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Tag: Cheick Kongo

Ben vs. Ben: UFC 97 Edition


(‘No, it isn’t funny. What happened to the dress I bought you? The one with an actual neckline? It’s like you want people to stare or something. Oh, now I get it.’)

You know what time it is.  Time to get serious about the important questions surrounding UFC 97.  Questions like, ‘What the hell are we getting for our money here?’ and ‘What’s up with your stupid face, stupid?’  That’s right.  It’s Ben vs. Ben time.

What exactly does Chuck Liddell have to do to prove that he’s still got it?  Is anything less than a devastating KO going to be enough?
 
BG: It’ll either have to be a knockout, or an incredibly dominant decision victory where all three judges score it 30-24 and Shogun Rua‘s face looks like hamburger afterwards. Here’s the deal: There’s no way that Shogun could have magically set the clock back to 2005 in the three months since he barely defeated Mark Coleman at UFC 93, and I think we all expect a shabby performance out of him tomorrow night. So Chuck basically has to prove that although he may no longer be able to hang with younger, more complete fighters, his skills haven’t deteriorated as much as Rua’s have.

If both fighters turn in mediocre efforts, the UFC will have a hard time figuring out what to do with them. (You can’t cut the winner and the loser. Can you?) That was probably Dana White’s motivation for calling out Liddell in public and demanding a dazzling performance — if Chuck fails again, there’s no obvious next step with him, promotion-wise. Do you throw him against talented up-and-comers like Luis Cane and Jon Jones, who might smash his old ass?  Do you try to build him back up against complete cans? Either way, he won’t be in important fights anymore, and that may not be an option for the UFC, or for Chuck himself.

BF: The only way a decision victory would be enough for Liddell is if a) Rua fights like it’s the 2005 Pride GP all over again, b) Chuck still comes close to finishing him several times, and c) after the fight all we can talk about is what amazing heart and conditioning Rua showed in merely surviving that assault.

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Michael Bisping’s UFC 89 Video Blog (10/15)

With Dana White skipping out on his vlogging duties for UFC 89, someone had to step up and fill the void. This time it’s Michael Bisping giving us a look at his life in the days leading up to his main event bout against Chris Leben. Bisping starts this video by saying he needs ice because there’s something wrong with his back — which isn’t very confidence-inducing — but he soldiers through a day of press and an open workout, taking time to hang with fans in between. Later, Cheick Kongo shows up to speak in a strange voice, and Bisping has to go without hot dogs and cookies because he still has eight pounds to lose. At the end, he tells us how he just saw Chris Leben in the lobby of his hotel, and he looked slimmer than usual, but still has a large head. To see previous installments of the Bisping video blog, go to Bisping.tv.

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Cheick Kongo Is Latest to Ditch Ibarra for Wolfslair

Cheick Kongo Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic MMA UFC
(Kongo beats down Cro Cop at UFC 75. Photo courtesy of Graciemag.com.)

The UK’s Wolfslair Academy has revealed to Eurosport-Yahoo! that they’ve taken over the management and training of UFC heavyweight Cheick Kongo. Kongo will follow his friend and training partner Quinton Jackson across the pond; both men had previously trained with Juanito Ibarra, who may or may not have been skimming money from Rampage. According to Wolfslair co-owner Anthony McGann:

“[Cheick] was having some problems negotiating his new contract with the UFC and was looking for somewhere to train so it was an easy decision for him to join his mates…He has been training with Quinton for his last couple of fights, and we know that has not been a happy camp. We think he will be a happier fighter here; he is only a couple of hours from his home in Paris and we will be taking all the other distractions like sponsorship out of his hands…Cheick excels when he fights strikers so if he is going to step up there and keep improving, we know we need to improve his ground game. We are very pro-UFC and they want him to work on his ground game; we hope we can get a striker for his next fight in the meantime.”

With four UFC regulars on the team — including Michael Bisping and Paul Kelly, who will both be competing at UFC 89 next month — Wolfslair is on its way to becoming the most prominent MMA camp outside of the U.S. Not that McGann would be satisfied with that:

“We want to show the rest of the world that we are up there with the USA in terms of the quality of our gyms and that in terms of the UFC, we are up there with the top two or three teams in the world.”

Kongo (12-4) holds a 5-2 record in the UFC, with three of those wins by first-round KO/TKO. Though he was buzzed about as the next opponent for Brock Lesnar until Randy Couture returned to the UFC, his next fight date and opponent are currently undetermined.

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Couture Willing to Fight Once More for the UFC

Randy Couture MMA UFC

Rumors that Randy Couture might be headlining UFC 91 in Portland may be extremely far-fetched, but they picked up a little more heat yesterday evening with a report published by MMA Junkie, which said that The Natural is willing to fight once more in the UFC, possibly before the end of the year, as part of an out-of-court settlement with the organization; Couture would want to be completely free of his UFC contract after the fight.

Excited? Don’t be. There’s no indication that the UFC is even considering this offer. We already know that Dana White likes to screw with his fighters as much as possible when they try to leave him. And according to Bloody Elbow’s Michael Rome, Couture’s negotiation tactic is nothing new:

In June, when the UFC was desperate for a London main event replacement for Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture supposedly made an offer to fight Nogueira if he would be allowed to leave and fight elsewhere immediately after. The UFC turned it down. I don’t believe they are any more likely to accept the settlement now, especially with an arbitration decision about to be handed down.

One problem with Couture doing a final sendoff fight in the UFC is that he’s still technically their heavyweight champion, which raises some logistical issues. He probably wouldn’t get to face interim champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, because if Couture wins, he leaves the league with the belt — a situation which the UFC goes to great legal lengths to prevent from ever happening. If Randy is allowed back in for one more go — and I’m not saying this will happen, I’m just saying — he’d probably be stripped of his title then set up in a big-name fight against someone like Brock Lesnar. Not only would Couture/Lesnar be a PPV bunker-buster, but as it turns out, Lesnar’s previously rumored next opponent may be on ice for a while. On the latest episode of MMA Live, ESPN The Magazine‘s Ryan Hockensmith reveals that Cheick Kongo is planning to have shoulder surgery soon to correct a problem that had been bothering him even before his last fight against Dan Evensen, and he won’t be able to fight again this year. Sure Cheick, we believe you…

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Famous Last Words: Cheick Kongo Edition

Cheick Kongo MMA UFC

From MMA Rated:

“I try to never underestimate any of my opponents but there’s really nothing that worries me too much with Brock Lesnar. I know it could be a tough fight, but, you know, I train hard and I will be ready for this one too.”

There’s something very zen-like about Kongo’s “don’t worry about what you can’t change” attitude. On the other hand, in terms of fight preparation, he may want to start worrying about the fact that he’s going to be on his back for fifteen minutes against Lesnar. The wrestling thing would be an issue, I would think. Kongo might even want to worry about Brock’s striking, and how one of his punches threw Heath Herring into a reverse somersault and closed his eye for the remainder of the fight. But hey, I’m on the outside looking in, so whatever.

I thought this quote was particularly worth sharing because it’s eerily similar to Herring’s cavalier statements that because he’d faced wrestlers before, he wasn’t expecting Lesnar to present anything he hadn’t seen before — which in itself is similar to how Patrick Cote has been echoing James Irvin’s failed strategy of taking ten of Anderson Silva’s punches to land one of his own. Dismissing Brock Lesnar’s takedowns and ground control is just about as foolish as thinking you’ll survive ten straight from Silva. People, please: If we don’t learn from the past, we’re doomed to repeat it, directly in the face, for about 30 seconds until Steve Mazzagatti mercifully stops the fight.

Also, Kongo honestly believes he deserves a title shot — he wasn’t just letting adrenaline hijack his mouth after his win over Dan Evensen at UFC 87:

“His was my seventh UFC fight. I have never been completely dominated by an opponent in a UFC fight, even in my 2 losses which were by split decision. I won five fights among which three were by KO/TKO. So, I’m asking: How many fights do I have to win to definitely give me the credibility to get a title shot?”

With the way the UFC’s heavyweight ladder seems to be arranged right now, he’d probably have to beat Lesnar and then Fabricio Werdum. So, good luck with that.

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UFC 87 Undercard Results

Luke Cummo Tamdan McCrory UFC MMA
(NERD FIGHT!!! Photo courtesy of UFC.com.)

For those who are particularly sensitive to spoilers — even when they technically aren’t spoilers at all — results from the “Seek and Destroy” undercard are after the jump.

Related: UFC 87: The New Guys

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UFC 82 Videos: Koscheck/Hazelett, Arlovski/O’Brien, and More

Josh Koscheck vs. Dustin Hazelett, the best fight of the undercard. Awesome exchanges in the beginning, explosive finish at the end.

Andrei Arlovski vs. Jake O’Brien. Feel free to skip past the entire first round.

More fights after the jump…

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CORRECTION: Kongo/Herring Added to “Pride of a Champion”

CK
(Cheick yourself before you *wreck* yourself…)

**UPDATE: It looks like Kongo/Herring will go down at UFC 82: Pride of a Champion (which will be headlined by the middleweight championship match between Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson), not UFC 81: Breaking Point. Our bad, as they say. At this point, all five of UFC 81′s main card bouts and three of its preliminary matches are reportedly locked down.

“Breaking Point” could now refer to the scales used at UFC 81′s weigh-in, as a third high-profile heavyweight match has been added to the event. Already headlined by the UFC debut of former WWE-star Brock Lesnar versus ex-champ Frank Mir, and the interim heavyweight championship bout between Tim Sylvia and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, UFC [82] will also feature a match between heavies Cheick Kongo and Heath Herring, according to MMA Mania. Kongo, a.k.a. “The French Sensation,” is the UFC rising star whose last two matches resulted in decision victories over Assuerio Silva and Mirko Cro Cop. Heath Herring is a former PRIDE vet who has gone 1-2 in the UFC; his last fight was a decision loss against Nogueira, and he is perhaps best known for this unfortunate staredown with Yoshihiro Nakao at K-1 Dynamite 2005:

MMA Weekly is reporting that the pay-per-view portion of UFC 81 will include two middleweight bouts — Ricardo Almeida against Alan Belcher, and Nate Marquardt against Thales Leites — and a lightweight bout between Tyson Griffin and Gleison Tibou. The three officially announced undercard bouts are Marvin Eastman vs. Terry Martin (middleweights), Tomasz Drwal vs. David Heath (light heavyweights), and Keita Nakamura vs. Rob Emerson (lightweights).

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