The Ultimate Fighting Championship comes live and direct with UFC 146 out of the MGM Grand Garden Arena this Saturday night. The first ever all-heavyweight main card is stacked with some of the biggest names and hardest hitters that the division has to offer. “Big” Lavar Johnson (17-5) and “Skyscraper” Stefan Struve start up the heavyweight-ridden main card. Then, undefeated prospects Stipe Miocic (8-0) and Shane Del Rosario (11-0) are set to collide. “Pee Wee” Dave Herman (21-3) takes on crowd favorite “Big Country” Roy Nelson (16-7). Before “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (9-1) sets out to defend his title against Frank Mir (16-5) in the card’s main event, the co-main will see former champion Cain Velasquez (9-1) take on a modern day Goliath in “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (16-3). With all the division being represented and paying attention to how the night ends, Velasquez and Silva have the perfect medium to re-establish their ground in the division as one of the most dangerous men among the heavyweights.
It was an amazing weekend for MMA. The UFC kicked off its flyweight division with an entertaining, non-stop, action-packed scrap between Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall and Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson on Friday night. And Saturday night saw women’s MMA reinvigorated by two great fights between Sarah Kaufman and Alexis Davis and the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Title bout between Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey. However, it wasn’t all good…
Here on MMA Gospel, we do a column after fights called “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and I’m going to use that format with my own spin: The Epic and the WTF?! It was originally going to be “The Epic, the Shitty and the WTF?” but I found it hard to separate the shitty from the WTF.
Is Joey Beltran’s mustache good for the sport? Does it make him look too Mexican? Does it alienate the non-Hispanic MMA fans? In case you haven’t picked up on it, I’m being sarcastic.
Back before I became an MMA journalist pundit …whatever the fuck it is I do, things were different. 98% of my Twitter followers didn’t know what MMA was or weren’t fans. Now, my Twitter feed is nothing but MMA fans. At first I enjoyed discussing upcoming fights and being in the loop on the latest news but coming up on two years since the birth of SBoI, I have to deal with the other side of it. The dark side… (cue over-dramatic music) A lot of MMA fans tend to over-analyze everything and make mountains out of molehills. Especially when it comes to what is or isn’t “good for the sport”. If some MMA fans obsessed over their children’s every action the way they do everything that happens in MMA, their kids would grow up to be neurotic freaks; possibly serial killers. MMA is gonna be fine. It’s time to cut the apron strings and let your baby grow up and you know, just try and enjoy it. Chael doing a Superstar Billy Graham isn’t going to ruin the sport. Relax. You have to realize that the so-called “casual” fans or potential future fans aren’t paying attention to all this minutia the way we sick bastards are. Anyway, feel free to continue being obsessed just try to do it with a sense of joy, passion, and humor rather than neurotic angst. If you can’t do that, try to keep it off my Twitter timeline. I’d appreciate it, you doughy wankers! (courtesy of @sonnench)
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:
The UFC’s traditional New Year’s card went off in a very big way last night to usher in a new year of elite level mixed martial arts. With the FOX deal and more new fans than ever before waiting in the wings, it was extremely important that the UFC start 2012 off on the right foot and UFC 141 certainly achieved that goal. To open the card, undefeated newcomer “The Kid” Jimy Hettes (10-0) announced his presence to the featherweight division in emphatic fashion with an extremely one-sided thrashing of TUF alum Nam Phan (19-11). Rising star “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (13-1) continued to impress with a quick KO of long-time gatekeeper “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (26-6) only to be outdone by Johny Hendricks (12-1) in the very next bout when he blasted top welterweight contender Jon Fitch (22-4-1) from consciousness in only 12 seconds. The co-main saw a “Fight of the Night”-winning performance from Nate Diaz (14-8) who handily out-boxed “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (16-5) and in the main event, titanic heavyweights “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (33-12) and Brock Lesnar (5-3) squared off with only the Dutch kickboxing machine left standing after 2:26 of action. The event was a clear winner for the UFC and the fans who got more than their $50 worth, but to assess the damage and gains to the fighters themselves, we turn to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
—MAIN CARD (on Pay-Per-View)—
Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem: Overeem via TKO (Strikes), Round 1, 2:26
Nate Diaz vs. Donald Cerrone: Diaz via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Jon Fitch vs. Johny Hendricks: Hendricks via KO (Punch), Round 1, 0:12
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Alexander Gustafsson: Gustafsson via TKO (Punches), Round 1, 2:13
Nam Phan vs. Jimy Hettes: Hettes via Unanimous Decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26), Round 3, 5:00
—PRELIMS (on Spike TV)—
Ross Pearson vs. Rafael Assuncao: Pearson via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Anthony Njokuani vs. Danny Castillo: Castillo via Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29), Round 3, 5:00
–PRELIMS (on Facebook)—
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Sean Pierson: Kim via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Jacob Volkmann vs. Efrain Escudero: Volkmann via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Manny Gamburyan vs. Diego Nunes: Nunes via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
*Matt Riddle vs. Luis Ramos has been scrapped due to Riddle sustaining a thus far unnamed illness.
The UFC solidifies its 2011 calendar year as one of the biggest in the promotion’s history, closing it out tonight with UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem. The honors of starting off the main card on Pay-Per-View go to The Ultimate Fighter 12 alum Nam Phan (19-10) and undefeated fellow featherweight “The Kid” Jimy Hettes (9-0). Forty-year-old IFL veteran “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (26-5) looks to stay in the good graces of the UFC brass with a defeat over rising 205lbs. prospect “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (12-1). Former welterweight title challenger Jon Fitch (22-3-1) pits his wrestling credentials against those of rising talent Johny Hendricks (11-1). The co-main event features one of the most volatile grudge matches in recent memory, with former WEC stand-out “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (16-4) teeing off against Stockton, California native Nate Diaz (13-8). Serving as the promotion’s final bout in 2011 is the long-awaited UFC debut of K-1, DREAM, and Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (32-12) as he takes on an equally mammoth-sized former UFC champion in Brock Lesnar (5-2).
“Anything can happen in MMA”, especially when it comes to thoughtful pairings like those featured on the UFC 141 main card. Below, the MMA Gospel staff takes a crack at predicting how the night could play out.
The last UFC of the year will step back from its traditional date, the closest Saturday to New Year’s Day, as the world’s premier MMA organization presents UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem on Friday, December 30. Opening what is always one of the biggest events of the year is a featherweight competition between TUF alum Nam Phan (19-10) and undefeated Jiu-Jitsu ace “The Kid” Jimy Hettes (9-0). “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (26-5) will look to continue his 4-1 UFC career renaissance against the hard hitting Swede “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (12-1). Anchoring the card is long-time welterweight title hopeful Jon Fitch (22-3-1) who will face rising talent Johny Hendricks (11-1), and red hot former WEC lightweight “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (16-4) will take on Cesar Gracie stand-out Nate Diaz (13-8). Serving as the lynch-pin for the entire card is a main event heavyweight bout that old school and new wave fans of the sport have debated since 2008: former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar (5-2) against former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (32-12). One thing is certain, the only thing bigger than the spectacle in the cage Friday night, will be the pair of men who will provide the main show.
Brock Lesnar: 266lbs.
Alistair Overeem: 263lbs.
Nate Diaz: 157lbs.*
Donald Cerrone: 156lbs.
Jon Fitch: 171lbs.
Johny Hendricks: 170lbs.
Vladimir Matyushenko: 205lbs.
Alexander Gustafsson: 203lbs.
Nam Phan: 146lbs.
Jimy Hettes: 145lbs.
Ross Pearson: 145lbs.
Rafael Assuncao: 145lbs.
Anthony Njokuani: 154lbs.
Danny Castillo: 156lbs.
Dong Hyun Kim: 171lbs.
Sean Pierson: 171lbs.
Jacob Volkmann: 155lbs.
Efrain Escudero: 155lbs.
Matt Riddle: 170lbs.
Luis Ramos: 171lbs.
Manny Gamburyan: 146lbs.
Diego Nunes: 145lbs.
*Nate Diaz was able to shed the additional pound during the extra hour he was provided.