Morning Report: Anderson Silva's manager talks Weidman; Dan Henderson a 2-to-1 underdog to Machida

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From the rise of the next Russian rule, to Ed Soares finally admitting to the existence of Chris Weidman, there was plenty to take in on Thursday.

Add in the snubbing of a living legend by Las Vegas oddsmakers and the most heart-rending episode of UFC Primetime in recent memory (it's alright, we know it was really all those dang onions that got you misty-eyed), and we have loaded docket to get to this morning. So without further ado, let's jump into some headlines.

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6 MUST-READ STORIES

Shlemenko wins middleweight strap. Russian striker Alexander Shlemenko defeated UFC veteran Maiquel Falcao via second-round TKO to claim the vacant Bellator middleweight title in the main event of Bellator 88. For more, check out complete event results and gifs.

UFC 157 odds. Former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson is currently listed as high as a 2-to-1 underdog by Las Vegas oddsmakers ahead of his UFC 157 bout against Lyoto Machida.

Cella talks TUF knockout. TUF 17 competitor Adam Cella recounted how it felt to be on the receiving end of Uriah Hall's devastating knockout on this week's episode of The Ultimate Fighter in an interview with Fightland. Said Cella: "I didn't remember anything about it, so it was weird watching myself. I don't remember standing up or talking to the doctor or walking out of the Octagon. I have no memory of anything until I was in the ambulance. I came to in the ambulance and I looked around and I thought to myself, 'What is Jon Jones doing with me in an ambulance?' That's when I figured, 'Well, I guess I lost.'"

UFC bookings. A slew of bouts were announced by UFC officials on Thursday, highlighted by a quartet of additions to UFC on FOX 7 plus Brad Pickett vs. Mike Easton and Marcus Brimage vs. Conor McGregor at UFC on FUEL 9.

Soares on Weidman. Speaking to Sherdog, Anderson Silva's manager Ed Soares relayed a recent chance encounter he had with middleweight contender Chris Weidman: "I saw him in Chicago last Saturday and he was driving me crazy! He kept asking me, 'Hey, let's make that fight happen!' He's very confident and he's a good fighter and we'll see what happens. At the end of the day, we don't pick our opponents."

Manhoef not signed by UFC. Contrary to rumors, there is currently no deal in place for Dutch striking savant Melvin Manhoef to join the UFC, according to a report from Fighters Only.

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MEDIA STEW

If you missed last night's debut of UFC Primetime: Rousey vs. Carmouche, feel free to check out the replay below. (Click to watch.)

Ufc_primetime_medium

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To quote the description of this poignant mini-documentary: "In 2005, an unknown Irish boxer beat Mike Tyson in front of hundreds of thousands of people. Then he disappeared."

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Back in 2010, when Daniel Cormier was just a 2-0 newbie, the former Olympian embarked on a three-fights-in-four-weeks global tour, stopping in Australia to challenge for the XMMA heavyweight belt, then New Mexico for the KOTC heavyweight belt, before finishing in Houston with his first bout on a major Strikeforce card. This is footage from the New Mexico portion of that tour.

(HT: Reddit)

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You know the drill by now. (Potentially NSFW.)

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Now this is somewhat bizarre footage. Teenage Johny Hendricks vs. teenage Ben Askren at the 2002 Dream Team Classic. Yes, that is a high school tournament. And yes, Askren's hair hasn't changed in 11 years.

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I know I say this a lot, but sometimes the internet really is great.

(HT: MiddleEasy)

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Looks like the voting class at Cain Velasquez's high-school were right on the money with that one.

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(HT: Reddit)

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INTERESTING

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BEST RESPONSE EVER

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CALLING HIS SHOT

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BELLATOR PLAY-BY-PLAY, COURTESY OF EDDIE ALVAREZ

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WORD

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Thursday, February 7, 2012):

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day sees SecondhandMMA declare: It's an Underdog Year

With the UFC 156 card having produced 2 major upsets, and 2013 off to looking like the Year of the Upset (as opposed to its predecessor, The Year of the Injury), I've decided, with the magic of the fanpost, to investigate further the upsets that have occurred so far. Note: I will only be examining main card upsets, and what they meant to the UFC and their divisional pictures. Here we go.

UFC on FX: Bisping vs. Belfort

CB Dolloway (+145) defeats Daniel Sarafian (-175) via Split Decision

In the fight of the night, American CB Dolloway defeated would-be Ultimate Fighter finalist Daniel Sarafian by the slimmest of margins. Despite being rocked by the first round blitz of Sarafian, Dolloway chose his strikes, mixed in some takedowns and generally did enough to win the Brazilian judges (though certainly not the crowd) and gain the decision. Divisionally, not too much happened. I believe we've seen just how far Dolloway will go in the 185lb weight class, and he's essentially stuck in the position of low level gatekeeper. For Sarafian, the loss robbed the division of an explosive prospect's momentum. Sarafian showed some bright spots in the fight, particularly with his hands early and sweeps in the 3rd, but ultimately his position in the UFC is precariously shaky, and not the fast start he would have hoped for.

Vitor Belfort (-110) defeats Michael Bisping (-120) via TKO (Head Kick and Punches)

Vitor Belfort defied the masses expectations and also broke the stereotype of 1st round lion, later fight kitten. Belfort recorded the first victory of his UFC career outside of the first round. (Think what you will with the recent news that Belfort is on TRT and how that affected the fight). For Bisping, a guaranteed title fight is gone. The marketable Brit with a penchant for being tagged dropped the ball again, and also the expectations of the UFC. Divisionally, Belfort has now gone unbeaten in the middleweight division against everyone not named Anderson Silva. That being said, not too many people are clamoring for a rematch with the champ (although if the former champ keeps decapitating the top contenders in such a fashion, the MMA community may change their tune). For Bisping, he's where he's always been: the top of the heap, but not the very top of it.

UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Dodson

Ricardo Lamas (+165) defeats Erik Koch (-205) via TKO (elbows)

Ricardo Lamas announced his contendership for the 145lb title with a visceral ground and pound victory over previous number one contender Erik Koch. Lamas had already been near the top of the heap, but a win over a man supposed to fight Jose Aldo on two separate occasions announces that, as far as established featherweights goes, he's the man to beat. For Koch, at the age of 24, this loss isn't career crippling, and with his skill set he is certainly capable of climbing back to the #1 contender spot of the division. The division continues the trend of lightweights dropping down to challenge for the title with Anthony Pettis dropping down to challenge Aldo, despite the upset that took place on network television.

UFC 156

Demian Maia (+175) defeats Jon Fitch (-215) via Unanimous Decision

This may have surprised some fight fans to know: Maia was actually the underdog coming into the bout. Despite being the physically bigger man, and the more credentialed grappler, Fitch was still favored over the Brazilian, and looking to build off the momentum of his exciting victory over Erick Silva. Not the case. Maia came in, smothered the smotherer, and ground out a dominant win over the veteran welterweight. Fitch's perennial #2 contendership continues to move further from his grasp as the next group of title prospects continues to move onward. That night, Maia made his presence known by dominating a tested commodity at 170 (no disrespect to Rick Story or Dong Hyun Kim).

Antonio Silva (+300) defeats Alistair Overeem (-400) via KO (Punches)

The most famous of this years upsets, Bigfoot put the kaibosh on the Overeem hype train. Overeem, generally expected to run through the massive Brazilian, lost all the steam in his win streak, a promised title shot, a short amount of memory, and a fair amount of his muscle mass. Antonio Silva gained sweet, sweet vengeance, and a whisper of his name being put into title contention. The division itself lost a sense of direction: who could take the big Dutchman's place? The taller Dutchman Stefan Struve? The Super Samoan Mark Hunt? There really is no clear cut decision for the UFC, though watching them try to put together a heavyweight matchup for the title will be entertaining, rest assured.

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+425) defeats Rashad Evans (-575) via Unanimous Decision

Little Nog kept the former UFC light-heavyweight champion at a comfortable range with his superior striking, and cruised to a fairly decisive decision victory. For Nogueira, this marked his second straight victory over a former champion, though it doesn't necessarily build any momentum for the aging Brazilian. For Evans, he's now dropped his last 2 fights and looked fairly lackluster in both performances. Evans had been flirting with the idea of retirement, and certainly looked he had one foot out of the door. For the division they fought in, not too much was lost or gained. Nogueira will likely never compete for a UFC title, and Evans had been given the lucrative offer of dropping to 185 to fight The Spider. The only division severely affected by this bout, in a negative way, was the middleweight division.

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in Monday's column.

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