This week’s MMA round-up: Lifeline for Miesha, CM Punk’s opponent found
2015 kicked off with one of the most anticipated bouts in UFC history, as Jon “Bones” Jones took on Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight title. 2016 saw something similar, with the ever evolving Robbie Lawler defending his UFC welterweight title against one of the scariest fighters inside the Octagon, Carlos Condit.
The two warriors put on an early FOTY candidate, as the MGM Grand Garden Arena witnessed an instant classic.
While it is still debated as to who actually won the fight, most of the fans and pundits believe that Condit did enough to get the decision.
However, Lawler managed to hang on to the title, as the UFC’s Evander Holyfield, in Dana White’s words, notched up yet another remarkable victory.
So what does the MMA world have in store for the fans in 2016? We take a look at all the stories from the week.
Fedor Emelianenko’s next fight in April
Rizin FF’s NYE event in Japan saw the return of arguably the greatest heavyweight fighter in history, “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko. Fedor’s opponent was a kickboxer of Indian origin, Jaideep Singh, who many believed was the wrong opponent for Fedor.
True to those beliefs, Fedor outclassed Singh, bulldozing his way to a technical knockout victory. While Fedor looked impressive, he was light years ahead of his opponent, which made for a rather lackluster return for the former heavyweight kingpin.
However, after his fight, Fedor was asked when his next fight could be tentatively scheduled, and reportedly, Rizin is working on showcasing his next fight in April.
While there are a lot of fighters who’d love to take the opportunity to fight Fedor, WSOF’s President and legendary kickboxer, Ray Sefo could be tempted to fight the former PRIDE heavyweight champion.
According to reports, Sefo was originally approached to fight Fedor during the NYE event, but with just 5 weeks given to prepare for the fight, Sefo had to turn it down.
Bellator’s King Mo is another fighter who could possibly face Fedor, given the good working relationship between Bellator’s Scott Coker and Rizin FF’s Sakakibara. Mo had even called Fedor out, and is rallying for the fight to take place in Bellator.
ONE Championship’s new weight cutting policy will see all fighters moving up a division
Weight cuts – the chastised portion of the fight week has received criticism from all corners. While weight cuts have been a norm in combat sports, the focus is now shifting from the need for weight cuts to cutting safe amount of weight before a fight.
While what’s “safe” is relatively subjective, and can’t have a definite answer, ONE Championship’s new policy is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
Last month, ONE flyweight competitor, Jang Yian Bing tragically passed away after trying to make weight for his fight. This led to ONE’s CEO Victor Cui taking the unprecedented step of banning weight cuts through dehydration.
This week, Cui explained how the new system of fighters competing at their walking weight would work.
“All our athletes will move up a weight class together and in unison. First and foremost, it allows athletes to compete at the weight that they walk around every single day and that makes it a level and safe playing field for all athletes.
What we’re implementing has been in place for several years already in collegiate wrestling in the United States and been a topic of discussion with multiple industry experts all around the world.”
“We are very fortunate on the ONE Championship team that we’ve got some of the most respected and experienced people in the industry. Matt Hume, who has been in the industry for over 25 years, is our VP of competition, our VP Rich Franklin is a former world champion himself, and we have consulted with doctors in the West and in the East to put forward what we think is really a game changing plan to make this a safer sport for all athletes.”
Holly Holm to fight before July
Holly Holm created shockwaves around the world by beating “female Fedor” up until that point, Ronda Rousey at UFC 193. Ronda, who laid waste to all her opponents till her fight with Holly, got stunned with Holly’s power punches and a high kick, as UFC crowned a new bantamweight champion.
While Dana White initially wanted Holly’s next fight to happen at UFC 200 against Ronda, it looks as if the UFC’s head honcho has come around.
Holly recently inked a new five year deal with the UFC, and according to reports, her negotiation included her fighting before July. While UFC hasn’t named Holly’s opponent, it is being rumored that it will be the number one contender for what appears to be a lifetime in the UFC, Miesha Tate.
Miesha and Holly have expressed their interest in fighting each other, and it appears that Holly has managed to convince the UFC heads to make the fight a reality.
While Miesha couldn’t get past Ronda to get her hands on the bantamweight title, Miesha, who was contemplating retirement after Dana refused to give her the fight against Ronda, might consider this a lifeline of sorts.
With Dana essentially telling Miesha that she wouldn’t get to fight for the title as long as Ronda was the champion, Miesha talked about walking away from the UFC. Fortunately for her, Holly dethroned UFC’s queen, and we might get to hear about Holly’s next fight in the coming weeks.
Opponent found for CM Punk’s debut in the UFC
“Is UFC really going to let CM Punk fight inside the Octagon?” We may very well have an answer to that. After spotting UFC’s future money maker, Sage Northcutt during one of Dana’s “tours” to scout potential fighters, his new reality series “Looking for a fight” might’ve unearthed Punk’s opponent.
In the recent installment, a fighter named Mickey Gall won his first professional fight, and immediately called CM Punk out.
Now, while that wouldn’t suggest that Dana would immediately book the recently turned pro against Punk, and that too at UFC 200 – UFC’s biggest PPV this year, Dana did say that he was “interested”.
Gall fights in the welterweight division, believed to be the weight class Punk would fight in, and trains out of Miller Brothers MMA. With Dana saying Punk should be ready to fight by UFC 200, one can assume that Dana has finally scouted Punk’s opponent.