Episode two kicks off with Michael Graves commiserating with his ATT teammates following his loss. Graves, who has never lost professionally, is worried his defeat would dampen the spirits of his ATT brethren. Hayder Hassan and Kam Usman then cross paths in the kitchen where Hassan comments on the “heavy atmosphere” of the Blackzilian’s gym. As the fighters are travelling to their respective gyms, we’re taken inside the ATT “war room” where Dan Lambert and his coaches are discussing who they think the Blackzilians will put forth and which fighter with which they will counter. Lambert settles on Uros Jurisic, the Slovenian Post Man. Jurisic (1-0) is a fairly untested combatant with little in cage experience, but Top Team’s coaches are very impressed with him and think he’ll give them the best chance at taking over fight control. We’re then transported to the Blackzilian’s “war room”. As Glenn Robinson and co. are going through their choices they settle on Luis “Buscape” as their selection this week. “Buscape” (18-6) holds wins over UFC vets Tyson Griffin, Jacob Volkmann, and Luis Palomino in his 3 previous fights leading into TUF. Firmino, a decorated grappler, will most likely be the favorite going into this fight, just based on experience alone.
So, now we have out week 2 match-up: Luis “Buscape” Firmino vs Uros Jurisic.
My pick: Firmino via submission
Tempers flair during the Blackzilian’s training session when Kamaru Usman takes issue with the way Jason Jackson is performing a drill. Usman storms out of the room, but returns shortly after, apologizing to Jones for his outburst. No chemistry issues, or so it would seem. Both camps are in the gym for week 2’s weigh ins. Uros and Buscape step forward to weigh in, a feat both accomplish without issue. Robinson and the Blackzilian’s seem very confident with match up. The next face off happens to be between the team’s coaches. Lambert and Robinson trade a few verbal shots, but this “rivalry” seems contrived and it’s hard to take these guys as serious “rivals”. After the weigh ins (and coaches trash talk) has commenced, we get a look into Buscape’s training with striking coach Tyrone Spong (a serious badass). The Blackzilians seem to be confident in their ability to win the fight no matter where it goes. Over at American Top Team, the team of coaches discuss Buscape’s methods of victory. They zero in on his 1 TKO in his 18 wins, crediting Uros with a striking advantage. They also think Jurisic has a much more well-rounded game, and a better gas tank. ATT seems to be looking to put pressure on the Brazilian and wear him out. We could be in for a 3 round, grinding affair.
A quick reminder of the TUF 21 scoring system –
-Fights 1-4 are worth 25 points each
-Fights 5-8 are worth 50 points each
-Fights 9-12 are worth 100 points each
Uros Jurisic (1-0) *ATT vs. Luis “Buscape” Firmino (18-6) *Blackzilians
As the fighters enter the cage, the atmosphere is again “raucous”. Lambert comments that the Blackzilian’s home gym feels like a “fucking soccer game”.
Both fighters take the center of the octagon and trade punches. Jurisic lands a clean left, but Buscape gets in close enough to secure a takedown. Jurisic threatens with a guillotine, but Buscape is quickly in side control, and out of danger. Jurisic regains full guard as Buscape drags the Slovenian to the center of the octagon. Buscape is landing some decent hammer fists from guard, but Jurisic is defending well enough to avoid any major damage. The fighters have scooted their way across the octagon and now Jurisic is attempting to use the cage to stand up. Buscape lands some heavy ground and pound for good measure. The entire ATT contingent are screaming for Uros to stand up. As the round ends the Blackzilian’s erupt in delight as their fighter very clearly won the first round.
MMA Latest scores the round 10-9 Firmino.
The message is clear in Jurisic’s corner, KEEP THE FIGHT STANDING!. The fighters take the center of the octagon as Uros whiffs on 2 flying techniques. Jurisic shoots for the takedown, a direct disregarding of his corner’s advise, and Buscape throws him to the ground. Buscape is now in side control, but Jurisic is able to buck and sprawl to his feet. AFter trading a few punches Buscape shoots and is rewarded with a takedown in the center of the cage. The Blackzilian’s are chanting, and the gym is seemingly transformed into a Brazilian stadium. A call from action by the referee spurs Buscape to throw a few hammer fists. As he is loading up, Uros is able to scramble to his feet, but it’s not long before Buscape has taken his back. The fighters are now back to the mat, just where Buscape wants it to be. As the round is coming to an end, it seems that Firmino’s formidable ground game is too dominant for Jurisic to handle. This should be an easy decision for the judges.
MMA Latest scores the round 10-9 Firmino, and the bout 20-18 Firmino.
Making Luis “Buscape” Firmino the winner via Unanimous Decision.
The decision is rendered, and to no ones surprise, we are not going to a 3rd round.
*OFFICIAL DECISION: Luis “Buscape” Firmino wins via Unanimous Decision*
With the win the Blackzilians retain home gym advantage and gain a 50 – 0 lead in the tournament.
MMA Latest predictions 2-0
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
Why the UFC Needs to Introduce 165 and 175-pound Weight Divisions
- The debacle that were the UFC 216 weigh-in last Friday further highlighted current weight cutting problems in mixed martial arts.
More specifically in this case it was in the UFC’s lightweight division. A fight between Nik Lentz and Will Brooks was pulled due to Lentz having ‘medical issues’ according to a UFC statement, hours before he was due to weigh-in.
Title challenger Kevin Lee then took to the scale seconds before the deadline and was over the limit by a pound. Fortunately he made weight after being given an extra hour. But these are not isolated cases, especially at 155-pounds.
There isn’t necessarily a solution to this problem but there may be a short term fix in the form of new weight classes approved by the ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports) in July 2017. These include 165 and 175-pound divisions.
While not specific to the lightweight division, the problems with weight commonly occur there. In March this year, Khabib Nurmagomedov was rushed to hospital during fight week when cutting down for his title contest with Tony Ferguson. Subsequently the UFC 209 main event was cancelled. Khabib has been regularly discussed as a title challenger but he’s often struggled to make weight and failed on numerous occasions.
With drastic dehydration it is still unknown what health implications may effect him and other mixed martial artists in the future.
Some top ranked fighters such as Donald Cerrone, Jorge Masvidal and Rafael Dos Anjos have moved up to the welterweight division to preserve their health from these strenuous cuts, and have all been relatively successful.
However, many fighters are still reluctant and insist on dropping 10-20% of their bodyweight in the hours and days leading up to a bout. For example, Kevin Lee was rumoured to be 19 pounds over the day before he stepped on the scales.
At 170 pounds, welterweight is fifteen pounds more than lightweight which is a noticeable difference between relatively low weight classes. Especially when you consider that the divisions increase ten pounds from as low as 115 up to 155. There are many fighters who find themselves too big to be a lightweight, yet too small to compete at welterweight.
The incidents last Friday should hopefully be a wakeup call to the UFC, who can also set an example for other organisations such as Bellator, One FC, and Cage Warriors.
So far in 2017 the UFC has lost 14 fights in 48 hours or less before they were due to take place. That is one fight every two cards. While weight cutting is not always to blame, more often than not it plays a big role. These situations leave the UFC at a loss, fighters without opponents and a pay check, and fans disgruntled. Not to mention the health implications for the athlete involved.
The UFC must recognise these common patterns, remove the 170 pound welterweight division and create 165 and 175 pound rosters instead. Some may see an additional weight class as devaluing UFC titles even further but this would not be the case.
Recently the women’s featherweight title was created without having a roster of women to fill it. However, the difference with lightweight and welterweight is that they are comfortably the two deepest, most talent stacked divisions in the organisation.
Admittedly, there is a lot of history attached to the welterweight title since Pat Miletich first won it back in 1998. The likes of Matt Hughes and Georges St Pierre have also added prestige to the belt over the years.
Even so, the sport has changed since then and it’s in a transitional phase. We are in the era of USADA, the era of banned IV drips and certain commissions tightening their regulations on how much they allow fighters to safely cut. Everyone is accountable and aware of the dangers, yet steps still need to be taken.
The athletic commissions and the UFC in particular must act by introducing super lightweight (165lbs) and super welterweight (175lbs) divisions. Perhaps from a fighter’s perspective it seems like a no-brainer that their health should be the main priority.
From a fans point of view there is plenty of talent that could be used in those two divisions. The novelty of fighters blending into these classes would also have the feeling of a superfight. The likes of Nurmagomedov, Lee, Masvidal, Cerrone and Dos Anjos would certainly fit well into a 165 pound division.
Similarly, at 175 pounds, Tyron Woodley could transition from welterweight champion to super welterweight champion. Top talents such as Robert Whittaker, Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia and Robbie Lawler would be perfect matches for this weight.
If this was a success then super middleweight (195lbs) and cruiserweight (225lbs) divisions could be an option in future too.
As previously mentioned this won’t necessarily fix the issues of weight cutting but it gives martial artists another option and is a positive step towards fighter’s safety. Currently there has been no mention by the UFC about introducing these new divisions.
However, with fighter safety being of upmost importance these new divisions must be given serious consideration.
James Gallagher out of Bellator 187 in Dublin due to injury
Irish fans will have to wait a little longer to see James Gallagher fighting on home soil after Gallagher suffered a knee injury in preparation for his main event fight with Jeremiah Labiano in Dublin next month. This bad news was first reported by MMAFighting.com.
The 20-year-old from Strabane co. Tyrone who trains in the famous SBG gym with Conor McGregor and Gunnar Nelson among others has set the featherweight division alight since joining Bellator in 2016. James “The Strabanimal” Gallagher has gone 3-0 with all three of his wins coming by rear naked choke.
After submitting Chinzo Machida, the brother of former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida in Madison Square Garden Gallagher has become a budding star for Bellator.
Due to the youngster’s attitude and potential, many comparisons between Gallagher and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor have been made by the fans and media which has made Gallagher one of Bellator’s most recognizable names. This notoriety has ultimately led to the young Irishman getting a chance to headline in Dublin this November but this injury has delayed his rise for the time being.
Gallagher on social media Thursday stated that he has suffered an injury to his PCL and LCL in his knee and would be out for the remainder of the year. He has assured fans we would return next year and carry on where he started with “The Jimmy show.”
His longtime rival AJ McKee, who has engaged in a Twitter war with Gallagher after his last fight, will now headline Bellator 187 in the 3 Arena in Dublin on November 10th against Gallagher’s SBG teammate Brian Moore. Moore will be making his third appearance for Bellator in this featherweight clash.
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