Zuffa’s flagship promotion, the UFC, returned to network TV last night on the heels of a highly disappointing UFC 149 Pay-Per-View card to present UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs. Vera. The UFC needed a big hit to make up for the debacle at 149 and they got one with their fourth effort on the major network. The opening bout between “Quick” Mike Swick (15-4) and “Darkness” Damarques Johnson (15-11) was a fast paced battle that culminated in a brutal come-from-behind KO courtesy of a “Quick” right hand. Next out, “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (22-7) set the UFC record for bonuses when he ended a “Fight of the Night” performance against “C-4″ Jamie Varner (20-7-1) with a “Submission of the Night” winning third-round Triangle Choke. In the co-main event, “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (18-3) earned a shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship with a picture perfect knockout of “Darth” Ryan Bader (14-3), and in the night’s main event, “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (21-6) fought, and won, a war against returning prodigal son “The Truth” Brandon Vera (12-6). The overall card was a phenomenal success and definitely left some smiles on the faces of more than a few network executives, but not everyone can be a winner. For that, MMA Gospel has The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Last night some of the most prominent names in mixed martial arts convened at The Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada to honor nominees in 22 categories at the 2011 World MMA Awards. The categories, which are selected by a nominations panel then voted on by fans, honor all things MMA, from fighters, to referees, to equipment, apparel, ring girls, and much more. The annual awards show, now in its fourth year, once again saw the UFC taking the majority of the honors. And the winners are…
The UFC made its triumphant return to Brazil with UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami in Rio de Janeiro. The card was loaded to the hilt with Brazil’s biggest stars as well as a few hometown heroes as the South American nation took on the world. In their bouts, the Brazilians had resounding success with “The Spider” Anderson Silva (29-4), “Minotauro” Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (33-6-1), and “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-5) all taking home spectacular knockout wins and undefeated young Edson Barboza (9-0) taking a “Fight of the Night” winning Split Decision. With “Thunder” Yushin Okami (26-6), Forrest Griffin (18-7), “The Hybrid” Brendan Schaub (7-2), and “The Real Deal” Ross Pearson (17-7-1) all coming up short, the lone main card victor from the visitor’s dugout was Stanislav Nedkov (6-0) who scored a come-from-behind TKO win over “Banha” Luiz Cane (9-4). The fans were the real winners as the UFC again came out and proved why it is the greatest mixed martial arts organization in the world, bar none, but did the fighters come out as well as the fans did? To answer this, MMA Gospel brings The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Hello, Icemigos. How was your blah, blah, blah? Yeah and how’s that thing that you do going? Really? That’s interesting. You know how I feel about that. I mean it should go without saying, right?
So with the niceties out of the way let’s get right to the awards! What awards? The first ever SBoI Awards for the week of MMA fights that I saw! “The Iceys®” as they’re called – as of now.
This Friday night marks the return of Strikeforce’s flagship farm organization, Strikeforce Challengers, as the red hot Caros Fodor (6-1) continues his blitz for a promotion to the Strikeforce main card against Cung Le (7-1) disciple James Terry (9-2). Also slated for action is Ryan Couture (2-0) as he faces Matt Ricehouse (4-0) in an attempt to lay further ground word to build a legacy for himself separate from that of his famed father “The Natural” Randy Couture (19-11). Lorenz Larkin (9-0) will seek to continue his undefeated attack on the heavyweight division as he takes on the Bellmore Kickboxing Academy KO machine Gian Villante (7-2) and kicking off the main card will be “The Jewel” Julia Budd (2-1) and “Iron Lady” Germaine De Randamie (2-1) as the ladies take the cage in an attempt to make waves in the burgeoning Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight division as the first two women to ever fight under a Zuffa banner.
This past weekend’s The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale was a night to remember. TUF crowned a controversial, yet capable champ in “El Cucuy” Tony Ferguson (11-2). Fans were also fortunate enough to witness up-and-comers like “Kingsbu” Kyle Kingsbury (11-2), Fabio Maldonado (18-4), “C-Murder” Chris Cope (5-1), and others who will likely entertain for years to come. But the night was unfairly lambasted by fans when the co-main event fight between “The Carpenter” Clay Guida (29-11) and final WEC champ “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (13-2) went to the judges’ decision. The fight was derided as boring, “lay-and-pray”, and even incorrectly judged – and all this criticism came down on the winner, Clay Guida. Whether or not the fight was enjoyable is subjective and it is a moot point to try and argue. You either enjoyed it or you didn’t; there is not right or wrong there. However, fans’ displeasure with Guida’s winning tactics are unfounded. “The Carpenter” indeed displays varying skills in a sport that caters to those who know when and how to use their strengths, even if it means using one skill at a time. But it is the bias against wrestling that has misguided so much of the post-fight fallout.
“The Titan” Lew Polley (10-4) is a name that, up until just a couple of months ago, may not have been particularly well known among many MMA fans. The ability to fly under the radar certainly changed for Polley once he accepted the role as wrestling coach for Team Dos Santos on the most recent installment of Spike TV and Zuffa’s hit reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. An otherwise relatively mellow season has been a roller coaster ride of highs and lows for “The Titan”, whose own experience on TUF 13 left much to be desired; ultimately, after several weeks of back-and-forth conflict and escalating tension levels between Polley and “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (12-1), Polley was asked by the Black House fighter to leave the show. It was a first for The Ultimate Fighter.
Following the controversial dismissal, MMA Gospel Editor-in-Chief Mallory Mejia spent 120 minutes talking to Lew and getting his take on The Ultimate Fighter 13. This two-part interview explores Polley’s own credentials in respect to MMA, his favorite previous seasons and coaches of The Ultimate Fighter, changes he would make to the TUF program, who he found to be the most viable contenders among the Season 13 fighters, his response to both the shit talkers and the supporters, and of course, a whole lot about the highly publicized feud between himself and his friend, TUF 13 head coach opposite Brock Lesnar (5-2), Junior Dos Santos.
Let me start this column off by saying, all the combinations of Steven Seagal, Osama Bin Laden, and MMA jokes have been done. In most cases a thousand times by a thousand people who thought they were really coming up with gold. Check your timeline, homie. Seriously. Go to Twitter and put Seagal Bin Laden in the search bar. I’ll wait… See? I hope we’ve learned something. Okay, you want a Seagal, Bin Laden joke? An ORIGINAL one? If I give you one, can we move on? Okay… What do Steven Seagal and Osama Bin Laden have in common? No one knew where the fuck they were for the last ten years and now people won’t shut the fuck up about them… and neither one of them invented the front kick. You’re welcome. Now for the love of all that is holy, stop it. Thank you.
In front of 55,000 screaming fans, UFC Welterweight Champion “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (22-2) and UFC Featherweight Champion “Junior” Jose Aldo (18-1) successfully defended their titles in Toronto, Ontario, Canada last night. UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields was a star studded event featuring a card stacked with the biggest names in the UFC as well as some of the biggest products of the UFC/WEC merger. It will also likely go down in history as one of the absolute best examples of why the UFC, top to bottom, is by far the premier MMA organization in the world. The night opened with a Flying Triangle submission and a spinning back fist KO and the surprises and excitement only grew from there as the UFC demonstrated that even their undercard fighters are on a higher level than most other organization’s champions. The last night of April was a good night for the UFC, of that there is certainly no doubt, but the evening can’t be all wine and roses for everyone and that’s why MMA Gospel is here with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly to help sort out those who came out ahead at UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields.
In the largest UFC event in history, the hype riding behind one of the organization’s most stacked cards did not fall short of expectations within the Rogers Centre of Ontario, Toronto, Canada. A former champion made his debut in the UFC against a rising star. A veteran of the game proves to show that even old dogs can learn new tricks. A legend of the game made the walk to the cage for the final time with a potential UFC Hall of Famer waiting inside. A hometown hero and a fighter who destroys all in his way let their fists fly with a title on the line. In the main event, one of the world’s greatest fighters battled against a specialist who has been unfamiliar with defeat for a period of time. With all the historic events that went down at UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields this past Saturday night, here is a recap of the evening as well as future match-ups that might take place for the victors.
—MAIN CARD (Pay-Per-View)—
UFC Welterweight Championship Fight
Georges St. Pierre vs. Jake Shields: St. Pierre via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 48-47, 48-47), Round 5, 5:00
UFC Featherweight Championship Fight
Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick: Aldo via Unanimous Decision (48-45, 48-46, 49-46), Round 5, 5:00
Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida: Machida via KO (Jump Front Kick), Round 2, 1:05
Jason Brilz vs. Vladimir Matyushenko: Matyushenko via KO (Punches), Round 1, 0:20
Mark Bocek vs. Ben Henderson: Henderson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Tomorrow night the UFC arrives in Toronto, Quebec, Canada for the very first time and the world’s premier MMA organization certainly isn’t holding anything back in its inaugural visit. UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields will present a record breaking sold out crowd of over 55,000 fans with a card built on the backs of some of the most talented and accomplished fighters on the UFC roster. In his UFC debut “Smooth” Ben Henderson (11-2), the former WEC lightweight champ, squares off against the native Torontonian Mark Bocek (9-3) before 14-year MMA veteran “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (25-5) takes on fellow wrestler “The Hitman” Jason Brilz (18-3-1). The card only grows more prestigious from there as UFC Hall of Famer “The Natural” Randy Couture (19-10) fights what he claims will be his final battle against fellow former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (16-2) and the explosive “Junior” Jose Aldo (17-1) makes the first defense of the UFC Featherweight Championship against Canadian kickboxing ace “The Machine” Mark Hominick (19-7). With such a stacked card preceding it, there are only a handful of fights that could even hope to headline it and the UFC hasn’t failed to find just such a bout. The main event sees the UFC Welterweight Champion and arguably the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (21-2) will face a man who hasn’t tasted defeat in over six years, former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Jake Shields (26-4-1). While many fights are fueled by a lot of hype, this match is one that actually has the potential to live up to it.
Tomorrow night the UFC comes tearing into Canada with its inaugural event in Toronto, Ontario in the form of UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields. The card is piled high with some of the most prominent names in mixed martial arts, the main card including the likes of reigning welterweight champ “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (21-2), title challenger Jake Shields (26-4-1), newly crowned UFC Featherweight Champ “Junior” Jose Aldo (17-1), top 145lbs. contender Mark Hominick (19-7), seasoned veteran “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (25-5), NCAA Div. II wrestler Jason Brilz (18-3-1), UFC Hall of Famer “The Natural” Randy Couture (19-10), former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (16-2), hometown fighter Mark Bocek (9-3), and former WEC superstar “Smooth” Ben Henderson (11-2). With a slew of big name fighters in combination with the implications rendered by some of the card’s match-ups, UFC 129 has all the potential to be one of the best efforts put forth by the promotion in 2011. Here’s how the staff of MMA Gospel predicts the main card to unfold.