mma / Columns

Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 2.1.13 Real Super Fight Edition

February 1, 2013 | Posted by Robert Winfree

Hello one and all, at least assuming more than one person reads this. If not, then just hello to the one. I’m not going to lie, we’ve got a big issue this week with a big event to review and a bigger one to preview. That’s right, I’m taking a look at the upcoming super fight between Frankie Edgar and UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and the other main card fights of course. Plus there’s news like the UFC on FOX’s rating and Randy Couture’s newest business venture. Lots to get through this week, so you’d better have submission defense akin to Benson Henderson to survive being Locked in this Guillotine. Let’s get started.

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Technical issues: I was watching the first preliminary fight between David Mitchell and Simeon Thoresen but the feed cut out early, prior to the actual end of the fight. Assuming the fight went the distance it should have gone very easily to David Mitchell with his more accurate striking and submission attempts. The striking was technically pretty ugly here but both men landed some solid strikes and it certainly wasn’t a boring fight. Just wish I could have seen the whole thing without issues.

Natal dominates: Rafael Natal defeated Sean Spencer by submission with a nice arm triangle choke from the mount in the third round. Spencer took the fight on short notice and is a more natural welterweight than middleweight, so he might get another prelim fight just because he stepped in on short notice. Natal looked better here than he has in previous fights, his kicks were more on point and his ground game seemed a tad more aggressive. Good win for Natal.

Cardio issues: Shawn Jordan defeated Mike Russow by TKO in the second round with a flurry of punches from the back mount. Jordan was in trouble in the first round, Russow was landing a good straight right hand with surprising regularity and had a couple of flurries where he was trying to get a finish, but Jordan survived. In the second round Russow was clearly tired, not completely gassed out but definitely tired, and Jordan capitalized with punches and takedowns into good position and eventually just pounded out the win. I would like to note that I was the only guy who picked Shawn Jordan in the roundtable and I also predicted the second round TKO. Yes, I am a genius.

That was fast: Ryan Bader submitted Valdimir Matyushenko with a guillotine from half guard in just fifty seconds. In fact that was the fastest submission victory in the history of the light heavyweight division in the UFC. This was also the first time Matyushenko had been submitted, and was a good performance from Bader.

Volume is effective: Pascal Krauss defeated Mike Stumpf by unanimous decision after a three round battering. Krauss threw more punches, and landed a high number of them as well as leg kicks over the entire fight. This was a good building fight and a showcase for Krauss and his striking ability. Nothing offensive here, and I do enjoy a good volume based striking attack.

Guida gets a gift: Clay Guida defeated Hatsu Hioki by split decision in a fight that realistically should have gone to Hioki. Hioki owned the first round with superior striking, while I felt that Guida actually did win the third round just based on the time he spent on top. The second round featured Guida on top for most of it, but he did nothing effective. Hioki made multiple submission attempts, threw strikes from his back, and Guida got zero effective offense in during that round. For one of the judges to score that fight 30-27 for Guida was completely bogus in my opinion, there’s no way Guida won the first round under any reasonable system of scoring.

Grant keeps on rolling: TJ Grant defeated Matt Wiman by TKO in the first round after some nice elbows in the clinch hurt Wiman. Grant looked much better on his feet than he had in the past, and his grappling has always been very good. Grant now has the second longest active winning streak in the UFC lightweight division behind the the champion Benson Henderson. I’d like to see Grant fight someone like Jim Miller or maybe Khabib Nurmagomedov next to see how he handles the next level of competition.

Lamas makes a statement: Ricardo Lamas defeated Erik Koch by TKO in the second round with some vicious elbows from top position. Lamas had a good first round, he used the clinch well and wasn’t at all lost on the feet striking with Koch. In the second Lamas was able to capitalize on a mistake from Koch when Lamas slipped and Koch got too aggressive trying to get in top position. Lamas made a big statement here following his upset win over Hatsu Hioki in his last fight, the guy should be in position for a title shot or at the very least a title eliminator with the Korean Zombie. Big big win for Lamas here.

To the Liver: Anthony Pettis stopped Donald Cerrone with a series of brutal body kicks in the first round to become the first guy to ever TKO the Cowboy. I could not have been more wrong about how this fight would go, it seemed like Cerrone had no answer for Pettis in the southpaw stance. Pettis landed a couple of nasty liver kicks that backed up Cerrone, then another big one to put him down and finish the fight in the first. This was a big win for Pettis and should line him up for a title shot after Benson Henderson fights Gilbert Melendez. You know I love body work, so a little Patrick Bateman to celebrate.

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Rampage is done: Glover Teixeira defeated Quinton “Rampage” Jackson by unanimous decision in what was mostly a stand up fight. Glover landed more shots, and he landed them much cleaner than the blows that Rampage was able to land. In addition Glover was able to score takedowns when he wanted to and use some solid ground and pound. I was actually hoping for a little more out of Teixeira, he wasn’t able to land many knees when he would get Rampage in a thai plum position, and there were times when Rampage would turn and walk off of the cage that I thought Glover could have punished him for. Still a good win for Glover and he’s ready to step up in competition. As for Rampage, I wish him good luck in whatever he does next.

Mighty Mouse retains: Demetrious Johnson defeated John Dodson by unanimous decision. This was really a tale of two halves, because in the fourth and fifth rounds Johnson was fighting very effectively in the clinch landing knees and punches, but the first two rounds featured Dodson landing some solid punches that hurt Johnson. At the end of the day the third round was, or should have been, the crucial round and Johnson came on strong at the latter half of that round. There’s no real contender next for Johnson at this point, so it could come down to the fight between Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez and who looks better there. This fight had some fun moments, but really it was hard to get invested in the fight. Good win for Mighty Mouse, but the UFC should really look into getting some more talent for that division.

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The Natural moves to Spike: Former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Randy Couture signed on with Bellator to appear as a coach on their new reality series. Randy Couture has had disagreements with Zuffa management in the past, but if I had to guess this one comes down to money. If Viacom, the parent company of Spike TV, made him a good offer to appear on their networks he’d be foolish to turn it down. This is a touch unfortunate because it means Randy wont be featured as a talking head on Fuel TV and he’s very good in that role, but really if he’s making decision based on the finances of the offers it’s hard to fault him one way or the other.

UFC 159 get’s fleshed out: UFC 159 is currently scheduled to be headlined by the title fight between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and challenger Chael Sonnen. Considering the profile of both fighters and the fact that the current season of The Ultimate Fighter features them as opposing coaches the event is set to do good business. To fill out the rest of the main card the UFC has announced that the co-main event will feature middleweights Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher fighting. Also scheduled at this time are a heavyweight clash between Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo, Pat Healy taking on Jim Miller, and Phil Davis fighting Vinny Magalhaes. While the show is certainly relying on Jones and Sonnen those other fights are certainly interesting in their own right, and hopefully the UFC will avoid the one fight card dilemma that has come up with them recently and has plagued boxing for a while now.

FOX numbers are in: The UFC’s last offering on FOX, headlined by the flyweight title fight between champion Demetrious Johnson and challenger John Dodson scored an overall rating of 2.43, which is more or less in line with the last outing. The show peaked at 5.2 million viewers during the title fight between Johnson and Dodson. The overall numbers showed highlights in the key demographics the UFC tries to draw in, specifically the 18-49 male demographic. This also indicates how important it is for the UFC to be promoted during American Football season, as of the six UFC shows on FOX the two lowest rated occurred during the spring and summer without the benefit of commercials during Football season. Overall this continues a good trend for the UFC on FOX, especially on Saturday evenings as the last two UFC events have out drawn Major League Baseball and College Football which FOX also airs in that slot.

What might have been: At a press scrum UFC President Dana White spoke about how close they were to making one of the biggest fights in MMA history happen. Both Fedor Emelianenko and Brock Lesnar were amenable to fighting in Cowboy Stadium. I know both men aren’t the almost unstoppable forces they once were, but you can’t deny the drawing power of that fight. Watching the UFC hype up Fedor would have been worth the price of admission alone. Sadly Fedor’s father passed away and he decided he would rather focus on being a family man. With Fedor out Brock also backed off deciding to stay in the world of professional wrestling. I can’t fault either man for their decisions, the loss of a parent can be a major issue and if Fedor’s heart wasn’t in fighting anymore than he absolutely should stay away. As for Brock, he’s making plenty of money with the WWE right now and if that’s what he’d rather do than good for him. His return on Monday made 411’s Mark Radulich very happy.

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The UFC brings us a stacked card this Saturday, something they haven’t done for some time. Every main card fight from top to bottom has some level of excitement and relevance, headlined by a real life super fight between Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo. This should be a great card top to bottom, so let’s get into the main card and what I think will happen. If you want to see my preliminary picks, go to the Roundtable.

Ian McCall vs. Joseph Benavidez: There are only two fights on this card I’m not totally psyched up for, and this is one of them. Don’t take that to mean I’m down on them, just more excited for everything else. Both Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez have been bested by current flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. Both men are strong wrestlers, though generally in different ways. Ian McCall tends to use the clinch more and is a better counter wrestler. Joseph Benavidez has a nasty guillotine choke and decent power in his hands in addition to better offensive wrestling than his opponent here. McCall has a more varied striking attack, but his power is more of a question mark. This is a really close match up, as most high level fights are, and both men are looking to rebound from disappointing performances. I’m going with Ian McCall here, I think he’ll want to redeem himself after his last fight and I think his skills make that a very real possibility. Likely a decision either way, because finishes at flyweight are much rarer.

Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia: At various points both Jon Fitch and Demian Maia have been accused of sucking the fun out of MMA fights they were involved in. That tag has been lifted from both of them, Maia after he dropped down to welterweight and Jon Fitch after his last fight with Erik Silva. I’m actually looking forward to some high level grappling exchanges between these two because Fitch seems to fear no one on the ground and he’s likely to take Maia down at some point. I expect fifteen minutes of high action grappling though this would also be the type of fight both men use as a chance to get some cage time with their striking. At the end of the day I’m going with Fitch by decision, but if his grappling isn’t on point Maia will choke him out.

Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva vs. Alistair Overeem: You know, I think this might be the most one sided fight on the card. Bigfoot Silva surprised some people when he KO’d Travis Browne in his last fight, but Browne’s leg injury had to play a part in that. For Bigfoot to win he’ll need to move at Overeem fast, get him down and lay into him. I think the only place Bigfoot has an advantage is in pure grappling, and he’ll need to get on top of Overeem and land heavy ground and pound. I don’t think that will happen though. Bigfoot doesn’t have the explosive wrestling needed to surprise Overeem and get him down. Overeem will be ready in the clinch with knees to Bigfoot as the Brazilian tries to get him down. Overeem finishes this in the first.

Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: This would be the other fight I’m not especially looking forward to. Again that isn’t a knock on this fight, but there’s some really interesting fights on this card and Rashad Evans isn’t exactly guaranteed excitement. Both Little Nog and Evans have been out for an extended period of time, Evans was last seen getting tooled by Jon Jones for five rounds while Nogueira stopped Tito Ortiz with body work. The big knock on Nogueira in the UFC has been his takedown defense, as he’s been taken down and controlled by Phil Davis and Ryan Bader who are both inferior wrestlers to Rashad Evans as far as MMA goes. In terms of striking Nogueira has a slight technical edge in terms of boxing, but Evans has plenty of head movement and has had some success with his hands during his career. Little Nog’s bottom game has never been as dynamic or effective as his brothers, and he’s going to wind up on his back here. I just have to go with Evans by decision, though if Evans gets sloppy standing and gets clipped Nogueira could certainly finish him.

Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar: Now this is a great fight. It hasn’t even happened yet and it’s got to be considered a possible fight of the year. This fight was speculated about when Frankie Edgar was the lightweight champion and people were speculating about a drop to featherweight, and was considered a super fight. And now we actually get it. Yeah, I’m really psyched up for this one, so that means just one thing boys and girls. We’re going deeper.

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Frankie Edgar might be one of the most underrated fighters in MMA. It seems that no matter what he does he’s always an underdog. While fighting at his walk around weight he became the champion, dethroned a legend to become the champion and decisively beat him again in the rematch. Edgar became the first, and so far only, man to defeat Gray Maynard when he stopped him in the fourth round of their second title fight. Edgar brings a variety of techniques to the table, he started in the UFC as primarily a wrestler but has evolved into a very well rounded fighter. Edgar has developed good boxing, both with his hands and with his feet, and knows how to transition between striking and grappling very well. Edgar has a penchant for landing combinations and getting out of trouble before his opponent can counter, and isn’t averse to throwing a few leg kicks in addition to his very fast hands. Edgar also has great cardio, though this will be his first weight cut and there will be a couple of question marks, but on the whole his cardio history is very good. Edgar also possess incredible heart, he’s been rocked badly but refuses to stay down and will always try and fight back into it. Against Gray Maynard he was hurt twice, once in each title fight, but was able to survive and regain his senses and come back to finish Maynard the second time. That kind of determination is difficult to teach, it’s something that you tend to have or not. For Edgar to win this fight he needs to keep it a points fight. Edgar is a very good point fighter, he’s difficult to keep down and difficult to consistently hurt. Edgar will need to get in and out quickly, land combinations, transition into takedowns when the champion is off balance or not expecting them, and keep that up for at least three rounds and avoid getting finished.

Standing across the cage from Frankie Edgar will be one of the scariest fighters in MMA today. Jose Aldo has been an absolute beast since he joined the WEC and started crushing every opponent that was put in front of him. Aldo is incredibly close to the perfect fighter as far as MMA goes. He has good technique striking, with punches, kicks, knees, and elbows. His offensive and defensive wrestling is good, and he’s incredibly quick and explosive with striking and grappling. One of Aldo’s most celebrated attacks are his leg kicks, and for good reason. Aldo absolutely wrecked Urijah Faber’s leg in their fight, he was effective with them against Kenny Florian and they helped keep Chad Mendes off balance. Aldo also possess good boxing, his hands against the very technical striker Mark Hominick were outstanding and constantly found their way to his chin. Aldo’s defensive wrestling is great, he’s stuffed takedowns from some of the best wrestlers in the division, Matt Brown, Urijah Faber, Kenny Florian, Chad Mendes, all found little to no success in putting Aldo on his back and keeping him there. Aldo also has a great killer instinct, if he gets you hurt he’s going to try and finish you. So, how does Aldo want this fight to go? The champion will need to not get sucked into chasing Frankie Edgar around the cage, he needs to cut off Edgar and land his power shots. He’ll also need to be quick on the counter and catch Edgar when he comes in to engage. Aldo’s kicks will be a factor, but he’ll have to be careful because Frankie Edgar has a very quick shot and isn’t averse to trying to grab a kick. Of course if he gets in that habit against Aldo, Aldo could easily go high and Frankie will wake up on his back. Aldo will also need to mentally sharp, Edgar has good footwork and hands but isn’t above being lazy at times. He became too predictable against Gray Maynard in their first title fight and Maynard caught him with a left hook that nearly finished the champion. Any patterns Aldo sees in Edgar he needs to be in a position to capitalize on. Aldo also needs to be fast on the trigger, too many people who fight Frankie Edgar get gun shy. Both times BJ Penn fought Edgar he tried too much to counter the faster fighter instead of engage on his own, and after being frustrated it becomes very difficult to fight against a guy like Edgar.

So what do I think will happen? That’s a tough one. I think Edgar is a tough, durable, smart fighter. He’s found success despite being smaller in a heavier weight division, he’s adapted his skills to best attack his opponents weakness, and has never given up in a fight. Unfortunately I don’t think he’s going to have any luck against Aldo. Frankie Edgar is fast, but he’s used to fighting guys who are slower than he is, he’s never had to fight a guy as fast with their hands or feet as he is and Aldo certainly is. Edgar will need to keep Aldo off balance and use takedowns, but Aldo has such superb takedown defense and ability to get back up that I don’t think Edgar will find much success there. I think Aldo will time Edgar’s movement in the first and land some debilitating leg kicks before he catches the challenger with a punch or a knee that wobbles him, and being wobbled against Aldo might as well mean you’re finished.

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Alright ladies and gentlemen, that does it for me this week. I am planning on being on the best Sunday MMA podcast, the 411 Ground and Pound, this week so if you haven’t listened to it yet then you’ve got another reason to do so. Next week I’ll have the break down of what went down at UFC 156, and just how wrong, or right, I wound up being. Until then I guess I’d better let you out of the Guillotine, I’ll see you next Friday.

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Robert Winfree

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