MMA Odds and Ends for Friday: Anthony Johnson Reinstated By UFC

rumble-johnson The UFC yesterday reinstated light heavyweight contender Anthony Johnson from his indefinite suspension, and Johnson will make his return to the cage in early 2015. Johnson was suspended back in September over an alleged domestic violence incident, which violated the UFC’s Code of Conduct for its fighters. But after the case was voluntarily dismissed by Belinda Kelly, the alleged mother of Johnson’s two children, the UFC had no choice by to let him back on the roster. Prior to his suspension, Johnson was coming off of a big-time win over Phil Davis at UFC 172 and was calling for a fight against fellow top contender Alexander Gustafsson, with the winner likely in line to claim a light heavyweight title shot. The UFC was likely going to book that fight for a Sweden card in January, but after Johnson was suspended the bout was put on the backburner. Gustafsson was linked to a fight against Rashad Evans, who is Johnson’s teammate at the Blackzilians, but Evans is still out with an injury and can’t take that fight. So now with Johnson back, it’s likely the UFC will book the fight with Gustafsson again, with the winner of that fight taking on the Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier winner sometime in mid-2015. At the end of the day, the allegations against Johnson weren’t nice to hear, but he wasn’t charged with anything and the UFC had no choice but to bring him back into the fold. Spencer vs. Pendred Added To UFC Fight Night 59 A welterweight bout between Sean Spencer and Cathal Pendred was added to UFC Fight Night 59, which takes place January 18 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The bout will be a part of the evening’s preliminary card. This is a fun fight and it should be a close one, and I’m having trouble figuring out who I’m picking here. I definitely give Spencer an edge as far as volume striking goes, but he doesn’t have much in the way of power and Pendred has a very good chin regardless. Pendred is also a stronger grappler, and while Spencer has solid takedown defence, it’s not out of the realm of possibility he is taken to the mat by Pendred here. Either way, I expect a close, competitive fight, and one that likely goes to decision. Based on their last performances, I have to favor Spencer very slightly and believe he will be a small betting favorite, but come January, I may very well be picking Pendred to win the fight.

Written by Adam Martin.

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