I know Wanderlei Silva has been hit in the head a lot over the last 20 years but this may be one of the strangest fighter-to-fighter threats I have ever heard. The Axe Murderer has a taste for Chael Sonnen’s blood and he wants to savor it.
As a pro wrestling fan I love a great war of words in the UFC. It doesn’t happen enough for my tastes. That is why I have come to enjoy Chael Sonnen’s verbal assaults over the last few years. Chael is a wrestling fan and he gets it. Sometimes what is even better is when Chael’s opponent plays along and it appears that he and Wanderlei are ready to do some serious business.
Just days after being obliterated at the end of the first round and ironically seconds away from winning the UFC light heavyweight title (Jones’ toe would have stopped the fight between rounds), Chael was back at it again and starting to lay the ground work for his next fight. Sonnen not only put the 205 pound division on notice but he singled out one longtime foe, Wanderlei Silva. Sonnen laid out the challenge to Silva who until now remained quiet. The Axe Murderer has finally broken his silence.
Silva officially responded to Sonnen’s challenge on Fuel TV’s UFC Tonight via an interview with Ariel Helwani. Silva not only wants the fight, but he also wants to take a little piece of Chael home with him.
“Wanderlei said that no one’s offered him a fight. But he did want to say that ‘Jon Jones and Anderson Silva have been too nice to Chael. I want to suck his blood. I want to smell it. Not just fight – I want to hurt him. Chael is a joke, man. He’s going to be second forever. He’s never going to be first.’”
Wow! Even better is Sonnen’s response to Wanderlei’s desire to suck Chael’s blood.
“I think the real breaking news there is that Wanderlei Silva put together a coherent sentence that somebody understood. But I can assure you, Wanderlei, I will not be signing a contract for you to suck on any part of me. I suggest you go to a bath and find yourself.”
This is going to be a fun buildup! The heat between these two guys seems pretty real as they have been talking trash on each other now since UFC 117. As a matter of a fact there was a real interesting video that made its way on YouTube a couple of years ago that had Wanderlei and Chael traveling together in the same car to an event. Wanderlei started chastising Chael for the things he said about Brazil in the buildup to his first Anderson Silva fight. Chael looked a little taken back but it was an interesting video as Chael just sat in the backseat and listened to Wanderlei preach to Chael about Brazil and the negative things that were said by Sonnen.
I am ready for this fight! No contract has been signed but this has potential to be one of the biggest fights of the year. I can’t imagine the UFC headlining a pay per view event on this fight. My hunch is that this winds up headlining a television event, maybe the first UFC on FS1 show? I have to think that the UFC won’t waste much time capitalizing on this and signing the fight. I expect some kind of announcement in the next week.
The future of Chael Sonnen in the UFC has been in doubt since he was stopped in the first round against Jon Jones at UFC 159. Sonnen didn’t take long to put those retirement rumors to rest and even has an opponent in mind.
Not even a brutal beating can humble the mouth of Chael Sonnen. A few days after being embarrassed on pay per view Sonnen is already running his mouth. Sonnen is back at war again with the Brazilian fighters and has his eyes set on a fighting legend to break his 0-2 losing streak.
Sonnen wants Wanderlei Silva. Sonnen and Silva have had a beef on Twitter going back to when Sonnen was cutting promos on Brazilians in the UFC 117 build up. According to Sonnen, “I’m not going anywhere until me and Wanderlei straighten this thing out once and for all.”
“Wanderlei called me out before, but the fight never made sense. Now it does. I’m not going anywhere until me and Wanderlei straighten this thing out once and for all. Wanderlei pulled a dirt bag move on me one time. He said something to me that I couldn’t hear, and then put it on YouTube with subtitles because he knew I couldn’t understand it and called me out. If you’re a fighter, that doesn’t fly. You must respond to him, and I’m ready to respond to you Wanderlei.”
The other big question was whether Sonnen would stay at 205 or move back down to middleweight. I thought in the brief time Sonnen was in the octagon against Jones he looked great at 205. Sonnen has put the division on notice as he isn’t going anywhere.
“I will definitely continue, and at 205 pounds,” Sonnen told UFC Tonight co-host Kenny Florian. “Unless they come up with a catchweight…I have a lot of goals I want to achieve still, and retirement won’t help me get them done.”
As badly as Sonnen got beat at UFC 159 the twisted reality of the situation is that Sonnen was under a minute away from being winning the UFC light heavyweight title and shocking the world. Hypothetically if the fight went to the second round there are many that feel that the fight would have been stopped due to Jones’ toe and Sonnen would have been given the title.
“Diplomatically you don’t ever want to win that way. The ones that hurt are the ones you’re supposed to win and then you blow it. But if it was given to me, I would have grabbed that belt, I would have held it up, grabbed the mic and told the crowd the golden rule is ‘he with the gold rules,’ and I would have walked out of the place and never looked back”
I can’t say that I am not surprised in the least that Sonnen is sticking around. Sonnen is in the midst of his prime earning years as a UFC fighter. Since UFC 117, Sonnen has now cashed in on three big pay days if early estimates on UFC 159 buyrates are correct. Sonnen was stopped in round one but I never got the feeling that Sonnen was too old or shot as a fighter.
I don’t know what you do with Sonnen at this point. He is probably out of title shots for a long time, although you never know. Strange things happen, injuries occur, and it wouldn’t shock me at all to see Sonnen step up and fill in for a last minute scratch in a title fight. Sonnen is one of a very few UFC fighters who get it and understand the art of promoting. The second those buyrates start dropping is the second I’ll believe that Chael is truly done.
Even then I don’t know if I’ll necessarily ever believe he is truly done.
It was a night filled with some bizarre scorecards and some bizarre in cage action, but the main event made up for all of that and more. Brian Stann and Wanderlei Silva engaged in a highly entertaining brawl for just under ten minutes and delivered an early candidate for Round of the Year during the first round of their Light Heavyweight tilt. Strange scorecards and Split Decisions plagued many of the other main card bouts, but overall the event has to be considered a success for the UFC and for the fans in Japan if for no other reason than seeing former PRIDE Fighting Championship heroes Mark Hunt and Wanderlei Silva emerge with emphatic victories. As usual, we’ll take a look at what happened in the fights and what’s next for the main card fighters.
Welterweight Bout: Dong Hyun Kim defeated Siyar Bahadurzada via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds
Ground domination, that’s what this fight came down to. The question heading into this bout was whether or not Bahadurzada could tag Kim on the feet before getting dragged to the ground. The emphatic answer was absolutely not and he had no answer for Kim on the ground. The Korean ground specialist delivered a steady stream of ground and pound and submission attempts across all three rounds but never could get the finish.
What’s next for Kim? It depends how quickly they want to elevate Kim’s level of opposition. He’ll continue to smother and outwork anyone who can’t hang with him on the ground, so give him someone who could match him there. Mike Pierce is a tough and talented grinder who could probably challenge Kim in ways others haven’t yet. Throw him in there.
What’s next for Bahadurzada? He’s an exciting striker, which means he’ll likely get reprieve from the UFC. But he has nothing to offer anyone who can take him down to the ground. They either throw him another grappler and then send him packing if he doesn’t improve or they feed him strikers to try and rebuild him in the hopes of some entertaining slugfests. If it’s a grinder Josh Koscheck, if it’s a striker Martin Kampmann.
Featherweight Bout: Rani Yahya defeated Mizuto Hirota via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds
Yahya is widely considered to be one of the best grapplers in the Featherweight division and he proved it in this contest. Some thought he might struggle being the smaller fighter against a larger foe, but he dominated the action on the ground for the opening two rounds. In the third, cardio became a factor and Yahya began to look slow and tired from fighting against such a large opponent, but despite controlling the final round Hirota was unable to secure a finish and complete the comeback.
What’s next for Yahya? He’s a top notch grappler, but he could struggle against wrestlers who he can’t get down to the ground easily. He’s on a roll and deserves a tough test in his division. Featherweight wrestlers like Dennis Bermudez or Nik Lentz would be good choices to test his abilities.
What’s next for Hirota? Likely unemployment, although the UFC could keep him around if they’re planning a lot of Asian cards in the next year. A fight with Brazilian grappler Rodrigo Damm on a Brazilian or Asian card would make sense if they keep him under employment.
Middleweight Bout: Yushin Okami defeated Hector Lombard via Split Decision after Three Rounds
Yushin Okami dwarfed Lombard when they stepped into the cage on Saturday night. It looked as though the two men should have been in separate weight classes. Okami did what he does best, he used his size and strength to gain takedowns and control Lombard from top position. Lombard looked tentative to let his hands go in the opening two rounds and his footwork looked stiff. His Judo was no match for the constant takedown attempts of Okami. In the third Lombard sensed urgency and tried to earn a knockout, but was unable to earn a stoppage on the feet and ended up dropping what should have been a Unanimous Decision, but somehow ended up being a split.
What’s next for Okami? The UFC has to be getting tired of Okami beating every Middleweight contender that they sign. He’s quickly turning into the Jon Fitch of the Middleweight division. His grinding style isn’t fan friendly, but he gets the job done. Rising Middleweight contenders Costa Philippou and Ronaldo Souza have an upcoming bout, the winner of that fight is going to need to prove they can beat a fighter like Okami, so let them fight Okami.
What’s next for Lombard? My guess if the UFC tells him to cut to Welterweight or hit the road. He’s expensive as hell and was a marquee signing for the UFC, but he’s too short and small for Middleweight. Okami simply manhandled him and he hasn’t been impressive. If I was the UFC I would cut my losses and let him go back to Bellator as a broken fighter.
Lightweight Bout: Diego Sanchez defeated Takanori Gomi via Split Decision after Three Rounds
What happened in this bout? Not a whole heck of a lot. Slow and somewhat sloppy kickboxing between two fighters who are probably capable of much better. Rumors are saying that Diego had an injury and started his weight cut at over 200 pounds, so shedding that much weight likely had a negative impact on his performance. As it was, I think Gomi got robbed, although it’s hard to fault judges in a fight that was so lacking in action. There really are no winners coming from this fight as both men were fairly unimpressive, but Sanchez earns an official win nonetheless.
What’s next for Sanchez? He called out Nate Diaz after the fight, but after a performance as unimpressive as his, he doesn’t deserve a former number one contender. Jamie Varner just scored an impressive victory over Melvin Guillard and he could be a tough style match up for Sanchez, especially if he looks the way he did against Gomi. Until Sanchez proves he deserves a top notch Lightweight opponent inside the cage, he shouldn’t get one.
What’s next for Gomi? I feel bad for Gomi, because I think he got hosed by the decision here. Still, he didn’t look overly impressive either and this is one of those fights where there are no real winners. He’s a shell of his former self, so depending on the price tag he carries I could see anything from a friendly stylistic match up to a pink slip. He was on a two-fight winning streak heading into this fight, so my guess is he gets another fight. Thiago Tavares or Tony Ferguson could be decent dance partners for Gomi if they want to keep him relevant. If not, throw him to a debuting fighter that you have high hopes for and see what happens.
Heavyweight Bout: Mark Hunt defeated Stefan Struve via TKO (Punches) at 1:44 of Round Three
Stefan Struve said that if he got Mark Hunt to the ground he would win. Well he got him there several times and had a number of dangerous positions, but he could never put Hunt away. In the third round that cost him big time. With both men looking visibly tired, the fight was more than likely even with a round a piece. Hunt came on strong with a couple of flurries and dropped Struve before walking away. Although it appeared Struve was okay and Herb Dean was willing to let the fight continue, Struve complained of a broken jaw and the fight was waved off.
What’s next for Hunt? He demanded a top 5 opponent, but the top 4 of the division are already locked up for bouts, as are the likely 5 and 6 fighters. If Roy Nelson can beat up Cheick Kongo in their upcoming bout I think that’s a fight that makes sense for both guys. If Nelson loses to Kongo, which I don’t think he will, but he might, then the winner of the upcoming Travis Browne vs. Gabriel Gonzaga fight would be a good choice as well.
What’s next for Struve? Back to the drawing board I guess. This fight was his for the taking but he didn’t really ever look comfortable in the fight. He’s still young and still figuring himself out, but he needs to learn how to fight to his size and his full potential. With 13 fights already in the UFC, he’s running out of fresh faces to take on. Depending on how long it takes his jaw to heal, a fight with Ben Rothwell could make sense. Or the loser of the upcoming bout between Phil de Fries and Matt Mitrione.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Wanderlei Silva defeated Brian Stann via KO (Punches) at 4:08 of Round Two
Round one is the early contender for Round of the Year so far in 2013. These two went at each other and simply went to war. They brawled throwing wild haymakers and power punches. Each man got rocked during the opening round, with Stann actually dropping Wanderlei 3 times, without being able to put him away. A big shot from Wanderlei opened a cut on Stann’s nose and had blood flowing by the time the round ended. In the second, Stann was again stalking Silva, but this time he got a bit over anxious and it ended up costing him. A few hooks and an overhand right rocked Stann and follow up punches put him out cold as Silva made an incredible comeback.
What’s next for Silva? Depends whether he wants to fight at Light Heavyweight or Middleweight. He says he’s simply fighting for the fans now, so I think he stays at Light Heavyweight for marquee match ups. If that’s the case, there is a perfect dance partner just waiting for him. Forrest Griffin is known for a reckless and brawling style, so is Silva. Let them be a featured bout on a Fox card and give the fans a brawl for the ages.
What’s next for Stann? He’s going back to Middleweight, but I’m sure the UFC was hoping that he’d be going back down with a victory. Stann remains highly marketable and very fan friendly because of his fighting style, personality and past life in the US Marines. It’s likely they give him a winnable fight in his return to Middleweight, so Ed Herman or Rousimar Palhares will likely be the suitable options for Stann.
Fresh off the successful debut of Women scrapping inside the UFC octagon, the UFC is bringing another weekend of free fights. The octagon returns to the land of the rising sun for UFC on Fuel TV: Silva vs. Stann live from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The main event of the evening features a Light Heavyweight bout between two Middleweight brawlers who decided they didn’t want to cut weight for this fight as Wanderlei Silva battles Brian Stann.
The rest of the main card features a number of Japanese and Korean fighters for the local flavor, as is the norm for overseas events. The card also promises a lot of potential excitement and there are a couple of bouts which could move fighters ever closer to title shots in their respective divisions. In the co-main event Heavyweights do battle as Stefan “The Skyscraper” Struve battles former PRIDE FC fan favorite Mark Hunt. Former PRIDE Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi battles Diego Sanchez in Lightweight action. In Middleweight action former Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard battles perennial Middleweight contender Yushin Okami. Let’s not waste any more time, let’s jump right into the fights.
Marcelo “Magrao” Guimaraes is a 29-year-old fighter from Itapemirim, Brazil. Guimaraes is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who is a member of the Fight Society Team in Vila Velha, Brazil. He holds a professional record of 8-0-1. Hyun “The Ace” Gyu Lim is a 28-year-old fighter from South Korea. Lim is a member of Korean Top Team in Seoul, South Korea. He holds a professional record of 10-3-1.
Quick Pick: Hyun Gyu Lim via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Alex Caceres vs. Kyung Ho Kang
Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres is a 24-year-old fighter from Miami, Florida. Caceres is a member of the Young Tigers Foundation Gym in Miami. Caceres was a cast member on the twelfth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He holds a career record of 8-5. Kyung “Typhoon” Ho Kang is a 25-year-old fighter from Busan, South Korea. He has fought for a number of major Asian MMA promotions including Spirit MC, DEEP, Sengoku and Road FC. A member of the Busan Team M.A.D. in South Korea. He holds a career record of 11-6.
Quick Pick: Alex Caceres via Split Decision
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Cristiano Marcello vs. Kazuki Tokudome
Cristiano Marcello is a 35-year-old fighter from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was a cast member on the live season of The Ultimate Fighter. Marcello is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who trains with the Chute Boxe Academy in Brazil and is a part time BJJ coach for the Team Alpha Male Gym. Marcello holds a career record of 13-4. Kazuki Tokudome is a 25-year-old fighter from Tokyo, Japan. Tokudome is a member of the Paraestra Hachioji Dojo in Tokyo. He holds a career record of 11-3.
Quick Pick: Kazuki Tokudome via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Bantamweight Bout: Takeya Mizugaki vs. Bryan Caraway
Takeya Mizugaki is a 29-year-old Japanese fighter from Ibaragi, Japan. Mizugaki is a member of the Shooting Gym Hakkei Dojo in Kanagawa, Japan. Mizugaki is a former WEC Bantamweight title challenger, who holds a professional record of 16-7-2. Bryan “Kid Lightning” Caraway is a 28-year-old fighter from Yakima, Washington. Caraway was a cast member on the fourteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter who trains with the Team Alpha Male Gym in California. Caraway holds a professional record of 17-5.
Quick Pick: Takeya Mizugaki via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Riki Fukuda vs. Brad Tavares
Riki “Killer Bee” Fukuda is a 32-year-old fighter from Gifu, Japan. He is a member of the Kiguchi Dojo in Tokyo, Japan but is currently training with the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California. Fukuda holds a career record of 19-6. Brad Tavares is a 25-year-old fighter from Kailua, Hawaii. He was a cast member on the 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter who now trains with the Team Tomkins Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada as well as the Xtreme Couture Gym in Nevada. He holds a career record of 9-1.
Quick Pick: Brad Tavares via Split Decision
Main Card (Fuel TV): Welterweight Bout: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Siyar Bahadurzada
“The Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim is a 31-year-old fighter from Suwon, South Korea. Kim has fought for a number of major Asian MMA promotions including DEEP and Spirit MC. Kim is a black belt in Judo at the 4th dan level. He trains in Busan, South Korea as a member of the Busan Team M.A.D. Gym. Kim uses his Judo skills to take his opponents down often and is smothering from top control. At 6’1” Kim is a fairly large Welterweight who cuts a lot of weight to make 170 pounds and uses his size and strength well in his fights. He holds a career record of 16-2-1 with 1 No Contest.
Siyar “The Great” Bahadurzada is a 28-year-old fighter from Kabul, Afghanistan. A former Light Heavyweight fighter, he has shed a lot of weight to transform himself into a Welterweight. Bahadurzada is a talented striker who has a strong background in kickboxing. He has trained with a number of top flight gyms across the globe including Golden Glory in the Netherlands, the Blackzillians in Florida as well as the Reign Training Center in California. Bahadurzada also packs a ton of power in his punches with 11 TKO victories, but is better rounded than he is often credited for and holds an additional 6 victories via submission. Overall his professional record stands at 21-4-1.
Analysis and Prediction: Bahadurzada made his UFC debut in April of 2012, nearly a year ago. Since then a number of injuries have kept him out of action. He does his best work when he can strike from a distance. Kim’s specialty is crowding and suffocating his opponents. He will need to close the distance early and often, keeping his chin covered until he can get his hands on Bahadurzada. Bahadurzada’s game relies a lot on timing and I think he’ll take some time to get into his rhythm, unfortunately that also gives Kim time to get into his rhythm. I expect Kim survives the odd scare but otherwise smothers him en-route to a decision victory. Dong Hyun Kim via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Fuel TV): Featherweight Bout: Mizuto Hirota vs. Rani Yahya
Mizuto “Pugnus” Hirota is a 31-year-old fighter from Nagasaki, Japan. Hirota is a former World Victory Road Lightweight Champion and a former DEEP Lightweight Champion. Hirota is a member of the Cave Dojo in Tokyo, Japan. Hirota is a tough and well-rounded fighter who does his best work by using takedowns and ground and pound to control his opponents. However, in one of his most notable bouts against Shinya Aoki he looked nearly helpless off of his back and was eventually gruesomely injured due to a Hammerlock. Hirota holds a professional record of 14-5-1.
Rani Yahya is a 28-year-old Brazilian fighter from Brasilia, Brazil. Yahya is a former winner of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling Championships. Yahya is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who does his best work on the mat. He is a member of the Constrictor Team training in his hometown of Brasilia. Yahya has been improving his striking skills, but he’s still a bit wild and uses his skills mostly as a means to close the distance and drag his opponents to the ground. He holds a career record of 17-7, including 15 victories via Submission.
Analysis and Prediction: Yahya is absolutely dangerous on the ground and while Hirota is no slouch on the mat, he’s not great off of his back. Hirota was embarrassed by Shinya Aoki and was most recently outwrestled by Pat Healy. He’ll need to stay off his back if he wants to have any chance in this fight. If Yahya can keep his striking fairly basic and keep himself out of trouble on the feet while he closes the distance he stands a decent chance of earning a submission. I just don’t think Hirota has the ability to keep Yahya off of him. Rani Yahya via Submission in Round Two
Main Card (Fuel TV): Middleweight Bout: Yushin Okami vs. Hector Lombard
Yushin “Thunder” Okami is a 31-year-old fighter from Kanagawa, Japan. Okami like many of his fellow countrymen in MMA holds a black belt in Judo. Okami trains with the Wajyutsu Keisyukai Dojo in his hometown in Japan, but also trains in the US with Chael Sonnen at Team Quest in Oregon. Okami is a massive Middleweight fighter with a smothering top control game who was a former Middleweight title challenger. Okami’s striking has been improving steadily and he puts basic boxing combinations together well, but his game plans still revolve mostly around taking his opponents down and controlling them on the mat. His size, physical strength and Judo background make him a dangerous fighter from the clinch. He holds a career record of 28-7.
Hector “Lightning” Lombard is a 35-year-old fighter from Matanzas, Cuba. Lombard like his opponent holds a black belt in Judo and competed in the Olympics in Judo representing his home country of Cuba. Lombard also holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but is best known for his powerful striking and knockout power. Lombard is a member of the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. Lombard is also a former Bellator Middleweight Champion. He holds a career record of 32-3-1 with 1 No Contest.
Analysis and Prediction: Make all the jokes you want about Thunder battling Lightning in this bout, but this bout is very intriguing. Both men are excellent practitioners of Judo and the clinch and ground battle between these two men could be top level. Okami has been knocked out in the past, so many people are leaning towards a Lombard knockout victory. However, Okami is a massive Middleweight, while Lombard has a short and stocky frame that could be better suited to 170-pounds. Okami uses his size and reach advantages en-route to an Okami-like decision victory. Yushin Okami via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Fuel TV): Lightweight Bout: Takanori Gomi vs. Diego Sanchez
Takanori “The Fireball Kid” Gomi is a 34-year-old fighter from Kanagawa, Japan. Gomi is a former Shooto Welterweight Champion and was the only ever Pride Lightweight Champion. During his time in Pride, he was regarded as the best Lightweight on the fighter, but his stock has dropped significantly since joining the UFC. However, in his last bout against Mac Danzig he showed an improved game and an increased well roundedness. Gomi trains with the Kugayama Rascal Gym in Tokyo. He holds a career record of 34-8 with 1 No Contest.
Diego “The Nightmare/The Dream” Sanchez is a 31-year-old fighter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sanchez was a cast member and the eventual Middleweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter Season One. Sanchez is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico. He holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a black belt in Gaidojutsu. Sanchez is a tough, well-rounded fighter who is unfortunately better known as an oddball than his considerable fighting talent. Sanchez is a tough fighter who has never been stopped by strikes, with the exception of a TKO via cut against BJ Penn. Sanchez is also well known for getting involved in brawls and being extremely aggressive, having won the Fight of the Night bonus award six times in his UFC career. He holds a professional record of 23-5.
Analysis and Prediction: Gomi looked much improved during his last bout against Mac Danzig but he’s still a step or two behind his days in Pride. Sanchez is extremely aggressive, very durable and constantly pressures his opponents. Gomi has shown cardio issues in the past and that’s likely going to be his downfall in this one. Even if he lands a big shot when Sanchez gets reckless, he’ll have a tough time turning his lights out completely. Sanchez grinds Gomi throughout the first two rounds, tiring him out before earning a stoppage via Submission in the third. Diego Sanchez via Submission in Round Three
Main Card (Fuel TV): Heavyweight Bout: Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve
Mark “The Super Samoan” Hunt is a 38-year-old fighter from South Aukland, New Zealand. Hunt is a former Super Heavyweight fighter who has gotten himself in considerably better shape than early in his career. Hunt is a former K-1 Kick boxer who was the winner of the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix Tournament. Now living in New South Wales, Australia he trains with the American Top Team in the USA. Hunt is known for his big time punching power and his iron chin, being able to take massive amounts of punishment during his bouts. Hunt holds a career MMA record of 8-7.
Stefan “The Skyscraper” Struve is a 25-year-old fighter from Beverwijk, Netherlands. Struve is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but his extremely long limbs make him very dangerous on the mat. Struve is extremely tall and at nearly 7’0” he is the tallest fighter in the UFC. Struve is a pupil of Bob Schreiber and trains with Team Schreiber in his hometown. At only 25-years-old he is finally beginning to grow into his massive body and has put on a significant amount of weight and muscle mass in his more recent fights. Struve is also beginning to fight more to his size, using his extreme length and reach to pepper his opponents with stiff jabs from the outside and using thudding leg kicks. He holds a career record of 25-5.
Analysis and Prediction: Struve seems to have one weakness that has been glaring throughout his career, a glass jaw (his three losses in the UFC are all via TKO or KO.) Hunt seems tailor made to exploit that weakness, unfortunately, that’s his only chance of winning. Hunt is a subpar grappler and if Struve gets this fight to the ground, it’s likely that he’ll be able to lock in a submission against a fairly helpless Hunt. The biggest struggle for Struve will be safely closing the distance to work the fight to the ground. If he keeps his hands up and uses leg kicks to slow Hunt down and chop him down to size, he should be able to find the opening he needs to work the fight to the ground. From there it’s academic. Stefan Struve via Submission in Round One
Main Card (Fuel TV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann
Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva is a 36-year-old Brazilian fighter from Curitiba, Brazil. Silva is a legend in the sport of MMA and is likely a lock for the UFC Hall of Fame when he retires from the sport. Silva is known for his aggressive and at times reckless style, causing an extremely high number of stoppages on his resume (both wins and losses.) Silva was a former Pride Middleweight Champion and won the 2003 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix. Silva is a dangerous Muay Thai striker with dangerous knees and elbows and a devastating clinch game. Silva also holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and although he is a talented grappler, he rarely uses that side of his game during his fights. He is a member of the Wand Fight Team and a former member of the Chute Boxe Academy, who now trains and resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. He holds a career record of 34-12-1 with 1 No Contest.
Brian “The All-American” Stann is a 32-year-old American fighter from Pennsylvania, although he was actually born on an Air Base in Tokyo, Japan. Stann is a former US Marine who has been awarded the Silver Star. Stann is a former WEC Light Heavyweight Champion who now fights at Middleweight, but is taking on Silva in a “one-off” bout at 205-pounds. Stann is a black belt in MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program) and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He trains with Greg Jackson’s Camp in New Mexico. Stann is a powerful striker with knockout power in his hands, who has been improving his technical proficiency to match his power punching abilities. He holds a career record of 12-5 with 9 victories via Knockout.
Analysis and Prediction: This bout being contested at 205 pounds makes things slightly more interesting. Stann is a big time power puncher at Middleweight and giving him an extra 20 pounds of force should only enhance those power shots. Silva on the other hand is a more diversified striker who likely has more tools in his toolbox. Silva has struggled against power punchers in his recent career having been stopped by strikes or rocked and dazed in many of his bouts.
Stann struggled in his most recent bout against Michael Bisping who used a measured approach to striking to beat Stann to the punch with a strong jab and good use of takedowns. It’s unlikely however that Silva will try such an approach. The more likely outcome is that he tries to rush Stann, which could be a problem for the Brazilian, since Stann is a decent counter puncher who only needs one big shot to land to turn the tide of the fight. Silva has fought at 205 pounds in the past, as has Stann but of the two, Stann is probably going to be better suited to pack on the additional 20 pounds.
Silva’s best chance is to use a well-rounded strategy similar to the one that Bisping employed against Stann. Stann has struggled on the ground in the past and although Silva’s wrestling isn’t great, his BJJ is significantly underrated and he could actually submit Stann on the ground. However, the nostalgia of fighting in Japan could be detrimental to Silva. With his fans cheering him on, I think he might be more likely to engage in a wild, reckless, brawl. That kind of fight favors Stann who packs more power, has a better chin and will be more prepared to react with a counter punching style. Brian Stann via TKO in Round Three
Happy Holidays, CamelClutchBlog faithful. I sincerely hope everyone enjoyed whatever holiday they may or may not have celebrated this year. I don’t think there is a politically incorrect way (and if there is, please tell me) for me to address the arrival of 2013 so I’d like to start by wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year.
Speaking of healthy, I think we’d all like to wish a healthier 2013 for so many fighters who’ve been injured. Yes, there is the purely selfish part of all of us who wants them healthier so they can entertain through this sport we love so much, but they obviously suffer from the lack of a paycheck. Is GSP’s “Camp For Only One Fighter Like In Boxing” approach the answer, as Dana White recently mentioned? I have no idea. If I knew how to stop fighter injuries, I feel like that information would be very valuable to promoters, gyms and bookies and I’d probably have heard from somebody by now.
But alas, I digress. With over 30 events between pay-per-view, cable and free TV this year, not to mention compilations and weekly T.U.F. episodes, the UFC has been busy. With one heavyweight title fight to go and a 2013 that’s shaping up nicely, let’s take a 30,000 foot view of what’s coming up and key fights look for in the year ahead. Honestly, I could speak at length about each and every one of the fights that’ll be mentioned (particularly the Super Bowl weekend card) but again, this is more of a snapshot. I’ll leave the in-depth analysis to our very own Lee McGregor, who’ll paint you a detailed portrait, complete with flowers and shading and colors and happy little trees.
These are just my thoughts, mind you, so if there’s something you feel I missed or a grievance with anything I say, throw it in the comments. Just don’t immediately jump to trolling. Let’s talk. No big whup.
UFC 155: Dos Santos vs. Velasquez II
What a difference a year makes. Last November, the UFC debuted on Fox with then-champ and “we’d-later-confirm-he-was-injured” Cain Velasquez getting KO’d in 64 seconds by Junior dos Santos. This Saturday, the UFC rings in the New Year with the anticipated rematch. Since then, JDS successfully defended the title against Frank Mir and Velasquez healed up, turning the Octagon into a crimson Jackson Pollack at UFC 146 (using Bigfoot Silva’s face as the palette) along the way. A healthy Velasquez looking to avenge his only loss makes him even more dangerous so I don’t see JDS swinging for the fences and clubbing him into 2013, but either way, this is a great fight. As for the rest of the card, losing Forrest Griffin/Phil Davis was a bit of a blow, but if anything, I am most pumped about Jim Miller/Joe Lauzon in the co-main event. Other key fights on the undercard are Brad Pickett/Eddie Wineland, Melvin Guilliard/Jamie Varner and the return of Todd “Don’t Let the Mike Russow Punching Bag Punch You Back” Dufee to the heavyweight division against Phil De Fries.
UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Bisping
Time to save your pennies with a PPV-less January since the UFC doubled up for February (more to come later). No need to go into withdrawal, though, since there are back-to-back weekends of free fights, starting January 19th with Belfort vs. Bisping on FX. The Brazilian returns home both in terms of geography (the fight is in Sao Paolo) and weight (his new home of 185) after moving up to LHW against champ Jon Jones. Barring that near-upset armbar, Belfort spent most of the title fight getting beaten like a redheaded stepchild, but there’s no shame in that considering it was against Jonny Bones. Bisping rebounded from a questionable decision loss to Chael Sonnen in January with a solid UD win over Brian Stann in September. A win for either fighter should raise the question of a title shot, if only for the fact that the division is shallow and the idea of Silva vs. GSP or Jones super fights have subsided. I’m prematurely picking Belfort, but Bisping’s surprising me lately so if he can survive the onslaught, I wouldn’t put it past him to get a tight decision. Also, T.U.F: Brazil finalist Daniel Sarafian makes his UFC debut against C.B. Dolloway, Gabriel Gonzaga takes on Ben Rothwell in heavyweight action and undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on Thiago Tavares. Finally, be sure to catch Edson Barboza against Justin Salas on the Fuel undercard. His hype train got derailed a bit by Jamie Varner at UFC 146, but he’s an exciting fighter with lots of KO power and I see him getting back on track in a big way in his home country.
UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Dodson
I like the UFC’s decision to put a flyweight title fight on free TV with some great support behind it. “Mighty Mouse” and Dodson, the first T.U.F. finalist to get a title shot since season 5, will make viewers at home think they hit fast-forward with a breakneck pace that’ll hopefully get some lighter weight class fighters their dues. Johnson has only one finish between his stint in WEC and now the UFC, but I for one didn’t expect him to hold off Joseph Benavidez to become the promotions first 125 lb champ. I’ll give Dodson the power advantage so if he can frustrate Johnson by stuffing his takedowns and landing a few shots, I think he’ll pull off the win. Much like a good sitcom with an excellent supporting lead, Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis has early “Fight of the Year” potential and puts the winner in LW title shot discussion (perhaps more so for Pettis than Cerrone given the story around a Pettis/Henderson rematch). While it might not have direct title-shot implications, Glover Teixeira vs. Rampage is the kind of fight you invite your non-MMA friends to watch since there’s a good chance someone is getting knocked out. On the undercard, Ryan Bader tries to stay relevant at 205 against Vladimir Matyushenko and hopefully Clay Guida does not employ his “punch and run” game plan like he did against Gray Maynard when he takes on Hatsu Hioki.
UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar
The first super card of 2013 is happening Super Bowl weekend on February 2nd. It feels like we’ve been waiting forever now to get the featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar. I personally blame motorcycle accidents and rematches. After questionable back-to-back title losses at lightweight (I know I’ve said questionable twice already, once when referring to Bisping/Sonnen, but really watch Henderson/Edgar 1 and 2 and tell me Edgar didn’t win at least one of those fights), Edgar moves down to 145, the weight class everyone keeps saying he belongs in. Aldo has not lost since 2005 and is one of the most exciting fighters in all of MMA. Edgar is going to have to drag Aldo into deep water, where we saw shades of him fading against Mark Hominick. Again, another “Fight of the Year” potential before March. Before you even get to the title fight, though, the main card has three other fights that could headline a Fox or FX event in Rashad Evans vs. Lil Nog, Alistair Overeem vs. Bigfoot Silva (should Overeem win, he’ll probably be given a shot at the winner of JDS/Cain) and Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia. Oh, but my favorite fight on the undercard? Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall, who both came up short in the inaugural flyweight tournament, but this could be a #1 contender fight to face the winner of Johnson/Dodson.
UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald
Kudos yet again to the UFC for giving an interim title some legitimacy and not using it as a marketing ploy to be used for unification bouts! Renan Barao, fresh off handing Urijah Faber what seems like his 100th title-fight loss at UFC 149, will defend his interim bantamweight title against Michael McDonald. No, not the guy from The Doobie Brothers. The guy who knocked Miguel Torres out of the UFC at UFC 145 and hasn’t lost under the Zuffa banner. Yup. That guy. Add to that a main card with two swing-for-the-fences LHW fights in James Te Huna vs. Ryan “Greatest Robot/Split Celebration in Octagon History?” Jimmo and undefeated Jimi Manuwa vs. Cyrille Diabate. Oh, and Brock Lesnar’s German kickboxing mini-me (!) Denis Siver looks to extend his featherweight winning streak to 3 against Cub Swanson. All in all, I love this card and how it’s booked. The UFC is ever so slightly increasing exposure for up-and-coming fighters but minimizing their own risk of underperforming by putting it on Fuel. Paul Sass, if you’re reading this, another “Sassangle” submission on Danny Castillo on the undercard would be just fine with me.
UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche
Welcome to the “Rhonda Rousey Show,” ladies and gentlemen. UFC’s first ever women’s champion Rhonda Rousey will have the first ever women’s MMA fight in the promotion against Liz Carmouche, who’s riding a two-fight winning streak coming out of Invicta FC. Again, if we’re playing wheelchair matchmaker and the “business” around the card’s composition, the UFC is supporting this inaugural lady’s scrap very well with a potential #1 contender fight at 205 between Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida, perennial contender Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar, two struggling but game HWs in Lavar Johnson and Brendan Schaub plus the return of Robbie Lawler both to the UFC and to welterweight to fight Josh Koscheck. While I don’t necessarily agree with the timing since the UFC will be hot off a big card like 156 and I fear people might get tight with their wallets with two fights in one month, they’ve paired Rousey up with a tough fighter to build a story around and it should make for a solid landing. No disrespect to Carmouche, but I, like many, anticipate another armbar victory for Rousey.
Quick Hits – March & Beyond…
- UFC on Fuel TV (March 3): Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann and Stefan Struve vs. Mark Hunt? The fans of Saitama Super Arena will go home happy. One, if not two, of those fighters will need to be woken up by smelling salts. Not sure if Siyar Bahadurzada will be able to match his 42 second KO of Paulo Thiago against a durable Kim Dong-Hyun, but it’ll be fun to see him try. Also, Diego “The Dream” (really, you have to chuckle) Sanchez returns yet again to 155 against Japanese legend Takanori Gomi. TONY ROBBINS. YES.
- UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz (March 16): GSP fighting in his hometown of Montreal again? I’m shocked. Not sure I agree with Nick Diaz jumping Johnny Hendricks for a title shot after a loss/weed suspension, but it’s a bigger draw and GSP’s been very vocal about wanting to take out the “disrespectful” Diaz. Speaking of Hendricks, he’s slated to fight Jake Ellenberger and Carlos Condit looks to rebound from his loss to the champ in a rematch against Rory Macdonald. Lots of potential storylines for the UFC welterweight division hang in the balance. Grab a Labatt Blue and enjoy.
- BEYOND: April 27 is when Chael Sonnen gets his shot at the LHW belt against fellow T.U.F. coach and current champion Jon Jones in NJ. In related news, Twitter and wit will get you title fights regardless of records in that particular weight class and this season of T.U.F. will actually be worth watching; Anderson Silva will return mid-late 2013 in a non-super fight. If he wants Anderson Silva money, my bet is he’s hoping Bisping beats Belfort in January; for the love of God, will someone get Eddie Alvarez, Gilbert Melendez and Daniel Cormier in the UFC already?
Wanderlie Silva has no problem sharing his fight strategy for his upcoming UFC on Fuel TV 8 main-event against Brian Stann. Wanderlei is going in there to try and knock out his middleweight foe.
Wanderlei Silva will be stepping into the Saitama Arena on March 3 to fight what some people think may be his last MMA fight of his career. At 36-years old the UFC fighter has probably absorbed more punishment from his popular fight style than most fighters his age. Yet the pressures of retirement don’t appear to be slowing down the Axe Murderer one bit.
Silva is set to fight Brian Stann in the upcoming UFC on Fuel TV 8 headliner from Japan. The fight pits two top middleweights at the crossroads of both men’s careers. The style of both fighters has the potential to make this one an early candidate for Fight of the Year. If Silva has anything to say about it, he will deliver the slugfest that MMA fans are hoping to see from Japan.
Silva recently released a video blog talking about his fight with Stann. It is a fantastic video and there is a lot to take from it. However, my most important takeaway was Silva laying his battle plan on the table. Silva is looking for the KO.
“Japan has a different atmosphere, a different energy. I’ll be tasting that energy again on March 3. I can only guarantee one thing to my opponent and to all of you who will be watching: You will see a Wanderlei full of disposition. I will be testing Brian Stann’s chin. I am feeling stronger, faster, and more explosive. This fight will be a classic. Someone will end up on the ground, and not because of a takedown.”
I make no bones about it. Wanderlei is probably my favorite MMA fighter of all-time. What I love about him is what everyone loves about him, his desire for war. Silva has slowed down a few steps in recent years but that doesn’t stop him from attempting a war. Some fighters will do all they can to avoid that while others like Chris Leben will oblige. Hopefully Stann obliges in March.
Wanderlei also talks about the way he influenced fan reaction in Japan when he fought for Pride FC. I think Wanderlei may be a little full of himself here as I can remember plenty of excitement from MMA fans before Silva ever fought in Japan. Nonetheless the former Pride FC champion would like you to know that if it weren’t for him, the Japanese MMA audience wouldn’t know how to cheer.
“The Japanese public is unique. Most people comment on that they are very quiet. Something that many people don’t know about but Wanderlei Silva taught the public to cheer. One day, I was watching an event there with 22,000 people and during the fight, I could hear a cell phone ringing. I asked my coach, ‘Is that a cell phone ringing?’ He said, ‘Yes, that is a cell phone.’ But with the Pride fights, we succeeded at doing a good job, and we had great fights. Fights full of excitement. And with that the fans started cheering more. You could see the improvement as the public was being reeducated. Because Pride was the first event at that level and size. It was a unique moment in the history of the sport.”
UFC fighter Chael Sonnen has turned into arguably the greatest sound byte in all of sports.Today we celebrate Sonnen’s wit by looking back at his top 40 quotes. Why 40? Because anything less wouldn’t be enough!
Sonnen is an equal opportunity offender but appears to take more pleasure out of insulting his foreign peers. The bulk of his material has been directed to Anderson Silva yet Sonnen has had plenty of insults to toss the way of Michael Bisping, Wanderlei Silva, Mirko Cro Cop, Cyborg Santos, Georges St-Pierre, and Lyoto Machida. In addition to the insults, Sonnen’s high opinion of Chael Sonnen also makes for fun fodder. Thanks to the wonderful archives of Twitter and You Tube, here is a look back at Chael’s greatest hits.
“I think everyone up here is grateful to be on Fox. They would probably say ‘Fox thanks’. Everybody but me. I would say ‘Fox, you’re welcome.’ You’ve been telling everybody for years you’ve got the American Idol, and now you finally do.”
“Greetings from Sao Paulo! I’m learning the language: breakdancing in the Special Olympics is called Capoiera and cocaine is called brunch.”
“(Anderson Silva’s) got a black belt under the Nogueiras. I think a black belt under the Nogueiras is saying, like, I got a free toy in my Happy Meal. I don’t really understand what the big deal is. One of em’s a punching bag, and the other one I just ignore; he’s really irrelevant.”
“My phone rings, they call me up and say, ‘Chael, your testosterone level is too high.’ I say, ‘Well, how high was it?’ They say, ’0.7.’ I said, ‘What’s normal?’ They say, ’0.6.’; I said, ‘One-tenth? You’re telling me I’m one-tenth higher than the average man? Re-test that – you must have caught me on a low day.’”
“Take Lance Armstrong. Lance Armstrong did a number of things and he gave himself cancer. He cheated, he did drugs, and he gave himself cancer. Well, instead of saying ‘Hey listen, I cheated and gave myself cancer, don’t be like me.’ He actually made himself the victim and then went out and profited something like $15 million dollars from this ‘Hey, poor me, let’s find a cure for cancer’ campaign instead of just coming clean and saying, ‘Look, here’s what I did, I screwed myself up, and I hope people learn from my mistakes.’ You just watch these guys and can’t help but think, God, what a fraud. You got the whole Michael Phelps being a pothead thing too. I’m just glad I’m in the business I’m in so I can get them in the cage and kick the crap out of them.”
“If Brock Lesnar was here right now, I’d take my boot off and throw it at him, and he’d better polish it up before he brings it back to me. Talking about he’s the baddest guy in the UFC? Brock, quit eating so many raw eggs and doing push-ups because it’s affecting your realm of reality. Are you kidding me? I’d slap you in your face, and you wouldn’t do anything. ‘I’m Brock Lesnar. I’ve got this $5 haircut and a knife tattooed on my chest.’ I’ll shove it up your face if you get in Chael Sonnen’s way.”
“Listen Wanderlei, I will do a home invasion on you. I will cut the power to your house and the next thing you’ll hear is me climbing up your stairs in a pair of night vision goggles I bought in the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine. I’ll pick the lock to the master room door, take a picture of you in bed with the Nogueira brothers working on your ‘jiu-jitsu.’ I’ll take said quote unquote photograph, post it at dorksfrombrazil.com, password – not required, username – not required. That, Wanderlei, is how you threaten someone. Dummy.”
“Anderson Silva is as fake as Mike Tyson was. They called him the hardest, ‘the baddest man in the world’ but he wasn’t even the toughest guy in America and we had to sit through and listen to that over and over again as he fought lots of tomato cans. Anderson Silva has no interested (sic) in the fight with me and I don’t know what his deal is …”
“You’re looking at the reflection of perfection. You’re looking at the man who gets all your attention. You’re looking at the man with the biggest arm. At the man, with the greatest charm, the man in Chicago who will do harm to the guy three doors down.Whatcha gonna do, when you know who? Howya gonna deal, with the man of steel? How ya gonna react to Sonnen’s attack? Tune in on the 28th! 8 p.m. Eastern Time! You’ll find out who the real champion is.”
“I am going to knock the teeth out of this snot-nosed Brit who calls himself royalty, who calls himself a Count,” Sonnen wasted no time in declaring. “I am MMA royalty and America will tune into the Chael Sonnen show next Saturday on Fox.”
“I should be the reigning champion. I punch a guy 300 times, he punches me a couple and they call him the champion? In what parallel universe does that make you the winner? I am the champion. I’ve been the champion. Anderson’s ribs have the exact same problem that his hands and his feet have, they’re attached to a cowardly person. For Anderson to say that he wasn’t 100-percent, I completely believe him. Who cares? But yeah, do I think his ribs where hurt? Sure. Why would I think they weren’t? He’s the only one who could tell if they were hurt.”
“How do you, with a straight face, pretend that those ‘fights’ … and I’m of course holding up quotation signs … in Japan were real?”
“I’d suggest to him being a little careful about spitting on any of MY cornermen, since any one of them can beat him up as badly as I can. Thanks ever so much.”
“You tell Anderson Silva I’m coming over. I’m kicking in his back door and I’m pattin’ his old lady on the ass and I’m telling her to make me a steak, medium rare just how I like it.”
“Cyborg? I thought he was a middleweight.”
“Brock Lesnar actually is telling people that he wrote a book, when to the contrary there’s no evidence that he’s actually literate.”
“Hey Vitor, take my name out of your mouth until you show up for half as many fights as you pullout of.”
“Me taking on a mop and a garbage can would be a more interesting fight than those two (GSP and Anderson Silva).”
“You know, these guys are out there making man-love all the time, giving high-fives and huggin’ one another. You deserve to be knocked out if you’re trying to hug a man in the middle of a fistfight.”
“News flash, Lyoto: the spotlight is part and parcel for the gig. Go join a monastery if you want to pretend that fighting is about honor or integrity. And who are you to talk about being a big man? I don’t see you changing diapers on flipper babies in Chernoybl.”
“If I could read three books by Warren Buffett or one by Dana White , I’d read Dana’s.”
“Pipe down Mirko and let us just use you for oil like the rest of the dinosaurs.”
“When I was young they used to call me ‘The Foreman,’ not because I was in charge but because I did the work of four men.”
“Bisping, you make good points about deserving a title shot. After all you did beat, umm, well ahh … Hum and then there was … Ah … Wait, what!?”
“Okami is ready to go get that belt. Once he returns from Rio, we can truly say ‘he went to Hell and back’ to get it.”
“What are we even doing here, guys? This is insanity. He sits over here pretending he doesn’t speak English? Come on! That’s like pretending you’re the World Champion.”
“Anderson Silva, their big national hero, just put 2 million dollars down on a mansion in LOS ANGELES. Los Angeles is in America, for those of you that aren’t good at geography, it’s not in Brazil.”
“I’m a partner of the UFC and Anderson’s an employee. There’s a big difference. That’s why all the questions keep coming to me, because I give a coherent and clear answer that somebody wants to hear and he sits on a speakerphone on a car somewhere and says yes and no.”
“Machida is a gentleman. MMA is very cutthroat, and it’s sweet that Lyoto promised to never fight his girlfriend Anderson. That’s devotion.”
“…when I was a little kid, I’d go outside with my friends and we’d talk about the latest technology, in medicine, gaming, and American ingenuity, and Anderson and the Brazilian kids are sitting outside playing in the mud.”
“A black belt under the Nogueiras is like saying I got a free toy in my Happy Meal.”
“Anderson, think it through. There’s still a couple months left before they lock that cage behind me and you. Last time, they raised your hand, but it was plain to see. I took a lot more outta you than you took outta me. I broke the mirror and I blew away the smoke. It was me who tapped, but it was you who broke. So, Anderson … my friend, think it through. Who ya gonna send? Frankenstein Nogueira or your lap dog Ed Soares with a couple of rusty pistols and a beat up Ford Taurus? If they shoot like you fight, all they’re gonna do is bore us with your overrated standup and your takedown defense that’s porous. Karate boy Machida, will he show up with some fresh warm peepee in a Starbucks cup? Wanderlei, Vitor, Babalu himself, I’ll give ‘em all beatings and put ‘em back on the shelf. Come on trains, planes, or bikes, but here’s a little advice don’t send no one you like, cause you come to my home running your mouth you’re gonna be shakin’ hands with Jesus or the man further South. So get in the gym and work on your sprawl. I just talked to Uncle Dana and it’s winner take all. I’m gonna leave you with some string and a whole buncha welts. You’re gonna need it keep your pants up, Anderson, cause I’m taking your belt!”
“He thinks he’s gonna break my face? Tell him I’ve got two words for him: ‘medium rare’” Sonnen countered.
“I don’t like this guy,” and “I want to beat him up,” but it goes much further than that. Sonnen says that while he grew up talking about technology, medicine, and American ingenuity, Silva was outside in Brazil playing in the mud.”
“Spent months training to fight Munoz and now I have to fight a guy who sounds like Pip from South Park.”
“Brazil isn’t a bowing country. You bow in Brazil they’ll hit you over the head and take your wallet out of your pocket.”
“I am attempting to pick a FIGHT with some Brazilian fighters. Not fighters that care about you, Brazil. Fighters that have abandoned you. Fighters that claim they’re from Brazil, like Wanderlei Silva, but he lives in a gated community in Las Vegas. He drives an Aston Martin. Do you guys even know what that is? That’s what James Bond drove! It costs 200 grand. Wanderlei could have bought a fully-loaded Lexus, drove around in style for forty-one thousand, sent a hundred and fifty-nine grand back to your country, built two schools … but he didn’t.”
“I don’t do training camps. I don’t sleep in tents and I don’t roast marshmallows. Camps are for kids.”
“I want an easy fight. Anderson Silva, Wanderlei Silva. Either of the Silvas. Bigfoot Silva. They all suck. Gimme a Silva.”
“He (Wanderlei) has got the worst record in the history of the UFC and I can’t imagine how I could be demoted down to need to compete with him. And I don’t even say that to be a jerk. Those are the numbers.”
UFC 147 turned was turned into a joke on blogs and in social media in the days leading up to the fight. Yet the joke was on any fan who passed on watching the event as they missed out on an outstanding main-event between Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva.
While the undercard for this card was terrible on paper, I never understood the outrage at the main-event. Many criticized the headliner as a weak fight and mocked the two fighters as if they were past their primes. In the end pride took over and these two warriors went out there and had an absolute war for five rounds silencing critics and having fans scrambling to order the replay.
Rich Franklin defeated Wanderlei Silva in the main-event by unanimous decision in the Fight of the Night. All three judges gave Franklin the fight with 49-46 scores. Franklin controlled most of the fight but in typical Axe Murderer fashion, he never stopped coming.
The two former champions opened up the fight at a high pace, both looking for an early knockout. Wanderlei landed some nice shots but it was Franklin who padded the majority of the round with strikes. Silva’s best round was the second as he had Franklin in big trouble. Silva came very close to finishing the fight with knees and punches. Franklin barely survived the final 20 seconds while I highly doubt he would have made it out of the round if the onslaught came earlier.
Franklin said after the fight that he didn’t even remember anything from that point through the end of the fight. Should the fight have been stopped there? It is tough to say but Silva did have Franklin rocked to the point where he couldn’t remember the fight.
The rest of the fight saw Franklin get the better of Silva in the stand up game. Both fighters embraced going into the fifth round in a real classy moment. Ironically the final seconds ended the same way their first fight did with Silva laying in strikes as the fight closed. Silva nailed Franklin on the chin and just went crazy on the Ace. Unfortunately it was too little too late as the round came to a close, the same way their first fight did as Silva had Franklin trapped and laid in successive elbows. Franklin did nail Silva with a hard strike of his own though as the fight closed.
While Franklin got the win on paper, I think this was a huge win for Silva. People have been counting Silva out since Leben tagged him last July in 0:27. There were numerous questions about whether the UFC would continue booking Silva if he got knocked out. Not only did Silva not get knocked out, he proved that his chin is not an issue. He took plenty of strikes from Franklin for five full rounds and ended the fight swinging. Wanderlei’s career is far from over. All accounts after the fight are that Silva will finally get his fight opposite The Ultimate Fighter Brazil coach Vitor Belfort at the next UFC Brazil event in October.
It is really hard to guess what is next for Franklin. The UFC does owe Franklin for bailing them out of a jam here (and plenty of other times). Franklin was talking title shot after the event but let’s face it. The man is 3-3 in his last six, with his three wins coming over a Chuck Liddell who was past his prime and two over Silva. Those wins shouldn’t earn anyone a title shot. Nobody wants to see Anderson vs. Franklin again but Jones vs. Franklin could be a fun fight. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the UFC give Franklin a title eliminator fight as payback against one of the top light heavyweight fighters.
All in all there was a lesson learned here for MMA fans. A weak event on paper can easily turn into a great night of fights once the bell rings. If you missed UFC 147, you missed a fun show and a great main-event.
Full UFC 147 Franklin vs. Silva 2 results & winners…
Rich Franklin defeated Wanderlei Silva by unanimous decision
Cezar Ferreira defeated Sergio Moraes by unanimous decision
Rony Mariano Bezerra defeated Godofredo Pepey by unanimous decision
Fabricio Werdum defeated Mike Russow by TKO in round 1
Hacran Dias defeated Yuri Alcantara by unanimous decision
Rodrigo Damm defeated Anistavio Medeiros by submission in round 1
Francisco Drinaldo defeated Delson Heleno by TKO in round 1
Hugo Viana defeated John Teixeira by split decision
Thiago Perpétuo defeated Leonardo Mafra by TKO in round 3
Marcos Vinicius defeated Wagner Campos by TKO in round 3
Milton Vieira vs. Felipe Arantes is ruled a draw
This is an awesome video! What would happen if two UFC rivals were to wind up in the same elevator a day before they are scheduled to headline a UFC event? Well you are about to find out as Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva find themselves in an awkward situation.
I love this video. It really shows the class of both Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin in my opinion. The video was shot on Friday after the UFC 147 weigh-ins. Franklin is about to get on the elevator before realizing Wanderlei and his team are in the elevator. The guys have a lot of fun including one of Wandy’s team members who yells, “Let’s get him!”
You can check out the video for yourself here. As much crap as these guys are taking online for being a subpar main-event, they appear to be loose, calm, and in fun spirits. It is obvious watching this video that there is little to no bitterness between these two and their fight is strictly business on Saturday night.
Now if only someone can set up a similar situation between Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva shortly before UFC 148.
The second UFC event this weekend is a Pay Per View offering from Brazil. Originally scheduled to be headlined by Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen 2, the inability to secure a national soccer stadium began a downward spiral for this card. The card then shifted to an indoor venue, the Estadio Journalista Felipe Drumond in Belo Horizonte, Brazil for Saturday June 23, 2012. The new main event was announced as a battle between the two coaches of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil; Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort. Unfortunately for the UFC the injury-bug then proceeded to continue reeking havoc on the card.
A broken hand suffered in training forced Vitor Belfort to withdraw and brought in late replacement Rich Franklin, a man who has already defeated Silva once in his career. Another major injury took out Daniel Sarafian a Middleweight finalist on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil. He is now being replaced by the man he defeated in the semi-finals Sergio Moraes. The undercard; which will be aired on both FX and Facebook is filled with mostly unknown talents from the Ultimate Fighter Brazil show, however, this has been an impressive season for the Portuguese language show and many of these fighters are great talents. Despite this card lacking in name value recognition, it will likely be one of the more entertaining cards of the year, it’s unfortunate that many casual fans will likely pass, due to lack of star power.
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Featherweight Bout: Felipe Arantes vs. Milton Vieira
Felipe “Sertanejo” Arantes is a Brazilian fighter born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. However, to focus on his MMA career he has moved stateside to train with the Macaco Gold Fight Team in Newark, New Jersey. Arantes is a talented striker with a black belt in Muay Thai and a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He holds a career record of 14-4 with 2 No Contests. Milton “Miltinho” Vieira is a Brazilian fighter from Teresopolis. He is a member of the Brazilian Top Team and is most notable for being the grappler that invented the Anaconda Choke. He holds a career record of 13-7-1. Felipe Arantes via Unanimous Decision
Marcos Vinicius “Vina” Pancini is a Brazilian fighter, who like his opponent had little success on the show. He will enjoy a size and strength advantage and should be able to punish his opponent in close quarters and inside the clinch. Pancini is also notable for his 100% finishing rate in pro competition, where he holds a record of 19-3-1. Wagner “Galeto” Campos is a Brazilian fighter who failed to get much going during his time on the show. He is actually undersized for the weight class and has a history of fighting ten pounds south of Featherweight in the Bantamweight division. He was Team Wanderlei’s final Featherweight pick on the show, and his results showed it. He holds a career record of 11-3. Marcos Vinicius Pancini via TKO in Round Two
Thiago de Oliveira Perpetuo is a former Light Heavyweight fighter who dropped to Middleweight for the show. He is a talented grappler who has absolutely vicious ground and pound skills. He relies on his grappling skills in nearly all of his bouts and has a career record of 8-1-1. Leonardo Mafra “Macarro” Texeira is actually fairly undersized for 185 pounds, and has fought at Welterweight in the past. He was Team Wanderlei’s last pick in the Middleweight division, despite having a highly entertaining fight style. He holds a career record of 5-0, but he’s fighting a guy who will likely have 20-30 pounds on him come fight night, that’s just too much. Thiago Perpetuo via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: John Teixeira vs. Hugo Viana
John “Macapa” Texeira is an undefeated Featherweight prospect that is a high-level grappler. He sets a relentless pace on the mat, constantly threatening with submission attempts and scrambling around, although his striking has at times looked fairly mediocre. He holds a career record of 13-0-1. Hugo “Wolverine” Viana entered the show as a dark horse, but became one of the more popular and dangerous fighters on the show. He was a semi-finalist on the show and showed flashes of extreme aggression with his knockout of Alexandre Ramos to get into the house. He is another top prospect with a perfect professional record of 5-0. Hugo Viana via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Middleweight Bout: Delson Heleno vs. Francisco Drinaldo
Delson “Pe de Chumbo” Heleno was one of the more veteran fighters on the Brazilian season of The Ultimate Fighter with nearly 30 career bouts. He has fought in big time organizations in the past like the IFL, but usually fights at 170 pounds. He holds a career record of 23-6. Francisco “Massaranduba” Drinaldo is a former Jungle Fight Champion in the Lightweight division. Despite usually fighting at 155 pounds, he decided to enter the show as a Middleweight because he couldn’t physically lose another ten pounds. He holds a career record of 10-1. Francisco Drinaldo via TKO in Round Three
Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Anistavio Medeiros vs. Rodrigo Damm
Anistavio “Gasparzinho” Medeiros was the final overall pick in the Featherweight division of the show. He is most notable for his strange antics and behavior inside the house, basically making him the Brazilian version of Junie Browning. He holds a career record of 15-7. Rodrigo Damm was one of the top fighters heading into the TUF Brazil house and was easily the biggest “name” talent on the show. He actually never lost on the show, but was eliminated when he was not cleared to fight due to Dehydration issues from repeated weight cuts on the show. He is a talented, well-rounded fighter with a career record of 9-5, against some very big name talent. Rodrigo Damm via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Featherweight Bout: Yuri Alcantara vs. Hacran Dias
Yuri “Marajo” Alcantara is a Brazilian fighter from Marajo, Brazil. He is a member of the Pattaya Fight Team in Brazil who holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Alcantara is a former Jungle Fight Lightweight Champion. Alcantara is an extremely aggressive and talented striker. He is constantly moving forward and is very accurate with his strikes, which he varies well switching between kicks and punches very well. He also has a number of flashy moves, most notable the spinning back elbow he landed against Michihiro Omigawa. Alcantara also has considerable ground skills and actually looked to have impressive takedowns in his bout against Felipe Arantas. He holds a career record of 28-3.
Hacran “Barnabe” Dias is a Brazilian fighter from Rio de Janeiro. He is making his UFC debut in this bout, but comes with an impressive resume and is riding an impressive winning streak. Dias was originally scheduled to be a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, but was instead passed over for the show and offered an immediate contract. A member of the Nova Uniao camp Dias is a talented grappler who has controlled any opponent on the mat that he’s been able to takedown. Therein might lie his problem, as he sometimes struggles against fighters that he cannot take down. He has a career record of 20-1-1.
Analysis and Prediction: Dias is an extremely talented grappler and probably holds the edge on the ground if he can get on top of Alcantara. The problem is he’s got to get close to Alcantara to earn a takedown and his striking is definitely below the level of Alcantara. After that, Alcantara is a talented grappler himself who has shown impressive wrestling skills for a non-American, all these things are turning into big problems for Dias. He remains a talented prospect with tons of upside, but this is a tough fight for him and a tough go for his UFC debut. Yuri Alcantara via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Heavyweight Bout: Fabricio Werdum vs. Mike Russow
Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum is a Brazilian fighter from Porto Alegre. Werdum is probably the most talented grappler in the UFC’s Heavyweight division from a pure BJJ point of view. He is a 2nd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a black belt in Judo and a black belt in Muay Thai. He is a member of the Kings MMA Gym in Porto Alegre and is a former Abu Dhabi Combat Club submission-grappling champion. Despite his impressive grappling credentials, he has made significant improvements to his striking game and showed off his new striking skills in his last bout against Roy Nelson, where he basically used ‘Big Country’ as a walking, breathing punching bag. Werdum is probably best known to the casual fan as the man who started Fedor Emelianenko’s Strikeforce losing skid. He holds a career MMA record of 15-5-1.
Mike Russow is an American fighter, one of only two on the card. He is a former Police officer from Chicago, Illinois. He is now a member of the DeathClutch Gym training out of Alexandria, Minnesota. Russow is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who is currently riding an eleven fight-winning streak. He is the epitome of a grinding Heavyweight fighter. He uses takedowns and top control, sprinkled with ground and pound to control and outwork his opponents. His striking is rather basic and he’s a touch on the slow side, but he does have big one-shot knockout ability in both of his hands, which he showed in his huge comeback victory over Todd Duffee in May 2010. He has a career record of 15-1, with 1 No Contest.
Analysis and Prediction: Russow is undefeated in the UFC, but probably gets less respect than half of the guys in the Heavyweight division. Some of this is due to his rather fan unfriendly style of wrestling and top control, as well as a somewhat lackluster appearance and personality, but he is still a very talented fighter. The problem for him is he’s screwed anywhere this fight goes. Werdum is more athletic and quicker than he is and has better striking skills. On the mat, Werdum is as dangerous as they come, with dangerous grappling, so taking him down isn’t a great solution for Russow either. He hits hard enough to always have a chance, but it’s not a big one. Fabricio Werdum via TKO in Round Three
Main Card (Pay Per View): The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Featherweight Tournament Finals: Godofredo Castro vs. Rony Mariano Bezerra
Godofredo “Pepey” Castro is a Brazilian fighter from Fortaleza, Brazil. He is a member of the Marcio Cupim Team in his hometown of Fortaleza. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu whose entire MMA game revolves around his ability to get the bout to the floor. He is dangerous from both top position as well as bottom position, but I believe that he allows himself to fight off his back for too long during some bouts. His stand up is fairly bad to be brutally honest. He’s probably improved since the show, but on the show his striking featured him pawing jabs lazily, before spamming takedowns from across the cage. Against a talented striker like Bezerra that’s not going to fly. Castro holds a career record of 10-3.
Rony “Jason” Mariano Bezerra was the number one pick on the show and was one of the most impressive fighters throughout. He is an extremely talented fighter who has big fight experience against the likes of Renan Barao and Felipe Arantes. He holds the notable distinction of finishing all of his opponents. Bezerra is a member of the Team Nogueira Gym in Brazil, where he trains with a very talented team. He has dynamic striking skills, is very quick and is a talented grappler in his own right. Add to that the fact that he wears a sweet Jason mask out to the cage and you’ve got a fighter I can support.
Analysis and Prediction: What this comes down to for me is “Pepey’s” limited ability to strike. If he can’t find a better way to close the distance he’s going to get peppered by Bezerra who is a competent grappler with solid takedown defense. Shooting from outside won’t work, so that means Castro needs to get close and that puts him in significant danger. Cardio could be a problem for Bezerra but it’s only a three round fight, so long as he controls himself and the pacing of the bout, he should be able to notch a late stoppage. Rony Bezerra via TKO in Round Two
Main Card (Pay Per View): The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Middleweight Tournament Finals: Cezar Ferreira vs. Sergio Moraes
Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira is a Brazilian fighter from Belo Horiztone, so he will be fighting in front of a hometown crowd. Despite his Brazilian heritage he actually trains in the United States with his coach from the show Vitor Belfort at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ferreira holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and actually began wrestling and grappling in his early childhood. Ferreira is also a dangerous, albeit sometimes careless striker who can deliver big pop in his punches. During his time on the show he often used his striking to set up the finishes, as he stopped all of his opponents (two by submission, one by knockout.) Mutante holds a career record of 4-2.
Sergio “Serginho” Moraes is fighting on his second life come Saturday night. The 29-year-old fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil actually lost in the semi-finals of the show. However, an injury to the man that defeated him for the spot in the finals Daniel Sarafian opened the door for him to return to a slot in the finals. Moraes is a very talented grappler with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, who is actually a Jiu Jitsu coach at the Team Nogueira/Black House Gym in California. In the house he showed solid submissions, defeating both his opponents by submission. However, in his bout against Sarafian he was somewhat exposed as a poor striker as he was knocked out cold by Sarafian. He holds a career record of 6-1.
Analysis and Prediction: This is a fight, which will be very different depending on where it spends the most time. Ferreira is the more talented striker, with more power. It’s not so much that Moraes is a bad striker, just that he’s tentative and doesn’t pick his spots well. On the ground Moraes is the more capable and more dangerous black belt. The thing for me is I don’t think Moraes is so much better on the ground against a decent grappler like Ferreira as he is overmatched on the feet. Ferreira takes this one by late TKO. Cezar Ferreira via TKO in Round Three
Main Card (Pay Per View): 190-Pound Catchweight Bout: Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin
Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva is a Brazilian fighter and one of the legends in the sport of MMA. For years he dominated the Light Heavyweight division in PRIDE FC over in Japan and he was well known for his relentless aggression and ability to withstand huge punishment in order to dish out his own. Fast-forward five years and Wanderlei is no longer the same fighter. He can’t take the same kind of punishment that he used to, although he still likes to engage in the same kind of firefights that made him famous in Japan, even if they aren’t necessarily to his advantage any longer. Even though his chin is deteriorating and his body is beginning to slow down, he is still a handful for any fighter to deal with. His balls to the wall approach to fighting and his ability to land a one-punch knockout forces all of his opponents to be on their toes at all times. Wanderlei also has underrated ground skills, holding a black belt in BJJ. The member of the Reign Training Center and the head of the Wand Fight Team owns a professional record of 34-11-1 with 1 No Contest.
Rich “Ace” Franklin is the former UFC Middleweight Champion who ruled the 185-pound division before Anderson Silva showed up and rearranged his face… twice. Franklin is a well-rounded fighter with a huge fan-base, he is also loved by his bosses at the UFC for his willingness to step up on late notice and fill cards when they need him to. Rich actually owns a career victory over Wanderlei Silva from UFC 99 in Cologne, Germany. Franklin is a well-rounded fighter, he has excellent technical boxing skills and constantly mixes it up between punches, kicks, knees and elbows. On the mat, Franklin is a capable grappler who has solid wrestling skills for someone who never wrestled at the collegiate level. He relies a lot on his strength and size for his ability to control the pacing and dictate the range at which his fights are contested. Throwing Franklin out of his rhythm is one of the keys to success against him as shown in his losses to Anderson Silva, Forrest Griffin and Vitor Belfort, Franklin can sometimes struggle against opponents that he cannot impose his will on. Franklin holds a professional MMA record of 28-6-1.
Analysis and Prediction: These two fought in 2009, with Franklin winning a Unanimous Decision that was never really contested or debated. Usually I like to delve deep into main events, but I’m not sure this fight warrants a whole lot of detail. Like Eric said in a column earlier this week, there have been worse main events in UFC history, although I’m not so sure all ten of them on his list were worse (sorry Eric.) However, this is still a rematch that no one really wanted, including fans and both fighters involved, but the damned injury bug gave it to use anyways.
In their first fight Franklin was faster and more technically sound on the feet. Wanderlei was able to win the second round with his trademark aggression but Franklin stayed composed and won the third round, in addition to the first, which he won handily and took the decision. Since that fight Silva has looked slower and less impressive. Rich definitely isn’t getting any younger and although his results have been mixed since their last fight, I think Rich has had the tougher schedule.
In a five-round fight I think Rich’s trademark cardio becomes a big factor. Wanderlei can still win exchanges and rounds with his crazy balls out aggression, but throwing every punch to kill and running around the cage takes the toll on the gas tank. Rich on the other hand has cardio to fight for days and can fight in a much more composed manner. Expect the more technically proficient Franklin to win the exchanges from the outside and use some well-timed takedowns to wear out Wanderlei before finishing him in the later rounds. Rich Franklin via TKO in Round Four