Thank you to everyone who has viewed this blog over the past few months. But I thought it was time for a change of scenery and to put this blog into a website.

    The website allows the articles too me put into an order.

    Please check out the new site at: www.splitdecisionMMAUK.com


    Simon :)

  • UFC on FOX: Johnson vs Dodson: Main Card Preview

    This Saturday night see's a four fight card take place in Chicago with the Flyweight title on the line as champion Demetrious Johnson puts his belt on the line against John Dodson.

    That's not the only attraction though as the card also features some exciting match up's.

    Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson fights for the last time in the UFC against up and coming prospect Glover Teixeira.

    Donald Cerrone takes on Anthony Pettis in a lightweight fight with the winner pushing ever so close to a title shot and the loser getting held back.

    And in the featherweight division Eric Koch aims to continue his good form against Ricardo Lamas.

    By the end of the night we will know if Rampage can leave with a win and if Demetrious Johnson is still the king at 125 pounds.

    Eric Koch vs Ricardo Lamas

    The evening begins with the featherweights and Eric Koch takes on Ricardo Lamas.

    Koch,(13-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), comes into this fight on the back of a four fight winning streak.

    Last time he defeated Jonathan Brookins, via unanimous decision, at UFC Fight Night: Shields vs. Ellenberger in September 2011.

    He has twice had the opportunity to fight for the featherweight title. Jose Aldo was forced out of the original bout at UFC 149 due to injury. Then they were due to fight at UFC 153 but it was Koch who was injured.

    So he has been so close to a title shot and win over Ricardo Lamas could send him that little bit closer.

    Lamas,(12-2 MMA, 3-0 UFC), comes into this fight on the back of a four fight win streak and will be looking to make a claim towards a title shot himself.

    Last time out he defeated Hatsu Hioki, via unanimous decision, at UFC on FX: Maynard vs. Guida last June.

    He has made quite the impact in the featherweight division and this fight with Koch will be his toughest to date.

    Both fighters are comfortable where ever the fight goes, but it is Koch who looks stronger on the ground. He has seven victories by submission where as Lamas has three.

    An interesting fact is that neither fight has been submitted in their career. So if one is to pull a submission out of the bag it will be quite the finish.

    Both fighters have three knockouts each in their career but it is Koch who has the stronger chin as he has never been knocked out. Lamas has been finished twice and both were knockouts.

    Lamas likes to grind opponents out and he has six victories via decision and every time he has gone to decision he has won.

    Koch has won by decision three times and his only career loss was by decision.

    This is a great fight to start the main card. Two exciting featherweights who both have the ability to end the fight at anytime and I doubt it will go to decision.

    If the fight stays standing I can see Koch getting the win but if it goes to the ground and Lamas can nullify Koch's threat then I think he can take how a decision victory. But if he slips for one moment I can see Koch locking on a submission.

    SplitDecision Picks: Erik Koch

    Anthony Pettis vs Donald Cerrone

    It's the turn of the lightweights next as Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone finally square off in the octagon.

    Both fighters where in the top three lightweights in the WEC but never had the opportunity to fight. So this fight has been on the cards for a few years and i'm sure it wont disappoint.

    Pettis, (15-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC), has bounced back from losing his UFC debut and is now riding a two fight win streak.

    Last time out he defeated Joe Lauzon, via knockout(head kick and punches), at UFC 144 last February. This earned him the knockout of the night honors.

    Pettis won the WEC lightweight championship off current UFC Lightweight champion Benson Henderson at WEC 53. The final WEC show.

    He took him a unanimous decision victory and dethroned the champion in the process.

    Now he wants another crack at the champion and if he can beat Cerrone in this fight he might find himself as the next contender.

    Cerrone, (19-4(1) MMA, 6-1 UFC), is also riding a two fight streak of his own.

    Last time out he defeated Melvin Guillard, via knockout(head kick and punch), in just 76 seconds at UFC 150 last August.

    That knockout gave him the knockout of the night honors and the fight was given fight of the night. As Guillard had Cerrone rocked before he came back to win.

    Cerrone has fought and lost to Benson Henderson twice and wants a third crack at the champion. If he could beat the in-form Pettis it will definitely be a big step towards that goal.

    Both are great fighters and there is not alot to separate them. But on the feet it is Pettis who has more knockouts. He has knocked out six opponents while Cerrone only has two knockouts.

    But on the ground is where Cerrone is most comfortable. He is a submission wizard and has 13 wins this way. Pettis has his own submission game and has submitted six opponents.

    When Pettis has lost, it was by decision. He has never been finished in his professional career. Where as Cowboy has been submitted once and taken to decision three times. He still hasn't been knocked out though.

    Both fighters can out work opponents and Pettis has won by decision three times and Cerrone four times.

    They are both strong fighters who like to finish fights. Both have good kickboxing, great cardio and are explosive.

    Pettis will edge a fight that stays on the feet but if Cerrone can get his opponent to the ground I think he will take it.

    It could prove to be one of the fights of 2013 and be talked about for years to come. Or it can be over in an instant.

    SplitDecision Picks: Donald Cerrone

    Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson vs Glover Teixeira

    We step up to the light heavyweight division next as Rampage Jackson takes on Glover Teixeira.

    Rampage,(32-10 MMA, 7-4 UFC), fights for what could be the last time in the UFC and is hoping to end a two fight losing streak and go out with a bang.

    Last time out he lost to Ryan Bader, via unanimous decision, at UFC 144 last February.

    This loss meant Rampage had lost two fights in a row for the first time in his career.

    He is a former Light heavyweight champion and if he can find the form that took him to the title, then he could leave with a win.

    Teixeira, (19-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC), comes into this fight with a great deal of momentum as he is unbeaten in 17 fights. The last time he lost was in 2005 to current UFC Middleweight Ed Herman.

    He was due to fight Rampage at UFC 153, last October, but Rampage pulled out due to injury and was replaced by Fabio Maldonado. Glover won the fight by TKO(doctor stoppage) at the end of round two.

    Teixeira is a fighter full of confidence and momentum and he has the chance to get one of the biggest wins of his career this weekend.

    Say what you want about Rampage but he is still a deadly fighter and if Teixeira can beat Rampage it will send him further up the light heavyweight ladder.

    Both fighters have knockout power and one punch from either will send you to sleep. Rampage has 14 victories by knockout and Teixeira has 12.

    They have both been knocked out in their career. Teixeira once and Rampage three times. So if one punch can slip through from either then it could signal the end.

    If the fight finds its way to the ground both guys have submissions. Rampage has seven and Teixeira has five.

    This could prove better for Teixeira who has never been submitted where as Rampage has been submitted twice.

    Teixeira has only been to decision three times in his career. Winning twice and losing once. Where as Rampage is a little more experienced. Has won 11 by decision and lost four.

    Fans young and old of the UFC should tune in to watch this fight.

    Many people are predicting it's the end for Rampage. That he is past his best. If Teixeira comes into this fight believing the hype and thinking he will roll Rampage over. Then he will lose.

    Same for Rampage. He has to respect his opponents strengths and work hard for fifteen minutes.

    Teixeira is a good up and coming fighter in the UFC and he can trouble Rampage but no matter how much he says he can't wait to leave: Rampage wants to leave with a win.

    SplitDecision Picks: Rampage

    Main Event: Demetrious Johnson(Champion) vs John Dodson

    The main event see's Demetrious Johnson make the first defense of his flyweight title against, 'TUF 14' winner, John Dodson.

    Johnson, (16-2-1 MMA, 4-1-1 UFC), on the back of a two fight win streak which saw him become the UFC's first flyweight champion.

    Last time out he defeated Joseph Benavidez, via split decision, at UFC 152 last September.

    This saw him win the title and the first ever flyweight tournament.

    Johnson is one of the smoothest, quickest flyweights in the world and is a danger for anyone.

    But many people believe that John Dodson has the power to beat him.

    Dodson, (14-5 MMA, 3-0 UFC), comes into this fight holding a five fight win streak which saw him win Season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter.

    After winning the 'TUF' crown at Bantamweight Dodson returned to flyweight and is 2-0.

    Last time out he defeated Jussier Formiga, by second round TKO, at UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot last October to gain the shot.

    Dodson is always fun to watch and he can definitely match the champions speed and power. I personally believe he can beat it.

    Both fighters like to finish fights but in different ways. Dodson has more knockout victories which stands at six. Where as Johnson has more submissions which stands at six.

    But that's not to say they can't end the fight a different way. Dodson has two submission victories and Johnson has three knockout wins.

    Neither fighter has ever been finished in their professional careers. So it will be a interesting to see if either man can get a finish.

    The most likely outcome is decision and both fighters have had their share of fights that have gone the distance.

    Johnson has seven victories and two losses by decision while Dodson has six victories and five losses.

    The flyweights are always entertaining and fight at such a high pace that it can be hard to keep up with them at times.

    I think this fight wont be any different. It will go everywhere and both guys will be pushed to their limits.

    If anyone has the best chance of finishing Johnson it will be Dodson. But no one can write the champion off yet.

    SplitDecision Picks: John Dodson

    SplitDecision Bonus Picks

    Fight of the night: Anthony Pettis vs Donald Cerrone

    Submission of the night: Matt Wiman

    Knockout of the night: Rampage Jackson

  • UFC on FOX: Johnson vs Dodson: Prelims Preview

    The UFC heads to the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, this weekend for the sixth installment of the UFC on FOX deal.

    Each FOX card to date has featured some exciting match up's and this weekend is no different.

    A Flyweight championship bout is the main attraction but before the night even kicks off on FOX, there are seven preliminary fights featuring some household names and upcoming stars.

    The likes of Clay Guida, Ryan Bader, Vladimir Matyushenko, Matt Wiman and TJ Grant are all ready to go to war.

    Simeon Thoresen vs David Mitchell

    The evening starts with a welterweight fight between Simon Thoresen and David Mitchell.

    This is the only prelim to be streamed live on facebook.

    Thoresen, (17-3-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), is looking to get back to winning ways and show UFC fans the skill which got him signed with the biggest promotion in the world.

    Last time out he was knocked out by Seth Baczynski, in the first round, at UFC 152.

    That defeat snapped a three fight win streak and Thoresen will be hoping to put another run together in 2013.

    Mitchell, (11-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC), is on very thin ice with the UFC and if he fails to win this weekend he could find himself being released.

    Since coming into the division undefeated he has found life tough. Dropping two decisions to TJ Waldburger and more recently Paulo Thiago at UFC 134.

    Mitchell last fought in August 2011 and this time away will either prove very effective or the dreaded ring rust could make an appearance and find himself on the way out.

    Both fighters are great on the ground with their submission games. Thoresen has finished 15 opponents by sub and Mitchell nine.

    Neither fighter has been submitted in their career and if the fight goes to the ground it will be interesting to see who can get the upper hand.

    On the feet Thoresen has one knockout too his name and has been knocked out twice. Where as Mitchell has never been knocked out or knocked any opponent out in his career to date.

    Both of Mitchell's losses have come by way of decision.

    This is an interesting fight to call. Both fighters and looking to get back into the win column and should come out hard to end the fight. It will be a challenge for each of them on the ground to get the better of each other.

    The longer the fight stays on the feet I think the Thoresen has the better advantage.

    SplitDecision Picks: Simon Thoresen

    Rafael Natal vs Sean Spencer

    The FX segment of the prelims kicks off with a middleweight fight between Rafael Natal and Sean Spencer.

    Natal,(14-4-1 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC), comes into this fight on the back of a one fight losing streak.

    Last time out he lost to Andrew Craig, via second round KO(head kick), at UFC on Fuel TV: Munoz vs. Weidman last July.

    That lost snapped a two fight winning streak.

    He has UFC experience; something his opponent doesn't.

    Sean Spencer, (9-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), is making his UFC debut this weekend and comes into this fight on the back of a three fight win streak.

    Last time out he defeated Evan Cutts, via unanimous decision, at Legacy Fighting Championship 13 last August.

    He has bounced back from his only career loss and will be looking to make a statement in his UFC debut.

    Natal is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and definitely favors the submission game. Seven of his wins have come this way.

    This could help Natal and Spencer's only loss was by submission.

    Spencer is a grinder and the majority of his wins, five, have come via decision.

    Both guys are comfortable standing up with Spencer grabbing two KO wins and Natal three.

    Spencer could use this to his advantage as Natal has been knocked out three times in his career.

    This fight looks like Natal holds the advantage with his superior skills on the ground. If he can get Spencer down he will be moving back into the win column. But all fights start on the fight and if Spencer can worry his opponent early we could be in for a great fight.

    SplitDecision Picks: Rafael Natal

    Mike Russow vs Shawn Jordan

    It's the turn of the heavyweight's next as Mike Russow and Shawn Jordan step into the octagon.

    Russow, (15-2(1) MMA, 4-1 UFC), comes into this fight on the back of a loss.

    Last time out he lost to Fabricio Werdum, via first round TKO, at UFC 147 last June.

    That loss ended an 11 fight win streak for Russow which dated all the way back to 2007.

    He will be hoping to prove it was just a bump in the road and get back to winning ways.

    Shawn Jordan, (13-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC), is also looking to get back to winning ways this weekend.

    Last time out he was beaten by Cheick Kongo, via unanimous decision, at UFC 149 last July.

    This snapped a two fight win streak and his progress in the division was stuttered.

    Both fighters have power but it is Jordan who has more knockouts. He has knocked out nine opponents while Russow has only knocked out four.

    Russow's strength is his wrestling and when he gets fights to the floor he likes to finish them. He has eight submission victories to Jordan's three.

    But Russow could find it hard going as Jordan has never been submitted in his career.

    Jordan has lost twice by KO and twice by decision. Where as Russow has been TKO'd once and submitted once.

    If the fight goes the distance then the stats show that Russow could be the more likely victor as all three times he has been to decision, he has won.

    Everybody loves a heavyweight scrap and this one will be no different. Both fighters are dangerous on the feet so I can see Russow getting the fight to the floor.

    SplitDecision Picks: Mike Russow

    Ryan Bader vs Vladimir Matyushenko

    We move to the Light heavyweight division next as Ryan Bader takes on, experienced, Vladimir Matyushenko.

    Bader,(14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC), comes into this fight on the back of a one fight losing streak.

    Last time out he lost to Lyoto Machida, via second round KO, at UFC on Fox: Shogun vs. Vera last August.

    This snapped a two fight win streak for Bader and any championship ambitions he had were lost.

    He fights an experienced opponent this weekend but a comprehensive win could throw him right back up the 205 pound ladder.

    Matyushenko, (26-6 MMA, 7-4), also comes into this bout on the back of a defeat.

    Last time out he lost to Alexander Gustafsson, via first round TKO, at UFC 141 in December 2011.

    This snapped a two fight winning streak for the 'Janitor' who is a former UFC Light heavyweight contender.

    He is now 42 years old and a 'gate-keeper' in the division.

    Both fighters have strong wrestling and powerful hands. Bader has knocked out seven opponents and Matyushenko nine.

    This might help Bader as Matyushenko has been knocked out four times in his career.

    If the fight does go to the floor Matyushenko might have the better chance of finishing it. He has seven submission victories. With Bader only having two.

    Matyushenko can feel comfortable on the ground as he has never been submitted in his career. Where as Bader has been finished twice by submission.

    Both fighters can grind out wins and know what it takes to get the win. Bader has five by decision and his opponent ten.

    This fight is going to hit the floor at some stage and I believe it will come down to who is the stronger with the wrestling. Bader is younger and more agile but Matyushenko has the experience to throw out submission attempts and worry Bader.

    If Bader can stay away from the submission attempts of his opponent and be dominant he will come away with the win. But if he leaves himself exposed then the 'Janitor' has the experience to punish his mistakes.

    SplitDecision Picks: Ryan Bader

    Mike Stumpf vs Pascal Krauss

    It's back to the welterweight division next as Mike Stumpf and Pascal Krauss square off.

    Stumpf, (11-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC), looks to return to winning ways after a UFC debut loss in 2011.

    He lost to TJ Waldburger, via first round submission, at UFC - Fight Night 25.

    After being on the sidelines for 16 months, he will be looking to get his career back on tracks.

    Pascal Krauss,(10-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), is hoping to get his career back on track this weekend.

    Last time out he lost to John Hathaway, via unanimous decision, at UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller last May.

    This was the first loss of his promising career and he will be wanting to show that it was just an off day at the office.

    Both fighters are good on the ground and love to submit opponents. They both have seven wins each by submission.

    Krauss has never been submitted in his career where Stumpf has one submission loss.

    On the feet both have two knockouts to their name and neither has been knocked out.

    Stumpf has won two by decision and lost one by decision. Where as Krauss has won one and lost one by decision.

    This is another close fight to call and both fighters have been away from the octagon for a while. I think the key comes with how can get the upper hand early and find some momentum.

    If the fight goes the distance it will be a case of who has the better cardio and who has been affected the most from their time away.

    SplitDecision Picks: Pascal Krauss

    Clay Guida vs Hatsu Hioki

    It's down to the featherweight division as Clay Guida starts his run at 145 pounds against Hatsu Hioki.

    Guida, (29-13 MMA, 9-7 UFC), looks to halt a two fight losing streak and make a triumphant debut in the featherweight division.

    Last time out he lost to Gray Maynard, via split decision, at UFC on FX: Maynard vs. Guida last June.

    Many people criticized Guida for his performance in this fight but nobody can ever question Guida's heart.

    He is one of the most exciting fighters on the UFC roster and ever fight he is involved in he comes to go to war.

    With two losses in a row there is a possibility a loss here and he could be cut. But Dana White likes exciting fighters and Guida should be around for a while to come.

    Hatsu Hioki, (26-5-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC), looks to get back to winning ways and put his one fight losing streak behind him.

    Last time out he lost to Ricardo Lamas, via unanimous decision, at UFC on FX: Maynard vs. Guida last June.

    This loss snapped a six fight win streak for him and he will want to show that he can bounce straight back from a loss.

    He has only put back to back losses together in his career once and this was in 2007.

    Both fighters are excellent with their submission games. Guida has 15 submission wins and Hioki has 12.

    Hioki though has never been submitted in his career where as Guida has been tapped out six times.

    Both guys have strong hands and have each knocked out four opponents and have never been knocked out in their careers to date.

    They both have great cardio and always fight to the end. Guida has won nine times by decision and Hioki ten.

    Sometimes they both have been out-worked by opponents. Guida has six losses by decision and Hioki has all five of his losses this way.

    This fight is a serious contender for the fight of the night status. Both guys have the energy and power to end this fight and I can see it finishing by submission or decision.

    SplitDecision Picks: Clay Guida

    TJ Grant vs Matt Wiman

    The prelims come to close as lightweight's TJ Grant and Matt Wiman step into the octagon.

    Grant,(19-5 MMA, 6-3 MMA), looks to continue his great run of form at lightweight as he comes into this fight on the back of a three fight win streak.

    Last time out he defeated Evan Dunham, via unanimous decision, at UFC 152 last September in a fight of the night performance.

    Grant had a sea-saw start to life in the UFC going 3-3 but since his drop to the lightweight division he has gone 3-0.

    But he will have his toughest fight to date against the in-form Matt Wiman.

    Wiman, (15-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC), comes into this fight riding a two fight win streak which includes a submission of the night and fight of the night honors.

    Last time out he defeated Paul Sass, via first round submission, at UFC on Fuel TV: Struve vs. Miocic last September.

    This gained him submission of the night honors and ended Paul Sass's unbeaten record.

    He has only lost once in six fights and will be looking to continue his great run of form this weekend.

    Both fighters are great submission fighters but it is Grant who has more submission victories. He has submitted 13 of his opponents while Wiman has submitted five.

    But it is Grant who has lost once by submission while Wiman has yet to be submitted in his professional career.

    Wiman has more wins on the feet. He has knocked out four opponents where as Grant has knocked out two.

    But this time it is Wiman who has been knocked out once while Grant has never been knocked out in his career.

    Both fighters have lost the majority of their fights by decision. Grant has lost four and Wiman and five. But they have also won a few themselves with Grant winning four and Wiman six.

    This is another contender for fight of the night. With both fighters looking so even over their careers it will be interesting to see where this fight ends.

    With both guys on good runs it is hard to call who will have the upper hand.

    All we can do is sit back and watch a great fight enfold in front of our eyes.

    SplitDecision Picks: Matt Wiman

  • UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs Bisping: Main Card Review

    After the controversy of the preliminary fights, it was time for the main card of UFC on FX 7, which was headlined by Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort.

    In the end it was Belfort who had his hand raised, putting a stop to Bisping's championship dreams.

    Three of the four fights had dominant finishes and the other fight brought the standard of judging into question. With another controversial split decision.

    Khabib Nurmagomedov defeats Thiago Tavares via Knockout

    The night started with in the lightweight division as Khabib Nurmagomedov knocked out Thiago Tavares in quite brutal fashion.

    The fight didn't last long with Nurmagomedov coming out fearlessly, closing the distance and throwing nice, quick, combinations.

    Moment of the fight

    A minute into the fight Nurmagomedov landed a leaping uppercut which sent Tavares crumpling to the canvas. Nurmagomedov jumped on his opponent, trapped his arm, and through in some ground and pound. Punches and elbows where landing at will, to the out cold Tavares, before the referee stopped the fight at 1:55 of the first round.

    What it means for each fighter

    Nurmagomedov, (19-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC), continues his unbeaten career and takes his UFC run to 3-0.

    He is a very talented fighter who needs to fight even better competition.

    I believe he is ready to fight a top 10 fighter and if he continues his impressive displays, he will be soon knocking on the door of champion Benson Henderson.

    Tavares, (17-5-1 MMA, 7-5-1 UFC), has his two fight win streak stopped and any momentum dumped.

    He met an in-form opponent who's punching would trouble the chin of any fighter.

    He loses the winning momentum he had and drops to the bottom of the pile. He will be looking to fight as soon as possible and try to get back to winning ways.

    Rating 10/10 - A must watch fight for everyone. Khabib is a top prospect who finished a top opponent in a double-quick time.

    Gabriel Gonzaga defeats Ben Rothwell via submission

    The heavyweight's took center stage as Gabriel Gonzaga produced a great submission win over Ben Rothwell.

    Round 1 - The round began with Gonzaga getting a single-leg takedown to get the fight to floor. He was looking to get a submission. It wouldn't be on the ground for long as Rothwell powered back to his feet. Gonzaga looked for another attempt but Rothwell was better prepared and defended the attempt.

    Gonzaga was looking strong though. He kept taking his opponent down or keeping him up against the fence.
    After a period of inactivity the fighters were restarted in the middle and Rothwell began to look for a fight-ending punch.

    Gonzaga began to back up, but responded with three straight left hands and shot for another takedown. Rothwell put a nice combination together but the round ticked away.

    1-0 Gonzaga.

    Round 2 - Rothwell came out quickly, trying to get the momentum back in his favor. He threw and missed with a big right, then eating a Gonzaga right behind the ear.

    Moment of the Fight

    With 30 seconds gone in the round, Gonzaga landed a nice right hand which wobbled his opponent. Reacting Rothwell went in for a takedown but Gonzaga was alert and locked on a standing guillotine. He then pulled guard, squeezed, and Rothwell was forced to tap.

    The stoppage came at 1:01 of the second round.

    What it means for each fighter

    Gonzaga,(14-6 MMA, 9-5 UFC), extends his winning run to three and wins his second straight fight in the UFC since his return.

    This win should push him a little further up the heavyweight division and he can expect a higher ranked opponent next time out.

    Rothwell,(32-9 MMA, 2-3 UFC), continues his sea-saw form in the UFC, alternating between losses and wins.

    This form wont bring much joy for Rothwell and he will have to look to improve in his next few fights if he wants to be considered a part of the UFC for the foreseeable future.

    Rating: 8-10 - A lovely submission from Gabriel Gonzaga who took his opportunity when it arrived. He knew to stay away from the power of Ben Rothwell and his patience paid off.

    Even though the fight was relatively short it is good too see Gonzaga putting a run together and showing that he is improving his skills with each fight.

    CB Dollaway defeats Daniel Sarafian via split decision

    It was back to the middleweight division as CB Dollaway grabbed a controversial split decision victory over Daniel Sarafian in one of the fights of the night.

    Round 1 - The first round went the way of Daniel Sarafian who came out looking the sharper of both fighters. His quick footwork and heavy strikes were getting the better of his opponent. He managed to land a nice knockdown, following in with a few punches but Dollaway managed to scramble away.

    1-0 Daniel Sarafian

    Round 2 - The second round was a closer affair but Dollaway took it. Sarafian continued his in your face style but ultimately began to slow. Dollaway saw this a chance and got a knockdown of his own. As Sarafian fell to his knees, Dollaway pushed in and unloaded a barrage of hammerfists. Sarafian held on as the round came to a close.

    Dollaway squaring it up at 1-1.

    Round 3 - The final frame opened up with both fighters looking tired but still pushing forward to take the fight. Both threw big punches and connected. It looked as though Sarafian was edging it towards the end, but Dollaway scored a takedown and got into full mount. He also halted all escape attempts of his opponent.

    In my opinion Sarafian got the third round, despite the takedown, and took the fight two rounds to one.

    But the judges scored it 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 to Dollaway

    Moment of the fight

    As with the preliminary fights it was the judges performance which shocked a few. Like the fans in attendance I believed the Sarafian had done enough to get the victory.

    Judging is always a talking point in Mixed Martial Arts and I can't see the problem going away quietly.

    What it means for each fighter

    Dollaway, (13-4 MMA, 7-4 UFC), wont complain about the judges decision and extends his winning streak to two.

    He had some good moments in this fight and can now focus on higher-level opponents in his next fight.

    Sarafian,(7-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC), loses his UFC debut and has his four fight win streak snapped.

    He can consider himself a little unlucky with this loss but needs to make sure he does more than enough to finish his next fight.

    He looks a tough competitor at 185 pounds and I can see him causing people a few problems.

    Rating: 7.5/10 - One of the fights of the night and a great fight for all fans to watch. It has some high paced action, knockdowns and possible finishes. A great advert from MMA.

    Main Event: Vitor Belfort defeats Michael Bisping via TKO

    The main event stayed in the Middleweight division as Vitor Belfort stopped Michael Bisping's dreams of getting a title shot.

    Round 1 - The first round started with both fighters circling around each other, waiting for the right moment to open up. Belfort threw a front, which Bisping responded to by throwing an inside leg kick.
    Bisping looked to get his jab going and landed as Belfort faked a leaping kick.

    Midway through Belfort started to try and get inside to land his, devastating, left hand. When this wasn't happening for him he landed a couple of nice left kicks to the body, which Bisping responded to with nice counters.

    Bisping was looking unusually nervous but not troubled as the close ticked down, until Belfort landed a high kick which stunned Bisping and he followed in with punches. Bisping though responded by clinching up and the round ended.

    Moment of the fight

    Round 2 - Belfort came out in the second looking the more confident and it paid off. With Bisping's hands near his chest, Belfort threw a left high kick which landed flush near Bisping's right eye. Bisping crumpled to the floor and Belfort smelt blood. He pounced on his opponent, who covered up, and landed several punches before the referee stopped the fight.

    The TKO victory came at 1:27 of the second round.

    What it means for each fighter

    Belfort,(22-10 MMA, 11-6 UFC), returns to winning ways after his loss to Jon Jones last September.

    It is a great victory for Vitor Belfort who strangely called for a re-match with Jon Jones after this win. He called for the UFC to get rid of "That Clown" Chael Sonnen and have him fight Jones.

    Quite a strange request from Belfort and kind of took the shine off his performance.

    It's not like it couldn't happen. Sonnen himself talked himself into a Light heavyweight title shot but he has more chance of fighting Sonnen, should Sonnen lose to Jones in April.

    For Bisping,(23-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC), he has his one fight win streak snapped and has a title shot taken away from him at the last minute.

    In January 2012 he lost to Chael Sonnen in a middleweight title eliminator and now finds himself in the same position.

    But Bisping wont be going anywhere soon. After the match he spoke to Jon Anik:

    "Congratulations to Vitor," Bisping said. "I had an amazing training camp. I felt fantastic. It was a beautiful kick. He caught me, and he was a better man than me tonight. You win some, you lose some. I am not going away."

    As a proud Englishman I do feel for Bisping but believe he will be back. He needs to overcome the pressure that comes with a massive fight and I do hope he gets a shot at the title one day. He definitely deserves it.

    Rating: 8/10 - For fans of good finishes this a fight too watch. Belfort took advantage of a nervous Bisping and got the TKO finish.

    Event Bonuses

    $50K was awarded to:

    Fight of the night: CB Dollaway and Daniel Sarafian
    Knockout of the night: Vitor Belfort
    Submission of the night: Ildemar Alcantara

    SplitDecision Bonus Picks: I got 0-3 right in my predictions.

    SplitDecision Predictions:

    Overall I went 2-2 on the main card, taking my overall nightly record to 5-5(1).

    At the moment it looks as if I wont be making a big case for a title shot.

    Fighter of the weekend: Khabib Nurmagomedov

  • UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs Bisping: Prelims Review

    The UFC made it's return to Brazil this weekend, for it's first card of 2013.

    Headlining the night was a Middleweight bout between Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort.

    Before the main event there was nine preliminary matches which featured three finishes, a controversial no contest and three fights which went the distant.

    Here is SplitDecision's review of the prelim's, where we look at the key moments and what it means for each fighter.

    Francisco Trinaldo defeats C.J. Keith via submission

    The first bout of the evening was in the Lightweight division as Francisco Trinaldo submitted C.J. Keith in the second round.

    This fight was a one sided affair with Trinaldo looking the stronger fighter. He pushed the fight and managed to keep getting it to the ground where he worked for submissions. Keith survived the first round but he couldn't find a way back into the fight.

    Moment of the fight

    Trinaldo got double underhooks and got a takedown in Round 2, via a suplex. Trinaldo worked hard on the ground looking for a finish and locked up a nice arm-triangle to stop the fight at 1:50 of round number two.

    What it means for each fighter

    Trinaldo, (12-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC), bounces back from his loss to Gleison Tibau at UFC 153 and gets his first win at Lightweight.
    It was a convincing win for the Brazilian and he can look upwards in the division. He will be hoping for a higher ranked opponent and the chance to push on as 2013 gets going.

    Things aren't looking good for Keith,(8-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC). He has dropped his second straight fight in a row and he could soon be shown the exit if he can't get a win soon.

    Rating7/10 - Everyone likes to see good finishes and this fight throws up a great submission.

    Ildemar Alcantara defeats Wagner Prado via submission

    It was to the light-heavyweight division next as Ildemar Alcantara submitted Wagner Prado via kneebar submission.

    The first round of the fight was Prado coming out and showing some good striking. He threw and landed some big right hooks and straight lefts. Even though his strikes where finding a home, Prado wasn't finishing off his opponent. The momentum changed, a little, before the end of the round as Alcantara caught his opponents knee and scored a takedown.

    Moment of the fight

    The second round started with Alcantara getting a takedown, but losing top position to Prado. Prado looked to land a stream of punches but Alcantara kept working from the bottom and secured his opponents leg, slapping on a kneebar and getting the win at 2:39 of the second round.

    What it means for each fighter

    Alcantara,(18-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC), comes into the UFC with a win and continues his momentum. He is now undefeated in eight fights, seven of which have come by stoppage. The future is bright for the young Brazilian and he will be hoping to get another fight as soon as possible to keep his momentum going.

    But the future isn't looking bright for Wagner Prado,(8-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC). He has now lost he first two matches in the UFC and is edging ever closer to the exit.

    Rating8/10 - A good fight for all fans of MMA. Good striking from Prado but an even better performance from Alcantara.

    Yuri Alcantara vs Pedro Nobre - No Contest

    It was the turn of the bantamweights next as Yuri Alcantara and Pedro Nobre finished in a no-contest.

    An accidental low blow, from Nobre, halted things early on but when the fight got going it was Alcantara who got the fight to the ground and went to work on Nobre's arm. It looked as if he had a kimura locked on and the fight would be ended. Nobre survived it but Alcantara got back mount and went to work with punches.

    Moment of the fight

    Alcantara was raining down punches, but his opponent was covering up. Referee Dan Miragliotta warned him to watch for strikes to the back of the head. Three-four punches later and Miragliotta was calling for a time out in the fight.

    Nobre was asked if he could continue and the fight was stopped at 2:11 of the first round, being ruled a no-contest.

    After watching the replay's my view is that he was hitting the back of the head. One elbow clearly landed and one or two punches did aswell. Good stoppage from the referee but the fight should have continued, with Alcantara losing a point.

    What it means for each fighter

    Alcantara,(27-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC), misses out on the chance to get back in the win column after losing out to Hacran Dias in June.

    Nobre,(14-1-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), has his UFC debut cut short. Coming into the bout he was riding a two fight win streak.

    Nothing really changes for both fighters and I can see a rematch happening soon.

    Rating 4/10 - If you want to see what all the fuss is about watch this fight. But it ultimately ends in disappointment.

    Edson Barboza defeats Lucas Martins via submission

    It was the turn of the lightweights next as Edson Barboza got back into the win column with a submission, by punches, victory over Lucas Martins.

    Barboza started the round landing nice kicks and counter punches. Martins was also looking steady on his feet and waiting for his moment to pounce. When he did it didn't end well.

    Moment of the fight

    Barboza countered his opponents left hook with a quick, straight jab and BOOM Martins went down. Barboza followed in landing shot after shot on the ground and forcing his opponent to tap out at 2:38 of the opening round.

    What it means for each fighter

    Barboza,(11-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC), bounces back from a first career loss with a dominating performance here. He is one of the brightest prospects in the UFC and he will be hoping to build on this next time. Maybe a rematch with Jamie Varner is in order?

    Barboza also claimed a 2012 MMA Award for his Spinning Heel Kick knockout of Terry Etim.

    Martins,(12-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), loses his UFC debut and first fight of his promising career.

    He took this fight on short notice and had occasional glimpses of what he can do. He will be hoping to get another shot in the octagon soon, so he can show the UFC what he can really do.

    Rating 8/10 - Dominant performance and great finish from Barboza.

    Nik Lentz defeats Diego Nunes via unanimous decision

    It was the featherweights next as Nik Lentz put in a great performance to dominant and defeat Diego Nunes.

    Coming into this fight it was Nunes who was the big favorite but after fifteen minutes in Brazil, it was Lentz who had his hand raised.

    Round 1 - Lentz was the sharper fighter and looked at ease from the first bell. He took his opponent down at will and was active on the feet and on the canvas for five minutes. Key moments of the round where Lentz landing, dominant, ground and pound and securing Nunes back, locking up a body triangle but not being able to finish.

    Round 2 - Nunes came out for the second looking like a fighter already defeated. It seemed his heart wasn't there. He tried to strike with Lentz but looked second best. Lentz using his superior wrestling in taking his opponent to the floor. Over 80% of the round was Lentz in top position and working hard to keep the position and score points at will.

    Round 3 - Everybody knew Nunes needed a finish in the final frame but it was never going to happen. But he didn't start the round brightly. Both fighters slugging it out and Nunes showing glimpse's that he might get the finish. But Lentz was on the ball and he took his opponent down, maintained top position and took the wind from the Brazilian's sails.

    Lentz taking the decision: 30-27, 30-27, 30-26 on all three judges scorecards.

    Moment of the fight

    Seeing Diego Nunes come out for the second round with a defeated look on his face. This look showed he was over-whelmed by his opponent and knew he was in for a long fight.

    What it means for each fighter

    Lentz,(23-5-2 MMA, 7-2-1 UFC), moves to 2-0 since dropping down to featherweight.

    This is a great win for Lentz and he showed alot of people the tools he has. Could 2013 be his time to run through the featherweight division?

    He will be looking at getting a higher ranked opponent next time out and another win could start putting him into people's minds for a shot at the champion.

    For Diego Nunes,(18-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC), he continues his sea-saw form in the UFC with a disappointing performance here.

    Every win brings a loss and this was the case for this fight. He needs to get a few runs together or find his time in the UFC cut short.

    Rating 6/10 - If you want to see a total one-sided performance check this fight out. Nik Lentz came to Brazil and showed how dominant he can be. It wasn't all boring and one that fans should watch if they have fifteen minutes spare.

    Ronny Markes defeats Andrew Craig via unanimous decision

    We moved up to the middleweight division for the next clash as Ronny Markes held off a late rally by Andrew Craig to grab the win.

    It wasn't the most entertaining fight ever to happen in the octagon but Markes controlled the first two rounds without doing too much. The first two rounds where Markes smothering his opponent, taking him down frequently and doing enough to take each round. In round one he threatened with a rear-naked choke and in round two with a kimura.

    Moment of the fight

    Round three was all about Andrew Craig. He knew he was down two rounds and needed a finish. He dropped his opponent with a short right hand and followed up with a barrage of elbows and punches from the top.
    However he couldn't finish and tried a hail Mary knee when he was back on the feet but it was to no avail.

    This is the best moment and round of the fight and it showed how tough Markes is too defend the on-slaught but also top marks to Craig for never giving in.

    Markes took the decision: 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 on all three judges scorecards.

    What it means for each fighter

    Markes,(14-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), holds out for his three straight UFC win and extends his winning streak to seven.

    All three of his wins in the UFC have come by decision but a win is a win nonetheless. He will hope to keep progressing and move forward in the middleweight division.

    If he is to make people sit up and take notice of him a stoppage in his next fight will do the trick.

    Craig,(8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC), loses for the first time in his professional career.

    He can take many positives from this fight and if he keeps the same attitude and intensity from the third round, he could shock a few people this year.

    Rating5/10 - For the first two rounds it was a lackluster affair but the third round is worth a watch.

    Godofredo "Pepey" Castro defeats Milton Vieira via split decision

    Back down to featherweight we went as Pepey took a controversial split decision over Milton Vieira.

    Round 1 - The first round was dominated by Vieira who looked the stronger fighter. Pepey started strong and swung with a wild combination and landed a right who looked to drop Vieira, who recovered and got a double-leg takedown. He worked from top position, forcing Pepey to look for submission attempts, none which pulled off.
    They got back to their feet near the end of the round where Pepey looked to throw more wild punches but was taken back to the ground by Vieira who ended the round on top.

    1-0 Vieira

    Round 2 - The round started just like the first ended, with Pepey throwing wild strikes and Vieira got the takedown. On the ground he wouldn't have it all his own way though. Pepey stayed active off his back and managed to reverse his opponent into full mount. He got Vieira's back and started to look for a rear-naked choke and in between punish Vieira with punches, to take the round.

    One round each.

    Round 3 - The third started with both fighters looking a little cautious and Pepey gesturing for Vieira to throw and he did landing a nice knee and a couple of punches. The fight hit the canvas and Vieira went for a kimura, but was unsuccessful. The ref stood the fighters up, after a minute of non-action, and it was Vieira who walked through a Pepey combination to take it too the floor. On the floor he threw some wild shots to close out the round.

    It seemed as if Vieira had done enough to win the fight but the judges saw it differently. Two judges giving it 29-28 to Pepey and one 29-28 to Vieira.

    Moment of the fight

    As always the judges seem to come into the action. It was obvious to all in attendance that Milton Vieira had done enough to win the fight. He took the first and third rounds but the judges wanted to be the center of attention.

    The decision was met by boo's from the crowd in attendance.

    What it means for each fighter

    Pepey,(9-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), gets his first UFC win after losing in the 'TUF' Brazil: featherweight tournament finale.

    He can now consider himself fully fledged in the UFC and use this win as a platform to push forward.

    Vieira,(13-8-2 MMA, 0-1-1 UFC), is still looking for his first win in the UFC after a draw in his UFC debut at UFC 147.

    He is seriously unlucky in this fight but should always remember the big saying in the UFC: "Never leave it in the hands of the judges."

    He needs to get a win soon or find himself being shown the exit door.

    Rating 6/10 - A back and forth fight to end the prelims, but the judges made a bad call in this fight. The fight is a good one to watch to make up your own mind on who won.

    SplitDecision Predictions

    This week I went 3-3(1) with my predictions for the preliminary fights.

    Just like Diego Nunes I live a sea-saw battle in the prediction leagues.

  • UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs Bisping: Main Card Preview

    This weekend see's British fans, again, close to another fighter getting a title shot.

    That man? Michael Bisping. If he defeats Vitor Belfort this weekend, Uncle Dana has said he will get a crack at champion Anderson Silva.

    While many fans are looking ahead and dreaming of only the second British fighter in a tile shot, Bisping has to focus on his opponent, the deadly, Vitor Belfort.

    This fight serves as the main event of the evening and is a five round clash.

    Also on the card is a heavyweight clash as hard-hitting Gabriel Gonzaga and Ben Rothwell square off.

    The event also features the UFC debut of talented, Brazilian, Daniel Sarafian as he takes on CB Dollaway.

    The other fight on the card features experienced, Brazilian, Thiago Tavares and undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov.

    So lets take a closer look at these four match up's which will be broadcast live on FX in America.

    Thiago Tavares vs Khabib Nurmagomedov

    The night begins in the lightweight division as Thiago Tavares and Khabib Nurmagomedov square off.

    Thiago Tavares, (17-4-1 MMA, 7-4-1 UFC), is a man with experience in the UFC and comes into this fight on the back of a two fight win streak.

    Last time out he defeated Sam Stout, via unanimous decision, at UFC 142 just over a year ago.

    The experienced UFC man will be looking to continue his good form at Lightweight but faces the toughest test of his career against a man with alot of momentum.

    Khabib Nurmagomedov, (18-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC), comes into this fight undefeated with alot of confidence behind him.

    Since joining the UFC in 2012 he has gone 2-0 and looked strong in doing so.

    Last time he defeated Gleison Tibau, via unanimous decision, at UFC 148 last July.

    Nurmagomedov will now be looking to beat another Brazilian and make 2013 his year to push for a shot at the title.

    Both fighters are strong in all areas, but especially on the ground. Tavares is a BJJ black belt and has 11 victories via submission. Nurmagomedov is no slouch and has seven wins by submission.

    Neither fighter has been submitted, which shows the strength on the ground of both fighters.

    On the feet Nurmagomedov has more victories by KO which stands at six, where as Tavares has only knocked out two opponents.

    Both guys have what it takes to go the distance with Tavares winning four by decision and his opponent five.

    The fights which Tavares has lost have come by way of knockout, two, and decision twice.

    This will be the toughest test of both fighters careers to date. Khabib has power in his hands and could definitely test the chin of Tavares. If it goes to the ground, Tavares looks the stronger grappler and could hand his opponent the first loss of his career.

    SplitDecision Picks: Khabib Nurmagomedov

    Gabriel Gonzaga vs Ben Rothwell

    The hard-hitting heavyweights are up next as, Brazilian, Garbiel Gonzaga welcomes Ben Rothwell to Brazil.

    Gonzaga, (13-6 MMA, 8-5 UFC), returned to the UFC last time out with a win and will be looking to build on this win.

    He defeated Ednaldo Oliveira, via first round submission, at UFC 142 a year ago.

    He was released in 2010 after two consecutive defeats and after a win away from the UFC he came back with a bang.

    Gonzaga has fought the best at heavyweight including Cain Velsaquez, Junior Dos Stantos and Shane Carwin. He has a notable, highlight reel, Knockout of Mirko Cro-Cop.

    His opponent Ben Rothwell will provide a tough test this weekend.

    Rothwell, (32-8 MMA, 2-2 UFC), has found his time in the UFC a sea-saw battle. Each time he wins, he follows it up with a loss.

    Last time out he defeated Brendan Schaub, via first round Knockout, at UFC 145 last April. This also gained him the knockout of the night.

    Rothwell has also fought some top heavyweights in his career including Tim Sylvia, Cain Velsaquez, Mark Hunt and Cain Velsaquez.

    He needs to break his sea-saw curse if he is too progress in the heavyweight division this year.

    Both fighters are well skilled standing and on the ground. Gonzaga has five wins by knockout and eight by submission. Where as Rothwell has 18 by knockout and 11 by submission.

    Gonzaga has only been to decision once in his career and he lost. He is a fighter who doesn't like going to the judges and he has been knocked out five times. He has never been submitted.

    Rothwell has been to decision six times winning three and losing three. He has been knocked out four times and submitted once.

    This is an exciting fight for all fans of MMA and I can see this being a war no matter where the fight goes. If the fight stays standing I can see Rothwell gaining another Knockout victory.

    SplitDecision Picks: Ben Rothwell

    Daniel Sarafian vs CB Dollaway

    We move to the middleweight division for the next bout as Daniel Sarafian gets his first crack at the UFC against, 'TUF' Alumni, CB Dollaway.

    Sarafian, (7-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), finally gets his chance to fight in the UFC after an injury forced him to withdraw from competing in the Ultimate Fighter Brazil: Middleweight final.

    His last professional fight was in July 2011 when defeated Ricardo Silva, via first round submission, at Pretorian 1.

    This extended his winning run to four fights and he will be hoping to get his UFC career off to a happy start.

    CB Dollaway, (12-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC), was also a finalist on the Ultimate Fighter when he lost the season seven finale to Amir Sadollah in 2008.

    He has had an up and down career in the UFC and is looking to build on a one fight win streak this weekend.

    Last time out he defeated Jason Miller, via unanimous decision, at UFC 146 last May.

    Both fighters are strong submission fighters. Sarafian has six wins by submission and Dollaway has three.

    Sarafian has never been submitted in his career while his opponent has been submitted twice.

    But on the feet Dollaway is the stronger fighter as he has five victories by way of knockout. Where as Sarafian has never knocked anyone out in his career.

    Dollaway has been knocked out twice and Sarafian has been knocked out once.

    If the fight is to go the distance it could favor Dollaway who has never lost by decision and won four. Sarafian has won and lost once by decision.

    It is a tough first fight for Sarafian but he will have the home field advantage, which will be good comfort for him. I can see the fight being a battle and a possible contender for fight of the night. Both are good on the ground but it's Dollaway who has the edge standing up.

    And as we know all fights begin standing.

    SplitDecision Picks: CB Dollaway

    Main Event: Vitor Belfort vs Michael Bisping

    The main event of the evening is in the middleweight division as Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping have the maximum of 25 minutes to go to war.

    Vitor Belfort, (21-10 MMA, 10-6 UFC), drops back to Middleweight for this fight and looks to get back to winning ways.

    Last time out he stepped up to Light Heavyweight to fight, at short notice, Jon Jones for the UFC Championship. He lost via submission in the fourth round at UFC 152, last September.

    This showed alot of courage to step and fight the dominant Jones at the last minute.

    He has had a great career in MMA with wins over legends Randy Couture, Wanderlei Silva, and Rich Franklin.

    He has also stepped into the octagon with the likes of Anderson Silva, Alistair Overeem and Tito Ortiz.

    If he wants to make a go for the Middleweight title again, he will have to put on a good show over his opponent this evening.

    Michael Bisping, (23-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC), is looking for a win at all costs this weekend as he aims for a Middleweight title shot.

    A win over Belfort would give him a shot at the Middleweight crown and it is something Bisping has been working years towards since he won the Ultimate Fighter season 3 in 2006.

    Last time out he put on a dominant display to defeat Brian Stann, via unanimous decision, at UFC 152 last September.

    The same card his opponent was fighting for the Light Heavyweight Crown.

    Bisping is 5-1 in his last six and on a one fight win streak. His last loss came to Chael Sonnen, in a controversial decision, last January, in a Middleweight title eliminator.

    The build up to the fight has been heated with Belfort calling Bisping a 'Hooligan'.

    They both are good on their feet and have 14 knockout finishes each in their career.

    If the fight goes to the ground Bisping has four submission victories and Belfort has three.
    But if the fight is going to go the distance Belfort has won four by decision and Bisping has five.

    Bisping has never been submitted in his career, being knocked out once and losing by decision three times.

    For Belfort he has three knockout, two submission and five decision losses.

    The story of this fight will be how far it is going to go and where the fight takes place. Belfort has dangerous hands and a BJJ black belt. So he is dangerous all over. But Bisping is a fast-paced fighter with good hands and a good ground game.

    Belfort's best chance will be rounds 1-2, possibly three, if he is going to knock Bisping out. His cardio isn't too strong and if it goes further than three rounds you would think Bisping will get the win.

    Both fighters have a wealth of experience and it is the perfect main event to start the UFC 2013 calender.

    SplitDecision Picks: Michael Bisping

    SplitDecision Bonus Picks:

    Fight of the Night: Michael Bisping vs Vitor Belfort

    Knockout of the Night: Ben Rothwell

    Submission of the Night: Diego Nunes

  • UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs Bisping: Prelims Preview

    The UFC starts the 2013 calendar year, in the beautiful country of Brazil.

    The Ibirapuera Arena, in Sao Paulo, plays host to UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs Bisping.

    With the UFC always looking to expand across the globe, this will be a chance for many Brazilians to put on a show in their own backyard.

    The preliminary card features seven bouts and air on facebook and Fuel TV.

    Francisco Trinaldo vs C.J. Keith

    The night begins with a Lightweight bout between 'TUF' Alumni Francisco Trinaldo and American C.J. Keith.

    This is the only fight to be streamed live on facebook.

    Trinaldo, (11-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC), comes into this fight on a one fight losing streak.

    He returned to Lightweight for his last fight as he lost to Gleison Tibau, via unanimous decision, at UFC 153 in October 2012.

    This snapped a five fight win streak, which included a win in his UFC debut.

    He was a contestant on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil and he was picked to fight as part of Team Wanderlei.

    He will be looking to get his UFC career, at lightweight, up and running this weekend.

    C.J. Keith, (8-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), comes into this fight on the back of the first loss of his professional career.

    In his debut at UFC on FX 4 - Maynard vs. Guida he lost to Ramsey Nijem via first round TKO.

    He will be looking to show this loss was first fight nerves and bounce back with a bang.

    Both fighters like the KO victory with Trinaldo knocking out five opponents and Keith three.

    But an interesting fact is that Trinaldo has never been knocked out in his career. So it may take something special for him to finish the fight.

    If the fight goes to the ground both fighters have a few submissions up their sleeves. Trinaldo has finished three by submission and Keith has two by sub.

    Trinaldo has one submission and one decision loss on his record, where as Keith has never been submitted or lost by decision. If it goes to decision he has always done enough to win.

    Both fighters have alot to prove in this fight. Trinaldo will be wanting to prove the move to Lightweight is justified and Keith will want to bounce back from the only defeat of his career. This fight will be a close, with both not wanting to lose.

    SplitDecision Picks: Francisco Trinaldo

    Wagner Prado vs Ildemar Alcantara

    We move to the Light Heavyweight division as Brazilians Wagner Prado and Ildemar Alcantara square off.

    Prado, (8-1(1)MMA, 0-1(1)UFC), looks to get his career back to winning ways this weekend after an unlucky start to UFC life.

    He came into the UFC un-defeated but found his debut last 88 seconds. An accidental eye-poke by Phil Davis at UFC on Fox: Shogun vs. Vera meant he couldn't continue and the fight ruled as a no-contest.

    The two re-matched at UFC 153 and this time the fight went deep into the second round but he lost by submission.

    He will be hoping to put on a show this weekend and prove that he belongs in the Light Heavyweight division.

    But in his way is the experienced Ildemar Alcantara, who is making his promotional debut.

    Alcantara, (17-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC), is a man in form as he is riding a seven fight win streak with six first round finishes included.

    Last time out he defeated Itamar Rosa, via TKO, at Jungle Fight 47 - Jungle Belt in December.

    He will be looking to start his UFC career in the same devastating style which has seen him get the call to join the MMA's top promotion.

    Both fighters love to knock their opponents out. Prado has seven by KO and Alcantara has 10.

    In the stand up it will also favor Prado as he has never been knocked out in his career where as Alcantara has been KO'd twice.

    If it goes to the ground it favors Alcantara as he has submitted five of his opponents and has never been submitted.

    Prado has never submitted an opponent and has lost his solitary fight by submission.

    Both guys can battle it out and go to decision if needed but Prado has only been the distance once in his career and Alcantara five times.

    This fight will have fireworks and I think if Alcantara wants to win his UFC debut he needs to take the fight to the ground. If they stay on their feet I think Prado will have the advantage. But as with all fights in MMA, you never know how it will actually go.

    SplitDecision Picks: Ildemar Alcantara

    Yuri Alcantara vs Pedro Nobre

    It's the turn of the bantamweight's next as Yuri Alcantara welcomes Pedro Nobre to the UFC.

    Alcantara, (27-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC), is making his bantamweight debut this weekend after all his fights in the UFC, so far, have been at featherweight.

    Last time out he lost to Hacran Dias, via unanimous decision, at UFC 147 last June.

    This loss snapped a 13 fight win streak and an impressive start to his featherweight run.

    He has never lost back to back fights in his career and will be hoping for his hand raised this weekend.

    Facing him is promotional newcomer Pedro Nobre.

    Nobre, (14-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), comes into the UFC on the back of a two fight win streak, which has seen him bounce back from the only loss of his career.

    Last time out he defeated Matheus Nicolau Pereira, via first round TKO, at Bitetti Combat 13 in December.

    He faces a tough assignment in his first UFC bout but if he can win this fight it will certainly send waves through the Bantamweight division.

    Both fighters are well rounded and strong where ever the fight goes. On the feet Alcantara has 11 knockout finishes and Nobre has nine.

    When it goes to the ground Alcantara has submitted 12 opponents and Nobre four.

    Both fighters have been knocked out once in their respective careers, but Nobre has never been submitted or lost by decision. Where as Alcantara has been submitted once and lost by decision twice.

    This is a great match-up and could prove to be one of the fights of the night. Both fighters are looking to get their careers going in the 135 pound division and have the tools to end the fight anywhere.

    They both have MMA experience but Alcantara has the edge due to fighting in the UFC a bit longer. He has experienced the energy and passion from the UFC's fans and will know how to prepare himself better.

    SplitDecision Picks: Yuri Alcantara

    Edson Barboza vs Lucas Martins

    It's back to the Lightweight division we go as, Brazilians, Edson Barboza and Lucas Martins take to the octagon.

    Barboza, (10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC), is looking to get to back to winning ways this weekend.

    Last time out he lost to Jamie Varner, via first round TKO, at UFC 146 in May 2012.

    This the first loss of Barboza's career and shocked the MMA world as not many people gave Varner a chance in that fight.

    Barboza looks to have a bright future in the game and will be looking to find any way to get his career back on track.

    It wont be easy though as he faces newcomer Lucas Martins who has his own point to prove.

    Martins, (12-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), comes into the UFC with that great feeling of momentum and not a great deal of fear.

    Last time out he defeated Oberdan Vieira Tenorio, via Knockout, at Jungle Fight 46 in December 2012.

    He only started fighting professionally in September 2011 and has definitely worked his way to the UFC.

    Both fighters careers are still relatively new but they both know how to knock someone out. Barboza has KO'd seven opponents and Martins has KO'd eight.

    This shows that if you let them get their hands or feet on you it more than likely will be lights out.

    If needed both guys can find a submission. Barboza has one submission to his name and Martins has three.

    If the fight is to go the distance but guys know what it takes to win. Barboza has two victories via decision and Martins one.

    It's always a nervous time making your debut in the UFC but this is a great opportunity for Lucas Martins to put the pressure on, rising star, Edson Barboza. If he can shock his opponent early it could be a great start to life in the UFC.

    But Barboza isn't one to hand you a win easily. He will be looking to show that the first loss of his career was just a bump in the road. He has the talent to bounce straight back and make 2013 his year.

    I'm going to shock alot of people here but ever dog has it's day and I think Lucas Martins shocks Brazil this weekend.

    SplitDecision Picks: Lucas Martins

    Diego Nunes vs Nik Lentz

    The featherweights square off next as, Brazilian, Diego Nunes squares off against, American, Nik Lentz.

    Diego Nunes, (18-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC), has had a sea-saw career in the UFC to date and will be looking to put back to back wins together for the first time in his UFC career.

    Last time out he defeated Bart Palaszewski, via unanimous decision, at UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot in a fight of the night performance last October.

    Since joining the UFC Nunes has followed up each win by losing and all his fights have gone to decision.

    If he is too push on in the Featherweight division he will need to be more consistent.

    Nik Lentz, (22-5-2(1)MMA, 6-2-1-(1)UFC), has found life difficult recently in the UFC, but since a drop down to Featherweight he has got back to winning ways.

    Last time out he defeated Eiji Mitsuoka, via first round TKO, at UFC 150 in August 2012.

    This stopped a two fight losing streak.

    Both fighters are well rounded and this fight is definitely a tough one to call.

    On the feet Nunes has five knockout wins and Lentz has seven. If it goes to the ground Lentz has nine submission wins and Nunes has six.

    But if the fight is to go the distance both fighters can out work opponents with Nunes winning seven by decision and Lentz six.

    On the ground and standing the advantage lies with Nunes as he has never been knocked out or submitted in his career. He has only lost three times by decision.

    Where as Lentz has been knocked out twice, submitted once and lost on points once.

    This will be an interesting fight to call and I can see both fighters putting on a good fight which will be settled by decision.

    SplitDecision Picks: Diego Nunes

    Ronny Markes vs Andrew Craig

    It's the turn of the middleweights next as Brazilian Ronny Markes takes on, undefeated American, Andrew Craig.

    Markes, (13-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), has started his UFC career well and is riding a six fight win streak.

    Last time out he defeated Aaron Simpson, via split decision, at UFC on Fuel TV: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger in February 2012.

    This was his middleweight debut and the drop to 185 pounds definitely paid off.

    Since joining the UFC he has gone 2-0 and has shown he is a well rounded fighter.

    If he is to extend his recent run of form he will have to be at his best against Andrew Craig.

    Craig, (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC), is most definitely a man on top of his game as he comes into this fight unbeaten in his short MMA career to date.

    Last time out he defeated Brazilian Rafael Natal, via Head Kick Knockout, at UFC on Fuel TV: Munoz vs. Weidman last July.

    This extended his UFC unbeaten run to two and opened a few people's eyes in the process.

    Both fighters are skilled in all departments and will be perfectly set where-ever the fight goes.

    Markes has won five by knockout and four each by submission and decision. Where as Craig has three by knockout, one by submission and four by decision.

    The only loss of Markes career came via submission. So neither fighter has been knocked out yet in their careers.

    Markes is fighting on home soil and this could suit him. Most of his career he has fought in Brazil and it will be good for him to have the home crowd behind him.

    Craig has only fought outside of America once and that was in his UFC debut against Kyle Noke, when they fought in Sydney, Australia in March 2012.

    SplitDecision Picks: Ronny Markes

    Godofredo Castro vs Milton Vieria

    The prelim's come too a close with a featherweight match up between, 'TUF' Brazil runner up, Godofredo Castro and Milton Vieria.

    Castro, (8-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), will be looking to start 2013 with a bang and push on upwards in the UFC.

    Last time out he lost to Rony Mariano Bezerra, via unanimous decision, in the Ultimate Fighter Brazil Featherweight final at UFC 147 last June.

    This was the first loss of his career but he definitely has a bright future in Mixed Martial Arts.

    A win over fellow Brazilian Milton Vieria can put to bed the finale defeat and get him back to winning ways.

    Milton Vieria, (13-7-2 MMA, 0-0-1 UFC), is also looking to get his first win in the UFC.

    He made his UFC debut, last time out, against Felipe Arantes at UFC 147 where the fight was called a draw(split).

    Though not a defeat it wasn't the result he would have been looking for on his debut. But the draw does mean that he is undefeated in four fights.

    This fight is going to be an interesting one. Both fighters are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black belts who favor the submission game. Vieria has nine wins by submission and Castro has six.

    On the feet is where Castro will have the advantage as he has two career wins by knockout. Where as Vieria has never knocked out an opponent.

    Castro has never won by decision and his only loss came this way. Vieira has four wins by decision and seven losses this way.

    Neither fighter has been knocked out or submitted in their careers.

    I think this fight will play out on the ground and be a like a techincal chess match. Both fighters will be working hard to defend and look for submission attempts.

    SplitDecision Picks: Milton Vieria

  • UFC 155: JDS vs Velsaquez 2 - Main Card Review

    The main card cracker took a while to bang, but when it did it was worth the wait.

    Junior Dos Santos put his heavyweight title on the line against Cain Velsaquez. The man he had made quick work out last November.

    It wasn't the same this time round as both fighters went to war for 25, exciting, minutes.

    The co-main event featured a lightweight battle between submission experts Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller. This battle was one of the bloodiest in UFC history and both fighters laid it all on the line for 15, grueling, minutes.

    But before we got to those fights, it was the turn of the Middleweights:

    Chris Leben made his return to the UFC, a year after failing a drug test, against, UFC newcomer, Derek Brunson.

    Yushin Okami looked to continue his climb up the middleweight ladder as he fought, in-form, Alan Belcher.

    And Tim Boetsch looked to improve his terrific year as he took on rising star Costa Philippou.

    So sit back and enjoy Split Decision's review of the last UFC event of the year.

    Derek Brunson defeated Chris Leben via unanimous decision

    The first fight of the evening saw Chris Leben make his return to the UFC against newcomer Derek Brunson.

    The fight began with Brunson throwing a few fast kicks and grabbing a bodylock, to take the fight to the ground. When on the floor, Leben looked for a submission and attempted to scramble back to his feet but Brunson kept him down.

    A minute past of Brunson laying on top and then he briefly let his opponent up, before taking it straight back down. He threatened with an arm triangle and then landed some elbows from top position. Leben managed to get to his feet, but with less than a minute remaining in the round, he had little time to respond. And the round ended.

    The second round opened with Leben landing a punch on Brunson's chin and Brunson responding by shooting for a takedown. At first Leben resisted, but he couldn't resist for long, as Brunson redoubled his efforts and took his back to the ground.

    This time, Leben, found the cage sooner and was back to his feet. It seemed the right time for Leben to do what he does best, and unleash on his opponent. But Brunson was the one who looked stronger on the feet, as Leben was clearly looking jaded. The time away from the cage, clearly taking its toll on him.

    As the clock ticked down in the round, Brunson also looked tired. He had spent the second half of the round circling and took a knee as it ended.

    The third round started with two tired fighters looking to find that last bit of gas to take them over the finish line. Leben was pushing forward a bit more, but after resisting one attempt was taken down to the ground. This giving Brunson some rest but also plenty of time to work, which he didn't do. Leben was able to get back to his feet and try to land some big punches. Brunson covered up and fired back with some nice one-two combinations.

    Leben kept looking to end the fight, but it was Brunson and his wrestling that halted this late onslaught.

    During the round, Brunson, kept looking towards the clock and as the bell sounded for the end of the match he let out a scream.

    Not the most impressive of debuts from Brunson or return to action from Leben. It was scored 29-28 on all three scorecards to Brunson.

    Dana White was clearly not happy after the fight and regretted putting the fight on the main card, as he said at the post-fight press conference:

    "I love Chris Leben, personally and professionally. But tonight, I think I made a mistake putting him on the pay-per-view. I should have had him on the undercard. He's been off with personal problems for a while. He's had a lot of time off, and he looked slow tonight. I wasn't crazy about that fight. That wasn't my favorite fight of the night, that's for damn sure.

    The other kid was looking at the clock like he was a 14-year-old waiting for school to get out the entire fight looking at the clock," White said. "You're in the UFC your first time, and I wasn't very impressed."

    Brunson,(10-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC), gets back to winning ways after going 0-2 in early 2012.

    He didn't look the greatest of fighters in his debut, but his wrestling definitely helped him. To him a win is a win though and he can now enjoy his new year.

    Leben, (22-9 MMA, 12-8 UFC), returns from suspension looking jaded and will look to bounce back stronger in 2013.

    Everyone knows Leben is not a quitter and with more fights in the new year, he can definitely return to winning ways.

    SplitDecision Rating: 4/10

    An uneventful return to action for Chris Leben, with Brunson looking more like a high school wrestler, than fighter.

    Yushin Okami defeats Alan Belcher via unanimous decision

    Surely it could get better in our next fight as, former middleweight title contender, Yushin Okami took on, in-form, Alan Belcher.

    The fight began and was soon against the cage, were both fighters battled for position. It was Belcher, though, who was able to land the first significant moment of the match. He scored a trip takedown and went to work on a guillotine choke. The choke couldn't find it's hope and he looked to work from his guard.

    But this is where Okami likes to be. He worked his way to side control and smothered Belcher with his shoulders. He did little work from the top position and looked for a choke, which wasn't there, as the round came to a close.

    The second began with Okami pushing forward and looking to take the fight back to the ground. He succeeded but found himself on the bottom. With Belcher on top, you'd expect him to work. Instead he pulled guard and looked for another guillotine choke. The attempt failed and Okami was back on top, where he continued his smothering of his opponent.

    Okami looked to be cruising in the round and gained good position n side control. But the referee saw a lack of action and gave Belcher a chance by standing the fighters up. But he couldn't capitalize and Okami got the fight back to the ground and got himself back to top position. The fight continued with not much work from Okami and Belcher trying to escape. With 30 seconds left in the round, the ref stood them up again. Nothing much happened as round two came to a close.

    Belcher needed to finish Okami and started the third by letting his hands go. A right hand found its home and dropped Okami. Okami was near the cage as he stood up and as Belcher came in, Okami was able to land a trip takedown, but ended up on the bottom.

    Belcher took Okami's back, but Okami stood up and out of the choke, with Belcher holding on. As he spun out of it, Belcher latched on to a standing guillotine. He couldn't hold it and this got Okami out of trouble, who got the floor to the ground and back to top position. From here he worked his way to full mount and looked to land some ground and pound on Belcher. Belcher tried to escape but it was Okami who found his way back to mount and rode of the round on top.

    The judges giving their verdict: 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 in favour of Okami.

    How wrong I was that things would pick up. It was typical Yushin Okami, just looking to hold his opponent down and not work too hard to finish the fight.

    He has the ability to finish fights and It must have been frustrating for Belcher to be held down.

    Okami,(28-7 MMA, 12-4 UFC), extends his winning run to two fights and ends the year on a high.

    The only downfall for Okami is that he has only recently had a title shot and if he wants a rematch he needs to come out in 2013 with all guns blazing.

    Belcher,(18-7 MMA, 9-5 UFC), has his four fight win streak snapped and any thoughts of a higher tier opponent banished.

    SplitDecision rating: 3/10

    Nothing to get excited about with this fight.

    Costa Philippou defeats Tim Boetsch via TKO

    The last, of three, middleweight fights came to a close as Tim Boetsch looked to extend his winning run against, in-form, Costa Philippou.

    The first round began with Boetsch quickly clinching up his opponent and securing a takedown. He wasn't able to capitalize though as Philippou got straight back to his feet and resisted another attempt.

    In the center of the cage both fighters where looking to do damage. A cracking uppercut from Philippou hit Boetsch hard but he continued forward, eating another punch, and executed a takedown. On the ground he was unable to do anything and the referee stood them back up.

    Boetsch was looking stronger on the feet and landed a front kick, which dropped his opponent. The bell halting Boetsch from swarming in.

    Between rounds, Boetsch looked in some discomfort and his trainer, Matt Hume, could be heard advising him to fight through the pain.

    The second began with Boetsch closing the distance and looking to work knees on the fence. These attempts missed and it allowed Philippou to score nice punches, which cut Boetsch on the forehead.

    Boetsch then looked to take the fight to the mat, but took a poke to the eye. After a brief rest

    Attempting to take the fight to the mat, Boetsch took a poke to the eye. Upon the restart, Phillippou came out swinging, as Boetsch again looked for a takedown. He was unsuccessful and ended up pulling guard and took some blows from half guard.

    Boetsch was dealing with an injury which was slowing draining him of the ability to perform. Between rounds his coach asked him if he wanted to quit and a forceful "NO" was given.

    Boetsch showed his heart and came out for the third.

    Philippou sensed something was wrong with Boetsch and pushed forward to start the round. Boetsch looked for another takedown which was unsuccessful and again pulled guard. Philippou wasn't having any of it and stayed on his feet.

    On his feet, Boetsch tried for two more takedown but failed with both. Philippou opened up and landed a flurry of hammerfists, which had Boetsch covering up, and caused the referee to stop the fight at 2:11 of the third.

    Philippou, (12-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC), extends his winning run to five after losing his UFC debut back in 2011.
    He is definitely a man in form and will be hoping to push himself ever closer to the title picture in 2013.

    Boetsch, (16-5 MMA, 7-4 UFC), has his four fight win streak halted and any momentum sapped.

    A win in this fight would have confirmed his position near the top of the division but now finds himself out of the picture.

    One thing is for sure, he showed some heart to carry on while injured.

    Split Decision Rating: 6/10

    Philippou showed he is a man in form and someone who definitely snaps up an opportunity when it comes.

    Jim Miller defeats Joe Lauzon via unanimous decision

    It was the turn of the lightweights next as Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon served up a "blood filled", post Christmas cracker.

    The fight began with Miller coming out fast and looking to strike early. He landed a solid inside leg kick and pushed forward with a combination. Another inside leg kick put Lauzon to his knees. But as he was getting up, Miller swarmed him with a lots of punches which had covering up.

    Miller wasn't going to slow down as the round progressed and continued to push forward, landing more punches and only eating a few in return. He then changed tactics and landed elbow after elbow, from standing position, which bloodied up Lauzon's forehead. Miller then looked for a standing arm triangle. It was unsuccessful and as they broke apart, the referee stopped the bout so that a doctor could look at Lauzon's cut. Lauzon was cleaned up, given the OK and the fight continued.

    Lauzon pushed forward and landed a nice knee to the body of his opponent. But this didn't cause Miller any problems as he continued his big combinations of punches and elbows to end the round. Lauzon went back to his corner, with blood gushing from his forehead, but cheers from the ground who where loving this fight.

    As the second got going, Lauzon fell back into guard looking to execute one of his many submissions. Miller wasn't falling for it and worked on top form half-guard, keeping Lauzon at bay. As blood was spilled all over the canvas, Miller looked for a D'Arce choke. Lauzon quickly got out of it and reversed positions to find himself on top, with Miller's back against the cage.

    Miller looked for a triangle, for it was Lauzon who ended the round the stronger. He latched on to one of Miller's legs, grabbing a leg lock. Miller looked in trouble but survived to the end of the round.

    A thrilling match which definitely warranted a third round.

    The third got going with an inside leg kick from Miller which tripped Lauzon. But Lauzon worked his way back to Miller, who was slowing. The effects of the fast paced match catching up with him. Miller wasn't going to quit now and threw another, nasty, inside leg kick which dropped Lauzon, who fell back into guard. Not wanting to go back to ground, he got Lauzon to be stood up.

    On the feet, Lauzon landed a nice knee to the body which backed Miller up, who answered with a left hand. It was a back and forth round. But with 30 seconds left to go, Lauzon beautifully dropped to the canvas and went for a heel hook. It looked a first like it was in tight and Lauzon was heading for a stunning victory. But Miller was able to work his way out, before Lauzon latched onto a guillotine choke with 10 seconds remaining. With a little more time he may have secured it, but the horn was sounded to end the fight.

    Both fighters hugged each other and can be happy with a great performance. Miller took the decision 29-28 on all three judge's scorecards.

    Miller, (22-4 MMA, 11-3 UFC), gets back to winning ways, after losing to Nate Diaz back in May, at UFC on FOX 3.

    This win also takes him to 2-1 for the year and things look bright for him in the Lightweight division.

    Lauzon, (22-8 MMA, 9-5 UFC), snaps a one fight win streak with defeat today and goes to decision for only the second time in his career.

    This loss takes him to 1-2 for 2012, but is one fighter who definitely wont drop too far down the rankings. And big things can be expected from him in the new year.

    SplitDecision Rating: 10/10

    This is one of the fights of 2012 and a must see for all MMA fans. The way Joe Lauzon battled on with a nasty cut, to nearly submit Jim Miller, is great viewing.

    Jim Miller was in fantastic form and showed how tough he is. He always brings a fast, relentless, pace and it showed here tonight.

    Cain Velsaquez dethrones Junior Dos Santos via unanimous decision

    With little time to recover from the last fight, it was time for the main event of the evening. Where Champion Junior Dos Santos put his belt on the line against Cain Velsaquez.

    The two fighters had fought just over a year ago when Velsaquez, in his first title defense, put his belt on the line against top challenger Junior Dos Santos. The fight last 64 seconds, with Junior winning by KO.

    But today it was a different story, with a different outcome, and a longer battle.

    The first began with Velasquez getting coming out fast and pushing the pace. He looked for a takedown and grabbed hold of his opponents waist. Dos Santos scrambled and reversed, before stopping another attempted.

    Velsaquez pushed the pace and Dos Santos looked to land a few jabs. The champ took a right hand, but replied with a left and managed to shrug off another takedown. With the takedowns failing, Velasquez began to find more range with his punches.

    Midway through the round, Dos Santos looked a little tired and Velasquez began to smoother his opponent against the fence.

    Then, in the moment of the round, Velsaquez landed a brutal right hand, which rocked Dos Santos and sent him into survival mode. Velsaquez pounced and looked to end the fight. The round came to an end with Velsaquez at the champions back and raining down punches.

    Dos Santos stood up and wobbled towards his corner, looking punch-drunk.

    The second began with Velasquez resuming his assault, walking through big counter-punches, to take Dos Santos to the floor. This happened another two times before Dos Santos was able to get a brief respite.

    It was only brief as Velasquez was back on Junior Dos Santos and taking him back to the floor. Velsaquez looked for an armbar, which Dos Santos escaped and found himself in top position. He didn't get long to work as Velasquez reversed and put him the champion against the cage to end the round.

    Again Dos Santos looked lost as he went back to his corner.

    The third began with Dos Santos finding a nice uppercut, but the strength in his punches had disappeared. Velasquez pressed them to the cage and looked to work hard. But he wasn't as hard as he was in the previous rounds.

    The relentless pace of the fight had taken a toll on both fighters, but Velasquez continued to press forward through counters and imposed himself against the cage.

    Breaking away, Dos Santos landed a nice uppercut and stiff body shot, to end the round.

    It was easily 3-0 in rounds to the challenger and the champion had 10 minutes to finish the fight.

    The fourth round began with Dos Santos finding his range early and looked to have found a second wind as he stuffed a takedown attempt and landed some nice shots in close. But Velasquez wasn't going to give up now. He survived the punches, looked to press more and smothered the champion against the cage.

    Dos Santos's face was now showing the effects of a four round war. His lip was swollen and he looked like he didn't know where he was. Where as Velsaquez looked fresh and five minutes away from being champion.

    In the fifth, Dos Santos continued to land nice counters as the challenger advanced. Counters weren't enough as he needed to finish the fight. He was warned by referee Herb Dean for grabbing the fence. Velsaquez then took him across the cage, looking for a takedown attempt, he held again.

    But this didn't bother Velsaquez, as he continued some good punching and massive contusion's became more apparent on the champion's left brow.

    Midway through the round, Velasquez got a nice takedown and managed to hold Dos Santos in half-guard. He rained down elbows and punches from top position. Dos Santos still had something in him and he managed to escape.

    The champion couldn't find a finish as the challenger pushed forward and landed a brutal head kick to his face to end the round.

    A new champion was crowned, via unanimous decision 50-45, 50-43, 50-44 on the judges scorecard.

    Velasquez, (11-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC), extends his winning run to two and becomes the heavyweight champion for a second time.

    He has looked a beast in his last two fights and surely no one can stop him now he is back on top.

    For Dos Santos, (15-2 MMA, 9-1 UFC), suffers the first loss in his UFC career and first loss in 10 fights, since November 2007.

    The Brazilian will definitely bounce back and showed a tremendous amount of heart.

    The only down part of the fight was Dos Santos getting booed as Joe Rogan went to interview him after the fight. This was disgraceful and the fans who booed should be ashamed of themselves. JDS had just put himself through a battering and gave his all. I'd like to see anyone else in the crowd do that.

    SplitDecision Rating: 10/10

    Another must see for all MMA fans. JDS's heart and the brute strength of Velasquez where only two of the main qualities on show.

    The fight was a true war and each fighter will have gained new fans.

    My review wont do it justice, so if you haven't seen it please watch it now!

    SplitDecision Picks

    This weekend I got no picks right. I think my record is the worst in MMA and I will train hard to do better in the new year.

    The $65,000 awards went to:

    Fight of the Night: Joe Lauzon vs Jim Miller
    Submission of the Night: John Moraga
    Knockout of the Night: Todd Duffee

    Fighters of the weekend: Joe Lauzon, Jim Miller, Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos

  • UFC 155: JDS vs Velsaquez 2 - Prelims Review

    The UFC year came to an end this past weekend and even though it took a while to get going, it was worth the wait.

    The night opened up with seven preliminary fights, broadcast on Facebook and FX.

    While there was only two finishes, the fights showed us how deep the UFC pool is. There are guys pushing through the ranks and looking to make 2013 their year to shine.

    The judges had a busy night and as always they liked to shock but luckily their decisions didn't, fully, effect the overall results.

    John Moraga defeats Chris Cariaso via submission

    The night began in the UFC's smallest, but quickest, division: Flyweight.

    The first round was a close affair, with both fighters looking at the same level. Moraga briefly stunned Cariaso with a head kick and landed some great counter shots, throughout the round. Cariaso's main part in the round was connecting with some solid body kicks to even up a close affair.

    The second round belonged to Chris Cariaso. He came out with much more purpose and looked the more active striker early on in the round, landing with some nice knees. Moraga answered with a solid combination, halfway through the round, but it was his opponent who continued to nag with his striking. Cariaso landed some nice body and head kicks that were damaging on his opponent's arms. He scored with a late takedown to take the round.

    The final round was all Moraga. He came out and landed with combos and body punches. He got Cariaso against the fence and slapped on a modified guillotine choke. Cariaso tapped out at 1:11 of the round.

    Moraga, (12-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), extends his winning streak to seven with this victory. After knocking out Ulysses Gomez in his UFC debut, Moraga is getting better and better.

    He will be aiming to extend his winning streak in the new year and looks a future title contender.

    Cariaso, (14-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC), has a three fight win streak snapped. With the Flyweight division only just getting going in the UFC, a win or two in the new year could see him right back near the top of the rankings.

    He will be disappointed with the way he lost the fight as he was controlling the second round and looked good to win via decision. This shows the quality in the UFC though. You can't hold out for decisions, when one little mistake can result in defeat.

    Max Holloway defeats Leonard Garcia via split decision

    Next up it was the turn of the featherweights as rising star Max Holloway battled Leonard Garica, who was looking to halt a run of three defeats.

    The fight began with Holloway the busier fighter. He threw a whole array of kicks. Garcia wait patiently for his chance, throwing the occasional two punch combo or kick.

    Holloway landed a nice spinning back kick and Garcia threw a nice punch back. But it was Holloway who had the first, significant, breakthrough as he dropped Garcia with a nice punch.

    This didn't phase Garcia, who smiled, and got back to his feet. But Holloway was looking comfortable and kept Garcia at bay with a nice array of strikes. He was holding the edge with the total number of strikes landed as the round got to the midway point.

    Garcia eventually found his way back into the fight with a big right hand, which had Holloway wobbling. He continued to push the pace, landing big shots, which had Holloway on the defensive.

    The second round saw Holloway continuing the attack that helped him score points, early in the first. Garcia looked to press forward with some jabs, but Holloway countered with a two-punch combo, with a minute gone in the round.

    The fight continued in the center, but neither landed a big shot. Holloway looked to score with a big kick, which Garcia caught and took it to the ground. Holloway looked for a choke, but Garcia easily managed to get out.

    Holloway escaped to the feet and looked the faster in the exchanges. This seemed to be frustrating Garcia, but he managed to close the round throwing some big shots at his opponent, who looked to fend them off. Holloway ate a few big shots, while managing to block a higher percentage.

    The third began with Garcia looking to get more combinations off and Holloway finding gaps to counter. Garcia was taking shots but continuing to walk forward, trying to turn the fight into a slug fest. Even though it looked like he was doing more, it was Holloway who landed the cleaner shots.

    Realizing he was taking more shots, Garcia shot in and got the takedown. He found his way to half guard and had two minutes to work. But Holloway wouldn't stay down and was back to his feet with no damage done.
    Back on the feet, both men stood and traded with Holloway landing the more accurate strikes.

    With 30 seconds left, you could tell both guys were running on fumes. Garcia ended the fight with a near-slam of Holloway, after a catching a kick of Holloway's.

    It was a close fight, with Holloway taking the split decision: 29-28, 29-28, 28-29.

    Holloway, (7-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC), extends his winning streak to three, since losing his UFC debut to Dustin Poirier in February.

    This is a great win for the 21 year old, who definitely has a bright future in MMA.

    For Garcia, (15-10-1 MMA, 2-6 UFC), loses for the fourth time in a row. Normally this would signal a release from the company, but it seems as if his fighting style will give him one more shot.

    Todd Duffee defeats Phil De Fries via TKO

    It was the turn of the heavyweights next as, returning, Todd Duffee took on Phil De Fries.

    The bout started with Duffee coming out swinging and landing early. But De Fries looked to push things to the fence and looked for a single-leg takedown. With one leg wrapped up and Duffee against the fence, De Fries landed some big power shots.

    Duffee managed to get out of danger and went straight back to what he is good at: throwing bombs. He landed some powerful combinations that had De Fries stunned and a big uppercut had Yves Lavigne jumping in to stop the fight at 2:04 of the round.

    Duffee, (8-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC), makes a successful return to the UFC octagon, after more than two and a half years away. He also extends his winning streak to two.

    If he stays fit in 2013, it could be a big year for him.

    De Fries, (9-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC), returns to losing ways after an August submission win over Oli Thompson. This continues his sea-saw form in the UFC.

    Myles Jury defeats Michael Johnson via unanimous decision

    It was a battle of 'TUF' veterans next as Michael Johnson and Myles Jury locked horns in the Lightweight division.

    From from the start it was Johnson who looked to let his left hand do the talking, but countering Jury who worked from the outside with kicks.

    But it was Jury who was alert early and ducked under Johnson's shots and took the fight to the ground, with a beautiful takedown. He kept advancing positions on the floor and landed a series of, nice, big left hands as Johnson went into survival mode. Jury tired a little and settled into half-guard where he started landing punches with his right.

    Johnson looked to escape, but Jury worked and got his opponents back. He looked for a submission attempt but the round came to a close.

    As the second round began it was Jury who looked the stronger, as he landed a nice head kick. He tried to follow this up with another leg kick, which was caught, but was just the opening he needed to take the fight back to the floor. When there he tried to score with elbows.

    Johnson avoided major damage, but wasn't able to get back to his feet, and let another round go on the scorecards, as Jury maintained his dominance.

    The third round was simple for Johnson. He had to knock out or submit his opponent. He came out swinging, but was taken straight back to the mat. This is where he spent the rest of the round as Jury neutralized his threat and out scored his opponent.

    When all was said and done, Jury took the decision 30-27 on all three judges scorecards.

    Jury, (11-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC), maintains his unbeaten professional record and extends his UFC career to two.

    It was the first time he had gone to decision in his career, but I don't think this will bother him as he totally dominated Johnson.

    Johnson, (12-7 MMA, 4-3 UFC), see's his three fight win streak snapped. He was having a terrific 2012, but I think he looked past Jury and has paid for it.

    He will need to put this loss past him in 2013 and focus on one fight at a time. Especially if he is to be successful.

    Jamie Varner defeats Melvin Guillard via split decision

    We stayed in the Lightweight division as Jamie Varner and Melvin Guillard finally squared off.

    This fight was originally due on The Ultimate Fighter 16 finale card but Varner had to withdraw on the day due to injury.

    The bout began with Guillard landing some nice leg kicks, with the snap being heard with each kick to Varner's lead leg. A red mark could be seen developing. Varner didn't looked phased and he stayed patient, before landing a nice right hand with 90 seconds in. Guillard looked for a combination and to throw Varner towards the fence, but it didn't pull off and they moved back to the center.

    Guillard kept up the leg kicks, but Varner walked through them and looked to counter. With 90 seconds left in the round, Varner got inside and looked for a combination, then for a takedown which was unsuccessful. As the round came to a close, Varner upped the pace and landed some big punches. One to the body seemed to hurt Guillard and he swarmed in, grabbing hold of a guillotine choke. It was too late though, as the bell saved Guillard. 20 seconds longer and the Varner might have had the finish.

    The second round began, with Guillard looking for a finishing shot, but Varner easily ducked under and answering back. Varner got a takedown early on and managed to get Guillard's back. Guillard shrugged him off and looked for a choke of his own. Varner never looked in any trouble and they moved back to the feet.

    Back in the center, Guillard landed a high kick but couldn't capitalize on it. The story of the fight for Melvin. Midway through the round, both fighters slugged it out before Varner took it back to the ground. With not much happening, Guillard got back to his feet, where he landed a nice left hook. Before Melvin could swarm, Varner threw and landed a nice right that backed his opponent up. Guillard got a brief rest when Varner landed a low blow. As the fight restarted, both finished out the round on the feet.

    The third began with Guillard throwing a flying kick, with Varner reacting by looking for a single-leg takedown. Guillard avoided it, but was soon on the floor. Varner put Guillard on his backside, against the fence, and looked for a choke. Guillard slipped out, landed on top and looked for some ground and pound. Varner got back to his feet and quickly shot for a double-leg takedown, which he landed.

    Guillard was able to get up, but as he swung over the top, Varner shot in and again landed a takedown. His sixth of his fight. Guillard looked for an armbar which he couldn't sink in but found himself in side control. Varner, who was always active on the floor, reversed this and found himself in top position with a minute left on the clock. Guillard got back to his feet with 30 seconds left in the fight. He was in desperation mode and landed a shot to the body, before Varner slammed him on his head to bring the fight to a close.

    A close fight, which Varner took 30-27, 30-27, 27-30 on the judges scorecard. A decision which shocked everyone in attendance. There was no way Melvin won this fight and for him to get 30-27 on one judges card was really surprising.

    Varner, (21-7-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC), returns to winning ways after a Fight of the Night loss to Joe Lauzon in August.

    A win over a top fighter in the UFC's Lightweight division definitely looks good for Varner as he hopes to push up the ladder.

    For Guillard, (30-12-2 MMA, 11-8 UFC), loses his second fight in a row and has lost four of his last five.

    Things don't look good for Melvin at the moment and he didn't look his usual self during this fight. With Melvin you normally get a fast paced fighter, who gets "stuck" in to opponents. But in this one he looked sloppy.

    He will need to get a win soon or find himself not needed in the UFC.

    Erik Perez defeats Byron Bloodworth via TKO

    It was down to the bantamweight division next as, fast-rising, Erik Perez took on Byron Bloodworth.

    As the first round got going, both fighters settled against the cage, where they stayed for over a minute. Perez landed a nice knee to his opponents body, to break the stalemate, and gain the upperhand. From this Perez landed a flurry of elbows to the face of Bloodworth, who sustained a cut. Sensing the finish, Perez, threw a combination of good punches, which sent Bloodworth cowering and prompted the referee to jump in and stop the fight.

    The TKO stoppage, for Perez, came at 3:50 of the first round.

    Perez,(13-4 MMA, 3-0 UFC), extends his winning streak to eight fights and last lost in September 2010.

    Since joining the UFC in June, he has blown his opponents out of the water with three finishes. If he continues going this way, a title shot will definitely come his way.

    Bloodworth,(6-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC), drops to two loses in a row and both coming in the UFC. He will need a win soon or find himself cut.

    Eddie Wineland defeats Brad Pickett via split decision

    The preliminary fights came to a close as, Bantamweights, Brad Pickett and Eddie Wineland went to war.

    The first round began with Wineland rushing to the center, but both fighters throwing hard. Wineland landed a nice right hand and then ducked out of the way from a Pickett return. Wineland followed up with another right, but Pickett stayed throwing. Wineland was moving his head back forth but still ate a good shot from Pickett. Wineland wasn't going to stop and returned fire, landing several big shots and throwing patiently.

    As Pickett came forward, Wineland again landed a great right hand, then added another, that bloodied up Pickett's nose. With Wineland's continued success, Pickett tried to take the floor to the ground, looking for a takedown and scoring. But Wineland shot back up almost immediately. Pickett looked for shots to the body but was out-striked by Wineland, who kept landing to his opponents hand.

    The second began with Pickett coming out and landing a left hook. Perhaps the best of his fight, but Wineland walked straight through it, landed a right and slipped away from Pickett's counter attack. Pickett started working to get inside and found his attempts unsuccessful as Wineland used his footwork and head movement to duck and slip any damage. Finding his attempts unsuccessful, Pickett started to punch more wildly and found a home with one left hand which opened a cut near Wineland's left eye. It didn't appear to hurt him though.

    As the third got going, it was apparent that Wineland was going to keep his second round strategy going. He circled away from Pickett's power and looked to pick his moments for shots. Which was working well for him. Mid-way through the round, Pickett started to kick the front leg of his opponent and then threw in an over-hand right. Pickett tried to push the pace in the round's latter moments, but it was Wineland's striker which took him over the finish line.

    It was a close fight, but Wineland took the split decision 30-27, 30-27, 28-29.

    Again the judging came into question. How can one judge see it as 29-28 to Pickett, yet two others giving all three rounds to Wineland. It raises the question that better judges are needed to be employed in Mixed Martial Arts.

    Wineland, (20-8-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC), extends his winning run to two, since losing his first two fights in the UFC.

    It has been a good end to 2012 for the WEC Veteran and he is in prime position to attack the top contenders of the 135 pound decision, in the new year.

    Brad Pickett, (22-7 MMA, 2-2 UFC), see's his two fight win streak and momentum halted with this loss. A possible title shot was on the horizon for Pickett, but this loss puts him back down the ladder.

    He needs to get back to winning ways soon and prove this was just a blip on the radar.

    Fighter's of the prelim's: Todd Duffee and Erik Perez

  • UFC 155: JDS vs Velsaquez 2 - Main Card Preview

    This weekend see's the UFC end the year by hosting a Christmas Cracker.

    It is a great way to end a fantastic year of fights and for the UFC to push into 2013 stronger than ever.

    The main card features five bouts, all with great stipulations.

    There is a title fight, a return of a much loved middleweight, a rematch and a LW fight with a possible number one contender emerging.

    By the end of the night, when the cracker has been pulled, there will most definitely be a bang.

    Chris Leben vs Derek Brunson

    The night begins with a middleweight match up between, the returning, Chris Leben and, promotional newcomer, Derek Brunson.

    Leben, (22-8 MMA, 12-7 UFC), returns to the octagon after more than a year away. After his loss at UFC 138, to Mark Munoz, Leben failed his post-fight drugs test and was suspended for a year.

    The UFC wanted to support him and helped him get some much needed rehabilitation.

    Now he is back, clean, and ready to cause fireworks again.

    Leben was a contestant on the very first series of the Ultimate Fighter and is a former Middleweight title contender.

    He has fought consistently since coming into the UFC, in 2005, and has highlight reel finishes of Yoshihiro Akiyama and Wanderli Silva.

    The past year has seen Leben battle his demons and he will be hoping that he can grab a win here and look to make 2013 his year.

    Standing in his way, is promotional newcomer, Derek Brunson.

    Brunson, (9-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), comes into the UFC on the back of a two fight losing skid, since going 9-0 in his career.

    His 2012 hasn't been to kind to him in his professional career. In June he lost, on the regional circuit, to Kendall Grove via split decision and then in August was knocked out by Ronaldo Souza, at the Strikeforce: Rousey vs Kaufman card.

    His first fight in the promotion is a very difficult one. But if he could grab the win it would be the greatest way to announce himself to the UFC world.

    Both fighters have power in their hands and love to knock opponents out. Leben has won 12 times by Knockout and Brunson four times.

    Both have also been knocked out in their careers: Leben three times and Brunson once.

    They both have submissions, if the fight goes to the ground. Leben has five wins and Brunson three. But Brunson holds a little advantage on the ground as he has never been submitted in his career, where as Leben has lost two this way.

    This fight is going to be a good start to the main card, with Brunson looking to show he deserves a place in the UFC and Leben to show that ring rust doesn't effect him and he is back.

    Yushin Okami vs Alan Belcher

    We stay in the Middleweight division as Yushin Okami takes on, in form, Alan Belcher in a rematch.

    Okami, (27-7 MMA, 11-4 UFC), is looking to build on his TKO victory over Buddy Roberts at UFC 150 in August.

    This win snapped the only two fight losing streak of his career.

    He is a former Middleweight title contender who first fought Belcher at UFC 62, in 2006. He won the fight via unanimous decision. Both fighters were making their UFC debuts.

    Alot has changed in the last six years and will have to be at his best against Alan Belcher.

    Belcher, (18-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC), comes into this fight on top of a four fight win streak. These four fights have been over the past three years, due to injuries.

    Last time out he defeated Rousimar Palhares, via TKO, at UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller in May.

    A win here could take him further up the middleweight ladder and get him a top opponent in the new year.

    Both fighters have alot of experience and this will be a close fight.

    Belcher wins the majority of his fights via knockout, nine, and submission, seven. But if he wants to utilize a submission finish it will be a tough task as Okami has never been submitted in his career.

    Okami has power in his hands but can also grind opponents down and win by decision. He has won 10 by knockout and 12 by decision.

    Both fighters have been knocked out, so this fight seems like it will be a battle to see who can out score the other.

    At the end of this fight, one will be looking more comfortable in the Middleweight division and the other will be back to the bottom of the ladder.

    Tim Boetsch vs Costa Philippou

    We stay with the Middleweights as Tim Boetsch and Costa Philippou look to extend their winning runs.

    Boetsch, (16-4 MMA, 7-3 UFC), comes into this fight on the back of a four fight win streak, since dropping to Middleweight.

    2012 has been his breakthrough year and was originally supposed to fight Chris Weidman at this event. But Weidman was pulled due to injury.

    Last time out he beat Hector Lombard, via split decision, at UFC 149. This was a great victory for the American, who was the first too beat Lombard in just under five years.

    Early in the year, at UFC 144, he came from behind to TKO Yushin Okami and show how tough he is to beat.

    A win over Philippou will confirm Boetsch as a definite prospect at 185, but a defeat could see him being forgotten in the title picture.

    Phillippou, (11-2(1)MMA, 4-1 UFC), has bounced back from a UFC debut loss to Nick Catone, at UFC 128 in early 2011.

    He is now riding a four fight win streak and a win in this fight could propel him, further up the middleweight ladder.

    Last time out he beat Riki Fukuda, at UFC 148, by unanimous decision in July.

    He has definitely come into the UFC with a bang and, like Boetsch, he has made this year his breakthrough.

    A key part in this fight is that Philippou has never been submitted or knocked out. Only losing twice by decision.

    He is very good with hands winning five by knockout but can also out work you and has won five by decision.

    Boetsch is an all round fighter and seems comfortable where ever the fight goes. He has knocked out seven opponents, submitted five and won via four by decision.

    This fight looks like a close one to call. Most people will be expecting Boetsch to take this fight but Philippou is a sleeping giant who can cause an upset.

    Joe Lauzon vs Jim Miller

    Next we go to the Lightweight division for a fight between Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller.

    This fight was originally scheduled to be between Joe Lauzon and Gray Maynard, but an injury forced Gray Maynard from the card.

    Lauzon, (22-7 MMA, 9-4 MMA), is looking to build on an amazing victory last time out. He defeated Jamie Varner, via triangle choke submission, in Round three at UFC on Fox: Shogun vs. Vera, in August. The fight was voted fight of the night and he won Submission of the night.

    Lauzon has a great deal of experience and has won six submission of the night awards.

    In his way is Jim Miller who, also, likes to submit his opponents.

    Miller, (21-4 MMA, 10-3 UFC), looks to bounce back from a title eliminator loss, to Nate Diaz, in May. He was defeated via submission.

    Miller had a stake for the title after going 7-0 between July 2009 and August 2011. He didn't get a shot and will be looking to make his official claim this weekend.

    He has gained submission of the night honors three times.

    Both fighters love submissions with Lauzon winning 18 and Miller 12.

    When Joe Lauzon wins he finishes his opponents and has only lost by decision once. He has lost three each by submission and knockout.

    Miller has never been knocked out and has lost one by submission and three by decision.

    He can grind out opponents and has won six by decision.

    This fight could turn out to be a title eliminator, with the winner hoping to face Champion Benson Henderson.

    Both fighters love to scrap and I predict a finish in this fight.

    Main Event: Champion Junior Dos Santos vs Cain Velasquez

    The main event of the evening see's a much anticipated rematch between, Champion, Junior Dos Santos and, Challenger, Cain Velsaquez.

    Dos Santos, (15-1 MMA, 9-0 UFC), is where he belongs: at the top of the UFC tree.

    Since coming into the UFC in 2008, he has smashed his way to the top of the UFC and his dream was realized, just over a year ago, when he knocked out Cain Velasquez at the very first UFC on FOX show. The stoppage came at 1:04 in the very first round.

    He has only defended the title once since winning it. He TKO'd Frank Mir, at UFC 146, in May.

    If he wants to stay at the top of the division he will have to be at his best.

    Velsaquez, (9-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC), is looking to get his title back and last time out he shocked the world with a dominant victory of Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva. It took him 3:36 in the first round to win by TKO.

    He was unstoppable and you could see the fire in his eyes. His victory screamed: "I want my belt back!"

    And this Saturday he will get his chance to put his only defeat behind him.

    Both fighters have heavy hands and can finish fights with one punch. Dos Santos has won 11 by knockout and Velsaquez nine.

    The only difference, in solitary defeats, is that Dos Santos has been submitted and Velsaquez knocked out.

    In twenty seven fights between them they have only been to decision three times. With Dos Santos winning twice and Velasquez once.

    Many people believe that Velasquez will look to take this floor to the ground and dominant Dos Santos. But Dos Santos is strong with his takedown defense and also has a BJJ Black Belt which he hasn't had to put to use in the UFC.

    This fight is one of the most anticipated re-matches of all time. Both have moved on from the first fight and this one will definitely be memorable.

    Split Decision Picks

    Fight of the Night: Brad Pickett vs Eddie Wineland

    Submission of the Night: Joe Lauzon

    Knockout of the Night: Junior Dos Santos

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