UFC 173

UFC 173, 24 May 2014, Las Vegas Nevada

 Main Card 

 T.J. Dillashaw def Renan Barao*
(T.J. won UFC Bantamweight Championship)
(TKO Strikes – round 5)
Daniel Cormier def Dan Henderson*
(submission rear-naked choke – round 3)
Robbie Lawler def Jake Ellenberger*
(TKO strikes – round 3)
Takeya Mizugaki def Francisco Rivera
(unanimous decision 29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
James Krause def Jamie Varner*
(TKO injury – round 1)

Preliminary Card 

Michael Chiesa def Francisco Trinaldo*
(unanimous decision 30-26,30-26, 30-27)
Tony Ferguson def Katsunori Kikimo*
(TKO punch – round 1)
Chris Holdworth def Chico Camus*
(unanimous decision 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Mitch Clarke def Al Iaquinta*
(submission d’arce choke – round 2)

Preliminary Card

Vinc Pichel def Anthony Njokuani*
(unanimous decision 30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Sam Sicilia def Aaron Phillips*
(unanimous decision 29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Jingliang Li def David Michaud
(split decision 29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

*Cage Inspiration’s most anticipated fights.

Continue reading for why we can’t wait for these fights.

James Krause vs Jamie Varner

This is the first fight on the main card and we at CI are incredibly excited for it. James Krause is an awesome lightweight with great technique. He is new to the UFC but in his first fight earned a Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night performance win against Sam Stout. He does have losses against Donald Cerrone and Ricardo Lamas back in the WEC but that was almost five years ago and we believe that people have the ability to adapt and improve from their losses. Especially when they’re only 27 years old. Jamie Varner was the former WEC Lightweight Champion and has an inspiring fight career. The UFC continuously pits younger fighters against the veteran Jamie Varner but us Varner fans love to see him fight. However Jamie Varner is currently at a two fight losing streak. A third straight loss may indicate that he will have to find another promotion to fight for. Hopefully we do not see a repeat of Jamie Varner 2010.

Jake Ellenberger vs Robbie Lawler

Jake Ellenberger has been slowly making his way up the ranks in the welterweight division. In the UFC he has made a name for himself as a wrestling power house that will grind out a fight. However he is also an incredibly opportunistic fighter who will pinpoint and take advantage of weaknesses immediately and end a fight with a KO or TKO. Jake is coming off a Knockout of the Night win against Nate Marquardt and a loss to Rory MacDonald. A win against Robbie Lawler may increase his chances of fighting for a title. Robbie Lawler is an incredible veteran of the sport. He is the co-owner of HIT Squad out of Illinois with former welterweight champion Matt Hughes. Ruthless turned pro at the age of 19 and has a relatively volatile career. He has wins against welterweight contenders like Frank Trigg, Melvin Manhoef, Matt Linland, Sam Stout, Josh Koscheck, and Rory MacDonald. However his career is also plagued by significant losses. Recently he showed his fighting heart and technical prowess in the fight for the UFC welterweight championship against Johnny Hendricks.

When Ruthless Robbie Lawler shows up, he shows up. But when he doesn’t, he doesn’t. We are hoping that Ruthless shows up against the Juggernaut and we see a Robbie Lawler vs Johnny Hendricks II. Although a Jake Ellenberger vs Rory MacDonald for the top contender spot would be interesting too. Hmmm.

Daniel Cormier vs Dan Henderson

So Daniel Cormier is an Olympic wrestler. Awesome. He is undefeated in his MMA career. Spectacular. He is a member of AKA. Hotness. What impresses us most about Daniel Cormier is that his win against Soa Palelei in his sixth pro MMA fight. He has a win against Jeff ‘Snowman’ Monson in his eighth fight.  He knocked out Big Foot Silva in his ninth fight. He defeated Josh Barnett to win the Strikeforce Heaveyweight Grand Prix. Since then he has defeated Frank Mir and Roy Nelson. Are you kidding? This entire MMA noob has defeated these MMA legends and made it look easy! Daniel Cormier drops to light heavyweight and now faces knockout artist Dan Henderson. Dan Henderson of course coming off a win against Shogun Rua in the phenomenal crazy action fight on 23 March 2014. There isn’t much to say about Dan Henderson and there isn’t much that needs to be said. An Olympic greco-roman wrestler with arguably the strongest grip in MMA. Dan Henderson vs Daniel Cormier, we will see two former Olympians against each other. Just that one so happens to be eight years younger and the other is a former Pride Middleweight Champion.

This may not be the most action-packed fight. Henderson will most probably be spending most of his time looking for the knockout. Cormier will most probably adopt a safe and successful game plan similar to his fight against Jeff Monson and Frank Mir and Roy Nelson. But we are incredibly interested in seeing this fight and where the winner will go next. Possible fight against Jon Jones?

Michael Chiesa vs Francisco Trinaldo

Michael Chiesa was The Ultimate Fighter season 15 winner. He defeated Al Iaquinta for the honour and has since won every fight in the UFC except against Jorge Masvidal. Masvidal was a test for Chiesa and he failed. Will he fail against Trinaldo? We just like watching the lanky bearded TUF Champion fight. Training out of Spokane Washington and associated with Team Alpha Male, we just like watching the submission artist at work. Chiesa loves the D’Arce and the Rear Naked Choke. We just like watching him apply them.

Francisco Trinaldo is an interesting match up for Michael Chiesa. Interesting in why UFC chose to put this fight together. Trinaldo has a 4-2 record in the UFC. One of those losses is against Gleison Tibau. We at CI aren’t especially impressed with him. However he acts as the perfect lamb to the lion in Chiesa and expect this fight to end in the first or second round with Chiesa winning by submission via Rear Naked Choke.

Renan Barao vs T.J. Dillashaw

We still aren’t 100% sure why the UFC put this fight together and chose to give Dillashaw a shot at the Championship belt. Renan Barao has gone nine years without being defeated. He has wins against every single significant Bantamweight. It is also worth mentioning that Barao has two wins against Urijah Faber. T.J. Dillashaw is from the same camp as Faber (Team Alpha Male) and may benefit from in-the-ring experience. T.J. Dillashaw was also the one that helped Faber train for Barao. This fight is quite interesting in that Renan Barao is from Nova Uniao Gym based in Brazil. Renan Barao has previously defeated Urijah Faber twice. Jose Aldo also from Nova Uniao is up to fight Chad Mendes for the second time. Jose Aldo has previously defeated Faber and Mendes. It’s a little difficult for us to imagine T.J. Dillashaw taking the Championship belt away from Barao but we always love a good upset. Especially when it seems to be camp vs camp at this point. – Boy were we wrong!

Chico Camus vs Chris Holdsworth

Chico Camus isn’t a spectacularly impressive fighter. We are primarily interested in this fight to see Chris Holdsworth performance. This is Holdsworth’s first fight after winning The Ultimate Fighter season 16. He is also a member of Team Alpha Male.

Mitch Clarke vs Al Iaquinta

We aren’t too sure who Mitch Clarke is except that he occasionally trains with former UFC lightweight Champion Benson Henderson at the MMA Lab in Arizona. We are specifically interested in seeing how Al Iaquinta does. He came runner up to Chiesa in The Ultimate Fighter. However this product of Serra-Longo Fight Team is a promising prospect and we hope to see him quickly climb up the UFC’s lightweight rankings sooner than later.

Anthony Njokuani vs Vinc Pichel

We are only interested in this fight because of the match up. Njokuani has a volatile career and only wins by decision. Vinc Pichel has won nearly every single one of his fights in his short career by KO or TKO. A grinder vs a knockout artist? Always going to be an interesting fight.

Tony Ferguson vs Katsunori Kikimo

Tony Ferguson is the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 13. He defeated Ramsey Nijem for the honour. Tony Ferguson we remember for being a smart and brutal fighter. We are interested in seeing how he does against a veteran like Kikimo. Although this isn’t a fight that has special impact on the UFC lightweight division, we’re interested in seeing how Tony Ferguson can dig himself out of the rut that he’s in and get into a contender position.

Aaron Phillips vs Sam Sicilia

Aaron Phillips is a young fighter and this is his first fight in the UFC. Sam Sicilia on the other hand trains with Mike Chiesa out of Spokane, Washington. He showed his abilities in The Ultimate Fighter season 15 where he defeated the legendary Cristiano Marcello by TKO. However since joining the UFC, he has a 2-3 record and might be fighting for his career. We like Sam Sicilia because he is an active fighter that hardly goes to decision. His recent fight against Cole Miller was an interesting fight against a lengthy and experienced opponent. We want to see Sam Sicilia win this fight and do well in the featherweight or lightweight rankings.