("…so I came to the point where I knew my life had become unmanageable, and if I was going to get well again, I had to turn my life over to a higher power. Nah, just fuckin’ with you, I hotboxed in the car on the way over here." Photo courtesy of CombatLifestyle.)
“We had a conversation with Cesar Gracie about the Nick Diaz situation, so I feel very comfortable Nick will be back shortly. I think he’s going to meet with the athletic commission, get that all worked out, and hopefully we’ll see Nick back here before the end of the year. Jay Hieron came here to fight Nick Diaz, so we will put that fight together.”
("Hey, I’m Gina!" "I am the one known as ‘Cyborg’." "Look, whatever happens tonight, I just want you to know that I have tons of respect for you, and I feel honored to be fighting you." "I want to kill you so bad, my dick’s hard." Photo courtesy of this set on CombatLifestyle.)
So who wants to witness some history in the making? Tonight, the curse is lifted, and the most significant women’s MMA fight of all time will take place. (Before that, there will be some men’s MMA matches of varying importance.) Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg results await you after the jump. Refresh the page every few minutes for round-by-round updates and occasional digressions. Warning: The Showtime broadcast is delayed on the west coast, so check your local listings, and if you’re not getting it live, maybe stay away from the comments section for a while, lest you be spoiled.
The face of women’s MMA was in fine form at yesterday’s weigh-ins — which is unsurprising, considering Scott Coker was weighing her every day. We’ll be liveblogging the Showtime broadcast of "Carano vs. Cyborg" tonight starting at 10:30 p.m. ET, so swing by and let us know what you think. After the jump: The ultra-slick show-opening video for Carano vs. Cyborg. Deal with it, Gladiator.
("All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, the blood of my opponents, and I’m fine." Photo courtesy of Fight!)
BJ Penn isn’t exactly the most prolific fighter in the world; over the last three years, the Prodigy has only made six appearances in the Octagon. But now that he’s entered his 30s, the UFC lightweight king has vowed that his long layoffs are over, and he’s ready to get back in the cage sooner rather than later. As he told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald:
"It’s gonna happen, hopefully within the next two, two-and-a-half months. I’m 30 now and I’m hoping to get a couple of more fights in. I know they say that in MMA, people peak later, but who knows? My whole career, fighting from age 20 to 30, I’ve gotten into real good shape and gotten out of shape and started getting back into shape again. I don’t want to do that anymore. Here I am. I’m in shape. I want to have fun for a couple of days, take some time off, eat some good food, and then I want to get right back into all that stuff."
(Kickin’ asses, breakin’ hearts, and stealin’ robes from Courtyard Marriotts. Props: sports.sho.com)
Strikeforce distributed a press release yesterday evening announcing that Phil Baroni had been released by the organization, citing Baroni’s "one-sided defeat" at the hands of Joe Riggs in June, and the fact that he’s lost four of his last seven fights. (Kind of harsh, since he’s also won three of his last four.) Said Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker: "We wish Phil the best of luck and hope he can revive his career. If he can, maybe one day, he can return and fight for us." The news was surprising for a couple reasons. First, have you ever heard of Strikeforce releasing a big name due to poor performance? It’s not like their welterweight division is so deep that they can be picky, and Baroni is a draw whether he wins or loses. Also, the vaguely negative tone of the press release seemed out of character for Strikeforce. Did something else happen behind the scenes?
The answer: Yeah, maybe. Immediately after the press release hit our inboxes, it was reported that Baroni had verbally agreed to a new contract with the UFC. The New York Badass compiled a 3-5 record in the UFC as a middleweight from 2001-2005, and was released after taking four consecutive losses. During his recent stint as a welterweight, Baroni has yet to defeat a fighter who currently holds a winning record, which seems to imply that the UFC’s offer to Baroni had more to do with sticking a thumb in Strikeforce’s eye than acquiring a promising 170-pounder. It also gives more credence to yesterday’s wild speculation about an upcoming season of TUF featuring old guys. Call us crazy now, but you’ll see.
We’d like to direct your attention to a thread on the UG titled "You’re favorite MMA moments recreated in MS PAINT!", in which amatuer scribblers have made crude drawings of iconic moments in the sport using the beloved Windows drawing program. It’s by far the greatest thing I’ve seen all week; props to everybody who contributed. Lots more gems after the jump. If you think you can do better, e-mail your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How happy is Tito Ortiz to be back in the UFC? So happy that he would engage in an illicit homosexual kiss with his boss and former rival, Dana White. WHY ISN’T TMZ COVERING THIS?? Later, Ortiz revealed that White "had a hairy lip," and White scrubbed his tongue with steel wool.
After the jump: A quick video profile on new Octagon Girl Natasha Wicks (she’s not just a piece of meat, you guys — she has thoughts, emotions, and she loves the outdoors), some footage of Lyoto Machida training for Shogun, and an underrated Fedor Emelianenko fight, just because.
(In the edited-for cable version, Lesnar says "I’m gonna drink a [Bud] Light because Bud Light [is the best], and I might even [do something special for] my wife tonight.")
The first stage in Dana White’s plan to destroy Strikeforce and piss on their ashes comes this Saturday at 10 p.m. ET/PT, as Spike will air highlights from UFC 100. The replay card will look like this:
Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping Alan Belcher vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama Stephan Bonnar vs. Mark Coleman Shannon Gugerty vs. Matt Grice Jon Jones vs. Jake O’Brien
Now that the dust has settled on his second unsuccessful run at a UFC lightweight title, it’s time for Kenny Florian to look to the future and learn from the mistakes of his past. In this interview with ProMMARadio, Florian blames his long layoff for his submission loss to BJ Penn at UFC 101, and hopes to get back in cage right away against a tough opponent. Some highlights:
On ring rust: "I didn’t think it would be a factor, just because I stayed busy throughout, I was training hard…but it definitely was. Being almost nine months away from the cage, it hurt me. With my striking, it’s always an issue…I just found that I couldn’t get my range and my timing going during the fight, and felt I wasn’t effective there. I just felt uncomfortable with my striking."
On how he was doing until he lost: "I figured that I definitely won the second and third [rounds]. The first, he caught me with a good shot, but I was kind of off-balance so it looked like I got knocked down…Going into the fourth, obviously, with where he ended up with the takedown on top, I knew he was obviously going to win that round and my goal was trying to survive and just try to make it to the fifth where I’d be able to push and try to squeeze out the win…the commissioner came over to me and said that a couple of the judges had me winning the first couple rounds, I was two to one, or one of the judges had me all three, I don’t know exactly what happened, but he told me that a couple of the judges may have had me winning."
(The Hallman/Hughes story. Could Matt Hughes be getting one more shot at revenge before he retires?)
— Anderson Silva‘s manager Ed Soares has debunked a report by Yahoo! Sports in which he was quoted as saying Silva wanted to give up his middleweight title to compete as a light-heavyweight permanently. As Soares told MMA Weekly: “It’s not true. I never said that to Dana. I have said to Dana that he’d like to fight again at 205 (but not permanently)…he wants the biggest fights possible, whether it’s at 205 or 185.” Silva and Soares still aren’t psyched about an impending rematch with Dan Henderson: "I feel a true number one (middleweight contender) would be if Henderson fought the winner of Nate Marquardt and Damian Maia…we could take another fight at 205 or a catchweight fight (in the meantime).”
While cruising MMAMoneyline earlier today, I was rather surprised to see Gilbert Melendez as a solid favorite to beat Mitsuhiro Ishida in their Strikeforce interim lightweight title fight on Saturday. After all, Ishida defeated Melendez by decision at Yarennoka! less than two years ago. It was a very close match — and maybe the decision could have gone the other way if it didn’t take place in Ishida’s home country — but Melendez never really put Ishida in serious danger at any point in the fight (expect for when he slammed Ishida on his head, at the 4:12 mark above), nor could he find many answers for the Endless Fighter’s grappling; Ishida’s aggressive wrestling and nonstop pace was absolutely Guida-esque. On the other hand, they’ll be on Melendez’s home turf for the rematch, and Ishida is coming off a nasty TKO loss to Mizuto Hirota. It’s a pick ‘em, and the winner will take on Josh Thomson…someday. Part one of their first meeting is above, and part two is after the jump.
If it wasn’t for bad luck, Strikeforce’s upcoming “Carano vs. Cyborg” card wouldn’t have any luck at all. Despite the best intentions, some MMA events are destined to be magnets for injuries, unwelcome surprises, and other bizarre occurrences. But which events have been screwed by fate the hardest? Knock on wood, grab your crotch, and read on…
The aptly-titled “All or Nothing” event was the first UFC pay-per-view in nearly a year to lack a title fight by the time it finally took place. That’s all the more disappointing when you consider that it had two a couple months out from the event, pitting TUF “Comeback” winners Matt Serra and Travis Lutter against the champions in their respective weight classes.
The first title fight went down the drain when Georges St. Pierre injured his knee during training and had to put off the fight with Serra (and we all remember how that went when it finally happened). Fortunately they still had Anderson Silva vs. Travis Lutter to fall back on…right? Only Lutter failed to make weight for his title shot, downgrading his “Rocky” storyline to a “Bad News Bears” one. Instead they just had themselves a normal old three-rounder, with Lutter holding his own in the first round before getting triangled/elbowed to death in the second. What fun.
Nothing lasts forever — even cold November rain, and the seemingly untouchable bantamweight championship run of Miguel Torres. No, Torres did not ruin Brian Bowles’s boyish face at last night’s WEC 42, as many (everybody?) assumed he would. Instead, Bowles nearly knocked the former champ’s mullet off during a violent belt-taking that was reminiscent of Brown vs. Faber 1.
Torres was in trouble from the beginning of the match, as Bowles sent him to the canvas with a heavy right hand. After Bowles dropped some elbows from the top, Torres was able to kick Bowles off of him. Moments later, Torres launched forward with a barrage of punches that had Bowles on his heels, but Bowles fired off a sharp right hook that dropped Torres again, and started throwing down bombs until Torres was in dreamland. Brian Bowles — who picked up a $10,000 Knockout of the Night bonus for his shocking of the world — is the new WEC bantamweight champ. “No excuses,” Torres said after the fight. “Brian is going to be a good champion, but he’ll see that the responsibilities that go along with being the champion are not easy.”
As ‘zombiekilla’ mentioned in the comments section of the last post, UFC 101‘s real Fight of the Night took place in the crowd, when a group of meatheaded douchebags got a little too caught up in the action and began warring amongst themselves. As security intervened, a female meatheaded douchebag swung her purse at some other broad, then went after her with furious Brock Lesnar-style hammerfists. Everyone in the vicinity roared their approval and watched it play out, paying no attention to the Aaron Riley/Shane Nelson scrap that was going on inside the Octagon.
And so, we must amend Dana White’s beloved four corners analogy: If people are playing soccer on one corner, basketball on the second corner, street hockey on the third corner, a bunch of drunk Philadelphians are throwing haymakers on the fourth corner, and a professional mixed martial arts contest is taking place in the center of the street, people will watch the meatheads brawl every time. That’s how we know this is the sport of the future.
In a night filled with some less-than-thrilling matchups, at least Anderson Silva and BJ Penn remembered that they were in Philly — and for that, they were rewarded handsomely. Silva earned a $60,000 Knockout of the Night bonus for cleaning Forrest Griffin‘s clock in the first round of their light-heavyweight feature at UFC 101, while Penn scored a Submission of the Night bonus in honor of his fourth-round rear-naked-choke of Kenny Florian. Somewhat suprisingly, additional $60,000 Fight of the Night checks went to Silva and Griffin for their match, even though it wasn’t much of a fight. UFC 101 drew a sold-out crowd of 17,411 spectators for a live gate of $3.55 million, a combat sports record for Pennsylvania. Reportedly, almost 11,000 of those fans were already in their seats by the time the first preliminary match started.
During the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White announced that the UFC was looking to host an event at Boston’s legendary Fenway Park by next summer; the Massachusetts state senate passed a bill to regulate MMA last month. White also said that the UFC could add another event to its schedule in October, in addition to UFC 104 (October 24th, Los Angeles). Since Fedor Emelianenko is slated to make his Strikeforce debut sometime in October, the counter-programming motives are fairly obvious here. Game on…
(Look, deadlines are deadlines, Anderson. You think you’re the only employee of the Curitiba Times with a fight this weekend? Half the guys in the sales department have fights this weekend. And for God’s sake, buy a real tape recorder. / Photo courtesy of LasVegasSun.com.)
Weigh-ins for UFC 101: Declaration went down moments ago at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, with all fighters coming in at or below their contracted limits. No real surprises, expect for when Amir Sadollah cruised in at a somewhat worrisome 166.5 pounds; very unexpected for a guy who’s last fight was at middleweight. At the other end of the spectrum, Tamdan McCrory showed up to the weigh-ins in a full sweat-suit, and had to towel off before stepping on the scale, but still hit his mark on the button. The numbers are below. Swing by tomorrow night as we liveblog the pay-per-view card beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
Main Card BJ Penn (155) vs. Kenny Florian (155) Anderson Silva (205) vs. Forrest Griffin (205) Kendall Grove (185.5) vs. Ricardo Almeida (185) Josh Neer (155.5) vs. Kurt Pellegrino (154.5) Amir Sadollah (166.5) vs. Johny Hendricks (171)
Preliminary Card Shane Nelson (156) vs. Aaron Riley (154) Tamdan McCrory (170) vs. John Howard (169.5) Alessio Sakara (185.5) vs. Thales Leites (185) Dan Cramer (169.5) vs. Matt Riddle (170) George Roop (154) vs. George Sotiropoulos (155) Danillo Villefort (170.25) vs. Jesse Lennox (171)
— Emelianenko called the offer he got from the UFC “miserable,” and nowhere near the six-fight, $30 million reports that circulated on the internet. Finkelchtein said that if those rumored numbers about Fedor’s contract offer were true, they would have signed with the UFC.
— Finkelchtein claimed that the idea of Anderson Silva as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world is a product of the UFC media machine, and Brock Lesnar is also just a product of the UFC’s hype. He said that Brett Rogers is better than Brock Lesnar.
Fighters.com’s tenth-ranked heavyweight “Pitbull” Andrei Arlovski (14-7) confessed to playing Russian roulette Wednesday night*, a suicidal gamble during which a revolver is loaded with a single round, the cylinder spun, and then placed against the temple. The hopeless player pulls the trigger, chancing the bullet could end their life.
“First time I was 16, second time I was 30,” said the thirty-year old former UFC heavyweight champion. “It’s when you don’t care about anything.”
"It’s just my opinion that he uses steroids. That’s it…I can’t hand you any proof, but that’s my opinion…In my opinion, he doesn’t play by the rules when it comes to steroids and growth hormones and that stuff. Look at him. He’s the worst. He looks like that every day. That’s cheating. There is a reason why there are rules against using steroids. The rest of us, we get fat, then we train and get skinny and the cycle goes over and over again. He looks the same way all the time. Come on.”
Yes, Gina Carano is training her ass off for her upcoming fight against Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos. In the above video, heartless strength and conditioning coach Norm Turner puts MMA’s golden girl through the ringer, pushing her dangerously close to the point of vomiting/calling for her mommy. Is Cyborg training this hard? Or is she just choking reporters, throwing around her husband, and relying on her genetic advantages to see her through? Whatever the case, workouts like these are ensuring that Carano will be ready for anything…
Saturday night will see the Octagon debuts of three welterweights who joined up with the WEC just before the league folded its 170-pound division. Now the UFC will give these fighters a chance to prove themselves — slotting one of them in a high-profile main card fight against TUF 7 winner Amir Sadollah. Get to know UFC 101’s trio of newbies below…
JOHNY HENDRICKS(WW) Experience: 5-0 record (3 wins by TKO, 1 by submission). His last two fights were in the WEC, where he defeated Justin Haskins and Alex Serdyukov. Will be facing: Amir Sadollah (1-0 MMA/UFC)?? Lowdown: While wrestling at Oklahoma State University, Hendricks won two NCAA Division I titles at 165-pounds, and was a three-time Big 12 Conference champion. After graduating in 2007, he racked up three MMA wins in local Oklahoma shows before joining the WEC. But despite his fearsome wrestling credentials, he doesn’t plan on laying on top of Sadollah for three rounds. As he said in this UFC.com profile: “You can’t afford to play in Amir’s guard at any point. A lot of wrestlers have tried that with Amir and have ended up failing badly…I actually now like to stand and strike. I’ve tried to finish all my fights while standing on my feet. If I take a guy down and he wants to get back up, I’ll just let them…I want to provide entertaining fights, not wrestling matches. If I’m not active on top, I’ll back out and stand up. The happiness of the fans is what pays the bills and I’m aware of that.” Hendricks has recently been training at Striking Unlimited in Las Vegas.
According to Graciemag.com, Brazilian middleweight standout Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza has signed a multi-fight deal with Strikeforce, and will make his debut at an October 25th event in Fresno, California — reportedly the same event that will see Fedor Emelianenko‘s Strikeforce debut. Souza has spent the last five fights of his career competing for DREAM in Japan, where he made it to the finals of their middleweight grand prix before succumbing to a Gegard Mousasi upkick, and had two contentious fights with Jason Miller. After their last match ended in a no-contest due to an illegal kick, Jacare and Mayhem were scheduled to fight for a third time at DREAM.11 (October 6th, Yokohama) for DREAM’s middleweight belt. It’s unclear if that fight will still be happening, though Japan MMA hears a rumor that Paulo Filho will be stepping in for Souza against Miller.
Souza’s Strikeforce signing is particularly interesting because Scott Coker recently announced that Jake Shields will fight for the organization’s interim middleweight title in October. Shields’s opponent hasn’t yet been announced, and Souza’s first opponent hasn’t been named either. You don’t have to be a genius to figure this one out. The winner of the interim middleweight title fight will face Cung Le whenever Le feels like taking a break from his action movie career and stepping back into the cage.