Tag Archives: Roy Nelson






LOS ANGELES – Bellator has announced plans to host a year-long grand prix heavyweight tournament in 2018 featuring eight of the roster’s biggest stars with the winner becoming the new Bellator world heavyweight champion. The Bellator MMA World Grand Prix 2018 Heavyweight Tournament will air on the soon-to-launch Paramount Network.


The star-studded list of participants includes newly signed Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (37-12), Roy Nelson (23-14), Chael Sonnen (30-15-1),Frank Mir (18-11), “King Mo” (21-6, 1 NC), Fedor Emelianenko (36-5, 1 NC), Matt Mitrione (12-5) and Bellator light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader (24-5).


Spanning multiple events and locations throughout 2018, the three-round tournament allows for matchups never before thought possible and will ultimately crown a new Bellator heavyweight champion. Previously, Bellator President Scott Coker orchestrated the most recent successful heavyweight tournament in mixed martial arts with the STRIKEFORCE Heavyweight Grand Prix that spanned from 2011-12.


Matchups, dates and locations for the single-elimination grand prix will be determined shortly, as will tournament alternates who will be available to fill in due to any unforeseen circumstances.


A five-fight veteran of Bellator MMA, “Rampage’s” legendary career has seen him compete against some of the top names in the sport, generating a loyal army of fans along the way. The former PRIDE and UFC champion is the proud owner of many epic highlight reel slams and knockouts that he has racked up throughout his epic battles with the likes of Chuck Liddell, Dan Henderson, “King Mo,” Kevin Randleman and, perhaps most-notably, his trilogy with fellow Bellator athlete Wanderlei Silva.


Fighting out of Las Vegas, Roy Nelson made his Bellator debut earlier this year with a hard-fought victory over Javy Ayala following an eight-year, 19-fight run with UFC that saw him earn wins over Mirko Cro Cop, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, “Bigfoot” Silva and Cheick Kongo. “Big Country” also memorably defeated the late Kimbo Slice and later went on to win season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter. With 19 of his 22 career wins coming by way of knockout or submission, the long-time fan-favorite looks to add a championship to his impressive resume.


Chael Sonnen spent a majority of his 44-fight career with the UFC and WEC, a run that saw him defeat former middleweight champion Michael Bisping, and compete against the likes of Jon Jones, Anderson Silva (twice), Rashad Evans, “Shogun” Rua, Demian Maia and Brian Stann. In addition to his in-ring action, the West Linn, Ore. native has mastered the art of being in front of the camera, having done broadcast work for both ESPN and Fox Sports. Following a three-year hiatus from active MMA competition, Sonnen returned to the cage against Tito Ortiz at Bellator 170 in January and then went on to defeat Wanderlei Silva in the main event of Bellator: NYC.


Frank Mir joined Bellator earlier this year following 15 years under in the UFC where he became a two-time world champion, collected 16 victories and defeated the who’s who of heavyweight contenders, including Brock Lesnar, “Bigfoot” Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Roy Nelson. Fighting out of Las Vegas, Mir set numerous records while competing with his former promotion, highlighted by the most fights (27), victories (16), and submissions (8) in heavyweight history. With 14 of his 18 career wins coming by way of knockout or submission, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt will now try his hand in Bellator’s heavyweight division.


“King Mo” will again fight at heavyweight and look to build off his success within the division following recent wins against Satoshi Ishii and Cheick Kongo. A winner in nine out of his last 11 fights, the 36-year-old will look to claim heavyweight gold in 2018 and add to his championship collection that already includes a STRIKEFORCE light heavyweight title. The “Moneyweight” fighter owns additional wins over Linton Vassell, Gegard Mousasi, Roger Gracie and has split a pair of bouts with “Rampage” Jackson with their series tied at one win each.


A former PRIDE champion, “The Last Emperor” is one of the most revered and respected heavyweight fighters the sport has seen. Stone-faced and quiet, Emelianenko boasted one of the most impressive unbeaten streaks in the history of MMA, not losing a bout between 2001 and 2009. A multi-time world champion in MMA and Sambo, Fedor recently returned to the sport after a brief hiatus, accumulating two decisive wins since his return to action and competing against Matt Mitrione in an instant classic at Bellator: NYC.


Matt Mitrione remains poised to make an impact in the Bellator heavyweight division following three knockout wins since signing with Bellator in 2016, including a first-round KO of Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator NYC this June. The Illinois native and standout defensive end at Purdue University earned All-Big Ten honors in 2000 and subsequently earned his way into the NFL where he played six seasons as a member of the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings. Mitrione ultimately found his way into MMA where he became a high-level competitor, defeating the likes of the late Kimbo Slice, Derrick Lewis and Gabriel Gonzaga.


Bader will make his third appearance for Bellator and first since defending his light heavyweight championship at Bellator 186. Fighting out of Tempe, Ariz., Bader began his professional career on an impressive run, steamrolling the competition en route to a 12-fight winning streak and winning one of the most competitive seasons of The Ultimate Fighter in franchise history on Spike in 2008. “Darth” continued his path of dominance by collecting 15 over some of the 105-pound division’s top talent, including victories over former world champions Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Rashad Evans, as well as two wins over Phil Davis. Currently riding a four-fight winning streak with victories in nine of his past ten bouts, the former two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler from Arizona State University will look to become a current two-division champion in Bellator MMA.


Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix Participants:

Bellator World Light Heavyweight Champion Ryan Bader (24-5)

Fedor Emelianenko (36-5, 1 NC)

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (37-12)

“King Mo” Lawal (21-6, 1 NC)

Frank Mir (18-11)

Matt Mitrione (12-5)

Roy Nelson (23-14)

Chael Sonnen (30-15-1)






Also, Appearances by Former Bellator Champ and Monster Energy Athlete Michael Chandler and Heavyweight Fan-Favorite Roy Nelson



LOS ANGELES – The Monster Energy Bellator MMA Fight Series heads to the legendary Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. for its third event on Friday, Oct. 13. For the first time, fighters will step into the cage after the sun has set on Friday evening, kicking off an exciting weekend for fans that culminates with the fifth race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs on Sunday.


Ahead of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Alabama 500 on Sunday, Oct. 15, the Monster Energy Bellator MMA Fight Series will feature MMA action on Friday evening beginning at 8:30 p.m. CT at the Monster Energy Fan Zone in the Talladega Infield, immediately following the track’s “Big One on the Blvd” parade and party. Talladega Infield access is required for admission.


Additionally, on Friday, October 13 from 3-4 p.m. CT, fans will have the opportunity to meet former Bellator lightweight champion and Monster Energy athlete “Iron” Michael Chandler, as well as heavyweight fan-favorite Roy “Big Country” Nelson, at the Monster Energy Fan Zone in the Talladega Fan Zone, directly outside admission gates behind the north end of the frontstretch grandstands.


“The Monster Energy Bellator MMA Fight Series has been a great way for us to share MMA, as well as the Bellator brand, with an entirely new fan base this year,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “With the support of Monster Energy, we’ve already seen the crossover appeal these events offer. I’m excited to head to one of the most iconic tracks in motorsports with Hans Molenkamp, Aaron Quesada, Austin Hodges and the entire Monster Energy team to bring Bellator MMA action to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Talladega.”


Through Bellator MMA, alongside longstanding partner Monster Energy, mixed martial arts will be included as a pre-race activation exclusively for fans in attendance. The lineup on Friday will consist of four MMA bouts featuring some of the best regional up-and-coming talent, with the main event prospects in consideration to be signed to a multi-fight Bellator MMA contract.


The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Alabama 500 at Talladega takes place Sunday, October 15 at 1 p.m. CT. Tickets to the race are available at ‪NASCAR.com/tickets, TalladegaSuperspeedway.com/tickets or by calling Talladega Superspeedway at 1-855-518-RACE (7223).


Updated Monster Energy Bellator MMA Fight Series at Talladega Superspeedway Fight Card:

Lightweight Main Event: Omar Johnson (8-1, Birmingham, Ala.) vs. Jonathan Pearce (5-3, Johnson City, Tenn.)

Heavyweight Bout: Frank Tate (4-4, Birmingham, Ala.) vs. Kem Oti (2-1, Decatur, Ala.)

Middleweight Bout: Marcel Stamps (1-0, Birmingham, Ala.) vs. Derek Wilson (Pro Debut, Atlanta, Ga.)

Heavyweight Amateur Bout: Christian Echols (2-0, Cullman, Ala.) vs. Billy Swanson (7-1, Cleveland, Tenn.)


Please visit Bellator.com for details.


*Event schedule subject to change.

Bellator 183 Results and Photos

Patricky “Pitbull” defeated Benson Henderson via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
“I want the champion. I want Brent Primus. Tonight I took down another former champion and I want my shot at that belt,” Patricky Freire said. “He keeps running from me but now it’s time. I want that belt and after tonight I earned my shot at it. Benson Henderson is a good, tough fighter, but I’ve got my mind on the division title now. You can’t keep running Primus.”
Paul Daley defeated Lorenz Larkin via knockout at 2:40 of round two
“The fight went as planned. I felt great and I knew how this would end,” Paul Daley said. “Lorenz Larkin was acting very uncharacteristically leading up to the fight and when I saw all of his antics and what not, I knew the fight would only end one way and that’s with him flat on the canvas.”
Roy Nelson defeated Javy Ayala via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28)
“The goal was just to go out there, get the win, and work my game a little bit. It felt good to throw some bombs for these fans in San Jose. I had to give Bellator some footage to use, especially since the UFC doesn’t license anything out,” Roy Nelson said. “It was a tough fight and Javy’s a talented fighter. Really, any heavyweight has power and if you connect the other person is definitely going to get knocked out and that is exactly what these fans come to see.”
“Overall I was pretty happy with my performance. I thought I was doing a good job with my stand up against him, but he’s really tough,” Javy Ayala said. “I just wasn’t able to stop the takedowns and his top control was at the elite level. But again I’m pretty pleased with my performance and I’m already looking forward to getting back into that cage for Bellator.”
Aaron Pico defeated Justin Linn via knockout at 3:45 of round one
Aaron Pico Quote: “First of all, hats off to Justin [Linn]. He’s a great competitor and I knew it was going to be a tough fight. It feels good fighting at 145-pounds. This is my natural weight and it felt great. I’m going to have to watch the replay of this fight because I’m not even sure how I hit him, it was just very instinctual. I always knew that I had very powerful hands and I’m not being cocky, I’m just confident because I spar with some of the best boxers in the world over at Team Bodyshop in Long Beach. The key to this fight was just relaxing because I knew that as long as I was relaxed in there, my skillset was going to show.”
Goiti Yamauchi defeated Adam Piccolotti via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:19 of round one
Quote from Goiti Yamauchi: “I’m ready to sign the contract for my next fight right now,” Yamauchi said. “I feel that I’m one fight away from a title shot, after another win like the one tonight, I don’t think there’s any way that Bellator can deny that I’m the number one contender.”






LOS ANGELES – Bellator returns home to SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. on Saturday, September 23 for Bellator 183 and Bellator Kickboxing 7, which features the return of former world champ “Smooth” Benson Henderson (24-7) taking on the always-dangerous Patricky “Pitbull” (17-8), while current Bellator welterweight kickboxing champ Karim Ghajji (97-13-1) defends his title against the flashy Raymond Daniels (11-3).

In addition, Bellator 183: Henderson vs. Pitbull will also feature the promotional debut of Roy “Big Country” Nelson (23-14) who meets California’s own Javy “Eye Candy” Ayala (10-5) in an explosive heavyweight showdown. Additional contests will be announced in the coming weeks.

Bellator 183: Henderson vs. Pitbull will be broadcast live and free on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and the Bellator Mobile App. Tickets for the event go on sale Thursday, June 29 at 10:00 a.m. PST and are available at Ticketmaster.com.

Following what many considered to be 2016’s “Fight of the Year” against Michael Chandler, Henderson took time off to deal with nagging injuries. Now, the 33-year-old is back to 100-percent and ready to take on the other “Pitbull” brother, following a victory against Bellator’s current featherweight champion Patricio “Pitbull”at Bellator 160 in August of last year. With wins against Nate Diaz, Donald Cerrone, Frankie Edgar, Gilbert Melendez and Jorge Masvidal already in his nearly 11 years as a professional, “Smooth” is healthy again and looking for another championship run in his already-impressive career.

Patricky “Pitbull” comes into this bout seeking revenge against Henderson following his TKO win over younger brother, Patricio. The Rio Grande Do Norte, Brazil product steps inside the Bellator cage for the18th time in his professional career and will be looking to build on an impressive start to his 2017 campaign. Having won seven of his last 10 bouts, including a second-round finish of Josh Thomson at Bellator 172 in February, the 31-year-old has seen 11 of his 12 career finishes come by way of knockout.

The inaugural Bellator welterweight kickboxing champion, Ghajji, traded victories with Zoltan Laszak on his road to meeting Daniels on September 23. The 36-year-old, known to many by the nickname “Gadjetboy,” will be making his fifth appearance under the Bellator Kickboxing umbrella, and will look to successfully defend his title for the first time since reclaiming the belt in April at Bellator Kickboxing 6 in Hungary.

Hailing from Los Angeles, Daniels will bring his aggressive, one-of-a-kind karate style to Northern California for the first time since debuting with Bellator last year. Undefeated with the promotion — earning three stoppages in four outings — “The Real Deal” will look to punish the body of Ghajji when Daniels competes to claim his first world kickboxing title.

Fighting out of Las Vegas, Nelson makes his Bellator debut following an eight-year, 19-fight run with UFC that saw him earn wins over Mirko Cro Cop, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, “Bigfoot” Silva and Cheick Kongo. With 19 of his 22 career wins coming by way of knockout or submission, “Big Country” is ready to make his return to Spike, where he memorably defeated the late Kimbo Slice and later went on to win season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter.

Ayala will enter the Bellator cage against Nelson looking for another shocking upset following his last outing against Sergei Kharitonov at Bellator 163, where Ayala stole the show against Kharitonov by stopping the Russian heavyweight with a powerful punch a mere 16-seconds into the first round. Now, given the opportunity to formally welcome Nelson to the Bellator fray, “Eye Candy” is looking to stun the crowd once again and firmly establish himself as a threat to the entire heavyweight division. With all five of Ayala’s wins in Bellator coming by way of stoppage, the matchup with Nelson is sure to produce fireworks.


Updated Bellator 183: Henderson vs. Pitbull Fight Card

Lightweight Main Event: Benson Henderson (24-7) vs. Patricky “Pitbull” Freire (17-8)

Heavyweight Co-Main Event: Roy Nelson (23-14) vs. Javy Ayala (10-5)


Updated Bellator Kickboxing 7: Ghajji vs. Daniels Fight Card

Welterweight Kickboxing World Title Main Event: Karim Ghajji (97-13-1) vs. Raymond Daniels (11-3)



About Bellator:

Bellator is a leading mixed martial arts and kickboxing organization featuring many of the best fighters in the world. Under the direction of veteran fight promoter Scott Coker, Bellator is available to nearly 1 billion people worldwide in over 160 countries. In the United States, Bellator can be seen on SPIKE, the combat sports television leader. Bellator is comprised of an executive team that includes top industry professionals in television production, live event orchestration, fighter development/relations, venue procurement, sponsorship creation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising, publicity and commission relations. Bellator is based in Hollywood, Calif. and owned by entertainment giant Viacom, home to the world’s premier entertainment brands that connect with audiences through compelling content across television, motion picture, online and mobile platforms.


About Spike:

Spike  is available in 98.7 million  homes and is a division of Viacom Media Networks. A unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), Viacom Media Networks is one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. Spike’s Internet address is  www.spike.com  and for up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs, visit Spike’s press site at  http://www.spike.com/press. Follow us on Twitter  @spiketvpr  for the latest in breaking news updates, behind-the-scenes information and photos.





LOS ANGELES — Bellator MMA is proud to announce the signing of heavyweight knockout artist Roy Nelson (22-14) to an exclusive, multi-fight contract.


Fighting out of Las Vegas, Nelson joins the Viacom-owned promotion following an eight-year, 19-fight run under the direction of the UFC that saw him earn wins over Mirko Cro Cop, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, “Bigfoot” Silva and Cheick Kongo, while tangling in notable slugfests with former and current UFC title holders Fabricio Werdum, Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier. With 19 of his 22 career wins coming by way of knockout or submission, Nelson should prove to be an exciting addition to the heavyweight division.


The signing sees Nelson return to Spike, where his bout with the late Kimbo Slice on season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter remains the most-watched fight in the history of the reality series. Nelson would eventually go on to win the season, defeating Brendan Schaub in the finale.


“With the direction that Bellator MMA is heading, I consider Roy an extremely valuable addition to our roster,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “When you look at Nelson’s record and some of the superstar opponents that he’s faced over the years, as well as his ability to connect with the fans, we felt he was the perfect fit for Bellator. I’ve been a fan of his for years and we are anxious to see him return to Spike inside the Bellator cage.”


“I wanted to work with Scott Coker because I have heard nothing but great things – plus I get to work with Spike and Viacom again who catapulted MMA in America,” added Nelson. “I am excited to join Bellator and to show how an All-American like myself will make new and old fans fall in love with MMA again and again!”


Nelson’s promotional debut will be determined at a later date, but the heavyweight slugger is expected to return to action at some point this year. “Big Country” joins the Bellator MMA fray with an impressive 22-14 professional record and will compete in a heavyweight class that features accomplished fighters, including Fedor Emelianenko, Matt Mitrione, Cheick Kongo, Bobby Lashley and Sergei Kharitonov amongst others.


About Bellator:

Bellator is a leading mixed martial arts and kickboxing organization featuring many of the best fighters in the world. Under the direction of veteran fight promoter Scott Coker, Bellator is available to nearly 500 million homes worldwide in over 140 countries. In the United States, Bellator can be seen on SPIKE, the combat sports television leader. Bellator is comprised of an executive team that includes top industry professionals in television production, live event orchestration, fighter development/relations, venue procurement, sponsorship creation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising, publicity and commission relations. Bellator is based in Hollywood, Calif. and owned by entertainment giant Viacom, home to the world’s premier entertainment brands that connect with audiences through compelling content across television, motion picture, online and mobile platforms.

FNU Combat Sports Show: Fury Faces Boxing Ban, UFC Fighters Speaking Out, Event Previews and Recaps

Tom, Tony and Rich discuss this week’s most significant fight cards, and major combat sports news. We also recap last weekend’s major combat sports events. We cover Roy Nelson’s kicking of Big John McCarthy, Heavyweight Boxing Champion Tyson Fury telling drug testers to “F” off, Premier Boxing Champions and their dwindling fight cards, and the recent torrent of UFC fighters willing to voice their displeasure with the organization and the pay scale. Could it be that the Fertitta exodus has fighters less intimidated by the shadow of the family’s former mafia ties? Rich has a little soap box moment on this subject.


UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Alvarez Live Main Card Highlights UFC 200 Fight Week Coverage on Fight Network

Toronto – Fight Network, the world’s premier 24/7 multi-platform channel dedicated to complete coverage of combat sports, today announced extensive live coverage for UFC International Fight Week in Las Vegas, the biggest week in UFC history, highlighted by a live broadcast of the main card for UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: DOS ANJOS vs. ALVAREZ from the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Thursday, July 7 at 10 p.m. ET, plus the live prelims for THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER FINALE®: Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia on Friday, July 8 at 8 p.m. ET.


Fight Network will air the live UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: DOS ANJOS vs. ALVAREZ main card across Canada on July 7 at 10 p.m. ET, preceded by a live Pre-Show at 9 p.m. ET.


In the main event, dominant UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos (24-7) puts his championship on the line in a five-round barnburner against top contender Eddie Alvarez (27-4). In other featured bouts, Roy “Big Country” Nelson (22-12) throws down with Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis (15-4, 1NC) in an explosive heavyweight collision, Alan Jouban (13-4) takes on undefeated Belal Muhammad (9-0) in a welterweight affair, plus “Irish” Joe Duffy (14-2) welcomes Canada’s Mitch “Danger Zone” Clarke (11-3) back to action in a lightweight matchup.


Live fight week coverage begins on Wednesday, July 6 at 2 p.m. ET with a live presentation of the final UFC 200 pre-fight press conference, featuring UFC president Dana White and main card superstars Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, Brock Lesnar, Mark Hunt, Miesha Tate, Amanda Nunes, Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar.


On Thursday, July 7 at 2:30 p.m. ET, Fight Network presents a live broadcast of the official on-sale press conference for UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor 2, featuring Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor on the same stage for the first time since their heated encounter this past March.


Later, on July 7 at 6 p.m. ET, Fight Network presents the live weigh-ins for THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER FINALE®: Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia, as headliners Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha weigh in ahead of their heated women’s strawweight championship rematch.


Following Thursday’s main card, Fight Network will broadcast the live UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: DOS ANJOS vs. ALVAREZ post-fight press conference in its entirety.


On Friday, July 8 at 6 p.m. ET, UFC 200 fighters will come face-to-face during Fight Network’s live broadcast of the UFC 200: Cormier vs. Jones 2 weigh-ins, as all the stars from the biggest UFC event in history will tip the scale ahead of their highly anticipated clashes on Saturday night.


Fight Network will air the live prelims for THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER FINALE®: Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia across Canada on July 8 at 8 p.m. ET. The main card airs live on TSN5 at 10 p.m. ET.


In featured preliminary bouts, Joaquim Silva (8-0) faces Andrew Holbrook (11-0) in a clash of unbeaten lightweights, former title challenger Gray Maynard (12-6-1, 1NC) makes his first appearance at featherweight against Brazilian Fernando Bruno (16-3), fiery flyweight contenders face off when John Moraga (16-4) takes on Matheus Nicolau (11-2-1), inaugural TUF Brazil winnerCezar “Mutante” Ferreira (10-5) meets fellow middleweight Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (25-11), highly touted Australian prospect Jake “The Celtic Kid” Matthews (11-1) faces dangerous lightweight Kevin “The Motown Phenom” Lee (12-2) and China’s Li Jingliang (10-4) takes on Australia’s Anton Zafir (7-2) in a welterweight bout.


Following Friday’s main card, Fight Network will broadcast THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER FINALE®: Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia live post-fight press conference in its entirety.


Leading into Saturday’s blockbuster pay-per-view, Fight Network presents an encore of the first meeting between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, as UFC 182: Jones vs. Cormier from January 2015 airs at 2 p.m. ET.


Later, on July 9 at 6 p.m. ET, Fight Network presents a live UFC 200: Cormier vs. Jones 2 Pre-Show, featuring previews, predictions, analysis, exclusive interviews conducted on-site in Las Vegas and much more. Following Saturday’s event, Fight Network will broadcast the live UFC 200: Cormier vs. Jones 2 post-fight press conference in its entirety.


In addition to all the live events, Fight Network is the destination for UFC library content, specials and series, including The Ultimate Fighter, UFC Unleashed, UFC Now, UFC Ultimate Insiderand classic UFC PPV events.


This Sunday, July 10 at 9 p.m. ET, Fight Network presents UFC 87: Seek and Destroy from August 2009 in Minneapolis, Minn., featuring Georges St-Pierre vs. Jon Fitch for the UFC welterweight title, plus Brock Lesnar vs. Heath Herring and Kenny Florian vs. Roger Huerta.


For a full listing of Fight Network’s broadcast schedule, please visit www.fightnetwork.com, follow us on Twitter @fightnet, become a fan on Facebook and visit us on Instagram @fightnet.

UFC 185: It’s Showtime!

Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports

Despite the turmoil experienced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship so far this year, from the failed drug tests of stars like Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz, to the reshuffling of UFC 184 because of an injury to middleweight champion Chris Weidman, the company has delivered in the Octagon so far this year. Despite Weidman’s injury, UFC 184 was still a smashing success thanks to another dominant performance by women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

Now UFC 185 is here, with another stacked card that should entertain once again. This card is anchored by TWO title fights, taking fans back to a time when the UFC would routinely offer stacked fight cards before rapid expansion under their deal with FOX apparently created an oversaturated product.

Here’s who I think emerges victorious on this talent-filled card.

Chris “Kamikaze” Cariaso (17-6) vs. Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo (7-0) (Flyweight – 125 lbs.)

Cariaso is coming off a submission loss to flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson last summer. But to be fair, everyone is losing to Johnson these days, and he’s close to cleaning out the flyweight division. Cejudo has yet to experience defeat and enjoyed a unanimous decision victory in his UFC debut late last year.

Cariaso has been a UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) veteran for the last five years and rode a 3-fight win streak prior to his loss to Johnson. Cejudo is a young pup trying to make a name for himself in the UFC, but Cariaso will use his veteran savvy to catch the overeager fighter for a finish.

Winner: Cariaso by second-round TKO

Roy “Big Country” Nelson (21-10) vs. Alistair “The Reem” Overeem (38-14-1) (Heavyweight – 225 lbs.)

I’ll admit up front that I’m not a big Roy Nelson fan. He’s a talented fighter who delivers exciting fights and is an entertaining personality. But ever since he debuted in the UFC and won season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” he feasted on lower-ranked heavyweights like Stefan Struve, Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione. But when matched up with elite heavyweights like Fabricio Werdum, Junior Dos Santos and Daniel Cormier (before he dropped to light heavyweight), Nelson was routinely outclassed and battered.

Overeem has also failed to live up to the hype that came with his jump to the UFC. After he demolished Brock Lesnar in 2011, a title shot was in the works against then-champion Junior Dos Santos. But the fight never materialized due to injuries and Overeem suffered back-to-back knockout losses to Antonio Silva and Travis Browne.

Overeem has alternated wins and losses since then but is coming off a first-round knockout of Struve. Nelson was knocked out in his last fight against Mark Hunt, which despite Nelson’s usually iron chin, does not come as a shock, given Hunt’s incredible punching power.
Overeem may not have Hunt’s power, but I think he will batter Nelson for a rather lopsided decision victory. At this stage in his career, Nelson is a gatekeeper. But “The Reem” doesn’t need to prove himself against a brawler like Nelson.

Winner: Overeem by unanimous decision

Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks (16-3) vs. Matt “The Immortal” Brown (21-12) (Welterweight – 170 lbs.)

Speaking of brawling and battering, this fight has all the makings of a Fight of the Year candidate. Hendricks dropped the welterweight title to Robbie Lawler last year and should he win this fight, a rematch with Lawler is all but assured – assuming Lawler gets past Rory McDonald later this year.

Brown also lost to Lawler in his last fight and was also on the receiving end of a brutal beating. Hendricks and Brown tend to just slug it out and ask questions later, which should result in an entertaining fight for the fans. Hendricks seems to have renewed his commitment to MMA following his loss to Lawler and he seems driven to get his belt back. Brown is as game as they come, but Hendricks will prove to be too much.

Winner: Hendricks by second-round TKO

Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza (11-2) vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (8-0) (Women’s Strawweight Title – 115 lbs.)

Esparza made her UFC debut with a bang by winning the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” to feature all female fighters, and in the process become the UFC’s first women’s strawweight champion. She effectively derailed the Rose Namajunas hype train to win the belt, when some were dubbing Namajunas the next Ronda Rousey in the strawweight division.

Jedrzejczyk derailed a favorite in her own right, defeating highly regarded Claudia Gadelha last year by a close decision when many thought Gadelha would be Esparza’s first title defense. Jedrzejczyk is a grinder who thrives in an ugly fight in close quarters. Esparza used her wrestling to neutralize Namajunas’ quick-striking offense, so getting into an ugly fight with Jedrzejczyk shouldn’t faze Esparza one bit. Esparza will take Jedrzejczyk down early and often and ride her wrestling to a decision victory.

Winner: Esparza by unanimous decision

Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (18-2) vs. Rafael Dos Anjos (23-7) (Lightweight Title – 155 lbs.)

Pettis has been absolutely dominant as of late, not only winning the lightweight title from Benson Henderson in quick and exciting fashion with a first-round armbar but routinely displaying his amazing athleticism and using it to quickly shoot himself up the best pound-for-pound fighter list.

But Dos Anjos is not to be taken lightly. He too finished Henderson in the first round and earned his title shot by absolutely dismantling Nate Diaz late last year. Dos Anjos is tough and will know that Pettis is looking for a quick finish. He won’t get it, but Pettis’ freakish athleticism will make its presence felt eventually and overcome Dos Anjos and solidify Pettis’ case as one of the best lightweight fighters of all time.

Winner: Pettis by second-round submission

Chris Huntemann writes about mixed martial arts in the state of Maryland. He also shares his thoughts on the UFC, Bellator, and World Series of Fighting. Check out his blog, or follow him on Twitter: @mmamaryland.