For the MMA enthusiast, the four-week absence of any UFC event has been a long slog. Actually having to make plans on a weekend rather than simply watching the fights and being deprived of high-level MMA is a pain that no person should have to bear for a long time but UFC Fight Night 98 was more than worth the wait for the main event alone.
Pitting the number two and three ranked fighters in MMA’s most competitive division against one another was always going to provide exemplary results but Rafael dos Anjos and Tony Ferguson went above and beyond for 25 minutes in Mexico City. Hitting each other with everything they had, the bout went back-and-forth each round as each man went toe-to-toe landing some trademark blows and putting the lightweight division on notice for those who want to break into that elite bracket.
Starting the fight out, both men switched stances at such an alarming rate that you would be forgiven for thinking you were watching a capoeira exhibition. Looking for openings and keeping their opponent guessing, both men flowed between southpaw and orthodox with their strikes before dos Anjos settled down into his normal southpaw stance and began to get to work.
Whipping in his patented leg kicks, RDA provided heavy damage to Ferguson’s legs and also offset the balance of Ferguson in his upright stance. With the Brazilian hacking away at El Cucuy’s legs, a retort from the Ultimate Fighter 13 winner was dragged out of him by dos Anjos and set up the Brazilian’s own counter-striking. Replying with leg kicks of his own and with his right hand lower than usual in an attempt to absorb the brunt of dos Anjos’ body kicks, RDA’s left straights were given an opening and repeatedly found their home throughout the first.
In the second round, Ferguson made some adjustments of his own and began to settle into his unusual groove. Using his long range with right straights, stinging teeps to the body and an uppercut that would come underneath dos Anjos’ guard throughout the bout, Ferguson applied some pressure of his own backing his opponent to the cage, forcing him to try and fight his way out. From there, one of Ferguson’s greatest characteristics in his elusive head movement began to bear fruit. Avoiding damage and expending wasted energy from dos Anjos, Ferguson created angles of his own to attack from and provided, even more, deception for his uppercut to find its home.
The third stanza became a small sample size of the nature of the fight as the round ebbed and flowed in its momentum between either fighter. Ferguson started out by employing standing elbows in the pocket and also following up on his missed strikes by spinning through and attacking again. The former UFC champion meanwhile settled into the second half of the round with his left straights making their welcome return and stealing the round back in his favour.
The last two rounds saw Ferguson really kick into gear, however, and secured the fight in his favour on the scorecards. Outscoring his opponent by 83 to 47 strikes according to FightMetric, El Cucuy didn’t let up in his pressure on dos Anjos as he peppered away with his diverse array of strikes and landed the most telling blow of the fight with a knee to the head after a missed superman punch attempt.
The win puts Ferguson on the first ever nine-fight win streak in the UFC’s lightweight division and surely a title fight has to be his next match-up. While Khabib Nurmagomedov currently occupies the UFC’s number one spot, his injury record leaves a question mark over his head as well as a win over Darrell Horcher being his only outing since his two-year absence from the sport. Of course, that opinion could change with a dominant win over Michael Johnson in a weeks time but Nurmagomedov’s stand out win over dos Anjos loses its shine with the advancements RDA has made since that fight and for the simple fact that that fight happened at the beginning of 2014.
For the glory that Ferguson has achieved by coming out on top, however, dos Anjos may well have had one of the worst years in MMA of recent times. From missing out on a massive payday through injury against Conor McGregor before back-to-back losses and losing the title in the process; your heart can’t help bit go out to dos Anjos. With that being said, with the heart and skill level he possesses, the Brazilian will no doubt find his way back into the win column in no time.
In the co-main event, Diego Sanchez put in one of his best performances in years as he recorded a unanimous decision victory over debutant Marcin Held in a fight that had some classic themes from the up-and-comer vs veteran cliche.
In the early running of the fight, Held dominated the stand-up against Sanchez through his youthful speed and his ability to manage the distance. Keeping Sanchez on the end of his lead left hand, Held was always in the right position to connect with The Nightmare and was easily able to get himself out of danger when Sanchez would return. Held even managed to lock in a standing guillotine in the first round but to no one’s surprise, Sanchez simply wouldn’t quit and wall walked up the cage before powering Held down to the mat.
Heading into the second round you would expect to see more of the same from Held but he was clearly keen to show off his famed grappling skills as he opened up the round with an Imanari roll to attack for a leg lock. Diego Sanchez though has severely underrated submission defence and thwarted any submission attempt by Held and dominated the round with heavy top position. The third round offered no real adjustments from Held either as again he looked to grapple with no success against Sanchez, despite the clear advantages he held in the first round on the feet.
While Held does have a high number of fights under his belt, the experience that Diego Sanchez has against top-tier opponents simply cannot be overlooked and begs the question that if Held had anywhere near Sanchez’s experience at the highest level, would he have deferred from the striking department as eagerly as he had in the second and third rounds.
Elsewhere, Ricardo Lamas managed to come back from a tough first round to score a guillotine choke on Charles Oliveira and put himself back in the win column at featherweight. The first round had been looking to head the same way that the Will Brooks – Alex Oliveira fight had played out as the heavier man dominated in close. Coming in nine pounds overweight, Do Bronx weighed heavy on top of Lamas in the first round and dominated the grappling exchanges before sinking in a rear-naked choke only offering a reprieve to Lamas in the form of the end of the round.
The next round seemed to be heading the same way as Oliveira again took the fight to the mat only for a gorgeous sweep to see Lamas come out in side control. From there, the fight eerily resembled Charles Oliveira’s last fight against Anthony Pettis as a guillotine choke against the cage saw the Brazilian’s demise and rewarded Ricardo Lamas for taking a fight against an opponent who struggled to make weight.
Beneil Dariush and Rashid Magomedov fought out a tactical bout earlier on in the night as both men thrived where the other had been expected to for three rounds. With the orthodox – southpaw dichotomy on full display, the lead foot of either man was key in getting off their power side strikes and it was clear from the get-go that Dariush and his camp had been working on just that. By positioning his lead foot on the outside of Magomedov’s, the distance to land his left head kick and body kick were shortened and he continually adjusted and fired in his kicks in the first two rounds. In the third round, the lofty altitudes of Mexico City clearly began to take their toll on Dariush however as his kicks were replaced by punches and allowed Magomedov back into the fight. It was expected for Magomedov to have the advantage on the feet with his boxing pedigree but Dariush kept the fight outside of the pocket and always made sure to return fire anytime Magomedov offered a strike of his own. On the other hand, Magomedov consistently came out on top in the few scrambles that played themselves out throughout the fight showing that to make any sort of headway at 155 lbs, you need to be as well-rounded as possible.
It was expected for Magomedov to have the advantage on the feet with his boxing pedigree but Dariush kept the fight outside of the pocket and always made sure to return fire anytime Magomedov offered a strike of his own. On the other hand, Magomedov consistently came out on top in the few scrambles that played themselves out throughout the fight showing that to make any sort of headway at 155 lbs, you need to be as well-rounded as possible.
A special shout out also needs to go to Alexa Grasso as she opened up the main card with a terrific performance against Heather Jo Clark. Displaying excellent stand-up skills and some impressive wrestling to boot, Grasso picked away at Clark with some crisp combinations after causing a clear eye problem for Clark in the first round and made sure to put herself on everyone’s must-watch list going forward.
All in all, UFC Fight Night 98 was an excellent card to end a month-long hiatus from the UFC and was a more than satisfactory warm-up for next week’s blockbuster UFC 205. Bring on the Big Apple!
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)
- Bellator4 days ago
Michael Page Not Focusing on Opponent Ahead of Boxing Debut
- Cage Warriors1 week ago
EXCLUSIVE: Matt Inman Talks Cage Warriors 87, His Love For Fighting And Craig White Possibly Tiring Himself Out.
- News1 week ago
Why the UFC Needs to Introduce 165 and 175-pound Weight Divisions
- Opinion6 days ago
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Robbie Lawler Sets Up Intriguing Title Fight Scenarios
- British1 week ago
EXCLUSIVE: Jack Shore talks Cage Warriors 87 Opponent Change, Pressure and Being Ready for A Big Opportunity
- Opinion4 days ago
A list of fighters who fought Michael Bisping – while on steroids
- Fight Announcements1 week ago
Aldo vs. Lamas 2 and Ponzinibbio vs. Perry Added to UFC Winnipeg
- BAMMA1 week ago
Exclusive: Alex Lohore “Didn’t Know” Who Richard Kiely Was Before BAMMA 32 Booking