Friday, August 21, 2009

Shane Carwin Confirms he will face Brock Lesnar

On his website, Shane Carwin has confirmed he has verbally agreed to fight Brock Lesnar at the upcoming UFC 106 event.


I have verbally been offered the fight with Brock and I have verbally accepted this fight. My manager and the UFC are handling the the details. I am honored that the UFC has given me this opportunity. The fans of this sport are what makes MMA so great. I expect to be fighting at UFC 106 in November.

Shane Carwin, who is currently 11-0, including an impressive knockout in the 1st round of Gabriel Gonzaga, is a good match-up against Lesnar. At 6' 3" tall and weighing 265 pounds, he nearly equals Brock in size and stature, in fact he his 5XL gloves are bigger than Brock Lesnar's 4XL gloves. Carwin has a top amateur wrestling pedigree as well, and boasts some serious knockout power. Most of his fights end in the first minute or so of the fight, but it remains to be seen if he can stay off his back in a match against Lesnar.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

UFC 106 Tito Ortiz vs Mark Coleman

UFC 106 marks the return of Tito Ortiz to the octagon, and now we think we know who he will face. Originally broke (and now confirmed) by Mike DiSabato ( it will be Mark Coleman, fresh off his win over Stephan Bonnar at UFC 100. The "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" Tito Ortiz last appeared in the Octagon in May of 2008, losing to current lightweight champion, Lyoto Machida. Ortiz and Dana White have had an on again, off again feud dating several years, but, at least for the moment, it appears to have been squashed.

Ortiz didn't fair too bad in his last match against Machida, however Coleman and Machida couldn't be more different in their styles. A Coleman/Ortiz match would expect to be very exciting to fight fans. Both are explosive fighters, and each possess a great ground and pound game. Despite being much older than Ortiz, Coleman showed he is still a formidable opponent if no longer a contender.

Ortiz on the other hand, has not won since his 2006 bout with Ken Shamrock. The loss to Machida, draw with Rashad Evans, and loss to Chuck Liddell round out his last 3 fights. Since that time, Ortiz married porn star Jenna Jameson, competed in The Apprentice, and in May 2009, had twin baby boys.

Let's see what a more domesticated "bad boy" is capable of November 21, 2009.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fedor Emelianenko's First Potential Opponents

Strikeforce hopes they can cash in on the lottery ticket that is Fedor Emelianenko after out negotiating the UFC on his services. To do that, they plan on using Fedor's fame to boost that of the rest of their franchise. This means Fedor will not get an immediate title shot against current Strkeforce Heavyweight Champion, Alistair Overeem. Instead, Fedor will be utilized on the same card as other less known fighters including Brett Rogers, Fabricio Werdum, and Overeem. Over a couple events, Strikeforce hopes that the added viewership Fedor will undoubtedly bring, will also mean a greater notoriety for their other fighters. Only after there has been some momentum on a heavyweight fight, Fedor will get his title shot.

So who then will Fedor face in the meanwhile? Strikeforce doesn't exactly have the deep roster of heavyweight fighters that the UFC does. They do however have a few guys that are just as legitimate as the other UFC contenders. Two of the leading guys Fedor may face in November are Brett Rogers and Fabricio Werdum.

Fabricio Werdum is a former UFC fighter who has faced top level talent. He has twice bested former UFC top contender Gabriel Gonzaga. He has beaten Brandon Vera, and has taken Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera and Andrei Arlovski each to a decision. Werdum has also beaten other contenders including Alistair Overeem (current Strikeforce Champ) and Fedor's brother, Aleksander Emelianenko. Werdum may be the better known fighter to UFC fans because of his short stint there.

Brett Rogers is still rather unknown. He punched his way on to the scene by stunning fight fans with a quick 22 second knockout of Andrei Arlovski in June. Beyond Arlovski however, his opponents are all relative unknowns, (with the exception of James Thompson, who is somewhat of a YouTube sensation for getting destroyed by Aleksander Emelianenko), but Rogers is the more imposing of the two fighters, and holds an undefeated record that intrigues some. Was his knockout of Andrei Arlovski (who does have a suspect chin) legit? Or a fluke? Sure Arlovski has certainly been knocked out before, but he is still a legitimate Heavyweight contender, and has the rare combination of supreme punching power, and master grappling skills.

I would prefer to see a match against Werdum, I think he is a better, more complete fighter than Rogers is at this point, but truthfully both fights intrigue me. They aren't the sexy names like Couture, Mir, Noguiera or Lesnar that the UFC has to offer, but they are worthy of similar stature as guys like Cain Velasquez, Shane Carwin, or Cheik Kongo at this point in their respective careers.

The only question would be, is Strikeforce willing to let Fedor fight two matches prior to a title match to build up the promotions overall legitimacy, and then, in his last contracted match (Fedor only signed a 3 fight deal with Strikeforce), give him a title shot, and the opportunity for Fedor to be a free agent while holding their Heavyweight Title?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dana White comments on Bobby Lashley

"Yes, we're watching him". Those were the words that Dana White used to answer the question regarding the WWE's other MMA product. Lashley, in contrast to UFC Champion, Brock Lesnar, has fought on relatively small shows. His biggest name fight was his last fight against former K1 star, and all around big dude, Bob Sapp. That was a quick 1 round rout, but Sapp has little skills beyond just pummeling guys, and Lashley isn't much smaller than him. At 6' 3" tall and almost 260 pounds, he might be the closest thing to Brock Lesnar in terms of size and athleticism. He also carries with him an impeccable amateur wrestling record as well where he won 3 national titles at Missouri Valley College.

Lashley could become next year's (fall 2010) consolation prize to the Fedor Emelianenko sweepstakes. Fedor recently signed a 3 fight deal with Strikeforce, and those 3 fights are expected to take him through fall of 2010. The UFC will likely be major players for Fedor's services next year, the same as they were this year. If Brock Lesnar can continue winning against the UFC's top heavyweight talent, the UFC will be pressed hard by fans, and their own need to generate a buzz, to sign Fedor and make the biggest match in MMA history a reality. If Brock however falters, losing the title, the UFC will be after Fedor's services to build the heavyweight division around him. Dana White likes his stars, and having a star that has no one left to fight can be bad for business.

That said, the UFC still has a number of top contenders (Noguiera, Couture, Velasquez, Carwin, Kongo, and a rematch with Mir) so the possibility of Lesnar no longer being the heavyweight champ this time next year certainly is not out of the question. Lesnar has beat Couture and Mir already, and has stated after the second Mir fight that he has no interest in fighting Frank Mir again, explaining that he doesn't want to keep fighting the "same guys". Not sure how he would have felt about that had Mir had the real belt as opposed to the "Interim belt" and turned down a rematch with Lesnar after already beating him once, but I digress.

That would leave Noguiera, who has seemed more interested in the 205 weight class as of late, Velasquez and Carwin will face each other next with the winner getting a shot at Lesnar, and Kongo looked horrible against Velasquez in his last outing, so he may not be a dream matchup. So Lesnar would likely face the winner of the Vleasquez/Carwin match, followed by a potential match with Kongo or Noguiera, or both. That would take him to the free agent period where Lashley and Fedor could become part of the UFC and Lesnar's next round of competition.

Bobby Lashley would be an interesting matchup for Brock. He nearly equals him in size, speed, athleticism, experience, and both have remarkable amateur backgrounds. They are virtual mirror images of each other. The only difference: Lashley is earning his stripes, while Lesnar was handed a title shot against a guy 40 pounds lighter, more that 10 years older, and fresh off an extended retirement period. By the time that fight would happen, it may not matter though, Lesnar does appear to be learning quicker than Lashley, and with the lineup of opponents he faces yet, is likely to be the more prepared fighter next year. Still, Lashley may have something at that time that Lesnar wants and can never get, an undefeated record.

UFC 101 Results

Well, in a pretty solid event, Anderson Silva showed considerable separation between the level he fights at, and that of the mortal human being. Silva toyed with Forrest Griffin for much of the first round, he bobbed, he weaved, he essentially danced around the former UFC Light Heavyweight champion while picking his spot on shots. At one point, after waving Forrest on, he knocked Griffin down, and just as it seemed the fight was about to end, Silva instead let him get back up, even offering his hand to help Griffin up. Then, after he tired of Forrest Griffin, with about 40 seconds left on the 1st round, Forrest Griffin let a fury of punches fly, the problem was Silva did not let any of them connect. Silva left his hands by his side, danced his head around each swing, then let one, pinpoint shot of his own fly, dropping Griffin for good. Well not for good, Griffin actually ran out of the cage and back to the locker room before they were even able to declare Anderson the winner. Not sure what was up with Griffin.

In the other main event, BJ Penn successfully defended his UFC Lightweight Championship against Kenny Florian. Leading up to the fight, Florian carried on about how as "samurais" you search the world for other "samurai's", and that Penn was a "samurai master" but that he, Kenny Florian, was going to "kill the master". Well, this fight lasted much longer than the other main event, going in to the 4th round. Each round, Florian would pin Penn against the cage, attempting take down after take down with absolutely no success. As they separated, both fighters would exchange in a flury of strikes. BJ often caught Kenny with several strong uppercuts, and 1 or 2 good knees, but the rounds were relatively close by my count. Florian appeared to have a strategy, wear Penn down, take your time, and wait for your opportunity to strike. Unfortunately Florian didn't learn the simplest, most obvious, glaring problem when fighting BJ Penn: give up your back to Penn, get choked out, its as simple as that.

Other Results

Lightweightweight Championship:
BJ Penn Vs. Kenny Florian Winner: Penn

Light Heavyweight Match:
Anderson Silva Vs. Forrest Griffin Winner: Griffin

Welterweight Match:
Amir Sadollah Vs. Johny Hendricks Winner: Hendricks

Middleweight Match:
Kendall Grove Vs. Ricardo Almeida Winner: Almeida

Lightweight Match:
Josh Neer Vs. Kurt Pellegrino Winner: Pellegrino

Strikeforce plans to give Fedor Title Shot, but not right away...

Strikeforce head guy, Scott Coker stated Tuesday that recently signed Fedor Emeiianenko, will not get title shot against Alistair Overeem in his first match with the promotion. Coker did say he plans to get Fedor in a match this fall, but said he thinks they need to build the fight up a bit before giving the WAMMA champ a shot at the Strikeforce heavyweight title.

This is the exact opposite tactic that Dana White suggested he would have done with Fedor had he signed with the UFC. White suggested that he would give Fedor an immediate shot at Brock Lesnar's title in his first match with the UFC, even asking reporters if they thought Fedor needed a 'tune up fight" or something. The UFC has that luxury though, if Fedor came in, fought Lesnar for the title in the biggest pay per view in MMA history, and won, they could easily set up the new biggest pay per view event in MMA history with a Fedor vs Couture match for the title. That dream is dead though.

For Strikeforce however, this is probably a good move for them as a promotion. No one expects anyone within the Strikeforce heavyweight ranks to give Fedor and trouble, but that is largely in part because their fighters are relatively unknown to MMA fans. Coker believes Alistair Overeem is a great heavyweight plagued only by the fact many fans know little about him. Coker will use Fedor oon the same card as Overeem to scure a large viewing audience and in turn, educating MMA fans who Overeem is.

From Tapout Radio via
“The very first fight that Fedor fights will be on Showtime, and then the roll-out of television from there forward hasn’t been determined 100%, but his first fight will be on Showtime. Fedor and Alistair Overeem should be an amazing fight, and people that haven’t seen Alistair, you know, he’s an amazing fighter.. said Scott Coker"

"I think we should do a couple of fights and build that one up, and then let their champion fight our champion, and let’s see what happens. We’re hoping that Alistair will be ready to fight in the Fall, and we can put him on one of the cards with Fedor, and not fight against each other but fight against someone else, and let’s build that fight up.”

Fedor signs with Strikeforce

Well, the dream of Fedor fighting the top heavyweights in the world appears to be dead for the moment. Fedor Emelianenko, and his M1 handlers have decided to sign with Strikeforce. M1 issued a statement refuting early reports of a 6 fight $30 million dollar deal offered by Dana White and the UFC. Sports Illustrated also dicredited those early reports, M1 also added that the offer from the UFC was less than what Fedor was currently making per fight.

Tough to determine what was actually offered. On the one hand, the UFC has every reason to leak a huge dollar offer to try to show their fans that they did "everything" they could to land the world's best heavyweight fighter. On the other hand, M1 would have all the motivation in the world to go public with a lower than advertised offer to explain why Fedor would choose a smaller promotion over the UFC.

Who knows, at least with Strikeforce Fedor's fights will be free to those who have Showtime. Its tough to see much opposition for him however, current heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem would seem to offer little challenge to someone of Fedor's stature. They do have Brett Rogers (of Arlovski KO fame), as well as Bob Sapp. Sapp would be a walk in the park for Fedor, but is a big name, Rogers is still rather green, but could be an interesting bout. Certainly no Lesnar, Couture, Mir, or Noguiera though.

Here is the portion of the report from Sports Illustrated (click to read full article):

"We tried everything that we could possibly do to get Fedor into the UFC, we went above and beyond," said White, who drew a line in the sand over the proposal of co-promotion. "I have been able to sign the best fighters in the world over the last 10 years into the UFC."

However, "it does not give us a chance to do what we as a company, including Fedor, are wanting to and planning to do," said the fighter's long-time manager and partner, Vadim Finkelchtein.

Rumors of a six-fight, $30 million deal from the UFC were shot down by Emelianenko's camp. Sources inside M-1 Global told that the UFC offer was for half as many fights at a rate less than what Emelianenko currently receives from his promotional company.

Emelianenko's reply to the UFC the following day didn't need translation. Addressing a small contingent of media gathered at a makeshift press conference in Anaheim, Calif., Emelianenko wore a pullover emblazoned with the EA Sports logo, a clear dismissal of White's decree that fighters wishing to compete in the UFC would refrain from signing a deal with the video game giant.