Souza’s recent TKO of Yushin Okami, gave him his second win in the UFC and his fifth-straight win overall; his last four fights have all ended by first-round stoppage. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion is quickly becoming a top UFC contender at 185 pounds, but to stay “in the mix,” he’ll have to find a way to beat Carmont, the French veteran who has gone 6-0 in the UFC since making his Octagon debut two years ago. Carmont most recently cruised to a unanimous decision win over Costa Philippou at UFC 165, using a takedown-heavy gameplan that Philippou clearly wasn’t expecting.
Though UFC Fight Night 36 was originally reported to take place on February 8th with a live broadcast on FOX Sports 2, the UFC decided to bump it back a week, and the event is now slated to air on FOX Sports 1.
During his post-fight interview, Souza stated that he hurt his foot during the fight with Okami, and wasn’t able to do his traditional victory gator-crawl because of it. (Cut to: Training montage of Souza going through a painful foot-rehabilitation process, re-learning to gator-crawl little by little, until finally he’s slithering on the beach like a champ and Carl Weathers embraces him in triumph. *exhales weed smoke*)
Fellow Brazilians Jussier Da Silva and Edimilson “Kevin” Souza also caught 180-day medical suspensions after their fights at UFC Fight Night 28. The full list of suspensions is after the jump, via MMAJunkie…
Our decision to only liveblog the UFC Fight Night 28 matches that we cared about turned out to be a wise choice. Though last night’s supporting card had its moments — particularly Piotr Hallmann’s comeback submission win over Francisco Trinaldo, and the Fight of the Night-winning battle between Rafael Natal and Tor Troeng — the UFC’s latest trip to Belo Horizonte didn’t turn into a terrifying orgy of violence until the last three bouts, which all ended the exact same way: A stiff knockdown, some nasty ground-and-pound, and an impressive first-round TKO for the favorite. Let’s start at the top and work our way down.
Of the three first-round maulings on the main card, only Glover Teixeira faced real adversity on his way to victory. During his main event fight against Ryan Bader, the Brazilian light-heavyweight phenom had to collect his bearings after getting wobbled in a striking exchange. Bader smelled blood and tried to go in for the kill, but his aggression turned out to be his undoing. As Bader swarmed with punches, Teixeira tucked his chin and landed a cross/hook combo that sent Bader to the mat. Teixeira followed with shots from above, and that’s all it took to secure his 20th consecutive victory (!) and a $50,000 Knockout of the Night bonus.
After the fight, it was confirmed that Teixeira (now 5-0 in the UFC) would receive the next light-heavyweight title shot against the winner of Jon Jones vs. Aexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 later this month. His performance last night might not have impressed everyone — rumor has it that Teixeira was recovering from a bad weight cut — but anybody with that kind of power and resilience is always a threat.
The second-biggest story of night had to be Ronaldo Souza‘s official arrival as an elite UFC middleweight. Since his Strikeforce title-fight loss to Luke Ruckhold two years ago, “Jacare” has sliced through lower-level competition (Bristol Marunde, Derek Brunson, Ed Herman, Chris Camozzi) with relative ease. Finally, he got a chance to prove himself against a longtime UFC contender, and he rose to the occasion, crushing Yushin Okami with an overhand right midway through the first round. Yes, Ronaldo Souza has “fallen in love with his hands,” so to speak. But unlike other jiu-jitsu aces like Demian Maia who have tried to re-invent themselves as strikers, Souza hasn’t looked the least bit uncomfortable turning his recent bouts into kickboxing matches. He’s as natural at striking as he is at grappling, and that’s a terrifying thought for the rest of the UFC’s 185-pounders. Jacare has chewed his way to the top of the middleweight food chain, and the possibilities in front of him are endless.
As for Bader, the former TUF champ hasn’t competed since his quick guillotine-choke win over Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC on FOX 6 back in January. You can expect “Darth” to be a sizable underdog (once again) in this fight. Anybody think he can deflate Glover’s hype?
Ronaldo Souza‘s recent fights have proven that his standup skills are catching up with his tremendous ability on the mat — and his striking improvement reached an important milestone on Saturday night, when he scored the first lights-out K.O. of his nine-year fight career.
“Jacare” faced 9-1 Jackson’s MMA product Derek Brunson on the main card of Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman, and in Liddell-esque fashion, Souza found his opponent’s chin with a back-pedaling counter-right that dumped Brunson on his face. A few more follow-up shots, and it was all over. Even more impressive than Souza’s finishing power was the fact that he stopped throwing as soon as he saw that Brunson was unconscious — even if referee Mike “Stache God” Beltran clearly wanted the fight to keep going.
But Souza vs. Brunson wasn’t the only great knockout from this weekend’s Strikeforce card. After the jump: Ovince St. Preux’s one-punch shutoff of T.J. Cook.
It may be an exercise in futility to rank Strikeforce bouts in terms of significance, but there are still some interesting matchups on this card. Perhaps the most intriguing of the three recently announced matches is a middleweight showdown between former champion Ronaldo Souza and Derek Brunson. Since losing the strap to Luke Rockhold last September, ‘Jacare’ scored a third round arm-triangle choke over Bristol Marunde in March. Jacare looks to maintain momentum with a win over NCAA D2 All-American wrestler Derek Brunson, which is far easier said than done. Brunson is coming off of an extremely close loss to Kendall Grove at ShoFIGHT 20 two weeks ago after accepting the fight on four days’ notice. That fight, which was the first loss of Brunson’s career, could have easily gone his way. Expect a close fight here.
And it was here, in this blighted place, that Strikeforce learned to live again… (Props: FoxSports.com)
The fact that a Strikeforce aftermath is being broken down into two separate posts is probably confusing most of our longtime readers, considering we’ve had so little to say about the organization leading up to last night’s Strikeforce card. Ever since Zuffa’s acquisition of the organization, our post-event recaps have focused on Strikeforce’s lack of a direction, now-meaningless titles and ever-diminishing roster. The organization clearly wasn’t going anywhere (i.e. going under), yet it also, well, wasn’t going anywhere (i.e. it wasn’t planning future growth). Yet last night, for the first time in a while, Strikeforce looked like an organization that could consistently provide MMA fans with intriguing, relevant matchups.
After all of the hype that Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate managed to create for last night’s bout, the ending could not have possibly gone better for Strikeforce. Exciting fight? Check. Dramatic finish? Check. And most importantly, Sarah Kaufman’s victory over Alexis Davis on the undercard established a clear challenger for the new champion who actually stands a chance at beating the champion. The biggest problem with Strikeforce’s title fights as of late has been the fact that the champions are simply too much better than anyone that Strikeforce can match them up with (Rockhold vs. Jardine, anyone?). While Rousey continued to look phenomenal in her short MMA career last night, former champion Sarah Kaufman provides another intriguing matchup for her. Back to back championship fights in a Strikeforce weight class that will pit the champion against a formidable opponent who is coming off of a victory: Now that’s encouraging.
It’s interesting to see which Brazilian fighters train which whom on a regular basis before camp starts. Junior dos Santos has apparently been spending a lot of time in his area of Northeast Brazil with “jiu-jitsu playboy” Demian Maia when he’s not entrenched in training camps with the likes of Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, and the Nogueira brothers.
Steve Cofield caught up to TUF 14 coach Michael Bisping recently during a break from taping the SPIKE TV reality series, and the cocky Brit expressed his dissentient opinion that his opposing coach on the show, Jason “Mayhem” Miller is not a worthy opponent.
“I can fully understand it. The guy’s obviously….he does Bully Beatdown. He does a TV show, so he’s got a bit of got a bit of a crossover appeal, if you will, but I wasn’t overly excited that he’s going to be my next fight. I wanted somebody like Chael Sonnen or possibly the winner of [Yushin] Okami and Anderson [Silva] — you know, somebody of that stature in the middleweight division,” Bisping explained matter-of-factly. “But I can understand from a business perspective the UFC’s decision to do…you know, to give Mayhem the shot. It’s a double-edged sword. It will be good for the show, but it wasn’t the opponent I wanted though.”
(“I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen.” Pic: ESPN)
During the four years, four months and 16 days that Anderson Silva has had the middleweight title on lockdown, the UFC’s light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions have combined to produce 10 different champions. Think of it this way: Silva won the title by pulverizing Rich Franklin at freakin’ UFC 64, the same event where Sean Sherk defeated Kenny Florian to become the first lightweight champion since 2003. It was also just a few months after Michael Bisping defeated Josh Haynes to win season three of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Kinda seems like a lot has happened since then, huh?
Well, not at middleweight. Middleweight has been a rock – an unchanging, unshakable rock that sometimes seems so maddeningly bored with its own immovability that it just sits there and stares at its opponents for five tedious rounds. Silva’s dominance has been so thorough that it alone kind of makes ranking MMA’s top five 185-pounders an exercise in futility. Half the guys in the Top 10 have already been defeated by the current champ and lot of the other guys either don’t seem worthy or fight in other organizations. Still, we ranked ’em. Why? Because they were there, son, because they were there …