UFC 92 Flashback: Mir Shocks Nogueira

Two titles changed hands at UFC 92, with Rashad Evans defeating Forrest Griffin by TKO to win the light heavyweight title and Frank Mir knocking out Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to claim the UFC interim heavyweight title.

While nominally taking subordinate status to the Evans/Griffin main event the most shocking result by far was Frank Mir’s second round TKO stoppage of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Nogueira was the overwhelming favorite coming into the fight and had never been stopped inside the distance during a career where hed faced the best of the best: Fedor Emelianenko (three times), Josh Barnett (twice), Semmy Schilt and Mirko Cro Cop among many others.

Mir, meanwhile, had been on the verge of a full time move to the broadcast booth before his victory over WWE superstar turned MMA fighter Brock Lesnar. The conventional wisdom concerning Mir was that hed never fully recovered from a serious motorcycle accident in 2004 and that he was essentially a shot fighter physically, emotionally and psychologically. He eventually returned to the octagon, and after two TKO losses in his first three comeback fights began to consider the possibility that he just didnt have it any more.

Always a quick witted and highly cerebral fighter, Mir had been very impressive with his commentary work on WEC broadcasts. A highly respected BJJ black belt, his knowledge of submission technique was legendary but in his broadcast role also displayed not only tremendous poise behind the mic but the sort of innate ability to see the fight several moves ahead of the competitors”the same ability displayed by the legendary Bas Rutten in his broadcasting work. When the fight against Brock Lesnar was signed, the perception among most fans was that Mir was a high profile setup for the former WWE champ”a big name on the downside of his career that would be physically overwhelmed by the strength and athleticism of his opponent. The expectation was that after a one-sided loss to Lesnar that Mir would transition into the next phase of his career as a broadcaster.

Lesnar manhandled Mir from the opening horn, taking him down and landing punishing hammer fists on the ground. That was rendered irrelevant, however, when Lesnar made a rookie mistake and dangled his leg in easy reach of the BJJ blackbelt. Even with the submission victory, however, the perception was that Mir had gotten lucky when Lesnar made a rookie mistake.

There would be no such reprieve against Nogueira, according to many pundits, as he was too experienced and too good of a BJJ player in his own right to give Mir any such opportunities for a fluke submission. Mir entered the UFC 92 fight as decided underdog, meaning that oddsmakers and the betting public agreed that he had little chance to prevail in this matchup.

The fight was certainly one-sided, but it was Mir who was in control throughout. From the opening horn he demonstrated surprisingly sharp striking skills, and knocked Nogueira down twice in the first round. Not expecting a solid standup offense, Nogueira looked downright lost in the later stages of the first round as Mir doubled and tripled up his jab and threw impressive punching combinations to go with low kicks and occasional takedown attempts.

After a low kick attempt by Nogueira, Mirs counter tagged his opponent and he followed up with a big right hook that sent the Brazilian crashing to the canvas. Herb Dean jumped in to stop the fight almost immediately, awarding Mir an improbable TKO victory at 1:54 seconds of round #2.

In the light heavyweight championship match, Forrest Griffin got off to a good start in his title defense by using his superior height and reach and an impressive array of kicks to keep Rashad Evans just out of range for two full rounds. That changed dramatically in the third, as Evans ended the fight with a punishing punching attack.

The most highly anticipated match on the undercard also featured a lopsided TKO finish as Quinton Rampage Jackson dominated Wanderlei Silva in the third fight between the two men. It was Jacksons first fight since his well publicized hit and run incident in Orange County, California and he looked very sharp throughout before bringing the contest to a close with a perfectly placed left hook to the cheekbone.

Ross Everett is a widely published widely published freelance sports writer and respected authority on sports betting odds comparison. He writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Southern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.

What’s Next For Andrei Arlovski?

One of the stranger sports stories of the past is that of Rick Ankiel. Ankiel became a vital cog in the starting rotation of the 2000 St. Louis Cardinals and as a lefthanded pitcher possessing both velocity and wicked breaking stuff his upside was unlimited. As the playoffs began, injuries had decimated the Cards starting rotation forcing Tony LaRussa to use Ankiel as the game 1 starter against the Atlanta Braves and their ace, Greg Maddux. In the course of an inning, it all fell apart for Rick Ankiel’s career as a starting pitcher. In the third inning of game one, working with a 6-0 lead, Ankiel allowed 2 hits, 4 walks and 5 wild pitches before being pulled with two outs. Initially, he wrote it off as a bad outing until history quickly repeated itself in game 2 of the NLCS against the NY Mets. He threw only 20 pitches in that game, 5 of which went past catcher Eli Marrero. For the next several years he tried to fix the control problems that suddenly manifest themselves on baseballs biggest stage but was unable to do so. Compounding the frustration of Ankiel and his team was the fact that his control problems weren’t physical or mechanical, but strictly psychological.

Andrei Arlovski has experienced the opposite problem”after starting his career as the Belarusian wildman who devastated opponents with his aggressive, free swinging style and KO power he suddenly gained too *much* control. After trading victories with Tim Sylvia and two short, explosive and exciting bouts, a rubber match was scheduled for UFC 61 and during the fight disaster struck: Arlovski all of a sudden became a tentative and boring fighter. The real losers were the fans, and Sylvia/Arlovski 3 is quick to be mentioned when talk turns toward the worst championship bouts in the history of MMA.

After a layoff of nearly 6th months, Arlovski returned to the octagon and scored a first round KO of overmatched Marcio Cruz. Another snoozefest ensued at UFC 70, where he decisioned Fabrico Werdum. Arlovskis contract with the UFC was up about this time and Zuffa management quickly made clear that they had no interest in resigning him.

During the past few years many questions have been raised about Arlovskis desire to continue his fighting career and several retirement rumors have made the rounds. While it would be difficult to blame Arlovski for enjoying the life hes made for himself, this lack of hunger isnt a good mindset for a professional prizefighter.

Arlovski insists that hes anxious to continue his MMA career and has enlisted the services of one of boxings best trainers, Freddy Roach. Roach has been charged with trying to find a middle ground with Arlovski, somewhere between the wildly reckless style of his early career and the tentative, plodding style of his recent fights. Furthermore, Arlovski has also appeared to have trouble letting his hands go of late and if Roach cant fix these problems no one can.

Baseball fans know that the Rick Ankiel saga has taken a positive turn of late. After giving up his pitching career in 2005, Ankiel transitioned to the outfield and has reached the major leagues *again* at his new position. Maybe this is the type of change that Arlovski needs and one that boxing would afford him. Unlike some of the other fighters that the rapidly changing sport has left behind, Arlovski has the youth and the skill set to transition into boxing where his standup skills would serve him well. It could be that Arlovski still has the heart and desire to fight, but needs to change sports to get back to a championship level of competition.

Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and respected authority on baseball betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Las Vegas with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former interior secretary James Watt.

UFC Flashback: Ultimate Fight Night Features Lauzon Vs. Stephens

Ever since he burst onto the MMA scene with a shocking first round KO upset of Jens Pulver at UFC 63, Joe Lauzon has been working to earn respect. For some reason hes had trouble being taken seriously as a top contender in the UFCs lightweight division. He may not fit the classical profile of a fighter, looking more like a fresh faced kid and is often referred to as a geek due to his educational background in computer science. In the main event at the UFC Ultimate Fight Night in Tampa, Lauzon withstood a game challenge from late replacement Jeremy Stephens to earn a 2nd round submission victory.

Lauzon was in control of the fight throughout, but Stephens gave a good account of himself despite his opponents obvious technical superiority on the ground. Stephens wasn’t able to match up with Lauzon’s ever improving BJJ skills, but he used good old fashioned tenacity and some powerful punching to keep the fight competitive throughout. Lauzon appeared to be on the verge of ending the fight midway through the second with a ground and pound assault that he attempted to transition into a rear naked choke. Stephens fought back with a vengeance despite his disadvantageous position and opened a nasty cut on Lauzon’s forehead with an elbow strike.

As puddles of crimson gathered anytime Lauzon’s head neared the mat, he gained a new sense of urgency not wanting to lose on a stoppage due to the cut. He regained control on the ground and caught his opponent in an arm bar. Stephens tried to extricate himself, but was eventually forced to tap giving the bloody Lauzon a hard fought triumph.

The semifinal matchup featured another impressive effort from Cain Velasquez, who many have pegged as the heavyweight superstar of the future. He trains with the American Kickboxing Academy, and has a reputation as the hardest worker and most dominant sparring partner in a gym who includes among its membership superstars such as Bobby Southworth, Cung Le and Josh Thompson.

Velasquez was never really threatened in the fight, but he did have difficulty finishing off tough UFC newcomer Dennis Stojnic. Stojnic displayed impressive toughness and a chin of granite as he became the first of Velasquez’s opponents to make it into the second round.

In the second round, Velasquez quickly caught his opponent and sent him to the canvas with a nice combination which he followed up with another ground and pound attack. Stojnic again kept trying to defend himself despite a hellacious beating, though the referee finally jumped in and stopped the contest awarding Velasquez the TKO verdict. While Velasquez continues to show all of the qualities of a future top heavyweight, he needs to improve his stopping power and ability to finish a fight.

On the undercard, Josh The Dentist Neer earned a tapout victory over the sports best known (and perhaps only) vegan, Mac Danzig. Danzig looked decent in the first round but in the second he looked listless and quickly fell victim to a nasty triangle choke.

In the opening bout of the evening, up-and-coming welterweight Anthony Rumble Johnson used his significant height and reach advantage to dispatch tough Luigi Fioravanti.

The live crowd in Tampa gave a very poor account of themselves, at times booing fighters mercilessly for no apparent reason whatsoever. This was in addition to the usual booing when the fight goes to the ground typical of uneducated MMA fan–they often turned on fighters midbout for no discernible reason. Their behavior reached a nadir in Cain Velasquez’s post fight interview, where he was booed mercilessly despite an impressive victory and informing Joe Rogan that he was about to become a father for the first time.

Ross Everett is a widely published freelance sports writer and respected authority on soccer betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Las Vegas with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.

categories: UFC,mixed martial arts,sports,recreation,hobbies,entertainment

Lesnar Wins UFC 100 Main Event

UFC 100 was a historic night for the sport of mixed martial arts, and Brock Lesnar used the occasion to avenge his previous loss to Frank Mir with a lopsided TKO victory. With the victory, Lesnar unified the promotion’s heavyweight championship. The Mir/Lesnar tilt was the main event on an epic card which culminated an insane week in Las Vegas.

UFC 100 drew unprecedented attention from not only the MMA media but the mainstream sports media as well. While outlets like ESPN have long treated MMA with disdain they were forced by the interest surrounding the event to give it prime coverage.

While the big metric of the events success will be its PPV buy rate”which will almost certainly shatter existing UFC records”the attendance numbers and other tangible measures that are already known underscore the significance of the event. Fridays weigh in was a standing room only affair with over 2,000 fans turned away. A Fan Expo held in conjunction with UFC 100 counted over 30,000 visitors on Friday and an equal or greater number on Saturday. Even veteran fight media experienced in covering big boxing and MMA events worldwide have reported that the energy and general vibe around this event is like nothing theyve seen.

The main event established Lesnar as not only the UFC heavyweight champion, but the most hated ‘bad guy’ in the sport To his credit, he had a perfect gameplan for Mir that allowed him to use his strength and power to maul his opponent on the ground while minimizing his exposure to submissions.

Mir, on the other hand, made a tactical mistake by letting Lesnar put him on his back and pound away. He clearly underestimated Lesnar’s ability to defend his submissions and by the end of the first round had already suffered a nasty beating.

Lesnar diminished his dominating performance with his postfight antics”he taunted Mir after the stoppage, prompting the crowd to boo him mercilessly. He followed this with a short and arrogant postfight interview that would have been much more at home in the WWE than in this setting. Mir was the consummate professional in defeat, giving credit to his opponent and generally displaying all of the class that Lesnar lacked.

Ross Everett is a freelance writer and respected authority on sports betting odds comparison. He writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Las Vegas with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.

categories: UFC,sports,recreation,celebrities,entertainment,marketing

MMA Flashback: Bunny Beatdown As Strikeforce Heads To The Playboy Mansion

Hugh Hefner is really starting to show his age, but there he was at cageside wearing his trademark pajamas and bathrobe. Every time the STRIKEFORCE cameramen got a shot of him with the comment that “There’s Hef looking on” it appeared as if he was taking the opportunity to attend to some paperwork. Had he bothered to look up every now and then he would have enjoyed a spirited night of fighting.

STRIKEFORCE had to scramble on this show, as injuries changed the main event several times. It was initially a non-title matchup between former UFC bad boy Renato Babalu Sobral and promotion light heavyweight champion Bobby Southworth. Southworth was the first to be pulled from the card due to injury, and was replaced by Anthony Ruiz. Then Sobral suffered an injury that necessitated *his* removal from the card. He was replaced by Trevor Prangley, who has been with a number of organizations and was formerly the middleweight champion of the ill fated BoDog Fight promotion.

The Prangley/Ruiz contest was a one sided affair, with the South African using his strength to repeatedly takedown his opponent and control him on the ground. Ruiz had the edge in the standup game, but Prangley avoided trouble by keeping the fight where he wanted it en route to a unanimous decision victory.

The main event was nominally the US debut of World Victory Roads Kazuo Misaki aka The Grabaka Hitman taking on well traveled veteran Joe Riggs. After a first round that was tactical to the point of being tedious, the second round brought fireworks en route to a controversial stoppage. Riggs struck first, flooring Misaski early in the round with a short left hook. It was what could most properly be called a flash knockdown that in no way hurt the Japanese fighter. In fact, he basically somersaulted back to a standing position and responded in kind with a straight right hand that sent Riggs to the canvas. Misaski pressed his advantage with a furious ground and pound attack, and after about 30 seconds referee Josh Rosenthal waved off the fight awarding Misaki the TKO victory.

After the stoppage, Riggs immediately jumped to his feet in protest. The crux of his argument was that he was defending himself and that Misakis blows were doing little damage. He did have something of a case, as the replay showed that he was covered up and absorbing most of the blows to his gloves.

Earlier in evening, STRIKEFORCE lightweight champion Josh Punk Thompson made short work of a game but overmatched opponent in Ashe Bowman. To his credit, Bowman figured that he had to take the fight to the champion and went on the attack. Thompson then put on a counterpunching clinic nailing Bowman with a straight right followed by a flurry of uncontested punches that sent the young fighter to the canvas for a quick stoppage.

The most impressive KO of the night had to go to Terry Martin, who appeared to be on his way to a unanimous decision loss to Cory Devela until the third round when he knocked out his opponent with a sneaky straight left.

Ross Everett is a widely published freelance sports writer and highly respected authority on soccer betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Northern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and a kangaroo. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.

categories: UFC,mixed martial arts,sports,recreation,hobbies

UFC 94 Flashback: GSP Destroys BJ Penn

Reigning lightweight champ BJ Penn entered his main event battle against welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre looking to become the first man in UFC history to simultaneously hold titles in two weight classes. GSP never gave him the chance to make history, as he stopped Penn after four increasingly dominant rounds to retain his belt with a TKO victory.

Both fighters had considerable fan support, with vocal, flag waving delegations from the Hawaiian Islands and Canada in evidence. During ring introductions, both men received enthusiastic cheers tempered with a few boos. After the opening horn sounded, however, the Penn backers had little to cheer about while the champions supports broke out in G-S-P chants on several occasions.

Boxing guru Freddy Roach recently praised Penn as the best technical puncher in MMA, but he had no opportunity to bring this weapon to bear as he had trouble finding the range from the outset. GSP mixed up his look perfectly, either staying just outside Penns range using his 6 reach advantage effectively or more often smothering his opponent on takedown attempts.

GSP began to assert his dominance in round two”with Penn starting to fatigue he was no longer able to fend off St. Pierres single leg takedown attempts by balancing on one leg. GSP got a takedown early in the frame and began to mount a ground and pound assault while moving around in Penns legendary guard almost at will moving from half guard to side control with frightening ease. At this point, it was apparent that GSPs superior strength and insane physical conditioning were going to figure prominently in the outcome of the fight.

The eventual outcome was foretold between rounds two and three, as the obviously exhausted Penn required a pep talk from his entourage to continue. Across the cage, GSP calmly sipped water and listened intently to trainer Greg Jacksons instructions looking for all the world that he could go 12 rounds if necessary.

Round three was similar to the previous one, with GSP taking his opponent to the mat with a decreasing level of resistance and mauling him with punches and elbows once he got there. His complete control over the BJJ black belt Penn was incredible, but hardly surprising given the way that GSP dominated four time NCAA All American wrestler Josh Koscheck on the ground during their matchup.

The fourth round was a wall to wall rout for the Canadian welterweight champion, who started by effectively trading strikes with Penn before taking him down once again and resuming his highly successful ground based attack. Penn survived the round on instinct alone, moving around just enough to keep the referee from stopping the proceedings. After the horn sounded to end the fourth round, however, it was evident that Penn had nothing physically or emotionally left. As he leaned headfirst against the cage in exhaustion, an impromptu conference amongst his handlers on whether or not to continue became moot when the fight was stopped by Dean on advice from the ringside physician. There was no argument whatsoever from Penn or his entourage.

Displaying his characteristic class, GSP delayed his celebration until he had crossed the cage and kneeled by his vanquished foe to honor his competitive spirit. After a quick celebration among GSP and his team, he faced his next challenger in the person of Thiago Alves. While clearly brought into the cage to start the fight promotion early, Alves appeared somewhat in awe as he congratulated the welterweight champion on his victory.

In the co-feature attraction, Lyoto Machida kept his undefeated professional MMA record intact with a first round TKO victory over Thiago Silva. Silva had no answer for Machidas well rounded skills and unorthodox Shotokan karate based style. Machida may be the best in the world at fighting while backing up, and Silva found his aggressive style working against him. Machida took his opponent down and knocked his opponent down twice”all counters as Silva was coming forward and Machida backing away. As the first round entered its final seconds, it appeared that Silva started to ease up in anticipation of the horn. Machida used this opportunity for another takedown, and then nailed his surprised opponent with a powerful punch that ended the fight.

Ross Everett is a widely published freelance sports writer and noted authority on baseball betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Northern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former interior secretary James Watt.