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One More Fight for GSP?

Matthew Wells

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GSP may finally be returning to the UFC. That is if his former manager is to be trusted.

On The MMA Hour, a radio show hosted by journalist Ariel Helwani, GSP’s former manager Stephane Patry suggests a minimum one-fight return for the former welterweight champ. “Georges is going to come back for one fight,” Patry told Helwani. “I can’t say he’s going to come back and go on a title run and do 10 fights, but I know for sure he’s going to come back for one fight.” Although this scoop is coming from someone intimate with St. Pierre (at least formerly), a return to the octagon for the Tristar-based fighter is purely speculation. However, if George St. Pierre does choose to come back, who would the UFC put in front of him for his comeback fight?

Here are four fighters that would make interesting opponents for “Rush”.

Hector Lombard

This fight may just be a pipe dream at this point, but before Hector Lombard was popped for steroids and subsequently suspended, the Cuban fighter was on track towards title contention after logging impressive victories over Nate Marquardt, Jake Shields, and Josh Burkman. GSP has always been vocal about the rampant PED use in the sport of MMA and presumably wouldn’t want to fight someone who has been caught red-handed like Lombard. However, Lombard claims he unknowingly took the illegal substance as a pill to relieve post weight cut sickness. In the unlikely event Lombard gets exonerated, a matchup with St. Pierre would do great in pay-per-view buys. I remember salivating over the possibility of this fight being booked after Hector Lombard dropped to 170 pounds and brutalized Nate Marquardt in his first fight. A showdown with George St. Pierre seemed inevitable. So, how would that showdown go down? GSP owns elite grappling and striking skills while having dynamic athleticism. The same could be said for Lombard with his Olympic level judo background and the hellfire missile launchers hanging off his shoulders (he has lightning hands). There is a good chance this fight would be a mostly standing affair as Hector’s innate strength and balance would most likely offset St. Pierre’s takedown attempts; a reason why this scrap looks so intriguing. Instead of dominating his opponent from the top position for the entirety of five rounds, GSP might actually have to dust off his boxing and Muay Thai for an extended period of time. The outcome of this fight is hard to predict. Lombard does have a reputation of gassing out as the rounds pile up while St. Pierre thrives in competing all five rounds, but you can’t count out “Showeather’s” massive power.

Johny Hendricks

This one makes the most sense since Johny Hendricks was the last man to challenge Georges St. Pierre in what would be a very contentious split decision win for “Rush”. An immediate rematch was almost an afterthought but St. Pierre ultimately decided to step away. Hendricks would go on to win and subsequently lose the welterweight strap and while his recent victory over Matt Brown could help lock in a title fight, it is possible that “Bigg Rigg” jumps at the chance to avenge his controversial loss. The rematch could go a couple of different ways. Johny Hendricks went on record during the UFC 167 post-fight press conference saying he was only using “around 70% of his power” when throwing punches for fear of gassing out as the fight wore on. Despite not using all of his energy, Hendricks was visibly rocking St. Pierre with strikes and even close to getting a finish a few times. If the second bout saw a more aggressive Johny Hendricks coming out firing on all cylinders, the fight may end early in favor of the former All-American wrestler. On the other hand, GSP could utilize more movement than he did in the first fight to evade Hendricks’ power shots while setting up takedowns.

Benson Henderson

This one may throw off some fans, but if you can remember all the way back to early 2013 when Benson Henderson was still the lightweight champion, talks of a superfight between the two titleholders were pretty trendy. Alas, it was eventually shot down by Dana White and the MMA world moved on. With Benson Henderson’s successful foray into the welterweight division, the possibility of this fight happening would be higher than many people think. The two former champs are still amongst the most skilled and popular fighters in mixed martial arts and a scrap between the two would be a considerable draw. So how would this fight go? Both men are competent on the ground as well as standing up. Being the bigger and longer fighter, GSP would probably be able to defend most takedown attempts while landing some of his own. He would have to be careful on the ground though, as Benson Henderson has a slick submission game with almost half of his wins coming by tap out. Standing up, St. Pierre would most likely take advantage of his reach with his trusty jab. This fight has the potential to be a grappling chess match since both guys are accustomed to the grind, but the excellent takedown defense of both men could lead to most of the action coming via striking on the feet.

Anderson Silva

The holy grail of superfights at one point, alas, this bout never materialized. Whether it was due to disagreements regarding what weight class the fight would take place in or the two champions being preoccupied with worthy title challengers in their respective divisions, the stars couldn’t align for this scrap. Assuming St. Pierre does indeed return, he’d have hesitations about taking this bout for much of the same reasons he wouldn’t take on Lombard. Anderson Silva shockingly tested positive for steroids after his UFC 183 win over Nick Diaz who, a bit less shockingly, tested positive for marijuana. However, this is the fight almost everyone still wants to see and sooner rather than later; Silva is fading out of his prime while GSP also continues to age. Many have pontificated over the years on how the clash between GSP and the “Spider” would turn out. On one hand, St. Pierre could use his superior wrestling to dominate Silva on the ground. On the other hand, a rangy Silva could masterfully keep the distance and pick St. Pierre apart with strikes.

Although it would be fun to see George St. Pierre in the cage once more, it seems like he’s enjoying retirement. In addition to some high profile acting gigs that include some irritating, if not infuriating, energy drink commercials and superhero movies, St. Pierre may be jumping on to the professional pro wrestling circuit with a rumored WWE appearance in the woodworks.

Regardless of his decision to return to the cage or stay retired MMA fans should be grateful for all the great performances the welterweight GOAT put on and wish him the best in any and all his future endeavors.

 

Author: AJ Agnihotri

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Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.

Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.


Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?

I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.

Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?

I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened.  They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.

Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of  Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?

I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.

It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.

Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?

I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.

I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.

Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!

 

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2017 IMMAF World Championships: Finals fixtures

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After 4 days of non stop action from Monday to Thursday we have our final 14 bouts to determine the 2017 IMMAF World Champions. Most of these fighters have fought four times for their slot  in the final and tomorrow will be their chance to finish off what has been a fantastic week of fights.

Kicking off the action tomorrow will be Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan. Both women have looked extremely impressive in their bouts so far, Oliveira has spent less time in the cage than her opponent after finishing two of her fights. Neilan is the Irish teams last chance of a gold in this competition and comes into this after a war of a last fight. She is constantly pressuring and has solid striking with incredible ground and pound from any position on top.

Joel Aronlainen came down to featherweight after testing the water at lightweight in the European Championships. His lanky build and impressive overall skill set has seen him pick up 3 finishes in the competition so far. His opponent Delyan Georgiev is undefeated and will be a tough challenge for him. Georgiev has dominated the featherweight division at amateur, his gold medal at the European Championships could now lead to him becoming a world champion if he continues to perform like we’re used to seeing him do.

At 155lbs, Vitali Andruhovich will take on top American prospect Quintin Thomas for the gold. Andruhovich has been on the right side of two very close split decisions in this tournament so far. His controversial win over Irishman Ciaran Clarke had many people scratching their heads at the decision. He now has the chance to prove himself with a win against Quintin Thomas. Thomas is the UMMAF National Champion and a very experienced amateur fighter. Racking up 13 wins he has been a dominant fighter in most of his fights, his sole losses coming from sustaining an injury and a split decision loss.

For the Middleweight medal we have a battle of the Nordic fighters. Iceland’s Bjorn Lukas Haraldsson has looked phenomenal in his fights so far, finishing each and everyone inside a round. The Mjolnir fighter has been to many the highlight of the tournament, but has a tough task a head of him in Laallam who’s had half the number of fights in this tournament and looked impressive in both.

Bahrain’s last hope for a medal lies in the hand of Light Heavyweight finisher Murtaza Talha Ali. Ali has finished all four of his bouts so far, 3 via TKO/KO and his last being by way of submission. Standing in his way of gold will be Pavel Pahomenko from Belarus who’s proven to be lethal with submissions once an opportunity arises scoring two submission wins inside the first round.

Here is the full fixture list for the finals tomorrow:

  • Michele Oliveira  vs.  Danni Neilan 125 lbs
  • Anna Astvik  vs.  Hannah Dawson 115 lbs
  • Chamia Chabbi  vs.  Manon Fiorot 135 lbs
  • C. McCrudden  vs.  Fabiana Giampà 145 lbs
  • Gase Sanita  vs.  Kaycee Blake 155 lbs
  • Yernaz Mussabek  vs.  Serdar Atlas 125 lbs
  • Gamzat Magomedov  vs.  O. Moldagaliyev 135 lbs
  • Joel Arolainen  vs.  Delyan Georgiev 145 lbs
  • V. Andruhovich  vs.  Quitin Thomas 155 lbs
  • Sola Axel  vs.  Benjamin Bennett 170 lbs
  • B. Haraldsson  vs.  Khaled Laallam 185 lbs
  • Pavel Pahomenko  vs.  Murtaza Talha Ali 205 lbs
  • Irman Smajic  vs.  Lev Vins 265 lbs
  • Atanas Krastanov  vs.  Marcin Kalata 300 lbs
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Why It’s Time to Cherish Michael Bisping and Stop the Hate

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Ever since the Ultimate Fighter 3, Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping has been one of the most hated fighters on the UFC roster. Since he was painted as the big bad Brit against the American hero Dan Henderson, Bisping has been the villain. He has played up to the reputation of being one of the biggest heels in the UFC, with his arrogance, trash talk and often disrespectful attitude.

But nothing has summed up Michael Bisping more than the events of this past week. After losing his Middleweight Championship to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 217, no one would blame Bisping for wanting a few months on the couch whilst sinking a few beers before retiring at UFC London in March.

After hearing that Anderson Silva had tested positive for a banned substance, it was announced that Bisping would fill in for Silva to face Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC Shanghai. A fight that nobody else would have wanted. A fight that he has less than three weeks to prepare for.

The fight does nothing for Bisping. Gastelum is a rising, rejuvenated contender and Bisping knows he can not take him lightly. But he’s also seven places below him in the rankings. Although, this doesn’t matter anymore as Bisping has announced this will be his second to last fight ever before hanging up his gloves.

Nothing sums Bisping up better than his comment on Gastelum’s Instagram post “See you in China. Loser buys the beers”.

He sounds relaxed. Perhaps he’s enjoying his last two fights and is at peace with his impending retirement.

In an era all about money, fighters like Bisping are rare and hard to come by. Fighters that only care about one thing, fighting.

Sure, his title reign wasn’t the best. But the UFC offered him the Henderson fight, to bring back some feeling of nostalgia that has been missing in the modern times of the UFC. And who in their right mind wouldn’t want to face one of the greatest ever in GSP.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JULY 17: Michael Bisping of England steps on the scale during the UFC weigh-in inside the SSE Hydro on July 17, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

It’s easy to forget amongst all the trash talk that Bisping has always played by the rules, and been anti PEDs during a time when a majority of the roster was using some form of performance enhancers. Fighting PED users has given Bisping most of his losses and has even led to him losing sight in one of his eyes.

Most of Bisping’s outrageous acts, have been him using a ‘pro wrestling’ act in order to hype up his fights and put bums in seats. That isn’t an excuse for some of his obnoxious behaviour. But when he’s not in the zone, it’s clear to see what a respectful and humble man he is. Like his moment after UFC 217, where he approached Cody Garbrandt to tell him how proud he was of him, or his post fight respect for Anderson Silva, where they both bowed on their knees to one another.

This is me and Anderson exchanging respect while being attended to by the doctors.

A post shared by Mikebisping (@mikebisping) on

The truth is, Bisping is an incredible ambassador of the sport and one of the pioneers across the pond.

Bisping should be remembered and appreciated as the workhorse warrior who brought absolutely everything he had to the cage every time he fought. He always comes to fight, whether it’s three weeks notice or more. He’s simply tough as hell.

Believe you me Michael Bisping is a true old school legend of this sport and should be cherished whilst we still have him, cause we will miss him when he’s gone.

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