(Chael Sonnen explains that it’s the Ultimate *Fighting* Championship, not the Ultimate Mitt-Hitting, High-Altitude Training, Flipping a Tire Around, Screaming the Word "Yes" Championship. Props: MMA Fighting)
Following an expectation-exceeding night of action at UFC 109, the UFC handed out $60,000 pay-bumps to the following competitors:
Fight of the Night: Chael Sonnen and Nate Marquardt, for their bloody 15-minute grind, in which Sonnen survived a nasty choke attempt in the third round to secure the decision victory and earn a middleweight title shot.
Knockout of the Night:Matt Serra, for beating down Frank Trigg and proving that his hands are always dangerous, even if they’re on the end of very short arms.
Submission of the Night: Paulo Thiago, for putting Mike Swick to sleep with a D’Arce choke after knocking him to the mat in the second round of their fight. Thiago: 2, AKA: 1.
What do you get when you roust two old fighters from their rocking chairs and toss them into the cage for a fight that would have been so awesome ten years ago that your head would have exploded at the mere idea of it? We have no idea, but we can’t wait to find out, just like we can’t wait to see what happens when Chael Sonnen finally has to stop talking crazy long enough to step in there with Nate Marquardt.
UFC 109 is coming at you from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas tonight, beginning with some preliminary action on Spike TV at 9 pm EST. Keep it locked right here for all the live results and insightful commentary you can stand, some of which will be completely obscured by unfortunate typos in the heat of the moment. As long as you’re here, might as well introduce yourself in the comments section and begin making obscure film/music/pop culture references that are only funny to you. Huzzah!
(Couture vs. Coleman hype video by Genghis Con. Respect your elders, son.)
ATTENTION, POTATO NATION: It’s Friday afternoon, which means there’s still time to join MMA FightPicker and submit your predictions for tomorrow night’s UFC 109 card. For the thousands of players who have already signed up, we thank you, and we want you to know that we’ll be battling alongside you. In fact, BF and BG have both joined "Palooka Pool 30 #173" in an effort to determine a house champion. (Ed. note: The loser of this challenge will have to get a tattoo on his ass that says "Ben owns this. Not me, the other Ben.") So please join a FightPicker pool if you haven’t already, then take a look at how we’re answering the questions this week…
1. Randy Couture vs. Mark Coleman at UFC 109: Who will win? BF: Randy Couture. If Couture can only beat one type of fighter on the UFC roster, it’s the type that Coleman happens to be: old, a little bit slow, and too dependent on his wrestling ability. BG: Randy Couture. Couture is the master of the gameplan. Coleman drives around Vegas for two days with his low-fuel light on because he’s always late to practice, and runs out of gas on the 215 even though he "put that little extra in there" to begin with. Difference in mental preparation, is what I’m saying.
2. Randy Couture vs. Mark Coleman: Who will score the first takedown? BF: Randy Couture. This is a little tougher to call, because sometimes the first takedown is determined in part by who’s gunning for takedowns right out of the gate, which should be Coleman. I still think Couture can stifle him until he’s ready to work for something out of the clinch, maybe early in the second round. BG: Randy Couture. Ditto to all that. You might see these two guys try to prove a point by slugging for a couple rounds, but the Natural will eventually put Coleman on his back from the clinch.
(‘Oh, all the free kittens are gone? That’s cool. You might want to take that ad out of the paper. Just, you know, so somebody like me doesn’t get his hopes up only to have them crushed and ground into a fine, depressing powder. But whatever.’)
If somehow you didn’t know who Chael Sonnen was before this week, chances are you do now. He’s spent the run-up to his fight with Nate Marquardt at UFC 109 making inflammatory statements about almost everyone but his opponent. I spoke to Sonnen for this SI.com feature on Saturday night’s bout, and as expected it turned out to be an interesting conversation. Here, for your enjoyment, are selected outtakes from that talk.
Lately you’ve been making waves with your comments about Anderson Silva, saying he actually speaks perfect English but hates the media too much to talk to them. I guess I’m wondering, if it’s not a ploy to get attention, why go after Anderson now?
I didn’t really say anything about Anderson. All I said is what you said there, and that’s no big deal. Once I destroy Nate Marquardt in a few days I will set my sights on him and I will really let it go. Believe me, when I sink my teeth into this guy, those comments aren’t going to seem like anything. I was making a very fair observation. Anderson Silva speaks English. Any time the media comes around he has such disdain for you guys that it’s ‘se habla Espanol.’ He doesn’t have to talk to the media, and in fact he refuses to, and yet the media goes out and strokes his ego and puts him on the cover of everything. It’s the craziest thing I’ve seen.
(This can mean only one of two things: either the UFC is putting on a main event between two MMA dinosaurs, or it’s ‘makeover your dad’ week on "The Ellen Degeneres Show." Photo courtesy of Combat Lifesyle’s presser gallery.)
So who’s going to win the old-timer’s main event bout at UFC 109? Which undercard fighter is most likely to join the ranks of the unemployed after this weekend? Why is my Toyota making that weird sound? At least two of these important questions will be answered in this installment of Ben vs. Ben. Read on to find out which remains a mystery.
There’s some crazy talk that the winner of Randy Couture-Mark Coleman could be in the running for a title shot. Do you have any interest in seeing that? If not, what would you recommend as a next step for the winner and the loser?
BF: If by “in the running,” you mean well behind the winner of Rampage Jackson-Rashad Evans and somewhere just in front of the winner of Tito Ortiz-Chuck Liddell, then sure. In other words, the elderly survivor here is not completely out of the picture. At least not until he is forced to win at least one more fight, at which point he’ll be knocked right out of the picture once again.
You may not know this if you are not an American, or if you are a shut-in who reads nothing but MMA news and advice columns on the internet, but the Super Bowl is this Sunday. It’s the one weekend where even non-football fans pretend to be interested in the game so they can gain access to a bunch of high-calorie snacks that they did not prepare. Statistically, it’s also a great weekend to get a DUI, be involved in a domestic violence situation, or throw up. Bonus points if you hit the trifecta.
But if you’re looking for expert predictions on Sunday’s game, don’t ask a bunch of MMA fighters. Many of them can’t be bothered with pro sports that don’t involve sanctioned face-punching, and others are Brazilian or British or some other damn thing, which means they are barely even aware of the existence of the NFL. Still, watching Demian Maia do his best to understand the situation is charming in a way. Watching Frank Trigg pretend that he’s co-hosting the pre-game show definitely is not.
Instead of trying to figure out who will win, you should probably focus your energy on deciding what to do this Sunday while your UFC 109 hangover is wearing off. To that end, our friends at Holy Taco have devised a helpful flowchart for you to consult. And if you need help getting pumped for some serious binge eating, the boys at Greg Jackson’s gym have got you covered after the jump.
– The way Coleman describes a car accident in which he skidded through the intersection and went up on "the medium."
– That he says he’s been living in the Palace Station of late and dreads leaving because of all the stuff he has to pack up, making him the first person in history to put off a move from the Palace Station to the Manadalay Bay.
– That when Coleman finishes telling his story about running out of gas on the 215 freeway and Cofield asks if he’s ever had something similar happen before he responds, "Well, hell yeah."
A quick look at the four fresh talents who will be hunting for success in the Eight-Sided Shape on Saturday night…
PHIL DAVIS (LHW) Experience: 4-0 record (3 wins by first-round stoppage) in various regional leagues. Last competed in June ’09, choking out David Baggett at a UCFC event in Pittsburgh. Will be fighting:Brian Stann (8-2, 2-1 UFC) Lowdown: They call him "Mr. Wonderful." A four-time All-American and 2008 Division I National Wrestling Champion for Penn State, Davis began his MMA education with Greg Jackson before moving to San Diego, where he now works out with Brandon Vera at the Alliance Training Center. His fighting mentality was instilled in him from an early age, as he had to scrap with his two older brothers for two available seats at their family’s dinner table. By the age of 12, Davis was “eating dinner almost every night.” [Ed. note: Wow, that's kind of fucked up.] Davis thinks it’s pretty cool that Brian Boitano gets roses thrown at him after his performances, and would like that to happen for him someday.
RONNYS TORRES (LW) Experience: 14-1 record (12 wins by stoppage), with all fights taking place in Brazilian leagues including Shooto Brazil and Jungle Fight. Will be fighting:Melvin Guillard (22-8-1 with 1 no-contest, 5-4 UFC) Lowdown: Due to a series of injuries, Torres has been out of action since September 2008, when he scored a first-round submission over Eliene Silva at Jungle Fight 11; Torres was originally supposed to face Guillard last April. The Nova Uniao prospect with the oddly-pluralized first name has had to cut over 30 pounds to make the lightweight limit. He plans on making his cage-entrance to gospel music. "It is step by step that I will arrive to the top," Torres says. "I only ask that God illuminates me."
If you’re waiting until the last minute to make your FightPicker picks for UFC 109, either because you’re the kind of sad sack who always waits until the last minute with everything, or simply because you’d rather compete in a pool against such sad sacks, you should see this first. It’s a clip from the UFC’s most recent "Countdown" show, in which we see Paulo Thiago at work in his BOPE unit. Like the nice man in the beret says at the 0:50 mark, "When society needs help, they call police. When police needs help, they call BOPE." In other words, BOPE takes no shit off nobody. Just look at their crazy logo if you don’t believe us.
The awesomeness of all this was not lost on Mike Swick, who wrote on his Twitter: "I have to admit, his segment was badass! I’m in the gym with blondie and Fitch and he’s rapelling out of Helos with an M4. Damn you Thiago!"
Just something to think about if you’re caught between picking Swick or Thiago and can’t decide. One of those fighters has been in the kind of critical situations that "hardens a man’s spirit," while the other has to hang out with this freaking guy every day. Actually, that’s still a tough call.