Sunday, May 31, 2009

Answers Coming in One Week


Since the time the above punch was delivered, I've been waiting for the rematch. Now we're only one week away and I'm starting to get goosebumps.

No one - myself included - believed Mike Thomas Brown was going to beat Urijah Faber on November 5, 2008. After all, "The California Kid" had been on a three year undefeated streak, plowing through the WEC Featherweight division with devastating speed, strength and striking.

Then he got dropped. Hard. Quick. Done.


See, Mike Thomas Brown was on a three year winning streak too, having not dropped a fight since his return from Japan following a loss to Masakazu Imanari in December 2005. While the flash and showmanship wasn't there, the wins were, including a Unanimous Decision over Jeff Curran in his WEC debut which set up the bout with Faber.

Less than half way through the first round, it happened. Where you stand on the situation probably depends on whether you're a member of Team Faber or Team Brown and I'm not talking Team Alpha Male versus ATT either.

Faber fans say it was a good punch when Urijah was trying a ridiculous move; that he let his cockiness get the best of him and got caught.

The other side of that coin is that he straight up got leveled, regardless of the degree of difficulty of the move being attempted. Team Brown could even argue that it's more impressive to knock a guy stiff when he's trying something creative like a spinning back elbow than if he was standing and trading with you.

I was hoping that each of their subsequent fights would help clarify the situation for me as well, as a flat performance by one would indicate the true talents of the other, but that didn't happen.

Faber crushed Jens Pulver (again!) with a Bernard Hopkins on Oscar De La Hoya body blow before sinking in a guillotine, while Brown defended his belt for the first time in stunning fashion, clobbering Leonard Garcia into submission less than 2:00 minutes into the first round. Both looked deadly, leaving the question of "Who is the better man?" still unanswered.

Some will invoke The Ric Flair Rule - to be the man, you've got to beat the man... WOOOOO! - while others will cite Georges St-Pierre as evidence that anyone can get caught with a punch once.

A Brown win cements his place as the King of the Featherweights.

A victory for "The California Kid" puts him back on top of the mountain and sets up Faber versus Brown 3.

As a fight fan, you can't lose.


Continue reading...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The UFC 100 is Coming


UFC 100 is coming up fast and I for one am thoroughly impressed.

From the early shows dominated by Royce Gracie that helped make a name for Ken Shamrock, Kimo and Tank Abbott to the glitz and glamor that surrounds today's events, the UFC has come a long way, baby.

Back in the day, I never would have imagined the UFC getting to Pay-Per-View #100. There were too many opponents, too many roadblocks and too few states willing to host cards.



But now we're getting close and while the UFC and Spike TV will be bringing you the Top 100 Fights special in the coming month, we here at Keyboard Kimura are going in a different direction.

We're ranking the Top 100 Fighters in UFC History and we want your help. No one man can remember everyone and despite our encyclopedic knowledge of UFC history and willingness to spend hours on the Internet trying to recall who was the first guy to "beat" Royce Gracie, we know we're going to miss someone.

So, send us your Top 5, your Top 10 or even your favorite underrated fighter that you think we should consider. You can either leave your suggestions in the comments section or email them to me directly at spencerkyte@hotmail.com.

Who will be #1? Who will be #100?

You'll start finding out July 1 and we'll deliver 10 a day until we unveil #1 on July 10, the day before UFC 100.

And don't worry, we're still going to be breaking down all the fights on the Main Card too with our Fight Week Previews. Double duty never hurt anyone, especially when they're trying to make a name for themselves.

Get us those fighters and get ready for the UFC 100!

Continue reading...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Shouldn't Champions Have to Fight?


Above is Alistair "The Demolition Man" Overeem, Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion. He won the belt on November 16, 2007 and has defended the strap exactly zero times since.

The Strikeforce Middleweight champion is kickboxer-slash-actor-slash-fighter Cung Le, who won his belt by defeating Frank Shamrock on March 28, 2008. Since that victory, Le hasn't even set foot inside a cage, yet alone defend his belt.

I thought champions had to actually defend their belts, not just keep them on a shelf in their house for safe keeping.



Veteran fighter Scott Smith made similar remarks earlier in the week about the inactivity of Cung Le, calling for the organization to step in and you can't blame the guy. He's in their slugging it out, while the guy with the big, shiny belt is walking around on movie sets with no known plans to return to fighting.

Overeem's case is a little better, but also a little worse.

The Dutch fighter was all set to make his first title defense against Brett "The Grim" Rogers at Strikeforce's upcoming June event, but then he went out and injured himself in a bar fight. Smooth moves, Slick.

What makes the Overeem situation even more odd - you know, besides the over 500 day gap since winning the title - is that he's been fighting in Japan for the DREAM organization, earning four wins in that span. Couldn't he have declined one of those to put his belt on the line?

Adding to the ridiculousness is the situation with the Lightweight belt, where an injury to champion Josh "The Punk" Thomson precipitated an interim belt being created and won by Gilbert Melendez. The confusion comes from Thomson having won the belt last June and already been back in the ring against Ashe Bowman since.

So what's the deal Scott Coker?

Josh Thomson breaks his ankle and an interim title is created instantaneously, but two of your other champions simply can't be bothered to defend their belts and yet nothing is done.

Looks like a mighty big double standard you're adhering to for the benefit of your "International Stars" if you ask me...

Continue reading...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Frank Trigg? Really?


Why in the name of all things holy is the UFC bringing back Frank Trigg?

Is the 37-year-old suddenly going to challenge for the Welterweight belt again, even though he hasn't stopped since scoring a TKO win over Mayhem two-and-a-half years ago?

Sure, he's put some wins together, but none of his last four fights have been against top tier opponents and they've all gone the distance.



With all the young, fresh, hungry talent out there, why would the UFC bring back a guy who once took part in a VH1 Reality TV show to become former supermodel Jerry Hall's kept man?

There is only one reason that I see: Hughes vs. Trigg 3.

During Matt Hughes' dominating run through the Welterweight division, Trigg earned himself two cracks at the belt and came out on the losing end both times, tapping to a Rear Naked Choke in the first round of each fight.

But the Matt Hughes of those days is long gone, as witnessed this past weekend at UFC 98. Hughes would get mangled by some of the up-and-coming talent in the division, but he's also said he wants to keep fighting and the UFC can't really tell the future Hall of Famer that he's not welcomed. I mean, it's not like he's Tito Ortiz or anything.

So, instead of putting the former champ into a Gatekeeper role where he either adds loses to his impressive career record or somehow stops the progress of a talented youngster, you bring in a guy who is great on the mic and will certainly be up for one last dance in the Octagon with Hughes.

I know fighters have been going down like cold Corona on a hot summer day lately, but aren't there any fresh faces out there the UFC wants to give a chance, instead of bringing back a fossil no one really missed in the first place?

I mean shit, at least Mayhem would bring cool entrances...
Continue reading...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Official "Bring Back Mayhem" Petition


This is an open petition to Dana White and the UFC.

I want to see Jason "Mayhem" Miller back in the UFC. Not because he's the host of a really, really bad reality TV show on MTV where he is paid to act like a cartoon version of himself, but because there is unfinished business to be handled and the entertainment value of it all.



We'll start with the second half of that equation, the entertainment value. For my money, there isn't a more entertaining entrance for a fight than a Mayhem entrance. While the UFC doesn't have the same ramp intros as they do in various other organizations, there is still a long walk to the ring and having the entertaining Mayhem and Co. breakdancing to the ring to "Dance Monkey" or breaking out the ceremonial Chinese dragons would get everyone's attention and be a ratings winner.

Now onto the more important part of the petition: the unfinished business.

Back in 2005, Mayhem and current Welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre had an epic, bloody battle. After losing by Unanimous Decision, Mayhem had some complaints about GSP being a little greasy. Now, in the post-Greasegate Era, Mayhem has renewed those objections and there is only one way I know of for fighters to settle their differences...

This works on so many levels!

Once GSP gets through with Thiago Alves - and he will get through with Thiago Alves - there isn't anyone on the immediate horizon in the Welterweight division worthy of a title shot.

We get a rematch of an epic bout and all that yapping Mayhem has been doing about GSP greasing can get resolved once and for all with what would hopefully be a great fight.

Of course, Mayhem has some unfinished business with Jacare for the DREAM Middleweight belt and he's fighting at 185 now, but still...

Add your name in the comments section if you want more Mayhem!


Continue reading...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Don't Go Building the Statues Just Yet


Yes, his win at UFC 98 was dominant and very impressive.

Yes, his style is very hard to attack and equally hard to defend.

Yes, he is undefeated and has beaten some great fighters.

But the last two of those were true before he put Rashad Evans to sleep on Saturday night and no one - literally no one - was putting Lyoto Machida in the rarefied air alongside Fedor and Anderson Silva before that fight, so why all the adoration now?

Simple - everyone wants to be backing the best horse. Now that Machida has proven to be "The Man" at 205 in the UFC and Dana White has commented that we might have just entered "The Machida Era," everyone wants to be Supporter #1 and put the Brazilian on a pedestal with some of the best ever... and it drives me insane!

This isn't sour grapes from a guy who picked Evans either; my first piece following the fight was full of high praise for "The Dragon" and I too believe he could go on a dominant run. But shouldn't we let him get through that first title defense before we go building monuments in his honour?

After all, that first defense has been a killer in recent memory.

It's the only successful defense Rampage made, Forrest Griffin couldn't get through it and neither could "Sugar" Rashad. It's a whole new world with a belt around your waist and everyone trains that much harder to take it away from you. That's why you'll hear everyone say you're not a true champion until you've defended your belt.

Not to take anything away from Griffin or Evans, but I stand by that 100%.

Machida hasn't even had enough time to fully comprehend the scope of what happened Saturday night - title, spotlight, fame, money, opportunities - and people have him going on an unbeaten run through the division.

The beauty of guys like Fedor and Anderson Silva is that we've witnessed seen them dominant in their divisions and nothing can change what happened. It's historical fact and extremely rare.

Why don't we let Lyoto Machida get a fight or two under his brand new belt before putting him in such illustrious company?

And if he does lose his first time out, be sure not to throw him under the bus unless you're going with him.
Continue reading...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Punch Drunk Predictions: DREAM 9

They always say that the best thing to do when you fall off the horse is get right back up and try to ride again.

Saturday night, UFC 98 threw me out of the saddle and landed me flat on my head. I can go 4-7 over a bad weekend during football season and not lose a wink of sleep. Labor to that kind of record on an MMA card and I'm going over my picks in my head for hours. And cursing Xavier Foupa-Pokam for being dumb enough to walk right into Drew McFedries' only means of winning the fight and Sean Sherk for, sorry about this, sherking his wrestling skills in favor of a standup war that he just couldn't win.

Now, DREAM 9 offers up an opportunity to rectify the situation. Ten fights to pick to get back on the happy side of the ledger.

Enjoy.

Punch Drunk Predictions - DREAM 9
Record: 4-7

Bob Sapp vs. Ikuhisa "Minowaman" Minowa
Sapp certainly personifies the term "Super Hulk," but while the former NFLer has the build to match the tournament's title, he doesn't have the skills or pedigree to hang with Minowa.
Prediction: Minowa via submission

Hong Man Choi vs. Jose Canseco
Do I even need to break this one down? While Choi certainly isn't the most decorated and accomplished Mixed Martial Artist in the world - I mean, he's a kickboxer by trade really - he's fighting Jose Canseco. The baseball player.
Prediction: Choi via TKO due to strikes

Jan Nortje vs. Sokoudjou
I didn't believe the hype surrounding "The African Assassin" when he came to the UFC and continue to believe that he'll gas out come the second round of any fight. That being said, he's a far more skilled fighter than "The Giant" and should be able to get the win here.
Prediction: Sokoudjou via TKO due to strikes

Gegard Mousasi vs. Mark Hunt
The premier matchup of the Super Hulk tournament features a man who is nowhere near Super Hulk status and a dude who has fought some pretty impressive names over his career. Mousasi was my pick for Fighter of the Year last year after he won six fights, including beating both Melvin Manhoof and "Jacare" in the same night to capture the DREAM Middleweight Championship. Now he's fighting a true heavyweight in Mark Hunt, a man who has beaten Cro Cop and "The Axe Murderer," while taking loses against Alistar Overeem, Fedor and Josh Barnett.
Prediction: Mousasi via submission

Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante
The skilled veteran who has fought everyone you can think of in his weight class versus the ATT youngster whom everyone is high on. Cavalcante hasn't won since September 2007, but he's had time to heal from various injuries and presents a dynamic style that can be very difficult to deal with.
Prediction: Kawajiri via submission

Hideo Tokoro vs. Abel Cullum
The only loss Cullum has suffered in the last three and a half years was to Wilson Reis, so you know he's got talent. Tokoro is a 31-year-old veteran coming off two straight losses. You do the math.
Prediction: Cullum via submission

Yoshiro Maeda vs. Hiroyuko Takaya
Maeda fought that war with Miguel Torres last year for the WEC, while Takaya seems to lose to anyone remotely known.
Prediction: Maeda via KO

Masakazu Imanari vs. Bibiano Fernandes
Fernandes has three straight wins and his two loses are to Urijah Faber and Kid Yamamoto. Imanari is "The Master of Leglocks" with wins over Mike Thomas Brown and Yoshiro Maeda and is a two-time DEEP title holder.
Prediction: Imanari vai submission

Norifumi "KID" Yamamoto vs. Joe Warren
If you read this blog earlier in the day, you know my thoughts on this one.
Prediction: Yamamoto via TKO

Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza vs. Jason "Mayhem" Miller
"Mayhem" is just plain awesome; he's entertaining as shit, has fought a laundry list of talent and proved he's back to being healthy with his win over Kala Hose. On the other hand, "Jacare" was riding a 10 fight win streak prior to running into Gegard Mousasi last year and holds a win over Miller from last year.
Prediction: Miller via TKO due to strikes

Hopefully, this one goes better than the last one.




Continue reading...

The Comeback Kid


Lost amid the sideshow of Jose Canseco's Mixed Martial Arts debut at tomorrow night's DREAM 9 is the return of one of the best Pound-for-Pound fighters on the planet, Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto.

While he's certainly not a household name here in North America, in Japan he is a legend, both for his impressive march to the 2005 K-1 HERO Middleweight Grand Prix title and his four second knockout of Kazuyuki Miyata. Yes, your read that correctly. Four seconds.

Unfortunately, injuries have kept Kid Yamamoto out of the ring since he stopped Rani Yahya on New Year's Eve 2007, a period of 17 months. Normally, there is no way that I would expect much from someone who hasn't fought in that long, but this is "Kid" Yamamoto we're talking about.

The same fighter who has rattled of 14 consecutive wins and has fought the likes of Josh Thomson, Jeff Curran, Royler Gracie and Caol Uno. What makes Yamamoto so dangerous is that his always deadly striking is backed by an equally impressive wrestling pedigree, as his father was an Olympic competitor and both of his sisters are freestyle world champions. The least decorated of the bunch, all Kid was able to do was earn three high school state championships in wrestling rich Arizona.

He's not getting a cake walk in his return either, as Yamamoto will face American Joe Warren who made his debut a winning one at DREAM 7 by defeating Chase Beebe. The Team Quest member is said to have been training with WEC standout Urijah Faber and the boys at Team Alpha Male who previously prepared teammate Joseph Benavidez for a fight with Yamamoto that never materialized.

While he's currently a little lost in the shuffle on a card loaded with talent and talked about match-ups, a dominant victory in his return to the ring will put Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto right back into the mix not only in DREAM, but also in the Pound-for-Pound discussion.

Welcome back, Kid.






Continue reading...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Enter The Dragon

Lyoto Machida might be the best fighter walking the planet at this very moment.

Better than Anderson Silva, better than Fedor and better than GSP.

"The Dragon" is indescribable.

There is no question that I got last night's result wrong; in fact, I got a lot of last night's results wrong, going 4-7 on my predictions, though many other forecasters had similarly slow nights.

For well over a year, I believed that someone would figure out the style of Lyoto Machida, find a hole in the fluid strikes and expert timing. I thought Thiago Silva's punching power and ruthless aggression would swarm the Brazilian karate master. That theory got knocked out at the end of the first round.

Now it was Rashad Evans' turn. With Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn in his corner and a long list of ultra-talented training partners, surely the man who knocked out Chuck Liddell with an explosive counter-punch with the shiny belt around his waist would find a formula that worked.

No dice.

Machida won every round. That is to say, he won the first round and didn't need a judge's scorecard after that. A destructive left hook sealed Rashad Evans' fate and put the UFC Light Heavyweight title around the waist of "The Dragon".

Get used to it.

Get used to Machida vaulting up Pound-for-Pound lists, including here when the next installment comes out in June.

Get used to the UFC showcasing Machida in a way few fighters have been showcased before.

Get used to him wearing that belt because it'll be at least 10 months before he defends it and when he does, it'll be going back around his waist. Sorry, Rampage.

Lyoto Machida is a different kind of fighter. In truth, he is the most impressive Mixed Martial Artist on the planet today, a rare breed of lethal strikes and offense, coupled with impenetrable defense and greater elusiveness than a greased pig.

So far, no one has figured out how to hit him and when they try, they catch a stiff left in the mouth. Or a intestine-rattling body kick. Or they look like Tito Ortiz when he swung and missed and nearly fell over during their fight two years ago.

Remember that legendary run Matt Hughes went on in the welterweight division? Get ready for the Light Heavyweight version.

As much as I didn't want to see it happen, now that we're here, I have no problems with bowing down to the master and proclaiming this The Lyoto Machida Era.

Enter the Dragon.
Continue reading...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Punch Drunk Predictions

The week of Main Card previews is over and tonight is Fight Night.

Over the last three weeks, I've spent a great deal of time waxing philosophical about Mixed Martial Arts and trying to show how much knowledge and insight I have about the sport. But anyone can talk a good game. Now it's time to show you the skills.

For every major fight card - UFC, Affliction, WEC, Strikeforce, DREAM, etc. - I'll break out the Punch Drunk Predictions, keeping tabs on my record as we go. This is something I started back in the days of covering MMA at The Love of Sports, where I had amassed a 50-34 record through UFC 96.

But this is a new site and we're starting fresh with UFC 98 tonight in Las Vegas.

Preliminary Card

"Diamond" Dave Kaplan vs. George Roop
No one really cares about this fight and it will surely be the last fight under the UFC banner for whoever comes out on the losing end. Kaplan could probably score a win, but I don't see him sticking to any kind of game plan. Roop has a decent ground game and should come away with a win.
Prediction: Roop via submission

Yoshiyuki "Zenko" Yoshida vs. Brandon Wolff
Yoshida needs an impressive win to remove the memory of Josh Koscheck knocking him silly from our collective memory and he has a perfect opportunity against the soon to be former UFC fighter Wolff.
Prediction: Yoshida via submission

"The Polish Experiment" Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Andre Gusmao
I've read a lot over this last week about Gusmao having been the class of the IFL and Soszynski being a notch below the Brazilian in those days. But I'm not one to live in the past. The monster from Winnipeg is 2-0 inside the Octagon, including forcing former WEC champ Brian Stann to tap in the first round just last month.
Prediction: Soszynski via submission

"The Filipino Assassin" Phillipe Nover vs. Kyle Bradley
Nover was one of the stars of TUF 8 and it was considered a mild upset when he lost the lightweight finale to Efrain Escudero. Now it's time to get him back on track and remind people why Dana White was comparing him to Anderson Silva. Enjoy the unemployment line, Kyle. Three losses in a row... you're out.
Prediction: Nover via TKO

Pat "HD" Berry vs. "The Thrashing Machine" Tim Hague
Berry is being groomed as a contender in the heavyweight division. Hague is simply a large body able to stand in front of Berry until the barrage of leg kicks chops him to the ground. This should be a complete squash match.
Prediction: Berry via TKO

Brock Larson vs. Mike "Quicksand" Pyle
I like Brock Larson a lot and his string of first round victories has him climbing back up the welterweight ladder. Unfortunately, Chris Wilson would have been a better opponent. Pyle may be making his UFC debut, but he's a seasoned vet who has simply been in the ring with better competition over the years.
Prediction: Pyle via submission

Main Card

Sean "The Muscle Shark" Sherk vs. "The Answer" Frankie Edgar
I'll really be pulling for Edgar and not just because of the shared name. He's a really likable fighter and I can't really stand Sean Sherk. But Sherk is the pick here. He just has too complete a game and too much experience.
Prediction: Sherk via decision

Dan Miller vs. Chael Sonnen
While Sonnen has yet to impress me in any of his fights, Miller is a rising star with a knack for winning fights. Whether it be submitted less skilled opponents like Jake Rosholt and Rob Kimmons or grinding out a decision over a vet like Matt Horwich, Miller finds a way to get the job done. It doesn't hurt that Sonnen seems to enjoy being put in submissions holds either.
Prediction: Miller via submission

Drew "The Massacre" McFedries vs. "The Professor X" Xavier Foupa-Pokam
There is only one way McFedries wins this fight and it's the same rule that applies to all his fights: if he connects with a bomb, this thing is done. That being said, I don't see it happening. Foupa-Pokam will know to stay inside McFedries' range and get this thing to the ground, where it will become completely academic.
Prediction: Foupa-Pokam via submission

Matt Hughes vs. Matt "The Terror" Serra
They're both old, they're both coming off injuries and they're both pretty much irrelevant in the welterweight division any more. That being said, it's going to be fun to see the hate in Matt Serra's eyes as he stands across from Hughes. It will also be fun seeing Hughes slam Serra to the mat and grind out one final win before induction in to the UFC Hall of Fame at UFC 100.
Prediction: Hughes via decision

"Sugar" Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida
Regardless of outcome, this is going to be a great fight. All the people who "boo" shouldn't be allowed to call themselves fight fans. As difficult as Machida is to hit and as awkward as his attacks may come, I see Evans using his wrestling to bring this to the ground and his fast hands and footwork to pick his spots well when they're standing up.
Prediction: Evans via TKO
Continue reading...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fight Week Previews: Evans vs. Machida


Ladies and Gentlemen, it's time for the Main Event of the evening!

"Sugar" Rashad Evans (13-0-1) versus Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida (14-0)

Unbeaten fighters squaring off for the title in the sport's deepest and toughest division is awesome. Mix in the uniqueness of both fighters and their styles and you have a fight that true fans should be drooling about watching.

A lot has been made about Lyoto Machida's style and rightfully so. Name me another fighter who has never lost a round on a judge's scorecard. The guy simply does not put himself in jeopardy and is one of the best counter strikers in the sport today.

But Evans is no slouch. This is a guy who came into the UFC as a wrestler and has developed his lightning quick hands into explosive weapons at 205. Did I forget to mention that he won Season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter at heavyweight? That takes talent. He's also shown to be an exceptional counter-puncher with the best footwork in the light heavyweight division.

Comparing opponents, Machida gets the advantage, as both have beaten Sam Hoger and Stephan Bonner, while Machida earned a win over Tito Ortiz to Evans' draw. But strength of opponents is another story.

In terms of quality of opponents overall, you have to decide if level of competition in the UFC is what you're after or overall career opposition. Strictly in the UFC, Evans wins hands down, having put together his three fight win streak at the expense of Michael Bisping, Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, while Machida has fought Thiago Silva, Sokoudjou and David Heath to name three.

However, in totality, the edge goes to Machida, who counts wins over B.J. Penn and Rich Franklin amongst his pre-UFC triumphs. Now, the Penn win doesn't carry that much weight with me because B.J. has no business fighting someone that's 205, but the Franklin win was the only loss on Ace's record before he ran into Anderson Silva.

One place where I give Evans a distinct advantage is in his corner. There is no better training camp in the game than Jackson's Submission Fighting. Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn are two of the top trainers in the sport and the list of high caliber athletes who will have served as training partners for Evans leading into this fight cannot be matched.

Nothing against Machida's training routines, as they have proven extremely beneficial en route to his undefeated record, but something about rolling and sparring with Keith Jardine, GSP, Nate Marquardt and company every day sounds hard to beat to me.

But you'll have to wait until tomorrow for my full list of predictions.
Continue reading...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fight Week Previews: Serra vs. Hughes


Earlier in the week, I wasn't really psyched about this fight. I mean, it's been two years in the making and that is a long time coming.

But now that Saturday is on the horizon and I've been scrutinizing the fight card a little more, this one is starting to intrigue me again.

Matt Serra (9-5) versus Matt Hughes (42-7)

There are no two ways about it - Matt Serra and Matt Hughes don't like each other and this one is to settle the score. It's also a battle between an automatic Hall of Famer and a guy who might very well be the most unlikely champion the UFC has ever had.

Both are coming off serious injuries so we'll call the time off factor a wash. And it's not like one had a bum arm and the other a broken foot or anything either; neck and back issues sidelined Serra, while Hughes had ligament damage after eating Thiago Alves' knee.

Hughes absolutely smashes Serra on the experience and strength of competition levels, having run up that impressive stretch of dominance during the formative years of the UFC.

Common opponents is an interesting avenue to travel, as both have wins over Chris Lytle, each has a loss to B.J. Penn (though Hughes also has a win) and both men have faced Georges St-Pierre more than once, with Serra 1-1 and Hughes 1-2.

For all the talk about Matt Serra's ground game, I can't remember seeing him execute a single submission. In fact, I can't remember him beating anyone of relevance other than GSP. While that does count for something, it is also looking more and more like one hell of a career-making punch.

On the other hand, I can show you video after video of Hughes slamming opponents to the mat, sinking in submissions and pounding his way to victory.

But I can't shake the thought of that GSP punch. As much as Hughes has the better pedigree and everything comparatively to his advantage, Serra has the devestating knockout that everyone remembers and you know he's going to be swinging for the fences.

The rational side of me thinks Hughes uses his experience and smarts to waer down the smaller man and score a decision.

The gunslinger in me thinks Serra lands a haymaker and ends Hughes' career on a very sour note.

I'll tell you which side I'm going with on Saturday.


Continue reading...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fight Week Previews: McFedries vs. Foupa-Pokam

Drew McFedries (7-5) versus Xavier Foupa-Pokam (20-10)

Am I the only one thoroughly confused by this fight being on the Main Card?

While I understand it has KO of the Night potential written all over it, shouldn't it at least be relegated to the fifth spot in the order? Doesn't a former champion like Sean Sherk deserve to fight after these two?

Instead of breaking down this fight - which would take no time whatsoever - let's instead spend a little time wondering why Drew McFedries has a job with the UFC.

Does the guy have pictures of Dana White and a donkey or something? He's lost four of six and two in a row and truthfully, he hasn't beaten anyone of note. Sorry Jordan Radev, Marvin Eastman and Alessio Sakara fans, but you're fighters aren't really noteworthy.

Sure, the excitement value is there, as McFedries hasn't been outside of the first round in any of his UFC fights, but shouldn't it be more about coming away with good fights and strong results more than getting lit up early and often?

Whatever...

His opponent, the above pictured Xavier Foupa-Pokam was riding a seven fight winning streak heading into UFC 97 in Montreal where Denis Kang scored a unanimous decision victory. While "The Professor X" has more time spent inside the ring-slash-cage, he's winless against anyone that I have heard of, save for Kyacey Uscola.

Beating the bejesus out of a bunch of scrubs is one thing; when he's stepped into the ring with a known entity, he's lost to Martin Kampmann, Paul Daley, Ninja Rua and now Kang. Not that I see Drew McFedries being near the same level as those competitors, but at least he's been around the block a time or two.

Truthfully, this is going to be an explosive fight, simply because all Drew McFedries fights seem to be explosive. It won't get out of the first round and someone is going to get stopped.

Unfortunately, I really don't care which one of these guys ends up on his back and which one gets their hand raised.
Continue reading...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fight Week Previews: Miller vs. Sonnen


Another day, another fight on the Main Card of UFC 98 to put under the microscope. This time, IFL veteran Dan Miller steps in to the cage with former WEC standout Chael Sonnen.

Time to break it down.

Dan Miller (11-1, 1 NC) versus Chael Sonnen (23-10-1)

Chael Sonnen has been around the sport for a long time. So long, in fact, that he was a member of Team Quest before it was even called Team Quest.

He's fought an impressive list of competitors in various weight classes, having stepped in with light heavyweights like "Babalu" Sobral and Trevor Prangley, as well as matching up with known middleweight entities like Paulo Filho and Demian Maia.

While Miller is not a newcomer to the cage, he certainly doesn't have the time in the ring the veteran Sonnen does, as this will mark the 14th fight of his professional career. That being said, experience isn't the only thing that counts when the cage door closes.

For starters, Miller hasn't lost in three years, during which time he dominated in the IFL and has put together three straight wins under the UFC banner. Included in those fights is an early submission win over highly-touted Jake Rosholt and a decision win over tough Matt Horwich.

Sonnen, on the other hand, dropped his last contest inside the first round to jiu jitsu ace Demian Maia. While that loss was preceded by two wins, the Paulo Fihlo that fought Sonnen at the close of the WEC middleweight division was far from the dominant Fihlo who had previously been unbeaten.

Truth be told, that WEC history of Sonnen's scares me, as I have yet to see anyone make the transition from what can only have been considered the UFC's minor leagues to the big stage successfully. Outside of Steve Cantwell's initial win, I can't think of one guy who has come over and had his hand raised.

Then there is Miller, who seems to do nothing but win. Four straight and ten consecutive fights without a loss if you're counting. The only blemish is a No Contest against Mike Guerin at Ring of Combat 18 two years ago.

While there is sure to be some game plan changes for Miller now that Sonnen has replaced original opponent and perennially injured Yushin Okami, the switch came early enough that there shouldn't be any miscues from Camp Miller.

Same goes for Sonnen, but he knew exactly what he was getting into when he faced off against Demian Maia too and still he was caught in a triangle and forced to tap by the middle of the first round.

Final prediction Saturday, but I think you can see which way I'm leaning.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Fight Week Previews: Sherk vs. Edgar


(For every major MMA fight card, Keyboard Kimura will provide a detailed breakdown of the fights on the Main Card, followed by a Saturday predictions piece.)

Sean "The Muscle Shark" Sherk (37-3-1) vs. Frankie "The Answer" Edgar (9-1)

This could easily end up being the most entertaining fight of the night.

Sherk has gone the distance in four of his last five fights, including two five round battles. Edgar, on the other hand, has lasted until the final bell in three straight and four of his five UFC tilts. These two lightweights have been in three "Fight of the Night" bouts in their UFC careers and this could certainly earn them a little extra pocket money.

For whatever reason, I never seem to think of Sean Sherk as part of the upper echelon of fighters. In reality, the guy has three career losses and they came at the hands of Matt Hughes during the height of his welterweight dominance, Georges St-Pierre after nearly two years without a loss and his most recent defeat at the hands of B.J. Penn. That's it.

Edgar is a guy that I have liked from the beginning, in part because his last name and my first name are one in the same. Silly, I know, but whatever. Monikers aside, Frankie Edgar's willingness to stand and trade and his skills on the mat brought me from a simple "his name is my name" admiration to being a full-fledged fan.

Normally, you could turn to common opponents as a potential indicator of who might get their hand raised at the end of the night, but these two guys are just too similar to allow that.

Both have fought Tyson Griffin and Hermes Franca, which both coming away with Unanimous Decision victories in each fight.

On the experience front and sheer level of competition, you clearly have to give the edge to Sherk, the former UFC Lightweight champ with more than 40 fights under his belt including numerous championship rounds.

But perhaps there is something to be said for youthful exuberance. The 27-year-old Edgar's only loss came at the hands of Gray Maynard, a fighter some including myself feel will be a world champion in the future.

You'll have to wait until Saturday for my prediction, just as you will for the fight. One thing is for sure though, no matter who you got in this tilt, you're in for a great show.
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Let's Talk Money


Started getting into an interesting debate about fighter salaries and income over at the Facebook page of Canadian MMA analyst Showdown Joe Ferraro and thought it would make for an excellent topic of discussion here.

My debate "opponent" for lack of a better word is of the impression that fighters deserve a far greater cut of the big money pie that is the UFC, especially in comparison to boxing. The example he puts forth is a comparison of Ricky Hatton and Georges St-Pierre, correctly stating that Hatton got paid $8M for getting dropped in the second by Manny Pacquiao, while GSP earned $400k total for beating the bejesus out of BJ Penn.

For me, the comparison with boxing is not a perfectly valid one, as the sweet science has a much longer history than MMA. I would argue that in the infancy of boxing on pay-per-view, very few people were making anywhere near the type of money they make now, outside of corrupt promoters.

As great as the UFC has done recently in PPV buys, I do believe they are still in their infancy as a money-making entity. Similarly to wrestling that didn't immediately take the PPV world by storm, I believe you will see a sharp increase in buys for mixed martial arts events over the next five years as the sport continues to transition into the mainstream. I would wager that it is at this point that top tier fighters will start receiving even larger salaries.

Furthermore, some of the true big name fighters receive a cut of the PPV money. Not many, but the guys who headline the biggest shows see some of that back-end money, much like film stars on blockbuster movies.

Don't get me wrong - I don't want this to sound like I don't think these guys don't deserve more money, because I do. They take great risks to perform and entertain and many don't make enough money to fight full-time and that is not right.

That being said, no sport went from zero to millionaires overnight and MMA should not be any different. If you start paying guys ridiculous salaries out of the gate, you set yourself up for disaster.

As the money has gotten better in the sport, the paychecks to the fighters has grown accordingly and I truly believe that this trend will continue.

Now if we could only get a little money flowing through to the people who write about this sport...

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

May Pound for Pound Rankings


Let the arguing begin!

The beauty of Pound for Pound rankings is that they are entirely subjective; with the right reasoning, the most anyone can say is that they disagree with you.

Well, that's not the most they can say, but you know what I mean. They can call you all kinds of names and storm out of the room because you think Bull Durham is the best sports movie ever and they vehemently disagree, but that's just cloud cover for the fact that they have no logical argument to refute your claim.

See? Awesome.

May Pound-for-Pound Rankings

10. Frank Mir - UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion
I think the guy is a horrible announcer and possibly the most arrogant jackass on the Earth, but you can't knock his recent string of success. All he did last year was make Brock Lesnar tap and become the first man ever to KO Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Another win over Lesnar sends him skyrocketing up this chart.

9. Urijah Faber - #1 Contender, WEC Featherweight title
In three weeks time, we're going to find out if "The California Kid" was simply caught with a great punch while trying an unorthodox move or whether he simply is the Wes Mantooth of the WEC Featherweight division...

8. Mike Thomas Brown - WEC Featherweight Champion
Not that I doubted Brown's skills, but seeing him pummel Leonard Garcia in his first title defense cemented my belief that all that talk about Brown getting lucky was far from the truth. Plain and simple, the dude is the best there is at 145 right now and he deserves your respect.

7. Lyoto Machida - #1 Contender, UFC Light Heavyweight title
Watching the guy fight is agony for me, because he's just so damn good at not getting hit and surgically picking apart his opponent. Just because he bores the bejesus out of me doesn't mean I can recognize that "The Dragon" is one of the best on the planet at what he does.

6. Rashad Evans - UFC Light Heavyweight Champion
MMA is about evolution and since winning TUF 2 (at heavyweight), "Sugar" Rashad has been adding elements to his game that have elevated him from standout wrestler to dangerous striker and all-around stud. How he's the decided underdog in his upcoming bout with Machida is beyond me.

5. B.J. Penn - UFC Lightweight Champion
As much as I dislike Frank Mir, I dislike Baby Jay Penn even more, but I can't deny that he is a dominant force at 155 and could be one of the very best ever if he just set his mind to remaining in his weight class and winning fights. Instead of continuing to pursue his complaints over "Greasegate," Penn needs to get ready for Kenny Florian.

4. Miguel Torres - WEC Bantamweight Champion
He hasn't lost since November 2003. He's defended his WEC belt on three occasions against the best the sport has to offer and put on impressive displays of skill and heart in each. The scary part is that the 35-1 Torres is only 28.

3. Fedor Emelianenko - WAMMA Heavyweight Champion
If he fought more frequently and made a habit of always destroying the best competition around the way he did Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski, Fedor would top this list. But he fights too infrequently and has wins over wrestlers, freakishly large Korean kickboxers and a guy who lost to Butterbean on his record, so...

2. Anderson Silva - UFC Middleweight Champion
I miss the Anderson Silva that steamrolled through the UFC Middleweight division. The guy who lit up Chris Leben and crushed Rich Franklin twice. Whoever this impostor is that has been fighting as Anderson Silva in his last two fights better not turn up against Forrest Griffin or else he's in serious trouble.

1. Georges St-Pierre - UFC Welterweight Champion
While Silva has had two lackluster performances in a row, GSP has put together five consecutive impressive outings since losing to Matt Serra. Vasoline or no Vasoline, "Rush" pounded the hell out of Penn for four rounds in January and a win over Thiago Alves at UFC 100 will leave him without a true challenger at 170.

What did we get wrong? Who did we miss? Let us know in the comments.
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Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Night's Alright for Fightin'


As much as I am a big fan of the UFC, nothing makes me more impressed with the state of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts than a night like tonight.

Several outstanding fight cards are taking place across North America and not a single one of them involves the UFC. That is a very, very good thing for everyone who loves this sport and the organizations clawing to get out of the shadows.

Not all that far from where I am writing this in Enoch, Alberta, MFC 21: Hard Knocks will go down with a card full of recognizable names and one very large, imposing prospect.

While the MFC Light Heavyweight title fight between champion Emanuel Newton and Trevor Prangley (I'm picking Prangley) earns top billing, a great deal of the attention surrounding this event will be focused on the third career fight for former WWE superstar Bobby Lashley, who takes on Mike Cook in what should be the equivalent of a pro wrestling squash match.

In Chicago, Bellator 7 goes down with the semi-finals of the Welterweight tournament with Dave Menne and Lyman Good being my picks to make it through to the finals.

Lastly, Fresno hosts the first Strikeforce Challenger series event to be broadcast on ShoMMA. Headlining the event is undefeated Billy Evangelista (9-0) squaring off against Mike Aina (11-6-1).

Three great cards, spread across three very different territories and markets, all with noteworthy matchups and far from the recent heavy scrutiny piled onto Dana White and the UFC.

From where I'm sitting, that makes for a great Friday night of fights and a bright future for Mixed Martial Arts.


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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Worst Announcer Ever?

The WEC needs to find a new color guy. Frank Mir is horrible.

I know I'm way late on this, what with more than a month having passed since the card in question took place, but I have two defenses for my tardiness.

1. I was in the Dominican getting married
2. I live in Canada and we don't have Versus, so I had to wait for someone else to show the fights.

Anyway...

I finally got a chance to watch WEC 40 last night while I was making dinner and it's quite possible that Frank Mir is officially the worst announcer in the history of professional sports. Take all the things that you hate about individual announcers - homerism, over-excitement, calling guys by the wrong name, general douchey attitude - pour it into a shirt two sizes too small, top with bad hair and chin pubes and you have the Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion.

First, there is an air of superiority to everything he says, as if the guys fighting are lesser individuals because they didn't execute the right move or missed an opportunity.

Second, you can clearly tell which fighter Mir is pulling for, which is bad because he was cheering for the wrong guy in two of the four televised fights. Even though Joseph Benavidez was all over Jeff Curran, all Mir kept talking about was how Curran was great off his back and could land a big right hand. Then the Urijah Faber prodigy won a Unanimous Decision.

That's besides the point, since he should be remaining objective and impartial to begin with.

Third, the names. It's pretty important to get the guy's name right. We all know the Las Vegas native would go bananas (B-AN-AN-AS) if someone called him Frank Muir or Mears or whatever, so how is calling Takeya Mizugaki "Misaki" for the entire fight justified?

I know it's hard and all, what with those extra two syllables, but you're getting paid (presumably) to call this thing, so get it right.

And don't get me started on his ridiculous comments about Brock Lesnar from last week either or we'll be here for days.

Like I said, I know I'm way late on this, but regardless of my timing, Frank Mir is still in the Hall of Fame of Horrible Announcers.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Debating Dana White


With ESPN's E:60 running a piece on UFC President Dana White last night, it's only fitting that we devote today's entry to discussing the never subtle, always talking man in charge of the biggest organization in Mixed Martial Arts.

I'm going to leave my personal thoughts and feelings on Dana out of this and simply serve as the moderator here, giving you the pros and cons as they have been presented recently through the media and let you decide for yourself.

Since they're way more fun, let's start with the cons...

  • Loves the F-Bomb: the guy has to actually try not to swear at times and uses the F-bomb with unbelievable regularity.
  • The Loretta Hunt Rant: it's never a good idea for the president of a company to record and publish himself calling out a member of the media using homophobic slurs, intended as such or not.
  • Vindictive: Shall we list all the people Dana White has tried to stick it to over the years? Just to name a few, you've got Couture, Tito and Jon Fitch, the last of whom was cut from the organization over a video game after he headlined a PPV.
  • Spotlight Hungry: Seems to like being the star of the show and the biggest name in the organization more than anything.
There are, of course, some pros to Mr. Dana White as well:

  • Passionate: Dude never sleeps. He's always working to make the UFC the best it can be and that is commendable.
  • Strong Businessman: He's taken this thing from the verge of extinction and made it the biggest spectacle around. You don't do that by being bad in the boardroom.
  • Real: Something has to be said about a guy in a position like White is that is willing to be himself, for good or bad. I mean, he could be Gary Bettman or Bud Selig, right?
  • Ahead of the Curve: Everyone else is always trying to catch up to the UFC while they're onto the next thing. Whether it's new markets, new stars or new partnerships, White is always one step ahead.
Since I don't know him personally (yet!), I'm not going to try to tell you about Dana White the father or his charitable efforts or anything like that because how good a parent he is doesn't really impact whether he is the right guy to lead the UFC into the mainstream as E:60 asked and failed to answer last night.

There are clearly pros and cons when it comes to Dana White. The question is just whether you're willing to accept the bad with the good or if you'd rather see someone else running the show?

Let us know.
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Oh Tom Atencio


Even the most novice MMA fan knows that the guy being choked is Dana White, head honcho and foul-mouthed leader of the UFC.

The guy doing the choking is Tom Atencio, founder and chief big shot with Affliction, the clothing company turned MMA promoter.

Goofy mugging for the camera aside, these two guys don't really like each other all that much.

In late June, Atencio will step into the ring and fight Randy Hedderick on the undercard of the Ultimate Chaos Pay-Per-View being headlined by former WWE superstar Bobby Lashley taking on Bob "The Beast" Sapp.

Since the fight announcement, Atencio has talked about stepping into the cage against White, someone he says often talks like a tough guy, but doesn't back it up through action, citing the hyped boxing exhibition between White and Tito Ortiz that never materialized as evidence.

Here's the thing, Tom:

The whole "prove how tough you are" angle stopped working in Elementary School and while your stepping into the ring also serves to promote your organization that enjoys six month breaks between shows, there is absolutely no benefit of doing such a thing for Dana White and the UFC.

They don't need the added promotion and coverage.

They don't have to remind everyone about their existence.

This isn't the Old West where if you sully the name of another man you meet in the street, count out ten paces and see who is the faster draw.

I'm pretty sure that Dana White sleeps real easy despite the fact that Tom Atencio more or less thinks he's all talk and no action.

While I commend Atencio for getting into the cage, it should be about wanting to test himself and his skills, not proving how tough he is or to "one-up" Dana White.

Instead of trying to goad the UFC President into a fight, why not focus on your training so that you don't get your ass handed to you six weeks from now?

Or, why not put a little time and effort into your promotion, novel ideas as that may be? You've got all those big money backers in Trump and De La Hoya, so why do we need to wait six months between shows?

The answer, of course, is that Affliction doesn't have anywhere near the support and interest that the UFC does and needs events like this fight to help promote the organization.

So Atencio will go on challenging Dana White, we'll go on covering most every word he says and in the end, nothing will come of it.

But if this fight ever were to happen, my money would be on Dana.

Good luck T-Shirt Guy...

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Weighing In on Weight Cutting


As is often the case, reading something somewhere else has inspired my thoughts here at K2 for the day.

I read an interesting take on weight cutting in Mixed Martial Arts on MMA Junkie. Basically, the thought put forward by fellow Canadian MMA fan from Ottawa was that reforms to process of making weight need to be made. The writer believes this will lead to fewer fighters gassing, promote healthier fighters all-around and more attention being paid to their skills as mixed martial artists than honing their abilities to cut weight.

The problem - as I see it - is that if you want to institute weight-cutting reforms, than new weight classes need to be introduced universally as well. Fighters don't always walk around fitting into the weight classes that are established and guys like Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin need to cut weight to make the 265 lbs. heavyweight maximum.

While I agree that cutting weight is a somewhat dangerous activity and detrimental to one's long-term health, it's not as if these fighters are going through the process unsupervised and with reckless abandon.

This is something they have been doing for an extended period of time and they know how their bodies react. Managers, trainers and teammates are right there along side of the fighters, presumably, to ensure that making weight never comes at the expense of overall health.

Furthermore, it's not as if anyone is forcing these fighters to fight at the weight they do. Thiago Alves chooses to cut close to 30 pounds to fight at 170 and when he misses weight as he did in the Matt Hughes fight, he forfeits a portion of his prize money. That is the risk he decides to take so that he can be one of the biggest guys in the weight class. He could easily move up to 185 and still be pretty solid, but he picks to cut the weight.

While I would love to see fewer fights like the Mark Coleman - Shogun Rua gas-out fest, that had far more to do with both fighters having an absolute lack of cardio than cutting weight leaving them with no energy.

For the most part, guys in the upper echelon and the top flight organizations know what they are doing and cut weight without any problems.

So long as a fighter can safely make their fighting weight and penalties are in place when someone fails to do so, I don't see a reason for change.
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bonkers About Bellator


I know saying, "Bonkers" makes me sound a little 12-years-old but I didn't want to say "bat-shit crazy" in the title for reasons related to Google.

Anyway...

In a very short amount of time, Bellator Fighting Championships have become a haven for highlights and unbelievable upsets. All four of the current tournaments have yielded quality matches and lately, the action has been stepped up a notch.

Last week, Toby Imada delivered what is easily the Submission of the Year and one of the most incredible moves I've seen in my life by putting Jorge Masvidal to sleep with an inverse triangle choke in the Lightweight tournament.




Last night, Joe Soto upset Featherweight tournament favorite Wilson Reis and Yahir Reyes leveled Estevan Payan with the nastiest spinning backfist ever.



This is why people need to expand their Mixed Martial Arts horizons outside of the Dana White Universe; outstanding fights take place on a weekly basis and you could be missing out.

Thankfully, I'm here to keep you informed.

You're Welcome!
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Friday, May 8, 2009

Canada's Sports Leader?


TSN is Canada's equivalent to ESPN; it's our flagship National sports network and one that hails itself as "Canada's Sports Leader."

Riddle me this TSN: Shouldn't the self-proclaimed sports leader be at the forefront of just about everything, covering the sports that people care deeply about?

Not that you're not doing an outstanding job with the curling and showing poker and fishing and NASCAR for those who enjoy it, but tell me, where is the Mixed Martial Arts coverage?

The website coverage is average at best. One of the beauties of the Internet is the rapidly changing coverage and information you can obtain, yet TSN has stories that sit and stagnate for weeks on end. Why is there still a link to a story about Dana White's tirade against Loretta Hunt? Get fresh already.

Then there is the coverage on the network itself. More correctly, the lack of coverage.

I honestly don't think I have ever seen an MMA segment on an edition of SportsCenter. Sure, some MMA guys pass through on a show like Off the Record, but where is the dedicated programming to the fastest growing sport in the world?

The Score has The MMA Show with Mauro Ranallo and Sportsnet has rolled out MMA Connected with "Showdown" Joe Ferraro, yet TSN continues to have nothing in the way of MMA coverage.

Canada has an outstanding crop of fighters, including one of the best fighters on the planet, yet our supposed sports leader dedicates no time to the coverage, promotion or recognition of their sport.

C'mon TSN... get with the times and get on the MMA.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hype Is Not Enough


Give Dana White and the boys at the UFC credit. They're doing everything they can to make UFC 98 seem like an event that everyone who loves the sport should be amped to see. Unfortunately, I don't think that is the case.

Title fights featuring two undefeated competitors don't come around all that often, yet this one still doesn't hold my interest. How can the UFC expect fans to get behind Lyoto Machida as a great fighter when it was only through an injury to Rampage Jackson that he landed this title shot in the first place?

Outside of his fight with Thiago Silva, most Machida matches are technically sound, excitement-lacking events where he picks an opponent apart without taking any damage. From a fundamental standpoint, he's outstanding, but I don't pay $50 for a display of sound fundamentals. It's the same reason I can acknowledge Tim Duncan's greatness but wouldn't pay a dime to watch him up close.

Then you have the long overdue Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra grudge match. I think there are three words that accurately sum up the feelings of many MMA fans on this one: We Don't Care. It would have been interesting if it happened following Season 6 of TUF like it was supposed to, but we're more than a year removed and neither has done anything of note to make me want to watch. Sure, Hughes is a legend and a Hall of Famer, but his days of dominance are done and Serra is around solely because he knocked GSP out a couple years back.

Normally, the undercard is stacked with fights that I actually want to see, sometimes more than the big name bouts. This time, not so much.

Outside of Sean Sherk vs. Frankie Edgar, I can't say there is much I'm looking forward to. Chael Sonnen against Dan Miller will be a good tilt, but not one I want to pay to see and watching Drew McFedries inside the Octagon only makes me angry, seeing as he's still employed by the UFC while Canucks Jason McDonald and David Loiseau received their pink slips.

There is also rumblings that the winner of the Evans-Machida tilt might end up as a coach on Season 10 of TUF opposite #1 Light Heavyweight contender Rampage Jackson. While the show is certainly a great catalyst for building interest in a fighter and upcoming fights, we've seen Rampage as a coach and while Evans could surprise a few people, Machida doesn't strike me as the guy you want on camera for an extended period of time.

It's been a long time since there was a UFC card that didn't capture my attention. Now there are two in a row, as UFC 99 in Germany does nothing for me either.

Basically, I'm counting down the days until UFC 100.

65 to go...

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