From a decision heavy prelims to KO central main card, Fight Night Hunt vs. Mir was a great Aussie outing for the UFC and now it’s all over, let’s take a look at some of Saturday night’s finishes.
Steve Bosse def. James Te Huna via KO, round 1
Bosse showed good movement throughout the entirety of this short contest, darting in for a flurry of punches before circling away well after the exchanges between the two men. The end came with Bosse darting in with a one-two combo that although didn’t land effectively, it did cause Te Huna to react and momentarily drop his hands to move in for his own counter strikes. This gave Bosse the opening to step off slightly to the right for defense purposes and land a short right hook that put James Te Huna face down on the canvas out cold.
Due to this fight only landing 52 seconds, there isn’t much to take from it apart from baiting your opponent and setting a trap for them can work wonders. Bosse used the same technique of darting in and out continuously, baiting Te Huna to react and when he did Bosse made him pay for it with his consciousness.
Dan Kelly def. Antonio Carlos Junior via TKO, round 3
Going into the third round of this fight it was one for one on my score cards, meaning someone had to make it clear in everyone’s mind who is the better fighter and Kelly did just that with a late ground and pound finish.
Junior shot for a takedown, only to be sprawled by Kelly who didn’t give his Brazilian opponent any time to get comfortable raining down punches immediately from half guard. Kelly did well focusing on keeping his position, quickly nullifying all of Junior’s attempts at a sweep and didn’t let up with his punches eventually overwhelming Junior and causing the referee to interfere.
Jake Matthews def. Johnny Case via submission (rear naked choke), round 3
This fight finish showed just how effective a prolonged body attack can be as a fight goes on, as Matthews used numerous body kicks throughout the contest to wear down Case eventually giving him the opening for the fight ending submission late in the third round.
The fight ending choke happened as Case was leaning against Matthews against the cage trying to recover from his gassed state. Matthews was able to use strikes to distract Case as he sneaked around behind his arm taking Case’s back and take the fight to the ground from back control. With both hooks in, Matthews used strikes again to distract Case leaving the opening for the RNC. Case was able to defend this submission well, turning his head inwards towards the choke to alleviate pressure on his throat forcing Matthews to relinquish the submission and transition to full mount.
From here Case rolled for defense giving Matthews his back once again. Matthews was much more patient this time around biding his time and allowing Case to attempt escapes in hope it would open him up for the choke once again.Matthews prayers were answered as Case posted on his hands in an attempt to stand up, leaving his chin entirely exposed, allowing Matthews to sink in the rear-naked choke again, this time forcing the tap from Case.
This fight finish showed how cardio can truly affect fighters decision making. Case who has a staggering 27 fights under his belt despite only being 26 years old make a rookie error in this fight finish by posturing on his arms, taking away his main defense for the choke and giving Matthews a free shot at securing in the finish. Case is an extremely experienced and intelligent fighter and I believe this lack of smart decision making was due to him being exhausted by Matthews earlier body assault.
Neil Magny def. Hector Lombard via TKO, round 3
Despite being on the receiving end of a hellacious beating at the start of the first round, Magny showed his toughness and sheer will to survive to weather the storm of Lombard and use his biggest strength against Hector’s biggest weakness, cardio.
After rocking Magny early and spending most of the fight pounding him from his guard, Lombard fell into that dangerous space of not doing enough to finish the contest, but doing just enough to tire himself out and against a man known for his cardio, this spelt disaster for the Cuban.
Magny entered the second round looking completely recovered and fresh, while Lombard looked slow and reserved. Magny played to his reach advantage greatly, picking off Lombard from the outside with strikes. Lombard did land a right hook knocking down Magny, but this wasn’t enough for the win as Magny reversed the position on the ground ending up on top. Magny spent the final minute of the round in mount position pounding Lombard constantly with punches and elbows while Lombard did nothing to intelligently defend himself, only having his hands covering his face and accepting the beating.
Hector was saved by the bell in the second round as referee Steve Perceval refused to stop the contest despite having much reason to do so. Going into the third round we saw much of the same as the range Magny landed from the outside while the gassed Lombard just ate shots. Magny got an easy takedown early in the round and passed straight to mount, locking in a mounted triangle and raining down hammer fists forcing the referee to step in and end this fight early in the final round.
Neil Magny may have some of the best cardio in the welterweight division and once he had outlasted the barrage of Lombard, Magny simply took over being the much more conditioned athlete, picking up the best win of his career.
Mark Hunt def. Frank Mir via KO, round 1
In what was a very tentative contest, Hunt showed that he only needs one opening and one punch to end the contest and unluckily for Mir that’s what he got early on.
This fight started with a lot of circling and feinting from both men, with neither really committing to any exchanges. Hunt was able to sneakily close the distance slowly but surely on Mir and when he saw the opportunity, he fainted a double jab and came in with a straight right. Mir never saw this coming and decided to shoot for a takedown as Hunt was throwing punches, leaving his head completely exposed. Mir caught the shot right on the temple and the fight was over.
There isn’t much technical advice to take from this finish as simply put, Mark Hunt’s hands can do things normal people can’t do. What we can take away is Hunt has tremendous trust in his KO ability and with good reason and knows he only needs that one shot to change your life.
Aldo vs. Lamas 2 and Ponzinibbio vs. Perry Added to UFC Winnipeg
The UFC has added Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas 2, and Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Mike Perry to their UFC Winnipeg card on December 16th.
The two fights were announced as official today on the UFC’s Twitter account.
THIS. CARD. pic.twitter.com/bc4AyNncqy
— UFC (@ufc) October 13, 2017
Aldo (26-3) last fought at UFC 212 in June, where he lost by third round TKO to Max Holloway. After being promoted to the undisputed 145-pound champion last November, he was looking to make the first defence of the title against Holloway.
Lamas first faced Aldo back in 2014 at UFC 169. Aldo, who was again featherweight champion at the time, defeated Lamas with ease winning by unanimous decision (49-46) on all scorecards. Lamas is on a two-fight winning streak after defeating both Charles Oliveira and Jason Knight with impressive finishes.
Since his last UFC loss to Lorenz Larkin back in 2015, Ponzinnibio (25-3) has won five consecutive fights. His most recent victory was a upset win over Gunnar Nelson in July at UFC Glasgow. There was some controversy after the fight, as replays seemed to show a short grab and several eyes pokes from Ponzinnibio before knocking out Nelson in the first round.
Mike Perry has taken the UFC by storm since making his debut for the promotion last August. Picking up four wins all by knockout, the only loss ‘Platinum’ suffered was too Alan Jouban by decision. Ranked at #9 in the welterweight division, a win over Ponzinnibio could definitely propel Perry into the top ten at 170-pounds.
With the additon of these two fantastic fights, the lineup for UFC Winnipeg is as follows:
- Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos – Welterweight bout
- Glover Teixeira vs. Misha Cirkunov – Light heavyweight bout
- Antônio Rogério Nogueira vs. Jared Cannonier – Light heavyweight bout
- Tim Elliott vs. Justin Scoggins – Flyweight bout
- Chad Laprise vs. Galore Bafondo – Welterweight bout
- Alessio Di Chirico vs. Oluwale Bamgbose – Middleweight bout
- Vitor Miranda vs. Julian Marquez – Middleweight bout
- John Makdessi vs. Abel Trujillo – Lightweight bout
- Nordine Taleb vs. Sultan Aliev – Welterweight bout
Why the UFC Needs to Introduce 165 and 175-pound Weight Divisions
- The debacle that were the UFC 216 weigh-in last Friday further highlighted current weight cutting problems in mixed martial arts.
More specifically in this case it was in the UFC’s lightweight division. A fight between Nik Lentz and Will Brooks was pulled due to Lentz having ‘medical issues’ according to a UFC statement, hours before he was due to weigh-in.
Title challenger Kevin Lee then took to the scale seconds before the deadline and was over the limit by a pound. Fortunately he made weight after being given an extra hour. But these are not isolated cases, especially at 155-pounds.
There isn’t necessarily a solution to this problem but there may be a short term fix in the form of new weight classes approved by the ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports) in July 2017. These include 165 and 175-pound divisions.
While not specific to the lightweight division, the problems with weight commonly occur there. In March this year, Khabib Nurmagomedov was rushed to hospital during fight week when cutting down for his title contest with Tony Ferguson. Subsequently the UFC 209 main event was cancelled. Khabib has been regularly discussed as a title challenger but he’s often struggled to make weight and failed on numerous occasions.
With drastic dehydration it is still unknown what health implications may effect him and other mixed martial artists in the future.
Some top ranked fighters such as Donald Cerrone, Jorge Masvidal and Rafael Dos Anjos have moved up to the welterweight division to preserve their health from these strenuous cuts, and have all been relatively successful.
However, many fighters are still reluctant and insist on dropping 10-20% of their bodyweight in the hours and days leading up to a bout. For example, Kevin Lee was rumoured to be 19 pounds over the day before he stepped on the scales.
At 170 pounds, welterweight is fifteen pounds more than lightweight which is a noticeable difference between relatively low weight classes. Especially when you consider that the divisions increase ten pounds from as low as 115 up to 155. There are many fighters who find themselves too big to be a lightweight, yet too small to compete at welterweight.
The incidents last Friday should hopefully be a wakeup call to the UFC, who can also set an example for other organisations such as Bellator, One FC, and Cage Warriors.
So far in 2017 the UFC has lost 14 fights in 48 hours or less before they were due to take place. That is one fight every two cards. While weight cutting is not always to blame, more often than not it plays a big role. These situations leave the UFC at a loss, fighters without opponents and a pay check, and fans disgruntled. Not to mention the health implications for the athlete involved.
The UFC must recognise these common patterns, remove the 170 pound welterweight division and create 165 and 175 pound rosters instead. Some may see an additional weight class as devaluing UFC titles even further but this would not be the case.
Recently the women’s featherweight title was created without having a roster of women to fill it. However, the difference with lightweight and welterweight is that they are comfortably the two deepest, most talent stacked divisions in the organisation.
Admittedly, there is a lot of history attached to the welterweight title since Pat Miletich first won it back in 1998. The likes of Matt Hughes and Georges St Pierre have also added prestige to the belt over the years.
Even so, the sport has changed since then and it’s in a transitional phase. We are in the era of USADA, the era of banned IV drips and certain commissions tightening their regulations on how much they allow fighters to safely cut. Everyone is accountable and aware of the dangers, yet steps still need to be taken.
The athletic commissions and the UFC in particular must act by introducing super lightweight (165lbs) and super welterweight (175lbs) divisions. Perhaps from a fighter’s perspective it seems like a no-brainer that their health should be the main priority.
From a fans point of view there is plenty of talent that could be used in those two divisions. The novelty of fighters blending into these classes would also have the feeling of a superfight. The likes of Nurmagomedov, Lee, Masvidal, Cerrone and Dos Anjos would certainly fit well into a 165 pound division.
Similarly, at 175 pounds, Tyron Woodley could transition from welterweight champion to super welterweight champion. Top talents such as Robert Whittaker, Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia and Robbie Lawler would be perfect matches for this weight.
If this was a success then super middleweight (195lbs) and cruiserweight (225lbs) divisions could be an option in future too.
As previously mentioned this won’t necessarily fix the issues of weight cutting but it gives martial artists another option and is a positive step towards fighter’s safety. Currently there has been no mention by the UFC about introducing these new divisions.
However, with fighter safety being of upmost importance these new divisions must be given serious consideration.
James Gallagher out of Bellator 187 in Dublin due to injury
Irish fans will have to wait a little longer to see James Gallagher fighting on home soil after Gallagher suffered a knee injury in preparation for his main event fight with Jeremiah Labiano in Dublin next month. This bad news was first reported by MMAFighting.com.
The 20-year-old from Strabane co. Tyrone who trains in the famous SBG gym with Conor McGregor and Gunnar Nelson among others has set the featherweight division alight since joining Bellator in 2016. James “The Strabanimal” Gallagher has gone 3-0 with all three of his wins coming by rear naked choke.
After submitting Chinzo Machida, the brother of former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida in Madison Square Garden Gallagher has become a budding star for Bellator.
Due to the youngster’s attitude and potential, many comparisons between Gallagher and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor have been made by the fans and media which has made Gallagher one of Bellator’s most recognizable names. This notoriety has ultimately led to the young Irishman getting a chance to headline in Dublin this November but this injury has delayed his rise for the time being.
Gallagher on social media Thursday stated that he has suffered an injury to his PCL and LCL in his knee and would be out for the remainder of the year. He has assured fans we would return next year and carry on where he started with “The Jimmy show.”
His longtime rival AJ McKee, who has engaged in a Twitter war with Gallagher after his last fight, will now headline Bellator 187 in the 3 Arena in Dublin on November 10th against Gallagher’s SBG teammate Brian Moore. Moore will be making his third appearance for Bellator in this featherweight clash.
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