26 May 2008 12:01:41 PM
26 May 2008 12:01:41 PM
25 May 2008 14:50:41 PM
24 May 2008 00:05:13 AM
Forgive the G’n'R reference, but I’m really that excited. Click the “more” link and refresh your browser every few minutes for live updates from the “Ill Will” pay-per-view broadcast, beginning at 7 p.m. PT. Good luck to the fighters, the betters, the pickers, and the soon-to-be pukers.Read More DIGG THIS
22 May 2008 14:45:41 PM
QUESTION: What does Wanderlei Silva’s future hold?
Fowlkes: Keith Jardine will beat Wanderlei Silva at UFC 84, and when he does it’s going to create some difficult questions for “The Axe Murderer.” Dana White says that he loves Silva. You can see why he would. But as great as he is in terms of showmanship, aggression, and “gameness” (as the Brazilians say), Silva’s best days may be behind him, as is evidenced by his lack of significant wins in recent years.
He’s just taken too many beatings and slowed down too much for his style to be effective any more. He’s got to evolve or get out the game. The question for the UFC is, do they bet on a Silva renaissance or try to convince him to drop to middleweight and start anew?
If Jardine really thumps him, the UFC has to go with door number two. If he has a strong showing, they might try putting him against someone like Matt Hamill or Sokoudjou and figure either way someone gets a bump. Regardless, anything less than a win on Saturday means Silva’s UFC career begins to slip away, even if it might take another fight or two before it completely disappears.
Goldstein: I’m also expecting Jardine to win tomorrow, but not because Silva’s game hasn’t evolved or because his physical condition is on the decline. It’s simply because the rule sets and environments of the UFC and Silva’s old home in PRIDE are so different that they’re barely the same sport. Until Silva can prove that he can work effectively in the Octagon, I’m not betting on him. But I think he can get used to the new terrain in time, and once he does, he’ll have some more thrilling fights left in him.
Losing to Cro Cop, Henderson, and Liddell doesn’t mean that your career is over — it’s the kind of setback that can befall any fighter who continuously fights top competition. Dana White knows that too. Still, Wandy will probably be ordered to drop to 185 if he loses to Jardine. There aren’t a ton of big-money matchups for Silva as a middleweight, but if he can score wins against guys like Rich Franklin, Yushin Okami, and Michael Bisping, he’ll certainly be invited back up to 205 to rematch Chuck Liddell or take on Rampage for the first time in the UFC. Dana White has to be taking the long view on the Wanderlei Silva situation, especially when there are so many other rival leagues that would step over their own mothers to pick him up.Read More DIGG THIS
21 May 2008 18:30:34 PM
“I’m a streetfighter and I love streetfighters. It’s great to have other leagues. UFC can’t have everyone. There’s thousands of fighters out there and they need a chance to make a living. Me, I’m a Kimbo Slice fan. I like fighting. I see where Dana is coming from and I respect his opinion, but I like streetfighting.” — B.J. Penn
“The amount of talent and fights we put on are second to none. Think about it, the CBS fight that they are coming up with, who gives a crap about Kimbo Slice? This guy can’t fight MMA. You know what would happen if he fought in the UFC? I’d put him in against BJ Penn and (Slice) would get annihilated. The guy he is fighting, James Thompson, might get knocked out before he gets into the cage. Kimbo has no credibility at all in MMA. … I am telling you, BJ Penn would beat him.” — Dana White
“I still consider myself a baby at this game…Those guys probably know how to run circles around me, but I can bang with the best. And I’m not a one-dimensional fighter anymore. I used to have just a hammer. But now I’ve got a hammer, a tape measure, a screwdriver, a glue gun. Now I’ve got some tools in the belt.” — Kimbo Slice
(Props: BloodyElbow)Read More DIGG THIS
21 May 2008 15:00:59 PM
Fowlkes and I spend a lot of time pondering and writing about MMA. Often, we disagree. With that in mind, we’d like to present the first installment of a new feature where we argue about the topics of the day — in this case, all the major themes coming out of Saturday’s UFC 84. This one’s actually a two-parter; come back tomorrow for spirited debate on Wanderlei Silva’s future, the necessity of ring girls, and the intensity of BJ Penn and Sean Sherk’s personal relationship.
QUESTION: What will be the best fight of UFC 84?
Goldstein: The best fight of a given event generally starts with a large dose of drama and ends with a decisive finish. Penn/Sherk has drama out its ass — these guys hate each other — and Ortiz/Machida has it too, as it’s Ortiz’s last fight, and one that Dana White desperately wants him to lose. But I wouldn’t bank on Ortiz/Machida to be a particularly exciting match. Both fighters are questionable finishers (five of Machida’s last seven matches have gone to a decision, compared to four of Ortiz’s last seven) and before his punking of Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Machida was widely thought to be a boring fighter. The UFC set this match up to make Ortiz look less marketable, and it isn’t likely to be a barn-burner.
As for Penn and Sherk — how can this be anything less than legendary? Penn tends to make any fight exciting, and both guys will be looking to finish. Penn has to exploit his striking advantage and avoid being laid on by Sherk; a dull fight is not in Penn’s best interest, strategically speaking. I think Sherk is too tough to get stopped earlier than the third round, and if the fight goes into the championship rounds, his conditioning advantage will kick in. So Penn has this sweet spot of the third round where he’s most likely to win, and as the minutes and rounds tick by, anticipation will amp up the drama even further. If BJ wins, he’ll be the UFC’s undisputed lightweight ruler, and his reaction could be just as memorable as the fight itself.
Fowlkes: While I agree with your preconditions for what makes a great fight, I don’t necessarily think it will be Penn-Sherk that turns in the best performance of the night. Seems to me that you’re forgetting about Wanderlei Silva/Keith Jardine. That has plenty of drama — Silva needs a win badly and Jardine needs something to force the UFC to stop overlooking him — and it features two guys who like to stand and bang, which always yields great potential for a decisive finish.
On top of that, when’s the last time you saw Wanderlei in a boring fight? Tell me. I demand to know. I think Sherk-Penn will be worth the pay-per-view price alone, but Silva-Jardine is going to produce some fireworks either way, my friend.Read More DIGG THIS
20 May 2008 18:29:55 PM
As promised yesterday — here are the final picks I’m making for my ipecac bet with Ryan of Fightlinker. Will they be enough for me to avoid vomity humiliation? Well, Ryan has mentioned that he’s predicting Wanderlei Silva and Tito Ortiz will win their bouts, and I don’t see the rest of his choices being any less duhtarded. We’ll be scoring this on the three-point system: one point for calling the winning fighter, and additional points for correctly calling the method of victory (one point) and round (one point). How fun! My picks are below; feel free to debate them in the comments section. — Ben G.
B.J. Penn def. Sean Sherk via submission, 3rd round : I went over this in my UFC 84 gambling guide. Fowlkes made some good points yesterday, but I still think Sherk is going out like Joe Stevenson, with a bloody face and an arm around his neck. Just because Sherk’s two losses didn’t come via submission doesn’t mean that he’s unsubmittable, especially against someone as talented as Penn.
Keith Jardine def. Wanderlei Silva via decision: I also went over this in the gambling guide. (By the way, if you want to see a short video version of me making those exact same points, check out this clip from CombatWire.com.) Jardine was able to outsmart Chuck Liddell when they fought, and Wanderlei Silva is basically a dumber version of Chuck. I think the most logical pick is another decision win for Jardine.
Wilson Gouveia def. Goran Reljic via KO/TKO, 2nd round: I don’t like to pick against guys with undefeated records, but that rule shouldn’t apply when a fighter has less than eight pro fights, and Reljic (7-0) has beaten absolutely nobody you’ve ever heard of. I wouldn’t assume that Gouveia’s ground skills are necessarily better than Reljic’s, but I can see him catching the Croatian with a heavy shot, Lambert-style. Also, betting against the American Top Team is generally a bad move.
Lyoto Machida def. Tito Ortiz via decision: Machida isn’t a fight-finisher, and unless he’s in the cage with Ken Shamrock, Tito really isn’t either. But Machida is far more well-rounded, and his tendency to take his opponents out of their rhythm is well-documented. I’m very confident that Machida will win, and he could easily do it via TKO or submission, but given the recent fight histories of these two, a decision feels likely.
Thiago Silva def. Antonio Mendes via KO/TKO, 2nd round: Undefeated record + UFC experience + ATT = a total lock. Eight of Thiago Silva’s 12 wins have come via first-round stoppage; ten come via KO/TKO. The only advantage that Brazilian UFC newcomer Antonio Mendes has is that he’s 3-0 against guys named Silva. He is a hard-ass, though, and I don’t foresee a steamrolling. I say Mendes gets through round one, shaken but not quite out.
As for the undercard…Read More DIGG THIS
12 May 2008 18:27:43 PM
BJ Penn (favorite) vs. Sean Sherk (underdog)
Our buds at BetUS have Penn as a -230 favorite (you’d have to bet $230 to win $100 back) with Sherk riding the +180 underdog line (a $100 bet would score you $180). Setting aside BJ’s current hype as one of the most talented fighters in the world, he really does hold an advantage over Sherk in every aspect other than conditioning; his standup is better, his submissions are much better, and he’s not going to let Sherk lie on top of him the entire fight. But Sherk’s undeniable talent and accomplishments are preventing oddsmakers from calling this any wider than it already is. If you want to make a high-percentage wager on the Prodigy, do so at BetUS. If you’re going for the longshot, throw down a bill on Sherk at PinnacleSports, where they’re giving the Muscle Shark a juicy +232 line.
Lyoto Machida (favorite) vs. Tito Ortiz (underdog)
BetUS says -220 for Machida and +175 for Ortiz, a slightly closer line than Penn/Sherk, owing partly to the fact that Machida still doesn’t have a win against a top-10 light heavyweight under his belt — not that Ortiz is top 10 anymore, but he could easily be Machida’s toughest challenge to date. Will the Dragon still stomp Ortiz? Yeah, pretty much. Ortiz may be a better wrestler, but that’s about it. Lyoto seems to come from the Anderson Silva school of well-rounded badasses with very few holes in their game, and he’s probably a lot more focused than the stretched-in-all-directions Ortiz, who can hopefully schedule some workouts between reality show appearances, t-shirt company management, sex with Jenna Jameson, and bitching about Dana White whenever there’s a microphone in the room. Pinnacle has Machida at a far more attractive -185, while Ortiz nut-huggers can squeeze a tiny bit more value out of their misguided bet at BetCris, where he’s +180.
Wanderlei Silva (favorite) vs. Keith Jardine (underdog)
Here, folks, is the only smart underdog bet of the lot. BetUs has Wandy as a -185 favorite with Jardine the ‘dog at +145. Look, we know the Axe Murderer was a killer in PRIDE — but he needs to win a couple in the Octagon to convince me that he’s just as fearsome over here. Take away the use of soccer kicks and knees to the head on the ground, biased refs and judges, matchmaking that had him go up against opponents that were tailor-made for his style, (*cough*steroids*cough*), and the confidence that comes from never losing, and we’re not even talking about the same guy anymore. Silva won’t be doing any axe-murdering at UFC 84 — he’s going to be fighting not to lose, and will come out a much more cautious, tentative version of himself. Meanwhile, Jardine is surely working on another great game-plan with Greg Jackson, knowing that if he pulls off another big win his title shot will be waiting. Great risk, great reward, etc. Pinnacle and Sportsbook have Jardine at a solid +150. I don’t think there’s enough value in a bet on Wanderlei, but if you disagree, Pinnacle and Bodog have him at a more reasonable -160.
(BG)Read More DIGG THIS
11 May 2008 17:56:18 PM
Whoever’s in charge of video editing at Triumph United has incredible taste in music (though we would have probably chosen this jam for the soundtrack instead). If you’re not interested in seeing Kimbo Slice and Bas Rutten do some synchronized striking drills during a recent meet-and-greet at Elite MMA, we’d suggest skipping to the 1:54 mark to get your first taste of Kimbo workin’ it on the ground. Props to BloodyElbow. Also…
(James Irvin prepares for his UFC 85 fight against Rashad Evans at Fairtex Bangplee in Thailand. Props to MMAMania.)
27 Apr 2008 20:56:10 PM
(James Irvin: Fighting his way off of the C-list.)
“He’s lost his last two fights now, against Franklin and Anderson Silva, so the UFC’s decision makes sense. No fighter can guarantee winning a fight but you can go into a bout in shape. If you can’t go the distance then you’re not preparing well enough and you’re not taking your job seriously. We work for the UFC and it’s our job to get off our a**es and train and be in shape. That’s what we get paid for and if we don’t do that then we’re not doing our job. That’s the way I look at it.”
— Michael Bisping on the recent sacking of Travis Lutter.
“I just decided to make light of the situation and be like, hey man, this is what I’m seeing. I’m seeing a running man. That just came to me out of nowhere. When there were ten seconds left I just said to myself, all right, I’m calling the technique the ‘rock-hammer.’ I don’t know if that name will stick or not.”
— Nate Quarry on the instant-classic ending of his fight with Kalib Starnes.
“I’m just so happy that he would even take the fight against me. I consider him an ‘A’ level fighter, and I consider myself a ‘C’ level fighter, maybe a ‘B’ level because I just beat Houston trying to claw my way up to the top. So for him to take a step down and fight me, I’m greatly appreciative of the guy, who is someone I look up to as one of those top tier fighters.”
— James Irvin on his UFC 85 opponent, Rashad Evans.
“Mentally I think BJ has some quit in him. I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it in the past. If you push him, he’ll quit.”
— Sean Sherk on his UFC 84 grudge match with BJ Penn.
“Now that the K1 thing is out of the way it’s all good baby: all MMA and MMA only. These guys (DREAM) want me to fight Aleksander (Emelianeko) in about three weeks time on May 11th! I was like no way because it’s too short a time with no training. I don’t want to risk fighting like that. But if they compensate me enough for taking that risk then it’s all good and I’ll fight. DREAM’s plan was to see how Fedor (Emelianeko) goes and when and if he wins the DREAM title, and then I will fight him…First time I fought him, my wrestling wasn’t great — actually it was pretty shit but I did alright with him. This time I will be ready.”
— Mark Hunt, who may eventually be battling the Emelianenko brothers in DREAM. Hunt was submitted by Fedor via armbar at PRIDE Shockwave on New Year’s Eve 2006.