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Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

The Greatest Cup Of All

In Hockey on May 28, 2010 at 1:15 am

Forget the Jules Rimet. Don’t even mention the Vince Lombardi, the Claret Jug or the Webb Ellis. The America’s Cup and the Ashes have nothing on the big daddy. The most famous, revered, and sought after trophy in the world is undoubtedly hockey’s pride, the Stanley Cup.

The Cup has become the stuff of legend since its original inception way back in 1893, when it was first donated by Lord Stanley. The hockey loving Brit had been appointed Governor General of Canada and was persuaded by his sons to donate a challenge cup to honour the champions of Canada.

As the years ticked away, the leagues became professional and American teams joined in the now annual pursuit of the Cup, it emerged as the single symbol of pre-eminence in the sport.

Replaced in 1948 and re-designed in ’68, the 35lb, 3-foot Cup has taken centre stage in the Kremlin, the White House and of course, Canada’s parliament. It is afforded presidential security on its globe-trotting trips, has toured Afghanistan to boost the morale of the forces, and is used to raise millions in charity each year. Read the rest of this entry »

UFC 114 Preview

In MMA on May 28, 2010 at 1:07 am

Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson vs  Rashad Evans

Now that the A-Team is safely in the can and Jackson has (probably) confirmed his lack of acting ability, the spiteful rivalry between last season’s TUF coaches can finally reach its conclusion. Much trash-talking and general childishness has gone on between these two, and with the tension high and the hate palpable, someone could well be ending this one face down in la la land.

Unfortunately, Dana White has followed the trend of announcing this as a title eliminator, so the question now is whether either fighter will risk his consciousness by leaping head first into a knuckle blender. Both these fighters have shown jolting knockout power in the recent past, Mr T icing arch rival Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92, and Evans following up his brutal KO of Chuck Liddell with a stoppage of Forrest Griffin at the same event.

Since then though, they’ve fallen on tougher times. Evans lost his belt decisively to Lyoto Machida, before hanging on to a tight decision over Thiago Silva. Rampage on the other hand, hasn’t fought for over a year since eking out a decision win against Evans’ team-mate Keith Jardine.

Despite his long absence, this fight almost certainly rests on where the former Pride star’s head is at. If he still has the hunger, then he possesses all the tools to win this fight. He has to apply them in the right way though, and stick to a game-plan. His powerful counter-punching style should cause Evans problems on the feet, as he’s unlikely to be overwhelmed by speed. Similarly, his wrestling should be strong enough to negate the takedown, and possibly score one or two of his own to mix things up and sway the judges. Every grappling tussle he wins will edge him closer to victory too, as Evans has shown a suspect gas tank of late. Read the rest of this entry »

UFC 113 Wrap-Up

In MMA on May 17, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Main Event: Mauricio Rua vs Lyoto Machida

Shogun lands his booming counter

What Happened?

Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua claimed the Light-heavyweight belt in stunning fashion, leaving no doubt about the winner with a 1st round knockout.

How did it happen?

After their 5 round epic last October, this fight looked extremely tough to call. It was all about the adjustments made by the fighters and the strategies employed. Machida tried to mix things up by coming forward aggressively and taking the fight to ground, but Rua countered masterfully and left his opponent with no options. Read the rest of this entry »

UFC 113 Preview

In MMA on May 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Following the surreal events of UFC 112 and the unsavoury aftermath of Strikeforce’s lacklustre Nashville card, it’s been a difficult month for MMA. Luckily, two of the sport’s brightest lights square up in Montreal this Saturday night for a rematch that should inspire even the most jaded of cynics. So set the video, clear your evening (or early morning), sit back, and enjoy what should be one of the fights of the year.

Lyoto Machida (c) vs Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua

The seismic scrap between these two at UFC 104 last October sparked a controversy which still rumbles on to this day. It seemed that the whole of the MMA world was united in their view that Shogun had upset the odds and executed the perfect game plan to dethrone the seemingly unstoppable Machida. Except the three guys with the scorecards sitting ringside.

A unanimous 48-47 decision for the karateka left many fans livid and poor Rua shedding tears of frustration back in the dressing room. Six months on, he gets his chance to set the record straight.

While I personally felt the Pride veteran had done enough to claim the belt, looking back on the fight itself confirms that it was far from clear-cut. The technical mastery exhibited by both fighters meant that clean, unanswered strikes were few and far between. Thus, the fight hinged on small, crucial elements. Do you score Rua’s constant pressure, or credit Machida for resisting the takedowns? Should the champ’s knees trump the challenger’s chopping leg kicks?

The rematch should hopefully make these questions academic. On Saturday, we will see whether the previously serene Machida can regain his composure and come up with a plan to nullify Rua’s leg attacks. If he can’t, he may not get away with taking such heavy damage again. Similarly, it will be interesting to see whether Shogun can once more stay out of range of Machida’s slick counters and land consistently on the man whose middle name seems to be ‘elusive’. Read the rest of this entry »