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Throwback Thursday: Tournaments, Heavyweights and Rampage

Vinny Craig

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This Week in MMA History

Throwback Thursday is a weekly article written about the events and news that have happened in the world of MMA during this week. The twist, we’ll be going back in time to show you the events that already happened and are forever stitched into our minds. This week we take a look at May 25 to May 31.

 

UFC 13: Ultimate Force
In Augusta, Georgia, the UFC put on its first event that involved two tournaments. The most important man in the Octagon was back as Bruce Buffer made his return after making his debut at UFC 10. The Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight tournaments involved a four-man tournament with a Light Heavyweight and two Heavyweight alternate bouts. One of the alternate Heavyweight bouts involved a young Vitor Belfort making his second UFC appearance after winning the UFC 12 Heavyweight tournament. He beat David ‘Tank’ Abbott by TKO 52 seconds into the fight. The other alternate bout was a TKO win for Jack Nilson. In the semifinals of the tournament, we saw future two division champion Randy Couture for the first time when he beat Tony Holme by Rear-Naked Choke under a minute into their fight. In the other semifinal fight, Steven Graham also submitted his opponent by armlock. In the final, Couture beat Graham by TKO over 3 minutes in to win the Heavyweight tournament.

In the Light Heavyweight tournament, we saw another future champion and Hall of Famer in Tito Ortiz in the alternate bout. He started his UFC career off right with a TKO win 31 seconds into the contest. In the semifinal bout, Enson Inoue beat Royce Alger by armlock 96 seconds in to move onto the finals. The other Light Heavyweight bout went the distance between Guy Mezger and Christophe Leninger. Mezger won the fight by decision to meet Inoue in the finals. Inoue was unable to continue and Ortiz stepped in to fight the final fight. He would make a good effort, but eventually lose to Mezger by a Guillotine choke.

UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie
In a super fight of sorts, we saw then Welterweight champion Matt Hughes fight Hall of Famer and former tournament winner Royce Gracie at a catchweight of 175 lbs. The event was the first to draw greater than 500,000 pay-per-view (PPV) buys and draw $20 million in gross PPV sales. It was the most bought UFC event up to that point with 620,000 PPV buys. The co-main event was a Light Heavyweight contest between Dean Lister and Alessio Sakara. The prelims started with a vicious KO by Melvin Guillard just over 90 seconds in over Rick Davis.  The next fight saw future Heavyweight title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga beat Fabiano Scherner by TKO. In the final prelim bought, future Middleweight and Light Heavyweight title challenger Chael Sonnen had to replace Evan Tanner in a bout against Jeremy Horn. Horn would win the fight by armbar in the second round.

Starting off the main card was TUF 1 vet Mike Swick. He beat Joe Riggs by Guillotine in the first round for his fourth straight win. The next fight also ended by Guillotine when Brandon Vera beat Assuerio Silva in the first round. In the only decision of the night, Diego Sanchez beat John Alessio by unanimous decision. The co-main event only lasted 2 minutes and 20 seconds when it was ended by a Triangle choke by Lister. The main event almost lasted a full round, but 21 seconds short of the bell was where Hughes won by TKO over Gracie.

UFC 71: Liddell vs. Jackson
At the UFC’s home at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, a Light Heavyweight title fight between champion Chuck Liddell and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson headlined the bout. It was announced during the event that the winner would fight Pride Middleweight champion, Dan Henderson to unify the belts. The preliminary card saw three straight submission wins to start the night. Din Thomas was one of the three as he beat Jeremy Stephens by Armbar in the second round to take home Submission of the Night honors (and an extra $40,000). In the final prelim fight, Thiago Silva beat James Irvin by TKO for his tenth straight career victory.

The main card started with a middleweight fight between Chris Leben and Kalib Starnes. The fight would go the distance and be exciting, but Starnes would come out victorious. Leben didn’t leave empty handed as the fight was named Fight of the Night. In the co-main event, Welterweight Karo Parisyan took a decision win over Josh Burkman for his second straight win. The main event was a highly anticipated fight between two exciting fighters in Liddell and Rampage. Liddell had defended his belt 4 times previous and looked as though Rampage may have no shot. It was a slugfest through and through with Jackson coming out victorious with a first round KO to win the belt. This started a hot potato of the belt as no one man was able to keep the belt for longer than one defense.

UFC 114: Rampage vs. Evans
A grudge match between two former champions in Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans would be settled in this event. The fight was scheduled to happen at UFC 96, but Evans was injured and replaced by his teammate Keith Jardine. Rampage won that fight and was expected to face Evans for the title. A jaw injury kept Jackson out of the fight and he was replaced by Lyoto Machida, who would win the fight and the title. After all of that, the drama and feud was still alive, and the UFC scheduled Evans and Jackson to coach on Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter. The event was just the fifth UFC card ever to reach a million PPV buys.

The preliminary card saw 3 of four fights end before the first bell. The night started when Ryan Jensen beat Jesse Forbes by Guillotine a minute into the fight. In a Light Heavyweight contest, Cyrille Diabate got the TKO win over Luiz Cane. In the final non-televised preliminary fight, Melvin Guillard added another win to his resume with a TKO from knees to the body. On the televised prelims, Efran Escudero and Dong Hyun Kim both picked up decision wins.

The five-fight main card started as it will end. In a Welterweight fight, John Hathaway beat Diego Sanchez in a unanimous decision. In the next fight, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira barely got past Jason Brilz by a hair with a split decision. In the middle of the PPV, Mike Russow picked up the only finish of the main card with a third round KO of Todd Duffee. The co-main was a very underwhelming decision win for Michael Bisping. In the main event, after all the talk was over and the two met in the cage, the outcome was nothing special. Evans cruised for three rounds and won by unanimous decision.

UFC 130: Rampgage vs. Hammill
As per usual, the Memorial Day weekend card happened at the MGM Grand. The main event was a Light Heavyweight fight between Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Matt Hammill. The original main event for the Lightweight title between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard was scrapped when both were injured. Then the new main event of Rampage and Thiago Silva was redone when Silva failed a drug test prior to UFC 125. The co-main event was a Heavyweight fight between Roy Nelson and Frank Mir.

On the prelims, which started out on Facebook, we saw future Bantamweight champion Renan Barao for the first time in the UFC. He beat contender Cole Escovedo by decision to keep his unbeaten streak alive. We saw another good Bantamweight in the youngster Michael McDonald when he beat Chris Cariaso by split decision. On the Spike TV prelims, we saw future Flyweight champion Demetrius Johnson at Bantamweight. He would beat former WEC champion Miguel Torres by decision.

On the main card, we started the night with a KO courtesy of Brian Stann over Jorge Santiago. In a Welterweight matchup, vet Rick Story beat another veteran in Thiago Alves by decision. The Knockout of the Night came by way of a superman punch from Travis Browne against Stefan Struve. In the co-main event, the experience of Mir showed as he handled the power of Nelson all night enroot to a decision win. In the main event, the fight was one that would not be added to the KO file of Rampage, but it got the job done. Rampage took a three round decision on all three judges’ score cards.

UFC 146: dos Santos vs. Mir
In the first title defense try for Heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos was former champion Frank Mir. In an all Heavyweight main card, we saw most of the best over 206 pounds. This would set up the next title challenger for whoever walked away with the title. The Facebook prelims saw two submission wins with an Arm Triangle Choke by future Light Heavyweight title challenger Glover Teixeira and a Triangle Armbar by Paul Sass. On the Televised prelim fights, we started with a KO of Duane Ludwig by Dan Hardy. Ending the prelims was a unanimous decision win for Darren Elkins over Diego Brandao.

Staring off the main card was a submission when Stefan Struve put an armbar on Lavar Johnson in the first round. In the next fight, Stipe Miocic beat Shane Del Rosario by TKO due to elbows in the second round. In one of the Knockouts of the Night, Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson beat Dave Herman by a KO just under a minute in. In the co-main event, former champion Cain Velazquez made a statement when he beat Antonio Silva in a bloody mess. In the main event, champion Junior dos Santos successfully defended his belt when he beat Mir by TKO in the second round. He would get Velazquez again in a rematch of how he won the title.

UFC 160: Velazquez vs. Bigfoot II
With the new (or is it the old) Heavyweight champion in place, the headliner was a rematch of a bloody mess from UFC 146 (see above). Heavyweight champion Cain Velazquez was looking for his first title defense against Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva. The co-main event was another Heavyweight fight between contenders Junior dos Santos and Mark Hunt. The night started with a decision win for Jeremy Stephens over Estevan Payan. The prelims ended with two split decisions as Dennis Bermudez beat Max Holloway and Mike Pyle beat Rick Story.

Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone started off the main card with a decision win over KJ Noons. The fight came after a loss to future Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. In a knockout of the night effort, TJ Grant beat former title challenger Gray Maynard by TKO in the first round. The next fight was the Submission of the Night as Glover Teixeira beat James Te Huna by a Guillotine choke. In the co-main event (and the Fight of the Night), former champion Junior dos Santos beat contender Mark Hunt with a head kick in the third round. The kick barely grazed Hunt as he went down. The main event was another destruction of Bigfoot as Velazquez needed a little over a minute to win the fight.

Pride 14- Clash of Titans
Pride 14 was the first time we saw Chuck Liddell under the Pride banner. Starting off the night was an armbar by Antonio Schembri. In his Pride debut, Liddell got a KO in the second round against Guy Mezger. It was his sixth win in a row and kept his UFC title chances going. In the next fight, legend Gary Goodridge got a submission by knee. Future Pride champion Dan Henderson continued his brilliance as he beat Akira Shoji by TKO. Then Middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva staked his claim as one of the best fighters in the organization with a 30 second destruction of Shungo Oyama. The last two events ended by submission as Igor Vovchanchyn beat Gilbert Yvel by Rear-Naked Choke and Kazuyuki Fujita beat Yoshihiro Takayama by Arm-Triangle Choke.

Bellator 9
In the second to last event of Season 1, two Middleweight fights headlined the card. On the prelims, a split decision won by Chas Skelly started off the night. A Heavyweight bout between Shawn Jordan and Jayme McKinney lasted only thirty seconds as Jordan won by Rear-Naked Choke. In the final match of the prelims, Nick Ring beat Isidiro Gonzalez by Guillotine in the first round. The main card started with Jared Hess’ TKO win over Yosmany Cabezas. In the main event, up and comer Hector Lombard beat Damien Stelly by TKO just under three minutes in

Bellator 20
You got a little taste of all facets of MMA with Bellator 20. On the prelims, three straight submissions (all by Rear-Naked choke) were right in the middle of the prelim card. Starting off the main card was a chance for Season 3’s Heavyweight tournament. Eddie Sanchez beat Marcus Sursa by TKO and was ultimately matched up with Neil Grove in the quarterfinal. In the Middleweight tournament semifinal, Alexander Schlemenko moved on with a TKO win and Bryan Baker by Triangle choke. In another Middleweight tournament semifinal (and the main event of the night), Bryan Baker made quick work of Eric Schambari with Triangle choke midway through the first round.

Bellator 70
Ending Season 6 for Bellator was the 70th event put on the fighting organization. It had a Bantamweight tournament semifinal, Heavyweight title fight and Lightweight final. Jonas Billstein beat Mike Seal by first round Rear-Naked choke. The next fight was fought at a catchweight of 190 pounds and ended by kimura in the third round. In a Welterweight bout, the fight ended in the second round when AJ Matthews hit Charlie Rader with a soccer kick. The main card started with a Guillotine put on by Derek Campos against Rich Clementi. The Bantamweight semifinal was one by Hiroshi Nakamura with a third round KO to move onto the final. In a Heavyweight title fight, Cole Konrad continued his undefeated MMA streak with a first round kimura on Eric Prindle. We haven’t see Konrad since that fight after he retired to become a commodities broker. In the main event, Rick Hawn won the Lightweight tournament with a unanimous decision win over Brent Weedman. Hawn would get his chance at champ Michael Chandler, but ultimately lose by submission.

Future: UFC Fight Night: Condit vs. Alves

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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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Michael Page Not Focusing on Opponent Ahead of Boxing Debut

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to Bellator’s Michael ‘Venom’ Page, as he makes his boxing debut this Friday at the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night.

Page (12-0 MMA) is renowned for his entertaining fight style inside the cage, with most of his knockout and submission victories ending up in highlight reels online, that almost always go viral.

‘MVP’ was supposed to make his boxing debut on the undercard of David Haye vs Tony Bellew in March of this year, but due to ongoing negotiations with Bellator, his debut was delayed. Shortly after Page signed with Haye’s promotion “Hayemaker Ringstar.”

Q: So, Michael, we’re about five days out now from your big boxing debut, and still we have no name of an opponent? Can you break the big news, who will you be fighting next week?

I honestly couldn’t even tell you his name right now! I know I’ve got an opponent, but I haven’t even looked at him because it has changed so many times. I don’t like to pay too much attention to it, because it’s added stress. For me it’s just a case of turning up, and firing punches at whoever is across the ring.

Q: Is this fight 10 or 12 rounds? Given a standard boxing fight is a lot longer than your typical 15-minute MMA bout, has there been an emphasis on cardiovascular work in your training camp?

Depending on the opponent, I think it’s 6-rounds. The preparation has been different, I’m having to stress out my shoulders and core a lot. The kicking distance as well is very different, getting used to having people a bit closer. I’m getting used to the corners of the ring, I’ve done it before but not to this extent so I am familiar of it, but my body wasn’t really used to it.

Q: So, is this kind of like a one fight deal for Haye’s Ringstar promotion? Regardless of this fight’s outcome, will you return to MMA?

Not at all, I’m taking it seriously. Otherwise, I would have just had a super fight against a big name like McGregor did. This is why I can’t just jump into a 12 round fight, I need to adjust my body and get it prepared for boxing.

There’s no future plans yet, I’d like to have an MMA fight again before the end of this year, as I haven’t fought this whole year, but another opportunity for boxing may come up and I might get a chance to jump on that, so it depends.

Q: Were you frustrated that Bellator booked Paul Daley vs. Lorenz Larkin, and if you could send a message to Daley right now what would it be?

I have no interest in him anymore. It feels so pathetic and unnecessary now. I don’t think he deserved that fight with Larkin right after the shocking display he put on in Wembley against Rory MacDonald. But good on him he beat Larkin, however he calls me out immediately after then goes on to say he’s past that fight, it just doesn’t make sense.

Credit – michaelpagemvp – Instagram

Q: A statement we hear a lot is “MVP is the only guy outside the UFC that I want in the UFC” People criticise the talent in Bellator and say you’re fighting nobodies, what do you say back to them?

The amount of times you hear “you shouldn’t fight this person, you should have fought that person.” Everyone’s got an idea of what the correct steps someone should make are, but at the end of the day it’s their career. People are so fickle and easy to forget. If you are a fan of somebody, just be a fan of them regardless of win or loss.

Q: I’ve got to ask about how things are with Bellator, because from the outside looking in it’s quite unclear. How is it relationship at the moment?

Yeah I get on with most of the guys, it’s like a small family. I’ve still got a couple of fights left with them, they’re growing very well, the only problem is I feel like they’re focusing a bit too much on ex UFC fighters. For me it says you’re classing yourself as second best. Bellator generate some amazing superstars and young talent, they should continue to promote them.

You can watch ‘MVP’ make his boxing debut this Friday night, as the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night will air at 21:00PM on Dave.

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Exclusive: Andrey Koreshkov eyeing fight with Rory MacDonald

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Former Bellator welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov is coming off of an interesting past two years. In 2015 he beat current welterweight champion Douglas Lima, via a dominant unanimous decision, in order to win the welterweight title. He returned in 2016 and beat former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson via another dominant beatdown. It seemed like Koreshkov was going to be the champion for a very long time, making elite fighters look like they had no business being in the cage with him.

Koreshkov’s world came crashing down one night in Isreal. The Russian was beating Douglas Lima in a rematch, he was up 20-18 on the score-cards, and it seemed like he was going to walk away with another successful title defense. Koreshkov forced Lima’s back against the fence and started winging punches at him, Lima started to do the same as he looked to get off the fence, and then it happened, a huge left hook caught Koreshkov on the chin and it was lights-out. Lima was once again champion, and Koreshkov’s reign was cut short.

What was next for Koreshkov after losing the title? Perhaps a move to middleweight? Bellator’s middleweight division has fewer contenders than the welterweight division and could promise a quicker path to the title for the Russian. Koreshkov is a big welterweight, standing at 6’1, he certainly wouldn’t be small in the higher weight class. Speaking to MMA Latest, Koreshkov was quick to shut down the idea of moving up. “No, no, I work hard at welterweight and I’d like to stay there.”

Sticking with welterweight, Koreshkov knew it was going to be tough to get another title shot after his fight with Chidi Njokuani, but he seems to know the key to fighting for the title “It’s not about how many wins, but rather, the quality of my wins”, with that in mind, he promised the gameplan against Njokuani was to “stand and bang”. Koreshkov fulfilled his promise, against Njokuani he came out guns-blazing, giving Njokuani all he could handle on the feet before eventually taking him down and finishing him with some nasty ground and pound.

Koreshkov also got the chance to explain who he’d like to fight next, should he not get a title shot. “I don’t have any favorites, I know that there are a lot of tough fights at my weight class, but if I had to choose, I would say Rory MacDonald.” Unfortunately for Koreshkov, MacDonald is booked against his former opponent Douglas Lima, as the two are set to fight for the Bellator welterweight title in January.

A fight against MacDonald would promise fireworks as the two are known for their ruthless style. There’s a strong chance Koreshkov may get his chance against MacDonald next, as the former champion is certainly either next in line for the shot, or set to fight the loser.

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