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March 31, 2010

Highlights from Shogun Fights II at 1st Mariner Arena

Some of the fighters on the card talked about there bouts.

Enjoying Shogun Fights II at ringside were Olympian Michael Phelps, Baltimore Ravens Lardarius Webb, Prescott Burgess, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Marcus Smith and Dannell Ellerbe as well as Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.


Posted by Kevin Richardson at 11:28 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Video

March 30, 2010

UFC Fight Night Live predictions

The UFC is giving Takanori "The Fireball Kid" Gomi a huge test for his first fight in the octagon.

At UFC Fight Night, Gomi is set to face Kenny "KenFlo" Florian, one of the top five lightweights in the world. Gomi would love to stand and box with Kenny, but this bout is going to be fought on the ground. The big question in the fight will be if Florian's jiu-jitsu can be any match for Gomi's wrestling and heavy punches. Gomi isn't the fighter he was in Pride, but I believe he wins by decision over Florian.

Roy Nelson takes on Stefan "Skyscraper" Struve in a heavyweight matchup. For being a big guy, "Big Country" Nelson has surprisingly pretty good cardio in the ring. This fight isn't going past the second round. Both fighters try to end their fights fast. Nelson will win by TKO (strikes) over Struve.

Jorge "El Conquistador" Rivera will fight Nate "Rock" Quarry in a bout of middleweights. This looks to be the fight of the night, as both guys love to stand and bang. Quarry wins by knockout in the first round.

Ross Pearson and Dennis Siver are fighters that are quite evenly matched. Either of these guys could win this fight. But, I believe Siver will win by a close decision.

I like Andre Winner by decision over Rafaello Oliveria.

Ronys "Jungle Boy" Torres wins by TKO over Jacob "Christmas" Volkmann. Volkmann must win this bout to remain in the UFC. He has lost his last two fights.

Nik Lentz against Rob Emerson should be a good stand-up war between lightweights. Lentz wins by submission over Emerson.

Caol Uno and Gleison Tibau are two veterans of the cage. Uno fought Jens Pulver in UFC 30. He also has five fights that have ended in a draw. I'm taking Tibau to win this bout. 

Yushin Okami wins by submission over Lucio Linhares.

Undefeated Mario Miranda takes on Gerald "Hurricane" Harris in a middleweight bout. This is Miranda's first time fighting in the UFC. Both fighters are good on the ground, but I'm going with Miranda to stay undefeated.

Jason High will win by TKO over Charlie Brenneman.

Do you agree or disagree with any of my picks?

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 4:12 PM | | Comments (3)

March 28, 2010

Shogun Fights II results

Shogun Fights II put on an exciting night of fights.

Rick Desper won the opening bout over Steven Baker by submission armbar in 1:59 of the first round. Desper said after, “I expected to win by submission, that was my game plan.”

Brian VanHoven dominated the second fight, a lightweight match, and won by unanimous decision over Cole Presley. This was the first-time I saw a fighter look at the referee and tell him that the opponent is bleeding too much. Presley, who was bleeding from the mouth, said, “I was on my back, so I had lean to the side and spit out blood, because I couldn’t breath.”  

In the third fight, Justin Hickey was a last-minute replacement for an injured Ryan Mackin. Hickey took on Brett Thomas and won by strike in the first round. Hickey said, “I got a call on Friday morning the day before the fights and I weighed 155 (pounds) and I need to get to 145 (pounds). I’m a fighter and I needed the money, so I made it here. But cutting the weight really got to me (in the ring), so I need to end it quickly.” 

Johnny Curtis, 39, suffered a broken nose, but won the fourth fight -- a heavyweight match -- by decision over Delaware’s Joe Stripling.

In the fifth bout, Virginia Beach fighter Jason Hillicker made quick work of Albuquerque, N.M., fighter Bobby Huron with an armbar submission in the first round. 

Chris Conner and Elijah Harshberger put on a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling clinic in the sixth match. Both  attempted submissions and reversals throughout the match. Conner won by decision.

Crowd favorite Mike Paschall fought Quinton McCottrell in the seventh fight of the evening. Paschall, a popular Baltimore boxer who is now MMA fighter, didn’t stay on his feet very long. McCottrell took him to the ground 22 seconds into the fight and won by submission. Paschall tried to bridge and get up, but McCottrell got a rear-naked choke to end the match in the first round.

Up next was 146-pound Jacob Kirwan against 145-pound Steve Deangelis. This was a war for three rounds. At one time the referee took one point away from Kirwan for holding the cage. It should have only been a warning and not a point deduction. Kirwan won a unanimous decision 27-29 on all three judges cards.

In the ninth fight, heavily favored Dave Daniecki took on Germiyale Adkins of Delaware. Adkins proved to be too much for Daniecki and won by a spilt decision.

In the co-main event, 40-year old veteran fighter Binky Jones took on 22-year old undefeated fighter Jim Hettes in the featherweight bout. It took 4 minutes for both fighter to get into the ring. But it only took Hettes 28 seconds to put a rear-naked choke on Jones and end the fight. Hetter said before the fight, “If he wants to stand, I’m going to beat him at standing, if he wants to go to the ground, I’m going to out wrestle him and submit him.”

In the main event, 315-pound Ryan McGowan fought 325-pound Deon West in the super heavyweight bout. McGowan came out and landed jabs and a knee to the stomach of West and dropped him to the canvas. McGowan ended the fight with hammer fists to the head of West and referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bout in 30 seconds.

There were several local celebrities at ringside and one surprising fight sponsor. Several players from the Baltimore Ravens, Lardarius Webb, Prescott Burgess, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Marcus Smith and Dannell Ellerbe. Webb said, “I love the knockouts and the submissions, we try an play it on the PS3 (Playstation 3) a lot, so I know what going on. I’m having the greatest time of my life tonight.” Also in attendance were Olympian Michael Phelps and Maryland State Delegate Nathaniel Oaks.

Each fight had a sponsor and the most surprising sponsor of the night was Baltimore’s new Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, she sponsored the second fight on the card. And it was the bloodiest fight of the night, but she went into the ring and handed the trophy to the winning fighter. The mayor told the winning fighter VanHoven, “That was a awesome display of work.”


Posted by Kevin Richardson at 9:52 AM | | Comments (1)

March 26, 2010

MMA weekly roundup

Let's start with Brock Lesnar interview on SportsCenter. Commenting on this weekend's heavyweight championship fight between Frank Mir and Shane Carwin.  Lesnar said, "Really, that belt is a make-believe belt to satisfy the company [UFC] and to satisfy the people in the heavyweight division. I'm still the heavyweight champion."

Fanhouse's Ariel Helwani asked Carwin how he predicts this fight ending. Carwin said, "by knockout ... yeah first round."

The main event for UFC 111 is George St. Pierre against Dan Hardy for the welterweight title. St. Pierre told Sherdog, "when I fight I can change my strategy, I can go to plan A to plan B or to plan B to plan C.

This is what separates GSP from other fighters. He can adjust his game plan at anytime. If he needs to box he boxes, if he needs to wrestle, he can do that as well.

This is why GSP and Anderson Silva are the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

Closer to home, we have Shogun Fights II at 1st Mariner Arena on Saturday, March 27. If this card is anything like the first Shogun Fights, it's going to be a good event. Baltimore's own Binky Jones takes on undefeated fighter Jim Hettes in the 145-pound weight class. The fight of the night may be the super heavyweight bout between Ryan McGowan and Deon West. Both men come in at more than 315 pounds each.

Next week, one of my favorite lightweight fighters Takanori Gomi takes on Kenny Florian, live on Spike TV. For many years we saw Gomi fight in Japan for Pride and recently for Sengoku. Gomi was once considered the best lightweight fighter in the world.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 1:56 PM | | Comments (0)

March 22, 2010

Are we seeing the next MMA superstar?

Jon "Bones" Jones is a monster in the ring. He fought a smart fight against Brandon Vera. You don't stand up and fight a Muay Thai fighter -- you take him down, ground and pound him.

Who do you think had the hardest hit in the fight -- Vera's illegal kick to Jones' face or Jones' elbow to Vera's face?

Looking down the road to Jones' next opponent, should it be Quinton Jackson if he wins against Rashad Evans? Or should he fight the winner of the Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio Rua? Or how about Thiago Silva?

I didn't include Rashad Evans or Keith Jardine, as possible opponents, because they are stablemates of Jones and he follows the Greg Jackson team policy. Jones told, "We have a policy at Jackson’s. The number one policy is friends come before business. Friendship is way more valuable than money. It’s all about morals over business." So, at this time we leave Evans and Jardine out of the picture.

Some may say it's too early for him to fight for a belt. Remember, Brock Lesnar fought Randy Couture for the belt after only three fights. No one brings up his record anymore.

Who do you think his next opponent should be?  

What style would it take to beat Jon Jones?

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 9:06 AM | | Comments (4)

March 19, 2010

Vera against Jones on UFC Live

UFC Live is going to be an exciting fight card featuring a couple of big-time light heavyweights in Brandon “The Truth” Vera and Jon “Bones” Jones.

Two weeks ago, I had Vera winning this fight by a decision. But that was based on the fact that I like Vera as a fighter and his trainer Lloyd Irvin is a local guy that has done a lot for MMA.

Now, however, I have moved pass my personal feelings.

Jon Jones is a beast. He should still be undefeated and in line for a title shot. No one throws a spinning back fist and a spinning elbow like Jones. It’s one of the most exciting and electrifying strikes in MMA.

Vera has lost four of his last seven fights in the octagon. One of his losses was to Keith Jardine a stable mate of Jones and part of trainer Greg Jackson’s team. When watching Jones in the octagon, you see his wrestling background, but you also see how is keeps his opponents guessing with an unorthodox style. Jones told, “I’m more into Bruce Lee’s line of thinking; the best way is to have no way, and while I’m out there I try to keep that in mind, so I can’t really say that I’m a boxer or a Thai fighter -- I try to use techniques from every style of fighting and I think that helps a lot.” I’m taking Jones by stoppage due to strikes.

Also fighting on the card are heavyweights Junior Dos Santos against Gabriel Gonzaga, and Cheick Kongo, who is taking on Paul Buentello.

Junior Dos Santos is going to have his hands full with Gabriel Gonzaga in this match. Gonzaga is going to use his kicking to win this fight. My prediction is a second-round TKO by Gonzaga.

Which Cheick Kongo is going to show up is the big question? He has the ability to take Buentello out in the first round or lose by a decision. So, I’m going with Paul Buentello by a close decision -- just my gut feeling.

Also on the card are middleweights Alessio Sakara against “The Sandman” James Irvin.

Two fighters that are coming off losses are lightweights Clay “The Carpenter” Guida and Shannon Gugerty. How can you not like Guida's motor? That guy brings it every time.

Which fighter are you looking forward to seeing on the card?
Posted by Kevin Richardson at 4:04 PM | | Comments (6)

March 16, 2010

Q&A with Balitmore's own MMA fighter Mike Paschall

Mike Paschall recently talked to me about his upcoming MMA fight against Glen Hoffman at Shogun Fights II. In his first MMA fight, the opponent was carried off on a stretcher. Mike gives us his account of how the fight went and what his opponent said before the bout. And you'll see which MMA fighting legend Mike resembles.

Which fighter on the Shogun Fights II card are you going to root for?


Posted by Kevin Richardson at 11:17 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Video

March 12, 2010

Talking MMA with John Rallo

John Rallo was the person that went to Annapolis and fought to have professional MMA in Maryland. I visited with John at Ground Control, his martial arts training academy in Baltimore, to talk about his upcoming Shogun II fight card. John wears many hat these day -- from teacher to owner to fight promoter. He talks about how he matches fighters in preparing a MMA card and why he chooses to have his fighters go up against tough competition. In the coming days, check back to hear from some of the fighters on the upcoming card.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 8:45 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Video

March 4, 2010

March is an action-packed month of MMA fights

On Saturday, WEC 47 takes place in Columbus, Ohio. Headlining the card is the WEC bantamweight championship bout between Brian Bowles and Dominick Cruz. But the match that intrigues me the most is Jens Pulver’s fight against Javier Vazquez. I believe Pulver could have been one of the best small fighters ever if only he had worked a ground game into his repertoire. This fight is clearly a must-win for Pulver’s career.

Two weeks later, on March 21, UFC Live fights come to Versus with a light heavyweight bout between Brandon Vera and Jon Jones. This will be a good stand-up war. Vera said: “I’m going old school. ... I’m going back to Muay Thai.” Also fighting on the card are heavyweights Junior Dos Santos, against Gabriel Gonzaga, and Cheick Kongo, who is taking on Paul Buentello.

On March 27, we have an action-packed day of fights. First, there is Baltimore’s Shogun Fights II at 1st Mariner Arena with 11 fights on the card. Baltimore’s own Binky Jones battles undefeated fighter Jim Hettes, and super heavyweight Mike Williams takes on Ryan McGowan in his MMA pro debut.

And later that night in New Jersey, UFC 111 has a card with two championships on the line. Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre defends his belt against hard-hitting Dan Hardy. Frank Mir takes on Shane Carwin for the Interim Heavyweight Championship. Carwin needs to dictate the fight to win this one. If he can keep it off the ground or get Mir on his back, he should win. But if Mir takes him down, it’s all over.

 The 11th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” begins March 31 on Spike TV. UFC legends Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell are the coaches for this season’s middleweight cast of fighters. This year, the show will feature 28 fighters competing for 14 spots in the TUF house. Three guys are 10-0, and one of the fighters has 33 professional MMA fights on his record.

Also on March 31, we get to see one of my favorite fighters, former PRIDE fighter Takanori Gomi, taking on Kenny Florian in a lightweight match. Also on the card is Roy “Big Country” Nelson going up against Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve in a heavyweight match. Nelson will taste defeat by submission for the first time in his career.

 What matches are you looking forward to?

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 6:42 PM | | Comments (2)

March 3, 2010

UFC signs boxing champion James Toney

41-year-old boxing champion James "Lights Out" Toney (72-6-3, 44 KO’s) has finally gotten his wish granted by UFC president Dana White. It's being reported by that he has signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC.

Toney is the most decorated boxer to crossover to mixed martial arts. Boxer Ray Mercer was the biggest name to fight in the cage, when he lost to Kimbo Slice.

Dana White had ruled out a fight between boxer Roy Jones and Anderson Silva, saying it would "hurt MMA." But I guess he thinks he can make some money on James Toney's ability. It's going to be interesting to see who the UFC matches him up against. A lot of people are talking about Kimbo Slice or Roy "Big Country" Nelson, but I would like to see him fight Wesley "Cabbage" Correira. Cabbage is the type of fighter that would stand toe-to-toe with Toney, which would make for an exciting fight.

Do you think James Toney was a good pickup for the UFC and whom would you have him fight?

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 6:51 PM | | Comments (3)

Who hits the hardest in the heavyweight division?

Just before I went out of the country for eleven days, I made my predictions for UFC 110. And lot of you disagreed with me on Cain Velaquez punching power. So I ask the question.

Posted by Baltimore Sun sports at 2:12 PM | | Comments (0)
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About the blogger
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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