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Alistair Overeem Targeting Bigfoot Silva Fight At UFC 156

November 14, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

We all know that Dana White is a gambler but he is taking a big one at UFC 156. Alistair Overeem is scheduled to return but will not be stepping right back into a title fight. The former champion will instead have to go throw a giant en route to a championship fight.

Antonio Bigfoot Silva has been calling out Alistair Overeem and it appears that the UFC have listened. The former Strikeforce fighters have been signed to fight on the UFC Super Bowl weekend extravaganza on February 2. The fight of course is contingent on Overeem getting his license back after being suspended for testing positive for PEDs. Overeem can apply for the license as soon as December 27. Although it is certainly not a guarantee.

Come Dec. 27, he’s like any other fighter,” NAC executive director Keith Kizer said. “He’s free to apply for his license. The commission will not do it administratively, however. He has to appear at a commission meeting.

This is an interesting fight on a lot of levels. UFC president Dana White has hinted several times that Overeem would fight for the title on his first fight off of suspension. White was criticized in some circles for rewarding Overeem with an immediate title fight, yet White appeared to be sticking to his guns. There was even talk at one point of cancelling the planned Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez UFC heavyweight title fight and sticking Overeem in there. Something happened and it now appears that Overeem will once again have to earn his title shot.

I have mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand I do think that the UFC has been way too soft on PED offenders. I thought rewarding Overeem with an immediate title shot sent a bad message. On the other hand this is a business and the best thing for business is Overeem challenging for the UFC title immediately. Putting Overeem in a fight prior to that title opportunity is a big risk which could blow up in the UFC’s faces.

Now do I think that Silva will defeat Overeem? Not at all but stranger things have happened. Silva is a unique opponent and while I don’t think he is as bad as he looked against Cain Velasquez, I also don’t think he is as good as he looked against Fedor. I wouldn’t pick him but he is the kind of a fighter that will pull off an upset or two just due to his freakish size. Overeem should be able to pick him apart up top but if Silva can take him to the ground the K1 Grand Prix champion could be in serious trouble.

It has been a long time since Alistair Overeem looked bad in a heavyweight fight in America. You could argue about the Fabricio Werdum fight but at the end of the day Werdum wasn’t able to take him down. Overeem should roll fairly easily over the big man. However, what will the UFC do if there is an upset? There is no other challenger at heavyweight that has the box office appeal of Overeem outside of Cain or JDS. The UFC is already counting on Overeem’s heavyweight title fight as one of its big fights of 2013. Putting him in there with someone like Silva is incredibly dangerous yet some will say the right thing to do for the integrity of the sport.

The timing does work well for an Overeem win here. The heavyweight championship will be decided between Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez at the end of the year. Overeem would be fighting a little more than a month later. The UFC would have plenty of time providing neither winner comes out with serious injuries to put the fight together for the spring or summer. My hunch is July for the annual big event but maybe it comes sooner if both winners escape unscathed.

Needless to say the UFC will have millions of dollars on the line at UFC 156.

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UFC Eyeing Five Big Fights For 2013

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

The UFC is hoping to rebound from a lackluster 2012 on pay per view with a big wish list of fights for 2013. The promotion is eyeing five big fights with hopes of shattering records and delivering fans the most exciting year in UFC history.

MMA writer Dave Meltzer breaks down the 2013 strategy in his latest issue of the Wrestling Observer newsletter. Meltzer breaks down the top five superfights with some context in what could turn into the most pivotal year in MMA history.

There is also the hope, obviously, that they can do a huge year on PPV if injuries don’t get in the way. Anderson Silva is going to the 11/17 show in Montreal. If GSP wins, they are going to have a call out or confrontation to set up Silva vs. GSP. Of course, GSP has to win his match. The idea or hope is to get Silva vs. GSP first, and if Silva wins, go with Silva vs. Jon Jones (provided Jones beats Chael Sonnen) later in the year. The idea is to do the major dream matches this year. If Silva doesn’t beat GSP and Jones remains champion, they could move to Jones against the heavyweight champion for a major year-end fight. The idea is if things go right to get two 1 million buy shows, plus big ones when Alistair Overeem goes for the heavyweight title, GSP vs. Nick Diaz if that one works out, along with Jones vs. Sonnen with the idea of five potential 700+ shows, plus Ronda Rousey vs. Cyborg which will garner a ton of attention even if the jury is very much out on what kind of numbers it would do.

It is easy to get excited over this list but if there is one thing we saw in 2012 it is that the UFC fight schedule is often changing due to injuries and upsets. Right now there is only one fight on this list that is about as guaranteed as you’re going to get and that is the heavyweight title fight.

The only thing holding back this fight is Overeem and whether he can pass his drug tests before the fight. If he can than this fight is going to be huge, especially if it turns out to be JDS vs. Overeem. The anticipation for this fight has only grown since it was cancelled in the spring. Cain vs. Overeem is another intriguing fight but I don’t know if it will have that same kind of “pro wrestling” appeal that JDS vs. Overeem would have. Although the idea of seeing two heavyweight strikers go for the knockout in a championship fight will do huge numbers in its own right.

The company’s top draw Anderson Silva could be responsible for the biggest year in UFC revenues on his two fights alone. The pressure is on Georges St-Pierre to fight Silva but he doesn’t seem that interested in the fight. I am really surprised that the UFC is still pursuing this knowing St-Pierre’s lack of interest. I also think while this fight would be big, it would not be the blockbuster that some are predicting. I think the size mismatch is a lot to turn people off. It’ll be huge but I really don’t know if they can top UFC 100 numbers. I would be shocked if they sold out Texas Stadium as well. It will still be a big fight but I am real skeptical of this one happening.

GSP vs. Nick Diaz still has a lot of appeal among MMA fans. I know that Dana White recently said that Diaz would have to wait for his title shot but I’m not buying it. Slower than expected ticket sales for UFC 154 will shoot Diaz right to the front of the line to fight GSP. I would be shocked if Diaz fights anyone but GSP when he returns, unless the UFC can pull off the Silva fight. From all accounts it would appear that this is the fight GSP wants as well. I think this one would be big, much bigger than some people think. There is more intrigue about this fight than most people realize and I think it happens in 2013.

Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg Santos is another one that is almost guaranteed to happen. I don’t think Rousey is in a financial position to turn down the fight. The UFC is willing to build an entire division around her, yet I have to wonder how interested they’ll be if she turns down the money fight. I will say this about the fight. I don’t think this one is going to be nearly as big as people think. I still think that Women’s MMA has a long way to go with casual fans and while this one will certainly appeal to hardcore fans, I just don’t know if the landscape is right to take full advantage of this fight. I think this fight could open up that door, but are people willing to pay $50 to see a women’s fight at the top? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

Finally the UFC have high hopes with Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva. Silva’s recent 50% ownership demands don’t make this one likely, although I think it was said in jest. I think this one has the potential to shatter UFC numbers. Unfortunately they really screwed up booking Sonnen vs. Jones and should have gone here first. I still don’t know if they’d sell out Texas Stadium with this one, but they’d get more mainstream appeal than any other fight. As a fight fan I hope it happens. Dana White guarantees it, both fighters have finally opened the door, and the timing is just perfect.

Chael Sonnen: The Voice of Reason: A V.I.P. Pass to Enlightenment

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Chael Sonnen Announces 205 Debut At UFC 155

August 15, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Chael Sonnen has officially announced that he will be moving up to 205 and will play with the big boys at light heavyweight. Sonnen will make his debut against a former UFC light heavyweight champion to help the UFC close out the year on December 29 at UFC 155.

It was officially announced on Tuesday that Sonnen vs. Forrest Griffin will go down on December 29. The fight marks Sonnen’s UFC debut at 205 pounds and the start of his quest to fight for the light heavyweight championship. Sonnen will be looking to bounce back off a loss while Griffin will hope to put together back to back wins.

Believe it or not, this is not the first time Sonnen and Griffin have fought in MMA. The two UFC fighters fought before joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship on a smaller regional show several years ago. Griffin defeated by Sonnen via submission in the first-round in that fight over eight years ago. Sonnen is looking for revenge.

Sonnen made the announcement on the UFC Tonight broadcast.

“I could go up to 205 and I could take Jon Jones’ belt the same as I could take his candy on Halloween – a little punk kid, I’d snatch it away all I want,” Sonnen said. “But there’s something to be said in sportsmanship for earning your shot. And on the 29th of December, I’m going to go through Forrest to do it.”

I have to admit that this one took me by surprise. It wasn’t all too long ago in which Dana White was publicly questioning Grifffin’s desire to even continue fighting and suggested that the former champion should consider retirement. There was a story this week about Wanderlei Silva’s next fight and I was almost certain that Chael was going to be his opponent. This one surprised me.

Chael certainly brings fresh life to the UFC light heavyweight division. The UFC champion Jon Jones has blown through the division’s top contenders so fast that we are already going on repeats with Lyoto Machida getting the next shot at the Jones vs. Dan Henderson winner. I have to believe that the UFC are foaming at the mouth at the possibilities of promoting a Sonnen vs. Jones championship fight. I would not be shocked to see Sonnen get the shot after Machida if he wins in convincing fashion.

Unfortunately this isn’t pro wrestling because if it were, Sonnen would walk in, KO Griffin in the first-round, and call out the champion. Griffin is one of the bigger light heavyweights of the division. I do think that Sonnen would dominate Forrest on the ground, I just wonder if Griffin is too big for Sonnen to take and hold down. There are certainly easier paths that Sonnen could have taken on his debut. Heck, Anderson Silva made his light heavyweight debut against James Irvin! Sonnen has guts and is a money fight in the making with Jon Jones. Getting past Forrest won’t be easy although I lean towards Sonnen in the fight.

With Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez for the UFC heavyweight title on top and Sonnen vs. Griffin in support, UFC 155 is already shaping up to be one of the biggest shows of 2012.

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Chael Sonnen – The Voice of Reason: A V.I.P. Pass to Enlightenment

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Cain Velasquez Will Get The Next UFC Heavyweight Title Shot

August 13, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC heavyweight championship picture will finally have some stability. After a week of chaos, Dana White has finally answered the million dollar question. Cain Velasquez will get the next title shot.

Dana White set off a firestorm a week ago when he told reporters that not only did Junior Dos Santos request to fight Alistair Overeem instead of Cain Velasquez, but that the UFC were considering it. After a week of debate by both MMA fans and media, White cleared up the situation at the UFC 150 post fight press conference.

Alistair Overeem was originally scheduled to fight Junior Dos Santos back in May but had to pull out of the fighter after losing his license. Overeem tested positive in a pre-fight PED test for elevated levels of testosterone and had his license suspended until December. Even on the sidelines, Overeem began a trash talking campaign against the champion that got his attention to the point that Junior and the UFC were seriously considering cancelling the planned Velasquez-JDS fight in favor of an Overeem-JDS fight. The only problem there is that in order for that fight to be made, the UFC would have to take a million dollar risk in hoping that Overeem could get his suspension lifted.

Keith Kizer of the Nevada State Athletic Commission officially batted down Overeem’s Hail Mary pass last week. Overeem suggested in an interview that he could get an early hearing from the NSAC. Kizer publicly said otherwise when asked about whether Overeem could reapply before the end of the suspension.

The regulation indicates that you can’t file an application until that timeframe is up,” Kizer said. “There’s nothing for a commission to put on an agenda. You can’t vote on an application that has yet to be filed. There’s no such door to walk through.

One of two things must have happened here. For the UFC to actually consider giving Overeem the fight, they had to be under the impression that Overeem had a shot at this early hearing. Either Overeem’s camp did have plans for an early hearing that got shot down once the NSAC started receiving blowback or the camp were just publicly posturing all along with no serious commitment from the NSAC on an early hearing. Either way by Kizer publicly coming out and shooting it down, he sealed the deal for Velasquez’s title shot.

While I think this was the right move to make all along, I wasn’t as irate as some in the MMA media were about Velasquez losing his title shot. Velasquez got KO’d in 94 seconds by JDS two fights ago. Yes Velasquez absolutely destroyed Big Foot Silva, we are talking about Velasquez defeating an opponent that was a) coming off of a loss and b) had never even fought in the UFC before. Compare that to Overeem defeating a former UFC world champion and I think you can make a very good argument that Overeem should be allowed to jump ahead of Velasquez in the title picture.

That said, Overeem is the knucklehead that screwed it up for himself with all of the shenanigans surrounding his recent PED tests and failure. This wouldn’t have even been an issue if Overeem played by the rules of the game. Thus I don’t feel sorry for him, but I also wouldn’t have felt sorry for Velasquez either for not getting the rematch.

Dana White told reporters that the fight is tentatively scheduled to take place on the final UFC event of the year on December 29 at UFC 155 in Las Vegas, NV. I say tentatively because this fight has been promised since May yet nothing has been signed on paper. An injury to Dos Santos or Velasquez would open up an interesting scenario that could allow Overeem sneak into the mix before waiting for the championship rematch to take place.

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Chael Sonnen – The Voice of Reason: A V.I.P. Pass to Enlightenment

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Alistair Overeem On Junior Dos Santos, “He’s Afraid To Fight Me”

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

Alistair Overeem is certainly making the most of PED suspension. He may not be able to fight, but it won’t stop him from promoting one. Overeem is confident that he will get licensed and has three words for Junior Dos Santos, “Let’s do it.”

Now that Anderson Silva has shut Chael Sonnen up and Josh Koscheck is on the sidelines, Overeem is becoming the “Rowdy” Roddy Piper of MMA. Whether it is by design or sheer luck, Overeem’s recent taunts of Junior Dos Santos have gotten to the UFC heavyweight champion. Dos Santos is so upset with Overeem, he recently asked the UFC to cancel his next fight with Cain Velasquez in favor of Overeem. Overeem’s recent comments will only further enrage the champ.

Overeem was interviewed on FUEL TV’s UFC Tonight and continued his verbal assault on JDS. Overeem continued telling the world that the champion is afraid of him and even recounted a recent confrontation the two had a few weeks ago.

I think he’s afraid to fight me. He was happy that the last fight on May 26 didn’t happen against us. I approached him at the UFC Fighter Summit in Vegas and said, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s prove something to the world and lets fight.’ Then he suddenly acted like he didn’t understand English and how he wants to fight Cain first. The fact of the matter is, I’m the number-one heavyweight in the world and if he wants to be the number-one heavyweight, he has to come through me.

All of these fighting words are bound to turn into big dollars once the Overeem vs. JDS fight is official. There is one problem however, and that is Overeem’s suspension. In order for the UFC to make this fight, the company would have to bank on Overeem getting his license back in December. According to Overeem, that is a guarantee you can take to the bank.

“My manager and I have a good relationship with the (Nevada State Athletic) Commission and we’re taking all steps necessary and following all the rules, and I don’t expect any problems to get my license from the commission when the time comes.”

UFC president Dana White can only blame himself for letting this get out of control. White floated the story to the media that JDS wants to postpone his fight with Cain Velasquez to fight Overeem. The UFC president could have shut this down in a second by telling JDS, “No!” Instead, the UFC are taking Dos Santos’ request under consideration thus turning this whole scenario into an absolute circus.

First he wants to fight Cain [Velasquez] and now me. Talk all you want. Come into the Octagon. I will immediately say yes. Give me and the fans what they want. But he’s expecting that fight not to happen. I would welcome that fight and want it to happen. I would say yes every time to that fight.

I think the UFC should roll the dice and make the fight. I am sorry but I think Overeem beating Brock Lesnar as opposed to Cain beating Big Foot Silva gives the former K1 and Strikeforce champion the edge at being number one contender. Both were dominate but Overeem destroyed a former UFC champion while Cain defeated guy who never even fought in the UFC before. Either way both are blockbuster fights as far as I am concerned.

You just have to fight the number one contender,” Velasquez said recently on the MMA Hour. “Then that’s it. That just how I feel about it. As a champion, you just fight whoever is next in line. You don’t get to pick and choose who you fight.

Knowing that the championship fight is within his grasps, I can’t imagine Overeem shutting up anytime soon. I would expect more talking and more taunting until he gets what he wants or the UFC officially shuts down the fight. Cain Velasquez could learn a thing or two as he refuses to talk trash while instead sitting back and watching the title shot slip away.

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Junior Dos Santos Wants To Fight Alistair Overeem, Not Cain Velasquez

August 06, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The highly anticipated Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez UFC heavyweight title fight may have to wait. The champ is trying to change direction, instead wishing to shut up the fighting words of another top contender.

One of the biggest MMA mysteries of the last few weeks has been the Dos Santos vs. Velasquez rematch. Velasquez’s camp has publicly stated that they have asked for a date with the champ with no luck. Dos Santos and camp have shut down any rumors about an injury. So what is the delay in setting up arguably the biggest fight on the UFC docket? Alistair Overeem.

UFC president Dana White told reporters over the weekend that Dos Santos is trying to change direction on the UFC heavyweight title road. After proclaiming Velasquez as the number one contender, White now says that Dos Santos would rather wait for Alistair Overeem. Whether it was by design or pure arrogance, Overeem has gotten into the head of the world heavyweight champion.

White told MMAJunkie.com that Dos Santos told him he does not want to fight Velasquez, as opposed to what he told the UFC a month ago. Instead Dos Santos would prefer to shut the mouth of the former Strikeforce and K1 Grand Prix champion.

He said, ‘Alistair Overeem is a punk. He’s got a big mouth, and he’s been saying lots of bad things about me, and I want to knock him out. I want to knock him out now.’

Alistair Overeem was scheduled to fight the champion in May but was pulled after failing a pre-fight PED test. Overeem has since said that he feels Dos Santos is scared of him, while Dos Santos has mocked Overeem, “Man the school of Chael Sonnen is going to have more students because now he [Overeem] is going to start a lot of sh*t just because the UFC gave Chael the opportunity to fight Anderson again”, and told Ariel Helwani.

This has all of the makings of a blockbuster grudge fight!

Overeem’s license is suspended until December. Dana White has gone back and forth on whether he would book Overeem on the final show in December, advertising him for a fight before his license is reinstated. It would be a risky move for the UFC, especially after all of the grief he caused them the last time around. The UFC would be spending a lot of money to promote a fight in the hopes that one of the headliners would get reinstated shortly before the fight.

On the other hand, this wouldn’t be the first time that the UFC took such a big gamble. Just recently, the UFC booked Chael Sonnen in Las Vegas, NV to headline against Anderson Silva at UFC 148 before Sonnen met with the NSAC to clear up licensing issues. The biggest difference there is that there was plenty of time that passed since Sonnen’s license was held up and he had fought a few times since then without incident.

What do you do if you are the UFC? By all rights, Alistair Overeem is the number one contender. He hasn’t lost a fight since he was awarded the title fight and Cain Velasquez only has one win over a guy that never even fought in the UFC. The problem is Dos Santos agreeing to the fight, the UFC announcing the fight, and now Dos Santos trying to backtrack and change course after everything was put in place.

I think that the UFC needs to move forward with Velasquez vs. Dos Santos. It is unfair to give Velasquez a title fight and then take it away for no reason. Grudge or not, as champion you have to fight the number one contender. If the UFC deemed Velasquez the number one contender, that is who you fight.

White told reporters that he is taking the request under consideration. In other words, it would appear that Alistair Overeem has talked himself right back into a title fight that he appeared to lose. Like him or not, this is a brilliant move from a fighter on the outside looking in if Overeem can pull this off.

I immediately think of Georges St-Pierre when I contemplate this whole idea that Junior would rather settle a grudge than fight the number one contender deemed by the UFC. I am sure that GSP would prefer to settle his grudge with Nick Diaz before fighting Carlos Condit. Now Diaz is suspended so it is a bit different, but the UFC could be setting a dangerous precedent allowing its champions to dictate fights based on grudges.

I’m not saying that’s what’s happening. I’m just saying to you that’s what (JDS) is saying. He wants this fight,” said the UFC president.

It looks like the Chael Sonnen School of Promoting Fights may have another successful graduate.

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Junior Dos Santos Thinks Alistair Overeem Talks A Lot Of Sh*t

July 14, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

Even nice guys have their limits. Junior Dos Santos is considered to be one of the nicest guys in and out of the UFC. Yet even he is starting to get annoyed with Alistair Overeem’s recent accusations that he is scared of fighting the Demolition Man.

Anyone that watched Junior Dos Santos coach on The Ultimate Fighter could see what a genuinely nice guy the UFC world heavyweight champion is. Even his opposing coach Brock Lesnar said how he grew to like Junior filming the show. That is why any kind of trash talk coming from JDS is a rare event.

Alistair Overeem is slowly bringing an aggressive side out of the champion. Overeem was scheduled to fight Dos Santos for the title back in May. The fight was cancelled after Overeem was popped for high levels of testosterone on a pre-fight drug test. Ever since that happened, both fighters have taken small potshots at each other in the media, building up what could be an epic heavyweight title fight in 2013.

Overeem was recently asked about JDS in an interview with Ariel Helwani. Overeem is either incredibly arrogant or a highly smart businessman because he is starting the promotional build early for a future fight with Junior Dos Santos.

For me, I’m a fighter, I’m here to kick ass, I don’t care who I’m fighting. I’m already a three-time world champion, I’ll fight anybody, anywhere, so I’m going to leave that to the gentlemen of the UFC to decide. I know [Junior dos Santos] didn’t want to fight me in the first place. I know he was happy [about the NSAC decision], I just know that.

I hit very hard, I’ve knocked out a lot of people, I’ve submitted a lot of people. I am, in any way you look at it, a legitimate threat to his title. I’m gonna get it. He knows that. Cain (Velasquez) is also doing very well right now, but Cain doesn’t hit as hard as I do. Cain is smaller than I am and has less experience. I’m the biggest legitimate threat out there, that’s why he’s afraid.”

The world champion was not amused at the idea that he is afraid of anyone. Junior had a chance to respond and was caught a little off guard when Helwani asked him whether he was really afraid of Alistair Overeem.

I am afraid? HAHA. Man the school of Chael Sonnen is going to have more students because now he [Overeem] is going to start a lot of sh*t just because the UFC gave Chael the opportunity to fight Anderson again. Man I am not afraid of him, I am not afraid of anybody here, if he thinks he’s better than me, come to fight with me and soonhe feels the power of my hands he is going to change his mind.

Dos Santos will have to get past Cain Velasquez first, but I have a feeling that Overeem and Dos Santos are going to talk themselves into one of the biggest fights in UFC history. Combat sports fans love a great heavyweight but casual sports fans love trash talking even more.

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Alistair Overeem, “Im the most tested fighter on the planet”

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

Alistair Overeem watched his UFC title shot and credibility slip through his fingers overnight. Overeem will eventually fight again but can he restore his image? According to Overeem there should be no questions about PED use the next time he steps foot in the octagon.

Alistair Overeem has turned into one of the most polarizing figures in all of MMA. Overeem went from a favorite among MMA fans after sending Brock Lesnar into retirement to the poster child for PED abuse in sports. Overeem knows that there will be plenty of questions when he comes back and for the rest of his career regarding his freakish physique.

Overeem popped up at UFC 148 over the weekend and made himself available to the media. Overeem talked to reporter Ariel Helwani about a number of topics, including PEDs. I’ll give Overeem some credit. Unlike some former fighters (Chael Sonnen) who get busted and try to avoid the subject, Overeem is not only answering questions about PEDs, he is taking the controversy head on. Although to be objective, quite a few of his answers are suspect to say the least. For a guy who is a professional athlete, he sure seems to plead a lot of ignorance when it comes to performance enhancing drugs.

When asked about the suspension and the positive tests Overeem said, “Im the most tested fighter on the planet.” Overeem is referring to the fact that he has voluntarily opened himself up for random drug tests. This is Overeem’s attempt to win back the trust of the UFC and the MMA world after looking rather foolish at his PED hearing in front of the NSAC. Overeem is asked about whether he thinks the UFC will book him before he is licensed and he says no but later says he is hoping to fight in 2012.

UFC president Dana White was very critical of Overeem a few weeks ago. The prez is now starting to warm up to the idea of doing business with the former Strikeforce and K1 champion. He also did not shut the door on booking Overeem in December before his hearing.  “He’s doing all the right things now,” White said. “He’s fixing all the wrongs. We’ll see what happens.”

Claiming to be the most tested guy on the planet is a big claim. I have to imagine that there are players in other sports that are tested more frequently than Overeem. Even so, Overeem is not getting tested by any commission right now. These tests are being done on his terms so who knows how accurate they are or if they will be taken into consideration in December when he has his hearing. Overeem tells Helwani they are being handled through an independent organization. Helwani asks him what the name of the organization is to which Overeem responds, “you’d have to ask my manager.”

One interesting note on the interview was Overeem’s rant on UFC champion Junior Dos Santos. JDS has been very outspoken about Overeem’s suspension and use of PEDs. Overeem thinks that JDS is speaking more out of fear than any concern about the spot.

I know (JDS) didn’t want to fight me in the first place. I know he was happy [about the NSAC decision], I just know that. I hit very hard, I’ve knocked out a lot of people, I’ve submitted a lot of people. I am, in any way you look at it, a legitimate threat to his title. I’m gonna get it. He knows that. Cain (Velasquez) is also doing very well right now, but Cain doesn’t hit as hard as I do. Cain is smaller than I am and has less experience. I’m the biggest legitimate threat out there, that’s why he’s afraid.

You have to love the trash talk here, especially from a guy that blew his title shot due to PEDs. Regardless, if JDS can hang on to the title and defeat Cain Velasquez, an Overeem vs. JDS UFC title fight has potential to do big business. They aren’t even signed to fight and both guys are already trash talking. Overeem tells Helwani that he believes he will have to have one more win to get the title shot.

It looks like the UFC has a natural rivalry on their hands. Unfortunately for them, they can’t do a thing about it until Overeem gets his license back.

Chael Sonnen – The Voice of Reason: A V.I.P. Pass to Enlightenment

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Silva, Sonnen & Summer – The UFC Schedule through Fall 2012

July 06, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Ok, I did it. A while back, I wrote a similar piece and prefaced it by stating that fighters would probably get hurt along the way. Well, we got through Jones vs Evans, which I was thankful for since the piece was posted not-too-long before the event itself. Then the voodoo-training Gods just unmercifully struck down numerous fighters (and as a result, entire cards) with injuries. While I doubt Dana and Joe Silva get paid overtime, something tells me they’d be living off a steady diet of Five Hour Energy and takeout over the past few months if they did (I wouldn’t worry about their wallets though, folks. Something tells me they’ll be just fine). With arguably the biggest fight of the year set for tomorrow night, here is a follow up to that ill-fated March piece with an updated schedule.

UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen II

This one?  THIS ONE is easily one of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history.  You’ve probably seen the first fight (and if not, damn you and all that you stand for) by now: Sonnen outworked, outwrestled and, gasp, out struck Silva for over four rounds back in August 2010 at UFC 117 until Silva’s triangle-armbar in the final frame produced one of the greatest comebacks of all-time.  Sure, Sonnen’s suspension prolonged the second act a little longer than many had hoped, but the silver lining is that in the interim, fans have forgiven Silva for the Cote-Leites-Maia trilogy of flops since he’s returned to full-on “Matrix” mode and dissected Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami.  Now that Sonnen has had time to trash everything that Silva stands for including his abilities, family, country and training partners, Silva unleashed an uncharacteristic string of threats to “break his face and every one of the teeth in his mouth.”  The greatest fighter on the planet is capable of making great fighters seem amateur when he’s calm and stoic.  Can you imagine what he might do when he’s focused but incredibly pissed off?

UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao

Oh, 149.  You’ve been changed more times than an infant with a stomach bug.  Over the past two months, the main event lineup has been changed half a dozen times until finally the card was set with Faber vs. Barao as the headliner for the UFC Interim Bantamweight Title (champ Dominick Cruz is currently recovering from injury).  Faber would love to walk into the rubber match with Cruz in a “unification” situation (ok, we all know the interim titles are more marketing ploys than anything, but let’s just go with it) and Barao has been undefeated under the Zuffa banner in both UFC & WEC so this should be an exciting fight.  Plus, with a post-Bellator Hector Lombard and Canadian stud Ryan Jimmo both making debuts, this may not set PPV numbers on fire, but will definitely give the fans in Calgary a solid showing.  With that, I issue an open challenge to anyone fighting on this card to walk out to Bret Hart’s theme music.

UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar 2

Frankie Edgar seems to be the king of lightweight title rematches.  After losing the belt to Bendo at UFC 144 back in February, it seems as though the MMA community and UFC brass wanted him to move down to 145 to face Jose Aldo for the Featherweight crown for what seems to be the most entertaining title fight at 145 right now.  Instead, Edgar campaigned his way to a rematch at 155 in what I’m sure will be the last LW title rematch for a while with contenders like Nate Diaz and Anthony Pettis waiting in the wings (ok, no one come back and say “But Pettis and Bendo would be a rematch from the WEC LW title fight!” Different time, different place, different organization technically).  Both men are capable of putting on “Fight of the Night” performances every time they step into the Octagon (their last scrap was a “FOTN” winner and they’ve collected 9 such honors total between their two UFC careers so far).  I am a betting man and I’d definitely put them as the front-runner to earn the bonus again.

UFC 151: Jones vs. Henderson

Back-to-back PPVs headlined by a Henderson.  I figured I’d just draw everyone’s attention to that fun fact before we move forward.  In one corner we have the champ, Jon Jones, who is quickly becoming the greatest LHW of all time, having defeated four former champs in a row over the span of a year.  In the other, you have Henderson, a former champ in his own right, who’s won five in a row with four by TKO/KO and the fifth being what many consider to be one of the greatest fights in the history of the sport – a UD victory over Shogun Rua at UFC 139.  Despite his age, Hendo has never been finished due to strikes and always has that “H-bomb” right hand loaded and ready to go.  If that impeccable chin holds up and he can somehow get inside Jones’ gangly reach, he might have true puncher’s chance.  We’ll find out in September.

LOOKING AHEAD

The rumor floating around that dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2 for the heavyweight championship was going to be the main event at 152 in Toronto, but Dana White recently said that’s not the case.  BJ Penn will, however, “un-retire” (I prefer to think of it as a long layoff since I personally didn’t think he was done for good) against Canada’s own Rory Macdonald on that card.  You never know which BJ Penn is going to show up, but I do know Macdonald is game wherever he is so I’d imagine he’ll want to give the hometown crowd a show and continue his ascent up the welterweight depth chart toward a title shot.

Speaking of Canada, UFC 154, tentatively slated for November 17, is supposed to mark the return of Canada’s golden boy George St-Pierre in a title unification bout against the only man to beat Rory Macdonald, current interim champ Carlos Condit.  GSP’s injury has both unlocked a somewhat stagnant division and yet also left it in flux since we all know he is the rightful champ.  Add to that card a #1 contender’s fight between 2012’s magic man Martin Kampmann and Johnny Hendricks and we should go into 2013 with a definitive champ and challenger for the spring.

…or heck, more injuries could happen and these could all change.  At the rate we’re going this year, I sincerely hope everyone stays healthy (*throws voodoo doll into burning fire*).

UFC 117: Silva v. Sonnen DVD

UFC: The Ultimate 100 Greatest Fight Moments

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

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

Updated – Broken Hand Delays Velasquez Vs. Dos Santos UFC Rematch

June 14, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC on Fox 1 PredictionsOne of the biggest UFC fights in championship history will have to wait a few weeks. An announcement earlier this week about the upcoming Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez UFC heavyweight title rematch may have been a bit premature according to one camp.

UFC president Dana White announced at the UFC on FX 3 press conference that the UFC had slotted the highly anticipated Dos Santos vs. Velasquez rematch for UFC 152 in Toronto. However, a new report out of Tatame.com tells a slightly different story.

According to the article, Cain Velasquez has a broken hand that will delay the fight. Dos Santos’ manager told the website, “The fight is with Velasquez, but no definite date. It was speculated for September, but that is unreal. Velasquez is also with a broken hand, its not resolved, so I think the UFC will wait a little longer.”

I knew that one of the upcoming fights I blogged about Tuesday (JDS-Velasquez and GSP-Condit) would wind up delayed to an injury at some point. I just had no idea that the delay would come a week after announcing the fight. In fairness to the UFC they didn’t sell tickets yet or make anything official. Yet there was certainly a disconnect between Cain’s camp and Zuffa. Velasquez would have broken his hand a couple of weeks ago, thus White should have been aware of the injury.

It is well documented that both fighters were hurt going into their first fight. The enormous pressure of headlining the first-ever UFC special on FOX television resulted in both fighters moving forward with a fight that they would have likely postponed. My feeling has been that Velasquez will not go into the next fight hurt or with serious injury and will take major precautions when it comes to fighting through a major injury. There is just way too much to lose here. So the delay doesn’t surprise me one bit.

I believe that JDS-Cain 2 has the potential to be the biggest UFC fight of all-time. 5.7 million people tuned in to watch their first fight which resulted in a quick knockout. An estimated 500,000 people just watched their previous fights at UFC 146. There are a lot of people who not only are familiar with both fighters, but expect knockouts and heavy hands from both. Add in the passionate Mexican and Brazilian fan bases and you have a recipe for a blockbuster championship fight on your hands.

Early MMA odds favor Junior Dos Santos by a small margin. Dos Santos has opened up at -139 on some books to Cain Velasquez’s +111. I am not a gambling man but I see that as a huge opportunity to cash in on Cain Velasquez. You may never get odds on Velasquez again that have him as an underdog. I think these guys are so evenly matched, that getting Velasquez with any underdog odds is a bet you just have to make.

Rory MacDonald vs. the returning BJ Penn was scheduled to support the heavyweight main-event at UFC 152. My hunch is that the UFC moves this to the main-event.

Update: Cain’s team disputes the report on The Score. “No truth,” Mendez told theScore.com about rumors the former champion has a broken hand. “They (Dos Santos’ camp) are going by the Nevada Athletic Commission’s follow up after fights. Cain told the doc after his fight that his front knuckle was bruised and all they did was give him a slip that he needed an X-ray before being cleared. Standard commission practice is all that happened and they gave him a six-month suspension until he has his X-ray to clear him. He has no injuries other than the bruise and even sparred on Monday.”

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.

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.

UFC 146 Results – Dos Santos Retains, Velasquez Dominates

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

The UFC 146 all heavyweight fight show delivered what you wanted if you expected fast knockouts, exciting fights, and lots of blood. It was only fitting that the main-event would end with a 6’3” 261 pound man flat on his back in the championship fight.

Junior Dos Santos throttled Frank Mir with a second round TKO. Dos Santos kept the fight up top and refused to go to the ground with Mir. Dos Santos noted after the fight that his hand hurt which could signify a broken hand for the champion. Otherwise it was a fairly crisp performance for a first-time heavyweight title defense.

Frank Mir told the world he was going to open up the fight and immediately try and take Dos Santos down in the guard and that is exactly what he did. Unfortunately for him Dos Santos was ready and didn’t go down. Mir wound up fighting a stand up fight which saw the fight come very close to ending for the challenger as the bell rang. Dos Santos connected on a body shot and then nailed Mir with a right hook before opening up a flurry of strikes. Mir was in bad shape and arguably saved by the bell as the first round ended.

JDS continued picking Mir apart in round two. It appeared it was only a matter of time as the round started and it was. JDS dropped Mir with a right, jumped on him, and the fight was stopped at 3:04. Mike Goldberg called it a great performance out of Dos Santos. I don’t know if I’d call it great but it was very good. He won but I got the feeling that a faster, healthier Cain Velasquez would have picked him apart as opposed to the slow, plodding Mir. That is more than I can say for Mir who looked like he came into the fight with one game plan and when that failed he knew it was over.

In the semi-main event, Cain Velasquez brutalized Antonio Silva with a first round TKO. Velasquez made a serious statement tonight and looked better than ever. Velasquez caught a Silva kick in the open and took him down. The former UFC heavyweight champion immediately opened up a nasty cut with a series of elbows and ground and pound. Silva was drenched and could barely see past the blood. After a check by the doctor, the fight continued, and Velasquez just brutalized Silva with ground and pound until the referee stopped the fight at 3:36 via TKO.

I said it after the Velasquez-Dos Santos fight and I am more convinced than ever that there is no way that a healthy Velasquez would get dominated the way he did by Dos Santos. It has since been reported that Velasquez was hurt going into that title fight and I think it was obvious tonight. I can’t recall seeing a guy beaten that badly for a title coming back with such a dominant performance. Cain looked simply awesome at UFC 146 dominating the giant Antonio Silva.

It is an interesting predicament that the UFC has when it comes to Velasquez. The money fight right now is obviously Velasquez vs. Dos Santos in a rematch. Cain should probably win another fight before getting the title match, but the dominant performance shoots him right to the top in my opinion. I can’t think of anyone besides Velasquez deserving of the title shot other than Alistair Overeem who can’t fight until next year anyway. Does the UFC go with Velasquez vs. Mir in Cain’s next fight? While I think Cain would win, a loss would be devastating. I think the UFC plays the hot hand and we get Dos Santos vs. Velasquez in September or October (depending upon Junior’s hand) in what will be one of the most anticipated UFC heavyweight title fights in history.

As for the heavyweight division, it was painfully obvious to me how much the UFC and the division misses Brock Lesnar. I know that he is a polarizing figure to MMA fans but the UFC heavyweight division is not nearly as deep without him. Past Mir, Dos Santos, and Cain you have a pretty stale division. I understand Brock was on the downside due to his medical conditions, but he could have possibly put a short run together if he stuck around for one more year. Alistair Overeem had a shot at taking that spot but he is out of the mix until early next year. I know Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett are right around the corner, but they are hardly the intriguing fighter that Brock was.

Brock was actually at the show in the audience. I will make a prediction now and that is Brock Lesnar will fight again. I believe that when his WWE deal expires next April that he will make one more go at the UFC. There is just way too much money waiting for Brock in the octagon for him to stay away. Unfortunately I think his health will probably make it a one and done come back. I think Frank Mir is the opponent and I think they complete the trilogy in 2013.

Full UFC 146: Dos Santos vs. Mir results & winners…
Junior Dos Santos defeated Frank Mir via second-round TKO
Cain Velasquez defeated Antonio Silva via first-round TKO
Roy Nelson defeated Dave Herman via first-round TKO
Stipe Miocic defeated Shane del Rosario via second-round TKO
Stefan Struve defeated Lavar Johnson via submission (armbar)
Diego Brandao vs. Darren Elkins
Jamie Varner defeated Edson Barboza via first-round TKO
C.B. Dollaway defeated Jason Miller via unanimous decision
Dan Hardy defeated Duane Ludwig via first-round KO
Paul Sass defeated Jacob Volkmann via submission (triangle armbar)
Glover Teixeira defeated Kyle Kingsbury via submission (arm triangle)
Mike Brown defeated Daniel Pineda via unanimous decision

UFC: Best of 2011 DVD

UFC 146: Dos Santos VS. Mir Poster

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

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