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UFC Fight Night New Jersey: Finish Analysis

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Saturday night saw one of the best cards of the year so far, with top ten talent in a number of divisions duking it out with real title implications. The finishes we saw were varied in technical prowess and sheer brutality and here is our look at how some of them went down.

Aljamain Sterling def. Takeya Mizugaki via. Arm triangle choke round 3

Sterling was able to take Mizugaki’s back with both hooks in working to try to get a rear naked choke finish.

Mizugaki attempted to get out of back mount by posting with his left arm on the mat and sit up, at the same time pushing his right arm around the neck of Sterling mimicking the same as the beginnings of a guillotine choke position.

Sterling recognized this from Mizugaki doing the same earlier in the fight and wrapped up that left arm immediately in an arm triangle choke, simultaneously relinquishing top position to Mizugaki.

Sterling went to a rear naked choke style hand grip and scooted his hips slightly to his left allowing a much better angle to squeeze the side of Mizugaki’s neck cutting off the blood supply to the brain; this is much more effective in an arm triangle position off your back than squeezing from straight underneath your opponent.

Sterling kept the squeeze around the neck and also squeezed his thighs together around Miz’s midsection not giving him any escape routes and forcing the tap.

 

Ovince Saint Preux def. Patrick Cummins via. KO round 1

In the final exchange Saint Preux gauged Cummins’ rush well keeping his distance and threw a beautifully timed shot left uppercut underneath Cummins’ overhand right dropping him, following up with punches for the finish.

The most impressive part of this KO was Saint Preux’s distance management as the overhand of Cummins did land, but Saint Preux was far enough away that the punch landed at the end of the swing, minimizing its power, while Saint Preux was in the perfect distance to land his uppercut fully.

Gian Villante def. Corey Anderson via. TKO round 3

Coming into the third round, Villante had steadily destroyed the leg of Anderson with kicks the past two rounds, limiting Corey’s movement in the final five minutes. Villante capitalized on this by being able to move around Anderson a lot and dipping in and out of range smoothly.

Villante constantly circled in with a leading left hook throughout the last round but not following up with anything else.

The finish came with this same leading hook, but followed by a right hand landing flush on Anderson’s temple, surprising Corey who didn’t expect the follow-up to the left hook.

Corey fell back to the cage where he was essentially out on his feet leaning against the cage not protecting himself, prompting the referee to stop the contest.

This finish shows how constantly throwing the same technique (e.g. Villante’s leading left hook) can lull your opponent into a false sense of security, and then changing your attack pattern (e.g. Villante’s follow up right hand) can catch your opponent completely off guard.

 

Ronaldo Souza def. Chris Camozzi via. Armbar round 1

This fight finish started from Souza’s side control, Ronaldo put his knee on the belly of Camozzi, and punching his ribs and kidney’s, waiting for the pass into full mount.

Camozzi was able to roll up to his side, but this actually made it easier for Souza to flow his leg over Chris’ body and into the full mount position, but as Souza passed to mount, Camozzi began his escape immediately moving into a turtle position, recognizing this Souza, instead of taking the full back mount, flowed his left leg over the head of Camozzi, while keeping his right leg on Chris’ hip and isolated Camozzi’s right arm.

Camozzi attempted to defend here, but Souza was able to flip him over onto his back and set up the traditional armbar position from the top and get the tap.

This fight just showed how experience and fluidity in BJJ can put you leagues ahead of your opponent on the ground.

 

Luke Rockhold def. Lyoto Machida via. Rear naked choke round 2

Due to Rockhold’s dominant brutality in round 1, doing everything but finish Machida, he was able to relax and pick his shots coming into round two against the pretty much broken Lyoto.

After a striking exchange ending with Rockhold pushing Machida to the mat, Rockhold jumped on Machida’s back and achieved back mount after some scrambling.

Rockhold then stretched out Machida and locked in the rear naked choke for the tap.

This fight showed how work in previous rounds can really help you later on in the fight. By being very aggressive and dominant in the first round, then switching to a much more relaxed game plan in the second, Rockhold was able to confuse Machida and work his BJJ game perfectly.

 

Max Holloway def. Cub Swanson via. Guillotine choke round 3

This fight ending started with a short blitz stunned Swanson, as Cub turtled up on his feet Holloway grabbed a standing guillotine choke.

As Swanson dropped down to defend, Holloway was able to land in mount position, still holding the choke.

Holloway kept himself stable by putting his own head on the mat, and kept Cub’s legs locked up with his own.

Cub attempted to defend the choke by having his hand in where Holloway was gripping the guillotine, but as Max adjusted slightly and arched his back it forced Cub’s hand out of the mix and there was no more defense for this fully locked in mounted guillotine and the finish.

Max Holloway showed how a patient submission game, and working through the steps to a finish correctly is the way to fight a man of Cub Swanson’s calibre.

 

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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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