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Tag: BJ Penn

Verbatim: The BJ/Kimbo/Dana Love Triangle

Kimbo Slice ESPN magazine
(The cover of ESPN: The Magazine’s new issue.)

“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)

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‘Ben vs. Ben’: The UFC 84 Argument, Pt.1

BF(BF)
BG(BG)

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.

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UFC 84: ‘Ill Will’ — BG’s Official Picks

Keith Jardine UFC
(Listen, buddy: win first, skanks later.)

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.

MAIN CARD
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…

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Gambling Addiction Enabler: UFC 84 Edition

Wanderlei Silva UFC 84
(“Gimme $2,000 on Jardine.”)

This has already been getting some play on the forums, but for those weak bastards who haven’t joined yet, betting odds for UFC 84′s three marquee match-ups have been released. Shall we take a look?

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)

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Videos: Kimbo, Sandman, Penn, and Vera in the Gym


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.)

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Quote Stew: Bisping, Quarry, Hunt + More

JI
(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.

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“…and licking the blood off his face while I’m punching him…”

BJ Penn, God bless him, has not given up on the blood-licking thing — and he vows to do it again when he fights Sean Sherk. Check out the pre-fight hype in these new UFC 84 promo videos, which run down the matchups between Penn and Sherk, as well as Silva vs. Jardine and Oritz vs. Machida.

(Dana White: “BJ Penn is a fucking *fighter*.”)

(Dana White on Wanderlei Silva: “This guy, loves, to fucking, *fight*.”)

(Dana White on Tito Ortiz: “I think he has the will and desire to be successful. He doesn’t have the will and desire to be the best fighter in the world.”)

(Props: BloodyElbow)

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Ken-Flo Not Feelin’ the Lauzon Love


(“Disrespect me again and I snap the kid’s neck!”)

In our chat with Kenny Florian, he kinda’, sorta’ hinted that feels he’s being disrespected by BJ Penn and the Lauzons. He flat out says it in an interview with MMAWeekly:

“But now here’s a kid looking past me. He’s training with B.J. Penn and apparently he’s become B.J. or whatever it is and they’re looking past me. You know what? If they do that, B.J.’s going to end up sending Joe Lauzon to the slaughter, because I’m not going to have anyone disrespect me like that or anyone going into a fight thinking they’re just going to run right by me.”

And a similar statement from a Sprawl.tv interview:

I think he has been very disrespectful. I think Joe has been hanging out with B.J to much, and now he thinks he’s little B.J. Well little B.J is going to get taken care of on April 2nd.

Joe Lauzon didn’t do any disrespectin’ when we talked to him and judging by the video the Lauzons shot and posted over at Joe’s official site, they’re full of respect.

A lamp shade on a head — when not creepy — is comedy gold, no matter how you slice it. Lightweights Ken-Flo and J-Lau will battle it out in the main event on Wednesday during UFC Fight Night 13.

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Exclusive Interview: Kenny Florian

KF

By CagePotato Guest Contributor Ben Fowlkes

On April 2nd, Kenny Florian headlines the next edition of Spike TV’s “UFC Fight Night,” where he’ll take on lightweight up-and-comer Joe Lauzon. While most fans know that Florian, like Lauzon, got his start in the UFC with The Ultimate Fighter, what they don’t know is that his journey really began with a near-death experience that changed his outlook on life.

Florian took a trip to Brazil in the summer of 2003 with the goal of improving his jiu-jitsu. While hiking down a mountain with some friends, Florian slipped on the wet, mossy rocks and began sliding off a precipice. Friends tried to grab him, but Florian plummeted over the edge and fell “for what seemed like an eternity.” He landed on a rounded rock that stopped his fall and ultimately saved his life. The experience was an eye-opening one for Florian, and it prompted him to abandon the safety of his white-collar life and pursue his dreams.

In this exclusive interview, Florian talks about the ramifications of that incident, about being haunted and motivated by defeat, and about his impending showdown with Lauzon and what it means for his career.

CagePotato: You came into the UFC by way of The Ultimate Fighter, and you’d only had a few professional fights at that point. What’s the major difference between that Kenny Florian and the one we see in the Octagon now?
Kenny Florian: That last Kenny Florian’s a punk. No, the Kenny Florian on The Ultimate Fighter was a guy who was trying to test his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He was a guy who really wasn’t sure if he wanted to become a fighter. It was just an opportunity that was presented to him at the time.

Now you’re seeing a guy who wants to learn it all and who wants to be a master of it all, and who sees the beauty in any technique that works. Whether it’s striking or wrestling or expanding my jiu-jitsu game for MMA, I’m trying to not only get good at the individual arts but find a circle of techniques that flow into each other and compliment each other. It’s an art in itself, just finding what works for MMA.

Now that you’re fighting at lightweight and having success, do you ever look back and wonder, “What was I thinking trying to be a middleweight?”
I was fat, that’s the main thing that comes to my mind. I had no concept of nutrition, of strength and conditioning. Not until after the Sherk fight did I have any concept of those things like the way I do now. I was definitely a work in progress, but I was crazy then. I was really a natural 155’er who was given an opportunity to compete at 185 and I thought, why not? I had nothing to lose.

I had no idea it would become this big, running show. I thought it could have been my only opportunity to fight for the UFC or fight on TV and help bring this sport to the masses. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and on top of that, week after week, I became more confident. I thought, with the skills I have now I’m doing well against all these experienced mixed martial artists, I may have a chance at winning this thing.

It was really one of my first experiences with mixed martial arts and it was a great chance to work out with great coaches like Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell and find out what it takes to get to that next level. Those are the guys that planted the seed in my head for what I’m doing now.

Reading past interviews with you, it seems like you’re really motivated by your losses. What’s it like after a big loss, when you get back to the dressing room and have to face that dark moment? How do you move past it?
It’s a terrible, terrible feeling. My loss to Sean Sherk haunts me to this day. At the same time it motivates me, and I can look at it as a positive experience. You can let things like that defeat you, or you put them behind you and learn from them and get better. That’s what I tried to do. There’s no such thing as a setback in life. There are only lessons. We’re made to evolve and get better and faster and stronger. You can do that within your own life.

It’s like pushing weights for the first time and your body’s sore and it sucks and it’s really hard, but after a while your muscles and your nervous system and everything gets stronger. Your muscle memory gets better. That’s the way it is with certain things in fighting. If you have a loss, you need to look at it and learn from it. What technical mistakes did I make? What strategic mistakes did I make? What mental mistakes did I make?

You cover all those bases and, if you need to, write it down and start working on patching those holes up. You can only look at it as a positive and live in the present day. If you live in the past, you’re dead.

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‘No Fear’ T-Shirts Still Exist?

Urijah Faber keeps the look alive…

UF

(Props: CombatLifestyle via BloodyElbow)

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