When Danielle Taylor steps into the octagon in the main card opener of UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs. Caceres to face Maryna Moroz on Saturday night, she will be doing so with the deck stacked heavily against her. At the time of writing Taylor is as far as a +236 underdog with some bookmakers, and it is easy to see why.
With Taylor previously plying her trade under the King of the Cage banner, Moroz represents a big step up in competition, currently sitting just outside the top 10 at 115 pounds. On top of that, Taylor is giving up a vast seven-inch reach advantage against an accomplished boxer. To make matters worse, Taylor is taking the fight on only nine days notice, and will be making her UFC debut.
Over the past 12 months, 58 fighters have stepped in as a replacement opponent on less than 31 days notice in the UFC. At times the performances have been spectacular, from Lando Vannata’s recent belter against Tony Ferguson, to Valentina Shevchenko’s defeat of Sarah Kaufman, through to Michael Bisping’s stunning knockout of Luke Rockhold to become UFC middleweight champion. And of course, with their UFC 202 rematch right around the corner, nobody will ever forget Nate Diaz’ win over Conor McGregor back at UFC 196.
Hitting the memory banks, swayed by the spectacular, it might seem like the year of the late replacement, but that really hasn’t been the case.
Of those 58 who stepped in on short notice, only 20 have emerged victorious, equating to little more than 34%. What made Shevchenko’s win so impressive, beyond the fact that she was facing a top 10 fighter on the women’s MMA all-time list, was that it was also her UFC debut.
Over the past 12 months, 28 fighters have combined late replacement duties with their first UFC call up, but only four of them have made a winning start to their UFC careers. Just over 14%. Along with Shevchenko, the other fighters to do so were Josh Emmett, Luke Sanders and Alex Morono. Taylor will be looking to increase that list to five against Moroz.
To make matters worse, of the fighters who took their bouts on 12 days notice or less, only 31% were victorious. That figure is 57% when we look at fighters who had 18 days notice or more. Taylor took her assignment only nine days ahead of her bout with Moroz.
The preconceptions about these fights are often that the fighter who came in late and has not had a full camp needs to get their opponent out of there early or they will struggle in the later rounds as their under-filled gas tank starts to empty, but that has not held true. Of the 20 late replacement winners, 12 of them won by decision. Neil Magny deserves special mention for not only going three full rounds, but five, when he beat Kelvin Gastelum on 18 days notice at the TUF Latin America 2 Finale main event last year.
In fact, when the fight has finished early that’s usually favoured the originally scheduled fighter. Of the 28 fights that ended inside the distance, over 71% saw the late replacement come up short. That is compared to only 57% of the fights that went to a decision.
Grinding out a decision on Saturday night might be Taylor’s most obvious route to victory. If she is able to do that, it will represent a momentous victory for her against every single one of the odds.
Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”
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:
Just make sure you don’t put cooking oil all over your body like Anderson did so it’ll be easy to grab ahold of you @lyotomachidafw 👌
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) October 17, 2017
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.
Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217
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:
— Ovince Saint Preux (@003_OSP) October 19, 2017
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.
Fight News update!!
— UFC (@ufc) October 19, 2017
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.
*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results
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)
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)
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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