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Mic Momentum: Who rocked the mic after their wins in New Zealand?

Matthew Wells

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UFC Fight Night 110 was a slow burn through the prelims that quickly exploded into fireworks throughout the main card.

Who took full advantage of their time on the mic?

Check out who backed up their fight momentum with mic momentum:

Mark Hunt

  • “It’s a pretty good feeling, you know? I know Derrick Lewis is from the hood, but this is my hood.”
  • “It was a matter of time, Derrick’s a tough guy. I respect him because he doesn’t use steroids. I think we all need to band together to get rid of steroids in our sport and imagine an even playing field. I want to thank each and every one of you guys for the support.”
  • “Anybody above me is good. I stepped down for Derrick because he was number six, but anyone above me, I’ll take. I’ve got a few more fights left, so you know, for me, if it ended here tonight, then so be it. I’ve had a good run, I had a lot of fun, traveled the world, but it looks like it’s still continuing!”

Mark Hunt defended his home turf with a solid, calculated performance over an equally powerful opponent in Derrick Lewis. Fans held their breath with every strike Lewis threw while erupting with every strike Hunt landed. Shortly after ending the bout in the fourth round, Hunt took to the mic to lay claim to his territory. In a completely unsurprising move, Hunt found a way to mention steroid use in the sport, but to his credit, is completely warranted considering his current ongoing issues outside of the Octagon. Hunt did not have a name ready, but at least mentioned the general direction he wanted to go next. He also pump-faked everyone with a retirement speech, which as we know, was surprisingly reserved for Derrick Lewis moments later.

Overall score: B+


Derek Brunson *Post-fight Interview of the Night* 

  • “I’m just working on my striking, man. I work really hard. I was cheated the last fight – I’m sure you guys saw with Anderson Silva. So, hey, made sure I come out here and finish guys so that won’t happen again.”
  • “I’m working my way towards that title shot. Some guy just got a victory last week, Antonio Silva, I don’t really care about rankings. If you talk trash, let’s do it, baby. Antonio Carlos Silva, let’s do it.”
  • “I want to thank everybody at home. Thanks to my three beautiful kids. I’m about to come home, kiss my kids – it’s been a hard couple of months getting over the Anderson fight. To come out here and perform, I feel very grateful.”

It took until the co-main event of the evening for a winner to finally call out a specific name. Even if Brunson completely butchered that name, he had a name in mind and said it on the mic with Stann. Antonio Carlos Junior is the name he was looking for – not Antonio Carlos Silva as he stated. In addition to having a name, Brunson laid out his desires to fight for the title while speaking on his ever-improving fight game in a clean, concise manner. While not too many people were overly excited to see Dan Kelly KO’d in brutal fashion, Brunson was aware of this as he didn’t celebrate and remained completely professional on the microphone. As always, if you have a name and don’t mess up anything after that, you’re almost always guaranteed at least an “A” on this scoring system.

Overall score: A


Dan Hooker

  • “New Zealand stand up!”
  • “This is not me. I give all the credit to my coaches and my team. It’s a product of them. It’s got nothing to do with me, it’s my team. My coach Eugene, that was him. We drilled that a million times.”
  • “First things first guys, give a round of applause for Ross Pearson. I’ve got nothing but respect for him. He’s a warrior. That’s how we fight. Live by the sword, die by the sword.”
  • “We drilled it on the pads a million times. That’s him. That’s nothing but him. It just flowed naturally. I didn’t – I just saw it, it’s just something we drilled.”
  • “Honestly, I don’t think of anything past that bell ringing for the first round. Now I get to appreciate the crowd. Thanks for coming out! New Zealand! Be proud of your fighters!”

Working the crowd before going into the more in-depth questions is always a plus. Hooker’s humility shines extremely bright during this interview with Brian Stann. Giving all of the glory to his team and coaches, showing respect for his opponent, and also thanking the hometown crowd for their support are all positives. Finding a home at 155 is also good, but among all of the humble responses, Hooker failed to hint at what could possibly be next for him after delivering the most vicious knockout of the evening.

Overall score: B


Ion Cutelaba (through translator)

  • “Because in his country, it’s evening already, and his daughter, a little baby, is already supposed to go to sleep. So, he is in a rush to say goodnight.”
  • “He was actually ready to lose, but it was very important to win for him. In his heart, he’s always like the best.

Hulk smash. Hulk could have said anything after that performance, especially after backing up the weigh-in kerfuffle and walking completely across the cage to get in the face of his opponent while being introduced. Hulk finished the fight quickly because he wanted to tell his baby girl goodnight? See, even big, scary green monsters have a soft spot. Translated interviews are always going to be a little awkward, so the scoring is naturally lenient as a result.

Overall score: B


Ben Nguyen

  • “Huge pressure, man. Tim Elliott, he went the distance with DJ, I knew he was up there. I really wanted that challenge and he gave me that, and I was able to do it.”
  • “Yeah! She won her fight by decision. I had that pressure like ‘I gotta come home with a win too or else she’s gonna lock me out!'”
  • “I felt my left kick connect and I knew he was rocked, he was doing some weird stuff – he always does weird stuff – but I knew he was trying to wrap me up.”
  • “Man, the flyweight division is up in the air right now. I don’t know man. I really don’t know what’s gonna happen. But, I gotta tell you guys…was that a boring fight? Was that a flyweight fight? Hell yeah!”
  • “One more thing, I just want to dedicate this to my good friend Paul who passed away in Feb. I know you’re watching somewhere, man. Love you, man.”

This post-fight interview is a prime example of why this recurring article exists. Ben “10” scored himself a quick finish over a man who went the distance with the only Flyweight Champion the UFC has promoted in his previous outing. Nguyen is a very likable, happy-go-lucky type of guy on the microphone as he shows his humility along with humor. After dispatching of a top 10 opponent in seconds, the mic was hot and ready for Nguyen to carry that momentum into naming an opponent in the top five, but that didn’t happen (largely in part to the DJ vs. Dana debacle). He does salvage a decent score by playing to the crowd and acknowledging he had to score a victory since his wife, who is also a fighter, won her fight the night before and he didn’t want to be locked out of the house. However, he might find himself outside anyways since he didn’t even drop his wife’s name! (April Adams) Naturally, the performance in itself will place him in a good spot for his next matchup, but using the opportunity here to name his specific opponent could have paid off in a big way.

Overall score: B


Alexander Volkanovski

  • “Yeah, I definitely was. I knew he was going to be tough, so I knew I had to try to put him away. You know, I’ve had a rough couple of weeks, I was battling some sicknesses and all that sort of stuff – so, when I wanted a finish, I was like ‘oh, I don’t want to burn out.’ I just finished antibiotics and everything, but I won’t get into that. One thing I wanted to say – I pride myself on being one of the good guys. I’m a nice guy, I’m a loyal type of guy. But everyone is playing the bad guy nowadays, everyone wants to be the bad boy. So, I want to ask Dana and Sean Shelby, feed me the bad boys – and it’s about time the good guys made some money too. Maybe we should get some Performance of the Night or something like that. So, feed me the bad boys and feed me the 50 Gs while you’re at it.”
  • “100%. Like I said, I just called out some — I usually don’t call out people out. I won’t call anyone individually, but any of the bad boys, bring them on.”

Volkanovski wants everyone to know he’s one of the good guys in the sport. The angle is fresh and appreciated amidst all of the guys who he considers to be “bad boys” in the sport. While fans of the sport can deduct who he may be speaking about, he did not specifically state to whom he was referring. Volkanovski then proceeded to break two of the biggest rules to building momentum on the microphone – asking for the bonus and uttering the most overused phrase relating to the bonus, the dreaded “50 G’s”. Refusing to call out specific opponents and asking for fifty G’s after a ho-hum decision victory causes this nice guy’s score to dip hard.

Overall score: D+


Vinc Pichel

  • “Honestly, the nerves were getting to me a bit, but once that cage got locked, I felt like I was set free, man. I’m just a wild animal. Like animals that are set free outside the cage, when I’m in the cage, that’s my freedom. So, it felt comfortable.”
  • “Yes, I was. Yes, I was. I knew that he gets a little desperate sometimes. He gets mad, he gets frustrated, he walks in like he was. I knew I’d be able to step back with a hook or an uppercut and catch him. I’m not worried about any of my power, I knew if I landed clean, he would have went down – so, I was just waiting to buy my time for that shot.”
  • “More violence in the cage! More knockouts! More mayhem! I ain’t stoppin’! I’m gonna go on a rampage! Everybody watch out for me! Hell’s coming! I’m gonna unleash it!”

Pichel’s “From Hell” gimmick is walking the line of being a little too “just bleed”-ish for the current landscape of mixed martial arts. Regardless, it works for him. After his first action since May of 2014, Pichel picked up right where he left off, extending his win streak to three in impressive fashion. Pichel let the questions come at him and creatively responded in his own style. He’s just a wild animal from hell who wants to cause more mayhem. We can dig his energy, even if he didn’t give us a name.

Overall Score: B+


Luke Jumeau

  • “This is massive! Absolutely massive! Every single person here, every single person watching this – you know what I mean? There’s thousands and thousands, you know? I wouldn’t be here without you guys. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, you know? I’m here now for my family! Come along for the ride you guys! It’s gonna be a ride!”
  • “Believed in myself, man. Believed in myself, you know? It took that little bit of adjustment (inaudible) of my performance, I was pulling off, you know what I mean, like…like I said man, this is the beginning! This is Octagon jitters getting the job done and I couldn’t be more happy, you know? You’re gonna see me grow and I’m here man, I’m here!”
  • “I was offered the four-fight contract, but there’s no guarantees, man, you know? I could have come in here and had a bad performance and that would have been the end of it, but here I am for the long haul, man!”

Winning in your homeland is always an exciting feeling. Winning in your homeland in your UFC debut? Extremely exciting. The joy was beaming from Jumeau as he responded to each question, resulting in slightly awkward repetition of “you know?” Jumeau gets a pass this time for trying to contain his excitement while attempting to put the whole experience into words. While he got over the Octagon jitters for the fight, we’ll pay close attention to his Octagon jitters on the mic after his next victory in the UFC.

Overall score: B-


John Moraga

  • “I’ve decided to put in the work on the ground. I’ve always felt good there, but I really wanted to put in some work and make sure I got all the details down. I guess it showed tonight, you know, I had to do what I had to do to get the win.”
  • “No, you know, I just…I’m gonna sit back, go home, heal up. I kinda had to rush back into this fight because it was do or die. This is what they offered me. I’m gonna heal up and I’m gonna come back even better.”

John Moraga returned from a long layoff to face UFC debutant Ashkan Mokhtarian. It was a dominant victory that earned a 30-25 on one judge’s card, but it wasn’t exactly the most exciting fight on the card. After a dominant performance like that, Moraga’s first response to Stann was a quick, one sentence answer. He then had the opportunity to call out a top-ranked opponent to make things at 125 interesting. Not only did Moraga not have a name, he didn’t even offer a suggestion of ranking range. Solid performance in the cage, but the performance on the mic was a letdown.

Overall Score: C-


No Octagon Interview:

  • JJ Aldrich
  • Zak Ottow

Who had the best performance on the mic at UFC Fight Night 110? Let us know on Twitter @mmalatestnws

Stay tuned for next weekend’s Mic Momentum after Holly Holm and Bethe Correia throw down in Singapore!


Mic Momentum History:

 

 

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Announcement

Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223

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UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.

 

Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.

After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.

A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.

Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.

Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.

A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.

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Bellator

Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet

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Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.

“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”

Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.

“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”

Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.

“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”

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Fight Announcements

Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April

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MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.

 

The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.

Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.

An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.

His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).

Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.

PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.

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