Category Archives: Fighter Highlights

UFC: Seven under 30 – Update

23 Aug , 2018,
oleg
No Comments

Some time back, we published an article speculating on who will be the first UFC fighter to reach 30 bouts in the Octagon.

Almost six month later, some of the fighters on this list added to their tally, while others retired or left the promotion. Let’s take a look at who is now the most likely to reach this record first – and the seven has dwindled down to 5 active fighters.

But first, a few notes:

  1. While for most purposes we ignore No Contests (i.e. treat them as if the fight never happened), for the purpose of this record they are considered as valid fights. Once the Octagon doors close and the referee signals the start of action, it’s a fight – no matter if it’s eventually ruled a No Contest. This gives a one-up to Jim Miller.
  2. ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ house fights – generally termed “pro-exhibition bouts” are not counted. If they were included, TUF alumni Diego Sanchez and Michael Bisping would have three and two additional fights each, respectively.
  3. Though Tito Ortiz and Frank Mir both have 27 UFC bouts, they are not included in this list as the probability of either fighting in the UFC again – let alone three more times – is infinitesimally small.
  4. The ‘Average Fights Per Year’ calculation does not include any fights which took place in 2018. The year of fighter’s UFC debut is included in the calculation only if the fighter fought two or more times in their first calendar year; any fights in other promotions in the same year but prior to the fighter’s UFC debut are not included.

Next, the dropouts since the last article:

[#NR MW] Michael Bisping
Michael Bisping has officially announced his retirement from MMA in May 2018, sharing the current record with 29 UFC fights.

[#237 LW]  Gleison Tibau
Gleison Tibau has been released from UFC after losing a decision to Desmond Green at Fight Night 131. He shares the record for second place with 28 UFC fights.

That said, here are our remaining five, listed in the order of likelihood that they will reach the magic number 30 first:

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An Inside Look At Rafael Dos Anjos

21 Jul , 2018,
Jordan Bryant
13 comments

There aren’t many serious MMA fans who haven’t heard of Rafael Dos Anjos, a respected and feared welterweight fighter. Rafael is a dangerous Brazilian 3rd degree Jiu-Jitsu black belt, who has notable victories over dangerous fighters like Robbie Lawler, Donald Cerrone, and Nate Diaz. RDA is an elite striker in the eyes of many, a dangerous jiu-jitsu ace and one of the greatest Lightweights of his generation.

Background

Born the capital of Brazil, Rio de Janiero, in 1984 to a modest family, Rafael was constantly getting involved in street fights in school and in the harsh streets of Rio.

This led to a young RDA being introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the age of nine. He was inspired after watching a Rickson Gracie fight, “Vale Tudo Japan”, an early televised Japanese MMA tournament. According to Dos Anjos, once he began training the street fighting quickly stopped.

Rafael over the years earned his blue belt at the age of 16 under the tutelage of Mr. Barradas. He quickly went on to make a name for himself at Blue Belt by winning a National Championship. RDA was quickly promoted to Purple Belt, where he continued to have success winning the Rio de Janeiro State Championship then the World Championship.

RDA continued his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training and won 3rd place at the Brazilian National BJJ Championship on two occasions as a Brown Belt. This earned him a coveted spot in a restricted group of National Medalist.

Eventually, RDA accomplished the ultimate goal of any Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, being awarded his Black Belt in 2005.

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An Inside Look at The Notorious Rousimar Palhares

Jul , 2018,
Jordan Bryant
4 comments

Rousimar Palhares is quite a polarizing figure within the MMA community and for good reason. He is a dangerous jiu-jitsu expert and has earned a reputation for his submission holds. However, despite this he is an accomplished grappler with an MMA record that’s nothing to sneeze at. Nicknamed Toquinho, for “little tree stump”, comes from his short stocky build. Toquino gained 16 submission victories in MMA with 12 of those coming from leg locks.

Background

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu stand out faced major hurdles and challenges before he ever set foot in an octagon. While most children were going to school, ten year old Palhares along with his sisters worked 13 hour days on a plantation. All while making just enough money to barely survive. From sun up to sun down, he worked, taking care of cattle and cleaning the plantations. Palhares had no opportunity to study or go to school when he was just 10 years old.

As Palhares grew older, his family had enough money to afford him minimal free time. He immediately dove into training martial arts. He first started training Capoeira and then transitioned into Karate. From there he began training jiu-jitsu and with his compact powerful frame he instantly gravitated to it.

When he was 25, Palhares decided to take a leap of faith and left the plantation life and moved to Rio de Janeiro. Once he got to Rio, he began training at Brazilian Top Team. Palhares began his MMA training with the likes of Murilo Bustamante, Ricardo Liborio, Mario Sperry, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Vitor Belfort and Paulo Filho.

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Can The Eagle Soar To A Title At UFC 223?

9 Mar , 2018,
A. J. Riot
2 comments


“UFC Undisputed 2010” by Peiyu Liu (CC BY-NC 2.0)

When Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov takes on Tony Ferguson at UFC 223, their de facto world lightweight title fight will be between two fighters with one combined loss in UFC. With so much on the line, can Nurmagomedov keep his perfect record intact and earn a first UFC championship? Or will Tony Ferguson cash in and turn his interim championship into a real championship?

This fight between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson will be a battle of contrasting styles, thanks to Ferguson’s history of wins via submission and Khabib’s history of winning by knockout or decision. The Russian tends to control fights, waiting for his opponent to wear down to allow him to land the ideal combination to score a finish. If that opportunity doesn’t present itself, he is more than content to win by decision. Ferguson, meanwhile, takes the fight straight to his opponent, getting them out of their comfort zones to score submission wins.

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UFC: Seven under 30

7 Mar , 2018,
oleg
4 comments

Did you think based on the title that this article would be about seven hot UFC prospects under 30 years of age? Nope.  I am talking about the seven fighters with 27 or more UFC fights to their name – guys who are within three fights of reaching the record of 30 official bouts in the UFC Octagon. So who will be the first to achieve this record? Here’s the list of candidates, in the order of probability (in my opinion of course).

But first, a few notes:

  1. While for most purposes we ignore No Contests (i.e. treat them as if the fight never happened), for the purpose of this record they are considered as valid fights. Once the Octagon doors close and the referee signals the start of action, it’s a fight – no matter if it’s eventually ruled a No Contest. This gives a one-up to Jim Miller and Gleison Tibau (questionably – more on that later).
  2. ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ house fights – generally termed “pro-exhibition bouts” are not counted. If they were included, TUF alumni Diego Sanchez and Michael Bisping would have three and two additional fights each, respectively.
  3. Though Tito Ortiz and Frank Mir both have 27 UFC bouts, they are not included in this list as the probability of either fighting in the UFC again – let alone three more times – is infinitesimally small.
  4. The ‘Average Fights Per Year’ calculation does not include any fights which took place in 2018. The year of fighter’s UFC debut is included in the calculation only if the fighter fought two or more times in their first calendar year; any fights in other promotions in the same year but prior to the fighter’s UFC debut are not inocluded.

That said, here’s our magnificent seven:

[#7 MW] Michael Bisping
Age: 38
UFC Fights: 29
UFC Debut: Jun 24, 2006
Current Streak: L-2
Average Fights Per Year: 2.41

While the current record holder for most fights in the UFC will never be in consideration for one of the ‘GOATs’, he is guaranteed a future spot in the UFC Hall of Fame, and his accomplishments in this sport cannot be denied. For most of his UFC career, ‘The Count’ scrapped with the elite fighters in his weight class, but was never quite able to cross that threshold himself – he was good but not great, and seemingly always lost the fights that mattered the most. After a period between 2012 and 2014 where Bisping alternated wins and losses, he has had a late career resurgence, winning five straight in a streak that included capturing and defending the middleweight title, as well as scoring a decision victory over the former 185 lbs king Anderson Silva, and avenging two of his three stoppage losses at the time.

A victory over Georges St. Pierre would have been the crowning feather in Bisping’s countly headgear. Alas it was not meant to be, as Bisping was chocked unconscious in the third round, losing the middleweight title which GSP then promptly relinquished. Motivated by the loss, Bisping decided to get back in the cage as soon as possible, taking on the rising prospect Kelvin Gastelum a mere three weeks after the GSP fight. This proved to be disastrous for The Count, who suffered a brutal knockout loss in the very first round. It might have been the perfect opportunity for him to retire, but not many athletes can admit that it’s time to walk away from the sport they love – especially coming off a bad loss. Bisping has mulled retirement since then, but all signs point to him fighting at least one more time. More than a few middleweights threw their name in the hat to play the role of Michael’s final opponent, and it seems that Luke Rockhold trilogy is the matchup that interests Bisping the most. Should this fight happen some time in the near future, Bisping will almost certainly become the first UFC fighter to step into the Octagon for the 30th time.

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Video: Jon Jones and Anderson Silva Sparring

27 Jul , 2017,
Fairfax
No Comments

This Saturday, Jon Jones will make his return to the Octagon at UFC 214. In the past week, there have been rumors of Jones moving up a weight class to take a superfight against Brock Lesnar, should Jon be victorious against the current light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. Not sure how likely this fight is too happen, but it would be an interesting matchup of styles, even if Jones loses to Cormier.

Another superfight I would have loved to see Jon Jones in a few years back would have been against Anderson Silva. Since that is one fight we will likely never see, the closest we get is this footage of the all-time greats engaging in some fun and friendly sparring:

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Chan Sung Jung: Underrated or Overrated?

28 May , 2014,
jcs
4 comments

Let’s take a look at the current ranking of Chan Sung Jung at various outlets:

Source Rank
MMA Weekly #6
Tapology #6
Sherdog #8
MMA Junkie #8
ESPN #9
MMA Madman #9
Fight Magazine #12
Fight Matrix #24

Now, I’m of the opinion that a top fighter must fight (and win) often enough to sustain such a lofty ranking.

 

If we go back to the start of 2010, we have the following results for Chan Sung Jung:

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Combat Age: Our Latest Creation

29 Apr , 2013,
jcs
10 comments

Now visible in the fighter ranking “hover overs”, is our initial iteration of a statistic we call combat age.

For years, fans have subjectively argued about which fighters were battle-worn and have attempted to link this to the foreshadowing of the end of a fighter’s prime.  With combat age, we are looking to add our objective touch to this.

At it’s most basic level, one can equate “combat age” to “dog years” in that it will mirror the basic human lifecycle.  With this new computation, we expect fighters to hit their respective “peak” in the years that your typical adult “peaks” in life, somewhere between 25 and 40.  We will expect most fighters to start their descent at some point in their 40s and be far removed from their peak by 60.  Please keep in mind, that there will be anomalies, just like in life.  These anomalies (for the most part) will be welcome. Anomalies we cannot prevent, are those that basic fight data can’t convey, such as serious career-altering injuries, non-MMA fight careers or a predisposition to not get knocked out (incredibly hard heads).

In this computation, we will be considering:

  • Biological age.
  • Total fights.
  • Total losses.
  • Stoppage losses.
  • Cumulative fight time.

The included factors, as well as the weighting of said factors are subject to and may very likely change.

For a quick demo of combat age.

Age Combat Age Diff
Forrest Griffin 33 44 +11
Wanderlei Silva 36 56 +20
Georges St. Pierre 31 38 +7
Andrei Arlovski 34 50 +16
Anderson Silva 38 44 +6