Official UFC on Fuel TV Sanchez vs Ellenberger Thread (streams, predictions, more)

Discussion in 'MMA, Boxing & Other Combat Sports' started by Makabreli, Feb 11, 2012.

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  1. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

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    2-15-12

    To start, the evening's undercard will stream on Facebook with the UFC currently listing the start time for the action as 6:20 p.m. ET. That stream is as easy as going to the UFC's Facebook page and giving it a like.

    click for stream
    backups
    more
    maybe


    doesn't mean no more threads can be made, but i will fill these up with pretty much everything surrounding the event as it nears (streams included if available.)

    Predictions (predict what you know, better contest coming later)

    Jake Ellenberger vs Diego Sanchez
    Stefan Struve vs Dave Herman
    Aaron Simpson vs Ronny Markes
    Philip De Fries vs Stipe Miocic
    T.J. Dillashaw vs Walel Watson
    Ivan Menjivar vs John Albert
    Jonathan Brookins vs Vagner Rocha
    Buddy Roberts vs Sean Loeffler
    Anton Kuivanen vs Justin Salas
    Bernardo Magalhaes vs Tim Means
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  2. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

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    the downfall of diego sanchez from headkicklegend

    Diego Sanchez will forever be remembered as one of the most exciting fighters in early Zuffa years of the UFC, his mix of incredible cardio and borderline fool-hardy grit ensure that almost all of his fights have been a spectacle to behold. Of late though, Sanchez is coming off of two hard losses to John Hathaway and BJ Penn, a journeyman quality win in Paulo Thiago, and an extremely questionable victory over Martin Kampmann which exposed more holes in his game than it did return him to form. So what happened to the Diego Sanchez that swarmed all over Nick Diaz and won our hearts on the Ultimate Fighter with his bizarre personality and real world fighting skills? Diego Sanchez struggles with distance, and it has been picked up on and exploited by three of his last four opponents. Is Jake Ellenberger the kind of fighter to do the same? Probably not, but he has more than enough tools to make Sanchez struggle in other ways.

    A quick look through Diego Sanchez's successful fights reveals his modus operandi; the man is an animal, constantly moving forward and swarming on opponents with punches until he gets them to the mat where his effective ground and pound and slick Jiu Jitsu can be utilized. One of Diego's best matches was his defeat of Nick Diaz, in which he would throw some big punches then literally dive at the much taller man's legs. Once he got Diaz to the mat Diego was relentless, stacking Diaz up in guard and dropping from his feet back to his knees with huge elbows. While Diaz was never in danger of being stopped, it is certainly the most ineffectual we have seen his guard look.

    However against BJ Penn, Diego Sanchez shot 27 takedowns, succeeded in none, and was pounded on the feet constantly. Now BJ Penn is a marvelous athlete, but to write off his natural abilities as the reason he could do this to Sanchez when other great athletes like Nick Diaz couldn't is just downright moronic. BJ fought the perfect gameplan against Sanchez which from the get go seemed to be about pressure. Throughout the fight BJ Penn backed Diego on to the cage, but instead of leading waited for Diego to charge him. When Diego did charge, BJ would take one or two shuffles back to avoid the first attack, slip the second and counter - and it worked. Every time.

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    The reason this happened is because Diego relies on swarming opponents to get the takedown, every one of his previous defeated opponents had been distracted by his rushes with his hands and had left their hips exposed for him to shoot on. The thing is that Diego can hit with power, when he's standing still and swinging, but becomes a rigid arm-puncher when he attempts to strike at long distance. Just look at how he pushes his punches at Penn, it's almost Forrest Griffin-esque, and certainly nothing for Penn to worry about. Additionally his straights are slow and predictable - in his fight with BJ, Diego threw the same combination multiple times in every one of the five rounds. BJ continued to either counter it, or move out of the way with ease.

    Against Hathaway, who was by no means one of the top dogs of the division on Diego's return to welterweight, Diego was now timid to strike from distance, which meant that he had to try to close the distance for a takedown without his trademark furiosity, and his wrestling just isn't at the level where he can shoot wildly and expect to pick up a takedown. Diego continued to get picked apart by the longer, taller Hathaway on the feet, due to his inability to fight at distance, then eventually fell back on the age old strategy of waiting for the opponent to punch, and then attempting to shoot underneath it. So Hathaway did this:

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    In his most recent 'win', Sanchez's striking was exposed in a new way. Martin Kampmann is a much taller fighter than Sanchez, and owned a significant reach, so Diego - for some unexplained reason - opted to fight with his lead hand down by his hip for the entire fight. For those of you who haven't read my Southpaw Guide, the reason to keep your lead hand up when you are a southpaw fighting an orthodox fighter is that it neutralizes the opponent's jab completely. A good southpaw striker should never be hit with as many jabs as Diego was by Kampmann. He had some success against the cage by swinging at Kampmann - who has never responded well to pressure - but he took so much punishment to the face in order to get there for a brief moment that it seemed impossible for him to win the fight. Fortunately, the judges in mixed martial arts know so little about striking that this turned out to be the face of a winner:

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    Once again Diego's takedowns were largely ineffectual, because he cannot close the distance unless the opponent is scared of his punches. Now has Diego simply declined? Or has the game evolved and left him behind? The author would argue for the latter. Make no mistake Diego Sanchez's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is beautiful, and his ability to take the lead in chaotic scrambles seemingly every time is very much a unique point of his abilities, but watching back his fight with Nick Diaz - will anyone be so easy to takedown by leaping in from 5 feet away in todays mma? Nick Diaz's takedown defense has always been fairly suspect, but he has improved in leaps and bounds too, while Diego Sanchez seems to rely on the same strategies he used in his promotional debut almost seven years ago.

    Is Diego Sanchez a relic? The young and hungry Jake Ellenberger should be able to give us some indication in a few days time, but he is unlikely to do it the same way. Ellenberger is more likely to simply sprawl on Sanchez and brutalize him in wild exchanges and clinches than he is to draw him to where he is uncomfortable, at range, and counter him coming in as Penn, Hathaway and Kampmann did... but it's not completely unlikely.

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  3. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

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    Five reasons watch the prelims from sherdog:

    It is a question that deserves asking: where does Jonathan Brookins fit in at featherweight?

    Talented and only 26 years old, Brookins appears to possess the tools required to do some damage in the UFC’s 145-pound ranks, provided “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 winner stays healthy and plays to his strengths -- namely, his ground game. Normally a featherweight, the prospect showed great determination as a 155-pounder in his UFC debut at “The Ultimate Fighter 12” Finale, weathering an early storm from heavy-handed wrestler Michael Johnson to earn a three-round decision.

    Since winning the competition, however, the Floridian has competed just once, falling in a hard-fought decision to Erik Koch in his return to featherweight in September. At UFC on Fuel TV “Ellenberger vs. Sanchez” on Wednesday, Brookins will lock up with fellow grappler Vagner Rocha on the Facebook-streamed preliminary card at the Omaha Civic Center in Omaha, Neb.

    Can Brookins break into the win column as a UFC featherweight, or will his grappling pedigree prove insufficient against a jiu-jitsu player as skilled as Rocha? With only one loss to his credit and a wealth of potential at his fingertips, Brookins’ upcoming fight could prove pivotal in deciding where he eventually lands in a budding division of hungry challengers. He is just one reason why observers should care about the UFC on Fuel TV “Ellenberger vs. Sanchez” prelims. Here are four more:

    Rocha’s Cut

    Speaking of Brookins’ foe, featherweight could be where Rocha finds his groove.

    As a grappler, the Brazilian looked strained in his two lightweight appearances; he failed to do anything of consequence against Donald Cerrone at UFC 131 and had his hands full with Cody McKenzie before the Alaskan’s guillotine-heavy submission attack granted Rocha top position and led to a rear-naked choke finish at UFC Fight Night 25.

    Theoretically, dropping 10 pounds should make the game easier for Rocha in the areas he needs: wrestling opponents to the mat and absorbing punishment. While it is by no means a guarantee, if Rocha has a good weight cut and comes out to fight, his submission skills could make for an interesting addition to the UFC’s 145-pound flock.

    Buddy Roberts File Photo

    Expect violence from Roberts-Loeffler.
    Promised Violence

    Fans may not know their names, but Sean Loeffler and Buddy Roberts could surprise as Octagon rookies. There is something exciting about sitting down to watch two guys who have stopped 33 of their combined 36 defeated opponents.

    If that 92-percent kill rate does not pique your interest, consider that both men are 29 and could be receiving their first and last shot at making an impression on the big stage. Can you sense violence on the horizon?

    Finnish Favorite

    As a recent signee, Anton Kuivanen holds the distinction of being the only Finnish fighter in the UFC. Entering the ultra-deep waters of the lightweight pool, the 27-year old is just a part of what will likely become a steady influx of Nordic talent into the Octagon.

    Joining the likes of Martin Kampmann, Alexander Gustafsson and John-Olav Einemo, Kuivanen could prove himself a valuable commodity in nurturing one of the UFC’s growing fan bases, if he can get by Justin Salas. That is no easy task. With wins in his last two outings over UFC veteran Robert Emerson and the previously unbeaten Joe Ellenberger, one can bet that Salas will come to win.

    This meeting of well-rounded UFC newcomers should prove to be both an entertaining endeavor for observers and a telling barometer for Kuivanen’s current skill level and potential.

    ‘Dirty Bird,’ Meet ‘Trekko’

    Tim Means’ lightweight contest with Bernardo Magalhaes will also likely provide for an interesting clash of styles.

    The lightweight champion of Australia’s Cage Fighting Championship, Magalhaes has used his Brazilian jiu-jitsu base to out-position his opponents, earning nine of his 11 career wins by decision. By contrast, Means has finished 15 of his 16 victims, going the distance just once in nearly eight years as a professional.

    Means was originally slated to face undefeated prospect Yoislandy Izquierdo, but Magalhaes stepped in on short notice after Izquierdo’s debut was delayed. Will Magalhaes be able to neutralize and control “The Dirty Bird,” or will the American run through his replacement opponent and carve another notch in his belt?
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  4. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

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    weigh ins live stream

    [youtube]huMpetaJ848[/youtube]
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  5. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

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    FACEBOOK PRELIMINARY CARD DISSECTION
    from bloodyelbow

    Wednesday, February 15th marks the UFC on Fuel TV event from Omaha, Nebraska. Hometown welterweight Jake Ellenberger meets Diego Sanchez in the headliner and heavyweights Stefan Struve and Dave Herman assume the co-main slot.

    The main card festivities begin at 8 p.m. ET and will be preceded by a five-fight preliminary lineup that will stream on the UFC's Facebook page. The lower-echelon of the undercard is once again punctuated by new names and fresh talent:

    Ivan Menjivar vs. John Albert
    Jonathan Brookins vs. Vagner Rocha
    Buddy Roberts vs. Sean Loeffler
    Anton Kuivanen vs. Justin Salas
    Tim Means vs. Bernardo Magalhaes

    Ivan Menjivar (23-8) vs. John Albert (7-1)

    Bantamweights will captain the undercard, as veteran Ivan Menjivar meets TUF 14 entry John "Prince" Albert. On the show, Albert submitted his way into the house but fell short by decision to eventual winner John Dodson. He carried a 6-1 record into the competition and thoroughly dominated Dustin Pague at the live finale for his seventh and most significant victory.

    Menjivar has over a decade of experience under his belt against esteemed competition, most of which was contested at lightweight. Each of his eight career defeats were dealt by highly reputable opposition and he's only been finished twice with welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre responsible for one (TKO in 2002). Shortly after incurring back to back losses -- the first to Caol Uno in the Hero's 2006 Lightweight Grand Prix, the second a split decision to Bart Palaszewski in the IFL -- Menjivar disappeared for a few years and then re-emerged in the WEC as a bantamweight.

    He lost a unanimous decision to the feisty Brad Pickett at WEC 53, but reinvigorated his reputation with a rousing TKO of Charlie Valencia in his Octagon debut that was ignited by a brutal horizontal elbow in the clinch. In his last foray, Menjivar took on Nick Pace at UFC 133 and survived the rising phenom's third-round comeback to notch a unanimous decision, though "The Pride of El Salvador" missed weight and the bout was contested at a catchweight of 138-pounds.

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    Pague turned out to be a pretty decent kickboxer on the reality show, but here Albert cracks him with a left hook, pounces with punches and hops into the full mount. Already having shown a wicked killer instinct, Albert impressed even further when he secured the gift wrap. When Pague rolls onto his side, Albert gets wrist control on Pague's right arm and then feeds it from his own right hand to his left, which is snaked around the back of Pague's neck. The result is somewhat of a humiliating and defenseless, big-brother type of beating that hearkens back to Frank Shamrock vs. John Lober.

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    Menjivar applies his years of high-end experience here with a quick transition from stiff-arming Valencia's head to keep distance to shellacking him with a quick and short horizontal elbow. The technique isn't unlike that often applied by a top-player on the ground in which you palm the head to control and stabilize it, then immediately snap down a vicious elbow. I believe Jeremy Horn is accredited for making this ground-and-pound tactic popular back in his early MFS days.

    Menjivar is a perfectly balanced fighter with no glaring weaknesses and nothing comes easily against him.

    Plus, he trains out of Canada's Tristar Gym and will surely come equipped with a good strategy and coaching. Albert trains with the Victory Athletics team in Washington and will have a height advantage (5'9" vs. 5'6") and probably a little more physical strength. The question is whether those minor edges along with his youthful exuberance can make up for Menjivar's steely composure and sturdy experience.

    Albert is a pretty capable striker with good power as well. His goal should be to replicate the aggressive kickboxing Nick Pace unrolled on Menjivar to put him in survival mode. This is one of those match ups where it's just too hard not to side with Menjivar because Albert is so unproven. I would flash a warning about Albert though, as he might turn out to be a little better than expected. John Dodson outpointed him to a decision on the show, which is far from a conspicuous loss, and the way he crushed Pague leads me to believe he might be a lurking talent. Menjivar could get in trouble if he doesn't protect his chin or respect Albert's power.

    My Prediction: Ivan Menjivar by decision.

    Jonathan Brookins (12-4) vs. Vagner Rocha (7-2)

    Two former lightweights square off as Jonathan Brookins welcomes Brazilian Vagner Rocha to the featherweight class.

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    Brookins was sidelined due to contract disputes after beating Michael Johnson to win the twelfth season of TUF as a lightweight and later returned to his natural fighting weight of 145-pounds. He met the once-beaten Erik Koch at UFC Fight Night 25 and dropped a unanimous decision; his fourth overall and the first since Jose Aldo at WEC 36 in 2008.

    Brookins is a beanpole for featherweight and applies his length much better as leverage on the mat than with range on the feet. He's an adept wrestler with good submissions and excellent scrambling.

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    Rocha is a Pablo Popovitch black belt who won the 2007 Pan Ams as a brown belt and took third at the World Jiu Jitsu Championships the same year. He first turned heads in MMA when he defeated Igor Gracie (a welterweight) by unanimous decision in a 2009 Bellator bout, which was only Rocha's second outing. At 5-0, he graduated to Strikeforce and suffered his first loss to Bret Bergmark (7-1), a Cesar Gracie trained fighter with a win over Brian Ebersole and just one career loss to the UFC's Mike Pyle.

    His Octagon debut was as a short-notice replacement for Mac Danzig against Donald Cerrone at UFC 131, who vented an obvious animosity toward Rocha's limbs with three full rounds of crippling low kicks. It was a dominant decision loss but Rocha showed admirable heart and resilience in enduring the nonstop barrage of Thai kicks.

    Despite scoring a win in his last against Cody McKenzie, which was a second round rear-naked choke, Rocha's taking the plunge to featherweight for the first time and could prove to be a rugged and formidable adversary. Size-wise, he'll be a monster -- at just shy of six-foot, he'll be amongst the tallest featherweights in the division and has exceptional strength and agility. While his striking is nothing to write home about, Brookins' isn't either and Rocha's ground game is serious business.
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  6. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

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    (cont.)

    Rocha is a tenacious submission grappler who relies on aggression and explosiveness more than finesse. Being a BJJ black belt isn't as special as it used to be, but Rocha is a legit, high-level submissionist with a frenetic pace and technical transitions.

    This might be a rough match up for Brookins, who's still a little clumsy on the feet and much more comfortable pursuing his signature lateral-drop takedown or singles against the cage. The threat he's presented in the past is being a wiry and slippery wrestler with deceivingly clever scrambling and transition instincts, which plays right into Rocha's hands. Brookins might be able to use his wrestling and phase-shift constantly while avoiding submissions, but I don't think he can out-strike Rocha or match him for extended periods of time on the floor.

    My Prediction: Vagner Rocha by decision.

    Anton Kuivanen (16-4) vs. Justin Salas (9-3)

    Leland Roling's Bloody Elbow Scouting Report proves prescient again as two selections make their big league debuts here. Finland's Anton Kuivanen was stamped as the number-eight lightweight prospect and Justin Salas as the fourth in the 2012 edition of the Scouting Report.

    Joona Pylkäs, a former colleague who specializes in European MMA and is now writing for MMAViking.com, has been following Kuivanen's burgeoning career closely and lent his perspective on his skills.

    Kuivanen can end this fight both on the feet and on the ground, top or bottom. Worst case scenario for him is that Salas is able to take him down repeatedly and Kuivanen tires himself trying to make it back to the feet or squeezing for subs.

    Positives

    Athletic: strong and explosive
    Technical, diverse striking: punch combos, variety of kicks, strong teep and flying knee
    Solid ground game: moves really well from the bottom also even though he really rarely ends up there. Really hard to submit (see the Meller fight for examples)
    Can take a shot and keep fighting

    Concerns

    Cardio: like most explosive guys Kuivanen also has had problems with cardio in some of his fights
    First time fighting abroad since 2008; time difference, long flights and the weight cut, etc.

    Kuivanen's career began in his early twenties and he won seven of his first eleven, the last of which was a submission loss (kneebar) to Bendy Casimir (12 of 19 wins by sub), who would eventually appear in the WEC. Since that defeat in 2008, Kuivanen has gone on a tear with a flawless nine-fight streak and will enter the Octagon having won twelve of his last thirteen. The Fin has exceptional fundamentals across the board but, as we see with many imported prospects, does not have a notable wrestling pedigree.

    Justin Salas, however, does. He was a Division 1 wrestler at the University of Wyoming for three years, but departed early when lured into his first pro-fight with less than two weeks to prepare. "J-Bomb" was defeated by armbar in the third, but exacted vengeance in an immediate rematch with a first-round knockout. The win was the first of four that Salas would string together before suffering back-to-back losses. His average career (4-3) would then go ablaze, as Salas stopped three consecutive foes (1 sub, 2 TKOs), defeated former UFCer Robert Emerson to become the Full Force lightweight champion and collected the Victory Fighting Championships lightweight strap by defeating Joe Ellenberger (main-eventer Jake's twin brother).

    While his wrestling chops are his best asset, Salas, a southpaw, has a serviceable stand-up game. He's pretty thick for the weight class but maintains good agility and stays fairly light on his feet when closing the distance with strikes. He leads with a nice right hook-straight left combination and transitions well to the low single. Kuivanen has solid takedown defense and mechanics off his back, and is likely to hold his own though I envision him expending too much effort defensively. While I'd like to see him notch an impressive debut and think he could pull off a late turnaround, Salas' ability to dictate the action with his wrestling makes him a safer pick.

    My Prediction: Justin Salas by decision.

    Buddy Roberts (11-2) vs. Sean Loeffler (25-5)

    More fresh talent abounds in this match up pitting two game UFC newcomers. Roberts is a Greg Jackson product who will be dropping to middleweight for the first time, a purple belt in BJJ and a former NCAA football player at Howard Payne University. He's riding a five-piece roll that's highlighted by an impressive decision over scrapper Tony Lopez, who is the current King of the Cage heavyweight and super-heavyweight champion and a former light-heavyweight champ in the promotion. Roberts has a balanced finishing ratio with five submissions, four TKOs and two decisions.

    Sean "The Destroyer" Loeffler might be best known for his first-round TKO loss to Bryan Baker at Bellator 16, but that defeat is the only in his last thirteen. Loeffler also has a proportional set of career stoppages with a frightening finishing rate, accruing twelve submissions and TKOs apiece, twenty-two of those coming in the first round, with just one win via decision. He has a thorough conglomeration of MMA titles in smaller promotions as well as a few accomplishments in amateur boxing and BJJ tournaments (he's a brown belt under Bob Bass).

    This is a tough one to call. Loeffler is a substantially sized middleweight (6'3") and entertaining nut-job who will look to bury Roberts in a fierce blaze of glory right out of the gate. Roberts athleticism and wrestling could be the perfect front to neutralize Loeffler's aggressive and perpetual forward motion, but making his virgin run at 185-pounds against a dangerous and wary veteran is the tiny fragment that sways me toward Loeffler.

    My Prediction: Sean Loeffler by TKO.

    Tim Means (16-3) vs. Bernardo Magalhaes (11-1)

    Bernardo "Trekko" Magalhaes is the current CFC lightweight champion, which is Australia's most prominent fight league. He's also a BJJ black belt, the Pan-Pacific BJJ champ (both with and without the kimono) and has some boxing and Muay Thai experience. His ability to control opponents is reflected in his nine wins by decision, which are complemented by two submissions.

    Tim "Dirty Bird" Means started out with an unremarkable record (3-2), but returned from a four-year absence to register a stellar run (13-1-1). Means is a wrestling-based fighter who's won twelve of sixteen by TKO with three submissions and one decision, and has held the welterweight, super-lightweight and lightweight titles in King of the Cage. He'll have a substantial height advantage (6'2" vs. 5'9") but will be faced with the tough test of overcoming Magalhaes' solid submission grappling acumen.

    My Prediction: Bernardo Magalhaes by decision.

    All gifs via Zombie Prophet of IronForgesIron.com
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  7. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

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    TJ Dillashaw vs Walel Watson dissection

    Wednesday night's UFC on Fuel TV event will kick off with a bantamweight tilt that aligns TUF 14 runner-up T.J. Dillashaw vs. Walel Watson.

    Dillashaw (4-1), a Team Alpha Male rep, was a strong candidate to win season fourteen of TUF but was the victim of a questionable stoppage against the lightning quick John Dodson in the finals. Early in the first, Dillashaw digested a stiff left hand and immediately dropped to his knees. His initial recovery was unconvincing, as he wobbled and lost his footing again while trying to stand, and Dodson pounced with punches to elicit the TKO stoppage. However, it did seem that Dillashaw was cogent and intelligently defending when Herb Dean pulled Dodson off of him.

    Having carried an undefeated, four-fight sequence into the reality show with two submissions, one TKO and one decision, the bitter loss was Dillashaw's first. Pre-MMA, he was a D1 wrestler at Cal State Fullerton University and notched a fourth-place Pac-10 finish in his last two years. Dillashaw scored an impressive TKO in the elimination match over former King of the Cage bantamweight champ Matt Jaggers, then advanced to the finals with a rear-naked choke on Roland Delorme and a decision over Dustin Pague.

    Walel "The Gazelle" Watson (9-3) clocks in as the tallest bantamweight on the roster (5'11") and has a perilous reach length (75"). After dropping his first professional contest, Watson won eight of his next nine and finished each victory (five in the first frame) to get the call from the UFC. In his Octagon debut on the UFC Live 6 card, he held true to form with a first-round knockout of Joseph Sandoval, sparked by a precisely accurate and perfectly timed head kick.

    Watson took quite a leap in competition in his follow-up bout at UFC 140, facing Yves Jabouin, the vicious Haitian striker, who has roughly three-times the experience. Though Watson was a little tentative at first and struggled with Jabouin's quickness, he eventually found his range and his confidence seemed to grow as the fight progressed. Despite losing a razor-thin split decision, Watson unveiled a slithering and surprisingly competent ground game to match his adept striking.

    [​IMG]

    Dillashaw embodies what we've come to expect from a Team Alpha Male rep, which is a high-paced offense that's split evenly between crisp boxing and explosive wrestling.

    In these gifs Dillashaw is going at it with Pague, who is a long and lanky kickboxing specialist just like Watson. Dillashaw showed a level of composure and tact that belies a fighter with only five professional fights. He was methodical in flashing off a set of meaningful strikes to put Pague back on his heels before smoothly hovering low to secure takedowns.

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    Dillashaw swarmed Pague incessantly and gave him no breathing room in both the standing and grounded positions. Pague was active with submission attempts from his back, all of which were coolly evaded by Dillashaw's calculating and frenetic top game. I'd say the ***** clip at which Dillashaw reverts from striking to wrestling is his cardinal attribute, with his veteran-evel composure coming in a close second. It's worth noting that his standing defense has been a little porous considering the Dodson match and the early knee Pague clocked him with.

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    Watson's unparalleled length is evident against Sandoval in the animation to the right, who stands the same height as Dillashaw (5'6"). He looks to be a full weight class higher and absolutely dwarfs all the standard-sized bantamweights.

    He's displayed uncanny accuracy and timing with his striking, made all the more cumbersome by his dramatically stretched proportions. Watson's other salient edge is that he doesn't have the same clumsiness or the loafing gait that plagues other unusually tall fighters and seems quite agile for someone of his stature.

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    Watson has an obvious knack for punishing opponents who lower their heads straight down in the pocket during exchanges, as depicted in both of these sequences.This is not only the same striking zone that a wrestler must traverse when dropping levels for a takedown, but the same area in which Dillashaw absorbed the big knee from Pague.

    Though he normally unleashes a wide variety of roundhouse kicks, front kicks and spinning back-fists, Watson will have to temper his arsenal to account for the threat of takedowns.

    His defense has a few holes and is far from impervious, mostly because he's fixated on offense and can get away with being lax because of his commanding range. Jabouin, not known as a wrestler, was able to secure a few takedowns, but was two-of-six overall and his successful attempts only led to getting swept or fighting his way out of near submissions.

    I've had an incipient suspicion that Watson could blossom into a high-level fighter and somewhat of a blasé outlook on Dillashaw thus far. Dillashaw blends his striking and wrestling together well, but I need to see him with a more dynamic approach before I'm sold. He employs back and forth movement but still attacks in straight lines and, though it's far from a shoddy ploy, the way he charges forward with guns blazing to disguise his takedown attempts is fairly predictable.

    I would not pick Watson, who comes in as a substantial underdog on the betting lines, based solely on his striking and mediocre takedown defense. However, I was extremely impressed with how diverse and slippery his submission attempts and sweeps were against Jabouin, which inspires me to take a chance on him pulling off the upset.
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  8. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

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    Diego Sanchez vs Jake Ellenberger Dissection

    The UFC on Fuel TV is headlined by a welterweight clash between The Ultimate Fighter O.G. Diego Sanchez and brick-fisted wrestle-boxer Jake Ellenberger.

    On the groundbreaking premiere of TUF, Diego Sanchez (23-4) was pretty hard to miss. Amidst the alcohol-fueled shenanigans of pillow-spritzing and rampant vandalism, Diego would be the fella peacefully meditating in his room or out in the parking lot doing Yoga in a thunderstorm to harness the lightning. Before appearing on the show, Sanchez had already constructed an undefeated, eleven-fight record and a strong rep as a legit up-and-comer in King of Cage, where he'd just snared the promotion's welterweight championship.

    In his early days, Sanchez was one of the rare few who excelled in both wrestling and submission grappling, commonly devouring his opponent with explosive double-legs and showering them with ground and pound or snatching power-subs like kimuras and lion-killers from dominant positions. He always exuded what would eventually become his trademark style, which is battling at a frenzied pace with heaps of unending aggression. He tidied up Alex Karelexis and Josh Rafferty with first round rear-naked chokes, dotted standout wrestler Josh Koscheck with ground strikes and then hammered an undersized Kenny Florian by first round TKO to become, along with light-heavyweight Forrest Griffin, the first "Ultimate Fighter."

    Having competed on the show as a middleweight, Sanchez returned to welterweight and rattled off five impressive victories: he forced Brian Gassaway to tap to punches, earned the judges' nod over John Alessio, engaged in ultra-entertaining decision wins over top-caliber welterweights Nick Diaz and Karo Parisyan and demonstrated improved striking with a stiff right hook and flying knee to vanquish Joe Riggs. Sanchez would be handed consecutive defeats from Team AKA, as Josh Koscheck dabbed him up with a sprawl and brawl strategy for a unanimous vote and Jon Fitch out-hustled him in a tight split-decision.

    Diego bounced back with two stoppages (David Bielkheden, Luigi Fioravanti) before setting his sights on the lightweight division. Two exciting and competitive decision wins later (Joe Stevenson, Clay Guida) and Sanchez found himself facing alpha-lightweight B.J. Penn for the title. Ascending to the highest point of his career would once again result in falling back down, as Penn battered him for a TKO in the fifth and John Hathaway spoiled his return to 170-pounds with a convincing decision defeat. Sanchez has since notched two in a row, both action-packed decisions, over Paulo Thiago and Martin Kampmann.

    Jake "The Juggernaut" Ellenberger (26-5) is a clean cut, former Marine who's built like a fire hydrant. He wrestled at the Division II University of Nebraska at Omaha and, despite beginning his MMA training that very same year, produced an undefeated nine-fight clip in 2005 -- which is an astounding pace for a first-year fighter. He extended that streak with three more wins in 2006 and, even more impressively, finished every opponent with an unsettling aura of violence (nine via strikes with three submissions).

    No longer an unknown fighter, Ellenberger dabbled with his first taste of upper-echelon welterweights and hit a rough stretch of road, splitting his next six with losses to Jay Hieron, Derrick Noble (both of whom would eventually fight in the UFC) and submission specialist Delson Heleno, who is the only fighter to this day to finish Ellenberger (armbar). Lemons became lemonade, as Ellenberger won six of his next seven that included a vicious KO over Vale Tudo legend Jose "Pele" Landi-Jons and a decision over crafty grappler and current Strikeforce fighter Pat Healy, with another UFC-level adversary accounting for his sole loss (Rick Story).

    He faced former WEC champion Carlos Condit in their mutual Octagon debuts and flattened him twice in the first round. Condit showed amazing resilience and battled on, eventually turning the tide in later rounds and winning a split-decision that could've gone either way. Ellenberger has cut a five-fight swathe since then, scorching four by knockout (Mike Pyle, John Howard, Sean Pierson and the tank-chinned Jake Shields) along with a split-decision over Carlos Eduardo Rocha; a decision plagued by one utterly unfathomable score card.

    [​IMG]

    Though these are older gifs from the Riggs encounter back in 2006, this marked a pivotal stage of Diego's evolution because he'd seemed to have rounded out his ground-oriented strategy with a fierce striking game. And this is definitive evidence of that: his stance, balance, defensive guard and punching form shows substantial improvement here.

    Some fighters drift away from their raw ferocity when developing finesse and more polished technique, but Sanchez sprinted across the cage and went airborne with a highlight-reel-worthy flying knee to conclude the sequence to the right.

    [​IMG]
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  9. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

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    (cont.)

    However, sculpting your fundamentals to a more adequate level is not the same thing as being a good striker at the UFC level.

    Really, if you gather up all of Sanchez's past performances in the Octagon, his entire strategy consists of charging forward with a blinding series of looping rights and lefts and then dropping levels for a double leg against the cage. He wins when it works and loses when it doesn't. This trend first materialized against Alessio, who was expected to be trounced but nearly upset Sanchez.

    [​IMG]

    After Alessio, Koscheck devised an intelligent sprawl and brawl that consisted of avoiding the wild bull-rush, anticipating the takedown that always followed it and lancing tight punches through his permeable defense.

    Don't get me wrong -- there will always be a place for primal and unbridled aggression in MMA and the plan was (and, at times, is still) effective, but I don't think it's too far-fetched to isolate this approach as highly predictable and the catalyst for his UFC losses. Kampmann attended to this habit well on most fronts but still allowed himself to be contained on the fence and take punishment.

    [​IMG]

    Ellenberger has never been the kind of guy to dance deftly out of range while flicking out a few mediocre-powered counters, so the Machida-esque strategy is out. He absolutely has, however, the medley of wrestling and striking to formulate the perfect antidote for Sanchez, along with Goliath punching power and an impenetrable chin to boot. He is also the type that happily embraces down-and-dirty, in-your-face warfare, which lends scintillating appeal to this match up. Prior to meeting Ellenberger, Shields had lost just once by TKO, which was in his third pro-fight in 2000, so the scene to the left is a testament to his power.

    [​IMG]

    As opposed to back pedaling, Ellenberger thrives in the role of being an assertive counter puncher.

    His intentions are to hold his ground, calculate his opponent's tendencies and map out the best trajectory in which to stream his rocket-fueled fists directly into their jaw.

    He's accomplished this with both his left and right hands along with the brutal knee he finished Shields with, making him a multi-dimensional knockout threat with excellent timing, instincts and accuracy.

    [​IMG]

    Once he holds his ground and makes a statement that he won't retreat, Ellenberger is even more of a head-hunter when moving forward.

    When he's countering, he takes a little mustard off his punches so he can maintain balance and stay light on his toes, which allows him to fend off takedowns and cut angles to counter. When he's on the attack, he spools up sickening power and throws everything into his hands.

    That's what we see to the left against Condit, who protects his right side well when throwing the knee, but not so much with the left side.

    Overall, I can't help but see this as a horrible match up for Sanchez. Ellenberger has never been knocked out, he's the more credentialed and accomplished wrestler and he has more power and better technique on the feet. Plus, he's a purple belt himself, which leaves only a narrow advantage for Diego in his other specialty of scrambling and grappling transitions.

    I don't see many ways that Diego can impose his will, as I think Ellenberger will oblige a brawl, but will not do so in a stationary position against the cage where Diego is most effective. Diego has been difficult to stop with punches so a decision might be more likely, but I'm guessing Ellenberger can land a big bomb and finish with damage or pounce with a stream of leather to elicit an intervention from the ref.
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  10. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

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    Stefan Struve vs Dave Herman Dissection

    The co-main event on Wednesday's UFC on Fuel TV card seems to be a shoo-in for "Fight of the Night" honors. Stefan Struve, the tallest fighter in the Octagon, squares off with Dave Herman, the most eccentric character on the roster.

    Stefan "Skyscraper" Struve (22-5) has crammed the experience of a crusty veteran into his gangly, noodle-like frame. Just an inch shy of being a seven-footer, the Dutch mixed martial artist is a veritable tower in the cage who's accrued a guffawing twenty-seven fights at just twenty-three years of age, and this event will mark his tenth foray in the Octagon.

    In his promotional debut at UFC 95, Struve was unfortunate to draw eventual heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos and was relegated to the Brazilian boxer's highlight reel. He rebounded from the first-round TKO loss with two rousing submission wins (Dennis Stojnic, Chase Gormley) and a hard-fought decision victory over savvy scrapper Paul Buentello. Roy Nelson and his Christmas-ham of a right hand would snap that three-piece streak but, undeterred, Struve trudged onward and finished two more in a row, this time by TKO (Christian Morecraft, Sean McCorkle).

    The pendulum would continue to swing as Struve incurred his third defeat to Travis Browne, but this one was particularly deflating in that all three losses had been crushing, first-round knockouts. He developed a rep for being "chinny" and unable to capitalize on his condor-like wingspan. The kid deserves credit for keeping his nose to the grindstone and exuding an admirable fighting spirit, which was on full display in his last outing against Pat Barry at the UFC Live 6 card. After being lifted up to the rafters and slammed on his back, Struve unfurled his spidery limbs and latched a second-round triangle choke to get back in the win column.

    Formerly known as "Pee Wee", the newly flocculent Dave Herman (21-2) now goes by the moniker "Sasquatch." Herman is a choice blend of barbarian in the cage and charmingly aloof quipster outside of it. For example, here are a few eclectic gems from his official Twitter page: "Took my first hot shower in a couple months today. It was everything I thought it would be." "I don't know how many more days of laying on the couch and not doing anything I can take. I think 2 more." "Have you ever had Doritos with honey on them? That way when you finish your Doritos you don't have to have any honey." Herman recently took a moment at the Fuel TV open workouts to reflect on his dapper pink scarf with MMA Junkie.

    "I actually made this scarf on Friday. I stayed up late and only got three hours of sleep before I got on the plane just to make sure I got it done. I knew it was going to be chilly, and I figured I should probably have a scarf. … I weaved it on a loom."

    Personally, I still shudder at the dark memories of finding myself in the filthy clutches of a spontaneous all-nighter on the loom. Alas, that's Herman's style and it works just fine when accompanied by electric wins like his UFC debut against Jon Olav Einemo. In his interview before facing the decorated sport grappler, Herman gave his technical outlook on Jiu Jitsu, confessing, "I don't really think it works."

    His face plastered with an inopportune perma-grin, Herman took more than he gave in the first and seemed genuinely preoccupied with some humorous distraction, as if each punch to the noggin was a joy inducing reminder he'd made it to the big leagues. He got a bead on Einemo in the second and unbolted a thunderous knee that triggered a rousing TKO, acquiring the Fight of the Night bonus in the process. A positive drug test for marijuana has sidelined him since UFC 131 last June though Herman refuted the charge.

    Pre-UFC, Herman was a virtual slaughterhouse, finishing fifteen straight opponents, fourteen of which were in the first round and thirteen via strikes. He then crossed the pond and incurred his first (and only legit) career loss to Mu Bae Choi in the Sengoku promotion. It was about this time he deduced that he should start training seriously. In his last six before signing with the UFC, Herman won five and ended four in the first frame, two of which were extremely rare finishing methods (TKO by axe kicks and an omoplata submission). His sole blemish was a DQ for firing illegal knees to the head of Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou.

    The hardcore fan base took note of his gathering dominance but were increasingly mystified by Herman's in-cage lunacy. Though Herman never wrestled in high school, he was red-shirted by Indiana University and qualified for the NCAA championships his sophomore year after placing seventh at the Big Tens. He did not, however, embody your typical 6'5" Division 1 wrestler: Herman fought like a hyperactive kid who'd willfully neglected his Ritalin during a Bruce Lee movie binge, ricocheting around the cage in a whirlwind of flashy kicks with effectiveness that ranged from total failure to flawless execution.

    [​IMG]

    After such a gushing build up, it's only appropriate to begin with this animation of Herman, because it perfectly captures the true essence of his insanity, athleticism and creativity.

    Leading with one of his favorites, the jumping front kick, Herman tacks on a spinning roundhouse kick and not only misses the mark entirely, but flails to the canvas in a heap of limbs. Finding himself flat on his back and thoroughly vulnerable before the bewildered Sokoudjou, Herman immediately snatches his leg and transitions to the kneebar.

    [​IMG]

    Herman employed his wrestling to stay standing against Einemo and excellent scrambling to get back to his feet. Though there was a clear ebb and flow in the first, Herman's sketchy head movement and straight-line retreats got him in trouble. He loves to wander back while being pressed with strikes and then bounce off the cage with an unorthodox flurry. When trading in the pocket, Herman shrinks his head back and keeps it upright rather than bobbing and weaving, which is a flaw that Struve shares.

    Herman's kicks and knees are his best weapons and have fostered most of his TKO stoppages.

    [​IMG]

    Struve trains under old school kickboxing legend "Dirty" Bob Schreiber and won his first amateur fight by head-kick KO at age sixteen. He reminds me a little of Martin Kampmann in that, though a kickboxing-based fighter at heart who prefers to stand, he's not a big power puncher and his submission grappling seems to be noticeably smoother and much more effective.
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  11. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

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    (cont.)

    He shows that aspect and his steely composure to the right. When Pat Barry hoists him up Rampage vs. Arona style, Struve keeps the triangle tight but loosens up just enough to brace his fall, then constricts it tight to elicit the tap.

    [​IMG]

    While he takes flak for not applying his length to the fullest on the feet, Struve uses his frame well on the mat. He creates a continent of space with technical use of his hips and also has strong wrist control. His sweeps are fundamentally sound and lightning fast; his base from the top is overbearing and his power is quite sufficient in the form of ground and pound. Struve's takedown defense is also burdened by his height, as the lower center of gravity and superior agility of his foes allows them to get deep on his hips.

    This is a total toss-up in the striking department. Both fighters have porous defense, lax head movement and substandard footwork, making them very hittable. However, they both have huge hearts and a knack for absorbing punishment only to persevere through an outpouring of their own offense. Struve has been wise to cut back on the kicks and flying knees and whittle his offering down to a straight one-two and basic, crisp punches. Herman will toy around with a litany of jumping front, spinning and axe kicks on the fringe and look to bury knees to the head and body at close range.

    I'd give Herman the edge in the clinch and he clearly holds the wrestling advantage, while Struve gets just a slight nod in submissions as Herman is deceivingly adept in that facet. It's worth mentioning that Struve has now filled out his frame and is tipping the scales at over 260-pounds, giving him some girth to match to his length.

    The betting lines favor Herman slightly. This is a tough call because each competitor has their fair share of weaknesses and both rely on rhythm and emotion. I think Struve will be a handful on the ground and I'd shoot takedowns if I were him just to keep the threat fresh in the D1 wrestler's mind. Struve's tremendous reach will also be a salient factor because of Herman's dangerous defensive tactics -- if he moves straight back and rests on the cage with his head stationary, Struve will tag him. Herman might also struggle to close the vast distance even more due to his odd head position while attacking. I'd consider this match about even but will side with a sentimental favorite.
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  12. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

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    Stipe Miocic vs Philip De Fries Dissection

    The main card of Wednesday's UFC on Fuel TV event will pit Stipe Miocic vs. Philip De Fries, both of whom are undefeated heavyweights making their return after successful Octagon debuts.

    Stipe Miocic (7-0) was a ranked NCAA D1 wrestler at Cleveland State University and also a former Golden Gloves boxing champion. He typically handles things with his stand up, having finished all six of his pre-UFC opponents by strikes -- three in the first round and one by forced submission due to an endless stream of leg kicks. In the past, Miocic employed his wrestling in reverse to repel takedown attempts and stay upright but sputtered out in the third and reverted back to his roots in his UFC debut against Joey Beltran at UFC 136.

    He came out sharp and took the first round convincingly with smooth single-legs and crisp handiwork. There was a slightly noticeable lull in Miocic's output in the second; then he was flat-out drained in the final frame and had no zip on his punches nor spring in his step. Despite the power outage, the Croatian won two rounds on two of the judges' score cards and all three on the third to take a unanimous decision and remain unbeaten.

    Philip De Fries (8-0) is a twenty-five year old fighter from Sunderland, England, and a longtime Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner. He won a few smaller tournaments overseas as a purple belt and, excluding one No Contest due to illegal punches, steamrolled his first eight MMA opponents by submission. De Fries ended seven of those contests in the first frame and five by rear-naked choke.

    His first foray in the Octagon was at UFC 138 versus Rob Broughton, where the pair engaged in a three-round grapple-fest that was rife with constant momentum swings, mutual reversals and alternating submission attempts. While it was a fairly technical, back and forth grappling match, there was literally a quarter-ton of beef rolling around in the cage and the action transpired at a labored rate. De Fries was given two of three rounds and earned a hard-fought unanimous decision to start his UFC tenure on the right foot.

    [​IMG]

    At 6'4" and a well-muscled 240-pounds, Miocic is a mid-sized heavyweight with an exceptional level of agility and athleticism. His wrestling pedigree makes up for what he may lack in sheer brawn, so Miocic generally has a quickness advantage but is still a beast in tie-ups. In fact, he's assumed the role of the bully in every contest save the later rounds against Beltran when he gassed. Like De Fries, Miocic experienced the third round for the first time in his career during his UFC debut.

    His D1-level wrestling is evident in the ease with which he snares the low single on Beltran.

    [​IMG]

    Availability on video bytes of De Fries' bout with Broughton were scarce, so I had to dig back into some of his older fights.

    Since De Fries is basically a pure submissionist, he'll be out-matched on the feet and likely finding himself in desperate need of grounding the fight. I imagine the outcome will hinge upon the sole aspect of De Fries' takedown abilities, which will need to be ultra-sharp against a wrestler of Miocic's caliber. De Fries isn't the most nimble cat on the block so, historically, he's mashed foes into the cage to work clinch takedowns.

    [​IMG]

    In the sequence above, De Fries was getting stuffed on a double-leg against the cage wall, but wisely capitalizes on having a left-side underhook and switches to a high single. By doing so, he can jam his head deep into his opponent's waist, explode upward with the leverage from his grasp, peel his adversary off the cage and run the pipe to complete the takedown. You can see his instincts kick in as he immediately traps the right knee and passes to side control.

    Miocic will be well aware of De Fries' intentions and won't be easy to corner and clinch, so the way De Fries sets up his incoming advances will be crucial.

    [​IMG]

    We see his tactics to close distance above: De Fries gets the collar-and-elbow clinch and shrinks the space between them, cracks a few punches when his opponent disengages and then drops for a double leg against the fence.

    This is where Miocic's physical attributes of being extremely agile but still strong as a bull will serve him well. He should wreak havoc on many a heavyweight with his combination of stellar wrestling and sound striking. He'll be hard to catch and even harder to contain.

    I expect Miocic to replicate the pre-UFC strategy he executed with perfection, which is to needle straight punches and cleave with low kicks on the fringe while staying active with evasive footwork. His lead-leg, inside low kick is a quick release strike that doesn't compromise his defense, but he torques his hips over to load up power on his rear-leg, outside low kick when he has more room to operate.

    Miocic is no slouch on the ground and has shown good scrambling skills, yet there is no reason to engage De Fries in his comfort zone unless forced. De Fries is a crafty submission grappler, but as long as Miocic respects his skill he should be able to shuck off takedowns and exploit his glaring advantage on the feet. I expect Miocic's endurance to improve, resulting in many crushing low kicks and a very long night for De Fries.
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  13. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

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    Aaron Simpson vs Ronny Markes Dissection

    Brazilian Ronny Markes, a former heavyweight who debuted in the UFC as a light-heavyweight, will take the plunge all the way down to 185-pounds for the first time tomorrow night. Markes tackles Division 1 All-American wrestler and feisty veteran Aaron Simpson on the main card of the UFC on Fuel TV show.

    Ronny Markes (12-1) trains under Jair Lourenco at the "Kimura" branch of the prestigious Nova Uniao fight team and holds a brown belt in BJJ under Lourenco and the legendary Andre Pederneiras. Starting his career on the local circuit in Brazil, Markes won ten of his first eleven in devastating fashion, clobbering six victims by TKO and latching four submissions with one decision. This initial surge propelled Markes to his first marquee opponent in former WEC champion and Pride standout Paulo Filho. Markes fully capitalized on his considerable size advantage and Muay Thai acumen to batter Filho around the cage for all three rounds, scoring a commanding unanimous decision that inevitably launched his stateside career.

    Karlos Vemola, a six-time wrestling champion of his homeland in the Czech Republic, welcomed Markes to the Octagon on the UFC Live 5 card last August. What was expected to be a case of an untested Brazilian succumbing to the venom of an experienced wrestler unfolded in reverse: it was Markes who imposed control and dominated the contest with staunch takedowns and a suffocating top-game. It was a clean sweep on the judges' score cards and Markes made a strong statement right out of the gate.

    The overwhelming reaction to the way Markes dismantled Vemola was to belittle the Czech's wrestling accomplishments, but that option will not be on the table with two-time All-American wrestler Aaron Simpson (11-2). Attending Division 1 powerhouse Arizona State University, Simpson was also a multiple-time Pac-10 champion, a Pan-Am silver medalist and took fourth place at the Olympic trials.

    That same extraordinary success transferred well to MMA, as Simpson got a shot in the WEC after destroying his first four opponents (three by TKO and three in the first frame with one submission). He didn't disappoint either, sinking David Avellan at WEC 36 by first-round knockout in a mere eighteen seconds. The next step up presented itself and Simpson migrated to the big leagues of the UFC and duplicated his devastation with another quick strike-stoppage.

    He would go on to notch two more victories -- one eased by Ed Herman blowing out his knee and the next a split-decision over Tom Lawlor -- before tasting a double-dose of defeat. After winning the first round handily, Simpson's pace slowed dramatically in the second against Chris Leben and left him a sitting duck in the voracious striker's cross-hairs. Next up was an equally decorated wrestler in Mark Munoz, who was just a little quicker and stronger in out-hustling Simpson to a unanimous decision at UFC 123. Simpson has since piled on three straight wins (Mario Miranda, Brad Tavares, Eric Schafer), all by decision.

    [​IMG]

    By all accounts, Markes fights like a bloodthirsty and untamed savage. Every action and all efforts are dedicated wholly to inflicting great bodily harm.

    As evinced to the right, he doesn't throw punches casually nor as a distraction, but unleashes each blow with purely malicious intentions. Markes came into the UFC heralded as a double-threat fighter for his BJJ and Muay Thai, but ended up wielding three-dimensions by unveiling a fully functional wrestling game. This makes him a thoroughly complete fighter and his potential has maximized even further by dropping weight.

    [​IMG]

    Above, we get a glimpse of the fireballs Markes hurls and the sound reactions and timing he has on the feet along with his offensive and defensive wrestling.

    Against Vemola, Markes was faster, stronger, more agile and superior in every aspect. He lit up Vemola standing, nailed takedowns almost at will and also drubbed him with strikes in the clinch.

    To the left, Markes gets excellent wrist control on Vemola's left arm and extends it away from his waist to leave his mid-section wide open for a brutal knee.

    [​IMG]

    Even at the ripe ol' age of thirty-seven, Simpson shows no signs of slowing down and has managed to improve his boxing nicely.

    While his wild power carried him through the embryonic stages of his career, he's been able to clean up his stance, footwork and punching technique without losing his raw striking heft.

    Not so much of a finesse-guy from outside, Simpson prefers to barge into close quarters and whirl short, tight hooks with both hands at a frenzied pace.

    [​IMG]

    Both of these animations versus Eric Schafer reflect that tendency. Most of Simpson's lead shots from the fringe are ferocious and he follows directly in their streaking path to shrink the distance and maul with volume-combos at phone-booth range. While his effectiveness is apparent, he is somewhat relegated to being stationed either outside and idle on the perimeter or sandwiched deep in the pocket and scattering leather. Admittedly, Schafer is not known for his striking prowess and this was a bit of a showcase for Simpson's stand up.

    The reason all indications point to this match up being a bloodbath is that Markes shares Simpson's affinity for close-range brawling. Typically, you'll find neither biding their time cautiously or circling away to methodically counter punch. No, these gentlemen conduct themselves like long-leashed pitbulls who have just been let off the chain and envision their opponents like a juicy steak wrapped in Sprawl shorts, dangling enticingly before their ravenous eyes.

    The edge with game-planning goes to Simpson, who's exhibited the ability to lay out and adhere to a strategy specifically crafted to his adversary. Pinpointing Schafer's striking deficiency, Simpson was unflinching in stuffing takedowns to keep the fight standing; miffed after getting a taste of Brad Tavares' punching power, he enveloped the heavy-handed fighter and buried him against the cage to squelch his striking.

    Markes will have a substantial advantage in submission and is equally perilous from the top as he is off his back. Of course, the unknown pros and cons of his dramatic cut in weight will be at play and may be emphasized by the likelihood of this bout stretching into the later rounds. Even if his cut goes well, Markes will be an outright leviathan strength-wise at middleweight but will lose a little bit of his quickness, which is an integral aspect of his style -- and Simpson's too, who's fleet-footed for 185.

    I imagine the opening moments will transpire as the classic battle of who can impose their will first. I expect Markes to come out with cannons blazing, but ready to react instantly to avoid being put on his back. Simpson would love nothing more than to demonstrate his superior wrestling and vault ahead early with a few successful takedowns. In the clinch, Simpson has a better base and control where Markes is more offensively geared with a diverse Thai arsenal.
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  14. DemiGod

    DemiGod Peef Rimgar

    Joined:
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    Burger via TKO
    Herman via KO
    Markes UD
    Stipe via TKO
    Dillashaw via UD
    Prince Albert via UD
    Brookins via UD
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  15. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

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    event of the year by far
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  16. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

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    WINNERS

    Jake Ellenberger: Fighting in front of his hometown, Ellenberger came out like a man on fire and dominated Diego Sanchez for the first two rounds of the fight. Though Sanchez was able to come back in the third and make the fight a lot closer than it should have been, Ellenberger proved that he's one of the top welterweights in the division. Huge win and great performance.

    Stefan Struve: He still hasn't figured out that he's a 6'11" fighter with a 84" reach but last night showed that Struve continues to improve in developing his punching power and stand up. He also looked to have filled out a bit more as well which will help him as he gets older. Not bad for a guy who turns 24 on Saturday.

    Stipe Miocic: He allowed himself to get into early trouble by letting Phil de Fries land some powerful strikes but maintained his composure and was able to finish the Brit in under a minute. While his boxing credentials may be a bit overstated, he has crazy power and moves well for a heavyweight.

    Ivan Menjivar: Like Miocic, Menjivar found himself in trouble early and was almost finished by John Albert. Menjivar was able to weather the storm and finish Albert with a rear naked choke. Gutsy performance from the veteran fighter.

    Jonathan Brookins: Brookins continues to develop as a fighter against someone who I thought would give him trouble. The knockout was vicious and which was a result of Rocha leaving his face open while in an awful position. I don't know what Brookins ceiling is but it's higher than originally though.

    The Omaha Crowd: 7,000 people in Omaha rivaled the crowds in both Toronto and Rio. While Dana White may have deemed Brazil the new (old) mecca of MMA, I think the locals in Omaha have an argument for best fans in the sport.

    Losers and other thoughts after the jump...

    SBN coverage of UFC on Fuel TV

    Star-divide

    LOSERS

    Dave Herman: If you're gonna try and be the funny guy looking like a werewolf and coming out to 'Do you really want to hurt me', you have to go out and win in impressive fashion. He didn't do that. He looked like Cat Stevens and fought like Cat Stevens. I doubt he's given another shot. I hope this is the case since I hate terrible schtick.

    Aaron Simpson and Ronny Markes: I'm grouping these two together because it took both of them to make for an absolutely horrible fight. The highlight was Simpson dropping marks with an uppercut in the first round. From there it was a myopic affair of clinch work against the fence.

    Anton Kuivanen and Justin Salas: I understand they are both prospects so the expectations can never be the same had they been veterans. That being said, they fought a fight that wasn't memorable at all and the takeaway is that neither fighter is close to being UFC ready. Obviously they won't drop Salas but he's not as good as advertised.

    Three Round Main Events: Are you serious, bro? Obviously not every fight will turn out to be Hendo/Shogun or Henderson/Guida, but there is no reason for a fight with title implications to be a three rounder. They'll be fighting for a championship sooner or later, why not allow them to get the experience of going five rounds?

    OTHER THOUGHTS

    Diego Sanchez lost last night but he is in no way a loser. He brings the fight every time he enters the cage and shows a toughness that is rare in this sport. While he may never capture UFC gold, he'll be remembered as one of the most entertaining guys in the sport. As a fan I feel cheated because had that fight gone two more rounds I believe we'd be talking about Sanchez vs Condit for the interim belt. But such is life.
    T.J. Dillashaw has a ton of potential but a terrible fight IQ. He could have likely finished the fight if he didn't abandon his ground and pound to continuously look for the rear naked choke. He's still young and hopefully his coaches will go over the fight with him so he doesn't make the same mistakes again.
    I loved the commentary of John Anik and Kenny Florian. They have great chemistry together and weren't trying to oversell the action. This is key as people are tuning in to see the fights, not to be distracted by the commentary team.
    Brian Stann was absolutely incredible in the booth for the pre and post fight shows on Fuel TV. He was able to give great analysis of the fights that night as well as the upcoming fight between Rashad Evans and Jon Jones. I wouldn't mind if he became a permanent fixture for future Fuel coverage.
    The presentation of Fuel was great and the addition of statistics made MMA feel more like a 'legitimate' sport. Small additions like this can help change how people view MMA and will help grow the UFC product.
    test
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