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Archive for the ‘MMA’ Category

Don’t Bet On It

In MMA on August 25, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Wild upsets are part and parcel of the sport we love, but still don’t fully understand

Just a few short months ago, the MMA landscape seemed set in stone. Still proudly poised upon the mountaintop was the king of the sport, the robotic Russian Fedor Emelianenko, unbeaten in over a decade of professional fighting. Pushing hard for the crown was the most talented crop of UFC champions we had ever seen, and ever would see, in the eyes of many. Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

UFC 112 Preview

In MMA on April 7, 2010 at 1:24 pm

There’s more MMAyhem this weekend, with two UFC belts on the line in Abu Dhabi. It’s the 3rd event in two weeks, and the 3rd and 4th belts that are going to be on the line. With Machida-Shogun pencilled in for next month, that’s all five belts up for grabs in an unprecedented couple of months of UFC action.

Anderson Silva (c) vs Demian Maia

The main event at 112 sees the return of the man Dana White has been billing the ‘pound for pound best in the world’ for a couple of years now, Anderson ‘the Spider’ Silva. Given White’s penchant for spin though, you wonder exactly how easily he’d ridicule a ‘pound for pound great’ whose last two years have consisted of wins over James Irvin, Patrick Cote, Thales Leites and a horrendous looking Forrest Griffin. Read the rest of this entry »

UFC 111 Review

In MMA on March 29, 2010 at 3:23 pm

2 belts were on the line as the UFC touched down in New Jersey this Saturday, with Georges St Pierre and Nottingham’s finest Dan Hardy facing off for the welterweight belt, and Frank Mir taking on another hard-hitting giant in Shane Carwin.

Here’s where the gold ended up…

Dan Hardy survived 5 rounds, including this deep armbar, but never looked like causing an upset

Georges St Pierre (C) bt Dan Hardy (UD)

Mohawked challenger Dan Hardy rose to prominence in the welterweight division with wins over Akihiro Gono and Rory Markham, then grabbed the headlines with his merciless baiting and beating of Marcus Davis. These three wins earned him a date with Mike Swick, who he dismissed with surprising ease.

That win left the matchmakers with little choice but to hand Hardy a shot at the belt. Many disputed his right to share a cage with St Pierre, but the truth is that the bionic French Canadian has pretty much cleaned out the division, apart from the ‘Outlaw’. Read the rest of this entry »

UFC 110 Review

In MMA on February 23, 2010 at 9:47 pm

The UFC made its Australian debut on Saturday night in a thrilling
event which saw contenders rise, champions fall, and lots of questions
answered.

Main Event: Cain Velasquez bt Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (TKO, R1)

Velasquez dominated Nogueira on the feet

This short but eye-opening fight answered a lot of questions about
both these fighters. Velasquez proved that he does, in fact, pack some
power in those fists. Nogueira, meanwhile, is on the decline.

In all of his long career, Big Nog had never been stopped by an
opponent until Frank Mir knocked him flat last year. That beating was
partially attributed to the Brazilian’s staph infection, which greatly
weakened him come fight night. There can be no excuses this time
around. The younger man dominated this fight, showing greatly improved
stand-up technique and some previously hidden power. Read the rest of this entry »

UFC 110 Preview

In MMA on February 17, 2010 at 3:46 pm

The UFC returns this Saturday/Sunday and for the first time, the famous octagon will be set up Down Under as the world’s biggest MMA organisation makes its bow in Australia. To aid Dana ‘Dr Evil’ White in his plans for world domination, Zuffa have put together a fight card that is packed to the brim with intriguing match ups.

Main Event:

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Cain Velasquez

Generations collide in the main event, as one of the greatest fighters ever to take part in MMA tests himself against one of the sport’s brightest rising stars, in a no.1 contender match for the interim heavyweight belt.

‘Nogueira’ is a name that will evoke misty eyes and fond recollections in most fans, as Antonio Rodrigo’s body of work over the last decade qualifies him as arguably the greatest heavyweight of all time, bar a certain Russian cyborg. Unfortunately, that very same decade of action also qualifies him as one of the oldest 35 year olds on the planet.

Nogueira’s toughness is legendary. Having been almost killed by a truck at age 11, it was a small step to almost being killed by juggernauts like Bob Sapp, Fedor Emelianenko and Tim Sylvia. His only losses have come to Fedor, Josh Barnett, Dan Henderson and Frank Mir. In other words, the very best. Should Velasquez beat him, he could reasonably be considered a top 5 heavyweight on the upswing.

Beating Nogueira may not be quite as impossible a task as it seemed in the past, but the wily vet’s all round skills still make him a dangerous opponent for anyone. His boxing is still sharp and snappy, as he showed in his domination of Randy Couture. His one sided TKO loss to Mir, the one stoppage he has suffered in his career, can be at least partially attributed to the terrible condition he was in when he entered the cage, and he proved the rumours of his demise were premature against the ‘Natural’. Read the rest of this entry »

UFC 109 Round-Up

In MMA on February 10, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Relentless certainly lived up to its name, with 7 of the 11 bouts ending in hard-fought decisions. Here’s a run-down of all the fights:

Randy Couture def. Mark Coleman (Sub, Rd 2)

In the main event, Randy Couture blitzed a sluggish Mark Coleman to possibly send the ‘Godfather of ground and pound’ out of the UFC for the final time. Couture looked sharp as he jabbed a tattoo on Coleman’s stunned mug in the opening seconds, popping him seemingly at will. The Hammer Houser has never been known for his stand up, and Couture continued to dominate, pouring on some of his patented dirty boxing from inside the clinch.

As Coleman retreated to his corner between rounds, he had the look of a beaten man. His fears were well founded, as the ‘Natural’ opened up the 2nd stanza with a nice takedown. Looking like a fish out of water, Coleman quickly gave up his back and was finished in short order with an efficient rear naked choke.

President Dana White admitted afterwards that it was probably the last time we’d see the ‘Hammer’ in the octagon, and he may now return to Japan for some well-earned pay-days. Everyone’s favourite 45 year old, however, is back in the title shake-up at 205, according to White. With Lyoto Machida and Mauricio Rua not due to meet for another few months though, he may have one more hurdle to negotiate before he earns yet another shot at the light-heavyweight belt

Couture soundly outboxed the overmatched Coleman

Read the rest of this entry »

UFC 109:Relentless

In MMA on February 1, 2010 at 7:47 pm

The UFC have put together a solid but uninspiring card for UFC 109, which, much like 108, has been plagued by withdrawals. The original main event bringing middleweight champ Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort together at last would have guaranteed excitement. Instead, Silva was forced to pull out, and other scraps between Jon Jones – Brandon Vera, Matt Hughes – Renzo Gracie were cancelled. Add the late injuries to Josh Koscheck and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, along with Mostapha Al-Turk’s visa problems, and it’s a seriously damaged event which finally limps into view this Superbowl weekend.

Main Event: Randy Couture vs Mark Coleman

Despite Joe Rogan and the ever excitable Mike Goldberg trying to sell this as a no.1 contender bout, this fight has little or no relevance in the big scheme of things at 205. Both deserve mountains of respect as hall of fame fighters and true pioneers of the sport. But they are both pushing fifty, and should not be fighting top competition at this stage in their careers.

Couture is always tough, and still poses a danger to anyone who can’t extricate themselves from his quicksand clinch, but is only 5-5 in his last 10 fights. Coleman has fared even worse, going 4-5 in his last nine.

Couture (L) and Coleman are both well past their prime

They are both coming off wins, but have looked less than impressive. Couture eked out a much debated split decision over Brandon Vera, while Coleman took the judges’ nod against Stephan Bonnar.

Coleman can still work a damaging ground and pound game, but he might struggle to get Couture down. If he can manage it, he has a chance. It’s far more likely that Couture will wear him out on the feet though, and expose Coleman’s stiff boxing and fading stamina. Read the rest of this entry »