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November 29, 2009

Another delayed main event?

According to a story first reported by MMA Junkie, Anderson Silva may not be ready for his middleweight championship defense against Vitor Belfort that was scheduled for early February. It seems as if he's healing slower than expected from elbow surgery in October. Which stinks, because this is yet another in a string of mangled main events to come down the UFC pipeline in recent months.

I don't even remember a time that was this bad for injuries (and movie appearances, for Rampage's part) but MMA fans need a good pay-per-view card and they need it soon. If the rumor reported in the story is true, the UFC could move the Randy Couture-Mark Coleman fight to main event status. That would have been a great main event five years ago but that certainly doesn't qualify for a main event anymore. Maybe for a fight night or a free show on Spike but not anything where fans are shelling out 50 bucks.

Gabriel Gonzaga also pulled out of his UFC 108 fight with Junior Dos Santos due to a staph infection, leaving the UFC to scramble to fix that card as well.

Posted by Andy Knobel at 11:47 PM | | Comments (0)
        

November 22, 2009

UFC 106 quick thoughts

*UFC 106 was an entertaining show, especially considering the black cloud that had been hanging over the event. I don’t know what it is about shows like this but while most of the casual fans wrote it off for the lack of big-time fights, UFC 106 ended up being one of the more entertaining nights of fights.

* Forrest Griffin badly needed that win over Tito Ortiz and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a third Griffin-Ortiz clash down the line. Ortiz has a place in the UFC, especially since he’s a big draw, but doesn’t it feel like he’s following Liddell’s path? Still big enough to sell tickets but not good enough to make a run at the title. That being said, I’m sure not too many people would mind seeing Liddell and Ortiz have another go.

* What’s next for Griffin? I’d like to see him fight Randy Couture. I think the rumor now is that Mark Coleman and Couture will be facing each other next, but I think Couture is too good for that fight. Give Coleman Ortiz if anything, because Couture-Griffin would be a better fight. * If not Couture, I wouldn’t mind seeing Griffin fight Rich Franklin. I’m not sure if Franklin is still looking for time off but that could be an entertaining light heavyweight bout.

* Josh Koscheck had a big win over Anthony Johnson, re-establishing himself as a contender at welterweight. He's still not the No. 1 contender, but I do think he’s a better fighter than Dan Hardy. I think Koscheck should take on Jon Fitch or Thiago Alves next to see who gets GSP after Dan Hardy.

* Johnson is such a huge welterweight and while he didn’t have as much trouble making weight this time, how long will it be before he just moves up to middleweight? I think there could be some interesting fights for him there.

* Antonio Rogerio Nogueira looked sharp in his win and he could be a guy to keep an eye on at light heavyweight.

* Ben Saunders looked sharp as well in his win over Marcus Davis. I think Saunders vs. Dustin Hazelett could be a good fight.

Posted by Andy Knobel at 5:17 PM | | Comments (1)
        

November 19, 2009

Brock Lesnar's career in limbo?

I've been a little under the weather this week, which is why I haven't been posting as much. But I did catch the great WEC show last night. Great main event. The WEC is the most underrated promotion in MMA. Those fighters simply do not get the credit they deserve.

On a sadder note, it looks like Brock Lesnar's health situation is a lot more serious than first thought. Here's a great story by Yahoo's Dan Wetzel on the situation. Dana White said Lesnar had a hole in his intestine and that his doctor thinks he hasn't been right for more than a year. He also said he doesn't know at this time if Lesnar will ever fight again.

It would be a tragic end to a career that was starting to show real promise, but it's still far too early to assume Lesnar is finished. No matter what your thoughts on Lesnar's quick ascent may be, I think everyone is hoping the big guy can make a full recovery. 

Just a sad situation, but hopefully it's just a minor setback in the grand scheme of things. The rumor now is that the UFC will have an interim heavyweight championship, and that match will probably involve Cain Velasquez and Shane Carwin.

Posted by Andy Knobel at 12:39 PM | | Comments (18)
        

November 15, 2009

UFC 105 and more injuries

UFC 105 was an entertaining night of fights and you’re rarely going to find me complaining about a free card with some big fights on it. I was surprised to see Dan Hardy beat Mike Swick and I think he has zero chance against Georges St. Pierre, when that fight does happen. I was also surprised to see Michael Bisping bounce back into the win column but it’s one he needed in a big way.

What didn’t surprise me? Randy Couture getting the decsion over Brandon Vera. I’ll say this, Vera put up a better fight than expected. And I’m not exactly on pins and needles waiting to see Randy fight again. But if there was any shadow of a doubt, you had to know Couture was getting the decision. He’s earned too much respect over the years and he’s always getting those decisions.

This is a classic case of having to definitely beat the champion to win the fight, although it’s Couture’s history that puts him in that champion class. It’s a dumb thought but it does exist.

I think Couture did a good job of pushing the action but did he definitively win the fight? Meh, but he did enough to win it. And that’s all that matters.

Time to refocus on UFC 106 this weekend and the mounting injuries plaguing many of these cards. GSP and Anderson Silva are still on the mend and Dana White said at UFC 105 that Brock Lesnar has taken a turn for the worse. Lesnar’s been hospitalized and has a ‘very serious’ secondary illness in addition to mono. It’s going to be awhile before we see Lesnar fight again, which sucks, since he's been out so long.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, who was supposed to headline UFC 108 with Cain Velasquez, has pulled out of that fight with a staph infection. Who could replace him? Not Shane Carwin? He’s recovering from knee surgery.

Posted by Andy Knobel at 10:52 PM | | Comments (0)
        

November 12, 2009

Randy Couture and UFC 105

 

UFC 105 is this weekend and I'm looking forward to it. It is actually a very solid card. Randy Couture is back in action after an entertaining bout with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and he's taking on Brandon Vera. Vera used to be an exciting fighter and Couture used to be a champion, but this isn't a bad fight. Especially because it's a free show on Spike.

Both men need a win. It's Couture's return to light heavyweight and if he loses to Vera, who has been less than impressive in his fights recently, there won't be a ton of interesting fights left for him. You can't have one of the most storied fighters in the UFC ending his career with a .500 record (he's 16-10 right now). 

I'm also excited to see Mike Swick vs. Dan Hardy. I don't think either makes a good matchup with Georges St. Pierre but this should be another entertaining bout. And say what you will about Michael Bisping (OK, I will -- he's overrated and lost to Matt Hamill), but pairing him with Denis Kang should be interesting as well.

I don't think it's as good as the Strikeforce show on CBS, but it will be a solid weekend for MMA fans.

(Photo courtesy of Zuffa, Inc.)

Posted by Andy Knobel at 12:36 AM | | Comments (1)
        

November 9, 2009

What's next for Fedor?

CBS had an entertaining night of fights Saturday and while a few of them were closer than I anticipated, there were no real shockers. Fedor did what he does, even if it wasn't as quickly as he's been doing it lately, and Jake Shields won with a terrific ground performance. And I had little doubt about the fights involving Gegard Mousasi and Fabricio Werdum, although they were both in some tough spots at points in their bouts.

The big question for CBS has to be, what's next for Fedor? It isn't like Strikeforce has a ton of interesting matches for him, especially with a heavyweight champ that likely won't fight in the U.S. anytime soon. Is anyone dying to see him fight Werdum? What about Dan Henderson if they sign him? He's probably a little small but I don't know who else could be on the horizon for Fedor.

That's why I wish he was in the UFC. Not so Dana White would win that whole thing, but just so we could see him fight Brock Lesnar and Randy Couture, among others.

Posted by Andy Knobel at 12:22 PM | | Comments (16)
        

November 5, 2009

MMA on CBS

MMA returns to CBS this weekend as Fedor takes on Brett Rogers and Strikeforce assembles a fairly entertaining card overall.

ESPN.com gives a quick breakdown on the two main fights, but I think it's pretty clear that Fedor and Jake Shields are going to win.

This is a big show though because it is Fedor's U.S. prime-time debut and it marks the first real MMA show on CBS. EliteXC was a joke and even the most casual fan now recognizes that. I know plenty of UFC fans were angered at the mention of EliteXC and their CBS deal.

 How do casual fans feel about Strikeforce and CBS? At least they are marketing the right fighter. One of the sport's all-time greats instead of the biggest fraud in the sport's history. I think, at least, we can all agree that this will be good for the sport, right?

It seems like Fedor is a heavy favorite (-500, it seems) and there seems to be little money headed Rogers' way. Has there even been more of a sure thing than Fedor winning this fight? Especially with his superior ground game and Rogers lack of a ground game? 

Even still, I can't wait for this show. It's about time to see Fedor back in action.

Posted by Andy Knobel at 2:22 AM | | Comments (4)
        

November 4, 2009

Injuries, Kimbo Slice and Pat Barry

Brock Lesnar still isn't healthy enough to resume training, so rumors are swirling that he won't be able to fight Shane Carwin on Jan. 2 at UFC 108. Another bout rumored for that card, the middleweight title fight between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort, will also be pushed back as Silva still is rehabbing his elbow. And now it looks like Georges St. Pierre may not return before March, as he's still rehabbing from the injury he suffered at UFC 100.

While some bouts are being pushed back and fighters are taking a little longer to heal, at least there's some good news this week. It looks like the bout between Kimbo Slice and Houston Alexander is close to official. It will be on the TUF finale card and it should be a heck of a fight. Neither guy has much of a ground game, both will be going for quick knockouts. Smart money has to be on Alexander but at least Kimbo fans will have one (final?) chance to see him fight. Alexander, a light heavyweight, and the heavyweight Slice will likely fight at a catchweight.

 A great read about Pat Barry cashing his $120k check from UFC 104.

 Finally, it's a big weekend on the horizon with the return of MMA to CBS. Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers ... is anyone crazy enough to throw their cash behind Rogers? Anyone?

Posted by Andy Knobel at 1:49 AM | | Comments (0)
        
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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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