Monday, June 29, 2009

Tito Still Talking



It always amazes me how he can talk for so long without stopping.

Notice the sleazeball doing the interview. He'd be better off staying behind the camera next time. He also asks one of the worst phrased questions I've ever heard...

Sleazeball: Is it possible that you would ever, if if, the respect was there, if the dollars was there, whatever, under the circumstances all together, is it possible we could ever see the legacy of Tito Ortiz have another fight, uh, with UFC, ever, you think?

(My favorite part is how he gets upset with his bumbling opening and says "whatever" halfway through. Subconsciously he knows he's an idiot.)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Atencio's Priorities

In case you forgot, Tom Atencio fights tomorrow night on the ridiculous "Ultimate Chaos" PPV. Honestly, what are they hoping to do? 1,500 buys? I might order it just so I can call my friends and hear their reaction when I say, "Hey, I ordered "Ultimate Chaos"! Bring the wings!"

Maybe Atencio should spend a little more time in the office because while he was pretending to be a fighter, Dana White swooped in and stole Vitor Belfort.

(This picture confirms my belief that even fighters look like idiots when they hold their fist up for a photo.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

UFC 100 Odds

With UFC 100 around the corner, it's time to get into betting mode and review the odds. Like all sports betting, MMA odds change over time, so it's important to keep an eye on them from when the bout is announced all the way till fight night. You want to maximize the line to your advantage whenever possible.

UFC 100 Odds


Lesnar -240
Mir +190

St-Pierre -300
Alves +220

Henderson -230
Bisping +180

Fitch -450
Thiago +325

Akiyama -300
Belcher +220

Bonnar -350
Coleman +250

Miller -200
Danzig +160

Jones -450
O'Brien +325

As of tonight, I like Bonnar, Fitch, and Bisping.

A lot has been made of Mark Coleman's newfound dedication to cardio training. The fact he just discovered the need for cardio shows me all I need to know. You can't undo decades of neglect with one proper training camp.

Fitch will not fall into the trap Koscheck did. He'll grind his way to a victory over Thiago, instead of standing and trading with him.

And I like Bisping, even though no one else does. I think it's a close fight either way. Henderson's inability to finish fights will come back to haunt him. Bisping has the technical striking game to outscore Henderson like Rich Franklin did. He'll avoid enough takedowns, keep it standing, and win a decision.

Rampage Sued for Death of Fetus

Holli Griggs, the pregnant woman whose SUV Rampage Jackson rammed into with his monster truck, has filed a lawsuit seeking damages for the incident. TMZ quotes the figure at "more than $25,000". Griggs had a miscarriage following the accident, but it was ruled the monster truck ramming into her SUV did not cause it. It's possible to have a miscarriage because of stress, so I'm unsure how they determined his ramjob could not have caused it.

Anyways, this one will settle out of court for an undisclosed amount of money. It'll be significant.

Perhaps Rampage took the coaching job on Ultimate Fighter 10 because of the impending lawsuit. Make a nice salary coaching and fight an easier opponent or take on Machida for the title. From an economic standpoint, it's not a difficult decision.

Gonzaga On The Brink

UFC 66 - WIN Marrero (Preliminary Card)
UFC 70 - WIN Cro Cop (Main Event)
UFC 74 - LOSS Couture (Main Event)
UFC 80 - LOSS Werdum (Main Card)
UFC 86 - WIN McCully (Preliminary Card)
UFC 91 - WIN Hendricks (Main Card)
UFC 96 - LOSS Carwin (Main Card)
UFC 102 - Tuchscherer (Preliminary Card)

The first time you fall off the main card is not a huge deal. As long as you were previously a name, you're not in danger of being cut. The second time you fall to the preliminary card, you're in trouble. Notice the talent difference between his first trip to the prelims and his second. Tuchscherer is the guy who tried out for TUF 10 and they thought he was too good, so they signed him to a contract instead. This is a whole different ballgame than fighting McCully/Hendricks. The UFC hoped for Gonzaga to get back on track by placing him in those fights. There is no hope for the Tuchscherer fight. Gonzaga needs to win or he might be looking for a new employer.

MMA is a strange sport. Your opportunities don't last long. It's like when you're at a bar talking to a pretty girl. Unless you've found the Holy Grail of bars, the ratio of pretty girls to guys is always working against you (kind of like the ratio of championship belts to fighters). You need to capitalize on the conversation or else you might not get another opportunity. Gonzaga stumbled over his words, the pretty girl is talking to someone else now, and he's stuck with a fat chick who thinks too highly of her boobs.

Good luck, Gabe. You're gonna need it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Carwin vs Velasquez

Inside Fights is reporting that Shane Carwin will face Cain Velasquez at UFC 103 in Dallas, TX. The fight makes sense on a variety of levels. They've reached the point where they can't put off sorting out the future of the Heavyweight Division any longer. I still say the winner of Couture/Nogueira is assured a title shot, but after them it's without a doubt the winner of Carwin/Velasquez (if it pans out and they both agree to the fight).

Velasquez's Mexican roots also won't hurt ticket sales.

The other bout mentioned is Matt Hughes vs Mike Swick. Hughes desperately needs a big win to stay relevant and Swick desperately wants recognition. It's not the type of fight that gets me pumped, but it's solid.

Inside Fights also mentions the longshot of Chuck Liddell vs Rich Franklin. Dana White's commercial interview with Amir Sadollah seemed to open the door for Liddell's return. Does a fight with Franklin make any sense? Well, actually, yes. Franklin is in a strange limbo. He's good enough to decision most of the 205 pounders in the UFC. He's not good enough to finish the top guys. They could put him in a fight with a rising star like Luis Cane, but you run the risk of Franklin decisioning him and ruining Cane's potential. The solution is to let Franklin fight the aging veterans who aren't in the title picture anymore. Henderson (not in the 205 title picture), Silva (not in any title picture), Liddell (only picture he is in is at some random bar with a porn star strapped to his side).

Book it. I'll watch Liddell chase him around for three rounds and lose a split. At least we won't have to see him get knocked out again.

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

www.GabeGODZILLA.com

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bellator's Solid First Season

-Bellator will have live English language broadcasts for Season 2, which kicks off in the fall. In many ways, their debut season without live English television was a blessing. They were able to build without expectations. Fans tuned in to see the highlight knockouts and submissions, but they weren't pouring over every minute of the broadcasts with a critical eye. When Season 2 begins, Bellator will have the experience of twelve shows to draw on and an ever growing list of exciting fighters.

-I can't say I'm a huge fan of the tournament structure as a foundation for an MMA organization. As a viewer, there are certain fights I want to see and I don't feel like waiting around for a tournament to shake out for them to happen. For fighters, though, the tournament structure is very enticing. Eddie Alvarez fought three times in a little over two months. He took home $175,000 in reported pay for his three victories. It's not only tournament winners who thrive financially. Since Bellator puts on one show a week, there are more opportunities for all their fighters to compete. In other promotions, fights are stretched out over months. Three fights in a year is considered a lot. Bellator turned this notion on its head. I'll guarantee we see some bigger names make their way to Bellator for the increased fighting opportunities.

-Going along with that thought, it'll be interesting to see how aggressive Bellator is with free agents. Eddie Alvarez and Hector Lombard (MW Winner) are legit top level fighters. They won their tournaments and need opponents during Season 2. Apparently, they plan on holding more tournaments and the winners will face the champions from Season 1. A nice idea on paper, but you better fill out the Season 2 tournaments with more well-known commodities, if you expect to sell the Season 1 Champs vs Season 2 Champs as a PPV event (see Sherdog link in final point for more info on their PPV plan).

-Overall, a solid start. Bellator managed to get fans interested despite their abundance of unknown fighters. Moving forward, Bellator needs to prove their economics work. I'm a little dubious about how they intend to make money. A broadcast deal with one of ESPN's English stations would go a long way to convincing me. According to Sherdog, they might not land on ESPN or ESPN2, though. It might not even be a channel within the ABC/ESPN family. They also plan on doing PPV events, which seems premature to me. Alvarez is their biggest draw and I'd say 50% of the mainstream MMA audience doesn't have any idea who he is. That's a bad sign when you're talking PPV buy rates and such.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Eddie Alvarez vs JZ Cavalcante

According to MMANews.com, Eddie Alvarez and JZ Cavalcante will do battle at DREAM 11 on September 23rd. This will be Alvarez's biggest test since his loss to Shinya Aoki. The Bellator wins were nice, but they weren't against top talent.

For all those fans who don't bother with Japanese MMA, you're missing out, especially on the Lightweights. DREAM's stable of 155 pounders is the best in the sport. Plus, they almost always put on exciting fights. These guys go out to kill each other. I highly recommend you tune in for this fight.

Also on the card, the semifinals of the Super Hulk tournament with Choi/Minowa and Mousasi/Sokoudjou.

Vitor Belfort and The UFC

During a commercial break, Spike gave us another segment with Amir Sadollah. Usually these are pointless, but last night we got some interesting news. Apparently Dana White is fishing for Middleweights to challenge Anderson Silva. He named Vitor Belfort as someone he believed could give the enigmatic champ a fight. The reason this is interesting is because Belfort is under contract with Affliction. In recent weeks, White has teased fans with the promise of signing a Middleweight who would "blow our minds." Is Belfort that Middleweight?

I'm gonna say definitely.

While my mind remains in tact, it would be a significant addition to the division.

(By the way, has anyone ever parlayed their TUF win into a better situation than Sadollah? He hasn't even fought in the UFC since winning the show a year ago yet he's interviewing Dana White on Spike TV. It pays to be a likeable fighter these days.)

TUF Finale Thoughts

-Clay Guida returned to his brawling roots last night and it cost him the fight. He came out wild and took some of the worst Round 1 punishment I've ever seen. He's gotta be killing himself for not using his strength advantage to put Sanchez on his back from the start of the fight. He still managed to get a split decision, which proves to me that he's actually a title contender and not just some guy who puts on entertaining fights. What he needs is a trainer he respects enough to listen to. Someone who will all but force him to fight his game the entire time. He could Couture his way through the Lightweight Division, if he just stopped trading with guys for more than 2-3 strikes at a time. As soon as he gets hit, he needs to tie-up and push his opponent around. I hope he finds that guy soon because taking punishment adds up quickly in MMA.

-I can't remember the last time I was that psyched during a UFC staredown.

-James Wilks' beatdown of Damarques Johnson delighted me. I'm sure he's a nice enough dude in real life, but Johnson came off as the Ultimate Douche on the show.

-Ross Pearson's pre-fight video was more entertaining than his win over Andre Winner. "Here's me girlfriend. She's called Jenny." I'm definitely introducing my girlfriend that way from now on.

-Kevin Burns might as well embrace his illegal tactics and become a full blown heel. I say he shows up to his next fight with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan in his corner and spits green mist into his opponent's eyes like The Great Muta.

-I'm not jumping off the Nate Diaz bandwagon yet. He's very young. His brother went through a similar patch of decision losses before realizing how to put it all together. Nate's dealing with that now. Give him a year of mid-level fights and he'll be back. One thing he needs to solve immediately is his over-reliance on fighting from his back. He's a great jiu-jitsu guy, but fighting from your back makes it almost impossible to win a decision in the UFC. A lot of fighters fall into this trap. When a fight goes to the ground, judges score based on control. They rarely factor in submission attempts from the bottom. Diaz needs to forget about submissions at times and just work on reverses or getting up. I'm confident he will figure this out, combine it with better striking, and be a top five Lightweight before he's 27.

-Sanchez vs the winner of Penn/Florian. I'm cool with it. With Sherk out of the way, there isn't anyone else deserving of a title shot. Plus, Diego puts on great fights. I hope the layoff isn't too long, though. He mentioned he had trouble with the cut and I'd rather not see him balloon up in weight before having to lose it all.

-And finally, shut the hell up with the Twitter crap. My God, I thought I was watching a Jonas Brothers concert or something.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Is The UFC Serious?

The UFC makes a hundred good decisions for every bad decision, but putting Lytle/Burns on the televised Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale is one of their worst in quite some time. It's even worse when you consider Lester/Osipczak and Dent/Dollar are on the non-televised portion of the show. Lester was involved in multiple memorable fights, Osipczak is one of the few guys on the show with talent, and Dent/Dollar hate each other. How could you pass up either of those fights for Lytle/Burns?

I don't get it, especially the Lester snub. The guy made the season interesting. He at least deserves his final few minutes of fame on live TV.

(According to Lester's UFC bio, he's 5'1 170 lbs. Guy really is a tank.)

Cro Cop On DREAM 10 Card

Josh Gross is reporting that Mirko Cro Cop will face Siala "Mighty Mo" Siliga on July 20th at DREAM 10. There has been considerable Mirko bashing since he fled the UFC after EPKOing Al Turk. I'm just as pissed as everyone else, but lets remember this is not Pride Cro Cop. In the UFC, he'd have all kinds of trouble with the top guys (the ones he claims he wanted to fight). Whenever the UFC put him into the cage with Lesnar/Mir/Couture/Carwin/Velasquez, he was losing. It was inevitable and in a way I'm happy to see it end this way. I don't want to watch anymore former Pride greats get dominated.

In Japan, he can end his career against mediocre competition and hold onto the last shred of his past dominance. Kick dudes in the head, cash your checks, and ride off into the sunset, Mirko. I'm fine with it.

Davis Isn't Getting A Rematch

I've been a vocal supporter of Marcus Davis, but he needs to forget about a rematch with Dan Hardy. He lost. Whenever fighters let things go to the judges, you run the risk of losing a decision. MMA scoring is suspect at best. I don't think it's corrupt. It's just a difficult sport to score. The only way around it is finishing the fight. Davis had his chances and could not put Hardy away.

A rematch does not make sense for anyone other than Davis. Hardy and the UFC have nothing to gain from it. The UFC has gone out of their way to market itself to England and Hardy's rise into relevance bolsters their thin lineup of UK fighters. There's no need to throw him back into the cage with Davis.

Monday, June 15, 2009

UFC 99 Final Thoughts

-One of the stranger nights of fights in recent memory. Off the top of my head...Saunders and Swick trash talking during the fight and you could clearly hear it, an eye poke, a river sized gash, two questionable decisions on the main card (Franklin/Silva and Fisher/Uno), one coin flip decision (Hardy/Davis), Bruce Buffer didn't give the scores for Fisher/Uno or Franklin/Silva, Miragliotta strikes again, and Velasquez almost got knocked out twice yet won every round convincingly.

-After rewatching the Franklin/Silva fight, I still think Wandy took it. To me it's not enough to control the action like Franklin did. You need to do something with the control. Silva inflicted more serious damage. If a fighter takes his opponent down in the first ten seconds, lays on top throwing light punches for four minutes, then gets dropped with a strike in the last ten seconds of the round, I don't think his 4+ minutes of control should win the round.

-Cro Cop vs Overeem. Cro Cop vs Fedor. I like either of those fights a lot more than Cro Cop vs Couture or Cro Cop vs Nogueira. And, yes, Fedor will be in Japan before the year ends.

-Time to get Mike Swick a top opponent. The possibility of a fight with Matt Hughes intrigues me, although I don't know why.

-Cain Velasquez's win was not impressive. We all knew Kongo couldn't wrestle to save his life. Velasquez could not put him away, despite landing hundreds of strikes. I give him credit for working through the punches he ate on his feet, but he's no longer a sure thing in my book. A decent wrestler with powerful strikes will beat him (Lesnar and Carwin come to mind). Lets see how Velasquez evolves now that Kongo poked a couple holes in his aura.

-Where does Wanderlei Silva go from here? He's 2-5 in his last 7 fights stretching back to 2006. More troubling was the news he cut 12 lbs the day before weigh-ins. He looked spent after one round with Franklin. It wasn't like Franklin tired him out with grappling, either. If the UFC really believes in him and his future, they'll set him up with an easy opponent for his Middleweight debut. Someone he can knock out early would be best. If it goes deeper than a round, he's in trouble.

-Seriously, what the hell was Buffer's deal? Did he decide on his own not to read the scores? Did he forget (um, twice)?

-Rich Franklin is quietly adding to his Hall of Fame legacy. Even though I thought he lost the fight, he got the decision. Fight long enough and you end up on both sides of strange decisions. Franklin's last time out, he lost a split decision to Dan Henderson, a fight many fans believe Franklin won. I want to see Franklin fight again at 195 lbs. Give him a rematch with Henderson (if he loses to Bisping) at the catchweight.

Sylvia Off Affliction Card

His career meltdown is entering legendary territory. All he's missing is a run-in with the law. Lets recap.

-After winning the first two rounds, gets submitted by Big Nog.
-Leaves UFC and signs enormous contract with Affliction.
-Promptly gets annihilated by Fedor.
-Disappears off the face of the Earth.
-Lets Monte Cox talk him into fighting 600 year old Ray Mercer in a boxing match.
-Scores a perfect ten on the unintentional comedy scale.
-Doesn't train for fight and weighs in at 310 lbs (picture!).
-Gets annihilated by Mercer.
-Dropped from Affliction's third event.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mercer KOs Sylvia



Monte Cox has all but sewn up the 2009 Worst Manager award. The loss can't be blamed on him, but putting Sylvia into the position can. Managers are supposed to look out for their clients and steer their career into the right directions. A former UFC Heavyweight Champion should never be in Alabama fighting a 48 year old boxer. Sylvia had nothing to gain from it.

(The real loser in all of this is Affliction. If Sylvia isn't injured and can still fight on August 1st against Paul Buentello, they will be paying an obscene amount of money to a fighter who just got knocked out by Ray Mercer. How do you hype a fight like that? I don't even know if Sylvia can be medically suspended since Alabama does not have an Athletic Commission. God, what a mess.)

All right, one last time.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fedor Needs Time Off?

"Fedor’s record is proven. It’s unmatched. A 30-1 record, and the one was on a stoppage due to a cut. But Fedor, he needs some time off too. We can’t just keep bringing Fedor back [event after event].” - Tom Atencio via Fight Line

Since 2007, he's fought four times. Four. He's had 6 months between each of his Affliction bouts. Yeah, Tom, better slow him down. Don't want him burning himself out with that crazy schedule.

Cro Cop Leaves UFC

The UFC's experiment with a one fight deal did not go so well. Mirko Cro Cop has signed a three fight deal with DREAM and totally burned his bridge with the UFC. It's an unexpected move, as Cro Cop seemed genuine about his return to the Octagon. Before the fight, Dana White talked openly about how he never gives one fight deals and this is why. Cro Cop promised to sign on for two additional bouts after the fight, but for some reason had a change of heart (DREAM officials saw him win a fight on a UFC PPV and offered crazy money).

It's unfortunate because Cro Cop remains a very popular fighter. I think he's at the tail end of his career and wants to make the most money while he's still a draw. DREAM gives more upfront money, while the UFC gives you the chance to make huge money, as long as you win. Cro Cop took the easy money and financially it's probably his best option.

Still sucks for fans who wanted to see him matched up with the best the UFC has to offer.

UFC 99 Live Results

(If you like the Live Results, please support our sponsors. A click here and there allows me to occasionally eat.)

-A better name for this event would have been "Ramifications". The winner of Kongo/Velasquez becomes an instant title contender and if Silva defeats Franklin, he's probably getting a shot at the Middleweight Title in the latter half of 2009. There's also the return of Cro Cop, which could set up a huge fight with Couture/Nogueira, if he can keep it together and take out Al Turk. I can't think of another PPV in a while with so many Ramifications. See, it works much better than "Comeback".

Preliminary Card
John Hathaway vs Rick Story
-Hathaway Wins by Unanimous Decision
Denis Stojnic vs Stefan Struve
-Struve Wins by 2nd Rd Submission (RNC)
Paul Kelly vs Rolando Delgado
-Kelly Wins by Unanimous Decision
Paul Taylor vs Peter Sobotta
-Taylor Wins by Unanimous Decision
Dennis Siver vs Dale Hartt
-Siver Wins by 1st Rd Submission (RNC)
Terry Etim vs Justin Buchholz
-Etim Wins by 2nd Rd Submission (D'arce)

Marcus Davis vs Dan Hardy
-The "bad blood" between Marcus Davis and Dan Hardy is comical to say the least. I enjoy seeing the UFC stoop to this. The feud is based on Davis saying he's Irish and Hardy saying he's not. That's dumber than a mid 90s WWF angle.
-Davis wearing an Irish kilt and an ugly sponsor t-shirt. Probably the strangest clothing combo in the history of fashion.

Round 1
Leg kick by Hardy. Body kick by Davis. A takedown attempt by Davis is initially stuffed by Hardy. Davis still working for it. He finally drags Hardy down. Davis quickly into full mount and throwing punches. Hardy works back to full guard. Davis has his back with Hardy on his knees. Punches to the side of the head by Davis. Back to their feet and Hardy lands a big right elbow. RNN Scores it 10-9 Davis.

Round 2
Solid leg kick lands for Hardy. Davis lands a left. Both connect lefts at the same time. Another left by Davis. Action picking up. Another exchange with both landing, but Hardy gets the better of it. Hardy connects with a big knee. He follows Davis to the ground. Davis regains composure and seems to be all right. Hardy working from full guard. Davis goes for an arm bar, but can't totally hook it in. Elbow from Hardy. Davis working like crazy from the bottom. Lots of elbows. Referee stands them up. Davis mauls him into the cage. Hardy lands a knee to the body from the clinch. A big left lands for Davis. He takes Hardy down. Throwing lefts from Hardy's full guard. RNN Scores it 10-9 Hardy.

Round 3
Davis lands a left and Hardy goes down. It looked like somewhat of a slip. It landed, though, and will score points with the judges. Davis passes to half guard. Not throwing much. Davis rolls and grabs Hardy's foot. They scramble for a bit with Davis trying to sink in the submission. Looked bad for a second, but Hardy gets out. Back to their feet. From a tie-up, Hardy takes Davis down. Hardy connects with an elbow and some punches. Davis is cut. Referee stops it to check the cut. Fight restarted. Bad break for Hardy. Davis was wobbly when he stood up. That gave him 15 seconds or so to recover. Weird cut check, to say the least. Referee stands them back up. Blood all over Davis. Davis lands a left and Hardy a leg kick. Fight ends in a tie-up along the cage. RNN Scores it 10-9 Hardy.

Dan Hardy Wins by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

-Nightmare to score. Davis controlled the fight, but Hardy did the most damage. After they announced the decision, Hardy tried to shake hands and Davis waved him off.

Spencer Fisher vs Caol Uno

Round 1
Uno shoots and is stuffed. Knees to the side by Fisher. Still tied-up and on their feet. Knees to the body by Fisher. Referee finally splits them after two minutes of nothing but partially connecting knees. Fishers lands a left. Solid leg kick by Fisher. A short right hook connects for Fisher. Uno shoots again, but another nice sprawl by Fisher. Fans whistling and saying angry things in German. Rounds mercifully ends to a chorus of boos. Fisher frustrated by the crowd's reaction. RNN Scores it 10-9 Fisher.

Round 2
Fisher connects with a left. Uno grabs him and takes him down. Fisher gets up quickly. Uno goes for takedown and Fisher sprawls perfectly, again. Good leg kick by Fisher. Then a better leg kick by Uno. Another by Uno. He shoots and Fisher sprawls. They scramble and Uno ends up on top in Fisher's full guard. Very cool escape by Fisher. When Uno stood in his guard, Fisher grabbed his foot and tripped him to the ground. Back to their feet and another tie-up. Fisher goes for a sweep, but Uno ends up on top. Back to their feet. Rogan trying to explain why this fight doesn't suck (basically it's a fight only high brow MMA fans can enjoy). Whatever, dude. RNN Scores it 10-9 Uno.

Round 3
Tie-up with Uno driving Fisher into the cage. Uppercut lands for Fisher. A big left slaps against Uno's head. Uno is unfazed and grabs a leg. Yet another tie-up along the cage. Yamasaki finally wakes up from his coma and breaks them apart. A solid leg kick by Uno. Fisher lands a right hook and then takes Uno down. Fisher passes to side. Uno whips him off and drives Fisher into the cage. Fisher lands a good combo, but Uno comes in and takes him down. Uno into mount. Throwing nice punches and elbows from the top. Uno doing some damage. RNN Scores it 10-9 Uno.

Spencer Fisher Wins by Unanimous Decision

-Another tough one to score. I gave it to Uno, but it doesn't surprise me the judges didn't.

-Boring fight. Rogan can defend it all he wants, but that fight sucked.

Ben Saunders vs Mike Swick
-Make or break time for Saunders.
-"He's confident, but not an ass." Rogan on Swick.
-Bruce Buffer looking more and more like Vince McMahon with every passing event. By UFC 105, the transformation should be complete.

Round 1
Saunders grabs Swick, but ends up on the bottom. He sorta pulled guard. Swick staying active on top. Saunders holding on. Swick landing body shots. Some trash talk between Saunders and Swick. Referee stands them up after over three minutes on the ground without anything happening. Good exchange with both landing. Tie-up with Saunders pushing Swick into the cage. Knee to the head by Saunders. It partially landed. Swick reverses him into the cage. RNN Scores it 10-9 Swick.

Round 2
Swick charges in with a punch and lands a couple knees from the clinch. Swick takes him down and moves right into the mount. Saunders fights him back to guard. Swick throwing light stuff from the top. Crowd groaning. Referee stands them up in less than two minutes! He's learning! I don't know who he is, but I think his first name is Leon. He's white too. You don't hear of too many white guys named Leon anymore. As you can tell, this fight isn't too exciting. Anyways, Swick opens things up with a punching charge. He's landing. Saunder's backing away. Rights are getting through. He nails him on the temple and Saunders is down. Referee stops it.

Swick Wins by 2nd Rd TKO

-That could have been a great fight, if Leon would have stood them up quicker. You can't let things stagnate on the ground. Once the action stops for thirty seconds, stand them up. Big John is the best at knowing when exactly to stand fights up.

Mirko Cro Cop vs Mostapha Al Turk
-In the pre-fight video, Al Turk tries to use the Rocky IV "He's a man!" defense.
-Oh no...Dan Miragliotta.

Round 1
Turk lands a right. He goes for a takedown and Cro Cop throws him off. Leg kick by Turk. Straight left by Cro Cop. Cro Cop charges in with a right left combo. He drops him with a left. Then lets Turk back up. Cro Cop pokes him in the eye (Miragliotta misses it on cue). Turk covering up. Cro Cop attacking. Turk eats a big strike. It's over.

Cro Cop Wins by 1st Rd TKO

-First, Cro Cop was gonna TKO this guy at some point. Turk was throwing wild punches and Cro Cop had already dropped him. But...the eye poke led to the finish. Miragliotta totally missed it. He never disappoints.

Cain Velasquez vs Cheick Kongo
-Miragliotta on the scene again. I guess they don't think he can screw up twice in one night. It would be impressive if he managed to do it in back to back fights.
-5 inch reach advantage for Kongo.

Round 1
Kongo catches him. Big strike. Another one. Two huge rights. Velasquez still somehow gets a takedown. Great recovery. Kongo pushes him off. Scramble and Velasquez is back on top. Side control for Velasquez. Elbow from the bottom by Kongo. Mount by Velasquez. Going for a choke. Kongo rolls out of it. Back up, but Velasquez takes him right back down. He's in side control. Right hands landing for Velasquez. Kongo back up for a second before Velasquez takes him down again. More ground and pound. RNN Scores it 10-9 Velasquez

Round 2
Kongo connects again at the start with a right. He clinches, though, and it allows Velasquez to recover. Velasquez takes him down. He hurt him again. He just can't follow it up. Velasquez into mount. He has his back. Punches to the side of the head of Kongo. Kongo stands and gets taken down again. Velasquez into side control. Elbow from the bottom by Kongo. More punches from the top by Velasquez. Knees to the body. Kongo is bleeding from his nose. RNN Scores it 10-9 Velasquez.

Round 3
Kongo connects again at the start. This time not as flush. Kongo takes Velasquez down. Velasquez pivots out of trouble and has Kongo's back. Throwing rights to the head. Kongo back up. He's landing knees to the body. Kongo landing punches. Velasquez hurt a bit. Kongo comes in too quickly and gets taken down...again. Another mount by Velasquez. More punches from the top. RNN Scores it 10-9 Velasquez.

Cain Velasquez Wins by Unanimous Decision

-Kongo made the same mistake three times. He connected with big punches then moved forward. Every time he walked into a takedown. Once down, it was like watching a heavyweight college wrestler taking on a lightweight high schooler.

Rich Franklin vs Wanderlei Silva
-Silva is so cool he makes "Sandstorm" seem like a manly entrance song.
-Rogan calls Silva the most exciting fighter in MMA history. That's probably true. Least exciting fighter in MMA history? Reese Andy, of course.
-Am I the only one who doesn't believe Silva is really 32 years old? I'm not being sarcastic. I think his actual age was altered at some point. He's probably 35-36.
-Silva starting to look like Mark Coleman.

Round 1
Slow start with both tentative. Silva comes forward, Franklin counters. Neither landed solid. Body kick by Franklin. Silva throwing high kicks. Silva catches a body kick and takes Franklin down. Silva in Franklin's full guard. Silva throwing and missing from top. Body punches mixed in with strikes to the head. Nothing major landing yet. Franklin gets up and has Silva down. Franklin connecting with punches to the head. RNN Scores it 10-9 Franklin

-"I think I broke his nose" says Franklin.

Round 2
Body kick by Silva. Franklin counters. Good exchange with both landing. Silva misses with a big right. Silva breathing heavy. Maybe the cut was too much for him. He's swinging hard. Franklin drops him, but doesn't go in for the kill. Silva back up. Silva throwing hard again. He lands and Franklin is hurt. Silva throwing, but he can't end it. Franklin seems ok. Exchange and both landing. RNN Scores it 10-9 Silva


Round 3
Silva looks very tired. Franklin lands a left. Silva lands a right. Franklin tags him with a left. Franklin is doing whatever he wants. Loops a punch in that connects. Low blow. Franklin kicked Silva in the nuts. Quick restart. Both fighters land. Silva coming forward. A knee to the head by Silva. Silva raises hands and pumps up crowd. Franklin lands a combo. Silva charges in and has Franklin somewhat hurt. Franklin weathers the storm and takes Silva down. Silva kicks him off and gets up. Round ends in a tie-up. Franklin the the back throwing punches and Silva throwing elbows. RNN Scores it 10-9 Silva

Rich Franklin Wins by Unanimous Decision

-Kind of a weird one. It goes with the theme of the night. One fighter controls the fight, the other does more damage.

It Just Gets Better

Tim Sylvia weighed in at 310 lbs for his fight with Ray Mercer.

Do you think he'll wear a shirt in the cage like a fat kid at the pool? Do you think they'll both wear shirts? Imagine them fighting in shirts. It's hilarious. I'm more excited for this than UFC 99. Admit it. You are too.

Friday, June 12, 2009

UFC 99 Predictions

Wanderlei Silva vs Rich Franklin
-Silva by 1st Rd TKO
Cain Velasquez vs Cheick Kongo
-Kongo by 1st Rd TKO
Dan Hardy vs Marcus Davis
-Davis by Unanimous Decision
Ben Saunders vs Mike Swick
-Swick by Unanimous Decision
Mirko Cro Cop vs Mostapha Al-Turk
-Cro Cop by 2nd Rd TKO

(I can't decide if my sentimental nature messes up the Silva pick or not. Since he's facing Franklin, I think you could make the argument that picking either has an element of sentimentality to it. They're both fan favorites who are in the later stages of their careers. Picking a winner based on logic is out of the question. Feelings come into play on this one no matter which way you go. Maybe the MMA Gods will intervene and allow Silva to have one last run. They owe it to all the fans who did not see his Pride dominance as it happened. It would also make up for bringing Kimbo Slice back into our lives.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sylvia/Mercer Back On!

The saga continues...

Earlier today the boxing match between Tim Sylvia and Ray Mercer was canceled over sanctioning issues by the Association of Boxing Commissions (whatever the hell that is).

Here's a transcript of their meeting.

Corrupt Boxing Commissioner #1: That fat MMA dude Tim Sylvia is boxing Ray Mercer this weekend in Alabama?
Corrupt Boxing Commissioner #2: Ray Mercer is still alive?!

Anyways, they freaked out, put pressure on the right people, and the boxing match was canceled. Promoter Monte Cox did not take the hint. Instead of scrapping the main event, he got Sylvia and more importantly Mercer to agree to contest the fight under MMA rules. This gets the ABC out of the picture.

I know everyone was pumped for the six round boxing war, but don't worry. Apparently Sylvia has agreed to fight Mercer in a boxing match in the future. Yup, that's right...Rematch, baby.

I've always heard rumors Cox plans on releasing a tell-all book about his struggles promoting this epic bout. It's tentatively titled "A Work of Staggering Stupidity".

(And of course, it's still hilarious the 50th time you see it)

Xtreme Couture Supplements

Xtreme Couture now has a line of supplements. It's about time a fighter poked their nose into this world. It's been sitting there waiting for a couple years. This is one reason I think MMA managers are horrible. You have a perfect match between fighters and supplements. Everyone is enamored with MMA training at the moment. It's the new Tae Bo. All you really need is a popular fighter to be the spokesman for the products and some investors. Why has it taken this long for someone to do it? Even a moderately successful operation could turn out millions a year. Instead MMA managers cash their 10% checks, wait for calls from promoters, and line up ugly sponsor t-shirts for their fighters to wear.

Supposedly (probably not), this is Randy Couture's supplement schedule. Not surprisingly, he takes every product they offer. What are the odds?!

Check out this stock photo of the Xtreme Couture research lab. Looks like they're working on a new Orange Julius shake of some sort.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The 1 to Tito Scale

On a scale of 1 to Tito, how bad was Kenny Florian's commentary last night?

It surprised me because in the past I've found him less annoying than most announcers. I figured his work on MMA Live would have made him even better.

Nope.

Get back to the gym, Kenny. You're sitting in Pulver's seat.

Faber's Hand Steals The Show

Nothing was settled last night. Mike Brown slid by an injured Urijah Faber. An amazing performance by Faber, even in defeat. He resorted to throwing elbows instead of punches. He couldn't grasp Brown in the clinch or any time they wrestled. It was spectacular to watch and at the same time frustrating, because this rematch had the makings of a back and forth classic. Without his right hand, Faber was a shell of himself, and Brown took advantage often enough to get the decision.

I hope Brown makes it through Jose Aldo and Faber heals up, because a third fight between these two is the best thing WEC has going.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I'm Sensing A Pattern

Strikeforce "Lawler vs Shields" Recap

-Did you see Mike Kyle's improbable TKO victory over Rafael Feijao? Yeah, me either. I did get to see Kevin Randleman gas in a minute and a half, though.

-Kevin Randleman's striking technique reminds me of a T-Rex trying to bat coconuts from a tree.

-"Catchweight fights can also open a door to Pandora's box." Oh, that explains it. Thanks for the insight, Shamrock.

-Phil Baroni kept asking for more water before the fight. Never a good sign.

-"World renowned Cage Master" - Jimmy Lennon Jr. in reference to Nick Diaz.

-I hope Scott Smith invests his money well, because he's gonna be a mess as an old man. You could actually hear his brain weeping with each passing shot. Strikeforce needs to sideline him for at least six months and let his head heal.

-Big John is the best. I love his confidence. Most refs are afraid to break up stalled clinches, but not Big John. He doesn't mess around.

-Has Nick Diaz entered the upper echelon? I think he needs one more big win before he's fully made the leap, but he's well on his way. His evolution into a top fighter has been one of the best stories of 2009. I hope Strikeforce finds him some quality opponents at 170 lbs, which is where he belongs.

-"Some great Heavyweights in attendance...Fedor, Josh Barnett." - Gus Johnson snubs Tim Sylvia.

-As soon as I saw Michael Moore in Arlovski's corner, I knew my prediction was spot on. Arlovski needs to make a decision. Is he a boxer or a Mixed Martial Artist?

-I don't want to see Rogers get murdered against Overeem. Let him develop more, please.

-"Andrei chose the wrong tactic." - Fedor sums it up.

-How bad was Ranallo's interview with Fedor? With all the softballs flying around, I thought I was watching a Rock n' Jock.

-Lawler's pre-fight dance routine was more entertaining than the main event. He did realize there were cameras on him the entire time, right?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Strikeforce "Lawler vs Shields" Preview

Kevin Randleman vs Mike Whitehead
I'm indifferent towards this fight because it bumped Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante off the main card. He should walk through Mike Kyle, but it still bothers me that Strikeforce would lower him on the card for Randleman/Whitehead. Neither of these two is making a title run anytime soon. Feijao, on the other hand, is one of the best young fighters in the sport. You gotta showcase him, even if it's against a replacement fighter.

That said, I'm favoring Whitehead. Randleman is one of those guys who gets more credit than he deserves. His record is a pedestrian 17-12. You might say, "Well, Couture doesn't have a great record, either." The difference is Couture has lots of big wins. Randleman has very few.

I also tend to stay away from fighters who recently had a kid, got engaged, got married, are planning a wedding, or had knee surgery. Randleman got married like a month ago. Combine this with Randleman's sketchy submission defense and I think Whitehead takes it by 1st Round Submission.

Joe Riggs vs Phil Baroni
Baroni makes me laugh and I wish I could pick him, but Riggs seems motivated and barring a random punch, wins this one rather easily. Riggs by 1st Round TKO.

Nick Diaz vs Scott Smith
Smith puts on entertaining fights, is as tough as they come, and has elite level knockout power. With that out of the way, he's overrated. His stock is artificially high. In the first fight with Lawler, he was getting smoked and would have eventually been knocked out. In the second fight, he was outclassed. Against Radach, he was being pummeled for three rounds before connecting. I don't buy his status as a title contender. Diaz should have his way with Smith. He's smart enough to win without putting himself into danger. Diaz by 2nd Round Submission.

Andrei Arlovski vs Brett Rogers
This is a difficult fight to predict. Arlovski is coming off a truly horrific knockout loss to Fedor. Historically, fighters do not rebound well from those. There is also the late booking. This fight was announced two and half weeks ago. Arlovski was supposed to be preparing for a six round boxing match on June 27th. It's weird to say the least. I'm not sure if Arlovski is crazy or stupid. For Rogers, the decision to take the fight was a no-brainer. It's an excellent opportunity for a power puncher to knock out a big name opponent who often goes down hard.

Let me explain a little bit about why the timing of the fight perplexes me. Arlovski is training for a boxing match. His mindset is completely on stand-up. No wrestling, grappling, etc. He might be in great shape for a boxing match, but I find it hard to believe his body is ready for wrestling. It's a different conditioning. This isn't to say Rogers is a wrestling powerhouse and will wear down Arlovski. He is good in close, though. He also outweighs Arlovski by twenty pounds. If Rogers leans on Arlovski a bit early, we might see a tired fighter as the fight goes on. I just don't get why he and his camp would ever agree to the fight on two and half weeks notice.

I'm going with the underdog. He will probably lose the 1st Round, but I think Arlovski will tire a bit in the 2nd and leave himself open for a big strike. Rogers by 2nd Round KO.

Jake Shields vs Robbie Lawler
Shields is one of the best MMA jiu-jitsu guys out there. He's also one of the worst strikers among top fighters. The best comparison is to Matt Hughes. Both are great fighters, elite fighters even, but their striking is comically below average. It's going to be an enormous mismatch on the feet. Lawler is a brutally effective striker. If I had to name the five best strikers (pure striking on its own), Lawler makes the list.

Shields needs to survive on his feet and somehow get the the fight to the mat. The problem will be getting a bigger opponent down without getting knocked senseless in the process. I don't think he can wrestle Lawler down. I also don't think he knocks him down with a strike. That leaves the third option, which is getting hit. Shields will need to capitalize on Lawler's aggressiveness. He needs him to follow him to the ground and I think he has a good shot at getting it to happen. This is where the fight will be won or lost. Either Shields pulls a crazy submission or Lawler finishes it from the top with strikes. I'm going with the latter. Lawler by 2nd Round TKO.

I Guess Creed Was Busy

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wanderlei Is Awkward



Wanderlei Silva, the King of the Uncomfortable Conversation.

(Pay attention at 1:41 for the strangest hug you will see today.)

Viewer's Guide to TUF 10

Why would the UFC want Kimbo Slice on The Ultimate Fighter?

The UFC has been very successful by drawing hardcore message board posting fanatics alongside mainstream casual fans. They walk the line carefully and it has paid off for them. Kimbo represents a portion of the public the UFC has yet to capture. They are spectacle fans. The type of people who want to see something for the sake of seeing it. They don't necessarily care about MMA all that much. There are a lot of them and Kimbo brings them in.

The Ultimate Fighter operates as a giant advertisement for the UFC's PPVs. During commercial breaks they almost always run a PPV promo. The more people watching the show, the more who see the promos. Kimbo's presence increases promo viewership. It's all about the money.

How much is Kimbo being paid to be on the show?

According to Dana White, it is a standard Ultimate Fighter contestant agreement. He will get paid the same amount as the rest of the cast. The difference is what happens after the show. Kimbo and the UFC have an agreement in place for a lucrative contract, if he ends up fighting in the UFC (White's words were, "If he makes it into the UFC, his contract is different.")

Why would Kimbo want to be on the show?

I think in some ways Kimbo resents the way EliteXC used him. They rushed him into the spotlight and never gave him a chance to develop. He went along with it because they paid him obscene amounts of money. It's not like he was a victim, but I definitely believe he was relieved when the ride ended with the loss to Seth Petruzelli.

Being on The Ultimate Fighter is a chance to salvage his career. EliteXC Kimbo was an artificial bubble. We all knew it was a matter of time before it popped. UFC Kimbo has the opportunity to put a solid foundation under his stardom. All he really needs to do is train hard and win a fight. Do that and he's fighting for the UFC following the season.

Wasn't Kimbo getting offers elsewhere?

Yes, but nothing close to the UFC's offer. Think about it like this...The UFC offers you a chance to be on TV, work with top notch trainers, and a large contract if you make it to the UFC. He doesn't have to win the whole thing to get the contract. Most of the contestants on previous seasons of The Ultimate Fighter end up fighting in the UFC. It's really a tremendous offer.

Kimbo's other options were Strikeforce, Japan, or boxing. Strikeforce did not offer a big contract. They operate under a strict budget (one of the reasons I respect the hell out of them) and they did not plan on using Kimbo as a main event fighter. The Japanese promotions were in the mix, however, Kimbo would have had to be a cartoon character the rest of his career. The last option was boxing with Gary Shaw as his manager. A noose and a ledge is a better option than having Gary Shaw manage your career.

Does Kimbo have a chance at winning the show?

Probably not. Despite being in main events on network TV, Kimbo is inexperienced. The TUF casts usually have a couple terrible guys, mostly mediocre guys, and 1-2 studs. Kimbo falls in the mediocre category. Good enough to win a fight, but not a contender.

His concentration needs to be on training hard. One of the best reasons for going on TUF is getting noticed by training camps. If a fighter like Junie Browning can end up with Xtreme Couture, I see no reason why Kimbo won't get a similar opportunity.

Enough Kimbo stuff. Who else is on the show?

At this point the full list is not out. We do know there will be four guys who could sorta be called former NFL players. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. At least two of them should be solid - Marcus Jones and Brendan Schaub. I'm pegging Schaub as the early favorite until I see the rest of the list.

When does the season begin?

They began filming this week. It will premiere September 16th on Spike TV.

I still hate Kimbo. Do you?

Nope. I can't help but be interested in how this pans out. He's taking a chance and it'll be fun to watch. If he fails, I'll enjoy it. If he succeeds, I'll enjoy it. Seeing people attempt to perform under pressure is one of my favorite things to watch on TV. No one has ever had this sort of pressure on them in the Ultimate Fighter house. We've seen fighters crack over trivial issues like missing their girlfriend. Imagine what Kimbo will be going through. It's fascinating no matter how you look at it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kimbo Slice on TUF 10

Kimbo Slice will be a contestant on the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. The show is shaping up to be a circus with Rampage and Evans as coaches and Slice now added to the cast. Obviously there will be a fair amount of outrage over Slice's addition, but in some ways I respect the decision on his part. It's a last ditch effort to salvage his career. I enjoy watching stuff like that.

For the UFC, it's all about ratings. With Slice on board, the show will break records. More ratings equals more exposure for their PPV ads, which appear during almost every commercial break.

Does he have a chance at winning?

He can definitely win his first fight. I don't see them matching him up with any of the better fighters. There are always guys at the bottom of the cast who stink (Gabe Ruediger). This will be especially true with the Heavyweights featured. It's a very shallow division. After the first round, it's probably lights out on his TUF run.

Odds of Rampage using his "Black on black crime" joke in the first episode?

2/1

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mousasi vs Babalu

The Mousasi/Belfort weight impasse could not be worked out. It's probably for the best. Belfort's career has been reborn at Middleweight and a move up in weight to face a younger top prospect would have been a dubious decision. The answer to the dilemma turned out not to be Matt Lindland, as I thought, but instead Renato "Babalu" Sobral. Mousasi and Babalu will most likely fight at 205 lbs, where Sobral currently holds the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Title.

Babalu does not get the credit he deserves. There are two reasons for this. First, the Liddell highlight reel losses are what everyone remembers. No way to erase those from the public's consciousness. Second, he beats who he's supposed to. It's kind of a backhanded compliment. Meaning, when he faces top competition, he loses. Maybe this will be Babalu's moment to get a huge win. Okay, maybe not. Mousasi is a beast. He's better on his feet and can match Babalu on the ground. It's a very solid fight, though. I'm glad Affliction did not go with Lindland and possibly derail Mousasi's career with a boring split decision loss.

Affliction: Trilogy
Josh Barnett vs Fedor Emelianenko
Gegard Mousasi vs Renato Sobral
Dan Lauzon vs Chris Horodecki
Jay Hieron vs Paul Daley
Tim Sylvia vs Paul Buentello