Posted on: January 29, 2010 12:46 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2010 9:15 pm
 

Live Strikeforce coverage from Sunrise, Fla.


This weekend, I'll have full coverage of the Strikeforce: Miami show at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla.

I will be at the weigh-ins later tonight to report on the various happenings, including any special guests that may drop in on the proceedings (remember, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale is crawling with big shots this week, due to the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLIV happening at Sun Life Stadium).

On Saturday, I will live-blog the entire show (including the untelevised preliminaries), round by round. Check back often for the latest updates.

The mainstream hook to this show is the pro MMA debut of NFL legend Herschel Walker, who will face Greg Nagy. There is also interest in former WWE powerhouse (and current TNA wrestling performer) Bobby Lashley, who will fight UFC alum Wes Sims. Sims was last seen on Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter.

Lashley has similar attributes to WWE-champ-turned-UFC-mauler Brock Lesnar -- including freakish power and very strong amateur wrestling credentials -- but none of the bad attitude or bravado. It will be interesting to see if Lashley can develop into the next heavyweight MMA star.

The card also features a trio of very intriguing bouts, headlined by the return of the pride of Stockton, Calif., Nick Diaz, who will face Marius "The Whitemare" Zaromskis in the main event to crown a new Strikeforce welterweight champion.

Cris "Cyborg" Santos enters the cage for the first time since demolishing fan favorite Gina Carano last summer, defending her Strikeforce 145-pound women's title against Marloes Coenen.

At middleweight, "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler will attempt to rebound from his submission loss to Jake Shields last June, in a likely slugfest with the dangerous Melvin Manhoef.


The full card for Saturday's event is below.

Main card bouts (televised live on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET):

  • Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis (170-pound bout for the vacant Strikeforce welterweight title)
  • Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos vs. Marloes Coenen (145-pound women's title defense)
  • Robbie Lawler vs. Melvin Manhoef (185)
  • Bobby Lashley vs. Wes Sims (265)
  • Greg Nagy vs. Herschel Walker (265)

Undercard bouts:

  • Jay Hieron vs. Joe Riggs (170 -- will stream live on EASports.com)
  • Pablo Alfonso vs. Marcos da Matta
  • Michael Byrnes vs. David Zitnik
  • Sabah Homasi vs. John Kelly
  • David Gomez vs. Craig Oxley
  • Hayder Hassan vs. Ryan Keenan

Check in later for news and notes from the weigh-ins.


Follow Denny Burkholder on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/DennyBurkholder






Posted on: January 12, 2010 12:21 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2010 4:16 pm
 

Maynard or Edgar vs. Penn? It's a gray area


By beating Nate Diaz at UFC Fight Night 20, Gray Maynard was supposed to control his own destiny. While the fight wasn't explicitly for the No. 1 contendership to BJ Penn's lightweight title (there certainly was no pre-fight indication that Nate Diaz would have entered the title picture, even with a win), the consensus was that Gray Maynard could convince the UFC brass to give him the next crack at the 155-pound title with a strong victory.

The good news, for Maynard, is that he won the fight. The bad news is that by most early indications, the UFC is now leaning toward Frank Edgar for a lightweight title bout vs. Penn.

Gray Maynard (UFC) Maynard hasn't lost an MMA fight yet. He even beat Edgar via unanimous decision way back at UFC Fight Night 13 in 2008, which remains Edgar's only professional loss. UFC president Dana White has said in the past that while the promotion encourages exciting fights (and rewards fighters financially for them, via an assortment of fight night and "locker room" bonuses), the single most important statistic in deciding who gets a title shot is victories.

Edgar's got six UFC wins. Maynard has seven. If they were tied, as they were prior to this fight, Maynard might earn the title shot due to beating Edgar in 2008. But while Maynard's win over Edgar matters, there are a number of other issues at play when considering Edgar for the title shot.

Among them:

Lightweight parity.
While there are a number of skilled, hard-working fighters at 155, they have all struggled to separate themselves from the pack as a true championship-caliber fighter. Nobody will dispute the ability of Maynard, Edgar, Diaz, Clay Guida, Diego Sanchez, Joe Stevenson, Kenny Florian, or about a half dozen other UFC lightweights that could, on their best day, probably score a victory over the rest of the contenders. Some have more victories than others, of course. But for the most part, there isn't a lightweight in the UFC right now that has been smashing opponents with so much authority that they're on a clear collision course with Penn. The closest we've come to that in the past two years is probably Kenny Florian, who already gave Penn his best shot in 2009.

Penn's dominance. In the lightweight division, there is simply nobody close to the level of BJ Penn in terms of overall ability. The UFC lines them up, and Penn knocks them down with ease. Past challengers like Stevenson, Florian and Sanchez have looked impressive in earning their title shots, but when they fought Penn, he made them look like comparative amateurs. And these guys all had a legit claim to being the top contender when they fought Penn. Part of the problem with choosing the best challenger for BJ Penn is that right now, nobody looks like a challenge at all, let alone a serious threat to "The Prodigy."

Marketability. It's the elephant in the room that nobody wants to mention. Especially since in the pure sporting sense, a fighter's Q rating should have nothing to do with whether he deserves a title shot. But fight promotion is a business. If nobody wants to watch a certain fighter, the promoter is basically conceding to a poor gate, a subpar PPV buyrate or a weak TV rating by putting that fighter in a main event.

Here is where Edgar begins to look like a better choice than Maynard, despite his loss to Maynard two years ago. Despite being unbeaten in the Octagon, Maynard is a relatively bland interview and not a particularly exciting guy to watch. Edgar is a little more exciting and a little more "sellable" in terms of putting him on a countdown show or sending him on media junkets. Edgar is likable. Maynard isn't exceptionally likeable, nor is he overtly easy to hate (which arguably sells more PPVs than likeability does -- think Tito Ortiz or Brock Lesnar). In terms of connecting with viewers, in comparison to Edgar, Maynard is just sort of... there.

There are also considerations for things like fighter availability (Penn will fight when he's ready and if a middling title contender can't go at the time, that contender is probably out of luck), fight location (not an issue for this particular situation), contract status (one fight left on your deal = no title shot until you renew) or a bigger-money fight trumping a title shot (think Rampage vs. Rashad).

Does Maynard deserve a title shot? In comparison to the rest of the 155-pound field, yes. He's as worthy as the rest of them, and moreso in most cases.

But as Fight Night 20 showed, sometimes gutting out a win via decision just doesn't cut it when there are so many other factors casting a shadow over the matchmaking process.


Posted on: January 2, 2010 11:57 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2010 12:27 am
 

UFC 108 live results: Evans vs. Silva


The light heavyweight main event is up. Former 205-pound champion Rashad Evans fights Thiago Silva, who has smashed everyone the UFC put in front of him with the exception of reigning champion Lyoto Machida. Evans himself was dominated by Machida last year, losing his title to "The Dragon" via highlight-reel KO for Evans' first MMA loss.

Speculation that Evans' long-awaited grudge fight vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson might be in jeopardy (again) if Evans loses to Silva might be premature. I think Evans and Jackson established their rivalry well enough that it will still happen regardless of the result here tonight. But in terms of staying in the light heavyweight title picture, this fight holds significance for both Evans and Silva.

Round 1: Evans comes forward quickly and throws a combo, leading into a clinch. Silva takes a Muay Thai plomb. Evans takes Silva down, but he gets back up with help from the fence. Evans lifts Silva into the air and slams him down again. Evans gets full mount, but before he can ground and pound, Silva spins and scrambles out of trouble. Evans clinches Silva against the cage wall. Short left hands from the clinch by Evans. They're off the fence now. Silva with a body punch followed by a knee, which Evans catches and uses for a takedown. Evans has side control. Silva fights to his feet again. Jab by Evans. Inside leg kick by Silva. A pair of jabs and an inside leg kick by Silva. Silva lands a short right on an exchange. Evans misses a combo and Silva grazes him with a counter. Evans ties Silva up at the cage. Silva with a knee to the ribs. Evans with a nice body punch and a boxing combo into another takedown attempt. Silva with a punch to the ribs. The round ends, and it's 10-9 Evans in my opinion.

Round 2: Silva's corner tells him to circle to the right, which he does. Evans uses a quick boxing combo to set up another clinch. Both fighters doing a small amount of dirty boxing. They separate. Silva with inside leg kicks. Evans with a takedown into side control. Silva scrambles and ends up seated against the fence. He escapes to his feet. Silva throws a straight left that misses, but he avoids a takedown. Evans shoots in again. He's just wearing Silva down with this constant grappling, even if it isn't doing much damage. Jab by Silva. And a jab from Evans. Silva with a body kick. Evans with a jab into a takedown. Silva's back up, and the round ends with the fighters clinched on the fence. 10-9 Evans.

Round 3: Evans uses yet another one-two combo to set up a takedown. Silva is able to get up from these, but he has no answer for it. Silva needs to be the aggressor here rather than moving back every time Evans throws that setup combo. Silva with a right jab. Silva with a body kick, and Evans connects with a right to the jaw. Silva is now dropping his hands and clowning Evans, probably out of frustration, to try and bait him into a fistfight. Evans moves in and Silva lands a left-right combo that stuns Evans and puts him on his back. Silva scrambles to finish him on the mat as Evans gets to his knees. Evans is standing, but he's hurt and looking at the clock. Silva is hammering at him trying to finish the fight. Fists, knees and uppercuts by Silva. Silva is now standing with his hands on his hips clowning Evans, but in doing so, he gives Evans a chance to recover. Terrible, terrible decision right there. Evans shoots for a takedown with about 40 seconds left, and they're clinched against the fence again. Evans' corner is yelling the time to him every five to ten seconds, as Evans just clings to Silva on the fence, trying to ride out the clock. And he does. 10-9 Silva, but man, did he ever miss a chance to win by getting cute.

Winner: Rashad Evans defeats Thiago Silva via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) after three rounds.

Evans said after the win that it was his strategy to get back to his wrestling roots, which he got away from for a while once his striking started looking better. He also said he didn't realize how badly Silva rocked him with that punch until he tried to take a step back and his legs didn't cooperate with him.

As expected, he called out Rampage after the bout. I'm sure we'll get that fight this summer.




Posted on: January 2, 2010 11:31 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2010 11:43 pm
 

UFC 108 live results: Hazelett vs. Daley


Submission specialist Dustin Hazelett fights knockout artist Paul "Semtex" Daley at a catchweight of 172 pounds, after Daley failed to make weight at 170 for their scheduled welterweight bout. Win or lose, Daley will be fined 10 percent of his purse for missing weight.

Hazelett is looking for his third straight UFC win. Daley will try to capitalize on his first-round TKO win over Martin Kampmann in Daley's UFC debut in September.

Round 1: Hazelett does a funky forward roll kick to start, which does nothing but draw a crowd reaction. Head kick by Hazelett is blocked. Leg kick by Daley. Daley with another leg kick, Hazelett checks it. Teep kick by Hazelett. Outside leg kick by Daley. Another teep by Hazelett. Hazelett throws a right hand that misses, and Daley answers with a vicious left hook that knocks Hazelett out. Daley smashes Hazelett a few more times on the ground before referee Herb Dean can stop the fight.

Winner: Paul Daley defeats Dustin Hazelett via knockout at 2:24 of Round 1.



Posted on: January 2, 2010 10:54 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2010 11:18 pm
 

UFC 108 live results: Joe Lauzon vs. Stout


Joe Lauzon tries to avenge his family name after brother Dan lost via submission earlier tonight, as he fights Sam "Hands of Stone" Stout at lightweight. Stout claimed this week that the fight is so much more than a striker vs. grappler style clash. I guess we'll find out.

Round 1: Stout with a quick one-two combo and Lauzon immediately body locks him for a takedown. Stout is holding him in half guard. Lauzon with short elbows to the side of the face. Stout is cut open as Lauzon tries to roll into a kimura submission. Stout escapes and they're back on their feet. Stout's cut is above his left eye. Stout throws some fists but doesn't land much to speak of. Lauzon shoots in for a takedown. Stout uses the cage to fight his way back to his feet. Stout lands a knee to the ribs for good measure. Lauzon shoots again but ends up pulling guard. Stout throwing elbows from the top. Lauzon tries to work his hips higher on Stout's frame to work for a submission but Stout stands up. Lauzon follows, and Stout is now landing more strikes. Head kick by Stout is partially blocked. Stout times Lauzon on a punch and lands a nice right hand to the jaw. Stout with a leg kick and Lauzon counters with a right. Lauzon looks tired. He whiffs on a right hand. Spinning backfist by Stout, but Lauzon blocks it. The round ends, and it's real close. Stout looks the worse for wear thanks to that elbow, and he got taken down a few times, but he was clearly the better fighter at the end of the round. I'd score it 10-9 Stout.

Round 2: Stout throws off Lauzon on a takedown attempt. Stout keeps attacking the left side of Lauzon which is probably contributing to how tired Lauzon looks. Head kick by Stout connects as Lauzon is ducking in for a takedown attempt. Lauzon still completes the motion and Stout takes full guard. Lauzon tries, and fails, to hold Stout down. Left hook by Stout, followed by a leg kick. Lauzon catches Stout's leg on a kick attempt and tries to take him down, but can't. Lauzon with a straight right. He's moving forward on Stout despite getting the worst of the striking exchanges. Stout with a combo of fists and a leg kick, but Stout himself is starting to look tired. Stout with a fists combo that gets blocked, followed by a head kick. Lauzon shoots for a takedown and ends up pulling guard when Stout sprawls. Stout lets him up. Three-punch combo by Stout, only the last one connects. Two uppercuts by Stout. Lauzon uses the shot as a way to pull guard again, and the round ends. 10-9 Stout.

Round 3: Lauzon comes out with a takedown attempt. Stout stuffs it, and lands a combo on the separation. More body shots by Stout. Lauzon's throwing one punch at a time, and missing in most cases. Stout with a three-punch, leg-kick combo as Lauzon defends. Body kick by Stout. Lauzon is now telegraphing every takedown attempt by throwing a weak punch as a lead-in, and Stout sees it coming every time. Stout is still peppering Lauzon with combos, and while they don't have much on them anymore, Lauzon has no answer for it, other than to cover his head. Stout with punches to the ribs followed by a low kick, which Lauzon catches for a takedown. Lauzon moves to half guard, trying to pass. Lauzon gets full mount and then slaps on a guillotine choke, but Stout slips out of it and resumes pounding on Lauzon with fists. They're on their feet again with a minute left. Lauzon is exhausted, just covering up when Stout throws hands. Stout snaps Lauzon's head back with a big uppercut. Stout misses another spinning backfist attempt. Stout lands three good shots before the final buzzer. That's got to be a 30-27 win for Stout, and it's certainly the best I've ever seen him look. Great game plan, great execution.

Winner: Sam Stout defeats Joe Lauzon via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27) after three rounds.


Posted on: January 2, 2010 10:29 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2010 10:38 pm
 

UFC 108 live results: Jim Miller vs. Ludwig


Duane "Bang" Ludwig makes his return to the UFC after a four-year absence. He's 2-0-0 in the UFC already, with the last fight officially recorded as an 11-second knockout over Jonathan Goulet at UFC Fight Night 3.

If not for a timekeeper error that night, Ludwig would hold the record for fastest KO in UFC history , since referee Mario Yamasaki actually stopped the bout at the 4-second mark. Since the timekeeper's error was deemed the "official" fight result, Ludwig is only tied for sixth fastest KO, when the reality is that he should be the record holder.

Ludwig trivia aside, Jim Miller is a serious opponent that has only lost twice in 17 bouts, with the defeats coming at the hands of Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar.

Round 1: Both guys cautious with their strikes at the start. Miller with a combo, followed by a leg kick. Ludwig answers with a combo. Hard straight right hand by Ludwig. Miller with a right jab. Miller whiffs on an overhand right, but then he connects with a short right and Ludwig hits the canvas. Miller goes to the mat and as Ludwig scrambles to get to his feet. Miller locks on an armbar. Ludwig fights it at first, but eventually has to tap out.

Winner: Jim Miller defeats Duane Ludwig via submission to an armbar at 2:31 of Round 1.


Posted on: January 2, 2010 10:11 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2010 10:26 pm
 

UFC 108 live results: Dos Santos vs. Yvel


The heavyweights are up, as PRIDE FC veteran Gilbert Yvel makes his UFC debut against Junior Dos Santos, who remains undefeated in the big show. Dos Santos most recently beat Mirko Cro Cop via submission to a punch at UFC 103, a bout that made Cro Cop briefly consider retirement.

Yvel's biggest fight in recent years was a third-round submission loss to Josh Barnett at Affliction: Day of Reckoning last January.

Yvel enters to AC/DC's "Thunderstruck." Dos Santos enters to the "Rocky" theme. Also, Dos Santos' left ear is cocked at an almost 90-degree angle from his skull. If there's to be another "exploding ear" fight in U.S. MMA lore, Dos Santos is a likely participant.

Round 1: Dos Santos with a quick left to the body. Yvel with a kick attempt, but it's blocked. Overhand right by Dos Santos is blocked. Dos Santos with a fast combo that finds the mark, and Yvel lands a pair of countering rights. Dos Santos throws a leg kick and Yvel counters with a left hook. Head kick by Yvel is blocked. Dos Santos throws a right to the gut, and then comes over the top with a big left hand that puts Yvel on his back. Dos Santos goes Donkey Kong on Yvel on the ground, and even though Yvel is rolling around and covering up, it's not enough, and Herb Dean stops the fight. Yvel gets up to protest the stoppage.

Winner: Junior Dos Santos defeats Gilbert Yvel via TKO due to strikes at 2:07 of Round 1.

Dos Santos is now 4-0 in the UFC. Through manager Ed Soares, Joe Rogan asks Dos Santos where this fight puts him in the title picture.

"At the top," he said.

Speaking of the UFC heavyweight title picture, is was announced recently that Shane Carwin will fight Frank Mir for the interim heavyweight title in March at UFC 111. Carwin would probably have to follow a modified version of Brock Lesnar's strategy against Mir (from the second fight, not the first). From there, the question will be how much of a factor Lesnar's weight advantage was, since Carwin will be a lighter load on Mir in a ground fight, and also since Mir has bulked up a bit.
Posted on: January 2, 2010 9:25 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2010 9:39 pm
 

UFC 108 live results: Kampmann vs. Volkmann


Martin "The Hitman" Kampmann fights Jacob "Christmas" Volkmann at welterweight in the next bout.

Kampmann has only lost twice in the past five years, but one of those losses was in his last fight vs. Paul Daley in September. Volkmann made his UFC debut at UFC 106, losing via decision to Paulo Thiago.

Round 1: Volkmann's in the southpaw stance. He loads up on an overhand left that misses. Volkmann swings big and misses again, but closes the distance and lands some short shots. Kampmann smashes him with a right hand that makes Volkmann drop to one knee briefly. They separate after another exchange. Volkmann is being aggressive but Kampmann sees him coming every time thus far. Volkmann rushes forward with a combo of fists and actually connects with two of the punches, but one counterpunch from Kampmann puts him on his back. Volkmann immediately takes full guard. Kampmann throws bombs down at him from above but is picking his shots carefully. Volkmann briefly has half guard, but Kampmann stands up to throw more big punches from above. Kampmann goes to his knees and hits Volkmann with hammer fists, and as Volkmann turns to his own knees, Kampmann slaps on a guillotine choke for the tapout. Dominating win for "The Hitman." The difference in experience was very apparent.

Winner: Martin Kampmann defeats Jacob Volkmann via submission to a guillotine choke at 4:03 of Round 1.

The next fight hits the cage at shortly after 10 p.m. ET when the pay-per-view begins.



 
 
 
 
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