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By In Mixed Martial Arts, rap

Imagining the UFC Champions as Rap Albums pt. 1

“If MMA was music, it would have to be rap. Not only is individualism at the forefront of the sport and the genre, but both encompass a unique aesthetic that blends gritty toughness with technical artistry; the word “art” is one-third of MMA, and if we are being honest, rap at its best is everything poetry wishes to be. It is only right then to anoint the greatest MMA fighters in each division by comparing them to the rap albums that best encapsulate their fighting styles, personalities and careers.

Before the Ultimate Fighting Championship title picture reshuffles any more, here is part one, which covers featherweight down to women’s strawweight…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

When Chaos is OK

“Perhaps the most unanimously beloved championship domino fell when Robbie Lawler was knocked out at UFC 201 on Saturday in Atlanta. Prior to that, it seemed like no division was safe.

Starting with Holly Holm’s win over Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, every division except light heavyweight, flyweight and women’s strawweight has seen varying degrees of championship reshuffling. Conor McGregor dethroned longtime featherweight king Jose Aldo; Dominick Cruz reclaimed his bantamweight title from reigning champ T.J. Dillashaw; Stipe Miocic shocked undisputed heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum in Brazil; Michael Bisping upset Luke Rockhold in spectacular fashion; and Eddie Alvarez put a beatdown on Rafael dos Anjos. Now, Tyron Woodley can add his name to that list. The only three divisions not affected by this have basically been held steady by all-time talents — Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Demetrious Johnson and, with all due respect to Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones. I know, Jedrzejczyk hasn’t done enough yet to be grouped in such company, but consider this my prediction that she’s on her way.

It is indeed a turbulent time to be a UFC champion. Although some weight classes, like lightweight and heavyweight, are historically unkind to prolonged title reigns, others have been defined by distinct championship eras…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Robbie Lawler vs. Tyron Woodley Stat Analysis

“In the post-Georges St. Pierre welterweight world, the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight division continues to get progressively more exciting.

Robbie Lawler has been busy stringing together an unprecedented spree of classic fights. Most recently, he took a controversially close split decision in a back-and-forth affair with Carlos Condit on Jan. 2. Before that, he authored a signature win in an all-time great bout against Rory MacDonald in July 2015, which was his first title defense and only fight of the year. The unlikely late-career resurgence for the longtime vet has been a true feel-good story; prior to his return to the UFC, Lawler went 3-5 in Strikeforce with several uninspired performances. Now he is two wins away from tying the title defense record of mentor and former coach Pat Miletich.

Standing in his way at UFC 201 on Saturday in Atlanta is fellow Strikeforce alum Tyron Woodley. The NCAA All-American wrestler has had a sterling-if-not-slightly-underappreciated career thus far. After failing to capture the Strikeforce welterweight championship in 2012, Woodley has gone 5-2 in the UFC, losing only to Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald, the former a much-maligned split decision loss most felt was a robbery. Despite being among the elite welterweights for half a decade, “The Chosen One” has surprisingly little to show for it, making this a high-stakes bout for him. Woodley has not fought since UFC 183 in January 2015.

Here is what the Tale of the Tape has to say…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Time for a UFC-Invicta Merger

“It wasn’t long ago that the conversation about women’s divisions in the Octagon started and ended with one word: never. Of course, a lot has changed since then — namely, Ronda Rousey happened — and now with the successful expansion of the strawweight division and solid showcase bouts at 125 and 140 pounds, the arguments that women’s divisions are untenable or uninteresting are dumber and more transparently antiquated than ever.

The audience for female fighting is very real, and it’s continuing to grow as the quality of competition improves. That makes sense; mixed martial arts is now a legitimate option for female martial artists and athletes who otherwise had few avenues to pursue. The early days of the Ultimate Fighting Championship provided similar opportunities for non- and post-Olympic wrestlers, as well as fighters outside the pure boxing spectrum, so long as they were the appropriate gender. In all fairness, up until the last several years, there really wasn’t much of a place for female fights outside of niche audiences, but now that is demonstrably not the case…”
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By In Mixed Martial Arts

The Time Warp that was UFC 200

“It was supposed to be a night for the ages.

Few left UFC 200 thinking it lived up to the hype, but that’s to be expected; when you build up an event as the best thing ever, there’s very little room for error, since it has to be better than, well, everything else before it. The headlining fight falling apart just days prior to the event is too big of a hiccup to qualify any event as the best ever, but even in spite of Jon Jones’ United States Anti-Doping Agency scandal, UFC 200 was still a night for the ages. Actually, it might be more accurate to say it was a night of the ages. Indeed, UFC 200 was a strange time-warp of an event.

The entire night had one foot in the past. The presence of Brock Lesnar immediately evoked feelings of the age-old kissing cousins relationship between MMA and professional wrestling. The carnival-esque slant for entertainment and spectacle truly makes MMA unique in the world of professional sports, a realm that otherwise holds competition as its sole guiding virtue. Both the Lesnar-Mark Hunt fight and the Daniel Cormier-Anderson Silva fight were clear homages to the undergirding principle that an exciting fight is often better than a competitive one — or in the case of Cormier-Silva, that any fight is better than no fight…”
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