(Leg kicks, why have you forsaken me? / Photo courtesy of allelbows.com)
Today, as you know, is Easter — a day in which Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, three days after his crucifixion. To commemorate the holiday, we’d like to take this time to remember notable resurrections in the sport of mixed martial arts. (Because we’re respectful like that.) There’s nothing more incredible than watching a dude get the living crap beaten out of him for minutes at a time, and then somehow, miraculously, finding the strength to knock his opponent dead before the last bell. So without further ado, here are 11 of our favorite “Back From the Dead” MMA fights of all time…
The extended video preview for UFC 129 has hit the Internet tubes, and as usual with these things, we get confident words from all the headliners, intercut with Joe Rogan raving about what beasts they are. Here’s a cheat-sheet…
— Georges St. Pierre says it’s an honor and a privilege to be part of all-time biggest gate in UFC history, and promises to give the fans a good show. Welterweight title contender Jake Shields says he has no problem fighting in hostile territory — which might be the first time that any part of Canada has been described as “hostile territory.” Says Shields: “Everyone has holes. He’s human. Once I get on top of him, I’m going to pass and put him away.” GSP respects Jake’s six year, 15-fight win streak, but says that fighting for a UFC world title is a different game. Particularly when you’re fighting Georges St. Pierre.
At this point, even we’re sick of hearing about Jon Jones‘s abilities and what Greg Jackson thinks of them. But I just spent the last twenty minutes watching Spike’s “In the Moment” special on Bones, and if you’re a fan of the 23-year-old phenom, I suggest you do the same. The mostly first-person account of Jones’s lead-up to UFC 128 introduces us to his brother, girlfriend, and daughters, and gives us a lot more insight about his training in Albuquerque. Definitely worth your time.
(Update: Damn autoplay. Check out the video after the jump.)
“I just suffered a huge loss. That’s fighting. That’s the name of the game. That’s the world. As the world turns, people win, people lose, you get your ass back on the saddle and ride into town again…[Dos Santos] is in my way, and that’s the only thing I give a shit about. He’s in my way to get my title back. I was, and I will be again, the UFC heavyweight champion of the world. [Sarah Palin-esque wink/click]”
So says TUF 13 coach Brock Lesnar in his first video promo for The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team Dos Santos, which premieres Wednesday, March 30th, at 9 p.m./8c. We’re curious to see how the moody, insular former heavyweight champ handles a room full of screaming welterweights. Along with his solid team of assistant coaches, will Brock be able to inspire the up-and-coming fighters to be successful? Or are we looking at another heel-coach in the vein of Koscheck and Rampage?
UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones goes down March 19th at the Prudential Center in Newark, and we’ve got the extended trailer for your viewing pleasure. Personally, I’m already a little burned out on watching the main eventers’ fight highlights and hearing the crusty old “youth vs. experience” debate. If you are too, just skip to the 4:51 mark to hear more about two other fights that aren’t getting nearly enough attention.
We’re only 18 days away from one of the most compelling UFC title fights in recent history. Will Jon Jones complete his prodigious ascent to the top of the light-heavyweight heap, less than three years after making his MMA debut? Will veteran knockout artist Mauricio Rua show Bones what a true champion really is? And will anybody have the guts to confront Shogun about his unibrow situation? The UFC’s latest teaser trailer has our minds racing. If you have any insight, please share…
(Update: The video was stuck on auto-play, so we moved it after the jump…)
Courtesy of Spike TV, here’s the cast unveiling video for TUF 13, which premieres on March 30th. Among the 14 welterweight hopefuls, there are fewer well-known names compared to recent seasons. I know who Shamar Bailey is because of his stint with Strikeforce, while undefeated KOTC standout Myles Jury — 9-0, all wins by stoppage, eight in the first round — has also been on my radar. But other than that, the cast is mostly made up of unknowns, with no obvious ringer in the mix. On the other hand, there also isn’t a lot of crazy hair in this video, which suggests that maybe these guys are more serious about fighting than camera time. That’s a good sign. A complete cast-list is after the jump…
- Brock Lesnar picks Jorge Rivera via ground-and-pound, but agrees that Jon Fitch will win by decision. (“Gotta stick with the wrassler,” he says.) Dana White sitting next to Brock Lesnar on a couch looks like a little bald child sitting next his big mean dad.
- Anthony Kiedis, my God. I’d like to take a time machine back to 1990 and confront a “Knock Me Down”-era Kiedis with footage that this is how he will look and carry himself when he’s 48 years old. Just the idea that he would be alive that long would probably freak him out, but one look at that mustache/pony-tail combo would send him into a tailspin of drug use and depression, possibly ending in suicide. Then, I would replace him as lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers just in time for the band’s greatest period of commercial success. And that’s what I would do if I had a time machine.
Not only does UFC light-heavyweight contender Jon Jones have a lot of hype, his hype has a lot of hype. By that I mean, Jones’s lofty reputation has become a major talking point in itself. Ryan Bader wants to end that hype at UFC 126; Jones wants to transcend it. On Sunday morning, Bones could be living with his first real defeat, while keyboard warriors claim he was never that great in the first place.
That’s because hype is fragile. Legacy, on the other hand, can never be taken away — and if Jones slashes through Bader tomorrow night, he’ll be one step closer to securing his own. What really makes Jon Jones interesting is that his journey in the sport is just beginning. His pro debut was in April 2008, less than three years ago. The path in front of him is limitless.
Anyway, check out this highlight reel, because it’s honestly one of the best we’ve ever seen.
In case you missed it at Wednesday’s press conference, here’s video of the rather intense staredown between UFC 126 main eventers Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort. Silva claims there’s nothing personal about Saturday’s match with "The Phenom," although Silva was reportedly upset that Belfort accepted the fight in the first place, considering they were former training partners. Weigh-ins for UFC 126 go down tonight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT, so brace yourself for more uncomfortable closeness between the two Brazilian stars.
After the jump: Belfort tells his hero Ariel Helwani that Anderson’s attitude is just giving him more motivation for the fight.
After suffering a first-round knockout at the hands of Mac Danzig at UFC 124, Joe Stevenson is once again riding back-to-back losses, and in desperate need of a victory. While a few UFC fighters (including Danzig himself) have been able to drop three straight without losing their jobs, it’s just not something you’d want to leave to chance these days.
According to MMA Mania, "Joe Daddy" will return at UFC on Versus 3 (March 3rd; Louisville, KY) where he’ll face former WEC lightweight contender Danny "Last Call" Castillo. With an overall record of 10-3, Castillo has eaten stoppage losses against Donald Cerrone, Shane Roller, and Anthony Pettis. But after defeating Dustin Poirier and Will Kerr in his two most recent fights, he’ll be coming into his next bout with some momentum. It’s one of those "nothing to lose, everything to gain" situations for the Team Alpha Male member, who is looking to make a dramatic entrance in the UFC. As for Stevenson? Well, he’d better not lose this one.
And here we have the 10-minute hype-reel for UFC 126, which goes down February 5th in Las Vegas. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but has anybody else noticed that the interpreter-voice they give to Anderson Silva these days sounds like a really smug asshole? I don’t know. Back in the day, they’d just use Ed Soares to dub his voice. Now he sounds like more of a heel character. Intentional?
Anyway, what else. Forrest Griffin and Rich Franklin see themselves as very similar competitors. "You have a fairly well-rounded fighter that has some knockout power on his feet, and is a very tenacious fighter, and as the fight goes on he fights harder," Rich says. "Did I just describe me or did I describe Forrest?" (Don’t answer, it’s a trick question.) Griffin says he’ll beat Franklin "no problem," though it’s possible that he’s just trying to be funny like usual.
The full lineup for UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort is after the jump…
(Remember when Sergei Kharitonov sent Alistair Overeem‘s lifeless body through the ropes at K-1 Hero’s 10? No? Then you really need to watch these videos…)
In our excitement for Strikeforce’s potentially insane heavyweight tournament, one point seems to be getting lost in the narrative — namely, that these guys have already fought each other many, many times before. Five of the eight competitors (Werdum, Arlovski, Overeem, Emelianenko, Rogers) have previously faced at least three other fighters in the tournament field. Fabricio Werdum has actually fought everyone except Brett Rogers and Josh Barnett, and only Barnett himself has managed to go his entire career without bumping up against anybody else in this year’s bracket.
All told, there’s eleven twelve fights worth of shared history among the Strikeforce HWGP competitors, dating back over five years. To help you study for the quarterfinals next month, we’ve posted them all below in chronological order…
UPDATE: We originally forgot to include Fabricio Werdum’s decision win over Antonio Silva. So actually, there have been 12 previous meetings, not 11. The video has now been added.
(Sergei Kharitonov def. Fabricio Werdum via split decision; PRIDE 30, 10/23/05)
(Alistair Overeem def. Sergei Kharitonov via TKO, 5:13 of round 1; PRIDE 31, 2/26/06)
(Above: Brandon Vera gets smashed up by Jon Jones in March. Below: Marcus Davis does his best Abobo impression during his fight with Nate Diaz.)
It’s not like we didn’t see this coming. After Phil Baroni and Antonio McKee lost their jobs, there was no way that the axe wasn’t going to drop again on UFC 125‘s other repeat-losers. Here’s the latest…
Marcus Davis: The Irish Hand Grenade has also been bounced out of the Octagon. Davis’s knockout loss against Jeremy Stephens was his fifth loss in his last eight attempts, and second-straight defeat by stoppage. The TUF 2 vet was hoping to re-invent himself as a lightweight, and had controlled Stephens in the first two rounds before having his lights put out in the third. Davis is one of only eight UFC fighters who have earned five or more performance bonuses.
Instead of piling on the abuse, let’s remember Vera and Davis for the dangerous, exciting fighters they used to be before their luck abruptly ran out. Video proof is after the jump…
…and just to get the taste of vomit out of your mouths, here’s the extended trailer for UFC 124: St. Pierre vs. Koscheck II (December 11th, Montreal). The supporting card looks very promising, but it’s sort of unfortunate that the other two fights being featured here are Thiago Alves vs. John Howard and Mac Danzig vs. Joe Stevenson — considering all four fighters are coming off losses. Meanwhile, UFC 124 will also host two fights featuring guys on the upswing: Jim Miller (five-fight win streak) vs. Charles Oliveira (undefeated wunderkind) and Sean McCorkle (mouthy Internet celebrity) vs. young veteran Stefan Struve, who he’s been beefing with for months.
Still, Thiago Alves gets the best line of the video: "When you’re fighting the Pitbull, it’s over. No afterparty for you." And GSP guarantees a stoppage victory. "Get in, get out, and leave," he says. "That’s what the crowd wanna see, and that’s what I wanna do."
After a strong start against Gerald Harris at UFC 123, Maiquel Falcao checked out in the third round, deciding to coast to a decision victory rather than try to finish the fight — a terribly anti-climactic ending to what might have been a career-making performance. But things would have turned out a lot differently if not for a monumental screw-up by the timekeeper.
As the above video proves, the horn went off about six seconds before the first round actually should have ended. That wouldn’t make much of a difference in most fights, but Falcao had Harris in a fully-sunk rear-naked choke at the end of the round, and Harris seemed dangerously close to either tapping or passing out. Instead of picking up his eighth-consecutive first-round victory, Falcao became the night’s official scapegoat for boring point-fighters. Not that Big Rig’s behavior in the last five minutes of the fight should be excused, but that shit ain’t fair. I wonder if the timekeeper had money on Harris…
UFC 123 may not feature any title fights, but it does feature four hungry ex-champions. Headliner Rampage Jackson says he’s seen it all in his long career, and he’s not expecting any surprises from Lyoto Machida. Tiki Ghosn chimes in, predictably: "It’s Karate. Karate we found out sucked years ago. I think everybody got mesmerized with [Machida's] movement. Nobody cuts him off, nobody tries to cut him off." We hear more about Rampage’s decision to move his camp closer to home in Orange County, but no real explanation for the specific presence of Lance Gibson. Coincidentally, Machida has been preparing not too far away in San Diego, at Team Nogueria Gym. He says this fight is all about who imposes their gameplan. As opposed to other fights, where gameplans don’t really matter.
After the jump: ’Countdown’ continues, with a nice history of the rivalry between Matt Hughes and BJ Penn — from Matt’s "big man on campus" prime, to the loss that threw him into a Sin City tailspin, to his rematch redemption. Hughes has now eaten up three-consecutive Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts, and is looking to make Penn #4. Meanwhile, Penn is in Honolulu, with a head full of smoking needles, trying to clear his head after two upset losses to Frankie Edgar. To see the segment on Sotiropoulos vs. Lauzon, head to UFC.com.
Getting trapped in a submission is a panic-inducing experience for any fighter. But what happens when you’re put in a position that you’ve never even seen before? In honor of next week’s DVD/Blu-ray release of Locked Down (which co-stars Rashad Evans, Kimbo Slice, and Cheick Kongo), we’re taking a look back at MMA matches where fighters were "locked down" for real — caught in off-the-wall subs that offered no chance of escape. Enjoy the list, and come back next Thursday for a chance to win a Locked Down combo pack in our next caption contest…
#10: Alexander Otsuka’s double-armbar vs. Mike Bourke PRIDE 11, 10/31/00
Dusting himself off after a pathetically botched dropkick attempt early in the fight (see the video’s 0:38 mark), Otsuka begins working his jiu-jitsu against the tank-topped American brawler. When Bourke starts to hang out with one arm posted and the other throwing down telegraphed punches, the "Diet Butcher" seizes the moment, snapping his legs over Bourke’s head and torquing both of his arms simultaneously. Bourke is so screwed he has to tap with his knee.
#9: Ivan Salaverry’s anaconda body lock vs. Tony Fryklund UFC 50, 10/22/04
We usually think of the body-triangle as a technique used to soften up an opponent before or during a rear-naked choke. It takes real talent to actually finish somebody with it. After taking Tony Fryklund’s back, Salaverry passes up the neck and instead wrenches his arms around Fryklund’s body, driving his hips forward to exert maximum pressure on the spine and ribs. Fryklund has two options at this point: Allow himself to be cracked like a walnut, or scream for mercy. Fortunately, he makes the right choice.
UFC 122 may not be stacked — it’s Germany, those haters should be glad they’re getting anything — but it’ll be broadcast free on Spike, it’s full of potentially exciting matchups, and it’ll have serious implications for the UFC’s middleweight division. In the main event, Nate Marquardt and Yushin Okami will face off for a title shot against the winner of Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort. Marquardt and Okami are two guys who have spent their UFC careers clawing their way almost to the top, but falling just short of the glory. Earlier in his UFC career, Marquardt was TKO’d by Anderson Silva in the Spider’s first official title defense at UFC 73; this year, Marquardt suffered a decision loss to Chael Sonnen, snapping a fearsome three-knockout run.
As for Okami, the Japanese standout was outpointed in a previous #1-contender match against Rich Franklin at UFC 72, and was also stymied by Chael Sonnen last October. In other words, UFC 122′s headliners have endured the same setbacks — and they both know that the big opportunities don’t last forever. It’s do or die time. At Jackson’s MMA and Grudge Training Center, Marquardt is getting the best preparation that this country has to offer, and he’s a powerful, vicious striker. Okami is a deceptively strong fighter with great conditioning, who might be able to smother Marquardt just like Sonnen did.
(One of the few moments on Saturday when Travis Browne wasn’t in danger of getting his nuts demolished. Photo courtesy of MMAFighting.com)
Though many UFC fighters have gotten bad reputations for everything from eye-poking to greasing, nobody’s as consistently rotten as heavyweight Cheick Kongo, who put on another notorious performance against Travis Browne at UFC 120. Kongo started things off in the second round by launching his trademark strike — a knee to the balls, straight up the middle — and wound up costing himself the victory in the third frame when he continued to grab Browne’s shorts despite warnings from the ref; the resulting point-deduction led to a unanimous 28-28 judges’ decision. At this point, it’s pretty much indisputable that Kongo is the dirtiest fighter currently on the UFC roster. Who could forget his other career highlights…
Some more on-the-scene videos from our good friends at kimura.se: First up, Michael Bisping promises that Yoshihiro "Ironhead" Akiyama would have eventually gone down if it were a five-round fight, but says there’s no shame in not being able to put him away. He calls Mark Kinney the best boxing coach he’s ever worked with, and feels that he’s finally putting Mark’s lessons into practice. As for his future, the Count still has his eyes on the prize. "I’ve been around for a long time now, I’m not getting any younger," Bisping says. "Now it’s time to do it, it’s time to put in a run for a title and hopefully get the gold."
After the jump, Dan Hardy reflects on his knockout loss against Carlos Condit, and our BFF Dana White discusses educating new markets on MMA, the question of "morality" that jackass politicians bring up around the world, and the new "GSP is bigger than Gretzky" talking point he’s been testing out recently. For lots more UFC 120 interviews, check out youtube.com/kimurase.
No need for a lengthy preamble — you’ve already seen the first five minutes of theUltimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck season premiere, and you know how these things generally go down. We’ve got 28 lightweights, battling for 14 spots. Dana White addresses the troops, Bruce Leroy giggles with anticipation. It’s the elimination round, where the RFFs (real fucking fighters) are separated from the pretenders. Let’s get it.
Marc Stevens vs. TJ O’Brien Stevens wrestled at the University of Buffalo when Josh Koscheck was the assistant wrestling coach there. Kos calls him an "okay wrestler." Stevens immediately lands a huge overhand right, then jackhammers O’Brien on the ground until the ref steps in. We later learn that the 13-second TKO is the fastest stoppage in TUF history. "Remember me now?" Stevens asks Koscheck.
Spencer Paige vs. Steve Magdaleno Paige’s striking is as good as advertised, as he lands a mix of attacks in round 1. Magdaleno ends the round on top, working some ground-and-pound, but it might not be enough to steal the round. They start round 2 swinging for the fences before Paige starts blasting Magdaleno with knees. Magdaleno shoots on Paige and dumps him. Magdaleno looks for an arm triangle, then goes back to abusing Paige from the top. Magdaleno drops to guard when the action goes standing again, and possibly blows the fight, as Paige finishes strong with strikes from the top. Paige takes the unanimous decision.
BJ Penn‘s post-UFC 118 layoff won’t be a long one. After getting the business end of a five-round shutout at the hands of Frankie Edgar, Penn expects to return to the Octagon "in November sometime," against an opponent he’s not ready to name yet. But you can tell he’s excited about the matchup by the way his chair-rocking gradually increases in speed.
The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck could turn out to be very entertaining, but in general, we’re not expecting any surprises. The coaches already have their roles sorted out, and won’t be straying from them: Georges St. Pierre is the nice-guy champion who doesn’t let his opponents get under his skin, and Josh Koscheck is the trash-talking contender who gave up on being liked a long time ago. At this point, there’s no reason to think St. Pierre won’t dominate Koscheck in December like he did during their first meeting in 2007. But maybe Kos can take a page out of the Chael Sonnen playbook and force you to care about the rematch through the sheer power of his assholishness.
So anyway, here’s the first five minutes of next week’s TUF 12 premiere, courtesy of Spike. Koscheck vows to whip GSP’s fake ass. Dana White is so excited that he’s sweated through his Bruce Lee t-shirt. (Too early for gray, buddy.) It’ll be another "wild card" season — the setup that allowed finalist Kris McCray to fight five times in six weeks last season. Dana pumps up the cast with his usual arsenal of F-bombs. We meet the first two preliminary round fighters. And that’s pretty much it. No word on if any doors are destroyed this season, or if any raw fish is beaten off into. Okay, fine, maybe there will be a few surprises…