Archive for April, 2011
Saturday, April 30th, 2011
So the big day is finally here and after two great days full of fighter interviews, pictures and crazed fans at the UFC Fan Expo, I get to sit here at the Rogers Centre as one of the truly LUCKY 55 thousand people here to enjoy the UFC’s first and historic debut in Toronto.
I won’t be giving individual round results, but I’ll be updating each fight as they happen. How do you know that everyone in the MMA world can’t wait for this fight? Bruce Buffer literally JUMPED when he announced his famous line “It’s Time!!!!”
In the first round – both fighters feeling eachother out, Shields catching St.Pierre’s leg but unable to secure the takedown. GSP lands a few jabs and a straight right hand and with not a lot of action, GSP still gets the better of the limited exchanges. In the second round is much of the same as GSP lands the only effective strikes, with stiff jabs, a few overhand rights and a few side kicks and spinning back kicks. In the third round, St.Pierre does the sameas rounds one and two but this time Shields at least tries for a few takedowns, all very feable attempts for the champion. With under 30 seconds left, GSP catches one of Shields’ half-assed kicks and takes him to the ground to finish the round.
Featherweight fight – Pablo “Scarcrow” Garza (11-1) vs. Yves “Tiger” Jabouin (14-6) [the first of 10 Canadians on the Card]
The fight starts out by the taller Garza controlling the clinch, Jabouin escapes and lands some powerful leg kicks that buckle Garza. Garza then grabs the clinch again but this time slaps on a flying triangle that Jabouin couldn’t get out of.
Garza wins via Submission (triangle choke) at 4:31 of the 1st rd.
The second fight is in the Lightweight division: Kyle Watson (16-7-1) vs. John “The Bull” Makdessi (8-0)
The first round saw Makdessi land a lot of lead hooks while working great footwork and defensive head movement while moving backward. In the second round, it was much of the same, except Makdessi landed lead uppercuts as well as hooks, but still utilized far superior footwork than Watson. Th third round didnt last that long, but it ended with Makdessi landing the most PERFECTLY timed and placed spinning back fist to knock Watson out.
Makdessi improves to 9-0 via KO (spinning back fist) at 1:27 of the 3rd rd.
The 3rd fight of the night was in the Middleweight division where Ryan Jensen (16-6) was facing Red Deer, Alberta’s Jason MacDonald (22-13).
In speaking with Jason on Thursday afternoon at the pre-fight workouts, this was a HUGE fight in his career as he’s coming off the first injury that he’s ever suffered in his last fight vs. John Salter almost a year ago. Well, luckily for Jason – his fight didnt last long. Right off the bat he shot in for a takedown and went for Jensen’s back. Jensen was able to post up and get MacDonald off his back, but he left his arm in and that’s what Macdonald used to slap on a triangle choke. Jensen, trying to get out of it, slammed MacDonald which just tightened it and it was over before you knew it.
Jason MacDonald makes a successful return to the UFC with a win via Submission (triangle choke) at 1:37 of the 1st rd.
The 4th bout of the night – in the Bantamweight division Charlie Valencia (15-5) is put to the test vs. Ivan |Pride of El Salvador” Menjivar (21-8) – the 4th Canadian to fight on the card.
If you blinked, you missed this one folks. Menjivar landing a left elbow flush on the jaw of Valencia knocked the American to the mat where the Montreal resident finished him with a flurry of punches.
Menjivar wins via TKO (punches) at 1:30 of the 1st rd.
The final non-televised bout is in the Welterweight division – it has Daniel “Ninja” Roberts (12-1) vs. Toronto native, Claude “The Prince” Patrick (13-1)
The first round was dominated by ‘The Prince’ who secured the first of two takedowns in the round. The second time Roberts managed to get back to his feet, Patrick peppered him with uppercuts. The second round was controlled by Roberts as he managed to trip up Patrick and continue to pin him against the cage when they were back on the feet. The third round saw Patrick press forward once again to earn him the win.
Claude Patrick improves to 14-1 infront of his home crowd with a Unanimous Decision victory.
For our first televised fights, Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger (24-5-0) (last minute replacement for Brian Foster) vs. another Toronto native in Sean Pierson (11-4)
This fight didn’t last long, just like most of the others on this historical card, there was a finish, and it wasn’t in Pierson’s favour. Ellenberger showed why his nickname is “The Juggernaut” as he landed a flush left hook and then followed it up with a right hand on his way down to the canvas.
Jake Ellenberger ruins the Canadian streak as he wins via KO (punches) at 2:42 of the 1st rd.
The final preliminary fight featured Rory “The Water Boy” MacDonald (10-1) vs. one of the most well-known Californian badasses Nate Diaz (13-6)
The first round saw MacDonald dominate the round with head kicks, Diaz tries to wrap him up after ‘The Water Boy’ lands an impressive flurry. In the second round, it was more from the Kelowna native, as he worked the jab and inside leg kick combo to a tee. MacDonald kept Diaz guessing with flying knees and superman punches. The third round was a complete joke in favour of MacDonald as he threw the Californian around like a rag doll three suplexes in the round couple with some vicious ground and pound.
Rory MacDonald wins via unanimous decision
On to the main card where the Lightweights kick this off where another Torontonian will do battle in Mark Bocek (9-3) vs. Benson “Smooth” Henderson (12-2)
This fight went all three rounds and all three rounds were pretty much the same. Bocek doing his best to solidify a takedown but Henderson stuff his attempts and mixing up his striking and catching the Toronto native with knees, and a barage of punches. Both fighters attempted submissions, but both came away unsucessful.
Ben “Smooth” Henderson is succussful in his UFC debut, defeating the hometown boy via Unanimous Decision.
In the Light Heavyweight Division it was Jason “Hitman” Brilz (18-3-1) vs. Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko (25-5)
Yesterday at the weigh-ins Georges St.Pierre said “Don’t blink tomorrow” referencing his own title defence vs. Jake Shields. But maybe he meant it for the ENTIRE card as the 4th KO happend in just the 9th fight of the night. The Janitor tagged Brilz with an uppercut, hook combo that but Brilz out just 20 seconds into the first round.
Vladimir Matyushenko wins via KO at seconds of the 1st rd.
The fight of the night that non of the fighters both Geoff and I interviewed could call is the Light Heavyweight bout between Randy “The Natural” Couture (19-10) vs. Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (16-2)
The first round went to Lyoto as he controlled the pace even though he got tagged early with a left hook by Randy. He landed two solid knees as “The Natural” was shooting in for a potential takedown. But in the 2nd round, The Dragon did something that most fight fans, nevermind MMA fans thought would never be done again. A front kick knockout. The only difference between this one and the one Anderson Silva did on Vitor Belfort just a few short months ago, was this one was more of a switch-kick (bigger wind up). And of course, after it all happened Machida thanked his dad, and Steven Segal for teaching him! Deja Vu or what?!?! Steven Segal is now officially just as successful as Greg Jackson….
In the Featherweight Title Fight that has Thamesford, Ontario’s Mark “The Machine” Hominick (20-8) vs. Jose “Scarface” Aldo (18-1)
The first round saw what most people thought they were gonna see from Jose Aldo – vicious leg kicks. But he then landed two solid takedowns and controlled Hominick on the mat with some effective ground and pound. The second round saw Hominick getting the better of the exchanges on the feet which forced the Brazilian to take him down and control him again. In the third round, Aldo looked like he was slowing down and Hominick was starting to pick him apart on the feet until a right hand hit him in the ear late in the round that buckled his knees and sent him to the canvas. Aldo couldn’t finish the resiliant Canadian though, but spent the rest of the round in the dominant position.In the 4th round, we saw Aldo get back to the leg kicks and a straight right hand down the pipe that drops The Machine. Somewhere the ground and pound Hominick develops a mouse the size of a tennis ball on his forehead but still survives the round. In the fifth and final round, Aldo continues to pepper Hominick in the stand up until the hometown boy takes the champ down and posts up with his own ground and pound for the last 2 minutes or so. But it was all too little too late.
Jose Aldo wins via unanimous decision (50-43, 48-46, 49-46)
And finally, what 55 thousand fans have been waiting for ever since the event was announced….The Welterweight Championship fight between Jake Shields (26-4-1) and Georges “Rush” St. Pierre (21-2)
It is sooo electric in here that my chair is vibrating as I type this, not to mention the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck are standing..
The first three rounds had the champion controlling the pace, picking his shots and stuffing the half-assed takedown attempts by Shields. GSP used a lot of what was successful vs. Josh Koscheck in the stiff jab, sometimes jumping into them, overhand rights and a variety of kicks to the body – either side kicks or spinning back kicks. The fourth round was looking much like the first three until Georges landed a head kick that send Shields to the canvas, but the challenger quickly recovered. Before the final round, both competitors shook hands at the center of the octagon, both fighters pushed the pace a little bit more, but the most effective strikes were his overhand right hands. All five rounds going right into GSP territory as he dictated where he wanted the fight to go.
Georges St.Pierre defends his title for a 6th time via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 48-47, 48-47)
Tuesday, April 26th, 2011
By Michelle Sturino
UFC 129 will be a display of so many things. Not only will it be a huge coming out party for MMA in Ontario as the third professionally sanctioned card and biggest event in HISTORY. But it will also feature two Championship bouts (GSP vs. Shields and Aldo vs. Hominick), it will be the final time fight fans get to see ‘The Natural’ in the octagon, AND it will also be a platform for Canadian fighters.
Ten of the 12 fights on the card will feature a Canadian fighter. Here’s the breakdown of where all the Canadian content on UFC 129 is from: Four fighters are either from or are fighting out of Quebec: (St.Pierre, Menjivar, Makdessi, Jabouin); four fighters are fighting on their home soil here in Ontario (Hominick, Bocek, Pierson, Patrick); one fighter is fighting out of Alberta – via Nova Scotia originally (J.MacDonald) and one fighter from B.C. ( R.MacDonald).
I had the great opportunity to talk to Sean Pierson, a Toronto native and has been in the fight game since 1999. We spoke about anything and everything from his new opponent in Jake Ellenberger, being a part of the biggest MMA event in history, and finally getting to fight at home infront of family and friends. Take a listen.
Before I sign off for today, I wanted to give you, the FANS of Mixed Martial Arts and in this case, the UFC a chance to have your SAY. Geoff and I will be around all of the events leading up to and including 129 here in the city. We will have chances to interview a number of your favourite fighters. If there are ANY questions you guys want to ask – let us know!!! We have no problem being your voice. Send us your name and where you’re from with your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And remember – keep tuning into Sportsnet Radio The Fan 590 and Fan590.com for all of your UFC interview and update needs.
Tuesday, April 26th, 2011
The UFC continues their lead up to UFC 129, Saturday, by giving back to the Toronto community that has patiently waited for MMA to come to the city and will graciously host the company for the next week.
UFC Prime Minister Tom Wright along with Lightweight fighter Sam Stout were at the Cabbagetown Youth Centre, handind over a cheque for $129,000 to bring in MMA equipment and get at-risk kids off the streets and into the gyms.
This is all part of the UFC’s Community Works Program, which will see the company give money to communities hosting their events for the next year.
I was able to speak to Sam Stout about the initiative, as well as his good friend Mark Hominick’s upcoming Featherweight title fight against Jose Aldo, to Stout’s fight with Yves Edwards at UFC 131 in Vancouver.
Press play below to find out more on the UFC’s Community Works Program:[audio:http://pmd.fan590.com/audio_on_demand/UFC-media-presser-gr-20110426.mp3]
Saturday, April 23rd, 2011
Mark “The Machine” Hominick will try to give Canada it’s third UFC Champion, ever, when he steps into the Octagon with Jose “Scarface” Aldo, at UFC 129 from the Rogers Centre.Hominick, who is no stranger to being the underdog, was recently a guest on the Andrew Krystal Show on Sportsnet Radio, The Fan 590, and Geoff Rohoman previews Hominick’s quest for UFC gold in this report:[audio:http://pmd.fan590.com/audio_on_demand/Mark-Hominick-Supervoicer-gr-20110423.mp3]
Friday, April 22nd, 2011
Friends, colleagues and listeners have all asked me the same question recently. “I have tickets to UFC 129… what’s it like live??”
Having been to UFC shows as both a fan and a reporter, I can tell you that the atmosphere is second to none. From the action inside the cage, to the rock concert like ambience, to the tens of thousands of knowledgeable MMA fans, it’s an experience you won’t forget and it’s exactly why people keep filling the arenas, monthly, for each show.
What to expect:
Pay-Per-Views you get five fights… sometimes as many as seven depending on the time. If you haven tickets to the event, you get access to the full fight card, which usually includes seven fights that don’t make it to TV.
If you’re spending the big bucks, why not spend the entire night watching the sport you love, as opposed to showing up as the pay-per-view starts and only see the main fights. It’s the undercard fights where the future stars of the UFC get their first big time fights… and a lot of the time, the best fights are early on the card.
DJ Al3 is one of the main reasons a UFC show feels like a rock concert… because whenever there’s a break in action, he is pumping tunes through the sound system. A nice mix of old favourites and current tracks, plus a few of his personal mixes keeps the building electric, even when there are no fights happening.
If you weren’t already jacked enough for the show to start, this video will get you fired up. The UFC puts together a montage of their best highlights, to the tune of Baba O’Reilly by The Who. The video is constantly updates as new highlights are made at different events. The way the highlights are put to the beat of the song is really a thing of beauty.
An older version of the song, to get you hyped:
There will be almost 100 fighters in Toronto around the time of the show. They are doing autograph sessions and seminars at the Fan Expo. They are hosting after parties around the city. And most of them will be inside the Rogers Centre and completely accessible, to fans.
The usual courtesy is in place – don’t bug them during the action, but they are always willing to pose for pictures and sign autographs. At UFC 115 in Vancouver, Clay Guida was mobbed by about 50 fans as he walked into the arena… and posed for every picture that was asked of him, before taking his seat. Even the fighters who are competing are more than willing to pose for a quick picture on their walk out of the cage, after their fight.
Bruce Buffer might seem like a just a guy with a big voice, but until you’re live in the arena, you don’t understand how awesome he is. And it’s a shame the UFC doesn’t use a wider camera angle when he’s introducing fighters, inside the octagon.
That’s because Buffer gets right in the fighter’s face when he’s reading off their home town, record, nickname and name. He is right in there, pointing and getting the guys ready for war. It’s awesome. So is his fake turn before he intros the first fighter.
Arianny Celeste in person
Event specific merchandise
The UFC puts together some great merchandise. A lot of generic stuff with the UFC logo on it, action figures, gloves etc. But they also put out some event specific merchandise. UFC 129 posters, t-shirts, etc. They also will sell merch with a Canadian flag incorporated into it, or red and white themed t-shirts.
So, we are just over a week away from the big show! Enjoy it!
Check out Andrew Krystal’s interview with Mark Hominick, who will be challenging Jose Aldo for the Featherweight title, by clicking here.
And remember to follow @grohoman590 on Twitter for live tweets during the show.
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
In the wee hours of Sunday morning I received a phone call that I’ll never forget. A friend of mine passed along a message that I’ll never forget. A friend, training partner and promising mixed martial artist, Kearn Nedd was fatally shot. Details of the incident weren’t and still aren’t concrete but what is for certain, was HOW he died.
While at a charity poker tournament at a banquet hall in Brampton on Saturday afternoon, two unidentified gunmen entered the establishment looking for money. Kearn tried to break up the robbery and was fatally shot in the chest. Witnesses say that the dozens of people who were in attendance could’ve been hurt or killed if it wasn’t for Kearn’s intervention.
The only way to TRY and recover from the emotional toll it has taken in losing such a good athlete, friend and person is to LEARN. Here are just a few of the lessons that I have learned in just few days following this unforgettable incident:
Standing at 6’6 Kearn Nedd always looked out for the ‘little guy’ but it wasn’t just his stature, it was his nature. It was something he did on a day-to-day basis and it was the last thing he did on this planet. He died exactly how people knew him and what people thought of him, SELFLESS.
Never take anything for granted. Laugh like it’s the last joke you’ll ever hear. Train like it’s your last session. Treat others how you’d want to be treated. Tell your family and friends what they mean to you when you get the chance. I know that anyone who knew Kearn wishes they could tell him what a unique, happy person he was. He had a way of treating people like they were his best friend regardless of how well he knew you.
Martial arts teaches and offers us so much. It gives the weak strength. It gives the insecure confidence. It gives the timid courage. It gives the uneducated knowledge. The unfortunate part about receiving all of these gifts through the art and the sport is that sometimes, regardless of how much you know or how much you train, a coward with a weapon will have the upper hand.
MMA may be a sport that a lot of people don’t understand and don’t want to understand because at times it’s glorified by chokes and knockouts. But what those people will never understand is that WE ARE a community. Our gyms are tight nit FAMILIES, brothers and sisters who sweat, bleed and cry together. Today we mourn the loss of a brother, but he’ll always remain an important part of our family.
We’ll miss you Kearn.
Friday, April 15th, 2011
Friday was the first time Maximum Fighting Championship President Mark Pavelich got a chance to show his family and friends what the rest of Canada already knows – he runs the most successful Mixed Martial Arts promotion in the country.
The Windsor native was responsible for truly merging sports and entertainment at MFC 29: Conquer. From the time the lights were dimmed at Caesar’s Casino to the raising of Douglas Lima’s hand after he successfully defended his welterweight belt vs. Terry Martin, the five thousand fans in attendance were pleased (with the exception of Ryan Jimmo’s 5-round title defense)with Ontario debut of the Canadian based MMA promotion.
I got a chance to catch up with the MFC President himself about his company’s first show in Ontario, his promotion having to adopt the cage for the event and the results of some of the great bouts his fighters put on.
Check out all the MFC 29 results are below.
Douglas Lima def. Terry Martin via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:14
Ryan Jimmo def. Zak Cummings via unanimous decision
Marcus Davis def. Curtis Demarce via split decision
Hermes Franca def. Robert Washington via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 0:26
Pete Spratt def. Demi Deeds via submission (armbar) – Round 2, 4:19
Ali Mokdad def. Andreas Spang via submission (rear-naked choke) – R1, 1:35
Dhiego Lima def. Josh Taveirne via submission (rear-naked choke) – R3, 3:35
David Harris def. Chucky Mady via submission (rear-naked choke) – R1, 3:07
Matthew Spisak def. Pete Brown via unanimous decision
I also got a chance to catch up with Light Heavyweight Champ Ryan Jimmo as we discuss everything from his title defence, his 15-fight winning streak and the secret behind doing a good robot dance! Check it out…
Jimmo is definitely one of the more unique personalities in the MMA world. But if you’re interested in checking out some of the other interviews I did with UFC veterans Marcus Davis, Pete Spratt, Hermes Franca and MFC Welterweight Champ, Douglas Lima check out: http://www.youtube.com/user/OntarioMMAalliance
Stay tuned…next week as I will have the amazing opportunity of being under the tutelage of Firas Zahabi, GSP’s trainer. All I can say is that I am so excited to learn from the best.
Saturday, April 9th, 2011
For the first time since the Zuffa purchase, Strikeforce presents their latest show, featuring a pair of title fights.
A lot of controversy surrounding this event, following the buy out… especially from title challenger Paul Daley who actually threatened to pull out of the fight due to his feud with Dana White.
The main event will go on as planned though, with Daley going after the Strikeforce Welterweight title, held by Nick Diaz
Welterweight Title: Nick Diaz (24-7) Vs. Paul Daley (27-9-2)
Nick Diaz is probably the best fighter, NOT in the UFC… and if he wasn’t insane he probably would be challenging GSP.
This is just another paper challenger for the Cesar Gracie fighter, as the 170lbs competition outside of the UFC isn’t even close to top notch.
Daley is an elite striker in the division… he doesn’t have the nick name “Semtex” for nothing… but outside of his hands, his game considerably falls off.
Diaz has fantastic ju-jitsu but likes to strike. He would be smart to take this fight to the mat and ground and pound his way to the win instead of throwing his usual jabs.
I think he will do just that and get the win in the second round.
Prediction: Diaz by 2nd rd (t)ko
Lightweight Title: Gilbert Melendez (18-2) Vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri (27-6-2)
Diaz training partner Gilbert Melendez is back in the cage, defending his title against the battle tested Japanese fighter.
While Diaz is probably the best fighter NOT in the UFC, Melendez is probably the best 155lbs’er NOT fighting in the octagon.
Melendez will look to take this fight to the mat almost immediately and use his grappling and ground and pound style to take the win.
Kawajiri is coming off a win over Josh Thompson… one of the two people who have picked up wins over “El Nino.”
Melendez will be too much though and pick up the win in the third.
Prediction: Melendez by 3rd rd (t)ko
Shinya Aoki (26-5) Vs. Lyle Beerbohm (15-1)
Despite being a jerk, Aoki has one of the best ground games in all of MMA. Beerbohm has heavy hands and will try to keep this fight standing. Aoki will be shooting all day long and if he gets Beerbohm on the ground will throw a plethora of submissions at the Spokane, Washington native.
Aoki has a questionable jaw, so Beerbohm will definitely try to strike.
I think if he can’t take him down, Aoki will pull guard and pull off a submission in the second round.
Prediction: Aoki by 2nd rd. sub.
Gegard Mousasi (30-3-1) Vs. Keith Jardine (17-9-1)
You gotta give props to the Dean of Mean who took this fight on a little over a week’s notice and a good opportunity for Jardine to show the Zuffa brass he has regained form… the form we saw on TUF 2. Jardine is riding a two fight win streak, after dropping five in a row, while Mousasi is fighting for Strikeforce for the first time since his loss to “King Mo.”
Mousasi lacks wrestling and wrestling defence… but Jardine’s jaw is questionable. I think “The Dreamcatcher” will catch Jardine early.
Prediction: Mousasi 1st rd. (t)ko.
Hiroyuki Takaya (15-8-1) Vs. Robert Peralta (13-3)
The Dream featherweight champ fights in the States for the first time since 2008 and it’s nice to see Strikeforce giving him some publicity, capitalizing on his run in Japan.
There are no sure bets in MMA… anyone can get caught at any time, but I don’t think this fight lasts long.
Takaya wins because of his explosive hands.
Prediction: Takaya 1st rd (t)ko.
Send me your comments, anytime and remember to follow me on twitter @grohoman590.
Thursday, April 7th, 2011
Testing the waters is something that is reserved for the courageous. There’s a reason why you dip your toes instead of jumping in head first. But Casino Rama and Knockout Entertainment Canada managed a full-fledged nose-dive into the sea of Mixed Martial Arts with MMA: The Reckoning on Saturday night. The duo wanted to be the first to host a sanctioned professional MMA card in Ontario; not a small task considering the biggest Mixed Martial Arts event EVER will be taking place just four weeks after their historic launch in the province. But they did so with flying colours. Three encouraging details came to the forefront during the 8-fight card. The first, was more of an obvious one as a capacity crowd of 5,000 people filled the seats at Casino Rama proving that the UFC isn’t and won’t be the only successful MMA ticket in town. Of the fans in attendance, ninety percent of them KNOW the sport. When people applaud takedown defence and ground transitions, you know the sport has come a long way and fight fans in Ontario are amongst the most educated. And finally, no one can underestimate the amount of talent this province and country boasts. Of the eight fights and 16 fighters on the card, 11 of them are Canadian and six of those 11 are from this very province.
One of those fighters was part of the Co-Main Event, London, Ontario’s Chris “The Polish Hammer” Horodecki. He made quick work of his opposition, submitting David Castillo via rear naked choke in the first round. Castillo, no slouch himself, is a product of MMA legend Jeremy Horn training out of Elite Performance Gym in Utah. I got a chance to interview “The Polish Hammer” after the historic event about his win, the success of Team Tomkins and how he came up with his ‘unique’ nickname.
One of the other high profile fights featured Ultimate Fighter Ulumnus Dean Amasinger from Team Rough House in England (home of other great fighters like Ross Pearson, Dan Hardy, Paul Daley) vs. Matt MacGrath, training out of Titans MMA in Nova Scotia. But facing UFC Veterans isn’t something new for the East Coaster. We discuss how he got slated to take on the fisty Brit and what is next for him in the future amonst other things.
Thanks to Ontario MMA Alliance for taping the interviews and if you want to check out a few more of my interviews with fighters from MMA: The Reckoning, visit http://mmaalliance.ca/