Archive for December, 2008
Sunday, December 28th, 2008
It was billed The Ultimate 2008, and it certainly lived up to the hype. 2 title changes, some outstanding performances, and one highlight reel knockout helped close out an extremely successful 2008 for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. On Saturday night, “Sugar” Rashad Evans became the new UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Frank Mir captured the UFC Interim Heavyweight strap and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson finally got his revenge on an old foe.
Lets start with Evans, who defeated Forrest Griffin via TKO in the 3rd round. Plain and simple, Evans used his power and explosiveness to gain the win. Forrest was clearly ahead on points through 2 rounds, doing a nice job pushing forward and working nice combo’s to the body. He’d even caught Sugar with a few good cross shots, and at one time got Evans to grin, which almost always means you’ve hurt the guy. When the 3rd round began, both men looked fresh and both were still bouncing. Evans got Griffin with a nice right that put him down on the mat, but while trying to follow up, Rashad ended up in Forrest’s guard. But credit Evans, he was able to move around, keep Forrest working on his back, and eventually caught him with a nice shot while escaping wrist control…he finished the fight from there. So, Evans is the new 205 champ and is STILL undefeated inside The Octagon…but who will he face in his first title defence?
You could see a number of possibilities, including Rampage who we’ll get to in just a bit. Also floating around out there are Mauricio “Shogun” Rua who fights in January, maybe Lyoto Machida, but right now the possibilities are pretty wide open. It’s interesting to think about who fights Forrest next though. He was classy as always in defeat, and my buddy turned to me and said “you know he’s fighting Chuck Liddell next.” That got me thinking…it’s certainly something to consider, but there’s also that rumour The Iceman is next up against Anderson Silva. It would do massive PPV buys, with 2 of the most popular guys in the biz going at it, but I can’t help but wonder if a rematch with Keith Jardine would be next up for Griffin. Lots to consider coming out of this fight.
Also at 205, we saw a first round KO for Quinton “Rampage” Jackson over Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva. These 2 have a loooooong history, dating back to Pride when Silva KO’ed Jackson on 2 seperate occasions. Neither like eachother and that was evident with the pre-fight banter, including a shoving match at the weigh-in’s. For Jackson, it’s a big win on so many fronts. First, he finally has that win over his arch-nemesis and can have bragging rights for now, as it was a devestating 1 punch knockout. Second, it gets Quinton back in the win column inside The Octagon…remember, he lost his Light Heavyweight belt to Griffin in his last fight, so he needed a good showing to stay near the top of the division. Finally, it’s good to see Rampage bounce back after his problems outside of the sport. He had some well documented legal battles, and it looks like he’s got his head right.
And how about the showing for Frank Mir, winning the Interim Heavyweight Championship with a second round TKO over Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira. In what can only be considered a massive upset, Mir not only finished Nog for the first time ever, but did so in dominating fashion. The stand up game displayed by Mir was incredible, seemingly landing his jab and uppercut with ease throughout a likely 10-8 first round. He put Nogueir on the canvas in the second round with another shot, and finished from there, shocking even himself. In my interview with Mir earlier this week, Frank told me how hard this fight was going to be, and how important it would be to execute a perfect gameplan. Consider the gameplan executed, and let the hype machine begin for the Brock Lesnar-Frank Mir rematch to unify the UFC Heavyweight belt.
Also impressive on the card was Chieck Kongo, who has to be moving closer and closer to the elite ranks in the Heavyweight division. No more is he a one-dimensional kick boxer, he showed great takedown defence in his fight, and devestating ground-and-pound leading to a 1st round TKO over Mostapha Al Turk. Ultimate Fighter alumnus CB Dolloway also came away victorious, with a resilient 1st round TKO win over Mike Massenzio.
Next up…UFC 93 in Dublin, January 17th 2009 headlined by Rich “Ace”Franklin and Dan Henderson. Also on the card will be the return of Shogun as he takes on UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman. UFC 94 is back in Vegas January 31st with the dream fight…BJ Penn And Georges St. Pierre. Can it be the new year already?
Saturday, December 13th, 2008
For the second time this week Spike TV and Rogers Sportsnet airs some outstanding free UFC programming. Tonight at 7 pm, The Ultimate Finale airs live. Alberta’s Jason MacDonald fights on the card, and he joins us on Sportsline Saturday at 5:45. One of the finalists is Vinny Magalhaes in the Light Heavyweight division, and he stops by Sportsline Saturday at 4:45.
Lets break down the 2 Ultimate Fighter showdowns first, starting in the Lightweight division. Phillipe Nover will take on Efrain Escudero, both who fought on Noguiera’s team on the show. Nover is a freak, and UFC President Dana White has compared him to Anderson Silva AND Georges St. Pierre. He’s got unbelievable power in his punches, and is deadly once in the clinch. Plus, we saw great take down defence on the show and some very, very good grappling skills. Efrain is a tough opponent, but doesn’t possess the standup skill that Nover brings. He’s gotta try and push the pace with his superior wrestling and hope to work Nover on the ground, otherwise I think Phillipe takes this.
I see a real mis-match in the Light Heavyweight final. 2 time All American wrestler Ryan Bader takes on world-class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner Vinicius Magalhaes. Now, I’m a huge fan of Bader, I think he’s got a lot of potential, but Vinny is at such a high level in BJJ it’s almost scary. Bader is going to have to try and keep this thing standing, because he’s more powerful than Vinny, but if Magalhaes starts to work the leg kicks, eventually Bader will go for a takedown. Vinny is going to immediately pull guard, and Bader does not have the skill to block the superior submission skills Vinny possesses.
2 other fights on the card aren’t related to The Ultimate Fighter show, but carry some very intriguing storylines. First, Canadian and Alberta’s own Jason MacDonald returns to The Octagon for the 4th time this year. Last week, my blog showcased MacDonald, because here he is in his 3rd fight since August. He’s coming off a win over Jason Lambert to face Wilson Gouveia. Wilson likes to push the pace early, but MacDonald is banking on his superior conditioning to get him through this fight.
The other interesting matchup is a rematch from a few months back. When the UFC put on their Ultimate Fight Night between Anderson Silva and James Irvine, they had a very intriguing match on the undercard. Kevin Burns fought Anthony Johnson in a Welterweight bout, a match that ended surrounded in contraversy. Burns took a 3rd round TKO, because he accidentally poked Johnson in the eye to a fairly extreme degree. Many believed the fight should have ended in a DQ with Johnson taking the win, as Burns had caught him in the eye previously in the fight. Now, the UFC is putting on the rematch and it should be very hotly contested. Johnson is one of the most exciting young fighters at 170 pounds, as he’s got unbelievable punching power and great reach.
With the Flames not playing on Saturday, why not take a few hours and sit back to watch The Ultimate Finale live on Spike TV and Rogers Sportsnet. It should be one heck of a fight card.
Friday, December 12th, 2008
Things are close between Rick Lafitte and myself as we enter the final 3 weeks of the season. My record is 30-25 while Rick sits 2 games back at 28-27, so it’s coming right down to the wire. Here are our 5 point spread picks for week 15…
Pittsburgh at Baltimore -1.5; Pittsburgh to cover
Minnesota at Arizona -4.5; Arizona to cover
Tampa Bay at Atlanta -2.5; Atlanta to cover
Seattle -2.5 at St. Louis; St. Louis to cover
Buffalo at New York Jets -7.5; Jets to cover
Tennessee -3.5 at Houston, Tennessee to cover
New York Giants at Dallas -2.5; Giants to cover
San Francisco at Minnesota -7.5; Minnesota to cover
Denver at Carolina -7.5; Carolina to cover
New England -7.5 at Oakland; New England to cover
Monday, December 8th, 2008
Things tighten up a little bit, as Ricky has a respectable 3-2 week to put the heat on me. To make matters worse for myself, my picks went a dismal 1-4. So, my record moves to 30-25 while Rick improves to 28-27.
Jacksonville at Chicago -6.5, Chicago to cover…RIGHT
Minnesota -8.5 at Detroit, Minnesota to cover…WRONG
Miami at Buffalo -1.5, Miami to cover…RIGHT
New England -4.5 at Seattle, New England to cover…WRONG
Washington at Baltimore -5.5, Baltimore to cover…RIGHT
Current Record: 28-27
Atlanta at New Orleans -2.5, Atlanta to cover…WRONG
Philadelphia at New York Giants -7.5, Giants to cover…WRONG
New York Jets -4.5 at San Francisco, Jets to cover…WRONG
Kansas City at Denver -8.5, Denver to cover…WRONG
Dallas at Pittsburgh -2.5, Pittsburgh to cover…RIGHT
Current Record: 30-25
Friday, December 5th, 2008
Alberta’s own Jason MacDonald doesn’t back down from a fight, that much is fact. “The Athlete” is back in action December 13th at The Ultimate Finale in Las Vegas when he fights Wilson Gouveia at 185 pounds. MacDonald joins me on Sportsline Saturday this Saturday at 2:25, so make sure you listen in.
The last time we talked to Jason was before his fight at UFC 87 in August. He lost that fight, then fought again September at UFC 88 and now here he is again fighting in mid-December. This will be MacDonald’s 4th fight in 2008, and it’s pretty plain to see he’s a gamer. Whenever you talk to MacDonald, you get the feeling he just loves what he does. A former Mount Royal College volleyball player, MacDonald made his UFC debut just over 2 years ago with a win over Ed Herman. His UFC record now sits at 5-3, with a 21-10 record overall.
Lets take a look back at MacDonald’s last few fights. At UFC 83, he made quick work of fellow Canadian Joe Doerksen with a 2nd round TKO. he had beaten big names like Herman, Chris Leben, and now Doerksen and had also showed very well in losses to middleweight mainstays Rich Franklin and Yushin Okami. The UFC likes him, so they gave him a shot against a top flight opponent in the unbeaten Demian Maia.
The fight against Maia was tough from the outset. The guy wasn’t just a skilled Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, he was a straight up BJJ master. MacDonald had a great gamepland heading in, however he didn’t follow it. The last thing you want to do when fighting a guy like Maia is take him down and get in his guard. Once you’re in his guard, he starts working his submissions, and when you’re fighting against a master, you’re going to get caught. Now, credit Jason, he escaped a tight traingle choke, kept his composure when mounted, and escaped a rear naked choke. However, he eventually submitted to a rear naked choke in the 3rd round.
After the fight, MacDonald blogged on Sportsnet.ca about how mad he was at himself. He had the gameplan but he didn’t follow it. So, he decided to get right back on the horse to get things back on track, and that’s exactly what happened at UFC 88 with a 2nd round submission win over Jason Lambert. It was exactly what MacDonald needed, and it gives him another opportunity to string together a few wins.
However, his opponent on the 13th is no slouch. Gouveia is another BJJ black belt, so MacDonald needs to make sure his execution is a little different than it was against Maia. That’s no shot at Jason, he’s very skilled in the submission game as well, and his defence is great. Gouveia has an MMA record of 11-5 and is coming off a submission win in September.
Friday, December 5th, 2008
As we get down to the wire, things still pretty close between Lafitte and myself. Here are our 5 point spread picks for this week. Ricky sits at 25-25, while my record is 29-21.
Jacksonville at Chicago -6.5, Chicago to cover
Minnesota -8.5 at Detroit, Minnesota to cover
Miami at Buffalo -1.5, Miami to cover
New England -4.5 at Seattle, New England to cover
Washington at Baltimore -5.5, Baltimore to cover
Atlanta at New Orleans -2.5, Atlanta to cover
Philadelphia at New York Giants -7.5, Giants to cover
New York Jets -4.5 at San Francisco, Jets to cover
Kansas City at Denver -8.5, Denver to cover
Dallas at Pittsburgh -2.5, Pittsburgh to cover
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008
Your comments encouraged on this topic, of course! I’m not surprised at Sean Avery’s “sloppy seconds” comments today. I’m not surprised that he said it, I’m not surprised in the manner in which he said them, I’m not surprised the reaction he has gotten, and hell, I’m not even surprised he got suspended. And that kind of sums up Sean Avery the last 6 months or so…predictable, boring, and uninspired.
Seriously, the guy is no longer what he’s striving to be. Some may say that because I’m writing this blog, that I’m “playing right into his hands” and “he must be doing his job if you’re talking about it.” To which I say bullsh*t. I’m only talking about the guy now because he’s such a parody of himself, a parody of guys like Hull, Roenick, Shaq, and Taylor.
He’s that class clown who was funny in grade 6, but a complete loser in Junior High. He’s the comedian who was funny when he was fresh, but eventually fresh loses its lustre if it doesn’t change (Dane Cook anyone?). He’s the media whoring hotel-heiress who records grainy sex tapes when people stop talking about her. And then releases ANOTHER sex tape later on, just so people don’t forget.
And what all those people have in common? You just roll your eyes, mutter under your breath, and then just wonder what is wrong with them. And the more and more these people proliferate their sad act, the more and more useless and irrelevant they become. There is a term coined in wrestling circles…it’s called “X Pac Heat”. It refers to a wrestler getting negative feedback from fans. Not because the wrestler is doing his job and playing the bad guy well. That’s a good thing, however, boring people to death while being constantly exposed is.
Hence Sean Avery. From calling Martin Brodeur fatso, to slagging on Jarome Iginla, and now taking a shot at Dion Phaneuf and his significant other. He’s as bad as any other boring-ass, by-the-numbers NHL interview. The same way you’re sick of “give her a %110″ or “one game at a time” or “our backs are against the walls”, you’re sick of this ass clown.
They call the last player taken in the NFL Draft Mr. Irrelevant. They have to change that. Sean Avery just took that moniker.
Monday, December 1st, 2008
Ick. Not a good week for either Lafitte or myself, as we both went 2-3 on the week with our picks. Ricky has to be especially pissed, as he missed going 4-1 because Indy only won by 4, while Tampa only won by 3. As for me, well…I just blew. Ricky still sits 4 games back, as he moves to 25-25, I sit at 29-21.
Baltimore -7.5 at Cincinatti; Baltimore to cover…RIGHT
Miami -7.5 at St. Louis; Miami to cover…WRONG
Carolina at Green Bay -3.5; Green Bay to cover…WRONG
New Orleans at Tampa Bay -3.5; Tampa Bay to cover…RIGHT
Indianapolis -4.5 at Cleveland; Indianapolis to cover…WRONG
Current Record: 25-25
San Francisco at Buffalo -7.5; Buffalo to cover…WRONG
New York Giants -3.5 at Washington; Giants to cover…RIGHT
Atlanta at San Diego -5.5; San Diego to cover…WRONG
Pittsburgh at New England -1.5; New England to cover…WRONG
Chicago at Minnesota -3.5; Minnesota to cover…RIGHT
Current Record: 29-21