UFC 183 Preliminary Card Predictions

The UFC continues its string of consecutive shows this weekend with UFC 183. Live on pay-per-view in Las Vegas, the card features a number of top fighters in their divisions, as well as some interesting prospects. 

Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz meet in what can be considered a superfight. Silva returns after a gruesome leg injury that could have ended his career against a popular, trash-talking boxer in Diaz. It should be entertaining.

Before that, we have the preliminary card. My record at UFC on Fox was .500, which put a damper on a strong start to the year. We look to get back to our winning ways here in the seven fights on the undercard.

Without further ado, here are the preliminary card predictions for UFC 183 on Saturday.

2015 Riley’s Record: 14-8

Last Event: UFC on Fox 14 (4-4)

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC

UFC 183′s Joe Lauzon and the 8 Most Violent Fighters in the UFC Today

Fighters cut from the same cloth as Joe Lauzon don’t need pristine records to maintain job security in the UFC. Win-loss records don’t carry as much weight in the careers of the sport’s most genuine gladiators.

The UFC has a massive stable of 565 competitors, all of whom have proven capable of putting on captivating shows. However, this countdown is an homage to the most ruthless fighters in the promotion, the guys and gals who act like their lives are on the line every time the Octagon door slams shut.

Whether they’re wrestling, striking or looking to slap on a submission, these fighters always scrap for the finish and rarely leave their fates in the hands of judges.

Here’s a look at the eight most violent fighters in the UFC today.

*Any fighter who hasn’t competed in the last year was not eligible to make this list.

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC

UFC 183: Tyron Woodley Will Show Kelvin Gastelum Not Quite Ready for Primetime

Two welterweights, looking to inch closer towards a title shot, face off at UFC 183 when Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley takes on the undefeated Kelvin Gastelum

Both Woodley and Gastelum come into this Octagon foray off the strength of dominant, first-round finishes. The latter was last seen at UFC 180 choking out perennial 170-pound contender Jake Ellenberger, while The Chosen One dropped Korean striker Dong Hyun Kim with a right hand in August. 

To both fighters’ credit, they are equally dominant. Gastelum went from the last pick on Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter to top-10 welterweight in less than two years. Since his win over Uriah Hall in the finale, the No. 7-ranked welterweight defeated Brian Melancon, Rick Story, Nico Musoke and Ellenberger.

Though the 23-year-old Gastelum has improved in each bout after his TUF stint, he hasn’t fought anyone quite like Woodley

The Chosen One is much more than your typical bruising knockout artist. Woodley is a former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt, whose rise to stardom started in Strikeforce. 

Woodley nearly went undefeated through 11 fights in the now defunct promotion. He notched four finishes in his first five bouts in Strikeforce, which included a run of three-straight submission victories to open his career.

As success mounted, so did Woodley‘s competition. The Chosen One deployed a wrestling-heavy game plan against the likes of strikers Tarec Saffiedine and Paul Daley, notching decisions in both contests.

Wins over the aforementioned Saffiedine and Daley helped propel Woodley into a bout for the vacant 170-pound belt against former UFC middleweight title challenger Nate Marquardt. The American Top Team staple ultimately fell short in his first crack at gold, losing in a back-and-forth affair via fourth-round TKO. 

This stigma of being unable to hurdle the gates that separate the mixed martial arts elite from the would-be contenders has continued to haunt him throughout his UFC tenure. Woodley‘s flame has fizzled out on two instances.

He lost lackluster decisions to former top contender Jake Shields and fellow top-five welterweight Rory MacDonald in June 2013 and 2014, respectively. His performances, when the lights are at their brightest, have drawn criticism from UFC President Dana White.

This is in no way an indictment against his MMA repertoire. In fact, it’s because White expects more from the high-octane Woodley

With a dominant win over Gastelum, the No. 3-ranked welterweight can close the door on the criticism. Gastelum, on the other hand, will be fighting on the main card of a pay-per-view for just the second time in his short professional career. It will also be his first, co-main event spot.

From underdog, to one of the main attractions at UFC 183, Gastelum has shown he has the heart of a future champion. The tenacious wrestler found success on the mat against Hall and Melancon but it was his striking, as well as his chin, that took center stage when he faced grapplers Story and Musoke

Gastelum‘s fight with Story, in particular, showcased his expanded arsenal and ability to withstand a hard shot. Halfway into the first round, Gastelum connected with a head kick, nearly finishing Story in the process.

In the second round, the burgeoning contender was dropped by a straight left and kept his wits about him long enough to be saved by the bell. His last win over the heavy-handed wrestler Ellenberger was his most complete performance yet. 

Following a tense few minutes, which saw each fighter record a takedown, Gastelum sunk in the rear-naked choke during the closing seconds of round one. The victory gave the Yuma United MMA fighter his first win over a top-10 opponent.

Woodley, though, is on a whole different playing field than any of the men Gastelum has faced. The Chosen One was once in the same position as his current undefeated foe. 

Woodley has been through a title fight, fulfilled countless media obligations and was featured in Affliction advertising campaigns. He’s seen the peaks and valleys that the MMA universe has to offer and The Chosen One isn’t about to let another opportunity slip through his fingers.

The former collegiate wrestler from Missouri sports one of the best takedown defense rates in the welterweight division at 91 percent. Woodley also has the benefit of top-tier training partners such as former Missouri wrestling teammate, and Olympian, Ben Askren.

If Ellenberger, a Division II wrestler from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, can toss Gastelum around, then there’s no telling what Woodley can inflict upon him. The clinch is another aspect in which the Missouri native will have an upper hand. 

Though Gastelum has fought at middleweight before on TUF, Woodley carries much more muscle and is the bigger of two. In fights against Saffiedine and Daley, more than half the shots Woodley landed were from the clinch. 

The chances that The Chosen One gets dragged into Gastelum‘s world are slim to none. As a top-notch wrestler, and someone who hasn’t been submitted before, expect Woodley to intelligently defend himself should this bout with the choke-happy Gastelum hit the canvas. 

Perhaps, most importantly, Woodley has demonstrated multiple times now that his one-punch knockout power is nothing to laugh at. He’s defeated Jay Hieron, Josh Koscheck and former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit by knockout.

Gastelum has been on one heck of a storybook run and has made significant improvements in the wrestling, striking and submission phases of his game. However, Woodley is much more complete than he is and should close the book on him come January 31. 

Read more UFC news on BleacherReport.com

Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC

Fomer WEC Champ Brian Bowles Arrested on Possession of Meth, Other Drug Charges

Veteran MMA fighter Brian Bowles reached rarefied air in 2009 when he captured the WEC bantamweight title. Five years later, it seems he’s come all the way back down the mountain.

Bowles and an associate were reportedly arrested earlier in January in Bowles‘ Georgia home and charged with multiple drug offenses, including the possession of methamphetamine.

The report comes from, of all places, a Jan. 19 post on the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page (h/t Sherdog). The post stated that the actual arrest had been made Jan. 14 and read in part:

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office arrested Rhomney Marie Moon (35) of Jefferson, Georgia and Brian David Bowles (34) also of Jefferson, Georgia on drug related charges … Moon and Bowles were both arrested and transported to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. Moon has been arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of a schedule IV drug, possession of schedule IV drug with intent to sell, possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of tools for the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Bowles is charged with the same. Both are currently incarcerated.

It appears Bowles and Moon are still locked up in jail and awaiting their next legal move, which to this reporter is entirely uncertain.

In 2009, Miguel Angel Torres was the unquestioned lord and master of MMA’s bantamweight contingent and was starting to creep up those pound-for-pound lists as well. Holding the WEC belt for a year-and-a-half—back when the WEC was the top of the mountain for lighter-weight fighters—was no small deal, nor was the 17-fight winning streak he had overall.

So when Bowles knocked him out in the first round of their title fight at WEC 42, it was a pretty juicy upset.

He went on to win other bouts, but none had the total impact on Bowles and his career arc that that one had.

Bowles last fought professionally in May 2013, losing the fight but also failing a drug screen because of excessive T/E ratios. Bowles was suspended for nine months because of the failure.

It was unclear whether or when Bowles (10-3) was planning to return to pro MMA. But with all this unevenness of late, it might not be looking good for him.

Read more UFC news on BleacherReport.com

Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC

UFC Rankings: Good Calls and Bad Calls Following UFC on Fox 14

With a win over Alexander Gustafsson in Sweden, Anthony Johnson emerged as the top contender in the light heavyweight division and is expected to be booked for a championship bout opposite Jon Jones soon.

Rumble has had quite the career turnaround. Only three years ago, he was released by the UFC after missing weight prior to a middleweight bout with Vitor Belfort. Now, he’s arguably the scariest striker at 205 pounds and has the ability to claim the light heavyweight belt with one punch.

Since Gustafsson was previously ranked No. 1 among light heavyweight contenders and in the Top 15 pound-for-pound UFC combatants, Johnson’s win on Saturday is bound to cause some movement in the UFC rankings. Was it enough to vault Rumble into the pound-for-pound rankings?

Here are the latest official UFC rankings, via UFC.com, which are voted on by members of the MMA media.

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC