Thursday, 25 August 2011

TUF Season 14 Line-Up: Cast Revealed

Its that time once again when The Ultimate Fighter (Season 14) will kick off. On Wednesday, September 21 at 9 p.m. ET/PT there will be a special two-hour premiere featuring all of the preliminary fights in their entirety for the first time.

This is sure to be one to watch as 32 of the world’s most promising mixed martial artists begin their quest to advance into the The Ultimate Fighter house and for the first time in franchise history, the bantamweight (145) and featherweight (135) weight classes will be showcased.

Jason “Mayhem” Miller and Michael “The Count” Bisping will compete as coaches this season and will eventually meet in the Octagon® at The Ultimate Fighter Finale in December. I can't wait to see how these two get along, I've got a feeling there will be more than just banter between the two, Miller is a huge wind-up merchant and Bisping can't handle being taunted.  

The Ultimate Fighter Season 14: Team Miller vs. Team Bisping cast, whose hometowns range from Gothenburg, Sweden to Winnipeg, Manitoba to Glasgow, Scotland to Yonkers, N.Y. include the following:


Fighting out of: Puyallup, Wash. / Victory Athletics
Record: 6-1-0
Age: 24

Fighting out of: Watuga, Texas/ F3 Alliance
Record: 17-9-1
Age: 28

Fighting out of: Western Springs, Ill. / Gilbert Grappling
Record: 6-1-0
Age: 22

Fighting out of: Winnipeg, Manitoba / Winnipeg Academy of MMA
Record: 6-1-0
Age: 27

Fighting out of: Sacramento, Calif. / Team Alpha Male
Record: 4-0-0
Age: 25

Fighting out of: Albuquerque, N.M. / Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts
Record: 11-5-0
Age: 26

Fighting out of: New Castle, Ind. / No Affiliation
Record: 6-1-0
Age: 21

Fighting out of: Louisville, Ky. / All-American MMA
Record: 6-2-0
Age: 29

Fighting out of: Louisville, Ky. / All-American MMA
Record: 7-3-0
Age: 22

Fighting out of: Yonkers, N.Y. / Team Tiger Schulmann
Record: 5-1-0
Age: 26

Fighting out of:  Connersville, Ind. / Team Wolfpack
Record: 20-7-0
Age: 25

Fighting out of: Boston, Mass. / Team Sityodtong
Record: 6-2-0
Age: 25

Fighting out of: Glasgow, Scotland / Dinky Ninjas
Record: 18-6-0
Age: 29

Fighting out of: New Richmond, Wisc. / The Academy
Record: 11-0-0
Age: 27

Fighting out of: Centreville, Va. / MASE MMA
Record: 9-4-0
Age: 23

Fighting out of: Indianapolis, Ind. / Integrated Fighting
Record: 11-3-0
Age: 30


Fighting out of: Savannah, Ga. / Lloyd Irvin MMA
Record: 10-0-0
Age: 28

Fighting out of: Massapequa, N.Y./ Long Island MMA
Record: 7-2-0
Age: 24

Fighting out of: Albuquerque, N.M. / Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts
Record: 13-7-0
Age: 23

Fighting out of: Coconut Creek, Fla. / American Top Team
Record: 3-1-0
Age: 31

Fighting out of: Sacramento, Calif. / Team Alpha Male
Record: 15-5-0
Age: 26

Fighting out of: San Francisco, Calif. / Skrap Pack
Record: 4-0-1
Age: 29

Fighting out of: Gothenburg, Sweden / Team Kaobon
Record: 9-3-0
Age: 28

Fighting out of: Nottingham, United Kingdom / Wolfslair Academy     
Record: 7-1-0
Age: 30

Fighting out of: Independence, Mo. / Grindhouse MMA
Record: 20-5-0
Age: 25

Fighting out of: Coconut Creek, Fla. / American Top Team
Record: 17-4-0
Age: 24

Fighting out of: Granite City, Ill. / Hit Squad
Record: 22-17-1
Age: 24

Fighting out of: Ventura, Calif. / Knuckleheadz Boxing
Record: 6-1-0
Age: 24

Fighting out of: Springfield, Mo. / Springfield Fight Club
Record: 7-1-0
Age: 26

Fighting out of: Elmwood Park, N.J. / Team Tiger Schulmann
Record: 8-1-0
Age:  21

Fighting out of: Ogden, Utah / Riven Academy
Record: 18-9-0
Age: 24

Fighting out of: Honolulu, Hawaii / MMA Development
Record: 5-1-0
Age: 24

I haven't seen much from some of these fighters but I'm sure they have been picked for a very well thought out reason. In my opinion the smaller weight class competitors almost always go out to fight and should be highlighted just as much as their much larger counter-parts in the other "bigger" weight classes.

So there it is, Season 14 airs this September and will be one to watch closely!

"Countdown Show" for UFC 134: Aug 25th on Spike TV

In anticipation of the show, Spike TV debuts “Countdown to UFC 134 Tonight Aug. 25 at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami takes place Aug. 27 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. The pay-per-view headliner sees pound-for-pound kingpin Anderson Silva defend his UFC middleweight title against his long rivaled opponent Yushin Okami.

Replays of the countdown show are currently scheduled to air on Spike TV on Aug. 26 (3 p.m. ET/PT) and Aug. 27 (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT). Versus and HDNet are also expected to air replays throughout the week, but specific plans have yet to be announced.

In addition to the headliner, the “Countdown” show is expected to focus on other high-profile matchups on the card, including the rematch between Forrest Griffin and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, as well as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Brendan Schaub.

Things are heating up in Rio for this huge event as it is lined up to be one of the best cards of the year so far.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami - Full Fight Card & Predictions

UFC 134: August 27th in Rio de Jeneiro
 So the time has come once again! The UFC is finally back in beautiful Brazil after a whopping 11 year absence from the country that created some of the most well known and skillful mixed martial arts athletes.

The last event to be in Brazil was back in 1998, titled UFC: 17.5 Ultimate Brazil. The event was host to an evening full of great bouts including the middleweight champion at the time, Frank Shamrock vs John Lober and Vitor Belfort vs. Wanderlei Silva.

But enough about the past, we wanna know about the here and now! So here's the card, I'll highlight who I think the victors will be:


Anderson Silva (c) vs. Yushin Okami: UFC Middleweight Championship 
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Forrest Griffin
Brendan Schaub vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Edson Barboza vs. Ross Pearson 
Luiz Cane vs. Stanislav Nedkov


Thiago Tavares vs. Spencer Fisher 
Rousimar Palhares vs. Dan Miller


Paulo Thiago vs. David Mitchell 
Raphael Assuncao vs. Johnny Eduardo 
Yuri Alcantara vs. Felipe Arantes 
Yves Jabouin vs. Ian Loveland 
Luis Ramos vs. Erick Silva

These are my fighter picks, some of these I want to win, others I don't.

I've got a feeling that Silva is really going to push the fight this time, and if he pushes hard enough I'm sure he'll earn an early stoppage.

I'd really like to see Forrest come back into the picture and finish Rua with an early and impressive KO/TKO but I don't think it will happen.

Schaub vs. Nogueira is an interesting one. Schaub has already stated that he wants a KO victory over the Brazilian and if he rushes the fight I think he'll pay for it, however I do believe Nogueira will be stopped in the second round as long as Schaub keeps it standing up.

Being from the UK myself I will always back a fellow Brit. I think Pearson vs. Barboza will be a true war, its gonna be bloody and its gonna be violent. It will be close for the first two rounds but I see Perason dominating in the third and taking the decision victory.

Stay tuned this weekend for my coverage on the fights.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

My Thoughts on UFC:133 Evans vs. Ortiz

I was excited for this card, especially the main event and I was VERY pleased with the outcome. I really didn't want Ortiz to win and the second he had Evans trapped in a guillotine I was screaming at the TV. Luckily Evans escaped and continued to punish Tito for the rest of the round right up until the second he drove his knee into the already weakened Ortiz and punished him with a few more power punches, awarding himself with the TKO stoppage at 4:48 of round 2.

The second I saw Evans come out of his corner I knew he was gonna win, I could see it in the way he was moving, he was confident and well prepared,Ortiz in my eyes looked to be in pretty good shape but not as good as he was in his prime. Evans was better in every direction that the fight went, when he got taken down he quickly got back up and worked the clinch successfully and then later on lifted Ortiz and dumped him onto the canvas, which was massively impressive.

Dominating Ortiz
Evans has been heavily criticized since his fight with Forrest Griffin but I think he may have redeemed himself after spending 15 months out of the cage. I wasn't a big fan of Rashad before the fight, but after his impressive performance how can I not be a fan?

So what about the co-main? Belfort vs. Akiyama! What a great match up, I really did not expect it to go down the way that it did. Belfort was destroyed very early in his fight against Anderson Silva and I thought that may have been the last we saw of him, however I was pleased to see him back and fighting another great middleweight prospect in Akiyama. In a way I was sad to see Akiyama get beaten the way he did, but to see Vitor back on form like that was incredible, he swarmed all over Akiyama like flies on a dead animal, it was fast, it was vicious and it was Vitor! Just like in his prime!

I was shocked when I saw Dennis Hallman walk out in the tightest pair of speedos that have ever disgraced the octagon, but you can't deny that it was brave. Ebersole is not a fighter to take lightly, he improves with every fight and he finished off Hallman in a quick, effective fashion, landing himself a heft 70k bonus for getting those ugly pants off TV (said Dana White).

Tighty whitey's, now banned
The fighter I was most impressed with was Rory McDonald. He came out with a really solid game plan and worked on Mike Pyle for the entire first round, landing himself a TKO stoppage just shy of 4 minutes of the first round. I expect big things in the future of McDonald.

Future champion, McDonald
Now for the sad part. Matt "The Hammer" Hamill was stopped in the second round in his fight against Alexander Gustaffson, pushing him into retirement holding a relatively sound record of 10-2 with wins over his Ultimate Fighter coach Tito Ortiz, Mark Munoz and Keith Jardine (also the only person to hold a win over Jon Jones that is often discounted as Jones was disqualified for delivering illegal elbows). After the event Hamill admitted that his body had been put through a lot of punishment in training over the years but he will still continue to coach.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Chris "The Crippler" Leben - The Evolution: From Thug to Legend

First off let me just state that I am a HUGE "Crippler" fan, I have seen all of his fights more than once, including post UFC + TUF, and I have always liked his style and standard of fighting.

When Leben first started fighting as an amateur he went an impressive 5-0 and captured two amateur middleweight belts, and it was no surprise, he was training along side the likes of, Randy Couture, Matt Lindland, Nate Quarry and other impressive fighters.

After his success in the amateur ranks, Leben turned professional. He won his first five fights, three victories of which came via knockout, whilst doing so he earned the Gladiator Challenge, Sportfight, and WEC middleweight titles. Leben achieved wins against Benji Radach, Mike Swick, Jorge Rivera, Edwin Dewees and Patrick Cote, an otherwise perfect record blemished only by a decision loss to Joe Derkson.

Along came The Ultimate Fighter. I never saw much of Leben outside of the cage so I was nothing but surprised when I saw him taking a leak on Jason Thacker's bed in the first series of the show. There's something very demoralising for a man to not only get some punk kid using their bed as a urinal but to then get to fight that punk kid, and have the referee pull him off you after only 95 seconds of getting smacked upside the head by him is pretty depressing.

Throughout the show Leben went through a lot of emotions and as TUF progressed we watched him grow as not only a fighter, but as a person too. I gained a lot of new found respect for Leben. Whenever there was confrontation in the house you could guarantee who was gonna be in the mix of it all, and most memorably was when Bobby Southworth called him a "fatherless bastard", with this being a very emotional subject for Leben he ultimately flipped out and punched his way through a window. With Josh Koscheck continually being the one to grind The Crippler's gears, Dana White set up the fight. This was bad for Leben, Koscheck was and is a fantastic ground player and his wrestling is spot on, something that Leben could not compete with, forcing the fight to go do decision we saw Leben take a hard loss to Koscheck, forcing him out of the competition.

Showing respect to the fans
With Leben seemingly out of the show I was pretty devastated, I wanted to see more of this guy fighting his heart out inside the octagon. So when Nate Quarry was sidelined due to an ankle injury, he had to choose someone to replace him and he selected Leben. Sadly he was later defeated by Kenny Florian due to doctor stoppage in the first semi-final match after Florian opened a cut above Leben's eye with an elbow strike. His losses on the taped show are not on his professional record, as the fights were classified by Nevada as exhibition bouts.

Looking back to the first series of TUF we can see how much this guy has evolved, he is now (looking beyond his hazy past) a great ambassador and role model for the sport and in the UFC. He is always respectful to the company, the fighters and the fans which is something that can only be admired, and with hands as quick and hard as his to boot, I always know he's gonna put on a good show for as far as his MMA career takes him.

He's had more fights than any other middleweight in the UFC, and holds a pretty impressive record of 22-7 with more fights than any other fighter in the devision at 18 in total, and possibly one of the greatest moments in his UFC stint is when he pulled over an impressive TKO victory over Aaron Simpson at The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale, scoring a "knockout of the night" bonus too, but not only did he destroy Simpson he took another fight a mere two weeks later against an amazing prospect in Yoshihiro Akiyama in which he ended the bout in style in the last 20 seconds of the final round where he pulled out an impressive triangle choke, again nailing another bonus, this time under "fight of the night". Suffering losses to only the best fighters in the division including, Bisping, Anderson Silva and more recently and UFC 125 Brian Stann so it'l be interesting to see which path the fight goes down.

Squaring off against Yoshihiro Akiyama, UFC 116

He has many other great accomplishments in the sport, he was the first ever WEC Middleweight Champion, has scored the "Fight of the Night" bonus 2 times, the "Knockout of the Night" bonus 3 times and has knocked out more people than any other person in the middleweight division (inside the UFC).

I can't wait to see how his fight with Mark Munoz goes down at UFC 138. My prediction is that If Munoz is smart he will use his wrestling and control Leben on the ground. Sadly, unless Leben can stay on his feet I see Munoz taking the decision.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

What to expect between Evans and Ortiz at UFC: 133

Well its almost here, were only a few days away from witnessing a long awaited rematch between, Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz. To be honest I'm not a huge Evans fan and I don't like Ortiz at all. I wasn't at all shocked when I heard he was booked as the replacement to fight Evans, the fight interests me because they have history which I feel can sometimes make fights just that bit more intense.

Evans and Ortiz fought to a unanimous draw (28–28, 28–28, 28–28) on a packed card at UFC 73. Ortiz was deducted a point in the second round for repeatedly grabbing the fence, costing him the W.

Ortiz hadn't won a fight in 5 years since he got "knock out of the night" over Ken Shamrock in the first round of their final endeavour. That was of course until Ryan Bader got a bit to close to Tito's fist, got dropped and then submitted in a guillotine (which wasn't even that great, Baders defence was to pull away from the submission which ended in him tapping out). Now just a little over a month later he's opposing against the number 1 contender in the LHW division.

Is Ortiz in the top 10 of the LHW? I wanna say no, but I think he may be there, right at number 10. His win over Bader was impressive, I truly expected Bader's wrestling and superior stand-up to dominate Ortiz at the weakest point of his MMA career. For him to comeback as he did was impressive, I expected and wanted him out of the UFC.

Expect more of this in the opening round
So how do I think the fight will go down? To be honest I think they are gonna go in there and fight hard in the stand up in the first round. Evans will no doubt use his wrestling and control Tito for the majority of the second round and in the third round I see a little more stand up with a lot of takedown attempts on both parts, I don't think Ortiz will be able to take down Evans, certainly not as late as the third round. I give this to Evans by unanimous decision,

How Evans will control the fight for rounds 2 and 3
Tito has everything to gain from this and an impressive win over Evans will catapult him into top title contention, but then what? If he ever gets to fight Jon Jones then he would get destroyed by him sending him back to Dana's office begging for yet another pity fight or sending him straight to retirement. What if Rashad wins? Well its pretty obvious, he goes on to face the winner of Jones vs Rampage, which I assume will Bones (if he plays smart and controls Rampage on the ground).

So that's my view, Evans will win by UD, leaving Ortiz a broken shell of a fighter once again.

UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz

With the increase of injury's in the UFC its no surprise that fight cards have to keep changing, but is it damaging the sport? I don't think so, no matter what happens to fighters you can almost always guarantee that the matchmakers will still put together great fights thanks to all the talent they have on board.

So originally it was Evans vs. Jones for the LHW title, a fight that really blew any friendship out of the water between the two and between Evans and Greg Jackson's camp, then "Jonny Bones" was sidelined due to a torn ligament in his right hand. An already frustrated Rashad Evans (who has been out of action since his fight in May 2010 against Rampage Jackson) was yet again out of an opponent, that was until the quickly rising Phil Davies came into play, and as Evans was eager to get back into title contention he took the fight.

July 12th, the date that Rashad Evans was once again let down. Phil Davies suffered a knee injury in training and was pulled from the fight. So the hunt was on once again to find a frustrated Evans. Tito Ortiz was offered the fight but initially he declined. Dana White then contacted Lyota Machida's camp to get a rematch between him and Evans, they initially accepted then when White contacted to confirm, Machida demanded "Anderson Silva money", something that White deemed disrespectful, pushing Machida out of the picture. So then what happened? Well, Ortiz decided that he wanted the fight and a rematch, coming off an impressive win over Ryan Bader at UFC 132.

UFC 73 Evans vs. Ortiz ends in draw

So it was set, Rashad Evans vs. Tito Ortiz would headline the main event on the August 6th card in Philadelphia. The two previously fought at UFC 73 which ended in a draw due to Ortiz having a point deducted for grabbing the cage, a fight that in the eyes of many was deserved to Ortiz.

Twitter has been the home to a lot of "smack talk" between fighters and it's a great way of getting the online community hyped for a fight, with both of these fighters being heavily involved in smack-talking I knew it was only a matter of time until one of them tried to push the buttons of their opponent.

Here is a video evidencing the heavy words: