—MAIN CARD (on NBC Sports Network @ 9:30pm ET)—
Andrei Arlovski vs. Anthony Johnson: Johnson via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Tyson Nam vs. Marlon Moraes: Moraes via KO (Head Kick and Punches), Round 1, 2:55
Paulo Filho vs. David Branch: Branch via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Josh Burkman vs. Aaron Simpson: Burkman via KO (Knee and Punches), Round 1, 3:04
Gesias Cavalcante vs. Justin Gaethje: Gaethje via TKO (Doctor Stoppage – Cut), Round 1, 2:27
The following excerpts were posted Monday on the UG forums by three-time UFC veteran “Big Sexy” Sean McCorkle (13-2) in response to recent claims that the promotion vastly underpays its contracted fighters. An investigative documentary series produced by ESPN, “Outside the Lines”, brought the alleged issue to light in a big way late last week when it put the UFC on blast with claims that the company is building itself into a monopoly, making billions annually while paying fighters only a small percentage of its revenue. While the majority of the figures stated in the ESPN documentary came from either anonymous sources, a licensed attorney who has been attempting to unionize fighters for years, or from fighters who have had a falling out with the UFC in the past, the “Outside the Lines” episode has made an impact on the MMA community due to a large number of casual fans viewing ESPN as a reliable source for sports related news. “Big Sexy” felt the exposé portrayed the UFC’s payroll inaccurately, and detailed his own experiences with the UFC’s pay structure during his six-month stint as a UFC heavyweight:
Despite the defeat of nearly every marquis fighter in the tournament, the fireworks are still promised to go off in Cincinnati, Ohio as Strikeforce presents the semi-finals of its World Heavyweight Grand Prix. The tournament started as a thinly veiled attempt to establish “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-4) as the number one heavyweight in the world by bracketing him opposite “The Babyfaced Assassin” Josh Barnett (22-5) alongside the man who first defeated him, “Vai Cavalo” Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1), and the man everyone wanted him to fight, “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (32-12). Fedor was paired against underdog “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (15-2) to get a win so he could face the winner of Overeem and Werdum in the semi-finals then square off against the heavily favored Barnett in the finals. The only part of that plan close to fruition is Barnett making the finals. Silva trashed Emelianenko and now faces wrestling stand-out Daniel Cormier (7-0) in the semis. Cormier enters the Grand Prix as an alternate following Overeem’s withdrawal from the tournament. On the other side of the brackets, things are going much more smoothly as heavy favorites Josh Barnett and “The Russian Mercenary” Sergei Kharitonov (17-4) both easily advanced to the finals where they will meet on Saturday. The loss of Emelianenko and Overeem has robbed the tournament of much of its appeal to fans, especially casual fans unfamiliar with the other entrants, so the California-based promotion has slated a middleweight title fight between the incumbent “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (13-2) and Luke Rockhold (7-1), who is undefeated in Strikeforce, as well as a contendership bout in the light heavyweight division between “King Mo” Muhammed Lawal (7-1) and Roger Gracie (4-0). The card will open with the main card return of grizzled vet “Bam Bam” Pat Healy (22-15) and Sengoku stand-out Maximo Blanco (5-1).
Press release courtesy of Phil Lanides of ProElite.com
When Pro Elite announced a bout between former UFC Champion “The Pitbull” Andrei Arlovski (14-9) and Ray Lopez (5-1) as the main event for its August 27 event in Honolulu, Hawaii, many fight fans headed to their nearest laptop to look up the latter. “Who is Ray Lopez?” was the thought that came to mind for many. A quick scan of his record showed that he is a three-time King of the Cage veteran with a 6-1-0-1 record* who has finished five of his six victims in decisive fashion, and is coming off a first-round knockout victory in his last bout. Outside of that info…there just wasn’t a lot of info out there.
Did you miss me? Well, dry your tears icemigos. I have returned. There was a rough few weeks with no MMA events – at least none that I was able to see. And now… now… I have three events to draw from. Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson, Strikeforce Challengers: Voelker vs. Bowling III, and Bellator 47.
Let’s start from the top. What’s up with Fedor? Sure, anyone can get knocked out by Dan Henderson but before that Fedor was swinging wildly. Yes, Fedor is known to try and finish a fight when he has someone hurt but there was an almost desperate recklessness in Fedor’s attempt to finish – not the precision timing that KO’d Andrei Arlovski in mid-air.
The same week they gain their first NBA title, Dallas, Texas is treated to MMA action courtesy of California-based mixed martial arts promotion Strikeforce presenting Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum where the quarter-finals of the Heavyweight Grand-Prix will continue. Kicking off the main card, “The Python” Valentijn Overeem (27-21) hopes to shut down the four-fight win streak of “The Grave Digger” Chad Griggs (9-1). Daniel Cormier (6-0) faces his greatest test to date when he takes on Jiu-Jitsu extraordinaire “The Snowman” Jeff Monson (37-11). Then the 155lb-ers break onto the scene when KJ Noons (9-3) and “Gamebred” Jorge Masvidal (19-6) take the cage front-and-center for a lightweight title contention bout. In continuance of the Heavyweight Grand Prix, “Vai Cavalo” Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1) battles with “Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (31-13) and “The Grim” Brett Rogers (11-2) contends with “The Babyfaced Assassin” Josh Barnett (21-5). Rogers is known for letting his hands smash his way to victory while Barnett lets his submission grip lead him to success. The world-tested submission artist Barnett stands as a heavy favorite in the tournament but with the vile power in Rogers’ hands, either man can pull a fast one over the other en route to the semi-finals. Win or lose, fans in the Lone Star State and those watching at home are in for a treat.
The MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada lends itself as a familiar host as UFC 130: Rampage vs. Hamill kicks off the 2011 summer season. The “All-American” Brian Stann (10-3) finds himself back for another run at the middleweight division, this time against former Sengoku champion Jorge Santiago (22-8). “The Pitbull” Thiago Alves (17-7) answers the challenge tossed out by “The Horror” Rick Story (10-2). “Hapa” Travis Browne (7-0-1) and “The Skyscraper” Stefan Struve (18-4) prepare to lock horns in a heavyweight war. With the lightweight title match pulled off the card due to injury, “The Hammer” Matt Hamill (9-2) gets his first taste as a headliner at a steep price against “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (29-8). In the co-main event, former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir (14-5) battles against former International Fight League champion “Big Country” Roy Nelson (15-5). Both men hold a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu to showoff their knowledge on the ground but neither have a problem letting their strikes handle business for them. With something always to gain, a win over a former champion would do wonders for the other’s career.
“The Pitbull” Andrei Arlovski (14-9) is undoubtedly and by large considered one of the most skilled and dangerous heavyweight MMA fighters of all time. The 1st Razryad International Master in Sambo has seen a lot of glory in his 11-year mixed martial arts career, having been the Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion and later promoted to the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion, taking out some of the most formidable opponents in his weight class along the way. Some of those who have succumbed to Arlovski’s fighting prowess are “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (25-5), “Cabbage” Wesley Correira (19-15), “The Maine-Iac” Tim Sylvia (28-7), “The Executioner” Paul Buentello (28-13), “Vai Cavalo” Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1), “Irish” Jake O’Brien (13-3), “Big” Ben Rothwell (27-7), and “Big Country” Roy Nelson (15-5). “The Pitbull” has built an impressive legacy and all the while has maintained his status as a fan favorite.
“The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-3) is a man deemed by many to be the greatest heavyweight fighter on the planet. Going 31-3, 1 No Contest, over what is close to an 11-year career in MMA is an unparalleled achievement, of that there is no doubt, but some question whether his record and fight history provide validation for the claims of his fans? Is he really the greatest fighter of all time? Certainly at one point in time Fedor was the undisputed king of the heavyweight division, but many fans refuse to allow that such claims may no longer be warranted, and worse still, take any argument to the contrary to be a sign of gross disrespect and lack of knowledge. The following list holds links to video footage of every Fedor Emelianenko fight, from the ones that matter to the ones that MMA history remembers only as a number in his win column, as MMA Gospel looks into what the man behind the legend has really achieved and how his current achievements stack up to both those of his past, and those of his current peers.
Saturday, February 12. The night was chilly as usual but even another freezing night could not damper my mood as I drove towards East Rutherford, New Jersey and the start of the unprecedented (in the US at least) Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament being put together by Strikeforce. With so much emphasis put on the UFC, fans really had to be surprised to see the wealth of heavyweight talent amassed for this tournament. That I was witnessing the launch of such an historic MMA event left me quite gleeful. Of course events that unfolded would show that for Strikeforce no good deed goes unpunished. But we’ll get to that.
As I drove toward Lot 26 which is designated for the press and employees I stopped to ask every parking attendant where the lot was located and was instructed to just keep driving. When I finally circled the entire IZOD Center and came to my designated lot I made an ill advised, on-the-fly decision to not stop by the parking person manning this lot and a few seconds later felt like Billy Hayes in Midnight Express as my car was surrounded by several guys who looked as if they were competing in the evening’s Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament or at least a local tough man contest. After the some venting of steam by guys whose mood was not enhanced by the freezing temps, I was finally able to spit out my name and ultimately allowed to proceed and park. So began my first sojourn as a credentialed press dignitary. I almost ended up buried with Jimmy Hoffa and other luminaries in the nearby meadowland swamps courtesy of Mo and the guys.