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UFC 189 – KO analysis

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UFC 189 might possibly have been the greatest MMA event in history. From brutal striking, picture perfect technique and knock ‘em down, drag ‘em out wars,  last Saturday’s event will be talked about for years and remembered for even longer. So, having such a memorable event with some simply sensational finishes, its only just we take a look at some of the best finishes of the night.

Here is my KO analysis for UFC 189.

 

Lawler def. MacDonald via KO round 5

There isnt a lot technically to take away from this finish, being it was a simple straight left to the nose that put MacDonald away, but what we can take from it is the importance of targeting your strikes. Lawler knew Rory’s nose was damaged through a prolonged assault in the previous 4 rounds and he also knew he probably needed a finish to win the fight. Putting these two facts together, Robbie knew the best bet to win was to target MacDonald’s injuries and that’s what gave him the finish, landing a huge punch right on the broken nose of Rory forcing him to crumble to the mat and the fight to be called.

Being able to target your opponent in different locations is a must have skill at the highest level of the game as it gives you more chance to leave lasting damage to your opponent that could help you in future rounds and also as shown with Lawler vs. MacDonald, it is a great way to localise damage to a specific body part of your opponent and turn what seem rather average strikes to fight ending shots.

 

McGregor def. Mendes via KO round 2

Funnily enough, this fight finish was brought about by Mendes as much as it was by McGregor. After the first few striking exchanges where Mendes felt the stomach churning body shots and exceptionally diverse striking arsenal of his foe, it was pretty obvious to everyone that Chad would have a very difficult time beating Conor on their feet. Mendes’ counter to this was obvious from the get-go and that was to take McGregor down early, take him down hard and keep him down.

Chad followed his game plan well, scoring numerous hard takedowns in the fight that used a lot  energy to not only complete the takedown, but to hold McGregor on the mat to minimalize the time the men spent on the feet. This played right into McGregor’s hands as Conor did not use half as much  energy off his back as Mendes did on top, and offered nothing in the way of a  sweep or submission threat, but rather he bided his time and got back to his feet when the opportunity came.

After rinse and repeating this many times, Chad was gassed and the final flurry on the feet was too much for Mendes to withstand. Mixing together exhaustion caused by wrestling and constant a body attack from Connor and the obvious power McGregor has in his striking shown in the fight ending flurry is a recipe for disaster for any fighter. Being able to intelligently defend yourself when gassed is hard enough, but when a man is throwing with the strength of McGregor it’s no wonder Mendes was forced to turtle up and the fight was called.

 

 

Almeida def. Pickett via KO round 2

Is Thomas Almeida a future world champion? We have no idea yet, but is he one of the most exciting young mma prospects with highlight reel KO ability? Check and check.

Despite a rocky start for Almeida, he was able to finish this fight early in the second round with a gorgeous flying knee KO of Brad Pickett. If this knockout seemed familiar, it’s probably because it was the same scissoring knee variant that Jose Aldo used to KO Cub Swanson at WEC 41. The scissoring action of faking the right knee then coming up with the left in mid-air is a great technique for catching your opponent off guard and landing one of the hardest strikes you can land in MMA and it worked perfectly for Almeida on Saturday night. Moments before the fight ending knee, Brad Pickett threw his own flying knee which was easily evaded by Almeida. As Thomas threw his knee, Pickett assumed it was the same technique he himself has just tried and only saw the right knee of Almeida coming up short and reacted instantly by trying to grab Almeida’s raised leg for an easy takedown, playing straight into the trap of the scissor knee. As Brad did this, Almeida’s left knee followed the right and landed on the totally unprotected chin of Pickett putting him flat backed on the canvas with his arms laid out above his head. Pickett regained consciousness almost immediately, but the fight had already been called off and rightly so.

Purists always say to focus on the basics, but this fight ending shot showed just how effective flashy techniques can be. Pickett was maybe a bit too eager to rush in with the counter takedown, but you cannot really fault brad too much in this finish. He was simply caught in the wrong place at the wrong time by a phenomenal technique.

 

 

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Announcement

Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223

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UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.

 

Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.

After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.

A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.

Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.

Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.

A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.

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Bellator

Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet

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Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.

“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”

Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.

“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”

Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.

“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”

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Fight Announcements

Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April

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MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.

 

The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.

Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.

An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.

His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).

Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.

PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.

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