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Tag: Renan Barao

UFC Super Bowl Weekend 2014 Card Headlined by Dominick Cruz vs. Renan Barao, Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas


(“Let’s keep it goin’ for Paula Sack, folks. She’s beautiful, talented, *and* she can burp the alphabet in two languages.” / Photo via Getty)

The UFC confirmed last night that UFC 169 — the promotion’s Super Bowl Weekend card that’s scheduled for February 1st, 2014, in Newark — will be headlined by a pair of title fights in the bantamweight and featherweight divisions.

In the main event, bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will emerge from a 28-month hibernation to face Renan Barao, the interim champ who’s been steady wrecking fools in Cruz’s absence. UFC president Dana White has “made it pretty clear” that if Cruz has to pull out of this title unification bout with another injury, he’ll finally be stripped of his belt and Barao will be named the official champion.

In the co-main event, 145-pound champ (and Barao’s Nova Uniao homeboyJose Aldo will attempt to make his sixth UFC title defense against top contender Ricardo Lamas, who’s 4-0 in the UFC including stoppage wins against Cub Swanson and Erik Koch. Aldo is coming off his four-round shredding of Chan Sung Jung at UFC 163, which gave the Brazilian his 16th consecutive victory overall, as well as a broken foot.

Got any predictions, Potato Nation? And are two competitive title fights in the lighter weight classes just as interesting as one Jon Jones squash match?

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The Top 24 Mixed Martial Artists Who Lost Their First Fight


(Renan Barao: Started from the bottom, now he here. / Photo via Getty)

By Adam Martin

At the UFC 165 post-fight presser last month, UFC president Dana White showered praise upon UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao, calling him one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport and remarking that the media hadn’t given enough credit to his eight-year, 32-fight undefeated streak, which has remained pristine since May 2005.

Barao has only tasted defeat once, and it was in the first fight of his career. The fact that he’s rebounded with the longest current undefeated streak in mixed martial arts — despite the fact that his first loss could have ruined his confidence forever — is absolutely amazing to me, as many young would-be prospects have crashed and burned in their debuts, never to be heard of again.

It got me thinking: What other mixed martial artists lost their first fight but then went on to have great success? I expected to bang out a list of ten fighters, but once I started doing the research, it blew my mind that some of the best fighters to ever compete in the sport, and a number of currently top 10-ranked fighters, actually lost their very first fight.

And so, I compiled a list of the top 24 MMA fighters of all time who lost their first fight. The list is based on accomplishments in the sport, overall skill level, and potential. Enjoy, and if I somehow missed somebody notable, please leave a comment below and explain why he or she should be included.

Honorable mentions: Matt “The Wizard” Hume (5-5), Wesley “Cabbage” Correira (20-15), Ryan “The Big Deal” Jimmo (18-2), Rodrigo Damm (11-6), James Te Huna (16-6)

24. Travis “The Ironman” Fulton (249-49-10, 1 NC)

(Photo via ThunderPromotions)

On July 26, 1996, at the age of 19 years old, Travis Fulton fought Dave Strasser in his MMA debut at Gladiators 1 in Davenport, Iowa, losing the fight via first-round submission. He then went on to win 249 fights, the most wins in mixed martial arts history. Fulton also holds the record for most fights (309) and most knockout wins (91) in MMA history.

Mind = blown.

Was Fulton a can crusher? Yes, yes he was. Or, should I say, yes he is, as he beat some nobody in his native Iowa just this past March. But you don’t win 249 MMA fights by accident, and Fulton deserves a place on this list based on volume alone.

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UFC Welterweight Yan Cabral Robbed at Gunpoint Near Nova Uniao Gym


(Photo via Getty)

Crappy story coming out of Rio today, ‘Taters. Yan Cabral, the teammate of UFC champs Jose Aldo and Renan Barao who made an impressive debut for the promotion Wednesday night at UFC Fight Night 29, was robbed at gunpoint just two days later near his Nova Uniao gym in Rio. MMA Fighting‘s Guilherme Cruz first reported this story in the states.

The robbers either got real lucky or were following Cabral for some time as the undefeated Brazilian welterweight was coming from the bank where he had taken out money to pay manager and head coach Andre Pederneiras. Two men with guns pulled up on motorcycle, pointed a gun at Cabral’s head and took his backpack, containing his training gear and cash. Fortunately, Cabral was not injured during the robbery.

“I’ve lived in Rio 15 years and this never happened,” Cabral told O Dia. “It was a big shock.”

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UFC to Set Time Limit on How Long Injured Champs *Cough*DominickCruz*Cough* Can Be Inactive Before Being Stripped of Titles


(“Wheeeeeeee!” / Photo via @TheDomin8r)

UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has had horrible luck over the past two years. He’s torn the ACL in his knee twice, endured multiple surgeries, and has not fought a single time. Yet, he’s remained the official champion of the division while interim titlist Renan Barao has defended his belt twice.

Cruz hopes to be back early in 2014 and head straight into a unification bout against Barao. If he doesn’t, however, he may finally find himself stripped of his title. And according to UFC president Dana White, the organization will now make plans to set a time limit for how long champs can stay champs while sidelined.

“We have thought about it, and we will do it,” White told members of the media Monday. “We’re probably going to do that soon.”

It is about time the UFC did this. We don’t have a negative word to say about Cruz who has earned everything he’s ever gotten and who we feel genuinely bad for given all his bad luck, but it looks plain silly for Barao to be only an interim champion at this point. White seems to agree with those conflicted feelings.

“It’s a combination of me feeling really bad for him, and him being such a good person. … Do I think we let it play out too long? Maybe. But if I look at who the champion is, then I say no. I feel bad for the kid,” White said.

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Nova Uniao Head Trainer Confirms Renan Barao Is Totally Being Screwed by That Whole “Interim” Title


(And to think, if the guy on the left had won, we’d have a new outright champion by now. Photo via MMAFighting.)

October 1st will mark the two year anniversary (?) of the last time we saw bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz defend his title in the octagon. Multiple ACL tears and a rejected cadaver ligament transplant have seen the once dominant champion sidelined ever since his 2011 battle with now flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. As such, the bantamweight division has been stuck in a perpetual state of limbo, frustrating fans, fighters and most importantly, Dominick Cruz.

But perhaps the only person more frustrated by Cruz’s arduous road to recovery than the champ himself is interim title holder Renan Barao, who recently became the first fighter in UFC history to defend said title twice (via a second round KO of Eddie Wineland at UFC 165). Actually, Barao is the first fighter in UFC history to ever defend an interim belt. Unfortunately, the Brazilian isn’t seeing many benefits of being the closest thing to a champion his division has seen in a dog’s age.

That’s at least, according to Nova Uniao head trainer Andre Pederneiras, who recently appeared on MMAJunkie radio to discuss Barao’s current predicament:

He’s very frustrated because he needs to make money. So many sponsors here in Brazil are not sponsoring him because he’s not the real champion from the UFC. He’s the interim champion. He’s losing money every day.

The sponsors here want a real champion. A linear champion. 

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Armchair Matchmaker: ‘UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson’ Edition


(Photo of the Year. Hands Down. Via Esther Lin/MMAFighting.) 

Like our esteemed colleague George Shunick, I have never been happier to admit that I was completely wrong in all but writing off Alexander Gustafsson in the weeks leading up to his battle with Jon Jones at UFC 165. And like most of you, I’m still reeling from what was one of the greatest light heavyweight title fights in MMA History and quite possibly the fight of the year, which makes this Armchair Matchmaker piece all the more difficult to construct.

Did Gustafsson get screwed, like Phil Davis would have you believe? Should an immediate rematch be booked between the Swede and the champ? Follow us below to find out what lies in store for Jon Jones and the rest of UFC 165′s biggest winners.

Jon Jones: I might be in the minority here, but I’m going to suggest that the UFC should hold off on booking an immediate Jones/Gustafsson rematch. Here’s why:

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‘UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson’ Aftermath — We Were Wrong


(A torn-up Jon Jones spins for an elbow during his title-fight war against Alexander Gustafsson in Toronto. / Photo via Esther Lin, MMAFighting.com)

By George Shunick

Let’s be honest here. No one saw last night coming. No one. That’s not to say that nobody believed Alexander Gustafsson was capable of beating or challenging Jon Jones, although those people were probably Swedish, rabid Jones-haters, or height aficionados. But no one predicted that Gustafsson would take the fight to Jones in such a complete manner that in addition to being the first man consistently hurt the champion, he would become the only man to ever land a takedown on Jones in the UFC. And if there was some visionary out there who managed to foresee this twist of fate, he didn’t expect the next wrinkle; that Jones, bent but unbroken, would rise to this challenge in the final two rounds with an onslaught that the challenger seemed to persevere through with only sheer will holding him up. When all was said and done, UFC 165 saw the best light-heavyweight title fight in history, possibly the fight of the year and most significantly, the birth of a rivalry between two young fighters in the sport’s marquee division.

So, first things first…I might have been a little hasty in dismissing Alexander Gustafsson. If there’s some small solace to take in being so incredibly wrong, it’s that there was plenty of company in that regard. The UFC focused on the challenger’s height as opposed to any of his actual skills — although to hear Dana White tell it, that’s because “he’s so tall” was considered a better selling point for UFC fans than constructing an intricate narrative contextualizing Gustafsson and his abilities within the history of Swedish combat sports. (In other words, the UFC thinks its fans are stupid. They’re not entirely wrong.) Others focused on Gustafsson’s relative lack of competition, or his performances relative to those of Jones’s. Almost every pundit came away with the same conclusion; this was Jones’s fight to lose.

That was completely incorrect. In the first round, Gustafsson got in his face, pressured Jones backwards as he landed punches. He took the fight to Jones. It was a smart strategy; Jones likes to keep his distance while he’s standing up through kicks, and moving in takes away the range required to successfully land those kicks. However, this normally comes with a caveat; moving in puts a fighter in danger of being taken down by Jones, which is the last thing they want. But Gustafsson didn’t let that deter him; in fact, he landed the first takedown attempt of the fight, the first in UFC history against Jones. It turned out there was a reason for his confidence. Throughout the fight, try as he might, Jones could not take Gustafsson down. For all the talk you hear about how fighter X is “in the best shape of his life” or “has shown massive improvements,” it rarely rings true. But Gustafsson was the exception to the rule last night.

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UFC 165 Video Party: Highlights of Jones vs. Gustafsson, Barao vs. Wineland & Post Event Press Conference


(Jon Jones defends his UFC light heavyweight title against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165)

UFC 165 wasn’t just better than most folks thought it would be, it featured one of the gutsiest, most grueling, surprising and just downright best main event that we’ve seen in awhile. The decision may be controversial, but Jon Jones managed to pull off a unanimous decision win over challenger Alexander Gustafsson despite being beaten up, taken down and out worked for most of the fight.

Jones refused to stop swinging despite apparent exhaustion and battered the Swede in the fourth and fifth rounds en route to his sixth successful title defense. For his part, Gustafsson pulled off a great strategy in almost flawless fashion, scoring early and often to the body and head of the champ with punches, stopping his take downs and becoming the first fighter to ever take Jones down himself.

Check out highlights of the fight above. After the break, see highlights of Renan Barao‘s exciting knockout interim bantamweight title defense against Eddie Wineland as well as the post-event press conference.

Spoiler alert – Dana White and many fighters made the presser but Jones and Gustafsson did not because they were both at hospitals. They truly left it in the ring Saturday night.

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UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson — Live Results & Commentary


(Ugh. MMA fans can be so annoying. / Photo via Getty)

If you count the UFC interim bantamweight championship as a real title, then there are two belts on the line tonight at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Neither fight should be particularly competitive, but hey, blowouts can be fun too. On tonight’s menu: Jon Jones looks to clinch the longest title-defense streak in UFC light-heavyweight history against Swedish striker Alexander Gustafsson, and Renan Barao could put another footnote in the history books with a second interim belt defense against Eddie Wineland. Plus, Sir Smoke-A-Lot tries to put a dent in Khabib Nurmagomedov’s undefeated record, and Matt Mitrione vs. Brendan Schaub will slug each other into unconsciousness. Hopefully.

Round-by-round results from the UFC 165 pay-per-view broadcast will be accumulating after the jump beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT, courtesy of your old pal BG. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, drop your thoughts into the comments section, and swing by our Twitter page tonight for additional observations and yuk-yuks from CagePotato staff writer Matt Saccaro. Now let’s have some fun.

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Four Hidden Storylines For ‘UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson’


(Seriously, Jon? You can’t take a break from Candy Crush Saga for five seconds? / Photo via Getty)

By Adam Martin

UFC 165 takes place on Saturday night at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and while most of the media’s focus has been on headliner UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, there are 25 other fighters on the card fighting this weekend that need their stories to be told, too. I can’t write about them all, but I’ve picked four fighters this weekend that you should keep an eye out for in the UFC 165 edition of Hidden Storylines.

Hypothetically, What Happens If Alexander Gustafsson Beats Jon Jones?

It seems like everyone in the world that doesn’t live in Sweden is picking Jon Jones to retain his UFC light heavyweight championship against Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC 165, but no one is asking what will happen if “The Mauler” pulls off the upset victory. Sure, it’s unlikely, but so was this, and it’s always foolish to count a challenger out completely.

If Gustafsson wins, it seems likely that the UFC will do an immediate rematch with Jones, even if UFC president Dana White won’t admit it. Sure, it would be nice for the UFC to have a European champion, but the truth is that Gustafsson will never be a star on Jones’s level, and it’s in the UFC’s best interest to do the rematch right away if he somehow loses.

In that sense, Gustafsson is in a bit of a no-win situation. Yes, he will be on top of the world for a few months, just like Chris Weidman is right now, but if he loses the rematch then everyone is going to think the first fight was a fluke and they wont give him the credit he deserves.

We’ll see what happens on Saturday night, but don’t expect a sudden changing of the guard at 205 if Gustafsson wins, and instead expect for the UFC to announce the rematch at the event’s post-fight press conference. As Gustafsson said himself, “I think every champion deserves a rematch.”

Does Renan Barao Become A Star With A Dominant Win?

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