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Posts Tagged ‘Welterweight’

Jesse Taylor and Joe Ray have joined BattleGrounds MMA’s one-night, eight-man welterweight tournament on Oct. 3.

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First there was Matt Hughes, who had two stints as the UFC’s welterweight champion for a total of 1,577 days. 

He clobbered opponent after opponent as he became the first great welterweight champion of the modern UFC era. 

Then there was Georges St-Pierre, who, like Hughes, had multiple stints as the welterweight king. St-Pierre absolutely dominated a majority of his opponents en route to surpassing Hughes as the longest-reigning welterweight champion to ever be. His 2,204 total days as champion stand second to only one other UFC champion—Anderson Silva.

Hughes eventually fell victim to Father Time, while St-Pierre fell victim to his own personal vices as he vacated the welterweight throne after a controversial victory over incumbent champion Johny Hendricks. 

Like St-Pierre, Hendricks stands before a tall task ahead—he must attempt to fill the shoes of one of the most dominating champions the sport, let alone the division, has ever seen. 

The question on everybody’s mind: Can he be as dominant as the champions before him?

The answer: Probably not. 

It’s probably important I mention that this notion has less to do with Hendricks’ skills as a fighter—because he’s obviously capable of standing toe-to-toe with the best of them—but more to do with the idea that the current crop of challengers is far superior to those who challenged his predecessors. 

Waiting in the wings is Robbie Lawler, whom Hendricks narrowly defeated upon earning the title at UFC 171 in March. After decisively defeating Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown in his next two fights, Lawler stands as the first man who will try to unclasp Hendricks’ grip from the crown—a difficult task for the champion.

Likely to come after Lawler is Rory MacDonald, who is finally comfortable with taking aim at the throne now that training partner St-Pierre is enjoying his vacation. Unlike Lawler, who possesses one-punch knockout power and an uncanny thirst for a bonus-warranting brawl, MacDonald would likely forgo any sort of bonuses so long as he sees his hand raised in the end. He’s long, crafty and willing to compromise excitement. 

Next is Tyron Woodley, who, save for two sleep-inducing performances against Jake Shields and MacDonald, has shown he’s capable of duking it out with the UFC’s best. Depending on which version Woodley decides to show up in any hypothetical matchups against the champion, this could be a difficult task for the champion. 

Then there’s Carlos Condit, Hector Lombard, Brown, Kelvin Gastelum, Gunnar Nelson and Ryan LaFlare—all of whom could prove a difficult task for the champion if he chooses to go 70 percent against any one of them, much like he claimed he did against St-Pierre in his first attempt at the title. 

And what if St-Pierre decides to mend his torn ACL and return to competition? Who’s to say the former champion won’t have a chip on his shoulder and place a firm target on Hendricks’ back as he makes for a third run at his rightful throne? Yes, his last victory was controversial, but would it be so hard to concede much of the detracting arguments and believe him when he said he had a lot going on in his life? It certainly wasn’t the St-Pierre that most of us were used to seeing. The St-Pierre we knew would certainly be a difficult task for the champion. 

Maybe, just maybe Hendricks manages to get past all of his soon-to-be foes. But maybe he doesn’t. Only time will tell. 


Kristian Ibarra is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. He also serves as the sports editor at San Diego State University’s student-run newspaper, The Daily Aztec. Follow him on Twitter at @Kristian_Ibarra for all things MMA. 

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Former Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren steamrolled Nobutatsu Suzuki at ONE FC: Reign of Champions minutes ago, taking just a minute-and-a-half to score a TKO victory and capture championship gold. 

After the former Olympic-level wrestler scored a takedown seconds into the bout, Askren had no problem maintaining top position before unleashing about 30 seconds of vicious ground-and-pound. 

The referee stoppage, which can be viewed here in GIF form courtesy of Zombie Prophet, appeared to be a late one, as Suzuki offered no resistance other than trying to protect his face with his arms. 

With the victory, “Funky” improved his unbeaten record to 14-0, scoring finishes in his last four matchups

Suzuki is now just 2-2 in his past four contests with the quick defeat to Askren, winning the inaugural ONE FC welterweight title against Brock Larson back in March. 

Askren was released from his Bellator contract back in November and seemed to be a shoo-in to sign with the UFC, as MMA Junkie reported.

However, UFC President Dana White said he didn’t think Askren was a great draw (per MMA Fighting) for his welterweight division, so Askren opted for a two-year, six-fight ONE FC Contract instead, per Yahoo Sports

ONE FC did not immediately announce what its upcoming plans are for Askren, though the promotion’s newest title-holder has fought only twice this year and took essentially no damage in either fight.

He made his ONE FC debut in May, submitting Bakhtiyar Abbasov with an arm-triangle choke in the bout’s opening frame.


John Heinis is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA editor for

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Ben Askren may feel like the kid that is always picked last for kick ball back in elementary school. The undefeated, two-time collegiate national champion has the resume that should be more than enough to have landed him a contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Instead, the Wisconsin native is still competing outside of the Octagon. As he prepares for an opportunity to earn the second welterweight title of his career at ONE FC 19, Askren still stands as one of the most prominent names in the sport to have yet to compete in the Octagon.

Five years into his MMA career, Askren has been able to defeat every opponent that has been placed in his way. Ben is perhaps one of the best pure wrestlers that the sport of MMA has seen and his style does not apologize for such. Unfortunately for Askren, the way he wins bouts has not done him the biggest of favors when it comes to making fans in the sport. Even his former boss, Bjorn Rebney of Bellator, tried to undercut his former champion’s skills when it was clear that Askren was not returning to the promotion.

“What I was trying to say about Ben is what I’ve always said about Ben,” Rebney said to Mark La Monica of Newsday. “He is ridiculously one-dimensional. He just happens to be better at that one dimension than potentially anyone on Earth.”

These comments came after Askren decided not to sign with Bellator and pursue other opportunities that were available in the sport. In an interview with Steph Daniels of Bloody Elbow, Askren mentioned that he had multiple deals in place and after being unable to get a contract complete with the UFC he choose the most lucrative offer that was in front of him (via Bloody Elbow). However, comments from UFC President Dana White gave the impression that the interest in signing Askren may not have been as high as some would have expected coming out of Bellator.

“It doesn’t change anything,” White said to Steven Marrocco of MMA Junkie when asked of the UFC’s interest in Askren. “(We have) no interest. I’m sure (World Series of Fighting) will pick him up. They [Bellator] don’t want him. It’s their champion, and they don’t want him. What does that say?”

This led to Askren signing with ONE FC where he will face Nobutatsu Suzuki for the promotion’s welterweight title. When his deal is up with the organization, there is no telling what is next for the former Mizzou Tiger. However, he has made it clear that he believes that he should be in the UFC, competing with the best that the sport has to offer.

“The fact that I’m not in the UFC is almost ridiculous at this point,” Askren said in the interview with Daniels. “I kind of feel disrespected by it, and I don’t know that I’ll have a lot of motivation to go back in a couple of years and work for those people.”

It’s interesting that the UFC has taken a stance to not show interest in Askren when it has brought over other fighters that have even less experience. Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar and newly signed Henry Cejudo were all phenomenal athletes in other sports that the UFC signed to deals when they had less than 10 professional fights. Askren may not have the most exciting style that mainstream MMA fans have come to enjoy, but he poses an interesting matchup to any fighter ranked within the top 10 of the welterweight division. He also has shown a penchant for being able to promote himself beyond his competition in the cage which draws attention in different ways.

For now, Askren will have to focus on winning the One FC championship this weekend. If he is able to hoist another title above his head, this may pique the interest of the UFC once his deal is up. However, the 30-year-old athlete may be past his prime at that point and that will leave fight fans and experts only to wonder what could have been if the Ultimate Fighting Championship would have signed him to a deal earlier in his career.


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UFC Macao’s main card was dragging until the co-main event came along. That fight saw welterweight contenders Tyron Woodley and Dong Hyun Kim square off in a high-profile affair. 

In what was a short outing, Woodley redeemed himself from a poor showing against Rory MacDonald by brutally putting down Kim with a gnarly TKO. It brings him back to the spotlight and allows him to stay relevant in a division full of sharks.

What did we learn from the co-main event? Let’s take a look.


What We’ll Remember from This Fight

The class act that Woodley is. When a fighter wins a fight, especially in the awesome fashion that he did, he is entitled to the spotlight. 

While Woodley did get interviewed and told us all it was his wedding anniversary, he let Kim address the crowd. This was very selfless, as Woodley knew a lot of fans came and possibly traveled to see Kim perform.

It’s moments like this that make MMA such a great and respectful sport.


What We Learned About Woodley

If you make one mistake, Woodley is going to capitalize.

We knew Woodley had one-punch finishing capability. However, we now see that he has the eye to catch the smallest crack in an opponent’s technique and can turn it into something big for himself.

In this case, it was an errant spinning attack by Kim that turned into a brilliant counter by the Missouri native. It’s a scary intangible for a guy like him to have moving forward.


What We Learned About Kim

He needs to revert to his former fighting style and stay away from the flash.

Yes, his finish of John Hathaway was awesome. It could be a top contender for Knockout of the Year.

However, Kim has a track record of being most successful with his grinding, relentless style where he breaks guys down. He needs to revert back to that and pick his spots on the crazy strikes if he ever plans on contending for a UFC championship.


What’s Next for Woodley?

Woodley has some options now that he has reopened the eyes of fans and the UFC brass.

The first option would be original Kim opponent Hector Lombard. Both men are big punchers with great athleticism and physical strength.

Another opponent could be Matt Brown, who is coming off a top contender’s bout loss to Robbie Lawler. He has the striking and grit that would really test the character of Woodley.


What’s Next for Kim?

Kim is really in limbo. He’s always the bridesmaid and never the bride in the UFC title picture.

An option could be the loser of Saturday night’s Jordan Mein-Mike Pyle fight in Tulsa. Both men are around the same spot in the division, and it could be a great rebound fight.

The other option could be against Jake Ellenberger. Both men have had consistency problems and would benefit taking on someone in a similar position.

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Canada’s Nordine Taleb is headed back down to his natural weight class for his next Ultimate Fighting Championship bout.

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Latest UFC/MMA rankings (welterweight), Aug. 2014: Jake Shields and Ben
Unfortunately, they only encompass those fighters who compete inside the Octagon, which means world-class competitors like Jake Shields and Ben Askren — who both wore gold outside the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion — are nowhere …

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SB nation welterweight rankings: Robbie Lawler, Matt Brown both emerge winners
MMA Fighting
Sometimes, a fight occurs which shakes up a division's foundations. Other times, the bout confirms what most people suspected they already knew. Such was the latter on July 26, when "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler and "The Immortal" Matt Brown went toe-to-toe …
Tim Kennedy Considering Move To Welterweight To Face Robbie LawlerLowKickMMA
Tim Kennedy will drop to 170 to fight Robbie Lawler for UFC welterweight

all 3 news articles »

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Adam McDonough did not possess the weapons necessary to deal with Andrey Koreshkov.

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UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks has Reebok. Now, Robbie Lawler, the division’s potential No. 1 contender, has Adidas.

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  • Junior Dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic To Headline UFC On FOX 13?
    It was reported on "UFC Tonight" this week that a fight between former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos and top-ranked contender Stipe Miocic is in the works for December. Veteran MMA journalist Ariel Helwani spoke to the Miocic camp and a source close to the situation said that the proposed JDS-Miocic bout is "more than likely"
  • VIDEO: Eddie Alvarez Talks UFC Debut Against Donald Cerrone
    UFC's newest Lightweight contender, Eddie Alvarez, recently appeared on the FOX Sports 1 show, "UFC Tonight" to discuss his upcoming Octagon debut. Watch the above video to hear what Alvarez has to say about his upcoming UFC debut at UFC 178 next Saturday night, where he battles longtime UFC veteran Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone. Talk abou
  • Alistair Overeem vs. Stefan Struve Set For UFC On FOX 13
    UFC has announced an exciting Heavyweight bout for their upcoming UFC On FOX 13 card in December. In a battle of truly big Heavyweight fighters, Alistair Overeem will take on Stefan Struve in one of the headline attractions of the evening. UFC On FOX 13 is scheduled to take place on December 13, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. Talk about this on our official FACEB
  • VIDEO: “Fighters At Crossroads” Preview Special For Akiyama, Kunimoto
    UFC has added a third documentary-style preview for this weekend's upcoming UFC Fight Night 52 event, which takes place in Japan. Check out the above video to watch the journey of Yoshihiro Akiyama and Kichi Kunimoto, as they prepare for battle inside the world-famous Octagon. The official description for the video reads as follows: "Vice Japan bri
  • Lyoto Machida vs. CB Dollaway Announced For 12/20 In Brazil
    In unique fashion, UFC had Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey announce the main event for the promotion's upcoming fight card in Brazil via social media. Rousey confirmed that Lyoto Machida vs. CB Dollaway will take place on December 20th in Barueri, Brazil. You can check out a video of Rousey making the announcement by clicking here. For m
  • Jim Ross On His MMA Announcing Debut, Working With Chael Sonnen, His Future In MMA
    WWE Hall Of Fame announcer Jim Ross appeared on Monday's edition of "The MMA Hour" with Ariel Helwani to discuss his upcoming MMA broadcasting debut for the BattleGrounds MMA pay-per-view in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which takes place on October 3rd. Below are highlights from the interview. On how he received the offer to announce the upcoming BattleGr
  • Eddie Alvarez’s Path To UFC Glory
    Something's are inevitable, something's are simply meant to be. There may be a few detractors, struggles and a ton of set-backs - but as long as you continue to fight - you can reach any goal! This was the case for Eddie Alvarez. For years Eddie Alvarez produced extraordinary performances but was always questioned of how he would fair against top-o
  • Francis Carmont Cut From UFC Roster
    Longtime UFC contender Francis Carmont announced via his official Facebook page today that he has been cut from the organization. Carmont wrote the following: "I announce that after 6 win and 3 defeat, I am no longer a UFC fighter. However it is with determination that I will continue my career in combat sports. A friend told me, after my loss against T
  • VIDEO: Dana White Gives Behind-The-Scenes Tour Of His Office
    UFC President Dana White recently granted the folks at Jetset Magazine an exclusive interview and a tour of his personal office. One of the more notable pieces of artwork he keeps in the office is a machine gun covered in dollar bills. The clip is filled with cocaine, black tar heroin and a bunch of other actual, legit drug. Dana White explains that the piec
  • Full Card Announced For Bellator 128: Dantas vs. Warren
    Bellator MMA issued the following ... Full Card Finalized For Bellator 128 Friday, October 10th, Emanating From WinStar World Casino & Resort The Baddest Man On The Planet” Returns as Joe Warren Meets Eduardo Dantas For Bantamweight Title; Michael “Venom” Page Set To Face Nah-Shon Burrell in Co-Main Event Newport Beach, Calif. (September 16, 2014) – Bell
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