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Machida vs Rockhold – Breakdown

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On Saturday April 18th top middleweight contenders Luke Rockhold and Lyoto Machida will meet in hopes to gain the next crack at the UFC title. Both fighters are coming off dominating wins over fellow top middleweights. This fight will be the cherry on top of a great card that will be shown for free on Fox. Luke Rockhold is on a 3 fight winning streak and hoping to dispatch Machida to gain his first UFC title shot, while Machida is looking to beat a top contender to get another chance at becoming the middleweight champion. 

In his most recent bout, Luke Rockhold backed up his words by beating Michael Bisping with relative ease in the second round by a one-handed guillotine. Rockhold has seen great success since his debut lost in the UFC to Vitor Belfort, by finishing all 3 opponents within two rounds. Rockhold has a very well-rounded game that is backed by a great counter lead right hand and a devastating left kick. Rockhold  has used his striking game coupled with his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to have finishes in all but two of his wins. He has shown a very high fight IQ in many of his bouts, this is evident in two of his most recent bouts against Boetsch and Bisping as he was able to snatch up submissions out of nowhere.

Lyoto Machida has won 14 fights within the UFC. During those 7+ years of fighting he has amassed the UFC light heavyweight title as well as many highlight reel finishes over some of the best that have ever fought within the Octagon. In his most recent fight he easily picked apart CB Dollaway within the first two minutes of the fight. Previous to that he fought for the title against Chris Weidman in a fight of the night performance. Machida came up short, losing by unanimous decision, but at times had the champion on the ropes, especially in the later rounds. Machida fights best when he is the one in the centre of the cage, if he is not being pressured he will use his unique style that consists of straight punches and kicks to land at will. He is similar to Rockhold in that a large part of his offense comes from kicks, mainly from his back leg. Both Rockhold and Machida like to start their fights by kicking low and then eventually looking to go high to exploit their opponents defense. 

Luke Rockhold and his coaches will be smart to look at Lyoto Machida’s most recent loss to Chris Weidman, as I feel it lays down a clear path to victory for Rockhold. From the second the bell rang Weidman plodded forward and made sure that Machida didn’t have space for him to work his magic. The battle for the centre of the cage will be where this fight is either won or loss for both fighters. Rockhold, who will be the much bigger fighter come Saturday, will want to stay in his face and be active, he doesn’t always need to be landing, but he does need to be using feints and footwork to keep Machida back peddling. Both Rockhold and Machida are black belts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but I would still give Rockhold the advantage on the ground as he has submitted over 60% of his opponents. I expect this fight to be mostly spent on the feet as Machida’s takedown defense is spectacular, I wouldn’t expect a submission finish unless it was off a knock down ala the Bisping fight.

Lyoto Machida has been a top contender in both the Light Heavyweight and Middleweight division, his unique karate hybrid style has been a mainstay within in the UFC for years now. He is currently looking to join Randy Couture and BJ Penn as the only fighters to hold titles within two different weight divisions. He was unsuccessful last year in his fight with Chris Weidman, but the fight was close and a win over Luke Rockhold will put his name back on the top of the contender list. Machida does not have as much of clear-cut path to victory as Rockhold does, Rockhold has won three in a row and hasn’t had much of a challenge in those fights. Rockholds lone loss in the UFC to Vitor Belfort does let Machida know that he can be knocked down and finished via strikes. Machida’s key to victory will be to stop Rockhold from coming forward as it will allow him to set up his own strikes. I expect Rockhold to be very aggressive similar to Weidman, the problem I can see arising from that is Machida’s countering capability. In his last few fights Rockhold has been getting caught while trying to land his own shots, if Machida can counter early on he can look to take the centre of the cage and start landing shots of his own to set up a finish.

As mentioned earlier, the fight will be won or lost battling for the centre of the cage, both Machida and Rockhold do their best work while being the aggressor. This fight will be extremely close but ultimately I see Rockhold winning the fight by decision, his quickness and fight IQ will allow him to land the shots he needs to all the while keeping Machida backing up and unable to land the shots he needs to finish the fight.

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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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*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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Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams

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Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.

Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.

Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.

Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.

Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.

There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.

But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.

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