"We’ve spoken with Chael on many occasions and have the utmost respect for him. He’s never really come across in this manner, and it’s obvious he’s just drumming up hype in hopes to get a bout with Anderson…We are fine if this is what the UFC wants, but if you look at this logistically, Sonnen should fight Demian Maia first. Demian beat [him] easily, by submission, so why not make them fight first, to determine who gets a shot at the title?…
Please, Ciarán, e-mail us at email@example.com and tell us how exactly you have a hundred-point lead on the next closest competitor, this early in the game. There might be a free t-shirt in it for you.
And now for the shameless gloating part of this post. After BG and BF went head-to-head in a Palooka Pool, I (BG) am proud to say my picks were on-point enough to tie for first-place (!!!), while dickface over there tied for fourth. The other winners of Palooka Pool 30 #173 were: nine one siccness, Steve Rowbotham, James Cowley, Michael Aitken, GSPs Swollen Elbow and Torn Groin and Tim Prothero. Take an e-bow, fellas. And I should mention that there was one genius in the pool named James Berberich who managed to get every question wrong. I feel sorry for your mother, bro.
For those who fell short with their UFC 109 picks, you just have to dust yourself off and get back on the horse. Here’s what’s going on in FightPicker this week…
(Chael Sonnen explains that it’s the Ultimate *Fighting* Championship, not the Ultimate Mitt-Hitting, High-Altitude Training, Flipping a Tire Around, Screaming the Word "Yes" Championship. Props: MMA Fighting)
Following an expectation-exceeding night of action at UFC 109, the UFC handed out $60,000 pay-bumps to the following competitors:
Fight of the Night: Chael Sonnen and Nate Marquardt, for their bloody 15-minute grind, in which Sonnen survived a nasty choke attempt in the third round to secure the decision victory and earn a middleweight title shot.
Knockout of the Night:Matt Serra, for beating down Frank Trigg and proving that his hands are always dangerous, even if they’re on the end of very short arms.
Submission of the Night: Paulo Thiago, for putting Mike Swick to sleep with a D’Arce choke after knocking him to the mat in the second round of their fight. Thiago: 2, AKA: 1.
(Couture vs. Coleman hype video by Genghis Con. Respect your elders, son.)
ATTENTION, POTATO NATION: It’s Friday afternoon, which means there’s still time to join MMA FightPicker and submit your predictions for tomorrow night’s UFC 109 card. For the thousands of players who have already signed up, we thank you, and we want you to know that we’ll be battling alongside you. In fact, BF and BG have both joined "Palooka Pool 30 #173" in an effort to determine a house champion. (Ed. note: The loser of this challenge will have to get a tattoo on his ass that says "Ben owns this. Not me, the other Ben.") So please join a FightPicker pool if you haven’t already, then take a look at how we’re answering the questions this week…
1. Randy Couture vs. Mark Coleman at UFC 109: Who will win? BF: Randy Couture. If Couture can only beat one type of fighter on the UFC roster, it’s the type that Coleman happens to be: old, a little bit slow, and too dependent on his wrestling ability. BG: Randy Couture. Couture is the master of the gameplan. Coleman drives around Vegas for two days with his low-fuel light on because he’s always late to practice, and runs out of gas on the 215 even though he "put that little extra in there" to begin with. Difference in mental preparation, is what I’m saying.
2. Randy Couture vs. Mark Coleman: Who will score the first takedown? BF: Randy Couture. This is a little tougher to call, because sometimes the first takedown is determined in part by who’s gunning for takedowns right out of the gate, which should be Coleman. I still think Couture can stifle him until he’s ready to work for something out of the clinch, maybe early in the second round. BG: Randy Couture. Ditto to all that. You might see these two guys try to prove a point by slugging for a couple rounds, but the Natural will eventually put Coleman on his back from the clinch.
(‘Oh, all the free kittens are gone? That’s cool. You might want to take that ad out of the paper. Just, you know, so somebody like me doesn’t get his hopes up only to have them crushed and ground into a fine, depressing powder. But whatever.’)
If somehow you didn’t know who Chael Sonnen was before this week, chances are you do now. He’s spent the run-up to his fight with Nate Marquardt at UFC 109 making inflammatory statements about almost everyone but his opponent. I spoke to Sonnen for this SI.com feature on Saturday night’s bout, and as expected it turned out to be an interesting conversation. Here, for your enjoyment, are selected outtakes from that talk.
Lately you’ve been making waves with your comments about Anderson Silva, saying he actually speaks perfect English but hates the media too much to talk to them. I guess I’m wondering, if it’s not a ploy to get attention, why go after Anderson now?
I didn’t really say anything about Anderson. All I said is what you said there, and that’s no big deal. Once I destroy Nate Marquardt in a few days I will set my sights on him and I will really let it go. Believe me, when I sink my teeth into this guy, those comments aren’t going to seem like anything. I was making a very fair observation. Anderson Silva speaks English. Any time the media comes around he has such disdain for you guys that it’s ‘se habla Espanol.’ He doesn’t have to talk to the media, and in fact he refuses to, and yet the media goes out and strokes his ego and puts him on the cover of everything. It’s the craziest thing I’ve seen.
Of Robbie Lawler‘s 18 wins, 15 have come via KO/TKO; of Melvin Manhoef‘s 24 wins, 23 have come via KO/TKO. We may not agree with Lawler’s strategy going into tomorrow night’s fight, but sometimes you just have to say "fuck it, this is going to be a slugfest, and it’s going to be awesome." Genghis Con‘s preview compilation for the middleweight battle captures that spirit perfectly. Lawler vs. Manhoef is going to end with somebody staring at the ceiling, the owner of a brand-new concussion. The only questions are: Who will it be, and how long will it last?
After spending all of 2009 making a strong case for himself as the UFC’s top middleweight contender, Nate Marquardt finds himself facing Chael Sonnen at UFC 109 while Vitor Belfort leapfrogs him for the title shot against Anderson Silva. In this exclusive interview Marquardt opens up about his dealings with the UFC, his thoughts on fighting Sonnen, and the bout with Dan Henderson that never materialized.
CagePotato.com: In your last fight you took on Demian Maia at UFC 102 and knocked him out in 21 seconds. I imagine you probably couldn’t be happier with that result?
Nate Marquardt: Totally (laughs). There wasn’t much more I could have asked for.
You’ve spoken before about training to do specifically what you ended up doing. Did the fight go the way you thought it would or were you surprised by the quickness?
I don’t think you could ever plan for a fight to end that quickly. When I gameplan I look for specific stuff that’s going to work on the guy that I’m comfortable doing. Other than that you can have a gameplan but it can’t be your only thing. You have to be a smart fighter and when something you weren’t training for happens you have to be able to change your game in the middle of the fight.
“We got men and women at war right now – they got real problems – so me complaining about where I come out on the card would be very arrogant. But with that said, there are guys that I’m opening the show for that would never fight after me had Okami not been my dance partner. They call him Yushin “Thunder” Okami, I call him Yushin “Anchor” Okami; he pulls people down, whereas if you get a fight with me – if you get me on the docket, I’m going to pull you up. I’m going to get exposure and attention and people to care about the fight and “Anchor” Okami’s got the opposite effect. So was it annoying? Yes.”
Two months later the Team Quest middleweight apparently had a change of heart, and invited his former opponent to stay with him for a month at his home in Oregon to help kick off the training camp for his UFC 109 showdown with Nate Marquardt on February 6.
“I’m actually on my way to practice right now and Yushin is sitting next to me in the car.”
Sources have informed me that the two are awaiting bout agreements and will be added to an already stellar card that the UFC is building for their debut in Sydney, Australia in February.
Marquardt is on a three-fight win streak, most recently knocking out Demian Maia in 21 seconds at UFC 102. Sonnen has won his last two, scoring unanimous decisions over highly-regarded middleweights Dan Miller and Yushin Okami. It’s an interesting matchup that raises some important questions: First off, does this mean that Dan Henderson has officially left the UFC? Last week, Dana White said he was certain that Henderson had been signed by Strikeforce, though his manager denied it. And hey, would Chael Sonnen get the next shot at Anderson Silva (after Vitor Belfort gets his) if he manages to pull off an upset against Marquardt? Good Lord. Thanks a lot, Hendo.
The current lineup for UFC 110 (February 21st; Sydney, Australia) is after the jump…
- Anthony Johnson was basically fined $10,000 per pound for missing weight. After tipping the scales at 176 on Friday, Rumble scored a ferocious TKO victory over Yoshiyuki Yoshida in just 39 seconds. But because he came in heavy, he was ineligible for UFC 104′s $60,000 Knockout of the Night bonus, which instead went to Pat Barry. (Barry picked up a second $60,000 award for Fight of the Night; his opponent Antoni Hardonk got a check for the same amount, while beanpole submission artist Stefan Struve was awarded the Submission of the Night bonus for his triangle choke of Chase Gormley.) Johnson was already giving up 20% of his purse. When asked about the botched weight-cut, AJ had this to say: