Written by: Ryan Manahan
The UFC continued their ‘World Tour” of press conferences on Thursday, this time hitting up the hometown of UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre in scenic Montreal, Quebec. GSP and challenger Johny Hendricks attended the conference, as well as UFC Director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright, and several other Canadian MMA luminaries were in the audience. MMAxposed had the opportunity to catch up with GSP and get his thoughts on a variety of subjects
Regardless of what is said before the match or who is standing across from St. Pierre in the octagon, for GSP, it all comes down to the fight.
UFC 165 Tickets are on sale to the general public today through Ticketmaster
Watch the media scrum with the current Light heavyweight Champion Jon Jones below:
Tuesday July 9,2013 UFC held their UFC 165 press conference at Real Sports in Toronto, Ontario with the headliners, Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson. MMAxposed correspondent Ryan Manahan sits down with Gustafsson: Watch the interview below
The two fighters addressed the crowd with two different types of positive demeanours. Gustafsson sat to the right of the podium looking refreshed and excited to talk about his upcoming opportunity. Tom Wright told the crowd that Gustafsson had spent yesterday relaxing at a local amusement park in the area. Jones sat to the right of the podium with his Light Heavyweight championship title to his left and a cup of coffee to his right admitting to feeling a little tired. Though he felt tired, he spoke to the crowd with enthusiasm, a sense of humour, and a smile. While the two fighters had opposing energies, there was a great level of respect shared between the two of them.
“Alexander Gustafsson is a guy who really wanted a shot at the title. And he’s a guy that I asked for. He asked for me, I asked for him,” Jones said before complimenting Gustafsson’s boxing and saying he was the the perfect opponent to face when attempting to surpass Tito Ortiz for the most consecutive title defenses at Light Heavyweight. Gustafsson showed Jones a similar level of respect saying, ”I see the greatest test in my career. He’s the champion for a reason.”
While this press conference was designed to promote Jones vs Gustafsson at UFC 165, Jones was asked just as much about former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva’s loss to Chris Weidman last Saturday night. After the fight, Jones tweeted out, “This sucks,” and further said at the press conference, “To see a great champion go down always sucks.” As result of the loss, Jones went up to top the pound for pound rankings, but Jones did not think too much of it saying, “To become number one because of Anderson’s lost doesn’t make me feel like I accomplished anything,” Jones looked at Silva’s loss more as a form of inspiration, telling the crowd, ”It motivates me a lot to see someone like that lose.”
Jones dissected the Silva loss even further, saying the loss didn’t change his perception of the man many regard as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time and that Silva just made a mistake – “Anderson Silva is a magnificent fighter. I think he has an extraordinary gift. He’s comfortable with his gift. And he abused his gift. He disrespected the gift by disrespecting his opponent… He got disrespectful and the war gods made him pay for it.” He concluded his praise the former Middleweight Champion by saying, “He’s still that great Anderson Silva in my book.”
While Jones answered questions about Anderson Silva, Gustafsson talked about his road to becoming the number one contender for the Light Heavyweight championship. It was only three months ago that he felt his opportunity slipping through his fingers when he had to pullout of the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 9 in his home country of Sweden after suffering a cut just days before the fight. He explained the contrast of pulling out of one main event in his home country to competing for the Light Heavyweight Championship saying, “It was one of the worst experiences of my life. Now I just left it behind me now with my dream fight coming up.”
Johny Hendricks talks about UFC 167, punching GSP in the face, being a new father and Olympic Wrestling
MMAxposed was fortunate enough to partake in this past weekend’s fundraiser and charity event at ‘Woodbridge Heroes’ collectibles store in scenic Woodbridge, Ontario. The event was held in support of the Canadian Diabetes Association, the city of Vaughan food bank and SOS Children’s Villages.
The event, sponsored in part by Haymaker Fightwear, was a rousing success, raising much-needed funds for worthy charities and providing entertainment for children of all ages including super hero costumes and an exotic petting zoo.
Also featured were appearances from real-life superheroes in the form of some of the top names in MMA, including UFC #1 welterweight contender Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks. Hendricks gave this exclusive interview to MMAxposed where he discusses the clash with GSP, becoming a father the day before, whether wrestling will be back in the Olympics and more. Watch as “Bigg Rigg” pulls no punches on any subject!
By Carlin Bardsley
99 Sudbury in Toronto has hosted many events for the arts but now they are home to a different kind of art, Mixed Martial Arts. Evolucao Thai MMA School celebrated their grand opening this past Saturday with a seminar hosted by UFC Light Heavyweight Wanderlei Silva along side close longtime friend, head instructor and co-owner Mauricio Veio. Both Silva and Veio are from the original Chute boxe Acadamy in Brazil which is how they met at the young ages of 13 and 16. Mauricio refelcts on their friendship “Wanderlei my hero, hero for personal, for fighter.” says Veio “Today I am so proud to have Wanderlei in my school.”
The new Evolucao Thai MMA School offers much more then other MMA gyms in the greater Toronto area, included in your monthly membership is full access to The Gym @ 99 Sudbury which offers exceptional facilities to add quality workouts to your MMA training you also get access to all classes provided through Evolucau unlimited MMA School classes, Muay Thai Classes, Brazlian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, No-Gi, Boxing plus yoga and fitness classes. You can check out Evolucao and The Gym @ 99 Sudbury at http://www.evolucaothai.com
All images video, editing, music and writing by Randi Lotsberg
UFC on FOX 6 Recap:
By Dustin Perie.
Odd start to the show, first with the panel not realizing the camera was on, then slight audio issues, commentary was in and out, and when it did come back it was Goldberg speaking to presumably his producers, asking if he needs to apologize for the audio issues, great stuff that boarder lined awkward. But enough about technical issues, let’s get to the violence.
Ricardo Lamas 12-2 (+160) vs. Erik Koch 13-1 (-175)
Hats off to Koch for the bad ass entrance music: Scooter – Fire, it’s very dated, but if you are interested in a trip back to the mid 90s, it’s a funky way to do it.
First round started off slow, both men showing off their great head kicks with not much being landed clean. Lamas went for a single leg mid-way through the round, but somehow Koch found a way to stay vertical. Lamas received a warning from John McCarthy about open hand strikes to the face. Right near the end of the round Lamas scored a sloppy takedown which will likely score him the round.
According to me: 10-9 Lamas.
We recently had the opportunity to interview Royler Gracie while he was in Ontario teaching seminars. We caught up with Royler at Robinson’s Karate School located in Bolton, Ontario Canada. Royler reflects on his thoughts about whether his father should be in the UFC Hall Of Fame for his contributions to the sport, the importance of being skilled in more then one of the martial arts and why he chose to make the move to America from Brazil.
Predictions by MMAxposed’s Farrell Tremblay
After losing UFC 151 and Strikeforce: Melendez vs Healy, we almost lost UFC 153 as well. Although the card doesn’t have the same relevant fights as it did a month ago, we now have some very exciting matchups that can really be best described as “fun”, even if they have no impact on any division. Let’s break down the insanity of an already broken down card.
Anderson Silva vs Stephan Bonnar
This fight has a lot of people really excited. Rightfully so, these two fighters have a history of exciting fights with spectacular outcomes, but before I cloud the matter with such misleading facts, let’s be clear about something: People aren’t excited about this fight in the same way they were excited for GSP vs Nick Diaz. The excitement people feel for this fight is really more akin to giddy sadism or the strange fascination we have watching wildebeest cross crocodile infested rivers on the Discovery Channel. Stephan Bonnar is one tough S.O.B. but is he ever out of his league. I believe his ability to absorb unnatural amounts of punishment will take this fight into later rounds but I will be shocked if Anderson Silva finds himself in any sort of danger at any point in this fight. Yes, this is MMA and anything can happen (just ask Matt Serra) but this is also the greatest man to ever fight in the sport and he will deliver that greatness by the fistful
Prediction: Silva by TKO
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Dave Herman
You have to respect a guy like Nogueira. He is a legend of the sport, and if he retired tomorrow would have nothing but fond farewells from the MMA community. He’s a former champion in the two most prestigious promotions this sport has produced. Coming off a devastating loss to Frank Mir and nearly a year of inactivity, the last thing Big Nog needed to do was take a fight on short notice against a lower tier heavyweight on a two-fight losing streak but he stepped up when the UFC needed him the most. Dave Herman probably isn’t the caliber of fighter we would have seen Nogueira fight had he been matched up on more organic terms, but he is still a tough, durable fighter with heavy hands who may have the spryness of a young fighter to put them on the aging Brazilian. The more likely scenario is that Nogueira boxes his way inside Herman’s sloppy standup, takes him down and takes home a limb.
Prediction: Nogueira by submission
UFC 152 was an ever-pleasing mix of favorites and underdogs claiming victories in their respective bouts and even those who were supposed to run through their opponents had to work hard for their victory, dig deep and really find what it was meant for them to be a fighter. With the dust from the weekend starting to settle, let’s see where our victors and more notable losers will wind up in the coming months.
Jon Bones showed us again why he is the man with the belt as he persevered through a dangerous armbar early in the fight to find his rhythm and put Vitor through the works. With Dan Henderson tentatively slated to fight Lyoto Machida later this year and a potential injury to Jones’s arm that could leave him out of action for a few weeks or months (yet to be determined), it is most likely that we will see the winner of this bout take on the champion at a mid-2013 event.
Jones will fight the winner of Dan Henderson vs Lyoto Machida
Jones’ brilliance and unpredictability as allowed him, similarly to Anderson Silva, create such doubt in the mind of his opponent that in some ways, he’s already won before he even walks out to the cage. Despite looking largely outmatched on Saturday, Vitor also offered moments of aggressiveness that made Jones look almost human. Many of his contemporaries are finding themselves at the end of their careers and moving on to different chapters in their lives. Vitor has proven over the last couple years that he is still very capable of pulling the trigger and inflicting massive damage. On top of the fact that his foray into the light heavyweight division was solely for a title shot and came about as a courtesy to the UFC, I don’t think he will lose much ground in the middleweight division.
Belfort will fight Brian Stann
UFC 152 is soon upon us and I can’t help but feel a wealth of emotions in my attempt to predict the action. The reason I say this is because it seems that predicting MMA fights are no longer as simple as “fighter A over fighter B” but instead a much more complex and anxious process that could be better described as “provided the physical well-being of fighters A and B is at acceptable competition level, it is likely X will be the outcome.” However if one or more parties are unable to participate and the suitable replacement(s) is/are willing and able to perform on Saturday, I predict Jon Jones won’t walk away from two cards in two weeks if he knows what’s good for him”. The caveat “Both Must Fight For Action” has taken on a whole new meaning, as the possibility that there may be no action has become as real as any other. With Saturday’s outcome hinging on all of these conditions I’ll do my best to predict the winners of UFC 152’s currently billed card.
Jon Jones vs Vitor Belfort
Jon Jones is a very clear favorite to win this fight, and rightfully so. Given his accomplishments over the last year and a half against strikers, wrestlers and muggers, it’s hard to imagine there are any stylistic matchups left to threaten the champ. This is doubly so when considering his opponent is 10 years his senior. However, when you consider Jones’s toughest test to date has come at the lightning quick hands of Lyoto Machida, it is reasonable to think that Vitor, a boxer with a conceivably greater speed advantage, may have more of a chance than odds-makers are letting on. In addition to a certain striking advantage, Vitor Belfort probably has the best jiu-jitsu of any fighter Jones has faced since entering the UFC. That being said, I don’t think Belfort has the advantage in the grappling department and despite still being a very dangerous fighter, his chin isn’t what it used to be and he will be giving up a foot of reach and considerable mass on fight night. Despite having made a case for Vitor’s chances of success, I simply can’t envision him taking control of the fight before Jones takes his confidence away.
Prediction: Jon Jones by TKO in round 3
Joseph Benavidez vs Demetrious Johnson
Joseph Benavidez has long been touted as the uncrowned flyweight kingpin and on Saturday he’ll finally get his opportunity to live up to such accolades. This won’t be easy though and “Mighty Mouse” is no walk in the park for anyone and his ability to outwork opponents often leaves him with his hand raised, despite his original underdog status. Benavidez comes into this fight with real stopping power for flyweight, as demonstrated in his fight with Yasuhiro Urushitani and Johnson may find his chin tested in the early rounds of this fight. Ultimately, I think Johnson’s speed will keep him out of harm’s way for the first couple rounds and as the fight wears on, he will begin to pull away as he continues an unrivaled work rate.
Prediction: Demetrious Johnson by unanimous decision
Michael Bisping vs Brian Stann
Michael Bisping may very well be at the end of his rope with this fight, should he lose. He has a great record against a number of very tough opponents regardless of the outcome, he will undoubtedly fight on for years to come… but should he lose, at what cost? Bisping may find himself at the bottom of the pile if he loses to Brian Stann on Saturday and what makes this so interesting is the outcome really depends on which game plan he chooses to employ. Bisping actually has very underrated grappling skills, despite hailing from a nation that has, traditionally, poor grappling skills. Given that Brian Stann is certainly no pushover on the ground (unless your name is Chael Sonnen), it is far and away, the weakest aspect of his game. If Bisping employs the same technical boxing game plan he has used against most of his recent opponents, I feel that he is gambling with his future. Brian Stann has proven an ability to put away both brawlers and technicians in absolutely brutal fashion. Stann will fearlessly go toe-to-toe with “The Count” and employ the counter punching that has made him so successful since coming down to middleweight.
Prediction: Brian Stann by TKO in round 2
Matt Hamill vs Roger Hollett
Matt “The Hammer” Hamill makes his return after a brief 17-month retirement and it will be interesting to see what shape he returns in to the octagon. If Matt aims to head-hunt as he has done in the past he may find himself getting beaten to the punch (no pun intended). Hamill, after re-evaluating his career will likely come back using the game plan that brought him success in his early days, take them down and pound them out.
Prediction: Matt Hamill by TKO in round 3
Cub Swanson vs Charles Oliveira
Cub Swanson has been a modest tear, cutting down George Roop and bringing the fight to a much larger Ross Pearson. Swanson may be small but he is scrappy and when he hits his stride he packs a hell of a wallop. I feel though he may find it harder to impose his game on Oliveira as Do Bronx has a rangy style that can be just as sporadic and unpredictable as Swanson’s. Furthermore, Cub’s commendable bottom game that served him so well against Pearson will likely count for nothing if he finds himself under Oliveira. With that in mind, I don’t foresee many areas that Oliveira will not be comfortable taking the fight.
Prediction: Oliveira by submission in round 2
Predictions by Farrell Tremblay
Written by: Matt Marcone
With just two days to go before the Score Fighting Series’ fifth event in Ontario, we present episode seven of the MMAxposed podcast. We get a real heart to heart interview with Hector Lombard, who dropped a split decision to Tim Boetch in his UFC debut.
It was Lombard’s first loss in 25 fights and he opens up about the haters, his injury during training camp, and Dana White’s post-fight comments saying he should fight at welterweight. He also gives his thoughts on a new possible training destination, making it to the big show, and who he wants to fight next.
In what many are predicting could be fight of the night, Canadian striking sensations Jesse Ronson and Alex Ricci also join the podcast. They will be fighting each other at SFS5 in Hamilton on Saturday, August 25th and both sound desperate to get inside the octagon.
Ronson talks about his mentality going into his fight on July 28 knowing he couldn’t afford to get hurt, the intensity of his sparring sessions and the origins of his nickname. He also thinks a victory could possibly send him to the UFC’s stacked lightweight division.
Ricci talks about the fight with Ronson, competing on four of the five Score Fighting Series cards, and a UFC dream of his own.
Let us know what you think!
(8:00) Jesse Ronson
(18:45) Alex Ricci
(27:30) Hector Lombard
Chris Clements has had a dream since he was in high school to get into the UFC. This past year after beating UFC veteran Rich Clementi at The Score Fighting Series, his dream finally came true. At the age of 34 he made his UFC debut and faced Keith Wisniewski, taking home yet another win. It has been a great year for Chris; he got married to the love of his life, they had their first child, and his UFC debut was just five weeks later. This is Chris’ story about his dream, his family, and his life.
Written By Jordan Maskell
The UFC lightweight title saga continues this weekend with the second fight between Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson. Henderson (15-2-0) defeated Edgar (14-2-1) for the title at UFC 144 in Japan by unanimous decision. After much debate about who would face Henderson in his first title defense, Edgar was granted the opportunity. This is after Edgar had a series of rematches with both B.J. Penn and Gray Maynard. However, UFC President Dana White has made it clear the loser of this title fight will not be granted a rematch. He confirmed that Nate Diaz would be next in line to face the winner of Saturday’s bout. Diaz (16-7-0) earned the number one contender spot after submitting Jim Miller at a UFC on Fox event in May.
Another lightweight bout will see Donald Cerrone (18-4-0, 1NC) take on Melvin Guillard (47-11-3, 1NC). Cerrone recently earned a unanimous decision victory over Jeremy Stephens at a UFC on FUEL TV event earlier this year. He has only lost once in his six UFC fights since joining the promotion from the WEC. Guillard won a unanimous decision over Fabricio Camoes at UFC 148, after having back-to-back submission losses.
Phil Baroni is getting ready for his fight against Rodrigo Ribeiro at ONE FC in the Philippines on August 31th, 2012. He tells us about a new reality series called Fight Factory TV, which is set to premier August 15, 2012 on Nuvo TV.
Attard talks about the step up in competition, the “sketchy” Discipline MMA show in Belleville and his preparation for Saggo. Saggo talks about training with legends all over the world, his passions, and fight mentality.
Download MMAxposed podcast Episode 6 HERE
By: Matt Marcone
The UFC finally delivered to the network audience by putting on four excellent fights and an all around great show. The judges were not needed on the main card and a future light heavyweight title shot was awarded.
UFC President Dana White said that whoever put on the most impressive performance in the two main event fights would earn a shot at the light heavyweight championship.
Both Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Lyoto Machida were victorious, earning fourth and second round finishes respectively.
“The answer is I think Lyoto Machida was the most impressive tonight,” says White. The boss has spoken, enough said.
Machida proved once again that he only needs his opponent to make one mistake to finish a fight. After frustrating Ryan Bader on the feet in the first round, he waited for him to charge in and landed a straight right hand. That was all it took at 1:32 of round two.
The main event saw Brandon Vera nearly pull off a huge upset with a tight guillotine in the opening round, but Shogun defended it perfectly.
Written by Jordan Maskell
This Saturday nights UFC on FOX 4 may very well determine the next challenger for the UFC Light Heavyweight championship according to Dana White. The UFC President had originally indicated the winner of the main event between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Brandon Vera would decide who would get the shot. However, after a large opposition by fans it was announced the co-main event between Lyoto Machida and Ryan Bader would also be taken into consideration.
White stated the fighter who wins in the most impressive fashion and makes the biggest impact would be granted the title shot. Current champion Jon “Bones” Jones has finished all four men in previous bouts. The champ will face Dan Henderson at UFC 151 on September 1st in Las Vegas.
Shogun (20-6-0) has not fought since losing a five round war to Henderson at UFC 139, which many named 2011 Fight of the Year. Vera (12-5-0, 1NC) has one win, two losses and one no contest in the last three years in the UFC. Meanwhile, Machida (17-3-0) will be competing in his first fight since losing to Jones at UFC 140 in Toronto, Ontario. Bader (15-2-0) on the other hand recently defeated Quinton “Rampage” Jackson by unanimous decision, and Jason Brilz by a first round knockout.
Lightweights Joe Lauzon (20-7-0) and Jamie Varner (20-6-1, 2NC) will also compete on the main card. Lauzon is coming off a KO loss to Anthony Pettis at UFC 144, while having two consecutive Submission of the Night wins before that. Varner is currently riding a three-fight win streak. He has two knockouts and one submission victory in his last three fights.
A bout between Heavyweights Ben Rothwell and Travis Browne was scheduled for this card, although Rothwell was forced to withdraw due to injury. Browne was later pulled from the event all together, while the Welterweight matchup between Mike Swick and DaMarques Johnson was promoted to the main card. This has set up a Heavyweight fight between Browne and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva for a UFC on FX event later this year.
Written By Jordan Maskell
With the news that Frank Mir will enter the Strikeforce cage to face David Cormier, the question is how many more UFC-Strikeforce bouts will we see in the future? The most recent cross promotion bout announced looks to be the first within Strikeforce. However, this is following a string of Strikeforce crossovers with former champions including Nick Diaz, Jake Shields, Dan Henderson, and Allistar Overeem making the transition to the Octagon.
It has been revealed that the Strikeforce Heavyweight division will eventually be dissolved, as after this fight both Mir and Cormier will compete solely in the UFC. This will be done to focus on developing the depth of other weight classes, including a women’s division within the company. Many former Strikeforce Heavyweights have already entered the UFC including Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Shane del Rosario, Shawn Jordan, and of course Overeem.
Until now, both rosters have been considered exclusive to its respected promotion, although there have been exceptions to this rule. UFC President Dana White has said in the past that fighters from Strikeforce will not crossover to the UFC while there is a deal between Showtime and Strikeforce. The company was bought by the UFC’s parent company Zuffa in March 2011. He has said before he would not sign Strikeforce fighters while they were contracted with Strikeforce due to the deal with Showtime.
MMAxposed reporter Matt Marcone caught up with Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy at the “Heroes” comic book store in Woodbridge, Ontario. It was an awesome event that had everything from real transformers cars to memorabilia to exotic animals in the petting zoo. Not too often do an MMA fighter, batman, iron man, bumblebee, two camels and a lemur all get to hang out in one place!
He was one of the nicest guys we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing and bluntly spoke about having to rediscover his passion for mixed martial arts.
Hardy stormed onto the UFC welterweight scene in 2008, winning four in a row and earning a title shot against Georges St. Pierre. After losing a decision to the reigning champ, Hardy consecutively dropped three more fights to Carlos Condit, Anthony Johnson and Chris Lytle.
Due to his fast paced style and willingness to push the action, the UFC opted not to cut him and gave him another fight against Duane Ludwig. Their decision proved to be justified as he knocked him out with a devastating hook in the first round.
In the interview, Hardy opens up about star wars, his upcoming fight with TUF 7 winner Amir Sadollah, and finding his spirituality. He also gives his prediction for the upcoming title fight between St. Pierre and Condit, two guys he’s very familiar with.
Hardy’s bout with Sadollah is scheduled for September 29, 2012 in his hometown of Nottingham, England at the UFC on FUEL TV 5.
By: Matt Marcone
Seven fights were refurbished due to the injury bug at UFC 149 in Calgary and the results were not pretty.
“We broke the gate record here tonight and I’m embarrassed by it,” says UFC President Dana White. “The undercard delivered, they were awesome. The main card did not.”
The main event saw Renan Barao capture the interim bantamweight championship after outpointing Urijah Faber for five straight rounds. It was a highly technical fight that was plagued by boos and chants of “refund.”
A crushing knee in the first broke Faber’s ribs, successfully shutting down most of his offense the rest of the night. Barao now faces 135-pound kingpin Dominick Cruz as soon as he recovers from last month’s ACL surgery.
The co-main event truly disappointed as Hector Lombard’s 24-fight winning streak came to an end at the hands of Tim Boetsch. It may have been a case of octagon jitters, but Boetsch managed to take a split decision over a guy many thought could be Anderson Silva’s next challenger.
“It’s the unfortunate thing about hype,” says White. “When there’s a lot of hype behind you and you don’t live up to it, it goes away pretty quick.”
Boetsch is now 4-0 at middleweight and a serious contender, having previously finished Yushin Okami. Vegas odds makers called Boetsch a 4-1 underdog and his accomplishment should not go unnoticed, considering he broke his foot in the second round.
In perhaps the biggest snooze fest of the night, heavyweight Cheick Kongo shut down Shawn Jordan by pressing him against the cage for three full rounds. The only highlight was an inside elbow that caught Kongo’s groin in round one.
Written By Jordan Maskell
The first UFC event in Calgary, Alberta, Canada will happen this Saturday night. The event, scheduled to take place at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, will be headlined by an Interim Bantamweight title bout between Urijah Faber and Renan Barao. A slew of injuries has plagued the July 21st event, with names including Michael Bisping, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria, and Thiago Alves having to be pulled, and the card being rescheduled multiple times.
The third fight between Faber and current Bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz, originally set for UFC 148, was moved to the card until Cruz had to withdraw as well due to a knee injury. Therefore an interim belt was created. Faber is coming off a “submission of the night” win over Brian Bowles at UFC 139, while Barao has had 29 fights without a loss.
UFC 149 will also feature the promotional debut of Middleweight Hector Lombard. Lombard is currently on a 20-fight win streak since drawing with Kyle Noke in 2007. The former Bellator, CFC, and AFC Middleweight champion will face Tim Boetsch, who’s original opponent Bisping, had to withdraw due to injury. Many consider Lombard to be a legitimate contender for Anderson Silva’s Middleweight title and see this bout as a title eliminator. Boetsch is on a three-fight win streak himself, getting a come-from-behind third round TKO victory over Yushin Okami at UFC 144.
Written By Dwight Wakabayashi
Following a false start in January, Sudbury native Mitch “The Machine” Gagnon is set to make his UFC debut this Saturday night on the undercard of UFC 149 from Calgary. It is really a night of Canadian debuts as, Gagnon and fellow Canadian fighter Ryan Jimmo are both getting their first crack at the big time.
Gagnon stated on Twitter earlier this week that he is currently reading UFC 149 headliner Urijah Faber’s book, and he better hope to learn something from it. The Team Shredder product out of northern Ontario will be in tough competition against Team Alpha Male fighter Bryan Caraway. Caraway brings some good experience to the cage, coming off a win against Dustin Neace in his own UFC debut last December. Caraway has fought some very tough opponents in his career, with notable losses to Mark Hominick and Fredson Paxaio. His twenty-one fights to Gagnon’s nine give a clear edge in experience to the American.
Gagnon is a very strong, compact fighter and his ground game is tremendous. He holds a Canadian regional title and has fought and beaten some tough local talent. This is a nice match up for him to get his feet wet in the UFC with his strength being his key to victory. Caraway is also a submission wizard with 14 of his 16 professional wins coming via tap. He poses a formidable challenge for Gagnon and will definitely surprise and make some noise if he wins on Saturday night.
Gagnon has not fought since he defeated David Harris at Ringside MMA 12 in October of last year and cage rust could be a factor going in to this fight. A saving grace may be the fact that Caraway hasn’t fought this year either so they will both be willing and eager combatants.
Gagnon is one of six Canadian fighters on the preliminary card with a seventh, Adrenaline welterweight Chris Clements the only Canadian on the main card. Clements stepped in for an injured Thiago Alves against opponent Siyar Bahadurzada, but will now face another replacement in the always game Matt Riddle. The Calgary card has been plagued by injuries and is virtually unrecognizable to the original card that was announced months ago.
The seemingly cursed card has lost the likes of Yoshihiro Akiyama, Thiago Alves, Thiago Silva, Mauricio Rua, Michael Bisping and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to injury or pull out. Yet in a true show of the depth of the UFC roster they have been replaced by such stars and notables as Urijah Faber, Renan Barao, Hector Lombard, Tim Boetsch, Bryan Ebersole and Chris Clements. The card remains full of world class fighters who should not be overlooked. Due to the revolving door of fighters on and off the card, this event is under-hyped and could over perform among the many over-hyped and anticlimactic cards we have experienced in the past. Don’t sleep on it.