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Following his big win over Josh Ferguson, Bay Area native Chris Cariaso is already looking forward to the next step in his UFC career. While all of his other fights came with him bantamweight (135lbs), Cariaso fought in the new flyweight class this week, which is 125. Despite being a very shallow weight class, he's very happy with staying at that weight class moving forward.
"I feel like 125 is the division for me," Cariaso said.
As for what's to come, he plans on setting up a fight with the No. 3 contender to position him for a chance at the title.
"Whatever's going to set me up for the title is where I want to be."
Cariaso will continue training in both the Bay Area and at his new gym in Tucson. No date has been set for his next fight, but he sure seems like a fighter eager to make his move sooner rather than later.
San Jose native Chris Cariaso was victorious on Wednesday night at UFC On Fuel TV 4: Munoz vs. Weidman, besting Josh Ferguson over three rounds for a clear-cut 30-27 decision. Cariaso moved to 14-3 for his career with the win, and is on a three-fight winning streak. He thoroughly bested Ferguson in the standup and had several impressive sweep takedowns to remain in control of the matchup.
Now, Cariaso has bested Takeya Mizugaki, a perennial top-ten Bantamweight, and taken Michael McDonald to a very close split decision. Those two fights are still the best of his career, but this win over Ferguson has shown that he needs to take another step up. Mizugaki hasn't been great in the UFC, so Ferguson wasn't necessarily a "step back," but more of a side-step. Then again, it was at a new weight class (as the fight was contested at Flyweight).
And Cariaso is very happy with that weight class, saying in the post-fight interview that the weight class seemed right for him. So where does Cariaso go from here? Will he ever be able to compete for UFC gold? Well, he's still got a ways to go. Judging from this fight, it seems that Cariaso needs to develop a little bit better of a killer instinct and fight with a little bit more urgency. Top flyweights like Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall would almost certainly out-pace him right now.
But again, he does need a step up. So where does he go?
The UFC's Flyweight division isn't deep by any means. There are some fantastic fighters at the top-end, but the division is so new there isn't even a champion yet, as Demetrious Johnson is set to fight Joseph Benavidez for the right to be crowned the first-ever champion for that weight class in the UFC. Who is available after the top guys, though?
Well, there's John Dodson, Tim Elliott, Louis Gaudinot, John Lineker, Darren Uyenoyama and Yasuhiro Urushitani. Urushitani is a possibility, given that he was in the Flyweight tournament, but lost to Benavidez via second-round TKO. But Urushitani also lost his previous fight, and if the UFC doesn't want to match up fighters who have lost against fighters who have won, that's out of the question. That also disqualifies Lineker and Elliott, leaving Dodson, Gaudinot and Uyenoyama.
Dodson was supposed to fight Uyenoyama, but instead fought Elliott after Uyenoyama pulled out of the bout with an injury. Out of those listed, Dodson would certainly be the biggest test for Cariaso, but it's likely that the UFC wants to continue to bring him along slowly. It's still a new weight class for "Kamikaze," and it really might be best for him to take on either Gaudinot or Uyenoyama, while Dodson might be taking a step up to fight someone like McCall or the loser of the championship fight.
UFC On Fuel TV 4: Munoz vs. Weidman ended up being a wholly more exciting event than the much-more hyped UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen. This is because the UFC didn't bother to put significant fighters on that card outside of the main event, carrying it on the back of the epic rematch and the retirement fight for Tito Ortiz. On paper, UFC On Fuel TV 4 didn't seem to offer much, but it delivered with multiple finishes, some up-and-down fights and plenty of action in between.
The main event between Mark Munoz and Chris Weidman was excellent, as the latter moved to 9-0 on his career and experienced his coming out for the organization. San Jose native Chris Cariaso also was victorious on the night, picking up his third-straight win with a dominating decision over Josh Ferguson.
Unfortunately, the local fighter wasn't given a post-fight bonus on the night as the card featured several highlights. James Te Huna and Joey Beltran were both given $40,000 fight of the night bonuses, while Alex Caceres picked up the $40,000 submission of the night bonus for his expertly timed triangle hold on Damacio Page. Lastly, Weidman was given a $40,000 knockout of the night bonus for the aforementioned domination of Munoz.
It would be surprising if there weren't a sizable amount of undisclosed locker room bonuses for this card, however. There were plenty of fighters who absolutely brought it and made the card excellent. Here are links where you can find recaps of the main event, Cariaso fight, preliminary card and main card.
UFC On FUEL TV 4: Munoz vs. Weidman actually turned out to be a more entertaining card fight-wise than UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen, even without the drama of a championship fight in the main event. The evening finished with a tilt between Mark Munoz, a California-based fighter who was trying to make his name for a title shot, and Chris Weidman, who was trying to remain undefeated and make a case for yet another step up in competition.
From the start of the fight, Weidman took Munoz's back and threatened a submission. When Munoz got back to his feet, Weidman landed a knee and got a headlock, controlling Munoz for the first two minutes before moving into a guillotine choke and almost submitting Munoz. Weidman landed some short elbows and then tried to go for an armbar, and then a kimura. He was, to say the least, very active in the submission game.
He went for a mounted guillotine, and then Munoz tried to get up and Weidman hooked up the headlock yet again. The first round came to an end a clear 10-9 for Weidman. Round two came along and Weidman scored another takedown, but Munoz had a great escape. They get back to standing, and Munoz throws a very sloppy punch and is caught with a brutal right elbow counter by Weidman, who fell down on top of Munoz and threw vicious ground and pound to score a knockout victory.
It was potentially a 10-8 round one and a vicious, cerebral knockout in round two. There is not a single better kind of performance you can have in the UFC. You want to be able to dominate a round and then finish impressively in the second. It should it's not a fluke. Weidman walks away with a 9-0 record.
For recaps of the rest of the undercard, you can see our main card recap here and our preliminary card recap here.
After a very strong preliminary card for UFC On Fuel TV 4: Munoz vs. Weidman in which San Jose native Chris Cariaso bested Josh Ferguson via unanimous decision, the night's main card got off to a bang with a tilt between Anthony Njokuani and Rafael dos Anjos. It was an exciting fight from the get-go, with dos Anjos scoring an excellent knockdown early on, but was unable to get the finish. After that, he basically neutralized Njokuani all fight with very solid takedowns and great grappling to snag the unanimous decision.
Next, another California fighter took the octagon in T.J. Dillashaw. He was fighting Vaughan Lee, and looked a little out of his league through the first minute or so as Lee was landing all manner of strikes, but Dillashaw flipped Lee to the ground at one point and took his back, eventually riding his back standing. Dillashaw locked up the rear naked choke while riding Lee's back and the referee missed the tap initially, letting it run a little too long, but Dillashaw got the win either way.
That was followed by a fight between Karlos Vemola and Francis Carmont, two huge middleweights. Vemola had the edge in round one with a couple guillotine attempts, and was securing a takedown in the second when Carmont spun it into a choke for an amazing submission victory and reverse to get the win.
The undercard wrapped up with a run-of-the-mill Aaron Simpson fight in which he won a unanimous decision and a light heavyweight slugfest that saw James Te Huna and Joey Beltran play rock 'em sock 'em robots. The fight set a record for number of significant strikes landed in a light heavyweight fight.
Rafael dos Anjos def. Anthony Njokuani via unanimous decision
T.J. Dillashaw def. Vaughan Lee via submission at 2:33 of round one
Francis Carmont def. Karlos Vemola via submission at 1:39 of round two
Aaron Simpson def. Kenny Robertsen via unanimous decision
James Te Huna def. Joey Beltran via unanimous decision
For a full recap of the night's preliminary card, see our previous post.
UFC On FUEL TV 4: Munoz vs. Weidman kicked off the preliminary card in a big way, as Raphael Assunção demolished Issei Tamura in the second round of their fight. Assuncao threw a head kick that didn't quite land and Tamura tried to capitalize on the miss, cutting off the cage and going for a wide hook, but Assunção countered with a fantastic left hand that made Temura drop to the ground. A flurry of punches later and the fight was stopped.
This writer does not recommend you ever watch the Marcelo Guimaraes vs. Dan Stittgen fight, unless you like no punches to land and a man moaning into a microphone. Seriously. That happened.
Andrew Craig and Rafael Natal put on a very uninspiring first round of action, with Natal doing absolutely nothing, but taunting and yelling as though he were dominating the fight. In the second round, he backed some of that up by landing on Craig and staggering him. He followed Craig to the ground and tried to get the finish, but in the end, Craig ended up on top and they were stood up. Craig was clearly flustered until he, you know, threw a right head kick that landed perfectly and knocked Natal right out.
San Jose's own Chris Cariaso had a very exciting win over Josh Ferguson, and you can read our full recap for that thread here. The night's preliminary card wrapped up with a pretty good fight between Alex Caceres and Damacio Page. Caceres spent most of the first round on the bottom being controlled, but Caceres had an excellent triangle attempt near the end of the round, but wasn't able to secure it fully. In round tow, he ended up on his back again, and as Page went back to throw a punch, Caceres caught him in another triangle and this one he locked in for the submission victory.
You can find full results for the night's preliminary card below.
Raphael Assunção def. Issei Temura via TKO in 0:25 of round two
Marcelo Guimaraes def. Dan Stittgen via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Andrew Craig def. Rafael Natal via KO in 4:52 of round two
Chris Cariaso def. Josh Ferguson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Alex Caceres def. Damacio Page via submission in round two
The only strictly Bay Area fighter on the UFC On Fuel TV 4 card, Chris Cariaso, fought Josh Ferguson for three rounds in what was a pretty entertaining fight. Cariaso walked away with a unanimous decision victory, 30-27 on all judges cards. There was a moment at the end of the fight where Ferguson caught Cariaso's back and threatened a submission, but it came in the final minute of the fight after Cariaso had dominated the other four minutes of the third round.
Cariaso showed off impressive striking to land counters and generally not be sucked into a brawl with Ferguson. He also showcased superior grappling ability and better presence of mind, as Ferguson's only bright spot the whole fight was a spinning kick that did no damage and the aforementioned bit at the end of the third round.
Cariaso is now 14-3 for his career and is 3-1 in his UFC career and is officially a force to be reckoned with in the UFC's flyweight division. The fight is a fight of the night candidate, especially given the quality of the other fights thus far.
Below, we've got the play-by-play as written during the fight.
Round One: Cariaso takes the center of the octagon to star and starts pawing out a right jab. Ferguson dashes forward and throws about six hooks, but none of them land as Cariaso backs up effectively. Ferguson got him against the cage and goes for a takedown, but Cariaso shrugs it off and the fighters take the center of the octagon again. Ferguson is once again coming forward swinging wildly, but he isn't landing anything. Cariaso takes a small step and lands a nice right jab, and then they disengage, but Cariaso comes with a looping hook and it crumples Ferguson briefly. Cariaso jumps on Ferguson and takes half guard, looking for some ground and pound. Eventually, he lets Ferguson back up to the feet and the fighters take the center again.
Ferguson backs Cariaso up into the cage and actually secures a takedown. Ferguson ends up in half guard now as Cariaso tries to climb the cage and Ferguson tries to lock up a guillotine. With two minutes left in the round, Ferguson is trying to brute force a choke but he doesn't get it as Cariaso gets out of it and then stands up with Ferguson pressing him into the cage. Cariaso spins out and comes back with a strong left hand and they tie up again. Ferguson backs up and the fighters take the center once again. Ferguson goes for a spinning kick, lands it and Cariaso shrugs it off as Ferguson trips. Ferguson once again going for a takedown against the cage, holding onto Cariaso's legs with a minute left. Carison lands a couple short elbows against the cage and then spins a beautiful takedown with 20 seconds left. The round comes to an end with Cariaso on top.
SB Nation Bay Area scores the round 10-9 for Cariaso.
Round Two: Ferguson, the brawler, once again throws wild hooks in the center of the octagon but nothing lands. Cariaso is tracking him down looking for his opportunity and throws a flurry of his own but nothing connects. The two shadowbox for a bit. Ferguson keeps coming forward and missing and Cariaso keeps landing counters. Ferguson gets a takedown but Cariaso is down for less than three seconds and he lands some shots on the grounded Ferguson.
With three minutes to go Cariaso misses a high kick but he's still landing many more strikes. Ferguson goes for another takedown and fails. Ferguson presses Cariaso against the cage with a minute and a half to go and Cariaso lands plenty of short strikes. Ferguson is not landing anything at this point. He's physically stronger but it's clear that Cariaso is much more talented at this point. Ferguson is trying to muscle Cariaso, but again, "Kamikaze" spins and takes Ferguson down and starts raining down some ground and pound from a high half guard and the round ends.
SB Nation Bay Area scores the round 10-9 for Cariaso.
Round Three: The two touch gloves in the center of the octagon and Cariaso is showing no signs of being complacent with what is probably a 20-18 lead. Ferguson falls for a single leg and it's not even close as Cariaso reverses and lands into half guard, trying to move into side control. Ferguson flips Cariaso trying to sweep him, but Cariaso bounces out of it and lands a shot on the way out as both fighters return standing. Ferguson ties up, and Cariaso spins him to yet another sweep takedown into half guard.
With 2:30 left in the round, Cariaso is potentially working a choke but it seems like he's using it so he can pass into side control, but Ferguson holds onto his knee. Eventually, they stand and Cariaso lands a couple shots on the way out, as usual. Cariaso takes Fergusons back against the cage and he's looking for the trip. He goes down with Ferguson and Ferguson is threatening a kimura. He abandons it and jumps on top of Cariaso's back and is trying to finish it with a choke. There's a minute left with Ferguson riding Cariaso's back. It was an impressive transition, to be sure, but it appears too little too late with 20 seconds remaining. Cariaso controls a wrist effectively and the round comes to an end.
SB Nation Bay Area scores the round 10-9 for Cariaso and 30-27 for the fight.
The main event of UFC On Fuel TV 4: Munoz Vs. Weidman is looking to be a great one, as "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" Mark Munoz is hoping to make a push for a shot at Anderson Silva and the Middleweight Championship while Chris Weidman is trying to put together another solid win in a young career. He'd like to be challenging Silva for his title one day too, despite watching another wrestler in Chael Sonnen get knocked out on Saturday.
Munoz is the closer of the two to earning a title shot. It's unclear who is next in line for a shot at the title, with guys like Michael Bisping, Hector Lombard, Alan Belcher and Tim Boetsch all being in the discussion. But what is this fight actually going to come down to? Who has the best shot to win and why?
Well, Munoz is clearly more experienced, boasting a 12-2 record, with wins over guys like Demian Maia and Chris Leben. Munoz is a wrestler with some of the best ground and pound in the game, but thus far has proven he's not particularly great at bringing the fight to the ground. When he fought Yushin Okami, it simply looked like an exercise in takedown defense as Okami firmly prevented Munoz from getting him out of his comfort zone.
Since that point, Munoz has sort of taken to his striking game, which has improved in leaps and bounds. That doesn't necessarily mean it's quite on par with the elite strikers .. quite the opposite, really. He's got a slow, predictable style, but what he lacks in finesse he makes up for in power. He's got a few knockouts to his credit, and he certainly will be trying to stand with Weidman in this one.
To this point, Weidman has bested most of his opposition with his stellar wrestling and submission game. As such, Munoz likely won't be looking to take it to the ground. Weidman most certainly will though, but it's doubtful that he's got the chops to take Munoz to the ground with regularity. This will be his first true test in regards to being a dynamic fighter, as his gameplan of choice isn't likely to work.
That being said, Weidman doesn't need standup that's much better than serviceable to best Munoz in that regard. He just needs to avoid that power and play the part of a finesse fighter, which many believe he can. He was the underdog against Maia in his last fight - he was going to get steamrolled or something to that affect - but he went out there and largely dominated. It should be a very interesting fight.
Let's go with Munoz by decision for the prediction on this one.
For more on mixed martial arts in general, check out everything we have to offer over at MMA Fighting and Bloody Elbow. Also be sure to check out Bloody Elbow's staff predictions for the whole card here.
Chris Cariaso is a very solid prospect in the UFC, and he just happens to fight out of San Jose, CA, where he was born. That's right up our alley, so needless to say we're rooting for him. That being said, we won't say "good luck," or anything of the sort - cage fighters don't like to make careers on getting lucky, and by all accounts, this matchup already heavily favors Cariaso, so there's not a whole lot to worry about.
Cariaso is 13-3 in his young mixed martial arts career, with two of those losses coming to very, very talented prospects. Sure, his loss to Mark Oshiro is an outlier, but that was back in 2008, just seven fights into his professional career. His other losses were to Renan Barao, who is fighting Urijah Faber for the Interim Bantamweight championship and Michael McDonald, the Modesto native who mauled Miguel Torres at UFC 145.
"Mayday" is clearly the real deal, and the fact that Cariaso was able to take him to the limit in a very close split decision speaks volumes. It was at that point that people got excited about his potential going forward, and he rattled off two very solid wins to reinforce that - besting Vaughan Lee and Takeya Mizugaki.
Mizugaki was one of the highest rated guys at the weight class, and has fought guys like Urijah Faber, Miguel Torres and Scott Jorgensen. Cariaso soundly bested him and has made himself a contender. That's why it's a little odd to see him in a fight with Ferguson, who is on a two-fight losing streak, not counting a loss on The Ultimate Fighter to Johnny Bedford.
There's not a lot to say about Ferguson's chances in this fight. He's a brawler who will do all he can do to brawl, while Cariaso is a much more refined fighter who appears better everywhere, except perhaps when it comes to power punching. There's a chance Ferguson knocks him out, but it's a very small chance, and the safe pick is Chris "Kamikaze" Cariaso by decision, or perhaps submission.
For more on mixed martial arts in general, check out everything we have to offer over at MMA Fighting and Bloody Elbow. Also, be sure to check out the Bloody Elbow staff predictions for the whole card here.
UFC On Fuel TV 4: Munoz vs. Weidman is just hours away, and we'll take a quick look at the betting lines. Chris Weidman is the favorite over Mark Munoz in the main event, which is somewhat surprising, but the lines are so narrow there's not really any action there. San Jose native Chris Cariaso is a sizable favorite over Josh Feruson, who has only ever faced middling talent and has lost to no-name fighters throughout his career.
Cariaso on the other hand has won two-straight fight and is rightfully favored given his last win was over perennial top-tenner Takeya Mizugaki. He's a safe bet at this point, but there's not a lot of money to be made unless you are taking out a loan or something. That being said, there is a little bit of action to be had on this card - in the form of T.J. Dillashaw vs. Vaughan Lee.
Dillashaw is a California-based fighter and a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter, but he didn't win and doesn't appear to be a remarkable fighter by any means. As he's based in California, we'd like to be proven wrong, but it really does feel like Lee is being overlooked here. That line is really tempting and it's the only attractive underdog bet on the card at this point.
Lines via bookmaker.eu, with a H/T to Bloody Elbow:
Mark Munoz (12-2) +115 vs. Chris Weidman (8-0) -145
Joey Beltran (14-7) +275 vs. James Te Huna (14-5) -345
Kenny Robertson (11-1) +235 vs. Aaron Simpson (11-3) -295
Francis Carmont (18-7) -182 vs. Karlos Vemola (9-2) +152
T.J. Dillashaw (5-1) -435 vs. Vaughan Lee (12-7-1) +285
Rafael dos Anjos (16-6) -175 vs. Anthony Njokuani (15-6, 1 NC) +145
Alex Caceres (6-5) +135 vs. Damacio Page (15-7) -165
Chris Cariaso (13-3) -345 vs. Josh Ferguson (12-4) +265
Andrew Craig (7-0) -200 vs. Rafael Natal (14-3-1) +150
Marcelo Guimaraes (7-0-1) -345 vs. Dan Stittgen (7-2) +265
Raphael Assuncao (16-4) -200 vs. Issei Tamura (7-2) +150
UFC On Fuel TV 4: Munoz vs. Weidman is just about 24 hours away, and it promises to be an exciting event. It doesn't have the headline appeal that the recent UFC 148 had what with the title fight between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen, but the Bay Area and California are represented on both the night's main card and undercard. For a full look at the fight card, refer to our previous article.
Chris Cariaso is the only person on the card who is actually from the Bay Area - he was born and raised in San Jose, and he'll be on the Facebook preliminary card up against Josh Ferguson in a flyweight bout. Cariaso is 13-3 for his career and is coming off an impressive victory over Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 144. His lone UFC loss was to Michael McDonald, and that one doesn't look so bad after "Mayday" starched Miguel Torres in the first round at UFC 145.
Bloody Elbow, one of SB Nation's stellar MMA sites, posted their predictions for the event early Tuesday, and all five participating picked Cariaso to win. Two of them picked a submission victory, while two others picked decision (the fifth did not provide reasoning). Dallas Winston provides his thoughts on the fight:
Dallas Winston: As it turns out, Cariaso is kind of a beast. He's coming off a -- weird, but -- huge decision over perennial top-10 bantamweightTakeya Mizugaki and gave the surging Michael McDonald all he could handle. I like Ferguson because he's a gamer but this is his toughest opponent to date and he's dropped 3 of his last 4. Chris Cariaso by submission.
Outside of Cariaso, there are other California ties on the card. Mark Munoz, T.J. Dillashaw, and Joey Beltran are all based in California. Munoz is hoping to earn a title shot with a victory over Weidman, and the Bloody Elbow staff is split on that one - with three picking Munoz and three picking Weidman.
Beltran has been a gamer in the UFC, always coming to "war," but he really does not inspire much confidence at this point in his career. James Te Huna just seems more motivated and better at this stage, and all six picked him to best Beltran. Four of them picked Dillashaw, a competitor on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Bisping vs. Team Miller, while one of them picked his opponent, Lee.
For more on mixed martial arts in general, check out everything we have to offer over at MMA Fighting and Bloody Elbow. And don't forget to check up on their predictions for UFC On Fuel TV 4: Munoz vs. Weidman.
While UFC 148 was a mostly-disappointing event, things wrapped up in a big way when Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva defended his title in a rematch against Chael Sonnen and finished him in the second round. Silva and Sonnen had an awful lot of drama leading up the fight - namely due to Sonnen and his WWE-level hyping. There was still some controversy, but it looks like the whole Silva-Sonnen "saga" is over.
Now we can get back to other things. If you missed it, the Bay Area is playing host to another UFC event on Wednesday, where Mark Munoz will take on Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV: Munoz vs. Weidman. Munoz is a California fighter, and while he's not strictly in the Bay Area, we'll root for him all the same.
On top of that, San Jose native Chris Cariaso will be looking to win his third-straight fight as he takes on Josh Ferguson, who is on a two-fight losing streak. Cariaso is heavily favored, as he should be. Other California fighters include T.J. Dillashaw and Joey Beltran. Below, we've got the full fight card for the night.
Mark Munoz (12-2) vs. Chris Weidman (8-0)
Joey Beltran (14-7) vs. James Te Huna (14-5)
Kenny Robertson (11-1) vs. Aaron Simpson (11-3)
Francis Carmont (18-7) vs. Karlos Vemola (9-2)
T.J. Dillashaw (5-1) vs. Vaughan Lee (12-7-1)
Rafael dos Anjos (16-6) vs. Anthony Njokuani (15-6, 1 NC)
Alex Caceres (6-5) vs. Damacio Page (15-7)
Chris Cariaso (13-3) vs. Josh Ferguson (12-4)
Andrew Craig (7-0) vs. Rafael Natal (14-3-1)
Marcelo Guimaraes (7-0-1) vs. Dan Stittgen (7-2)
Raphael Assuncao (16-4) vs. Issei Tamura (7-2)
Tom DeBlass (7-1) vs. Nick Penner (11-2)
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