Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Eddie Alvarez Defeated By Sneaky Asian Devil

Vids are already circulating from this morning's K-1 Dynamite event in Japan, which featured a slew of typical freakshow bouts but also a few relevant match-ups - not the least of which was Eddie Alvarez vs. Shinya Aoki. And you know what? Alvarez lost, the victim of a painful and possibly damaging heelhook that forced him to tap out in just under two minutes. There is no question the Philadelphia slugger will be back. However, based on the video, and the hobbled Alvarez being helped backstage with an ice pack on his knee, there is a pretty big question as to whether he'll be able to compete at the January 24th Extreme Challenge in Atlantic City. Stay tuned for more info.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Al Iaquinta to Finally Turn Pro?

According to Ring of Combat's website, it looks as if longtime amateur competitor and unbridled fight stud Al Iaquinta has finally decided to turn pro and compete at ROC 23 on February 20th. Can it be? Will one of the toughest ammy's around - who parlayed serious wrestling skills and kickboxing chops into an extensive and flawless "MMA Little League" record - finally be taking the plunge? If so, me likey. For accomplished amateurs should, in theory, make for very capable pro fighters, and Iaquinta's resume and experience should have him making waves in the lightweight division in no time.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Observations from My Couch: UFC 92

  • Cheick Kongo looked great in the cage. I also thought he was fantastic in "Gladiator" with Russel Crowe, he was solid in "Blood Diamond" opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, and he was the lone bright spot in "Never Back Down".
  • I hated seeing Wanderlei Silva destroyed like that. Gone are his speed and overwhelming aggression. There's no denying Father Time has caught up with him.
  • Reese Andy vs. Matt Hamill is the reason why watching wrestlers box makes me nauseous.
  • Based on the extensive bandaging on Mike Massenzio's leg, I was sure he was channeling the powers of the Ancient Egyptian Mummy. Alas, it didn't work.
  • Frank Mir. Believe it.
  • Rashad Evans didn't just win by ground and pound, he won by GROUND AND POUND.

Rest In Peace Justin Eilers

Tragedy has struck yet again to the mixed martial arts community. Late Friday night UFC and EliteXC veteran Justin Eilers was shot and killed in an apparent domestic dispute at a family gathering in Idaho. I only knew Eilers from saying "hi" to him backstage when he fought Andrei Arlovski at UFC 53 at Boardwalk Hall, and I congratulated him when he won his headlining bout at World's Best Fighter. He seemed like a cool, no-nonsense dude who was definitely game in the ring. Rest in peace, Justin Eilers. You will be missed.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pat Berry Looking to Break Out of Father's Shadow and Make Name for Himself

Tomorrow night's UFC will feature the debut of Pat Berry, a New Orleans-born heavyweight kickboxer and student of Ernesto Hoost. And while Berry will have all the usual weight an Octagon rookie has on his shoulders, he'll also be carrying a bit more. "It's tough being the son of someone famous," says Berry, whose father, Franken Berry, is the spokesperson for the well-known strawberry-flavored cereal of the same name. "I mean, people hear 'Berry' and they think breakfast. I need to change that. I want them to think UFC champ." Berry's first bout in the big show will be against Norwegian fighter Dan Evensen - a noted scrambled egg eater and enemy of sugar-sweetened cereals. "It doesn't bother me," says Berry. "I'm there to fight. I'm there to let the world know that Pat Berry can kick butt." Adds the K-1 and WCL veteran: "It ain't about food or my dad. It's about me."

Predictions for UFC 92: "Ultimate 2008"

The final UFC of the year and boy is it a doozy. The main card is star-studded and the under card is packed with more than a few top contenders - which is a pleasant departure from the often anemic cards the promotion has been putting out of late. Some predictions:
  • In the contest for the light-heavyweight belt, the "Ultimate Fighter" will win.
  • In the battle for the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship, the smart money is on the guy with the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt.
  • Who will come out on top in CB Dollaway vs. Mike Massenzio? My guess would be the wrestler. Yeah, the wrestler. Let's go with that one.
  • Mustafa Al-Turk vs. Cheick Kongo? Go with the foreigner.
  • I don't know who's going to emerge victorious in the Quinton Jackson/Wanderlei Silva match-up, but I can say that, win or lose, Jackson is most likely going to hear voices and behave erratically - and possibly drive his car onto the sidewalk.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Battles Unseen

Yesterday I interviewed top-level East Coast lightweight Brian McLaughlin. The scope of the interview far exceeds the constraints of this blog (i.e., it was a long interview that will find a home in next month's Full Contact Fighter magazine), suffice to say that it was all about his one-on-one session with New York State Assemblyman Bob Reilly. The same Assemblyman Reilly who's done his damnedest to keep MMA out of New York? The same Assemblyman Reilly who believes the sport promotes violence, and who believes this form of barbarism is tantamount to the decline of Western civilization? Yeah, that guy. And yesterday, McLaughlin drove up to Albany and met with Reilly, and the ROC 155-pound Beasts of the Northeast tournament winner went toe-to-toe with him and explained the ins and outs of this sport we love. How did it go? According to McLaughlin, maybe - maybe - things moved half a step forward. But regardless, McLaughlin was there, acting as a representative for those of us dying to get MMA into New York State, and from the sounds of it McLaughlin did an outstanding job. There are battles we get to see, on pay-per-view and SpikeTV and CBS and NBC, and there are battles unseen - which are sometimes more important in the grand scheme of things. Myself, I'm glad McLaughlin was there yesterday fighting this one.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Quinton Jackson: "God Wants Me to Get Beat Up Again - So That's What I'm Gonna Do"

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, former light-heavyweight champ and full-time vision-seeing lunatic, is slated to face off against Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92 in Las Vegas - only a few short months after the colorful but troubled star went off the deep end and led police on a high-speed chase. This will be the third clash between Jackson and Silva, with their two prior encounters (in Pride) resulting in Jackson stunned and mumbling about being Joan of Arc and not wanting any more tamales. Why would the popular fighter agree to take on Silva once more? Said Jackson, "God wants me to get beat up again - so that's what I'm gonna do." UFC 92 will also feature 205-pound champ Forrest Griffin defending his belt against Rashad Evans.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

NYC Submission Shootout

Mark February 8th on your calendars, as that's the date of Jerry Mendez and Rene Driefuss' "NYC Submission Shootout" at the Fighthouse in Midtown Manhattan, a round-robin no-gi grappling tournament. The event will be sanctioned by USA Judo, thereby making it 100-percent legal and not a deathmatch kumite. For more info, shoot Jerry an email at, and expect MMA Journalist to liveblog from matside.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Truth About Underground Shows

MMA Journalist certainly enjoys quite a bit of latitude in reporting on the underground shows that take place in New York State, but as this site is truly about the news and reporting on all angles of it, now would be a good time to point out some negatives attached to competing. Yesterday, respected coach Ray Longo issued a statement saying that student Arjang Jameh was banned from his school - a direct result of Jameh's decision to compete in an unsanctioned MMA event. And earlier this year, Nick Lembo of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board decreed that anyone who fights in an unregulated event cannot compete as an amateur in New Jersey. Harsh? Maybe, but both Longo and Lembo have valid reasons, not the least of which is fighter safety. Was there an EMT at the last UCL? Yes, however, I can't say if there was one at those underground events near Albany and on Long Island, and either way, were accurate records kept of who was injured and who would need a suspension (for a KO, as an example)? As the law currently stands, amateur MMA is legal but completely unregulated in New York, and fighters such as the Funaro brothers, Josh Candon, Mike Milian, and Kirland Campbell are gaining valuable experience for future MMA battles - like Frankie Edgar and Bryan Vetell did before them. But there are consequences, and people interested in competing in these events must ask themselves: is it worth it?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

WCA: Stakes is High

The World Cagefighting Alliance has just raised the stakes for their February 6th Atlantic City show. In addition to a sweet card of top local talent, the fledgling promotion has snagged two recently-crowned ROC champs in the form of Chris Liguori and Paul Bradley and paired them up with UFC vets Marcus Aurelio and Roan Carneiro, respectively. In terms of competition, this is a huge step up for Liguori and Bradley, as ATT lightweight Aurelio has defeated the likes of Takanori Gomi (!), leglock master Masakazu Imanari and Rich Clementi, while BTT welterweight Carneiro has defeated Matt Horwich, Clementi, and Tony DeSouza. MMA Journalist would like to take this moment to say, "Yikes! These are fantastic match-ups!"

Rest In Peace Justin Levens

Another MMA fighter has died, this one a West Coaster named Justin Levens who, according to preliminary reporters, may have been involved in a murder/suicide with his wife (who was found dead with him). Regardless of whether or not Levens' last act was the commission of a crime, the world now has one less UFC, WEC and IFL veteran to cheer for. And that's a shame. Rest in peace, Justin Levens.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Josh Candon to Fight Once More in New York Before Visiting Destruction Upon Colorado

Undefeated UCL welterweight Josh Candon, the former Marine Corp hand-to-hand combat instructor who was the centerpiece of a recent Fox 5 News segment on underground fighting, announced this past weekend that he will be returning to the ring in New York once more before moving to Colorado and terrorizing opponents there. After the Fox 5 News segment aired, Candon went on a competition hiatus due to resulting pressure from his corporate day job (the sensationalized segment had painted him as a bloodthirsty fighter - an image his employers didn't want to be associated with). However, with a move to the Centennial State on the horizon, the New Generation Karate rep with dangerous striking and smooth submissions now has free rein to clobber and destroy. Keep an eye out for him.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

UFC's "Fight for the Troops" Raises $4 Million; Event Injuries Cost $5.2 Million

The UFC's "Fight for the Troops" event, which aired on SpikeTV on Wednesday night and featured one of the most violent cards in mixed martial arts history, raised $4 million for the "Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund". Unfortunately, thanks to injuries sustained by nearly every combatant on the card - Corey Hill's fractured leg, Yoshiyuki Yoshida's fractured skull, Jonathan Goulet's decapitated head and subsequent reattachment surgery - the price tag for the event exceeded the money raised by $1.2 million dollars, a tab that the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund had to pay. "Ain't that a kick in the pants," said spokesman retired Army Colonel Haverstrom "Machine Gun" Jessup. "I mean, it's a shame this Razak Al-Hassan kid needed a prosthetic arm and Brandon Wolff and Matt Wiman had to have face transplants, but really, we needed this money for the soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan." Lamented Colonel Jessup, "We're worse off now than we were before."

Prelimary ROC 23 Card Released

There's a preliminary ROC 23 card floating around, and though the February 20th event is a bit of a ways off, what I've seen thus far looks pretty good. Studs like Chris Liguori, Matt Makowski and Greg Soto are slated to compete, crowd-pleaser Chris Schlesinger is taking on an over-matched Ryan McCarthy (I believe this will be Schlesinger's first time at lightweight), and Jay Isip will return to square off against Team Serra/Longo fighter Nabih. However, the money shots are going to the heavyweight battle between BCX champ Joe Abouata and up-and-comer Bret Kohan and the striking cataclysm-waiting-to-happen between Aaron Meisner and Constantinos Phillippou. Meisner and Phillippou... wow. Both men are superior Muay Thai guys with ultra-dangerous clinches and an arsenal of weapons. A lot can happen between now and February 20th, but if just one match-up on the card stays together by the time ROC 23 rolls around, I pray it's that one. Meisner vs. Phillippou will be well worth the price of admission.

Who Should Phillipe Nover Fight Next?

Yeah, Brooklyn mauler and TUF 8 star Phillipe Nover lost at the finale and Efrain Escudero is "The Ultimate Fighter". Big whoop. But much-ballyhooed six-figure contract notwithstanding, Nover is a still a "name", and a tough and dangerous competitor that the UFC will put back into the Octagon as soon as possible. So who should the man dubbed the next Anderson Silva and GSP fight next? The easy answer is fellow TUF alum Junie Browning (to drag out whatever TUF 8 story lines they can). Yet if matchmaker Joe Silva stays true to form, which dictates that the traditional post-TUF opponent is someone who plays towards that TUFer's strengths, then Nover will get someone he can punch in the face. In this instance, that could be:
  1. Rich Clementi
  2. David Baron
  3. Rob Emerson
  4. Spencer Fisher
  5. Melvin Guillard
  6. Roger Huerta
  7. Aaron Riley
  8. Jeremy Stephens
  9. Sam Stout

This list is by no means all there is to choose from, but these are all people under contract with the UFC, and I could see each and every one of them trying to throw a strike before realizing taking Nover down and laying on him is the way to go. Who will Joe Silva pick? Time will tell.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Underground Combat League Postscript

Alejandro Richardson won by armbar, Kevin Wall won by rear naked choke, Arjang Jameh won by unanimous decision and Joe Funaro, brother of James, had an absolute war with Kirkland Campbell that ended in a draw. The night was short but sweet.

Liveblog: Underground Combat League Part 4

Arjang Jameh vs. Luis Carreno is a Tae Kwon Do against Tonglimoodo bout, which means a lot of flashy kicking by Jameh and a close heelhook attempt by Carreno. Jameh takes the unanimous decision. It's main event time, with Joe Funaro taking on Kirkland Cambell. At the last UCL James Funaro, Joe's twin brother, knocked Campbell out with a kick, so it looks like Joe is out to do the same. Campbell is a ground and pound machine, though, and while he's taking a hell of a lot of punishment, he's dishing it out too. It goes the distance and ends up a draw - good fight. And that's it.

Liveblog: Underground Combat League Part 3

I kid you not, they have just pulled down the frontgate and shut the curtains of the venue. We are deep undercover here, folks. First up is a grappling match between Manny Martinez of Sadistic Athletics and Alejandro Richardson of the Warriors. Sadly, Swan and Cleone are not here to support their teammate, but despite a 50-pound weight disadvantage Richardson manages to nail the armbar late. Next up: Xavier Morales vs. Kevin Wall, which pits a 260-pound jiu-jitsu guy against a 210-pound Warriors rep in NHB. This one is a slugfest that Wall wins with a rear naked choke in the first round.

Liveblog: Underground Combat League Part 2

The title of this edition is "Declassified" - not very apropos, as this one is way more classified than usual (in other words, sorry to everyone who wanted me to let them know about this one ahead of time, as the promoter wanted this one as secret as possible). Anyway, representatives from Fighthouse, Ray Longo's, Vamos BJJ and I think the Russian mafia are in attendance.

Liveblog: Underground Combat League Part 1

MMA Journalist is here at an undisclosed location in New York City for the latest installment of the Underground Combat League, NYC's only MMA show. Tonight the UCL goes back to its roots with an event inside a dojo (with all the bouts happening on a mat and not in a ring - a la the "Gracie in Action" tapes). The card looks to have the usual mix of style vs. style match-ups, and the main event may or may not feature two homeless men sparring with a broken bottle and a rusty lead pipe.

Observations from My Couch: TUF 8 Finale

  • Is it me or did Dave Kaplan look like the late Evan Tanner's miniature clone?
  • Admittedly, Junie Browning did show a lot of skill and talent. As long as he's not acting like a douchebag, he's actually kind of likable.
  • Wilson Gouveia TKO'd the heck out of Jason MacDonald - a feat made less impressive by the fact that Gouveia failed to make weight. That five-pound weight difference really is an unfair advantage. I mean, anyone can knock anyone out when they weigh five pounds more.
  • Anthony Johnson's knockout of Kevin Burns was indeed sweet justice, but when he knelt over the fallen Burns and carved out his eyeball with a pocket knife... I'm sorry,but that was excessive.
  • I was deathly afraid that Ryan "The Human Blanket" Bader was going to show up. I was pleased that it was Ryan "The Punch People in the Head So Hard They Do Cartwheels" Bader that we all got to see.
  • Efrain Escudero fought a smart fight against Phillipe Nover. Nover will be back. No doubt about it.

Asylum Fight League Postscript

Good show. Louis Gaudinot looked fantastic nailing that spinning backfist KO, Adam Rosello and Kevin Horowitz waged an absolute war, and Edwin Uzquaino and George Siderius fought a very technical grappling chess match.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Liveblog: Asylum Fight League Part 9

There's a heavyweight belt up for grabs in the Allen Wright vs. Lewis Rumsey, which sees Wright more or less dominate position en route to the unanimous decision. The final bout of the night is Jeff Lentz vs. James Camilleri - also a title fight. These guys are waging war on the ground with Lentz taking the belt with an armbar from the guard. That's it, folks.

Liveblog: Asylum Fight League Part 8

George Siderius vs. Edwin Uzquaino up now. This one is the first real grappling chess match of the night, with both men having their moments with sub attempts and reversals and Siderius almost nailing a Twister (!). When time ran out the unanimous decision was awarded to Uzquaino, but this one was closer than the scorecards implied. Louis Gaudinot and Bill Magliane are up now. Gaudinot sports bright green hair - perhaps to draw upon the strength of the French Bohemian spirit. It works. The two engage in an extremely fast-paced battle that Gaudinot ends with a spinning backfist KO. Wowsers.

Liveblog: Asylum Fight League Part 7

Now it's time for Julio Arce vs. Trevor Peterson. Arce seems to have a clear advantage in submission skills, as he needs only 51 seconds to tap Peterson with a triangle and take his lunch money. Mark Speece and Pat Enright are now in the cage. Speece is visibly older and meaner - I think I recognize his face from the FBI's most wanted list. However, that doesn't deter Enright from taking him down and submitting him with a straight anklelock.

Liveblog: Asylum Fight League Part 6

Frank Marshall vs. Max Bereznyak is a classic "man with an easy to pronounce name vs. man with a hard to pronounce name" match-up, with the two scrapping hard and Bereznyak struggling to keep the pace in the latter part of the fight. By Round 3 it turned into Marshall pounding on an exhausted opponent to secure the unanimous decision.

Liveblog: Asylum Fight League Part 5

John Holland vs. Chris Paulo is up now, with Holland exceedingly well-rounded but Paulo such a strong wrestler that he's able to get away with having less-than-adequate striking. When time runs out the unanimous decision is given to Paulo. Next up is Adam Rosello vs. Kevin Horowitz, kid brother of Beastie Boy Adam Horowitz. Okay, not really. Rosello seems to have the edge in striking and submissions and Horowitz the edge in wrestling - which translates into three rounds of beatings and a split decision for Horowitz. This was a good fight that could've gone either way.

Liveblog: Asylum Fight League Part 4

Mike Taibl vs. Jason Lee is up next. Taibl has a 6-2 record in death matches, but this is amateur MMA - a different animal entirely. Anyway, Taibl has a definite edge in wrestling, but Lee keeps punching him in the grill and putting him on Queer Street.The ref doesn't like that and waives the fight off after two rounds, giving Lee the win.

Liveblog: Asylum Fight League Part 3

Ryan Smith vs. Ali Loukzada is up first. Smith is technically superior with his striking, but Loukzada keeps wobbling him with wild punches and a lead hook that just screams, "Blah! I'm crazy! I belong in an asylum!" It goes the distance though, and Smith gets the unanimous decision. Next is Nick Torres vs. Pete Burdge, with Burdge hailing from Kurt Pellegrino's school and having no less than ten women screaming for him. I think that female cheering section thing is a requirement for fighters who want to represent Team Pellegrino. Anyway, like the first bout, this one is a slugfest, with Burdge feeding Torres right hands like an old man feeding breadcrumbs to pigeons. Burdge took the unanimous decision when time ran out.

Liveblog: Asylum Fight League Part 2

The first fight should get underway any minute now. In attendence are the Garv, NJSACB consigliere Nick Lembo, and pro fighters Tom Velasquez, Eddy Rolon, Kurt Pellegrino, Nissim Levy and Jose Sulsona. An interesting aside about the promotion's name - the first few shows were actually held in an asylum and the competitors were certified lunatics.

Liveblog: Asylum Fight League Part 1

MMA Journalist is here at the Raritan Center in Edison, New Jersey, cageside for the Asylum Fight League amateur show. These events are always entertaining because you tend to see a lot of schools that have no experience in MMA testing the waters for the first time - often with comical results. An example of tonight's MMA noobs (as per the bout sheet): Team Tiger Schulmann, Team Endgame, Rhino Fight Team and Team Kurt Pellegrino. I don't know where these fight camps came from, but they're definitely going to get slaughtered by the real MMA powerhouses on the card (such as Joe's Academy of Tai Chi, the Kata Pit and Team Gentle Flower Aikido).

Friday, December 12, 2008

MMA Journalist to Liveblog 12/13 Asylum Fight League Show

MMA Journalist will be cageside for the Asylum Fight League amateur MMA show tomorrow night at the Raritan Center in Edison, New Jersey, and provided my Blackberry has a signal, I will liveblog the event. There should be two title fights and a card of 12-15 bouts. Woot-woot.

Five Reasons Why Phillipe Nover Will Beat Efrain Escudero

TUF 8 finalists Phillipe Nover and Efrain Escudero will duke it out tomorrow night at the TUF finale on SpikeTV, which will determine who is this season's Ultimate Fighter and who will be relegated to mowing Dana White's lawn on the weekends for extra cash. In light of White and coach Nogueira's high praise, which was lavished on the Brooklyn native once he started clobbering foes in the Octagon like the Fantastic Four's "Thing" clobbers run-of-the-mill bank robbers, does the undefeated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Escudero stand a chance? Um, unless Nover slips on a banana peel on his way to the cage, the answer is "no". Here are five reason why Nover will win:
  1. Not only was Nover recently awarded his jiu-jitsu black belt by Alexandre "Soca" Freitas, but he was issued a license to kill by Her Majesty's Secret Service and was made an honorary Power Ranger.
  2. According to the prophecy, "No man born of Earth can harm the one they call Phillipe Nover".
  3. The movie "Cloverfield" was inspired by the night Nover went out in Manhattan, had a little too much to drink and toppled three office buildings.
  4. Nover got over his allergy to Kryptonite a long time ago. Now it just tastes bitter.
  5. Nover has superpowers. Escudero does not.

New Jersey Killers to Spill Blood in New York

New Jersey killers Kevin Roddy and Steve DeAngelis will be in upstate New York on Saturday night, spilling blood at the "There Will Be Blood" MMA show at the Gil Lay Arena on the Seneca Nation Indian reservation (outside of Buffalo). The event features an undercard of amateur bouts and a trio of pro bouts, with Roddy (recently promoted to brown belt by trainer Kurt Pellegrino) and BCX featherweight champ DeAngelis taking on and likely murdering durable kickboxer Peter Kaljevic and striker Paul Compton. Said arena janitor Jerome Woods, "Roddy and DeAngelis? Ugh. I'm gonna go get my mop ready. There definitely will be blood."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Observations from My Couch: UFC "Fight for the Troops"

  • Most. Depressing. UFC. Ever. Seriously, I love me some fights, but all those vignettes about wounded soldiers was heartbreaking.
  • For this event the ratio of clobbered fighters to non-clobbered fighters at the end of the night was insane. Corey Hill had his shin snapped in half in an unaired preliminary bout (check it out on the UFC website), another fighter wound up with a busted arm, and more than a few did their best to give viewers an firsthand look at just what this Traumatic Brain Injury thing is all about.
  • Jim Miller's domination of Matt Wiman was so complete, Wiman had to see a rape counselor after the bout.
  • Kudos to Razak Al-Hassan for reminding us how useless Tae Kwon Do is in an MMA fight.
  • Nate Loughran's game plan of letting Tim Credeur repeatedly punch him in the face came so close to paying off. So close.
  • Jonathan Goulet and Yoshiyuki Yoshida: getting knocked the hell out and going into convulsions so you don't have to.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Predictions for UFC "Fight for the Troops"

Tonight's UFC "Fight for the Troops" event, intended to raise money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and broadcast live on SpikeTV from the Crown Coliseum outside of Fort Bragg, features no real big-name fighters. But there are a number of compelling match-ups in store, so MMA Journalist has put together bout predictions for the free event:
  • In the opening bout of the evening, light-heavyweights Duke (from GI Joe) and Destro (from Cobra) will clash in what should be a classic "striker vs. international arms dealer/terrorist" fight. Expect Duke to come out on top after a three-round donnybrook.
  • In the welterweight division, ninjas Snake Eyes (GI Joe) and Storm Shadow (Cobra) - who used to train at the same gym - will battle it out for the honor of their clan. Regardless of what happens in the cage, the ultimate winner in this one is the fans.
  • The UFC's first female MMA bout will feature Scarlett (GI Joe) taking on the Baroness (Cobra), and if Scarlett is allowed to use her crossbow, she should be able to dispatch her opponent via TKO in short order.
  • In the main event, US Marine Corp exponent Gung Ho (GI Joe) will take on Serpentor (Cobra), who is comprised of the DNA of Julius Caeser, Napolean Bonaparte, Attila the Hun and a common garden snake. Gung Ho should have a rough time of it, but Serpentor might get distracted by that massive globe and anchor tattoo on his chest long enough for Gung Ho to pull off a submission.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bigfoot Flees US to Go Where Monsters Are Appreciated

Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, the only heavyweight champ EliteXC crowned and the recipient of a healthy suspension by the California State Athletic Commission for being a steroidal monster, has fled the United States to compete in Japan's January 4th Sengoku event. The American Top Team fighter's exodus is not unprecedented. Japan, with its accepting culture, has traditionally been home to many monsters, monsters such as Godzilla, the giant turtle Gamera and Bob Sapp. Bigfoot, well-known for his appetite for food and designer footware, will no doubt have more opportunities to compete and earn mone. The downside, however, is that, as he's ignoring his CSAC suspension and fighting overseas, he will have a rough time getting licensed again Stateside. Only time will tell if Bigfoot's decision to flee is the right one.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Chuck Liddell Found High on Cold Medicine, Training at ATT

Former UFC light-heavyweight champ Chuck Liddell, who went missing last week from his longtime gym The Pit in San Luis Obispo, California, has turned up at the American Top Team gym in Florida incoherent and high on cold medicine. The erstwhile Octagon star, coming off a shocking knockout loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 88, reportedly was at the ATT facility training hard - and despite his altered mental state, is purported to have made great strides in his overall game. "Yeah, I pulled into the parking lot and he was asleep on the doorstep," said ATT Head Substance Abuse Counselor Ricardo Liborio. "But he's been working hard, so hey, why not?" Liddell currently has no UFC bouts scheduled, although rumors of another rematch with Randy Couture were recently quashed.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Kimbo Slice in Japan to Check Out Their Bread

Kimbo Slice is in Japan this weekend, reportedly there for color commentary duties with the striking-only organization K-1, but according to industry insiders the former EliteXC superstar is also in the Land of the Rising Sun to check out their selection of bread. Although Slice is well-known for his love of white bread, rye bread and long loaves of French bread, he has often expressed an interest in the baked products of other nations. Said longtime manager "IceyMike" Imber, who accompanied Slice to Japan, "Kimbo's definitely liking it here. They have Melonpan, which is an enriched dough covered in a thin layer of crispy cookie dough, as well as panko, a variety of breadcrumb, and the sweet, red bean paste-filled Anpan. It's all good."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Preliminary February 6th WCA Card Released

The preliminary card for the World Cagefighting Alliance's February 6th inaugural event at Boardwalk Hall has been released, and MMA Journalist feels very optimistic about what's been put on paper. Instead of spending the entire budget on talent that won't sell tickets, matchmaker Gary Marino has wisely put together a roster of local draws - a fact that bodes well for any New Jersey promotion interested in staying in business longer than a show or two. Here's the card, subject to change of course:
  1. Tom Gallicchio vs. Rich Ashkar - a welterweight bout that was supposed to be a title fight at the last ROC.
  2. Matt Lee vs. TBA - Lee is a tough-as-nails lightweight and took Eddie Alvarez the distance at a BodogFIGHT.
  3. Al Buck vs. Jose Rodriguez - a welterweight battle between two huge ticket sellers.
  4. Doug Gordon vs. Mike Medrano - two very strong welterweights with promising futures.
  5. Chris Schlesinger vs. Andrew Calandrelli - a lightweight scrap featuring excellent grapplers.
  6. Mahnseah Boley vs. Pat Collins - a heavyweight Bombsquad vs. AMA FC/Team Renzo bout.
  7. Kevin Roddy vs. TBA - Roddy is exciting and one of the best featherweights in the Garden State.
  8. Ryan Smith vs. Anthony D'Angelo - welterweight D'Angelo is a dangerous fighter, and has been a force at New Jersey shows for years.
  9. Lester Caslow vs. Pat White - featherweight Caslow is a very talented up-and-comer.
  10. Brian DeMuro vs. Eric Henry - Team Balance vs. Bombsquad at welterweight.
  11. Steve DeAngelis vs. Doug Solnier - DeAngelis is a top-ranked featherweight and BCX champ.
  12. Anthony Leone vs. Joey Camacho - Camacho is another tough featherweight.
  13. Daniel Tavares vs. Brian Danner - two relative newcomers.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Of Zombies and Dark Magic

Rumors are circulating that ProElite is very close to being bought, and that Zombie EliteXC will rise to shamble around and give us more MMA bouts, so MMA Journalist would like to talk about the concept of zombies and the dark magic that creates them. First, a little history: in 2000 the UFC was owned by Bob Meyrowitz and his company, Semaphore Entertainment Group, and as everyone knows the organization was close to death - so close, in fact, that Meyrowitz was interested in selling and (supposedly) people like Monte Cox and promoter Jamie Levine were considering pooling their dough to buy it. Why? The UFC had grown into a brand, which meant that it was a potentially viable product with solid public recognition, and given the right guidance it could, at some point, make money. Of course, we all know that Zuffa came in and turned the whole organization around, but the thing to take away from that is branding can give something a life of its own - a soul, if you will - and sometimes death will hold little sway over it. Well, with EliteXC's Showtime and CBS contracts and its roster of fighters and other assets, the damn thing developed a soul. After all, the number one and number three most-watched MMA bouts in US history took place in EliteXC's cage - the public knows it as a product. Death, or bankruptcy, will ultimately hold little sway over it, and all it should take is a little dark magic (in the form of some decent lawyers, a buyer and a strong staff) before EliteXC rises from its grave to chomp on us again. Personally, I will relish the bite.

Observations from My Couch: WEC 37

  • Joseph Benavidez and Danny Martinez did not impress. But I guess that's why we have a fast-forward button on our DVR, right?
  • You have to have a real solid grasp of jiu-jitsu and submission grappling to have appreciated Wagnney Fabiano's chess match with Akitoshi Tamura - which is a shame, because it was a great fight to watch in that regard.
  • Based on his performance, there's no question Fabiano is going to give Mike Brown, Urijah Faber and Leonard Garcia a tough time.
  • Did Brian Bowles earn a title shot against Miguel Torres with his defeat of Will Ribeiro? I hope not. Bowles showed he's got nothing Torres need worry about.
  • Not only did Torres beat Manny Tapia convincingly, but he beat Tapia convincingly at Tapia's own game. Now THAT'S what a champion is made of.

TUF 8 Analysis: Episodes 11 & 12

The last two episodes were aired back to back, and they featured the final four match-ups to decide who makes it to the finale. Stankie more or less remained on the back burner for them, which is just as well, as Junie Browning was there to satisfy the "crazy" quotient.
  • Ryan Bader is nonstop excitement and in his bout with Eliot Marshall he showed a wide range of mixed martial arts skills.
  • Good Lord am I kidding. That performance was all suck, all the time.
  • How well-rounded is Phillipe Nover? After tapping George Roop out with a kimura, he gave Roop a post-fight medical examination in the locker room - and then prescribed him pain medication for his shoulder!
  • Krzysztof Soszynski introduced an interesting formula. He stated that one punch turns a jiu-jitsu black belt into a brown belt, and one combination can turn that same fighter into a white belt. What does a kick turn that black belt into? A purple belt? What about a knee to the midsection? A judo throw? An elbow to the jaw?
  • I don't know what's worse: Browning's disgraceful actions in the house or Dana White's disgraceful decision to let him stay.
  • The episode ended with coach Nogueira shaving coach Mir's head. This little bit of hairstyling coupled with White's "beat him off" comment is why TUF night is huge in gay bars across the nation.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Things That Won't Happen at WEC 37

WEC 37: "Torres vs. Tapia" airs live on the "Versus" channel tonight, and the four-bout main card features eight fighters ranging in weight from 134 pounds to 146 pounds. Do you think those seven guys 145 pounds and under call the 146-pound fighter fat? Like, maybe when they're all at that restaurant inside the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and the 146 pounder orders a Caesar salad with grilled chicken, do you think they chant "Fatty-fatty, two-by-four, couldn't get through the bathroom door"? Ponder that. In the meantime, here's a list of things that won't happen at WEC 37:
  • To honor their Hispanic heritage, Joseph Benavidez and Danny Martinez will not partake in a siesta between rounds.
  • Alex Karalexis will not pause during his bout against Bart Palaszewksi to admire the Midwest fighter's collection of tattoos.
  • Regardless of whether they win or lose, fans will still have no idea who Brian Bowles and Will Ribeiro are after their bout.
  • Miguel Torres will prove once again that he is the best 135-pound fighter in the world, and whenever he's shown on camera at a Zuffa event, casual MMA fans around the globe will still not applaud.

Matt Wiman Destined to Lose to a New Jersey Fighter on December 10th One Way or Another

Matt Wiman, who was slated to face Toms River native Frankie Edgar at the UFC's December 10th "Fight for the Troops" event on SpikeTV until Edgar suffered a training injury, will now face Whippany-based Jim Miller - a fighter who, like Edgar, dominated the East Coast rankings before graduating to the Octagon. The change of opponents proves that fate has designs on Wiman's future, and those designs include losing to a New Jersey fighter one way or another. Said Wiman, who hails from Oklahoma but has reportedly visited the Garden State to hide bodies and dump his garbage, "Jeez, what did I do to deserve this?"

TUF Viewing Party with Phillipe Nover

Once again another season of "The Ultimate Fighter" draws to a close, and once again TUF 8 competitor and rising star Phillipe Nover is having a viewing party. Details can be found at Phillipe's blog here - . The last one was a blast. Everyone at the Aviation Recreation Center sports bar went bananas when Phillipe was shown eating urine-soaked fruit in that episode, and tonight's episode promises more TUF house shenanigans plus the first-ever decapitation in the Octagon. Wahoo!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Eddie Alvarez to Satifsy "Punching People in the Face" Addiction with Two Fights in 23 Days

Eddie Alvarez, the heavy-handed Philadelphia slugger who made a splash on the international stage this past year by wrecking Joachim Hansen, Andre "Dida" Amade and Tatsuya Kawajiri, will take on submission ace Shinya Aoki at FEG's "Dynamite!" show in Japan on New Years Eve, and he'll follow that up with a January 23rd bout at Extreme Challenge's "War at the Shore" in Atlantic City. That's one heck of an ambitious schedule for a top ten lightweight, as 23 days an exceedingly short amount of time for a fighter to recover from any injuries and return to peak shape, but Alvarez suffers from an addiction to punching people in the face (clinical term: "Punching People in the Face" Syndrome, or PPitFS). Said a spokesman from Alvarez's camp, "We're still trying to get Eddie help. But PPitFS is a serious condition, and if left unchecked, Eddie could simply explode. Obviously we don't want that, so he's taking these fights."

DC Promotion Puts Itself on the Map with Top Level Match-Up

Washington, DC-based promotion Ultimate Warrior Challenge announced yesterday that its next show will feature a bantamweight match-up between former WEC champ Chase Beebe and local superstar Mike Easton - a bout that suddenly puts the UWC on the map in terms of its status as a high-level organization, as Beebe vs. Easton could easily headline a WEC or Shooto event. Dubbed "Man 'O' War", the February 21st UWC installment will take place at the Patriot Center at George Mason University in Northern Virginia, and will be streamed live on . Expect MMA Journalist to liveblog this one - it would be a crime to not see this fight in person.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Archaic New Jersey Regulation Allowing for Instant Shakespearian Replays in MMA Bouts Utilized at New Breed Fighters

The super-welterweight title bout between Joel Roberts and Ryan Vaccaro ended in controversy at last week's New Breed Fighters November 26th amateur event at the House of Blues in Atlantic City, and for the first time ever an archaic New Jersey State regulation allowing for instant replays in an MMA bout was utilized. The rule, invoked by New Jersey Chief of Dramatics Nick Lembo, requires a re-enactment of the bout with the competitors assuming roles from the works of William Shakespeare - in this instance, with Roberts and Vaccaro playing Tybalt and Mercutio from "Romeo and Juliet", respectively. As Roberts screamed "Have at thee, coward!" and Vaccaro decried "A plague o' both your houses!" it was determined that Roberts' rendition was truer to what "The Bard" had intended. Roberts was subsequently awarded the win. Said Lembo of this groundbreaking occurrence, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women are merely players."

WEC 37 Title Bout to be Broadcast in Microvision (tm)

The WEC 37 title bout between incumbent champ Miguel Torres and challenger Manny Tapia, a contest in the ultra-small "molecule weight class", will be broadcast on the "Versus" channel in Microvision (tm) according to a WEC press release. Microvision (tm) utilizes a microscope lens affixed to a television camera, which will enable fans to see the flea-sized Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Torres hunt for submissions and the undefeated Tapia do... whatever it is he does in a fight. "We're really fortunate to have secured a Microvision (tm) lens," says producer Derek Mason-Gimble. "I mean, otherwise, how else would fans know what's going on when these really, really tiny mixed martial artists fight?" WEC 37 will air live on December 3th, and it will also feature the organizational debut of IFL champ Wagnney Fabiano.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Fedor Realizes He Can't Speak English, Cancels US Press Tour

Fedor Emelianenko, widely hailed as the best heavyweight fighter in the world, has cancelled his US press tour according to a written statement from his management team. The cancellation comes after the Russian sambo specialist's sudden realization that he cannot speak English, a realization that struck when Fedor was presented with his itinerary (which was to include interviews on "The Today Show" and "Nightline" as well as guest lectures at Columbia University, Yale and Harvard). "This man who follows me around and repeats what I say, but in other languages, I think he's a translator," said Fedor through a translator. "Really, I just thought people couldn't understand me because I mumble. But no, it's because I don't speak anything but Russian." Fedor is set to face former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski at Affliction's sophomore outing on January 24th.

Jorge Gurgel Jumps From UFC to Strikeforce, Vows to Never Go to the Ground Again

TUF 2 veteran Jorge Gurgel, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and grappling instructor for former champ Rich Franklin, was cut from the UFC's roster this week but immediately signed with Strikeforce. Gurgel lost four of his seven bouts in the Octagon, with his last outing - a three-round "Fight of the Night" war against Aaron Riley - garnering the lightweight submission master both praise and criticism for his dogged desire to engage in a pure stand-up battle. "I may be a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, but I swear you will never see an ounce of grappling from me ever again," said Gurgel, who wields at best only mediocre kickboxing skills. "Fans don't want to see me win with fancy armlocks and chokes. They want to see me get my head pounded in - and that's what I'll give them." Gurgel joins a talent-rich Strikeforce roster that includes Josh Thomson and Gilbert Melendez, both of whom will be more than happy to punch him in the face.

Major Staff Changes at WEC

According to inside sources, the WEC has undergone some major staffing changes in the past few days. The long-running promotion, which went from a regional, California-based affair to an international Zuffa-owned organization showcasing the best of the lighter weight classes, suffered dismal ratings on its last "Versus" channel event. Included on the list of those who got the axe are janitor John "Broomy" Legumet, who purportedly left a dirty mop head too close to Urijah Faber's hamster cage (Faber subsequently ate it), street team member Spence Feinstein, who failed to put flyers under the windshield wipers of every car in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino parking lot, and Geraldine "Easy" Ryder, an intern who is allegedly "getting back together with her ex-boyfriend". No word yet if these key employees will be replaced.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Faber and Pulver to Rematch... Because I Guess Their First Bout was Inconclusive or Something

According to an report, former WEC champ Urijah Faber will rematch with former UFC champ Jens Pulver at WEC 38 on January 25th. The two had met in June at WEC 34, with Faber earning a unanimous decision after winning each round of the five-round championship contest. But despite the decisive victory, questions remained - questions such as, "Is Pulver capable of taking more punishment like that?" and "Can we milk this bout again for more ratings?" On January 25th those questions will be answered.