Last night MMA Journalist trekked on down to Barnes & Noble in Tribeca for a book signing. The book was "At the Fights", which is an anthology of boxing stories edited by old school scribe George Kimball. As the only other boxing-themed event I've been to was a Golden Gloves installment in the heart of the Bronx, the experience was… illuminating. First of all, it ended up being a six-person panel of writers, talking briefly about themselves before taking questions from the audience. It was also packed, as about 70 ardent boxing fans showed up - some of them knowledgeable, eager and excited, some of them clearly insane. And maybe - maybe - a handful were under 45 years old. That said, when it came time for Q & A, someone asked why, in the assembled writers' opinion, had boxing declined. Author Pete Hamill blamed the sport's predicament on a few things, and of course, MMA came up. "Ultimate fighting is preposterous," he said, and everyone laughed and agreed. "I've seen better fights at weddings." So there you have it. Boxing fans are old, cognizant that their sport is in trouble, and they hate mixed martial arts.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
This just in from the Department of Yuck: Thiago Silva's urine sample, taken immediately after his UFC 125 bout against Brandon Vera, has been determined to be of a "non-human source", according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Said Chief Urination Supervisor Keith Kizer, "A post-fight analysis of Mr. Silva's urine sample was deemed inconsistent with human urine. In fact, our laboratory technicians have determined that the DNA in the urine matches that of a Wampa, a large, carniverous creature indigenous to the Hoth system. Which is amazing, actually, since Wampas aren't real." It is anticipated that the NSAC will overturn the win Silva secured over Vera at UFC 125, changing it to a "no contest". Furthers sanctions against the Brazilian are also expected.
Monday, March 28, 2011
With installments of Ring of Combat, Cage Fury Fighting Championship and the Urban Conflict Championship looming, there’s so much ass-kickery impending that it’s almost impossible to sleep at night. In fact, I no longer sleep. I just sit on the couch in my den and ruminate – sometimes with the lights off, sometimes with them on. Anyway, MMA Journalist has of course compiled a list of bouts to watch out for. Thank me later.
- Chris Liguori vs. Mikhail Malyutin, ROC 35 – On April 8, one of the area’s longtime best lightweights in Liguori takes on what could very well be his foreign counterpart. Malyutin has fought about a million times in M-1 against dudes whose names are impossible to pronounce, but he’s got skills, as evidenced by his ROC 31 win against Luiz Azeredo. Fast and frenetic – that’s what this pairing promises.
- Tom DeBlass vs. Sean Salmon, ROC 35 – DeBlass is a Ricardo Almeida-trained light-heavyweight on the rise, and he sports ever-improving boxing. Salmon is a UFC vet who’s really good at getting knocked out in exciting fashion. We’re talking “eyes rolled up in his head-stiff as a board-dropping like a felled tree” here. That, coupled with his wrestling, means DeBlass is either going to KO him or jiu-jitsu him to death.
- Uriah Hall vs. Aung La Nsang, ROC 35 – Hall’s coming off a loss against Costa Phillippou, but he’s still an ace striker with solid ground-and-pound skills. La Nsang is a Muay Thai guy with good submissions. This match-up is either going to end suddenly or violently, or it’s going to go the distance (and still be pretty violent).
- Daniel Akinyemi vs. Mike Andrillo, ROC 35 – Bellmore Kickboxing rep Andrillo’s got a strong guillotine and, like his teammates, is very capable of banging. Akinyemi, meanwhile, bangs so hard, his opponents usually end up fetal against the cage. You see where I’m going with this, right?
- Andre Gusmao vs. Tim Williams, CFFC 7 – April 16 is when we get another installment of CFFC, and the main event features UFC vet Gusmao taking on a very promising grappler in Williams. Does Gusmao still have the striking power to put away people like he used to? Or will Williams get him down and molest him?
- Lester Caslow vs. Eddie Fyvie, CFFC 7 – These two are so well-rounded and evenly matched, they could be sharing DNA. Er, no homo.
- Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Noah Faunce, CFFC 7 – Burrell absolutely slew his opponent at the last CFFC. Faunce, however, hits hard and can wrestle when he needs to. Will he need to? Or will this be another Burrell-inspired bloodbath?
- Andy Main vs. Felipe Arantes, UCC 4 – April 22 will bring us the fourth installment of the UCC, and the marquee bout – between TUF vet Main and a very deadly Brazilian named Arantes – should be one heck of a barnburner. Main’s got KO power in his hands and has jiu-jitsu for days, while Arantes’s got sick Muay Thai and has so much jiu-jitsu he craps whole gis. This will definitely be a good one.
- Sean Santella vs. Sedico Honorio, UCC 4 – Santella is among the best “little” fighters the Northeast has to offer, and brings to the table some serious wrestling mixed with submission grappling. The first words out of Honorio’s mouth when he was a child were “mata leon” and “you just try to pass my guard, mom. I dare you.” Enough said.
- James Jenkins vs. Jay McLean, UCC 4 – McLean’s proven himself to be durable as all hell, and his wrestling tends to give fighters fits. Jenkins is a well-rounded dude on the rise, so this should be a nice test for him.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
The UFC comes to Seattle on Saturday night for UFC Fight Night 24, which will feature Antonio Rogerio Nogueira taking on wrestler Phil Davis, Sir Mix-a-Lot as a guest in the VIP section, and various coffees served to fighters in between rounds in lieu of water. And before any of you complain that I’m stereotyping, yes, I have been to Seattle. Yes, the Sasquatch does in a cardboard box downtown with the rest of the mass of homeless people. Yes, this event is airing for free on SpikeTV. So, predictions!
- Bruce Leroy returns from his less-than-stellar stint on TUF to take on WEC refugee Mackens Semerzier, with Semerzier coming off of three losses and clearly meant to be fodder for the not-quite-breakout star. Will the afro prevail? Or will the man who nailed a one-in-a-million submission on Wagnney Fabiano come out on top? Geez, who cares. Bruce Leroy by reality television.
- Thanks to Nam Phan getting injured, Leonard Garcia will instead get a rematch with someone else who he got a gift decision against: Chan Sung Jung, the Korean Zombie. When last the two met, there was an epic seesaw battle. Will we see the same again? Doubtful. Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar II sucked, and Dan Severn vs. Ken Shamrock II defined “suck” for generations to come. Expect this one to end in a draw after three full rounds of the hokey-pokey and hide-and-seek.
- TUF 7 winner Amir Sadollah has established beyond a shadow of doubt that he’ll never work his way up to a title shot, so on Saturday night he’ll meet TUF 9 runner-up DaMarques Johnson in the Octagon for what can only be described as “crap, these guys have too many fights contractually owed to them. Who should we have them fight? Each other? Brilliant, Joe, brilliant,” bout. Both men can strike and grapple about as well as any regional star, so watch for them to get up against the cage and play the “huggy game”,
- Dan Hardy, Anthony Johnson, solid conditioning, hard strikes and the ability to never ever make weight. That describes this match-up, and as Hardy and Johnson are both coming off losses, this bout could determine who gets to eat filet mignon next week and who’s out of a job and eating ramen noodles on the cluttered floor of their apartment. Hopefully, Hardy takes it via KO.
- Nogueira barely squeaked by wrestler Jason Brilz and got decision by wrestler Ryan Bader. You know what wrestling superstar Phil Davis is going to do to him? Clue: it rhymes with “smash him to bits”. No, wait, it is “smash him to bits”.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
M-1 Challenge, one of the last bastions of non-Zuffa MMA left in the world, airs for the first time on Showtime this Friday night. And while the main event between Artiom Damkovsky vs. Jose "I won the M-1 Challenge Americas Tournament with only nutshots" Figueroa may not be much of a draw, there is one solid reason to tune in. His name: Tyson Jeffries. Jeffries won the M-1 Challenge Americas tournament last year at middleweight, and after watching him fight a few times it became apparent that the dude is a Terminator. Not a Terminator like the T-1000, which can take on the appearance of whomever it touches and form simple shapes like blades with its appendages. No, more like the T-888, which is a more advanced model than those seen in the Terminator movies and is used for high-level infiltration and assassination (see the The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series). As skills go, Jeffries employs some deadly Muay Thai, and his camp - Team Quest - has got his wrestling and anti-grappling honed to a keen edge. However, the most telling trait Jeffries possesses is that Chris Leben-esque ability to get rocked and, while on autopilot, simply go for the kill. It's actually kind of awesome to watch, and with Jeffries facing Russia tough guy Magomed Sultanakhmedov for the vacant M-1 Challenge belt, the chances are pretty good that we'll see a legitimate "termination" in the ring. So yeah, M-1 Challenge on Friday. Tune in.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Also, some kid named Bruce Ferguson is wearing a rashguard imprinted like a tuxedo. Where does one buy such things?
And in case you're wondering, yes, the mats are cleaned in between tryout sessions.
Incidentally, MMA Journalist spoke with Joe Silva at length prior to the tryouts - a follow-up interview to our 2002 discussion. Apparently he still works for the UFC putting together fights, still prefers MMA as a hobby than as a job, and eschews the finer things in life for simpler things (i.e., cheeseburgers instead of filet mignon). Also, he and Dana have very little say in who gets into the TUF House. It's all SpikeTV, and it's all about the interview.
I also spoke with Dana briefly about the whole MMA in New York thing. He said they made progress in Albany last week, but he's not 100% confident. The issue with the unions (and how Station Casinos do not use union labor) is a stumbling block.
- Watching Edson Barboza fight is like watching a Muay Thai instructional DVD.
- What on Earth was Elliot Marshall thinking when he stepped back into the Octagon? Did he forget that people would be watching?
- Mirko CroCop didn't so much as phone in that performance as he used an Old West telegraph. Heck, that performance bordered on "two cans attached by string".
- Dan Miller, you have heart.
- Jim Miller, you have Kamal Shalorus' heart, freshly torn from his chest and bleeding out in the palm of your hand.
- Urijah Faber: meh.
- Sure, it was impressive that Jon Jones caught a thief earlier in the day and then went on to beat the bejeezus out of Shogun and win the belt that night. But did he raise the dead before he went to bed? No? Bah, he's a scrub.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
- White, on underground fight shows in NYC: "It's very real. It happens every weekend." Man, I wish. Try once every few months, bro.
- Reilly: "The UFC just fought to keep downward elbows in the sport." Dude, please kill your fact-checker.
- Reilly: "We're going to say that two men, or two women, can get in a cage and fight - sometimes to the death? That's not a message we want to give." Nevermind. Your fact-checker is clearly on our side, as he's making you look retarded.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Justin Klein over at FightLawyerblog has had his finger on the pulse of the New York State MMA bills, and today he's got some good news - http://www.fightlawyerblog.com/2011/03/more-good-news-senate-bill-to-legalize.html. Essentially, things are proceeding nicely, with the legislation now much further along in the process compared to where it was this time last year.
Also, there will be a UFC 128 press conference on Wednesday at Radio City Music Hall, with some kind of "bring MMA to New York" rally outside the venue at 12:30pm. Apparently, Dana White will be there leading the civil disobedience, with the first 1,000 victims of tear gas and police riot dispersal units getting a free T-shirt. Woop-woop!
Monday, March 14, 2011
- Did Marcin Held not realize that there would be strikes thrown in his bout? Going for all those submissions was great, but man did he take a beating.
- I don’t know who that was fighting Lloyd Woodard, but it was not Carey Vanier. The Carey Vanier we saw in the tournament last season was a badass. This one, not so much.
- Toby Imada: still the slickest submission guy who will never win a championship.
- Sure, Kevin Aguilar handily defeated Matt Hunt, but he’s in trouble when he faces Matt’s brother Mike.
- I’m sorry, that was awful.
- There was a time when Rob McCullough was practically untouchable. Sadly, thanks to Father Time, he’s very touchable. Still fun to watch, though.
- Waachiim Spiritwolf vs. Jaime Jara wasn’t so much a bloodbath as it was a blood-sauna, blood-whirlpool, blood-seaweed wrap and blood-spa session.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
- It speaks volumes that the UFC saw that the organization had value and shelled out the dough for it. That alone is a slap in the face to every Zuffa shill who clamored on about how "Strikeforces sucks". Think about it: the UFC was content to let EliteXC, the IFL, et al. die and pick apart the carcass post-mortem. In this instance, it didn't appear to Dana White and company that Strikeforce's death was at all imminent. Quite the contrary.
- For fans of the Strikeforce brand and their evets' particular "Pride-esque" feel, this is a mixed blessing. First, we all know what happened to Pride after Zuffa said they'd keep it alive. And sure, a lot of that had to do with the financial chaos and organized crime links that came along with the purchase of the Japanese organization. But other than some canned "Best of Pride" shows on SpikeTV, I don't seem to remember Zuffa putting forth much effort to keep the product going. However, on the plus side, now we know for sure that - for at least the duration of Strikeforce's contracts with Showtime/CBS - Strikeforce is in no danger of disappearing. It's now got Zuffa to prop it up. God only knows what will happen when those Showtime/CBS contracts expire (Will Strikeforce keep going? Will it go the way of the WEC?). But until then, the beast will live.
- This a mixed bag as well for fighters. If you're on the outs with Zuffa, you'll likely be on the outs with Strikeforce now, too. Where will big paychecks come from? Bellator? Sharkfights? The silver lining, though, is that if you do fight for Strikeforce, no matter what, Zuffa is underwriting your check.
- What does this mean for Bellator? Well, with organization #1 now merged with organization #2, Bellator's ranking certainly goes up. Unfortunately, it's suddenly gotten a lot harder to grow.
- Kudos to Scott Coker and his team. In just a few years, you took a San Jose-based kickboxing promotion and made it in a valuable thing that garnered the attention of the MMA industry's giant.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
"The evolution of the MMA media is fascinating, especially because I’ve witnessed it firsthand.
Years ago, magazines and newsletters were king, and their reps were accorded the most respect in terms of treatment. Then, as those outlets died off, websites publishing hard news (i.e., full stories with fresh quotes and analysis) gained prominence. Then blogs took over. Now, from what I see, it’s all about twitter. The driving force behind this evolution is of course economics – when publishers saw there was virtually no money to be made in MMA magazines, they got out, and websites started getting funded. Then when free blogging platforms emerged, and people realized regurgitating available news cost less but scored just as many eyeballs, the blogosphere became the new media leader. And what’s even cheaper than bloggers? Social media.
I think the trick for anyone with any aspirations on longevity in the MMA media industry is a revenue stream outside of the finite capital sources MMA media commands. AOL cut your funding? SBNation giving you the boot? Dude, write a book. That’s what I did.
For the MMA media, it’s all about the hustle. Back in the day, well-known journos would moonlite as PR men for the very promotions they covered, ghostwriting press releases, event programs… you name it. Hell, I wrote PR stuff for the old WFA (the John Lewis version), and one of my fellow FCFers (who went on to Sherdog) was writing content for Zuffa’s glossy programs that they handed out at UFCs. This is how media members make the business model work."
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
It must be a leap year, because the UFC has come to town – the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, to be exact. So what should we expect on Saturday night from our favorite brand of Octagon-contained combat? Another dose of “geez, this card sucks”? Aw, hells naw. Northeast fans are getting treated to a light-heavyweight championship bout between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and starry-eyed challenger Jon Jones, plus a bunch of other fighters who’ve probably never set foot in the Garden State in their life (and never will again). So! Predictions!
- Shogun vs. Jon Jones – Remember how Shogun won that Pride tournament, then came to the UFC and got his ass kicked by Forrest Griffin? Sure, the dude has since bounced back, and defeated the likes of the mighty Mark Coleman (er, what?) and the fearsome Chuck Liddell (what-what?) to earn a shot at then-champ Lyoto Machida, and sure it took Shogun two tries to defeat the “Dragon”. But really, he’s back to being a monster now. So Jon Jones, you better watch out. Because if you don’t use some of your utterly unorthodox technique and seemingly unending raw talent, you’re going to get hit. Maybe even in the face. Like, around the cheekbones or temple area. Oh yeah, Jones via TKO.
- Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland – Former WEC featherweight superstar Urijah Faber looked damn good choking Takeya Mizugaki into oblivion in his first fight at bantamweight. Eddie Wineland, though, sure looked good defeating fighters nowhere near Mizugaki’s level. So, um, why was this match-up made? Faber via over-large chin.
- Jim Miller vs. Kamal Shalorus – Let me see… Kamal Shalorus squeaked by Jamie Varner and squeaked by Bart Palaszewski, and now he gets to take on Jim Miller, who in 21 fights has only lost to Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard? Methinks this is Joe Silva’s way of showing Shalorus the door. Miller by any goddamn submission he wants.
- Nate Marquardt vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama – When there’s a title or potential title-shot on the line, you can count on Nate Marquardt to screw it up. As there isn’t one in this case, expect him to beat on the durable Yoshihiro Akiyama for all three rounds to earn the decision.
- Brendan Schaub vs. Mirko CroCop – I’m not entirely sure Mirko CroCop even cares about fighting anymore. But I’m pretty positive that the young and hungry prospect Brendan Schaub does, so watch for him to KO the old Croatian warhorse at some point.
- Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Njokuani – If you were to take eleven deadly Muay Thai fighters from Thailand, boil them down in a pot and add some acai at the end, what you’d end up with is Edson Barboza. He’s going to kill Anthony Njokuani so bad, Dana White is going to award him the heretofore unheard of “Funeral of the Night” bonus.
- Ricardo Almeida vs. Mike Pyle – No one beats Ricardo Almeida on his home turf. No one. Almeida via submission.
- Kurt Pellegrino vs. Gleison Tibau – Ditto for Kurt Pellegrino. “Batman” via sub.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
There was a time when checking out a fight show in New Jersey meant showing up to a high school gymnasium, sitting in the bleachers or on a metal folding chair, and watching local dudes throw down. Such was the case with Reality Fighting 4, which took place on July 19, 2003, at Marist High School in Bayonne. On that night, Glenn Sandull and Carlos Cline – the area’s two best heavyweights – battled it out in the main event, while future TUF star Phillipe Nover notched a quick win, Hazem Ibrahim conquered, and FoxSports reporter Jay Glazer fell to a submission. But in retrospect, one of the more notable bouts of the evening was the debut of a 26-year old from Long Island. He was friends with Phil Baroni, and part of the Hofstra wrestling/anti-jiu-jitsu contingent that existed at the time, and his raw talent and intensity had him utterly crushing his opponent in a minute and a half. His name was Jay Hieron. Few who saw Hieron then doubted that he’d go far – he crushed wrestler Jermaine Johnson at ROC 5 five months later, smoked Team Endgame boxing trainer Fernando Munoz at ROC 6, and traveled up to Massachusetts to defeat black belt Fabio Holanda just six days after that. What followed was a career full of ups and downs – mostly “ups”, with an IFL championship and a stint in Strikeforce in there, although his “downs” included losing to Georges St. Pierre and Jonathan Goulet in the UFC. Nowadays, you can watch the “Thoroughbred” on MTV2, kicking ass in Bellator’s welterweight tournament. But it all began at Reality Fighting 4, with Heiron’s dominant performance in the card’s opening bout.
Monday, March 7, 2011
There is wickedness afoot, and an article in the Press of Atlantic City (http://tinyurl.com/5ud2wao) has managed to uncover it. According to author Michael Clark, a campaign of regulatory discrimination is being waged by the New Jersey athletic commission to stamp out amateur mixed martial arts – the very beast it created years ago in its own nefarious laboratory. And the first casualty in this dastardly crusade is the venerable New Breed Fighters promotion, which had scheduled its 35th show for April 16 at the Hilton in Atlantic City, but thanks to an archaic (i.e., year-old) policy, was forced to cancel when pro organization Cage Fury Fighting Championship wanted that date for themselves. As per said policy, all pro MMA events take precedence over amateur ones, which ultimately means that no matter what a promotion like New Breed Fighters has invested in a particular date – no matter how many flyers they’ve printed, billboards they’ve paid for, and fighters they’ve promised not to pay – they’re out of luck. It is, as the article implies, a gross injustice, and direct evidence that the athletic commission is trying to destroy the thing it created on a cold February afternoon back in 2006.
What recourse is available to an amateur promotion found on the wrong end of this well-known, agreed to, yet inherently clandestine policy? As New Breed Fighters found out, there’s nothing to be done beyond whispering into the ear of a sympathetic member of the media and mourn the loss of the $500 they paid to the commission to put on the show (no, wait, that was returned to them) plus the ticket- and broadcasting taxes and various licensing fees paid (no, wait, amateur promotions don’t pay any of that).
Said a source within the New Jersey athletic commission who spoke on the condition on anonymity: “We oversaw 19 pro MMA shows last year and 20 amateur shows, and we could’ve been relaxing on the beach working on our tans instead. You know what I’m saying here?” Added the source, “I will not spend another year this pale. I simply will not.”
- Yeah, so Team USA went over to Moscow and got killed by Team Russia. But you have to wonder if the fact that they were flown in just the day before played a role in anyone’s performance.
- Brent Weedman didn’t so much as win his fight against Dan Hornbuckle as Hornbuckle lost it by keeping it too close.
- Just one cool judo technique from Rick Hawn? As they say in Brazil, “I am disappoint.”
- Nice Jedi Mind Trick by Jay Hieron. I guess that means that Josh Rosenthal is weak-willed, though.
- Chris Lozano really had nothing for Lyman Good, and Good wisely played it cool and took few risks. Expect more fireworks when he takes on Hawn in the next round.
- It was pretty sweet watching Jorge Masvidal completely outclass and pick apart Billy Evangelista. Yup, pretty sweet.
- Once – just once – I’d like to see Melvin Manhoef win on Showtime. Strikeforce, please feed the man a can.
- Marloes Coenen vs. Liz Carmouche was like watching Frank Shamrock vs. Jeremy Horn (UFC 17) all over again. Boy, that was an ass-kicking.
- Dan Henderson is the man. That is all.
Friday, March 4, 2011
- When you get a rematch with someone, and they defeat you with the same choke at the same exact time as the first bout, it may be a good idea to work on defenses for that move. Just a thought, Damacio Page. Just a thought.
- It’s good to know that no matter how long the layoff, Brian Bowles will come back with his hairstyle completely unchanged.
- Igor Pokrajac called out Tito Ortiz – is that a thing, now?
- With his tentativeness and his sloppy-looking striking, Chris Weidman looked like a guy with only four MMA bouts to his name. That is to say, a guy with all the talent and promise in the world who still managed to get the job done.
- Man, it’s got to suck to be Thiago Tavares, all “kicking ass” and “technical striking”, and then BAM! Shane Roller freakin’ kills you.
- For 53 seconds, CB Dollaway looked great. Too bad about that 54th second.
- Martin Kampmann was far and away the better fighter, but Diego Sanchez had too much heart. And fists. And blood. And determination. And drive. And emotion. And guts. And simply would not stop walking forward.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
As the great Canadian warrior/poet Harold Howard once said, “If you’re coming on, then come on!” Well, Bellator is “coming on” MTV2 on Saturday night, and their debut on the network is most certainly “coming on”. We may or may not get to see champ Zoila Frausto in a non-title bout, and perhaps the inevitable bloodbath between Waachiim Spiritwolf and Jaime Jara will remain unaired, but what is in store for sure are the quarterfinal match-ups of this season’s welterweight tournament – a field that includes the likes of ex-champ Lyman Good, IFL champ Jay Heiron, and judo thrill-machine Rick Hawn. So hold onto your hats, ‘cause here comes some BFC 35 predictions.
- Lyman Good vs. Chris Lozano – As evidenced by his destruction of Yoshiyuki Yoshida at BFC 31, Lozano is great at two things: striking and striking. Good, meanwhile, has proven to be great at both striking and grappling. That little tidbit, coupled with his unparalleled conditioning, means Good is going to smash Lozano so badly the ring doctors are going to need a broom and a dustpan to get Lozano out of the cage.
- Jay Hieron vs. Anthony Lapsley – Sometimes, if a fighter is too good or too boring, they’ll fall between the cracks, unable to make it in the “big show” yet dominant everywhere else. This is the story with Hieron (accent on the “too good” and “too boring” part), who has smoked opponents like carelessly-dealt marijuana in such promotions as Strikeforce, Affliction and the IFL (his only two trips into the Octagon ended with losses). This Xtreme Couture staple is pretty damn good at pounding people into oblivion – so good, actually, that the word on the street is that Anthony Lapsley’s management is already lining him up fights elsewhere for when Bellator sends him packing. Hieron by TKO destruction.
- Rick Hawn vs. Jim Wallhead – Hey, do you like judo? Hawn and Wallhead sure do, and they’ve made a name for themselves by wearing judo gis everywhere they go and shouting “ippon!” whenever they enter a room. Okay, not really. They just have strong backgrounds in the Japanese art – although as an adult Olympic team member, Hawn is the more accomplished of the pair. Watch for him to toss Wallhead on his head once or twice and snag a win via TKO.
- Brent Weedman vs. Dan Hornbuckle – Last season’s 170-pound tournament had two pervading questions hanging over it when it began, the first being if wrestling demigod Ben Askren was going to steamroll his way to the top, and the second being if Dan Hornbuckle could stop him. Hornbuckle couldn’t, but that doesn’t negate the fact that he’s a bad dude who clobbered the likes of Akihiro Gono and Nick Thompson before hooking up with Bellator. Weedman, though tough and very capable wherever the fight goes, is simply overmatched in this one. Expect him to tap to Hornbuckle’s patented “Cherokee Armbar of Doom”.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Sean Shelby of the Kentucky Shelbys just tweeted that there are TUF tryouts scheduled for March 21, with the Marriott at Newark Liberty International Airport as the venue. The weight classes up at bat: featherweight and bantamweight. Putting aside how crazy-cool that is for a second, MMA Journalist has a list of Northeast fighters in those divisions who abso-freakin’-lutely should be trying out that day – and it would be criminal if they didn’t. The fighters in question are:
- Claudio Ledesma – Tough, durable and capable of ending things on the feet or on the ground, Ledesma would kick ass in the Octagon if given the chance. Don’t expect him to urinate on any fruit trays or pillows, though. Or maybe you should. I don’t know. Reality TV makes people do weird things.
- Lester Caslow – Caslow’s been a top-five featherweight around these parts for years, and with his well-rounded skills, it’s not hard to see why. If he were to show up to the TUF tryouts in a kung fu uniform and wicker hat, the deal would be sealed.
- Louis Gaudinot – These are the facts: I’ve seen Gaudinot KO an opponent with a spinning backfist, I’ve seen him guillotine an opponent to win the ROC 125-pound belt, and the kid’s hair is green. What more could a SpikeTV producer want?
- Felipe Arantes – An absolute killer Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu guy, Arantes may or may not speak perfect English. Which would actually be kind of awesome in the TUF House in a “Stranger in a Strange Land” kind of way.
- Sean Santella – Though the ROC flyweight champ, Santella would do well to eat a couple Big Macs and move up a weight class just so he could out-wrestle and out-grapple everyone in the joint.
- Jimbo Hoffman – Sure, he’s only had one (insanely dominant) pro fight, but Hoffman was just plain killing folks in his amateur career. Put a sombrero and a fake moustache on him and he’d be a shoe-in.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
A very busy week in MMA kicks off on Thursday night with UFC Live: “Sanchez vs. Kampmann” on the Versus channel, and the main card features a rejuvenated Diego Sanchez taking on the always-durable Martin Kampmann, TUF 7 second-placer CB Dolloway against wrestler Mark Munoz, and former WEC champ Brian Bowles re-matching Damacio Page because Page just loves getting guillotined. Anyway, there’s also the walking Italian oil painting Alessio Sakara squaring off against Octagon newcomer Chris Weidman. Who? Chris friggin’ Weidman, dude. A ROC champ who’s been kicking serious ass in the Northeast, a wrestler who throws pinpoint accurate hands and one of the best middleweight prospects in the entire country – any of that ring a bell? No? Well, then you’re hopeless. But here are some more facts:
- Weidman was a Division I All-American wrestler when he began training jiu-jitsu under Matt Serra, and within a year he qualified for and competed in the prestigious Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling Championships.
- The man is quite obviously a beast on the ground, with his top game particularly hellacious. But what enables him to win fights more than anything is his boxing. Weidman has a great sense of range and timing, and when he lands, he lands hard.
- Although he’s fought only four times, his first three bouts didn’t make it out of Round 1. His last bout, against a deceptively badass Brazilian named Valdir Araujo, went the distance, though, and after out-slugging and out-positioning his opponent, Weidman came away with the unanimous decision. The fight was Weidman’s toughest test to date.
- Weidman won his ROC belt when he took on champ Uriah Hall. Hall is considered one of the most dangerous 185-pound strikers on the East Coast, so it was assumed that the Serra/Longo rep was going to take the fight to the ground. He didn’t. Instead, he stalked Hall around the cage and stunned him with an extremely precise dose of leather to the chin.
- Strikeforce (wisely) wanted Weidman on their recent “Fedor vs. Silva” card in New Jersey, but Weidman had to decline because of a rib cartilage injury he’d sustained in training. Will that play a factor in his bout with Sakara on Thursday? Doubtful. Standing and banging is a lot easier on the ribs than being stuck on the bottom of someone with superior wrestling – and there’s no way in hell Sakara’s got superior wrestling. This one is going to be a live re-enactment of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, with Sakara playing the role of the light blue plastic robot with his head detached from his shoulders.