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Tag: Robbie Lawler

Ben vs. Ben — Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields + WEC 41 Double-Feature

Jake Shields Robbie Lawler MMA Strikeforce
(My God, the animosity between these two. It’s like the entire room could burst into flames at any moment.)

MMA fans have a full dance-card this weekend, with Strikeforce putting on a stacked Showtime event on Saturday night (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT), and the WEC following it up on Sunday night with a show on Versus headlined by featherweight champion Mike Brown’s second meeting with Urijah Faber (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). Be sure to come back here Saturday night for the Strikeforce liveblog — and get psyched for the whole shebang by reading the latest installment of the longest-running MMA argument on the Internet. Ben vs. Ben starts right now

Brett Rogers says he wants to stand and bang with Andrei Arlovski on Saturday. That sounds like a horrible idea for "The Grimm," given that Arlovski is just as big and strong as he is but with much more technical striking. Does Rogers stand a chance with that strategy, or is he an unconscious man walking at this point?

BG: WTF? Is Rogers supposed to take Arlovski down and sub him out with his battle-tested Grimjitsu? I’m not trying to hate on Brett’s ground game, because none of us have actually seen it; he’s a brawler, and thus far he’s only had to face other brawlers. Arlovski, on the other hand, actually has some submission skills in his back pocket. So while we know that Rogers will be fighting an uphill battle on Saturday night, I’d say his odds decrease even further if the fight goes anywhere else besides stand-and-bangville.

Brett’s only shot is to stick to his bread-and-butter and swing those hamhocks. The fact that Arlovski’s hands are far more technical means that the Grimm will probably get picked apart. But Arlovski’s unreliable chin makes him vulnerable to what Rogers brings into the cage. That’s what makes this fight compelling for me: Brett Rogers definitely should not be able to beat Andrei Arlovski — but he just might.

BF: With regard to the submission skills in Arlovski’s back pocket, I hope your finger slipped and you really meant to type ‘submission skill.’ As in, his straight achilles lock. That’s all the dude’s got on the mat and he goes to it like it’s his signature killer move, so let’s not pretend that there any Arlovski-platas in the near future.

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Gambling Addiction Enabler: Strikeforce – Lawler vs. Shields

Brett Rogers
(If Arlovski comes in with the same game plan as that big-ass tire, at least we know Rogers will be ready for him.)

There are exactly two indicators that something is important in contemporary American society: 1) there is a commemorative plate about it, and 2) you can bet on it.  Don’t believe me?  Then just consider two of the most important things happening in MMA this week – the Strikeforce event on Showtime this Saturday night, and the “Ultimate Fighter” Kimbo-mania that has set the internets on fire. Kimbo Slice is currently a +275 underdog to make it into the final two on this season of TUF.  The fact that there’s even a line this early on tells you what a big deal it is.  Still waiting on that commemorative plate, though.

Of course, if you like something closer to immediate gratification, you can just choose from these lines on Saturday’s Strikeforce fights, courtesy of BestFightOdds.com:

Jake Shields (-115) vs. Robbie Lawler (-105)
Brett Rogers (+300) vs. Andrei Arlovski (-340)
Joe Riggs (+105) vs. Phil Baroni (-115)
Scott Smith (+300) vs. Nick Diaz (-310)
Kevin Randleman (-110) vs. Mike Whitehead (+105)
Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (-370) vs. Mike Kyle (+300)

The breakdown…

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Riggs a No-Show For Strikeforce Conference Call, Baroni Continues to Talk About His Sex Life


(Some say Goldberg had a legit sexual harassment claim after what happens in the 0:49 mark in this interview, but clearly he was asking for it walking in there dressed like that.)

The war of words between Strikeforce fighters Joe Riggs and Phil Baroni this week seemed to promise an interesting encounter on today’s media conference call to promote Saturday night’s Strikeforce event on Showtime.  The only problem is that Riggs failed to pick up a phone in time, so Baroni was left alone with Jake Shields and the notoriously tight-lipped Robbie Lawler to do all the talking.  Fortunately Baroni had prepared all his life for just such a moment.

Some highlights from the NYBA:

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Strikeforce News: Thomson Out of 4/11 Co-Headliner With Broken Leg; Lawler/Shields + Babalu/Feijao Added to June Card

Gilbert Melendez Josh Thomson MMA Strikeforce
("Josh, bro, you ever look at your hands? I mean really *look* at them? It’s like, why do we have five fingers anyway? Who decided that? It would be cool if I had six, but I’d probably be able to get by with just four. Or like, why is there a thumb on only *one* side of your hand. I feel like I’d be able to get more done with two thumbs on each hand. Do you ever watch ‘Fringe’? Great fuckin’ show." Photo courtesy of MixedMartialArts.com.)

With less than two weeks to go before Strikeforce returns to action on Showtime, the second-biggest fight on the "Shamrock vs. Diaz" card (April 11th, San Jose) has been scratched from the lineup. Strikeforce announced last night that lightweight champion Josh Thomson broke his left leg above the ankle while sparring with Billy Evangelista yesterday, and will not be having his rematch with Gilbert Melendez next Saturday. Said Thomson:

“I’m very upset. All the hard work was done and it was time to fight. I was looking forward to putting on a great show for the fans. All I can say is that I’ll be back when I get healthy.”

Strikeforce is searching for a late replacement for Melendez so that the former champ can still compete on the card. Tough break (literally) for Thomson, but on the bright side, we didn’t want to see him fight Melendez again anyway. Their first meeting last June saw Thomson  dominate Melendez with his striking for all 25 minutes of the match; El Nino was never really in the game. And Melendez hasn’t fought anybody since then, so it’s not like he’s legitimately earned another crack at the champ. We’ll keep you posted on the random-ass opponent they scare up for him. The full lineup for "Shamrock vs. Diaz" can be seen here.

In other news…

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UPDATED: Shields/Riggs Bout Bumped From Shamrock vs. Diaz Lineup, Shields/Lawler in May

Jake Shields Gilbert Melendez MMA Strikeforce
(Jake Shields, pictured here with his son Gilbert Melendez.)

Multiple sources have informed FiveOuncesofPain that a welterweight matchup between Jake Shields and Joe Riggs, which was slated to go down at Strikeforce’s "Shamrock vs. Diaz" event on April 11th, has been scrapped. Writes 5oz:

Neither Riggs or Shields is injured and one source indicated that Shields is being saved for a possible headlining slot against Robbie Lawler during a tentative Strikeforce event scheduled for May in Seattle. Additional sources have confirmed that the possible Lawler vs. Shields matchup could be officially announced by Strikeforce officials during a Thursday press conference in Los Angeles as early as today.

While he was the 170-pound champ of EliteXC, Shields had entertained the notion of going up in weight to challenge Robbie Lawler, due to the lack of challenges at welterweight. We thought the new bodies at Strikeforce would keep Shields entertained at 170 for a while longer, but it sounds like he’s more interested in big fights than welterweight tune-ups, and we respect that. Besides, weight classes are more of a suggestion than a rule at Strikeforce anyway.

Update, 5:30 p.m. ET: Shields vs. Lawler has officially been announced for Strikeforce’s May event, which will take place somewhere in Washington state. It will be a non-title fight, contested at middleweight.

In other Strikeforce news, former UFC heavyweight champ and PRIDE vet Kevin Randleman has reportedly signed a deal to return to MMA competition under the Strikeforce banner. Randleman last competed at Sengoku II last May, where he won a unanimous decision over Ryo Kawamura. Though "The Monster" was terrifying in hs prime, he has lost seven of his last ten fights. The date of his next match and his opponent have yet to be announced.

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CagePotato Power Rankings Updated

Shane Carwin UFC 96 MMA
(Shane Carwin — one of the ten best heavyweights in the world. Photo courtesy of UFC.com)

In the wake of UFC 95, WEC 39, and UFC 96, we’ve tidied up the heavyweight, light-heavyweight, middleweight, welterweight, and featherweight top ten lists in our Power Rankings section. Some notable changes…

— Shane Carwin enters the heavyweight list at #9 after taking out his first Top 20 opponent in 69 seconds.

Keith Jardine leaves the light-heavyweight list (temporarily, at least) after his loss to Quinton Jackson on Saturday. He may have beaten a post-peak Chuck Liddell and a pre-peak Forrest Griffin, but it’s unclear if he has what it takes to beat a high-level opponent when they’re at their best.

Robbie Lawler and Jake Shields drop a spot due to inactivity. Not their fault, but whaddya gonna do. Luckily, their stints in Strikeforce begin soon.

Josh Koscheck falls to #8 on the welterweight list after being upset by Paulo Thiago. Kos definitely still has the talent of a top-ten fighter — he’s just made some unfortunate choices.

— Jose Aldo ascends to #6 on the featherweight list after his fourth brutal stoppage win in the WEC.

Check ‘em out and let us know if you see things differently.

Unrelated, but important: Thanks so much for all your awesome nominations in our Best MMA Bars forum thread. We’re going to start compiling our list soon, so if you have any others to share, please let us know!

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Strikeforce’s Coker Talks Fighters, Potential Matchups


(More headkicking in store for Shamrock in ’09?)

Ever since Strikeforce purchased “select assets” from Pro Elite we’ve been wondering a) which select assets, and b) what the hell does he plan to do with them?  In an interview with USA Today, Coker inched closer to answering those questions, saying he’s spoken with 10 Pro Elite fighters and only one of them has tried to renegotiate his deal (we assume this was Kimbo Slice insisting he take a pay cut and be place on the untelevised undercard).  

Coker also said he “would like to invite K.J. Noons to fight [Strikeforce lightweight champ]" Josh Thomson, and added that he’s in talks with Noons’ agent, Mark Dion, to make that happen. 

You’ll recall that Noons essentially turned his back on EliteXC when they tried to make him fight Nick Diaz on CBS and Noons was unhappy with the payscale and with rematching Diaz in general, who was slated to make more than him despite losing the first meeting due to a cut stoppage.  Thomson is a quality, name opponent, and if Noons decides he doesn’t want to fight him either, we in the MMA world would probably do well to forget about “King” Karl altogether and let him box his little heart out.

As for other fights on Coker’s mind right now…

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American Gladiators Cancelled, But Carano May Have a New Job Soon

 
(Let’s remember the good times. Props: Old, Bald, & Irish.)

First EliteXC tanked, leaving Gina Carano without an organization to call home.  But if that wasn’t enough of a kick in the ovaries, American Gladiators has also been cancelled.  We can’t say we didn’t see it coming, but it’s sad nonetheless.  If only the new American Gladiators could have captured some this kind of magic from the old AG, maybe they’d still be around.  Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  Not only does this mean we may never again see “Crush” tossing old ladies around in a unitard, it also means Hulk Hogan is being released back into the wild, so look out.  

But just when all Carano’s revenue streams look to be drying up, it sounds as if Dana White may actually be serious about getting her signed.  The UFC prez told Five Ounces of Pain’s Gary Herman that Carano, Robbie Lawler, and Jake Shields are all former EliteXC fighters he’d like to sign.  He also chastised fighters for signing with “fly by night companies,” saying they were “wasting their time.”

There you have it, young fighters not in the UFC.  Don’t sign with organizations other than the UFC or you’ll be wasting your time.  Just keep fighting one-offs in tiny regional shows for almost no money.  Then, after the UFC signs you and later cuts you, it won’t be so hard to re-adjust to your life of poverty and despair.  See?  Circle of freaking life.

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Pro Elite Clings to Life, Contracts


(Surely Kimbo’s brilliant legal council will find a way out of this mess.)

Remember when Pro Elite ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy? Well, turns out they didn’t. At least that’s their story now. As fighters still under contract with them have been filing notices to get free, Pro Elite has responded by informing those fighters that the company has not declared bankruptcy and that it intends to stage an event in 2009.

A notice sent out to several managers representing Pro Elite fighters states:

“Elite XC and ProElite are currently downsizing its staff in an effort to improve its business moving forward. As this process is implemented, Elite XC cancelled the event previously scheduled for Nov. 8 in attempt to re-schedule another event in early 2009.”

That’s funny, because if I was running an MMA company that was merely downsizing but which intended to continue promoting events, and suddenly there were widespread reports that my company was filing for bankruptcy, I think I might say something to contradict that right away. I might, for example, immediately issue a statement declaring my intention not to just roll over and die. I might even call the people who had circulated those reports a bunch of lying sons of bitches. What I would not do is say nothing at all until fighters started trying to get free of their contracts, and only then come up with an obviously bullshit reason for not releasing them.

As you might expect, no one is buying this explanation.

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Dana White: ‘Nick Diaz Is a Bad Ass’

Nick Diaz MMA UFC
(Clearly.)

Add Nick Diaz to the list of EliteXC refugees who Dana White may be looking to pick up. During an appearance on TapouT Radio Live, the UFC prez was complementary of Stockton’s favorite son, though he made it known that he doesn’t approve of Diaz’s confrontational antics:

“I think Nick Diaz is a bad ass. Nick Diaz is a tough kid. Nick Diaz doesn’t handle himself right all the time in public. I like him — I respect him as a fighter. I love his attitude. I love the way that kid fights. But you can’t do the stuff that this kid does in public. You can’t get into fights when the fight is over … you can’t do that stuff.”

Of course, we immediately think of Diaz’s in-cage taunts of KJ Noons and his father at EliteXC: The Return of the King in June — and the obscene gestures he makes at the crowd after his fights, which is something of a Diaz family tradition. But Dana White is likely also referring to a bizarre incident that took place after Diaz’s UFC 57 fight against Joe Riggs in February 2006. As Wikipedia retells it:

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