Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shogun Robbed?



Over the course of the last few days, I've read several articles stating that Maurcio Shogun Rua was robbed in his fight with Dan Henderson at UFC 139. Many stating that he should have had a 10-8 final round and that would have resulted in a draw.

Now, I can understand the argument that Shogun completely dominated Henderson in the final round. But I contend that round 3 in which Henderson dropped Shogun and nearly finished him should have been scored as a 10-8 round for Henderson. So if fair-is-fair, then both should have had 10-8 rounds and this fight would have had the same outcome.

But I'm not an officially sanctioned judge, so all I have is the unfortunate fate as everyone else when the fight goes to the judges. Now, I do believe that we all got to witness a great fight and what appears to be a controversial outcome. However, do I think Shogun was robbed, no, I do not.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson - Something to Prove vs. Nothing to Lose

With the UFC's experimental FOX television debut safely behind us, commercial-free MMA action returns tonight headlined by one of the most anticipated main events of the year. Former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua faces off with Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson in a long-awaited meeting of the former PRIDE rivals.

What We Know

Mauricio Rua entered the UFC to high hopes, but his Octagon career has been an emotional roller coaster for fans. After dropping a closely contested title decision to former champion Lyoto Machida, Rua bounced back and won the belt in a rematch, only to be immediately sidelined with knee surgery.

Following a long recovery, Rua returned to defend his title only to have it summarily stripped away by Jon "Bones" Jones in a one-sided TKO loss which was not particularly competitive.

Rua's most recent outing, a brilliant first-round knockout of Griffin which avenged that inauspicious UFC debut, showed a return to form the Brazilian must maintain to get back into contention. A dominant victory over Dan Henderson might fast-track Shogun to another title shot.

At 41 years of age Henderson may not have time on his side, but his dramatic victory over the legendary Fedor Emelianenko proved he can still get the job done against younger and more aggressive opponents.

Stung early and knocked down early by Fedor's frenetic striking attack, the cagey veteran was able to reverse positions and deliver a blind-side uppercut that dropped Fedor and led to a first-round TKO.

Both Rua and Henderson have made names for themselves as strikers, though with markedly different styles. Rua uses speed, great boxing and devastating leg and body kicks to keep opponents on the defensive, while Henderson relies more on timing and power to land the big overhand right which has become his signature.

While Henderson's superb ability to close the distance and connect will likely factor into Rua's strategy entering this fight, he will probably be more focused on nullifying Henderson's distinct advantage as a wrestler. By using superior quickness and landing the same vicious leg kicks he used to dismantle Lyoto Machida, Rua may be able to wear down the veteran wrestler and chip away at his ability to shoot.

What the Tapes Don't Show

Superstitious fans will appreciate the fact that Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski, Brett Rogers, Fabricio Werdum, and Antonio Silva each fought Fedor Emelianenko and then immediately turned in dismal follow-up performances. Though it's improbably Henderson will fall completely flat in his return to the Octagon, turning in a strong performance against Rua will mean breaking the "Fedor Curse."

Had he decided to retire, Henderson's win over Emelianenko would have provided a definitive conclusion to a long and illustrious MMA career.

Rua, on the other hand, is just one fight removed from a lopsided beat-down at the hands of Jon Jones, and at 29 years old is only reaching the prime of his fighting career.

Like most fights, this one may be about unfinished business. All things being equal (or a wash, anyway,) the odds usually favor the fighter who has something left to prove.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

UFC on Fox 1 - Quick Picks

Life has got me behind this week, so instead of a full breakdown/prediction blog for this fight, I'm going to do some quick picks for UFC on Fox 1. Here we go...



Cain Velasquez vs Junior dos Santos
On paper, Cain should win this fight, but I believe cage rust may play a factor, my quick pick is Junior dos Santos to pull off the upset via 3rd round TKO.

Ben Henderson vs Clay Guida
The odds makers have Bendo as the favorite. For me this fight is so evenly matched that it's hard for me to make a decision. So, my quick pick will be that Clay Guida finally earns his title shot by beating Bendo via unanimous decision.

Dustin Poirier vs Pablo Garza
Another tough call to make, but Pablo Garza has now won his last 2 fights via something flying (flying knee and flying triangle). How can you not pick that. My quick pick is Garza via flying anything in the 2nd round.

Cub Swanson vs Ricardo Lamas
2 tough guys with solid stand up skills. Lots of banging and a quick pick for Ricardo Lamas via 1st round TKO.

Clay Harvison vs DaMaques Johnson
My gut tells me, quick pick for Clay Harvison via 3rd round TKO.

Norifumi Yamamoto vs Darren Uyenoyama
I say Japan is finally getting some wins, quick pick for Norifumi Yamamoto via 1st round TKO.

Mackens Semerzier vs Robert Peralta
This is a big step up in competition for Semerzier. I think this is too much too soon. My quick pick is for Peralta via 1st round TKO.

Alex Caceres vs Cole Escovedo
Another big step up in competition. Alex Caceres doesn't stand a chance in my opinion. My quick pick is Cole Escovedo via 1st round rear naked choke.

Mike Pierce vs Paul Bradley
This is a rematch for them from a battle in 2009. Mike Pierce won the decision that night and I think he'll succeed again. My quick pick is for Mike Pierce via unanimous decision.

Aaron Rosa vs Matt Lucas
My quick pick is another gut instinct, telling me Matt Lucas will win his UFC debut via 2nd round TKO.

There you have it, my UFC on Fox 1 quick picks. Looking forward to seeing UFC history being made on Saturday.

Brittney Palmer Returns to UFC

Today there was an announcement that Brittney Palmer will once again be gracing the octagon for the UFC. I thought this was a great excuse to post some pictures of Brittney for your enjoyment.




Monday, November 7, 2011

UFC 138 Recap - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

To start this blog off, I have to say I'm embarrassed. I bashed this card up-and-down for its lack of star power and in my opinion lack of decent fights. Wow, was I ever wrong. This card delivered some exciting fights and great finishes. This is the only card of 2011, so far, that has had a finish in all the main card fights. So let's do the UFC 138 Recap - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

THE GOOD

Mark Munoz
We have to start with Mark Munoz. He did in fact look like a "wrecking machine" on Saturday. He not only grounded Leben and took away his striking ability, but after that cut opened up, I think he actually broke Leben's will. Munoz's wrestling looked much better than usual and his ground-and-pound was just vicious.

After the fight, Munoz stated that he wanted a shot at the title. Now, I know he's riding a 4 fight win streak, but the win over Demian Maia is the only legitimate top 10 fighter he's beaten. It would be nice to see him avenge his split decision loss to Yushin Okami. However, Okami has slipped down the rankings after losing his title fight to Silva, so that doesn't make much sense to put the rematch together. I think a fight with the winner of Bisping and Miller would help establish a contender.

Renan "Barao" Pegado
Barao looked amazing in his fight with Brad Pickett. His striking was crisp and accurate and he took Pickett apart which lead to the 1st round rear naked choke finish. Pickett to his credit, came to fight and he threw big bombs the entire fight. Barao ate a couple of them and showed a good chin. But in the end, Pickett was too wild and Barao dropped him with his better, crisper, and more accurate striking.

After such a dominate performance, coupled with his 17 fight win streak, puts Barao on a short list to Dominick Cruz. I think his next fight should be with the loser of Faber and Bowles, because the winner is almost assured a shot at the title. Taking on the loser would solidify Barao as the number 1 contender at that point or put loser right back into the title hunt. 

Thiago Alves
Alves got the honor of welcoming Papy Abedi to the octagon. Abedi a highly touted prospect will definitely have a great career. But in this fight, he bit off more than he could chew in Alves. Alves actually looked a lot like the fighter he used to be and really let his hands and legs fly. After dropping Abedi with a nice crisp boxing, Alves mounts Abedi and starts raining bombs. Abedi gives up his back and Alves scores his first ever career rear naked choke victory.

Moving forward, Alves appears to be getting his career back on track with a big win. I have several match-ups that I think would be interesting. First, a rematch with Josh Koscheck would put him right back into the title picture and Koscheck may be open to this fight since he'd get a chance to avenge his loss to Alves. Second, for pure striking fun, I'd love to see Alves and Dan Hardy square off. That fight would be sure to end in a knock out. But as crazy as it sounds, I'd like Alves to rematch Matt Hughes. Hughes has stated he doesn't want to retire yet, and he is looking for fights that interest and motivate him. A chance to avenge his loss to Alves should get Hughes' juices flowing.

Terry Etim
Wow, what can be said about a flawless performance. I'll have to watch the fight again, but I don't think he even got touched in the fight. 17 seconds of crisp boxing and one nasty guillotine.

I guess all of my suggestions are rematches today. I think Etim should face off with Rafael dos Anjos, the last man to beat Etim.

THE BAD

Anthony Perosh
Even though Perosh had a dominant performance in beating Cyrille Diabate, he still needs major work on his stand up and takedown abilities. At this point in his career, and at the age of 39, I have to think it'll never happen. Perosh is a wizard on the ground, but if he can't hold his own in the striking department to set up takedowns, he'll continue to get destroyed by good strikers with solid takedown defense. With that said, kudos on a win.

Having a guy like Perosh on the roster can't be easy for matchmaker Joe Silva. He's a decent fighter but so low in the rankings. Who do you match him up with? Maybe someone like Nick Catone, or Eliot Marshall (I haven't heard if he's been cut or not by the UFC).

Chris Leben
Leben makes the bad list after a pretty poor performance. I know Leben is a zombie and takes punishment all day long, but that can't bode well for career longevity. Leben did land a few big shots and threw a lot of punches and elbows from the bottom, but never truly mounted an offense in the fight. Leben shows flashes of awesomeness in one fight, then he looks like a bum off the street in the next. Consistent performances seem to be Leben's crippler.

Moving forward, I would actually like to see Leben and Alan Belcher fight.

Papy Abedi
Abedi was aggressive, seemed to be following a decent game plan, but got caught by a better striker. I think Abedi has a promising future ahead of him, but jumping into the UFC against a top level opponent was a mistake.

Next for Abedi should be someone with a similar experience level. I think a match-up with Amir Sadollah would a good fight for both fighters.

THE UGLY

Brad Pickett
I know that Pickett was trying to make a big statement by trying to knockout Barao. But the statement he made was that throwing haymakers like Leonard Garcia has the same results, a loss. Pickett just threw bombs and Barao dissected him. Needless to say, working on some boxing, made a jab and some straight punches. Throwing nothing but huge hooks didn't work out too well.

Going forward to Pickett, a fight with Eddie Wineland would make the most sense. Both are on losing skids now, and both are still very relevant in the bantamweight picture.

Cyrille Diabate
Zero ground skills score Diabate the Ugly list. So afraid of being taking down in the fight, he never got off with his striking. And when Perosh did finally get it to the ground, Perosh just worked him over at will. In the second round, Perosh mounted Diabate and just abused him like he was some sort of mannequin sparing dummy. Diabate had absolutely nothing to offer on the ground.

Going forward, Diabate needs to work on some ground skills. At a minimum, takedown defense and how to get back to his feet. Next up, (again, if he hasn't been cut) Eliot Marshall or maybe Ricardo Romero.

Wrap-Up
So, there you have it, my UFC 138 Recap - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. This event definitely surprised me with some big performances. Next up, UFC on FOX, next Saturday.

Friday, November 4, 2011

UFC 138 Weigh In Results

Here are the UFC 138 weigh in results. All fighters made weight, although Thiago Alves initially weighed in at 172 pounds and later re-weighed in at 171 pounds to make weight. Alves had better perform well tomorrow, this isn't the first hard time he's had making weight and he's record of late hasn't been good to say the least. If Alves gets stopped in this fight, I expect that he'll get his walking papers.

MAIN CARD
Mark Munoz (186) vs Chris Leben (186)
Renan Barao (136) vs Brad Pickett (134)
Papy Abedi (170) vs Thiago Alves (171) on second attempt
Edward Faaloloto (155) vs Terry Etim (156)
Anthony Perosh (205) vs Cyrille Diabate (206)

PRELIMS
Justin Edwards (170) vs John Maguire (170)
Jason Young (145) vs Michihiro Omigawa (145)
Phil De Fries (243) vs Rob Broughton (258)
Che Mills (169) vs Chris Cope (170)
Vaughan Lee (135) vs Chris Cariaso (135)

Be sure to check out my UFC 138 Prediction Blog.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

UFC 138 Main Card Predictions

Today I'm going to give you my UFC 138 Main Card Predictions. Now typically I will do my prelim predictions before doing the main card, but this UFC card is rather weak, so I won't be doing the prelim predictions for this event. Let's dive in.

Chris Leben vs Mark Munoz

In the UFC's first non-title 5 round fight, Chris Leben will take on Mark Munoz. A great matchup, but far from a headlining draw here. I actually feel bad that this is the main event for a non-fight night card. If this was a fight night card, this matchup headlining makes perfect sense. But for the first ever 5 round non-title fight, it begs to be something more. Last week's Penn/Diaz fight should have been a 5 rounder. That would have made sense, 2 men who were essentially battling for the number 1 contender status. But Leben and Munoz are still a couple wins away from being in serious title talk. Needless to say, I'm just scratching my head as to why the UFC made THIS fight, a 5 round fight.

Let's get to the breakdown. Leben is a solid striker with good jiu jitsu. Munoz is an average striker with great wrestling. Advantage Munoz. I expect Munoz to utilize his wrestling to put Leben on his back constantly. Leben fights well off his back, the evidence is his recent triangle choke submission over Akiyama. But Munoz's wrestling is way better than Akiyama's and Munoz won't gas out like Akiyama did. Leben is tough man to finish however, so I expect this to actually go all 5 rounds.

My prediction is Munoz by one-sided unanimous decision.

Brad Pickett vs Renan Barao

This is an intriguing matchup, but as the co-main event, I think this fight is weak. Pickett, who minus a decision loss to Scott Jorgensen would be knocking on the door to a title shot, takes on Barao, who hasn't lost in 26 straight fights and trains along side Jose Aldo. Barao was far from impressive in his UFC debut, back in May, winning a close decision. But a win is a win, and his 26 fight winning streak is still going strong.

Now if Pickett had fought at least once in the last year, I'd have no issue picking him to upset Barao. But I believe he'll have some cage rust going on and this will be his UFC debut, his last fight was in the WEC. I just don't think Pickett will not perform up to his full potential.

My prediction is that Barao will win another close decision.

Thiago Alves vs Papy Adebi

Alves gets to welcome Adebi to the octagon. Alves just has not looked like the same fighter since losing to GSP 4 fights ago. But taking on Adebi who is making his UFC debut and a notable step-up in competition makes me think Alves game get a win here. Adebi is no easy out however, and will make his UFC debut with an undefeated record of 8-0. Adebi has finished 7 of his 8 professional fights and appears to have a fairly well rounded game, although he prefers to strike.

Adebi has a slight height advantage and I believe he'll have a slight reach advantage. Alves who is the big name here, has fallen on hard times in the UFC and I believe he needs a big win to regain some confidence. However, I don't think he'll get it.

My prediction is that Adebi has a good UFC debut and takes the unanimous decision.

Terry Etim vs Eddie Faaloloto

The UFC is throwing Etim a bone here. Etim who is coming into this fight off of a loss to Rafael dos Anjos. Etim will take on Faaloloto, who is still an infant in his MMA career, sporting a 2-2 record and coming in on the heels of 2 straight losses. Etim should have a field day and pick how he wants to finish him at his leisure. 

My prediction is that Etim will take his time, and finish Faaloloto via rear naked choke in the 2nd round.

Cyrille Diabate vs Anthony Perosh

Diabate vs Persosh is a main card fight. This alone should tell you how weak this card is. Diabate has in my opinion fought better competition throughout his career and possesses a well rounded game. Diabate can finish this on the feet and has a good submission game. Perosh is primarily a ground fighter. I expect that Perosh will try in vain to get this fight down and get finished early.

My prediction is Diabate sinks in a guillotine late in the 1st round as Perosh shoots in on him.

So there are my UFC 138 Main Card Predictions. To say I'm disappointed in this card is an understatement. I'm just looking forward to November 12th, and the UFC on Fox.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Vitor Belfort versus Anthony Johnson

The UFC announced today that Anthony Johnson will move up to 185 pounds to take on Vitor Belfort at UFC 142 in Brazil. Here's a link to the article on MMA Junkie.

I think this is a good and bad move all in one. I think Johnson should be fighting at middleweight especially since he has such a hard time making weight at welterweight. But for your first move into a larger weight class I don't think he should take on a top middleweight like Vitor Belfort. I would prefer to see him take on a lower ranked fighter first before moving straight into the upper echelon.

However, I do think Johnson is capable of winning this fight. I'm already excited for UFC 142 now.

BJ Penn May Not Retire

BJ Penn released a short statement.
“I want to thank all the fans for their love and support. I have decided to take some time off to enjoy life, train and teach. I will keep you posted with what’s next.”
What does this mean? Is BJ considering another fight? BJ has publicly stated several times that he was considering retirement before the Jon Fitch fight. After he lost to Nick Diaz, I was not surprised to hear him say he was retiring. But this statement leaves a lot of questions.

As always, time will tell. But as a fan, I'm hoping BJ actually retires. Watching him not train properly and gas out in every big fight is frustrating. He's a legend and he should walk away now. If his heart and mind are not committed to training properly, all the talent in the world can't win you fights when you don't prepare.