In this age of seemingly endless rematches, you could be forgiven for assuming that Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier will retain his world championship by simply walking through Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson at UFC 210 on April 8th, just like last time.
However, after rewatching the fight, it only felt like a cake walk after the Olympic bronze medallist made Rumble tap, en route to claiming the vacant light heavyweight belt the UFC had recently stripped off Jon Jones. For those of you who haven’t seen DC’s ode to cake and chicken, I suggest you look it up immediately.
Since the first contest, Anthony Johnson doubled down and took up training with the world renowned grappling coach Neil Melanson, whose style is said to be different.
“Now working with Neil Melanson on my grappling, there is a night and day difference. The stuff he’s teaching me is not the usual stuff that a trainer teaches you. It’s wrestling-jiu jitsu. Training with Neil has brought my confidence up to a new level.” Johnson said during UFC: Road To The Octagon prior to his contest with Ryan Bader.
A lot has changed since the pair first met inside the Octagon. First of all, DC is two years older which for a 38-year-old with a shot knee is a big deal. There aren’t many out there that would claim DC as the superior athlete in this contest.
“AJ’s a fantastic athlete as everybody knows. It’s not hard to train him,” says his coach Melanson.
In the build up to Rumble’s main event first round demolition of Ryan Bader, many were expecting Bader to be able to replicate a similar game plan to DC’s.
However, in the short time, Rumble had worked with Melanson, the improvements were extraordinary as Rumble easily defended Bader’s single leg attempt. Rumble was instantly looking to spin to Bader’s back, while easily controlling the posture of the NCAA Division One two-time state champion before knocking him out with just 14 blows on the ground. In fairness, the fight should probably have been called after five had landed when Bader turtled up.
During the recent UFC 210 media conference call, Rumble said, “I’m definitely not the same fighter I was two years ago. Every day, every week, every month, every year I’m getting better and better, so you’ll see a different guy out there the next time you see me fight.”
“[The loss] definitely lit a fire under my ass to train harder and know what I needed to do to beat this guy.”
To make the chance of an upset appear even more likely, DC has said in the build-up to the contest that he doesn’t agree that Rumble has changed all that much in the two years since their contest.
“If it makes me a bad guy because I tell the truth, or the truth as I believe it, then I guess that’s what I am,” Cormier said. “Ryan Bader shot from halfway across the Octagon. What people are missing is that Anthony Johnson was never a bad wrestler. He obviously can defend takedowns.”
“When we talk about him being a completely different fighter, I don’t necessarily know what you guys are basing this on. He fought for a total of seven minutes since him and I fought, but he’s this completely different fighter? I have no idea where you guys are getting this from.”
Let’s be clear on this, there are levels to grappling and Bader did look panicky from to moment he made his walk to the cage. However, Rumble is, without a doubt, a much-improved fighter. This may not be enough to close the gap on DC’s wrestling advantage. But anti-wrestling is by far the easiest grappling skill to learn. If Rumble hasn’t improved enough to get the win, we can still expect a far more competitive fight between the pair this time around.
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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