Wanderlei Silva, Mark Hunt, Takanori Gomi, the Saitama Super Arena — if you squint your eyes, maybe you can convince yourself that PRIDE, in fact, neva die. The UFC is back in Japan today with a crowd-pleasing lineup of battle-scarred legends, rising stars, and whatever you’d call Diego Sanchez and Brian Stann at this point. (“Reliable bangers”? Yeah, I guess that works.)
Taking us through the action is George Shunick, who will be stacking live results from the FUEL TV main card after the jump beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and share your own feelings in the comments section.
(Demetrious Johnson had never seen a giraffe in person before this photo was taken. He still hasn’t, but don’t tell him that.)
Despite being a relatively humble guy by fighter’s standards, Stefan Struve isn’t afraid to make a bold statement every now and again. Or in today’s case, a couple obvious ones. First, Struve spoke to UFC.com about his upcoming UFC on FUEL 8 tilt with PRIDE legend Mark Hunt (check out an awesome promo for the event here). After making such straightforward statements as “[Hunt] will not try and take me down” and “I’m fine when I keep my distance,” Struve ended the interview by declaring that “I’m not a boy among men anymore, you know? Now I’m a 265-pound, seven-foot monster.” Which is fine, until you see how he made that statement.
We don’t know about you, but there are so many UFC events being strewn across so many different channels these days that we are starting to forget some of them even exist until about a week out. It’s not something we’re complaining about, but by a show of hands, how many of you realized that UFC on FUEL 8 is going down this weekend in Japan? Well, it is, and it features a headlining fight between Brian Stann and Wanderlei Silva that all of the world’s leading scientists have predicted will end inside of three rounds.
But perhaps no fighter in the UFC possesses a greater comeback story than Hunt, who saw his career resurrected in the UFC following a six fight losing streak between 2006-2010. In the time since, Hunt has collected three straight wins in the octagon and even survived a fight with Cheick Kongo with both testicles intact. Despite his introverted nature, “The Super Samoan” has become an inspirational figure if there ever was one, and that inspiration takes center stage in the latest UFC on FUEL 8 promo.
We’ve placed the video above, so check it out and let us know if Hunt’s inspirational story will somehow help him overcome the 12.5 inch reach disadvantage he will be facing against the 6’11″ Struve this weekend. My guess is it won’t, but where inspiration oft fails, an atomic butt drop usually succeeds.
For the longest time, we thought Bob Sapp‘s muscles were an extension of his personality, which is to say, fake. Like, Spongebob Squarepants “Anchor Arms” fake. Sure, they looked realistic and everything, but we always believed that underneath all the state-of-the-art makeup and Styrofoam padding was a frail, perpetually horrified struggling actor who just wanted to do some method acting before everything spiraled out of control. Why else would Sapp fall to the mat crying as soon as his opponent even looked at him the wrong way? He’s a sensitive artist that has feels, that’s why.
Unfortunately, Sapp pretty much shattered our universe and proved once and for all that he does posses strength in that Rhinosaur build of his, via a Japanese arm-wrestling tournament that took place over the weekend. Although the tourney featured such actual fighters as Alistair Overeem and Mark Hunt, Sapp absolutely Lincoln Hawked the competition without even breaking a sweat. You know, kind of like how he collects 50k per fight to do the complete opposite.
The entire video is above and also features Kazushi Sakuraba, a Sumo in a track suit, and at least one advertisement that will give you the heebie-jeebies. So basically, it’s every Japanese game show you’ve ever witnessed. Enjoy.
A proven fight-finisher, Struve has stopped his last four opponents in the Octagon (Pat Barry, Dave Herman, Lavar Johnson, and Stipe Miocic), while Hunt has earned victories over his last three (Chris Tuchscherer, Ben Rothwell, and Cheick Kongo). Though Hunt will enjoy a sort of home-field advantage — he’s had nine previous MMA fights at the Saitama Super Arena, while Struve will be making his Japanese debut — he will also be giving up 13 inches (!) in height.
The latest in a series of video spots promoting the UFC in Australia, “The Art of Fighting Part 3: Learning to Dance” focuses on combat sports legend Mark Hunt, the former K-1/PRIDE veteran who has found an unexpected career rebirth inside the Octagon. After losing six consecutive MMA fights from 2006-2010 (five via armlock, one via Manhoef), Hunt is now on a three-fight win streak — including knockouts of Chris Tuchscherer and Cheick Kongo — and is currently calling out old foes while on injury leave.
Hunt is not a complicated man, and his best quotes in this clip are zen-like in their simplicity. (“The best part about fighting is the fighting.” “My gameplan is just knock his head off. That’s the gameplan.”) Plus, the 38-year-old New Zealander says he’d probably be in jail if not for fighting. So thank you, MMA, for saving Mark Hunt from a shameful life of white-collar crime.
(The best way to stop Cheick Kongo from kneeing you in the jewels? Turns out, it’s a simple jab. Who woulda thunk it?)
As is the case for approximately 95% of the UFC’s current roster, Mark Hunt was forced to pull out of his last scheduled fight (against Stefan Struve) due to injury. But while he’s been quietly recuperating his knee and enjoying his current, not to mention improbable 3 fight win streak in the UFC, he’s apparently also been thinking about leveling the score with some of his former foes. Mainly, that of Alistair Overeem, who defeated Hunt by first round keylock when the two clashed back in June of 2008 at DREAM 5. It was Hunt’s third straight loss to come via form of arm-lock, but it certainly wouldn’t be his most painful.
In either case, it appears that Hunt may have heard through the grapevine that Alistair stated he would prefer to fight as soon as he got his license back, title shot or not, and figured he could kill two birds with one stone. Those two birds being a bit of redemption and possibly the next heavyweight title shot. He told The MMA Hour:
If they’d like to get me a fight I’d like to get a rematch with Alistair Overeem, you know, when he comes back from his injury or from whatever, his hiatus. You know? I’d like to have my rematch with him. I’d be willing to fight next year so it doesn’t matter. If he gets a title shot, that’s good on him.
We hate to sound like a bunch of little schoolgirls but OMG JOE SILVA BOOK THIS FIGHT WE’LL LUV U 4EVER PLZZ!!
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 effectiveness, how 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!
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…
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.
(Mark Hunt, seen here at the moment he found out where Lavar Johnson got his nickname.)
Shitty news for you “Super Samoan” fans, as it has been confirmed by none other than Mark Hunt himself, via his Twitter account, that he has suffered a knee injury in training and has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled contest against Stefan Struve at UFC 146. For those of you keeping track, this now means that every single main card fight has been altered from its original pairing, and we’re still over a week out. If you’re currently a ticket holder for UFC 146, we recommend you cross your fingers and stick your head in the sand until May 26th comes around.
I heard last night there was a chance I could get this fight and I accepted right away. You don’t get chances like this too much in life, so when you are lucky, you got to make the most of it. I took one week off after last fight [May 5] and then went back to the gym.
So, Potato Nation, is anyone more stoked at the idea of Johnson/Struve than the original matchup? And who do you think takes this?