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.
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.
Elite XC’s Jared Shaw takes a little shot at yours truly in this MMA Rated interview, calling me Ben “UFC” Fowlkes, which I suppose is an implication that I’m pro-UFC and anti-Elite XC, although I like to think that my record as an equal opportunity critic speaks for itself. If an organization does dumb things, it’s my job to point it out. If one organization does more dumb things than others, they’re going to receive more criticism. That’s just how it works. If it makes me a hater, I can live with that. But since when do we all have to like everything?
$kala says he just wants some love for his fighters, not himself. Fair enough, Jared. You do have some good fighters in your organization. Guys like Jake Shields, Robbie Lawler, Wilson Reis, Nick Diaz, and “Ninja” Rua, just to name a few. These are all fighters that I enjoy watching. But your fighters aren’t what you’ve been criticized for, and I think you know it.
Let’s take the event you’ve got this Saturday, for example. On the undercard you’ve got a few interesting scraps between guys like Paul Daley and Jake Shields, Benji Radach and “Ninja” Rua, and a sweet little co-promotional joint between Affliction fighters Andrei Arlovski and Roy Nelson (nice work scoring that, by the way, whether you had anything to do with it or not).
But your main event features a 3-0 fighter in Kimbo Slice, who has yet to face an opponent coming off a win, taking on a forty-four-year-old legend of the sport who hasn’t won a fight or even made it out of the first round in over four years. And that’s your main event.
(Say something about Castro again. Hector wishes you would.)
Regulatory difficulties in Quebec forced Bellator to get all old-school UFC and move Bellator IX to the glitz and glamour of Monroe, Louisiana, but they did what any good promotion would do: grabbed some crawfish and rolled with the punches. Last night’s event narrowed down their finalists for the upcoming middleweight tournament, and they had a bunch of other fights just for fun. Here’s how it went down:
Middleweight semi-final tournament fights: Jared Hess def. Yosmany Cabezas via TKO at 4:26, round 3 Hector Lombard def. Damien Stelly via TKO (strikes) at 2:56, round 1
Non-tournament fights: Nick Ring def. Isidro "Chilo" Gonzalez via submission (guillotine) at 0:39, round 1 Shad Lierley def. Nate Murdock via unanimous decision Alex Andrade def. Christian Fulgram via TKO at 2:01, round 1 Shawn Jordan def. Jayme McKinney via submission at 0:30, round 2 Chan Leonhardt def. Dan Keenan via KO at 3:03, round 1 Chas Skelly def. Mike Braswell via split decision, round 3
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:
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?
(Guess who’s getting promoted to the position of Kimbo’s Official Gold Chain Holder. Photo courtesy of Esther Lin.)
When news dropped that Gary Shaw had resigned from Pro Elite just shortly after everyone within the company, including his son Jared, assured the media that things were just fine and nobody was going anywhere, we naturally assumed that Jared was on his way out too. It’s like when you’re the son of a third world dictator and you get some cushy do-nothing job. When your dad is overthrown by a power-hungry general in a bloody coup, it usually means you’re on the next flight out with a briefcase full of cash or you get killed in your sleep.
Jared has been with the company from the beginning. Gary has often said that it was really Jared that brought Gary into it. Jared has continued to work on making matches and continue to promote ProElite and ProElite athletes. He’s continuing to work with the fight team. I haven’t talked to Jared about what he’s going to be doing ten years from now but I have talked to Jared about what he’s going to be doing for the next while with us. He’s enthusiastic and others are enthusiastic about his approach and what he’s doing now, so we think that is all going to work out well.
Seriously? So the lesson here is, nepotism works? Man, this is why I hate learning lessons.