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.
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 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’.
April 4, 2012 § 1 Comment
Long-time UFC middleweight number one contender and trash talk world champion, Chael Sonnen, is both lauded and hated for his highly xenophobic diss campaign against Brazil.
The American started the running joke during the build-up for his fight with Anderson Silva back at UFC 117. His rants angered other Brazilian fighters, especially Wanderlei Silva.
In commemoration of the outspoken middleweight’s rematch with the champion, here is some of his tweets and quotes that hopefully summarize why he polarises fans like no one else.
Interview with Ariel Helwani
“You have to understand. If I say something in a very private manner that isn’t intended for a certain audience, come on, you can’t hold that against me. I picked my medium very carefully when I talked about Brazil. I went to the internet. And if I had the foggiest idea that they had computers in Brazil, I wouldn’t have done that.”
“I was in Las Vegas when the Nogueira brothers first touched down in America. There was a bus…this is a true story…there was a bus that pulled up to a red light and ‘Lil Nog’ tried to feed it a carrot while ‘Big Nog’ was petting it. He thought it was a horse. This really happened? Do you believe me that that happened? He tried to feed a bus a carrot and now you’re telling me their country has computers? I didn’t know that!”
“Listen Wanderlei, I will do a home invasion on you. I will cut the power to your house and the next thing you’ll hear is me climbing up your stairs in a pair of night vision goggles I bought in the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine. I’ll pick the lock to the master room door and take a picture of you in bed with the Nogueira brothers working on your “jeeuu-jitsu.”
“What happened Mirko, what happened to your legs? Nothing happened. The referee’s not wearing an earpiece. The promoter didn’t come in the back and tell your opponent when to go down. That’s what happened. ‘I lost my motivation.’ No you didn’t – you suck. You suck just like Wanderlei sucks, just like Fedor sucks. Big difference when that referee is real isn’t it?”
March 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
I am writing this post in acknowledgement of the ever shortening list of fighters available to be put through the Jon Jones shredder. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not for a second discounting Rashad Evans’ chances at UFC 145, even if the bookmakers are. To me, Rashad Evans is the toughest fight of Jones’ career to date and is the man best equipped to take the belt. That said, if Evans should fail to regain the light heavyweight title, who else is really out there to face the champion? I have compiled a list, admittedly it is a short and multi-divisional list, of the last remaining beacons of hope should Evans fall.
1. Dan Henderson
Hendo is on a tear. He’s on a four fight win streak which includes wins over MMA legends Fedor Emelianenko and Shogun Rua. Henderson had vacated his Strikeforce light heavyweight title to pursue Jones and the UFC title. Stylistically, this may prove to be a difficult fight for Jones. Henderson possesses knock out power in his hands but he also has the wrestling credentials to possibly take the fight to the mat.
This fight scenario is very reminiscent of Henderson versus Silva in which the American succumbed to a rear naked choke. Jones has yet to demonstrate that he has a ground game as deadly as Silva’s. The submission victories the young champion has are against opponents so battered and demoralized that they limply concede limbs and necks.
Jones has faced a similar foe already. Ryan Bader is a watered-down version of Henderson- big one punch power and accomplished wrestling. The ease in which Bader was beaten must be a concern for Henderson fans.
2. Alexander Gustafsson
Alexander Gustafsson is like Jon Jones in a way. Very young and very promising and with only one blemish on his record. He has looked a real contender recently, finishing his last four opponents. He has yet to beat a top ranked opponent but his compition level has been gradually increasing.
In his next fight he will be facing dangerous Brazilain Thiago Silva at UFC on FUEL TV 2 in Sweden and if he can win impressively, necessity of a challenger in such a bare division may force the young swede into the title picture.
3. Anderson Silva
This is the most interesting fight of the list. Weirdly, despite dominating for six years, Anderson Silva is still further away from clearing his division than Jon Jones. Should Silva get past Sonnen he will still have to face the likes of Michael Bisping, Rousimar Palhares and Chris Weidman before his domination of the middleweight division is complete. Jones on the other hand has already dispatched of Ryan Bader, Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson and Lyoto Machida in such devastating fashion that rematches are out of the question. Apart from a few, the light heavyweight division is full of fighters past their prime or stumbling inconsistently.
4. Gegard Mousasi
The Strikeforce fighter and DREAM light heavyweight champion has always been one of the fighters fans having been craving to see in the UFC. If he can claim the vacant Strikeforce light heavyweight title then he may just finally have earned his rightful place in the big league. Not only would he be entering the big league but he will be entering a thoroughly depleted division.
5. Frank Mir
Like when Anderson Silva moved up to light heavy and fought Forrest Griffin, Jon Jones should just dip his toe in the water by facing a top 5 contender. Frank Mir has the skills and the name to match up with the PPV selling standards of Jon Jones.
This is all hypothetical though as Jones still has to get through Rashad Evans at UFC 145. Knowing my luck, Evans will likely win the fight rendering this article pointless.