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Here's What Happens When Strangers Draw Your Selfies

June, 2013

MMA Bracketology: Re-Imagining the UFC 2, UFC 3, And UFC 6 Tournaments


(And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why history must be re-written.)

By Matt Saccaro

Tournaments seem like a great way to determine the best competitor from a group of athletes. You have 8 (or 16 or 32 or whatever the number) fighters, put them in a bracket, and then let them fight it out. The last dude standing clearly must be the best because he survived the tournament, right?

At first, that logic seems OK. But upon closer scrutiny, it starts to sound like something Master Shake would try to argue.

Tournaments — like the ones the UFC used to run — are heavily dependent on how the bracket is organized. Some fighters get an easy run, others get a gauntlet.

This got us at Cage Potato thinking: What if some of the early UFC tournament brackets were re-organized or even shuffled just a little bit? Who would end up becoming the “Ultimate Fighters” of the 1990s? Let’s find out!

UFC 2

UFC 2 was the first and only 16-man tournament run by the UFC. The first round of the tournament — save for Royce Gracie’s fight (of course)—didn’t air on the PPV and aren’t on the DVD either.  These “lost fights” from UFC 2 have quite a few interesting characters such as the enigmatic Pencak Silat master Alberto Cerro Leon and the chubby, sweatpants-clad Robert Lucarelli.

Look at the complete bracket and see how many names you recognize. Most of these guys from the UFC 2 dark matches had no chance in the tournament, save for a man named Freek (or Frank) Hamaker.  We’re going to stick with Freek because it rhymes with Reek. A fighter like Hamaker was a rarity in the early days. He wasn’t a hapless striker fated to be embarrassed.  He was a sambo practitioner who trained under legendary European grappler Chris Dolman.

Hamaker’s first (and only) fight was at UFC 2 against the mysterious San Soo Kung Fu man Thaddeus Luster. The fight went like the typical early UFC fight. The guy with grappling immediately took down the guy without grappling and won shortly afterwards. Hamaker withdrew from the tournament after defeating Luster and disappeared to the pornography theater from whence he came.

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Absurd Betting Line of the Day: King Mo is a 15-1 Favorite Against Seth Petruzelli, Who Will Probably Beat Him


(Be honest: How many of you were even aware that this fight was happening? / Image via Facebook.com/King.Mo.FH)

Props to @MMAdamMartin for giving us the heads up that Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal is currently as high as a -1545 betting favorite in his scheduled match against Seth Petruzelli this Wednesday at Bellator 96. Keep in mind that Lawal was a 10-1 favorite in his last match against Emanuel Newton, which ended with Mo getting knocked out with a spinning backfist in the first round.

Let that sink in for a moment. Still with us? Good. So, after losing that match, Lawal has somehow become an even more immense favorite against a guy who is BEST KNOWN FOR A DRAMATIC UPSET, FOR FUCK’S SAKE.

At this point, you can get Seth Petruzelli for +725 at SportBet and 5Dimes, meaning that a $100 bet on the Silverback would return $725 in profit if he wins. Meanwhile, a $1,545 wager on Lawal would return $100 in profit if he wins, which has to be the dumbest investment in the history of world currency.

If you want to bet on Petruzelli, do it now before the oddsmakers sober up.

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‘UFC 162: Silva vs. Weidman’ Video Promo — If You Think Anderson Is Going to Lose, You’re in Good Company

Over the past few years, the UFC has used a number of different hooks to lure you into buying Anderson Silva‘s fights on pay-per-view, from building Silva up as a supernaturally-gifted phenom to acknowledging the ridiculousness of his matchups. So here’s a new angle: To hype Silva’s UFC 162 middleweight title fight against Chris Weidman, the UFC has cut together clips of Gray Maynard, Georges St. Pierre, and Rashad Evans talking about Weidman as if he’s the next champ. Indeed, “every fighter out there” apparently thinks Silva is going to lose his belt on July 6th.

Call it trash-talk by proxy. Weidman isn’t speaking for himself in this promo because, 1) having other people do it lends him credibility by association, and 2) the sound of Chris Weidman’s voice has never gotten anybody excited for anything. Not trying to hate, here. Chris is just a soft-spoken, respectful dude who does his talking in the cage. And that’s fine. And that’s why GSP and Joe Rogan are doing the talking for him.

Whether that’s an effective promotional strategy or not remains to be seen, but I think this clip captures the current zeitgeist among MMA fans. Whether it’s because they truly believe that Weidman possesses the skills to knock Silva off his throne, or they’re just getting tired of King Andy’s bloody reign, it feels like public support is leaning hard on the challenger this time.

So who are you picking for Silva vs. Weidman? And why? And are your reasons actually rooted in reality?

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Royler Gracie on Eddie Bravo Rematch: “Some People Like to Talk, Some People Like to Fight” [VIDEO]


(Video via YouTube.com/CagePotato. Subscribe, dammit!)

At the age of 47, BJJ legend (and retired MMA fighter) Royler Gracie is preparing to return to competition later this year at Metamoris 3 (date/venue TBA), in a grappling rematch with Eddie Bravo. In this interview following the match announcement at Metamoris 2 earlier this month, CagePotato reporter Elias Cepeda recaps the first meeting between Royler and Eddie back in 2003 — which made Eddie Bravo’s name overnight and legitimized his forward-thinking approach to jiu-jitsu — and gets Royler’s take on their second meeting ten years later. As Royler puts it, “I’m not trying to make history, I’m already part of history.”

For more behind-the-scenes videos and MMA interviews, please visit CagePotato’s YouTube channel.

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The Unsupportable Opinion: Steve Mazzagatti’s Non-Stoppage of Burkman vs. Fitch Wasn’t the Travesty Everyone is Making it Out to Be

If there’s anyone that Dana White gets pleasure out of verbally tearing down in the media more than Roy Nelson, it’s Steve Mazzagatti, the (formerly) porn-stached, cool as a cucumber veteran UFC official who has given us such avant-garde decisions as “Eye Poke Equals a TKO,” “Flying Head Kick? 40 More Punches to Convince Me” and “Tap 10 Times For Assistance.” The Baldfather has stated on numerous occasions that he doesn’t think Mazzagatti should even be watching MMA — which is all the more astounding when you consider all the crazy shit DW has said and done to try and sell a pay-per-view before — and even gone as far as to unofficially dub Mazzagatti “The Worst Referee in the History of Fighting.” In a world where this was allowed to happen, that’s a pretty bold claim.

As it turns out, Mazzagatti found himself at the center of controversy once again last weekend when he basically handed over his reffing duties to Josh Burkman during his WSOF 3 clash with Jon Fitch. After clipping Fitch early (like somebody here predicted he would), Burkman locked in a tight guillotine that put Fitch to sleep just over 40 seconds into their headlining bout. Burkman then proceeded to roll his unconscious opponent over and stand over him triumphantly before Mazzagatti decided to step in. It was perhaps the first walk-off submission in MMA History, and for some reason, you all are pissed about it.

Although White and Fitch have been involved in a war of words ever since the AKA product was released from the UFC, at the end of the day, it’s safe to assume that White wishes no ill will towards the former title contender. And being that Mazzagatti is higher up on White’s hit list than Fitch, the UFC Prez recently laid into the veteran ref for nearly 10 straight minutes at the UFC 161 post-fight media scrum. It was, quite honestly, the harshest takedown we have seen since Neal Page’s “Chatty Cathy” criticism of Del Griffith.

We’ve placed the full video of Dana’s rant above. After the jump, we’re going flush our last remaining scrap of credibility down the toilet in an attempt to do the unthinkable: defend Steve Mazzagatti. We know, we know.

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UFC Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Anthony Pettis Is Going to Steal TJ Grant’s Title Shot


(And that “Showtime Kick”? As fake as the moon landing. / Photo via MMAWeekly)

As we’ve already discussed, the upcoming UFC 164 lightweight title fight between Benson Henderson and TJ Grant isn’t exactly capturing the hearts and minds of MMA fans, and could potentially tank on pay-per-view. (Which wouldn’t be the first time that Bendo has tanked on PPV.) So when Anthony Pettis went down with a knee injury last week, knocking him out of his UFC 163 featherweight title fight against Jose Aldo, some of the more paranoid fans among us began buzzing: Is this just a ploy to line-jump Pettis into a much more compelling/lucrative fight against Henderson? The two men have some history, after all.

At first we dismissed this theory as lunatic ravings from the same people who would tell you that Luke Rockhold signaled that he was ready to take a dive against Vitor Belfort, or that Chael Sonnen bangs his desk to signify that he’s ready for his close-up. Would Pettis really fake an injury — or would the UFC invent one — in order to screw over TJ Grant and cash in with a bigger fight? Come on, that’s absurd. At least we thought so until we read this:

“I can be 100% ready to fight Benson Henderson in Milwaukee,” said Pettis to Fuel TV. “With all due respect to T.J. Grant, Milwaukee is my town, and the fight with Ben is the fight everyone has wanted for years.”

For the record, UFC president Dana White claims that Pettis’s knee won’t be ready in time for UFC 164 on August 31st, but obviously he’s just trying to keep the public from catching on to his dastardly plot, and TJ Grant will be faking his own injury sometime within the next couple weeks. Allegedly.

But seriously, here’s what Grant had to say about the situation…

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UFC 161 + ‘Enter the Dragon’ Fight-Picking Contest: And the Winners Are…


(Enter The Dragon 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition cover image via Facebook.com/EnterTheDragonFilm. Buy a copy right here!)

The fact that Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson fought a tightly-matched, 15-minute battle on Saturday didn’t come as a surprise to many of you, who guessed some variation of a decision result in last week’s UFC 161 caption contest. But the first two people to guess that Evans would win by split-decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29) were Smitty and Ringo, who will both be receiving a copy of the Enter the Dragon 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray, with all the exclusive documentary footage and collectible memorabilia and stuff. ‘ETD’ is a stone-cold classic no matter what format it’s in, so enjoy, and please send your real names and addresses to contest@cagepotato.com.

The other two people to submit exactly-correct guesses were Jason Moles, who is disqualified based on the rule that people who work for CagePotato aren’t eligible to win contest prizes — i.e., “ReX‘s Law” — and knuckleup101.2, who’s just out of luck, pretty much. But we appreciate you guys, really. (Okay fine, knuckleup, if you want a CP t-shirt, shoot your info to contest@cagepotato.com.)

Thanks to everybody who played, and props once again to Warner Bros. for the hookup!

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UFC 161 Aftermath: Winnipeg is For Lovers


Photo via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports

By Elias Cepeda

UFC 161 had some good fights to watch and learn from but if you’re one of the folks who paid the $217.00 or so that UFC pay per views now go for, and if you were drunk (those who do the former are often the latter during bouts) you may have been a bit disappointed with the action. In the main event, Rashad Evans turned up the heat in the third round against Dan Henderson and earned a split decision win.

The fight was close, and fought in spurts, but Evans looked impressive in coming back from being knocked down in the first round and in tiring Hendo and working the former Olympic wrestler over in his own sweet spot – the clinch. Evans gets back on the winning track but looks a long way from being able to challenge champion Jon Jones as he says he wants to once more.

Henderson certainly did not embarrass himself – he never has – but for the second consecutive fight, the forty two year-old looked to be the weaker and slower fighter in losing a close decision. Maybe that has to do with his age, maybe it has to do with the fact that both fights occurred against top light heavyweights.

Put the hard-earned legend of Henderson aside for a moment and remember that the man is a middleweight that, for reasons of crazy ability and guts, fights light heavyweights and heavyweights. Henderson is no where near a title shot at this point, in any division. It will be interesting to see how much motivation he has to keep fighting without more gold in his reach.

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Enough Jokes – Roy Nelson Needs To Leave The Heavyweight Division

By Elias Cepeda

Roy Nelson made history last night at UFC 161. No, he didn’t become just the second man in UFC history to score four consecutive first round knockout wins as I’m sure he hoped he would.

According to UFC President Dana White, “Big Country”, with the help of Stipe Miocic, instead set a record that is incredibly detrimental to his own health.“Roy Nelson broke a UFC record tonight: 437 significant strikes absorbed without being knocked out.  It’s a new UFC record,” White said.

We originally reported that number based on White’s statement. So did many other outlets, including MMA Weekly, Yahoo! Sports and MMA Fighting. A look over at FightMetric, the official statisticians for the UFC, however, reveals that Nelson absorbed only 106 strikes from Miocic.

White was probably using hyperbole to underscore a couple points about Nelson – how tough he is, how badly he got beaten, etc. – but it is telling that his 400 + strikes number didn’t strike many in the media as too far off.

Miocic knocked Nelson around that badly. And we’ve seen it happen before to the outspoken heavyweight.

Nelson probably should have taken a contract extension deal when it was offered to him by the UFC. He probably should not have fought Miocic just six weeks after his prior fight, a win over Cheick Kongo, and Nelson definitely shouldn’t be fighting in the heavyweight division.

Folks who respect and admire Nelson have been calling for the morbidly obese fighter to drop down to light heavyweight for years.

Forget all that.

Nelson has the height and frame of a tall lightweight or normal welterweight fighter. But instead of living a healthy lifestyle and fighting at, say, 170 pounds, the man has often had trouble of making the heavyweight limit of 265 pounds.

Roy Nelson clearly has a problem, and it isn’t just the fact that he can’t ever seem to be more than a punching bag any time he fights a top heavyweight – though it is related. The charismatic and gifted fighter has a consumption problem.

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UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson — Main Card Results and Commentary


(No shoving? No forehead bumping? No repeated demands that one fighter treat the other like a bitch? Come on guys, you gotta give us *something* here. / Photo courtesy of MMAFighting.com)

The UFC makes its first stop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, tonight, and yes, the lineup is somewhat garbage-ass. That’s what happens when you lose your original main event and then your co-main event due to injuries. But the show must go on, and we’ll be here liveblogging the pay-per-view broadcast all night, whether you join us or not. (Please join us. Please?)

On the menu for this evening: Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson try to avoid the gaping chasm of irrelevance, Roy Nelson goes for his fourth-straight knockout against Stipe Miocic, and highly regarded women’s bantamweight prospects Alexis Davis and Rosi Sexton make their debuts against each other. Plus, Pat Barry might leg-kick Shawn Jordan to death, and Ryan Jimmo might do the robot. Fingers crossed.

Handling our play-by-play is Anthony Gannon, who will be stacking live results from the UFC 161 main card after the jump beginning at 10 p.m. ET. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and throw in your own analysis in the comments section.

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