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Posts Tagged ‘future’

They say styles make fights.

I’ll be honest and tell you that I don’t know the origin of that phrase. What I will tell you, however, is that whoever pulled that one out of thin air was a very smart person.

It’s as true a statement as there ever was.

That will come as little consolation for Renan Barao. The man the UFC tried to build up as the second coming of Anderson Silva—leapfrogging him right over Jon Jones and Jose Aldo in the interest of selling a pay-per-view—has run into the man who he probably cannot beat without a drastic overhaul of his own personal fighting style.

TJ Dillashaw, a ridiculously driven and competitive man from Angel’s Camp, California, is the man Barao simply cannot overcome. Barao is an excellent fighter with many great skills. He is likely the world’s third-best bantamweight, even after his one-sided loss to Dillashaw on network television Saturday night.

But even with all that skill, he simply cannot compete with Dillashaw, and there is a reason why: He’ll never overcome Dillashaw’s style.

Barao is plodding and thunderous. He is mostly flat-footed, planting himself in preparation for huge punches and kicks. But the problem here, as it was in the first fight, is that when Barao plants himself to strike, Dillashaw is already gone, slipping off to the right or the left, unleashing devastating punches of his own.

Joe Rogan noted that Dillashaw might be the future of mixed martial arts. What he meant is that fighters do not need to stand in front of their opponents, waiting to get hit. They can use angles and head movement and footwork. They can create confusion.

And yet, so few of them do.

Dillashaw, co-opting generously from former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, has created a style that is difficult to deal with. For Barao, it is downright impossible. Especially when you throw in the fact that Dillashaw trains relentlessly and with some of the best his division has to offer. On Saturday night, Barao was spent halfway through the second round. Dillashaw? He looked like he could go another 10 rounds.

Only, it didn’t take 10 rounds. Didn’t even take five. Barao barely survived the third round. When he came out for the fourth, Dillashaw gave him a high-five and a word of encouragement.

“Good job, dude,” Dillashaw told Barao.

And then Dillashaw quickly backed the exhausted and battered Barao against the Octagon. From there, it was over, as Dillashaw threw relentless straight punches until Barao nearly crumpled. He was saved by referee Herb Dean.

Over the course of just over eight rounds, Barao has taken a life-altering beating from Dillashaw. His career may never be the same. And again, barring a complete revamp of the style he has learned over the course of 10 years of competition, Barao has almost no chance of ever beating Dillashaw. A move to featherweight is likely in the cards for him, and if it is not, it should be.

From here, there is only one true interesting fight for Dillashaw. It’s not Raphael Assuncao, who owns a very close decision win over the reigning champion. I actually thought Dillashaw won that fight, and given how drastically the champion has improved even over the past year, Assuncao has very little chance of winning a rematch.

The only man that should be next for Dillashaw is Cruz. As long as the former champ is able to work his way back to the Octagon in healthy fashion, that’s likely the next title defense for Dillashaw.

And what a thing of beauty it will be! Dillashaw, who has adopted a style that won him the championship gold and then helped cement it, facing off in the cage against the very man who created it.

Cruz has dominated Alpha Male fighters over the years. He has mocked them, tormented them and then defeated him. He has been their white whale, the annoying thorn in their side who always seems to overcome them even when they are the best they’ve ever been.

In Dillashaw, he may have finally met the man he cannot beat. But there’s only one way to find out. And I hope we get it soon, because it’s a fight for the ages.

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Frank Mir

A potential matchup between a resurging Mir and a returning Fedor has MMA fans salivating.

View full post on Yahoo Sports – Mixed Martial Arts News

In terms of excitement in MMA, especially when it comes to strikers, there are few who match the pure adrenaline rush and aesthetically pleasing style of Britain’s Paul Daley.

Daley, who now competes for Bellator, is one of their top welterweights on the roster. The brash Brit has had just one fights since returning, but he already finds himself in a high-profile spot with the company.

In fact, Bellator is so invested in Daley, they already have him scheduled multiple times. Not only will he be fighting this weekend at Bellator 140 in an MMA bout, but they already are banking on him performing in a kickboxing match for the Bellator-Glory co-promoted event.

For Daley, taking a kickboxing match is nothing new. The Brit has been taking kickboxing bouts for a long time and has even been taking them between MMA fights during his time post-UFC and pre-Bellator.

“I’ve spent a long time training kickboxing, so nothing has really changed in my training,” Daley explained in an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report. “I would love to do both, but my contract isn’t structured in a way that allows me to split time. If an opportunity arose for me to fight for a Glory title, I would love to take that chance as well.”

Daley’s return to Bellator saw him fight Andre Santos, a respected Brazilian mixed martial artist. That said, many fans viewed it as a “gimme” bout for Daley, setting him up for a showdown with champion Douglas Lima in the aftermath.

What ensued was an interesting bout. Daley was unable to finish Santos, though he did win the bout. Daley, however, was not impressed by his own performance, explaining in his post-fight interview that he did not want a title fight for his next bout.

Fans were surprised at his response to a win, expecting that he’d be the next man for Lima. Daley points out, in retrospect, his reasoning for all of that.

“I was really disappointed with my performance in my last fight, to be honest,” Daley confessed. “I take pride in my fights and finishing, so not finishing felt like I lost. Looking back, it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it was. It was actually quite exciting and the fans were entertained, so what I really did was look at that fight to look for technical mistakes.”

Moving forward, Daley takes a fight this weekend at Bellator 140 in Connecticut against east coast MMA veteran Dennis Olson. It’s another set-up fight for Daley, who many believe is still making a beeline toward a title shot.

While Daley is a knockout artist, Olson is a grappler who has won most of his fights via submission. It’s your classic striker-versus-grappler matchup, so Daley plans to stay off the mat against Olson in an attempt to wreck him with his powerful punches and kicks.

“This is a tough fight, he’s gonna come out and try to wrestle me,” Daley pointed out. “He’s gonna fight better than he’s ever fought because this is a huge opportunity for him. People will be entertained by this fight, no doubt.”

If you’re not new to the scene, you know Daley’s personality. He is very entertaining on the microphone and not afraid to make call-outs.

Many times, using your mouth can get you better opportunities. Just look at Chael Sonnen, Conor McGregor and Bethe Correia.

For Daley, a win this weekend doesn’t necessarily mean he will use verbal bullets to get a shot at the title.

“I am sure Douglas Lima will call me out if he wins, but I won’t be calling him out. I’m in a position where everybody is coming after me anyways, so there are a ton of fights available for me.”

In Daley’s eyes, though, the biggest fight for him moving forward isn’t a title fight. In fact, the biggest fight he can earn at this point is against a former adversary.

That adversary is Josh Koscheck.

The two met at UFC 113 in an infamous bout that remains a black mark on Daley’s career.

The bout, which was during Koscheck’s rapid ascension toward the UFC title picture, saw the American stifle Daley for three rounds using wrestling. When the final bell rang, Koscheck walked away, but he was socked by a frustrated Daley.

It got Daley cut by the UFC, and he’s never been back. It was an embarrassing moment for Daley, but something that can lead to a big-money bout in Bellator now, especially since there is still heat between the two.

“The fight with Josh Koscheck will happen, it’s up when Spike TV and Bellator want it to happen. I’m ready whenever. We can fight next week, it doesn’t matter to me.”

“I think I will end 2015 with either the Koscheck fight or a title fight. If it’s the Koscheck fight, I will end the year a hero because I will rid the MMA world of an annoying punk. I’m surprised he didn’t retire after his UFC run, but I will retire him. He sees Bellator as a retirement plan to store away some extra dollars, but I will rip his head off in the cage.”

Daley seems to have things planned out for the rest of the year and moving forward. He always has one eye on his current task and one eye on the future.

That’s why you should expect even bigger things to come from the man they call “Semtex.”

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The UFC’s new Reebok era did not get off to the best of starts.

The backlash began with the perception that fighters would be losing out on the kind of pay they used to get from individual sponsorships for their fights. Fans and fighters were vocal, with many expressing their displeasure in having that extra revenue stream taken away without so much as a discussion.

And then came the official launch day for the new UFC Fight Kit.

A few weeks ago in New York City, Reebok and the UFC held a PR event to reveal the kits for the first time. Reaction on social media was swift and brutal; the darkly-lit runway event did the uniforms no favors. Instead of featuring a bit of individuality, the kits were all the same, meaning every fighter who steps in the Octagon wearing them would look pretty much identical.

But the biggest snafu of the launch came when the kits appeared on Reebok’s e-commerce website. Many fighters’ names were misspelled; the legend of “Giblert Melendez” will live on as an MMA meme for many years to come. Others had the wrong name entirely. In some instances fighters’ birth names were used instead of the names they’ve come to be known by.

Michael Lunardelli, the senior business director of Reebok’s new Combat Training department, said the mistakes were unfortunate.

“It’s our fault on that. However, people don’t realize that nothing was printed. Nothing was produced,” Lunardelli told Bleacher Report. “None of that is real. It’s print on demand. It’s a rendering based on the fighter’s name you choose from the drop-down box.”

That may come as sad news to fans who wanted to own their own Giblert Melendez kit. Lunardelli said the mistakes came during the process of obtaining the roster list from the UFC.

“There’s a process with all leagues. You get the roster from the league. There’s a process to vet that out with the fighters. And then it’s transmitted over to us,” he said. “There was a problem in the transmission to get that over to us. We’re working with the UFC to make sure we get them all fixed. I would say 500 of the 580 have been loaded in, and the remaining ones will be fixed by the end of the weekend.”

Social media makes it infinitely easier for mistakes like the ones posted to Reebok’s site to spread around the world. And spread they did, compounding the frustration felt by the low fighter-sponsorship payouts due to the deal. Reebok was mocked endlessly for the mistakes, but Lunardelli shrugged off the criticism.

“In any license deal, there’s always going to be mistakes made at some point in time,” he said.

The UFC Fight Kits made their first in-cage appearance at UFC 189 on Saturday, but they were also being sold at the new-look Fan Expo the day before. Many (myself included) wondered if fans would gravitate to the new uniforms or at least gravitate to them enough to fork over the $80 required to purchase one. But looking around the Expo on Friday afternoon, it was evident that at least a portion of the fanbase were buying them. The overwhelming majority were Georges St-Pierre and Conor McGregor jerseys. But they were buying them, and they were wearing them.

Lunardelli said the plan is to take a page from soccer and change the kit’s design. Reebok won’t do it as often as professional soccer clubs, which usually debut new variations prior to every season. Lunardelli said they don’t want to take that stance, because they don’t want to force people to buy an $80 shirt only to have it rendered obsolete a few months later.

“We’ll probably have this kit for three seasons. We’ll probably have it from now through fall/winter 2016, and then early 2017 we’ll look at coming out with another design,” he said. “We may make a decision to not change it until fall/winter 2017. But certainly during that year, we’re going to change the kits. We’ll do another big launch, and it’ll be great.”

Another criticism of the kits: the giant UFC logo splashed across the front, with the fighter’s name shuffled to the back of the shirt. Lunardelli said that Reebok felt the major story of this new product launch was the UFC and the way it is “elevating the sport,” and so the decision was made to put the emphasis on the UFC logo for the launch.

“We thought the story of the UFC was more important to tell on the shirt,” he said. “But that’s not what they wear into the Octagon. They’re wearing shorts. The big read on the shorts is the fighter’s name, and then there’s a small UFC logo and a small Reebok logo. So the plan for what they are performing in the Octagon is the fighter’s name. We did put fighters first.”

Lunardelli has heard the criticism. But it’s the kind of criticism that comes with all major changes, and this was a profound change to the way the UFC is presented. Such a change comes with growing pains, often right out of the gate.

But he said that his company is commited to the growth of the UFC and to mixed martial arts in general, and he believes that over time, fans will begin to see that Reebok’s intentions are genuine and that the company is in for the long haul.

“I have confidence that over time, that ground swell will change,” he said.


Jeremy Botter covers mixed martial arts for Bleacher Report.

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Dan Weichel isn’t just fighting for a title at Bellator 138. He is fighting for his sport.

Weichel, you see, is the best mixed martial artist in Germany, a country where mixed martial arts is only barely legal. Germany has actively worked against MMA in years past, with the sport being kept off national TV for a long while and children being barred from attending live events. Politicians have only recently begun thawing to the idea of cagefighting, which creates both danger and opportunity for Weichel.

Set to face Patricio Freire for the featherweight belt, he has the chance to elevate the sport in his home country by becoming the first German to capture the title of a major promotion. Weichel took the time to speak with Bleacher Report about his past, present and future in combat sports and what this fight means to him.

How did you first get into martial arts?

At first, I was inspired by martial arts movies like Bloodsport and Bruce Lee movies, and I was always fascinated by the technique and the sport. I kept asking my parents if I could start doing martial arts, and one day I saw a poster in my school for beginner classes, and I asked if I could do it.

Finally, they sent me over there. From the first moment I set foot on the mats, I knew this would be my life.

And how old were you when you first started training?

Thirteen when I started martial arts. Jiu-jitsu I started about one year later. A friend of mine was training there, and he invited me to a class, and it was a real passion for me. I really loved it.

Tell me about your early days in MMA. How did you get into it? Where were you fighting? What was the environment like for you at the time?

I was training more jiu-jitsu than anything else. I was not really training in wrestling or striking very much. I started to compete at amateur Shooto in Holland…and after that, they asked me if I wanted a pro fight and started my career with Shooto Holland. From there on, I went into qualification fights to fight in Japan, and I flew over from there, and then I started fighting all over Europe in European Vale Tudo in Sweden and Cage Warriors in England, and I just kept going.

When Bellator announced that they were getting away from tournaments, given that you won a tournament in 2014, how did you feel about that? And how was it taking another non-title fight against Pat Curran?

I felt they were going in the right direction, and they’re doing a great job promoting shows now. I’m very glad I got to have the experience of fighting in a tournament. It was a really intense experience in my life and career. I’m very happy I was there.

Fighting Pat Curran was a very big fight for me. He’s a former champ and has a very good resume with Bellator, and he’s one of the best featherweights in the world, and that’s one of the guys I wanted to compete with. I’m very happy that it got me that title shot right now.

How do you think you match up against Patricio Freire at this point?

I think I match up perfectly with Patricio. My team and I have worked on the perfect game plan, and I feel so comfortable right now. The last three or four weeks, I’ve felt ready. I feel great with our game plan, my body moves the way I want it to move, I feel no flaws in the techniques I’m trying to do. I think it’s a good matchup, and it should be a hell of a fight.

In general, how is MMA looked at in Germany right now? When the UFC first went there, it was banned from television, and children were barred from entering the arenas. Has it changed much? And how does it effect you? (Note: the TV ban was lifted earlier this year.)

The MMA scene is slowly growing in Germany, I would say. Right now, it’s not at all on TV, and that makes it hard to show people what MMA is all about. They just hear about it or see things on the internet, so they don’t really get MMA. But I also see through social media that MMA keeps growing, and more and more people are talking to me on the streets saying, “Oh, I saw you fighting in the United States on the internet,” and that’s really nice.

Still, for most people, I have to explain what MMA is all about, especially the ground fighting. They’re not used to jiu-jitsu, and they don’t understand why people can punch on the ground. They don’t understand that the person on the bottom can finish fights with submission techniques. It’s a lack of understanding. If it was on TV, it would be awesome for the German MMA scene.

Do you feel like that adds a bit of pressure to your fight? When I spoke with Chan-Sung Jung ahead of his UFC featherweight title fight, he said that he wanted to be the guy to make MMA mainstream in Korea. Are you feeling that way?

I don’t feel pressure. I feel excited for that. I feel excited that I can be the person to make MMA more popular in Germany. I don’t feel pressure, I just feel happy about that. I take that positive energy with me into the fight.

Switching gears, how does fighting in America feel for you in terms of jet lag? How do you deal with long travel before a fight?

We basically fly over a week before the fight. I feel good with that. Traveling is always a little bit stressful, but normally when I arrive I normally get a good sleep, and the next day is just a normal day. I start my training routine with my coaches. It’s harder when I travel back than when I travel to the states.

What has been the toughest fight in Bellator thus far?

I would say Pat Curran, definitely. I felt if, for one second, I had a lack of concentration, he would take advantage. In the second round, for one moment, I lost my concentration, and he took me down. I wasn’t expecting it that moment. I felt like I had to keep my concentration very high to win that fight, and so it was a very tough one. I knew for every moment and every second of that fight, he was dangerous. That was a tough fight for me.

I have to say, when I fought in Salt Lake City with Matt Bessette, that was a very tough fight for me as well. I underestimated the high altitude, and I had to fight through the conditions and fight against myself. It was a different kind of fight for me.

Pat Curran is obviously a very different fighter from Patricio Freire. Are you more confident heading into this fight than you were then?

I definitely think they’re two completely different styles. Pitbull is way shorter than Curran is, but he is more explosive and moves forward and mixes things up. But I’m ready for that. I think I know what kind of fighter I’m facing right now, and I’m ready.

How do you think the fight is going to pan out?

This fight can go anywhere. He’s a complete fighter, I’m a complete fighter and it’s all about who mixes things up better and who has more heart that night. This fight will be a pure war, anywhere. Striking, wrestling and on the ground. For MMA fans, this is a fight to watch.


 All quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report unless otherwise noted.

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Henry Cejudo entered MMA with well-deserved fanfare. After all, he is a former Olympic gold medalist. But is he the future of the 125-pound division?


Cejudo is immensely talented. We need not talk about his outstanding wrestling credentials, and he has solid boxing with knockout power. He has all the tools to become the champion of this division, but he’s not the future.

He is 28 years old. He is not a spring chicken. When we discuss fighters being the future of a division we are talking about young guns who will start a new era. Georges St. Pierre was the future of the welterweight division, and he fulfilled that prophecy. Cejudo is not the future at flyweight.

The biggest reason he is not the future of the division is that Demetrious Johnson is far and beyond Cejudo technique-wise. Mighty Mouse is lightning fast, a stellar striker, and possesses astonishing level changes and underrated jiu-jitsu. He is the complete package. He is the prototype for future mixed martial arts fighters—Cejudo is not.

Cejudo has great skills, and those skills could see him topple Johnson in the future. But as an all-around fighter, he isn’t there yet. He is not who everyone will point to as the example; Johnson is. Everything Johnson does is textbook for MMA. Cejudo has individual skills that can be broken down on tape to show the future fighters coming up through the ranks, but you wouldn’t show a full Cejudo fight as a picture of perfection.

On top of that, Cejudo has been slightly unprofessional in his short MMA career. He has missed weight on several occasions trying to make flyweight. He finally successfully did it at UFC 185, but can someone really be the future if he continues to have issues making the classification? He isn’t getting younger, and the weight will only become more difficult to shed.

Cejudo is still making strides in his career. His two UFC wins were dominant performances, but they weren’t dynamic. He will meet Chico Camus at UFC 188 in another fight he should dominate. It is a question of how much growth we will see.

Additionally, the gold medalist hasn’t had a finish to his credit since 2013. His past four wins have all come by decision.

We still need to see much more from Cejudo before anointing him.

The others contenders, John Dodson and Joseph Benavidez, would be stiff tests for Cejudo. He has yet to take on the elites of this division. The dynamic athletes in the upper echelon of 125 could bring Cejudo‘s stock crashing back to Earth, or he could prove he is worthy of all the gold he wears in his fights. We see the raw talents and are enamored with his pedigree, but we honestly haven’t seen him prove enough to call him the future.

Time will tell.

Cejudo should win his fight at UFC 188. He is an elite talent, and could be fighting for the title sooner than later. But he is not the future of this division or the sport. He is simply another outstanding talent we get to enjoy.

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  • Brazilian Judge Bans Kids From Attending UFC 190 Tonight In Rio de Janeiro
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil judge Pedro Henrique Alves issued a ruling on Friday that bans anyone under the age of 14 from attending the UFC 190 event in the city tonight at the HSBC Arena. The UFC announced on Saturday that the promotion "regrets the decision and agrees to refund the amount paid for the […]
  • Porn Industry Cashes In On Ronda Rousey’s Popularity With Hardcore Parody Film
    If it wasn't obvious enough that Ronda Rousey's popularity reaches far beyond the fight world, more proof has surfaced in the form of a hardcore porn parody film dedicated to "Rowdy" Ronda. According to TMZ Sports, Joanna Angel is directing an adult film adaptation on the undefeated UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion. The role of Rousey […]
  • Ronda Rousey Dedicates UFC 190 Fight To The Late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
    UFC 190 takes place tonight with UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey taking on Bethe Correia and the rivalry between the two has become personal. Following the passing of WWE Hall of Famer "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Ronda has taken to her Instagram page, posted a photo of Piper and dedicated the fight to him. Ronda […]
  • Video: UFC 190: Rousey vs. Correia Weigh-In Results
    The official weigh-ins for Saturday's UFC 190: Rousey vs. Correia pay-per-view event took place on Friday. Below are the official numbers for Saturday's show at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. MAIN CARD (PPV- 10 PM ET/7 PM PT): Ronda Rousey (135) vs. Bethe Correia (134) - UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship Mauricio Rua […]
  • Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit For Welterweight Title Set For UFC 193
    Following his brutal, epic title defense against Rory MacDonald at UFC 189, Robbie Lawler has already agreed to his next title defense. In what has all the makings to be another classic contest, Lawler will defend his UFC Welterweight Championship against Carlos Condit at UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia. Also scheduled for the show is […]
  • Miesha Tate Talks About UFC On FOX Wardrobe Malfunction
    Last week's UFC On FOX event featured Elizabeth Phillips experiencing somewhat of a wardrobe malfunction during her fight with Jessamyn Duke. Top ranked contender Miesha Tate said she took extra precautions to prevent the same thing from happening to her. "I doubled up after I saw that," Tate said to MMAJunkie Radio. "I didn't see […]
  • Tito Ortiz Supports Hulk Hogan After Racism Controversy
    Following racism controversy, WWE has been scrubbing all memories of Hulk Hogan from existence, a situation that UFC Hall Of Famer Tito Ortiz claims he can relate to. Hogan, who was released from WWE after audio tapes leaked that included him saying multiple outright racist comments, received support from a fellow legend in "The Huntington […]
  • Andrei Arlovski vs. Frank Mir Expected At UFC 191 In September
    On this week's edition of UFC Tonight, an exciting Heavyweight tilt between two of the most decorated fighters on the UFC roster was announced. According to UFC Tonight's Ariel Helwani, former UFC Heavyweight Champions Andrei Arlovski and Frank Mir are scheduled to meet at UFC 191. It's worth noting that the fight is not officially […]
  • Tito Ortiz Predicts UFC Will “Crumble From Inside”
    Following the controversial Reebok deal and the much-talked about firing of veteran cut man Jacob "Stitch" Duran, Tito Ortiz has resurfaced to throw additional fuel on the fire. Ortiz, a UFC Hall Of Famer, spoke out at the Bellator: Dynamite media day about his former MMA fighting home. "It's just a matter of time," Ortiz […]
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