Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Geekweek Live Interview

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25, 2011 by jaytan716

29 minute mark:

http://justin.tv/geekweek/b/282250133

Enjoy.

J

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UFC ON VERSUS: SANCHEZ VS. KAMPMANN Predictions

Posted in Uncategorized on March 2, 2011 by jaytan716

Martin Kampmann (right) takes on Diego Sanchez at "UFC on Versus 3"

Moving right ahead from the mixed bag that was UFC 127, Versus and UFC bring another live televised event, the first of what will be several in 2011.

The year-old UFC-Versus partnership is one of the results of UFC’s contract extension with Spike TV. In late-2006, Spike TV had exclusive rights to air UFC programming on cable television. With the then-fledgling-now-defunct International Fight League close to signing a TV deal with the then-fledgling Versus network, UFC parent company Zuffa bought World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and offered it to Versus, thus cockblocking the IFL deal. Versus took the bait, and in the years since then, WEC has had a televised home for their smaller weight divisions.

With the UFC and Spike extending their previous agreement, which was scheduled to expire this year, Zuffa was able to get cable non-exclusivity, thus allowing them to air UFC programming on Versus. This gave way to UFC Live on Versus events and, less than a year later, WEC’s complete merger into the UFC.

UFC Live on Versus shows have been an extension to Spike TV’s quarterly / tri-annual UFC Ultimate Fight Night series. The last event, UFC Live on Versus 2, headlined by Jon Jones vs. Vladimir Matyushenko in August 2010, drew an 0.86 rating and 991,000 viewers. This was a drop from the first event, UFC Live on Versus, headlined by Jones vs. Brandon Vera and featuring Junior dos Santos vs. Gabriel Gonzaga, in March 2010. That event drew a 1.1 rating and 1.24 million viewers, peaking at 1.4 million viewers for the Jones-Vera match.

For this third show, perennial headliner Jon Jones has now vaulted to pay-per-view headliner status, in his challenge to Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua for the UFC light heavyweight title. The UFC Live on Versus series, hitting its first anniversary, gets Diego Sanchez, the very first Ultimate Fighter winner, versus Martin Kampmann, a Danish kickboxer who is undefeated in his four Spike TV appearances. A few familiar faces are also returning to Versus programming, like middleweight / light heavyweight Alessio Sakara and WEC alums Mark Munoz, Brian Bowles, and Damacio Page.

Rounding out the card are also fighters who’ve appeared on the untelevised portions of Versus events, including Igor Pokrajac, Rob Kimmons, Takeya Mizugaki, Shane Roller, and Steve Cantwell.

UFC will be broadcasting two undercard matches, Cyrille Diabate vs. Steve Cantwell and Danny Castillo vs. Joe Stevenson, on their Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/ufc). To see this stream, users must first ‘like’ the page.

265 lbs. – Todd Brown x Igor Pokrajac: Pokrajac has several UFC fights under his belt, and went the distance with Stephan Bonnar and Vladimir Matyushenko. ‘Bulldog’ Brown has made a name for himself in the Midwest, finishing four opponents in a five-fight win streak before debuting in the UFC last August (losing via decision to Tim Boetsch). He is reportedly a Brazilian jiu jitsu brown belt and Muay Thai Kru (trainer), though the Indiana Muay Thai scene is not particularly high-profile. Brown will have his hands full with the big Croatian.

Prediction: Pokrajac via TKO (round one)

170 lbs. – Dave Branch x Rousimar Palhares: Branch was on the receiving end of the infamous Gerald Harris KO slam at UFC 116 in July last year, but since then, he’s bounced back with unanimous decision wins over Tomasz Drwal and Rich Attonito. Palhares beat Drwal earlier last year with a heel hook in round one before being overwhelmed with punches from Nate Marquardt in September. He can hang with veterans like Henderson and Jeremy Horn, but will have a significant reach disadvantage. If Branch can use his jiu-jitsu to his full potential, this could prove to be an interesting grappling chess match.

Prediction: Branch via decision

185 lbs. – Dongi Yang x Rob Kimmons: It’s Yang the striker vs. Kimmons the grappler here. Eight of Yang’s nine victories are by TKO, while Kimmons owns 14 submissions out of 23 wins. That said, Kimmons himself was submitted by chokes by Dan Miller (a brown belt at the time) and, in his last fight, Kyle Noke. Chris Camozzi was the first three-round war Yang went through, and he likely learned a lot from it, but he hasn’t faced a ground practitioner of Kimmons’ pedigree.

Prediction: Kimmons by submission (round two)

135 lbs. – Takeya Mizugaki x Reuben Duran: Replacing Francisco Rivera, Duran makes his UFC debut after a series of recent wins over local fighters with moderate records. Mizugaki has gone the distance with the likes of Miguel Angel Torres, Scott Jorgensen, Jeff Curren, and Rani Yahya, albeit with mixed results. Urijah Faber put him to sleep in Faber’s 135 lb. debut. Mizugaki has the experience edge to grind out a decision.

Prediction: Mizugaki via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Shane Roller x Thiago Tavares: Roller is an Oklahoma wrestler who has five choke-out victories in his eight WEC matches, and his only two losses during that same tenure are to Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis. Tavares went 12-0 before dropping a decision to Tyson Griffin. Since then, he’s had mixed success, but went to a draw with Nik Lentz (then 17-3) and submitted Pat Audinwood in 2010. On paper, one would think that Roller would go for the choke, but not having faced a jiu-jitsu practitioner like Tavares, I wouldn’t be surprised if Roller kept it on the feet or event went for standing chokes.

Prediction: Roller via split decision.

185 lbs. – Cyrille Diabate x Steve Cantwell: After some mixed success under the Zuffa banner (including being the last WEC light heavyweight champion before Zuffa amassed the 205ers into the UFC), Cantwell makes a twice-delayed return to the octagon. His three losses were two to Brian Stann (closing out their trilogy) and a unanimous decision to Luis Artur Cane, Jr., the latter of whom Diabate later punched out last year at UFC 114. Two different medical conditions prevented Cantwell from competing in 2010, so expect ring rust to be either a motivator or (more likely) a factor. Diabate has far more experience and, more importantly, stayed busier, going 3-1 during Cantwell’s hiatus. A loss for Cantwell could mean a contract release. That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, as it would allow him to rack up some wins elsewhere before trying again in the UFC.

Prediction: Diabate via submission (round two)

155 lbs. – Danny Castillo x Joe Stevenson: I can see ‘Joe Daddy’ taking this to the ground as much as I can see this wrestler vs. wrestler match staying on the feet. Castillo, who trains with Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male, should keep it on the feet, with the height advantage, momentum off a KO win, and with Stevenson coming off a KO loss. Stevenson joined Greg Jackson’s MMA team mid-2009, resulting in a 2-2 record, though his two most recent matches were a KO loss to Mac Danzig and a decision loss to George Sotiropoulos. He can be hit-or-miss in his performances, and with a potential third loss in the most stacked division in the UFC, he needs the win to continue to be taken seriously.

UFC on Versus: Castillo Stevenson Preview

Prediction: Castillo via TKO (round one) or Stevenson via decision

185 lbs. – Alessio Sakara x Chris Weidman: Representing the Serra-Longo Fight Team in New York, Weidman (4-0) is an NCAA All-American wrestler who finished his first three opponents in the first round. Between his credentials and team association, Weidman is getting fast-tracked to the big leagues, but he’s getting no warm welcome in that UFC debut. Sakara has fought sparingly of late – one match in 2009 and 2010, but those matches were a split decision win over Thales Leites and a TKO win over James Irvin, respectively. His only losses since 2007 were TKOs to Houston Alexander and Chris Leben. The experience differential will be a lot to overcome. With his NCAA wrestling and submission credentials, Weidman’s grappling abilities aren’t to be underestimated, but are Sakara’s, whose last submission loss was to BJJ black belt Dean Lister in 2006.

Prediction: Sakara via TKO (round one)

145 lbs. – Brian Bowles x Damacio Page: This is a rematch from their August 2008 bout, where Bowles submitted Page in a guillotine choke in round one. Demetrious Johnson caught Page with the same choke in Page’s last match, but it’s not likely for lightning to strike again for Bowles, who is returning for the first time in a year, after suffering a broken foot in the fall. Coming off a loss and gunning for revenge from years back, Page has the right motivation.

Prediction: Page via unanimous decision

185 lbs. – CB Dolloway x Mark Munoz: As a D-1 NCAA champion out of Oklahoma, Munoz has the better wrestling credentials. Dolloway has five TKO wins under his belt, but four of those date back to 2007 and prior. Both have great teams behind them: Dolloway from the Arizona-based Power MMA Team that includes Ryan Bader and Aaron Simpson, whom Munoz beat by decision in November, while Munoz works often with Team Black House, which includes the Nogueira Brothers, Lyoto Machida, and the Chairman of the Board – Anderson Silva. Munoz should be able to direct the match wherever he wants it.

Prediction: Munoz via TKO or unanimous decision.

170 lbs. – Diego Sanchez x Martin Kampmann: Sanchez is no stranger to lightweight or welterweight. He’s back at Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque and living sequestered in the mountains, so notwithstanding losing the ‘Nightmare’ moniker, Sanchez is clearly focused on reviving the fighter who took the UFC by storm in 2006 and 2007. Kampmann, on the other hand, is incredibly well-rounded to begin with, and went the distance with Jake Shields in a split decision. Kampmann is susceptible to fast strikers, such as Paul Daley and Nate Marquardt (who came down from 185 to 170 lbs.). Given that, Sanchez has a great advantage with his speed, but Kampmann is a survivor, no matter how close he is to the edge.

UFC on Versus: Kampmann vs. Sanchez Preview.

Prediction: Sanchez via TKO (round three)

The Finish

In the past, MMA ratings on Versus have not held their own compared to Spike programming. The last two UFC Live on Versus shows have drawn an average of 1.1 million viewers, the lower end of Ultimate Fight Night programming. To be fair, WEC programming also declined from its debut, aside from high-level fights involving Urijah Faber.

That said, Sanchez vs. Kampmann is a strong headlining match, as both have been showcased on “free TV” UFC events. The undercard doesn’t necessarily boast many indelible personalities, and in pitting two wrestlers against each other in Mark Munoz vs. C.B. Dollaway, this could prove to be either a surprising slugfest or a challenging clash for control. The show is booked with some exciting scrappy matches which hopefully will outperform and add eyeballs to what should be a thrilling TV main event.

STRIKEFORCE: FEDOR VS. SILVA Predictions

Posted in Uncategorized on February 8, 2011 by jaytan716

Modeled after the beloved tournaments in PRIDE Fighting Championships, Strikeforce and Showtime are bringing their World Heavyweight Grand Prix to American soil in 2011, and the first round is only days away.

In a nutshell, Strikeforce’s top eight heavyweights will face off in an elimination-style tournament scheduled to run throughout the year, with the first two quarterfinal matches taking place on February 12th and the second two quarterfinals occurring in April. The four winners from that round advance to the semi-finals and fight on a later Strikeforce show. And finally the finals, presumably in the fall.

The Strikeforce World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament Brackets

Of course, former PRIDE FC heavyweight king Fedor Emelianenko is the odds-on-favorite to win, but more importantly, the tournament has an imaginative mix of established international stars alongside Strikeforce’s top heavyweights, which gives fans something engaging to debate. How well do the foreign fighters adjust to fighting in a cage / America / Strikeforce rules? Does Arlovski still symbolically represent the UFC here? Can Josh Barnett put his licensing and steroid testing issues behind him and compete at the level he did in the PRIDE GPs?

And, of course, the million dollar question: can Fedor bounce back from being submitted in almost a minute last year? (Note: heavy odds on yes.)

Moreover, Strikeforce has two or three alternate matches in the chamber, involving fighters that, while perhaps not at the same level as the main eight, have reasonable credentials of their own, and, should they step up and perform if and when called, could be built into viable company stars.

Behind the Scenes at the Strikeforce HGP Photoshoot:


The answers will reveal themselves soon enough, but in the meantime, here’s a breakdown on this weekend’s card, featuring the first rounds of the Strikeforce World Heavyweight Grand Prix:

155 lbs. – John Cholish x Marc Stevens: Both men step into the cage with college wrestling credentials – Stevens under Josh Koscheck at SUNY (State University of New York) Buffalo and Cholish at Cornell University. Stevens was also Koscheck’s first pick on season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter, though he didn’t perform as expected. Aside from his TUF stint, Stevens didn’t fight in 2010. Stockbroker by day, Cholish is an up-and-coming Renzo Gracie fighter who’s faced some respectable East Coast names (Rich Moskowitz, Hitalo Machado) to earn a 5-1 record, with two submission and TKO wins, respectively. My rule of thumb is that between two ground specialists look for the fight to take place primarily on the feet. That said, how well Stevens has polished his submission defense remains to be seen.

Prediction: Cholish via submission (round three)

170 lbs. – John Salgado x Igor Gracie: Gracie has an even 2-2 record, splitting wins and losses in 2008 and 2009 before taking a break in 2010. Salgado has fought consistently since 2008, at 4-4-1, and will look to snap a two-fight losing streak. This will also be something of a revenge match for Gracie, as Salgado beat Gracie teammate Renato Migliaccio via split decision last April. Assuming this fight takes place at welterweight, as was reported elsewhere, look for Gracie to have the size advantage.

Prediction: Gracie via submission (round one)

265 lbs. – Chad Griggs x Gian Villante: Between their 18 cumulative fights, these men share 13 KO / TKO finishes, so expect fireworks. Griggs recently made his name known as the guy who stopped Bobby Lashley’s undefeated streak. However, Griggs’ only fight between Lashley and 2007 was a first-round KO. Villante is a homegrown hero in New Jersey’s Ring of Combat promotion, going 6-0 from his February 2009 debut to April 2010, mostly first-round TKO and KOs. Griggs’ Lashley win could possibly have lit a fire for him, but Villante will have the advantage of more recent activity.

Prediction: Villante via TKO (round one)

265 lbs. – Valantijn Overeem vs. Ray Sefo: This is an interesting clash of veteran kickboxers at different stages in their careers. Sefo is 2-0, his last win in 2009 against journeyman Kevin Jordan. But Sefo has also been training at Xtreme Couture for at least a year, which isn’t too shabby a place to build one’s overall MMA game. Conversely, the younger Overeem has been more active in the past three years, going 4-2 against mediocre competition in Europe and Japan. With 16 submission wins, don’t be surprised to see Overeem work for the takedown. But don’t be surprised to see Sefo have some surprising answers for those challenges.

Prediction: Overeem via TKO (round one)

265 lbs. – Shane Del Rosario x Lavar Johnson: Experts have been predicting big things for Del Rosario, as a steady-rising prospect with speed and strength. Johnson is also no joke, riding a seven-fight TKO/KO streak since 2008. Both share recent TKO wins over Samoan son Carl Seumanutafa and the heavy-handed Hawaiian Lolohea Mahe. Johnson’s history includes an amazing comeback story from near-death, after taking several gunshots in 2009. He’s 2-0 since then. Del Rosario will have the youth advantage, and likely the edge in cardio and grappling. Though both men like to duke it out, Del Rosario might try to extract Johnson out of his element with takedowns.

Prediction: Del Rosario via TKO or submission (round two).

265 lbs. – Andrei Arlovski x Sergei Kharitonov: Out of 13 matches from 2002 to 2009, Arlovski finished his opponents 11 times, won a unanimous decision over Fabricio Werdum (UFC 70, 2007), and lost only twice, both times to Tim Sylvia. However, he’s also lost his only three matches since 2009, starting with the infamous Fedor-authored KO. Arlovski’s chin has always been suspect, and many say he has never been the same since the Fedor fight. Kharitonov, a former star in PRIDE FC, hasn’t competed against a lot of top talent since that time. Indeed, he KO’ed current Strikeforce champ Alistair Overeem, but that was 2007 and against a very different (smaller and 1-3 in his previous four matches) Dutchman. The question is whether Arlovski found his mojo again. If not, Kharitonov may be warmed up and sharp enough to put him away.

Prediction: Kharitonov via unanimous decision.

265 lbs. – Fedor Emelianenko x Antonio Silva: For most, this is a foregone conclusion of Fedor finishing Bigfoot in the first round. To be fair, Silva went the distance with Fabricio Werdum, as opposed to Fedor’s first-round loss to Werdum, but that’s pretty much where it ends. Silva will have the size advantage, but so did Brett Rogers, Andrei Arlovski, Tim Sylvia, and Hong Man Choi.

Footage of Fedor (and interviews with everybody else):


Prediction: Emelianenko via TKO / KO (round one).

The Finish

Because so many casual MMA fans 1) started watching after the heyday of PRIDE FC Grand Prix (watch what you can of 2000, 2003, and 2004) and 2) don’t follow Strikeforce as closely as UFC, this tournament is a great opportunity for Coker & Company to establish itself as something more than “the other MMA company.” The collection of talent involved all have legit MMA credentials (over half are former PRIDE GP participants and two are former UFC world champions) and are as memorable as characters and  they are as fighters. Moreover, the fact that six are foreign fighters absolutely gives the grand prix a “global” feel, a sense that these are among the top MMA heavyweights from around the world.

Indeed, after two years of being stuck in the shadow of the UFC, even while working hard to establish its own identity, Strikeforce now has something distinctive to offer the casual MMA fan.

Predictions for UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort

Posted in Uncategorized on February 5, 2011 by jaytan716

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By now the latest ‘best staredown in UFC history’ is all over the internet (http://www.ufc.com/media/ufc-126-weigh-in-staredown-cutdown in case you missed it), as are most of the experts’ predictions for UFC 126. But now that this is posted and you’re reading this, ALL the (relevant) experts’ predictions are up. Have at it.

170 lbs. – Mike Pierce vs. Kenny Robertson – Hailing from Indiana, Robertson comes into the UFC not just with a perfect 10-0 record, but nine finishes, seven by submission and only one by decision. At 11-3, Pierce is a five-time veteran of Zuffa cages (four UFC fights and one WEC fight), with three going to decision. On one hand, first-time UFC jitters could affect Robertson, but if Pierce isn’t able to finish early (and since 2009, four of six matches have gone the distance), that could give Robertson enough time to catch an arm or leg. Prediction: Robertson via submission (round two or three).

205 lbs. – Ricardo Romero vs. Kyle Kingsbury – After reigning supreme in the New Jersey-base Ring of Combat promotion, Romero ‘got the call’ last year for UFC 116, where he subbed veteran journeyman Seth Petruzelli, adding to Romero’s then-five match finishing win streak. Kingsbury is a longtime resident of San Jose’s AKA (home of UFC champ Cain Velasquez and Josh Koscheck) and standout of Team Nogueira on season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter. The Arizona State football vet is punishing in the cage, but isn’t known for finishing opponents, which lends to Romero eventually finding an opening to submit him. Prediction: Romero via submission (round three).

155 lbs. – Gabe Ruediger vs. Paul Taylor – This likely is a loser-leaves-town match for both men, as Taylor’s last six matches have gone the distance, and of those, his record is 2-4. Ruediger did himself no favors on season five of The Ultimate Fighter (2007), getting expelled from the show after failing to make weight, but then sparked a six-match win streak from February 2009 to July 2010, stepped up to fight Joe Lauzon on a two-week notice at UFC 118 in August. Lauzon won by submission, and this match is company reciprocation for being a last-minute replacement in that match. Ruediger’s jiu-jitsu is dangerous, but he’s never been able to implement it to success in the UFC. Taylor has heavy hands, and the longer this match goes, the better Taylor’s chances of overwhelming him. Prediction: Taylor via TKO (round one).

135 lbs. – Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto vs. Demetrious Johnson – A former Japanese star against an undersized youngster on a hot streak. I’ve seen Johnson numerous times in the amateurs and booked his first pro match, but honestly one of the bigger factors for me are Yamamoto’s weaknesses in this situation than Johnson’s strengths. Yamamoto will have the size advantage, but age is against him. Since 2007, he had two decision losses in 2009 and, in 2010, one win against a fighter with less than 10 pro matches. Granted, Yamamoto’s fought in front of larger audiences, but this will be his first time in a UFC cage, whereas Johnson is no stranger to the octagon nor respected fighters with dominant records. One could argue that aside from Yushin Okami and (debatably) Yoshihiro Akiyama, Japanese don’t typically have the best of luck in their UFC debuts. Prediction: Johnson by unanimous decision.

145 lbs. – Chad Mendes vs. Michihiro Omigawa – The undefeated ‘Money’ Mendes (9-0) flies the flag for Team Alpha Male in Northern California, home of Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez. Omigawa is a judoka under Hidehiko Yoshida and returns to the UFC on a five-match win streak since mid-2009. He went 0-2 in his last stint against Matt Wiman and Thiago Tavares in 2008, both by unanimous decision. Youth is on Mendes’ side, who is almost 10 years younger than Omigawa. Conventionally, this match would go to decision, but in MMA, logic sometimes doesn’t show up. Prediction: Mendes via TKO (round one).

155 lbs. – Paul Kelly vs. Donald Cerrone – Many have said this match will reveal whether WEC lightweights, of which Cerrone was a star, can hang with UFC-level competition. Despite being a decorated Muay Thai champion, Cerrone owns 11 submission wins out of his 13 victories, and no TKOs or knockouts. And though the WEC title has evaded him on three tries, Cerrone won Fight of the Night honors five times, as well as 2009 Fight of the Year Honors by Sherdog (for his fight against Ben Henderson). Paul Kelly is 5-3 in his eight UFC matches, with three decision wins and one victory each by submission and TKO. Prediction: Cerrone via submission (round three).

135 lbs. – Antonio Banuelos vs. Miguel Angel Torres – Both fighters have a decade of fights under their respective belts and are transfers from the WEC merger into UFC. Banuelos hits hard and hasn’t been finished since 2007 (going 5-2 since then). Torres has 38 wins, 23 by submission (one less than Banuelos’ cumulative record), and went undefeated from 2004 to August 2009. Prediction: Torres via submission (round two).

205 lbs. – Ryan Bader vs. Jon Jones – On paper, Bader has the better wrestling credentials, but in finishing Brandon Vera, Vladimir Matyushenko, Jake O’Brian, and easily handling Matt Hamill (before losing via DQ for illegal use of Dusty Rhodes’ bionic elbows), Jones effectiveness in the cage is undeniable. Bader surprised many in his split decision win over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, but aside from that match, Jones has dominated against tougher respective competition. The real question is whether Jones will finish or if Bader will take him to the distance. Prediction: Jones via unanimous decision.

170 lbs. – Carlos Eduardo Rocha vs. Jake Ellenberger – With a 9-0 record of eight submissions, seven of those in the first round, Rocha’s jiu-jitsu is legit. Ellenberger, while an assistant wrestling coach for University of Nebraska, has almost 30 matches, half of which are victories by TKO or knockout. He lost a split decision to Carlos Condit, also a jiu-jitsu whiz. On one hand, Ellenberger knows how to avoid submissions, but he hasn’t fought someone of Rocha’s jiu-jitsu pedigree. Then again, lots of fighters like to point out “jiu-jitsu is different when you’re getting punched in the face.” The later rounds favor Ellenberger, but he’ll always be in danger of getting caught. Prediction: Ellenberger by TKO (round one).

205 lbs. – Forrest Griffin vs. Rich Franklin – To use the wrestling parlance, I love babyface vs. babyface and heel vs. heel matches, and this is every bit the former that one could ask. Griffin is a tall 205’er and Franklin is a 185’er who, in the later years of his career, is returning to 205. Griffin’s matches are always brutal, thrilling dogfights, and his wins over Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua speak volumes, but those were both over two years ago. Since then, he’s succumbed to strikes from Anderson Silva (who wouldn’t?) and Rashad Evans (see Anderson Silva). The question becomes ‘can Rich Franklin strike as fast and as hard as they did?’ Unfortunately, this isn’t the Randy Couture vs. Matt Hume strategic chess match that I would have loved to see, which, without taking anything away from Jorge Gurgel, could play an understated factor in the outcome. Prediction: Franklin by TKO (round two or three) or Griffin via split decision.

185 lbs. (UFC Middleweight Title) – Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort: For me, the question here is simply ‘which Victor Belfort will show up?’ Skillwise, both men possess baffling hand speed and accuracy, and as former training partners, their mutual awareness of each others’ skills is there too. Many would say that Chael Sonnen exposed the key to beating Silva, and with Belfort working with Xtreme Couture, not only was that key surely noted, but likely also built upon at the Couture compound. That said, between the bad blood and the seeming inability for anyone to defeat Silva, it’s hard to envision that the Spider would show up unprepared and lacking. Prediction: Silva by TKO (round three).

The Finish

From the street to the suite, UFC 126 is the first show I’ve been excited about in a long time. I’m one of the few that were entertained by Silva’s in-cage antics against Patrick Cote, Thales Leites, and Damian Maia. But I’m also excited about seeing someone who could actually offer some striking competition to the elusive Spider. I think Griffin x Franklin is imaginative and competitive, while Jones x Bader is crucial for the future of the 205 division. Likewise, the groundswell of demand to see Johnson x Yamamoto, which will now be streamed live (and free) at www.Facebook.com/UFC at 8:00pm EST / 5:00pm PST, is a great sign of lower-weight fighters getting the mainstream recognition they deserve.

This entry originally posted at Fightinggeek.com

Smith claims his ‘Respect’ against Gutierrez

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2010 by jaytan716

Garren Smith came off a 10-month hiatus to win via TKO at Respect in the Cage on October 9th.

After ten months of injuries, false starts, and continuous struggle to hit the restart button, pro heavyweight Garren Smith restarted his momentum with a dominating win on October 9th at the Fox Theater in Pomona, as the semi-main event in Respect in the Cage. Smith beat hometown favorite Andrew “Spike” Gutierrez by TKO in the second round, after Gutierrez’ corner threw in the towel.

“It was a big relief. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever fight again. . . I wasn’t sure if I wanted to fight again,” lamented Smith in the days following the fight.”

“You take enough time off and you run into injuries and obstacles, you start to question what you’re doing. . . Now, instead of being hesitant, and thinking about ‘do I want to fight again,’ now I realize I want to fight again. And it’s got me pretty much right back to where I was when I first started in the game. It was just train your ass off, fight your ass off.”

Smith’s previous outing was in December of last year in Oregon, against former IFL star Devon Cole.

“I knew Garren was going to win this fight because I spar with him, and I know how good he really is. . . They both went 110%, trying to knock each other out. It was an awesome fight. For people watching, I bet it was really exciting fight to watch. Seeing two big guys go at it that hard is pretty bitchin’,” said cornerman Amir Rahnavardi.

“For having not fought in 10 months and go in there and fight a tough guy in there like that, and to show the skills that he showed in there, I was impressed,” noted Smith’s teammate and other cornerman, Chris ‘BLVD’ Brady.

As if Smith wasn’t facing enough pressure coming back from such a long hiatus, contractual hold-ups at weigh-ins caused more confusion. Unbeknownst to him and his team, Smith was kept on reserve as a likely (but unconfirmed) last-minute replacement.

Gutierrez originally was scheduled to face John Potter in a match based on personal issues. According to promoters, with Potter’s reputation for no-showing, it was expected that the match would fall through, and as such, Smith would be their fill-in. Indeed, Potter was not present at weigh-ins, nor did he provide the necessary medical and licensing paperwork to California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) officials. Only after it was established the Potter could not be licensed in time did promoters finally provide bout agreements to Gutierrez and Smith.

The story of the match itself was Smith stalking Gutierrez with left hooks and kicks to the legs and body, setting up for a Thai plumb clinch and knees. Gutierrez worked to keep him at bay with overhand rights and various kicks of his own. Early in the first round, Gutierrez shot in for a takedown, but Smith caught him with a Thai clinch and knees. He later hit a judo trip on Gutierrez and held him briefly with a front facelock. Gutierrez actually turned his back standing at one point, giving Smith the opening to charge in with an overhand right. However, Gutierrez ducked and Smith fell into the cage. Round two saw Gutierrez throw a high kick, slipping in the process and again giving Smith the window to pounce. Smith landed approximately 50-60 strikes before Gutierrez’ corner threw in the towel at 1:07 of the second round.

Smith was aware that ring rust could be a potential big factor in his performance, and in particular noted that the match showed where there was room for improvement: “It made me realize just how much work I’ve got to do. I’ve got to get into way better shape for any fight I take. If I had fought a top caliber opponent for that fight, I’d have been done,” he explained.

Smith, surrounded by the Legends MMA team after his victory.

Besides a return for Smith, the match also represented continued growth for the Legends team, as the unprecedented combination of Rahnavardi, Brady, and in-house chiro Dr. Joe Canul worked Smith’s corner.

“Amir is great to work with because everything he taught me, everything he did when holding the mitts, right before we went out, that’s what I did to win the fight. Dr. Canul did his magic voodoo on me and completely relaxed me for the rest of the day. Plus, his personality had me very calm in the corner. Chris is very valuable. He helped me with a prayer, right before I went in, that really got me focused. Even though he had a freshly sprained ankle, from that day, he was my runner. He took care of everything. Definitely gonna have him in my corner again.”

Likewise, Rahnavardi noted “the thing that most impressed me with Garren for this fight is how hard he worked eight days before. Because I really pushed him on cardio. He listened to everything that I said as far as getting into shape and dropping the weight. . . What I was telling him on the pads, the way that I was warming him up – he was receiving everything 100%, and then it seemed like everything just fell into place for him,” said Rahnavardi.

Of course, Smith’s win was a big shot in the arm for the rest of the team, several of whom fight later this month and towards the end of the year. “That energy, his positive energy, his happiness, comes into our lives, comes into our mindsets and brings that out in us in our fights,” explained Brady.

Smith is expected to appear at Respect in the Cage’s next event, scheduled for November 12th at the Fox Theater in Pomona.  He is sponsored by X-Pole, The Hundreds, and Royal Clayton’s English Pub.

 

CAMO Event Round Up for 4/30/10 to 5/2/10

Posted in CAMO, Live Event Reports, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2010 by jaytan716

Capital Fighting Championship returns to Sacramento

Fresh off the main event  of what many fans are touting as the best MMA event thus far of 2010, Urijah Faber , with his Capital Fighting Championship team of Matt Fisher and Tabrez Ansari, promoted another “Friday Night Fights” CAMO event at their Ultimate Fitness Mixed Martial Arts Training Center downtown location. The standing-room-only event featured some of the top MMA teams in Northern California.

“I know we were turning some people away. We were pretty much at capacity. So it was a great turnout . . . Urijah twittered it. Our fighters twittered it. Sean from Fulsom and especially Overcome MMA, out in Cameron Park . . . they always have their communities support them,” reported matchmaker Ansari.

By all accounts, the night featured some furious knockdown, drag-out barnburners, with consecutive KO / TKO finishes in the first four matches, as well as a highly competitive draw in Eric Smith vs. Adam Corrigan, and a thrilling main event, McLean Obichere vs. Jerry Gates, which Ansari didn’t hesitate to anoint as Fight of the Night:

“As far as back and forth, yeah, it’s the heavyweight fight. Obichere came out 30 pounds lighter, and Jerry is a big guy. Very athletic. He rocked Obichere a couple times. Then Obichere came back and rocked Jerry a couple times. . . Those punches were so hard, it’s hard to imagine how it feels.”

Match results from Capital Fighting Championship on 4/30/10 are as follows:

160 lbs. – Mike Lowder def. Jay Koch via TKO, R3, 0:44.

160 lbs. – Mario Soto def. Eugene Ivanov via TKO, R1, 1:27. Ivanov was put on suspension.

155 lbs. – Eric Perrault def. Chaz Sanchez via KO, R2, 0:25. Sanchez was put on suspension.

205 lbs. – Mikhail Venikov def. Jeff Prescott via TKO, R1, 0:31. Prescott was put on suspension.

170/175 lbs. – Ryan Dressel def. Anthony De La Cruz via unanimous decision.

185 lbs. – Erik Betancourt def. Ben Alderman via disqualification. Betancourt was put on suspension.

205 lbs. – Eric Smith drew with Adam Corrigan. Smith was put on suspension.

135 lbs. – Diamond Templeton def. Pao Vang via unanimous decision.

170 lbs. – Alex Ivanov def. Richard Rigmaden via unanimous decision.

160 lbs. – Idres Rahmani def. Steve Cartwright via submission (verbal), R1, 0:55. Cartwright was put on suspension.

265 lbs. – McLean Obichere def. Jerry Gates via TKO, R3, 0:39. Gates was put on suspension.

With two events now under their belts, and a long-established community of Team Alpha Male / Ultimate Fitness supporters behind them, Ansari felt strong enough to pinpoint several names as promising up-and-comers.

“There is a kid by the name of Alex Ivanov, from Overcome MMA. That kid’s gonna be the real deal when he gets out. His coach, Jim West, has really got him dialed in. Jim’s doing a great job with the guys out there. They’re all very skilled fighters,” he noted.

Ivanov, along with his older brother / teammate Eugene, are second generation fighters, as their father is a noted boxer and kickboxer from Russia.

“They’re very level-headed, put together kids.”

Ansari also spoke proudly of his teammate Mario Soto, who earned his second win that night, ironically enough, against Eugene Ivanov.

Back for more in the Pasadena “Proving Grounds”

The following night, in Southern California, John Bostick, David Dunn, and Savant Young also held their second CAMO show of the year. Entitled “Proving Grounds,” the amateur MMA showcase series had made such a splash with their initial event that they ended up moving this installment to an expanded area.

“With the larger size, we were able to get a higher occupancy rating on the building and sell some more tickets.  It worked out real well,” explained Bostick.

Likewise, Fight Academy founder David Dunn noted improvement with the fighters’ overall performances, saying “I think we had better fights this time around than we did the first time. Savant [Young] does an amazing job with the matchmaking. The fighters came out and did what they were supposed to do.”

Among the highlights was a heavyweight slugfest between Moses Murietta and Jesse Escobedo, who made his CAMO debut last month in a three-round slobberknocker against Kipeni Luto, and Trevis “Tre” Sims, who impressed his Fight Academy coaches with a hard-fought victory against the very dangerous Tony Kolakov.

“Tre had a heck of a fight [against] a real tough opponent. Guy was a purple belt in jiu jitsu, and had quite a bit of skills,” said Bostick.

But it was Kenny Hwang and Jonathan Garcia who set the high water mark for the night in terms of electricity and excitement.

For any debuting fighter, being in the main event position would naturally add pressure, but Hwang and Garcia gave fans their money’s worth with three rounds of intense action.

“They both went out and gave amazing performances, showed heart, and did what fighters were supposed to do to put on a show – dig deep and pull out stuff you don’t pull out when you’re in the gym. And I think that that’s what we got out of them,” commended Dunn.

“Aaron Miller’s gym, Blood Bank. Those guys are great. Aaron always brings guys that are in shape and ready to go,” added Bostick.

For their efforts, Hwang and Garcia were both awarded “Fight of the Night” plaques.

Match results from Fight Academy Pasadena’s “Proving Grounds” on 5/1/10 are as follows:

135 lbs. – Rocky Morales def. DJ Holden via submission, R1, 1:14.

130 lbs. – Quac (Johnson) Thatch def. Jay (Elijah) Villena via TKO, R2, 1:20. Villena was put on suspension.

130 lbs. – Ryan Barela def. Kelvin Martell via submission (kneebar), R2, 0:54.

160 lbs. – Anthony Olivas def. David Hah via split decision.

185 lbs. – Trevis Sims def. Tony Kovalov via submission (rear naked choke), R3, 0:38.

140 lbs. – Oscar Torres def. Cameron Harris via unanimous decision.

170 lbs. – Vince Borquez def. Derek Johnson via submission (rear naked choke), R2, 1:21.

265 lbs. – Moses Murrietta def. Jesse Escobedo via TKO, R2, 0:24. Escobedo was put on suspension.

175 lbs. – Kenny Hwang def. Jonathan Garcia via unanimous decision.

Capital Fighting Championship installment will be June 25th, while Fight Academy Pasadena anticipates their next “Proving Grounds” to take place in early to mid-July.

For more info on upcoming amateur MMA action, visit http://www.camo-mma.org/events.

No Shame in their Game: Legends fights tough battles in Edmonton, Las Vegas

Posted in Legends MMA, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2010 by jaytan716

The Legends MMA team stepped up in back-to-back pro and amateur battle, respectively, in the past week, and despite coming up short on hands raised, the team more than earned moral victories for their efforts and marked improvements.

Veteran pro fighter Matt “Sabretooth” Horwich, along with wife Kelly and Legends head trainer Chris Reilly, traveled up to the River Kree Casino in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, for Elaine McCarthy’s new “Lets Get It On” promotion, which debuted on April 24th. Horwich, a former IFL Grand Prix champion and UFC veteran, faced an old nemesis in Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald, another UFC alum.

Not only was this Horwich’s first bout of 2010, but also in many ways his first bout since joining Legends MMA. The Pacific Northwest native has been training at “The Brickhouse” since October, strengthening his cardio and technical skill sets. As such, this three-round rematch (from a first-round submission victory over MacDonald six years ago) was Horwich’s first chance since relocating to experiment with his new arsenal, and despite the decision, the recently-anointed “Sabretooth” was very pleased with the upgrades.

“I do feel really good about [getting new skills and strategies]. I was able to get some good clinch work. . . I was happy I got to work my rubber guard, and did a lot of good stuff in the fight. I went out of the fight feeling like a winner, even though I didn’t get paid like one,” he commented.

185 lbs. – Matt “Sabretooth” Horwich vs. Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald

Matt "Sabretooth" Horwich connects a left on Jason "The Athlete" MacDonald

The first round saw Horwich clinch up early, forcing MacDonald into the cage. MacDonald slipped some knees in and tried wresting control with a single-leg takedown, but Horwich kept it a standing match with balance and knees of his own. Horwich sprawled on a double-leg attempt, getting top position on the ground inside MacDonald’s guard. MacDonald held him with a high closed guard and worked for a kimura the last 20 seconds of the match, but Horwich was able to post up and maintain control from top position. In round two, both men threw combinations at the onset. MacDonald immediately went for the single-leg again, with Horwich pulling him back to the side off the age. Horwich eventually got out and threw more knees from the clinch. The two traded punches, and a high kick from Horwich, before MacDonald grabbed Horwich against the cage in a body clinch that, peppered with foot stomps, would compose most of the round. MacDonald briefly got the match to the ground, but it wasn’t long before Horwich was up again. Horwich then scored a trip takedown of his own, moving to side mount for the rest of the match. With seconds left in the round, Horwich tried to take the back, but MacDonald claimed top position right at the bell. MacDonald scored a takedown early in the third round, but Horwich dominated from the bottom with an uma plata for over a minute. MacDonald was able to eventually stand up, and fell into Horwich’s half-guard, where he would stay for the rest of the match,with a punch. MacDonald slipped some headshots in, but Horwich neutralized most of his offense with a tight collar tie-up. It could be argued that MacDonald was in top position for more of the third round, but Macdonald’s “half-mount” position and striking was much less threatening of a finish than Horwich’s uma plata submission earlier.

In a slight controversial decree, Jason MacDonald takes took the win by unanimous decision.

In his post-fight interview, Horwich told the crowd “Jason’s a great fighter. He did an awesome job. I think because I’m on my back in guard doesn’t necessarily mean I’m losing the fight.  But it’s an honor to fight him. It’s always awesome to be in Canada. Al the people are great, once I get through the customs.”

“It was such fuckin’ bullshit,” said Horwich’s wife, Kelly, of the judges’ scoring.

However, the Horwiches were complimentary of Elaine McCarthy’s first MMA production, noting “the promotion was excellent. They treated us really well. The motel was nice, food was good.”

(From Left): Ryan Lupkes, Jacob Rockymore, & Ben "Bird Dog" Sample, backstage at "Rising Stars of MMA"

Roughly one week later and 1,500 miles south of the Great White North, the trio of Benjamin “Bird Dog” Sample, Jacob Rockymore, and Ryan Lupkes fought on the second Las Vegas Mixed Martial Arts show, “Rising Stars of MMA,” on May 1st, at the Plaza Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas.

125 lbs. – Jacob Rockymore vs. T.J. Perez (Filipino MMA)

Although Perez scored several takedowns over three rounds, the majority of the match was spent on the feet, where Rockymore continually attacked with rapid fire combinations that pushed Perez backwards.  The first round was a back-and-forth battle, which proved to be the overriding theme of the match. Perez scored a takedown in the second and came close to a choke and armbar at separate times, but Rockymore was able to escape without serious threat. In the final round, Perez again forced a takedown, but Rockymore trapped him with rubber guard, and was working for an uma plata before getting stood up.  He went into combination overdrive in the last ten seconds of the match, forcing him into the corner as the bell rang.

T.J. Perez was awarded the match via split decision.

“It was like a street fight, but with more skills than a street fight. It was real fun. Can’t wait to get back in there,” Rockymore commented the next day.

“Jacob really impressed me. He’s a brawler,” said Sample. “I was surprised, because he’s so small. He’s 125 lbs, and I could see the anger in his punches. I could see he was really trying to take the guy out. He caught the guy with a couple shots and I’m like ‘whoa, that was a hard shot. Where’d that come from?’”

150 lbs. Ben Sample vs. Jonny Parsons (Fasi Sports)

The newly-anointed “Bird Dog” was on the hunt for avenging his debut, in which he came up on the short end of a unanimous decision.  He opened the first round with a high kick, baiting Parson into throwing a wild combination before Sample dropped him with a left hook. Sample pounced and got his hooks in on the ground, but chose to keep it standing, when he was unable to flatten Parsons out. Parsons returned the striking favor, dropping Sample fast with a left hook of his own, but the Bird Dog recovered swiftly back to his feet. Sample opened the second round with another high kick, keeping distance with additional right kicks and a spot-on body shot. Parsons scored two takedowns in the round, the second of which Sample reversed. Early in the third round, Sample shot in under a Parsons combination, but in doing so, caught a high kick to the head, which immediately put him out.

Jonny Parsons was awarded the match by KO, R3, 0:11.

Spirits barely dashed and hardly deterred, Sample spoke confidently about the outcome and the prospects for his future fights: “They say ‘champions aren’t born, they’re created.’ So it may take me a little more time. . . I feel like any given night, one of us could have knocked each other out. Had it been the following weekend, I may have got the best of him. The weekend after, he may have got the best of me. But I definitely can’t wait for the next fight.”

“Ben was real explosive,” said teammate Lupkes the next day. “They were just coming forward, full speed ahead, and just going at it. But Ben was definitely on top of the exchanges . . .He’s a bad motherfucker.”

175. lbs. – Ryan Lupkes vs. Jesse Bowler (Vadnais Fight Team)

With Bowler’s trademark hiptoss-neck crank combination well-scouted, the first round was largely a feeling out period for Lupkes.  The match did go to the ground after a Bowler bodylock, but Lupkes was able to scramble and gain top positio, in guard.  From there, Lupkes threw ground-and-pound and worked to pass guard. Round two saw Lukpes land a head kick, but Bowler was also later able to catch him on the ground with a head-and-arm choke. Lupkes was able to hold on, and get a restart in the middle of the ring. In the final stage, Lupkes claimed top position and worked to pass, but Bowler powered a reversal and took side control. After a referee’s stand-up, the two clinched, with Lupkes again ending up on top just before the match ended.

In a very close call, judges awarded Jesse Bowler the match via majority decision.

“I feel like if I had another 30 seconds, I would have won. I was on top twice, but he was on top for the majority of the rounds, so I can’t really argue.  It depends on how you want to look at it,” said Lupkes after the match.

Despite the losses, all three protégés were in high spirits in the aftermath, speaking with confidence about the lessons learned and the trainers that stood beside them.

“Conor [Heun] is really in touch with how you relate to the environment, and how to summon your inner strength. That really helps during a fight. And Reilly, he’s totally kick-back. ‘Hey man, just get out there, have some fun, give 110%. Make it do what it do.’ Working with both of them is really good. I couldn’t ask for better coaches – striking coach and wrestling coach. It’s just a matter of me getting in there and implementing what they want me to do,” praised the Bird Dog.

For Lupkes, Reilly’s Muay Thai tradition spoke to the young fighter and helped flip the ‘on’ switch right before going into battle: ”Right before we were about to go, he just grabbed my hands and put them together, Thai style. We just put our heads together. I can’t remember – it was like a mantra; he kept saying something like ‘Ryan, go win this fight’ or ‘Ryan’s a great fighter.’ Right in that moment, it totally focused me. It was like ‘let’s do this shit, man!’”

In other Las Vegas MMA action that night:

150 lbs. – Bashir Saber (Summa Sports) def. Mike Robinson (Fight Capital) via doctor’s stoppage due to cut, R1.

145 lbs. – Wes Clinton (Excel / Throwdown Utah) def. Abraham Duenes (Team Wand) via submission, R1.

185 lbs. – Raul Rivera (Team Mayhem) def. Joe Carpenter (Barry’s Boxing) via TKO, R1.

160 lbs. – Craig Jackson (Team Thompkins) def. Cale Errigo (Siege MMA) via submission (guillotine), R1.

160 lbs. – Randy Rodriguez (Excel / Rising Sun Judo) def. Jimmy Like (independent) via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Tony Martinez (Freestyle) def. Josh Smith (independent) via submission (choke), R2.

170 lbs. – Grant Hankinson (Aiki Jiu Jitsu) def. John Allsup (Excel) via submission (armbar), R1.

155 lbs. – David Jorden (Fight Capital) def. Joey Carroll (Team Mayhem) via submission (rear naked choke), R1.

190 lbs. – Christopher Gates (Fasi Sports) def. Danny Pena (Team Mayhem) via TKO, R1.

160 lbs. – Johnathan Rodeffer (Tapout Training Center) def. Michael Sutton (Fasi Sports) via split decision.

265 lbs. – Keven Absher (Tapout Training Center) def. Matt Heinstein (Siege MMA) via KO, R1.

205 lbs. – Mike Florio (Excel) def. Brandon Maynard (Aoki Jiu Jitsu) via submission (rear naked choke), R1.

155 lbs. – Shane Larsen (Vadnais Fight Team) def. Tim Gidley (Lion’s Den) via unanimous decision.

170 lbs. – Joey Angelo (Tapout Training Center) def. Rodney Thomas (Team Mayhem) via TKO, R1.

Sample and Rockymore will return to training after their respective medical suspensions, while Lupkes anticipates fighting as early as the end of May or sometime in June. Matt Horwich is wasting no time getting back to action, as he faces Tom “Kong” Watson on May 15th at the LG Arena in Birmingham, UK, for the vacant British Association of Mixed Marital Arts (BAMMA) middleweight 185 lb. title.