Featuring a lot of dudes with incredibly similar names, the weigh-ins for tomorrow’s UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen are going down from the TD Garden like five minutes ago, but luckily, CagePotato tech specialist George Maharis has hijacked the weigh-in stream and will now be broadcasting it exclusively through us, so get in here to check out all the results.
The latest episode of the always spectacular The Reem, “Back to Basics,” depicts the former Strikeforce and DREAM heavyweight champion, well, getting back to basics. No longer a full-fledged Blackzilian (which we’re sure has nothing to do with the camp’s close proximity to the Biogenesis clinic), Overeem shifted his training camp back to Holland to focus on his upcoming fight with Travis Browne at Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen. Not to start overhyping Overeem again, but if the video that awaits you after the jump is any indication, we should probably start preparing ourselves for A NEW FUTURE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMP AWWWW YEAH SNAPINTOASLIMJIM!!1!
The UFC held a media press conference for UFC Fight Night 26 today in Boston, featuring eight of the main card fighters as well as Irish featherweight Conor McGregor and his opponent Max Hollaway, who will be facing off on the prelims. You want to talk about hype? The press conference began with the unveiling of a fan-made Conor McGregor poster, for God’s sake. Hollaway was asked how he felt about all the attention that McGregor has been receiving lately, but really, that question would be better answered by main card fighters Matt Brown, Mike Pyle, Uriah Hall, and John Howard, who didn’t get a spot at the table thanks to the King of Dublin.
Some highlights from the presser…
- 1:08: The first question comes from Kevin Iole, who asks Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to explain why he hasn’t been able to string together any victories lately. So we’re off to a pretty good start.
- 8:29:Chael Sonnen think that MMA judges do a fine job overall, although “when people are judging people, it’s never fair. It’s not fair in rodeo, it’s not fair in gymnastics, and we’ve got problems in this sport.”
- 10:35: “Dere’s two tings I really like dadiew, and that’s whoop ass and look good, and I’m doin’ wunnadem right now, and Saturday night I’m gonna do deeudda.” – McGregor
(“Of course I’d love to train with you, old pal! And since we’re such good friends now, you wouldn’t mind telling the police that I was at your house from the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. last night, would you chum?”)
Abraham Lincoln was once infamously quoted as saying, “What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.” It’s a quote I could not help but reflect on in the days following Alistair Overeem’s devastating, hype-deflating KO loss to Antonio Silva at UFC 156. To be fair, it was just as much the media’s fault for filling Overeem’s head with premature discussions of his inevitable UFC title reign as it was his own, but in either case, his arrogance was surely on full display in his lackluster performance that night. Thankfully, we learned not to do the same thing with Uriah Hall.
In either case, it appears that the slice of humble pie Overeem was served last February was not taken lightly by the former Strikeforce heavyweight champ, as he recently posted the above photo on his Instagram account showing himself alongside former K1 rival and terrorizer of the Amsterdam nightclub scene, Badr Hari, along with the following caption:
Badr Hari & me at mikes gym after a great training session. The REEM vs Badr III might just happen… In training.
If you recall, Overeem and Hari engaged in a brutal (albeit brief) pair of fights a few years back — first at Dynamite!! 2008, then at the KI World Grand Prix semifinals in 2009 –with each man emerging victorious in one bout by way of (T)KO. You can find videos of both fights here and here.
We’ve saved the biggest fighters for last in the striking assessment series. Heavyweights end 57% of fights by (T)KO, far more than any other weight class. They also have the highest average power head striking accuracy, possibly because defense is harder when you’re that big.
So let’s see how the whole division stacks up against each other, then look at the winners and losers in each category. A full explanation of the chart and variables is included at the end of this post.
Sniper Award: Relative newcomer Shawn Jordan has been a highly accurate striker to date, though he has lacked knockdown power. So let’s focus on the trio of Pat Barry, Dave Herman, and Mark Hunt, who each have four or more UFC appearances and have maintained power head striking accuracy of 38% or more. These are big guys who can also hit their target.
Energizer Bunny Award: Monstrous southpaw Todd Duffee has almost quadrupled the striking output of his opponents with three fights to date in the Octagon, none of which have gone the distance. But with far greater Octagon experience, veterans Cheick Kongo and former champion Junior Dos Santos have managed to almost double the volume of opponents, all while maintain accuracy well above the division average.
(Money. Girls. Fame. Private locker rooms that you don’t have to share with old men washing their balls. A win for Ilir on Saturday would be truly life-changing. / Photo via LoveStrandell)
First-time UFC jitters are bad enough when you’re curtain-jerking on the prelims. Can you imagine what it would be like to go from relative obscurity to UFC headliner? Well, Ilir Latifi is about to find out this Saturday, God bless him. Come to think of it, his UFC on FUEL 9 opponent Gegard Mousasi is technically in the same situation, although at least the Dreamcatcher has had the benefit of previously competing in major promotions like Strikeforce, DREAM, and PRIDE.
Latifi is a long shot in every sense of the word, but of course this is a sport where anything can happen. Plenty of fighters have found themselves at the top of the lineup for their first UFC fight and made the most of it. Others have crashed and burned in horrific fashion. So which camps will Latifi and Mousasi fall into? Read on for a brief history lesson, and let us know what you think…
- Alistair Overeem. Watching the Reem tear Brock Lesnar apart at UFC 141 validated everyone who ever thought that Lesnar was a pro-wrestling fraud, and that Overeem was the future of the heavyweight division. It hasn’t exactly workedout like that, but at the time, it looked like we were entering a new era.
(“When I first started The Blackzilian Reverse Diet, I was just a scrawny welterweight fighting in the sport’s highest promotion. But just LOOK AT ME NOW!)
It would be no hyperbole to say that The Blackzilians are less a training camp and more a black hole (PUNS!) of suckitude that is slowly draining the last remaining scraps of talent from its fighters before it inevitably spits them out as empty, dry husks void of any discernible skills whatsoever. Alright, there may be a little hyperbole in that statement, but to say that the members of The Blackzilians have been underperforming since the camp was established in 2011 is no exaggeration. Alistair Overeem just had his head treated like a speed bag at UFC 156, Rashad Evans just put on his worst performance in years (at the same event, no less), and Melvin Guillard has dropped 4 of his past 5 fights including an inexplicably timid performance in what was supposed to be a grudge match against Jamie Varner at UFC 155.
That’s not to say that The Blackzilians are doing everything wrong, it just appears that they are relying on the pure talent of their fighters to lead them rather than a team of disciplined coaches. But in light of the recent criticisms aimed at the camp from news outlets across the MMA blogosphere, whateverweight Anthony Johnson — fresh off a unanimous decision victory over Andrei Arlovski at WSoF 2 – told MMAJunkie that said criticisms are “unfair.” Here’s why:
Every team has losses. Losses don’t define who you are.
People always want to talk about the losses, not the wins. Everybody talks about Rashad’s loss. Everybody talks about Alistair’s loss. But Vitor Belfort is one of my training partners. He just high-kicked Michael Bisping (for a knockout win). You all talked about that for five minutes. You’re all still talking about the losses we had. What about the wins we had?
True, Anthony, we should be talking more about the wins you guys had. The problem is that those wins are coming fewer and farther between than with the guys over at Team Hammer House.