Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Statistics : 50297 Topics || 1376758 Posts Last post by Accolan
So today, I hopped in my car, turned on the ignition on and started my five minute conquest to the gym, where I would be meeting with CEO of SuckerPunch Entertainment, Brian Butler. As soon as you walk into the gym it only takes an iota of a moment to realize it is to an MMA lover what it would be like for an art fan to lay their eyes on the Mona Lisa for the first time. There is a large workout area with weights and machines on one side, and on the other side, an endless world of MMA to the horizon. I walked in during some mat work where Pat and Jeff Curran were working on the mat with the likes of Mark Hominick and Felice Herrig - some of the best in the world, as well as some students. In the seating area just before the wrestling mats was the man himself, Brian Butler.
I sat and chatted with Brian, picking his brain about the company he had built and why he decided to get into the business. He is a very engaging individual and has done some spectacular things in his three years of working in mixed martial arts. In fact, as far as I know, he is the only manager who has stepped in the ring for a fight of his own, just to see what it was like for his fighters on the day of a fight, and he won. As we chatted, the fighters on the mats started to thin out and Jeff Curran and Felice Herrig made their way to the octagon directly behind me for some pad work. Brian and I chatted a bit more, but my focus shifted to the incredible amount of noise coming from the octagon behind me, which was Herrig putting one heck of a beating on those pads; it was an incredible display to see someone who looks so small put so much power behind their strikes.
The entire gym is gorgeous, from the color schemes to the layout, and although it is smaller than their previous location, the open floor plan makes it feel very inviting. You walk in the door and it feels like you tripped and landed in MMA heaven, it's an experience in itself just to open the door. There is a wall of fame containing pictures of the Currans, as well as Felice Herrig and Bart Palaszewski. There is no doubt as soon as you gain understanding of your surroundings that you are in a place of professionals, and a fantastic place to learn. So, I did what I came there to do, I walked up to the front desk, picked up a membership form, and filled it out.
That's really all it took to become the newest member of one of the most underrated MMA gyms on the planet, filling out some papers and initialing a few forms. As I looked around the gym I soaked it all in, the greatness contained within, the incredible fighters that trained there, and the fact that they would be teaching me the crafts they use inside of the cage, it was surreal. Getting the chance to meet a man who has such a great mind for the business like Brian Butler on the same day as I joined the gym made for one heck of an experience at their facility; but seeing the pros in training was also intense. As I was signing the papers to become a member and picking my membership plan I was approached by Herrig who was extremely warm and talkative. It was a great pleasure to see that these immensely talented fighters were so humble and approachable. Felice and I chatted momentarily about a forthcoming interview we were setting up, but she had to make her way out the door en route to the rest of her day.
If any of you are ever in the Crystal Lake area of Illinois I strongly urge you to see this incredible gym, even if just for five minutes of your day, it is not something you would want to miss out on. They sell Team Curran MMA shirts and Gi's as well, so if you want a memento of your visit you can surely get one. The training staff is some of the brightest stars inside of the cage, and as we all know Pat Curran will be fighting in Bellator for the title on March 9, so who wouldn't want to be trained by these guys? It was a phenomenal experience to meet some of these great folks, and it will be an honor to learn some skills from them as well, and I cannot wait to attend my first classes. Team Curran MMA may be underestimated by the MMA community, but it never will be by this writer, and well, student.
If you want to learn more about the gym you can always feel free to visit TeamCurran.com they have classes for adults and children. To read up a bit more on the team at Suckerpunch Entertainment and Brian Butler check out SuckerPunchEnt.com to see their roster of fighters and learn more about the company. I will be writing blogs frequently about my training at the gym, and keeping everyone up to date on how well my plan of getting into shape with MMA training is going. Also next week I will be sitting down with Felice Herrig for an interview, so be sure to stay tuned to the Torch for that as well. Thank you all for reading!
Remember to follow me on twitter at @BradMMATorch
Kid Cudi and Dot Da Genius do it again ladies and gentleman. This album is great.
Efflictim is my personal favorite.
Statistics : 90 Topics || 1309 Posts Last post by Grolliee
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua was the last man to defeat Quinton "Rampage" Jackson prior to Jackson heading to the UFC.
And, it appears that they may meet each other once again.
Rua spoke about the idea of facing Jackson to TATAME.com, who faced the former UFC light heavyweight champion in PRIDE nearly a decade ago.
"The fight against Rampage will happen eventually," Rua said of a possible rematch. "He won’t retire before fighting me and neither am I."
Jackson had called out the Brazilian and requested a rematch at UFC 144 in Japan. However, Jackson was unaware that Rua had already fought Dan Henderson and the turnaround would be too soon. He was offered Ryan Bader instead.
Jackson would go to lose to Bader in the co-main event. Jackson dropped back-to-back losses for the first time in his career.
Rua said he hoped to fight at UFC 144, as he credited Japan as the place where he began his career.
"It was in Japan where I appeared to the world. I missed it there," he said. "I like the Japanese people, I really like Japan."
A hard foul from Dwyane Wade only took Kobe Bryant out of action in the 2012 All-Star game for a brief moment. However, the errant foul has become far more disastrous than we previously thought.
Keep it here for the latest on Kobe Bryant and his injuries sustained at Sunday's All-Star game.
The Official Lakers Blog's Mike Trudell reports the latest on Kobe Bryant and his nose injury. According to Trudell, the blow to his nose has given Bryant a broken nose and some rather alarming symptoms.
Kobe Bryant went to see ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. John Rehm on Tuesday after suffering a broken nose at Sunday’s All-Star game, and because Bryant is experiencing further symptoms, Dr. Rehm recommended an MRI and that Bryant see a neurologist.
Bryant, who did not practice with the team on Tuesday, is expected to see the neurologist and undergo the exam this afternoon; the Lakers will provide an update as soon as one becomes available.
That doesn't sound like a player that will be suiting up immediately. Bryant's status may be uncertain, but it's clear that the Lakers will rule out any other maladies before he takes the court again.
The injury in question took place late in Sunday's All-Star game when Bryant was going up with the ball to score. At that moment, Wade came from behind to lock up Bryant and instead hit his face.
Yahoo Sports anchor Deb Carson had the breakdown on Monday.
YahooSports: #Lakers Kobe Bryant has mild concussion in addition to a broken nose, after being fouled by Dwyane Wade during All-Star Game.— Deb Carson (@DebCarson) February 27, 2012
Here is a video of the play in question.
As always, keep it here for all the latest on Kobe Bryant's injury.
He graduated from WEC to UFC to the best fighter in the world's best division. How fast did it happe...
The Vanity Fair post-Oscar party seemed like it was quite the bash.
A number of celebrities were seen living it up after watching The Artist bring home most of the major hardware at the 84th annual Academy Awards.
Let’s take a look at who was there.
Venus and Serena Williams
These two sisters, who have dominated women’s tennis since the late 1990’s, decided to make an appearance at the party.
They stopped to pose on the red carpet for a while and made small-talk with a number of celebs.
It doesn’t seem likely either of the two appears at the Indian Wells Masters on March 7 (they have boycotted since 2002), so they have plenty of time to party.
Sharapova was the other big-name tennis star to show up at the Vanity Fair party.
According to Alan Kyle at LiveTennisGuide.com, she was the third-best dressed at the event.
I guess that doesn’t make up for her second-place finish at the Australian Open.
Here’s a list of some other major celebs at the party:
David and Victoria Beckham
Soccer star and his household-name wife.
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes
Movie-star power couple.
English model and actress.
Do I really have to get into this?
Actress and singer.
Apparently, the event is so popular that guests are invited in shifts, according to The New York Times.
The Sunset Tower Hotel was the place to be and it’s no wonder that superstar tennis players were attending along with seemingly everyone else in Hollywood.
Korean Zombie vs. Dustin Poirier is scheduled for May, and I don't know about you guys but I don't fancy waiting until May to see who Aldo is fighting.
The answer? Hioki vs. Koch
And who doesn't want to see this match? They will both be able to fight before May, so let's make it happen - a number one contender's match.
And then what's waiting for the winner of Aldo vs Hioki/Koch
Well, the Zombie or Poirier.
I see no other way to clear up the title picture and get a couple legit challengers for Sir Aldo in 2012
Auburn had a great season finishing 8-5 last year considering all of the talent they had to replace in 2010.
This year, they return 18 starters and look to compete with the top teams in the SEC. They may still have work to do before they get back to where they want to go, but things may be looking bright for Auburn.
Although we still may be months away from college football kicking off, spring ball is right around the corner. The Mountaineers first spring practice is scheduled for March 21, and the spring game will take place on April 14.
As we get ready for everything spring has to offer, here are the top five storylines to pay attention to.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Forrest Griffin talks about his latest book on Fuel's UFC Tonight with a segment called 'The World...
Clearly DeShawn Stevenson wasn’t working for the New Jersey Nets filling in at small forward. He was averaging 3.0 points per game before the Nets realized something wasn’t right.
The names Ronaldo Balkman and Andre Emmett were coming up in talks, but New Jersey finally decided to bring Gerald Green up from the D-League and hand him a spot.
Green hasn’t played in the NBA since 2009 and hasn’t played a full season since 2007 when he averaged 10.4 points per game for the Boston Celtics. But after being traded to Minnesota and then Houston, Green lost his stride.
He is averaging 19.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game for the Los Angeles D-Fenders. Green is shooting 46 percent from the three-point arc. He had a fabulous 28-point performance in the All-Star game and was named the D-League All-Star Game MVP.
Many Nets fans are excited about this signing, myself included. Green is an entertainer more then he is a basketball player. This former Slam Dunk Contest champion can inject some life into a dying fan base.
New Jersey Nets fans haven’t been excited in a long time, and if Green and Deron Williams can get some chemistry going expect New Jersey to turn into the new Lob City.
Gerald Green is a playmaker, as shown by his victory in the 2007 NBA Slam Dunk Contest over the likes of Nate Robinson and Dwight Howard. He was highly touted coming out of high school and was a bright spark in the D-League.
Gerald Green is going to fun to watch, and all he has to do is fill in the gaps.
Now, all this chatter reminds me of a former D-Leaguer by the name of Jeremy Lin. Both Lin and Green were passed over by NBA teams. Both players are a rarity in the new NBA. Lin is an Asian-American baller and Green came into the league straight out of high school.
Both of them are on an East Coast team that has just about given up hope. The New York Knicks were out of life itself until Jeremy Lin took them by the hand and crossed the Red Sea. His season-saving heroics now have Knicks fans looking up.
The Nets are a team that has just about given up hope. Dwight Howard couldn’t come soon enough and Williams can’t win by himself.
This is a franchise that needs something (anything!) to reaffirm faith in this team.
That may come in the form of a Gerald Green rim-rattling dunk.
At the time WEC LWs were seen as being not quite...
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST?
I'm looking forward to the 95 second brawl between Mark Hunt and Cheick Kongo. Look, not every fight that the UFC books has to be a technical masterpiece. Not every fight needs to be beautiful. And not every fight has to show every aspect of the sport. Sometimes there's something to be said about two of Jules Winnfield's wallets punching and kicking each other as hard as humanly possible until one gets knocked on their can. And when it comes to wallets kicking and punching really really hard, yeah, this will do nicely thankyouverymuch.
Now, that said, there are like seventeen fights on this card I'm anticipating heavily.� This card is stacked.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR??
I have to go with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Ryan Bader. I want to see what Rampage can do in front of the Japanese crowd. It should be a really good fight. I want to see Rampage unleash hell on Bader like the old days.
ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
For me, as a fan, I'm excited to see Rampage Jackson back in Japan fighting. He made his career there, and I truly believe that he'll be in the right frame of mind to make it a memorable night for Japan. Another fight that I am excited for, unexpectedly, is Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo. I say unexpectedly because I couldn't see myself excited about this fight if it were taking place anywhere else. Because it's taking place in Japan, this should (hopefully) be a good striking match-up and hopefully a clean decisive finish for the winner. It should be exciting.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Of all the fights on the UFC 144 card, I am most looking forward to Rampage Jackson versus Ryan Bader. I have thought for quite a while now that Rampage would retire. He mentions it in almost every interview that he does these days. I don't think his heart is in MMA, and this could realistically be his last fight. I think for that reason, this will be one of his most exciting fights ever. I look for him to be as exciting in this fight as he is been since entering the UFC.��I think Rampage wins this fight by knockout.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I tried really hard to get hyped up for the Cheick Kongo fight, but there's no way Mark Hunt is going to be able to stand with him, so that fell out of my mind. Then I thought, well Rampage vs. Bader could be either the start of Bader's legacy, or the end of Rampage's, but the matchup doesn't look that phenomenal on paper. So I looked down the card further and found my gem, Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields. These two are a solid bet to put on the fight of the night, and are probably expected to do so. Jake Shields has his chance at redemption after taking two consecutive losses for the first time in his career, and Akiyama has a chance to save his spot on the UFC roster.
It will be a battle of wills, and Jake Shields looks like a good favorite going into the fight. Akiyama has had so many fantastic performances inside the Octagon; perhaps being on home turf will finally give him the extra spurt to take home a much needed victory. This match-up looks great from all angles and I can't wait for the fight to start, and the technical war to begin.
JASON AMADI, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon is the most intriguing fight on this card for me. Pettis had the best performance of his career against Benson Henderson a year and a half ago, but has looked flat ever since. He showed a serious regression in defensive wrestling and strategy against Clay Guida and didn't look much better against Jeremy Stephens. Lauzon is a dangerous opponent and if Pettis isn't on top of his game, he'll lose.
Lauzon is closer to title contention than he's ever been, and while his cardio issues will likely plague him for the rest of his career, for the first five minutes of a fight he's as dangerous as any lightweight in the sport. If he wins here, Joe Lauzon could be one first round finish away from holding a UFC championship.
This fight will more than likely decide the next contender to the UFC Lightweight Championship and should be monitored very closely.
At the time WEC LWs were seen as being not quite...
Fortunately for those of us who want to bask in the afterglow of the greatness that was UFC 144, there will be an amazing forty-three day gap between the FX show and UFC on Fuel TV: Nogueira vs. Gustafsson event on April 14. As a result of the quirky schedule, we'll have plenty of down time to reflect yet again. But while UFC 144 is fresh in our mind, and before we shift our focus to Alves and Kampmann, let's speculate on what's next for some of the players from UFC 144, shall we?
Benson Henderson: Henderson did it. He took home the UFC title, making him the first WEC Champion to become an undisputed UFC Champion in one of the UFC's previously established weight classes. His next fight is going to e a rematch; either an immediate rematch with Frankie Edgar, or a delayed rematch with Anthony Pettis.
The case for Edgar is this: Edgar beat a hall-of-famer in B.J. Penn to win the title, and then had to "prove it" if you will by rematching him. Edgar went out and dominated Penn the second time around. He then fought the undefeated Gray Maynard to a draw, and then had to rematch Maynard. And then after dropping the title to Henderson in a very close decision and a very good fight, how can he rightfully not be granted an immediate rematch? Edgar successfully defended his title three times, something that only Penn had ever done.�Admittedly, one of those defenses was a draw, but the fact remains that Frank Edgar's reign was the stuff of legends.
The case for Pettis is a little more complex, or maybe a little more simple.�Complex in that he's on only a two fight win streak, with one of those wins being an ugly split decision over Jeremy Stephens. And it was less than nine months ago that Clay Guida defeated Pettis in Pettis' UFC debut. But you cannot in good conscience make a case for Guida ahead of Pettis, because Guida's last fight was in fact a loss to... Ben Henderson. One could also make the case that Nate Diaz, Jim Miller, Gray Maynard, and Frankie Edgar, Gilbert Melendez, and potential free agent Eddie Alvarez have more deserving resume's than does Pettis.
Or you could make it really simple. Pettis beat Henderson in a five round title fight a mere fourteen months ago. If that doesn't motivate both men, I don't know what would. My choice for Henderson's next fight is in fact Anthony Pettis.
Frankie Edgar: So where does that leave Frankie Edgar? Up sh** creek without a paddle, frankly. Uncle Dana has made it pretty clear, in his own muddy fashion of course, that he thinks Pettis is getting the shot at Henderson (it's like he knows what I'm thinking before I write it, and then claims my ideas as his own. BASTARD), and that Edgar should leave the lightweight division after coming off the longest title reign in UFC lightweight history. Edgar likely wants to stay at 155 (wouldn't you?), so let's leave Aldo out of the mix here. Oh God, now Dana has me saying, "In the mix," too. Keeping in mind that Melendez and Alvarez are in other organizations (for now), Pettis and Henderson are likely to face each other, Diaz and Miller are fighting on Fox in May, and Edgar deserves a high ranked opponent, there are only two candidates.
Gray Maynard. Clay Guida. That's it. And since I don't think anyone is hankering to see Edgar vs. Maynard 4 just yet (hankering? Who says hankering?), and since Edgar vs. Guida could be the most active fight of all time, Clay Guida is the fight I want next. It's kind of amazing that these guys have never faced off, considering how long they've been in the same division of the same promotion, and have always been at about the same level.
Ryan Bader: Redemption, thy name is Ryan Bader. Career renaissance, they name too is Ryan Bader. While Bader might never fully live down the embarrassment of being the only guy to lose to Tito Ortiz since 1957, Bader's done the best he can to put that loss in his past. He looked great against Jason Brilz, and then fought the smartest fight of his career last night against Quinton Jackson. Believe it or not, he's back in the top ten of the division. While that might say more about the lack of depth at 205, the fact remains, he's there.
There happen to be a lot of top guys at 205 who are looking for opponents.�Lyoto Machida, Forrest Griffin, Shogun, Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, Phil Davis, and Stephan Bonnar come to mind. But I'm going to go off the board and hope to see him face Thiago Silva, assuming Silva returns to action with a victory over Igor Pokrajac on May 15. I realize that's a long time for Bader to sit, but go with me here. 1.)� That fight would be awesome. 2.)� Silva hasn't fought in more than a year, he's going to want a second fight as soon as possible. That could wind up on Fox in LA on the first weekend of August.
Quinton Jackson: I've seen several people, all of whom I respect, propose Shogun vs. Rampage. Excuse me, what exactly has Rampage done to deserve that fight? If you're a Rampage critic (AKA, a realist), you'll realize he's one bad decision against Lyoto Machida from having lost four of his last five fights, so he doesn't deserve to fight a guy as high as Shogun. And if you're a Rampage fan (God help you), you shouldn't want to see him get his ass handed to him by Shogun yet again.
That said, Rampage Jackson is still a draw (except at the box office), so he can't be wasted against some debuting Croatian or Bulgarian dude no one outside of Leland Roling has ever heard of. So, dipping back into the Ryan Bader pool of candidates (that's my lazy way of telling you to scroll north about two paragraphs. Although, this explanation took WAY longer to type than re-typing the list. Oh well. Laziness never pays off, but it's so much fun...), I want him to face off against the biggest name that won't actually affect the title hunt. So we need a big name, but irrelevant as well.
Using that artificial constraint, I have culled the list down to Davis, Franklin, Bonnar, and Griffin. Griffin is likely to face Ortiz this summer, so cast him aside.�I say give him Rich Franklin, and let Davis fight Bonnar. And if Franklin isn't ready to return, then go with Jackson vs. Davis.
Jake Shields: Easiest call on the list. B.J. Penn, in Hawaii.�Jake Shields had his first career breakthrough in Hawaii, defeating Yushin Okami and Carlos Condit in the same night at Rumble on the Rock 9 in Honolulu. B.J. Penn, you might not know, is from Hawaii. No, really. And he seems to have some bad blood with Cesar Gracie's guys right now. And check this sh** out, man. Jake Shields is, gasp, one of Cesar Gracie's guys. This is fun!
Yoshihiro Akiyama: I doubt he'd take Mark Pavelich's phone call, so he's probably headed for OneFC. A couple wins in Singapore could lead to one last run at 170 in the UFC.
Tim Boetsch: I think Boetsch showed the entire division that you can't take a moment to relax if you're locked in a cage with The Barbarian. His third round was the wonderfullest thing ever. Finally, we saw a guy clearly down two rounds to none come out and unleash hell in the third. There's nothing that enrages me more than a guy being down 20-18 and fighting the third round as if it's a 19 round fight, and he has plenty of time. That said, the point of this exercise is to pair Boetsch with a logical next opponent.
To me, Boetsch is borderline top-10. Right now he's the 185 pound Johny Hendricks. Boetsch just beat Okami, who fought forever to get a title shot, lost the title shot in brutal fashion, was never going to get another title shot, yet sat in the top three of everyone's rankings. Just like Jon Fitch, other than the date of Fitch's title shot relative to Okami. I'm not convinced that Hendricks is better than Fitch exactly, just like I'm not sure Boetsch is better than Okami, exactly.�Point being, both Boetsch and Hendricks need a couple more victories to get, wait for it, in the mix.
I've always liked Ed Herman. For some reason, I found his whining about Tito Ortiz not picking him during season three of TUF to be fantastic.�Herman's made quite a career for himself, despite having been saddled with Ken Shamrock as a coach for six weeks. Herman's career trajectory is on the rise, and the winner of a hypothetical Herman-Boetsch fight would have a legit claim at top-10 status.
Yushin Okami: The best thing for him would be to shift over to Strikeforce to fight tim Kennedy and Luke Rockhold, but while this is in fact fantasy booking, it ain't that big a fantasy, ya dig? Demian Maia is in a similar spot to Okami, so let them fight it out. One maintains relevance, the other loses any hope at future relevance. It's a dog eat dog world.
Mark Hunt: YES!� There were so many moments that had me out of my chair, but other than Pettis, this was my favorite. If you don't love everything about Mark Hunt, then you and I can never fall in love, gentle reader. I know he's not a title contender, but he's one win away from top-10 HW status. A win over the world's slowest man, UFC debutant Antonio Silva would put him squarely, here we go again, "in the mix." This is a legit 50-50 fight, if you are able to wrap your brain around what Mark Hunt has done since losing to Sean McCorkle in his UFC debut. Silva is slow enough to be hit by a corpse, and Hunt, naturally, has the power to take advantage. But Silva, naturally, has the ability to get the fight down and choke Hunt unconscious.
I also wouldn't mind a fight against Shane Carwin, or a fight against the best chin in the sport, one Roy Nelson.
Cheick Kongo: If Roy Nelson doesn't get Hunt, then he gets Kongo in a loser fights Fedor in Japan on New Year's Eve fight. Tell me that either guy wouldn't be at worst a pick 'em against Fedor.
Hatsu Hioki: Hioki is self-aware enough to say freely that he needs more UFC time before getting a title shot. Wise man. A win over Erik Koch would catapult either man into the slot behind the winner of May's fight between The Diamond and The Korean Zombie. And if you need names as opposed to nicknames, I don't know what to tell ya, dude.
Bart Palaszewski: Massive power is a wonderful thing. But if you're unable to land, you'd better have a solid plan B. If the UFC wants to build Bartimus back up, they put him in against a striker, and may the first to tap a chin win. Ross Pearson is the fight I want to see, but since he's coming off of a win, how about Mark Hominick?. This is fun, wheeeeeeeee.
Joe Lauzon:� Man. Imagine having a full training camp to face Anthony Pettis. You hear the horn to start the fight. You look up, and he's fighting southpaw? Wait a minute, that's not, um, ow, that really hurt. And you're unconscious having lost yet another chance to break through the glass ceiling. Well, that's what happened to Joe Lauzon. His win over Melcin Guillard might have elevated the height of his own glass ceiling a wee bit, but Pettis made it known that the glass ceiling hovering over Lauzon's skull is no easier to break through now than it ever was before.
Once a good auto body shop repairs the dent that Pettis left in the side of Lauzon's cranium, how about a rebound fight against Donald Cerrone? Oh, he's fighting Yves Edwards (?!?!?!) already? Ok, how about George Sotiropoulos?�Oh, you don't want to see a rematch?� Then that rules out Melvin Guillard too.�Screw it.� Rafael dos Anjos.
Takanori Gomi ? George Sotiropoulos
Vaughan Lee ? Alex Caceres
Riki Fukuda ? Cung Le (I've been calling for this since Le lost to Wanderlei Silva. If you saw Fukuda fight last night, now you know why I'd like to see Fukuda vs. Le)
Chris Cariaso ? Some Flyweight from Thailand that no one but Dave Walsh has ever heard of.
Takeya Mizugaki ? Brad Pickett (That rocks)
Follow me on Twitter @MMATorchRich. Insert snarky here.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Statistics : 25 Topics || 16160 Posts Last post by Grolliee
Bader took advantage of a clearly not-on-his-game Rampage and pulled off a one-sided decision win, the biggest of his MMA career. Jackson was favoring his knee immediately after the fight was over, and he was slow and lethargic throughout the 15 minute bout.
Bader's speed was a key factor in the fight, and he used it to pop in and out with strikes in the first round. He also worked well in the clinch, and the pace took Jackson down a notch into the second. In the one piece of offense Jackson had in that second frame, he caught a knee from Bader, picked him up, and slammed him on his head. However, he couldn't follow-up, and Bader wound up taking him down shortly thereafter and controlling the rest of the frame.
In the third, Jackson had little energy left, and Bader rushed him again with a takedown, spending much of the final frame working in top position. The win was Bader's second straight after consecutive losses in 2011, while Jackson has now lost two straight of his own.
Penick's Analysis: Rampage was a completely different fighter tonight than he was against Jon Jones in September. He was out of shape compared to that fight, he was slow, plodding, and all of that has to due with the injury he was nursing. It looked to be a knee, and it's not making excuses for him because he decided to fight through it, but he was not himself in this fight, and it showed. Bader picks up a huge, huge win, and we'll have to see whether or not Jackson has any desire to return after this performance.
[Rampage Jackson art by Cory Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
2011 was most certainly a rough year for the UFC on pay-per-view, and virtually everyone reported on it. However, most people's interpretations of last year's numbers were devoid of context.
One of the many factors in last year's decline was the absence of B.J. Penn from the UFC Lightweight Title picture. With Penn twice bested for the Lightweight Championship in 2010, the UFC was forced to say goodbye to the muscular numbers that the prodigious Hawaiian was able to put up.
The basement for a pay-per-view headlined by B.J. Penn as UFC Lightweight Champion was 475,000 buys, while one event headlined by Penn did as well as about 850,000 buys. Obviously, the drop off from what Penn was able to draw as Champion and what other lightweights draw is going to be steep.
B.J. Penn's box office success as Lightweight Champion shouldn't be the standard to which future champions are held, but I believe it does prove that MMA fans are willing to pay to see top lightweights perform.
If that is true, and the tastes of MMA fans are refined enough to appreciate the talents of the sport's most talented fighters, then UFC 144 should perform fairly well on pay-per-view.
Reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar's first title defense without B.J. Penn saw him bring in a respectable 270,000 buys, although his next outing did worse. While Edgar's 2011 numbers weren't ideal for the UFC, his fights delivered in a way that should make him far more "must see" than he was previously.
His UFC 144 opponent Benson Henderson is coming off performances against Mark Bocek, Jim Miller, and Clay Guida that were all crowd pleasing, and all fights that he decisively won.�Henderson's recent dominance, coupled with Edgar's recent flirtations with disaster, makes this the most exciting and compelling lightweight fight that could be made at this point.
Last year, the main event of UFC 130 (which by no coincidence also featured Frankie Edgar) was scrapped, and the event wound up being headlined by Quinton Jackson and Matt Hamill. That card still did in the neighborhood of about 325,000 buys. UFC 144 has a more exciting title fight than the one that fell through, still has Quinton Jackson, and has a markedly superior undercard than UFC 130.
With a card this stacked, and considering that there isn't even another pay-per-view until April, this should be a "must buy" for at least the hardcore contingent. If UFC 144 is unable to outperform the wretched UFC 130 card from last year, we might be looking at a future where great fights from great fighters just aren't enough to satisfy the casual fan.
Either way, the domestic performance of UFC 144 is going to be very telling about what we can expect from UFC pay-per-view buyrates going forward.
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Takanori Gomi capped off a great preliminary card at UFC 144 on Saturday night with an incredible come from behind performance against Eiji Mitsuoka.
Mitsuoka took the fight to Gomi in the first, out-striking "The Fireball Kid" throughout the round, then dropping him near the end of the frame. After knocking him down, Mitsuoka locked on a mounted triangle choke from the back, but time ran out in the round before he could finish it.
Gomi then came out on fire in the second, and began swinging with reckless abandon. The attack was overwhelming for Mitsuoka, who was eventually sent to the ground and could only cover up as Gomi continued to rain down strikes. The ref finally stepped in to stop the fight, and the fight was over.
The win was a nice rebound for Gomi after his consecutive losses to Clay Guida and Nate Diaz, and Mitsuoka had a good showing for himself in his short-notice UFC debut.
A new UFC lightweight champion was crowned on Saturday when Benson Henderson out-pointed Frankie Edgar on all three judges' scorecards to steal the throne as the top dog at 155 pounds.
Dana White has been publicly endorsing Edgar as not only the best 155-pounder in the world since he defeated B.J. Penn to win the title, but he has also been calling him one of the premier pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
So what does the UFC president have to say about the judges' decision? Well, for those who have paid any attention to how critical he can be at times, it should come as no surprise.
"I'm not a judge and my opinion doesn't matter, but I had it even going into that last round and I gave the last round to Frankie," White told MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani in a post-event interview.
The bout was no doubt very close, although two judges actually scored the fight four rounds to one for Henderson.
"Yeah, that's crazy," White bluntly said. "Most of the judges had [Edgar] losing the last round! I don't know how you have him losing the last round..."
White did believe the fight was extremely tight, though, and even went as far as to head onto his Twitter account where he polled fans to see how they were scoring the bout in the championship rounds.
"I was on Twitter in like the third, fourth and fifth rounds, asking people how they had it," White said. "There were some people that had it just like I had it, there were other people that had it the other way. Henderson has to get ready for some controversy. This was a controversial decision."
On a night when Takeya Mizugaki got his win bonus after a particularly confusing decision left him with a "loss" on his official record, some believed that White might also consider giving Frankie Edgar his win bonus. That wasn't the case, though.
"There's a difference between a fight being close and going back and forth, being tough to score; and something that I feel is an out-right robbery," he said. "If I feel like a guy got absolutely robbed, then it's a whole other story."
Judging remains an issue in mixed martial arts and although the UFC has a bit more control in Japan, White maintains that he nor anyone in the UFC directly picks the judges and they also do not try to influence them in any way.
"Do you know how many judges I have talked to?" he asked. "Zero. I don't ever talk to these judges. I don't know them and that's the way it should be."
So what's next for the former champion, Frankie Edgar? Perhaps a rematch, but perhaps a new weight class entirely.
"I would love to see Frankie move down to 145," White admitted. "I've been saying that forever. He seems reluctant to do it, but we'll see what happens."
As great as it would be to see Edgar fight current featherweight champion Jose Aldo, White understands the former lightweight champion's reluctance to move down a weight class.
"When guys are doing as well as Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, Frankie Edgar, I don't ever go to them and say, 'You should do this, you should do that.' " he explained. "When you're a guy like [Yoshihiro] Akiyama and you're fighting at 185, then I start putting the pressure on and say, 'You need to go to 170!'
For more MMA news, fighter interviews and opinions, follow Nick Caron: @NicholasCaron.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
UFC announces trio of fights for UFC 146 in Gonzaga-del Rosario, Teixeira-Kingsbury, and Brandao-Elkins
New additions to the card see Strikeforce vet Shane Del Rosario make his UFC debut against former title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga, recently signed Glover Teixeira taking on Kyle Kingsbury in a light heavyweight bout, and Ultimate Fighter season 14 featherweight winner Diego Brandao taking on Darren Elkins.
Along with those three fights, the UFC confirmed the Dan Hardy vs. Duane "Bang" Ludwig bout reported earlier today, and the lightweight bout between Jacob Volkmann and Paul Sass.
Del Rosario returns to action for the first time since February of last year. The 11-0 heavyweight was set to face Daniel Cormier last June, but suffered an injury in a car accident that kept him out of action the rest of the year. With Strikeforce's heavyweights getting transitioned over, he'll get a tough veteran draw in his first bout in the Octagon.
Gonzaga returned to the UFC in January for the first time since October of 2010, and picked up his first UFC win since August of 2009 when he submitted Ednaldo Oliveira in the first round.
Teixeira will enter the UFC's light heavyweight field after competing at both heavyweight and 205 lbs. throughout his career. He rides a 15-fight winning streak dating back to 2006.
Kingsbury, meanwhile, hopes to rebound from a decision loss to Stephan Bonnar in his last fight. That loss snapped a four fight winning streak in the organization, and was just the third loss in his career.
Brandao won the title of "The Ultimate Fighter" in December with a fantastic armbar submission over Dennis Bermudez in the final minute of the first round. That win was his fourth straight without the exhibition fights in the TUF house.
Elkins has picked up consecutive wins in the UFC since dropping to featherweight. In the lightweight division he went 1-1 in the UFC, with the win coming when Duane Ludwig suffered a nasty ankle injury. After a loss to Charles Oliveira, Elkins moved to 145 lbs., and has defeated Michihiro Omigawa and Tiequan Zhang by decision since then.
The UFC 146 card is headlined by a Heavyweight Championship bout between Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem.
"I think we really put together a great event here," Fischer said in an interview with MMAJunkie.com. "It's going very well. We're just about a sellout. I think by event day, we're going to be sold-out, and there's incredible buzz in the market... We do expect the last few days to see a late surge and sell whatever is left, which isn't a lot."
UFC President Dana White is excited for the weekend, and said the event is happening now after getting things in place that they weren't able to previously.
"I love it here. I'm very excited about coming back here... This is a place where a lot of great organizations held events. Not only did they build up a lot of Japanese talent but a lot of talent from around the world here in Japan. I think the event's already been successful. We're close to a sellout already, and obviously the card we put together for this event is phenomenal."
"We're getting all this stuff dialed in. We tried to come back to Japan earlier than this, but the deal we had put together fell apart. We stayed on it and didn't abandon coming to Japan. The deal didn't fall apart this time. We got everything done that we needed to get done to put on an event. All the things that go into bringing a live event to a new territory and not getting smashed financially, we got done."
While many have characterized this card as a "vanity" project, and don't believe the UFC will be returning on any regular basis, that's exactly what Fischer says they're hoping to do.
"I think it's a little bit wait-and-see but certainly we do feel based on the strength of what we've seen so far leading into the event - the buzz, the ticket sales so far - that I think it's a market we'd love to come back to with a big event at least annually," Fischer said. "Whether or not we complement that with maybe one or two smaller events - perhaps 'Fight Nights' - and we think there's quite good potential for an 'Ultimate Fighter,' maybe in a slightly different format here.
"That's a little bit wait-and-see, but I do think that in some shape or form, we will be coming back on probably a semi-annual basis - a big event and, ideally, a second event, whether that be a 'Fight Night' event or 'Ultimate Fighter' format."
Penick's Analysis: Japan's not going to be a market the UFC can run a bunch of times a year like they've been doing with Brazil, but this event has already been more successful than a lot of people expected. Because of that, they're more than likely going to make it a once-a-year locale, much like they've done with Australia for the last several years. The Japanese MMA scene is not what it was when PRIDE was going strong, but there still may be a market for the UFC, however small it may be.
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I just woke up from the strangest dream.
I dreamt that nearly the entire NBA fan base had become transfixed on the exploits of a good but not great point guard in New York City. It was almost as if an entire nation of basketball fans had completely forgotten that there were other basketball players having great seasons or other basketball teams besides the New York Knicks.
It was probably just a weird dream though, right?
Real basketball fans aren't ignoring the fact that the best rookie point guard is either Ricky Rubio or Kyrie Irving are they? After all, Rubio's team plays in a better division, has a better record and he's fifth in the league in assists per game at 8.4.
Irving for his part has changed what was an awful Cleveland team into a more watchable one. He leads the team in scoring and his assist numbers will climb when his team acquires some better scorers for him to pass to.
Have NBA Fans not been watching what's been going on in South Florida? Don't look now, but even if you hate the Heat and LeBron, the team is playing some fantastic basketball. Watching LeBron and Wade dominate on both ends of the floor while getting great contributions from Chris Bosh have turned the Heat into the league's most dominating team.
They already share best the best record in the league with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Heat and Thunder are both having fantastic seasons, but the Heat entered this season with more pressure on them. That's a circumstance that the members of that team are largely responsible for but it doesn't diminish the impact of their current response to it.
The one difference between the Heat and the Thunder is the end result. For Miami, if this season ends with anything less than an NBA title, it will be considered a failure. As mentioned already, that's something that the members of the Heat are somewhat responsible for since Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook never held well publicized pep rallies in which they counted off the number of titles they'd eventually win.
Even with that being the case, to watch the Heat dissect teams these days is regardless of one's affiliations an impressive basketball exhibition. The Heat are a menace on the court. They can easily roll off 10-20 points in bursts of spectacular skill and athleticism and they can also be a shut down defensive team in bursts as well.
Then there's the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls have the second best record in the league and they've gotten to that point all while missing the reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose for considerable time. The Bulls aren't surprising anyone by having an impressive record, but not many would have predicted they'd be at that point even with Rose missing 10 of the team's 35 games.
How are the Bulls getting it done? Defense, of course. Only the Sixers allow less points per game. The Bulls also play clean defense allowing a second-in-the-league best 14.2 free throws to their opponents per game.
Did you happen to read about the Sixers in that previous paragraph? Jeremy Lin has been a nice story but the first place team in the Atlantic Division isn't the New York Knicks. It's the Philadelphia 76ers. New coach Doug Collins has them playing defense at a high level and the team is an exciting mix of talented, smart players.
The Sixers' strength may very well be their eventual weakness. The Sixers have a very balanced attack in which a core group of players do a little of everything. Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young are all key parts that do some of everything. The team has been without its best big man Spencer Hawes for most of the season.
The Sixers look well prepared to gut out the fast-paced regular season, but come playoffs, there will be times when the teams needs an individual player to step up his level of play and take over a game. Is Andre Iguodala that guy? He's going to get a chance to show everyone if he is.
In Oklahoma City, fans are able to watch one of the best pure scorers the league has seen in quite some time. Kevin Durant is only 23 years old but with his shooting ability, athleticism, height and determination to improve, he could be on a path to becoming one of the all time scorers in league history.
He's been partnered with a lightning fast point guard named Russell Westbrook. Westbrook shoots a bit too much at times, but the pair have such prodigious talent that even as they try to figure out how to best utilize their considerable talents together, they've also managed to tie the Miami Heat with a league best 27-7 record.
Finally, there's the LA Story—that is the new rivalry and unusual trajectories of Los Angeles two teams. The Clippers and the Lakers are both historically relevant franchises. One, the Lakers because of their history of great players, great teams and titles. The other, the Clippers because of missed opportunities, bad draft picks and losing seasons.
Yet, the Lakers are mired in an unusually mediocre season with internal team discord as well as issues with their upper management. Meanwhile, the Clippers are all of a sudden one of the league's best stories.
The preseason acquisition of Chris Paul coupled with the reigning NBA Rookie of The Year Blake Griffin have turned the Clippers into one of the league's best attractions. Dishing, dunking and running their way to way to first place 20-11 record.
With all the NBA news seemingly all Lin, all the time. It's easy to forget how many different story lines are developing within the NBA. This serves as a reminder.