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Tag: MMA

Ben vs. Ben: UFC 96 Edition


(A face only Greg Jackson could love.  Courtesy of Combat Lifestyle’s UFC 96 press conference gallery.)

It’s debatin’ time again.  With one day to go before UFC 96 rocks Columbus, Ohio, we’re talking title shots, Hall of Fame inductees, and more in this edition of Ben vs. Ben.

Given Jardine’s track record for spoiling the UFC’s best-laid plans, what are his chances to upset Rampage Jackson and force a Machida-Evans title fight?

BG: Unless Greg Jackson’s gameplan for Keith Jardine is “change everything about your standup game,” the Dean of Mean is in deep shit. Sure, Jardine has been a notable spoiler for Forrest Griffin and Chuck Liddell, but he’s just as well-known for being eaten alive by the heavy-handed onslaughts of Houston Alexander and Wanderlei Silva, thanks in large part to his often-shaky striking defense. Jardine may be able to outmaneuver a measured counter-puncher, but if Jackson comes out slugging, he’s done for.

Not to say that Rampage is going to be a wild man from the opening bell. Against Wanderlei Silva in December, he took the first half of the first round at a slow pace, settling in and finding his range. (And then he found it, and boom went the dynamite.) But there’s a difference between the patient knockout artist that Jackson was at UFC 94, and the tentative, off-peak, troubled Rampage we saw against Forrest Griffin at UFC 86. Jardine could have probably won a decision over that Rampage via leg kicks. Unfortunately, a 100% healthy and focused Quinton Jackson would likely outbox Jardine into unconsciousness, sometime after the first round. QJ wins this one four out of five times. Machida’s title shot will come at the end of this year, at the earliest.

BF: First of all, QJ?  Man walks around with a perfectly good nickname like “Rampage” and here you are calling him QJ?  There’s just no excuse for that.

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Dana White Puts Philadelphia’s Ass on Notice


("Ladies, do you mind? Evans-Machida is about to start.")

Great news for cheese-steak gobbling Ryan Howard fans — last Friday, Pennsylvania officially approved the regulation of mixed martial arts, allowing for MMA events to take place there this year. And you know what that means:

"It’s a big fight town, always has been," [UFC president Dana] White said about Philadelphia on Thursday. "When you talk about Las Vegas, you talk about New York, Philadelphia is one of them too. The Blue Horizon, I saw some of the best boxing ever from the Blue Horizon in Philly. It’s a big fight town…I’m not saying no to Pittsburgh, but we’re going to Philly this year."

Added MMA Weekly:

The UFC is also hopeful that they will hold an event in New York City by the end of this year, and White said he believes other markets like Buffalo could be home to events such as the popular "Fight Night" series on Spike.

2009 has already seen the UFC make its first appearance in Ireland, and the organization is preparing for its upcoming debuts in Tennessee (Condit vs. Kampmann on April 1st) and Oregon (UFC 101 in August). New York is far from a done deal, but Philadelphian UFC fans may want to keep their schedules clear this fall.

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Bout Order Announced for Sunday’s DREAM 7

Shinya Aoki Japan MMA BJ Penn
(Hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

FEG has finalized the lineup for this Sunday’s DREAM 7 in Saitama, Japan, which will feature the opening round of their featherweight grand prix. Even though the card contains such big names as Shinya Aoki (in a welterweight tune-up match), Tatsuya Kawajiri, and Mitsuhiro Ishida, the show’s main event will be the tournament’s most anticipated first-round bout, between #5-ranked featherweight Masakazu Imanari and Krazy Bee standout Atsushi Yamamoto. Here’s how the fights will go down: 

9. FW GP: Masakazu Imanari vs. Atsushi Yamamoto
8. FW GP: Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Kim Jong Won
7. FW GP: Yoshiro Maeda vs. Micah Miller
6. Lightweights: Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Ross Ebanez 
5. Welterweights: Shinya Aoki vs. David Gardner
4. Lightweights: Mitsuhiro Ishida vs. Daisuke Nakamura
3. FW GP: Akiyo Nishiura vs. Abel Cullum
2. FW GP: Chase Beebe vs. Joe Warren
1. FW GP: Takafumi Otsuka vs. Bibiano Fernandes

You might have noticed that DREAM 7 will only produce six quarterfinalists for the featherweight GP. The other two will be Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto, who’s getting a bye to the second round, and the winner of the Daiki Hata/Hideo Tokoro match at DREAM 8 (April 5th, Nagoya, Japan). Unfortunately, Sunday’s event won’t be broadcast on HDNet until next Saturday, but we’ll post the best fights on Sunday and Monday, so stay tuned.

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Is ‘UFC 2009 Undisputed’ in Jeopardy?

BJ Penn Georges St. Pierre MMA UFC video game Undisputed 2009
(Shoulda used your Vaseline cheat-code, Georges. Props: urdirt.com

Even if you don’t read the news regularly, you may be aware that our country is going through a bit of a recession. Maybe your former boss might have mentioned it when you were fired. Basically, it’s a bad time to own a company in America, or work at one. And though the UFC’s pay-per-view buys have looked seemingly recession-proof, they may be feeling the pinch in an unexpected way. WatchKalibRun reports that THQ, the publisher of UFC 2009 Undisputed, is in serious financial straits, which could affect the fate of the hotly-anticipated video game:

THQ has lost $334 million dollars this year and their stock prices has fallen from $20 a share to $2 a share. Now according to Michael Hickey of Janco Partners, the company has a fifty percent chance of going bankrupt. Currently THQ is trying to save over $220 million next year and are preparing to slash over 600 employees. However, the prognosis remains dark for THQ…
 
The worst-case scenario is that [UFC 2009 Undisputed] will be shelved, incomplete and not sold to another publisher or developer. The best case scenario is that THQ survives and publishes the game. If the game is near completion and THQ is going under, then THQ may publish the game before closing shop…THQ could also sell the game to developer who is not in trouble, or if things are really bad for THQ they could sell the studio, Yuke’s Media Creations, that is creating the game. Since THQ’s recent big budget games have been unsuccesful it seems unlikely that will sell off a potential blockbuster, but considering these financial times, no bets are off.
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Gambling Addiction Enabler: UFC 96


(Only one thing could make "The Dean of Mean" smile like that: ice cream sandwich.)

Need some money and don’t want to go through the tedious motions of acquiring it through work?  Man, I sympathize.  That’s why I’m moving to an internet gambling-based personal financial model.  Yes, literally every piece of financial advice I read strongly suggests I not do this, but if those people know so much why are they still working as financial advice writers instead of living it up in limos with a bunch of Armenian strippers?  Riddle me that, suckas.

Betting lines come to us via BestFightOdds.com, as usual.

Quinton Jackson (-281) vs. Keith Jardine (+261)
Gabriel Gonzaga (-160) vs. Shane Carwin (+150)
Matt Hamill (-160) vs. Mark Munoz (+150)
Pete Sell (-131) vs. Matt Brown (+121)
Gray Maynard (-160) vs. Jim Miller (+155)
Tamdan McCrory (-290) vs. Ryan Madigan (+275)
Kendall Grove (-160) vs. Jason Day (+165)
Tim Boetsch (-130) vs. Jason Brilz (+130)
Brandon Vera (-500) vs. Mike Patt (+450)
Aaron Riley (-205) vs. Shane Nelson (+190)

Thoughts…

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Videos: Maia’s “Science of Jiu-Jitsu,” Ken Shamrock’s Life Story + More


(Props: KahL)

Inspired by such HL-vid masters as Genghis Con, RVR, and Robert Park, a shadowy figure known as KahL-One has gotten into the MMA-film game with this tribute to Demian Maia, spanning Maia’s early fights to his current training with Wanderlei Silva. As you can tell from the intro, KahL seems to think that Demian is the second coming of Rickson — and maybe he’s right.

Below: Ken Shamrock shared his tale of personal redemption at the Fighting With God conference in January, and revealed the source of his early struggles — he wasn’t hugged enough as a child. No, seriously. This video cobbles together the highlights of his speaking appearance, where he gave the lowdown of life with his adoptive father Bob, losing to "a guy in pajamas" at UFC 1, cheating on his wife and the sport (‘roids?), and loving Jesus. A rare insight into the psyche of the World’s Most Dangerous Man. 

After the jump: A weak old man gets beat up by an MMA fighter. And believe it or not, you will be rooting for the MMA fighter.

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Dana White Puts Kendall Grove’s Ass on Notice

Kendall Grove Troy Mandaloniz Rude Boy MMA UFC
(Well, at least you and Rude Boy will finally be able to open that taco stand you’ve been talking about for the last five years. Again, props to CombatLifestyle.)

Though he was successful in his last performance — a split-decision victory over Evan Tanner at the TUF 7 finale last June — Kendall Grove‘s previous back-to-back losses still seem to be fresh in Dana White’s mind. As the UFC prez told USA Today, in regards to Grove’s UFC 96 matchup with Jason Day:

"If Kendall loses this fight, he could be the first-ever TUF winner that’s no longer in the UFC."

It’s cool, Dana — we forget about Travis Lutter sometimes, too. Anyway, that’s what we call "tough love." Is it possible that DW is suggesting that Da Spyder’s job is on the line just to add another hook to Saturday’s show, which has very little heat behind it right now? Grove had better win, just in case his boss backs up his words.

Also in the USA Today article, Dana expressed frustration at Keith Jardine’s recent comments that he wouldn’t fight his friend and teammate Rashad Evans for the UFC’s light-heavyweight title if he was given the opportunity:

"I disagree with that. And I have to their face many times. This isn’t basketball or football. You’re not part of a team. Do you want to be the champ? If Rashad’s got that belt, what are you going to do — sit your whole career out and wait for Rashad to retire? Their careers are going to cross paths. And when they do, they’re going to have to fight."

It is aggravating when team alliances get in the way of compelling matchups (see also: Anderson Silva staying out of the light-heavyweight division because "this belt belongs to Lyoto"), but you can’t force people to fight each other. Danny Trejo tried that once, and wound up getting shot in the gut by Ken Shamrock’s wife. You just never know how people will react when their backs are against the wall…

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Sanchez vs. Guida Slated for ‘TUF 9′ Finale


("I’th my birfday." Photo courtesy of CombatLifestyle.)

According to Sherdog, Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida have agreed to face each other in the headlining bout of the Ultimate Fighter: Team U.S. vs. Team U.K. finale (June 20th, Las Vegas). In his lightweight debut at UFC 95 last month, Sanchez used his boxing to dominate Joe Stevenson en route to a unanimous decision victory; the Nightmare had previously compiled an 8-2 record as a welterweight. As for Guida, the Chicago-based fighter has been on a tear lately, with three consecutive victories over Samy Schiavo, Mac Danzig, and Nate Diaz.

While Guida’s wrestling prowess and endless gas tank have been a curse for former Ultimate Fighter winners, Sanchez won’t be vulnerable in the same way that Danzig and Diaz were. Sanchez is just as skilled at takedowns and positional control as the Carpenter, and he has his own reputation for vast cardio. If striking decides this fight, Sanchez will likely have the edge. But a win would mean the same thing for either fighter — a big step towards establishing themselves as the next top lightweight contender after Kenny Florian.

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Jim Miller Also Doesn’t Care to Watch Tape on His Opponents


(Miller plays a fun little game of ‘got you first!’ with Matt Wiman.)

When we interviewed Josh Koscheck before his now-infamous bout with Paulo Thiago and he admitted that he hadn’t watched any video of Thiago’s previous fights, and in fact didn’t even know what Thiago looked like, a few of you noted that this seemed a little strange and probably like a bad idea.  Then he went and got knocked out and we couldn’t help but wonder, what if he’d taken ten minutes to do a little YouTube search?  Would it have helped?

Apparently not interested in finding out is Jim Miller, who tells Ariel Helwani that he also doesn’t watch tape on opponents and hasn’t really studied film on Gray Maynard to prepare for their UFC 96 bout:

Yeah, I am one of those guys who doesn’t watch tape. That’s when I get nervous, when I’m watching tape. I just also think that I am going to go out there and make him fight my fight. I am not going to be worried about what he does and what might work against him. I just try to focus on what I am going to do him.
Far be it for me to tell you how to prepare for a fight, but wouldn’t you like to know what to expect out there?
It is good to know what somebody brings to the table, but I just don’t study tape. I have seen Gray fight a couple of times, and I know the gist of how he fights. But I feel like I need to improve in every aspect of my game. So, I try to just train the way I always train, and get better at everything because I feel like I have just so much more room to improve at everything.
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‘Battle of the Incredible Nicknames’ Added to Shamrock vs. Diaz Strikeforce Card

Cris Cyborg Shayna Baszler
(Cris Cyborg [right] with former victim Shayna Baszler. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

From a new press release sent out by Strikeforce:

New York (March 4, 2009) – Rival forces from different worlds will meet when women’s mixed martial arts (MMA) sensation, Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (6-1) of Brazil collides with “Smack Girl” Champion Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano (14-5) of Japan, in a 145-pound showdown, live on Saturday, April 11, part of Strikeforce’s Shamrock vs. Diaz stacked fight card, and airing live on SHOWTIME from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
 
I know Hitomi Akano is the best Japanese female fighter today, but I am prepared for any situation and will always be looking for the knockout,” said the 23-year-old Cyborg [Ed. note: She's only 23? Wow. She looks a lot more...'weathered,' is the word I guess we're looking for]…  
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