(Alves and Martin Kampmann trade fisticuffs during their epic battle at UFC on FX 2. Photo via Getty.)
After nearly two years away from the game, Thiago Alves finally has his next fight booked. The one-time welterweight title challenger has been out of action since suffering a last-second submission loss to Martin Kampmann in their headlining bout at UFC on FX 2, subsequently pulling out of fights with Siyar Bahadurzadaand Matt Brown at UFC 149 and Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen, respectively.
However, it was revealed last month that Alves was finally healthy again and hoping to return at UFC 171 in March. Yesterday, word was passed along that Alves will actually be returning in April when he faces TUF 11 standout Seth Baczynski at UFC on FOX 11.
Baczynski has a had a rough run of things since putting together a six-fight win streak between 2010 and early 2012. “The Polish Pistola” was decisioned by Mike Pierce at UFC on FX 6 before getting KO’d by the now-retired Brian Melancon in the last second of the first round at UFC 162, and only recently returned to the win column with a unanimous decision over Neil Magny at Fight for the Troops 3 last November.
Anyone who knows anything about UFCs and MMAs knows that the best fights are never found on the hoity-toity main card or even the highfalutin FX undercard on a channel that takes two of your friends a TV guide and Encarta ’97 to find. No, it’s a well known fact amongst us MMA media types that the best fights *always* go down during the Facebook preliminaries. “That’s where the real action is,” Ariel Helwani once told me, Danga, while pointing to the champagne room of a Tijuana strip club called La Mula Triste, but I think his words of wisdom can be applied to FB prelims as well.
Anyways, I just took a popper and feel like drunkblogging my way through the Fight for the Troops 3: Kennedy vs. Natal because there’s fuck all to write about besides. In my apartment I have: A bottle of Beam, a 12-pack of Lagunitas IPA, a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, and a nip of Svedka, so lets do this!
Are Chris Weidman‘s chances for an upset as good as everybody seems to think they are? Is Tim Kennedy better at talking than he is at fighting? Does UFC 162 feature the most stacked Facebook prelims in the history of curtain-jerking? And Dave Herman‘s getting fired, right? Read on as CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and staff writer Jared Jones debate these topics — and so much more — and be sure to come back tomorrow night for our “Silva vs. Weidman” liveblog, beginning with the FX prelims at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
Chris Weidman has become the fashionable pick for an upset against Anderson Silva. You don’t actually believe he’ll pull it off, do you? I mean, you’re not a moron, right?
JJ: Now,I may be a moron, but there is one thing I am not, sir, and that, sir, is a moron.
If we were to have this debate immediately after Weidman had finished knocking Mark Munoz into an ice cream cake-induced depression, I would have told you that Anderson Silva was a dead man walking. “Weidman brings the kind of grappling prowess that, like Chael P. Sonnen before him, will all but completely suffocate Andy’s offense,” I would say whilst smoking a corncob pipe and farting into a wine glass, “And his striking, while clearly not on Silva’s level, has improved enough to keep the soon-to-be former champ hesitant in those rare moments when he won’t be fighting off his back.” I would have mocked you for daring to claim otherwise, then had security escort you out of my chalet bungalow when you inevitably lost your cool like a common miscreant.
BG: I feel like this wave of Weidman-support isn’t so much based on realistic analysis of the matchup, so much as fans’ natural desire to see some change after seven years of having the same champion dominating the competition, and other UFC fighters’ totally understandable self-interest in having that dominant champion go away for a while. It’s wishful thinking, basically.
The good news is, Weidman has a long career still ahead of him. Three years from now, Anderson Silva might be retired, and Chris Weidman will still be beating up top contenders. He’ll have his moment. Saturday night will not be that moment.
Tim Kennedy seems to talk a lot for a guy without many significant wins. Will Roger Gracie silence him for once, or will Kennedy finally live up to his own hype?
- Frankie Edgar vs. Charles Oliveira: Following his unsuccessful title challenge against Jose Aldo — which gave Edgar his third decision loss in a row — “The Answer” returns to the featherweight division to face dangerous grappler Charles Oliveira. Though Oliveira hasn’t competed since his knockout loss to Cub Swanson at UFC 152, his two previous fights resulted in submission victories over Jonathan Brookins and Eric Wisely. It’s a logical rebound fight for Edgar, and a huge opportunity for Oliveira.
- Cub Swanson vs. Dennis Siver: Speaking of Swanson, the Jackson’s MMA product is red-hot lately, with four straight victories in the UFC (three by KO/TKO). Fresh off his recent decision win over Dustin Poirier, Swanson will try to add to his streak against the hard-striking Dennis Siver, who is 2-0 since dropping to featherweight, with decision wins over Diego Nunes and Nam Phan.
We here at CagePotato have literally taken every possible step in order to rid the MMA world of the great injury curse of 2012: we’ve prayed (lol!), we’ve had our cleaning lady Concepcion rid the office of evil spirits, we’ve resorted to Pagan rituals involving pentagrams, we’ve even had Rex track down “thisredengine” and sacrifice his virginal body to the Gods. And after all that fell flat, we tried to go Freddy Kruger on the curse and simply stop talking about it in the hopes that it would eventually just leave us be and move on to some other, less important sport. Like women’s ______.
But alas, our efforts were a complete failure. In the past few days, at least four fighters have come down with a case of the injury bug, leading to some small yet noticeable changes in several of the UFC’s upcoming cards. And we wonder why even Canadian fans are cautious to buy a ticket these days. (Author’s note: You see, Dana? THIS is what happens when you read from the Necronomicon. Side effects include nausea, meniere’s disease, Saturday night palsy, and possessed hand.)
We shall begin today’s trip down injury lane with Kyle Noke…
Another pair of interesting matches at 170 lbs. have recently been added to UFC 143′s already welterweight-stacked card. If you are anything like us, then you likely expected Matt Brown would receive his walking papers after dropping his fourth loss via submission (and second via guillotine) in his past five fights to Seth Baczynski at UFC 139. Well, it turns out Brown will be given another shot at UFC glory, and will be fighting for not only his Zuffa contract, but the chance to keep his record above .500 when he takes on TUF 13 cast member Chris Cope.
Cope will be looking to rebound from the devastating 40 second TKO loss he suffered at the hands (and more specifically, knees) of Che Mills in Mills’ UFC debut back at UFC 138.
Two months after he barely survived his first post-UFC outing against Angel DeAnda, James Irvin was back in action last night at "Tachi Palace Fights 7: Deck the Halls" in Lemoore, California — and he wasn’t so lucky this time. In the main event of the evening, Irvin took on 5-2-1 Chute Boxe product Jorge "Van Damme" Oliveira, who holds victories over Shonie Carter and Mike Van Arsdale. After failing on a takedown attempt, Oliveira wound up on his back, and did his best to defend Irvin’s ground-and-pound. At the video’s 3:24 mark, Irvin’s gets enough space to rain down some nasty blows, and Oliveira kicks him off. Irvin dives back in, and is immediately caught in a triangle/armbar. Fun fact: Irvin hasn’t been out of the first round in over four years.
Maybe Oliveira is just an affectionate guy in general, but the dude lays it on a little thick in his post-fight show of respect, hugging and kissing Irvin on the mat, raising the Sandman’s arm in faux-victory, bowing to him in a "we’re not worthy" pose (dude, it’s James Irvin, you’re worthy), getting up to hug him some more, then hugging him again after a brief visit with his corner. Now we know why they call him "Van Damme."
The Tachi Palace event also featured an insane bout between TUF 11 castmember Seth Baczynski and WEC/UFC vet Tim McKenzie, which ended with Baczynski getting his left arm snapped in an armbar, then elbowing McKenzie into unconsciousness with his non-broken arm. 2010 Finish of the Year candidate, for sure. Check it out after the jump…
Well it appears that Jamie Yager really is "The Chosyn1" as the UFC have selected him as one of four "The Ultimate Fighter 11" contestants whose three-year exclusive contracts options they will not pick up.
According to a report by rankingmma.com, the UFC has released Yager, Josh Bryant, James Hammortree and Seth Baczynski following losses by all four fighters on the TUF 11 Finale.
Yager, who became this season’s resident heel logged a decisive loss to Cage Potato’s resident TUF 11 blogger Rich "The Raging Bull" Attonito, succumbing to strikes at 4:25 of the second round.
If all else fails for the 2-2 Huntington Beach native who denied a public Twitter feud with his coach on the show, Tito Ortiz, he could always try his hand and mouth at professional wrestling.
Josh Bryant vs. Kyle Noke: No, Bryant won’t be facing off with fellow semi-finalist Brad Tavares in a third-place match. Instead, he has drawn Kyle Noke, the Australian veteran who was upset by Kris McCray in the TUF 11 quarterfinals.
(Gif of Tavares getting kicked in the "chest," courtesy of smoogy.)
Kris McCray vs. Kyle Noke. Brad Tavares vs. Seth Baczynski. Tito Ortiz vs. Everyone’s Patience. Last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter was a wall-to-wall struggle. Here’s what happened.
After Team Liddell’s Court McGee became the first TUF 11 semi-finalist, following his submission of James Hammortree, it’s time for two more quarterfinal matches. First up is Kris McCray vs. Kyle Noke, two guys who used to be training partners. Dana White cares not for your personal relationships: "One of the things I want these guys to learn early? There are no friends in the UFC."
Tito Ortiz might be looking at neck surgery. There’s a disc pressing on his spinal cord, which is causing numbness in his legs and daily headaches, among other symptoms. He’s not going to let Chuck beat him because he wasn’t 100%. Instead of fighting injured and jeopardizing his health, he wants to get this taken care of. It’s basically the same story we heard last week from Nick Ring, who by the way, is out of the competition for one day and already has a full-on Freddie Mercury ‘stache.
Noke has two inches in height, 4.5 inches in reach, and a hell of a lot more fights under his belt than McCray. It’s time to bang.