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21 Incredible Minimalist Movie Posters

September, 2008

Middleweight 9-30-08

Rank
Fighter
Comments

1.
Anderson Silva
That sound you’re hearing right now is all the UFC’s light-heavyweights collectively pissing their pants. Don’t worry guys, he’s just “testing the waters.”
2.
Paulo Filho
3.
Rich Franklin
It feels weird to just drop him off the list entirely. How about one spot for every fight at light-heavyweight, and he’s gone after three?
4.
Dan Henderson
5.
Robbie Lawler
Scott Smith may not be elite-level competition, but damn did “Ruthless” look sharp against him in their two recent bouts for EliteXC. With his heavy hands and iron chin, we don’t see him losing his EliteXC belt any time soon.
6.
Yushin Okami
7.
Gegard Mousasi
Melvin Manhoef and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza were both top-20 middleweights going into DREAM 6 — and Mousasi smoked ‘em both in the same night, needing less than three minutes of total fight time to do so. If there was ever a guy that the UFC needs to cherry-pick from Japan, it’s Gegard. The dude’s on fire right now.
8.
Nate Marquardt
9.
Frank Trigg
“Twinkle Toes” is a warrior, but with countless entrepreneurial interests vying for his attention, he may not be putting in the time to keep pace with the competition. Trigg hasn’t beaten a top ten opponent since February 2007; if he doesn’t get a win over a quality opponent soon, he’ll be leaving this list.
10.
Kazuo Misaki

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Exclusive Interview: Michael Bisping

Michael Bisping MMA UFC The Count
(“The Count,” courtesy of Bisping.tv.)

Though he was impressive as a light-heavyweight — winning The Ultimate Fighter 3 after going 10-0 in England, then beating down Eric Schafer and Elvis Sinosic — two rough split-decisions convinced Michael Bisping to drop to a more competitive weight. And since then, he’s looked absolutely scary. Bisping will be looking to continue his success as a 185-pounder at UFC 89 (October 18th; Birmingham, England), where he’ll take on Chris Leben in the main event; a win would officially make the Liverpool-native a title contender. Ben Zeidler caught up with The Count recently to get his take on his next opponent, the UFC’s middleweight title picture, and that rumor about him being a future TUF coach.

***

CAGEPOTATO.COM: What have you done to prepare for Chris Leben?
MICHAEL BISPING: Well, obviously he’s a southpaw so we’ve been bringing in a ton of southpaws to spar with. I see a lot of problems with him, so I’ve been trying to really step up my training. You know, it’s the all-around game, the all-around training. I’m very focused.

Do you prefer to fight in England? What does it mean to be the hometown favorite every time out?
When I go out there, it’s unbelievable. I can’t even put it into words. I have great memories there, for sure, but the UFC fans are always amazing no matter where I go. The sport is so great and so awesome right now that any fans, in any arena in the world, are just great. Fighting in the UFC is very special to me.

There was a lot of controversy surrounding your UFC 75 win against Matt Hamill. Do you believe you won that fight?
You know what, I want to fight Matt again. It was really close and depending on what you’re looking for, you can make an argument either way. People say that it went my way because it was in the UK, but the UK judge is the one who gave it to Hamill. It was the Americans who gave me the decision. Hamill definitely won the first round, and that’s because I wasn’t prepared mentally. I didn’t focus. He caught me off guard and came out guns blazing. I needed to get in gear and I did. I started to take control, he got some takedowns but I got some on my own accord, and I did more damage. I won 2-1 but it was close. I should have given him more props, but we had some history going into the fight, so I wasn’t prepared. But I do think I won.

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Why Nelson vs. Arlovski Could Be the Best or Worst Thing For Elite XC on Saturday Night


(You ready for this, America?)

I almost couldn’t believe it when I first heard the news: Elite XC had added a legitimately interesting big time bout to their next CBS show. No disrespect to “Ninja” Rua and Benji Radach or Jake Shields and Paul Daley. Those are fights worth tuning in for, even if Elite XC seems content to treat them as background scenery.

And Gina Carano fighting an opponent who’s coming off two straight losses while the opponent who really makes sense for her fights someone else on the same card? Sure, that’s cool too. And of course there’s the obligatory ‘Kimbo Slice beats up handpicked opponent’ fight that we’ve come to expect.

But Andrei Arlovski-Roy Nelson? Now that’s intriguing, Elite XC. I have to admit, I’m impressed. I wonder, however, if you’ve thought through all the potential ramifications.

On one hand, it’s brilliant. Elite XC links up with another struggling organization to see if they can’t form like Voltron and make something happen. This fight adds hardcore credibility to a card severely lacking in it. The fact that Elite had to go outside their own stable of fighters to find that credibility is something we’ll ignore for the moment. Fact is, they showed the “willingness to work with other organizations” that we always hear about but seldom see put to such good use. Bravo.

But here’s what I’m wondering: what happens if Arlovski/Nelson turns out to be a solid, technical, exciting MMA bout, as we all know it very well could be?

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UFC Doesn’t Sweat the Economic Crisis


(Props: MMA Scraps)

It’s kind of creepy to hear Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta say almost exactly the same thing when asked by Fox News how the economic meltdown will affect their business. It’s as if they’re reading off the same cue cards. Clearly, this is a conversation they’ve had before, and most likely pretty recently as they’ve tried to figure out whether a piss-poor economy means they should cash in their chips and start hording gasoline and ammunition in the Nevada desert somewhere.

When it comes to pay-per-view buys, their logic holds up. You get six or seven guys together to split the cost of a UFC pay-per-view and it’s cheaper than going to a movie. Live ticket sales might be another matter, but big shows like UFC 91 in Las Vegas will still sell out, especially when they can count on the casinos to snatch up the ridiculously-priced tickets at Octagon-side.

MMA Payout recently broke down Lorenzo Fertitta’s claim the UFC has seen a “double-digit increase” in pay-per-views buys this year. Turns out it’s true, but just barely. 10.8% growth is technically double-digits, even if most of it is a result of holding two pay-per-view events in the UK in 2008, as opposed to just one in 2007. Domestic pay-per-view growth was at a meager 3.3%, but that’s still not cause for panic.

As we’ve discussed before, for some reason pro fighting is one of the sports that typically does well during hard economic times. Ballet, on the other hand, straight up tanks when the going gets tough. That’s right. Fuck you, ballet.

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UFC Quick Notes: Ireland, Okami, Parisyan + More

Yushin Okami Anderson Silva MMA UFC
(Photo courtesy of BoutReviewUSA.com.)

Yahoo! EuroSport is reporting that the UFC is finalizing arrangements on its first-ever second-ever event in Ireland. As the story goes, UFC 93 would be held January 17th at Dublin’s O2 Arena, and rumored fights include Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra, and Rich Franklin vs. Chuck Liddell or Mauricio Rua. The UFC already has an event planned for January 31st in Las Vegas, which will be headlined by the welterweight match between Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn.

— Yushin Okami’s next fight won’t be against Anderson Silva after all; he’ll be facing Dean Lister at UFC 92 (December 27th, Las Vegas). Okami and Lister have both won their last two matches, and have been healing up from injuries — Okami with a hand injury that forced him to pull out of his rematch against Silva, and Lister with a tweaked knee that kept him out of a UFC Fight Night 15 match against Thales Leites.

— Despite Karo Parisyan’s questionable pull-out from UFC 88, the UFC has just locked “The Heat” into an eight-fight contract extension. Wonder if that includes naming rights to his first-born son…

— Gilbert Melendez only has one fight left on his Strikeforce contract, and has his eye on a move to the UFC: “I really do like Strikeforce, I think they’re a great organization and they took care of me, but I have other goals too, other dreams…[the UFC is] an organization I’ve always liked to be a part of and a lot of the guys in there I would want to fight.”

— The UFC has picked up former WEC light-heavyweight champions Brian Stann and Steve Cantwell in the wake of the WEC’s abolishment of the 185- and 205-pound weight classes. Stann and Cantwell have fought twice before, with each fighter scoring a win, and will meet for the third time at the UFC’s “Fight for the Troops” card on December 10th. Stann, who became the WEC’s light-heavyweight champ with a first-round knockout of Doug Marshall at WEC 33 in March, is a former U.S. Marine.

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Video: Gina Carano on Craig Ferguson


(Props: MMA Payout)

Gina Carano was a guest on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson last night to plug her upcoming appearance at EliteXC: Heat. It’s nice to see her getting some late-night couch time for a change (not that Kimbo’s appearances on Jimmy Kimmel don’t make for classic television). Explaining why she has chosen such a painful profession, Conviction explains, “I’d rather have a job where I travel and fight people and train than be married with children who hate me and a horrible husband.” Gina? WHY DO YOU HATE THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE SO MUCH? She also drops this bomb on Craig: “You can’t really hide anything in the cage. It’s just real, two people going at it. It’s kinda like sex.” But it’s cool, because she’s “just kidding.”

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Fedor Still Talking That New Year’s Eve Jive?


(‘Bring me your tired, your freaks, your outmatched fools. I fight them on eve of the new year, yes?’)

The official Dream website has posted an interview they conducted with Fedor Emelianenko, but unfortunately for me it’s all transcribed in squiggly lines that I can make neither heads nor tails of. Good thing Suki came along to translate it, otherwise we might have missed this:

- Japanese fans are expected to see you fight in NYE in Japan again.

I want to fight in Japan again; however, I cannot control everything. God knows what will happen. Whether I fight or not in NYE depends on a negotiation between my manager and DREAM.

Perhaps Fedor is just blowing smoke here to keep his Japanese public happy, but that’s a very different story than the one Tom Atencio is telling. He claims to have verification from Fedor’s management that he absolutely, positively will not fight on New Year’s Eve. So, assuming Fedor is not consciously lying in this Dream interview, this means:

1) Fedor’s management is willing to rent him out to the highest bidder, regardless of whether they’ve already committed him to fight elsewhere.

2) Fedor’s management doesn’t necessarily tell Fedor everything that’s going on.

3) There are some nuances being lost in translation.

The first option seems plausible because, well, Fedor is managed by crazy Russians, according Dana White. The second option is also not too unrealistic, for the same crazy Russian reasons. Option three is especially possible since Fedor’s comments had to go from Russian to Japanese to English. In other words, yeah, we don’t know what the hell is really going on. Which probably puts us in the same boat as Fedor.

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Quick Hits: Couture on Kimbo, Lutter on UFC Rumors, CBS on Elite XC Lineup

- ESPN Radio’s Ball Park Frank talks with Randy Couture about a number of topics in this video (props to Steve Cofield), but perhaps most interesting is Couture’s assessment of Kimbo Slice‘s upcoming match with Ken Shamrock. As Couture astutely points out (around the 2:55 mark), a quick KO of Shamrock does more to affirm his over-the-hill status than it does to prove Kimbo’s worth as an MMA fighter. At the same time, if Kimbo goes back and forth with Shamrock will that only serve to prove that he’s not the fighter “Buzz” Berry is? Best case scenario for Kimbo is he looks good, Shamrock looks good, Kimbo wins via late KO. That’s also the least plausible scenario.

- Travis Lutter tells MMA Rated there is absolutely no truth to rumors he might be headed back to the UFC. Though it was originally reported that he might face Joe Doerksen in the Octagon, Lutter says neither he nor UFC matchmaker Joe Silva knew where the rumor came from, which means it’s back to the small time for Lutter. He did have a prediction for the Anderson Silva-Patrick Cote bout, though: “Cote is going to get murdered.” Come on, Travis, don’t sugar coat it.

- CBS executives say they will show five fights from ‘Elite XC: Heat’ on Saturday, even if it will probably cause them to run over the allotted two-hour space. Some fans wondered whether CBS had cut “Ninja” Rua-Benji Radach from the broadcast when the bout wasn’t mentioned in recent promos, but Executive VP Kelly Kahl says the fight is still on and will lead off the CBS portion of the card. That means Elite XC will have to keep its general dicking around to a minimum and still hope for a couple quick finishes to keep from going over. It’s something you’ll want to keep in mind if you’re planning on DVR-ing this sucker.

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Robbie Lawler vs. Joe Villasenor Will Be For The Title

(Champion Robbie Lawler with the most amorphous MMA CEO in town)

Word out of EliteXC (and reported on by MMA Weekly) is that the November 8th showdown between Robbie Lawler and Joey Villasenor will be for the 185 pound title. This is fantastic news for EliteXC and MMA fans alike. Lawler hasn’t faced any true tests since winning the title from an over matched Murilo Rua and so it’ll be good to see him go against some top flight talent in Joey Villasenor. A more recognized name than Scott Smith, Villasenor should provide the EliteXC execs with the paycheck they’ve been looking for.

The now-Greg Jackson taught Villasenor is undefeated since losing a battle to Rua in 2007, and has looked very impressive over increasingly difficult competition. “Smokin’ Joe” suffered a flying knee loss to Lawler back in 2006 PRIDE competition, but both men would attest that they are much different fighters. At any rate, the fight represents a fascinating match from all perspectives.

Both men love to strike and it’s no surprise that most expect this to avoid a decision end. Additionally, the 185 pound title represents EliteXC’s most legitimate division and it’s encouraging to see that the promoters are competent enough to book solid fights when it matters.

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Aleks Emelianenko To Return Against… Anyone? Bueller?

(Oh yeah, finding opponents won’t be difficult at all…)

According to a new article by Fighters Only, Aleksander Emelianenko claims that he will be returning for the next Affliction show.  He also mentions that the medical rumors surrounding his ejection from the last Affliction PPV are simply untrue.  That’s right.  Just didn’t happen.  Looks like the CSAC was mistaken(?) when one of their top execs had this to say regarding Fedor’s little:

“The one thing that I can absolutely say is that he (Emelianenko) was not and will not be cleared to fight in California. He is officially denied a license and that will stand for all of the United States of America.”

Hmm. Well that’s not encouraging. Despite the harsh words from the Golden State, Emelianenko remains optimistic.

“I am going back to the States next week to do interviews and make some film for the January event,” he said.

“But I don’t know about any opponent yet, all that is in the process of being sorted out.”

Aleks added that he may also “fight around Christmas-time in Japan.”

“But there will be no problem this time – everything is cool.”

And by cool, he means it’ll be a piece of cake to find a top level fighter who is willing to fight a potential case of Hepatitis B. This can’t bode well for Affliction, as Fedor has made a history of mandating that his brother be included in all shows he does.

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