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What did we learn from UFC 162? Easy…if you want to be a clown, join the circus. Actually, everyone already knew that (except for Anderson). Here are 10 REAL things we learned. MMA School is in session.

#10. And the New UFC Middleweight Champion Is…

Chris Weidman was sold as “The Perfect Opponent,” and he said all along that he was going to be the man to end Anderson Silva’s reign atop the UFC middleweight division. Saturday night at UFC 162, the Long Island native did just that, shocking the MMA world by knocking out “The Spider” in the second round.

Midway through the first round, Silva started working his patented bob-and-weave, egg-you-on routine with Weidman, inviting him to engage, ripping off strikes of his own here and there, but never really pressing the action.

It was more of the same to start the second, but then the challenger did what no one else who’s been in the same position had been able to do in the past: he landed, and Silva crumpled to the ground.

And just like that, the confident challenger became the unbeaten champion, bringing an end to the most dominant title reign in UFC history.

#9. Live by the Shimmy, Die by the Shimmy

When Silva looked like Neo dodging bullets against Forrest Griffin, we praised his next-level talent. When he stood on the fence and offered Stephan Bonnar a Pat Benatar challenge before finishing him off, it was further evidence that he was in a league of his own.

Silva tried the same tactics Saturday night against Weidman, and it backfired, horribly. While we can’t realistically say how things would have played out had the mercurial Brazilian legend not dropped his hands and paid the price, to say Silva was doing anything differently than he had in previous outings is simply not true.

The difference at UFC 162 was that where Silva had previously been able to simply avoid the incoming strikes and return fire in greater force, Weidman didn’t give him that opportunity. His confidence certainly caught up with him, but it’s not as if this was the first time Silva mocked his opponents inside the Octagon—it just happened to be the first time anyone made him pay.

#8. So Long Super-Fights

Silva’s loss cost him the belt, but it also cost the UFC a pair of potential super-fights.

Without Silva lording over the middleweight division and standing as the unbeatable icon between two other dominant champions, the possibility of fights with Georges St-Pierre and/or Jon Jones no longer remain realistic targets. His standing as the unbeaten best between the welterweight and light heavyweight divisions made him a perfect dance partner for either man, but now those fights are off the table.

While I don’t think a pairing with St-Pierre was ever going to come together, everything seemed to be falling into place for a showdown with Jones—both were running out of fresh challengers and seemed open to the idea, but Weidman stepped in and ruined the potential match-up, just as he said he would.

Right when we were starting to get our hopes up, too.

#7. This Is Frankie Edgar

The former UFC Lightweight Champion brought his three-fight losing streak to an end with a very good performance against Charles Oliveira in the co-main event, but as good as Edgar looked, there was a familiarity to the performance that has to be acknowledged.

Edgar is simply the type of fighter who is always going to be in close, hard-fought battles that usually go to the scorecards.

Saturday night, “The Pride of Toms River, New Jersey” was in vintage form, bouncing around the cage in unpredictable patterns, connecting with combinations, and dumping Oliveira to the mat when the situation called for it. He also, however, took his fair share of solid shots, had a few instances where it looked like the tide was turning, and ended up going to a decision for the 12th time in 15 trips inside the Octagon.

Edgar is a tremendous talent, and remains one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, but without fight-ending power or submission proficiency, these are the kinds of fights you have to expect. He’s going to continue using his full allotment of time, and because he’s fighting elite competition, his fights are always going to be close contests.

That’s not a bad thing, by any means. That’s just how it goes with “The Answer.”

#6. Cub Swanson Wins…Twice

Not only did FIGHT!’s May cover boy extend his winning streak to five with a third-round TKO win over Dennis Siver, but Swanson should also get a little extra shine after Edgar was unable to put Oliveira away in the penultimate fight of the night.

Against Siver, “Killer Cub” continued to show that he’s a legitimate threat in the featherweight division, using his standard blend of technique and power to put away the talented German kickboxer in impressive fashion. Three fights later, an opponent he put away in under three minutes had a strong performance in defeat against a former title contender.

While every fight is different and MMA math is an inexact science, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Swanson flattened Oliveira with a couple clean, crisp punches last September. It was something the Palm Springs native brought up in advance of Saturday’s event, and when you combine his performance with how the co-main event played out, it’s hard not to see Swanson as a serious contender in the 145-pound ranks going forward.

#5. Mark Munoz: Middleweight X-Factor

On Saturday night, Munoz made a lot of people re-think where he fits in the middleweight division.

Prior to UFC 162, the former Division I National Champion wrestler was stuck in the “good, but not great” category—a guy who could hang around the top 10 of the 185-pound weight class, but he wasn’t really a serious threat. After all, Chris Weidman made him look horrible, and that guy isn’t as good as…

Not only did Weidman go out and prove he’s every bit as good as his advanced billing, but Munoz absolutely brutalized Tim Boetsch, dominating the final two frames en route to a one-sided decision win. Entering in the best physical shape of his career, “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” delivered his best performance to date, turning himself into an X-factor in the middleweight division in the process.

With his wrestling pedigree, heavy hands, and tremendous heart, the 35-year-old is a tough out for anybody in the top tier moving forward.

#4. The Ubiquitous Point About Judging

UFC 162 didn’t have any “Are you kidding me?” outcomes, although there were, as always, a couple scorecards that made no sense.

In the final fight of the preliminary card, Andrew Craig earned a split-decision win over veteran Chris Leben, with scores of 29-28, 28-29, and 30-27. You could have honestly made a case for a 30-26 in Craig’s favor, as the rangy Texan dominated the final frame, and yet one judge still awarded the bout to “The Crippler” based on his ability to continually plod forward in the opening two frames.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the worst scorecard of the evening. Somehow, judges Adelaide Byrd and Glen Trowbridge scored Tim Kennedy’s win over Roger Gracie 30-27 for the two-time Strikeforce title challenger—this after Gracie worked from back mount for more than half of the first round. Ugh.

Listen , judging is hard, but it’s not that hard, and until the Nevada State Athletic Commission (and all athletic commissions) start holding these officials accountable for these ridiculous scores, the problem is never going to be resolved.

#3. No Hollywood Ending for Leben

In the stylized movie-version of Chris Leben’s career, “The Crippler” wins his battles with substance abuse and addiction outside of the cage before returning to the Octagon to earn the biggest victory of his career, maybe even a UFC championship.

Unfortunately for the TUF 1 cast member, the Hollywood ending doesn’t seem to be on the horizon.

Leben dropped his second consecutive decision since returning to action last December, getting out-worked by up-and-coming middleweight prospect Andrew Craig. It wasn’t as flat of an effort as Leben turned in against Derek Brunson, but he was clearly a step behind throughout, and you have to wonder where his fighting career goes from here.

He’s relocated to San Diego and Alliance MMA while his wife attends law school, and had hoped to start one last good run at UFC 162, but with a second straight defeat, it could be the end of the line for the charismatic Leben.

#2. Na-POW!

Sorry, it was too easy to pass up.

Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga needed just 17 seconds to dispatch Dave Herman in the lone heavyweight fight on the card Saturday evening in Las Vegas. While the loss will surely mark the end of Herman’s time in the UFC, it brings up a lot of questions about where the big Brazilian fits in the division going forward.

The 34-year-old is 3-1 since returning to the UFC in January 2012. With some of the recent results in the heavyweight ranks, there appears to be an opening at gatekeeper, and Gonzaga seems to be an ideal candidate to fill the role.

There is always going to be a place at the table for well-rounded heavyweights, and as long as Gonzaga can avoid an extended run of bad results, he should continually find himself in the cage with opponents we need to find out a little more about in the future.

#1. Edson Barboza Will Kick Your Leg Off

Rafaello Oliveira is likely going to have trouble walking for the next couple of days— maybe even a week.

Saturday night, Barboza brutalized Oliveira’s lead leg, earning his second UFC stoppage win as a result of leg kicks, and further reminding observers that he is very much still a prospect to watch in the lightweight division. He also gave us reason to once again mock Cecil Peoples for his ridiculous “leg kicks don’t win fights” comment, which is always fun.

Back at UFC 146, Jamie Varner interrupted Barboza’s climb up the lightweight ladder, but the Brazilian has sine rebounded with consecutive dominant performances. He’s also moved his training to New Jersey, where he’s working with Ricardo Almeida, Mark Henry, and the rest of the team behind former UFC Lightweight Champ Frankie Edgar.

With some of the fastest, nastiest striking in the division and improved takedown defense, the 27-year-old Barboza looks to be on his way to becoming a contender in the deep and talented 155-pound ranks.

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Looking for the smart money? Keep looking. But at least we’ve got the cojones to tell you who we’re putting OUR money on this weekend. Place your bets!

Eddy Kleid, FIGHT! president
Pick: Anderson Silva, -224 (SportBet.com)
Anderson Silva WILL eventually lose another fight…just not this one. As a general rule, I’ll take Silva -250 or better versus anyone.

Jim Casey, FIGHT! managing editor
Pick: Dave Herman, +199 (SportBet.com)
Herman knows his UFC livelihood is on the line against Gabriel Gonzaga. A loss would mean his fourth in a row, and the axe from the UFC. As Peter Gibbons said in Office Space, “My only real motivation is not to be hassled, that, and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.” I expect Herman to work just hard enough to squeak out a decision victory and save his job. Then Herman can celebrate his first win since 2011…hopefully in weed-less fashion.

Chuck Mindenhall, FIGHT! features writer

Pick: Dennis Siver, +205 (PinnacleSports.com)
The most obvious reason Siver should come through against a surging fighter like Cub Swanson is that Swanson was a May cover subject for FIGHT! Mag. The old jinx, I’m afraid, will have a say here. Of course, all of that’s for superstitious people who walk around rubbing their purple rabbit’s feet, not professional men with amazing Macbooks. The real reason is: Siver is a damn good fighter who has won six of seven. As a 2-to-1 dog, he has great value. Vegas is sleeping on a live dog.

Duane Finley, FIGHT! alright guy
Pick: Chris Leben, +129 (SportBet.com)
MMA may have been rolling along a decade prior, but in the modern day Zuffa era, The Ultimate Fighter is akin to the Oregon Trail. That makes the original cast a pioneering bunch, and, of that group, Chris Leben a hard-charging, loose-cannon homesteader. While different aspects of Leben’s demeanor have changed throughout his 10 years under the UFC banner, the aspects of his fight game that made him a star still ring true. When the cage door closes and the face punching starts, Leben will hit zombie mode and look for the kill, because that is what he’s done for years and all he knows. And it is that wealth of experience that will make the difference against Andrew Craig at UFC 162. Certainly, the Houston-native may put Leben on his back, but finishing “The Crippler” is an entirely different story.

Steven Marrocco, #1 FIGHT! awesome staff writer
Pick: Cub Swanson, -215 (BetDSI.com)
Sure, sure, the UFC gods often feel compelled to deny a surging fighter that breakthrough bout that makes an airtight case for a title shot. With four impressive wins on his recent ledger, Swanson is poised for No. 1 contender status–or a slice of humble pie. But the 29 year-old fighter is just the kind of guy to buck that trend, and after all the injuries and setbacks he’s seen, it’s hard not to root for him. Siver is no pushover, and his arsenal of spinning shit is going to keep Swanson on his toes. Provided the German fireplug doesn’t do a stuff-and-smother, Swanson’s fluid striking is going to win the day.

T.R. Foley, FIGHT! wrestling apologist

Pick: Chris Weidman, +220 (SportsInteraction.com)
Until 2011, wrestling-heads who liked to gamble enjoyed a significant edge in understanding which mat stars were actually competent and which were paper tigers with decent marketing (See: Tito Ortiz). They made money, which they then spent on spandex and posters of Dan Gable. For many, life was good. Suddenly, the gambling world and MMA fans began to recognize that even novice fighters like Johny Hendricks and Daniel Cormier could essentially get off their couch in Oklahoma and destroy half the UFC roster. Spandex sales plummeted. The wrestler-based betting advantage is back. What makes the Chris Weidman line super-extra sexy is that Anderson Silva has shown active disinterest in bettering his takedown defense. Sure he stuffed some of Chael Sonnen’s shots, but Weidman is 483x the wrestler of Sonnen and arguably one of the best sport jiu-jitsu fighters in the UFC (he lost a narrow decision to Andre Galvao at the 2009 ADCCs). The Spider is being propped up by nostalgia. Weidman is almost 2-1, which means you get an extraordinary value on a fighter that most prognosticators see as the heavy favorite.

Check out www.bestfightodds.com for the best betting lines.

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http://www.cagepotato.com/cagepotato-databomb-13-how-often-are-ufc-fights-finished/

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With the still growing popularity of the UFC Fights, and MMA in general, there is now more betting on the fights than there has ever been in the past. The funny thing is that most people that are wildly interested in the sport, and would have more of an advantage than the more social fan, really have no idea how to bet on the fights.

If you’ve ever placed a wager on a football or basketball game, you’re familiar with point spreads. Something like Green Bay -7. Well there are no spreads on the MMA fights, only moneylines. If Anderson Silva were fighting what would be considered a pretty easy opponent, he may have a moneyline of -350. Move the decimal two places to the left, and you can see that he’s a 3.5 to 1 favorite.

Take for example last night’s UFC Live Event. Matin Kampmann was a favorite in this fight. His moneyline odds from Vegas and online casino were -145. He was a 1.45 to 1 favorite over Diego Sanchez. This means that you’d have to bet $145 to win $100. For those of you that have never placed a bet, you’d also get your original $145 back. On the flipside of that coin, Diego Sanchez was a +115 underdog. So if you bet $100 on Diego, you’d win $115. Doesn’t seem like a bad bet, does it? Well, especially after knowing the outcome!

For those of you interested in getting your feet wet, you can get your latest MMA LINES by clicking on that link. Create an account and get started right away!

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(Props to Middle Easy.)

Each week, FIGHT! brings you the best from our friends around the web.

In Giving Penn/Fitch Winner Title Shot, UFC Banking On Bigger Plans (Versus MMA)

Old, White Guy Bob Arum Continues to Insist on Racializing MMA (Cage Potato)

M-1 Global To Air Events On Showtime (MMA Convert)

Dana White Meets Subway Stabber-Stopper *VIDEO* (MMA Scraps)

UFC 129 Ticket Sales Open Up New Possibilities (SBNation MMA)

Jorge Rivera: I Got Under Michael Bisping’s Skin (LowKick)

Gabe Reudiger: You’re Fired…Again (Five Ounces of Pain)

The Ultimate Fighter: Phillipines? (5th Round)

What Might Have Been: Fedor In the UFC (MMA Fighting)

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Each week FIGHT! brings you the best from our friends around the web.

– There’s No Quit In Justin Salas SEE ABOVE (Cage Potato)

– Unorthodox Ways Front and Center for Jones (Versus MMA Beat)

– Why Vitor Got the Title Shot (LowKick)

– Japanese Comic Book Version of Lesnar vs. Velasquez Way Better Than the Real Thing (Middle Easy)

– Regional Round Up: Full Force Fighting 1 (5 Oz. of Pain)

– Huh? Sengoku Postpones Event Due to “Media Negativity” (MMA Fighting)

– Outside the Ring: Fedor (MMA Scraps)

– Jon Jones Signs On with FORM/K-Swiss (5th Round)

– Nick Diaz Talks Contenders (SB Nation MMA)

– Former Employees Sue TapouT (MMA Convert)

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nikki_large
(Minor league promotion, big-league ring girl. More pics of Nikki Chang at LowKick.)

Each week, FIGHT! brings you the best from our friends around the web.

– Kenny Florian and Kurt Pellegrino Are Really Cracking Themselves Up, You Guys (Cage Potato)

– FEG President Foresees Death of K-1 and DREAM (MMA Fighting)

– DaMarques Johnson Interview (MiddleEasy)

– Big Nog’ Says JDS Will KO Brock (MMAConvert)

– Teammates Look to Point Featherweights in Right Direction (Versus MMA Beat)

– Cain Velasquez Back Training After Successful Shoulder Surgery (FiveOuncesofPain)

– 5 of the Scariest Knockouts Ever (MMAScraps)

– UFC Champ Frankie Edgar FINALLY Favored to Win a Fight (5thRound)

– Roop Talks Fighting Teammate Hominick at UFC Fight For the Troops II (SBNation.com/MMA)

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(When he’s at home, Anderson Silva dresses like Rivers Cuomo. Props to Youtube.com/UFC.)

Each week, FIGHT! brings you the best from our friends around the web.

– Strikeforce’s Scott Coker Says Gina Carano Will Return to The Cage. Riiiiiight. (Cage Potato.)

– Manager: “Chael Sonnen’s Career is Far From Over” (5thRound)

– UFC to Announce Formal Intent to Bring Event to New York (MMA Fighting)

– MMA Hot List: Fights Booked, Careers Put on Hold (Versus MMA Beat)

– Watch Nam Phan’s Guide to Judging in MMA (MiddleEasy)

– Jacob Volkmann on Fox News. You Figure Out the Rest. (MMA-Scraps.com)

– Dan Henderson In Talks For Title Shot Against Rafael Feijao On March 5 (MMA Convert)

– Jon Jones: I Would Definitely Take a “Right Fight” at Heavyweight (LowKick)

– Chad Griggs Taking on Regional Prospect in Final Strikeforce Grand Prix Reserve Bout (Five Ounces of Pain)

– UFC And Strikeforce Situations Make Heavyweight The Division To Watch In 2011 (SBNation.com/MMA)

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HDNet will air the Third Annual Bazzie Awards on Fri., Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. EST on Inside MMA. Regular hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten will present Bas’ namesake awards alongside former Octagon Girl Natasha Wicks. “Bazzies” will be handed out in 11 different categories, including Fighter of the Year, Female Fighter of the Year, Fight of the Year, and Most Bizarre Moment.

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ron_sparks

Yesterday Bellator announced the signing of Louisville, Ky.-based heavyweight Ron Sparks.

The heavy-handed fighter has an unblemished record (6-0) in his five year pro MMA career but has had difficulty finding fights. In 2010 alone, Sparks agreed to five fights that never took place. He was booked to fight Ray Mercer at King of the Cage: No Mercy, but Mercer disappeared in the days leading up to the bout. It was the second time a KOTC fight with Mercer fell through, and Sparks lost out on the chance to scrap with Tim Sylvia on a regional show and was also set to face both Bobby Lashley and Shane Del Rosario on Strikeforce cards as well.

“I’ve had so many opponents pull out of fights with me in the past. I guess a lot of guys don’t want to lose to me or they feel like I’m that big of a threat,” Sparks is quoted in the press release. “It’s frustrating because I have to train almost 9 weeks sometimes for fights these guys just to pull out.”

That shouldn’t be a problem next year. Sparks, who already has one Bellator win under his belt, is expected to participate in the second Bellator Heavyweight Tournament, which will take place in 2011 and be broadcast on MTV2. The tournament winner will take home $100,000 and the right to face Cole Konrad for the Bellator Heavyweight Championship. The promotion’s inaugural Light-Heavyweight Tournament is the only officially-announced component of Bellator’s upcoming fourth season. In the coming weeks, Bellator will announce its season four tournament participants. To date, the only other announced fighter is Daniel Gracie.

The promotion currently boasts champions in all men’s divisions but Flyweight and Light Heavyweight. Those champions are Zach Makovsky (#11 Bantamweight), Joe Warren (#2 Featherweight), Eddie Alvarez (#10 Lightweight), Ben Askren (#16 Welterweight), Hector Lombard (#6 Middleweight), Cole Konrad (#24 Heavyweight), and Zoila Frausto, who will likely be at the top of the heap when FIGHT! unveils its Women’s Flyweight Rankings.

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