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One Defining Moment: The Ultimate Fighter Finale 23

Peyton Wesner

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Unlike many popular professional sports associations, the UFC has no off-season. 365 days a year, from January to December, the best mixed martial artists are training and honing their craft to climb up the rankings and experience their “One Shining Moment.” However, for most, before enjoying his or her “One Shining Moment,” a fighter must establish and prove he or she belongs among the best. This is called the “One Defining Moment.” So without further ado, let’s check out the One Defining Moments of those stepping into the octagon at The Ultimate Fighter Finale 23.

Ross Pearson (21-10, 11-7 in UFC) vs. Will Brooks (17-1, 0-0 in UFC)
***Co-Main Event – Lightweight Bout

Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson

When Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson returned to lightweight and knocked out George Sotiropoulos, he threw his name into a hat of great fighters within the division. Yet, in the always competitive UFC, one simply cannot put his or her name into consideration. Really, he or she must make a statement. This is exactly what he did on April 6, 2013, against Randy Couture. Right out of the gates, it was Couture who initiated a clinch and started working his opponent’s body with strikes and nasty knees. Moreover, the aforementioned brawler landed sharp elbows while gradually bringing the target of his knees higher and higher. As far as Pearson, he simply couldn’t get into the necessary boxing range to fully showcase his talent. Due to Couture’s smothering approach, he successfully landed a takedown around the mid-way point in Round 1. Though, The Real Deal slipped out of the cage mauling and commenced to find his groove in the late stages, which was displayed by a brutal left knee and a left hook. Although there was no doubt the initial round was the property of Couture, Pearson weathered the storm and was set for a strong 2nd. The Real Deal, starting to take more control of the octagon, caused more and more damage with his left hook through the first minute. Couture answered his opponent’s strikes by blanketing him with another clinch and connecting with several kicks and punches combinations. Thus, slipping behind 20-18 on the scorecard started to look more likely for the Englishman. Yet, who would have thought a caught left kick would change the result? Throughout the first 8 minutes, Randy Couture experienced great success with his kicks. Unfortunately for him, it proved to be his downfall. Pearson, catching a left body kick from Couture, caused a trip from the American. Like a shark with blood in the water, The Real Deal presented a real threat by jumping all over his opponent and unleashing hard left hooks. Couture, looking to only survive, was somehow able to get back to his feet. Meeting him as he turned around was nothing less than bombs in the form of Pearson’s right and left hooks. Couture was hurt as he tried to circle to his right. Then, his lights went out. Pearson finished the job with a brutal left hook that ended the fight quicker than it started. It is never safe to leave it to the judges, and Ross Pearson proved his perseverance will never do so, on that April evening.

Will “Ill Will” Brooks

Set to partake in one of the most highly anticipated UFC debuts to recent date this Friday, Will “Ill Will” Brooks enters the best MMA promotion in the world as an already established fighter. More specifically, his “One Defining Moment” can be identified as Bellator 131 on November 15, 2014, when he re-matched Michael Chandler for the vacant lightweight belt. Following a feel out process by both fighters, the former champion Chandler began his execution of cutting his opponent off from the rest of the circle. Yet, Brooks had the more successful strike game, for he was landing flush with a very fluid kick, punch combos. Around one minute in, Chandler attempted a single leg takedown. Despite Brooks getting to the side of the cage, his opponent inflicted much damage in the clinch and took the back of the interim champion (with Brooks on his knees). Quickly scrambling, Ill Will hopped back to his feet prior to drilling Chandler with more kicks and his right jab. The former champion had no significant strikes in the final 90 seconds of Round 1, leading viewers to believe Brooks was ahead 10-9. Unlike the 1st, the two lightweights were aggressive coming out of the physical reprieve. Chandler induced another clinch around the same time as the round prior. However, he was only able to record an Ill Will slip from his efforts as the super athletic now UFC fighter escaped. But, in the next exchange Chandler drilled his adversary with a hard right hook and proceeded to land a kick. There was just one problem with the kick; it was a hard groin shot to Brooks. The interim champion, face to the ground in pain, was allowed a minute to regather his thoughts and continued his pursuit. After resuming, Ill Will had a stingy sidekick land. Moreover, he persisted in working the outside of the cage and slipping out of harm’s reach. Though, he wouldn’t the next time. Sprawling and blocking a Chandler takedown, Brooks got back to stand-up, but in the worst place possible as he had no room to manoeuvre and his back was against the cage. The former champion took advantage of the aforementioned and started teeing off with multiple big blows from his right hand. The bout could have been over, yet Will Brooks has a great chin, which allowed him to stay upright and offer uppercuts in return. After escaping, Ill Will shot for a takedown. What a mistake this was. The interim champion literally put his head right into the lap of Chandler, allowing him to attempt a guillotine choke. Granted, with his hips out of position, Chandler was unable to get the guillotine initially; yet, transitioning the position to stand-up, he had the choke tight and began cranking on Brooks’ neck. The crowd exploded as the finish looked imminent. Not this time! Ill Will, staying calm, slipped out of the hold and ended the round with a plethora of big blasts that caught the former champion with his hands down. In the 3rd, Brooks was by far the fresher of the two fighters. From landing jabs and moving out of danger to stuffing deep takedown attempts and unloading short knees, the interim champion rebounded fantastically by putting together a no-doubt 3rd round victory. The championship rounds were next, and only one would be needed to crown a champion. Starting with a jab and continuing to miss fists, Ill Will looked to be pulling away. Although a Chandler flying knee took some of the winds out of his sail, it was not too much as the interim champion stuffed another takedown attempt and proceeded to circle. At this moment, Brooks would cause a mouse to surface under one of his opponent’s eyes. Yet, that’s not all! Furthermore, a Brooks’ right hook to the temple disoriented Chandler and caused him to put his hands up in surrender. Will Brooks would follow up with a few strikes for good measure, ending the fight and solidifying his status as the best Bellator lightweight in the world

#C Joanna Jedrzejczyk (11-0, 5-0 in UFC) vs #1 Claudia Gadelha (13-1, 2-1 in UFC)
***Main Event – Women’s Strawweight Championship

Joanna Jedrzejczyk

No women’s strawweight has been more active since the division was conceived than current champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. In fact, this Friday’s fight will be her sixth in less than two years. Though, to make a name in this business, she only needed three opportunities and a title shot to display the talent and heart of a champion. The Poland native was facing, at the time, the only champion the division had ever seen, Carla Esparza. In the first exchange, Esparza eyed an immediate takedown but was met with a sprawl and a hard elbow leaving the exchange. The first toe-to-toe standoff could be scored to Jedrzejczyk; however, Esparza soon tried again and trapped her opponent’s left leg before solidifying a takedown. Granted, the pride of Poland escaped out the back door, but she soon found herself against the side of the cage and eating a hard right hook. Following the break, Jedrzejczyk, again, was unable to have time or room to strike, for the opposition shot for a second takedown in the centre of the octagon and ended up landing it along the side. Constantly desiring to get back to stand-up, the now champion shook off Esparza and executed a stingy right hook, which actually staggered the then belt holder. Jedrzejczyk, known for pressing forward while on the feet, became more and more effective in landing strikes. Moreover, whether it was a right hook, left jab, or a straight from either side, she was landing flush while stuffing four takedowns in just over two minutes. At the end of the 1st, Jedrzejczyk took her dominance to a new level by teeing off with five very significant strikes as Esparza was trapped against the cage. Meeting Esparza on her side of the octagon to commence the 2nd, Jedrzejczyk stayed aggressive in the next round. Furthermore, she landed a formidable right hook prior to scrambling against the cage to defend another takedown attempt. Less than a minute later, Esparza persisted to execute her wrestling game plan but was sprawled upon before absorbing a left straight, right hook combination. Jedrzejczyk administered, even more, damage with a right hook, right elbow two-piece. The end of Esparza’s reign was inevitable as the Polish striker continued to batter her opponent. A Jedrzejczyk right-hand, a left-hand straight combo led to a plethora of right-hand hooks, ultimately stopping the bout with less than a minute left in the 2nd. Striking and takedown defence, if you have both, you will have a spot at the top for a very long time.

Claudia Gadelha

How a fighter bounces back from his or her first professional loss, tells a lot about the longevity and future success of the individual. Hence, Claudia Gadelha did more than prove herself and her potential when compiling a masterful performance last August at UFC 190 in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. Gadelha, wasting no time to feel out her opponent, immediately attacked Jessica Aguilar with a nasty left knee in the clinch as well as a series of jabs and hooks. She later caused more damage thanks to a follow-up left-right-left hook combination. Even when Gadelha was hit, she was unfazed and proceeded to land hooks and deadly Thai clinch knees. The never ceasing attack of Gadelha bloodied up the nose of Aguilar and slammed the latter to the canvas for her fourth takedown. When the dust cleared after the 1st five minutes; there was no question Gadelha had won the round and was up 10-9. And soon, the 2nd would be her’s too. Showcasing the same aggressiveness as the segment prior, the top women’s strawweight contender cracked her opponent with a right hook and transitioned to a hard one-two. Immediately after, a right hook didn’t just rock Aguilar but cracked her. Gadelha followed up with a right body kick while looking for the finish. Aguilar induced a clinch to stay alive; however, all it did was give Gadelha a moment to get a hold and score another takedown. Once back on the feet, Gadelha pounded the opposition with combinations, uppercuts, and kicks. Moreover, she shot and completed an end of round takedown, just for good measures. Unlike some who would have coasted in the 3rd, Claudia Gadelha came out with a desire to finish the fight. Despite Aguilar getting off some sharp leg kicks, the top contender answered with heavy blows that sent the American backwards. To seal the victory and great performance, the Brazilian enjoyed her fourth takedown of the evening. Although her ground and pound barrage for the finish fell short, Claudia Gadelha’s next bout was sealed and an attempt for UFC gold was next.

More One Defining Moments:

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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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