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‘IT IS ALL OVER’ – UFC Fight Night 73

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The ground game took centre stage at UFC Fight Night Teixeira vs. Saint Preux, with fights being finished throughout the card via ground and pound or submissions. There were some solid pieces of ground technique that every fighter can learn from on Saturday night and here we will break them down, looking at every finish from the weekends UFC event.

Dustin Ortiz def. Willie Gates via. KO, round 3

Takedowns were the weapon of choice for Dustin Ortiz throughout Saturday night and the end of the contest came from another takedown in the final round. After some ground and pound followed by Willie Gates scrambling, Ortiz was able to take a crucifix style top position, locking up Gates’ right am with his legs. Ortiz kept up the ground and pound pressure forcing Gates to attempt another scramble to stay in the fight.

Ortiz anticipated this perfectly and used the scramble to take full mount position. From here, Ortiz rained down elbows and punches. The mix of Ortiz’s cardio and his dedication to position over finish allowed him to control Gates, defend the escape attempts and still have the energy to keep attacking from the top position smothering the exhausted Gates and forcing the referee to call off the fight.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, keeping position when on top should always be number one priority over attacking. When on top, stabilize your position first and then look to attack with strikes, submissions or passes. In this contest, whenever Gates showed a hint of moving from the bottom position, Ortiz stopped his attack, repositioned Gates and then continued striking. This minimalizes your opponent’s chances to escape and maximizes your chances of finishing the fight.

 

Uriah Hall def. Oluwale Bamgbose via. KO, round 1

This fight finish showed the true power Hall has in his hands, with what looked like minimal ground and pound from a full guard position instantly turning into a fight ending situation.

From being in Bamgbose’s full guard, Hall was able to stack up and land a short left hand right on Bamgbose’s chin. This short shot spelled disaster for Oluwale, as he immediately turtled up following the strike, prompting Uriah to pour on the ground and pound pressure and forcing the referee stoppage. Bamgbose was visibly very wobbly as he stood up following the finish showing just how destructive Hall’s strikes can be even from the shortest distance.

It’s hard to take much from this stoppage as it was more about Hall’s physical gifts rather than his technique, but what we can take is that it’s great to finally see what Uriah Hall is capable of when he gets his mind in the game.

 

Amanda Nunes def. Sara McMann via submission (rear naked choke), round 1

Being such a stellar and accomplished wrester, McMann has made her career on being able to take her opponents down and control them. all three of her professional losses, including this one, have one thing in common and that is McMann not being able to get her opponent to the mat.

McMann opened the contest with a slew of takedown attempts, all of which failed to put Nunes on her back. When her wrestling failed her, McMann was forced to use her less than elite level striking against arguably the hardest hitter in the division. McMann threw a lazy leg kick which Nunes stepped away from and as McMann span round and back into fighting position; Amanda greeted her with a straight right hand to the chin. This forced McMann to the ground where Nunes took her back. McMann tried to improve her position, but Nunes kept up the ground and pound until the rear naked choke presented itself. Nunes slapped on the choke and there was nothing Sara could do but tap.

This fight perfectly shows what happens when you are a one dimensional fighter in the UFC in 2015. Only having wrestling skills, no matter how credentialed they may be, is not a viable option in MMA today. When McMann’s takedowns didn’t work, she had nothing else to go to and this gave Nunes all the advantage, leading to the early finish.

 

Derek Brunson def. Sam Alvey via. KO, round 1

Despite some simply horrendous boxing technique, Brunson showed how sheer aggression, power and killer instinct can overcome all else and get you the win.

This short fight started slowly, with Brunson pressing Alvey against the cage and landing some short punches, when the two separated, Brunson was able to hurt Alvey with a straight left and proceeded to run Alvey down, chasing him around the cage and winging power punches constantly. Despite recovering, these punches would prove to be too much for Alvey as he was once again tagged and dropped. The referee jumped in and stopped the contest seconds later followed by heavy protests from Alvey and the crowd.

This was an early stoppage in many people’s minds, meaning it’s hard to take anything solid from the finish, as it probably shouldn’t have happened. But one thing Brunson should learn from this fight is that his total lack of striking technique displayed in this contest will not serve him well in the upper echelon of the division. Fighters like Lyoto Machida and Michael Bisping would pick apart this style of striking and probably finish Brunson. Please clean up your technique Derek and then you could well be a great middleweight contender.

 

Glover Teixeira def. Ovince St. Preux via. Submission (rear naked choke), round 3

This fight finish came courtesy of a lack of cardio. Coming into the third round, Saint Preux was completely gassed from the constant pressure from Glover earlier in the fight. Glover was able to get the takedown in the third and keep top control, offering minimal striking, but enough to make sure the fighters were not stood up. Glover tried many times to lock in an arm triangle but all were defended off, however, the threat of the arm triangle was enough to force Ovince to try and scramble to a better position and when he did Glover took his back and immediately sunk in a rear naked choke separating Ovince from his consciousness.

This fight showed the importance of wearing down your opponent and fighting your fight. Ovince has so much power in his strikes and Glover knew that early on, getting dropped from a Saint Preux body kick. After this, Glover decided to fight his fight and wear down the questionable cardio of Ovince and it worked perfectly. The finish was very solid technically, but the deciding factor was that Saint Preux just didn’t have enough energy to even attempt to fight off the finish.

 

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UFC Shanghai: Michael Bisping vs Kelvin Gastelum Preview

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UFC Shanghai is only 2 days away, something that looked unlikely only a few weeks ago after Anderson Silva was pulled from the main event after testing positive for a banned substance. With little options and very few interested, the main event and entire card looked in tatters. Then up stepped the always reliable company man Michael Bisping. Fresh from defeat at UFC 217 no one would have expected Bisping to step up to fight in Shanghai just three weeks later. But here we are, two days out from Bisping vs Gastelum.

Both fighters are coming off difficult losses that must have been hard to swallow. Bisping was doing well against a tired and damaged GSP, and Gastelum had knocked down Weidman at the end of the first round and was moments away from a finish, but both men went on to lose in the third round.

Both fighters will be motivated and desperate for a win to cleanse the demons their respective last fights have brought them.

The Fighters

 

Gastelum is a fantastic young talent, not many fighters are considered top level guys in two divisions like he is. Gastelum is a good all-rounder in all aspects of MMA, his tenacious boxing and solid wrestling are stand outs in his game. There is no question he has the skills to succeed in the 185lb division. But his biggest struggle is the physical disadvantage he faces in the middleweight division.

Gastelum is 5’9″ with a 71.5 inch reach. Since his return to middleweight he has been the smaller man in every fight. After his loss to Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC on FOX 25, Gastelum told reporters “He felt really big, he felt really strong” and “170 is my home” (MMAJunkie). A clear indication that Gastelum knows he is too small at this weight, but perhaps the aura of facing Anderson Silva was too much to turn down.

By now you know what Michael Bisping brings to the table. This is his 29th fight with the UFC. He is the definition of a UFC veteran.

Bisping excels on the feet where he uses his great boxing skills and high work rate to nullify his opponents. Bisping also has underrated wrestling skills and a gritty clinch game to match his own gritty style. Under Jason Parillo, Bisping’s striking has only gotten better and better. Just look at the Rockhold fight as an example. His kicks have vastly improved and so have his hands, especially his killer left hook.

Unsurprisingly, as he is a former light heavyweight, Bisping will be the much larger of the two men in the octagon. Bisping stands at 6’1″ and has a reach of 75.5″.

The Fight

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JULY 17: Michael Bisping of England steps on the scale during the UFC weigh-in inside the SSE Hydro on July 17, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Two main components of Mixed Martial Arts will come into play in this fight, boxing and cardio.

You have to imagine most of this fight take place on the feet. The only way it goes to the ground is if Gastelum can’t keep up with Bisping’s relentless pressure, and feels it’s the best way to get the victory. But after seeing the way Bisping battered and bloodied GSP from his back, Gastelum should be wary.

Gastelum uses his excellent and aggressive jabbing technique to gauge distance against his opponents. He did an excellent job of keeping Tim Kennedy at bay as he tried to enter the pocket. As Bisping is a fighter who uses movement and feints to put a volume of strikes together inside the pocket, Gastelum must use his jab to nullify Bisping’s main tools and keep him at bay, especially as the rounds progress and Bisping throws more combinations. Gastelum can then hide behind that jab to set up more strikes and find a knock out blow. After all Bisping is a very hittable fighter, who focuses more on offence than defence.

But with all that being said, no jab on earth will stop Bisping marching forward.

Bisping will also use his jab throughout the fight as he looks to set up multiple strikes. However, when Bisping dives in with his jab he leaves himself open to a counter punch. We saw GSP do this perfectly, which ultimately set up his finish. Gastelum may want to fight as a counter puncher rather than the aggressor. Not only will it allow him to conserve his energy, but it also means he may find that knock out punch when Bisping leaves himself open, especially to the left hand.

Gastelum must try to slow Bisping down with hard shots to the body, because if Bisping is fresh after UFC 217, like he said he is, then he can go all night at a pace Gastelum won’t be able to keep up with.

The later the fight goes the more aggressive Bisping can be as his shots get harder to grind you out and put you away. He increases his output, which will make Gastelum have to work even harder as the rounds progress. Even if Gastelum does not gas, he will naturally slow down and that’s when Bisping smells blood. Bisping will close the distance and change his game from jabbing you to death to landing some brutal combinations.

Prediction

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 27: Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva of Brazil (L) and Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping of England (R) compete in their Middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night held at at Indigo at The O2 Arena on February 27, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

I believe Gastelum will win the early exchanges. Whilst Bisping will land a few pecking jabs, it will be Gastelum who finds success early. Gastelum may even look for an early knock out. But as time goes on and the fight progresses, I feel Bisping will find his groove and take over.

His reach advantage will come into play as he dances around Gastelum and finds a range where he can get off several long strikes at once. And once the fight enters the later rounds Bisping will close the distance to up the tempo and fight his fight.

As much as I can envision a TKO victory for Gastelum, with his experience and composure I believe a fired up Bisping will overcome Gastelum’s boxing skills to right his wrongs at UFC 217.

Official Prediction: Michael Bisping defeats Kelvin Gastelum via Unanimous Decision – 48-47

 

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UFC looks for undefeated fighters for the next season of TUF

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As the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter comes to a close in a few weeks, UFC has set tryouts for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter on December 12th but there is a catch, participates must hold an undefeated record.

Titled The Ultimate Fighter 27: Battle of the Undefeated, the next installment of TUF will be looking for male fighters with an undefeated record with a minimum of 3-0 to apply for the show. The casting call asks for featherweights and welterweights but in the early stages of tryouts, a weight class will be decided later in the process.

Fighters must be aged between 21 – 34 and will grapple and light spar in front of UFC matchmakers and must be prepared to stay in Vegas until December 16th.

It is unknown what the future of TUF will be after the TV deal with FOX ends next year but the show has been a success for the company and many fighters to emerge from The Ultimate Fighter have become champion including current interim Lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and Strawweight champion Rose Namajunas coming from past seasons of the show.

This will be the third time in a row that a gimmick will be added to the show that has been on the decline in the ratings in recent years but yet to use only undefeated fighters. An undefeated streak can be one of the most prestigious records to keep in mixed martial arts with the wins and losses being so vital in a fighters career.

Who will keep their zero? Who will be the next Ultimate Fighter? Who will be the coaches?

These questions will be answered when the new season of TUF begins shooting in January and the show premiering later in the year.

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Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.

Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.


Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?

I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.

Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?

I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened.  They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.

Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of  Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?

I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.

It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.

Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?

I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.

I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.

Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!

 

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