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9 Olympic Occurences More Likely to Happen Than Brandon Vera Beating Shogun Rua


(If you must ask, Dana, I believe my hype train was headed in that general direction. Then again, it’s been so long since I’ve seen it…) 

If you’re anything like us, you’ve more than likely spent your weekend drinking either Budweiser or Miller High Life cans in front of your television whilst watching various Olympic events and screaming “America!” on loop until your Canadian or Russian neighbors got jealous and called the police, who in turn tried to claim that you are somehow at fault if you like to watch TV in the nude and can’t afford curtains. And indeed, the Olympics have successfully managed to captivate and connect its viewing audience as it always does, uniting entire communities over a common passion. Except, oddly enough, in the case of this year’s host country, wherein failure apparently opens you up to disturbingly hateful critiques from your own countrymen.

Switching gears, it seems that one thing we can all agree on, regardless of our cultural divisions, is the inherent ridiculousness in the possibility that Brandon Vera could somehow receive a title shot if he is able to defeat Mauricio Rua in impressive fashion, or vice versa. We know we’ve been a little hard on him today – it’s not like it was his decision to overhype a fight by implying title implications only to be reamed out by fans for doing so shortly thereafter, that was Dana White — but on the short list of contenders currently in the Light Heavyweight Division, Vera is just a step above Mostapha al-Turk, whom you may recall is a retired heavyweight who was released from the UFC over two years ago. And he’s fighting Shogun f*cking Rua, aka the man who ended The Machida Era. Arguably twice. 

Spoiler: There is no way in hell that Vera is beating Shogun this Saturday, and we’d be willing to wager a bottle of ipecac on it, if you know what we mean. So in honor of what has been a highly competitive Olympic games thus far, and what will surely be a one sided ass whooping at UFC on FOX 4, here are 10 things, ranked in no particular order, we will more than likely see happen at this year’s Olympics than “The Truth” beating “Shogun” on Saturday.

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Video Retrospective: Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua’s 16 Most Essential Fights

Over the last ten years, we’ve watched Mauricio “Shogun” Rua go from young phenom to living legend. Though injuries and and controversial judging have occasionally slowed his momentum during the second half of his career, Shogun enters next weekend’s UFC on FOX 4 matchup with Brandon Vera as a standard-bearer for his generation of fighters, and is still considered among the elite of the light-heavyweight division.

In honor of Rua’s continuing legacy, we’ve picked out the 16 videos that best summarize his journey as a fighter — from the past to the present, from his most unforgettable triumphs to his most crushing defeats. Enjoy, and pay your respects in the comments section.


Mauricio Rua vs. Rodrigo Malheiros de Andrade. Shot in 1998 when Rua was just 16 years old, this footage shows the future PRIDE/UFC star competing in a Muay Thai smoker in somebody’s house in Curitiba, Brazil. Though Shogun shows flashes of his trademark aggression, his technique hasn’t quite blossomed yet, and he winds up getting head-kick KO’d at the video’s 7:15 mark.


Mauricio Rua vs. Rafael Freitas, Meca World Vale Tudo 7, 11/8/02. Rua was 20 years old when he made his official MMA debut against Rafael “Capoeira” Freitas, who was tenacious in his attempts to put Shogun on his back. But Freitas couldn’t keep him there, and the standup exchanges were lopsided in Rua’s favor. After a few minutes of abusing his opponent with knees, punches, and stomps, Shogun finally puts Freitas out cold with a head-kick.

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What a Rush! The 14 Greatest (and 3 Worst) Pro-Wrestling Moves Used in MMA


(“Call me Aldo Montoya again, bitch!”)

By Seth Falvo (@SethFalvo)

When Nick Ring walked to the cage on Saturday accompanied by professional wrestling legend Bret “The Hitman” Hart, it was one more example of mixed martial arts’ quirky love affair with professional wrestling. Oh sure, we like to pretend that we have nothing in common with those peculiar Puroresu practitioners because our sport is real, both in terms of the violence and the personalities associated with it. Nonsense. With fake fighters crossing over to the real stuff, real fighters crossing over to the fake stuff, fake matches “borrowing” their outcomes from real fights, real promos “borrowing” from the classic fake stuff and multiple guys dabbling in both sports, the line between the two is arguably blurrier now than it was back when Ken Shamrock was ankle locking fools in the World Wrestling Federation.

It should come as no surprise then that we’ve seen our share of professional fighters attempting honest-to-God professional wrestling moves in real fights. We know, we know: We’re totally not supposed to be trying this stuff at home. But fortunately for us, the following brave men have ignored the countless warnings, the advice of their trainers and their own common sense to provide us with the most entertainingly reckless ways to injure their fellow men.

But before we break out the face paint and spandex, let’s establish how I’ll be ranking such absurd maneuvers. The moves will be ranked based on their immediate effectivenesshow true to form they stay to their kayfabe counterparts, and the competence of their opponents. Let’s face it: Even if you do something insanely cool and difficult from professional wrestling in an MMA fight, if you then get knocked out, you still look like a chump. Let’s also acknowledge that a punch to a downed opponent has no business being called The Worm without the accompanying theatrics. Finally, it’s a lot easier to pull off a complex move in a fight when your opponent totally sucks at fighting. Those are my rules, and if you’re not down with that, I got two words for ya: LET’S BEGIN!

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TUF or WTF?: A Season-by-Season Retrospective of The Ultimate Fighter


(Thanks to tufentertainment.net for the fitting logo.)

By Nathan Smith

With the recent announcement that Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin have been named as the coaches for the next installment of The Ultimate Fighter series, the MMA universe immediately launched into a full-blow orgasmic ticker-tape parade complete with tons of flying confetti and a marching band belting out death metal tunes. Once I heard the news, it was as if my life instantaneously turned into a beer commercial and the entire Potato Nation was invited. There was a rad pool-party, barbeque, a plethora of hotties, endless alcohol, and an overall quest for fun.

Well . . . . . actually, none of that happened. In fact, when word spread that Nelson and Carwin would helm the next season of TUF, it was officially filed under “WTF?” Judging from the comment section, most of the CP brethren didn’t care for the choices either. TUF is coming off a season that saw the ratings dip lower than they ever had, which could partially be blamed on the move to FX and the dreaded Friday night time slot. Regardless of the variables for the ratings drop, something drastic needs to be done, but is anybody really convinced that Carwin and Nelson are the answer to TUF’s slow and painful demise? Let’s start from the beginning and take a look back to see if this runaway train can be coaxed back onto the main rail.

The Season That Started it All 

The inaugural season of TUF featured future Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture as the competing coaches who would go mano y mano at the PPV after the season finale. For fans of the UFC, that was good enough for most to initially tune in for the Fertitta-funded experiment. It still remains the best crop of young talent and personalities to ever grace the show; future stars like Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, Josh Koscheck, Chris Leben, Diego Sanchez, Mike Swick, Kenny Florian, and Nate Quarry were all complete unknowns vying for stardom in a fledgling sport. You mix in the whole “fatherless bastard” angle and the show was off and running even before the awe-inspiring climax between (pre TRT) FoGrif and The American Psycho. Even before that, we were treated to the greatest speech of all time that has since been condensed into a few words. “Do you wanna be a fighter?” Though there were other memorable moments from the seasons that followed, Zuffa should have quit while they were ahead because it would never be this good again. The unrefined personification of immature talent, undeniable aspirations and gonzo-sized balls oozed from the boob tube during every episode.

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CagePotato Tribute: The 50 Worst Fighters in UFC History

Every great sport has been built on the backs of men who absolutely sucked at it — athletes whose hapless failures made the champions’ triumphs look even more outstanding by comparison. Baseball has its Mario Mendozas, its Bob Kammeyers, its Pete Rose Jrs. We have our Joe Sons, our Tiki Ghosns, our James Toneys. So in honor of the brave competitors who proved that MMA is even harder than it looks, we humbly present this “tribute” to the worst UFC fighters of all time.

A couple of notes to start: 1) We chose fighters solely based on their performances inside the Octagon. Some of these fighters achieved great things in other organizations, before or after their time in the UFC; for the purposes of this feature, we’re not really interested in that. 2) Instead of ranking one form of suckitude against another, we’ll group the 50 fighters into sections and arrange them chronologically. Use the links below to navigate, and if we omitted anybody notable, please let us know in the comments section.

- Ben Goldstein

Page 1: The Pre-Zuffa Punchlines
Page 2: The One-and-Done Wonders
Page 3: The Repeat Offenders
Page 4: The Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time TUF Guys
Page 5: The Barely-Worth-Mentioning Washouts

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CagePotato Presents: The Ten Most Ironic Nicknames in MMA


(What?! Every beast needs to take a cat nap every now and again.) 

For reasons we will never truly understand, a lot of emphasis seems to be placed on the monikers designated to a given fighter. For guys like Randy “The Natural” Couture, the nickname often represents an extension of a their personality, or an underlying philosophy that they bring into the cage. Guys like Renato “Babalu” Sobral, on the other hand, carry perhaps the most authentic nicknames of them all; names that, although holding little to no meaning in terms of the fight game, were bestowed upon the fighter as a child and simply stuck. And then there are guys like Justin “The Nsane1″ McCully, whose nicknames were most likely derived from an ill-fated, drunken AOL Instant Messenger conversation at 3 a.m. with the intent of finding something “fresh” and “intimidating” to bring to the table.

But even lower on the nickname totem pole than the Joe Lauzons and the Kendall Groves of the world are the guys whose nicknames completely clash with the public’s perception of who they truly are, their gameplan once they step into the ring, or simply their abilities as a fighter in general. So it is with that in mind that we present you with a brief rundown of the top ten fighters who are in desperate need of a name change if they want to continue to be taken seriously.

#10 - Sam “Hands of Stone” Stout

Not only does Stout have only one knockout to his credit in his 13-fight UFC career, he only has one finish in his UFC career. Granted, the KO he managed to pull off against Yves Edwards at UFC 131 was a freakin’ brilliant one, but you don’t see Chad Mendes calling himself “The Guillotine Machine” because he was able to pull it off once a couple years ago. Perhaps “Hands of Limestone” would be something a little more appropriate.

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The Fourteen Ugliest Walkout Shirts in MMA


Yes, it’s ugly, trashy and tasteless to include Arianny on this list. Just like this t-shirt. Props: UFCStore.com

MMA fighters aren’t exactly known for their fashion sense. So it should come as little surprise that most MMA t-shirt companies produce some pretty questionable designs. The rampant abuse of foil print, skulls, chains, tribal designs and nautical stars among most MMA t-shirts is bad enough on its own; even worse when you consider that they sell for thirty bucks a pop.

Which I guess makes it all the worse when a fighter makes his way to the cage covered in an “athletic fit” Old-English mess. Not only is the shirt revolting, but it’s going to sell for an outlandish sum of money, and be worn by every overweight Texas Roadhouse chef, milquetoast tech support geek and muscle-bound frat boy.

Perhaps the reason that we’ve never attempted an “Ugliest Walkout Shirts” post is because ranking these train wrecks is like ranking, well, actual train wrecks. No matter what order you place them in, you’re a total scumbag for attempting to rank a tragedy from most to least depressing. And besides, you’re clearly wrong about which one belongs at number three. For that reason, these will not be ranked, per se, but rather categorized. How you feel these shirts fall into place is up to you.

Let’s start with the most obvious category:

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Video Tribute: The Eight Most Insane Moments in DREAM History


(“You’ll never get me Lucky Charms!”)

For nearly four years, the Japanese MMA promotion DREAM did its best to carry the mantle of PRIDE, presenting the same mix of top international talent and freak-show comic relief, all inside of a traditional ring, rather than a filthy American cage. But we were hit with some sad news this weekend as multiple sources reported that DREAM has ceased day-to-day operations, and will no longer be producing events. So as we like to do when great MMA traditions die, let’s take a look back at some of the fights that made this promotion so unique, so entertaining, and so balls-out insane…

#8: Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Melvin Manhoef
DREAM.4, 6/15/08 

Though Kazushi Sakuraba’s fame was partly based on his willingness to absorb damage from larger fighters, the level of savagery that Melvin Manhoef inflicted on him during their meeting at the Yokohama Arena probably should have convinced Saku to walk away from the sport. The moment when Manhoef drags Saku away from the ropes by his leg so he can dive in to continue the assault (see the 2:43 mark above) remains one of DREAM’s most indelible and brutal moments.

#7: Shinya Aoki vs. dumb-ass gaijin
DREAM.7, 3/8/09

Another tradition that DREAM inherited from PRIDE? Absurd mismatches. At the time of this fight, Aoki was widely considered to be a top-3 lightweight, while Gardner was an obscure 13-7 journeyman who was coming off a loss to Brian Cobb. Aoki’s domination on the mat was no surprise, but the fight became legendary for how it ended. Stuck with Aoki on his back, Gardner took advantage of a brief pause in the action — and the near-silence in the Saitama Super Arena — to wave to the crowd and shout “Hello Japan!” Aoki immediately wrapped up Gardner’s neck and choked him out, causing the crowd to break out in laughter and Bas Rutten to cry “Oh my God it is so dumb! So dumb! Why?!” Some things just can’t be explained, Bas.

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The 10 Greatest Undefeated Fighters in MMA: 2012 Edition

In June 2010, we posted a list of the ten greatest fighters who had yet to take a loss. By November 2011, none of their perfect records were still intact, proving once again what a cruel bitch this sport is. Half of the fighters on our original list — Shane Carwin (#1), Megumi Fujii (#2), Ryan Bader (#6), Evan Dunham (#7), and Lyle Beerbohm (#10) — have even lost *twice* since then. So we decided to start over from scratch and come up with a new ranking of undefeated MMA fighters. Check it out, and let us know who you think will hold onto their ’0′ the longest. -BG

#1: DANIEL CORMIER (10-0, six wins by first-round stoppage)

Notable victories: Jeff Monson at Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum (UD), Antonio Silva at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov (KO R1), Josh Barnett at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier (UD)

Next fight: TBA

The former collegiate wrestling star and Olympic competitor went through hell to get to where he is today. Less than three years after kicking off his MMA career, Cormier battled his way to a career-defining matchup against ex-UFC champ Josh Barnett — a catch-wrestling savant with four times as many fights on his pro record as Cormier — in the finals of Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix. But Dan didn’t need to turn the meeting into a grappling match. As he also demonstrated against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in his previous outing, Cormier packs enough speed and punching-power to win fights with his striking alone. It’s only a matter of time before he enters the UFC to take on the best in the world, and we have a feeling he’ll make an immediate impact.

#2: MICHAEL CHANDLER (10-0, eight wins by stoppage)

Notable victories: Patricky Freire at Bellator 44 (UD), Eddie Alvarez at Bellator 58 (sub R4), Akihiro Gono at Bellator 67 (TKO R1)

Next fight: TBA

Michael Chandler is the perfect example of how a tournament can transform a fighter from unheralded prospect to breakout star. After winning his first two Bellator appearances by swift first-round stoppage in 2010, Chandler was invited to participate in the promotion’s season four lightweight tournament. The Xtreme Couture product sliced through it, starting with a first-round submission of Polish prodigy Marcin Held, and ending with a decision win over knockout artist Patricky “Pitbull” Freire in the finals. Then, Chandler did the unthinkable — he took the lightweight belt from Eddie Alvarez, choking out the formerly untouchable Bellator champ in the fourth round of an insane Fight of the Year candidate last November. (A follow-up non-title match against Akihiro Gono was little more than a one-minute showcase of his killer instinct.) In eight months, Chandler went from 5-0 up-and-comer to newly-minted champion with a win over a top-ten ranked opponent. Is it okay if we use the “meteoric rise” cliché, just this once?

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MMA Video Tribute: Josh Barnett’s Five Greatest Submissions


(Come on…hasn’t Mark Hunt suffered enough?)

Tomorrow night in San Jose, Josh Barnett will face the greatest challenge of his post-PRIDE career when he meets Daniel Cormier in the finals of Strikeforce’s World Heavyweight Grand Prix. (FYI, we’ll be liveblogging the Showtime main card starting at 10 p.m. ET, so don’t make any big plans.) Barnett’s comfort-level in the cage and catch-wrestling expertise have led him on a four-year winning streak, and one more victory could earn him an improbable return to the UFC. In honor of this pivotal moment for the Warmaster, we decided to round up his five greatest submissions. Enjoy, and shoot us your predictions for Barnett vs. Cormier in the comments section…


(Josh Barnett vs. Semmy Schilt; UFC 32, 6/29/01)

Barnett’s first submission in the Octagon came against gigantic kickboxer Semmy Schilt, who had made his UFC debut the previous month by smashing Pete Williams. Wisely, Barnett avoids the standup game entirely, immediately taking the Dutchman to the mat. Schilt is absolutely helpless underneath the Babyface Assassin, and eventually gives up mount. Barnett waits for the right moment then attacks Schilt’s arm, giving up position in the process. It doesn’t matter — Barnett sinks the armbar at the 4:21 mark of the first round and establishes himself as a fearsome heavyweight grappler.

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