We’ve reached the mid-way point in our fighter t-shirt design contest, and the submissions are rolling in nicely; many thanks to everybody who sent in designs. To re-ignite your competitive fires, we’ve posted some of our current favorites, which continue after the jump. Please send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, 5/30, at midnight ET. Voting on the finalists will begin the next day, and the top vote-getter will score that FLO TV Personal Television, with access to the pay-per-view broadcast of UFC 115. So get crackin’…
Almeida will be looking bring a “W” and honor back to the Gracie academy while seeking revenge for Renzo and his other UFC-employed black belt, Matt Serra – both of whom were defeated by Hughes in the past year. Serra shared “Fight of the Night” honors in a unanimous decision loss with Hughes at UFC 98, while the aging Gracie was crippled with leg kicks by the Hillsborough, IL native who eventually pulled the trigger on a TKO victory in the third and final frame of their fight at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, UAE earlier this month. Hughes also holds a win over Renzo’s cousin, UFC legend Royce Gracie.
Weigh-ins for tomorrow’s UFC 112: Invincible event went down earlier today at Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi, with all 22 fighters successfully hitting their marks. Though there were no big surprises in the results, there were a few memorable moments in the face-offs, including Nick Osipczak going nose-to-nose with Rick Story, BJ Penn‘s death-glare on Frankie Edgar, Matt Hughes getting unanimously booed by the Abu Dhabi crowd during a brief interview, and Anderson Silva‘s confident dismissal of Demian Maia: "This is my time, this is my belt, the UFC is my house. No problem." The numbers are after the jump…
Matt Hughes is, according to some oddsmakers, about a 5-1 favorite to beat Renzo Gracie at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi this weekend. Maybe that’s because of how easily Hughes smoked Royce Gracie at UFC 60, or how he managed to survive an early scare and ride out a decision win over Gracie student Matt Serra at UFC 98. Or, then again, maybe it’s just because Renzo hasn’t fought in over three years (what you see in the video above is the unsatisfying result of that outing) and is bound to have a little bit of ring rust at 43 years old. Regardless, Gracie told MMAFighting.com in a recent live chat that he thinks he’ll beat Hughes with his superior jiu-jitsu (what, you thought he was going to say punching power?), but his fight isn’t the only one on the card where he’s predicting an upset:
"I don’t want to fight at 155 just because I don’t want to fight the new champion, Frank Edgar. I believe Edgar is going to beat B.J. Penn. He has all the tools to do it."
Just in case you were wondering, Edgar is an even bigger underdog than Gracie. But hey, this is the same guy who predicted Serra’s upset win over Georges St. Pierre. That’s got to count for something, right? Or absolutely nothing at all?
(Looking good, Matty! Photo courtesy of Tokyo Five.)
Long Island’s Matt Serra may love to crack jokes, but he wants you to know that it’s not all he’s doing as his fight with Frank Trigg at UFC 109 grows closer. In our exclusive interview, Serra gives us his thoughts on his opponent, his career in the UFC, and why he spends so much time in the barbership.
This fight comes at a time when you and Frank Trigg are both coming off losses and both in your mid-thirties. Where do you think this is going to leave you if you win or if you lose?
I don’t really know, and I don’t care. That’s up to whoever does those rankings or whatever. Technically, I’m coming off two losses. Do I feel like that? No, because I don’t even feel I lost my last fight. They offered me Frank Trigg, and I don’t look at as my chance to move up or anything like that. I see this as an entertaining fight and an exciting fight, on paper, and a good match-up. That’s basically how I look at it. I had the belt, and if my career leads back there then great. If it doesn’t, I’m looking for exciting fights.
Since you are coming off two losses, even though, as you said, the fight with Matt Hughes could have gone either way, do you worry about your job security if you lose this fight?
Our bro-4-life Ariel Helwani ran down to Renzo Gracie‘s NYC gym to ask the most affable member of Brazil’s first family of fighting why he feels the need to come back at 43 years old to fight in the UFC. A smiling Gracie attributes it to his irrepressible love of combat, proving yet again that some guys are just born for this stuff and there’s nothing they can do about it. Gracie refers to the chance to fight Matt Hughes at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi as "an honor," and says he’s already dropped twenty-five pounds, so now you can kind of see his abs. Now if only he could get his wife to stop complaining about all the time he spends at the gym, he’d be golden.
If you watch this to the end, you’ll see Helwani asking Gracie to repeat one of his favorite Renzo-isms of all time. He complies but, much like the "Planet of the Apes" remake, it lacks the fire of the original. See what we mean after the jump.
(The best part about going to a Bentley dealership? Signing the lease agreement.)
His showdown with fellow MMA legend Renzo Gracie is still about four months away, but Matt Hughes is beginning to slowly work his way into training camp. The former UFC welterweight champ wrote on his blog that it’s not quite as easy to get into fighting shape as he gets on in years, so he’s starting early and taking it slow. As for how he’s preparing for the bout after his recent lackluster outings, Hughes seems to have figured out that as awesome as the HIT Squad and its camouflage mats might be, he needs to seek outside help from time to time.
#10: Anderson Silva vs. Chris Leben, UFC Fight Night 5 (6/28/06) If you didn’t follow his pre-UFC career, you probably figured that Anderson Silva’s Octagon debut would be relatively competitive. Chris Leben was a dangerous brawler who had won five straight in the Octagon against solid competition, while Silva was…some sort of Brazilian from Japan, [...]
(It’s a girl! You can tell because of the bow stuck to her head!)
As much as we like to bust Matt Hughes‘ chops about being the Fox News of MMA fighters, Cage Potato would like to extend our sincere congratulations and warm wishes to him and his new baby daughter, Katelyn Mae Hughes, born this past Saturday morning. Actually, maybe the congratulations are more for his wife, Audra Hughes, since she did all the hard work. Matt presumably stood by the hospital bed and shouted at her that she ‘has to want it,’ until the doctors finally kicked him out of the delivery room.