Thursday, December 31, 2009

UFC 108: Preview


It has been talked to death on this site and in the MMA media at large, but there is simply no denying that UFC 108: Evans vs. Silva is the most injury riddled major MMA card in the sport's young history.

It has been so bad that nearly every fight on the final card was affected. In fact, only one original main card bout (Joe Lauzon vs. Sam Stout) has not been altered by injuries over the last several weeks. The list of fighters caught in this perfect storm of UFC 108 injuries includes, but is not not limited to, Brock Lesnar, Anderson Silva, Antonio Roderigo Nogueira, Carlos Condit, Sean Sherk, Tyson Griffin, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Rory Markham. Worst of all, Steve Cantwell pulled out of UFC 108 just this week, leaving his opponent high and dry. It was so bad, in fact, that, in an ironic twist of fate, the UFC's head matchmaker Joe Silva actually blew out his own MCL today, which will require immediate surgery!

Sure, UFC 108: Evans vs. Silva has been an unprecedented scheduling disaster that is certain to devastate the UFC's New Year's box-office and PPV numbers, but the Zuffa boys have more than enough money and goodwill built up to bounce right back. Besides, the bedraggled, cobbled-together card that has finally staggered to the finish line is actually pretty decent with a surprising seven world-ranked fighters set to scrap. Plus, the UFC has come through for its fans once again with two live under card fights set to air for free on Spike TV beginning at 6:00 PST. Lightweights Cole Miller (15-4) vs. Dan Lauzon (12-2) and welterweights Maritn Kampmann (15-3) vs. Jacob Volkmann (9-1) are guaranteed to be featured.

The main event of Rashad Evans (13-1-1) vs. Thiago Silva (14-1) features two of current UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida's last three opponents. Of course, mentioning that fact reminds one that each fighter was summarily smashed by the enigmatic Brazilian inside of two rounds, but both have also managed to bounce back in the media since those losses. Thiago Silva regained some career luster last August by TKOing Rashad's friend and team mate, Keith Jardine, at UFC 102. Rashad Evans, meanwhile, received so much positive press from coaching T.U.F. 10, which was the most-watched season of Spike's reality show so-far, that most casual fans have completely forgotten he's really coming off a loss. At the end of the day, the fight features two of the best LHW's in the world squaring off, which should be enough to excite any MMA fan, even if we have become accustomed to bigger blockbuster main events on the UFC's New Year's cards. You can find B.C. MMA Fan's detailed breakdown of Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva fight here---> UFC 108 Main Event Primer.

The co-main event may be lacking in star-power, but who doesn't love a good, old-fashioned clash of style. The fight features one of the most technical and devastating strikers in the sport, Paul "Semtex" Daley (22-8-2), against one of its best and most creative submissions specialist, Dustin Hazelett (12-4). The latter, known affectionately as "McLovin," may be much better known to UFC fans, but "Semtex" Daley is ranked higher and has certainly been in with some of the best in the world. Daley is coming off a big win over divisional contender Martin Kampmann at UFC 104 in September, while Hazelett, for his part, hasn't fought in over a year due to a combination of his own injuries and injuries sustained by his opponents. That ring rust could play a factor.

The next two fights on the main card also feature contests between relative opposites, both at lightweight. With gangly grappler Joe Lauzon (18-4) returning from injury to face a slick striker in Canadian Sam Stout (14-5-1), and Jim Miller (15-2), who has scored nine submissions (%60 of victories) meeting Duane Ludwig (19-9) who has recorded ten (T)KOs (%53 of victories).

Meanwhile, a pair of heavyweight strikers will get the PPV broadcast started as surging, young, contender Junior dos Santos (9-1) faces the controversial, but always ferocious, Muay Thai specialist Gilbert "The Hurricane" Yvel (36-13-1). Not to worry, there's an obvious contrast here too: Yvel is more than eight years older than Dos Santos and has five times as much experience.

World Ranked Fighters via SBN/ USA Today Poll:

Rashad Evans (#3 LHW), Thiago Silva (#8 LHW), Paul Daley (#10 WW), Dustin Hazelett (#16 WW), Junior Dos Santos (#5 HW), Gilbert Yvel (#22 HW), and Martin Kampmann (#12 WW).

Canadian Ranked Fighters via TopMMANews.com

Sam Stout (#2 CDN LW).



UFC 108: Evans vs. Silva

Jan. 2nd, 2009 from The MGM Grand in Las Vegas, USA

Main event:

205 lbs.: Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva

Main card (PPV):

170 lbs.: Paul Daley vs. Dustin Hazelett
155 lbs.: Joe Lauzon vs. Sam Stout
155 lbs.: Duane Ludwig vs. Jim Miller
265 lbs.: Junior Dos Santos vs. Gilbert Yvel

Under card (Guaranteed To Air On Spike TV):

170 lbs.: Martin Kampmann vs. Jacob Volkmann
155 lbs.: Cole Miller vs. Dan Lauzon

Under card (May not be broadcast):

185 lbs.: Mark Munoz vs. Ryan Jensen
170 lbs.: Mike Pyle vs. Jake Ellenberger
155 lbs.: Rafael Oliveira vs. John Gunderson


Watch for tomorrow's UFC 108 full-predictions post.

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Dana White's V-log For UFC 108 (Episodes 3 and 4)

In Episode three, Dana White makes his grand entrance at the MGM Grand Hotel ahead of this weekend's UFC 108: Evans vs. Silva. Lookout for the fan with a sign that references Dana's tirade against Sherdog.com's Jake Rossen from Episode 2. Funny stuff. Also watch out for Dana trying to sell a crowd on little-known main-card fighter Gilbert Yvel who receives some half-hearted applause:



In episode four, we see Dana cavorting with the main event fighters, and making more "I'm fat" jokes, which have been pretty popular with him lately:

Diego Sanchez Drunk At The 2009 MMA Awards, But Wins "Fight Of The Year"


There's really not much else to say here. He was accepting the Fight Of The Year award for his scrap with Clay Guida and rolled up on stage clearly sauced. Pretty funny stuff. To see it, though, please click the link below. The video auto-plays so it would be a big pain to have on the main page.

Diego Sanchez Drunk At The 2009 MMA Awards

Not that these awards, brought to you by Versus, really mean anything, you'll notice, for example, that every single Fight of The Year nominee is a Zuffa fight, but Georges St-Pierre won the coveted fighter of the year award.

Fields Dynamite 2009: Results

I realize that these results may not be particularly meaningful to some readers. B.C. MMA Fan blames the holiday season for the absence of a detailed preview post. However, even with such a post these results would probably be difficult for the majority of North American's to decipher. After all, Japanese MMA remains both mysterious and inaccessible to even most dedicated of casual fans.

When I say inaccessible, to give an idea, I woke up this morning at 4:00 am to watch the main card fights of the Fields Dynamite 2009 broadcast, which began at midnight and ended at 7:30 am. On top of that, it was only available on HDNet. By the way, if you get that channel and you're interested, the fights will be rebroadcast today (December 31st) from 5:00pm until 11:00 pm. All times above are Pacific Standard Time.

With all that being said, I present these annotated results of Japan's biggest annual MMA extravaganza. some of the results include a few words on the significance of the most important fights. This years gimmick was a showdown between the top fighters in Japan's two most popular promotions: Dream and Sengoku Raiden Challenge.

Quick Results


Main Event:

Hidehiko Yoshida def. Satoshi Ishii via unanimous decision R3 5:00
  • A match between an old-school Japanese Judoka (judo player) in Yoshida who has had some success in MMA vs. an olympic Judo gold medalist for japan making his debut. This was the main event because the Japanese love Ishii right now, too bad he got beaten by the old-man-strength of Yoshida. Better luck next time, junior.
Shinya Aoki (DREAM LW Champ) def. Mizuto Hirota (SRC LW Champ) via technical submission (hammerlock) R1 1:17

  • DREAM's lightweight camp Shinya Aoki proved once more why he deserves his ranking as the world's #2 at LW with this dominant victory over Sengoku's champ, Mizuto Hirota. Check out the video below to see the bad-ass hammer lock he used to submit Hirota. All I could hear in my head was the theme song to "COPS."

  • Word is that Aoki will fight in north America in 2010, possibly against Strikeforce's newly crowned LW champ, Gilbert Melendez.

Gegard Mousasi def. Gary Goodridge via TKO (punches) R1 1:34

  • This wasn't so much a fight as a predestined beat down that went exactly the way everyone in the audience expected it to. Mousasi is a legit Top 5 LHW, while Goodridge is way beyond washed up at this point.
  • The funny thing is, the Japanese love "fights" like this. Go figure.
  • Look for Mousasi, the Strikeforce LHW champion, to be back fighting in North America this spring.

Alistair Overeem def. Kazuyuki Fujita via KO (knee) R1 1:15

  • The story here is very similar to the last fight. Except that the current skill discrepancy wasn't quite as high, making Alistair Overeem's performance slightly more impressive.
  • Look for Overeem, Strikeforce's HW champion, to be back fighting in North America whenever he finally gets around to it. Fall seems likely.
Masanori Kanehara def. "Kid" Yamamoto via unanimous decision R3 5:00

  • To some this was a significant upset, but I piled off the "Kid" Yamamato believer wagon a while back. Give it up, people.

Tatsuya Kawajiri def. Kazunori Yokota via unanimous decision R3 5:00
  • No big deal, just Kawajiri being the better fighter that he is. A pretty decent scrap though.
Hideo Tokoro def. Jong Man Kim via unanimous decision R3 5:00

Melvin Manhoef def. Kazuo Misaki via TKO (punches) R1 1:49
  • Manhoef gets back on the winning track after a rocky year, with an upset no less.
Akihiro Gono def. Hayato "Mach" Sakurai via submission (armbar) R2 3:56
  • UFC vet Gono scores the upset submission over the well-respected Sakurai.
Michihiro Omigawa def. Hiroyuki Takaya via TKO (punches) R1 2:54

  • Omigawa has a style that's very accessible to North Americans, I like to see him having success.

Hiroshi Izumi def. Katsuyori Shibata unanimous decision R3 5:00

Ikuhisa Minowa def. Sokoudjou via TKO (punches) R3 3:29

  • So ends the much maligned "Super Hulk" tournament. With a surprise KO victory by "Minowaman" after having been outpointed by Sokoudjou in the first two rounds. I haven't seen it yet, but word is the stoppage was a bit early. Then again, "worked" results are pretty common in Japan. Again, so it goes.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

UFC 108 Curse Continues: Cantwell Out, Matyushenko In Limbo


All right, it's official. UFC 108: Evans vs. Silva somehow ran afoul of a roving band of gypsy nomads and was subsequently cursed to suffer an unprecedented number of injuries. The latest victim of this seriously bad mojo was Steve Cantwell (7-3) who, just today, pulled out of his fight for Saturday with an undisclosed injury.

Perhaps even more adversely affected is stalwart contender Vladimir "The Janitor" Matyushenko (23-4--- Pictured Left) who has won nine of his last ten fights. At almost thirty-nine-years-old, "The Janitor" desperately needs to keep busy and keep winning if he's going to secure some big money fights before his impressive career winds to a close. A victory over Cantwell would have gone a long way toward raising his profile among UFC fans, but it was not to be. At this point, it seems unlikely that the UFC will locate another opponent for Matyushenko in time for Saturday night, but hopefully they can find a spot for him on the January 11th or February 6th cards.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Koscheck Out With Injury-- Is UFC 109 The New UFC 108?

UFC 109: Relentless (Feb. 6th, 2010-- see now-inaccurate poster at left) has already taken three serious hits to its originally stellar line-up. The first and second came when Rogerio "Lil' Nog" Nogueira (18-3) was forced to pull out of his scheduled bout with Brandon "The Truth" Vera (11-4), who will now face Jon Jones (9-1) on January 11th's Ultimate Fight Night 20, instead.

Then the latest hit to UFC 109 came yesterday when Josh Koscheck (14-4) announced that, due to injury, he has been forced to pull out of his potential revenge bout against Paulo Thiago (12-1). Thiago pulled off arguably the greatest upset of 2009 when he finished "Kos" by TKO in the first round at UFC 95: Sanchez vs. Stevenson. It was a controversial stoppage because Koscheck seemed to be recovering when the ref called the bout, plus Thiago was getting dominated on the feet until he landed a hook from nowhere to drop Josh to the mat. "Kos" certainly would have relished the opportunity to even the score and fans would have loved to see the fight, but now it will have to wait. Koscheck's American Kickboxing Academy team mate, Mike "Quick" Swick (14-3) has agreed to step-up to take the fight on relatively short notice, which is bold given that "Quick" is coming off a somewhat embarrassing, one-sided loss to current welterweight number-one contender Dan Hardy (23-6) at UFC 105: Couture vs. Vera.

In a nut-shell, half of the fighters featured on the promotional poster above have already pulled out of UFC 109:Relentless. Given that the show is headlined by a pair of roughly forty-five-year-olds, one of whom, Mark Coleman (16-9), has pulled out of two of his last four scheduled fights with a chronic knee injury, UFC 109 is definitely teetering on the edge of total disaster.

Then again, considering how savagely this weekend's UFC 108 was besieged by injuries, this set-back probably represents just another day at the office to the UFC brass.

Dana Is Pissed Off In His Latest V-log

Dana White is back with another video blog, this time in support of UFC 108: Evans vs. Silva. Along with the usual dose of Dana's shenanigans, he absolutely goes off while on the phone and takes multiple shots at Sherdog.com staff writer and ESPN.com blogger Jake Rossen for having the temerity to question whether MMA will be as big in the next ten years as Dana says it will. Here is the article that had Dana so upset.

The video also features UFC 108 co-main event fighter Paul Daley:

Extended Interview With Bas Rutten


Whether they know him as a former UFC Champion, the voice of PRIDE Fighting Championships, the host of HDNet's Inside MMA, Kimbo Slice's former trainer, or, for the kiddies, as that wacky fitness guy who tells them to do push-up while they're trying to get their Sponge Bob on, Bas Rutten has endeared himself to millions of fans around the world.

In this extended, year-end interview with PunchDrunkGamer.com, "El Guapo" talks UFC, Strikeforce, Pride, Fedor, Jon Jones, EA Sports MMA, Steven Seagal, and more.

Here's a small taste:

PDG: You have been in the industry for a long time; going forward how do you think that Strikeforce can differentiate their organization and events from the product that the UFC offers to be successful?

Bas Rutten: That is a very difficult question and the whole trick to the industry; once somebody figures that out, there will be major organizations popping up everywhere. It is just very hard to compete with the UFC right now because of the size and reach of the company. But like I said in the question before, Strikeforce is growing and adding quality fighters and from what I have seen they have the right approach. They keep adding shows and they have a perfect outlet with their partnership with Showtime and that is going to give them a chance to find real and upcoming talent. Then they have the big shows on CBS and if they are able to keep that approach than they have a chance.

PDG: So you would say that the sport has increased in popularity amongst sports fans over the last year?

Bas Rutten: Oh yeah, For sure.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Programming Reminder: Countdown To UFC 108 Airs This Tuesday on Spike


That's right, the UFC 108: Evans vs. Silva edition of the UFC's slickly produced Countdown show will debut this Tuesday at 8:00pm/PST on SpikeTV. As always, the show will re-air sporadically on both Spike and SportsNet throughout the week leading up to fight night.

Hopefully, the show will feature detailed breakdowns of most of the main card fights because the value on this card is definitely spread out and many fans will be unfamiliar with at least a few of the faces involved. UFC 108 may not be as epic as some UFC New Year's shows have been in the past, but there are still a host of compelling fights on offer. Plus, keep in mind that the UFC will, once again, offer two fights for free, live on Spike before the PPV broadcast.


Check out the full card below and expect detailed Preview and Predictions posts later in the week:

Main event:

205 lbs.: Rashad Evans (13-1-1) vs. Thiago Silva (14-1)

Main card (Televised):

170 lbs.: Paul Daley (22-8-2) vs. Dustin Hazelett (12-4)
155 lbs.: Joe Lauzon (18-4) vs. Sam Stout (14-5-1)
155 lbs.: Duane Ludwig (19-9) vs. Jim Miller (15-2)
265 lbs.: Junior Dos Santos (9-1) vs. Gilbert Yvel (36-13-1)

Under card (Spike TV broadcast):

170 lbs.: Martin Kampmann (15-3) vs. Jacob Volkmann (9-1)
155 lbs.: Cole Miller (15-4) vs. Dan Lauzon (12-2)

Under card (May not be broadcast):

205 lbs.: Vladimir Matyushenko (23-4) vs. Steve Cantwell (7-3)
185 lbs.: Mark Munoz (6-1) vs. Ryan Jensen (15-4)
170 lbs.: Mike Pyle (18-6-1) vs. Jake Ellenberger (21-5)
155 lbs.: Rafael Oliveira (9-2) vs. John Gunderson (22-6)

Dana White Pens Op-Ed: Seeks Global Domination By 2020


UFC President Dana White has written an opinion-editorial for the Las Vegas Sun that reasserts his desire to make MMA the world's preeminent sport within the next ten years. That may sound like crazy-talk and it's true that cage-fighting probably can't overtake basketball, much less soccer, in that time span, but if the sport of MMA keeps growing at anywhere near its current trajectory there really is no telling where it will top out.

From Dana's article (click for more):

The UFC will be on network television in the coming years, but we’re not going to go out and do a stupid deal because we don’t need them. We built this thing without help from anybody, and that’s why the UFC has been able to flourish even in these hard times.

The sport was just sanctioned in Massachusetts and Vancouver. We’re going to get it done in Ontario and New York in 2010. And we’re already working on taking the UFC global. We’ve already done Germany, England and Ireland, and we just sold 22,000 seats for an event in Australia in 15 minutes.

One thing Dana neglects to mention is the UFC's plan to finance seasons of The Ultimate Fighter all over the world, with the winners from every country earning a shot in the real octagon. Personally, I think that plan is pure genius both from the "Trojan horse" perspective that made the reality show a success in North America and from a nationalistic marketing angle. I mean, what red-blooded Indian, Pakistani, Korean, or Thai wouldn't want to see their best upcoming fighter take on the world's elite.

Kimbo Slice Interview: On Cutting Weight, Houston Alexander, and What's Next

Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson (4-1) spoke with to Loretta Hunt of Sherdog.com about all the pressing issues that fans want to know about heading into 2010. "Kimbo" may not have the most rounded skill-set, but there's no denying that he's a scary dude.



As for what I think the UFC can do with him-- showcase bouts that highlight "Kimbo's" strengths against similarly marketable opponents would seem to be the way to go. That said, it's tough to say who exactly he can fight, but a rematch with Seth Petruzzelli (11-4) would be logical to start.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

UFC 108 Main Event Primer


Dispite the fact that both Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin and Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort had to be cancelled before Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva got the nod as UFC 108's main event, there is still a good deal of intrigue involved in this match.

Thiago Silva (14-1), a Brazilian member of American Top Team, still hasn't fully lived-down his buzzer-beating KO loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 94: Penn vs. St-Pierre II last January. It was the highest profile fight of Silva's career, which is why, particularly from a marketing stand-point, it is unfortunate that it was also his only loss. Yet, Thiago Silva has since shown fans that he will not be broken by a mere setback. He returned with a convincing TKO of perennial contender Kieth Jardine at UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira. That result was not a great surprise because, even going in to that fight, nearly %77 of Thiago's wins had come by (T)KO. A win over Rashad at UFC 108: Evans vs. Silva would mark Thiago's second straight win over a legit contender and the rare feat of consecutive wins over member's of the vaunted Team Jackson MMA out of Albequerqe, New Mexico.

Rashad Evans (13-1-1) is coming directly off his devastating loss to Lyoto Machida at May's UFC 98: Evans vs. Machida. However, due to the fact that Rashad once held the LHW belt, has fought in so many high profile fights, and had his match with "Rampage" Jackson so expertly hyped during The Ultimate Fighter 10, he may actually have slightly less to prove now coming off a loss than Thiago Silva does coming off a win. Regardless of the outcome at UFC 108, Evans knows he has the big-money fight with Jackson banked for down the road, so his primary motivation here is not staying relevant, but scoring some revenge for his good friend Kieth Jardine. Here are some thoughts from the former champ:



Thiago Silva's greatest potential mistake would be underestimating the Rashad Evans' hand speed. While Thiago probably possesses a significant advantage in power and likely has the superior striking technique, getting involved in a reckless brawl with Evans could be his undoing. Forrest Griffin and Lyoto Machida have both already shown that a slow-and-steady approach to fighting Evans can win rounds, while getting into slug-fests with his lightening fists was proven foolish by (again) Forrest Griffin and Chuck Liddell. If Silva stays ruthlessly patient and looks for openings, he should find them fairly easily.

For Rashad Evans, he needs to not fall too deeply in love with his stand-up. Sure, he can give his admittedly-improved striking a shot at first, but if it does not pay immediate dividends, Evans should return to his roots in this one and look to use his wrestling background to put Silva on the mat. At times, Silva has been marketed as a Jiu Jitsu specialist, but he has only two submissions in his MMA career-- one of which was due to strikes and the other was a heel hook outside the UFC in 2006. None of that should lead one to believe that Silva can submit an experienced grappler like Evans from inside guard. Top position can very much be Evan's best friend in this fight if he's willing to fight hard to secure it.

The main event at UFC 108: Evans vs. Silva deserves to be well-received by UFC fans for several reasons, not least because both fighters have legitimate ways to win each sports only one career loss. In a slight twist on fight-sports' time-honoured, catchy, promotional rhyme: somebody's one is done.

Dan Henderson Interview on Leaving The UFC, Signing With Strikeforce, Potential Future Fights

In this extended interview with Steve Colefield of Yahoo Sports' MMA blog Cagewriter, former Pride double-champion and two-time UFC number-one-contender Dan Henderson gives up all the dirt on his departure from the UFC. The first half of the interview features all the good stuff. If you want Dan's side of the story, including his scathing opinions of UFC President Dana White, here it is:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

B.C. MMA Fan's Happy Holidays Video Spectacular


It's officially the height of the festive season and even B.C. MMA Fan is in the spirit. So much so that we're presenting a video blow-out of holiday clips to carry you through the next few days of family gatherings, present wrapping, and tree trimming. Okay, so most of these videos aren't exactly holiday themed, but, with just a little bit of spin applied, it's easy to convince yourself that they are in order to justify taking half-an-hour or so out of your busy day to watch them.

This first video is definitely Christmas-y, almost nauseatingly so. It features Dave Farra of Raw Vegas visiting the home of former UFC HW champ Frank Mir (13-4). They start out decorating cookies, but they do get down to "talking shop" eventually. It's worth a watch for all you Mir fans out there:



This next video, from MMACanada.net, is less festive, but it does feature the tweenage son of Anderson Silva juggling a mini soccer ball. Actually, the kid is pretty good and looks a lot like his dad. Besides that, it includes a rare look inside the legendary "Black House" training centre. Near the end, there's also a decent extended interview with Brazilian super-manager Ed Soares who addresses Anderson's injuries, handicaps the possible match-up of "The Spider" vs. GSP, and gives both his reactions to Machida vs. "Shogun" I and his thoughts on the rematch:



Next, sit back and enjoy the freaky circus that is Japanese matchmaking in this highlight package of the Super Hulk tournament. The holiday connection is that the conclusion of this tournament takes place on New Year's Eve in Japan at FEG Dynamite 2009!-- it airs live in Canada on HDNet. I won't give too much away, but it features the MMA debut of Jose Canseco (0-1) who entered the cage wearing faded, ghetto, sweat pants to fight the largest, and arguably least coordinated, prize fighter in the world, Hong Man Choi (2-3):



This has been fun, hasn't it? Let's finish off with another family-oriented pair of clips. That's right, it's everyone's favorite pair of smokin' submissions siblings, the Diaz brothers. In these videos, Nick Diaz (20-7, from MMAFanHouse)and Nate Diaz (11-4, from FightMagazine.com) talk about, among other things, their upcoming opponents: Nick will fight DREAM welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis (13-3) in Strikeforce on January 30th, Nate takes on Grey Maynard in a possible lightweight number-one-contender bout against Gray Maynard at Ultimate Fight Night 20 on Spike TV January 11th:





With that, B.C. MMA Fan is taking a few days off. Daily updates will resume starting Boxing Day. 2010 will be a big year for MMA in B.C. and I look forward to providing excellent continued coverage. Thanks to everyone for your support.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The State Of MMA In B.C. II: Here Comes The Gold Rush

Following Vancouver City Council's recent 6-3 decision to sanction the sport, albeit on a two-year probationary basis, Mixed Martial Arts is set to explode in British Columbia.

There was never any doubt that a massive fan base exists here and its thirst for live fights is about to be addressed in a big way.

Over the last couple of years, there have only been second-tier fight cards in this province and they have only occurred outside of Victoria and Vancouver. That was then, this is now. As mentioned, Vancouver has opened their floodgates and, according to the Vancouver Sun, Victoria City Council is likely poised to do the same.

Even if they don't, TopMMANews reports that Armageddon Fighting Championships is fully committed to putting on regular, high-profile fights just outside the capital's city limits in Colwood's beautiful Bear Mountain Arena. Adding big cards in B.C.'s major markets will draw increased fan and media attention to the sport, which, in turn, should strengthen MMA cards throughout the province.

As soon as the Winter Olympics wrap up, 2010 could easily become "The Year of MMA" in the B.C. sporting community. Make no mistake, the gold rush is on.

Want proof? Check out the following list of confirmed events, but definitely keep in mind hat promotions of all sizes including Bill Mahood's eXtreme Fighting Championships, Honour Combat Championships, King Of The Cage, and even Canada's biggest and most talent-rich promotion, Maximum Fighting Championship, are probably eager to schedule cards in Vancouver as soon as possible:

  • January 11th: B.C. fighter Rory MacDonald (10-0) is set to make his UFC debut.
  • February 5th: CACSA Western Canadian Amateur Championships in Nanaimo.
  • March 6th: Armageddon Fighting Championships II is planned for Victoria (Colwood).
  • March 6th: A King of The Cage show is planned for Penticton.
  • March 12th: A King Of The Cage show is planned for Nanaimo.
  • April 10th-11th: MMA Trade Show in Vancouver.
  • April 23rd: CACSA National Amateur Championships in Coquitlam.
  • June: The UFC is rumoured to be planning an event for Vancouver's GM Place.
We loyal MMA fans have waited patiently for long enough, it is finally time for British Columbia to claim its rightful place as a mecca for Mixed Martial Arts in this country. Of course, BCMMAFan.com is thrilled to be along for the ride.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

"King Mo" and Scott Smith On Strikeforce Victories

Both these guys scored big KO wins last night.

Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal (6-0) is now ready for a big fight from Strikeforce, his biggest selling point is his showmanship and personality, which are clearly on display in this video. Sherdog.com caught up with "King Mo":



It's difficult to know what Strikeforce will do with Scott Smith (17-6) who has two KO wins in his last three fights, but has also lost each of his last seven consecutive scored rounds in lopsided fashion. I say give him Frank Shamrock. MMAFanHouse.com posted this post-fight clip:

Armageddon Fighting Championships II Set For Victoria, March 6th


According to TopMMANews.com, Armageddon Fighting Championships intends to hold a second event near Victoria, B.C. on March 6th, 2010 at Colwood's Bear Mountain Arena.

Armageddon FC experienced some snags with their debut card last August that saw them scrambling to secure a venue. They were also forced to replace main event fighter Kalib Starnes who pulled out with injury at the last minute. The show was deemed a major success, nonetheless, especially by the sold-out crowd of 3000+ who were thrilled by Nanaimo's Nick Hincliffe (then 13-4) who scored a first-round KO in the main event.

For their next show, AFC seems determined to bring B.C. MMA fans the biggest fights possible. With sanctioning just secured in Vancouver, this event could be the start of a series of big fights in the province. TopMMANews.com caught up with AFC promoter Darren Owen who clearly demonstrated that the AFC is thinking big:

“You will see fighters who have fought in the UFC and you will see some of the best local talent. Bottom line – (the AFC) will do everything we can to bring our fans the best fighters and make the most entertaining fights. I think people will be surprised with who they’ll see fighting in the AFC.”

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Srikeforce:Evolution + WEC 45 Results


I had an above average night on my overall picks. Even though my main event record took a hit thanks to comeback virtuoso Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith (Pictured at left), I still finished up some cash-- more on that later. After going 3-1 on the main card of Strikef0rce:Evolution, my record stands at 133-76 (%63.6) and 16-6 (%72.7) in main events.

STRIKEFORCE QUICK RESULTS:

Main Event:

---Scott Smith def. Cung Le via TKO (Strikes), Rd. 3

Main Card:

***Undisputed Lightweight Champ Gilbert Melendez def. Josh Thomson by Unanimous Decision
***Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza def. Matt Lindland by Submission (Arm Triangle), Rd. 1
***Muhammed "King" Mo Lawal def. Mike Whitehead via KO (Strikes), Rd. 1

*** Correct Picks --- Incorrect Picks

Up until the very last minute of Strikeforce:Evolution, everything panned out more or less exactly as I had predicted. Of course, not being among the small handful of Canadians TV-obsessed enough to subscribe to SuperChannel, I wasn't able to watch the card live, but I read the live results as I watched WEC45 (results below) live on TSN. Anyway, it was an alright little night of MMA action to be sure.

Back to the Strikeforce card, Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal started the night off with a literal bang, stopping Mike Whitehead via first-round KO. Yet again, "King Mo's" natural athleticism made a slow-moving, second-rate heavyweight pretty easy pickings. Still, Lawal's laughable lack of size deeply concerns me. He weighed in for this fight at a paltry 218 lbs, which is a fairly light walking-around weight even for a LHW. Trading speed for size may have worked so far, but that gambit will land him in a world of hurt against virtually any of the top-25 at HW. Then again, the word is that "King Mo" wants Strikeforce LHW champ and world #7 at LHW Gegard Mousasi for his second Strikeforce fight, which also has bad idea written all over it.

Speaking of finishing fights early, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza capped of an embarassingly dominant first round over Matt Lindland with a fight-ending arm-triangle. At 39-years-old and coming off two consecutive first-round losses, it might be time for Lindland, an MMA elder-statesman, to consider a less brain-cell-threatening avenue of income. "Jacare" showed improved stand-up and impressively displayed his underrated Judo en route to the early victory. Another fight with Jason "Mayhem" Miller will most likely be next for "Jacare."

There's not much to be said about Melendez vs. Thomson II except that it was a lot closer than their first match, but had the opposite outcome. Considering how thin Strikeforce's LW division is, a third and deciding match is very likely.

Then there was the main event. Without hyperbole, it was very likely the absolute greatest comeback in the history of MMA and was perpetrated by the sports ultimate comeback king, Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith. Cung Le nearly finished Smith in the first round and absolutely peppered him throughout the first two-and-a-half. Le landed big kicks, little kicks, push kicks, spinning backs, high kicks, low kicks, body kicks, wheel kicks and everything in between. Smith was rocked, dropped, bloodied and almost beaten multiple times. Then, Smith suddenly caught Le with a BIG left, followed it with another, and finished the San Shou expert, leaving him in a heap. With this victory, Scott Smith capped of a trilogy of epic comeback KOs that will most likely never be touched in terms of their relevance and sheer shock-value. It all started with the infamous hail-mary KO of Pete Sell at The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale in late-2006. Then, Smith scored another out-of-the-blue fight-ender against Benjii Radach this spring. His victory over Le was perhaps the greatest one of all. Rarely in the history of the sport has any fighter caught such a savage one-sided beating for two-plus rounds. I mean, guys have been beaten up before, but Le was just running show on Smith, essentially untouched. Then, lights out.

On the one hand, Smith dented my prized main-event record with his statistically absurd shenanigans. Then again, he also won me some cash as part of a parlay with "Jacare." What can I say, at +300 I'll take a flyer on Smith's hands against almost anybody.

Strikeforce: Evolution Results Continued

Undercard:

Antwain "The Juggernaut" Britt def. Scott Lighty by TKO (Cut), Rd. 1
Justin "The Silverback" Wilcox def. Daisuke Nakamura by Unanimous Decision
Alex Crispim def. A.J. Fonseca by Unanimous Decision


WEC 45 QUICK RESULTS:

Main Event:

Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone def. Ed "9mm" Ratcliff by Submission (RNC), Rd. 3

Main Card

Anthony Njokuani def. Chris "The Polish Hammer" Horodecki by TKO (Strikes), Rd. 1
Joseph Benavidez def. Rani Yahya by Knockout (Punch), Rd. 1
Scott "Young Guns" Jorgensen def. Takeya Mizugaki by Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card

Bart "Bartimus"Palaszewski def. Anthony "Showtime" Pettis by Split Decision
Zach Micklewright def Muhsin Corbbrey by Unanimous Decision
Chad George def. John Hosman by Unanimous Decision
Brandon Visher def. Courtney Buck by TKO (strikes), Rd. 1
Brad Pickett def. Kyle Dietz by Submission (Peruvian Necktie), Rd. 2
Erik Koch def. Jameel Massouh by Unanimous Decision

Not too many comments to share here. Donald Cerrone didn't really surprise anyone with a victory here. Well, he might have surprised Ed Ratcliff with the series of nut-shots he landed in the first two-rounds, but that's about it. The real stories of the night were Scott Jorgensen and Anthony Njokuani who put themselves on the map with big-time victories. In particular, Njokuani made a lasting impression by scoring a KO on a fleeing Chris Horodecki.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Strikeforce: Evolution -- Main Card Predictions


My overall MMA prediction record stands at 130-75 (63.4%) and 16-5 (%76.2) in main events. I felt that after having a fairly successful night at UFC 107, where I went 10-1 (%90.9), I should get one more card in for 2009. Of course, that meant choosing between WEC 45 and Strikeforce: Evolution, both of which air on Saturday, December 19th. I went with Strikeforce: Evolution because it is the only card to include a title fight and features the long awaited return of former Strikeforce MW champion Cung Le. Unfortunately, this card will be more difficult for most Canadian MMA fans to watch because, while WEC 45 will air live on TSN, Strikeforce:Evolution is only available to SuperChannel subscribers.

Main event:

Middleweight: Cung Le (-500) vs. Scott Smith (+300)

Undefeated MMA middleweight, former San Shou World Champion, and former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le (6-0) has finally returned from Hollywood movie-making. Le has arguably the flashiest kicks in the sport, employing body kicks with the regularity that most fighters throw the jab. Still, many have accused Le of having a padded record filled with hand-picked opponents. That notion may not be completely squashed by this match, but nobody can deny that Scott "Hands Of Steel" Smith (16-6) is always a threat to finish. In just his last three fights, "Hands of Steel" scored a KO of Terry Martin in under thirty seconds and pulled off arguably the comeback of 2009 when he scored a TKO on Benji Radach in the third round of their Strikeforce bout in April. However, it's Smith's most recent fight against Nick Diaz that is the most relevant to this match. Diaz completely picked Smith apart with a high-volume of strikes for two-and-a-half rounds before securing a submission finish. Smith's natural power and impressive chin were no match for Nick Diaz' superior technique. I expect a similar story in this fight, with Le conducting a kicks clinic on the over-matched Smith.

Cung Le may have superior technique, but Smith's power is way too much of a threat to place a bet on Le at these odds.

Le by Unanimous Decision

Main card (Televised):

Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Josh Thomson (-120) vs. Gilbert Melendez (-110)

Realistically, this is the best fight on the Strikeforce:Evolution card and should probably be the main event. Then again, given that it has already been delayed multiple times, we should be thankful that it is happening at all. Both these fighters are world-class lightweights and both currently hold a Strikeforce Lightweight Title. Josh Thomson won the official title in June, 2008 via a dominant five-round striking clinic against the very same Gilbert Melendez. Thomson mixed his strikes up well and defended takedowns near-flawlessly in what was an embarrassingly bad performance for the talented wrestler Gilbert Melendez. Since that time though, a few events have conspired to suggest that this fight will be much closer. For starters, Melendez has improved his striking, avenged his only other career loss, and won an interim Strikeforce lightweight championship belt. Over the same span, Thomson has faced only one mediocre opponent, Ashe Bowman, and spent the rest of his time nursing various injuries.

In their last fight Thomson was definitively superior, but, at this point, he hasn't fought in over fourteen months, which should give the greatly-improved Melendez the edge he needs to carve out a victory. That said, this fight is extremely competitive and I can't endorse any bet at these odds.

Melendez by Split-Decision

Middleweight: Matt Lindland (+210) vs. Ronaldo Souza (-270)

In an old-school style match up, crafty wrestler Matt "The Law" Lindland (21-6) will look to out-grapple jiu-jitsu specialist Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (10-2) without getting tied up in knots in the process. Lindland is a true legend of MMA who made his octagon debut at UFC 29 and has fought a who's-who of the sport including Fedor Emelianenko. His striking has never been technically impressive, but Lindland is tough as nails and always game for a scrap. While he is currently much less well-known, "Jacare" has built up his name in Japan's Dream organization and now looks to introduce his brand of killer-instinct jiu-jitsu to the North American audience. His cage name means "crocodile" in Portuguese, which is fitting since "Jacare" has snapped up submissions in nine of his ten victories. It may not be entirely fair given the level of competition that Lindland has faced recently, but his 3-3 record in his last six fights makes me wonder if the thirty-nine-year-old Lindland's years of experience are beginning to work against him. The frequency of Lindland's fights has also decreased. Even if Lindland can take hm down, "Jacare" should be able to manoeuvre into dominant positions. If Lindland tries to dirty box "Jacare" against the cage, the Brazilian should be able to use his underrated judo to take Lindland down. No one could deny that both are stellar grapplers, but my guess is that "Jacare" will serve notice to "The Law" that the future of MMA is now.

Even at these odds, a bet on Souza makes a good deal of sense to me. I'll definitely take him for my straight-up.

Souza by Unanimous Decision


Heavyweight: Muhammed Lawal (5-0) vs. Mike Whitehead (24-6)

In what stands out as perhaps the night's most straight-forward pick, red-hot prospect Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal (5-0) will face grizzled MMA veteran Mike Whitehead (24-6) in the first main card match. "King Mo" enjoyed a successful amateur wrestling career, but he's better known for storming the heavyweight competition in Japan's Sengoku promotion. Lawal utilizes surprisingly effective boxing for a wrestler and exhibits an extremely rare amount of natural athleticism for a heavyweight. He will look to press his strength and speed advantages in his Strikeforce debut against "Iron" Mike Whitehead. To be clear, Mike Whitehead, who is 15-2 since 2006 and is coming off a victory over a similar opponent in Kevin Randleman, is a legitimate threat to hand "King Mo" his first defeat. However, if Whitehead wins this fight it will tell us more about "King Mo" than about "Iron" Mike. At this point, Lawal looks like he might one-day become a serious force in the world heavyweight rankings, while we already know Whitehead never will.

I look for Muhammed Lawal to beat Mike Whitehead anywhere the fight goes, but his relative inexperience makes a bet on "King Mo" at these odds way too risky.

Lawal By TKO, Rd. 2


Middleweight: Robbie Lawler vs. Trevor Prangley

Cancelled Due To An Injury To Prangley



UFC 108 Continues To Crumble Before Our Eyes


This story is becoming almost too convoluted to report, but the apparently cursed UFC 108 card has taken a couple more hits in that last few days.

First, Rory Markham(16-5), who is best known for getting KO'ed by Dan Hardy at UFC 95, pulled out of a fight with Martin Kampmann (15-3). The dazzling Danish striker Kampmann is coming of a somewhat surprising loss to Englishman Paul Daley at UFC 103. He will now look to get back on track against Markham's replacement, Jacob Volkmann (9-1), who impressed many UFC fans in a losing effort against Paulo Thiago at UFC 106.

Just today, a lecerated forehead forced former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk (33-4-1) to pull out of his main card bout with Jim Miller (15-2). This news is particularly incredible because Sherk had just stepped up to the main card a few days ago to replace an injured Tyson Griffin. Miller's newly scheduled opponent is Duane Ludwig (19-9), which makes this bout a bit of an odd selection for the main card. Not that Ludwig isn't a credible opponent, but with a record of 6-4 in his last ten fights over four different promotions, he won't exactly be driving ticket sales.

At this point though, fans should be impressed that UFC 108 is still happening at all. See the complete card below:

Main event:

205 lbs.: Rashad Evans (13-1-1) vs. Thiago Silva (14-1)

Main card (Televised):

170 lbs.: Paul Daley (22-8-2) vs. Dustin Hazelett (12-4)
155 lbs.: Joe Lauzon (18-4) vs. Sam Stout (14-5-1)
155 lbs.: Duane Ludwig (19-9) vs. Jim Miller (15-2)
265 lbs.: Junior Dos Santos (10-1) vs. Gilbert Yvel (36-13-1)

Guaranteed To Air On Spike TV

155 lbs.: Cole Miller (15-4) vs. Dan Lauzon (12-2)
170 lbs.: Martin Kampmann (15-3) vs. Jacob Volkmann (9-1)

Under card (May not be broadcast):

155 lbs.: Rafael Oliveira (9-2) vs. John Gunderson (22-6)
205 lbs.: Vladimir Matyushenko (23-4) vs. Steve Cantwell (7-3)
185 lbs.: Mark Munoz (6-1) vs. Ryan Jensen (15-4)
170 lbs.: Mike Pyle (18-6-1) vs. Jake Ellenberger (21-5)

WEC Events To Air On "The Score" In 2010


After years of receiving short shrift from the programming directors at TSN, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) events will now begin airing live across Canada on cable sports giant The Score. This is great news for MMA fans who, in the past, often had to wait for days after the event before TSN would finally air WEC events. The first WEC event on the score will air in January 10th, 2010. Please note, however, that this weekends WEC 45 will be airing live on TSN at 7:00pm PST.

See the press release below:

TORONTO, Dec. 17, 2009 – Score Media Inc. (TSX: SCR) today announced that it has inked an exclusive Canadian multi-platform partnership agreement with World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC®), one of the world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) sports organizations. The deal, which kicks off in January 2010, brings seven live WEC fights, online content and exclusive features to The Score.

"WEC has attracted millions of fans around the world, and in Canada specifically. By adding this franchise to our existing line up of comprehensive MMA content, The Score strengthens its reputation as a destination for hardcore MMA fans," says Benjie Levy, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Score Media Inc.

Adding the WEC to The Score’s mix of in-depth, multi-platform, original MMA content – headed up by Mauro Ranallo, one of North America’s renowned MMA authorities – showcases The Score’s commitment to continued investment in building a superior destination for MMA content.

Star-divide

"We are excited to have The Score as the official partner of World Extreme Cagefighting in Canada," says WEC Vice President, Peter Dropick. "As a dedicated supporter of MMA, The Score is the perfect choice to help us build the WEC franchise in the Canadian market."

On December 18th at 10pm ET, The Score will be kicking off its exciting WEC line up with WEC Best of 2009, a look back at WEC’s most exciting fights of the past year.

And to catch the first live WEC fight of 2010, tune in on January 10th at 9pm ET.

For more information, please visit http://thescore.com/mma/

Thursday, December 17, 2009

MMA Offcially Sanctioned in Vancouver



By a voting margin of six-to-three, the Vancouver City Council voted today to resume legal sanctioning of MMA in Vancouver, British Columbia. The sport has been outlawed there since a 2007 moratorium was placed on it to give the city time to review its safety records and desirability for the municipality. Today's momentous overturning of that previous law comes with its own two-year expiration date, but it's likely that a new sanctioning agreement can be reached to extend legal licensing at that time.

One interesting clause is that potential promoters will have to pay the city of Vancouver a sizable insurance fee, which might make organizing MMA events prohibitively costly for smaller organizations. It's unlikely that such a fee will deter the sport's market leader, however, as UFC President Dana White has stated on record multiple times the company's intention to bring UFC fights to Vancouver in 2010, perhaps as early as June. The city's largest arena is GM Place, which is home to the NHL's Vancouver Canucks and holds a capacity crowd of roughly 20,000, is the most likely venue.

This is, of course, great news for residents B.C., especially those living in the lower-mainland, who will finally be able to see the world's best mixed martial artists compete live-- hopefully on a fairly regular basis.

Vancouver May Legalize MMA Today


According to an article first posted on TopMMANews.com, the Vancouver City Council may rubber stamp the legalization of mixed martial arts as early as December 17th, which just so happens to be today.

This would be a major breakthrough for the sport in British Columbia and could allow the UFC to make good on its promise to stage and event in Vancouver in 2010.

We'll have more on this story as it develops.

Main Event Primer For Strikeforce:Evolution



Gilbert Melendez (16-2) and Josh "The Punk" Thomson (16-2) discuss their upcoming fight that's set to go down at this Saturday's Strikeforce:Evolution. Look for a detailed preview of the event to be posted soon on this site.

Jones vs. Vera To Air on "VS." Network


As part of a recently announced two-event deal with the "VS." television network, the UFC will not be airing Ultimate Fight Night 21 on Spike TV as per their usual habit. Instead, the awesome main even of Jon Jones vs. Brandon Vera will air on the WEC's traditional home network of VS. on March 21st, 2010. Now, this may seem like petty griping, but I think the UFC has made a bit of a rash and unfortunate decision here. Most Canadians don't even get VS. and a large number of Americans don't either. Even in homes that receive both stations, Spike TV is by far the most watched of the two.

So let's recap, the UFC has gone away from their successful SpikeTV model that everyone was comfortable with to move to another station that very few people get and even fewer care about-- and they're doing all this with an awesome fight that most Canadians may not be able to see at all.

It's one thing when Strikeforce signs with SuperChannel, Bellator gets shown on ESPN Deportes, Dream languishes on HDNet, or even when the WEC finds a home on VS., but UFC fans have come to expect that all the big, non-PPV fights will be readily accessible to the masses, which just isn't true anymore.