UFC 196 is finally upon us and the biggest MMA event of 2016 so far brings with it two massive fights as the main and co-main events. Therefore, there will be two debates this week. First, we have the co-main event – UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm defending her title for the first time against Miesha Tate. In Holm’s corner, we have Jordan Killion and representing Miesha Tate is Matthew Wells.
To start off with as usual, the guys discussed why they believe their chosen fighter will emerge victorious and leave Las Vegas with UFC gold.
Matthew Wells: Miesha Tate is hands down the toughest female competitor in mixed martial arts. She has a way of bringing out the worst in her opponents, making fights a grind. She has the ability to get in your face, take and deliver punishment, in order to implement her wrestling. Unlike Ronda, don’t expect Miesha to over-commit to anything. Looking at Holly’s previous UFC matchups, fighters that are patient can give her a tough fight.
Jordan Killion: Holly Holm will win this fight because of two things: Her distance management and her tremendous footwork. In order for Tate to implement her gameplan she will need to close the distance; be it the clinch, against the cage, or shooting in for a takedown. I think this could end up being much less spectacular than the Holm/Rousey fight because Meisha is not an aggressive striker. She does well when she can make a fight sloppy, something Holly Holm will not allow. Expect a stiff jab and a plethora of front kicks to keep Meisha at bay, allowing Holly to showcase her broad striking repertoire en route to a decisive victory.
MW: Holly manages distance very well, but this is something that was magnified as ghost-like by a Rousey who over-committed on everything. Take into account Ronda still caught Holly with a stiff left hook that staggered her. Miesha is capable of closing the distance well and won’t shy away from trading shots to mix in her takedowns. If Holly gets too worried about her takedown attempts, and Miesha mixes in some feints, we could see Miesha’s striking become more effective.
Perhaps slightly unusually for a title fight, Holm and Tate have been extremely friendly throughout the build-up to this fight. As a stark contrast to the main event of UFC 196, there is no animosity between the women. Could this work to either’s advantage?
MW: Ever since Donald Cerrone vs. Benson Henderson, I no longer have a desire to see every fighter talk trash pre-fight. It certainly helps sell fights and can make things more interesting in the build-up. However, when you have a champion like Holly and a challenger like Miesha who’s no stranger to title-fights herself, you can expect a battle when the cage door shuts. If anything, the lack of trash talk probably benefits both fighters in this case, along with the relieved media pressure by being a part of the McGregor show.
JK: I actually agree with Matt! While showmanship and the gift of gab can help to elevate fights, it’s not the only factor I take into account when setting my expectation for a fight. Holly’s precision versus Tate’s grit is more than enough to get me excited for this out.
Of course, an important aspect of winning any fight is overcoming your opponent’s strength. With that in mind, the guys discussed how they believe their chosen fighter will do just that.
JK: Miesha Tate’s greatest weapon is her mind. She has been put in very trying situations where many fighters would have quit. Holly needs to be aware of this for a few reasons. Miesha may be tired, but she will not quit. That means in the later rounds Holly needs to be weary that the threat of a clinch or takedown may still be there for Tate when it wouldn’t necessarily be a viable option for other “exhausted” fighters.
MW: Miesha has to be aware of Holly’s ability land quick, clean combinations while utilizing some of the best footwork in the game. Holly can dictate the pace of the fight as well as control where the fight goes. It will be up to Miesha to stay focused and trust that as the fight wears on, she can close the distance and allow her wrestling to change the fight in the later rounds.
The flip side to a fighter’s strengths are their weaknesses. The natural progression from discussing how to deal with an opponent’s strengths is how to exploit their weaknesses and that is exactly what the debate turned to.
JK: Miesha had a tendency to try to finish rounds in a dominant position. It’s very smart of her. However, Holly trains under one of the best game planners in all of MMA, Greg Jackson. Look for Miesha to wait for the “one minute” call from her corner to push the pace and find a takedown of some kind. Holly should be able to exploit this pattern with her counter striking and footwork.
MW: It’s not that Holly has a glaring weakness that Miesha can exploit, it’s that Miesha’s overall game is a bad matchup. Holly is a very clean, technical fighter. Miesha, while has technical elements to her game, is very much a grinder who likes to make things interesting by taking fighters to places they haven’t been before. Expect Miesha to stay in Holly’s face and make this one hell of a grind for the Champion.
Being a title fight, there is the possibility that this fight could last for 25 minutes. With that in mind, the guys had different opinions on who that would benefit.
JK: This bout being a 5 round fight is very beneficial for Holly Holm. As much experience as Miesha Tate has, it doesn’t hold a candle to what Holly Holm has done throughout her combat sports career. Holm has 40 professional boxing fights on her record, 19 of those having gone 10 full rounds. Cardio will not be an issue for Holm as we have multiple instances of her fighting for at least 30 minutes. Hell, she’s even been into the 5th round once in her MMA career (Legacy 30). The longer this fight goes, the more time Holly has to pick apart the rudimentary striking game of Miesha Tate.
MW: If Holly doesn’t find a knockout blow, I expect this one to go to the judges’ scorecards. Miesha’s ability to drag fights out, make them gritty and nasty, defines how I expect this fight to go. The longer the fight goes, the more it benefits Miesha.
Often times, fighters have previous fights that we can look to for clues as to how their next fight will go. This fight is no exception.
MW: Miesha’s previous fight against Jessica Eye. She made adjustments throughout the fight after taking some hard shots early on to find a way to break down her opponent. If Miesha is to emerge the new Champion, she will have to figure out a way to break Holly Holm over the course of 5 rounds.
JK: If anything I think the Jessica Eye fight is an example of why Holly will win this match. Eye gave Tate all sorts of trouble early and she’s not 1/10th the boxer Holly is. Looking at Holm’s past wins, I’d say that the Marion Reneau fight is comparable. Reneau wanted to close the distance and get Holly to the mat where she would (presumable) have an advantage. Reneau was not able to do that, at all. Holly’s ability to maintain distance and orchestrate the pace will lead her to victory.
UFC 196 marks the first time since UFC 51 in 2005 that a UFC title fight will be on the undercard of a non-title fight main event, obviously with some mitigating circumstances. There have been some claims that this does a disservice to women’s MMA, but both debaters were in agreement that this fact should not be taken as a show of disrespect to Holm and Tate and that it is ‘just business’.
JK: This is purely a testament to Conor McGregor’s star power. It should not be (and I don’t think it has been) taken as disrespect toward Holly or Miesha. I think the only other person that headlines a card over Conor right now is Ronda Rousey. Jon Jones would be the Co-Main to Conor. Luke Rockhold would be the Co-Main to Conor. Demetrius Johnson would definitely be the Co-Main to Conor. It’s the nature of the business. He (or she) who sells the tickets, gets top billing.
MW: As Conor quoted Jay-Z on Embedded, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!” I fully expect Conor to headline nearly any fight card going forward, as long as he keeps winning due to his close ties with the UFC brass. It’s all about who people are paying to see, and the Irish contingent cast their vote on who should headline this card. Does it do a disservice? Maybe, but it’s all about what fight sells the most. There’s no question which one does.
Finally, the two made their official predictions for the result – and both expect it to require the judges scorecards.
MW: My bold prediction: Miesha Tate wins a close, intense battle that will have many questioning the judges’ decision. Official Result: Miesha Tate def. Holly Holm via Split Decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
JK: Official prediction: Holly Holm makes this fight look like a sparring session. Five easy rounds in for the champ, bring on Rousey. Holly holm def. Miesha Tate via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46)
Thus brings to an end what was, without doubt, the most respectful debate thus far, which seems appropriate considering the respect shown between Holm and Tate in the build-up. Who do you think argued the better point for their fighter and has either man made you reconsider your own prediction? Get in touch and let us know!
Bellator 194, Nelson vs. Mitrione Pre-Fight Notes
Bellator takes over the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut later tonight. The promotion hosts, Bellator 194: Nelson vs. Mitrione from the venue, beginning at 6:30 pm (ET). Bellator 194 marks the 17th trip to the Mohegan Sun Casino. Their last trip, took place a little more than a few months ago in October of 2017, Bellator 185. The first trip to the Connecticut casino, occurred all the way back in April of 2009, and the second ever event held by the promotion, Bellator 2.
Twenty four fighters will make the walk later tonight, giving fans 12 bouts to watch from prelims to main event. Of the 24 athletes set to compete, five make their professional debuts. Peter Nascimento, Mike Kimbel, Pat Casey, Ross Richardson, and Ronnie Leon all fight for the first time, professionally. As amateurs, the group holds a combined record of 18-12. Only Ross Richardson maintained an undefeated amateur record (3-0).
In recent cards past, only some full broadcasts brought forward newly professional fighters. Events such as Bellator 191, 190, and 187, only broadcast short main card. While events like 193, 192, 189, 188, and 186 broadcast full fight cards. Since November of 2017, 15 fighters made their pro debuts with the Bellator promotion. Including Khonry Gracie in his unanimous decision loss to Devon Brock (Bellator 192), and Ty-wan Claxton, in his amazing KO finish of Johnny Bonilla-Bowman in the first round of Bellator 186. Claxton makes his second pro appearance tonight at Bellator 194 against Jose Antonio Perez, whom also fights for the second time professionally.
Upon completion of Bellator 194’s broadcast, 50% of the promotions first round matches in their Heavyweight Grand Prix will be decided. It is nearly impossible to choose, one match-up more interesting than the others. Yet, the Mitrione vs. Nelson match up is not only puzzling to fans and media alike. One half of the main event, at least, was once annoyed by the prospect of fighting his former TUF cast mate. Mitrione spoke to MMAJunkie about his reaction to the match-up, “Well, I asked them, how does that make sense? Roy is arguably the #2 guy in the division… Explain that to me, is there any seeding?…” He continued, “But the more I thought about, the less I really cared. Either I beat Roy when I have the strap, or I beat Roy to get the strap. What the hell difference does it make?”
In one bit of event news, fan favorite flyweight, Heather Hardy missed weight, in what turned out to be an odd set of circumstances. According to Hardy, she believed she made weight, without stripping down and using the towel. It was her understanding that the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation gave her a weight allowance for the bikini top and bottom she wore while on the scale. Hardy weighed in at 126.25 lbs. with the aforementioned bikini top and bottom.
This understanding was not shared by president of Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, Mike Mazzulli. The president made the decision to record Hardy’s weight without allowing her to disrobe, or take use the extra two hours allotted to make weight. It was his understanding upon examining and attempting to communicate with Hardy whilst she stood on the scale that brought him to the decision. After renegotiation of the bout agreement, Hardy was fined 20% of her purse which goes to her opponent Ana Julaton.
Bellator 194 Weigh Ins Live Video
Bellator 194 takes place Friday, February 16th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The stacked main card features the second bout in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix matching Roy Nelson against Matt Mitrione. Both former members of the UFC roster, Mitrione and Nelson look to make a further impact in the Bellator Heavyweight division with a potential step towards the divisions championship crown. In the co-main event, MMA veteran Patricky Pitbull takes Derek Campos. The two will most likely battle for the next shot at the promotions Lightweight title, following the Brent Primus (c) vs. Michael Chandler rematch. Other notable bouts on the card include Liam McGeary vs. Vadim Nemkov, Heather Hardy vs. Ana Julaton, and Tywon Claxton against Jose Antonio Perez. Bellator 194 airs live on the Paramount network, main card beginning at 9 pm.
The official weigh-ins took place earlier today, the results are listed below.
Main Card (9 PM ET, Paramount Network)
Roy Nelson (23-14) vs. Matt Mitrione (12-5) Heavyweight bout.
RN: 265 lb.
MM: 255 lb.
Patricky Freire (18-8) vs. Derek Campos (19-6) Lightweight bout.
PF: 155 lb.
DC: 154 lb.
Heather Hardy (1-1) vs. Ana Julaton (2-3) Women’s Flyweight bout.
HH: 126.25 lb*
AJ: 125 lb.
Liam McGeary (12-2) vs. Vadim Nemkov (8-2) Light Heavyweight bout.
LM: 203.75 lb.
VN: 205 lb.
Tywan Claxton (1-0) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (0-1) Featherweight bout.
TW: 145 lb.
JS: 142.25 lb.
Preliminary Card (7 PM ET)
Ross Richardson (3-0, Amateur) vs. Ronie Arana Leon (2-5, Amateur) Lightweight bout.
RS: 155.5 lb.
RL: 156 lb.
Mike Kimbel (4-4, Amateur) vs. Geoffrey Then (0-1) Bantamweight bout.
MK: 135.75 lb.
GT: 135 lb.
Regivaldo Carlvalho (4-2) vs. Thomas English (6-8) Featherweight bout.
RC: 145 lb.
TE: 146 lb.
Jarod Trice (2-0) vs. Walter Howard (3-4) Light Heavyweight bout.
JT: 205.5 lb.
WH: 203 lb.
Marcus Surin (4-1) vs. Dean Hancock (3-1) Lightweight bout.
MS: 156 lb.
DH: 155.25 lb.
Peter Nascimento (2-1, Amateur) vs. Kastriot Xhema (1-1) Catchweight (165 lb.) bout.
PN: 163.5 lb.
KX 164.5 lb.
Tyler Hamilton (1-0) vs. Pat Casey (7-2, Amateur) Lightweight bout.
TH: 154 lb.
PC: 155.5 lb.
*Heather Hardy missed weight by ¼ of a pound and subsequently fined 20% of her purse. The fine will go to her opponent Ana Julaton.
UFC 221 Rockhold vs. Romero Live Results
UFC 221 marks the first event hosted by the promotion in Western Australia. UFC 221 takes place in Perth, Australia at the Perth Arena. The co-main event features Australian star, Mark Hunt against Curtis Blaydes. In the main event, Luke Rockhold looks to earn the Middleweight interim title when he takes on Yoel Romero. Romero is not eligible to earn the interim Middleweight title due to the fact that the Cuban missed weight. Yoel Romero replaced the original headliner of the card, Robert Whittaker. Whittaker, current Middleweight champion, withdrew from the event due to a serious case of mistreated staph infection.
FIGHT NIGHT BONUSES:
Fight of the night: Li Jianliang vs. Jake Matthews
Performance of the night: Jussier Formiga, Israel Adesanya
MAIN CARD – PPV – 10PM/7PM ETPT
- Yoel Romero (12-2) vs. Luke Rockhold (13-3) – Catchweight (187.7) bout
- Result: Yoel Romero def. Luke Rockhold via KO (punch) 1:48 round 3
- Mark Hunt (13-11, 1 NC) vs. Curtis Blaydes (8-1, 1 NC) – Heavyweight bout
- Result: Curtis Blaydes def. Mark Hunt via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
- Tai Tuivasa (8-0) vs. Cyril Asker (9-3) – Heavyweight bout
- Result: Tai Tuivasa def. Cyril Asker via TKO (punches and elbows) 2:18 round 1
- Jake Matthews (12-3) vs. Li Jianliang (14-4) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Jake Matthews def. Li Jianliang via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 30-26)
- Tyson Pedro (6-1) vs Saparbek Safarov (8-1) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Tyson Pedro def. Saparbek Safarov via submission (kimura) 3:54 round 1
PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 8PM/5PM ETPT
- Damien Brown (17-11) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (15-8-3) – Lightweight bout
- Result: Dong Hyun Kim def. Damien Brown via split decision (29-28, 29-28 Kim, 29-28 Brown)
- Rob Wilkinson (11-1) vs. Israel Adesanya (11-0) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Israel Adesanya def. Rob Wilkinson via TKO (punches) 3:37 round 2
- Jeremy Kennedy (11-0) vs Alexander Volkovski (16-1) – Featherweight bout
- Result: Alexander Volkovski def. Jeremy Kennedy via TKO (punches) 4:57 round 2
- Jussier Formiga (20-5) vs Ben Nguyen (17-6) – Flyweight bout
- Result: Jussier Formiga def. Ben Nguyen via technical submission (RNC) 1:43 round 3
EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 6:30PM/3:30PM ETPT
- Ross Pearson (21-12, 1 NC) vs. Mizuto Hirota (19-8-2) – Lightweight bout
- Result: Ross Pearson def. Mizuto Hirota via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Teruto Ishihara (10-4) vs. José Alberto Quiñónez (7-2) – Bantamweight bout
- Result: José Alberto Quiñónez def. Teruto Ishihara via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Luke Jumeau (12-4) vs. Daichi Abe (6-0) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Luke Jumeau def. Daichi Abe via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 28-27)
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