Cagewriter - Mixed Martial Arts

  • It isn't much of a surprise that UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman found Vitor Belfort's recent trash talk as delusional as we did. Belfort said recently that the UFC should have created an interim title for a case like Weidman (who forced a postponement from Dec. to Feb. of a title fight between he and Belfort, because of a broken hand suffered in training camp).

    Usually, fighters have to be projected to be out of action for at least a year for talks of interim titles being issued. Weidman last fought a few months ago, in July. 

    Belfort has not fought since Nov. 2013. Weidman was not impressed with the logic of "The Phenom."

    "It doesn't make any sense, it's not like I've been out for a year," Weidman told MMA Fighting this week.

    "This guy hasn't fought since November. And I was actually, we were supposed to fight. We were lined up to fight in July. And he had to pull out of the fight. And you know why he had to pull out of the fight? He failed a drug test. So this guy is failing drug tests and he has the audacity, he has the balls to start talking junk? About me not fighting. He hasn't fought since November. So what if he gets the belt? So what happens with that? He just makes no sense. That's the bottom line."

    All this has left the usually calm and monotone Weidman riled up to not just fight and beat Belfort, but to embarrass him. "I want to completely toy with him," Weidman continued.

    "I want to toy with him. I want to beat him up standing, I want to toss him on his butt. Smack him in his mouth a couple times while he's on the ground. Maybe go for a submission, make him almost tap, and let go of it, let him stand up, beat him up on the feet, take him down again, just completely just make a mockery of him."

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  • Despite avoiding real regulation for two years by fighting internationally, and allowing his licensing in U.S. jurisdictions to lapse while using banned drug treatments, Vitor Belfort (24-10) was granted a middleweight title shot by the UFC. The UFC wanted the big middleweight title fight between Belfort and champion Chris Weidman (12-0) to take place in the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas (where Belfort had already failed a drug test in 2006 by testing positive for a steroid. That failed drug test resulted in a suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission - NAC- that Belfort disregarded by fighting in the United Kingdom during it.), so the Nevada commission promptly administered a drug test to Belfort.

    Belfort then failed the test and attempted to keep the results secret. When a Cagewriter report revealed that Belfort's test results would be made public at a commission hearing, the fighter decided to admit that he failed the test.

    Instead of penalizing Belfort, however, the NAC- (likely fearing a jurisdiction battle with the unlicensed Belfort, similar to the one it later got with Wanderlei Silva) decided to effectively let Belfort regulate himself. "The Phenom" pulled out the fight with Weidman, and when the commission finally got around to giving him a hearing, they issued no suspension for his second failed performance-enhancing drug test, and Belfort was given a second title shot against Weidman on Dec. 6.

    We reiterate all of this just to contextualize just how brazen Belfort's recent comments about the UFC belt and Weidman truly are. Speaking to Brazilian outlet Globo, Belfort complained about his date with Weidman being postponed to Feb. 2015 because of a broken hand sustained by the champ.

    "You're kidding, right?" Belfort said of Weidman's latest injury.

    "To me, he wanted to spend Christmas with his belt, and only in this way could do it."

    Belfort was gifted a title shot twice this year, despite avoiding regulation and failing a drug test, and has managed to avoid any formal sanction for his cheating, yet he's saying that Weidman is the one avoiding the contest and getting special treatment. Belfort went on to suggest that an interim belt should be created, obstensibly so that he could go ahead and fight for a world title again without, you know, fighting the world champion.

    "At first I did not believe, after all this being the second fight of his title defense then had to be postponed because of injury. I think for every holder of that belt gets injured more than once, the UFC should already create the interim belt," Belfort said.

    "With that, the fans, the fighters and the UFC would not leave himself harmed, only the injured athlete."

    Of course, Weidman most recently fought this past July, and Belfort has not fought since November of 2013. In fact, in the time that Weidman has taken to fight his last three fights, Belfort has just fought once.

    Yet it's the Blackzilian who is complaining of Weidman's inactivity. Go figure. 

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  • What do you think of when you think of Sweden? Personally, we think of Ikea, meatballs, Vikings and blondes.

    But we should also start associating MMA with Sweden, as the above new documentary, Stories from Stockholm: Swedish Giants shows. This Saturday, the UFC will return to Stockholm for a UFC Fight Night card that will feature four Swedish rising stars.

    Swedish Giants chronicles the All Stars camp of Ilir Latifi, Magnus Cedenblad, Tor Troeng and Niklas Backstrom, all of whom fight in their home town Oct. 4. Light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson is also featured heavily in the above short documentary, as he's teammates with all those men, and is still waiting for his title rematch.

    This feature is a fun and relaxed look at some fighters and a growing fight scene that Americans don't often get much insight into. Check it out and let us know who you're picking to win, Saturday night.

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  • The UFC men's bantamweight title landscape has seemed a bit complicated, of late. First, dominant champion Renan Barao lost his title to TJ Dillashaw, this year.

    Then, instead of the next shot going to Raphael Assuncao - who was set to face Barao before getting injured, and who also has a recent win over the new champ Dillashaw - Barao was rushed into a senseless immediate rematch that he ultimately could not even make. Assuncao would certainly seem next in line for a crack at Dillashaw, except he's got a fight booked with Bryan Caraway this Saturday.

    Former long-time world champ Dominick Cruz marched into the Octagon for the first time in about three years this past Saturday, and did UFC matchmakers a favor by quickly KO'ing former world title challenger Takeya Mizugaki in just over a minute (full fight video above). Now, Cruz seems to be the clear number one contender to the belt he never lost in the ring, once more.

    UFC president Dana White revealed that the decision had been made, shortly after the UFC 178 pay per view card, Saturday night. "Nobody does that to Mizugaki. Nobody," White said.

    “[Cruz] didn’t lose his belt fighting. He is the unluckiest man on earth. So yeah, he’s the guy.”

    Cruz has certainly earned a chance to reclaim his title. Do you think he'll be ready to win against Dillashaw?

    Let us know in the comments section!

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  • UFC bantamweight Bryan Caraway (19-6) has won five out of his last six fights, all by submission, and has the biggest fight of his career coming up Oct. 4 in Halifax when he takes on rightful number one 135 pound contender Raphael Assuncao (22-4). Caraway's recent hot streak of submission wins has him riding high on confidence and believing that he's the best grappler in the entire bantamweight division, according to a new interview (video above) with MixedMartialArts.com.

    "I think I can beat anybody," he said.

    "I think I'm the best in the world, on the ground. I don't think anybody can hang with me when we get in scrambles, and stuff."

    Caraway will face another excellent grappler in the powerful Assuncao, Saturday, and also hopes to steal the Brazilian's place in the division.

    Raphael Assuncao is, without a doubt, in my opinion, the number one contender for the belt. You know, he's on a six-fight win streak. He has a win over the champ. If I beat him...I think that puts me in a very good position to fight for the title."

    Who do you think the best submission grappler in the bantamweight division is? And, who are you picking in the Assuncao vs. Caraway UFC Fight Night match?

    Let us know in the comments section! 

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  • Tim Kennedy had good reason to be upset heading into the third round of his featured middleweight fight Saturday night at UFC 178 in Las Vegas against Yoel Romero. After all, he had been pushed around for nearly two rounds before landing monstrous punches to the head of his opponent Yoel Romero at the end of the second period that appeared to have the Cuban out on his feet before the horn sounded and saved him.

    Then, once the rest period between the second and third round had ended and referee John McCarthy instructed both fighters to get off their stools and resume fighting, Romero did not rise and was tended to by his corner for a bit longer. Kennedy immediately protested the default extra rest and recovery time the hurt Romero was given but McCarthy allowed the fight to continue and without penalty to Romero.

    Then, the former Olympic silver medalist managed to pounce on Kennedy and knock him out early in the third round. Needless to say, Kennedy was furious at the turn of events, and he wasted little time seeking out Romero and telling him as much backstage, afterwards (video above).

    "If you can't get off the stool, that's the end of the fight," a frustrated Kennedy told Romero. 

    Check out the Vine clip above for yourself and see the brief moment captured on tape. Then, let us know what you think of the controversy in the comments section.

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  • UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson took less than two rounds to finish Chris Cariaso and successfully defend his title Saturday night in Las Vegas, but in his opinion he still took too long to do it. "I was just a little bit too patient for my own good," the champ said in his post fight interview.

    The win is Johnson's seventh straight and it also further solifidied his position atop the 125 pound class. As he looks out on a mostly conquered flyweight landscape, Johnson insists that he doesn't want to fight anyone in particular next.

    Instead, he'll just be ready to fight whoever the UFC calls and tells him to. "I'm just a man who sits by the phone and answers it, and I go fight," he said.

    The one knock on the well-rounded Johnson used to be that most of his top wins came by way of decision after hard-fought and still-impressive bouts. This finish was the third time in his last four outings that he refused to let his opponent hear the final horn, however.

    As he adds nasty knockouts and submissions to dominant decision wins, "Mighty Mouse" seems well on his way to achieving his goals of cleaning out his weight class and becoming the best fighter in the world, pound-for-pound. The loss snapped a three-fight win streak for Cariaso.

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  • Conor McGregor won his fourth straight UFC fight Saturday night in Las Vegas but it wasn't without controversy. The brash Irishman moved ahead in the featherweight rankings with a first round TKO win over Dustin Poirier at UFC 178, but the unfortunate manner in which it ended still left plenty of questions regarding not just the fight but the rising star's ability to take on and possibly take out the very best in the world.

    After a good number of striking combinations thrown from both men, with mostly only glancing connections for either, McGregor caught a ducking Poirier with a left hook to the back of the head. The American appeared to go out and fell to the mat.

    McGregor followed up with strikes to the downed Poirier, forcing referee Herb Dean to step in and call a stop to the fight. Strictly speaking, strikes to the back of the head area that McGregor hit Poirier on are not allowed in unified MMA rules.

    However, Dean either didn't notice the placement of the quick shot or, decided no foul could be called because McGregor's punch seemed to be aimed and thrown at a legal area of Poirier before the Louisiana fighter ducked into it. In either case, McGregor moves on in the 145 pound class with this high-profile, though controversial win, and was quick to call for a title shot in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. 

    "What the other featherweights don't understand, is that it's a whole ‘nother game when they get hit by me," McGregor told interviewer Joe Rogan.

    "The world title is next."

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  • Rising UFC featherweight Conor McGregor and his team are confident heading into their UFC 178 fight against Dustin Poirier this Saturday. McGregor's coach John Kavanagh is looking way past this fight, however, and toward all-time greatness for the "Notorious" one.

    “It’s hard to put in words why I think he will be remembered as the greatest of all time," Kavanagh recently told SevereMMA. "I do think that he will definitely be a two-weight world champion, that’s a given, and I think with a certain set of circumstances he will be the first and only three-weight division UFC champion. That would be at featherweight, lightweight and welterweight."

    Whoah. 

    All right. Three fights in, McGregor certainly appears to be the hottest prospect in the featherweight division, but he's also in one of MMA's most talent-rich classes, which is ruled by longtime king Jose Aldo.

    So, to take for granted that the Irishman will become the 145-pound champ is a stretch. Of course, that's why everyone is in the game, and they have to possess that type of confidence to train and get in the cage.

    But for Kavanagh, winning the featherweight belt will be just the beginning for McGregor. Dan Henderson, BJ Penn and Randy Couture have all won world titles at two different weight classes.

    Can McGregor become the first to win titles in three? “It’s not hard for me to imagine that scenario," Kavanagh said.

    "I think two people have already done it in two weight classes and even then they did in a time that was a little different – the skill set was a little bit lower."

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  • UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is back in the gym after recovering from knee and hand injuries, and her coach Edmond Tarvedyan says she's working more furiously than ever. "It's great to work with her. She loves it. She improves every day," he said in a recent interview (above).

    Tarvedyan's base is in boxing and striking so it is little surprise that he's working with Rousey most in that area. The progress he says the former Judo Olympic medalist has made with her hands is a bit shocking, however.

    "No question [that] Ronda could win the world boxing championships in the female division - next fight," he said.

    Tarvedyan says his bold opinion is based on Rousey's sparring rounds with top female boxers in the gym. "She gets that work in the gym, with the world champions [and] she does get the best of it. We do not release footage but, you know, one day [when] she retires, we will," he said.

    Rousey specifically worked with a former title challenger to new UFC bantamweight Holly Holm, back when Holm was a boxing champ. Based on Rousey's work with that fighter, Tarvedyan is confident not only that Rousey could beat Holm should they fight in the UFC, but also if they were to meet in the ring with boxing gloves on.

    "I believe that, even if it's a boxing match, Ronda beats Holly Holm," he said.

    "Ronda stops Holly Holm - even if it's a boxing match."

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