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Posts from — January 2010

Couture vs. Coleman should be to the death (the first one to stroke out loses)

Does this get you excited for UFC 109’s Randy Couture vs. Mark Coleman bout? If the fight guaranteed that whoever lost never fights again then I might – might – be interested.

January 31, 2010   No Comments

Cyborg dominates Strikeforce: Miami

Does Erin Toughill have a hope in hell of beating Cris “Cyborg” Santos? Does anyone?

Toughill is expected to be the next to face Cyborg following the Brazilian champ’s impressive overpowering of a very game (read: solid striking, more resilient and less intimidated than I’d expected) Marloes Coenen at Saturday’s Strikeforce: Miami event. Coenen, a submission specialist, stood and banged in the early going and was clearly stunned when the shots she landed didn’t even make Cyborg blink. Cyborg ate whatever Coenen could dish out and asked for more, beating her against the cage, throwing her to the floor and and dropping hammerfists like a female Wanderlei Silva until the referee stoppage in the third round. Give Coenen credit – she fared better than Gina Carano did in the same position (although Coenen and Carano both looked about the same afterward – bloody and bruised and completely demoralized), and any question about Cyborg’s stamina is now moot. Definitely the fight of the night.

The other title fight, for the vacant welterweight strap, saw Nick Diaz pepper DREAM champ Marius Zaromskis with punches from long range (Diaz has arms like a chimpanzee) and weird angles for a first-round TKO but it was by no stretch a “striking clinic,” as some have written. Diaz’s striking is not a style any fighter should try to emulate – his punches zip about like a swarm of mosquitoes, with no real power behind them. But it was enough to knock Zaromskis, who’s known for his fight-ending head kicks, off his game as he never got one off, in large part because Diaz pinned him against the cage and drove knees into his right thigh until he could barely stand.

Herschel Walker is an incredible physical specimen but he doesn’t walk on water. The 47-year-old NFL great and former Olympic bobsledder won his MMA debut – via third-round TKO – but it was a sloppy effort against a wet blanket named Greg Nagy. Still, he stalked Nagy, nagged him with punches and kicks, landed the rare takedown and delivered a bit of ground-and-pound, nothing to be embarrassed about. Nothing to write home about either.

Dutch knockout specialist Melvin Manhoef should be embarrassed. For an entire round he had Robbie Lawler backing away and covering up as he delivered brutal leg kicks that repeatedly knocked Lawler’s leg out from under him. He showed patience and delivered sharp piston-like punches. Then he leaned a bit too far forward, dropped his hands a bit and Lawler clipped his paper chin and he folded. Lights out. A tste of his own medicine. Give Lawler credit – other than the leg damage, which left him hobbling around the cage post-fight, he did a good job of covering up during the barrages of punches. But the fight was Manhoef’s to lose and he did.

And it was paint-by-numbers as former WWE wrestler Bobby Lashley dumped Ultimate Fighter loser Wes Sims on his ass and ground-and-pounded him until he rolled over and cried uncle. Certainly not the kind of test Lashley needs if he wants to prove he deserves a shot at Fedor Emelianenko or any of the other top Strikeforce heavyweights.

Great card? No. A couple of okay fights – and one great one in Cyborg/Coenen – but that’s it.

January 31, 2010   1 Comment

The UFC visits Ferrari World

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This sounds like a National Lampoon’s Vacation movie but it’s true. UFC 112 – featuring a middleweight title bout between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort, a lightweight title bout between BJ Penn and Frankie Edgar, and Matt Hughes against Renzo Gracie – will be held at Ferrari World. In yet another example of the gratuitous wealth possessed by Middle Eastern oil sheiks, an outdoor arena is being constructed in the Abu Dhabi theme park specifically for the April 10 event. Is it just me or does it look like something Pixar animators might have drawn up on their computers, a secret lair for an Incredibles villain maybe?

January 30, 2010   No Comments

Brock Lesnar trains to gay Viking soundtrack

I don’t really care that Brock Lesnar is back training. I mean, I’m glad he’s better, but that’s the extent of my goodwill toward the UFC heavyweight champ. So why am I posting this? Well, watch the video and then tell me what music is playing. It screams “gay Viking” to me.

January 30, 2010   1 Comment

Strikeforce comes out in full force

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What to make of tonight’s Strikeforce: Miami card? Stoner Nick Diaz and DREAM headhunter (and welterweight champ) Marius Zaromskis may be the official headliner as they battle for the vacant welterweight title, but there’s a couple of other show-stealers on the card.

Obviously, Herschel Walker will attract the lion’s share of the attention. You can’t expect less when an NFL legend makes his MMA debut. It doesn’t hurt that the NFL Pro Bowl takes place on Sunday also in Miami, meaning football fans who couldn’t care less about MMA will likely be tuning in. Walker’s opponent is veritable unknown Greg Nagy, a 1-1 fighter with a nobody record. There’s little chance Strikeforce intends to throw tae kwon do black belt Walker – a promotional cash cow – to the wolves, meaning Nagy should be an easy mark. Then again, that’s what EliteXC thought when they gave Seth Petruzelli to Kimbo Slice. So, quick knockout or three rounds of sloppy slap fighting – it could go either way.

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Expect Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos to steamroll through Shooto and Smackgirl vet Marloes Coenen to retain her 145-pound women’s title. Cyborg is a destroyer, Grendel in a sports bra, and Coenen, while a more technical fighter, just isn’t (look at the weigh-in photo, people!). Like Cyborg vs. Gina Carano, there’s little chance this makes it out of the first round.

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Likewise you can expect an early night for 185-pounders Robbie Lawler and Melvin Manhoef. Standing and banging is the dumbest thing Lawler could do against the Dutch K-1 and DREAM killer who has racked up 23 wins by knockout. The smart game plan would be for Lawler to use his wrestling, take Manhoef down and submit him. Right. Except Lawler has already admitted he plans to go toe-to-toe and see what happens. Maybe it’s foolish pride, maybe it’s mind games. Regardless, this bout has serious knockout of the night potential.

Speaking of knockouts, my gut is telling me that hillbilly heavyweight Wes Sims (from the most-recent season of The Ultimate Fighter) will get laid out like fresh lumber by Strikeforce newcomer and former WWE wrestler Bobby Lashley. Sims says he hasn’t really trained in months, and while he says it with that good ol’ boy attitude, he doesn’t have the same yokel charm – or sense of intentional misdirection – as when Forrest Griffin self-deprecates. Add to that the fact Sims didn’t sign for the fight until just last week. Can the picture be painted any more clearly?

Okay, back to the main event. Zaromskis is a cyclone. He won four times in 2009, including twice by highlight-reel headkick (one victim was Japanese star Hayoto “Mach” Sakurai, no less), and has ten career wins by stoppage from strikes. Diaz is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who fancies himself a boxer, which would be a dangerous path to take against a lightning strike like the Lithuanian Zaromskis. Tough call either way but I’ve got ten bucks on the DREAM warrior.

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January 30, 2010   No Comments

Jens Pulver documentary promises to explore the depth of Little Evil

I’ve never been much of a Jens Pulver fan (unless he was fighting BJ Penn). I admire his feral tenacity, but that’s about as far as it goes. But I have to give him a lot of credit for making something of himself considering where he’s come from. It’s no secret Little Evil had an abusive white trash upbringing. When he was seven, his father stuck a gun in his mouth and then deciding he wasn’t worth the bullets. And his whole fight career seems to have been built around literally battling those demons. Every time he steps in the cage, he imagines his opponent is his father.

Well, this trailer for a film about Pulver called Jens Pulver: Driven has me intrigued. If the final film pays off what the trailer promises – in-depth, honest, emotional, raw, and most-importantly insightful and self-reflective – then I’m there. It’s also got a Friday Night Lights quality about it – I suspect it’s the choice of music – and that’s a good thing.

I’ve been in touch with the filmmaker, Gregory Bayne, so expect an interview with him in the next couple of weeks.

As for Pulver, who dropped his last four fights to Urijah Faber (twice), Leonard Garcia and Joseph Grispi, he plans to unretire on March 6 at WEC 47. The former UFC lightweight champ (as well as PRIDE and WEC veteran) will face Javier Vazquez on a card that also features WEC bantamweight champ Brian Bowles vs. Dominick Cruz, Leonard Garcia vs. Diego Nunes and Miguel Torres vs. Joseph Benavidez.

January 22, 2010   No Comments

Matt Serra vlogs his way towards a clash with Frank Trigg, Jersey Shore-style

This one’s for Jesse Katz, an FW contributor and unofficial president of the Matt Serra Nut-hugger Association. Serra, of course, is facing Frank Trigg at UFC 109 on February 6. Also as expected, the pre-fight trash-talking is more entertaining than the eventual fight will likely be. Serra even denies in this vlog that he’s engaging in a war of words with Twinkle Toes. He is an entertaining character, though. Oh yeah, and there’s a random Jersey Shore reference in there, which Jesse should also like.

January 22, 2010   1 Comment

Strikeforce champ Jake Shields joins The Ultimate Fighter

I wonder how this is going over with UFC president Dana White: Jake Shields, the Strikeforce middleweight champ, will be on season eleven of The Ultimate Fighter. He has been asked by Chuck Liddell to be an assistant coach on the series. It remains to be seen just how much screen time Shields will get, whether it’s an annoyingly omnipresent Tiki Ghosn-level or an annoyingly elusive Greg Jackson-level. But either way it can’t sit too well with the folks at Zuffa, especially given Shields is expected to make his first title defense against recent UFC castaway Dan Henderson in April.

January 21, 2010   No Comments

Machida vs. Shogun II gets out of Floyd Mayweather’s way

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Before I get into the meat of things make sure you check out the video below. It’s really one of the best UFC promos ever. No annoying voiceover from the UFC’s equivalent of the movie trailer guy (“In a world where…), cool taiko drums, set a mood for what should be a classic clash. [Ed. note: Scott Wallace over at the BJJ blog ScottOnTheNet confirmed my suspicions that this is a fan promo by Socawarrior. There's no way the UFC would come with something this cool.] Okay, onward:

UFC president Dana White doesn’t think much of the way professional boxing handles itself. It’s a joke, in his eyes. But that’s not stopping him from getting the hell out of the way when he sees a freight train headed his way.

UFC 113, originally scheduled for May 1 in Montreal, will move to May 8 because the previous date is also when Floyd Mayweather will headline a pay-per-view against Shane Mosley. Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua II will still be the main event at UFC 113, although the long-awaited, much-hyped clash between Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is expected to move to UFC 114 on May 29 in Las Vegas. That date, of course, puts it just a couple of weeks in advance of the June 11 release of the A-Team movie in which Rampage co-stars.

January 21, 2010   2 Comments

Sarah Kaufman to battle Takayo Hashi for Strikeforce 135-pound title

Have to admit I’m excited about this: Sarah Kaufman will fight Takayo Hashi for the inaugural Strikeforce women’s 135-pound title on February 26. Kaufman made the announcement on her Facebook page just moments ago. The Victoria, BC, native is a strong striker with a solid ground game who’s accumulated a 10-0 record, including impressive wins over Shayna Baszler and Miesha Tate at back-to-back ShoMMA events last year. Her opponent is a 12-1 Smackgirl and ADCC vet. The two were originally supposed to meet at a Strikeforce: Challengers event last November.

January 20, 2010   1 Comment

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