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It’s All Over! – UFC Fight Night Belfort vs. Henderson Finish Analysis

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UFC Fight Night 77 had its fair share of exciting moments from a string of four KO’s on the main card to a shocking referee’s judgement, both of which gave this fight night excitement and watchability that many MMA fans did not expect from a card headlined by a pair of combatants whose combined age is 83.

Here is a look at some of these stunning KO’s and the controversial Referee call in this weeks “Its All Over!”

Vitor Belfort def. Dan Henderson via. KO round 1

Not very often the first strike of the fight is the deadliest but that was just the case in Saturday’s main event.

After a hibernation inducing start to the contest that saw a grand total of 3 strikes thrown in the first 2 minutes, all courtesy of Hendo, Belfort threw his first strike of the fight being a left high kick that Henderson ducked straight into. despite having his hand up to protect his chin, after suffering a defeat by head kick a year earlier, this was not enough to protect Dan as the kick landed square on his chin knocking him into the fence and eventually to the mat.

From here, Belfort pounced on Henderson in his usually spectacular killer instinct style and went straight into his half guard blasting the 45-year-old with punches. Hendo attempted a defense by clinching Vitor off his back, but the fury of Belfort was just too much who easily shrugged off the former Strikeforce champ and continued to throw ferocious punches until referee Mario Yamasaki stepped in for the finish.

This fight shows that sometimes MMA is a waiting game and just how important veteran experience and the ability to stay calm and pick your shots can be. Belfort could have rushed in on Henderson, vintage Vitor style, and ended up unconscious just like ‘The Barbarian’ did, but he chose the much more conservative route for this fight staying well away from the infamous H-bomb and picking his time to strike with lightning fast speed and precision for another highlight reel head kick KO, going some way to prove that there is such a thing as Vitor Belfort post-TRT.

 

Glover Teixeira def. Patrick Cummins via KO round 2

Glover Teixeira stayed true to two techniques in this fight to get the impressive finish of Pat Cummins, being technical and purposeful boxing and a tenacious ability to recover off his back.

Teixeira got in close early and often to somewhat negate the long shooting takedowns of Cummins. Glover didn’t have the best takedown defense in this contest, being taken down a few times throughout the fight, but what mattered most was his ability to recover and get back to his feet repeatedly and with ease.

The problems started for Cummins with his constant takedown attempts which visibly exhausted him early in the fight leading to him holding his hands very low, giving Glover free rein to unload with crisp boxing technique.

Teixeira finished this fight with a vicious barrage of hooks mixing up angles both over and underneath the arms of Cummins, most of which landed cleanly on Pat’s face causing the referee to call off the fight as Cummins was clearly out on his feet.

What I believe cost Cummins this fight is the same thing that has plagued him before and that is his total loss of technical defense when he gets hit. We saw it time and time again in this fight after eating big punches from Glover Pat would freeze up with his hands low and make no attempt to circle out of range, protect himself correctly with his gloves and head movement, or any real attempts to counter with strikes or takedowns.

 

Thomas Almeida def. Anthony Birchak via KO round 1

Thomas Almeida solidified himself as one of the hardest hitters at 135lbs with this show-stealing knockout of Anthony Birchak, beautifully marrying finesse and distance management with killer instinct and god given power.

The key phrase for this fight is ‘distance management’, an aspect of MMa few have mastered, but Almeida showed on Saturday night, when it is used in complimentary to strong striking capabilities, this ‘hit and not be hit’ combo can take out almost anyone in the game.

Almeida opened up this fight early with strikes, most notably some very sneaky and effective elbows off the clinch from Almeida mixed with great distance management meant he could hit Birchak often with little retaliation. Almeida’s distance control went one step further, using circling to its fullest effect to make sure Birchak was never able to trap him against the cage and unload with strikes, which spelled the end for Joe Soto in Birchak’s last performance.

This fight finish came late on in the first round with Almeida staggering Birchak with a huge punch and chasing him down with a variety of attacks including a jump kick attempt and a spinning back elbow. Thomas Almeida was able to show experience and composure well beyond his 24 years, stalking Birchak and only throwing strikes when absolutely open to do so. this paid off quickly for Almeida as he landed a beautifully timed left hook and right straight combo, slumping Birchak unconscious against the cage.

 

Gleison Tibau def. Abel Trujillo via submission (rear naked choke) round 1

Unfortunately for Trujillo, his main weakness plays straight into Tibau’s greatest strength and this spelled the end quickly, if not controversially in this fast fight finish.

One huge downside to Abel Trujillo’s game is how easily he can be taken down in his fights and that is exactly what Gleison Tibau loves to do to his opponents. Tibau wasted no time getting this fight to the mat. Despite recovering to his feet, Abel was taken down again and Tibau quickly transitioned to his opponents back and fished for a rear naked choke finish. In the end, this is where the fight ended but not in a crystal clear way as many would have liked.

As Tibau sunk in the RNC, Trujillo was able to start to turn his body inwards to face Gleison, in a defensive technique that would ultimately negate the rear naked choke. However, as he did this he left his arms down and partially limp prompting the referee to jump in and stop the contest, believeing that Trujillo had been choked unconscious. As soon as the fight was called off Trujillo protested immediately showing the referee and the MMA world that he was not out and did not tap whatsoever.

There really isn’t any technique to review in this finish, but instead let’s look at the insane lack of knowledge from referee Keith Peterson in this one. At the time Peterson called off the fight (1:45) Trujillo had already partially turned his head into Tibau’s bicep in the makings of an escape, this gave Trujillo’s neck clearly visible room to maneuver and therefore, a clear pathway for blood to his brain, meaning that the choke was not sunk in. This is a key aspect to the RNC that an experienced referee like Peterson should have taken notice of. If the referee was still in doubt of Trujillo’s consciousness, he should have either asked him if he was ok, or better yet attempted to lift Abel’s arms to see if there was a response. I believe if the ref had done either of these techniques, Trujillo would have responded and the fight would not have been stopped prematurely.

What is there to take away from this fight? the lesson that MMA referees still make unforgivable mistakes that are screwing fighters not only out of paychecks but also ruining their records and legacies. Just another example of poor referee knowledge and even more ammo to the MMA reformists out there.

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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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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:

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.

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Announcement

Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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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:

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.

 

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.

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Announcement

*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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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)

Main Card:

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)

Preliminary Card:

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)

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