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NFL Super Bowl XLIX Pick and Preview

January 30, 2015 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Everything in the 2014-15 NFL Season all comes down to this, my readers. The regular season is over. The playoffs are over, and two teams are left to compete for the Lombardi Trophy in the last game of the 2014-15 NFL Season, Super Bowl 49, which will air on NBC, February 1st. The two teams in this year’s edition are the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks, for the NFC, and the New England Patriots, for the AFC.

Both the Seahawks and the Patriots are very exciting and tough teams. The Seahawks are famous for their quick and relentless defense. The team is lead by the unflappable QB Russell Wilson. Their defense includes the excellent CB Richard Sherman and SS Kam Chancellor. Even though Wilson is awesome at QB, the offense goes through RB Marshawn Lynch. The Patriots are lead by QB Tom Brady, along with his arsenal of weapons, such as TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Brandon LeFell, and others. The Patriots defense is excellent, and includes NT Vince Wilfork, DE Chandler Jones, and star DB Darrelle Revis.

In this blog, I will be discussing these two teams, and will be making my prediction for Super Bowl Sunday. Even though both of these teams are polarizing, I will not be discussing any of the distractions that have been dominating the discussion surrounding both teams in the Super Bowl . If you want to hear about that rubbish, you can watch ESPN. I’m all about the game and these two teams who worked their rear ends off to get here.

So, without further ado, here’s my prediction for Super Bowl 49. I hope my readers will enjoy this blog. As both teams hail from cities that have produced great musical artists, I may sneak in a few musical references. I plan to examine each team, their respective conference championship game, game plan, and end the blog with my final prediction.

SUPER BOWL 49: The Seattle Seahawks vs The New England Patriots

Date: February 1, 2015
Network : NBC
Kickoff : 6:30PM, EST
Stadium : University of Arizona

The Seattle Seahawks

Analysis: The Seahawks are the defending champions for a reason. One being resiliency. They were left for dead in the regular season due to injuries and the Percy Harvin trade. Somehow, they kept going. They lost at home to the Dallas Cowboys. They lost to the San Diego Chargers. People were losing their minds. However, late in the regular season, guys, like Bobby Wagner, came back from injury , and the team gelled. The Seahawks had the number one defense by the time the season ended. Where are the Cowboys and Chargers?

The Seahawks NFC Conference Championship Game:

This resilience showed in the Seahawks’ win over the Green Bay Packers. I will say that I am still not sure if this was a case of the Packers losing the game, or the Seahawks winning it. I mean, Packers Coach Mike McCarthy made some strange calls. The Packers should have been more aggressive offensively. I know about Brandon
Bostick, and his mistake on the hands team, but it shouldn’t have come to that.

Anyway, in that game, QB Russell Wilson, had a very bad game. He threw several interceptions. Did he and the team give up? They didn’t, and got Marshawn Lynch going. Wilson made some key plays, and ran in for a touchdown himself. The Seahawks took advantage of the mistakes that the Packers made, and walked away with the victory. Also, CB Richard Sherman badly injured his elbow, and valiantly kept playing. This team is tough physically and mentally.

The New England Patriots

Analysis: In a very similar storyline as the defending champions, after a devastating 41-14 loss in Week 4 to the Kansas City Chiefs, the New England Patriots were also written off by such illuminaries such as ESPN’s crack reporter, Trent Dilfer, who said, “The New England Patriots can’t win.” (Dilfer has since apologized. )The Boston area media, along with the talking heads on the NFL Network and ESPN were saying that QB Tom Brady’s no longer a great QB. Calls for backup QB Jimmy Garropolo came as well. After the loss though, led by head coach Bill Belichick’s mantra, “On to Cincinnati,” the Patriots demolished the Bengals, pretty much never looked back. This is an excellent team that has a lot of resiliency. This team is as physically and as mentally tough as they come.

The AFC Conference Championship Game.

The Patriots pretty much destroyed the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium. The score was 45-7. The reason that the Colts got 7 was because of the interception by DeQuell Jackson in the first half. The Patriots led 17-7 at half time. They scored 28 more after halftime. They used LeGarrette Blount as their main RB. The man ran in for 3 TDs. The Colts defense was just beaten and battered. That Colts team was not ready for prime time.

Keys to the Game:

Seahawks:

On Offense: I would have Russell Wilson use his legs more, when he throws. He appears to be much more accurate when throwing on the run. If he’s to throw from the pocket, make sure that WR Doug Baldwin, or whomever the target, is, where the Patriots are a bit vulnerable, and that’s in the middle of their defense. I also would have Marshawn Lynch do a lot of the work. The Seahawks run a similar run scheme like the Ravens do, which has given the Patriots defense trouble.

On Defense and Special Teams : I would try to get pressure up the middle to test how good injured Patriots C Bryon Stork is. Like all QBs, Brady doesn’t respond well with pressure in his face. I also would get people on Rob Gronkowski. Of course, that’s better said than done. The defense line has to do better with stopping the run. In the team’s four losses, the defense has given up over 100 yards. On Special Teams, I would try to just keep the Patriots deep, so they have poor field position. I’d hope for a score on a kick return as well.

Patriots:

On Offense: I would try to spread the defense out. I would try to have Brady make sure he has the right matchups, so he can get the ball to his targets. The Patriots needs a balanced offense, in order to sustain drives. I definitely would run the ball. As I have said, the Seahawks gave up over 100 yards in their four losses. Brady must be smart concerning Richard Sherman. He can’t totally avoid him, but Brady must pick his spots. As much as Gronkowski is his main target, Brady needs to rely on his other receivers like LaFell, Julian Edelman, etc.

On Defense and Special Teams: Defenders need to watch for both Wilson and Lynch. Defenders must be very disciplined, and tackle well. I am talking about bringing the runner to the ground. DE Chandler Jones and Vince Wilfork need to make sure that if they have Wilson sacked, make sure they do so, because he is very elusive. The Patriots secondary needs to step up in this game. It will be interesting to see where Revis will be on the field. On Special Teams, they need to make sure that they tackle well. I have seen some run backs where the runner got the opposing team in better field position due to poor tackling.

My Prediction for Super Bowl 49:

We are looking at two teams who are pretty evenly matched. Some may say it is strength against strength, but I don’t see it that way. These are two tough minded teams coached by two of the best coaches in the NFL in Pete Carroll (Seahawks) and Bill Belichick (Patriots). You have two awesome QBs, Russell Wilson, who’s on the ascension, and Tom Brady who’s already a legend. Whether you like either team or not, that’s how I see it.

I think we are going to see a very physical game. The game will be a bit of a chessmatch between the two coaches. I don’t expect a high scoring game. While the Seahawks did win its NFC Conference Championship Game, and I respect them as the defending champions, that was also a game they could have lost. The Seahawks are facing a team in the Patriots that I don’t think are a pushover like some may think .

I expect the Seahawks to play well. After all, they play the Arizona Cardinals in this Stadium once a year, as they’re in the same division. I suspect that the crowd will be very pro-Seahawks as well. Therefore, the Seahawks will be used to the noise. As Russell Wilson is so calm, I expect he will have a great game.

As for the Patriots, I’m expecting a very well prepared team to come out on all cylinders. I expect the team to have a great game plan for the Seahawks defense. I am expecting Tom Brady, who’s playing in his sixth Super Bowl, who also said he has been watching tons of Seahawks tape, to have a great game. I expect whichever RB, be it Blount or Jonas Gray, to have a great game. On the defense, I expect Darrell Revis to have an amazing game.

My Super Bowl Pick:

As everyone knows, the National Anthem is performed. I honestly wish they would just put up a video of the Star Spangled Banner performed by Seattle’s own Jimi Hendrix ( Jimi Hendrix – The Star Spangled Banner [ American Anthem ] ( Live at Wo…: http://youtu.be/sjzZh6-h9fM ), and use that. Fans watch the first half of the game and the commercials. Fans either put up with Or take a bathroom break during this year’s halftime show which is Katie Perry ( Katy Perry – Firework: http://youtu.be/QGJuMBdaqIw ) . The game is done. and, as I picked this to win it all in my 2014-15 Pre-season blog, I am sticking with my pick. I stuck with this team despite the doubters. I was very confident that this will be their year. This will will give their city some “peace of mind,” to quote Brad Delp of Boston ( Boston-Peace of Mind: http://youtu.be/WGRrOEbY3pI) Winner: The New England Patriots by a score of 24- 17.

Of course, as the confetti falls, whether or not my prediction is correct, this song plays:

Queen – We Are The Champions (Official Video): http://youtu.be/04854XqcfCY

Well, that’s all. Enjoy the game, even if you just like the commercials.

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Flyers go streaking, down Jets for third straight win

January 30, 2015 By: Category: NHL, Sports

The Flyers came into Thursday’s game looking to start a streak that would help them climb back into playoff consideration. Strong games from Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn would allow the Flyers to come away with the 5-2 victory.

While the Jets would take the game’s first five shots, it would be the Flyers who would get on the board first. Goaltender Michael Hutchinson fumbled a shot attempt by defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Chris VandeVelde hopped on the rebound and slid it past Hutchinson for his seventh goal of the year, fourth in the last five games.

It took the Jets only 1:18 to answer back. Michael Frolik took away a clearing attempt from Flyers Andrew MacDonald. Frolik’s shot was tipped in front by Matthew Perreault where Steve Mason would make the initial save, but Perreault hopped on the rebound and tied the game at 1-1.

The Flyers would get the lead back about three minutes later with a power play goal. Jakub Voracek carried the puck down the left side of the offensive zone where he then sent a pass over to Simmonds. The one-timer beat Hutchinson and gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead.

The Jets would once again tie it, on a power play of their own, with Perreault’s second of the night. He would fire a shot from the right circle that would beat Mason, who was screened by Flyers Luke Schenn and Frolik.

The Flyers would then score the next three goals en route to the victory. Their third goal of the night would be full of firsts for each player involved. Ryan White took a pass from Simmonds and put it on net, where Hutchinson was again unable to handle the rebound. Petr Straka would bang at it a few times before it came into the empty slot where defenseman Nick Schultz would score through traffic.

The goal was Schultz’s first in a Flyers uniform and first since April 8, 2013. It was the first point in a Flyers uniform for White as well as Straka’s first official point in the NHL.

“The rebound popped out, and I was just fortunate to put one in the net,” Schultz said in an interview on the Flyers site. “The top of the net was open, and the goalie was down, and I just had the chance for the shot and took it.”

Brayden Schenn would get his 11th of the season, his first goal in seven games, early on in the third period. Simmonds would initially put a shot on net, find the rebound, circle past a Jets defender and find a wide open Schenn.

“We’re gonna have to make plays like that for the rest of the year,” Simmonds said in an interview. “…Brayden has a great shot and he put it perfectly

Sean Couturier would finish the game off with an empty net goal to give the Flyers the 5-2 victory over the Jets, their third win in a row.

  1. Schenn and Simmonds led the team with a goal and an assist each. Michael Del Zotto earned an assist to give him a career high five-game point streak. Voracek increased his points lead to 58 with the assist on Simmonds’ goal while also extending his point streak to five games.

While goaltender Steve Mason saw action in Tuesday’s game, this game was his first start since January 10th. He made 36 saves on 38 shots, a couple of them acrobatic saves.

The Flyers will return to the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday. They look to continue their winning ways against a struggling Toronto Maple Leafs team that has gone 1-8-1 since firing head coach Randy Carlye. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

Wayne Simmonds powers Flyers to victory over Coyotes

January 28, 2015 By: Category: NHL, Sports

The Flyers entered Tuesday night looking to build off their previous victory against the Penguins, six days ago. The All-Star break gave most Flyers a much needed rest while Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek saw themselves in Ohio to take part in the all-star festivities. Another player had themselves an all-star night for the Flyers.

Wayne Simmonds was a man on a mission as he scored his 17th goal of the season, tying Voracek for the team lead in goals. It was a power play goal in the first period that cut a Coyotes lead to 2-1 en route to a 4-3 shootout victory. A second effort by Simmonds allowed him to put the Flyers on the board.

“We moved the puck really well during the power play,” Simmonds said in an interview on the Flyers website. “Streit was able to get a good shot off, I tipped the puck and was able to follow up on my own rebound and put it in.”

Simmonds also scored the only goal in the shootout. Giroux and Voracek were stopped on their chances while goaltender Steve Mason stopped all three shooters he faced.

The game did not start off in a positive way, though. Two early goals sent Emery to the showers just 5:50 into the game. Connor Murphy got the scoring started as his shot bounced off the shoulder of Emery and into the net. Martin Erat would score two minutes later off a rebound by Emery that fell right in to the slot. This is when head coach Craig Berube decided to make a switch. Steve Mason came into a game in which he hadn’t played since January 10th, almost three weeks prior.

The Flyers seemed to get the message as Simmonds would get the power play goal about four minutes later. The first period would end with the Flyers trailing, but scoring from an unlikely source allowed them to tie it early on in the second. R.J. Umberger would get his 9th of the season. Andrew MacDonald found Umberger wide open and sent a pass that would end up high glove-side on Smith and into the back of the net.

“Smith made a great save on me backdoor. We were able to win the puck on the rebound, and the puck found its way to Andrew MacDonald.” Umberger said in an interview on the Flyers website. “I stayed in that same spot and he found me. I just wanted to get it on net and was able to find that top corner.”

The Flyers would get a brief lead courtesy of a Michael Del Zotto goal with about a minute to go in the period. Voracek would find Del Zotto streaking up the left side of the ice and fired a pass that Del Zotto would make no mistake with. The lead was short lived, 23 seconds in fact, as Tobias Rieder would find himself on a breakway as a pass was taken off the stick of Flyers Luke Schenn by Shane Doan and sent up to Rieder.

The third period featured multiple scoring chances for both teams, but they were unable to get anything on the board. An overtime saw the same result as the third. It would take a shootout to decide the winner, something the Flyers had plenty of struggles with.

Steve Mason would stand tall in the shootout as he and a shootout goal by Simmonds would give the Flyers the 4-3 victory. Jakub Voracek would collect an assist in the game, his 40th on the year. This would set a new career high in assists for the all-star.

The Flyers will welcome in the visiting Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Demetrious Johnson Talks Ian McCall vs. John Linker Fight At UFC 183

January 27, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson is looking for his next fight and in a recent interview, the champion said that he is interested in the Ian McCall vs. John Linker fight at UFC 183. In the interview (which we have highlights down below) Johnson explains who he thinks will win and more.

“If I had to bet, I would bet on Ian McCall, but I would not be surprised if Lineker gets a decision. So the fight can go other way, but on paper, I see Ian McCall winning it.”

Johnson then went onto explain why he thinks that Ian McCall will win at UFC 183.

“Ian McCall is going to use his footwork and his speed, and he’s going to be in and out. He’s going to fight him like he fought Brad Pickett (and) throw the body kicks when he gets close. He’s basically going to run around, or use his footwork, to run around and avoid damage from Lineker and get takedowns whenever he can. Ian is one of the few mixed martial artists that doesn’t stay in guard. He postures up, passes, and looks for submissions.”

When asked what Johnson likes about Ian McCall, Johnson had this to say.

On McCall: “What he’s got going for himself is very good footwork. He’s very athletic; he mixes it up. The biggest thing that hurts Ian McCall is he breaks his hands in his fights, and he can come out with injuries because he trains very hard.”

Johnson then gave his thoughts on John Lineker and if he is a title contender.

On Lineker: “John Lineker … has his first fight with the scale – 126 (pounds). I am assuming he’s going to make that. He just throws bombs. His footwork is not very sound, he crosses distance very well because he walks across it, and he knows that people can take him down.”

Johnson is not ready bank on meeting the winner of Saturday’s fight. After all, his schedule as champ was unpredictable, with injury replacements and short-notice headliners taking up much of 2014.

On if he will likely face the winner of the bout: “Even after that, who wins the fight and how impressively they win it, it could be them or it couldn’t. At the end of the day, you never know.”

UFC 183 will be held in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The event takes place on January 31st and will be headlined by Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz. The prelims will air on both Fight Pass and Fox Sports 1. The main card airs on PPV.

On the potential bouts: “I love my odds in rematches. And Lineker, that’s going to be a challenge. The guy hits hard. Everybody is scared to stand up with him. I think I have a good matchup with him. At the end of the day, I’m just here to defend my belt, and it doesn’t matter to me. The biggest thing is I’d like to have a set date, whether it’s me fighting twice this year or three times a year. I hate waiting on somebody have a clear-cut contender, because I’m waiting on somebody else to do great in this sport. I like to be like, ‘This is what I want to do, and I’m going to go do it.’”

Johnson is still awaiting his next title defense, but these two could be a possible title contention fight. UFC 183 will be one for the history books.

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Manny Pacquiao Becomes a WWE Wrestler

January 23, 2015 By: Category: Boxing, Humor, Sports, Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Check out this fun video from the website Funny or Die featuring boxing champion Manny Pacquiao. The video shows Manny training to be a pro wrestler, including developing a gimmick including getting training by Garry Shandling. This is great stuff…unless you take your pro wrestling seriously. Lucky for Manny it’s not 1979.

Hey, if the Floyd Mayweather fight falls through it looks like Manny has another big pay day opportunity. I have to believe that WWE officials are salivating this morning over this video and the WrestleMania angle they can write off of this. Floyd did it, why not Manny?

Bellator MMA’s Scott Coker On Signing CM Punk, The Success Of Bellator, & More

January 22, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Bellator MMA President Scott Coker appeared on Tuesday’s edition of the MMA Hour and this interview had some gems in it. Down below are highlights from the interview.

When asked if Bellator MMA would ever sign CM Punk, Coker said:

“We had talked about it, honestly, but we never reached out to him or made that call. We were not in dialogue with him by any means. It was just like, ‘He’s never had a fight before. You think he really wants to fight?’ I didn’t even know if he really, really wanted to fight, so let’s see. Let’s see how he does in his debut.”

…and Alberto del Rio:

“I’m not sure. From everything I understand, he’s still pro wrestling and he’s very busy pro wrestling. Even though he’s had some great MMA fights – he fought a couple of big names – at the end of the day, it’s a different sport completely.”

“To me, I know that they’re still in dialogue, but is he going to become a MMA fighter? That I cannot answer.”

Currently, Punk is signed to a multi-fight deal with the UFC and will debut sometime this year.

When asked his thoughts on today’s free agent market in MMA today, Coker said:

“There’s going to be free agent who come up time to time. It’s going to be our job to build these fighters from the ground up that we have, and keep building them and keep building them. What a great platform we have with Spike TV to keep building these new stars.”

“It kinda reminds me of Strikeforce, really. We bought a few free agents. It’s not just us going after them. Believe me, they’re calling us. This is not a one-way street where we’re just going after fighters. We’re going to win some. We’re going to lose some. That’s just how the nature of this beast is going to be.”

“If you’re a free agent out there or you’re going to become a free agent, you’re going to talk to everybody. You’re going to want to use your leverage to get the best deal you can. We’re in a position now with the Viacom ownership group, there’s not going to be any fighter that’s out of the price range.”

“If we feel the deal’s right and the fighter’s right, we’re going to do it.”

Coker recently visited Japan to scout talent and possible deals for Bellator MMA.

“To see K-1 in its heyday, to see PRIDE in its heyday, I think the new fans today are really missing out because it was something special, something spectacular. They just had that ‘wow’ factor.”

“I went to a couple of fights, actually three different events in five days….I met with some of the key players in that industry. You and I talked about Sakakibara and his mounting comeback. I met IGF people. I sat down with Fedor [Emelianenko], just a lot of different fighters. It was a great time and I’m glad I did it because as dominant as Japan was in the past, there’s a place for them in the world of mixed martial arts to make a resurgence and I think that what Sakakibara is working on over there is very special. He’s going to come out with a big bang before the end of the year.”

“I think anyone who can promote a fight on New Year’s Eve and sell tickets and actually have people show up and then throw a fight the night before and then a boxing match the night before and then a kickboxing fight – a new show called Blade – the night before that…I mean, here’s a country that’s, the word I would use is sleeping. They’re waiting for the next resurgence of a Japanese MMA promotion.”

While Coker did wonders for Strikeforce and most likely to do the same with Bellator, the idea of Bellator ever being on or near the same level of the UFC is just not realistic. The UFC has and will be the top promotion in the world when it comes to MMA.

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WWE WrestleMania 32 Is A Big Reason To Re-sign Brock Lesnar

January 21, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The big news today is the impending announcement that the WWE will officially announce its home for WrestleMania 32. The venue is expected to be AT&T Stadium. There probably is nobody more excited for this news in the WWE locker room than Brock Lesnar.

Lesnar is coming up on the end of his WWE deal. Lesnar’s deal expires with his WrestleMania 31 match or appearance. Due to the MMA war between Bellator and the UFC, Lesnar is expected to receive big offers from both companies to fight again. Most predicted that the WWE would be out of the bidding. I say, not so fast.

I was on board with this crowd until this whole WrestleMania 32 scenario hit me. The economics of the WWE and its business have changed. The WWE can no longer justify spending on high-priced free agents like Lesnar without PPV revenue and an under-performing Network. Quite frankly there is just no good reason to justify re-sign Lesnar and thus most expected him to walk. Now they have a reason and that reason is 92,000+ seats.

Vince McMahon and company aren’t looking to get into AT&T Stadium, draw half of a house, and lose their behinds. The WWE is not only looking to draw big, but they are looking to fill the stadium and break its own WrestleMania attendance record. With all due respect to the current roster of WWE talent, there is nobody on that roster that is going to collectively draw 92,000 in 2016 in Texas. It just isn’t going to happen.

The WWE will need some heavy hitters on that show. The company will need some of those high-priced special talents to put the butts in the seats. There are a ton of rumors surrounding Steve Austin coming back for this show. The thought is nice but we have seen this flirtation quite a few times and it never ends with Austin back in the ring. Without Austin what do you got? You need more and one of those guys needed to fill the place will be Brock Lesnar.

The business case has now been made. Locking up Lesnar a year in advance will at least give the company the confidence that it has at least one component needed to fill the place. Lesnar on his own won’t do it, but they have a much better chance with him than without him. It also isn’t as if Lesnar will be hanging around waiting for a call. Once he signs with an MMA group he will be unavailable for at least a year and a half if not two years. He is not nearly as expendable as he was before this location was announced.

I am also convinced that they are moving towards a Rock vs. Triple H match at 32. I thought that the second I saw the SmackDown vignette between the two where they exchanged challenges, specifically mentioning a large stadium. The better move for business would be Rock vs. Brock and it could happen, but I think that as of today the working idea is a Rock vs. Hunter match. While it’s always nice to see Rock back, that won’t do it on its own.

The WWE need Lesnar more today than they did a few weeks ago and for that reason I think he is staying. I don’t think Lesnar wants to fight again and I think he enjoys the short schedule for big money without a training camp. Now that the WWE has a chance to get back into the bidding, I think they lock up their guy before he hits free agency.

There is also ego involved here. The UFC already tried to book Brock in a fight in AT&T Stadium but the fight fell through. Does the WWE really want to take the chance that the UFC books Brock in this same stadium and outdraws WrestleMania? It sounds petty and it is but I don’t think Vince McMahon could ever live with himself if that happened.

I guess we’ll have that question answered on Sunday. If he leaves as champion I’d bet he re-signed or is close. if he doesn’t, I would bet that the WWE thinks he is on borrowed time.

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Matt Brown Talks CM Punk Fighting In The UFC

January 20, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Welterweight Matt Brown recently appeared on the MMA Hour and he had a lot to say about the UFC signing former WWE champion CM Punk to a contract without him having any previous fighting experience.

“I thought the sport, the UFC, itself, was beyond that now, Bellator doing this, I could understand. I could see other organizations doing it. The UFC, I just didn’t expect it.

On CM Punk signing with the UFC: “I don’t have a problem with the UFC doing it. What I have a problem with is CM Punk being dumb enough to think he can do it,” Brown continued. “If he wants to come fight a real man I’ll be standing there. I’ll fight Tarec Saffiedine on [Feb. 14] and I’m the main event, everyone will be gone. I’ll fight him right after Tarec if he wants. Hopefully what happens here is that all these keyboard warriors that are like, ‘Oh I could go in there and fight’ see that a legit athlete — CM Punk is an athlete — and they see him go in a get demolished by a prelim fighter or someone that also shouldn’t be in there and they’ll see this shit is a little more than what you think.”

Punk has gotten both positive and negative feedback with this new move.

“On ESPN, they said I called him a ‘dumb athlete’. Well, I didn’t call him a dumb athlete. I said he’s dumb to think that he could compete with UFC-level guys in his first fight.”

Punk left the WWE in 2014 after several medical issues and now he is stepping inside the octagon without any previous fighting ability is a stiff dose of reality for Punk.

“And I would completely stand by that statement. If he were standing right in front of me, I would tell him that. How many people walk into our gym all the time and say, ‘I want to be in the UFC’? I’m like, ‘Well, you’re dumb to think you’re going to be able to do that. I don’t care if you’re freakin’ CrossFit champion or gymnastics champion, whatever. Unless you’re a wrestling champion – not pro wrestling champion, but like a NCAA champion or something – then I would tell you you probably shouldn’t even think about it until a few years of training.”

Brown prides himself on a tough nose fighter, who has some of the best striking in all of MMA.

On Punk’s opponent: “Who is he going to fight? The only person they could bring in would be another person that doesn’t know how to fight. It’s crazy to me.”

On comparisons to Brock Lesnar: “At least Brock Lesnar, he at least knew what he had in store, what it felt like to get in there. The thing that I was getting at when I was talking about CM Punk was, I think he’s going to be in for a big shock. When you step in that UFC cage, when they say it’s as real as it gets, that’s the truth. When you walk in there, those lights shining on you, everybody looking at you and there’s a dude across the cage that wants to rip your head off, it’s a different feeling than anything he’s ever felt before.

Brock Lesnar had an actual wrestling background, Punk does not. That should be the start and end of any comparisons between the two. Bottom line.

“He’s going to have some really deep, dark thoughts,” Brown explained. “We call it the Worm of Doubt. He’s going to have lots of worms in his head causing doubt.”

Matt Brown is scheduled to fight former UFC Welterweight Champion Johnny Hendricks at UFC 185 in Dallas, Texas.

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The Rock On Brock Lesnar, Dana White, MMA & More

January 16, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Former WWE Champion Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has made it clear in the past that he is a huge MMA fan. Johnson recently did a Q&A with UFC Magazine and here are the highlights.

On if he was a fan of MMA before or after Brock Lesnar entered the sport: I was always a fan of the UFC, dating back to UFC 1 in ’93. But what actually drew me to MMA was when I attended UFC 60, when Matt Hughes faced Royce Gracie in a non-title catchweight fight. I was interested in MMA at that time, so I went to the Staples Center early and sat in the front row to watch every fight that night— including all the prelims. I wanted to absorb as much I could and become somewhat of a student for the night. When the main event was about to start, they sat the Gracie family next to me. Specifically Helio Gracie—his energy and presence was powerful. I’ll never forget shaking his hand. Royce lost, but even in defeat, the grace, pride and poise he and the Gracie family showed that night was inspiring. I went home that night with such a greater respect for the sport and all its fighters.

On his favorite MMA fighters: I always have my eyes on the champions, specifically the heavyweight and light heavyweight champs. Cain Velasquez is an animal with the type of heart and conditioning that makes me want to run through a wall at 3 a.m. and do my cardio and training. My buddy Jon Jones is a very special fighter who bridges fighting and artistry like no one ever before has. They’re both incredibly inspiring champions who are needle movers in the world of MMA. And I bet 2015 will be the year of Anthony “Rumble” Johnson: a bad dude. When he becomes champion, I’m gonna have to claim him as my cousin! [Laughs]

Lesnar left the WWE in 2004 to pursue his NFL dreams, but failed to make the 53 man roster for the Minnesota Vikings. He went back to pro wrestling in late 04 and eventually into MMA a few years later.

On if he gave Lesnar any advice before stepping into the cage: I never spoke to Brock when he decided to compete in MMA. We’ve been good buds for years, and he always knew I supported his decision. To be able to accomplish what he did and become UFC heavyweight champion in that short amount of time was insane—historic.

Johnson asked UFC President Dana White to appear on his all new TNA show, “Wake Up Call”.

On why he reached out to White to appear on his show: On that episode of Wake Up Call, we have an 18-year-old high-school dropout who has one dream: to become a UFC champion. Despite the fact that his mom is in prison and he dropped out of school, he’s a good kid with a big heart and a dream. I told him if he meets me halfway and puts in the hard work, then I’ll provide the tools he needs to achieve his dream. I called Dana to see if he’d come down to Florida and take a look at this kid and see if he had any potential. I knew I could count on Dana to give it to me and the kid straight without any bullshit. Not only did Dana fly all the way to Florida, but he brought Mike Dolce with him. They put that kid through the ringer with training, conditioning and a shot to become part of Coach Libo’s [Ricardo Liborio] American Top Team up the road from where we live. I won’t give it away, but let’s just say that we may see that kid, Terrell Moore, in the Octagon one day. I can’t thank Dana and the UFC enough for their support of Wake Up Call.

You can catch Johnson’s show on Friday nights.

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NFL 2014-15 Championship Playoffs Predictions and Preview

January 16, 2015 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Greetings, my readers. We are nearly at the end of the NFL 2014-15 season. When the Super Bowl arrives on February 1st, it will be a long off season. There will be 31 teams trying to figure out how to win the Super Bowl, while one team is happy. Of course, they’ll have off-season work to stay on top. That being said, as Sunday, January 18, 2015 is Championship Sunday, we will find out which two teams will be playing for the Lombardi Trophy in Arizona.

Let’s discuss the four teams, and how they got to this point. I will start first with the NFC Teams, the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks, as they’re playing first. Both of these teams got byes. The Packers were the 2 seed, and the defending champion Seahawks were the 1 seed.

In the Packers’ divisional round game against the Dallas Cowboys, despite being hobbled by a severe calf injury, QB Aaron Rodgers was phenomenal. RB Eddie Lacey did a great job gashing holes through that Cowboys defense. The Packers defense did a good job in slowing down the Cowboys and their run game.

As for the Cowboys, they had their chances to win this game. RB Demarco Murray fumbled. QB Tony Romo had a couple of bad snaps. There was some strange play calling. I didn’t understand why they threw on the 3 and 1. The kicker missed some 3 pointers. Again, about the Dez Bryant non-catch, according to the rule, it was NOT a catch.

The Seahawks ran roughshod over the Carolina Panthers. I realize that the Panthers were not all that great to begin with, due to their regular season record (wait until the NFL expands the playoffs field to 14) , they were awesome. Kam Chancellor was a man amongst boys. He was all over the place. What an amazing job he did. DB Richard Sherman did a great job. QB Russell Wilson is awesome. I was marveled at how he manipulated the pocket.

The Panthers did put up some sort of a fight. I just think they were over matched. QB Cam Newton needs to develop more patience in the pocket. The Panthers need playmakers for whom Newton to have a rapport. It was very obvious in the game that WR Kelvin Benjamin was not going to cut it.

Now, let’s discuss how the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts got to this point. The New England Patriots earned the 1 seed, therefore skipped the Wild Card round. The Indianapolis Colts earned the 4 seed, and had to play the Bengals at home. In my “2015 Divisional Playoff Prediction” blog for this site, I had already shared my thoughts on that game, so I won’t be redundant.

In the Patriots divisional round against the #6 seed Baltimore Ravens, the Patriots stumbled out of the gate, so to speak, both on offense and defense. In fact, due to the Ravens and their defensive line, the Patriots only ran the ball 14 times. Anyway, down two touchdowns at two points in the game, QB legend Tom Brady brought the team back both times, and threw the winning TD to Brandon LeFell.

The Patriots defense didn’t have its act together in the first part of the game. The second half of the game, the defense was a lot better, with DB Devin McCourty intercepting Ravens QB Joe Flacco. With the Ravens down 35-31, Flacco threw a killer endzone pick. At the end, with 14 seconds to go, the Ravens had one last shot to win, but it fell short when Flacco’s Hail Mary attempt was knocked out of the endzone by Devin McCourty.

The Ravens had their shot to win this game. They were touted as New England’s biggest threat. All week, the Ravens, and their staff were acting like big bullies. In press conferences, DT Terrell Suggs wouldn’t even say Tom Brady’s name. I mean, John Harbaugh was crying about how the Patriots didn’t know what tough was.

Well, in the beginning, the big bad Ravens had their way with Brady and the Ravens. The Patriots could not run the ball. The Patriots gave up running the ball. The Ravens QB Joe Flacco and the offense were in full command of the game. The second half of the game started, and the Patriots shook off their bye week rust, and fought back. Yes, about that 4 man offensive line play, Coach John Harbaugh does need to read the playbook. Besides, your team gave up not one, but two two touchdown leads. Sounds like the case of the backyard bully getting what he deserves.
The Indianapolis Colts came into Denver, and played a great game, and defeated the Denver Broncos. They slowed down the running game, and rendered RB C.J Anderson mostly ineffective. They stopped him on a crucial 4th down play late in the game. I was very impressed with Vontae Davis and the Colts’ secondary. They did a great job going against Denver’s Emmanuel Sanders, Wes Welker, and Julius Thomas. Even though he threw 2 Ints, QB Andrew Luck played a great game. He and T.Y. Hilton have a great chemistry. I also think the offensive line protected Luck well, so he could get the ball to his other targets.

As for Denver, it was hard to se the great Peyton Manning playing like that. He had to have been in a lot of pain . However, if you have paid any attention, he’s been playing like that for awhile, even before the December 14th Chargers game (where the quad injury reportedly occurred). Since that Week 10 Rams game, Peyton hasn’t looked right. I hope he makes the best decision for him and his family. Anyway, as for the rest of the team, they surely didn’t help Manning out. Pass rusher DeMarcus Ware did not show up. Has Ware EVER shown up in big games? Aqib Talib got burnt all day long. Some of the Denver play calling was odd.

Now that I’ve discussed how the final four teams got to this point, here are my predictions for Championship Sunday.

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Green Bay Packers at the Seattle Seahawks
Network : FOX
Kickoff : 3:30PM, EST
Stadium : CenturyLink Field
Winner represents the NFC in Super Bowl 49.

Analysis:

What Seattle must do:

In order to win against Green Bay is to prevent the Packers from running the ball. The Seahawks’ losses this season have been to teams who have been successful at running the ball. I noticed that in the Chargers game (Seahawks allowed 101 yards rushing.). I also saw that in the Dallas Cowboys loss (allowed 126 yards ). The run defense will need to keep Eddie Lacey in check. Seahawks will have to commit to the run, and the offensive line will need to protect QB Russell Wilson.

What Green Bay must do:

Due to the crowd noise, Aaron Rodgers will be using a silent count, and will be limited physically, but he’s very smart. I’m sure he will try to get the ball out quickly. I also think that RB Eddie Lacey will be running between the guards. Rodgers and Coach McCarthy must come up with a better game plan against that brilliant Seattle secondary (Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor , Bobby Wagner ) than the last time the two teams met on the opening day of the 2014-15 NFL Season.

Prediction : This game is going to be a tough one. It is going to be interesting to see if Aaron Rodgers can go into Seattle and advance to his second Super Bowl of his awesome career. Can the Seahawks win, and go back to the Super Bowl with a chance to repeat? We can only watch and see.

Winner : In my “2014-15 NFL Season Preview ” blog, I had picked the Green Bay Packers to represent the NFC in Super Bowl 49. Well, I am sorry, but I believe in my integrity, so I am sticking with Green Bay. Winner : Green Bay 34-30.

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Indianapolis Colts at the New England Patriots
Network: CBS
Kickoff : 6:40PM, EST
Stadium: Gillette Stadium
Winner represents the AFC in Super Bowl 49.

Analysis:

What New England must do:

The New England Patriots have beaten these Andrew Luck-led Colts in 3 previous meetings by double digits. The Patriots can not be overconfident, and take the Colts lightly. I still remember the 2011 Divisional Round game against the New York Jets, where Jets QB Mark Sanchez (after just beating Manning and the Colts the week prior) lead a 28-21 upset over the Patriots in Foxborough. The Patriots had defeated that same Jets team 45-3 earlier that season. Trust me, the Patriots don’t want to see that again (Joe Flacco also pulled the defeating P.Manning-Brady double in 2012.). This rematch is for a trip to the Super Bowl. This Patriot team needs to be focused.

The injury to watch is center Brian Stork. The offensive line has been up and down all year. The offensive line must have a great day, and protect Brady. If the offensive line does its job, Brady will have a great day. TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Brandon LeFell, WR Julian Edelman, and others should be able to get open. As the Colts have a porous run defense, I would think that the Patriots will run the ball, as they need to have a balanced attack.

The Patriots defense needs to play better than last week, especially on the running plays. The Patriots secondary needs to do better with guys like Fleener, etc. The Patriots special teams have been awesome. They need to step up their game. Special teams play could very well decide the outcome.

What Indianapolis must do:

Andrew Luck must play a nearly perfect game. What I mean is that he can’t throw picks He can’t fumble the ball. He also has to do better in figuring out Belichick’s defensive schemes. Luck is going to be great. Like Brady, the Colts’ offensive line has to protect their QB. The playmakers for the Colts must try to outsmart Patriots DBs Brandon Browner and Darrell Revis, and make plays.

On defense, the Colts defense have to try to get a pass rush on Brady. Their secondary have to figure out how to stop TE Rob Gronkowski. If the Patriots offense decide to run the ball, the Colts porous run defense better figure out how to stop it. The highlight for the Colts, other than the offense, is their special teams. I would suspect that they would try a trick play as well.

Prediction : As much as certain people in the sports media want to take shots at the Patriots, and especially at Tom Brady, I think this team is going to be a tough team for the Colts to beat. Coach Bill Belichick will have this team ready. The team is tough, not only physically, but mentally. I am sure that Coach Chuck Pagano will have something up his sleeve, but the Patriots will be ready. The game won’t be an easy one, but I think that the Patriots will prevail.

Winner : Patriots 30-20

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