Archive for September, 2011
Saturday, September 24th, 2011
Considered maybe the most dominant 205lbs fighter ever, Wanderlei Silva has run into a string of bad luck, as his Hall of Fame career continues to come to a close.
2-6 in his last 8 fights, Wanderlei has been brutally knocked out by Mirko Cro Cop, Dan Henderson, Rampage Jackson and Chris Leben in that span, and coming off his most recent loss to Leben, UFC President Dana White even said Wanderlei was done.
Not the case, as “The Axe Murderer” has signed on to replace the injured Vitor Belfort in the UFC 139 co-main againt against the debuting Cung Le.
Wandy was in town recently for a number of promotional appearances and I got the chance to sit down and chat with him about this fight, his possible retirement, the UFC heading back to Japan and a whole bunch of other issues.
Remember to follow me on Twitter, like Wanderlei does, @grohoman590
Friday, September 23rd, 2011
It’s been almost exactly a month since the last UFC pay-per view, and after, once again, going 3/5 with my predictions I am bound and determined to get back on track, for UFC 135
This is a fantastic show, and the start of a VERY hectic UFC schedule, where we have a major event almost every weekend.
So without further ado, here are my UFC 135: Jones Vs. Rampage predictions
Jon “Bones” Jones (13-1) vs. Quinton “Rampage Jackson (32-8)
This is perhaps the fight I’ve been most looking forward to all year. Aside from Wanderlei Silva, Rampage is my favourite fighter of all time. Ever since watching him power bomb Ricardo Arona in Pride, to his battles with Wanderlei, to his hilarious personality, I have been a Rampage supporter for years and finally, three years after losing the Light-Heavyweight title to Forrest Griffin, Rampage gets a crack at the title again.
The only problem is the champ is Jon Jones. A guy who has looked absolutely unbeatable in his short UFC career and by unbeatable, I mean he has never once looked like he was even remotely in trouble. His 84 inch reach is the biggest in the history of the UFC, his wrestling is perhaps the best in the company and is generally regarded as the future of the sport of MMA.
Rampage bread-and-butter has always been his striking. He has brutal knockout wins over Wanderlei, Chuck Liddell, Marvin Eastman and Kevin Randleman. His hooks from the pocket can put anyone to sleep, as can either hand. He wrestled when he was younger and showed that he has ju-jitsu skills, in the Dan Henderson fight. He’s only been knocked out a handful of times… the two losses to Wanderlei and the loss to Shogun Rua come to mind, and he was visibly stunned in both the Lyoto Machida fight and the Rashad Evans one too. We’ve talked about fighters with so-called “iron jaws” who have punched their last tickets and are now easily knocked out (Nogueira, Liddell, Cro Cop, Wanderlei etc.).
Jones loves to throw unorthodox and surprising strikes and revels in the opportunity to take an opponent down, used his spectacular wrestling and ground and pound out a (t)ko win.
Jones should most definitely be undefeated. His only loss was by DQ to Matt Hammil because of an illegal elbow that only delayed Hammil from going unconscious. Already this year he has taken out TWO top 10 fighters (Ryan Bader and Shogun Rua) and a third win over a top-10 opponent will only prove he is the fighter of the year.
I see this fight going two ways. The way Rampage wants it to go, and stay on the feet and the two trade or the more likely of scenarios… Jones takes Rampage down and throws his elbows.
Sadly, in either scenario I don’t see Rampage coming out the victor. He has a punchers chance, but I don’t think he reclaims the title (I hope he does tho).
Prediction: Jones by 2nd rd submission
Matt Hughes (48-8) vs. Josh Koscheck (15-5)
We haven’t seen Kos since he literally had his face broken by Georges St. Pierre, last December… and he is stepping into this fight on a little under three weeks’ notice.
Diego Sanchez was the original opponent for Hughes, but a broken hand during training forced him to the sidelines and Kos into the co-main event.
It’s been just as long for Hughes, who is coming off a 23 second KO loss to BJ Penn, last November.
Both fighters are wrestlers, which means this fight will likely stay on the feet, where I think Kos has the striking advantage. He also has age on his side.
Sadly, I see Kos taking this fight over Hughes, in what will probably be Hughes last fight. He’s on the last fight of his UFC contract and has already said a front-office job, like the one Chuck Liddell holds is pretty tempting.
Prediction: Koscheck by decision
Ben Rothwell (31-7) vs. Mark Hunt (6-7)
*Yawn* I’ll go with the upset. Hunt by TKO although I’m sure we will see a boring Rothwell decision.
Prediction: Hunt by 3rd rd (t)ko
Nate Diaz (13-7) vs. Takanori Gomi (32-7)
This fight I’m actually really interested to see! This is my pick to be fight of the night, with two guys who like to stand and bang, but are no strangers to the ground game.
Gomi is the former Pride Lightweight Champ. Diaz is the TUF 5 winner, and trains with some of the best fighters in the world, including brother Nick.
Gomi hasn’t looked like the killer he was in his Pride days, but he hasn’t looked sloppy either, holding a UFC knockout win over Tyson Griffin and submission losses to Kenny Florian and Clay Guida – one a former title challenger and the other one win away from a title shot.
Diaz continues to bounce between the light-weight and welterweight divisions, with him dropping back down to 155 after he was manhandled by my boy Rory MacDonald at UFC 129 in Toronto.
Nate fights like his brother… throws a lot of jabs and can submit anyone. Gomi throws a lot of hooks, likes his body shots and definitely has knockout power, with KO wins over Duane Ludwig, Mach Sakurai and Jens Pulver.
Unless Gomi catches Diaz, I think Nate will jab his way to a decision
Prediction: Diaz by Decision
Rob Broughton (15-5-1) vs. Travis Browne (11-0-1)
A nice heavyweight tilt on the card with Browne, who is an up and coming big man in the UFC taking on Broughton, who is fighting for just the second time in the Octagon.
Browne looked good in his knockout win over Stefan Struve in June. Out of his 12 pro fights, 9 have ended by (t)ko.
Broughton, meantime, has 7 (t)kos and 5 submissions in his 21 career fights.
I expect this to be a slugfest,with both guys gassing in about the second round. With Brown eventually getting the KO
Prediction: Browne by 3rd rd (t)ko
Remember to follow me on Twitter @grohoman590 for live tweets throughout the fights.
Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
Fresh off his two week training camp with UFC Welterweight Champ Georges St. Pierre, Firas Zahabi, Kenny Florian, Rory MacDonald and a host of other top ranked UFC and MMA fighters, Gary “Saint Lion” Mangat stopped by the Sportsnet Radio Fan590 studio for a sit down interview with Geoff Rohoman:
Saturday, September 17th, 2011
If you’re a UFC fan, then you will LOVE the company’s schedule between now and the end of the year, with some sort of UFC event almost every week until 2012.
It all started with The Battle on the Bayou – Jake Shields Versus Jake Ellenberger.
This Ultimate Fight Night 25 event was a solid show, on Saturday September 17th.
Four days later, Wednesday Sept 21, we get the season premiere of the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show – this season coached by Michael Bisping and Jason “Mayhem” Miller.
Even though I don’t consider each episode an event, we will have this, once a week, until the beginning of December.
Fast forward three days to Saturday September 24th and we have UFC 135: Jones Vs. Rampage, where Jon “Bones” Jones puts up his new Light-Heavyweight Title against former champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
On the undercard we have Josh Koscheck facing Hall of Famer Matt Hughes.
Move ahead one week to Saturday October 1st and we have UFC On Versus (And Sportsnet) 6… where we get our first title fight on free TV since UFC 75 where Rampage Jackson defended his Light Heavyweight title against Dan Henderson.
This time we have Bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz taking on Demetrious Johnson.
One week later, on pay-per-view, Saturday October 8, we get TWO title fights. The trilogy is completed, when Frankie Edgar defends his Lightweight title against Gray Maynard.
A rematch from their January fight which ended in a draw, as Edgar tries to avenge the only loss on his record.
Then, Jose Aldo defends his Featherweight title against probably his toughest test in Kenny Florian – Florian’s second fight at 145lbs.
Not to be outdone, on this show, Chael Sonnen makes his octagon return, by facing Brian Stann.
We get a couple of weeks of, but Saturday October 29th is the much talked about UFC 137 event, with Georges St. Pierre defending his Welterweight title against training partner Carlos Condit.
Originally, of course, this was supposed to be Nick Diaz’ title shot, but some screw-ups by the Stockton, California native has bumped him to the co-main event against BJ Penn.
We also get Mirko Cro Cop’s possible last fight… scrapping it out with Roy Nelson.
The following Saturday, November 5th is UFC 138, from England – Free on Rogers Sportsnet and headlines by Chris Leben fighting Mark Munoz.
Seven days after that, November 12th, is the UFC’s much hyped debut on FOX, where Heavyweight Champ Cain Velasquez makes his first title defense (for free) against top contender Junior dos Santos.
Believe it or not, but just seven days after this, November 19th, is UFC 139. No concrete main event, yet but it looks like it could be headlined by Vitor Belfort welcoming former Strikeforce Middleweight champ Cung Le to the octagon.
We get about a week breather, before the December 3rd TUF 14 finale, which for only the second time will actually feature the coaches going to battle in the main event of the finale.
Michael Bisping tries to inch closer to a Middleweight title fight and shut the large mouth of Jason “Mayhem” Miller.
Fast forward another week to December 10th and the UFC is back in Toronto for UFC 140. No main event just yet, but both Nogueira brothers are on the show, as is Mark Hominick and Rory Macdonald.
Two weeks off and the UFC rounds the year out with the debut of Alistair Overeem, who fights Brock Lesnar, December 30th.
Talk about a busy time to be an MMA fan. This doesn’t even take into account of the Strikeforce and Bellator shows.
As always, follow me on Twitter @grohoman590.
Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
Go to any UFC meet and greet, event, fan expo or MMA convention and you will see fans, waiting in line to meet their favourite fighters, holding a Round5 action figure.
The Markham based company has exploded, with collectors going out of their way to snatch up the latest figures, sculpted to look like the top competitors in the UFC.
What started as the brain child of Damon Lau and Randy Couture, has turned into an international business, a huge partnership with the UFC and limited edition figures that sell on e-bay for hundreds of dollars.
I recently had the chance to speak with Damon about Round5’s series seven line, future lines , their Bruce Lee collection and what’s on the horizon for the company.
Follow me on Twitter @grohoman590 for details on some give-aways we are doing, where you can snag some Round5 figures yourself.
Thursday, September 8th, 2011
What a crazy couple of days in the UFC. There have been some major announcements that have almost completely been ignored, because it seems 12 hours later another, bigger story breaks… culminating with Nick Diaz being pulled out of the main event slot for UFC 137. So lets try a break down what has gone on since the weekend. rong>Toronto gets big name fights UFC 140 from Toronto is starting to take shape with a handful of fights reported for the show. First and foremost is what will likely take the co-main event status – Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Vs. Frank Mir II. Nogueira extended his MMA career with his upset knockout win over Brandan Schaub at UFC 134, from Brazil. Frank Mir is coming off an uninspired decision win over Roy Nelson. This is a rematch that makes a lot of sense. The two fought at UFC 92, back in December of 2008, where Mir made “Big Nog” look silly – putting on a boxing clinic and dropping him twice before finishing the fight by (t)ko. When watching that fight, unbiased, this rematch might not make any sense… but when you take into the fact Nogueira came into it with a torn up knee and a staph infection, the fight starts to make sense. Let these two legends and former UFC Champs battle it out, with as close to 100 per cent health as possible. Also on the UFC 140 card, we will see Kelowna’s Rory MacDonald return to the octagon, after his destructive win over Mike Pyle – taking on Brian Ebersole, who is coming off a win over Dennis Hallman. I’ve said this around the office and I will say it again… Rory MacDonald is a future champion at 170lbs. Dude is just awesome and looks unbelievable every time i see him fight. Considering he is just 21-years-old, the future is bright. In fact, i’ll go as far as to say that Rory looks better than GSP did at 21. Brian Ebersole is the opposite of MacDonald… a journeyman who has over 60 pro fights. He’s found some recent success in the UFC, with wins over Hallman and Chris Lytle, but this is a BAD fight for him. Rounding out the UFC 140 announcements is Mississauga’s Claude Patrick’s addition to the card, where he will fight Rich Attonito. This is a nice test for Patrick and a very winable fight, as he continues to ride a 13 fight win streak, including going 3-0 so far in the octagon. Attonito is a former TUF cast member, who is 3 and 1 in his UFC career. two of those wins coming by decision. Patrick has looked very impressive in his UFC career, so far, as well and a win here should move him one stup up on competition. rong>Alistair Overeem signs with the UFCtrong> Aside from maybe Nick Diaz and Gilbert Melendez, the superfight fans have been drooling over ever since Zuffa bought Strikeforce has been Alistair Overeem taking on the UFC heavyweight division. If you havent seen Overeem, to steal from an article I read a long time ago, picture a Marvel Comics superhero who has been genetically created to steal your girlfriend. The Dutch striker has been on a TEAR recently, riding a seven fight win streak where six of those wins have been finished in the first round and five of them have been stopped in under two minutes. He was under contract with Strikeforce, when he was suddently cut, along with his brother and a couple other teammates, over problems Zuffa had with their management team. With the issues sorted out, Overeem and the UFC opened up talks and finally came to an agreement, earlier this week. Fans celebrated, as we would finally see Overeem compete against the best heavyweights in the world and see how he stacks up. The only question was, who would he fight first? rong>Alistar Overeem signs to fight Brock Lesnar We waited about 15 minutes to find out who Overeem would fight first – a returning Brock Lesnar, on a rare Friday night UFC pay-per-view, December 30th. There are rumblings that Overeem, the current Strikeforce Heavyweight champ actually turned down an automatic title fight against the winner of Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos because he didnt want to wait. So the fight was booked with the former UFC Champ. Dana White had said for a long time, Overeem shouldn’t be considered a top-10 heavyweght because he hasn’t fight anyone legit. This is his chance to prove Dana and the world wrong, taking on one of the biggest heavyweights around. How will Brock handle over a year off? How will he handle someone with lethal striking, perhaps heavier hands than Cain Velasquez and Shane Carwin? How will Overeem react to being put on his back by Brock almost immediately. This fight is so intriguing and I, personally, can’t wait. rong>Diego Sanchez breaks hand; Josh Koscheck steps instrong> This month’s UFC 135 took a hit for about a day, when word came down that Diego Sanchez had broken his hand in training and couldn’t fight Matt Hughes in the co-main event, underneath the headliner of Jon Jones versus Rampage Jackson. After the disasterous UFC 133, the company was quick to find a replacement for Sanchez – TUF season 1 alumni, Josh Koscheck. This is Koscheck’s first fight since last December where he was beat up by GSP, and it’s a nice returning fight, against the Hall of Famer. Kos should easily win this fight, if not by using his striking, but by using his grappling Remember, for the latest MMA headlines and my opinion on them, follow me on Twitter @grohoman590
Wednesday, September 7th, 2011
The media who gathered at Real Sports Bar at Maple Leafs Square joked, Tuesday after hearing Nick Diaz wasn’t in Toronto for the UFC 137: Champion Versus Champion promotional stop.
“Here we go again.”
“That’s about right.”
“Didn’t Dana tell him he can’t do things like this anymore?”
Diaz has had a reputation for years as a guy who had all the talent in the world as far as MMA goes, but his head was never into anything outside of fighting.
We don’t know what type of personal problems the guy might be going through. If he’s suffering from anything or what his side of this story is… but the bottom line is, this is nothing new.
He proved that during his first stint with the company, where he got into a fight inside a hospital waiting room with another fighter.
He showed it when perhaps the biggest win of his career, his gogoplata submission over then-Pride champ Takanori Gomi was overturned after Diaz tested positive for pot.
He proved that he isn’t the most stable of people when he, along with his other Cesar Gracie teammates jumped Jason Miller, live on CBS.
He showed signs of it, by no showing the Toronto event… and he proved it again, by no-showing the Las Vegas newser.
St. Pierre openly says he hates doing interviews, stare downs, etc. but he plays the game. Why Diaz would decide to skip a major promotional tour for the biggest fight of his career, when HIS BOSS will be there is anyone’s guess.
In true-to-form Dana White style, he pulled Diaz out of his title fight with GSP and replaced him with GSP training partner Carlos Condit.
Diaz has been calling GSP out for years. Diaz has called himself the best 170 pounder in the world and has accused both the French-Canadian and the UFC of avoiding this fight.
When the fight was finally made… after the fans demanded it… after the UFC bent over backwards to get Diaz out of his Strikeforce contract and under contract with the UFC, he pulls another stunt, and got what he deserved.
Dana White wouldn’t say if Diaz is done with the company or not. Probably just to make sure he wasn’t deathly ill or other circumstances surrounding his disappearing act, but I would believe we won’t see Diaz ever again in the Octagon.
I even joked with one of my co-workers at the Fan590 if I could expense medical bills if Diaz attacked me… due to him being insane.
Friday, September 2nd, 2011
By Geoff Rohoman
The UFC wanted to make a splash with their debut show on FOX, after signing a multi-year deal with the American Network. On Friday, they made that splash when President Dana White announced the first show, November 12th at the Honda Centre in Anaheim, will feature Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez defending his title against Junior Dos Santos.
This is one of the biggest fights of the year, and the fact the company is willing to give it away for free can be seen as one of two things. Smart and Dumb.
This fight was originally scheduled for UFC 139, which takes place the following week, in San Jose, but the decision to bump it a week, was, according to Dana White, agreed to by the two fighters in less than five minutes.
It’s a fight that will make the mainstream public take notice. For the long-term this is a genius decision.
Around a million people would have bought this fight on pay-per-view (not including people who watch at bars). That number will triple, maybe quadruple, now that it’s free and on a network, almost every television in the US and Canada get.
White called this “Griffin/Bonnar but on a bigger stage.”
Velasquez is one of the top prospects in the UFC, 9-0 and the first person of Mexican descent to win a combat sports heavyweight title. As much as the UFC will win from putting this fight on their Fox special, Cain will win too, with the exposure he will get in the lead-up, and the rallying support that will no doubt happen from the Mexican community in the US. He is the perfect guy to headline this show.
Dos Santos is a banger, who has destroyed everyone that has been in his way, for far in his UFC career, most recently obliterating Shane Carwin. I would go as far as to say there is a five per cent chance this fight is boring. It will be explosive and a great way to showcase this great sport.
Bottom line, this is a smart move, long term, for business, getting the attention of fans and non-fans with a blockbuster main event, on national television.
The UFC will lose out perhaps as much as a 50 million dollar pay-out, from pay-per-view sales that won’t happen, now that the show is for free.
From a short term business perspective, this doesn’t make much sense, when the company could have popped a big number for the debut Fox show, with any other fights; Rich Franklin versus Tito Ortiz perhaps.
Dana White says UFC 139, the following Saturday, will go on as planned, and now the company has to try to find a main event that will be a suitable replacement. Could it be Anderson Silva versus Dan Henderson? Let’s hope not and home that one is penciled in for the December 10th card in Toronto.
I think this is the right move from the UFC. Long term, this is the right fight to give away for non-fans or even casual ones, to get completely on board with. It also shows a great commitment to the FOX Network, and the network appreciates it, comparing this fight to them being able to air Ali-Forman, back in the 70’s.
This fight, though, might be precedent setting. Meaning, where does the company go for the next show? Unless it’s Anderson Silva versus Georges St. Pierre, the main event for their next special on Fox will be a disappointment right? Don’t count Dana White out on that.
Here is the full announcement with Dana White and the Fox executives: