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Diego Brandao vs. Pablo Garza Joins ‘UFC on FUEL 9′ Along With Two Other Fights


(Only Brandao can make a mouthful of Tropical Skittles seem so Goddamn intimidating. Photo via MMAWeekly.) 

A plethora of fights have recently been announced for the UFC’s return to Sweden on April 6th, starting with a featherweight scrap that is all but guaranteed to deliver some high-level thrills. Since winning the TUF 14 plaque back in December of 2011 following a dominant run on the show, Diego Brandao has gone just 1-1 in the UFC, dropping a unanimous decision to Darren Elkins in his sophomore appearance at UFC 146 before scoring a UD win of his own over Joey Gambino at UFC 153. For his next appearance, the 5’7″ Brazilian will be forced to somehow negate the distance created by 6’1″ Pablo Garza, who recently bounced back from a two-fight losing streak (including a UD loss to TUF 14 runner-up Dennis Bermudez) by retiring Mark Hominick at UFC 154. 

These subtle Cake references doing anything for you guys? OK, I’ll stop.

Although Garza hinted at a drop to 135 following his win over Hominick, it appears as if he will be looking to build a little momentum at featherweight before doing so. That, or Garza came to realization that he already resembles Brian Robeson at the end of Hatchet come fight night and dropping another ten pounds would likely kill him.

Also on par for UFC on FUEL 9 is a lightweight pairing between Reza Madadi (1-1 UFC) and TUF 12 runner-up Michael Johnson (4-3 UFC), both of whom are coming off losses at UFC 153 and UFC 155, respectively. Middleweights Tom Lawlor and Michael Kuiper will also meet at the event. Lawlor most recently dropped a controversial decision (controversial meaning “bullshit” in this case) to the highly-touted Francis Carmont at UFC 154, whereas Kuiper last scored a second round TKO over Jared Hamman at UFC 150. 

The full lineup for UFC on FUEL 9 is after the jump.

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UFC 155: Dos Santos vs. Velasquez II — FX Prelims Results & Commentary


(I don’t care what they’re arguing about. I’m always going to side with the guy who’s not wearing bikini briefs. / Photo courtesy of Esther Lin’s UFC 155 weigh-in set on MMAFighting.com)

As an appetizer to tonight’s UFC 155 pay-per-view blowout, the UFC has slated four promising preliminary matchups on FX, featuring battle-tested sluggers (Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner, Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland) and streaking rising stars (Erik Perez vs. Byron Bloodworth, Michael Johnson vs. Myles Jury), all looking to close out 2012 with a bang, bro.

Handling the liveblog for this leg of our journey will be Anthony Gannon, who will be jotting down round-by-round results after the jump beginning at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and if you’re watching along with us, shoot us your own thoughts in the comments section.

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Armchair Matchmaker: ‘UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot’ Edition


(Having recently established himself as the alpha male, the Bigfoot eagerly races off into the jungles of Brazil to copulate with the herd’s last remaining female.)

We may be a few days removed from UFC on FX 5, but that doesn’t mean that the future has already been determined for the night’s biggest winners. Joe Silva and Sean Shelby may be the best in the biz, but even they could probably use a bit of matchmaking advice — or at least a backup plan– considering that half of the fights they book in the aftermath of this event will be cancelled due to injury, arrest, or a classic case of bitch wife. This is where the Armchair Matchmaker comes in, for what are sports without over analysis, needless speculation, and a headscratching appearance from Liam Neeson? By the end of this article, you will have witnessed at least one of these.

Here we go.

Antonio Silva: You might chalk this up to laziness, but pairing the rebounding “Bigfoot” against Stefan Struve seems like an awesome idea to us. We know Stefan called out Fabricio Werdum following his big win over Stipe Miocic at UFC on FUEL 5, but we think this matchup makes just as much sense, if not more. Both men have recently reestablished themselves at legitimate threats and Werdum 2.0 (you know, the one that can do this to people on the feet) seems like he would put on a clinic against either man. It would be a stretch to declare that either Struve or Silva are exactly title-worthy material yet, so let these two big men slug it out and give the winner a top contender. It’s a classic battle of Chin vs. Lankiness – Jay Leno vs. Conan O’Brien in an MMA ring, if you will — and would surely deliver an exciting finish inside the distance.

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UFC Begins to Transplant Canceled UFC 151 Bouts. Spoiler Alert: None End Up On PPV.


Pictured: Their approximate reactions to finding out “garbage-ass” was a real phrase.

One week ago, Ben published an article voicing concerns over how weak UFC 151′s main card was. But it was cool, because Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson was going to be such an awesome fight. Two days ago, Jones vs. Henderson was scrapped and UFC 151 was canceled. [Ed. note: Damn, two days? Feels like we've been covering this forever.] Even though most of us acknowledged that the cancellation of the event was at least partially due to the garbage-assness of pretty much the entire card, we were too busy talking about Jon Jones ducking Chael Sonnen/Sonnen attempting to troll his way into an immediate title shot (depending on which side of the fence you’re on) to really delve into the issue. But now that the UFC has started to transplant the canceled UFC 151 fights to other cards, it’s time to take a closer look at that issue for a moment.

The bouts from UFC 151 are quickly being rescheduled for different cards, with UFC on FX 5 taking a significant chunk of them. As we covered in yesterday’s link dump, UFC 151′s planned co-main event, Jake Ellenberger vs. Jay Hieron, will now be the co-main event of UFC On FX 5. This won’t be the only fight from UFC 151′s main card that will now be padding UFC on FX 5 – Dennis Hallman vs. Thiago Tavares, Danny Castillo vs. Michael Johnson and Shane Roller vs. Jacob Volkmann will be moved to this card as well. UFC on Fuel TV 6 will now be featuring fights between bantamweights Takeya Mizugaki and Jeff Hougland and flyweights John Lineker and Yasuhiro Urushitani, while Kyle Noke and Charlie Brenneman will do the man dance on the undercard of UFC 152.

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s worth mentioning that absolutely none of these fights – three of which were on the pay-per-view portion of UFC 151, mind you – have made it to the main card of an upcoming pay-per-view. Now I understand that financially, most fighters who were expecting a paycheck on September 1 simply can’t afford to wait until November’s UFC 154 to fight again. But that’s not the issue: The issue is that the UFC could afford to move pay-per-view quality fights *makes this hand gesture* to free television in the first place.

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Josh Koscheck vs. Jake Ellenberger Confirmed as ‘UFC 151: Jones vs. Henderson’ Co-Main Event


(Koscheck doesn’t like curly blonde wigs for the same reason that Jon Jones doesn’t like fake UFC belts. It’s like, bro, you didn’t put in the work, okay? / Photo via Sherdog)

You can’t keep a good man down — or a bad one, either. Coming off his split-decision loss to Johny Hendricks in May, welterweight contender Josh Koscheck will try to bounce back against Jake Ellenberger in the co-main event of UFC 151: Jones vs. Henderson, September 1st in Las Vegas. Ellenberger is also coming off a defeat — his leave-from-ahead* knockout loss to Martin Kampmann at the TUF 15 Finale — which followed a six-fight win streak, including victories over Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez. So which top 170-pounder is going to wake up the next morning with two straight losses?

Koscheck hasn’t started talking trash to Ellenberger on twitter yet, but he did recently call you a sissy and pat his hair on the back. In other notable UFC 151 booking news…

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Booking Roundup: ‘Dan Hardy’s Comeback’ Edition


(We know Dan, he watches over us all.) 

It looks like Dan Hardy won’t be getting that fight against Matt Hughes he was angling for. And thank God, because we hear Hughes’ country breakfasts consist of Ovaltine and Total these days (we kind, we kid; they consist of grilled bobcat).  

After going 0-4 through 2010 and 2011, Hardy has been matched up with a perfect opponent to kickstart 2012, when he takes on UFC veteran Duane “Bang” Ludwig at UFC 146. Hardy, who has not fought since falling to a third round guillotine choke in Chris Lytle’s retirement bout in August of 2011, took some time off to refocus, train, and get pestered by drunken fans. Ludwig also saw his last fight end by way of guillotine, only he chose to adhere to the “tapping is for bitches” rule when he was choked out by Josh Neer at UFC on FX. The loss snapped a two fight win streak for Ludwig, his first since 2008, which included wins over Nick Osipczak and Amir Sadollah.

Although this wasn’t the match Hardy wanted, you gotta imagine he’ll be stoked knowing he’s taking on a fellow slugger with a limited ground game. But it will be interesting to see if Hardy follows a more subdued gameplan here. Like we said, the man’s dropped 4 straight, and another loss could mean his Zuffa career. Then again, the only reason that he is still in the UFC is thanks to his consistently exciting performances, so a snoozer against Ludwig seems unlikely. Let’s just sit back and enjoy what is sure to be a war, ladies and gentlemen.

In other UFC 146 news…

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GIF Party: ‘UFC on FOX 2: Evans vs. Davis’ edition


Swanson vs. Roop provided an early candidate for Side-Punchface of the Year. Props: UFC.com

Remember how last night, you invited your non-MMA fan friends over to introduce them to our sport? You spent the past week talking about how Chael Sonnen is one of the best trash talkers in professional sports, and how technical and talented these fighters were. You figured that after three fights that were guaranteed to be exceptional, your friends would be won over to MMA fandom. Then you’d continue to drink and be merry all night, and we’d all meet up here today for our traditional post-UFC event GIF party where we all high five over how awesome the fights were.

Well, it didn’t quite work out that way. Instead, you found yourself doing damage control as you watched three fights worth of sloppy brawling, wall and stall and Chael Sonnen’s blatant swaggerjacking of homage to “Superstar” Billy Graham. You tried to convince them that the fights are usually nothing like this, and that these guys gassing out and the end of the first round are world class athletes. Eventually, one of your friends said “I bet Pacquiao would destroy ANY of these guys” as the rest of your friends grabbed their coats and said they’d call you next time they wanted to watch the fights.

Okay, so last night sucked. But we’ve been planning this party all week, and we’ll be damned if we cancel it at this point. So grab an alcoholic beverage, put on your gaudiest Affliction shirt and join us for our traditional post-UFC event GIF Party.

As always, praise be to Zombie Prophet at IronForgesIron.com for the GIFS.

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Booking (Rumor) Roundup: Svedish Edition


(Ain’t that the truth.) 

Yesterday, the UFC announced that its second UFC on FUELTV event was set to transpire in Stockholm, Sweden, prompting fight booking rumors to materialize faster than an Ikea entertainment center. First off, a clash between middleweight strikers Brian Stann and Alessio Sakara is apparently in the works, and promises to be what JR would call, “a good old fashioned slobber knocker.”

After putting together a three fight win streak between 2008 and 2010, “Legionarius” has not fought since dropping a unanimous decision to last minute replacement and fast rising middleweight contender Chris Weidman at UFC Live 3. Sakara was set to face Jorge Rivera on two separate occasions, at UFC 118 and 133, but was forced to pull out from both fights due to some bad fish and a torn ACL, respectively. Stann similarly saw a three fight streak snapped at UFC 136, when he was dominated on the mat by Chael Sonnen en route to a second round arm triangle submission. Given Sakara’s somewhat suspect chin, you gotta imagine this match is Stann’s to lose.

When the UFC first announced the location of this event, there were a couple of names, mainly Alexander Gustafsson and Papy Abedi, that most figured would have to be included on the card. Though “The Mauler” has yet to be given an opponent, Abedi has already been booked to take on James Head. Abedi will be looking to rebound from a first round submission(!) loss to Thiago Alves in his UFC debut back at UFC 138 when he takes on Head, who is also coming off an unsuccessful octagon debut. The Oklahoma native was choked out by Nick Ring in the third round of their UFC 131 battle.

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Wednesday Morning MMA Link Club

Brittney Palmer calendar photos 2012 UFC ring girl
(“Okay, bring in the giant banana-dong.” Photo courtesy of Brittney Palmer’s Facebook page.)

Some selected highlights from our friends around the MMA blogosphere. E-mail feedback@cagepotato.com for details on how your site can join the MMA Link Club…

- The Ten Most Interesting Octagon Offerings in the Next 100 Days (Five Ounces of Pain)

- Scott Jorgensen Welcomes Jeff Curran Back to Big Leagues at UFC 137 (5thRound)

- Former UFC Fighter Justin Wren Puts Career on Hold to Answer Divine Call (MMA Fighting)

- Cung Le Discusses His Fighting Future, Says if It’s Not With the UFC He’s Done (LowKick)

- The Top Ten Exhibitions of Denny’s Street MMA (MiddleEasy)

- Dan Henderson’s Greatest Hits (MMA Convert)

- All Balls Brawl: An MMAmania Interview Exclusive With Gesias Cavalcante (MMA Mania)

- Nate Marquardt and the Issue of Accepting Responsibility (FightOpinion)

- Fight Nerd Cinema: “Ip Man” Movie Review (TheFightNerd)

- The 20 Goofiest MMA Fighters Ever (BleacherReport.com/MMA)

- UFC to Air Cruz vs. Johnson on Versus (MMAPayout)

- ‘TUF 12′ Finalist Michael Johnson Faces the ‘Sassangle’ at UFC on Versus 6 (NBC Sports MMA)

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In Spite of His UFC Success, Pablo Garza Says His Mom Still Doesn’t Know Exactly What It Is He Does For a Living


(Garza picking up the first UFC win in Ontario in impressive fashion.)

After racking up nine straight wins in the regional circuit, Pablo Garza suffered the first loss of his career under the bright lights of the WEC. Determined that he belonged in the big show, “The Scarecrow” made his way to Las Vegas to try out for The Ultimate Fighter 12, but failed to make it into the house when eventual finalist Michael Johnson knocked him out of the competition in the qualifying round.

Garza walked away from the show determined to improve. He was given another shot to prove that he belonged in the Octagon at the TUF 12 finale and he took the opportunity and ran with it as he knocked out Fredson Paxiao 51 seconds into the opening frame with a picture-perfect, $30,000 Knockout of the Night garnering flying knee.

Riding the momentum of his impressive UFC debut in December, the 27-year-old Fargo, North Dakota native wanted to make another statement in his follow-up fight last weekend at UFC 129 in Toronto against Yves Jabouin. It took him just 4:31 to silence the Canadian crowd and earn himself another performance bonus — this time for Submission of the Night and to the tune of $129, 000.

We spoke to Garza yesterday and touched on a number of topics including  his win over Jabouin Saturday night, what he plans to do with his latest bonus and what his family thinks about his career path.

Check out the interview with the fast-rising featherweight after the jump.

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