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The Weight-Cutting Chronicles: UFC 222

The Weight-Cutting Chronicles No. 8- UFC 222: Cris Cyborg vs Yana Kunitskaya

Intro to Weight-Cutting Chronicles

Like it or not, weight-cutting is deeply rooted in mixed martial arts. MMA adopted its weight-cutting from the sport of wrestling, where it is presumed to be very advantageous to be the biggest and strongest in your weight class. Known as the ‘fight before the fight‘ most UFC fighters cut anywhere from 5-25lbs, with some fighters even in excess of 30lbs. Weight-cutting is the ultimate test of discipline and will power. Many fighters in the sport consider it very unprofessional to miss weight. In this series, I am going to shine a light on fighters who cut a massive amount of weight, who have missed weight multiple times in the past, who have made weight-class changes, along with how the weight-cut and weigh-in could affect possible upcoming matchups. Basically every aspect of weight-cutting and how it affects the fight game in the UFC.

UFC Superstar Conor McGregor at different weight classes.

Let’s take a look at fighters who have struggled with weight cuts in the past, or are making a debut in a new weight class for UFC 222: Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya

UFC 222 Fight Pass Prelims

Adam “The Prototype” Milstead (8-1 (1 NC) MMA, 1-0 (1 NC) UFC) vs. Jordan Johnson (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC)

Adam Milstead has fought at heavyweight for his entire career. He usually weighed in for his heavyweight fights at 225-235lbs.  This is his body weight coming out of a good training camp which means that he will have a difficult weight cut of about 30lbs.  Milstead’s last fight was a no contest against the rising UFC heavyweight, Curtis Blyades back in February of last year. Blyades has gone on to beat Oleksiy Oliynyk and most recently, Mark Hunt, so Milstead has faced legitimate heavyweight talent in his career.

Cody “The Spartan” Stamann (16-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) vs.

Bryan “Kid Lightning”  Caraway (21-7 MMA, 6-2 UFC)

Stamann’s UFC debut was a featherweight fight against Terrion Ware in July, 2017. The result was a unanimous decision victory for “The Spartan.” Just three months later, Stamann took on Tom Duquesnoy earning a split decision victory but at bantamweight. This bout will also take place in the bantamweight division also but Stamann remains fighter to watch on the scale.

UFC 222 Televised Prelims

 

Pedro “The Young Punisher” Munhoz (15-2 (1 NC) MMA, 5-2 (1 NC) UFC) vs.

John “The Magician” Dodson (20-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC)

This fight should look familiar as it was featured in Weight Cutting Chronicles No. 4 as a fight to watch and that proved a fact but for different reasons than I predicted.  I had originally saw it as an interesting fight as John Dodoson was previously a flyweight and now he has moved up. But on February 3, Pedro Munhoz showed up to UFC Belem and missed weight by 4lbs. Munhoz ultimately ended up blaming his weight cutting blunder on the fighters’ hotel as they did not have hot water which is needed in a passive weight-cutting technique. It’s hard not to believe Munhoz considering he has never come close to missing the bantamweight limit before. Don’t expect it to be an issue this time around as it seems like he is a true professional. And as we saw at UFC Belem, Dodson is not willing to take another fighter’s purse if he misses weight he’d rather just cancel the fight. So for the UFC 222 weigh in, with access to hot water hopefully Munhoz doesn’t  have a repeat of his mishap. Nonetheless he is still a fighter to watch on the scale.

 

 Mackenzie Dern (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs.

Ashley “Spider Monkey” Yoder (5-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC)

Mackenzie Dern is a Brazilian jiu jitsu specialist with just five professional fights. Dern started her pro mixed martial arts career in July, 2016 and in that sense is very new to the sport. UFC 222 will be the 24-year-old’s UFC debut. Dern competed at flyweight against Mandy Polk in October, 2017.  This fight will be in the strawweight division. Dern will be a fighter to watch on the scale as this is her first UFC weigh-in and that could result in jitters or difficulty cutting weight. Not to mention, she’s missed the 115lb. strawweight limit twice before.

UFC 222 Main Card

Frankie “The Answer” Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC) vs.

Brian “T-City” Ortega (13-0 (1 NC) MMA, 5-0 (1 NC) UFC)

Edgar debuted in the UFC over 11 years ago at UFC 67 at lightweight and what a long and storied journey this future UFC hall-of-famer has been on since. Decisively beating UFC legends, top rising prospects, and acquiring numerous fight bonuses as well as never being finished inside of the octagon.  Not to mention successfully winning and defending the UFC lightweight title and transitioning down a weight class to featherweight, winning seven of nine fights. When everything is said and done, “The Answer” will go down as a legend in the UFC’s 155lb. and 145lb. divisions. Edgar has logged over six hours of total octagon time.

Edgar entered the UFC as a 5-0 lighweight and rattled off three straight wins before losing by unanimous decision in part one of his now famous trilogy with Gray Maynard in April, 2008. After this fight Edgar went on another incredible five-fight win streak from 2008 to 2010 when he challenged and beat UFC Hall of Famer, BJ Penn for the UFC Lightweight  Championship in a unanimous decision. This was one of the biggest upsets of all time and it was followed by a rematch about four months later. Edgar again pulled off a dominant unanimous decision win over Penn successfully earning his first title defense.   “The Answer’s” next fight was what many would consider as the greatest UFC lightweight fight of all time where he put up an incredible tactical fight eventually fighting to a draw against the aforementioned Maynard. In October, 2011 Edgar was finally able to successfully defeat his nemesis via TKO in the fourth round of almost a perfect fight for Edgar to defend his belt once again.

The two fights to follow, both against Benson Henderson,  would not go Edgar’s way as he would lose by way of unanimous and split-decision respectively.

Following the loss, Edgar went down in weight to featherweight to challenge Jose Aldo for the belt in February of 2013. He lost a unanimous decision to Aldo whom was on a eight-year winning streak.  It was a fantastic fight and nothing to be ashamed of.  Follwing the Aldo loss, Edgar went on a five-fight win streak beating UFC featherweight staples:

Charles Olivera by unanimous decision.

BJ Penn by third-round TKO.

Cub Swanson by fifth-round submission.

Uriah Faber by unanimous decison,

and Chad Mendes by first-round KO.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dTVe4anTiI

After this incredible win streak, Edgar again challenged Aldo for the belt at the historic UFC 200 card in 2016 but fell short once again by unanimous decision.

Since then he has beaten the incredibly tough Jeremy Stephens by unanimous decision in November of 2016. And in Edgar’s most recent fight, he took on hot rising prospect Yair Rodriguez, a man on a 10-fight win streak at the time and had just stopped an aging BJ Penn. Edgar took him to school, dominating Rodriguez, pounding him on the ground until his eye swelled shut and the fight had to be stopped in at the end of round two. This fight proved the Edgar isn’t slowing down just yet. Edgar finds himself in a similar situation opposite another rising prospect in Ortega. Ortega’s ground game is much more complete and he has very good boxing as well. This will be such a good fight to see just how good Brian Ortega is as he faces the unbelievably tall task of the legend Frankie Edgar.

 

Cris “Cyborg” Justino (19-1 (1 NC) MMA, 3-0 UFC) vs.

Yana Kunitskaya (10-3 (1 NC) MMA, 0-0 UFC)

UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion, Cris Cyborg will look to make a title defense against Yana Kunitskaya on just four-weeks notice. This fight will be the headline of UFC 222. When UFC Featherweight Max “Blessed” Holloway was injured a month ago the call was made for this title fight to take the spot. Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion Yana Kunitskaya got the call and answered without hesitation. Training out of the Jackson-Wink Camp in New Mexico that has already faced the Champ Cyborg and fallen short with their fighter Holly Holm in at the end of last year. Holm is also a significantly smaller fighter than Cyborg and it showed in her five-round, unanimous-decision loss. However this loss surely provided both Holm and the coaches with valuable information on how to beat their much larger opponent. Now this information will be fed to Kunitskaya.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaCxGf-5-74

Cris Cyborg is a very muscular woman and cuts a massive amount of weight. This is part of what makes Cyborg so intimidating and causes so many fighters to fear her. But Cyborg isn’t just big, she also has devastating striking and has KO or TKO’d 17 of 19 wins. Cyborg hasn’t lost a fight in over 12 years.  Cyborg has fought at catch-weight fights as high as 150lbs. and walks around at over 175lbs..  Back when Ronda Rousey was queen of women’s MMA many thought the only one to who could challenge her would be Cyborg. Cyborg, at the time, was in Invicta FC and with no featherweight divison in the UFC, was stuck on the outside looking in. Rousey publically stated that the only way that she would fight Cyborg would be if Cyborg could make bantamweight, a virtually impossible feat given Cyborg’s size. Before the women’s featherweight division was formed in the UFC the only way for Cris Cyborg to fight were at catch-weight fights at 140lbs. still an incredibly hard cut for her. Cyborg stopped both Leslie Smith and Lina Lansberg at catchweight bouts in the UFC absolutely smashing them.  The UFC Women’s featherweight division was arguably made just for Cris Cyborg and the holder of the belt straight, Germaine de Randamie was unable to make a scheduled bout and was stripped of the belt.

 

Here We Go

There are a bunch of fighters to look out for on this card in terms of possibly missing weight. Lots of fighters that have been at different weight classes in the past and are now in new ones.

Follow @MMATodayNews on Twitter and check out MMA Today’s website for the latest in the world of mixed martial arts.

 

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North Carolina native and attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Former wrestler, football and rugby player. I love all things combat sports and when I'm not studying I enjoy trainig Muay Thai. I am also a W.I.T.S certified personal trainer.

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