UFC 9 – Motor City Madness

17th May 1996, Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan, USA

There’s a change of format for tonight’s event. For the first time ever, there is no tournament. It’s seven stand-alone bouts, including Ken Shamrock defending his Super Fight title for the third time in a rematch against Dan Severn. Following pressure from Senator John McCain, the rules have been adapted to ban head butts and closed hand strikes. Although that’s ignored in most of the fights, it certainly de-supers the Super Fight.

calworsham_display_imageWe open up with two returning fighters. Zane Frazier got his head pounded flat by Kevin Rosier all the way back in UFC 1, while Cal Worsham was holding his own Paul Varelans in UFC 6 until a huge elbow to the top of his head stopped him in his tracks. A few kicks are landed early, but the fighters are looking uncertain, pawing with open hands. Worsham drops for a double leg and takes Frazier to the mat. Rules or not, he lands some short head butts. Frazier looks to John McCarthy for some assistance, but he lets Worsham crack on. The punches start going in too, and John McCarthy remembers he’s supposed to be stopping these techniques so starts chastising Worsham, but with no effect. Frazier decides he’d like to stop eating Worsham’s forehead and taps.

The second fight of the night is 6’8” Brazilian Rafael Carino facing Matt Anderson, who’s a training partner of UFC 3 champion, Steve Jennum. Carino has Anderson on his back in short order, maintains control and gradually works his way to mount. There’s a flash of blood on the forehead of Anderson and John McCarthy stops the fight. A methodical but not particularly thrilling win for Carino.

schultzThe next fight should have been a battle of the big Canadians, with Dave Beneteau facing Gary Goodridge, but Beneteau has broken his hand while preparing. His training partner, highly decorated wrestler Mark Schultz is stepping in on a few hours’ notice to face Big Daddy. Schultz looks really uncomfortable on his feet in the opening few seconds, but as soon as he gets his hands on Goodridge, he explodes into action and takes him down with ease. Schultz has complete ground control and if he was working for the UFC at the time, Mike Goldberg would undoubtedly have uttered the phrase “embrace the grind” multiple times. Half way through the 12 minute regulation time, John McCarthy breaks them up and restarts them on their feet, but Schultz shoots in and puts Goodridge on his back again. Some Ground N Pound (not that the phrase has been coined yet) opens up a cut on Goodridge’s eye brow and Big John stops the fight for the doctor to take a look. It’s not a bad one so they are allowed to restart and it’s the same routine, Schultz gets his hands on Goodridge and slams him to the ground. The bleeding from Goodridge’s cut worsens and as regulation time ends, the doctor takes another look and stops the fight, rather than allow overtime.

hall kitaoNext we have UFC 7 & 7.5 veteran Mark Hall facing the Octagon’s third Sumo fighter, Koji Kitao who outweighs Hall by more than double. As they start, Hall throws a low kick and a punch to Kitao’s face before being taken down hard. The punch has broken Kitao’s nose and there’s a delayed reaction before the blood starts gushing from it. John McCarthy and the doctor take a look, and the fight is stopped. Good effort Mr Hall.

fryeOur final ‘regular’ fight before moving on to the ironically named Super Fight is reigning tournament champion Don Frye returning to fight Amaury Bitetti who’s stepping in to replace Marco Ruas (what a fight that would have been). They clinch up early and Bitetti is initially hanging with Frye, but after a minute or so of dirty boxing, they break and Frye lands a couple of big punches that turn the tide firmly his way. Frye hands Bitetti one of the most savage one sided beat downs you’ll ever see. John McCarthy stops it a couple of times for the doctor to take a look at the cuts, but Bitetti wants to fight on each time. In the end McCarthy saves Bitetti from himself and stops the fight. Amongst his post-fight shout outs, Frye thanks his big brother for “beating him like a red-headed step child” and teaching him how to take a punch. A bit stomach turning in places, but a dominant performance by the Predator.

Which brings us onto the Super Fight. Instructions to not use the head or closed fist were largely ignored for the rest of the card, Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock fully took on board the rules. This has been described as one of the worst MMA fights in history, but in truth, using the word ‘fight’ at all is a bit of a stretch. The majority of the bout is both men circling barely making contact. The fans are booing and chanting “BULL SHIT” and “BORING”, the commentary team are struggling to find anything to talk about, and even John McCarthy is getting annoyed and screaming at them to engage. In the last 10 minutes Dan takes Ken to the ground but he isn’t able to hold him down. A second grappling exchange ends with Dan on his back, mounted by Ken. In the final minute there’s a flurry of action that sees Ken briefly take Dan’s back, but get reversed. In the last 2 minutes of regulation time, Dan finally unleashes the Beast and gives Ken a bit of a mauling. There’s no improvement in the two overtime periods, and Dan Severn picks up a split decision win. Horrible fight.

Dan-Severn

Event Highlights

Even putting the terrible Super Fight to one side, this was not a great event. A couple of the referee/doctor’s stoppages were a bit early, but the Frye / Betetti fight should probably have been stopped much earlier. I personally prefer the stand-alone bouts, but the tournament format was brought back in the next event due to popular demand. The only real highlight was Don Frye being a complete savage.

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UFC 8 – David vs Goliath

16th February 1996, Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum, Bayamon, Puerto Rico

This event has the familiar format of a ‘Super Fight,’ plus an eight-man tournament, but tonight, there’s a twist. All of the first round fights purposely pit a smaller guy against a bigger guy, hence the title of David vs Goliath.

The now familiar commentary team of Bruce Beck, Don Wilson and Jeff Blatnik make the UFC’s first and only trip to Puerto Rico to call the event.

Frye SevernFirst up, we have 206lb Dan Severn protégé Don ‘The Predator’ Frye facing local fighter Thomas Ramirez, who tips the scales at 410lbs. Blink and you’ll miss it. Don Frye throws a lead right hand that knocks Ramirez back, a couple more that glance off, then one more that gets through and Ramirez is out cold, eyes open, but completely glazed over. Welcome to the Octagon Don Frye.

varelans moreiraThe Goliath in the second quarter final is UFC 6, 7 & 7.5 veteran Paul Varelans, facing BJJ legend, Joe Moreira. In contrast to the opening 8 second fight, this one goes the full 10 minutes and isn’t what you’d call a thriller. Moreira is landing the cleaner punches at boxing range, and although he’s unable to get Varelans to the ground from the clinch, he’s landing the better shots on the break. Varelans is relentlessly plodding forward and constantly raising his lead leg, perhaps still sore from the battering it took from Marco Ruas five months earlier. In the end, all three judges give the fight to Varelans, most likely due to the constant forward motion, but it could have easily gone the other way.

The third opener is a double debut of Lion’s Den product Jerry Bohlander, giving away 130lbs to the original Pit Bull, Scott Ferrozzo. In the clinch Ferrozzo is tossing Bohlander around like a ragdoll. Standing and on the ground, Bohlander has to withstand a mauling for the majority of the fight. Bohlander tries to apply a choke using the shoulder strap of Ferrozzo’s wrestling singlet, but it’s not as effective as a gi lapel choke. With just over a minute left, Ferrozzo attempts a throw, but it goes wrong and he’s briefly on the bottom. There’s a scramble and they are back to the feet, against the cage. Bohlander has managed to reach round Ferrozzo’s thick neck for a standing guillotine and gets the tap. Good effort Jerry.

crucifixThe last quarter final is Gary ‘Big Daddy’ Goodridge against Tank Abbott’s buddy, Paul Herrarra. Goodridge is announced as representing the Korean art of Kook Sool Won, although he was allegedly awarded the status of 4th degree black belt after two lessons in the art. Straight out of the traps, Herrera shoots for a double leg and Goodridge sprawls. They roll and come to rest with Herrera trapped in a crucifix. Goodridge slams eight sickening elbows to Herrera’s temple, and he’s out cold after the first two. Absolutely savage finish.

frye-adkinsPaul Varelans is not able to come out for his semi-final, due to a broken foot so alternate Sam Adkins is brought in to face Don Frye. There’s some feinting by both men, but Frye snatches a quick single leg and puts Adkins on his back. There’s some confusion in the commentary team who think they see Adkins tap, but to me it looks more like a panicked grab at Frye to stop the barrage of shots he’s raining down. There’s a lot of claret which prompts John McCarthy to jump in and stop the fight. Adkins is unhappy with the stoppage, but he was in a bad position and was likely done.

The second semi-final is Jerry Bohlander fighting Gary Goodridge, and for the second time tonight, he’s being tossed around by the bigger man. Bohlander is on his back in short order, but to everyone’s surprise, perhaps even his own, he reverses and mounts Goodridge. It’s a temporary state of affairs and Big Daddy powers his way out, back to the top position. Bohlander tries to work an ankle lock with Goodridge standing over him, but he eats a couple of huge punches and John McCarthy steps in to save him. Brave effort by Bohlander, but Goodridge moves on to fight Don Frye in the final.

kimo1Before that final, we have our Super Fight, with Kimo Leopoldo facing defending champion, Ken Shamrock. I’m not sure if Kimo has “forgotten his P.E. kit” but he’s literally fighting in his underwear. Kimo charges across the Octagon and opens up with a low kick, which is met with a straight punch and Ken takes the fight straight to the ground. He methodically works his way from side control to half guard and eventually to full mount. shamrockThere’s a lapse in judgement as Kimo is allowed to sit up. He shows Ken his back but it isn’t capitalised on. Kimo spends a little time on top dropping head butts, but he gives Ken too much distance and gets pushed off. At the third time of trying, Ken secures a knee bar and Kimo taps before he’s taking his leg home in a bag. A masterful display on the ground by Ken Shamrock and an excellent defense of his Super Fight belt.

That just leaves the tournament final to take care of. Don Frye has barely broken a sweat yet, clocking up less than a minute of fight time in the previous two bouts. Goodridge treats us to an impressive gun show as he finally ditches the gi. Frye gets the better of the early stand up, but loses position in the clinch and has his back taken. Big Daddy wastes the positional advantage by lifting and throwing Frye away. They clinch against the cage wall and Frye wins the dirty boxing exchange. Again, Goodridge picks Frye up but this time he stays on him as he throws him to the floor. Frye sneaks out the back door, rolls Goodridge onto his back and begins to unload. Goodridge reaches out an arm and taps the mat. Solid night’s work by Don Frye.

frye goodridge

Event Highlights

Excellent debuts from Gary Goodridge, Jerry Bohlander and especially Don Frye. The Super Fight was pretty entertaining too. Very enjoyable event.

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Ultimate Fight Night – Hunt vs Mir – Results

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20th March Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, Australia

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Here’s how I got on with my bets for Ultimate Fight Night – Hunt vs Mir. All odds quoted were from Paddy Power.

As a reminder, I stuck to the main card for my betting and went for a double on outsiders Bosse and Kelly, followed by a treble on favourites Matthews, Magny and Hunt.

Bec Rawlins vs Seohee Ham

Me and one of the judges both scored this 29-28 Rawlins and the other two judges gave her all three rounds. It was as close as expected and I’m glad I left it out of the bet.

James Te-Huna vs Steve Bosse – Bosse @ 15/8

bosseBosse put the 1st round KO loss from his UFC debut firmly in the rear view mirror by sparking Te-Huna out with a beautiful short right hook. Bosse stood over the face-planted Te-Huna screaming victoriously, but there was no need for any follow up shots. Clean knock out win for Bosse.

Dan Kelly vs Antonio Carlos Junior – Kelly @ 4/1

The 1st round was complete domination on the ground by Antonio Carlos Junior, AKA Shoe Face. Kelly showed a lot of resilience fighting off multiple choke attempts and almost succumbed to an arm bar in the dying seconds of the round. As the 2nd round got underway, it was becoming clear why Shoe Face was such a big favourite. He’s the better striker and on the ground its BJJ World Champion vs BJJ Purple Belt. Kelly was going to have to find something extraordinary to win this. That said, Shoe Face’s double leg attempts were slowing down and he was finding it harder to hold Kelly down as the fight went on. The 3rd round opened up with Shoe Face landing an accidental knee to the groin, but Kelly barely took any recovery time. He wanted to get after it and in the following clinch, he lifted and threw Shoe Face, landing a kick to the head in the melee. Shoe Face attempted a double leg, but ended up on the bottom. Dan Kelly unloaded everything he had and got the TKO stoppage. Wow!! I’d started to say goodbye to my bet, but the Gambling Gods must be on my side tonight. One bet in the bag. Ch-Ching.

Jake Matthews vs Johnny Case – Matthews @ 4/5

The 1st round was almost entirely a close kickboxing match with Matthews landing the majority of the eye-catching shots. The 2nd round added in some grappling that was just as competitive as the stand-up. Matthews landed a couple of heavy body kicks which were the difference in the round. In the 3rd, Case started to slow down a little, possibly as a result of the continued body shots. Just as it looked like we were heading to the judges for a decision, Matthews took Case’s back and worked hard for a choke that got the tap. A well-earned win for Jake Matthews.

Neil Magny vs Hector Lombard – Magny @ 8/11

magny 1Lombard landed an early punch combo that stunned Magny. There was a prolonged ferocious barrage on the ground and I’m sure Magny went out a couple of times. He showed incredible heart to survive and for the last minute of the round, Magny looked the much fresher on the feet. The opening couple of minutes of the 2nd round was all Magny, as he started to utilise his reach and speed advantage, but mid-way through the round, a huge straight left from Lombard dropped him. Rather than pound on Magny, Lombard attempted a leg lock which cost him position. Magny almost finished the fight with a triangle choke, but had to settle for beating the hell out of Lombard for the remainder of the round. Magny took the fight straight back to the ground with ease at the start of the 3rd round, mounted, and resumed the battering he was handing out before the break. Ref Steve Percival had finally seen enough and stepped in to award the fight to Magny by TKO. Fantastic performance.

Mark Hunt vs Frank Mir – Hunt @ 4/7

huntNot much to say about the Main Event. Mark Hunt seemed to be working Frank Mir like a puppet. Every punch or feint he threw was getting a reaction and he was reading what he saw to get his timing down. A few heavier shots started to go in, then at just short of 3 minutes, we were treated to a classic walk-off Mark Hunt KO from a crushing right hand. There was a delayed reaction from ref Marc Goddard as Mir lay on his back staring at the ceiling, but Hunt knew it was over.

So hopefully, lots of you got on both bets with me and are sat wondering what to spend your winnings on. If not, see you back here before the next event and I’ll tell you where my money’s going, and maybe you’ll join me then.

Bet Payout

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Ultimate Fight Night – Hunt vs Mir

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20th March Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, Australia.

Paddy Power offer a wide range of bets on MMA events. If you would like to place a bet on this event, or anything else, you would be greatly supporting MMA Flashback by clicking on the banner above and creating a Paddy Power account. Here are my thoughts on the card and how I’m betting. All odds quoted are from Paddy Power and are correct at the time of writing.

I’m only looking at the main card of this event. I don’t have strong enough feelings about the Prelim fights to put my money on anything there.

mark-hunt-vs-frank-mir-ufc-australia-19-03-16Mark Hunt vs Frank Mir

I love Frank Mir, and I’ve been trying to find a reason to back him in this fight, but I’m struggling. Hunt has knock out power, and win or lose, Frank has a habit of getting hit. It’s a long time since Hunt has been submitted, which is where Mir obviously has the advantage. I think Frank might take a bit of a pounding here. Hunt is a justifiable favourite.

Neil Magny vs Hector Lombard

Hector-Lombard-x-Neil-MagnyMagny has fought 10 times in the last two years and has won 9 of them. The only loss was to Damian Maia who dominated him on the ground, so Magny rocked up to Damian Maia’s next seminar and learned from the man who beat him. Great attitude. Lombard hasn’t fought in over a year after being banned for juicing. Magny is favourite and I’m happy to roll him up in an accumulator.

Jake Matthews vs Johnny Case

Jake Matthews is the narrowest of favourites against Johnny Case. Matthews almost got KO’d and submitted in the first round of his last outing, but fought through it and beat the snot out of Akbarh Arreola in the second round to win by doctor’s stoppage. Case put together an 18-4 record entirely in the Mid-west regional shows, but has since fought in four different countries and time zones in four straight UFC fights. This will be his 5th. It hasn’t resulted in a loss yet, but Brisbane is a LONG way from Iowa, and I’m giving Matthews home field advantage.

Dan Kelly vs Antonio Carlos Junior

Paddy Power have Antonio Carlos Junior installed as 1/6 favourite over Dan Kelly. Sure he won TUF Brazil 3, but he’s only 5-1 (1 NC) and it seems a bit early for him to be that big of a favourite, especially against an Aussie fighting on home turf. I wouldn’t want to put it in an accumulator with the safer bets, but at 4/1, there’s some value in a bet on Kelly.

James Te-Huna vs Steve Bosse

thiago-santos-ufc-fight-night-70-highlights-videoSteve Bosse was 10-1 when he entered the Octagon for the first time, and was on an 8 fight winning streak. He was largely speaking knocking dudes out too, but he got welcomed into the big show by Thiago Santos who gave him a taste of his own medicine, absolutely starching him with a brutal walk off head kick KO in 29 seconds. Te Huna hasn’t won since early 2013, and has lost three on the bounce, although to be fair, against much more seasoned opposition than Steve Bosse (Marquart, Shogun, Teixeira). With all that said, I think Paddy Power might be making a mistake listing Te Huna as a 2/5 favourite. I’m interested in Bosse at 15/8.

Bec Rawlins vs Seohee Ham

Ham is bookies favourite, but despite an unimpressive on paper record of 6-4, Rawlins hasn’t lost in Oz since her 2011 debut. Feels like a pick ‘em and a trap bet.

So, what do we fancy then? Well I’m reasonably confident in the favourites in the top three fights. £5 on Hunt, Magny and Matthews returns £24.43. The longer shots on the card are Kelly and Bosse, and £5 on that double returns a juicy £71.88.

Fiver on each it is then.

bet 1

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UFC 7.5 – The Ultimate Ultimate

16th December, 1995, Mammoth Gardens, Denver, Colorado, USA

UFC 7.5 has a great list of returning fighters, although there are a couple of notable absences. It’s a tournament of two halves, getting off to a cracking start but slowing down to a bit of an endurance event, for fighters and viewers alike. This tournament is the first to use judges in the event of a fight going to the time limit, and they get well used later in the night.

We get underway with UFC 6 runner up Tank Abbott against UFC 3 champion Steve Jennum. Tank takes Jennum to the matt early and scuttles him over to the cage. He pushes his head into Jennum’s face so hard it looks like he’s going to squirt through the gaps in the fence. Jennum is forced to tap.

Next is a battle of the big men, with Dan ‘The Beast’ Severn taking on Paul ‘The Polar Bear’ Varelans. This one’s on the mat even faster than Tank and Jennum were and Severn has side control and at the second attempt, secures an arm triangle choke. Varelans taps.

The third quarter final is the second meeting of Oleg Taktarov and Big Dave Beneteau. In UFC 6 Beneteau got himself caught in a Taktarov guillotine, which has been his go-to move in a lot of his previous fights. Tonight Taktarov has a new move that he’s going to attempt a LOT. He rolls from a standing clinch and grabs Beneteau’s leg. He does eat a kick from the shod Beneteau, but he holds on his leg lock and gets the tap.

19The last quarter final is reigning tournament champion, Marco Ruas against UFC 3 & 4 veteran, Keith Hackney, who for some reason has replaced his usual black gi pants with Lycra incontinence pants. They exchange leg kicks early, and after Hackney misses with a wild overhand right akin to the one that knocked 616lb Emmanuel Yarborough on his ass in UFC 3, Ruas rushes in, rips Hackney to the ground and back-mounts him. Some heavy shots to the back of Hackney’s head create an opening and a rear-naked choke goes on for the early submission.

The semi-finals get underway with Tank Abbott vs Dan Severn. Tank stuffs Severn’s first takedown attempt, but within a minute, he’s grounded and is being mauled by the Beast. Heavy punches, slaps, knees and elbows are relentlessly dropped and although Tank somehow survives, it’s 18 minutes of utter domination. The judges are called into action for the first time in UFC history, and it’s an easy decision for Severn.

miThe Second semi-final is Oleg Taktarov against Marco Ruas. It’s a cautious start from both fighters with Ruas getting the better of the early striking, having particular success with his patented legs kicks that chopped down Paul Varelans with in the previous event. Taktarov tries a front kick of his own but the knee of his standing leg seems to give way. That spurs Taktarov on to close the distance and clinch against the cage. He drops for his second leg lock attempt of the night, but Ruas is wiser to it that Beneteau was and he fights his way out of it. Ruas lands a few shots before Taktarov wall-walks and they’re back to their feet. Ruas is winning the fight so far, but the altitude is starting to take its toll. Both fighters have slowed right down and are breathing heavily. Ruas pauses to adjust his mouth piece Taktarov throws a punch which stuns him. They clinch and Taktarov reaches round Ruas’ neck for a guillotine and pulls guard. He’s not able to finish the choke and John McCarthy stands them back up. Although it’s slow and laboured, Ruas clearly has the edge in the striking. Bizarrely Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson in commentary, and seemingly the judges too, consider Taktarov’s forward plodding is more ‘aggressive’ than Ruas’ counter striking. At only the second time of asking, the judges make a horrible decision and give a fight to Taktarov that for my money, Ruas clearly won.

photo___ID_155So the final is a high altitude battle between two big guys who have already endured 18 minute semi-finals. Strap in. Severn decides he’s had enough of smashing his knuckles up on opponents’ skulls and elects to bitch-slap Taktarov for the opening few minutes instead. For the third time of the night, Taktarov rolls for a knee bar/leg lock, and initially it’s close. Severn rolls out of it and mounts Taktarov. The variety of strikes he used to pound on Tank is replaced almost exclusively with head butts. 15 minutes in, Taktarov manages to find a way back to his feet, and John McCarthy takes the opportunity to have the doctors and cut man take a look at his face, which is starting to resemble a well tenderised steak. They restart, and Taktarov drops for the leg lock again. It goes badly and he finds himself back underneath Severn being savaged. John McCarthy stands them up, and after some ineffective striking, you guessed it, Taktarov drops for a leg lock, which puts him straight back under Severn for some more punishment for the rest of regulation time. Overtime contains a couple more failed leg lock attempt and some ineffective striking all round. Severn cruises to the finishing line for a decision win.

Event Highlight

Erm? Dan Severn utterly dominating I suppose, but it’s no thriller.

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UFC 196 – McGrecor vs Diaz – Results

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5th March 2016, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, USA

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Fight Pass Preliminary card

Julian Erosa vs Teruto Ishihara

Ishihara goes for a kick off the glove touch. Douche! Ishihara’s striking is faster and heavier and he rings Erosa’s bell early. Ishihara comfortably wins the first round. Early in the second, Erosa charges in and is met with a hard left hook that discombobulates Erosa. Ishihara goes in for the kill and wins by KO.

Jason Saggo vs Justin Salas

The early striking is fairly even, but when Saggo tries a heel kick, Salas ducks under for an easy takedown. Saggo reverses Salas and dominates him, taking his back and smashing him. Very impressive.

Diego Sanchez vs Jim Miller

I need a Sanchez win to get my bets off to a winning start. Sanchez sprints across the cage to get at Miller, but there’s no prolonged early storm. Sanchez takes Miller down half way through the first round and although not much damage is done, it probably wins him the round. Miller is getting the edge in the early round 2 striking, but again, Sanchez gets the takedown. This time though, he’s not able to keep Miller down. Towards the end of the round, Miller gets a standing front choke and throws some heavy knees, securing the round for him. Very difficult to pick a winner from the final round, but the judges go Sanchez’ way, which gets me off and running with the bet.

Preliminary Card

Darren Elkins vs Chas Skelly

Skelly went into this fight solid bookies’ favourite despite being the lower ranked fighter. Standing, Skelly’s early striking is much more accurate and Elkins barely survives some excellent heel hook attempts on the ground. Skelly edges the first round on my card. Elkins starts round 2 with a successful take down that also almost relieves Skelly of his shorts. Elkins lands some heavy G’n’P and out-wrestles Skelly to win the round. I have it all square going into the last round but Joe Rogan and also Skelly’s corner think he’s two rounds in the hole and needs a finish. If you’re playing Mike Goldberg cliché bingo, you get your first point for “embracing the grind.” The standing exchanges are more even now, but Elkins is stronger on the ground. He can’t quite get the finish, but easily does enough to secure the round. 29-28 Elkins for me. No one else gave Skelly the first round, and Elkins even got a 10-8 for the last round. Right winner, but scores seemed a little generous to me.

Vitor Miranda vs Marcelo Guimaraes

Looking for a Miranda KO win for the bet here. Guimaraes works hard to get the fight to the ground, but Miranda’s takedown defence is pretty good and he makes Guimaraes pay for the attempts. Difficult round to score as Miranda did spend most of it with his back pressed against the cage, but a late striking exchange maybe swings it his way. Round 2 starts the same way, with Miranda pressed against the cage and, as he did in round 1, he drops a series of heavy elbows to the side of Guimaraes skull. As they separate, Miranda sees Guimaraes isn’t very steady on his feet, so he goes in for the kill. TKO at 1:09 of round 2. 2 up for the first bet.

Erick Silva vs Nordine Taleb

After a couple of minutes sizing each other up, there’s a scare for Taleb as he appears to turn his left ankle. He’s a bit hobbled briefly, but he walks it off. There’s an exchange that puts Silva on his back, and as they get back to their feet, Taleb nods and smiles at Silva. Silva offers his left fist forward for a glove touch and switches it into a left hook. Douche! Taleb is the more accurate fighter and wins the round. Early in the second, Taleb catches a Silva front kick and fires a solid straight right hand down the pipe and knocks Silva out cold. Beautiful bit of poetic justice there.

Brandon Thatch vs Siyar Bahadurzada

The first half of round 1 is Thatch being lighter on his feet and more accurate with his striking. It briefly turns into a bit of a brawl and while that’s probably not Thatch’s game plan, he’s holding his own. Thatch takes Bahadurzada down late but loses position. Should still be a Thatch round on the cards. After getting stung early in the second, Bahadurzada takes the fight to the ground. John McCarthy stands them up despite Bahadurzada being very active from the top. After a brief exchange on the feet, Bahadurzada takes it back down to the canvas and drops some heavy G‘n’P. Clear Bahadurzada round. Thatch is dropped by a heavy right hand early and Bahadurzada goes back to dominating on the ground. McCarthy is quick with the stand up again, but Bahadurzada takes it straight back down. Bahadurzada is already heading for a comfortable decision win, when he passes Thatch’s guard and gets a tap from an arm triangle. Solid performance.

Main Card

Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko

The main card (and the second bet) gets underway with two tough Bantamweight ladies. It’s a cagey start, with Nunes landing more strikes and punctuating the round with a take down. Early in the second they are back to the ground and Nunes is in control. The sight of some claret spurs her on and Shevchenko takes a bit of a beating. Nunes almost finishes with a choke but loses position right on the buzzer. Two rounds in the bag for Nunes. A takedown goes wrong at the start of the third and Nunes ends up on the bottom. She shows her experience and makes her way back up with minimal damage taken. Shevchenko comes alive and dominates the round with her striking, but it’s too little too late and Amanda Nunes is a deserved winner by decision, which is good for bet 2.

Corey Anderson vs Tom Lawler

In the first meaningful exchange, Lawlor wobbles Anderson. He recovers, but Lawlor controls distance and wins the round for me. Anderson comes out a bit more aggressively in the second, but Lawlor has the heavier hands and every exchange slows Anderson down a little. It’s a closer round, but Lawlor edges it on my card. Anderson takes Lawlor down a third of the way into the final round and controls from the top. McCarthy stands them up while Anderson is still working. Not sure what Big John has against grappling tonight. Anderson looks the brighter in the final minute, and clearly wins the round. I have it two rounds to one in favour of Lawlor, but it’s a close one. Surprisingly two of the judges gave all three rounds to Corey Anderson. No way he won the first for me, but as the second could have gone either way, it’s not a controversial result overall. Kills the first bet though.

Gian Villante vs Ilir Latifi

Latifi does his best to neutralise Villante’s kicking with his grappling. It’s a difficult first round to score, but Villante nicks it for me. Latifi catches a kick early in the second round, and as Villante tries to pull his leg out, he gets his back taken and is suplexed. They’re back up fairly quickly and the striking for the rest of the round is pretty even. Latifi finishes the round with a big takedown which maybe swings the round his way. All to fight for in the final round, and Latifi is looking for the finishing shot more than Villante, but with limited success. Latifi closes the round with a takedown which probably banks him the round. All the judges gave all three rounds to Latifi. Pretty surprising that this went the distance.

Holly Holme vs Miesha Tate

This is a very tight fight and it’s hard to split them in rounds 1 and 3. Miesha dominates round 2, possibly with a 10-8 and Holly maybe nicks the 4th. Holly is starting to get the edge in the striking in the final round, but with two minutes remaining Miesha jumps on Holly, takes her back and chokes her unconscious. Well done Miesha. NEW champion!! That’s 2 for 2 in the second bet.

Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz

Conor gets the better of the early striking exchanges, and opens Nate’s right eyebrow up. Comfortable first round in the bank for Conor. Round 2 starts much the same, and by a couple of minutes in Nate is a bloody mess. Then, against the run of play, Nate clips Conor with a left and it evens the fight right up. Not very steady on his feet, Conor goes for a takedown and almost gets caught in a guillotine. There’s a scramble, Nate mounts and drops some bombs. Conor rolls to his front and Nate snatches a rear-naked choke. Conor has no choice but to tap and the hype train is (temporarily) derailed, as is my bet. What a scrap?!

Conor is classy in defeat, and Nate doesn’t rub his face in it. This should hopefully calm the noise around Conor down a little bit and he can get refocused on one division at a time, instead of ruling the entire sport.

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Bet Results
Bet 1 – £5 returning £69.30

Diego Sanchez to beat Jim Miller @ 11/10 – WIN

Vitor Miranda to beat Marcelo Guimaraes by KO @ 6/5 – WIN

Tom Lawler to beat Corey Anderson @ 2/1 – LOSE

Bet 2 – £5 returning £39.89

Amanda Nunes to beat Valentina Shevchenko @ 4/5 – WIN

Miesha Tate to beat Holly Holme @ 9/4 – WIN

Conor McGregor to beat Nate Diaz in round 1, 2 or 3 @ 4/11 – LOSE

I think I was unlucky with the first bet.  For me, Lawlor did enough to win the fight, but for two judges to give all three rounds to Corey Anderson is a bit gutting, having picked the previous two.

No complaints with the second bet. Having picked Nunes and Miesha to win, I was confident going into the main event. Conor just got clipped. It happens, but I’m happy with my selection.

Eyes are on UFC Fight Night Hunt v Mir next. Breakdown and predictions to follow.

UFC 196 – McGregor Vs Diaz

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UFC 196

5th March 2016, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, USA

Paddy Power offer a wide range of bets on MMA events. If you would like to place a bet on UFC 196, or anything else, you would be greatly supporting MMA Flashback by clicking on the banner above and creating a Paddy Power account. Here are my thoughts on the card and how I’m betting. All odds quoted are from Paddy Power and are correct at the time of writing.

Main Card

Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz

hi-res-7f235de884f2143a752d832f4a092f1e_crop_exactAfter Conor’s historic 155lbs meeting with Rafael Dos Anjos fell apart at the last minute, he instead takes on the always game Nate Diaz at 170lbs. Although he’s spent the last three years fighting at 145lbs, he looks every ounce a Welterweight this week. Nate is always tough, but Conor is a justifiably solid 2/9 favourite to win. Mystic Mac has been a little cagey about a round prediction. He says he hopes Nate can make it to the end of the 1st round, but he’s not sure. I like Conor McGregor in rounds 1, 2 or 3 at 4/11.

Holly Holme vs Miesha Tate

image_cropUsing MMAth, Holly beat Ronda, and Ronda beat Miesha, so Holly must beat Miesha right? Actually, I like Miesha in this fight. Knocking Ronda Rousey out to win the title was impressive from Holly Holme, but she wasn’t anywhere near as convincing in her previous two UFC outings, going to a decision both times, one of them a split. Miesha has also gone to a decision in her last 4 fights, winning them all against tougher opponents. This is the opportunity of a life time for Miesha, fighting someone other than Ronda Rousey for the UFC title. I think she gets it done and most likely on points, although as neither have ever gone 5 full rounds, a straight win bet at 9/4 looks best.

Gian Villante vs Ilir Latifi

Paddy Power have Latifi as a 1/2 favourite here, but it looks like a fairly even match to me. Both fighters have a habit of winning or losing by 1st round KO, so it’ll be a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ fight, and it’s a brave man that would put his money on this one.

TomLawler1Corey Anderson vs Tom Lawler

Anderson is favourite at 4/11 here, but ‘Filthy’ Tom Lawlor is a spoiler. 2/1 on him is an interesting one. His last fight was a win over Gian Villante, who is Anderson’s only loss, (more MMAth) and he’s on a mission to get the respect he thinks he deserves. Possible upset here.

Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko

Paddy Power have this very close with Nunes only a very narrow favourite. She looks like a killer to me and although Shevchenko got her UFC contract off to a winning start against Sarah Kaufman in December and is putting together a decent 12-1 record, I like Nunes to stop her.

Preliminary Card

Brandon Thatch vs Siyar Bahadurzada

Thatch has lost his last two, although no shame in going down to Gunnar Neslon and Benson Henderson. Bahadurzada has also dropped his last two. Thatch is installed as favourite here, but you wouldn’t want to back either.

Erick Silva vs Nordine Taleb

Considering the hype around Silva when he entered the UFC, he’s been very hit and miss. His wins have been stunning but he’s 6-5 in the Octagon. Since his arrival, Taleb ground out three decision wins before getting choked by Warley Alves last August. Silva is favourite with the bookies, and it’ll probably be a case of win early or lose late for him. Hard to get the money on though.

Vitor Miranda vs Marcelo Guimaraes

Miranda has won his last couple by TKO and Guimaraes has had two split decision wins sandwiching a KO loss. Miranda has fought successfully at Heavyweight while Guimaraes straddles Welterweight and Middleweight. Miranda to win by KO at 6/5 looks tempting.

Darren Elkins vs Chas Skelly

Amazingly this is Elkins’ 13th UFC appearance and he’s alternating between wins and losses in his last 7 fights (due a loss next if that continues). Skelly is 15-1 overall and can win by KO or submission. Skelly is a justifiable favourite, so not appealing for a bet.

Fight Pass Preliminary card

Diego Sanchez vs Jim Miller

diego_sanchez_faceThere was a time Jim Miller looked on track for a Lightweight title fight. When he met Benson Henderson in August 2011 he was 20-2, 9-1 in the UFC and on a 7 fight win streak. Unfortunately the loss to Henderson derailed him and he’s been 5-5 since. Sanchez went 6-0 in his first UFC appearances, which had him at 17-0 overall. Since then he’s been up and down in weight classes and fought some REALLY tough guys. Miller is slight favourite with the bookies, but at 11/10, I like Sanchez.

Don’t know enough about the four fighters in the opening two bouts to doubt Paddy Power’s assessment that Jason Saggo and Julian Erosa are 4/9 favourites to win.

So, where’s the value? Well at 4/11, getting on Conor McGregor to beat Nate Diaz within the first 3 rounds isn’t an exciting bet on its own, but as part of an accumulator, it’s worth going in. The upsets I like on the card are Miesha Tate to beat Holly Holme, Tom Lawler to beat Corey Anderson and Diego Sanchez to beat Jim Miller. I don’t see Nunes vs Shevchenko as close as Paddy Power do, and I like Miranda to win by KO.

The problem with including the Sanchez or Miranda fights in an accumulator when they happen so early in the night is it can spoil the whole bet if they lose, so I’m going to split into two bets:

Bet 1 – £5 returning £69.30

Diego Sanchez to beat Jim Miller @ 11/10

Vitor Miranda to beat Marcelo Guimaraes by KO @ 6/5

Tom Lawler to beat Corey Anderson @ 2/1

Bet 2 – £5 returning £39.89

Amanda Nunes to beat Valentina Shevchenko @ 4/5

Miesha Tate to beat Holly Holme @ 9/4

Conor McGregor to beat Nate Diaz in round 1, 2 or 3 @ 4/11

UFC 196 bet 1

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