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The Debate: Anthony Johnson vs Ryan Bader

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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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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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