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The Morning After UFC 203

Matthew Wells

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Cleveland is turning into a city with a championship pedigree. For a town that was desperate for a winner for decades upon decades, it finds itself with two Champions: the 2015-16 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers, and the reigning, defending, undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion of the world, Stipe Miocic. On Saturday evening, the heavyweight title was successfully defended for the first time since Cain Velasquez defeated Junior dos Santos at UFC 166. We didn’t get to the chants of “O-H!, I-O!” without controversy, though, as is the norm for a mixed martial arts event, regardless of promotion.

“Me, and you, your mamma and your cousin too,” are not just lyrics from the hook of Outkast’s classic hip-hop song “Elevators,” they also describe the number of people and then some, who had issues with the real elevators at the hotel during fight week. Reports of multiple fighters being stuck in an elevator surfaced across social media, but even more importantly, the incident caused an injury to CB Dollaway just hours after the ceremonial weigh-ins. An eleventh hour scratch due to an injury sustained by a faulty elevator? That’s a new one. Although, everyone seemed to be in good spirits at the time…

Before our rescue…& after @aliabdelaziz000 warned from the outside “be-careful in there Urijah”

A video posted by Urijah Faber (@urijahfaber) on

The only thing falling faster than a broken elevator was CM Punk in his Octagon debut against Mickey Gall. After the referee signaled for action to start in the bout, Punk darted across the cage and was instantly put on his back from a takedown by Gall. Two minutes and ten seconds was all it took for Gall to slap on a submission and get a tap. The bigger surprise here was that Punk lasted over two minutes. This isn’t a Punk-bashing session, but let’s be honest for a moment – you cannot walk into the UFC Octagon and expect to be successful with zero fighting experience. That’s not how this works.

Professional wrestling experience? Cool. CM Punk was comfortable in front of tens of thousands screaming fans, which would help with Octagon jitters of being under the bright lights. That’s where Punk’s advantages began and ended. Mickey Gall is a legitimate young, talented prospect with real fighting credentials. He went through the amateur fighting paces, won his first two professional fights, and looked very good in the process. Saturday’s win over Punk didn’t prove anything we already know about Gall. He’s the real fighter, and real fighters emerge victorious when facing someone who is not.

You can applaud CM Punk for fulfilling a dream of his, and it should serve as a point of motivation to pursue your goals. He at least did that much. He made the walk, got tapped, and now knows how real the skill gaps are in the cage. Punk said after the fight he would be returning to the cage in the near future. Bravo for wanting to pursue the dream further, but if that second fight is in the UFC, who could possibly be brought in to face a 0-1 fighter? The UFC’s Punk experiment should be considered complete until he gets some W’s on his record. On the evening, admittedly, it was a fun distraction. We were intrigued by the unknown, but it’s time to get back to the regularly scheduled programming of elite level fighters.

Among those elite taking full advantage of their time in the cage on Saturday was Jessica Andrade. The former bantamweight continued her strawweight run against Joanne Calderwood, with size and strength advantages on full display. Andrade lifted and slammed Calderwood to the canvas with vicious force a couple of times before ultimately slapping on a guillotine to get the win.

Andrade looks very good since making the drop to 115 pounds. While she’s currently ranked sixth, the top of the division would all have difficulties dealing with her power. With Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Karolina Kowalkiewicz nearly set to face off, let’s see how fights against Gadelha, Esparza, or Namajunas turn out. You can pick out flaws in each of the previous names mentioned, but largely, any matchup at the top of the strawweight division will be straight fire.

Tempers were certainly on flaring at the conclusion of the Travis Browne versus Fabricio Werdum fight. Edmund Tarverdyan, Browne’s coach, tried to get in the face of Werdum before Bruce Buffer officially announced the winner. The former heavyweight champion wasn’t having it, and sent a crisp teep towards the chest of Edmund, almost sparking a post-fight rumble in the cage. Edmund was a bit too animated after Browne’s lackluster performance. Perhaps he was worried about retaining his job as Browne’s coach? Edmund’s track record as an MMA coach speaks for itself – he’s terrible. Outside of Ronda Rousey, Edmund has had virtually zero success as a coach. Travis Browne left Jackson-Wink to train at Glendale Fighting Club under Tarverdyan, a move that (unsurprisingly) hasn’t panned out too well. Maybe it’s time to explore other options, especially after the antics Saturday night. Hopefully, Edmund addresses the incident with some reasonable explanation.

Luckily for the fans in attendance, and the city as a whole, the UFC Heavyweight strap stays home, leaving everyone on a high note. It wasn’t easy for Miocic, though. He was knocked on his ass and ate a few other hard strikes, but still got the job done. The UFC titles are passed around like a hot potato as of late, but after a strange evening,  it’s nice to see the strap defended every once and a while too.

Next weekend the UFC heads to the Texas/Mexico border for a Fight Night card in Hidalgo, Texas featuring Michael Johnson versus Dustin Poirier, a hell of a lightweight matchup. Until then, let’s watch that replay a few more times to see if we can find the tap from Stipe.


For the latest MMA news, live event coverage and more follow @mmalatestnws on Twitter.

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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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