Thiago Alves. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
All things must eventually come to an end.
Matt Hughes hasn’t officially retired, but his career is now visibly coming to an end. While two straight losses to current welterweight king Georges St. Pierre are nothing to be alarmed about, Hughes, who once said that he would hang up the gloves before becoming anyone’s highlight reel, was stunned again yesterday afternoon at the UFC’s latest event in London courtesy of a Thiago Alves’ flying knee.
Alves, who failed to make weight for the fight and forced the bout to take place at a catch-weight of 174 lbs, was in control from the start of the fight, evading multiple takedown attempts from Hughes, a former All-American collegiate wrestler.
However Hughes was eventually able to take Alves down to the canvas late in the first round. Despite not mounting much offense, Hughes was able to control Alves from top position for a good portion of the round before Alves reversed position and worked some ground-and-pound of his own before the horn sounded to end the stanza.
The second round saw Hughes take a knee to the face after trying another early takedown. The blow opened a cut near the former champion’s mouth and Hughes found himself on his back and avoiding strikes from Alves yet again. After landing a few hard punches, a scramble allowed both fighters to get back to their feet.
Alves then rushed Hughes and connected with a flying knee that sent the Miletich Fighting Systems product crumbling to the mat, his left knee awkwardly bending behind him. Alves pounced on a defenseless Hughes and connected with a couple of unanswered shots before referee Herb Dean stepped in to halt the bout.
Antoni Hardonk def. Eddie Sanchez - TKO
Paul Taylor def. Jess Liaudin - Split Decision, R3
Luis Cane def. Jason Lambert - TKO
Kevin Burns def. Roan Carneiro - Submission (Triangle Choke)
Matt Wiman def. Thiago Tavares - KO
Martin Kampmann def. Jorge Rivera - Submission (Guillotine Choke)
Fabricio Werdum def. Brandon Vera - TKO
Thales Leites def. Nate Marquardt - Split Decision
Mike Swick def. Marcus Davis - Unanimous Decision
Michael Bisping def. Jason Day - TKO
Thiago Alves def. Matt Hughes - TKO
Brandon Vera and Tim Sylvia weigh-in for UFC 77: Hostile Territory. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Heavyweight contenders Brandon Vera and Fabricio Werdum may possible meet in a bout with potential title shot implications when the Ultimate Fighting Championship travels overseas for the second time this year for UFC 85.
The news comes from Brian Knapp of The Fight Network, who reports that sources close to both fighters have said that the fight has been offered to them.
The event, which is currently slated to take place on June 7th at the o2 Arena in London, England, will likely feature a light heavyweight matchup between Chuck Liddell and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua as well as the next fight for one-time professional wrestler and WWE superstar Brock Lesnar.
Vera suffered his first career loss in October when he was decisioned by former champion Tim Sylvia, who ended up receiving a title shot as a result of winning the bout only to lose a shot at the vacant UFC belt earlier this month to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
The San Diego native suffered a broken left hand during the first round of his fight against Sylvia and was expected to be out of action until this spring.
In fact, Vera has publicly stated that he broke the ‘scaphoid’ in his left hand with the very first punch he threw. The injury prevented him from bending the thumb towards his hand which in turn, didn’t allow him to throw a punch with his left hand during the bout.
Werdum bounced back from a disappointing performance against Andrei Arlovski in his UFC debut at UFC 70 last April with an impressive stoppage of Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 80: Rapid Fire last month. The win was rumored to have solidified Werdum’s spot as being next in line for a title shot but a fight against Vera would obviously dispel that.
Some thoughts and notes from this past weekend’s UFC 81: Breaking Point.
I was right and wrong
I did pretty well in the predictions department. I knew going into the fight that Tim Sylvia was going to give Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira fits and that’s exactly what happened. However Nogueira has been tough to finish off all throughout his career and this fight didn’t turn out to be any different. No shame in losing for Sylvia. He hung in there with one of the best heavyweights in history.
I had a feeling that if Brock Lesnar was going to be submitted, it might have been by way of a leg lock/kneebar. Wrestlers always have been notorious for being too stationary with their legs while posturing up and working some ground and pound although a lot of fighters don’t really take advantage of it. It just goes to show how intelligent of a ground specialist Frank Mir is to keep his composure while getting pounded and still be able to pull off a smart move.
The only fight I took issue with was Rob Emerson’s split decision over Keita Nakamura. I actually thought that the fight was dead even at the end. I thought that Nakamura won the third round convincingly and that the first round was even.
More thoughts on the fights
Marvin Eastman surprised me while Tim Boetsch did not. While Eastman’s fight against Terry Martin wasn’t necessarily the most exciting, I was a tad happy to see that Eastman was able to take some power shots and still stay on his feet. Boetsch did exactly what I thought he would do against an average fighter in my opinion in David Heath.
Ricardo Almeida, Tyson Griffin, and Chris Lytle all did what I thought they would do. I talked to someone after the event who truly thought that Tibau beat Griffin, which is absurd. I wasn’t expecting that quick of a stoppage from Lytle but a stoppage win nonetheless. What’s going on with Jeremy Horn? I’ll have a piece on him up later today.
Remember that broken hand Brandon Vera said he suffered in the fight against Tim Sylvia and then the Ohio Athletic Commission failed to report anything on it? Well guess what, it really was broken, at least according to Vera himself.
In a recent interview with MMA Weekly, Vera states that he broke his hand throwing his first punch of the fight:
“My thumb got caught and pulled back like a banana,” he says. “I held my breath and pulled it real hard and it didn’t go back in,” he continues. “I finished the first round, went back to my coaches, who were like ‘(expletive) your left hand, you don’t need it! Use your right hand.’ I was like cool, I won’t use my left hand.”
The bone that Vera broke is known as the ‘scaphoid’. The injury prevented him from bending the thumb towards his hand which in turn, didn’t allow him to throw a punch with his left hand. That’s exactly what we saw in the fight looking back at it.
According to Vera, the UFC wanted him to return at UFC 82 in March but his injury will not be fully healed until May at the earliest.
The Ohio Athletic Commission has released the official fighter salaries for UFC 77: Hostile Territory:
Tim Sylvia: $200,000
Anderson Silva: $120,000
Brandon Vera: $100,000
Rich Franklin: $45,000
Stephan Bonnar: $44,000
Yushin Okami: $24,000
Alan Belcher: $22,000
Josh Burkman: $20,000
Jason MacDonald: $17,000
Demian Maia: $10,000
Jason Black: $8,000
Jorge Gurgel: $7,000
Kalib Starnes $7,000
Eric Schafer: $6,000
Alvin Robinson: $6,000
Forrest Petz: $6,000
Matt Grice: $6,000
Ryan Jensen: $4,000
Total Payroll: $652,000
UFC heavyweight contender Brandon Vera plans on giving former champ Tim Sylvia fits on the feet with an array of strikes at UFC 77: Hostile Territory. Vera also discusses his 11 month layoff and how he is both excited and nervous coming into his return to the Octagon with ESPN.
MMA on Tap writers Scott White and John Chandler break down UFC 77: Hostile Territory fight-by-fight in the debut of the site’s newest column.
UFC 77 features a total of nine fights including the highly anticipated rematch between Anderson Silva and Rich Franklin for the UFC Middleweight Title as well as a battle between heavyweight contenders Tim Sylvia and Brandon Vera.
Former PRIDE heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira recently spoke to GRACIEMAG.com about Randy Couture’s departure from the UFC and as well as the possibility of him fighting the winner of Vera-Sylvia for the vacant title.
“I am realy sad. I realy wanted to fight him. I hope there’s a chance he comes back.” Minotauro also said that there’s been a change of plans with Couture’s decision. “My strategy will change, once I will no longer have to face such a experienced and skilled guy to get to the title. My next fight is set to take place on February 3rd, but I’m uncertain about the opponent. If it’s kongo, it will not be for the title; If it’s Vera or Sylvia, the belt will be for grabs. I’m flying to the USA to watch Anderson Silva’s bout and I’ll probably know who’s going to be my adversary,” completed the former Pride champion.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira made his UFC debut in July at UFC 73: Stacked against Heath Herring. Despite being in serious trouble early after eating a head kick, Nogueira fought his way back to earn an unanimous decision victory. Minotauro sports a mixed martial arts record of 30-4-1 with victories over the likes of Josh Barnett, Sergei Kharitonov, Fabricio Werdum, Mirko Filipovic, Semmy Schilt, and Mark Coleman. Nogueira has also gone the distance with PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko twice despite dropping an unanimous decision to the Russian heavyweight both times.