Archive for July, 2009
Monday, July 27th, 2009
For the longest time I’ve felt Anderson Silva is the number 1, pound-for-pound fighter on the planet when we talk about the sport of mixed martial arts. For me, that has changed recently and it all culminated at UFC 100 with a far-too-dominant Georges St. Pierre win over Thiago Alves. It now seems 100% obvious to me that the pride of Quebec is the world’s best fighter.
What always did it for me with Silva was the sheer violence and devestation he’d wreak inside The Octagon. Wins over Rich Franklin and Chris Leben strike fear into me when you see this dude. But that violence, that edge, and that killer instinct have all been sorely lacking in his last 2 fights. Please don’t get me wrong. The UFC Middleweight Champion is still one of the best in the world, and is the class of his weight class right now…that point is not up for debate. But lets be honest. No one has been impressed with the last 2 fights for Silva…lackluster wins over Patrick Cote and Thales Leites. Silva did not engage nor did he dominate in either fight; in fact, both times he seemed bored and stayed on the perimiter. Maybe that shows just how superior he is to the men he’s fighting…but you certainly wonder where his focus is.
That question can’t be asked when we talk about Canada’s Georges St. Pierre. He’s perhaps the most focused human being in the world when he’s preparing for a fight. And that shows (all too well for his opponents) when he steps into The Octagon on Saturday nights. Currently riding a 6 fight win streak, GSP has not been threatened once in those 6 fights…not even for a second, not even for a round. From a dominating win over Josh Koscheck to his dismantling of Matt Hughes and his most recent wins over BJ Penn and Thiago Alves, St. Pierre has been so far and away superior. In those 6 fights, he’s been on his back twice (TWICE!)…and not for more than a smattering of seconds on both occasions. He’s won by decision, he’s won by submission, and he’s won by TKO. Not one of these world class athletes have given him a test.
And THAT’s why I have the opinion that he really is the best in the world. The UFC’s 170 pound division is one of, if not the, most stacked division going. From great young talent to unbelievable established fighters, there is always a fight to look forward to at 170. Kampmann, Swick, Fitch, Alves, Shields and Condit all reside here and there are so many that you can see yourself saying “they belong near the top of this division.” But that’s about all you can say, because the gap from the really good welterweights to the best welterweight is massive.
To me, that’s what sells me on this pound-for-pound discussion. I don’t see any other division with a gap as wide as the one being seen at 170 pounds. To me, the “really good” crew at 170 is comparable to that of 155 and 205 pounds, without question the 2 other top weight classes. Yet, the gap is nowhere near as big. Can we see Kenny Florian upsetting BJ Penn at UFC 101? Yeah…I can. What about Rampage taking out Machida? Yeah…maybe. But Kampann or Swick beating St. Pierre? Are you kidding me? Not gonna happen…and remember, Georges has already beat the rest of the top guys, some of them twice! It’s the gap and real lack of any competition that wins the argument for me.
And the best part is? We may not have to wait that long to really have a Silva or St. Pierre argument settled for real…inside The Octagon. There is a real possibility that the 2 of them could go toe-to-toe in the next 8 or 12 months. Silva fights Forrest Griffin coming up at 101 while St. Pierre has his next opponent waiting on a number 1 contender fight. After that…let’s keep our fingers crossed, cause I don’t know any fan in the world who wouldn’t want to see Silva and St. Pierre really tell us who the pound-for-pound best is.
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Friday, July 24th, 2009
You can thank Josh Barnett for single handedly ending the fight promotion life of Affliction. Barnett tested positive for steroids earlier this week which set off a firestorm of bad for the promotion/clothing brand. First they cancelled their “Trilogy” pay per view, and have now announced they will no longer be promoting fights.
As if that’s not good enough news to begin with for the UFC, but Affliction (the clothing company) has also announced they have partnered with the UFC for a new sponsorship deal. And all I can ask myself is, “can the UFC be any happier with the events from Friday afternoon?”
Afflicition was a successful clothing company far before they tried their hand at running and promoting fight cards. But once they got started, Affliction was the only other promotion in North America giving Dana White’s Ultimate Fighting Championship ANY type of competition. They had signed the top heavyweight outside of the UFC (Fedor Emelianenko) and a crop of other big name fighters, including Barnett, Vitor Belfort and, at one time, Tim Sylvia.
But once again, no one has been able to come even close to competing with White. Why? Numerous reasons. The UFC owns the top fighters in the world, and that’s going to keep them at the top for a long time. Also, seemingly no one has learned how to promote fights like the UFC, and Affliction falls into that category. If you can’t promote well, you’re not going to make a lot of money. But the biggest thing to me is still mis-management!
The big wigs at Affliction paid out retarded money to their fighters, including 7 figures (reportedly) to Fedor and a reported 800 thousand dollars for a one fight gig for Tim Sylvia. Lets get this straight…you’re a new, fledgling promotion and you’re blowing your financial wad on 2 fighters, let alone the REST of the fighters who were also getting paid rather hefty talent fees? And you wonder why you’re bleeding money? Seems pretty simple to me.
There is one word that comes to mind with the world of mixed martial arts: monopoly. There is 1 company ruling the MMA world (the UFC), and then there are a bunch of other guys who are trying to pick up the scraps. Elite XC tried, including signing the first ever network TV deal…yet they failed. Affliction tried, signed the biggest name outside the UFC…and once again failed. And many others will try to enter the world of MMA, spend too much money on fighters, and find that they also have no success.
Nope, the fact of the matter is, Dana White and the UFC have done such an incredible job in building and promoting their product, that at this point, they are untouchable. I’m being 100% honest when I say that I don’t believe ANYONE will ever be able to A) compete with the UFC or B) topple the UFC.
This is where the mindset needs to change. If you’re going to run a promotion, DON’T try and compete with the big boys! Go to the UFC, tell them this is what you want to do, and go from there. Get advice from Dana et al, get some pointers and see if you can’t strike a deal with them to help with promotion. By positioning yourself as an ally of the UFC in the MMA world, you’re going to get a whole lot further than trying to go head to head with a company that does NOT like competition. To me, competing with the UFC is completely fruitless…so why even try?
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Monday, July 20th, 2009
Here we are, more than a week after UFC 100 and it seems everyone is still talking about Brock Lesnar and the spectacle that was his fight with Frank Mir…specifically his post-fight antics. There were more than a few people extremely unhappy with Lesnar’s act following his TKO win; specifically flipping off fans, insulting sponsors, and getting in the face of the opponent he just bested. Yet, there are many people, including me, who loved it.
Plain and simple, I will state this before going any further. Despite what Dana White says, I believe something like this is GOOD for the UFC, because it has created buzz. There’s no question about it. People are still talking about it and will continue talking about it until Lesnar’s next fight. While his act may have turned some casual, first time watchers off MMA; I believe that it has hooked far more than it has pushed away. By hook or by crook, I really do think that more people are going to make sure they watch Lesnar’s next fight. For 2 reasons: you want to see him win, or you want to see him lose because you hate him that much. You’re telling me that’s not good for business?
But that’s not what this post is going to be about…that’s too much of a cop out to say “it’s good for business, so I like it.” Nope, I’ll tell you why I marked out for Lesnar after the fight. First of all, I’ve loved the guy since he set foot in the MMA world. He’s cocky, he’s brash, he’s arrogant…yes. But he also tells it like it is. From a guy who is inundated with “give it a 110%” and “take it one game at a time,” you have no idea how refreshing it is to see a guy like Lesnar be brutally honest all the time. Does he respect and revere opponents if the occasion is there? Nope. Does he absolutely hate to lose, and therefore hate the person that beat him? Yep. And does he care what anybody else thinks when he says and does things? That answer is fairly clear as well…hell no he doesn’t.
Lesnar is what he is. Is there still a little (or a lot) of WWE still left in him? Yeah, there really is. And that’s why he’s so damn good at selling a fight! Lets be clear…he knows what he’s doing. He is playing the villain card really well, because he knows that there is a whole lot more intrigue with a heel then with a couple of good guys going out to fight for the honor of it. So he’s going to say things that he knows will garner a response…and while he probably means most of what he says, he goes about it in the heel type, wrestling way. And he does a damn good job of it too…and the UFC loves it.
Or they love it until it “goes too far”. Was taking a shot at a multi-million dollar sponsor well advised? Probably not. Did we need to see him flip off the fans and get some inside info on his sexual techniques with his (hot) wife? Again, not really. But lets remember…a fight inside The Octagon is highly physical, but it’s also highly emotional. For us to expect emotions to be turned off immediately by every single fighter is probably not fair.
Lesnar filled himself with so much rage and energy for this fight, and built it up in himself to a very high degree. When it was finally over, that emotion carried over…and I thought to myself how refreshing that is. A guy who does the first thing that comes to his mind. It may not be what most other people would do in the same situation, or what most people would like to see. But what it is is HONEST. In an era with steroids here and betting scandals there, you have no idea how refreshing it is for me to see an honest, genuine, legit athlete who is the same in and outside of competition.
That’s what Brock is…and he doesn’t care what you or I think about it. So, you may not like what he had to say or the manner in which he went about it. But lets try and realize how rare it is to have an athlete without restraints; a guy who will do what feels best, take it or leave it. That’s why I can’t dislike what we saw and what we’ve seen from Lesnar…in fact, I’m hoping for more in the future.
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Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
It was the most talked about event in the history of The Ultimate Fighting Championship. They set up an all star laden fight card, and followed it up with weeks upon weeks of hard promotion. From preview shows to countdowns to fan expos, the UFC positioned it as the biggest card ever…and it actually lived up to the hype.
On paper, there wasn’t a bad fight on the card. Once it was all said and done, there STILL wasn’t a bad fight on the card…in fact, it was damn good action start to finish. In particular, the 3 feature fights were outstanding with Dan Henderson taking a KO win over Michael Bisping; Georges St. Pierre defending his Welterweight Championship with a 5 round unanimous decision over Thiago Alves; and Brock Lesnar taking a TKO win over Frank Mir to become the undisputed Heavyweight Champion.
Lets start with the Henderson win over Bisping. Remember, these 2 coached against eachother on Spike TV’s The Ultimate Fighter, and grew to not like eachother so much. Especially from Henderson’s camp, who had some really not nice things to say. The fight itself was actually really fun to watch. Henderson came in with a gameplan to out-strike Bisping and I thought did exactly that in the first round. What was really funny was when Bisping realized he was probably getting out-pointed in the opening round and tried for a takedown…it was shrugged off so easily, it was laughable.
So into the second round we went. Henderson had scored with quick left jabs in the first round, and they were used to set up a telegraphed right hook. For Hendo, that strategy didn’t work to the success rate he wanted, so things changed a little bit in round 2. While still using the jab, Henderson worked in a leg kick that was extremely effective, and it opened up Bisping’s jaw. At 3:20 of the 2nd round, a leg kick lowered Bisping’s defences and bam, Henderson caught him flush with that right he’d been working on all night.
What happened after that punch landed is causing differing opinions. Henderson admitted that he knew Bisping was out cold, and followed up with a punch that landed flush on the ground. Anyone reading this knows that this kind of thing happens all the time…because you’re conditioned as a fighter to finish the fight and go until the referee pulls you off. It was the ADMISSION that he landed a punch to an unconscious man that leaves a bit of a black mark on the sport, which is unfortunate.
Onto the Welterweight Championship match between Georges St. Pierre and Thiago Alves. Not a whole lot to say. It wasn’t close, GSP was the better fighter and highlighted the just how big the gap is between him and the rest of the 170 pound division. Alves was outclassed in the striking game, he had no answer for the takedowns of St. Pierre, and failed to score a takedown of his own. When it was all said and done, it was a unanimous 5 round win.
So what’s next? For GSP, it’s the winner of the the bout between Mike Swick and Martin Kampmann at UFC 103. And that all depends on WHEN Georges is back from his groin injury suffered on Saturday. But the real fight everyone is looking forward to is a potential meeting with Anderson Silva down the road, the current Middleweight Champion. Problem is…Georges didn’t seem 100% enthused with the potential of that fight when asked by Joe Rogan following the fight. Silva has a sizeable weight advantage and it would take a big committment from St. Pierre to make sure he’s competitive physically. I still think it’ll happen, but I don’t think it’s in the near near future.
For Alves, well it’s back to the drawing board. Similar to Jon Fitch and his 5 round loss, Alves is going to need to show that he is improving in his next fights if he’s going to want to return to the top. GSP had to do it after his shocking loss to Matt Serra…St. Pierre had to score wins over Josh Koscheck and Matt Hughes before getting his return match. Won’t be easy, but lets remember…Alves is 25 and is damn good. He’ll be back.
Finally, the main event. I’ll hold off on my written thoughts on Brock Lesnar’s post fight antics until later this week, because I have some fairly candid thoughts. But on the pure fight itself, it’s simple. Brock Lesnar is the real freaking deal and is going to be an extremely difficult task to dethrone. The pure size needed to win the title from Lesnar is not something that comes in high supply. Add in the fact that the wrestling pedigree Lesnar holds is so refined…it’s not going to be easy.
What did Lesnar do in this fight? Well, he finished a top fighter for the 2nd straight fight, dispelling the myth that he can’t finish off opponents. He showed that it doesn’t matter who you are at this point…you can’t block his takedowns. And he showed once again he can take a few shots (punches from Randy, knees from Mir) and keep pushing forward. Like him as a guy (like I do), or hate him as a guy (like many do)…you cannot deny that he is a dominant UFC Heavyweight Champion.
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Friday, July 10th, 2009
So here we go, it’s the main event for Saturday’s UFC 100. It’s the biggest event in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion, and it has a main event to help meet the hype. In a rematch from February 2008, Brock Lesnar takes on Frank Mir for the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Currently, Brock holds the UFC Heavyweight Title after his UFC 91 TKO of Randy Couture. Mir is the UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion after he took a 2nd round TKO over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 92. Now, they will unify the belts to determine an undisputed champion.
February 2nd, 2008 is a long time ago, but it still feels like yesterday for former WWE superstar Brock Lesnar. In his first fight inside The Octagon, Lesnar had a tough challenge in former champ Frank Mir, who was on his way back from a devestating motorcycle injury. Lesnar came out and pushed the pace immediately, scoring a takedown immediately and starting an onslaught of punches. After a penalty forced them to stand up again, Lesnar would take Mir down for a second time. After Mir scrambled away from Lesnar hammer fists, he was able to catch a ground submission and force Brock to tap from an expertly executed knee bar.
Brock believed Mir got lucky; Mir believed Brock didn’t have a good gameplan. Here are the facts. Mir did NOT get lucky. This guy is a legit Brazilian jiu-jitsu master, who has won 5 of his 10 UFC fights via submission (6 really, but they counted his arm break win over Tim Sylvia as a TKO). The mark of a BJJ specialist, from Royce Gracie to Nogueira, is to weather the storm and then find your opening. That’s sort of what happened.
Since that fight, Lesnar has won twice, dominating both Heath Herring and Couture, showing marked and massive improvement in each fight. Mir has just the one fight since then, the dominating TKO win over Nogueira. The improvement and dominance of both fighters since their initial fight turns this into one of the most hotly anticipated fights in my mind in years.
Lesnar has shown in his 3 UFC fights a number of things. He can take anyone down at will. He can block takedown attempts and brush them off like nothing. He can take a punch and keep pushing forward. He can use his surprising agility to confuse opponents. He can strike from anywhere on the ground, and can be very effective in a ground and pound role. He’s finished a fight, he’s gone the distance in a fight and to ME, has shown a pretty damn good all round game.
The one question…can he avoid, and escape from, submission attempts from an expert practitioner? Inevitably, this fight will end up on the floor with Brock on top. It’s how the fight will go at some point, guaranteed. I think the stand up edge goes to Mir…he looked UNREAL against Nogueira and finished a guy who was previously thought un-finishable. Because of that, Brock will go for the takedown, which he will get. Then he’s playing in Mir’s world.
However, I just don’t see it happening again. Brock has had 400 plus days to train for PRECISELY this moment. I see a very, very slim chance of Mir locking in a submission and then being able to finish it. Lesnar knows what’s coming and is going to be able to work a solid ground and pound game from the guard. This fight goes at least 3 rounds in my books, with Lesnar scoring with take downs and dominance on the ground. Mir is in GREAT shape, so he’s not going to wear out…so for me, it’s a 5 round decision for Lesnar. Lets see how wrong I am…it’s here baby, UFC 100 Saturday in Vegas!
Thursday, July 9th, 2009
It’s the co-main event at UFC 100, but it would be the main draw at any other pay per view put on by the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In his 3rd title defence with the belt, Georges St. Pierre takes on challenger Thiago Alves on Saturday. It once again is an enormous test for GSP.
St. Pierre has been nothing short of dominant his last 3 fights. It started with his win over Matt Serra at UFC 83 to regain his belt and was followed by a 5 round smashing of Jon Fitch and a TKO win over BJ Penn. Not once in those 3 fights was there ever really any worry GSP was going to lose the fight…he was so dominant in all 3 fights that he has cemented himself as 100% the best 170 pound fighter on the planet.
So what makes Alves different from Serra, Fitch and Penn? Plain and simple, it’s his strength. Alves is a HUGE welterweight, who made Matt Hughes look small in their fight at UFC 85. You can make it a 7 fight win streak inside The Octagon for the 22-4 Alves; his last fight was a unanimous win over Josh Koscheck at UFC 90. Alves bullies his opponents around, plain and simple. His stand up is devestating and he packs KO power in his fists and his knees.
He’s also extremely hard to take down. Just ask Hughes and Koscheck. Both are extremely accomplished wrestlers, and both struggled immensley to take the bigger Alves down in their fights. Granted, Koscheck had limited time to train for the fight, but the 4 time All American couldn’t use his trusted technique to score any points. Whereas St. Pierre avoids takedowns using dexterity, Alves uses sheer strength to block attempts.
So how does this fight shake down? I think it’s a fairly even draw in the stand up game. Alves has more power, but will have trouble connecting with the elusive St. Pierre. But Georges is a much more accurate striker and works his jab to set up his overhand right and superman shots. Plus, St. Pierre has his lightning fast kicks, so I’ll call the stand up game a wash. It’s the take down aspect that will decide this fight.
GSP has taken down his last 3 opponents at ease, throwing Fitch, Serra and Penn all over the ring. Will he have the same success against Alves? Well…he may not throw the big man around, but I do belive he’ll have a high success rate in taking him down. Why? Because St. Pierre doesn’t rely on power in his take downs, he relies on good positioning and a quick shoot. Georges is quicker than Alves, and because of that, I think he’ll score with take down attempts and start working the ground and pound game.
GSP wants to finish fights, but finishing a guy like this is going to be tough. However, Alves has had questionable cardio in the past, so the opportunity may be there in the so-called championship rounds (4 and 5). Remember, Alves has a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt and is dangerous on the ground. To me, St. Pierre wins with take downs and his devestating ground game once again because I don’t see Alves being able to A) take GSP down and B) block the furious, calculated attack of the Welterweight Champion.
Friday, we preview the main event…Brock and Frank in a Heavyweight Championship bout!
Thursday, July 9th, 2009
Yeah, I will show my age with this blog, but it was Joe Sakic that turned me into a hockey fan 15 years ago. And now as Sakic announces his retirement today, it certainly strikes me as a sad day…but also a day that you look back and remember why Sakic is a 1st ballot Hall of Famer and one of the greatest to ever play the game.
For me, it goes back to around 1994. I was 9 or 10 and Sakic was still with the Quebec Nordiques. I saw a game on TV, probably Hockey Night in Canada, and as it usually happens with me…was drawn to the Nordiques because of their uniforms, in this case the gorgeous home whites. But it was watching #19 in that game (has always been my favorite number), and then realizing that #19 was a really, really good player. He was fast, he wired a sweet top shelf wrist shot, and the announcers continued talking about what a great young player he was. From that time on, he was my “favorite player” and the Nordiques were my “favorite team”.
Now, I was young, so when the team moved from Quebec to Denver, I stayed with them and then the Avalanche really became my favorite team. Their first season in Denver, of course, they won the Stanley Cup…so I really was fan then. But looking back at that Stanley Cup run, all I can remember is goal after goal after goal off the stick of captain Joe Sakic. In fact, that year, Sakic put in 18 playoff goals for the Avalanche en route to being named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner.
So what else sticks with you when it comes to Sakic? Well, how about his overtime prominence? In his 20 year career, he scored 8 winning goals in overtime. It was his play in the clutch that has defined his career as much as anything else. Game 7 against New Jersey in 2001? Top shelf on Martin Brodeur to put the Avs up 3-0. That ended up being the insurance goal, as the Devils would score once to put the final at 3-1.
And of course, the moment we won’t ever forget. After being awarded the Cup at the Pepsi Center, Sakic doesn’t raise it himself, instead immediately giving it to Ray Bourque. Sure, Bourque would go on to ruin the moment with his repeated “F… YEAH” blasts after raising the Cup…but whatever.
The numbers are there, no question. 8th all time in points, 2nd longest serving captain ever, 600 plus goals, 2 Cups, a Gold Medal and on and on. But it’s the memories of one of the most understated, classy leaders in the game that will last for this Sakic fan. And probably most others.
Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
They coached their respective countries on last season’s The Ultimate Fighter, and now they meet at Saturday’s landmark UFC 100. Veteran Dan Henderson squares off with the younger Michael Bisping in a middleweight battle, and it shapes up to be what could be an entertaining fight.
I had a chance to talk to Henderson today and he’s feeling good heading into the fight. People are playing up the “bad blood” between the 2 fighters…after talking to Henderson, I don’t know if that’s as big a storyline. Does Henderson like Bisping? No…they’re not going to go for beers together. But Henderson is focused on Bisping as a fighter, not as a dude, and that’s what makes me really excited for this fight.
When I talked with Hendo, he made reference to how hard he’s worked on improving his cardio. Dan wasn’t happy with his 3rd round against Rich Franklin, a split decision win at UFC 93 in January. Henderson knows Bisping is the type of guy who keeps pushing forward, and he knows his cardio is going to be tested. But how is this fight going to go down?
Henderson is a guy who can stand with you, but his gameplan is going to be to take Bisping down. Henderson is a 2 time Olympic wrestler and is one of the best “ground and pound” fighters in UFC history. He has shown an ability in his 4 UFC fights to take guys to the ground and exert some dominance. He was able to take down Anderson Silva at their fight in UFC 82 and was able to do the same against Rampage Jackson at UFC 75. His last fight against Franklin was close, but I was really impressed with Henderson’s stand up…but it’s his ground game that is going to be on display Saturday, in my opinion.
That’s not to take anything away from Michael Bisping. Bisping is a very explosive, exciting fighter and has out-classed his opponents in the stand up game the last few fights. He overwhelmed Lethbridge’s Jason Day at UFC 85, he dominated Chris Leben for 3 rounds at UFC 89 and completely mauled Charles McCarthy at UFC 83. Bisping is a great puncher, especially when he’s moving forward. His knees are deadly, and he can throw them from seemingly anywhere. I really believe Bisping has a clear advantage in the striking game.
The problem is, from a Bisping perspective, I don’t think Bisping will be able to combat the relentless attack Henderson will put forth. Henderson will choose his spots in the stand up game, but it will be used to set up a takedown attempt and to work his ground and pound game. Bisping’s takedown defence is good, very good actually, but I think Henderson hold his own in the stand up game until he can score a few takedowns. Once it’s on the ground, I think that’s where Henderson will win the fight.
I think it’ll be a good fight nonetheless, and don’t take this as any slight on Bisping. I believe he is deadly, I just have a lot of respect for the all round game of Henderson. Thursday, we’ll preview GSP-Alves for the welterweight belt.
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar in the main event; Georges St. Pierre and Thiago Alves in the co-main event; Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson fight in a grudge match. You know the top of the card…but it’s the biggest night in UFC history, so you’ve got a damn good “undercard” as well.
It starts with the return of the 22-3 Jon Fitch when he takes on undefeated (11-0) Paulo Thiago. Fitch comes in off his January win over Akihiro Gono at UFC 94 that put him back on track as being one of the top fighters at 170 pounds. Remember, his only loss inside The Octagon is to current Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 87. Other than that, Fitch has wins over Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves among others; he’s 9-1 in the UFC.
As for Thiago, he’s 11-0 and comes off a UFC 95 win over Josh Koscheck…a KO win just 3:29 into the 1st round. It was his UFC debut, and now he’s got a real chance to do some damage in a competitive division. He’s a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and 7 of his 11 pro victories have come via submission.
But how does he match up against Fitch? Jon is a Guerilla jiu-jitsu black belt (blending BJJ and Judo) and was a 4 year wrestler at Purdue. Add in his methodical striking, and Fitch is a tough fight for anyone…including GSP, who needed a 5 round decision to retain his title. To me, Thiago is very skilled and explosive…but I think Fitch’s experience and all round game will be too much in this one.
It may not be televised, but Mark Coleman and Stephan Bonnar fight in a light heavyweight bout that may determine their respective futures. The 44 year old Coleman was less than impressive in his UFC return bout; he lost a snoozer to Shogun Rua at UFC 93. Bonnar, 32, lost a unanimous decision to Jon Jones at UFC 94. For Coleman, he needs an impressive win if he wants an invite back. Bonnar needs a good showing too. He has lost 3 of his last 5 fights and in a stacked division, that’s not going to cut it. I think you’ll see 2 fighters ready to go…I just don’t think Coleman has the tools, to be perfectly honest.
Speaking of Jon Jones (8-0)…he’s in 205 pound action against Jake O’Brien while 19-6-1 Mac Danzig returns to action against Jim Miller in the lightweight division. At 185, CB Dollaway fights Tom Lawlor. I’m talking to Dan Henderson tomorrow and will post that immediately following…previews every day this week leading up to Saturday.
Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
We’ll keep this updated all day long. This goes in order, newest at the top.
The Minnesota Wild have signed F Martin Havlat to a 6 year contract worth $30 million overall.
Phoenix signs G Jason LaBarbera to a 2 year contract.
The Calgary Flames have signed F Fredrik Sjostrom to a 2 year contract worth $1.5 million overall.
The Chicago Blackhawks have signed F John Madden to a 1 year contract worth $2.75 million.
The Ottawa Senators sign F Chris Neil to a 4 year contract worth $8 million overall.
The Montreal Canadiens sign F Brian Gionta to a 5 year contract worth $25 million overall.
The New York Rangers sign F Marian Gaborik to a 5 year contract worth $37.5 million overall.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed G Mathieu Garon to a 2 year contract worth $1.2 million per season.
The Edmonton Oilers have re-signed D Jason Strudwick to a 1 year contract.
The Boston Bruins have re-signed F Byron Bitz to a multi year contract.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed F Samuel Pahlsson to a 3 year contract worth $2.65 million per season.
The Nashville Predators re-sign F Steve Sullivan to a 2 year contract worth $3.75 million per season.
The Boston Bruins sign F Steve Begin to a 1 year deal worth $850,000.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed D Mike Komisarek to a 5 year contract worth $4.5 million per season.
The Minnesota Wild have signed D Greg Zanon to a 3 year contract worth $5.2 million.
The Montreal Canadiens have signed F Mike Cammalleri to a 5 year contract worth $30 million.
The Toronto Maple Leafs trade D Pavel Kubina and the rights to F Tim Stapleton to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for D Garnet Exelby and Colin Stewart.
The Colorado Avalanche sign F Davi Koci to a 1 year contract worth $575,000.
The San Jose Sharks sign D Kent Huskins to a 2 year contract worth $1.7 million per season.
The Montreal Canadiens have signed D Hal Gill to a 2 year contract worth $4.5 million overall.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed F Mike Rupp to a 2 year contract worth $825,000 per season.
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed F Ian Laperriere to a 3 year contract worth $3.5 million overall.
The Florida Panthers have signed G Scott Clemmensen to a 3 year contract worth $3.6 million overall.
The Carolina Hurricanes have signed F Erik Cole to a 2 year contract worth $5.8 million.
The Edmonton Oilers have signed G Nikolai Khabibulin to a 4 year contract worth $15 million.
The Calgary Flames have signed D Adam Pardy to a 2 year contract worth $1.4 million overall.
The Montreal Canadiens have signed D Jaroslav Spacek to a 3 year contract worth $11.5 million.
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed G Brian Boucher to a 2 year contract worth $1.85 million.
The Nashville Predators have re-signed D Joel Ward to a 2 year, $3 million contract.
The Vancouver Canucks sign Aaron Rome to a 1 year contract worth $525, 000.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed D Lukas Karjicek to a 1 year contract.
The Anaheim Ducks have signed D Scott Niedermayer to a 1 year contract worth $6 million plus bonuses.
The New York Rangers have signed F Donald Brashear to a 2 year contract worth $2.8 millon overall.
The Washington Capitals have signed F Mike Knuble to a 2 year contract worth $2.8 million per.
The Buffalo Sabres signing D Steve Montador to a 2 year contract worth $1.55 million per season.
The New York Islanders have signed G Dwayne Roloson for 2 years and $5 million.
The Chicago Blackhawks have signed F Tomas Kopecky to a 2 year contract.
The St. Louis Blues have signed G Ty Conklin to a 2 year contract worth $1.3 million per season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed D Matt Walker to a 4 year contract worth $1.7 million per season.
The Chicago Blackhawks sign F Marian Hossa to a 12 year, $62 million contract with a cap hit of $5.2 per season. $53 million of the deal will be payed in the first 7 years.
The Florida Panthers have re-signed F David Booth to a 6 year contract worth $25.5 million.
The Colorado Avalanche have signed G Craig Anderson to a 2 year contract worth $3.8 million.
The New Jersey Devils have re-signed D Andy Greene.
The Toronto Maple Leafs signing F Colton Orr to a 4 year, $4 million contract.
The Florida Panthers re-sign forward Radek Dvorak to a 2 year contract worth $3.4 million total.
The Tampa Bay Lightning sign D Mattias Ohlund to a 7 year contract worth $3.75 million a season and $24.5 million total.
The Vancouver Canucks re-sign forwards Henrik and Daniel Sedin to idential 5 year, $30.5 million contracts. The contracts are worth $6.1 million a season.