The UFC traditionally follows a formula when it comes to selecting bout order at the top of its cards. Title fights take precedence above all else, and when there’s multiple belts on the line, the heaviest weight class headlines. Exceptions to the rule are rarely made, and UFC 157 is no different.
That’s exactly why UFC President White planted Ronda Rousey’s inaugural defense of her bantamweight title atop a card that already featured a potential No. 1 contenders fight between former light heavyweight champs Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida.
White’s explanation was predictably simple. “She’s the champ,” he flatly said. “If you’re the champion, you’re the headliner.
That explanation, however, left Henderson’s striking coach at Team Quest, Gustavo Pugliese, questioning White’s dedication to protocol.
“Ronda is headlining UFC 157. Here is why I have a problem with that,” Pugliese wrote on Facebook.
“She is not the UFC champion yet. She still has to win this fight to get that belt. On the other hand, we have Hendo, who has also been the Strikeforce champion (never lost the belt), Pride champion in two different weight classes; he has been ranked #1 contender for the UFC 205lbs, and #6 by many pound-for-pound best fighter [lists]. His resume is second to none, moreover, he is fighting a former champion, Lyoto Machida. Now why aren’t they [the] main event? Is Ronda a better market value? I don’t know, but her fight could be quick as usual and we could be missing another historic five [round] fight between two legends and possible hall of famers. I’m not saying she doesn’t deserve to headline [a] UFC event, but certainly not this one.”
Pugliese later clarified his position with GracieMag.
“Where I come from, there’s a pecking order for anything in life,” he explained. “I believe in paying dues. In this particular case, ‘Hendo’ and Machida paid their dues a long time ago. For someone new to come in and have a free ride just seems unfair to them and the whole sport they helped build.”
6 MUST-READ STORIES
Henderson coach unhappy with Rousey headlining. Gustavo Pugliese, the striking coach of Dan Henderson, voiced his complaints about Henderson and Lyoto Machida taking a backseat to Ronda Rousey at UFC 157. Said Pugliese: “We could be missing another historic [five round] fight between two legends and possible hall of famers.” Pugliese later added via Gracie Mag, “Hendo and Machida paid their dues a long time ago. For someone new to come in and have a free ride just seems unfair to them and the whole sport they helped build.”
Penn talks retirement. When asked for his thoughts on retirement by the crew at Inside MMA, 34-year-old former multi-division champ B.J. Penn simply responded, “I am taking some time to figure it out.”
Leben gets new opponent. Former Strikeforce middleweight Derek Brunson has been tapped to replace an injured Karlos Vemola against Chris Leben at UFC 155.
Ratings report. Saturday night’s The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale drew 1.3 million viewers, ranking second among the eight FX-broadcast cards in 2012, while Friday night’s UFC on FX 6 event drew significantly lower ratings, collecting 972,000 viewers. Meanwhile, Bellator’s season six finale drew 191,000 viewers, its second-highest total of the season.
Marines end UFC sponsorship. The United State Marine Corps elected not to renew their long-running sponsorship of the UFC due to “evolving mission requirements, budgetary constraints, marketing analysis and the recommendation of our contracted advertising agency,” according to Maj. John Caldwell.
Cerrone street fight. Leonard Garcia reminisces about the time his friend and training partner, UFC lightweight contender Donald Cerrone, ended a street altercation with the power of a single leg kick.
What better way to kick things off than storytime with Joe Rogan and Neal Brennan, co-creator of Chappelle’s Show? (So, this is definitely NSFW.)
It only took Rustam Khabilov a few days to learn the downside to being in the public eye. The Russian’s stunning UFC debut drove internet detectives to dig up this old clip of him acting not-so-friendly to a woman inside of a McDonalds. (Jackson’s MMA has already issued a two-part response.)
(HT: Bloody Elbow)
Earlier this month Ronda Rousey joined Dominick Cruz and Jose Aldo the only fighters to be crowned UFC champions before ever setting foot inside the Octagon. As this video shows, that decision was not unanimous .
Tito gave it his all to open that door, guys. (But seriously, the actor playing Tito here looks nothing like him.)
(HT: MMA Mania)
I have no clue why so many well-made fan trailers are popping up recently, but I’m digging it.
Props to our own CROoney for the find.
Banners like this are exactly what Henderson’s coach was referring to. Agree or disagree with Pugliese’s complaints?
@brianstann hey Brian. Best of luck against wand mate, and all the best to you and your family this Xmas.
— michael (@bisping) December 17, 2012
@danawhite please u can start looking for another opponent for Anderson because bisping is not going to pass me.
— Vitor Belfort (@vitorbelfort) December 16, 2012
@bisping @danawhite hahahahahahah
— Vitor Belfort (@vitorbelfort) December 18, 2012
PLEASE RETURN MR. WONDERFUL’S PACKAGE
I’m so mad, I tracked my package the whole way from china to .6 miles away, and it got stolen.shouldn’t I be able to track down who did it?
— Phil Davis (@PhilMrWonderful) December 18, 2012
READY FOR A DEBUT
This is what we do , and why we do it baby (Burt Watson voice) #UFC
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunsonMMA) December 19, 2012
UFC 155 Derek Brunson vs Chris Leben . Words can’t express how excited I am . Thank you Jesus !!! Time to show up… fb.me/14div5o8A
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunsonMMA) December 19, 2012
GOOD GUY BENSON
At Starbucks by my gym (yes u should know where it’s at) drinks on me for 1 hour…my and @ufc thx to u loyal tweeps…
— Benson Henderson (@BensonHenderson) December 18, 2012
DANGEROUS GROUP OF GUYS RIGHT THERE
With Rory & Firas just before TUF finale- I have no doubt that Mike will bounce back stronger from this one! twitter.com/GeorgesStPierr…
— Georges St-Pierre(@GeorgesStPierre) December 17, 2012
THAT IS PRETTY BIG…
Yes, my head is that big in real life #nofilter #ufctonight #iphonepic #iphonography #iphone5 #largehead instagr.am/p/TZZXtcySfC/
— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) December 19, 2012
DONG HYUN KIM IS SCARED, BLAMES VALUE OF MY NAME… I’LL COME TO TAKE YOUR SOUL HOMIE, YOU’LL NEVER BE THE SAME…
— Siyar The Great (@SiyarTheGreat) December 17, 2012
Announced yesterday (Tuesday, December 18, 2012):
- UFC 155: Karlos Vemola (9-3) out with injury, Derek Brunson (9-2) in against Chris Leben (22-8)
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today’s Fanpost of the Day sees sampark analyze the: Philly Shell Defense and the Shoulder Roll
What if you could defend against punches without using your arms or hands? Think about how much faster you would be able to counter-punch without your hands being busy blocking? The shoulder roll is a defensive maneuver to deflect punches off of your shoulder. The shoulder roll is mainly seen in the sport of boxing but has made it’s way slowly into MMA with stars such as Anderson Silva favoring it.
The whole concept of the philly shell is to create a barrier of protection around the jawline which is the most important area to cover. The lead shoulder is raised high to cover one side of the jaw while the other hand protects the other side. The position should be almost completely perpendicular to the opponent to use the whole shoulder to cover. This allows you to use your shoulder to roll around punches and counter. From an orthodox position, the trick is to bait the opponent with a right because the low lead hand. Their right hand will inevitably graze or deflect off of the shoulder allowing you to capitalize for a powerful counter right cross or hook.
One of my all time favorite shoulder rollers has got to be James Toney. No, not the James Toney that Randy Couture squeezed the life out of. I’m talking middleweight machine James Toney! Watch any young James Toney fight and expect to see many slips and shoulder rolls. Here’s a great highlight below
Combined with advanced slipping and parrying, the shoulder roll can stop and even block most combinations! Another great boxer with defense is Floyd Mayweather Jr. Below is an awesome gif of the shoulder rolling taking place. Watch how Mayweather seems to just turn his shoulders and hands to deflect all of the oncoming strikes. Training the roll to become almost instincts allows a fighter to became much harder to hit.
More analysis and gifs after the jump…
Found something you’d like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we’ll include it in tomorrow’s column.
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