Jan 31, 2012

It's MMAzing Consensus Staff Rankings for January 2012

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1. Junior Dos Santos – The new champ will be making his first title defense in against Alistair Overeem in the late Spring/Summer.
2. Cain Velasquez – The rumored fight between the former champ and Antonio Silva will apparently not happen in the Spring.
3. Alistair Overeem – See #1. “The Reem” hit Brock Lesnar with a liver kick from hell.
4. Frank Mir – Mir broke Big Nog’s arm in December with a kimura. He compared it to twisting a bag of chips. Thanks for that analysis.
5. Fabricio Werdum – Werdum gets to fight Big Country next weekend at UFC 143.
6. Shane Carwin – No new news here. “The Engineer” is still recovering from back surgery.
7. Josh Barnett – Barnett is still waiting on Cormier to get healthy so they can finish the Strikeforce tournament. In the meantime, he’s been spending his time doing pro wrestling in Japan.
8. Daniel Cormier – See #7. Cormier appears to be taking a little longer than expected to recover from his broken hand.
9. Roy Nelson – See #5. Big Country tries to land his patented big right hand on Werdum next weekend in Las Vegas.
10. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira – He had Mir on the ropes, but stupidly switched from punches to an attempted submission. His arm will never forgive him for that.
Others Receiving Votes: Chieck Kongo

Light Heavyweight
Image via cagepotato.com
1. Jon Jones – Well he lost a round to Machida. Then he made him his b*tch. Up next: Nemesis and former teammate Rashad Evans at UFC 145 in April.
2. Rashad Evans – See #1. “Suga” made it through his fight with Phil Davis without getting hurt. He finally gets his crack at the LHW title and Jon Jones in Atlanta in April.
3. Dan Henderson – Looks like Hendo is going to have either wait a while to get a title shot or take another fight in the meantime.
4. Maurico Rua – Shogun doesn’t have a fight booked. I want to see him fight Rampage or Lil Nog. Neither of those fights is going to happen.
5. Quinton Jackson – “Rampage” returns to Japan at UFC 144. Ryan Bader is in trouble.
6. Lyoto Machida – Machida is the first man to win a round against Jones in God knows how long. Then he got choked unconscious. A move to middleweight may be in his future.
7. Phil Davis – “Mr. Wonderful” did not look good against Rashad Evans. Hopefully he will learn a lot from this loss and comes back better.
8. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira – Lil Nog absolutely demolished Tito Ortiz last month. He gets to welcome Alexander Gustaffson to Top 10 competition in April.
9. Alexander Gustaffson – See #8. Gustaffson smashed Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC 141. He gets to fight in the main event in his home country in April.
10. Forrest Griffin – It sounds like Tito wants to fight him in his final fight. Sure, why not?
Others Receiving Votes: Rafael Cavalcante, Thiago Silva

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1. Anderson Silva – The greatest fighter in the world will be fighting Chael Sonnen in Sao Paulo at some point during the summer. I got $5 on July.
2. Chael Sonnen – See #1. Chael successfully defended his fake championship against Bisping last weekend. He will get another shot at the real one soon.
3. Mark Munoz – The Filipino Wrecking Machine got hurt 11 days before his matchup with Sonnen. He will be back by June and will likely immediately be in a #1 contender matchup.
4. Yushin Okami – Okami gets to fight in Japan next month. He will be taking on Tim Boetsch.
5. Vitor Belfort – “The Phenom” smashed a bloated “Rumble” Johnson in Brazil. Next, he coaches the first international edition of The Ultimate Fighter against Wanderlei Silva.
6. Michael Bisping – Bisping lost to Sonnen , but left everyone talking about how he was clearly a contender for the middleweight crown.
7. Rousimar Palhares – “Paul Harris” shocked absolutely nobody by defeating Mike Massenzio by heel hook at UFC 142 in Brazil.
8. Luke Rockhold – The Strikeforce MW champ knocked out Keith Jardine last month. Good for him. UP next…I dunno, let’s say Tim Kennedy.
9. Hector Lombard – The man makes can crushing an art form will be defending his belt against Alexander Shlemenko again at some point in early 2012.
10. Brian Stann – Stann takes on Alessio Sakara in a few months. I don’t even care enough about this fight to look up the exact date.
Others Receiving Votes: Damian Maia, Ronaldo Souza

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1. Georges St-Pierre – GSP tore his ACL preparing to fight Nick Diaz. He will probably be taking on the winner of Diaz/Condit late in the summer.
2. Nick Diaz – Diaz is a slight betting favorite in his matchup against Carlos Condit at UFC 143. I’m just really really excited about this fight.
3. Josh Koscheck – I personally think Koscheck is going to beat the absolute crap out of Mike Pierce at UFC 143 next weekend.
4. Carlos Condit – See #2. Condit takes on Nick Diaz next weekend for the Interim Welterweight Title. Hopefully he’s prepared to be called b*tch
5. Jake Ellenberger – Ellenberger talks a mountain of sh*t. He takes on Diego Sanchez at UFC on Fuel TV 1. I don’t get Fuel TV. It’s like this fight doesn’t exist to me.
6. Jon Fitch – Jon Fitch got KO’d for the first time ever and it was pretty embarrassing. Hopefully Skyrim will make him feel better.
7. Johnny Hendricks – Henricks surprised the hell out of everyone by knocking out Jon Fitch in less than 20 seconds.
8. Jake Shields – Shields looks to rebound from back to back losses against Sexyama next month in Japan at UFC 144.
9. Martin Kampmann – In what will likely be a bout filled with very technical striking, “The Hitman” takes on Thiago Alves at UFC on FX 2 in March.
10. Rory MacDonald – MacDonald hasn’t fought since smashing Mike Pyle in August. He takes on Che Mills at UFC 145 in April.
Others Receiving Votes: Ben Askren

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1. Frankie Edgar – “The Answer” takes on Ben Henderson next month in Japan. No one in the crowd is going to know who he is.
2. Gilbert Melendez – “El Nino” had little difficulty beating Masvidal in December. He is pretty much out of challengers in Strikeforce.
3. Ben Henderson – See #1. Bendo looks to be the first man to beat Frankie Edgar in 4 years. Oh, he also probably wants to be champion
4. Gray Maynard – Maynard hasn’t been up to much since he lost to Edgar in October. His only sighting was in Brazil earlier this month where he was helping Aldo train for Mendes.
5. Jim Miller – Miller choked out Melvin Guillard in the first round in the main event of UFC on FX 1. He takes on Nate Diaz in May at UFC on Fox 3.
6. Nate Diaz – See #5. Is the UFC sure about this? They really want to put one of the Diaz brothers on FOX? Sure the fight will be exciting, but the censors better get ready with the bleeps.
7. Clay Guida – Guida not having a fight scheduled seems very weird to me. He’s either hurt or on vacation.
8. Shinya Aoki – Aoki beat his training partner last month. Bellator is apparently trying to set up a rematch between him and Eddie Alvarez for the Spring.
9. Anthony Pettis – “Showtime” takes on Joe Lauzon next month in Japan in what will likely be a very entertaining bout.
10. Donald Cerrone – Cerrone’s impressive win streak came to an end last month via a three round ass whooping at the hands of Nate Diaz.
Others Receiving Votes: Michael Chandler

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1. Jose Aldo – “Scarface” hit Chad Mendes with a HUGE knee that KO’d the wrestling standout earlier this month in Rio. The UFC is running out of challengers for this guy already.
2. Hatsu Hioki – Hioki impressed absolutely no one in his victory over George Roop in October. He takes on Palaszewski next month in his home country at UFC 144.
3. Chad Mendes – Mendes spent the entire first round of his title bout with Aldo failing to
4. Pat Curran – Curran takes on Bellator FW champ Joe Warren in March. You’ll notice Warren isn’t in our top 10. That’s because he isn’t very good.
5. Diego Nunes – “The Gun” handled business against Manny Gamburyan last month. He will need a couple more wins together to get a shot at his teammate for the title.
6. Chan Sung Jung – “The Korean Zombie” scored a 7 second knockout of Mark Hominick at UFC 140. Hopefully a #1 contender bout is in his future.
7. Dustin Poirier – Poirier was supposed to take on Erik Koch next week, but Koch got hurt. Ricardo Lamas stepped in for Koch, but now he’s hurt as well. He now takes on UFC newcomer Max Holloway.
8. Bart Palaszewski – See #2. Bartimus takes on Hioki next month in Japan. He thought Hioki lost to Roop in October. I don’t know about that. I will agree that Hioki is a one-trick pony.
9. Marlon Sandro – Sandro has entered the season 6 Bellator Featherweight tournament. He takes on Roberto Vargas in March.
10. Mark Hominick – Hominick got murked in less than 10 seconds by “The Korean Zombie.” I just want to note that the fighters of the late Shawn Tompkins are doing really poorly since the great trainer passed.
Others Receiving Votes: Erik Koch, Tatsuya Kawajiri

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1. Dominick Cruz – Cruz is still recovering from his broken hand. He will coach the next season of TUF against Urijah Faber.
2. Urijah Faber – See #1. Faber will coach opposite Cruz on The Ultimate Fighter, setting up the rubber match between the two that will take place in the summer.
3. Joseph Benavidez – “Joe-kozuna” makes his flyweight debut against Yasuhiro Urushitani in March. The winner takes on the winner of Demetrius Johnson and Ian McCall for the newly-created flyweight title.
4. Brian Bowles – Bowles doesn’t have a fight scheduled, but his new movie, “Contraband,” opened to mediocre reviews earlier this month.
5. Demetrius Johnson – “Mighty Mouse” takes on Ian McCall in March in a flyweight bout as a part of the UFC’s mini-tournament to crown the division’s first champion.
6. Scott Jorgensen – Jorgensen looks to make it 3 in a row this weekend against Renan Barao at UFC 143.
7. Renan Barao – See #6. Barao looks to improve on his ridiculous record against Jorgensen. Seriously…he’s 27-1(1).
8. Miguel Torres – Torres got fired for making a rape joke and then got rehired. He should stop using Twitter. He takes on Michael McDonald in April.
9. Brad Pickett – Pickett looks to rebound from his loss to Barao by taking on Damacio Page in April at UFC on Fuel TV 2.
10. Michael McDonald – See #10. McDonald takes a big step up in competition at UFC 145 in Atlanta. He takes on former champ Miguel Torres.
Others Receiving Votes: Bibiano Fernandes

Jan 30, 2012

UFC on FOX 2 Post Fight Thoughts and Analysis

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This weekend wrapped up the UFC's second foray onto network television, and the card was led by two fights that would have major implications for their respective divisions. The first UFC on Fox card would be remembered for only televising one fight, and that fight going all of 64 seconds. The question on everyone's mind was, would the second time be the charm with a guaranteed three fights to be televised? The answer we found was a somewhat mixed bag as the main card fights left a lot to be desired in terms of action and exciting finishes, but with title shots on the line, was very important for moving the narrative forward in the middle weight and light-heavy weght divisions.

  • Rashad simply classed Phil Davis. It was an obvious case of too much, too soon for Mr. Wonderful as you could see his nerves and tentativeness right from the get go. It is beginning to become cliche, but the adage of there being a difference between wrestling and mma wrestling rang very true on this night. Davis found himself unable to take a dominant ground position, and was caught in the crucifix position on multiple occasions.
  • Rashad was not very pleased with his performance, and frankly, I do not think much of the viewing audience was either. Rashad is an excellent wrestler and one of the fastest in the division, but for any of us looking for an x-factor that would make us think he has a realistic shot against Jon Jones, well... we were kept waiting.
  • Chael's victory now sets up one of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history. Though the past is tainted now with a failed a drug test, Chael still stands as the lone man to really take it to Anderson Silva and being within mere moments of dethroning the king.
  • Hats off to Michael Bisping. The Brit has been long underrated primarily due to the sheer amount of dislike he generates from crowds, but the fact remains that he is one of the most well rounded and technically sound fighters in the sport. Those expecting Sonnen to run through him discovered that Bisping has some of the best takedown defense in the game. Even when put on his back, Bisping always manages to get it back to standing without taking much damage. Bisping had several shining moments standing, and likely upped his reputation and respect, even in defeat.
  • Chael's pro wrestling style promos... love them. I grew up on great talkers. Sure Dusty Rhodes was before my time, but the Rock and Steve Austin deserve their own place in promo history as well, and Chael, well that man is just simply entertainment.
  • Chris Weidman validated his touted prospect status in taking the victory on 11 days notice. A 30 lb. weight cut in under two weeks? Cheers buddy.
  • Demian Maia, its time for you to go back to the drawing board, the jiu jitsu mats... whatever it is that you need to realize you are not a boxer.
  • Quick hits notes: Lavar "I look like im the Rock" Johnson, boxing looked good with some nasty uppercuts. Roop's inconsistent matches lead to an amazing KO by Cub Swanson. Watch for the flying mouth piece. Jon Jones, yeah work on that whole act natural thing. The sweating bullets and reading of scripts is quite obvious in HD. But rest easy, this division is not throwing any threats your way for the foreseeable future. Young Charles looked good at 145, putting a seldom seen calf-slicer submission on display. Nice to see the kid isn't broken after a couple tough losses at lightweight. 

Jan 27, 2012

It's MMAzing Staff Predictions for UFC on Fox 2

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Rashad Evans v. Phil Davis

Doctor Law: As you will also read in the prediction below mine, Kid Presentable and I are huge fans of Phil Davis. We met the guy after the infamous Fedor v. Werdum card in June 2010. He was the ONE black guy leaving the HP Pavilion among a sea of Vietnamese people (San Jose, CA…look up the demographics). No one else noticed Mr. Wonderful and he was wearing a shirt that said “I’m a keeper” on the front. Combine that with the fact that he wears pink fight shorts and took his nickname from a cat he had while he was in college and we were sold. I hate to pick against him, but I think Rashad is going to absolutely murk him. It’s true, Phil Davis has the advantage in terms of amateur wrestling credentials. That being said, Rashad is arguably the best “MMA wrestler” in the light heavyweight division. He has been able to take down anybody he’s wanted to. Phil Davis, on the other hand, had way too difficult a time getting Lil Nog down. Additionally, Phil Davis' striking is still fairly rudimentary and it’s unlikely that he has made huge strides in that area. Rashad has a few highlight reel KOs on his record and has been the #1 contender since May 2010. He’s going to finally get that shot after this win. Rashad by 3rd round TKO.

Kid Presentable: Mr. Wonderful is one of my favorite fighters on the planet straight up. Ever since I met him a little bit back, I've rooted major for the guy. That said, this fight is too much too soon. Of course it is possible that Davis has taken a Daniel Cormier like leap in striking ability in his time off since his last fight, but on paper it just doesn't seem like a great matchup. Rashad while not as credentialed a wrestler as Davis, has been one of the best MMA wrestlers in recent history. In his fight with Tito Ortiz, Rashad had also put on some noticeable size and strength and savaged Ortiz with a knee to the abdomen. Rashad had been notoriously on the smaller side of fighters at light heavyweight and many calls were made that he should think about middleweight, but he's now walking around rocking him some Overeem shoulders. Davis is a tremendous wrestler and ever-improving in his overall game, but I see this fight playing out by there being a cancelation of wrestling between these two for the most part and it coming down to Rashad's greater speed and striking with Rashad ultimately ground and pounding his way to a victory. On one last note though, Davis is a very reasonable underdog as the universe and Jon Jones like to spit on Evans' hopes of ever getting another title shot. So there is a reasonable chance for Davis winning by karmic screw job. Rashad by TKO round 3.

DJ Mark with a “K”: Rashad looked awesome in his last fight with Tito Ortiz. That’s not saying too much considering how Tito looked during the last few years (Bader win #dealwiththedevil). Phil will be a tough challenge, but I still think the kid's a bit too raw to pull out a win over the always #1 contender Rashad Evans. It’ll be interesting to see where the fight takes place. I think we might be seeing a lot of stand up as the wrestling from each fighter might cancel each other out. I think Rashad’s stand up has evolved more than Davis’s and I think he might be able to pull off a couple round sealing takedowns as well. Rashad by Decision.

Lavender Gooms: Alright UFC, here’s chance #2. You’ve already learned from your first foray in televising fights on broadcast TV by airing MORE THAN ONE FIGHT. I’m not sure why people are always booing Evans at UFC cards. He doesn’t really talk a lot of crap and he always seems respectable and articulate in his interviews. The tale of the tape tells one story. While Evans was good, Davis was a better college wrestler, possesses more natural talent, and is larger and is likely stronger than Evans. Where Evans holds an edge is in his experience. Compared to Evans’ amount of experience, Davis is still a neophyte when it comes to MMA. Rashad has become a much better striker since entering the UFC and holds a clear advantage there. Evans has also fought many more high level opponents and this will be Davis’ toughest challenge yet. If Evans tries to turn this into a wrestling match, I believe Davis will dominate, but Evans is smarter than that and will pick his spots in the stand up. Evans by decision.

Picking Evans: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
Picking Davis:

(More predictions and highlights from Thursday's press conference after the jump)

Jan 24, 2012

Hands-On with UFC Undisputed 3

Image via ufcundisputed.com

Thanks to my second family over at Destructoid, I got the chance to sit down and play UFC Undisputed 3 and good God it’s all I can think about since I put the controller down. My two greatest passions in life are video games and MMA, when the two come together, it should be magical. However, MMA video games haven’t had a great past. Sure the first UFC on the Dreamcast was mind blowing for the time, but shortly after, the games really lost their spark. MMA games on Playstation 2 and Xbox left a lot to be desired, in fact I had more fun playing the MMA mode in Fire Pro Wrestling then I did in those games. Once Dana White and company decided to make a credible video game, the UFC video game series hit a new level. UFC 2009 was an awesome game and the sequel, UFC 2010, improved upon that version greatly. Now after a year and a half of waiting, we are on the verge of UFC Undisputed 3 and, like I mentioned before, I’m hyped for it.

Image via ufcundisputed.com
My biggest complaint from UFC 2010 was the submission system. The only I could pull off a submission in UFC 2010 was basically TKO a person with body shots, but instead of finishing them with punches I’d slap on a submission. I hated this. I hate the shine method not because I don’t think it’s a good idea, but more so because I never knew what I needed to do to finish the submission. Am I going too fast or too slow? Hell if I know. They fixed that in UFC Undisputed 3 by creating a mini game where you chase/escape the opponent’s icon to finish/escape the submission. During my time with the game I was able to finish with more submission then I did the whole time I was playing UFC 2010 (countless hours). While being able to finish fights with submissions is greatly needed it wasn’t the best addition to the UFC video game franchise.

The addition of a Pride FC mode to UFC Undisputed 3 is the real game changer here. Since buying the beloved league, Zuffa has really only pimped its video footage. Now it’s really putting the license to good use in video game form. Not only are you getting to fight in a ring with rule adjustments, but you get a whole roster full of Pride Superstars. Now any hardcore MMA fan will notice that most of these Pride fighters were also UFC fighters at one point (which is why UFC is able to use them), but it’s still pretty cool. While it sucks that fan favorites like Sakuraba and Fedor aren’t included, I was able to confirm that you will be able to trade your create-a-fighters online with others. I’d imagine within a few weeks you’ll be able to find some pretty good CAF of Sakuraba and hopefully other more obscure Pride alumni (personally, I want Bob Schrijber ). What’s also cool is that you can use both UFC and Pride fighters in all modes. I got about 3-4 hours to try out the full game and the vast majority of it was spent playing exhibition fights in Pride.

Jan 19, 2012

It's MMAzing Staff Predictions for UFC on FX: Guillard v. Miller

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Melvin Guillard v. Jim Miller

Doctor Law: I like Melvin Guillard fights for a couple of reasons. The first is that you pretty much know how the fight is gonna go: Melvin is either going to outclass the guy with his striking or he’s going to get choked. The second is because I know Mike (Lavender Gooms) is going to make a bunch of Demolition Man (download it if you haven’t seen it) references. I don’t think Miller is the type of guy Melvin normally smashes. Miller has a great chin and pretty good striking in his own right. Even worse for Guillard, Miller has great submissions. “The Young Assassin” is going to get choked. Miller by 1st round submission

Kid Presentable: I was never really sold on the “Melvin is legit and ready to make the next step” hype. I like the guy, but his history of mental lapses and tendency to get subbed because of them made me think this is a hyper athletic dude with KO power, but who just could not put it all together. Miller is another guy who was creeping close to the top before being absolutely derailed by Bendo. Of the two, I think Miller gets back on track with a win here. Melvin likely has the advantage standing up, but Miller's boxing is improving and he's got a strong chin. Plus, with some of the best submission games in the division, I think this fight ultimately ends up on the ground with Melvin tapping. Miller by submission round 2.

DJ Mark with a “K”: It’s always tough picking a winner of a fight that Melvin Guillard is a part of. This dude has more ups and downs then the Rebel Alliance. I see this fight being the equivalent of when Han Solo was frozen in carbonite. Melvin will get taken down, pounded on and eventually submitted. This loss won’t kill Melvin’s career (much like how being frozen in carbonite doesn’t kill you), but it’ll set him back a bit. Miller by 2nd Round Submission.

Image via watchkalibrun.com
Lavender Gooms: Simon Phoenix in the house! Guillard is a pretty cocky guy and paid for that when he strutted into the ring in his last fight and promptly got put on his ass. He won’t make that mistake this time. He’s coming in focused and he’s finishing this fight early. Simon says “KO”. Simon Phoenix by KO in the 1st round.

Picking Guillard: Gooms
Picking Miller: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark

Duane Ludwig v. Josh Neer

Doctor Law: Duane Ludwig was on a mission. He wanted recognition for having the shortest knockout in UFC history and he wanted it bad. Despite clear video evidence, the Nevada State Athletic Commission refused to do anything about a timekeeper’s error that caused Bang’s KO of Jonathan Goulet to be recorded as 11 seconds instead of 6 seconds. Dana White gave Ludwig the recognition he wanted by unofficially awarding him the record. Anyways, Bang and Neer is going to be a solid battle. Bang has great kickboxing and Neer is always game. I see Ludwig taking this one via 2nd round TKO.

Kid Presentable: Bang, bang, bangity bang! Yeah I have been on a little bit of a How I Met Your Mother binge lately. Must be a sign from the stars that will take Duane will take this one. Seriously though, Duane is a very skilled kick boxer and has looked impressive in his last couple of outings. Neer is a solid veteran, but he is a career journeyman, and unlike his last opponent, I don't see Ludwig just allowing Neer to elbow him at will to the face for the entire fight. This is one of those lower tiered fights that may not have any real significance to the division, but the talent set could end up making for a very entertaining stand up war. Here is to hoping for one of those. Bang by decision.

DJ Mark with a “K”: I’m very excited for this one! I’m a massive Duane Ludwig fan from his early and awesome performances in King of the Cage to his stint in K-1. I just love this dude’s style. Neer’s a tough, but winnable fight for him. I’m hoping Duane can run a stand up clinic on Neer and maybe flash the Karate Kid Crane stance for old time’s sake. Duane by Decision.

Lavender Gooms: A fight card on free TV always means there’s one fight where both guys have some firepower in the hands. Ludwig by TKO in 3nd round.

Picking Ludwig: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
Picking Neer:

Jan 13, 2012

It's MMAzing Staff Predictions for UFC 142

Image via UFC Newsletter

UFC Featherweight Championship
Jose Aldo v. Chad Mendes

Doctor Law: As I explained earlier this week, Chad Mendes and his teammates have an opportunity to take home 3 UFC titles this year. Mendes is first up and his challenge is Scarface himself, Jose Aldo. Mendes is undefeated through 11 professional contests and is shown to be a great MMA wrestler with an ever improving striking and submission game. To defeat Aldo, he’s going to need to utilize his wrestling to avoid Aldo’s wicked Muay Thai. Aldo has a black belt in BJJ, but hasn’t submitted anybody in 10 WEC/UFC fights. It remains to be seen if he can finish anybody after being put on his back. Honestly, I see Mendes’s path to victory (see the first 22 minutes of Chael Sonnen v. Anderson Silva) and don’t think it’s farfetched at all…but I can’t bring myself to pick him. Aldo needs a good performance after a lackluster showing against Kenny Florian in October and I think he’s going to find a way to get it done against Mendes. Jose Aldo by 3rd round TKO.

Kid Presentable: P4P stalwart Jose Aldo gets to main event a UFC event for the first time in his career and in his home country of Brazil at that. Aldo should be plenty motivated to put on a show for the crowd and will likely aim for a strong finish after coming off a lackluster fight against Kenny Florian. Mendes stylistically offers Aldo his toughest challenge in the division as he is the strongest and most explosive wrestler at FW. Mark Hominick showed that Aldo can be put on his back, though fatigue, illness and a long layoff did play a factor in that performance. Mendes avenue to victory seems most likely a dominant wrestling decision victory, but Aldo has so many tools in his arsenal, it is tough to pick against him. Side note, Mendes you can make me a lifetime fan if you come out to Shane McMahon's "Here comes the money." Aldo by submission in the 4th round.

DJ Mark with a “K”: This is a really tough fight to call. While on paper it would seem Jose is the easy pick here, I think Mendes has the style to grind out a decision. While his style is perfect to beat Aldo, I don’t know if he’ll be able to actually pull it off. I’m playing it safe here and picking Aldo, but I won’t be surprised at all if Team Alpha Male gets its first taste of UFC gold on Saturday. Jose by 3rd round TKO.

Lavender Gooms: The “first step” in Team Alpha Males possible domination according to Bobby. Aldo is arguably the P4P champ and is at least top 3 in the discussion. His stand up is on another level and his leg kicks are something to write home about, but don’t be fooled, the boy has a black belt in BJJ as well. Even so, Mendes’ ONLY shot of winning this fight is to take and keep Aldo on the ground as soon as he can and as often as possible. Mendes will be the most accomplished and polished wrestler Aldo has faced. Aldo has shown an ability to adjust to the styles of his opponents and I don’t see this fight being any different. Aldo by decision.

Picking Aldo: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
Picking Mendes:

Image via bloodyelbow.com
Vitor Belfort v. Anthony Johnson

Doctor Law: I am very excited for this fight. If you aren’t up on your Vitor knowledge, let me break it down for you: Vitor won a UFC heavyweight tournament at age 19, defeated Wanderlei Silva in 44 seconds, married a soap opera star from Brazil, defeated Randy Couture for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, loves him some Jesus and, most recently, knocked out Sexyama so badly that he lost 15 lbs. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson…is a f*cking monster. Seriously, look at that picture. This dude used to somehow fight at 170lbs and is now making his debut at 185. It’s Vitor’s hand speed and BJJ against Rumble’s wrestling and athleticism. This is a pick’em fight, but I’m going Vitor by TKO in the 2nd.

Kid Presentable: This right here is the most anticipated fight of the evening for me and I am absolutely torn. Both men have the power to make any fighter in any division go to sleep. I have a feeling Johnson is going to go use his Dan Hardy strategy and take this fight to the mat and not chance KO power of Belfort, but Belfort does have better take down defense than Hardy (don't we all? just kidding Dan, I'm a giant fan, see red mohawk). Belfort has been waiting years for the chance to fight again in Brazil on the big stage, and was reduced to doing commentary because he was injured at the time of the last UFC Brazil card. If there's one thing the last card taught me, bet on the Brazilians.Vitor by 1st round KO

DJ Mark with a “K”: Man, another tough fight to call here. It’s Anthony’s first fight at 185 and that brings up a lot of question marks. Also, Belfort is a hot and cold type of fighter, where if he’s on that night, he’s almost unstoppable, but if he’s not, he’ll fight like a mere shadow of his former self. I’m picking Johnson here basically because I feel like he has more ways to win then Belfort, if he’s not getting it done standing he can take it down and grind him out. Johnson by Dec.

Lavender Gooms: After years of fights at welterweight that left you wondering how in the world this massive human being cut to 170 pounds, “Rumble” Johnson is making his middleweight debut. This is a move long over-due for Johnson. Even at middleweight, he will still be large for the division. He’s one of the hardest hitters in the UFC, but Belfort can deal it out just as good. Belfort’s hand speed can be a problem for Johnson, but I see him being able to overwhelm Belfort with his superior athleticism. This is going to be short night for Belfort. Johnson by TKO in 1st.

Picking Belfort: Dr. Law, Kid P
Picking Johnson: DJ Mark, Gooms

Rousimar Palhares v. Mike Massenzio
Image via gifsforum.com

Doctor Law: See the picture to the right. Palhares by Hulk Smash

Kid Presentable: Paul Harris is must see TV. What kind of crazy hijinks will he get into this time? Will the phantom referee stop the fight? Will he jump out of the cage? In all seriousness, Palhares is the king of the heel hook and Massenzio is a career journeyman. Once Palhares hulks up, you don't have a chance. Palhares by submission, 2nd round.

DJ Mark with a “K”: Well this one should be fun. The biggest question is what bat sh*t crazy thing will Palhares do this time. My guess is he’ll hit himself in the groin and declare himself the winner. You really don’t know what will happen in a Palhares fight anymore, but one thing’s pretty certain, he’ll walk away with the W. Palhares by sub 2nd round.

Lavender Gooms: Palhares has been hot in his last five fights, submitting three of these dudes. His BJJ is a head above that of Massenzio and will look to take the fight to the ground. In addition to his submission game, Rousimar has been known to drop a few guys with his mean punches and Massenzio has shown a penchant in the past of getting the ol’ chin tapped. I think Palhares handls him and gets the submission in the 2nd. Palheres by 2nd round submission.

Picking Palhares: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
Picking Massenzio:

Jan 11, 2012

Staff Picks: Favorite Memories of 2011

Image via CombatLifestyle.com

Ah 2011, you have been an epic year full of movers and shakers for the sport of MMA. From Zuffa's acquisition of chief rival Strikeforce, the UFC's network debut on FOX, selling out the 55,000 large Rogers Center, all the way to fall of the old guard in MMA and the rise of young phenoms like Jon Jones, 2011 was the beginning of that next major step necessary for this young sport. New divisions and new faces paved the way to a year of exciting events, fights, and moments.

Many websites have covered the year's most significant and monumental moments ad nauseum , and to be certain, none of us can deny how great an impact many of the events of 2011 will leave. However, here at It's MMAzing, we decided to simply take a look at what we enjoyed personally from the year of events. There were moments that were good for the sport, good for media coverage, great for business, but our moments here, were great to us simply because we are fans.

Kid Presentable:
1. Tito Ortiz and the return of the Grave Digger
I'll be honest, I make jokes about Tito just like most fans do nowadays, but that doesn't mean that I don't remember what Tito has meant to this sport. As a kid in middle school, you loved Tito. The guy was a star, he had personality, and to this day he's been the best COACH through the seasons of TUF. He has fallen on many hard times over the last few years up to the point that his name has become a punch line in most circles. But oh boy, when he finally got that win against Ryan Bader? The roof came off. Tito had been known for his demonstrative displays of victory and disrespect. Before the Diaz brothers entered the fray, you had Tito with the smoking gun middle fingers. Tito's guillotine choke victory and subsequent Grave Digger celebration routine brought this nostalgic rush of joy where me and the boys were just on our feet yelling in the living room. I think I ran a lap around the room letting out some Ric Flair "WOOOO"s.

2. The War to End them all
Myself and the It's MMAzing staff have been very fortunate that every event we have attended has held some type of historical significance in the sport, or some jaw dropping moment. We saw Anderson's triangle choke hail mary on Chael, his front kick to Vitor, Fedor's first real loss, the ascent of Nick Diaz against BJ Penn, the coronation of the Jon Jones era, and even the WEC's sole ppv of Aldo vs Faber. However, the war that stood above them occurred on one fateful San Jose eve, as Dan Henderson took on Shogun Rua. There are a lot of fights out there that are billed into being wars, but then usually you get a fast KO, or a one-sided beatdown, but this matchup led to everything you could hope for. Displays of the massive power each man possesses in their striking, to the legen... wait for it... dary chins and resilience these men have been known for. Everyone was on their feet from start to finish in the HP Pavilion that night, and in between rounds you just heard murmurs from everyone talking to each other about how they might just be witness to something historic here. Slightly controversial decision at the end be damned, you couldn't do a damn thing but applaud after what those two warriors left for the fans in the cage. Oh, and getting to yell "PRIDE NEVER DIE!" belligerently always makes for a great evening.

Doctor Law:
1. ZUFFA purchases Strikeforce

On March 13, 2011 Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC announced, with the help of the best reporter in MMA, Ariel Helwani, that they had purchased Strikeforce from Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment. This was news that absolutely NOBODY was expecting. I remember where I was when I heard the news. I was in Brooklyn with Mike (Lavender Gooms) waiting outside of Peter Luger Steak House (because that's how we roll) for some friends to show up. I checked MMAFighting.com on my phone and saw the link to Helwani's interview with Dana White. When I told Mike the news, he said "wait, what" at least 4 times. We were both completely shocked and immediately thought of the possibility of seeing guys like Alistair Overeem and Nick Diaz in the UFC. Don't get me wrong, I always enjoyed watching Strikeforce fights and they were, as DJ Mark put it, "our" MMA promotion, given their Bay Area roots. However, their attempts to compete with the UFC likely lead to their downfall. In any case, their ability to put on an entertaining card (almost always filled with 1 or 2 squash fights) ensures that they will not be forgotten.

Jan 10, 2012

Team Alpha Male’s Plan for World Domination Starts Saturday

Image via Ryan McKinnell, Examiner.com

(**NOTE**: Joseph Benavidez let me know that I forgot to include that Justin Buchholz would be fighting for the Superior Cage Combat championship on February 16th in Las Vegas. Make that 4 possible championships for Team Alpha Male.)

This Saturday, Chad Mendes will try to be the man that takes the Featherweight championship away from Jose Aldo. Mendes fights out of Team Alpha Male, a fight team that operates out of the Ultimate Fitness gym in Sacramento, California. The team is lead by former WEC Featherweight champion Urijah Faber and is the home of many prominent MMA fighters including Faber, Mendes, Joseph Benavidez, Danny Castillo, Justin Buchholz and T.J. Dillashaw.

2012 looks to be a big year for Team Alpha Male. The cosmos/luck/fate/Jesus/Flying Spaghetti Monster seems to have lined up an opportunity for Team Alpha Male to become the only MMA team to have 3 UFC champions. General Faber and his troops have a chance to put a stranglehold on the MMA world and show their superiority over more publicized teams such as Team Jackson and Blackhouse. Here is the game plan for how they plan to take over this sport by the middle of year.

Step 1: Chad Mendes wins the UFC Featherweight Title

Chad Mendes is the undisputed #1 contender to the UFC Featherweight championship. “Money” Mendes has won all 11 of his professional fights and has victories over fighters such as Rani Yahya, Michihiro Omigawa and Javier Vazquez. Mendes has the unenviable task of trying to defeat Featherweight kingpin and Top 5 P4P fighter Jose Aldo in his home country. Aldo has some of the best standup in MMA and a black belt in BJJ to go along with that.

The gameplan for Mendes to beat Aldo can be summarized in 3 words: “take him down.” Mendes is going to have to put Aldo on his ass early and often. He doesn’t want to let the champ get a rhythm going with his strikes and allow him to put combinations together. More importantly, Mendes needs to avoid what happened to his teammate Urijah Faber and not get blasted with leg kicks. If Mendes is able to take Aldo down, beat him up and avoid submissions, he has a good chance of becoming the second UFC Featherweight Champion in history.

Step 2: Joseph Benavidez becomes the first ever UFC Flyweight Champion

Joseph Benavidez has been fighting in the “wrong” weight class for years. Benavidez (or Joe-B-Wan Kenobi) has been making his living fighting in the 135 lb weight class despite his frame being much better suited for the then-nonexistent UFC Flyweight division (125 lbs). Despite this, Benavidez has proven to be one of the best fighters in the world at bantamweight with his only 2 career losses being close fights against division champion Dominick Cruz.

Recently UFC announced a four man tournament to crown the company’s first flyweight champion. On one side of the bracket, Benavidez will take on Shooto 123 lb champion Yasuhiro Urushitani. A number of things favor Benavidez in this fight. Urushitani is primarily known for his striking. Benavidez fights out of Team Alpha Male…which means he can wrestle and will be able to dictate where the fight takes place. Urushitani is also kind of old (35) and Benavidez can put on a pace that is very difficult to keep up with. Finally, this is Urushitani's first UFC fight, which normally means octagon jitters…giving Benavidez another advantage.

If Benavidez gets past Urushitani, he would take on the winner of Demetrius Johnson and Ian McCall in a early summer championship fight. Demetrius is known for using his strikes to set up his takedowns while “Uncle Creepy” is the Tachi Palace Flyweight Champion. With either of this opponents, Benavidez would likely be the favorite given his big fight experience and overall skill set.

(STEP 3 After the jump)

Jan 6, 2012

It's MMAzing Staff Predictions for Strikeforce: Rockhold v. Jardine

Image via Strikeforce.com

Strikeforce Middleweight Championshp:
Luke Rockhold (c) v. Keith Jardine

Doctor Law: It’s free Showtime weekend all over the country. It’s a chance for Strikeforce to gain some new fans by showing what a great product they have. Strikeforce has decided to use this opportunity to air a card that is headlined by their relatively unknown middleweight champion defending against a UFC castoff. Nice job Coker, nice job. Luke Rockhold won the belt in mildly impressive fashion against Jacare Souza. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be terribly impressed by someone defeating a world champion in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in a kickboxing contest. Keith Jardine has never fought at middleweight, so naturally, he’s being granted a title shot. He gets dropped by left hooks…a lot. The law of large numbers says Rockhold lands a few of them. Rockhold by 3rd round TKO.

Kid Presentable: I'll admit it. I am not sold on Rockhold. A solid victory over Jacare, sure, but that alone does not make you a top 10 fighter in the division. That said, Jardine hasn't looked good in a fight in God knows how long and he is making his MW debut in a title shot. That pretty much says everything you need to know about the state of affairs in Strikeforce. Rockhold, to his credit, showed very strong stand up skills and generally everyone who has that has made Jardine look silly. Rockhold by decision.

DJ Mark with a “K”: Well this is a title fight indicative of a somewhat weak division. Luke Rockhold’s win over Ronaldo Souza was shocking, but not all that impressive. Luke reminds me a lot of Frankie Edgar. Both guys just seem to outwork their opponents and seem like very beatable champions. However, Keith is making his first attempt at 185 and that makes his tank questionable. In a fight where stamina is key, I’m not going to pick the guy testing the waters at 185 for the first time. Luke by TKO via ground and pound in the 4th Round.

Lavender Gooms: This fight shows the state of the Strike Force middle weight roster. This dude Jardine hasn’t won yet with Strikeforce, is 2-5-1 in his last 7 fights (let me repeat, that’s TWO wins in his last EIGHT fights) and this is his first fight at middleweight. That truly screams #1 contender. I guess with the current middleweight roster that Strikeforce has, this is the biggest name they could get for Rockhold to fight. I have no faith in Jardine, especially a Jardine fighting at middleweight for the first time. Rockhold’s cardio and wrestling gets him the W. Rockhold by TKO in the 4th round.

Picking Rockhold: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
Picking Jardine:

Robbie Lawler v. Adlan Amagov

Doctor Law: Fun Robbie Lawler fact for you: His fight against Steve Berger in 2003 was the first MMA fight ever aired on cable television in the US. Not so fun Robbie Lawler fact: It doesn’t look like he is that interested in being a cage fighter anymore. Lawler is coming off of back to back losses to Jacare and Tim Kennedy and looked especially bored in the Kennedy loss. He’s taking on Amagov, a Russian standup fighter coming off a first round knockout on a Strikeforce show attended by about 45 people. I want to pick against Robbie, but it’s hard to imagine him losing a stand-up fight. He’s only been KO’d once and that was by Nick Diaz. (A third fun fact for you: Diaz kept yelling “Stockton motherf*cker!” at Robbie before that fight even started.) Lawler by 2nd round KO.

Kid Presentable: Amagov has one of the sweetest head kick finishes you will ever see in MMA. Lawler has the hands of well... Robbie Lawler. Robbie has the more proven and storied track record, but recently he has seemed to look a little disinterested in his fights. Sure, he was outsized by Babalu, but he looked straight uninspired against Kennedy and Jacare. I'm going to take a spinning hook kick's chance in hell and pick the upset here. Amagov by KO, 1st round.

DJ Mark with a “K”: The problem with predicting Stirkeforce cards is that the fights tend to be either one sided or they feature one known fighter and a relative unknown fighter. Hence the picks tend to look very similar. I’m going to shake things up and pick Adlan here. Besides just doing it to mix things up, Russian fighters tend to have really strong stand up and I don’t know how interested Robbie is in MMA anymore. Adlan by 1st round TKO.

Lavender Gooms: Who lands the heavy leather first? Lawler does and saves his job. Lawler by KO in the 1st round.

Picking Lawler: Dr. Law, Gooms
Picking Amagov: Kid P, DJ Mark

Muhammed Lawal v. Lorenz Larkin

Doctor Law: Lorenz Larkin has a big test in front of him. He has shown great standup in his fights and I’m a fan of anybody who rocks the Melvin Manhoef shorts. Unfortunately for him, King Mo is a fantastic wrestler that can put him on his back. Mo rebounded from his tough loss to Feijao by knocking the holy hell out of Roger Gracie. He’s also officially a part of AKA, the premier camp for wrestlers turned mixed martial artists. This fight will take place wherever Mo wants it to. King Mo by 3rd round TKO.

Kid Presentable: Larkin offers a really nice young LHW prospect in a division that is in big need of a youth influx. King Mo, while no spring chicken, has also been considered one of the brightest prospects in the sport. I think Larkin will have moments and show why he is someone to look out for in the future, but Mo and his elite level wrestling will be too much for him. King Mo by decision.

DJ Mark with a “K”: I can’t wait for this fight. I’ve been a huge King Mo fan since I first saw him fight in Sengoku years ago. King Mo is just such an awesome, entertaining and smart fighter and I really think he can shine in the sport. I hope someday he’ll fight in the UFC and the whole world will get to know who this entertaining man is. On the other hand, I’ve had my eye on Lorenz Larkin as well. He’s an extremely talented and entertaining stand up fighter, but styles make fights and King Mo’s wrestling will trump Larkin’s stand up. King Mo by decision.

Lavender Gooms: Anyone who claims to be a king is ok in my book. Larkin faces his toughest challenge in King Mo. This is a huge step up in competition to the big leagues from the Challengers series cards he has been a part of. If King Mo is smart he’ll use his wrestling to wear him down. If King Mo tries to put on a show and stand, Larkin has a shot. King Mo by TKO in 3rd round.

Picking Lawal: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
Picking Larkin:

Jan 4, 2012

Beard Bet Results: Lesnar Calls it Quits and Doctor Law Loses his Diginity

Now that the dust has settled after yet another New Years, it's time to discuss the elephant in the room, the beard bet. Last Friday, as expected (by me and other rational thinkers), Alistair Overeem toppled the often over-hyped Brock Lesnar. In classic form, Alistair worked the body with amazing results, crumbling the giant with a liver kick that had Bas Rutten jumping for joy. I too was jumping for joy for I had just won the first ever It’s MMAzing Beard Bet. As explained just over a week ago, I bet Doctor Law that if Lesnar won, I would shave my beard and vice versa. Now it's time to settle the score.

While it's nice that I won the bet and Doctor Law has to shave his beard, what's even better is seeing a fighter go from living in the shadow of his brother to a house hold name. Thanks to Brock, a whole new fan base knows who Alistair is. Overeem still has a long road ahead of him, but getting that first UFC win is a big step. I think Dos Santos is going to be a challenging match-up, but hopefully I won't read any comments on the internet saying "It's Dos Santos versus some guy."

What I found most shocking last Friday wasn't that Alistair won or that Lesnar quit MMA. It was that no other member of the It’s MMAzing staff picked Alistair. Where's the love for the Reem? Brock is a scary individual, sure, but he's also a guy that never really found his place in the world. Jumping around from amateur to pro wrestling to NFL and now the MMA, he was always great, but never the greatest. He won NCAA championships but never went to the Olympics. He was a WWE Superstar, but never the most marketable guy. I guess he was on the Vikings for a minute too. While he was easily the biggest draw for American MMA fans, he was never the greatest MMA fighter. Alistair, on the other hand, has found his place in the world: being a heavyweight mixed martial arts fighter. I wish Lesnar all the best in whatever he chooses to do next with his life and I hope he continues to live a healthy and fulfilling life (I'm sure the wildlife living in Minnesota disagrees). For Doctor Law, however, it's time to shave his beard.

Sidenote, in a funny turn of events I was forced to shave my beard as well. A new Skynet beard trimmer I've received for Christmas thought I'd look better with a stubble then a full beautiful beard. While I lost my beard due to a mixture of incompetence and poor technology, I'd gladly shave my beard every time if it meant seeing one of my all-time favorite fighters prove to the world that he belongs in the biggest promotion, against the best competition. Much love Alistair; thanks for proving a brother right when he put his beard on the line.... even if I ended up having to shave it off.

After the jump, the most recent episode of "The Reem" which leads right up to the fight.

Jan 1, 2012

UFC 141 Post Fight Thoughts and Analysis

Hope everyone had an awesome New Year's Eve celebration, and cheers to making this last year on earth a good one. Kid Presentable here with a NYE hangover delayed edition of Post Fight Thoughts and Analysis. UFC 141 wrapped up the UFC's final event of the year, and boy did it create some major waves for the future of several divisions. A new heavyweight contender was crowned, while the long time #2 welterweight fell in spectacular fashion, and a new brash, middle-finger waving contender stepped out of his brother's shadow and into his own lime light.

  • Alistair Overeem's knees are straight deadly. Sagat would be proud. Reem was touted and billed to be the best striker in the heavyweight division, and it showed that he has fight ending power in every limb. From knees that took the life right out of Brock, to a  body kick that made it a short night, Reem is a very bad, bad, dude.
  • This now sets up for a very intriguing stand up war of the best boxer in the division with the best kickboxer. When two men with the proven fight finishing power of Reem and Junior Dos Santos collide, another first round finish is likely to follow.
  • Talking to Doctor Law post fight, I called it, this is the end of the era of Brock Lesnar. As someone incredibly polarizing to MMA fans, how his legacy will be viewed will be the subject of great argument and shall range from everything from career quitter to paradigm shifting game-changer. I see it as a man whose career while short, was always at the highest caliber of competition in the UFC, and became a champion with limited experience, and another in an endless list of athletes whose careers were cut tragically short or forever altered by ailments and injuries.
  • Oh yeah, goodbye to your beard Dr. Law. Time to look like you are 10 years younger again.
  • Say what you want about their personalities, Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz will always come to fight. An epic was expected, and an epic was delivered. While more one-sided than most would have expected, the action was constant as these are two men incapable of fighting stalling or fighting safe.
  • Nate has taken one more step toward showing he might be every bit as talented as his older brother. While he doesn't yet possess the fight-ending ability from his striking that Nick has shown, his pace and accuracy was off the charts against Cerrone.
  • Mr. Jon Fitch, where are you gonna go from here? The silver-medal kingpin has finally fallen after years of being at the top, but just not quite good enough to be champ (see also Kenny Florian). Not a fan favorite, or a boss favorite, does Fitch toil away in the undercard grinding his way to decisions? Or will he reinvent himself as a more aggressive grappler seeking submissions and the finish? Time will tell, but this one of the biggest game-changers in the division just behind the injury of GSP.
  • Where does this leave Mr. Hendricks now? A man with one career loss to fellow grinder Rick Story now gets one of the biggest wins anyone has in the division and is likely to be vaulted up getting a top 10 opponent and making for a possible #1 contender in 2012.
  • Alexander Gustafsson proved his hype finishing the Janitor with a first round TKO. The Mauler still has a way to go with his grappling as he was handled by Phil Davis, but with his size, range, and boxing, may offer an intriguing future contender to Jon Jones' iron throne.
  • Apologies to Mr. Jimy Hettes, the It's MMAzing staff admittedly knew little to nothing about you, and you straight classed Nam Phan. Merc'ing, schooling, handling... all of the above. Someone better be promoting "The Kid" up from his purple belt.