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Posts Tagged ‘comeback’

Vitor Belfort waited more than a year to face Chris Weidman for the middleweight belt. Well, he probably wants some of that time back right now.

While the Brazilian striker had the champ on wobbly legs for a split second during their UFC 187 bout, the deflated middleweight was unable to seal the deal.

Weidman recovered, scored a perfectly timed takedown and quickly took mount. From there, he poured on hammerfists and elbows with impunity. Belfort turtled and the ref called the fight off two minutes and 53 seconds into Round 1.

Now, it’s back to the drawing board for Belfort.

With a suddenly stacked middleweight division, there are more than a few interesting options out there for his next opponent. Here are some of the best candidates to fill that role.

 

Gegard Mousasi

If Belfort is looking for a quick turnaround, Gegard Mousasi is likely the best option available for him. Currently sitting at No. 7 in Bleacher Report’s official middleweight rankings, he is one of the few fighters who is an elite-level talent with a clear schedule.

While this pairing flies in the face of the UFC’s usual “match fighters coming off losses against one another” approach, it’s important to remember one simple thing: Mousasi isn’t Brazilian. 

With Belfort no longer being a contender, the UFC would be wise to once again employ him as its go-to headliner for Fight Night events in Brazil.

Traditionally, these cards are rife with “Brazilian vs. foreigner” fights, and Mousasi fits that bill. Sliding them into UFC 190 or attaching them to a Fox Sports 1 event in late summer or early fall would be a solid move in terms of both matchmaking and ratings.

 

Tim Kennedy

Mousasi isn’t the only top-10, non-Brazilian middleweight out there with no fight lined up and major injury to deal with. Tim Kennedy also fits that bill, and a bout with Belfort would be quite the matchup.

Kennedy has been angling for a fight with Belfort since 2013 and has never, ever been one to pull punches when it comes to discussing his controversial use of testosterone replacement therapy. The Iraq War veteran has always been a quote machine, and matching him against Belfort would generate an obscene amount of hype ahead of the bout.

With that said, it is unclear whether or not Kennedy is retired. Speaking with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour (h/t MMA Fighting) in February, Kennedy came just shy of saying he was calling it quits.

In April, however, he threw his fans a bone by challenging Lyoto Machida in Chael Sonnen-like fashion.

If Kennedy is looking to get back into the cage, he would be a perfect opponent for Belfort. As with Mousasi, a bout in the summer or fall would be ideal.

 

Costas Philippou

Whether you love or hate Belfort, there is no denying that he remains one of the biggest draws in the UFC today.

Because of that, Dana White and Co. would be wise to take steps to prolong his career, which certainly feels like it’s on shaky ground right now.

The best way to do this, of course, is by giving him an opponent who fits well with his style. Somebody with a striking background and little wrestling to speak of. Somebody who would be willing to engage him in the kind of all-stand-up fight that could allow him to score an emphatic knockout.

Somebody likeyou guessed itCostas PhilippouPhilippou is coming off a loss to Mousasi. What’s more, he has been generally struggling of late, running up a 1-3 record over his last four fights.

However, that makes him the best option for the UFC as it looks to preserve one of its cash cows.

Read more MMA news on BleacherReport.com

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MMA icon Mirko Cro Cop talks about his passion for the sport and what’s fueled his comeback to the UFC. The Croatian is set to face Gabriel Gonzaga in a rematch at Fight Night Krakow.

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Sandusky Register
Butt-kicking Booth making MMA comeback
Sandusky Register
Within seconds, the powerful noises crescendoed, as one man's strikes against a punching bag got louder, faster and fiercer. As Kyle Booth bombarded the defenseless bag with forceful vigor, the 2008 Norwalk High School graduate envisioned maintaining …

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This isn’t the first time Anthony Pettis has lost. He does have two losses under his belt, so he has proven he has been able to bounce back.

However, there is something different about this loss. Maybe it was because he was coming into the fight as a heavy favorite against an opponent whom most pundits just blew off as a simple stepping stone. And maybe it was because he was thoroughly dominated by an opponent most people underestimated.

It may be hard for those of us outside of the Pettis circle to truly know, but this loss to Rafael dos Anjos has to really sting. But for Pettis fans, the loss hits them in their guts. Dana White told Fox Sports’ Ariel Helwani (h/t MMA Mania’s Alex Schlinsky) even his son was crying after the Anthony Pettis loss.

In Sam Sheridan’s book, The Fighter’s Mind: Inside the Mental Game, American Top Team co-founder Ricardo Liborio stated:

You have to [understand] you can lose. Somebody can beat your ass; but you can overcome…it’s not your time, it’s not your day. Just because you lose doesn’t make you a loser. It’s not the same fight every time.

Sheridan also interviewed legend Pat Miletich in The Fighter’s Mind, who stated:

In this sport, nobody wins a world title undefeated. You have to lose fights to get better, honestly…A loss is sometimes just the thing to bring a guy back to earth. Some guys will be on a roll and turn into complete a——s.

Is Anthony Pettis, to paraphrase Miletich, a jerk? Certainly not. I’ve interviewed him, and he was kind enough to take a picture with me after the UFC 181 post-fight press conference. So my brief personal experiences with the guy don’t lead me to that conclusion.

But to be a fighter, you need a huge ego, or at least a ton of confidence. And after a huge win streak and hitting the stardom that Pettis has reached, it would be easy to feel like you are above it all.

Technically, this loss showcased the holes in Showtime’s fight game. Of course, the way to remedy that is to go back to the gym and fix those holes.

In the end, a devastating loss can actually benefit a fighter, because it forces him to improve and become better. It creates more hunger, and we may even see a better, more entertaining Anthony Pettis because of it.

The final piece that could create a comeback: team.

Despite combat sports being an individual effort, it definitely takes a team to prepare for a fight. Coaches, sparring partners and even family and friends are a necessary part of being a fighter. There’s a lot of emotion that goes into the lead-up to a fight. And cutting weight surely isn’t fun, so it’s nice to have a strong support system there.

In our society, where we value the win, it is the loss where we can examine a fighter’s true character. Pettis is a world-class fighter, and with his support system at Roufusport, we are bound to see a better Anthony Pettis next time around.

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Anthony Pettis is one of the best lightweights in the history of mixed martial arts.

This was hardly in doubt even before Pettis faced Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of UFC 185. His ability to finish the tough and durable top contenders in his division made him one of the UFC’s brightest shining stars, a potential massive pay-per-view draw.

But injuries have derailed Pettis in recent years, preventing him from obtaining the kind of exposure that could increase his own personal brand. A recent change in his training methods, dialing back both the intensity and length of his training sessions and nearly eliminating weight training on days he sparred with a live opponent, helped keep him healthy and prepared to return to the Octagon just four months after his last fight.

Pettis brought a four-fight finishing streak into the Octagon, which is nearly unprecedented in UFC championship bouts. And he went into the fight as a significant favorite over dos Anjos, who was seen by most as mere fodder in Pettis‘ title reign.

But mixed martial arts is a cruel and often fickle beast. Instead of a glorious finish and another title defense, Pettis was instead beaten and battered by dos Anjos for five rounds.

The official decision was a foregone conclusion when it came: Dos Anjos had won all five rounds, and none of them were close.

In terms of fighting output, Pettis barely made a blip on the radar. Dos Anjos controlled the center of the Octagon with 100 precent efficiency. He brutalized Pettis in the striking department, especially against the wall of the cage. And he took the now-former champion down at will and controlled him with authority on the ground. Pettis simply had no answer for anything dos Anjos offered.

And what dos Anjos offered is incredible. The man who lost to the ageless Gleison Tibau at UFC 139 is nowhere to be found. Under the tutelage of Rafael Cordeiro, dos Anjos‘ striking game has improved dramatically. He throws with power. His defense is superb. His ground game has never lacked. And he showed all of it against Pettis, who was left resorting to the kind of post-fight excuses one expects when a champion loses to someone he did not expect to lose it. Pettis said his eye was hurt in the first round and that he could not see anything from that point forward.

And while that may be true, dos Anjos‘ manager Ali Abdel-Aziz said after the fight that the new champion tore his MCL three weeks ago.

Injury or no injury, dos Anjos appeared to be a world-beater. He demolished Pettis with the kind of one-sided authority rarely seen in UFC title fights. In doing so, he became 2015’s version of T.J. Dillashaw, a massive underdog who captured the bantamweight title by beating Renan Barao last year. Dos Anjos did not get the finish, as Dillashaw did, but he was no less effective.

And now, dos Anjos will face a murderer’s row of title challengers. Pettis will be waiting in the wings; the UFC has invested too much in him for him to be kept away from the title picture for long. Khabib Nurmagomedov will face Donald Cerrone in May to determine the first challenger for dos Anjos. He has faced each of them before. He beat Cerrone and lost to Nurmagomedov.

But given the dramatic and visceral improvements he has shown since both of those fights, well, it’s not a given that he’ll be a one-and-done champion.

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It’s a long shot. Anything involving Brock Lesnar and MMA is a long shot. But stranger things have happened, and it sounds like Frank Mir is ready to get strange.

After knocking out fellow heavyweight Antonio Silva in the first round of Sunday night’s UFC Fight Night 61 main event, Mir said at the post-fight news conference that he would “absolutely” be open to a rubber match.

“Absolutely, I think it would be a huge, big fight, and I think it would put my name even higher up. I think a rubber match between the two of us would be a phenomenal fight,” Mir said at the presser (h/t Fox Sports). “To keep that anywhere in the works, I had to get a win tonight.”

Lesnar is now ensconced back in pro wrestling, but as most fans know, money talks, and it has a big megaphone for Lesnar‘s ears. A third match between Lesnar and Mir—one of only three men to beat him in pro MMA and easily the one with whom he formed his bitterest MMA rivalry—would put up excellent numbers at the pay-per-view box office.

 

 

However, in terms of absolute value, it makes sense for the 35-year-old Mir (17-9) to use whatever fighting energy he has left to earn other “fun” fights in the UFC. The company could also use his big name and championship pedigree to help test and promote up-and-comers in the division. 

But it’s clear that doesn’t hold the same appeal for Mir, and probably wouldn’t for the UFC, which could certainly use a pay-per-view bonanza like the ones reaped in by the first two Mir-Lesnar bouts.

Back in 2008, Mir used a surprise kneebar to submit Lesnar and pull off the improbable victory.

Between this and the 2009 rematch—which was for the UFC heavyweight title and was the main event of UFC 100—Mir and Lesnar engaged in a nonstop war of words, with an angry Lesnar growing more and more frothy over Mir’s smirking taunts. Mir clearly viewed Lesnar as an inferior intellect inside the cage, but Lesnar won the rematch and the title by TKO. 

It’s unknown whether a rubber match is actually viable. But Mir’s success over Silva and his subsequent comments certainly kept the spark of hope alive for the many fans who would pay money to see such an event.

Read more MMA news on BleacherReport.com

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Efrain Escudero 'inspired' by Robbie Lawler's comeback story
MMA Fighting
The UFC released him and The MMA Lab product bounced around for the next year-plus before getting a second opportunity after beating Cesar Avila in Bellator. In his second run with the UFC, Escudero lost two in a row and was cut once again. The Mexico …

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FightLine.com
GSP on Silva, drug testing … comeback?
ESPN (blog)
St-Pierre, 33, says he is not close to announcing a return to professional fighting, however, due largely to what he believes to be the rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs in mixed martial arts — and a broken system in place to fix it. "That's
UFC: Report of pay withheld from Anderson Silva after drug test failure 'not true'MMAjunkie.com
Firas Zahabi compares Anderson Silva to Lance Armstrong, says someone will MMA Fighting
Georges St-Pierre Speaks Out On Drug Use In MMA: "Going To Get Worse"FightLine.com
The Roar –Canada.com
all 90 news articles »

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UFC 183 results: Emotional Anderson Silva defeats Nick Diaz in comeback fight
MMA Fighting
When Anderson Silva was announced as the winner of his UFC 183 main event against Nick Diaz on Saturday night, one of the most fearsome killers the sport of mixed martial arts has even seen dropped to the mat and began sobbing uncontrollably.

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No one can ever question Miesha Tate’s heart.

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