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The Rearview Mirror: Five MMA Trends We Hope To Have Left Behind In 2011

“Listen, I know we’ve had our moments, but before you make your list just hear me out…” (Photo: Gossiboocrew.com)

We’re only a few hours into the new year, but unless your head hit the pillow just as the ball dropped, you’ve probably already carried some of your bad habits with you into 2012. We are creatures of habit, and change doesn’t come naturally to us. If it did, we wouldn’t make such a big production out of our ‘New Year’s Resolutions’. The sport of mixed martial arts and its fans are no different. Here’s a quick look at some of the bad habits we’ve picked up and poor decisions we’ve made over the past 12-months. Let’s hope we can leave them behind in yesteryear.

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CagePotato Presents: The Ten Most Forgettable Fights of 2011


(Similar to Georges St.Pierre, MMA pundits, and most fans heading into UFC 129, Dana White was looking right past Jake Shields.)

2011 is approaching it’s final hour, Potato Nation, and when we typically take a look back at the year that was, we often lump things in terms of the very best, and more often than not, the very worst. But even though it has been arguably the biggest year in the sport’s History, it hasn’t gone without it’s fair share of snoozefests, sparring matches, and fights that simply didn’t live up to their own hype. For every Rua/Hendo, there was a Torres/Banuelos, so to speak, that kept us from having a full-on Chuck Liddell style freak out. It’s not that these fights made us angry, it’s just that they failed to make us feel anything.

In a way, they were actually a good thing for the sport, as they raised our appreciation for the epic slugfests, the back and forth brawls, and the technical battles to new heights. So it is for these unsung heroes that we bring you The Ten Most Forgettable Fights of 2011, presented in chronological order.

#10: Jacob Volkmann vs. Antonio Mckee

We know what you’re thinking, Potatoites, you’re thinking, “My God, it’s only been a year since this clown (dis)graced the UFC with that performance?” Well the answer is yes, and almost to the exact date. On January 1st at UFC 125, Anthony Mckee made his long awaited debut in the UFC. And when we say “long awaited,” we mean by none other than Mckee himself. You see, Anthony Mckee followed the James Toney method of trolling his way into the UFC through a shitstorm of self absorbed and ridiculous claims, despite only claiming seven finishes in his previous thirty contests. Well, DW took the bait, and threw Mckee humble wrestler and future threat to Homeland Security, Jacob Volkmann, for his big debut.

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The Six Greatest Heavyweight MMA Fights of 2011


(Will Lesnar vs. Overeem bash out a place on the list, or will it inevitably fall short of the hype?)

Between Junior Dos Santos’s knee injury, Strikeforce phasing out their heavyweight division in 2012, and the general lack of UFC heavyweight fights lately (just three in their last five events, to be exact), it seems like MMA’s big-man scene is in hibernation mode.

But starting with Friday night’s UFC 141 main event of Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem — promoted as the “biggest” fight of the year — and continuing on to Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier in March, the action among 265′ers is about to start heating up. With that mind, we decided to pay tribute to the greatest and most important heavyweight MMA fights from this past year. Enjoy, and let us know if we left out any of your favorites…

#6. DANIEL CORMIER vs. ANTONIO SILVA
Strikeforce World Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov, 9/10/11

What happened: The smaller man fought like a giant. Cormier landed his punches at will and easily shrugged off Silva’s attempts to take the fight to the ground. Entering the tournament as an alternate, Cormier punched his ticket to the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix finals with a hook/uppercut combo that stiffened the Brazilian Frankenstein.
What we learned: Undersized doesn’t always mean outgunned — and a big chin doesn’t always mean a strong chin.

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The 25 Greatest MMA Photos of 2011


(Anderson Silva: Like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and America’s Best Dance Crew, all rolled into one. / Photo courtesy of CombatLifestyle.com. Check out the full gallery after the jump.)

As we enter the last week of 2011, join us in celebrating the year’s most memorable images — from tense face-offs to action shots, ring girl pin-ups to gnarly post-fight injuries, and other assorted insanity. If we’ve left out any of your favorite MMA photos from the past year, drop us a link in the comments section. Enjoy…

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MMA GIF Party: The 10 Greatest GIFs of 2011


#10: Not everybody was prepared for the intensity of the UFC on FOX promo trailer.

Damn we love us a good GIF. 2011 provided us with dozens of memorable ones, but these ten stood out a little more than the rest. If we’ve left out one of your favorites, shoot us a link in the comments section. Props to ZombieProphet, Gordo on the UG, and everybody else who spends time making these things.


#9: Honey badger don’t care.

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MMA Video Tribute: The 25 Most Brutal Finishes of 2011


(“Look kid, I’m gonna find the man who did this to you. And when I do, so help me God, I’m gonna dock him one point for shorts-grabbing.” / Photo of Stout vs. Edwards aftermath via ESPN)

With a little help from the Potato Nation, we spent the last couple days gathering videos of the nastiest, ugliest, most-painful looking knockouts and submissions from this year. Finding 25 of them was the easy part. (Damn, MMA fighters. You seemed especially angry this year. Problems at home?) Putting them in order was a little more challenging.

Obviously, Frank Mir snapping Nogueira’s arm at UFC 140 was the people’s choice for #1. But how do you rank a head-kick knockout against a spinning-backfist knockout, when they both leave their victims zombie’d on the mat with their eyes open and their arms in the air?

So here’s what we’ll do. Instead of arranging these brutal stoppages in some arbitrary order, we’ll arrange them in groups. Use the links below to navigate through the sections, and take a moment to appreciate the human devastation that our great sport has caused in the last 12 months. And all this without a single death! Enjoy…

(Ben Goldstein)

- Page 1: The Perfect One-Shot (Or Two-Shot) Knockouts
- Page 2: The Savage Striking Onslaughts
Page 3: The Gruesome Submissions
- Page 4: Fancy Kicks and Other Insanity

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It Won’t Be Long, We’ll Meet Again: The Five Most Necessary and Unnecessary Rematches of 2011


(I see trouble a brewin’ on the horizon.) 

Given their frequency within the sport, we oft discuss the rematch here at CagePotato: we’ve mentioned a few that we’d like to see, we’ve mocked the possible occurence of others, and we’ve even gone as far as to predict how future ones would go down. And with 2011 featuring over 10 in the UFC alone, we decided to take a look back at at a year that both showcased and disgraced the awesomeness that is the rematch. Join us on this trip down memory lane, won’t you?

The Ones We Needed to See 

#5 – Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami at UFC 134

(Silva v. Okami, though this image could be from just about any of Silva’s fights.) 

Why it had to happen: Because the first fight marked the last time Silva had lost…at anything, and even if it was by way of illegal upkick DQ, it was enough to convince some people that Okami had his number. Plus, Okami had earned his shot by this point, and we were getting pretty damned tired of debating this old issue.

How it happened: Absolute. Domination. In typical fashion, Silva toyed with Okami like he was wrestling with his 4 year old nephew, letting the audience know that the fight would end when he decided it would. A head kick that rocked Okami at the end of the first round reinforced this belief, and Silva mercifully finished him off in the second. Cut. Print. TKO.

What it proved: That, outside of Chael Sonnen, there are no threats left in the UFC’s middleweight division for Anderson Silva. As with Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion Christiane “Cyborg” Santos, Silva must journey to another weight class if he desires a true challenge. Even DW is coming around to the idea, sort of.

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Crazy Enough to Be True: Ten Wild MMA Predictions for 2012


(“I appreciate the recognition, but really, this award belongs to CagePotato. Get up here, guys.”)

By Jason Moles

This time last year, I gave you a list of predictions that really created a stir. I boasted that the UFC would host an event in Mexico and be legalized in New York. Man, was I ever wrong about that. I apologize. But I also said that Dana White would coin a new phrase, land a network TV deal and that a famous athlete would cross over into the world of mixed martial arts. Not bad, eh? 2012 is quickly approaching so get the champagne on ice and let’s get to those wild predictions…

1. FOX will reprimand Dana White for his inevitable off-handed comments.

Faggot“, “f*cking retarded”, “dumb bitch” — these are all things that have been uttered by the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Dana White. The UFC may be MMA’s pinnacle and FOX’s diamond in the rough, but if the promotion is ever to secure a spot in the mainstream, it needs to display more control over its mouthpiece and his tongue. Advertisers tend to frown upon such public displays of hostility and bigotry. When Uncle Dana slips again and gives someone an earful, you can be certain that it won’t go unpunished as it has in the past. This goes for you too, Rogan and Rashad.

2. A champion will test positive for a banned substance.

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MMA Video Tribute: Jim Norton’s Nine Most Painful Interviews

Jim Norton Opie & Anthony radio UFC MMA fighters brock lesnar

As co-host of the Opie & Anthony radio show on SiriusXM, comedian Jim Norton has become the designated punching bag for visiting MMA stars. He’s been choked, he’s been kicked, he’s had his foot twisted 180 degrees by Brock Lesnar. And considering what a sick, depraved bastard Norton is, you have to wonder if he enjoys it on some level. Here’s everything we could collect from Jim Norton’s MMA-related body of work. All videos courtesy of opieradio.

Guest: BJ Penn, 4/14/10
Technique: Armbar
In Jim’s words: “That is fuckin’ horrible…Besides the fact that your arm is ready to be ripped out, it puts pressure on your fuckin’ — it stretches you both ways, I didn’t realize it did that.”

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Gallery: 25 Police Sketches that Look Remarkably Like MMA Personalities


(Judging by this uncanny drawing, I guess it’s safe to say Luke Cummo hasn’t made much of a life for himself outside the Octagon)

While browsing through the morning newspaper a couple of weeks ago, I came across a story about a man who attacked a disabled woman in a park in Tacoma and the composite sketch looked strikingly like someone I’d seen before. I just couldn’t place the face.

After a few moments, it dawned on me: It was Ben Fowlkes. I’d recognize that dead stare anywhere.

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