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UFC 187 Main Event Breakdown: Anthony Johnson vs Daniel Cormier

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Come Saturday night it will be the first time since 2011 that the Light Heavyweight division will have a new king. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson had been looking to dethrone long time champion Jon Jones, unfortunately for Jones he has made a few bad decisions that will leave him out of the cage for the foreseeable future. Jones’ last opponent, Daniel ‘DC” Cormier came knocking when he realized that the opportunity for another crack at the belt was available, and now on May 23rd he will take on Johnson for the now vacant Light Heavyweight belt. This fight is between two very different fighters, not only in style but also in the path in which both got here. On one side we have former Welterweight knockout artist and on the other we have former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion, in a weird turn of events both fighters will meet at the 205 pound weight limit in what should be a very exciting bout.

Anthony Johnson’s career has been one that left myself scratching my head at times, you can marvel in his destruction of Lil Nog and Alexander Gustafsson, but I also have a hard time forgetting the once lightweight fighter Rich Clementi choking him out in the second round. Or if we want to look at his more recent loss, now teammate and fellow title challenger Vitor Belfort choked him out in the first round. Since that fight he has went on a 9 fight win streak that includes 6 wins by ko/tko and fighting the likes of former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski. It seems as though Johnson has found his home at 205, we always heard the rumours that the cut to 170 was too much, that the advantage gained from being the bigger fighter had diminished returns especially when it came to the cardio department. Johnson put on a masterful performance against Phil Davis, many, including myself assumed that since much lighter fighters were able to take Johnson down and tap him out that national champion wrestler Phil Davis would have no problem. We were wrong. Johnson fought a great fight, not being taken down once, using his powerful punching combinations coupled with his devastating rear head kick to lead to a dominating unanimous decision. In his most recent fight, in what was suppose to set the rematch between Alexander Gustafsson and Jon Jones, Johnson played the spoiler in Sweden and dismantled Gustafsson in the first round by TKO.

In his matchup against Cormier, Johnson should look to keep doing what he does best, that is keeping his distance and land strikes until his power becomes the deciding factor in the fight. Johnson is one of the best in the business at finishing fights when he senses his opponent is injured. The way he stalked down Gustafsson once he had him rocked was beautiful, Johnson knows he has power and it’s usually just a matter of time before his opponent finds out what it feels like. Johnson is going against a former heavyweight who has yet to see defeat come by the way of stoppage, Johnson will have to fight a very smart fight, he cannot get discouraged if DC does not go down. He has to make sure he does not fall into the trap of looking for the KO, as the saying goes once you start looking you will never find it. Though Johnson looked great against Phil Davis in stopping the takedown it was mainly because of his distance mangement, he never let Davis get close enough to him to commit to a shot, he was also using his uppercut to perfection by making Davis think twice about shooting for a takedown. If he can stick to his gameplan and control the distance I think it’s very possible for Johnson to stop Cormier in the 2nd or 3rd round.

Daniel Cormier has been given an opportunity that many fighters dream of, receiving a  title shot within the UFC. The fact that he is now been given a second title shot, after whiffing on his first try, by losing to Jon Jones in a lopsided fight. The opportunity DC currently has is even more of a fairy tale. We will find out how this story ends come May 23rd. DC was an afterthought when the Strikeforce Heavyweight grand prix came along, he wasn’t even in the bracket, it wasn’t until the decision to move Alistair Overeem to the UFC that gave DC a chance to show the MMA world what he was all about. After a vicious KO over Bigfoot Silva DC went on to dismantle the veteran Josh Barnett, he capped his win off with a huge takedown tossing Barnett on his head. After he grabbed the title it was evident that DC was someone that had a good future in the world of MMA. His improved boxing partnered with his olympic level wrestling made him a tough match up for anyone, he showed that by easily going on a 4 fight win streak within the UFC before receiving his chance at the title against Jones. Jon Jones easily dispatched the underdog DC as DC was unable to get anything going and his wrestling was basically nullified the entire fight. While the fight wasn’t a great one for DC I don’t think we can compare the capabilities of Jones and Johnson.

DC has a distinct advantage in this fight with Johnson, his wrestling is on a another level and it will be key in this fight. DC will be the better “Mixed Martial Artist” in the sense that he is more tools to win the fight, DC will be smart to focus on his roots and look to lean on his wrestling throughout the entire bout. DC will want to keep the pressure on Johnson from the start of the first round, his greatest success will be had once he gets a hold of Johnson, using his strikes to set up the ability to clinch and get the fight against the cage, Johnson will always have a question mark around his cardio due to his past fights and DC will be smart to look to answer that question. Turning the fight into a grind will be where DC will shine, using dirty boxing and knees up against the cage, coupled with takedowns and trips to land his GNP and tire the powerful Johnson. As Mike Goldberg reminds us every fight DC likes to “embrace the grind”, and he will be smart to have that mentality, if he controls the pace and keeps the fight chest to chest DC should be able to either grind out a dominate decision or even possibly show off his underrated submissions.

I have flip flopped on who I think is going to win this fight, for it me it comes down to one major point. Anthony Johnson has to do something that no one has ever done, even heavyweights, and that is knockout Daniel Cormier. Whereas DC has to do something that men half the size of him have done multiple times, and that is takedown Johnson and control the fight. I don’t think DC will be able to get the finish but if he does, it will come at the earliest the third round. I expect DC to fight very calculated against the dangerous Johnson and grind out a decision that is largely based off of clinch work against the cage, similar to his fights with Frank Mir and Roy Nelson. It will be strange to have to another champion in the light heavyweight division not named Jon Jones but I see Daniel Cormier being the man to fill that void…for the time being.

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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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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:

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.

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Announcement

Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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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:

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.

 

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.

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Announcement

*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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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)

Main Card:

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)

Preliminary Card:

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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