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Tag: Matt Hamill

UFC 88: The Highlights

(Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans)

(Nate Marquardt vs. Martin Kampmann)

(Dan Henderson vs. Rousimar Palhares)


UFC 88: The Liveblog Your Mother Warned You About

(‘What if we got, like, a studio apartment together somewhere. We’d have so much fun! No? Nah, you’re right. I was just goofing.’ Photo courtesy of Combat Lifestyle.)

Atlanta, Georgia, are you ready to have your world rocked? Are you ready to have Mike Goldberg refer to you as ‘Hot-lanta’ at least three times, while Joe Rogan seizes any and every opportunity to point out the rubber guard? Well, you better be, because that’s what’s happening. I can hardly freaking wait.

We’ll be documenting all the zany action and half-cocked commentary as the night unfolds, cracking wise and making fairly obvious but mildly humorous observations all night long, so buckle in and get your commenting hat on. We’re dying to hear all your LOL’s and OMG’s. Maybe even the occasional WTF, although don’t get carried away. We’ve got a long night ahead of us. Hit refresh every so often, or get left behind.


Rich Franklin, Retirement Talk, and the Trouble with Mixing Sports Metaphors

Right off let’s get one thing straight: I don’t want to see Rich Franklin retire. I like Rich Franklin. His wacky personal views aside, he seems like a good guy and an exciting fighter. I’m not trying to hustle him into retirement, though I see how it might seem that way. Here’s what I wrote in yesterday’s article:

Franklin, who moves up in weight in an attempt to revitalize his career as a 205-pounder, made the best choice. If he can’t beat Matt Hamill on Saturday, though, that glimmer of hope will also fade, leaving him with a choice between retirement and a steady fall from mediocrity. Neither road is appealing, but at least one is more dignified.

All right, that sounds like I am totally trying to hustle Franklin into retirement. Perhaps I should have phrased it more delicately. Our reactionary Canadian friends at Fightlinker think so, and I see at least part of their point.

For the record, I expect Franklin to beat Hamill. He expects the same thing, or at least that’s what it sounded like when he described Hamill as a good first match-up in the division because he is “not one of the top 10 205-pound fighters.”

If he wins, there’s certainly no reason for him to consider retirement. Even if he gets held down for three rounds, he can still chalk it up to a bad style match-up and make a lateral move in the division for his next bout. But there’s another question at the heart of this. What happens when a fighter goes from great to good? If you aren’t moving up, are you necessarily headed down?


Ben vs. Ben: The UFC 88 Argument

(‘Sup, pussies.)

It’s that time again, Potato Nation. Cage Potato’s two Bens square off on a host of issues swirling around UFC 88, including what’s to become of Rich Franklin as a light heavyweight, who has the best chances to score an upset on Saturday night, and more. Let’s get it, as they say, on.

Does Chuck Liddell really deserve a title shot if he beats Rashad Evans?

Goldstein: A two-fight win streak isn’t much, but it’ll be more than any other top-tier UFC light-heavyweight contender can boast on Sunday morning, with the exception of Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva — and one of those guys is going to take his first loss next month. The question really is: Who deserves it more, Chuck or the winner of that all-Brazilian eliminator match?

In terms of creating a title fight that fans want to see, Liddell has to be at the front of the line. Chuck vs. Forrest will get fans insanely fired up. The alternative is watching Forrest and (probably) Machida dance around each other for five rounds — I have my doubts about the entertainment value of that matchup. And not to play the race card, but I understand why an American MMA organization is hesitant to create a situation where three of its five champions, as Mike Goldberg would say, “speak the Portuguesa.” (I’m counting Big Nog as one of them, of course; he’s my pick to come out on top of the imminent four-man heavyweight “tournament,” but that’s another debate.)

Chuck’s been unwaveringly loyal to the UFC during his career, and he deserves to be treated well in his final years with the company. If that means jumping ahead of someone who may deserve it more in terms of merit, so be it. Though if they want to put Liddell against Anderson Silva in December before he gets a shot at the belt, well, that’s cool too.

Fowlkes: When it comes to the UFC and title shots, I like to remind myself of a line from the movie Unforgiven: deserve’s got nothing to do with it. In a perfect fighting world, the fight would be set up so that the winner gets a title shot, regardless of who that is. But we both know that even if “Sugar” wins he’s not shooting to the top of the list. So the question is, would beating Evans be enough to reasonably justify putting Liddell up against Forrest Griffin next, which is the fight the UFC really wants to make?


Rich Franklin on Gatekeeping, Eating, and Hating

Rich Franklin UFC MMA
(This is actually good practice for…something. Photo courtesy of

From MMA Stomping Grounds via Fightline:

I was talking to the UFC after the second [Anderson] Silva loss and they encouraged me to move up to 205. They told me my position there would be more appealing to them from a business perspective. They weren’t interested in a third match between me and Silva and they didn’t want me fighting contenders because I could eliminate possible title fights, so I was stuck in that I was going to be fighting people on the back end of their losses to Silva and I didn’t care for that gatekeeper position. After the Travis Lutter fight, I said I would try my hand at 205 again…

I think I gotta be quick on my feet [against Matt Hamill]. I’m giving up some weight so he might be giving up some speed. I need to use my footwork to confuse him and stick and move and stick and move and avoid takedowns. Once he does take me down, I can’t let him lay on top of me. I need to stay active on the ground.


“At first when I started training for this fight, I was putting on weight, and everything was fine. But when I started getting down to the nitty-gritty of the fight and hitting all my two-a-days and double sessions as many times a week as I do, it’s difficult to make sure that you’re eating more than you’re burning constantly. My primary concern when I’m fighting at 185 is making weight. I meticulously weigh my food out and now when I weigh my food out, I’m doing it to make sure I’m eating enough food. It’s a completely, completely different process now.


Videos: Gina Carano + Kim Couture Grappling, Countdown to UFC 88 Preview

Crush and Sugar Free getting down at Xtreme Couture. Props to BloodyElbow.

A promo for SpikeTV’s upcoming preview show on “Breakthrough,” which features actual footage of Chuck Liddell’s hamstring injury in April, and Matt Hamill wreckin’ dudes as a kid. Props to FiveOuncesofPain.


Videos: Hamill on Franklin, Rogan on the Rape Choke, + More

Matt Hamill will be welcoming Rich Franklin back to the light heavyweight division at UFC 88 on September 6th, and he expects some fearsome striking from the former middleweight champ. But he trusts in his always-improving game, and knows he needs to face the best opponents available to earn his respect. Props to ESPN via FiveOuncesofPain.

Joe Rogan gives us a glimpse of the average UFC fight weekend for him, which generally includes a standup comedy performance on Friday night. A clip from his gig at the Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis starts at the 2:23 mark of this video, in which Joe does a solid Jim Brown impression and discusses his infamous “rape choke” commentary blunder at UFC Fight Night 13. Props to MMA Mania.


Evans, Franklin Talk UFC 88

If there’s one thing I love in fighter interviews it’s passive-aggressive remarks. Anybody can go out there and talk smack about an opponent or openly question his heart and his skills. But subtlety is a lost art in this business, and it can go a long way. For a great example, check out “Sugar” Rashad Evans’ remark about Liddell’s torn hamstring in this ESPN video. Says Evans, “at his age, injuries like that become harder to heal.”

Then he follows that up by saying he doesn’t expect it to be a big deal in the fight because Liddell is such a great fighter. I just really wish he would have added, “because, you know, Chuck’s sooooo experienced and has been fighting for soooo long, he can hobble his way through a fight with the best of them.”

After the jump check out Rich Franklin’s breakdown of his upcoming fight with Matt Hamill. Does he expect to be able to avoid Hamill’s takedowns all night? He does not. At least he’s being realistic.


Must-See: Kimbo Trains Tomlinson; Franklin Talks Hamill

(Props: FiveOuncesofPain)

In part one of Nike’s new commercial series “Train Like LT,” San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson goes to what’s supposed to be Kimbo Slice’s broke-ass backyard and does some training “the old-school way,” which involves bench-pressing air conditioners and leg-pressing a compact car. If part two doesn’t begin with him running the gauntlet that’s at end of this clip, we’re going to be very disappointed. Speaking of Kimbo, he also makes a split-second appearance in this new commercial for Madden NFL ’09.

(Props: MMA Mania)

Also, Rich “Ace” Franklin talks us through his UFC 88 matchup with Matt Hamill in the above clip, acknowledging that he’ll probably be on his back a couple times during the fight. Regarding his permanently blackened eye, Franklin said “Jorge Gurgel only hits me when I deserve it.” That poor, poor man…


Breaking: Franklin vs. Hamill, Dollaway vs. Taylor

Rich Franklin MMA
(Photo courtesy of

MMA Rated is reporting that Rich Franklin will move to light-heavyweight to take on Matt Hamill at UFC 88 (September 6th, Atlanta). Franklin spent much of his early career as a 205-pounder, before moving to middleweight in June 2005 when he took the UFC’s 185-pound strap from Evan Tanner. As for the matchup, there’s no danger of Franklin being torn apart by Hamill, Anderson Silva-style, but he’d better start drilling his takedown defense if he wants to avoid being laid on for 15 minutes by the hulking wrestler. And speaking of avoidance, how’s this for self-ownage — Franklin moving up in weight because he’s tired of bashing his face against Anderson Silva’s knees, while Silva is testing the waters at 205 because he cleared out the middleweight division. No matter where Ace goes, Spider is right there waiting, making sure he never gets another belt in his life. Poor guy.

In other news, we previously passed along a rumor that Jesse Taylor and CB Dollaway would fight at UFC Fight Night 14 (July 19th, Las Vegas), and multiple sources are now confirming the matchup. It feels a little premature for both fighters. Dollaway, who would be fighting just four weeks after his loss to Amir Sadollah at the TUF 7 finale, could use more time to cultivate his submission defense, and who knows if Jesse Taylor’s brief stint in AA and a couple months of groveling for Dana White has actually turned him into a stable human being. But it’s the matchup that fans of the show want to see, and it’s happening, whether they’re ready or not.