Tag Archives: Luke Rockhold

UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2 – Main card predictions

The UFC heads to Utah for a huge welterweight showdown as Kamaru Usman defenders his 170-pound crown against Leon Edwards in the main event.

The two fight for a second time, with neither fighter suffering defeat since the first showing back in 2015 and are supported by an undercard including Paulo Costa, Luke Rockhold, Jose Aldo, Merab Dvalishvili, Alexandr Romanov, Miranda Maverick and more.

Last time out at UFC San Diego we went 8/13 with three perfect picks to move to 698/1082 (64.51%) with 295 perfect picks (42.26%). You can see our full picks history here.

We’ll look to improve on that now and after starting with the early prelims, here are the rest of our prelims picks.

Tyson Pedro (8-3) vs Harry Hunsucker (7-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

If anyone can explain why this happening at all, never mind on the main card of a pay-per-view, then they’re better than me. Pedro returned from over three years out through injury with a first-round KO of Ike Villanueva back in April, while Hunsucker has lost three of his last four and got starched in under two minutes by both Tai Tuivasa (UFC Vegas 22) and Justin Tafa in his most recent fight.

Pedro looked great on his return and showed tremendous cardio, as well as explosive power with his kicks and hands to earn a knockout. Hunsucker is a guy who likes to stand in the middle and trade strikes, but doesn’t have the chin to stand there with the UFC calibre of fighter, never mind Pedro.

This is a weird fight because they’re galaxies apart in terms of ability, but also because of it’s placement on the card. Pedro blasts him with low kicks and combinations down the pipe to earn another knockout win and put an end to Hunsucker’s UFC run.
PICK – Tyson Pedro via Knockout, Round 1

Wu Yanan (12-5) vs Lucie Pudilova (13-7) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun woman’s bantamweight scrap that got shifted to the main card on late notice. Yanan has lost her last three in a row, dropping decisions to Mizuki Inoue, Joselyne Edwards and Mayra Bueno Silva. Pudilova alternatively has won her last two in a row and makes her second UFC debut in this one.

Yanan is a striker with good movement who looks to stick and move throughout the fight, while Pudilova is a more powerful striker who likes to step forward and apply pressure on her opponent. Yanan likes to try and set up strikes by changing direction, but her distinct lack of power and the fact she gets hit quite a lot certainly doesn’t help.

Pudilova isn’t the most powerful either but she is definitely more powerful than Yanan. She’s the slightly bigger woman of the two and could use that to wear on Yanan throughout, but expect her to land the more noticeable strikes with a bit more power to claim a win on the scorecards on her return to the octagon.
PICK – Lucie Pudilova via Decision

Jose Aldo (31-7) vs Merab Dvalishvili (14-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An incredible fight in the bantamweight division up next. Featherweight GOAT and title contender Jose Aldo has won his last three in a row with decisions against Marlon Vera (UFC Vegas 17), Pedro Munhoz (UFC 265) and most recently Rob Font (UFC Vegas 44). Merab is on a seven-fight win streak, including a stunning comeback win against Marlon Moraes at UFC 266 most recently.

Aldo is one of the very best strikers in UFC history, with terrific boxing and terrifying low kicks but he also has some of the best takedown defence ever and a elite ground game that he rarely ever has to use. Merab on the other hand is one of the most dominant wrestlers in the UFC, with the most takedowns in bantamweight division history and a ridiculous cardio that means he can seemingly go for forever. That is arguably his biggest avenue to victory here, because we’ve seen Aldo tire out in the past later in fights.

On the feet Aldo has a clear and dominant advantage, but if he looks to wrestle in any way at any time then he faces getting absolutely smashed. Merab will almost certainly take the centre and shoot relentlessly for 15 minutes. His success on the first two attempts will say a lot, but he also must avoid being hit clean because we’ve already seen Moraes hurt him last time out too. This is a super hard fight to call, but I think the cardio and grappling of Merab will eventually take it’s toll on the 35-year-old Aldo and claim him a tight decision win.
PICK – Merab Dvalishvili via Decision

Paulo Costa (13-2) vs Luke Rockhold (16-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A crazy fight in the co-main event at this stage of their careers. Costa was an undefeated behemoth before suffering a KO defeat against Israel Adesanya at UFC 253, before getting wrestled to death by Marvin Vettori in October after missing weight by 20lbs and watching the fight get moved up to light heavyweight in advance because of it. Rockhold has been knocked out cold in his last two fights by Yoel Romeo and Jan Blachowicz. This is his first fight in over three years.

Costa is a powerhouse who walks forward and blasts incredible combinations to the body and head while trying to take your head off, while also possessing a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt – although we’ve never seen him use it in the Octagon. Rockhold is a tremendous kickboxer with great power too, and he arguably has some of the best top position work in the entire UFC as well as great jiu-jitsu himself. Both guys have a huge problem in this fight though.

Costa is obviously going to have issues making weight, and that’s a big problem. The Brazilian literally couldn’t do it last time out, but is looking to do it again here and if he does make it, there will be a question mark around how compromised he is. Rockhold’s is his glass jaw. It will be tested in this fight, without a doubt. Unfortunately for him, after three years out, I highly doubt it has improved. Costa walks him down and turns the lights out on his MMA career early doors, despite the likely difficult weight cut.
PICK – Paulo Costa via Knockout, Round 1

Kamaru Usman (20-1) vs Leon Edwards (19-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The two best welterweight fighters in the entire world go head to head for the welterweight title of the world. Usman has defended his title five times with knockout and decision wins over Jorge Masvidal (UFC 251 & UFC 261) and Colby Covington (UFC 268) each, as well as a knockout over Gilbert Burns too (UFC 258). Edwards is on a ten-fight unbeaten streak with a no contest against Belal Muhammad in a fight he was dominating being followed up with a dominant win over Nate Diaz at UFC 263.

Usman is probably the best wrestler in the UFC right now, but his striking game has elevated in recent years and seen him develop great power in his strikes too. Edwards is a brilliant striker with great accuracy, technical ability and speed, with a wrestling game that has improved ten-fold since defeat to Usman back in 2015. Both guys have improved tremendously and this is a really tough fight to call because both are so good in all disciplines.

But there is one thing that stands out, and that’s a Joe Rogan quote about wrestling, when he said that there’s only so much you can learn against someone who has a “lifetime” of it. That’s the situation Edwards finds himself in. Usman has fallen in love with his hands of late, and Edwards is more than good enough to make him pay for that. But Usman has the ability to dictate where this fight takes place, and if it’s going wrong I expect him to wrestle and control Edwards on the ground for long periods to claim a close decision and break the record for most consecutive wins in UFC history.
PICK – Kamaru Usman via Decision

Luke Rockhold withdraws from UFC 268 bout; Sean Strickland responds

UFC 268 has taken a hit after Luke Rockhold withdrew from his middleweight return bout againt Sean Strickland through injury.

The former 185lbs champion has been out of action since a knockout defeat to Jan Blachowicz back in 2019 after he moved up to light heavyweight.

He was however due to return back down to middleweight for a bout against number 7 ranked Strickland in New York at UFC 268 next month.

However after back and forth exchanges on social media between the two fighters, the fight will be shelved for now after Rockhold revealed he herniated a disc in training and will be unable to fight.

In a statement posted to his official Instagram account, the Team AKA affiliate said;

“There’s no easy way to really say it but the fight is off in New York.

“I ended up herniating a disc in my back, L4, L5, and the docs say it’s nothing I can play with. I need to do some treatment with some recovery time.

“Some things just aren’t meant to be. New York, motherfucking New York. Sorry to the friends and the family and the peeps and all the people but we’ll be back. Till next time.”

Rockhold won the championship against Chris Weidman back in 2015 but has since gone 1-3 in his professional career, losing the belt to Michael Bisping in his next bout.

Strickland has been on a tear since returning from a big injury himself and is currently on a five-fight win streak, with four victories since October 2020.

The 30-year-old responded to the news on his own Instagram comments section, claiming he never expected the fight to happen and revealing a sparring tale from between the two in the past.

He was never going to make the fight lmao.. no one is surprised.

I sparred him once and almost put him out.. didn’t even spar the second round, just walked out of the gym lmao.. I knew this wasn’t happening.”

The UFC are now searching for a new opponent for Strickland, although it’s not guaranteed that they will find one with much of the top end of the division already booked up or having recently fought.

UFC 268 will take place on November 6th from Madison Square Garden and will be headlined by two title fight rematches.

Kamaru Usman will defend his welterweight title against long-time rival Colby Covington while Rose Namajunas makes the first defence of her second strawweight reign when she takes on Weili Zhang again in the co-main event.

UFC Vegas 6 Fallout: What Next For Derrick Lewis and Chris Weidman?

One of the less impressive cards on paper in recent times turned into an entertaining one at the UFC Apex thanks to six finishes on the night.

Derrick Lewis won the main event with an explosive start to the second round after struggling in the first with Alexei Oleinik’s grappling skills, while Chris Weidman got back in the win column for the first time since July 2017 with a hard fought decision win over Omari Akhmedov.

Darren ‘The Dentist’ Stewart shocked everyone when he submitted Maki Pitolo in the first round via guillotine choke and Beneil Dariush continued his win streak in a foul-littered first round when he knocked out Scott Holtzman with a stunning spinning back-fist.

Further down the card, Andrew Sanchez stopped up and coming prospect Wellington Turman via knockout in the first round with a huge right hand. Returning fighter Gavin Tucker had to weather the storm against Justin Jaynes after being knocked down, but it seemed to wake him up and he went up a gear to get the finish in the second round.

While the card and results won’t do much for any future bouts in reality, it does throw up a few fun scenarios. Derrick Lewis said he won’t be taking any fights until the end of the year because he wants to lose 15-20lbs, but was then immediately called out on Twitter by #3 ranked heavyweight Curtis ‘Razor’ Blaydes.

Blaydes is coming off a win over Alexander Volkov back in June, when he dominated for the majority of the fight before his cardio seemed to drain away and Volkov looked to make a comeback. Dana White said after that fight that he wasn’t impressed by Blaydes’ performance and the 29 year old knows he’s behind Francis Ngannou in the pecking order for a title shot.

At middleweight, Chris Weidman got his first win in over three years and declared that he’s back. The ‘All-American’ showed his wrestling skills as usual with a strong display in the first and third rounds, despite his energy being completely drained by midway in the second. It’s only his second win since he lost his 185lbs title to Luke Rockhold back in 2015 and there are now calls for a rematch to take place between two fighters who’s careers have only gone downwards since winning the belt.

Rockhold has lost 3 of his 4 fights since he beat Weidman, being knocked out on every occasion. Both fighters tried their luck in the light heavyweight division but were knocked out and now that Weidman has come back down and won, it’s possible that Rockhold could do the same.

If not, there is a chance that Weidman takes on Anderson Silva for a third time although that’s slim. Akhmedov was ranked at #11 going into this fight so it can be expected that Weidman will take that spot. He spoke prior to this fight about how potential bouts with Edmen Shahbazyan, Jack Hermansson and Yoel Romero never quite came to fruition. With Shahbazyan losing to Brunson in his last fight and being ranked ahead of Weidman, that’s a logical fight to revisit and book for later this year.

All eyes are now on the future of the middleweight and heavyweight divisions but with titles fights in both scheduled for the next two pay-per-view cards, the cogs in the machine are all moving.

Top 10 Most Creative Submissions Ever

Everyone loves a good slug-fest when it comes to a fight. Two fighters looking to take each other’s head off with strikes will almost always be the way to a casual fan’s heart.

But submissions can sometimes be just as brutal and creative. I took a look back through the archives and decided on my Top 10 most creative submissions in MMA history.

#10 Aleksei Oleinik – Ezequiel Choke from the bottom

Aleksei Oleinik has made this choke more known now, but when he pulled it off from the bototm nobody knew what had just happened. ‘The Boa Constricter’ looked like he was in trouble when his opponent Viktor Pesta was ground and pounding him from a half mount position. The veteran had already pulled the choke off in his 12 times career, but when he slid one arm under the neck and then tightened down his grip it was the first time a fight was ended with the choke in UFC history. Pesta went from punching to tapping in a matter of seconds and Oleinik got the historic win.

#9 Ben Saunders – Omoplata

A relatively popular submission for its rarity in being able to actually successfully pull it off, Ben Saunders grabbed the first Omoplata submission victory in UFC history. During his fight with Chris Heatherly in 2014, Saunders found himself in a promising position and decided to proceed despite the difficulty of the task. He got his leg over the shoulder of his opponent before cranking on the joint, bringing Heatherly to near tears due to the excruciating pain. He got the tap and to this day it remains one of only two Omoplata victories in UFC history.

#8 Korean Zombie – Twister

Back in 2011, Chan Sung Jung was an up and coming Featherweight looking to make a name for himself. ‘Korean Zombie’ put himself into the history books that night by securing the first ever Twister submission victory in the UFC. Similarly to the Omoplata, the submission is notorious for it’s difficulty to pull off, with so many factors at play. Sung Jung didn’t care though, as he took the back of Leonard Garcia before switching his hooks to controlling just one leg, putting his opponents arm behind his own head and then cranking the head to completely contort the spine for the tap. A submission befitting of its name.

#7 Chris Lytle – Triangle Choke & Americana Combo

There aren’t many things worse than finding yourself caught in a reverse triangle choke. Imagine that but then the man applying the choke grabs your arm for an Americana too. That’s what happened when Chris Lytle fought Jason Gilliam back in 2007. ‘Lights Out’ found himself in top position with a triangle applied to his opponent and despite Gilliam turning bright red, he was surviving. So Lytle decided to take a limb too and grabbed Gilliam’s right arm and proceeded to apply an intense Americana, forcing his opponent to tap-out to two submissions at the same time.

#6 Luke Rockhold – Kimura & Inverted Triangle Choke Combo

We’ll never know if this was inspired by the previous entry but I’m going to suggest that it was. When Luke Rockhold fought Tim Boetsch back at UFC 172, he was the favourite having just knocked out Costas Philippou 3 months earlier. But nobody expected the level of dominance that came. In the first round, Rockhold had got the fight to the ground and got himself into a dominant position. With a triangle choke applied to Boetsch, Rockhold then decided to turn the pressure up further and locked in a kimura. Boetsch tried to defend it but was left helpless and forced to tap out.

#5 Charles Oliveira – Reverse Calf Slicer

Charles Oliveira is one of the most creative fighters in the UFC, with over 25 fights in the organisation to date. With a record of 29-8-1, nobody will be surprised to see him make this list with one of his 19 submission wins. It’s his submission of relative nobody Eric Wisely that stands out the most of all though. In the first round, Oliveira had the back of Wisely before locking a leg and dragging his opponent over his head. He controlled the upper body with pure strength while forcing the leg of Wisely back under himself and squeezing with his own two legs. A phenomenal submission and one we haven’t seen since in MMA.

# 4 Pat Curran – Peruvian Neck Tie

The Peruvian necktie submission is one of the tightest chokes in the game. A d’arce choke wasn’t enough for Bellator’s Pat Curran in 2011 as he squared off with Luis Palomino. When ‘Baboon’ managed to partially escape, Curran decided to explode and leap over his opponents heads placing both legs on his back and sinking in the Peruvian necktie submission against his Peruvian opponent.

#3 Nick Pace – The Pace Choke

During his fight with Will Campuzano in 2010, Nick Pace wrote himself into MMA folklore with his very own submission. While on his back, it looked like he was looking for a triangle choke submission. However he never quite locked it in, but his opponent tapped. Joe Rogan was astonished and once the replay was shown, it came to light that Pace had thrown his right arm under the neck of Campuzano and his leg over the neck. He then pulled down on his foot for extra leverage before finally securing a gable grip and forcing the tap. During his post-fight Octagon interview, he revealed he made it up on the spot and when pressed for a name for his new move Nick named it after himself and thus, the Pace Choke was born.

#2 Zabit Magomedsharipov – Suloev Stretch

A man more known for his spinning strikes and creativity on the feet, Zabit Magomedsharipov stunned everyone when he pulled out this submission win back in 2018. Fighting Brandon Davis, Zabit used a swift leg sweep to take the fight to the ground before locking in both hooks and taking the back. After attempting a rear-naked choke, Zabit switched his attack and rolled through while keeping the leg locked in place. He forced Davis to essentially do the splits while laying with Zabit underneath him and forcing his leg toward his head. A phenomenal display of adaptability from Zabit and an all-time great submission.

#1 Demetrious Johnson – Flying Armbar

For me, the greatest submission victory in UFC history belongs to Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson during his World title fight against Ray Borg in 2017. After completely dominating his opponent during his record-setting eleventh title defence, Mighty Mouse shocked the world when he pulled this submission out of nowhere. While having the back of Borg, DJ threw a knee to the thigh before suplexing the ‘Tazmexican Devil’ over his head. But as Borg went for a ride, Johnson adjusted in mid-air and stepped to the side while grabbing an arm and locking in a deep armbar all in one swift motion. Borg held out for a few seconds but as the grip was adjusted and torqued, he had no option but to tap and Johnson retained his belt while winning Performance of the Night for the stylistic win.