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Top Five BJ Penn Greatest UFC Moments & Fights

November 01, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC career of BJ Penn has had its ups and downs, but for nine years it was full of ups. Whether Penn truly retires from fighting or not, he will always be remembered for his legendary moments. Today I look back and celebrate five of his all time best.

BJ Penn upsets Matt Hughes to win the UFC welterweight championship at UFC 46

BJ Penn stepped up at a time where nobody wanted to fight Matt Hughes. Hughes was arguably the most dominant fighter of this period, winning 13 straight, and turning away all challengers in the welterweight division. Penn volunteered to move up for the competition and came into the fight as a huge underdog. 4:39 into the fourth round, Penn shocked the world when he beat the unbeatable via rear naked choke and becoming welterweight champion in his division debut.

BJ Penn pummels Sean Sherk at UFC 84 to retain the UFC lightweight championship

This fight was huge at this time! Sherk was suspended and stripped of the title after he tested positive for PED. Penn would win an interim title fight to win the belt while Sherk was suspended. Sherk received a title shot on his first fight back and Penn was none too happy about it. Penn repeatedly called Sherk out for his PED pop to the disgust of Sherk and the UFC. There was serious bad blood here. By the end of the fight, it was all Sherk’s blood…splattered all over the cage. Penn put on a clinic, dismantling Sherk on their feet. Penn rocked Sherk with a flying knee that is now a UFC classic moment. Penn never looked better and shut up any doubters that criticized Penn for winning the title from someone other than the champion.

BJ Penn crushes Joe Stevenson to win the UFC lightweight championship at UFC 80

This certainly wasn’t the most glamorous fight of BJ Penn’s career but it was one of his greatest moments. Penn took apart Stevenson for two rounds, looking his absolute best in a title opportunity. Penn choked out Stevenson in round 2 and in another classic UFC moment, licked Stevenson’s blood off of his gloves. Penn was young, hungry, and unstoppable. This was an important night and the first of what would become one of the most dominant championship reigns in UFC history.

BJ Penn destroys Caol Uno at UFC 34 in 11 seconds

Like Stevenson, Uno vs. Penn isn’t a fight that will go down as a blockbuster matchup. However, Penn’s performance here was arguably the one that put turned him into one of the UFC’s biggest drawing cards. Uno was billed as Penn’s first real test, a test which Penn passed with an A+. Uno came out charging Penn with a flying knee, Penn stepped aside, and then began to pummel Uno into unconsciousness for 11 seconds. The fight was stopped and in my opinion, this was the night BJ Penn became a headliner.

BJ Penn rearranges Diego Sanchez’s face at UFC 107

This was arguably the last great fight from the legend. Penn was 4-0 at lightweight and just finished dominating Kenny Florian for five rounds at UFC 102. Sanchez was billed as a guy that would be Penn’s biggest threat and toughest challenger. How tough was he? He brutalized Sanchez so badly that the fight was stopped in the fifth round due to a nasty cut on Sanchez. This was only the second time that a fight had a finish in the fifth round. Penn was magnificent on this night. Sadly, those five rounds may have been the last dominant performance we’ll ever see from The Prodigy.

There have been some great moments since then, but that was likely his last great complete fight. That first round he had against Jon Fitch was a reminder of how great he was. Unfortunately, he had another round and a half to remind fans that he may not be the fighter he once was.

BJ Penn’s loss to Nick Diaz at UFC 137 was the worst of his career. Whether Penn comes back to fight or not, I think the days of BJ Penn The Prodigy have passed. Fortunately for Penn, the memories will never fade, and for eight years he was arguably the best pound for pound fighter of that time period.

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UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz Results – Diaz Retires Penn, GSP vs. Diaz Back On!

October 30, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

What a crazy month this has been for the UFC, specifically the welterweight division. The once much anticipated Nick Diaz vs. Georges St-Pierre went from on, to off, and is now…back on thanks to a dominating win at UFC 137 by the new welterweight challenger.

Diaz vs. Penn was every bit as exciting as I had hoped it would be. The battle of former training partners started off with a great round for Penn. Penn got the takedown most thought he needed in the first round and kept Diaz on the ground. This was Penn’s best shot at winning so it was no surprise he avoided a stand up war with Diaz. Unfortunately that didn’t ground Diaz for long as once back on their feet it was that stand up battle Penn tried to avoid. Penn won the round but you could feel the tide turn by the end.

Diaz opened the round with a leg kick and a right hand that missed. After a little cage work, Penn went for the single leg which was blocked by Diaz. Diaz again opens up on Penn. Diaz at one point for the takedown which never happened. Diaz found his range here and just started peppering Penn with strikes that had the former champion in big trouble. The second half of the round was all Diaz.

The third round will go down as one of the most exciting of the year. Penn went for broke and this one turned into a striker’s delight. The two traded for most of the round, Diaz specifically opening up on the body. Penn had a comeback towards the end which rocked the house, but it wasn’t enough. Penn’s face told the story here as Diaz finished the round and the fight strong. Diaz wins the fight 29-28, 29-27, and 29-28.

The post fight was awesome as Diaz takes a page out of Chael Sonnen’s book and calls out the champ. Diaz told the crowd that he doesn’t believe St-Pierre is hurt, he believes he is scared. The fans hated that one but it got the attention of the champion. Penn said it was probably the end for him, and unofficially retired. He is only 32 so I would be really surprised if it really was the end of The Prodigy but regardless, he sure went down swinging.

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As exciting as this was (and it was), the hours after the fight have been just as exciting out of the octagon for the UFC. Dana White hinted at the press conference that he had a big announcement to make. He did…on Twitter.

Dana has never seen gsp the way he was tonight – nick will fight gsp – condit has agreed to wait

Gsp has called nick the most disrespectful person I have ever met and plans to beat him.

Nick will fight gsp super bowl weekend – Diaz says he has to play the bad guy to get a fight, people want to see him get his ass whooped

GSP also released this official statement, “This is what I wanted since the beginning. Let’s do what was supposed to be done originally. I’ve always wanted this fight — now I want it even more. I can’t wait for Superbowl weekend.

So there you have it! In the last twelve hours you had Nick Diaz successfully return to the UFC and get his 11th straight win, BJ Penn retire, Diaz call out the champion, and the UFC announce arguably its biggest fight in history for Super Bowl weekend. I’d say it was a very eventful weekend for the UFC.

The UFC took a huge gamble here and luckily for them, it paid off. Quite frankly the whole idea of canceling Diaz vs. Penn over Diaz failing to show up for a presser is ridiculous. They “punished” by Diaz by putting himself into the position to earn even more money for what would have been the biggest fight of the year. Diaz did his part and the UFC did theirs to make this thing right. Now the UFC goes from having the biggest fight of the year turn into arguably the biggest fight in company history.

In other UFC 137 news, Cheick Kongo defeated Matt Mitrione via unanimous decision or as I like to say, exposed Mitrione as a fraud. I don’t hate on many UFC fighters but I just find it impossible to like Mitrione. He has a big mouth and walks around as if he has beaten Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture when in reality he hasn’t beaten anyone of note. He did very little here and lost to a guy that most consider yesterday’s news. I don’t know what you do with either one of these guys at this point, but this now puts Kongo at 3-0-1 in his last four UFC fights.

Pride FC legend Mirko Cro Cop also fought his last fight in the UFC and in MMA after losing to Roy Nelson. Nelson knocked out Cro Cop in the third round of what I thought was a really fun fight. Following the fight, Cro Cop thanked the fans and the UFC executives and said it was his farewell fight. Now this I believe was a true retirement from a UFC fighter.

Full UFC 137 Penn vs. Diaz results & winners…
Clifford Starks defeated Dustin Jacoby via unanimous decision
Francis Carmont defeated Chris Camozzi via unanimous decision
Ramsey Nijem defeated Danny Downes via unanimous decision
Brandon Vera defeated Eliot Marshall via unanimous decision
Bart Palaszewski defeated Tyson Griffin via KO (punches) at 2:45 of round 1.
Donald Cerrone defeated Dennis Siver via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:22 of round 1
Hatsu Hioki defeated George Roop via split decision
Scott Jorgensen defeated Jeff Curran via unanimous decision
Roy Nelson defeated Mirko Crop Cop via TKO (punches) at 1:30 of round 3.
Cheick Kongo defeated Mitrione via unanimous decision
Nick Diaz defeated BJ Penn via unanimous decision

 

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UFC 137: Penn Vs. Diaz Predictions & Analysis

October 28, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Good day fight fans, after a long haul of card shuffling the UFC is bringing another event to the Pay Per View airwaves this Saturday night. With Welterweight Champion GSP pulling out with a rare injury, this card has lost it’s original main event several times now. The card is now headlined by a still very intriguing bout between Welterweight boxing specialists and Jiu Jitsu masters BJ Penn and Nick Diaz.

There are a number of intriguing bets on this card and since I’m unfortunately a bit short on time this week, I’m going to focus only on the fights I’m interested in making a play on. For all other fights, I’ll simply offer a small bit of analysis and a fight prediction. As always all betting lines are the best available market lines from BestFightOdds (www.bestfightodds.com)

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Dustin Jacoby (-110) vs. Clifford Starks (+113)

Admittedly I know very little about either fighter. With a bit of YouTube searching, I’ve found a bit of footage from each fighter. However, from the little that I’ve seen, it’s hard for me to make an accurate prediction of the fight. Starks looks like he has decent stand up skills and is currently undefeated at 7-0. However, the strength of his opposition is questionable at best. Jacoby is also undefeated with a 6-0 record, but he has stopped all of his opponents, only one ever making it out of the first round. Jacoby at 6’4″ will also hold a significant height and reach advantage for the fight. With those intangibles on his side, I’m going to go ahead and predict him to win this fight, but I won’t be betting it. Dustin Jacoby via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Chris Camozzi (-128) vs. Francis Carmont (+118)

Francis “Limitless” Carmont is a Vale Tudo fighter from Paris, France. He is a very experienced fighter who is making his UFC debut with over twenty fights under his belt, so he should be relatively free of octagon jitters. Chris Camozzi is also no stranger to the octagon. The former TUF cast-member should be recognizeable to most casual UFC fans from his time in the Ultimate Fighter house. Camozzi is also making his return to the UFC after a big win over a very big name fighter in Joey Villasenor. I think Camozzi has the better overall skill sets both standing and wrestling offensively. He should be able to control the pace of the fight and the placement of the fight en-route to a Unanimous Decision. Chris Camozzi via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Ramsey Nijem (-185) vs. Danny Downes (+180)

Ramsey Nijem was the runner up on the last season of The Ultimate Fighter and was a member of Team dos Santos. Nijem stopped all of his opponents on the show on his way to the finale where he eventually lost to the winner Tony Ferguson. Danny “Danny Boy” Downes is a young fighter from the Roufusport Fight Team. Fighting out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin he is a Muay Thai and Tae Kwan Do fighter who trains with an elite team of strikers including Alan Belcher and Anthony Pettis. I think Nijem’s edge in wrestling will play a key factor here. I don’t think Nijem is the world’s greatest fighter, but I think he has the toolset to take home a decision in this one. Ramsey Nijem via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Light Heavyweight Bout: Brandon Vera (-375) vs. Eliot Marshall (+350)

Brandon “The Truth” Vera is getting another shot in the UFC after his last loss was overturned to a No Contest when his opponent Thiago Silva tested positive for steroids and tainted urine. He hasn’t won a fight since 2009 and has spent a fair amount of time on the sidelines with injury. Against his last several opponents he has been outwrestled and outworked on the ground. Eliot “The Fire” Marshall is a former cast-member of the Ultimate Fighter season 8. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter who has struggled against strong strikers in the past. This line is fairly well set, as Marshall has not done well against fighters with strong striking skills and power. Vera a confident and talented kickboxer, but constant underperformer, has the skills to defeat Marshall in this one. Brandon Vera via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (SPIKE TV): Featherweight Bout: Tyson Griffin (-296) vs. Bart Palaszewski (+300)

Tyson Griffin is a strong and compact wrestler who was doing well in the UFC’s ultra-stacked 155 pound division. However, three straight losses caused him to return to his former weight class at 145 pounds. In his Featherweight debut for the UFC he defeated Manny Gamburyan via Majority Decision. Griffin is a strong wrestler who trains with the Xtreme Couture camp in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a short and stocky fighter with decent power, but a suspect chin. Over the years Griffin has shown improvement in his stand up skills, but his bread and butter is still the ground game and his smothering top control.

Bart “Bartamus” Palaszewski is a Polish American fighter, who fights out of the Team Curran gym in Illinois. He is a boxer and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter, with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Jeff Curran. Palaszewski is a very experienced fighter with over forty career bouts on his resume. He will be making his UFC debut in this fight. He has strong technical boxing skills and excellent grappling credentials. Against a strong wrestler like Griffin, it will be tough for him to get on top, but if he does, he will likely be able to exploit Griffin and work him over on the mat.

This one is likely going to come down to Griffin’s ability to get the fight to the ground and control the bout there. Palaszewski has strong defensive wrestling skills and competent stand up. I think this fight will actually look similar to his fight against Kamal Shalorus. Despite the fact that Palaszewski lost the fight, it was a Split Decision and was extremely close. Getting 3-to-1 I’ll take a chance that Palaszewski can get the job done this time. Bart Palaszewski via Split Decision

Preliminary Card (SPIKE TV): Lightweight Bout: Dennis Siver (+215) vs. Donald Cerrone (-225)

A good friend of mine actually likes the underdog in this fight a lot. Despite trying to find a reason to agree with him, I can’t seem to find one. Dennis “The Menace” Siver is a German and Russian fighter who is a former Sambo fighter and Kickboxer. He is currently riding a four fight winning streak including wins over George Sotiropoulous and Matt Wiman. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is a very talented fighter, who has never seen a punch he didn’t want to take on the chin. The American fighter is a strong Muay Thai Kickboxer with strong wrestling and a lot of grappling talent.

Cerrone should have a significant edge on the ground. His grappling credentials speak for themselves and his 12 wins via Submission should prove how dangerous he is. Standing up Cerrone is a competent enough kickboxer to stand with Siver, however, despite his ability to take a punch, Cerrone oftentimes engages in slugfests despite his best interests. If Siver wants to pull off the upset, he’s going to need to test the usually iron chin of the Cowboy in one of the exchanges. But as it is, I expect Cerrone to box for a while, before playing it smart in the second round and taking Siver down and submitting him with a Rear Naked Choke. Donald Cerrone via Submission in Round Two

Main Card (Pay Per View): Featherweight Bout: Hatsu Hioki (-325) vs. George Roop (+300)

Hatsu Hioki is one of the best Featherweight fighters in the world. The Japanese fighter is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter with top level grappling skills. He is a former TKO and Shooto World Champion at Feathweight. He holds a career record of 24-4-2 with 16 stoppage victories. Hioki has strong boxing skills, but uses it sparingly in his fights. He prefers to use his stand up to close the distance and work the fight to the mat, where he is an extremely aggressive grappler. He constantly pressures to pass guard, searching for dominant positions where he can unleash ground and pound or grab for submissions.

George Roop is a kickboxer who is relatively lanky for his weight class. He is a former pupil of Team Tompkins. He will be fighting for the first time since the death of his coach and mentor, making it tough to tell how much the recent death of Tomkins will factor into his mindset enterring this fight. Roop uses his range and a strong jab to establish control of the Octagon while using his size and reach advantages to threaten with big knees and strong kicks.

This is a fight that Hioki should win. He is a better fighter, with a clear path to victory. If he can get this fight to the ground, he should be able to exploit Roop’s relatively weak grappling skills. Hioki has good enough stand up to hang in there, but this fight gets a lot closer standing than it does if he gets the fight to the mat. There are a few factors that make me like Roop here as a 3-to-1 underdog. He has been in the position of underdog before and has won, so he knows how to spoil the party. Also, Hioki will be fighting stateside for the first time, and Japanese fighters oftentimes perform underwhelmingly in their first fights in the US. Combined with Roop’s size and reach advantages and I’ll take a small shot with Roop here. George Roop via Split Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Bantamweight Bout: Scott Jorgensen (-412) vs. Jeff Curran (+355)

Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen is a former college wrestler who now fights out of Boise, Idaho. Jorgensen is an extremely aggressive young fighter who is always moving forward behind his power punches. He also blends a fair amount of takedowns to control his opponents on the mat and works his ground and pound to search for a stoppage victory or simply to batter his opponents and win rounds on the judge’s scorecards. With a career record of 12-4, he has proven to be an upper-tier Bantamweight fighter, in his last fight, his UFC debut he demolished Ken Stone, winning by KO in the first round.

Jeff “Big Frog” Curran is a 34-year-old veteran of the fight game. He is most well known for his talent in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, where he is a 2nd degree black belt. He runs his own gym and fighting team out of Island Lake, Illinois, where he is the coach of his cousin and Bellator tournament standout Pat Curran. During his last run in the WEC he had a tough time going 0-4, however those losses were all to elite level fighters, including Mike Brown, Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez. Curran will look to use his boxing to set up a takedown and get on top of Jorgensen, where he should hold a grappling edge.

Jorgensen is the favorite in this one and he should be. He is the younger fighter, who has more paths to victory. He will likely be the quicker fighter in the cage come fight night, and many people seem to think that Curran is over the hill as a fighter. However, Curran is a veteran and he holds a significant grappling edge. Wrestlers are notoriously bad off of their backs, so if Curran can get Jorgensen to the mat, he might find success with his submission attempts. It’s likely that Jorgensen wins, but getting over 3.5-to-1 I think there’s a bit of value on Curran, so I’ll be making a small play. Jeff Curran via Submission in Round Two

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Main Card (Pay Per View): Heavyweight Bout: Mirko Filipovic (+241) vs. Roy Nelson (-240)

I think this line is fairly well set. Cro Cop is basically just a shell of his former self. Despite all of his interviews saying he’s back in shape I will simply not believe it until he shows it to me in the cage. This is likely his swan song fight. He is entering the fight coming off of back-to-back KO losses and has looked discouraged in his past few fights. Roy “Big Country” Nelson has all of the tools to beat an out of shape and over the hill Cro Cop. Nelson possesses strong grappling skills with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He also has solid stand up skills, with a strong ability to counter punch.

I expect that Cro Cop will come out patiently, which will eventually become his down fall. He is no longer the stalking fighter from his PRIDE days and Nelson knows it. Nelson will push the pace, always being wary of the potential for a Left High Kick from the Croatian. Nelson will likely push Cro Cop against the cage and search for a takedown. From there it should be fairly academic as he easily passes guard into mount and begins to deliver ground and pound on his way to a stoppage in the first. Roy Nelson via TKO in Round One

Main Card (Pay Per View): Heavyweight Bout: Cheick Kongo (+123) vs. Matt Mitrione (-130)

Cheick “The Darkness” Kongo is a French fighter from Paris. He has been training in martial arts since he was 5 years old, when he started learning Karate. Kongo has strong stand up skills from his time spent training Muay Thai and Pencak Silat. Kongo has also shown some improvement in his wrestling and grappling skills in some of his most recent fights, choosing to take his opponents to the ground and work ground and pound against them. He is also the only fighter to make it to a decision against the reigning UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez.

Matt “Meathead” Mitrione, is one of the Heavyweight division’s most intriguing talents. At 33-years-old he is by no means young, but he is certainly a rising prospect. He is a former professional football player who made the transition to MMA later in his life. He was a cast-member of the Heavyweight season of the Ultimate Fighter, where he entered the house with no professional MMA experience. Despite losing in the semi-finals of the show, Mitrione has gone undefeated since, running his record to 5-0. He has shown improving stand up skills, as well as a strong wrestling base.

I like Meathead in this fight and think that there might still be a bit of value on him up to -150. However, after that, you might want to consider looking at the underdog Kongo. I think this fight lines up well for Mitrione though. He trains at Roufusport Gym with Duke Roufus, who is a high level kickboxer, so he will have seen plenty of what Kongo brings to the table, during his training for this fight. In his previous fights, Kongo has been hurt or rocked relatively easily and Mitrione has shown big power in his punches, stopping four of his five opponents by strikes. I think Mitrione will be able to test his stand up abilities against Kongo before eventually taking the fight to the ground and absolutely battering Kongo with ground and pound before a referee stoppage in the second. Matt Mitrione via TKO in Round Two

Main Event (Pay Per View): Welterweight Bout: Nick Diaz (+120) vs. BJ Penn (-125)

Nick Diaz has the story you’ve been hearing leading up to this fight the whole time. Somewhat crazy, hates the media, refuses to “Play the game” as Dana White calls it. Diaz was scheduled for the original main event of this card, but lost his spot after skipping two media conferences. He was then re-inserted into the co-main event to battle BJ Penn after Penn’s initial opponent Carlos Condit took Diaz’s spot in the main event. Diaz has openly complained about the switch, but has still managed to do a decent job of hyping up this fight against Penn and still hyping a potential future match against GSP, by calling him a slew of derogatory names. The point still remains that Diaz is entering this fight on a huge roll, winning his last ten fights, not losing since 2007. Diaz has a swarming boxing style. Throwing a high number of punches to batter and rattle his opponent and although no individual punch does a lot of damage, the accumulation of damage adds up as he continues to throw. Diaz actually is one of the best body punchers in the sport of MMA, as most fighters rarely use body punches to wear down their opponents, but Diaz uses them frequently. On the mat, Diaz has black belt level Jiu Jitsu and is extremely dangerous off of his back. Using his long limbs and a very active guard, he is a handful for anyone who takes him to the mat.

BJ “The Prodigy” Penn is one of the most successful fighters of all time. He is one of the best BJJ practitioners in the sport of MMA today. He also has strong defensive wrestling skills and great balance, all which he uses to keep his fights standing. On the feet he has strong technical boxing skills, with a strong use of the lead jab and big power in both hands. He has found success in the UFC both as a Lightweight and a Welterweight as he is a former UFC Champion in both weight classes. Penn is entering this fight off a Majority Draw against Jon Fitch in a fight that he dominated the first two rounds, before gassing out and being completely outworked in the third, by the much larger Fitch.

Diaz will have a 4-inch reach advantage and in a fight that is likely to take place mostly in the stand up realm is relatively significant. Diaz is also the more active fighter standing and actually holds a couple of records on CompuStrike for most punches thrown and most punches landed in a single MMA round. Penn is likely the harder puncher of the two, but both have extremely strong chins and their Jiu Jitsu will likely cancel each other out. So this fight is likely destined for a judge’s scorecard. I think this fight is extremely close, a near 50-50 split. So I’m taking the underdog Diaz in this one. Getting +120 in a fight that should be a near pick ‘em is a bit of a gift, so I’m going to hit this one fairly hard.

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Georges St-Pierre Injured, Out Of UFC 137

October 18, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

GSP out of UFC 137The injury bug has bitten the UFC once again. UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre injured his knee today and has pulled out of his UFC 137 fight with Carlos Condit. This is just the latest of several card changes to what has turned out to be one of the most cursed main events of the year.

Dana White made the announcement today on Twitter to the surprise of MMA fans and enthusiasts excited to see GSP fight in less than two weeks.

I just land in NYC and what do I always say!? I have to deal with bad sh*t everyday!! GSP is out with an injury!!! #oneofthosedays” – @DanaWhite

The crushing news comes just eleven days before the scheduled fight. The short notice leaves the UFC without the ability to come up with a new fight for UFC 137. Instead, Dana White announced that they will move Nick Diaz vs. BJ Penn into the main event slot and keep Condit on the sidelines until the champion is recovered.

This is a huge blow to the UFC and the sign of a much bigger epidemic. The UFC has now had every divisional champion affected by injury in 2011. In addition to that, the UFC has now had over 10 main-event or co-headlining fights changed due to injury in 2011. While this is something most MMA fans have learned to live with, it could get ugly with new, more casual UFC fans that the company picks up with the Fox deal. Once okay, twice alright, but 10 times in a year may be a bit too much for a fringe fan to handle in 2012.

GSP’s trainer Firas Zahabi told MMAJunkie.com that the injury happened earlier today in a sparring session.

After he cooled down, I knew he couldn’t fight anymore,” Zahabi said. “I’ve been around, I’ve seen injuries, and I know that that kind of injury is going to take at least two to five weeks of not standing on it for it to be really good (and) sturdy to fight. That’s just me estimating with what I’ve seen in the past.

Let’s face it. UFC 137 has turned into a complete mess thanks to the Nick Diaz debacle. Quite frankly, I don’t understand how the UFC can justify holding Condit out to get his title shot, that he never really earned. The logical solution in my opinion is to sit Diaz, and put the Penn vs. Condit fight back on in the main event spot. White already said that Diaz would be under consideration with a win anyway. So now Diaz is going to have to fight again before he meets GSP? The UFC is playing a very dangerous game here with what is arguably the most anticipated championship fight of 2012.

Josh Koscheck did offer to take the fight according to Dana White on Twitter. Dana passed. I think that was a smart move. If Koscheck wins, now Dana is boxed in to giving fans either Kos vs. Diaz or a GSP vs. Kos rematch. If Koscheck loses, now you sacrificed one of your big draws in a no-win situation. Neither is the way to go right now from a promotional standpoint.

All in all, UFC 137 is still a super strong card on paper. You still have Penn vs. Diaz as Mitrione vs. Kongo, Nelson vs. Cro Cop, and Siver vs. Cerrone. I have seen the UFC charge fans for a lot worse. However, it is still hard to ask fans to pay the same amount of money for a show in which you promised them a championship fight featuring one of your biggest stars.

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Nick Diaz In Line For Title Shot With Win Over BJ Penn At UFC 137

October 13, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

Dana White Nick DiazIt is hard to get punished in the UFC, especially when you are Nick Diaz. Diaz was disciplined for no-showing press conferences by being pulled from the UFC 137 main event. Yet Ironically, he now has an even bigger chance to make more money than he would have made before.

This whole Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz mess is one of the most confusing stories I have ever seen in professional sports. The fight had the potential to not only be the biggest UFC fight of the year, but possibly ever. Yet the fight was canceled when Diaz didn’t show up for two press conferences. As strange as it was to cancel such a blockbuster fight over a meaningless press conference, the follow up has been even stranger.

While White told reporters once the fight was scrapped that Diaz was on the verge of being fired, somehow Diaz not only saved his job, but managed to wrangle the semi-main event of the show. So yes, while Diaz will make less money, he will still be making the most money he ever had in his entire career. On top of that, Diaz will now get an easier (not easy) opponent in an aging BJ Penn. The UFC has sure laid down the law with Diaz right?

As strange as these moves have been, the strangest of all may have come this week when Dana White said that Diaz would get a title shot at the GSP vs. Carlos Condit UFC welterweight title fight winner if he beats Penn. So wait a second? Diaz will now have a chance to reintroduce himself to the UFC audience with a big win over a UFC star, thus increasing the money he will make for the fight that was pulled away from him because he was “punished?” That is exactly what the boss has in mind.

Dana was asked by the folks at MMAWeekly.com flat out if Diaz beats Penn if he would get the next shot. Guess who isn’t getting punished?

Yeah. Listen who knows, I don’t see that happening (no-showing the press conference) again. If it does, I don’t even know what to say. Than it is what it is.

Huh? So now I circle back and ask why the heck aren’t the UFC fans getting the fight they were promised in the first place? If it is now a “it is what it is” situation regarding the press conference, why are we going through this whole charade of changing the UFC 137 card around? I know the answer that Dana would give you, “because he can” but this all just doesn’t pass the smell test to me.

Plenty of UFC fighters don’t like talking to the press. I understand it, but according to the company it is part of their jobs. So what is to stop Brock Lesnar or anyone else from not showing up to a press conference if they aren’t interested? The fear of being punished with a semi-main event? Give me a break!

Look I like Diaz and I am just as stoked as you are to see GSP vs. Diaz, which is probably why I have been so passionate about this story. I just think the UFC is taking a huge gamble here by delaying this fight. This isn’t the WWE and nothing at all is a given. Maybe Condit shocks the world and beats St-Pierre?

Or maybe Penn spoils everyone’s party and defeats Nick Diaz? I can’t imagine a more motivated fighter right now than BJ Penn who has to be insulted at this point about being put into the position of stepping stone. Dana White is playing the ultimate gamble right now and all it takes is one BJ Penn to win ruin the party and cost the company millions of dollars that they chose to leave on the table.

This is about as dumb as rewarding someone who fails a drug test and pleads guilty to a felony with a championship match & the biggest payday of their life after one win in fourteen months. Wait a minute!

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Nick Diaz Back On UFC 137 Vs. BJ Penn…Huh?

September 12, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Nick Diaz will fight Georges St-Pierre in October at UFC 137Dana White pulled a bold yet questionable move last week when it pulled Nick Diaz from his scheduled fight with Georges St-Pierre at UFC 137 after Diaz missed two press conferences. In what has to be an even stranger move, the UFC rebooked Diaz the next day on the same show.

I didn’t agree with it but I understood it when Dana White pulled Diaz from the UFC 137 main event after missing two press conferences. As a fan, I was extremely disappointed. However, I do understand that the UFC needed to prevent Diaz from setting a precedent. Letting Diaz get away with missing the press conferences would allow future fighters to just simply not show up if they didn’t care to do press. I get it, but the next move was beyond bizarre.

Most expected Diaz to be fired, yet Dana White said that he hadn’t made a decision. Diaz made his situation theoretically worse by posting a video a few hours later trashing the UFC, accusing them of protecting GSP. It was easily assumed that with Diaz on the bubble he’d be gone. That is why I was stunned when the UFC announced that they rebooked Diaz against BJ Penn on the same card.

This just makes zero sense. First off, I am still a little surprised that the UFC left millions of dollars on the table by canceling a fight over a missed press conference. If the logic behind a press conference was to draw interest in the fight, wouldn’t Diaz missing the press conference and angering GSP and Dana White have drawn more interest to the fight? I would argue that by Diaz not showing up, it would add to his MMA reputation and do more to polarize the UFC audience than anything he would have said at the presser. I get it and the UFC didn’t want to set a precedent, but there is always an exception to the rule when it comes to the best interest of business.

That is why I am just shocked that they rebooked him on the same card. The guy has figuratively cost the company millions of dollars, so they punish him with an easier opponent and a big pay day? Will Diaz make more than he would have against GSP? Of course not, but neither will the UFC, yet they will still both make plenty of money off of UFC 137. If the UFC was trying to teach Nick Diaz a lesson, the lesson here would be that Nick Diaz will actually wind up making more money off of no-showing a press conference by fighting Penn and his next fight against GSP. That’ll teach him!

Why even keep Diaz in the UFC to begin with? The problem here is a lack of trust between Diaz and Dana White. So what if Diaz goes in there and destroys Penn at UFC 137? What is next? Thinking logically, it would be a UFC welterweight title shot against GSP. So what happens then? Will the UFC book the fight and cancel again when Diaz doesn’t show up for a press conference? My point is, by keeping the guy in the UFC he will likely run through the division. Why would you have him take out the challengers if he is never going to get a title shot? If he is getting a title shot, why did you cancel it in the first place?

The obvious answer here is that Diaz is a big MMA drawing card. The UFC have a lot of shows booked next year and only a handful of drawing cards. I am not naïve and I understand that in the end, Diaz is getting preferential treatment because he is a star. That is fine. But then why cancel in the first place and cheat the fans out of the biggest money fight of the year?

My only guess here is that the UFC never expected Diaz to take the Penn fight. Maybe there was a clause in his contract that gave Diaz a payout if he was cut? Penn trains with the Diaz brothers and both are Gracie students. The only thing I can think of is that they expected Diaz to refuse to fight a fellow Gracie student and breach his contract/quit. Otherwise, none of this makes sense.

In a perfect world cooler heads will prevail and the card will be shifted back to what it originally was. In the real world that isn’t going to happen. Dana White may think that he has sent a message, but the only message being sent in my point of view is that the UFC is desperate and will do whatever it takes to hold on to their draws, even if it means cutting off their nose to spite their face.

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Possible Matches For The First UFC on Fox Fight Card

August 23, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

As Eric reported Monday, news has come out slowly over the weekend that the first UFC on FOX card will feature only two fights in a one-hour broadcast. I’m still not sure that this is the greatest of ideas by the UFC and by FOX, but it does say something about the new broadcast partners. The UFC has competed directly with boxing on a number of occasions, but this time however, the UFC will not go head to head with the Manny Pacquaio vs. Juan Manuel Marquez fight. I won’t talk too much about the pros and cons of this idea, instead, let’s focus on the fun stuff, playing fantasy match maker.

There has already been one bout announced for the contest. A featherweight bout pitting rising stars of the division against one another as Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier takes Pablo Garza. This fight is surely to be an intriguing, exciting contest, but is also sure to wind up on the preliminary card. With only one hour to fill on FOX, the UFC is surely going to be looking for big fights, with big name value and high potential for fireworks. With that in mind, let’s play fantasy match maker and take a look at some of the potential fights that could wind up on the card. I’ll examine the possibilities for both the opening contest and the main event, looking at the most realistic possibilities and moving into the most unlikely but fan friendly of scenarios.

Let’s take a look at the opening contest first. The UFC has already said that this first show is going to be very quickly paced, moving quickly from fight-to-fight, without a lot of pre-fight and post-fight analysis. What that also means is that they will be expecting the fights to draw the viewers in and keep their attention throughout the whole hour. So let’s take a look at three possibilities for the opening bout of the main card.

Option #1: The opening bout needs to be exciting and fan-friendly, it should also provide a sense of intrigue for what’s on the line and should also add some name value to the card. What possible fight could the UFC make right now that provides all of those things? “Smooth” Ben Henderson vs. Clay “The Carpenter” Guida. Both men are known for their high-paced fighting styles. Guida is known for his crazy hair, high-pressure offense and unstoppable cardio. Guida is also currently riding a four-fight winning streak and has emerged as a top contender at 155-Pounds after his win over Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. Ben Henderson is coming off of a signature win with his three round domination of Jim Miller. Neither fighter is injured and neither has an upcoming fight booked. Both men have a claim as the number one contender, so let’s go ahead and let them scrap it out to decide. A number one contender’s bout provides a lot of intrigue to casual fans as it proves that there is something on the line.

One of the best parts about this fight is that it wouldn’t hurt any of their upcoming fight cards. This fight currently isn’t scheduled and neither are either of the fighters. Both are in need of fights and at least one, Guida, already has a legion of loyal fans who love him and who would flock to his fights, especially on free television.

Update: After this blog was published, MMAJunkie.com reports that both fighter’s managers have said that their fighters would be interested in fighting each other on the Fox special.

Option #2: Should the UFC decide to go a different direction, they could decide to postpone a fight from another card and move it into this slot. The November 12 date, means that there is likely three surrounding UFC events that they could pull from. UFC 137 on October 29, 138 on November 5 and 139 on November 19. One of their most intriguing options and one that is sure to provide a lot of name value to the FOX card is Carlos Condit vs. BJ Penn. Again this is a fight with serious title implications as a win by Condit would likely mean a title shot against Georges St. Pierre. With BJ Penn involved it obviously provides a lot of name value to both hardcore and casual fans. They would also benefit from the BJ Penn hype train, as BJ has shown the ability to sell fights in the past. Especially his series of fights with GSP and Frankie Edgar.

The potential problem for this fight is that it would be removing a solid co-main event fight from the UFC 137 PPV. 137 is already sure to be a ratings hit with a large number of PPV buys. GSP is one of the biggest draws in the sport and a Pay Per View fight against Nick Diaz, who can do a great job of selling fights himself, and is currently on a 10-Fight winning streak and will be trying to avenge the loss of his teammate Jake Shields. That fight is sure to do huge PPV numbers, the card is also anchored by a number of Heavyweight sluggers, who are likely to stand and bang for several rounds, providing enough intrigue to keep fans appeased.

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Option #3: This final option might not provide the most intrigue among casual fans. However, it might hold a great deal of interest for the more hardcore fans of the sport. It would also be a rematch, which would give the UFC Marketing Machine an interesting angle to spin. Neither man currently has any bouts on the horizon and although they are in somewhat different places in this stage of their careers, they have both publicly stated their ambitions to fight only top contenders and big name fighters.

I’m talking about a potential Light Heavyweight bout between Rich “Ace” Franklin and Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida. The style match up is definitely what makes this bout appeal to fans, as both fighters are known for their stand up skills, and neither would likely be ready to take the fight to the mat. However, both are known counter-punchers, so with the potential of stalemates and lack of offensive action the UFC might be reluctant to book this one on a night that has to be a success.

Again this fight is not currently booked, nor is either fighter currently booked for an upcoming bout. The bout has very little impact on the immediate Light Heavyweight title picture, but nonetheless it is an intriguing rematch that several fans would be willing to get behind.

With the possibilities of an opening bout already discussed, let’s move along to the Main Event. Unfortunately I don’t think that the UFC has a whole lot of options for this one. I see only one true option for their first appearance on network television. That fight is a Heavyweight Title fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. That is the only real main event that makes sense. If there is one thing that casual fight fans love it is Heavyweights and it is title fights. Since the beginning of television, fans of combat sports have loved the big men, be it inside the squared-circle or inside the octagon, have loved to see the biggest men in sports go toe-to-toe. It also has the potential to be the Fight of the Night. Both men are known for the striking prowess, as well as their knockout power. Velasquez is known as the man who destroyed Brock Lesnar and took his title, while dos Santos is coming off of a destruction of Shane Carwin.

With the UFC 139 PPV only one week later, it wouldn’t really do much to either man’s training camps to move them up one week. However, this also opens up one more potential problem and that is what to do about UFC 139’s Main Event. The current co-main event is a Featherweight Number One Contender’s bout between Brian Bowles and Urijah Faber. That leaves a card with a Co-Main Event featuring a number one contender’s bout in a division that has not fared well in the ratings department. So what could the UFC fill that void with?

There are probably a lot of options for this kind of fight, but I’m going to suggest a fight that would probably actually do more PPV Buys than the current dos Santos/Velasquez fight. This is likely to be a bit more fantasy match-maker than anything, but hey we can dream right? How about Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem?

The Zuffa vs. Overeem saga has taken a number of twists and turns, but with the most recent turn of events in their negotiation saga, it sounds like the UFC may be close to striking a deal with the former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion. Overeem has already said that he wants to fight in the UFC and he wants an immediate title shot. I don’t think he should get an immediate title shot, but a win over Lesnar would give him legitimate claim to a UFC title shot. As for Lesnar, he just last week released a video that said he was back and cleared to resume training and wanted to get back to fighting. Dana White said that he anticipated a New Year’s Day return for Lesnar, but Lesnar is a company man and is a very big draw. If White and the UFC came calling to Lesnar to possibly speed up his return I believe that he would do so.

So what do you think? Would you like to see Lesnar take on Overeem? Do you want to see dos Santos vs. Velasquez for the Heavyweight title on free television? What would you do if you were the UFC?

Lee McGregor is a fan of all combat sports including both Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts. When not catching fights or watching hockey, he can be found as an Author and Editor at his own website MyManCave.ca

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Jon Fitch Is Irritated & Wants To Hurt Some People

July 22, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

UFC fighter Jon Fitch told MMACanada.net this week that he is angry at himself, the UFC, Nick Diaz, and just irritated in general. The irony here is that if Fitch fought with this same kind of aggression in the UFC, he probably would be a much more likeable fighter.

Jon Fitch is one of the most polarizing fighters in MMA. There is no denying his skills and the fact that he is one of the best fighters in the sport, arguably the second best overall in his division. Yet Fitch is undefeated in his last six fights and continues to be overlooked in championship fights. Needless to say, Fitch is angry and appears to be done playing Mr. Nice Guy.

For those of you that don’t know Fitch’s story, Fitch fought BJ Penn to a draw in his last fight at UFC 127. Fitch dominated the final round and most felt (not me for the record) that Fitch was robbed of a win. The winner was to determine the number one contender for the UFC welterweight championship. A hand injury canceled their rematch at UFC 132, delaying their fight until October. After agreeing on an October date with Penn, the UFC and Penn have moved on and scheduled Penn to fight Carlos Condit in October, leaving Jon Fitch on the outside looking in once again. Yeah, I may be a little angry myself.

According to Fitch in the interview, he was under the impression that everything was ready to go for a rematch. Fitch noted that he and Penn even agreed to stir it up on Twitter to sustain interest in their rematch. Fitch was surprised and “irritated” when he heard that Penn would instead be fighting Condit on October 29, saying he would have been ready for October or November. He does admit that he hasn’t been able to get medical clearance for the date, which is why the UFC refused to book the fight.

I never particularly liked Fitch as a fighter, but I like the guy I see in this interview. I think Fitch should do more interviews like this and show UFC fans how angry he is. Fitch mentioned in the interview that he was told in the past that he would be getting a title shot, only to have plans change without reason. There is certainly a story here that even his biggest critics can sink their teeth into.

One thing that won’t help Fitch is his continued stance on fighting teammates. It is one thing to say it behind closed doors, but he continues to anger critics when he just outright refuses to fight Josh Koscheck. This is obviously a reason that the UFC is afraid to book him in a championship fight. Fitch says he would rather murder someone than fight his teammate. Now he just sounds downright stupid.

The UFC and Jon Fitch have had a very tenuous relationship over the last few years. UFC president Dana White actually cut Fitch in 2008 because Fitch refused to sign his name and likeness over to the UFC. Of course this all got resolved, but White has been “irritated” at Fitch’s refusal to fight Koscheck. Fitch told White at a press conference that the only way that the fight would happen would be in a gym, to which White respondedThat fight would make a lot of money.”

Which made it kind of odd to hear Fitch tell the interviewer he was offended when Nick Diaz insulted the UFC because he is a “UFC guy.” I don’t know if that loyalty has ever been reciprocated by the organization.

Fitch is also not shy about his “love” for Nick Diaz. To put it mildly, he can’t stand him. The interviewer asks him about a potential fight in which Fitch responds, “we’ll fight.” He also says that he doesn’t think Nick Diaz is a complete fighter because of his lack of takedown defense. Well, he is a lot more colorful when he breaks down his analysis of Diaz.

With Penn, Condit, Diaz, and GSP all booked up, he thinks that Martin Kampmann is his next likely opponent. That could be a real fun fight but until he gets doctor’s clearance, he can only sit back and wait.

Jon Fitch is upset and he is letting people know. I don’t know if he ever gets back to Georges St-Pierre, but GSP made some really interesting comments about Fitch. Even though GSP dominated Fitch in their first fight, he called Fitch his toughest opponent. He said Fitch was “unkillable.”

Words like that and interviews like this could turn a boring rematch on paper into a must-see fight in 2012.

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Jon Fitch Out, Carlos Condit In Vs. BJ Penn At UFC 137

July 12, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

It appears that I was in the minority of UFC fans excited to see a BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch rematch. The rematch is officially off because the UFC felt fans weren’t interested and will now offer up Penn vs. Carlos Condit at UFC 137.

I must say that I am real disappointed in the news. I can’t understand how any fan wouldn’t be interested in seeing BJ Penn vs. Fitch matchup again after their draw. Penn did tire out in the third round but fought an exciting fight for the better part of two rounds. I was even more intrigued with the idea of making the fight a main-event with two additional rounds. How could anyone not be interested in that?

According to Penn on Twitter, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva called the fight off. Penn and Jon Fitch had a fun series of tweets back and forth over the last week about the rematch. Unfortunately the Twitter fun ended with Penn breaking Fitch’s heart.

Ill be good in oct. lets settle it. RT @bjpenndotcom: @jonfitchdotnet Please stop flooding my twitter with this monkey business. @danawhite@jonfitchdotnet

(In response to a fan’s five-round request) @bjpenndotcom @jonfitchdotnet @danawhite Yeah make it 5 rounds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!@jonfitchdotnet

@jonfitchdotnet @danawhite October is perfect. I’m in@bjpenndotcom

Its on. RT @bjpenndotcom: @jonfitchdotnet still waiting for your reply about October… or was that just a publicity stunt? -@jonfitchdotnet

@jonfitchdotnet Nice!!! (:@bjpenndotcom

Sadly this fun war of Twitter words came to an end on July 11 when BJ Penn gave Jon Fitch and 115,000 Twitter followers the bad news.

@jonfitchdotnet tried to make it happen but Joe Silva said “the fans don’t want it & I’m not interested”. Not much more I can do on my end@bjpenndotcom

Fitch seemed pretty surprised. @bjpenndotcom sounds like the fans want it to me. Either way we will meet again.@jonfitchdotnet

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UFC welterweight Carlos Condit wasted no time crowbarring himself into the mix through the social realm of Twitter. Condit immediate issued a challenge to Penn upon hearing the news.

The people have spoken @bjpenndotcom, they want to see us scrap, let’s give em what they asked for - @CarlosCondit

What people? I can’t say that I talk to every UFC fan in the world nor follow every MMA forum online but I can’t recall anyone ever speaking up about a Carlos Condit vs. BJ Penn fight. Regardless, Penn was quick to accept.

@CarlosCondit Yup. Let’s do it! October 29th@bjpenndotcom

Fitch seemed more disappointed than anyone after Penn accepted Condit’s challenge. @bjpenndotcom you broke my heart, I thought you were a man of principle.@jonfitchdotnet

Dave Meltzer reported on his F4Wonline.com podcast that the fight has not been signed, although verbal agreements are apparently in place. Meltzer also reported that the plans are to book Condit vs. Penn on the UFC 137: St-Pierre vs. Diaz event with the winner getting the Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz winner in the next UFC welterweight championship fight.

A couple of things here right off the top of my head. One, the prospect of Penn cutting promos on GSP leading into another fight is enough to get me excited about this whole idea. Two, I think GSP would destroy Penn again in a third fight. Three, it would be interesting to see Diaz vs. Penn in a battle of two Gracie students. Four, what is weird is just a few days ago Dana White tweeted a smile to Penn and Fitch during their back and forth on Twitter in regards to a five round fight. Five, don’t hold your breath for that Anderson Silva vs. GSP fight.

Six, this smells like a big conspiracy to keep Jon Fitch out of the championship picture. It is obvious when you hear Dana White talk about Fitch that he doesn’t like him. Fitch isn’t known for having exciting fights. White and Silva have done everything they could to keep Fitch away from another title shot at GSP. Any other fighter that went undefeated in six straight fights against the division’s best would have had a rematch by now. I just don’t buy that all of the sudden more fans are excited about seeing Condit vs. Penn than a Penn vs. Fitch rematch. Not for a second.

Let’s be honest here and call a spade a spade. The UFC is a business and recent reports indicate that the business is way down for 2011 to the tune of almost 25%. The UFC like any other sport is a star driven business and GSP or Nick Diaz vs. BJ Penn will sell a lot more pay per views than either vs. Fitch. I get it, but it doesn’t necessarily make it right.

The Penn vs. Condit fight will also add a little more intrigue to the Diaz vs. GSP fight. If Penn does win as he should, the fans will go nuts seeing him walk into the octagon and call out GSP or Diaz after the fight. Penn may be on the decline on the fighter but he is one of the biggest stars of the sport and his rivalry with GSP is well known. It is a very smart business move by the UFC.

Of course a Condit win ruins everything and as we all know anything can happen in MMA, and usually does in the UFC.


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Matt Hughes Vs. Diego Sanchez Official For UFC 135

July 08, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

A long rumored UFC welterweight clash is now official. Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes vs. The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 winner Diego Sanchez is signed and the UFC will deliver the fight at UFC 135 on September 24.

This is certainly one of the more interesting fights on remaining 2011 UFC calendar. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a must-win fight for either guy. I think that term is thrown out way too often and is just more drama than reality in most cases. But for Diego Sanchez, he will be doing a lot of soul searching if he can’t put away the aging Hughes.

About the only thing that these two warriors have in common other than weight is the fact that they were both recently dominated by former UFC champion BJ Penn (both also have finished Joe Riggs but those fights were years ago). Penn rocked Hughes in 0:21 of their fight while Penn took Sanchez deep into the fifth round before the doctor stopped the fight due to a nasty cut. Other than being owned by Penn there aren’t a whole lot of similarities between them.

I think that Matt Hughes has nothing to lose at this point in his career. Hughes put together a three-fight winning streak from 2009-10 after being demolished in back to back fights by Georges St-Pierre and Thiago Alves. I don’t think anyone expected him to beat GSP but the Alves loss was a fight that I still have a big problem with. Alves missed the weight cut yet Hughes took the fight anyway. Alves looked like he had 20-30 pounds on Hughes so I have a real hard time taking much away from that fight other than Hughes made a bad decision taking it.

Just as I don’t take much out of his loss to Alves, I don’t take anything out of the Renzo Gracie win he had back at UFC 112. I have always found Matt Serra to be highly overrated (and annoying) and Hughes was a big favorite, but it was a nice win nonetheless. On the flip side, his win over Ricardo Almeida took everyone by surprise. Hughes was an underdog going in and the win revitalized what looked like an embarrassing end to a storied career. Unfortunately reality set in when he fought Penn.

Sanchez is another guy I have always liked. How can you not after those wars with Clay Guida and Martin Kampmann? Sanchez is currently riding a two-fight winning streak, something he hasn’t been able to do in a long time. With back to back wins over Kampmann and Hughes, Sanchez would have to find himself in the championship mix of the division.

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I couldn’t imagine Sanchez getting cut with a loss, so I won’t label it a must-win in that sense for Sanchez. However, between both fighters, Sanchez definitely needs this fight more. A win over Hughes could put Sanchez back into the title picture. He already has a history with Nick Diaz (and recently called him out on Twitter)  and won a unanimous decision over the former Strikeforce champ in 2005 giving Sanchez his biggest career win at the time.

Against GSP, well I don’t think he would have much of a prayer. Although I do think it would be a fun fight.

I love Matt Hughes but a Hughes win would really screw up the division. You can’t put Hughes back into the championship mix after the way he was destroyed by Penn. He’d need another win or two before that happens. He will be 38 in October and I can’t imagine him doing much over the next couple of years. A win from Hughes takes Sanchez out of the top mix and keeps the division just as stale as it was before UFC 135.

I am going to go with Sanchez for an early pick. I just think he is too quick for Hughes. If Hughes has lost anything over the last couple of years it would be his reflexes. He can hang with fighters like Renzo Gracie and Matt Serra who have feet of stone. But against speedy fighters like Sanchez and even Penn, he will struggle. Sanchez isn’t a finisher so I wouldn’t expect it here. I think Sanchez wins a long, and maybe even boring decision over the former champion.

Jon Jones vs. Rampage Jackson for the UFC light heavyweight championship is expected to headline the event.

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Top 20 Biggest Upsets In MMA History

June 21, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

I don’t think it gets much more exciting in MMA than seeing a big upset. There is something about seeing an upset that electrifies a live crowd and can put you on the edge of your couch at home in seconds. Today I look back at twenty of the biggest upsets in MMA history.

All of these upsets were based on odds and reputation coming into the fight. Yes, in hindsight years later some of these wins weren’t exactly big upsets after all. However, at the time the handicapping of the fight prior to the event told a much different story. It is hard to believe seeing Tim Sylvia fight today that anyone would consider the loss to Randy Couture an upset, however the MMA community thought much different at the time as an example of what I am talking about.

So today in no particular order I go back through relatively recent history in and outside of the UFC and take a look back at some of the most exciting MMA upsets history. Keep in mind that I am putting these fights in no particular order of importance because let’s face it, an upset is an upset no matter how big or small the win is.

One last thing. Keep in mind how some of these fighters rebounded after their upset loss. Some came back stronger while others like many on the list never recovered. As big as the win is for the underdog, the loss could be absolutely traumatic for the loser and I think that is why we love upsets so much in MMA.

Joe Lauzon knocks out Jens Pulver September 23, 2006 - The home coming for Jens Pulver turned into a star-making night for his counterpart. Pulver was returning to the UFC for the first time in over four years and this fight was meant to be a showcase for the former champion. Instead, Pulver was looking up at the lights 0:47 seconds later.

Forrest Griffin chokes out Shogun Rua September 22, 2007 - Rua came in with all of the videos and hype from Pride FC. The UFC 76 odds had Griffin as a +250 underdog to Rua who was a -300 favorite. Rua came out strong early but Griffin held his own and gained confidence throughout the fight. Rua cut Griffin badly in the second round from an elbow but Forrest continued to fight back. Rua appeared to be gassed by the middle of round two and started to fade. Griffin came out inspired in the third round and caught Rua with a rear naked choke for the win with less than a minute to go in the fight for the upset.

Randy Couture defeats Chuck Liddell via TKO June 6, 2003 - Chuck Liddell had been blowing through the competition and was due a UFC light heavyweight title shot at Tito Ortiz. Instead of fighting Liddell, Ortiz left the UFC as champion to make a movie. Needing a big name and an easy win for Liddell, the UFC looked to Randy Couture. Couture moved down for the first time in his career after it appeared that the heavyweights were just too big for Captain America. With Ortiz in limbo, the UFC set up an interim title match and what was supposed to be the official crowning of the Iceman.

This fight was set up for Chuck Liddell to win and I don’t think anyone in their right mind expected Couture to even hang with Liddell, who had accumulated 10 straight wins. The Iceman was coming off a first round knockout win over Renato Sobral against Couture’s two straight losses at heavyweight. Couture was also just days away from his 40th birthday.

Couture did what no other man was able to do in the UFC against Liddell and that was take him down at will. Couture would smother the Iceman with takedown after takedown frustrating the heavy handed light heavyweight. Couture also won the striking battle against Liddell. Whether it was frustration or exhaustion, Liddell was getting just as outclassed on his feet as he was on the ground. The Natural eventually opened up an onslaught of ground and pound on Liddell in the third round that wound up ending Liddell’s 10-fight win streak

Nick Diaz taps out Takanori Gomi February 24, 2007 - After four years in the UFC, Diaz left the company for Pride Fighting Championships. Pride FC wasted no time putting together one of the most anticipated fights in MMA between Diaz and lightweight champion Gomi in a non-title fight.

Diaz was a heavy underdog with +317 odds to Gomi’s +347 odds. The fight was arguably the 2007 Fight of the Year with just brutal back and forth action. Gomi got a quick take down early but it was a different fight when they went to their feet. Diaz just peppered Gomi on the back and forth attacks with an onslaught of strikes. The end of the first round saw Gomi looking desperate and confused as Diaz walked back to the corner confident and cocky.

The second round saw Diaz come out fired up. Takanori Gomi opened up a cut under Diaz’s eye that saw blood pouring out of the face of Diaz. It got so bad that the ringside physician had to step in and examine Diaz. Diaz was cleared. After being dominated in the stand up game, Gomi took Diaz down. Unfortunately Gomi wound up in Diaz’s guard and shortly thereafter was tapping out to a Gogplata in one of the most exciting fights in Pride FC history.

Unfortunately Diaz showed up positive for marijuana in the pre-fight drug test and the fight was later ruled a no-contest.

Robert Berry knocks out Ken Shamrock on March 8, 2008 - Who, yes that Robert Berry..wait a second who? The MMA community knew that Ken Shamrock was done after being battered by Tito Ortiz in two straight fights, although Shamrock never got that memo. Shamrock’s first fight outside of the UFC was supposed to be one of his many comebacks. The only place that Shamrock came back to was the loss column.

Arguably Shamrock’s lowest moment came when he was knocked out by a journeyman MMA fighter at Cage Rage 25. The fight was stopped and Berry was awarded a TKO win 3:26 into the first round against the former WWE intercontinental champion. Shamrock went into the fight as a -220 favorite.

Frank Mir submits Brock Lesnar February 2, 2008 – This was Lesnar’s UFC debut and let me tell you, the UFC weren’t shy about promoting Lesnar’s WWE past. A collection of WWE stars right out of Legends of WrestleMania were show in the building throughout the night building a WWE vs. UFC theme for the fight. Lesnar was even announced as a former WWE champion with old wrestling footage to boot. It was certainly quite a spectacle indeed.

What I remember most about this fight is that in the weeks leading up to it and in my writings on phillyburbs.com I never believed Lesnar could beat Frank Mir. I thought Mir was too experienced here and that Lesnar would go into the fight over confident. I remember getting into several arguments with callers on my radio show about it, yet I didn’t think it was a huge revelation. Well, in this case I was right.

Lesnar bull rushed Mir and opened up with the same ferocity he unleashed against Kim. Lesnar dropped Mir pretty quickly and the Las Vegas crowd went nuts. Could an inexperienced athlete beat a credentialed former UFC champion in his second fight? Nope. Mir was too smart for him and caught Lesnar with a kneebar. Mir showed a lot of guts looking for a spot as strikes rained down on his head. Mir tapped Lesnar in 90 seconds to a stunned crowd. Was Lesnar exposed as a fraud or did he just need more time to learn? The MMA world would find out six months later.

Fabricio Werdum taps out Fedor Emelianenko June 26, 2010 - He is human after all. Fabricio Werdum tapped out Fedor Emelianenko and shocked the world at Strikeforce. This was the first loss for Fedor Emelianenko since the blood stoppage in 2000 and arguably the biggest upset in MMA history. Even more shocking is that the win came seconds into the fight via tap.

Fedor Emelianenko engaged Fabricio Werdum and hit him with a flurry of strikes. Fabricio went down and Fedor went after him. I immediately thought that this was a terrible move for Fedor. The story going into the fight was that Fabricio had the superior BJJ game and if it went to the ground, Fedor could be in trouble. It went to the ground and Fedor was in trouble. Fabricio immediately caught him in a triangle, trapped Fedor, and tapped the Last Emperor for the first loss of his career (unless you count the blood stoppage in 2000).

The loss was the first of Fedor’s career and supports many critics who thought that Fedor was overrated the last few years. While Fedor was routinely ranked as the best MMA fighter in the sport, critics cited Fedor’s lack of competition as reason why he shouldn’t be ranked highly. It has been almost five years since Fedor has fought quality competition and it looks like there was something to it.

Antonio Silva defeats Fedor Emelianenko via TKO February 13, 2011 - As dramatic as Fedor’s last loss to Fabricio Werdum was, this one was huge. Fedor was a 5-1 favorite coming into the fight on most books. Silva vs. Fedor was thought by most as an easy first round fight for Fedor. Most MMA fans were already talking Overeem vs. Fedor in the semi finals way before the bell even rang on this one. This was a fight that Fedor had to win.

Fedor looked great early on in the fight. Fedor came out swinging while Silva looked scared at times to engage. Silva started countering and nailed Fedor with a beautiful jab which backed up the Last Emperor. It appeared to me that it was at this moment that Silva started to gain confidence and get aggressive. Fedor continued to swing for the fences yet at the same time leave himself wide open for counters.

Round 2 was a different story and one of the most dramatic rounds I have seen since Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen. Big Foot Silva dominated Fedor and was just beating him ferociously with strikes. In my opinion, if it wasn’t Fedor the fight would have been stopped as he looked defenseless at one point with Silva just dropping strikes from the mount. Silva clamped on an arm-head choke at one point and it looked like it was over. Somehow Fedor escaped and the crowd went crazy.

To me, it looked like Silva had punched himself out at this point. Silva just sat on top of Fedor for the remainder of the round, went for a kneebar, but was reversed. As the round ended I was fairly confident that Silva had blown himself up and Round 3 was going to be a much different story. Unfortunately there was no Round 3.

It was a real shame as this fight was turning into a classic. Fedor Emilenanko was dominated and on the brink of submission several times yet ended the round in a somewhat dominant position and looked ready for war. Knowing he needed a knockout to win, I think it would have been an electrifying third round and the conclusion of a classic either way. Yet make no mistake, it should have been stopped as Fedor’s eye was closed shut.

Pete Williams knocks out Mark Coleman May 15, 1998 - Mark Coleman was a wrecking machine during this time period. He just came off his first career loss to Maurice Smith, but Pete Williams was not Maurice Smith. Coleman took a year off and was thought to be coming back with a vengeance. Coleman was a heavy favorite in this fight. Williams was a replacement for Randy Couture who was injured training for the fight.

Coleman was strong, a great wrestler, decent striker, but he was huge…too huge for a long grueling fight with an MMA fighter. Williams capitalized on Coleman’s fatigue after about ten minutes and just pounded away at a defenseless former champion. Williams took advantage of his immobile target by nailing him with a kick to the face that dropped the big man in his spot. Williams’ win is still regarded as one of the biggest upsets in MMA history.

Randy Couture defeats Tim Sylvia for the UFC heavyweight title March 3, 2007 - When I wrote my blog about Couture retiring I referred to this fight as overrated. I still think some people look back at this fight as more monumental than it really was to the overall history of the UFC. However in terms of Randy Couture, it was certainly one of the biggest nights of his career and arguably the most memorable.

The fight is one of those fights that you will never forget if you watched it live. At 44 years of age, Couture came in as an underdog, although not as big as history would like you to believe. Couture was in retirement and coming off of knockout losses in his last two of three fights. He had not even fought at heavyweight for five years. The champion Tim Sylvia had 12 years, 7 inches, and about 100 pounds on Couture so the visual was quite an intimidating picture.

Couture dominated Sylvia in the fight and took down the big man like he was James Toney. Couture rocked Sylvia with a punch early and the place just went wild. The crowd went into an absolute frenzy with every takedown and Couture just continued to school Sylvia for five rounds. As a fight it was fairly one-sided although the crowd reactions made this a very exciting fight. It was a huge win and a tremendous comeback for a guy that was ready to ride off into retirement a few months earlier.

Frankie Edgar defeats BJ Penn April 10, 2010 - Frankie Edgar shocked the world and handed BJ Penn his first loss in the division since 2002, becoming the UFC lightweight champion. To some this was an upset, to others there was nothing surprising about the performance of Frankie Edgar.

BJ Penn walked into UFC 112 as a -700 favorite on the Vegas sports books going into his match against Frankie Edgar. In my UFC 112 preview, I wrote that I felt that the match was much closer than the betting odds indicated. While I didn’t expect Edgar to win the match, I knew it was going to be anything but an easy night for BJ Penn.

Frankie Edgar had a brilliant game plan. Edgar stuck and moved for five rounds with constant head movement which confused the champion for 30 minutes. BJ Penn was never able to corner Edgar and impose his will with strikes or ground and pound. Edgar never stopped moving and confused Penn with movements, strikes, and takedown attempts for all five rounds. Penn was obviously frustrated going into the championship rounds.

I don’t think there is any question that Ray Mercer knocking out Tim Sylvia in 9 seconds is the biggest MMA upset of all-time. Yet, it was not the only big upset in MMA history. Mercer’s win inspired me to look back at some of the most exciting upsets in Mixed-Martial Arts.

My first exposure to MMA was the hybrid pro wrestling/MMA company UWF. I loved the quick kicks and fast wrestling. That said, my interest in MMA goes back about 20 years. Rather than go through 20 years of MMA, I figured I’d just take a look at strictly upsets that ended in knockouts or TKO over the last few years.

Keith Jardine defeating Chuck Liddell September 22, 2007 - Keith Jardine just came off a knockout loss to Houston Alexander. After being knocked out in less than a minute, the Dean of Mean looked like easy pickings for the Iceman who had never suffered back to back losses in his career.

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This was supposed to be an easy fight for Liddell before getting a title shot. Liddell was dominated from the opening bell. This was the first time Liddell had gone the distance in five years. Jardine just picked him apart for three dominating rounds. Jardine got the win via a split decision and hasn’t done much since.

Gabriel Gonzaga knocks out Mirko Cro Cop April 21, 2007 - This was an undercard fight at UFC 70. At the time, Cro Cop had just come over from PRIDE FC where he was one of the most dominant heavyweights in the world. Cro Cop was signed with the intention of a big money match with UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture.

This was Cro Cop’s second fight in UFC. I think the reason Brock Lesnar got a title shot in his third UFC fight was because of this upset right here. On paper, this was supposed to be an easy setup for Cro Cop. However, most people forget that Gonzaga was 3-0 at the time and would have been in line for Couture if not for Cro Cop’s signing.

Cro Cop nailed Gonzaga with a roundhouse kick early. It looked like it was over. However, Gonzaga responded with a rare Cro Cop takedown. Gonzaga surprisingly dominated Cro Cop on the ground. The finish was predictable, roundhouse kick to the head for a brutal knockout. The only difference was it was Gonzaga delivering the fatal blow to the most dangerous kicker in MMA. Cro Cop hasn’t been the same since.

Matt Serra knocks out Georges St-Pierre April 7, 2007 - UFC 69 was headlined by St-Pierre’s first defense of the UFC welterweight title. St-Pierre would be defending against Matt Serra. Serra earned the shot by winning The Ultimate Fighter. Serra was a tremendous underdog considering the fact that he barely won his last match and St. Pierre just destroyed Matt Hughes.

I remember how much I hated the fact that Serra was getting the fight. I hated Serra on The Ultimate Fighter. He was a big mouth who hadn’t done anything. Even his final match went to a controversial decision. I had no interest in seeing such a lopsided match.

This is why nothing is ever a given in UFC. St-Pierre likely felt as I and others did. He took Serra lightly. St. Pierre looked like he was toying with Serra. Serra caught him with a punch that rocked him. Serra seized the moment, mounted St-Pierre, and unleashed a barrage of punches. Serra got the win and the UFC welterweight title. Over four years later this is arguably remembered as the biggest upset in UFC history.

St-Pierre subsequently destroyed Serra in their rematch one-year later.

Seth Petruzzelli knocks out Kimbo Slice October 4, 2008 - I hesitated putting this one on the list. However, due to Kimbo’s hype it at the time this has to be considered one of the biggest upsets in MMA history, in addition to airing on CBS. Petruzzelli was a very last minute replacement for Ken Shamrock who got cut warming up for the fight.

I hesitated because on paper, this is exactly the result that should have happened. Kimbo was a product of a hype machine coming off of his fights on You Tube. Elite made him their star attraction. Kimbo rolled through his first fights, yet had a lot of trouble in his previous fight with James Thompson.

There is still a lot of mystery to this fight. Petruzelli at one point claimed he was paid extra not to take Kimbo down. Regardless, Petruzelli was an experienced MMA fighter. Petruzelli was 9-4 going into the fight, including a win over Dan Severn in 2004. If it wasn’t for the Kimbo-hype, Petruzelli would have been an easy favorite going into the fight.

The fight was over in 0:14 seconds. A right hand by Petruzelli put the star of Elite XC on the ground for the knockout. Not only did Petruzelli knock out Kimbo Slice, but he knocked out Elite XC. After word got out that Petruzelli may have been paid not to take Kimbo down, Elite’s world came crashing down faster than Kimbo Slice.

UFC president Dana White said this after the fight. “What has the guy done to deserve to be in the UFC? Nothing. I don’t consider him a real athlete or anything. He won’t win The Ultimate Fighter. The offer is out there if he wants to take it and he won’t win it. I might put a heavyweight show together just for him.”

Kimbo Slice entered the UFC in 2010 as a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter – The Heavyweights. He was eliminated in the first round of the tournament.

Dan Henderson knocks out Wanderlei Silva February 24, 2007 – This was the main-event at PRIDE FC’s second and last United States show. PRIDE FC 33: The Second Coming featured two of the biggest upsets in MMA history. Earlier that night Nick Diaz beat Takanori Gori.

This was a rematch between Henderson and Silva. Silva defeated Henderson in their first match. What you need to keep in mind is how great of a fighter Silva was at this time. Silva was one of the fiercest fighters on the planet. Silva came into the fight with 21 knockout wins.

Henderson was known as a great fighter, but too small to beat a great light heavyweight. Even with Henderson’s credentials, nobody ever saw him as a dangerous knockout artist. This was a great match on paper which was expected to end in a knockout for Silva.

It should be noted that Wanderlei was coming off a knockout loss to Mirko Cro Cop. However, most MMA fans chalked it up to the weight difference and the fact that Cro Cop was best of the fighters in the world. This was not going to be easy, yet Wanderlei was expected to easily handle Henderson.

Henderson had two knockout wins in the past six-years leading up to the fight. Henderson had made statements before the fight indicating that he’d be looking for the knockout. Henderson dominated Silva with knees and ground and pound in Round 1

Silva came out in the second round and tried to turn it into a slugfest. Silva pressed with kicks and punches, yet Henderson continued to counter. Henderson set up a spinning back fist beautifully which rocked Silva. Henderson followed up with a combination of strikes that knocked out the PRIDE FC middleweight champion for the win.

Ray Mercer knocks out Tim Sylvia June 13, 2009 - I don’t think an upset can get much bigger than a former UFC heavyweight champion getting knocked out by a 48-year-old former boxing heavyweight champion in under 10 seconds. That is what happened at Adrenaline III: Bragging Rights when Tim Sylvia took on Ray Mercer.

It should be noted that there were a lot of legal issues going into the fight. It was originally promoted as a boxing event. The event was forced to change the fight to an MMA match. Keep in mind that after changing this to an MMA match, one writer commented, “in a mixed martial arts bout, this could be the biggest mismatch since Hong-Man Choi vs. Jose Canseco.” – MMANews.com Ouch!

Randy Couture’s win doesn’t seem all that impressive now does it?

Chad Griggs defeats Bobby Lashley via TKO August 10, 2010 - The funny thing about MMA mismatches is that they don’t always go as planned. Bobby Lashley’s MMA career came to a halt in Houston after picking one mismatch too many. Chad Griggs never got the memo and handed Bobby Lashley his first MMA loss at Strikeforce: Houston.

After the announcement of Bobby Lashley vs. Chad Griggs, I let loose on a scathing blog here on the website. Bobby Lashley hasn’t fought a quality opponent in his entire two and a half year MMA career. After a few interviews where he talked about wanting to fight competition, specifically Brock Lesnar and some guy named Fedor, Lashley signed to fight Chad Griggs. Griggs had not fought since the spring of 2009 and didn’t even have a picture on his own Wikipedia page. Here we go again with the Bobby Lashley circus.

Well something happened at Strikeforce: Houston. Chad Griggs fought back. Unlike other Lashley opponents who mysteriously all froze when taken down, Griggs continued to fight. Lashley dominated the early portion of the fight but seemed to tire quickly. Griggs never went away, caught a tired Lashley and the fight was stopped at the end of the second round. The bloom was off the rose and Bobby Lashley was officially exposed as an MMA fraud.

Bobby Lashley has only fought once since, a controversial decision over John Ott that highlighted his questionable cardio while Griggs used the win to launch a successful comeback and has gone 2-0 since the fight, recently upsetting Valentijin Overeem in Dallas.

Kazushi Sakuraba defeats Royce Gracie May 1, 2000 - At the time this was considered the biggest upset in MMA history. Royce Gracie was a legend and left the UFC with the “Gracie Myth” still intact. This was Gracie’s second fight since leaving the UFC and he was expected to roll through Sakuraba just as he did Sakuraba’s mentor, Nobuhiko T akada a few months earlier.

Nobody expected a former pro wrestler to be the man to end Royce Gracie’s winning streak. Gracie’s streak of never losing a fight was either 13 or in the 100s if you listened to the hype. That is why the fans went nuts when Gracie was caught in knee bars early in the fight and it appeared he was in big trouble as the fight progressed.

This classic fight came to an end after 90 minutes of brutality. Gracie was just getting brutalized with leg kicks, but wouldn’t quit. Neither man looked like they were any closer to ending the fight than they were 90 minutes prior. Gracie could no longer stand up after suffering a broken femur and his brother threw in the towel. Sakuraba won the fight and became an instant legend in Japan.

BJ Penn submits Matt Hughes January 31, 2004 - While Penn would later go on and become something of a legend, Matt Hughes was the legend at this time. Hughes had run through all of the competition at welterweight in the UFC and was considered unbeatable. That was until he fought BJ Penn.

BJ Penn was no slouch coming into the fight. Penn had only suffered one loss in his MMA career, but unfortunately came up short in a draw against UFC lightweight champion Caol Uno. Due to the lack of competition for Hughes at welterweight, Penn decided to move up in weight and debut in the new weight class against the champ.

Hughes was extremely confident coming into the fight. “After that first round, he’ll walk back to his corner, and he’ll know he made a mistake…I will break him in the first round“. Unfortunately he never had that chance because the fight ended in the first round. After a battle for position on the ground, Penn got Hughes’ back and choked out the champ for the win and the welterweight UFC title.

Honorable Mention: Forrest Griffin defeats Rampage Jackson for the UFC light heavyweight title July 5, 2008 - Rampage Jackson was cocky, confident, and extremely arrogant coming into this fight. Not much has changed right? The two fighters first opposed each other on The Ultimate Fighter which saw Griffin’s team dominate.

Jackson came into the fight off of back to back wins over Chuck Liddell and Dan Henderson. Rampage looked unstoppable. Griffin on the other hand only had one big win on his record, a third round upset over Shogun Rua almost a year earlier. It was a nice story but nobody expected this kind of ending.

Griffin just dominated Jackson for five full rounds, obliterating him with leg kick after leg kick. Jackson had no answer for the kicks, nor did he do much to protect himself. Jackson appeared to only have one thing in mind which was to knock Griffin out. However, the leg kicks kept Jackson at a distance and he never had the opportunity to engage. Griffin won a five round decision over the champion and the loss sent Jackson over the edge, almost ending his MMA career.

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Updated – Showtime Reportedly Blocks Nick Diaz vs. GSP Fight

May 30, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

One week ago it appeared that all worlds were heading towards a Nick Diaz vs. Georges St-Pierre Strikeforce vs. UFC Super Fight. Seven days later it is a dead deal and you can thank Showtime for robbing MMA fans of one of the most anticipated fights of 2011.

MMA reporter Dave Meltzer reported on his podcast over the weekend that Strikeforce’s agreement with Showtime is to blame for the failed Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz falling through. According to Melzter, Showtime was not a big fan of watching one of its biggest MMA draws potentially dismantled by the UFC champion.

For such a big story, I am really surprised it hasn’t gotten any play at all on the major MMA websites at press time. This is bigger than the failed GSP vs. Diaz fight in that it is practically an assurance that it will be a long time before Dana White has the option to make any big Strikeforce vs. UFC fights. This is a real bummer for many MMA fans who were hoping to see some of those fights in 2012.

Dana White mentioned the Strikeforce agreement with Showtime as a potential holdup in making fights back when Zuffa, LLC purchased Strikeforce. However, both White and former Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker have said in recent weeks that they both felt that the fights could be made now. Coker told reporters that he didn’t think anything in the current Strikeforce contracts would prohibit interpromotional fights from happening back in April. White also said recently that he could “do whatever he wants”, when asked about contracts preventing a Diaz vs. St-Pierre fight.

This also may explain the random pairing of Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs. Michael Bisping on The Ultimate Fighter 14. Several MMA writers including Melzter, reported over the last week that all signs were pointing to a GSP vs. Diaz TUF 14 with a fight the following week at UFC 140. White has repeatedly shot down those rumors, but there is definitely some smoke to this fire. Miller was scheduled to fight this weekend at UFC 130 and was pulled from his fight over the last few days which tells me that this decision was something that the UFC and Spike just made within the last week.

All of the pieces to this crazy puzzle were falling into place for the Diaz vs. GSP fight up until it was officially nixed by Showtime. Again, White told reporters that he was interested in making the fight following UFC 129. On May 19 Diaz met with Dana White at the UFC’s headquarters. Two days later a press release states that Nick Diaz has pulled out of his scheduled September boxing match with Jeff Lacey because Diaz has taken an MMA fight. Sports books were already releasing odds on the fight when White became suddenly adamant last week that Diaz vs. GSP was not happening. Meltzer’s news explains everything.

I think Showtime is making a huge mistake here. Win or lose, Nick Diaz would become an even bigger ratings draw with a high profile fight against Georges St-Pierre. I could understand nixing The Ultimate Fighter for fear of overexposure but Diaz would have shined in the promotion leading up to the fight and introduced himself to a new sphere of UFC fans. Additionally, Showtime would have had more eyes watching their biggest MMA star in a fight against GSP than they would anywhere else. Talk about great advertising! Diaz could just as easily lose in his next fight on Showtime as he could against GSP! This is a big mistake and I say this not as a disappointed fan, but as an objective blogger.

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So the UFC fans won’t be seeing Gilbert Melendez vs. Frankie Edgar, Alistair Overeem vs. Cain Velasquez, King Mo vs. Rampage Jackson, or Fedor Emelianenko against a UFC fighter anytime soon. Fans will have to wait until their contracts are up and hope that the UFC can re-sign the fighters to UFC deals. Dan Henderson will be a free agent following his upcoming fight with Fedor so my guess is that win or lose, Henderson will be the first Strikeforce champion to fight in the UFC.

I suppose the UFC can play a dicey game with Strikeforce fighters if they are adamant about matching one of its Strikeforce fighters against a UFC fighter. I am certainly not a lawyer but I imagine that the UFC can cut the fighter, releasing him of all Strikeforce obligations and sign him back up for a UFC deal. I don’t think that is the game Dana White wants to play right now, but I wouldn’t put it past him if things get ugly.

Dana White is also adamant that Georges St-Pierre won’t be fighting in Montreal on UFC 140. Is he fighting sooner or taking the rest of the year off? A recent column quoted sources in GSP’s camp that said the champ wants to fight again as soon as possible. If that is the case and Nick Diaz is off of the table, who do you even match up against GSP? If Nate Marquardt wins his next fight at welterweight on Versus maybe him? Rick Story looked great at UFC 130 but I would think that he’d need a bigger win to get a title shot. B.J. Penn is a name and with his hatred for GSP, he could certainly sell interest in a third match. I just don’t think that is the direction the UFC wants to go before Penn can get past Fitch.

Scott Coker said over the weekend at UFC 130 that Nick Diaz’s next fight would be a Strikeforce welterweight title defense on Showtime. Maybe put GSP in a mask, call him the Midnight Rider, and give the fans the fight the fans want to see?

Well, maybe if this was pro wrestling.

Update: Nick Diaz signed a new contract this week with Zuffa that allows him to fight in both the UFC and Strikeforce. The UFC immediately announce GSP vs. Nick Diaz at UFC 137 making the fight official. Read all about it here.

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