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Silva Delivers Front Kick From Hell, KOs Belfort At UFC 126

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Too many MMA fans had paid too much money to see too little action from Anderson Silva in the past. So they were ready to get their boo on after two boring minutes in the main event of UFC 126 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Then Silva launched thunder from his hind leg, in the form of a front kick, which landed on Vitor Belfort's chin, and dropped the former Phenom to the floor. Two punches later, ref Mario Yamasaki interceded and halted the bout to save Belfort further punishment.

Looking for his eighth title defense, middleweight titlist Silva (27-4 entering; age 35; from Brazil; winner of 12 straight entering) weighed 185 pounds on Friday, while Belfort (19-8 entering; age 33; from Brazil; ex light heavy champ) was also 185.

In the first, the two lefties sized each other up. The crowd leaned Belfort, chanting “Vitor, Vitor” to start the round. A minute in, they booed at the lack of exchanges. Two minutes passed with little to no action. A left hand from Belfort scored and the crowd loved it. A front kick from Silva dropped Belfort, a nasty left leg delivered in the blink of an eye to the chin. Silva threw two blows and the ref hopped in to halt the scrap. The time of the KO was 3:29.

Silva drew scattered cheers when he asked afterwords for all to respect Belfort, who he said he always looked up to. He also thanked a coach for showing him that front kick, which Belfort expected to land in his midsection. Belfort afterwards admitted he just got caught. “I will be back,” he told Joe Rogan. “That's what UFC's about, we're here to fight.”

Ultragraybeard Rich Franklin (age 36; ex middleweight champ) faced off with graybeard Forrest Griffin in a light heavyweight matchup. In the first round, Forrest worked some ground and pound. Franklin breathed deep and fended him off. He did well to escape the round without a cut, after Franklin was on top of him for a few minutes. Griffin looked more spent after the round than did Franklin. In round two, Griffin was light on his feet. His kicks, especially his inside leg kicks to the lefty's right leg, were bothersome. He tagged Franklin with a left hook with 1:30 to go in an all-Forrest round. For being away from the cage for 14 months, Griffin looked sharp as a Joan Rivers quip. In the third, Franklin didn't look fresh. That said, he was still looking to land a homer. Griffin impressed the judges with his takedowns, and there was no drama as we awaited the cards. Well, judges being what they are, there was the tiniest bit of drama…But all three saw it 29-28, for Griffin. After, the victor told Joe Rogan he felt rusty, and his camp wasn't stellar but overall he was happy with the outcome. Franklin never got untracked.

Ryan Bader scrapped with phenom Jon Jones in a light heavyweight tangle. Jones had a north-south choke on tight, but Bader weathered it two minutes in. Jones is such a smoothie; Bader shot and Jones stuffed him like it was his three year old niece trying to take out his legs. Jones showed a surprising strength edge, considering Bader is one of those guys that looks like he threw hundreds of hay bales in an afternoon on the farm without breaking a sweat. In round two, Jones choked out Bader, making him tap via guillotine. The time of the finish was 4:20. After, Jones talked to Rogan. He said he got a new religious tat which gave him strength. Then Rogan asked him if he wanted a shot at light heavy champ Shogun Rua, because Rashad Evans withdrewfrom their title clash because of an injured knee. “Hats off to Endicott, NY, and I'm goin' for a world title, baby,” he said, before dropping to his news, awash in emotion. Rua strolled into the Octagon, and said he respected Jones, but doesn't have a problem facing anyone.

Jake Ellenberger met Carlos Rocha in a welterweight bout. Rocha had side control in the first, and his transitions as he looked for the sweet spot to submit Jake were seamless. Jake weathered that span, but was again in trouble when Rocha had a kimura in his sights. Jake's standup was better than Rocha's, but he loaded up with the right too much. Rocha disrupted Jake's rhythm with head and leg kicks, and after three, we went to the cards. One judge saw it all Rocha, but was out-voted by two who gave it to Jake, 29-28.

Ex WEC bantam champ Miguel Torres, formerly a top tier pound for pounder, fought in the PPV curtain jerker. He won a UD, 30-27 across the board, from Antonio Banuelos in his UFC debut. His jab told the story. It was hard, and quick and kept the loser from attacking. It wasn't a scintillating scrap, and Torres could've showed more passion and urgency.

Follow Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069.

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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