Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Since Halloween is my favorite holiday and it always bothers me when people make poor costume choices, I decided to come up with some ideas for the MMA universe.

Matt Hamill - a fighter
Dana White - wear a wig and be "Dana White circa 1988"
Anderson Silva - a giant hot dog
Joe Rogan - shave his beard, put on a suit, and be Ari Gold
Michael Bisping - Peter Venkman from Ghostbusters
Rich Franklin - Lloyd Christmas
Frankie Edgar - a Gotti boy
Houston Alexander - Beldar Conehead
Kenny Florian - Don Flamenco from "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out"
Brandon Vera - a giant sleeping pill

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Big Loss for CBS

CBS has posted a $12.5 billion loss in the 3rd Quarter. One of the factors contributing to the loss was a decrease in advertising revenue. Any one who watched the final EliteXC event got a first hand view of it every time they went to commercial. The breaks featured more Affliction ads (at a discounted rate) than any thing else. It was clear the ad space for the event did not sell too well. Some think the stagnant ad sales and today's reported $12.5 billion loss could signal the end of the network's MMA experiment. I happen to disagree. I think poor ad sales were caused by the terrible ratings for the second show. The enthusiasm for another MMA event was not present and it killed most of the ad space. With the increased viewership of the third event, it gives CBS a chance to gain back the trust of the advertisers, and move forward in their relationship with Mixed Martial Arts.

It has been reported that CBS took possession of EliteXC's fighter contracts to compensate for a loan that ProElite never paid back. All the details have not been worked out, but it would seem CBS would do one of two things. They could decide to hold onto the contracts or sell them off to the highest bidders. If they hold onto them, CBS will be looking for another promotion to work with. Basically they need a name to stage MMA events. This is where Affliction comes in. CBS hands the contracts over to Affliction in exchange for their promotional brand. This would essentially make CBS the bank for Affliction's televised events. CBS already financed the final EliteXC show, so it's not as far fetched as it seems.

Despite EliteXC's financial troubles, the shows brought in solid ratings 2 out of 3 times. CBS sees the potential in MMA, it's simply a matter of finding a working business model. After the trouble EliteXC had, it would be logical for the network to want to remain in control of certain elements. This keeps the promotion safe from taking any big financial hits and possibly going under. The downside for a company like Affliction is they see less profits. CBS is the one risking the most and they will see the big money (advertising) if things work out well.

The reason Affliction would go this route is simple. MMA events on TV are not their money maker. They intend to make their cash from PPVs. Agreeing to a deal with CBS would allow them to advertise their product (MMA and clothing) on network TV, while still raking in money from PPVs. At the same time it shields Affliction from most of the risk. They do not have to worry about losing a ton of money if tickets for a televised show do not sell. Obviously it is in their interest for it to be a sell-out and do terrific ratings, but if by some chance things go sour, Affliction is not on the hook. The only thing Affliction takes on is the added expense of the former EliteXC fighters they decided to keep. These extra fighters would be needed to fill out the additional 3-5 televised cards during the year. Affliction is no stranger to partnering with others and spreading out the risk. In a time of economic uncertainty, their cautious business model is exactly what CBS needs.

Kimbo to Japan?

I will begin this by saying I cannot confirm the news. From the people I have talked with, Kimbo's future remains unclear. He still plans on fighting and being a big star, but nothing other than that has been worked out. However, a line in the Sun Sentinel claims Slice could fight for DREAM on December 31 in Japan. It might even be a rematch with Seth Petruzelli.

It could be a writer taking a bit of a leap or maybe Sharon Robb actually has a credible source. It remains to be seen how this one plays out. As of right now, I am a little suspicious of Miss Robb.

Ultimate Fighter

Is any one else getting tired of seeing the results for Ultimate Fighter episodes plastered on the front page of every MMA site in existence? In this era of DVRs and Tivo, you'd think it might occur to these idiots that a lot of people do not watch The Ultimate Fighter religiously. I'm fine with sites talking about them when some thing interesting happens, but not after every friggin episode. Give the people who have lives (or a busy TV schedule) a break and stop ruining the outcomes. If you're that pressed for content, at least put up an ambiguous title like, "Ultimate Fighter 9 Recap".

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

10/29/08 News

  • Cro Cop vs Overeem II set for Dec. 31 in Japan.
  • Murilo "Ninja" Rua might be turning Japanese.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Franklin on Franklin

For weeks it has been rumored that the winner of Rich Franklin vs Dan Henderson would be the U.S. Coach for The Ultimate Fighter 9. Rich Franklin has heard the rumors, but according to him they are not true. The UFC has not approached him with an offer to coach and they did not include a stipulation in his fight contract with Dan Henderson that the winner would become the coach.

When the fight between Franklin and Henderson was announced, there was initial confusion because Franklin had recently began his second-life as a Light Heavyweight, while Henderson was hoping to avenge his loss to Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. Putting these two in a fight seemed counterproductive for the UFC. Then reports surfaced that the winner of the fight would be the U.S. coach for season 9 of The Ultimate Fighter. Well, this made even less sense because the UK coach was Michael Bisping. Why would Rich Franklin care about fighting Bisping, who is now firmly entrenched as a Middleweight?

Franklin's comments clear up a bit of the confusion. The fight with Henderson appears to be a one-off. They will fight to see who is the better man. A Franklin win would put him one step closer to title contention at 205 lbs. A Henderson win will set the stage for a stint on The Ultimate Fighter 9 as the coach of the U.S. team. He will likely be the coach win or lose, but a win would allow the UFC to market the season a lot better.

Got all that?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

UFC 90 Final Thoughts

Time to wrap up another big event with my final thoughts.
  • I watched the Silva/Cote fight again and think it should be required that every MMA commentator watch it twice before they open their mouths. Silva was more active than you think. In fact, he landed some strikes that would have put away a lesser opponent. Cote was rocked with two knees to the head, a big left, and some solid knees to the body. I'm sure Rich Franklin had flashbacks when he saw those things land. After each of those blows, Cote rebounded and did not allow Silva to land any follow-up strikes. The story of the fight was Cote's ability to take Silva's heavy shots without going down.
  • 15,359 attended the event and the live gate was $2.85 million. In comparison, UFC 88 featuring Liddell vs Evans did $2.6 million with 14,736 attending. UFC 87 with St-Pierre/Fitch and Lesnar/Herring did $2.2 million with 15,082. For the UFC, it is a good sign they were still able to draw a large paying crowd with the way the economy has tanked. Although, we will not get a real idea of the economic impact until we see the PPV buys and the live gates from future events, since most of the tickets for the Chicago show were purchased before Wall Street went haywire. One thing I noticed last night was they were still hawking tickets for UFC 91. That's an awful sign.
  • Cote initially messed up the knee at 2:27 of the 2nd Round. He threw a lunging right hook and landed awkwardly on his right foot. Credit to Goldberg for mentioning it repeatedly. Rogan was oblivious to it.
  • Thiago Alves became a star last night. Hopefully he doesn't do any thing stupid and gets a title shot in the near future. I did not think any Welterweight could defend GSP's takedowns, but Alves changed my opinion. He got through three rounds with Koscheck and never went down. If he can take out St-Pierre's legs with kicks, he has a chance to win.
  • My picks went 5-2 and I called two fights exactly how they'd end (Maynard/Clementi and Alves/Koscheck). The notable loss was the Werdum mishap. Oh well, I can live with 5-2.

Lay Off Silva

I went to bed last night thinking, "That was an odd fight." After reading some MMA sites today, I'm thinking, "These people are odd."

Somehow Anderson Silva's TKO victory over Patrick Cote has become a study in body language and intent. We have Steve Cofield of Yahoo, who thinks Silva was disrespectful when he bowed to Cote following the 1st Round. Whaaaaat?

Since when is a bow a sign of disrespect?

The only disrespect is from people like Josh Gross who write, "For the first time in his UFC career, Silva, 33, was pushed past the second round -- and that had little to do with his opponent." Yes, Cote had little to do with it. He wasn't the one getting hit with laser kicks and knees to the body. The same kicks and knees that obliterated Rich Franklin and so many others. Like it or not, Cote had more to do with Silva's performance last night than most want to admit.

For whatever reasons, Silva never felt comfortable in the cage. Cote deserves credit for taking Silva out of his usual mindset. He did some thing during those two rounds that confused Silva and made him gun shy. Don't take that away from him just because your expectations were not met.

When Rashad Evans spent the 1st Round doing nothing on way to a 2nd Round knockout of Chuck Liddell, he and his trainer Greg Jackson were declared geniuses. When Anderson Silva spends two rounds being cautious and letting the fight develop, he's a showboating jerk. For all we know, Silva might have been setting up the brutal knockout we all wanted to see. And for that, he's a jerk. I'm glad I'm not a fighter. You people are idiots.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

UFC 90 Live Results

-Live Blog has started

UFC 90 Preview and Predictions

Preliminary Fight Results
Pete Sell vs Josh Burkman
-Sell Wins by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Marcus Aurelio vs Hermes Franca
-Franca Wins by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Matt Horwich vs Dan Miller
-Dan Miller Wins by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Spencer Fisher vs Shannon Gugerty
-Fisher Wins by 3rd Round Submission (Triangle)
Thales Leites vs Drew McFedries
-Leites Wins by 1st Round Submission (Rear Naked)

-All right, the preliminary portion of the show is finally over. It was very forgettable. Fans were booing most of the time.

-Goldberg and Rogan doing the usual pre-show circle jerk.

-Honestly, how big of a loser do you have to be to text in a vote for a poll on TV?

-They have already mentioned once that Junior Dos Santos trains with Nogueira. I'm setting the over/under at 6 mentions.

Tyson Griffin vs Sean Sherk
-I used to think it was cool when Griffin came out to "Eye of the Tiger". Now I'm not so sure. It would be a lot cooler if Randy Couture used it. He should just steal it. It's not like any one would care.
-Buffer used some strange creole accent and said "Tyson Griffffffonnnn!"

Round 1
Early exchange with both throwing. Griffin might have connected with 1-2. Sherk ties him up and takes him down. Quickly gets his back, as both are standing. Griffin walks across the cage to his corner then shakes him off. After another brief stand-up exchange, Sherk drives him into the cage. Back to the center and a hard right lands for Griffin. Nice uppercut by Sherk. Griffin answers with a leg kick, but Sherk responds with one of his own. Griffin misses a head kick and quickly throws a straight punch that lands flush. Quick combo of punches for Sherk. Griffin shoots and misses. Sherk holds his head down and spins to his back. Griffin spins out again and back to stand-up. Good uppercut by Griffin. Left hook connects for Griffin and Sherk responds with an uppercut.
Sherk 10-9

Round 2
Griffin lands a body kick. Jabs landing for Griffin. Sherk countering nicely. Lands a heavy knee to the head. Right-Left combo for Griffin. A right lands for Sherk. Back and forth shots early on. Griffin begins to take control. He lands two big leg kicks. Punches landing at will for Griffin. Sherk keeps getting hit with jabs. Now Griffin is following them up with other punches. Griffin is tired out. Sherk coming back and connecting. He lands a big combo out of a clinch. A huge left catches Sherk. They are both taking punishment.
Griffin 10-9

Round 3
Griffin comes out and hits him with two solid rights that stagger Sherk. He comes in for the kill, but Sherk wasn't as hurt as he seemed. He counters nicely. Some knees to the body and head of Griffin from the clinch. Griffin comes back with more shots that are now getting through a lot easier. Another heavy leg kick lands for Griffin. Uppercuts and left counters landing for Griffin. Sherk answers with a left hook. Leg kick for Griffin and follows it up with a right. Griffin has pounded him with leg kicks this round. Neither has controlled things. Both come forward at times. Sherk throwing combos again. They are both throwing big at the end, but nothing landing too flush.
Griffin 10-9
Sean Sherk Wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

-Excellent fight. I don't agree with the decision, but I could see how it could have been 2 rounds to 1 Sherk. The 3rd Round was a toss-up and depended on how you scored Griffin's leg kicks, which to me were the difference. Plus, he rocked him to start the round. As usual, one judge must have been smoking opium before the fight because there is no way in hell Sherk won all three rounds.

-Griffin missed 4-5 head kicks where he actually kicked over Sherk's head. It was amazing. I bet Griffin could kick himself in the head, if he was drunk and bored enough.

Fabricio Werdum vs Junior Dos Santos
-2 more Nogueira training mentions.
-Dos Santos has only been doing jiu-jitsu since 2005.

Round 1
Slow start. Not much happening. Werdum walks right into an uppercut and the fight is over.
Junior Dos Santos Wins by 1st Round KO

-Okay, I was wrong. Werdum sucks. I don't know what I was thinking. He walked right into it. He put his head down and literally moved toward the punch. Looked like his nose caught the worst of it. Five minutes after it ended, it was still gushing blood.

-Main Card is making up for those horrible prelims.

Gray Maynard vs Rich Clementi
-Clementi definitely has his eyebrows waxed. They're ridiculous.

Round 1
Maynard dives in with a left. A right lands for Maynard. Leg kick for Clementi. Maynard shoots, but can't get a good hold of Clementi. They clinch and Maynard connects with a knee. Big takedown by Maynard. Slammed him down hard. Working from Clementi's guard. Good body shots by Maynard. Two elbows land from the top. Round closes with a series of lefts from Maynard. The first was flush.
Maynard 10-9

-"He picks his foot up, you make him fuckin' pay" - Randy Couture

Round 2
Diving right-left combo lands for Maynard and follows it with another right. Leg kick by Clementi. Gray powers him into the cage. Clementi moves out of it. Another big takedown slam for Maynard. A scramble ensues, but Maynard gets him back down. Clementi has control of Maynard's left arm. A tough spot for a second there, ends with Maynard getting his arm out. Maynard throwing light stuff from the top that is barely connecting. Rogan calls Clementi crafty for about the 14th time of the fight. Apparently, if you are old, you instantly become crafty. Maynard controlled almost the whole round from the top. He did almost no damage. He has a case of Hamillitis.
Maynard 10-9

Round 3
Takedown with a slam for Maynard. Clementi working for a kimura. Gray gets out before he can lock it in. Clementi really going for the arms in this fight. He doesn't seem to be strong enough to finish any thing. Rogan keeps yelling at the referee for telling them to work on the ground. Clementi has no answer for Maynard's wrestling and power. A knee to the body by Maynard. Clementi reverses Maynard and has his back for a brief second. It was a second of hope before Maynard countered and then threw him down yet again.
Maynard 10-9
Gray Maynard Wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

-They should never put Gray Maynard in a fight with some one who does not have great stand-up. Otherwise, you get a fight with almost no action.

-According to Maynard he wanted to strike more. That's odd because every thirty seconds he grabbed Clementi and took him down. I think it's official. He has a bad case of Hamillitis.

Thiago Alves vs Josh Koscheck
-Koscheck comes out to "Higher Ground" covered by the Chili Peppers.
-Alves goes with "Big Things Poppin".

Round 1
Left lands for Alves. Koscheck gets rocked with a left hook to the ear and then a series of other shots. He goes down and Alves is on top throwing short punches. Koscheck gets up and moves away. Alves giving chase, but can't land the final shot to put it away. It looks like he is back to normal now. He's starting to throw and Alves has backed away. The right is landing for Koscheck. Alves goes with a jab and leg kick that connects. Koscheck goes for a takedown and spends thirty seconds working for it. Alves defends it perfectly and escapes without going down. Leg kick lands for Alves.
Alves 10-9

Round 2
Koscheck misses a big uppercut and gets caught with a counter. Alves landing the jab now. More leg kicks from Alves. A big right almost catches Alves. Barely missed. Koscheck dives in with a knee to the body then drives him into the cage. Leg kick by Alves lands with a thud. Koscheck lands a body kick. Alves lands a leg kick then a body kick with the other leg. Alves is landing with his left hand at will. Koscheck shoots again, but cannot take Alves down.
Alves 10-9

Round 3
Alves kicks Koscheck's leg out from under him then lands a knee to the head. Koscheck goes down and Alves is landing punches as he tries to get back up. Koscheck moving away and getting hit with lefts and rights. He's taking tons of punishment. He manages again to regain his composure. Now he's throwing back. Right hand lands for Koscheck. Alves counters with another leg kick. Alves is teeing off on the legs. He lands a right leg kick that wobbles Koscheck. He can barely even pick up his feet. Koscheck looks like he crapped his pants and is trying to walk around like nothing happened. Alves attacks and lands some more lefts. Koscheck keeps coming back and is somehow landing here and there. Alves keeps landing the leg kicks each time to end the rally.
Alves 10-9
Thiago Alves Wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

-Wow. Alves looked incredible. He never went down. Koscheck gave up trying because he knew it was worthless. Alves beat the hell out of Koscheck's legs. They both got their share of it too. Koscheck was wobbly a couple times and it wasn't because of head shots. It was the leg kicks that did it.

-Any one who said Alves beat Hughes because he was heavier was wrong. He proved his worth tonight. Koscheck is a tough opponent and Alves made him look like nothing. His takedown defense and balance was particularly shocking. It reminded me of BJ Penn. How he hops on one foot a few times to center himself. If Koscheck couldn't take him down, could GSP? I'm not sure, but I want to see it.

Patrick Cote vs Anderson Silva (MW Champion)
-According to Goldberg, Cote used to have a Tito Ortiz screen saver. Um, yeah. No way this guy wins.
-Silva comes out to DMX "No Sunshine" and is wearing a red Adidas jumpsuit. He is dancing on his way to the cage and looks supremely confident.

Round 1
An extremely slow start. Silva refusing to throw. Cote lands a leg kick. Three minutes in and nothing happening. Silva comes with a leg kick then a hard leg kick that slightly buckles Cote. A solid kick to the head by Silva. He then connects with a knee to the head. Leg kick by Silva. More dancing and showmanship by the champ. Silva ends the round with a bow towards Cote, who returns it. Cote looks happy to get through the 1st Round.
Silva 10-9

-DellaGrotte tells Cote to remain active because when there isn't any thing happening that means Silva is planning his next attack.

Round 2
Cote lands a spinning back fist. A tie-up for a little. Silva lands a leg kick. Cote goes for a takedown, but Silva moves and gets a takedown of his own. Cote throwing elbows from the bottom. Silva trying to work from the top without much luck. He stands and puts his arms on his hips. He puts his hand out to help Cote up, but he doesn't take it. Cote gets up cautiously, thinking it was a trick. Cote catches a kick and drives Silva back into the cage. He can't take him down, though. Another slow round without much action.
Silva 10-9

-DellaGrotte yelling at Cote to start going after Silva. He keeps telling him the title is there for the taking.

Round 3
Cote hopping around on his right leg with his left in the air to check any kicks from Silva. He lands awkwardly on his right and appears to blow out his knee. Fight is immediately stopped and Cote is in obvious pain.
Silva Wins by 3rd Round TKO (Injury)

-An odd fight from start to finish. Silva never seemed to warm up. He was barely throwing. Although, when he did he looked vicious. Cote was connecting on leg kicks, but that's about it. Really sucks it ended like that because it appeared like the fight was gonna get exciting when they decided to start throwing. I'm not sure if Silva was really confused by Cote. He almost seemed like he was happy to get some cage time.

-Cote said it was an old injury to the knee.

UFC 90 Preview and Predictions

Coming into this round of picks Rear Naked News stands at 36-14 with our picks. This card has a lot of tough calls, so we'll see how we do later tonight.

(Click Here for UFC 90 Live Results)

Spencer Fisher vs Shannon Gugerty
The fight looks easy to call on the surface. Most people are probably wondering why the UFC would bother matching up a known commodity like Spencer Fisher with a virtual unknown like Shannon Gugerty. This is one area the UFC has problems with. When fighters are not in the upper echelon of title contention at the moment, they tend to face some "interesting" opponents. Gugerty is not a bum at all. In fact he sports a solid ground game that could give Fisher some problems. That said, Gugerty has one fight in the UFC and probably does not deserve to face Fisher on a PPV. In the lead up to the fight, Fisher has basically said he's not worried at all about any thing Gugerty will do. He thinks the fight ends early with a knockout. I happen to agree with him. Fisher looks good and wins via TKO in the 1st Round.

Thales Leites vs Drew McFedries

This fight doesn't do much for me. Leites has the clear advantage. He will wait for a mistake and pounce on it. The only hope for McFedries, as I'm sure he is aware, is a random punch getting through early in the fight. The longer it goes, the worse his chances. I think we'll see a 2nd Round Submission win for Leites.

Tyson Griffin vs Sean Sherk

When they announced this card, this was the fight that jumped out at me. You have two of the most successful Lightweights in the sport going head to head in a bout with major ramifications. Sherk is facing the possibility of losing consecutive fights for the first time in his long career. At the age of 35, he needs this win to stay relevant. For Griffin, it is all about getting a title shot in 2009. He has himself in the perfect position. All he has to do is execute in the biggest fight of his life.

The last time Griffin ended a fight early was September of 2006. Sherk did it in September of 2005. Chances are this thing is going three rounds and it'll come down to the judges. Almost no one is picking Griffin in this fight. I'm not seeing why people seem to think Sherk is such a lock. A lot of it is probably coming from him acting like he purposely got his ass kicked against BJ Penn by choosing to keep it standing. I don't buy his excuse. He didn't lay on top of Penn for five rounds because he knew it would be extremely tiring to take him down, he could not keep him down for long, and there was a good chance he'd get caught with a submission while down there. Screw everyone else, I am picking Griffin. He will take it by Unanimous Decision.

Fabricio Werdum vs Junior Dos Santos
When did the MMA media turn into a bunch of queens? All any one can talk about is how big Dos Santos' arms are and how ripped his body looks. I haven't seen this level of gayness since Randy Couture took his balls out of Joe Rogan's mouth when he stopped commentating. Mean while, Werdum was sported a Sylvia-esque physique at the weigh-ins. However, he was only 256 lbs. That's 9 lbs over what he weighed in June for his fight with Brandon Vera. Not a huge deal, especially when you consider Dos Santos is bigger than Vera and more likely to take things to the ground.

As of now, the only things we know about Dos Santos is he trains with the Nogueira brothers, has really big muscles, looks good throwing punches at media events, and had most MMA sites stocking up on extra tissues for tonight's PPV. Werdum might not look as pretty and his wins might not be crowd pleasing, but he gets the job done. He will enforce his will in this fight and get it to the ground (where 99.9% of MMA sites wish they could be with Dos Santos). From there it's only a matter of time before the referee steps in. Werdum wins by 2nd Round TKO.

Gray Maynard vs Rich Clementi

In the fight I care the least about, we have Gray Maynard facing Rich Clementi. Maynard makes his money by frustrating fighters with his power and superior wrestling. His most impressive win came in his last fight against Frankie Edgar. Maynard proved his bullheaded wrestling style can work against a talented opponent. Edgar looked lost at times because every thing he tried was quickly negated by Maynard's power and technique. Clementi does not have the strength or wrestling ability to match Maynard in either respect. I don't think he will win this one, but he might give another fighter the template to take out Maynard. To me the fighters who will end up giving Maynard trouble are the guys who are comfortable fighting off their backs and have top notch jiu-jitsu. Clementi just doesn't have the total package to get it done. Maynard wins by Unanimous Decision.

Josh Koscheck vs Thiago Alves

When news of Diego Sanchez's injury first hit, the UFC went into overdrive to find a replacement. They could not afford to lose such a high profile fight from a card without much depth. Josh Koscheck saved the day and probably won a few fans by stepping in on short notice to fight Thiago Alves. Sanchez will have to watch from the sidelines and see another big opportunity pass him by. For pure excitement, I would rather have seen Sanchez face Alves. That said, with Koscheck in this fight, it now has the feel of a legitimate title contender match-up. The winner moves into Jon Fitch territory in the UFC Welterweight Food Chain.

Koscheck has not had much trouble imposing his will on the fighters he has faced in the UFC. Lately he has looked better and more fluid in the cage. The thing missing from his game is the ability to end fights. His stand-up is adequate. Mostly it functions to set up his takedowns, which are top notch. Alves will not be able to get through this fight without being on his back at least once. Unless Alves scores an early knockout, he will need to find a way to keep Koscheck at a distance. If he gets in close, Alves is in trouble. His Muay Thai will only work so much before Koscheck powers through and throws him down.

Alves seems like he's been around forever, but he's only 25 years old. He has fought high level competition before with bouts against Jon Fitch (loss) and Matt Hughes (win). I think he can handle the magnitude of the situation and the fact he barely had two weeks to prepare for a fighter who is nothing like his previous opponent. I'm gonna go against the grain again and pick Alves. For whatever reasons, Alves connects often with his strikes. He will hurt Koscheck early and make him reluctant to put his head down and look for takedowns. This will lead to more damage. We might even see an early end to a Koscheck fight! Okay, maybe not, but Alves will get the win with a Unanimous Decision.

Patrick Cote vs Anderson Silva (MW Champion)
It's always a treat to see Anderson Silva fight. He combines skill, technique, and killer instinct like no other fighter in the sport. So far in the UFC no one has come close to figuring out his explosive style. The problem is the angles and swiftness of his strikes is so unique that fighters never see it until they are in the cage with him. For example, it is not too hard to find training partners to mimic Patrick Cote. Silva, though, who the hell can mimic him? I've never seen any one I'd even compare to him. All right, enough gushing.

Cote comes into the fight on a five fight win streak dating back to February of 2007. He didn't really beat any one noteworthy in those fights. I was very surprised when Cote's name was being thrown around this summer as a possible opponent for Silva. It seemed like a sacrificial lamb to boost Silva's popularity before the proposed bigger fights with Liddell, St-Pierre, etc. Fast forward a few months later and I'm still of the same mindset. Cote is a tough fighter and will no doubt walk into the cage tonight confident he can take whatever Silva throws at him. Then he will get hit with straight right and think, "Oh shit." I think we are headed for another highlight finish from Silva. He will do his usual two minute dance then begin picking Cote apart. The end will almost come in Round 1, but Cote will find a way to escape. He won't be as lucky when things start back up. Silva wins by 2nd Round TKO.

UFC 90 Live Results Tonight

Click Here for Live Results

Friday, October 24, 2008

10/24/08 News

  • UFC 89 had a good ratings showing with 2.6 million viewers. Strikeforce is the big story, though. They had 1.1 million for their 30 minute Saturday night show on NBC. In 2009, the plan is for Strikeforce to do some live shows for NBC. Watch out Affliction. Your stake to the #2 spot is getting dicey.
  • More Dana White Video Blogs. In the second one, you get a glimpse into his obsessive side when he's watching the intro videos. The fact he cares enough to do some thing like that shows how much of a fan he really is. Guy has all the money in the world and could sit back and let others do all the work, instead he's watching five seconds of a video multiple times to make sure it's good enough.
  • Apparently the UFC wants their fans to slip into comas, because Matt Hamill and Reese Andy will "do battle" at UFC 92. You could substitute, "hug each other and inflict as little damage as possible for 15 minutes" in for "do battle".
  • Jon Fitch might return to action at UFC 94 on January 31. He also will be in the November 5th episode of the Mythbusters. They will be examining the coffin punch from "Kill Bill".

Marcus Davis Is Smart

I wrote this quick post about Marcus Davis on Monday. By Tuesday I had thirteen different emails from readers in agreement. That's a ton for a two paragraph post about Marcus Davis. Any way, it appears Marcus Davis has had enough of being a second class fighter and wants to step up in competition. He told UK Yahoo:
"I like Chris and think he is a great guy but I don't know whether he deserves a fight against me. People always say that Chris is the 'gatekeeper' to our division, but I think that I am past the gate at the moment. I have spoken to a few people who have told me that they actually think Paul Taylor won that fight against Chris. I beat Paul in one round (in September 2007), so I'm just not sure."
Stick to your guns, Marcus. Don't let the UFC bully you into taking another lesser opponent. As a reader named"lionit" pointed out in the previous story's comments, Chuck Liddell was 34 when he began his 7 fight win streak that made him a legend. Any thing can happen, if they just give you a chance.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

10/23/08 News

  • Affliction and the UFC hate each other, again.
  • Dana White's second and third video blogs for UFC 90. He rips the hell out of EliteXC in the first link.
  • Matt Hughes claims the UFC has told him April is when he will be fighting Matt Serra. Honestly, I didn't even care about this fight during Ultimate Fighter 4 or whenever the hell they were coaches. By the way, what was Mr. Bean doing at this wedding?

Carano/Cyborg Draw Interest

According to Tom Atencio, Affliction is interested in staging the fight between Gina Carano and Cyborg Santos. With EliteXC out of business, there is a void to be filled promoting female fighters. Affliction seems like the natural fit. Signing Carano would be a major move for them. She attracts viewers and is quickly becoming one of the most recognizable fighters in MMA. Hosting female fights would also give Affliction a way to differentiate themselves from the UFC.

In the coming weeks we will see many former EliteXC fighters looking for new homes. Affliction needs to be somewhat cautious. They do not need to sign fighters just because they are available. Their talent pool is already full for a promotion who has still not held a second event. Having extra fighters under contract serves little purpose, unless you put on enough shows to warrant it. I hope they are active, but I also hope they do not get themselves into future financial problems by spending too much money.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Affliction and CBS

Another aspect of EliteXC's demise is it leaves CBS without an MMA promotion to work with. Many people questioned whether CBS was serious about MMA programming when their deal with EliteXC began. Following the third show, which CBS funded, they spoke openly about their desire to air a fourth event with EliteXC. Without EliteXC, CBS must turn to a new promotion.

Their options are limited to the UFC, Affliction, or a minor promotion. The UFC and CBS were extremely close to a deal at one point, but Dana White got last minute jitters and decided to bail. The sticking point was control over the production of the shows. Dana White and the UFC did not want to give CBS authority to change the look and feel of their events. I find it difficult to believe this obstacle could be overcome in future negotiations.

That leaves Affliction as the likely partner for CBS. Affliction is a giant whore and will do business with just about any one who asks. There were rumors when they signed their deal with Golden Boy that it would pave the way to a future agreement with HBO. As of today, it has not happened. HBO seems content to stick with boxing and let others jump into the MMA deep end first. A deal with CBS makes too much sense not to happen. Affliction can not rely on PPVs without a television presence. They need to reach the fans who are not planning on buying their PPVs and give them a reason to change their minds.

EliteXC Is Dead

Well, it has finally happened. ProElite/EliteXC has closed up shop. The struggling promotion had lost upwards of $55 million, but in the end it seems an unlikely nemesis drove in the final nail. Showtime was working on a deal to purchase a majority stake in the company, which would have alleviated the financial concerns. According to MMA Junkie, Showtime changed their mind after the Seth Petruzelli controversy surfaced. So not only did Seth Petruzelli take out their biggest draw Kimbo Slice, he also managed to put ProElite/EliteXC out of business. Ken Shamrock also deserves some blame, because if it was not for his suspicious cut, Petruzelli would have never been in the main event. Although, booking Shamrock to headline a major show probably was not the best idea. He is not the most reliable fighter, as EliteXc found out.

The real culprits of EliteXC's demise are the executives who ran it into the ground. Yes, the controversy surrounding the Petruzelli incident probably was the last straw for Showtime. No, it was not the ultimate reason they died. As I have pointed out numerous times, EliteXC repeatedly made stupid mistakes. They never grasped what fans wanted. Instead they gave viewers a shoddy product that could never compare to the UFC.

Their biggest problem was they never understood how to form a fight card. Their top fighters routinely fought mediocre competition (Silva vs Eilers for the Heavyweight Title, Diaz vs Denny), which goes against the UFC branded philosophy of no easy fights. Like it or not, MMA formed with the UFC's influence. You cannot expect to pass off less than stellar match-ups and get away with it. Fans flocked to the sport because for many reasons, but one of the biggest is the notion that every fight matters. Any one can win on any given night. EliteXC broke the rule and paid the price.

The death of EliteXC should start a bidding war between the UFC and Affliction for the services of the defunct promotion's top fighters (also throw WEC in there under the UFC banner). This is part of the reason I was always hard on EliteXC. They had quite a bit of talent. They just never used it properly. Here is a list of some of the notable names who now find themselves without an employer:

Jake Shields
Nick Diaz
Robbie Lawler
Antonio Silva
Gina Carano
Kimbo Slice
Eddie Alvarez
Rafael Feijao
Wilson Reis
KJ Noons
Murilo Rua
Brett Rogers

The most intriguing names are Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, Antonio Silva, Eddie Alvarez, Gina Carano, and of course Kimbo Slice. Diaz was already in talks to fight in Japan. It seems that will be his first stop. On, they claim Jake Shields going to the UFC is a "real possibility". The other four could conceivably land just about any where. Silva would be a solid addition to any promotion's lineup. He has some talent and it would be nice to see him face quality competition. Alvarez will not have trouble finding work, either. Carano and Kimbo are the toughest to predict. Women's MMA is still in its infancy and most promotions are not serious about it, most notably the UFC where Dana White basically treats it as a joke. Hopefully Affliction is not as closed minded and goes after her.

Last is Kimbo Slice. I find it hard to believe he will accept a low salary and fight for a small promotion. He could go to Japan, where they love novelty fighters. Affliction might be interested in his drawing power, as they get ready for their second PPV. Even the UFC is a possibility. Dana White has badmouthed him in the past, but it would not be the first time he changed his opinion when the wind blew in the other direction.

Another name not on the list is Tito Ortiz. He gushed at EliteXC's final CBS event that he was a week away from signing. I never believed it. EliteXC was in enough money trouble without adding his salary to the mix. Now he finds himself caught between the UFC, where he is hated, and Affliction, who have shown mild interest in his services. EliteXC's death hurts him more than the others because now there is a large market of free agent fighters. Affliction has more options and could decide to sign a few fighters for the price of Ortiz's salary. That would be the sensible and logical thing to do. I'd much rather have Alvarez, Rogers, and Reis than Tito. Even with those three, you would probably still save money.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Marcus Davis Deserves a Shot

It is time for the UFC to give Marcus Davis a shot at being a contender. The guy is too talented to be wasted on the back end of cards taking on lesser fighters. He deserves a chance to put himself into the title picture, by facing a Welterweight contender. Some names that would make sense: Diego Sanchez, Jon Fitch, Yoshiyuki Yoshida, Karo Parisyan.

In the past two years he has fought 6 times (winning 5 with stoppages in each). You are pretty much guaranteed to get an entertaining fight out of him. I don't see why he does not deserve a chance to go head to head with the presumed top guys. Instead it seems likely he will be matched up with Chris Lytle. Another mid-card fight with another mid-card fighter.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

UFC 89 Notes

-I guess the "New and Improved" Brandon Vera isn't much of an upgrade over "The Ultimate Fighting Turtle" who fought Reese Andy. The one thing I hate is when announcers oversell athletes in any sport. Last night Rogan and Goldberg spent the majority of the fight talking about how great Vera looks. You would have thought he was Anderson Silva with all the compliments they were dishing out. Meanwhile, Keith Jardine was winning the fight. The UFC made a mistake when they gave Vera a huge contract and they need to stop marketing him like a top fighter. His only quality win was over Frank Mir and that was 23 months ago. His move to Light Heavyweight has been an unmitigated disaster, despite his new abs that Goldberg and Rogan loved so much last night. If he headlines the proposed show in the Philippines, the UFC will be no better than EliteXC. It's time to cut the losses and move on.

-MMA needs to straighten out their judging issues before a huge main event ends in controversy. Last night Paul Taylor and Chris Lytle fought a relatively close match. Lytle came out strong early and faded once he fatigued in the 2nd round. I'm not gonna argue with the overall decision too much. In my opinion Taylor won the fight, but whatever it was a 29-28 fight either way. The thing I am going to complain about is the judge who scored it 30-27 for Lytle. This highlights a growing problem in MMA. Judges do not understand the sport enough to score it correctly. MMA needs a clear set of scoring rules and judges should be graded by their performance. If some one makes an obvious error, it should be on their record and cause them to get lesser bouts in the future.

-Luis Cane is for real and Sokoudjou is not.

-The crowd was better than I gave it credit for. The problem was the broadcast. First, Rogan and Goldberg almost never shut up. Second, they only showed entrances for the final two fights. Third, the production did not feature the crowd. This is one area where the UFC should take a cue from pro wrestling. Feature the damn crowd and it makes the event better for the viewers.

-Did any one else notice all the commercials? Although, It was nice to watch a sporting event and not have to see four hundred promos for Frank TV.

-My picks went 3-2. I'm still mad about backing Sokoudjou. A week ago I was the biggest Luis Cane fan. When it came time to do the picks, I talked myself out of it. Oh well.

-Chris Leben is the same fighter he has always been. There was not some magical transformation last night. People love a good story, and a drunk trying to get their life in order always sells. However, a fighter can not transform themselves in a matter of months. Leben is still a brawler who loads up his left. The difference last night was he fought a smart fighter who refused to get drawn into a stand-up war.

-Why is it taking Bisping so long to get a title shot? He is 7-1 in the UFC, 3-0 as a Middleweight, and has headlined two events. I hope he is getting paid a mint for coaching The Ultimate Fighter.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

UFC 89 "Live" Results

All right, here we go.

-I never realized how long this intro was. Reminds me a lot of vintage ECW back when no one had ever heard of it outside of Philadelphia and New York. They did these ridiculous ten minute montages because they didn't have enough matches to fill the time.

-I'm tired of hearing how Chris Leben has changed. The guy moved to Hawaii and hasn't drank for a few months. Stop congratulating him like he saved a little boy from a killer shark.

-Joe Rogan still sporting the Evan Tanner tribute beard. His face looks like a British chick spreading her legs.

Paul Kelly vs Marcus Davis
-Does any one in England really give a crap about Marcus Davis? Every one I've talked to could care less about him, but the UFC keeps shoving him down their throats.
-According to Goldberg's intro, "Davis is an adopted son of Britain".
-Do people in England still use "stone" as a measurement device? That can't be true.

Round 1
Davis looking kinda small. Good leg kick by Britain's Adopted Son. Very slow start. Two minutes in and we've had one leg kick. Body kick by Davis. Another body kick. Davis with a takedown and Kelly goes for a guillotine, but it doesn't work. A nice pass from Davis into side control. Kelly cut on right side near ear. A scramble allows Kelly to get up. Leg kick by Davis.
Davis 10-9

-Kelly better step it up. He's letting Davis dictate things.

Round 2
Davis keeps going to the leg kick, three in the first two minutes. Kelly finally comes forward. He didn't land any thing. Takedown by Kelly. Davis has a guillotine. He sinks it in and Kelly taps.
Marcus Davis Wins by 2nd Round Submission (Guillotine)

-Paul Kelly did a great impression of a statue in that fight.

-The fans are dead silent.

-Davis says it's the first camp he's had where he didn't get cut. Looks like the cut surgery worked. Also begs Dana White to send him to Ireland for UFC 93.

Paul Taylor vs Chris Lytle
-Taylor has the complexion of a toilet bowl.
-Lytle sporting "Condom Depot" on the back of his trunks. That's the Scarlet Letter of MMA.

Round 1
Nice start. Standing and exchanging. Lytle landing the better ones. Uppercut by Lytle. Taylor throwing some kicks. Action slows against the cage. Some body shots from Lytle. A big takedown by Lytle, but Taylor gets right back up. Lytle keeps pushing him into the cage and working inside. Taylor connects with a counter straight left/right combo. Another tie-up and knees to the body of Taylor. Front kick followed by a right for Taylor. Big right hand in close from Taylor. A fast start ends slow with Lytle controlling things. He kept pushing Taylor into the cage and not giving him any space.
Lytle 10-9

Round 2
Taylor pressing things. Good kicks by both fighters. Lytle lands a solid left. Back to the cage and more knees to Taylor's body. Down to the mat, Lytle on top working for a guillotine. Taylor defends and gets up. Leg kick lands for Taylor. He then eats a punch and a head kick. Uppercuts landing for Taylor. Lytle responding with body shots. Another leg kick by Taylor. Lytle gets kicked in the balls from a misplaced kick. Taylor looking better this round. Lytle seems to be tired and stalling, but Taylor can't capitalize. Round ends with a good combo from Taylor.
Taylor 10-9

Round 3
More kicks landing for Taylor. Body punch lands flush for Lytle. He follows it with big head shots that back Taylor up into the cage. They are trading back and forth. Lytle getting the better of it. Punishing the body and throwing huge punches to the head. Taylor throwing back, though. Lytle is tired again. A very nice leg kick by Taylor. Inside leg kick by Taylor and prior a straight right. Uppercuts in close from Taylor. Lytle connects with a left hook. Takedown by Lytle. He's just holding him down. Taylor works his way back up, very impressive. A kick lands for Taylor. Right hand lands, big uppercut, and a left hook staggers Lytle a bit. A great close to the fight for Taylor. He probably stole the round with the last burst.
Taylor 10-9
Chris Lytle Wins by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)

-Taylor got screwed. The judge who scored it 30-27 should be fired.

Luis Cane vs Rameau Sokoudjou
-Time to see if Luis Cane is for real. Same could be said for Sokoudjou.
-Sokoudjou's right knee is wrapped.
-Cane sporting some fly looking purple trunks. And, we have our second "Condom Depot" sighting of the night.

Round 1
Inside leg kick lands for Sokoudjou and then a body kick. Cane is getting backed up. Right hand gets in over the top and hits Cane. Left kick connects for Cane. Sokoudjou comes right back with a kick of his own. Uppercut by Sokoudjou. Very big body kick and a right hand sorta wobbles Cane for a second. Things slow down. Cane lands a straight left. Solid body kick by Cane. He looks a lot more relaxed now and Sokoudjou seems to be tired. He stopped throwing with about ninety seconds to go. From there Cane controlled the flow.
Sokoudjou 10-9

Round 2
Sokoudjou gets kicked in the balls. Man, that was an ugly one. You could actually see his balls go flying on the replay. Jump kick to the body of Cane. Right hand lands for Sokoudjou. Another body kick by Sokoudjou. A punch and knee combo for Cane. Sokoudjou backing up and breathing hard. Nice right hand for Sokoudjou. Knee to the head of Sokoudjou. Another one lands flush. A right distracts Sokoudjou then Cane drops him with the left. Cane on top raining down punches. Most getting blocked at first. More punches and they're landing. Sokoudjou is done. Referee steps in after about twenty punches. I can't believe I talked myself into picking Sokoudjou.
Luis Cane Wins by 2nd Round TKO

-This broadcast sucks. As soon as the fight ended they went to commercial. Viewers get all excited from the ending then they have to wait three minutes to see it again in slo-mo. Stupid.

-Sokoudjou is sitting on the stool with his head down, as the result is announced.

-Michael Bisping breaks down his fight with Chris Leben

"Oh, it's not the speed really so much. I just wish
I hadn't drunk all that cough syrup this morning."

Brandon Vera vs Keith Jardine
-Vera talks such a big game. I guess when you give a guy a gigantic contract after beating a few mediocre fighters his head gets a little big.
-Jardine running sprints in the cage to get warmed up.

Round 1
Jardine comes forward and takes Vera down. Elbows from the bottom for Vera. Jardine is cut on the top of his head. Some right hands from the top for Jardine. He's in Vera's guard. Nice short elbow from the bottom for Vera. More right hands from Jardine. Vera is blocking most of them. Referee stands them up. Clinch and both landing knees in close. Leg kick by Jardine. Body kick for Vera lands. Leg kick by Vera. Right hand by Jardine. A very nice leg kick by Jardine buckles Vera's leg. He responds and catches Jardine, who goes down. He gets back up quickly and staggers Vera. Jardine going for the kill. Vera is down on his knees and getting hit. Ten seconds left. Jardine can't land the final shot, but Vera is hurt to end the round.
Jardine 10-9

Round 2
Inside leg kick for Vera. Jardine connects with a leg kick. He goes for a takedown, but Vera defends it well. Jardine goes for a head kick, stumbles, and falls. Vera over top of him. Jardine gets up without getting hit with too much damage. Announcers think Jardine might have hurt his knee. Tough to tell. He is limping slightly. Still throwing kicks, though. In the clinch Vera lands an uppercut. Body kick by Vera. Another solid body kick by Vera. Jardine keeps running in, but Vera is moving backwards into his shell. Boring round after the first.
Vera 10-9

Round 3
Jardine walks into a leg kick. He responds with one of his own. The announcers keep gushing over Vera like he's dominating. Body kick by Vera, hook counter by Jardine. Straight left lands for Vera. Jardine wrestles him into the cage. Throwing punches in close. A couple knees land for Jardine. He's gotta pick it up, if he wants to win this round. Both land leg kicks. A very awkward round. Neither was connecting too much. Jardine ends it with a series of punches that land. Probably the only real damaging head shots of the round. Vera looked like he had the fight under control until the final couple of minutes. Jardine could have stole it.
Jardine 10-9
Keith Jardine Wins by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

-Hey, they got one right! Vera did not deserve to win. He went into his shell again. I'm glad he did, to be honest. I like calling him "The Ultimate Fighting Turtle". Hopefully they rethink putting him in the main event when they go to the Philippines.

-The fans were booing throughout the fight. After the first round, it stunk. Vera got hurt at the end of round one and he was afraid to trade with Jardine after that. He tried to win the fight with leg kicks. They score points, but you need to connect with the head too. Jardine did both. He landed kicks and he landed quite a few solid punches.

Chris Leben vs Michael Bisping
-Leben coming out to "God Save the Queen". Excellent choice.
-Announcers trying to compare Leben to BJ Penn and Georges St-Pierre, who lost fights then rededicated themselves.
-Bisping counters with "Woo Hoo" by Blur. He looks crazed, as usual. I'm not sure if it's the broadcast, but the crowd has been kinda dead. They didn't even sound loud when Bisping came out. We'll see how loud they are during the fight, if Rogan and Goldberg ever shut up for a few seconds.

Round 1
Leben loading the left early. Leg kicks by Leben. More kicks landing for Leben. Bisping wrestles him into the cage, but lets him go. Right hand connects for Bisping. Goldberg makes a terrible joke then awkwardly laughs at himself. Right hand again connects for Bisping. Leben keeps moving forward. Bisping catches Leben's leg and lands a head kick. In the clinch, Bisping landing knees to the head. Blood trickling from Leben's nose. Two punches land for Bisping then another combo connects. Leben lands a couple big lefts, as Bisping backs up. Bisping lands down the center. A big right hand for Bisping. He is countering very well.
Bisping 10-9

-Good first round. Bisping is waiting for Leben to throw, then countering. It's kind of tough to see his punches because all you see is Leben swinging, but they are definitely landing. Leben's early plan was working. He connected with multiple leg kicks. Then he stopped and went to the big left a lot.

Round 2
Left hook lands for Bisping. Leg kick for Leben. Nice jab lands for Leben. Bisping gets kicked in the balls. That's a recurring theme tonight. Two lefts land for Leben. Straight left for Bisping. Straight right for Bisping. Inside leg kick lands for Leben. Both throw and land. Bisping catches a kick and misses an uppercut. Leben picking up the pace near the end of the round. He's got Bisping backing up and off-balanced. He's missed 3-4 huge shots in the past minute. Bisping got a little lucky. Slow round compared to the first. Bisping seems content to counter his way to victory.
Bisping 10-9

Round 3
Left lands for Leben. Both landing leg kicks. Right hand for Bisping. Nice jab by Bisping. Solid right for Bisping. Leg kick for Bisping. A left over the top lands and then another connects as Bisping backs up from the force. A very nice right hand followed by a leg kick by Bisping. Leben shoots in and takes Bisping down. A few lefts land for Leben, while Bisping was down. He's up now. Solid right counter for Bisping. He attacks Leben with a straight right. Leben throwing bombs towards the end. Bisping sorta stumbles back, more out of fatigue than any thing else. Round ends with Leben putting his hands down and daring Bisping to hit him. Bisping grazed him with a head kick.
Bisping 10-9
Michael Bisping Wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

-Fight went how I figured it would. Bisping fought technical and won. Leben didn't have an answer. He ate counters all night without adapting. At the end, he was cut, bleeding, and bruised. Bisping barely had a scratch on him.

UFC 89 Preview and Predictions

(Rear Naked News will have Live Results tonight for UFC 89.)

Kind of a low key event for the UFC. There are no titles on the line and none of the fighters are expected to get a title shot with a win. Luckily, there are some proven guys who are not afraid to throw and get hit. That's the saving grace of UFC 89. Coming into this event, Rear Naked News has a 33-12 record. That's 73% for any one who sucks at math.

Marcus Davis vs Paul Kelly
If you asked ten random MMA fans their opinion of Marcus Davis, you'd hear the phrase "gatekeeper" an awful lot. Some where along the line it got into our heads that Davis is not a top fighter. The strangest part is how untrue it is. Davis is 6-2 in the UFC, and prior to his loss to Mike Swick, he had not lost since 2005. For whatever reasons, the UFC has always kept him lower on the cards and it has influenced fans into underrating his skills. Kelly is a good up and coming fighter. In some ways it worries me that Kelly will have the crowd behind him. He's already going to be psyched for the fight and then the crowd will kick in. He needs to temper his excitement and be smart inside the Octagon. Davis would love to make this a war and I think he will get his wish. I expect Kelly to go down after running out of steam in the 2nd Round. Davis gets another win and five months from now will probably be fighting midcard once again.

Chris Lytle vs Paul Taylor
I'll probably fall asleep during this fight because I could care less who wins. Hopefully Taylor believes he is a 4-1 underdog and comes out throwing. Sitting through another 3 rounds of Chris Lytle is about the last thing I'd like to do on a Saturday night. Has any one ever lost as many decisions? He has 14 decision losses and 5 draws. Listen to the notable names who have beat him by decision: Nick Diaz, Robbie Lawler, Karo Parisyan, Matt Serra, Matt Hughes, and Josh Koscheck. That's 85% of the Welterweights on Earth. For my sanity, I'm picking Paul Taylor to pull the upset with a 2nd Round TKO. Lytle will control the first round on the ground then get caught with something ugly in the 2nd. Fans go wild and forget all about Paul Kelly getting beat.

Luis Cane vs Rameau Sokoudjou
I'm more excited about this fight than any of the others. Sokoudjou continues to get no favors from the UFC. Cane is an animal and could easily win this match. Some one should be unconscious by the end of the 1st Round. This is the big moment for Sokoudjou. He came into the UFC with huge expectations and thus far has not lived up. He's fighting on a huge stage (large TV audience), against a legit opponent. Now is the time for him to shine or crap his pants. A highlight reel knockout could propel him into the title picture. The same could be said for Cane, though. He has his shot to prove to the UFC that he is ready to contend.

Sokoudjou needs to get through the early moments and make Cane fear his power. So far Cane has steamrolled his opponents and not really worried too much about getting hit. A decent strike from Sokoudjou can change that. Randy Couture recently said he wants to see how Brock Lesnar reacts when he gets hit in the mouth. I want to see how Cane reacts to getting hit in the mouth. Will he keep coming forward with that crazed look in his eye? Or will he back up and respect Sokoudjou's stand-up? After the first minute, we should have our answer. I can't give up on Sokoudjou yet. I see him winning with a 1st Round TKO.

Keith Jardine vs Brandon Vera
The UFC definitely outdid themselves with this match-up. Honestly, how can any one say with any degree of certainty which version of each fighter will show up in the cage? The only reason Vera is not the most inconsistent fighter on the planet is because Jardine exists. I used to think Vera's problem was motivation. He seemed to have unlimited potential. Randomly one day I watched a few of his earlier fights and some thing clicked in my mind. He was not as good as I remembered him. He fought a series of decent, but not great fighters (Mir Post-Moto, Assuerio Silva, Justin Eilers). The UFC's marketing did a hell of a job with Vera, because I fell completely for it. Now I see him for what he is - a good fighter who has never beaten a top opponent.

Jardine, on the other hand, is just a complete mystery. According to his trainers, he does not lack focus. It's gotta be a case of some guys matching up better with him than others. The theme in his losses is he gets caught early before he has a chance to get into his game plan. The only fighter to beat him without knocking him out was Stephan Bonnar in 2006. Every one else either knocks him out or loses. To me, this gives him a solid chance to defeat Brandon "The Ultimate Fighting Turtle" Vera. We all saw how quickly he went into his shell against Reese Andy. I'll say that again, "REESE ANDY!" If Jardine can survive the opening minutes, he should be able to outpoint Vera. It won't make for an exciting fight, but it will get Jardine back on track. I'm going with Jardine by unanimous decision. Afterwards, Vera will complain about some thing.

Chris Leben vs Michael Bisping
Leben deserves credit for at least trying to get people interested in this fraud of a main event. He has played the villain and drummed up some interest. I'd be a little upset if I was an English fan. Every time the UFC comes across the Atlantic they give you subpar fight cards because it must be a rule that if an event is held in England, it must feature thirty-five English fighters. I realize it is fun to see local fighters in action, but it's also fun to see top UFC talent. I'm not even gonna get started on Marcus Davis being included on every UK card, either. That's just plain stupid. I hope this is the last time the English fans have to be spoon fed an event. Give them the top fighters they deserve.

Back to Leben...His villain act has gotten under Bisping's skin. This works right into Leben's fight plan. If Bisping fights smart, he wins. If he gets into a brawl, he might lose. Leben has pushed Bisping's ego into the cage and now we might end up seeing him fight like an idiot. When the fight begins it would not surprise me to see Bisping get involved in some brutal exchanges with Leben, where knockout punches miss by inches. It might even take Bisping getting hit for him to realize he is the better all-around fighter. When it clicks in, the fight will turn. In close I think Bisping has the better stuff and it will make a big difference. He has been in the Octagon with some strong fighters and never looked overmatched. Leben should not give him any issues in that department. 1st Round Leben. 2nd Round Bisping. 3rd Round Bisping. He takes it by split decision.

Live Results Tonight

Rear Naked News will have Live Results tonight for UFC 89. The thread will kick off around 8:00pm. Expect the usual craziness.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

10/16/08 News

  • MMA Bay puts to bed the constant rumors about a Brock Lesnar injury. It's amazing what one person with a telephone can do.
  • Behind the scenes at UFC 89. Marcus Davis doesn't like Sausage Fests.
  • UFC 87 had close to 600,000 PPV Buys. That puts it slightly behind UFC 81, which had roughly 650,000. Both events featured some guy named Brock Lesnar.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Carano vs Cyborg in February

It appears EliteXC is getting closer to inking the deal that should have happened months ago. Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos claims the fight should happen in February. It's about time. EliteXC has stalled the fight because they were hoping to have it on their first PPV (yes, the mythical EliteXC PPV that has been talked about since the 1920s). The odd part of their strategy is they have barely featured Cyborg at their shows. Her last fight was not even on the CBS broadcast. Her other EliteXC fight was in July at "Unfinished Business" when roughly fifteen people bothered to watch.

EliteXC is messing up another situation. They have an exciting product sitting around gathering dust. It's time they stopped treating the female fighters as a sideshow and made them stars. Put the Carano/Cyborg fight high on the card and it will force the casual fan to begin seeing female fighters in a different light. They are the only major promotion with a female division. It benefits them to do this. It's not like the fights stink. In fact, they are usually the best fights on the cards. Viewers will leave thinking they just saw an important fight that exceeded expectations.

Or you could continue having Kimbo get knocked out by jabs. As usual, what do I know? I've never lost tens of millions of dollars running a company into the ground.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

10/14/08 News

  • File this one under "Probably". The UFC will return to Columbus, Ohio in March.
  • Some details about the Florida Athletic Commission's investigation into whether EliteXC told Seth Petruzelli to stand against Kimbo Slice. Check out the quote at the bottom. This thing won't amount to any thing.

Diego Injured and Out

Diego Sanchez has pulled out of his fight with Thiago Alves, which was scheduled to take place October 25 at UFC 90. Sanchez suffered a rib injury during training and will not be ready for the bout. Five Ounces is reporting that Josh Koscheck will take his place and battle Alves. While it is good news they found a quality replacement, it also hurts their December 10 Fight for the Troops card, where Koscheck was scheduled to face Yoshiyuki Yoshida. No word on a replacement for Koscheck. There is even some talk of Koscheck remaining on the December 10th card. That's a risky proposition considering it would mean fighting two high level bouts with less than 7 weeks between them. As we saw with Ken Shamrock, it does not take much for the doctors to pull the plug. I'm going to go ahead with the assumption that he will not be facing Yoshida and the UFC will soon announce a new main event.

With most of their top fighters already locked into contracts to fight on future cards, the UFC faces a problem they will be forced to deal with a lot in the future. They plan on adding more events in 2009 and it will become common place for two shows to take place in a month. With that kind of schedule, fewer of their fighters will be available to step in as an injury replacement. For Sanchez's replacement, they tapped a fighter already scheduled to fight. It seems in the future this tactic will have to be employed, unless they plan on adding a number of new fighters to their ranks.

The initial fight between Sanchez and Alves was seen as stepping stone for the next shot at the Welterweight Title. Substituting Koscheck for Sanchez should not change that. Koscheck is arguably more deserving of a title shot than Sanchez, who he beat at UFC 69. It is a tough break for Sanchez, but hopefully he can come back in 2009 and get back on track.

I have zero idea who they could throw into the fight with Yoshida that would keep it as the main event. Karo Parisyan is the obvious choice, but I'm not sure if the UFC has enough confidence in him because of his mental issues. He already pulled out of an earlier bout with Yoshida in September. A lot of people in and out of the business questioned whether he withdrew for the stated back injury or if his panic attacks had again gotten out of control. Promoting a main event and not delivering is a terrible option, as EliteXC so eloquently proved.

The more likely scenario is the UFC will scrap the main event and go in another direction. Nate Diaz might be their savior. There have been rumors linking him to the December 13th Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale, so fighting a few days earlier would not be a big deal. He is also relatively well known by most fans and has already been in a UFC main event. Put him against any of the other Lightweight contenders and you have yourself an entertaining fight to headline the show.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dana White Knows What's Up

A lot of MMA fans hate Dana White because of his cocky attitude, but when he says things like this he totally redeems himself.

Rampage Lights Up the Screen

This scene is from "Midnight Meat Train". It saw very limited action in theaters, but should have some life on DVD. As you can see, Rampage loses another one to a dorky looking white dude.

CBS Paid For EliteXC "Heat"

By now the entire MMA community knows EliteXC is in financial trouble. They continue to lose money with each passing day and there is no end in sight. This latest news comes as a surprise, however. According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, CBS covered all expenses for the October 4 event and received all revenue. That's right. EliteXC did not pay or receive any thing for last Saturday night's "Heat" fight card. Their biggest draw lost and they got nothing in return. Talk about hitting a man while he is down.

It was widely known that CBS and Showtime had taken some of the financial burden off of EliteXC in recent months. I do not think any one thought it was to this level. For EliteXC to be forced to hand over all revenue for an event on network TV really shows how inept their promotion is run. They have managed to blow a golden opportunity and in the process may have damaged future relations between MMA companies and network TV channels. Why would CBS, or any of the other networks, choose to work with an MMA company after this disaster? The ratings have been decent at times, but it has mostly been a failure. It's no wonder EliteXC is a punchline to diehard MMA fans.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Creepy Slo-Mo DellaGrotte

This is from the Discovery Channel's new show "Time Warp". The premise sounds cool for about five minutes, but I cannot imagine watching more than that. I heard a rumor that if you look into Creepy Slo-Mo DellaGrotte's eyes and say "Sityodtong" three times, he will appear behind you and slice your head off with a spinning back-fist. I haven't tried it yet.

"Time Warp" premieres October 15 at 8pm on Discovery Channel.

KJ Noons Not Making Sense

KJ Noons continues his negative publicity tour with more comments that will make his remaining four fans want to scratch their eyes out. I thought it was impossible for some one to make EliteXC look this good, but Noons has somehow done it. Every time he opens his mouth, I side more with the promotion and less with him. The stuff he says does not even make sense.

His latest statements claim he is a free agent because he is no longer the EliteXC Lightweight Champion. According to him, "Stripping me of the title makes me a free agent. They can say however much that I owe them the fights. I owe them championship fights as the champion. They stripped me, which doesn't make me the champion, so I don't owe them anything."

This would mean EliteXC signed him to a contract for championship fights, in which he was the champion, and they never included a clause covering themselves if he was stripped of the title or no longer champion. I find it hard to believe. To me it breaks down to whether or not EliteXC has better lawyers than KJ Noons. Since Noons is a relative unknown, who has repeatedly told us he does not make any money, I'm gonna say EliteXC can afford the better legal talent and the contract is not as clear cut as Noons states.

It appears we have another case of a fighter trying to play Law and Order with their contract, instead of sticking to what they know best. Whatever legal representation he has secured is giving him terrible advice. They are not looking out for his best interest. Noons claims to be severely underpaid. How will he have any money to properly challenge his contract in the courts? Randy Couture found out how expensive it gets and gave up. That's a guy who has made millions in and out of the cage. He also had a much better case against the UFC.

To me this is a classic case of what happens when you play chicken and lose. Noons tried to get tough with EliteXC. He thought too highly of himself and believed he could weasel out of a rematch with Nick Diaz. EliteXC called his bluff, stripped him of the title, and now he is grasping for straws with a legal challenge that will never work. For his sake, I hope he crawls back to EliteXC before he alienates anyone else.

The Origins of GSP

Georges St-Pierre's latest Yardbarker post goes into detail about how he got his start in MMA with his mentor Krystoff Midoux. As usual, it's a great read from one of MMA's biggest stars.
First I want to thank everybody for their get well wishes -- I feel way better right now than I felt when I came back from L.A. It took me 3 days to recuperate and get back 100%. I didn't take any medication - I just slept better and trained to sweat it out. After I felt better, I went to New York to see my trainer Phil Nurse and train with 4 of his students who had an upcoming fight at The Wat - Brett, Sean, Nicholas & Stan. It seems to me that every time I go to New York, those guys get better & better all the time. I also saw my old friends Eric Owing & Andre Gusmao - we went to dinner and then out together for a great night.

Then I came back in Montreal with new tricks and more tools than I had before I went to New York. It's very important for me to help my friends and training partners when they need it because they were there for me when I prepare for my fights. When I came back to Montreal, I kept training with Patrick Cote & Denis Kang, who are both fighting on October 25th. Kang is fighting in Calgary, and Patrick Cote is fighting Anderson Silva for the UFC World Middleweight Championship. Patrick looks better than I have ever seen -- even though the odds are not in his favor, I would not be surprised to see him shock the world. It would be great to have world champions in Quebec!

Georges Laraque, one of my friends who also plays for the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, gave me two tickets to go see their game Saturday night. Even though it was an off-season game, it was very fun and then after I went to see EliteXC at a friend's house.

Gina did a nice performance and I'm glad for her because she also represents the sport very well. The main event was obviously a tough situation because Ken had to pull out because of a cut... and I have a lot of respect for Seth & Kimbo to still go out and put on the fight for the fans.

I know a lot of people have been seeing on the internet that I signed with CAA -- I think it is a very smart move from my manager to get me on board with CAA because they represent some of the greatest athletes in sports and in the entertainment industry. I'm glad and honored to be the first MMA fighter that they represent.

After a quick trip to L.A. for a personal appearance, I'm now in Albuquerque for training with Keith Jardine, Joey Villasenor & some other guys in Team Jackson to help them out for their upcoming fights. But I can't wait until this weekend -- my mentor, Krystoff Midoux, is coming in Montreal from France to see me. It has been a while that I haven't seen him -- we've been talking on the phone every week to keep in touch, but I'm very excited to see him back in Montreal. He's such a crazy character and he's the guy who started me in the sport when I was a nobody. So even though I'm a world champion right now, for me, Krystoff will always be higher than me in the hierarchy because he's my first teacher of MMA.

I saw Krystoff fight the first time in Kanhawake when I was a teenager -- at this time, I hadn't started my amateur career in MMA. Krystoff was my idol because he was coming from a Kyokushin karate background like me, and he used to knock out all his opponents in less than 30 seconds. At this time, everybody told me that I would never be able to be a UFC fighter, because I was not strong & not big and not good enough. Believe it or not, but I met Krystoff in the street one day by pure coincidence. I stopped him and he was very gentle with me because he took the time to talk to me. So after a couple of weeks, by pure coincidence again, I saw him in a jiu jitsu school with one of my friends, Stephane Potvin, who was also a friend of Krystoff's. Krystoff remembered seeing me in the street a couple of weeks before that, and he saw that I was doing very well in training, even though I was younger than all the other guys. He came to talk to me, and he told me that if I was interested, I could start training with him and he would start teaching me how to train and change my routine for a more appropriate MMA training. I right away jumped on the opportunity and that's how I began to be the fighter that I am. I fought 4 times in amateur fights, all wins, before I started my professional career. Actually, you could see Krystoff in my corner during my fights against Frank Trigg & Sean Sherk. I can't wait to see him this weekend -- we have a lot to catch up together and I look forward to having a good time with him. For me, it's very important to always remember where you come from, and who are the people who helped you in the beginning before you reach success.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

No Boxing at Jan Show is reporting that Affliction's January event with Golden Boy Promotions will not feature any boxing matches. The fight card will be entirely made up of MMA fights. Originally, the plan was to produce a hybrid show consisting of MMA bouts and a boxing main event. As many people have pointed out, there are not many boxing headliners available right now for a January event. Instead of putting two lesser names into the ring, Affliction and Golden Boy have decided to go strictly with MMA fights.

This is great news from my perspective. I am not sold on the hybrid events at all. They are different animals and should not be inside the same cage. It also does not make sense to feature Fedor as the face of the company then not have him in the main event. Hopefully good PPV numbers for the first event will make Affliction and Golden Boy rethink the hybrid concept.

Tito's Back Surgery

On Monday Tito Ortiz had successful spinal fusion surgery. This surgery is no joke. It is not a typical procedure for athletes, like getting a knee cleaned out or some thing. It is a major operation. Tito is looking at a month before he can even start physical rehabilitation. He is not assured to ever come back from this, but it seems like he certainly is determined.

According to Tito, the UFC has refused to cover the cost of his surgery. This does not surprise me. As Tito loves to say, he is a free agent. Why would the UFC pay for the surgery of a fighter who is not on their roster? They would in effect pay for Tito to get better and fight for another promotion. Tito thinks this is a grave injustice, and while I do think his injuries were the result of repeated fighting and training (or maybe just the result of carrying around your enormous head for 33 years), I also see the UFC's side. He says the injury goes back to his first fight with Randy Couture in 2003. This gave him ample opportunity to have surgery, but he chose to continue fighting with back pain. That was his choice and now he has to live with it.

I wonder how Affliction and EliteXC feel about knowing they were in active negotiations with a guy who was planning on getting major back surgery. It's too bad he never signed, because the breach of contract lawsuit would have been very entertaining to cover.

UPDATE - Zuffa has responded to Tito's allegations with the following statement:
“The UFC does not have the authority to deny or approve any insurance claims asserted by UFC athletes. Rather, Zuffa purchases medical insurance coverage for the benefit of fighters at levels significantly higher than those required by state athletic commissions. The decision regarding whether a filed claim is valid and therefore approved is determined exclusively through the standard review process of the insurance company AIG.”

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

10/07/08 News

  • Eddie Bravo thinks Joe Rogan could compete at 170 lbs. What would a 5'7 170 lbs Rogan look like? Funny. He'd look very funny.
  • UFC signs UK Lightweight Abdul Mohamed. He will fight at UFC 93 in Dublin, Ireland.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Kelly Kobold, who is an absolute warrior with a sponge for a mouth." - Jared Shaw speaking with Five Ounces

Jared Shaw has finally given the world something worthwhile. He deserves credit for unknowingly supplying me with a new favorite phrase.

CBS Pleased With Ratings

According to Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President of CBS Primetime Television, the network is "very happy" with the ratings from EliteXC "Heat". She said the network plans to go forward with a planned fourth show, as stated in their original contract.

When the early ratings came out, a lot of places predicted doom for EliteXC because they were a little lower than the first show in May. What people failed to understand is the expectations are higher for a show at the end of May because it faces almost no competition. By then all the popular shows are done for the season. It also did not face stiff competition from other sports. EliteXC "Heat" on Saturday night had to deal with new shows on the other channels, playoff Baseball, and College Football. The Baseball and College Football games, particularly would eat into their core audience.

The fact it brought in over 4.3 million viewers is a victory for EliteXC. When the final numbers are released, I will be interested to see how the ratings changed from the first hour to the second. It is quite possible they would have done better than the first broadcast, but the announcement of Ken Shamrock's injury had to drive away a percentage of the audience. All in all, a good showing for an embattled organization.