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October 27, 2009

Shogun-Machida: Immediate rematch

This doesn't happen too often. While both parties agreed to it, rematches like this, especially with a title on the line, usually don't happen so quickly. Yet, it appears Dana White and both Lyoto Machida and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua have signed off on it so the rematch is a reality.

 The first one was an enjoyable fight to watch (from my perspective) and I think the rematch will be even better. I definitely feel like it won't make it to the judges this time around. I also feel like the Machida backlash will force him to do more in the next fight. I wouldn't be surprised if Shogun felt the same way, since he won the fight and still wasn't awarded the victory.

This seems like the right call. Especially since there's no one knocking on the door for a title shot at light heavyweight. With Rampage out of the picture, the Rashad Evans-Thiago Silva winner seems poised for the next shot, and neither of those guys can make as interesting a fight as Shogun part two. 

I think the lack of quality challengers has a lot to do with it, because other fights have had controversial decisions but weren't given immediate rematches. The Rampage-Forrest Griffin fight comes to mind.

Posted by Andy Knobel at 1:07 AM | | Comments (4)
        

Lesnar out of UFC 106

In devastating news, Brock Lesnar was forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout with Shane Carwin at UFC 106 in November. The match will now be held at UFC 108 on Jan. 2.

Lesnar has been suffering from an illness that sounds an awful lot like H1N1, but is unconfirmed. Lesnar reportedly claimed it's the sickest he's been in his life and his people say he wouldn't have near the time needed to train for a big fight.

Instead, the Forrest Griffin-Tito Ortiz rematch will be moved into that slate instead.

Tough news, but this sort of thing happens. You can catch the full story here at Yahoo.

Posted by Andy Knobel at 1:04 AM | | Comments (1)
        

October 25, 2009

Shogun was robbed

Mauricio "Shogun" Rua fought a very tactical fight against a difficult opponent in UFC light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida and Rua fought it to perfection. He landed a flurry of devastating leg kicks and while the fight was extremely close, it's hard to see Machida as the winner in this bout. You could argue that Shogun won 49-46, but even most rational fans had to assume Shogun was going to be announced as the winner when it was declared a unanimous decision.

Rua completely took Machida out of his gameplan and looked much more like the Shogun of old. The Shogun of old, however, would've finished the fight. The Shogun we saw at UFC 104, however, certainly did enough to win. He was never in too much danger and really controlled the tempo of the fight. He threw some ferocious kicks to the legs and body of Machida and handled the "elusive" fighter very well. He should've won that fight. I thought Machida looked as surprised as the fans at the Staples Center were when he was announced as the winner. 

 Some will argue that the challenger has to take the belt from the champion and that any close fight will go to the current champ. That wasn't the case with Forrest Griffin and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Even so, I felt (as many other writers, fans in attendance and both Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg) that Rua did more than enough to get the decision.

Outside of Rua getting robbed, it was a pretty enjoyable show. I thought the prelim fights on Spike were terrific. I was surprised that Chael Sonnen handled Yushin Okami the way he did but I thought it was a good fight. Joe Stevenson looked terrific and Cain Velasquez dominated Ben Rothwell. I still don't think Velasquez is ready for Brock Lesnar, though. I'd like to see Velasquez face someone like Nogeuira or even Frank Mir before getting a shot at Lesnar. Anthony Johnson had a sick knockout as well, but his came against a fighter with no chin.

 Overall, a pretty enjoyable night of fights, outside of a highly controversial decision. Even though he lost, Rua proved he's a fighter to be reckoned with again at light heavyweight. And, more importantly, it showed that Machida is human. He was thought to be one of the most unbeatable fighters in the UFC but that was simply not the case Saturday night. He still doesn't belong in the St. Pierre/Anderson Silva class, not yet.

Although I would've loved to see Rua win, just on the chance that Dana White would make that Shogun vs. Anderson Silva fight. That would be a great one to watch.

Posted by Andy Knobel at 2:42 AM | | Comments (25)
        

October 23, 2009

UFC 104 worth a buy?

UFC 104 is this weekend and outside of the Lyoto Machida vs. Shogun Rua bout for the light heavyweight championship, there’s not a whole lot of intrigue.

I’m excited for the Joe Stevenson-Spencer Fisher fight, but the rest of the card? Take it or leave it.

I’m curious to see how the PPV sells since it’s headlined by a pair of Brazilians. Both great fighters but I’m curious how the casual fan will support it. I’m still on the fence. This may be one show I catch at a sports bar instead of shelling out the 50 bucks.

I wish we could see the Yushin Okami-Chael Sonnen fight, but what are you going to do? Cain Velasquez and Ben Rothwell could be a decent fight, but not for second billing.

I don’t know though ... if PRIDE Shogun shows up, that main event might be worth it.

Posted by Andy Knobel at 12:34 PM | | Comments (13)
        

October 22, 2009

Can Shogun beat Lyoto Machida?

The odds aren't in his favor. Right now, the line on the Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Lyoto Machida fight for the light heavyweight title is Mauricio Rua (+375) vs. Lyoto Machida (-550). If you're not a degenerate gambler, like I used to be, this essentially means Machida is a heavy favorite.

It's hard to disagree because Shogun hasn't looked overly impressive in any of his fights in the UFC. He was a legend in PRIDE and if that Shogun was in this fight, it might be more even. But with the unpredictability of what we'll get from Shogun, shouldn't he at least be given better odds? He was once considered the top light heavyweight fighter in the world by some analysts.

In the UFC, he lost to Forrest Griffin and was injury plagued until beating Mark Coleman more than a year later. Both his UFC wins, over Coleman and Liddell, aren't over guys exactly in their prime. Or even close to it. 

Machida, on the other hand, has been fantastic lately. He's shaken the unfair label of being a "boring" fighter by winning the knockout of the night honors in his last two bouts, taking down Thiago Silva and Rashad Evans. Machida is near the top of his game, and it's not really known where Rua is.

Smart money is on Machida, but is anyone going to back Rua?

Posted by Andy Knobel at 9:22 AM | | Comments (5)
        

October 21, 2009

UFC counterprogams Fedor

Fedor Emelianenko makes both his Strikeforce and network television debut on Nov. 7 when he takes on Brett Rogers on CBS. The UFC, as it frequently does, has put together a solid special to compete against that telecast. The UFC will be airing a special of previously unseen-on-cable main events.

The UFC has done something similar before, when it showed past pay-per-view shows on Spike, but it has never collected a series of main events like this. It could be a really cool special and it's a great chance for a new fan to get introduced to some of the biggest stars in the sport. I don't think it will outdraw the CBS card, but it's definitely a smart plan on the UFC's part.

Here's the lineup for the show.

 

UFC 102

RANDY COUTURE vs. ANTONIO RODRIGO NOGUEIRA

This highly-anticipated battle featured UFC legend and former heavyweight and light heavyweight champion, Randy Couture, against former PRIDE heavyweight and then UFC interim heavyweight king, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

 

UFC 103

VITOR BELFORT vs. RICH FRANKLIN

A battle of veteran former UFC champions featured former light heavyweight champ Vitor Belfort returning to the Octagon against former UFC middleweight champ Rich Franklin.  

 

UFC 101

BJ PENN vs. KENNY FLORIAN

Lightweight champion BJ Penn, in his second title defense, took on top contender Kenny Florian in a battle of Brazilian jiu jitsu experts.

 

UFC 101

FORREST GRIFFIN vs. ANDERSON SILVA

UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva moved up in weight class for a non-title bout against former UFC light heavyweight champ and “The Ultimate Fighter 1” winner, Forrest Griffin.

 

Posted by Andy Knobel at 4:19 PM | | Comments (7)
        

October 16, 2009

MMA on The Simpsons

The Simpsons took its shots at mixed martial arts on a recent episode and Dana White was less than thrilled about it. He spoke with USA Today about the episode and said his chief complaints where showing kids doing MMA moves on the playground and the depiction of fans that go to fights.

"We like fighting," White said to USA Today. "But to make it sound like the UFC crowd is this bloodthirsty crowd that shows up and just want to see people get their (butts) kicked — that's not true. That's the stigma that the mainstream has of us. ... The Simpsons program will show you how mainstream we're not," White said.

The only interesting thing about this is the final point White made. That episode proves how mainstream the sport isn't yet. There are a ton of people out there with horrible misconceptions. I can't even count how many people still call it "no-holds barred" or still have that conception of "two men enter, one man leaves." 

But does this episode upset people? I find myself more in the "screw it" phase. If people want to have misconceptions about the sport, fine. Smart people understand it's a sport with highly skilled and highly trained athletes and not two drunk guys locked in a cage. As for everyone else, who cares?

Posted by Andy Knobel at 1:49 AM | | Comments (1)
        

Cool event to benefit Wounder Warrior Project

Just got an e-mail about a very cool event happening in the area this weekend benefiting a great cause. Make sure to check it out if you're around on Saturday. Here's some information from the news release.

 "The Second Annual Mid-Atlantic Hopper Challenge (the Hopper) is coming to Crossfit BWI in Glen Burnie on Saturday, October 17, 2009 starting at 8:00 a.m.  The CrossFit fitness competition features 143 athletes competing all day for two things – bragging rights and a great cause. All proceeds from the event go to support the Wounded Warrior Project. 

The Hopper is a charity fitness competition to benefit The Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that provides programs and services to severely injured U.S. Armed Services members during the time between active duty and transition to civilian life.  WWP’s amazing work focuses on helping these men and women establish bright new futures for themselves and their families.  The majority of the prescribed workouts performed by CrossFit athletes are named after fallen soldiers so this particular cause is near and dear to their hearts.

 This year’s competition will be hosted by CrossFit BWI, an established CrossFit gym in Glen Burnie, Maryland.  “We’ve already passed capacity for the Hopper with 143 athletes (97 men and 46 women) competing and we hope to be able add a few more from the waiting list.  In addition to the 143 athletes, we expect at least another 250 spectators.  This year’s competitors come to the Hopper from an incredible nine states and 25 CrossFit gyms,” said event organizer, John Alanis."

 

--If you want more info, you can check it out at http://www.midatlantichopper.com

Posted by Andy Knobel at 1:41 AM | | Comments (0)
        

October 14, 2009

Frank Mir and Anderson Silva?

Frank Mir was at the WEC 43 weigh-in and during a Q&A session he said he’d love a chance to fight Anderson Silva at heavyweight. Could we ever see that fight?

Silva has talked about possibly fighting at the heavyweight level in the future and Silva-Mir could be an intriguing bout. If he was going to go to heavyweight, Mir would make good sense. Silva wouldn’t be able to handle Brock Lesnar’s size and the only other heavyweight superfight would possibly be Randy Couture, and I don’t think he’d give Silva any more trouble than Forrest Griffin. In the end though, it doesn't make much sense for Silva to move up to heavyweight, so it's one wish Frank Mir probably won't see come true.

Mir also seemed to talk down a possible rematch with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, saying he’d simply knock him down again. That’s the fight I think makes the most sense for Mir, provided he gets past Cheick Kongo at UFC 107.

Check out the full account at yahoo.com.

Also, the UFC officially announced the first bout for The Ultimate Fighter 10 finale on Dec. 5. In a bout between rising stars in the light heavyweight division, Matt Hamill will face Jon Jones. I love this fight and cannot wait for it. Jon Jones will be a star someday but Hamill is severely underrated (in my book).

Posted by Andy Knobel at 2:40 AM | | Comments (1)
        

October 8, 2009

TUF quick thoughts: Rampage as a coach?

Another episode of The Ultimate Fighter, another loss for one of Rampage Jackson’s fighters. It looked like Demico Rogers was going to win his bout as he was dominating the action, but he fell prey to a choke near the end of the first and that’s all there was.

Rampage is a great guy for TV but he does not seem like a good coach by any means. It was sad watching Rashad Evans and his guys comforting Rogers after his loss. I get that Rampage is funny but because he’s so poor at picking fights and telling his guys what to do, the season is starting to feel pretty one-sided.

I feel that Evans is simply a much better coach. He’s done a great job of picking fights and getting his guys ready. He’s been through it as a competitor and I think that makes a world of difference when it comes to winning a contest like this. Sure, Rampage has some experience with it as a coach, but Rashad has now seen both sides of it.

And, on the Kimbo Slice watch, it’s only a matter of time before he's fighting again. I don’t know who is going out, but we have not seen the last of Kimbo on the show. Someone will trip and “sprain an ankle” or will get hurt in some other dubious fashion and have to step down. They can’t keep Slice away for too long.

Posted by Andy Knobel at 12:31 AM | | Comments (0)
        

October 6, 2009

Forrest Griffin on why he ran from the cage

Just came across the Forrest Griffin interview with MMA Fanhouse, where Forrest Griffin talks about why he ran from the cage after losing to Anderson Silva.

“This guy actually asked me a good question the other day, and this is a real story and I really like it: first off, he was very confrontational; I didn't like him much to begin with, and he goes, 'Hey, man, I have to know,' because it's his business to know, 'why did you run out of the cage that night after the Silva fight?' And I said, 'Look, man, I haven't told anybody, let's keep this on the down low, but the truth is your mom was waiting for me in the back to suck my ****, and you know how good of a **** *** your mom gives, so I didn't want to be late for that ****.' And that's pretty much the answer I give. I like that answer, so I'll give that answer to everyone.” -- Forrest Griffin

I love Forrest Griffin. I love that he’d say that to someone that was being a jerk to him. My follow-up question would be, if he was so worried about being late, why not schedule that for a day other than his fight with Silva?

Griffin doesn’t have a good answer as to why he left the cage. Clearly, after an embarrassing loss, he wasn’t thinking straight. And I imagine he’s gotten a TON of hate for his actions (I can understand some of it, but most of it I can’t). So I hope this is coming more from the “Forrest being Forrest” side rather than “Forrest hitting his breaking point with fans harassing him over his exit.”

He’s a good guy, good for the sport, and his jaunt from the cage is not who he is. You aren’t who you are in your worst moment.

Posted by Andy Knobel at 2:49 AM | | Comments (4)
        

October 2, 2009

UWC viewing info

The UWC has a really solid card this weekend available for PPV online. The show is headlined by a big fight between Mike Easton and Chase Beebe. Here’s the viewing information.

UWC® and Modavox Announce Global Pay-Per-View of UWC 7: REDEMPTION available at www.uwcmma.com
 
Pre Sale price - $14.95
Day of the Show price - $19.95
 
Event goes live at 6:30pm ET and features two world championship title fights

*The LIVE stream / broadcast will not be available within approx 100 miles of the Patriot Center


THE CARD

Mike “The Hulk” Easton vs Chase "The Rage" Beebe
 
UWC Flyweight World Championship Title Fight
Pat Runez vs John “The Magician” Dodson
 
Tommy "Gun" Truex vs Kyle "The Alleycat" Baker
 
Timothy "Reshad" Woods vs Ryan "The Rhino" Sturdy
 
Beau “Blackjack” Baker vs Jacob “Tick-Tock” McClintock
 
Kris "Savage" McCray vs Igor “The Legend” Almeida
 
Sumie Sakai vs Iman Achhal
 
Jesse "Mountian Man" Riggleman vs Josh "Taz" Ferguson
 
Felipe “Sertanejo” Arantes vs Freddy Assuncao

Posted by Andy Knobel at 2:34 PM | | Comments (0)
        

October 1, 2009

Roy Nelson and Kimbo Slice

It was billed as the biggest fight in the history of The Ultimate Fighter and one fighter was less than impressive. And that fighter was Roy “Big Country” Nelson. As predicted, Roy Nelson took out Kimbo Slice. But it was not all that impressive. He was fighting a guy that has next-to-no MMA training. A guy that didn’t know how to get out of a takedown or sprawl before he got on the show. And that’s the best Roy Nelson, the clear favorite to win the season, can do?

Say what you will about Kimbo being overhyped. Real MMA fans know that Slice is vastly inexperienced and that Nelson, considering he’s a former IFL champ, is the most respected fighter on this season. Nelson should not have had any trouble disposing of Slice in the first round.

So where does the show go from here? Clearly Kimbo has to get back into the game at some point for him to impress the UFC enough to get a deal (which is already done -- reportedly Kimbo is under contract now and will fight in December). Someone will get hurt, Kimbo will step in and he’ll finally do something to warrant some hype.

Otherwise, who wants to keep seeing him fight? We get it -- he was on YouTube. We get it -- he was overhyped before he was ready and everyone hates him for it. We get it -- he is a “fighter” and not a mixed martial artist. But how many times are people going to want to see him get controlled and outclassed in the Octagon?

Eventually people are going to stop caring about him and that’s a good thing for Kimbo the fighter, because he will grow better without the huge spotlight. But it’s a bad thing for Kimbo the brand. Let’s face it, he’s 35 and is too old to pick up the sport from scratch. Better for him to fight in smaller promotions, fight in Japan, etc. and make $100,000+ per fight until he’s in his 40s and then get involved in something else. He will never, ever be a champion in the UFC so he might as well take the big paydays where he can find them.

I have respect for Slice’s humility and willingness to learn, but I would think no less of him if he went the sellout route. It’s what anyone would do.

Posted by Andy Knobel at 1:02 AM | | Comments (16)
        
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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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