Back in December when Phil ‘CM Punk’ Brooks announced live on air in an interview with Joe Rogan that he had officially signed with the UFC for a multi-fight deal. Immediately, Tongues started wagging as to where the former WWE Champion would train, and who his first fight would be against. Shortly after, Brooks announced that he would be training with Duke Roufus at Roufusport out of Milwaukee.
Brooks, who is a Chicago native, would then travel each day to training working with people like UFC fighter Anthony Pettis. But after starting training back in January, Punk would then move to Milwaukee in June, to be able to train more often for an Octagon debut. He has also been training in spells with Octagon veterans Rashad Evans and Luke Rockhold at Team EXOS.
And even though Punk has been training with Rener Gracie on and off for a few years in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it was his striking ability that most impressed his new camp. In an interview on The MMA Hour back in March Duke Roufus called Brooks a ‘natural striker’.
Although there has been no set date for Brooks’ octagon debut, it is looking more and more likely that it will be in 2016 before we see his first fight. Speaking on the Anik & Florian podcast in June Punk had this to say:
“I’ve had zero talks with Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, Joe Silva, anybody, about an opponent, about a date, I’m thankful for that because that’s zero pressure.”
One of the other things that many were unsure about is what weight Brooks would fight at, but looking at ufc.com and sherdog.com, they both have him posted as a middleweight fighter, but in that same interview with Rogan, Punk did say he could drop down to welterweight, but ruled out going up to Light-Heavyweight.
But with that in mind, and Brooks’ 0-0 record, I have looked at possible middleweight fights with current UFC fighters, who have had a maximum of 7 professional fights.
Mike King (5-1)
One possibility could be American Mike King, who currently holds a 5-1 pro record, but is 0-1 in the UFC, after having lost to Cathal Pendred at Fight Night in Dublin back in last July. King, who is trained in Kickboxing and wrestling, was the 2010 Ohio Ammy of the year, and won the NAAFS Tournament championship in the same year, and has finished all of his 5 wins, by either TKO or submission. But could King’s mixture of Kickboxing and wrestling, and Brooks’ mixture of BJJ and being a natural striker lead to a decent matchup?
Ricardo ‘Demente’ Abreu (5-2)
Another middleweight I looked at was Ricardo ‘Demente’ Abreu. The Brazilian is a black belt in BJJ, and holds a 5-2 professional record. Abreu was part of Team Wanderlei during TUF: Brazil in 2013, losing in the semi-finals to eventual runner-up Marcio Alexandre Jr by split decision. He also holds a 1-1 record in the UFC, with a loss to Jack Collier in June 2015 by split decision, and holds a win over Wagner Silva by submission at Fight Night: Sao Paulo in May 2014.
Antonio ‘Cara De Sapato’ Carlos Jr. (6-1)
The third current UFC fighter I looked at was Antonio ‘Cara De Sapato’ Carlos Jr. Another Brazilian on the list, Carlos Jr. is probably the most experienced out of the 3, holding a 6-1 pro record with 2-1 in the UFC. Carlos holds a submission victory over Eddie Gordon (Fight Night: Hollywood, Florida, June 2015) and a Unanimous decision win over Vitor Miranda in May 2014, but did lose to Patrick Cummings by unanimous decision in December of last year.
The TUF: Brazil 3 winner, started off at heavyweight, and has dropped weight twice, dropping to Light-Heavyweight in 2014, and then dropped to Middleweight earlier this year. Like Ricardo Abreu, Carlos is also a champion at BJJ. Carlos is a former World, Brazilian and Pan-American champion in BJJ, and could be another good match for Punk.
Lorenzo Fertitta spoke to ESPN back in January and, stated that it will be a pro MMA fighter that he will face, and will be someone recognisable to the MMA media. The UFC CEO added that he will be relying on matchmaker Joe Silva, who will be bringing 2-3 fighters to the table. But could bring someone in from of roster if the fit is right.
Jason David Frank (1-0)
If a fighter from outside of the UFC is being brought in, then it could lead to the one match which has an internet following. This would be a bout against Jason David Frank. Frank is probably most widely known as ‘The Green PowerRanger’ but is also a 7th degree Black Belt in Karate, and holds a 1-0 professional record in MMA.
His only pro win came against Jose Roberto Vasquez at a Texas Cage Fighting back in 2010. Although he is not signed to the UFC at the minute, he is a possibility, and a fight that some people would like to see, even to the extent that Comics Remixed have a petition on change.org to get the fight happening.
But another possibility could be 2 fighters that both have UFC experience in the past.
Jason Thacker (0-1)
The first was suggested by one of our other writers, is Jason Thacker.
Thacker who has a professional record of 0-1, does have octagon experience, as he was part of Team Couture on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Even though he was picked as a light-heavyweight, he fought on the finale show as a middleweight, suffering a TKO loss to fellow contestant Chris Leben after 1:35 of the first round.
Phil Baroni (15-18)
The other is someone who has been calling out Punk, is former UFC, Bellator, ONEFC and Pride fighter Phil Baroni.
The welterweight holds a professional record of 15-18, holds a 3-7 UFC record, had this to say on his Instagram:
“I’ll bust you up. Call Coker , move da f****** needle. Wa Wa 3H was mean to me. Vince owes me. Wa Wa. . Your gona love MMA and @Danawhite it’s so fair ova here. Ryback hurt you? I’ll break your f****** Neck #whineybitch”
But the only problem with this is, is the fact Baroni would want the fight to happen in a Bellator cage, and I can’t see that happening.
There have been various people calling Phil Brooks out over twitter, including people like Cathal Pendred, Al Iaquinta, as well as Former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman. I am going to go on record now and say Brooks vs Merriman is a no-go. One Merriman isn’t a professional fighter, having come close in January 2015 after he was in talks with Japanese MMA event GANRYUJIMA, but talks broke down. And two, it all stems from a slight twitter war the 2 had in 2011, regarding Merriman trying to hit on some WWE divas by a pool.
Personally I feel it would be a Brooks’ vs Franks fight, if they can make it happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if something gets announced out of left field in the coming months.
But tell us what you think and join in the conversation by Liking our facebook page and follow us on twitter: @mmalatestnws
Or follow me: @carlr_mma
Stephen Thompson wants Rafael dos Anjos in contender eliminator bout
Over the weekend, Rafael dos Anjos defeated Robbie Lawler at UFC Fight Night: Winnipeg, in dominant fashion via unanimous decision. The main event of the Canadian event was Dos Anjos’ third victory in as many fights at welterweight. The former UFC lightweight champion moved up in weight after suffering two consecutive losses. First, relinquishing his championship title to Eddie Alvarez, then falling to current interim lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson. Although the Brazilian had fought at the 155-pound weight limit exclusively in his career, his weight cut in order to reach the lightweight limit is admittedly brutal.
When talking with FloCombat, the top welterweight contender claimed, “It is not worth it [the weight cut] considering the amount I’m earning today. This was one of my motivations to change to welterweight. I don’t need to kill myself and earn this salary.” He further explained the agony of making the weight limit, “I want to avoid those last 15 pounds. That is terror and panic. It’s almost death. I don’t need to face that anymore. I want to fight well and happy, get in there strong and in good shape”.
Now that Dos Anjos has arrived at welterweight with such success, he believes he deserves a shot at Tyron Woodley and the 170-pound belt.
Am'I the only one that thinks that this fight should be for a interim title? Since the champ is out until next year?
— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) October 12, 2017
This is a sentiment that UFC president Dana White seems to agree with. At the Toronto press conference, White fielded a question on whether or not the winner of the Lawler vs. Dos Anjos match-up would yield a title contender, “Yup,” he responded. Later in the press event, White further clarified Dos Anjos’ position in the welterweight ranks, “(RDA) just had a great win to get himself back into contention and a win over Robbie Lawler obviously would do it”.
Yet, another top-ranked welterweight does not agree. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson wants a third crack at welterweight gold, and he believes Dos Anjos is his ticket back to title contention.
That was a WAR! Hats off to both RDA and Robbie for that effort! I can be back in the Octagon this March. @RdosAnjosMMA , let’s give the fans another treat. We both want gold, it’s only fitting we battle for it! @ufc #UFCWinnipeg @danawhite
— Stephen Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) December 17, 2017
What makes this challenge intriguing? The status of current welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley. Last week, Woodley announced on his TMZ show, The Hollywood Beatdown, he would be having surgery. The champion stated, “I’m going to go ahead and get this shoulder repaired. I’ve been saying, ‘You know what, I don’t want to get it cut on, I don’t want to get it repaired.’ But if there’s no fight that really makes a ton of sense for me to take the risk, to not be 100 percent with my shoulder, then I’m going to go ahead and have it repaired. They’re not going to do a full orthopedic rehabilitation, but they’re going to do a scope and they’re going to anchor down some sides. Then I’m going to get some PRP (platelet-rich plasma), some stem cells.” A timetable for his return is not readily available.
As the division stands, the truly deserving of the next welterweight title shot would be either Thompson or Dos Anjos. The recent credentials of both garner such status. Thompson most recently defeated rising contender, Jorge Masvidal at UFC 217. Before his early November victory over Masvidal, the undefeated kick-boxer challenged for the belt twice, consecutively. While he was unsuccessful in both attempts to earn the belt, each fight was extremely close. The first of which, scored a majority draw.
*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results
The UFC returns to Canada for the final Fight Night card of 2017. In the cold of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC will host eleven of the originally twelve scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Tim Elliot will not fight in the north country. His scheduled opponent, Pietro Menga, a newcomer to the promotions roster, failed to make weight after taking the bout with just over a weeks notice.
An exciting main card will be capped off with a potential contender eliminator bout featuring, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. The former champions (Lawler at welterweight, Dos Anjos at lightweight) both put together impressive win streaks which dispatched top contenders in their respective divisions. Elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on the outspoken Mike Perry.
The card begins on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30/1:30 ETPT.
UFC Winnipeg Official Results:
MAIN CARD – FOX – 8PM/5PM ETPT
- #2 Robbie Lawler (28-11) vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos (27-9) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
- #3 Ricardo Lamas (18-5) vs. Josh Emmett (12-1) – Catchweight bout (148.5 lbs)
- Result: Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punch) 4:33 round 1
- #10 Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-1) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- #3 Glover Teixeira (26-6) vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov (13-3) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (punches) 2:45 round 1
PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 5PM/2PM ETPT
- #14 Jared Cannonier (10-2) vs #15 Jan Blachowicz (20-7) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Julian Marquez (6-1) vs. Darren Stewart (7-2) – Middleweight bout
- Result: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (standing guillotine) 2:42 round 2
- Chad Laprise (13-2) vs. Galore Bofando (5-2) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (punches) 4:10 round 1
- Nordine Taleb (13-4) vs Danny Roberts (14-2) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (head kick and punch) :59 round 1
- John Makdessi (14-6) vs Abel Trujillo (15-7) – Lightweight bout
- Result: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Alessio Di Chirico (10-2) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3) – Middleweight bout
- Result: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (knee) 2:14 round 2
EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 4:30PM/1:30PM ETPT
- Jordan Mein (29-12) vs. Erick Silva (19-8) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando
The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) December 14, 2017
Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.
It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.
Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.
In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.
Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.
In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.
UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
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