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April 23, 2009

Does UFC 97 make Silva even more dangerous?

Does Anderson Silva’s win over Thales Leites make him a more dangerous fighter? Silva is used to knocking guys out in the first few rounds, but his fight with Leites showed a different dimension to his game. He showed that he wasn’t going to be overly aggressive and that winning is the most important thing to him. That’s not good for any other middleweight.

If he was a little more aggressive, he might be a little more careless. Instead, he comes into a fight with a plan and executes it flawlessly. As his manager, Ed Soares, has said in the press lately, Silva went five rounds and barely broke a sweat and left without a mark.

Coming off a bad showing against Patrick Cote, I thought he might work harder to put on a good show. When Leites kept dropping, it had to be tempting to take the fight to the ground. After all, Silva’s pretty solid on the ground as well. He didn’t, though. He played it smart and picked Leites apart, even knowing the fight would go longer than any of his others.

He could’ve taken Leites lightly because he didn’t have a high-profile resume or he could’ve been aggressive coming off of the Cote performance. But he fought a measured, calculated fight and that type of focus has to make him an even more dangerous opponent.

I know Silva is taking a hit from many fans who are now questioning whether he belongs at the top of the pound-for-pound rankings, but I don’t think he’s any less terrifying as a champion now.

I don’t think we’re going to see a Matt Serra over Georges St. Pierre equivalent for Silva. And when it comes to GSP, it’s rumored he will be the next opponent (potentially) for Silva. Dana White has addressed those rumors several times in the past and if GSP beats Thiago Alves at UFC 100, this fight will come together. Even still, I think GSP will be in trouble as the smaller fighter, so who will be the next great challenge for Silva?

Posted by Mark Chalifoux at 11:10 AM | | Comments (17)
        

April 19, 2009

UFC 97 quick thoughts

There were some nice fights on the UFC 97 card but overall it was a garbage show. I say that for two reasons. First, because we saw the official end of Chuck Liddell. Second, the main event sucked. There’s no other way to say it.

The blame here doesn’t fall on Anderson Silva, though. I think it falls on Thales Leites and on the UFC for matching Silva up with Leites. Silva’s talking about potentially retiring when his contract is up and the UFC owes the fans some decent fights. James Irvin, Patrick Cote and Thales Leites? Weak. I’d rather see Silva-Rich Franklin III than any of those bouts.

Leites was very tentative against Silva and it was clear that he only had one way to win that fight -- on the ground. Silva knew that and didn’t want to fight on the ground. Leites knew it and simply refused to do anything but lay around. It was woeful at some points in the fight, as Silva tried to press the action at times but Leites was simply not game.

The problem, from my standpoint, was that it seemed like Leites was simply outmanned. He did not belong in the Octagon with Silva. He wasn’t ready to take on a fighter like Silva and he didn’t have the skill set to hang with him. Leites looked like he didn’t even want to fight. It was somewhat surprising that Leites didn’t change things up once he saw he wasn’t getting Silva down enough but he was spent after three rounds, whereas Silva looked to be in much better shape.

Silva is in a tough position because there is very little left for him at middleweight. Demian Maia would be interesting, Yushin Okami makes sense because of their prior matchup but he won’t sell tickets and it wouldn’t be too intriguing of a fight. A bout with Wanderlei Silva would be interesting , but I could care less about seeing Silva take on Michael Bisping or any of the current contenders he’s already taken down.

A superfight with Georges St. Pierre seems to be on the horizon and that is the caliber of fight Anderson Silva belongs in. Not with the Thales Leites of the world. Still, I’m surprised Silva didn’t try to push things a little bit more, especially coming off a lackluster performance against Patrick Cote.

Also, it’s sad to see the end of the line for Chuck Liddell but we’re there. He most likely will never again be a relevant part of the light heavyweight title scene. Mauricio Rua didn’t look that great in the first part of the fight but Liddell isn’t the same fighter he used to be. He’s done a lot for the sport and it would’ve been interesting to see him fight his way back to a title shot, but losing four of his last five, with his chin being exposed in the last two, has left him out of the picture.

He won’t hang them up, but his fights just got a lot less important. He’s a legend and still arguably the UFC’s biggest star, so I’m sure that’s one result the UFC wasn’t happy with.

Other quick thoughts: Cheick Kongo put together another solid performance and Luiz Cane and Steve Cantwell had the best fight of the night. Unfortunately, it was the first fight of the show.

Anyone else buy UFC 97? Do you feel like I do, that it was a little sort of a letdown?

Posted by Mark Chalifoux at 1:42 AM | | Comments (25)
        

April 14, 2009

UFC 97: Silva's tough test; Liddell's fight for relevance

UFC 97 is scheduled for this weekend, and there is some intrigue to go with it. Granted, it’s not the greatest or most interesting show, but I am interested in the two main events. Anderson Silva faces his stiffest test since Dan Henderson, more than a year ago, and Chuck Liddell faces Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in a fight between two guys with a lot to lose.

Silva should knock out Thales Leites, although it might get interesting if the fight gets to the ground somehow. Even still, Silva’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu is underrated, so he can hold his own. Regardless, it’s usually a joy to watch Silva in action, so this fight should be entertaining.

On the flip side, you have Rua, who has been a huge disappointment since joining the UFC, fighting Chuck Liddell, who has lost three of his past four matches and is quickly on his way to irrelevance in the current title picture. Both men desperately need to have a great showing but both will have any win explained away with numerous excuses (Liddell is old and has lost three of four fights, Rua is washed up and has never been the same in the UFC, Rua gassed against a 44-year-old Mark Coleman, etc.).

I don’t know if it’s required buying this weekend, but it’s definitely worth a trip to an establishment to catch the show, if you can’t get some guys together to buy it at your house.

I think the obvious choice is Silva and Liddell, both in knockout form, right?
Posted by Mark Chalifoux at 11:07 AM | | Comments (1)
        

April 13, 2009

UFC 100 already a sellout

UFC 100 was the fastest sellout in MMA history, as the card, headlined by Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir, sold out before going on sale to the public. Members of the UFC Fight Club had the first crack at tickets and when they were through, the event was sold out.

Does anyone have a problem with the UFC’s method of selling tickets? A fightticker.com reader argues that scalpers are getting too many tickets through this method and jacking up the tickets for real fans. Problem is, how do you solve this? If tickets are on sale at a general time, scalpers will get their share anyway. Ticket scalping is incredibly difficult to stop, but it’s tough for fans who wanted to make the trip for UFC 100.

Also, did anyone catch Strikeforce’s show this weekend? Nick Diaz took down Frank Shamrock, Gilbert Melendez beat a late fill-in and it was announced that Kevin Randleman and Fabricio Werdum had joined the promotion. It’s rumored that Tito Ortiz will be next to sign with Strikeforce. Anyone catch the first show? Thoughts?
Posted by Mark Chalifoux at 11:30 AM | | Comments (4)
        

April 6, 2009

The Dana White 'situation'

Dana White crossed a line in his rant against an online reporter, a rant that managed to offend just about everyone. The story was critical of the UFC and used too many anonymous sources, which is inexcusable, but White has to be smarter than that. Dana White is not Gary Bettman or David Stern and if he was, MMA wouldn’t be where it is today. That being said, the sport is big enough that while White can drop some expletives here and there, any borderline hate speech is intolerable.

White is usually smarter than this. The guy can drop 20 expletives in a 15-minute phone conversation, but if it’s a radio or TV interview, he cleans up his act. He usually knows what he can get away with and dances around that line perfectly -- until this video.

Clearly it was a mistake, and while White apologized, how much damage this will do is still unclear. A lot of people are calling for White’s dismissal, but many of those “requests” come from people who have an agenda against White or are simply reacting irrationally.

Kevin Iole from Yahoo Sports has an interesting read about all of this, as does Sam Caplan from FiveOuncesOfPain.com. I see the original story the same way Sam does; it’s not a big deal. Even White’s response, while over the top, isn’t earth shattering and shouldn’t carry any ramifications.

The UFC doesn’t need to lower White’s profile. They just need White to be smarter with that type of situation.

Posted by Mark Chalifoux at 11:13 AM | | Comments (5)
        

April 1, 2009

A solid UFC Fight Night card tonight

UFC Fight Night 18 will take place tonight on Spike TV. The main event is Carlos Condit vs. Martin Kampmann, and it should be very entertaining. Actually, it's a nice card overall. It’s tough to beat free mixed martial arts, especially when there are some intriguing fights on the card. The UFC has a nice primer on Condit if you’re unfamiliar with him.

Also, a friend from The Fukerton passed along this cool video of Jamie Varner talking about the legalization of MMA in Tennessee and about the fights tonight. Check it out.

Posted by Mark Chalifoux at 11:47 AM | | Comments (1)
        
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Kevin Richardson has been a fan of mixed martial arts competition ever since UFC 3, when 600-pound sumo wrestler Emmanuel Yarborough was beaten by Keith Hackney. Kevin will cover the world of MMA — in Baltimore, nationally and internationally. He plans to take readers into the locker rooms and MMA schools, where they'll hear from local fighters and trainers. If you have a news tip or suggestions for the blog, please e-mail him.

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