Posts Tagged ‘MMA’

UFC 171 Live Blog: Hendricks defeats Lawler

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Johny hendricks

Johny Hendricks (left) survived a five-round battle with Robbie Lawler to win the welterweight title. (Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Johny Hendricks outworked Robbie Lawler to win the vacant UFC welterweight title Saturday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Hendricks earned an early lead with effective outside kicks to southpaw Lawler’s lead right leg and with mixed combinations. Lawler rallied with steady, measured boxing to take rounds three and four and closed the distance heading into the final round. Hendricks clinched the final stanza with effective striking and a fight-turning takedown with only seconds remaining on the clock.

With the voluntary exit of former champion Georges St. Pierre, incumbent Hendricks becomes the division’s first new champion since 2008.

Read More…


  • Published On Mar 15, 2014
  • VIDEO: MMA fight over in five seconds, but isn’t fastest KO in history

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    Mesquite, Nev., is less than 90 miles from Las Vegas, but it’s a world away in terms of the fight game.

    Still, you’ve got to start somewhere, and for Corey Conway and A.J. Leone, the CasaBlanca Casino and Resort in Mesquite was the venue for Saturday’s professional mixed martial arts debut for both bantamweights, as part of an event called Mayhem in Mesquite IV under the Tuff-N-Uff promotion.

    Spelling out those details took longer than the fight did. Conway needed just five seconds to lay out Leone with a right cross on the button.

    It was a spectacular debut for the 18-year-old, who competes as part of the Xtreme Couture team headed by UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture. But it was not the fastest KO in MMA history. That honor would haver to go to the two-second KO scored by Ryohei Masuda after Takahiro Kuroishi charged at him at the start of their 2008 bout in Tokyo.

    How do these feats compare to those on the sport’s grandest stage? Well, the fastest finish in UFC history is 6.26 seconds, the time it took Duane Ludwig to flatten Jonathan Goulet in their 2006 fight in Vegas.

    That’s the record-breaking time recognized by the UFC, at least. In the annals of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which was the regulatory body in charge of the bout, the time was listed as 11 seconds. Someone apparently was slow with the stopwatch.

    Another UFC fighter owns an even faster KO. But when Chris Clements starched Lautaro Tucas in three seconds back in ’06, it was at a local show in Montreal in the welterweight’s pre-UFC days. – JEFF WAGENHEIM


  • Published On Mar 05, 2014
  • UFC 170 Live Blog: Rousey wins in first round again

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    Ronda Rousey wins in UFC 170

    Ronda Rousey made quick work of Sara McMann with this knee at UFC 170 in Las Vegas. (AP)

    Daniel Cormier had an easy first-round victory over Cummins. (AP)

    Daniel Cormier had an easy first-round victory over Patrick Cummins. (AP)

    UFC Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey didn’t need her savvy judo game in her ninth career bout, as she utilized brutal knees to the body to stop Olympic wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann one minute and six seconds into the first round of Saturday’s UFC 170 main event in Las Vegas.  Rousey said she’d sparred her entire preparation camp. This is the first of Rousey’s bouts that she hasn’t ended via armbar. Check out SI.com‘s round-by-round recap of the entire main card below.

    Main Card Results

    Ronda Rousey def. Sara McMann – TKO (knee) 1:06 R1

    Daniel Cormier def. Patrick Cummins  - TKO (strikes) 1:19 R1

    Rory MacDonald def. Demian Maia – Unanimous Decision (29-28 all)

    Mike Pyle def. T.J. Waldburger  - TKO (strikes) 4:03 R1

    Stephen Thompson def. Robert Whittaker – TKO (strikes) 3:43 R1

    ———

    Women’s Bantamweight Championship: Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann

    Sara McMann is the only challenger with similar Olympic credentials to Rousey. She’s a 2004 Olympic silver medalist (7-0) with obvious physical strength, something that might make a difference against Rousey, who’s been able to bully her previous opponents. McCann’s preference is top control and some good ‘ole ground-and-pound. The problem is Rousey (8-0) can maneuver her armbar assault from just about any position. The X-factor is the stand-up (neither woman is an ace there yet) and Rousey’s movie star distractions. No matter what she says, she hasn’t had the dedicated time to work her weak spots. Will McMann be able to capitalize?

    11:47 p.m. – Main event time. Sara McMann enters first with a T-shirt that reads “ETG.” Embrace The Grind. Rousey follows, mean-mugging an invisible opponent in front of her.

    11:55 p.m. – The women take center for instructions.  They touch gloves. Our referee is Herb Dean.

    R1 – It’s a brawl from the get go, both women throwing for the fences. McMann gets in the best strike and Rousey pushes it to the fence. McMann is defending well; Rousey is attacking with knees. Rousey throws a vicious body knee and McMann crumbles, her arms grasping her mid-section (liver shot). It’s all over.

     Official Result - Ronda Rousey def. Sara McMann – TKO (knee) 1:06 R1

    Light Heavyweight: Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins

    Though Cormier and Cummins have gone above and beyond to promote this bout, it’s hard to get excited for a last-minute replacement fight between a 4-0 newcomer and a 13-0 contender on the outskirts of the contender’s circle.

    Regardless, the two have had “beef” this week: the short of it is Cummins, a two-time All-American, made Cormier cry during an especially grueling wrestling session when Cormier was training for his Olympic bid. Apparently, UFC President Dana White booked the fight on this story. I’d gripe about this move, but why bother? Cormier has a good shot of knocking Cummins out.

    11:29 p.m.  - Goldie and Rogan going into overdrive to hype this next one. “Make no mistake. Pat Cummins deserves to be in the UFC,” says Rogan. At this point, everybody is making it into the UFC.

    11:34 p.m.  - Cormier jogs quickly to the Octagon. He looks determined. Cormier makes his Octagon lap. He looks all business; borderline peeved. Our referee is Mario Yamasaki.

    R1 – Cormier shrugs off Cummins half-shot. Cormier with an uppercut that hurts Cummins off the bat. Cormier taking his time. Cormier lands a left-right and Cummins goes down. Cummins turtled and Cormier lays on the hurt. This is over in no time.

    Official Result: Daniel Cormier def. Patrick Cummins  - TKO (strikes) 1:19 R1

    Welterweight: Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia

    This is the first bout on the card tonight that has actual ramifications for its division. Let’s start with Rory MacDonald (15-2), touted as the second coming of Georges St. Pierre, his mentor. MacDonald lived up to the hype with decision wins over Jake Ellenberger and B.J. Penn, but hit a brick wall with Robbie Lawler last November – a split-decision loss that cost him a title shot now that GSP has stepped down as champ. MacDonald had his hands full with Lawler; he needs a decisive showing tonight to get back in the title hunt.

    BJJ master Maia (18-5) was on a roll in his drop to 170 with back-to-back wins over Dong Hyun Kim, Rick Story, and Jon Fitch (February 2013). His split-decision loss to Jake Shields last October slowed down that train. Taking MacDonald out will get things back on track, though the young Canadian is quick on his feet.

    R1 – Maia shoots immediately and Mac sprawls. Maia shoots again and gets the TD this time into Mac’s guard. Maia is aggressive tonight. Mac has butterfly guard, trying to fend off the BJJ ace. Maia with an elbow and passes to side and then mount. Maia with punches. Mac trying to buck him off. Mac is trapped. Maia landing more punches. Mac tries to backdoor out and Maia maintains half guard. 1:30 to go. Mac fights to butterfly guard. Tactical battle here, folks. Maia is smothering Mac. Mac finally to his feet with :45 to go. Maia with inside left kick. Maia is with strong combo. He’s looking good. Mac bleeding on bridge of his nose. Maia 10-9

    R2 – Mac comes in strong with a combo. Maia with nice left hook to a shot; Mac sprawls. Maia with jab; then a big left.  Maia shoots; Mac sprawls again. Mac with body kick and Maia shoots again. No go. Maia slowing down fast. Mac is picking up momentum. Mac with a combo. Maia looks hurt, groggy on his feet.  Maia shoots again. Not even close. Mac starting to stalk. 1:45 to go. Mac with an inside leg kick; follow-up right. Mac with body kick and Maia stumbles a bit. He’s not landing his strikes anymore. Mac with another body kick. :30 to go. Mac misses a superman punch.  Big reversal of fortune here. Mac 10-9

    R3 – Mac takes center. Maia with another lame shot.  Mac with another body kick – these are killing Maia. Mac with straight right. Maia shoots again and pays for it with a punch retreating out. Maia throwing flailing overhand lefts. Maia grabs a single, musters the strength to lift Mac and body slam him. Not sure where he got the energy for that, but he’s got 2:30 to cinch this fight up. Maia trying to pass guard; his face is bloody. Mac bucks Maia over his head and is back to his feet. This is going down to the wire. Maia with another half shot and another. Mac sprawling away. Mac with front kick. Maia with another sprawl and Mac tags him with an uppercut on the way out. Maia is just swinging wildly at this point. He’s spent. Mac tags Maia with a right. Another right and a combo to finish. Mac 10-9

    11:25 p.m.  - “The animal is back.” — MacDonald

     Official Result: Rory MacDonald def. Demian Maia – Unanimous Decision (29-28 all)

    Mike Pyle vs. T.J. Waldburger 

    The 38-year-old Pyle (25-9) is entering the final phase of his career on a respectable note. He’s won four of his last five UFC bouts (eight of his 12 UFC appearances); Matt Brown took him out in the last with a 29-second KO six months ago. A win over Waldburger won’t put Pyle any closer to title contention…

    …but Waldburger (16-8) stands to gain more with a win over the veteran Pyle. The 25-year-old Texan is also coming off a first-round KO loss – his to Adlan Amagov last October.

    10:28 p.m. – Waldburger enters first to ACDC. Pyle enters with a big smile and his magic mullet. Our referee is Herb Dean.

    R1 –  Wald takes center. Feeling each other out. Pyle with soft outside low kick. Pyle with inside left kick that Wald returns. Clinch and Wald pushes Pyle to fence. Wald drops levels for a single; Pyle keeping him at bay. They separate and back to center. Wald slips on a high kick but recovers. Wald with left hook. 2:30 to go. Wald with overhead right and follow-up right. Clinch and Pyle trips Wald down and into side control. Pyle passes to side control. Pyle with sporadic punches, knee to Wald’s side. 1:00 to go. Wald bounces out and up. Pyle has Wald in Thai clinch, lands knee. Wald on outside along  fence. Pyle keeps the clinch; another sold knee as they travel off fence to opposite side of cage. Pyle trips Wald at bell. Pyle 10-9

    R2 – Wald forward with high kick that Pyle blocks easy. Wald with outside low kick. Pyle with straight left and Wald goes down, but grabs a leg on the way. Pyle twists out and maneuvers into half guard. Wald trying to set up guillotine; Pyle out. Wald wall-walks and Pyle knees him on the way up. Back to center. Wald bleeding from his nose. Pyle with spinning back kick; Wald blocks. Wald looks like he’s tiring a bit. Wald initiates clinch and pushes Pyle to fence again. We stall here in a fight for control. Pyle takes Wald’s back and rolls him down. Wald bounces back to his feet and tries to double-leg Pyle down. :30 to go. Back to center again and not much else to bell. Pyle 10-9

    R3 – Wald bleeding from his left eye and nose. Wald picks up his pace; he knows he’s down. Pyle with a nice right. Wald with a left hook. Wald with body shot. Pyle with overhand right. Another right and Wald stumbles. Clinch and Pyle lands again.  Spinning back fist from Pyle and follow-up knees from Thai clinch. Wald pushes Pyle to fence to slow him down. Ties him up. 2:20 to go. Wald with knee in clinch. Knees and two elbows from Pyle. He has Wald in trouble; rolls Wald into guillotine. Wald turtles and its follow-up shots from back mount. Wald can’t defend and ref Dean finally steps in.

    10:52 p.m.: “His leg quicks were hard. We expected a battle and we got it,” says Pyle. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith flash across our screen.

    Official Result: Mike Pyle def. T.J. Waldburger  - TKO (strikes) 4:03 R1

    Welterweight: Stephen Thompson vs. Robert Whittaker

    “Wonderboy” Thompson (8-1) has rebounded well enough from his sole career loss to Matt Brown last April with victories over Nah-Shon Burrell (May 2013) and Chris Clementes (Sept. 2013). He has potential in the division — especially as a quick, crowd-pleasing striker — but needs more time for development.

    Whittaker (11-3) should be a fine challenge. He took gritty TUF winner Court McGee to task last August, narrowly dropping a spilt-decision loss to the tough-as-nails fighter.

    R1 –  Whit takes center cage. Whit in with a jab; Thompson taking side stance. Good pace from both to start. Thompson with a right hook; then a left a few seconds later. Thompson landing front, side kicks; Whit has slowed down his attack. Thompson forward with a landing combo. Whit starting to chase Thompson down; lands here and there, but Thompson is generally circling out. Thompson with hook kick. Thompson standing in front of Whit, doesn’t look afraid of Whit’s striking. They continue to exchange. Thompson lands a big right straight and Whit goes down, tries to get his feet and is knocked down again in the Thai clinch with knees. Follow-up shots and referee Yamasaki stops it.

    Official Result: Stephen Thompson def. Robert Whittaker – TKO (strikes) 3:43 R1

    10:23 p.m. – Thompson very polished in his post-fight interview. Stone Cold Steve Austin and UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in the house.

    Preliminary Results

    • Alexis Davis def. Jessica Eye – Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
    • Raphael Assuncao def. Pedro Munhoz – Unanimous Decision (30-27 all)
    • Aljamain Sterling def. Cody Gibson – Unanimous Decision (29-28 all)
    • Zach Makovsky def. Josh Sampo  – Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
    • Erik Koch def. Rafaello Oliveira – TKO (punches) 1:24 R1
    • Ernest Chavez def. Yosdenis Cedeno – Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27

  • Published On Feb 22, 2014
  • Chris Weidman defeats Anderson Silva again

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    Chris Weidman celebrates after recording a TKO victory over Anderson Silva during UFC 162. (AP)

    Chris Weidman defeated Anderson Silva in the second round at UFC 168. (AP)

    Chris Weidman defeated Anderson Silva once again, this time by TKO after Silva’s leg snapped in the second round.

    Weidman’s UFC 168 victory means he retains his UFC middleweight title.


  • Published On Dec 29, 2013
  • Ronda Rousey defeats Miesha Tate by tap out

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    Ronda Rousey Miesha Tate

    Ronda Rousey beat Miesha Tate with a third-round tap out. (Getty Images)

    Ronda Rousey defeated Miesha Tate in the third round by tap out due to armbar at UFC 168 on Saturday night.

    Rousey remains the UFC women’s bantamweight champion.

    This was Rousey’s first bout to go beyond the first round.


  • Published On Dec 28, 2013
  • St-Pierre-Hendricks fight lives up to hype, St-Pierre defends title

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    Johny Hendricks will take welterweight incumbent Georges St-Pierre for his belt at UFC 167 on Saturday. (Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

    Johny Hendricks will take on welterweight incumbent Georges St-Pierre for his belt at UFC 167 on Saturday. (Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

    Georges St-Pierre eked out a split decision over a very game Johny Hendricks Saturday at UFC 167 in Las Vegas. Hendricks came out strong and scored damage with his powerful combinations early on, giving GSP some real trouble during interludes on its feet. The pair matched wits with their wrestling during some tactical scrambles and clinch battles on the fence.  SI.com scored the five-round thriller for Hendricks 49-47, with R3 a even 10-10.

    Official Results:

    Georges St. Pierre def. Johny Hendricks – Split Decision  – (48-47 H, 48-47 GSP, 48-47 GSP)

    Rashad Evans def. Chael Sonnen – TKO (strikes) 4:05 R1 

    Robbie Lawler def. Rory MacDonald – Split Decision (29-28 L, 29-28 M, 29-28 L)

    Tyrone Woodley def. Josh Koscheck — KO 4:38 R1

    Ali Bagautinov def. Tim Elliott — Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

    Play-by-play and prelim results below:

    UFC Welterweight Championship: Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks

    Hendricks (15-1) has some exciting tools that can take St-Pierre out tonight. The former OSU wrestler is a two-time NCAA Div I. champion at 165 pounds, and one of the greatest competitors that legendary OSU coach and two-time Olympic gold medalist John Smith said he’s had the pleasure of molding. Without much tutelage in this area, GSP’s natural talent and work ethic had made him a highly functional wrestler, but the 30-year Hendricks was at it 20 years before he even stepped into the cage. People forget that, as Hendricks is also a deadly KO machine who’s caught some top-shelf talent moving with love taps heading into his fighting prime.

    The 32-year-old St-Pierre (24-2) is the longest reigning champion in the UFC welterweight division with 11 straight wins and eight consecutive title defenses on his docket. He’s highly proficient to above-average in nearly all areas and is a master, if not a slightly conservative tactician. He hasn’t lost since the Matt Serra fiasco in April 2007. Rumors have swirled this week that GSP will either retire after this bout (win or lose) or move up to middleweight to make way for protégé MacDonald (who won’t fight his mentor) to make a run for the 170-pound title. Your guess on that is as good as mine.

    11:52 pm ET – We head into our main event. Here comes the hype for a big fight. This time around, it’s warranted. Hendricks is an intriguing challenger. His power punching, his stellar wrestling. GSP has his biggest challenge in quite a while. Great main event that I hope lives up to its potential.

    11:55 pm ET – Lights out and challenger Hendricks snakes his way to the cage to what else? Some down-home country music. Hendricks just signed a big Reebok deal – two-years, mid six-figure, incentive-based regardless of what happens tonight, according to his management. His slogan is “Go beard or go home.”

    11:58 pm ET – The champ is here and the crowd welcomes him heartily. Donning the full gi, his karate headband, GSP mean-mugs it to the cage. Looks like a man on a mission. Big ovation as he bows to the crowd and enter the Octagon. Let the butterflies ensue.

    12:03 pm ET – Buffering in rare form tonight. Our referee is Mario “Stand ‘Em Up” Yamasaki. Hendricks gets pretty positive reaction; GSP can do no wrong. They meet center cage. Hendricks is grinning ear to ear. GSP has that concerned look of his. And we’re off.

    R1 – St-Pierre with a measuring kick and leaps into a successful takedown out of the gate. Hendricks is locked into a guillotine, but escapes to his feet. They’re clinching and GSP goes to work with some body knees. Yamasaki separates them. Hendricks sees the TD attempt coming this time and lands an uppercut as GSP moves in. Another uppercut and GSP reacts by pushing Hendricks to fence. Still clinching, elbows from Hendricks and he moves to outside, trying now to take GSP down on fence. Hendricks gets a TD. GSP’s slightly nicked with a cut over his right eye from those close-quarter elbows. GSP wall-walks up and they separate. In clinch, hard knee from Hendricks, which backs GSP up. GSP with high kick that Hendricks partly defends. Another clinch and Hendricks barreling GSP’s thighs with knees. They separate again. :30 to go. Hendricks pumps a left twice and GSP backs out of range. Stellar first round. Hendricks 10-9

    R2 – GSP trying to find range with kicks. Hendricks coming in with combos and backing him up. His left is pretty close each time. That left. Hendricks connects with uppercut, then another, GSP flustered, wobbling, in trouble. GSP clinches with Hendricks in a little bit of desperation. Then, referee Yamasaki separates them for no reason. Re-start and Hendricks is right back in with lefts. Hendricks drops levels and has GSP’s legs on fence, but no TD. GSP’s face reddening. Back to center cage. GSP fights back with a left hook, then another. Hendricks in again with uppercut and knee that just misses. GSP lands left hook, then a left superman punch. Right hook by Hendricks. Every time Hendricks moves in, GSP is affected. GSP lands the left on Hendricks, then a jab. Hendricks registers that they’re good hits with a head nod. GSP head kick lands but it’s soft. Hendricks looks loose, but a little tired. Hendricks in with two uppercuts, backing GSP out. It’s a dogfight, folks. GSP ducks Hendricks punch that GSP turns into clinch. Trade of knees to thighs and bell .Very close round. I have it even 10-10. Judges will be split on this one, no doubt.

    R3 – Hendricks with right. GSP with low kick. Hendricks in with body knee. GSP left over top. Hendricks dodges a GSP combo. Hendricks pumps jab once; he’s starting to slow down a little bit. GSP is breathing heavy, but coming on a little stronger now. GSP with tagging left. Hendricks still coming in, but his punches aren’t as crisp. He’s lowering his head, too, as he lunges. Not a good sign. GSP right. Hendricks left hook. 2:10 to go. GSP has found range and starting to avoid Hendricks’ attacks. Hendricks jab. St. Pierre is starting to land more. Single punch exchanges now. Hendricks shoots, pushes GSP to fence. Completes TD and crowd explodes. Hendricks in GSP’s guard. 0:15 to go. GSP to his feet right at bell. GSP 10-9

    R4 – Championship rounds, folks. Pawing until GSP throws a straight and Hendricks counters with a combo, uppercut included. It mostly misses. He’s headhunting, but seems to have some snap back. Hendricks grabs at the back of GSP’s neck and he falls to his back trying to back-pedal. Hendricks in GSP’s guard, pulling him to fence. Hendricks backs out and lets him stand (!) GSP’s face is now busted up, bleeding. Hendricks lands an uppercut. 2:00 to go. Hendricks with a right-right-left uppercut. Uppercut lands. GSP pushes Hendricks to fence for a shoot. Hendricks stuffs it and turns GSP around against fence. A battle for the TD. GSP fighting all the way and he reverses. Hendricks against fence, then another reverse. Hendricks on outside. Lands a knee. Nothing major. Bell. Hendricks 10-9

    R5 – GSP cut under both eyes, but bleeding has been stopped during rounds. Hendricks starts round bobbing is head, singing to himself. Cool as a cucumber. They clinch quick and Hendricks is on one leg, the other entwined between GSP’s legs. He manages to stay standing. What balance. Both to fence, but they separate quick. Big right by GSP and he takes Hendricks down. This is huge. Hendricks nearly sneaks out, but is stopped on his knees. Hendricks on his feet, crouched, then pushes to standing, back to fence. Fight for control and TD. Hendricks reverses GSP. He looks stronger. Much more composed. GSP’s face is bloody again. 1:50 to go. Referee Yamasaki separates them. GSP with front teep kick. Another kick to side of Hendricks body. GSP has to know it’s oh-so close. Chants of “GSP.” 1:05 to go and GSP shoots for a single-leg. Fights to take him down. Completes it but Hendricks is back up fast and GSP can’t capitalize. Hendricks has GSP against fence, leaning in with his body weight. GSP goes for a weak Kimura, but he doesn’t have position. Hendricks 10-9/49-47

    Official Result: Georges St. Pierre def. Johny Hendricks – Split Decision  – (48-47 H, 48-47 GSP, 48-47 GSP)

    St. Pierre: “I couldn’t see out of one eye. He really messed me up. I need a vacation.”

    And here’s our big bombshell from GSP: “I have to hang up my gloves for a bit. I have to step away, at least for a bit. I have some personal things to take care of. I have to go away [for] a little bit.” Rogan presses him to clarify but GSP just keeps saying he has to go away for a “little bit.”

    Hendricks says he thought he won the bout, but GSP is a great guy. Hendricks: “He didn’t land anything strong on me.” Crowd boos with his comments. Hendricks is noticeably upset and for good reason. People believe he won and GSP’s “exit” is strange. We’re not sure what it means.

    Light Heavyweight: Chael Sonnen vs. Rashad Evans

    What can we say about Chael Sonnen? The man with the mighty mouth is a cat with nine lives in MMA. After collecting back-to-back losses to champions Anderson Silva (July 2012) and Jon Jones (April), the one-time Olympic wrestling alternate resurrected his perpetual career with a rousing win over fading former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Sonnen (29-13-1) could have his hands full with Evans…

    … if former UFC titleholder Evans (19-3-1) avoids Sonnen’s grinding wrestling and gets some of his old mojo going again. The man who iced Chuck Liddell and outboxed Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has been missing of late. Evans’ last victory over Dan Henderson was a conservative one. When Evans is on and feeling loose, he’s light on his feet, ready for a shootout or a grappling battle and is a lot of fun to watch.

    11:30 pm ET – We get a retrospective featuring UFC majority owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, UFC President Dana White and others. The images are moving; the words not so much.

    11:35 pm ET – Sonnen is on his way to the cage to a country twang. His shirt says “RESPECT IS EARNED.” Lights out and Evans struts in next, looking very serious; eyeballing the Octagon. He better be serious tonight. He needs this win. Buffer with the intros; Sonnen gets a warm reception. Evans welcome is mixed. Our referee is Herb Dean.

    R1 – Sonnen takes center cage immediately, then shoots. Evans pushed to fence and it’s a Greco Roman match quickly, a fight for underhooks and position. Evans on outside and tries to TD, but Sonnen stops. Still in clinch on fence, Sonnen trying to knee, Evans answering with body shots. Evans separates slightly and lands a right. More underhook pummeling. Evans gets a double-leg on fence. Evans has half guard. Sonnen is cradled on fence. Evans posts to knee and land a few shots. Sonnen is trapped but not in imminent danger – yet. Evans lands an elbow and Sonnen flips to his stomach, then again to his back. Evans to full mount, then takes Sonnen’s back. Evans wails away and finishes Sonnen who looks like the life was sucked out of him.

    Official Result: Rashad Evans def. Chael Sonnen – TKO (strikes) 4:05 R1

    Solid performance for Evans. Very poor performance for Sonnen. Pretty anti-climatic without Sonnen putting up much of a fight once it hit the ground and Evans landed the fight-turning elbow. You have to think all of Sonnen’s extra-curricular commentating (which is fantastic work!) just doesn’t allow him enough time to train. I’d much rather Sonnen retire, so he can concentrate on his true calling in this sport.

     Welterweight: Rory MacDonald vs. Robbie Lawler

    GSP protégé MacDonald (15-1) is on a five-fight win streak, with some impressive names on his mantel, B.J. Penn (December) and Jake Ellenberger (July) included. Both were decisions, and I’m figuring UFC matchmaker Joe Silva is pairing him against the all-out Lawler to kick the-24-year-old Canadian’s career into high gear for a title run.

    The 31-year-old Lawler is a real crowd-pleaser: a decent wrestler turned dangerous boxer who could care less if the fight hits the ground. Lawler starched Koscheck in the first round at his UFC return in February and followed up that explosive win with a head-kick KO of the less foreboding Bobby Voelker. MacDonald is not particularly popular outside the Canadian contingent, so you’ve got to think that there’s a healthy part of the crowd itching for another Lawler special.

    10:56 – Lawler enters, a small grin on his face. Very calm. This dude loves to scrap. MacDonald follows, getting a surprisingly strong pop from the crowd. Buffer with the intros and Lawler is shaking his head like he was born to do this. MacDonald looks confident, hands on waist. Mario Yamasaki is our ref.

    R1 – Lawler with two hard front-leg kicks. High left kick attempt. Crowd chants “Rory” off the bat. MacDonald with a low kick.  Lawler moving in, missing by inches with haymakers. Lawler lands with front leg kick again. Lawler blocks a right body kick from Mac. Trade of body kicks that don’t land. Kick-o-rama. Pensive pace – both looking for a big hit. 2:00 to go. Lawler with body kick. Mac isn’t checking much. Lawler misses with another haymaker. Crowd getting a little restless.  Mac lands weak teep kick. More Lawler body kicks. Not much to write home about.  “Rory” chants start again. Crowd wants something big; neither fighter has yet to deliver. Lawler with Head kick; Mac grabs his leg, but can’t do anything to capitalize at bell. Lawler 10-9

    R2 – Lawler with body kick out of gate and MacDonald takes his first shot. Lawler on one leg, hops back and escapes. Impressive balance. This is not the fight people expected. Slow. Plodding. Headhunting. Lawler with right kick; follow up with right body kick. Lawler is winning on volume. Lawler with head movement, blocking MacDonald right. MacDonald drops levels fast and secures a TD on fence; trying to pass guard. MacDonald to his feet, allows Lawler to backdoor out, but Mac stalls Lawler on his knees, holding onto his head. MacDonald trying to maneuver to Lawler’s back, but Lawler gets guard and is actually landing hard shots from his back. MacDonald posts to his knees and tries to elbow. Misses and bell. MacDonald 10-9 takes this one with TD and ground control.

    R3 – Lawler tags with a right, then an uppercut. Lawler kicks, MacDonald catches his leg and gets a TD. Mac in Lawler’s guard. Stand-up. Lawler with a left and Mac shoots; scramble to ground and Lawler takes top, trying to unload some ground-and-pound, It settles with Mac on his back; Lawler in his guard. Re-stand and Mac is bleeding bad from his nose. Lawler with a left. An eye poke  with Lawler right and ref stops it to check on Mac. Re-start. Mac grabs Lawler leg kick; Lawler defends again beautifully. Lawler drops Mac with left uppercut, tries to finish with follow-ups. Lawler into side control. 1:40 to go. Lawler has this if ref doesn’t stupidly re-stand. Mac recovers guard, but Lawler is swinging to finish. Lawler trying to pass to mount and Mac stops him. Mac goes for an armbar. Back to his feet; Mac looking wobbly. Lawler with right and Mac answer with a TD to half. Mac trying to finish, but Lawler mostly defends. It was a 10-8 round before Mac went for the all-or-nothing finish. Lawler 10-9/29-28

    Official Result: Robbie Lawler def. Rory MacDonald – Split Decision (29-28 L, 29-28 M, 29-28 L)

    Lawler and MacDonald arm-in-arm after fight. Lawler can’t stop smiling. He doesn’t have a graze on him. Lawler makes UFC rankings at #10. No argument here. He is on the rise, for sure.

    Welterweight: Josh Koscheck vs. Tyron Woodley

    Koscheck (19-7) has been on the downslide with two consecutive losses in the Octagon to tonight’s main eventer Hendricks (May 2012) and Robbie Lawler (February), who we’ll see later during the night. Lawler starched the 2001 NCAA Div. I wrestling champ with his trademark power punching. Unfortunately for Kos, Woodley possesses the same potential to stop him with his hands – if he lets them go.

    In addition, “T-Wood” has enough collegiate wrestling skills to keep up with Kos. However, Woodley (11-2) is still finding his legs in the division and is 1-1 since joining the UFC ranks, with a scary 36-second KO over Jay Hieron in February (Yes!) and a tepid split decision loss to Jake Shields in May (Meh).

    Big ramifications for both in this bout – the UFC’s welterweight division is always close quarters and any given guy is one or two losses away from the exit door. Another interesting side story must be Kos praying Hendricks gets the job done tonight; Kos has lost twice to GSP (one being a title bout) soundly, and it’s a tough, tough climb back to the top in this situation.

    10:41 pm ET – “T-Wood” enters to some rap. He looks like he’s put on some more muscle; he’s huge. Koscheck struts in afterward to a mixed response. Fans never forget TUF 1. Herb Dean is our referee.

    R1 – Woodley connects right away with an overhand, then barrels in with knees. Koscheck is wobbled a little to cage and touches his hand to canvas to stop the knee attack. It becomes a wrestling battle on the fence quick and stalls. Boos and referee Dean re-starts it center. Kos looks composed again. Wood lands another right and a kick, but Kos counters with a kick that backs Wood up. Wood with a barrage of rights that sends Kos to the canvas, head banging on ground. Koscheck takes some follow-up leather, but recovers enough to grab onto Wood’s body for his dear life. Wood is in Kos’ guard, pulls him to fence. Ref Dean with a questionable re-start. Kos is bleeding from his left ear; face swelling. Woodley with a huge counter right and another as Kos goes down; follow-up punches, but Kos’ hands are at his sides and it’s over.

    Official Result: Tyrone Woodley def. Josh Koscheck — KO 4:38 R1

    Woodley had Koscheck’s number from the get-go, giving the TUF vet an uphill battle he eventually lost. Great win for Woodley, who’ll stick around for a bit longer. Koscheck’s future is less certain with three losses in a row.

    Flyweight: Ali Bagautinov vs. Tim Elliott

    Dagestan’s Bagautinov (11-2) is a mixed bag of talent, with both a Greco Roman and freestyle wrestling background and a gold medal in Combat Sambo (2012). On top of that, Bagautinov took out his last opponent, Marcus Vinicius, with punches in his Octagon debut in September.

    Elliott (10-3-1) rides in on two unanimous decision victories over Jared Papazian (December) and Louis Gaudinot (August). Both are making their first appearances on a UFC main card, on its 20th anniversary card, no less. That should speak volumes as to what UFC brass expects from them.

    R1 - Bag gets the best of the feel-out exchanges, just missing with an uppercut. Elliott is the pursuer, until Bag clinches at 3:45. They separate quickly.  More circling. Elliott shoots; no go.  Bag with a punch, knee; Elliott is hurt and tries to grab a single-leg. Bag won’t have it and Elliott re-sets again. More circling. Bag gets a takedown. Elliott springs to his feet, pushing forward with swings that aren’t close. 1:00 to go. Bag is clearly the more skilled striker. He ties up the round with a clinch on the cage, then a right and a knee that lands and sends Elliott to his back as the bell sound. Bag 10-9

    R2 – Bag with TD right into an Elliott guillotine. It’s a close one, but Bag escapes is out and now on his back, Elliott in his guard. (Stats say Elliott has landed 40 strikes to Bag 26, but Bag’s are much more effective.) Bag escapes and it’s back to its feet, Elliott center-canvas and stalking. Elliott with inside kick, but not much else being thrown. Bag lands a right; Elliott shoots and it’s a wild scramble with Bag on top, but then to his feet quick. Bell. Bag 10-9 for more effective striking, but nice try on Elliott’s guillotine attempt.

    R3 – Elliott is chasing, but Bag lands a body kick, then another at 3:30.  Elliott with a left that lands, but the punch has no heat. Bag swings and misses again.  Bag connects with two right overhands. This punch is working for him, so he’s keeps at it. The pace isn’t that fast. 1:30 to go. Elliott is another shot that Bag easily thwarts. Another Bag right. 1:00 to go. Elliott stuffs Bag TD.  He has to find a fight-ending punch. Bag lands a hard combo and Elliott slams Bag at bell but too little too late. Bag 10-9/30-27 

    Official Result: Ali Bagautinov def. Tim Elliott — Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

    10:36 pm ET — UFC Hall of Famer Dan Severn in the house. Arnold Schwarzenegger has also made it to the show tonight — he’s a huge martial arts fan with the Arnold Classic hosting many disciplines in Columbus, Ohio every year.

    Here’s  your prelim results:

    • Donald Cerrone def. Evan Dunham – Submission (Triangle Choke) 3:49 R2 – Cerrone was on fire tonight, had Dunham in trouble early with a knee. He continued his dominance into round two, going for and nearly found an oma plata before finishing it with an inescapable triangle choke he maneuvered off the fence. Dunham had nothing for him.
    • Thales Leites def. Ed Herman  – Unanimous Decision (30-27 all) – Leites scored early in each set with takedowns and fished for finishes against a mostly-defending Herman.
    • Rick Story def. Brian Ebersole – Unanimous Decision (30-27 all) – Story lit Ebersole up a few times on its feet and looked very sharp. Of course, Story has faced much stiffer competition in the past, so take it with a grain of salt.
    • Erik Perez def. Edwin Figueroa – Unanimous Decision (30-27 all) – evenly matched, but not particularly compelling bout.
    • Jason High def. Anthony Lapsley – Unanimous Decision (29-28 all)
    • Sergio Pettis def. Will Campuzano – Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)  – decent UFC debut for the younger brother of UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
    • Gian Villante def. Cody Donovan – TKO (punches) 1:22 R2

                                                                                                                                                                                  —  Loretta Hunt


  • Published On Nov 16, 2013
  • Injury will keep Aleksandra Albu from fighting Julie Kedzie

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    New UFC fighter Aleksandra Albu has withdrawn from her Dec. 7 bout against MMA veteran Julie Kedzie due to an unspecified injury.

    Albu, a Russian fighter with a Muay Thai background, was scheduled to make her UFC debut on the UFC Fight Night 33 in Brisbane, Australia. It’s unclear if Kedzie (16-12 MMA, 0-1 UFC) will remain on the card with a replacement opponent.

    “I’m disappointed but wish her the best and hope to face her in the future,” Kedzie said on Wednesday.

    Kedzie already has a suggested replacement: Rin Nikai, of Japan. Nikai beat Kedzie’s Jackson/Winklejohn teammate Tara La Rosa on a controversial decision in September. Nikai, however, is not currently under UFC contract.

    – Melissa Segura


  • Published On Oct 30, 2013
  • Bellator moving to Fridays this fall

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    Bellator's Pat Curran will have a new fighting home on Fridays this fall. (Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images)

    Bellator’s Pat Curran will have a new fighting home on Fridays this fall. (Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES – To avoid the NFL crush, Bellator MMA will move from Thursday to Friday nights this fall, Spike TV president Kevin Kay exclusively told SI.com during a screening this week for Fight Master, its original MMA reality series debuting on June 19. 

    Following a rare Saturday night launch on Sept. 7 –- which will also double as Fight Master’s live finale — Bellator’s ninth season will settle into the 9-11 p.m. ET slot on Sept. 13.

    Thursday nights were a fruitful home for Bellator’s eighth season of tournament-style events, which concluded in early April. They averaged 862,000 viewers over 11 events on Spike (available in 100 million homes) — by far, the promotion’s most-watched season to date. Bellator previously aired on Friday nights on MTV2, another Viacom cable property in 80 million homes without HD capability, where it averaged approximately 155,000 and 162,000 viewers for its sixth and seventh seasons.

    Despite the California-based promotion’s tangible growth this past season, Kay said the NFL’s return this fall (with the NFL Network securing a fair share of premium games on Thursday nights) precipitated an obligatory move for Bellator, which Viacom purchased a majority stake of in 2011.

    Through a process of elimination, Kay landed on the new night, and said Bellator’s previous Friday run on MTV2, which doesn’t have the visibility of Spike, isn’t an indicator of the promotion’s potential this fall.

    TNA Impact Wrestling, which previously served as Bellator’s lead-in, has already been moved back into Thursday’s 9 p.m. slot, where Kay said pro wrestling’s dedicated audience will hold up better against sport’s greatest juggernaut. Kay said the strength of WWE’s Monday Night Raw and Spike’s Tuesday night original programming eliminated an early-week slot for Bellator, which left Wednesdays or Fridays.

    Fox Sports 1, the rebranded Speed channel, announced in May that it would feature UFC programming on Wednesdays.

    “I don’t want to see Bellator going head to head with the UFC,” said Kay. “I don’t think that makes any sense for fans. No matter who would win in that scenario, you don’t want to not give the fans the choice to watch both.”

    The Ultimate Fighter reality series, which flipped between live and taped fights during its three seasons on FX, earned some of its lowest ratings on Fridays, yet  Kay is optimistic that Bellator will grow a following on the new night, in the vein of boxing’s Friday Night Fights on ESPN.

    The Ultimate Fighter on Fridays was doing over a million viewers a week. I’ll take that, and with live fights, I think we’ll do even better,” said Kay. “There’s a lot of young men at home across [the] 18-49 [age demographic]. Gold Rush on Discovery  does 4 million viewers on Friday nights. [The viewers] are there. You just have to give them the right thing and I think live fights on Friday, without competition, is going to be the best place for Bellator.”

    – Loretta Hunt


  • Published On Jun 11, 2013
  • Amid furor, Fallon Fox and UFC officials address Matt Mitrione suspension

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    Dana White said Matt Mitrione should not have been doing an interview in the first place. (Jed Jacobsohn/SI)

    Dana White said Matt Mitrione should not have been doing an interview in the first place. (Jed Jacobsohn/SI)

    A significant portion of public reaction to the UFC’s suspension of Matt Mitrione for verbally assaulting a transgender fighter on Monday has been even more hateful and vile than the words spewed by the heavyweight during his ill-fated online radio appearance. The comment section on the SI.com story was even taken offline because of the offensive tone.

    However, the responses by those most closely associated with the matter — Mitrione’s bosses at the UFC and the athlete he targeted with his rant — were more measured.

    “Matt Mitrione went well beyond disagreeing with the medical experts who say I should be able to compete as a woman, and personally attacked me as a fighter, as a woman, and as a human being,” Fallon Fox, a 37-year-old postoperative transgender female who is 2-0 as a mixed martial artist, wrote on her Facebook page. “His comments do not reflect the spirit of our sport, where most competitors uphold values like respect and dignity.”

    That was the theme also taken up by Lorenzo Fertitta, chairman/CEO of Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC. “Whatever your thoughts are on the whole transgender issue, I’ve listened to [what Mitrione said] and, in my opinion, it came off as a bit mean-spirited and is something I think warranted review,” Fertitta told Yahoo! Sports. “Obviously, this is not the easiest issue and a lot of people are questioning both sides of this thing. A fair debate and discussion of the issue should be allowed. But when you call her disgusting, and Buffalo Bill, that’s another matter. It warrants review. I think it’s the same thing the NFL would look at and the same thing that any professional organization that is at the level we’re at would at least take a look at.”

    Reading between the lines, it would seem that rather than cutting Mitrione loose — for calling Fox a “lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak,” for comparing her to a serial killer character in The Silence of the Lambs, for putting the UFC in a hideous light — Fertitta is inclined to use this as an educational opportunity. That was the tenor of his rebuke, at least.

    Dana White also has fighter education in mind, but not so much focused on the issue at hand. The UFC president wants to simply teach his athletes when to do interviews and when not to. “I’m going to talk to these guys,” he said during a Tuesday conference call with reporters covering this weekend’s finale of The Ultimate Fighter. “The only time these guys really need to be doing interviews is leading up to fights. You know? It ended up being a nightmare for him.”

    White addressed the substance of Mitrione’s rant only obliquely. “It’s one of those things. It’s just a pain in the ass, you know what I mean?” he said, later adding, “What was the point of that interview? There was no point in it. Now it’s caused him a bunch of headaches and problems. It’s caused us a bunch of headaches and problems for no reason whatsoever.”

    – Jeff Wagenheim


  • Published On Apr 10, 2013
  • John Dodson to try out for NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior”

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    John Dodson has not had any fights scheduled since his loss to Demetrious Johnson (left) in January. (AP)

    John Dodson has not had any fights scheduled since his loss to Demetrious Johnson (left) in January. (AP)

    John Dodson wants to be known as more than just a great fighter. He’d like to add the title, “American Ninja” to his resumé, too.

    Dodson, the UFC’s second-ranked flyweight, will travel to Denver next month to try out out for the NBC reality show, American Ninja Warrior.  The television series challenges contestants to run, jump, flip, and fly through a grueling urban obstacle course that, naturally, any ninja could complete.

    The 28-year-old says the UFC contacted him and wanted him to appear on the show as the sport’s ambassador. “They have more faith in me than I do,” says Dodson.

    Dodson’s unusual athletic abilities show through in his backflips in the cage and basketball dunks that defy his 5’3” frame — the stuff that makes him the sport’s most ninja-like candidate.

    Dodson most recently fought last January for the flyweight title, suffering a unanimous decision loss to Demetrious Johnson. With Johnson recovering from an injured shoulder and no fights on Dodson’s immediate horizon, he jumped at the chance to try out for the show.

    He’s been known to frequent gymnastics gyms to practice his flips and says he’s hit park playgrounds to practice jumping off jungle gyms in preparation for the show.

    “I just want to stay busy, have fun with my life,” says Dodson.  “I don’t want people think fighting is just what I have to do. I only train about four or five hours a day. So the rest of them I have to be a normal person.”

    Or an exceptional ninja.

    – Melissa Segura


  • Published On Apr 10, 2013


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