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The Debate: Anthony Johnson vs Ryan Bader



Welcome to The Debate. This is our new segment in which two of our writers engage in a discussion about upcoming main events. The week, we have UFC on FOX 18, which is headlined by Anthony “Rumble” Johnson taking on Ryan “Darth” Bader. In the blue corner, debating in favour of Ryan Bader, we have Derek Bowe and in the red corner, arguing Anthony Johnson’s case, will be Brendan McGlynn.

Without further ado, let’s get right to it! The guys start by explaining why they believe their respective fighter will emerge victorious on Saturday night.

Derek Bowe: I believe in Anthony Johnson’s finishing ability, however the extent of that belief only extends into the first round opposite a guy who will push the pace the way Bader will. Bader is a better wrestler than Johnson, and outside the first round will not slow. If Bader fights as smart has he has as of recent he will survive the onslaught of Johnson in the first. Bader has not engaged in firefights lately which is exactly what got him into trouble in some of his losses. He is more calculated, and ready to grind a tired Johnson for two of the three rounds, win an easy decision, and challenge for the title.

Brendan McGlynn: The question that sticks with me in that argument is will Anthony Johnson allow the fight to get out of the first round? I don’t think Ryan Bader will have an opportunity to grind him out to a decision and I don’t think he is going to dictate whether or not he gets into a firefight. Bader has been susceptible to one punch Knockouts (Machida, Teixeira) and he is facing the best one in the game today in Rumble. If Rumble was facing anyone other than Daniel Cormier in their title match his one punch would have given him the belt and Cormier even said so. Cormier is a GREAT Wrestler, Ryan Bader is a good wrestler. I think Johnson controls the fight early with his reach/power and connects one time to end the fight.

DB: Your reference to Ryan Bader allowing himself to get knocked out by engaging into danger is irrelevant now. Bader is a much different, and better fighter than the guy who would stand on the pocket and trade with fighters who possess better stand up than himself. Bader now works angles, avoids danger, and uses his best attributes, his wrestling and cardio to control where the fight goes. Johnson’s biggest areas of weakness: wrestling, and cardio. Bader is equipped with the kryptonite to Anthony Johnson’s Superman.

BM: You’re right, he doesn’t get caught in dangerous situations and why is that? Because he hasn’t fought dangerous strikers recently. He fights people who are wrestlers but ones who aren’t as good as he is. 3 out of his last six wins are against guys who didn’t scratch the top 10 rankings of the LHW division (Matyushenko, Perosh, Cavalcante). 3 of his last six wins are no longer in the UFC for that matter. Bader has not fought anyone with the pure striking power that Rumble has. The fact of the matter is if you’re going to wrestle someone to a decision, you have to get a hold of them. Johnson handled the angles and cuts of previous title challenger Alexander Gustafsson.

As you can see, no time was wasted getting straight to the nitty-gritty. The debate continued when the topic of each fighter’s “x-factor” was brought up.

BM: I think the X factor in this fight for Johnson will be his wrestling. Ryan Bader has a number of collegiate accolades for wrestling, that’s without question. However, Anthony Johnson was a junior college champion as a wrestler. I think Ryan Bader’s only strength in the division was fighting guys who were nowhere near his wrestling level. Anthony Johnson only has been taken down by one guy in his tenure in the LHW division and that was an elite Wrestler in Daniel Cormier. I think A.J stuffs a takedown early to fluster Bader and will bait him into coming in recklessly.

DB: Bader is a better wrestler than Johnson, period. Bader does not plod forward anymore. He hits angles and now works behind a jab, which in my opinion is the best punch in the sport. I think you forgot he that just beat Rashad Evans. Johnson will be the frustrated fighter as Bader uses his jab, circles out of danger, then hits a blast double when Johnson is tired, which is assured to happen. Bader keeps his distance in the first and controls the rest of the fight with ease over an exhausted Johnson. You are making your entire prediction on the clumsy fighter Bader USED to be and ignoring the facts. While I make mine on exactly what Johnson still is: A fighter with big power, poor fight IQ, and a 1/3 filled gas tank.

BM: Bader is still a clumsy fighter. He is fighting people who aren’t top 10 level in that division. Anthony Johnson fights the best consistently. He didn’t have any issues with the way Alexander Gustafsson deals with angles. Gus is an infinitely better striker. Rumble won’t have issues with Bader’s Jab.

DB: Two words: Rashad Evans I mean, did you even watch the fight? His movement was fluid, his jab was stellar. Rashad Evans is no bottom-dweller. You continue to reference the Ryan Bader of old. Bader is a completely different fighter where Johnson still the same one-round-wonder.

BM: Rashad Evans blew his knee out twice in 2 years. He is a shell of the fighter he used to be and was incredibly timid. Johnson is not timid.

DB: Rashad is still a good fighter, he just got beat by a better fighter in Bader. Johnson’s aggression is his to his detriment, not his strength.

BM: Anthony Johnson will knock him out in under 2 minutes.

DB: He better, because that is all he has to win this fight. Bader has more ways to win, is a better all-round fighter and possesses the one attribute that is Johnson’s biggest weakness, a great gas tank.

Neither man was even close to backing down at this point. Of course, dealing with an opponent’s strengths effectively will go a long way towards winning a fight. The guys traded opinions on that subject, before making their final predictions.

BM: Bader’s biggest strength is his wrestling. Johnson is not a bad wrestler. I think with his size advantage and wrestling background he will be able to neutralize Bader’s defensive wrestling quickly and efficiently to keep the fight standing.

DB: Johnson’s greatest strength is his knockout power, he probably possesses more of that than any other fighter in this division. Johnson will not be negating Bader’s defensive wrestling because he will not be wrestling defensively, he will be wrestling offensively, shooting in for takedowns. Johnson’s biggest strength is something that is most effectively neutralized by Bader’s biggest strength. That is how Ryan Bader wins this fight.

BM: My prediction: Anthony Johnson stuffs a takedown, knocks Bader out in round 1 via head kick followed by a brief session of ground and pound.

DB: My prediction: Bader via decision after Johnson slows and Bader beats him up from halfway through the second round until the conclusion of the fight.

So there we have it, debate number one is in the books. Who made the better argument in favour of their fighter? Has either man forced you reconsider your own prediction for the fight? Get in touch and let us know!

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Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223



UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.


Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.

After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.

A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.

Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.

Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.

A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.

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Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet



Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.

“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”

Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.

“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”

Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.

“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”

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Fight Announcements

Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April



MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by, came Sunday night before confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.


The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.

Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.

An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.

His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).

Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.

PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.

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