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“This Week in MMA History” El Guapo Wins UFC Gold in Controversial Fashion

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In the fourth edition of “This Week in MMA History” we examine the biggest win of one of the original pioneers of MMA – Bas “El Guapo” Rutten.

Back in the early days of MMA, Rutten was as famous for his ferocity inside of the ring as he was for his epic partying outside of it. When the UFC first started in 1993, it was Bas’ good friend and future fellow King of Pancrase, Ken Shamrock, that told him about the opportunities and exposure that the newly founded promotion could offer. Shamrock urged his friend to make the trip to the United States to compete, but Bas was very comfortable in Japan and had other plans. He went on to unify the King of Pancrase titles and become a living legend in the land of the rising sun. Rutten had fought in Pancrase since the promotion’s first event and found tremendous success with multiple wins over Frank Shamrock and the founders of the company, Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki. In the early 90s, there was no assurance that fighting in the UFC would pay off or even if the promotion would survive. As we now know the UFC grew into the biggest powerhouse in all of MMA and by 1999 “El Guapo” was ready to take the trip to the states and make a statement.

With Rutten being a former King of Pancrase, the matchmakers at the UFC had been desperately trying to set up a fight between him and Heavyweight Champion Randy “The Natural” Couture since 1998. The bout never came to fruition as contract negotiations began to stall between the promotion and Couture. Without being able to come to an agreement, “The Natural” decided to sign with Vale Tudo Japan and later with Rings, causing him to was stripped of his title. Couture would not be back in the UFC for almost 2 years.

Upon Couture’s departure, UFC needed to crown a new heavyweight champion. They decided to hold a tournament over three events to determine who that would be. When Rutten signed with the UFC, he was on a 18-0-1 run and was being advertised as “the best mixed martial artist on the planet.” In January 1999, he first fought in the U.S. at UFC 18: “Road to the Heavyweight Title” against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. That fight served to add to his legend as he told his corner he would knock out his opponent before going out for the final period. Referee “Big” John McCarthy overheard the comment and seemed to almost laugh at the perceived arrogance of the prediction. The fight had been close and for Rutten to think that he would finish Kohsaka was a very bold assumption. Bas would have the last laugh when he made good on his promise and won by TKO with only 45 seconds to go in the bout, securing his spot in the finals. At UFC 19: “Ultimate Young Guns”, NCAA All American wrestler Kevin “The Monster” Randleman won a unanimous decision over Bas’ old Pancrase rival, Maurice Smith, and the stage was set for the finals.

On 7 May 1999 at UFC 20: “Battle for the Gold”, Rutten faced Kevin Randleman for the vacant UFC Heavyweight Championship.

The fight did not start out positively for Rutten, as he was essentially beat bloody from his guard for the first four minutes by the 2 time NCAA Division I wrestling champion. “El Guapo” got a lucky break when the fight was briefly stopped in order for a doctor to check the cut under Bas’ eye. The doctor determined that most of the blood was actually coming from Rutten’s nose and the fight was resumed. When the fight was restarted, it was done so in a standing position. When they met in the center of the cage, Bas landed one of his famous liver kicks. Although Randleman easily got the takedown following the kick, the damage had been done. His aggressive, wrestling heavy attack now slowed down, and the momentum of the bout had swung in Rutten’s favor. Bas was now being the more active fighter as he attacked Randleman from inside his guard, and used elbow strikes to cut Randleman on top of his head. The fight had been close and it was now going into an overtime period.

The first overtime period saw more of Randleman controlling his position on the top, but Bas doing more striking from the bottom, including reopening the cut on top of “The Monster’s” head. The horn sounded and we were on to a final second overtime period. During the last overtime period, Rutten successfully defended a takedown for the first time before eventually being overpowered as he was bulldozed to the fence and taken down again, where both fighters landed short, less significant blows. At the time, judging was not on a ten point must system, but simply who the judges felt won the fight overall. When the decision was announced, two of the judges favored Rutten and he became the new UFC Heavyweight Champion. Many fans, and the announcers, felt that Randleman should have gotten the nod because he had been in top position for the majority of the contest, however, the judges favored Rutten’s busy work from the bottom.

Rutten would never defend his title. He vacated it later in the year so that he could move down to what was known at the time as the middleweight division (it was later changed to the light heavyweight division), where his old foe Frank Shamrock held the title. His middleweight debut was delayed by a series of injuries to his knee, biceps and neck, and Shamrock vacated the middleweight crown because of what he dubbed as a lack of competition. The injuries forced Rutten’s doctors to insist that he retire in 1999 at 34 years old. He followed their advice, although he did fight once more in 2006 at WFA: King of the Streets where he kicked Rueben “Warpath” Villareal’s legs to the point that he could no longer stand up, giving Bas his final win by TKO. He was originally supposed to face former UFC fighter Kimo Leopoldo in that bout, but two days before the event Kimo failed a drug test for having an anabolic steroid in his system. In the end, “El Guapo” posted a 28-4-1 record and in July 2015 he was inducted into the Pioneer wing of the UFC Hall of Fame. He will be remembered not only for being a UFC champion and hall of famer, but also for his devastating palm strikes, his liver kicks and most of all, for how to he fought with a street fight mentality and utilized multiple disciplines to control an opponent at a time when others did not.

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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Announcement

Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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Announcement

*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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