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January, 2008

Fight of the Day: Josh Barnett vs. Aleksander Emelianenko

In honor of today’s juicy rumor, here’s the 5/5/06 PRIDE fight between Barnett and A. Emelianenko. The ten-minute first round was an action-packed standup war, with both fighters exchanging bombs. But Barnett out-hustled Aleks in the second, taking him to the ground and working for a submission. As we’ve seen before, Aleks isn’t too awesome on his back. But we’d definitely open our wallets to witness these two go at it again…

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Exclusive Interview: Nick “The Goat” Thompson


Photo by Paul Demko

Nick Thompson was so inexperienced when he first started fighting that he would get knocked out on a regular basis, and fall asleep like a strange breed of goat that faints when it gets scared. When the welterweight found his groove, “The Fainting Goat” started turning the tables on his opponents and his nom de guerre became simply “The Goat.” Now, Thompson is the current Bodog Fight welterweight champion, and is set to do battle against John Troyer on February 1st in Las Vegas.

Those who have followed The Goat’s career know what a unique character he is — and that he has the tools to be one of the top ten welterweights in the world. He’s currently riding a nine-fight win streak and is 17-1 in his last 18 fights. A tireless athlete, Thompson once fought 27 fights in two years. Like many other up-and-coming fighters, Thompson needed to fight monthly in order to pay the bills, but as his profile has risen, he’s been able to take the time to properly train and recover when he fights.

We recently had an e-mail exchange with The Goat, who gave us his thoughts on Bodog Fight, Eddie Alvarez calling him ugly, lighting up before a match, and law school.

CagePotato: You’ve got quite a win streak going right now. Has the UFC or any other organizations made offers to lure you away from Bodog Fight?
Nick Thompson: I’ve spoken to several organizations. February 1st is the last fight on my exclusive contract with Bodog. They’ve made me a nice offer, but the UFC, HCF, and World Victory Road have all made intriguing offers as well.

Do you feel like you’ve accomplished everything there is to accomplish in Bodog?
If they don’t get some more talent, yes.

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Bummer of the Day: Chuck Liddell Wants Rematch With Keith Jardine

JarLid

In a Seattle Post-Intelligencer profile of Chuck Liddell, the Iceman revealed who he’d like to step into the Octagon with next:

“My next fight will probably be in the summer and I am thinking about Jardine since Jackson is already scheduled to fight (Forrest Griffin),” Liddell said. “I can’t wait around (for Jackson). I love the sport and I think I have a couple years left in me.”

Jardine has been sitting on the bench since his decision victory over Liddell at UFC 76 in September, and we’re guessing that’s because the UFC doesn’t quite know what to do with him; “The Dean of Mean” isn’t enough of a big name to qualify for a title shot yet, but he’s already knocked off Chuck as well as the guy who will challenge for the light-heavyweight belt next, Forrest Griffin. Fights with Wanderlei Silva and Maurico Rua would be good options, but as the UFC’s only remaining superstar, Chuck will probably get what he wants — a chance to redeem himself. And that’s unfortunate, because a Liddell/Jardine rematch is the last thing we’d want to see.

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Aleksander Emelianenko Could Fight Barnett, Records Gangsta Shit

AE
(Business in front, death in back.)

I’m not very good with the Cyrillic alphabet, so I can’t confirm this myself. But various people are reporting that a post made yesterday on Aleksander Emelianenko’s Mixfight.ru page says Aleks will be fighting at an M-1 Global event in April. As one translation puts it:

Next bout of Aleksander Emelianenko will be held on April 11 in Chicago.

Currently we are negotiating for Aleksander’s opponent. Most likely it will be Josh Barnett.

Aleks won three bouts in 2007 by first-round stoppage, while Barnett hasn’t competed in an MMA event since his decision loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on New Year’s Eve 2006; since then, the Babyface Assassin’s name has consistently popped up as the guy with the best chance of beating Fedor Emelianenko. It doesn’t look like M-1 wants to threaten its golden calf so soon — a loss for Fedor basically negates their reason for being — but an Aleks/Barnett rematch would be the next best thing. The two fighters previously fought at PRIDE Total Elimination Absolute in May 2006, where Barnett handed Aleksander one of his three career losses, a second-round submission via keylock. Keep your fingers and toes crossed and we might get to see Aleks have his bloody revenge.

Also of interest on Aleksander’s Mixfight page is the other “23 ?????? 2008 ?” post, which appears to be a rap song recorded by the fighter. You can listen to it here. Dude kinda sounds like a Russian DMX. Anybody who can translate the lyrics gets 1000 CagePotato Gold Stars, which can be redeemed later for Camel Cash.

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CagePotato Debuts Power Rankings: Let the Bitching Begin!

RR
(Where did Randy and Rush land in our pound-for-pound top ten?)

Hawk-eyed CagePotato readers may have noticed a new link on the right side of the page — POWER RANKINGS (!!!), our list of the world’s ten best fighters in each weight class, from heavyweight to featherweight. Well, featherweight only gets a top five because they’re half the size of normal fighters, and fans only care half as much about them. But we also have a “Pound-for-Pound” list, which ranks the ten best fighters in terms of talent, regardless of weight class.

In creating these rankings, we took into account not just recent fight history, but past accomplishments and our own opinions on how each fighter would perform against other elite fighters in their division. Of course, all of this is open for debate, and we’ll soon be building separate pages for each weight class that will allow you to comment on them individually. In the meantime, check out the rankings and use the comments section on this post to give us your own thoughts. Stay tuned for more updates on our Power Rankings, which will be updated after most major fight cards. Let’s get it on!

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Swick Fends Off Burkman in UFN Decision Snoozer; Diaz, Tavares, Cote Also Win

Pelle
(Kurt Pellegrino proudly shows off his new battle wound, a hole where his teeth broke through his mouth.)

Well, at least it was free. Tonight’s Ultimate Fight Night broadcast was marked by two savagely boring three-rounders, including the main event, where Mike Swick avoided takedown attempts for 15 minutes en route to a decision victory. “Quick” it was not; if anything, the fight proved that the emaciated-looking Swick may have been a lot more powerful at 185. First, the quick results for the televised card:

(Lightweights) Nate Diaz def. Alvin Robinson via triangle choke submission at 3:39 of the first round
(Lightweights) Thiago Tavares def. Michihiro Omigawa via unanimous decision
(Middleweights) Patrick Cote def. Drew McFedries via TKO (punches) at 1:44 of the first round
(Lightweights) Kurt Pellegrino def. Alberto Crane via TKO (punches) at 1:55 of the second round
(Welterweights) Mike Swick def. Josh Burkman via majority decision

Full breakdowns after the jump…

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Real Estate Agent May Battle Osterneck

Chael Sonnen
(Chael Sonnen gets up on it.)

It’s being reported that real estate agent Chael Sonnen may be fighting undefeated middleweight Nissen Osterneck in a March World Extreme Cagefighting event. The word from MMA Junkie is that the WEC has offered the fight to Osterneck as part of a multi-fight contract, but nothing has been etched in stone just yet.

Although a WEC event in March has not been announced, rumors have been leaked that something will go down. The WEC’s next event is WEC: Condit vs. Prater on February 13th. It’ll go down live on Versus from Albuquerque, N.M.

You’ll recall that Osterneck fought for HDNet Fights on December 15th of last year against Freddie Espiricueta. He won via verbal submission because of some monster strikes. The report claims the UFC had also looked at Osterneck for a spot on “The Ultimate Fighter” show.

Chael Sonnen, a Team Quest fighter, is a former UFC and bodogFIGHT athlete who lost via a second round submission at WEC 31 to middleweight champion Paulo Filho. It was the real estate hawker’s first loss in six fights and dropped him to 19-9-1 overall. However, he does have a lovely 3Bed/2Bath close to public transportation he’d like to show you. The hardwood floors are practically new.

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Faber to “Burn” on ESPN

Faber

All week Jim Rome of ESPN’s “Rome is Burning” fame – infamy is more like it – has been promoting WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber as a correspondent for his show later this week. Jim Rome may be one of those dudes that makes you wish you can’t see or hear, but he has been pushing MMA in the past few months. Dana White – and other UFC-ers – have already appeared on his show, and now Rome is employing an MMA fighter as a correspondent who isn’t in the UFC.

Although it makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth, I applaud Jim Rome and his homeboy facial hair. We know the score when it comes to the “Big Boy Media” and their treatment of MMA, so it’s cool to see this. More than I can say for the Los Angeles Times – even though we thought they were coming over to our side. The Times gave a full one sentence and 1″x 1″ picture of UFC 80 as their coverage of the event. For the record, downhill skiing received about 15% of a full page in the sports section, giving a complete rundown of recent skiing events. I just threw up in my mouth again. Efforts to reach the Los Angeles Times for comment on why UFC 80 got no respect have currently failed.

So check out “Rome is Burning” for the rest of the week to see to what extent The California Kid will be used. The show runs nationally on ESPN, Monday thru Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT. To whet your appetite for Jim Rome’s abrasive brand of chat, check out the classic vid below when he interviewed Los Angeles Rams QB Jim Everett back when L.A. actually had a football team.

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Bas Rutten Gets Front-Office Job With IFL

TFBR
(Tiffany Fallon and Bas: Best Friends 4-Eva!!)

The IFL held a media conference call this afternoon to announce that Bas Rutten would be taking the newly created position of Vice President, Fighter Operations (the press release is here). We only caught the first few minutes of the call before they started having technical difficulties — after which we tried calling back again, heard nothing, then gave up when the delivery guy came with lunch — but here’s what we gathered:

— Rutten’s duties will include “identifying talent, and working to get the best matchups possible.” He will report directly to IFL CEO Jay Larkin. Said Larkin, “For us to be successful, we need an icon in that leadership position.”

— Rutten will still work as the color commentator on IFL Battleground, and will remain the co-host of HDNet’s Inside MMA.

— Larkin reiterated the IFL’s geographical approach in 2008, stating that rather than hold each event in a different city (which sucked up marketing dollars that weren’t being reflected in ticket sales), the league would focus on the markets where they’ve had the greatest success.

— The second event in the IFL’s 2008 season will take place April 4th at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and will feature title defenses by Wagnney Fabiano (featherweight), Jay Hieron (welterweight), and Vladimir Matyushenko (light heavyweight). Details on the first event are here.

— Bas defended the IFL’s banning of elbow strikes, saying that while he’s only seen about five fighters who’ve ever been knocked out by elbow strikes, the use of elbows create cuts that lead to early stoppages. “It’s a cheat,” he said.

Total MMA asked Jay Larkin to respond to claims made by Roy Nelson in our interview that the IFL treats fighters unfairly. We thank them for that. Larkin called the claims “inaccurate,” stating that the IFL’s fighters still get medical coverage and other benefits, though the pay structure needed to be changed somewhat. Conveniently, that’s when things went FUBAR, but the complete audio recording from the call can be downloaded here.

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Fight of the Day: James Thompson vs. Don Frye

Don Frye’s most recent fight, at PRIDE 34 on 4/8/07, was notable for three reasons: First, it kicked off with the best/gayest staredown in MMA history. Second, Frye and Thompson briefly locked into a hockey-punching spree that recalled Frye’s legendary brawl with Yoshihiro Takayama. And finally, it ended in a notorious late-stoppage, with Frye getting whaled on against the ropes for a solid minute before the ref stepped in. All in all, it was one of the most memorable fights of 2007. Thompson’s next match would result in a 10-second knockout loss to Neil Grove

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