The latest edition of UFC on FOX takes place Saturday courtesy of New Jersey’s IZOD Center. Big” Lavar Johnson (16-5) will look to make his sophomore appearance in the organization a success when he stands against fellow banger “HD” Pat Barry (7-4). The middleweights are next as “The Talent” Alan Belcher (17-6) squares off with “Toquinho” Rousimar Palhares (14-3). Welterweights “Big Rig” Johny Hendricks (12-1) and “Kos” Josh Koscheck (17-5) square off in the co-main event. In the night’s closer, Nate Diaz (15-7) looks to tie together a three-fight win streak, but that would come at a steep price against “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (21-3). Both men have the contender status attached to their name with just cause but after Saturday, only one can make the step closer to gold.
The Garden State hosts mixed martial arts action Saturday night as East Rutherford, New Jersey’s IZOD Center is the battleground for UFC on FOX 3. Submission specialist “Toquinho” Rousimar Palhares (14-3) takes on stand-up extraordinaire “The Talent” Alan Belcher (17-6) in the opening bout of the main card. Expect heads to fly as the heavyweights take to the cage when “HD” Pat Barry (7-4) collides with fellow striker “Big” Lavar Johnson (16-5). In the main event “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (21-3) gets the homefield advantage when he challenges Nate Diaz (15-7) in a pivotal match-up in the lightweight division. “Kos” Josh Koscheck (17-5) and “Big Rig” Johny Hendricks (12-1) will meet before the night’s end in the co-main event. Koscheck has always been held high in the welterweight picture and looks to re-establish himself as a viable contender. Hendricks, on the other hand, is finally coming into his own and will look to keep the “Big Rig” moving on all gears.
Nate Diaz (15-7) and “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (21-3) will square off in a high octane lightweight showdown to headline the UFC on FOX 3 card this Saturday, but before they do, the UFC has built a strong card for the viewing public. “Kos” Josh Koscheck (17-5) and Johny Hendricks (12-1) will play second fiddle to the main event in a welterweight showdown and “Big” Lavar Johnson (16-5) will open the card in his second UFC bout against the always dangerous “HD” Pat Barry (7-4). In one of the night’s most interesting bouts, “Toquinho” Rousimar Palhares (14-3) will square off with “The Talent” Alan Belcher (17-6). The 28-year-old Belcher has built quite a resume as a mixed martial artist over his career with ten first-round finishes and seven submissions and eight KO/TKOs in 17 victories, a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and establishing himself as a dangerous striker under the tutelage of Duke Roufus. However, his opponent has earned a reputation as one of the most gifted grapplers in the world and has ten submissions in 14 wins, as well as a second place finish in his only ADCC appearance, to back it up.
The UFC will return to broadcast television network FOX for the third time this Saturday with lightweight frontrunners and event headliners Nate Diaz (15-7) and “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (21-3) locking horns in a submission fan’s dream match-up. Also making an appearance on the UFC on FOX 3 card will be polarizing welterweight top contender “Kos” Josh Koscheck (17-5) as he squares off against 7-1 UFC welterweight blue chipper Johny Hendricks (12-1). Submission ace “Toquinho” Rousimar Palhares (14-3) will go toe-to-toe with Roufusport striking machine “The Talent” Alan Belcher (17-6) and Strikeforce heavyweight prospect “Big” Lavar Johnson (16-5) will make his sophomore effort in the Octagon against former K-1 and WCL kickboxer “HD” Pat Barry (7-4). Both heavyweights are equally well known for their knockout power and their deficiencies on the mat, leading most fans to expect a bare knuckle, stand-up war in the opening bout of a card brimming with submission specialists.
This Saturday UFC 143 is live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center from Las Vegas, Nevada. Clifford Starks (5-0) will try to keep his undefeated streak intact against the always dangerous “Short Fuse” Ed Herman (17-8). Renan Barao (27-1) and “Young Guns” Scott Jorgensen (12-3) prepare to engage in a bantamweight showdown with title implications sure to follow. Welterweight action goes down mid-card as “Kos” Josh Koscheck (16-5) meets with fellow wrestler Mike Pierce (10-3). Easily two of the top welterweights headline the card as “Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit (27-5) and Nick Diaz (26-8) duke it out in order to seize the interim title. In the co-main event, “Big Country” Roy Nelson (16-5) will look to chain together another win as he takes on fellow heavyweight “Vai Cavalo” Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1). Werdum is looking to reestablish himself within the UFC ranks after his tenure in Strikeforce but with Nelson looking to do the same, these heavyweight juggernauts are likely to go all out to prevent their own plans from being snuffed.
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)
—MAIN CARD (on FOX)—
Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis: Evans via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45), Round 5, 5:00
Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping: Sonnen via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Demian Maia vs. Chris Weidman: Weidman via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00*
Lorenz Larkin vs. Nick Rossborough: Larkin via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Lavar Johnson vs. Shawn Jordan: Jordan via Submission (Keylock), Round 2, 3:08
Ryan Couture vs. Maka Watson: Couture via Majority Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28), Round 3, 5:00
Jason High vs. Todd Moore: High via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Brian Melancon vs. Felipe Portela: Melancon via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
The nineteenth installment of the Strikeforce Challengers series is set to take place Friday night at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada as another crop of aspiring young fighters seek to break into the Zuffa family. Headlining the card is “The Monsoon” Lorenz Larkin (10-0) who puts his undefeated record on the line against late replacement “Leather Face” Nick Rossborough (20-14). The co-main event for the card finds second generation superstar Ryan Couture (2-1) looking to rebound from his first loss against a tough submission guru, Maka Watson (5-1). Challengers Series stand-out “Big” Lavar Johnson (13-4) returns after a less than successful debut on the Strikeforce main card and attempts to return to form against Shawn Jordan (10-3). One-time UFC veteran Jason High (12-3) will continue his second chance at Zuffa favor in the evening’s second bout against Texas native “Maniac” Todd Moore (13-4) and the night will open with a match-up between toughened ground-and-pounder Brian Melancon (5-2) and undefeated Brazilian “Balboa” Felipe Portela (7-0). The film and file on the fighters is practically non-existent and the combatants themselves are starving for the bright lights of Zuffa stardom, which is always a good mix for the fans of MMA.
Bobby Voelker vs. Roger Bowling: Voelker via KO (Knee and Punches), Round 2, 2:16
Shawn Jordan vs. Devin Cole: Cole via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Ovince St. Preux vs. Joe Cason: St. Preux via Submission (Strikes), Round 1,1:12
Sarah Kaufman vs. Liz Carmouche: Kaufman via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Adlan Amagov vs. Ron Stallings: Amagov via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
This Friday night Las Vegas, Nevada’s Palms Casino Resort will welcome the Strikeforce Challengers Series to the Mecca of combat sports or the first time in its history as multiple-time Challengers Series competitors “Vicious” Bobby Voelker (22-8) and “Relentless” Roger Bowling (8-1) meet in a rubber match to end their year-long rivalry. Also slated for action, “Big” Lavar Johnson (13-4) looks to get back into the big show by defeating IFL veteran Devin Cole (13-9-1), the recently unstoppable “OSP” Ovince St. Preux (9-4) looks to continue his current seven-fight streak against Iowa’s own undefeated Joe Cason (8-0), former Women’s Welterweight Champion Sarah Kaufman (14-1) looks to smash former title contender “Girl-Rilla” Liz Carmouche (3-1) in her own bid for the belt, and internationally recognized spinning hook kick master Adlan Amagov (7-1-1) makes his Challengers, and US, debut against Lloyd Irvin disciple “The Choir Boy” Ronald Stallings (9-3). As is appropriate for the promotion’s first trip to Las Vegas, this Challengers Series card is as stacked as they come with a list of fighters who have either already been in the big show or who are more than ready to take that step. The winners on July 22 will likely be making that step.
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.