5 Rounds on Magny/Gastelum, Miesha’s outrage, Gracie/Shamrock 3, Khabib Nurmagomedov and UFC 193

Updated: November 13, 2015
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Round 1
Miesha Tate is outraged

Retirement is a buzz word lately in the MMA community, where it has also become popular to bash UFC officials. Former women’s bantamweight title challenger Miesha Tate may however be one of the few with a legitimate gripe. After being promised a title shot at Ronda Rousey following her last win, Tate was passed over in favor of the considerably lower ranked Holly Holm, a fresh opponent for Rousey. Tate has gone on the attack over the last couple of weeks, claiming that the UFC’s money she is getting for fighting tougher fights than Rousey is less that $26,000 per fight, where as Rousey is making up to a million dollars in a fight when pay per view bonuses, Reebok bonuses and discretionary bonuses are applied. It is a damning accusation from Tate, but one that may not hold weight. Rousey will take on 7th ranked Holm this weekend, her first defense after beating 8th ranked Bethe Correia in her last outing. Tate’s last fight was against 9th ranked Jessica Eye and before that it was 6th ranked Sara McMann. Three fights ago for each woman was a distinct difference. While Rousey was fighting then top ranked Cat Zingano, Tate’s opponent three fights ago was Rin Nakai, who was making her UFC debut and has not fought at all since that September 2014 fight with Tate.

Round 2
Neil Magny steps in to fight Kelvin Gastelum

Just days after Matt Brown announced he was out of his Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 2 finale fight with Kelvin Gastelum, a surging welterweight stepped in. Gastelum, who will be making his return to welterweight will now fight Neil Magny on November 21. It is probably considered a lesser opponent for Gastelum, but showcases the UFC’s rare desire to book young stars against each other. Gastelum was a revelation after winning The Ultimate Fighter in 2013, but after missing weight and then losing a fight against Tyron Woodley in January, he was absolutely on Dana White’s naughty list. This, his return to 170 pounds after a forced outing at middleweight would have been a huge opportunity against Brown, but he will now fight with a still high risk, but less reward. Magny, the only fighter from TUF’s season 16 to amount to much in the octagon, rallied off seven wins before being overmatched against Demian Maia in August. He returned just a few weeks later to upset Erick Silva on short notice. For Magny, a win over a guy who was a pair of wins away from a title shot at the beginning of the year, would be monumental. One guy is going to take a big step forward while the other is going to take one back.

Round 3
Royce Gracie fighting Ken Shamrock in 2016?

Last weekend, Bellator MMA fans were treated to another big events with multiple title fights on the card. They also got another surprise when Bellator head Scott Coker announced that UFC legends Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock would fight on the February 19, 2016 card from Houston, Texas. Take all other fact and context away from that announcement and MMA fans should salivate. Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock fighting each other and doing it on free cable television. Last time they fought, the bout was considered a draw after 36 minutes, the longest fight in UFC history. But then again, that is a fact and when you start adding facts, you have to acknowledge that fight was April 7, 1995. And that is what makes Bellator a joke with their “big fight” booking. The two men are legends, perhaps the two biggest names in the history of the sport. They are also 48 (Gracie) and 51 (Shamrock) years old.

The two first fought at UFC 1 in 1993, with Gracie tearing through Shamrock less than a minute into the first round. They rematched two years later at UFC 5, going the distance to a draw before judging was added to the sport. Shamrock last won in 2010 and just returned this past summer for the first time in five years, losing in Bellator to Kimbo Slice. He has lost 11 of his last 15 fights dating back to 2000.

Gracie has been less active. After his draw with Shamrock at UFC 5, the first blemish of any kind on his record, he has fought just seven other times, going 3-2-2. He returned to the UFC in 2006, after an 11 year absence from the company and was submitted by Matt Hughes. He fought again in 2007, beating rival Kazushi Sakuraba by decision in Dynamite!! USA. Gracie tested positive for anabolic steroids after the fight and hasn’t fought in the over eight years since. Shamrock too has tested positive for steroids recently in his career, doing so after his 2009 win over Ross Clifton, two wins ago.

The idea of the two fighting in 2016 is a joke. They have one combined fight in eight years, Shamrock’s damning loss to Slice and took a combined 13 years off from the sport. The steroid factor makes it even more sadly comical. They fact that Bellator MMA, Viacom and Coker all believe this to be a good idea just makes it sad.

Round 4
Why it may not matter if we ever see Khabib Nurmagomedov again

All of the last week or so, the MMA community has been abuzz about whether UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov would choose to retire after yet another injury stopped a return to the octagon. He announced this week that he would like to stay active in MMA and not retire, hoping to return somewhere around Super Bowl weekend, almost two years after his last UFC fight in April of 2014, where he beat current 155 pound champion Rafael dos Anjos. But the big question is, why does it matter? We haven’t seen Nurmagomedov in almost two years and he has become irrelevant on the interesting UFC lightweight landscape. When he beat dos Anjos, the champion was a completely different fighter than he is now, as showcased by his title winning effort opposite Anthony Pettis to start 2015. Outside of dos Anjos, Nurmagomedov’s only moderate name worthy win came against Abel Trujilo in a fight where Nurmagomedov missed weight completely. We never found out if he could stick with the elite of the division and one has to think he has lost a step or two since his last go around. So why is everyone so worried about if we ever see Nurmagomedov in the UFC again?

Round 5
Predicting UFC 193

UFC 193 comes our way this weekend on November 15 from Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia with two women’s title fights and whole lot of violence expected on the main card with big time slugfests.

Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm
Women’s bantamweight title
Anyone betting against Rousey in this meeting should be labeled a fool. The undisputed women’s kingpin, nobody has proven that they can even test her, let alone beat her. Her last four fights have been cliffs notes: 34 seconds, 14 seconds, 16 seconds, 1 minute and 6 seconds. Rousey beats people and beats them bad and fast. Credit is due to Holm though too. She is a strong puncher and is undefeated in MMA. But decision wins over Raquel Pennington and Marion Reneau does not a contender make. She was fast tracked to this fight due to a lack of appealing options and promoted on her stand up game considering that Rousey has gone to TKOing people, winning outside of submissions in three of her last four outings. So does Holm have the advantage on the feet? Perhaps. Maybe even probably. But if Rousey can do anything better than any woman in the world, it is rip their arm out of the socket. This one won’t take long, probably more than a minute. But in the end, the champion should have another arm for her mantle because Holm just can’t even pretend to hang on the ground. Rousey by 1st round arm bar

Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. Valérie Létourneau
Women’s straw weight title
This is another fight that shouldn’t have been booked, but it was because now Jedrzejczyk can be showcased on the same card as Rousey and helps her star continue to grow. Again, the booking is not a knock on the champion because it is unlikely that you could put anyone in front of Jedrzejczyk today that she wouldn’t maul. She is a dominant and vicious champion who is probably going to outshine Rousey on this night. It should be violent and bloody. Létourneau has never shown mettle to hang with someone like the champion. Jedrzejczyk by 2nd round TKO

Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva
Don’t expect a classic technical battle here, but perhaps another classic. This will be rounds 6-8 of their epic five round draw from two years ago, but also don’t expect this to go to the judges for two reasons. Number one, they both know that going to the judges two years ago resulted in a draw and they don’t want that. Number two, they are both older and with more fragile chins than they were. They have both fought three times since that war and been stopped two times each. The fight heavy hand is going to end this fight, it may just be a crap shoot as to whose hand hits hard first. Hunt by 2nd round Knockout

Uriah Hall vs. Robert Whittaker
Robert Whittaker had a big chance, originally booked to face Michael Bisping on this night. He still has a big chance, but one that he has to be a little more worried about due to the momentum that Hall has coming into this fight. Hall has been an absolute beast lately, unleashing the passion that everyone has wanted to see since his season of The Ultimate Fighter. He has won 5 of his last six and just stopped perennial contender Gegard Mousasi. This will be his third fight in four months and he can literally taste the top five of the middleweight division. Whittaker is tough, winner of three straight, with knockouts of Clint Hester and Brad Tavares. His biggest problem is that his strength is the same as Hall’s: just throw caution to the wind. Hall by 3rd round TKO

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