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UFC 200 Breakdown

Dan Tom

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UFC 192: Cormier v Gustafsson

Daniel Cormier (17-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 37 Weight: 205 lbs Reach: 72.5″
  • Last Fight: SD win / Alexander Gustafsson (10-3-15)
  • Camp: American Kickboxing Academy (San Jose, CA)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   UFC Light-heavyweight Champion
+   Strikeforce HW Grand Prix Winner
+   2x US Olympian(Wrestling Captain)
+   Brown Belt BJJ
+   8 KO victories
+   7 first round finishes
+   3 Submission wins
+   KO Power
+   Pressure fighting approach
^   Forces high work rate
+   Dangerous overhands & uppercuts
+   Deceptive distance closer
^   Slips & rips his way inside
+   Strong clinch game
^   Effective dirty boxer
+   Diverse takedown game
^   Favors high-crotch single
+   Transitions intelligently on top
+/-Pace bares watching

 

UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones

Jon Jones (22-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’4″ Age: 28 Weight: 205 lbs Reach: 84.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Ovince ST Preux (4-23-16)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   UFC Interim LHW Champion
+   *Former UFC LHW Champion
+   JUCO National Wrestling Champ
+   Multiple Wrestling Accolades
+   9 KO victories
+   7 first round finishes
+   6 Submission wins
+   Athletic & Agile
+   Creative & dynamic striker
^   Preternatural instincts & improv
+   Effectively dictates range
^   Teep kicks, oblique kicks, & hand posts
+   Deceptively effective inside clinch
^   Superb hand fighting/grip disruption
+   Multiple takedown tools
+   Devastating ground striker
+   Always looks to secure rounds
^   Consistently comes on late
+/-Will fight to opponents strength

Summary:

Headlining the legendary UFC 200 card is a grudge match between champions, as now-interim champ, Jon Jones attempts to take back his title against the defending champ Daniel Cormier. Due to Jon’s shortcomings outside of the cage, he was forced to surrender his title and sit on the sidelines as the division moved on. After two hard fought victories over Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson, Daniel Cormier became the man to take Jones’ spot at the top. Lacking no motivation of his own, Cormier will look to pay Jones back for the previous defeat and disrespect dealt.

Going back to their first fight in 2015, I feel that history has been re-written as our hunger for hyperbole often leads us to swim in the stream of common-narrative. Although the defeat DC suffered to Jones was crushing, it was also much closer than people seem to remember. Similar to our criticisms of MMA Judging, the most recent events and the manner in which they happen often resonate with us the most. That is why someone like Jones can almost inherently make you write-off his opposition, whether you are judging him as a fighter or the one judging his fights. Despite my official pick aligning with the projected favorite, I will attempt to explain why I feel this fight is closer than you might think.

In their first affair, you could have made legitimate arguments for Cormier in the opening two rounds. Although only outscoring Jones officially in one of those rounds(round 2), DC was able to pressure Jones with effect as being the one advancing. Cormier started to take it Jones early in the third, as he looked to be running away with the round until Jones accidentally poked DC in the eye. Despite Jon’s history and rather blatant disregard to the issue, I do not reference that to take anything away from Jones’ performance, as I feel this momentum shift was more than likely inevitable. What I mean by that is that DC began to tire significantly from that point on.

As soon as action resumed from the inadvertent foul, Jones jumped on Cormier and never let up for the rest of the round. From then on, Jon established himself firmly in the fight as he allowed DC to come into the clinch with him, a place where we thought Cormier could have an advantage. However, Jones again stifled the offensive momentum of DC as he put on a hand fighting clinic. Demonstrating the importance of grip fighting, Jones utilized creative forms of wrist control to disrupt DC’s game and open up his own. Using his long frame to multitask inside the clinch, Jones implemented over-hooks(in a similar fashion to the ones that injured Teixeira’s shoulder) as he used his free arm to feed DC’s wrists into the over-hooking hand.

This intricate tie up also allowed Jon the leverage to come over the top with elbows regardless of whether or not he is still holding onto wrists. For those who have not wrestled or grappled in some form, wrist control is the unsung gatekeeper of advancing position, as a solid hand-fighter can befuddle even the best of grapplers. For example, even you are in a disadvantageous position(e.g. on bottom), isolating or controlling a single wrist properly can immediately kill up to 90% of choke and pass completions. It is a hard thing to grasp a non-grappler, but establishing a position can be especially difficult when someone is compromising your grips. We saw not only Cormier struggle here but also Teixeira, as Jones was able to operate like a technically equipped octopus inside the clinch, simultaneously denying them space while taking them into deeper waters.

If Cormier does not have a new approach toward Jon’s clinch warfare, we may see him struggle to get his wrestling or dirty boxing game going in this rematch. With most of DC’s favored takedowns taking place inside the clinch, Jones command of this area will be crucial if he means to limit Cormier’s arsenal once again. Should Jones find success in shutting down DC’s wrestling, Cormier may be relegated to fighting within the mid and outside ranges. Although Cormier was overmatched on the outside(as most are against Jones), he did some things nicely in the mid-range that he may revisit. A deceptively good kicker, DC was able to land effectively to Jones legs and body. Going to the legs, in particular, may serve Cormier well considering the lack of build to Jon’s frame in that area.

I do not mean to judge a book by it’s cover when referring to the skinniness of Jon’s legs, but it is after all the reasoning behind his nickname. Not only that, I believe that the consistent kick-heavy arsenal that Jones relies upon to maintain range comes with a cost. In reviewing footage of Jon’s fight history, I noticed that no matter how hard the battle, Jones would consistently limp as the contest came to a close. I am not sure if this is a part of DC’s team’s approach or awareness, but I do feel that Jon is acutely aware of this. Often switching stances when leg kicked(or when he feels like disrupting your game), Jones will almost bait you to come forward and throw as he uses brutal oblique kicks(that often buckles the knee) to dissuade you from approaching in said space.

Cormier’s best shot in this fight ultimately lies within the boxing range. Although he struggled to find Jones here the first time, DC showed solid improvements to his punching pursuits in his fight with Gustafsson. Whether Alexander is committed to countering or evading, the Sweed can be difficult to deal with in exchanges. That said, DC was able to continually close-in on Gustafsson despite the disparity in height and reach. Even though Cormier showed signs(and possible trends) to how he is holding up in these wars, it is hard to criticize a fighter for being exhausted after such a grueling battle. However, considering that DC is facing arguably the best round-winner in MMA, Cormier will have little room for error or inconsistency.

Coming on late in rounds with his patent taste for takedowns and flashy techniques, we have even seen an ill-prepared Jones dig deep to fend off defeat. Although I see Cormier’s overhands & uppercuts being his best chance at auditing Jon’s head-movement tendencies, Bones has become increasingly aware inside the pocket as I feel this has been his biggest improvement as of late. If Cormier cannot score the knockout, then he will be forced to compete with Jones for scorecard supremacy, something that remains a daunting task. Unless Jones suffers from a performance related intangible, I have a hard time seeing Jon’s adjustments and creativity not come through. Although my heart will be rooting for Cormier, the official pick here is Jonny Bones.

Official Pick: *Jones pulled for USADA violations, Cormier to face Anderson Silva.

Updated Pick: Daniel Cormier – Decision

 

Lesnar1

Brock Lesnar (5-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 38 Weight: 264 lbs Reach: 81″
  • Last Fight: TKO loss / Alistair Overeem (12-30-11)
  • Camp: Team Death Clutch (Canada)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Boxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC Heavyweight Champion
+   NCAA Heavyweight Champion(2000)
+   4x All-American Wrestler
+   3 KO victories
+   1 Submission win
+   KO power
+   Freakish athleticism & agility
^   Deceptively fast
+   Explosive power double takedown
^   Changes level well
+   Relentless positional rider
^   Floats, transitions, & strikes
–    1 fight in 6 years
^   Coming off 5 year layoff
?   Questionable overall state

 

Hunt3

Mark Hunt (12-10-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 42 Weight: 262 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: KO win / Frank Mir (3-19-16)
  • Camp: Team Mark Hunt (Australia)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   K-1 Grand Prix Champion
+   Multiple Kickboxing Accolades
+   30-13 as a Pro Kickboxer
+   9 KO’s MMA/13 KO’s kickboxing
+   73% finish rate
+   KO power
+   Deceptive speed & agility
^   Closes distance quickly
+   Accurate shot selection
^   Changes timing/tempo well
+   Deadly uppercuts & hooks
+   Underrated takedown defense
^   Demonstrates fundamental awareness
–    Struggles with top pressure
^   Propensity to take damage

Summary:

Serving as a special co-main event for an extra-special card, Brock Lesnar will make his UFC return as he draws the always dangerous Mark Hunt. A fight that took most by surprise, Lesnar has decided to come out of retirement and away from the WWE to give MMA one more shot. With his motives mysterious as per usual, you can count that Brock’s intentions will ultimately depend on the outcome of his date with Mark Hunt. A fan favorite amongst hardcore and casual MMA fans, the Super Samoan will look to spoil Lesnar’s homecoming in style.

The obvious red flag heading into this fight is the overall health & mindset of Lesnar, as he will be competing for the first time in five years. No stranger to the big stage, Brock has not been inactive during his sabbatical from the sport, as he has since resigned and worked with the WWE. Although I self-admittedly stopped watching pro wrestling by the time Brock came into it, I felt that going back and improving my referential knowledge may help shed more insight into his athletic capabilities.

In looking at Lesnar’s most recent performances in the WWE, it was apparent that Brock’s athletic abilities are still intact. Obviously, that has no bearing on the status of his fight sensibilities as fight-related technique study was not my intention here. I wanted to see how well Lesnar was moving at 38-years of age, and from his core rotations to his walking-gate, the former world champion appears to be in full working order. As for the fight game part of the pie, Brock’s mental status and approach will be the key intangible going in.

On point or not, Brock will certainly be outgunned standing on the feet with Hunt. Not just on paper or from a pure striking viewpoint, but in an overall sense considering the quickness, stoutness, and approach employed by Hunt. Favoring a more basic arsenal, Mark’s ability to deceptively change speeds is what sets him apart from the pack. Striking at blatant lackadaisical speeds, Hunt will bait opposition his way by lulling them into a false sense of security. After adjusting and achieving reads, Mark will then explode into fight-ending counter shots. Whether he is rolling with his left hook or slipping into his right uppercut, Hunt works with an impressive economy of trunk movement as his style relies heavily upon it.

Although Lesnar has shown capable of throwing long jabs and crosses with authority, the obvious question here is whether or not he will be able to assist his shot intentions by striking with the Samoan. Carrying and underrated ability to defend takedowns, Mark Hunt’s stout stature and deceptively active agility often limit the entry options for his opponents. With some of Hunt’s biggest grappling improvements being the way in which he uses the fence, the ideal approach is to get Mark Hunt grounded in the open. Displaying an understanding of fundamental wrestling defense, Hunt traditionally defends double-legs well as he wields deceptively quick hips.

However, single-legs have proven effective against the Samoan as these more aptly disrupt the balance of his stout base. Possessing an excellent single-leg, we saw Stipe systematically take down Mark again and again. That said, Stipe is also one of the best heavyweights when it comes to using his strikes to set up takedowns. I do not think Lesnar is anywhere near Miocic in the sense of transitioning, nor does the former NCAA heavyweight champion favor single-legs as we have seldom seen him attempt them. Regardless, Lesnar is an absolute outlier athletically as his level-changing power double often gets things done for him.

I do not doubt that Brock can get Hunt down, as I feel that he may also have a good shot at keeping him there. Say what you will with your opinions of Lesnar, but in such a short time and sample size he displayed some amazing things. Embracing the art of catch wrestling, we saw Brock transition seamlessly from positional rides to strikes. Lesnar even shows technical intricacies, like the Billy Robinson style quarter-nelson variation that he used to pin Frank Mir in their rematch. Although Hunt has the propensity to take damage when he’s on the bottom, he possesses a relentless will to search for under-hooks and stand.

Ultimately, I feel that if Lesnar cannot cement his presence by grounding Hunt in the first couple of minutes, his mentality will be amongst the top things tested as Mark’s momentum will likely grow. Although I feel Lesnar has a much better chin than given credit for, he does show the tendencies of someone who is not comfortable with being hit. More specifically, Brock will often revert to shell defense that traditionally opens him up to uppercuts, as I feel that will be the punch to look for here. Although I am siding with the Samoan, you would have to be insane to dismiss the chances of Brock Lesnar. The former champion has a clear path here, but I feel that Mark Hunt will be the one who walks off on it.

Official Pick: Hunt – Inside the distance

 

Tate77

Miesha Tate (18-5)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″ Age: 29 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 66.5″
  • Last Fight: Submission win / Holly Holm (3-5-16)
  • Camp: Xtreme Couture MMA (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: N/A

Supplemental info:
+   UFC Bantamweight Champion
+   Former Strikeforce Bantamweight Champ
+   Multiple Grappling Accolades
+   3 KO victories
+   7 Submission wins
+   4 first round finishes

 

Nunes7

Amanda Nunes (12-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’8″ Age: 28 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 69″
  • Last Fight: Dec win / Valentina Shevchenko (3-5-16)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Florida)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: N/A

Supplemental info:
+   BJJ Black Belt
+   Judo Brown Belt
+   Multiple Grappling Accolades
+   9 KO victories
+   2 Submission wins
+   9 first round finishes

Summary:

*STATED BIAS*: Due to my affiliation with Xtreme Couture MMA and Miesha Tate, I have opted to not analyze this match due to the interests of efficacy. I apologize for shorting you a breakdown on the main card as I hope you understand my efforts for professionalism here.

Official Pick: *Tate – Inside the distance

 

Aldo1

Jose Aldo (25-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 29 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 70″
  • Last Fight: KO loss / Conor McGregor (12-12-15)
  • Camp: Nova Uniao (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC Featherweight Champion
+   WEC Featherweight Title
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   4x BJJ World Champion
+   14 KO victories
+   11 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Athletic & Agile
^   Superb reactive instincts
+   Accurate jab & counter cross
+   Devastating leg kicks
+   Underrated wrestling ability
+   Strong hips & base
^   91% takedown defense
+/-1 fight in 2 years

 

Edgar1

Frankie Edgar (20-4-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″ Age: 34 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: KO win / Chad Mendes (12-11-15)
  • Camp: Ricardo Almeida BJJ (New Jersey)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC Lightweight Champion
+   4X Div. 1 Collegiate Wrestler
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   4 Submission wins
+   6 KO victories
+   6 first round finishes
+   Consistent pace & pressure
^   High volume striker
+   Excellent footwork
^   Enters & exits off angles
+   Superb timing & transitions
+   Effective chain wrestler
+   Relentless top pressure
^   Busy ground striker
+/-Hit early/recovers well

Summary:

In the second match on the UFC 200 main card, we are treated to a rematch between two of the greatest fighters to hold UFC titles. With an interim belt on the line, Jose Aldo & Frankie Edgar will look to state their case for featherweight supremacy.

Coming off a crushing 13-second defeat last December to Conor McGregor, the big question for Aldo coming into this matchup is the current state of his fight psyche. With said loss being Jose’s lone performance in the past two years, I am sure Aldo is eager to shake the cobwebs loose and see where he stands. None the less, Aldo is still a world class athlete with little technical flaws as a fighter. Although offensive aggression was the name of the game early on in Aldo’s career, the Brazilian has steadily developed into a pressure fighter who prefers to counter.

Commanding the cage with a disciplined approach of technical footwork, Aldo will march forward pressuring his opponents into exchanges. Consistently keeping his feet beneath him, Jose is seldom out of position as this allows him to counter with conviction. Displaying a solid sense of head movement, Aldo often slips and returns authoritatively with right hands or leg kicks. When pressing forward, Aldo still shows his classic Dutchie combination as he throws a left hook to the liver that feeds into a right leg kick. That said, I suspect Aldo will once again keep conservative in his approach, especially considering his matchup ahead.

Next to Dominick Cruz, Frankie Edgar is likely the name that pops into your head when someone refers to footwork based fighters. Consistently circling and forcing his opposition to follow, Edgar will work his way in behind punches once finding an angle of approach to his liking. Exiting exchanges at angles that are different in which he came, Edgar has proven increasingly difficult to hit. Subsequently, the more effort Edgar’s opposition exerts in trying to counter, the more available they make themselves to be taken down. Owning one of the best transition games in the business, Edgar seamlessly mixes in takedowns with his approach. Implementing these weapons of constant volume, variety, and angles, Frankie often breaks his opposition down the longer the fight goes.

On paper, one would think this approach would trouble Aldo, who traditionally measures his rounds to combat fatigue. However, Jose was able to take a close decision in their first meeting by using fundamentals to edge out the early rounds. Although Aldo’s accurate jab stifled Edgar’s attacks early, it was the footwork of the Brazilian that gave him the edge in exchanges. Even though Aldo’s athleticism seemingly allows him to react and reset with ease, he does a good job at pivoting off of his rear foot. With most pivots occurring off of the front foot(whether inadvertent or intended), pivoting off of the back foot is an often overlooked aspect of footwork. If you go back and watch these two fighters first meeting, you will see that Aldo consistently uses a rear-foot pivot to adjust his stance.

The rear-foot pivot allowed Aldo to face Edgar in exchanges without compromising his position, which in turn allowed him to counter with effect and edge out the early rounds. Even though Edgar was able to find more success with this transition game as the fight wore on, it ultimately was not enough as he lost a close decision. With this contest being just an adjustment or two away from a different outcome, predicting the winner in a rematch of two of the most consistent fighters is a daunting task. That said, I feel there have been slight trends with both fighters that lead in different directions.

Despite being the older fighter who has experienced wars a division north, Frankie Edgar has seemingly sharpened in skill as he has yet to lose his step at 34-years of age. Still yet to see his thirties, I am not certain I can say the same thing for Jose Aldo. As great as Aldo became in all areas, we have seldom seen him venture outside of his comfort zone since winning the title. Fatigue criticisms aside, the stereotype of Aldo riding out early momentum to the scorecards is confirmed when listening to his corner. In doing so, you will consistently hear the Brazilian’s coaches stress their concerns about Aldo’s output(advising to avoid takedowns and save his strength).

When facing wrestlers like Mendes or Lamas, Aldo’s coach(Andre Pederneiras) will smartly advise him to save his kicks for the end of rounds as well. Not only does this fall into line with the method of conserving energy while solidifying rounds, but it also limits the availability to have Aldo’s kicks countered. I expect this same strategy will be employed against Edgar, considering how good Frankie is at catching his opponent’s kicks and taking them down. Although Aldo’s ability to solidify rounds will undoubtedly be a factor in this fight, you have to imagine that Mark Henry & company have studied all of this and adjusted accordingly.

Whether or not Frankie can make those proper adjustments to secure this fight remains to be seen, but there will be trends aside from fatigue that could play into Edgar’s hands. An athletic specimen, Aldo has relied upon his movement & agility to avoid shots throughout his career. The problem with your game being heavily reliant on speed is that that’s often the first thing to go. Now I am not saying that this is apparent with Aldo as he has only fought once in the past two years, but he has been more prone to damage in his last few outings. Especially in his second fight with Mendes, where we saw how hittable Jose could become when not allowed to fight as his preferred pace.

More specifically, Mendes was able to land left hooks on Aldo multiple times in their rematch. In looking deeper, I found that this was no coincidence for Jose Aldo. Concerned with the right hand, Jose will diligently shell with his left hand to protect himself from that strike. However, Aldo will often retract his right-hand low off of strikes, or even preemptively parry defensively. In turn, this tendency has made left hooks the shot that is most commonly landed on Aldo(as seen in his last fight). Considering that Edgar has an excellent left hook(also seen in his last fight), I suspect that will be the punch to look for in this contest.

From the on paper trends to the off paper intangibles, I recommend caution in the playing this one heavily. Ultimately, I project another closely fought affair that will likely see the scorecards, especially when you consider how some fighters approach important matches. Whether it’s long and competitive or short and decisive, I believe that the trends for this rematch lean toward New Jersey coming away with the victory.

Official Pick: Edgar – Decision

 

Cain77

Cain Velasquez (13-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 33 Weight: 241 lbs Reach: 77″
  • Last Fight: Sub win / Fabricio Werdum (6-13-15)
  • Camp: American Kickboxing Academy (San Jose, CA)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC Heavyweight Champion
+   Div.1 All-American Wrestler
+   11 KO victories
+   8 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   High-volume striker
^   Relentless pace & pressure
+   Excellent head positioning
^   Striking , grappling, & in transit
+   Diverse takedown game
^   Level-changing & chains
+   Efficient transitional grappler
^   Floats, Rides, & strikes seamlessly
+/-1 fight in 3 years

 

Browne1

Travis Browne (18-3-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’7″ Age: 33 Weight: 236 lbs Reach: 79″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Matt Mitrione (1-17-16)
  • Camp: Glendale Fight Club (California)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Purple Belt BJJ
+   14 KO victories
+   13 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Improved boxing
^   Actively measuring with jab
+   Deadly elbows in close
+   Underrated wrestling ability
^   83% takedown defense
+   Strong from top position
^   Solid mount & ground strikes
–    Head slightly upright
^   Especially upon retreat

Summary:

Kicking off UFC 200‘s legendary main card is a pair of heavyweight headliners as the former champion Cain Velasquez faces off against the always dangerous Travis Browne. Widely considered the greatest modern day heavyweight, Cain Velasquez has struggled to stay healthy with only one fight in the last three years. Coming off a tough loss to Fabricio Werdum in Mexico City last summer, Cain will attempt to get back on the title path with a win here. Standing in his way is a hungry Hawaiian, as Travis Browne looks to build momentum off of his last victory earlier this year.

Browne initially burst onto the scene with sporadic movements and explosive abilities but has refined his striking since moving shop to the Glendale Fight Club. Employing an improved standing guard and strike fundamentals, the Hawaiian will now plot in a wider stance as he works behind a measuring jab. Although his kicks & knees still command respect, I doubt he will rely on them heavily in this matchup considering the wrestling threat. That in mind, Travis throws an accurate uppercut that I feel will serve him well in this fight. As we saw in his fight with Brendan Schaub, Browne was able to catch Brendan level-changing on his way in which eventually earned him a dominant finish. Although Cain can be difficult to catch on the way in, it has shown to be more than possible given his consistent forward pressure.

However, the reason why Cain is so difficult to catch is due to his head movement, as I feel head positioning will be a key factor in this fight. Moving his head from left-to-right, Velasquez utilizes an efficient economy of movement to throw his strikes. Continually slipping off the centerline, Cain will come right back on balance with variating levels of punches & kicks depending on the side. Despite Browne’s newly adopted boxing stance being ripe for leg kicks, I feel Velasquez’s overhand right will congeal the best with this fight’s agenda. Even though Travis has improved his hand positioning & defense, he still naturally keeps his head slightly high in transit or on the retreat. Slipping off said centerline, Cain can unload solid right hands that also lead him into his clinch entries.

Not only do I feel that Velasquez’s head positioning will give him the edge standing, but also within the clinch, as I suspect key parts of this fight to take place here. It’s not just Cain’s fundamental head position, but the fact that he is so versatile in his styles of fighting, and the way in which he transitions through these skillsets. Whether he is keeping his head driven under his opponent’s chin with a strong under-hook(Randy Couture style) or operating out of a traditional Thai clinch, Cain can do it all. Although Travis has discouraged shots with his patent elbows(as seen against Gonzaga & Barnett), I do not think those angles will be available to him with the way Cain conducts his head.

Similar to his stablemates Daniel Cormier & Khabib Nurmagomedov, Cain also chains his takedown attempts against the cage with impeccable technique. Even though I feel a head on the outside single will be Cain’s go-to takedown given Browne’s stance/frame, I doubt you will find Velasquez with his head hanging out for prolonged periods as Browne’s previous victims have. Again, Cain maintains an excellent head positioning as he keeps his head high and tight to his opponent’s body(making offensive striking leverage difficult). Considering Cain’s operating options from the clinch, it is hard not to side with him in dictating the fight should it get there.

Working with Ricky Lundell & Neil Melanson for the past few years, we have seen hints of Browne’s underrated ground game. From his rock solid mount to his improvements on his overall balance & base, I do not feel we have even come close to seeing the full extent of Browne’s capabilities. That said, he has a tall order in front of him considering the stylistic nightmare of Cain’s wrestling acumen. Unless the Hawaiian can catch Cain coming in, it is hard to see where he wins this fight. Even when missing or eating the occasional counter shot, Cain has shown that he will consistently come forward as long as he’s conscious. Although Velasquez’s health will undoubtedly be the key intangible in this fight, I do not suspect his last performance is a fair representation of his current state. Ultimately, I see the former champion returning with the intent of making a statement.

Official Pick: Velasquez – Inside the distance

Preliminary Card Predictions:

  • Zingano def. Pena
  • Gastelum def. Hendricks
  • Dillashaw def. Assuncao
  • Northcutt def. Marin
  • Lauzon def. Sanchez
  • Mousasi def. Santos
  • Miller def. Gomi

Recommended Plays:

Draft Kings recommended rosters:

 

Team #1: $50,000.00

-Cain Velasquez ($11,200.00)
-Miesha Tate ($10,700.00)
-Mark Hunt ($10,400.00)
-Kelvin Gastelum ($9,300.00)
-Thiago Santos ($8,400.00)

Team Summary:

My first recommended roster features a finish-heavy fighter stable as I stuck with main card favorites for reasons listed above. As far as my low tier picks go, this lineup contains Kelvin Gastelum and Thiago Santos. Although my official pick is Mousasi, Santos serves as a legitimate threat with hail marry intangibles that could score big. In comparison to skill-sets and matchups possessed by the other low-tier fighter options, I feel Thiago Santos presents more promise as a point scoring pick. As far Gastelum goes, you will see him make multiple appearances in my recommendations. Although I’m a big fan of Johny Hendricks, his recent career trend of performances, progressions, and camp changes have been troubling to say the least. On the other side, you have Kelvin Gastelum, whom I believe is on the up-trend. With his losses being close and his shortcomings due to a lack of prep, I feel Kelvin is now in the best case scenario. Working with a coach who is renown for turning southpaw grapplers into feared strikers(Dos Anjos & Dariush), I expect Gastelum’s game to grow under the tutelage of Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA. Kelvin makes a solid choice for your lower-to-mid tier picks.

Team #2: $49,700.00

-Cain Velasquez ($11,200.00)
-Miesha Tate ($10,700.00)
-Jose Aldo ($9,500.00)
-Kelvin Gastelum ($9,300.00)
-Brock Lesnar ($9,000.00)

Team Summary:

For my second recommended roster I again went with heavy hitters. Serving as my high-tier picks is Cain Velasquez and Miesha Tate for reasons listed in the breakdown above(Although I opted out of analyzing Tate’s fight I feel good about her chances). I also went with Jose Aldo here despite him not being my official pick. Although I am siding with Edgar to win, I have no disillusions that this is a close match with high-scoring opportunities on both sides. For my low-tier picks, I once again went with Kelvin Gastelum as well as Brock Lesnar. Although I favor Hunt to come out on top, this is obviously a high-intangible heavyweight fight that could go either way in explosive fashion. For nine-thousand flat, Brock Lesnar makes for a solid low-tier pick to fit into your lineup.

Team #3: $49,500.00

-Cain Velasquez ($11,200.00)
-Mark Hunt ($10,400.00)
-Frankie Edgar ($9,900.00)
-Kelvin Gastelum ($9,300.00)
-Amanda Nunes ($8,700.00)

Team Summary:

For my third and final recommendation, I elected to go with two heavyweights and a five-round fighter who are all slightly favored to win. Although Frankie does not have the same finishing rate as the heavyweight fighters do, he consistently scores points as he is hard to put away. Aside from once again going with Gastelum as my low-tier pick, I also went with Amanda Nunes to round out the lineups. Despite officially picking Tate, the new minted headliner holds plenty of point scoring intangibles, one of which is Amanda’s propensity for first round finishes. Although Miesha is more technically skilled and resilient, you cannot completely count out a contender with the prowess of Amanda. So if you don’t agree with my pick of Miesha Tate, then Amanda Nunes could be worth your attention as a low-tier pick.

Props worth looking at(5Dimes.eu):

-Gegard Mousasi by Decision: +150 (1 Unit)
-Frankie Edgar by Decision: +245 (.05 Unit)
-Kelvin Gastelum by TKO/KO: +725 (.25 Unit)

Playable favorites for your parlays:

-Cain Velasquez
-Sage Northcutt
-Jim Miller

Fights to avoid:

-Cat Zingano vs Juliana Pena
-TJ Dillashaw vs Raphael Assuncao
-Diego Sanchez vs Joe Lauzon

For the complete analysis of future & past UFC events visit MixedMartialAnalyst.com and for future breakdowns & your latest in world-wide MMA news, stay tuned & follow @MMALatestnws MMALatestNews.com

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Events

*Live Updates* UFC Gdsank Official Results

Harry Davies

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The UFC hosted their second event in the country of Poland, as UFC Gdsank took place at the Ergo Arena. The card was headlined by a welterweight fight between Donald Cerrone and Darren Till.

Cerrone (32-9) was coming off a close unanimous decision loss to former 170-pound champion Robbie Lawler in July. It was the only time in “Cowboy’s” MMA career that he had suffered consecutive losses.

Till (15-0-1) improved his undefeated record in September, defeating Bojan Veličković by unanimous decision. It was a case of old school vs. new school in this headliner, as the up and comer Till hoped to secure the biggest win of his career over Cerrone.


MAIN CARD – UFC Fight Pass – 8PM BST

  • Donald Cerrone (32-9) vs. Darren Till (15-0-1) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Darren Till def. Donald Cerrone via TKO (punches) Round 1 – 4:20
  • Karolina Kowalkiewicz (11-2) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-3) – Women’s strawweight bout
    • Result: Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Jodie Esquibel via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Jan Blachowicz (20-7) vs. Devin Clark (8-2) – Light heavyweight bout
    • Result: Jan Błachowicz def. Devin Clark via SUB (rear-naked choke) Round 2 – 3:02
  • Oskar Piechota (10-0) vs. Jonathan Wilson (7-3) – Middleweight bout
    • ResultOskar Piechota def. Jonathan Wilson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

(more…)

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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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Bellator

Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card

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Bellator is once again heading to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut, and this time they are bringing with them one of the most anticipated former UFC fighter turned Bellator stars’ debut. Gegard Mousasi will be making his first appearance in the Bellator cage against a former Bellator champion in Alexander Shlemenko. Although this event has lost some of its star power over the last several weeks, it is still stacked and you can bet that the main event will bring some fireworks.

Earlier in the month, it was announced that King Mo had suffered an injury that had forced him out of his co-main event fight with former middleweight champion Liam McGeary. Bellator worked quickly to secure a replacement opponent for McGeary in Bubba McDaniels. Unfortunately for McDaniels and the fans alike, McGeary had later suffered an injury of his own and the fight was removed from the card.

This left a spot open in the co-main event slot, which would be filled by a welterweight matchup between Brennan Ward and David Rickels. Just four days out from the fight, Bellator announced that Ward had also become injured and the fight has been removed from the card as well. The main card has been shuffled around and the welterweight bout between Neiman Gracie and Zak Bucia will now serve as the co-main event.

Main Card- Spike TV (US/Canada) Spike UK (UK)- 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT, 2 pm UK

  • Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
  • Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
  • Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)

Preliminary Card- Live Stream (MMA Latest New)- 7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT, 12 pm UK

  • 195 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
  • Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
  • Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
  • Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
  • Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez (6-4) vs. Billy Giovanella (9-5)
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