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UFC Fight Night Seoul: Main Event Round by Round Breakdown

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The main event of UFC Fight Night Seoul was originally slated to be Benson Henderson vs Thiago Alves, however Alves suffered broken ribs and was replaced by Jorge Masvidal 2 weeks prior to the fight. Masvidal (29-9) was originally scheduled to fight Don Hyung Kim in the co-main event of the evening and was coming off of a 1st round knockout win over Cezar Ferreira in July. Henderson (22-5) would be fighting at 170 lbs for the 2nd time this year, his first fight at Welterweight was a 4th round submission win over Brandon Thatch in February. Both fighters were looking to build on their previous wins in their quest for a shot at the 170 lb title.

Round 1

The fight starts and both fighters immediately take to the center of the octagon. Feints by both fighters before Henderson lands a leg kick. Masvidal begins walking Henderson down, cutting off the octagon, getting hit with another leg kick in the process. Henderson throws a 1-2 combo followed by a body kick. Masvidal answers with a body kick of his own and Henderson throws a combination of punches. Both fighters exchange strikes before Henderson lands a counter right hand and follows it with another leg kick. Masvidal continues to pressure Henderson and cut the octagon off while Henderson is constantly changing levels, throwing punches to the body as well as the head. Henderson blocks a head kick by Masvidal and lands a counter right that briefly drops Masvidal to the mat. Masvidal scrambles to his feet and they clinch to the cage for a moment before separating. Masvidal lands a big shot to the liver on the break and proceeds to throw multiple kicks to the body that land and kicks to the head that Henderson manages to block. Henderson responds with more leg kicks but Masvidal doesn’t seem bothered and lands several more kicks to the body of Henderson. Henderson goes for the takedown but is stuffed and Masvidal seems to smirk at Henderson as they separate before throwing several more leg and body kicks as the round comes to an end.

Round 2

Henderson immediately connects with a leg kick to start the round. Masvidal continues his pressure from round 1, cutting off the octagon fairly effectively. Both fighters looking to land head kicks but can’t connect and Henderson throws a 1-2 combination but doesn’t make solid contact. Masvidal hits a leg kick of his own and follows it with a solid kick to the body. Henderson lands a body kick of his own but slips and Masvidal immediately jumps on top of Henderson while Henderson is on his knees. Henderson tries to turn it into a takedown but both fighters end up back on their feet where Masvidal lands a big combination before they clinch and Masvidal pushes Henderson to the cage. Henderson flips them with double underhooks and begins throwing shoulders into the face of Masvidal and big heel strikes to the legs. They separate and Masvidal lands a big right hand as they break apart. Henderson goes for a superman punch but Masvidal avoids it. Henderson hits with a leg kick and both fighters exchange strikes, Masvidal landing body kicks but eating punch combos from Henderson while he does. Henderson with a big head kick but Masvidal manages to block most of it. Henderson shoots for a single leg but Masvidal shows his excellent wrestling ability to defend against it. Henderson switches to a double leg and Masvidal goes for the high elbow guillotine. Henderson manages to roll out and has Masvidal pinned to the cage where he lands some big knees to the face and body of Masvidal as the round ends.

Round 3

Both fighters take the center of the octagon again and Henderson lands a front kick to the face on Masvidal. Masvidal shakes it off and starts throwing strikes of his own. Masvidal connects with a body kick and a leg kick. Henderson blocks the head kick from Masvidal but takes a straight right to the face. Masvidal continues with the pressure he’s been showing the whole fight but gets hit with a solid body kick from Henderson. Henderson uses a striking combination to set up a takedown attempt, Masvidal defends it and throws elbows to the side of the head of Henderson. Henderson lands several big back elbows to the face of Masvidal while still attempting the takedown. Henderson eventually gives up the takedown attempt and they clinch against the cage and Masvidal manages to drag Henderson to the ground but Henderson gets right back to his feet. Henderson goes for a takedown again but gets caught by another high elbow guillotine attempt from Masvidal. Henderson counters and has Masvidal pinned against the cage where he lands more big heel strikes to the legs. Masvidal lands multiple open palm strikes to the head of Henderson and Henderson throws a kick on the break. Masvidal grabs his groin and Herb Dean steps in for a timeout to give Masvidal time to recover. On the replay it appears the Henderson’s foot might have just grazed Masvidal. Masvidal signals he’s ok to continue after a very brief delay and they are right back at it. Masvidal lands a body kick and goes for a big head kick but Henderson blocks most of the head kick. Henderson goes for a string combination, Masvidal manages to slip past the combo but gets hit with a body kick. Both fighters exchange strikes and Masvidal lands a body kick that could be heard when it connected. Both fighters go for kicks at the same time and Masvidal’s shin hits Henderson directly in the groin. The buzzer sounds to end the round but Herb Dean had called time out with 1 second left. There is some confusion as the corners try to come in and Masvidal actually sits down before Herb Dean waves him back up and tells the corners to exit the cage. When Henderson signals he’s ok to continue, Herb Dean starts the time again and the last second expires and now the round is officially over.

Round 4

Henderson against opens the round with a leg kick before switching his stance from south paw to a right-handed approach. Henderson misses an elbow strike but lands a big overhand right. Masvidal responds with strikes of his own and both fighters land multiple shots in a big exchange. Henderson goes for another takedown and Masvidal lands multiple open palm shots to the side of the head as he stuffs it and is pinned against the cage. Henderson lands more of the heel strikes to the legs of Masvidal as Masvidal continues with the open palm shots. Masvidal flips them and now has Henderson against the cage before they separate. Masvidal lands 2 solid punches and a body kick on the break. Henderson goes for the clinch again and gets double underhooks before tripping Masvidal to the ground. Masvidal immediately counters and ends up with a headlock on a kneeling Henderson before both fighters get to their feet. Masvidal lands multiple big elbows as they separate. Henderson shoots for a double leg takedown and gets it but Masvidal is immediately back to his feet and goes for a takedown of his own. Henderson attempts to lock in a Kimura but ends up on his back with Masvidal on top in rubber guard before Henderson throws up a leg in what appears to be a triangle attempt. Masvidal escapes and Henderson goes for a single leg as they separate but Masvidal counters it and both fighters are back to their feet. Masvidal throws a lazy spinning heel kick that is easily dodged by Henderson. Henderson hits a flying double knee and multiple punches as the round comes to an end. Masvidal looks like the longer fight may be starting to wear on him.

Round 5

Both fighters touch gloves to start the 5th and final round. Henderson fails to connect with a jumping side kick, he follows it up with a punch to the body but comes dangerously close to taking a big knee to the face from Masvidal. Henderson throws another flying knee, misses but immediately shoots for a double leg. Henderson briefly manages to get Masvidal down against the cage but Masvidal gets right back up and they’re in the clinch with Masvidal landing open palm strikes to Henderson’s head. Masvidal switches to another high elbow guillotine attempt and it looks to be in deep. Henderson drops to his back to escape the guillotine, they scramble and are back in the clinch against the cage with Henderson with his back to the cage now. Henderson is the one to throw open palm strikes to the head of Masvidal before Masvidal pushes away and barely misses with a spinning back elbow. Henderson goes for a takedown but can’t get it. He has Masvidal’s back and lands multiple hard knees to the back of the legs of Masvidal. Masvidal attempts a roll to escape but ends up mounted by Henderson. Masvidal manages to scramble and get back to the feet but eats a big knee to the face in the process. Henderson goes for the takedown again and gets it briefly before Masvidal manages to get back to his feet. Henderson still has his hands clasped around the waist of Masvidal, trips him back down and almost takes his back before Masvidal escapes. Masvidal goes for a takedown of his own but Henderson performs an impressive full split to counter the takedown attempt as the round, and the fight, comes to an end.

Result

Judges Scorecard: 48-47 Masvidal, 48-47 Henderson, 49-46 Henderson

Winner by Split Decision: Benson Henderson

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GLORY: Redemption – Breakdown and Predictions

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Glory returns to pay-per-view today with a stacked card, featuring some of their greatest fighters. Among them are reigning champions Rico Verhoeven and Alex Pereira, as well as the return of former title holder Nieky Holzken.

In the main event, Rico puts his heavyweight title on the line against the very dangerous Jamal Ben Saddik, who defeated him 6 years ago. Rico comes into the fight riding an impressive 14-fight Glory winning streak.

The co-main event features a rematch of the 2016 Fight of the Year between light heavyweight veterans Michael ‘The Dreamcrusher’ Duut and Danyo ‘Dibuba’ Ilunga. The card is a must-see for kickboxing fans, as well as those who just love a good scrap. And with that out of the way, here’s a breakdown of some of the more interesting fight’s on Saturday’s super-card. Enjoy.

Nieky ‘The Natural’ Holzken – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Nieky Holzken vs Alim Nabiyev

Nabiyev came into Glory with a decent amount of steam behind him, but following his bout against short-notice opponent Jimmy Veinot, I honestly don’t see it. Nieky’s reign as champion was one of the best, and despite two close losses to the equally talented Cédric Doumbé, he’s still one of the best welterweights in the world today. With wins over Raymond Daniels, Joseph Valtellini, and current champion Murthel Groenhart, it’s hard to imagine Nieky having much of a problem with Nabiyev.

Expect plenty of pressure from Holzken early on. Coming off two straight losses Nieky will want to make a statement, and prove that he’s still the man to beat at 170. The liver shot will do it. Holzken will just be too much for Alim. Nabiyev has  potential and could be a contender in the future, but right now Holzken is on a whole ‘nother level. Nieky is back, and he wants that title.

Prediction: Nieky Holzken by 1st Round TKO

 

Alex 'Po Atan' Pereira

Alex ‘Po Atan’ Pereira – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Alex Pereira vs Yousri Belgaroui

Pereira’s win back at Glory 46 came as a shock to me. Simon Marcus has proven himself to be one of the best fighters in the division, and while Pereira is a solid kickboxer in his own right, I fully expected Marcus to win that one pretty easy. I was wrong. Pereira was the better man, and is now the Glory middleweight champion. But don’t expect it to last. Yousri completely shut Pereira down in there last meeting at Glory 40. And based on his last performance, a first round TKO over former champ Jason Wilnis, he’s only getting better.

Pereira’s path to victory is pretty simple, strike hard and strike early. The deep waters are not a place where Alex thrives. His cardio has been questionable in the past and his vaunted knockout power diminishes as the fight goes on. If Pereira can’t put Yousri on the back foot early it’s hard to see him taking this one.

The last fight was a fairly decisive win for Belgaroui. Alex was unable to score on Yousri and was picked apart after gassing out late into the fight. Pereira is a talented striker with some serious power, but Belgaroui’s well-rounded game and superior cardio should be enough to win him the championship.

Prediction: Yousri Belgaroui by Unanimous Decision

 

Michael Dreamcrusher Duut

Michael ‘Dreamcrusher’ Duut – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Michael Duut vs Danyo Ilunga

Last year these two stole the show, putting on one of the greatest fights of the year, maybe of all-time. But can they do it again? It’s hard to say. Consistency is not a strong suit for either of these men. Following his thriller with Ilunga, Duut went on to lose his next Glory contest by disqualification due to excessive clinching, then later won a contender tournament in less than a minute (48 seconds to be exact).

Duut’s incredible power and brawler style make him a dangerous fight for just about anyone in the light heavyweight division, but his lack of defence make him an easy target. Unfortunately, Ilunga hasn’t hit a bullsye in quite some time.

Danyo comes into this fight on a whopping 7 fight losing streak, and hasn’t won a fight in Glory since 2014. On the bright side, all 7 losses have come by decision so his chin has held up. Plus Duut isn’t the most durable guy in the world, so it’s possible that Ilunga could knock him out. But I don’t see that happening. Duut is just too powerful and Ilunga isn’t the same fighter he used to be. Hopefully the fight is as great as the last one was, but don’t expect it to go to a 4th round this time. Ilunga’s on a slippery slope, and Duut’s about to cause an avalanche.

Prediciton: Michael Duut by 3rd Round KO

 

Rico The King of Kickboxing Verhoeven

Rico ‘The King of Kickboxing’ Verhoeven – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Rico Verhoeven vs Jamal Ben Saddik

Despite being the main event this was one of the easier fights to pick. Rico has looked unstoppable lately, and as much as people hate to give him credit for anything, he really is the best heavyweight in the world right now. That doesn’t mean a whole lot considering how weak the division is at the moment, but Rico is champion for a reason.

The rest of the heavyweights just aren’t on his level. ‘Big Ben’ included. Jamal’s last fight against Guto Inocente was a total snoozefest, and if not for his rivalry with Rico he probably wouldn’t even be in the title picture. Badr Hari better get his act together cause Rico’s running out of opponents.

The only advantage I see Jamal having is his power. Rico is faster, more precise, and his striking is more diverse. Again, this is a heavyweight contest so anything can happen, but Jamal hasn’t KO’d a world-class opponent since he fought ‘Braddock’ 2 years ago. Since then, Rico has knocked-out Benjamin Adegbuyi, ‘Braddock’, Bigfoot Silva, and broke Badr’s arm earning him a TKO victory. Rico’s the better fighter, simple as that. And no amount of chest hair is going to change that.

Prediction: Rico Verhoeven by 5th Round KO

All images used in this article are accredited to GLORY Kickboxing

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UFC 218: Holloway vs Aldo 2 Main Card Predictions and Analysis

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The passing of the torch. A usual occurrence in combat sports. There comes a time when the old guard has to step down and let the new generation take its place. UFC 218 is all about the passing of the torch. Holloway-Aldo 2, Overeem-Ngannou, Alvarez-Gaethje, the card is chock full of young hungry fighters looking to make a statement against their aging counterparts. But don’t expect the old lions to give up without a fight. Aldo is still a world-class striker and Eddie’s still got some tread on the tires. And at the age of 37, Overeem is still one of the most dangerous heavyweights in the world today.

Max Holloway is a perfect representative of the new generation. He’s scrappy, well-rounded, and will fight whoever you put in front of him. He’s got the fire. So do Ngannou, Gaethje, and the rest of the young guys. Aldo hasn’t had that fire in a long time. Sure he’s still a great fighter,‌ but in his last few fights, he’s lacked that burning passion he used to have. Aldo has all the tools to beat Holloway, but does he have the drive? Does the fire still burn, or was it put out long ago? That’s what we’re going to find out come Saturday.

 

Tecia Torres vs Michelle Waterson

This is such a weird fight. Torres’ climb to the top has been impressively mediocre. She has wins over quality opponents like Angela Hill, Felice Herrig, and Paige VanZant. However, with just a single finish to her credit, Tecia hasn’t given the fans a reason to pay attention to her. Waterson is the complete opposite. She has only gone to decision twice and is one of the more popular fighters in the division. However, injuries and losses have prevented Waterson from gaining any real momentum.

As far as the fight goes I really don’t know what to expect. Waterson is fairly inconsistent and Torres is so consistent it hurts. My assumption would be that Waterson has the better ground game, so if anyone’s going to take it to the mat it will be her. Torres has the better overall stand-up game but doesn’t possess the same finishing ability of the Karate Hottie. My guess is that this one stays on the feet with Torres pushing the pace early, then getting caught by a powerful strike from Waterson that puts her down for good.

Prediction: Michelle Waterson by 2nd Round TKO

 

Eddie Alvarez vs Justin Gaethje

How the hell did Cejudo-Pettis get billed higher than this? Alvarez vs Gaethje has the potential to be the Forrest-Bonnar of the modern era. Both men are aggressive brawlers on the feet and strong wrestlers on the mat. I’d give the submission edge to Eddie, but that’s about it. Gaethje’s striking game is more diverse than Eddie’s is, and his youth is definitely something to consider. With 34 fights to his credit, Alvarez is certainly no spring chicken. He’s not nearly as durable as he used to be, and against a dangerous scrapper like Gaethje, that’s not a great quality.

I really wanted to go with Alvarez on this one, but facts are facts. Gaethje is younger, tougher, and most importantly, better for business. Eddie already lost to the biggest draw in the game. Money-wise he doesn’t have much to offer. Gaethje, however, is a promoters wet dream. He’s durable, dangerous, and damn fun to watch. Basically, everything Eddie used to be. Why does any of this matter? Because the judges work for the UFC. If the UFC brass wants Gaethje to win, then he will. Simple as that. Is it right? No, but business is business. And Justin Gaethje is good for business.

Prediction: Justin Gaethje by Split Decision

 

Henry Cejudo vs Sergio Pettis

This feels like too big a step up for Sergio, which is weird considering he’s ranked #4 and Cejudo is ranked #2. After Cejudo’s fight with Mighty Mouse, I wrote him off as nothing more than a sacrifice to the flyweight king. But his close fight with perennial #1 contender Joseph Benavidez and his vicious knockout over veteran submission artist Wilson Reis have shown me that Cejudo is more than just a big-headed wrestler. Henry is one of the best. If anyone in the division is taking the belt off Mighty Mouse it’s him.

Sergio is a talented kid, no doubt. Give him a few more years to develop and he could be champion one day. Unfortunately for him, the UFC doesn’t have time for that. They need flyweight contenders. If that means a few prospects have to bite the dust then so be it. I just hope Sergio doesn’t get completely outclassed and is able to make a good showing, but against a guy like Cejudo, I’m not holding my breath.

Prediction: Henry Cejudo by Unanimous Decision

 

Alistair Overeem vs Francis Ngannou

Call me crazy, but I’m still not completely sold on Cheick Kongo with dreadlocks. His only quality win is a knockout over what’s left of Andrei Arlovski. Overeem, on the other hand, has fought nothing but quality contenders in his climb back to the top, with his only loss coming against reigning champion Stipe Miocic (although some would argue they saw the tap). On paper, this is Overeem’s fight to win. Unfortunately, paper is what Overeem’s chin is made of.

Ngannou may not be as technically sound as Overeem is, but he hits just as hard, maybe harder. One good shot from the Predator and Overeem could drop like a sack of horse meat. Combine that with Overeem’s uber-cockiness and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Picking Overeem is always a gamble, but I’m willing to roll the dice on this one. It’s not gonna be pretty but Overeem’s in-and-out kickboxing and “run like hell” defensive style should be just enough to win this.

Prediction: Alistair Overeem by Unanimous Decision

 

 Max Holloway vs Jose Aldo 2

Holloway TKO’d Aldo about 6 months ago. Max is in the best form of his career. Aldo is taking the fight on short notice. I really can’t think of a good reason to pick Aldo on this one. Sure his striking is still some of the best in the division, but at this point, he’s writing checks his body can’t cash anymore. His chin has degraded significantly and his patented leg kicks are nowhere to be found. It pains me to say this because Aldo is an incredible fighter, but it’s starting to feel as though the sport is passing him by. Aldo is the past, Max is the future.

Despite just winning the title this summer, Holloway has effectively cleaned out the division. Swanson, Lamas, Stephens, Pettis, all fell to the young Hawaiian. Hell, since his loss to McGregor nobody’s even come close to beating Holloway. This doesn’t mean Max is invincible though. Frankie is still a huge threat to Max’s title, and those who sleep on Aldo are often put to sleep themselves. The road ahead of him is not an easy one, but something tells me Max is going to do just fine. It is what it is.

Prediction: Max Holloway by 2nd Round TKO

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GSP vs Robert Whittaker is Easily the Best Fight to Make at Middleweight

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GSP became the new middleweight champion of the UFC this past weekend, and many questions have been asked his way. Is he officially the greatest of all time? Who does he fight next? Does he stay at middleweight?

The G.O.A.T. conversation will never be settled completely. There will always be separation in opinions between Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, GSP, Demetrious Johnson, Fedor Emelianenko, and some even say Conor McGregor is the greatest, simply due to the fact that he is the first ever UFC champion to hold two belts simultaneously. Regardless of how that conversation is driven, the biggest question that should be the only concern at this point is the immediate plans for the new middleweight champion.

Where does GSP go next, and who does he fight?

Well, the fact of the matter is, it would not make sense for GSP to go down to the welterweight division again. 170-pounds is alive and kicking at the moment, with new stars emerging such as Darren Till and Mike Perry, to return of veterans like Carlos Condit, and also new additions to the division like Rafael dos Anjos. St-Pierre would have to stay extremely active in order to keep the division flowing.

At the age of 36 and having just returned to MMA last weekend, St-Pierre is unlikely to stay as active as he used to be when he was the king of the welterweight division. Plus, would it really make much sense for him to get on his old diet again in order to make the welterweight weight limit? He looked massive last night, all bulked up, and even seemed like the bigger fighter against Bisping, who used to fight at 205-pounds.

On the other hand, if he decides to stay at middleweight, which is what UFC president Dana White stated would happen yesterday, then there is one clear path for him to take and based on his statements on his contract, will be forced to take: Robert Whittaker.

Whittaker won the interim middleweight belt earlier this year against Yoel Romero at UFC 213, which was a razor close fight that went to Whittaker at the end of 5 rounds. Since then, Whittaker has been sidelined due to the injury he suffered during the fight, damaging his ligament in the left knee.

4 months later, he has seemed to have healed up perfectly, as he was in the arena for the madness last night and even answered a few questions from the media, stating that he is healthy now. The fight against Whittaker would be the best that the UFC could put on at this point in 185-pounds division on a few different levels.

GSP and Whittaker have a lot in common. Starting with the most obvious, they both used to fight at welterweight. Which means that neither fighter will have a massive size advantage. This brings the match up nearly even as far as physicality is concerned.

Then comes the match up itself. St-Pierre and Whittaker both represent the very definition of being ‘well-rounded’. Whittaker, although not an offensive wrestler, proved that his defensive wrestling was second to none in his fight against Romero, a former Olympic wrestler. And while GSP is not necessarily the best wrestler in pure wrestling, his ability to wrestle in MMA is phenomenal due to his timing and fight IQ, which makes this fight even more intriguing to find out whether Whittaker can defend GSP’s takedown attempts.

This fight also represents the UFC an opportunity to see a birth of a superstar. Whittaker, while not a huge talker, is a very marketable fighter especially over in Australia and New Zealand. If he is able to defeat GSP, who’s arguably the biggest draw in the history of the company, it would boost Whittaker’s popularity up an extraordinary amount. And being only 26 years old, Whittaker has the tools and potential to be a dominant champion, much like St-Pierre in his “prime”.

Booking this fight would also clear up the confusing state of the middleweight division. With Bisping’s reign as the champion coming to an end, some hope was born for other contenders in the division. Fighters like Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman, Yoel Romero, Jacare Souza were having an extremely hard time getting a hold of Michael Bisping during his reign, and with a new champion now and possible unification of the belts soon, the contenders will have a goal to work for again.

The fight is one of the best fights that UFC could put on for the fans right now and one that can happen as early as February of 2018, which is when the UFC returns to Australia with a PPV. If it can come to fruition, then it will easily be one of the best fights of the year and one that all the fans can count the days down to.

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