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“Top of the Food Chain Series” Volume 8: Best Cardio

Derek Bowe

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Cardio, the all important factor of maintaining energy throughout the fight. A fighter can posses all the skills in the world, but if they exhaust all resources in the first few minutes of a fight, those skills are no longer any good to them. Cardio, or lack there of can be a major detriment to a fighter, as it can take away the frightening power which makes them the dangerous fighter they are. Speed will be gone, grappling technique thrown out the window, and the overall mentality and fight IQ will not be at the pinnacle of effective operation. In short, not possessing a high level of cardio can force a fighter to become a shell of what fans, and themselves are accustomed to seeing. For those fighters which do own an expendable gas tank, it is a weapon, one which is not overshadowed with skill, seemingly getting stronger as the fight continues in some cases. This list compiles the machines, the fighters who can seem super-human in their energetic output, and ability to maintain such an output over the course of their contests. The best cardio in mixed martial arts.

#5 Rafael Dos Anjos, Lightweight, UFC

4 years ago, it would have been very hard to imagine Dos Anjos would be sitting wrapped in UFC gold at this very moment. Dos Anjos looked like a solid fighter, good standup, good jiu jitsu, and average wrestling, yet certainly nothing to jump on the horn about. This was when Dos Anjos decided to make a change, a change that would eventually lead him to the path of the newly minted champion oft the 155 pound lightweight division. Dos Anjos changed everything, changed the where he trains, changed how he trains, what he eats, and even where he resides after coming stateside in a complete reinvention of his life. Dos Anjos has looked completely changed and has displayed a relentless pace in his bouts enroute to the title, as well as his title winning bout. Dos Anjos has used his pace to overwhelm his opponents, as well as execute his precise, and refined technique over the course of his bouts. A transformed man, a transformed fighter, now the lightweight champion of the world.

#4 Nick Diaz, Welterweight, UFC

Ask someone about Nick Diaz, and it is likely you will receive a plethora of separate opinions on the welterweight from Stockton, California. Some positive, some negative, some confused by the polarizing figure. One consistent opinion which is likely to be unwavering among the masses, Nick Diaz has great cardio. Diaz is an interesting character, sometimes he will flat lay down in the cage, as seen against Anderson Silva his last time out, yet when he does come to fight he is relentless in his pursuit of his opponent, with a very high output of punches from his boxing style of striking. Diaz is a triathlete in his downtime, competing in regular events in the sport.The degree of energy to complete such an event is held in high regard in the form of cardio energy as it requires biking, swimming and running multiple miles. Diaz’ participation in these such events ensures that he can operate at the pinnacle of physical conditioning, a perfect candidate for this list.

#3 Fabricio Werdum, Heavyweight, UFC

Fabricio Werdum exemplified just how essential being able to maintain your energy level throughout a fight can be, especially when placed against the elements of seven thousand foot altitude in his heavyweight title bid when he won via submission in the second round over another fighter who can be made an argument for inclusion in this list, Cain Velasquez. Fabricio Werdum has looked outstanding since being back in the UFC, he has gone undefeated in his return, and as previously mentioned, is the newly crowned heavyweight champion of the world. At the heavyweight division, much success is based on the ability to land the huge power strike, which at this weight, they all possess, yet Werdum goes about his dominance slightly different. Werdum employs a very high output style which is also very technically precise. His Muay Thai attack on the feet is very high volume and sets up his bread and butter, his jiu jitsu ability. Fighters often succumb to the pressure on the feet, then attempt to take the fight to the floor, exactly where he enjoys his best ability. Werdum’s high output style is only made possible by his abundance of cardio, a rare sight for a man his size.

#2 Dominick Cruz, Bantamweight, UFC

Dominick Cruz is known for his exceptional movement in his navigation of the cage. He frequently moves in to land strikes, then out of range, dipping and dodging any potential threats simultaneously. It truly is a sight to see. The frequent nature of his movement is what makes him so unpredictable, he just does not stay in front of his opponents. What makes this movement possible however, is his cardio. Cruz, while moving constantly, never seems to grow tired, keeping his output in line with what it was from the opening bell, to the end of the fifth round. Cruz’ speed never takes any sort of noticeable dip, thus keeping the effective nature of his striking game at its premium potency. Cruz could be made an argument for the top spot of his list, though his injury stints have not made him available for competition as the fighter who holds the top spot.

#1 Demetrious Johnson, Flyweight, UFC

Another champion makes this list, and it is hard to argue his spot. Demetrious Johnson has made his title defenses look like a glorified sparring sessions, seeming only to ever break a sweat in his fight against Dodson, also the fight which gave the best example of his extraordinary cardio, Dodson came out early and fast, matching the champion Johnson in most aspects of the bout, even knocking down Johnson two times. It was in the later rounds when Johnson came alive, each intermission between rounds seemingly emerging a new fighter coming out for his first round of action. it overwhelmed the challenger Dodson, (also Johnson’s upcoming opponent) and left him without an answer in rounds four and five. Johnson has been able to break his opponents with his flawless technique, speed, and pressure. The champion’s cardio may possibly be his very best asset.

Honorable Mentions: Frankie Edgar, Cain Velasquez, Uriah Faber, TJ Dillashaw, Rashad Evans, Jon Jones

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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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