The Nail in Affliction’s Coffin

As Affliction readies for their second MMA card they have released their fight card (posted below)  It looks like there are a couple of good fights on “The Day of Reckoning” card, however they made some huge mistakes. 

1. Their choice of fights for the pay per view card.  I think they made a big mistake making two cards so distinct like they did.  They have their pay per view card and their HDNet card.  While, I appreicate that it means that all the fights will be televised, they made a mistake with their line up.  The bottom line is that if Affliction wants to hang around they MUST have good fights.  I think there are 3 really good fights on this card and only 2 others worth watching.  The really good fights: Fedor vs. Arlovski, Lindland vs. Belfort and Nogueira vs. Matyushenko.  Someone please tell me why in the heck is a Chris Horodecki vs. Dan Lauzon fight making the pay per view card over Nogueira vs. Matyushenko?  For that matter why in the world would Babalu vs. Sokoudjou make it into the broadcast over Nog vs. Matyushenko?  I am not done.  Why would Josh Barnett vs. Gilbert Yvel be the choise over Nogueira vs. Matyushenko?  I know they want a headliner for HDNet, but they need buys.  Nog vs. Matyushenko has a story – it’s a re-match.  It has two top twenty light heavyweights.  Nogueira has huge name recognition.  Bad move Affliction.  There is one nail in your coffin and one reason I will no pay for those fights.  Horodecki vs. Lauzon is laughable.  They are not even top 40 lightweights in the world.  Come on. 

2. Their Competition.  The bottom line is that the economy is in bad shape and it can affect pay per view buys for MMA events.  In January I will have to budget which events to buy.  Here is the line up for January.  January 17th is UFC 93 headlined by Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson with Shogun vs. Mark Coleman.  Affliction 2: Day of Reckoning is on January 17th and is headlined by Fedor vs. Arlovski, which is very interesting.  UFC 94 follows on January 31st features B.J. Penn vs. Georges St. Pierre.  Listen if you can afford a pay per view 3 times in January…more power to you.  I can’t.  Let’s just say for the sake of it that you will order 2 events in January, which ones will you order?  GSP vs. Penn is a no brainer.  That means it is between Fedor vs, Arlovski and Franklin vs. Henderson.  The main event may favor Affliction, but the whole card and name recognition favors UFC 93.  Not to mention the fact that people can get their MMA fix the day after the Affliction card from WEC 38, which features Jamie Varner vs. Donald Cerrone and Urijah Faber vs. Jens Pulver.  Also, WEC 38 may add Carlos Condit to the card.  On top of that…add in the fact that about 28 days before Affliction’s card UFC 92 airs on Pay Per View.  Oh yeah, your co-promoter, Golden Boy has a big boxing event that same night 30 minutes away.  Ouch, that hurts. Sorry Affliction that is 2 nails in your coffin.

3.  Their marketing.  Enough said.  They cannot compete with the UFC.  The casual fan will not know about or will not remember the Affliction event in light of the upcoming super fight with Penn and St. Pierre.  Further confusion is cast with the distinction of the HDNet card vs. pay per view card.  My prediction is that Affliction’s rating stink and this is the third nail in their coffin.  As they say in baseball…3 strikes you are out!

Pay Per View Card:

Fedor Emelianenko vs.  Andrei Arlovski

Josh Barnett vs.  Gilbert Yvel

Renato Sobral vs.  Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

Matt Lindland vs.  Vitor Belfort

Chris Horodecki vs.  Dan Lauzon

HDNet Broadcast:

Vladimir Matyushenko vs.  Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

Jay Hieron vs.  Jason High

Mark Hominick vs.  LC Davis

Albert Rios vs. Antonio Duarte

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Babalu vs. Sokoudjou at Affliction: Day of Reckoning

Two light heavyweight fighters fired by the UFC will square off at Affliction: Day of Reckoning.   Newly crowned Strikeforce light heavyweight champ Renato “Babalu” Sobral will square off against recently released Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou.  Both of these guys are generally considered top 20 205ers in the world. 

Sokoudjou gained fame for his back to back knockouts of Ricardo Arona and Antonio Rogeri Nogueira in the last days of PRIDE.  That earned him a stint in the UFC where he went 1-2.  Albeit, Sokoudjou’s losses came to Lyoto Machida and Luis Cane. 

Anyways, should be a fairly good fight.  This should be a fight that Babalu will want to take to the ground as Sokoudjou has shown ZERO ground ability.

Renato Sobral

vs.

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

Babalu

Nickname

The African Assasain

18

MMA Blog Rank

16

205 Lbs.

Weight Class

205 Lbs.

31-7

Record

5-3

 

Strikeforce: Destruction Results

Quick Results:

Scott Smith def. Terry Martin by KO in Round 1

Renato “Babalu” Sobral def. Bobby Southworth at the end of Round 1 Due to Cut

Duane “Bang” Ludwig def. Yves Edwards by Unanimous Decision

Joe ‘Diesel’ Riggs defeats Luke Stewart via TKO (Strikes) in Round Two

Kim Couture defeats Lina Kvokov via TKO (Strikes) in Round One

Notes:

  • Check out my pre-fight picks.  I went 5 for 5 here.  Honestly, non-UFC events have fewer upsets and are easier to pick.   I don’t mean to brag, but I have done fairly well with my picks.  Maybe I should pick up gambling…nah.
  • Scott Smith looked really solid and Terry Martin has a glass jaw
  • I don’t know if the Southworth fight should have been stopped, but Babalu probably had it in the bag anyways
  • It looks like Kim Couture fought a tomato can who was scared to engage and turned away as she was being beaten up
  • Yves Edwards might want to consider retirement
  • The production of this event was second rate at best

Strikeforce: Destruction Predictions

This still turns out to be a fairly solid card, b ut it really took a hit with the injury to Josh Thomson.  However, Strikeforce showed a lot of flexibility by bringing in Duane Ludwig as a replacement and by tapping Scott Smith and Terry Martin to fight, which really helped a card that would have been dead otherwise.  It doesn’t have UFC draw on it, but it has 4 good fights, plus the debut of Kim Couture.  There are a lot of prospects on the undercard and I only know of a few of them so I will refrain from picking out of ignorance. 

Bobby Southworth vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral

Bobby Southworth may be able to hit hard with that right hand, but I base this pick off of pure skill set.  Babalu may be a punk, but he is a top 20 light heavyweight in the world punk.  He has to hope for a win as he has a tough match up looming in January with Matt Lindland at Affliction’s second card.  Babalu is a great grappler, wrestler and jiu jitsu practitoner.  Southworth may want to watch Chuck Liddell’s fight against Babalu as Babalu may be suseptible to strikes.  However, in the end Babalu is too well rounded.  I saw he gets the take down and chokes out Southworth in round 2 to become the Strikeforce light heavyweight champion.

Yves Edwards vs. Duane “Bang” Ludwig

Edwards has the experience in his corner, however I think Ludwig’s muay thai will prove to be too much.  Edwards has a weak chin which will be tested in this fight.  Ludwig is not on elite level, but this should be a good fight.  Also, do not forget Ludwig will have some size advantage in this fight as well.  I pick Ludwig by TKO in round 1.

Terry Martin vs. Scott Smith

This is a great fight.  I do not know what this means for Smith’s career and the contract status with ProElite, but this is a big fight for Smith.  Scott Smith hung with Lawler in their first fight and then suffered a loss to him.   This fight will show that Scott Smith is not a one hit wonder in MMA.  A loss here would hurt Smith’s career with the fold of ProElite.  A win here and he could find a lot of offers including an offer from Strikeforce, Affliction, DREAM, or even a shot back in the UFC.  A loss would hurt that.  At one time i was on the Terry Martin hype wagon.  He looked good for a while in the UFC, but the loss to Leben hurt him.  Terry martin is a great boxer, but while he can KO people he can also be KO’d himself.  I have to believe that Smith has overall better MMA skills and hope he would utilize kicks and strikes to get the win.  I would expect this fight to stay standing.  If Smith uses his kicks well I expect he can keep his distance and pick up the win.  I pick Scott Smith to win this by decision.

Joe Riggs vs. Luke Stewart

Which Joe Riggs will show up?  Riggs has looked decent lately.  He got a bad deal with the stoppage at the last event against Kazuo Misaki, but he still was going to lose that fight.  Stewart is a relative unknown with good jiu jitsu skills.  Riggs is a solid competitior.  I expect him to win by decision.

Breaking Down the UFC Light Heavyweight Division

The Champion: Forrest Griffin

The Top Contender: Rashad Evans

The Next Tier:

·         Wanderlei Silva

·         Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

·         Lyoto Machida

·         Thiago Silva

·         Rich Franklin

·         Dan Henderson

·         Keith Jardine

·         Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

·         Chuck Liddell

·         Luis Arthur Cane

·         Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

 

On the Rise: 

·         Luis Arthur Cane

 

Other Notables:

·         Brandon Vera

·         Mat Hamill

·         Stephan Bonnar

·         Jon Jones

·         Tim Boetsch

·         Steve Cantwell

·         Brian Stann

·         James Irvin

·         Eric Schafer

 

Scheduled Fights:

·         Steve Cantwell vs. Razak Al-Hussan at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Forrest Griffin vs. Rashad Evans @ UFC 92 on December 28 (For Title)

·         Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva @ UFC 92 on December 28

·         Matt Hamill vs. Reese Andy @ UFC 92 on December 28

·         Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson @ UFC 93 on January

·         Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Mark Coleman @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Andre Gusmao vs. Antonio Mendes @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Ivan Serati vs. Tomasz Drwal @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Jon Jones vs. Stephan Bonnar @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva @ UFC 94 on January 31

 

Match Ups I’d Like to See:

·         Luis Cane vs. Keith Jardine

·         Brandon Vera vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

 

Other Thoughts:

·         There are rumors of a Anderson Silva vs. Chuck Liddell match up at UFC 95

·         There are a lot of light heavyweight contenders and the match ups are being set.  The winner of Wanderlei vs. Rampage should get the next title shot, although the winner of Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva should be considered as well. 

·         We are waiting for the debut of rumored UFC signee Glover Teixeira who has been having visa troubles in Brazil. 

·         The UFC could sign former EliteXC light heavyweight Rafael Feijao, which would be a big time contender.

·         The UFC has a clear monopoly on the light heavyweight division.  There are only a few fighters worth a  dime in this division not in the UFC (Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Vladimir Matyushenko, Ricardo Arona, Tito Ortiz, and Renato “Babalu” Sobral)

·         I looks like two solid light heavyweights have dropped to middleweight in Goran Reljic and Wilson Gouveia

·         The Ultimate Fighter 8 which featured light heavyweights is sure to place a few good fighters in the divison, but it will take time for them to climb the ladder.  Watch out for guys like Ryan Bader, Vinny Magalhes, Kryztof Soszynski, and Eliot Marshall.

·         It is somewhat possible to see Randy Couture take a few fights at light heavyweight and also to see Anderson Silva fight at 205 more often in 2009

 

This Week (November 16-23) In MMA

  • Strikeforce: Destruction – November 21st –  This card was scheduled to feature a title defense by lightweight Champ Josh Thomson, however he was forced to withdraw to to a foot injury.  Duane “Bang” Ludwig was tapped to replace him against Yves Edwards.  Also on the card is a light heavyweight title bout between Champ Bobby Southworth and Renato “Babalu” Sobral.  That is a tough match for Southworth.  Strikeforce also added a good middleweight bout between UFC vets Scott Smith and Terry Martin.  Also, look for the debut of Kim Couture on this card.  It is worth a watch.
  • Ring of Combat XXII – November 21 – This card features a couple of titles.  Including Chris Liguori in a lightweight bout with Cory Mahon.  Also, a middleweight title fight between TUF 7 alums Dante Rivera and Paul Bradley. 
  • M-1 Challenge 9 – November 21 – Aleksander Emelianenko will fight Korean prospect Sang Soo Lee
  • The Ultimate Fighter Episode 11 – November 19 –  This is going to be the last of the prelim fights and will feature a fight between lightweights George Roop and John Polakowski.  Also, we expect the semi-finals match ups to be announced.
  • C-3 Fights: DominationNovember 22 –  TUF 7 Alum John Kolosci, TUF 8 Alum Jason Guida, Up and Comer Pat Curran and Eddie Wineland will all be in action at this event.

MMABlog’s Light Heavyweight MMA Rankings

 

Here are my 205’ers.  The UFC clearly has the deepest and best pool of 205 lb fighters.  I only see a couple of non-UFC fighters being top 25 material. 

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

Forrest Griffin

UFC

Evans (#6), 12/27

2

Quinton Jackson

UFC

W. Silva (#4) 12/27

3

Lyoto Machida

UFC

T. Silva (#10) 1/31

4

Wanderlei Silva

UFC

Jackson (#2) 12/27

5

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

UFC

Coleman (NR), 1/17

6

Rashad Evans

UFC

Griffin (#1), 12/27

7

Dan Henderson

UFC

Franklin (#12), 1/17

8

Keith Jardine

UFC

 

9

Chuck Liddell

UFC

 

10

Thiago Silva

UFC

Machida (#3), 1/31

11

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

Affliction

Moisa (NR), 11/3

12

Rich Franklin

UFC

Henderson (#7), 1/17

13

Brandon Vera

UFC

 

14

Vladimir Matyushenko

Affliction

 

15

Luiz Cane

UFC

 

16

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

UFC

 

17

Ricardo Arona

 

 

18

Renato “Babalu” Sobral

Affliction

Southworth (NR), 11/21

19

Matt Hamill

UFC

Andy (NR), 12/27

20

Tito Ortiz

 

 

21

Rafael Feijao

EliteXC?

 

22

Steve Cantwell

UFC

Al-Hussan (NR), 12/10

23

Stephan Bonnar

UFC

Jones (NR), 1/31

24

James Irvin

UFC

 

25

Brian Stann

UFC

 

Also considered: Jon Jones, Tim Boetsch, Bobby Southworth, Mark Coleman (Didn’t include him because he hasn’t fought again.  He probably is top 25 material)