In a little over two weeks UFC Fight Night – Hunt VS. Miocic will be hosted in Adelaide, Australia and its a card with some stand out grapplers from around the world. At first glance, it may seem like the grappling talent is few and far between. When you look a little deeper we have a few exceptional ground players to indulge in the coming weeks.
1. Daniel Kelly
The Australian native has represented his nation four times at the Olympics in Judo. He most recently competed in the 2012 Olympics for Australia but had his professional debut six years prior. Kelly maintained a six-year hiatus to focus on Judo. Following his last Olympic tournament in 2012 he made the full turn to MMA. Since then Kelly has gone undefeated in eight bouts, finishing all but two of them. There is no question he is an elite Judoka with a proficient ground game. Admittedly he is 37, but he has held up well and taken decently to striking. With his strong base, it takes a powerful wrestler or fellow Judoka to bring him down while he is susceptible to leg takedowns his movement combats them pretty actively. Off his back, he is not the most dangerous but has pretty solid scrambling if he ends up there and a dominant top game. He can be a bit timid at times, but he is smart and should be fun to watch compete against Sam Alvey who is going to look to take his head off.
2. Jake Matthews
The darkhorse of this list and one of the youngest fighters ever to join the UFC ranks is worthy of this list. You may be wondering what accolades he has out of MMA and he does not have any. He is apart of the next generation of kids being brought up that are incredibly well rounded. With that said, there is no discounting his grappling. Matthews is undefeated and in his two fights in the UFC has finished both his opponents by submission. The most impressive was his last opponent, Vagner Rocha a decorated black belt in BJJ under the renown Pablo Popavitch. Matthews submitted him early in the second round via RNC. Matthews is incredibly athletic, dynamic and self-aware. These things will take you far in MMA and only adds to his grappling. He has a tough test against James Vick who has been notoriously hard to takedown, but Matthews has the tools to beat him on the feet or on the mat.
3. Alptekin Ozkilic
The Turkish-American wrestler enters the cage for the fourth time against Ben Nguyen. Ozkilic was a successful wrestler in Turkey in his youth, a strong nation for wrestling. He moved to America in his teens and wrestled at the famous Nassau Community College which has had MMA royalty come through in past years. This list includes Jay Hieron, Phil Baroni, Ryan LaFlare, and current middleweight champion, Chris Weidman. A standout and solid wrestler, Ozkilic has been able to implement a style of sprawl and brawl on his opponents that can be quite hard to deal with. Over the last few fights, his striking has shored up a good bit especially his boxing, but his wrestling that allows him to do so much. Especially his Greco techniques. Ozkilic has gone toe to toe with some of the divisions more dangerous opponents. Expect his throws, and shots to be on display against the dynamic Ben Nguyen.
4. Stipe Miocic
The Croatian-American heavyweight has some of the best boxing in the division, but what gets forgotten is how good is grappling is a lot of the time. Miocic was a D1 wrestler at Cleveland State. Miocic usually uses his grappling in a defensive manner to keep it standing and knock out his opponents. Against the late Shane del Rosario and Junior Dos Santos, Miocic was able to implement his wrestling in offensive ways to mix it up. Stipe tends to like throws against the cage or low singles against his opponents and turning the corner to take them down. Stipe has a solid style of pressure passing he uses to gain position and do damage to his opponents. Stipe’s sprawl is his best weapon, but against Hunt expect his shot to be on display to throw the Super Samoan for a curve.
(not a whole lot in this highlight for his wrestling, but a little)
5. Hatsu Hioki
The Japanese wonderboy has fallen on hard times. Hioki has lost four of his last five bouts in the UFC. For the most part, it has been his grappling which has looked a bit weak. More so he has looked stiff since joining the UFC ranks. There is no doubting his grappling acumen though. Hioki is one of the most technical grapplers to come out of Japan in recent years. If anything he has been physically outmatched and it not unreasonable as he looks smaller than most of his opponents. Against Daniel Hooker he will again have a size disadvantage, but should have a clear grappling advantage in such a way that he makes quick work of the New Zealand prospect. Hooker had some trouble with the much smaller Ian Entwistle for a bit before winning by TKO. Hoki can use his solid wrestling and great technical passing to get to a dominant position on Hooker and finish it with a nice submission. Hooker is no slouch but matches up nicely with Hioki if he is not able to implement his striking. Hioki could be looking at walking papers so expect a fired up Hioki for this match.
Expect a lot of great grappling exchanges from the fighters listed here and others. It is these cards that usually end up having some of the most dynamic scrambles and jumped submissions.
Vitor Belfort vs Uriah Hall in the works for January 14th
Longtime UFC veteran Vitor Belfort announced on his Instagram that he is set to meet “The Ultimate Fighter 17” runner-up Uriah Hall.
The fight is set to take place on January 14th according to “The Phenom”, no event has been announced for the date yet. The bout marks Belfort’s first fight since beating Nate Marquardt in a controversial unanimous decision, back in June. Belfort had previously announced his retirement fight would come against Marquardt but has since changed his mind.
Belfort has been on an interesting run since his amazing KO filled 2013. He came back in 2015 in a middleweight title fight against then champion Chris Weidman. He would end up losing the fight via TKO after almost knocking out Weidman early on. He went on to knock out Dan Henderson before dropping three fights in a row by TKO, the latest, against Kelvin Gastelum, was changed to a no-contest, after Gastelum failed a drug test for Marijuana.
Uriah Hall looks to make his return to the cage after knocking out Krzysztof Jotko, back in September, in a fight many deemed the “comeback of the year”. Uriah had previously been on a three-fight losing skid, dropping a decision to current interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, and losing his next two via TKO.
The winner of the fight would end up on a two-fight winning streak and could potentially find themselves a few fights away from a title shot. Although no event has been announced for January 14th, it seems the UFC is already looking to get some fights booked. It is still unclear if this fight will serve as the main event.
Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card
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)
Aldo vs. Lamas 2 and Ponzinibbio vs. Perry Added to UFC Winnipeg
The UFC has added Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas 2, and Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Mike Perry to their UFC Winnipeg card on December 16th.
The two fights were announced as official today on the UFC’s Twitter account.
THIS. CARD. pic.twitter.com/bc4AyNncqy
— UFC (@ufc) October 13, 2017
Aldo (26-3) last fought at UFC 212 in June, where he lost by third round TKO to Max Holloway. After being promoted to the undisputed 145-pound champion last November, he was looking to make the first defence of the title against Holloway.
Lamas first faced Aldo back in 2014 at UFC 169. Aldo, who was again featherweight champion at the time, defeated Lamas with ease winning by unanimous decision (49-46) on all scorecards. Lamas is on a two-fight winning streak after defeating both Charles Oliveira and Jason Knight with impressive finishes.
Since his last UFC loss to Lorenz Larkin back in 2015, Ponzinnibio (25-3) has won five consecutive fights. His most recent victory was a upset win over Gunnar Nelson in July at UFC Glasgow. There was some controversy after the fight, as replays seemed to show a short grab and several eyes pokes from Ponzinnibio before knocking out Nelson in the first round.
Mike Perry has taken the UFC by storm since making his debut for the promotion last August. Picking up four wins all by knockout, the only loss ‘Platinum’ suffered was too Alan Jouban by decision. Ranked at #9 in the welterweight division, a win over Ponzinnibio could definitely propel Perry into the top ten at 170-pounds.
With the additon of these two fantastic fights, the lineup for UFC Winnipeg is as follows:
- Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos – Welterweight bout
- Glover Teixeira vs. Misha Cirkunov – Light heavyweight bout
- Antônio Rogério Nogueira vs. Jared Cannonier – Light heavyweight bout
- Tim Elliott vs. Justin Scoggins – Flyweight bout
- Chad Laprise vs. Galore Bafondo – Welterweight bout
- Alessio Di Chirico vs. Oluwale Bamgbose – Middleweight bout
- Vitor Miranda vs. Julian Marquez – Middleweight bout
- John Makdessi vs. Abel Trujillo – Lightweight bout
- Nordine Taleb vs. Sultan Aliev – Welterweight bout
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