It may be too early to declare that a new era has begun, but last night proved that the old one is on life support. The Prudential Center is used to watching some pretty lopsided beatdowns, but even the hometown crowd seemed surprised at what they were watching. Unlike the Nets, fans actually expected Shogun to put up competitive effort.
Last night was business as usual for the newly crowned LHW champion, Jon Jones. Shogun, who landed only eleven strikes all night, was outclassed in literally every aspect of the fight. It’s no exaggeration to say that Jones made Shogun look like the 23 year old fighting a legend of Pride. For that matter, it’s barely an exaggeration to say that Jones made Shogun look like the untrained mugger he stopped in the park earlier that day. It’s tempting to prematurely declare the Jon Jones Era after last night. But let’s wait until he defends the belt first.
As Japanese MMA seems to slowly dwindle away from the glory days of the sport, hardcore fans like myself shed a tear for our great loss. It wasn’t just knowing those obscure 135-pounders whose names had syllables our gaijin tongues could barely pronounce, or the fact that it was the land where stomping and soccer-kicking a human being in the face was perfected into a sweet science. More than that, it was the stars that were produced that we came to know and love, whether they were fighting someone on their level or tearing open a tomato can — and that is where this list begins.
Blatant mismatches aside, JMMA gave us so many beautiful fights with men like Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko “Crocop” Filipovic (go tell your favorite TUF noob that his last name is not Crocop and relish in their confusion), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Ikuhisa Minowa and Kazushi Sakuraba. For every epic bout that went into the history books for their unbelievable drama, we had other fights that we remember for less than pleasant reasons. Yes, the freak show fights! What would a JMMA event be without a match worthy of a 1930′s carnival? The big question here was how do I rank something that is mediocre to begin with? Well, I’m as clueless as you are, so let’s get started on this journey down “Freak Show Lane,” across the street from “What Were They Thinking? Boulevard”…
10. Daiju Takase vs. Emmanuel Yarbrough
Pride 3, 6/24/98
This was the first freak show fight in Pride history, and earns a place on this list for that merit alone. It pit 169 lb. Daiju Takase against 600 lb. Emmanuel Yarbrough, who most fans will recall was clobbered into submission by Keith Hackney and his broken hand at UFC 3 (Yarbrough has no luck in any event associated with the number three). The sumo plodded around the ring tossing his hamhock arms at Takase, while the smaller Japanese fighter fled and slowly wore down Yarbrough.
Takase makes the mistake of going for a lazy single leg on Yarbrough, which results in the large fighter flopping onto his belly and absorbing Takase into his flesh. As Stephen Quadros lamented, “This is horrible! This is like “Jaws!” Eventually, Takase slid out from the greasy underside of Manny, and in an ending eerily similiar to his UFC 3 fight, Takase went to town with clubbing hands to his exhausted opponent’s face, leading to a tapout in the middle of the second round.
If you were one of the poor bastards who suffered through UFC 119‘s woeful main event, you may have noticed Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic and Frank Mir having a little chat in the third round. Mid-fight trash talk, perhaps? A friendly "is that all you got, bitch?" maybe, or the ever-reliable "you ain’t shit"? Not exactly. As Cro Cop explained to Index.hr (translated by Fighters Only), he was asking if Mir would be kind enough to let go of their clinch so they could stand and bang. The exchange basically went like this:
Cro Cop: Let me go, let’s go to the center and fight. Mir: Let’s go to the mat. Cro Cop: OK — if I’m on top. Mir: We’ll stay in the clinch.
Eventually the ref broke them up and Cro Cop got his wish, even though he was knocked out by a knee to the jaw shortly after. Filipovic now joins the super-exclusive club of whacked-out MMA fighters who try to negotiate better positions during a fight, only to be refused by their opponents and then lose in humiliating fashion. At this point, the only other member of that club is Paulo Filho.
After returning to Croatia, Filipovic did another interview in which he flagrantly violated a recent CagePotato Ban — bad Mirko! — and assured everyone that he’ll be returning to the UFC. Twice, in fact…
After an unsuccessful stint in rehab, the Gambling Addiction Enabler has returned to do what it does best — make large, ill-advised wagers simply for the thrill of gambling. We’re not saying you should follow our betting advice, necessarily, but there are plenty of opportunities to beat the bookies at UFC 119, which goes down this Satuday in Indianapolis. The betting lines are below, courtesy of bestfightodds.com. If you can’t afford to waste real money, please hit up MMA FightPicker and throw down some virtual PotatoChips on the fights. And if you don’t know what these numbers mean, please read this first.
MAIN CARD Frank Mir (-220) vs. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (+215) Ryan Bader (-165) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+155) Chris Lytle (-125) vs. Matt Serra (+120) Evan Dunham (-204) vs. Sean Sherk (+190) Melvin Guillard (-150) vs. Jeremy Stephens (+140)
SPIKE TV PRELIMS CB Dollaway (-295) vs. Joe Doerksen (+270) Matt Mitrione (-140) vs. Joey Beltran (+136)
UNAIRED PRELIMS Thiago Tavares (-290) vs. Pat Audinwood (+240) Steve Lopez (-115) vs. Waylon Lowe (-115) T.J. Grant (-150) vs. Julio Paulino (+145) Mark Hunt (-215) vs. Sean McCorkle (+200)
Though Nogueira had to undergo knee surgery in 2009, his latest injury is possibly hip-related. Big Nog has also battled staph infections in recent years, which delayed his meeting with Cain Velasquez, and supposedly affected his first performance against Frank Mir at UFC 92. After suffering the only two stoppage losses of his career in his last three fights, it seems that Nogueira has finally learned his lesson about fighting hurt. But after so many tough battles, injuries, and illnesses, will his body ever fully recover?
(No wonder Chuck doesn’t want to retire. I’d fight Fedor, Velasquez, Lesnar and Dos Santos in a four-man tag-team match for $500,000)
The Vancouver Athletic Commission released the fighters’ salaries, medical suspensions and revenue figures from UFC 115. According to the report, Chuck Liddell was the highest paid fighter on the card that took in a $4.2 million live gate with a "show" pay of $500,000 USD. Not a bad gold watch for his UFC retirement fight.
Fighters salaries totalled $1.85 million, which accounted for 31% of the live gate of the event. 17,669 attended the second Canadian show put on by the UFC in 2010; 1,296 of whom were comped tickets by the promotion and 1,752 watched the action from private suites. According to the release, only 138 tickets went unsold for the show.
Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic was the second highest paid fighter with $150,000 which included a $75,000 win bonus for his rear naked choke submission over Pat Barry. Cro Cop also took home an additional $85,000 for submission of the night, but bonus awards and undisclosed back room bonuses paid out by the UFC are not included in the commission’s salary summary.
12 fighters, including Rich Franklin, Chuck Liddell, Pat Barry, Mirko Filipovic and Rory MacDonald were handed 180 day suspensions while the remainder of the fighters were given from 45-14 days off from training and fighting for lesser injuries or precautionary reasons.
"I definitely wasn’t going to quit — I’ve broken bones before and continued fighting — but there was part of me that was wondering what kind of strategy I was going to use to win the fight with a broken left arm in the second and third rounds."
…proving once again that knocking your opponent out early is always the best gameplan. (Are you listening, Pat?) Liddell woke up from his knockout with a horribly split lip and a gash over his left eye, but that didn’t stop him from making an appearance at his afterparty. A photographic timeline of Chuck’s night continues after the jump.
Here we go with tonight’s liveblog for UFC 115: Liddell vs. Franklin, which will attempt to answer a plethora of burning questions. Do abs make you a better fighter? Does shaving off your porn stache give you a better chin? Will Tyson Griffin finish his third UFC opponent? Will Pat Barry be able to reach Cro Cop’s melon with a head kick?
We’ll soon know the answers to these questions and many more. Remember to refresh often.