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Tag: Ben Rothwell

Exclusive: Rothwell-Rizzo Officially Set for Affliction: Day of Reckoning

Ben Rothwell Affliction MMA

Ben Rothwell confirmed today that he will face Pedro Rizzo on the next Affliction show in Las Vegas on October 11. The bout has been officially signed, Rothwell told, though it was agreed to on separate terms from his original contract, which means he will be taking a pay cut for this fight but still has two more fights at the previous rate on his existing contract with Affliction.

“[Agent] Monte [Cox] turned down their original offer for this fight, so that’s why he said none of his guys would be fighting on the show. Then they came back with another offer that was better, so we agreed to it,” Rothwell said.

Fighting a legend of the sport like Rizzo is something Rothwell says he’s ambivalent about, however.

“With Pedro, I not only respect his abilities, I watched him as a kid just getting into this sport. He’s one of the most down-to-earth, nicest guys in this sport, so on that level I don’t really want to fight him. But the fighter in me is amped for this. I’m going to go out there and do what I didn’t do against Andrei Arlovski.”

Rothwell said that he spoke with Rizzo at their first Affliction show and they both sensed that they may face each other next.

“I said I was going to ask for Buentello,” said Rothwell. “Then he said he was going to ask for Buentello. And Tim [Sylvia] also asked for Buentello.”

Rothwell criticized a report to the effect that he might face K-1 kickboxer “Mighty Mo” Siliga as completely false, adding that Siliga hadn’t ever been mentioned as a potential opponent.


Pedro Rizzo-Ben Rothwell for Affliction: Day of Reckoning?

Fresh off their respective losses at Affliction: Banned, Ben Rothwell and Pedro Rizzo will square off at the next Affliction event in Las Vegas on October 11, according to MMA Mania. If true, this goes against Monte Cox’s claim that Rothwell would sit this one out. It would also add another interesting match-up to a fight card that’s already brimming with them.

Rothwell-Rizzo is a good match for finding out exactly where both these guys stand in their careers. A Rothwell victory would confirm the sneaking suspicion that he should be taken seriously in the heavyweight division, while a loss to Rizzo would likely mean his removal from the top ten until further notice.

For Rizzo, a win means he can make a compelling case to keep fighting and a loss means he can’t. As great as “The Rock” was in his time and as deserving as he is of a spot among MMA’s forefathers, he can’t hang around forever. A knockout loss to Josh Barnett is nothing to be ashamed of, nor would a loss to Rothwell necessarily be a career-ender. But at Rizzo’s age (34), it would hardly be encouraging.

- In slightly related news, fellow ex-IFL fighter and Quad Cities Silverbacks team member Bart Palaszewski has signed with Zuffa to compete in the WEC. “Bartimus” (laziest nickname ever?) reportedly signed a six-fight deal and plans to be ready for action in September.


“Day of Reckoning” Update: Sylvia, Rothwell, Aleks Out; Hieron Expected

Jay Hieron IFL MMA Affliction
(Is Jay Hieron the latest IFL refugee to be rescued by Affliction?)

Some more news and rumors emerging about Affliction’s October 11th show in Las Vegas…

— Tim Sylvia and Ben Rothwell’s agent Monte Cox has informed Five Ounces of Pain that the two Miletich big boys are unlikely to be added to “Day of Reckoning,” though they could be part of Affliction’s third event.

— According to Tom Atencio, Aleksander Emelianenko “still faces licensing problems” and will not fight at “Day of Reckoning.” Said the CSAC’s Bill Douglas: “The one thing that I can absolutely say is that he (Emelianenko) was not and will not be cleared to fight in California. He is officially denied a license and that will stand for all of the United States of America.” The reason for Emelianenko’s rejection is still unclear, though he and his camp continue to refute reports that he tested positive for Hepatitis B before “Banned.”

According to MMA Junkie, the middleweight bout between Matt Lindland and Vitor Belfort that was slated for “Day of Reckoning” could be scratched due to a hand injury suffered by Belfort. No word yet on who might replace him on the card against Lindland.

— And finally, some good news: Junkie also reports that IFL welterweight champ Jay Hieron has been approached by Affliction and is expected to compete at their October event against an opponent to be determined later. If this is true, Hieron would be the third reigning IFL champion that Affliction has picked up, after Roy Nelson and Vladimir Matyushenko. Of the remaining three, middleweight champ Dan Miller signed with the UFC, Ryan Schultz is heading to Japan to be a part of Sengoku’s lightweight GP, and featherweight champ Wagnney Fabiano is apparently still weighing his options.


Affliction’s Gravy Train Coming to an End

Tim Sylvia MMA Affliction
(The Maine-iac may go from being grossly, grossly overpaid, to just grossly overpaid. Photo courtesy of

Dave Meltzer is reporting that Affliction VP Tom Atencio will be asking certain Affliction fighters to take a pay cut to fight in their next event (October 11th, Las Vegas):

The promotion has talked with some fighters about doing the 10/11 show for 50% of what they made on the first show but in return they would give those fighters easy opponents.

Overpaid fighters who could use an easier opponent the next time out? They might as well have called Tim Sylvia out by name — though Ben Rothwell and Matt Lindland could fit that description as well. For the record, Josh Barnett has stated that he would not accept a pay cut to fight again for Affliction; he previously made $300,000 with no win bonus for his knockout of Pedro Rizzo.

BloodyElbow also points out that the Thomas & Mack Center’s Affliction page lists Affliction II’s main event as “Arlovski vs. TBD!” — suggesting that the return of Fedor Emelianenko might not be a done deal after all. Well sure, I mean he just went 36 seconds with one of the top ten heavyweights in the world; the man could use another three-year break…

Related: The weirdest thing I came across while doing a Google Image Search for “Tim Sylvia.”


“Affliction: Banned” — Blow by Motherf**king Blow

Andrei Arlovski MMA Affliction
(“What’s up, Anaheim! I just gotta know one thing…HOW’S! TASTE! MY PEE-PEE-PEEEEEEEEEE!!!”)

Can a t-shirt company put together an MMA card that outclasses the UFC? Will Fedor Emelianenko prove he’s still the #1 heavyweight in the world? Will Megadeth play “Symphony of Destruction”? So many questions, and they’ll all be answered tonight, folks. After the jump you’ll find results for Affliction: Banned’s undercard (spoiler alert, obvi), and a full-on play-by-play of the pay-per-view broadcast beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Refresh your browser every few minutes for all the latest, and give us your own thoughts in the comments section. Skulls and wings, baby; skulls and wings…


Ben Fowlkes on the MMA Rated Video Show

At the “Affliction: Banned” weigh-ins, MMA Rated‘s Ariel Helwani caught up with our own Ben Fowlkes to discuss the fights, Tim Sylvia’s chronic unpopularity, and BF’s strong personal connection with Ben Rothwell. Props to Fowlkes for resisting the urge to grab the mic from Helwani and shout out his long list of sponsors.

On a sadder note, it’s looking like my home base of Brooklyn, NY, is one of the many (or so I’m hearing) markets that’s not carrying the Affliction undercard live on Fox Sports Net. Total freakin’ bummer; holler if that’s happening to you too. In any event, I’ll still be posting live results for those first three fights, starting at 8 p.m. ET — I just won’t be able to do a play-by-play. But hey, Aleks isn’t fighting now, so who cares anyway?


What’s So Great About Boxing Coaches, Anyway?

In the lead-up to Affliction’s Andrei Arlovski-Ben Rothwell fight I’ve heard the same question from MMA fans and analysts again and again: how much of a difference will Freddie Roach make for Andrei Arlovski? For those of you unfamiliar with Roach, he’s a former pro boxer and world-renowned boxing trainer who has recently begun working with Arlovski and who will corner “The Pitbull” on Saturday night. Naturally, it’s got to be a help to have someone like that working with you on your striking, but is it really the difference-maker many people think it is?

In order to get on board with that thinking you have to go along with two basic assumptions: 1) MMA fighters are generally far behind boxers in their technical striking ability, and 2) what a boxing trainer knows about striking is relevant and translatable for an MMA fight.

The first point is mostly valid. Because boxers only use their fists and only fight using a limited array of options, they’re probably going to be better at using them, if for no other reason than the fact that they can afford to spend more time on it. Just like a decathlete can do a lot of things well, he still can’t throw a discus better than the guys who do nothing else.

But it’s the transition to the second point that gets me. Boxing is a different sport. Some of the conventional wisdom in boxing — even basic fundamentals regarding stance, hand positioning, and defense — don’t necessarily work for MMA because of the threat of takedowns, kicks and knees, and the size difference in the gloves. So why is it necessarily so great to be coached by a boxing trainer?


Ben vs. Ben: The UFC/Affliction Argument

(One more Ben never hurt anything.)

At Wednesday’s press conference in Los Angeles every single Affliction employee made sure to refer to their event as “the biggest event in MMA history.” That may be a blatant exaggeration, but this coming weekend is still a monumental one for our sport, not to mention a great one for those of us who love it. With that in mind, we bring you another edition of Ben vs. Ben, where Cage Potato’s similarly named editors battle it out. This time it’s personal.

Which underdog has the best chance of scoring an upset this weekend?

Fowlkes: There are underdogs and then there are underdogs. By that I mean there are the guys who are betting underdogs and the guys who are mostly just perceived to be underdogs, even if the line on them doesn’t really reflect it.

For the latter I like Ben Rothwell. It might only be a mild upset for him to beat Andrei Arlovski, but it would go a long way toward silencing the Rothwell haters who still think his thirteen-fight win streak was all IFL hype. Some of it was, sure, but Rothwell is a monster. He can do everything Arlovski does, only better. He’s also matured and become a real workhorse in the gym since leaving the IFL, whereas a lot of guys might have slacked off with no fights on the horizon.

As for real betting underdogs, at +400 Reese Andy’s my man (okay, so the old IFL loyalties are starting to show, I admit it). It’s not that he’s so much better than Brandon Vera, but I just don’t believe Vera’s head is really in this fight. He’s still dwelling on the Werdum fight, still feeling like he ought to be a heavyweight, and now Andy’s going to come in, take him down, and grind away at his face for a decision victory. It’s definitely not out of the question.

Goldstein: Wow. You should have prefaced that response with “Caution: Extreme Nuthugging Ahead.” I like Rothwell too, but to say that he does everything Arlovski does, only better — well, it’s a statement that can only be proved by the fight itself. Still, I have to agree that Rothwell has a good shot at surprising a lot of people. Arlovski vs. Rothwell is the only fight on the Affliction main card that isn’t completely lopsided, and Big Ben has the tools to win.


If Fedor Loses, Is Affliction Screwed?

(Dude, Fedor, it clearly says “Do Not Touch”.)

Let’s not kid ourselves, MMA fans. Whatever you think of Tim Sylvia, whatever opinion you may have formed based on reading about him in Matt Hughes’ autobiography or seeing him on “Blind Date”, the fact remains that he’s a legitimate top heavyweight. He’s big, he’s strong, his overall game has improved dramatically over the last few years, and while he may not always look great doing it, he knows how to win.

So let’s not pretend that this fight on Saturday is a cakewalk for Fedor Emelianenko. Sylvia is a dangerous opponent for anyone, regardless of where they stand in the heavyweight rankings. But we also can’t pretend that Affliction would look at a Sylvia victory the same way they would a Fedor one.

Let’s start with the obvious reason. The biggest fight on the horizon for Affliction right now is Fedor-Couture. There are roadblocks aplenty at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen or that it wouldn’t be a difference-maker in their long term viability. But if Sylvia comes out on top, that match instantly loses a lot of its appeal. Gone is Fedor’s aura of invincibility, his mystique, his innate talent for making any fight seem like history in the making.

But that’s not even the biggest problem. If Fedor loses, that means Sylvia wins. That means you’re stuck with him. Then what?


Rothwell Confirms Affliction Bout With Arlovski

Andrei Arlovski FCF

The source for this one is a bit shaky, but Fightline is passing along news that Ben Rothwell will indeed be taking on Andrei Arlovski at Affliction: Banned (July 19th; Anaheim, CA) according to a Sherdog thread where Rothwell personally confirms it. As Rothwell writes:

I tried to never say if i was/was not fighting AA but most all the forum took it that way, sorry i guess.

anyway I’m excited to fight a top10 HW, so thanks for the support, peace

CagePotato reported this rumor two weeks ago, but there has been no official statement from the organization yet. Speaking of Arlovski, the Pitbull’s presence in an upcoming Adrenaline MMA meet-and-greet could suggest that he will fight for that outfit as well.

In other non-UFC news…

— HDNet has agreed to broadcast Adrenaline MMA’s first three fight cards. The first one is going down June 14th in Chicago (headlined by Jeff Monson vs. Mike Russow), and the second is slated for September 6th in Moline, Illinois, and will feature Tim Sylvia and Ben Rothwell; yep, just like the first Affliction show. Personally, we wouldn’t book Tim to fight less than two months after throwing down with Fedor Emelianenko, but hey, we’re not Monte Cox.