The Welterweight division was completely flipped when Tyron Woodley took the title at UFC 201 with a first-round knockout of Robbie Lawler. One of the deepest divisions in the UFC keeps getting deeper with the new champion as the new look at the top brings in exciting matchups. The call-out of former title challenger Nick Diaz during the post-fight interview by Woodley shows the fans, and the UFC brass, where his mind is as a champion. Many guys could earn their way to a title shot in the next couple of months, all with eyes on that coveted gold strap.
The Champion –Tyron Woodley
Many wrote Tyron Woodley off against Robbie Lawler. It was seen as a setup bout for bigger fights against other guys. The 18 month wait he took to cash in on being promised the title shot worked in his favor after he beat Lawler by first-round knockout to capture the belt. He took the opportunity with all eyes on him to call out Nick Diaz for a fight at UFC 202. While that timetable was not going to be met, a fight with Diaz and Woodley would do big numbers. Many others have ‘deserved’ the shot more, but many thought the same when Woodley got his title shot.
While many can claim to have earned their title shot, no one can take that claim away from “Wonderboy”. Seven straight wins and two top 3 wins undoubtedly have a lot of pull for the Karate style fighter, but the big fight Woodley wants may see him wait for his shot or take another fight. If the fight with Woodley can’t come together, a fight with Lawler, Kelvin Gastelum, or Neil Magny (if he can get past Lorenz Larkin) would be the match-ups to move forward in the division.
The one-time Middleweight title challenger has put together a nice run in the 170-pound division. Five straight wins and 8 of 10 in the Welterweight division puts Maia one or two fights away from getting a title shot in his second division. He has wins in his career over great fighters and is set for a fight with three-time title challenger Carlos Condit at UFC on Fox 21. A win over Condit, especially a finish, gives the Brazilian that one top 5 win every title challenger needs.
What many believe should be the current champion after his close decision with Robbie Lawler at UFC 195 is just a contender for the time being. After flirting with retirement after 39 career fights, Condit will return as the headliner at UFC on Fox 21 against Maia. He earned his stripes in the division when he won the Interim belt against Nick Diaz at UFC 143. Despite losing the unification bout, he has stayed at the top of the division with well-timed wins to earn his title shot at UFC 195. With the fight being so close at UFC 195, a win over Maia places ‘The Natural Born Killer’ inside that bubble of immediate title contenders.
The workhorse of the division happens to also be one of the best fighters. Eleven fights inside 25 months have seen Magny win 10 of those fight, each coming over bigger and bigger opponents. After seven straight wins, a loss to Maia set him back very little as he has three consecutive wins right after. His fight with Lorenz Larkin at UFC 202 is the longest time between fights for Magny since his first and second UFC fights. A win at UFC 202 isn’t the one to gain Magny a title shot but puts him closer and available for bigger opponents in the near future.
Despite losses to Lawler and Thompson in his last two, MacDonald is still among the top tier at 170. At just 27 years old, MacDonald has a lot of fight time left to regain his form. While not currently under contract, one of the best fighters in the Welterweight division has spent the majority of his professional career with the UFC. If he chooses to return to the UFC, fights with anyone inside the top 10 is a step in the right direction to get back on track for a title run.
The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 winner is a real threat as long as he can comfortably make 170 pounds. After five straight wins, he lost a fight to champion Tyron Woodley after missing weight badly at UFC 183. He is 2-2 in his last four but looked fantastic in his last two fights against Neil Magny (decision loss) and former champion Johny Hendricks (decision win). At just 24 years old, Gastelum has a lot of room, and time, for improvement. Big fights await the young star and a title shot could be right around the corner with multiple big wins.
The other Irishman goes about his business much different from his teammate Conor McGregor. The seasoned grappler already has six UFC at 28 years old, including submission wins over Brandon Thatch and Albert Tumenov. With his striking prowess (Brown belt in Karate) and grappling mastery, it won’t be long before ‘Gunni’ is a top Welterweight. Fights against fellow top 15 fighters will keep Nelson in the hunt for the title he wants so badly.
The Russian fighter has some of the best boxing in the division as a National Master in Boxing and Hand-to-Hand combat. Five straight wins were cut short after he was submitted by Gunnar Nelson back at UFC: Rotterdam in May. He’s another young prospect in one of the deepest divisions at just 24 years old, a lot of time to sure up the parts of his game that need work. A win in his next fight will do great things for him going forward, followed up by a ranked fight after.
The former title challenger was called out by champion Tyron Woodley after his title win at UFC 201. He’s worth mentioning not just because of the call-out, but also because he brings fans in to watch events. Despite losing his last three fights, despite being caught with inflated levels of marijuana in his system, Diaz continues to be around the top of a division he has not fought in since 2013.
Georges St. Pierre
The long-time champion who never lost his belt has been hinting at a return for quite some time. The title he held for the better part of seven years is now in the hands of Tyron Woodley who says he wants the money fights. A fight with Woodley in New York City is the money fight he is looking for but is all contingent on whether GSP is ready to return to the division he dominated for years.
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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