The following is a blog written yesterday by UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes (43-8) for his website, stating his stance on one of the two controversial bouts from last Saturday’s UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch card – the main event between “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-2) and Jon Fitch (22-3-1). The three-round affair was set to determine the next contender to challenge UFC Welterweight Champion “Rush” Georges St. Pierre’s (21-2) title, but to the surprise of nearly everyone, the bout resulted in a Majority Draw and sparked outcries from the MMA community world wide. Here is what Hughes, whose most recent loss came by Penn via first round knockout at UFC 123, has to say about the judges’ decision.
Bellator Middleweight Champion and aggressive knockout artist “Shango” Hector Lombard (25-2) returns to his court after his Unanimous Decision victory over Bellator Season 2 Tournament Winner “The Storm” Alexander Shlemenko (29-4) at Bellator 34 last October. Lombard is expected to meet UFC, Strikeforce, and Superbrawl veteran “Niko” Falaniko Vitale (27-8) in a non-title fight that likely will take place at Bellator 44 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The champ rides an impressive 14-fight win streak into the bout and has not lost a match since 2006. “Shango” is expected to come out as a clear favorite against the larger Hawaiian, who makes his debut on a three-fight streak of his own.
The International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) sanctioned state of New Jersey will host the inaugural of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament on Saturday night as “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-2) faces off with “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (14-2) and the former king of the UFC heavyweight division “The Pitbull” Andrei Arlovski (14-8) takes on dangerous kickboxer Sergei Kharitonov (16-4). In addition to the Heavyweight Grand Prix, the main card features a host of journeyman fighters taking part in the tournament’s reserve bouts – which will determine the alternates in the event that any of the eight original contestants are unable to compete for one reason or another – including Shane del Rosario (8-0), “Big” Lavar Johnson (13-3), Gian Villante (7-1), and Chad Griggs (8-1). Also of interest to the hardcore PRIDE fans of the MMA world, the older brother of superstar heavyweight “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (30-12), “The Python” Valentijn Overeem (26-21) returns to the ring after a two year lay-off to battle five-time World Muay Thai Champion and eight-time K-1 Grand Prix finalist “Sugarfoot” Ray Sefo (2-0). Despite it holding little to no implications for the Strikeforce heavyweight division, as both men are largely considered to be beyond their respective prime, the match is an excellent bout to open the card for casual fans, as it will be a high paced stand-up affair.
Much of the mystique of UFC Middleweight Champion and pound-for-pound best fighter in the world “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) comes from the fact that many fighters have tried to figure him out but few have been able to survive long enough to do so. Tonight at UFC 126, “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-8) hopes to finish what Chael Sonnen (24-11-1) started at UFC 117 by exploiting the vulnerabilities of the champion and making him pay for his egotistical toying with his opponents. Vitor has been billed as the man with the striking to match Anderson Silva and with the humbling beatdown Silva took from Sonnen still fresh on the minds of many fans, it is certainly easy to believe that Belfort could be the man to beat the champ at his own game. The real questions, however, regard Silva and Belfort’s respective mental states coming into this middleweight championship bout. How did Sonnen affect Silva’s colossal ego? Has his God complex grown even more with the last-second submission win, or has the champ returned to reality? What about Vitor? Will he crack under the pressure of the title fight like he did so many times before? Will he arrive focused and ready to fight or will he show up looking as if he wishes he were somewhere else? As the main event to cap off a spectacular evening of fights, this will be one of the more intriguing battles taking place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center tomorrow night.
On Saturday night, Strikeforce returns to San Jose, California with its much anticipated Diaz vs. Cyborg card, putting two belts up for grabs. Welterweight Champion and Strikeforce golden boy “Diablo” Nick Diaz (22-8) takes on the dangerous Brazilian slugger “Cyborg” Evangelista Santos (17-13) who seems to have found his place at 170lbs. after his brutal KO win over DREAM Welterweight Champion “The Whitemare” Marius Zaromskis (13-4) last June. Also on the main card, former NFL great Herschel Walker (1-0) makes his return to the cage against WEC veteran Scott Carson (4-1), as does undefeated Roger Gracie (3-0) against UFC washout Trevor Prangley (22-6-1). The middleweight title is also on the line as current champion “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (12-2) the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace takes on the American brawler “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-6) in an old school style clash that is sure to have the fans on their feet. Lawler comes in off a vicious highlight reel knockout of “The Law” Matt Lindland (22-8) in early December and looks to string together two wins for the first time since 2007. The champ “Jacare” looks to use his ground game to put away the brawler and continue his undefeated streak under the Strikeforce banner.
UFC 125: Resolution ended with many shocking results – “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) coming to a Draw with “The Bully” Gray Maynard (10-0-1), underdog Brian Stann (10-3) TKOing “The Crippler” Chris Leben (21-8) in the first round, “The Carpenter” Clay Guida (27-11) getting Submission of the Night and completely overtaking “The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi (29-8), and Judoka “The Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim (10-4-2) catapulting his way into welterweight title contention after dominating the always rambunctious Nate Diaz (12-7). The real Earth shaker though came in the unexpected Unanimous Decision loss by the former top contender “The Fluke” Josh Grispi (14-2) to Dustin Poirier (9-1) in the prelims, which leaves a question as to who will face “Junior” Jose Aldo (17-1) for the first UFC featherweight title bout.
After over a month of speculation, planning, and contract negotiations, Strikeforce has confirmed that it will be holding its inaugural heavyweight tournament starting next month. The eight-man single-elimination Grand Prix is set in four stages; the quarter finals will be held on two events and the semi-finals and the finals will each take place on separate cards. All of Strikeforce’s biggest named heavyweights are involved in the tournament including current Strikeforce, K-1, and DREAM heavyweight champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (30-12), who will be competing in the Grand Prix to defend his Strikeforce title.
A draw is a funny thing. UFC 125: Resolution was one of the most entertaining cards in recent history yet all the energy was completely drained from the crowd, the main event fighters, and the media when the main event title fight between “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) and “The Bully” Gray Maynard (10-0-1) was announced to be a Split Draw. Even a horrendous decision where the obvious winner has been robbed fails to have this effect. A truly excellent night of fights that featured one of the extremely rare instances where the MMA judging community made the right call in a close fight has been almost completely forgotten because fans simply can’t handle the fact that the main event had no winner. However, the truly saddening story is that of many fans’ reaction to the draw itself and the potential ramifications of their complaints gaining any more hold than they already have.
UFC 125: Resolution on New Year’s Day may or may not be a bad pun on the part of the UFC but either way the card is no joke. Among the list of fast paced fighters on the slate at the MGM Grand Garden are names like Thiago Silva (15-2), “The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi (29-7), “The Truth” Brandon Vera (11-5), “The Carpenter” Clay Guida (27-11), Nate Diaz (12-6), “The Crippler” Chris Leben (21-7), and Brian Stann (9-3), but all the attention is on the two men scheduled for the main event. Lightweight champion “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1) looks to defend his title for a second time against the only man to ever hand him a defeat, “The Bully” Gray Maynard (10-0). Maynard has emerged victorious in every one of his UFC bouts through use of his aggressive wrestling assault and high pressure top control. Edgar has developed into a more well rounded fighter and hopes that will prove the difference in this rematch.
The UFC makes its second trip to Montreal, Quebec’s Bell Centre on Saturday to deliver the Canadian fans a night of top notch fights from the UFC’s middle ranks. The card features talented UFC journeymen such as “Skyscraper” Stefan Struve (17-4), “Big Sexy” Sean McCorkle (10-0), Mac Danzig (19-8-1) and “Doomsday” John Howard (14-5) as well as former title contenders “The Pitbull” Thiago Alves (16-7) and “Daddy” Joe Stevenson (31-10) and is headlined by the long awaited rematch between welterweight kingpin “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (20-2) and “Kos” Josh Koscheck (15-4). A stellar lightweight match-up on the slate for Saturday evening is a battle between submission experts Charles Oliveira (14-0) and “Mongoose” Jim Miller (18-2). Both of these fighters have had their names mentioned as possible contenders for the UFC lightweight championship and a win here would validate their place in those discussions.
Hello, Icemigos. I hope your Thanksgiving was pleasant. I apologize for not enriching your life with a column last week but due to the holiday and the fact that nothing really happened in MMA, I decided to take a well-earned break. I trust that with the love and support of your family and friends and the knowledge that a new column would be coming your way via the magic of the interwebs, you were able to soldier on and get through that trying time. Well, rejoice, dear friends, because I’m back.
This morning, UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen (24-11-1) and PRIDE veteran “The Babyfaced Assassin” Josh Barnett (21-5) both appeared in front of the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) to appeal their (unrelated) suspensions due to the presence of banned substances in their pre-fight drug screenings.
In July 2009, Barnett tested positive for the use of steroids for the second time in his professional MMA career, consequently not being allowed to compete against “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-2) at the now defunct promotion Affliction: Trilogy. The event as well as Affliction Entertainment itself was cancelled July 24, 2009 as a direct result. Barnett requested a re-test, and subsequently failed that one, as well.
Reports began circulating today that newly crowned UFC Featherweight Champion “Junior” Jose Aldo (17-1) may be forced to pull out of his first UFC title defense with number-one contender “The Fluke” Josh Grispi (14-1) at UFC 125 on New Year’s Day. Aldo reportedly sustained a compacted vertebrae which resulted in tingling in both of his arms. ESPN.com’s Josh Gross learned from Aldo’s management that the injury will sideline Aldo for “at least a month for therapy.”
I hate you so fuckin’ hard.
Really. Do I have to do this? I mean it’s Saturday night. I’m sitting home alone after watching the horrible abomination that was UFC 120 and the intellectually challenged yahoos in the building next door are having a party and being loud, stupid and annoying. In other words, I’m filled with vitriol and venom and seething hatred.
‘But it’s just a bunch of fights, dude. Why don’t you just…’ -Why don’t you shut up before I tear your face off and glue it back on upside down! Yeah, that’s what I thought. Okay… I’m sorry. Deep breath. Just because one of my favorite fighters, the dreamy badass Dan Hardy, got totally KO-ed in the first round and Sexyama, who is made of awesome (and sexy, obviously) lost to the fairly unlikable Michael Bisping and now might get cut from the UFC, why get all emotional about it? I mean Sexyama will just go home to Japan where he’s a superstar and have sex with his model girlfriend or wife or both. And Dan Hardy’s not going anywhere anytime soon… it’ll be okay. And the jerks next door that just got done chanting, “Go white boy” for reasons I don’t even want to try and understand will probably die of stupid. Oh yeah, stupid isn’t necessarily fatal. Good work, evolution!
Bellator made its debut appearance at the L’Auberge du Lac Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Thursday for Bellator 31. In addition to the Local Feature Fights where local fighters were given the opportunity to showcase their skills in a nationally-broadcast event, the card featured the Women’s Tournament Semi-Finals and Welterweight Season Four Tournament Qualifier as its main events.
The women’s 115lb championship tournament boasted #1 ranked pound-for-pound female fighter in the world “Mega Megu” Megumi Fujii (16-0) taking on dangerous veteran Lisa Ward (14-4), and explosive striker “The Warrior Princess” Zoila Frausto (7-1) facing submission specialist “Jag” Jessica Aguilar (9-4). The welterweight tournament highlighted a match-up between MMA Gospel Young Gun “The Assassin” Chris Lozano (5-0,) and UFC veteran “Zenko” Yoshiyuki Yoshida (11-6,) both making their Bellator Fighting Championship debuts in a main event fight.