UFC 137 Diaz vs. Penn: Who's on the Hot Seat?
UFC 137 is the beginning of a four week stretch in which the UFC will host four major cards. UFC 137 has undergone some significant changes due to injuries as well as some of Nick Diaz's classic behavior, but at the end of the day any card headlined by Diaz vs. BJ Penn should produce some serious fireworks.
Diaz was originally scheduled to face UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, but due to Diaz failing to show for two straight press conferences, UFC President Dana White chose to remove Diaz from the main event and insert Carlos Condit in his place.
Condit was all set to take on former UFC Lightweight and Welterweight Champion BJ Penn in the co-main event, but due to his insertion into the main event and the days getting shorter and shorter until October 29th, the UFC moved Diaz into Condit's spot opposite BJ Penn.
If all of that wasn't enough GSP suffered a knee injury which forced him to pull out of the fight with Condit. So here we are today just a few days away from fight night and we have lost both Condit and GSP. The Penn-Diaz bout will now occupy the main event slot with a heavyweight tilt between Cheick Kongo and Matt Mitrione sliding into the co-main event slot.
As of now Condit will face GSP once he has been medically cleared, but there has been some talk that Diaz could leapfrog Condit should he defeat Penn in impressive fashion. Think of it as the mixed martial arts version of "As The World Turns!"
One thing is for sure, the fans will still get to see great fights, they just might come off later than we expected.
This will be the second go-around for the contestant of season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter. After winning the preliminary bout against Victor O'Donnell to earn a spot in the house, Camozzi was unable to continue because of a fractured orbital bone he sustained in the fight with O'Donnell.
He was brought back to fight James Hammortree on The Ultimate Fighter season 11 finale. Camozzi defeated Hammortree via unanimous decision, earning a fight against Dong Yi Yang at UFC 121. After three hard fought rounds, Camozzi was awarded a split decision running his UFC record to 2-0. At UFC 127 Camozzi fell victim to Kyle Noke via first round rear naked choke and was given his walking papers despite a 2-1 record inside the Octagon.
Now after having fought once for Shark Fights where he defeated Joey Villasenor, the UFC has decided to give him another shot, this time against promotional newcomer Francis Carmont.
If the UFC was willing to release Carmozzi despite holding a winning record, it's probably safe to assume that he would be shown the door once again should he lose to Carmont on Saturday night.
He could be kicked to curb even with a win if he chooses to fight a style that is more predicated on winning rather than entertaining and laying it all on the line. The UFC is funny that way and Carmozzi better make sure he leaves everything he has inside the Octagon or he could be cut once again.
Carmont is making his UFC debut coming off what is probably the biggest win of his career against UFC veteran Jason Day in June. The Paris, France native has a 16-7 record with six wins by (T)KO and 8 by submission. He'll be looking for his sixth straight win and will attempt to do so while fighting on the what is by far the biggest stage he has ever competed on.
He is currently training alongside UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre at Tristar and will also be fighting as a middleweight for the first time in his career. Carmont is a very versatile fighter, but he is not considered a prospect and will need a win to be invited back to the UFC, unless of course he puts on a Fight of the Night-type performance.
There isn't much that can be said about Vera that hasn't already been said.
A fighter many believed was a lock to be a future champion in the UFC has really come back down to earth over the past few years.
After beginning his career as an extremely undersized heavyweight, Vera still managed to reel off eight straight victories over the likes of Frank Mir and Assuerio Silva. He suffered his first loss in controversial fashion to Fabricio Werdum at UFC 77 and then was out muscled by former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia at UFC 77.
After finally heeding the call of many and making the cut to the light heavyweight division at UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Irvin against Reese Andy, Vera has had mixed results at best. He is 3-3 with one no contest at 205 lbs and has lost his last two fights.
He was controlled by the much older Randy Couture and then literally had his face broken to pieces by current light heavyweight kingpin Jon Jones last March.
He returned against Thiago Silva and was seemingly thrown around like a rag doll, but after the fight Silva was found to be guilty of taking PED's and Vera, who had been released was given a reprieve.
He faces another returning fighter in Eliot Marshall and it's pretty apparent that he is on a short leash here. A loss to Marshall could be the final nail in the coffin for Vera and his tenure in the UFC. It could be a sad ending to what looked to be a great career in the making just five short years ago.
Marshall was last seen being knocked out by Luiz Cane at UFC 128 this past March. It was his return bout to the UFC after taking three fights outside the organization. A contestant on season eight of The Ultimate Fighter, Marshall failed to impress the UFC in his first four bouts with the UFC despite winning three of them.
Marshall was released after suffering his first loss in the UFC against Vladimir Matyushenko in March of 2010. His only finish came in his first fight against Jules Bruchez at The Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale. His final three bouts all went to decision and lacked the excitement that UFC President Dana White looks for.
A loss here would be his third in a row inside the Octagon and probably his last chance at sticking with the company. Despite a stellar BJJ game, Marshall's style never caught on in the UFC.
Back in the UFC for the first time since losing to Matt Serra at UFC 46 on January 31, 2004. He has fought all over the place since that time and has competed as a bantamweight, featherweight and lightweight. He had a five fight run in the WEC before competing in Strikeforce.
For the most part he has kept busy fighting in regional organizations in Illinois. At 34 years old, this is one last shot inside the Octagon for Curran. He is going up one of the young lions of the bantamweight division and will certainly have his hands full.
If he gets handled in an easy manner it should be one and done for Curran, but of he can show he can still compete at the highest level of MMA, then the UFC may give him another shot.
Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic
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As I chronicled in an article I wrote earlier this week, Cro Cop's bout with Roy Nelson is quite simple a loser leaves town fight.
Cro Cop has not hand the success in the UFC that we all had hoped for. He is just 4-5 inside the Octagon and with this bout being the last on his contract, a loss will be his last, at least for the UFC. A win could be the end for him as well, maybe he decides to go out on a high note, but either way, we could be witnessing the end of what was truly a great career.
While Nelson hasn't had the same success as Cro Cop has, he is an entertaining fighter inside the Octagon and has a great personality outside of it.
Earlier this week I went over the battle to remain employed by the UFC.
Nelson is also on a two fight losing streak having fell victim to Junior Dos Santos at UFC 117 and Frank Mir at UFC 130, both times via unanimous decision. To be fair to Nelson he was diagnosed with Walking Pneumonia just two days after his fight with Mir.
Nelson still has value because of his toughness, experience and very good grappling skills. The only question is does the UFC agree?