(Who the hell is this guy? I thought you said Mark Hunt was coming here.)
Former PRIDE and K-1 star Mark Hunt is taking his last kick at the can of his mixed martial arts career seriously as evidenced by the photo above. Not only has he transformed his body from its rotund former self, he has also joined American Top Team, where he will spend the last month of his training camp preparing for his September 25 UFC debut opposite former fellow super heavyweight, Sean McCorkle at UFC 119 in Indianapolis.
Hunt’s critics have always pointed to his lack of conditioning and the fact that he didn’t train with a top-tier team in his native New Zealand as the reasons why he never got past his role as gatekeeper in PRIDE. Even fights that Hunt was winning, he always seemed to find a way to lose, usually as a result of his lack of cardio or his lack of a ground game.
(Always be specific when you order "Brazilian twins" from the local escort service. You could get badly burned. Trust me guys, *badly* burned…)
Sherk vs. Dunham? Who cares! Lots more UFC 119-related news just came over the wires, and it looks like the people of Indianapolis are going to be in for a wild night, even if the main event is somewhat lacking in importance. Here’s what we’re dealing with…
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Frank Mir: This will reportedly be the evening’s headliner. Hmm. If you’ll recall, the two former champions coached against each other on TUF 8, then Mir shocked our asses by TKO’ing Nogueira at UFC 92. Nogueira blamed his weak performance on a staph infection, so maybe this fight will turn out differently, but basically we’re being given another UFC main event where both guys are coming off losses, and the winner doesn’t even become the division’s #1 contender. Personally, I was more interested in a Big Nog vs. Cro Cop rematch.
You may have heard stories about Mark Hunt and his legendary granite chin, but unless you go back and watch some of his old K-1 fights, you’ll never truly understand. The Super Samoan’s decision loss to fellow New Zealander Ray Sefo at the K-1 World GP 2001 in Fukuoka, Japan, was a slugfest for the ages, in which Hunt repeatedly invited Sugarfoot Sefo to haul off at his face, and absorbed point-blank right hooks and axe kicks without so much as a flinch. Sefo may have gotten the nod from the judges that night, but Hunt was far from beaten. "You never got me down, Ray" indeed.
Part two of the fight is above. Click here for part one.
How happy is Tito Ortiz to be back in the UFC? So happy that he would engage in an illicit homosexual kiss with his boss and former rival, Dana White. WHY ISN’T TMZ COVERING THIS?? Later, Ortiz revealed that White "had a hairy lip," and White scrubbed his tongue with steel wool.
After the jump: A quick video profile on new Octagon Girl Natasha Wicks (she’s not just a piece of meat, you guys — she has thoughts, emotions, and she loves the outdoors), some footage of Lyoto Machida training for Shogun, and an underrated Fedor Emelianenko fight, just because.
"Here we go. Bloggin’ again." So says Dana White after he and Lorenzo sell some snake oil to a group of Stanford Business students, telling them that their friendship is what has kept the UFC successful. Plus, it’s all about the ride. You can pretty much skip past 2:19-4:44, in which Lorenzo tells a convoluted shaggy dog story (literally/figuratively) which doesn’t really go anywhere. You can also skip through 4:45-6:00 in which Dana plays Pac-Man in his garage. Man, I can’t imagine what landed on the cutting-room floor this time around. Then, Dana’s daughter shows up in an Ed Hardy shirt (LOL, what a douchebag) and his son disses his baldness. A lot of family time, basically, ending with Dana and Lorenzo reunited and heading to Germany. In a way, this vlog entry is much like UFC 96 itself — only interesting if you’re a hardcore fan.
Below: Rejoice! Genghis Con has created a sequel to his groovy Fedor Emelianenko-based film The Last Russian Emperor. Chapter 2 focuses on Fedor’s last five victories (Hunt, Lindland, Choi, Sylvia, Arlovski), with some great behind-the-scenes footage peppered in. The exchange between Aleks and Andrei at the 6:13 mark FTW.
Wow. Who would have thought that a) we’d ever see Mark Hunt get knocked out by something as simple as a left hook-straight right combo, b) in the opening seconds of a fight, and c) by a middleweight. This is the guy who walked right through a Cro Cop high kick. Hats off to Melvin Manhoef. Maybe now he’ll get that fight with Kimbo Slice that he wants.
More videos from Fields Dynamite 2008 after the jump.
(‘It’s not a skirt, you assholes. The Romans wore these. Read a book.’)
The surprises just keep coming for the New Year’s Eve K-1 Dynamite show. Jerome Le Banner is sick with the flu and has been forced to pull out of his fight with Mark Hunt, and Melvin Manhoef has agreed to take his place. Despite the incredible weight difference between the heavyweight Hunt and the sort of middleweight Manhoef, the two will fight an MMA bout under “Dream rules” for three five-minute rounds.
Is it a good idea for Manhoef, a vicious striker with an almost non-existent ground game to face a much heavier and damn near impossible to knock out fighter like Hunt, who also packs a serious wallop of his own? Short answer: no. No, it is probably not a good idea. Especially on short notice. But unlike many of the other bad ideas on the Dynamite NYE show, this one I’d actually love to see.
Dammit, Japan. Just when I want to curse your lack of rules and regulations, you go and do something like this to leave me more conflicted than ever. I just can’t quit you.
(Alvarez vs. Kawajiri: Fight of the Night. Props to MMA-Core.)
Chaos rules when it comes to single-night tournaments, and today’s DREAM.5 show in Osaka was marked by an unexpected twist — lightweight grand prix alternate Joachim Hansen defeated crowd-favorite Shinya Aoki in the finals to become DREAM’s first lightweight champion, following an eye injury suffered by Eddie Alvarez in his semifinal match.
The first semifinal bout was dominated by Aoki, who threw his entire bag of submissions at Caol Uno, threatening Uno repeatedly with chokes, leglocks and armbars. Uno hung in like a champ, but the judges made the obvious choice when the clock ran out, and an exhausted Aoki advanced to the finals.
In the second semifinal, the Philadelphia-based Eddie Alvarez proved that he should be counted among the world’s best lightweights, getting the best of Tatsuya Kawajiri in a thrilling slugfest. Alvarez suffered a cut under his right eye early by Kawajiri’s nasty power punches, but Alvarez dropped Kawajiri with his own. After time was called for Alvarez’s eye to be checked out, the fight-restarted with Kawajiri taking control again, punching Alvarez to the mat and swarming him from the top. Alvarez eventually got to his feet, taking heavy damage in return. But Alvarez battled back, throwing his fists until Kawajiri succumbed. Unfortunately, it was later announced that Alvarez wouldn’t be able to continue to the finals because his eye was swollen shut.
The tournament’s alternate bout saw Joachim Hansen withstand an early assault by Indian fighter Kultar “Black Mamba” Gill; Hellboy quickly regained control and put away his outmatched opponent via armbar at the 2:33 mark. Hansen, who had lost to Alvarez at the lightweight GP quarterfinals in May, would now be replacing him in the finals.
DREAM.5 is only three days away — not the most convenient time for the lineup to fall apart. First, the bad news: Featherweight star Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto (pictured above) has injured his right knee in training and won’t fight at Monday’s show; the injury might put him on ice for six months. Even worse, a feature in the forthcoming issue of the Japanese tabloid Shukan Gendai alleges that Yamamoto is a regular user of marijuana. (Apparently, that’s looked down on over there; we Americans revere marijuana for its glaucoma-easing and gogoplata-inspiring properties.) Yamamoto last fought at K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!! (12/31/07), where he smoked Rani Yahya via TKO.
Featherweight Hideo Tokoro is also in danger of dropping from the card, as he was rear-ended while driving on Wednesday, and suffered a back injury could take a week to heal completely. Strangely enough, FightOpinion reports that Tokoro’s scheduled bout against Takeshi Yamazaki was being promoted as an “ikemen” (hot guy) match. And if that’s what it takes to sell fights in Japan, I think I’m going to arrange a superfight between Hard Gay and Bruno.