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“Top of the Food Chain Series” Volume 4: The Best Boxing

Derek Bowe

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An essential striking approach is boxing and will forever be an integral part of a fighter’s arsenal in mixed martial arts. The ability to maintain range with a jab, get inside with body hooks, cut off angles by circling a foe with hooks to the head, land damaging shots within the clinch or blast a ducking opponent with an uppercut. All of these techniques enable a fighter to execute effective striking. Below is a list of fighters who employ different approaches to their boxing attack, none being any less effective, as they are the ones who do it the best.

#5 Conor McGregor, Featherweight, UFC

Conor McGregor has a plethora of talents, one of which is his ability to manage the range. One way he is able to close the distance is by leaping in with a big left straight. The straight which McGregor throws is thrown with a ton of force, as the momentum comes right along with it, being that it is a lunging technique. It’s clearly the Irishman’s most dangerous punch. Along with dealing damage, it’s also used to close the distance and open up an inside boxing attack where Conor loves to go to the torso with combos of alternating body uppercuts. When the straight is thrown, opponents like to cover up to protect against and absorb the big strike. In doing that, he’s creating an opening to the inside without being countered. McGregor uses this technique with flawless execution and this is what makes his hands dangerous enough to round out this list.

#4 Junior Dos Santos, Heavyweight, UFC

Junior Dos Santos would have found himself at the number one spot on this list three years prior, but his style has changed since. Dos Santos had a style similar to that of a fencer, which is a surprising comparison considering Dos Santos is a heavyweight. He would use feints to the head, jab to the body, dart out, then close with a huge overhand right which numerous opponents fell victim to. Since then, Dos Santos has become more of a puncher who throws big power shots, looking to floor his opponents early on. Junior uses more of a jab at the head to set up his overhand, that usually follows with a big left hook to the body or hook to the head. Cigano has become more of a knockout punch boxer, than a volume puncher he used to be. His skills are definitely high-level enough to maintain a spot on this list, as any opponent understands the danger waiting for them in hands of Dos Santos across the Octagon.

#3 Anderson Silva, Middleweight, UFC

Once considered the pound-for-pound number one fighter on the planet while sitting as the middleweight champion, Anderson Silva’s skills in the Octagon were unmatched. One such skill that had been overlooked was his boxing ability. Anderson Silva would likely be considered to have some of the best defense that has been seen in the sport, largely due to head movement which has been compared to something out of the movie The Matrix, exhibited in his bout against former light heavyweight champion Forest Griffin. Silva has a stiff jab which has allowed him to control distance and set up an array of strikes he possesses. While Silva uses his boxing primarily as setup, the effective nature of his boxing is his most underrated quality. It deserves every bit the recognition it should be getting, certainly one of the best in the game.

#2 Frankie Edgar, Featherweight, UFC

Frankie Edgar is the epitome of volume puncher. Every successive timeout, Edgar looks to be getting better and better in the striking department. He showed why he deserved to be on this list against the likes of Urijah Faber his last time out where he confused the likes of Faber with his unpredictable combos to the head and body of California Kid while Faber looked confused and out of sorts with his single punch attack. Edgar likes to work high to low, then finish off with a lead hook to the head before exiting the pocket. He mixes straights and hooks, not usually loading up on any particular punch, yet landing three to five punches in each exchange. His quickness, coupled with diversity, places Edgar in a close second for top notch boxing in the sport.

#1 Robbie Lawler, Middleweight, UFC

The number one placeholder, the fighter whose hands are the primary golden ticket to his success is middleweight champion, Robbie Lawler. Lawler has it all when it comes to boxing, he goes to the body, goes to the head, punches with power on the inside, closes the distance, and is unpredictable in his combinations. The southpaw throws with an effortless amount of power, his punches looks smooth, and free flowing, not forced, and unnatural. Lawler has a powerful jab which sets up his left hook up top. After the left hook up top, he enjoys going to the body with a lead right hook, followed by a left uppercut. Robbie does not seem to favor any particular punch as all of them are dangerous with the amount of power the champion possesses. Combination ability, range management, head movement, and power make Lawler one of the best boxers in mixed martial arts.

Honorable Mentions: Jorge Masvidal, Al Iaquinta, Jose Aldo, Rory MacDonald, Rampage Jackson, Nick Diaz

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Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.

Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.


Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?

I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.

Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?

I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened.  They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.

Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of  Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?

I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.

It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.

Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?

I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.

I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.

Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!

 

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2017 IMMAF World Championships: Finals fixtures

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After 4 days of non stop action from Monday to Thursday we have our final 14 bouts to determine the 2017 IMMAF World Champions. Most of these fighters have fought four times for their slot  in the final and tomorrow will be their chance to finish off what has been a fantastic week of fights.

Kicking off the action tomorrow will be Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan. Both women have looked extremely impressive in their bouts so far, Oliveira has spent less time in the cage than her opponent after finishing two of her fights. Neilan is the Irish teams last chance of a gold in this competition and comes into this after a war of a last fight. She is constantly pressuring and has solid striking with incredible ground and pound from any position on top.

Joel Aronlainen came down to featherweight after testing the water at lightweight in the European Championships. His lanky build and impressive overall skill set has seen him pick up 3 finishes in the competition so far. His opponent Delyan Georgiev is undefeated and will be a tough challenge for him. Georgiev has dominated the featherweight division at amateur, his gold medal at the European Championships could now lead to him becoming a world champion if he continues to perform like we’re used to seeing him do.

At 155lbs, Vitali Andruhovich will take on top American prospect Quintin Thomas for the gold. Andruhovich has been on the right side of two very close split decisions in this tournament so far. His controversial win over Irishman Ciaran Clarke had many people scratching their heads at the decision. He now has the chance to prove himself with a win against Quintin Thomas. Thomas is the UMMAF National Champion and a very experienced amateur fighter. Racking up 13 wins he has been a dominant fighter in most of his fights, his sole losses coming from sustaining an injury and a split decision loss.

For the Middleweight medal we have a battle of the Nordic fighters. Iceland’s Bjorn Lukas Haraldsson has looked phenomenal in his fights so far, finishing each and everyone inside a round. The Mjolnir fighter has been to many the highlight of the tournament, but has a tough task a head of him in Laallam who’s had half the number of fights in this tournament and looked impressive in both.

Bahrain’s last hope for a medal lies in the hand of Light Heavyweight finisher Murtaza Talha Ali. Ali has finished all four of his bouts so far, 3 via TKO/KO and his last being by way of submission. Standing in his way of gold will be Pavel Pahomenko from Belarus who’s proven to be lethal with submissions once an opportunity arises scoring two submission wins inside the first round.

Here is the full fixture list for the finals tomorrow:

  • Michele Oliveira  vs.  Danni Neilan 125 lbs
  • Anna Astvik  vs.  Hannah Dawson 115 lbs
  • Chamia Chabbi  vs.  Manon Fiorot 135 lbs
  • C. McCrudden  vs.  Fabiana Giampà 145 lbs
  • Gase Sanita  vs.  Kaycee Blake 155 lbs
  • Yernaz Mussabek  vs.  Serdar Atlas 125 lbs
  • Gamzat Magomedov  vs.  O. Moldagaliyev 135 lbs
  • Joel Arolainen  vs.  Delyan Georgiev 145 lbs
  • V. Andruhovich  vs.  Quitin Thomas 155 lbs
  • Sola Axel  vs.  Benjamin Bennett 170 lbs
  • B. Haraldsson  vs.  Khaled Laallam 185 lbs
  • Pavel Pahomenko  vs.  Murtaza Talha Ali 205 lbs
  • Irman Smajic  vs.  Lev Vins 265 lbs
  • Atanas Krastanov  vs.  Marcin Kalata 300 lbs
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Why It’s Time to Cherish Michael Bisping and Stop the Hate

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Ever since the Ultimate Fighter 3, Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping has been one of the most hated fighters on the UFC roster. Since he was painted as the big bad Brit against the American hero Dan Henderson, Bisping has been the villain. He has played up to the reputation of being one of the biggest heels in the UFC, with his arrogance, trash talk and often disrespectful attitude.

But nothing has summed up Michael Bisping more than the events of this past week. After losing his Middleweight Championship to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 217, no one would blame Bisping for wanting a few months on the couch whilst sinking a few beers before retiring at UFC London in March.

After hearing that Anderson Silva had tested positive for a banned substance, it was announced that Bisping would fill in for Silva to face Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC Shanghai. A fight that nobody else would have wanted. A fight that he has less than three weeks to prepare for.

The fight does nothing for Bisping. Gastelum is a rising, rejuvenated contender and Bisping knows he can not take him lightly. But he’s also seven places below him in the rankings. Although, this doesn’t matter anymore as Bisping has announced this will be his second to last fight ever before hanging up his gloves.

Nothing sums Bisping up better than his comment on Gastelum’s Instagram post “See you in China. Loser buys the beers”.

He sounds relaxed. Perhaps he’s enjoying his last two fights and is at peace with his impending retirement.

In an era all about money, fighters like Bisping are rare and hard to come by. Fighters that only care about one thing, fighting.

Sure, his title reign wasn’t the best. But the UFC offered him the Henderson fight, to bring back some feeling of nostalgia that has been missing in the modern times of the UFC. And who in their right mind wouldn’t want to face one of the greatest ever in GSP.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JULY 17: Michael Bisping of England steps on the scale during the UFC weigh-in inside the SSE Hydro on July 17, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

It’s easy to forget amongst all the trash talk that Bisping has always played by the rules, and been anti PEDs during a time when a majority of the roster was using some form of performance enhancers. Fighting PED users has given Bisping most of his losses and has even led to him losing sight in one of his eyes.

Most of Bisping’s outrageous acts, have been him using a ‘pro wrestling’ act in order to hype up his fights and put bums in seats. That isn’t an excuse for some of his obnoxious behaviour. But when he’s not in the zone, it’s clear to see what a respectful and humble man he is. Like his moment after UFC 217, where he approached Cody Garbrandt to tell him how proud he was of him, or his post fight respect for Anderson Silva, where they both bowed on their knees to one another.

This is me and Anderson exchanging respect while being attended to by the doctors.

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The truth is, Bisping is an incredible ambassador of the sport and one of the pioneers across the pond.

Bisping should be remembered and appreciated as the workhorse warrior who brought absolutely everything he had to the cage every time he fought. He always comes to fight, whether it’s three weeks notice or more. He’s simply tough as hell.

Believe you me Michael Bisping is a true old school legend of this sport and should be cherished whilst we still have him, cause we will miss him when he’s gone.

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