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UFC Brisbane: Hunt vs Mir Breakdown

Dan Tom





Mark Hunt (11-10-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 41 Weight: 262 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Antonio Silva (11-14-15)
  • Camp: Galeb Brothers BJJ (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
+   8 KO’s – MMA 13 KO’s Kickboxing
+   73% Finish rate
+   KO power / heavy hands
+   Deceptive speed & movement
^   Changes timing/tempo well
+   Accurate shot selection
+   Dangerous L. Hook/Check Hook
+   Thudding leg kicks
+   Underrated takedown defense
–    Struggles from the bottom
+/-Heavily reliant on head movement
^   Propensity to take damage



Frank Mir (18-10)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 36 Weight: 262 lbs Reach: 79″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Andrei Arlovski (9-5-15)
  • Camp: Las Vegas Combat Club (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Boxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC Heavyweight Champion
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   Black Belt Kenpo Karate
+   5 KO victories
+   12 first round finishes
+   9 Submission wins
+   KO power
+   Active footwork
^   Moves head & body well
+   Improved boxing technique
^   Proficient from both stances
+   Superb submission game
^   Dangerous in transition
+   Underrated takedown ability
–    Struggles against pressure fighters


Brisbane’s main course features a fantastic heavyweight showdown, as Australia’s own Mark Hunt takes on fellow legend and former Champion Frank Mir. With both men known for their fight-finishing abilities, most are forecasting a quick storm devoid of later rounds.

Coming off a win over Antonio Silva in Melbourne last November, Mark Hunt’s physique was equally impressive as he came off a hard camp at AKA Thailand. Staying at home in Australia for this training camp, it will be interesting to see if there are any differences in Mark’s conditioning or approach for a 5-round affair.

Also criticized for his physique & conditioning in past appearances, Frank Mir looks to being in top form coming into this bout. Continuing his efforts to grow and improve with Ricky Lundell, it will be interesting to see Franks approach as he faces another legend in hostile territory.

Starting off standing, the Super Samoan should have an on-paper edge, but this may be closer than most believe. A creative striker throughout his career, Mir has taken his skills to yet another level under the tutelage of Angelo Reyes. Demonstrating clear improvements in head movement and punching technique/placements, Frank has shown proficiency from both stances. Although he will have movement on his side, he will need to mind Mark’s left hook. Despite Mir’s progress of late, he still shows habits of old as he will often hold his right hand low(and even drop it during exchanges). This tendency, in particular, could be costly given Hunt’s sneakingly devastating left hooks.

Employing a basic boxing arsenal, Mark’s ability to deceptively change speed 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, Mark’s style relies heavily on reaction speed and durability. His propensity to take damage is troublesome considering the wars he has been through, but I still feel the Super Samoan should have a slight advantage standing.

Frank Mir’s best chance of success will lay within the chaos of grappling exchanges. Luckily for Frank, he has been working with wrestling coach & MMA strategist Ricky Lundell, as it will be interesting to see their approach for Hunt. Mark has displayed improved takedown defense in the Octagon, including an underrated get-up ability when fresh. Utilizing his stalky frame to defend well from the clinch, Hunt has shown to be easier to take down when forced to balance on one leg. For example, Stipe had much more success in grounding Mark once he chained off into single-leg takedowns.

Frank has shown similar takedown tools in his game, as he successfully executed chained & reactive shots against Arlovski and Overeem. With Frank having success in grounding some of the divisions highest rated defenders, it is hard to deny his chances in wearing down Hunt at the very least. Not to mention Mir is not above pulling guard, nor diving for a leg which he has prophesized he would do in this match. Although I dare not doubt Frank’s leg submission acumen, I feel single-legs will be the key to initiating successful situations. Even though Mir may very well eat a left on his way in, I suspect his knack for creating chaos to pay off in another upset.

Official Pick: Mir – Inside the distance



Hector Lombard (34-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 38 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 71″
  • Last Fight: No contest / Josh Burkman (1-3-15)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Florida)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Bellator Middleweight Title
+   Judo Olympian (Cuba)
+   Black Belt BJJ & Judo
+   22 KO victories
+   4 Submission wins
+   21 first round finishes
+   KO power / heavy hands
+   Athletic & Explosive
+   Excellent takedown defense
^   Strong base & hips
+   Dangerous inside the clinch
^   Throws, Trips, & Dirty Boxing
+   Solid positional control
+   Accurate right hook
+   Deadly left hand/uppercut
+   Deceptive distance closer
–    Activity sometimes lulls
+/-1 fight in 2 years



Neil Magny (17-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 28 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 80″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Kelvin Gastelum (11-21-15)
  • Camp: Grudge Training Center (Denver, CO)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   TUF 16 Alum
+   All-Army Combatives Champion
+   Purple Belt BJJ
+   5 KO victories
+   3 Submission wins
+   5 Second round finishes
+   Excellent cardio & conditioning
^   Consistent pace & pressure
+   Good movement & footwork
^   Angles well off attacks
+   Accurate long jab
^   Often doubles up
+   Tireless ground worker
^   33 passes in 13 fights
+/-Fights along the fence
^   Often allows fight to come to him
+   Improved transition game
–    Struggles w/positional grapplers


Brisbane’s co-main event is an interesting styles matchup, as Hector Lombard returns against the always active Neil Magny. Coming off suspension with only one fight in the past three years, Hector Lombard will have a lot prove at 38-years of age. Despite said adversities, the former Olympian looks to be in great shape and spirits as he aims for success in his second home of Australia. Usually fighting on a moments notice, Neil Magny will actually have the luxury of preparation for what may be his biggest bout to date. Riding insane fight momentums while still steadily improving, Magny comes into this match as the slight favorite.

Even though Magny does not carry traditional knockout power, there is a lot to like about his game. Consistently circling and moving, Magny utilizes all 80-inches of his reach as he works his punches behind an accurate long jab. Often doubling up, I feel that Neil’s jab will undoubtedly be a key factor in this fight. Aside from the obvious reasons of using length to thwart the shorter power puncher, Magny’s jab could make Hector work much more than he is accustom to. Keeping his hands slightly low standing, Lombard will heavily rely on his head and trunk movements to evade punches. Should Neil serve these consistently, we could see Hector’s reaction times fade and become more hittable.

Magny also demonstrates excellent angle awareness, as he will enter and exit exchanges intelligently. Although improving his defense, Neil still shows a natural inclination to retreat to the fence where he has a habit of conducting business. It is here, where I see Magny’s propensities paying off for Hector. With a similar stalking style to Mike Tyson, Lombard has not taken a back step in nearly five years as his opposition has unanimously respected his power. Even though Hector can slip, close, and counter effectively in the open, I suspect his best chances will be when Magny’s back is to the cage.

In fact, I feel that anytime Neil plays in between the fence & outside octagon lines he will be in Lombard’s kill zone. Similarly to Champion Robbie Lawler, you can throw out all activity lulling allegations once these fighters get their man behind those lines. This equation could be troublesome for Magny as he has been hurt multiple times here due his trunk movement defense(as seen in his fights with Lim & Gastelum). I also believe that Lombard’s right-hook may see the light of day, given Magny’s tendency to keep his left-hand low. Considering Hectors superior power, placement, and killer instinct, I doubt Neil will try exchanging when cornered.

However, Magny’s plan B to counter from being crowded may also work against him here. Often reverting to body-locks to control the action, Magny has made improvements to his wrestling game under Leister Bowling. Displaying a solid alternate option in fights, Neil surprised many in his last match as he out grappled Kelvin Gastelum. That said, I suspect body-locks will bode badly against the former Judo Olympian. Even though Lombard lacks a submission highlight reel, he is regarded as one of the best grapplers in the sport. Despite Neil’s fight-to-fight improvements proving many(including myself) wrong, I think a positional player the caliber of Hector will pose him serious problems.

The obvious intangibles heading into this fight is the state of Lombard at this stage of his career. But with all reports looking good, I must go off proven evidence as an analyst. Although cardio is another criticism of Lombard, he still shows to manage his activity well enough to win a three-round affair. Being a huge fan of Magny’s ascension, I hope he gets more big fights in the future. That said, I have a hard time seeing Neil wear down Hector without playing to his strengths.

Official Pick: Lombard – Decision



Jake Mathews (9-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 21 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Akbarh Arreola (11-14-15)
  • Camp: Nexus (Australia)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Thai Title
+   Multiple BJJ Accolades
+   Brown Belt BJJ
+   4 KO victories
+   2 First round finishes
+   4 Submission wins
+   Strong pressure against fence
^   Favors double-leg takedowns
+   Excellent from front headlock
+   Active ground striker
^   Dangerous elbows
+   Improved striking fluidity
–    Head drops on entries
^   Uppercut/knee availabilities



Johnny Case (22-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 26 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 72.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Yan Cabral (11-7-15)
  • Camp: Power MMA (Arizona)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Wrestling Base
+   Purple Belt BJJ
+   15 KO victories
+   14 First round finishes
+   6 Submission wins
+   Solid footwork & movement
^   Sets up angles for strikes & takedowns
+   Excellent transitional grappling
^   Fluidly floats & rides positions
+   Intelligently grip fights in close
^   Stifles offense/opens up strikes
+   Effectively gets up & scrambles
+   Dangerous & accurate right hand


In a solid matchup of lightweight prospects, Johhny “Hollywood” Case will face off against Jake “The Celtic Kid” Mathews. As one of the divisions youngest upstarts, Jake Mathews has garnered a lot of attention as a promising Australian talent. Coming off a hard-fought victory over Akbarh Arreola last November, this match should be a good opportunity to see how Jake is developing as a martial artist. Also making his fifth appearance with the organization, Johnny Case does so riding a 12-fight win streak. Although his ascension has been a quiet storm amongst hardcore viewers, the Iowa native will have his first main card opportunity to make his presence known.

The well-rounded skillset of Johnny shines particularly bright in the striking department, as I feel he should have a solid advantage standing in this matchup. Showing to possess a natural knack for movement, Case does a beautiful job setting up and taking away angles with his footwork & stance-switches, as this is the key to his striking game. Since setting up shop at Power MMA in Arizona, Johnny has also made noted improvements to plotting & placing his shots under the tutelage of Chaz Turner. I suspect Case’s ability to fight long, feint, and change angles to dictate the terms of offense overall.

That said, you cannot discount the shown fight-to-fight improvements of Mathews, who has been making strong efforts in this area with striking coach Peter Hatton. Not lacking in enthusiasm and bursting with athleticism, Jake will explosively commit to entries as he wields a solid left hook. Mathews also has underrated leg kicks at range, but it will be interesting to see what tools he will show to deal with the distance game of Case. I feel Jake’s best chances to hedge his bets standing will be by sticking to his bread & butter, which is strong forward pressure against the fence. Demonstrating a propensity to push his opposition into the cage, Jake could considerably diminish striking stanzas by corralling Case and forcing him to grapple.

However, Jake shows a strong tendency to drop his head low on his entries. This habit traditionally opens up knees, or in Mathews case uppercuts, as the Australian has gotten caught here in three of his last four fights. What is especially troublesome for Jake, is that Johnny carries a very accurate uppercut. Whether he is firing it straight through the guard or quark screwing it from an angle, Case displays a natural ability to improvise & intercept according to his opponent. Luckily for Johnny, these fast-twitch reactions transfer seamlessly to his transitional wrestling which makes taking him down in the open no easy task.

If Mathews can force Case into the fence, he may be able to muscle him down and get his game going. Showing a strong top game, Jake uses his devastating elbows and ground strikes to break down his opposition. I feel this will be Mathews best chances to hurt Case and sway momentum his way. Although Johnny is not beyond being taken down, his scrambling & get-up ability is second to none. Despite being injured and in terrible positions with a BJJ World Champion, Case demonstrated calmness & composure as he executed technical escapes in his last outing.

Johnny also has a very underrated butterfly guard in which he has used to sweep & reverse high-level opposition on multiple occasions. Case shows a solid understanding & application of positional rides/flows and the grip fighting that accompanies grappling. In fact, if Johnny gets going from topside, we may see Mathews on-paper advantages minimized. I don’t mean to discount Jake as I feel the Australian prospect carries a lot of promise. And although I feel both men will get to showcase their skills, I believe the well-rounded game of Case will ultimately land him a spot on the radar.

Official Pick: Case – Decision



Daniel Kelly (10-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 38 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 70.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Steve Montgomery (11-14-15)
  • Camp: Resilience Training Centre (Australia)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Boxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   TUF Nations Alum
+   4x Judo Olympian
+   Black Belt Judo
+   5 Submission wins
+   4 First round finishes
+   Physically & mentally tough
+   Deceptively heavy hands
+   Accurate left cross
+   Strong inside clinch
^   Excellent trips & throws
+   Solid Top Game
^   Actively passes & strikes
–    Lacks head movement
^   Leans heavily forward/left



Antonio Carlos Jr. (5-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 25 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 79″
  • Last Fight: No contest / Kevin Casey (12-10-15)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   TUF Brazil 3 Heavyweight Winner
+   BJJ World Champion
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   5 Submission wins
+   4 First round finishes
+   Heavy hands
^   Powerful hooks & crosses
+   Solid takedown ability
+   Strong inside the clinch
+   Dangerous in scrambles
^   Excellent back taker
+   Active top game
^   Aggressive passes/advances
+   Diverse & deadly submissions


In an interesting crossroads matchup, Australia’s Daniel Kelly hosts the oncoming Antonio Carlos Jr. Since winning season three of TUF Brazil, Antonio has had a lot of hype and promise in his potential. With being a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion his biggest accolade to date, Carlos Jr. will look to show the developments he has made to his game since moving to American Top Team.

On the other end of an illustrious grappling career, Dan Kelly will attempt to thwart another young lions ascension. Despite the on-paper miles and visible disjointment of his walking gate, the Olympic Judoka still shows the physical and mental will to compete at the UFC level. Although his grappling is world class, I feel Dan’s boxing improvements will serve him best in this fight.

Using a measuring right jab, Kelly will incorporate feints in order to draw out counter opprotunities. From here, he will look to time his opposition with a solid left cross. Demonstrating good fundamental footwork and deceptively heavy hands, managing distance and making this a boxing match may be Kelly’s best bet.

Although rapidly improving in all aspects of his game, Carlos Jr. is still largely unproven on the feet. That said, his stopping power was on full display during his time on TUF, and will be a live threat in this fight. Showing better defensive hand positioning since moving to ATT, it will be interesting to see what new folds Antonio has brought into his game. Regardless, I feel the Brazilians best chances will be by taking this fight to the floor.

Although Carlos Jr. has a taste for the clinch that could cost him against Kelly, he shows improved shot entries that could come into play. Displaying an excellent ability to change his level and shoot low, Antonio may be able to negate the Judoka’s clinch game and test his knees. Not just relentless in takedown attempts, Carlos Jr. is equally aggressive once on top.

Hopefully, Carlos Jr. does not underestimate his Australian opposition, as Dan Kelly is a world-class competitor. However, I feel Antonio is on another level with his submission skill-set. Not only is he menacing from on top, but also possesses a deadly transition game as he exudes confidence working from leg weaves to back-takes. I love seeing the older dogs have their day, but ultimately I have a hard time seeing Kelly make it out of the kitchen without being burned.

Official Pick: Carlos Jr. – Inside the distance


Te Huna2

James Te Huna (16-8)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 34 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 75″
  • Last Fight: Sub loss / Nate Mardquart (6-28-14)
  • Camp: Lions High Performance (Australia)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   10 KO victories
+   3 Submission wins
+   7 First round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Athletic & Explosive
+   Solid Boxing technique
^   Accurate L. Hook-R. Uppercut
+   Dangerous right hand
+   Excellent footwork
+   Underrated wrestling ability
–    Hurt or dropped in 5 of last 6 fights
–    All losses in the first round



Steve Bosse (10-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 34 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 74″
  • Last Fight: KO loss / Thiago Santos (6-27-15)
  • Camp: Tristar Gym (Canada)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Boxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Title
+   8 KO victories
+   1 Submission win
+   8 First round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Athletic & Explosive
^   Moves deceptively well
+   Improved takedown defense
^   Defends well from cage
+   Heavy right hand
+   Dangerous elbows
–    Low left hand/retractions
–    Head leans heavily right


In a fun Middleweight gunfight, Steve Bosse draws a road game against the returning James Te Huna. Coming off three consecutive losses and a flirtation with retirement, Te Huna’s time away has revamped his passion as he attempts to get back on the winning track. Coming off an unsuccessful retirement return last July, Bosse will be looking to secure his first win in the organization. With each man only fighting once in the last three years, expect both fighters to be finding their feet in the first round. Although these aggressive stylists often produce early finishes, this fight result will be of the utmost importance to each fighter at this advanced stage of their career.

Given each man’s taste for trading leather, I suspect this contest will primarily take place standing. There, I feel the native of New Zealand should have a distinct technical advantage. Subtly and consistently moving his feet, Te Huna will shift his angles of attack as he demonstrates a nice economy of movement off his strikes. Utilizing hard inside & outside leg kicks, James will disrupt his oppositions base in order to move into boxing range. However, boxing range is also the strong suit for Steve Bosse.

As you would expect from the former Hockey enforcer, the propensity for dirty boxing has translated seamlessly into his MMA game. Using his left hand to primarily paw & guide, Bosse will unabashedly size up hard right hands and deadly elbows in close. However, Steve’s left hand will often drop or retract low, which in turn makes right-hand availabilites a two-way street. Bosse also has a habit of dipping heavily to his right side. This stance is often seen in boxing, as it encourages slips and counters. But in MMA, this style of head placement can often expose one to head kicks, as we saw this perfectly displayed in Bosse’s last fight against Thiago Santos. Even though Te Huna does not necessarily threaten with head kicks to that side, he does wield a devastating left hook that could be particularly potent in this match.

James is also the more well-rounded fighter, as he will often employ an underrated wrestling game. Although Bosse has improved his takedown defense and grappling since working with Tristar, Te Huna’s pressure could make the difference in close rounds. With all of James losses coming in the first round, Bosse’s best chances will surely be in his fast starts. Te Huna has also been hurt and dropped in 5 of 6 of his last fights, making a stoppage win withing grasp should Steve pour with a heavy hand. The intangibles attached to this fight make it feel like a heavyweight attraction. That said, I recommend caution as I will be siding with the more proven man.

Official Pick: Te Huna – Inside the distance



Bec Rawlings (6-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″ Age: 27 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 64″
  • Last Fight: Submission win / Lisa Ellis (5-10-15)
  • Camp: Alliance MMA (San Diego, CA)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   TUF 20 Alum
+   4 Subs 1 TKO win
+   4 First round finishes
+   Aggressive pace & pressure
+   Well conditioned
+   Solid dirty boxing
^   Favors L. Hook-R. Uppercuts
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Hard knees
+   Active top game
^   Relentless ground striker
+   Improved takedown defense



Seo Hee Ham (16-6)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’2″ Age: 29 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 62″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Cortney Casey (11-28-15)
  • Camp: Team M.A.D. (Korea)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Pro Kickboxing Champion (8-3)
+   2 Submission wins
+   1 First round finish
+   Aggressive pace & pressure
+   Excellent footwork
+   Accurate left hand
+   Hard left body kicks
+   Catches kicks & counters
+   Good positional awareness on top
+   Competent submission & bottom game
–    Low standing guard/hand position
+   Solid chin


Kicking off Australia’s main card is a promising scrap of straw-weights, as “Rowdy” Bec Rawlings squares off against Seo Hee Ham. Coming off her first win in the UFC, Ham will look to follow up an impressive performance behind enemy lines. Whereas Rawlings will look build off momentum of her own by winning in her hometown of Brisbane.

With both women known for their propensity to trade, it is safe to assume that much of this fight will contest standing. Despite being the smaller fighter who’s physically suited for Atomweight, Seo Hee should have an advantage at range. Using footwork and lead-handed parries(in a similar fashion to Conor McGregor), Ham wields an accurate left cross as she does a good job of getting her head off center. The South Korean also does a well with dissuading kicks, as she shows a knack for catching kicks and attaching counters of her own.

However, Seo Hee’s low handed parrying approach has often opened her up to strikes. With Rawlings seldom attempts coming in the form of leg kicks, Ham will have to be especially careful not to overreach. Demonstrating a natural ability to strike, Bec has only sharpened these skills further since moving camp to Alliance MMA in San Diego. A pressure fighter by nature, the bigger & stronger Rawlings should hold the edge in close. Favoring right uppercut-left hook combinations, Bec excels when it comes to the dirty boxing game. When able to grab a hold of her opposition, Rawlings will also mix in hard knees and takedown attempts.

Although Ham should be at an on-paper disadvantage in close, she is deceptively hard to take down and control inside the clinch. Utilizing her stout frame, she incorporates a solid base & balance to go along with intelligent hip positioning. Although this will make Rawlings work hard for gains in that department, her aggressive efforts inside the clinch could pay off should she ground Ham. Seo Hee shows to be competent off of her back, but Bec should have a distinct advantage should she find herself topside. An active ground striker and relentless passer, Rawlings could wreak havoc should Ham not have an answer.

Seo Hee’s best case scenario would be to stop Bec standing on the feet, but she may lack the power at this weight class to put out the durable Australian. That said, Ham has heavy left body kicks that could see the light of day. Rawlings keeps a high standing guard that has shown to expose her to body shots in the past. If Ham can hurt Bec to the body as she did to Cortney Casey in her last fight, then she may be able to swing momentum her way. This is one the of closer match-ups on the main card, as you could make a defensible argument for either fighter. Ultimately, I feel Rawling’s strength, durability, and pace should edge her out the victory in front of a hometown crowd.

Official Pick: Rawlings – Decision

Preliminary Card Predictions

  • Jouban def. O’Reilly
  • Hooker def. Eddiva
  • Smith def. Nakai
  • Andrade def. Walsh
  • Laprise def. Pearson
  • Patrick def. Brown

Recommended Plays

Fantasy MMA Picks

High Tier Picks:

-Mark Hunt
-Antonio Carlos Jr.
-Alan Jouban

Low Tier Picks:

-Hector Lombard
-Johnny Case
-Frank Mir

Pieces for your parlay:

-Johnny Case
-Alan Jouban
-Daniel Hooker

Props worth looking at(5Dimes):

-Case – by Decision +250
-Te Huna/Bosse – Under -190
-Hooker – inside the distance +158

Fights to avoid:

-Rawlings vs Ham
-Andrade vs Walsh
-Magny vs Lombard

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

Onnit Primal Bells

Fighter to Watch

Exclusive: Mike Ekundayo, “He could come with anything, I don’t care”



In a little less than a week, Rise of Champions crowns its inaugural bantamweight champion. The crowning of the first 135 lb. champion marks the young promotions first champion. It makes sense why the promotion owned and operated by UK MMA star, Brad Pickett, and Team Titan head coach, Mickey Papas plan to crown the promotions first champion in the bantamweight division. Pickett competed in the division throughout his tenure with the WEC, and ultimately the entity which absorbed the light weight promotion, the UFC. Even more-so, two young and rising prospects of the division. One undefeated in his professional and amateur career, the other riding a seven consecutive victories, five by submission. The two meet February 17th, Mike Ekundayo puts his career unbeaten streak up against Jonas Magard’s at ROC 5, for the aforementioned, inaugural bantamweight championship.

Speaking to the undefeated Ekundayo before his fight, he believes this opportunity to be inevitable. Born in Hackney, (a borough of London) early in life, Ekundayo was no stranger to cramming his belongings into large cardboard boxes. At the age of 7, he moved from Hackney to Herne Hill, a district located in South London. Two years later he found himself in similar situation, moving from his vaguely new home in Herne Hill to Brixton. A road trip in the car to his new home, took approximately 5 minutes.

It is admittedly, not an easy life. In a harrowing article describing the horrors of gang life in London by the, former gang member turned community activist, made the claim, “When you are from Brixton, from Peckham, west London, anywhere in London, you are seeing hardship where a lot of communities can’t reach their full potential”.

In his own words, Ekundayo describes his home as, “not the best start to have in your life. It’s not the best upbringing”. But that couldn’t matter any less for him. Not only does the London resident consistently work to grow his potential, he gets to see it every day. His coaches Brad Pickett and Mickey Papas hold the knowledge as well as first-hand experience, increasing his limits with every session. “We’re all close”, speaking of his coaches and team. “My head coach is Mickey Papas, he’s very knowable in the game. He’s been around for a very long time. He teaches me a lot, I can learn a lot of stuff from Mickey Papas. Sometimes I just think, how does he know all of this? Where did he get this information from?”

He continued, “While I was coming up through amateur, Brad (Pickett) was still an active fighter, but nowadays he’s taken a coaching approach. So he’s coaching us prospects getting us to where he got to and further… He’s been through it all, gotten to the top, and stayed at the top”.

Further discussing his coach, “For UK MMA, you could definitely call Brad a legend. He’s done a lot in his career, and someone who I rate highly as an MMA fighter is Demetrious Johnson, and of course Brad has got a win over (him). I feel like just being surrounded by someone like Brad, you’re working towards the right things. When he passes information onto you, you respect it that bit more because of far he got in his career. He’s definitely given me the right guidance, I trust his guidance”.

When it comes to the upcoming title fight, confidence poured out from where praise and respect had once been. “I just think it’s my time, to be honest. I really do believe it’s my time for all of this. The work I put in, certain things become inevitable”, he said. “I actually called this after I won my third fight, I called for belts and big shows. I spoke it to existence”. He continued, “It’s my time to finally to get a strap of some sort. All the straps is what we’re going for, all of them. We’re going for every one”.

“Rise of Champions is my show… That’s how I feel when I’m performing on ROC, it’s just my show, it’s my time to shine. Everyone knows who there here to see, there not really there to see the other guys. It’s my time, it’s my show and I’m going to put on a show on February 17th and I’m going to win that belt”.

The infectious nature of his positive attitude was palpable. Although we only spoke through small rectangular devices, I could feel his energy in the room. His attitude shined brightest when talking about what it would mean to be the first ever ROC Bantamweight champion. Ekundayo claimed, “It just means a lot to have my first belt in anything to be honest… Within myself, I call myself a champion, every day. But now, other people would have to call me a champion because I’ve got a belt… And one thing I really want to do is, which sounds a bit weird, I just want to take the belt home to my area, to Brixton.”

“I just want to take it to my area, and just show the people of that area what hard work can achieve… I want to just take it to my people and show them that not for nothing, we are from Brixton, it’s not the best start to have in your life. It’s not the best upbringing but you can rise above it and you can achieve your goals and that’s what the belt will mean”.

When the conversation shifted to the topic of his opponent, Ekundayo had less encouraging words rolling off his tongue. Jonas Magard, the second half of the ROC 5 main event, holds a record of 7-4. Currently he owns a seven fight win streak after starting his career 1-3. Ekundayo thought, “He did fight quite decent guys in his three loses… but in the seven fight win streak, none of his opponents have been of caliber”.

He elaborated further, “What’s in my thoughts is more me, then it is of him. So, he could come with anything, I don’t care. I’m just focused on how I’m going to be picture perfect. How I’m going to paint a masterpiece, how I’m going to make it a beautifully perfect performance. That’s what my primary focus is on, so what he does to me is irrelevant, I’m just going to focus on how I’m going to be perfect on the night of February 17th”.

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UFC 222 Re-Worked with Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya, and Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega



UFC 222 has been saved, and it didn’t take a superhero to lift the burning boulder which was Max Holloway’s injury and withdrawal. All it took was a female named Cyborg and a man with a demeanor so smooth, he could be mistaken for an alter-ego. Cris Cyborg now serves as the UFC 222 main event when she defends her featherweight belt against Yana Kunitskaya. Frankie Edgar bumped down to the co-main event to face Brian Ortega in what is likely a title eliminator. The news of the UFC 222 revival originally stemmed from a report by and confirmed later in the evening by the UFC.

Over the course of the week, reports surrounded the Las Vegas card and whether it would survive. Multiple options were reportedly being mulled over; cancelling the card outright, changing the pay-per-view (PPV) to a ‘Fight Night’ with an Edgar vs. Ortega main event, Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2 main event, among others. Ultimately, the promotion landed on Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya as the new main event, while also booking Brian Ortega.

This adjustment of the card places their women’s Featherweight champion in the second PPV main event in three months. Cris Cyborg recently put her undisputed Featherweight title on the line against Holly Holm at the year ending card, UFC 219. She successfully defended her belt by unanimous decision, in what was an amazing technical display from the Brazilian. In her octagon career, Cyborg is undefeated in her four appearances with three KO/TKO stoppages.

The second half of the new main event, Yana Kunitskaya, makes her UFC debut against the scariest women on the roster. If the 145 lb. champion was not enough of a challenge, Kunitskaya also makes her first appearance in the division since defeating Cindy Dandois in December of 2010. Of Russia descent, her most recent performances came inside the Invicta FC cage. At the female-only promotion, she posted a record of 1-1, with 1 No Contest. Her loss and no contest, both came at the hands of former UFC Featherweight title challenger, Tonya Evinger.

Turning to the co-main event, both fighters have been relatively inactive but, for good reason. Brian Ortega amazingly forced perennial men’s Featherweight contender, Cub Swanson, to tap in the second round of their ‘Fight Night: Fresno’ contest. Ortega fought twice in 2017, but more-so stayed inactive following his stoppage victory over Swanson. The Californian contender announced his desire to wait in line for the next title shot following the recent victory.

For Frankie Edgar, his last fight took place at UFC 211 when he absolutely demolished young and rising star, Yair Rodriguez. A card which took place last May. While Ortega holds an undefeated record, Edgar is undefeated in his previous 9 fights, excluding people named Jose Aldo.

UFC 222 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 3rd.

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UFC Middleweight Champion, Robert Whittaker Announces Birth of Third Child



Times seem dull and dreary for the UFC’s Middleweight Champion, Robert Whittaker. The New Zealand born fighter withdrew from the promotions event debut in the eastern region of his residence, Australia. UFC 221, which takes place this Saturday, booked Whittaker to defend his title for the first time against former division champion, Luke Rockhold. His withdrawal was due to mistreatment of a serious staph infection inside of the Australians stomach.

It couldn’t get much worse, having to disappoint fans, and missing the first UFC event in eastern Australia. As it turns out, it could not get worse for Whittaker. Life only got better, as he had the pleasure of announcing the birth of his third child.

His new child is the champions third and first girl. Information regarding his child is limited as this moment is a tender and special time for the Whittaker family.

UFC 221 takes place in Perth, Australia at Perth Arena on February 11th. The cards main event features Whittakers short notice replacement, Yoel Romero taking on Luke Rockhold. Much to the satiety of fans, an interim belt is not in the equation in this instance.

Thank God. Excuse me, thank Dana White.

UFC 221 also features the ‘Super Samoan’ Mark Hunt vs. Curtis Blaydes, Tai Tuivasa faces Cyril Asker, Alexander Volkanovski vs. Jeremy Kennedy and more.

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