Last week in combat sports: UFC 224, Lomachenko and GSP rumours

Edward L'Orange Roar Guru

By Edward L'Orange, Edward L'Orange is a Roar Guru

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    The last week, the combat sports world was packed with fights, but also saw some interesting rumours emerge.

    Firstly, we had UFC 224 in Brazil. Despite being an average card overall, there was still some exciting action in Rio.

    To start on a slightly sad note, future MMA Hall of Famer Vitor Belford was most probably retired by a brutal Lyoto Machida front kick to the face.

    Machida, however, showed great class in bowing to his downed opponent, and even offering his respects to Belford’s mother. Vitor then made perhaps his final statement about his career, literally dropped his gloves in the Octagon as a symbol that in his career, he has left it all in the cage.

    Women’s strawweight and new UFC golden girl Mackenzie Dern made news this weekend after badly missing weight for her 115-pound bout. Fought at the huge catchweight of 123 pounds, Derm’s opponent Amanda Cooper was awarded 30 per cent of Dern’s show money as punishment for this unprofessionalism.

    In the ring, Dern looked to be carrying a little extra weight, but it certainly did not seem to hinder her. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu master put on an impressive performance, particularly on the feet, where she knocked down former professional boxer Cooper with a huge overhand right. Once on the ground, it was all over and Dern finished with rear naked chock.

    The co-main event held title implications for Australian welterweight champion Robert Whitaker. Kelvin Gastelum, facing a vocal Brazilian crowd, picked up a hard-fought split deciton against veteran Jacaré Souza. With a decent recent run, Gastelum will be hoping he is next in line to face the winner of Whitaker and Yoel Romero.

    The main event, between Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington, was another exhibition by the women’s bantamweight champion.

    At the end of the fourth round, a battered and beaten Pennington – suffering a broken nose – wished to withdraw. However, her corner did not allow her to stop and pushed her into the final round. What followed was a brutal two minutes in which Nunes exploded Pennington’s nose, leaving her badly hurt and haemorrhaging blood onto the canvas.

    Considering the fighter’s desire to stop, the action of her corner must come under scrutiny.

    In other promotions, Bellatore 199 saw the final fight of the first round of Bellator’s Heavyweight Grand Prix. The bout featured former UFC fighter and current Bellatore light-heavyweight champion Ryan Bader, facing off against Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal.

    Bader dropped King Mo in the eighth second with a stiff overhand left, and then finished him on the ground to wrap up the match in only 15 seconds. With this win, Bader advances to the semi-finals to face Matt Mitrione.

    In the boxing world, we saw Vasyl Lomachenko put on another clinic. Going up in weight to face lightweight champion Jorge Linares, Lomachenko was out-powered and even knocked down in the sixth round, however ‘Loma’ was never outclassed, and eventually won a beautiful TKO victory in the tenth.

    Coming off a fairly even ninth round, the Ukrainian put together a typically artful combination, finishing with a left hook to the liver of Linares. The hit immediately put down the Venezuelan fighter, who was unable to continue.

    With this win, Lomachenko picks up a world title in his third weight class, most impressively in only his 12th pro fight – eight less than his nearest competitor, Australian Jeff Fenech.

    Finally, we end with some rumours.

    According to Dana White, the great Georges St-Pierre is in talks with Nate Diaz for a fight in the 155-pound lightweight division – a fight that does nothing for me.

    As much as I want to see both of these fighters back in the octagon, GSP returning for a non-title match in a weight class he has never fought in (being a natural 170 pounder) doesn’t make a lot of sense. Compounding this, the fight is not exactly the fan favourites’ spectacle it once might have been.

    With GSP only fighting once in almost five years, and Diaz having a salty recent record of three wins and four loses, the UFC expectations for this fight may well be much higher than they will get.

    Diaz has said that he will only come back for a big fight, and this may seem a great enticement for him, but considering the match is stylistically a bad one for Diaz (his brother Nick lost an uncompetitive fight against GSP in 2013), this makes even less sense.

    Diaz needs a win badly if he wishes to step into title contention at lightweight, and he will be at long odds against the great Canadian.

    GSP meanwhile has said he will only come back to cement his legacy as the best ever. Diaz is a great fighter, but to be honest he offers almost nothing to GSP’s legacy. Only a bout against the winner of Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title will truly satisfy that criteria, and GSP does not need a stepping stone.

    If this fight goes ahead, it makes almost no sense from the point of view of the lightweight belt, the two fighters involved, or the pay-per-view numbers.

    That said… I will still watch it.

    State of Origin 2 is here, with the Blues looking to wrap the 2018 series up and the Maroons hoping to keep it alive and force a decider. Follow along with our NSW vs QLD Origin 2 live scores and blog.

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • Roar Guru

      May 16th 2018 @ 6:15am
      BigJ said | May 16th 2018 @ 6:15am | ! Report

      Typo Eddie, Whittaker is the middleweight champ not Welterweight. But excellent article loved the read. I see that cm punk is fighting again at ufc 225 how do you think that will go. Plus the corner of Pennington has a lot to answer for, do you think the Ufc might do something about that??

      • Roar Guru

        May 16th 2018 @ 8:28am
        Edward L'Orange said | May 16th 2018 @ 8:28am | ! Report

        Thanks for that mate, dunno how that slipped through but very true, Woodley is the welterweight champ, Whittaker the middleweight.

        CM punk, what a weird world ey. At least this time he’s not fighting an actual proper mixed martial artist, but a sort of half-boxer half-journalist who has never been in the cage before. I think he’ll do a lot better to be honest, and at 2.80 for the win I reckon might be worth a few bucks on the off-chance. Really looking forward to that card, plenty of Australians on it: Megan Andersen’s debut vs. Holly Holm will be good, if she wins she’ll get cyborg. And I really like the look of young Tai Tuivasa. Andrei Arlovski is by far his biggest test to date, but if he can do it, it’ll be huge.

        As to Pennington, I don’t think the UFC will do jack sh… But maybe they should. I think there just needs to be more regulation around the corner, like a specific word which if said, means the fight is automatically over.

        • Roar Guru

          May 16th 2018 @ 8:51am
          BigJ said | May 16th 2018 @ 8:51am | ! Report

          They have it in boxing they simply say ‘no more’ and that’s it. To quit in the corner usually means to spit out your mouth guard and the refs calls it. UFC should adopt the same policy. Hopefully the Aussie girl gets Holmes than Cyborg, but I think the Ufc is trying for the Nunes v cyborg match first.

          • Roar Guru

            May 16th 2018 @ 6:07pm
            Edward L'Orange said | May 16th 2018 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

            Cyborg has two fights left on her contract and I think she wants Anderson and Nunes. Probably in that order if Anderson wins, because Nunes is the much bigger fight.

            She looks like she may well quit the UFC after that, or least have a break, and challenge Cecilia Brækhus for her many boxing titles. That may well be the biggest female boxing match of all time.

    • Roar Pro

      May 16th 2018 @ 7:13am
      Jason Andrews said | May 16th 2018 @ 7:13am | ! Report

      Hey Eddie, GSP needs to fight McGregor, smash the living daylights out of him and become the fight triple crown in UFC history, personally who better to do it them him, well Coultre would of been great but I don’t he ever would of got down to 185 for middleweight.

      When is McGregor v Nurmagomedov going to be anyway??

      • Roar Guru

        May 16th 2018 @ 7:49am
        Edward L'Orange said | May 16th 2018 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        I agree Jason, the only problem is a bloke called Khabib Nurmagomedov, and to be honest, I’m not sure how Connor solves that problem. It may well be GSP vs. Khabib we see for the title, and Diaz vs. Connor 3 after Connor loses. Personally, I’m happy with that. GSP vs. Khabib may not have to mass appeal of Connor, but to me that fight is an absolute corker.

        From what I’ve heard they are trying to do Connor vs Khabib later this year, maybe November, but it’s definitely not a sure thing yet. McGregor needs to sort out his legal woes first.

    • Roar Pro

      May 16th 2018 @ 8:18am
      Jason Andrews said | May 16th 2018 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      true and Connor has plenty of those. Is GSP going to fight leading up to his lightweight debut??

      • Roar Guru

        May 16th 2018 @ 8:28am
        Edward L'Orange said | May 16th 2018 @ 8:28am | ! Report

        I’d be surprised honestly, I reckon he has one fight at 155 in him, and it’ll be big.

        • Roar Pro

          May 16th 2018 @ 9:16am
          Jason Andrews said | May 16th 2018 @ 9:16am | ! Report

          Did you see over the weekend that Jaime Mungia won the WBO Super-welterweight title from Sadam Ali in a four round TKO? He could be a possible opponent for Jeff Horn should he lose to Crawford next month. If Horn loses he will most likely step in weight to 154lbs as he has trouble cutting to 147lbs

          • Roar Guru

            May 16th 2018 @ 6:02pm
            Edward L'Orange said | May 16th 2018 @ 6:02pm | ! Report

            I did hear that. Although it sounds like the WBO want Mungia to fight Liam Smith first.

            I just don’t know about Horn in the Crawford fight, but living in Australia I don’t think I actually realised how short his chances are -they have him at $6 for the win over Crawford’s $1.13. I know odds don’t say it all, but it does show how people are thinking. Then again, he was long odds over Pacquiao. At least he’ll be getting paid.

      • May 16th 2018 @ 12:10pm
        Kavvy said | May 16th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

        Dana is trying to make GSP v Nate first. Mixed reports coming out of the Diaz camp about whether it’ll happen or not though. Khabib is out til later in the year due to Ramadan and Connor probably not available til then either with legal woes etc..

        So whether the first match up is Connor v Khabib, GSP v Khabib or GSP v Connor who knows. (obviously whoever misses out the first fight in the trio would be up for the winner)

        • Roar Guru

          May 16th 2018 @ 1:18pm
          Edward L'Orange said | May 16th 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

          If Connor can’t they may also chuck the winner of Alvarez v. Poirier at Khabib. GSP vs Nate won’t happen, neither of them want it.

          • May 17th 2018 @ 12:58pm
            Kavvy said | May 17th 2018 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

            Nate just wants big $$. The kind of big $$ that very few opponents can offer, questioning whether he will accept any fight other than Connor tbh, sounds like they’ve offered him plenty of opponents the last two years and he’s knocked them all back. GSP has agreed on his side already. I’d rather Kevin Lee fight Khabib than the Alvarez v Poirier winner (esp if Poirier) his wrestling style much more likely to trouble Khabib than the other two.

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