Perhaps you remember just a few days ago when MMA judging was held in contempt, publicly flagellated, and crucified for all to see. Fighters and fans alike tore at their garments, lamenting the apparent death of the ability to trust judges to deliver a decision faithful to the efforts expended. The skies darkened and the heavens poured out upon the earth. Dark times, Potato Nation. Miraculously, though, MMA judging has risen, and shall return again. We’re pleased to report that there were no robberies last night in Concho, Oklahoma, or at least, none involving combat sport. In fairness, though, the fighters took matters out of the judges’ hands most of the evening. Baby steps, people.
Bellator’s fourth season is winding down, with just three shows left, and we’re seeing more and more of the fighters we’ll see next season in tournament action. We were originally slated to see a heavyweight super fight between Bellator’s pound for pound heaviest champ Cole Konrad against Paul Buentello, but that bout was scratched after Buentello wrecked his back. Happily, Bellator just bumped up an undercard fight featuring Ronnie Mann and soldiered on, and we’re just tickled about it. Also scheduled were the two semifinal matches in the light heavyweight brackets, and Bellator’s Brazilian Invasion storyline continues with Luis Nogueira (no relation).
Come in after the jump and we’ll share all the spoilers with you (along with a healthy dose of inappropriate humor) and we’ll regale you with facts about the Toughest MMA Fighter in the business.
Tonight’s UFC 170 card poses a lot of intriguing questions: Is Ronda Rousey‘s striking *really* “the best in the game?” Can a last second injury in your co-main event be used as a legal justification for homicide? What is a Yosdenis Cedeno, exactly?
Here to “intelligently” “debate” at least one of those questions are CagePotato staff writers Jared Jones and Seth Falvo, so join them after the jump to get the inside scoop on all things UFC 170-related.
So what happens if Sara McMann actually wins on Saturday night?
JJ: Simple: Dana White dissolves the women’s bantamweight division, cancels TUF 20, and bans any MMA outlet that dares question his decision. MWAHAHAHAHA!!
Seriously though, there is no scenario in which a Rousey loss doesn’t equal an immediate rematch. I don’t care if McMann takes Rousey down in the first 5 seconds, annihilates her with ground-n-pound and then armbars her, we are getting an immediate rematch. This whole “WMMA in the UFC” thing all hinges on Rousey being the champ, right? Because I’m pretty sure that Dana White has been completely transparent about that fact since Day 1.
Are Chris Weidman‘s chances for an upset as good as everybody seems to think they are? Is Tim Kennedy better at talking than he is at fighting? Does UFC 162 feature the most stacked Facebook prelims in the history of curtain-jerking? And Dave Herman‘s getting fired, right? Read on as CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and staff writer Jared Jones debate these topics — and so much more — and be sure to come back tomorrow night for our “Silva vs. Weidman” liveblog, beginning with the FX prelims at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
Chris Weidman has become the fashionable pick for an upset against Anderson Silva. You don’t actually believe he’ll pull it off, do you? I mean, you’re not a moron, right?
JJ: Now,I may be a moron, but there is one thing I am not, sir, and that, sir, is a moron.
If we were to have this debate immediately after Weidman had finished knocking Mark Munoz into an ice cream cake-induced depression, I would have told you that Anderson Silva was a dead man walking. “Weidman brings the kind of grappling prowess that, like Chael P. Sonnen before him, will all but completely suffocate Andy’s offense,” I would say whilst smoking a corncob pipe and farting into a wine glass, “And his striking, while clearly not on Silva’s level, has improved enough to keep the soon-to-be former champ hesitant in those rare moments when he won’t be fighting off his back.” I would have mocked you for daring to claim otherwise, then had security escort you out of my chalet bungalow when you inevitably lost your cool like a common miscreant.
BG: I feel like this wave of Weidman-support isn’t so much based on realistic analysis of the matchup, so much as fans’ natural desire to see some change after seven years of having the same champion dominating the competition, and other UFC fighters’ totally understandable self-interest in having that dominant champion go away for a while. It’s wishful thinking, basically.
The good news is, Weidman has a long career still ahead of him. Three years from now, Anderson Silva might be retired, and Chris Weidman will still be beating up top contenders. He’ll have his moment. Saturday night will not be that moment.
Tim Kennedy seems to talk a lot for a guy without many significant wins. Will Roger Gracie silence him for once, or will Kennedy finally live up to his own hype?
(Cain doesn’t see an enormous head. He sees a big, beautiful, blood-piñata, just waiting to burst open and spill its bounty. / Photo via MMAFighting.com)
BG and Danga are back mahfuckas, baaaaaaaaaaaaam! [*cough*] Excuse me. What I meant to say was, UFC 160 goes down tomorrow night in Las Vegas, so CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and staff writer Jared Jones have teamed up once again to discuss all the important themes surrounding the event. Which heavyweight fight on the main card is more likely to end in an upset? Should we write off KJ Noons as nothing more than UFC shark-bait? What’s a Nurmagomedov gotta do to get some respect around here? Read on, and throw down your own opinions in the comments section.
It seems pretty obviousthat the UFC is trying to set up Dos Santos vs. Velasquez III, but who stands the better chance of throwing a wrench in their plans, Hunt or Silva?
Ben: I hate to agree with this jackass — and how dare you try to persuade me by linking to a track from Primus’s underrated Rhinoplasty EP, Jared — so for the sake of argument, I’ll go ahead and say ARE *YOU* KIDDING *ME* WITH THIS?? Mark Hunt has built up a dubious win streak slinging haymakers against guys who allowed him to do so. Junior Dos Santos is far too disciplined to become another victim of the same old rock-’em-sock-’em Super Samoan routine. In a brawl, Hunt has a chance against anybody. But this won’t be a brawl — it’ll be boxing match, and JDS is about as good as they come in that department.
And sure, Hunt has scored a string of upsets against guys like Cheick Kongo and Stefan Struve. Meanwhile, Antonio Silva has scored far more unexpected and dramatic upsets against guys like Fedor Emelianenko and the aforementioned ‘Reem. Bigfoot has heart for days, and fists big enough to dummy up anybody in the heavyweight division on any given night, including the current champion. How many times are you gonna sleep on this guy? #BigfootEra
Gray Maynard vs. T.J. Grant: Who will earn the right to suffer a narrow split decision loss to Ben Henderson next?
(“How ’bout we say ‘triangle choke, round 2.’ I’ve got a t-shirt riding on this.” / Photo via MMAFighting.com)
With UFC 159 slated for tomorrow night, CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and beloved CP staff writer Jared Jones have teamed up to argue about all the important themes surrounding the event. So how will the absurd light-heavyweight title fight end, exactly? What will happen if Alan Belcher actually lets Michael Bisping take a free shot to his face? Can the third women’s UFC fight possibly live up to the first two? How many more fights can Leonard Garcia lose before the UFC gives him the ol’ heave-ho? Read on, and throw down your own opinions in the comments section.
Will Jon Jones immediately demolish Chael Sonnen, or will he play around with Chael a little before demolishing him? And will Chael retire after the loss?
BG: I rarely make sweeping statements about who will win an MMA fight because 1) anything can happen in this crazy sport, and 2) the things you write on the Internet often come back to haunt you. But yes, Jon Jones will win this fight. I absolutely guarantee it. Sonnen’s best weapon — his relentless wrestling attack — will dash apart against Jones’s own wrestling, which is precision-tuned for the sport of MMA. Quickly out of options, Chael will throw his patented “I give up” spinning backfist, fall down against the cage, and will whisper a quick prayer to his God before Jones literally eats him and shits him out. And I do mean literally, okay? Literally.
I’m leaning towards a quick beat-down in this fight rather than an extended clowning, because Jones takes his job too seriously to “play around” with an opponent. (He’s not exactly Mr. Fun, we’ve noticed.) And once Chael feels the power of a large light-heavyweight, he’ll realize what a bad idea this whole thing was in the first place. To exit the sport directly after another humiliation wouldn’t fit in with Sonnen’s blustery self-image, so I think he’ll take at least one more fight — maybe at middleweight, maybe at light-heavyweight — before calling it quits. Once he starts losing to non-champions, he’ll wisely make the switch to full-time UFC talking head and occasional hair-texture tester.
JJ: Mark my words, this fight will be Jon Jones’s UFC 97 (or UFC 112, depending on which fight you thought was worse). Jones may not be a fun-loving guy, as you stated, but it also appears that the tryptophan-induced honeymoon between these two TUF coaches has passed, leaving behind only apathy in its wake. If you’ve noticed in the past, the foes “Bones knows” on a personal level seem to last the longest in the cage with him (Rampage, Rashad) — perhaps out of respect, perhaps because they are both tough as hell — so I think we should start preparing ourselves for a tepid, five-round affair highlighted by Bones’s jab and Sonnen’s desperate attempts to convert a single leg.
And when all is said and done, Sonnen will snatch the mic out of Joe Rogan’s hand, and in an attempt to mimic [enter professional wrestler name here]’s infamous retirement speech, will announce that, and I quote:
(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…
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.
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.”
Discussing MMA is a lot like discussing politics; what starts off as a friendly difference of opinion more than often spirals into an alcohol-fueled debate, rife with personal insults and name calling, before ending in a sloppy wrestling match that gets both parties banned from their boss’s wine tasting parties for life. Luckily, we have Doug “ReX13″ Richardson and Jared Jones here to dispute all things UFC 143, because frankly, we can’t make heads or tails outta this card.
Let’s kick things off how we normally do, with a completely offhand topic. Who wins the Super Bowl?
RX: Me, if the commercials are good and Bane blows up the stadium. Let me guess, you’re a-
JJ: GO GIANTS!
RX: I hate you so hard, man.
JJ: First off, I’m not your buddy.
RX: But I never-
JJ: Eli Manning is to the Patriots what Dylan Klebold was to Columbine High School; he cannot be defeated, unless by that of his own doing. Giants 35-27.
RX: Wow…this has gotten off to a rough start. Can we just move on?
Australian heavyweight Soa Palelei has been putting together one of the greatest career comeback stories outside of Anthony Johnson. At one time considered to be a one-and-done UFC washout after he lost to Eddie Sanchez at UFC 79, “The Hulk” has won 11 straight fights since 2011 — all by KO/TKO — including three wins in the Octagon.
The quick seven-week turnaround might be less than ideal for Palelei, but fighting in front of a supportive Oceania crowd will more than make up for it. Unrelated fun facts (via BloodyElbow): Palelei got his first tattoo with a wooden chisel and mallet, and Mark Hunt is the only opponent he’d turn down, because “We’re training partners, and we’re like family.”
The current lineup for UFC Fight Night 43 is below…
With a UFC event scheduled for this weekend that’s actually worth watching, it’s time for another installment of Ben vs. Jared, in which CagePotato’s founding editor Ben Goldstein and long-suffering staff writer Jared Jones go cabeza-a-cabeza to discuss some of this card’s major themes. For example: Is Shogun vs. Sonnen the most pointless match on the UFC Fight Night 26 main card? Is it safe to board the Matt Brown hype train? Will Joe Lauzon make history again? And is it Yuri or Iuri? Prepare for serious business…
So, Shogun vs. Sonnen at light-heavyweight — what’s at stake here? Anything? Anything at all?
BG: I think Shogun’s career is at stake, for one thing. If he loses to a one-dimensional middleweight (no offense, Chael), it’ll drop his UFC win percentage below .500, and bump him out of the UFC light-heavyweight contender picture, maybe permanently. He’ll enter that twilight stage of his career where he’s just showing up for “fun fights,” still famous enough to headline smaller UFC events in Brazil, but no longer part of the overall conversation. Or, he can just retire and run a gas station like his brother. Neither scenario is ideal, but the one that doesn’t require him to sustain traumatic brain injuries seems a little healthier.
JJ: Fuuuuuuck no. “Out of the light heavyweight picture?” Shogun has been out of the light-heavyweight picture since the current champion put him out of the light heavyweight picture at UFC 128, and I say that as a Shogun fan. The fact is, Shogun can’t stay healthy, he can’t put a win streak together, and his BADBOY tights are getting more constrictive by the day. Training with Freddie Roach may prolong Rua’s career a year or two longer than he would have lasted without it, but Shogun has got to be about the oldest 31-year-old in MMA. He was just used as a stepping stone for Alexander Gustafsson (unless you honestly thought the UFC was setting him up to be slaughtered by Jones again), so as far as I’m concerned, he IS in the “fun fights” part of his career. Again, Shogun fan talking here.
Watching this MMA Rated interview with Elite XC’s Jared Shaw where he answers questions as to where he’s been and what he’s doing for the company now (you should also check out their interview with a very drunk Tonya Evinger), I get the strange sense that he’s lying to me. What’s more, I feel like he knows how transparent he seems, but he’s just charging ahead with it anyway. In a strange way, I almost respect that. Almost.
But let’s talk for a moment about Elite XC’s decision of late to push Jake Shields as the world’s best welterweight, which Shaw also claims. Obviously, they like it because it allows them to call out Georges St. Pierre and the UFC, thus piggybacking on the success of their betters. But it also makes them seem a little desperate, and it’s not hard to tell that this is a strategy destined for failure.
It’s not that Jake Shields isn’t a good fighter. He is, but that isn’t the point. The point is that Elite XC has essentially just decided to proclaim him the number one welterweight because he is their number one welterweight, and because it’s the only way they can think of to get some of the UFC magic to rub off on them. Plus, they can be secure in the knowledge that the UFC will never actually take them up on the cross-promotional offer.