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June 25, 2011

Marquardt is last-minute withdrawal from UFC fight card

UFC fighter Nate Marquardt was suppose to be fighting in the main event on Sunday against Rick Story.

 

MMAjunkie.com is reporting that Marquardt is a late scratch from Sunday’s UFC on Versus 4 event, and his opponent Rick Story (13-3 MMA, 6-1 UFC) will now instead meet Charlie Brenneman (12-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) on the evening’s main card.

 

UFC Heavyweights Pat Barry (6-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Cheick Kongo (15-6-2 MMA, 8-4-1 UFC) will now be the main event bout.

 

Marquardt's camp release a statement insisting the setback was temporary and his future still lies at 170 pounds.

 

“Nate is really disappointed,” the statement read. “He really was looking forward to making his welterweight debut, and he plans to be back in there as soon as possible.”

 

UFC on Versus 4 takes place Sunday at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 4:15 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Will Tito Ortiz retire if he loses at UFC 132?

Tito%20Ortiz.jpg

 

On every UFC fight card there are fighters that must win their bouts to remain in the organization. But for one living legend, the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz, his fight with Ryan Bader at UFC 132 means a lot more: if he loses, he must retire.

 

“I guess I don’t have really much of a choice. If they say I’m going to retire they are going to make me retire." Tito explained. “There’s not anywhere else to go. You know they bought up all the companies. There’s no more Strikeforce, there’s no more Elite XC, there’s no more Affliction, there’s no more Pride (Fighting Championships). I mean they bought everything. So, I have to do what they tell me to do.”

 

Over the years, watching Ortiz in and out of the octagon, you realize he really gets it, that he is a brand and you must sell your brand to the fans.

 

In 2005, Ortiz made several appearances at pro wrestling events working as a guest referee. With his experience in pro wrestling he was able to bring that concept of a heel vs. baby face to the cage. In 2006, he became the biggest pay-per-view draw in the UFC for his fights with Chuck Liddell, Ken Shamrock & Forrest Griffin. If there was a camera or microphone near by, Ortiz would call out his next opponent by either inviting him to the cage to fight at that moment (which he knew wouldn’t happen), or he would challenge him to fight him on the next card.

 

I asked Ortiz if it was personal or was he just selling tickets when he would call out other fighters.

 

“I think the Shamrock deal in the beginning it was business, but then he started making it very, very personal," Ortiz said. “With Liddell it was business, but they took it to a personal level with me and it was strictly business to me. I tried to make sure that me and Liddell got paid big sums of money for our events.”

 

UFC Heavyweight Brock Lesnar is the only other fighter today that can sell a pay-per-view event like Tito Ortiz could. That may be the reason why Ortiz is still fighting today, after a record of 0 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw in his last 5 fights. Any other fighter would have been release by the UFC.

 

The UFC tried to re-bottle the Ortiz vs. Liddell magic in the reality show “The Ultimate Fighter 11” series. But it was short lived, because Ortiz reveals that his doctors wanted him to have neck surgery immediately, and he had to leave the show. It was Ortiz's second time as a coach on the series. His first time was opposite Ken Shamrock in “The Ultimate Fighter 3” series.

 

Fighter Chael Sonnen has tried to duplicate Ortiz, by calling out fighters in every weight class. Ortiz once beat UFC fighter Jerry Bohlander, and wore a t-shirt after the fight which read “I just f**ked your a**”. Over the years, Ortiz has worn t-shirts before and after his fights that had words that were antagonistic towards his opponents. But all to sell the next pay-per-view fight.

 


Ortiz started his own apparel business with his brand, Punishment Athletics MMA equipment and clothing line. He also opened a supplement line, Punishment nutrient, and Punishment Training Center, an MMA training gym located in Huntington Beach, California.

 

“I’m a business guy, I understand it and that is something I always been intrigued to do is to hustle, to hustle for my dollar." Tito said. “I really don’t have much of a family to fall back on besides myself and I have three boys to take care.” 

 

Ortiz has really built his brand and the brand of the UFC. I asked him what’s next if he loses his fight to Ryan Bader at UFC 132 on July 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

 

 “Hopefully they give me a job in the UFC, helping to grow fighters into brands. Helping them make more money, we’ll see what happens.” Ortiz said. “I'm very positive about this fight and I know I’m going to win, so I’m not thinking about retiring at all.”

 

-Kevin Richardson

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 10:20 AM | | Comments (1)
        

June 22, 2011

Relive UFC history

Ultimate Fighting Championship fans can relive the history of the UFC by visiting the Octagon Nation Tour. It's a museum on wheels, with memorabilia from the UFC's early years to its current-day fighters. This 18-wheel trailer was in Columbia. Fans saw the history of how mixed martial arts has become one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.

The UFC as an organization is only 18 years old, but for fans, this interactive tour gives them a look at the men that have dominated the sport in it's brief existence. It starts with the gi worn by the first world champion, Royce Gracie, an item from UFC president Dana White's personal collection.

On display are promotional posters from the early years of "The Ultimate Fighter." You can see how the sport has evolved. Printed on the front in bold red lettering is "There Are No Rules!" Clearly, times have changed. Also on display are fighting shorts from world champions George St. Pierre, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Shawn Sherk and others.

Fans can hold and wear a replica UFC championship belt. There are large flat-screen TV's throughout the tour showing clips from UFC fights. While holding the championship belt, I could hear Bruce Buffer, the "voice of the octagon," over the sound system: " ... and new heavyweight champion of the world ..." OK, I guess you can dream of being a fighter.

But if you can't be a fighter, you can train like a fighter. I tried my skills at the UFC gaming station featuring the Xbox Kinect UFC Trainer Experience. I got a chance to train with UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, as he held up punching pad and gave me instructions on how to punch. At the end of the game, you get a score on how well you did. Let's say I'm not quitting my day job.

On tour stops, fans also can meet and talk to current UFC fighters. In attendance in Columbia was UFC featherweight fighter Mackens Sesersier. He won his last fight by submission over Alex "Bruce Leeroy" Caceres at UFC Fight Night: Noqueira vs. Davis in March. He engaged with fans, signed autographs and gave away UFC DVDs.

For UFC fans, this is a great way to see the history of the sport, connect with fighters and engage with other fans.  Check out the next tour stops at www.ufc.com/tour

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 9:56 AM | | Comments (0)
        

June 20, 2011

Fighters added to UFC tour in Maryland

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is bringing the Octagon Nation Tour to Columbia on Tuesday. Added to the tour are UFC fighters Zach Davis and Mackens Semerzier.

Davis competed on this year's season of "The Ultimate Fighter 13" on Spike TV. Local fans may also remember him from his bout at Shogun Fights 3 in Baltimore.

Semerzier is a lightweight fighter who won his last fight by submission over Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres at UFC Fight Night: Noqueira vs. Davis in March.

Both fighters will be on-hand to meet fans.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 11:57 AM | | Comments (1)
        

June 19, 2011

UFC tour coming to Maryland

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is bringing the Octagon Nation Tour to Columbia on Tuesday. UFC fans will get a chance to test their skills and check out the UFC gaming station featuring an exclusive preview of the Xbox Kinect UFC Trainer Experience.

In addition, fans have the opportunity to visit an exhibition truck dedicated to showcasing rare UFC memorabilia.

The UFC Octagon Nation Tour will give physical fitness tests to fans (weigh-in, high jump, pull-up bar and a punch strength station). Each visitor receives a fight card with their results that can be instantly shared on their Facebook page. Participants achieving top results will be posted to UFC.com/tour following each stop.      

"I've always said that the UFC live experience is the best in all of sports," UFC President Dana White said.  "With the Octagon Nation Tour, we are going to bring the fastest-growing sport in the world to some of the best events of the summer. We re excited to hit the road and give fans the opportunity to check it out." 

The Interactive Octagon Nation Tour trailer will be open to fans on Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Dick's Sporting Goods at 6221 Columbia Crossing Circle in Columbia. To track the tour and to get the all of the latest news and stops, follow the UFC Octagon Nation Tour at www.ufc.com/tour or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/octagonnation.   

JUNE

Mon     6/20     Fairfax, VA                 Dick's Sporting Goods

Tue      6/21     Columbia, MD             Dick's Sporting Goods

Sun      6/26     Pittsburgh, PA             UFC Fight Night Arena Tailgate      

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 1:48 PM | | Comments (1)
        

Strikeforce main event struck out

Strikeforce held the quarterfinals of the World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament in front of an exciting mixed martial arts crowd at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

 

Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem (35-11) fought Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1) in the main event. This was the second time they have fought; the first time was when they both participated in the first round of Pride's 2006 open-weight tournament.

 

Overeem came out to the cage holding up a Dallas Mavericks banner with hip-hop artist Jadakiss' song “The Champ is Here" blasting.

 

Overeem won a unanimous decision over Werdum in the Strikeforce main event in Dallas. The fight turned out to be a matchmaking nightmare because of the contrasting styles. The fans let both fighters know that they were not pleased with the non-action. Throughout the fight a chorus of boos could be heard from the crowd. 

 

In times past when Strikeforce would have a main event fight like this, we would see UFC president Dana White on Twitter criticizing the competition. But now that the UFC has purchased Strikeforce, MMA fans don’t see White as critical of Strikeforce as he was before.

 

“Considering that Fabricio is the best grappler in MMA, the game plan was to not go into his game. I consider myself, with the K-1 title, the best striker in MMA, so I wanted to keep it standing,” Overeem said in a post-fight interview with Showtime Sports.

 

With 90 seconds left, the crowd began chanting, “stand them up,” but to no avail.

 

Overeem maintain the posture of a lion stalking his prey, while Werdum played a shark trying to bait his opponent to jump in the water. Neither fighter wanted to give the other an advantage; so one fighter would stand while the other would lie on his back on the canvas. Throughout the fight Overeem would throw Werdum to the canvas and Werdum would beg him to join him, but the champ would not abide. It was reminiscent of the 1976 fight between boxer Muhammad Ali and pro wrestler Antonio Inoki in Tokyo, Japan. The majority of the fight saw Inoki on his back, while Ali was asking him to stand up.

 

Some consider the champion Overeem one of the best heavyweight standup fighters in MMA, but by contrast Werdum is the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ground fighter in the heavyweight division.

 

Even though Overeem vs. Werdum was arguably the most anticipated bout of the whole tournament, neither fighter lived up to the hype. In the end, Overeem won a unanimous decision over the Werdum to move on in the tournament to fight Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Silva, another Brazilian, advanced in the tournament when he upset former Pride Fighting Championships champion Fedor Emelianenko back in February in the first quarterfinal matches.

 

Below are results from the other bouts of the evening.

 

 

Isaac Vallie-Flagg won by (split) decision over Brian Melancon.

Nah-Shon Burrell won by unanimous decision over Joe Ray.

Conor Heun won by unanimous decision over Magno Almeida.

Justin Wilcox and Gesias Cavalcante was ruled a no decision (Wilcox Accidentally Poked in Eye).

Chad Griggs won by Submission (Punches) over Valentijn Overeem.

Daniel Cormier won by unanimous decision over Jeff Monson.

Jorge Masvidal won by unanimous decision over K.J. Noons.

Josh Barnett won by Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) over Brett Rogers.

Todd Moore won by unanimous decision over Mike Bronzoulis.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 7:43 AM | | Comments (0)
        

June 12, 2011

At UFC 131, Junior dos Santos dominates

The main event at UFC 131 on Saturday at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, turned out to be a lopsided affair. To say UFC heavyweight Junior dos Santos (13-1, 7-0 UFC) beat follow heavyweight Shane Carwin (12-2, 4-2 UFC) to a pulp would be a understatement. Dos Santos beat him in every aspect of the fight for three rounds. At one point, referee Herb Dean called the ringside doctor into the ring to see whether Carwin should continue.

The last time we saw Carwin in the octagon, he was being choked out by Brock Lesnar at UFC 116 for the heavyweight title. Before the Lesnar fight, Carwin was undefeated at 12-0, with none of his fights going past the first round. It was Carwin's cardio that played a major part in his loss to Lesnar, after a first round that saw him unleashing a relentless ground and pound attack on Lesnar. But by the second round, Carwin was so exhausted that Lesnar easily choked him out. Eleven months later, the tables were turned on Carwin, as he was on the receiving end of a first-round relentless ground and pound attack. For three rounds, dos Santos beat Carwin to the punch and hurt the former UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion throughout the fight.

Dos Santos' game plan leading up to the fight was no secret. He said he needed to keep this fight standing and not let Carwin get him to the ground. He executed his game plan flawlessly in every round.

The three officials scored the fight, 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 for dos Santos, the winner by unanimous decision.

In the co-main event, two-time lightweight title contender Kenny Florian (14-5, 12-4) won a unanimous decision over Brazilian Diego Nunes.

Florian started out in the UFC as a middleweight (185 pounds) and just fought his first fight as a featherweight (145 pounds) in the octagon. He has now fought in four different weight divisions.

Making weight was a huge factor in the fight. Florian told Sherdog.com at the post-fight news conference “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. [It was] very, very difficult. I was above 180 pounds. I was coming back [after] knee surgery. I was on the couch doing nothing for two months. I felt all right. The last month was pretty tough with training. I had a phenomenal camp.”

Florian's reach seemed to be a huge advantage in his win over Nunes. The Brazilian found it hard to get inside and land his patterned swinging back-fist.

After the fight, UFC President Dana White announced that Florian will "more than likely" be the next challenger for UFC champion Jose Aldo’s featherweight belt.

"I've got a lot of respect for him," White said of Florian. "He deserves a shot at the title. No doubt about it."

It was in October 2010 when White tried to make this fight happen at 155 pounds. In an interview with Fight Fix, White commented on the situation: "Here’s the thing, Jose Aldo's been talking about moving up to 155 lbs. Well, we had a slot and said, 'alright, you want to move up to 155 lbs. and fight Kenny Florian?' and he said, 'Uh, never mind.' "

All three judges scored it for Florian: 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.

Below are the full undercard results.

 

Darren Elkins won by unanimous decision over Michihiro Omigawa.

Joey Beltran won by TKO (Punches) over Aaron Rosa at 1:26 of the third round.

Dustin Poirier won by unanimous decision over Jason Young.

Nick Ring won by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) over James Head at 3:33 of the third round.

Krzysztof Soszynski won by unanimous decision over Mike Massenzio.

Chris Weidman won by Submission (Guillotine Choke) over Jesse Bongfeldt at 4:54 of the first round.

Sam Stout won by KO (Punch) over Yves Edwards at 3:52 of the first round.

Donald Cerrone won by unanimous decision over Vagner Rocha.

Dave Herman won by TKO (Punch) over John Olav Einemo at 3:19 of the second round.

Mark Munoz won by unanimous decision over Demian Maia.

How did you like Kenny Florian at featherweight? Do you think he deserves a title shot?
Posted by Kevin Richardson at 7:54 AM | | Comments (0)
        

June 3, 2011

UFC Superfight era begins!

U wanted it! U GOT IT!! With those words a new era in mixed martial arts has begun. UFC President Dana White tweeted those words to his 1.4 million followers on Twitter. “U wanted it! U GOT IT!!! GSP vs DIAZ Oct 29th UFC 137 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.”

This will be the first Superfight between a Strikeforce champion, Nick Diaz, and a UFC champion,  George St. Pierre.

In the words of the Michael Buffer, "Veteran Voice of the Octagon,”: “This is the moment you've all been waiting for,” and finally, “It's time!”

Like many of you, I have begun to match up other fights between Strikeforce and UFC fighters.

Here’s my list:

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Muhammud “King Mo” Lawal (This seems to be personal, but Rampage seems to make everything personal).

Brock Lesnar vs. Antonio “Big Foot” Silva (Brock needs to take on opponents that are his size, not Frank Mir or Randy Couture).

Shane Del Rosario vs. Travis Browne (2 young undefeated fighters).

Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs. Nick Diaz (This is bad blood).

Gilbert Melendez vs. Frankie Edgar or Gray Maynard (Gilbert believes he is the best lightweight in the world…prove it).

Vitor Belfort vs. Ronaldo Souza.

Alistair Overeem vs. any UFC top 5 heavyweight (Let’s see Overeem shut up his critics, the biggest being White).

I have been critical of White over the years, but lately I have had a change of heart. I have seen him change his mind about upcoming fights, after hearing from his Twitter followers and MMA fans.

Last November, he talked about Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir III. But after hearing that fans were not interested in the fight, he changed his mind. That was a good executive decision for the UFC to not listen to Lesnar on picking his next opponent. Lesnar wrote in his new book Death Clutch, “I beat Frank Mir to a pulp, took him down to the ground, and smashed in his face so bad, the referee had to stop the fight.” So, Brock that’s why you wanted to fight him again, so we can see you smash his face again?

Dana White, thanks for making this Superfight happen, because I don’t think GSP wanted to fight Anderson Silva.

What’s your take on the fight?

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 12:12 PM | | 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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