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WHO YA GOT: UFC FIGHT NIGHT: EDGAR vs FABER

John Michael Edwards

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The UFC’s version of the Thrilla in Manila is going down this weekend, headlined by what could be considered a dream fight between former WEC featherweight champion and bantamweight title challenger, Uriah Faber and former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.  The co-main event is a striker delight as Gegard Mousasi takes on Costas Philippou.  The rest of the card is filled hometown heroes Mark Munoz and the returning Philippe Nover against Luke Barnatt and Yu Chul Nam respectively, the streaking Neil Magny taking on Hyun Gyu Lim and Mark Eddiva versus Levan Makashvili.

Uriah Faber vs. Frankie Edgar

John Michael Edwards:  I’m going to go out on a limb and pick Faber.  It’s a long shot, but I could see him catching Edgar at some point and Uriah is probably one of the best finishers in MMA history.  Faber by TKO.

Brice Schroeder:  This main event pits two of the more popular and well-rounded fighters in the UFC. I see Frankie utilizing his takedown defense to keep the fight standing where he will use his footwork and boxing to out point faber on his way to a hard-fought decision.

Dom Tutino:  I called it a year ago and I still believe that this is possibly one of the greatest matchups in UFC history. Both of these men are at the highest level of the sport and so well rounded that neither of them have any obvious weaknesses. Frankie may have more technical striking, but Faber has more power, both have tenacious wrestling, very strong jiu-jitsu and can fight for 10 rounds. This fight is so well matched and for that reason it is very hard to pick between them but in the end I see Edgar’s technique just edging out Faber for a split decision win.

Dominic Whittall:  Both fighters have relentless cardio and both have their fair share of experience in 5 round fights. I see the fight starting at a frantic pace with Edgar looking to control the opening rounds with combos and takedowns. I anticipate Faber will expect this and look for the finish early. On the other hand neither of these guys are easier to be put away (Despite Faber having most finishes in UFC/WEC divisional history) and I can see the fight going to the judges scorecards. Faber will win via Split Decision.

Derek Bowe:  Definitely two of the bigger names in mixed martial arts squaring up here. Edgar vs Faber is nearly a can’t miss in the appeal factor, that being said should this fight play out how I believe it will, it should be a one sided affair in Frankie winning this fight wherever it is contested. I believe Frankie is slightly better than Uriah everywhere, except I would say Uriah has more one-punch power. Outside of a timely shot landed, I expect Edgar to control the action and win a decision rather easily

Luke Leasure:  Frankie Edgar versus Uriah Faber has the potential to be a fight of the year candidate. I give Uriah the advantage in punching power and the submission game, but Edgar gets the advantage nearly everywhere else. He throws much more volume, combines his takedowns with his striking better than anyone in the world not named Demetrius Johnson, and is nearly impossible to finish. Due to the toughness of both guys Faber’s superior finishing ability will likely not matter, Edgar wins via decision by utilizing more combinations, angles, and takedowns, but Faber will have one or two near finishes in a competitive fight. Frankie Edgar by decision 49-46.

Jordan Killion: Will Frankie actually have a size advantage? Barring Faber landing a clean one, I don’t see a way he wins this fight. Frankie via UD.

Jim Edwards: I really should learn not to submit my picks last as the guys above have almost said it all. Frankie looked a lot bigger at the weigh-ins and I would naturally pick him over Faber. Ruling out Uriah though in a non-title fight is nigh on ridiculous mind you – meh – I’m still on #TeamEdgar for this. Lets just hope it’s a decent fight.
Gegard Mousasi vs. Costas Philippou

John Michael Edwards:  Mousasi SUB

Brice Schroeder:  Mousasi KO

Dom Tutino:  Mousasi SUB

Dominic Whittall:  Mousasi UD

Derek Bowe:  Mousasi via 2nd round TKO

Luke Leasure:  Mousasi by TKO

Jordan Killion: Mousasi via SUB

Jim Edwards: Philippou SD (just to be different!?)
Mark Munoz vs. Luke Barnatt

John Michael Edwards:  Munoz TKO

Brice Schroeder:  Munoz UD

Dom Tutino:  Barnatt KO

Dominic Whittall:  Barnatt UD

Derek Bowe:  Barnatt via 2nd round submission

Luke Leasure:  Munoz by Decision

Jordan Killion: Barnatt KO

Jim Edwards: Barnatt TKO
Neil Magny vs Hyun Gyu Lim

John Michael Edwards:  Lim UD

Brice Schroeder:  Magny UD

Dom Tutino:  Magny UD

Dominic Whittall:  Magny UD

Derek Bowe:  Magny via 3rd round submission

Luke Leasure:  Magny by unanimous decision

Jordan Killion: Lim via KO

Jim Edwards: Magny UD
Phillipe Nover vs. Yuri Chul Nam

John Michael Edwards:  Nover SUB

Brice Schroeder:  Nover SUB

Dom Tutino:  Nover SUB

Dominic Whittall:  Nover UD

Derek Bowe:  Nover via 1st round TKO

Luke Leasure:  Nam by KO

Jordan Killion: Nover UD

Jim Edwards: Nover SUB

 

Mark Eddiva vs. Levan Makashvili

John Michael Edwards:  Makashvili UD

Brice Schroeder:  Makashvili UD

Dom Tutino:  Makashvili UD

Dominic Whittall:  Makashvili UD

Derek Bowe:  Makashvili via decision

Luke Leasure:  Makashvili by Unanimous Decision

Jordan Killion: Makashvili via UD

Jim Edwards: Makashvili TKO

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UFC Shanghai: Michael Bisping vs Kelvin Gastelum Preview

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UFC Shanghai is only 2 days away, something that looked unlikely only a few weeks ago after Anderson Silva was pulled from the main event after testing positive for a banned substance. With little options and very few interested, the main event and entire card looked in tatters. Then up stepped the always reliable company man Michael Bisping. Fresh from defeat at UFC 217 no one would have expected Bisping to step up to fight in Shanghai just three weeks later. But here we are, two days out from Bisping vs Gastelum.

Both fighters are coming off difficult losses that must have been hard to swallow. Bisping was doing well against a tired and damaged GSP, and Gastelum had knocked down Weidman at the end of the first round and was moments away from a finish, but both men went on to lose in the third round.

Both fighters will be motivated and desperate for a win to cleanse the demons their respective last fights have brought them.

The Fighters

 

Gastelum is a fantastic young talent, not many fighters are considered top level guys in two divisions like he is. Gastelum is a good all-rounder in all aspects of MMA, his tenacious boxing and solid wrestling are stand outs in his game. There is no question he has the skills to succeed in the 185lb division. But his biggest struggle is the physical disadvantage he faces in the middleweight division.

Gastelum is 5’9″ with a 71.5 inch reach. Since his return to middleweight he has been the smaller man in every fight. After his loss to Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC on FOX 25, Gastelum told reporters “He felt really big, he felt really strong” and “170 is my home” (MMAJunkie). A clear indication that Gastelum knows he is too small at this weight, but perhaps the aura of facing Anderson Silva was too much to turn down.

By now you know what Michael Bisping brings to the table. This is his 29th fight with the UFC. He is the definition of a UFC veteran.

Bisping excels on the feet where he uses his great boxing skills and high work rate to nullify his opponents. Bisping also has underrated wrestling skills and a gritty clinch game to match his own gritty style. Under Jason Parillo, Bisping’s striking has only gotten better and better. Just look at the Rockhold fight as an example. His kicks have vastly improved and so have his hands, especially his killer left hook.

Unsurprisingly, as he is a former light heavyweight, Bisping will be the much larger of the two men in the octagon. Bisping stands at 6’1″ and has a reach of 75.5″.

The Fight

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JULY 17: Michael Bisping of England steps on the scale during the UFC weigh-in inside the SSE Hydro on July 17, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Two main components of Mixed Martial Arts will come into play in this fight, boxing and cardio.

You have to imagine most of this fight take place on the feet. The only way it goes to the ground is if Gastelum can’t keep up with Bisping’s relentless pressure, and feels it’s the best way to get the victory. But after seeing the way Bisping battered and bloodied GSP from his back, Gastelum should be wary.

Gastelum uses his excellent and aggressive jabbing technique to gauge distance against his opponents. He did an excellent job of keeping Tim Kennedy at bay as he tried to enter the pocket. As Bisping is a fighter who uses movement and feints to put a volume of strikes together inside the pocket, Gastelum must use his jab to nullify Bisping’s main tools and keep him at bay, especially as the rounds progress and Bisping throws more combinations. Gastelum can then hide behind that jab to set up more strikes and find a knock out blow. After all Bisping is a very hittable fighter, who focuses more on offence than defence.

But with all that being said, no jab on earth will stop Bisping marching forward.

Bisping will also use his jab throughout the fight as he looks to set up multiple strikes. However, when Bisping dives in with his jab he leaves himself open to a counter punch. We saw GSP do this perfectly, which ultimately set up his finish. Gastelum may want to fight as a counter puncher rather than the aggressor. Not only will it allow him to conserve his energy, but it also means he may find that knock out punch when Bisping leaves himself open, especially to the left hand.

Gastelum must try to slow Bisping down with hard shots to the body, because if Bisping is fresh after UFC 217, like he said he is, then he can go all night at a pace Gastelum won’t be able to keep up with.

The later the fight goes the more aggressive Bisping can be as his shots get harder to grind you out and put you away. He increases his output, which will make Gastelum have to work even harder as the rounds progress. Even if Gastelum does not gas, he will naturally slow down and that’s when Bisping smells blood. Bisping will close the distance and change his game from jabbing you to death to landing some brutal combinations.

Prediction

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 27: Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva of Brazil (L) and Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping of England (R) compete in their Middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night held at at Indigo at The O2 Arena on February 27, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

I believe Gastelum will win the early exchanges. Whilst Bisping will land a few pecking jabs, it will be Gastelum who finds success early. Gastelum may even look for an early knock out. But as time goes on and the fight progresses, I feel Bisping will find his groove and take over.

His reach advantage will come into play as he dances around Gastelum and finds a range where he can get off several long strikes at once. And once the fight enters the later rounds Bisping will close the distance to up the tempo and fight his fight.

As much as I can envision a TKO victory for Gastelum, with his experience and composure I believe a fired up Bisping will overcome Gastelum’s boxing skills to right his wrongs at UFC 217.

Official Prediction: Michael Bisping defeats Kelvin Gastelum via Unanimous Decision – 48-47

 

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UFC looks for undefeated fighters for the next season of TUF

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As the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter comes to a close in a few weeks, UFC has set tryouts for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter on December 12th but there is a catch, participates must hold an undefeated record.

Titled The Ultimate Fighter 27: Battle of the Undefeated, the next installment of TUF will be looking for male fighters with an undefeated record with a minimum of 3-0 to apply for the show. The casting call asks for featherweights and welterweights but in the early stages of tryouts, a weight class will be decided later in the process.

Fighters must be aged between 21 – 34 and will grapple and light spar in front of UFC matchmakers and must be prepared to stay in Vegas until December 16th.

It is unknown what the future of TUF will be after the TV deal with FOX ends next year but the show has been a success for the company and many fighters to emerge from The Ultimate Fighter have become champion including current interim Lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and Strawweight champion Rose Namajunas coming from past seasons of the show.

This will be the third time in a row that a gimmick will be added to the show that has been on the decline in the ratings in recent years but yet to use only undefeated fighters. An undefeated streak can be one of the most prestigious records to keep in mixed martial arts with the wins and losses being so vital in a fighters career.

Who will keep their zero? Who will be the next Ultimate Fighter? Who will be the coaches?

These questions will be answered when the new season of TUF begins shooting in January and the show premiering later in the year.

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Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.

Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.


Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?

I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.

Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?

I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened.  They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.

Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of  Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?

I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.

It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.

Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?

I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.

I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.

Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!

 

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