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The Return of the King: UFC 197’s Fighter to Watch

Steven Cavagnino

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Although we are still a few days out, it’s relatively safe to say that former Light Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, is officially back. It wasn’t without some scares, however; including a less-than-friendly run in with a local police officer and an injury that threatened to derail the whole main event. With the past year Jones had, it makes the pick for ‘Fighter to Watch’ an easy one this time around as fans have been chomping at the bit to see him return since the day he was stripped of the title. Despite the fact that he is not facing long time foe, Daniel Cormier, for a chance at becoming a two-time champion, Jones has an interesting fight ahead of him.

While we might not receive an answer to all the questions we had coming into this fight, rest assured that the big ones will be answered, namely:  how will Jones look after a year off? He has a monster in front of him in Ovince St. Preux to demonstrate just that. OSP is a fighter whose raw potential ranks among the top of the UFC’s entire roster. You just have to glance at that man to see what kind of athlete he is, and that’s without diving into his previous resume. The fact that he can knock his opponents out so effortlessly it sometimes looks accidental, is a huge hurdle to leap for anyone in 205 pound division, including Jones. OSP’s size is also a big factor in this fight as Jones will not be at the stunning advantage he usually is when it comes to reach and physicality. Put together all of these factors and this fight will be a true test for Jones, make no mistake about it. For those who felt Jones needed to prove himself before receiving a title shot, well, here you go. Beating the #6 ranked LHW in the UFC should be enough proof to the naysayers and who knows, maybe having a warmup fight might actually prove beneficial to Jones seeing as he’s never had to deal with potential ring rust.

The situation for Jones at UFC 197 draws several parallels to the path current bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz, took on his way back to reclaiming the championship he was forced to forfeit. When Cruz made his UFC return he faced #5 bantamweight, Takeya Mizugaki, and absolutely demolished the veteran fighter, proving he was ready to get his belt back. Now we will see if Jones can do the same against OSP. It’s a litmus test of sorts, fans get a taste of Jones and Jones gets a taste of the Octagon he has been missing from for so long. It’s Jones’ biggest test to date being that the outcome will determine his immediate fighting future. If and how he passes this test is the real question, which is why, if there is any fighter to watch at UFC 197, it is Jon ‘Bones’ Jones.

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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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