After all the gift giving and pleasantries of the Holidays, it’s back to hitting the heavy bag for those involved in the Fighting Sports. The true grit athletes of Boxing, MMA and Muay Thai are back in their preferred gyms working to become invincible.
WCK Muay Thai
On Saturday evening, January 12, 2013, they’ll be over 30 representatives from the many local Muay Thai gyms competing in the WCK Muay Thai Championship Series at the Pala Fitness Center, Pala, CA, just up the road from the Pala Casino. Many feel Muay Thai is far and away, the most entertaining fighting sport of them all.
Mixed Martial Arts
After many MMA pundits stated that the winner of the Cain Velasquez versus Junior Dos Santos MMA bout would be much too difficult to forecast, their UFC 155 showdown took place on December 29, 2012. The match confirmed our suspicions. It was another classic Ultimate Fighting Championship match.
After Dos Santos had his jaw broken in the second round, he courageously fought on to the bitter end.
Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon earned the Fight of the Night award for their exciting, blood-soaked battle. These two lightweights in their back-and-forth battle, had the fans on the edge of their seats. In the end, Miller won an unanimous decision.
The Submission of the Night went to the winner of the show’s opening bout between John Moraga, a bantamweight wrestler, and Chris Cariaso. In the third round, Moraga had Cariaso in a front choke.
Todd Duffee made a successful return to the Octagon and received the Knockout of the Night award for his first-round stoppage of Phil De Fries. Duffee found his range early, and landed several big shots to send De Fries crashing to the mat.
The UFC also announced their list of the “Top Fighters of 2012". They are as follows:
#1 is Benson Henderson (17-2) who came out victorious in three championship fights. In a year when injuries were a constant and crippling issue in the sport, Henderson also gets kudos for being one of MMA’s true iron men. Winning the title in February with a victory over Frankie Edgar, Henderson repeated the feat in August, with both bouts being razor-thin nail biters. Henderson made certain that wasn’t the case in his finale match against Nate Diaz on December 8th, as he dominated from start to finish.
#2 Jon Jones
Even though he received a lot of bad press for things that happened outside the Octagon, everything from his new Nike deal and a DWI case to the cancellation of the UFC 151 event he was supposed to headline, the UFC light heavyweight champion did what the elite fighters in the world do: when the pressure was on, he performed by defeating his arch rival Rashad Evans in April, then surviving a tight armbar attempt in his September bout with Vitor Belfort to submit Belfort in the fourth round.
#3 Demetrious Johnson
In March when the UFC launched the division, Ian McCall was considered to be the top flyweight in the world. Johnson, a former bantamweight contender, fought six rounds with McCall over two fights, drawing in the first and clearly beating McCall in the second. Johnson finished off his tournament run with an exciting five round win over Joseph Benavidez in September to cement his spot as the top 125 pounder in the world.
#4 Matt Brown
Once on the verge of being cut from the UFC roster, Brown is now on a four fight winning streak. The way he won the 2012 matches: knockouts over Chris Cope, Luis Ramos and Mike Swick plus a clear-cut decision victory over Stephen Thompson.
#5 Cain Velasquez
By the end of 2012, Velasquez had answered his critics with a vicious stoppage of Antonio Silva and his one-sided five round victory over Dos Santos in their rematch.
#6 Stefan Struve
At seven feet tall, Struve will always appear physically imposing, and in 2012, his skills set as a fighter improved big time. Still shy of his 25th birthday, he’s learned to mesh his talent, desire to finish, and patience into an intriguing package that saw him defeat Dave Herman, Lavar Johnson and Stipe Miocic in successive bouts.
#7 Cub Swanson
After putting his bad luck and injury woes behind him, a new set of fans got to see just how good Swanson is, as he scored knockouts in each of his bouts against George Roop, Ross Pearson and Charles Oliveira.
#8 Mike Pyle
Despite his reputation as a submission specialist, the 37-year-old Pyle took out Ricardo Funch, Josh Neer and James Head by knockout.
#9 Anderson Silva
In July, Silva finished off his rivalry with Chael Sonnen with a second round TKO, and three months later, he took a late notice main event in Brazil to save the UFC 153 card. In that one, he made short work of Stephan Bonnar.
#10 Costa Philippou
In 2012, the Cyprus-born middleweight went three for three, decisioning Court McGee and Riki Fukuda and stopping Tim Boetsch.
This weekend, we have K. J. Noons (11-5) of San Diego’s The Arena MMA Gym going up against Ryan Couture (5-1) who trains at UFC vet Ivan Salaverry’s gym in Seattle, Washington. The two veterans are fighting on the undercard of the Nate Marquardt versus Tarec Saffiedine, Daniel Cormier versus Dion Starling fight card.
In the sport of boxing, several pundits claim the 20 year-old, junior middleweight 6’5” Alantez “Sly as a” Fox (8-0-1, 4 KOs) has a good shot at becoming the next Paul Williams. With a reach of 79 inches, you got to figure Fox has a huge advantage. If his arms were any longer, he’d be able to punch his opponent before leaving his stool.
Fox, who hails from Forestville, Maryland is set to face Julius Kennedy (7-2-1, 3 KOs) from Windsor Mill, Maryland on Saturday at the Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, MD. A
We also have some very interesting fights at the Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, CA. Bantamweight prospect, Julian Ramirez (5-0-0, 4 KOs) of Los Angeles will be facing Sergio “Costeno” Najera of Tijuana (4-8-0).
As far as the match being competitive, it isn’t. You could blame Ramirez for taking the fight but not Najera. Fighting in Mexico, Najera is used to getting $2oo to $250 per fight. It’s likely he’ll be earning 10 times that amount for this fight. Over the last five and a half years, Najera has lost 7 of his last nine fights.
Also on that fight card is a bout for the NABF featherweight title between Ronny Rios (19-0-0, 9 KOs) of Santa Ana, CA and Rico Ramos (21-1-0, 11 KOs) of Pico Rivera, CA for the NABF featherweight title.
While the 22 year-old Rios is used to fighting in the super featherweight division, the 25 year-old Ramos has always fought as a super bantamweight. Both have glorious records as Amateurs. Rios was both a U. S. Amateur Champion (2007, 2008) and National Golden Gloves champion (2007). Ramos was an Olympic alternate and won the 2007 National PAL championship.