***This week, Dana White explains the Weidman-Silva appeal, the truth about GSP vs. Rory MacDonald, and why flyweights are headlining major UFC shows. Plus we hear from at least one elite lightweight fighter who is happy to be under contract with Bellator, and Pat Healy finally speaks on his MJ suspension that ended up costing him $135,000! All this and much more, this week on Inside MMA Live!***
Inside MMA Live on AXS.TV report by Steve Te Tai
Originally aired LIVE Friday, July 26 at 9pm EST on AXS.TV
UFC on Fox: Demetrious Johnson vs. John Moraga
They run down the card from this weekend’s newest network offering from the UFC headlined by flyweights Demetrious Johnson (17-2-1) vs. John Moraga (13-1) and Rory MacDonald vs. Jake Ellenberger in the most important non-title welterweight fight in the world.
Bas Rutten says that Demetrious needs to avoid the power shots from Moraga by striking and moving. He can take the fight to the ground when he gets clipped. From there he needs to keep busy so Moraga can’t guess what he’ll do. And Moraga needs to throw a lazy jab and counter punch with a power strike.
Ron Kruck is outside the Key in Seattle, and says that some are surprised that flyweights are main eventing a UFC show since despite their non-stop action, they rarely finish. Demetrious hasn’t had a finish since November of 2010, but Moraga finished his last two fights.
They play a clip of the two discussing this topic. Moraga doesn’t criticize the lack of finished fights since they are the best in the world at this level, but he does criticize the lack of effort in even attempting to finish a fight as he sees Demetrious just going in to win a scorecard. Demetrious says he’s out there using his skill, but since they are the best fighters in the world they don’t give up. Moraga says while he’ll have to worry about 25 minutes of him running away and outpointing him, Johnson will have to worry about every minute of not being finished. Demetrious points to the level of competition he faces as for reasons of not finishing.
Kruck recalls meeting Moraga over three years ago and his trainers told Kruck that one day he would be contending for a World title and now he is.
UFC on Fox: Rory MacDonald vs. Jake Ellenberger
They talk about the personal animosity between the two. Bas says Rory is the crisper striker with better combinations but will be hard to take Ellenberger down so he needs to wear Jake down first with clinching to take the power away. Jake needs to stay out of Rory’s range and counter with power shots. Shoot for a takedown and move up for a power punch.
Jake Ellenberger reiterated this week that he was told if he beats Rory MacDonald he’ll get the next welterweight title shot. Rory has stated he was not given that same deal, but Kruck suspects he’s blacking any of that talk out since he is long-time friends and training partners with current champ Georges St. Pierre. Either way there is a lot on the line and a lot of trashtalk in this build. Jake says he started this to build interest in the fight by provoking an emotional reaction from Rory, but at some point went cold again and is back to being the Canadian serial killer again and not saying anything. Jake isn’t going to give him any respect at all. Rory doesn’t see this fight any different as any other bout and he just looks at it as being paid to hurt someone.
Bas and Kenny joke about Rory not saying he gets paid to win or fight, but to “hurt somebody” and he does seem like a serial killer the way he said it all calmly while wearing glasses and his hair grown out like an English school boy.
Michael Chandler LIVE
They run down next week’s Bellator 97 show from Albuquerque headlined by Michael Chandler defending against David Rickels, Ben Askren defending against Andrey Koreshkov, and King Mo Lawal against Jacob Noe. Bas calls this the best Bellator card in a while.
The Bellator champion joins us live on the big screen from the gym in Chula Vista, CA. He just signed a new 8-fight contract with Bellator. Chandler says he’s been treated very well by Bellator ever since he joined, so this was a decision they made in recent months and it makes sense to continue with Bellator. He just wants to enjoy the ride of fighting and dominating on SpikeTV in front of millions of fans.
The only area he’s working on is every single area. You can never stop working on every single area of MMA since it evolves so quickly, even since he started. You have to constantly work on expanding your striking repertoire, ground game, submission defense, and even wrestling, even though his background is wrestling. He works on everything and always will to achieve that status of being a “complete” mixed martial artist.
Chandler says Rickels’ biggest asset is his durability and cardio and grinding out decisions. He fancies himself someone who goes hard but with a lot of technique and can finish people with his hands or submission.
--At XFC 25: Night of Champions will see former soccer star, Courtney Casey fight Pearl Gonzalez on October 18 from Nashville on AXS.TV.
--Dennis Hallman will have his first fight since being released by the UFC last October to take on Dan Hornbuckle for Titan Fighting Championship 26 on August 30 from Kansas City on AXS.TV
--Daniel Cormier vs. Roy Nelson is now official for UFC 166 in October since Nelson signed a new UFC deal. If he beats Nelson, Cormier will lobby for an immediate shot at Jon Jones (rather than teammate Cain Velasquez, the Heavyweight champ.)
--Ronda Rousey joins the Expendables 3 with production to begin in a month and premier in August of 2014. (Seems like Ronda bumped out Gina since she was originally tagged for Expendables 2 and she seemed to be under the impression she’d be in E3 as of earlier this year.)
Legacy 21 Highlights
--Holly Holm beat Allanna Jones with an awesome kick to the face. (Future superstar.)
--Leonard Garcia beat Rey Trujillo with a barrage of punches and a great head kick
--Bubba Bush over Larry Crowe (wasn’t that a Tom Hanks movie?)
--Matt Hobar over Angel Huerta
Pat Healy LIVE
The veteran Healy faces Khabib Nurmagomedov (20-0) at UFC 165. Healy joins us from outside the Key in Seattle. He tries to put his marijuana suspension behind him and focus on the future and getting better. They recap that his 90-day suspension came after his win over Jim Miller at UFC 159 when he lost $135,000 in bonuses that night which went to Miesha Tate’s boyfriend who got all sorts of heat for that, and then weeks later the UFC announced they were raising the threshold for MJ testing.
His plan isn’t to change his style or do anything new or radical with a game plan, he’ll do what he always does and pushing the fight by getting in his face and everything else he always does. However he always looks to improve overall.
He made some changes training-wise and nutrition just to change things up in recent years, even though he was happy with his training previous. He feels he’s improving every day and is fighting at his best right now.
He’s not bitter or angry about the lost $135k he missed out on. He sees it as he learned his lesson and he’s done with marijuana and won’t even entertain the idea ever again.
He calls him a great wrestler and a powerful kid with great hands so he’ll need to be careful with that. He’s been enjoying submissions lately so predicts it’ll be a late 2nd or early 3rd round submission.
He says that twin brother Ryan Healy is doing great as a full-time assistant GM at a UFC gym. They always put on exciting fights so figures if any organization gave him a chance they won’t regret it.
Cage Warriors 57 from Liverpool
--Ronnie Mann over Jose Luis Zapater
--Paul Daley over Lukasz Chlewicki
Breakdown with Bas: Holly Holm
Bas breaks down Holly Holm’s awesome knockout kick on Allana Jones from last week’s Legacy show. He explains how she did a double jab and a high kick several times in the fight and it didn’t do much damage or connect with anything, but as soon as she switched it to a single right hook which moved Allana’s head right in range for a devastating kick to the face for the KO.
Ron Kruck with Dana White
Dana White spoke with Kruck for their regular interview before every UFC show. They spoke in the arena while men assembled the octagon. Dana says he wanted Moraga-Johnson the main event since the title match should always be the main event (even if Ellenberger-MacDonald is more interesting.) Plus Mighty Mouse’s last fight with Jon Dodson was awesome and he likes Moraga as a finisher and a bright future. He loves the welterweight fight and the attitude of both fighters going in promo-wise. He loves the style clash too and how awesome Rory looked against BJ Penn. The guy who wins is definitely in line for a title shot.
As for Rory’s denial of wanting to fight GSP for the title even going so far as to say he’d move weight classes to avoid fighting his friend Dana isn’t surprised at all. He practically lives at GSP’s training facility, GSP always has nice things to say about him, and lives in Montreal, he doesn’t expect Rory to beat his chest one day and call out Georges St. Pierre, particularly when he’s only ranked top 5 and isn’t the #1 contender. However to think that Rory doesn’t want to fight the best, be champ, and make the kind of money that GSP makes is crazy. He wants that fight but he wouldn’t even approach that situation until he gets to that #1 contender spot. And Dana also says GSP is very aware that Rory MacDonald would want to fight him. (Dream scenario: Hendricks beats GSP. Rory beats Hendricks. GSP and Rory win all their fights after a year or so to set up Rory defending against GSP.)
Dana comments on the Weidman-Silva hoopla since the loss showing how passionate people were about that matchup. But it wasn’t a situation where Silva was demolished and suddenly looked old, Silva was goofing around and got caught. Chris Weidman wants to prove to the world that it wasn’t a fluke and Silva didn’t lose the fight, he beat him, so there’s never been a time when a rematch was more needed or wanted.
Bas restates how Rory vs. GSP is a little different than the usual teammate vs. teammate since they are so close. In Japan, Guy Mezger, Frank Shamrock and others would hang out all the time and then fight, but they were all used to it even though that might’ve been a little weird. But then again, once the cameras are on, no one wants to lose or look bad.
Just as Rey Trujillo was in the ring ready to fight Leonard Garcia at last week’s Legacy show, he ran over to the door and put on some deodorant. All with a straight face.
Upcoming MMA shows
--July 27, UFC on Fox 8 (Fox)
--Aug 16, RFA 9 (AXS.TV)
--Aug 23, Legacy 22 (AXS.TV)
--Aug 30, Titan Fighting 26 (Hallman-Hornbuckle on AXS.TV)
So like Bas always says, Godspeed and party on!
If you don’t get AXS.TV or missed the show, you can watch a replay on Tuesdays at 1am or you can see extended video highlights. You can also follow Inside MMA on Twitter and Facebook.