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.


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Did You Get A Kick Out of UFC 193?

Hello World,

Oh dear, were my predictions wrong… Not only did I pull a dismal 2 out of 5, but I was also wrong on so many levels, it justified this separate post to discuss the after MMath of UFC193.

Where to start? I guess we’ll take it fight by fight:

Stefan Struve Vs. Josh Rosholt: Not only did I pick the wrong winner, I made the same mistake of many and… actually watched the fight. If you can call it that. Two fighters entered the cage and simply refused to utilize their respective advantage to cause any significant damage… Struve seem to forget he’s about 6 feet taller than everybody else and does not utilize his reach to save his life. Rosholt wouldn’t commit to the ground game even though he took Struve down at will. Nothing happened for 15 min. Well, aside for a growing irritation among the 50K+ Aussies in attendance… 0 for 1.

Uriah Hall Vs. Robert Whittaker: I got a couple of things to say. One for each fighter. We’ll start with the loser. If Uriah Hall wants to be Chuck Lidell and become a great counter striker he needs to add 3 things to his game plan: movement, speed of said movement and some urgency. He can’t expect to have enough time to rack up points, or be effective enough to finish if he only starts engaging a round and a half into a fight. Especially when his opponent thanks him for the lack of movement by repeatedly tagging him and escaping to the safety of center cage. As for the winner. Whittaker came prepared and worked his game plan almost to perfection. That being said, he’s lucky his chin is made of granite and could withstand two lethal head kicks and some really good shots when Hall finally woke up from his slumber. It was a very entertaining fight though, no complaints there. 0 for 2.

Mark Hunt Vs. Antonio Silva: I had a feeling this would end fast and it did. In favor of the right fighter for a change. 1 for 3.

joanna jedrzejczyk (JJ from now on) Vs. Valerie Letourneau: Valerie did what no other could. Go 5 rounds with Joanna. 3 of them very competitive. I even game her round 1. On the other hand, when you have laser guided missiles for punches and elbows, the odds will be in your favor. Joanna is a striker of a different league than any of the ladies in the UFC (Yes, that includes Holm) and I’d argue that it’s among the best overall. That was one hell of a fight. Hardly time to breathe between shots. and the last time I was right for the night. 2 for 4.

NOW.

Let’s take a deep breath before we dive into the main event. The shocker. The kick heard around the world.

Here’s what I tweeted shortly before the fight:

See, like many around the world, it seemed logical to me that Holm could possibly catch Ronda coming in, but like the same many, I thought it very unlikely. I saw Ronda coming in, through Holm’s punches, grabbing a hold, take down, arm bar.

The fight started pretty much as expected. Ronda forcing her way through Holm’s reach. Getting tagged, true, but returning the favor.

The turning point in my book was seeing Holm stand up quickly after the takedown and the botched submission attempt. That’s when I understood this is anything but a standard Rousey title defense. And sho’ enough… it was lights out not long after that.

A lot has already been said about this. Comparisons made to Silva’s first loss to Weidman. To GSP’s loss to Serra. But one thing that I hardly saw reference to was one bearded man from Albuquerque, New Mexico and the man who – I believe – is responsible for this fantastic upset.

How many times did we see Greg Jackson lead a fighter into battle and come out on top? A lot, right? How many times were we witnesses to that man’s pretty awesome MMA strategic brain? Like sending GSP to jab Koscheck nearly to death? Or get in Thiago Alves’s face (“Coach, I think I tore my groin – I don’t care George, just take it and beat him with it!”)?

Ready for some conspiratorial speculations? Let me ask a couple of questions, and you may answer them right here in the comments section if you’re so inclined:

  • What if Greg directed Holm to choose the last time she saw Ronda before the fight to get under her skin?
  • What if Jackson wanted Rousey to come in super-aggressive?
  • What if… What if it was the plan all along to get to the title fight after what is perceived as a sleepy point racking enterprise?
  • What if Greg knew Ronda would sleep on Holm’s power and skill?
  • What if Greg knew that Holm can get up if taken down?
  • What if Jackson told Holm to take Rousey down the first chance she got, to further throw her off-balance?

Do these sound fantastic? Perhaps some of them do… but we’re talking about a man with a plan. A coach that stages a strategy per round, and knows how to adjust when necessary. We’re talking about arguably the best MMA coach in the world. A man who brought us 2 of the all time greatest champions, in addition to many more greatly talented fighters.

To sum this up. That kick shocked the world. But I bet you – Greg Jackson was not surprised. Not one little bit.

That is all for today folks. It was a great card with great entertaining fights. another event where the ladies outplayed the men.

See you just before UFC 194 with another attempt to predict a .500+


(Fighter) Safety first

Welcome everybody.

Normally on the Monday following a UFC event, you’d expect to find the “morning after” report in the same prediction post, but since I have more to say than just after thoughts about my picks, I decided to do it in a whole new post of its own. More fun for you, I guess.

Let’s start with the original purpose.

The Morning after:

  1. Much like Joe Rogan, I was watching out for Jordan Mein to show us again why he’s considered such a promising young man. And not that he didn’t. THe first round was his, and he was able to do more than Thiago. The second round brought us Thiago “The Pitbull” Alves. With a beautiful body kick (More on this later) he enabled Mein enough to allow him to swarm with a perfectly legal knee to the head and a couple of punches before earning the TKO. 0 for 1.
  2. Tim Boetsch always come to work. For the majority of the fight he showed why he’s called the Barbarian. Leites did continue to show improved striking skills and held his own for the most part, though the strength differences were pretty obvious in the strikes. Then, Thales was finally able to bring the fight to his world, on the ground and after Boestch did the unthinkable and escaped the first attempt of Leites’ arm triangle, he was locked in a second one and Leites earned the submission victory. 1 for 2.
  3. I was fairly confident in this prediction. Though Lauzon is by far, no pushover, I just believed in Iaquinta’s chin and strength. It was a fun fight like any of Lauzon’s and Iaquinta eventually found the openings he needed and just punched Joe all over the cage (more on that later). 2 for 3.
  4. The crowd booed for the majority of the fight and if you don’t understand MMA, you’d think they were right. What the Vegas douches need to understand are two things. First, when two fighters with knock out power meet, especially when both are knocking on contender-ship door, they are likely not going to stand in front of each other and risk getting knocked out for your entertainment. If they would, I’d seriously doubt their legitimacy. The second thing is that, as opposed to most of the booing “fans”, these two are willing to get into the cage and fight. Easier said than done. Not a great fight, but a fight non the less. Woodley by a hair. 2 for 4.
  5. In the main event, Anderson Silva came back from a horrible injury to prove to himself that he could still do this. Nick Diaz… well, I just don’t know. Never was a fan of Nick (more of Nate). The constant whining, the delusional speeches, the childish behavior… He calls for fights then comes in and spends half of the time taunting (time he could be using to score points), then he’s frustrated. I don’t know. Silva dominated for the vast majority of the fight and clearly won. 3 for 5.

You can watch highlights (Credit: mmaweekly.com) at the bottom of this post.

Now. Having said all that, I wanted to say a few things about fighter’s safety. These thoughts were always bouncing in my head, but I decided to write a little about it after this last week’s weigh in, as well as some of the recent fights.

We all like a good, action packed, aggression filled fight. We love us some knock outs and submission victories. Hell, there were quite a few fights that went the distance and were so full of action, we didn’t really want them to end. That’s why MMA is such a great sport. But what’s the price?

Fighters want to be champions. That is great and motivating. Without the competitive aspect, this sport would be WWE. But what’s the price?

I want to consider a couple of things, with your permission. Or without it, heck, it’s my blog.

Weight Cut

I view weight cut as the necessary evil to allow for a reasonable pairing. It’s not a n easy task for anyone, let alone those who cut a significant amount of weight in order to get to a lower weight class than they might seem to belong to. The motivation is clear. I might be a smaller Middleweight in frame, or height, or reach, so let me drop to 170 and be a big welterweight. Makes sense. Except it doesn’t.

Weight cut might seem trivial, but our bodies are not expecting this dramatic change, nor do they like it. Ask Kelvin Gastelum, or Jimy Hattes. You know what? Ask the new Light-Heavyweight challenger – Anthony “Rumble” Johnson who kept missing weight at Welterweight! A guy like Rumble who is a big LHW, trying to cut all the way down to 170. He’d gas out and not taken seriously. And that’s just the less significant aspect of standings in the organization.

My humble opinion is – if you can’t make weight with relative ease – seriously consider a heavier weight class. It would likely be better for both your health as well as your chances to succeed. And we won’t have to read about you being rushed to a hospital hours before a fight…

 Training Regime

Now I won’t go telling professional MMA fighters how to train. First, because I’m no expert on the matter, and second due to the fact tat the sport is relatively new and still evolving. It’s still somewhat a learning process and we can see new techniques being developed in different camps. Here, I only want to suggest that again, safety should come first. It’s frustrating for fans to see GSP, or Cain Valasquez, or Chris Weidman having to pull out of a an anticipated title fights. I’m sure it’s even more frustrating for the fighters themselves. After all that’s their livelihood.

So if I may use a TV term. Be safe out there!

Stoppages

Let’s talk about that touchy topic for a minute. Some fights end with a definite KO. The fighter is out, period. Some fights end with a tap-out. clear-cut. But what about those TKOs? And the submissions with no taps?

How many times did the referee stop a fight, only to spark the whole “Early stoppage or not?” argument? Or on the flip side – how many times did you wonder whether the referee should’ve stepped in earlier than he did?

Now, again, we want entertainment, but my humble opinion is – better if a fight is stopped a little earlier (to the best judgment of the ref) than too late. The safety of the fighter ensures that we’d be able to watch him fight again. It beats the alternative. We do not want unnecessary career risking injuries or god forbid death in the cage.

That’s it folks. Just wanted to get this out there and perhaps get your perspective on Fighter safety Vs. Fan entertainment Vs. Fighter’s goals and aspirations.

As usual, feel free to leave a comment, share, like and all that 🙂

Enjoy the highlights from UFC 183 below.

P.S. HERE IS an interesting article. Benson Henderson moving up to 170. Along the lines of what I said in the above, that may very well be a really good step for the champ.

P.S.S. LISTEN to what Anthony “Rumble” Johnson has to tell Kelvin Gastelum and John Lineker about weight management.

Thank you,

A Puncher’s Chance (Part 2 of 2)

Welcome back one and all, to this part 2 of the UFC 167 main event discussion.

In the first one, we focused on the long reigning champ, Georges St. Pierre. This one would be around the challenger, Johnny Bigg Rigg Hendricks.

If you weren’t following MMA and the UFC, you should know the normal flow of events when it comes to the Welterweight title. Here’s a standard example:

1. New challenger named

2. For weeks/months the hype is that this is GSP’s most dangerous contender yet

3. The man steps in to the octagon, gets beaten by the champ

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Every time, people will say, but this time the contender is really the most dangerous one.

So what’s new?

So far, all of GSP’s opponents have been dangerous. Carlos Condit is a complete fighter with an iron chin, Nick Diaz is a tri-athlet with sick BJJ, Fitch was dominating his opponents before and after GSP, Alves is a gifted striker, Jake Shields may have the best BJJ in UFC, BJ Penn is a legend, Koschek is a great wrestler. So what’s special about Hendricks?

GSP could prepare for any of the above in terms of skills. He’d have the perfect game plan come fight night to nullify all of their advantages and capitalize on where he has the edge.

Bigg Rigg has something that (to paraphrase Joe Rogan) you can’t develop. You either have it, or you don’t. a one punch KO shot. Johnny Hendricks has the ability to knock his opponent out with one left punch.

Now, people will say that Johnny has a puncher’s chance against GSP, meaning he doesn’t have a chance of winning unless he lands that left. But these people forget that Hendricks is also a phenomenal wrestler. That is very important to consider, because GSP uses his wrestling skills, not only to control opponents on the ground, but also to control the fight itself. When GSP can enforce where the fight takes place inside the cage, he’s free to utilize any strategy he wants. If Hendricks can nullify GSP’s edge on that department, it will significantly improve his chances of winning.

Why would Hendricks win this fight?

  • Because his left hand… if he can hit GSP with an accurate shot he stands and excellent chance to win the belt.
  • Because Hendricks is a phenomenal wrestler who has the skill in that department to limit GSP’s options.
  • Because Hendricks – at least so far – showed that he is not intimidated by “big names”. Key to his chance is confidence.
  • Because… did I mention his left hand?

So who WILL win?

Every brain cell in my brain says GSP. He is a more well-rounded fighter. More experienced but still in his prime. His conditioning is better and he goes 5 rounds on a regular basis where Hendricks showed some gas tank inefficiencies in 3 round fights.

Yet, that left hand… Would Hendricks catch GSP?

I will go ahead and say no. I don’t think he will. GSP might have worked a lot on skills and conditioning, but if there’s anything we know about GSP is that he works the strategy. I believe he’ll utilize that to avoid Johnny’s left.

Only time will tell how this fight will end (and luckily the time is soon :)).

Let me know what you think! Who wins this?

and of course – TUNE IN TO UFC 167 – NOV 16, 10 PM ET

A Puncher’s Chance (Part 1 of 2)

Hello everyone. Happy you could make it 🙂

On today’s agenda two men, both will weight 170 lbs on November 15th.

I’m referring of course to Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks and Georges “Rush” Saint-Pierre. The Challenger and the UFC Welterweight champion respectively.

On Saturday, Nov 16th at around 11:30 PM to Midnight, these two will do battle inside the octagon and at the end of this fight, one of two things will happen. Either the seemingly inevitable GSP win, or the punch that would shock the world.

Ok, after I grossly oversimplified the situation, let me elaborate.

The first part of this discussion will focus on the champion. The next one will be for the challenger.

Georges Saint-Pierre (GSP) is the reigning 2 times UFC WW champion ever since he beat Matt Serra in a rematch way back in April 2008. That’s right. 5 and a half years ago.

What happened since then? Well, GSP’s record is (Wikipedia.org):

  • Second most consecutive title defenses in the UFC history (8) – Second to Anderson Silva.
  • Most successful title defenses in the UFC Welterweight division (8)
  • Most consecutive title defenses in the UFC Welterweight division (8)

List of notable victims: BJ Penn, Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves, Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit

How he does it?

I will not go into the endless debate surrounding GSP. I covered this piece on a different post. I want to talk about what makes GSP such a dominant champion. For an MMA fan, this might be stating the obvious, but it’s worth saying because a) not everyone is a fan and b) If it was that obvious, others would do the same, no?

So, it begins with one main quality. GSP has the work ethic to go the distance (no pun intended). Starting MMA with good Karate is nice. Not enough to win a belt though. So GSP went to work on filling his arsenal. BJJ (Black belt), Wrestling (Training with Olympic wrestlers), Boxing (Working with Freddie Roach among others), Muay Thai (Working with Firas Zahabi and Phil Nurse) and as it became plain to see – conditioning and athleticism (Again, Olympic gymnasts).

Another layer of GSP’s ability is his work with Greg Jackson MMA. Some people have a lot to say about Jackson, but the fact remains, he is a master tactician. GSP didn’t retain his title for so long without a) knowing exactly what he was  going to do in each round, b) being able to implement and no less important, c) Having Jackson to adjust on the fly.

So, Ever improving skill set, work ethic, tactics and guidance. Add to this a drive to leave a legacy behind and commitment to do whatever it takes and what do you have? Yes, the most dominant fighter and champion in Welterweight history. One of the widely held top 3 P4P (we’ll talk about this later) fighters in the world, Oh, and a pretty nice person too.

Why would GSP win this fight?

  • Because he’s much more well-rounded than his opponent. Even his striking (where Hendricks might feel he has the advantage) is better technically. Cleaner, crisper style.
  • Because GSP’s takedowns are legendary. And his takedown defense is superb.
  • Because GSP wrestled wins out of wrestlers, stroke strikers to a bloody pulp and in general showed superiority to most his opponents.
  • Because GSP can fight 5 intensive rounds and so far there’s no indication Hendricks can do so for 3.
  • Because if there’s something GSP is excellent at, it’s… not getting hit as much.
  • Because the game plan is simple – circle away from the power bomb and then be GSP.

Remember folks, check back next week for part 2, in which we will discuss Johny Hendricks and… Yes, I will put my (virtual) money on a winner.

In the meantime, let me know if you agree, or if you’d like to comment on this upcoming fight!

and of course – TUNE IN TO UFC 167 – NOV 16, 10 PM ET

Until next time