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“Top of the Food Chain Series” Volume 1: Best Pure Wrestler

Derek Bowe

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Wrestling is widely regarded as the most necessary, and effective base to begin a career, and succeed in mixed martial arts. There are variety of fighters who have practiced wrestling at high levels of amateur competition and have found much success in crossing over to mixed martial arts. Today’s rankings are based on the fighters who employ their takedowns, control, and position both offensively and defensively more effective than all others.

 

#5 Yoel Romero, Middleweight, UFC

The six-time world championship level medalist and 2000 Sydney, Australia Olympic Silver medalist Yoel Romero breaks in at the number five-spot on the list. The middleweight contender’s freestyle wrestling accolades clearly speak for themselves. Romero has used his wrestling to amass a 9-1 record in mixed martial arts, his only loss coming back in 2011. The Cuban is physically imposing and is freakishly strong. He can secure a takedown with relative ease at any time he wants with his opponents offering up little resistance. He does not mask his takedown with angles or feints, like many of the top wrestlers do, he simply desires to shoot in for a single or double and secures it. Romero has fallen in love with his hands over recent outings as he has an abundance of power in both. If he is to challenge for the title, it will be his bread and butter, wrestling, which he will have to use to best the elite of the middleweight division.

 

#4 Ben Askren, Welterweight, ONE FC

Ben Askren is the sole participant on the list who competes outside of the UFC Octagon. Askren, the former United States Olympic team member competed at the Beijing Olympics, where he went 1-1. Askren differs in approach as he is not as explosive as others who make up this list, that being said, his methods are no less effective as he methodically takes down his opponents at will with flawless technical precision. Askren might possess the best control when on the canvas as he completely smothers his opponents for five rounds. His fourteen total wins and no losses make Askren a threat to any top fighter in the world. A perfect world would see Ben testing his abilities against the elite welterweights in the UFC, hopefully something which comes to fruition in the near future.

 

#3 Daniel Cormier, Light Heavyweight, UFC

Daniel Cormier, the man who is the self-proclaimed “King of the Grind”, is one of the most talented fighters in mixed martial arts, and on his way to compete for the light heavyweight title later this month against Anthony Johnson at UFC 187. Cormier is a former United States team member, and fourth place finisher at the 2004 Athens, Greece Olympic games. DC as he is referred to often, uses his violent slams to get his opponents to the ground, he might be the most fun to watch of the bunch as a result of the overall excitement of those slams. Cormier has out wrestled countless opponents, most while being the smaller man in the contest, and that alone makes his performances more impressive. Technically sound, explosive, and low to the ground makes this title challenger one of the very best there is.

 

#2 Jon Jones, Light Heavyweight, UFC

Jon Jones is the least credentialed member of this list, but arguably the very best. His athletic ability is freakish, and at a long 6’4 he would not be expected to have the leverage advantage he does. That is part of what makes his game so impressive. The variety of ways to get his opponents to the ground makes his efforts nearly unstoppable. When Jon Jones wants his opponents on the ground, that is where they end up. Jon Jones uses Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling techniques as he will throw from the clinch better than anyone, or drop down and pull legs out from under his adversary, much as he did against Daniel Cormier, the #3 fighter on this list. Jones almost makes it look too easy against fighters he should not be able to on paper. A truly phenomenal athlete and arguably the best talent the sport has ever seen.

 

#1 Henry Cejudo, Flyweight, UFC

It is hard to argue against an Olympic Gold medalist, so it won’t even be attempted. The 2008 Gold medalist from the Beijing Olympics is as talented as they come. Be it Cejudo, only a prospect at the moment, moving his way up the UFC’s 125 pound flyweight division, the American is an absolute force. His takedowns come at his opponents from an array of angles, his control pins them to the canvas with no breathing room, and he is athletically gifted as well, being extremely explosive to complete his takedowns. With a division that has been nearly cleared out by the champion, Demetrious Johnson, Cejudo is likely a major challenge to the belt in the near future. At 8-0, his last win was his most impressive, a complete domination of former title challenger, Chris Cariaso. Cejudo has yet to break a sweat. Credentials, mixed with supreme athleticism and variety, Cejudo takes the mantle as mixed martial art’s best pure wrestler.

 

Honorable Mentions: Cain Velasquez, Demetrious Johnson, and Johny Hendricks

This category is the first of an ongoing series which will be displayed and discussed on Tuesday each subsequent week. Next week will showcase the fighters with the best pure striking power. Stay tuned.

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Fight Announcements

Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou Official for UFC 220

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UFC 220 in Boston, Massachusetts has its main event. Stipe Miocic (17-2) will put his belt on the line for the third time against rising heavyweight star, Francis Ngannou (11-1)

Rumors surrounded the match-up for UFC 220 after Ngannou’s first round knockout over Alistair Overeem, at UFC 218. The Cameroonian heavyweight called for the fight himself. In his octagon interview proceeding his most recent victory, Ngannou stated:

“I’m feeling good… I’m on my way to a title shot”.

The heavy handed Ngannou has finished all of his opponents in all of his six UFC bouts. A streak which includes a kimura submission over Anthony Hamilton and a TKO victory against former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski. Overall, he holds a ten fight win streak. His only defeat came by way of unanimous decision to Zoumana Cisse, in his second professional MMA fight.

If victorious, Ngannou would become the first African-born champion in UFC history.

Not to be diminished, Stipe Miocic rides his a streak of his own into the beantown match-up. Five consecutive wins, five knockouts and the past four of which, ended in the first round. A victory in Boston for the champ would make him the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history. Currently, Miocic is one of three heavyweights, in the promotions entirety, whom has successfully defended the belt twice.

UFC 220 will be held at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on January 20th, 2018. The pay-per-view (PPV) card will also feature light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, as he faces challenger Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir.

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Events

Ladies Fight Night 7: “Double Trouble” Preview

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Polish women’s federation Ladies Fight Night is going to celebrate their second birthday this year on the 15th to 17th of December. Two days, two events with a lot of great bouts.

LFN in Poland is being titled the new Invicta FC. The Polish owners created this federation to give European women a chance to fight on a big platform.

Hosting their first ever event in December 2015, LFN will hold two great cards next week, that will feature women who have fought under many prestigious promotions, such as the UFC, Invicta, Bellator, Glory, and Kunlun.

Two days of fantastic fights, intensified by a double dose of sports impressions. The name is not accidental, LFN 7 / LFN 8 combines two events, during which the best Polish fighters will be shown, as well as the best fighters from Europe (including France, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic and Romania)

The stakes are high, and we are electrified by the clashes between warriors such as Żaneta Cieśla vs Silvia La Notte and Patricia Axling vs. Cindy Silvestri. Mainly due to their vastness of their experience in the cage.

In the fight of the evening, the talented Romanian Cristina Stanciu will face Magdaléna Šormovádo. Stanciu fought twice in the UFC, but she was unfortunately cut from the promotion after suffering consecutive losses to Cortney Casey and Maryna Moroz.

Judyta Rymarzak vs Marta Waliczek is an amazing fight between two experienced kickboxers. Both making their pro MMA debuts on the night, we will witness a one-of-a-kind duel between two kickboxing perfectionists, as they look to transcend their skills into the MMA world.

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Invicta

Mackenzie Dern victorious in Invicta debut 

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Late Friday night, Mackenzie Dern (5-0, 1-0 Invicta FC) won her co-main event booking, defeating Kaline Medieros (8-6, 2-2 Invicta FC), at Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzwiedz, via submission (armbar) with only fifteen seconds remaining in the fight.

Much of the fight was controlled by Dern. The heralded prospect displayed her power, visibly damaging her opponent with multiple overhand rights. Striking is an under-developed aspect of her attack, only when compared to the twenty-four-year-olds black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Above all, she showed a progression of her striking skills. Dern looked to be bigger and physically stronger than her veteran opponent. She utilized forward pressure and found the proper timing for her overhand right throughout.

The veteran Medeiros showed her toughness throughout the fight. She defended and scrambled out of some bad positions during the grappling exchanges. Ultimately, she tapped when caught in a deeply planted armbar.  While Medeiros did earn a few hard trip takedowns, it factored minimally in the result as she refused to follow Dern to the mat. The Boston native suffered her second straight loss, Friday night. Her first was to, former Invicta strawweight champion, Angela Hill.

Dern made her professional debut in July of 2016 with Legacy Fighting Alliance (previously: Legacy Fighting Championship). In her debut, she defeated Kenia Rosas by unanimous decision. The Phoenix-born fighter won her next three bouts. Before her MMA career began, Dern won the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) championship at 60 kg. She was the first American born female to become champion at the weight. Her grappling resume boasts many more incredible accomplishments. Justifiably, a growing spotlight now hangs over her, her skills, and potential in the sport of MMA.

Elsewhere on the Invicta 26 card, Jennifer Maia defeated Agnieszka Niedzweidz by unanimous decision. Maia retained her Invicta flyweight belt, defending it for the second time. Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzweidz, took place at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri.

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