Check out the new UFC Chicago shirt. Description: “The Windy City is home to some of the toughest competitors in the sport of MMA! The city of big shoulders and home of Al Capone, Chicago is a favorite destination of the UFC!”
Hopefully the UFC will come to Chicago in the summer one of these years!
Chico Camus moved to 3-1 in the UFC with a unanimous decision victory over Yaotzin Meza at the United Center on Saturday night. Local videographer Miguel Cisneros caught up with the rising star after his big win.
Follow Miguel on Twitter: @MiguelCTV
by Matt Lo Cascio
One definition of contender is a person who has a good chance at winning. When it comes to heralding fighters as ‘title contenders,’ the word is thrown around a bit too lightly. Moving up the ladder, maintaining a winning streak and beating some of the division’s known quantities are but steps to qualification. Those steps constitute the vying process, the striving to become a contender. That path is arduous and steep; it never gets easier and at no time will the wind be at your back. But it doesn’t necessarily make you a contender.
That paragraph is either really profound or mere gibberish. Either way, Gabriel Gonzaga and Stipe Miocic find themselves at this junction. They’ve completed the initial steps toward earning the contender label, but now comes the truly hard part: getting to the top of the division and continually winning. Only then do you earn the right to be called a title contender. Saturday night in Chicago we’ll find out which fighter takes that next uphill step. The winner solidifies a top-10 ranking and moves on to fight the best in the division. The loser heads back to meet with the many that vie.
The conventional wisdom is that Miocic still has untapped potential. A win against “Napao” would give him more cred, and perhaps a date with Josh Barnett, Mark Hunt, Bigfoot Silva or even the loser of Werdum vs. Browne. However, I don’t know that a win over Gonzaga tells us anymore about his ability to win the title. It tells us he can beat solid, top-10 vets like Nelson and Gonzaga, but his true status as a contender won’t be revealed until he gets a matchup against a top-5 heavyweight. Can he hang with the length and speed of Browne? Dos Santos? Werdum? The bottom line is that Miocic badly needs a win here. A loss here obviously sets him back, especially in a heavyweight division filled with bigger names and bigger draws.
After a short-lived retirement, Gonzaga’s return to the UFC has been very entertaining. He scored quick first-round knockouts against Dave Herman and Shawn Jordan in his last two fights, and he scored submission wins in his first two fights back.
Gonzaga’s skills are world-class and he has consistently rumbled with the best heavyweights in the world for almost a decade. But he already has losses to Junior Dos Santos and Travis Browne, and he’s dropped two fights to Fabricio Werdum. Those three would stand in the way of any title shot, and I don’t see many scenarios in which he scores wins against any fighter in that trio.
Miocic has a better gas tank and is statistically one of the more accurate strikers in the division. Against Roy Nelson, he used his jab a lot, mixed up his strikes and employed great footwork. If he avoids an all-out slugfest with Gonzaga, and follows that same game plan, Miocic should score the win. Then we find out if he is a true contender, something I think we all want to see.
Here’s the video preview for UFC on FOX: Gonzaga vs. Miocic.
The UFC is coming back to Chicago and the United Center on January 25, with former UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson pitted against former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson in the main event.
When I think about fighters that truly push the pace, Josh Thomson immediately comes to mind. He is one of the most exciting fighters to watch, yet one of the most underrated and under-appreciated of his era. He’ll bring out the best in Henderson, and make the former champ fight at the frenetic pace he sets.
Here’s a quick video preview of the event, and we’ll have much more on the card soon.
by Matt Lo Cascio
Chicago cop Mike Russow was back fighting in his hometown Saturday night, as the UFC on Fox 6 invaded the United Center. Russow walked in to “Simple Kind of Man”, and entered the cage behind a thunderous roar from his many fans.
Russow had opponent Shawn Jordan in trouble early in the first round. Russow moved Jordan up against the cage and then landed a series of rights that left Jordan a bit wobbly and bloodied. Russow took a break from the barrage and gathered some breath while holding Jordan up against the cage.
With 2:30 left in the round, Russow unleashed another barrage of punches that stunned Jordan led to a takedown.
Jordan escaped, but with blood trickling down his face. Russow attempted a single-leg takedown but couldn’t complete it. Jordan landed some short, solid elbows at the end of the round, but Russow clearly won it.
Jordan seemed to have a better feel for Russow in the beginning of round 2, but then an eye poke to Russow halted the action.
Jordan found his range and began landing hard shots to Russow’s face, then easily took him down. Russow gave up his back to Jordan, but Russow escaped with about three minutes left in the round. He got Jordan in a clinch and the United Center crowd called for knees. Russow obliged, landing two knees behind a loud roar.
But Jordan was able to turn the tables on Russow, get him to the ground and take his back. There would be no escape for Russow this time, as he was clearly hurt from the powerful lefts and rights that Jordan was landing. Herb Dean stepped in to end it at 3:48 of round 2.
“I thought I had it,” Russow said. “I’m disappointed but it’s MMA. You have to finish when you get your guy hurt.”
Jordan acknowledged that Russow had him in big trouble in the opening round.
“How badly was I hurt in the first round? What? There was two rounds in that fight? Well, I was shook up pretty bad,” Jordan confessed. “That first round wasn’t fun at all.”
Russow drops to 15-3 in his pro career, including a second straight defeat. He suffered a first-round TKO loss to Fabricio Werdum at UFC 147 last June.
RESULTS FROM UFC ON FOX 6 – 1/26/13 – UNITED CENTER – CHICAGO, IL
Demetrious Johnson vs John Dodson – Demetrious Johnson def. John Dodson via UD
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs Glover Teixeira – Teixeira def. Jackson UD
Anthony Pettis vs Donald Cerrone – Pettis def. Cerrone, TKO- Strikes, 2:22 rd. 1
Erik Koch vs Ricardo Lamas – Lamas def. Koch via TKO – ref stoppage via strikes 2:22 rd.2
TJ Grant vs. Matt Wiman – Grant def Wiman via TKO 4:51 rd. 1
Clay Guida vs Hatsu Hioki- Guida def. Hioki via SD
Mike Stumpf vs Pascal Krauss – Krauss def. Stumpf via UD
Ryan Bader vs Vladimir Matyushenko – Bader def. Matyushenko via guillotine, :50 of rd. 1
Mike Russow vs Shawn Jordan – Jordan def. Russow via TKO-strikes, 3:48 rd. 2
Rafael Natal vs Sean Spencer – Natal submits Spencer via arm triangle, 2:13 rd. 3
Simeon Thoresen vs David Mitchell – Mitchell def. Thoresen via UD, 30-27 on all three judges’ cards
What’s the stupidest question UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson has been asked? He talks about it in his UFC on FOX fighter diary.
It’s fight week here in Chicago, as The UFC is back in town for UFC on FOX 6 at the United Center on Saturday.
UFC president Dana White puts out vlogs (video blogs) during fight week, and this week is no different. Except that instead of talking about one of the matchups on the card, or how fans can win tickets, we are treated to video of White’s recent surgery for Meniere’s Disease.
He’ll warn you in the video and I’ll warn you here: there will be blood. So watch at your enjoyment/peril.
by Matt Lo Cascio
Most fight fans agree that the Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone bout has ‘Fight of the Night’ written all over it. Cerrone is usually cashing bonus checks after his fights and Pettis is one of the fastest, most dynamic strikers in the sport. There’s also a firm grudge in place and title shot implications abound. It is can’t-miss TV come Saturday night. Here’s a preview of one of the most anticipated fights on the card.
Cerrone told MMA Junkie that “The dude’s (Pettis) been running scared for two years,” he said. “He doesn’t fight. You can’t just not take fights. Three fights in two years.”
Pettis did the one thing that Cerrone could not: defeat Benson Henderson and claim the WEC lightweight title. Cerrone had two chances against Henderson back in the WEC. The first fight was won by Henderson via unanimous decision and the rematch wasn’t much of one at all as Henderson choked out Cerrone before two minutes had expired off the clock in the first round.
Cerrone had one other title shot in the WEC against Jamie Varner and he also dropped that fight to a split decision.
So when Cerrone says that Pettis has been ‘running scared’, it’s hard not to filter that through what’s happened in recent years. Pettis had one title shot and made the most of it. He landed one of the greatest kicks in MMA history and took the belt from the champion in his one and only chance at the title. Cerrone had three shots and came up empty each time. He also dropped a bout to Nate Diaz that would have earned him another shot at Henderson.
Both fighters are coming off impressive victories. Cerrone scored a first round knock out of Melvin Guillard at UFC 150 in August. Pettis knocked out Joe Lauzon in the first round of his only fight in 2012.
The winner of the Pettis vs. Cerrone fight likely gets a title shot against the winner of the Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez fight, so the stakes are extremely high for both combatants.
“When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer…superstition ain’t the way.” – Stevie Wonder, “Superstition“
Anthony Pettis takes on Donald Cerrone at the United Center on Saturday, and if you believe in superstition, your money will be firmly behind The Cowboy before the cage door and betting windows slam shut.
Pettis has two losses on his pro record, both courtesy of Chicago-area fighters. Clay Guida handed Pettis his most recent loss in 2011 and Bart Palaszewski beat Pettis back at WEC 45 in 2009. So far, Chicago hasn’t been too kind to Pettis.
Oddsmakers basically have it even right now. I’ve seen Cerrone at -120 and Pettis at -110, as well vice versa.
UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez was in Chicago on Thursday to promote UFC on FOX 6 at the United Center on Jan. 26. He talked with ESPN Chicago’s Ray Flores about the prospect of fighting Alistair Overeem, and if he would want additional PED testing for Overeem, who is coming off a suspension.