(More pre-fight hype from the main eventers. Matyushenko doesn’t mind being the underdog, and vows to give Jones hell every second of the fight. Bones wants to be something that Vlad’s never seen before. Props: YouTube.com/UFC)
Bryant (starting at 1:02): "[You and Jon Jones] have been doing a lot of press, and pretty much the storyline is ‘experience vs. youth’. How do you feel about that, and do you feel that that’s really the decisive thing going in here?"
Matyushenko: "Well it’s not only that, experience and youth, it’s just like…black and white."
I know, right? Athletic explosiveness vs. hard-working blue-collar-ness. Finally, somebody says what we’re all thinking!
Okay, maybe Vlad was trying to make reference to their vastly different styles (or not, it’s kind of hard to tell). Anyway, this MMA H.E.A.T. interview is also noteworthy because Karyn asks the Janitor who he wants to fight next, even though she clearly realizes it’s a big no-no (skip to the 3:14 mark). For the record, he likes to take things fight by fight (shocking), but he wouldn’t mind avenging his losses to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Tito Ortiz. His entrance music on Sunday, as usual, will be "Deaf Forever."
MAIN CARD Jon Jones (-505) vs. Vladimir Matyushenko (+450) Yushin Okami (-185) vs. Mark Munoz (+180) Jake Ellenberger (-155) vs. John Howard (+145) Tyson Griffin (-275) vs. Takanori Gomi (+260)
PRELIMINARY CARD Jacob Volkman (-116) vs. Paul Kelly (+115) Matt Riddle (-150) vs. DaMarques Johnson (+185) James Irvin (-160) vs. Igor Pokrajac (+155) Mike Massenzio (-150) vs. Brian Stann (+140) Charles Oliveira (-300) vs. Darren Elkins (+300) Rob Kimmons (-215) vs. Steve Steinbeiss (+175)
NICKNAME Jones: "Bones" Matyushenko: "The Janitor" Advantage: Jones. You already know how we feel about Vlad’s nickname.
TIME SPENT AS A PRO Jones: Over two years Matyushenko: Almost 13 years Advantage: Matyushenko. The Janitor probably owns jock-straps that have logged more cage-time than Jones.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT Jones: Headlining the UFC’s first card on Versus and breaking Brandon Vera’s face in three places. Matyushenko: Becoming the IFL’s first light-heavyweight champion, and successfully defending the belt before the organization folded. Advantage: Even. Matyushenko can say he’s a former champion. But Jones can say he destroyed Brandon Vera’s face. It kind of depends on where your priorities lie.
Coming off his devastation of Brandon Vera in March, fast-rising UFC star Jon Jones will take on veteran Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC On Versus 2 (August 1st, San Diego). It may not be an obvious step up in competition, but in this exclusive video interview — shot by our friend Sal Mora at Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque — Jones calls Matyushenko a "solid step sideways," and assures us that he’s not looking past the Janitor. Of course, another impressive win would put the 22-year-old directly into the 205-pound title mix, which suits him just fine, since there’s nobody in the division he doesn’t think he can beat:
"I’m really confident in myself, and I’m big on faith. I just believe if I study for any opponent — his interviews, his fights, his footwork, his timing — I think I’ll figure out that opponent. It’s like doing your homework…you know yourself, you know your opponent, and there’s really nothing to worry about."
As a native of Endicott, New York, Jones weighed in on the MMA regulation efforts in New York State: "That would mean so much to me, competing in New York…it would be a dream come true, and something that I believe in my heart will happen one day. I would love to fight for a title in Madison Square Garden."
Bones also discussed his current preparations with trainer Greg Jackson, explained how his 84.5" reach helps him in his daily life, and told us what line of work he might be in if he wasn’t fighting. Enjoy.
Losing isn’t always the end of the world. Sometimes, taking an ass-kicking — or getting screwed out of a well-deserved victory — can be the best thing for a fighter’s career. Don’t believe us? We’ll start with one that should still be fresh in your minds…
What happened: Lil’ Nog was originally supposed to face Forrest Griffin at UFC 114, until Griff was struck down by a shoulder injury three-and-a-half weeks before the event. The UFC had to book a replacement, and fast, so they called up wrestling specialist Jason Brilz. Like a true warrior, Brilz put down his beer, blew off his 10-year wedding anniversary, and stepped up to the plate. On paper, he should have been destroyed by the sharp hands and top-flight experience of Nogueira. Instead, Brilz nearly choked Nog out with a guillotine in the second round, wobbled him with strikes, out-wrestled him, and arguably controlled the majority of the fight. But after the last horn sounded and the scores were added up, only one judge saw it his way. Victory in defeat: If you didn’t know who Jason Brilz was before last weekend’s show, you do now. Brilz picked up even more classy-points by not bitching about the decision: "I’m not upset. Sure, I’d have liked to win. Everybody likes to win. I think I went out there and I proved to people, but more importantly I proved to myself, that I can compete with the top dogs. That’s sort of what I’ve been aiming for my whole career.” We don’t know exactly what Jason’s future holds, but it’s looking a lot brighter now. The $65,000 bonus check probably doesn’t hurt either.
(The cover of Fight!’s May 2010 issue, on newsstands now.)
Thank God as you understand Him it’s Friday, right guys? I remembered to actually look at a few of your comments this week, which means it’s time to give away one-year Fight! Magazine subscriptions to three lucky bastards. And those bastards are…
Kevin Iole reveals in latest Yahoo!Sports mailbag that up-and-coming UFC light heavyweight star John Jones declined a slot on the upcoming UFC 114 card as a fill-in for Forrest Griffin against Antônio Rogério Nogueira because he didn’t feel that one month was enough time to prepare for the fight. Jones explained that he hadn’t been in the gym since his win over Brandon Vera a month and a half ago at UFC LIVE: Vera vs. Jones in Broomfield, CO.
In the beginning it was anything goes, with 200-pound karate stylists taking on 600-pound sumo wrestlers and Brazilians feverishly jumping up and down shouting “Vale tudo! Vale tudo!” as they beat opponents with sticks. For a new American promotion called the Ultimate Fighting Championship this made for some serious pay-per-view buy rates, but it also made the general public somewhat upset, so rules were introduced. Suddenly gone was the wrestler’s ability to run down his foe with a tractor. Also gone was the kickboxer’s ability to use a prison-shiv. With a new list of fouls and weight classes, “no-holds-barred fighting” became the MMA we know and love today. Unfortunately, over the course of ten years the evolution of the sport has created a new set of problems, and the time has come to implement some very necessary additional rule changes. Here, in no particular order, are the six most important:
A Two-Round Limit on Dry-Humping When ground-and-pound turns into lay-and-pray and it becomes painfully obvious that the guy on the bottom can’t stop takedowns and the guy on top couldn’t out-grapple a passed-out teenager on prom night, then watching what transpires is akin to torture. At the last Strikeforce/CBS outing, we learned by round 3 that Gegard Mousasi knew no wrestling and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal knew nothing but wrestling. Every round after that was like watching Twister ™ night at the retirement home: boring, horrifying and sad. There needs to be a two-round limit on dry-humping — maybe stand them up immediately or let them duel with pistols at 20 paces. Anything is better than five rounds of man-loving-man.
Look, I like Vladimir Matyushenko. I like that he’s 39 years old and still has enough spunk to whoop on much-younger dudes like Eliot Marshall and Igor Pokrajac. But when I see this report on TheGarv.com saying that he and Jon Jones have verbally agreed to face each other at UFC on Versus 2 (August 1st, Salt Lake City), I have to question his management and the UFC’s matchmaking. Not that the Janitor would ever duck a fight, but holy crap is this going to be an annihilation. Matyushenko’s strength is his wrestling; so was Matt Hamill’s, and Hamill got ragdolled and torn to shreds. And on the feet? Forget about it. There’s no way that Vlad will be quick enough to avoid the unpredictable attacks that Jones might throw at him. I hate to count guys out, but I just don’t see one scenario in which Matyushenko manages to shock the world. Can’t wait to see the betting line on this one.
It’s unfortunate that Jones wouldn’t be getting a solid step up in competition after destroying Brandon Vera last month, but I think the UFC’s motivations are clear here: Jones is already in line for a title shot, but he has to keep winning until the Machida/Shogun/Rampage/Evans contender logjam sorts itself out. Why risk giving Jones a loss in the meantime? It’s a cynical interpretation of the matchup, but no other explanation makes sense…