What's up fight fans? I am still tinkering with my MMA/Pro Wrestling column as I figure out what this blog is evolving into. This week's experiment is "The Cage Cornucopia" (title subject to change) where I will be hitting on multiple issues in MMA. So ring the bell and let's get started with...
Hardrock MMA 95 in Covington, Kentucky
Photo Credit: Hardrock MMA
This Saturday night, December 9th, I'll be covering Hardrock MMA's 9th Anniversary show at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. This thing is stuffed to the gills with 15 fights total ranging from 135lbs to heavyweight, a women's Strawweight bout, and it will be headlined by Billy "Mojo" Horne vs. Julio Gallegos for the Hardrock MMA Middleweight Pro Title. You can checkout the entire fight card and buy tickets here.
If you have never seen a live Mixed Martial Arts event before this would be a great show to attend as it will have a mix of talent in various stages of their career. I'll have a write up of the show next week with my thoughts on the event.
Post UFC 218 Thoughts
I spent Saturday night in cabin in the middle of nowhere in Kentucky that didn't even have HDTV let alone Pay-Per-View or a WIFI connection that supported streaming. That being said I did go back and watch the UFC Fight Pass Prelims and read the results online. What a helluva night of MMA and I can't wait to watch it in a few months on Fight Pass.
Justin Willis - There are few things I love more then an MMA fighter with a gut and Justin Willis has a belly that would make Roy Nelson proud. The big man came into the octagon, beat the ever loving dog shit out of Allen Crowder, and dropped more "motherfuckers" in his post fight interview then a Samuel L. Jackson youtube compilation. I am excited to see him fight again and wonder if he'll have to cut weight to make 265lbs again (my money is on he will).
Yancy Medeiros - Medeiros' UFC record has been riddled with a 1 or 2 fight win streak followed by a loss; he looked good on Saturday night against a tough veteran fighter in Alex Oliveira. I am glad to see Yancy get the W and am excited to see who he gets matched up with next.
Justin Gaethje - While Gaethje lost his first professional fight he has cemented himself as a blood and guts fighter that the UFC fans love. He went toe to toe with one of the most violent fighters of all time in Eddie Alvarez and put on a fight of the year contender. The future is bright for this kid as anyone that signs on the dotted line against him is going to get drug into a good old fashioned, bite down on your mouthguard and throw bombs brawl that fans will pay to see.
Francis Ngannou - There are a lot of arm chair MMA critics out there that are arguing back and forth if Francis Ngannou is the real deal or not. Well here is what we do know, he is 6'4", weighs 265lbs with a six pack, and has terrifying knockout power. He is a freak athlete that could be in the NFL today if he had been born in Atlanta instead of Africa. He damn near took Overeem's head off and can put anyone to sleep in the heavyweight division with one punch at a moment's notice. He is going to be back in the cage sooner then later as it has just been announced that he'll be taking on Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 on January 19th in Boston. Win, Lose, or Draw he is an exciting young addition to a Heavyweight division that needs new blood.
Jose Aldo - I feel bad for Jose Aldo on so many levels. 1. He doesn't get the respect from fans that he deserves because of a mixture of dominating the 145lbs division during a time when people were overlooking smaller fighters and because of the influx of Conor fans that just see him as that guy that Mac dropped in 13 seconds. 2. On Friday at weigh ins he looked like a guy that had been found adrift at sea in a life raft instead of a fighter that was going to be headlining a PPV the next day. 3. After the fight his face looked like he got punched by Thanos.
Aldo is a bad man and was once the king of the Featherweight division but now might be a good time to bump up to 155lbs. It's not an easier division by any stretch of the imagination but he could have some fun fights to wind down his career and wouldn't have to keep killing himself to make 145lbs. No matter what happens Jose Aldo is a first ballot UFC Hall of Famer.
Photo credit: CS Fights
Max Holloway - Max Holloway is the truth. He is riding a 12 fight win streak, defeated the greatest 145lbs champion of all time in back to back fights, and is in the prime of his career. He would be the favorite vs. anyone else currently in the Featherweight division. I would love to see him and Conor match up in 2018 but I don't think it will happen because I can't see Mystic Mac making 145lbs without IVs and if he did I think that Holloway would have the advantage as the more complete fighter. If you want to call me a Max Holloway dick rider then I say pass me the spurs and the saddle because this guy is something special and has the potential to be one of the all time greats.
UFC Fight Night - #4 Swanson vs. #6 Ortega
UFC Fight Night - Swanson vs. Ortega is going down this Saturday night. This is Swanson's first time back in the cage after the UFC passed over him and replaced Frankie Edgar with Jose Aldo for the UFC 218 main event. Swanson is riding a 4 fight win streak and felt that he was the obvious replacement for Edgar and when that didn't happen he became incredibly frustrated with the UFC. Adding another wrinkle to the story is the fact that this fight is the last one on Swanson's current UFC contract. It is definitely open to speculation that the UFC intentionally passed him over because if he had beat Holloway at 218 then he would have more bargining power when he and his people negotiated his next contract. From a heartless business perspective I can see where the UFC is coming from but damn that is cold. So what happen's next?
Well first we get to see Swanson vs. Ortega in the cage. Brian Ortega is 12-0 and he is going to be across the Octagon from a very pissed off Cub Swanson. Cub will go to war with anyone and isn't scared to stand in the pocket to take a punch to give alot (see his UFC 206 victory over Doo Ho Choi). Brian Ortega is also a strong fighter that has finished Clay Guida (KO), Diego Brandao (Triangle), and Thiago Tavares (TKO). I am excited to see these two hook it up Saturday night and see what the fall out is afterwards.
A win for either man could result in a title shot, especially Swanson but this also depends on if #3 Ricardo Lamas wins or loses his match next week vs. Josh Emmett. If Swanson loses it would be a major setback and he would be forced to work his way back up the card. Swanson is definitely Ortega's biggest test to date and would be a major notch on his belt. Win or lose Swanson could also say fuck this shit and make the jump to Bellator depending on how much resentment he is holding towards the UFC for being passed over.
The rest of the card has got me like...
Seriously, minus Liz Carmouche and Alexis Davis this card is lacking in names to draw in the casual fan. Mosts of the fighters on this card aren't even in the Top 15 of their division. Here is to hoping that we see some entertaining fights and a few of these guys make a name for themselves.
That is going to do it for this week. Join me again next week for my review of HardrockMMA 95 and my preview for Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael Dos Anjos on FOX. And finally you can always be part of the discussion about MMA or sports in general over at our FB Group: Craft Brewed Sports.