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State of the Welterweight Division

Vinny Craig

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This is not the same Welterweight division of which Georges St. Pierre was champion  for the better part of seven years. Saturday proved that as two sluggers fought till the very end and gave us an early Fight of the Year candidate. The division has a lot of moving parts that will be in action before the next title fight, likely around late spring or early summer. Here’s how the division stacks up and who goes where.

Champion

Robbie Lawler

The new found youth of Robbie Lawler is inspiring to see someone use their knowledge and skills together to achieve greatness. Two consecutive five-round Fight of the Night title defenses has the ever popular Lawler in the right position to call the shots. Look for Robbie to be ready to go within the next four to six months again, coincidentally when the division will come to a set after the next series of fights.

 

Next-In-Line

Carlos Condit

In the age of the rematch, this is one justified immediate title shot rematch. Condit threw with the champ for five rounds and made a case for his hand to be raised as the new champion. If Condit decides to stick around for a few more fights, a rematch for the title is very possible. Condit landed 176 Significant Strikes and gave the champ all he could handle and a match up with anyone else right now doesn’t seem like the right match up.

Tyron Woodley

If the last title challenger forgoes his rematch, the man promised a title shot is still waiting. Tyron Woodley has had the worst luck of any fighter when it comes to weigh-ins, and that has helped him get his title chance. A winner of four of five, Woodley has set himself up with a fight against the champ with wins over Condit, Dong Hyun-Kim and Kelvin Gastelum. If the title shot isn’t there, a fight with the Hendricks-Thompson winner to determine the true number one contender would be ideal.

The Present

Rory MacDonald

After a grueling bout with the champ at UFC 189, MacDonald gained a ton of respect from fans and experts alike with his performance. Still without a fight since then, a rumor has floated around thar he will face a formerly expected opponent in Hector Lombard some time in April. A good showing there, and a new champion, could help the case for the ‘Red King’ on the path to being a champion.

Matt Brown

A winner of eight of ten fights, Brown is always at the top of the contender pile. A July win over Tim Means by Guillotine started off another chance for a long win streak. Currently out on injury after having a November fight with Kelvin Gastelum cancellled, Brown is still looking for a fight at the beginning part of the year with a higher ranked guy.

Demian Maia

Age ain’t nothing but a number! The 38-year-old submission ace is finding a career resurgence with four straight wins. This comes after two close losses to high-profile guys in Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald. His last fight was a grappler’s dream as Maia just out-classed Gunnar Nelson at UFC 194. With four straight wins and a previous Middleweight title challenger, Maia is right there for a big fight and eventual title shot.

Neil Magny

The busiest fighter in the UFC has done so by taking any fight put in front of him. A winner of nine of ten in last 21 months, Magny has went from fighting on the prelims to the main event of his last fight. After a loss to Maia at UFC 190, two straight wins over Erick Silva in Saskatoon and Kelvin Gastelum in a main event slot in Monterrey. Look for an appearance soon by Magny, who should take a step back and look for the bigger fight.

Benson Henderson

The former Lightweight champion has successfully made the move to 170 and is a player in the division. After a main event win over Jorge Masvidal, Henderson is currently seeking a new contract and may leave the biggest MMA organization. If he stays, a fight with a top 15 guy is evident for the new contender in town.

The Future

Kelvin Gastelum

The highly touted fighter out of TUF 17 looked prime for a title run after five straight wins off the show. Weight issues and endurance problems from that weight cut have seen Gastelum lose two of three with the lone win coming at 185. At just 24, the young Gastelum has a lot of upside and may not have even hit his prime yet.

Tarec Saffiedine

The former Strikeforce champion has yet to really show his chops in the UFC. He has had to pull out of more fights (3) than he has fought in the UFC (2). Despite the injuries, Saffiedine has found himself in two high profile fights against Hyun Gyu-Lim and Rory MacDonald going 1-1. Fights with Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown have been scrapped in the past. He does currently have a fight scheduled and at just 29 years old still has time for a title run.

Stephen Thompson

Wonderboy is a winner of five in a row and has climbed into the top ten. After a KO of Jake Ellenberger at TUF 21 Finale, Thompson is set for a co-main event showdown with Johny Hendricks at UFC 196. At 32, the future is a little shorter for Wonderboy at 32 years old, but a win over Hendricks would be a rocket launch to the top.

 

Gunnar Nelson

The talented SBG product is not quite there, but can do it soon. A loss to Damian Maia at UFC 194 has set the Iceland native back a little, but a good showing in the near future will keep him relevant. With the grappling skills, his striking has improved over his time at SBG. I could see a fight with anyone in this futures group a good match up for ‘Gunni’.

Albert Tumenov

On a night when the actual Robbie Lawler retained the belt, Albert Tumenov impressed on the main card. Despite a barrage of leg kicks, Tumenov kept on keeping on and walked forward against Lorenz Larkin to take the decision. A winner of five in a row and sitting just outside the top 15 in the division, a bout with Gunnar Nelson would be an interesting clash of styles.

Long Shot

Jake Ellenberger

The once highly touted striker has come to a screeching halt as of late. Despite having 9 UFC wins, he has lost 3 of his last four with three times being finished. The lone win came over Josh Koscheck at UFC 184 with a North-South choke, but that has been the only good in a timeline of awful. He still seems to pulling in big time opponents as he will face Tarec Saffeidine at UFC on FOX 18.

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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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