By: Matt Marcone
Seven fights were refurbished due to the injury bug at UFC 149 in Calgary and the results were not pretty.
“We broke the gate record here tonight and I’m embarrassed by it,” says UFC President Dana White. “The undercard delivered, they were awesome. The main card did not.”
The main event saw Renan Barao capture the interim bantamweight championship after outpointing Urijah Faber for five straight rounds. It was a highly technical fight that was plagued by boos and chants of “refund.”
A crushing knee in the first broke Faber’s ribs, successfully shutting down most of his offense the rest of the night. Barao now faces 135-pound kingpin Dominick Cruz as soon as he recovers from last month’s ACL surgery.
The co-main event truly disappointed as Hector Lombard’s 24-fight winning streak came to an end at the hands of Tim Boetsch. It may have been a case of octagon jitters, but Boetsch managed to take a split decision over a guy many thought could be Anderson Silva’s next challenger.
“It’s the unfortunate thing about hype,” says White. “When there’s a lot of hype behind you and you don’t live up to it, it goes away pretty quick.”
Boetsch is now 4-0 at middleweight and a serious contender, having previously finished Yushin Okami. Vegas odds makers called Boetsch a 4-1 underdog and his accomplishment should not go unnoticed, considering he broke his foot in the second round.
In perhaps the biggest snooze fest of the night, heavyweight Cheick Kongo shut down Shawn Jordan by pressing him against the cage for three full rounds. The only highlight was an inside elbow that caught Kongo’s groin in round one.
Written By Dwight Wakabayashi
Following a false start in January, Sudbury native Mitch “The Machine” Gagnon is set to make his UFC debut this Saturday night on the undercard of UFC 149 from Calgary. It is really a night of Canadian debuts as, Gagnon and fellow Canadian fighter Ryan Jimmo are both getting their first crack at the big time.
Gagnon stated on Twitter earlier this week that he is currently reading UFC 149 headliner Urijah Faber’s book, and he better hope to learn something from it. The Team Shredder product out of northern Ontario will be in tough competition against Team Alpha Male fighter Bryan Caraway. Caraway brings some good experience to the cage, coming off a win against Dustin Neace in his own UFC debut last December. Caraway has fought some very tough opponents in his career, with notable losses to Mark Hominick and Fredson Paxaio. His twenty-one fights to Gagnon’s nine give a clear edge in experience to the American.
Gagnon is a very strong, compact fighter and his ground game is tremendous. He holds a Canadian regional title and has fought and beaten some tough local talent. This is a nice match up for him to get his feet wet in the UFC with his strength being his key to victory. Caraway is also a submission wizard with 14 of his 16 professional wins coming via tap. He poses a formidable challenge for Gagnon and will definitely surprise and make some noise if he wins on Saturday night.
Gagnon has not fought since he defeated David Harris at Ringside MMA 12 in October of last year and cage rust could be a factor going in to this fight. A saving grace may be the fact that Caraway hasn’t fought this year either so they will both be willing and eager combatants.
Gagnon is one of six Canadian fighters on the preliminary card with a seventh, Adrenaline welterweight Chris Clements the only Canadian on the main card. Clements stepped in for an injured Thiago Alves against opponent Siyar Bahadurzada, but will now face another replacement in the always game Matt Riddle. The Calgary card has been plagued by injuries and is virtually unrecognizable to the original card that was announced months ago.
The seemingly cursed card has lost the likes of Yoshihiro Akiyama, Thiago Alves, Thiago Silva, Mauricio Rua, Michael Bisping and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to injury or pull out. Yet in a true show of the depth of the UFC roster they have been replaced by such stars and notables as Urijah Faber, Renan Barao, Hector Lombard, Tim Boetsch, Bryan Ebersole and Chris Clements. The card remains full of world class fighters who should not be overlooked. Due to the revolving door of fighters on and off the card, this event is under-hyped and could over perform among the many over-hyped and anticlimactic cards we have experienced in the past. Don’t sleep on it.
By: Matt Marcone
Canadian light heavyweight standout Ryan “The Real Deal” Jimmo has won 16 straight and is primed to make his UFC debut. Jimmo’s impressive string of wins includes decisions over Wilson Gouveia and Marvin Eastman.
Oddly enough, he thinks his insecurity might be his greatest asset.
“When I’m walking to the ring, I try to talk myself into not thinking I’m going to lose,” laughs Jimmo. “By nature I’m a very insecure person and so I’m like that in training. I never think I’m good enough. Even when I win, I always think it’s a horrible performance.”
Jimmo was scheduled to take on Karlos Vemola January 20 at UFC on FX 1, but withdrew a week out due to an ankle injury. It only took a couple weeks until he was training again.
“We’re looking at probably July 21 in Calgary,” says Jimmo on his UFC debut. “I haven’t been given an opponent but that’s the tentative date we’re shooting for.“
Jimmo is coming off a close decision win over highly regarded veteran Thierry Sokoudjou. It was also the first fight where judges used a modified half-point scoring system.
“I think the half point system can make things a little more accurate,” Jimmo explains. “If it’s a really close round but you have to give it to someone, you still have to give them a 10-9 round, so I think the half point system is an improvement.”
Jimmo has taken the next step in his own career by moving to South Florida, currently training with the world-class Blackzilians.
“I’m doing very well training down here,” says Jimmo. “When I first came down, training with Rashad Evans I thought it was going to take a while to get up to their level, but that’s not the case at all. I came here and I’m surprising myself at how well I’m doing.”
Jimmo also excels at studying physics and playing chess. The latter has definitely affected his approach to fighting.
“Absolutely, I beat my opponents with technique, but also by out-thinking them,” says Jimmo. “They’re just a large chess piece that I manipulate as I please.”
Fans can listen to the full interview on episode three the MMAxposed podcast. Jimmo explains what it was like wanting to turn pro while not being able to afford groceries, and gives an epic explanation about the origins of his nickname “the real deal.”