Thursday, January 31, 2008
Ricardo Almeida, a.k.a. "Big Dog", returns to the dog house known as the Octagon at UFC 81, where he'll take a bite out of last-minute replacement Rob Yundt. When news broke that original opponent Alan Belcher had left the yard with his tail between his legs, the word around the kennel was that Almeida would have no one to play with - until Zuffa announced Yundt as the new chew toy. Has the Big Dog learned any new tricks since his last MMA outing nearly four years ago? Will Yundt be able to resist the urge to roll over and play dead? Or is he nothing but a hound dog? We'll know on Saturday!
Friday, January 25, 2008
Tonight's ShoXC event in Atlantic City may have some star power attached to it thanks to Eddie Alvarez, Paul Daley and Sammy Morgan, but there's no doubt some of the names on the undercard will leave fans scratching their heads. Who the heck are Zach Makovsky, Wilson Reis and Charlie Brenneman? Who on earth is James Jones? What has Matt Makowski done to deserve a fight on one of ProElite's shows? Folks, MMA Journalist goes to almost every MMA event in New Jersey and takes copious notes just to be able to answer these questions! -Zach Makovsky: A Combat in the Cage champ with rock-solid wrestling mixed with Muay Thai, this Fight Factory representative has wins over two BJJ black belts. How did he do it? With nonstop aggression. -Wilson Reis: Reis is a BJJ black belt with a nearly flawless top-game. The big question mark here, though, is if he'll be able to put Makovsky on his back. -Charlie Brenneman: A Ring of Combat champ with unstoppable takedowns and relentless ground-and-pound. That's all you really need to know. -James "Binky" Jones: Another Ring of Combat champ, Binky's all about submitting opponents from the guard. Obviously, he's pretty good at it. -Mark Getto: Getto's a former Extreme Challenge Northeast champ, and he sports wrestling mixed with submissions. His 3-1 record is pretty deceptive, as he's fought some of the toughest fighters in the Garden State (for example, his first MMA bout was against Frankie Edgar). -Sergio Vignare: A Ricardo Almeida-trained grappler, Vignare isn't afraid to throw some leather when the fists start flying (hence his knockout win over Brett Linebarger and his knockout loss to Greg Soto). -Drew Puzon: Another Ricardo Almeida-trained grappler, Puzon's got some skills on the ground. However, his weak spot seems to be strong wrestlers. Um, uh-oh. -Matt Makowski: Look up "Matt Makowski" in the dictionary and you'll see "razor-sharp Muay Thai" listed as the definition. Which shouldn't be enough to win MMA fights, but Makowski had little trouble defeating a Renzo Gracie-trained black belt with it.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Following a rigorous nine-month training cycle, up-and-coming scrapper Madeleine Cloud Genia announced to the world that she's ready for her MMA debut on Tuesday. Tipping the scales at seven pounds, the loud and forceful warrior was purportedly fielding offers to compete in the UFC and IFL's infant weight classes, but was also considering fighting on the Kimbo/Tank EliteXC undercard. Said coach Gabriella Genia: "Put that tape recorder down. Are you going to change her diaper or what?"
Friday, January 18, 2008
In an effort to make the bout more competitive, the UFC has decided to allow special rules for Saturday's UFC 80 lighweight championship contest between BJ Penn and Joe Stevenson, a Zuffa official announced yesterday. For the first frame of the five-rounder, Stevenson will be allowed to utilize a prehistoric weapon, i.e., a large stone or club. If the fight goes into the second round, Stevenson will be allowed to incorporate a medieval melee weapon of his choice, up to and including a longsword, battle axe or flail. In the unlikely event that the bout lasts into the third round or beyond, the TUF2 winner will then have the option of shooting Penn with either a taser or a low-caliber handgun. "We didn't want anyone dying," said the Zuffa official, who asked to remain anonymous. "I mean, otherwise, BJ would kill Stevenson. At least this way Stevenson has a chance."
Monday, January 14, 2008
As an editor and as a fan, I read a ton of MMA-related articles. A ton. And when I'm not weighing all that paper on a gigantic scale (did you know 2,000 pounds of paper fills up an entire room?), I'm picking out the same grammatical mistakes again and again. So listen up, all you budding sports writers and aspiring journalists tackling mixed martial arts for the first time, 'cause I'm only going over this once: 1. The name of our sport is "mixed martial arts". Note how it's not hyphenated or capitalized. Writing "Mixed-Martial-Arts" is incorrect; if you insist on doing that, please go back to watching naked bullriding on ESPN8. 2. The "rear naked choke" finishing hold is not hyphenated. Hyphenating it is a sure sign you belong in the realm of knitting and crocheting. 3. Writing "guillotine choke" is redundant. Just "guillotine" is fine. No one is going to assume fighter A chopped off fighter B's head with an old French execution apparatus. 4. "Armbar" is one word, as is "leglock" and "anklelock". Writing otherwise means you suck. Hard. 5. Plain old "jiu-jitsu" doesn't need to be capitalized. However, "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu" deserves its capital letters because it's a proper noun - and you learned about proper nouns in grade school. I hope. 6. You don't capitalize "heavyweight" or "champion", unless it's a proper noun (like "UFC Heavyweight Champ" or "Reality Fighting Heavyweight Champ"). By all means, please use capitals in those instances. This same rule applies with the other weight classes, too. 7. Please hyphenate "light-heavyweight". And if you argue that the UFC doesn't hyphenate the word when they do their on-screen graphics, I will kick you in the groin for assuming the UFC's on-screen graphics would trump Strunk & White's Elements of Style. 8. Please capitalize "Octagon". It's a proper noun. Zuffa went to great lengths to trademark it - and they would sue your ass into oblivion if you used an eight-sided cage. So please, do it for them.
The World Cagefighting Organization debut event, which featured the likes of Renato "Babalu" Sobral, former UFC champ Ricco Rodriguez, MMA legend Mark Kerr and the much-maligned but oft-misunderstood Mike Kyle, was a resounding success in the Bizzaro Universe this Saturday. For the thousands of rabid fans crammed into the San Diego Sports Arena, the night was jam-packed with thrills and action - and for those fighters who gave it their all, it was a night of heart, honor and redemption. "I would fight for the WCO again for sure," said Babalu, who reportedly earned a handsome sum for his first bout back since his suspension. "They took care of me and delivered on all their promises." No word yet on when the WCO will return, but as they ran a smooth show, paid all the fighters, and meshed flawlessly with the California State Athletic Commission, it was certainly a hit in the Bizarro Universe. In other news, the WCO completely shit the bed in our universe.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
MMA Journalist purchased a copy of former UFC champ Matt Hughes' book, "Made in America: The Most Dominant Champion in UFC History", the day it went on sale. As it rarely contained words of more than two syllables, and subjects not pertaining to God received only a cursory examination, it's entirely possible to finish the book in one night. Ten things learned from reading "Made in America": 1. Hughes really likes Jesus. 2. Hughes really does not like Frank Trigg. 3. Hughes could go either way on Tim Sylvia. 4. Mullets were cool back in Hillsboro when Hughes was growing up. 5. Hughes ain't a playa, he just crushes a lot. 6. Twins Matt and Mark needed a big brother to kick their asses when they were young. Seriously. Those kids were destructive as hell. 7. The Randy Couture love/hate saga has thankfully been resolved. 8. Don't go to a wedding in the Midwest without being prepared to brawl. 9. Hughes is not afraid to take a leak on a Las Vegas bar if the bathroom is too far away. 10. Hughes really, really likes Jesus.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
No more Los Angeles Anacondas, no more Quad City Silverbacks, no more Portland Wolfpack. For 2008, the IFL is getting rid of its contrived teams and replacing them with actual team vs. team competition (think: a squad from Xtreme Couture taking on a squad from Team Quest). It sounds like a smart move for the struggling promotion, but MMA Journalist caught up with former New York Pitbulls mascot John L. Millborne, a.k.a. "Woofy", to get his perspective. Sporting a large styrofoam bone and a trumpet that shot confetti, Woofy was a fixture at events whenever the Pitbulls competed. Now he's out of work. How are you? -Good, man. Real good. How do you feel about the IFL getting rid of its original teams? -Well, it was hard to accept at first. I mean, I have student loans and bills to worry about. But business is business, and I don't think the fake teams the brass had thought up in the beginning were really adding any value to the IFL product. Plus, do you have any idea how much it costs to maintain a furry six-foot tall dog costume? Those cleaning expenses were through the roof! Will you miss being Woofy? -Being Woofy was both good and bad. It was good when the Pitbulls won the championship this past year. Andre Gusmao carried me around on his shoulders and I got photos of a ring card girl doing some funny things with my giant styrofoam bone. And the bad? -When Renzo submitted Pat Miletich in Illinois, some angry Miletich fans threw me in a dumpster. Also, I think Ben Rothwell bit me. I'm not sure. Fucker. Sounds like you had a lot of interesting experiences, eh? -You have no idea. And I wouldn't have had them if not for the IFL. Cool. Well, best of luck to you, Woofy. -Thanks, bro.
Former BodogFIGHT champ Eddie Alvarez - one of the most popular East Coast fighters ever - has recently signed with EliteXC, MMA Journalist has learned. Known for his charisma, extremely heavy hands and ability to raise the dead, the Philadelphia native will headline the January 25th ShoXC event at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, squaring off against Hawaiian slugger Ross "Da Boss" Ebanez in a bout that is sure to please the legion of faithful who will no doubt pack the venue. Alvarez will also be fighting for M-1 Global at some future date, EliteXC's notoriously restrictive contracts notwithstanding, and then will either cure cancer or feed thousands with a few loaves of bread and some fish.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Unpredictability is one of the cornerstones of MMA's appeal, and with the UFC, the IFL, and M-1 Global's Yarennoka event all taking place in the span of a few days, "unpredictability" came at us like a runaway freight train. Who would've guessed that Georges St. Pierre would dominate Matt Hughes with takedowns and ground-and-pound before nearly tearing his arm off? Not I. Who out there really believed Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva would go the distance, knowing they'd be throwing the kind of leather that would render nearly every other light-heavyweight in the world unconscious? Not me, pal. Matt Horwich dropping Benji Radach, Brett Cooper trouncing Rory Markham, and Ryan Schultz beating the tar out of Chris Horodecki? Nope. No friggin' way. Even Hong Man Choi's performance against Fedor was a shock. After over a decade, this sport still manages to surprise and thrill. You've got to love it.
The emails have been read and the results are in for MMA Journalist's "Best of 2007" online poll. Thanks to all those who sent in their opinions, and an even bigger thanks to all those who used a spell-checking program, proper grammar, the English language or managed just the slightest bit of coherence. So without further ado, the best of 2007! -Best Fighter to Party With: Adam Smith, who fought at the September 29th Strikeforce event at the Playboy Mansion and subsequently tested positive for cocaine and marijuana. Blow, weed and Playboy Bunnies? Rock on, brother. Rock on. -Best Sinking Ship: BodogFIGHT. Holy Titanic, Batman! -Best Punch to the Armpit: Kimbo Slice's uppercut to Bo Cantrell at the November 10th EliteXC "Renegade" show. When done right, no can defend. -Best Reporter for Screwing Things Up: Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports. Um, how much did Couture make? Right... -Best Crying: John Koppenhaver, who defeated Jared Rollins at the TUF 6 Finale, then bawled his eyes out. There, there War Machine. Jared didn't die. Look, see? He's standing up and walking around. -Best Stock to Buy: the IFL's. Ha! Just kidding.