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21 Humans Who Make Being Human Look Really, Really Hard

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‘UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson’ Aftermath — We Were Wrong


(A torn-up Jon Jones spins for an elbow during his title-fight war against Alexander Gustafsson in Toronto. / Photo via Esther Lin, MMAFighting.com)

By George Shunick

Let’s be honest here. No one saw last night coming. No one. That’s not to say that nobody believed Alexander Gustafsson was capable of beating or challenging Jon Jones, although those people were probably Swedish, rabid Jones-haters, or height aficionados. But no one predicted that Gustafsson would take the fight to Jones in such a complete manner that in addition to being the first man consistently hurt the champion, he would become the only man to ever land a takedown on Jones in the UFC. And if there was some visionary out there who managed to foresee this twist of fate, he didn’t expect the next wrinkle; that Jones, bent but unbroken, would rise to this challenge in the final two rounds with an onslaught that the challenger seemed to persevere through with only sheer will holding him up. When all was said and done, UFC 165 saw the best light-heavyweight title fight in history, possibly the fight of the year and most significantly, the birth of a rivalry between two young fighters in the sport’s marquee division.

So, first things first…I might have been a little hasty in dismissing Alexander Gustafsson. If there’s some small solace to take in being so incredibly wrong, it’s that there was plenty of company in that regard. The UFC focused on the challenger’s height as opposed to any of his actual skills — although to hear Dana White tell it, that’s because “he’s so tall” was considered a better selling point for UFC fans than constructing an intricate narrative contextualizing Gustafsson and his abilities within the history of Swedish combat sports. (In other words, the UFC thinks its fans are stupid. They’re not entirely wrong.) Others focused on Gustafsson’s relative lack of competition, or his performances relative to those of Jones’s. Almost every pundit came away with the same conclusion; this was Jones’s fight to lose.

That was completely incorrect. In the first round, Gustafsson got in his face, pressured Jones backwards as he landed punches. He took the fight to Jones. It was a smart strategy; Jones likes to keep his distance while he’s standing up through kicks, and moving in takes away the range required to successfully land those kicks. However, this normally comes with a caveat; moving in puts a fighter in danger of being taken down by Jones, which is the last thing they want. But Gustafsson didn’t let that deter him; in fact, he landed the first takedown attempt of the fight, the first in UFC history against Jones. It turned out there was a reason for his confidence. Throughout the fight, try as he might, Jones could not take Gustafsson down. For all the talk you hear about how fighter X is “in the best shape of his life” or “has shown massive improvements,” it rarely rings true. But Gustafsson was the exception to the rule last night.

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‘Fight Night 27: Condit vs. Kampmann II’ Aftermath: Wednesday, Bloody Wednesday

Despite the fact that he was defeated via a close split decision in the pair’s first meeting, former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit was the odds-on favorite heading into his rematch with Martin Kampmann at Fight Night 27 last night. It wasn’t hard to see why — Condit had dropped his past two contests, sure, but they were close decision losses to the the division’s long-standing champion and its current number one contender. Kampmann was also coming off a loss to said contender, but let’s just say that his loss was a little more…demoralizing.

In the early going, it looked as if Kampmann would attempt to mirror the strategy that led him to victory in the pair’s first meeting. Understandably hoping to avoid being shot out of a cannon by another left hand, “The Hitman” constantly pressured his lengthier foe and mixed up a few takedowns to keep Condit off balance. It’s a credit to Condit’s otherworldly cardio that he seemed to only grow fresher as the fight progressed, especially considering the amount of energy he expended defending Kampmann’s grappling-based attack in the first.

But there Condit was in the second and third, utilizing his reach to slowly pick Kampmann — who I’m convinced is only so pasty because he loses roughly 2 pints of blood per fight — apart before finishing him with a brutal series of knees and punches in the fourth. Even in defeat, the Dane once again proved that unless you have a fist made of granite, you are not putting him away easily.

With the victory, Condit claimed not only redemption but a $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus. With four FOTN and two KOTN awards in his last seven bouts, it’s safe to say that Condit is not only one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC, but a perennial contender for the welterweight title. The ridiculous myth that the former WEC welterweight champ is a “Natural Born Runner” has been officially debunked — just don’t tell that to the hardcore Nick Diaz fans still struggling to cope with his loss to Condit at UFC 143. Unbridled ignorance is truly the hamster that keeps their wheels spinning, if ever so slowly.

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‘UFC on FUEL 8: Silva vs. Stann’ Aftermath: PRIDE. Neva. Die.


(We don’t care what any of you say, post-all out war Wandy is the happiest Wandy. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.) 

Heading into last night’s co-main event, it seemed as if everyone involved in the production of UFC on FUEL 8 was actively trying to underperform. Chalk it up to jet lag perhaps, but in a decision-filled card that saw the hype trains of Siyar Bahadurzada and Hector Lombard come to a screeching halt (or in the latter’s case, go completely off the rails and crash into an orphanage), referee and judging incompetence was once again forced down our throats like fat jokes in a Kevin James movie.

Split decisions were seemingly handed out at random, costing Takanori Gomi a much deserved victory over Diego Sanchez and astonishingly nearly granting Lombard one in his lopsided loss to Yushin Okami. Even Herb Dean seemed out of it, at one point threatening a standup in the Kim/Bahadurzada fight while Kim had mount. It was an event that basically highlighted all the negative things Big John McCarthy had to say about the current state of MMA, and one so tedious at times that it managed to draw boos from the Japanese. The Japanese, you guys.

But then, that freakin’ co-main event happened. Was Mark Hunt‘s back and forth brawl with Stefan Struve the most technically advanced thing you’ve ever seen? No, but has any Stefan Struve or Mark Hunt fight ever gone down in that fashion? As with the main event that would come after it, Hunt vs. Struve was a good old fashioned slobberknocker that showcased the heart of its participants more than anything else. And if you can’t appreciate that, well, you probably can’t appreciate the finer points of a crippling meth/child porn addiction either.

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UFC on FUEL 3 Aftermath: When There is No More Room in Hell…The Dead Will Walk the Earth


(Stay away from the light, Dustin! Stay away from the light!) 

Ladies and gentlemen of the Potato Nation, the end times are upon us. Last night, a quiet, unassuming man named Chan Sung Jung escaped from a remote Korean testing facility and wound up in Fairfax, Virginia. Needing to fulfill certain diversity requirements that had long eluded them, the people of Fairfax embraced and accepted him with open arms, completely unaware that he was in fact patient zero of a zombie-like virus that would spell the untimely demise of the human race. Those ignoramuses.

Before they even knew what had hit them, reports of strange occurrences were popping up from county to county, then state to state. Having caught the latter half of the movie Outbreak on TBS just a few weeks prior, the people of Fairfax knew that they had to capture the source of the disease if they were ever to restore order to the chaos they had created. So they sent forth their bravest virologist, a man by the name of Dustin Poirier, to subdue the host and bring him back for testing. Early reports claimed that “The Diamond” would have little to no trouble accomplishing this feat, as he had successfully extinguished every threat placed before him since joining the Zuffa corporation.

How wrong they were.

For nearly twenty minutes, the two engaged in an all out war of attrition, one that would determine the very fate of mankind. He put up a hell of a fight, but as much as it saddens us to say this, we are officially doomed. Poirier was infected by “The Korean Zombie (virus),” and chances are that you will be soon as well. Early symptoms include raucous use of the phrase, “HOLY SHIT BRO”, an ability to absorb a tremendous amount of punishment, $80,000 cash, drowsiness, and cramps.

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Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey Aftermath Pt. 2 — The Big Picture


And it was here, in this blighted place, that Strikeforce learned to live again… (Props: FoxSports.com)

The fact that a Strikeforce aftermath is being broken down into two separate posts is probably confusing most of our longtime readers, considering we’ve had so little to say about the organization leading up to last night’s Strikeforce card. Ever since Zuffa’s acquisition of the organization, our post-event recaps have focused on Strikeforce’s lack of a direction, now-meaningless titles and ever-diminishing roster. The organization clearly wasn’t going anywhere (i.e. going under), yet it also, well, wasn’t going anywhere (i.e. it wasn’t planning future growth). Yet last night, for the first time in a while, Strikeforce looked like an organization that could consistently provide MMA fans with intriguing, relevant matchups.

After all of the hype that Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate managed to create for last night’s bout, the ending could not have possibly gone better for Strikeforce. Exciting fight? Check. Dramatic finish? Check. And most importantly, Sarah Kaufman’s victory over Alexis Davis on the undercard established a clear challenger for the new champion who actually stands a chance at beating the champion. The biggest problem with Strikeforce’s title fights as of late has been the fact that the champions are simply too much better than anyone that Strikeforce can match them up with (Rockhold vs. Jardine, anyone?). While Rousey continued to look phenomenal in her short MMA career last night, former champion Sarah Kaufman provides another intriguing matchup for her. Back to back championship fights in a Strikeforce weight class that will pit the champion against a formidable opponent who is coming off of a victory: Now that’s encouraging.

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Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey Aftermath Pt. 1 — Going for Broke


(Get it?) 

Heading into arguably the most anticipated women’s MMA match of all time (that’s right, I said women’s), former Olympic bronze medalist Ronda Rousey had a mountain of claims to back up, a mountain only made higher by the fact that her meteoric run to a bantamweight title shot had left the general public with more questions than answers in regards to her skill set. In her four fight career, the woman had never seen what the second round, let alone the second minute, of a MMA contest looked like. So we were left to ponder: how would her striking, stamina, and suffocating Jiu-Jitsu attack hold up against the more experienced champ in Meisha Tate?

Well, as it turns out, we still don’t know much about the newly crowned women’s 135 lb. champion, and that may just be the scariest thing about her. Tate tried to answer a couple of these questions early, coming out throwing wild haymakers with ill intentions. Rousey was able to ride out the storm and secure a takedown, drawing an ominous “Oh shit!” reaction from the viewing audience, at least where I was. That statement was echoed tenfold when Rousey managed to secure her first armbar, which I’m still pretty positive did most of the damage to Tate’s arm. However, where referee Herb Dean would have let out his own, “Oh shit!” before stopping the fight right there, referee Mark Matheny was determined not to find himself in the middle of a Steve Mazagatti/Sarah D’Alelio controversy, adhering to a strict “snap then tap” policy for Ms. Tate. That policy would come into effect just a couple minutes later, when Rousey managed to secure the fight ending armbar that can only be described as “Palharesian.”

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UFC on FUEL Aftermath Pt. 2: The Missing Link


(You DID NOT just call me Chris from ‘N Sync!) 

Although Stipe Miocic‘s quick knockout of previously undefeated heavyweight Philip De Fries may have netted him the $50,000 Knockout of the Night bonus, our pick for sweetest KO went to Jonathan Brookins, who proved that not every Brazilian has the femur mangling leglock ability of Rousimar Palhares when he ground-and-pounded Vagner Rocha into oblivion inside the first two minutes of their preliminary card match-up. Not many of us knew what to make of Brookins after he dropped a UD to Eric Koch back in September of 2011. The fight proved that Brookins’ wrestling could in fact be thwarted, and that his striking had not made the leaps and bounds it needed to in order to balance things out. Last night’s fight was made to be a test of both.

Well, if anyone is still doubting the power in Brookins’ hands, they should probably shut right the hell up. Brookins did what Donald Cerrone, or any of Rocha’s previous opponents for that matter, couldn’t, and shut off his light switch with a series of increasingly punishing strikes before the ref managed to step in. To be honest, it was kind of scary to see that someone as docile and plain daffy as Brookins had the capacity for such brutality. And just as Brookins resembles the missing evolutionary link between man and ape, he was able to evolve in his own right, to connect one of the missing links in his game, and should be applauded for it. Not only did his knockout save a Facebook card that was luke warm at best to begin with, it made up for the fact that the Loeffler/Roberts match was cancelled after Loeffler rolled his ankle in the pre-fight warm up. Talk about shit luck.

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UFC on FUEL Aftermath Pt. 1: The Last Exorcism


(The power of YES!! compels you! Check out some of the meme-worthy photoshops over at The UG.) 

Over the past week or so, the sports world has come down with a serious case of LINsanity, a disease that mimics the effects of Yellow Fever and is brought about by way of bereavement. Though it was the general consensus that this mind altering sickness originated with the uncanny rise of New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin, last night’s inaugural UFC on FUEL event opened our collective eyes to the virus’ true host: Diego fucking Sanchez.

Yes, it seems that ever since Diego suffered his first professional losses, which came in back-to-back fashion at the hands of Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch at UFC 69 and 76, the man has become consumed by a mixture of evangelical optimism and bipolar rage to the point of parody. As he made his way to the octagon for his main event clash with top contender Jake Ellenberger last night, it quickly became apparent that it was Sanchez who was in need of an exorcism, which made the Gregorian monk feel of his entrance appear all the more ironic.

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UFC 138 Aftermath: Mad World


(2 rounds…10 minutes…600 seconds…that is when this fight will end.)

The UFC’s first ever 5 round non-title affair started off on a rather eerie note last night, as Chris Leben crept toward the octagon accompanied by the song that did for Donnie Darko what “Lux Aeterna” did for Requiem for a Dream. And perhaps the haunting ballad was a sign of things to come, as it took just 2 rounds for Mark Munoz to make Leben hide his head and drown his sorrow like there was no tomorrow, no tomorrow. We can only hope now that Leben doesn’t decide to go joyriding after drowning said sorrows.

Leading up to the fight, many pundits out there believed that Munoz’s wrestling and clinch game would be a deciding factor, but for most of the first round, Early 90′s Scott Weiland was able to keep Munoz at bay, even managing to secure a couple takedowns of his own. But as the second round got under way, it was clear that Leben was much worse for the wear, throwing increasingly slower and sloppier combinations and allowing “The Filipino Wrecking” Machine to unleash some of the vicious ground-and-pound that has become his M.O. And then, in perhaps the most shocking turn of events in Leben’s career, he quit. Think about that for a second. A man who has earned his reputation from absorbing near Noguerian levels of punishment (I said near) decided that he had had enough. A mad world indeed.

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‘TUF 12′ & Strikeforce Aftermath: Decisions are Fine, But We’ll Take the KOs, Thanks


(Propers:
YouTube/ShoSports)

If you insist on framing Saturday night’s dueling MMA action as a head-to-head matchup between Strikeforce and the UFC – and we do, since we’re media types, meaning we can always be counted on to find the easiest storyline and absolutely beat it to death – then you have to consider it a victory for Scott Coker and Co. Strikeforce came into the evening with the better card on paper and on this night the chalk held up. By virtue of back-to-back-to-back-to-back knockouts (if you count Antonio Silva’s TKO over Mike Kyle, which we do), last night Strikeforce was the metaphorical broken clock that turns up right twice a day, the dog’s ass that finally catches some sun. Meanwhile, every live fight on the UFC’s broadcast of the “Ultimate Fighter” season 12 finale went the distance. Both shows were decent, but after months of incessant bitching we should know by now that MMA fans will take a night full of stoppages over a night of scorecard verdicts every time.

During any given week on this website we give Strikeforce an unending raft of shit on the basis of its general incompetence, so it only seems fair to hand out some props on the rare occasion when the company doesn’t screw up in any obvious way. Good job, Strikeforce. We’d love to sit here and tell you last night’s show was indicative of the promotion “figuring it out” somehow, but frankly it seems like it just got lucky with a bunch of dynamic knockouts. Still, the fact this show went off as well as it did after the original fight card got scrambled by late injuries is sort of remarkable. Now it just remains to be seen how many people actually watched it.

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