We don’t have an easy way to break this to you, so we’ll just come out and say it: Afghan knockout artist Siyar Bahadurzada has been sent to live with our friend who owns a farm upstate. He’ll be able to frolic in an open field to his heart’s desire, and he’ll have plenty of friends to play with. Because of this, he won’t be fighting at UFC 149 against Chris Clements.
Just kidding, he’s out with an undisclosed injury. What, you actually believed your parents when they told you your dog was living on a farm upstate? That’s adorable.
Bahadurzada is coming off a quick and brutal first round knockout of Paulo Thiago at UFC on FUEL 2, the first stoppage loss of Thiago’s career. The win instantly put the welterweight division on notice, and a victory over Alves would further cement Bahadurzada’s status amongst the division’s elite. To be fair, Alves has been struggling a bit as of late, sandwiching a first round submission win over Papy Abedi at UFC 138 between a decision loss to Rick Story at UFC 130 and a most recent submission loss to Martin Kampmann at UFC on FX 2. Despite the fact that “Pitbull” seemed on his way to a clear cut decision victory in that fight, an ill-timed takedown at the end of the third round provided Kampmann all the leeway he would need to snatch up a fight-ending guillotine choke.
Alves should not have to fear the submission prowess of Bahadurzada coming into this one, as two of his four losses have come by way of submission — the most recent of which was a first round heel hook to Jorge Santiago at Sengoku – Sixth Battle back in 2008. What we’re saying is, expect a brawl, Potato Nation, because what appeared to be a decent scrap at first glance has now been updated to an early candidate for Fight of the Night and/or Knockout of the Night.
Alves’s loss to Martin Kampmann last month dropped his record over the last three years to a disappointing 2-4, with his only wins coming against Papy Abedi and John Howard, so he needs this win almost as much as his opponent does. If Akiyama loses, he’ll become just the second fighter in UFC history (after Steve Cantwell) to suffer five consecutive losses within the promotion. Anybody think he has a chance of breaking his streak?
Check out the current lineup of UFC 149 after the jump…
In spite of his disappointing loss at UFC 144 to former number one UFC welterweight contender Jake Shields, Yoshihiro Akiyama is still cool in our books.
We just got a note from Sexyama with his winning picks from the TrauMMA Sexyama UFC 144 Photoshop Contest, so we figured we’d make three lucky readers’ weekends a whole lot better by letting them know they’ve each won an autographed version of the walkout shirt he wore that night.
Big thanks to TrauMMA Combat Apparel and Yoshihiro for partnering with us for this awesome contest. If you didn’t win, you can pick up one of the shirts HERE.
Admit it: When Mark Hunt first caught Cheick Kongo with a counter left, you were excited. When Hunt chased Kongo down and dropped him with a series of fight-ending straight rights, you cheered. No matter how much money you bet on Kongo to win, you couldn’t help but buy into the feel-good story that has been Mark Hunt’s UFC run. To see the same Mark Hunt who only earned a shot in the UFC due to the PRIDE buyout- the guy who Dana White offered to pay to just walk away from the UFC before being submitted by Sean McCorkle- thoroughly outclass one of the heavyweight division’s best kickboxers is a testament to his newfound dedication to the sport. The fact that he’s thirty seven years old only makes it all the more remarkable.
Mark Hunt improves to 8-7, marking the first time he’s had a winning record in the sport since his record was 5-4 in 2008. Although his hopes for either a title shot or a fight on next week’s Australia card are both pretty optimistic (to put it mildly), Hunt clearly demonstrated that he’s ready for stiffer competition. As for Cheick Kongo, this loss shouldn’t hurt his standing with the UFC- he was already a gatekeeper to begin with. We already knew that he wasn’t a serious contender for the heavyweight championship- the way he was outclassed by Mark Hunt’s striking and his inability to get Hunt on the ground proved it.
Konichiwa, bitches, and welcome to our liveblog presentation of the UFC 144 pay-per-view card. We’ve got seven more fights to go at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan, leading up to the headlining lightweight title bout between Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson. Along the way, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis will try to invent a new kick against Joe Lauzon, Yoshihiro Akiyama makes his last sexy stand against Jake Shields, and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson defends his old PRIDE turf against Ryan Bader.
Handling play-by-play for this leg of our journey is Anthony Gannon, who will be throwin’ down results after the jump starting at 10 p.m. ET. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and let your voice be heard in the comments section. As was predicted in the ancient fart scrolls, this is gonna be one hell of a night.
Check out the pre-fight press conference video above, which, aside from the occasional translation flub, goes off without a hitch. Just a warning: due to the fact that everything is being translated into Japanese as it is being said, it is difficult to understand the questions at hand every so often. But honestly, who gives a shit? THE UFC IS BACK IN JAPAN, BABY!!!
While we’re discussing how awesome Japan is, join us after the jump for the anime-style trailer for UFC 144, which is easily the coolest thing you will see all day, and possible ever.
(“There was the time… No. Wait, I remember once in second grade… No. I guess I have always been sexy.”)
Our friends at TrauMMA Combat Apparel have generously provided us with three autographed Yoshihiro Akiyama UFC 144 walkout shirts so we could award them to three lucky winners using whatever criteria we saw fit to use to decide.
If your cable provider doesn’t offer Fuel and you missed the UFC 144 countdown show last night, not to worry, we got you covered again.
It’s been a quiet week media-wise for the event, mostly because the majority of the fighters on the card and the few reporters planning on attending the show have been travelling to Japan. It seems like more focus of MMA news this week has been on the upcoming Strikeforce card, which is curious considering Saturday night’s event is a decent one.
Enjoy it. After this event and UFC: Alves vs. Kampmann on March 2, there won’t be another show until UFC: Sweden on April 14. That’s a six week stretch without a UFC show. At least our wives will be happy.
Anyway, this countdown show was a decent one. It’s interesting to hear guys like ‘Rampage’ and Akiyama talk about the difference between the North American and Japanese crowds, especially when it was like comparing apples to oranges between PRIDE and the UFC. Now we’ll finally get to see the disparity first hand.
I think I was most impressed with the level of respect Akiyama showed his opponent, Jake Shields, whom he praised for his skill level and fight smarts. It’s rare to see that in a pre-fight interview. He even found a way to make boring and conservative sound better by saying that Jake “isn’t explosive.” ’Sexyama’ could sell a Kia to a BMW enthusiast.
According to UFC president Dana White, joining a main event lightweight championship bout between Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson on the card will be a welterweight showdown between former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields and Japanese fan favorite Yoshihiro Akiyama, who will be make his 170-lb debut that night.
As promised, Yoshiro Akiyama has already completed his transformation to 170 pounds, and besides looking a little gaunt in the face, it’s safe to say that he has taken this “Sexyama” thing to a whole ‘notha level. I mean, first the music video and now this? You are making it increasingly difficult for the rest of the male population to get laid, Mr. Akiyama.
Below, we have Akiyama’s weigh in photo leading into his UFC debut match against Alan Belcher as a basis for comparison, courtesy of mmajunkie.com.
Yoshihiro Akiyama has done it again. The Japanese sex symbol known to most as simply “Sexyama,” appeared on a Japanese talk show this week to reveal his new single and let’s just say there likely wasn’t a dry seat in the house.
We’ve done you a solid by providing the translation of the UFC middleweight-turned-welterweight‘s silky smooth lyrics, and without ruining it for you we’ll just say that Beyonce and Jay-Z have both been simultaneously put on notice.
Check out another scintillating song from the sexy one himself after the jump.
I’m looking, but I don’t see one ounce I’d be willing to part with.
It looks like Dana White is getting his wish. Following his first round KO loss to Vitor Belfort at UFC 133, Yoshihiro Akiyama will be making the cut to 170lbs. Like any professional model, “Sexiyama” knows that thin is in, and after dropping three straight in the Middleweight division the judoka hopes to reignite his career as a welterweight.
Akiyama strutted into the Octogon sporting a 12-1 (2 no contests) record in Japan, but he hasn’t fared too well in the UFC. After snatching a split decision win over Alan Belcher, he fell victim to a last minute Chris Leben triangle, was outpointed by Michael Bisping, and dropped cold by “The Phenom”. Although he has lined his pockets with an additional $135k thanks to three “Fight of the Night” bonuses, at some point you’ve got to pick up a ‘W’ if you want to keep fighting under the bright lights…generally speaking.
Funny thing about literal translations: they’re rarely very good at saying exactly what you mean, rather they tend to sort-of-in-a-general-way communicate a rough idea. And sometimes, they’re downright misleading. Take judo, for example. The Japanese translates into English imprecisely to begin with: ju translates literally as “gentle” or “soft”, while do is “way” or “path”. Both of these concepts relate more to the philosophy of judo — conservation of energy and an emphasis on technique — than a description of the style and action. Ask anyone who’s ever tried a few classes in the “gentle way“, and they’ll tell you that it’s anything but. Any class that begins with learning how to fall down with minimal pain runs a significant risk of being brutal.
Judo was born in the late 19th Century by a Japanese jujitsu fella by the name of Jiguro Kano, known to his brodogs as “Da Jigumon”. Kano had begun training as a result of being bullied growing up –a storythat stillrings truethrough time. At the time, “jujitsu” was something of a generic term for unarmed fighting, and schools varied wildy in technique, training methods, and instruction.
Since he’s on his way to Wisconsin for the lead-up media appearances for Sunday night’s UFC Live on Versus 5: Hardy vs. Lytle event, Dana White’s first video blog for the show is more of a recap of UFC 133, which is just as well.
It’s interesting to see Dana’s non reaction to Vitor Belfort’s win over Yoshihiro Akiyama. He can clearly be heard telling Lorenzo Fertitta that the finishing blows by “The Phenom” were to the back of “Sexyama’s” head. Neither UFC executive showed little emotion when Belfort came over to their side of the Octagon to let them know he’s back and White later said in an interview that the former UFC light heavyweight champion would have to chew on his loss to Anderson Silva for a while before he gets another title shot.
(“Expect punches to the back of the head, every fight bro.”)
Tatame caught up with Vitor Belfort following his impressive victory over Yoshihiro Akiyama Saturday night at UFC 133 and the former UFC light heavyweight champion said he isn’t letting Dana White’s statement that he needs to “chew on” his loss to Anderson Silva for a while deter him from keeping his eye on the middleweight belt.
He says that his number one goal is to get another shot at Silva, or whomever holds the belt at the time, so he can make up for his poor showing the last time he fought for the belt at UFC 126 in February.
“That’s my wish. I don’t know what they’ll decide. I don’t know what the fans want to see and since UFC guys will evaluate the situation, saying who deserves a title shot or not… I want to fight for the belt and I’ll run through everybody who stands in my way.That’s my goal.”
Just a friendly reminder that Spike TV will be running the Countdown to UFC 133 show tonight at 11:00 pm ET. If you don’t have Spike and are in Canada, you can check it out tomorrow night at 8:00 pm ET on Sportsnet or you can have a look back here and I’m sure we’ll have other resources available for you to check out the show.
The card has undergone a lot of changes, which also force the UFC to reshoot portions of the preview episode, so hopefully it isn’t noticeable. The first time we catch them overdubbing the audio of Rashad talking about Phil Davis with a clip of him saying “Tito Ortiz,” we’re tuning out.
Following losses to Chris Leben and Michael Bisping, Yoshihiro Akiyama‘s back is squarely against the wall coming into his co-headlining bout at UFC 133. Unfortunately, his opponent will be Vitor Belfort, who can end a fight at any time with his notoriously lethal hands. But don’t sleep on Sexy. Akiyama predicts a knockout victory on August 6th, saying that he’s just as dangerous as Belfort in a stand-and-bang situation. “Every time I fight, I fight like my life’s at stake,” he says. And yeah, against the Phenom it very well might be. But we’ll have to find out Akiyama’s stance on Internet porn before we can make an official prediction.
(By the way, is it really necessary to start this clip with that stereotypical Asian flute playing in the background? Come on, son. Akiyama is of Korean descent, so you know the only music playing at his crib is Bubble Pop on a continuous loop.)
After the jump: A look at Vitor Belfort’s dramatic early rise in the UFC as well as his return (which conveniently doesn’t include that part where he got Seagal’d by Anderson Silva).
The UFC’s UK office announced today that the original plan of not having a UK show this year has changed as the promotion is planning on bringing the Octagon back to the LG Arena in Birmingham for UFC 138. According to the Twitter post above, the show will be underwhelmingly headlined by a middleweight match-up between Mark Munoz and Chris Leben. Sorry Josh Koscheck.
Barring something completely crazy and unexpected, the fight card for UFC 133 on August 6 in Philadelphia is set in place. Yesterday, the UFC officially announced the addition of a middleweight clash between Rafael Natal and Constantinos Philippou to the prelims. Rafael Natal is coming off of a majority draw against Jesse Bongfeldt at UFC 124, while Constantinos Philippou lost his UFC debut against Nick Catone at UFC 128.
Even though both middleweights are still searching for their first UFC victories, this bout is likely to appeal to the local fans. Both fighters are veterans of Atlantic City’s Ring of Combat, amassing a combined record of 10-2, with one no contest within the promotion.
UFC 133 will be headlined by a light heavyweight fight between Phil Davis and Rashad Evans. Also set for this card is throwback between Rich Franklin and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, the return of Vitor Belfort against Yoshihiro Akiyama and another attempt at the ill-fated Jorge Rivera vs. Alessio Sakara scrap. Not to mention the other seven fights listed after the jump.
Speaking of UFC 133, welterweight oddball sensation Brian Ebersolewill be returning at the Philly event, fresh off his upset decision win over Chris Lytle at UFC 127 in February. Ebersole will face off against veteran Dennis Hallman, who is riding back-to-back wins over Ben Saunders and Karo Parisyan — both of whom were fired from the UFC after those losses. Ebersole and Hallman have a combined 117 MMA fights between the two of them.
(“Thank you Jesus for letting me punch people asleep. bro.”)
Tatame.com recently caught up with Vitor Belfort to talk to him about what’s coming down the pipe and the UFC middleweight touched on a few interesting topics including the fact that an agreed upon match-up with Wanderlei Silva fell through for unknown reasons and his desire to make it on the UFC Rio card.
According to “The Phenom,” who says he has recovered from his UFC 127 loss to Anderson Silva and is in a “good state of mind,” in spite of UFC president Dana White’s recent assertion that “The Axe Murderer” accepted the bout, he says Silva decided that a fight with Chris Leben would be an easier test for himself.
Those of you living under a rock may not have heard, but the future state of MMA is the least of Japan’s problems right now. Friday’s devastating earthquake not only moved the entire “city” of Japan eight feet, but it also shifted the Earth’s axis. Did you read that? It shifted the fucking planet’s axis. If that measly butterfly flapping its wings in Tokyo could cause big changes worldwide, you’ve already gathered that this little doozy is going to have an effect as well.
But I don’t want to bore you with the details of the Japanese fending off a potential nuclear armageddon, not when there’s big picture stuff like fighters being pulled from the March 19th UFC 128 card. Though he and his family are reportedly safe and out of harm’s way, Yoshihiro Akiyama has understandably withdrawn from his bout with Nate Marquardt.
UFC president Dana White told TMZ today that though they have not cut Sonnen from the roster, Zuffa has opted to "temporarily freeze" his contract.
"Chael Sonnen has gone through a lot in the last few months and we think it’s important for him to focus on getting his personal life together before focusing on his career in the UFC," White explained. "I spoke with Chael earlier today and he agrees that setting priorities in his life is the best thing for him right now. I sincerely hope Chael is able to straighten out his personal life."
— I know, we were all drooling with schadenfreude when we heard that money laundering carries a max sentence of 20 years and a half-milly fine. But don’t start planning Chael’s going-away party just yet, folks. According to the Oregonian, the government will recommend that Sonnen be sentenced to just two years of probation at his sentencing in March; as part of his plea deal, Sonnen also agreed to forfeit his realtor’s license and pay a $10,000 fine. And why is Chael getting off so easily? The loud-mouthed UFC contender is expected to cooperate as a witness against others involved in the mortgage fraud investigation. In other words, he’s a rat in addition to being a lyingscam-artist with malfunctioning testicles.
— Just as the money laundering story broke, MMA Junkie reported that Sonnen had been scheduled to face Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 128 (March 19, Newark), just 17 days after his CSAC suspension ends. We’d consider that booking "tentative" considering the legal heat that’s now dogging Sonnen. Sexyama’s Octagon record dropped to 1-2 following his decision loss to Michael Bisping at UFC 120, though all three of his UFC bouts have earned "Fight of the Night" honors.
After the jump, more on the specific charge that Sonnen pled guilty to…