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The Morning After UFC 196 – A Tale of Two Chokes

Matthew Wells

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The events that took place at UFC 196 will have a lasting image on the mixed martial arts world for quite some time. A brash, seemingly invincible world-beater was knocked down a peg, while a championship belt migrated to a new owner, validating a career of a fighter who has given so much to the sport.

Immediately at the conclusion of the main event, I officially dubbed the event “UFC 196 – A Tale of Two Chokes”. While the title is an obvious nod to the back-to-back rear naked choke submission victories in the co-main and main event, it could also serve as a pun for the shortcomings of the competitors who left without their hand raised.

Did Holly Holm “choke”? Obviously, in a literal sense, yes. She went out on her shield without tapping from the choke applied by the now-champion Miesha Tate, but did she “choke” in terms of making one huge mistake that cost her the fight in the closing moments? It is debatable, yet perhaps even more interesting is the thought of what would happen if Tate was unable to find a finish and instead won the final round 10-9 on the judges scorecard: The fight would have been declared a draw.

We could have witnessed the first draw in a championship bout since Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard at UFC 125. Going into the 5th round, Holly Holm was up three rounds to one, however that one round was a 10-8 in favor of Miesha Tate on all three judges’ scorecards. If Tate went on to earn a 10-9 in the final frame, the fight would have been declared a draw. Could you imagine the fallout of a draw in this situation? What would that have done to Miesha’s career? Would she have been given a rematch, or would she have been passed over for the Holly Holm vs. Ronda Rousey rematch? For Miesha’s sake, these questions do not have to be answered. A patient, collected performance prevailed at the end of the day, ironically, the same attributes of a performance that allowed Holly Holm to remove the belt from Rousey’s grasp. Miesha’s game plan was simple; do not over-commit and take advantage of the rare openings that Holm gives. Just when you thought Miesha’s only shining moment would be the second round, seemingly out of nowhere she was able to take advantage of an opening that would eventually lead to the rear-naked choke submission.

It simply feels right that Tate can officially call herself UFC Champion. After playing second fiddle to Rousey for so many years, to almost retiring after being passed over for a title shot in 2015, the determination and patience she has shown inside and out of the cage have finally paid off. Interestingly enough, we find ourselves in a Daniel Cormier/Jon Jones situation now with Tate winning the strap without going through Rousey to get it. Expect that to be the theme in the build-up to their impending third matchup.

The main event of the evening surely could not surpass the drama of a title-changing fifth-round submission, could it? Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz certainly had a tough act to follow. Not only would the main event deliver in terms of excitement, the result of the bout would seemingly ruin a lot of plans for the near future and also change the outlook on the sport as a whole.

Strip away all of the hype and swagger that both individuals carry with them and what we had in the main event was a featherweight squaring off against a lightweight at the welterweight limit on two week’s notice. At the core, should we be surprised that the smaller man could not get it done? While the matchup was not exactly David vs. Goliath, the fight was another opportunity for weight-cutting practices to be questioned if the smaller man could step into the cage and prevail. We have already seen a shift in those beliefs from some fighters who are no longer willing undergo extreme weight cuts, and in some cases, the choice is made for the fighter based on rules set in place. Being very much a copycat sport, this was an opportunity for Conor McGregor to potentially influence other fighters to take a chance at a higher weight class.

This was also an opportunity for McGregor to begin his path of multi-division destruction. The hype train would have been traveling full steam ahead with a win at UFC 196 over Diaz, setting up a ridiculous matchup against Robbie Lawler at UFC 200 for the Welterweight Championship.

In all fairness, it is not as if Conor went out there and was dominated by the bigger man. Perhaps with a little more patience and a better strategy, things would be very different right now. Conor won the first round and was winning the second until his nonchalant defensive strategy backfired when Nate rocked him with a solid left, which would soon lead to the end of the fight. Nate was able to take everything Conor gave him, which came as a surprise to the Irishman, who is used to seeing his opponents break after feeling his power.

It should be of little surprise that Conor’s power was not as effective against the bigger Diaz. Anyone looking at the fight objectively beforehand knew Conor would have a speed advantage, but the tradeoff would be a loss of power. The difference in ground game skills need not be mentioned, as proven by the result of the fight. Nate Diaz performed incredibly well given the circumstances of this fight without a full training camp. He took home the largest payday of his career by a large margin for his performance. Nate also may have earned himself a crack at the Lightweight Championship when Rafael dos Anjos is healthy.

The loss for McGregor should have very little impact on his career projection, and if anything, solidified his legacy as a competitor. Conor showed up to take on a huge challenge, to not only keep a pay-per-view card intact but to also test his skills by proving that he can compete against anyone at any weight. Even though the experiment failed and lessons were learned, McGregor proved he is willing to step in the cage against anyone, regardless of the circumstances. Let us not forget, Nate Diaz was not the only one taking a fight on two week’s notice.

The matchup was certainly high-risk for both men, but the key takeaway is simply this: they both showed up to fight. This is something fans and fighters alike should appreciate. Instead, there were many attacking McGregor as well as Holm for their losses. It is an ugly trend that needs to change. People cannot wait to validate their own mediocrity through the failures of someone else.

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Events

*Live Updates* UFC Gdsank Official Results

Harry Davies

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The UFC hosted their second event in the country of Poland, as UFC Gdsank took place at the Ergo Arena. The card was headlined by a welterweight fight between Donald Cerrone and Darren Till.

Cerrone (32-9) was coming off a close unanimous decision loss to former 170-pound champion Robbie Lawler in July. It was the only time in “Cowboy’s” MMA career that he had suffered consecutive losses.

Till (15-0-1) improved his undefeated record in September, defeating Bojan Veličković by unanimous decision. It was a case of old school vs. new school in this headliner, as the up and comer Till hoped to secure the biggest win of his career over Cerrone.


MAIN CARD – UFC Fight Pass – 8PM BST

  • Donald Cerrone (32-9) vs. Darren Till (15-0-1) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Darren Till def. Donald Cerrone via TKO (punches) Round 1 – 4:20
  • Karolina Kowalkiewicz (11-2) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-3) – Women’s strawweight bout
    • Result: Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Jodie Esquibel via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Jan Blachowicz (20-7) vs. Devin Clark (8-2) – Light heavyweight bout
    • Result: Jan Błachowicz def. Devin Clark via SUB (rear-naked choke) Round 2 – 3:02
  • Oskar Piechota (10-0) vs. Jonathan Wilson (7-3) – Middleweight bout
    • ResultOskar Piechota def. Jonathan Wilson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

(more…)

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*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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Bellator

Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card

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Bellator is once again heading to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut, and this time they are bringing with them one of the most anticipated former UFC fighter turned Bellator stars’ debut. Gegard Mousasi will be making his first appearance in the Bellator cage against a former Bellator champion in Alexander Shlemenko. Although this event has lost some of its star power over the last several weeks, it is still stacked and you can bet that the main event will bring some fireworks.

Earlier in the month, it was announced that King Mo had suffered an injury that had forced him out of his co-main event fight with former middleweight champion Liam McGeary. Bellator worked quickly to secure a replacement opponent for McGeary in Bubba McDaniels. Unfortunately for McDaniels and the fans alike, McGeary had later suffered an injury of his own and the fight was removed from the card.

This left a spot open in the co-main event slot, which would be filled by a welterweight matchup between Brennan Ward and David Rickels. Just four days out from the fight, Bellator announced that Ward had also become injured and the fight has been removed from the card as well. The main card has been shuffled around and the welterweight bout between Neiman Gracie and Zak Bucia will now serve as the co-main event.

Main Card- Spike TV (US/Canada) Spike UK (UK)- 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT, 2 pm UK

  • Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
  • Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
  • Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)

Preliminary Card- Live Stream (MMA Latest New)- 7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT, 12 pm UK

  • 195 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
  • Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
  • Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
  • Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
  • Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez (6-4) vs. Billy Giovanella (9-5)
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