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UFC 158: GSP vs. Diaz Results and Takeaways

March 18, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Another weekend gone by and with it another UFC Pay Per View is in the books. UFC 158 rocked the PPV airwaves and likely did excellent numbers for the UFC as it was headlined by one of the most anticipated fights of the past couple of years as Welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre breezed through his title defense against Nick Diaz. Although it’s too early to discuss the potential number of PPV buys UFC 158 did, it is likely going to be deemed a huge success for the UFC. What we don’t have to speculate about is the live gate, as the Canadian fans proved that once again the sport of MMA is loved in Montreal. The Bell Centre reported an attendance figure over 20,145 all contributing to a $3.7 million live gate.

Although those people that initially shelled out $60 for the Pay Per View were likely frustrated and disappointed with their purchase after the first two main card bouts, the three Welterweight fights that closed the show certainly delivered. Jake Ellenberger continued his climb towards the top of the Welterweight division with an impressive Knockout of the Night award winning performance against the always-tough Nate Marquardt. Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks engaged in an absolute war that is my candidate for Fight of the Year so far, in a number one contender’s bout. And to cap off the night GSP dominated Nick Diaz for most of their 25-minute affair all the while his hometown fans chanted obscenities at Diaz and cheered their local hero.

Lightweight Bout: Mike Ricci defeated Colin Fletcher via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

This was a bout between two TUF second place finishers and Mike Ricci got the job done in front of his home crowd. Despite gaining a dominant victory, Ricci certainly can’t be overly happy with the victory as the bout was a rather slow and plodding affair. Across all three rounds Ricci used a more well-rounded and accurate striking game, along with takedowns and excellent top control to batter his opponent. In the end there was little doubt about who the victor was, but in the action-light opener, you got the feeling that Ricci could have done more.

What’s next for Ricci? Despite the win, Ricci wasn’t overly impressive. He was definitely dominant, but he was never really close to finishing the fight and the bout was slow paced. He’ll need to step up his game if he wants to make it far in the Lightweight division, but it’s going to have to be baby steps for him. Fellow TUF veterans Francisco Trinaldo and Mike Rio are competing in May in Brazil, the winner of that fight could be a good test for Ricci.

What’s next for Fletcher? Unemployment probably. He’s looked fairly unimpressive in his two UFC bouts so far, so he deserves to be cut. But he is British and he does have a big personality and the UFC might decide to keep him around for their European cards. Feed him to someone like Paul Sass or Daron Cruickshank on a free car in Europe and let him get someone’s career back on track before he goes.

Middleweight Bout: Chris Camozzi defeated Nick Ring via Split Decision after Three Rounds

For three rounds Nick Ring kept his hands down, danced around the outside and tried to use his speed advantage to pick apart his opponent. If you listened to the commentary from Rogan and Goldberg, you’d believe that he did it as well, but the judges thought differently. Camozzi was rewarded for moving forward, despite taking a few shots on the way in, but he did manage to land some punches of his own, especially in the second and third rounds as Ring began to slow. Despite the close Split Decision neither fighter really impressed in this one, but Camozzi does get the W.

What’s next for Camozzi? Many people have already called for this one, but I’m inclined to agree with the mainstream media on this, Camozzi should fight Brad Tavares. Both Middleweights have been impressive since their runs on The Ultimate Fighter and they are both ready to try and break out of the middle-tier of fighters in the Middleweight division. They both just got big wins, they’re both TUF veterans, no reason not to match them up.

What’s next for Ring? He hasn’t lived up to all of the potential people thought that he had after his shortened season on The Ultimate Fighter. Despite what many people thought was a rather lackluster fight, Dana White seemed impressed with this one on Twitter and gave both Ring and Camozzi ‘Much respect’ on his Twitter, so I guess he’s not likely to be cut. Despite the props from the boss, he’s still going to drop down the rankings. Bouts with Daniel Sarafian from TUF: Brazil or Japan’s Riki Fukuda would make sense.

Welterweight Bout: Jake Ellenberger defeated Nate Marquardt via Knock Out (Punches) at 3:00 of Round One

Marquardt and Ellenberger took the center of the cage quickly, but it was Marquardt who got the first edge as he chopped away at Ellenberger with leg kicks. Marquardt managed to use those kicks to set up a few nice combinations and scored with a few of them. Nearly midway through the round Ellenberger countered a kick and landed a combination that dropped Marquardt to his knees against the cage. Ellenberger swarmed his hurt opponent with follow up punches, including a huge right hand that dropped Marquardt face first into the mat unconscious as the referee stepped in to stop the bout in the opening round.

What’s next for Ellenberger? That was definitely a statement fight as he completely thrashed a very tough and durable Nate Marquardt (in face Anderson Silva is the only other fighter to stop Marquardt via strikes.) He deserves a top contender and there is definitely plenty of choices at Welterweight. Top contenders like Rory MacDonald or Demian Maia would make sense. But I think the best choice might be a top contenders bout against the final Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Tarec Saffiedine.

What’s next for Marquardt? He probably fell out of the top 10 with the knockout loss, but he’s still a tough fighter who will allow the UFC to gauge the talent of up-and-comers and middle of the pack Welterweights who they think might be ready for a step-up in competition. A bout with Siyar Bahadurzada could be interesting if they agree to fight for the rights to use the nickname ‘The Great.’ Also intriguing could be a bout against Stephen Thompson.

Welterweight Bout: Johny Hendricks defeated Carlos Condit via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

I will spoil nothing of this fight, because you simply should go and watch all fifteen minutes of it. Back and forth striking action, big takedowns, slams, suplexes, flying knees, head kicks, huge bombs, this fight had everything that a good MMA contest should have. It’s just a shame these two didn’t have two more rounds to keep scrapping.

What’s next for Hendricks? At the end of the day, Hendricks won this bout and gets his shot against GSP. He apparently broke his hand in this fight, so he might need some time off to heal, but he’s getting a shot at the championship and he deserves it.

What’s next for Condit? He’s going to be employed for life. Knowing he would probably need a finish, he went out and threw everything he had at Hendricks in that final frame trying to steal the fight back. He’s lost two straight, but they were to the champion and number one contender so there’s not a lot of shame in that. At the top of the division there’s only a lot of rematches and only the Diaz one makes sense. I’d rather see him take a slight step back in competition and have some exciting bouts to get him back on track. Bouts with BJ Penn, Amir Sadollah or Mike Swick could prove to be exciting slugfests and could probably get Condit back on the winning track.

Welterweight Championship Bout: Georges St. Pierre defeated Nick Diaz via Unanimous Decision after Five Rounds

 GSP gonna GSP, that’s about all there is to say about this fight. It definitely wasn’t ‘the worst beating the octagon has ever seen’ like he claimed it would be, but it was fairly one-sided. Georges stood with Diaz more often than I thought he would and although he struggled at times, he handled himself fairly well in the stand up and didn’t allow Diaz to get into any kind of a rhythm at all. On the ground it was complete and utter positional domination. Diaz had a number of tricks that he tried, but no matter what he did rolling for knee bars, scrambling to the bottom, giving up his back to try and create space for scrambles, none of it worked. GSP controlled the action on the mat every time it went there. This fight wasn’t without some notes though, as GSP looked decidedly more fatigued by the end of this fight, than I have seen him in previous fights. By midway in the third round, GSP was beginning to glance up at the clock and looked to be slowing down. In fact it showed in his performance as several of his takedowns in the final two rounds were stuffed by Diaz, something that wasn’t even close to happening during the opening two rounds.

What’s next for GSP? Johny Hendricks engaged in a war with Carlos Condit in the co-main event and earned himself a title shot. Dana has said that he expects the bout to take place in Vegas once Hendricks heals from a hand injury he suffered during the Condit fight.

What’s next for Diaz? In the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan he teased retirement, but by the time the press conference came around he was asking for a rematch and offering to fight Anderson Silva, so it’s hard to say what’s on Diaz’s mind. If he passes the post-fight drug test and decides that he still wants to fight, there are a number on interesting bouts in the 170-pound division for Diaz. Diaz isn’t getting back in for another shot at GSP any time soon, so you might as well give him decent match ups against guys who will brawl with him and try to use him basically as entertainment value. Bouts against primarily strikers would be in the UFC’s best interest if they pursue that option. Martin Kampmann expressed interest in fighting Diaz and that’s a fight I’d like to see. The loser of the upcoming Dan Hardy vs. Matt Brown fight at UFC on FOX could also be an excellent choice for a brawl.

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Nick Diaz Says He Has Never Paid Taxes

March 18, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

Nick Diaz has lost his mind! Shortly after announcing his retirement at UFC 158 Diaz showed up at the post fight press conference and made challenges to everyone from Anderson Silva to GSP. Yet it was what Diaz said about his taxes that is making news.

I have always thought that Diaz was crazy like a fox. I was wrong unless Diaz has a master plan when it comes to fighting the Internal Revenue Service. Diaz has made a lot of wild statements the last several days. But showing up to a press conference and announcing you have never paid taxes may be have been the most insane yet.

Diaz showed up late to the presser after telling the UFC that he wasn’t coming. In this case he probably should have followed his instincts. The presser was classic Diaz from challenging Anderson Silva to claiming that Georges St-Pierre (who just said complimentary things about Nick) has “no punching power”. Somehow or another he got onto the subject of taxes.

“I can’t be jumping teams,” Diaz said at the presser. “I just have to do the best with what I have. You know what? I’ve never paid taxes in my life, no joke. And no one wants to hear that kind of talk and what’s going on with me. I might as well just be a kid. I’ve had fight after fight after fight after fight, and you don’t know what that does to somebody who didn’t graduate high school. Take it into consideration for a second what three fights a year will do to you your whole life. And the only time you have some time off, it’s not like it’s a vacation – everybody’s telling you you’re this piece of s—, you’re suspended, you ain’t fighting this guy, you ain’t fighting that guy, you have to come back and dance around a bunch of hard hitting people. It’s a rough sport.”

Wow! UFC president Dana White is not amused and is concerned about his fighter. White wants Diaz to pay his taxes immediately and get his act together.

“What’s sad is, he better go pay his taxes,” White said. “He came out publicly tonight and said he’s never paid taxes in his life? Holy s—. That’s sad. You wanna talk about sad? That’s sad. Somebody better handle that with this check and make sure that kid doesn’t end up with nothing. There’s a guy who’s Nate and Nick’s lawyer and seems like a decent guy looking out for them. I’ll probably give this guy a call and tell him, ‘Nick said he’s never paid taxes in his life, and you probably want to start working on that f—ing Sunday morning, not Monday morning.’”

You can watch the rest of the press conference below and hear Diaz incriminate himself among other things. This is serious business and if Diaz is telling the truth, he probably won’t be retiring anytime soon. He’ll need to stick around and pay what promises to be a very hefty bill to Uncle Sam.

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UFC 158 GSP vs. Diaz Results: GSP Wins, Diaz Teases Retirement

March 17, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

I don’t think anyone expected the Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz UFC 158 main-event to be a loser leaves town match but it may have just been that. After suffering a dominating defeat, Diaz announced his likely retirement in an antic-climatic end to one of the UFC’s biggest grudge fights.

If you took a step back from all of the Diaz trash talk and fight hype, you probably had a good idea of how this fight was going to go. The highly anticipated GSP vs. Nick Diaz main-event turned out to be the fight you expected and that was unfortunate. Fans were paid off with the typical GSP ground and grind with a mix of standup in a fight that hardly lived up to the hype.

I don’t know if I’d call it a dominating fight by GSP or just a bad off night for Diaz, regardless GSP won the five-round decision. The first round saw GSP dominate Diaz with takedowns. The best action came as the second round closed and Diaz tried to get into St-Pierre’s face. The third round was Diaz’s best as he stopped multiple takedown attempts and had some striking combinations. Unfortunately that was about the best we saw from Diaz all fight. At one point Diaz just seemed disinterested walking around with his hands down. The only other highlight was Diaz hitting GSP after the bell late in the fight and being threatened with a disqualification. Other than that it wasn’t too thrilling.

Diaz and GSP immediately hugged after the fight. GSP called Nick the best boxer in MMA. Funny as he hardly seemed like anything close to it. GSP had a lot of complimentary things to say about Nick, although he didn’t invite him over for a BBQ. It was probably a little too respectful of an interview if you consider the fact that his opponent was just accusing him of being on steroids 48 hours ago.

Diaz on the other hand made noise of his own in his post fight promo. Diaz told Joe Rogan that he fairly confident that he is done with MMA.

“I want to thank GSP for giving me the credit that I like to think I deserve. I don’t think I got any more” on what’s next.”

Diaz then went on to say that he was tired of getting busted up. He told Joe Rogan that he made enough money from the fight that he hopes he can make some investments. He said he gave this a lot of thought over the last year he was on suspension. If he didn’t give a similar speech after his last fight I’d probably take him a lot more seriously. Unless Diaz fails a drug test I’d expect him back in the UFC.

The good news for St-Pierre is that he won the fight. The bad news is that he now has to fight a beast in Johny Hendricks. Hendricks defeated Carlos Condit in the co-headliner by unanimous decision in one of the best fights I have seen in awhile. Hendricks was a beast and is probably the most dangerous opponent GSP ever fought. I can’t imagine GSP bullying Hendricks on the ground and Hendricks will take the striking to GSP like nobody else. Hendricks challenged GSP in his post fight promo and told GSP that he was willing to bring a ref to GSP’s house to get it done. Hendricks thought he broke his hand during the fight so the eventual title fight may be delayed for awhile.

Full UFC 158: GSP vs. Diaz results and winners…
Georges St-Pierre (c) defeated Nick Diaz via Decision (unanimous)
Johny Hendricks defeated Carlos Condit via Decision (unanimous)
Jake Ellenberger defeated Nate Marquardt via KO (punches) in Round 1
Chris Camozzi defeated Nick Ring via Decision (split)
Mike Ricci defeated Colin Fletcher via Decision (unanimous)
Patrick Côté defeated Bobby Voelker via Decision (unanimous)
Darren Elkins defeated Antonio Carvalho via TKO (punches) in Round 1
Jordan Mein defeated Dan Miller via TKO (punches) in Round 1
John Makdessi defeated Daron Cruickshank via Decision (unanimous)
Rick Story defeated Quinn Mulhern via TKO (punches) in Round 1
T.J. Dillashaw defeated Issei Tamura via KO (knee and punches)
George Roop defeated Reuben Duran via Decision (unanimous)

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UFC 158: GSP vs. Diaz Predictions and Analysis

March 15, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Grudge match! It’s time for the UFC to return to the world of Pay Per View with UFC 158 live from La Belle Province as Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre makes yet another title defense in front of his hometown crowd. This fight has been a long time in the making and has taken some serious twists and turns to get here, but this Saturday night fans will finally see Nick Diaz take on GSP for the UFC Welterweight title.

The two were originally scheduled to headline UFC 137, but after Diaz no-showed some media obligations he was pulled from the bout and instead faced BJ Penn whom he defeated. With GSP injured and off for a significant amount of time, Diaz faced Carlos Condit for the Interim Welterweight Championship Title and lost what some people are still calling a controversial decision. After the fight he failed his post-fight drug test for marijuana metabolites (he’s a medicinal user in California, his home state) and was subsequently suspended for the rest of 2012. Apparently, he’s done enough to spark the champion’s anger enough that he’s getting a title shot coming off of a loss anyways.

The rest of the main card features a number of top Welterweight contenders and will likely help to establish the pecking order for the rest of the 170-pound division. In the co-main event former Interim Champion Carlos Condit takes on surging contender Johny Hendricks. Hard-hitting Jake Ellenberger also takes on former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nate Marquardt in Welterweight action. Two runner-ups from differing seasons of The Ultimate Fighter collide in Lightweight action as Mike Ricci fights Colin Fletcher. Middleweight action rounds out the main card as Canadian Nick Ring takes on Chris Camozzi.

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: George Roop vs. Reuben Duran

George Roop is a 31-year-old fighter from Tucson, Arizona. He was a cast member on the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter, who now trains at the Apex MMA Gym in Arizona. He holds a professional record of 12-9-1. Reuben “Hurricane” Duran is a 29-year-old from Chula Vista, California. He is a member of the Pinnacle Jiu Jitsu and MMA Gym in Redlands, California. He holds a career record of 8-4-1.

Quick Pick: Reuben Duran via TKO in Round Three

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: T.J. Dilashaw vs. Issei Tamura

T.J. “The Viper” Dilashaw is a 27-year-old fighter from Sonora, California. Dilashaw is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who is now a member of the Team Alpha Male Gym in Sacramento, California. Dilashaw holds a professional record of 6-1. Issei Tamura is a 28-year-old fighter from Tokyo, Japan. Tamura is a former member of the Shooto organization who trains with the Krazy Bee Dojo in Tokyo. He holds a career record of 7-3.

Quick Pick: T.J. Dilashaw via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Rick Story vs. Quinn Mulhern

Rick “The Horror” Story is a 28-year-old fighter from Tacoma, Washington. Story is a member of the Brave Legion Gym training in Vancouver, Washington. The former collegiate wrestler from Southern Oregon University holds a career record of 14-6. Quinn “Campamocha” Mulhern is a 28-year-old fighter from Santa Cruz, California. He holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and trains with the Sante Fe BJJ Team in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He holds a career record of 18-2.

Quick Pick: Rick Story via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: John Makdessi vs. Daron Cruickshank

John “The Bull” Makdessi is a 27-year-old fighter from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He holds black belts in Tae Kwon Do as well as Shotokan karate. He is a member of the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He holds a professional MMA record 10-2. Daron “The Detroit Superstar” Cruickshank is a 27-year-old fighter from Westland, Michigan. He is a former NCAA Division 3 Wrestler who also holds a black belt in Tae Kwan Do. He is a member of the MASH Fight Team who holds a 12-2 pro record.

Quick Pick: Daron Cruickshank via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Dan Miller vs. Jordan Mein

Dan Miller is a 31-year-old fighter from Sparta Township, New Jersey. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who trains with his brother and fellow UFC fighter Jim Miller at the AMA Fight Club in Whippany, New Jersey. He holds a career record of 14-6 with 1 No Contest. Jordan “Young Gun” Mein is a 23-year-old fighter from Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. He is a member of the Canadian Martial Arts Centre in Lethbridge. He holds a professional record of 26-8.

Quick Pick: Jordan Mein via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Antonio Carvalho vs. Darren Elkins

Antonio “Pato” Carvalho is a 33-year-old fighter from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. Carvalho trains at the Abe Ani Combat Club in Oshawa, Ontario who has a background in several martial arts including BJJ, Judo and Shotokan Karate. He holds a career record of 15-5. Darren “The Damage” Elkins is a 28-year-old-fighter from Hobart, Indiana. He is a member of the Duneland Vale Tudo Gym in his hometown. He holds a career record of 15-2 and is 4-0 in the UFC’s Featherweight Division.

Quick Pick: Darren Elkins via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Patrick Cote vs. Bobby Voelker

Patrick “The Predator” Cote is a 33-year-old fighter from Rimouski, Quebec, Canada. He is a former Middleweight title challenger who will be making his Welterweight debut in this bout. He is a member of the Tristar Gym but also spends time with Team Sityodong in Boston. He holds a professional MMA record of 18-8. “Vicious” Bobby Voelker is a 33-year-old fighter from Kansas City, Kansas. He is a member of Finney’s MMA Gym in Missouri. He holds a career record of 24-8.

Quick Pick: Bobby Voelker via TKO in Round Two

 

Main Card (Pay Per View): Lightweight Bout: Mike Ricci vs. Colin Fletcher

Mike “The Martian” Ricci is a 26-year-old fighter from Montreal, Quebec. Ricci was a cast member on the sixteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter where he was the runner-up in the Welterweight division, fighting 15 pounds above his more natural weight class. Ricci is a talented striker, but struggled against the wrestling heavy attack of Colton Smith in the TUF finale bout. Ricci is a southpaw striker with big power in his hands, he is also a decent grappler on the mat from top control, but struggles from the bottom. He holds a career record of 7-3.

Colin “The Freakshow” Fletcher is a 30-year-old fighter from Sunderland, United Kingdom. Fletcher is known for his ring entrances that feature him dressed as a clown. Fletcher has fought for a number of major promotions including Total Combat and BAMMA. Fletcher was the runner up of the Lightweight portion of The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes (UK vs. Australia.) Fletcher is a talented grappler who is tall and lengthy for a Lightweight fighter at 6’2”. He is a member of the FightPit MMA Academy in England. He holds a career record of 8-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Ricci proved during his season of The Ultimate Fighter that he can deal with strikers and fighters who are taller than him, which means he’s prepared to handle most of the problems that Fletcher can bring. Ricci struggled against the wrestling based onslaught of Colton Smith at the finale, but Fletcher doesn’t have the wrestling skills to grind against Ricci. I expect a strong performance in front of his hometown crowd from Ricci as he picks Fletcher apart from a distance before landing a big punch that begins the end for Fletcher. Mike Ricci via TKO in Round Two

Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Bout: Chris Camozzi vs. Nick Ring

Chris Camozzi is a 26-year-old fighter from Alameda, California. Camozzi was a cast member on the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. Camozzi holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who is a tough and well-rounded fighter. He trains with the Factory X Muay Thai Gym in Lakewood, Colorado. Camozzi is a tough striker who constantly moves forward in his bouts. Camozzi prefers to stand and trade in his fights and does his best work at length as his Muay Thai skills have continued to improve throughout the years. He will have a slight reach advantage in this fight. Camozzi holds a career record of 18-5, but has never been stopped from strikes in his career.

Nick “The Promise” Ring is a 34-year-old fighter from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Ring is a cast member from the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter who now trains with the Tristar Gym in Montreal. Ring is a former professional boxer and kick boxer who holds a black belt in Muay Thai and a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He is a tough and well-rounded fighter who has shown a knack for winning close decisions in somewhat controversial fashion. Ring holds a professional MMA record of 13-1, with his lone loss coming against Tim Boetsch.

Analysis and Prediction: Camozzi has been improving readily, but Ring should be able to handle most of what he throws at him. Ring is a talented striker who’s kickboxing is more than likely going to be more technically sound than Camozzi’s. Add in to that, Ring is the better grappler and has better takedowns and more of a willingness to shoot for those takedowns that he can keep Camozzi guessing. I don’t think it will be a cakewalk, but Ring should be able to take a decision. Nick Ring via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Welterweight Bout: Jake Ellenberger vs. Nate Marquardt

Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger is a 27-year-old fighter from Omaha, Nebraska. Ellenberger is a former NCAA Division 2 Wrestler who wrestler for the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Ellenberger trains at the Reign Training Center in Lake Forest, California. In addition to his wrestling background, Ellenberger has continued to improve his striking skills and possesses big time knockout power in his hands. Ellenberger has also added a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Ellenberger holds a professional record of 28-6 with 22 victories via stoppage.

Nate “The Great” Marquardt is a 33-year-old fighter from Lander, Wyoming. He is a former Middleweight title challenger and a former Pancrase Middleweight Champion. Marquardt is returning to the UFC since leaving and joining Strikeforce, where he dropped to Welterweight, won the Strikeforce Welterweight Championship and then lost the title. Marquardt is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is also a 2nd degree black belt in Pancrase Pankration. He is a member of the Grudge Training Center in Denver, Colorado but also splits his time with Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico. Marquardt has a career record of 32-11-2.

Analysis and Prediction: Ellenberger should be studying the tape of Marquardt versus Tarec Saffiedine at the final Strikeforce show. Marquardt was picked apart on the feet, mainly because of thudding leg kicks that he was unable to adapt to. Ellenberger hasn’t really shown himself to be a kicking machine, but a strategy that employs a steady dosage of kicks would be a good idea. Ellenberger is the more talented wrestler and packs a big punch. Marquardt is tough and could make it very difficult for Ellenberger, as Marquardt was able to dominate Tyron Woodley in their Strikeforce fight. Overall, a steady stream of leg kicks, heavy punches and well-timed takedowns carry Ellenberger to a decision win. Jake Ellenberger via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Welterweight Bout: Carlos Condit vs. Johny Hendricks

Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit is a 28-year-old fighter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Condit is a tough, well-rounded fighter who was the longtime WEC Welterweight Champion and was also the UFC Interim Welterweight Champion before losing his last title unification bout against GSP. Condit was originally scheduled to have a rematch against Rory MacDonald, but MacDonald was forced to withdraw due to injury. Condit is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in his hometown, where he holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Condit is a talented kick boxer with a strong chin and is fairly unorthodox. He’s also a talented grappler with excellent submissions from top control. He holds a career record of 28-6.

Johny “Big Rigg” Hendricks is a 29-year-old fighter from Ada, Oklahoma. Hendricks is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Oklahoma State University. Hendricks despite his impressive wrestling credentials has continued to improve his striking and has big power in his hands and has scored emphatic knockout victories over Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann. Despite impressive stoppages over those two, he has struggled against fighters who can prevent him from outwrestling them. Hendricks trains with Team Takedown in Dallas, Texas along with other wrestling based fighters like Shane Roller and Jake Rosholt. Hendricks holds a career record of 14-1, with the lone loss coming to Rick Story and he is currently riding a 5-fight winning streak.

Analysis and Prediction: Hendricks has fared well against fighters that he can knockout within the first minute, but he’s struggled in his other bouts. Condit is the more technically proficient striker of the two, albeit he packs a significantly less concussive pop in his punches. Hendricks should definitely be trying to take Condit down more often, but I think his recent successes could carry him to poor game planning. If he’s not willing to take Condit down, he will definitely struggle and likely get picked apart from the outside. When he does shoot in against Condit, he’ll have to be careful, as Condit is a talented grappler who is very crafty and very aggressive from his back and as he sprawls. It’s definitely a close fight, but I think that if Condit isn’t out cold within the first two minutes or so, then Condit is likely going to take a decision. Carlos Condit via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): UFC Welterweight Championship Bout: Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz

Georges “Rush” St. Pierre is a 31-year-old fighter from Saint-Isidore, Quebec, Canada. He is a member of the Tristar Gym training in Montreal, Quebec. GSP is the reigning and defending UFC Welterweight Champion and is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC. St. Pierre holds black belts in Kyokushin Karate, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Shidokan Karate and Gaidojutsu. St. Pierre is a dominating wrestler who has an incredible double leg takedown and smothering top control game. He is also an accomplished boxer who trains boxing with famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach. GSP holds a career record of 23-2 and has since dominated both of the fighters to ever score a victory over him.

Nick Diaz is a 29-year-old fighter from Stockton, California. Diaz has fought for a number of major MMA promotions throughout his career including Shooto, WEC, Pride, Elite XC, Dream, Strikeforce and the UFC. Diaz is a former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion who vacated the title when he returned to the UFC in 2011. Diaz is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Cesar Gracie. Diaz is a member of the Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu Team in Stockton, California training with brother Nate Diaz as well as Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez. Despite his impressive grappling skills, he is also well known for his unique striking style. Diaz has a strong chin and is often willing to take one punch to dish out a few of his own. Diaz holds a professional MMA record of 26-8 with 1 No Contest.

Analysis and Prediction: I’ve never hidden my dislike for GSP and I’m a fan of Diaz’s style, although I like many people find his antics at times slightly annoying. I really would like nothing more than to see Diaz rock GSP with a couple of big punches that eventually lead to a knockout and a new champion, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen. Truth be told this is a pretty terrible match up for Diaz. He’s never been strong against wrestlers and Benson Henderson laid out a pretty solid game plan to beat the Diaz style, so too did Condit. I have a hard time believing that a fighter as well coached and levelheaded as GSP is going to ignore those signs and choose to engage in a brawl that swings the edge to Diaz.

There are definitely a lot of factors that could come into play, the question will simply be how many of them actually do. Diaz’s boxing style is tough to emulate and is often successful if fighters allow him the space and momentum to get going, GSP will need to avoid that. Diaz is a crafty and dangerous submission artist who is aggressive from his back, so even if he earns a takedown, GSP will need to be careful as he looks to draw guard. The biggest thing for GSP is going to be the need to keep a level head. He’s a better fighter than Diaz, there’s no real denying it, but that won’t make him a winner.

If there’s anything that this week has proven, it’s that Diaz can get inside GSP’s head. Despite the calm talk from the champion, Diaz has had him rattled both during the conference call and press conference. If he can get the champion that fired up during the fight and lure him into a brawl, he definitely makes the fight more interesting and much more even. It’s just whether or not he can get GSP to play his game. I think the more likely scenario is that GSP uses a steady stream of jabs and takedowns to control Diaz for nearly the full 25 minutes. I don’t buy the hype that GSP really wants to earn the finish hear, frankly we’ve all heard it before and Diaz is especially tough to finish, so I expect a pretty dominant decision from the champion. Although I really hope he gets rocked by a big Diaz punch and goes to sleep. Georges St. Pierre via Unanimous Decision

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Nick Diaz Says GSP Is On Plenty Of Steroids

March 15, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

Nick Diaz has said a lot of things about Georges St-Pierre but his newest attack may be the one that gets under GSP’s skin most. Diaz is now accusing GSP of being on steroids and is openly questioning whether the champ is being tested or not.

Diaz broached the subject first on Thursday at the UFC 158 press conference when he was asked about drug testing. Diaz never came outright and said it but he said enough to let you know what he was thinking. I am hardly a body language expert but the look on the champion’s face when Diaz mentioned steroids was enough to tell me that this is a hot button issue with him. Well if he was made then, he is going to be enraged when he hears Diaz’s latest rant.

I believe that he’s is on plenty of steroids, and I don’t think they test around here either. I doubt I’ll be tested as well. I don’t care what they say to the fans or the media, I don’t think we’ll be tested. And if so, he’s probably got a bottle of p*ss in his pocket.

For the record Diaz is not the first GSP opponent to make these accusations. Josh Koscheck and BJ Penn had voiced similar concerns in the past in which Dana White quickly told them to be quiet.

Diaz appeared Thursday on the Tim and Sid radio show in Toronto to promote the fight. Wow! That is how I would describe this interview and the things Diaz had to say. The most newsworthy is what Diaz said about GSP and steroids but that is only the tip of the iceberg.

I know there are a lot of MMA purists that want to see Nick Diaz get beaten and go away. Not me. I love this guy! I don’t think there is any other athlete in professional sports that is as real with the media as Diaz. How real is Diaz? Diaz is so real that he will admit to you that he doesn’t even know if he’ll pass the UFC 158 drug test

Hell I’m not I’m not guaranteeing (I’ll be clean), I had nanograms, two nonograms over, I did a little better than last time, if I don’t pass the test, I’m sorry, but I could probably use another year off vacation. It’s not like I enjoy this, taking punches to the mouth. I have to feed my family that I hope some day I can acquire.

UFC president Dana White has hinted that he would cut Diaz if he fails this test. I don’t believe it for a second. Diaz is money! As much as I wanted to see this fight months ago I lost interest over the last several weeks. That was until Nick Diaz came back into my life and started doing media. Now I can’t wait to see this fight.

Some other gems from this interview included…

I’d like to see him face Robbie Lawler or Takanori Gomi when I fought them, because they’d have knocked Georges out.

If the fans are educated enough to understand they’d know I’m not in the wrong. There needs to be some new promotions or UFC needs to work something out. I don’t agree with a lot of things.

You can listen to the entire interview below. All I have is one thing to say after listening to this interview, hearing last week’s media call, and watching Thursday’s press conference.

Give Nick Diaz more media and give me more of those “wolf tickets”!

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Sparks Fly At UFC 158: GSP Vs. Diaz Press Conference

March 14, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

The Nick Diaz show continued today in Canada. Nick did show up for the UFC 158 press conference and he delivered as advertised. Nick complained about his poster picture, being portrayed as a villain, his childhood, and a whole lot more in one of the most entertaining pressers in UFC history.

I know the guy is supposed to be a good soldier, show up for press conferences, and be a company man but there is a reason that the MMA world is fascinated with Nick Diaz. Nick Diaz is the real deal. Nick showing up at open workouts and giving the same boring answers that 99% of the other UFC fighters do is not a draw. Fans waiting to see what Nick Diaz does next is what draws the money.

Nick was awesome at today’s presser. Nick compared his childhood to Georges and criticized Georges for comparing Nick to a bully. Nick also complained about his image on the pay per view poster which even got a laugh out of GSP. Guess what? He is absolutely right about that one. Nick also talked about doing what he had to do to get the fight with GSP in addition to a whole lot more.

I know that Dana is mad about Nick missing the workout and says he wants to have a “come to Jesus” meeting with Nick but I say let him go. Nick is the most fascinating character in MMA right now. There is a reason that 90% of the questions asked at today’s presser went to Nick and not the world champion, Carlos Condit, Johny Hendricks, or even Dana White. Nick Diaz is good for business period.

Nick seemed to hit a real nerve when he made a comment about Georges being on steroids. Georges lost his cool shortly thereafter and told Diaz he was crazy if he thought he was afraid of him. Georges said something about testing for steroids which Nick retorted that he’d have nothing to worry about. The exchange came at around 20:00 into the presser and sparks were flying.

Enjoy the show. It is a good one. It doesn’t live up to the expectations of last week’s media conference call but Nick certainly delivers. Nick said during the press conference on Thursday that the choice was either missing the open workout or today’s presser. I am glad he chose the workout.

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Intense UFC 158 Media Call With GSP And Nick Diaz

March 08, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

If you weren’t already excited to see Nick Diaz and Georges St-Pierre fight each other at UFC 158, just wait until you hear their crazy conference call. It’s not often when you hear GSP lose his cool but even he had a hard time keeping himself composed listening to the ramblings of Nick Diaz.

Now this is how you promote a fight! I don’t know if Nick Diaz is just crazy or crazy like a fox but either way he probably just made himself a lot more money on Thursday. Diaz and GSP joined forces for a conference call that featured Diaz losing it after 20 minutes and being the first fighter to get into the head of the UFC welterweight champion.

“I’m disrespectful only because I would like the acknowledgement that I deserve,” said Diaz. “I’m not over here trying to make friends.”

“I hope so mother*****. If I had that much money I’d be pampering myself or f***ed up,” Diaz interjected before St. Pierre responded.
“Let me say something, uneducated fool, listen to me,” said St. Pierre.

“I’m not stupid, I can tell what’s what,” Diaz responded.

I can’t wait to see how this fight goes down. I do think we are being baited here for something that may not deliver as promised. Remember how badly Anderson Silva wanted to kill Chael during his call and a few days later he was inviting him to a barbecue? I don’t think anyone is getting invited to a barbecue here but I don’t expect the brawl you’d hope to see coming out of something like this. Regardless I have been hooked since Diaz signed with the UFC and I can’t remember a fight other than Silva vs. Sonnen 2 in recent years that had me more excited.

Check the entire call out for yourself below. I would rank it right up there with the infamous Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen and Rashad Evans vs. Rampage Jackson calls. Quite frankly it may even be slightly better.

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10 Most Anticipated UFC 2013 Fights

January 09, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

2012 will go down as a mixed year in the UFC. Unable to deliver the big super fights, the UFC will attempt to rebound in 2013 with several highly anticipated fights both scheduled and in planning.

If there was one disappointment with the UFC in 2012 it was the inability to pull off big fights. Even realistic super fights in division like Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz failed to materialize for a variety of reasons. With an all-star roster on deck featuring new fighters from Strikeforce, the UFC has the potential to blow away 2012 with several big fights this year. Now whether the UFC can pull these off or not is another story altogether.

I sat down with the idea of writing about the 10 most anticipated UFC fights of 2013. Unfortunately I had a rough time coming up with anything past five. It isn’t as if the big fights aren’t available, it just appears that the biggest ones aren’t close to taking place. So in order to get to ten, I had to throw a lot of hypothetical matchups into the mix. I tried keeping it realistic and staying away from fights like GSP vs. Silva which while gigantic, doesn’t appear to be taking place in 2013. Of course the UFC is always full of surprises but on the first week of January, here is a look at what I think are the 10 most anticipated fights both signed and likely to happen in the next twelve months.

Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz UFC 158 - This one is signed but is far away from being sealed, and further away from being delivered. Diaz is still unlicensed so until he appears before the NSAC to get reinstated, this fight is far from a lock. However, if everything comes together as planned this is undoubtedly the biggest fight on the docket in 2013 now and for the rest of the year. Grudge fights sell in the UFC and I can’t think of a bigger grudge that will be settled in 2013 than this one.

Chael Sonnen vs. Jon Jones UFC 159 - If you are a hardcore fan and have followed Sonnen and Jones over the last few months, you are probably less excited about this fight than you were when it was announced. If you are a casual fan who peeks in and out, well then you are probably just as amped. So far the “grudge” between these two has turned into a bit of a love affair. I have to think that as the fight grows closer that Sonnen will go into his usual bag of promotional tricks and start talking. Regardless you have a fight between two stars with a title on the line. That will always draw to an extent.

Anderson Silva vs. Michael Bisping/Chris Weidman TBD - Anderson’s next move is as much of a mystery as anything else in the UFC. Dana White has said that Silva would fight Bisping if he wins his next fight but when is the last time Bisping hasn’t choked in this scenario? If it isn’t Bisping than Chris Weidman looks to be the next man up for the Spider. Regardless of the opponent, Anderson will always be a draw on pay per view. Unfortunately it isn’t likely to be the two opponents that would draw him the most money in either GSP or Bones Jones.

Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo UFC 156 - I am probably one of the few MMA fans incredibly psyched for this fight. I am a big fan of both and I think that this one has enormous potential to be fight of the year. Unfortunately neither are a draw on pay per view, yet I think the weak schedule puts this one at least in consideration for top 10 anticipated fights.

Cain Velasquez vs. Alistair Overeem TBD - Now is where we start diving into hypothetical fights. Have you seen Bigfoot Silva fight elite competition? He doesn’t fare so well. So I am going to presume that Overeem beats him. This one has the makings of a classic. Overeem has something that nobody else in the heavyweight division has had since Brock Lesnar left…charisma. That charisma equals money and that charisma matched up with Velasquez’s mystique will draw mega money here.

Ronda Rousey vs. Cristiane Cyborg Santos TBD - Rousey and White can scream all that they want about Cyborg having to make 135 but at the end of the day I am still of the belief that this fight happens. Dave Meltzer recently reported that negotiations are very close to making this fight happen at 135. I think you have the makings of what could be the third or fourth biggest fight of 2013 in the UFC. I hate to say it but the fate of the women’s division rests on this fight.

Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks TBD - This one could come sooner than you think if Diaz can’t play ball in time for UFC 158. Hendricks is on an impressive winning streak in the division and by rights, should be the number one contender. Hendricks has one more hurdle to jump and I can’t imagine him stumbling at this point. Another Hendricks KO will bring some big money to this welterweight title fight. The KO artist vs. the supreme athlete is gold. Hendricks is already running his mouth about GSP. By the time this fight happens you’ll have yourself a nice grudge match. I smell a lot of green here.

Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson TBD - I’ll continue with the hypothetical fights here and go back to the light heavyweight division. Dana White has talked about Daniel Cormier getting the next title shot but I think a Hendo win over Machida seals the deal. Henderson continues to talk trash about Jones and as fickle as Jones is, I can see him demanding a fight to shut him up. Ticket sales weren’t strong for their first scheduled fight but I think this one is different. Henderson’s streak and list of victims will be a who’s who in the division and will make him a believable contender against Jones. This division desperately needs a credible contender. Continuing the circus with Cormier will do nobody any favors. I think Henderson gets the next shot and these guys do some better than expected business.

Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez TBD - There are grumblings that this first time battle of Strikeforce vs. UFC champions will take place at the UFC on FOX 7 broadcast, although those are just rumors right now. One thing is confirmed and that is that the UFC is working hard to make this fight happen. I think Henderson has now solidified himself as one of the faces of the UFC and the idea of someone with Melendez’s pedigree and winning streak coming in to challenge him is money. Additionally, there is always added intrigue when you have a battle of champions. I know this division has struggled for attention since BJ Penn lost the title but I think Henderson brings it back to relevance in 2013.

Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira TBD - I’ll close out the hypothetical schedule with a fight that I think could be absolutely huge. Unfortunately Teixeira did himself no favors in his fight with Fabio Maldonado. He won but I think a bit of the mystique was off. He’ll have the chance to snatch that back when he fights on network television against Rampage Jackson. If he can brutalize Jackson as most expect, he’ll make himself a star overnight. He will look like the unstoppable killing machine getting ready to end the reign of Jones. There is major money in this fight if Teixeira gets past Rampage convincingly. Maybe they go with Teixeira vs. Henderson, Gustaffson, or Cormier in an eliminator first, but I think Teixeira gets his crack at Jones by year’s end in what turns out to be a big time fight.

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