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November, 2013

UFC 167: The Card That Doomed The Welterweight Division


(A seemingly victorious Hendricks celebrates immediately after the fifth round ended, before the judges decision was announced. / Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

UFC 167 left the welterweight division in a violent tailspin from which it might not recover.

Heading into the PPV, the UFC trotted out the tired “If you were to build a fighter that could beat [insert champion], it’d be [insert challenger]” marketing formula. True, challenger Johny Hendricks‘ great wrestling and powerful hands were a great stylistic matchup against champion Georges St.Pierre‘s takedowns and iffy chin. But the MMA world said the same things about Josh Koscheck. His wrestling was too good for GSP to take him down, and since GSP couldn’t take him down, Koscheck would make use of his advantage in striking power. This, of course, didn’t happen. GSP jabbed Koscheck’s orbital bone into splinters for 25 minutes.

So why should we have expected anything else from GSP-Hendricks? GSP was the dominant champ. Hendricks was the Guy to Beat GSP™ of the month; a challenger who was, in reality, no challenge at all.

This fight was intertwined with another: Rory MacDonald vs. Robbie Lawler.

Do you think it was a coincidence that Rory MacDonald and GSP were fighting on the same card? The UFC was likely hoping for both MacDonald and St.Pierre to be victorious. Dana White could fulfill his sick fantasy of watching teammates fight, and the UFC would have a highly bankable future title fight: Georges St.Pierre vs. Rory MacDonald, the fight that sells itself. The biggest star (according to Dana) in the UFC’s history would fight his protegee over the holy grail of MMA: A UFC title. Dana White insisted before UFC 167 that the fight was going to happen.

But you know the saying about the best laid schemes of mice and men (and fight promoters)…

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UFC 167 Results: St-Pierre Wins Controversial Decision Against Hendricks


(Tan advantage: Hendricks. Beard advantage: Hendricks. Really, I don’t see how GSP has a shot here. Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the UFC, and so much has changed since the wild, awkward days of the early 1990s. Of course, the UFC’s welterweight division has stayed pretty much the same since 2008 — with Georges St. Pierre at the top, dispatching all comers. Will Johny Hendricks be the man to end St-Pierre’s 11-fight win streak and take the gold belt for himself? Nah, probably not. But if you’re a GSP fan, that shouldn’t really matter.

Also on tonight’s UFC 167 lineup: Chael Sonnen and Rashad Evans duke it out for no apparent reason, while GSP’s heir-apparent Rory MacDonald faces old-school banger Robbie Lawler in a classic meeting of suit guy vs. t-shirt guy. Handling the play-by-play for the PPV broadcast will be Anthony Gannon, who will be stacking live results after the jump beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and throw your own thoughts down in the comments section. Thanks for coming.

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GSP Does Better Than Finish Fights, He Finishes Careers


(When he’s not lifting five-pound dumbbells, he’s ruining careers. / Image courtesy of GSP RUSHFIT)

By Nathan Smith

I know what a lot of you were thinking (and by “a lot” I mean nobody): Where is The12ozCurls with his obligatory fluffy, ball-washing post on Georges St. Pierre pertaining to his upcoming fight? Well, I hate to disappoint my dozens of CagePotato fans and Twitter followers (seriously, *bottom lip quivers* I got like 50) so I will give you what you want. What most of you want is more ammo to fire in my direction if/when GSP loses. And judging from the current CP Fight Picking Contest stats, a majority of you think Johny Hendricks is going to put my beloved Canadian to sleep on Saturday night. You are all entitled to your opinion no matter how wrong it might be.

Let me explain: GSP has dominated the welterweight division for the better part of a decade. He has systematically vanquished each foe with a combination of athleticism, technique, cardio and sound game-planning. There is no debating that. Yet most of the flat-billed hat-wearing mouth-breathing meatheads that scream “KNEEEEES!” whenever there is a clinch, constantly talk shit on GSP because he is a boring fighter that doesn’t finish (and because he is handsome . . . . really really handsome).

That is the knock on one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time—that he’s ambien personified—but upon further review, GSP has done far more long-term damage to his last 8 opponents than ending a fight via TKO or submission. He effectively sent their careers into the toilet, which is far worse than just knocking them out cold. All of the following fighters were the #1 contender for the UFC WW Championship but each one was sent packing like my ex-wife (What? Too soon?). I’ll start with all the fights after GSP kneed Matt Serra’s kidneys into oblivion and became the undisputed champ back at UFC 83.

Take a look at the first guy who’s career GSP derailed after the jump.

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Bellator 108 Recap: Rampage Finishes Beltran at the Bell, Minakov Becomes Bellator Heavyweight Champ


(Rampage intimidates Beltran while Bjorn Rebney continues to do his best Dana White impression. / Image via Sherdog)

Bellator 108 had the potential to be a disaster for the perennial runner-up promotion, but it wasn’t. All of the main card fights were exciting, first-round finishes. And, most importantly, the right guy won the main event.

Here’s the event recap, from bottom to top:

On the prelims, Bellator’s 6’6″ English light heavyweight prospect Liam McGeary advanced to 6-0. He’s raw but, from what we’ve seen so far, also quite talented and diverse. If he were in the UFC, there’d be dozens of “Is Liam McGeary the man to beat Jones in 2014?” articles written by now.

UFC and strikeforce veteran Nah-Shon Burrell won a forgettable unanimous decision against a guy named Jesus Martinez who also had a Jesus tattoo. Awesome.

Two other UFC vets were featured on the prelims: Tom DeBlass and Jason Lambert. The fight between them was short. DeBlass scored a walk-off KO with a devastating hook early in the first round.

The main card started with the featherweight tournament final between Bellator mainstray Patricio “Pitbull” Freire vs. Justin Wilcox. Pitbull finished Wilcox in the first round in largely uncompetitive fight. Every one of Freire’s frequently-landed punches seemed to rock Wilcox, who eventually succumbed to the Brazilian’s flurries. This was the second time Freire has won the Bellator featherweight tournament.

Read on to learn about the specifics of Rampage’s victory as well as of the Bellator heavyweight title fight.

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Dana White Announces That a Women’s (?) Strawweight Division (?!!) Is in the Works


(Strawweights: Willing to go the extra mile on weigh-in night, and that’s really all that matters. Photo via Bellator.)

Hold onto your butts, Potato Nation, because Dana White just dropped a bomb that will make your insides explode faster than the Denny’s Hobbit menu.

During a recent interview on FOX Sports.com’s “The Fighter & The Kid” podcast, The Baldfather announced that the UFC is currently “working on” putting together a women’s strawweight division, thanks in no small part to the emphatic success of The Ultimate Fighter 18:

“I’ll give you guys something nobody knows yet. We’re actually working on bringing in another division for the women, which I said would never happen for a long time,” White told hosts Brendan Schaub and Bryan Callen. “125 pounds or 145 pounds?” Schaub asked. “Neither . . . 115 pounds,” White replied.

“I never in a million years thought that it would take off the way that it has.”

When asked whether or not the significant downturn TUF ratings have taken over the past few weeks have weighed into his decision, White allegedly told Schaub to “go f*ck himself” before storming out of the room yelling “LALALALALA CAN’T HEAR YOU” with his fingers in his ears. Allegedly.

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Friday Link Dump: UFC Passes on Askren, The Most Brutal MMA Matches Ever, Why You’re Not Getting Laid + More


(Nick Offerman’s moustache sings and dances for your amusement in this new Movember promo from MadeMan. Don’t question it. Just donate.)

Today’s must-see: Every single awkward moment and broadcasting fail from UFC 2 (CagePotatoMMA.tumblr.com)

Twenty Years of UFC: The Changes, the Styles and the Future (BleacherReport)

Dana White: UFC Isn’t Interested in Signing Undefeated Ben Askren (MMAFighting)

Johny Hendricks First Realized KO Power With Arcade-Style Punching Machine (MMAJunkie)

The 50 Most Brutal MMA Matches of All Time (Complex)

Controversy Surrounds Star-Ledger’s Report on Brain Injuries in MMA (BloodyElbow)

Exclusive: Jessica Aguilar is Excited for WSOF’s WMMA Future (MMAFrenzy)

MMA Fan Art of the Day — “The Showtime Kick” (Facebook.com/CagePotato)

James Harden’s Feet Are Tough to Look At (TerezOwens)

Gallery: The Funniest Cheerleader Faces Ever (WorldWideInterweb)

A 17-Year-Old Killed His Dad Over a Megan Fox Joke (FilmDrunk)

Disney Princesses as Tattooed Pinup Girls (HiConsumption)

Epic Vine Compilation of the Day (DoubleViking)

10 Reasons You’re Not Getting Laid (MensFitness)

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Chael Sonnen: The Smartest Man In The Room


(Photo via Getty.)

By Adam Martin

There is only one fighter in the UFC who currently has his next two fights booked, and his name is Chael Sonnen.

The former middleweight journeyman turned middleweight title contender turned light heavyweight title contender will fight Rashad Evans this weekend in the co-main event of UFC 167, Zuffa’s 20th anniversary blowout card. It’s a fight that should theoretically hold importance as far as the rankings and title picture in the UFC light heavyweight division, but for some reason, it just doesn’t seem to.

But, oh wait, I think I know why. I think It’s because Sonnen already has his next fight lined up, as he’s set to square off against arch rival Wanderlei Silva following the taping of TUF Brazil 3 early next year.

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Ben vs. Jared — ‘UFC 167: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks’ Edition


(PRIDE t-shirt > tailored suit. Always. You should know this by now, Rory. / Photo via MMAFighting)

The UFC’s latest pay-per-view spectacular goes down tomorrow night in Las Vegas, and we’ll be liveblogging the main card action beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. To help get you in the mood, CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and staff writer Jared Jones have reunited for a bullshit session about all of UFC 167‘s most important themes. Or at least some of them. Mostly we’ll be posting GIFs and talking about online gambling, like usual. Enjoy…

You don’t actually believe Johny Hendricks has a shot here, do you?

BG: No sir, I do not. I really don’t see how this fight plays out any differently than GSP’s second fight against Josh Koscheck, to be honest. Yes, Hendricks can knock you out with his (generously telegraphed) left hand if you stand in front of him, but he’s just not a technically sound striker, and St. Pierre won’t be standing in front of him except for the brief moments that precede a blast double-leg takedown. Yes, Hendricks is a skilled wrestler, but as it applies to MMA, St. Pierre is a much, much better wrestler.

GSP will spend all five rounds out-striking Hendricks and scoring the occasional takedown just to prove that he can, running up his already absurd statistical records in the process. In fact, I’m so sure that this will be the outcome that I’m not even looking forward to this fight all that much. Jared may have given this one a “coolbeans!” in this week’s GIF-Ranking column, but to me, GSP vs. Hendricks is nothing more than Matt Hughes’s ambivalent shrug.

JJ: Did Rudy Ruettiger have “a shot” at making the dress roster of the 1975 Notre Dame Fighting Irish? Did Michael Oher have “a shot” at rising from the ashes of a broken home to eventually be drafted in the 2009 NFL draft?! DID KIRK GIBSON, DOWN TWO DECENT LEGS AND STOMACH RIDDLED WITH THE FLU, HAVE “A SHOT” AT PINCH-HITTING A 9th INNING, WALK OFF HOME RUN IN GAME 1 OF THE 1988 WORLD SERIES?!!

Matt Serra has arms the size of Baby Sinclair, yet he was able to touch the chin of GSP. Johny Hendricks, on the other hand, punches like a Super Saiyan Goku on steroids. So yes, Ben, I think he has “a shot.”

And that’s pretty much it.

As a fan, how psyched will you be if Robbie Lawler knocks Rory MacDonald the fuck out?

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What Was Up With Johny Hendricks Last Night on Fox Sports Live? [VIDEO]


(Props: FOX Sports Live)

Is he delirious from the weight cut? Did somebody spike his cough syrup? Did he just get poked in his right eye? Did somebody interrupt his nap? Is he blazed as hell? What’s with all the blinking? There has to be an explanation for why Johny Hendricks seemed a little…impaired…during his FOX Sports Live appearance last night, hyping his UFC 167 main event with Georges St. Pierre. We’ve transcribed a couple highlights below, but seriously, you should watch this thing yourself and tell us what you think.

On whether GSP should be scared of him: “A-hah-hah, you know what, here’s the thing…uh…it’s…to each their own, y’know? I’m not scared of anybody. Uh, whenever you get in the Octagon, just do what you do, y’know? Um. He might be, I don’t know, y’know, here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter. Uh…all I want is a win.”

On his squabble with GSP over drug testing: ”I don’t need drugs to win. A-heh. Youknowwhattimean? If I’m at 220, I don’t look like I’m at 170. I’m fat, out of shape, and I love my life. Youknowwhattimean? I don’t need steroids. I don’t need steroids to have power. If I had power…if I had steroids, I wouldn’t be at 170. I’d probably be at 205. The way that I eat and the do all that stuff so here’s the thing, is that one person has accused me of something or ‘read between the lines’…uh, y’know, Georges had six fights, err six years to prove his innocence of people accusing him of stuff. He wants to prove it with me, he just chose the wrong person.”

Ed. note: At 7:23-7:26, we see that the split-screen presentation is just bullshit, and that Georges and Johny are really in the same room, sitting next to each other. Good work, FOX.

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UFC 167: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks — Main Event Breakdown


(The bourgeoisie and the proletariat shed their blood for the world’s scraps, while a shadowy bald figure in the background pulls the strings. Can’t you see? WE’RE ALL JUST PAWNS IN THE GAME, MAN. / Photo via Facebook.com/MMAFighting)

By George Shunick

UFC 167 is shaping up to be — on paper, at least — one of the most loaded events of the year. This isn’t a surprise; the UFC marks its 20th anniversary this month and does so with what should be a sufficient amount of bombast. Headlining Saturday’s festivities will be the UFC’s reigning king of pay-per-view, Georges St-Pierre. His opponent is Johny Hendricks, a decorated collegiate wrestler with a left hand that will lay waste to whatever unfortunate being happens to lie in its path. There can be no doubt that Hendricks, in this sense, might pose the single greatest threat that GSP has faced in his MMA career. He might also be the easiest matchup GSP has faced in years.

Against St-Pierre, Hendricks epitomizes the idea of a “puncher’s chance.” He has virtually no advantage over GSP except power — power so substantial that the threat of it seems to have obscured glaring weaknesses that St-Pierre is particularly gifted at exploiting. Granted, his power is impressive. If he hits GSP flush with his left hand, he can end the fight in an instant. He should, for the first few rounds at least, be capable of keeping the fight on the feet. He’d better, because he has little chance of victory on the ground. His bottom game is solely focused on returning to his feet, and he has not shown the ability to threaten from top position. Recall how easily and how often Carlos Condit, a well-rounded fighter who does not possess extraordinary wrestling ability, was able to return to his feet in Hendricks’ last fight. No, if Hendricks wants to win he needs to look for the kill shot.

Here’s where Hendricks runs into problems. If he lands his left hand, the fight is his. The tricky part is actually landing it. His two best knockouts — against Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann — came against opposition with terrible footwork. Hendricks can cover ground extraordinarily fast; backing up against him doesn’t work well at all. Even if he misses the left hand, by pushing opponents straight back they invariably end up against the fence. This is where Hendricks does his best wrestling; against Condit, every single one of his takedowns came after he backed Condit up with left hands and put him against the fence. In some of his previous fights, Hendricks has relied on pushing opponents into the fence and grinding out (sometimes questionable) decisions. It’s an effective strategy, so long as he’s the superior wrestler and his opponents back up in a straight line.

Unfortunately for Hendricks, neither qualifier applies to this fight.

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