Sunday, 29 January 2012

Women's Flyweight (115lb) Division - Who's who?

Over the next few weeks I am going to sort you all out with a veritable who's who of women's MMA.  I am going to take MMA Rising's rankings and give you a run down of who these women are.  This will lead up to a piece about the depth, potential and future of female MMA.

I am starting things off with the flyweights, which you will find featured in Bellator in the US and Pancrase and Jewels in Japan as well as smaller promotions everywhere.  Like all the female divisions, the ladies flyweights would really benefit from one promotion pushing a stable, competitive division with regular high quality fights for the top girls.  When I hear criticism of the depth of female MMA, I wonder if people have taken the trouble to look who's out there, especially with a lot of female fighters plying their trade in Japan and smaller regional shows in the US and Europe.  I'm sure that article will come later.

1 - Megumi Fujii (25-1)

Fujii is a veteran of 26 fights, in organisations such as Jewels, Bellator and Shooto.  She is primarily a submission fighter with a propensity for armbars.  The Japanese fighter has pretty good wrestling ability, despite being relatively small for her division.  She overpowers her opponents with general stickiness and technique rather than true power and is absolutely unafraid to pull guard and fight off of her back (see the video below).

UFC on Fox 2: Evans vs Davis - Recap

Phil Davis came into this fight 9-0 and with some big hype behind him.  There were comparisons to the other lanky young phenom in the division, Jon Jones.  Davis is a very different fighter than Jones though.  He has much less fluid striking and a game centered much more around grappling.  His opponent, Rashad Evans, came in with an incredible 16-1-1 record against formidable opposition.  He was already the number one contender and there was a feeling that this fight existed to give him something to do while he waited for Jones to be available to fight.


UFC on Fox 2: Sonnen vs Bisping - Recap

Image from yahoo sports
This fight came about because Mark Munoz injured his elbow and a spot opened to fight Chael Sonnen for the right to fight Anderson Silva this summer.  Mike Bisping was only to happy to fill the it.  The talk going in to the fight was all about Sonnen's ability to take people down and Bisping's lack of truly top level opponents thus far.  Bisping came into the bout on a four fight win streak and coming off of two TKO finishes.  For his part, Sonnen had just run easily through a durable and highly rated fighter in Brian Stann.

UFC on Fox 2: Weidman vs Maia - The Recap

Chris Weidman went into this fight and undefeated 7-0 and, while he had a lot of hype behind him, a lot of people suspected he may suffer from coming in to this fight on very short notice.  Maia on the other hand, is a veteran ju jutsu practitioner who promised that his stand up game has continued to evolve.  There was some doubt over whether Weidman could hang with Maia on the ground, in spite of his own considerable grappling credentials and about whether Maia would be too wily and experienced for the up and comer.

via yahoosports

Friday, 27 January 2012

UFC on Fox 2 - Rashad Evans vs Phil Davis

Rashad Evans is the number one contender for Jon Jones' Light Heavyweight Title and has been for quite some time.  He could have continued to wait for a fight with the champ, realistically some time after April, but opted to stay busy and fight Phil Davis.  Davis is an unbeaten youngster, although he has already fought some pretty stiff competition.  This main event may be being overshadowed slightly by the co-main event, but it is certainly an intriguing fight featuring one of the UFC's top draws.

via prommanow

UFC on FX 2 - Maia vs Weidman Preview

Damien Maia was originally slated to fight against Micheal Bisping, but an injury to Mark Munoz meant that Bisping was promoted to the co-main event against Chael Sonnen and Damien Maia was left without an opponent.  The UFC attempted to set up a contest with Rousimar Palhares, but it was too short notice for the Brazillian and so Weidman stepped up.  Somehow, Weidman is a favourite with bookmakers, while many commentators speculate that it may be too soon for rookie to fight someone of Maia's standard.

via Sherdog

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Bisping vs Sonnen - It will be close

When I wrote a piece previewing Mike Bisping's most recent fight against Jason Miller and posted it on, I got quite a lot of criticism for suggesting the Brit would win pretty easily against a severely under matched opponent.  In large parts of the MMA media and online community, it sometimes seems like people's dislike for "The Count" confuses their judgement of his abilities.  Well, this weekend at UFC on FOX 2, Bisping has a chance to prove his detractors wrong by defeating a legitimate elite middleweight, before a massive mainstream audience and earn the chance to fight for the title.  For Bisping fans like myself, this fight has the feel of being the main event this Saturday.

Picture from MMAmania

Sunday, 22 January 2012

UFC on FX 1 -The recap

Right then, the UFC's first outing on FX is in the books and it looks to have been a roaring success.  The commentary team of John Anik and Kenny Florian did a solid job, the graphics, music and general production was refreshingly different from other UFC events and the post fight show was worth a look too.  Oh, and the fights were spectacular!  Let's get straight down to a quick recap of each fight and thoughts on where we go from here.  I have also included a few nice GIFs and a video in the Pat Barry section, as I am making no secret of the fact that I have a bit of a soft spot for him.


Friday, 20 January 2012

Don't miss ProElite: Da Spyder vs Minowaman this Saturday

Yes, ProElite: Da Spyder vs Minowaman in Hawaii is going to be great.  Any card on HDNet is fun, simply because Micheal Schiavello is the best commentator in MMA.  This card pits a Japanese veteran whose fought everywhere, against everyone and at any weight in 92 fights in Minowaman, against an Ultimate Fighter winner in Kendall Grove who is fighting on home turf.  It also features the next stage of a heavyweight tournament and an intriguing female Bantamweight bout.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

UFC On FX 1 - Guillard vs Miller

This weekend sees the first "UFC on FX" of the UFC's new deal with Fox.  It will be headlined by Melvin Guillard and Jim Miller, with some other fun fights featured on a main card of 4 bouts, including a Pat Barry fight.  I only mention Barry because while Guillard vs Miller is a very deserving main event and a big draw in itself, I am always curiously excited to see the little big man fight, in spite of his decidedly mixed performances.  Below are write ups of the fights with my picks.

Guillard vs Millar via mmaconvert
Guillard vs Miller

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Wow, Micheal Bisping to fight for number one contendership

Munoz is injured and out of the FOX fight! Now it's Chael Sonnen vs Mike Bisping jan 28th and the winner will fight Anderson for the title. (Dana White via Twitter)
Bisping vs Sonnen via

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

ESPN fighter pay saga: Is UFC's business model good for MMA?

Over the last week or so the MMA community has been rocked by a hard hitting ESPN expose about fighter pay.  OK, in reality the MMA community has struggled to care about a short, slightly one-sided but nevertheless thoughtful piece about fighter pay and the UFC has kept it in the news by banging on about how unfair it is.

Now to summarise the video.  ESPN basically made a piece that asks whether the UFC remunerates its fighters fairly, featuring clips from an interview with Lorenzo Fertita.  They more or less answer that no they do not, they could pay more to the lower tier fighters.  The piece also makes a clear accusation that UFC fighters are not free to talk about pay or unionizing for fear of reprisals.

So far so not particularly contraversial.  Following the release of a preview and article about the piece, Dana White stated that the UFC would release their own taping of the full interview.  They did that, as well as a response to the video including interviews with some of their most loyal fighters backing them up.

By now most people's interest had been pricked, not really because the story was so exciting (labour disputes are pretty common in sports and this was nowhere near even a dispute, just some hushed reports of minor grumblings) but because it is always fun to see Dana White over excited.  The UFC followed that up with a video of the full interview with Lorenzo Fertita.   The video is pretty long, but I watched it all and found it quite interesting as Fertita defends the UFC as behaving like a 'good business' and being 'what America is all about'.  The UFC is run very successfully as a business, with a focus on the marketability of fighters and performance related pay.  This business model is without doubt great for the UFC, but is the UFC's business model good for MMA as a sport?

Sunday, 15 January 2012

UFC 142 - I told you so, and other thoughts.

UFC 142 went down last night with the main event and co main event ending as I predicted (albeit a little quicker than I thought).  Having said that it did not take a genius to see how these fights would go.  Below I will go through my thoughts on what happened in the two main fights, sympathise a bit with Terry Etim and then make a few contraversial comments about Mario Yamasaki.

Photo from

Aldo Knocks Mendes Out

I absolutely thought that Jose Aldo would be able to nullify Mendes' take downs for the most part, but I had no idea that he would be able to do it so effortlessly, even if he did use one sneaky grab of the fence to keep upright.  Then problem for Mendes in this fight was that if you are fighting a well rounded fighter like Aldo and you have only one legitimate route to victory, you are going to quickly become very predictable.  That is doubly bad if you fail to implement your game plan.  Mendes was frustrated by Aldo's ability to stay up and forgot technique for a moment, diving in recklessly headfirst for a shot and a ate a knee for his troubles.  That was the end of that one.

Then it was really fun to watch Jose Aldo burst straight out into the crown and I was a little bit worried at one point because he disappeared and I feared he had drowned in a sea of Brazilian adulation.  Luckily the sobering monotony of a Joe Rogan interview via translation brought him round.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

UFC 142 - I predict a happy Brazilian Crowd!

Tonight the UFC is heading to Rio for a title fight and an intriguing middleweight (or not if Rumble Johnson has anything to do with it) match up.  I spent most of today writing my blog about gender inequality in MMA, but i'd like to get a quick preview out, if only so I can gloat tomorrow about how great my predictions were.

We have already had the UFC's triumphant return to Brazil at UFC 134, but this event till has much of the same buzz.  It's packed with Brazillians in relevant fights and even at the weigh-ins, the crowd seemed phenomenal.

Let's get down to picks.

Aldo vs Mendes

Picture via

Fighting Gender Inequality.

When the UFC's Fox deal went through, you couldn't go five minutes of an MMA obsessed life without hearing about the male 18-34 demographic that Fox and the UFC share as their core market.  It is probably not surprising that a sport in which women are continually overlooked, unless in the role of a pretty and clueless gap filler (Strikeforce's Heidi Androl) or ring girls, does not get many female followers.  It should be noted that there are a few upstanding female citizens in the MMA world.  Karen Bryant is a respected MMA journalist, but shouldn't have had to shake off being motorboated by Rampage Jackson.  There are female fighters who attempt to market themselves as fighters rather than lookers, like Sarah Kaufman and, in a change of heart, Miesha Tate.

I love MMA and I feel like since women in MMA are not being taken seriously we are currently being robbed of what could develop into a strong division or set of divisions as female fans and therefore prospective female fighters are no doubt being put off by a sport that gives the impression of being a man's world.

My point then, is that there are plenty of good female fighters who I would really like to see fight more.  The general atmosphere of chauvinism in MMA journalism, organisations and among some fans leads to an environment where female fans are discouraged, where female fighters are ignored, ridiculed or forced to market themselves as sexy rather than skilled.  If female fighters and women in general are not treated equally in MMA, the sport will be robbed of half its audience and half its potentially great fighters and that is a shame.

After the jump I will focus on six main areas or incidents which highlight the chauvinism in MMA.

Photo from mmamania