Archive for November, 2009

UFC 106 tomorrow, Grove fight on SPIKE

November 20th, 2009
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UFC 106 is tomorrow night from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Tito Ortiz makes his return to the UFC to fight Forrest Griffin in a rematch from over 3 years ago that Ortiz won by decision. Since then, Ortiz went through a lengthy absence from the cage due to a variety of issues he has had with UFC President Dana White. Meanwhile, Griffin went on to defeat Rampage Jackson for the UFC light heavyweight title, but has since lost to Rashad Evans and Anderson Silva.

Ortiz hasn’t been in the cage since his loss to current champion Lyoto Machida nearly 18 months ago. Both fighters looked to be in great shape as they easily made weight at today weighs-ins. It’ll be very interesting to see how the layoff has affected Ortiz, who already looked to be on the downside of his career when he was last competing regularly. Has the time off helped him or hurt? We’ll find out.

This is also a huge fight for Griffin, who has lost two fights in a row, including a lackluster showing against Silva in August. I think a loss hurts Griffin a lot more than it hurts Ortiz, and I think the long layoff is going to be too much to overcome. I expect another exciting fight like the first time they squared off, but this time, Griffin has his hand raised with a decision victory.

And if you’re not planning on catching it LIVE on PPV, you can at least check out two prelim fights for free on SPIKE, which will feature Maui’s Kendall Grove against Jake Rosholt, who is coming off a win against Chris Leben. Grove had his two-fight winning streak stopped by Ricardo Almeida in his last fight, and like always, he seems to be fighting for his UFC future.

If you do check out the fights, the co-main event between Josh Koscheck and Anthony Johnson should be a fight of the night candidate. Both guys fight exciting styles and have serious knockout ability. I’ve been a fan of Johnson’s since I first saw him light up former X-1 champion Chad Reiner in just 13 seconds, and I predict big things for him, including an eventual welterweight title shot. Koscheck is a perfect matchup for him so be on the lookout for a highlight-reel KO.

Lastly, the PPV will open with Phil Baroni’s return to the Octagon against Amir Sadollah. Always been a big fan of Baroni’s, especially with all the excitement he brought to the Blaisdell Arena when he fought Kala Kolohe Hose, so here’s hoping Baroni’s return to the UFC begins with a win.

WEC, X-1, and Manny/Floyd

November 17th, 2009
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I wanted to give a quick reminder that the WEC has a big card tomorrow on VERSUS at 4 p.m. (tape delay) here in Hawaii. WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown (22-4), one of the most exciting fighters in the sport, defends his title against Jose Aldo (15-1) in the main event.

Also, local promotion X-1 will be on the Big Island this Saturday for an event called “Lights Out” at the Kekuaokalani Gym in Kona. Hilo’s Chris Cisneros and Kona’s Kaleo Padilla will star in the main event and UFC veteran Wesley “Cabbage” Correira is also slated to be on the card. Doors open at 4 p.m. and get their early as their could be as many as 25 fights that night. Check out X-1 Events for more information.

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There’s been some good discussion on Manny Pacquiao in the comments section. His performance against Miguel Cotto on Saturday night only further proved that he is indeed the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing today. Floyd Mayweather might have something to say about that, but we ran an interesting story in today’s Star-Bulletin about a casino in Las Vegas that has already put the betting line up for a possible Mayweather/Pacquiao fight. Pacquiao was slated as an early 8:5 favorite, but that number dropped to 7:5 as betters came in putting money on Mayweather.

I’m not going to dive into who I think would win just yet because I still have my doubts the fight will happen. Mayweather at one time wanted a 70/30 share of the purse if he were to fight Pacquiao. Now, with Pacquiao’s popularity at an all-time high, I wouldn’t expect him to get a dime over 50/50. Will Mayweather’s ego be able to handle that? I hope to heck that the fight happens, but knowing how Floyd operates, I think this is going to be an extremely tough fight to put together.

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Couture taking a back seat

November 14th, 2009
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UFC 105 will air on a tape delay tonight on SpikeTV beginning at 6 p.m. Hawaii time. Randy Couture fights Brandon Vera at light heavyweight in the main event that takes place in Manchester, England.

And that’s not even remotely close to being the biggest fight of the day.

That honor belongs to Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, who will take center stage tonight in Las Vegas in what I anticipate being one of the all-time great boxing fights of the last decade. Pacquiao (49-3-2) will try to become the first fighter to win world titles in seven different weight classes as he steps up to 145 pounds to fight Cotto (34-1) for his WBO welterweight championship.

Pacquiao has become probably the most popular fighter in the world with his recent string of victories, including a second-round destruction of Ricky Hatton and a beating he put on Oscar De La Hoya to send him into retirement. It’s been over four years since we’ve seen Pacquiao lose a fight. Cotto’s lone loss came 16 months ago to Antonio Margarito, who sent Cotto to the hospital after an 11-round TKO. However, Margarito was busted for tampering with his hand wraps, using Plaster of Paris to make his punches feel that much harder, in his next fight against Shane Mosley, and it’s wildly thought he used the same illegal tactics in his fight with Cotto.

Whatever the case, it shocks me to see Pacquiao as a 3:1 favorite in this fight. To me, Cotto’s wins over Joshua Clottey, Michael Jennings, Zab Judah and Mosley are much more impressive than Pacquiao knocking out an incredibly overrated Hatton and an old and aging De La Hoya.

This has all the makings to be one of the great fights of the last 10 years, and it wouldn’t shock me one bit to see Cotto knock off Pacquiao. I think the fight is going the full 12 rounds and in a narrow decision, Pacquiao squeaks one out to set up a Floyd Mayweather bout that would undoubtedly break every PPV and box office record out there.

Couture/Vera, Pacquiao/Cotto. Who y’all got?

Your take on Fedor?

November 9th, 2009
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Fedor knocks out Rogers

Courtesy of Esther Lin, StrikeForce

It’s very interesting to listen to the wavering opinions of Fedor Emelianenko following his second-round TKO victory over Brett Rogers on Saturday night.

Seems to be split between people that were not impressed with his performance and felt he should have run through Rogers like he was a tomato can, and those that thought him knocking out Rogers was indeed an impressive feat.

My view on Fedor hasn’t changed. He’s still the best heavyweight in the world. However, I have no idea who wins between him and Brock Lesnar. Rogers showed everyone the way to beat Fedor. A much bigger and stronger brawler that gets in your face and throws heavy punches. Can Lesnar do that? Sure, which is why I think he has a chance. But Rogers also showed an ability that if Fedor got him on the ground, he could survive and eventually get back to his feet without being submitted. Does Lesnar have that ability? That’s the million dollar question.

What I do know is that Brett Rogers isn’t a joke and isn’t a one-year wonder. You saw a guy that had worked on his game tremendously in recent months and has a desire to be the very best. If he walked into the UFC right now, I’d put Rogers on par with a Cain Velasquez or Shane Carwin and just a shade under Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Lesnar. The guy is legit and I’m looking forward to seeing him fight in the future.

Also, congratulations to former Icon champion Jason “Mayhem” Miller, who may have come up short against Jake Shields, but definitely won more fans with his performance. Shields is a world-class fighter, but he is not the guy you want to showcase if you’re trying to gain viewership. Very technical fight on the ground that I enjoyed, but I doubt it was a fight for mainstream fans.

Overall a fun card to watch and a great alternative to the UFC. I hope StrikeForce sticks around.

StrikeForce on CBS Saturday night

November 6th, 2009
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StrikeForce makes its debut on CBS tonight with a stacked card featuring the world’s No. 1 fighter, Fedor Emelianenko, against undefeated Brett Rogers. Other televised fights include Jason “Mayhem” Miller against Jake Shields, Antonio Silva versus Fabricio Werdum and Gegard Mousasi against Sokoudjou.

At today’s weigh-ins, StrikeForce announced its newest signee, DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki, which got me thinking. Imagine the five title fights that could be put together between StrikeForce and the UFC.

HW: Fedor Emelianenko (SF) vs. Brock Lesnar (UFC)
LHW: Gegard Mousasi (SF) vs. Lyoto Machida (UFC)
MW: Robbie Lawler or Cung Le (SF) vs. Anderson Silva (UFC)
WW: Jake Shields (SF) vs. Georges St-Pierre (UFC)
LW: Shinya Aoki (or Josh Thomson) (SF) vs. BJ Penn (UFC)

Obviously the biggest mismatch is at middleweight, but I say StrikeForce wins both the HW and LHW matchups and I’ve been dying to see Shields fight St-Pierre for years now. I think Thomson gives Penn a tougher fight than Aoki, but an Aoki/Penn matchup would also be exciting.