Subscribe

UFC Targets Two Big Fights For The Fall

June 12, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos SantosWe aren’t even into summer yet and the UFC is moving ahead with some big fall plans. According to several reports, two big championship fights are heading your way and the UFC has tentative dates for both headline fights.

The first big and I do mean big fight will head to Toronto, Canada on September 22. The UFC have targeted UFC 152 to hold the highly anticipated Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez UFC heavyweight championship rematch. The fight will be supported underneath in the co-main event with BJ Penn returning to the octagon to fight Canadian Rory MacDonald.

The second big championship fight will touch down on November 3 at UFC 154 also in Canada, specifically Montreal. Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will return after a lengthy hiatus to defend (or challenge) his belt against UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit. The date is tentative as GSP is still recovering from a torn ACL. Johny Hendricks vs. Martin Kampmann will support in the semi-main event.

These are two huge fights and the UFC will close the year out with big numbers thanks to these two headline fights. In my opinion the Dos Santos vs. Velasquez rematch will be the biggest fight of the year and could rival UFC 100 for the top buy rate spot. 5.7 million people tuned in to Fox to watch their first fight. Over 500,000 people paid to watch their last fights on the UFC 146 event recently. There are a lot of people who know who these fighters are, have watched both knock out opponents, and appreciate the rivalry. I don’t think there is any other fight on the books right now that can rival this series.

The tipping point in my mind is Cain Velasquez’s brutal TKO victory over Big Foot Silva at UFC 146. Fight fans love a great heavyweight fight, especially when it comes to two sluggers. Fans expect to see a knock out here and if they expect heavy hands, they will buy the fight. This one has the makings of an all-time classic when it comes to hype and I think Velasquez just sold himself to any doubters that think Dos Santos would run through him again.

The GSP fight is a tricky one to predict. Georges is still one of the most recognizable and popular fighters in the UFC. He still draws on his name alone and people are curious to see how GSP reacts coming off of a big injury. Unfortunately for the UFC, this is not the fight the fans want to see. The fans want to see Diaz vs. GSP and that could be a problem here. I am intrigued by seeing Condit vs. GSP but the timing is just off when it comes to business.

Add Dan Henderson vs. Jon Jones to the September docket and you have a jam packed fall schedule for the UFC. With Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen fighting in early July, there is a great chance that the winner would also be ready to fight before the year is up. While things can always change due to injuries, fight fans have a lot to get excited about come this fall courtesy of the UFC.

UFC: The Ultimate 100 Greatest Fight Moments

UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans DVD

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

Introducing the Official UFC Apparel of Jon Jones! Walkout Shirt & Performance Gear.

Nick Diaz Fined & Suspended For One Year

May 22, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The Nick Diaz-Nevada State Athletic Commission saga has finally come to an end. After legal maneuverings from Diaz, he finally had his day in court with the NSAC and while he gave a valiant effort, Diaz will be put on ice for one year.

This was some scene today as Diaz pleaded his case to the NSAC for what seemed like hours. I tried watching the proceedings but it just didn’t end. Diaz to his credit told his story and answered all questions from the NSAC. Yet the end of the story concluded the way most MMA experts predicted with Diaz on the losing side of the legal battle.

The hearing today came as a result of Diaz testing positive for Marijuana metabolites after his UFC 143 fight with Carlos Condit. Diaz was suspended with a hearing pending Diaz producing a medical exemption card. Diaz sued claiming that the NSAC failed to give Diaz a hearing within the legal time frame. That argument was thrown out and the NSAC will punish Diaz for his positive test.

It was a unanimous vote against Diaz. Diaz will be suspended for one year effective February 3, 2011, the date of his last fight. Diaz will also have to pay a $79,500 fine which I am sure he isn’t happy about considering how often he complains about money. So for those of you doing the math out there, you will have to wait nine months before the chaos known as Nick Diaz comes back to the UFC.

I did find Diaz’s attorney fascinating during the hearing. To be honest, I was almost convinced that Diaz would get off after hearing some of Ross Goodman’s arguments. One of Goodman’s main points was that there was no conclusive way to determine whether Diaz used marijuana within the fight time frame. He also argued that the metabolite Diaz tested positive for was an inactive metabolite.

A fascinating tidbit from the hearing came from Keith Kizer. Kizer testified that Diaz’s sample after the BJ Penn fight came back diluted. He did not positive, but Kizer believed it was diluted. I had never heard or seen that reported anywhere.

I don’t necessarily feel sorry for Diaz but there is a part of me that thinks his punishment was a bit harsh. It is hard to argue in my mind that what Diaz did by having metabolites in his system is a lot worse than what Alistair Overeem and the circumstances surrounding Overeem when it came to trying to cover up his infraction. Yet after all is said and done Overeem got 9 months and Diaz got 12 with a heavier fine. It just smacks of inconsistency which is a major problem I have with these state athletic commissions.

So there will be no Diaz vs. Condit rematch nor a Diaz vs. GSP fight in 2012. This presents an interesting predicament for the UFC. Condit won the “interim” welterweight title when he defeated Diaz in February. Condit has said publicly that he didn’t want to take another fight until GSP comes back which would not be until November. Some felt that Condit and/of the UFC were just stalling until the Nick Diaz situation played out. Now that Diaz is on ice, will Condit fight before November? If not, what was the point of crowning an interim champion? Will the UFC force Condit to fight?

I am and have been a Nick Diaz fan for a long time. I hope that at some point the worlds align for the GSP vs. Diaz fight in 2013. Other than Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva, it is the biggest fight that the UFC could make. I just hope that this grudge match hasn’t gone up in smoke for good.

UFC: Best of 2011 DVD

UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans DVD

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

Introducing the Official UFC Apparel of Jon Jones! Walkout Shirt & Performance Gear.

Time For UFC To End The Interim Title Fights

May 10, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Dana WhiteDominick Cruz will miss his UFC 148 fight with Urijah Faber and could miss up to a year with a torn ACL. Dana White has announced that the UFC will create another interim title while Cruz is gone, once again wasting our time with a phantom title which in the end will render meaningless anyway.

Once I heard that Urijah Faber will fight an unnamed opponent at UFC 148 for this interim title my blood pressure started boiling. If there is one thing that is starting to become a pet peeve of mine it would be these meaningless UFC interim titles. Once again the UFC will try and pass this farce off as a real championship match when in the end, this title means as much as the fake belt that Chael Sonnen has been walking around with for the last several months. Quite frankly Sonnen’s belt may mean more!

It really came to a head for me when Carlos Condit “won” a phantom UFC interim championship at UFC 143 from Nick Diaz. Condit jumped into the fight after Georges St-Pierre suffered an injury that took him out of the fight and out of competition for up to a year. It wasn’t so bad that Condit won the fight but really set me off was when Condit announced after the fight that he would not take another fight until GSP returned, opting to sit out and wait to fight St-Pierre than defend his phony title. Wait, what?

Let me get this straight. The UFC went to the trouble of creating this interim welterweight title because Georges St-Pierre wouldn’t be able to fight until November. I would imagine the idea behind this would be to keep a championship belt active while GSP sat out for ten months. Now the UFC has a situation where the interim champion is sitting out nine months to wait and fight the real champion. So what is the freaking point of an interim champion when the interim champion is telling you not only does his title not matter, he isn’t fighting either?

Quite frankly the UFC overplayed their hand with the welterweight title and are about to do it again with the bantamweight title. By having an interim title, the UFC are going to miss out on the GSP vs. Diaz money fight. Instead of going right to Diaz, GSP now has to go to Condit since Condit is the interim champion. Could the UFC go with Diaz vs. GSP anyway? Sure they could, but it really wouldn’t make much sense in the grand scheme of things.

The UFC is about to make that same mistake again with Faber. Faber vs. Cruz is the money fight here. They have a storied rivalry which has taken center stage thanks to The Ultimate Fighter Live. By creating an interim title, the UFC now has to bank on Faber not only winning that fight, but at least one more by the time Cruz returns. Could he do it? Yes, but the odds are against it. So what happens when Cruz comes back? A year from now he’d have to fight the interim champion and depending upon where Faber is at during that time, a championship fight may not even make sense. I don’t know how you ever get back to Faber vs. Cruz if Faber is an ex-champion in the midst of a losing streak when Cruz does come back.

The irony here is that every fighter that has ever won an interim title in the UFC will tell you flat out that the title means nothing. Every one of those fighters continued to call out the champion and acknowledge that they aren’t holding the division’s legitimate title. There aren’t a whole lot of professional athletes that would have the nerve to say otherwise.

The UFC has two options here. One would be to just strip the champion of his title and make that interim title fight an actual championship fight (such was the case when BJ Penn fought Joe Stevenson when Sean Sherk tested positive for PEDs). The other of course would be to just keep the championship belt on the champion, allow him to recover, and pick things up where the UFC left off.

I am inclined to think that stripping the champion of the belt would be the best option. Is it fair? Maybe not, but if a champion isn’t active for a year those are the breaks. The champion should be given an immediate title shot upon his return. Everyone wins here as the division isn’t put on hold, the UFC can continue booking title fights, and those title fights actual mean something.

At the same time, allowing the championship to remain with the champion while he is idle isn’t a bad choice either. Would it really kill business for the UFC to leave the bantamweight title on Dominick Cruz over the next year? No, but it would make fighters in the division cautious about picking the right opponent. No contender wants to take himself out of the game by making a bad business decision. It isn’t fair to those fighters, which makes me think that just stripping the champion outright makes the most sense.

I took a look at all of the past interim UFC championship fights. There is no real good reason in my mind that the champions weren’t stripped for their titles as opposed to creating these secondary belts. It is time to end this farce and either strip the titles from the champions or give the champs time to recover and defend their belts. The only bad choice here is to continue with these phony, meaningless title fights, telling fans they are getting something they aren’t.

There is no perfect answer here. Either way you will risk your money fights but advertising a phony title is not the answer. End the interim title fights and move on!

UFC Presents: The Ultimate Fighter, Season 1- Uncut, Untamed and Uncensored!

UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans DVD

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

Introducing the Official UFC Apparel of Jon Jones! Walkout Shirt & Performance Gear.

Nick Diaz Sues The NSAC, Wants To Fight Carlos Condit Immediately

April 27, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Nick DiazNick Diaz is not going down easy. The former Strikeforce welterweight champion has been idle since February and under suspension by the NSAC. The layoff has been long enough for Diaz and he is willing to sue his way back into the UFC octagon.

Diaz filed suit yesterday against the Nevada State Athletic Commission in what could turn out to be a ground breaking legal decision if the law finds in Diaz’s favor. If Diaz is victorious in his conquest, it could alter the authority the NSAC has over temporarily suspending fighters and how quickly they are due their day in court.

MMAfighting.com has all of the details. I am not a fan of a lot of copying an pasting so I’ll summarize, yet encourage you to go read their piece for a more detailed explanation of the Diaz lawsuit. According to the piece, there are three issues at play here.

Diaz would like injunctive relief on two issues, meaning he wants his suspension lifted immediately. The third issue is that Diaz believes he did not have due process rights and this was violated by the NSAC not giving Diaz both injunctive and declaratory relief. So what does this all mean?

The first issue is that Diaz believes the NSAC violated the statutory code NRS 23B which requires the commission to determine the outcome of a proceeding related to suspension within 45 days of the date of the suspension. 45 days have passed and there is no hearing scheduled. According to Diaz’s team, his license has been indefinitely suspended without actually being found guilty of anything as a result of a hearing.

Statute NRS 467.117 has also been violated according to the lawsuit. The gist of this one is that Diaz’s temporary suspension is illegal “because no basis has been established that demonstrates suspending Diaz was done as a matter of preserving public health.”

Diaz is hoping that these statute violations will allow him to walk without any further proceedings back inside the octagon. The court will have to ask whether Diaz was suspended illegally in the first place and if by the NSAC not acting in 45 days is in fact cause to dismiss the case against Diaz.

Diaz has also officially ended his retirement. Check out this interesting nugget from the lawsuit.

On February 7th, 2012, the UFC’s President publicly announced that Mr. Condit agreed to an immediate rematch against me. It is my understanding that the winner of that rematch will be offered a contest against Georges St-Pierre, the current UFC welterweight champion. The summary suspension against me, made without any consideration of the merits of the Complaint, is the only reason I am aware of that a rematch against Mr Condit has not been scheduled. If the summary suspension is set aside, I would be prepared to compete against Mr. Condit or against any other opponent deemed suitable immediately.

According to Dave Meltzer, Diaz has a hearing scheduled on May 14 seeking a preliminary injunction that would more or less lift his suspension and allow him to fight. This explains why Carlos Condit has remained idle since winning the interim UFC welterweight title from Diaz back in February. I never understood what the point was of having an interim champion if that champion was just going to sit and wait for the real champion to return and fight.

All of this drama could create an electrifying atmosphere for a Diaz vs. Condit rematch. The irony here is that their first fight wasn’t even really that good. Yet the elaborate backstory here could be enough to erase those memories from fan’s minds and create interest in a fight that disappointed the first time around.

The risk here for Diaz is that if he loses the case, he is going to make a lot of people angry on the NSAC. That could come back to haunt him if the time comes for Diaz if he has his day in court.

UFC: Best of 2011 DVD

UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans DVD

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

Introducing the Official UFC Apparel of Jon Jones! Walkout Shirt & Performance Gear.

Gold Rush: The UFC Championship Calendar

March 20, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson SilvaThis piece will undoubtedly curse at least one of the fighters mentioned in it. To anyone who is injured over the course of the next few months and is rendered unable to fight for (or defend) the UFC title in his respective weight class?

Consider this a preemptive apology. You are a professional mixed martial artist, however, so you probably know the risks involved. Therefore, my conscience is free and clear! From Rashad Evans pulling out of UFC 128 with Shogun to Brock Lesnar’s ongoing diverticulitis to GSP’s torn ACL in late December, it is safe to say that 2011 was a year of Madden Curse-like series of unfortunate events.

Given this injury-laden 2011, I am happy to say, with as much exuberance as I can from my computer, that “It’s title season!” for the UFC. Try to imagine that sounding like Vince Vaughn saying “It’s wedding season!” to Owen Wilson in the 2005 hit comedy Wedding Crashers. Anyway, two weeks ago at
UFC 144, Ben Henderson kicked things off with a very close decision win over Frankie Edgar to claim the Lightweight belt. This set off a flurry of “Who Gets the Next Shot?” blog posts, Facebook updates and tweets…until Edgar was awarded the rematch (and rightfully so, but we’ll get to that later). In the meantime, let’s take a look at the calendar:

UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans
Other than Silva/Sonnen, you’d be hard pressed to find a more heated rivalry in the UFC right now. We all know the story: training partners, close friends, betrayal, severed alliances, schedule delays and now the upcoming showdown (sounds like a really bad daytime soap opera). With Evans finally healthy and coming off back-to-back wins against a briefly-revitalized Tito Ortiz and a talented-but-still-green Phil Davis, he’ll get his shot at the most dangerous fighter in the UFC and arguably all of MMA. Jonny “Bones” Jones has torn through everyone he’s faced and will have a significant size advantage (I do expect him to win handily). However, and I preface this with the fact that Jones and Chuck Liddell are very different fighters at what would be different points in their respective careers, Evans did ruin the party for The Iceman the last time he was in Atlanta so you never know what could happen if he somehow finds his way inside Jones’ Stretch Armstrong-like reach.

UFC 146: Dos Santos vs. Overeem
UFC 146 will take place on May 26th at the MGM Grand and features Junior dos Santos defending the Heavyweight belt against Alistair Overeem. Please forgive my use of the following term, but this fight has “fireworks” written all over it. You can now throw up somewhere over my use of the “fireworks” cliché and comeback to your computer. On one hand you have a champ with some of the best boxing in MMA who’s finished 6 of his 8 opponents in the UFC taking on the 265-lb Dutch kickboxing behemoth in Overeem, who has not lost a mixed martial arts contest since 2007. I know his competition has been less than stellar with a TKO win over a checked-out Brock Lesnar, an ugly decision over a flop-happy Fabricio Werdum and a KO over the grossly overmatched Todd Duffee, just to name a few. Still, with his K-1 background, size and brutal use of knees in the clinch, he’s still earned the #2 spot in the weight class. Plus, with the UFC giving some collective marketing power to the pay-per-view by adding an all-heavyweight main card? This is a blockbuster start to summer 2012.

UFC 147: Silva vs. Sonnen 2
As I’d mentioned earlier, Middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen have the most intense rivalry in the UFC other than Jones/Evans, but for different reasons. While Jones/Evans is composed like a Shakespearean tragedy with their “friends to enemies” storyline, Sonnen’s trash-talking dismissal of Silva’s skills, accomplishments and country escalated their first contest to new heights to a pro wrestling faceoff. He became the perfect foil to the oft-demure Brazilian with his contrasting personality and stellar wrestling background that could potentially have been Silva’s Achille’s Heel (and it was for most of the fight until Silva’s jaw-dropping Hail Mary triangle win in the final frame). Sonnen’s suspension due to elevated testosterone levels delayed the sequel, but with both fighters rattling off two straight since their first go ‘round and, more importantly, with the fight expected to take place in Silva’s homeland of Brazil? Grab some friends, do a few shots of aguardiente and get excited for this one.

UFC 148: Cruz vs. Faber 3
Last Friday night the newly reformatted season of The Ultimate Fighter kicked off on FX. Current Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber will spend the next six weeks coaching their respective fighters and their frequent interaction will most certainly add fuel to the fire en route to their rubber match, slated for the July 7th in Vegas. Cruz avenged his only MMA loss by out pointing Faber at their last meeting at UFC 132 and then followed it up with a decision win over now-flyweight Demetrius Johnson at UFC Live in October. Faber rebounded with a submission win over Brian Bowles, earning him another shot at Cruz. With both fighters known for a breakneck pace and a penchant for exciting fights, unwind from your 4th of July debauchery a few days earlier and watch what should be a fitting end to the trilogy.

Without a date:
Four cards out should be enough, but we all know there are several more belts that may not have dates on paper, but will happen (again, barring injuries) this year:

– Henderson/Edgar II was recently confirmed and with Anthony Pettis, Jim Miller and Nate Diaz waiting in the wings, the Lightweight division continues to prove it may be the most stacked division in MMA

- We should have a confirmed final for the inaugural Flyweight tournament that took place last week, but the judging error (read: basic math) from Ian McCall and Demetrious Johnson’s fight left semi-final winner Joseph Benavidez without an opponent. Dana & Co. have assured us the Johnson/McCall rematch will happen and we’ll have a new Flyweight champion in 2012, which I must admit, excites me more than I thought it would. I mean, who doesn’t like watching what are essentially uber-athletic horse jockeys on speed throwing down in a cage?

– The most famous acronym in mixed martial arts (GSP) will return from injury to take on the always hungry interim champ Carlos Condit…if Condit doesn’t defend (and lose) his somewhat useless belt between now and the end of the year. HOPEFULLY, we’ll have a definitive, unified Welterweight champ by the start of 2013.

UFC Undisputed 3 for Xbox 360 from Amazon.com

UFC Undisputed 3 for PS3 from Amazon.com

UFC: The Ultimate 100 Greatest Fight Moments DVD

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

UFC Store: Free Shipping on orders over $50 – No Code Needed

Nick Diaz Tests Positive For Marijuana Following UFC 143 Fight

February 09, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Nick DiazThe UFC 143 rematch between  Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit was on and off within 24 hours without much explanation. Well a new report by the NSAC fills us in and reveals that Nick Diaz failed a drug test before the fight for marijuana and will now face a likely one-year suspension.

What was speculated for the last 24 hours has finally been confirmed. The Nevada State Athletic Commission reports that Nick Diaz has tested positive for marijuana metabolites following his UFC 143 fight against Carlos Condit. Diaz will now face disciplinary action which will likely be a one-year suspension from professional fighting.

The news is crushing for MMA fans hoping to see the Condit vs. Diaz fight and Diaz fans in general. Diaz is without a doubt one of the most polarizing fighters in the UFC. You either love him or hate him. A lot of people love him and today, they are having a hard time making excuses for their hero.

As a fight fan and a Diaz fan, I am completely baffled. The kid was turning into one of the biggest drawing cards in the UFC. Early estimates for UFC 143 are at around 400,000 which is an impressive number for a non-title fight. The Georges St-Pierre fight would have hovered at anywhere between 800,000-1,000,000 buys. How anyone could throw this all away for marijuana is just stunning.

The kicker here is that if Diaz won the fight, he would have been idle until at least November for the St-Pierre showdown. He could have had plenty of time to do as much marijuana as he wanted and clean up before his next fight. Obviously the guy is smart enough to know what he was doing. Why he would put everything in jeopardy is a mystery.

This is Diaz’s second positive drug test, so he’ll get an automatic one-year suspension. Diaz was first suspended back in 2006 when he fought Takanori Gomi in Las Vegas, NV for Pride FC. It was Diaz’s first fight after leaving the UFC. That was five years ago and somehow over the last five years he has been able to remain clean. Diaz did say that he was going to retire following his UFC 143 fight. Now he won’t have a choice, at least for a year.

The irony here is that whenever Dana White was asked about Nick Diaz over the last several years, he responded that he’d love to have Diaz back in the UFC if he could play the game. In only two fights, Diaz has managed to miss several press conferences and fail a drug test. It would appear to someone like me who only took one psychology class in college that the guy has a big problem with pressure. Getting popped in his first Pride FC fight and now for a test before the biggest fight of his career isn’t a coincidence.

So Diaz is out until at least next February, barring some kind of miracle appeal. It actually works out well for the GSP fight. If GSP fights in November, he should be ready to fight Diaz in February win or lose against Condit. I have never been a fan of a guy failing a drug test getting a big fight in his return but there is way too much money on the table here for the UFC to lose.

Condit will likely fight the Jake Ellenberger vs. Diego Sanchez winner next. Needless to say, Condit vs. Ellenberger/Sanchez will bring in nowhere near the money of a Diaz rematch. Unfortunately that is neither Condit nor the UFC’s fault.

Fighter: The Unauthorized Biography of Georges St-Pierre, UFC Champion

UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit Poster

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

New Items Marked Down! Shop the UFC Sale at the UFC Store.

UFC on Fox T-Shirt [Red]

Update – Announced Nick Diaz Vs. Carlos Condit Rematch Off

February 08, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Condit vs. Diaz rematchOnly days after one of the more controversial decisions in a long time for the UFC, Dana White will be signing a Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit rematch immediately. In other words, the Nick Diaz retirement lasted a grand total of four days.

One of the best MMA insiders on Twitter, @FrontRowBrian was the first to break the news. I have been critical about MMA reporters and their lack of ability to break big stories over the last year. Brian is not a reporter and probably breaks more stories in a day than they do in a month. He was right on the mark with this one.

From industry sources: Malki Kawa and Cesar Gracie are both posturing. UFC has already approached both camps for a rematch this summer.” – @FrontRowBrian

UFC president Dana White officially broke the news on Twitter after Brian’s tweet started making the rounds.

@justScrap85 @carloscondit @malkikawa the rumor is true. Carlos did accept the fight today and Carlos is coming on Friday not thur.” – @DanaWhite

The quick agreement is a bit of a surprise after you had Diaz retire on Saturday night and Condit tell numerous media outlets that he had no interest in fighting Diaz again. Most MMA analysts suspected that money could change Condit’s tune so it wouldn’t surprise me if that is the case.

The UFC 143 main-event ended in some controversy, I say some because there are some that thought Diaz won, while others thought that Condit won. The majority of articles and reports I read seemed to indicate that most felt Condit won, although some did sympathize with Diaz. It was nowhere close to the outrage that some felt after the first Rua vs. Machida decision or the second Edgar vs. Maynard fight, but the chatter was definitely there.

Condit taking the fight does not surprise me at all. He needs this fight, maybe even more than Diaz. Diaz can go fight one guy, get a win, and earn just as much money fighting Georges St-Pierre as he would if he fought him after beating Condit. As for Condit, the interest is minimal at best in seeing a GSP fight. Between losing the fight that the fans wanted to see and Condit’s less than exciting performance Saturday, he needs a win and a big one at that to drum up serious interest in fighting GSP.

Diaz ended his retirement in just a matter of days. I don’t think anyone really expected to Diaz to stay retired. He is too good, still young, and let’s face it, he is always complaining about money. I am a little surprised that the UFC gave in and granted him a rematch so fast with Condit. I expected him to have to work for it yet nonetheless, he and the UFC have another shot of giving the fans the fight they really want to see, Diaz vs. GSP.

Business is generally not good for rematches. The Maynard vs. Edgar III buyrate was not very good and that was arguably a much better fight that was being rematched. Fans are already complaining about paying for what they thought was a less exciting fight than advertised thanks to Condit’s game plan. This is going to be a tough sell. It wouldn’t shock me to see this one land on a UFC on Fox special.

As a fan, I am pumped for the rematch. I am intrigued to see the different game plans that these guys bring into the rematch. Diaz will have to do something different or he will just be chasing Condit around again for five rounds. Condit will have to be more aggressive if he expects to draw any money off the win with the GSP showdown. It should be a fascinating chess match for fight fans.

Update: It appears that there was a big snag in putting the fight together. While nothing official has been announced yet, it appears that something from the Diaz camp has precluded the fight from taking place.

*BREAKING NEWS* Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz II will NOT happen. An issue arose from Nick’s camp last night. Nick will NOT be able to compete” – @FrontRowBrian

It also appears that Condit will sign to fight Georges St-Pierre and remain inactive until November. So again I ask, what was the point of interim champion if the champion AND interim champ will not compete for nine months?

 

Fighter: The Unauthorized Biography of Georges St-Pierre, UFC Champion

UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit Poster

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

New Items Marked Down! Shop the UFC Sale at the UFC Store.

UFC on Fox T-Shirt [Red]

UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit Results – Condit Wins, Diaz Retires

February 05, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

UFC 143 winnerThe never ending saga of Nick Diaz has taken another strange twist following his loss to Carlos Condit at UFC 143. Nick Diaz told Joe Rogan after the fight that he is done with MMA after suffering his first loss in 12 fights, ending and an 11 year career.

Diaz’s announcement came after losing a unanimous decision to Carlos Condit. Diaz called Condit’s leg kicks “baby kicks” and mocked Condit for “running away from him” for five rounds. Diaz said he gets paid way too much for this and then ended his interview by telling Joe Rogan that he would continue to help out his teammates but that he was done “with this sh*t.”

I can certainly understand the frustrations of Diaz. Condit really did a phenomenal job of staying disciplined for the full five rounds and keeping Diaz at a distance for most of the fight. I wouldn’t call it running away, but Condit did his best not to engage with Diaz. On the other hand, Diaz was a one trick pony at UFC 143. His game plan was obviously to strike with Condit and when that wasn’t working, he had nothing. I can understand Diaz’s frustrations but quite honestly he was outsmarted by a more disciplined fighter tonight.

The UFC really boxed themselves into a corner leading up to UFC 143. The company spent more time promoting a Nick Diaz vs. Georges St-Pierre fight than the actual fight that was headlining UFC 143. So now the UFC is caught in a situation where they have to sell the fight that nobody wants, including their own company. Quite frankly the company backed the wrong horse at UFC 143 and it bit them in the behind.

Condit could have saved this and made himself those missed Diaz millions. Rogan asked Condit about fighting GSP after the fight. Condit could have cut a pro wrestling style promo on the UFC and GSP for overlooking him and created a new grudge match. Instead he said it was an honor and made fans even more disappointed that they weren’t listening to Nick Diaz trash talking GSP. I admire his professionalism, but professionalism isn’t going to help promote a fight that nobody wants to see.

It really is a bitter pill for Georges St-Pierre. GSP now has very little motivation to work harder to recover from his injury. Dana White recently told Ariel Helwani that GSP would be back in action by the summertime and that he was ahead of schedule. Mike Goldberg said that GSP told him that he won’t begin full MMA training until June and was targeting a November return. How could Dana White even say such a thing if GSP won’t even begin to fully train in June? In other words, don’t count on GSP fighting in the summer.

Condit is now the UFC interim welterweight champion. I really don’t understand why the UFC created an interim title for this fight. The announcers mentioned throughout the night that the winner would be challenging Georges St-Pierre for the title and referred to GSP as the champion. If GSP is still recognized as the champion, what is the point of this interim title?

The fight business is an interesting game. It would not shock me whatsoever to see Carlos Condit suffer some kind of “mysterious” injury in September or October, setting up Diaz vs. GSP in November after all. I am not a big conspiracy theory guy but there is a lot of money on the line here and in the end, this business is about making money.

I would be surprised to see Diaz retire and never fight again. He has threatened to enter the boxing game and maybe that is what he does. However, he makes a lot of money fighting in the UFC, money he would likely never make boxing. In the end, all Diaz needs is one win to justify a GSP fight. I think he returns to fighting by the summer and UFC fans get that Diaz vs. GSP fight sooner than later.

Full UFC: Diaz vs. Condit results…
Carlos Condit defeated Nick Diaz via unanimous decision to win the UFC interim welterweight championship
Fabricio Werdum defeated Roy Nelson via unanimous decision
Josh Koscheck defeated Mike Pierce via split decision
Renan Barao defeated Scott Jorgensen via unanimous decision
Ed Herman defeated Clifford Starks via rear-naked choke
Dustin Poirier defeated Max Holloway via submission (triangle/armbar)
Edwin Figueroa defeated Alex Caceres via split decision
Matt Brown defeated Chris Cope via second-round TKO
Matt Riddle defeated Henry Martinez via split decision
Rafael Natal defeated Michael Kuiper via unanimous decision
Stephen Thompson defeated Dan Stittgen via first-round KO

Fighter: The Unauthorized Biography of Georges St-Pierre, UFC Champion

UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit Poster

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

New Items Marked Down! Shop the UFC Sale at the UFC Store.

UFC on Fox T-Shirt [Red]

UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit Predictions & Analysis

February 03, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit Predictions & AnalysisThe UFC returns to the Pay Per View airwaves this weekend with their traditional Super Bowl Weekend card; UFC 143 live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz will be looking to give Tom Brady and Eli Manning a tough act to follow.

With both of their fan friendly styles this main event has a ton of potential for fireworks. With GSP on the shelf until at least September these two will do battle over five rounds for the UFC’s interim Welterweight Championship. The two are backed by a number of bouts that show solid promise for entertainment value as the UFC hopes to rebound from what some people are calling a substandard performance last weekend on Fox.

In the co-main event of the evening Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum makes his return to the UFC after a long social media campaign when he takes on everyone’s favorite rotund grappler Roy “Big Country” Nelson. Perennial Top-10 Welterweight Josh Koscheck returns to the cage against the always-tough grinder Mike Pierce.

In Middleweight action the always tough Ed Herman takes on undefeated Middleweight prospect Clifford Starks. The lighter weight-classes of the UFC take center stage to open the PPV Main Card as surging Brazilian prospect Renan “Barao” Pegado takes on Scott Jorgensen in a Bantamweight bout. But let’s get started with the undercard.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Dan Stittgen vs. Stephen Thompson

Dan “The Anvil” Stittgen is a 31-year-old fighter from Schaumburg, Illinois. Stittgen is a grappler and submissions expert from the Midwest Training Center MMA Gym. Stittgen has fought mostly on the regional MMA circuit but has compiled an impressive resume there. In his most recent bout, a victory over Mark Stoddard it was the first time any of his bouts escaped the first round. His ground skills have proven to be his most effective weapon, as Stittgen possesses fairly mediocre striking skills. However, on the mat he has managed to secure five submissions and a TKO all because of his strong mat fighting. Overall, he possesses a career record of 7-1.

Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is a former professional kick boxer who only recently transitioned to MMA. Thompson has been kickboxing since the age of three years old, and as a professional kick boxer he owned a record of 56-0, with 40 Knockouts. Since switching to MMA in 2010 he has also gone undefeated in this sport, soundly outboxing all of his opponents on his way to a 5-0 record. Thompson is a member of the Pitch Black MMA Gym where he has worked with a number of fighters to improve his overall MMA skill set. In addition to his kickboxing skills, Thompson is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a black belt in Kenpo Karate.

Analysis and Prediction: This bout is surely going to come down to whether or not Thompson can keep himself upright long enough to win. Stittgen is a legit grappler with a strong submission game, but standing up he will surely be cannon fodder for “Wonderboy.” Thompson has added a number of grappling and wrestling coaches to his camp and has likely been drilling these aspects of his game in preparation for his UFC debut. He’s fought under the big lights before and knows what to expect when the cage door shuts, while his opponent may be dealing with some octagon jitters. Expect to see mostly sprawl and brawl from Thompson as he kicks and punches his way to a second round stoppage. Stephen Thompson via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Rafael Natal vs. Michael Kuiper

Rafael “Sapo” Natal is a Brazilian born fighter from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The 29-year-old now trains stateside where he is a member and instructor of the Gracie Fusion Gym in New York City, New York. Natal is a BJJ black belt under Vinicius Magalhaes. Natal’s boxing isn’t the cleanest, but he does pack one hell of a punch which can sometimes make up for his technical deficiencies. On the mat Natal is a handful for nearly anyone to deal with. A muscular fighter with a smothering top game and a strong submission awareness he can create opportunities when given even the smallest openings. Natal owns career victories over notable fighters like Danillo Villefort and Travis Lutter. He recently got his first victory inside the UFC bringing his career record to 13-3-1.

“Judo” Michael Kuiper is a Dutch fighter from Riel, Netherlands. Kuiper is one of Europe’s top prospects in the fight game. The 22 year old is a member of the Gracie Barra Netherlands Gym in Tilburg, Netherlands. Kuiper owns a black belt in Judo as well as a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has excellent grappling skills. Due to his background in Judo, he has a number of throws at his disposal which he can use to take fights to the mat. Kuiper has also shown himself to have solid striking skills, technically sound with some serious power in both hands. He has stopped all but one of his opponents either by submission (4) or by TKO (6). Kuiper holds an undefeated pro record of 11-0.

Analysis and Prediction: It’s hard to make an accurate assessment of Kuiper’s skills because of the relatively weak competition that he has faced in Europe. Footage of his fights has him looking impressive, but that can often be misleading when your opponent is completely overmatched. Despite that, I don’t think Natal is overly impressive and in a bout where one man’s Judo is likely to negate the other’s BJJ skills, this one is going to come down to striking. Natal can hit hard, but Kuiper throws better combinations and is more composed. I smell an upset. Michael Kuiper via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Matthew Riddle vs. Henry Martinez

Matthew “Monster Mash” Riddle is a 26-year-old from Allentown, Pennsylvania. He is a former cast member from the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. Riddle is a wrestling based fighter who trains at the Throwdown Training Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Riddle is the only fighter in the modern era of MMA to have fought all of his career bouts in the UFC. His last bout at UFC 141 was called off on the day of the fight due to Riddle becoming ill and being unable to compete on the day of the event. Riddle usually uses his wrestling to take down his opponents and grind away on them with ground and pound. However, in recent bouts he has fallen a bit in love with his subpar striking and has been dragged into brawls that do not serve him well, which has caused him to drop his past two bouts. Riddle’s pro record is 5-3.

Henry Martinez is a fighter from Jackson’s MMA Gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I haven’t been able to find much footage of Martinez, but it’s worth noting that he is taking this fight as a late replacement, stepping in on just over a week’s notice for the injured Jorge Lopez. His last bout was actually only two weeks ago on January 21 when he scored a submission victory over Ali Hanjani at a Jackson’s MMA Event. Martinez is 8-1 as a pro fighter, with 2 wins via TKO and 4 via Submission, however, his record is mostly against regional level fighters, and Riddle will be a significant step up in competition for him.

Analysis and Prediction: I usually have on golden rule, never bet on Matthew Riddle. You never know what you’re going to get, take his fight against Lance Benoist as an example. He was lit up on the feet for two rounds, but continued to oblige his opponent before finally dominating the third round by using takedowns and ground and pound. However, there is one major factor that is changing my mind. Martinez is taking this bout on extremely short notice, he just fought over two weeks ago and is a Lightweight fighter, who has fought as low as Featherweight in his career! Riddle is a massive Welterweight who could easily outweigh Martinez by 20 pounds or more come fight time. All the skill in the world isn’t going to overcome that kind of weight discrepancy against a smothering wrestler like Riddle, he’ll get back on track in this one. Matt Riddle via TKO in Round Three

Preliminary Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Matt Brown vs. Chris Cope

Matt “The Immortal” Brown is a 31-year-old fighter from Xenia, Ohio. Brown is a former cast member of the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. Brown is a Muay Thai and Judo based fighter who is working towards his black belt in Judo and also owns a blue belt in BJJ. Despite his solid ground-fighting credentials Brown prefers to stand and brawl with his opponents, despite it not being the best for his record it sure does make the fans love him. Brown’s Muay Thai skills are fairly basic, but he throws with decent power, but could stand to put his combinations together with more frequency. Too often Brown relies on winging power punches, instead of setting them up properly. Still Brown has solid takedown defense and can hit with big power if his winging punches connect. He owns a professional MMA record of 12-11 with 11 stoppage victories.

Chris “C-Murder” Cope is also a former cast member of The Ultimate Fighter, competing on the thirteenth season of the show. Fighting out of San Diego, California Cope is a member of the Arena MMY Gym. Cope is mostly a striker with a background in Muay Thai and a black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Cope has a strong sprawl and brawl style, but in this bout it’s unlikely that he’ll need to sprawl very much. Cope was formerly an amateur kick boxer and should be better than Brown at fighting at a distance. He’ll need to establish that range early on in this bout, or we might be seeing a replay of his fight against Che Mills at UFC 138. Cope owns a professional record of 5-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Brown has one fatal weakness and that is his submission defense, nine of his eleven career losses have come via submission. Luckily for him in this bout, he won’t have to worry. Cope is a competent kick boxer with decent technical striking, but he doesn’t have the wrestling skills to take Brown to the ground and isn’t a strong enough striker to keep up with Brown in a slugfest. With no options, he’s going to be forced to fight Brown’s fight, a dirty, tight close brawl where Brown is at his best. Brown can be devastating in the clinch and Cope can be overwhelmed on the feet as Che Mills showed, expect something similar to that bout in this one. Matt Brown via TKO in Round One

Preliminary Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Alex Caceres vs. Edwin Figueroa

Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres is a former Lightweight and Featherweight fighter. Best known for his stint on The Ultimate Fighter: GSP vs. Koscheck season where he was a member of Team GSP. The young fighter from Miami, Florida where he is a member of the Young Tigers Foundation. Caceres is a Jeet Kune Do and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter with strong grappling skills. In his last bout he made his bantamweight debut and scored an impressive upset over Cole Escovedo, soundly outworking the veteran fighter for three rounds and taking a Unanimous Decision. Overall, Bruce Leroy has a career MMA record of 6-4.

Edwin “El Feroz” Figueroa is a 26-year-old fighter from the Janjira Muay Thai Gym in McKinney, Texas. Figueroa has been training in boxing and kickboxing since the age of six, fighting numerous times throughout his teenage years as an amateur. Figueroa is a heavy handed striker who has stopped six of his opponents with strikes. As he proved in his UFC debut against Michael McDonald, Figueroa is an extremely tough and durable fighter who can take a ton of punishment, but keep coming back for more. Figueroa owns a professional record of 8-1.

Analysis and Prediction: I have to admit that Caceres made me eat some humble pie in his last bout. I predicted that he would get outworked and beaten badly by Cole Escovedo. Instead he showed significant improvements in his striking and an aggressive grappling game that saw him dominate Escovedo from start to finish. Figueroa is a strong striker, but looked somewhat sloppy in his bout against McDonald. If he looks like that again on Saturday night, it could be another upset win for Bruce Leroy. I think this is a close bout, that’s destined for the scorecards, and I think Figueroa takes it, but I won’t be surprised either way. Edwin Figueroa via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway

Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier is one the top prospects in the UFC’s Featherweight division. The 23-year-old from Tim Credeurs Gladiator Louisiana Gym in Lafayette, Louisiana has proven to be a force to be reckoned with in his UFC career. Poirier has shown a very versatile game in his career so far, sometimes showing quick and accurate striking skills, other times showing an impressive grappling acumen. A former Lightweight fighter, Poirier is a large 145-pound fighter who can often bully his opponents in the clinch and on the ground, despite his wrestling skills not being top-notch. He prefers to strike with his opponents, but is perfectly willing to take the bout to the mat if things aren’t going his way in the striking department. His ability to fight well in multiple facets of the game is what makes him such a dangerous opponent. Poirier owns a career record of 11-1.

Check out the full Camel Clutch Blog Pro Wrestling and MMA store for videos, t-shirts, books, and more.

Max “Lil Evil” Holloway at 20-years-old is probably the youngest fighter on the UFC’s current payroll. However, despite his age and relative inexperience he has proven to be quite a talent in his young career. Fighting out of Waianae, Hawaii he has shown excellent striking skills in his young career. He is also the current X-1 World Events Lightweight Champion. At 6’1” he is a lean and lanky Featherweight fighter who strings punches and kicks together well and has the cardio to strike for days against anyone who is willing to trade with him. His high output style of striking often overwhelms his opponents, causing them to shell up, allowing him to continue his pressure cooker offense with little fear of return fire. Holloway is undefeated as a pro fighter owning a record of 4-0.

Analysis and Prediction: Holloway is tall and lanky with a striking style that can give anyone fits. Poirier at 6’1” and a former 155-pound fighter is one the largest fighters in the division, he also has the wrestling and grappling ability to control where this bout takes place. Poirier prefers to strike, but isn’t stupid or proud enough to let that interfere with him winning this bout. I think he tests himself on the feet and if things aren’t looking great, he’ll force Holloway to the mat and work him over with ground and pound to set up a submission opportunity. Holloway is a legitimate talent and at 20-years-old has plenty of time to mature, but he’s taking this fight on late notice and likely isn’t experienced enough yet to take down Poirier. Dustin Poirier via Submission in Round Two

Main Card (PPV): Middleweight Bout: Ed Herman vs. Clifford Starks

Ed “Short Fuse” Herman is a 31-year-old fighter from the Team Quest Gym in Fort Collins, Colorado. Herman is the epitome of a grinder, who is amazing at nothing but strong enough at everything to outwork his opponents. Herman is a black belt in BJJ and the mat is his favorite place to be. From top control Herman shows great positional awareness as he is able to constantly pressure his opponents by passing guard and raining down ground and pound. Herman is a former cast member of the third season of The Ultimate Fighter, where he was a finalist, losing to the show’s winner Kendall Grove. After suffering a severe knee injury in 2009, he overcame complete reconstructive knee surgery to return to the UFC and has gone 2-0 since, TKO Tim Credeur inside one round and then snatching a heel hook submission against Kyle Noke also in under a round. Herman owns a pro record of 19-7.

Clifford Starks is a 30-year-old fighter from Pomona, California. He is a wrestler and a kick boxer who now trains at the Arizona Combat Sports Gym in Tempe, Arizona. Starks is a former NCAA Division 1 wrestler who competed at Arizona State University and was a teammate of former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez. Starks won his UFC debut over Dustin Jacoby in a rather sloppy affair based mainly on the strength of his wrestling game and his takedowns. However, once getting the fight there, he was unsuccessful in making much else happen or inflicting much damage on Jacoby, something he’ll need to address if he wants to hang with Herman in this bout. Starks is undefeated as a pro fighter with a record of 8-0.

Analysis and Prediction: Despite basically dominating Dustin Jacoby in his UFC debut, Starks didn’t look overly impressive. He outworked him on the ground but never really came close to finishing the bout. Starks prefers to fight at a more measured pace, but against an opponent like Herman he’s not going to have that luxury. Herman will press forward and constantly pressure Starks. Herman’s ground game definitely makes up for his below average striking game, but unless Starks has another level to his game than what he showed against Jacoby it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to take advantage of Herman’s suspect striking. Expect Herman to constantly come forward and constantly pressure, securing a trip takedown from the clinch before sinking in a fight ending Rear Naked Choke near the end of round one. Ed Herman via Submission in Round One

Main Card (PPV): Bantamweight Bout: Renan Pegado vs. Scott Jorgensen

Renan “Barao” Pegado is a 25-year-old fighter from Natal, Brazil. He is one of the top prospects from Brazil’s famed Nova Uniao Gym. He is a Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter who has an array of kicks, knees and punches in his stand up attack, well complimented by black belt level skills in BJJ. Barao lost his professional debut in 2005, but has not tasted defeat since, going 27-0-1 since the first bout of his career. In his last bout he showed impressive overall skills by going toe-to-toe with dangerous striker Brad Pickett for four minutes, before landing a massive knee and then latching onto a fight-ending Rear Naked Choke. Overall, Pegado owns a pro record of 27-1-1.

Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen is a former challenger for Dominick Cruz’s Bantamweight title, though at the time it was still the WEC Championship. Regardless, the 29-year-old is one of the toughest match-ups at 135-pounds. A former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Boise State, Jorgensen now trains at the Combat Fitness Club in Boise, Idaho. Jorgensen has some limitations as a striker, but when he can get inside and use the clinch to his advantage he can throw serious power punches as he showed against Ken Stone at The Ultimate Fighter 13 finale. Jorgensen has an explosive shot and will likely be looking to take this fight to the mat early and often, rather than risk getting into a firefight with the hard-hitting Brazilian. Jorgensen owns a professional MMA record of 13-4.

Analysis and Prediction: This is a very intriguing bout for a number of reasons. It is a very interesting clash of styles. Pegado is the Brazilian stereotype a strong BJJ player with an impressive arsenal of striking attacks. On the other side of the cage the American wrestler. Jorgensen doesn’t stand a chance in the striking department and if he chooses to strike for an extended period of time, it’s likely going to end with him staring at the lights. He’ll look to move forward by pumping his jab and closing the distance quickly. Despite Pegado’s impressive record and grappling skills, we haven’t seen what he can do against a top-notch wrestler who might be able to control him on the ground. Pegado should be constantly sprawling and brawling, while using leg kicks to Jorgensen’s lead leg to slow down the impressive takedown shot of the American. Overall, I think Jorgensen has the tools to beat Pegado, but he’ll be in danger all the way and will need to fight an extremely intelligent fight. I’m not sure if he can do it and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pull off the upset in this one. Scott Jorgensen via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (PPV): Welterweight Bout: Josh Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce

Josh “Kos” Koscheck is the “heel” of the UFC’s Welterweight division. The 33-year-old from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania is best known for his stint on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. He is a former four-time NCAA Division 1 All-American wrestler. In the early days of his career he relied heavily on his wrestling, but he has made great strides in his striking game and now possesses solid boxing with big power in his right hand. Koscheck is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy and is coming off of an impressive thrashing of Matt Hughes at UFC 135. Koscheck holds a career record of 15-5.

Mike “Megatron” Pierce is an American from Oregon who is a member of the Team Quest and Sports Lab gyms in Portland and Beaverton, Oregon respectively. Pierce is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Portland State University. Pierce has fared well in his Octagon career losing only to the elite wrestlers of the division including Jon Fitch and Johny Hendricks both via decision (and the latter via close Split Decision.) Pierce uses wrestling and top control to earn points on the judge’s scorecards as well as an unorthodox but oftentimes effective stand up game. It’s not the prettiest way to fight, but it has been effective for him so far. Pierce has a career MMA record of 13-4.

Analysis and Prediction: Many people are expecting a blowout in this one, but I don’t think it’s likely to happen. Pierce is a pretty poor match up stylistically for Koscheck and I think both fighters know this. Take a look at Pierce’s only two UFC losses a close Split Decision to Johny Hendricks (that I actually scored 29-28 for Pierce) and close loss to Jon Fitch (which I scored 29-28 for Fitch.) Both of those fighters are similar to Koscheck in that they are both wrestlers with improving stand up skills. Pierce needs to make this fight dirty. Koscheck hits hard, but his striking is still pretty basic and he can get sloppy at times. In fact he was being outboxed by Matt Hughes in his last bout, before he was able to land that massive overhand right that put Hughes to sleep.

Pierce is going to need to avoid that specific punch if he is to have a chance in this one. He has a very strong chin, but I’m not sure even he can take a couple of Koscheck’s best shots and keep coming back for more. Pierce is also a strong wrestler who has excellent takedown defense. Koscheck will try taking the bout to the mat if things don’t go his way, so Pierce will need to sprawl effectively to keep the fight standing. That’s his best chance to pull off the upset. GSP laid out the game plan to beat Koscheck. Avoid the power punch by simply jabbing Koscheck to death, a strong jab was able to disrupt Koscheck’s entire striking offense and I think Pierce can implement a game plan similar enough to GSP’s to get results. Either way this bout is likely going to be close and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Split Decision here, but as it is, I’ll roll with an upset special. Mike Pierce via Split Decision

Main Card (PPV): Heavyweight Bout: Roy Nelson vs. Fabricio Werdum

Roy “Big Country” Nelson is a 35-year-old from Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who has fought for a number of big name MMA promotions. He is a former IFL Heavyweight Champion and was also the winner of the Heavyweights only season of The Ultimate Fighter. Best known to most fans for his rotund stature he actually possesses surprising skills for a guy who looks like he should work at a comic book store. Nelson is one of the best Heavyweight grapplers in MMA today, who does his best work from top control where he can use his girth and strength to pin his opponents. One of his favorite positions is the top control crucifix, a position that he showed off on TUF versus fan favorite Kimbo Slice as he was able to pin Slice and deliver a number of uninterrupted blows. Standing Nelson has decent hands with big power in his overhand right. Nelson also has an extremely durable chin and can take a wealth of punishment as shown by him being able to survive an absolute beating from current Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos. Nelson owns a professional record of 16-6 with 14 career stoppage victories.

Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum is a 34-year-old Brazilian fighter from Port Alegre, Brazil. He is making his return to the UFC after a stint in Strikeforce and a long social-media campaign to get back into the UFC. He is best known to fans as the first man to ever decisively defeat Fedor Emelianenko in an MMA bout, defeating the Russian star via Triangle Choke in the first round. Werdum is an elite level grappler, with a black belt in BJJ and a number of wins on the Brazilian Mundials and ADCC Submission Grappling circuit. Werdum is also a black belt in Judo and a black belt in Muay Thai kickboxing, although he often overly relies on his grappling skills, which causes his striking to be overshadowed. Werdum owns a pro record of 14-5-1.

Analysis and Prediction: Both of these guys are elite grapplers of the Heavyweight division. The most likely result on the mat is that both men’s skills cancels the other’s out, leading to mostly a stalemate. Werdum is the quicker fighter, but Nelson undoubtedly hits harder. Werdum has also shown himself to have somewhat suspect striking defense as he was hit repeatedly in his last bout by Alistair Overeem, was rocked by Fedor before grabbing onto the Triangle choke and has also been absolutely demolished by Junior dos Santos.

Werdum’s odd strategy against Overeem in his last bout proved to be his undoing. He constantly tried to pull guard instead of pressing forward on Overeem who clearly wanted no part of a grappling contest against Werdum. Nelson won’t be intimidated on the mat, but it’s likely that whoever is in top control will be considered winning, while the fighter on the bottom is unlikely to create a whole lot of room to manoeuvre. I expect speed to be the difference for Werdum. I think he can move in and out of the pocket against Nelson when he’s striking and from there win rounds on the judge’s scorecards. JDS couldn’t stop Nelson and I highly doubt Werdum will either, the most likely result is that he takes home a Unanimous Decision victory. Fabricio Werdum via Unanimous Decision

Main Event (PPV): Interim Welterweight Championship Bout: Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit

Nick Diaz is the man that every UFC fan loves to hate right now. The brash brawler from Stockton, California has come a long way since his first run in the UFC. Previously he was a decent fighter with strong grappling, but who was able to be controlled by the wrestlers who populate the Welterweight division. He hasn’t fought many elite wrestlers since his last stint in the UFC, but he has made vast improvements in his overall MMA game. Diaz is one of the most unorthodox but most effective strikers in the Welterweight division. Diaz is sometimes criticized for his pitter-patter boxing skills, but the results speak for themselves. Despite a relatively slow start in his last bout against BJ Penn, he came alive in the second and third rounds, setting a then record for most strikes landed in a round (a record that baby brother Nate has since broken.) Diaz is also an amazing BJJ player with an incredibly active submission game from the bottom. He has made vast improvements in this area of his game, as it is no longer safe to simply take Diaz down and ride out top control. Diaz is constantly searching for submissions from the bottom, trying to create sweeps and creating room to work his submission expertise. Diaz has one of the best chins in MMA, being stopped by strikes only once in his entire 34-fight career. Diaz is a member of the Cesar Gracie Fight Team and trains BJJ under Gracie himself, and is also training boxing under highly respected boxer Andre Ward. Diaz owns a professional record of 26-7 with 1 No Contest and hasn’t been defeated since 2007.

Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit is a 27-year-old fighter training out of Greg Jackson’s Camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Condit is the former and final WEC Welterweight Champion, before the division was dissolved into the UFC. Condit is a strong all around fighter with strong technical Muay Thai skills, a great gas tank, extensive grappling skills and a vicious killer instinct. All of these factors combine to make him a very fan friendly and highlight reel-friendly fighter. Condit was originally scheduled to replace Diaz at UFC 137 to battle GSP for the Welterweight title, but an injury forced the champion from the card. With the champions knee-injury putting him out of action until at least September, Condit found himself thrown in with Diaz for a shot at an interim title.

Analysis and Prediction: I anticipate that this bout is going to be the leading contender for Fight of the Night when everything is said and done. Both fighters are extremely aggressive strikers who are constantly moving forward. Both of them have cardio for days and are extremely durable so expect multiple rounds of combat from these two. Condit is a pretty good striker, who is able to mix it up well and has an amazing finishing instinct, while Diaz is perhaps the best boxer in the sport.

The first two or three minutes will likely be the only tentative minutes of this bout as the two feel each other out and test their range. Condit will have the edge in ranged striking as he is more effective at using a Muay Thai approach to MMA striking with a solid balance between leg kicks, high kicks and knee attacks from inside the clinch. Diaz on the other hand prefers more of a straight boxing style, instead relying on his legs simply for footwork, creating angles to effectively employ his volume punching style. Diaz also relies on his chin heavily, as he is often more than willing to take a shot or two in order to get off a few combinations of his own from in the pocket. It also needs to be said that Diaz is the best current MMA striking for attacking the body of his opponents. Often used in boxing to accumulate damage and slow the pace of their opponents, the body punch has lost it’s way in MMA, but Diaz is on a one-man mission to bring it back.

On the ground, this bout is fairly even as well. Diaz has been controlled in the past by stifling wrestlers, but that isn’t exactly the mould that Condit fits into. Condit can wrestle well and has a fairly strong takedown as well as nasty ground and pound from top control. Diaz has spectacular takedown defense and has improved his overall BJJ game to the point where he is a threat from the bottom, constantly rotating his hips to create space for sweeps as well as submission opportunities.

Condit is a solid grappler in his own right, and it’s unlikely that Diaz will catch him in any straight forward submission holds, if he wants to win this bout by Submission, he’ll likely need to catch Condit in something coming out of a sweep or a scramble on the mat. Diaz does need to be wary of the ground game though, because even though he is extremely aggressive from his back, Condit is effective from top control and NSAC judge’s notoriously ignore the work of the fighter on the bottom, believing that the fighter on top must be “winning” the fight.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of game plan Condit chooses to employ here. We all know that Diaz is coming to bang and it’s unlikely that he’s going to deviate from that style and even if he wanted to, he doesn’t have the offensive wrestling capabilities to take down a solid grappler like Condit. It’s likely going to be up to the Team Jackson fighter to pick his poison as they say. The dangerous guard of Diaz or the stand up realm where Diaz is able to employ his volume boxing style. It’s likely that Greg Jackson will have a game plan to handle Diaz, it’s one of his best traits as a coach, as his fighters are often composed and prepared.

Both of these guys have amazing cardio so this one isn’t going to slow down and they both are too tough to be finished by anything but this biggest punches or nastiest submissions, so I do expect this one to go to the judge’s scorecards a fair amount of the time. I think Condit will look to keep the striking at range, using kicks to Diaz’s lead leg to slow the Stockton slugger down and then switching it up to attack the body and head with kicks while staying outside of the lanky arms of Diaz. Diaz is going to need to close the distance and get inside with Condit. In the pocket Condit is significantly outgunned by Diaz who just throws too much leather for nearly anyone to handle. The key will be controlling the cage for both men, because once Diaz gets into a groove, he is so relentless it’s nearly impossible for his opponents to escape and they often begin to wilt under the pressure of his attack. Condit should also be looking to land a few well-timed takedowns near the ends of rounds. It’s dangerous to just sit on the mat with Diaz, but it’s hard to argue that a late result could swing a close round into his favor.

Condit is likely going to be the stiffest test that Diaz has fought in a long time. He has better cardio than BJ Penn does, albeit with slightly sloppier boxing. He has a more well-rounded fight game than Paul Daley and Mariusz Zaromskis and he is a more composed fighter than some of the berserkers like Evangelista Santos and Scott Smith that have taken on Diaz recently. He’s going to need to make Diaz uncomfortable in the cage for five rounds, because once Diaz gets into a groove, he’s tough to stop. I’m not sure he can do it though. He’s not measured to try and lay and pray a decision, instead I think he eventually gets frustrated and begins going toe-to-toe with Diaz which in the end will be a losing battle for him. Diaz will be able to take a close but ultimately Unanimous Decision victory. Nick Diaz via Unanimous Decision

Lee McGregor is the owner and editor-in-chief of Source4MMA.com which will be launching in early 2012.

Fighter: The Unauthorized Biography of Georges St-Pierre, UFC Champion

UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit Poster

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

New Items Marked Down! Shop the UFC Sale at the UFC Store.

UFC on Fox T-Shirt [Red]

Georges St-Pierre Ahead Of Schedule, Could Fight By Summer

January 23, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

Georges St-PierreThe up and down roller coaster of the Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz fight finally has a big up. It appears that UFC fans may get their Super Fight sooner than expected as the UFC president reports that GSP is ahead of schedule in his recovery.

UFC fans were dealt some crushing news a few weeks back when it was not only announced that Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre pulled out of his UFC 143 fight against Nick Diaz, but that the champion would be out until at least 10 months due to injury. The GSP camp has been pretty quiet about his recovery yet Dana White revealed some interesting news on the UFC on FX post-game show.

White talked to the great MMA reporter Ariel Helwani about a number of topics, but it was the bombshell that he dropped on Georges St-Pierre that has everyone talking.

GSP’s rehab could not be going better,” White said. “Tonight during the fight he was texting me pictures of him kicking, doing everything… I think he’s going to be back sooner than doctors anticipated.

He says, ‘I am praying every night when I go to bed that Nick Diaz wins this fight.’ I have never seen Georges St-Pierre hate somebody. He hates Nick Diaz. I’ve never seen him hate somebody. I’ve never seen him so motivated to fight somebody and to beat somebody like Nick Diaz.

Ariel asks him flat out if he thinks GSP will be back by the summertime and White responds without hesitation, “yes.”

That is huge news! A few weeks ago it was expected that GSP would not be back to fight until October. Now the president is predicting that St-Pierre will be back in the summer, three-four months ahead of schedule. That changes everything as far as I am concerned and gives fans a little bit of hope in seeing what has been one of the most jinxed fights in UFC history.

If St-Pierre comes back in the summer, I still think that the Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz would have to fight one more time before fighting GSP. That could be tricky. I could see Condit holding out until the summer but for someone like Diaz, that is asking a lot. Diaz prefers to fight every 3-4 months, so trying to reason with someone like Diaz to stay put for five months could be tough.

There is also the UFC schedule and they are already thin on main-events. Is it in the UFC’s best interests to risk a GSP vs. Diaz or Condit fight? The company already had to postpone a scheduled 2012 pay per view because they didn’t have any quality fights to headline. Could the company fill its schedule without using the Diaz vs. Condit winner until the summer? The reward is certainly more appealing if it is Diaz that wins, but the business may dictate differently.

Regardless, I don’t think anyone will be pulling for Carlos Condit in a few weeks. No disrespect to Condit, but GSP vs. Diaz is shaping up to the grudge fight of the year and knowing that the fight could come sooner than expected only adds to the excitement.

Affliction Georges St-Pierre Reversible UFC 129 Walkout Icon T-Shirt [Charcoal]

Affliction Georges St-Pierre Reversible UFC 129 Walkout Icon T-Shirt [Red]

UFC: Best of 2011 DVD

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

New Items Marked Down! Shop the UFC Sale at the UFC Store.

UFC on Fox T-Shirt [Red]

Georges St-Pierre Vs. Nick Diaz Off, GSP Out 10 Months

December 07, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

GSP injuredIt looks like MMA fans will have to wait…oh another 10 months before they get to see one of the biggest grudge matches in UFC history. The planned Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz UFC 143 championship fight is off as GSP will need surgery for a blown ACL, putting him out of action until next fall.

UFC president Dana White broke the bad news on Twitter Wednesday afternoon with the following tweet.

GSP blown acl will be out for 10 mos.,” White tweeted. “Now Condit vs Diaz for the interim welterweight title on Feb 4th in Las Vegas!!

So there you have it. The fight originally planned for UFC 137 will get its second delay, pushing the fight back until somewhere between September-November 2012, barring a miracle comeback from GSP. At 30 years old one has to question whether this is the start of the champion’s body breaking down after 9 years and 24 fights. This marks GSP’s third significant injury in the last few months. Whether it is a coincidence or not will only be answered when Rush makes his return in 2012.

I am starting to think that GSP vs. Diaz may just be a cursed fight. This is the second cancelation of a fight that now won’t take place until deep into 2012 at the earliest. The newest scratch is just the highlight of an injury-rampant year for the UFC which now sees its third biggest fight (Jones vs. Evans, Lesnar vs. Dos Santos) pulled from the schedule due to injury. I don’t care how strong your company is, when you lose three huge money fights like that in one year, you will be taking a huge hit financially.

The UFC will move into Plan B and match Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz for the interim UFC welterweight championship. Condit may be the luckiest man this year in the UFC as he now finds himself thrust into a championship fight for the second time that he didn’t earn. Yes Condit has won four in a row, but beating Kim Dong-Hyun is hardly what I’d consider a win to that earns you a title fight. Yet it does in the UFC.

There is the possibility that Diaz could look past Condit. Although right now, Diaz’s camp are saying all of the right things to squash any notion that the former Strikeforce champion will take his new foe lightly.

I believe he’s better than GSP standing and not as good a wrestler, and [he doesn’t have] as good of a top game,” Gracie said. “I believe standing up, Condit is actually a more formidable opponent. So Nick is not known to force a takedown, so it’s actually a harder fight, as far as standing.

I look for Nick Diaz to thrive in this situation. Diaz has been unstoppable, winning 11 straight fights, and jumping back to the UFC as the Strikeforce welterweight champion. Diaz’s last fight saw him destroy BJ Penn at UFC 137, winning a unanimous decision. A Diaz win here and against another fighter would make his inevitable fight against GSP quite possibly the biggest fight in UFC history. From a business standpoint, the long term gain here could be enormous. At the same time, a Diaz loss or worst yet, two in a row would rob the UFC of millions of dollars. They got real lucky with the Penn fight, but nothing is ever given in MMA.

The UFC has some big money riding on upcoming fights in 2012. Evans vs. Jones, GSP vs. Diaz, and Lesnar vs. Dos Santos has the potential to bring even more money in 2012 than any of those fights would have brought this year. However, the chances of every card falling into place for the UFC are dubious at best. Jones vs. Davis, Dos Santos vs. Overeem, and Condit vs. GSP just don’t have the same ring to them.

UFC 137: Penn vs Diaz DVD

Affliction Georges St-Pierre Reversible UFC 129 Walkout Icon T-Shirt [Charcoal]

Affliction Georges St-Pierre Reversible UFC 129 Walkout Icon T-Shirt [Red]

UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie DVD

New Items Marked Down! Shop the UFC Sale at the UFC Store.

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.

Check out the full Camel Clutch Blog Pro Wrestling and MMA store for videos, t-shirts, books, and more.

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

 

UFC 137: Penn vs Diaz DVD

Affliction Georges St-Pierre Reversible UFC 129 Walkout Icon T-Shirt [Charcoal]

Affliction Georges St-Pierre Reversible UFC 129 Walkout Icon T-Shirt [Red]

UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie DVD

New Items Marked Down! Shop the UFC Sale at the UFC Store.