UFC on Fuel TV: Struve vs. Miocic Fight Photos from Josh Hedges

The UFC has got it’s swagger back from UFC 152 and it definitely spilled over to UFC on Fuel TV: Struve vs. Miocic. The card from top to bottom delivered whether it was a back and back war between Brad Tavares and Tom Watson, submissions from Gunner Nelson and Matt Wiman, and knockouts by Robert Peralta, Brad Pickett and Stefan Struve – the whole card delivered. I really do think watching fighters who need to win in order to earn a living do perform. They need to make a statement and they made it loud and clear tonight.

Main Card:

  • Heavyweight: Stefan Struve def. Stipe Miocic
  • Welterweight: Dan Hardy def. Amir Sadollah
  • Bantamweight: Brad Pickett def. Yves Jabouin
  • Lightweight: Matt Wiman def. Paul Sass 
  • Welterweight: John Hathaway def. John Maguire
  • Welterweight: Che Mills def. Duane Ludwig 

Preliminary Card:

  • Light Heavyweight: Jimi Manuwa def. Kyle Kingsbury
  • Featherweight: Akira Corassani def. Andy Ogle
  • Middleweight: Brad Tavares def. Tom Watson
  • Catchweight (183 lbs.): Gunnar Nelson def. DaMarques Johnson
  • Featherweight: Robbie Peralta def. Jason Young

Fight of the Night Bonuses

  • Fight of the Night: Stefan Struve def. Stipe Miocic via TKO (Round 2 - 3:50)
  • Knockout of the Night: Brad Pickett via punches (Round 1 - 3:40)
  • Submission of the Night: Matt Wiman via armbar (Round 1 - 3:48)
The Weekend Weather Forecast: UFC 138

Leben vs Munoz

If I could sum up my sentiments about UFC 138 in a single statement it would be this: a weak card doesn’t mean poor fights. The UFC’s return to the UK shores is drawing a lot of criticism from limeys like myself - but - when it comes down to it we can all be sure that Birmingham’s LG Arena will be electric. Packed with thousands of Mixed Martial Arts fanatics who paid to see the sport they love, played out at the highest level, it will be noisy and it will be glorious.

The storyline of Leben/Munoz just about ties in with the shuffling around in the upper echelons of the decision. Munoz has proved his grappling to be top drawer stuff with recent wins over decent wrestlers Dolloway and Simpson before his tough battle with an ultra elite BJJ blackbelt in the form of Demian Maia.

But with the Crippler… we don’t even have a win streak to speak of. With a single win in recent months against an ageing Wanderlai Silva, he formerly lost in devastating fashion to Brian Stann. And that particular American hero just got dealt his own “red, white and blue ass whooping” from the P4P King of Trash Talk, Chael Sonnen.


Well, in short this isn’t a game changing fight and it’s unlikely to be a memorable stand up exchange with Munoz looking for takedowns and effective use of his wrestling.

Munoz’s smart gameplanning with clinch this bout, leaving a frustrated brawler in his wake, possibly summoning a finish at some point in the third.

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Pickett vs Barão

“One Punch” Pickett finally gets to fight in the UFC after a very respectable WEC run, including that notable win over Demetrious Johnson. Barao has already racked up one win in the Octagon against Cole Escovedo, but failed to make a lasting impression in the eyes of the fans.

With two well rounded and frantic Bantamweights getting their opportunity to shine, this should be one of the more entertaining fights of the whole night.

I see Brad Pickett transitioning effectively between his solid striking game and clinch-work. If he doesn’t manage a TKO by the end of the 2nd then a unanimous decision should be in the bag.

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Alves vs Abedi

Casual fans can be forgiven for being unfamiliar with the career of Papy Abedi. And at 33 his UFC debut hasn’t come soon enough - but is he being thrown to a very hungry wolf?

Thiago Alves is a big Welterweight and he knows how to throw his weight around when it comes to Muay Thai. As an awesome striker Alves has only faltered in the past 8 years against decent wrestlers - most recently Fitch, Story and of course GSP at UFC 100.

Please God can we have a full on kickboxing war? At least in loving memory of K1. These guys are more than capable of showcasing high level MMA striking and Abedi may be in for a surprise with zero losses to date.

I’ve got Thiago Alves kneeing and shinning his way to a brutal TKO in the 1st or 2nd with both guys uncorking early on. Accompanied by an arena full of giddy and delighted Brits.

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5 Predictions for WEC 50: Cruz vs. Benavidez

WEC 50 was going to be a stacked card, which had a WEC Bantamweight Championship fight and the debut of Urijah Faber in the Bantamweight division. With Urijah out due to injury, the card is less than stellar – but those types of cards are usually the ones that come out as one of the bests. I enjoy watching the lighter weight classes fight it out – so much technique, and so quick. Here are my predictions for the night:

1. Another war between Cruz and Benavidez

Dominick Cruz knows how to control a fight with his striking and he’ll do that here with Joseph Benavidez. Benavidez will continue to get in and clinch in order to pull of a takedown, but everytime it happens – Cruz will pop back up. It’ll be a back and forth battle with Cruz getting the better of it. He just has too much reach, and the ability to use it wisely. Great fight that goes all 5 rounds.

Prediction: Dominick Cruz over Joseph Benavidez via decision

2. Shane Roller gunning for the Lightweight Championship

Shane Roller is on a mission and that’s the WEC Lightweight Championship. The roadblock in his way is up and comer Anthony Pettis. As the rising star, WEC seems to be wanting him to make a splash against a top contender in Roller. Although, he’s not having it – and Roller makes a huge statement in the Lightweight division. Ground and pound!

Prediction: Shane Roller over Anthony Pettis via TKO

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The Peruvian Neck Tie has to be one of the best combo’s of cool submisson with a cool name. Only the gogoplata or maybe the Phil-mura can compete. Getting caught in The PNT makes you feel like a real bozo, so learn it to know how to defend it.

Let UFC Bantam weight, Brad “One Punch’ Pickett teach you how to pull off this fancy pants submission. I’m glad he teaches it off a stuffed single leg, it’s a great option from there, also a little tip from me, if the opponent feels the sub coming and rolls through as you sit, keep your grip and transition it to a D'arce.  

I guess this G-Form brand makes protective equipment, the guys from BlackHouse seem to all wear knee and elbow pads so I back it. Also if you want to pick up Pickette’s (Pun) awesome walk out shirt, do so here. 


Brad Pickett vs. Hideo Tokoro

tokoro doingwhat he does.

Why It Matters: UFC Fight Night 26 Prelim Edition

Joey NOX

August 14th, 2013

Why The Event Matters

Well for one, it starts with card quality. This card may have the biggest collection of top 10 fighters on free TV ever in the history of the UFC. For those looking for numbers, half of the fighters on the main card are in the top 10 of their division and another 3 or so (namely Joe Lauzon, Yuri Alcantara and Mike Pyle) should be. Counting ZUFFA as a whole, the card features 5 former ZUFFA champions on it. Also this is the first time the UFC returns to Boston since UFC 118 in August of 2011. This is the debut of the Fox Sports 1 broadcast for the UFC which is a pretty big deal.  

James Vick (4-0, 0-0 UFC) vs Ramsey Nijem (7-3, 3-2 UFC)

Why It Matters: The final piece to TUF 15 and the most qualified fighter from TUF 13.

I know some people might say Tony Ferguson is more qualified than Ramsey Nijem but Nijem has fought more in the UFC and has been the more consistent fighter. Ferguson is more talented if that’s any consolation. Be that as it may, Nijem has carved out a place as the TUF 15 prospect fighter in the lightweight division. This will be his 3rd fight against a member of TUF Live, going from Joe Proctor (a win) to Myles Jury (a brutal KO loss) to James Vick. If you don’t remember James Vick, I don’t blame you given how long he’s been out. Of all the fighters, Vick may have had the toughest road in the house given his opposition. To get into the house, he beat solid prospect Dakota Cochrane. From there, he went on to beat proven UFC fighters Darron Cruickshank and Joe Proctor before getting stopped by eventual winner Michael Cheisa. Vick appeared to be very talented on the show but it’s been so long since we’ve seen him fight that it’s hard to know if he’s improved. If cage corrosion is a factor, there’s a good chance Nijem will emerge this Saturday with a 4-2 record in his UFC fights. If not? We could see another fighter of notice to come out of the underrated TUF 15 cast, along the likes of Myles Jury, Michael Chiesa and Darren Cruickshank. 

Ovince St. Preux (13-5, 1-0 UFC) vs Cody Donovan (8-2, 1-0 UFC)

Why It Matters: The Jon Jones Landscape

Oh to be back in 2010. This may seem like a weird statement but back in 2010, it was the UFC’s light heavyweight division that ruled the land. Guys like Machida, Shogun, Rashad Evans, Lil Nog, Rampage Jackson, Matt Hamill and Ryan Bader were in their primes and ruling the roost. The division seemed to be deep with names and talent—and then Jon Jones beat everybody. Now LHW is still a good quality division but the log jam at the top of the landscape has been removed. Jon Jones has essentially thrown out the old Chia Pets and is waiting for new ones to grow. Perhaps one of those Chia pets can emerge from this fight between Cody Donovan and Ovince St. Preux! OSP was one of those guys who suffered from the ZUFFA purchase; wherein he went from fighting nobodies to the likes of Gegard Mousasi. His UFC debut was an unimpressive victory over Gian Villante. On the other side of the cage, you’ll have Cody Donovan; relative unknown fighter who made a statement (and $50,000) in his debut by defeating Nick Penner. There’s room for growth now in the UFC’s light heavyweight division and one of these guys can take a massive step up with a solid performance. At the very least, they can get themselves off of the prelims.

Cole Miller (19-7, 8-5 UFC) vs Manny Gamburyan (12-7, 3-5 UFC)

Why It Matters: TUF 5 lives? I guess?

Snarky intro aside, our next fight is a pretty entertaining clash in the UFC’s FW division. Cole Miller always seems like a guy whose one win away from catching on this great winning streak. On the other hand, Manny Gamburyan seems like the sort of guy who is one loss away from getting the boot. Both guys were members of the TUF 5 cast but that’s neither here nor there really. Cole Miller is a lengthy submission artist who hasn’t quite found footing at 145 lbs, going 1-2 in the division. On the other hand, Manny Gamburyan is a power punching wrestler who has struggled since his return to the UFC, also going 1-2 in the featherweight division. Cole Miller will come into this fight with the advantage in the stand up, given that he can fight at a distance comfortably due to a) his length and height and b) Manny’s epic shortness. On the other hand, Miller leaves himself wide open for shots and Gamburyan has solid wrestling and damn good judo when he chooses to apply it. If Miller can keep it standing, it’s his to win. If Manny decides to use his ground game, he has a good chance of finishing Miller on the ground. 

Diego Brandao (17-8, 3-1 UFC) vs Daniel Pineda (18-9, 3-2 UFC)

Why It Matters: A surprisingly tough test going under the radar?

Our first fight of the televised prelims (on Fox Sports 1) stay in the featherweight division as Diego Brandao takes on Daniel Pineda. This fight has been flying under the radar unfortunately but it really deserves more looks. Daniel Pineda came into the UFC and won his first two fights before losing a close fight to Mike Brown and then a flash KO vs Antonio Carvalho. He rebounded and saved his job by defeating Justin Lawrence in April. Pineda is far better than his losses against the likes of Brown and Carvalho looked, his crisp striking and ground game is definitely a challenge for anyone. Speaking of challenges for anyone, how about Diego Brandao? Brandao was the star of TUF 14 and outside of a loss to Darren Elkins, has looked every bit the hype he’s warranted. Known mainly for his power and hand speed, it’s been the grappling of Brandao that has earned him two of his three wins in the octagon. He’s slowly creeping up the rankings and standing on the precipice of the top 10 room. Brandao is coming into this fight as a big favorite but Daniel Pineda is better than he’s getting credit for. Whether he’s better than Diego Brandao will be settled on Saturday. 

Mike Thomas Brown (26-8, 2-3 UFC) vs Steven Siler (22-10, 3-1 UFC)

Why It Matters: TUF 14 vs MTB

Staying with TUF 14, we’ve got TUF 14’s Steven Siler taking on former WEC Featherweight King Mike Thomas Brown. Let’s start with Mike Thomas Brown and his up and down trek of the last 5 years. MTB will forever be known as the guy who ended Urijah Faber’s reign as the WEC featherweight champion by beating him not once but twice. Since that victory, Brown has struggled with inconsistent performances in the cage and personal problems outside of it. Brown is still the same smothering wrestling he’s always been although his more recent performances suggest his cardio may not be the same anymore. Mike Brown seems like a humble, likable kind of guy so his recent two fight winning streak is definitely a positive sign for his career. On the other side you’ll have Steven Siler, a TUF 14 cast member that most people took as cannon fodder who has managed to pick up 3 wins in the organization. Siler is tough and well rounded, a guy who has decent boxing, fast hands and a surprisingly good ground game. Siler also has some cardio issues and has been outwrestled in the past by bigger guys. The decline of MTB makes this closer than it should be since on paper, you’d assume MTB would be able to outwrestle Siler. The fact that Brown has had to coax himself out of retirement a few times doesn’t help matters either. 

Conor McGregor (12-2, 1-0 UFC) vs Max Holloway (7-2, 4-2 UFC)

Why It Matters: Do or Die Hype Time

The first four or five fights on this card are good, solid fights. It’s right around here that the card goes from good to awesome. Here we have, once again in the featherweight division, Irish superstar in the making Conor McGregor and Hawaiian body punching expert Max Holloway. McGregor made his debut on April and wound up pretty much wowing UFC fight fans with a first round KO of Marcus Brimage. McGregor seems to have it all; great stand up, a slick ground game and a personality that’s bound to attract Irish MMA fans looking for someone to follow. He faces a tough test in Holloway who is coming off a close decision loss in his last fight vs Dennis Bermudez. Holloway is a vicious body puncher with solid takedown defense and quick hands.  Holloway has looked better in each of his UFC performances and is a terrific prospect in his own right. He’ll be the best body puncher that McGregor has ever faced and assuming his pace can hold up, he has a good chance to pull off the upset. For McGregor, it’s about cashing in on what should be a big time crowd that will be on his side. He has a chance to ascend up the ranks very quickly and if he can win a few and prove himself to be worth the hype, could become one of the real stars of the lighter weight classes. 

Brad Pickett (23-7, 3-2 UFC) vs Michael McDonald (15-2, 3-1 UFC)

Why It Matters: It’s a fucking awesome fight.

I know that such reasoning is simple but…come on! This is Mayday vs One Punch we’re talking about! I guess if you needed a non-fanboy reason to care, you should be watching to see if Brad Pickett can once again win a big fight to get him over the hump. Pickett is very entertaining but every time he’s taken a “step up”, he’s been knocked back down to Earth. He lost a #1 contender fight vs Scotty Jorgensen, a big step up fight in the UK vs Renan Barao and a #1 contender fight vs Eddie Wineland. Now Pickett gets another shot at a big win as he takes on former # contender Michael McDonald. McDonald has his own demons to conquer, mainly getting back to business after a tough title loss to Renan Barao. McDonald to this point has had the best success against McDonald, dropping him in round 1 before slowly running out of steam and getting subbed in the 4th. Mayday is still very talented and very young so another run to the top of the division isn’t out of the equation. If he can improve his cardio and learn to pace his flurries, Mayday could be a future title holder. The same can’t be said for the soon to be 35 year old Pickett. Another loss and Pickett may establish himself as the biggest choke artist at 135 lbs.