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.