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)
UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Rhode Island Prospect John Douma Booked for CES 49 against Zach Burhans
The New England regional MMA scene has been fairly quiet this month. Such a description won’t be apt one month from now. As the days fade away from the month of March, the two most prominent organizations of this region gear up for early April events. The CES MMA promotion holds CES 49, on the first Friday of April (April 6th). CES 49 takes place in its hub venue, Twin River Casino, in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Yesterday, CES officials announced John Douma, a highly regarded pro featherweight prospect, makes his third appearance for the MMA promotion, when he faces Zach Burhans at CES 49.
For John Douma, he looks to continue his career with an undefeated record. At 2-0, Douma owns two stoppage victories, both coming in the first round (1 KO/TKO, 1 Sub). Born and raised in Wyckoff, Rhode Island, Douma is the New England regions 18th ranked pro Featherweight (Rankings by Tapology.com). A lofty ranking for a 21-year-old with only two professional fights on his record. Especially so in the regions most prominent professional division.
Zach Burhans comes into next months match with a similar amount of experience. Burhans has four professional fights in his arsenal of experience with a record of 3-1. Twice that of his opponent, but two times a small number is still a small number. The New York fighter makes his promotional debut at next months CES 49.
Surprisingly, Burhans has not fought since his last loss, which came in March of 2011. The loss was the first of his four fight pro career. It also was the first fight for Burhans since August of 2009. At CES 49, he ends his second hiatus from professional mixed martial arts. His second and most recent break from the sport was his longest. Burhans did not compete from March 2011, until next months CES MMA card. Making the span between his most recent and upcoming, around 6 years and nine months.
CES 49 takes place at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island on April 6th. Other bouts featured on the card include, #1 ranked New England Lightweight, Nate Andrews takes on Chris Padilla for the promotions vacant Lightweight title. Kaline Medeiros attempts to bounce back following her 3rd round submission loss to rising star, Mackenzie Dern at Invicta 26, when she faces 11th ranked pound-for-pound New England women’s fighter, Jenna Serio. Also, Chris Curtis goes up against Jason Norwood in a main card Welterweight clash.
Report: Bellator plans Rome event for July
With the news of Bellator 200, turning a bit stale being nearly a week old, comes more international event news for the promotion. According to a report by Raphael Marinho of Combate, Bellator scheduled its third international event of 2018. In the report, it states the promotion booked July 14th as a date for a Rome, Italy event.
It will be the first event held by Bellator in the historic city of Rome, Italy. The first in Rome, but the fifth Bellator event in Italy. Previously, the promotion made stops in Torino and Florence, Italy, holding two events in each location. It also marks the 23rd international held by Bellator. 23 events across 10 cities, and 5 countries.
The previous four Italian events held a mixture of combat sports. Each of the events had a Kickboxing card, serving as the main event and an MMA card, which acted as a main card. News of an accompanying Kickboxing card, most likely, would come following a formal announcement of the event.
Also included in the report, the promotion is working to make Alessio Sakara the headliner of evening. Sakara spent nine years with the UFC (Oct. 2005 – Oct. 2013). Over that span, he earned a record of 6-8. He was cut following four consecutive loses. Before signing with Bellator, Sakara signed with Final Fight Championship, where he went 1-0, 1 NC. His final fight with FFC (Final Fight Championship) was a 1:32 KO of his opponent.
The Italian athlete, Sakara, fought on three of the four previous Italy held Bellator events. Sakara headlined Bellator 190 & 168, while begin the co-main event for Bellator 152. Interestingly, the Middleweights only Bellator competition took place in his home country of Italy. He is 2-1 with the promotion, defeating Brian Rogers and Joey Beltran, respectively, while losing to Middleweight champion, Rafael Carvalho, most recently.
- Interviews3 months ago
Exclusive: Alexander Gustafsson eyeing summer 2018 return- wants title shot next
- Opinion5 months ago
A list of fighters who fought Michael Bisping – while on steroids
- Interviews5 months ago
Sage Northcutt on Moving to Sacramento and Life at Team Alpha Male
- Rumours3 years ago
Proto MMA History: The Day Antonio Inoki Almost Killed The Great Antonio
- Cage Warriors5 months ago
EXCLUSIVE: Matt Inman Talks Cage Warriors 87, His Love For Fighting And Craig White Possibly Tiring Himself Out.
- BAMMA4 months ago
BAMMA 32: Official Results and Live Stream
- Interviews5 months ago
Tim Means on Lawsuit Against Supplement Companies “I’m Going to Shut Them Down”
- Interviews5 months ago
Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”