Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Impromptu Dynamite Live Blog

I woke up to get a drink and couldn't resist checking in on the Fields Dynamite show. After seeing a couple Japanese commercials, I got a boost of energy and now will embark on a 5:45am Impromptu Live Blog. This might last ten minutes or hours, depending upon when the novelty of watching Japanese TV wears off.

Results
Bob Sapp vs Cartoon Character
-Sapp Wins by 1st Rd TKO
Semmy Schilt vs Siala "Might Mo" Siliga
-Schilt Wins by 1st Rd Submission (Triangle)
Hayato Sakurai vs Katsuyori Shibata
-Sakurai Wins by 1st Rd TKO
Alistair Overeem vs Badr Hari
-Overeem Wins by 1st Rd KO
Mirko Cro Cop vs Hong Man Choi
-Cro Cop Wins by 1st Rd TKO
Mark Hunt vs Melvin Manhoef
-Manhoef Wins by 1st Rd KO
Eddie Alvarez vs Shinya Aoki
-Aoki Wins by 1st Rd Submission (Heel Hook)
Kazushi Sakuraba vs Kiyoshi Tamura
-Tamura Wins by Unanimous Decision

-The fight between Joachim Hansen and JZ Cavalcante was canceled because Hansen did not pass the pre-fight medical checkup. Hansen is currently being treated at a hospital for a head injury of some kind.

-Everything about this event is spectacular. The commercials are all over the top. I have literally not seen one that I'd call "normal". Each features a high pitched Japanese man screaming over images of people pole vaulting and cartoon alligators walking upright.

-They also have these long videos playing in between the fights. They aren't the normal build-up fare you find during American PPVs for MMA and boxing at all. The music is dramatic and reminds me of Rocky IV.

-The fans are more interesting to watch than the fights. Some are dressed in full karate outfits and everyone is banging crap together. I swear I didn't make that up. They are actually dressed in karate outfits.

-There is a kickboxing match on now.

-Another kickboxing match. I kinda like kickboxing, but at 6:21am it is kind of hard to get excited about. In other news, McDonald's is having a 100 yen deal on ice cream cones.

-Apparently the Japanese also love fist pumps and it doesn't matter if they are appropriate or not. Guy walking down the street with his girlfriend and sees a pretty girl walk by with a tray of tea...BOOM FIST PUMP!

Mirko Cro Cop vs Hong Man Choi
-Cro Cop wearing a stupid shirt that looks like it was designed in East Berlin during the Soviet occupation. It reads, "Cro Cop Team".
-Choi doesn't look as big as usual. Maybe he wears lifts in his shoes.
-Cro Cop has giant braces on both knees. He looks like a much shorter and whiter version of Patrick Ewing.

Round 1
Choi is stalking Cro Cop, who seems to want nothing to do with him. Very slow start with almost nothing happening. Cro Cop throws a couple low kicks that land lightly. A head kick almost connects for Cro Cop. He definitely had enough height to hit him. Choi lands a big jab and they are back to standing around looking at each other. Cro Cop falls down. Choi tried to run in, but apparently he can't run and instead did this weird shufflestep move. Choi throwing jabs and reaching out with his enormous hands. Referee issues yellow card to both for being boring. Cro Cop kicks him in the balls. Seconds after the restart, Cro Cop throws a left inside leg kick that knocks Chio down. He appears to have injured his knee. Cro Cop Wins by 1st Rd TKO.

-Well, that was an odd one.

Mark Hunt vs Melvin Manhoef

Round 1
Hunt comes charging in and gets caught with a left/right combo that drops him to the mat. Fight's over. Great knockout. Manhoef Wins by 1st Rd KO.

Eddie Alvarez vs Shinya Aoki
-Fans clapping and going nuts as Aoki comes to the ring.
-I should also mention how commercials seem to come out of nowhere. One second I'm getting pumped for a fight, the next there is a women's softball commercial on the screen. There's a good chance I'm gonna have some sort of brain damage after this.
-Aoki wearing his stupid pants that should not be allowed in a MMA fight.

Round 1
Fighters keeping their distance at the start. Alvarez coming in close, but only throwing light punches that aren't landing. Aoki goes for a takedown, but Alvarez defends it. Aoki is now sitting on the mat and moving on his butt at Alvarez. I tried to write that about five other ways before deciding on that wording. Alvarez wants nothing to do with this and is moving away. Aoki still chasing him on his butt. He shoots up and misses with a kick. Back on his butt. Alvarez looks off his game, as I'd hope someone would be who is being chased by a Japanese man on his butt. Aoki is back to his feet. Aoki catches a kick and quickly pivots to Alvarez's back. Alvarez throws Aoki to the mat and ends up in mount. It doesn't last long because Aoki wiggles his way out and now has Alvarez on his back. He drops down and has a leg. Alvarez is scrambling, but this doesn't look good. He taps from the heel hook. Aoki Wins by 1st Rd Submission (Heel Hook).

-He literally chased Alvarez on his butt.

-Alvarez was down for a good minute following the end of the fight. He then limped off mostly on his own. The heel hook didn't look deep until the end when Aoki really wrenched it hard. You could see the instant reaction on Alvarez's face.

-I refuse to give Aoki all the credit he deserves until he gets rid of those stupid pants. They should not be allowed in a MMA fight, especially when the guy is a submission machine. This isn't an excuse for Alvarez, it's more of a general statement. Alvarez simply got caught in a bad spot.

Kazushi Sakuraba vs Kiyoshi Tamura
-This is the most insane thing I have ever seen. Sakuraba's entrance cannot be adequately explained. All I'm gonna say is it ended with Sakuraba riding an extremely small bicycle. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

-I'm not even gonna give play-by-play for this one. Sakuraba lost by Unanimous Decision.

Best Off List Is Coming

I've got a lengthy recap of 2008 coming soon with "Fight of the Year" and all that other crap people go nuts for this time of year. It also has some different things like "Best Entrance Song" and The Reese Andy Award for "Worse Fighter of the Year". I'm waiting till after the Fields Dynamite show to post it because you never know when something ridiculous might happen and change up my picks. It honestly wouldn't surprise me if any of the following happened in Saitama, Japan today:
  1. Mirko Cro Cop kicked Hong Man Choi's forty six pound head into the six row and onto the lap of a Japanese girl, who then responded by covering her mouth and gently giggling.
  2. After submitting Eddie Alvarez, Shinya Aoki got so excited he stripped naked and revealed he's actually a hermaphodite.
  3. Sakuraba is alive.
Ya, never know.

Caption Time

Shinya Aoki arrived at the Fields Dynamite pre-fight press conference decked out like a hip lesbian with his supertight "guy" suit, gloves, and $3000 glasses.

Oh yeah, that helps.

Here is some exclusive video of Sakuraba's managers bringing his corpse to the press conference Weekend at Bernie's style.

BJ Penn is not looking too good.

All it takes is one random head kick and you're sharing the stage with an idiot dressed like a cartoon character.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

WAMMA Is Irrelevant

As some of the early followers of Rear Naked News know, I am not the biggest supporter of WAMMA. In fact, I'd count myself as one of their worst critics. To me they are nothing more than a group of idiots looking for a way to wield power within Mixed Martial Arts. I do not feel they bring anything constructive or positive to the sport and hopefully they die a quick death.

Well, with that out of the way, let me get to my point. As was reported yesterday, WAMMA plans on giving their Lightweight Title to the winner of the December 31 Fields Dynamite fight between Eddie Alvarez and Shinya Aoki. Anyone with a brain bigger than a lizard's can see the problem with this. Alvarez and Aoki are both excellent fighters, but to hold a Lightweight Title bout without BJ Penn is like having a party without slutty hot chicks. What's the point?

WAMMA's lame excuse is since Penn is fighting Georges St-Pierre at Welterweight this somehow takes him out of the equation. Of course this ignores the fact that Penn is good enough to make the jump and have a realistic chance of defeating one of the top five fighters in the world within his own weight class. It should not be a negative for a fighter to rise in weight to face world class competition. Somehow, WAMMA finds fault with it.

Of course their stated reasons are not exactly true. WAMMA has been standing around since July without anything to do. The longer they wait, the more their credibility declines. This must be very annoying for a company who wants to sanction MMA bouts and have clout within the industry. It must drive them crazy to see the world of MMA spin without their grubby hands slapping against it.

You can hate Dana White for many things, but his dislike of WAMMA and sanctioning bodies is a major reason to appreciate the guy. If the UFC ever caves, the sport of Mixed Martial Arts will cease to be a middle finger pointed firmly at the boxing industry and instead become a mirror of its multiple sanctioning body format. I don't know about you, but that makes me want to tear the thin hair off the head of a cancer patient.

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Ugh"

The worst news to come out of UFC 92 was that the main event for UFC 95 in London, England will be Diego Sanchez vs Joe Stevenson. The news broke about a week ago, however, it was thought it would not serve as the night's only "Main" Event. Well, it seems it will, and I think that blows.

The UFC does so many things right, you almost forget some times they can be wrong. The way they handle their UK events is a perfect example. Rather than giving the foreign fans top notch fights, they continue to hammer less than stellar bouts down their throats.

I was really mad and wrote a play about it...


"Ugh"
by
Rear Naked News


Dana White: We just booked another event in England!
Joe Silva: Hurray!
Dana White: I believe the key to our continued growth is to become a worldwide presence like soccer.
Joe Silva: I spent thirty minues combing my hair tonight.
Dana White: I've got it! We should book a huge main event to get the fans excited. Something that will make the UK fans go crazy.
Joe Silva: I know!
Dana White: Chuck Liddell vs Keith Jardine? Matt Hughes vs Matt Serra? Both on the same card?!!!
Joe Silva: Diego Sanchez vs Joe Stevenson!!!
Dana White: Wow!!! You've still got it, Joe. Here I was thinking the fans would want to see something top notch like Sean Sherk against Kenny Florian, but you've done it again. You truly are the master.
Joe Silva: Hurray!
Dana White: By the way, do you think Marcus Davis could be ready to fight again by February?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

UFC 92 Live Gate

The UFC continues to defy the economy with another strong showing at the gate. Last night's PPV, UFC 92, brought in an attendance of 14,103 for a total of $3.47 million. The live gate did not surpass UFC 91's total of $4.82 million, but it is still an extremely strong showing. At a time when stores are slashing prices by upwards of 50%, the UFC continues to rake in the money.

A better showing of where MMA fits into the larger economy will come next month when Affliction holds their second PPV. They are facing opposition from all sides, with the UFC broadcasting a replay of UFC 91 "Couture vs Lesnar" on Spike TV and Golden Boy Promotions holding a premier boxing match between Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley 30 miles away, which will also be broadcast live on HBO.

Update: I forgot to include this. The rating for UFC 92 Countdown on Spike was higher than UFC 91, so the buys should end up being pretty solid. I doubt it'll beat UFC 91, but I wouldn't be surprised if it comes close.

Frank Mir, Cerebral Fighter

Frank Mir not only defeated one of the icons of MMA last night, he also dramatically changed the perception most fans have of him. He went from being a jiu-jitsu specialist with potential to a cerebral fighter with THE UFC Heavyweight Championship Belt. First, lets get this out of the way. Mir is the UFC Heavyweight Champion. Brock Lesnar is not. The UFC will no doubt market the fight as "Champion vs Champion", but that does not make it true. Mir is the only Heavyweight Champion in town and will stay that way until he faces Lesnar for a second time. In a lot of ways, this will work to the UFC's advantage. More than a few fans were not pleased with how quickly Lesnar received a title shot. Fighting Mir again, and essentially for the title, will help Lesnar's credibility grow.

The more important point, though, is how Mir transformed himself. Going into last night's fight, it was assumed Mir's only chance was to pull out a submission, which would have been no small feat considering Nogueira sports some sick jiu-jitsu himself. Instead, Mir went in the opposite direction and abandoned his ground game in favor of standing and striking. He even let Nogueira get up twice when he knocked him down. This was a brilliant piece of fighting. Mir was smart enough to avoid Nogueira's ground game, while so many others have not (Tim Sylvia comes to mind). He did not get too excited when he saw Nogueira go down. Instead, he stayed cautious and took the fight back to standing, where he was having success.

This might not seem like a big deal, because it seems obvious for a fighter to go with what is working. In reality, it rarely happens. Fighters usually use what they know the best. A black belt in jiu-jitsu is going to fight on the ground and a world-class striker is going to keep it standing. Time and time again we see fighters revert back to their strengths, even when they are clearly winning a fight with another style. Mir's ability to alter his style and stick with striking shows me he has turned the corner. He is no longer a "jiu-jitsu guy". He is now a cerebral fighter.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

UFC 92 Live Results

PPV and Live Results have started...

Health Update: I'm alive...barely.

Picks
Griffin by 3rd Rd TKO
Nogueira by 2nd Rd TKO
Silva by Unanimous Decision
Kongo Wins by 1st Rd KO
Dolloway Wins by Unanimous Decision

(If you're making any picks today, please head over to BetUS.com. In addition to being one of our sponsors, it is also where I do all my UFC betting. They also have a full slate of sports betting available for anyone who is into that sort of thing. Please mention RearNakedNews.com in the referral section.)

Preliminary Quick Results
Patrick Barry vs Dan Evensen
-Barry Wins by 1st Rd TKO (injury)
Brad Blackburn vs Ryo Chonan
-Blackburn Wins by Unanimous Decision
Reese Andy vs Matt Hamill
-Hamill Wins by 2nd Rd TKO
Antoni Hardonk vs Mike Wessel
-Hardonk Wins by 2nd Rd TKO
Dean Lister vs Yushin Okami
-Okami Wins by Unanimous Decision

Health Update: I'm gonna go throw up for a little bit. I'll be back before the PPV starts.

Cheick Kongo vs Mostapha Al-Turk
Round 1
Al-Turk doing his best to take Kongo down, but isn't having much luck. Kongo countering with some solid shots to the head. Al-Turk connects with a low blow and the referee calls time. Rogan taking some shots at regional referees. Rogan was a vocal critic of the Fight for the Troops refs and it seems he still hasn't gotten over their bad calls. Fight restarts with some grappling. Kongo knees him in the balls and we have another time-out. Al-Turk is sucking air hard. They've had two halts to the action and he still looks out of gas. Fight gets going and Kongo is on the attack. He catches Al-Turk coming in and drops him back. Kongo on top with some brutal ground and pound. Opens him up with a series of elbows. Referee steps in (finally) and Kongo has the victory. Kongo Wins by 1st Round TKO.

-I have no idea how I am sitting in front of the computer doing this. My head cold has turned into the stomach flu. At all times, I'm close to throwing up. You guys better appreciate this. I'm so heroic and all.

-Silva/Rampage is up next. I'm very glad I got out of bed. As long as I don't puke on my laptop, everything should be cool.


Wanderlei Silva vs Rampage Jackson
-Silva coming out to his customary "Sandstorm". He looks in good spirits. Can't wait for this staredown.
-Rampage has a confused look on his face, as he walks to the cage.
-Rogan making a zillion excuses for why Rampage did not flourish in Pride. All I heard was, "Waaaaaaaah!" He literally said, "He's on a nutritional system for the first time." Are you kidding me? I find that hard to believe.
-Rampage looks soft in the middle.
-No touch of the gloves.

Round 1
Rampage moving forward to start things. Silva backs him up with a combo that barely misses. Leg kick by Silva. 1/2 combo by Silva. Fans chanting "S-I-L-V-A!" Nice jab by Rampage. Leg kick by Silva. Another kick connects. Rampage still not defending them. Silva comes in, misses, and Rampage connects with a huge left that drops Silva. He throws some more strikes from the top, but the first punch already ended it. Those were just some extra revenge and to make sure Silva was really dead. It's over. Silva is still out cold thirty seconds later and he appears to be shivering (maybe he has a fever like me?). Jackson Wins by 1st Rd KO.

-Both guys looked cautious. Silva went in wild a couple times and couldn't connect. He went right out when he got hit.

-They showed Liddell and he was shaking his head following the knockout. No clue why.

-Replay of Barry/Levenson fight from the preliminary card.

Health Update: Still haven't thrown up. Fever seems to have faded a little.

CB Dolloway vs Mike Massenzio
-Massenzio has his leg taped up like a mummy. He's also limping. That's not a good sign.

Round 1
Good body kick and knee by Dolloway. Massenzio connects and Dolloway is hurt. He stumbles back and Massenzio sinks in a guillotine. Dolloway defends well and gets out. Dolloway on top. Massenzio goes for a triangle, but it slips off. Dolloway moves into a full mount. Massenzio turns over and gives up his back. Dolloway immediately flattens him and tees off from the top. Referee steps right in. Dolloway Wins by 1st Rd TKO.

-Dolloway was in trouble. He weathered a big storm. Massenzio complained about the stoppage, but he was just laying there getting hit in the head. It wasn't a bad stoppage.

-Oh God, they're showing the Hamill/Andy fight.

-Hamill acted like he knocked out Fedor after the fight.

Frank Mir vs Antonio Nogueira (HW Title)
-This one looks one-sided on paper. Mir is living off breaking Tim Sylvia's arm. I'd be shocked if he finds a way to beat Nogueira.
-Rogan openly questioning Mir's training.
-Nogueira coming out to "Gimme Shelter". Excellent choice.
-There is always something special about watching a Nogueira fight live. They just always turn out to be wars.

Round 1
A nice right gets through for Mir. Takedown by Mir. He's on top for a little, but then lets Nog up. A jab by Nog. Big body kick lands for Mir. Another jab by Nog. Mir coming forward with good combos of punches and kicks. He's not landing them flush, but they are backing off Nog. A big strike knocks down Nog. Mir on top, but cautious. Lets him up again. Tie-up and knee by Mir. A good combo lands for Nog. Round ends with Mir dropping Nog again. Nog was never in deep trouble, though. Mir 10-8.

Round 2
Solid leg kick by Nog. Mir comes forward and lands a straight left. A heavy left drops Nog (yes, again). Mir on top and referee stops it pretty quick. Nog jumped back up. Mir Wins by 2nd Rd TKO.

-That was a weak stoppage. The referee has to let it go longer than usual when you're dealing with a zombie like Nogueira. I'm not saying he would have won the fight, because Mir was killing him, but you still let it go on.

-"I didn't even think I could beat Nogueira." - Mir

-"I've never been more afraid then when I walked into the ring tonight." - Mir

-Mir was very emotional. He told Lesnar he was gonna make him famous with a break when they fight again. Lesnar laughed it off at ringside.

Rashad Evans vs Forrest Griffin (LH Title)
-Evans came in light for tonight's bout. Griffin is a big Light Heavyweight, so we may see Griffin go with his wrestling to win the fight.
-Griffin enters to "I'm Shipping Up to Boston".
-Cool moment seeing the first two Ultimate Fighter winners staring at each across the Octagon with a title on the line.
-Buffer almost had a brain aneurysm saying, "Itttttttttttt'sssssss Tiiiiiiime!"

Round 1
Evans bouncing around to start the round. Looks light on feet. Griffin stalking him. Evans throws huge punch and misses by an inch. Griffin connects with leg kick. They both trade right hands. Leg kick by Griffin. Left right combo by Griffin. Another leg kick hits Evans lower leg. A solid body kick nails Evans. Evans drops down and connects with a big body punch. Griffin still hitting the leg kicks whenever he wants. Jab/hook by Evans. A right lands for Griffin. A body kick lands to the ribs of Evans. Griffin 10-9

Round 2
A right hand stuns Evans early. Griffin comes running in with a tie-up. Lands some knees and Evans gets out of it. Griffin countering most strikes with leg kicks. Both throw some punches that connect lightly. Leg kick by Griffin. Another lands flush. A big right nails Griffin. Leg kick by Evans. A right lands for Griffin. Leg kick for Griffin. Rogan makes a great point about how Leg Reach is not measured and probably should be. Round ends with a solid strike landing for Griffin. Griffin 10-9.

Round 3
Evans catches a Griffin kick and takes him down. Hard to tell, but he may have also connected with a strike there too. Evans throwing brutal hammer fists. Griffin moving all around and finally stops the punches. Griffin working for a kimura, but Evans defends it well. An elbow lands from the top for Evans. Evans postures up a bit and lands a series of right hands. Griffin moving around. Looks like he's tapping, sorta. Referee steps in on his own. Evans Wins by 3rd Rd TKO.

-Griffin took the first two rounds without much fanfare. Evans was relentless from the top in the 3rd. I'm glad he didn't just lay on top and try to win the round. Evans showed again he knows how to think his way to a victory. Griffin had him a little confused early, but he hung in there and caught him at the start of the 3rd.

-Afterwards Griffin claims he was "flailing" and not "tapping". I believe him.

-"I don't remember being hurt. I remember waking up." - Griffin

-Griffin very cool about the loss.

Health Update: I made it through without throwing up. The fever isn't much fun, though.

-Thanks to everyone who followed along. We broke more records tonight with the amount of people on the site. I'm glad I got my ass out of bed and did it. Please visit our sponsors and keep RearNakedNews.com growing.

Silva/Rampage: The History

(CLICK HERE FOR LIVE RESULTS)

As UFC 92 approaches, the one fight I am looking forward to the most is Silva/Rampage III. The only negative with this one is it's not scheduled for five rounds. Other than that, it's hard to find fault with two of the most exciting fighters in the sport colliding at the biggest event of the year. Some times I take for granted I followed Pride and forget for some fans the history between Silva and Rampage is not as well known. This is my attempt to explain some things and get you really excited. Basically I'm doing an impression of a really hot stripper who gives an awesome lap dance and whispers things in your ear like, "I only strip here to pay for college".

In 2003, following his loss to Randy Couture, the UFC sent Chuck Liddell to Japan to be their representative in the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix (205 lbs). Liddell had not become a phenomenon yet, but he was extremely popular at the time and considered by most to be one of the top five 205 lbs fighters in the world. The rivalry between UFC and Pride fans was boiling at this point (particularly Liddell vs Silva). There would finally be a showdown to end the arguments.

The Grand Prix was loaded with big names like Silva, Rampage, Liddell, Arona, Bustamante, Sakuraba, Overeem, and two Japanese fighters you probably have never heard of (although it is worth checking out Hidehiko Yoshida because he was no pushover). The first round of fights went as planned, other than Ricardo Arona having to pull out due to an injury. Silva and Liddell scored impressive knockouts, while Rampage won a split decision over Bustamante. This set up a second round featuring Silva vs Yoshida (one of the Japanese fighters you probably never heard of) and Liddell vs Rampage.

(By the way, listen to the fighters who were on the card that night: Fedor, Nogueira, Cro Cop, Wandy, Rampage, and Liddell. Granted, the best names did not fight each other, but you gotta admit it is insane for all these guys to be fighting on the same night. It's like the UFC booking six of their top fighters for the same show, which would mean one of them would be on the undercard. Imagine a scenario where Kenny Florian would be on the undercard and you have Pride Total Elimination. God, I miss it.)

It was widely assumed Silva and Liddell were ultimately going to meet in the finals. At this point in his career, Rampage's biggest win was the split decision over Bustamante. A lot of people felt he might grow into being a legit title contender in the future, but it did not seem like he had a great chance to defeat the UFC's golden boy. Well, Rampage went out and put on one of the most dominating performances of his career. Liddell looked overpowered and never seemed to know how to counter.

Silva won his fight with Yoshida by unanimous decision, although he was not his usual dominant self at all. Yoshida won a gold medal in judo at the Barcelona Olympics and sported some elite submission skills. He was a very dangerous fighter to face because one small error could lead to a tap. It also is worth noting he fought with a gi, which was another element that made the "Ax Murderer" cautious.

Now the finals were set. Wanderlei Silva and Rampage Jackson would meet for the first time. There was already bad blood between the two. Rampage took some shots at Silva's training camp, Chute Boxe, and there was the famous shove following the Randleman fight. This might not have been the fight most American (UFC) fans hoped to see, but for the Japanese crowd it was exactly what they wanted. They ate up Rampage's brashness and Wanderlei was without a doubt one of the most beloved fighters in the country.

What everyone seems to remember from this fight was the questionable stand-up by the referee. Rampage was in Silva's guard for most of the 1st Round. He connected with some solid punches/elbows and even opened up a small cut on the outside of Silva's right eye. The stand-up was an odd one, but I honestly do not see Rampage finishing the fight from inside Silva's full guard, either. To me it did not decide the outcome of the fight. When the fighters got back to their feet, Silva came out swinging and quickly got Rampage rattled. The punishment Rampage inflicted from the top position might have actually tired him out because he looked slow for the remainder of the fight, which did not last long. Silva connected with repeated knees from the clinch and eventually the referee stepped in. Silva 1 Rampage 0.

After the fight Rampage made it known he was not happy about the controversial stand-up. The loss did not silence him at all and it was evident these two would end up meeting again. Pride did not order an immediate rematch, which led to Rampage questioning whether Silva really wanted to fight him again. Silva went on to win his next two fights by brutal knockouts and Rampage countered with a TKO over Ikuhisa Minowa and the legendary powerslam knockout of Ricardo Arona. Almost a year after their first bout, they would meet again on Halloween night at Pride 28.

I remember thinking Rampage could win, as long as his cardio held out. In the first fight, he managed to tire himself out by throwing too many strikes from Silva's guard. When the fight was stood up, Silva went to work and Rampage was breathing hard. To win the rematch, he needed to fight smarter and be content with winning a wrestling match (like he did against Dan Henderson). It was evident from early on in the fight that Rampage's night was bound to end poorly.

Silva came out and baited him into a fast paced brawl. Once Rampage tired, Silva's knees began breaking through and connecting just like in the first fight. I think his cardio gave out on him again. The image I'll always remember is Rampage with his arms down, mouth open, and desperately sucking for air. He was lucky to ever fight again after that knockout.

There were some other things that happened after the second fight, like the time Silva went nuts after Mauricio "Shogun" Rua dislocated his elbow, and put the fear of God into Rampage. The heat between the two cooled, though, mainly because Rampage did not look impressive in his next two fights against the Rua brothers. He was no longer pushed as a title contender and the thought of a third fight between the two seemed extremely unlikely to happen. Thank God for the UFC and their deep pockets for putting this one together. It'll give a whole new audience a chance to see if Rampage has finally learned how to block knees with something other than his head.

Friday, December 26, 2008

UFC 92 Live Results

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE RESULTS


I've been pretty sick all week, but I wanted to let everyone know I will be doing UFC 92 Live Results tomorrow night. Live Coverage will kick off around 8pm ET. The PPV starts at 10pm ET and that's when the full Live Results will begin flowing.

In addition, I'll be posting my UFC 92 Preview and Predictions tomorrow, along with a special article about the history between Wanderlei Silva and Quinton Jackson (it's very long).

By the way, I'll be high on Nyquil during the Live Blog, which should make for an extra fun experience.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fitch Gets Undercard'd

When Jon Fitch and the UFC made up, it appeared cooler heads had prevailed. Fitch signed over his likeness and the UFC took him back into the family. Well, a month later it's getting hot again. In a surprising move, the UFC has relegated Fitch's fight with Akihiro Gono to the undercard of UFC 94. This does not mean the fight will not be seen. Unless some strange things happen, it'll get on the air. The point is the UFC has not forgotten Fitch's stance against them and they want to make it clear to other fighters how quickly you can go from the main event to an undercard.

The world hasn't seen a more vindictive boss since George Hearst showed up on HBO's Deadwood and began killing miners who wanted to unionize. I'm sure Dana White would love to use those kinds of tactics, but instead he has to rely on pushing one of the top Welterweights in the world off the main card to make a point about company loyalty over personal profit.

Anyone vs Silva

It looks like the UFC has decided it's better to put Anderson Silva in the cage with anyone rather than no one. MMAJunkie is reporting the proposed bout with Thales Leites is back on and will be scheduled for a PPV in April. The news is sure to annoy most fans, who hoped to see Silva face a bigger name like Chuck Liddell.

The UFC does not seem to know what to do with Silva. He is able to fight at Middleweight or Light Heavyweight, but for various reasons the UFC can not find a big name opponent for him. It will be a shame if Silva lives up to his promise to retire after his contract expires, because we are missing out on seeing him fight top competition during his prime.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Liddell/Jardine II

Take it for what it's worth...I have heard from two sources this week about a rematch between Chuck Liddell and Keith Jardine being seriously considered. Apparently Liddell is campaigning pretty hard for the bout. He's been training and wants to fight relatively soon (March or so). A rematch with the loser of Silva/Rampage would also make sense, but neither is likely to be ready or want to fight again before the summer. Liddell does not want to wait that long and is pushing for the rematch with Jardine instead.

No idea what Jardine thinks of it, but I'd guess they could convince him to take it for the right amount. Despite being a legit title contender in the sport's toughest weight class, he has not made or headliner cash yet. Fighting Liddell would give him another chance to be a main event fighter and possibly end the career of an MMA legend. Also, if he came out the winner, he'd be setup for another big fight with one of the top Light Heavyweights.

From a marketing perspective, the UFC could sell the fight very well. Liddell has lost twice to fighters who train with Greg Jackson. Following the last loss to Rashad Evans, there was tons of talk about how Jackson had figured out Liddell. He knew the formula and it worked twice in a row. I'm sure this did not sit well with Chuck. There were also a small minority of Chuck Gaggers who thought he won the fight. Controversy is always a nice sales tool. For Jardine, they could play up his constant underdog status against bigger names (Liddell, Griffin, Vera). This is a chance for him to silence everyone once and for all.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sanchez and Stevenson

On February 21, the UFC will return to London, England and we now know Diego Sanchez and Joe Stevenson will face off in the co-main event. Personally, I think the UFC throws around the term "co-main event" way too much. The whole idea of a main event is it's the MAIN EVENT. Calling something a co-main event makes about as much sense as pairing Matt Hamill and Reese Andy in the Octagon.

Anyways, this will be Sanchez's debut at 155 lbs, which is a surprising move since he was a win away from being a contender at 170 lbs. At some point Joe Silva must have sat Diego down and said, "Look, there is no way in hell you're beating Georges. Wanna beat up Joe Stevenson instead?"

I'd go for that deal too.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fighter Found Dead

Justin Levens, who has fought for the UFC, WEC, IFL, and other promotions, was found dead in his Orange County apartment along with his wife, Sarah McLean-Levens. Authorities believe it was a murder-suicide, in which Levens first shot his wife than took his own life. Every sport has to deal with tragedies like this and MMA will be no different. A lot of guys get into fighting as an escape from tough lives. From what I've heard about Levens over the years, he always faced problems in his life. This is no excuse for his actions, but it should be a lesson for other fighters who have similar backgrounds that the end will not be pretty if you do not get a hold of your life.

Newsday.com gets the Sub-Zero Award for putting a UFC 92 poll below the death notice.


(Looks like someone finally woke up and realized the placement of their UFC 92 poll below a death notice was a bit odd.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tito Sorta Joins Affliction

Well, we should have know things would not turn out exactly as we thought. It appears the Tito Ortiz free agency saga still has not come to a close. The "big" announcement today turned out to be a dud when it was revealed Ortiz will be on the announcing team for "Day of Reckoning" on January 24th.

As usual, Ortiz was talking like he has tons of option when everyone knows it's down to Affliction or become a trashman. I'm sure having Tito talking over all the fights will drive up those PPV numbers. It's like Affliction has no concept of money. Instead of being prudent in these tough times, they're throwing money around like Pacman Jones.

Head to Head

The news keeps getting worse for Affliction. First, their supposed partner Golden Boy Promotions scheduled a major boxing match for the same night as "Day of Reckoning" (and only 30 miles away). That was bad enough. Now word has come out Dana White and his cronies will air a replay of UFC 91 "Couture vs Lesnar" on Spike TV that night also. Affliction's first PPV in July faced similar competition when it went head to head with UFC 84 "Ill Will". The ratings for "Ill Will" were better than expected, so I'm guessing UFC 91, which is a much better card, will do quite well.

It might be a good time to sell those "Day of Reckoning" tickets on StubHub. The Affliction Death Watch remains set at one week from today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Troops Get $4 Million

According to the press release in my email box, the UFC and Spike TV raised over $4 million dollars with their December 10th "Fight for the Troops" MMA event. It also drew roughly 2 million viewers. I think it fulfilled its purpose. Like most people, I was aware many soldiers come home injured physically and mentally, but watching the show informed me a lot more about Traumatic Brain Injury (or "TBI" as Chris O'Donnell and other celebrities call it). If you'd like to learn more about the cause or donate some cash, check out the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

In other news, Corey Hill's "His leg's crooked!!!" fund has raised $34 so far.

New Sponsor


I'd like to welcome our newest sponsor BetUS.com to Rear Naked News. As most of you know, I often speak out against MMA sites that are nothing more than billboards for whatever company pays them the most. The reason I am happy to have BetUS.com on board with us is because it is a website I use quite often. Their Sportsbook features just about every sport imaginable (Handball!) and the lines are very reasonable. I highly recommend you check it out and do your MMA Betting there in the future.

If you do open an account, please mention Rear Naked News in the referral section.

Blabbermouth Tim Sylvia

It must be incredibly annoying to start off an interview by being asked three questions about another fighter. That's exactly the situation Tim Sylvia found himself in when he sat down with Danny Acosta. I don't blame Acosta for this because the public isn't exactly clamoring to hear about Sylvia right now. What else could he have led off with?

Acosta: How do you maintain those washboard abs?

Ortiz and Affliction

Here we go again...Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz will be at an Affliction press conference this Wednesday in Los Angeles. Affliction better be careful. The last MMA promotion who thought they had Ortiz signed went under like a week later.

Affliction Death Watch is now set at one week from Wednesday.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lashley's Debut


Here is the video of Bobby Lashley's MMA debut with MFA. It also features some of the worst announcing I have ever heard (with respect to Billy Packer, Dick Vitale, and the Boom Goes the Dynamite Guy).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weird Night

Following one of the most violent MMA events ever, the TUF Finale had big shoes to fill. Rather than go the violent route, it went for a more surprising theme. Both underdogs won in the Finals, Junie Browning looked incredible, and Dave Kaplan came out to "Tenderness" (read into the phrasing as much as you want).

-Looking back I'm not as shocked Nover lost. He was a virtual unknown prior to the show then a couple months later he's got Nogueira and Dana White comparing him to Anderson Silva. Stuff like that can ruin a young fighter who has not dealt with expectations yet. There was also the fact he trained with Escudero on the show, so he probably was not all that worried about the fight. I think he will still be a solid fighter and possibly a great one. His biggest mistake last night was rushing in and not taking his time (during Silva's last bout against Cote, people blamed him of the exact opposite). He clearly had the better stand-up and could have attacked at a distance all night.

-On the flip side, Escudero showed tremendous heart. It reminded me a lot of the first fight between Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell. Liddell was the popular pick going into the fight because of his exciting style. Couture countered Liddell's superior striking brilliantly and used takedowns to control the fight. Escudero went with a similar plan. He countered with punches a few times, but mostly it was a series of counter-takedowns that did in Nover.

-Vinny showed again that he lacks intelligence inside the cage. Rather than force Bader into taking him down, he stood with him and ultimately was knocked out. The guy is probably one of the five best jiu-jitsu specialists in MMA, yet he stubbornly refuses to play to his strengths. Prior to the fight he mentioned how his striking had improved and Bader would be surprised. Well, I don't think you surprised him too much, Vin. His trainers need to tape him to a chair and pop in Royce Gracie's fights on an endless loop.

-Before we get Junie Fever, it should be noted that Dave Kaplan is not a top fighter. The only people who seem to think so are Frank Mir and Kaplan. I'd like to see a rematch with Escudero before I proclaim Junie "The Next Anderson Silva". It will also be a test to see how he handles winning his first UFC fight. Coming into the fight he had a lot to prove. How will he handle things when the doubters aren't as loud?

-Jules Bruchez needs to find a new line of work. He might have an excellent work ethic, but his talent is lacking. If someone asked me yesterday what they should do with a trillion dollars, I would have told them to put it on Eliot Marshall.

-Other than Marshall and Junie, the only other non-finals fighter I see sticking around is Krzysztof. He looks cool and has moderate talent, which should translate to 2-3 fights on undercards before he gets cut.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

TUF Finale Predictions

Here are some quick picks for tonight's Ultimate Fighter Finale. I'm not gonna pick any of the non-televised fights because all that would do is pad my prediction record. A retarded monkey could pick those winners.

Phillipe Nover vs Efrain Escudero
-Nover Wins by 1st Rd TKO
Ryan Bader vs Vinicius Magalhaes
-Magalhaes Wins by 2nd Rd Submission
Anthony Johnson vs Kevin Burns
-Johnson Wins by Unanimous Decision
Jason MacDonald vs Wilson Gouveia
-MacDonald Wins by Unanimous Decision
Junie Browning vs Dave Kaplan
-Browning Wins by 3rd Rd TKO

Babalu vs Sokoudjou

In typical fashion, Affliction "announced" than quickly sorta "unnanounced" a major bout for their January 24th Day of Reckoning PPV. The fight was added to Affliction's website, but they did not bother to officially announce it. This led MMAJunkie to ask Tom Atencio if the fight had been signed and he gave his usual "kinda" answer.
"We're working on it right now. It hasn't been finalized, but we're definitely working on it. They jumped the gun like always. We're finalizing an agreement now. It's just a matter of how many fights and making sure that we all come to mutual agreements."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"His leg's crooked!"

For anyone who hasn't seen it, go check out Corey Hill's leg break in half at UFC.com. It's one of the worst injuries I've ever seen. You usually see stuff like this in football. However, there the injury happens on the ground when some one falls onto another player's leg. This was much worse to watch. The picture above makes me think of someone swinging a sock with a bar soap at the end.
This made Al-Hassan's broken arm seem like a unnoticeable zit.

UPDATE
Hill is expected to be out 18 months.

Fight for the Troops Notes

It turned out to be an interesting show. Here are my thoughts.

-I told you Miller was going to be good. To dominate like that on short notice makes me think two things. First, he is a legitimate contender in the coming years. Two, Wiman was overrated. As to the second point, it all has to do with Thiago Tavares. When Wiman knocked him out, Tavares was seen as a rising star. It seemed like Wiman must be extremely solid to defeat an opponent like that. Well, at UFC 88 against Kurt Pellegrino, we found out Tavares was not as good as we all thought he was. I'm not saying Wiman is a bum of Reese Andy-like proportions. He just isn't at the elite level it seemed.

-Matt Wiman probably should have been disqualified for holding onto Jim Miller's shorts. I'm glad it didn't happen, but it definitely was within reason. He should have at least been penalized a point.

-Why was Mario Yamasaki dressed like a magician last night?

-Chris O'Donnell did a PSA! He's still working!!!

-Ben Saunders win over Brandon Wolff was vicious, but it was not on Anderson Silva's level. It also wasn't on Wanderlei Silva's level, who was not even mentioned somehow.

-Razak Al-Hassan reminded me of the early days of the UFC when you'd see a guy enter the cage and you just knew it was going to end badly for him. Cantwell should be ashamed of himself for not knocking that guy's afro off. Rogan could have KO'd that guy and he's like two feet smaller than him. It was cool when he broke his arm. I felt no remorse for Al-Hassan because I picked him to win, despite not knowing a single thing about him.

-Why does Cantwell continue to use "The Robot" as his nickname? My Dad always refers to immobile quarterbacks as robots. Every time I see Cantwell I think of Vinny Testaverde getting shelled by a 300 pound lineman.

-As always, Maggie Hendricks is an idiot. There is a difference between a fighter being injured by an opponent or by a random act (like Corey Hill). Cantwell broke Al-Hassan's arm with a legal jiu-jitsu maneuver. He should not regret it at all. If Brandon Wolff would have started dancing around the Octagon when Hill's leg broke, it would be a different story. If this sort of thing bothers you, I suggest you cover another sport like ping pong or darts.

-Yoshida went with the Al-Hassan/Credeur striking method and never bothered to tuck his chin. It's pretty bad when Mike Goldberg is giving someone striking advice. Credeur gets away with it because he's an awkward fighter. Yoshida is just a stiff.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

1.25 Million Buys

Manny Pacquiao's blistering TKO victory over Oscar De La Hoya took in at least 1.25 million PPV buys (total expected to rise with final tally). This makes it the third highest non-heavyweight fight and ninth highest overall. It's a staggering total which illuminates the potential of boxing when big fights come together. For a boxing match between a non-viable aging vet and a guy who barely even speaks English to rake in this much cash, it shows us that MMA remains a distant 2nd in terms of PPV revenue.

Huerta Is Back

Roger Huerta and the UFC have agreed on a new five fight contract. The two sides had been at each other's throats since Huerta spoke out against the company this summer. It did not help that he went on to lose his fight with Kenny Florian a week later. He has been rotting on the shelf since then with one fight left on his UFC contract. The UFC loves using this tactic with fighters they dislike.

At some point Huerta must have realized it was idiotic to continue being at war with the only viable MMA promotion who can afford him. He probably also saw how the UFC dealt with Jon Fitch and decided it was better to end this before he found himself unemployed. I'm glad Huerta is back. He's always fun to watch and should only get better. Fighting Florian was his first taste of the big time and even though he did not win, the experience will help him in the future.

Troops Preview

I don't think I could be less excited for an MMA event. There are two things that could make this worth watching: Wiman and Miller have an all-out brawl, Yoshida puts on a judo clinic and Koscheck is cut the next day. Other than that, I just don't see the draw. Oh well, here are my predictions.

Tim Credeur vs Nate Loughran
-Credeur Wins by 2nd Round Submission

Steve Cantwell vs Razak Al-Hassan
-I'm going with Al-Hassan in an upset. I have zero knowledge of him, but the fact Cantwell is such an overwhelming favorite (-350) makes me suspicious. Cantwell is an average fighter. Unless he was fighting a twelve year old girl with Multiple Sclerosis, I wouldn't list him as that much of a favorite. The UFC does not put twelve year old girl's with MS on main cards, so I'm thinking this guy might turn out to be better than expected. Al-Hassan Wins by 1st Round TKO.

Mike Swick vs Jonathan Goulet
-In another fight I could care less about, Swick and Goulet will finally get a chance to meet. Apparently they have been trying to fight each for some time, but like me no one really cared enough to book it. Goulet is overmatched in this one. I'm not sure why he campaigned so hard for the fight on the "web", as he calls it. Swick bores the hell out of me. I like how in his UFC profile it lists "Aggression" as one of his "Strengths". Who the hell put this thing together Maggie Hendricks from Yahoo!? Anyway, Swick Wins by Unanimous Decision.

Matt Wiman vs Jim Miller
-Finally a fight worth watching. Before reading any more, you should know I am a huge Miller believer, so this will be very biased. Wiman impressed lots of people with his knockout of Thiago Tavares in June. Tavares' stock has since fallen and that win isn't looking so great any more. On the feet, Wiman should have the edge. Miller can hold his own, but he does not have the type of striking that will scare Wiman. The biggest difference between the fighters is on the ground, where Miller excels. He's a submission machine and needs to take the fight to the mat to win. Whenever I look at two closely matched fighters, I almost always go with the fighter who has the bigger edge in one department. In this fight, Wiman has a decent edge in striking. On the ground, Miller takes it by a larger amount. I'm going with that logic. Either way it'll be the first time this event catches my attention. Miller Wins by 2nd Round Submission.

Yoshiyuki Yoshida vs Josh Koscheck
When I heard Koscheck planned on fighting twice in rapid fashion, my immediate thought was, "If he loses both, his UFC career is over." It just didn't strike me as a good idea. The fact he has to fight a slightly unknown commodity, who happens to be a judo expert, does not alleviate my concerns. There is also the ongoing problems between his handlers and the UFC over image licensing. He's facing a deep hole to climb out of and I don't think it's gonna happen. I expect him to go back to what he knows best and try to squeak out a decision against Yoshida. The problem he will run into is Yoshida will counter his wrestling with throws. To me the only thing more exciting than a knockout is seeing one fighter throw the other on his head. I wish more fighters took up judo because it is a pleasing style to watch. Koscheck will have his moments of laying on top and barely doing any damage, however, they will pale in comparison to the multiple times he lands on his head. Yoshida Wins by Unanimous Decision. UFC cuts Koscheck within a month.

Monday, December 8, 2008

ProElite Returns?

According to MMAJunkie, we might be seeing a resold and packaged EliteXC in 2009. It seems they have some serious bidders who intend to return the defunct promotion to action. Fighter agent Ken Pavia thinks it might happen in the first quarter of 09, which would be a ridiculous turnaround for a resurrection, unless Jesus Christ is installed as chief operator. EliteXC was run just about as poorly as you could run a MMA promotion. I gotta believe that is what would make bidders think they can turn it around and make a profit. I'll give credit to anyone if they actually buy it, because you gotta have guts (or misguided optimism) to think you can turn around a dead MMA promotion in this economic climate.

Now for the standard warning. Do not get your hopes up. It is in ProElite's best interest to make people think they are close to a sale. Pavia also isn't an innocent bystander. He has several fighters who are under contract with EliteXC and cannot fight until this mess gets cleaned up. By telling people there are multiple bidders and a sale is likely to happen this month, it could push a viable party to solidify their offer.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bits and Pieces

-Golden Boy is trying quite hard to ruin Affliction's second PPV. First, they scheduled a marquee boxing match for the same night. Now, they have changed the venue from Las Vegas to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, which is about 30 miles away from where "Day of Reckoning" will be held in Anaheim. Too bad Oscar didn't fight this ferocious against Manny.

-It's looking less likely that Couture/Liddell IV will take place in Germany this summer. I snuffed this one out almost immediately. Story looked too much like a plant to be true. The fact Liddell has not even been asked about it tells you it is not the priority some thought it was. I still find it funny the reason Couture is being considered such a lock to fight in Germany is because he was stationed there for a few years in the 80s. There's also a rumor Jon Fitch is being considered for the card because he took two semesters of German in college.

-Nate Diaz and Clay Guida will get their chance to fight on January 31 at UFC 94. The fight was supposed to be on the December 13th "Fight for the Troops" card, but a foot injury forced Guida to pull out. I'm glad they added this to the event. It was looking like a sequel of UFC 91 with a huge main event and not much else to fill things out.

-Babalu is in need of an opponent for Affliction "Day of Reckoning". They better come up with someone big because this PPV is looking more like a dud every time I think about it. Other than the main event, nothing else hooks the mainstream fan. Matt Lindland might be one of the top Middleweights in the world, but he is not a PPV draw by any stretch of the imagination. I just find it hard to believe this thing will be a ratings hit. I mean, Fedor isn't even doing promotional work for it. He's the only guy the media even wants to speak with and he's in Russia hiding from the cameras.

-Looks like Josh Koscheck might be nearing the end of his career in the UFC. Honestly, I would not miss him all that much. He's an excellent wrestler who never developed decent striking. That is the type of fighter I like the least in MMA. Nothing bores me more than watching someone turn a fight into a wrestling match.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ultimate Fighter 8 Thoughts

I've remained mostly silent on this season because I can't stand when MMA sites spoil the episodes for fans. Here are my thoughts on the season.

-The pranks are boring. If I wanted to watch that crap, I'd buy some Punk'd DVDs. Get back to what made the show popular. Show the damn fighters training! Every time I saw Bader and Nog/Silva sparring, I sat up and watched intently. That stuff was great. Why didn't we see more of it? Why didn't we see Mir breaking down different jiu-jitsu techniques? Instead we get five straight minutes of Krzysztof bringing plates and chairs outside for a prank that wasn't even funny. This show will die soon, if they don't get back to basics.

-Dave Kaplan looks like a guy with terrible body odor.

-I hope they stick with the two weight class format in the future. There just aren't enough quality fighters to find 16 within one division. Young fighters have more opportunities now and being on the show isn't the once in a lifetime chance it used to be. Even with only 8 at each, this season's cast was very thin towards the bottom.

-Nogueira came off as the better coach. Mir seems like he doesn't have the coach gene. He has trouble communicating how to do things because in his mind he just does them naturally. A lot of successful athletes have the same problems when they enter into the coaching world. Nogueira seemed at home dealing with the younger fighters. It might have even helped reenergize a fighter who has spent a long time in the sport.

-The 2 Round "Sudden Victory" fight remains one of the dumbest concepts in any sport. The XFL's opening "Scramble" is a close second.

-Any one who reads a blog written by a TUF cast member should have their eyes removed and given to a blind person. You don't deserve them any more.

Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale

Here is the fight card for The Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale on December 13. The big losers are definitely Krzysztof and Eliot Marshall. They get to fight in dark matches while Junie Browning and Dave Kaplan are on the main card. I'd be pretty pissed off about that.

Main Card
Phillipe Nover vs Efrain Escudero
Ryan Bader vs Vinicius Magalhaes
Jason MacDonald vs Wilson Gouveia
Kevin Burns vs Anthony Johnson
Junie Browning vs Dave Kaplan

Non-Televised
Krzysztof Soszynski vs Shane Primm
Jules Bruchez vs Eliot Marshall
Kyle Kingsbury vs Tom Lawlor
Shane Nelson vs George Roop
Rolando Delgado vs John Polakowski

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Torres Wins Easily

Miguel Torres continued his dominance with an easy 2nd Round TKO of Manny Tapia. Torres never appeared to be in trouble, as he controlled the action in the 1st Round then stepped up the pace to finish it in the 2nd.

WEC 37 Results
Manny Tapia vs Miguel Torres
-Torres Wins by 2nd Rd TKO
Wagnney Fabiano vs Akitoshi Tamura
-Fabiano Wins by 3rd Rd Submission
Will Ribeiro vs Brian Bowles
-Bowles Wins by 3rd Round Submission
Danny Martinez vs Joseph Benavidez
-Benavidez Wins by Unanimous Decision
Justin Haskins vs Johny Hendricks
-Hendricks Wins by 2nd Rd TKO
Mark Munoz vs Ricardo Barros
-Munoz Wins by 1st Rd TKO
Diego Nunes vs Cole Province
-Nunes Wins by Unanimous Decision
Alex Karalexis vs Bart Palaszewski
-Palaszewski Wins by 2nd Rd TKO
Cub Swanson vs Hirouki Takaya
-Swanson Wins by Unanimous Decision
Shane Roller vs Mike Budnik
-Roller Wins by 1st Rd Submission

Blog Layoffs

I have received quite a few emails asking me about the layoffs at MMARated. Other than "Post more!" emails, this has been the number one topic in my Inbox. I can't say I have much firsthand knowledge of the situation other than what has been reported. Wasserman Media Group pays the bills for MMARated and they are feeling the financial pinch. They fired a bunch of people from their Sportnet division, which includes MMARated.

Running a blog is not as easy as most think. The problems come when it becomes a business. When blogs start worrying about their page views more than their content, they get into trouble. This happens again and again. You can tell a blog from a business simply by how the front page is designed. If you see abstracts of stories that require you to needlessly click for content, you are on a business site. They need those clicks to survive and will not hesitate to force their readers to click endlessly for content. And don't even get me started on giant ads taking up more space than the actual content.

When blogs started getting big a lot of people saw it as an opportunity to make easy money (specifically "media groups" who pool blogs together to sell ad space at higher rates). The problem was no one knew what a successful business plan looked like for a blog. Most places hired way too many employees and now we are seeing the cuts. Even a wildly successful blog like Gizmodo is getting butchered. The only thing I can really say is if you like reading a blog, support them. Tell your friends about it. Post their content on places like Digg and message boards you frequent. And of course, click on the ads.

Big Chance for Miller

Way back in July, a reader asked me what underrated fighters I thought would be a champion in the next three years. My answers were Michael Bisping and Jim Miller. Bisping is well on his way to a shot at the Middleweight Title and at Fight for the Troops on December 10th, Jim Miller will get a chance to take a major step forward. He will sub for the injured Frankie Edgar and face Matt Wiman. I was greatly looking forward to the Edgar/Wiman bout and am a little disappointed. However, the addition of Miller perked me right up. This is his chance to showcase his talents to a large audience and against a very solid opponent.

Wiman is coming off a spectacular knockout victory over Thiago Tavares. He's only 25 and has shown significant improvement since his stint on The Ultimate Fighter 5. Early in his career it seemed like he was missing a mean streak, but lately that has not been the case.

Miller is best known for his submissions. He is relentless on the ground and will often attempt a number of submissions before sinking in a finisher. The only part of his game that is lacking is his striking and that is largely due to his prowess on the ground. Over time his stand-up should develop into something for other fighters to fear.

Affliction Gets Serious

Since Affliction got into the promoting business, they have not been the best at releasing information. I was seriously questioning whether "Day of Reckoning" was going to happen up until the recent surge of fight announcements. It still makes me wonder why they have not straightened out their PR machine yet. The end of the Todd Beard era should at least clear up the confusion from hearing messages from two different company spokesmen. Although, Tom Atencio probably counts as two people because every time he opens his mouth a flurry of contradictions comes spewing out.

Anyway, the news today is that Josh Barnett will face Gilbert Yvel. Rumors had been circulating that Barnett would face Fedor Emelianenko's younger brother Aleksander. No idea why that one did not pan out. Maybe Affliction is being more budget conscious and decided they did not want to add Aleksander's salary to the event. The strangest part of the Barnett/Yvel fight is what it does for the future of the Heavyweight division. You would think they would want Barnett facing a top notch recognizable opponent, so they could position him for a title shot with a victory. It will be pretty weak if he ends up fighting for the title after defeating Pedro Rizzo and Gilbert Yvel. I mean, maybe if he took a time machine back to 2004 and beat them it would work a little better.

Monday, December 1, 2008

GSP/Penn 24/7

Details about the UFC's much talked about preview shows for GSP/Penn 2 have started to leak out. The idea was to model them after HBO's successful 24/7 Boxing programs, which have generated a huge amount of interest from fans. The shows take a look behind the scenes at the lives of the boxers as they train for their fights. The UFC plans on copying the formula, in the hopes it can carry St-Pierre and Penn to record numbers on PPV.

The series of three shows will premiere on January 14 and air each Wednesday at 10:30 ET on Spike TV in the three weeks prior to the fight on January 31. With the UFC producing the series and Penn training half a world away in Hawaii, plus St-Pierre's jet-setting training schedule, a lot of money will be on the line. The UFC is hoping to not only generate additional PPV buys, but also draw solid ratings on Spike TV. The advertising market is stagnant right now and sales are way down. This is a chance for the UFC, who has largely avoided any economic downturn, to prove to advertisers once again that they can bring in viewers no matter how poor the economy.

24/7 is a great show, even if you do not like boxing all that much. As a fight fan, it is tough not to be interested in seeing the inner workings of world-class fighters preparing for enormous matches. I think this will be a big success for the UFC and open the door for other series in the future. Penn and St-Pierre are the perfect fighters to launch the series. They are arguably two of the top five pound for pound MMA fighters in the world, have engaging personalities, and genuinely seem to have animosity between them. Those elements add up to make it a memorable show. It at least has to be better than the recent seasons of The Ultimate Fighter.