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Posts from — December 2011

UFC 141 giveth and taketh away

UFC 141 must have been a satisfying and devastating night for UFC boss Dana White. First, he watched as the perennial thorn in his side, Jon Fitch, had his welterweight title hopes derailed once and for all courtesy of a crushing lead left hook from Johnny Hendricks after just 12 seconds. Then, he saw his most valuable commodity, Brock Lesnar, kicked into retirement by Dutch juggernaut Alistair Overeem after just 2:26 of his eighth and final MMA bout.

Hate on Lesnar all you like, but his absence will leave a far bigger hole in the UFC heavyweight division than his 6-foot-3, 266-pound mass can fill. He gave up a lucrative job throwing fake punches and pile drivers to test himself as a real fighter, and in his first four fights he became the UFC heavyweight champ and the sport’s biggest pay-per-view draw, a galvanizing behemoth who dragged a legion of pro wrestling acolytes to the UFC to cheer and jeer him. Now, a combination of disease and a severe dislike of being hit have ended his second bid for a title and his MMA career, sending him, perhaps, back to the scripted theatrics and flying chairs (and much larger paychecks) of the WWE.

With the sport’s second biggest draw, welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre, sidelined for the next nine or 10 months due to a knee injury, it’s been an unkind end to 2011 for White.

Still, he can take a quantum of solace in the fact that he know longer has to put up with Fitch’s complaints about not getting a second tile shot, something which surely would have happened had Fitch defeated Hendricks as expected (especially with GSP out of action, sparing us — and Fitch — another five-round beating). Instead, Fitch will likely find himself relegated to the undercard for the foreseeable future, unless he can start finishing a few opponents in decisive fashion, while Hendricks has put himself in line for the interim belt.

Meanwhile, Overeem will ready himself for his title shot with Junior dos Santos, a battle of the division’s best kickboxer versus the best boxer. The only question is, will JDS choose to stand and trade with the Strikeforce and K-1 champ, just to prove who is the best striker, or will he play it smart and use strikes to work for a takedown and finish it on the ground? We’ll have to wait months to find out, so let the speculation begin.

Ed. note: Not much to say about the rest of the card, which, unlike the last two UFCs, was filled with decisions, most notably Nate Diaz surprisingly outstriking Donald Cerrone to a unanimous decision.

December 31, 2011   2 Comments

Video: a serious MMA rap battle

I saw this a few weeks ago, but it seems appropriate to post it now, post-Ralek Gracie rap video.

December 20, 2011   No Comments

Video: Dirk Diggler would be proud that Ralek Gracie goes all “Ice, ice baby”

Ralek Gracie deserves a lump of coal in his Christmas stocking. He should then be beaten about the head with it. And then choked out with it.

Sure, I know it’s gotta be tough to be a Gracie, at least if you intend to make your life in martial arts. And maybe that’s why the son of UFC founder Rorion Gracie (and nephew of Royce and Rickson) is making a bid to be Vanilla Ice, because a three-fight Dream career just wasn’t cutting it. But rapping about jiu-jitsu? This is Super Bowl Shuffle-level bad. I have to wonder if this is some kind of horribly unfunny joke.

December 20, 2011   No Comments

Video: Bob Sapp doesn’t know when to quit either

Although curling up from a barrage of strikes is par for the course for the former K-1 notable.

December 19, 2011   No Comments

Video: Jens Pulver proves he’s no honey badger

Pro athletes rarely know when to exit their sport gracefully. Their competitive nature, along with a total lack of real-world job skills, keeps them hanging on for one more game, one more match, one more fight. Case in point: Jens Pulver. Once upon a time, Pulver was the honey badger of MMA, a Pride veteran, UFC lightweight champion and WEC featherweight contender. But the 37-year-old hasn’t looked good, hasn’t been truly competitive, since his IFL knockout of newly unemployed UFC fighter Cole Escovedo in 2006. Last weekend Pulver headlined an RFA card in Nebraska against Tim Elliot. Hopefully, some sense got knocked into him and he’ll retire.

December 19, 2011   No Comments

Who can stop Cyborg Santos?

After watching a few of Alistair Overeem’s old Pride battles, losing efforts against the likes of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua back when Overeem looked like a Boyz II Men wannabe and tipped the scales at 205 pounds, or about 50 pounds lighter than the Overeem who will step in against Brock Lesnar at UFC 141, I settled in for Saturday’s Strikeforce event, which played out in predictable and boring fashion, as expected, especially lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez’s five-round decision win over Jorge Masvidal.

Boring except for 16 seconds late in the card, the precise 16 seconds that Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos needed to blast Japanese dominatrix-turned-punching bag Hiroko Yamanaka into a puddle to retain her women’s 145-pound strap. The 18 months off since her last fight didn’t hurt Cyborg’s performance, or maybe it did and she should’ve demolished the number-two-ranked featherweight in the world in six or seven seconds. After all, she dropped Yamanaka with a left hook and a couple of sharp rights within three seconds, considered and reconsidered a rear-naked choke and then crushed her against the fence with fists.

And again the question needs to be asked: Who can stop Cyborg Santos? Who can match her power, her fury? Ronda Rousey? Don’t bet on Rousey ripping Cyborg’s arm off. Even if Cyborg drops to 135 pounds, something she’ll consider, although making the 145-pound limit is already a test, she’ll be the biggest monster on that block, as well.

December 18, 2011   No Comments

Dana White tweets about prison rape

Don’t tweet about rape. Don’t talk about it. Don’t think about it. That was pretty much Dana White’s message after firing Miguel Torres for making a rape joke on Twitter. Well, a whole week’s gone by and now somebody in the UFC is tweeting about rape.

Yep, the UFC boss himself lets loose on an internet troll who wishes White dead for the holidays, which is an ugly and stupid thing to say (and poorly spelled)  but hardly worth responding to, especially with a grammatically questionable rape reference and especially especially not a week after sacking Torres.

White already ignored his “think twice, tweet once” advice when he cyber-bullied a tweeter a couple of days after the Torres incident. What’s next, texting in a bomb threat to the White House? Somebody please take White’s cell phone away from him.

December 16, 2011   No Comments

Video preview: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Satoshi Ishii

December 16, 2011   No Comments

Junie Browning vs. Thai mafia, Brock Lesnar vs. Bambi, Sean Sherk vs. SWAT and other MMA nuttiness

There’s a mixed bag of MMA news on this Friday afternoon, most of it scraps about upcoming scraps along with a few scrapes with the law. So let’s get started.

There’s Junie Browning on the run from the mafia in Thailand (of course he is); Brock Lesnar busted for poaching in Alberta during a recent killing spree, er, hunting trip (of course he was); Brett Rogers won’t face Tim Sylvia in a New Year’s Eve DREAM bout because he just got out of jail for beating his wife and can’t get a travel visa (of course not); and Sean Sherk was dragged from his car by a British SWAT team (didn’t see that coming).

Martin Kampmann and Thiago Alves will headline the March 3 UFC card in Australia, which has to be one of the weakest main events in some time even if it is free. The UFC has scooped up another heavyweight, re-signing Brazilian Gabriel Gonzaga to a four-fight deal starting with Ednaldo Oliveira at, you guessed it, UFC 142 in Brazil. Meanwhile, reports are circulating that Paulo Thiago is out of UFC 142 due to a dislocated elbow suffered during training. He was to face Mike Pyle on the card headlined by featherweight champ Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes.

December 16, 2011   No Comments

Say goodbye to the Strikeforce heavyweights

A quick Strikeforce update. Along with a new Showtime TV contract expect a contraction within the promotion. The heavyweight division will get the axe following Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier’s Grand Prix final (give or take a fight), which is predictable considering that there’s not many big men left after it was announced Fabricio Werdum will return to the UFC to face Roy Nelson. Also gone is the Strikeforce Challengers series, which was already redundant given that Strikeforce is pretty much a feeder league for the UFC already.

The new Showtime deal kicks off on January 7 when middleweight champ Luke Rockhold faces Keith Jardine. It’ll be the first of eight Strikeforce shows on Showtime in 2012, which makes me think back fondly to when there were barely a dozen UFC events each year, leaving plenty of weeks in between to watch old fights and get pumped for the next great match-up. So maybe a smaller, more focused Strikeforce will be a good thing, delivering just a little bit of that young UFC nostalgia.

December 15, 2011   No Comments

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