UFC on Fox 24 showcased once again why Demetrious Johnson has clearly earned the right of being dubbed the greatest pound for pound fighter in the world. His victory over Wilson Reis may not have shocked many in terms of the ultimate result, but the manner in which Johnson got the job done was nothing short of eye opening. Reis, while competitive in the opening frame, was ultimately dominated in the second and third rounds. I’ve got more to say about Johnson in a future article, but for now let’s focus on the other stars of UFC on Fox 24, namely Rose Namajunas and Robert Whittaker.
So, a week removed from a disappointing middleweight clash, we’ll all have the distinct pleasure of letting the UFC make it up to the fans with an equally intriguing bout at 185 lbs that could have major implications for the division. Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza gets to attempt to solidify his spot as top contender against the young, hungry prospect Robert Whittaker. It’s a fight that any casual fan or avid purist can appreciate. Both men have a propensity for finishing fights which only means potential excitement.
On the heels of a disappointing victory via injury over Duane Ludwig at UFC on FUEL 5, Mills will be looking to extend his octagon record to 3-1 with a victory over Riddle, who is fresh off a unanimous decision victory over John Maguire at UFC 154. Although Riddle has developed for putting on exciting brawls in his last few performances, he might want to avoid these kind of shenanigans against a power striker like Mills, who proved to Rick Flair-impersonator Chris Cope that he is not a fan of theatrics in his UFC debut.
Last weekend’s Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman card was easily one of the most entertaining top-to-bottom cards in recent memory, providing us with a lightning quick (also, completely predictable) finish in the main event and an even quicker knockout in the co-main. But as is typical for a Strikeforce event, the night was not without controversy and a few judgmental errors. Herb Dean went completely against character when he botched the call in the Adlan Amagov/Keith Barry fight, and the decision to place former title challenger Meisha Tate’s comeback bout against Julie Kedzie on the prelims was nothing short of baffling.
But greater than witnessing Ronda Rousey‘s sixth straight first round armbar, greater even than OSP’s one-punch knockout of T.J. Cook, was that of referee Mike Beltran’s epic mustache. An “epistache” if you will. Why Beltran decided to become a referee instead of claiming his place atop the Whisker Warspodium is beyond us, but his hard work and dedication can not and will not be overlooked by us here at CagePotato. So join us after the jump for a brief GIF tribute to Beltran’s glorious stache, along with several gifs from the night’s fights, courtesy of the UG.
With the news today that Derek Brunson has failed his medicals and as a result has been forced out of his March 3 main card bout with Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at the upcoming Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey show in Columbus, OH, it appears that one prime candidate for the bout is very interested in stepping up on just over two weeks notice: Tim Kennedy.
After rattling off four straight wins under the Strikeforce banner, including a title earning UD over Tim Kennedy at Strikeforce: Houston, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza was gaining a lot of praise throughout the MMA blogosphere; some sites even went as far as to claim that he was one of the last challengers out there with a chance of beating Anderson Silva. Many of us thought this hype was a bit inflated, and following his rather uninspiring (not to mention title losing) effort against current champ Luke Rockhold, it seemed that ”Jacare” was all but completely written off, destined to be the number two fighter in a promotion that was quickly running out of potential, not to mention challenging, match-ups.
Well, it looks like Souza will not be given an easy fight to begin his climb back to the top, as he has been booked to take on tough undefeated prospect Derek Brunson on the main card of the upcoming Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey event, which goes down March 3rd from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Brunson, who has compiled 3 straight in Strikeforce, is a well rounded fighter out of Team Jackson who has notched 4 TKO victories alongside 3 submissions in his 9 fight career, most recently scoring a unanimous decision over Nate James at Strikeforce Challengers 20.
King Mo, during the UFC application process post-fight interview. Props: Showtime Sports
Last night, the real story behind “Barnet vs. Kharitonov had nothing to do with the heavyweight grand prix. It had nothing to do with the middleweight championship of a sinking organization. Last night, as with every other Strikeforce show since the promotion was purchased by Zuffa, was little more than an audition. It was about who will get a UFC contract when Strikeforce goes under, and who will have to go through TUF. The fans knew it, the announcers knew it, going as far as confirming the Belfort vs. Le rumor, and the fighters definitely knew it.
Despite Strikeforce’s best efforts to hype Josh Barnett vs. Sergei Kharitonov as a potentially close fight, we all knew what to expect: A repeat of Kharitonov vs. Monson, except with a far superior version of Jeff Monson. Because of this, it’s hard to be impressed with anything that Josh Barnett does at this point. The tournament’s biggest names and most intriguing matchups for Barnett- Fedor, Werdum and Overeem- were all removed well before last night. Barnett has become such an overwhelming favorite to win that when he wins, he’s simply living up to expectations. He was paired up against an opponent with weak grappling credentials, knew he would dominate the fight once Kharitonov was on the ground, and fought accordingly. At least the tournament was set up so that he would get to face a competent grappler in the finals.
(All in favor of seeing Anderson attempt to improve his moneyweight record, say ‘I.’”)
Since Anderson Silva has effectively cleared out the UFC’s middleweight division and will likely eventually start a string of rematches against the likes of Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson, we figured why not come up with a list of fights he could take in the interim that stoke the fires of fans.
Check them out, in no particular order after the jump.
The decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt (who has not fought since defeating Robbie Lawler in January) has only fought three times in the past 365 days including his championship win over Tim Kennedy last August that saw him take home the vacant Strikeforce middleweight title relinquished by Jake Shields when he moved over to the UFC.
He tells Tatame that he just wants to fight and no matter who it’s against or where or when the bout takes place, he’d just be happy knowing there’s a fight for him on the horizon.
“I want to fight as soon as possible. I don’t fight for a long time and I’m upset about it. For one who works for fighting, not fighting for a long time, when you’re ready to go, is the worst thing that can happen. I had to stop for about a month or two, but I already was good to go, and didn’t know when I would fight again. I’m looking forwards to know when I’ll be fighting and then I’ll tell you guys. There’re many good athletes [for me to face]. Strikeforce is one of the greatest events on earth, so I’m cool with anyone they tell me to fight against. As a Strikeforce employee what I really want is to fight.”