September 12, 2012 § 2 Comments
1. Greatest Heavyweight Fight of all Time
This December 29th at UFC 155, Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez will once again lock horns in Las Vegas in what is surely the biggest Heavyweight collision of all time.
In their previous encounter it was Dos Santos who emerged victorious with a quickfire KO to claim the title. The fight was chosen to be the UFC’s premiere event on FOX and was billed as the biggest fight in MMA history.
Since their first fight, the champion has gone on to defend his belt against UFC vet Frank Mir and Velasquez rebounded impressively by smashing former EliteXC champ Antonio Silva in one of the bloodiest MMA beatings ever.
The big question is: was Dos Santos’ flash knockout a fluke? If dragged into an extended battle, could ‘Cigano’ compete with the wrecking ball that is Velasquez?
2. Greatest Women’s Fight of all Time
Rhonda Rousey versus ‘Cyborg’ Santos: a truly gigantic fight for women’s MMA and one with enough commercial appeal to bounce the division into the big leagues.
Rhonda Rousey, the current poster girl of women’s MMA and arguably the biggest fighter on the Strikeforce roster. Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos, the disgraced former destroyer of a champ who, as the picture above shows, unleashed savage batterings to all who she faced.
Rousey remains unbeaten with a staggering 6 first round wins via armbar. Santos hasn’t lost since 2005 and was on a ten fight winning streak until her win over Hiroko Yamanaka was ruled a NC after a failed drugs test.
In many ways this is a battle of good versus evil, or at least it has a feel of it. Rousey is the olympic hero who has won through purely technique and ‘Cyborg’ is the drug cheat who’s wins were through unnatural, unwomanly and unfair means.
3. Greatest MMA Fight of all Time
It looks like it is finally upon us. If Georges St’ Pierre can defend his UFC welterweight title against interim champ Carlos Condit then it is believed that the super fight fans have been calling for may just finally come to fruition. Two of the most dominant champions of all time, who have cleared out their respective weight classes and then some, will hopefully square off in by far the biggest fight of all time.
Both fighters have reached a level in their careers where it is no longer about the money, the fame or the rankings- it’s about the legacy and the glory. Both fighters are now only interested in big fights, fights for the ages, fights that mean something more. After so many, what seem like routine title defences, both fighters look ready to cement their legend in the octagon.
The biggest fighters of a generation will battle atop the MMA mountain as the new-wave, new-breed MMA generation of fighters crash against the rocks below. Both fighters must know their reign of dominance is coming to an end and what a fitting final hurrah to bow out on. No one will lose in this fight.
June 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
After weeks without posting I have been stung back into action by the shocking soccer kick KO of Roger Huerta by Zorobabel Moreira at ONE FC. After witnessing a clearly battered and stupefied Huerta stumble defenselessly while Moreira continued to land heavy punches and knees, I could not believe that the referee did not jump in to stop the fight. However, it got worse. As Huerta wearily succumbed to his knees, Moreira took up the stance to preform a soccer kick. Noticing this, the referee started yelling “NO KICK! NO KICK!”, this however, fell on deaf ears as Moreira did his best Cristiano Ronaldo impression by blasting Huerta square on the face. Two things: one, why did the referee not jump in to prevent the unnecessary kick he seen coming? Two, if he was telling Moreira not to kick then I have to presume that they are illegal and if so, why was there no DQ?
Either way the referee is the real culprit and has let himself, Huerta, ONE FC and the sport of MMA down. Efficient refereeing is more important in MMA than in any other sport and his performance was shameful. It was so bad that he deserves to be kicked in the head.
Despite a damning review by MMAJunkie’s FightDoc, many fans still pine nostalgically about PRIDE, the glory days of watching downed opponents getting kicked in the head. This fight has sparked a very divisive debate about the technique and whether or not it has a place in modern day MMA.
On one side, soccer kicks can break necks and kill people, require no skill and are performed exclusively on downed opponents. On the other side… “IT’S A FIGHT DUDE! NO HOLDS BARRED, YOU DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO! SOCCER KICKS ARE COOL, MAN.YEAH, BRO.GRR”.
It does not diminish the spectacle of the sport by including a little bit of reasoned health and safety protocol. The combination of such a deadly technique with such god awful refereeing could undoubtedly result in the sport’s first death.
May 29, 2012 § 4 Comments
At UFC 146, C.B. Dollaway and Jason Miller took part in a career suicide pact, Miller was ground out and forced to follow through with a self-imposed retirement pledge, Dollaway on the other hand has strangled his marketability with his boring fighting style and anti-personality.
It’s ironic that one of the most excentric and exciting fighters in the sport should bow out to a fighter whose signature technique is crushing boredom.
With this performance Dollaway has cemented his position as an undercard fighter and will need to make drastic improvements to erase this from the minds of fans.
May 17, 2012 § Leave a comment
The battle royal of UFC 146 has cast a heavyweight-size shadow over some incredibly exciting prelim fights. Those who overlook the undercard and dismiss it as unimportant are wrong to do so. Some great fights have flown under the radar, hidden by the heavyweight fascination, failed testosterone tests and twitter campaigns that have accompanied the PPV.
1. Edson Barboza versus Jamie Varner
As I have said before, Edson Barboza is one of the most exciting fighters on the UFC roster and he’ll be looking to continue his seemingly unstoppable pursuit of the championship when he faces former WEC champ Jamie Varner. This will be Varner’s first fight back in the UFC and is coming off an impressive first round finish of veteran Drew Fickett. Barboza is now maincard worthy and a match up with a former champion is something not to be missed.
2. Jason Miller versus C.B Dollaway
Jason “Mayhem” Miller is one of the most popular fighters in MMA, despite a lack of credible success. After his unsuccessful return to the UFC against Michael Bisping, Miller is on the brink of capitulation in this do-or-die match up. Rather than drift back into the wilderness of Strikeforce or Bellator, he has said he will retire from the sport should he lose. Dollaway’s situation is a similarly desperate. Riding a 2-fight losing streak, Dollaway is in need of a vital win. Two flagging fighters scrapping for their future in an MMA relegation battle.
3. Dan Hardy versus Duane Ludwig
Very similar to the previous fight, ever-popular Dan Hardy is fighting for his UFC career against Duane Ludwig. Hardy’s profile within the sport hasn’t wavered despite being on a 4-fight losing streak, however popularity and promotion are unlikely to save him should that run stretch to five.
4. Diego Brandao versus Darren Elkins
Ultimate Fighter season 14 winner Diego Brandao is set to make his UFC debut against Darren Elkins. The explosive Brazilian tore through TUF and heads into this fight with a surprising high level of hype. The UFC tends to feed TUF winners the obligatory tomato can to ease them into the competition but this is not one of those occasions. Elkins is 3-1 in the UFC and could spoil Brandao’s arrival. An impressive win for either fighter will propel them into the title picture, alongside with the likes of Brookins, Oliveira, Hioki, Mendes and Siver just behind Chan Sung Jung and Erik Koch.
April 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
1. Underrated Striking
Frank Mir’s striking seems to be overshadowed at times by his ground game. Many people focus on his BJJ when describing his skills and forget about his much improved boxing. His ground game is rightly feared but that does not mean his hands and feet should be overlooked. Ever since he knocked out Minotauro Nogueria at UFC 92 Mir himself has spoken proudly of the development of his stand up. This advancement has been rubber stamped by his impressive victories over Mirko Cro Cop and Cheick Kongo.
2. Ground Game
As I said above, Frank Mir’s ground game is notorious and is the one clear area in which he has an advantage over the champion. It is his ground game that makes this an intriguing match up. Dos Santos has yet to face anybody with Mir’s BJJ ability (how could he, Mir is the best in the division) and it would be very interesting to see how Junior would fare if forced into a deadly ground battle with the former champ. He has however fought high level practitioners before such as: Fabricio Werdum, Stefan Struve, Gabriel Gonzaga and Roy Nelson but none of them were ever granted the opportunity to test the Brazilian on the floor, there inlies Mir’s dilemma and the mystery of this fight- will it ever reach the mat?
3. Less Pressure
I don’t know how much of a factor this could potentially be but Frank Mir has considerably less pressure on him to win heading into UFC 146. Mir is highly unfancied for this fight, as he was for the Velasquez fight, despite this he is only one big punch away from becoming an unlikely champion. He has nothing to lose, he’s getting a title show not many imagined he would get, considering how much of an underdog he was going up against Velasquez. Dos Santos on the other hand has went from facing a 50/50 pick’em to being the overwhelming favourite. How will that affect him heading into his first title defence?
Frank Mir has spoken of having less to worry about in facing Dos Santos as opposed to Velasquez. Unlike Dos Santos, Velasquez has been known to take the fight to the ground and use ground and pound or throw a variety of kicks. Dos Santos so far has been able to get by on his boxing alone. Utilizing a Chuck Liddell-like style of combining great takedown defence with unstoppable knock out punches, Dos Santos has forced opponents to reluctantly play his game to their demise. There are question marks over how he would cope should someone disrupt this game plan. The fact that his one loss came via an armbar submission is curious.
Now I am not for a second going to be outlandish and declare Mir favourite or even deny that he should be underdog. I doubt that we will leave with the belt but I also believe he has more of a chance than people think. I’m not sitting on the fence but this is a much more interesting fight than people are giving it credit for. As Mike Goldberg likes to say ‘Stylistically, it’s a great match up’.
April 16, 2012 § 8 Comments
1. Alastair Overeem
The very existence of this article informs you that a replacement has not yet been named and Alastair Overeem remains in the main event. The very fact the UFC has decided file for a license application suggests they still harbour hope of their headliner being saved despite his remarkable 14-1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio. Is it worth muddying the name of MMA with dirty politics in order to save this match up?
2. Frank Mir
Without a doubt the most deserving fighter currently waiting in reserve. Set to face former champ Cain Velasquez in the 146 co-main event and the winner would become number one contender. Surely then it only makes sense to give the potential call up to one of these fighters? However you can’t really give it to Velasquez as his last fight was against Dos Santos and an immediate rematch would be unearned.
3. Mark Hunt
#RallyForHunt. One of the major shocks of the Overeem-Roids scandal, more shocking than the scandal itself (let’s face it the revelation that Overeem’s growth was not legit is hardly surprising, horse meat-pah!) is the upsurge in support for Mark Hunt. An incredible Cinderella story that has seen the K-1 legend go from defeat in a courtesy fight against Sean McCorckle to the stunning upset of Cheick Kongo and now a Twitter campaign has pushed the New Zealander to the verge of an unlikely title shot.
4. Dan Henderson
Dan Henderson wants a belt. Whether that be at middleweight, light heavyweight or, as he revealed recently, heavyweight- it really doesn’t matter to ‘Hendo’. Following wins over Fedor Emelianenko and Shogun Rua, Henderson is in a very prominent and versatile position. He is a multi-divisional number one contender who can be interchanged into whatever title fight he may want. At the moment he is in line to fight the winner of Jon Jones and Rashad Evans but has hinted that he may opt for a rematch with Anderson Silva. Now he is saying he would step up to face Dos Santos. Despite being a seemingly improbable choice, he is just as deserving as Frank Mir and has every right to flit between divisions. He is getting a title shot but whether that will be at heavyweight remains to be seen.
5. Fedor Emelianenko
Ok, admittedly this one is silly. Not only is his next fight is rumoured to be in St. Petersburg against Bobby Lashley but also he hasn’t achieved anything of note since 2006. Wins over Brett Rogers, Andrei Arlovski, Tim Sylvia, Jeff Monson and Satoshi Ishii are really nothing to write home about for someone who is regarded so highly by so many. His best years are behind him but a marquee fight with Dos Santos would be huge if not merited.
April 13, 2012 § 2 Comments
1. Alexander Gustafsson
At UFC on FUEL TV 2, Alexander Gustafsson will face the returning Thiago Silva in Sweden. Many expect the young Swede to win on home turf and if that is how the fight goes, I can’t imagine it will be too long before Gustafsson gets a title shot. Right now he is not really viewed as a title contender but given the state of the light heavyweight division and his young age, by 2013 Gustafsson will be a force within the UFC.
2. Antonio Silva
Recently drafted over from Strikeforce after getting knocked out of the heavyweight tournament by Daniel Cormier, Antonio “Big Foot” Silva is set to make his UFC debut against Roy Nelson at UFC 146. With the current heavyweight division being as stacked as it is, I imagine “Big Foot” will be involved in a number of high-profile matches by 2013 and will have amassed a following based, if not on his success, purely on morbid fascination. His crushing victory over Fedor will live long in the memory and will grant him a certain longevity of credence.
3. Gilbert Melendez
Not many lightweight challengers remain for the Cesar Gracie fighter to face in Strikeforce. Although Dana White has spoken against it, it can’t be long before Melendez is in the UFC. There are so many big fights out there in the UFC’s most hectic division. The fans want to see a title unification fight and end this perpetual run of rematches that has congested this accordion of a division.
4. Daniel Cormier
Daniel Cormier has come out of nowhere and now he is just one fight away from perhaps being somewhere special. If he can maintain his 100% record and beat Josh Barnett in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Finale then he may well find himself filling an Overeem-shaped hole in the UFC.
5. Rhonda Rousey
Strikeforce womans champion Rhonda Rousey has garnered a pretty sizeable fan base already. Instantly marketable with her good looks, charismatic personality and not to mention her lethal fighting ability, she could be the figurehead of womans MMA for years to come. Her arm snapping finish of Meisha Tate continued her arm bar gimmick. There is something wholesome about Rousey, unlike with previous womans kingpin ‘Cyborg’ Santos (the female version of Overeem) there isn’t a stomach churning size disparagement between her and her opponents. If the UFC decides to finally create a womans division, Rousey will in turn become one of the most recognisable fighters in the world.
6. Renan Barao
Described by Joe Rogan as being the ‘best fighter in the world without a belt’, Renan Barao is ripping through the batamweight division like a merciless Brazilian tornado. A string of highlight reel knockouts and an Aldo-esque striking game has earned him a lot of fans.
7. Michael Bisping
Will Michael Bisping finally shake off his tag as the perennial nearly man? Once again the Brit was on the verge of a title shot only to lose a razor close decision to Chael Sonnen. Unlike the Henderson and Silva fights, this loss does not seem to have dropped him too far down the pecking order. Looking through the middleweight division it does appear that he is locked in a five way battle for a title shot (Munoz, Belfort, Weidman, Palhares and himself). A win over any one of these fighters could propel him into a title shot. Next up he is surprisingly fighting a resurgent Tim Boetsch at UFC 148.
8. Rory MacDonald
An extremely well-rounded Canadian welterweight who trains out of Tristar Gym in Montreal… seem familiar? Rory MacDonald is very much the protegé of UFC welterweight champ George St. Pierre. Described as one of the so-called ‘new breed’ of MMA fighter, MacDonald seems unstoppable in his rise to the top. The one blemish on his young record is a loss to current UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit. There is a feel of the Jon Jones about him and his situation in relation to training partners and title aspirations. It must have crossed GSP’s mind that he is training a young killer who is gunning for his belt. With Nick Diaz out the picture, Fitch losing and BJ retiring, MacDonald may only be two wins away from a title shot. Jake Ellenberger and Martin Kampman will decide the next number one contender and the Hendricks-Koscheck fight effectively knock one of them out of the race. A fight with Jake Shields or a rematch with Carlos Condit (should he lose to GSP) will have the young Canadian challenging for the title.
9. Chris Weidman
Chris Weidman, like Bisping, is on the cusp of a middleweight title shot. Young and unbeaten, Weidman is viewed by many as the next big thing in the middleweight division. In his last fight he beat former title challenger Damian Maia. He hasn’t been given his next opponent yet but all the would be title challengers are currently occupied so a contendership showdown fight is unlikely and probably unadvised. With the middleweight division being as deep as it is, a slow and steady stream of middle of the road middleweights may be lined up as the title picture gets pruned. A fight with Yushin Okami, Chris Leben or Ronny Markes may be next.
10. Edson Barboza
His wheel kick knock out of Terry Etim at UFC RIO extened this young Brazilians unbeaten streak to 10 fights. Lurking in the shadows of the crowded lightweight division, Barboza seems to be only one or two wins away from a title shot and if he continues with his current lethal form I can’t think of many fighters who can stop him. The winner of Miller and Diaz will likely face the winner of Henderson and Edgar but it’s reasonable to assume that the champion at the end of that will have to face ‘Junior’.