9qH6k
— The MMA Kings (Nolan King) (@mma_kings) December 14, 2017
Anders holds a 2-0 undefeated record in the UFC. The Alabama native made his promotional debut against Rafael Nata in July of this year. A bout he took on short notice, replacing Alessio di Chirico whom withdrew from the fight due to a neck injury. Anders defeated Natal by knockout in the first round that night at UFC Long Island.
Prior to his indoctrination to MMA, the undefeated middleweight played for the University of Alabama football team, between 2006-2009.
Machida recently returned to the UFC roster after an 18-month suspension handed down by USADA, stemming from a failed out-of-competition test leading up to his April 2016 contest against Dan Henderson.
In his return to the octagon, Machida faced Derek Brunson in the main-event of the UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “The Dragon” lost the bout via first round KO.
UFC Belem, Brazil is scheduled for February 3rd, 2018, at the Mangueirinho Arena. The card will also feature the flyweight debut for Valentina Shevchenko as she faces Priscila Cachoeira.
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