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Tag: light-heavyweights

The Winner of Daniel Cormier vs. Dan Henderson (Daniel Cormier) to Receive Light Heavyweight Title Shot…After Gustafsson


(Age before…well, youth I guess. BA-DUM-TSH)

We weren’t the only ones left scratching our heads when it was announced that Dan Henderson and Daniel Cormier would meet at UFC 175. It’s not that we felt the fight is a squash match or anything, because Henderson’s victory over Mauricio Rua at Fight Night 38 proved that he is never one to be counted out entirely. It’s just that, well, up until the point that Hendo turned Rua’s nose into a pancake, he looked every bit as stiff and sluggish as one would expect a 43-year-old MMA fighter with nearly as many battles on his resume to look.

Couple Henderson’s recent performance(s) with the fact that Cormier is a much younger (in fight years, at least), stronger, and faster version of Rua, and that the matchup will serve as Henderson’s first sans-TRT, and you might begin to understand our surprise at the booking of this fight…

If you all will excuse me

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Last-Resort Alert: James Te Huna Dropping to Middleweight After Consecutive First Round Losses at LHW


(Playing dead: Works against bears, not against Shogun Rua. Photo via Getty.)

James Te Huna‘s 2013 got off to a rocky start. The hard-hitting slugger was paired against Canadian splitster Ryan Jimmo at UFC on FUEL 7 in February, and was favored as high as 3-to-1 over the former CP guest blogger. Early in the first round, however, Te Huna ate a vicious head kick that would have ended the night of a lesser man. Although the New Zealander would right the course and end up defeating Jimmo via unanimous decision, he would drop his next two contests to current title challenger Glover Teixeira and former champion Mauricio Rua via first round submission and KO, respectively.

While there’s no shame in losing to either of those gentlemen, Te Huna has quickly gone from one of the division’s top fighters to one who could be fighting for his job. The four fight win streak he was able to build in the wake of his UFC 127 loss to Alexander Gustafsson erased, it appears that Te Huna is opting for a favorite change-up amongst struggling MMA fighters: Dropping a weight class to save his career.

Te Huna recently sat down with The MMA Corner to discuss how his decision to drop to 185 for the first time in his career came about. The answer may surprise you (if you were in a coma all of last year):

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Alexander Gustafsson’s Head Coach Refutes Alliance Team Split…Or Does He?


(The often scruffy, always inscrutable Alexander Gustafsson | Photo via MMAnytt.se)

Yesterday we shared a report that quoted UFC light heavyweight champion contender Alexander Gustafsson as saying that he no longer planned to train in San Diego with the Alliance team or Phil Davis before fights. “Now I’m in that stage of my career that I will compete three or four times a year, so I can not hold on and go off all the time,” Gustafsson said. “It costs too much and it takes too much time away from my family. It’s simply not worth it.”

Furthermore, Gustafsson said that he believed that he and Davis would soon fight again so, you know…awkward. “We both belong to the top, and that’s not a difficult guess that we’ll meet again soon…it feels better to not train together right now,” Gus said.

Well, Gustafsson’s head trainer Andreas Michael is now saying that the media took the fighter’s words out of context. In an interview with Kimura.se the coach says that the media interpreted Gustafsson’s statements incorrectly in order to “sell” the news. Kimura.se reports that Michael also said that “the partnership between the Alliance and Alex / Allstar Fitness that it will continue cooperation for a long time to come. Thoughts on finishing the fine relationship that the two clubs have between them does not exist and has never existed.

“Rumors of a bout between Davis and Alex is also not [accurate], it is just something the media created out of thin air.”

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The 10 Greatest Light Heavyweight Title Fights In UFC History


(Photo via Getty)

By Adam Martin

That might be the greatest title fight in the history of the light heavyweight division — and I don’t even know who won! What an incredible fight!

Those are the words UFC color-commentator Joe Rogan uttered last weekend at the end of the five-round epic at UFC 165 between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and challenger Alexander Gustafsson, a fight Jones won via razor-thin unanimous decision.

Although Rogan is often known for his hyperbole, he might have been dead-on that night. Was “Bones” vs. “The Mauler” really the greatest 205-pound title fight in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship? To determine the veracity of that statement, I went back and watched the best light heavyweight fights ever held inside the Octagon, and after countless hours of tape study, I feel as though I’ve come up with a very fair list.

Below I’ve listed what in my opinion are the top 10 light heavyweight fights in UFC history based on a mixed criteria of competitiveness, excitement level, hype, how the fight played out in comparison to its expectations, and how it ended. So without any further ado, let’s get started…

10. Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua 1, UFC 104

(Photo via Getty)

Kicking off the list is the controversial first fight between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, a fight that still ranks up there with the worst-all time judging decisions in MMA history.

Machida had just knocked out Rashad Evans at UFC 98 and, in the fateful words of Joe Rogan, the “Machida Era” had commenced. However, “Shogun” had a thing or two to say about that as the former PRIDE star was coming off of two TKO wins over Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Mark Coleman, and he wanted to prove to everyone it was he, not Machida, who was the best light heavyweight in the world at the time.

For five rounds, Machida and “Shogun” went toe-to-toe in the Octagon and although Machida definitely had his moments in the match, it appeared to most observers that there would be a new light heavyweight champion crowned, as Rua landed a ton of brutal leg kicks to Machida that left the champ’s torso and thighs looking like a bruised peach.

But while “Shogun” arguably won every round of the fight, the judges somehow saw the fight in favor of Machida, with all three scoring the bout 48-47 in favor of “The Dragon” despite the volume of leg kicks thrown by Rua, leading judge Cecil People to idiotically declare that leg kicks don’t finish fights. UFC president Dana White saw things differently, however, and set up an immediate rematch at UFC 113 where Rua KO’d Machida into oblivion — a happy ending to an infamous screwjob.

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‘TUF 19′ to Feature 185-Pound Men, 205-Pound Women (Not Really, But Could You Imagine?)


Bas Rutten poses with a future UFC women’s Gibraltarweight champion. Image via (COVER YOUR EYES!!) Rutten’s Facebook.

It’s a credit to reality television that it has managed to both continuously lower our expectations regarding what is an idea worthy of verbalizing (looking at you, everything on Bravo excluding Top Chef) while simultaneously redefining what we consider a “season” of television. Whereas in simpler times, a show like Seinfeld would operate at a one season per year pace, reality TV has somehow managed to dilute even the most basic of television truths, cramming upwards of four seasons into the average year. Not to mention all the spin offs. My God, all the spin offs.

The Ultimate Fighter is one of the more notable offenders of this trend, now 18 seasons deep despite being less than 10 years old. Another favorite of mine, Chopped, also requires a mention, now 14 seasons deep in just 4 years (!!). Yes, the cheap production costs and minimal staffing required for the average reality show has seen them churned out at near breakneck speed, which is why it makes sense that in the same week we received our first glimpse of TUF 18, the UFC is already putting out a casting call for TUF 19.

According to release sent out by UFC.com early today, next season’s tryouts will be open to MEN (their emphasis, not ours) competing in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. The requirements are as follows:

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CagePotato Databomb #7: Breaking Down the UFC Light-Heavyweights by Striking Performance

(Click chart for full-size versionFor previous Databombs, click here.)

By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics

With several fights among top contenders in the Light Heavyweight division over the next few events — including Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida at UFC 157 this weekend — I’ve shifted focus to the bigger boys of the UFC. As a group, the 205’ers have a lot more power than the lower weight divisions, and they’ve recorded a total of 43 knockdowns between them during Zuffa competition.

A full explanation of the chart and variables is included at the end of this post. For historical perspective, I’ve also kept some familiar names who recently retired. So which fighters get the awards in this group of sluggers?

The Winners

Sniper Award: Another Rangy Southpaw tops the accuracy list for a division. This time it’s Frenchman Cyrille Diabaté, who has landed 57% of his power head strikes. Unfortunately, the “Snake” might be on the shelf a while after tearing a calf muscle against Jimi Manuwa. At 6’ 6” and with a ridiculous 81” reach, Diabaté has wins over Michael Bisping and Rick Roufus from back in his professional kickboxing days. Now competing in the UFC, the 39-year old striker’s days may be numbered, though he’s stated he wants to compete long enough to participate in a UFC event in Paris. Honorable mentions go to Fabio Maldonado, unsurprisingly a formerly undefeated professional boxer, and also new UFC contender Glover Teixeira.

Energizer Bunny Award: Young Swede Alexander Gustafsson has more than doubled the standup striking pace of his opponents, a common characteristic of fighters successful at using their size to control the cage. The 6’5” modern day Viking takes a six-fight win streak into his home turf showdown with top Strikeforce import Gegard Mousasi, in a fight that could have title implications. We’ll see if he can push the pace against an opponent closer to his own age.

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Strikeforce Deathwatch: Roger Gracie Called Up to the UFC

Strikforce’s paper-thin light-heavyweight division just lost another one.

As GRACIEMAG first reported yesterday, Strikeforce light-heavyweight Roger Gracie has been called up to the UFC. While a date and an opponent have yet to be named for his UFC debut, Roger Gracie has hinted that he may enlist Anderson Silva to help him train for the bout. Roger Gracie is currently 4-1 in his career, with his last fight being a first round knockout loss to King Mo at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov.

On paper, it’s pretty strange to call up a guy with five professional fights who just lost to the big leagues. But it makes a little more sense when you actually look over Strikeforce’s light-heavyweight division. With King Mo on the shelves for a while, there really isn’t much to offer Gracie in Strikeforce. As the age old saying goes: If Gracie fights Ovince St. Preux or Gegard Mousasi in Strikeforce and no one watches, does the fight even matter? At least I think that’s how that one went.

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While You Were Out: UFC Light-Heavyweight Division is Still F*cked and Everyone is Still Pissed

(We just can’t stay mad at this guy. PicProps: MMA Space)
Not to distract you from your busy morning of eulogizing Fedor Emelianenko, but we feel compelled to remind everyone that Scott Coker isn’t the only MMA impresario who woke up Monday with a pounding headache. Remember that when we left the UFC last Friday, the butterfly effect from Rashad Evans’ knee injury was causing near-seismic shifts in the vaunted light heavyweight division? Yeah, we don’t think that got solved over the weekend.

Let’s see if we can get this goddamned soap opera straight: Evans tweaked his knee a couple weeks ago and instead of pushing his scheduled title bout with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua back a few months to give Rashad time to rehab, Dana White took a flamethrower to the entire 205-pound title picture. In one fell swoop he gave Evans’ title shot to Jon Jones, pulled Quinton “Rampage” Jackson out of a scheduled fight with Thiago Silva at UFC 130 and quashed entirely the idea of having Matt Hamill fight Phil Davis at UFC 129. Smooth move, guy. Now the matchup merry-go-round is whirling out of control and everybody is pissed.

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‘Mr. Wonderful’ to Return on Short Notice Against Alexander Gustafsson

Phil Davis Brian Stann UFC 109
(As any rider could tell you, it’s the longest eight seconds of your life. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

Just two months after his dominant UFC debut against Brian Stann at UFC 109, Phil "Mr. Wonderful" Davis (5-0) will reportedly return to the Octagon at UFC 112 (April 10th, Abu Dhabi), to face Swedish slugger Alexander Gustafsson (9-0). Gustafsson made his own UFC debut at #105, where he knocked out Jared Hamman in 41 seconds. (Video of that fight is after the jump, in case you don’t remember it.) It seems like the UFC wants to waste no time in fast-tracking one of these guys into light-heavyweight contendership, at the expense of the other.

For the record
, Davis ideally wanted to make his next UFC appearance in June, and graded his performance against Stann a B-. "I’d say that I need to refine everything," Davis told MMAFighting.com. "I can’t really say I need to do better at just this or that. I think my standup needs to get better, I think my wrestling needs to get better, I think my jiu-jitsu needs to get better, and I think I need to work at being more explosive." [Ed. note: No comment.]

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With Machida on Top, Is the UFC’s Light-Heavyweight Division Still ‘Stacked’?

Lyoto Machida Rashad Evans UFC 98 MMA
(Lyoto may have put an entire weight class to sleep on Saturday. Photo courtesy of UFC.com.)

Over the last couple years, we’ve heard the same lines repeated about the UFC’s marquee weight-class: The light-heavyweight division is freakin’ stacked. Eight or nine of the top ten 205′ers in the world live there. It’s a shark tank, where any fighter could be champion on any given day. But after Lyoto Machida dethroned Rashad Evans in a lopsided sparring clinic at UFC 98, it suddenly didn’t feel that way any more.

If Machida can defeat Quinton Jackson later this year — and there’s no reason to think he won’t, since Jackson’s increasingly one-dimensional boxing style is virtually tailor-made for Machida — he’ll establish an Anderson Silva-like dominance over the light-heavyweight division; the contenders in his weight class will appear relatively weak since nobody can touch him. Or maybe the UFC’s light-heavyweights really have gotten weaker. Let’s run it down…

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