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  • Voice Of The Fan: Wild MMA Weekend - ESPN
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  • UFC 184 play-by-play - MMA Fighting
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Posts Tagged ‘Welterweight’

Sammy Vasquez will meet Emmanuel Lartey in the main event of a 10-round welterweight bout on Friday.

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Robbie Lawler will defend his UFC welterweight title against Rory MacDonald July 11 at UFC 189, according to UFC President Dana White

White announced the news Wednesday during a press conference in Las Vegas that aired live on UFC Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1. 

This fight against MacDonald will mark Lawler‘s first attempt at defending the UFC strap. He won the title at UFC 181, taking a split-decision victory over then-champion Johny Hendricks in a rematch of their UFC 171 classic, which Hendricks won via unanimous decision. 

Against MacDonald, Lawler finds himself in another rematch. The 170-pound champ previously defeated the Canadian MacDonald at UFC 167 via split decision. 

Since that time, Lawler has gone 3-1 under the UFC banner, losing only to Hendricks. 

Similarly, MacDonald has looked sensational since dropping that bout. He’s undefeated in his last three fights, with his most recent victory coming via TKO over Tarec Saffiedine at UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine in October 2014. 

After that fight against Saffiedine, MacDonald was briefly scheduled to face Hector Lombard in an apparent No. 1-contender’s bout at UFC 186, but Lombard was pulled from the fight after failing a drug test for the anabolic steroid desoxymethyltestosterone, per MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani

In the wake of Lombard’s drug-test failure, MacDonald is rewarded with a chance at gold. 

While he already lost to Lawler once, that bout was competitive, and there’s no doubt that the 25-year-old Tristar Gym standout is constantly evolving and polishing his game. He looks better each time he steps into the Octagon, and it’s likely many will favor him in the rematch with the current champ. 

With this news, UFC 189 is shaping up to be an absolute must-buy event. 

Lawler vs. MacDonald joins a featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor on the July 11 card, a one-two punch at the top of the event that is sure to generate significant buzz and excitement.

In fight cards with two title fights, typically the heavier weight class receives top billing. 

At UFC 189, however, Aldo vs. McGregor will serve as the main event, with Lawler vs. MacDonald taking co-main event honors, according to a report from the UFC relayed by Helwani:

Who do you favor in this welterweight showdown? Personally, I think MacDonald keeps his distance, picks his shots and works in a few takedowns to avenge his earlier defeat and take a unanimous decision. 

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David didn’t tempt fate after he toppled the almighty Goliath and neither should Benson Henderson.

In the UFC’s version of Two and a Half Men, the former lightweight champ, welterweight science project Brandon Thatch and referee Herb Dean all stepped into the Octagon on Saturday night for legal fisticuffs in the main event of UFC Fight Night 60.

Faced with the daunting task of going toe-to-toe with the real-life Blanka, Henderson bit down on his toothpick and went to work. The obvious speed disparity reared its head early as Thatch Fee-fi-fo-fum’d his way into range, whiffing on haymakers.

Henderson, always cool and collected, was the matador to Thatch’s bull for the early portion of the bout before taking the fight to the ground and reintroducing MMA fans to his world-class grappling.

Bloodied, battered and forced to fight on an empty gas tank, Thatch finally succumbed to a rear-naked choke in the fourth round by the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.

The 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado, erupted into applause as Henderson pointed to the heavens in celebration, reminding fans that size wasn’t everything and anything was possible. After successfully pulling an Evel Knievel-like stunt, it was thought Henderson would go back down to the lightweight division and resume his journey of reclaiming the UFC title.

Instead, Henderson opted to move past the shallow waters into the welterweight shark tank by calling out perennial 170-pound contender Rory MacDonald.

“I hear there is a big guy up in Canada who needs a fight. I’m game,” Henderson said in a post-fight interview with UFC commentator Joe Rogan.

Henderson’s call-out even surprised MacDonald.

Size isn’t everything in fighting, but it is something when you are competing against equally skilled opposition. After losing to Henderson, Thatch admitted in his post-fight interview with Rogan that he needed more experience to contend with the top fighters.

Just as his nickname implies, Henderson looked smooth against the larger fighter, but the physical toll the fight took on his body was noticeable as well. Conditioning has never been an issue for Henderson, who has made a living off going the distance in main event fights. But against a larger opponent like Thatch, he was forced to exert more energy in dealing with heavier weight.

The upper-echelon lions in the welterweight division aren’t exactly small guys either. Robbie Lawler, Johny Hendricks and MacDonald are all exceptionally large welterweight fighters, especially in comparison to Henderson. They are also well conditioned and highly skilled.

Losses to Donald Cerrone and Rafael Dos Anjos aren’t any reason to turn tail and flee to another weight class. Many, including UFC President Dana White, thought Henderson won the Cerrone fight. As for the loss to Dos Anjos, he got caught up in wild, stand-up exchanges and succumbed to a flash knockout in the first round.

There are plenty of reasons for Henderson to stick around at 155 pounds, besides making another run at the UFC title. It only takes one big punch to change the course of a fighter’s career, and those risks steadily climb the heavier you go in weight.

Henderson was able to avoid taking significant damage from Thatch, but next time, he might not be so fortunate. 

 

Jordy McElroy is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon and FanRag Sports.

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A funny thing happened to Benson Henderson during the 19 minutes he spent in the cage Saturday with Brandon Thatch.

People started rooting for him.

Somewhere en route to his submission victory in the main event of UFC Fight Night 60, the 5,800 fans on hand in Broomfield, Colorado—who’d ostensibly turned out to see the local boy, Thatch—began to cheer Henderson instead.

Support built on social media, too, and by the time Henderson cemented his improbable comeback with a rear-naked choke down the stretch in the fourth round, it elicited in an uncharacteristic outpouring of love for the 31-year-old former lightweight champion.

Coupled with victory itself, this palpable shift in public opinion made Henderson’s 170-pound debut all the more magical. It was as though he’d been instantly transformed from malcontent to lovable underdog, from a guy nearly out of options to a man with a lot of moves still left on the board.

He seemed to realize it at once, dropping his pre-fight pretense that the move up in weight was only temporary, and calling out top welterweight contender Rory MacDonald. That fight won’t happen, UFC executives say, but here’s hoping we get to see Henderson stick around the 170-pound division for a while, nonetheless.

At welterweight, he might not fly as high as he did at 155 pounds. He likely won’t become champion, but the new division serves up a suddenly robust collection of fresh challenges.

Win or lose, watching Henderson try to make his way at this heavier weight class would certainly also provide one element notably missing from much of his tenure at lightweight: It would be fun.

If Saturday night was any indication, it might also win him some fans.

While undeniably talented, Henderson had always been a mercurial figure at 155. Even—maybe especially—during the 18 months he ruled as champion in 2012-13, he earned a reputation as a play-it-safe fighter who used his size, elusiveness and wrestling ability to sucker opponents into grueling (and occasionally dull) wars of attrition.

His fights almost always went the distance yet rarely produced definitive outcomes. At best, we came to see him as a master of stealing rounds—a guy who played the margins of MMA’s unified rules like a master. At worst, we whispered that he won a bunch of bouts he probably should’ve lost.

There may not have been anything to outwardly dislike about him—though the frequent proselytizing, media accosting and toothpick chomping didn’t help. Moreover, there just wasn’t much to like about Henderson.

Worse, he’d all but run out of real estate at lightweight. Dropping the title in his second career loss to Anthony Pettis during the summer of 2013 effectively shuffled him to the back of a very long line of contenders. Things did not go much better for him from there, as he conceded back-to-back losses in 2014-15.

Turns out, by ditching his natural weight, Henderson simultaneously shed much of the baggage that dogged him at 155 pounds. When he’s in there slugging it out with the big guys, you have no choice but to grasp his greatness, to appreciate his style.

Perhaps—as it occasionally seemed Saturday against Thatch—competing at welterweight also forces him to be more aggressive. Maybe he has no choice but to fight with a little more urgency (and a little desperation, too) when he’s outsized and outgunned. Maybe he feels suddenly free of the pressure of the lightweight title hunt and able to let his tremendous hair down.

He overcame a fast start and a significant size disadvantage against Thatch by dragging the inexperienced rookie into deep water and exploiting his glaring weaknesses. There’s no telling whether he’d be able to do the same against one of the 170-pound class’ very best, but watching him try would be a special treat.

It beats anything he could do at lightweight right now.

At welterweight, Henderson looks suddenly, unexpectedly renewed.

That alone should be more than enough reason for him to see how far he can ride this new wave of popularity.

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UFC Fight Night 60’s main event, a welterweight tilt between struggling former champion Ben Henderson and hotshot prospect Brandon Thatch, did not disappoint. The fight itself made no sense from a matchmaking perspective, but that did not keep the one they call “Smooth” and the Muay Thai specialist from putting on an exciting fight.

The first two rounds, as anyone who has seen Henderson would expect, were defined by measured striking exchanges. Henderson’s quickness and accuracy kept him on even footing against the long, strong Thatch, and media scores varied.

The third, however, saw Henderson identify and exploit the big hole in Thatch’s game—a marked lack of experience on the ground. Henderson would score a back take and chew up minutes on end with submission threats. Halfway through the fourth, Thatch again gave up his back to the wily veteran. This time, however, he would not be able to escape, and Henderson would sink in a rear-naked choke for the win.

In such a unique fight, which came about through such absurd circumstances, it is hard to peg any definite lessons, but a few things became clear here.

First and foremost is that Thatch is clearly, undeniably, a legitimate prospect. While some (myself included) questioned his “super-prospect” status, especially in a division that is already chock full of them, he proved any and all doubters wrong. He is long, he is powerful and his striking fundamentals are almost immaculate.

That said…his ground game needs work. A lot of work. 

Thatch was arguably winning the fight exiting the third round, but when he was utterly unable to respond to Henderson’s ground game, it was only a matter of time before one of Henderson’s submission attempts stuck. The welterweight division, while not quite what it used to be, is still a tough weight class to climb through.

While the Colorado native can likely beat the majority of 170-pound fighters, he will absolutely need to fix that if he wants to compete with the likes of Ben Saunders, Gunnar Nelson or just about any other logical next opponent for him.

For Henderson, there is only one real takeaway; he is as good as ever. 

This fight may have been a must-win for Bendo. Sure, his losses to Rafael dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone may carry asterisks. However, the UFC’s willingness to cut elite-level fighters due to a lack of drawing power and strong on-paper claims to title shots (Jake Shields being the best example) is clear at this point, and there is no debate that favors only go in one direction when it comes to the UFC (as DaMarques Johnson can attest to).

That said, there were serious questions regarding Henderson’s staying power in today’s crushingly deep lightweight division. While Thatch likely isn’t in the top 10 when it comes to Henderson’s all-time toughest opponents, Henderson showed that he still has strong striking, a steely chin, a high-level ground game and quite possibly the greatest scrambling skills in all of MMA.

He may or (far more likely) may not ever wind up getting another shot at the UFC lightweight belt, regardless of whether or not he winds up putting up a deserving winning streak. Either way, the skills to compete with any 155-pound fighter in the world remain.

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Benson Henderson asked for a welterweight fight and UFC matchmaker Joe Silva obliged. Hear Henderson reflect on the opportunity, how it will help him grown, and how he plans to use his speed and athleticism to beat Brandon Thatch.

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One of the best welterweights to call the UFC home is chomping at the bit to get back in the cage, and we’re not talking about a certain Canadian.

Former welterweight title challenger Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit took in the action last Saturday night at UFC 183. Condit, who has been on the shelf for nine months nursing torn ligaments in his right knee, revealed to reporters in a post-show scrum what kind of timetable has been placed on his return, per SB Nation’s Anton Tabuena.

“I don’t have a fight booked, but I already have a target date. I want to get into the card in May here in Vegas. I don’t think the headliner has been announced, but that’s my timeline,” said Condit.

The 30-year-old suffered tears of the ACL and MCL in his right knee against former Strikeforce star Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley in March at UFC 171. The Natural Born Killer has gone 1-3 in his last four fights, all losses coming against top competition, including his second-round TKO loss to The Chosen One.

This wouldn’t be Condit‘s first brush with injury. He did pull out of bouts against Paul Daley and Chris Lytle earlier in his Octagon career.

However, neither of those injuries was as serious as the one suffered against Woodley, which is why Condit focused on the matter at hand during recovery.

“If I looked at the mountain I had to climb, it was overwhelming. Just focusing on the day-to-day things is what I really had to keep my mind on,” said Condit.

Since his injury, the Jackson-Winkeljohn fighter hasn’t seen his stock in the 170-pound ladder plummet, but he has seen the championship he covets change hands once already.

“It’s exciting. I think that the belt might change hands quite a bit in a year or so,” said Condit

Condit doesn’t have a particular matchup in mind for his return fight, though he did mention a rematch with Woodley and a particular Canadian.

“Rory [MacDonald] looks really good. His last few fights have been pretty much flawless,” remarked Condit. “He’s super polished. His strategy and poise have improved.”

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By the time Kelvin Gastelum and Tyron Woodley entered the Octagon at UFC 183, it had been quite a week. Gastelum had missed weight by an almost comically large amount, while Woodley stood to be the biggest test of his young career.

The two managed to make it to the fight, but by the time they did, it seemed most of the crowd had already checked out. It wasn’t the most exciting fight in UFC history, but there have definitely been worse despite how loudly and quickly it was booed by those in attendance.

Still, here’s what we learned from the Woodley victory.

 

What We’ll Remember About This Fight

It just seemed cursed. From Gastelum missing weight to the hot crowd turning on the bout quickly, it just didn’t come together as well as it looked like it would on paper.

This should have been a hot prospect coming into his own against one of the top guys in the division, and instead it became intermittent spurts of action taking place in front of a chorus of boos. The whole thing had a weird feel, but it made sense considering the week that led to it.

 

What We Learned About Tyron Woodley

He’s probably exactly as relevant as he’ll ever be in the welterweight division right now.

He’s a good athlete who seems to improve incrementally every time he enters the cage, but he’s already into his 30s and doesn’t seem to rise to the occasion, even in victory. This was a chance to make a statement against an ill-prepared opponent, and he won by decision.

He can look good at times and beat a lot of guys the UFC will put in front of him, but no one is clamoring to see him fight for a title.

With that in mind, this is probably as good as it gets: He’s established as elite but will likely never hold a title.

 

What We Learned About Kelvin Gastelum

His inability to make weight is a shame, considering how talented he is.

He wasn’t remotely outclassed by Woodley, even in defeat. Though his gas tank wasn’t there and his movement was subpar to what we’ve become accustomed to, he managed to score some big combinations and make the fight competitive.

If he could get on point and hit the scales properly, he could be something special.

 

What’s Next for Woodley

A bout with Matt Brown would be nice, but he could also stand to resolve some unfinished business with Carlos Condit later this year.

 

What’s Next for Gastelum

It may not be a popular call, but seeing him remain at welterweight and get on point would be nice. One more chance against Tarec Saffiedine could be good to see.

 

Follow me on Twitter @matthewjryder!

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Peter Sobotta will meet Sergio Moraes in a welterweight scrap at UFC Fight Night “Gonzaga vs. Cro Cop 2” on April 11.

View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Raymond “The Real Deal” Danielstwo-touch flying spin-kick finish of Francois Ambang at Glory 16 “Denver” in May last year left witnesses speechless and had fans and kickboxing pundits alike declaring it kickboxing’s “Knockout of the Year” for 2014.

View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

  • Brock Lesnar Cageside At UFC 184 (Photo)
    WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar is in attendance at tonight's UFC 184 pay-per-view. The former UFC Heavyweight Champion reportedly had a major falling out with WWE on Monday night. Lesnar was scheduled to appear on RAW, but left the arena abruptly after a contract dispute with WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. Lesnar is cageside with […]
  • Video: UFC “Welcome To The Show” Press Conference
    UFC held their "Welcome to the Show" press conference on Saturday to promote a number of upcoming bouts scheduled for 2015. UFC President Dana White and a number of UFC's top fighters attended the press conference. Below is a list of the fighters who took part in the presser, which you can watch in full […]
  • Video: Jon Jones, Anthony Johnson Prank Dana White With Fake Brawl
    At Saturday's "Welcome to the Show" UFC press event, Jon Jones and Anthony Johnson played a prank on UFC President Dana White. Jones and Johnson, who are scheduled to meet for Jones' UFC Light Heavyweight Championship in the main event of UFC 187 on Memorial Day Weekend in Las Vegas, pretended to get involved in […]
  • UFC 184 Results — Rousey Submits Zingano In 14 Seconds!
    [tps_header][/tps_header] Welcome to the UFC 184 Results live coverage center. Here we will be providing live, detailed, round-by-round results coverage of the entire event. Make sure to refresh this page often, as we will provide live results of the entire event. We will have live, quick-match UFC 184 Results coverage of both the Fight Pass […]
  • Invicta FC 11 “Cyborg vs. Tweet” Results – February 27, 2015
    The following are quick-match results of the Invicta FC 11 "Cyborg vs. Tweet" event, which took place on Friday, February 27th at the Shrine Expo Hall in Los Angeles, California. - Invicta Featherweight Title: Cristiane Justino def. Charmaine Tweet by TKO (punches) at 0:46 of Round One - Strawweight: Alexa Grasso def. Mizuki Inoue by […]
  • Bellator 134 “British Invasion” Results – February 27, 2015
    The following are quick-match results of the Bellator 134 event, which took place on Friday, February 27th at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. Main Card (Spike TV): - Emanuel Newton (c) vs. Liam McGeary -- McGeary wins 48-46 and 48-47 X2. - Cheick Kongo vs. Muhammed Lawal -- Lawal by SD 30-27, 28-29, 29-28. […]
  • UFC 184 Weigh-In Results (Video Included)
    The following are the official weigh-in results for Saturday night's UFC 184 pay-per-view event, which takes place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The weigh-ins, which you can watch via the YouTube player embedded above, are scheduled to begin at approximately 7pm EST. UFC 184 Main Card (10pm EST.) - Ronda Rousey (135 […]
  • Bellator Announces Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock For June 20th
    Bellator MMA announced today the first fight for Kimbo Slice in the promotion. In what will be a battle that was supposed to take place back in 2008 until a freak accident resulted in the bout being canceled during the day of the show, Kimbo will stand across the cage from UFC Hall Of Famer […]
  • Arianny Celeste Calls Ronda Rousey A “Bully,” Rousey Responds
    UFC Octagon girl Arianny Celeste is not taking kindly to Ronda Rousey's recent statement that fighters should make more than UFC's Octagon girls. The longtime UFC employee told the folks at MMA Junkie Radio earlier this week that Rousey is a "big bully" who "continuously picks on me.." Rousey, however, has a different take. "What […]
  • Frank Mir Wants Third Brock Lesnar Fight, Says He’d Knock Him Out Standing
    Fresh off his destruction of Antonio Silva at UFC Fight Night 61 in Brazil this past weekend, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir now has his sights set on a trilogy bout with either Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira or Brock Lesnar. After taking out Bigfoot Silva with strikes, Mir spoke to The Fight Corner and explained […]
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