Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Strikeforce: Miami" Review


Picks Results: 5-1 (%83.3)

Main Event:
*** Diaz def. Zaromskis by TKO, Rd. 1 (4:38)
Main Card:
*** Santos def. Coenen by TKO, Rd. 3 (3:40)
*** Walker def. Nagy by TKO, Rd. 3 (2:17)
--- Lawler def. Manhoef by KO, Rd. 1 (3:33)
*** Lashley def. Sims by TKO, Rd. 1 (1:11)
Undercard:
*** Hieron def. Riggs by Unanimous Decision

*** Correct Picks --- Incorrect Picks

Review

Most hardcore MMA will easily find fault with Strikeforce: Miami's second-rate presentation and shoddy matchmaking, but very few would claim they were not entertained. It was also a decent night for my predictions. I went 5-1 with a correct main event pick, bringing my overall score to 147-82 (%64.2), and 19-6 (%76.0) in main events.

Detailed thoughts follow:


Nick Diaz def. Marius Zaromskis by TKO, Rd. 1 (4:38); Wins Vacant Strikeforce Welterweight Title

Straight-up: if you even dare to suggest that this fight was anything but awesome, you are not a fan of MMA. You may not even have a pulse. You should get that checked.

In the very first minute, Nick Diaz (21-7) and Marius Zaromskis (13-4) let loose with simultaneous flurries, which was enough in itself to make the fight memorable. Ultimately, Nick did precisely what most prognosticator's assumed he would, landing at a rate many professional boxers would envy. He scored his TKO a full three rounds earlier than I predicted, so, at this point, I would say that we can all stop talking about the cumulative power in Diaz' strikes. He hits hard and he hits a lot, that's it.

Beyond that, I was impressed with Diaz' tactical use of knees along the fence. He realized early that a slug-fest might not go his way and immediately changed his approach. That allowed him to regain his bearings, while also providing an opportunity to dole out some punishment. Nick also demonstrated his famous resilience by surviving a scare around the three-minute mark when Zaromskis dropped Diaz on the canvas with a left hook.

When Diaz returned to his feet, the air seemingly left Zaromskis' sails almost instantly, while Diaz poured on the aggression. That demonstrates a couple of key points. The first is that Zaromskis is not used to having golden-opportunities slip away and was unsure of how to proceed once one did. It also suggests that Diaz' triathlon-level cardio conditioning allows him the luxury of fighting full-bore for an entire round, which is both rare and incredibly advantageous.

The fall-out from this match will also be fascinatingly to observe.

For his next fight, Marius Zaromskis returns to Japan to defend his welterweight belt at DREAM.13 (March, 22nd). He will face against submissions specialist Kiyoshi Tamura (32-13-3). Unofficially, I like Zaromskis to win, but, in any case, from now on the linear DREAM 170lb. champion will have to be considered inferior to the linear holder Strikeforce welterweight belt. Unless another fight occurs in which the DREAM representative prevails, that is. This fact would be less troubling for DREAM if there weren't already an apparent pattern in place in which Japan-based fighters come to North America only to get slaughtered. It happened with Ryo Chonan (16-10) and Akihiro Gono (31-15-7) in the UFC, for example, and it happened twice tonight if you include Manhoef's loss.

As for Nick Diaz, this is definitely the biggest win of his Strikeforce career. At the same time, it is extremely dangerous to heap too much praise on the new Strikeforce Welterweight Champion. Lead Showtime play-by-play announcer, Mauro Ranallo, actually had the outlandish gall to call Diaz a potential pound4pound top-ten fighter, which is simply infuriating because Zaromskis, who had Diaz hurt, was not even ranked in the WW top-ten going in. Diaz certainly displayed a lot of skill and courage at Strikeforce: Miami and, perhaps deserves a WW top-ten spot, but that's it. His next fight is likely to be against Jay Hieron (19-4), who defeated Joe Riggs on the undercard by unanimous decision, but Hieron is not ranked in the WW top-10 either and will do little to advance Diaz' legacy.

After that fight, assuming Diaz wins, Strikeforce will find that its welterweight cupboards are utterly and completely bare. The UFC currently controls each of the world's top-12 welterweights and a fight between Diaz and Jake Shields (24-4-1) is not an option since the Nick and Jake are training partners and longtime friends.


Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos defeats Maroles Coenen To Defende Her Strikeforce Lightweight Championship.

Maybe I just got caught up in the excellent hype-job done by the Stikeforce broadcast team, but as this match began I was starting to doubt that Cristian Santos (9-1) would have as easy of a time in this fight as I had predicted. I even started to think that Marloes Coenen (17-4)’s superior striking technique and significant grappling advantage might be enough to secure the win, especially if she could tire Santos out.

As it turned out, though, “Cyborg’s” strength advantage made the difference once again. That was clearly on display throughout, but it was not the whole story: her punches were noticeably crisper, she utilized stellar takedown defense, demonstrated a granite chin, scored several particularly crushing takedowns , and also exhibited a veteran's patience in picking her shots from guard. On top of all that, “Cyborg’s” gas tank seemed nearly limitless.

If Cristiane Santos, who is still fairly young at just twenty-four years old, can continue to improve her technique, and combines that with her obvious physical advantages, she can likely retain her Strikeforce Women's Lightweight Title (145lbs.) for a long, long time.

Again, the much trickier question for Strikeforce down the road could be, who fights Santos next? Aside from Erin Toughill (10-2-1), who has been signed by Strikeforce, but has yet to make her debut, there is no woman out there who poses a credible threat to Cyborg's reign.


Herschel Walker defeats Greg Nagy by TKO, Rd. 3

From the very first stiff jab to his eventual third-round TKO from back-mount, Heisman Trophy winner, Herschel Walker (1-0) took the fight to Greg Nagy (1-2). Walker's leg kicks were crisp, his transitions were of sufficient speed, and his sprawl was nothing short of textbook. It was a particularly impressive performance for a guy making his MMA debut.

That’s not to say that Walker’s performance was flawless. There were instances throughout the fight in which he had achieved dominant position, including several opportunities from of both full-mount and back-mount, but Walker was unable to capitalize until late in the third. The ability to finish can, of course, come with time, but, at forty-seven years old, time is the one thing that Walker doesn’t have a lot of.

In his post-fight interview Walker was very humble and credited his coaches and training partners for the victory. He also implied that he is interested in fighting until his body no longer holds up, which, judging by his ridiculously ripped physique, could be some time away yet. Walker will never be a champion for Strikeforce, but he doesn't need to be. He can be a key draw for Strikeforce if matched properly with intriguing opponents and also lends credibility to the organization and the sport of MMA with his wide-spread appeal in the wider sporting world.


Robbie Lawler defeats Melvin Manhoef by KO, Rd. 1

Melvin Manhoef (24-7-1) looked more patient and better-prepared than we have ever seen him. He came out with purpose and was picking Robbie Lawler (17-5) apart, especially with those devastating leg kicks. To say Manhoef looked absolutely terrifying for the first three-minutes-and-thirty-seconds of this fight would be a gross understatement. Then, as if realizing he could not take any more abuse, Robbie Lawler poked his head out of its protective shell just long enough to launch that counter right hook that switched off Manhoef's lights.

Lawler certainly scored an impressive finish, but the performance was nothing to hang his hat on. He connected on only three strikes the entire round and was limping noticeably both during the fight and afterward. It will be difficult for Strikeforce to match Lawler with the winner of Dan Henderson vs. Jake Shields until he turns in at least one more-complete performance-- perhaps he can face the loser of that fight.

As for Manhoef, it appears that years of fighting like a half-crazed wolverine have finally taken a toll on his synapses. Sure, anyone can get caught, but Manhoef, who was out cold from one hook, is no spring chicken at nearly thirty-four years old and should probably at least begin considering a new line of work.


Bobby Lashley defeats Wes Sims by TKO, Rd. 1

It was over pretty quick, Wes Sims (22-13-1) would say too soon, but it feels more like this fight didn’t happen at all.

We learned nothing about Bobby Lashley (5-0)’s developing skill-set by watching him maul Sims for just over a minute. I realize that Strikeforce wants to protect Lashley and that he wants to learn the game at his own pace. That’s all fine and good, but if they’re going to continually set him up with punching bags as opponents, can't they please spare us all the insult of watching him do so on a major show?

"Strikeforce: Miami" Quick Results


Quick Results For-- Strikeforce: Miami
Location: Bank Atlantic Centre; Sunrise, Fla.
Date: January 30th, 2010


Main Event:
Diaz def. Zaromskis by TKO, Rd. 1 (4:38)

Main Card:
Santos def. Coenen by TKO, Rd. 3 (3:40)
Walker def. Nagy by TKO, Rd. 3 (2:17)
Lawler def. Manhoef by KO, Rd. 1 (3:33)
Lashley def. Sims by TKO, Rd. 1 (1:11)

Undercard:
Hieron def. Riggs by Unanimous Decision

Prelims:
Ray def. John Clarke by TKO, Rd. 1 (3:14)
Gomez def. Oxley by Unanimous Decision
Alfonso def. Matta by Submission, Rd. 1 (1:47)
Hassan def. Keenan by KO Rd. 2
Kelly def. Homasi by Submission [RNC], Rd. 2


Main Event:

Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis [For Strikeforce Welterweight Title]
Winner: Diaz by TKO, Rd. 1 (4:38)

Round1:
  • Both fighters begin with an impressive flurry that Zaromskis, perhaps, gets the best of.
  • Diaz pushes Zaromskis up against the cage and unleashes a barrage of 45+ knees to Zaromskis' legs. Diaz fails in a takedown attempt, returning the fight to a stand-up.
  • Zaromskis lands a powerful punch that knocks Diaz on his butt. Zaromskis then prevents Diaz from standing, while raining blows from above.
  • Diaz manages to stand and almost immediately begins landing with a furious combination of punches from every direction. Zaromskis is hurt and eventually succumbs to the onslaught.

Main Card:

Cristiane Santos vs. Marloes Coenen [For Women's Strikeforce Featherweight Title]
Winner: Santos by TKO, Rd. 3 (3:40)

Round1:
  • Santos imposes her will early, uses superior strength to muscle Coenen to the ground. She then lands several powerful shots from guard position.10-9 Santos.
Round2:
  • Coenen fares slightly better in this round, lands some strikes of her own, but Santos lands the cleaner combinations and scores another takedown. 10-9 Santos.
Round3:
  • Coenen continues to show her toughness with a nice kick and a gutsy takedown attempt. Another combination of punches knocks Coenen to the ground. Santos delivers some parting shots from above to score the TKO.


Greg Nagy vs. Herschel Walker [Catchweight (215lbs.)]
Winner: Walker by TKO, Rd. 3 (2:17)

Round1:
  • Walker shows solid jab, great takedown defense, secures dominant position, avoids submissions, lands shots. 10-9 Walker
Round2:
  • Walker unleashes heavy leg kicks, gets side control, drops some heavy shots. 10-9 Walker
Round3:
  • Walker gets takedown fairly easily, defends armbar well, gets full mount, then back mount, rains down blows until the fight is called.
Our Score:

Robbie Lawler vs. Melvin Manhoef [Middleweight]
Winner: Robbie Lawler by KO, Rd. 1 (3:33)
Round1:
  • After a long feeling out period, Manhoef begins landing heavy leg kicks. Soon he is landing with everything: body kicks, hooks, you name it.
  • More devastating leg kicks from Manhoef who looks like he's trying to kick Lawler's leg clean off.
  • Manhoef opens up for a finishing flurry, but is suddenly KO'ed courtesy of a right hook from Lawler. Manhoef is out cold. Lawler is limping badly, but wins impressively.


Bobby Lashley vs. Wes Sims [Heavyweight]
Winner: Bobby Lashley by TKO, Rd. 1 (1:11)

Round1:
  • Lashley easily scores a takedown. Hits Sims with a series of short shots to the head. Sims shows a unique and impressive guard, but is soon pounded out.
  • Lashley wins without too much trouble, but Sims dislikes the stoppage and should be commended for stepping up on limited notice.

Heads-Up: "Strikeforce: Miami" Official Online Stream Available For $24.95


Hey there fight fans! After all that belly-aching, my plaintive cries for another viewing option were answered!

You can order the fights as an official online stream, direct from the Strikeforce website, for just $24.95. Of course, if you have s-video cables or something like it, you can watch the fights on your television as well.

Strikeforce previously limited this option to customers in the USA, but it is now available everywhere. The service is called Strikeforce: All Access because it offers several behind the scenes features. For one thing, you can toggle between the broadcast feed or four other different camera angles. One of those angles is the ref cam, which is a pretty cool way to watch a fight.

Here's an even better explanation of the service direct from Strikeforce:


With Strikeforce: All Access, fans can be their own director and toggle among five live cameras with full pause and rewind capabilities including Showtime Sports exclusive CageCam®—a small, high quality camera worn by the referee which takes viewers inside the cage during the fights. Audio tracks will include the Showtime telecast fight call by host and play-by-play announcer Mauro Ranallo, and color commentators Frank Shamrock and Stephen Quadros, as well as the corresponding audio to the selected camera. Showtime is again working with BitGravity, Inc. and Episodic, Inc. to enable this unique multi-media experience. All Access fans also will receive a live Twitter feed from the event and can join behind-the scenes staff in tweeting about "Strikeforce" and "Showtime Sports" during the evening. Through a Facebook® Connect application, fans will be able to make predictions, comment on the live fights, discuss outcomes and more directly on the All Access page.

New Sarah Kaufman Video On Her Upcoming Title Fight



The announcement that Sarah Kaufman (10-0) will face Takayo Hashi (12-1) for the vacant Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Title (135lbs.) continues to make waves. The fight takes place at a Strikeforce Challengers event on February, 26th.

The latest to add their voice to the mob of excited fight fans was Canada's own TheFightNetwork.com. They posted the above preview video, which features an audio clip from Sarah herself.

Friday, January 29, 2010

CompuStrike Analysis: Diaz vs. Zaromskis


Longtime readers of B.C. MMA Fan know there's little we love more in the world of MMA coverage than some solid statistical analysis.

In the following article, the CompuStrike staff have used information from their immaculate vault of well-kept fight stats to break down the Strikeforce:Miami main event of Nick Diaz (20-7) vs. Marius Zaromskis (13-3).

Enjoy.


CompuStrike Preview: Diaz vs. Zaromskis
Published on Jan 28, 2010

"Strikeforce: Miami" Main Card Weigh-In Results


Every main card fighter at Strikeforce: Miami came in on-weight for Saturday's event (Jan. 30th), which begins at 7:30pm PST and takes place live at the Bank Atlantic Centre in Sunrise, Florida.

B.C. MMA Fan will have results and reactions for this event available the same night.

[Picture Props: Dave Mandel at Sherdog.com]

Click Here For Our Official Main-Card Predictions.

Main Event
(Broadcast on SHOWTIME Sports [USA], SuperChannel [Canada])

Max 170.0lbs.: Nick Diaz (169.5) vs. Marius Zaromskis (169)
[Vacant Welterweight Title Bout]

Main Card

Max 145.0lbs: Champ Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos (144.5) vs. Marloes Coenen (143.75)
[Women's Featherweight Title Bout]

Max 215.0lbs.: Greg Nagy (210.5) vs. Herschel Walker (214.25) [Catchweight]
Max 185.5lbs.: Robbie Lawler (185.75) vs. Melvin Manhoef (185.75) [Middleweight]
Max 265.5lbs.: Bobby Lashley (252.25) vs. Wes Sims (258.25) [Heavyweight]

PRELIMINARY CARD (Broadcast on EASportsMMA.com)

Max 170.5lbs.: Jay Hieron (170.25) vs. Joe Riggs (170.5) [Welterweight]


The undercard weigh-in results for "Strikeforce: Miami" are available at MMAJunkie.com

ESPN's MMA Live Covers: Strikeforce Miami








Kenny Florian, Rashad Evans, Jon Anik and the rest of ESPNs MMA Live crew provide detailed coverage of every Srikeforce: Miami fight, with lots of great clips and expert opinion. They also discuss Chuck Liddell's impending return to competition.

Check it out.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kalib Starnes Likely For Armageddon Fighting Chamionships II in Victoria, March 6th.


According to TopMMANews.com, Surrey B.C.'s Kalib Starnes (9-4-1) will fight at Armageddon Fighting Championships II, scheduled for March 6th. The event will take place at Collwood's Bear Mountain Arena located the outskirts of B.C.'s provincial capital of Victoria. Starnes, who trains at B.C.'s Revolution Martial Arts, was scheduled to appear at AFC 1 last August, but had to withdraw due to a cut suffered during training.

Kalib's opponent at AFC II will reportedly be Alberta's Marcus "The Loudmouth Assassin" Hicks (10-18), who is not to be confused with Marcus "The Wrecking Ball" Hicks (8-3)-- a Texas-based fighter best known for fighting in the WEC. Starnes' opponent is accomplished in his own right, however, having faced some of the best fighters Canada has to offer including, Krzystof Soszynski (18-9-1), Bill Mahood (17-7-1), and Nanaimo's own Nick Hinchliffe (11-5). Hicks should be recognizable to Victoria's MMA faithful for having defeated their very own Chris Peak (11-19) at AFC 1.

Life in the UFC spotlight was not kind to Kalib whose name remains synonymous with his disappointing performance against Nate Quarry (12-3) at Montreal's UFC 83: St. Pierre vs. Serra II nearly two years ago. According to Starnes, he broke a bone in his foot early in the second round of that fight, which accounted for his less-than-thrilling performance. Since that time, Starnes has gone 1-1 and has had other fights cancelled for reasons beyond his control. Still in his athletic prime at thirty-five years old, Starnes is surely keen begin rebuilding his reputation as one of B.C.'s very best fighters.

With Starnes vs. Hicks at or near the top, AFC II is shaping up to be the best card Victoria MMA fans have seen yet.

UFC 115 Takes Shape: Gilbert Yvel vs. Pat Barry Now Likely For Vancouver Show


The UFC 115 card, which is likely for Vancouver's GM Place on June 12th, is continuing to take shape. Some time ago it was vaguely rumored that Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz III would appear on the card. It was then unofficially announced that B.C.'s own Rory MacDonald (10-0) would face Carlos Condit (24-5) at the event

Today, LasVegasSun.com is reporting that renowned heavyweight strikers Gilbert "The Hurricane" Yvel (36-14-1, 31 TKOs) and Patrick "Get Hype" Barry (5-1, 5 TKOs) are also likely to appear at UFC 115, which is set to become the first ever UFC held in Western Canada.

Patrick Barry is well known to Canadian MMA fans as the 5'11" kickboxer who felled Alberta's massive 6'4" Tim Hague (10-2) at UFC 98: Evans vs. Machida. Once on the ground, however, Hague quickly turned the tables on Barry, locking in a fight-ending guillotine choke to secure the win. Barry has since rebounded with a second-round, TKO win over a former training partner, Holland's Antoni Hardonk (8-6). Throughout that fight, which took place on the undercard at UFC 104: Machida vs. Shogun, Barry showcased a vast arsenal impressive strikes, including one solid punch that famously landed squarely on Hardonk's throat. Barry is now looking to continue his unlikely-little-man run through the UFC's heavyweight division at UFC 115 in Vancouver.

To do so he must defeat one of the fiercest Muay Thai strikers the heavyweight division has to offer in PRIDE stand-out Gilbert Yvel. "The Hurricane" is fresh off a disappointing, early TKO loss to UFC heavyweight contender Junior Dos Santos (10-1) at this January's UFC 108: Evans vs. Silva. Yvel has since commented that he did not feel like himself that night, which he attributes the pressure of making his octagon debut,

"I was like in a dream. It was just bad for me. It was my first time in the UFC and you want to show what you can do. If you lose, they can cancel your contract. It's a lot of pressure." (Las Vegas Sun, Jan. 28th.)

"The Hurricane" will surely be looking to blow away all of Barry's hype with a decisive victory at UFC 115. That outcome seems very possible given that Yvel has scored over five times as many career (T)KOs as Barry has MMA fights.

Whatever the outcome, if this fight occurs at UFC 115 in Vancouver, B.C. MMA fans will surely enjoy the rare treat of seeing two of the world's most talented heavyweight strikers plying their trade inside the octagon.

B.C. Trained Bibiano Fernandes vs. Joachim Hansen Officially Confirmed for DREAM.13, on March 22nd.


DREAM has now officially announced that Joachim "Hellboy" Hansen (19-8-1, #10 LW) will drop down from lightweight to face their featherweight champion, Bibiano "The Flash" Fernandes (7-2, #5 FW), at DREAM.13 on March 22nd.

This fight is of particular interest to B.C. MMA fans, of course, because Fernandes, a Brazilian by birth, currently trains out of Langley's Revolution Martial Arts. The fight will be televised on HDNet and is set to take place at the 17,000 spectator capacity Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan.

Fernandes burst onto the international MMA scene by winning DREAM's 2009 Featherweight Grand Prix. He did so against daunting odds to become the promotion's first ever 139lb. champion. Note: featherweight bouts in North America are contested at 145lbs. This will mark the first fight at featherweight for Norway's Joachim "Hellboy" Hansen who has built up an impressive career resume at lightweight. It's possible he feels that a move to the lower weight class will allow him to impose himself physically on smaller opponents, but perhaps Hansen has also finally had enough of butting heads with his greatest DREAM rival at lightweight, Shinya Aoki (23-4, #2 LW).

A win over Hansen would easily be the most significant of Bibiano Fernandes' MMA career, which makes the now-official DREAM.13 event on March, 22nd a can't-miss event for B.C. MMA fans.

Another Classic Robbie Lawler Interview



Nobody in MMA makes the simple act of answering questions look so uncomfortable as "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler (16-5). It isn't that Robbie downright rude, okay maybe just a little, it's more the sense you get that he would rather fight the interviewer right there on the spot than have to answer another question. In a way, it is actually kind of endearing, but there's no point trying to describe it.

If you haven't witnessed the train wreck that is a Lawler interview, you're better off just to see one for yourself. The unfortunate victim here is Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Predictions for "Strikeforce: Miami"


It has been an unusually long stretch of time since the last major MMA card, Ultimate Fight Night 20: Maynard vs. Diaz, went down on Monday, January 11th. As a result, my prediction record has remained frozen at 142-81 (%63.7) overall, and 18-6 (%75) in main events, but that will finally change after Saturday's Strikeforce: Miami at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla.

Unfortunately, most Canadians will be unable to watch the fights live because Strikeforce's main broadcast partner, Showtime Sports, is available exclusively in the USA. Technically, Strikeforce: Miami can be seen in Canada on the premium cable station SuperChannel, but the vast majority of Canadians do not receive that either.

The card itself has been widely criticized both for featuring too many unevenly matched fights and for prominently showcasing all-time football great Herschel Walker in his MMA debut. That said, the card also features two world-title matches and a slew of quality fighters in meaningful bouts.

Ranked fighters include:

USA TODAY/SBN Poll Rankings:
Marius Zaromskis (#12 WW), Jay Hieron (#13 WW), Nick Diaz (#15 WW), Melvin Manhoef (#17 MW), Robbie Lawler (#10 MW)

Unified Women's Rankings:

Christiane Santos (#1 FW), Marloes Coenen (#2 FW)

On to the picks...

Main event:

170 lbs.: Nick Diaz (-260, 20-7) vs. Marius "The Raging Demon" Zaromskis (+200, 13-3) [For Vacant Strikeforce Welterweight Title]

Any MMA fans unfamiliar with Marius "The Raging Demon" Zaromskis are in for a rare treat this Saturday. Not only does he love to exchange strikes, but his signature finishing move is MMA's equivalent to the grand-slam home run: the head kick. A London-based fighter, by way of Lithuania, Zaromskis has scored (T)KO's in over %75 of his career victories and has finished each of his last three consecutive fights, all of which occurred in Japan's DREAM promotion, via head-kick KO.

Clearly, Zaromskis has a formidable skill-set, but it is not one that is likely to produce favourable results against Nick Diaz. The Stockton, CA native, Diaz, has a style that poses significant challenges particularly for a power-striker like Zaromskis. For one thing, Nick excels at using his lanky limbs to land a high-volume of medium-strength punches that, taken cumulatively, can do serious damage. Dealing with Diaz' patented pawing-barrage technique, should make it difficult for the more-compact Zaromskis to set up his own strikes. On top of that, Diaz has a stalwart chin, meaning he can probably absorb a head-kick or two, even from "The Raging Demon." Supposing Nick is really getting the worst of the stand-up, which I doubt will happen, he conveniently possesses the much more advanced grappling skills, holding a BJJ black belt under Cesar Gracie.

Zaromskis could certainly land a head-kick, or another cinematic power shot, to put Nick Diaz away and claim the Strikeforce title, which he would then add to the DREAM welterweight belt that he already owns. However, it is too risky to predict a win by "puncher's chance" when the opponent in question is as well-rounded and accomplished as Nick Diaz. I predict that, after a wildly entertaining start, Diaz will begin dictating the pace of the stand-up. Eventually, he could even wear Zaromskis down to score a TKO.

Even at -260, I believe there is some value in a cash bet on Diaz.

Diaz by TKO, Rd. 4


Main card (Televised):

145 lbs.: Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos (-500, 8-1) vs. Marloes Coenen (+325, 17-3) [For Santos' Strikeforce Women's Featherweight Title]

This is one of the night's most obvious mismatches, but Strikeforce actually deserves a pass here because no woman in the world right now at 145lbs. poses a credible threat to Cris "Cyborg" Santos. Her style is reminiscent of Wanderlei Silva (32-10-1)'s circa 2001-2004 when he went on a 12-0-1 tear through PRIDE with 11 (T)KO's. Relative to her division, "Cyborg" hits that hard. I could go on about how The Netherlands' Marloes Coenen also exhibits elite striking, or bring up her impressive twelve career submissions, but, at the end of the day, Coenen is lucky if she packs even half as much power as Santos, who, being a Brazilian professional fighter, is doubtless no slouch on the ground herself.

Santos wins via a brutal, first-round smashing to retain the belt and move one fight closer to cleaning out the division's legit contenders, with only Erin Toughill (10-2-1) left standing in the way. That said, I would not suggest a bet on this fight, unless you enjoy laying down serious amounts of money on prohibitive favourites.

Santos by KO, Rd. 1


265 lbs.: Bobby Lashley (-1100, 4-0) vs. Wes Sims (+600, 22-12-1)

It's a fight between Lashley, one of the world's biggest heavyweight prospects who parlayed his pro-wrestling fame into a budding MMA career, and Wes Sims, one of the biggest heavyweight goofballs who parlayed a trio of UFC loses into a gig as a professional journeyman.

Most see this fight as a farcical mismatch, and I am generally inclined to agree, but, given Wes Sims' significant edge in experience, plus his impressive stoppage ratio of over %90 in wins, a flier bet on Wes almost, kinda, nearly makes sense at these insane odds.

Lashley by TKO, Rd. 1



185 lbs.: Melvin Manhoef (-200, 24-6-1) vs. Robbie Lawler (+160, 16-5)

"Ruthless" Robbie Lawler, who has fought in the UFC, IFL, EliteXC and now calls Strikeforce home, is a known commodity to North American MMA fans. His friendship with welterweight icon Matt Hughes and propensity to swing leather have been well publicized. Many may be unfamiliar, however, with his opponent, Dutch striking sensation "Marvelous" Melvin Manhoef, who has competed almost exclusively in Japan's K-1 and DREAM promotions since leaving the European scene behind in 2006.

Both are among the middleweight division's most devastating strikers, with a combined 36 (T)KO's in their 40 career wins. It is, therefore, very unlikely that this fight will go the distance. Robbie Lawler should have significantly better wrestling and would be wise to utilize it because Manhoef has never been considered a threat on the ground. Chances are, though, that Lawler will elect to stand as he often does. As for who will knock out who assuming this fight becomes a straight-up kickboxing match, I would take Manhoef whose wider array of strikes, superior hand-speed, and elite explosiveness should allow him to "swarm and destroy."

Realistically, anything can happen in this fight. Your betting money is probably better spent elsewhere.

Manhoef by KO, Rd. 2


205 lbs.: Herschel Walker (-325, 0-0) vs. Greg Nagy (+250, 1-1)

The debate as to whether debuting former NFL great Herschel Walker deserves a spot on the main card at Strikeforce: Miami will rage on until the fight starts. Once it does, it will finally be up to the forty-seven-year-old Walker to prove his doubters wrong. That seems likely both because Herschel's world-renowned coaches at American Kickboxing Academy seem beyond-confident in his skills, and because there is no reason to think Strikeforce would select a debut opponent that Walker could not easily defeat. When you consider that Walker is known as an incredibly gifted natural athlete and has studied martial arts for most of his life, it becomes pretty tough to pick the completely unheralded Greg Nagy here.

Nagy has commented in the media that he will win because he has been training MMA longer than Walker. While he clearly does have more MMA experience to draw on, odds are that experience alone will not be enough to secure him the victory.

Some have argued the opposite, but I believe Walker-to-win is the most advisable wager here, even at these low-paying odds.

Herschel Walker by Unanimous Decision


Under card (May not be broadcast):

170 lbs.: Jay "The Thoroughbred" Hieron (-350, 18-4) vs.
Joe "Deisel" Riggs
(+275, 32-10)

Many MMA fans felt that Hieron vs Riggs was deserving of a main card slot and were initially upset that it would not be televised. Luckily, EA Sports.com has stepped-up to broadcast the fight live via free online stream (Sat., Jan. 30th) at 6:05 pm/PST (9:05 pm/EST).

The fight is between well-rounded Jay Hieron, best known for terrorizing the IFL, and Joe Riggs whose long and storied MMA career is most notable for a 4-4 run with the UFC. Both fighters are riding considerable winning streaks, which means each should be full of confidence come fight night. Rumour has it that the winner of this bout will face the newly-crowned Strikeforce welterweight champion-- namely, whoever wins the night's main event.

Joe Riggs has some slick submissions and likely hits harder, but Jay Hieron has superior conditioning and more technical wrestling. I believe this is an extremely close match, but that Hieron will be much better prepared for a fight of this magnitude because he has consistently faced better competition in recent years. Besides that, Hieron, who currently trains at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, has access to a much deeper roster of potential sparring partners than Riggs does at Elite Performance.

This fight should be a fair amount closer than these lines suggest, making a wager on Riggs the most reasonable course of betting action, or perhaps a non-bet if you are convinced Hieron will edge it out.

Hieron by Unanimous Decision

UFC Officially Announces Outdoor Venue For Abu Dhabi Event, April 10th


The UFC has officially announced that their upcoming event in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. will take place in a semi-enclosed outdoor arena. The venue has played host to major concerts in the past featuring acts like Aerosmith and Beyonce Knowles. The venue is part of Ferrari World [pictured left], the world's largest indoor theme park, which features a race track as well as the stadium in which UFC 112 will take place.

The event will feature two UFC world title fights, specifically middleweight champion Anderson Silva (25-4) vs. Vitor Belfort (19-8) and lightweight champion BJ Penn (15-5-1) vs. Frankie Edgar (11-1). Former, longtime welterweight champion Matt Hughes (43-7) will also appear on the card against Renzo Gracie (13-6-1) who considers Abu Dhabi a sort of second home.

The co-promoters of the show will be Flash Entertainment, the UFC's new business partners and %10 stake-holders in their parent company Zuffa. Flash is also a minority owner of Ferrari, which explains why they saw the need to build the world's only theme park based on that brand.

UFC 112 would already have been seen a major breakthrough for the UFC considering it is their first card in the Middle East, but this unique outdoor venue, which is said to hold upwards of 30,000 spectators, should make the night even more memorable for all the fighters involved.

Full rumoured card for UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, April 10th:
  • Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort (for Middleweight Title)
  • B.J. Penn vs. Frankie Edgar (for Lightweight Title)
  • Matt Hughes vs. Renzo Gracie
  • Kendall Grove vs. Mark Munoz
  • Rafael dos Anjos vs. Terry Etim
  • DaMarques Johnson vs. TBA

Rory MacDonald vs. Carlos Condit Likely For UFC 115 In Vancouver


Pretty much as soon as B.C.'s very own Rory MacDonald (10-0) finished dismantling Mike "The Joker" Guymon (11-3-1) via first-round armbar at Ultimate Fight Night 20 on January 11th, the speculation began about who "The Waterboy" would fight on the UFC's debut card in Vancouver. This morning, MMAMania.com claims to have the answer as they are reporting that Rory is likely to fight Carlos "The Natural Born Killer" Condit (24-5) at UFC 115, tentatively set for June, 12th.

Most Canadian MMA fans are already familiar with MacDonald's impressive resume, which includes ten finishes in as many fights, two KOTC title wins-- including a lightweight world title, and one octagon win, all by the tender age of twenty. MacDonald, who now fights at welterweight, is undeniably a stud with very few limits on his future in the sport of MMA. A bout against a fighter as accomplished as Condit would be, by far, the toughest test of Rory's career, but also a great way to demonstrate for fans where he really stands in the UFC's welterweight division. Furthermore, it would almost guarantee Rory a spot on the televised main card at UFC 115. For the longtime student at Kelowna's Toshido Martial Arts, that would be a dream come true.

Carlos Condit began his MMA career in 2002, but has already fought a virtual who's who of the MMA landscape. Like MacDonald, Condit began fighting as a professional while still in his teens and enjoyed immediate success. He won thirteen of his first fourteen fights with his only loss coming to well-respected Carlo Prater (24-7-1). Condit would later avenge that loss and dropped only three bouts in his second fourteen en route to earning a berth in the UFC.

At the time he entered the octagon, Condit was considered a serious threat to almost anyone in the division, having just successfully defended the WEC welterweight belt three consecutive times. He was matched with Martin "The Hitman" Kampmann (16-3) in a main event at April, 2009's Ultimate Fight Night 18, where Condit lost by split-decision. Despite clearly dropping the first round, Condit most recently scored a split-decision win of his own over another tough youngster in Jake Ellenburger (25-5) at Ultimate Fight Night 19.

A resident of New Mexico by birth, Condit currently trains at Jackson's Submission Fighting in Carlos' hometown of Albuquerque. His cage-name, "The Natural Born Killer," is fitting since he has scored finishes in all of his twenty-four career victories, except the last one, for a finishing rate of over %95 in wins. With a near even split between submissions and (T)KOs, Condit is a threat everywhere the fight might go.

Of course, Rory MacDonald is a finisher as well, and will look to make an enormous statement with a decisive win in this fight. The entire crowd at GM Place will be behind Rory, which certainly won't hurt his chances of announcing his arrival as the newest contender at 170lbs.

From the B.C. MMA Fan Vault: B.C. Bio Interview With Rory MacDonald

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Forrest Griffin vs. "Lil' Nog" Nearly Set for UFC 113 in Montreal

According to Tatame.com, a light-heavyweight showdown is nearly set between former UFC champion Forrest Griffin (17-6) and longtime PRIDE fighter Antonio Rogerio "Minotoro" Nogueira (18-3).

"Lil' Nog" had this to say:
"It’s almost set, we’re negotiating, but it’s not 100% yet. It’s not confirmed by the UFC yet."
"Minotoro" is, of course, fresh off of a first-round TKO victory over fellow Brazilian Luiz Cane (10-2) at UFC 106, which was also the slighter Nogueira brother's UFC debut. On that same night, Forrest won the main event fight by split-decision in his hard-fought rematch against Tito Ortiz (15-7-1).

If confirmed, the fight would join a card that is stacked full of great matches at UFC 113 in Montreal on May 8th. The card will be headlined by perhaps the most anticipated fight of 2010-- Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio Rua II. Even in the absence of their local hero Georges St-Pierre (19-2), Montreal fans appear to be in for another great show on May 8th.

Complete rumoured card for UFC 113:
  • Champ Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (for Light Heavyweight Title)
  • Paul Daley vs. Josh Koscheck
  • Forrest Griffin vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
  • Marcus Davis vs. Jonathan Goulet
  • Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson vs. Matt Mitrione
  • Alan Belcher vs. Patrick Cote
  • Jeremy Stephens vs. Sam Stout
  • T.J. Grant vs. Johny Hendricks

B.C.'s Kang To Face Vernon "Tiger" White In Main Event At "W-1: Bad Blood" -- March 20th


Yesterday morning (Jan. 25th), the news broke that B.C.'s Denis Kang (32-12-1) had signed a two-fight deal with Toronto-based W-1 promotion. It was rumoured that Kang would make his debut with them as early as their upcoming "Bad Blood" show. Today, MMACanada.net is reporting that Kang will indeed fight on that card, which is set for the Pierre Charbonneau Centre in Montreal, Quebec Canada on Saturday March 20th, 2010.

Not only that, it has also been confirmed that Kang's opponent for that show will be Vernon "Tiger" White (26-33-2 [pictures above])-- a fighter who is almost as well-travelled as he is widely respected in the fight game. Vernon is well known for suffering a KO at the hands of Chuck Liddell (21-7)at UFC 49 in mid-2004, but he has fought regularly since that time against some of the biggest names in the business, compiling a record of 6-7 in a variety of promotions.

This will, by no means, be an easy fight for Denis Kang because White's years of experience mean there is nothing Kang can do that "Tiger" hasn't seen before. Still, it is certainly a winnable fight for one of B.C.'s brightest MMA stars and just the sort of win that could start Denis Kang on the road back to the octagon.

Press Release: For Travis Galbraith, 2010 will be the year of "The Gladiator"


MFC Staff

On February 26 Travis "The Gladiator" Galbraith will be aiming to put an exclamation mark on his performance against the heavy hitting Tom "Kong"

Watson in Edmonton, Alberta, as the twenty-seven year old middleweight submission specialist promises that his upcoming "MFC 24: HeatXC" bout will mark a new beginning for the fighter who has already proven himself against many of the best athletes the game has to offer.

In a sport that is currently seeing an invasion of top level athletes making the transition with tremendous success, Galbraith admits to being cut from a distinctly different cloth in regards to how he came about strangling grown men for a living. When asked what type of previous combat sport related experience he had before making the decision to fight for a living - wrestling, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, karate, Tae-Bo, anything - the self described "lost boy" wore his disadvantaged upbringing as a badge, stating, "Nothing (laughs). I came from a straight nothing background. It was all street fights. That's where it all started for me.

"I was in and out of trouble my whole life. I was brought up in the system.

Youth detention centers were my thing. All the way until I was eighteen. It was just a lack of parents. They just did their own thing. For someone that had nothing to begin with, fighting seemed like the thing to do. I just knew I needed to apply myself to it. I was lucky that I didn't have to pay for my training in the beginning. All I had was myself."

Refusing to allow his troubled childhood stand in the way of his dreams to make something out of himself, Travis threw himself headfirst into the beautifully brutal world of mixed martial arts and quickly discovered he had a penchant for forcing grown men to cry uncle, finishing eight of his first twelve victories via submission, and at one point choking the life from a trio of consecutive victims to establish himself as one of the most dangerous ground fighters in the business.

After suffering a defeat at the hands of the Black House trained Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante in 2008, Travis went on to string together a pair of impressive victories and looked to have all of the momentum in the world on his side, and that's when the bottom dropped out.

"In my last fight with David Heath I detached a tendon on my left thumb,"

revealed Galbraith. "I couldn't tell you when it happened. I noticed as soon as the first round was over. I was like, 'F***, I can't open my hand up'.

After that happened all of my takedowns and everything else I had been planning went right out the window and I decided to stand and bang with him."

While a torn tendon in the thumb is undoubtedly a set back for any man that chooses to fight as a profession, it shouldn't have been any more than a six month layoff at the very most. But as the saying goes, "Bad things come in pairs".

"I started back training about four months ago following that injury and my first week back I ended up breaking my right thumb on the top of my sparring partner's head," said Galbraith. "It was just one of those things. It was just brutal. I couldn't believe it had happened again, and to the other hand to make it even worse. I had pins in it and I started training with my conditioning coach only, and this is still with a cast on. I was actually able to begin light sparring and hitting the bag about a month and a half ago."

Many could have viewed the unlikely case of reoccurring injuries as a sign to hang them up. To get out of the game. However, with Travis being the "Gladiator" he is, there was no other way to take the break than a breath of fresh air. Something that needed to happen.

"This time off has really served to put my priorities right in line,"

admitted Travis. "I don't know what it is, but it's like a cosmic alignment and everything just seems to be coming together now."

According to Galbraith, this recent cosmic aligning is all going to culminate on February 26 as the Edmonton raised fighter promises to make an example out of "Kong" Watson on his way to establishing himself as one of MFC's premier middleweights.

"I know Tom is to bring a lot of stand up, but it's nothing I haven't seen up until now," said Galbraith. "He won't be able to out-Jits me, and he's not going to be able to out-wrestle me."

Just because Travis is known as a submission artist and Watson is viewed as a banger, don't expect for Galbraith to shy away from the stand up for one moment.

"I'm completely confident that I can hang with Tom on the feet if that's where the fight ends up," said the PRIDE FC veteran. "I feel very confident about my stand up. If he wants to keep it on the feet, it doesn't matter.

Wherever the fight goes I'm going to take it to him.

"I don't feel like I have any major holes in my game anymore, but before I was never a really big stand up guy, and since I've been able to train full time I've done more stand up training than anything else. I've turned my weakness into my strength."

While Galbraith promises a reborn and revitalized fighter in 2010 beginning at "MFC 24: HeatXC", the constantly developing twenty-three fight veteran is just fine with taking his time, and doing things the right way this time around.

"Honestly, I'm in no rush for anything right now," said Galbraith. "I'll take any fight that comes along. I've held belts for other organizations in the past and you take on a lot of responsibility when you capture that belt.

Having that strap puts a huge target right on your back. If a title fight comes up down the line, then so be it, but I have no immediate plans for that. I'm not looking past Tom Watson. I'm just getting my feet wet again right now, but if the belt comes up sometime soon, then for sure I'll go after it.

"I'm still learning. There's still so much to learn in this game. I'm just hoping to continue to grow and develop. I'm still a work in progress. I don't think I'll ever stop being a work in progress.

"2010 is going to a breakthrough year for me is because I'm able to actually train full time now. Before I was always working a full time job and trying to work full time training into it. Luckily I got some sponsorships that are going to help me with that so I can apply the attention to the areas that I need work on as a full time job. It's really been helping me to fill in the holes I had in my game. That's why this is going to be the year."

Karo Parisyan Criticizes His Fighter's Mental Weakness?



I believe there is a cliche about dark coloured cookware that applies here, but what really makes this video so great is how sincerely Karo Parisyan (18-5) imparts his "wisdom" on the mental side of MMA. Karo, of course, is universally known as the biggest head-case in the game. He has pulled out of his last two consecutive fights due to panic-attacks and was cut by the UFC as a result.

Almost better than that are the clips of Karo going berserk at cage-side as his fighter goes down, while everybody else in his vicinity tries to calm Parisyan down. Maybe Karo should work on controlling his wild temper a bit before making more bold commitments to return to glory like he does at the end of this video.

Don't get me wrong, Karo is a talented fighter, but he really brings criticism on himself when he acts like this. I mean, if you sensed Karo was ever in on the joke it would be one thing-- but, no, he really feels qualified to rip into this poor kid, which is plain hilarious...and just a little bit sad.

Monday, January 25, 2010

B.C.'s Bibiano Fernandes Likely To Defend His Featherweight Title Against Joachim Hansen at DREAM 13


FiveOuncesOfPain.com is reporting today that B.C.-trained, Brazilian fighter and DREAM's featherweight champion, Bibiano "The Flash" Fernandes (7-2 [pictured left]) will put his world title on the line at DREAM 13. Fernandes trains with Langley, B.C.'s Revolution Fight Team. The challenger for the belt is rumored to be hard-hitting Norwegian Joachim "Hellboy" Hansen (19-8-1).

Despite winning the DREAM featherweight tournament which ran between March and October of 2009, Bibiano Fernandes is still a relative unknown to the majority of MMA fans. To come out on top of the field of sixteen world-class fighters, Fernandes first defeated Takafumi Otsuka (9-4-1) and Masakazu Iminari (18-7-2) in the early rounds to qualify for the Featherweight Grand Priz 2009 Finals at DREAM 11. Fernendes, who had been overlooked by many from the start, was not a favourite to win it all that night, but that didn't stop him form slapping an armbar on Joe Warren (2-1) or defeating Hiroyuki Takaya (12-8-1) by split-decision to claim the vacant DREAM featherweight title (139lbs. in Japan). Though he still has much more to prove, Bibiano Fernandes' performance at DREAM 11 forced the MMA world to take notice of his well-rounded skill-set and amazing submissions ability.

His rumoured opponent, Jaochim Hansen is much better known to MMA fans for a variety of memorable career moments, not the least of which were contained in his thrilling three-fight series against the world's #2 ranked lightweight, Japan's Shinya Aoki (23-4). Hansen was submitted by Aoki in the dying second of their third fight, giving Aoki the 2-1 edge in the series and apparently causing Hansen to consider dropping weight to 139lbs. to hunt for Fernendes' title.

Interestingly, Hansen vs. Aoki III took place on the very same night that Fernandes won his world title, on October 6th, 2009 at DREAM 11.

***DREAM is currently Japan's premier MMA promotion and is the spiritual successor to the widely beloved PRIDE Fighting Championships. So far, the company has yet to officially confirmed this fight and, for that matter, have not released a firm date for their thirteenth show.