“UFC Tonight” took a closer look at the main event Saturday night between T.J. Dillashaw and Renan Barao for the bantamweight title at UFC 177.
Stepping in as a guest host, Daniel Cormier let it be known that he feels there is one key area where the contest could shift.
“I think fight starts even before Barao goes into the Octagon. I was on his last card and he had the plastic on Tuesday before the fight. He has to manage his weight before the fight,” Cormier said. “In the fight, he needs to cut Dillashaw off and not follow him around. For Dillashaw, he needs to use his footwork, be fast, and mix in some takedowns this time because now Barao is ready for a striking battle with him.”
Brian Stann, also appearing as a guest host, discussed the striking aspect of the contest. Dillashaw dominated there in the first meeting before finishing Barao in the fifth.
“He has to cut off TJ and punch with him. He’s slower, but has heavier hands. He needs to strike first. He’s got to slow down Dillashaw – punch with him, not wait for him. And he needs to land the kicks,” Stann said. “For Dillashaw, he has to take away the confidence of Barao right away. After being dominated last time, Barao will have doubt in the back of his mind. If TJ can land some punches and do it again, it will make Barao doubt himself again. We could see another dominant victory by Dillashaw.”
And Kenny Florian pointed out a more aggressive approach by Barao if he wants to reclaim the title.
“He’s more of a counter-striker,” Florian said. “He’s a power striker. In the first fight, TJ was landing shots and getting out back out quickly. Barao needs to do direct attacks, right down the middle, with leg kicks and feint a little more.”
UFC vice president of regulatory affairs, Marc Ratner, is planning to introduce random and unannounced drug testing for fighters – even when they are not scheduled to compete.
In a report by ESPN, Ratner confirmed plans to begin the process by the end of 2014.
“We are meeting with different companies right now and we’re going to have out-of-competition testing,” Ratner said. “We’re not sure when it’s going to start, but we’re working on it right now.
“Unannounced blood and urine is going to happen, hopefully in the next three or four months. When you’re talking about 500 fighters, there are a lot of logistics. Having fighters in foreign countries makes it tougher, but we’re coming up with a plan and (agencies) are making proposals to us in the next two weeks.”
The UFC has tried to take a stiffer stance in the war against using illegal and banned substances, taking away “Fight Night” bonuses for those that fail tests. They also joined the Nevada Athletic Commission in doing away with TRT.
“The UFC will be randomly testing a percentage of fighters,” Ratner said. “When we decide on this regiment, it’s going to be a big cost but it’s well worth it when we do these out-of-competition tests.”
Earlier this year, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones requested random blood tests before his fight with Glover Teixeira. Georges St-Pierre has taken a stand in regards to doing the random tests, as well many other fighters.
UFC Hall of Fame fighter Stephan Bonnar has signed with Bellator MMA, the promotion announced on Wednesday.
Bonnar, who retired following a loss to Anderson Silva in 2012, has been doing announcing work with Titan FC. He was inducted into the hall of fame alongside Forrest Griffin, as the two were in the finals of the first Ultimate Fighter season.
“I want everyone to know I’m coming out of retirement because it’s time to free the MMA world of the virus that’s known as Tito Ortiz,” Bonnar said in a statement provided by Bellator. “We’ve been suffering through his boring fights for too many years, and it’s about time that someone beats it out of him once and for all.”
Bonnar and Ortiz have exchanged words in the past, but they never crossed paths while both were competing inside the Octagon. Along with competing later this year, Bonnar could also work as an analyst for the promotion.
“Stephan is a guy that has been a huge part of this sport and we are excited have him part of the roster,” Bellator president Scott Coker said in a statement provided by the organization. “He was one half of probably the greatest and one of the most important fights in MMA history, and it happened on Spike. When you look at our light heavyweight division, with names like Rampage (Jackson), Tito, King Mo (Lawal), Emanuel Newton and others, there are a lot of fights Stephan can be involved in. Big fights against big names. After talking to Stephan, I know that’s what he wants, and we want to provide that to our fans.”
Bonnar holds a 15-8 career record, including wins over Kyle Kingsbury, Keith Jardine and James Irvin, while he has also fought the likes of Silva, Jon Jones, Griffin and Mark Coleman.
Ortiz responded to the news on Twitter, posting “Really? Really? I’m going to beat the juice out of you.” Bonnar failed a handful of post-fight drug tests for banned substances while he competed in the UFC.
The latest official UFC fighter rankings have been released, and thanks to a double-event weekend, there was plenty of changes.
In the pound-for-pound Top-15, Chris Weidman and Demetrious Johnson flipped fourth and fifth, while Johny Hendricks passed Ronda Rousey for eighth. Also, Alexander Gustafsson and Daniel Cormier each moved up a spot, and Gilbert Melendez, debuted after Benson Henderson’s loss.
Henderson’s defeat to Rafael dos Anjos caused a stir amongst the lightweight Top-5, as “Smooth” fell from No. 1 to fourth, while Melendez, Khabib Nurmagoemdov and dos Anjos all sit ahead of him.
Thales Leites moved up three spots at middleweight after his win over Francis Carmont, who dropped three spots.
Tyron Woodley moved back ahead of Carlos Condit and into third at welterweight, while Takeya Mizugaki passed Eddie Wineland for fifth at bantamweight.
Ed Soares, manager for former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, believes the decision to pair “The Spider” with Nick Diaz makes complete sense.
“Arguably, these guys are two of the best boxers in mixed martial arts, they both wanted to fight Roy Jones, Jr., they’re both coming off two losses, they both have been out of the ring for over a year,” said Soares, during a recent appearance on Submission Radio, “so it’s just a fight that makes sense.”
Silva suffered a broken leg last December in a rematch for the middleweight title against Chris Weidman. He also lost to Weidman earlier in 2013. Diaz, meanwhile, dropped bouts to former UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit before going into a self-imposed retirement.
While many have questioned Silva’s decision to return to the Octagon, Soares believes he can still compete with the best of the best.
“I think he’ll be back and he’ll go as far as he wants to apply himself to,” he said. “I think if anybody can come back from an injury like this and come back and put that title around their waist again, if anybody in the world can do it, it’s Anderson Silva.”
Prior to running into Weidman, the Brazilian often-times appeared uninterested in certain title fights. Soares feels the time away recovering has helped provide a new sense of pride in Silva.
“I think that’s going to be the biggest motivation, just seeing Anderson back to what he once as,” Soares said. “I believe that there got a point in Anderson’s career where maybe subconsciously he forgot what it was like not to be champ, and I think now he’s kind of looking up at that hill realizing that he’s got some more challenges to conquer.”
Silva and Diaz are set for the UFC 183 main event in January from Las Vegas.