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UFC 191’s Fighter To Watch: Francisco Rivera Looks to Dig His Heels in and Move Forward Once More

Steven Cavagnino

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In a career full of ups and downs, sometimes the hardest thing for a fighter to hold onto, besides their opponent, is career momentum. Momentum is staying on the upside of things, and usually that means winning. But momentum does not necessarily mean staying undefeated; although that’s one fool proof way of keeping your career alive. There are fighters out there that keep career momentum going, even losing every so often. Most recently, it’s Chad Mendes that comes to mind as an example of this model. He’s a fighter who, despite having lost 3 times in his UFC career is still at the top of his division.

Admittedly, a lot of Mendes’ fortune came with pure situational luck. He has found himself in positions to maintain his top spot and is constantly and consistently within striking distance of the featherweight title. He has struck while the iron is hot, and taken advantage of opportunities presented to him. Fortune favors the bold.

It’s not always the case, though, that fighters find themselves as short-notice fill ins for title shots. On the regular, it’s much harder to regroup and either maintain or reclaim the momentum of a win, or perhaps several wins. Fighting on Saturday at UFC 191 is perennial top Bantamweight, Francisco Rivera, who is currently ranked at #12 in the division. Now, #12 is not a bad place to be, but considering he is 1-2 in his last 3 fights, Rivera is now fighting to regain his higher-rated spot in the rankings.

The way I see it, if a fighter is on a two fight losing streak, his career begins to start a downward slide. One loss isn’t so bad, it stops any previous momentum, but it’s not the end of the world. Two losses and the aforementioned momentum is now heading in a direction that it shouldn’t be, and once it starts it’s hard to stop. Rivera’s case is an interesting one in that the second loss in his most recent two-fight skid was highly controversial and came after a blatant eye poke. Not only that, but many believe Rivera was winning the fight until the foul. Add the fact that the loss came to the legendary Urijah Faber, and it’s a tough one to swallow.

Rivera, however, being the incredible fighter that he is, didn’t lose control of his situation. Coming back in his most recent fight, Rivera looked like a world beater, absolutely smashing Alex Caceres in 20 seconds. I’d say that any negative momentum Rivera might have been riding was all but erased with a win like that. That’s why his upcoming UFC 191 fight with John Lineker might be as important as any in his career. It’s a chance to finally make a run to the top of the division. Every fighter has his career bumps, a loss here and there, but at some point you have to dig your heels in and turn fortune in your favor.

This is Rivera’s fight to do just that. His fight with Caceres was what he needed to keep the proverbial ‘ball’ from rolling back onto him, and now it’s his moment to push back, get it moving forward again, and–in some cases literally–flatten everyone between him and his way to the top.

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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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