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February 28, 2012

Wanderlei Silva getting ready for 'TUF' Brasil

The Ultimate Fighter Countdown to Brasil show features coaches Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort, who head teams of featherweight and middleweight UFC hopefuls competing in a tournament format.

 

Before starting his rigorous taping schedule, Silva took time out to meet the fans, and pay a surprise visit to fighters at XGYM in Rio for a pep talk and to exercise his coaching skills. The Ultimate Fighter Brasil debuts on March 25. Check ufc.com for listings and airdates.

 

One of the Brazilian fans asked Wanderlei Silva, "When are you going to kill Chael Sonnen?" He said, "Soon".

 

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 10:57 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Video
        

February 26, 2012

UFC 144: Henderson new lightweight champion, and he deserves it

Former WEC lightweight champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson put on a dominating performance at UFC 144 and took a unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) over former champion Frankie Edgar to win the UFC lightweight title. Henderson (16-2, 4-0 UFC) pressured Edgar (14-2-1, 9-2-1 UFC) throughout the fight and landed several big leg kicks in every round in the main event at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Lately it seems that every UFC main event decision has come with controversy. UFC president Dana White along with many fans believes Edgar won the fight. “I had it even going into the last round and I give the last round to Frankie (Edgar)," White said.

I disagree. I thought Henderson put on a championship performance and clearly looked like the better fighter for four of the five rounds.

I spoke to Henderson a day before the fight and asked him what sets him apart from Edgar. He said, “I’m as confident as any fighter on the planet. I feel as though I have the advantage everywhere. Whether it’s boxing or wrestling, or cardio or anything.”

It was clear to me after the fight that Henderson had the better cardio and he out-boxed, wrestled and kicked his way to victory over Edgar. It also was Henderson's octagon aggression that set him apart and the deciding factor in the win. Henderson landed the most-devastating kicks and finishes. Henderson landed the biggest hit of the fight with an upkick that dropped the champion.

Despite the fight having a controversial decision, I was glad to hear after the fight that White did not call for a rematch. Edgar has had a rematch against his last two opponents, Gray Maynard and BJ Penn.

Henderson and Edgar shared “Fight of the Night” honors.

In the co-main event, a confident Ryan Bader (14-2, 7-2 UFC) out-fought a slow and overweight fighter in Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-10, 7-4 UFC). Ryan won a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), and clearly looked like the better fighter throughout. Rampage's one bright spot was in the second round when he lifted Bader into the air and slammed him. It was Jackson’s only damaging move throughout the fight. Bader was the faster and more complete fighter.

I was surprised at the end of the fight that Rampage didn’t get on the microphone with ringside commentator Joe Rogan and announce his retirement. But leading up to the fight, Rampage let it be known that he really disliked talking to Rogan. Veteran fighters BJ Penn and Nick Diaz both announced their retirement after losses in the octagon. It just felt like Rampage would call it quits in the country he had some of his most memorable moments of his career.

It was also fitting the Bader would receive 20 percent of Rampage's purse, for Rampage not making weight. Several days before the fight UFC's White asked Rampage about his weight and he said, “You don’t want to know,” and White said, “I didn’t ask.”

Since the A-Team movie that Rampage starred in, he really hasn’t been the same fighter.

After the fight, Jackson said to mmafights.com that he hurt his knee during training and took the fight because he didn't want to disappoint his Japanese fans.

Below are the full undercard results:

 

Mark Hunt won by TKO (Punches) over Cheick Kongo at 2:11 of the first round.

Jake Shields won by unanimous decision over Yoshihiro Akiyama.

Tim Boetsch won by TKO (Punches) over Yushin Okami at 0:54 of the third round.

Hatsu Hioki won by unanimous decision over Bart Palaszewski. 

Anthony Pettis won by KO (Head Kick and Punches) over Joe Lauzon at 1:21 of the first round.

Takanori Gomi won by TKO (Punches) over Eiji Mitsuoka at 2:21 of the second round. 

Vaughan Lee won by Submission (Armbar) over Norifumi Yamamoto at 4:29 of the first round. 

Riki Fukuda won by unanimous decision over Steve Cantwell. 

Chris Cariaso won by unanimous decision over Takeva Mizugaki.

Issei Tamura won by KO (Punches) over Tiequan Zhang at 33 seconds of the second round.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 8:53 AM | | Comments (1)
        

February 24, 2012

GSP goes to school in spiritual home of martial arts





















If you cannot view the above video, click here

The UFC sent this on GSP in Japan and I thought the readers of MMA Stomping Grounds would like it.

While in Tokyo, Japan for this Saturday’s UFC 144 super-card, martial arts aficionado Georges St-Pierre took the opportunity to train in the birthplace of hand-to-hand combat.
 
The reigning UFC welterweight champion, who has always considered himself a martial artist first and foremost, takes instruction on how to use a katana (traditional Japanese curved sword) from children from the Kawai Kindergarden School in Tokyo.
 
‘GSP’ – who has mastered so many martial arts and added them to his Octagon skillset – was taken to school by the kids when it came to Kenjutsu.
 
“In school in Canada, we play hockey,” said St-Pierre. “I always wanted to be a Samurai when I was a kid, but those kids hit me pretty hard.”
 
St-Pierre fared much better when he visited the Kyokushin Karate school. The champ took an appreciative class through a series of katas (Japanese for ‘form’, practicing individual techniques) and was clearly very excited to be at the birthplace of the ancient martial art. 
 
“Karate was the first martial art I was every taught,” he said. “It is an honor to be here where it started. For me, karate will always be a very important part of me. It is not just a fighting style, it is a way of life.”
 
GSP, along with UFC President Dana White also exchanged gifts with Saitama City Mayor Hayato Shimizu during a visit to Saitama City Hall. 

 

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 6:04 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Video
        

Remembering the last time the UFC was in Japan





















If you cannot view the above video, click here

At UFC 144 Edgar vs. Henderson, it will mark the first time 12 years that the UFC has held an event in Japan.

 

Many familiar fighters were on that first card in Japan at UFC 29. A young Tito Oritz was defending his middleweight belt (now the light heavyweight division) for the first time. Also on the card were Pat Miletich, Chuck Liddell, Evan Tanner, Matt Hughes, Matt Lindland, Dennis Hallman and Jeff Monson.

 

This was the last Ultimate Fighting Championship event held under the ownership of SEG. Zuffa would take over the organization at UFC 30 in Atlantic City, NJ.

 

Dojo TV recorded hundreds of hours of the early years of the UFC, getting behind-the-scenes footage of the fighter and at ringside.

 

In the videotape of UFC 29 Japan, you can see how much the organization has grown in 12 years. There were about 30 people at the weigh-in in Japan, compared with the thousands who now show up at the weigh-in events. The fighters were weighed on bathroom scales, and referee Mario Yamasaki demonstrated that if a fighter leaned forward or backward, he could change how much he weighed.

 

Tito Ortiz talked about his experience at UFC 29. It was his first time fighting outside the country, and he needed to monitor his diet. “When I fought in Japan, food was a big factor. I made sure I ate the right food,” Ortiz said. “People don’t understand, once you make weight, you have to eat the right carbs and the right proteins. The best of both worlds is sushi. I ate a lot of fresh fish and white rice and got my weight back up.”

 

Dojo TV also captured Ortiz after he lost his belt in a taxicab in Japan. I asked Tito whether he recounted losing the belt in a taxicab, and he didn’t recall it happening (check out the video).

 

Liddell was in the opening fight on the main card, against fellow American Jeff Monson, and won by unanimous decision. Liddell recalled how much of a low-budget event SEG would operate. “Back then, they would fly us in the day of the weigh-in,” Liddell said. “So I would cut weight at the airport. I would get to the weigh-in, and we would use bathroom scales. So when Zuffa took over, you got commissions and certified scales. A lot more organized.”

 

The biggest surprise for Liddell and Ortiz in Japan was the fans' reactions during fights. “I think it’s the only place in the world you can hear a pin drop in between rounds,” Ortiz recalled. “They are so quiet because they have so much respect for MMA fighters.”

 

Liddell remembered being in the corner of Dan Henderson in Japan. “I was at a arena in Japan that had 18,000 fans, and I had earphones on my ears. I was yelling instructions to Dan Henderson during the fight. Someone told me to take my earphones off, and it was so quiet,” Liddell said. “I could have been 50 yards away and he could have heard me because it was so quiet.”

 

 

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 4:28 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Video
        

February 9, 2012

Nick Diaz tested positive for drug at UFC 143

Nick Diaz tested positive for marijuana at UFC 143, Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer said in a statement:

"The following athletes were tested: Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit, Fabricio Werdum, Josh Koscheck, Renan Barao, Ed Herman, Dustin Poirier, Max Hollaway, Matt Riddle, Henry Martinez, Edwin Figueroa, Alex Caceres, Matt Brown, Chris Cope, Rafael Natal, Michael Kuiper, Stephen Thompson and Dan Stittgen. All results received thus far have been negative, except Mr. Diaz tested positive for marijuana metabolites. A complaint for disciplinary action against Mr. Diaz has been filed."

This is Diaz's second positive test. He first tested positive in 2007 for marijuana when he fought Takanori Gomi at Pride 33, also in Las Vegas. Diaz's submission win over Gomi was overturned because of the positive test.

Had Diaz won his interim welterweight title fight against Carlos Condit at UFC 143 this past weekend, that victory would have been overturned as well.

Diaz might have suspected the test would come back positive, and that might have been his reason for not accepting a rematch with Condit.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 6:09 PM | | Comments (1)
        

February 5, 2012

UFC 143: Condit wins title over Diaz

In the main event at UFC 143 in Las Vegas last night, former WEC champion Carlos “Natural Born Killer“ Condit (28-5-0, 5-1 UFC) won by unanimous decision over former Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz (26-8-0, 7-5 UFC) for the UFC interim welterweight championship.

Condit hadn’t lost in Las Vegas in five fights and Diaz has won 11 fights in a row, with his last loss coming in 2007.

Like most of Diaz’s fights, the stare-down before the opening bell is an event in and of itself.

As referee Steve Mazzagatti gave the final instructions for the fight, both fighters began butting foreheads and had to be separated by security in the cage.

Starting out, Diaz was the aggressor, but it was Condit who landed the effective leg kicks. Diaz, at 6 feet, had never fought a fighter who was taller than the 6-foot-2 Condit with equivalent reach (76 inches).

Diaz didn't punch as hard as Condit, but the accumulation of punches often won his fights. In his last match against BJ Penn, Diaz broke the record for the most punches in a fight: more than 200 significant punches that landed on his opponent.

In Rounds 1 through 4, Condit used leg kicks, quick punches and an even temperament to frustrate Diaz. By his own admission, Diaz has said he is low on patience. So Condit's corner knew that the fighter needed to be patient and to frustrate Diaz to get the win.

In between rounds, Diaz’s corner never instructed him to change his game plan, believing that Diaz’s cardio would eventually wear out his opponent. Condit was winning the rounds by striking and landing the most kicks throughout the fight. The one area on the score card that Diaz held was for octagon aggression -- he kept coming forward throughout the fight.

By the fifth round, Diaz realizes that he had someone who could finally match him in cardio, strength and movement.

It wasn’t until the final minute that Diaz decided to take Condit down and end the fight. Condit was able to hold on to the end and win by unanimous decision (48–47, 49–46, 49–46) to become the new UFC interim welterweight champion.

 “It’s pretty surreal," Condit said after the win. "I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and teammates. They prepared me for this fight and now I walk away with the victory.”

The biggest loser of the night may be the UFC, because it would have benefited from a larger pay-per-view if Nick Diaz had won. His next opponent would have been UFC champion Georges St. Pierre, with whom he has exchanged words. Diaz called out St. Pierre after one of his fights, and the champion has let it be known that he was rooting for Diaz in this fight so that he could destroy him in the cage.

After the fight, Diaz -- much like his last opponent, BJ Penn -- announced after the fight that he was retiring.

“I think that I’m done with this MMA. It’s been great out here, I had a good career,” Diaz said. “You guys pay me way too much [money], but I don’t think I’m going to get enough to keep on in this.”

I think the one thing that would get Diaz back in the cage is if St. Pierre calls out Diaz after he beats Condit for the belt. That would make for good drama and a big payday for all.

Below are the full undercard results:
 

Stephen Thompson won by KO (head kick) over Daniel Stittgen at 4:13 of the first round.

Rafael Natal won by unanimous decision over Michael Kuiper.

Matt Riddle won by decision (split) over Henry Martinez.

Matt Brown won by TKO (punches) over Chris Cope at 1:19 of the second round.

Edwin Figueroa won by decision (split) over Alex Caceres.

Dustin Poirier won by Submission (triangle armbar) over Max Holloway at 3:23 of the first round.

Ed Herman won by submission (rear-naked choke) over Clifford Starks at 1:43 of the second round.

Renan Pegado won by unanimous decision over Scott Jorgensen.

Josh Koscheck won by decision (split) over Mike Pierce.

Fabricio Werdum won by unanimous decision over Roy Nelson.
Posted by Kevin Richardson at 8:39 AM | | Comments (11)
        
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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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