Take THAT, UFC200!

Hello everyone, welcome back to another installment of UFC PPV AfterMMAth.

It seems like anyone with the ability to express themselves spoke of one thing and one thing only these past few weeks – UFC200. Continue reading

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UFC 197 – Predictions

Hi everybody!

Millions of words must have been spilled about the return of the Light Heavyweight king, Jon “Bones” Jones. What can I add? Only my excitement and anticipation. What shape is Jon in? What state of mind? How big of a challenge will OSP be? Saint Preux has already shown us that he’s not to be looked down at. This isn’t a walk in the park for Jones. Continue reading

A Fan’s UFC 200 Conspiracy theory

Hello MMA fans and everyone else!

In the past few weeks, we’ve seen updates from UFC regarding the card of their upcoming seminal event – UFC 200 scheduled for July 9th, 2016. To sum up fan reactions (including this fan right here) in a word, it feels – Underwhelming.

So far, three fights were announced:

  • Cain Velasquez vs. Travis Browne
  • Gegard Mousasi vs. Derek Brunson
  • Johny Hendricks vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take a card featuring these great fighters any day of the week and twice on a Sunday. But we’re not talking about “just” a PPV. We’re talking about the 200th!

Just a reminder – UFC 100 featured both bestselling fighters at the time – George St. Pierre and Brock Lesnar, in addition to other good fights. This is 100 PPVs later and I just don’t see the stakes being raised just yet…

I’ve heard the idea that the announced fights may be prelim fights and that makes perfect sense.

Unless we consider the current schedule for the various UFC biggest stars and Champions:

  • Daniel Cormier (LHW champ) vs. Jon Jones (Technically never dethroned LHW champ) – UFC 197
  • Mighty Mouse (Flyweight champ) vs. Henry CejudoUFC 197
  • Fabricio Verdum (Heavyweight champ) Vs. Stipe MiocicUFC 198
  • Luke Rockhold (Middleweight champ) Vs. Chris WeidmanUFC 199
  • Dominick Cruz (Bantamweight champ) Vs. Urijah FaberUFC 199
  • Joanna Jedrzejczyk (Strawweight champ) Vs.Claudia GadelhaTUF finale

Unscheduled:

Conor McGregor (Featherweight champ) rumored to fight Nate Diazno Featherweight title fight available for UFC #200

Rafael Dos Anios at LW – a phenomenal fighter. Not such a big seller compared to some of the already booked champions.

Robbie Lawler at WW – Another fantastic fighter, who is popular but with less sales power than other champs.

Next on the PPV sales chart? I guess that’s still Ronda Rousey. Who is she fighting? The champion Miesha Tate? Or a rematch with Holly Holm? Either one will be a great fight and well deserving on being on UFC 200 Main card. But what else?

Here is where the conspiratorial speculation begins…

Imagine this card.

  • Frankie Edgar vs. Max Holloway (or perhaps Renan Barao if he goes up a weight class)
  • Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz
  • Co-Co-Main event: Rafael Dos Anios Vs. (Winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson)
  • Co-main event: Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey or Holly Holm

Now you might be saying, so you took care of every unscheduled champion, “bestseller” except for Robbie Lawler (Who I admit, is popular but not a major seller)… So who’s in the main event?

A-ha!

Another person, from whom we’ve been getting steadily increasing updates and news is no other than…

George St. Pierre!

Ever, the diplomat, GSP claims again and again that he’s not returning. Yet.

But what could possibly be a better tie back to UFC 100? What other fight could the UFC possibly dream for champion Robbie Lawler other than the greatest WW alive? We know that Rory Madonald is occupied with Stephen Thompson. I suspect that following that controversial decision win, UFC may not be in a rush to put Robbie in the cage with Carlos Condit right away. But GSP? Are you kidding me? It is the one and only fight I can see at this point, worthy enough to headline UFC 200.

It could be strictly as advertised – a fan’s conspiracy theory.

But… what if?

ManPraying

By all means, I’d be happy to hear your opinions. Your suggested fight cards. Drop us a line.


There’s A Lesson In There Somewhere

Good morning folks.

Somewhere, Ronda Rousey sat last night muttering “Unbelievable… I lost the title just so… Miesha Tate will now hold it?

If you did not enjoy UFC 196, I seriously don’t know what else they can offer. It’s not about who you were behind on the fights, if you had a favorite. It’s about the beauty of this sport. The hype leads up to an event and on that event – excuse the cliché but it’s true – anything can happen. The hype can get a boost, it can die down in a silent whimper, or, as in the case of last night – it can live up to its build-up in a pretty unexpected way.

I do, however, see a few lessons coming off of last night’s drama.

The first lesson is for Conor McGregor. Some people may be gloating. Thinking that something terrible happened to him. But Conor should keep going full speed ahead. This guy is all about testing the limits of his skills and abilities. Last night he met a fighter who is clearly a far better grappler than he is. A fighter who is a better boxer than he is. And Conor went into his wheel house willingly, electing to box with him instead of kick-box and ultimately initiating the ground game, where he ended up being submitted. And did we mention that this fight was at 170, where Nate has fought plenty and Conor did not? That’s ok. Conor’s still young and has time to think about his mistakes in this fight. Both guys deserve a lot of respect for jumping at the chance to fight each other. Conor’s lesson is – at least for the time being – In order to fight at 170 at a title threatening capacity, there’s a lot of work to be done. Nate is a great fighter, but he’s not even Rory, Tyron, Demian, Carlos or Robbie… I’m sure Conor will fight next back at 145 or 155. I for one, will continue to enjoy watching him push his limits. And Nate? Well, the checks are coming to the 209. You can take that to the bank.

The second lesson is for Dana White. If the last few months should have demonstrated anything, it is that, no matter how strong or dominant your golden goose may seem, there’s always a bigger, stronger, better one in the making. Things change, shit happens, upsets happen. If that wasn’t clear enough when Chris Weidman beat Anderson Silva, it sure as hell crystallized when Holly Holm demolished Ronda at the peak of her prime and when Conor sent Aldo home in 13 seconds. It was fairly clear when Jon Jones fought the law and the law won… I am still absolutely stunned at the gap between Holly Holm’s payday to Miesha Tate’s…. how can one fighter get paid so much and the other so little in comparison – for the same fight? Did someone completely write Miesha off? Was that fight scheduled as a “filler” until the “real” challenger decided she’s ready to step into the octagon? How come Nate Diaz gets paid on par with a main event participant, and Miesha who fought for a title (and won, may I add) doesn’t? The lesson for Dana, therefore is – stop playing favorites. Leave that to the Vegas clowns and pay your fighters fairly.

The last lesson is for us fans. The hype is ok, It sells PPV and tickets and gets us all excited for an event. But let’s take it for what it is – a tried and tested marketing tool. It is, in the end of the day – a sport. We all saw that Conor does not, in fact hate Nate and Nate – wait for it – respects Conor after all. To use the words of Diaz – Not surprised mo#@$#ers. It’s a sport. It’s ok to have favorites (I do), the key is to enjoy the fights and appreciate the effort, enjoy the ride. Every fight I watch is a whole new case study. We all just got two very interesting cases last night.

I will definitely like to hear what you learned from UFC196, so leave a comment right here if you’d like.

As for my predictions

  1. Nunes Vs. Shevchenko – Well, I was impressed with the Russian last time I saw her. She sure can hit you. Hard. But I also was impressed with Nunes, who I’ve seen on more occasions and believed her to be more diverse in her skills. It was closer than I thought, but Amanda clinched it. 1 for 1.
  2. Lawlor Vs. Anderson – Sometimes the judges mess up my predictions, and sometimes they make it work. Yesterday it was the latter. I do believe that Filthy Tom won that fight on the first two rounds. It seemed like every shot he threw at Corey stung or wobbled him. The late effort from Anderson wasn’t enough in my book to overturn this fight. The judges thought otherwise. 2 for 2.
  3. Villante Vs. Latifi – I had it wrong. This fight wasn’t very exciting. It was a test of strength more than anything and in that department, Ilir won. 2 for 3.
  4. Holm Vs. Tate – I love Miesha Tate. Always have. Since I watched her on Strikeforce, she represented for me the potential in women MMA. Before Dana admitted that women can fight, before Ronda Rousey came over. Miesha is the OG. The most well-rounded WMMA fighter. Watching Holly Vs. Rousey, and seeing how easily Holm stood back up after Ronda flipped her to the ground, I thought she could negate Miesha’s TDs and win this standing. Though I honestly have nothing against Holm, I am truly happy to be wrong on this prediction. No one deserve the success and recognition of a belt more than Miesha and last night she got it!. 2 for 4.
  5. McGregor Vs. Diaz – I’ve said it all up there, but to re-iterate, Conor made a couple of mistakes, not the least of which was relying on his hands too much, when we all know how effective he can be with kicks. A barrage of low kicks would’ve definitely further his cause better. Of course, easier said than done. Just ask the Cowboy. Diaz out-boxed him and ultimately defeated him on the feet, forcing Conor to take him down – unthinkable when you’re facing someone with as good a BJJ as Nate’s. 2 for 5

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?

See you soon with more predictions and thoughts about our beloved sport of MMA.

UFC 196 – Predictions

Hi everybody!

2016 Started with a bang and then a PPV that turned into a free card. But that’s ok, because once more, it’s a title fight between two of my favorite WMMA fighters – Miesha Tate and Holly Holm. And if that’s not enough, There’s that Mystic Mac fighting Nate Diaz. Need more?

Didn’t think so.

So with no further ado, let the predicting of UFC 196 coming up this Saturday, March 5th on PPV commence. (All credits go to UFC/Zuffa for all photos.)

We ride!

NunesShevchenko

Amanda Nunes by TKO

AndersonLawlor

Corey Anderson by TKO

VillanteLatifi

Gian Villante by UD

HolmTate

Holly Holm by TKO

and now! the moment millions of MMA fans have been waiting for, from Las Vegas, Nevada! This is the main event of the evening (Even though there’s a championship bout on the co-main…)!

McGregorDiaz

Conor McGregor by TKO

Don’t forget to get back here by Monday morning for the after MMAth!

And of course, don’t forget to watch UFC 196 on PPV – This Saturday, March 5th!

If you’re pondering what to do with the time between now and Saturday night, may I suggest you read my post about Cornering in MMA.

Before you go, here’s a shout out to Flyin Brian and his YouTube channel, check it out. I happen to agree with the below assessment and prediction:

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-t’s TIME!


What’s In A Corner?

Well, Hello there.

Welcome back to this humble spot, where today, we will talk about one of the cornerstones of MMA. That is, quite literally – Cornering a fighter.

Keep in mind that I am no fighter, but a fight fan and as such I have an opinion based on extensive viewing on the one hand, and somewhat intelligent guess-work on the other.This is not a “How to” or a tutorial. Simply my take on the subject.

I like a good fight. I prefer it when a fight goes on for more than a round or two. I like a finish like the next one, but let’s have it in the third round. Or if it’s a main event – even better. Let’s have it in the fifth. I like a back and forth battle with lots of heart and technique. For me, that’s MMA. A respectful test of skills and strength and the ride is half the fun.

I do my best to pay attention (when the broadcast team allows it) to listen to the corner-men during the breaks between rounds as well as during the rounds in progress. What fascinates me, are the different kinds of cornering. You can see different styles between fight camps, and sometimes, if you pay attention, different flavors even when it’s the same corner-men but a different fighter.

Allow me please to divide the corner-men into 2 big groups. The optimistic and the realistic. That’s where it starts for me. You hear the people in the optimistic group telling the fighter “Good work, you’re ahead, keep going.” and the others may tell the fighter “Not sure how the judges have it, you better push forward on the next round. Take the center.” and so forth.

During the rounds, one can hear the regular calls “Get up!” (Easier said than don I would think), or the ever so popular “Knees!” (Which always sound like a sound advice). I prefer to hear instructions as to HOW to perform these acts, such as “Under hooks!” or “Wizard!“.

I assume that there are fighters who need to hear that they’re doing fine, and that’s ok. I would love to believe that – if I was a fighter – I’d prefer to hear more specific directions.

And that’s what brings me to the action around the fighter during the breaks.

Some of my favorite corner-men are Firas Zahabi and the master of the corner Greg Jackson. It appears to me, that these guys know who they are cornering at any given fight and the instructions, and just as important, the way they are delivered are tailor-made.

Some fighters need the “come on! let’s do this or that! you’re slacking off!” and others need a calm, measured tone and some long deep breaths. Both are ok, because both Zahabi and Jackson don’t throw out buzz-words to fill the silence. They will ask the fighter to start circling left, or right, to finish every combination with a low kick, or perhaps set up his or her takedown attempts with some strikes. I love it when the corner-man gives the fighter the same advice I would – because ego.

I find it counter productive to lie to a fighter. One can see this happening time and time again when a fighter is clearly behind on points, and the corner blatantly tells them their ahead. Either they lie, or they don’t have a handle on what’s going on – which is perhaps the worse possibility… I do believe a fighter should be aware of where he stands realistically. There’s always a positive spin to keep his/her spirits up.

There’s a camp leading up to the fight and that’s very important. But once the fighter is locked inside the cage, I find that sound cornering can make a huge difference. Ask George St. Pierre how important this was for him during his record WW title defense run. Greg Jackson came with a master plan, which he made sure to keep on track on every break. Slowly, calmly, snappy when necessary (“I don’t care George! Hit him with it!” – go ahead, google it), but always concise, always pointing towards success.

What’s your take on cornering? What did I miss here?

And don’t forget to check back here again towards the end of the week, as there will be a UFC196 prediction post, and the fights are going to be awesome!

Don’t blink!

Who Needs Who? (The Case Of UFC And Conor McGregor)

Hello people,

Before I dive into the important question posed in the title, allow me to clarify a few things:

This is NOT a hate post.

I have nothing against Conor McGregor.

In fact, I absolutely LOVE Conor, and happen to agree with a few things he had to say (precision beats power etc.).

This post will aim to examine the UFC/Conor relationships as it appears to this MMA fan right here. It’s based on communications made public by Conor himself, the UFC and reports coming from well-respected MMA news outlets. Alright? Alright then.

Many people fell in love with the fighting Irish phenom during his rise to stardom, and make no mistake, he is the very definition of a star. Climbing the rungs of the featherweight division, finishing one after great one of his opponents until he destroyed the long reigning champ with a devastating knockout.

His ability to produce gems every time he opens his mouth, raising the stakes at a second’s notice and most importantly – his ability to back his talk up with in-cage action (at least so far), has made him not only the charismatic young man he is, but also undeniable. Fighters simply cannot find answers to his taunts and speeches.

Many of Conor’s fans would posit that he is indeed the UFC’s biggest star, especially following Ronda Rousey’s defeat, and thus – The UFC needs Conor more than he does them. This also seems to be Conor’s view of these relationships, judging by a few recent interactions in which his head seems to have expanded quite a bit…

I would argue the opposite. It all boils down to the fact that a King needs a kingdom to reign over.

So far, Conor appears to be calling all the shots. Who to fight, who not to fight (Frankie Edgar anyone?), When to fight, and at what price.

And I have to ask – why?

I don’t ask this in spite. I don’t ask this because I don’t think Conor is worthy of fighting for one title or another. I ask this because I think the UFC is making decisions based on misunderstanding the relationships.

Would I like to see Conor fight Aldo, followed by Dos Anjos, followed by Robbie Lawler in three consecutive events? Absolutely. Line them up! Would that be a smart move for the UFC? I think not.

Let’s say Conor fights Dos Anjos and wins. What’s next? How do you sell a fight with someone other than the reigning champ as an escalation after that? See, the build up to the Aldo fight was perfect exactly because Conor plowed through a weight class, making us fans salivate at the prospect of a title fight.

Would it not make perfect sense to have Conor fight a few contenders first? I’m talking only top 5 guys here folks. I don’t expect him to start from square one. Let’s say – Nate Diaz, Cowboy Cerrone, Eddie Alvarez and Anthony Pettis. You just sold out 4 venues. in fact, 5 because after that – assuming he wins them all – the title fight will be off the charts. Not to mention that, holding two titles may keep a whole weight class on hold until his business is done with the other one… And if he loses to RDA on the first shot, it may just be the last thing the UFC wants happening to the golden boy, so early in his career…

But it seems like the UFC doesn’t want to wait. They want to pound on the iron while it’s hot. Which is perfectly understandable. You may not want to run the risk of Conor being sidelined due to any of these prospective fights etc.

But that is exactly why I think the UFC misjudge that balance between – arguably – their biggest star and themselves.

Ronda Rousey is still around. There’s still a story to be told there. Jon Jones is coming back. There are a few stories to be told there. Lawler becomes a story in his own rights. Now, granted. They may not be as a big as Conor, in terms of popularity and interest, but they hold their own and provide the UFC the ability to play Conor’s story out in a way that would better benefit everyone.

It’s like this – If Conor decides to call it quits today, the UFC will continue moving forward with the smallest of dents on their potential cards. If the UFC cuts Conor (hopefully never), Conor may be the king of another promotion, but it will simply NOT be the same status he holds today.

For all of our sake, I hope both parties will continue to collaborate and be happy, but I hope that critical decisions will not be made, based on a whim. The ignoring of the Frankie Edgar no-brainer fight is not a good indication in my book.

I’m not about to boycott the RDA fight. I may have opinions, but I love MMA too much to be silly. Hell, I’ll watch Conor fight an Ox if they schedule this. I just want to see his story told a little differently is all I’m saying.

There. I said it, I meant it, I’m here to represent it.

As usual, feel free to comment, share and like.

Until next time,