Opinion: Top Knockouts of 2018 – May

Might be my top knockout of the year, Lyoto Machida (one of my all-time favorite fighters) recreates his famous crane kick against Vitor Belfort @ UFC 224 on May 12th – this was also Vitor’s retirement fight

John ‘Hands Of Stone’ Lineker puts down Brian Kelleher @ UFC 224 on May 12th

Phil Davis lands a perfect head kick on Linton Vassell @ Bellator 200 on May 25th

Featherweight champion Kevin Aguilar knocks out interim champion Thanh Le @ LFA 40 on May 25th

Gabriel Benitez slams Humberto Bandenay on his way to a KO victory @ UFC Fight Night: Chile on May 19th

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos puts away Sean Strickland with a spinning heel kick and punches @ UFC 224 on May 12th

Dominick Reyes drops Jared Cannonier with a short uppercut @ UFC Fight Night: Chile on May 19th

Poliana Botelho scores the fastest finish in strawweight history with vicious liver kicks to end Syuri Kondo’s night @ UFC Fight Night: Chile on May 19th

Report: Aldo vs. Moicano scheduled for UFC on ESPN+2

 

Former two-time UFC featherweight champion, Jose Aldo (27-4) is set to square off next against fast-rising talent and fellow Brazilian, Renato Moicano (13-1-1) on February 2nd in Fortaleza, Brazil.

Headlining the card will be a rematch between top bantamweights Raphael Assuncao (27-5) and Marlon Moraes (21-5-1). Some may question why they get the spotlight over Aldo and Moicano, but I like this idea.

Firstly, the first fight between Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes ended in an incredibly close split decision over the course of three rounds. Now, in case it goes three close rounds again, they’ll have another two to really decide who the number one contender at 135.

Secondly, I like the idea of Jose Aldo in three round fights if he’s not fighting for a belt; dating back to his WEC debut when he was 10-1, he has a finish in every single three-round fight to this day. He hadn’t had a three-round fight scheduled in 8 1/2 years leading up to the Jeremy Stephens fight, and he finished it in just over four minutes. He knows when he’s scheduled for three rounds that he doesn’t have to worry about his cardio. His cardio is always good until after the first three, and he conserves himself almost the entire fight because five rounds have always been tough for him. He knows he can be explosive and go for it whenever he wants now, which makes for an even better, and more exciting Jose Aldo. He would just destroy everyone until they couldn’t take it with beautifully destructive Muay Thai, it was always violent.

Renato Moicano has some Muay Thai of his own, as he is a black belt in it, and is also longer than Aldo; he stands 4” taller and has a 2” reach advantage on him.

Both men are elite level black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but we see much more of a ground game from Moicano. We have seen him submit Tom Niinimaki in his UFC debut, a guy that multiple time world BJJ Champion Rani Yahya couldn’t do when he fought him. His next two bouts seen him take a pair of split decisions, one over highly touted Russian prospect Zuba Tukhugov, and longtime UFC vet Jeremy Stephens; before losing to last weekends featherweight title challenger Brian Ortega, and has since rebounded with a UD victory over Calvin Kattar, and first-round submission over Cub Swanson.

A note to take, Moicano has submitted six of his thirteen opponents, all by rear naked choke; Aldo does have one loss via rear naked choke, however that was over 13 years ago at this point. Aldo does have one submission win, it was via arm triangle but that was even longer ago than his submission loss. Sixteen of his wins are by (T)KO, both men are coming off first-round finishes in common opponents.

Until Aldo’s last win, he was in a real rough patch; losing three of his last four, all by knockout. Getting slept against McGregor, then taking a ton of damage in each Holloway fight, many of us thought Aldo would never be the same. To be KO’d, to have a great rematch with Edgar and make it easier the second time, then losing back-to-back poundings, a lot of us assumed his best days were behind him. Then to come out against Stephens like he did, getting hurt against a guy like that, not quitting and getting the stoppage shortly thereafter, it was the Aldo of old for sure.

This is a very interesting fight, and it’s looking like it’ll be a promising card I’m very excited for this one.

Opinion: ‘Don’t Sleep On This’ – UFC Milwaukee Edition: Jessica-Rose Clark Vs. Andrea Lee

‘Don’t Sleep on This’ is a new segment I’m going to pump out leading up to every card about a fighter and/or matchup that should not be missed (a/k/a slept on).

On this weekend’s FS1 prelims, we’ll get a marquee women’s flyweight matchup that should certainly have title implications for the winner. #10-ranked Jessica-Rose Clark will face #15-ranked Andrea ‘KGB’ Lee, two of the division’s most talked about fighters. Clark is looking to bounce back from her first loss since she ripped off a three-fight winning streak; as Lee is looking to continue her five-fight winning streak after winning her UFC debut in May.

InvictaFC vet Jessica-Rose Clark a/k/a Jessy Jess joined the UFC in November of last year and debuted with a split decision win over fellow Aussie Bec Rawlings at UFC Fight Night 121; two months later she came away with an impressive win against Paige VanZant. This past June, Clark dropped a decision against flyweight upstart Jessica Eye. Clark has decided to switch up camps for this fight, leaving Syndicate MMA, a decision that also prompted her to quit alcohol.

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Andrea Lee is also a former InvictaFC fighter, as well as being the former LFC and LFA women’s flyweight champion. Lee made her debut at UFC Fight Night 129 this past May and picked up a fairly dominant unanimous decision win against Veronica Macedo. 

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In August, Lee was a victim of domestic violence, and addressed the incident, looking forward to getting back in the cage. As someone who experienced domestic violence herself, Jessica-Rose Clark offered Lee ‘sanctuary’ after the incident, even though she doesn’t know Lee personally herself. This fight also comes up not too long after another domestic abuse incident involving fellow UFC fighter Rachael Ostovich surfaced. On top of these ladies being world-class athletes and training nearly all year round, you have to admire their strength in these unfortunate situations. I’m looking forward to this fight for many reasons, but mostly because they’re going to go out there and put on a great fight. Warriors.

UFC on FOX 31: Lee Vs. Iaquinta 2 prelims air on Fox Sports 1 @ 5:00PM ET/2:00PM PT.

Report: UFC signs undefeated LFA flyweight champ Sabina Mazo

The UFC have picked up one of the hottest up-and-coming prospects in women’s MMA. Sabina ‘The Colombian Queen’ Mazo has signed with the UFC, per ESPN.

Flyweight Sabina Mazo is an undefeated (6-0) prospect out of Kings MMA who went professional in 2015. Mazo made some noise after signing with Legacy Fighting Alliance and scoring head kick knockouts in her first two fights with the organization; which awarded her a flyweight title shot after the belt was vacated by Andrea Lee. Mazo won the belt against Shannon Sinn at LFA 37 in April and then defended it just last month against Carol Yariwaki. Mazo is the first Colombian fighter to sign with the UFC and hopes to make her debut in late March/early April of 2019.

Opinion: Top Knockouts of 2018 – April

Adam Borics lands a flying knee knockout over Teodor Nikolov @ Bellator 196 on April 6th

Gilbert Burns crumples Dan Moret @ UFC Fight Night: Glendale on April 14th

Siyar Bahadurzada halts Luan Chagas with a devastating liver kick @ UFC Fight Night: Atlantic City on April 21st

Muslim Salikhov drops Ricky Rainey with a punch @ UFC Fight Night: Glendale on April 14th

Olivier Aubin-Mercier gets his first stoppage win against Evan Dunham @ UFC 223 on April 7th

David Branch knocks out Thiago Santos @ UFC Fight Night: Atlantic City on April 21st

Results and Rewind: Finishes galore at CW100

After 16 years of MMA history, Cage Warriors staged their biggest card of all time in Cardiff tonight to mark their 100th event. It’s a night that’ll be remembered for years to come, with two new champions crowned and every pro fight ending within the distance.

In the main event, home country hero Jack Shore remained unbeaten and raised the bantamweight title for Wales. In a near flawless performance, Shore shut down Mike Ekundayo’s takedown attempts and dominated the fight both on the feet and on the mat, securing a devastating TKO in the third round. It was total control for Shore in his most impressive performance to date, on a night that’ll go down in Welsh fighting history.

It was a perfect time to announce Cage Warriors’ return to Cardiff for CW104, which will take place on April 27th back at the Viola arena with Wales’ newly crowned champion on the bill.

In the co-main, the coveted Cage Warriors featherweight title that launched the careers of fighters such as Conor McGregor found a new home. Dean Trueman lifted the belt after a hard-fought battle with Aiden Lee that had the crowd on it’s feet. Lee threatened early on with numerous submission attempts, but the relentless grit and determination we’ve come to expect from Trueman won through and he struck his way to a third-round TKO.

 

Welshman Aaron Khalid brought home another win for the home crowd with a submission over Håkon Foss, and Nicolas Dalby weathered an early grappling onslaught by Phil Mulpeter to finish the Irishman with strikes. After the fight, Dalby had one thing on his mind – the welterweight belt currently held by Ross Houston, who was in attendance at the Viola Arena alongside current and former CW champs Brett Johns, Nathaniel Wood, Jack Marshman and Paddy Pimblett.

Scotland’s Scott Malone opened up the Main Card with a seamless first-round submission over home favourite Josh Reed, climbing ever further toward the coveted bantamweight title now held by Jack Shore.

Every fight on the pro prelims also ended within the distance, with 4 out of the 5 in the very first round, making CW100’s undercard one of the most explosive in their 16-year history. Alex Lohoré picked up yet another knockout win over a high ranked opponent in Tim Barnett, and Rhys McKee made his CW debut in style with a stunning TKO over Jefferson George. Aiden Stephen and Brett Hassett both impressed with high-level submission finishes.

Perhaps the most impressive of the prelims was Jai Herbert’s huge win over Joe McColgan, dispatching the Irishman just two minutes into the first round with a furious barrage of strikes. As he stated in his post-fight interview, “the division’s on notice now.”

Before the mammoth pro card, the night began with the Cage Warriors Academy Grand Prix finals, when 7 amateur winners were crowned the top in their divisions. Highlights included first-round finishes for Ismar Blagoje, Oban Elliot and Nathan Fletcher.

The full CW100 results are below:

Main Card

  • Jack Shore def. Mike Ekundayo via TKO (Round 3)
  • Dean Trueman def. Aiden Lee via TKO (Round 3)
  • Aaron Khalid def. Håkon Foss via submission (Round 2)
  • Nicolas Dalby def. Phil Mulpeter via TKO (Round 3)
  • Scott Malone def. Josh Reed via submission (Round 1)

Pro Prelims

  • Alex Lohoré def. Tim Barnett via TKO (Round 1)
  • Rhys McKee def. Jefferson George via TKO (Round 1)
  • Aiden Stephen def. Kris Edwards via submission (Round 2)
  • Jai Herbert def. Joe McColgan via TKO (Round 1)
  • Brett Hassett def. Michael Corston via submission (Round 1)

CWA Grand Prix finals

  • Ismar Blagoje def. Dawid Piotrowicz via submission (Round 1)
  • Christian Duncan def. Rafal Nauberg via a submission (Round 2)
  • Oban Elliot def. Danny Dixon by submission (Round 1)
  • Danny Williams def. Jordan Peake via unanimous decision
  • Chris Sterling def. Liam Molly via unanimous decision
  • Nathan Fletcher def. Jack Eglin via submission (Round 1)
  • Muhidin Abubakar def. Ciaran Muholland via unanimous decision

Amateur Card

  • Jack Tucker def. Kieren Bennett via TKO (Round 2)
  • Sean Scrivens def. Joe Macefield via unanimous decision

Next up for Cage Warriors is their much-anticipated return to Liverpool for CW101 on February 16th.

Report: Cerrone vs. Hernandez at lightweight confirmed for ESPN card

It is now clear that Donald Cerrone will not be fighting Conor McGregor after all of that speculation as a fight between him and streaking prospect, Alexander Hernandez is now official. Continue reading “Report: Cerrone vs. Hernandez at lightweight confirmed for ESPN card”

Betting: UFC 231 Predictions

It is nearly time for the fights and we have last minute predictions to help you beat the bookies.

Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega

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This fight was originally scheduled for UFC 226, a whole five months ago, however due to extremely concerning health risks for Holloway, he was pulled from the fight, which itself was ultimately scrapped when an opponent was not found to face Ortega.

While this itself on paper may seem like a traditional and cliche “Striker vs Grappler” matchup, but both fighters have so much more than that.

Holloway is a rangey striker with quick movement and a ferocious pace. He aims to get in and out of the pocket and land multiple punch combinations while taking little damage. He is also a very good grappler in his own right, scoring submission wins over Cub Swanson and Andre Fili. Submitting him will not be an easy task, even for someone of Ortega’s ability. Holloway will aim to use his range to stay out of any grappling exchanges and his pace to wear down Ortega.

Ortega is an incredibly gifted BJJ specialist with 4 of his 6 official UFC wins coming via submission. Ortega also possesses power which is an underrated aspect of his game. While he may not be the most technically gifted striker, he is still capable of putting guys away on the feet, which we saw with a brutal uppercut against Frankie Edgar, or his flying knee finish over Clay Guida with under 30 seconds left in the fight. His route to victory is simple. Look for the submission at all costs. He will be patient and wait for his opportunity like he did against Cub Swanson.

The biggest question over Max Holloway is whether he is fully fit after his long layoff and if previous weight cut issues will come into play. If they do, it could be a seriously bad night for him. That being said, I believe he will be fit. I believe he will have the striking, speed and footwork advantages in this fight as well the ability to keep a high pace for the entire fight. I believe he avoids the clinch and outboxes Ortega until he gets the win.

Official prediction: Max Holloway def. Brian Ortega via TKO (Round 4)

Valentina Shevchenko vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk

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Look, in my opinion, the odds in his fight are crazy – I certainly make ‘The Bullet” the favourite but I certainly do not believe that she should be as much as a -400 favourite.

While the size difference between the fighters may play a part, I don’t believe Joanna will be undersized by any means. Both are incredible strikers and will have moments in the fight. I believe this fight will remain on the feet for the vast majority of the contest and will simply come down to who will get their opponents respect more often.

While I believe that Joanna is as good of an MMA striker as Shevchenko, I feel that the power of Valentina will just be able to keep Joanna back. Whether the finish will come, that’s hard to tell but unless Joanna has the power to make Schevchenko think twice it could be a bad night.

Joanna needs to be on her A+ game and make essentially no mistakes. She needs to put on a master class. Valentina will have the grappling advantage also and may look for a takedown, but as mentioned I think that she may have a decent power advantage and will look to back up Joanna and land combinations on her way to a unanimous decision victory.

Official prediction: Valentina Shevchenko def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk via DEC

Other main card picks:

  • Gunnar Nelson def Charles Oliveria via TKO (Round 3)
  • Hakeem Dawodu def. Kyle Bochniak via TKO (Round 2).
  • Thiago Santos def. Jimi Manuwa via TKO (Round 2).

Fox Sports 1 Prelims

  • Claudia Gadelha def. Nina Ansaroff via SUB (Round 2)
  • Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Gilbert Burns via SUB (Round 3)
  • Kaitlyn Chookogian def. Jessica Eye via. decision
  • Elias Theodorou def. Eryk Anders via decision.

Fight Pass Prelims

  • Brad Katona def. Matt Lopez via decision.
  • Chad Laprise def. Dhiego Lima via decision.
  • Carlos Diego Ferreira def. Kyle Nelson via SUB (Round 2).
  • Aleksander Rakic def. Devin Clarke via TKO (Round 3)

 

 

Live Results: UFC 231 – Holloway vs. Ortega

8th December 2018, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Canada – UFC 231 is set to go down and has been highly anticipated for the technical quality of the main card.

In the main event, featherweight champion Max Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) will defend his featherweight title, as well as his 12 fight winning streak against unbeaten challenger Brian Ortega (14-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC). Holloway, who faced questions about whether he would make weight heading into the event, was 144.5 pounds. Ortega was a quarter-pound more at 144.75.

In the co-feature, Valentina Shevchenko (15-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) takes on former women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) for the vacant women’s flyweight title. Shevchenko was well under at 1235.5 pounds, as was Jedrzejczyk at 123.75.

MMAMotion will be live on Twitter with all of the play-by-plays and the results will be updated below as they happen. Give us a follow and join the conversation.

MAIN CARD

  • Max Holloway def. Brian Ortega via Doctor’s Stoppage (Round 4)
  • Valentina Shevchenko def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk via Unanimous Decision (49-46 x3)
  • Gunnar Nelson def. Alex Oliveira via 2nd Round Submission (RNC)
  • Hakeem Dawodu vs. Kyle Bochniak via Split Decision (29-28 x2)
  • Thiago Santos def. Jimi Manuwa via 2nd Round KO

UNDERCARD

  • Nina Ansaroff def. Claudia Gadelha via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)
  • Jessica Eye def. Katlyn Chookagian via Split Decision (29-28 x2)
  • Elias Theodorou def. Eryk Anders via (Split Decision 29-28 x2)
  •  Gilbert Burns def. Olivier Aubin-Mercier via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
  • Aleksandar Rakic def. Devin Clark via Round 1 TKO
  • Brad Katona def. Matthew Lopez via Third Round Submission (RNC)
  • Dhiego Lima def. Chad Laprise via Round 1 KO
  • Diego Ferreira def. Kyle Nelson via Round 2 TKO

Recap & Highlights: LFA 56 – LFA ends the calendar year with a new lightweight champion

The LFA ended the calendar year with an exciting card that crowned a new lightweight champion. All but one fight ended in a finish, with hot prospect Youssef Zalal extending his unbeaten streak, Demarques Jackson making a case for the next title shot and Austin Hubbard upsetting Killys Mota for that lightweight title.

Middleweight Bout: Dante Schiro def. Robert Gidron via submission (arm triangle) 2:25, R1

Schiro immediately went for the takedown and worked his way into an arm triangle for the win, almost made it look too easy.

Featherweight Bout: Youssef Zalal def. Steven Merrill via submission (D’Arce choke) 3:22, R1

The first round began with a bad break in the action after Zalal held on to the fence where Merrill was working on a single leg; when Merrill went for another single leg, Zalal caught him with a knee coming in but Merrill got up and rocked Zalal with a right. Shortly after, the fight found it’s way to the ground where Zalal was able to lock in a D’Arce choke. In the post-fight interview, the undefeated prospect told Sean Shelby to give him a call.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Alton Cunningham def. Erick Murray, Jr. via TKO (punches) 1:53, R2

After a 1st round full of grappling exchanges, Cunningham brought the fight to the mat in the 2nd and finished off Murray, Jr. with ground and pound. During the post-fight interview, Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series alum Cunningham called for another shot in the UFC.

Welterweight Bout: Jonathon Thomson def. Ange Loosa via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-27)

Thomson hands Loosa his first professional loss in the first fight of the night to go the distance.

165lb. Catchweight Bout: Demarques Jackson def. Bobby Lee via submission (guillotine choke) 2:11, R1

Bobby Lee shot for a takedown and when Jackson was trying to get himself up at the cage he was able to lock in a guillotine. Could a fight with the next lightweight champion be next?

LFA Lightweight Championship: Austin Hubbard def. Killys Mota via TKO (punches) 4:45, R5

After a fairly dominant 1st round for Killys Mota, Austin Hubbard took over in the second and didn’t let up, winning the next three rounds. In the 5th round, Hubbard had Mota finished, but the ref wouldn’t call it, it took about over a minute and the crowd booing to get the referee to finally call it off. Austin Hubbard is your new LFA lightweight champion.