Two championship belts were on the line at the Forum in Los Angeles California. UFC199 suffered a major reshuffling in terms of the main event two weeks ago as Michael Bisping stepped up on two weeks notice to replace Chris Weidman who was due to face champion Luke Rockhold on Saturday night.
Bisping had the odds stacked against him this weekend. Rockhold has looked untouchable in his past five fights blasting through all opposition in his path including the aforementioned Weidman at UFC194. However, the Brit had made it clear that he was perfectly fine with the betting lines which had counted him out. He has stated all week long that he was coming into the contest loose, relaxed and intent on shocking the world.
That is precisely what happened as Bisping knocked the champion out cold with a wonderful combination in the first round. Two hard lefts shattered the aura of invincibility beginning to form around Rockhold. A fairytale night for Michael who ended a ten year wait for a UFC title on a historic night for the promotion.
In the co-main event, a trilogy fight a decade in the making took place between bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and long time rival Urijah Faber. The animosity between the two men has intensified throughout fight week as both looked to gain a mental advantage prior to the contest. At one fight apiece both men were well aware of the stakes at hand, championship gold as well as legacy.
In the end, Dominick Cruz did what Dominick Cruz has done to all comers since dropping to bantamweight. The Alliance MMA product put on a masterclass and was almost always one step ahead of Urijah, out striking the California Kid at every turn. The champion also managed to out grapple the challenger taking Faber down more than one occasion.
Gracious in defeat Urijah gave props to the champion for his excellent performance. The long time top contender cast some doubt on his future in the cage when speaking with Joe Rogan afterward and it remains to be seen whether Urijah will return in the future.
As expected neither Cruz nor Faber initiated a touch when instructed to by referee Herb Dean. As the bell sounded Cruz worked quickly to get ahead on the scorecards. Moving laterally Dominick stayed light on his feet and opened up with a front snap kick that whistled by Faber. Urijah rushes in with his right hand cocked and ready to explode however Cruz read the situation and used the aggression against Faber. A double leg takedown allows Cruz to end up on top on the mat and he immediately looks to pass the guard. A fantastic scramble from Urijah allows him to return to his feet. Cruz lands a well-timed strike on the break from the clinch. Once again Dominick attempted to time Urijah rushing in. A knee up the middle looked to deter the forward motion of Faber. The challenger showed his wrestling prowess scooping the leg and throwing Cruz to the mat with a huge slam. Astonishingly Cruz rolled as he came down and used the momentum to roll on top. As the two stand up Urijah attacked with a guillotine choke. Cruz works his way out defending intelligently and after the break resets and begins to move again. Cruz pressed the action until the bell looking to land with mixed combinations varying his attack.
In the corner between rounds, Eric Del Fierro asked his fighter to attack with more than four strikes per combination. Cruz responded to the instruction and came out fast looking to set up shots off of his jab. Employing his trademark rapid footwork and head movement Cruz’ traps soon paid off as he drew Faber into lunging forward and countered hard with a huge left hook. The punch stunned Urijah who stumbled to the floor. He quickly returned to the feet only to take another shot followed by a strong leg kick. Attacking the legs repeatedly Cruz gradually pulled away in the second round. Drawing big misses out of the leaping Faber-Cruz was happy to counter and he repeatedly got the better of the exchanges. A nice one two and a long straight the body capped off a fine round for the champion.
Urijah opened the round with a body kick as he desperately looked to gather momentum following a tough first round. Another strong kick to the legs took the steam out of the California Kid briefly. Switching between orthodox and southpaw Cruz began to land the straight cross from either stance. Using the same tactic that Jose Aldo used to such great effect against Faber Dominick targeted the legs ending his punching combination with strikes to the trailing leg of Faber. Moving forward behind the jab Cruz looked for a long right hook to the body that glanced off Faber’s midsection. The combination drew a good counter from Urijah. The right hand was one of the few that the challenger was managing to find a home for. Dominick was extremely comfortable pressing the action or moving backward and picking shots off the back foot. Urijah grew increasingly hesitant due to Cruz erratic movement and ability to land strikes from odd angles. Another solid display from the champion who threatened to pull away further with hurtful blows before the horn.
As the fourth was about to get underway Justin Bucholz of Team Alpha Male imploring Urijah to counter any Cruz strikes with three punch counters. Adding variety to his attack Dominick landed a head kick and faked the uppercut setting traps for Urijah as he walked him down. A long jab backed Faber up who tried to respond with a teep that fired past the guard. Each time Cruz moved forward his head movement in the pocket staved off any potential counters and he used these split seconds to score. A roll and counter from Cruz duly knocks Urijah down once more. The follow up from Cruz missed the mark and as Urijah used the cage to stand a high kick skipped off his gloves. Moving forward Urijah hung in there searching valiantly for a way back into the fight but ultimately it was another round in the books for Cruz.
Dominick opened the last round with a round kick to the body and a jab forcing Faber backwards. Urijah fired back with all he had through the right hand but the lack of combinations thrown prevented much joy as Cruz skipped away and out of range once more. An uppercut off each hand started another classic Cruz combo and he ended it with a left hook to the temple. Capitalising off of the momentum Cruz landed a takedown. Controlling top position Cruz briefly had the back and concentrated his efforts on getting the hooks into fully control Urijah’s frame. Faber made his way back to the feet and was welcomed with a kick. Another takedown from Cruz drained any fight from the challenger left and he passed immediately to side control looking for ground and pound. Urijah attempted a late guillotine but it never looked like threatening although a hard elbow landed on Cruz’ brow on the exit. An uppercut landed for Cruz and the pair begrudgingly embrace at the end of another gruelling battle.
Dominick Cruz defeats Urijah Faber by unanimous decision (50-45,49-46, 50-45)
*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)
EXCLUSIVE: Jack Shore talks Cage Warriors 87 Opponent Change, Pressure and Being Ready for A Big Opportunity
Jack Shore, a promising up and coming Welsh Featherweight who will be fighting on his fourth main Cage Warriors card in only his sixth professional fight. Despite his opponent, Federico Mini, dropping out days prior to the event, Shore isn’t concerned ahead of the opponent change. “Just another fight, I’m ready for anything come fight night and I’m looking forward to the challenge”. Cage Warriors have confirmed that Shore will now be fighting Italian, Mattia Galbiati.
Shore last fought at the Newport Centre, Wales at Cage Warriors 83, defeating his opponent Konmon Deh convincingly with a first-round submission. The crowd was electric for both his entrance and when his opponent tapped due to armbar, “I have a massive following and they like to make themselves heard on fight night, it’s getting bigger and bigger every time!”
Whilst using his extensive grappling to win the fight, the Tillery Combat MMA Academy fighter was very aggressive with his strikes on the ground, “I believe my grappling style is very different to what people are used to seeing and that’s why it’s entertaining to watch. I’m always looking to advance and put the pressure on, but I also try to use punches and elbows to set up my transitions.”
Being undefeated throughout his amateur career (including winning the IMMAF European Championships), to then continue being undefeated throughout his early professional career, Shore has a mature mindset for such a young fighter to how the sport works, “Obviously no one wants to lose but you have to be aware that it’s a possibility because anything can happen in this sport. But by being aware it allows me to train and prepare correctly to do everything I can (do) to prevent that from happening.”
Whilst growing up, Shore states that he wasn’t the most confident of people, “As a kid growing up I was never the world’s most confident person.” Cage Warriors being on BT Sport within the UK, being the biggest European MMA promotion, and having the following Shore has, he feels no pressure of fighting, “But as far as MMA is concerned I don’t feel any pressure at all. There’s obviously the fight day nerves but anyone will tell you I deal with them very well and am more than comfortable in that environment.”
With the current revolution of MMA in Wales occurring, former Cage Warriors fighters Brett Johns, Jack Marshman and John Philips all in the UFC, Josh Reed who has just come off a title shot with Cage Warriors Bantamweight champion Nathaniel Wood, Lewis Long being the best Welterweight in the UK. It brings a realistic opportunity of making the UFC, “Definitely. Since the first bunch of Welsh guys have been signed to the UFC it’s shown for guys like me, Lewis Long and Josh Reed that what we are pushing for is no doubt achievable. I believe that if we keep doing what we are doing then that dream won’t be too far away.”
Whilst having such a successful start to his professional career, and with the attention, this young Welshman is bringing, Shore is in no rush for the Cage Warriors belt, but is prepared if the opportunity arises. “I’m just taking one fight at a time. I’m aware that I’m still young in terms of my pro career so I will continue to fight whoever Cage Warriors put in front of me. Should a big opportunity like that present itself I’ll make sure I’m ready.”
Shore seems to be mature for someone of the age of just 22, the future seems bright for the young Welshman. Jack Shore fights on the up and coming Cage Warriors 87 card Saturday, 14th October at the Newport Centre, Newport, Wales. The event will be free-to-air on UK sports channels FreeSports, as well as be on UFC FightPass and via the red button on BT Sport.
Check the main card out for Cage Warriors 87 below:
Lewis Long vs Roberto Soldic (Welterweight)
Craig White vs Matt Inman (Welterweight)
Jack Shore vs Mattia Galbiati (Featherweight)
Aiden Lee vs Ludovit Klein (Featherweight)
Aaron Khalid vs Ross Houston (Welterweight)
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