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Tag: Goran Reljic

Paulo Thiago and Five Other Fighters Who Never Lived Up to Their UFC Debuts


(“Quick Paulo, more spinach!!!” Photo via Getty)

I think it was midway through the second round of Paulo Thiago‘s bout with Gasan Umalatov on the TUF Brazil 3 Finale undercard that I began to feel a heavy, sinking feeling in my stomach. I thought it was just fight fatigue at first, my body’s way of telling me to step away from the television and do something, anything to negate the effects caused by a (by that point) six hour binge of manure ads, Linkin Park-dubbed promos, and the occasional MMA fight.

It wasn’t until the Thiago-Umalatov decision was handed down, however, that I was able to identify the cause of my discomfort. Paulo Thiago, real-life superhero and a fighter I have unapologetically rooted for since watching him knock out Josh Koscheck in his promotional debut at UFC 95, is likely on his way out of the UFC.Old Dad best summed up my feelings about Thiago, tweeting after the decision “Is it time for me to admit that Paulo Thiago is probably never going to be as awesome as I want him to be? Maybe, yeah.

The fact is, Thiago has consistently underwhelmed since scoring violent finishes over Koscheck and Mike Swick early in his UFC career, dropping six of his past eight fights and only scoring decision wins over IDon’t and GiveaFuck. While I won’t go as far as to call his upset wins “flukes,” it’s safe to say that Thiago has unfortunately fallen into the category of UFC fighters who were never able to exceed the hype generated by their UFC debuts. Fighters like…

Houston Alexander 

MMA fans knew knew less than nothing about Houston Alexander before he was matched up with Keith Jardine at UFC 71. Sure, he looked like something out of a Scared Straight program, but at just 7-1 as a pro, he seemed well out of his league against “The Dean of Mean.” Even Jardine, fresh off the biggest win of his career over Forrest Griffin, was baffled by the matchmaking, all but dismissing Alexander in some uncharacteristic pre-fight trash-talk.

But as Raymond Atkins once wrote, “Hubris is when God screws you over for being a smartass.” And screw over Jardine he did. In less than a minute’s time, the TUF alum found himself lying face down on the canvas thanks to a barrage of uppercuts so vicious that even his mouthguard was forced to flee for its life.

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And Now They’re Fired: UFC 122 Edition Featuring Peter Sobotta and Goran Reljic


(Goodbye sweet princes. We hardly knew you.)

It looks like UFC 122 fighters Peter Sobotta and Goran Reljic are the latest casualties of the UFC’s new lose three fights in a row and you’re out policy.

Sources close to the situation revealed to CagePotato.com Thursday that Sobotta has joined Reljic (who fiveouncesofpain.com reported was fired by the Zuffa-owned promotion yesterday) on the unemployment line.

Both fighters lost their fights on Saturday night in Oberhausen, Germany, bringing their losing streaks to three apiece and prompting the UFC to release them.

Sabotta dropped unanimous decisions to Paul Taylor and TUF 9 winner James Wilks before losing in the same manner to TUF 7 winner, Amir Sadollah in his last bout in the Octagon.

Reljic’s UFC career was also spoiled by a trio of TUF vets including season 7 runner-up CB Dollaway and season 3 winner Kendall Grove. The loss to the latter prompted the Croation fighter to move back up to light heavyweight for his last fight with season 8 semi-finalist Krzysztof Soszynski, which he lost by unanimous decision on Saturday.

The 26-year-old won Fight of the Night honors in 2008 in his UFC debut in which he defeated Wilson Gouveia by TKO at UFC 84.

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Exclusive Interview: Krzysztof Soszynski Discusses UFC 122 Fight Against Goran Reljic and His Pro Wrestling Past


K-Sos Talks UFC 122 – Watch more Funny Videos

Coming off his Fight of the Night-winning TKO loss to Stephan Bonnar at UFC 116Krzysztof Soszynski — better known around here as "K-Sos" — is hungry to get back to the win column. He returns at UFC 122 (November 13; Oberhausen, Germany) against Goran Reljic, who has dropped his last two bouts against CB Dollaway and Kendall Grove, and needs a victory to save his job. According to K-Sos, that’ll just make for a more exciting fight. As he tells our interviewer Ruben Vera:

"I think it’s another one of those fun fights. He’s gonna leave everything on the line. He’s 0-2 in his last two fights, he’s gonna be desperate; he doesn’t want to go 0-3. So he’s gonna put everything out there, he’s gonna put everything on the line to get this win, and I’m going to have to be ready for it. I feel like with the way I fought against Stephan Bonnar — a lot of punches, a lot kicks, a lot of pressure — I think it’s gonna be one of those barnburners, and one of those fights where the fans are gonna get a really good look at what we can do…
It’s gonna be a brawl…it’s gonna be a battle of wills, a battle of conditioning, and whoever’s fresher in the third round is gonna win that fight. I’m expecting a three-round war, and I’m pretty sure he’s expecting the same from me. We’re just gonna put on a great show for the fans and the UFC."

Later in the interview, K-Sos talks about why he left Team Quest for Reign Training Center, how studying under Bad News Brown inspired him to leave pro wrestling for MMA, what he thinks about the current season of TUF, and what his favorite Van Damme movie is. Shockingly, it’s not Bloodsport.

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Sobotta-Sadollah and Reljic-Soszynski Penciled in for UFC 122 and Brown-MacDonald Being Targeted for UFC 123


(The Waterboy will look to exploit "The Immortal" Matt Brown’s mortal ground game.)

UFC matchmaker Joe Silva has been busy the past week securing fights for some of the promotion’s upcoming cards.

According to German MMA website groundandpound.de, Polish-German welterweight fighter Peter Sobotta will take on The Ultimate Fighter Season 7 winner Amir Sadollah at UFC 122 when the UFC travels to Germany in November.

0-2 in two Octagon appearances, having dropped unanimous decisions to Paul Taylor and James Wilks at UFC 99 and 115, respectively, Sobotta may find him self unemployed if he loses another bout.

Sadollah, who isn’t quite on the chopping block yet, will be looking to rebound from a lackluster performance against Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 114. Prior to that, the Brooklyn-born, Richmond, Virginia-raised fighter won two in a row against Brad Blackburn and Phil Baroni — both via unanimous decision.

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Videos: Goran Reljic Calls Wrestling in Croatia “A Disgrace,” Chuck Liddell Used to Talk Real Good

Our chums at RawVegas.tv just posted their most recent video of Goran Reljic‘s "Road to UFC 110," this time focusing on his attempt to learn as much wrestling as he can possibly soak up before heading in to face C.B. Dollaway next weekend, who has shown very little ability to do anything else so far in the UFC.  According to Reljic, wrestling is one thing you really can’t learn while chilling near the treacherous Adriatic Sea back home.  While he says they have some form of Greco-Roman wrestling, he calls it a "disaster" and a "disgrace."  Damn, Goran.  We asked about wrestling, not Croatia’s inflation rate

Yeah, I took it there.

After the jump, travel back in time to a point when Chuck Liddell spoke as clearly and coherently as a local TV news weatherman.

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Robbie Lawler Says He Wants to Stand and Bang with Melvin Manhoef

Earlier this week we speculated that oddsmakers were only giving Melvin Manhoef the slight edge over Robbie Lawler because they thought Lawler was foolhardy enough to stand and strike with Manhoef rather than take it to the ground, where he would enjoy a distinct advantage. Unless Lawler is doing a great big fake-out in this video interview with Ariel Helwani, the oddsmakers know Lawler better than he knows himself. Yes, he realizes that he’s probably much better on the ground than Manhoef, and he probably also realizes that he could get it there if he wanted to. But that’s not how Lawler likes to party. He wants to go toe-to-toe with a man who’s known for having vicious stand-up and very little else. He wants to play to his opponent’s one strength rather than exploit his easily exploitable weaknesses. So he says, anyway.

Honestly? As much fun as it would be to watch Lawler and Manhoef play Rock-em, Sock-em Robots on Saturday night, a part of me hopes that Lawler is smarter than that. He needs a win more than he needs to prove what a stone cold bad-ass he is. Knocking out Manhoef in a stand-up war would be entertaining and impressive, but that’s like investing your savings in lottery tickets.  A 401k might not be as thrilling, but it is a lot less likely to leave you crying in the parking lot.

After the jump, part two of RawVegas.tv‘s series with Goran Reljic.  In this episode, Reljic spars with Forrest Griffin and shares a candid conversation about the challenges both of them are facing in the near future.

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Goran Reljic Is Coming Back

When last we saw Goran Reljic he was knocking out Wilson Gouveia in his UFC debut to keep his undefeated record intact.  He seemed headed for great things, but then a back injury forced him out of a fight with Thales Leites and he had to keep himself busy by heroically saving unfortunate travelers from the perilous Adriatic Sea.  But after an almost two-year layoff and a little back surgery, he returns at UFC 110 to take on C.B. Dollaway.  Fortunately our friends at Raw Vegas are around to follow Reljic through his training at Xtreme Couture, giving us a glimpse of what happens in the weeks leading up to fight night.  Does it include a lot of sledge hammer and medicine ball work?  But of course.

After the jump, get reacquainted with Reljic’s work in the fight that Gouveia says got a little too personal backstage.

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Wilson Gouveia: “I Don’t Need Ten Punches to Put Someone Away. I Just Need One.”

Wilson Gouveia
(‘Khaaaaaaannn!’)

Wilson Gouveia’s rise through the UFC middleweight ranks was slowed last May when Octagon newcomer Goran Reljic staged a come-from-behind victory via second-round TKO.  For Gouveia the loss was the direct result of a very specific mistake on his part, and one he’s vowed to learn from but never to repeat as he heads into his UFC 95 bout with Nate Marquardt.

CagePotato.com: Thanks for talking with me, Wilson.  How is your preparation coming for the fight with Nate Marquardt?

The training has been very intense.  I’m taking this fight very seriously.  I think it’s going to be the most important fight of my career so far.  Right now I feel very good.  I’m in great condition, no injuries, just ready to go.

Are you doing anything specifically to prepare for him?

Not really, to tell the truth.  In all my fights I try to be prepared for everything.  With Nate it’s no different.  He’s a pretty well-rounded fighter.  He’s good at everything.  I have to try and be prepared for the worst-case scenario.  He’s a good wrestler.  He’s got better takedowns than me.  I’ve been training a lot of jiu-jitsu off my back, a lot of stand-up.  

I think he’s good in everything, but I don’t think he’s great in anything.  I think his jiu-jitsu is good, but it’s not amazing.  His wrestling, I think, is his greatest strength.  But even with that, I don’t think he’s the best wrestler in the UFC.  His striking is good, but if you watch his last fight with [Martin] Kampmann, he spent like ten or more punches to put him away.  I really don’t need ten punches to put someone away.  I just need one.

You were on a good roll in the UFC until your loss to Goran Reljic.  What do you think went wrong for you in that fight?

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Goran Reljic is Aquaman

Aquaman
(Does Aquaman get laid? You better believe it.)

Yesterday MMA Fanhouse located a story from a Croatian newspaper that detailed undefeated UFC middleweight Goran Reljic‘s heroic rescue of two men who had accidentally driven their car into the Adriatic Sea (it happens, okay?). Apparently Reljic had been asleep when he heard the crash, then jumped in the ocean, smashed the car window with his fist, and pulled the two men out. Oh yeah, and he did it despite the back injury that caused him to pull out of a bout with Thales Leites at UFC 90. Just to make things more interesting.

This, it seemed, was an uncommonly brave act. Except that it wasn’t so uncommon. At least not for Reljic. According to a story on UFC.com today, it wasn’t the first time he had saved someone from the death trap that is the Adriatic:

“Actually this is second time that I know Goran saved a life in the water,” [Reljic’s manager, Zoran Saric] recalled. “Two years ago, he jumped into a wild storm near the cliffs in the Adriatic Sea, where a person was swimming and trying to get out the water, but the waves and current were so strong that they were pulling the person back in. I have no idea how Goran managed to pull that person out of the sea, but he did it.”

The section of that quote I’d like to highlight is “this is the second time that I know.” That’s fairly open-ended. For all we know, Reljic does this all the time.

In fact, I did a little research, and on nights when Reljic has a fight, statistics show that drowning deaths in the Adriatic Sea increase by 175%. Okay, that’s not true at all. Like I’m about to do any research. Come on. But the point is, if you’re planning on dicking around anywhere in or around the Adriatic Sea, it’s best to check the UFC schedule to see if Goran Reljic will be free that day, just as a precaution.

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UFC 84: Full Payout Figures

Wanderlei Silva UFC
($225,000: Enough to buy a new pickup truck and a healthy white baby.)

Official salary and bonus numbers for UFC 84′s fighters have been released by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Here’s how the guys stacked up:

B.J. Penn: $250,000 ($125,000 to show, $125,000 to win)
Wanderlei Silva: $225,000 ($150,000 to show*, $75,000 for Knockout of the Night)
Tito Ortiz: $210,000
Lyoto Machida: $100,000 ($50,000 to show, $50,000 to win)
Wilson Gouveia: $93,000 ($18,000 to show, $75,000 for Fight of the Night)
Rousimar Palhares: $85,000 ($5,000 to show, $5,000 to win, $75,000 for Submission of the Night)
Goran Reljic: $81,000 ($3,000 to show, $3,000 to win, $75,000 for Fight of the Night)
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou: $80,000 ($40,000 to show, $40,000 to win)
Thiago Silva: $50,000 ($25,000 to show, $25,000 to win)
Rich Clementi: $40,000 ($20,000 to show, $20,000 to win)
Dong Hyun Kim: $40,000 ($20,000 to show, $20,000 to win)
Sean Sherk: $35,000
Kazuhiro Nakamura: $20,000
Ivan Salaverry: $20,000
Shane Carwin: $12,000 ($6,000 to show, $6,000 to win)
Yoshiyuki Yoshida: $12,000 ($6,000 to show, $6,000 to win)
Terry Etim: $10,000
Keith Jardine: $10,000
Christian Wellisch: $10,000
Jon Koppenhaver: $8,000
Antonio Mendes: $4,000
Jason Tan: $3,000
* Wanderlei Silva’s guaranteed $150,000 salary doesn’t depend on a win bonus.

Overpaid: Wilson Gouveia. Looking back on UFC 84 a year from now, is the two-round almost-war between Gouveia and Goran Reljic going to be remembered by anyone? Yes, Reljic’s relentless left head-kicks were pretty, but Gouveia should have eventually figured out that they were coming. (For us, the presence of Mirko Cro Cop in Reljic’s corner was the early tip-off.)

Underpaid: A lot of people — particularly Shane Carwin, whose Knockout of the Night bonus was robbed from him by Wanderlei Silva. The way I saw it, Carwin’s single-punch, mouthpiece-ejecting KO of Christian Wellisch was more deserving then Wandy’s slightly more prolonged ground-and-pound TKO of Jardine, and Carwin could probably use the money more. Other than that, what the fuck is up with the UFC’s newcomers making three, four, and six thousand dollars to show? Goddamned slave wages. The UFC made $3.7 million off of “Ill Will”‘s gate; they could certainly afford to establish a minimum base salary of $10,000 for their fighters if they wanted to.

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