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.
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.
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.
Demetrious Johnson looks to defend his UFC flyweight title at the United Center on January 26 at UFC on FOX 6. Johnson says that Dodson cannot match his speed, but speed is not the only reason he wins fights.
John Dodson will battle Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson for the UFC flyweight title when the UFC on FOX comes back to the United Center on January 26.
Dodson has had just three UFC fights, but because the UFC’s flyweight division is in its infancy he has leaped to the top of the class with three straight wins. In this video, he talks about how the fight will be won between him and Johnson.
by Matt Lo Cascio
Chicago’s Ric Lamas will fight Erik Koch at the United Center when the UFC on FOX comes back to town on January 26. He’ll be fighting on national TV in his hometown, and the winner of the fight should get a shot at the UFC 145 lb. title.
That seems like an inordinate amount of pressure, but Lamas actually welcomes all those challenges.
“The more support and familiar faces I have around me, the more comfortable I feel. I can’t wait to fight at home in front of all my family and friends,” Lamas said.
Having friends and family around being a comfort makes sense, but what about the title implications of the bout, and being on national TV for the first time?
“I don’t feel any more or any less pressure because in this business EVERY fight is the most important fight of your life,” Lamas said.
Most fighters will say things like this, but you actually believe it when Lamas says it. If you’ve seen him fight, you know Lamas is one of the coolest cats in MMA. Watch him as he enters the cage and he’ll likely have the same expression that he would have going to get the morning paper.
Lamas was an All-American wrestler at Division III Elmhurst College, and he’s worked his way up from fighting locally at Ironheart Crown to the WEC and now the UFC, where he has yet to lose in three fights.
He’s made big statements in all three of those fights. He stopped Matt Grice via TKO in the first round, followed that up by choking out Cub Swanson and then beat heralded contender Hatsu Hioki by unanimous decision in June.
Next up is Duke Roufus-trained Erik Koch, a lanky, sensational striker that has been defeated just once. That ought to give Lamas cause for concern, right?
“There is nothing that I would say concerns me about Erik Koch,” Lamas said. “He’s just another tough opponent. At this level everyone is a tough opponent. All I can do is prepare the best I can and perform well on fight night.”
Fellow Chicagoan Clay Guida will fight Hatsu Hioki on the same card in January. Having just defeated Hioki, Lamas was asked what advice he would give to Guida, who will be making his featherweight debut.
“I would tell him not to hesitate or give Hioki too much respect,” Lamas said.
You don’t get to the top of your division without being well-rounded, but Lamas is best known for his wrestling pedigree. The main criticism of fighters in MMA these days is that “blanket wrestlers” are boring and that they simply try to win on points. Lamas has a message for fans and fighters that don’t like that style.
“There are some wrestlers who are really exciting fighters to watch. There are also some wrestlers who use their wrestling to win fights, or lay and pray as people call it,” Lamas said. “I don’t hold anything against any fighter who has to do what they have to do to win. If you don’t want someone laying on you for three rounds then learn how to GET UP! Or learn how to defend a takedown. People are quick to blame the wrestler but if the other guy trained like he should then he should be able to stop a takedown.”
We’ll likely find out if Koch can stop a Lamas takedown early in their fight. Expect Lamas to get inside and try to get Koch to the ground. Chad Mendes used that style in Koch’s only defeat, and Koch would love to stay on the outside and use his range and striking to keep Lamas at bay.
The UFC on FOX card will also feature several other Chicago-area fighters. Chicago police officer Mike Russow will fight Shawn Jordan, and Team Curran’s Mike Stumpf will take on Pascal Krauss.
Demetrious Johnson will defend his flyweight title against John Dodson, and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will fight Glover Texiera, in what could be Rampage’s last UFC fight.