As usual, the event will also feature some interesting undercard fights, with several match-ups that will ultimately have an impact not only on the rankings, but fights made later this year as well.
It’s been a busy week for the world’s premier Mixed Martial Arts organization. Over the past week they’ve criss-crossed the U.S. on a press tour announcing their plans for the remainder of 2013. They landed in LA on Tuesday, with four of the company’s top champions in tow – Cain Velasquez (heavyweight) Jon Jones (light heavyweight), Georges St-Pierre (welterweight) and Ronda Rousey (bantamweight).
Rousey defended her title for the first time at a sold-out show in Anaheim back in February. She recently wrapped up filming of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, where she coached alongside Miesha Tate – who she originally beat for the title back in March 2012.
To say the two don’t like each other would be the understatement of the year.
In some good news for fight fans though, they’re scheduled to face each other again on December 28th in Las Vegas.
Below are our predictions for the UFC 163 card, plus some key comments we collected this week when speaking with UFC President Dana White, Rousey and Tate.
Free show on FX, 5pm PST
Iliarde Santos (27-7-1) vs. Ian McCall (11-4-1), 125 pounds
Neil Magny (8-2) vs. Sergio Moraes (7-3), 170 pounds
Sheila Gaff (10-5-1) vs. Amanda Nunes (7-3), 135 pounds
Anthony Perosh (13-7) vs. Vinny Magalhaes (10-6-1), 205 pounds
PPV at 7pm PST
Jose Maria (33-3-2) vs. John Lineker (21-6), 125 pounds
note: Lineker weighed in at 129lbs, fined 20% of his purse
pick: Maria, but this is a pick ‘em fight
Tom Kong Watson (16-5) vs. Thales Leitis (20-4), 185 pounds
Thiago Santos (8-1) vs. Cezar Ferreira (6-2), 185 pounds
Phil Davis (11-1-1) vs. Lyoto Machida (19-3), 205 pounds
Jose Aldo (22-1) vs. Chan Sung Jung (15-6) for the 145 pound featherweight title
QUOTES FROM MAYORSMANOR NOTEBOOK
- White on fighter pay being a hot topic once again: “Fighter pay really isn’t a big issue. It’s not. It’s something fun to talk about, because people like to talk about it. How’s it an issue? How it’s different from any other…let me tell you what. There’s kids that go to college, right? And when they come out of college, they’re $100,000 in debt. Then they go get a job paying them $22,000 a year, right? And there’s no guarantee these guys are going to be CEO’s of the company some day. It’s life, it’s the way it works. Not everybody wins a trophy. Volkmann. How many people didn’t show up today because Volkmann isn’t here. How many less paper-view buys are we doing because Volkmann isn’t here. You’re either one of the guys…this is like modeling. This is a tough, nasty business. You either break through, and you’re either one of the best in the world, or you’re not. Not everybody gets a trophy. The world doesn’t work like that.”
- White on a few MMA fighters (not necessarily UFC fighters) allegedly being linked to the PED situation with Biogenesis in Florida: “If one of our guys were in there, I would like to believe that I would have heard something by now. You know what I mean? I haven’t heard a word. Except from the media, I haven’t heard a word about it…We’re a different sport than other sports. The reality is, we’re tested by the government. The government regulates us and oversees us. If you look at all the other sports…and not only, when guys get caught, the government suspends them for a year or whatever it might be and fines them. So it’s a completely different system than other sports. And if you get caught doing this stuff here, and you’re doing that, you are an idiot and you deserve whatever happens to you, because you know the scrutiny around here with the government.”
- White on Josh Barnett returning to UFC because he wants another run at the heavyweight title: “That should be the only reason anybody signs here. I don’t want guys who sign the contract to come into the UFC because they want to be on TV or whatever it is. The only reason you should ever come to the UFC and sign here is because you want to be a world champion and believe you can be here.”
- White on Johny Hendricks confidence level heading into his Nov. 16 fight with GSP: “Johny Hendricks absolutely, positively knows that he’s going to beat Georges St-Pierre and he absolutely, positively knows he’s going to knock him out. When you deal with a guy like that…that’s how all the guys should feel when they go into a fight. Some guys pretend that they feel that way, but don’t actually feel that way. This dude does. Look at him, he’s been in there with the best of the world and look at what he’s been able to accomplish. I think the best thing that’s ever happened to him was fighting Carlos Condit before Georges St-Pierre because that fight took him to another level winning that fight.”
- White on Rousey: “Ronda’s got charisma and personality for days. She’s not shy, she’s not afraid to talk and she’s not afraid to tell you what she thinks. She’s not afraid to tell you what she thinks about Tate, especially after the 5-week snuggle fest those two just had. There’s no doubt she’s a star- she’s entertaining and she’s exciting.”
- White on hardcore UFC fans at the weigh-ins compared to the mainstream fans who pack arenas for the shows: “It’s crazy. The hardcores are the weirdest dynamic you will ever see in sports. They watch the UFC but they hate the UFC. They watch Jon Jones but they hate Jon Jones. They want to see Georges St-Pierre get beat because Georges St-Pierre…it’s just the crazier dynamic ever.”
- White on Robbie Lawler: “I love Robbie Lawler I always have man. He was the first TV fight that we ever did. He’s always exciting, so it’s good to have him back. The new Robbie Lawler is so much better than the old Robbie Lawler because he’s more mature, he’s more well-rounded, and when I tell you his head is in this game, his head is in this game!”
- Rousey on if all the hate for Tate will become a distraction leading up to the fight in December: “No. I treat every single fight the same, people don’t understand that. My first amateur fight, I was like ‘This is the finals of the Olympics’. I treat every single fight like that, I was brought up by my mother to be that way. You fight seven times a day, sometimes, and the last fight is the final, but every fight leading up to that is just as important as the final…You can’t think about anything else. The emotion doesn’t really play anything at all. Outside, I’m an emotional person- I cry all the time. I’m just passionate and so I show emotion and I don’t filter myself. Whatever I’m feeling, people are going to see it. But that doesn’t mean at all that I can’t compartmentalize. No matter what- I wish people could know what I’m really going through when fights are happening. This last fight was the most chaotic- non-conducive to an athletic environment…so much drama going on. But I just have to be able to separate and do it. So, when I’m going into fight, I have no emotion. I’m not thinking about this is a person that I don’t like, I’m like this is a problem I have to solve and a fight is a problem that I’m solving. I don’t think about ‘oh this evil math question’ and I don’t do it differently. It’s still the same game and there’s no people- I don’t see people, I see a person and just the present. It’s hard to describe.”
- Rousey, who earlier commented that her hair was a mess: “Yeah. I haven’t brushed my hair in forever man, doesn’t look like it… but I’m just saying- you’re not undefeated because in every fight, everything was perfect. You’re undefeated because when things aren’t perfect, you make it work. So I’m going to make this work. I’m going to beat her again and it’s going to be fantastic.”
- Tate on if she’s tired of talking about the hatred between her and Rousey: “It’s weird, it actually helps me because it diminishes the effect of it. I think Ronda tries to get in people’s heads, irritate them, and bother them – get them emotional. I think Ronda feeds really well off negative energy. She’s able to be negative and harness that and fight better for it. I am not able to do that, I found that out the hard way the first time I fought her. I was really pissed off, I was really bitter, I was really sour at her. I didn’t fight well because of it. This time, I’ve really had to work on knowing that that’s what she’s trying to do and not letting it happen. Having to spend six weeks with her on The Ultimate Fighter and doing press tours with her- we’re just around each other so much that I’ve learned Ronda, you know what I mean? I’ve learned how she is and it doesn’t bother me anymore.”
- Tate on Rousey talking badly about her boyfriend: “She’s always doing that, you know? It’s just like I said, it’s so old, it’s so overplayed at this point- I don’t know why, she’s constantly is talking about him. I mean it’s just like, I don’t get it… I was a little bit worried (that maybe she’s after him), you know? I think she’s just crazy enough that she can’t keep a man around herself for a long enough period of time so she has to try to talk shit about my relationship going on seven years and I really think it just boils down to jealousy.”
- Tate on balancing being taken as a serious fighter and being asked to ramp up the eye candy: “I still think that that’s more of a personal choice. I think that’s Ronda, she just wants to look that way. I do the same thing. I’m actually sponsored by Affliction, so they want me to wear their bathing suits. Normally, I’d weigh-in in a sports bra and shorts. If they’re going to pay me money or whatever, I’ll wear a bikini all the time, so it’s no big deal. As long as they’re not asking me to put on lingerie or something ridiculous. It sells, I realize that and I think she realizes it too. Obviously she knows what sells – she likes to run her mouth, that sells too. So does being a beautiful, empowered woman that can kick ass, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.”
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