UFC 209: preview Woodley vs Thompson 2

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Who will win the rematch?

 

 

On the historic night of the UFC debut in Madison Square Garden UFC 205, Fans were treated to a classic in the Co-main event between Tyron Woodley vs Stephen Thompson for the UFC Welterweight Championship. The fight would go 5 rounds, With both fighters showing grit and determination to walk out of Madison Square Garden as champion. The fight would end in a draw, With fans split on who they thought won the fight. Now Woodley and Thompson will headline UFC 209 in the Main Event, With Both fighters looking to definitively win and be the Welterweight Champion.

Thompson was the favorite going into his first fight with Woodley and it’s not hard to see why. Thompson was on a 7 fight win streak and looked unstoppable, Until UFC 205. Thompson was hurt and was close to being finished in the 4th round, But in that moment showed incredible resilience to finish the fight to a draw. Thompson has the skills to not only become Champion,  But to hold on to it for a long time. With Thompson dynamic striking and knowing what Woodley will bring to the fight, Thompson time may finally arrive to be known as the UFC Welterweight Champion.

Woodley is not only looking to retain his Championship, But to gain respect.  While promoting UFC 209 on ESPN, Woodley would say “I’m the Champion. I knocked out the baddest Welterweight in the world in record-breaking time. I don’t get the respect I deserve”.  UFC.com reported that Woodley was the underdog going into UFC 205 and now is projected to be the underdog for UFC 209. Although Thompson is an incredible fighter, Woodley may have a point of not having the respect he deserves.  Woodley was close to knocking out and submitting Thompson, However this fight Woodley will look to leave little doubt on why he deserves to be respected.

This Main Event fight may be able to pull off another classic. Both Woodley and Thompson are going into the fight confident, That they can beat the other.  Both have the ability to not only be able to finish the other, But have shown to be able to have the cardio to go 5 rounds. Thompson has the speed, range and the dynamic striking ability to give Woodley problems. However, Woodley has shown to have the punching power to knock Thompson out and in their last fight was able to take Thompson down rather easily. Expect Woodley and Thompson to try to finish the fight decisively and leave no doubt to who is the best in the Welterweight Division.

Writer: Tyriece Simon

Can follow me @Tsimon201

The Zombie is Back

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“The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung returned to the UFC in devastating fashion, knocking out Dennis Bermudez in the first round.   The 29 year old knockout artist hasn’t competed in the UFC since August 2013, when he would lose a championship fight with Jose Aldo. Since then Jung has dealt with injuries and had to serve in the South Korean Army.  During his mandatory time spent with the South Korean Army, Jung never stopped training to return to the UFC.

In the fight Bermudez would have Jung in trouble with an overhand right, that stumbled Jung. Intelligently Jung would immediately go for the clinch to settle back into the fight and would go for a takedown attempt. Jung showed improvement in his takedown defense, not allowing Bermudez to take him to the ground 3 times.  Jung would begin to pressure Bermudez and make Bermudez put his back to the cage. With his speed and power, Jung would land an uppercut that landed perfectly on Bermudez jaw and would get his first win in close to 4 years.

 

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What’s Next:

Jung has made his mark in the Featherweight Division once again and looks to be better. Jung in his time in the military, worked on improving his takedown defense and the work showed in his fight with Bermudez. With his talents, Jung could be a title contender once again and could be a champion.  If I was to pick Jung next opponent it would be against either Cub Swanson or Jeremy Stephens. Both matchups would be exciting for fans and can be a Main Event on a fight card. Nevertheless, Jung has created waves in the Featherweight Division and put everyone on notice that the Korean Zombie has risen again.

-Tyriece Simon

UFC Fight Night Shevchenko vs Pena

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Will Pena finally get a title shot?

This Saturday on Fox will feature two of the top ranked Women Bantamweights in the UFC. Valentina Shevchenko vs Julianna Pena is an interesting fight in the Women’s Bantamweight Division and the winner should be the next challenger for the champion Amanda Nunes. Shevchenko is an elite striker being a former kickboxing and Muay Thai Champion. Pena is arguably the best grappler in the division and has been dominate on the ground.  Both fighters can be a threat to the champion, but only one will win.

Shevchenko is one of the best technical striker in the division. Shevchenko has great accuracy connecting with her strikes, which was displayed in her fight against former champion Holly Holm.  In the fight, Shevchenko showed the ability to out strike Holm and also looked strong in the clinch. Nunes has beaten Shevchenko in the past, but Shevchenko is determined to get revenge and become champion.

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Pena has been making her case for a chance at the championship for a long time now. Pena  called out anyone who was champion or would lead to a potential title shot. With great confidence that Pena can challenge for the championship, Pena has been able to back up her talk with dominate wins over Jessica Eye and Cat Zingano.  Pena has the ability to take her opponents down and dominate with great ground and pound. Pena is very strong, so her opponents have a hard time stopping her from transitioning on the ground and getting up from the ground.  If Shevchenko gets taken down by Pena, Pena will look to keep the fight on the ground and impose her will.

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This fight is a classic high level striker vs high level grappler.  Both fighters are elite in their own ability and will want to showcase their advantage of the other. Shevchenko has shown poise on the ground and has good takedown defense. However, Pena has been able to hold her own with her striking and has been able to take any of her opponents down. Both fighters have more decision wins then finishes by knockout or submission in the UFC, but Pena has shown to have the ability to finish her opponents on the ground. Shevchenko does have the experience in a five round fight and has shown to have great cardio.

Final prediction

I think Shevchenko gets the win by decision. Pena has not faced a striker like Shevchenko. Their is a big gap in their striking ability, that may be too hard for Pena to hold her own against. Shevchenko also has good takedown defense and looks to be the stronger fighter. Shevchenko will not finish Pena, but has the ability to out perform Pena for a Decision.

Shevchenko wins by Unanimous Decision

Writer-Tyriece Simon

 

Bellator 170 Preview: Ortiz vs Sonnen

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Who will have the last word this weekend?

This Saturday free on Spike TV Bellator 170 will feature two bitter rivals Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz  vs Chael “The American Gangster” Sonnen in the Main Event.  Both fighters have trash talked one another while promoting the fight and feel they will be victorious decisively. This fight will be Sonnen’s debut in Bellator and will be Ortiz last fight of his career.  Both Ortiz and Sonnen want to leave their mark this weekend, but only one will get their hand raised.

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Ortiz is a legend in MMA and helped make the sport mainstream to the general public. Once the biggest star in the UFC, Ortiz would leave in 2014 and become a bigger draw for Bellator. Ortiz has helped get attention and revenue for Bellator, while also reinventing his career. At 41 years old he is still incredibly strong and a threat on the ground, with his Jujitsu and ground and pound. Bellator 170 will mark the end of an era for the pioneer, but Ortiz wants to go out with a blaze of glory. Win or lose, Bellator 170 will be a night to remember for Ortiz fans.

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Sonnen is one of the most charismatic combat athlete arguably of all time. Before Conor McGregor, their was Sonnen and he was very influential to how to promote  fights today in MMA.  Sonnen hasn’t fought since 2013 and 39 years old wants to make his mark in his debut at Bellator 170. Like Ortiz, Sonnen is dangerous on the ground and dominate his opponent.  The question going into this Saturday is with a long hiatus from fighting, how will Sonnen react in the fight.

Their are many questions going into the fight Saturday. People question has the time off Sonnen has work against him and what the mindset of Ortiz will be in his last fight? Ortiz has been more active, with his last fight being for the Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship.  Ortiz also is the bigger and stronger fighter. However, Sonnen is still a fantastic wrestler having a Greco Roman Wrestling background.  If he takes Ortiz down, Ortiz has problems fighting on his back and defending transitions on the ground.  Sonnen also has great cardio and the time off can also be positive, because Sonnen will be the fresher fighter.

Their are many factors going into the fight, that won’t be answered until the fight happens. I think Ortiz will start the fight off strong, but Sonnen will take Ortiz down and try to keep him on the ground. Sonnen also has great Jujitsu and Ortiz can be submitted, but Sonnen can also work for a decision due to his cardio.  Ortiz will be hard to deal with, but Sonnen will control the fight and dominate Ortiz for a Unanimous Decision.

Prediction: Sonnen wins by Unanimous Decision

 

Female Fighter of the Year: Amanda Nunes

“The Lioness” has become the new face for Women in the UFC.

“The Lioness” Amanda Nunes had a phenomenal year in 2016, ending the year as the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Nunes would fight top contender Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 196 and win by Unanimous Decision, with Nunes being dominate during the fight.  Miesha Tate who became the Women’s Bantamweight Champion at the same Pay Per View, would grant Nunes an opportunity to fight for the title at UFC 200. Some fans critiqued the choice of picking Nunes as a challenger, because at the time she was still unknown to the general public.

Jon Jones would get pulled from the main event of UFC 200, due to a failed drug test and Nunes vs Tate would become the new main event of the card. This marked a huge growth in MMA, because Women were headlining a historic card for the UFC. Nunes would beat Tate in the first round by submission via Rear Naked Choke and became the new Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Nunes would be recognized as the first openly gay champion in the UFC and has become a leader in the LGBT Community.

Nunes would fight returning Ronda Rousey at UFC 207 in the main event for the Women’s Bantamweight Championship. Rousey would become the center of attention from both the media and UFC, with most of the advertisement being about the return of Rousey. Many had critiqued the UFC decision about not promoting Nunes as well as Rousey. Nunes would dominate and knockout Rousey 48 seconds into the fight to retain her championship.

Nunes has become the leader of the  Women’s Bantamweight Division and has gained popularity as the year went on in 2016. Nunes went from being a unknown contender to becoming a star in the UFC. Being the main event of UFC 200 and beating Rousey in 48 seconds, had helped elevate Nunes popularity and showcased the dangerous knockout power that makes Nunes exciting to watch.  The question going in to 2017 is who in the division can beat Nunes, as Nunes prepares to have another dominate year.

Male Fighter of the Year: Conor McGregor

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What a year for “The Notorious” Conor McGregor.

Following an impressive year in 2015, McGregor would end 2016 the same way. McGregor started the year trying to fight then Champion Rafael Dos Anjos for the UFC Lightweight championship. Dos Anjos would drop out of the fight due to injury, which led to Nate Diaz stepping in on short notice.  McGregor would take the fight at 170 at UFC 196 and would lose to Nate Diaz via Rear Naked Choke in the second round.

Fans and fighters were critical of McGregor after his loss to Diaz and many felt the hype around McGregor was gone. McGregor would request a rematch at UFC 202 with Diaz at 170, a weight people felt was an advantage for Diaz after their first fight. McGregor would beat Diaz by Majority Decision, in a fight that was praised by fighters and fans alike.  Dave Meltzer reported that UFC 202  had broke Pay per view records for the UFC, surpassing other big Pay per views like UFC 196 and UFC 100. 

McGregor would then fight Eddie Alvarez for the  Lightweight Championship at UFC 205 as the headliner of an impressive card.  Many felt this would be the toughest challenge in McGregor’s career due to the wrestling and striking ability of Alvarez.  McGregor would dominate and knockout Alvarez in the second round, becoming the first to hold the UFC  Featherweight and Lightweight Championship simultaneously. The UFC 205 would also break records including the biggest Live Gate in the history of the UFC and Madison Square Garden with 17.7 Million.

McGregor has also become more popular outside of fighting  in 2016. McGregor would become the cover star of  EA Sports UFC 2 along with Ronda Rousey and would be featured as a character in Call of Duty Advanced Warfare.  McGregor would also spark interest with a potential fight with Boxing’s best Floyd “Money” Mayweather in a fight that has been thought to be the biggest fight in Pay per View history, if it was to happen.  The WWE has also caught the attention of McGregor and would like to have McGregor apart of their promotion in the future.

2016 started off rough for McGregor, but by the end of the year he has arguably had better year than 2015. McGregor has become one of the best fighters in the UFC  and has become their biggest draw in terms of Pay Per View and Live Gate numbers. Fans are wondering what McGregor will do in 2017 and who he will fight next. Their are still ongoing rumors of a potential Boxing fight with Mayweather and their are also rumors one last fight against Diaz. Plus their are other contenders in the Lightweight Division like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson that want to fight for the UFC Lightweight Championship. 2016 marked a great year for McGregor, but 2017 looks to potentially be even better.

UFC 206: Holloway vs Pettis

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This Saturday will mark a new direction for the Featherweight Division.

This weekend Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (ranked #5)  will face Max “Blessed” Holloway (ranked #2) for the interim Featherweight Championship in the main event. The winner will face newly crowned Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo at a later date. Originally the main event was supposed to be Daniel Cormier vs Anthony Johnson, but due to injury Cormier had to pull out of the fight.

This main event has been surrounded by controversy. Conor McGregor was the Featherweight Champion, which he won be knocking out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds. He would not defend his belt, fighting Nate Diaz twice at Welterweight and recently fighting Eddie Alvarez for the Lightweight Championship. Since McGregor hasn’t defend the belt, the Featherweight division has been in limbo and challengers have been waiting.  Aldo would face Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 in the Summer for the Interim Featherweight Championship, with the supposed winner getting a shot at McGregor next. Aldo would never get his chance to revenge his loss against McGregor, which had frustrated him and his fans to the point Aldo contemplated retirement.  In the meantime, Holloway has been on an incredible 8 fight win streak and Pettis a former Lightweight Champion dropped to the Featherweight division to reinvent himself.

Leading up to McGregor fight against Alvarez, the President of the UFC Dana White had publicly stated that “If Conor would win he would have to give up one of his belts”. With Cormier pulled from the card, the UFC had to scramble to make the Pay per view card interesting. It was the appropriate time to strip McGregor and make Jose Aldo the champion, since he was already the Interim Champion. This allowed to create a new main event and generate interest, by having Holloway face Pettis for the Interim Championship with the winner facing  Aldo.  This would also resolve the problems in the Featherweight Division.

This main event adds new life to a division that has remained stagnant for a year. Holloway vs Pettis will be an interesting and exciting fight, with history also hanging in the balance. Pettis the former Lightweight Champion, will have an opportunity to be a two time champion in different weight classes like McGregor. Holloway would also win his first championship in the UFC as well.

Pettis can be one of the most exciting fighters in the world. He has not been the same fighter, since his when he lost the Lightweight Championship to Rafael Dos Anjos last  year. Pettis was exposed in the fight for not being able to deal with pressure and his cardio. Fighters began to realize if they can take the fight to Pettis and wear him down, Pettis would not be able to overcome the adversity. After three straight losses he dropped to Featherweight to reinvent himself. Now at Featherweight he hopes to make history and be considered one of the best again.

Holloway has been on a mission. Always feeling he has to prove himself, he has been on a winning streak that is unprecedented in the Featherweight Division in the UFC. With Aldo, he has always been in consideration for a Featherweight championship Opportunity. He has excellent stand up ability and can submit his opponents on the ground as well. He also has great cardio and good foot work. All that combined plus the fact he knows how to finish his opponents, has made him a dangerous fighter in the Featherweight Division.

Prediction: This fight will five rounds, instead of the original three. The biggest key disadvantage for Pettis is the fact his cardio is questionable, especially dropping down to Featherweight. Pettis didn’t look good in his debut fight at Featherweight physically and looked like he began to become exhausted in the second round of a three round fight. Holloway has great cardio and can push the pressure on Pettis. He has good foot work, so he not going to stand around to take punishment. Also based on the analytics by UFC.com, Holloway has a higher percentage of getting a takedown (Holloway 66 percent to Pettis 58 Percent) and an incredible lower percentage of getting took down (Holloway 82 percent to Pettis (61 percent)  .  If Holloway can pressure Pettis and challenge Pettis cardio, he can win this fight easily. Pettis needs to win within the first three rounds, to not expose himself.

prediction: Holloway wins be Unanimous Decision, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he wins by submission also in the late rounds.

UFC Fight Night Albany: Derrick Lewis

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Friday night is an opportunity for Derrick Lewis to shine.

In the main event, Heavyweight Contender “The Black Beast”  Derrick Lewis(ranked #10) faces Shamil Abdurkaimov(ranked #15). Lewis has slowly become popular to fans with his personality and his fighting style, in a division that is losing its spotlight. He has one punch knockout power and underrated speed. He also has the desire to continue to get better, which he showed improvement in his performance against UFC veteran Roy Nelson. Lewis has gained a following in the heavyweight division and this will be his first time headlining a UFC card. It also marks the first time the UFC has come to Albany, as MMA became legal this year.

The Heavyweight Division in the past was the most exciting division in the UFC with popular names like Randy Couture, Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar. Although over the last couple of years  the smaller weight classes has became more popular then the Heavyweight Division. The smaller weight classes has provided incredible and more technical fights and superstars, which the Heavyweight Division have started to lack. The Heavyweight division also lack youth, as the top ranked fighters age ranges from early to late thirties. In fact Lewis at age 31 , is the youngest fighter in the top 10.

Lewis has an opportunity to get a win in a fight that he is favored in as a -180 favorite. He also has an opportunity to get more people interested in him and seeing him in conversation as a title contender. Abdurkaimov who is a +155 underdog can’t be underestimated, he’s an underrated wrestler and has underrated jiu jitsu. He has okay standup ability as well.

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Here are Derrick Lewis Big Three keys to victory:

1.Defend the Takedown

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Lewis has to defend the takedown against Abdurakhimov. Lewis has the advantage on the feet, so Abdurakhimov will try to take it to the ground. He has to stay away from the cage, so it doesn’t make it easier for Abdurakhimov to take him down. If he keeps it on the feet, it eliminates Abdurakhimov one advantage over him on the ground.

2. Pressure Abdurakhimov against the cage and explode

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Lewis also needs to pressure Abdurakhimov against the cage. He has the advantage striking, being the more powerful and the fastest. Lewis needs to back Abdurakhimov against the cage and unload with his punching power. Lewis has to also be a little precise and not gas himself out, trying to get the knockout. Having Abdurakhimov against the cage, increases Lewis chances of getting a clean shot(like the straight right he throws in the video above.

3. Mix up his strikes

In the video above, Lewis comes in with a uppercut to get inside the range of the fighter and follows it up with a straight right. Lewis can’t just look for the one punch knockout power. Lewis needs to mix up his strikes throwing possibly leg kicks or kicks to the body. If Lewis does this it throws Abdurakhimov off, allowing for him to be able to get a knockout due to the unpredictability of Lewis.

Prediction: Lewis gets the win by TKO

Whittaker Makes His Case

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Whittaker steals the show this past weekend.

Robert Whittaker made his case this past weekend as a potential title contender for the UFC Middleweight Championship. Whittaker displayed a show stealing performance, stopping Derek Brunson in a incredible first round by Technical Knockout. He came into the Octagon looking focused and had to survive an early flurry by Brunson. He would take big shots and looked as if he was going to be stopped himself. Whittaker would then comeback, stopping Brunson from getting a takedown and landing powerful strikes himself in the process.

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Brunson would get to careless and Whittaker would land a powerful left hook that rocked Brunson. Brunson would never fully recover and Whittaker would pressure Brunson, taking out Brunson with a straight punch and following it up with a head kick. Brunson would try to survive, but Whittaker was all over him and finished him on the ground. Whittaker made a statement and earned the attention of the UFC. After this performance, he deserves a top five opponent and moves closer to title contention. He already called for a potential Gegard Mousasi fight, who is ranked number five. At twenty five years old, Whittaker future looks bright and he put the world on notice this past weekend.

 

Miesha Tate Retires in MSG

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Miesha Tate may have had her last fight this past weekend.

The former champion Miehsa Tate loss to Raquel Pennington by Unanimous  Decision. In the fight it didn’t look like the same Miesha Tate, that fans had come to know. She couldn’t really get herself going in the fight and didn’t seem to mentally be in the fight as well. After the fight, she announced that it was it for her. If this is indeed true at thirty years old, she will be missed and has had a hall of fame career.

Tate is arguably the toughest female fighter to ever fight in the UFC and maybe the toughest UFC fighter to fight in the UFC ever. She is known for being able to take a lot of punishment in a fight and still come back to beat her opponents. Always trying to get better, she never became complacent. She also is responsible for helping get female fighters on the platform they are now in the UFC and in MMA. Her rivalry with Ronda Rousey, was legendary and broke barriers for females competitors.

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Her best moment was this year, when she would beat Holly Holm for the Woman Bantamweight Championship in classic Miesha Tate fashion. She was getting beat in the fight with Holm, with Holm just minutes away from retaining her championship.  In the last round, she would get the back of Holm and put her in the rear naked choke to submit her. It showed the toughness and the heart of Tate to not give up, even if it seems impossible to win. Miesha Tate will go down as a legend and an influence on all fighters to never give up. She will be in the UFC Hall of Fame and their may never be another fighter like her.