At UFC 118: Edgar vs. Penn 2 “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (12-1) will defend his belt against the man many felt should have retained it in their first match, “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (15-6-1) in front of a sold out crowd in Dana White’s hometown of Boston. This bout is one of the most bizarre in recent memory, not because of the fight itself, but due to the circumstances surrounding it. Edgar won the belt in a decision win that was far more questionable than many others in the past few years, yet for some reason there wasn’t the massive public outcry usually associated with bad judging. This is mainly due to the state of shock everyone was in as a result of Penn’s incredibly lackluster performance against an opponent he was supposed to destroy. This fight has also been all but overshadowed by the hype surrounding the co-main event fight between “The Natural” Randy Couture (18-10) and “Lights Out” James Toney (0-0). In fact, this fight may be the least talked about title fight, and certainly the least talked about title rematch, in UFC history. Never the less it remains an interesting contest between a man widely regarded as one of the most skilled fighters in MMA history and a young champion striving to prove that the belt around his waist belongs there.
The UFC comes to Boston on Saturday, August 28 at the TD Banknorth Garden the continuation of “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (12-1) vs. “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (15-6-1) at UFC 118: Edgar vs. Penn 2. Dana White and the crew have provided the fans with a card filled with interesting fights featuring top ten fighters like Demian Maia (11-2), “KenFlo” Kenny Florian (13-4), and “The Bully” Gray Maynard (9-0), but perhaps the most interesting bout on the card is the heavyweight tilt between “Lights Out” James Toney (0-0) and ”The Natural” Randy Couture (18-10). This bout has all but stolen the limelight from the main event lightweight title fight for a number of reasons. The first is that this marks the first time a current major boxing title holder has stepped into the Octagon under the unified rules. The second reason is the parallels between the two men’s careers. Toney is a four division boxing champion and is the current IBA heavyweight champion, Couture is a former heavyweight and light-heavyweight UFC champion. Both men have won five major titles (though Toney has also won a multitude of lesser boxing titles as well) and both men have participated in at least 15 major title bouts, and both have won three of their last five fights. The third and perhaps most intriguing reason is that both men are at very similar places in their careers. At 42 and 47 years of age, both fighters have proven ageless but most certainly feel fangs of time snapping at their heels, and it has shown in their most recent performances. While this fight is certainly not the top pound for pound boxer vs. the top pound for pound MMA fighter, it is also far from the failing fighter switching sports to get a few more novelty fight pay days. Here we have two fighters who may be facing the twilight of their careers, but are still very relevant in their respective sports.
Saturday, August 28 the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston will host the lightweight title rematch between “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (12-1) and “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (15-6-1) at UFC 118: Edgar vs. Penn 2. The card features an all star cast including boxing legend “Lights Out” James Toney (0-0), UFC Hall of Fame member and five time multi-divisional UFC champion “The Natural” Randy Couture (18-10), middleweight BJJ ace Demian Maia (11-2), and a lightweight bout between one-time title challenger “KenFlo” Kenny Florian (13-4) and undefeated decision machine “The Bully” Gray Maynard (9-0). Maynard has been campaigning for a title shot for some time now and supports his request with a seven fight win streak that includes names like “El Matador” Roger Huerta (21-4-1), “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (17-2), TUF season five winner Nate Diaz (11-6), and current lightweight belt holder Frankie Edgar. To earn the shot he’s after, he will have to get past “KenFlo”, a man who has finished all but one of the opponents he has faced in his 12 UFC victories. The two men have both maintained active schedules, fighting at least three times a year since 2007, and both men have proven very dominate over fighters of every style and background.
If there’s a true underdog in this Saturday night’s lightweight title fight it is “The Answer” Frank Edgar (12-1-0). This may seem strange to some because in his first matchup with “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (15-6-1) Edgar was able to defeat a man who has dominated his division for the past three years. Now Edgar has the unfortunate position of having to prove his worth by defeating Penn for a second time.
For MMA Gospel’s new Technique of the Week segment, we called on 4th dan Hapkido black belt Ed Perdomo and his student and assistant instructor Johnny Rodriguez to provide our readers not just with quality grappling techniques they can take with them to the cage, but with those finer points that make specialists out of the merely proficient. Over the next three weeks we will cover not just three techniques from the guard, but the small refinements that take them to the next level and how to chain those techniques together. This week, Ed Perdomo demonstrates how to gain head control and establish an armbar from the closed guard.
UFC 118 is this weekend along with the UFC Fan Expo in Boston. The UFC is headed to Boston this week for a full schedule of events and extra special coverage of the UFC Fan Expo! Don’t miss Saturday’s live keynotes from UFC President Dana White, UFC Hall of Fame favorite Chuck Liddell, and a fun filled hour with “So You Think You’re Smarter Than a UFC Octagon Girl?” streaming live from the Expo floor leading up the main event of the evening UFC 118 EDGAR vs. PENN 2.
Here is the schedule of events and with the live stream following the break:
UFC® 118 EDGAR vs PENN 2 Pre-Fight Press Conference – Faneuil Hall Boston, MA
LIVE STREAM: 12:00pm PT (3:00pm ET)
UFC® 118 EDGAR vs PENN 2 Official Weigh-In – TD Garden Boston, MA
LIVE STREAM: 1:00pm PT (4:00pm ET)
UFC® Fan Expo Special Coverage – John B. Hynes Convention Center Boston, MA
LIVE STREAM: 10:00am – 1:00pm PT (1:00pm – 4:00pm ET)
UFC® 118 EDGAR vs PENN 2 Post Fight Press Conference – TD Garden Boston, MA
LIVE STREAM: Approximately 10:30pm PT (1:30am ET)
Underdog and BJ Penn in the lightweight division are typically two things that aren’t necessarily synonomous. However at UFC 118 the lightweight title will be on the line when “The Answer” Frank Edgar (12-1-0) faces off against “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (15-6-1) and Penn won’t be the one defending it. Penn lost the title in a shocking five round decision lost against Edgar when the two first met at UFC 112 admist a small wave of controversy mostly spawned by Penn believing that he didn’t necessarily lose every round.
On Saturday, August 21, 2010 staff photographer Mallory Mejia and I attended G2 Fight Nights: “Fight Night 3” in Tinley Park Illinois. G2 promoter Breea Gilbert provided a 12 fight card that was both efficiently run and well matched. They provided the estimated 700 people in attendance a professional quality show with a party atmosphere, but the promotion wasn’t without its failings. Gilbert Grappling (G2) provided the majority of the blue corner bracket, and that’s usually a big issue. When the promoter’s own camp provides the majority of the fighters it’s hard to believe they’re impartial. However, G2 had the good sense to use an outside matchmaker to book their fights which allowed them to book their own fighters without being open to accusations of favoritism. They also lack the validation of an outside sanctioning and officiating body and, though they went to great lengths to ensure that they provided impartial officiating for every bout, there were some judging mishaps which could have been avoided with the use of an outside sanctioning body. The show itself was a bit overdone, with money spent on dance platforms for go-go dancers, projection screens, and a film crew that had the sole purpose of feeding the fights directly to the projection screens. While the whole of the production was centered on bringing attention to the fighters (exactly how an amateur show should be focused) these elements could have been scaled down to provide funds that were lacking in more important areas. G2 provided pre-recorded video interviews with each fighter at the weigh-ins that played on the large projection screens prior to the fighters walk out music hitting the speakers and ensured that ring girls, vendors, and other members of the production were ghosts during walk outs, interviews, and more importantly, fights. I simply believe that they could have done just as well with half as many dancers and one projection screen. We know that the fans had nothing but good things to say about G2, but what does MOMMIE have to say?
“The Voice Vs Tito Ortiz” is the third installment of the series hosted by “The Voice” Michael Schiavello which airs Friday on HDNet. The first episode of “The Voice Vs” featured UFC color commentator and stand up comedian Joe Rogan. The episode reached legendary proportions when these two men got together for the first time on television. It worked so well that HDNet ordered more shows which led to the second episode featuring the always colorful Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Strikeforce fighter, stand up comedian and color commentator. Now we are graced with the third installment starring “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz who is never short on words and often controversial. The gettin’ is good as Michael once again works magic going one on one with some of the most notable people in the world of mixed martial arts.
We face two major predicaments in the MMA world today. Both of these problems reared their ugly heads during the action packed WEC 50 fight card and, luckily, did no damage. Yet the what ifs of WEC 50 brought to light again the two things that keep fighters up at night in a cold sweat: bad judging and bad refereeing. On WEC 50, everyone who should have won, won but ask this: What if judge Nelson Hamilton, who scored the main event between champ Dominick Cruz (15-1) and Joseph Benavidez (9-2) a 48-47 for the challenger, had passed whatever he had smoked prior to the bout to his fellow judges? Even the judge who scored the bout 48-47 Cruz was far from on point as Cruz clearly won no less than four of the five rounds with the only round in question being realistically more a draw than a round for Benavidez. The second issue, involving the officiating of the bouts themselves, came in the form of Steve Mazzagatti’s stoppage of the Zachary Micklewright (10-2) “Bartimus” Bart Palaszewski (34-13) fight. This stoppage was a good stoppage, Micklewright was done; but even with Zach mechanically working his guard against an imaginary opponent while ordering a happy meal from the ring doctor, some people in the MMA community still felt the need to cry foul about the fight being stopped early. Had Micklewright still been coherent, this stoppage would have been a disaster. Unfortunately, it is more likely that this stoppage was a just one by luck rather than design. Let’s explore these issues one at a time.
With Quake in the Cage 2 coming up on August 29 in Arcadia,California I figured it was time to learn more about the owners of the promotion. As it turned out the guys responsible for these shows are pioneers who were the first to bring live MMA shows to the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California. They even have an award winning documentary based on their early events. Their names are Vince Duchetta and his partner/professional cage fighter Daniel Hernandez of The Vault MMA in Monrovia California.
Thanks to “The Voice” Michael Schiavello MMA Gospel is once again proud to bring you a sneak peak of the next installation of “The Voice Vs” from HDNet. This episode The Voice sits down with “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz who is never shy when it comes to speaking his mind. This sneak peak Michael asks Tito about the MMA myth that during a London street fight he was knocked about by Lee Murray. Lee Murray is now serving a ten year sentence in Morocco for his part in the £53m Securitas robbery in Kent in February 2006. “The Voice vs Tito Ortiz” premieres this Friday August 20 on HDNET at 10pm ET / 930pm PT.
“UFC Heavyweight Champion of the World….!” When Bruce Buffer says these words, every fan in the arena as well as those watching around the world knows that the best heavyweight fighter in the world is being introduced. There is never a doubt that the man who holds a UFC title is the best because the UFC ensures that this is the case, ordering instant rematches when there is an argument about who won a title bout and placing their champions at the top of the most prestigious UFC Pay-Per-View cards. If Jesus himself were slated to appear on a UFC card, he would co-main for the champ at best. Also, belt or not, you would never see Brock Lesnar (5-1) on a Fight Night. This is because the UFC understands the importance of proper promotion. Dana White and company follow the two most sacred of promotional laws: never devalue your own company’s titles and if you have a unique attraction, maximize it. These rules not only carried the UFC through the ban era of the mid to late nineties, but built the UFC into the financial powerhouse it is today. Following these rules cost a promotion nothing and even the smallest of amateur promotions follow them. Why can’t Strikeforce seem to get on board?