UFC Fight Night 66 Gets Gegard Mousasi vs. Costas Philippou

On the heels of knockout wins in their most recent outings, middleweight contenders Gegard Mousasi and Costas Philippou have been booked to meet at UFC Fight Night 66.

Along with a welterweight bout between Neil Magny and Hyun Gyu Lim, the matchup between Mousasi and Philippou was announced on UFC.com.

In January, Mousasi rebounded from a loss to Ronaldo Souza by stopping Dan Henderson with strikes. With the win, he joined Vitor Belfort as one of only two fighters to knock out Henderson. So, while a win over Henderson doesn’t mean what it once did, Mousasi still impressed by finishing the former Pride FC champion.

Forced to withdraw from a scheduled January bout against Uriah Hall, Philippou has not stepped into the Octagon since last May. He did look excellent in his most recent appearance, though, as he broke a two-bout losing streak with a knockout win over Lorenz Larkin.

With Mousasi currently ranked No. 7 and Philippou No. 12 in the UFC middleweight division, this will be a pivotal matchup for both competitors. Mousasi could fall out of the Top 10 with a loss, while Philippou has a chance to enter the Top 10 with an upset win.

Philippou’s boxing background is what makes this matchup particularly intriguing. Not many opponents are willing to stand with Mousasi, but Philippou will likely be planning on doing so, which could be an entertaining stand-up bout for the fans.

Headlined by a blockbuster bout between Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber, UFC Fight Night 66 will take place May 16 in Pasay City, Philippines. It’s not official, but Mousasi and Philippou would appear to be shaping up as the co-main event on the card.

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC

Duke Roufus Offers 1st Glimpse into CM Punk’s MMA Training

CM Punk has his work cut out for him as he makes his move from professional wrestler to pro MMA fighter. It could be many months of toil before he emerges feeling prepared to meet his goal.

And if he gets there, it will be under the wing of Duke Roufus, head coach of the Milwaukee Roufusport Gym. That is the training home to UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and One FC welterweight champ Ben Askren, among others.

It’s been a fairly opaque process for us outsiders. Until today, that is, when Roufus himself graced us with a photo and a few words on how Punk (nee Phil Brooks) is coming along:

“Punk has some things to work on but he showed a lot of #potential,” read part of RoufusInstagram post.

Looks like he’s concentrating on keeping his hands up and his feet in the right position. That’s good. And he’s got the headgear on there. Safety first, safety first.

Though it is anyone’s guess when Punk might debut with the UFC or to what extent he will be able to compete with other professional fighters, he will surely get that shot eventually—and under some pretty bright lights.

Marking his first apparent scrimmage, Roufus‘ post is a good step in that direction.

Punk, a multititle holder in the WWE, abruptly and mysteriously retired in 2014 from professional wrestling. A few months later, he announced he would begin training to make a run at a UFC berth. The 36-year-old has said he will fight either at middleweight or welterweight, most likely.

Roufus and Roufusport are known for a particular emphasis on kickboxing. Punk, with an amateur background in wrestling and jiu-jitsu, seemed to feel that his striking was the biggest area of need for an MMA fight.

He will certainly receive plenty of that at Roufusport.

In his wrestling days, Punk—known for using his real-life straightedge lifestyle as a gimmick both to endear himself to and rile up fans—held the WWE Championship for 434 days for the sixth-longest title reign in WWE history.

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Former UFC Champ Rich Franklin on Anderson Silva: ‘My Heart Bleeds for the Guy’

Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin recently commented on the media firestorm surrounding the recent failed drug tests of pound-for-pound great and one-time Octagon adversary Anderson Silva.

The Spider was given a temporary suspension by the Nevada Athletic Commission in a February hearing and will face further discipline at a commission meeting later this month. Franklin, who lost his title in lopsided fashion to Silva at UFC 64, told Submission Radio that the positive tests overshadow what was an otherwise surefire Hall of Fame-caliber career: 

Anderson’s had this long run and then of course when something like this happens the fans are going to start asking, “Well how long has he been on this stuff?” It’s a shame to think that that is going to tarnish his reputation. I don’t know how they do it, like with masking agents and I’m not saying that that’s the case with Anderson, but if people are going to start questioning that and wondering that, and it’s just….like honestly, my heart bleeds for the guy man.

Silva most recently fought at UFC 183 in a middleweight encounter with former Strikeforce welterweight titleholder Nick Diaz. The 39-year-old conquered the Stockton slugger on January 31, but had his unanimous-decision victory overturned to a no-contest following the failed tests. 

Silva failed a pre-fight drug test on January 9, which yielded positive results for the steroids Drostanolone and Androsterone. He also flunked a post-fight test for the anti-anxiety medications Oxazepam and Temazepam.

The fight with Diaz was his first bout in over a year after The Spider was shelved and forced to recover from a disturbing broken left leg injury suffered at UFC 168. As word of the failed tests came out in early February, many mixed martial arts pundits—including Franklincalled Silva’s 10 title defenses into question: 

Listen, to say that thought never crossed my mind would be a lie. I don’t know if he was using it back when he fought me or not. I’m not sure it would have made a difference and I don’t want to blame a loss on that kind of stuff or anything. I would probably lean more towards in the Anderson case that this was something that helped him recover from his injury and all that kind of stuff, and on the back end he ends up getting caught doing it.

Was Silva’s use of performance-enhancing drugs solely for purposes of rehabilitation, or has his career been fueled by obtaining a competitive advantage over his Octagon foes?

It appears, though, as if we are on the verge of receiving our answer. On the eve of his March hearing with the Nevada Athletic Commission, the Brazilian and his camp are prepared to argue that his use of PEDs was therapeutic, as per MMAjunkie’s Brent Brookhouse

A report by Brazilian website UOL (h/t Brent Brookhouse) states, “Silva representatives will claim the dosage of the anabolic steroids was low enough to not provide any competitive advantage and that they were not intentionally deceptive in their usage of the drugs.”

Silva’s time in the Octagon was already slowly coming to a halt. Pending the punishment handed down by the Nevada Athletic Commission, the soon-to-be 40-year-old cannot keep competing at the high level he has been accustomed to for much longer.

His commendable, but average, performance against Diaz just over a month ago had fans wondering if he’d ever return to his previous, destructive self. Meanwhile, over the past few years, friend and current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has taken out former champs, etching out his own place on MMA‘s Mount Rushmore. 

I’ll never look at Anderson as a cheater. What he’s been able to accomplish throughout his career is just unbelievable,” Jones told MMA Fighting. “He’s still a guy I admire and look up to tremendously and I’m pulling for him to just get through all this and continue being the champion that he’s been.”

Similarly, training partner and current UFC middleweight Lyoto Machida sung Silva’s praises: 

“I’m very surprised, but I think he’s [Silva] a victim, he’s a story,” Machida told MMA Digest. “I prefer not to talk about that because it’s a very difficult situation. I have a lot of confidence in Anderson.”

Silva’s fighting career is in the hands of the Nevada Athletic Commission. Later this month, we will find out if the punishment fits the crime.

Not only will he face disciplinary action from the commission, but also from his employer. Based upon the UFC’s newfound stance on PEDs, it could be a long time before MMA’s GOAT sets foot in the Octagon again. 

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC

Can UFC Star Ronda Rousey Really Beat Up a Male Fighter? Who Cares?

In her last two UFC title defenses, bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has beaten opponents Alexis Davis and Cat Zingano in a combined 30 seconds.

That is not a misprint.  

Matched up with the very best women in world, Rousey has barely managed to break a sweat. It took her longer to explain her armbar win over Zingano than it took her to execute it. She is, without question, a force of nature.

Imagining her against other female athletes, frankly, is becoming a little bit difficult to pull off. What is the best-case scenario for a title challenger at this point? Someone pushes her into a second round? Actually wins a round? Wins a fight?

Each of those results is progressively harder to picture.

Perhaps that’s why on message boards, Twitter and even at press conferences, talk has turned to how well Rousey would do against her male peers. Even UFC President Dana White has considered the issue.

With respect for flights of fancy, we need to stop this. Immediately.

When UFC announcer Joe Rogan says in an interview with ESPN’s Dan Le Batard, via MMA Fighting (h/t Bloody Elbow), that Rouseymight be able to beat 50 percent” of the male fighters in her weight class, he means that as a compliment. It is not.

Instead, it’s a destructive way of saying the best woman in the sport, at her best, is only as good as the worst men. Others, like UFC flyweight Ian McCall, aren’t even willing to go that far. 

“Ronda’s definitely not the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world,” McCall said (h/t MMA FightingBloody Elbow). “She’s the best woman on the planet. That’s cute. Cool. Well, we’re doing men things. Different. I get it, you’re really good and all, but to compare her to Jon [Jones] or Jose [Aldo] or Demetrious [Johnson] or Cain [Velasquez]…come on. Any of the champions. It’s a different world. I don’t know. It just frustrates me.”

It frustrates me, too, Ian. And not because it gives Rousey too much credit—but because it gives her too little. She’s not pretty good for a girl. She’s just plain good. 

Can Ronda Rousey beat male UFC fighters? I don’t know. Nor does it matter. 

In 1998, the 203rd-ranked player on the men’s tennis circuit beat both Venus and Serena Williams by lopsided scores on a single afternoon. That result doesn’t diminish their accomplishments on the court—and the same thing applies to Rousey.

Unlike tennis, this is just an academic exercise in mixed martial arts. No state athletic commission would allow it, and the UFC wouldn’t make a man vs. woman fight even if it could. Too many things could go wrong, and besides, we are all aware that physiological differences between men and women are real.

It’s unfair to compare Rousey to male fighters. It’s a battle no one wins. We created weight classes for similar reasons. No one would suggest, for example, that Anthony Pettis isn’t a worthy lightweight champion. But neither is anyone suggesting he should be next in line for a shot at heavyweight kingpin Cain Velasquez.

Size matters. That doesn’t diminish Pettis any more than Rousey‘s gender diminishes her accomplishments. 

Rousey is the best female fighter the sport has ever seen. That is more than enough—if we let it be.

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Ronda Rousey Beats Cat Zingano Via Record-Tying 14-Second Submission

Ronda Rousey needed all of 14 seconds to defend her UFC women’s bantamweight title and defeat Cat Zingano at UFC 184. Almost immediately after the opening bell rang, Rousey saw an opening and locked in her armbar. From there, Zingano had no choice but to tap.

The result tied the UFC record for quickest submission:

Perhaps even more impressive was the fact that Rousey admitted the armbar was completely improvised in the middle of the Octagon, per MMA Fighting:

MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani noted how quickly the 28-year-old won her last three fights:

There is no other athlete in the world like Rousey right now. Nobody is as guaranteed to deliver as the women’s bantamweight champion.

She’s a force of nature, and it’s hard to see who could possibly stop her. And when you think she doesn’t have any surprises left, she taps out the No. 1 contender in 14 seconds.

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC