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UFC 199: Rockhold vs Bisping 2


wandshogun09

Who wins and how?   

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We're going back to Cali for the next PPV on June 4th. And it's a good 'un.

 

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PPV MAIN CARD

Luke Rockhold vs Michael Bisping - Middleweight Title

Dominick Cruz vs Urijah Faber - Bantamweight Title

Max Holloway vs Ricardo Lamas

Dan Henderson vs Hector Lombard

Dustin Poirier vs Bobby Green

 

FOX SPORTS 1 PRELIMS

BJ Penn vs Cole Miller

Clay Guida vs Brian Ortega

Beneil Dariush vs James Vick

Jessica Penne vs Jessica Andrade

 

FIGHT PASS PRELIMS

Tom Breese vs Sean Strickland

Jonathan Wilson vs Luiz Henrique Da Silva

Kevin Casey vs Elvis Mutapcic

Dong Hyun Kim vs Polo Reyes

 

Now that's some card, isn't it? I like this one even better than I liked the look of 198 in Brazil.

 

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Rockhold vs Weidman 2 is a very intriguing rematch. Two of the best and most skilled fighters in the game, in any weight class. But I'll be honest and say I didn't really see the need to do an immediate rematch here though. It wasn't like the first fight was controversial, was it? In fact, the only controversy seemed to be that the stoppage was late and Herb Dean let the beating go on too long.

 

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There was a LOT of this.

 

It all started with an ill-advised spinning back kick attempt from Weidman. Until that point it had been a close struggle with Weidman appearing to be holding a very slight edge. He tried some spinning shit and that was all the opening Rockhold needed to pounce. He made Weidman pay the price big time for that error. Weidman was never back in the fight and Rockhold just rained down a shitstorm of strikes on him from the mount, what felt like a million unanswered punches and elbows, before Herb Dean finally waved the fight off.

 

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It was a massive win. While a fair few people were predicting Rockhold might be the man to beat Weidman, Weidman was still undefeated going in and had the rep of being the man who ended the reign of Anderson Silva. Rockhold took Weidman's '0', his aura, maybe his soul, about a pint of his blood and his title in one fell swoop...

 

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Regardless of me not thinking an immediate rematch was necessary in this case, I'm no less excited for this fight. It's always interesting to see how an undefeated fighter responds to their first loss. And no-one knows better than Rockhold how much a brutal defeat can serve as a motivator. He's been a man possessed ever since he lost to TRT Belfort in 2013. I could see Weidman coming back really strong as well here using the loss in December as fuel. So this could be a truly epic battle.

 

"It's a do-or-die situation. If I lose this fight again, it might not be good for me. I can understand that. That's the situation I want to be in because I believe in myself and I know what I'm capable of" - Chris Weidman

 

“He better check himself or this fight’s going to be over a lot sooner than he expects, maybe than even I expect. I don’t feel threatened by Chris. I really don’t see what he’s going to bring to the table to blow me away. … He’s a great fighter, but I’m the best" - Luke Rockhold

 

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Really looking forward to this one. It started as a bit of a respectful competitive rivalry heading into their first fight. But you can see the dislike building between them now. The next few weeks should be very interesting to see how the interact with each other during the media circus of fight week. They're both so ultra competitive there's no way it won't get a bit heated.

 

Which leads nicely to the co-main event...

 

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Cruz vs Faber 3 has been a long, long time coming. This is a feud that started in 2007, for fuck's sake. A nine year feud in MMA is a rare thing.

 

They first fought at WEC 26 back in March 2007;

 

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Faber was already a veteran at this point. He was the top dog at 145, the WEC featherweight champ and had an impressive 18-1 record. Cruz was only 9-1 and was fairly untested.

 

It took Faber less than two minutes to catch Cruz in a guillotine choke for the submission...

 

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From there, a rivalry was born. Pretty much constant sniping from both from that point onwards. It actually started before their first fight really. Cruz felt insulted that he was left off the event poster and Faber was front and centre, so when signing posters for fans on fight week, he signed over Faber's picture. It was a little thing but that's where the dissent seemed to be born. And it grew and grew until their rematch four years later in 2011...

 

"Dominick Cruz...hide your kids, hide your wife, hide that UFC belt baby!" - Urijah Faber after beating Eddie Wineland at UFC 128

 

By this point the WEC divisions had merged into the UFC. In the four years since the first fight, both had dropped to bantamweight where Cruz had become champion. After beating Wineland, Faber was granted a crack at Cruz's title and the rematch was booked for UFC 132 in July 2011.

 

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It was a way different fight to the first one. Cruz had clearly improved hugely since he was thrown in with Faber in the WEC, still wet behind the ears. This was a different ball game entirely. They went the full 25 minutes and it was a back and forth, razor close decision...

 

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...which Cruz won.

 

I haven't seen it in years but I remember it being a tremendous fight. Pretty sure I had Faber edging it at the time but I'll have to give it a rewatch.

 

After that, Cruz dominated Mighty Mouse in the October and Faber crushed Brian Bowles in the November. And with them tied at 1-1, it was a no-brainer to do the rubber match.

 

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They were pitted against each other as coaches of The Ultimate Fighter 15. The first live season. And perhaps the worst season of TUF there's ever been. Wasn't the coaches fault, just a shit concept and the season never clicked.

 

Then it happened.

 

Dominick Cruz hit a brick wall of injury after injury after injury. He beat Mighty Mouse in October of 2011 and never fought again until September of 2014.

 

Obviously, the rubber match with Faber was off. And it cost Cruz the biggest payday of his life. Cruz vs Faber 3 was all set to co-main event under the hugely hyped and anticipated rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen at UFC 148 in July 2012. When Cruz got hurt, he lost mega money.

 

Dana quote...

 

"He was supposed to get a piece of the PPV on the Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen rematch. I'm not kidding you, that's a fucking lottery ticket! He might never have the opportunity to make that kind of money again.

 

It's like jumping up and going, 'Holy shit, I fucking won!', and then, 'Where did my ticket go? I lost my fucking ticket?' And then there's no proof he had the ticket. That's literally what it's like. I felt so bad for this kid."

“We started around the same time. It's been 13 years for me. It’s been 11 years for him. I have more than double the fights… You get notoriety when you fight. He deserves notoriety but he hasn’t been fighting. He’s not made for battle. His mind is made for battle. He’s got heart, he’s got those kind of things but his body is not" - Urijah Faber

 

"I don't think he's regressed. I don't. I don't think he's gotten worse. I think that he's stayed the same and the game has progressed. That's the difference. I think Faber is uncoachable. I think that anytime somebody goes in there to coach him, he ends up kicking them out, because he has to be the alpha. I think that's been the downfall of his career" - Dominick Cruz

 

Yeah. They don't really like each other much. Never was that more evident than their bitchy interaction during the Unstoppable press conference recently...

 

Cruz: I wish every fight could go as fast as my fight with Takeya Mizugaki but they don't always go that well. So, I'll just go right back to the drawing board. I'm getting my body prepared for the next fight, to beat up TJ Dillashaw's grandfather over there.

 

Faber: Dominick, you're gonna get whooped, brother. One finish in nine years? Is that scary? And you beat TJ? Did USADA ban puberty? The guy looked like a stringbean, you come with back fat and you look skinnyfat. Did they ban puberty? I'm gonna smash you, brother. Believe that.

 

Cruz: With what? All you got is an overhand right and a guillotine and that's it. It hasn't changed. You finally got a haircut and put on a suit, took your sandals off, you're a mess man.

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At this stage, even with the layoffs, I can't see Faber beating Cruz. Whether Faber has regressed or, like Cruz says, the game has just left him behind, Faber isn't quite the force he was these days, IMO. A few years ago he'd absolutely destroy everyone below the championship level. But in the last couple of years we've seen him make hard work of scraping by Alex Caceres, Francisco Rivera and Frankie Saenz. Good fighters but guys Faber would've likely schooled a few years previously. And Cruz somehow is so good these days that he can come off a three year layoff and batter Mizugaki in a minute, then have another year layoff, come back and take the title off Dillashaw. The man is a freak. A frail one, but a freak nonetheless.

 

Still, it'll be fun to watch and the trilogy needs settling. Plus there's the Dillashaw student vs teacher element if Faber wins.

 

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Holloway vs Lamas is a great fight in the featherweight division. Holloway is the real deal. Since losing to Conor McGregor in 2013, he's gone 8-0 with 6 finishes. He's still only 24 years old and he's gaining experience and momentum with every win. He faces a tough test in Ricardo Lamas though. Lamas is a threat to pretty much anyone in the division on a good night. He's not unbeatable but he's a tough task. I'd favour Holloway but it's another solid test for him.

 

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Hendo vs Lombard is a fight I'd have been all over in 2009. In 2016 though, this feels like a sacrifice. Like they're sending an old man to be slaughtered. As is always the case, a guy like Hendo always has a punchers chance but this just seems like a terrible style matchup for him. Almost unwinnable. It's not like Lombard can't be beat, Neil Magny showed it can be done last time out. But Hendo is 45 years old, banged up to fuck and has lost 6 of his last 8 fights (4 by stoppage). It's just too much to ask. Lombard is going to wreck him.

 

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Poirier vs Green kicks off the PPV main card. Good fight, although I often find Green a frustrating fighter to watch. He's got a bit of a weird style for me where he moves a lot but doesn't actually do all that much. Poirier is aggressive enough though that he should be able to force the action a bit more than Green usually likes.

 

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BJ Penn vs Cole Miller headlines the prelims for this one. The fight and career comeback nobody was clamouring for. But it's BJ Penn so I'll watch it. Then I'll wish I didn't again when it's over. Like his last few fights, actually.

 

I'd really hoped Penn had finally seen sense and was going to stay retired. The word 'shot' gets thrown about willy nilly when a fighter looks bad but never has a fighter looked more shot than Penn looked against Frankie Edgar at the TUF Finale last year. And at the post-fight press conference he finally seemed to accept that it was over.

 

He was inducted into the UFC Hall Of Fame around that time and, even in a sport like MMA where retirements rarely last, it really seemed like he'd actually called it a day.

 

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Then out of the blue, rumours started popping up that he was in talks with the UFC about a return. The rumour was he'd fight at UFC 196 in March, probably against Dennis Siver. The deal never got done in time and the same rumour started circulating again that Penn vs Siver was going to happen at UFC 197 in April. Again, nothing came of it. So when I read again that Penn vs Siver was being lined up for UFC 199, I kind of hoped it'd come to nothing again.

 

Looks like it's happening this time though. Siver is injured so we get Penn vs everyone's favourite balding beanpole, Cole Miller.

 

Penn's been training at Greg Jackson's gym for this fight, for whatever that's worth...

 

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Can't see it doing much good. It's surely a case of too little, too late now for Penn. I don't see him receiving a beating like Edgar put on him. I've seen people acting like Miller's going to walk through him and just massacre him or something but there's a world of difference between Frankie Edgar and Cole Miller. I could see Miller outworking and outpointing him though, and that's a shit thought. Saying that, even if Penn wins it's not much better. He'd probably call out Rockhold or something then.

 

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Guida vs Ortega is ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. I love this fight on paper. I know it's been a long time since Guida was his old crazy exciting self but I think Ortega's grappling might be the ingredient to bring some of that out of him again. Because even if Clay tries to smother him, Ortega is such an attacking grappler I can't see it ever being a slow or boring fight. I like Ortega to submit him actually.

 

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Jessica Penne returns to the cage for the first time since being butchered by Joanna Jedrzejczyk a year ago. This should be a decent fight. Andrade is a little fireplug and Penne's BJJ is really good and her striking isn't bad either (just obviously nowhere near Jedrzejczyk's level).

 

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Tom Breese is back. 24 years old, 10-0 with 9 finishes. From Birmingham but trains at Tristar under Firas Zahabi in Canada. He didn't look that impressive against the crafty vet Keita Nakamura on the London card in February but it's all experience gained. They're moving him along slowly at the minute. Strickland is a solid opponent. Should tell us a bit about how much work Breese has to do.

 

Really like this card. The two title fights are quality, I think Ortega vs Guida could be a barnburner and, even though I'm not in love with them wheeling out the shells of Hendo and Penn again, they're two of my favourite fighters so I'm always going to be invested in their fights.

 

199 then.

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While Faber is selling the fight like a dream, I don't think he has much to offer Cruz at this time. I see Cruz winning this handily on points. 

 

Also, I recall having Cruz as the clear-cut winner of the second fight. I haven't seen it in years, but I recall Cruz being busier in 3 rounds, with perhaps 1 round being close, and one going to Faber due to landing the meatier punches. I'd have to replay it to be sure though. 

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Love the look of this one.

 

Agree with the points about Faber, don't think he's doing much here. Same goes for me regarding Weidman. Rockhold absolutely dismantled the bloke a few months back and I'm fairly sure it came out Luke himself was injured during the bout.

 

Also look forward to a hopefully more impressive performance from Brit Tom Breese this time round. Up until his last fight he looked like he had some real potential.

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Looking back on the first Rockhold/Weidman fight and it was closer than I remembered. At the time I remember thinking it was a completely one sided battering, but now whilst it was a battering Weidman had few moments in the fight.

That said, whilst It's hard to argue the wheel kick caused his downfall, I think the ending was still inevitable. 

 

What stood out the most to me was the gulf in class between their striking. Rockhold's technique, in particular his kicks, were just a class or even two above Weidman's.

 

Weidman's only hope really is implementing his wrestling, but Rockhold goes up against far better wrestlers in DC and Velasquez so it's hard to see that happening too. 

 

On the ground Weidman has been known to be a beast, but I just don't see him being able to cope with Rockhold there too. Rockhold's frame and unauthodox movement just makes him a monster on the ground, and I don't even think Jacare can stop Rockhold on the floor. 

 

It's just a bad fight for Weidman, but you can't count him out given the fact he's still an incredible fighter.

 

In relation to the card, I'm looking far more to this than I was 198. I said in the past my problem with 198 is that the actual fights weren't that great, despite there big names. This card is full of big names but also great fights. 

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I'm truly buzzing for this card. As an aside, Wand did a fantastic job telling the stories of the main events.

 

You know Weidman and Rockhold have been working tirelessly to become better; I think in both mens cases they not only want to win but to do so in dominating fashion. Two proper alpha types that aren't looking for anything but to show they're the best. It's an incredible match up. Granted, Rockhold did end up making Weidman his bitch in uncomfortable fashion, but it was super tight until Weidman decided he was Bruce Lee. Be interesting if Rockhold can get Weidman down again and whether Weidman can do anything to stop the ground and pound this time. It reminds me a bit of 'Mania 17 when The Rock and Austin told Debra to piss off; both I really like and they're out to prove who's the best.

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This is old but well worth a look.

 

Static - Cruz vs Faber;

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&persist_app=1&v=16bLZhbbkA8

 

There's a few of these short videos on YouTube covering some MMA feuds like Rousey vs Tate, Diaz vs Mayhem etc. They're really good.

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Yeah, they're the Jay Z produced ones.

 

Also, I recall having Cruz as the clear-cut winner of the second fight. I haven't seen it in years, but I recall Cruz being busier in 3 rounds, with perhaps 1 round being close, and one going to Faber due to landing the meatier punches. I'd have to replay it to be sure though.

Really? I remember it being mega close. As I recall there were a few rounds that probably could've gone either way depending on what you weigh more importance on. I think Cruz was landing in more volume but Faber seemed to be landing the heavier shots and dropped Cruz a few times. I thought it was a tight one to call myself. I'll definitely have to watch it again, don't think I've seen it since it aired live.

 

I'm with the 'don't count out Weidman' camp. I'm leaning towards another Rockhold win but I wouldn't write off Weidman's chances at all. He's an incredible fighter and he'll be coming in seriously motivated to avenge his first loss. Plus, I've read in a few places that Weidman came into their last fight with a foot that was broken in a few places. People will call it excuses but it's got to have had some negative effect on Weidman, hasn't it? If not directly on the fight then definitely training wise. And like a couple of people said already, it was very competitive before Weidman went all Van Damme with the spinny kicks.

 

Rockhold could well repeat his first victory. Not saying I'd even be surprised if it went like that again, to be honest. But with two fighters as dangerous and skilled as Rockhold and Weidman, you're talking fractions of inches of a wrong move and that mistake can change the entire course of the fight. Rockhold deserves full credit for jumping on Weidman's error last time and destroying him afterwards, but it doesn't mean the fight goes like that 10/10 times. These two are both so good I could easily see them going 5-5 if they fought 10 times.

 

I'm picking Rockhold because I think he'll hold a mental edge maybe, having handed Weidman his first loss and in brutal fashion. His confidence must be sky high coming into this rematch whereas Weidman's mindset is a question mark. That loss at UFC 194 is the type that could well either break a fighter for good or bring out another level in them.

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Mind, Rockhold said he was battling a staph infection during his last camp for Weidman. Basically both men weren't anywhere near 90% if you believe them.

 

Interestingly, Schaub said on Rogan's podcast last night that he's heard Weidman was so cocky about his abilities that he took it easy with his training camp. Apparently he was going through the motions and didn't bother bringing any high level fighters into his camp to help him improve and figure out Rockhold, which he clearly regrets. Although maybe he was taking it easy because his foot was such a mess.

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I think you've nailed it there, wand - the psychological damage to Weidman was probably much greater from how brutally Rockhold bludgeoned him than from just losing his 0. The fact that he was unable to respond for so long, that he was practically helpless while Rockhold could basically do what he liked to him, must really have weighed on his mind. To be quite honest, whilst at the time, I was hoping and praying that the ref wouldn't stop the fight so Weidman could get an opportunity to fight back, looking back on it, I'm shocked at how long he let it go on for; Weidman could have even developed punched eye syndrome, rare as it is.

 

Basically, Weidman's memory of lying there helpless while Rockhold rained blow after blow on him will have either made him or broken him. I really hope it's the former; I don't want him to end up like DC seems to do every time he's in the same room as Jones.

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There's different ways of looking at it, from all accounts Weidman didn't go into that fight fully prepared, maybe complacency set in and he started to believe his own hype, if that's really the case maybe Weidman prepares like a madman and goes in feeling invincible once again, to me he seems like the kind of mentally strong guy who won't allow the loss to affect him that much, but who knows?

 

You also have to factor in that Luke Rockhold has said since that he was pretty ill going into that fight and think he fought way below his capabilities. Weidman must hear them kind of rumblings and wonder what kind of Rockhold he's going to come up against.

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That's what makes it so fascinating. One, how will Weidman be mentally? But also, just say for argument's sake that Weidman really wasn't at the races last time for whatever reason (broken foot, overconfidence, whatever) then does Rockhold develop a false sense of security thinking he's got this rematch in the bag? I wouldn't think so but Rockhold's a cocky prick himself. No-one's untouchable. If he sleeps on Weidman thinking it's going to go like it did in December, he could get a shock.

 

Like I said, they're both just so good. And in all areas. There's no facet of MMA that either man is weak in. And neither are the type to hang back and be cautious. So whatever the result, you're always going to get a great fight out of these two. That combination of insane skills and constant pace and aggression won't allow for anything less.

 

Add in the fact that they were both hampered by injuries/health issues last time and, providing they're both relatively healthy this time, we should be in for something special.

 

Here's a couple of quotes on Weidman's broken foot, for anyone interested.

 

Chris Weidman;

 

"I broke my foot six weeks out in three spots. That's well documented. I went in there to win the fight. I took the fight. I wasn't going to come off the card. And I've gone into fights with serious injuries before and I felt like I could go in there and beat him even with that.

 

What hurt the most was I wasn't able to train the right way. I wasn't able to wrestle, I wasn't able to do any sprinting or running or anything to get cardio up. In the back of my mind, that might've been the thing that hurt me the most, knowing that I wasn't able to train properly.

 

You know what? Obviously I can say it was excuses, but I went in there to beat his ass. I believe I could beat him even like that and I was wrong. I believe if I'm prepared properly the guy has no chance with me. It's my belt he has right now."

Ray Longo;

 

"If you want to know the truth, he was banged up. He had a fractured foot in two places. We tried to work around it, but I think mentally it had an effect on him, because he wasn't able to push the cardio the right way."

 

"He has fought with injuries before. I've seen this guy walk through fire before, but as his coach, I feel bad. Maybe I should have been more vocal about this or that. You can't make excuses. His teammate, Aljamain Sterling, was banged up going into his fight on Dec. 11 and he won. So, you never know.

 

"If you decide to fight, what can you do during camp? Put a boot on him, so someone takes a picture and he's walking around in a boot? He didn't wear one. It's a nightmare. And these guys are my friends, so I'm in a weird spot sometimes. You basically have to tell them they're not doing it."

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