Mixed Martial Arts has a history of family ties. Dating back to the infancy of the sport in terms of the mainstream you had the Gracie family, the Shamrock family, in the days of Pride FC the Rua brothers and Nogueira brothers were almost untouchable. Even fighters like Alistair Overeem and Matt Hughes have brothers who have competed professionally in Mixed Martial Arts and succeeded.
Some of these brother combinations have made it all the way to the UFC Octagon and we will get the opportunity to see a pair of them in Antônio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira and his brother Antônio Rogério “Lil Nog” Nogueira as they take on Stephan Struve and Shogun Rua respectively at UFC 190.
Five times in the past, brothers have stepped into the Octagon on the same night and only once has it resulted in a victory for both. In fact, in a total of eight fights, only five of them resulted in wins for members of the brother combinations and twice brother have swept the night.
All the way back at UFC 108, the “King of the Bonus,” Joe Lauzon squared off with Sam Stout the same night that younger brother Dan Lauzon made his long awaited and short-lived return to the UFC stage. Lauzon was tapped by then up and coming 155er Cole Miller with a deep Kimura. Later that night, Lauzon and Stout went the distance in what would go on to be a fight of the night, but “J-Lau” would come up short when Bruce Buffer read the judge’s decision.
UFC 124 was went down in history with brothers Jim and Dan Miller were both on the card. During the prelims, Dan Miller squared off with Joe Doerksen in a back and forth affair that Miller eventually took home a split decision victory. Later that night Jim would step into the ring with previously unbeaten Charles Oliveria and not just walk out with a victory but a finish in the first round earning the submission with a very slick kneebar. This was the first time two brothers had been on a UFC card the same night and both come away with victories.
At UFC 140, the Nogueira brothers were in action. Each brother had an former champion across the Octagon as an opponent with Minotauro facing Frank Mir and Lil Nog squaring off with Tito Ortiz. Early on things went the Nogueira’s way. Antônio Rogério ended “The Huntington Beach Bad Boys” night just over three minutes after it began with a TKO in the first round. Unfortunately brother Antônio Rodrigo’s night didn’t last much longer when he was submitted in the first round by a nasty Kimura at the hands of Mir.
UFC 181 was the culmination of the Ultimate Fighter season 20. The Coaches Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis were set to square off to settle things once and for all. Also on this card was the little brother and assistant coach from TUF 20, Sergio Pettis. In the preliminary Bantamweight matchup against Matt Hobar, Sergio went the full three rounds and gained a unanimous decision. In the Co-Main Event, big Brother Anthony put on a clinic against Melendez before submitting him with a guillotine in the second round to retain his title. This made the Pettis brothers the second brother tandem to win fights in the same night in the UFC.
Finally, we arrive at UFC 185. The card boasted the much awaited and much hyped meeting between Rafel Dos Anjos and then Champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. On the undercard, his younger brother and training partner Sergio Pettis took on Ryan Benoit. Sergio put on a good show in the first round landing some heavy punches and kicks to his opponent but in the second he was on the receiving end of a left hook that sent him to the mat and ultimately resulted in Benoit finishing the younger Pettis brother with a flurry of TKO strikes and capping it off with a kick to the behind once the fight was stopped. We all know what happened later that evening with Dos Anjos dismantling “Showtime” in route to becoming the new 155 pound Champion. “The biggest thing I think I’m gonna change is me and my little bro fighting on the same card,” Pettis was quoted telling Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour after the fight. “The first time it went amazing, the second time not so well. He got knocked out, I had to watch that and get up mentally for my fight. Not making excuses or nothing, but the little things could have triggered my performance. He gets knocked out and then you gotta reset the battery, reset everything and try to get back up for the next fight,” Pettis said. “I think it was just a little bit too much for everybody emotionally to go through. Next time if I’m fighting in a big fight like that, it has to be all about me.”
While historically this weekend the Nogueira brothers have a 62.5% chance that one of them will come out with a win and a 40% chance they both will. The emotional aspect clearly has to be taken into account. Like Anthony Pettis stated, being able to reset and put away that emotion from watching your brother take that kind of damage isn’t an easy thing. Add to that, while the brothers Nog have been on the same card before, this will be the first time they are on the same card in their home country of Brazil. Big Nog and Lil’ Nog have been at this a long time, dating all the way back to the early days of PRIDE. In fact, they were on the same card on five different occasions in their PRIDE FC tenures, so this will not be a new experience for either of these two brothers in that sense.
With the Nogueira twins nearing 40 years old, at this point they are much closer to the end of their runs than the beginning, as the old adage goes. Anything can happen in the UFC Octagon, but it sure would be a fitting end to see the brothers go out on top, as the third brother tandem in history to win on the same night, in their home country as the exclamation point on a storied pair of carriers.
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223
UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.
Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.
After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.
A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.
Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.
Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.
A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.
Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet
Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.
“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”
Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.
“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”
Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.
“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”
Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April
MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.
The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.
Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.
An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.
His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).
Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.
PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.
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