Sunday, 1 July 2012

Verbal Violence: Quarterfinals


This tournament consists of eight of the greatest verbal heavyweights in our sport engaging in verbal violence, a competition that only really exists and makes sense in my head. Bouts will be judged on such things as the ability to use puns effectively, swearing, and actually pointing out things that are interesting in a fight. Points may be deducted for unwarranted hyperbole, useless information and ignoring the fighters to talk about people in the crowd, Randy Couture's new movie, etc.  


Mike Goldberg (UFC) vs Micheal Schiavello (HDnet)

The first quarter final sees the UFC's Mike Goldberg take on the well travelled Australian Micheal Schiavello. While Goldberg has been tried and tested on the biggest stage, Schiavello has valuable international experience, having said “Goodnight Irene” very loudly all over the world.

Round 1:
The round begins with both fighters tentatively but dutifully describing the action, in spite of the action consisting mostly of feints and leg kicks. Goldie hands Schiavello an easy opening saying “Anderson Silva like in his use of the clinch is Fabricio Werdum, Joe”, but Schiavello fails to capitalise by pointing out that no, he isn't.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Cage Warriors' (Somehow Overlooked) Female 125lb Tournament

Sexton vs Daly was epic.
Photo via cagequeen.co.uk
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship is currently putting on some great shows in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. In its female flyweight tournament, they have featured three of the top ten fighters in the world, with very little fanfare from the MMA community. I had a very brief moan about Rosi Sexton's exciting victory over Aisling Daly being somewhat overlooked by the MMA media over the weekend. Now I'd like to give and over view of the Cage Warriors women's flyweight tournament so far and give a little preview of the final which should come later this year.

Fight videos and commentary after the jump.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Where's the love for Sexton vs Daly?

Last night was an all round confusing one for me. Cage Warriors Fighting Championship put on a stellar show of fights, streamed free at MMA Junkie, headlined by a heavyweight title bout between Mike Hayes and DJ Linderman. The first perplexing part was to see two relatively pedestrian heavyweights flop around at the top of a card that featured two fighters (Rosie Sexton and Aisling Daly) right at the top of their division. The other strange part of the night was that in a night of great fights put on by arguably the biggest promotion in Europe, most of my favourite internet haunts were keeping quiet about it.

In hindsight, I understand that the two fights above the women's flyweight tournament semifinal were title fights and that promoters want those title fights to headline. However, perhaps the Sexton vs Daly fight should not have been on this card at all.

As for the lack of coverage, I can attribute that to this bout being held in Europe and there being a general lack of attention for European MMA. When you add that to the lack of attention women's MMA tends to get, you would expect even a massive fight like this one to get overlooked. That we can expect the MMA media to miss a fight between two top ten fights in a weight class is a pretty sad state of affairs.

Friday, 18 May 2012

MMA Writers Should Strive to be Professional

In the last month, there have been a few incidents which have led to a fair amount of criticism for certain big name fighters. Nick Diaz has been criticized for his inability to produce his medical marijuana card and for his World Ju Jutsu Expo no show. Alaistair Overeem has been lambasted for his recent suspension for having an abnormal testosterone to epitestosterone ratio.

Two other fighters have caught my eye with comments recently, reflecting on the way the media treat fighters when allegations arise. Chael Sonnen has been pretty critical of the media's judgmental reaction to Alaistair Overeem's suspension. Sonnen believes that since no banned substance was found in Overeem's system, media members who criticized him for cheating did so without knowing the full facts. Josh Thomson has recently voiced his own reaction to the way the MMA media talks about fighters in an interview with TapouT Radio (and quoted at Bloody Elbow). He was reacting to rumours being circulated that he had sustained serious injury while training for his upcoming fight with Gilbert Melendez. Thomson was worried that irresponsible people were writing things without thinking through the consequences for the fighters, in this case giving Melendez a heads up to a potential weakness.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

jiMMA is back!


jiMMA has been on hiatus for a few weeks, while I have been trying out staff writing over at a Fansided blog called DocOctagon. Staff writing was fun, but I'm coming back to writing two or three times a week until I get the chance to write for a bigger blog.


Friday, 27 April 2012

Jessica Penne vs Lisa Ellis-Ward Preview

Recent History


While Lisa Ellis-Ward has lost her last two fights, those losses were to two of the biggest names in the lower weight classes, Megumi Fujii and Jessica Aguilar.  For this fight, Ellis-Ward drops down to 105 lbs.  Jessica Penne is fighting for the first time since the end of 2010, for which she blames the trickiness of finding appropriate opponents in her weight class.  That fight was a submission victory over Amy Davis.

via womentalksports

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Invicta FC One: Coenen vs Ruyssen Preview

Women's MMA is in the spotlight this weekend as all female promotion Invicta Fighting Championships hosts its first ever event.  The event takes place in Kansas and is streamed live through the Invicta FC website.  When you combine a really strong first card with the fact that there is no Bellator or UFC card happening this weekend, the MMA community should really keep their eyes on Invicta this weekend.

via kampfkunst

Monday, 23 April 2012

Can Invicta FC Flourish?


This weekend, all-female promotion Invicta Fighting Championships will put on their first event in Kansas. With a weekend free of UFC and Bellator events, a really strong card and the event being streamed for free on the Invicta website, chances are that this event will garner some attention. With women's MMA seemingly on the rise just now, I would like discuss whether a newly started organisation like Invicta has a chance of succeeding and whether such an organisation is preferable to a Zuffa run female MMA organisation.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Jon Jones defeats Rashad Evans, Highlights Video and discussion.


At UFC 145, Jon Jones defeated Rashad Evans to retain his light heavyweight title for the third time. He did so by dominating the next best fighter in the division without getting into any serious trouble. The post fight discussion though, has seen people call the fight disappointing for one of two reasons; it was not exciting enough or Jon Jones did not look great in his win. I think Jones looked fantastic and I was on the edge of my seat all the way through the fight.


Thursday, 19 April 2012

UFC 145 - Looking For Upsets

You may have heard that Jon Jones will defend his light heavyweight title at UFC 145 against former training partner Rashad Evans, or you might have been living in a cave.  Anyway, it just so happens that this is just the headlining fight of a really interesting card.  It seems like the UFC has decided that since the main event is a sure fire pay-per-view seller, they can fill up the under card with lesser known fighters.  Well that's just fine because as unknown as some of the fighters may be, some intriguing fights are in the offing.  On paper, it seems like a night of fights with pretty clear favourites, so let's have a look where the possible upsets lie.



Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Support jiMMA's other bits and pieces!

As well as writing jiMMA, I am also writing articles for MMA magazines and more mainstream news outlets.  Here are a few links to some bits and bobs I have been doing recently.

Huffington Post Blog on UFC 145
The Local article on UFC: Sweden
Contributions at MMAPlus Magazine

Take a look and show plently of love to MMA Plus, it promises to be an awesome, interactive digital publication!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

UFC 145 Jones vs Evans: Love Lost


One of the most anticipated bouts in the UFC's history finally takes place this Saturday as former friends and training partners Jon “Bones” Jones and “Sugar” Rashad Evans fight for the UFC light heavyweight title.


In 2005, a young mixed martial artist with a background in wrestling named Rashad Evans joined Greg Jackson's fight camp in Alburquerque, New Mexico. On the road to winning the light heavyweight belt, he helped build Jackson's gym into one of the most successful and famous in the sport. By 2009, a new young fighter was making waves in the division and Jackson asked Evans how he would feel about inviting Jon Jones into the camp. Evans was excited by the youngster's potential and took him under his wing. The two developed a brotherly relationship and vowed never to fight one another.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Another Week, Another Awesome Bellator Card.

Around a month ago, I wrote a quick piece about how excited I was that Bellator was back.  In spite of the postponed and then cancelled heavy weight tournament final catastrophe, Bellator has continued to put on solid cards that repeatedly deliver, to the extent that I wonder why more people aren't watching.  This Friday sees an awesome card, headlined by Eddie Alvarez's long awaited rematch with Shinya Aoki, but also features three tournament semi finals.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Sheila Gaff Knocks Out Jennifer Maia - Controversial?

On Saturday night, Sheila "The German Tank" Gaff ran over Jennifer Maia at Cage Warriors Fight Night 4 in Dubai in just ten seconds.  With the win, she advances  to the final of a four woman 125lb tournament and faces the winner of Aisling Daly and Rosi Sexton later this year.

For Gaff, that was her sixth knockout and tenth career finish out of ten career wins.  The knock out has been surrounded by controversy though as people worry that she took advantage of Maia's lowered guard, when she was looking to touch gloves and knocked her out with a sucker punch.


Women's Bantamweight (135lb) Division - Who's Who?

I am going to sort you all out with a veritable who's who of women's MMA.  I will take Fightmatrix'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 women's MMA.

1 - Ronda Rousey (5-0)


Even if  you are not a fan of women's MMA, you should probably have heard of Ronda Rousey by now.  She is an elite judo player, having won a bronze Olympic medal and has used that base to run through her first five professional opponents, winning every fight by armbar in the first round.  Coming into her most recent fight against Miesha Tate, there was some discussion about whether she could win as easily as she had previously against a much lower level of opposition.  In the end she dispatched Tate towardsn the end of the first round.

Although Rousey dealt with some striking aggression from Tate in that fight, she has yet to face an opponent who attacks from the outside, refusing to clinch.  With only one and a half years as an MMA fighter, it remains to be seen where Ronda's stand up game is as yet.  That being said, she has not needed it so far.  Rousey's next test comes against Sarah Kaufman (#2), although no date has been set for that bout yet.


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Tear Up 8 - In photos

On Saturday 18th March, Tear Up 8 went down at the City Academy in Bristol.  In a massive hall, a 24ft caged platform was erected, surrounded by 50 VIP tables and hundreds of standard seats.  The roominess of the venue, with waited tables, martial arts demonstrations, food and bar lent the event a special air of comfort rarely seen at an MMA event.  Modern MMA events are certainly rarely bloody slugfests held in pub car parks, but Tear Up 8 was a perfect example of how the production of a live show can highlight all the best things about MMA and its community.

I reviewed the event over at MMAplus, but here are some of the photos that my friend Philip Aldridge shot throughout the evening.  I'd be grateful if anyone can put names to some of these faces, then I can caption a few more of the photos, just hit the comment section.

Wes "The Immortal" Murch Celebrates Submission Victory



Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Bellator is Back!

Bellator is back with season 6, including tournaments in five weight classes.  Most MMA promotions, big and small, are lovable for their own reasons.  I love the UFC because it has most of the best fighters and I love the over top American-ness of it.  I love to watch any event that HDnet covers so I can hear some Schiavello commentary and local promotions all have charms of their own.  Bellator sets itself aside though because its tournament format works for so many reasons.  I have previewed Bellator 60 over at MMAplus,  but below are some of the reasons this promotion is great.

via mmavalor

Sunday, 4 March 2012

What's Next for Ronda Rousey?

Ronda Rousey is the new Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion, having broken Miesha Tate's arm in the fifth minute of the first round of their title fight.  Having won her first four professional bouts by armbar within the first minute, there was some debate over whether Rousey would be able to do the same to the accomplished and experienced Tate.

I was very surprised that Ronda Rousey was able to do to Miesha Tate what she was able to do all her other opponents so far.  The only sign that Miesha Tate was the highest caliber opponent she had faced so far was that it took four and a half minutes rather than one and two attempts to lock in a devestating armbar.  Strikeforce now have a star for their 135lb champion and the opportunity to really drive forward the division.


Friday, 2 March 2012

Kaufman vs Davis Preview

As Ronda Rousey finds herself fighting for a title in a weight class she has never fought in, the number two fighter in the division finds herself buried on the preliminary card.  This might well be the fight that determines who challenger for the title next and exposure on the main card would certainly have helped build the next title fight in the division.

Kaufman must put her disappointment to one side though as she faces an opponent in Alexis Davis, who is well capable of upsetting the apple cart.

via womentalksports

Rousey vs Tate Preview


Since Zuffa, the UFC's parent company, bought Strikforce last year, there has been a lot of speculation over what will happen to the female divisions. In the past, UFC President Dana White has been adamant that women will never fight in the UFC. White has been known to change his mind and this Saturday Tate and Rousey have the chance to give him food for thought in one of the most high profile and eagerly awaited female fights for years.  I broke down the card over at MMAplus, but here is the slightly more opinionated jiMMA version.


I may not have enjoyed the manner of the fights promotion, but there is no doubt that this fight has garnered more interest than any female MMA bout in a long time.  On Saturday night, women's mixed martial arts may well take a giant leap towards the spotlight.

via 5thround

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Top Five: MMA Comebacks of all time.

When Tim Boetsch came back from a mauling at the hands of Yushin Okami at UFC 144, Joe Rogan quite understandably lost control and callled it the greatest comeback in MMA history.  Now Joe was quick to backtrack on that as he regained his senses, but just which are the best comebacks in MMA history?

Tim Boetsch comes back to beat Yushin Okami via espn

Sunday, 26 February 2012

5 Questions for... Roxanne Modafferi

via mmarising
This weekend the US MMA scene is pretty busy with Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate and Martin Kampman vs Thiago Alves headlining Strikeforce and UFC card respectively.  Elsewhere though, former training partners and leading 125 pound fighters Roxanne Modafferi and Takayo Hashi fight at in Japan's premier women's MMA organisation at Jewels 18.

Preparing for a fight she really must win, Roxanne Modafferi was kind enough to spare a bit of time to answer five questions from jiMMA.

What was your route into MMA?

-I started Tae Kwon do as a kind for fun and because it looked cool, and got bored, so I wanted to try different styles. I wanted the more challenging full contact, so I tried Judo. I was always very competative in sports. I did team sports in school. After Judo, I did BJJ and kickboxing and wanted to try MMA when my Judo friends introduced me to the UFC.

What is your favourite strike or submission to use in a fight?

I prefer submissions, and like straight arm-bars or triangle chokes.

What does it mean to you to be a fighter?

I want to get stronger mentally and physically. It's always been about how much I can force my body to do. I get injured a lot, so the physical aspect is always a struggle.

What separates you from other fighters at 125lb?

The fact that I haven't won in this weight division yet? (joke) I've always fought at 135 and the two times I dropped to 125, I wasn't successful. I felt weak and over-powered. I'm not sure how else to answer this question.

If you could fight anyone in the world who would it be?


I want rematches against Rosi Sexton, Barb Honchak, and Hitomi Akano.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

UFC 144: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Jake Shields Preview

For both these fighters, UFC 144 represents a chance for redemption but also the chance of losing their job.  Before being brought in to the UFC to fight Georges Saint Pierre in Spring last year, Jake Shields was unbeaten in six years.  Similarly, Yoshihiro Akiyama was unbeaten in five years before his current three fight skid started with a loss to Chris Leben in 2010.  The heavy hands and crafty submissions of Akiyama face off against the American Ju Jutsu of the former Strikeforce champion.


Monday, 20 February 2012

UFC 144: Anthony Pettis vs Joe Lauzon Preview

Anthony Pettis is well known for one of the most spectacular kicks in MMA history.  In late 2010 he defeated Ben Henderson for the WEC Lightweight Title and while Henderson fights for the UFC strap this Saturday, Pettis is looking to squeeze his way into contention with a fight against Joe Lauzon.  For his part, Lauzon recently submitted then challenger Melvin Guillard to gain momentum of his own.





Sunday, 19 February 2012

UFC 144: Henderson vs Edgar Preview

Article first published as UFC 144: Edgar vs Henderson Preview on Technorati

Japan holds a special place in the hearts of many fighters and fans as it was the home to some of the best fighters in the sport in the early part of the century.  Zuffa (the UFC's parent company) bought Pride in 2007 and the organization was shut down shortly after.  The UFC has far surpassed Pride's popularity and heads back to Japan with a great card that blends old Japanese favorites and some of the new faces of MMA.



Tate vs Rousey Round Table Reaction: Don't Patronize Us

The Strikeforce female bantamweight champion, Miesha Tate and the contender for that title, Ronda Rousey sat down with press yesterday to discuss their March 3rd fight.  Both women are clearly relishing the limelight and it is wonderful to see women's mixed martial arts firmly in the spotlight.  As a fan of women's MMA though, the thing that struck me most was the patronizing attitude both fighters seemed to have towards fans.  Tate and Rousey feel that for men to watch women fight, the fighters have to be beautiful enough to catch their eyes. This attitude is also reflected in Stikeforce's marketing of the fight.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

UFC 144: Rampage Jackson vs Ryan Bader

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is one of a few fighters on this card that hark back to the good old days of Pride, when the Japanese promotion led the way in mixed martial arts.  A lot has changed since then of course, but there is no doubt that this fight will be eagerly anticipated by the Japanese crowd.
via ESPN

Thursday, 16 February 2012

UFC on Fuel: Ellenberger vs Sanchez - Recap

Setting


This was the fight that could catapult Jake Ellenberger into title contention.  A sixth win in a row, against a big name like Sanchez, would surely put him in the mix.  As for Sanchez, he had some momentum himself having won his last two.  He came into the fight looking to steal some of Ellenberger's momentum for himself.  It was expected to be an exciting fight with Ellenberger pitting his power against Sanchez' energy and pace.


via heavy.com


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Five Reasons to Watch UFC on Fuel


This Wednesday night sees the first UFC on Fuel event take place with Jake Ellenberger fighting Diego Sanchez. Somehow, events on smaller channels seem to pass people by, but this on certainly should not.

Here are five reasons why you should not let this one pass you by,

1 - Ellenberger vs Sanchez is going to be great.

For a free card that only a few hundred thousand people will watch, this is a great headliner. Ellenberger and Sanchez are both unstoppable forces in their own ways,

Ellenberger is immensely powerful and Sanchez pushes an incredible pace. Ellenberger's power in striking and wrestling might just be too much for Sanchez, especially combined with Sanchez' exciting style of pressing the action often with reckless abandon


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Jessica Aguilar vs Patricia Vidonic

This weekend leaves another bit of breathing space between UFC events and gives everyone a chance to concentrate on smaller fights and promotions.  One great fight to look out for is between Jessica Aguilar and Patricia Vidonic and that goes down as part of Fight Time Promotions 8 in Florida.  It does not look like we will be able to catch the fight live on TV (although if anyone knows of a way to do so, please hit the comments section), but this is a fight that you ought to find a way to see.

Jessica Aguilar is currently the consensus ranked number two 115lb fighter in the world and a big name in women's MMA.  Unfortunately, given that Bellator, the biggest home of the 115lb division in the US, puts on female fights quite irregularly, Aguilar needs to fill her schedule out with smaller shows.  That is great news for Patricia Vidonic though, as she gets the chance to test out her five fight win streak against by far the toughest opponent she is yet to face.

via fighttimepromotions

Monday, 13 February 2012

UFC on Fuel: Sanchez vs Ellenberger - Preview

The UFC's first event on Fuel is happening this Wednesday night and features an important bout between Jake Ellengerger and Diego Sanchez.  Jake Ellenberger has been making waves in the division and is seen by many as one of the pack pushing for a title shot, should Carlos Condit decide to defend his belt without waiting for the return of Georges Saint-Pierre.  Diego Sanchez is an interesting character with a non-stop aggressive style.  In recent years he has been battling various demons in his life and his nickname change from "The Nightmare" to "The Dream" is supposed to represent a changed man.  Either way, this is one of those fights where to powerful forces collide and the consequence will surely be an explosion.



Women's Super Flyweight (125lb) 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 women's MMA.


This tim, I am taking a look at the 125lb division.  This division is slightly messy for a few reasons.  The 115lb and 135lb divisions receive much more attention in the US and Japan, so that many women at 125lb make the decision to go up or down in weight, or to flip flop between divisions.  Aside from that, this division suffers from the age old women's MMA problem of not having one promotion with a sustained division.  That being said, Cage Warriors FC in the UK is making a significant push with the division.  Other than Cage Warriors, you will see these women fight at XFC, Bellator and Freestyle Cage Fighting in the US.


1 - Tara LaRosa (20-2)


Tara LaRosa is the former BodogFight champion at 125lb, until that orgnaisation dissolved.  For the past four or five years she has been fighting for a plethora of small organisations, most recently at Shark Fights.  She is a viscious, well rounded fighter, who finishes a lot of fights.  At the age of 34 and not signed to Bellator which is the American home of the 125lb division, LaRosa will find it hard to keep finding the fights that keep her at the top of the rankings.  Her most recent fight was a against a fast fading Carina Damm.

Take a look at the highlight reel below and you'll see that while her relevance might be fading, she is a fighter to watch if you ever get the chance.


Friday, 10 February 2012

UFC: The Year So Far

Article first published as UFC: The Year So Far at Technorati

It has been a busy year so far, with an event a week since UFC 142: Aldo vs Mendes.  Now we have a small amount of time to look back at the highlights.

via prommanow
UFC 142
The first UFC event of 2012 took place in mid January, with Jose Aldo facing the unbeaten Chad Mendes.  Aldo ended Mendes' night with a brutal knee, but more memorable was his escape from the cage and into the crowd to celebrate with his fellow Brazilians.  On that same card, Anthony Johnson ended his UFC career by failing spectacularly to make the weight cut to 185 pounds, even though this represented a move up in weight classes.  He was summarily dismissed by Vitor Belfort and subsequently released by the UFC.

Top Five: Fights To Look Forward To In 2012

I absolutely do not buy the idea that MMA has become boring or that game plans and fights going to decision have ruined the sport.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the year in MMA so far and there are plenty of bouts to anticipate with childlike glee.  Here's my top five.

via ufcdogbet
1 - Junior Dos Santos vs Alistair Overeem
Some time this summer, Junior Dos Santos should defend his Heavyweight Title against Alistair Overeem.  I should not have to explain why this is going to be great, the only thing that can wrong with this fight is if it is over too quickly.  Dos Santos and Overeem are the two best strikers in their division and both come into this fight on the back of great knockout victories.  Dos Santos is a boxer with supreme power and Overeem is a kickboxer with brutal knees.  They both have the capability to hold their own on the ground, but it is unlikely to go there.  This is destined to end with a beautiful knockout.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Tate vs Rousey and Kaufman vs Davis: Come On Strikeforce, Play Fair

Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate is the first female MMA bout to headline a Strikeforce card since Gina Carano's massive fight against Cris "Cyborg" Santos in 2009.  While this is clearly an exciting time for women's MMA there are many issues around the fight's origin and promotion that are to the detriment of the growth of the female divisions.  There are many disappointing things about the making and marketing of this fight including the timing, the reasoning and promoting the fight based on looks.  As well as the sport and fans missing out, Sarah Kaufman is the clear victim of Strikeforce (and their parent company ZUFFA) grabbing some quick cash from one big fight, rather than carefully and fairly building a sustainable, competitive division.

Sarah Kaufman defeats Miesha Tate in 2009 via unanimous decision (via Sherdog)

Monday, 6 February 2012

UFC Post Fight Press Conference Notes

Below you'll find the complete UFC 143 post fight press conference.  These things are relatively long and dry in places, but it's certainly something that's worth having on in the background while you do something else, some interesting insights come up.



Sunday, 5 February 2012

UFC 143: Diaz vs Condit Recap

Article first published as UFC 143: Condit vs Diaz Recap on Technorati.


Setting
This fight was one of the most eagerly anticipated fights in a long time.  It came out of the temporarily settling dust of Nick Diaz's feud with Georges Saint Pierre and many see this fight as the more exciting option.  Nick Diaz had been on a formidable run, including his recent battering of BJ Penn.  Condit was also on a great run with his only loss a narrow decision loss to Martin Kampman.  Watching the UFC Countdown and Primetime shows, the tension going into this fight was immense.  There was Diaz's awkwardness and suspicion of the cameras and the fact that he clearly gets in to 'bad guy mode' in the run up to a fight.  Then there was the stress and anticipation getting to Condit during fight week, where he could not cope with the cameras any longer.

via canada.com

UFC 143: Werdum vs Nelson Recap

Setting
Roy Nelson had developed into something of a gate keeper coming into this fight, but he has aspirations to fight higher up the roster.  Well, in this fight he got his wish with a highly ranked and highly though of Fabricio Werdum.  These were two Brazilian Ju Jutsu black belts capable of dropping bombs.  Nelson had recently halted a two fight skid, defeating Croatian legend Mirko Cro Crop and Werdum was coming off a decision loss to Alistair Overeem.  Most gave the submission advantage to Werdum, but there were clear doubts as to whether he could get this fight to the ground.  For Nelson, the question was whether or not he could land that big bomb of a right hand.

via mmamania

UFC 143: Best of the Rest Recap

Josh Koscheck vs Mike Pierce


Setting
Josh Koscheck could have been forgiven for feeling a little let down to be fighting Mike Pierce at UFC 143.  He was supposed to be fighting Carlos Condit before GSP's injury.  Instead he was left facing a game, skilled opponent with a much smaller name.  To gain new momentum from this bout, Koscheck needed to beat Pierce and beat him well.  As for Pierce, this is another opportunity to prove himself against a top level welterweight.  He has slipped up against opposition of this calibre in the past, but a win against Koscheck could elevate him well up the pecking order.

via fiveouncesofpain

Friday, 3 February 2012

UFC 143: Best of the Rest Preview

UFC 143 is one of the most stacked cards we have seen in a while.  It features the biggest fight in the welterweight division for years, a fun heavyweight bout and a fight between super exciting bantamweight.  Previews of Diaz vs Condit and Nelson vs Werdum are already out, here we go with two other fights from the main card.


Koscheck vs Pierce
via lasvegassun.com
Recent History

  • Josh Koscheck has been itching to fight since his TKO win over Matt Hughes at UFC 135 and was originally slated to fight Carlos Condit this weekend.
  • Mike Pierce has been hovering around this level of opponent for some time without really breaking through.
  • At UFC on FOX 1, he defeated Paul Bradley by an underwhelming split decision.

UFC 143: Nelson vs Werdum Preview

The co main event at UFC 143 will feature two heavyweights with serious questions being asked about where they stand in the division.  Roy Nelson was the IFL heavyweight champion and The Ultimate Fighter heavyweights winner. He also possesses what Dana White once called the worst physique in all of professional sports.  He will take on Fabricio Werdum, the first guy to halt Fedor Emelianenko's storied run, although some of the sheen was stripped from that when the next two guys did it as well.  Nelson's belly (which is still pretty big) combined with his less than stellar 3-2 record so far in the UFC, have led to questions about whether he is making the most of his potential.  Fabricio Werdum has hovered around the upper regions of the heavyweight rankings for some time but needs to go on a consistent run of wins against high level opposition before he is near contention.

via prommanow

Thursday, 2 February 2012

UFC 143 - Diaz vs Condit Preview

Article first published as UFC 143: Diaz vs Condit Preview on Technorati.

This Saturday night one of the most tumultuous build ups in UFC history comes to a head as Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz fight for the Interim Welterweight Title on pay per view. This fight has been some time and drama in the making and in the meantime, Nick Diaz has developed a tremendous (and marketable) feud with Georges Saint-Pierre, who he would meet late this year, should he win. 

Via mmaconvert

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

MMA - There's nowhere to hide from gender equality.

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece called Fighting Gender Equality in which I pointed out the ways in which MMA tends to exclude, demean or undermine women as participants and spectators.  Today I would like to turn the article on its head, looking at how MMA has the potential and a lot of the building blocks already in place, to help move feminism forward within sports.

via mmacagedoor
via wordpress

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

Setting
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.

via cbc.ca


UFC on Fox 2: Sonnen vs Bisping - Recap

Image from yahoo sports
Setting
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

Setting
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 Bloodyelbow.com, 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.

via tapology.com

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 mixedmartialarts.com

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 Sportsnet.ca

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 mmafight.com