Being able to take punishment in the fight game is an ability which cannot be undersold. Fighters have made careers off the “taking one, to deliver one” strategy of fighting. One key factor to remember when a lot of punishment is absorbed over time, that ability diminishes, and when it goes, it goes quickly. Many retired greats had unfortunately come to realize this toward the end of their careers. Nonetheless, with that said, here we are ranking the most effective at absorbing strikes in mixed martial arts today, let’s enjoy it while it lasts.
#5 Fabio Maldonado, Light Heavyweight, UFC
The Brazilian, Fabio Maldonado opens up the history books in his attempts to mimic the “rope-a-dope” style that the great Muhammad Ali once used so effectively during his storied boxing career to tire foes out before he goes to work offensively. Maldonado has absorbed damage from some very dangerous strikers in his career, yet has only been finished by strikes twice in his thirty total mixed martial arts bouts. One of which came at the hands of Stipe Miocic, a last minute fight Maldonado accepted in the weight division above his own, at heavyweight.
#4 Frankie Edgar, Featherweight, UFC
Frankie Edgar in the smallest fighter on this list, yet has shown he can fare well when up against getting hit with big shots. Most notably was his trilogy against Gray Maynard in which the second and third installments, Frankie Edgar was in major trouble in the first round while getting pummeled with clean power shots from the challenger, Maynard. Each of those fights while weathering a seemingly insurmountable storm in the first round, Frankie bounced back with force, drawing with Maynard in the second fight, while still retaining his lightweight title, and ultimately knocking Maynard out in their third and final meeting after yet another rocky first round. Edgar also stood toe to toe with Jose Aldo, the current sport’s featherweight champion and pound-for-pound number one fighter, taking everything Aldo threw at him over the course of five rounds.
#3 Junior Dos Santos, Heavyweight, UFC
Former heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos qualifies for this list largely for his role in the two losses to Cain Velasquez where Dos Santos showed incredible ability, and heart to continually take damage when lesser fighters might have succumbed to the punishment. Dos Santos powered through the second fight enroute to losing by decision to Cain Velasquez, then nearly repeated a decision loss to the former champion in their third fight until and technical knockout loss ended his night in the fifth, and final round of the bout. Dos Santos also stood toe to toe with Stipe Miocic and Mark Hunt, two of the more powerful strikers on the heavyweight division, besting the both of them. Hunt by knockout, and Miocic via decision respectively.
#2 Roy Nelson, Heavyweight, UFC
Roy Nelson is a popular fighter, largely due to his “everyman’s” physique which does not suggest he is a professional athlete, even more, an elite one at that. Roy can dish out a load of power himself with his strikes, and he is the perfect example of the afformentioned “take one, to deliver one” strategy. Roy Nelson has been hit with big shots from all the powerful strikers of the heavyweight division, only being finished twice to strikes, once earlier in his career at the hands of contender Andrei Arlovski, and most recent to the frightening power of Mark Hunt. He has stood toe to toe with Junior Dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, Fabrício Werdum, Stipe Miocic, and Mirko Cro Cop. All of which are clinical finishers. This resume easily places Nelson amongst the most resilient.
#1 Diego Sanchez, Lightweight, UFC
Diego Sanchez, The Ultimate Fighter 1 winner at the middleweight division has a chin that is seemingly made of granite. The lightweight has been up against the sport’s best over his thirteen year career. Sanchez over the latter parts of his career has been known to charge in head first into a firefight and absorb huge strikes which leave his opponents bewildered as they are unable to secure a finishing blow on the Albuquerque native. Only twice has Sanchez been finished due to strikes, and one came by way of a knee from Joe Riggs nine years ago, the other due to a doctor stoppage opposite former lightweight champion B.J. Penn in 2009 when Sanchez contested for the title. This wreckless style has made Sanchez a fan favorite, as his fights almost never contain a dull moment. Diego Sanchez absorbs strikes better than any fighter in mixed martial arts today.
Honorable Mentions: Mark Hunt, Benson Henderson, Chan Sung Jung
Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”
Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:
Just make sure you don’t put cooking oil all over your body like Anderson did so it’ll be easy to grab ahold of you @lyotomachidafw 👌
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) October 17, 2017
Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”
Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.
“Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”
Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.
Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217
UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.
The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:
— Ovince Saint Preux (@003_OSP) October 19, 2017
It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.
Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.
Fight News update!!
— UFC (@ufc) October 19, 2017
This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.
With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th? Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.
*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results
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)
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)
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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