UFC 144 Results & Recap: Henderson wins Lightweight Title

nullUFC 144 marked the organization’s long-awaited return to Japan, and it didn’t disappoint.

The main event featured a very competitive bout for the lightweight championship where Ben Henderson defeated Frankie Edgar by unanimous decision to claim the 155-pound strap.

Henderson, who looked noticeably bigger than Edgar, was able to dictate the fight with his leg and body kicks while also using his size and strength to stay off his back for frequent periods of time.

While each of the five rounds was razor thin, the overall impact of the fight clearly took more of a toll on Edgar, who was battered an bruised, than Henderson, who looked fresh throughout.

In the co-main event, Ryan Bader earned the biggest win of his career, picking up a hard-fought decision win over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Bader showed some good striking and head movement to earn the nod on the feet and then managed to score three takedowns against Jackson, who has been notoriously hard to take down. Jackson, who missed weight by six pounds, looked sluggish as the fight prolonged. Bader had clearly won the fight when the final horn sounded.

The main card started off with a bang as lightweight Anthony Pettis knocked out Joe Lauzon with a vicious head kick. Pettis dominated the fight, taking little to no damage while working nice jab combinations and kicks. Pettis ended the fight with a head kick to Lauzon and then a few punches on the ground for good measure. The KO was much-needed for Pettis, who failed to have a signature win since joining the UFC. He is now right up there as a top-5 contender in the 155-pound division.

Another big highlight on the card was an incredible comeback TKO win for middleweight Tim Boetsch, who stopped Yushin Okami in the third round. Okami dominated the first two rounds with sharp striking and nearly finished Boetsch on two occasions. However, in the third round, Boetsch had the mindset of kill or be killed, and he was the one that did the killing. He attacked from the opening second of the round and used a series of uppetcuts in the clinch to fold Okami up like an accordion and earn the win, by far the biggest of his career.

For complete UFC 144 results, check out the jump.

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UFC 126 Picks & Predictions

UFC 126 takes place tonight from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and this card is stacked from top to bottom with intriguing and exciting bouts. Here are my picks for tonight’s main card.

UFC Middleweight Championship: Anderson Silva (27-4) vs. Vitor Belfort (19-8) – This is the first time Silva will be facing a striker that may have equal or greater hand speed than him, so this could be his toughest test to date. However, Silva is much more of a complete fighter, as he mixes in kicks, knees, elbows, and has a black belt in jiu-jitsu. While Belfort has one-punch KO power, I think Silva finds a way to get past him and puts on another impressive performance.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Forrest Griffin (17-6) vs. Rich Franklin (28-5) – Both of these guys are former champions in the UFC and both are trying to stay relevant within the organization. This should be a good scrap as both fighters always bring the fight. Franklin should have the edge in striking with his awkward style and angles, but Griffin has a big size advantage and I expect him to use that to smother Franklin and score takedowns, which will earn him a decision victory.UFC Light Heavyweight Bout: Jon Jones (11-1) vs. Ryan Bader (12-0) – This is a fight of the top two young up-and-comers in the division and the winner will be thrust into the top 5 of the division. Jones is such a unique fighter in terms of style and length while Bader is a great wrestler with good power in his hands. I think Jones has more ways to win this fight and will be able to stay off his back against Bader. I see Jones landing a big knee when Bader comes in for a shot, which sets up a TKO finish in round two.

UFC Bantamweight Bout: Miguel Torres (37-3) vs. Antonio Banuelos (19-6): Torres is one of the top bantamweights in the world and he has changed up his training in hopes to becoming a more complete and patient fighter. I see him picking apart Banuelos, who will look to grapple. I see Torres landing a nice combination in the second round before dropping Banuelos and jumping on him to secure a choke for a submission victory.

UFC Welterweight Bout: Jake Ellenberger (23-5) vs. Carlos Rocha (9-0) – Rocha is a very dangerous and slick submission fighter, but I see him struggling with Ellenberger’s wrestling. I look for Ellenberger to land takedowns and ground strikes while avoiding submission attempts to earn a decision victory over Rocha and continue to move up the welterweight ranks.

Silva to take on Belfort at UFC 126

PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 08:  Anderson Silva celebrates after defeating Forrest Griffin during their light heavyweight bout at UFC 101: Declaration at the Wachovia Center on August 8, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Nate Lawson of HeavyMMA.com reports that Anderson Silva will fight Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 in Las Vegas on February 6.

The card is set to be headlined by UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and top contender Vitor Belfort, while a light heavyweight clash between Forrest Griffin and Rich Franklin will serve as the co-main event. Also on the card, fast-rising light heavyweight contenders Jon Jones and Ryan Bader will face off to determine who continues to rise in the competitive division.

Also on the pay-per-view portion of the event, former longtime WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres makes his UFC debut against Antonio Banuelos, while lightweight sluggers Paul Kelly and Sam Stout will face off in the first bout on the main card.

While several preliminary bouts have been rumored, including a lightweight tilt between Gabe Ruediger and Paul Taylor, as well as a welterweight contest between Jake Ellenberger and Carlos Eduardo Rocha, none have been made official as of yet.

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UFC 119: Mir vs. Cro Cop – 10 things learned

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 21: A pensive Mirko Cro Cop of Croatia walks to the octagon before fighting Gabriel Gonzaga of USA in a Heavyweight bout of the Ultimate Fighting Championship at the Manchester Evening News Arena on April 21, 2007 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Gary M. Prior/Getty Images)

E. Spencer Kyte of HeavyMMA.com highlights the 10 things he learned from Frank Mir vs. Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 119 on Saturday night.

Where’s the Anti-Wrestling Crowd Now?
The main card of UFC 119 featured next to no wrestling with all five fights going into the final frame, coming within seconds of completing a full slate of fights decided by the judges. This was essentially everything that the anti-wrestling crowd was calling for and while there were some entertaining moments, this was a night of boxing and it was kind of tough to watch.

While the Dunham vs. Sherk and Lytle vs. Serra bouts were solid, fifteen rounds of guys measuring their shots and feeling each other out don’t make for the most exciting night of fights around. Bouts that had people salivating because of their potential action fell flat. Guillard and Stephens stayed fairly cautious for three rounds, while Mir and Cro Cop clinched and pawed until Mir’s big knee ended Cro Cop’s evening. Even the Mitrione vs. Beltran bout that featured two big men coming forward and throwing bombs for 15 minutes was nothing more than a sloppy brawl with very little technique and timing.

What makes this sport so incredible is the combination of styles and the diverse action that usually makes for a complete night of fights. Where is the anti-wrestling crowd now to defend a night full of boxing that will undoubtedly be panned by fans and critics alike?

Read the full article here.

UFC 119 Picks & Predictions

UFC 119 takes place tonight from the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. The card doesn’t have a major fight that will have an impact on the landscape of the organization but each of the five main card bouts should be competitive and entertaining contests. Here are my picks for the show.

UFC Heavyweight Bout – Frank Mir (13-5) vs. Mirko Cro Cop (27-7-2) – Cro Cop took this fight on somewhat short notice as this was originally supposed to be a rematch of Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. On top of that, Cro Cop is not 100 percent coming into the fight as he is dealing with an eye injury. Cro Cop is a step slower than he was in his prime while Mir has improved his striking while still being one of the best submission fighters in all of MMA. I see Mir landing a big punch in the second round before jumping on Cro Cop and finishing with a choke.

UFC Light Heavyweight Bout – Antonio Rogerio Nogueria (19-3) vs. Ryan Bader (12-0) – This fight is a big contest for both as each needs the win to really get into the title picture in this division. The key to the bout will be Bader’s wrestling, as his explosiveness should win out against Nogueira. If Bader can avoid the big hit and close the distance in the fight, he should be able to win a decision by grinding out the fight on top with ground and pound.

UFC Welterweight Bout – Matt Serra (17-6) vs. Chris Lytle (29-17-4) – I see this fight going similarly to the first. Lytle is an entertaining and experienced fighter, but he never has been able to get that marquee win in his career. Serra really just has the win over Georges St. Pierre to go bye, but he has always been a tough guy to beat as well. In this fight I see Serra controlling the fight with his grappling. The only way I don’t see him winning by decision is if he gets too confident in his striking.

UFC Lightweight Bout – Sean Sherk (37-4-1) vs. Evan Dunham (11-0) – Sherk used to dominate the division with his strength and wrestling, but recently his opponents have been able to avoid his takedowns with their strength and they have been faster with their striking, which has caused Sherk to lose two of his last three bouts. Dunham has that same style to beat Sherk. Sherk will struggle to get the fight to the ground and Dunham will be a little quicker to the punch. I like Dunham to win this fight by decision.

UFC Lightweight Bout – Melvin Guillard (43-9-3) vs. Jeremy Stephens (18-5) – This fight should be explosive as both have big power and like to swing with everything they have in each punch. The key in this bout will be Guillard’s inability to fight off his back as Stephens trains with Hermes Franca and has some grappling skills that many haven’t seen yet. I see Stephens getting takedowns late to set up for some ground and pound and a TKO finish in the third.

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