Ron Sparks (8-0) continued his rise towards relevancy with an 84-second knockout of Mark Holata. Sparks also happens to be one of those dudes with his own last name tattooed on his stomach, but we won’t hold it against him. Speaking of stoppages, Blagoi Ivanov (5-0, 1 no contest) also kept his unbeaten record, smashing Zak Jensen standing then putting him to a sleep in the second round with a guillotine choke.
Grove…holds the black belt rank of Shihan in Go-Ju Ryu Karate, a full-contact style which emphasizes sparring and grappling.
Judging from some of his fights, you’d think he was a third-degree black belt in Drunken British Soccer Hooligan. But it works for him, and that’s cool with us. Grove is looking to debut at UFC 95 (February 21st; London, England), and has his eye on Mustapha Al-Turk, the man who held Cage Rage’s British heavyweight title before the organization shut down. Al-Turk will first face Cheick Kongo at UFC 92 (December 27th, Las Vegas).
U.K.-based MMA organization Cage Rage is putting on a thoroughly kickass show tomorrow, featuring Murilo “Ninja” Rua, Elvis Sinosic, Mark Weir, Neil Grove, and TUF3 alum Ross Pointon. Check out the full fight card here. I’d never heard of Rua’s opponent Xavier Foupa-Pokam (please keep your “fupa-poker” jokes to yourself), so I decided to search for a clip of him in action, which I’ve posted below. Rua might have his hands full, as Foupa-Pokam looks like a sharp striker who’s absolutely deadly once he falls on his ass. You should also keep an eye out for Neil Grove, a 4-0 heavyweight bruiser whose last two fights resulted in a 10-second knockout of James “The Colossus” Thompson (the video is below) and a 34-second TKO of Domagoj Ostojic. Cage Rage 24 can be seen live at ProElite.com PPV; the action kicks off at 1 p.m. ET.
(Xavier Foupa-Pokam vs. Alex Cook at Cage Rage 18, 9/30/06)
(Neil Grove vs. James Thompson at Cage Rage 22, 7/14/07)
Last year saw Duffee staging a minor comeback, with a quick win over Neil Grove at Super Fight League 2, and another first-round TKO against Philip De Fries last December in his UFC return. So why has Todd Duffee been a ghost in 2013? For one thing, he recently discovered that he suffers from a rare nerve disorder called Parsonage-Turner syndrome. As he explained on Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, the disorder has caused him debilitating pain and will put him on the shelf for at least a year:
“It felt like somebody stabbing me in my back,” Duffee said of his first encounter with Parsonage-Turner syndrome. “I kind of freaked out. Should I go to the ER? What do I do? It was that kind of pain. I just couldn’t move. I could kind of lift my shoulder to a certain extent, but I couldn’t use my hand fully. I could like pulse it, but I couldn’t close it. I couldn’t pick up anything with it or anything like that…It was scary. I’m not even going to lie to you. I was like, what is going [on]?”
FightersOnly passes along the news that Emelianenko has been pulled from his Legends 2 fight with Cro Cop on November 8th and replaced by some other Russian dude named Alex. Specifically, Alexey “The Boa Constrictor” Oleinik, who it turns out might be a bigger threat to Cro Cop than Emelianenko could ever dream of being:
Alexey Oleinik fighter will replace him, says promoter Ruslan Suleymanov. Oleinik is a Bellator and KSW veteran with a 47-9 record. He is known as ‘The Boa Constrictor’ and has 38 submissions wins to his name.
“This is one of the top Russian heavyweights in MMA. Oleynik won many times over the last few months. With Alexei we can expect a very good fight,” said Sulejmanov.
At the minimum, last night’s Super Fight League 2 card was a small, albeit significant, improvement over the upstart promotion’s first card. The fact that Bob Sapp was not participating already ensured this. Yes, it was still riddled with the goofy, often laughably bad commentary of Phil Baroni and some other guy who I don’t really care to look up at the moment, but overall, it was able to deliver more action and dramatic finishes than this weekend’s Bellator card could account for, and considering it was free, who are we to complain? If only they could get rid of those awkward crowd shots.
But before we get to the most exciting finish, perhaps we could focus on the oddest one– Alexander Shlemenko’s first round TKO of Ikuhisa Minowa. Minowa continued his rough streak against recognizable-named opponents this morning, and it looks like he could be on the shelve for a little longer than usual this time around. For the first couple of minutes, the fight was vintage Shlemenko, featuring more spinning death attacks than a tornado in an axe factory. Minowa simply had no answer for “The Storm” on the feet, and was stalked around the cage until around the two minute mark, when Shlemenko was able to land a well timed knee to Minowa’s skull that sent him reeling backward.
Minowa seemed to be alright, reaching for a leg log in the moments afterward, but when Shlemenko was able to pull out from danger, Minowa suddenly curled up in the fetal position with an apparent rib injury. No word yet on exactly how bad he is hurt, but we’re going to guess that the injury was more, you know, real, than the quad injury that felled Sapp in his main event clash against James Thompson at SFL 1. The announcer not named Phil Baroni was kind enough to inform us that Shlemenko has now fought 13 times in the past two years. That is fucking insane. And speaking of insane, Shlemenko’s thirst for his well deserved rematch against Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard might just be driving him a bit loony. After defeating Minowa, Shlemenko gave what was perhaps the greatest post fighting interview of all time, calmly stating, ”Hey India. Hector, I kill you.” If only Lombard could come to an agreement with the Bellator brass, perhaps we could watch these two throw down again.
The Duffee/Grove video, along with the full results are after the jump.
Three years after his embarrassing 11-second destruction at the hands of Fedor’s younger brother, James Thompson managed to shave one second off of his personal getting-knocked-out record during this Cage Rage match against 2-0 rookie Neil Grove. Following a very brief feeling-out process, Grove starts swinging his big meathooks around until one of them connects squarely on Thompson’s glass chin, sending the Colossus facedown onto the mat for a lil’ nap. The announcer immediately calls the stoppage “UN-BA-LAY-VA-BOWL,” but honestly, what did you expect to see in a fight between two British heavyweights — a flying gogoplata?
I’m gonna be honest — I have no idea who these people are or when this fight took place. But you can tell it’s an educated audience by the way they openly laugh at that jacked-up teep kick and standing hammer-fist at the 0:07 mark. After that, the dude just hangs out with his hands down, and the Neil Grove-lookalike kicks his head into last month. Concussions, man. Always entertaining.
Not since Ed Bassmaster’s run-in with Dana White has a UFC interview been more cringe-inducing. The difference is, this is not a joke; Franklin McNeil is really this uncomfortable. From the way he stares at the camera while addressing Weidman, to his “I can barely read these damn cue cards” verbal delivery, it’s a Tito vs. Fedor-caliber train-wreck. Wisely, the cameraman makes the executive decision to keep the focus on Weidman once the conversation gets going. My goodness. Is this the level of talent we can expect from backstage interviewers in the post-Helwani era?
After the jump: Two more brilliant spots from McNeil, this time with Jose Aldo, Ali Bagautinov, and their translators. If you can watch both of them in their entirety, you are officially qualified to be a Navy SEAL.
Heavyweight Todd Duffee’s career has been a strange mixed bag of extreme highs and lows. As a 23 year-old, Duffee became a sensation by knocking out Tim Hague in just seven seconds in his UFC debut back back in 2009. A host of injuries delayed his second fight in the organization for nearly a year.
When he did make his return, against Mike Russow, Duffee fell victim to one of the most surprising come from behind KO victories in UFC history. Duffee outclassed Russow for twelve minutes before getting caught and knocked out cold.
He was then released by the UFC, took a short notice fight against fellow He-Man impersonator Alistair Overeem (because short noticed fights against over-matched opponents was just how Ubereem got down in those days before he could keep himself occupied with running from and failing drug tests) , got shellacked, and then didn’t fight again for about a year and a half.
When he did, last April, Duffee stopped Neil Grove inside one round. He hasn’t fought since then but evidently the fickle matchmaking overlords (Happy Thanksgiving, Joe) at the UFC have been satisfied and it was announced Wednesday that the Duff Man will be back in the Octagon at UFC 155.
“Duffee (7-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) will meet Phil De Fries (9-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) at UFC 155, this year’s version of the annual New Year’s Eve weekend card in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena,” Case Keefer of The Las Vegas Sun reports.
Are you happy to see Todd back in the big leagues after being dumped a couple years ago, nation? We are. Win or lose, he’s exciting. After the jump, let’s look back at our favorite Duffee moments so far.