(Oh yeah, they’ll be plenty of this. And we definitely don’t mean the “thoughts” part.)
With a lineup that would challenge any UFC pay-per-view event in recent memory, UFC on FOX 5: Henderson vs. Diaz will come storming into your living rooms tomorrow night at 8 p.m. EST. You know what that means for tonight — some dudes are going to mean mug and possibly shove some other dudes that hopefully weigh-in at the same weight as the first dudes. Confused? Then join us after the jump and we’ll sort this all out for you, and make sure to swing by tomorrow at 8 p.m. to catch our liveblog of all the action!
UFC on Fox 5 is one of the most stacked cards of the entire year, and it’s free on network television. It contains a pseudo-grudge match between the only man in UFC history to hold the lightweight and welterweight titles, and a rising star who trains with his greatest rival. The co-main event sees a PRIDE legend and one-time UFC champ looking to reclaim his former glory in yet another epic war against a rising contender from a burgeoning MMA scene in Scandanavia. And in the main event, you have the two best lightweights in the world (besides Frankie Edgar) going head to head in the toughest division in the UFC. What more could you ask for?
Well, if the answer to that rhetorical question was “the most brilliant predictions/pre-fight analysis column ever,” then you are in luck, my friend! And because this card is so stacked, there will be not one, not two, not three, but…actually no, there will be three predictions. (Sorry Mike Swick and Matt Brown.) Logophobes, you’ve been warned.
The first of the big three fights on the card is the highly anticipated matchup between a returning BJ Penn and wunderkind Rory MacDonald. Penn’s seeking to reinforce his legacy as one of the best ever in the sport, and Rory’s been giving him even more motivation recently, claiming he’s coming to “hurt [Penn]” who he believes is “fighting for the wrong reasons.” Bold words, but MacDonald’s the type of fighter who’s capable of backing them up. He’s only lost once in his career — a TKO loss to Carlos Condit, in which he won the first two rounds before getting stopped in the waning seconds of the final round. But he holds wins over Nate Diaz and Mike Pyle, and aside from the former, all of MacDonald’s victories have come by stoppage.
It should be noted, though, that aside from Condit, Penn is a stronger fighter at this weight than any of the other fighters mentioned. He presents a greater knockout threat than any of them, has better wrestling, and has one of, if not the, best top games of any grappler in the UFC. However, Penn has historically been weak in the cardio department, particularly at welterweight. Even though he looks to be in excellent shape, he’s still carrying more weight than usual, and he’ll be forced to carry MacDonald’s weight as well. While Penn’s revamped his training camp, it’s unlikely he’ll have been able to fix a career-long deficiency, particularly after returning from “retirement.”
This may be the 5th installment of the UFC on FOX, but somehow it feels like the very first time the UFC will be showcased for the mass cable viewing audience. With a card that far and away surpasses any previous cable-accessible card in the sport’s history, FOX has dubbed this week “Fight Week” and rightfully so. Both parties seem to be maximizing their potential for UFC on FOX 5, but we’ll have to wait until Saturday to determine whether or not the key to success on network television is having both title fights with a solid supporting card and the steady promotion FOX has offered for this event in the days leading up to it.
With a 3-3 record over the past 6 UFC PPV’s, it’s time for The Gambling Addiction Enabler to sink or swim (or specifically, find ourselves at the bottom of the ocean with a fancy matching pair of cinder blocks for shoes). So Join us as we highlight some of the undercard and all the main card bouts in the hopes of bringing you Taters some early holiday funds. All the betting lines come courtesy of BestFightOdds, per usual.
Diaz has earned his shot at the belt with three consecutive wins over Takanori Gomi (first-round armbar), Donald Cerrone (gangsterish unanimous decision), and Jim Miller (second-round guillotine choke). Meanwhile, Henderson is a perfect 5-0 in the UFC, and just beat Frankie Edgar for the second time last weekend at UFC 150. Will Diaz be the one to stop Bendo’s juggernaut-like momentum?
Props to the UG for the find and MMAInterviews for this video, which asks several of the fighters from UFC on FOX 4, along with several other MMA stars, what Olympic event they would most likely compete in if they weren’t mixed martial artists. The responses ranged from funny (Joe Lauzon’s desire to try and make people give a shit about speed walking) to optimistic (5′ 8” Jamie Varner’s chances as a high-jumper) to spot-on for their personality (Ryan Bader would “throw rocks” and lift weights, go figure).
And speaking of Olympics, are we the only ones who think water polo is receiving far too much coverage this year? We’re sorry, but whatever asshole took a look at soccer and thought “You know what we should do with this sport? Slow it way, way down, limit the players mobility, and blow a whistle every three seconds” should be shot in the face, then dragged to a nearby park to make it look like a suicide. And yes, we know that person is probably dead already. Just go with it.
Anyway, it is with this inspiring little interview that we ask you taters to fill the blanks in for the following sentence:
If ______ were an Olympian instead of an MMA fighter, he/she would ______.
(Mike Swick and DaMarques Johnson combine their efforts to create not only the greatest punchface of 2012, but perhaps the greatest punchface of all time.)
Aside from the disappointing and sudden end that came during the Phil Davis/Wagner Prado fight (which is tentatively being rescheduled for UFC on FX 5), last Saturday’s UFC on FOX event delivered in spades, featuring a main card that not only provided four highlight reel finishes for the night’s big winners, but a quartet of great fights that mainstream audiences had yet to witness on a FOX card. It more than likely came as a surprise to most of us that the card was as successful as it truly was, so with that in mind, we decided to dust off our beloved Armchair Matchmaker and pre-determine the fates of the aforementioned winners and losers from last weekend’s action. Enjoy, and let us know of any other possible matchups you’d like to see in the comments section.
Mauricio Rua: Despite smashing Brandon Vera’s title aspirations in rather brutal fashion, there is no denying that Shogun had some rather dicey moments leading up to the fourth round finish (that guillotine, for instance). After controlling Vera on the ground for the majority of the first, Shogun looked like he was fighting underwater by the end of the second. But as was the case in his previous loss to Dan Henderson, Shogun proved that what he lacks in cardio he more than makes up for in heart.
Still, it will take at least another “impressive” finish over an upper-echelon opponent before we are convinced that Shogun deserves another title shot. His total unwillingness to fight Glover Teixeira causes some pause for concern, and since it appears that Rashad Evans might be headed for 185 in the near future, we are left with only one suitable fit: Alexander Gustafsson. Last weekend basically cleared out the list of potential contenders at 205, and although we’d rather see Shogun and Lyoto Machida complete their trilogy for the right to take on the Bones/Hendo winner, we can’t hate on Dana White for following through on his promise. So if Rua/Gustafsson is all we’re left with, we’d be more than willing to watch these two throw down for a #1 contender spot. Let’s just hope Shogun packs his oxygen tank this time.
(Brandon Vera: Willing to take his licks in victory or defeat. Mainly defeat.)
After collecting the top eight comments from last week and allowing you, the Potato Nation, to determine who was the funniest son of a bitch amongst you, it looks like we have a winner. With an astounding 38.5% of the votes, none other than Mr. Misanthropy’s Brandon “The Aloe” Vera comment ran away with the victory like it had just drank an entire crate of Powerthirst energy drinks. Although Vera’s fighting style was anything but soothing in his fourth round knockout loss to Mauricio Rua this past weekend, it was comments like that one that managed to finally light a fire under Vera’s ass, so an extra congrats is in order for Mr. Misanthropy’s last minute motivation.
Misanthropy (that is how you pronounce it, right?), please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your real name, address, and shirt size, and we’ll get you hooked up ASAP. You can also rest assured that your comment WILL be carried over to next week’s competition as the reigning champion, but it’s looking like it will already be facing some stiff competition. Thanks to everyone who voted, and make sure to get in on the action by voting next week or, God forbid, coming up with something funny of your own!
I’ve got an idea: Instead of obsessing about who really deserves the next shot at the light-heavyweight title, let’s just kick back tonight and enjoy some free fights on FOX, two of which happen to feature former 205-pound champions (both Brazilian) facing off against hungry contenders (both American). Throw in a lightweight feature between Joe Lauzon and comeback kid Jamie Varner, and Mike Swick‘s first Octagon appearance in two-and-a-half years, and you’ve got a lineup that should hopefully take some of the sting off that $55 you blew on UFC 149.
The UFC on FOX: Shogun vs. Vera main card kicks off at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT, and our man Elias Cepeda will be guiding you through the play-by-play after the jump. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and give us the play-by-play for your own lives in the comments section.
(“You know the deal, guys. Whoever puts on the most impressive performance tonight gets the title shot.” [*unzips*] / Photo courtesy of CombatLifestyle.com. For more photos from this set, click here.)
By Ryan Sarr
Who is going to win the “Jon Jones Sweepstakes?” That is the big question heading into the UFC’s fourth venture onto network television tonight. Dana White was so pissed about the boring, lackluster abomination that was the UFC 149 main card, that he decided to award a light-heavyweight title shot to the man who wins the “most impressively“ among the four main and co-main event participants. (Yes, even Brandon Vera) The only problem with this scenario is that all four men — Shogun, Vera, Machida, and Bader — have each been decisively destroyed by Jon Jones in previous fights.
Nonetheless, this fight card is still very intriguing and offers many reasons to tune in. First of all: It’s free on Fox. Second, all four main card bouts are likely to be exciting, fast-paced battles. It also marks the return of the very talented Mike Swick to the Octagon, who hasn’t fought in over two years. Finally, we have a chance to see a true Cinderella story play out once again as Jamie Varner gets a chance to take another huge step up in his comeback by fighting on a main card on network television. So, join me as I break down the main card for UFC on Fox 4 and offer my predictions as to who will emerge victorious.
DaMarques Johnson said in the fight promo, “There’s a 50% chance I’m gonna win this fight, there’s a 100% chance that somebody’s taking a nap,” and Johnson has the track record to back it up: None of his fights in the UFC have gone the distance. The Jeremy Horn protégé has slick submission skills to go along with his heavy hands. We know Johnson will bring a fast-paced, exciting style into the Octagon, and his opponent Mike Swick will almost certainly do the same.
UFC president Dana White and the four headliners for Saturday’s UFC on FOX 4 event — Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Brandon Vera, Lyoto Machida, and Ryan Bader — will be in attendance today for the “Shogun vs. Vera” press conference in Los Angeles; you can watch it live in the player after the jump beginning at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT. We expect each man to make a perfectly logical and well-reasoned argument why he should be the next light-heavyweight title-contender. Personally, I think Jon Jones should just go down the row elbowing each fighter in the nose at full strength, and the last guy to start crying earns the shot. But what do I know — I’m just an unappreciated promotional visionary.