FightBookMMA Takes a Closer Look at
UFC Croatia Heavyweight Division Main Event
#4 Ben Rothwell (36-9) Vs #5 Junior Dos Santos (17-4)
Sunday March 6, 2016— When the UFC hits Croatia in May a big time heavyweight fight between two top contenders in the division main events a stacked card. Ben Rothwell coming off a big win in his last fight is looking for that one key victory to push him to the top of the division and certify a title shot for himself in either 2016 or early 2017. Junior Dos Santos was in line for another crack at the title he once had, but with a devastating TKO loss to Alistar Overeem the former champion finds himself even further away from regaining his crown. With that being said this is a huge fight in this open heavyweight division, and keep in mind Dos Santos has beaten the current champion and the number one contender in past fights. Rothwell’s keys to victory Is to not a change a thing from his last fight, keep a steady pace and look for the opening to slip in one of his deadly submissions. Juniors keys to victory look for that KO early, don’t let Rothwell get comfortable in there. As good as your ground game might be Rothwell does have the advantage, stick to your strengths and punch Rothwell into next week. The winner of this fight will get what they have waited for, a shot to be inside the top 5 and a potential shot at gold.
UFC On Fox Tampa Lightweight Division Main Event
#2 Khabib Nurmagomedov (22-0) Vs #4 Tony Ferguson (21-3)
The UFC makes headlines another night on Fox and this time it’s between two top lightweight contenders. Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson are on top of their games right now and a win from either of them will set them up to possibly be next for champion Dos Anjos. With the lightweight division being wide open due to the champion was supposed to defend his title against Connor McGregor the current featherweight champion, a win here is life or death. Now Khabib has been out for a while now and there is no doubt that he might have some ring rust before he gets back into the octagon, but before the injury’s occurred Nurmagomedov was on top of his game with one of his past wins coming in dominating fashion over the current champion at 155. Ferguson is riding a 7 fight win streak himself and was more than ready to take a crack at the #2 ranked contender in the division. Their styles are different no doubt but were they are alike is their energy and consistency inside the octagon. If you look at Khabib and Fergusons last fights they were both dominating wins were their opponent didn’t stand a chance. Nurmagomedov’s wrestling and Tony’s relentlessness will be like to bulls colliding, but only one can walk out the winner. With the division so wide open I’m sure it’s safe to say the winner of this fight will have the next shot at Dos Anjos.
UFC197 Flyweight Title Fight
C. Demetrious Johnson (22-2-1) Vs #3 Henry Cejudo (10-0)
A double title fight night at UFC197 is going to rock the MGM arena no doubt, but the first title fight just might steal the show. Might Mouse Johnson has no doubt been the top flyweight in all of MMA, defending his title against all challengers and finishing them In all types of ways. With Johnson beating so many of the same guys over and over again a new opponent had to rise to the challenge. Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo has a perfect record in MMA and there is no doubt about it he has the skills to back up his 10-0 record. With a top-notch wrestling game and a highly underrated striking game the young challenger has the tools to not only stand and bang with the champion but also have a good chance on the ground. Johnson is the total package with amazing hands, lightning speed, devastating kicks and a submission game that has beaten the best of them. There is no doubt Johnson has his handful with Cejudo but in the eyes of many this could be another defense for the champion. Cejudo needs to come at Johnson bring the fight to him, don’t wait for Mighty Mouse to use his speed to get ahead, because before you know it your down two rounds then your lightning from behind. Don’t be afraid to take him down, use your wrestling it’s what got you here lean on it. As for Johnson stick to those quick hands keep Cejudo outside and setup your combos. Be ready for the takedown, if a takedown occurs wait for the opportunity to slip in the submission. Both fighters have great coaching so there is no doubt that they will both be fully ready for this fight. The title is on the line in this flyweight banger, I can’t wait.
UFC197 Light Heavyweight Title Fight
C Daniel Cormier (17-1) Vs #1 Jon Jones (21-1)
Everyone loves a sequel and this is a sequel that all MMA fans have been dying to see. Jon Jones was stripped of his title due to his problems outside of the octagon, and after these sanctions came down current champion Daniel Cormier stepped in and one the vacant title. Jones has since cleaned up his act and sobered up completely allowing him to get back into the octagon and challenge Cormier for the title. Cormier lost to Jones before he claimed the title when he defeated Anthony Rumble Johnson. Now that Jones is back the sequel has been set and Jones and Cormier will battle it out once again for the gold, and there still is no love lost between these two. As seen in the last few press conference Bones and DC still hate each other and are itching to tear each other apart. Cormier keys to success is to not tire himself out, in their last fight by the 3rd round Cormier was exhausted which made the difference in the rest of the fight. Cormier sticks to his wrestling game and the same strategy he used to beat Gustaffson back in October the fight should go the way the champion wants it to go. Jones needs to get back to what got him here and that’s the best striking game in the business and the ability to end a fight at any minute. Bones submission game is no joke, and the ability to frustrate his opponents with the pressure he puts on always seals the deal. Both guys need to not let their emotions get the best of them and to use their skills to get the win. Both men want to be champion and a war is coming, but only one can walk out with the gold.
UFC Rotterdam Heavyweight Main Event
#3 Alistar Overeem (40-14) Vs #6 Andrei Arlovski (25-11)
This heavyweight main event is no doubt going to be a banger, two teammates that train in the same gym have made it very clear that they are not friends. Overeem is riding one of the biggest and most significant winning streaks of his career, and with the TKO finish over former champion Dos Santos in his last fight a win here can almost certify that he will be next line for a title shot. Arlovski on the other hand was riding a 4 fight win streak himself and was running through the competition until he was destroyed by current title contender Stipe Miocic. Now looking to get back in the win column, a finish against Overeem would be huge for the Pitbull to be back in the title picture. There is no doubt that these two can throw bombs, that’s a given but the real question is who has the strongest chin. The Reem and The Pitbull have shown that they can be finished from a strong punch, so don’t blink. Alovski keys to success is to look to put consistent pressure on overeem if you look at Alistar earlier defeats it was from a barrage of punches or attacks being thrown at him, if the big guy gets hurt early chances are he won’t come back. Overeem key to success is to look for that early finish, Arlovski has shown that he can go deep into rounds to get a win but on the other hand his chin isn’t what it once was. Look for that opening and finish the fight. This fight means so much to the rankings that wither winner will be in the top 5 and put themselves in line for a title fight in 2016 or early 2017.
UFC198 Heavyweight Title Fight
C. Fabricio Werdum (20-5-1) Vs #2 Stipe Miocic (14-2)
The main event that will be in front of thousands at Arena Atletico Paranaense soccer stadium is set to tear down the country of Brazil. Champion Fabricio Werdum has been riding with injuries in the past year but during all the injuries he has managed to capture the heavyweight title. Werdum was set to face former champion Cain Velasquez, but with Cain first pulling out due to Injuries Stipe Miocic was named as the new challenger. A day later Werdum pulled out of the main event as well due to injuries and the title fight was nixed. Now a few months later at a new venue the fight is back on and there is no doubt that both fighters are ready to go. Werdum is on the ride of his life, starting with winning the interim title against Mark Hunt and then capturing the Heavyweight title by finishing Velasquez in front of his home country in Mexico. Now healthy and ready to go Werdum is set to defend his title for the first time and with no room for excuses his hands will be full with the challenger Miocic. Stipe is riding a 2 fight winning streak after losing a very close decision to Junior Dos Santos, with both of the wins coming by TKO finish Miocic made his claim that he should be next for the title no matter what. Werdum’s keys to defending his title is to play the same game he played against Cain use the ground and dominate the fight with your Jui Jitsu, Fabricio may be the best Brazilian Jui Jitsu martial artists in all of MMA and if he can slip in one of his submissions on Stipe the fight can come to an end in the blink of an eye. Stipe keys to becoming champion is to keep striking, in both of his past wins Miocic hands have been deadly and even with the close decision with Dos Santos the hands were very deadly. Miocic turns on the heat early and keeps the fight on the feet we could have a new champion. No doubt this will be one you won’t want to miss and everyone knows the Brazilian fans will be supporting their champion, UFC198 can’t come soon enough.
UFC199 Bantamweight Title Fight
C. Dominick Cruz (21-1) Vs #3 Urijah Faber (33-8)
One of the biggest rivalries in all of MMA is set to have its 3rd chapter written, new bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz is set to defend his title against his rival Urijah Faber. Cruz recently won his title back by beating TJ Dillashaw, but Cruz sticks to his story that he never lost his title in the first place and that his win over Dillashaw was him getting the title back he never lost. Faber on the other hand has been waiting for this shot for a long time, and with 3 wins out of his last 4 Faber was primed for this shot. This will be Cruz 2nd fight since missing almost 2 years with his knee Injuries, but as he showed in his last fight against Dillashaw he can hang for 5 rounds and still compete at a high level even in the later rounds. Faber isn’t getting any younger either but in his last two fights he has been able to go the distance without any problems so don’t be shocked if there isn’t a finish. Cruz keys to retaining is to keep up the high pace that he had against Dillashaw, use the kicks and keep Faber flustered. If Cruz can win the first couple of rounds he should be in great shape to seal the win. Faber’s keys to becoming champion is to try to get ahead of Cruz as fast as he can, beat him up early in the fight take him to the ground and grind out the fight. Even though the champion is healthy, those injuries are still a factor and the more Faber beats up on Cruz the better chance he has of winning. These are two legends of the sport and now they fight for the title, I know like all of us, Dillashaw will be watching to see who he goes after next. This fight has the makings to be a knock down drag em out brawl and I can’t wait for this fight to happen.
UFC199 Middleweight Title Fight
C. Luke Rockhold (15-2) Vs #1 Chris Weidman (13-1)
The rematch is set in stone as former champion Chris Weidman will get his rematch against Luke Rockhold. Luke captured the title from Chris back at UFC194 by way of TKO, and now that the rematch is set both competitors can set their eyes on the prize. Rockhold stated that he didn’t know who he was going to face, and that he felt that Chris shouldn’t have gotten the immediate rematch. Luke feels that he won that fight clean enough that someone else should get the shot. Weidman however feels that there was no one else that was ready for Luke but him, Chris has stated there is no beating around the bush “We fought and Luke Won that’s that”. Chris was running through the division one fighter at a time until he met Luke, now that he has met his match he knows how to train differently to beat Luke. Luke has the upper hand here as he clearly dominated their first fight to secure the win, and the champion has to keep in mind that Chris is one of the best and has the ability to end it in the blink of an eye. Luke’s keys to retaining the title is to come out with the same strategy from their first fight keep landing those kicks and keep Weidman outside. Luke was perfect on his feet in the 1st fight and anything that Chris threw wasn’t affecting Luke at all. Luke clearly is the faster one of the two and his kicks are the deadliest thing about him, overwhelm Chris so he has to throw some crazy spinning back kick again. Chris keys to gaining back his title is to not rush in on Luke, Chris spent too much time trying to get inside of Luke to take him down and when that happened Chris was just taking abuse. Chris has to get back to his strengths and what won him the title a strong ground game and patience. There is no doubt about it Weidman Is a bad man, but the champion in his own right is just as deadly. A rematch we are all itching to see will take place in California, and there is no doubt that Weidman will be trying to take back his title and bring it back to the east coast.
UFC Fight Night Welterweight Fight
#1 Rory MacDonald (18-3) Vs #2 Stephen Thompson (12-1)
This fight might be the most intriguing fight that was announced at the press conference, Rory MacDonald is possibly the most skilled fighter in the division even though he has lost both times to current champion Robbie Lawler some say that he was just a hair away from winning both fights. Stephen Thomson may have the deadliest feet in all the welterweight division, as he showed in his last fight when he dominated former champion Johny Hendricks. The welterweight division isn’t as wide open as it seems due to the #3 ranked contender Tyron Woodley is still in line for a future title shot and with the big win by Nate Diaz at UFC196 leaves him in line for a future shot, then there is this fight which I am guessing the winner will be right there with the other two contenders and last but not least GSP has been rumored to be in the mix as well. So with all that being said Rory has had two shots at the champ but if he can finish Thomson he should get that 3rd crack, Macdonald keys to victory is to use those deadly hands that left Lawler bloody and beaten. MacDonald also has a great ground game and if he can avoid the kicks of Thompson he can cruise his way to another victory. Thompsons keys to victory, is to keep MacDonald from coming inside. Use those kicks to keep him back, and use those kicks to set up your strikes. When you have such deadly feet like you have seen in past fights it really gives you multiple opportunities to finish the fight. Both of these fighters are so talented it sucks that only one can win but as for exciting fights look no further. Don’t blink this fight can be over fast or go all 5 rounds. I can’t wait for these two to collide in Canada.
UFC Ultimate Fighter Finale Women’s Strawweight Title Fight
C. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (11-0) Vs #1 Claudia Gadelha (13-1)
This fight is the fight I am most excited to watch out of all them because they just plain hate each other. Both ladies are going to be coaches on this season of TUF, and if you Watched the press conference you would have found out that on the last day of filming they got into a huge all out brawl. But outside of the brawl you got to take it back to their first fight when Joanna defeated Claudia by decision. Also if you take a look at their record the champion is undefeated and the challenger has one lost and that only lost was to Joanna. Some might say that Claudia won the 1st fight because it was so close, also Claudia is the only one to even come close to defeating Joanna so if that doesn’t get you excited for the 2nd fight I don’t know what will. Joanna keys to victory are simply keep punching, some say she has the deadliest hands in all of MMA and if you have seen her past fights you know she can rearrange a girl’s face. Joanna also has great feet and knows how to utilize her kicks. Making her a dual threat on her feet and with the ability of being long and having great hands she can keep a wrestler on the outside and stop her from coming in. Gadelha keys to becoming champion is simple use that great ground game that almost won her the first fight, also she is no slouch on her feet if she can hang with Joanna in the striking game and land a few takedowns we can see a new champion. These two women do not like each other one bit and when the day comes when they step into the octagon together it’s going to be one hell of a brawl. July can’t come soon enough.
By: Rick San Bartolome
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