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  • Lyoto Machida: Luke Rockhold 'is an excellent fight' - MMA Fighting
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  • Rampage Jackson re-signs with the UFC - MMA Fighting
    OCRegisterRampage Jackson re-signs with the UFCMMA FightingThe mercurial Quinton Jackson has signed again with the UFC and announced the news Saturday night at UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Dollaway in an interview on the FOX Sports 1 broadcast. "Rampage" had been competing for Bellator MMA and is still ...MMA: Rampage Jackson headed back to the UFCOCRegisterMMA […]
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    FanSidedFightweets: Does Rory MacDonald deserve a welterweight title shot or not?MMA FightingThere is no lack of discussion points in the mixed martial arts world as we barrel toward the holiday season, so let's jump right into another edition of Fightweets. Does Johny Hendricks or Rory MacDonald deserve the next shot at Robbie Lawler ...NSAC tests […]
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FOX Sports 1 mistakenly shows feed from UFC 173 during UFC Fight Night
MMA Fighting
A source told MMA Fighting that the on-site production crew mistakenly switched to UFC 173 instead of the live shot from Barueri, Brazil or the studio. It ran for nearly five minutes before FOX Sports 1 corrected the mistake. The source said UFC

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Lyoto Machida: Luke Rockhold 'is an excellent fight'
MMA Fighting
BARUERI, Brazil — Lyoto Machida made quick work of C.B. Dollaway at UFC Fight Night 58 in Brazil, and he wants to be back in action as soon as possible. The former UFC light heavyweight, who dispatched Dollaway with a kick to the body in 62 seconds in …

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Guardian Liberty Voice
UFC Fight Night 58 results: Lyoto Machida destroys CB Dollaway with kick to ribs
MMAjunkie.com
The stoppage came at the 1:02 mark of the first round as Dollaway (15-6 MMA, 9-6 UFC) lay on the canvas sucking wind as Machida (22-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC) pounded on him with punches. Referee Jerin Valel waved off the fight as Dollaway lay in the fetal …
UFC Fight Night 58 Results: Machida vs. DollawayMMA Fighting
UFC Fight Night 58 predictions, preview, and analysisMMAmania.com
UFC Fight Night Machida vs. Dollaway Preview and Picks: MMA SpotlightGuardian Liberty Voice
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MMA Fighting
MMA Fighting has the Grapple at the Garden results for Sunday's wrestling event at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In the main event, New York's own four-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake will square off against Arsen Julfalakyan. Tervel Dlagnev …

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Guardian Liberty Voice
UFC Fight Night 58 post-fight facts: Dollaway ties record with zero main-event
MMAjunkie.com
The UFC started its year with an event in Singapore, and on Saturday night, the organization closed out its 2014 calendar with UFC Fight Night 58 at Jose Correa Arena in Barueri, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Lyoto Machida (22-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC) further elevated …
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This might be the weirdest “injury” that has ever occurred during an MMA fight.

During an amateur bout, Alan Grays went down after taking a kick to the head from Jose Johnston. The blow to the dome was so severe that Grays’ glass eye popped out.

As the video shows, the official—unknowingly—nearly stepped on the prosthesis. Luckily, the eye just missed the ref’s foot.

[mmaUNDERGROUND, h/t Complex]

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If you want to get technical about it, Lyoto Machida actually threw two kicks Saturday during his main event bout against CB Dollaway.

Really, though, all he needed was the one.

That crushing left to the body—that’s all it took for Machida to dispatch the overmatched Dollaway just one minute and two seconds into the first round at UFC Fight Night 58 and prove he’s still among the best fighters in whichever weight class he chooses to compete.

“CB is a very tough fighter,” the soft-spoken karate master told UFC play-by-play announcer Jon Anik in the cage after it was over. “But the kick landed, and I saw that he felt it, and I went in for the finish.”

After a bounce-back 2014 for Machida, you could categorize that assessment as one of the year’s biggest understatements.

As for how far back up the ladder the former light heavyweight champion can climb now that he’s making his home at middleweight? That’s going to take a little more time to figure out.

Despite a 3-1 record this year, Machida continues to lug significant baggage with him each time he makes the walk to the Octagon. Heading into this bout, he was just 5-5 in his last 10 Octagon appearances. His 349-day run with 205-pound title back in 2009-10 failed to live up to sky-high expectations. After dropping to 185 pounds earlier this year, he also lost a championship thriller against Chris Weidman in July.

It’s likely too strong to call Machida damaged goods, but at 36 years old, the clock is ticking, and he still has considerable work to do if he means to claw his way back to the top. The middleweight division is flush with fresh title challengers at the moment. For him to once again lay claim to No. 1 contender status, he’d likely need Weidman to drop the strap or else keeping winning so impressively that it becomes impossible for UFC brass to ignore him.

Regarding the latter option, performances like this sure won’t hurt.

Machida was as much as a 6-1 favorite over Dollaway, but there was still some interest to see how the underdog fighter would respond to the step up in competition in his first UFC main event. Including a controversial split-decision loss to Tim Boetsch in Oct. 2013, Dollaway was on a roll (four wins and one loss) during the last two and a half years. A victory over Machida would’ve made his bones as an A-lister.

If the point of this matchup was to find out which of these fighters belonged in the top tier of the 185-pound division, though, The Dragon answered that question with an emphatic walk-off grand slam.

And he came out first-pitch swinging.

From the opening bell, Dollaway—who embraced his black-hat role fighting in Brazil, entering to Toby Keith’s “Made in America” and carrying the stars and stripes on his shoulder—looked to pressure Machida with a rapid-fire jab. Again and again he slapped the former champion’s lead right hand away as the two circled each other at the center of the cage.

Machida looked patient as ever, but during the fight’s first 20 seconds, he feinted with a left body kick and Dollaway visibly flinched from it. Perhaps that was all the more experienced fighter needed to see. Machida threw one inside leg kick, which Dollaway immediately answered, first with a chopping low kick of his own and then one aimed at the head.

Less then 20 seconds later, though, Machida suddenly uncorked his thudding second kick, which found a home just under Dollaway’s right elbow. Dollaway froze, a stricken look on his face, and Machida followed with punches as he slumped to the canvas near the fence. It took just a few more seconds for the referee to call things off.

“I’ll wait for the boss, Dana White, to choose who’s next,” Machida told Anik a few minutes later. “My main objective is always the belt.”

Actually, he may not have to wait at all. White may have already decided.

In the immediate aftermath of the bout, fellow middleweight contender Luke Rockhold tweeted a challenge to the UFC president, and White appeared to give his blessing.

Exactly when that fight might happen isn’t yet known, though there was some instant speculation by Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting that matchmakers could scramble to get it on February’s UFC 184 card. That event already features Weidman’s long-awaited title defense against Vitor Belfort and a presumed No. 1 contender bout between Jacare Souza and Yoel Romero.

It would amount to a quick turnaround, but given Machida’s brief night of work this weekend and Rockhold’s apparent good health after a one-sided win over Michael Bisping last month, perhaps not an impossible one.

Slating all those fights on the same card would make a 185-pound showcase out of the UFC’s third pay-per-view of 2015. It would give this division some momentum after Weidman spent the second half of 2014 on the shelf with a broken hand.

After a strange—and ultimately lopsided—pairing with Dollaway, it would also get Machida back where he belongs. 

All he needed to get there was a single kick.

Fine, maybe two. But who’s counting?

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UFC Fight Night 58 is in the books. The results are as follows:

UFC Fight Night 58 Main Card

  • Lyoto Machida def. CB Dollaway, TKO (Round 1, 1:02)
  • Renan Barao def. Mitch Gagnon, submission (Round 3, 3:53)
  • Patrick Cummins def. Antonio Carlos Junior, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Rashid Magomedov def. Elias Silverio, TKO (Round 3, 4:57)
  • Erick Silva def. Mike Rhodes, submission (Round 1, 1:15)
  • Daniel Sarafian def. Antonio dos Santos, TKO (Round 2, 1:01)

 

Prelims on Fox Sports 1

  • Marcos Rogerio de Lima def. Igor Pokrajac, TKO (Round 1, 1:59)
  • Renato Moicano def. Tom Niinimaki, submission (Round 2, 3:30)
  • Hacran Dias def. Darren Elkins, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Leandro Issa def. Ulka Sasaki, submission (Round 2, 4:13)

 

Prelims on Fight Pass

  • Tim Means def. Marcio Alexandre Jr., split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Vitor Miranda def. Jake Collier, knockout (Round 1, 4:59)

Next up? The exciting UFC 182 on January 3.

Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier are set to face off in one of the most tantalizing fights in years. Myles Jury gets to put up or shut up against Donald Cerrone. Hector Lombard gets to face the resurgent Josh Burkman…and more!

So what is worth discussing during the holidays? Find out here!

Begin Slideshow

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The end of 2014 saw the UFC close out the year in Brazil live on Fox Sports 1. The card, which was headlined by former UFC light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida and CB Dollaway, was an interesting event that saw finishes and crazy fights in various spots throughout the card.

In the main event, Machida looked to get back into title contention by taking out dark horse Dollaway. As most people expected, Machida quickly took out Dollaway with a devastating body kick and follow-up punches.

It was a win that many expected, but what did we learn from this bout? Let’s take a look in the aftermath of this UFC main event.

 

What We’ll Remember About the Fight

The accuracy of that body kick is what we’ll remember. Not only did Machida plaster Dollaway’s body with that killer body shot, but he also placed it so accurately under the defenses of his opponent.

The sound it made is also memorable. The minute it landed, it sounded like a gun went off in the arena. That’s how devastating the shot was, making it no wonder why Dollaway folded like an accordion in the aftermath.

 

What We Learned About Machida

This is really nothing new from The Dragon, who has been finishing dudes with kicks throughout his UFC career. Dollaway joins Randy Couture and Mark Munoz as guys Machida has downed with kicks in the Octagon.

We are still learning, though, that middleweight is the correct weight class for Machida. He is a good size and has shown to be successful thus far in his 185-pound campaign.

 

What We Learned About Dollaway

We learned that was too big of a step up for Dollaway. The UFC needed an opponent to headline opposite Machida on this Brazilian card, and Dollaway stepped up. However, it was in the deep end, and he couldn’t swim.

He’s a midcarder and likely always will be. This performance just reminded us of that.

 

What’s Next for Machida?

There are a ton of options for Machida going forward. Unfortunately for him, he won’t fight for the title anytime soon.

The best matchup to make is a showdown with Luke Rockhold, the former Strikeforce champion. Both men can throw down on the feet and are no slouches on the ground.

It’s a high-profile matchup that would entertain fans thoroughly.

 

What’s Next for Dollaway?

For Dollaway, a step back into the midcard is warranted. He was given a big spot in the main event and showed us basically nothing.

A bout with a fellow fighter coming off a loss in James Te Huna could serve as a good comeback fight for both men. It’s an interesting stylistic matchup that could grace the main card of a Fight Night card.

You could also stick him in there with the loser of Brad Tavares vs. Nate Marquardt. The matchup would take two top-25 fighters and have them fight to get back into the win column.

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Traveling down to Brazil to defeat fighters competing on their home turn inside the Octagon is a difficult task to accomplish, but CB Dollaway has been seemingly immune to the stigma.

On two previous occasions, The Doberman has traveled south of the equator and pulled off shocking upsets over two of Brazil’s most highly touted prospects. He was figured to get steamrolled by the likes of Daniel Sarafian and Cezar Ferreira, but the former Arizona State University wrestling standout is as game as they come inside the cage, and he derailed each prospect in impressive fashion.

While he edged out the muscle-heavy Sarafian via split decision, Dollaway snuffed out Vitor Belfort protege Mutante with a slick knockout just 39 seconds into the opening round. There was an immense amount of hype surrounding Ferreira heading into the tilt, but the Power MMA representative used his ever-improving striking to floor the Brazilian slugger and pick up the victory.

He would also go on to defeat Tristar product Francis Carmont, which made him successful in four of his last five showings in the middleweight ranks. Any time a solid stretch of that caliber is put together, a bigger name is going to come down the shoot the next time out, and for his troubles the 31-year-old Michigan native drew middleweight title challenger Lyoto Machida.

The two top-ranked middleweights were set to collide in the main event at Fight Night 58 in Barueri, Sao Paulo, Brazil on Saturday night. The Dragon came into the tilt fresh off a five-round war where he failed to dethrone champion Chris Weidman at UFC 175 back in July. A victory over Dollaway would put him right back in the thick of the hunt for another title opportunity.

That said, with the previous work Dollaway had already notched in Brazil, he was looking to add the biggest name to his resume. While the bout initially seemed to be a mismatch when announced a few months back, as the fight drew closer, the MMA community seemed to believe The Doberman might shock the Brazilian crowd once more. Yet, when the cage door closed, it was a lightning-quick assassination of sorts.

After the two fighters circled cautiously for a few moments, Machida unleashed a left body kick that landed flush on Dollaway’s rib cage and sent him reeling backward in severe pain. Once Dollaway hit the cage, Machida pounced without mercy and finished the bout in a flurry of brutality to pick up his third win in four attempts as a middleweight.

While the co-main event didn’t carry the same caliber of awkward appeal, the bout between Renan Barao and Mitch Gagnon held plenty of drama of its own. After the former bantamweight king missed weight and was pulled from his highly anticipated rematch with T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 177, The Baron came into Fight Night 58 looking to put himself right back into the title hunt at 135 pounds.

On the flip side, facing a former titleholder was the perfect platform for a hot prospect such as Gagnon to catapult himself into the next tier of the bantamweight ranks. The talented young Canadian came into Barueri on an impressive streak where he’d found victory in 10 of his last 11 showings, including a recent run where he’d notched four consecutive victories with all but one coming by way of the finish. Yet, there was no doubt Barao would be his toughest challenge to date, and it ultimately proved too tall a task for the Canadian.

While Barao didn’t dominate the surging prospect, he controlled the action throughout until he finished the fight with an arm-triangle choke midway through the final round. It was an effective, workman-like effort from the former champion, and one that will put him right back into the mix for a shot at the bantamweight title. 

Let’s take a look at the good, bad and strange from Fight Night 58.

 

The Good

Ever since Machida has been competing inside the Octagon, he’s been one of the most dangerous strikers to compete in mixed martial arts. While he had a championship run and several attempts at regaining the 205-pound strap, The Dragon made the decision in 2013 to try his hand in the middleweight ranks.

The 36-year-old Brazilian karate master was an immediate contender upon dropping down into the 185-pound fold and notched two impressive victories over top-ranked competition to earn a shot at Chris Weidman’s divisional title. Yet, while he came up short in his five-round war with The All-American at UFC 175 back in July, Machida showed a far grittier side of his skill set. Whereas he had made a career out of not getting hit and being elusive, against Weidman he was forced to dig in and engage in a dogfight against the reigning champion.

With that experience in his back pocket, Machida came into his bout with Dollaway looking to make a statement and let the UFC know he’s eager to get right back into the title hunt. And less than a minute into the bout, he landed a devastating left body kick that emphasized just how dangerous he still is. 

After the kick landed, Dollaway attempted to retreat, but Machida pounced and put his opponent away with a flurry against the cage. It was as dominant a performance as there can be between two top-level fighters, and Machida proved he’s the best sniper in the business.

Now, the bigger question comes in the form of what is next for the former light heavyweight champion. With Weidman set to face off with Vitor Belfort in early 2015, Machida is going to have to win another fight or two before he gets a crack at championship gold. Two big names floating out in the ether without opponents at the current time are Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, and either matchup would make for an exciting bout for the recent title challenger.

Staying in the theme of former champions, Barao came into Fight Night 58 needing more than just a victory over Gagnon. 

After the letdown and public humiliation he suffered after missing weight and then being pulled from his rematch with T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 177 back in August, The Baron had a lot to prove coming into his co-main event tilt on Saturday night. Questions lingered as to how the former champion would perform after suffering such a drastic setback, but the fighter once heralded as one of the pound-for-pound greats answered in definitive fashion by finishing Gagnon in the third round.

While the bout lacked the typical flash and wild offense that are expected out of a Barao fight, he worked an efficient game plan to control the fight and dictate the distance between him and his opponent. Any time Gagnon would wade in looking to throw some power in his direction, Barao would make him eat a stiff combination of counters that kept the talented young Canadian on his heels.

Once the final frame began, the Toronto native knew he needed to put Barao on the canvas, but that decision proved to be a costly one, as Barao swept position and locked on a fight-ending arm triangle that forced Gagnon to tap out.

With the victory, Barao not only put his career back on track but once again inserted himself in the heated race for a shot at the bantamweight crown. UFC President Dana White has already declared former champion Dominick Cruz as the next No. 1 contender, but with his win on Saturday night, Barao should be sitting right behind The Dominator in the grand scheme of things in the 135-pound race.

*** While he was facing an undefeated opponent in Elias Silverio at Fight Night 58, Rashid Magomedov came into Barueri with a bit of momentum of his own. The Dagestan-born lightweight had won 10 consecutive bouts coming into his tilt with the Brazilian on Saturday night, and he had every intention of keeping his streak alive.

While the first two rounds were filled with back-and-forth exchanges, Magomedov caught Silverio with a left hook late in the final round and pounded out the finish with three seconds remaining on the clock. Highlander has now won all three of his showings under the UFC banner and will get a bigger name from the lightweight ranks for his next bout. 

*** Few fighters on the welterweight roster are more exciting to watch than Erick Silva. The talented Brazilian striker has quickly built a reputation for being a fierce finisher, but after a prolonged beating at the hands of Matt Brown back in May, questioned lingered as to how he would recover. Unfortunately for newcomer Mike Rhodes, the Team Nogueira fighter rebounded with force and made things look easy, as he put the Roufusport fighter to sleep with an arm-triangle choke one minute, 15 seconds into the opening round. The victory was Silva’s second successful showing in his past three outings.

*** Every card has a good old-fashioned slugfest on the lineup, and the donnybrook at Fight Night 58 went down between Daniel Sarafian and Antonio dos Santos Jr. The two former roommates and training partners met in the center of the Octagon and set about throwing with violent intentions. While each fighter had his moments of success, the bout was ultimately a short-lived affair, as Dos Santos Jr. suffered a dislocated finger on his left hand that forced the referee to wave off the action. Dos Santos Jr. protested the stoppage, but the end result was Sarafian emerging victorious by way of TKO via doctor stoppage.

*** Although his introduction to the UFC was as a short-notice sacrifice for Daniel Cormier, Team Reign representative Patrick Cummins has been establishing some traction in the UFC light heavyweight division. He has collected three consecutive wins inside the Octagon with his latest coming on Saturday night when he ground out highly touted grappling specialist Antonio Carlos Jr.

While Shoe Face did a noble job of attempting to find openings throughout the three-round tilt, Cummins’ top pressure proved to be too much, as he picked up the unanimous-decision victory.

*** Marco Rogerio de Lima put on another impressive showing on Saturday night. The Brazilian powerhouse made short work of veteran Igor Pokrajac, as he dusted The Duke in the early goings of their tilt at Fight Night 58. Pokrajac decided to go toe-to-toe with de Lima and paid a painful price for it. With the knockout, Pezao picked up his second consecutive victory under the UFC banner and pushed his running total to six straight fights without visiting the loss column. 

*** First impressions inside the Octagon are crucial for a fighter, and Renato Moicano made the most of his UFC debut against Tom Niinimaki at Fight Night 58. While the fight had its slow moments, Moicano took over the action in the second frame as he locked on the fight-ending rear-naked choke to submit Niinimaki and pick up the victory. It was a hard-fought scrap and one that proved Moicano will be a solid addition to the featherweight ranks in the coming year. 

*** Hacran Dias came into his bout with Darren Elkins in desperate need of a victory. The Nova Uniao product had dropped back-to-back showings coming into Saturday night and needed to best the Indiana native in order to get things back on track. While there was nothing pretty about his performance, Dias outworked Elkins en route to picking up the unanimous-decision victory, which was his first win since defeating Yuri Alcantara at UFC 147 back in May of 2012. 

*** One would be hard-pressed to find a more embattled fighter than Tim Means. The Dirty Bird has a track record that includes being shot, overcoming drug addiction and spending time behind bars. Yet, the Oklahoma native has continued to press forward and is finding his footing on the sport’s biggest stage. The Albuquerque transplant edged out Marcio Alexandre Jr. on the scorecards to pick up his second win in his past three showings since returning to the UFC back in May. 

*** Before coming to mixed martial arts, Vitor Miranda was an accomplished kickboxer, and he flexed those muscles when he dusted promotional newcomer Jake Collier to kick off the action at Fight Night 58. A lot of expectations had surrounded the former RFA champion in Collier, but the Brazilian striker landed a beautiful head kick to put his opponent on the mat and then finished off the action with a flurry of punches to pick up his first UFC victory.

 

The Bad

No fighter on the card at Fight Night 58 needed a win more than Igor Pokrajac.

The Duke had failed to reach the win column in his past four showings coming into Saturday night, and he desperately needed to turn things around against heavy-handed Brazilian Marcos Rogerio de Lima. Unfortunately for Pokrajac, his woes inside the Octagon would continue as he suffered a brutal first-round knockout. While there is no exact formula to what dictates a fighter losing his spot on the UFC roster, the Croatian striker hasn’t had his hand raised inside the Octagon since defeating Fabio Maldonado back in May of 2012.

A run of that caliber will not spell good things for Pokrajac. He will most likely find himself on the outside looking in at the UFC following his poor performance on Saturday night.

 

The Strange 

Brazil is a strange environment for many reasons. In addition to the raucous crowds rallying into frenzied “death chants” for foreigners coming into their realm to face their countrymen, modern luxuries like air conditioning are not common in the country that is widely regarded as the birthplace of mixed martial arts.

While high temperatures inside Brazilian arenas have been issues that competitors have faced in the past, on Saturday night in Barueri, the fighters were forced to work at a balmy 96 degrees. That’s madness by all measurable standards, and it had to be draining for every fighter who stepped inside the Octagon. 

With a large list of events already on the docket for the upcoming 2015 schedule, hopefully the UFC can scout out several locations that already come with central air intact. 

Keeping with the theme of the year to come, Fight Night 58 marked the final event of what was a jam-packed schedule for 2014. The most prominent organization in mixed martial arts put on 45 events for fight fans around the world to enjoy. While the constant flow of live events made life hectic for those of us who make a living covering the action inside the cage, it was also a sign that the UFC’s global push is not going to slow down any time soon.

Whereas 45 events and a batch of The Ultimate Fighter tournaments laced throughout made the term “oversaturation” a common element in the dialogue of fight fans and MMA media, the busy schedule certainly kept the year moving at a rapid pace. There were several months where a fight card took place every weekend, and some where the occasional Wednesday show made it seem as if there was a new UFC event on deck at every turn. And for the most part there was, but whether that was a good or bad thing is a subjective matter.

Nevertheless, with the UFC’s recent “Time is Now” press conference and release of the tentative schedule for the year ahead, 2015 is set to have a similar feel to the year that is drawing to a close in just a few weeks. That said, whereas 2014 saw some of its biggest and high-profile fights fall apart due to injury, the UFC is putting a lot of its firepower at the front of the line to start the year. A handful of champions and challengers and the promotion’s biggest draws are slated to compete in the first two months of the new year, and if those fights come to fruition (fingers crossed) 2015 could be the biggest year for the UFC and fight fans in quite some time.

Then again, strange things happen in the chaotic realm of MMA, and I don’t want to be the one to jinx anything by expressing the rabid amount of excitement that is building up for high-caliber bouts like Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier and Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort. Those fights simply have to happen, and if they don’t, well, let’s not even pretend there’s a possibility they can’t happen.

Fight Night 58 put the cap on a 45-event run that certainly had its fair share of ups and downs, but it once again proved the biggest promotion in MMA could endure last-minute bout changes and injuries to champions.

That said, here is to hoping the dreaded injury bug goes the way of the cicada and burrows itself down into the ground for the next 17 years. 

Perhaps the strangest aspect of the event came when the UFC announced that former light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson had been re-signed and will compete under the UFC banner again in 2015. The heavy-handed veteran was last seen competing inside the cage for Bellator, but things had apparently stalled out in the transition between former CEO Bjorn Rebney and new front man Scott Coker.

Or at least it seems that way.

According to Bleacher Report’s Jeremy Botter, Jackson has a binding contract with Bellator that is still intact. Yet, he went ahead and signed with the UFC, which is surely going to cause some legal issues between the two promotions. Furthermore, it all seems strange for a fighter who put on a streak of lackluster showings where he was defeated on three consecutive occasions before being released from the UFC in 2013.

Following that move, he was signed by Bellator, where he proceeded to pick up three consecutive victories, with his most recent coming against Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal at Bellator 120 back in May. Yet, in the aftermath of his victory over the former Strikeforce champion, Jackson fell into relative limbo as he waited for his next bout to materialize…a bout that isn’t going to come under the Viacom umbrella now that he’s signed with the UFC.

Or at least he’s going to try to fight for the UFC. Contracts are ugly business, and if Viacom isn’t willing to just let Jackson go, then the former Pride veteran could expect to see far more time in the courtroom than the Octagon in 2015.

Finally, in a fantastic turn of strangeness, Fox Sports 1 just happened to lose the live feed from Brazil in the moments leading up to the co-main event between Renan Barao and Mitch Gagnon. The television cut to black, and suddenly the promo for UFC 173 hit the screen. Pre-fight snippets from Daniel Cormier and Dan Henderson hit the screen followed by quick sound bites from Renan Barao and then-challenger T.J. Dillashaw.

Needless to say, confusion reigned supreme in the Twitterverse as fight fans were left wondering if the final two fights on the card would be seen. Fortunately for both the UFC and Fox Sports 1, the feed would be recovered a minute later, and all would carry on as planned. Yet, for a live-action event to disappear into television limbo for a solid chunk of time, how could it be classified as anything other than strange?

That’s just how wacky this sport can be, folks. As a result, this category of this column nearly writes itself.

 

Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.

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Renan Barao re-established himself in the UFC bantamweight division on Saturday, defeating Mitch Gagnon late in the third round of their bout at UFC Fight Night “Machida vs. Dollaway.”

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The UFC made its final trip to Brazil for 2014 on Saturday night, pitting Lyoto Machida against CB Dollaway at UFC Fight Night 58. The event was a decent way to end the year—something to hold fans over until the massive UFC 182 happens in a couple of weeks.

Machida came out on top in the main event, landing a win that will shape the middleweight division heading into 2015. It was a single vicious kick that led to his success in a light night’s work to pick up a paycheck and set himself up to remain active at 185 pounds early in the new year.

Renan Barao also made his return in the co-main event, earning a submission win over Mitch Gagnon in front of his home fans.

Here are the winners and losers from the event.

Begin Slideshow

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Did anybody catch him?

Who?

I’m referring to the guy who shot CB Dollaway in the ribs Saturday night, obviously. All you heard was the crack, and Dollaway went down in a heap; what else could it be? All the signs were there. He didn’t even get a chance to fight Lyoto Machida; it was taken away from him by some deranged gunman who clearly got away unscathed.

Except maybe that’s not true at all.

Upon reviewing the tape of the UFC Fight Night 58 main event, there is no weaponry evident beyond Machida’s left leg moving at the speed of light and planting firmly into Dollaway’s side, doubling him over and ending the bout in seconds.

MMA will continue to wait on its own Lone Gunman theory a while longer, it appears.

It was another signature showing for Machida from start to finish: the graceful movement, the quickness and lethality of the strike, the veteran killer instinct. Even the sound of the kick landing was different than when other guys land the same kick; it just popped.

At a time when many were wondering, particularly coming off of a title shot that didn’t turn out so hot for him, whether or not the Machida era might finally be coming to an end, the 36-year-old proved such naysaying to be for naught.

He looked as good as ever in demolishing Dollaway and could surely stake a claim to a second chance at Chris Weidman with another win over a top contender early in 2015. He’s got a championship pedigree, a likely Hall of Fame legacy and the ability to provide the most unique thrills in the sport when the cage door closes. What’s not to like about that?

Machida’s drop to middleweight couldn’t have come at a better time, as it gave his career a shot in the arm at a time when it was desperately needed. He was floundering at light heavyweight, a former champion in his mid-30s with no obvious path after a very contentious loss to Phil Davis at UFC 163.

No one knew what his next move was, so like many before him, he decided to simply get a little smaller and see what came of it.

Fast-forward 18 months, and he’s crushed capable 185’ers across the board with ruthless efficiency, so much so that he’d have to be the favorite against anyone in the weight class outside of the champion, a man whom Machida already pushed further than anyone else has to this stage in his career.

In terms of things that came of it, that’s a pretty sweet turnout. Becoming the third man in UFC history to hold gold in two weight classes would be even sweeter.

MMA is a volatile game, and nothing is guaranteed to anyone, so there’s no way to map out Machida’s path from here. He’ll likely see another top contender, perhaps in a bout that serves as a title eliminator or keeps the winner within striking distance. For a little while longer, Machida‘s title dream will be alive.

One thing that is guaranteed, though? Machida is going to show up and give you something spectacular, just as he has since he began his UFC journey almost eight years ago.

The Karate Kid ain’t going anywhere, folks. He’s proven that much.

 

Follow me on Twitter @matthewjryder!

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After an ugly breakup, the UFC seems to have mended fences with former light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. It’s surprising, it’s confusing, and it’s almost certainly going to be entertaining.

It remains unclear whether or not Jackson will be able to go back to the UFC freely. According to Jeff Sherwood and C.J. Tuttle of Sherdog.com, Bellator, a rival MMA promotion, claims it still has Jackson under contract. But assuming Jackson eventually is able to return to the UFC, who could he fight?

With plenty of name brand value, a championship pedigree and what will be a great deal of hype entering the promotion, he will have his pick of the litter. There are plenty of options for him. Here are a few.

 

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has won a lot of fights in his career22 to be exact. Few of them, however, were as impressive, as emphatic or as scary as his 2005 win over Rampage. A fight between two of the last men standing from the legendary Japanese promotion makes a fair bit of sense.

Given Rua‘s recent struggles and Jackson’s “I don’t care about the belt” approach to the game these days, they are largely in line for fun fights that are ultimately irrelevant to the title picture (but still fun). That makes this a strong, nostalgia-filled fight that would work nicely as a Fight Night main event or a UFC on Fox. It could also be a potential pay-per-view co-main event.

Granted, things could get a bit odd with the timing. Between Bellator‘s likelihood to get litigious over Rampage and Shogun’s commitment to coaching on the fourth The Ultimate Fighter Brazil, their schedules might just be on diverging paths. Either way, this would be a fun one.

 

Fabio Maldonado

While Fabio Maldonado does not qualify as an aging legend in the same vein as Rampage and Shogun, Maldonado is a fighter who has gained a bit of prominence in the division. While he is by no means a star and is not championship material, he is a safe bet to put on an exciting fight. That makes him a strong candidate to face Jackson.

Maldonado is actually on a four-fight winning streak at 205 pounds (with a heavyweight loss to Stipe Miocic thrown in, just to keep things honest) and currently owns a spot in the rankings. He is most certainly deserving of a name-brand opponent, and his fan-friendly style would mix well with Rampage.

These two would combine for a serious slugfest, and that is always welcome. While the fight itself lacks the drawing power of a matchup between Jackson and Rua, it would still be deserving of a spot near the top of any given card.

 

Roy Nelson

Ol‘ Rampage has never liked cutting weight. You can’t blame him, of course, but what that ultimately means is an occasional foray to heavyweight is a serious possibility. It is worth noting, too, that he has a pre-made grudge match waiting for him opposite Roy Nelson.

Jackson and Nelson have a history that dates back to The Ultimate Fighter 10, and there were actually gears turning to make this fight happen in Bellator in 2013. While it never came to fruition, a Jackson vs. Nelson fight remains an interesting possibility if the UFC is willing to afford Jackson that freedom.

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