Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
There isn't much new here if you're aware of the fighters' backgrounds and are familiar with what's at stake in the main event of Strikeforce's November 7th card, but, in case you aren't, this is a really great primer. Actually, even if you know most of that stuff already, it's still worthwhile to watch this video. Partly to hear the fighters' takes on the match-up and also just to bear witness to Frank Shamrock actually suggesting that Brett "The Grim" Rogers (9-0) is the #2 best heavyweight in the world. That guy will say whatever he thinks Strikeforce wants to hear, just like when he couldn't stop proclaiming Kimbo's status as a legit world-beater every two seconds back in the EliteXC days. It's pretty rich.
That's not to say I think Fedor "The Last Emperor" Emelianenko (30-1) will have an easy time with the former tire installer. Rogers is very quick, much larger, and packs a serious punch. Asssuming it's even possible, "The Grim" could be just the man to finally knock Fedor out.
Props to fightmagazine.com
It's nice to see Forrest Griffin (16-6) is finally back to his affable old self. Who knew all it would take is a marketable new fight to train for. Anything's better than the grumpy-old-man version of himself that was on display a while back in Griffin's first interview after the Anderson Silva (25-4) incident at UFC 101. If you don't remember it clearly, that "fight" involved Forrest swinging wildly at nothing but air while getting sent to the canvas numerous times. Griffin was finally finished inside one round by a back-peddling jab from the world's best mixed martial artist.
It's a good thing Forrest has finally moved on because he'll need all the positive energy he can muster to prepare himself for a rejuvenated and newly-back-pain-free Tito Ortiz (15-6-1) at UFC 106 (Nov. 21st).
It should be a great fight. Who ya got?
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
If it ends up happening, this fight will be a big test for Johnson for at least two reasons. First, because he missed the welterweight limit at UFC 104 by six pounds. Many fans calling for Johnson to move up to middleweight and the only way to quiet their demands would be to successfully make weight for a fight at 170lbs. The second challenge will be overcoming the skill and experience of "Kos," who is by far the toughest opponent that Johnson has ever faced.
For his part, Koscheck is just one fight removed form his surprising, upset loss to Paulo Thiago (11-1) at UFC 95. His last fight was a quick, first round T.K.O. of MMA legend Frank Trigg at UFC 103 in September. Josh has decent power and likes to try his luck banging despite being an expert wrestler, but, considering Johnson's off-the-charts explosiveness, "Kos" would be wise to take "Rumble" to the ground in this one as soon as possible.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
According to The Vernon Morning Star, King Of The Cage (KOTC) has officially confirmed that they'll be putting on a show in Vernon on November 28th. The as yet unnamed show will take place at Vernon's 3000+ capacity Wesbild Centre and will be headlined by a KOTC Canadian middleweight championship fight between Jason Volpe (5-2) versus Ryan Chiappe (4-5).
This fight is actually a rematch of a title fight between these two KOTC veterans that went down at KOTC - Excalibur on July 18th, 2009 in Edmonton, Alberta. Their previous fight ended disasterously in the first round as a disqualification victory for Volpe due to an eye poke.
The KOTC show in Vernon is the only major MMA card scheduled anywhere in British Columbia in the near future. So you can bet that B.C. MMA Fan will feature detailed coverage in the weeks leading up to the show.
UFC light heavyweight champ, Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida spoke with sherdog.com today to share his feelings on Saturday's controversial decision. Many who saw the fight, myself included, judged it in favor of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, but Lyoto feels that many of our opinions may have been swayed by biased play calling from Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg. He says he has faith in the competence of the official judges and that he came closer to finishing "Shogun," which rightly turned the decision in his favor.
“I thought it was a very even and tough fight,” Machida said. “I had the opportunity to see the fight again and I thought I won four rounds and Shogun took the last one. Some people say he won the fourth and fifth round, but for sure I won at least the first three rounds. The American commentators were pretty much biased. If you see the fight without audio, you will probably see a different fight. Shogun was a great opponent and had a nice strategy. He deserves all my respect as a fighter, but I was superior. I had three or four chances to finish the fight, and he never put me in danger. I didn’t get (dazed) at any moment of the fight, but I put him in danger three or four times. He kicked my legs a couple of times, but he wouldn’t knock me out with that.”
On the one hand, I agree that the commentary was ridiculously biased. Being a Machida fan, I was criticizing Rogan's skewed commentary throughout the fight. Whenever the fighters exchanged blows, Joe would only mention the shots that "Shogun" landed and almost never pointed out Machida's. Don't get me wrong, I still believe "Shogun" did just enough to win round one, as well as handily winning rounds four and five, and, thus, he took the fight on my card. Still, this fight was extremely technical and very close. People who say it was one of the biggest blown calls in UFC history need to rewatch the fight, perhaps, as Machida suggests, with the sound turned off.
Also, I think there is something to Machida's argument that he tried much harder to finish the fight. On some level, such high-risk-high-reward attempts as flying knees and barrages of punches could rationally be scored with more weight than even repeated leg kicks, which are extremely unlikely to force a conclusion to a bout.
Lyoto Machida was the highest payed athlete at UFC 104 last Saturday, but Pat Barry was the night's big winner. He took home nearly ten times his contracted purse when he was doubly rewarded for both "Fight" and "Knock Out of the Night." Anthony Johnson, on the other hand, was the night's biggest goat. After missing weight by a whopping six pounds, he was forced to forfeit %20 of his purse to his opponent and was also declared ineligible for "Knock Out of the Night" despite pulling off a beauty that surely would have netted him the award.
The total payroll was $922, 000 (before bonuses), with the main event fighters snagging %38.5 of the booty. UFC 104 attracted 14, 892 paid attendees for a live gate of $1.9 million. Don't forget, the UFC makes the majority of its profits from the PPV buys.
Lyoto Machida: $200,000 (no win bonus)
def. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua: $155,000
Cain Velasquez: $70,000 (includes $35,000 win bonus)
def. Ben Rothwell: $50,000
Gleison Tibau: $38,000 ($19,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Neer: $14,000
Joe Stevenson: $94,000 ($47,000 win bonus)
def. Spencer Fisher: $26,000
Anthony Johnson: $30,0000 ($15,000 win bonus) -%20 of this total= $24, 000
def. Yoshiyuki Yoshida: $12,000 + Johnson's penalty of $,6000 = $18,000
Ryan Bader: $30,000 ($15,000 win bonus)
def. Eric Schafer: $13,000
Pat Barry: $14,000 ($7,000 win bonus) + $120, 000 for Fight Of the Night and K.O. of the Night= $134,000
def. Antoni Hardonk: $16,000 + $60,000 for "Fight of the Night" = $76,000
Chael Sonnen: $54,000 ($27,000 win bonus)
def. Yushin Okami: $18,000
Jorge Rivera: $36,000 ($18,000 win bonus)
def. Rob Kimmons: $9,000
Kyle Kingsbury: $16,000 ($8,000 win bonus)
def. Razak Al-Hassan: $3,000
Stefan Struve: $14,000 ($7,000 win bonus) + $60,000 for "Submission of the Night" = $74,000
def. Chase Gormley: $10,000
Monday, October 26, 2009
According to Yahoo Sports, Brock Lesnar (4-1) has notified the UFC that he will be unable to compete as scheduled in the main event of UFC 106 (Nov. 21st). He has been suffering over the past several weeks with an unnamed illness that has prevented him from training as hard and as often as normal.
UFC president, Dana White had this to say about the situation:
“He said he’s never been this sick in his life. He said it’s been going on for a long time and he just hasn’t been able to shake it.”
Apparently, Lesnar has been coping with this illness for so long now that he has passed the point at which tests can still be done to determine its exact cause. However, many are assuming that the UFC's heavyweight champ was stricken with the H1N1 virus. According to his twitter page, Shane Carwin (11-0), Lesnar's intended opponent, can relate:
So it appears that UFC 106 just went from being one of the biggest cards of the year to being just an average event with a rather underwhelming main event of Tito Ortiz (15-6-1) vs. Forrest Griffin (16-6) II. Then again, if I know the UFC as well as I think I do, it's a pretty safe bet that they'll attempt to spice the card up somehow to compensate for the lost title fight."Looks like it is postponed till Jan 2. I had h1n1 myself and I understand how devastating it can be."
It will be a rematch of their first match at Ultimate Fight Night 5 in 2006. It was a very close fight that ended shortly after Fitch landed one of the all-time great upkicks (from his back) in MMA history. That unusually effective strike left Alves on queer street, at which point Fitch pounced on him to force the finish. Outside of their losses to GSP, these two perennial contenders are a collective 14-0 in the octagon since their first fight in 2006.
Fitch was originally scheduled to appear at UFC 107 opposite Ricardo Almeida (11-3), who is dropping down to welterweight after going 1-3 in his latest run at middleweight. Last week, after Almeida blew out his knee, the UFC scrambled and booked the Fitch vs. Alves II instead. To make it happen, Thiago Alves had to be pulled from his own scheduled fight against Fitch's last victim, Paulo Thiago (11-1). Don't feel bad for Paulo Thiago though, he will now face UFC newcomer Jacob Volkman (9-0) at UFC 106 (Nov. 21st).
Click above to hear reactions from Dana White and several fighters from UFC 104 regarding Saturday's controversial tittle-fight decision. Dana also comments on what many thought was a premature stoppage to Velasquez vs. Rothwell.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
UFC 104 QUICK RESULTS:
***Lyoto Machida def. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via Uunanimous Decision
***Cain Velasquez def. Ben Rothwell via TKO (Strikes), Rd. 2
***Gleison Tibau def. Josh Neer via Unanimous Decision
***Joe Stevenson def. Spencer Fisher via TKO (strikes), Rd. 2
***Anthony “Rumble” Johnson def. Yoshiyuki “Zenko” Yoshida via TKO (strikes), Rd.1
***Ryan “Darth” Bader def. Eric “Red” Schafer via Unanimous Decision
***Pat Barry def. Antoni Hardonk via TKO (strikes), Rd. 2
///Chael Sonnen def. Yushin “Thunder” Okami via Unanimous Decision
///Jorge “El Conquistador” Rivera def. Rob “The Rosedale Reaper” Kimmons via TKO (strikes), Rd. 3
***Kyle Kingsbury defeats Razak Al-Hassan via Split Decision
///Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve defeats Chase Gormley via Submission (Triangle Choke), Rd. 1
*** = Correct Pick. --- /// = Incorrect Pick.
I went 1-3 with my predictions for the first four fights, but then I ran the table on the last seven to finish the night 8-3 (%72.7). That brings my overall score to 106-59 (%64.2) and 12-4 (%75.0) in main events.
Obviously, I'm happy with that result, but first let me just say that I personally scored the main event for Mauricio Rua. I believe "Shogun" clearly won the fourth and fifth rounds, and I also gave him the first round based on effective counters as well some solid body shots and leg kicks. That being said, I can also understand the argument for giving Lyoto Machida the first round and "The Dragon" convincingly won the second and third. In that first round, Machida landed a devastating knee to the body and a few other significant shots. So, while it wasn't enough for me to give Machida the opening round and thus the fight, I don't think this was an epically horrible call, as some are suggesting. Dana White already stated that a rematch is imminent. I can't wait.
- Cain Velasquez may not have finished Ben Rothwell, but he was definitely going to.
- Steve Mazzagatti should have let Rothwell continue a while longer, but "Big" Ben should be happy that he was allowed to save face. You complaining about a bad call is always a better image to leave the fans with than you getting TKO'ed.
- Glieson Tibau ran through Josh Neer on those takedowns like a Dwight Freeny through a line of red rover, didn't he? Gray Maynard eat your heart out.
- Joe Stevenson is officially a contender once more; Spencer Fisher is officially a gatekeeper for life.
- If Anthony Johnson is actually able to make 170lbs., he's a true force at WW. He could be just two wins away from a title shot if he keeps demolishing guys the way he did against Yoshida.
- Maybe the UFC will finally put Yushin Okami back on a main card now that they don't have to worry about the fact that any impressive win should earn him a title shot.
- Props to Chael Sonnen for staying aggressive in that fight. In my opinion, he has never looked that good before, including in the Dan Miller fight.
- Even though I didn't pick it and the UFC didn't show it, I love that Jorge Rivera win. He'll never be a contender at MW, but he showed tonight that he can still bang. He deserves every cent of whatever he made at UFC 104, and probably more.
- It turns out that Stefan Struve's submissions ARE good enough to finish a grown-ass man. Good to know.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Edit: Originally, it was written above that I was 10-3 in main events, it should have read as it does now: 11-4.
Even my lowest success rate wasn't that shabby by MMA standards. It's difficult to predict because each fighter possesses unique skills, often in disciplines at which his or her opponent is only passably competent. For example, at UFC 106 (Nov. 21st), it will be difficult to gauge how Karo Parysian's (18-5, 8-3 UFC) judo will match up against Dustin Hazelett's (12-4, 5-2 UFC) Brazilian Jiu jitsu (BJJ). Then there's the subjective aspect of MMA. Judging is a necessary evil, but it's frustrating when you feel your fighter was robbed. On top of that, mixed martial artists are often (T)KO'ed or submitted after making just one mistake. Imagine if a fumble or missed block by a single player could instantly end a football game in the first quarter!
Check out: mmaplayground.com. It's a website where players form teams and compete to see who can correctly pick the most matches. My current record of %63.6 (98-56) compares favorably with the leading teams in the largest divisions. Certainly, many individual players are ahead of me, but even the very best Super-Heavyweight group, with a %64.3 average, is well within my reach.
If you're interested in receiving a Word document that contains all my previous picks, just send an e-mail request to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next to each fighter's name you'll see the most recent betting odds from bodog.ca. The odds are given in the American decimal system, which is pretty simple once you know how to read it. The negative number, for favorites, shows how many dollars you'd have to bet to profit $100. The positive number, for underdogs, is how much you would earn from a $100 bet. Ca va?
Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (-375) vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (+290)
As recently as this Tuesday, UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida (15-0, 7-0 UFC) was listed at -500 on bodog.ca. Since then, the scales have tipped more than 100 points in favor of Mauricio Rua. That means almost all the money has been pouring in on "Shogun." However, that doesn't indicate that MMA fans think he'll beat Machida. Rather, it suggests that betters saw enough value in the line to warrant a high-risk bet on Rua.
Realistically, "Shogun's" aggressive, come-forward approach should play right into Machida's methodical, counter-striking hands, feet, and knees. "The Dragon" is a patient, but devastating striker who makes opponents pay dearly for even the slightest tactical error. I expect to see "Shogun" getting visibly outclassed tomorrow night and I don't expect he'll make it to the fourth round. His best chance for victory is to utilize his under appreciated BJJ to test Machida's as-yet unknown submission defense. Unfortunately, Rua's wrestling is not as stellar, so he'll have a tough time getting the scrap to the mat. Meanwhile Machida's take-down defense is almost as stifling as his striking defense. Plus, he trains frequently with BJJ masters like Anderson Silva and the Nogueira Brothers (Roderigo and Rogerio). So, even if we haven't seen it much, it's pretty safe to assume that "The Dragon's" submission defense is rock solid.
I expect "Shogun" to start off very carefully, but to become increasingly frustrated as he finds himself unable to either catch Machida standing or take him down. Once he's frustrated, Rua will get sloppy. Shortly after that, "The Dragon" will put him on the wrong end of a highlight reel, like he's done to every other UFC opponent. Notch another victory, and the first ever title defense, for the Karate Kid from Belem, Brazil.
Machida by TKO, Rd. 3
Main card (Televised):
265 lbs.: Cain Velasquez (-350) vs. “Big” Ben Rothwell (+275)
Like many MMA fans, I'm not convinced that, Mexican-American, Cain Velasquez (6-0, 4-0 UFC) is the threat to the heavyweight (HW) crown that Dana White and the UFC would have you believe. What we've seen from him in the octagon so far is that he can soundly trounce second-rate fighters [Brad Morris (0-2 UFC), Jake O'Brian (4-3 UFC), and Dennis Stojnic (0-2 UFC)], and that he can out-wrestle Chieck Kongo (14-5-1, 7-3 UFC). Kongo, of course, is a talented striker whose takedown defense is comparable to that of a dairy cow: apply firm sideways pressure and he tips over almost immediately.
Don't get me wrong, Velasquez is a two-time All-American wrestler, possesses abundant cardio, and has decent striking. So he's clearly a HW contender. Still, his submission defense has yet to be tested, he's a bit undersized for HW at 238lbs., and there are lingering questions about his chin. Ben Rothwell (30-6, 0-0 UFC) thinks he can provide clarity and hopes that the answer regarding Cain's suspect chin is that he really doesn't have one. "Big" Ben is a veteran fighter with nearly three times as many (T)KO's (17) as Velasquez has fights. He's 6'5", 265 lbs., and has traded shots with, former UFC HW champ, Andrei Arlovski. Unsurprisingly, he's convinced that his size, punching power, and experience will carry the day. Unfortunately for Ben, it will be his lack of a fully-developed wrestling game that proves his undoing.
Cain Velasquez must have learned from the Kongo fight that damage adds up fast against the freaky, giant, mutants in the upper ranks of the UFC's HW division. This time out he should have prepared a game plan that plays to his strength on the mats. I'm just not sure what the undersized Velasquez will do when he runs into some of the UFC's castaways from Skull Island, like Brock Lesnar, Shane Carwin or Gabriel Gonzaga, who can grapple as well as Cain does AND hit harder than he could ever hope to.
Velasquez by Unanimous Decision
155 lbs.: Joe “Daddy” Stevenson (-270) vs. Spencer “The King” Fisher (+205)
Both these guys have had roller-coaster careers, but, Joe "Daddy" Stevenson's (30-10, 7-4 UFC) has had more ups than downs. He won The Ultimate Fighter 2 in 2005, has appeared in multiple main events, and was granted a lightweight (LW) title fight in January, 2008. Sure he has lost two of his last three fights, but he's one of those fighters that always seems to catch breaks in terms of exposure. Spencer Fisher's (23-4, 8-3 UFC) story has been the exact opposite. His UFC record is very similar to Stevenson's, but he's never appeared in a main event and, to this point, his career highlight is a dramatic decision win over unheralded Sam Stout (14-5-1, 3-4 UFC) in 2007. It's funny to me how similar these guys are, though. Stevenson, a so-called submissions artist, has submitted only one opponent since early 2007. While Fisher, who is known for throwing leather, hasn't finished anyone via strikes since 2006. So, neither has lived up to his billing of late. Both their games have become more rounded recently, but neither has what I would describe as a complete skill set.
Ultimately, I'll go with Stevenson because he's been in the octagon with better opposition on average. He should also be physically stronger, which will help in transitions and thus enable him to secure favorable positions on the ground. This could be Fisher's last chance to make a big splash in the LW division, but I think it will be one more case of close-but-no-cigar for "The King."
Stevenson by Submission, Rd.3.
155 lbs.: Gleison Tibau (-135) vs. Josh “The Dentist” Neer (+105)
Make no mistake, Josh "The Dentist" Neer (25-8-1, 5-4 UFC) is a scary dude who can end a fight with his fists at any moment. He seems to love trading shots as much as most of us love sunshine and fresh air. Unfortunately for Neer, there's no way he could have closed the gaping holes in his ground game in the three short months since he spent 15 minutes as Kurt Pellegrino's grappling dummy at UFC 101. On top of that, Gleison Tibau's (19-6, 5-4 UFC) stand-up is a bit slicker, even if it's slightly less powerful. A skilled grappler like Tibau shouldn't have too much trouble exposing Neer's deficiencies on the ground.
Tibau by Submission, Rd.3
170 lbs.: Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (-450) vs. Yoshiyuki “Zenko” Yoshida (+300)
Anthony Johnson is just too big and powerful at WW for Yoshiyuki Yoshida to defeat him using his renowned judo skills. Johnson is so big, in fact, that he's rumored to cut down from over 200lbs. and missed weight for this fight by six pounds. Seriously, he needs to either overhaul his diet to drop some muscle or just give it up and head to 185lbs. Johnson's failure to make weight means that Yoshida will automatically receive %20 of "Rumble's" purse. The Japanese judoka will also receive a beating he won't soon forget.
Johnson by KO Rd. 2
Under Card (Guaranteed to Appear on Spike TV (6pm/PST):
205 lbs.: Ryan “Darth” Bader (-450) vs. Eric “Red” Schafer (+300)
Could Eric Schafer (11-3-2, 3-2 UFC ) catch Ryan Bader (9-0, 2-0 UFC) in a submission? Perhaps during a scramble? I guess so, and the LA Angels might still win the 2009 World Series. What's your point? Bader smashes him on the feet, then on the ground.
Bader by TKO, Rd. 1
265 lbs.: Antoni Hardonk (-140) vs. Patrick “Get Hype” Barry (+110)
I'm doing it. I'm picking my first upset at UFC 104. Maybe it's because I want to see Antoni Hardonk (8-5, 3-4 UFC) finally get bounced from the UFC. It could be because I think the diminutive Patrick Barry (4-1, 1-1 UFC) will make a decent light heavyweight one day, or just because I want to prove that I'm not totally risk averse, but I'm doing it. As long as this fight stays on the feet either guy has a chance. They've both finished a UFC fight via leg kicks (not an easy feat) in the past so you can bet that neither will be walking comfortably come Sunday morning.
Barry by TKO, Rd 3.
185 lbs.: Yushin “Thunder” Okami (-265) vs. Chael Sonnen (+205)
Yet again, Yushin Okami (23-4, 7-1 UFC) has been unceremoniously lumped in with the rabble deep down on the under card. Now that Lyoto Machida is finally getting his due, Okami is officially the UFC's resident Rodney Dangerfield-- he "gets no respect." Chael Sonnen (23-10-1, 2-3 UFC) is pretty decent and looked great in his last fight against Dan Miller at UFC 98. Still, he's not strong enough or patient enough to solve the riddle of Okami. Now if "Thunder" could just finish this fight maybe he'd get back on the main card where he belongs. Maybe he'd even get to fight a fellow contender again. Not likely.
Okami by Unanimous Decision
l85 lbs.: Rob “The Rosedale Reaper” Kimmons (-170) vs. Jorge “El Conquistador” Rivera (+140)
As much as I want to believe that Jorge Rivera (16-7, 6-5 UFC) has one last impressive K.O. in the tank, he's just too far past his prime to be tangling with a young prospect like Rob Kimmons (22-4, 2-1 UFC).
Kimmons By Submission, Rd. 2
205 lbs.: Kyle Kingsbury (-125) vs. Razak Al-Hassan (-105)
What can be said about Razak Al-Hassan (6-1, 0-1 UFC) except that he looked like crap in his UFC debut against Steve Cantwell even before Cantwell bent al-Hassan's elbow backward at a 45-degree angle. It was the type of performance you can't help but improve upon, but Ill take his opponent, Kyle Kingsbury (7-2, 0-1). That's based partly on the fact I've heard Kingsbury has some decent submissions, but mostly because I've never seen anyone fight as poorly as Al-Hassan in his UFC debut. At least Kingsbury lost his octagon debut in a lackluster decision that no one ever talks about. On thing's for sure, the loser of this fight leaves town.
Kingsbury by Submission, Rd. 1
265 lbs.: Chase Gormley (-250) vs. Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve (+190)
Stefan Struve (17-3, 1-1 UFC) is like that tall, lanky kid on the basketball team that towered over everyone, but still got noogies from the point guard on the team bus. Yeah, "Skyscraper's" submission skills are supposedly decent, but Chase Gormley (6-0, 0-0 UFC) is a grown-ass man.
Gormley by TKO, Rd 2
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Judging by this video, Mauricio Rua (18-3) is pretty fit and well-prepared for his title fight with Lyoto Machida (15-0) at UFC 104 (Oct. 24th). That wasn't a given, either, as "Shogun" has had multiple knee surgeries in the last two years. He also gassed pretty badly in his first two UFC fights, against Forrest Griffin (16-6) and Mark Coleman (16-9). PRIDE fans have been saying for years that a fit "Shogun" is the best light heavyweight in the world-- we'll finally know for sure this Saturday.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
This is pretty much self-explanatory, but, for those who aren't familiar with his m.o., this is another of Dana White's video blogs. He often puts these out during fight weeks and I usually want that ten minutes of my life back after I watch them. Still, I generally do sit through the whole thing, so what does that say about me?
I already posted the first episode for UFC 104 right here.
DREAM is the spiritual successor of Japan's most successful MMA promotion PRIDE, which was purchased by Zuffa/the UFC in 2007. Since that time, the Japanese promoters regrouped and, to date, have managed to stage eleven DREAM shows of varying degrees of success. The latest, DREAM.12, will be the first event in either DREAM or PRIDE to take place inside of an American-style cage-- in this case a heavenly-looking hexagon. Personally, I applaud the move because, to me, holding MMA fights in a boxing ring invites so many complications (such as getting tangled in the ropes, flying out of the ring, and having to constantly reset grounded fighters) that the sport is clearly much better off without ropes, turnbuckles, or squares of any kind.
However, it's important to know that this announcement does not signal a permanent change in approach. Rather, DREAM's operators, FEG Entertainment, have already announced that their snazzy, white cage will only be used once per year. Of course, none of this would matter if the fights were no good. Luckily for fans, DREAM.12 includes several intriguing match-ups. Some are less-than-competitive, but involve respected, world-ranked fighters against total tomato cans, which is sometimes pretty fun to watch-- the Japanese seem to enjoy that sort of thing, anyway.
Rankings courtesty of USA TODAY/SBN
Ranked Fighters Include: Eddie Alvarez (#3 Lightweight), Chase Beebe (#20 Bantamweight/BW), Yoshiro Maeda (#21 BW), Marius Zaromskis (#15 Welterweight), Paulo Filho (#24 Middleweight), Alistair Overeem (#12 Heavyweight).
Eddie Alvarez vs. Katsunori Kikuno
Chase Beebe vs. Yoshiro Maeda
(WW Champion) Marius Zaromskis vs. Myeon Ho Bae (non-title fight)
Paulo Filho vs. Yoon Dong Sik
Alistair Overeem vs. James Thompson
Zelg Galesic vs. Kazushi Sakuraba
Kuniyoshi Hironaka vs. Won Sik Park
Tokimitsu Ishizawa vs. Katsuyori Shibata
Keisuke Fujiwara vs. Tomoya Miyashita
I'll Post Results Following The Show
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
That UFC fans have so much to look forward to is great, but, unfortunately, the hype for those other cards has stolen some much-needed buzz away from UFC 104: Machida vs. Shogun. It goes down this Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California and marks the UFC's return to L.A. after a two-year absence, which means that, if nothing else, there should be plenty of big-name celebrities in attendance! The pay-per-view (PPV) portion of the card begins at 7pm/PST and will be preceded by a commercial free broadcast, of at least two live under card fights, on Spike TV, beginning at 6pm/PST.
The lack of hype surrounding UFC 104 is also attributable to the seemingly limited interest, especially among casual fans, in the main event. It pits the UFC's reigning light heavyweight (LHW) champion, Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida (15-0), against, fellow Brazilian, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (18-3). As a huge Machida fan and a believer that "Shogun" can recapture the brilliant form he showed in PRIDE, I am personally very interested to see this title fight, but, from a marketing perspective, it's clear that a number of factors are working against it.
First, neither fighter is a citizen of the USA, the U.K., or Canada. Second, neither speaks flawless English, and, third, both fighters are laid back enough not to have their personalities stick out in the minds of the public. It's a sad fact, but that combination of attributes can, and usually does, limit a fighter's marketability to the UFC fan-base. Brazil's Anderson Silva (25-4) has been fighting an uphill battle for fan interest for years, despite having an electrifying style and a %70 (T)KO rate in the UFC.
In addition, there's a perception among many UFC fans that "Shogun" has not done enough to deserve this title shot. After all, they say, he has gone just 2-1 in the octagon with wins over only past-their-prime fighters: 44-year-old Mark Coleman (16-9) and 39-year-old Chuck Liddell (21-7). The perception of "Shogun" as undeserving has been magnified by casino oddsmakers giving "The Dragon" about 1-to-5 odds. That means you'd have to wager $25 on Machida in order to win a mere five bucks. By contrast, "Shogun" is getting 13-to-4 odds, or over $80 profit on the same $25 bet. This apparent proof of an impending blow-out has only added to the public's notion that "Shogun" didn't earn this shot.
As is often the case, the reality of the situation is quite different from the perception. In truth, "Shogun" is a world-class fighter who was once ranked #1 at LHW and has lost just once (legitimately) since 2003. That loss came in his octagon debut at UFC 76 against, then, future LHW champion Forrest Griffin. Rua's only other recorded loss in the last six years was due to a freak arm injury he suffered in 2006 against Mark Coleman, but "Shogun" avenged that loss at UFC 93. Shogun is also a bonafide showman, known for pushing a relentless pace and throwing impressive flying knees. His muay thai striking is highly advanced and may be just what's needed to penetrate Machida's seemingly impervious defenses.
The fact is, Machida has been so dominant in the UFC, going 7-0 without losing a single round, that only a handful of fighters would be given even the same odds to slay "The Dragon" than "Shogun" is getting now. In fact, there is probably only one recent LHW combatant currently in the UFC who would receive significantly better odds. That fighter is Anderson Silva, but he's currently the middleweight (MW) champion and is also such good friends with Machida that Zuffa, the holding company that owns the UFC, would literally have to pay both fighters a million dollars to get them to square off. With other LHW contenders like Tito Ortiz, Thiago Silva (14-1), and Rashad Evans (14-1-1) all having just lost to Machida, and "Rampage" Jackson (30-7) currently claiming he's retired, there is simply no LHW more deserving than "Shogun."
Ironically, the biggest reason for the limited buzz surrounding UFC 104 may be that Lyoto Machida looks poised to dominate the division indefinitely. Joe Rogan certainly seemed convinced of that when he famously welcomed fans to "The Machida Era" immediately following Lyoto's near-flawless destruction of then-champion Rashad Evans at UFC 98. As long as Machida's star power remains limited (for reasons mentioned above) and his style continues to confound opponents, it will be difficult for Dana White & company to promote his matches. The UFC is currently marketing him as a vaguely mysterious, karate-kid-esque figure, but it's not clear yet if the fan-base will respond to that approach. While "The Dragon's" otherworldly skill may be hampering UFC 104's attractiveness to consumers, it's also the best reason to tune in on Saturday. Lyoto Machida is one of only a handful of current fighters that consistently elevate MMA to its rightful place as a breathtaking art form-- the opportunity to witness him fight should not be passed up lightly.
Of course, there's also a highly decent main card scheduled for UFC 104. It's chock-full of fierce strikers like Josh "The Dentist" Neer, Anthony "Rumble" Johnson, and Spencer "The King" Fisher. It includes a co-main event, that's likely a HW title shot eliminator, between, fast-rising Mexican-American superstar, Cain Velasquez and, highly experienced bruiser/UFC newcomer, "Big" Ben Rothwell. There's not a single PPV fight that appears likely to make it to the judges scorecards.
The following rankings come courtesy of the USA Today/SB Nation poll, which compiles results from twenty different MMA websites to create the most comprehensive rankings available.
Ranked fighters at UFC 104 include:
Lyoto Machida (LHW #1), Mauricio Rua (LHW #4), Cain Velasquez (HW #11), Ben Rothwell (HW #19), Joe Stevenson (LW #20), Spencer Fisher (LW #21), Yushin Okami (MW #4), and Chael Sonnen (MW #10).
"UFC 104: Machida vs. Shogun" Is Scheduled As Follows:
MAIN EVENT (PPV)
Lyoto Machida (15-0) vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (18-3) --- For Machida's UFC Light Heavyweight Title.
MAIN CARD (PPV)
Ben Rothwell (36-6) vs. Cain Velasquez (6-0)
Josh Neer (25-8-1) vs. Gleison Tibau (19-6)
Spencer Fisher (23-4) vs. Joe Stevenson (30-10)
Anthony Johnson (7-2) vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida (11-3)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Guaranteed to air on Spike TV)
Ryan Bader (9-0) vs. Eric Schafer (11-3-2)
Patrick Barry (4-1) vs. Antoni Hardonk (8-5)
PRELIMINARY CARD (May not be televised)
Yushin Okami (23-4)vs. Chael Sonnen (23-10-1)
Rob Kimmons (22-4) vs. Jorge Rivera (16-7)
Razak Al-Hassan (6-1) vs. Kyle Kingsbury (7-2)
Stefan Struve (17-3) vs. Chase Gormley (6-0)
I checked the site out for myself and can report that it functions pretty well. My favorite part about it is that you're always automatically entered into a ten-player tournament, as opposed to sitting at/leaving a table as you please. Those of you familiar with play money poker will know, being in a tournament generally makes meat head, interweb gamblers take the game slightly more seriously. You don't have limitless chips in a given day, either, and that also forces players to keep it real. At this stage the site is still a bit buggy, but I'm sure it will run more smoothly as time goes on.
If you see a player named "BCMMAFAN" while you're there then, you guessed it, that's me.
If you can't get enough of Dana's antics, and who ever does really, check out his video blog above:
Following a report on bloomberg.com, many people came to believe that the UFC's owners Dana White (10% stake) and the Fertitta brothers (majority owners) might be interested in selling a stake in the company. This led to speculation that the UFC was attempting to raise funds to continue the organization's rapid, world-wide expansion, or that, perhaps, they had overextended themselves in some way. Well, according to Dana's newly published words on Yahoo Sports, that much-discussed interview was very misleading:
"He kept [expletive] pushing and pushing. He said, ‘OK, hypothetically speaking, would you ever sell a piece of it?’ I said, ‘I guess we’d sell a tiny little piece. We’d probably sell a tiny little piece.’ But, here’s the thing: I want it to be known that this guy kept pushing me and pushing me. I said ‘No, we wouldn’t go public. No, we wouldn’t sell it.’ At the end of the day, we’re the guys who are driving this thing. We have the vision. We know where we want to take this thing.”So, it seems as though Dana was pressed to answer the question the way he did, which suggests that the business community, particularly that interviewer, are both impressed by the UFC's success as a private company and eager for the chance to invest. The UFC pres. did remain a bit cagey on the issue, though-- stating that only awesome business partners would be considered for a stake in the UFC, which, at the same time, isn't actually for sale:
"We’re not interested in selling a piece of this to anybody. Me, Frank and Lorenzo are the three owners. We have an awesome relationship. Everything runs smoothly. It’s perfect. And for us to even offer somebody a piece, it would be the biggest compliment in [expletive] history because they’d have to be a serious strategic partner. It’s the only [expletive] way we’d do it"
Monday, October 19, 2009
I know there's a Vancouver Canucks game on tonight, but if you're looking for something to watch during the second intermission or you're just not that into hockey, Spike TV is airing their "Countdown To UFC 104" tonight at 8 pm/ PST. Click the video link above for a short sample.
Don't stress if you can't catch the show tonight. Spike TV will replay the hour-long program on Wednesday (Oct. 21st) at 8:00 PM, Thursday (Oct. 22nd) at 10:00 PM, and one last time on Saturday (Oct. 24th) at 5:00 PM. That final showing airs immediately before Spike goes live for their hour of commercial-free under card fights.
If you're more of a night-owl, Sportsnet Pacific will also air "Countdown To UFC 104" at midnight on this Thursday (Oct. 22nd) and Friday (Oct. 23rd) night. Uh..or at 12:00 AM in the morning this Friday (Oct. 23rd) and Saturday (Oct. 24th). It depends how you look at it.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
In a move that won't surprise MMA fans in this province, the UFC has signed one of our own, Kelowna's Rory MacDonald (9-0), to a four-fight contract. Rory most recently competed at last month's King of The Cage show in Alberta. In fact, his victory there, over fellow British Columbian Nick Hinchliffe (11-5), was the subject of one of this site's first entries. It was a dominant performance over a grizzled veteran, in Hinchliffe, who had fought in the past at weights as high as 205 lbs. It was also likely what put MacDonald on the map for the UFC.
The 20-year-old MacDonald, who captured King Of The Cage's Canadian and World light weight titles while still a teenager, remains undefeated and has finished every one of his opponents. He's expected to compete in the UFC's stacked welter weight division, but there's currently no word on when or who he'll fight first.
According to a report from from Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole, UFC middle weight contender Dan "Hollywood" Henderson (25-7) could be making an unexpected exit from the UFC after he was unable to reach a new deal with the world's biggest fight promoter.
Following his one-round destruction of Michael Bisping (17-2) at UFC 100 in July, Henderson was told that he would probably get the next shot at Anderson Silva's (25-4) middle weight belt. It would have been a rematch of Henderson vs. Silva I at UFC 82--- a fight Dan lost by second-round submission. Perhaps the fact that his title shot was given, instead, to Vitor Belfort (19-8) left Henderson feeling disinclined to meet the UFC halfway. While it's still possible that the two sides will reach a deal, there are indications that Dan may be on the prowl for opportunities outside the octagon, like the fact that he's apparently speaking with the CEO of Strikeforce, Scott Coker.
Here's UFC president Dana White's take on the matter:
In this short video, Dana White discusses selling a stake in the UFC and shares his reaction to the surprising number of female fans in attendance at UFC shows. It's always refreshing for me to see a major media outlet like bloomberg.com covering MMA without taking the opportunity to volley false accusations and baseless criticisms at the sport.
"The way I look at it, I’m going to make some gamblers some money. He’s got a lot of hype behind him and that’s why he’s the favorite. I welcome that. I have a chance to make all the gamblers happy."
Rothwell, who is making his octagon debut this weekend, enters this fight as a bit of an unknown commodity to many UFC fans, but "Big" Ben is nobody's pushover. He'll look to use this fight to catapult himself into contention for the heavyweight strap, and he just might be able to do it given that he's physically larger and much more experienced than Velasquez. Rothwell has been on a 14-1 run over the last four years. In that time, he has ended ten fights by way of strikes, including two submissions due to strikes.
So, about those odds... any takers?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Several long-rumored bouts have been confirmed by the UFC in the last 48-hours, including the main events for both their scheduled shows in December.
First up is The Ultimate Fighter 10: Finale on December 5th in Las Vegas. The main event will technically be the fight between the reality show's two finalists, but the primary attraction is a light-heavyweight showdown between, fast-rising suplex'er, Jon "Bones" Jones (9-0) and the world's deadliest deaf man, Matt Hamill (7-2). The winner of this bout will announce his presence among the legit contenders in the UFC's showcase division. Both men are strong wrestlers, with Jones' greatest asset being his unorthodox style, while Hamill's is his ox-like physical strength. "Kimbo Slice" (3-1) is also rumored to be fighting on this card, and watch out for Frankie "The Answer" Edgar (10-1) vs. Kurt "Batman" Pelligrino (14-4)
Then comes UFC 107 on December 12th in Memphis, which now officially features a lightweight title match between, the champ, B.J. "The Prodigy" Penn (14-5-1) and Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez (21-2). Both men have fought recently at welterweight, so it goes without saying that they're both massive 155'ers. Both are also jiu-jitsu experts. BJ's greatest advantage is his devastating striking, while Sanchez's is his tenacity and explosiveness. Other confirmed bouts for UFC 107 include Frank Mir (12-4) vs. Chieck Kongo (14-5-1) and Thiago Alves (16-6) vs. Paulo Thiago (11-1).
Is that last fight is a sportscaster's nightmare, or what?
The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced today that some of UFC 104's preliminary fights will air live, for free, on Spike TV. Under card fights often never see the light of day, but frequently involve fighters with as much or more notoriety than those on the main card. The opportunity to enjoy these match-ups live is something that UFC fans have been requesting for years, but it was only recently offered for the first time--- at September's UFC 103: Franklin vs. Belfort.
The live fights preceding UFC 104 are set air from 6:00pm-7:00pm PST on Saturday, October 24th. They will be shown commercial free, except for short UFC 104 promos designed to get viewers to shell out for the Pay Per View (PPV) card that begins immediately afterward. Two fights are guaranteed to appear this time on Spike. They include, Ryan "Darth" Bader (9-0) vs. Eric "Red" Schafer (11-3-2) and Antoni Hardonk (8-5) vs. Pat "Get Hype" Barry (4-1).
Conspicuously absent is the under card bout between Chael Sonnen (23-10-1) and Yushin "Thunder" Okami (23-4). This is problematic because Okami, despite going 7-1 in the UFC and being a legit contender at middleweight, is often overlooked and mistreated due to his methodical, wrestling-based style. Hopefully, the addition of the two live Spike TV fights will free up enough time during the PPV portion of the card to fit in tape-delayed coverage of Okami's fight.
The main event at UFC 104 is a light-heavyweight championship match between, title holder, Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida (15-0) and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (18-3).
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Then, after an unforeseeable turn of events, the main event was canceled. Bill Mahood (17-7-1), the event's primary organizer and current King Of The Cage light-heavyweight champion, personally broke the news in the ring. Though visibly disappointed, the crowd was more-or-less accepting of the announcement. It was difficult to be upset because the scheduled main event, between Tyler Jackson (8-6-1) and Nolan Clark (3-5), was called off by a doctor when Clark developed a serious case of vertigo backstage. It's easy to speculate that nerves may have gotten the better of the Kamloops native, but, unless you've ever fought professionally, and I certainly have not, you're in no position to criticize. That's for sure.
Clearly, the blown final fight can't be blamed on EFC 8's capable team of organizers who hailed from Langley's Revolution Fight Team. As well as running the event, they also brought several members of their stable of fighters to entertain the crowd. It was a good night for their gym, with Revolution's fighters going 2-1 in their pro fights and 4-1 overall.
The gym's stand-out performer was easily Charlie Zac (2-2) who beat Kelowna's Brendan Frost by TKO in an official time of just 12 seconds. To be honest, it seemed even quicker. Zac was gracious in victory as he humbly thanked his trainers in a thick European accent. Revolution's Rakan Khatib also finished his pro fight in the first round. To his credit, Khatib's opponent, Kelowna's Derek Marchand, had been very game up until being finished by arm bar submission. Revolution Fight Team's only loss of the evening came when Iron Dragon MMA's Leith Optland (1-1) slapped an arm bar on Revolution's Jules Russel. Optland weathered an early storm from Russel that included some punishing take downs, but the Westbank-based fighter persevered to lock in the submission in the dying seconds of the first round. In his post-fight speech, Optland got a laugh from the crowd when he gushed over Russel's power and openly stated that he really didn't expect to win. It was a great show of class and sportsmanship. Congratulations are in order to both fighters for this highly entertaining scrap.
Iron Dragon MMA's other pro fighter, Brian Coldwell (2-0), was also victorious. Coldwell, who was originally scheduled to appear in the night's main event, scored a TKO over Toronto's Micheal Khardas. Coldwell appeared much larger and better conditioned than his self-taught opponent. Yet, Khardas, the smaller man, opened up the fight with some effective striking and a solid take down. As the fight wore on, Coldwell began to inflict damage with increasingly powerful ground-and-pound before ultimately finishing his turtled opponent with piston-strikes from above. It was, nonetheless, an inspiring performance by the clearly outmatched Khardas, who got a rise from the fans by entering the ring dressed as a Hasidic Jew.
The only professional fight that did not involve fighters from either Revolution or Iron Dragon was a highly technical dust-up between Mark Delgato (0-2) of Kamloops' Champion's Choice and Dan Lin of Vancouver's Franco's Pancration. The tussle began with some leg kicks by Kamloops' Delgato, but the match soon became a back-and-forth ground battle. At one point, Delgato had a triangle locked in pretty tight and was attempting an arm bar as he dangled from a standing Lin. Mark Delgato even managed to transition that position into a full-mounted triangle. From there he was able to rain down a few unanswered blows to Lin's head. However, it was Vancouver's Dan Lin who ultimately won by ankle lock late in the first round. This was a truly great fight for grappling aficionados, and anyone who appreciates outstanding athleticism.
Of course, there were many noteworthy moments on the amateur card as well, but you'll just have to pay to get in next time to find out about all that...or you could check out my quick results below. Ha! Seriously though, watching MMA live is something I do whenever I get the chance and I can't recommend it highly enough to any MMA fan. I'd also like to thank the organizers, particularly the guy working the door. Despite being obviously busy, he took time to chat me up a bit about the card as I was waiting to get in. He was a great ambassador for Revolution MMA, which (again) organized the EFC 8 event. A big thanks to everyone involved.
A few more notes:
~ It was announced that eXtreme Fighting Challenge will return to Vernon in April of 2010.
~ Bibiano Fernandez (7-2), a Revolution fighter and the recent winner of DREAM's Feather Weight GP and championship title, made an appearance as a guest judge for an exhibition grappling match between two fifteen-year-olds. By the way, one of those young fighters finished with a slick triangle choke.
~ The Vernon Morning Star is reporting that King Of The Cage is trying to line up a November 28th show for Vernon's 3000+ capacity Wesbild Centre.
~ Apologies to Iron Dragon MMA, I would have linked to your site if I'd been able to find it. Contact me any time you want at email@example.com
On a night when the wider MMA world's attention was focused on WEC 43: Cerrone vs. Henderson (check out the recap at sherdog.com), fight fans in British Columbia's Southern Interior gathered in Vernon for eXtreme Fighting Challenge 8. There were several stand-out performances and some great finishes throughout the night, but unfortunately the main event had to be canceled at the last minute when one of the fighters was deemed unable to compete.
I'll post a detailed review later today, but here are the quick results:
1. [145 lbs.]
Ethan Owusa (Westbank, B.C.) def. Cody Teague
TKO, Rd. 1 (1:58)
2. [205 lbs.]
Jesse Wiserman (Revolution Fight Team~Langley, B.C.) def. Mike Shideler (CMMAC~ Lethbridge, Alberta)
TKO, Rd. 1 (1:47)
3. [230 lbs.]
Jeremy Smerek (CMMAC~Lethbridge, Alberta) def. John Kozac (Iron Dragon MMA ~ Westbank)
Decision, Rd. 3 (5:00)
4. [150 lbs.]
Nick Ghaeni (Revolution Fight Team~Langley, B.C.) def. Curran Allen (Unity Martial Arts ~ Vernon, B.C.)
Decision, Rd. 3 (5:00)
1. [170 lbs.]
Rakan Khatib (Revolution Fight Team~Langley, B.C.) def. Derek Marchand (Independent - Kelowna, B.C.)
Submission (arm bar), Rd. 1 (Midway)
2. [190 lbs.]
Lieth Opland (Iron Dragon MMA~Westbank, B.C.) def. Jules Russel (Revolution Fight Team~Langley, B.C.)
Submission (arm bar), Rd. 1 (4:44)
3. [190 lbs.]
Brian Coldwell (Iron Dragon MMA~Westbank, B.C.) def. Michael Khardas (Toronto, Ont.)
TKO, Rd. 1 (Late)
4. [135 lbs.]
Dan Lin (Franco's Pancration~Vancouver, B.C.) def. Mark Delgato (Champions Choice~Kamloops, B.C.)
Submission (ankle lock), Rd. 1 (Late)
5. [155 lbs.]
Charlie Zac (Revolution Fight Team~Langley, B.C.) def. Brendan Frost (Independent~Kelowna, B.C.)
TKO, Rd. 1 (0:12)
Tyler Jackson (Revolution Fight Team~Langley, B.C.) vs. Nolan Clark (Kamloops, B.C.)
***The main event was canceled backstage when a doctor determined that Nolan Clark was unable to compete due to severe vertigo.***