Mid Year MMA Awards

Best Knockout

Honorable Mention: Luis Arthur Cane KO Jason Lambert, Shane Carwin KO Christian Wellish, Murilio Rua TKO Tony Bonello, Matt Wiman KO Thiago Tavares

5. Anthony Johnson KO Tommy Speer

4. Wilson Gouveia KO Jason Lambert

3. Brian Stann KO Doug Marshall

2. James Irvin KO Houston Alexander

1. Wanderlei Silva KO Keith Jardine

Best Submission

Honorable Mention: Antonio Nogueira submits Tim Sylvia by Guillotine, Yoshiyuki Yoshida submits Jon Koppenhaver by Anaconda choke, Nate Diaz submits Kurt Pellegrino, Cole Miller Submits Jorge Gurgel by Triangle Choke

5. Demian Mia Submits Ed Herman by Triangle Choke

4. Frank Mir Submits Brock Lesnar by Kneebar

3. Rousimar Palhares Submits Ivan Salaverry by Armbar

2. Dustin Hazelett Submits Josh Burkman by Armbar

1. Shinya Aoki Submits Katsuhiko Nagata by Aokiplata

Best Fight

Honorable Mention: Shinya Aoki vs. Gesias Calvancante, Cung Le vs. Frank Shamrock

5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Tim Sylvia

4. Urijah Faber vs. Jens Pulver

3. Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith

2. Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin

1. Miguel Torres vs. Yoshiro Maeda

Best Fight Card

5. WEC 34: Faber vs. Pulver

4. UFC 80: Rapid Fire

3. UFC 81: Breaking Point

2. DREAM 4

1. UFC 84: Ill Will

Upset of The Year:

Honorable Mention: Jason Day over Alan Belcher,

5. Thiago Alves over Karo Parisyan

4. Kevin Burns over Roan Carneiro

3. Fabricio Werdum over Gabriel Gonzaga

2. Josh Thomson over Gilbert Melendez

1. Forrest Griffin over Quinton Jackson

Fighter Of The Year:

Honorable Mention: Anderson Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Michael Bisping, Georges St. Pierre, Diego Sanchez

5. Miguel Torres

4. Forrest Griffin

3. Thiago Alves

2. Shinya Aoki

1. B.J. Penn (2 Impressive wins over Sean Sherk and Joe Stevenson)

Best UFC Newcomer:

Honorable Mention: Shane Carwin, Brock Lesnar

5. Rousimar Palhares

4. Dong Hyun Kim

3. Yoshiyuki Yoshida

2. Goran Reljic

1. Cain Velasquez

Worst Calls By A Ref. or Judges

5. Forrest Griffin over Quinton Jackson –  Not just that Forrest got the win, but that it was unanimous.  Many, including me scored the fight either a draw or to Jackson

4. Brandon Vera vs. Fabricio Werdum- Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight in round 1 when Werdum was mounted on Vera throwing down punches.  There was just 10 seconds remaining and Vera seemed to be defending himself well. 

3. Nate Marquardt vs. Thales Leites — Leites got the win, but lost the fight.  He lost the fight due to two points taken away from Marquardt.  One point was justified, but the other was due to elbow to the back of the ehad that wasn’t to the back of the head.  I will confess, that another point could have fairly been deducted for an illegal slam, but I hated to see Marquardt get a loss on his record that I feel he won

2. Phantom split decisions — How was Evan Tanner vs. Kendall Grove a split deicsion?  How was Heath Herring vs Cheick Kongo a split decision?  The right person got the decision, but how was it split?

1. Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson – Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight in the 3rd round while Thompson was still standing and failed to stop it when Thompson was mounted on Kimbo raining down elbows

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The Impact of UFC 82

I believe that UFC 82 had a much greater impact that some will see right away.  Let us look at some of the impacts and break it down…

1. Many of the top tier welterweights competed and won their fights (Fitch, Koscheck and Sanchez)

2.  Jon Fitch established himself as the next guy to get a title shot, sorry Karo. 

3. The Heavyweight divison lost a contender in Checik Kongo.  Kongo dropped in the rankings following his loss to Herring.  Previously Kongo was in line for a title shot if he had pulled off a win.

4.  The title in the Heavyweight divison is a mess.  You still have Randy Couture.  You have Nogueira and the Interim Champ.  Initially, Dana White suggested that Fabricio Werdum was in line to get the next title shot after his win over Gabriel Gonzaga.  However, it appears Werdum will fight Brandon Vera this summer.  I doubt they could hold off a title defense until after the outcome of that fight.  I believe the UFC expected Kongo to win and get the title shot.  I will write more on this later. 

5.  Anderson Silva solidified himself as the top pound for pound fighter in the world and caused everyone to wonder if anyone can ever take his middleweight belt.  If anyone was to beat him I thought it would be Dan Henderson.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Dan fought badly, I just think Anderson is that good.  I believe the UFC is now forced to find another contender.  It looks like Yushin Okami will get the next shot, and I believe it is well deserved.  However, if Silva beats Okami he has literally cleaned out the top of the divison, who will contend Cote? Bisping? Kampmann?  The UFC can either let him walk through the three or four other guys he has yet to beat or they can sign a top tier guy to challenge him.  I see only two options: Matt Lindaland and Paulo Filho.  Or someone can drop down from light heavyweight (Wanderlai) or go up from welterweight (St. Pierre or Hughes). 

5. Evan Tanner’s comeback was halted.  Can he compete in the UFC? Yes.  Can he re-gain hsi title?  I doubt it.  Okami by the way looked very good and I believe is very underrated.  I don’t think Anderson Silva will walk over him and he deserves the next title shot. 

My UFC 82 Predictions

 John Halverson vs. Jorge Gurgel

Jorge Gurgel is tough.  I think Gurgel is an excellent fighter and is good ont he ground.  I think Gurgel will win by submission in round two. 

Luke Cummo vs. Luigi Fiorvanti 

Luigi Fiorvanti is a hard hitting crowd favorite. I don’t think he is a top tier guy, but I think he is going to KO Luke Cummo in the second round. 

Diego Sanchez vs. David Bielkheden 

Diego has lost two in a row.  He chose not to drop to lightweight, which I think is a good decision for him, however if he looses here he better drop.  I doubt he will loose.  He should win this fight and I think he will win it easily.  He will win via ref stoppage in round one.  Again, sometimes fighters overlook guys, but this seems to be a fight the UFC set up to get Diego back on track. 

Josh Koscheck vs. Dustin Hazelett 

Josh Koscheck has looked good in every fight he has been in except the St. Pierre fight.  This is a tough fight for him coming off a loss.  Hazelett is no push over.  He has a lot riding on this fight.  If he wins he climbs the ladder.  Hazelett is coming off a win vs. Goulet.  While Dustin is a good fighter I would be hard pressed to pick against Koscheck.  I pick Josh Koscheck by a rear naked choke late in the second round. 

Andrei Arlovski vs. Jake O’Brien 

This fight is main card worthy.  Arlovski has not looked great lately.  Jake O’Brien hasn’t fought for a while.  I think O’Brien is better than people give him credit for an he is a legit top ten heavyweight.  He has a great record.  However, Arlovski is a former champ.  The question for him is whether or not he cares about winning.  Has he trained hard or is he just fighting here to fulfill his contract?  Is he wanting to leave with a bang?  Is he wanting to convince the UFC that he is worth big bucks in a new contract?  Is he trying to market himself to another organization?  Does he want a quick KO so the fight may get on the televised card?  If I knew those answers I could pick this fight better.  Because Arlovski cannot just coast through this fight.  I am tempted to pick O’Brien, however it is tough to pick against Arlovski.  O’Brien beat Heath Herring in his last fight.  I don’t know how he will look with over a year off.  I am still going to pick Arlovski although a O’Brien win would not shock me and would be great for him.  If Arlovski plans on staying in the UFC I hope he wins.  He will get the next title shot.  If he plans on leaving I hope he gets KO’d. 

Chris Leben vs. Alessio Sakara

This is going to be a war.  I doubt it wil last past one round.  Both guys love to strike. Leben showed a lot in his win against Terry Martin.  He was rocked when he KO’s Martin.  Leben is tough.  This fight is tough to pick because it will come down to who gets rocked first and while there is some skill involved I think there is a lot of luck.  I do not think leben is as good as he or many others think, however he is heavy handed.  Sakara has fought bigger and stronger guys than Leben.  I know that Leben will be the favorite, but there has to be an upset somewhere, so I am going to pick Alessio Sakara via second round KO.

Jon Fitch vs. Chris Wilson

Don’t overlook Chris Wilson in this fight.  I hear rumblings about how good he is.  A win here and Jon Fitch will get a title shot.  Karo Parisyan has to be rooting for Chris Wilson because the only way he gets the nest title shot is a Fitch loss.  It could happen.  I am close to picking Wilson in the upset.  The UFC could use another good welterweight fighter.  However, I cannot pick an unproven fighter over a proven fighter.  I like Jon Fitch and think he will win this fight by split decison.  In loosing I also think Wilson will solidfy himself as a top ten fighter in the UFC’s welterweight divison. 

Yushin Okami vs. Evan Tanner

The bottom line with this fight is that there are too many unknowns.  How will Evan Tanner do after such a long lay off?  I do not know why he is being thrown in against a top 5 middleweight fighter.  Okami is big and strong.  I think you can bet on a slow paced fight that Okami will control.  He could even capitalize on a mistake Tanner makes.  If Evan Tanner comes out liekt he Evan of old he could win, but he better win early.  The longer this match goes the more it favors Okami.  I predict Tanner will look rusty at best and Okami will get on him and control him for three rounds.  I will pick Okami by unanimous decison. 

 Cheick Kongo vs. Heath Herring

Heath Herring looks refocused.  Cheick Kongo beat Cro Cop.  The question I want answered here is whether or not Kongo can consistently beat top tier fighters.  There is much talk that the next title fight will not be Werdum, but Kongo if he wins here.  Regardless I do not think Kongo is ready for a title shot, but because of the way things have happened he is in the mix with a win.  Heath Herring hit Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira hard and nearly beat him.  The ref could have stopped that fight.   Heath Herring may be a top ten UFC Heavyweight, but I do not think he can beat Kongo.  Checik is so huge and strong that will pose a problem.  I look for Checik Kongo to win via strikes in the first round. 

Dan Henderson vs. Anderson Silva 

On paper this match is one of the best fights you could imagine.  Of course how it plays out in the octagon is a different story.  I believe this fight will live up to hype.  Dan Henderson will be the toughest match up for Anderson Silva in the UFC.  Rich Franklin is a great fighter, but his style seemed perfect for Anderson to walk through.  Dan Henderson is a different story.  Dan Henderson is tough, I mean never been knocked out tough.  He has fought the best fighters in the world, so he has the experience.  Dan Henderson is great in the clinch.  He is a good wrestler and a good ground and pound guy.  However, Anderson Silva can kick hard and he can submit a guy.  This is a tough fight to predict.  I really like Anderson Silva.  He is a class act.  He is tough to beat.  This fight is pivotal for the UFC.  If Anderson Silva wins this fight the UFC will be forced to go out and sign someone else like Fliho, Lindland, Lawler or Jason “Mayhem” Miller.  If Dan Henderson wins this fight I look for Wanderlai Silva to drop down and seek revenge for Dan beating him and taking his belt.  Of course the is a  tough fight to pick because you never know how the fight will go.  I will pick Dan Henderson by third round stoppage.   I do not see Anderson knocking Dan out.  His one chance I see is to submit him a la Travis Lutter.  I will pick Dan because I need to pick someone, but I do not know how anyone can really bet against Anderson Silva.  If he wins he is unstoppable. 

UFC News: Andrei Arlovski on the UFC 82 Preliminary Card

UFC 82 is shaping up to be a good card.  It is so full that last week it was announced that the Josh Koscheck vs. Dustin Hazelett fight would be on the undercard.  A stacked card is not easy to work through.  I imagine it is difficult to determine who will be a main card and who will be an undecard fight for a stacked card.  There is the maine ven of Anderson Silva vs. Dan Henderson.  I agree with the decision to put the Okami vs. Evan Tanner fight on the televised card as both are contenders and there is a good story line behind the return of a former champ.   You cannot put Jon Fitch on an undercard.  So the Jon Fitch vs. Chris Wilson fight will air, and will be a good fight.  Wilson is a good fighter.  Heath Herring vs. Checik Kongo has two big name guys which merita the main card.  Therefore you come down to a choice between three fights for the final spot on the main card: Josh Koscheck vs. Dustin Hazelett, Diego Sanchez vs. David Bielkheden and Andrei Arlovski vs. Jake O’Brien.

My first choice would be Arlovski vs. O’Brien.  They are both top ten UFC heavyweight fighters.  However, Arlovski won a boring fight over Werdum his last fight.  More than that he is not on the card because the UFC is punishing him for not signing with them before this fight.  He plans to test the market and get big time offers from other organizations.  I suspect this indicates this will be his last UFC fight.  The UFC doesn’t want to air this fight because it doesn’t want to market Arlovski.  Too late!  Bad decison.

Andrei Arlovski placed on the undercard.

The second choice would the Koscheck vs. Hazelett.  Why not this fight?  Koscheck is exciting, but perhaps his unpopularity hurts him.  Why did they pick Diego Sanchez vs. David Bielkheden.  The answer:  I cannot give you one.  Now, the UFC has proven to have mde some good choices in the past, but this doesn’y make sense.  I would rather see the Chris Leben vs. Alessio Sakara fight then the Diego Sanchez fight.  The bottom line is Sanchex in one of those guys they are trying to market and sell. 

UFC News: Gomi, TUF 7, UFC 83

Takanori Gomi Deal Falls Through                                                                                                                                                            It has been reported that a dead between the UFC and Takanori Gomi has fallen through.  Apparently, the deal was close to being signed because Frank Edgar was offered a fight with him.  I think that would have been a great fight, but I think Gomi should have stepped right in for a title shot.  I still think he should get the winner of the Penn/Sherk fight as a unification title bout.  I hope that the deal works out because Gomi is worth the investment.  There are only maybe 20 fighters worldwide that I believe should be catered to when negotiating contracts and Gomi is one of those guys.  I hope this deal works out

TUF 7

tuf7.jpg

I have compiled a list of the TUF 7 fighters here. It looks like another good season.  I am not sure if any of these guys are run away favorites.  Apparently the Brazillian “Jacare” is not on the show.  We are still awaiting news as to when the finale will be and when Griffin and Jackson will fight.  It is looking like a June event. 

 Also, it seems that one of the new twists to TUF is that the show will feature 32 cast members rather than the typical 16.  Right off the bat there will be 16 fights with the winners earning a spot in the house.  I think there is a good and bad to this move.  The good is that some of the weaker fighters will be off the show right away.  However, they could match to of the best fighters off with each other and one of the top 2 or 3 could not even make the house.  I will be interested to see how they pair off the fights for the first round. 

UFC 83 to be  April 19

It has been reported before that UFC 82 would be March 1 and UFC 83 would be March 8, which never made sense.  It seems that UFC 83 will actually be April 19, 2008 in Montreal Canada.  Headlining the card of course will be the title bout between Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra.  It seems the previously rumored bouts from UFC 83 are being moved.  The Alexander/Irvin fight was moved to UFC Fight Night 13 and Bisping’s middleweight debut may happen at UFC 83 in Montreal, but may be delayed until the June London card.  Also rumored to be on this card is Mac Danzig vs. Mark Bocek, the return of “Shogun”, Rich Franklin vs. Travis Lutter, Jason MacDonald vs. Joe Doerksen and Keith Jardine, possibly to take on Shogun or even a re-match with Liddell.  Stay tuned to my “Upcoming Events” section which I regularly update.

UFC Stacking Cards

UFC is stacking there cards of late full of talents.  There is so many fights on these upcoming cards I don’t know what to do and surely good fights will go untelevised. 

UFC 82 is so stacked that some great fighters will be prelim fighters.  UFC 82 includes a main event match between Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson for the title.  Jon Fitch will take on talented newcomer Chris Wilson.  Yushin Okami who has been fighting well will fight Evan Tanner who is looking to get his life straight and his title back.  The UFC will also welcome back Andrei Arlovski (and maybe say goodbye) who will fight Jake O’Brien.  The card also includes Heath Herring vs. Cheick Kongo, David Bielkheden vs. Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck vs. Dustin Hazelett, Luke Cummo vs. Luigi Fiorvanti and Jorge Gurgel vs. John Halverson.

Ultimate Fight Night 13 may be most stacked of all.  The main events will be Kenny Florian vs. Joe Lauzon and Matt Hamill vs. Stephan Bonnar.  Also featuring a good fight between Karo Parisyan and Thiago Alves.  Houston Alexander and James Irvin were just bumped up to this card.  Also we will see a great fight between Spencer Fisher and Marcus Aurelio.  Din Thomas vs. Josh Neer and Clay Guida vs. Sammy Schiavo will be undercarded along with Tommy Speer’s first fight since TUF Finale.  Not to mention it has been romored that Frank Edgar would fight on this card.  Wow what a card!

There is some confusion on UFC 83.  Some have said it will be March 8, and looks lame.  Whatever the case may be, there will be an event April 19 (either 83 or 84) which will feature Matt Serra vs. Georges St. Pierre.  Also,  Rich Franklin vs. Travis Lutter.  We also suspect both Keith Jardine and Shogun to fight here, but not necessarily each other.  In addition Mac Danzig will fight here. Another good fight here will be Rich Clementi vs. Sam Stout, but will probably be undercard. Wow!!!

The May 24th event will feature the much hyped and anticipated BJ Penn vs. Sean Sherk fight as well as a couple signifcant lightheavyweight bouts between Rashad Evans and Thiago Silva as well as Tito Ortiz vs. Lyoto Machida, which could be Tito’s going away party.  MMAJunkie announced that would also include Ivan Salaverry vs. Rousimar Palhares a talented middleweight.

This is just the start, there are more fights to be added, but the first half of the year looks stacked.  You add into that mix TUF 7 and the title fight between Griffin and Jackson and TUF Finale by summer, it’s going to be a stack first half of 2008, keep it up Dana!