You know that saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Well, such is the case with UFC 151’s trash (which coincidentally resembles the remnants of a totaled Bentley) and UFC 152’s treasure. And those of us who were smart enough to recognize a curse when we saw one and purchase our tickets accordingly will reap the rewards of the 151 fallout by being treated to two title fights on the very same card. Suck it, over-saturation!
This Saturday night, the GAE will attempt to go where no other MMA blog/website/”professional MMA gambler”(my favorite) has gone before, a perfect 4-0 generating plus money dating back to UFC 148. So follow us after the jump as we try to navigate through the good, the bad, and the ugly betting lines of UFC 152: Jones vs Belfort (courtesy of BestFightOdds).
I feel that the Spaniard will be able to get this fight to the mat and establish himself as the dominant fighter. Hovering around -225, the line is appealing when you examine how Kyle Noke has lost his last two UFC bouts coupled with how Charlie has found victory throughout his UFC career (Ed note: Except here). This fight falls into the good category for betting lines and Brenneman will find his way into my parlay as the well priced favorite here.
(While 406 votes may not seem that significant, first consider that this screenshot was taken within an hour of the poll’s creation, and all 111 votes for Dana White were placed by one person. You know who.)
UFC 152 is still three days away, yet I already feel something churning within the deepest regions of my stomach, something I haven’t felt in quite some time when dealing with a UFC card: Excitement. Maybe even nervousness. While at least some of the mixed emotion can be attributed to a few names featured on the card that I always like to watch throw down (specifically: Stann, Belfort, Benavidez, and Hettes), I can’t help but feel as if the main source of my excitement is completely disconnected from the card itself, as if any card could bring me this kind of joy. I feel like I did in the days before a UFC event four or five years ago, and I guarantee that a good percentage of you are feeling it too.
And I imagine you know why you’re feeling it. It’s because the cancellation of UFC 151 was responsible for the largest gap between UFC cards in nearly two years, and was ultimately a good move by the UFC.
At the risk of retreading old ground, I’ll admit that I was quick to throw haterade on Jon Jones for his decision to not fight Chael Sonnen in the days that followed it, and still feel a little disdain toward the champ for doing so. But now that I’ve had some time to digest the situation in its entirety, I’ve come to at least appreciate both Jones’ and the UFC’s decision — as conflicting as it is to say so — and here are the main reasons why.
This isn’t to say Benavidez doesn’t deserve to be the clear favorite here; he does. He’s only lost twice in his career — both times by decision to current bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz — and has been consistently dominant in his fights since his last loss. Johnson’s record is less impressive of late. A suspect decision win over Miguel Torres was followed by a decision loss to Cruz, in which he was dominated so thoroughly that the aforementioned Torres would have been fired if he had tweeted about it. Since then, Johnson turned in a solid but not entirely impressive performance against the man with the best nickname in MMA which resulted in a draw marred by a scorekeeping controversy before finally putting to rest any doubt by defeating McCall three months later.
But while Johnson’s run hasn’t been as thrilling as Benavidez’s, he’s still a formidable challenge for any fighter. Aside from his two fights with McCall, he has fought opposition despite routinely giving up weight and reach advantages at bantamweight. He was tough enough to grit out the victory over Torres despite breaking his fibula in the second round. And despite getting outclassed by Cruz, he never let up the pace and continued to push forward. He learned from his mistakes against McCall and dominated their second meeting. Neither he nor Benavidez have ever been finished. Both appear to have limitless gas tanks, and fight at a speed that even a NASCAR driver on meth would admit is “fast.”
Take his recent squabble with the UFC’s flyweight division, for instance. With no clear motivation (other than being billed below them at UFC 152), Bisping decided to launch into a diatribe aimed at the 125-pounders, declaring that “no one cares about little flyweights.” Bisping continued his attack at the UFC 152 press conference, where, when forced to deal with a response from Joseph Benavidez, stated that “when you were a glint in your dad’s eye, I was kicking ass in the UFC,” which makes sense because AGE IS DETERMINED BY HEIGHT AND WEIGHT AND THAT’S IT SHUT UP. Benavidez, along with most of us who can subtract 28 from 33, dismissed Bisping’s comments as “ridiculous” and moved on. However, when Benavidez was asked by teammate Urijah Faber in the “fighter diary” above if he thought he hit harder than Bisping, he nonchalantly declared that yes, he believed he did.
This was the kind of insolence that Bisping would simply not tolerate.
But putting aside the fact that Jon Jones is bigger, younger, and actually manages to show up for the majority ofhis fights uninjured, the UFC has steamrolled ahead with their promos for UFC 152, trying to convince us that this fight will be closely contested in any way, shape, or form (I really hope I eat crow for this statement), because what other options do they have at this point? Check out the first official promo for UFC 152 after the jump, and let us know if you have taken the bait.
In the ever-competitive world of professional mixed martial arts, the men and women are fighting for more than just the fans and their next paycheck; they’re fighting for survival. When you barely have enough money left for yourself after paying your training partners, coaches, and buying nutritional supplements, it’s time to find another source of income. Most do this in the way of sponsorships — you know, like the Nike deal Jon Jones recently signed, or Anderson Silva’s relationship with Burger King. And if more of these well-known mainstream companies would sponsor a few fighters, the smaller companies that currently sponsor fighters could move to guys and gals who are still making their way up the ranks without anyone losing out. Let’s look at the companies that best suit MMA, how they should be involved, and why it makes sense.
Why it makes sense: Standing 6′ 4″ and weighing 230 pounds, and 6′ 5″/263, respectively, the Frenchman and the Dutchman are the most physically imposing fighters in the UFC’s heavyweight division. Old Spice is known for their funny commercials targeting the same audience watching PPV’s on a Saturday night. In the past, Old Spice has used NFL players Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis as spokesman for their ‘Swagger’ line of men’s body products, as well as jacked Expendables cast-member Terry Crews. And if those guys can do it, why not Kongo and Overeem? In particular, “The Demolition Man” is the type of guy you want your customers to think they’ll be more like by using your product. Alistair could even make his commercial debut by eating the horse the original Old Spice Guy rode in on.
“It was pretty silly of course when I heard it, but it’s Michael Bisping. Everyone pretty much expects something ridiculous to come out of his mouth, right? I mean, that’s pretty much what he does.”
Said Bisping: “Listen pal, when you were a glint in your dad’s eye, I was kicking ass in the UFC.”
“And probably saying ridiculous things, also,” Benavidez continued. “It’s not gonna change the fact that [Demetrious Johnson and I are] the top two guys in the world and that we’re going out to make history that night. So everyone that supports us, thanks and we love you. Everyone that doesn’t, including Bisping, I think you soon will and you’ll be excited for this. So yeah man, it’s gonna be great, and [*pats Bisping on the shoulder*] glad to have you on the card as co-main, buddy.”
Ooooooh, burn! Notably absent from the press conference was BJ Penn, which made Rory MacDonald question where his opponent’s was at. As MacDonald said later in the press conference (via MMAMania):
Case in point — at UFC 152 on September 22nd in Toronto, Bisping is fighting Brian Stann in a bout that could have title implications in the middleweight division. Technically, it’s the co-main event that night, supporting the UFC’s first-ever flyweight championship fight between Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson. (Whenever there’s a title match on a UFC card, it automatically gets main-event status, regardless of the relative popularity of those headliners compared to the card’s supporting players.) Anyway, here’s Bisping trying to sell his fight against Stann during an appearance on FuelTV on Saturday:
“In my opinion, and I think in most people’s, this is the main event. This is the real main event. Two big hard hitting guys. No one cares about little flyweights, this is the real main event, this is the real big fight, tune in cause someone’s getting knocked out, ain’t going to be me though.”