The UFC takes its second FOX Network fight card to Chicago, Illinois’ United Center tomorrow night for UFC on FOX 2: Evans vs. Davis. The national broadcast network will feature three fights this outing, including a newly shuffled fight between budding middleweight prospect “All American” Chris Weidman (7-0) and crafty submission veteran Demian Maia (15-3). The new co-main event features not only a battle for #1 contender to “The Spider” Anderson Silva’s (31-4) title, but also the crown for the most polarizing figure in MMA as Chael Sonnen (26-11-1) squares off against “The Count” Michael Bisping (22-3) in what is sure to be an all out war of skill and words. The main event is also a title eliminator as “Sugar” Rashad Evans (16-1-1) and “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (9-0) vie for the next crack at 205lbs. phenom “Bones” Jon Jones (15-1). This fight is not being as hyped as it should be, as both fighters are highly skilled and pose very interesting problems to each other. The winner will also be heavily compared to the dynamic champ so a good showing here is a must for either fighter.
I was set to watch UFC 137 streaming on my computer like some pimply faced teenaged loser when I got an electronic mail from one of my connections at the UFC. I say this entirely to brag and make myself seem important. Whether it’s accurate is none of your damn business. The short of it: Two tickets have become available for you if you want them. Of course I want them! I was sitting with my dog, Carlos, watching the Game Show Network. Let’s get this shindig going, man! Carlos is a Chihuahua and because of his Mexican heritage and small size, a revolutionary at heart. Me, I’m also a revolutionary. Not quite an anarchist but that’s neither here nor there. I knew I couldn’t bring Carlos but I also knew that I had no other friends in this god forsaken town where dreams go to wander up and down Las Vegas boulevard until someone approaches them and offers them some cheap meth and they say “Why the fuck not?”.
This Saturday night, as “Rush” Georges St, Pierre (20-2) looks to win the rematch and successfully defend his title against opposing TUF 12 coach “Kos” Josh Koscheck (15-4), there is another match-up on the main card that could potentially shake up the welterweight division with former title contender “Pitbull” Thiago Alves (16-7) taking on “Doomsday” John Howard (14-5). With the addition of more than 70 fighters after the WEC/UFC merger, a loss for either Alves or Howard, depending on his performance, could result in a pink slip. Two fighters, one winner, and a potential of several different scenarios occurring.
Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champions “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (16-1) and “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (28-8) will face each other in the main event at Saturday night’s UFC 123 in Auburn Hills, Michigan in a battle of discipline against passion on a card that is supported by the likes of TUF superstars “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (19-5) and George Sotiropoulos (13-2), “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (12-3), “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (8-0), “Hurricane” Gerald Harris (17-2) and “Big Rig” Maiquel Falcao (7-1). However, one of the most criticized and least important bouts slated for November 20 is a rubber match between long time rivals “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (15-7-1) and UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes (43-7). Most of the discussion surrounding this fight has been various MMA journalists and forum warriors flaming about how the fight makes no sense and is completely irrelevant. What the critics fail to see is how this bout makes perfect sense in the most basic way. No, there won’t be a welterweight title shot or even status as a legitimate contender on the line in this fight. Yes, the bout will do absolutely nothing to further either man’s career. However, both of the previous fights between these two former welterweight kings have been action packed fan pleasers from first to final bell. That is how this fight makes sense. True MMA fans wouldn’t miss a fight between Hughes and Penn for the world.
The UFC brings fans a prime cut of its well seasoned roster with UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez tomorrow night. The card is loaded not only with top class fighters but also a slew of superstars. The main event features heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar (5-1) and Cain Velasquez (8-0), and the under card is stacked with men worthy of supporting such a magnificent event as a fight for the most prestigious title in MMA: the UFC Heavyweight Championship of the World. “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (17-3) faces former Strikeforce middleweight king Jake Shields (25-4-1) in a welterweight tilt, TUF Season 10 stand-out “The Hybrid” Brendan Schaub (5-1) and “Napao” Gabriel Gonzaga (11-5) battle to remain relevant in the hunt for the belt Cain and Brock will dispute, and The Ultimate Fighter Season 3 contestant “The Hammer” Matt Hamill (8-2) will battle his former coach, the ultra-polarizing former UFC middleweight/light heavyweight champ “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz (15-7-1). In a situation similar to Gonzaga’s bout with Brendan Schaub, “The Nightmare” Diego Sanchez (21-4) joins Brazilian sensation Paulo Thiago (9-2) in the Octagon. The bout is similar in the fact that Gonzaga and Sanchez both were once title contenders but never had the completed skill set needed to remain at the top or tear a belt from the grasp of the respective champions they would face. Meanwhile, Thiago and Schaub both rode into the UFC on a hype train that somehow managed to get off the tracks. Thiago came in to be a tomato can for “Kos” Josh Koscheck (15-4) and promptly knocked him out, igniting sparks of phenom-hood, only to be driven back into mediocrity by losses to Martin Kampmann and Jon Fitch (22-3).
On September 25, UFC 119: Mir vs. Cro Cop brings the thousands of Indianapolis, Indiana fans a card filled with talent from top to bottom. Headlined by the polarizing two-time former heavyweight champion Frank Mir (13-5) and Croatian kickboxing superstar “Cro Cop” Mirko Filipovic (27-8-2), the UFC has filled out the under card with several interesting bouts between the new breed and the old guard. One such example is a rematch between New York born Cinderella story “The Terror” Matt Serra (10-6) and “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (29-17-5), the Indiana firefighter who has held a near monopoly on UFC bonus checks. The two men first faced each other in the TUF 5 finale where they fought for the chance to face “Rush” George St. Pierre (20-2), a match which marked a turning point in both men’s careers. Serra, the winner of the razor thin and very controversial decision, went on to upset GSP and take the UFC welterweight title, Lytle went on to completely reinvent himself, blaming his conservative approach to fighting for the loss. Only one thing is clear in this rematch: those who are expecting it to be a repeat of the first fight obviously haven’t followed either man’s career at all.
“This isn’t going to be a war. This is going to be a one-sided pounding and I’m swinging the hammer.” Chael Sonnen (24-11-1) spoke these words and many others in the weeks leading up to a bout he built almost single handedly into a super fight with pound for pound kingpin “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4). For these words, he was almost universally mocked across the MMA blogosphere. Those same MMA bloggers and pundits were struck completely speechless on August 7, 2010 at UFC 117 when Sonnen made good on his promises. In this edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, we examine the fallout from UFC 117: Silva vs. Sonnen from the 12 lbs of gold that so narrowly evaded Chael Sonnen to what may be the last hoorah for “Pitbull” Thiago Alves (16-7) in the welterweight division. Who were the real winners of UFC 117 and who did more damage to their careers than the most one-sided of losses and what lies in store for the men who entered the Octagon in Oakland, California last Saturday night?
UFC 117: Silva vs. Sonnen brings the Ultimate Fighting Championship back to California’s Oracle Arena in Oakland for a night of fights that could potentially shake the foundations of every division in the promotion. In addition to the obvious implications of the middleweight title affair between incumbent champ “The Spider” Anderson Silva (26-4) and verbally antagonistic wrestler Chael Sonnen (24-10-1) and the number one heavyweight contender showdown between “Big Country” Roy Nelson (15-4) and “Cigano” Junior dos Santos (11-1), Dana White and Joe Silva have provided the MMA community with a long awaited welterweight rematch between former GSP victims Jon Fitch (21-3) and “Pitbull” Thiago Alves (16-6). The pair first crossed paths in 2006 at UFC Fight Night 5 where Fitch managed to stop the then 22 year old American Top Team standout in the second round due to strikes. Since that time, Alves has been on fire, winning seven of his last eight with five of those wins coming by way of TKO or referee stoppage. Fitch has won nine of the ten since he last saw Alves, but he has only managed to finish two of those opponents. Brought to this point by two very different paths, this meeting between old rivals promises to be a barn burner that any fan would love as Fitch pits his smothering top control and grinding ground-n-pound against the brutal Thai assault of “Pitbull.”