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  • Five questions that will be answered by UFC 155

    (Getty)The UFC's end-of-the-year cards are usually stacked. Despite injuries, UFC 155 is no different. It features intriguing bouts that will answer some burning questions.

    Did a knee injury hold back Cain Velasquez the first time he fought Junior dos Santos? When the two first met up last November, Velasquez reportedly had a badly injured knee. He was knocked out in 64 seconds. This time a (seemingly) healthy Velasquez will get to show if he deserves the heavyweight belt.

    Has Chris Leben returned to form, for really real this time? Since Leben was on the original "Ultimate Fighter," he has been a man who wrestled with his demons. Most recently, those demons took the form of a banned pain killer which resulted in a one-year suspension from the UFC. Against Derek Brunson, Leben can show he's again the man who knocked out Wanderlei Silva.

    Can Tim Boetsch be the next guy to challenge Anderson Silva? Though his original bout with Chris Weidman was called off because of an injury to Weidman, Boetsch still has another opportunity to show he can beat up opponents. He wants a chance to beat up Silva,* and this bout with Costa Phillippou is an opportunity for Boetsch's fighting to shine.

    Or should Alan Belcher be the man to take on Silva? It's been more than three years since Belcher lost a fight. His last four fights have been stoppage wins. An impressive win over Yushin Okami could put him in line to fight for the middleweight belt.*

    Is Todd Duffee still the knockout artist who once graced the octagon? Back in 2009, Duffee knocked out Tim Hague in a mere seven seconds. After that, the hype train was running behind him full steam. It was derailed when Mike Russow came back to knock Duffee out in the third round of their bout. Duffee was cut from the UFC, and is getting another shot at the octagon on Saturday. He'll fight Philip De Fries on the Facebook preliminaries, and get a chance to show if he can still knock people out very quickly.

    *Assuming the next middleweight belt is based on competitiveness and earning a title shot by fighting, not by calling opponents out. Considering what has happened recently in the UFC welterweight and light heavyweight divisions, there are no guarantees.

    Read More »from Five questions that will be answered by UFC 155
  • Chris Leben hasn't fought in more than a year. After losing to Mark Munoz in November of 2011, he tested positive for a banned painkiller and was suspended for a year. On Saturday, he'll try to get his career back on track against Derek Brunson, a Strikeforce fighter making his UFC debut.

    For Leben's return, Affliction designed a shirt featuring graphics from his tattoos.

    (MMA Warehouse)

    It has more meaning than your average Affliction design. Unfortunately, the design comes with a high price. Buy it here for $57.99.

    Read More »from MMA Marketplace: Chris Leben returns to the cage with a pretty sweet Affliction shirt
  • (Instagram)

    UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos will put his title on the line at UFC 155 this weekend. He got in some training outside his hotel on Christmas, and his partner showed why holding pads for such a hard hitter is not an easy job. He is wearing padding all over, and do you blame him?

    Read More »from Picture of the day: Junior dos Santos shows why holding pads for him is no fun
  • Tim Boetsch is hoping his fists, not his mouth, can earn him a title shot

    (Getty)The UFC's next title challengers at welterweight and light heavyweight are both fighters who have less-than-deserving records. Nick Diaz will fight Georges St-Pierre for the title at UFC 158, despite the fact he's coming off a loss and a suspension and Johny Hendricks has four wins in a row.

    Chael Sonnen is a middleweight, but his ability to smack talk and bring attention to his fights means he will be fighting for the light heavyweight title after coaching against Jon Jones on "The Ultimate Fighter."

    The message to other fighters near a title shot is clear -- the UFC wants title fights that tons of people will watch more than it wants ones that are fairly made with only competitive integrity in mind.  Someone like Tim Boetsch, who is fighting Costa Phillippou at UFC 155 this weekend, is a good fighter on a four-fight win streak.

    What he is not is a vocal fighter who talks trash. Boetsch talked with MMA Weekly about how he doesn't intend to change his ways just to get a title shot.

    “Just because I’m one of those guys who isn’t very vocal about calling people out and saying I deserve such and such an opponent. Michael (Bisping)‘s very good at that and he’s made a career out of it, there are talks of him getting a title shot maybe before even I do, so he’s done a good job of promoting himself and that’s one way of doing it,” said Boetsch.

    “I think the better way to do it, or the way I prefer to do it, is to step in the cage and beat people up, and eventually they’re going to have to give me a title shot because I’m going to run out of people to beat up.”

    It seems like a better plan, but it didn't work for Hendricks.

    Read More »from Tim Boetsch is hoping his fists, not his mouth, can earn him a title shot
  • Paul Daley out of Bellator tournament after problems with visa arise

    (Getty)Paul Daley's next shot in MMA has hit a roadbump. The British fighter, who was cut from the UFC after he threw a cheap shot after the bell at Josh Koscheck in 2010, is out of Bellator's welterweight tournament. He can't enter the United States because of issues getting a work visa.

    ESPN reports Daley was involved in a bar brawl and was charged with assault, which is the problem with the visa. Daley denies the brawl, and says via his Facebook page it was just a problem with his visa.

    It seems as though (sp) a mass press release has gone out to the MMA media stating I was involved (in a) bar brawl, arrested, and cannot obtain a P-1 visa to compete in the USA. I am currently awaiting a decision on my visa, which is not expected until late April. Which means I am unable to compete in the season 8 Bellator tournament, as it starts in January. I will be fighting in Europe in the coming months, so I am able to stay active while awaiting a decision on my visa status. I was not involved in a bar brawl. This is 100-percent a false statement.

    Previously, Daley has fought in the United States for Bellator, Strikeforce and the UFC without any visa issues.

    Read More »from Paul Daley out of Bellator tournament after problems with visa arise
  • (Getty)We have very few days left in 2012. Before the calendar changes to 2013, let's take a look back at the year in MMA and the biggest stories that shaped the world of cagefighting.

    10. Bellator, Invicta, World Series of Fighting all showed the MMA landscape is biger than just the UFC --  Though the UFC is the biggest, they're not the only high level MMA promotion. Bellator finished the year out strong as they anticipate a move to Spike in 2013. World Series of Fighting made its debut on NBC Sports, and Invicta's all-female promotion earned respect with two shows this year.

    9. Brock Lesnar, Kenny Florian, Mark Hominick and Stephan Bonnar said goodbye to MMA: After losing to Alistair Overeem late in '11, Lesnar hung up his gigantic gloves. Back issues forced Florian to quit fighting, but he still has an active role in the sport as a commentator for FX. Fan favorites Hominick and Bonnar also retired. Bonnar's came after a fight Anderson Silva ended in a loss and a suspension for a banned substance.

    8. GSP's return -- UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre tore his ACL in October of '11. He finally returned to the cage in November this year, beating Carlos Condit in a bloody decision.

    Read More »from Ronda Rousey, the injury streak, GSP’s return: What is MMA’s biggest story in 2012?
  • Take a closer look at Benson Henderson’s win over Nate Diaz (VIDEO)

    Take a closer look at UFC on Fox 5's main event through Fuel TV's Fight Flashback. It shows how champion Benson Henderson and challenger Nate Diaz prepared moments before their fight, as well as different angles of the bout. Nick Diaz, Nate's brother and also a UFC fighter, winces as he watches his brother get kicked. You'll also hear advice from both men's corners, including Henderson's saying, "You know why he's talking, right?"

    You can also see the same treatment for other bouts on the card here.

    Read More »from Take a closer look at Benson Henderson’s win over Nate Diaz (VIDEO)
  • Strikeforce confirms January card will be its last

    (Getty)From the second Ronda Rousey's UFC bout with Liz Carmouche was announced, Strikeforce's end was rumored. The promotion has been teetering since having to cancel two cards in a row in September and November. Now, the Zuffa-owned, Showtime-backed promotion has confirmed that their January show will be their last.

    “Since 2009, Showtime has been a great partner and we appreciate its support of Strikeforce and our athletes,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said via the promotion's website. “For our final event, we’ve loaded the card with some outstanding fights. This is going to be a memorable night for the sport of mixed martial arts.”

    The event takes place Jan. 12 in Oklahoma City, and will feature:

    Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine
    Daniel Cormier vs. Dion Staring
    Josh Barnett vs. Nandor Guelmino
    Gegard Mousasi vs. Mike Kyle
    Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Ed Herman
    Pat Healy vs. to be determined
    Roger Gracie vs. Anthony Smith
    Tim Kennedy vs. Trevor Smith
    KJ Noons vs. Ryan Couture
    Jorge Gurgel vs. Adriano Martin
    Estevan Payan vs. Michael Bravo

    It's a fun card for the finale to a promotion that has provided memorable moments but was plagued with inconsistency.

    Read More »from Strikeforce confirms January card will be its last
  • We want your UFC 155 picks

    (Getty)

    UFC 155 is just over a week away, so it's time to start making your picks. Do you want your picks to show up on Cagewriter? Cool. We want the same. Here's how it works:

    1. Check out the UFC 155 main card:
    Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez - for heavyweight title
    Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller
    Tim Boetsch vs. Constantinos Philippou
    Alan Belcher vs. Yushin Okami
    Derek Brunson vs. Chris Leben
    Leonard Garcia vs. Max Holloway

    2. Pick a fight, and head to Cagewriter's Facebook page.

    3. Tell us who will win, how they'll win it, and why. The why is important. Don't forget it.

    We'll pick a few predictions per fight, and run them here with picks from Kevin Iole and me. It will be a yabba-dabba do good time.

    Read More »from We want your UFC 155 picks
  • Dana White praises openly gay Liz Carmouche: ‘It takes a brave person’

    (Getty)When Liz Carmouche steps into the octagon to fight Ronda Rousey for the UFC women's bantamweight belt, it will be a historic moment. Not only will UFC 157 feature the first UFC women's fight, it will also be the first time an openly gay fighter will fight in the UFC.

    UFC president Dana White praised Carmouche, an ex-Marine, for coming out.

    "There's a lot of gay athletes out there and athletes and actresses. It takes a brave person to come out and admit it because they're always afraid of what its going to do to their career or how people are going to treat them afterwards. I love what she did."

    White came under fire in 2010 when he used a gay slur on one of his video blogs. He later apologized. When talking about Carmouche, he addressed his own reputation and shared his thoughts on same-sex marriage.

    "I know I have the big ‘homophobe' persona and people think I'm some homophobe. I'm the furthest thing from it. I think it's ridiculous it's 2013 and the government tells two people they can't marry each other. Who is the government to tell two people who say they love each other they can't be married? It's ridiculous."

    Though it's not quite 2013, it's encouraging to hear White say not only that he supports Carmouche and same-sex marriage but that he hopes other fighters find the courage to come out, too.

    Among the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA, there are no active and openly gay players. Retired athletes, like basketball player John Amaechi and football player Wade Davis, have come out after they stopped playing.

    However, athletes like Carmouche show that the tide is turning and athletes are more comfortable with not hiding their sexuality. Openly gay athletes like diver Matthew Mitcham and Natasha Kai have competed in the Olympics. More and more athletes are speaking out in favor of LGBTQ rights.

    Read More »from Dana White praises openly gay Liz Carmouche: ‘It takes a brave person’