Changing Camps in MMA

Rashad Evans

Courtesy of Sherdog.com Click for Source

These days it seems that fighters announcing they are changing teams is as common as Dana White dropping F-bombs. Whether it’s due to changes in the fighter’s training philosophy, disagreement with a coach/manager, or a desire to start their own team, only the win-loss column can tell the true effect of changing teams.

Randy Couture
Randy Couture left Team Quest (the team he co-founded with Dan Henderson and Matt Lindland) in 2005. In his book Becoming the Natural, Couture stated that the parting was due to Team Quest’s business dealings and certain people in his personal life. After the departure, Couture started his own gym, Xtreme Couture, in Las Vegas. So how did the change affect Couture? In 2005, he won the UFC light heavyweight title from Tito Ortiz. Then, in 2007, he came out of “retirement” to win the UFC heavyweight title from Tim Sylvia. After leaving Team Quest (and before his retirement in 2011), his record was 6-5.

Matt Hughes
Matt Hughes trained under Pat Miletich in the Miletich Fighting System – with great success up until his departure from the team in 2007. According to MMAMania.com, Hughes left to be closer to his family during training and to start his own gym, H.I.T. squad, in Granite City, Illinois. Since leaving MFS, Hughes has gone a depressing 3-4. Could this be contributed to the change or just the fact that Hughes is his past his prime?

Rashad Evans
Evans left the Jackson/Winkeljohn team in March of 2011, due to Greg Jackson’s declaration that he would not coach either Evans or Jon Jones if they chose to fight each other. Evans also took offense to Jon Jones saying he would fight anybody (including Evans) for the light heavyweight belt. Evans proceeded to join Imperial Athletics, coached by Mike Van Arsdale, which has now become known as the “Blackzilians.” Since leaving Jackson, Evans’ record is 2-0 and he’s setup to fight Jones for the light heavyweight belt at UFC 145 on April 21.

Other notable fighters that have changed camps as of late are Melvin Guillard, Alistair Overeem, Josh Koscheck, and Gray Maynard.

Is changing camps the way to go for a fighter to revitalize themselves or their careers? Or a shakeup that can be hard to recover from? The only true answer lies in whether or not a fighter’s hand is raised at the end of the night.

Today’s article is written by Guest Blogger Joshua Cook

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MMA Burner Predictions: Bellator 66

Shinya Aoki vs Eddie Alvarez

Moments after Aoki tapped out Alvarez at Dynamite 2008!! Courtesy of Sherdog.com Click for Source

Lightweight Semi Final #1

Thiago Michel Pereira Silva vs. Brent Weedman
Silva is one of the many Brazilian prospects that Bellator has welcomed into the fold. He’s 10-2 as a pro and made it past the opening round with split decision win over Rene Nazare.
Weedman is a two-time welterweight tournament contender who made his 155-pound tourney debut submitting J. J. Ambrose in the second round.
Silva didn’t have the most spectacular American debut but his record is impressive. His previous nine wins all came by knockout.
Weedman is pretty adept at knocking people out himself, earning ten of his nineteen victories in such fashion. He has also won eight fights by submission, a proven weakness of Silva.
Weedman has twice as many fights as his opponent and is greatly experienced at fighting
in this country, in this company and in the tournament format. That advantage will lead
the American to finish Silva in the later rounds.

Lightweight Semi Final #2

Rick Hawn vs. Lloyd “Cupcake” Woodard
Hawn, a judo Olympian, has tasted defeat just once in his MMA career. A controversial
decision loss to Jay Hieron in the finals of Bellator’s season 4 Welterweight tournament.
Much like Brent Weedman, Hawn made his lightweight debut in the tournament’s quarter
final round, knocking out Ricardo Tirloni.
Woodard also has but one defeat, coming at the hands of current champion Michael
Chandler. He earned his way into the semi finals by submitting tournament favorite
Patricky “Pitbull”.
Despite his background as a judoka, Hawn has taken a liking to striking and knocking
people the F out, having done so in eight of his twelve successful outings.
“Cupcake” is more versed, letting his opponent pick their poison, either taking a brutal
beating on the feet or a joint-distorting end on the ground.
Hawn will look for a quick and easy KO but will find “Cupcake” to be a tougher foe than
his moniker implies. The Olympian will fall back on his grappling and combat experience
to outwork Woodard with superior technique and take a unanimous decision.

Middleweight Semi Final #1

Vyacheslav “Slava” Vasilevsky vs. Maiquel “Big Rig” Falcao
“Slava” is a 23-year-old Russian with a typical Russian name, i.e. hard to pronounce. He
made his way through the quarters by outpointing Bellator vet Victor O’Donnell.
Falcao is a prolific Brazilian striker who likewise outpointed Norman Paraisy to earn his
spot in the semis.
“Slava” is a once-beaten prospect with 16 wins that include five KOs, five subs and six
decisions. The phrase well rounded comes to mind.
“Big Rig” is more singularly focused, capturing 23 of his 29 wins by knockout or TKO.
This will be a round-by-round affair, with “Slava” looking to close the distance to either
pin Falcao against the cage or take him to the ground, while Falcao will try to keep things
as a kickboxing match. The Brazilian’s tenacity and takedown defense will help him earn
two rounds out of three for the decision.

Middleweight Semi Final #2

Brian “The Predator” Rogers vs. Andreas Spang
Rogers is a teacher from Ohio who defeated Vitor Vianna in the opening round with a
flying knee so beautiful and powerful that it looked as though the season 5 runner-up had
given up the ghost.
Spang is a late replacement for an injured Bruno Santos.
This is Rogers’ second tournament. His first ended with a controversial stoppage in his
semi final fight with eventual winner Alexander Shlemenko that left a bitter taste in his
mouth.
Spang may be 33 years old but at 7-1, he’s still in the prospect stages of his career
Rogers will send the understudy back to the preliminaries with a first round TKO.

Bellator 66 Main Event

Eddie Alvarez vs. Shinya Aoki
Alvarez has held titles in three different organizations, including — most notably being
the first ever Bellator lightweight champion.
Aoki has also won a myriad of tournaments and championships and is currently the
lightweight champion of the flickering Dream promotion.
Combined, they have a record of 52-8 with one no contest and both men have wins over
many talented fighters.
They first met on New Years Eve 2008. The match was quick. Aoki submitted the
American in just over 90 seconds.
Aoki is Alvarez’s white whale and he has been campaigning for this rematch for a long
time. When the opportunity finally presented itself, he jumped all over it. This time
he will have home field advantage in every way; on American soil, in a cage, in the
company he has called home for years. If he wins, the monkey will finally be off his back
and can punch his ticket into the next lightweight tournament or even to the bright lights
of the UFC.
Unfortunately for Alvarez, Aoki is on a seven fight winning streak and is hands down the
greatest submission artist in the 155 pound division. On top of that, Aoki has also been
training with a new camp that has improved his striking tremendously. So, as scary as it
sounds, Aoki is getting better.
The rematch will end in much the same way the first did, Aoki via submission.

Today’s article written by guest blogger Norman Harrison. Follow him on twitter @NormanLHarrison.

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Izzy’s Input – UFC 145 Main Card Breakdown

Jon Jones

Courtesy Sherdog.com Click for Source

UFC 145 will take place on April 21, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia on pay-per-view. I will be breaking down the five-fight main card.

Fight 1: Mark Hominick (20-10) vs Eddie Yagin (15-5)

Hominick comes into this fight on the heels of a two-fight losing streak, a stunning seven-second KO loss to Chan Sung Jung at UFC 140, and a five-round unanimous-decision loss to Jose Aldo at UFC 129. Yagin comes into this fight off a tough UFC debut at UFC 135 in a losing effort to Junior Assuncao. At best this fight is to determine the featherweight division’s higher-ranked gatekeeper. For Hominick it’s not due to lack of talent, as he possesses good submissions and world-class striking, but rather his need to avoid a three-fight losing streak. The only way I see this fight going down is Hominick getting the better of Yagin on the feet before dropping him with a combination and latching on to a fight-ending submission late in Round 2.

Prediction: Hominick defeats Yagin by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in Round 2

Fight 2: Miguel Torres (40-4) vs Michael McDonald (14-1)

Torres comes into this bout off a lackluster performance against Nick Pace at UFC 139. It was a victory but he didn’t look as good as we are accustomed to seeing. Torres has a well-rounded striking game with good footwork. He utilizes a very long jab as he has the longest reach in the division. Mix that in with some amazing BJJ and you can see why he only has four losses in 44 fights. McDonald on the other hand has been a buzzsaw of late, winning his first 3 UFC fights and most recently destroying an overmatched Alex Soto by first-round KO at UFC 139. McDonald has great kickboxing, a ton of power, and some submission wins to go along with it. This fight will come down to Torres’ veteran savvy and his submission game as I see the striking to be fairly even. McDonald’s time will come but it will not come this night as he loses a close split decision to Torres.

Prediction: Torres defeats Mcdonald by Split Decision

Fight 3: Brendan Schaub (8-2) vs Ben Rothwell (31-8)

Schaub’s knack for chasing legends came back to bite him in his last fight as he was brutally KO’d by Big Nog at UFC 134: Rio. Rothwell is coming off a unanimous-decision loss to Mark Hunt in a very painful fight to watch as both fighters severely gassed. The story on Rothwell is a mixed bag. The good is that he can finish with 28 of his 31 wins by either KO/TKO or submission. The bad is that he’s yet to have a good performance in the octagon.

Schaub has big-time power in his hands and is always looking for the finish, which he usually succeeds at finding. Schaub is the younger, fresher fighter and I expect him to win an easy unanimous decision, because – let’s face it – if Mark Hunt couldn’t finish Rothwell, I don’t expect Schaub to either.

Prediction: Schaub defeats Rothwell by Unanimous Decision

Fight 4: Rory MacDonald (12-1) vs Che Mills (14-4)

This fight makes absolutely no sense, but I’m still here to tell you about it, so here we go. MacDonald is a stud, simply put. The man is a protege of welterweight champ GSP. He has great striking with a well-rounded grappling game. He was seconds away from changing the entire landscape of the welterweight division, as he was super close to defeating interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit, before falling by TKO. Che Mills is coming off a 40-second crushing KO victory over Chris Cope. Mills has talent, as he does have good hands and a nasty clinch game, but honestly I think the UFC and Mills have bitten off more than they can chew. MacDonald will submit Mills late in Round 1.

Prediction: Macdonald defeats Mills by Submission (Armbar)

Fight 5: Jon Jones (LHW Champion) (15-1) vs Rashad Evans (17-1)

Ok, I’m gonna stop being a writer for a minute and put on my fan hat. I’m absolutely pumped for this fight! Jon Jones has been an absolute wrecking machine in the UFC. Using his ungodly reach of 84 1/2″ and his unorthodox striking techniques, Jones has been a complete nightmare for all of his opponents. Let’s not forget about his high-level wrestling and his underrated submission game as well. Jones’ 2010 was the single best year of MMA we’ve ever seen, as he choked out Ryan Bader and finished three former world champions: Shogun (to take the title by TKO), Rampage and Machida (both by submission, the latter getting choked unconscious). Evans is no walk in the park himself, as he is a former world champion, who has only one career loss. Rashad is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the world. His overhand right is explosive and his MMA wrestling is exceptional (just ask Phil Davis).

The bottom line is these two really hate each other. Rashad feels betrayed because Jon said he would consider fighting Rashad if he had to for a world title. This set the tone for this championship bout as the trash talking has been insane between the two former training partners.

Now on to the fight!. I’ve tried many times to be as unbiased as possible, but I see this fight going down the same way each time. I expect Jones to utilize his reach to win almost every exchange on the feet. I have a hard time seeing Evans being able to land clean on Jon’s chin, at least not with Jon’s reach in effect. After a few rounds of Jones executing his game plan, I see him getting a big takedown before finishing an exhausted Rashad off with some hellacious elbows, ending their feud and firmly securing his spot as the best light heavyweight of all time, and the #2 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Prediction: Jones defeat Evans by TKO in Round 3 to retain the LHW Championship

Today’s article written by Israel Gonzalez. Follow him on twitter @IAMIZZY305.

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Shinya Aoki – Tobikan Judan

Shinya Aoki is one of many reasons to love Mixed Martial Arts

Props to Fuel TV on youtube for the share

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MMA Burner Profile: Benson Henderson

Benson Henderson

Courtesy of Sherdog.com Click for Source

Each week MMABurner will release a profile to share with MMA Fans. This week we’ll take a closer look at the UFC’s lighweight champion, Benson Henderson.

Striking Skills- Benson was introduced to martial arts at a young age, when his mom enrolled him in Taekwondo. Benson is a southpaw and is known for having powerful kicks (mixes up his leg and body kicks very well). His clinch game is excellent, and this is where his athleticism really comes into play. For example, watch his fight against Mark Bocek as he lands vicious knees from the clinch, even late in the fight. Benson has world-class conditioning and this will pay dividends in the championship rounds (title fights are five rounds instead of three, and Mr. Henderson is the current champ). His boxing does not look the most natural as he lacks a good jab, in my opinion. Nevertheless, he’s improving in this area and has good power in his hands — he buckled Shane Roller with a left and then finished him off with ground and pound. He also dropped Clay Guida with a punch in the first round of their fight. Benson has a well-rounded striking game and most recently proved this against one of the best in the business, Frankie Edgar. Benson has never been knocked out in his professional career, so it’s safe to assume he has a good chin.

Grappling Skills- Benson comes from a wrestling background, where he was a two-time NAIA All American at Dana College in Blair, Nebraska. Benson is one of the very best at combining his jiu jitsu and wrestling. There’s a reason this man’s nickname is “smooth.” Benson has superb submission defense and is notorious for always finding a way to escape deep submission holds. He’s fought (and beaten) some of the best submission artists in the game — Mark Bocek, Jim Miller, and Donald Cerrone. He does a great job using his wrestling to stuff takedowns and then finding openings for back control. His scrambling ability is phenomenal. His guillotine is nasty and he’s ended multiple fights this way (watch his fight against Jamie Varner and his second fight against Donald Cerrone). Benson is also very smart on the ground when he has top control. Watch his first fight against Cerrone — he rarely jumps into Cerronne’s guard risking getting caught in a submission. He simply stands over him and pounds on him. Benson is a very skilled grappler and this is easily one of the biggest strengths of his overall fight game.

Miscellaneous- Benson is the current UFC lightweight champion, after defeating Frankie Edgar at UFC 144. He is 9-1 under the Zuffa banner, which includes fights from both the WEC and UFC. His next fight is expected to be a rematch against Edgar. Benson has been fighting professionally since the end of 2006. He’s been in multiple championship fights and has shown he can handle the bright lights of the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the world, the UFC. He is a very spiritual man and has expressed this numerous times during post-fight speeches. He is a fan favorite (especially with the ladies) and a deserving champion.

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Rally For Mark Hunt

Props to http://www.youtube.com/user/NickTheFace2

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UFC 145: Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans Pros’ Picks w/ Cruz, Vera, Liddell & more

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UFC 145: Hate Me Now

Who’s getting pumped for this fight?!?

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MMA Burner Preview: UFC on FUEL TV 2

Alexander Gustaffson

Courtesy of Sherdog.com Click for Source

On April 14th The Ultimate Fighting Championship continues its global expansion with its inaugural event in Sweden. The night will see a six-fight main card airing on Fuel TV, with the prelims streaming live on Facebook. However, in the interest of word economy we will focus on the top four bouts of the evening.

Diego Nunes vs. Dennis Siver
Nunes is a young and talented fighter with seventeen wins to his credit and just two decision loses to L. C. Davis and Kenny Florian. Not to forget that he happens to be a product of the Nova Uniao camp, home to some of the greatest lighter weight fighters in the world. Possessing impressive speed even in the turbo charged featherweight division, and leg kicks second only to his training partner Jose Aldo, Nunes is going to be a stern test for Siver’s 145 debut. Siver was on an impressive four fight winning streak at lightweight and on the verge of a title shot when he ran into Donald Cerrone. The tall and rangy “Cowboy” easily handled the Russian born German fighter, submitting him in the first round and making the 5’ 7” Siver reconsider his weight class.

Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Paulo Thiago
Bahadurzada is a tough veteran. He has fought for many years against top-level competition all over the world. A United Glory World Series champion at welterweight and a Shooto titlist at 183 pounds, Siyar “The Great” has the skills to be successful in either weight class. His opponent, Pablo Thiago, is a seven-time UFC  competitor who has been hot and cold since his debut knockout of former number one contender Josh Koscheck. One man grew up in war torn Afghanistan, the other is a member of Brazil’s Elite Special Forces Unit. Neither man will back down, because neither man remembers what fear feels like.

Brian Stann vs. Alessio Sakara
After dropping down from light-heavyweight, Brian Stann quickly ascended the middleweight hierarchy, and though he is still ranked top ten, a loss to Chael Sonnen in October has knocked him out of title contention. Sakara is also a former 205 pounder, and a perennial contender who has fought amongst the elite since 2005. Seventeen combined knockouts show that both men love the stand up game, and with a chance to get back in the winners circle up for grabs, someone may be going to sleep.

Alexander Gustafsson vs. Thiago Silva
Gustafsson will be fighting in his native land for the first time in three years. He is a young and gifted fighter who is steadily climbing the ranks and growing in popularity, and it is a safe bet that he will some day challenge for the championship. Coincidentally, Silva was in the exact same position a short time ago. He was young, undefeated and chain-sawing his way through the division with his vicious striking style. Then came the loss to Machida, and the loss to Rashad, then the failed drug test that put him on the shelf for a year. Now approaching 30, Silva has a lot to prove with his second chance in the Octogon. He must prove to be a clean fighter and a mature fighter, but he must also prove that yesterday’s hot young prospect still has the potential to be tomorrow’s number one contender.

Today’s article written by guest blogger Norman Harrison. Follow him on twitter @NormanLHarrison.

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UFC 145 Primetime: Jon Jones vs Rashad Evans – Part 1

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Bellator 64 Highlights

Ben Askren dominates again to make his case as one of the top grapplers in the world.

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UFC Lightweight Gray Maynard – No Regrets, No Remorse

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