Posts Tagged ‘Matt Serra’

Bad Example’s UFC 119 Prediction Hangover

September 28th, 2010 | Author:
This article was originally published at Copyright:

UFC 119 Prediction Hangover

Your boy is up for the second card in a row! I was correct in 3 of my 5 predictions, losing one via split decision, and losing another one that Yahoo Sports had scored 29-28 for my pick. So I was damn close at being 5 of 5. Of course, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. And I’m not sure about horseshoes, I’ve never been that bored to play it. If you had bet one billion dollars on each of my picks, you would have won 1.22 billion dollars. You’re welcome.

Melvin Guillard vs Jeremy Stephens

I had picked Stephens in this fight. It was definetly a close fight, with Guillard winning a split decision. I still believe betting Stephens as an underdog in this toss up fight was a good decision. You win some, you lose some, and sometimes the judges cost me money.

Evan Dunham vs Sean Sherk

I won this one on Sherk via split decision. Apparently the fans did not like the decision and agreed with the minority judge. Exposing a man’s skull in the first round doesn’t factor into their judging perhaps, but it did the officials.

Chris Lytle vs Matt Serra

I was surprised this fight didn’t win the second Fight of the Night prize instead of Sherk vs Dunham. Sherk and Dunham put on a good show, but I really enjoyed watching these two guys going toe to toe like they did. It also has the highlight of the night for me – if you still got it on the DVR, look up 4:30 of round 2 and watch Lytle knock out one of Serra’s teeth with an uppercut. Pretty sweet. I was right about something else in this fight, not just Lytle as a winner. Serra needs to drop to lightweight. Watch how Lytle has to bend over at the waist to be on his level. Looks like he’s fighting a hobbit. Love ya Serra, you got the heart of a lion and head of a statue, but fight at lightweight dude.

Rogerio Noguiera vs Ryan Bader

Well I lost this one. I picked Noguiera but Bader’s boxing was just as good, and his wrestling proved too much. My only real saving grace was Yahoo Sports scoring it 29-28 for Noguiera, so at least some believed it was at least close and I don’t regret my betting decision.

Frank Mir vs Mirko Cro Cop

Ugh what a disaster of a main event. Have you ever been so disappointed in a main event that ended in a knockout? Makes me worry that MMA may be going in boxing’s direction of a decision every major fight because the fighters are so cautious. Machida’s method is catching on I’m afraid. Hopefully I’m wrong.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back for UFC 120 in a couple weeks, so stay tuned to for all my fake news and predictions!

Two UFC 119 fighters suspended six months for medical reasons

September 27th, 2010 | Author: Five Ounces of Pain
This article was originally published at Five Ounces of Pain. Copyright: Five Ounces of Pain.

A total of ten participants from last weekend’s UFC 119 event were issued a mandatory break from competition by the Indiana Gaming Commission today based on damage sustained at the event. Topping the list were Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Matt Serra, who will both be sidelined for at least six months and possibly longer depending on the results of a requisite CT scan.

News of the suspensions was reported by MMAFighting.

“Cro Cop” was knocked out by a devastating knee from Frank Mir in the closing minute of their headlining match-up, and though former UFC welterweight champ Serra went to a decision against opponent Chris Lytle he still absorbed a good deal of punishment throughout the affair as most of the bout’s action involved stand-up.

Here is a complete list of UFC 119 medical suspensions:

Sean McCorkle – Suspended 30 days with no contact for 21 days
Steve Lopez – Suspended 30 days with no contact for 30 days (cut)
Matt Mitrione – Suspended 30 days with no contact for 12 days
Joey Beltran – Suspended 30 days with no contact for 30 days (cut)
Mark Hunt – Suspended minimum of 30 days, left elbow must be cleared by X-Ray result
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira – Suspended 30 days with no contact for 30 days
Sean Sherk – Suspended 30 days with no contact for 21 days
Evan Dunham – Suspended 45 days with no contact for 45 days
Matt Serra – Suspended minimum of 180 days, must be cleared by CT scan
Mirko Filipovic – Suspended minimum of 180 days, must be cleared by CT scanSimilar Posts:

Bad Example’s UFC 119 Predictions

September 21st, 2010 | Author:
This article was originally published at Copyright:

Before we get to the predictions, some breaking news…

UFC Championship Fighter Fails Drug Test

Chael SonnenAs many of you know, not all drug tests came back clean from UFC 117’s main event, where Anderson “The Spider” Silva defended his UFC Middleweight Championship against Chael Sonnen. Drug tests are mandatory in most states for professional title bouts.

The California State Athletic Commission confirmed Sunday that Anderson Silva failed his post-fight screening. The failed test was due to a banned agent – radioactive spider venom.

Radioactive spider venom is a known performance enhancer, giving superhuman strength, agility, and what’s known as a “spider sense”. This tingly “spider sense” made Silva realize 23 minutes into their bout that he was losing all five rounds to an overrated one dimensional wrestler.

Some fans had previously accused Silva that the marks on his back during the UFC 117 weigh-ins were in fact steroid injection sites. However it’s now believed that these are his third set of limbs coming in.

Their anticipated rematch will most likely be postponed. In the meantime Silva will be fighting the likes of The Hobgoblin and Dr. Octopus.

Silva was not available for comment Sunday, choosing instead to spend the day catching moths.

Obviously, it’s a joke…

On to the predictions!

Bad Example’s UFC 119 Predictions

This is an underdog betting night for me. Three of my five picks are moneyline underdogs. It can be a volatile night – you could lose a wad or make a wad. Manage your bankroll accordingly. Moneylines stolen from Be sure to shop around for the best line for maximum profit.

Melvin Guillard -160 vs. Jeremy Stephens +130

With a combined 20 fights in the UFC, these two guys have been around awhile, but neither have ever had a 3 fight win streak inside the UFC to be in title contention. This’ll change at UFC 119, as both fighters are on two fight winning streaks. Both are knockout artists, with 13 of Stephens’ 18 wins via KO, and 14 of Guillard’s 24 wins via KO. When two high level brawlers are swinging away, is one really that much more of a favorite than the other? I see no reason to assume Guillard could land the perfect one before Stephens, and with Guillard’s susceptibility to submissions (7 out of 8 losses), if Stephens comes in with a smart gameplan, it may not even matter. This is a coin flip, so why not take the underdog?

Evan Dunham -240 vs. Sean Sherk +200

I was shocked at this line. Granted, Dunham is a stud and has a long, bright future. But out of only 11 fights, only his last three are worthy of mention – and two of those were by razor thin split decisions. This is not an elite resume, not yet. Sherk has been fighting the best in the world for years. He’s got three times as many wins as Dunham has fights. They have a common opponent in Tyson Griffin, who Sherk defeated via unanimous decision but Dunham only by split decision. I personally believe you can make a case for Sherk being a rightful favorite in this matchup, so if someone wants to give me 2 to 1 on my money, I’ll take that bet gladly.

Chris Lytle -130 vs. Matt Serra EVEN

I really like this matchup, but what I don’t like is Matt Serra continuing to fight at welterweight. It’s an MMA rule: you fight in the smallest weight class you can. He’s fought at lightweight before, he’s 5 foot 6, he can make lightweight, go to lightweight, goofball. Now as far as the prediction goes… understand that these two have fought before. In 2006 these were the finalists of TUF 4: The Comeback, Serra winning a split decision. Since then Lytle has went 7-5, defeating the likes of Matt Brown (twice) and Brian Foster. Matt Serra has only had four fights since then versus Lytle’s twelve, but against much better competition, defeating and losing to GSP, losing to Matt Hughes, and knocking out Frank Trigg. Because the first match was so close and with Lytle this time having a huge home field advantage being from Indianapolis, I’m leaning towards Lytle.

Ryan Bader -175 vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira +145

Another line I was shocked at. Perhaps Bader is being overbet as a TUF winner? Who has Bader beat? Someone tell me. Carmelo Marrero, who was cut from the UFC? Eric Shafer, who was also cut from the UFC? Keith Jardine, who has lost his last five matches straight? Bader just hasn’t fought elite level competition yet, but he will at UFC 119. Nogueira holds wins over Strikeforce -heavyweight- champion Overeem. TWICE. Not to mention Dan Henderson and more recently an impressive performance against Luiz Arthur Cane. Granted, in his last matchup against Jason Brilz he laid an egg, but everyone can have a bad night, and often come back stronger for the next one. I just can’t be a Bader believer until he defeats higher level competition. Again I personally think you could make a case that the moneyline underdog should be a favorite, so I’ll take the underdog again.

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic +180 vs. Frank Mir -220

Mirko is another guy who I believe is breaking the MMA rule I mentioned earlier – he should not be fighting at heavyweight when he can fight at light heavyweight. I do believe Cro Cop can make another run at a title, but it won’t be the heavyweight title. The heavyweight picture has changed so much in the last few years and is now much too dominated by fighters who are much too bigger. I believe he should fight at light heavyweight or his career may be shorter than we are even thinking now. There’s lots of reasons to like Mir in this fight. He’ll outweigh him by about 30lbs, much of that muscle. Mir is still getting better, while Cro Cop’s best days may very well be behind him. Cro Cop also suffered a “likely cornea abrasion” recently which certainly doesn’t help his chances any. The moneyline gives Cro Cop a 35% chance of winning; Mir 68%, perhaps worse if you can shop a better line. I think Mir should be a slightly better favorite so this is the one big favorite I’m picking.


Jeremy Stephens, Sean Sherk, Chris Lytle, Antonio Rogerio Noguiera, Frank Mir to WIN

#126 Weight Loss in BJJ (Rebroadcast)

September 5th, 2010 | Author: The FightWorks Podcast
This article was originally published at The FightWorks Podcast. Copyright: The FightWorks Podcast.

lose weight jiu-jitsu

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is so good at melting fat off people that I don’t know why there isn’t waiting lists to train. Honestly if you personally have not experienced weight loss from training BJJ, I’ll bet that you know someone who has. And unlike well, every other workout I can think of, jiu-jitsu is fun and addictive.

This week on the show we’ll hear from four guys who have lost significant amounts of weight because of training BJJ. I think you will be shocked at the weight some have lost. And they will all tell you that they have been having such a good time training BJJ that losing the weight becomes an afterthought. Seriously, why isn’t BJJ introduced to every child when they begin formal education?

And for those who are wondering, this artfully done photo you see above was taken on location at the Fightworks Podcast photo studio next to the sink and in front of the stove. Get it? The measuring tape instead of a BJJ belt?!?! Our editorial team has outdone itself this time. Kudos, gang. ;)

Below are pictures of our featured guest on the show this week before training jiu-jitsu and what he looks like now. Danny the Butcher from Long Island trains with Matt Serra and Nick Serra and is now in the best shape of his life because of BJJ.

danny bjj butcher

[iTunes] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (recommended)
[mp3] Download the show

St. Pierre’s title defense against Josh Koscheck slated for Montreal

August 31st, 2010 | Author: Five Ounces of Pain
This article was originally published at Five Ounces of Pain. Copyright: Five Ounces of Pain.

It appears the Ultimate Fighter Season 12 is scheduled to culminate in UFC welterweight champ George St. Pierre defending his title against top contender Josh Koscheck in Montreal. According to Dana White, the bout will headline UFC 124 at the Belle Center on December 11th. News of the event was recently confirmed by the UFC President to MMAFighting.

TUF 12 is set to air on Spike starting September 15th. Opposing coaches on the show, St. Pierre and Koscheck fought once before in August 2007 in a bout which “Rush” cruised to a unanimous decision win. GSP has won six straight since beating Koscheck while “Kos” has gone 6-2 over the same span.

UFC 124 will mark the second time St. Pierre has fought with a title on the line in Montreal. The first came in the form of his ultimately successful rematch against Matt Serra, a match-up resulting in one of the most memorable arena-atmospheres in recent history.

Matt Serra vs. Chris Lytle Rematch Set For UFC 119

July 11th, 2010 | Author:
This article was originally published at Copyright:

mattserraUFC welterweight fighters Matt Serra (11-6) and Chris Lytle (29-17-5) will rematch one another at the upcoming UFC 119 in Indianapolis.

The fight was first reported by who noted that both fighters have agreed to face one another but have yet to sign the bout agreements.

They first faced each other in the welterweight Finale of “The Ultimate Fighter 4: The Comeback” in November of 2006. Serra earned a split decision from the judges to earn the win over Lytle.

Serra, who since then, has gone on to win the UFC welterweight title, earned a victory in his last fight after losing two straight. At UFC 109 he faced Frank Trigg knocking him out in the first round ending Trigg’s hopes of returning to the UFC. He fought once in 2009 and 2008, losing bouts to Matt Hughes and to Georges St-Pierre, who won his title back from Serra at UFC 83.

Lytle, meanwhile has gone on to win a few and lose a few since facing Serra, putting together a 7-3 record since the loss at the TUF 4 Finale. One thing he has done though is win numerous “Fight Night” honors, earning 7 bonuses including 4 “Fight of the Night” awards. Lytle has won his past three bouts having submitted Matt Brown at last weekends UFC 116 event, Brian Foster at UFC 110, and Kevin Burns at the “TUF 9″ Finale.

The yet to be officially announced UFC 119, is believed to take place at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Sept. 25.

Chris Lytle vs. Matt Serra added to UFC 119 in Indianapolis

July 10th, 2010 | Author:
This article was originally published at Copyright:

A welterweight rematch between Chris Lytle and
Matt Serra will be featured on the main card of the
as-yet-unannounced UFC 119 event. has learned from sources close to the promotion that both
fighters have agreed to the matchup, and bout agreements are expected to
be finalized shortly.

UFC 119 takes place Sept. 25 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Grappling with Issues – 7/2/10

July 2nd, 2010 | Author: Five Ounces of Pain
This article was originally published at Five Ounces of Pain. Copyright: Five Ounces of Pain.

Who should be the next to taste Cung Le’s feet? Will Shane Carwin see his first career “second round” against Brock Lesnar this Saturday night? Is Keith Jardine destined for Strikeforce? Is Fedor Emelianenko’s loss to Fabricio Werdum the biggest upset in the history of MMA?

Keyboard warrrrriors….come out to plaaaay-yay!

The weekend is upon us and sure to be filled with explosive action, both in the night sky on July 4th and come Saturday night in Las Vegas when Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin test the Octagon’s durability during a championship clash! If you’re reading these lines you are back in the friendly digital confines of “Grappling with Issues”, our site’s resident Friday feature highlighting insight and opinion from Adam Tool and myself on six subjects plucked from the Mixed Martial Arts landscape. However, just because we staffers get the fancy set-up, please don’t feel precluded from dishing out your own thoughts on each matter in the comments section at the bottom of the column…

Also, make sure to have a happy, fun, and safe Fourth of July weekend! Enjoy the BBQ, beers, and brawls!

TRUE/FALSE – Fabricio Werdum tapping out Fedor Emelianenko is the biggest upset in the history of MMA.

Conlan: False, and this is coming from someone who gave Werdum a 1% chance of beating Emelianenko in last week’s GWI. However, as I also explained in that response, the percentage wasn’t based on a lack of talent on the Chute Boxe fighter’s part so much as Fedor’s “aura”, as well as his history of escaping every dangerous position he’d ever found himself in. The reality is that Werdum is an extremely skilled competitor and in a sport like Mixed Martial Arts, as evident in the upset loss last weekend, anything is possible.

I don’t think Werdum’s win is the “biggest upset” in MMA’s history because of the Brazilian’s credentials regardless of how invincible Fedor appeared to be entering the bout. In fact, I’d say Matt Serra‘s TKO of Georges St. Pierre in 2007 has the Brazilian’s submission beat. Serra hadn’t beaten any welterweights of real note prior to the fight, gave up a good deal of size to GSP, and was known for his jiujitsu rather than his hands. In the case of Werdum, not only had he competed against and beaten a number of respected heavyweights, but he finished Emelianenko with a technique associated with his primary discipline (BJJ) and is also taller/heavier than “The Last Emperor”.

Tool: I’m going with “true,” and here’s why: Fedor went nearly 10 years and 29 fights without suffering a loss. His string of victories is a feat that will be all-but-impossible to surpass anytime soon. While St. Pierre was a heavy favorite against Serra, it wasn’t as though he had never suffered a legitimate defeat before then. We can’t say the same for Fedor though, as the lone loss on his record before Saturday was a TKO with a huge asterisk attached to it. Yes, Werdum had a clear path to victory before the bout had even begun, but in the days leading up to the fight it was impossible to find a single fan or journalist who had definitively stated that Werdum would get the win.

In a way I think Fedor’s decade of dominance has helped to soften the impact of Werdum’s win. We all knew that sooner or later somebody would find a way to beat Fedor so even though nobody figured it would be Werdum that would do it, we still knew that it was bound to happen sometime. Couple that with Fedor’s respectful demeanor afterwards and it’s easy to see why some people might not make such a big deal about it. Make no mistake though, it is a big deal. This fight has permanently changed the landscape of the heavyweight division, and destroyed the aura of invincibility surrounding one of the greatest fighters the sport has ever known.

Do you think that Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin will make it past the first round?

Conlan: I believe it will. Don’t get me wrong. Both behemoths have the power to knock each other out with a single shot. Hell, each could likely turn a cow into a leather sofa with one well-placed fist. However, Lesnar hasn’t shown himself to be a first-frame finisher thus far in his career and should be looking to utilize his wrestling ability rather than exchanging strikes with someone who has made his living thus far by avoiding the opening round’s fourth minute, let alone bout’s second stanza.

I feel Lesnar will rely on his grappling in an attempt to neutralize his adversary’s gift of immediately rendering opponents defenseless, as well as in order to test Carwin’s post-five minute cardio. I also don’t think Carwin is afraid of going a full five-rounds if necessary because he’s intelligent and understands the opportunity at hand, and in that regard I don’t think he’ll risk a year of preparation by rushing in right away only to catch a quick strike that ends his night.

Tool: I’ll say no, but this is an extremely tough question to answer with all the variables in play. We don’t know what kind of punishment Lesnar’s chin can endure, but Carwin is the perfect opponent to test it. We also don’t know if Carwin can be taken down at will, although we do know that if anyone can do it it’s got to be Lesnar. I don’t want to underrate the UFC Heavyweight Champion but he’s got some pretty severe ring rust to overcome against what is arguably his toughest opponent to date. I won’t be surprised to see Lesnar take this fight to the mat in order to employ his vicious brand of ground and pound, but I also can’t say I’ll be surprised to see Carwin add another notch to his string of first round stoppages. All these question marks are what makes this particular title fight so intriguing, and I for one am thrilled that the UFC’s heavyweight division has become wildly exciting for the first time in years.

Aside from the main event, which bout at UFC 116 are you most excited for?

Conlan: I’m definitely looking forward to seeing George Sotiropolous mix it up with Kurt Pellegrino and won’t be surprised if they end up with the event’s “Fight of the Night” honors when everything is said and done in Vegas. Sotiropolous and Pellegrino, who with fellow UFC 116 participant Krzysztof Soszynski account for the greatest gathering of Scrabble-friendly last names on a PPV card in recent history, are similar in their slickness on the mat and fearlessness in the cage. Both go 100% at all times and have shown the kind of heart which makes me believe neither would ever mentally tap out in a bout; that they only quit when physically forced by their body to do so.

Beyond that, their skills match-up well as far as promise for entertainment goes. Sotiropolous has yet to be finished in fourteen fights and Pellegrino is 8-2 in his last ten in-Octagon appearances with losses to the typically-tough Nate Diaz and Joe Stevenson along the way. I can see them trading shots for the first round, then putting on a ground-clinic until the third round ends or one of them is submitted/TKO’d. Their pairing should definitely be a ton of fun to watch and an excellent way to open up the PPV portion of the show.

Tool: I’m extremely excited about the Sotiropolous/Pellegrino match-up as well, but they’ll have some stiff competition for “Fight of the Night” in the form of Matt Brown vs. Chris Lytle. The end of the night bonus for best fight usually goes to the most entertaining slugfest of the evening, and there can be little doubt that that’s exactly what these two will deliver. Both fighters possess an underrated ground game, but it’s only underrated because they’ve each had plenty of success punching guys in the face. These are also two of the toughest fighters in the UFC, as each man has proven to be all but impossible to put away. Add all these element together and you’ve got the perfect recipe for the kind of fight that should have fans on their feet for 15 minutes.

Is it a given freshly released free-agent Keith Jardine will sign with Strikeforce?

Tool: I would think so. Jardine brings two things to the table that any MMA promotion would want: name recognition and an exciting fighting style. Even if Strikeforce didn’t want to say the name of their biggest competitor, I’m sure they’d have no problem promoting Jardine as a man with wins over Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin. His fights are almost always guaranteed to end in a knockout, and I have yet to see anyone label him as “boring.” The light heavyweight division in Strikeforce is one of their weakest weight classes so any added star power would obviously benefit them. There might be some trepidation on signing a guy who’s on a four-fight losing streak, but in this case I think the positives outweigh the negatives.

Conlan: Though I’d say it’s definitely “likely” Jardine will ink a deal with Strikeforce, I wouldn’t say it’s as certain as tomorrow’s sunrise or even Arianny Celeste flirtatiously flicking her tongue out at the camera in-between rounds at UFC 116. Coker’s company could use Jardine’s relative star-power but inserting him into the deep end of their 205-pound pool has little benefit to it other than name-recognition. He’s 34 and lost five of his last six fights, yet also is a game opponent who is a threat to beat anyone who doesn’t land a clean shot to his chin. Stepping in and potentially beating one or two of Strikeforce’s top light heavyweights doesn’t necessarily look good because of his age/recent struggles or give the company an individual with a large enough following or bright enough future to promote their division around (like “King Mo” Lawal, Dan Henderson, or Gegard Mousasi). It also wouldn’t do Jardine a lot of good to bring his losing streak up to five in a row by thrusting him into the ring with highly touted competition. Rather, I could see “The Dean of Mean” seeking out a couple of bouts on smaller shows or in Japan to possibly string a couple of victories together and hopefully end his career in the UFC.

Who would you like to see Cung Le face in his next match-up?

Tool: I’m going to assume that Jake Shields is on his way to the UFC, and as such Strikeforce will be going ahead with their proposed middleweight tournament to crown a new champion. If that is the case then it’s entirely possible we’ll get to see Le face up to three quality opponents, although the lineup and start date for the tournament hasn’t been anywhere close to finalized.

If I had to pick an opponent for Le though I’d go with the best middleweight in Strikeforce not currently wearing gold: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. It’s your classic striker vs. grappler match-up, only with two guys who are extremely good at what they do. “Jacare” is certainly one of the most aggressive grapplers in the business as he’s more than capable of executing a strong double-leg takedown instead of simply flopping on his butt. Le would be in for a bit of a challenge as well since he may not be quite as eager to throw his signature kicks against the threat of winding up on his back. “Jacare” has been knocked out before so it would be interesting to see how his chin stands up against the Sanshou attack of Le.

Conlan: When I originally prepared this question for Tool it included a limited number of options at the end. However, it quickly dawned on me the one individual I want to see Le face most wasn’t among them (so I changed it to invite a wider range of responses). Though I understand the appeal of matching up contrasting styles I think Le is best served by opponents who engage in stand-up wars. When he’s on his feet, throwing the kind of combinations typically reserved for pre-plotted action-movie sequences, he’s as exciting as any other Mixed Martial Artist in the business. When he’s on his back he becomes any other fighter, i.e. he loses most of his appeal as a competitor. He’s also a 38-year old fighter who strikes 99% of the time so the window of opportunity in terms of putting together legacy-making fights is a limited one.

I think Robbie Lawler is a perfect fit to fill the current vacancy where Le’s next in-ring adversary is concerned. He’s respected by most if not all and has no interest in taking action to the mat unless it involves posturing over a fallen fighter to rain down punches. Putting Le and “Ruthless” Robbie together would surely result in fast-paced fireworks and a TKO victory for someone. Lawler could also use a big fight at 185-pounds after his catch-weight loss to Renato Sobral and the winner of a Le bout could easily be promoted as Strikeforce’s top middleweight contender.

Comparably, risking a situation where someone wet blankets their way to victory (as a high-level grappler like Souza could) would be akin to having ring girls circle the cage dressed in burlap sacks. The sexier the situation, the more eyes watch, and I’ll be damned if the thought of Le vs. Lawler might not result in a 90 second wet dream for most MMA fans.

How concerned should fans/promoters/merchandisers be regarding the recent report the UFC threatened TapOut into dropping their sponsorship of Fedor Emelianenko?

Tool: It’s hard to say. On one hand the UFC is a business, and as such they’re perfectly capable of running that business however they see fit. On the other hand it’s obviously a bad situation for any and all MMA clothing manufacturers as they have no real way of knowing when Zuffa could decide to pull the plug on their sponsorship capabilities. After all, TapOut is arguably the biggest sponsor in UFC history (one of the company’s founders is in the UFC Hall Of Fame), so if the company is willing to severe ties with them then is anyone really safe?

Clearly the ones who stand to lose the most out of this is the fighters themselves. Somebody like Fedor will obviously have no trouble finding another company to make his shirts, but for a lot of lesser-known fighters their sponsorship is crucial to their livelihood. Why should Johnny Noname have to suffer by having his sponsor pulled because that particular company decided to partner up with somebody that the UFC doesn’t care for?

Dana White talks all the time about how much of a fan he is of the sport, and how he’s doing everything he can to make MMA the biggest sport in the world, but the action of banning sponsors from the UFC only serves his petty vendettas at the cost of fighters’ careers.

Conlan: Fans should only be mildly concerned but promoters/merchandisers are in an entirely different boat. Tool is correct in saying the UFC has the right to conduct their business in a way they feel is appropriate as long as it doesn’t violate any established laws/regulations. Hell, he’s correct in all of what he says.

In my eyes, threatening to ban a sponsor as a means of affecting a fighter in a rival promotion is the not-so-distant cousin of racketeering. It takes money out of Mixed Martial Artists’ pockets, as well as the companies who are forking out cash to back them and support their careers. Furthermore, it’s a problem that only exists because the UFC created it. No forward-thinking or informed fan would ever assume M-1 or Strikeforce was superior, nor related, to Zuffa’s product simply because the apparel fighters wear crosses over between the companies. Rather, the UFC apparently felt it was a way to get at Emelianenko’s camp and less directly at Strikeforce, so they exerted their power and did so.

Strikeforce: Fedor vs Werdum – The good, the bad and the ugly

June 28th, 2010 | Author: Five Ounces of Pain
This article was originally published at Five Ounces of Pain. Copyright: Five Ounces of Pain.

Strikeforce: Fedor vs Werdum” did not just surpass expectations, it absolutely smashed them. Such was the aura of invincibility surrounding Fedor Emelianenko that many are calling Fabricio Werdum’s submission victory the greatest mixed martial arts upset of all time.

It is difficult to disagree with this description. Other results, such as Georges St Pierre’s loss to Matt Serra, might have been equally surprising but no figure in MMA history has ever attracted the same levels of adulation as Fedor.

Werdum’s surprise win was the good. It is a fantastic story which will dominate the MMA media for months to come and make this arguably the most memorable Strikeforce card in history.

Strikeforce’s decision to match Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Santos with Jan Finney was the bad and referee Kim Winslow’s failure to stop the fight thereby allowing Finney to sustain a completely unnecessary amount of punishment was the ugly.

The bookmakers were under no illusions as to how competitive a contest the fight between Santos and Finney would be, Finney was a 15/1 outsider to win this fight. If this card taught us one thing it is that upsets do happen in MMA but there was only ever going to be one outcome from this mismatch.

Fights like this simply should not be allowed to take place on a promotion of the stature of Strikeforce. If the Strikeforce matchmakers really cannot find credible female opponents for Cyborg then perhaps they need to give serious consideration to allowing her to fight against members of the opposite sex.

This was a horrible match up which firstly, should have been stopped before it started, and secondly, should have been stopped a lot sooner after it did start. Refereeing might be primarily about enforcing the rules but as with any supervisory job involving potentially dangerous pursuits a degree of common sense is required.

It was immediately obvious from the opening exchanges that Finney was not going to win the fight. A sensible referee should have been looking for the slightest excuse to stop the fight from this moment onwards. Winslow seemed absolutely determined to allow Cyborg to batter Finney for as long as possible. Even Cyborg herself at times seemed to be reluctant to inflict any more punishment on an opponent who was clinging helplessly to her leg.

I have nothing against women fighters and I have nothing against women referees but this ‘fight’ seriously detracted from an otherwise excellent show and Strikeforce should take steps to ensure we are never forced to witness another debacle like this again.

The opening fight saw Josh Thomson get the reward he deserved for a series of ambitious submission attempts eventually forcing Pat Healy to tap due to a rear naked choke late in the third round. Healy spent the majority of the fight in dominant positions but never looked like coming close to finishing or even hurting Thomson.

Thomson showed great persistence in repeatedly trying to submit Healy and after coming close with triangles and armbars he finally found success with the late rear naked choke. Healy managed to withstand the choke for an inordinate amount of time but was finally forced to tap with just over 30 seconds remaining in the fight.

Cung Le’s first fight with Scott Smith came close to being stopped early as Smith seemingly had no answer for Le’s eclectic selection of strikes. Smith was given the benefit of the doubt and in this instance the referee was vindicated as he came from behind to knock Le out in an amazing comeback.

It was the first loss of Le’s MMA career and one he was anxious to avenge. Smith seemed determined not to leave it until late in the third round to land his first meaningful punch and came out swinging. Le was extremely composed and easily avoided Smith’s combinations while landing a few swift counters of his own.

It was one way traffic, much like the first meeting, but this time Le was actually able to finish the fight. Smith survived until early in round two when Le landed with a devastating back kick to the liver which left his opponent entirely incapacitated.

Earlier in the evening another Le victim Frank Shamrock announced his retirement from MMA. Le, at 38, is a year older than Shamrock and is surely approaching the end of his fighting career which is a shame because he is one of the most gifted fighters on the planet. He would surely have achieved even more in the sport had he started his MMA career a little earlier and not allowed himself to become sidetracked by acting opportunities.

The fight between Fedor and Werdum was over almost as soon as it had started. Normal service appeared to be underway when Fedor knocked Werdum to the floor but the Russian made an uncharacteristic error of judgement and was punished for it. Rather than letting the fight remain on the feet, where he clearly had the advantage, he elected to attempt a little ground and pound.

Werdum’s only realistic chance of victory was to secure a submission and Fedor should have seen the warning signs when he narrowly escaped an armbar attempt by the Brazilian. Instead the ‘Last Emperor’ chose to remain in and around Werdum’s guard and quickly paid the ultimate price as Werdum sank in an inescapable triangle choke.

This loss does not make Fedor any worse a fighter than he was a week ago. It does not alter the fact that he had won his previous 18 fights beating a who’s who of heavyweight opposition in the process. It definitely does not make the prospect of Fedor fighting Strikeforce Champion Alistair Overeem, UFC champion Brock Lesnar, or any of the other heavyweights in the UFC for that matter, any less palatable.

What this loss does demonstrate is just how competitive the sport of mixed martial arts has become. At an elite level even the slightest hint of a mistake is likely to be ruthlessly exploited. Fedor learned this lesson the hard way against Werdum and I expect him to be a better fighter in the future because of it.

Grappling with Issues – 6/25/10

June 25th, 2010 | Author: Five Ounces of Pain
This article was originally published at Five Ounces of Pain. Copyright: Five Ounces of Pain.

How likely is it that Fabricio Werdum will beat Fedor Emelianenko? What event from the past ten days did you enjoy most from top to bottom? Will Cris “Cyborg” Santos beat Jan Finney faster than her husband beat Marius Zaromskis a week-and-a-half ago? What’s next for newly crowned Ultimate Fighter Season 11 champion Court McGee?

Keyboard warrrrriors….come out to plaaaay-yay!

If you’re reading these lines you’ve made it through another work-week and are back in the friendly digital confines of “Grappling with Issues”, our site’s resident Friday feature highlighting insight and opinion from Adam Tool and myself on six subjects plucked from the Mixed Martial Arts landscape. However, just because we staffers get the fancy set-up, please don’t feel precluded from dishing out your own thoughts on each matter in the comments section at the bottom of the column…

Best overall event – “Strikeforce – Los Angeles”, “Sengoku 13″, “TUF 11 Finale”, or “WEC 49″?

Adam Tool: I should probably start by saying that since I have neither a)HDNet or b) insomnia, I have yet to see Sengoku 13. I’ve been trying to track down a copy online but thus far I have been unsuccessful, so I’ll have to make my pick from the other three events which I did see.

Of those three my pick would be WEC 49. In terms of fight quality there was plenty of good stuff to be had on all three cards. While thinking back on those events I can’t point out a single fight which I considered boring, but it was the action in the WEC cage that kept me closest to the edge of my seat. The only knock I can make against WEC 49 would be the unsatisfying result rendered in the evening’s main event, but that only came about as the result of the incompetent judging of Cameron Quwek, the lone judge who scored every single round for Kamal Shalorus. Some blame could also be leveled against referee Josh Rosenthal, as I still can’t understand why he didn’t take another point away from Shalorus for the third low blow delivered in the final frame. Other than that though, WEC 49 was a barrage of non-stop action and tremendous performances from everyone involved.

I would also have to give the edge to WEC 49 in terms of the show’s pacing. During the two and a half hour event we saw seven fights, with what seemed like a minimal amount of commercial interruption. The Ultimate Fighter Finale featured five fights over the course of two hours, with some interminable commercial breaks, endless shilling of upcoming Spike programming, and an extremely dull interview with Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin. Strikeforce: Los Angeles was well-done from a production stand-point, but I still don’t understand why the show’s producers chose to air backstage interviews in between rounds of some of the fights. On top of that we saw once again that Strikeforce has no interest in promoting new stars of the sport, as the event ended a half-hour early without a single preliminary fight shown.

Brendhan Conlan: Though each broadcast featured moments of brilliance I tend to side with Tool as far as WEC 49 being the strongest overall show in the bunch. Sengoku’s action was top notch but primarily involved talent 1% of the English-speaking audience could have picked out of a line-up prior to it airing, Strikeforce had some highlight-worthy moments but also had issues related to the card’s E3-specific production and promotion’s continuing trend of going off the air early without promoting undercard competitors, and save for Court McGee’s story and a fun scrap between Keith Jardine and Matt Hamill the Ultimate Fighter Finale was one of the least memorable in recent history. The scoring in Varner vs. Shalorus certainly detracted from the fight’s result but not from the entertaining battle that occurred during the fifteen minutes prior. Other than that, viewers were treated to the continued ascension of Josh Grispi as a top featherweight, late-replacement Danny Downes showing a ton of heart en route to a third-round submission loss at the limbs of Chris Horodecki, an edge-of-your-couch affair between Will Campuzano and Eddie Wineland, and a whole lot more.

True/False – Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos will beat Jan Finney tomorrow night faster than her husband beat Marius Zaromskis ten days prior?

Tool: I’ll go with “false,” although I have little reason to justify it. A quick peak at Finney’s record online reveals two things two things: 1) her nickname is “Cuddles” (seriously?) and 2) she’s only had one TKO loss on her record which came in the second round. Despite her unimpressive record and the overwhelming odds against her, I think it’s safe to assume that Finney is not the easiest opponent to put away. Cyborg is clearly the toughest opponent “Cuddles” has faced in her career and it would certainly be no surprise if the Strikeforce Women’s Middleweight Champion finishes this fight in under two minute, but unless Finney makes a crucial error (flying knee anyone?) I believe she’ll last a bit longer than Zaromskis did.

Conlan: Zaromskis lives and dies on his feet, as evident by four of his five career losses coming by way of TKO, so it was inevitable he or “Cyborg” (XY Chromosome version) was going to sleep sooner than later in their bout. That’s not the case with Finney – ahem, “Cuddles” – so I think I’ll also have to go with “false” on this. Granted, Santos is unlike any other striker let alone overall fighter in women’s MMA. However, Finney has been in the ring against a few females with above-average hands (Erin Toughill for example) and remained conscious throughout save for a single loss to Julie Kedzie. Her grappling is good enough to lock onto “Cyborg” if need be and her stand-up is decent, so as long as she avoids going toe-to-toe with the champ she should be able to make it past the 2:38 mark.

Should Cung Le retire from MMA and focus on acting if he loses to Scott Smith a second time?

Tool: To be honest, I’m not really sure. Thus far Le’s acting career has yet to really take off. He’s played smaller roles in some big-screen releases, although his work in the film Tekken has yet to be seen here in America. He would probably have better luck in Asian cinema as a straight-forward martial arts action star, as there’s little call for someone with his particular talents in the current Hollywood system.

While Le took a large chunk of time off from MMA to focus on acting, the loss to Smith seems to have re-lit the competitive fire within him. He certainly believes that he’s a better fighter than Smith (and up until the final seconds of their first fight, he was) and with the (presumably) impending departure of Jake Shields the door could be wide open for Le to try and regain the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship. After all, he never lost the belt. Of course he never had a chance to lose it since he didn’t defend it, but that’s beside the point.

Le could very well lose to Smith a second time. It’s unlikely, but certainly possible. He’s pushing 40 years old so he doesn’t have all the time in the world to get better in the sport, and as such retirement from competition probably isn’t too far off anyways. His exciting fighting style and built in fanbase in the San Jose area will allow him the opportunity to continue on as long as he wants, but if he’s trying to be the best in the world then his chances to do so will live or die on Saturday night.

Conlan: I’m a firm believer fighters should hang up their gloves when they are ready to do so unless there are health-related reasons at play. Yes, Le is 38 and power/speed are typically the first thing to deteriorate with increased age. Yes, he’s only been in the ring three times since June 2007. Yes, he’s a one-trick pony as far as being 100% stand-up based. However, losing his rematch with Smith would only drop him to 6-2, and it’s not as if “Hands of Steel” is some out-of-shape, over-the-hill can they plucked from the street. He’s got 3X as many fights as Le and beaten some notable opponents in his career. He has the striking to put any adversary to sleep and a solid jaw of his own to boot as indiciated by Smith’s only career TKO losses coming to Robbie Lawler in 2008 and James Irvin in 2004. If he walks away victor again this Saturday night it should in no way be considered a slight on Le’s talent but rather a credit to his fellow soft-spoken Californian’s. As Tool said, Le is a huge regional draw and possesses an incredibly entertaining style, so as long as he is still interested in stepping into the ring and competing he should be allowed to do so.

Using a percentage, how much of a chance do you give Fabricio Werdum of beating Fedor Emelianenko?

Conlan: 1%. Don’t get me wrong – Werdum is a world-class competitor on the mat and has some solid Chute Boxe-based striking to compliment the skill. He’s beaten a number of ranked opponents and only been finished once in eighteen fights. However, we’re talking about frakking Fedor here. He’s weathered punches that would have dropped most for the count and worked his way out of any tough position he’s ever been put in. He’s gone to decision less than 1/4 of the time he’s fought, is on a ridiculously long win-streak, and…well…I probably could have stopped at “frakking Fedor”, because the reality is if you’re reading this paragraph you already know the Russian phenom’s resume. There will always be a chance Werdum could perfectly time a punch and pull a “Matt Serra”, so he at least deserves “1%”, but beyond that I don’t see there being any way he comes away from the event as the first fighter to legitimately beat Emelianenko.

Tool: I’ll be a bit kinder to Mr. Werdum and go with 10%. Obviously I’m still backing Fedor to win, but Werdum does have at least one avenue to victory. His striking isn’t quite good enough to give Fedor trouble, but there can be little argument that he’s one of the best pure grapplers in the heavyweight division. Fedor has never really been close to being submitted, but then again it’s been a long time since he’s faced anyone that’s on Werdum’s level in BJJ. I still can’t see Fedor tapping out, but if there’s any opponent in the world that can do it I think it’s Werdum.

Do you think that Jamie Varner and Kamal Shalorus should have an immediate rematch?

Conlan: Though I’m typically in favor of immediate rematches when a particularly poor decision is rendered, this situation is different because Varner is going to miss a good deal of time with his broken hand/foot. Shalorus, however, was relatively uninjured after their original bout and isn’t scheduled to sit on the sidelines beyond his regular recuperation/training period. Based on that, it’s likely he’ll be ready for action before Varner is so it doesn’t make sense for him to twiddle his thumbs while waiting for the former lightweight champion to recover. As such, I could see a date with Donald Cerrone at a future event.

However, if WEC is determined to pair him with Varner again, I have a suggestion on how “The Prince of Persia” can kill his new-found time. There’s a new James Bond movie on the horizon that’s certain to need evil henchman and if ever an individual was born with the physical attributes to play a role…

Tool: Let’s also not forget that the recent Prince of Persia film was a resounding success, so perhaps Shalorus could have a role to play in a potential sequel? Shalorus vs. Gyllenhaal: book it!

As for the topic at hand, I believe that a rematch should be made as soon as both fighters are healed up and ready to go. I can point to no less than three reasons why this should happen. First, this bout was intended to determine the next #1 contender for Ben Henderson’s WEC Lightweight Championship. That honor will likely now go to the winner of the upcoming Shane Roller/Anthony Pettis bout, but right now there’s a serious lack of competition for the company’s “Smooth” young champion.

The second reason I would like to see a rematch is due to the decision rendered in the first fight. Clearly a draw does nothing to further either man’s career, but on top of that it’s a decision that has not sat well with a majority of the fanbase. Just about anyone that watched that fight could tell that Varner won, but obviously that’s not the case. Look at it this way; if it hadn’t been for the point deduction in the second round Shalorus would have won a split decision, and the controversy would have been even greater.

Finally I say match these two up again because their first meeting was simply a great fight. Groin shots aside, these two kept things competitive for the majority of the fifteen minutes. Shalorus’ strategy of staying in the pocket and slugging it out with Varner may not have been the best gameplan but it certainly kept things entertaining. I say let’s have rounds four, five, and six.

Who would you like to see Court McGee matched up with for his first post-”TUF” fight?

Conlan: I have a feeling McGee may actually drop to welterweight for his next in-Octagon appearance since he’s only 5′11 and size is crucial in a promotion as deep in talent as the UFC. It also makes sense considering a number of past seasonal champions have done the same thing. The Ultimate Fighter is a great opportunity and often fighters are willing to risk competing against bigger guys to earn a contract, plus it makes maintaining/making weight easier.

As far as when Court will be in session again (you’re welcome Mauro Renallo), there are ton of opponents at 170 pounds for “The Crusher” to, well, crush. He clearly can’t be matched against one of the division’s top fighters but he also deserves better than a “gimme” dubya. Amir Sadollah seems possible based on his status as a former TUF winner himself and the fact that, at 3-2, the master of “Baboo Baby” technique could use a semi-winnable fight. Season 9 champ James Wilks is also in a similar position but ended up on the right side of a decision at UFC 115 instead of the wrong one, as Amir did at UFC 114.

Tool: I’m not so sure that McGee will drop down in weight, since he’s not yet announced any plans to do so. I’m going to try and pick someone at middleweight, and furthermore I’ll try to follow the UFC’s traditional model of giving their “TUF” champs a somewhat “lesser” opponent in their first post-show fight.

With that in mind my pick goes to Joe Doerksen. Doerksen is the very definition of a journeyman fighter, with enough name value to provide McGee a nice little boost with a win. At the same time if McGee comes up short in this fight it’s a bit more understandable given the fact that he’s facing an opponent with such a depth of experience. Stylistically the two match up well, as neither man is technically proficient in striking even though they are willing to stand and trade. McGee would have the wrestling advantage, but Doerksen could present a problem with his jiu-jitsu skills.

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