UFC 131: Full Fight Card, Last-Second News and Complete Predictions
There isn't a blockbuster fighter in tonight's pay-per-view, and it doesn't matter.
If an average fight fan buys UFC 131 tonight, they are going to like what they see. No, Brock Lesnar is not back on the card. George St. Pierre, Anderson Silva, and Jon Jones are not fighting either. This fight card is all about quality of fights. Joe Silva (UFC matchmaker) has, once again, done an amazing job lining up dynamic fights.
The event is at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia. It will start at, approximately, 9 PM EST. The arena is sold out, as is custom for all UFC events. Many fans are ready to see the top heavyweight contenders, Shane Carwin and Junior Dos Santos, fight. While that fight is going to be dynamite, there are others that will catch a normal fans attention.
Donald Cerrone will face Vagner Rocha in a lightweight bout.
Vagner Rocha enters the octagon for the first time in his career. Rocha enters the competition with a 6-1 record. He has one knockout and four submissions on his career resume, while boasting a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Most fight followers don't know him, but he is coming off an impressive armbar victory over Jacob Clark on May 7th at MFA-New Generation 5.
While Rocha is mostly unknown to MMA fans, Donald Cerrone is the exact opposite. His nickname is "Cowboy," and he usually wears a cowboy hat during his walkout. Cerrone has a career record of 14-3-1. He doesn't have a career knockout but does boast an impressive 12 victories by submission. As a WEC veteran, he posted 10 fights in the league before it was bought out by Zuffa (the company that owns UFC).
Carrone was considered one of the most exciting fighters in the WEC and was immediately accepted into the UFC lightweight roster. Cerrone earned his first UFC win in UFC 126 by submitting Paul Kelly with a rear-naked choke in the second round.The fight won the fight of the night bonus, and it was the fifth time in Cerrone's career that he had been a part of the fight of the night.
On a night that is sure to be filled with exciting fights, I am sure that Cerrone and Rocha won't disappoint the fans.
Check back throughout the day for the latest UFC 131 news.
To become a fan favorite, fighters must have matches that people remember with a style that they can hold on to........ and a good nickname doesn't hurt
It is simple. I will remember Dave Herman's first fight in the UFC. The way that he was blasted several times by Jan Olav Einemo. The way he took a full force beating, only to land a few huge punches of his own and win. The fact that his nickname is Pee-Wee.
Pee-Wee entered the octagon for the first time at UFC 131. The competition is going to be much higher now and newcomers who don't please the crowd tend to last as long as bananas in a refrigerator. Herman must have gotten the memo, because he put on a fight of the night with an impressive display. Fight of the night awards on lackluster cards mean nothing, but they mean everything when the card has high octane, technical fighting. UFC 131 was a great card and Herman made his mark.
Herman is only 26 and trains with Dan Henderson's Team Quest. For those of you who are unaware, that is a great camp, with elite fighters. Herman's toughness was put on display last night and he dealt with it perfectly. I was surprised to see him push forward after the punches he had eaten. The crowd cheer loudly when he got his victory, and it was a great sign. I think Herman might be around in the UFC for a while and people will remember him.
With a nickname like Pee-Wee, how could someone forget?
Shane Carwin suffered a brutal loss to Junior Dos Santos at UFC 131, but he will bounce back next fight, no matter who he face
It wasn't supposed to be this tough for Shane Carwin. Coming off an injury and 11 months of not fighting, Carwin was supposed to face Jan Olav Einemo. When Brock Lesnar's illness flared up it caused him to drop out of UFC 131 and the UFC asked Carwin to take his place.
Carwin would have been a fool to turn down a number one contender spot and a shot at the title. Plus, he would be the main event of the evening. A fighter backing down from such an opportunity, might scar his reputation. Even though Carwin took a beating there are positives to take away from this fight.
He is much leaner than he has ever been, to this point in his career. This allowed him to not tire out early in the fight. Carwin also showed that the raw power in his hands is still there. One small left hook dazed Junior Dos Santos. If nothing else, we did take away one thing; Shane Carwin is a tough fighter.
Most fighters would have tapped out or given up after the beating he received in the first round. Carwin did neither. He weathered the storm and made it to round two. In the third round, referee Herb Dean stopped the fight to have a doctor examine Carwin's eye. The doctor asked Carwin if he wished to continue and he simply said, yes. While he could have taken the easy way out, he chose to push on.
Carwin has now shaken off the ring rust that was evident at UFC 131. His next opponent, whoever it may be, better beware that Shane Carwin is getting better, and will build upon the UFC 131 loss.
Donald "The Cowboy" Cerrone showed the fans, during UFC 131, that he is worthy of a shot at the top talents in the division
When the WEC ended, Donald Cerrone ranked third in the lightweight division behind Anthony Pettis and Ben Henderson. Skeptics believe that the UFC lightweight class was miles ahead of the WEC class, in terms of talent, but that is simply not true for these three. Pettis would have had a title shot had UFC 125 not gone to a draw between Frankie Edgar and Grey Maynard. Ben Henderson fights a top ten fighter, Jim Miller, in August. Why should Cerrone be left out?
I was shocked when I saw Donald Cerrone throw his first leg kick, last night. I was even more shocked when he threw several more. Could it be, that this was part of a new Cerrone? The Cowboy has elite submission skills and is a well versed grappler. At UFC 131, he showed off stand up skills that critics never knew existed. His opponent, Vagner Rocha, was in obvious pain as the leg kicks were landed with force. Cerrone took Rocha's will as he stuffed takedown after takedown. There was no way Cerrone was going to lose that fight.
Cerrone is always in an exciting fight. He has been a part of five "fight of the night" awards in his impressive career. His skills cannot be ignored. The fans need to see more of The Cowboy on main cards and fighting top tier men. I also think I have the perfect match for him.
Former champ Sean Sherk is planning a return to the octagon in the summer. He is rehabbing from injury and would be the perfect fighter to test Cerrone and see his potential.
So, Dana White, let's make this happen: Sean Sherk vs. Donald Cerrone in September, perhaps?
Junior Dos Santos looked technically sound at UFC 131, but Cain Velasquez shouldn't be worried
Now that the UFC has a number one contender lined up to face Cain Velasquez, there are going to be many predictions made in the coming months. Both fighters have exploded onto the scene and not lost a fight in the UFC. The anticipation is building already for October 8th, 2011. The fight will be the UFC 136 main event and it shall be held in Houston, Texas.
Junior Dos Santos defeated Shane Carwin will relative ease. Not once did he look like he was behind in points.He was able to stuff takedowns and use his superior striking. He bloodied Carwin's face early and nearly put him away. After the fight, there was no doubt that Junior deserved a title shot against Cain Velasquez. UFC 136 is going to be a very tough task for Dos Santos.
Cain Velasquez is the best wrestler in the heavyweight division. I think that he is the second best in the entire UFC, next to George St. Pierre. Arizona State is a top wrestling college and Cain was one of the leaders there. What's more impressive about Velasquez, are his hands. Cain's power isn't as high as Shane Carwin's but it is close. He brings elite hand speed and placement to this fight. His counter-punching is just a lethal as his takedowns.
Junior Dos Santos held a distinct speed advantage against Carwin. The jab worked for Junior all night and Carwin was not able to effectively counter such an attack. Velasquez won't have as much trouble.
While Dos Santos continually stopped every takedown effort from Carwin, Velasquez's takedowns are on another plateau. I have no doubt that Cain will take down Junior Dos Santos. The only question is how good might Dos Santos be off his back with Cain on top of him?
Fans will only have to wait four months to see this fight. UFC 136 can't get here soon enough.
One fact fans learned, from UFC 131, is that ring rust plays major factor in key match-ups
Ring rust is the term used when a fighter has not fought in a while. Some fighters retire, some get injured, while others simply cannot get a contract to fight. In last nights main event, Shane Carwin entered the ring for the first time in 11 months. Since then, he has gone through, much needed, back and neck surgery. He entered this fight fully healthy for the first time in his career. His opponent, Junior Dos Santos, didn't care how healthy Carwin felt.
It was clear, in the first three minutes, that Dos Santos had a speed advantage. His jab is one of his best weapons and he used it effectively. While controlling the stand up match, he was also able to stuff several of Carwin's takedown attempts. Junior Dos Santos almost ended it with a barrage late in the first but referee Herb Dean saw that Carwin was intelligently defending himself and the horn sounded to end the round.
Round two was much like round one. Dos Santos controlled the pace and picked Carwin a part. The odd part of round two happened with around two minutes, or so, to go. Carwin landed an effective counter left hook that stunned Dos Santos for a brief second, but did nothing to capitalize. This is not the Shane Carwin fans have come to cheer on. The old Shane Carwin would have thrown a huge right, while Dos Santos was stunned, but it never happened.
Round three started with a gassed Carwin trying anything he could to get an advantage. However, nothing was going right for Carwin. He was taken down twice in the last minute and Dos Santos sealed the match. Junior won by unanimous decision. This was the first time Carwin had been to a decision in a match. What could have gone so horribly wrong for a fighter of Shane Carwin's caliber?
The answer is ring rust. Not being in the octagon fighting took away from Carwin's feel for combat. He was too patient and conservative. Looking back to his old fights, Carwin ended bouts quickly in the first with an aggressive attack. This was not the case during UFC 131. He looked lost and Junior Dos Santos took every advantage he was given.
UFC 131 is down to its last two fights and an entertaining card is just going to get batter
While I take the time to make a last few minute predictions, let me make something clear. I will be surprised if the buy-rate of this particular card clears 600,000. I will also be amazed if the main event goes to a decision.
Whether or not it happens, I still feel that two men will earn title shots tonight, in their respected weight classes. Kenny Florian will go on to face Jose Aldo and Shane Carwin will advance to the heavyweight title against Cain Velasquez.
One prediction that is 100% on the money; this fight card has been the most impressive in 2011. If fans missed it, I apologize to them. This will be an event worthy of a DVD buy.
Numerous MMA fans are missing what is a good card so far at UFC 131
As a UFC fan I have set through some of the most dull, boring, and atrocious cards that UFC has to offer. UFC 112, 119, and 120 immediately come to mind. I talked to several fans that felt tonight might echo something of that nature and I am happy to report that they are wrong.
So far we have seen a prelim fight that ended in a nasty knockout. Sam Stout crushed Yves Edwards and put him to sleep with one curshing blow. The knockout was one of the better ones fans will see from preliminary fights.
Donald Cerrone showed that he is a top ten lightweight, as we speak. He desperately needs to move up in competition. Cerrone took a unamious decision from Vagner Rocha. The cowboy, never broke a sweat. Personally, I scored the contest 30-26 and realized that Cerrone is carrying his WEC talents over to the UFC.
The fight of the night so far is the Jon Olav Einemo vs Dave Herman. The fight went back in fourth with several times and at one point, Einemo looked to close the books on the slugfest. Herman would have none of that, as he tied him up in the clinch and landed plenty of knees to the body and head. It looked like Olav had regained composure and control, but Herman threw a punch that landed to the temple of olav and ended the match soon after.
Mark Munoz took a closer fight against Demian Maia. The bout was scored 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27. Maia came out with more of a standup game then experts predicted. Maia even landed a couple of nice shots but Munoz landed more and with higher amought of power. The closest Maia came to ending the fight was in the second round, when he was able to take Munoz back. But, Munoz was able to navigate out of the bad position and get the match back on to the standup game.
UFC 131 isn't the most popular card, but it is going to lead to a massive UFC 132 show in July
Many fans will not tune in to watch or buy UFC 131. The loss of Brock Lesnar kills the card, in terms of buyrate. I have a feeling that this particular UFC will lead to massive hype that will surround UFC 132.
July cards are always fun to watch and packed with action. So far, it looks like it is the most stacked event to date. While fans won't watch UFC 131, in high numbers, it will build the anticipation for the next card. Zuffa didn't market UFC 131 as heavy as they normally would a card and probably saved money, enough money to poor into the marketing department for the next event.
UFC 132 is headlined by Urijah Faber vs. Dominick Cruz for the bantamweight title. Wanderlei Silva and Chris Leben will also face each other along with a fantastic bout with Tito Ortiz and Ryan Badar. There is no doubt that the lack of hype around UFC 131, will only lead to more hype for 132.
The world seems to think that Junior Dos Santos will win the UFC 131 main event tonight, and they are wrong
I might be in the minority but I feel that Shane Carwin is going to win tonight. The win will be in the same, explosive, fashion as his one of his seven career knockouts! Carwin has proven that his chin is really solid. Gabriel Gonzaga hit Carwin with bombs, in UFC 96, and Carwin recovered only to knockout Gonzaga moments later. Carwin also was a division II college wrestling champion, so he knows how to utilize takedowns.
Junior Dos Santos is a technically sound boxer, with great Jiu-Jitsu. He will probably rock Carwin in the fight. He might even stuff a takedown. or two. But, Carwin is going to touch him and when he does, it is lights out.
This will be the the most impressive win in Carwin's career. It will vault him to a title fight with Cain Velasquez. Scarier enough, it was just announced that Carwin is 100% healthy for the first time in is career and is coming into this fight a lean 254 lbs. Carwin has already fought for the title once in his career and that was before his recent surgery to correct his back. Now at full health, is there anything that can stop him?
My prediction for tonight: Carwin via KO Rd. 1
At UFC 131, Kenny Florian is one win away from a title shot and nobody knows it
Florian is about to make his UFC featherweight debut. It will be the fourth weight class he has fought in his career, making him the first fighter to ever accomplish the feat. Many thought that Florian might not make the weight as he is a naturally big lightweight. Now that he has dropped to yet another weight the UFC has a decision to make.
Florian faces a very tough opponent in Diego Nunes. Nunes boasts a 16-1 career record with five knockouts and six submissions. This is not an easy task for Florian and the UFC has no plans to ease him into the weight class, as they might another fighter. This can only mean one thing; Kenny Florian is on his way to a title fight with a win.
A main event that would feature Kenny Florian and Jose Aldo for the featherweight title would be an easy sell. Florian is a fan favorite ever since being on the first Ultimate Fighter season. Jose Aldo is arguably in the top pound-for-pound debate. This fight would give fans a true welcome to Jose Aldo's talents. It would also be the toughest challenge Aldo would have to date.
I fully expect Florian to beat Diego Nunes tonight. Nunes has never faced a fighter at Florian's level. Ken-Flo will utilize his ground game and Muay Thai to pick apart Nunes, and end the end submit him.
My Prediction for Florian vs. Nunes: Florian via Submission Rd 3
Pee-Wee is about to crush The Viking at UFC 131
Jon Olav Einemo aka The Viking, returns to MMA after not fighting for the last four and a half years. He brings a 7-1 record, with five career submissions, to his most recent bout. The Viking was supposed to fight Shane Carwin at UFC 130 but Shane Carwin was moved to tonights main event because of the illness to Brock Lesnar. Einemo is very well versed in submissions and has a record of 6-1 with five of wins via submissions.Einemo will hope to get the fight to the ground.
Dave Herman, aka Pee-Wee, is about to make his UFC debut. He posts a very impressive, 20-2 record, but the catch is the limit in competition. Herman has fought in relatively small shows. Regardless of who a man fights, that record is undeniable. Pee-Wee has 14 career knockouts to go along with five submissions. Perhaps another impressive statistic is that Herman has only been to a decision once in his 22 career fights. He has heavy hands with a decent background and I look for him to keep this fight standing.
My prediction: Herman via KO 1st round
There is one fight in UFC 131 that I am positive, I know who the winner will be
Mark Munoz and Demian Maia are very skilled MMA veterans. Munoz will be going into the octagon for the eighth time and Maia will be entering for the eleventh time. Both fighters, usually, dominate their opponents. For this fight, one of them is surely going to get picked apart, and it won't be pretty.
Demian Maia boasts a 14-2 record and is a fourth degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He might be the best submission artist in the UFC. He has four submission of the night awards in his career and also fought Anderson Silva for the middleweight title at UFC 112. If the fight goes to the ground, Maia is very, very dangerous. He has submitted plenty of the top opponents including: Chael Sonnen, Nate Quarry and Jason McDonald. Mark Munoz won't be so easily finished.
Munoz is coming off of back-to-back wins against tough opponents. He attended Oklahoma State, where he won an NCAA title in wrestling, in 2001. He is very strong. I consider him to be in the top ten in the middleweight division. His stand-up is improving daily and his ground and pound is lethal. Munoz is 10-2 in his MMA career. So that leads to the question: why do I feel he will dominate this fight?
This is the strongest opponent Maia has ever faced. I personally don't see why Munoz will have to take it to the ground. I think that Munoz will keep it on the feet, and work his jab. If Munoz decides to go after a take-down, he will get it and unless he puts himself in a bad situation, will never be in trouble in this fight. Munoz will utilize superior strength and tactics to beat Maia.
My prediction: Munoz via KO Rd. 2
With a few recognizable names, UFC 131 has a strong undercard that will provide some memorable fights
Krzysztof Soszynski vs Mike Massenzio
MMA loyalists will remember Soszynski from the eight season of The Ultimate Fighter. What is shocking to most is that this is his eight fight in the UFC. He is still part of Dan Henderson's team Quest and looking to build off his last win at UFC 122. He is 25-11-1 in his career with ten knockouts and 11 submissions.
Mike Massenzio is replacing, the injured, Igor Pokrajac for this fight. He is 12-4 in his career with two knockouts and six submissions. He has fought three times in the UFC where he beat Drew McFedries but then lost his next two fights to C.B. Dolloway and Brian Stann. His last fight was at CZ 37 in April, where he picked up a victory against Nate Kittredge via TKO. Massenzio has a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
My Prediction: Krzysztof Soszynski via TKO Rd.2
Nick Ring vs. James Head
Nick Ring would have won The Ultimate Fighter 11 had it not been for an injury. He actually beat Court McGee, who ended being the eventual winner. Ring is a dominant fighter and his record shows it. He is undefeated with an 11-0 record. He has two career knockouts and five submissions. He is very diverse as he is good on his feet but also has a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Ring looks to continue his dominance as he enters the octagon for the second time, officially.
James Head is coming off an impressive win against a veteran in Gerald Harris. He has a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with four knockouts and two submissions in his career. His record is 7-1. This is his first fight in the UFC and he's been given a tough test in facing Nick Ring. Head needs to have a decent showing to have fans remember his name.
My Prediction: Ring via TKO Rd 1
Sam Stout vs. Yves Edwards
This is Stout's eleventh match in the UFC. His nickname is Hands of Stone and he has eight career knockouts and a 16-6-1 record to back up the name. Fans last saw Stout beating Paul Taylor at UFC 121. He is looking to get his fourth win in his last five fights but it won't be an easy test. He will attempt to use his footwork and striking to throw off Edwards throughout the competition.
Yves Edwards is 34 years old and has an impressive resume. He has fought in 57 career matches with a 40-16-1 record. Edwards has 15 knockouts with 16 submissions. Fans don't normally see a fighter with this many career fights. Edwards is coming off of three straight wins, two of which came in the UFC. In UFC: Fight for the Troops 2 in January, he was awarded fight of the night and submission of the night bonuses. He is hard to predict when it comes to style, but I look for him to get this fight to the ground.
My prediction: Edwards via submission Rd 3
One fighter enters the UFC for the first time and looks to make it the opponents last a UFC 131
Aaron Rosa will face Joey Beltran in the first heavyweight match of the evening.
This will be the fifth time we see Joey Beltran in the octagon and it will most likely be his last, if he loses. Beltran is 12-5 in his career with ten knockouts and one submission. The problem is Beltran has lost two fights coming into UFC 131 and a third one could get his contract shredded by UFC management. He was part of a fight of the night with Matt Mitrione during UFC 119, but that card was very lackluster and boring. Beltran does have good hands and will look to utilize the striking game, trying to catch Rosa and end it with a powerful punch.
Aaron Rosa has never fought in the UFC until now. He has fought for several companies including: ShoXC, Bellator, and Strikeforce. He is 16-3 with six career knockouts and four career decisions. Currently, Rosa is riding a four fight winning streak as he makes his UFC debut. At age 28, an octagon win would give him more recognition than he has ever had in his career. He is looking to improve in most aspects of his game but he is trained in Jiu-Jitsu and has been fighting since 2005. Rosa will take this game to the ground and utilize his superior submission skills to try and finish the fight before it winds up in the hands of the judges.
I feel that Rosa's ground game might be the difference. I know that Beltran is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but he usually doesn't use it as much as i would like.
Rosa via Submission 2nd round
Two fighters are entering the ring coming off loses, but only one will leave UFC 131 victorious
Darren Elkins and Michihiro Omigawa are MMA veterans. Both of these fighters are coming off embarrassing loses in their last fights. Elkins was submitted by Charles Oliveira in less than one minute at UFC Live on August 1, 2010. Omigawa was picked apart and humiliated in a loss to Chad Mendes at UFC 126. Both of these fighters are looking to make a rise up the UFC featherweight rankings, but need a win to jump-start the climb.
Darren Elkins is 27 years old. He is 11-2 in professional career. He has four knockouts and five submissions on his resume. Elkins is a wrestler from Indiana and this is the first time in his career that he is fighting in the featherweight division. The strength of his game might be in the diverse ways he can finish opponents. With above average striking, decent take down skills, and good submission chokes, it is hard to tell what his game-plan might be for this fight. I expect Elkins to use his wrestling instincts and go to the ground for this match.
Omigawa is in his second stint with the UFC. In his first go around with the UFC, he fought at UFC 76 and on UFC fight night: Swick vs. Burkman. But, after losing to Matt Wiman and Thiago Tavares, his contract was terminated. Omigawa went on to fight in several organizations, including Dream and Sengoku. After winning five straight fights, the UFC offered him another contract and his first fight was the Mendes fight. He is 0-3 in the UFC and if he loses this fight, I could see him getting terminated again. He is a highly accomplished Judo practitioner with medals from Universiade, the Asian Championships and the Asian Games. He is 12-9-1 in his career with two knockouts and 4 submissions. 13 of his fights have gone to a decision. I look for him to use his Judo and also take this game to the ground, utilizing his top control and pushing for a submission.
I think that Elkins will take this fight. He will use his wrestling skills to get a takedown and will work hard to stay in top position. This will be a ground game in which Elkins will win two, if not three, rounds by controlling the fight as it goes to the ground.
Elkins via Decision