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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The Top BJJ Practitoners in The World of MMA

There are some great BJJ practioners out there.  Many of them have chosen a career in mixed martial arts and many of them have faired very well.  However, the transfer is not easy and MMA is a different baby than jiu jitsu.  If you don’t believe me try taking punshed to the face while working for your submissions.  Some guys have been very successful.  Any time I give a list I am sure to make notable omissions.  Any omissions are out of my ignorance and not simply a bad ranking.  Ranking jiu jitsu practioners in MMA is difficult because of weight class divisions.  However, I will rank them by overall success in MMA, potential to be a champ and jiu jitsu credentials in the MMA world.

 

1.       Demian Maia – The UFC middleweight contender may not be the best in the world at jiu-jit-su, but he has done very well in MMA and is always a submission threat.

2.        Ronaldo “Jacare” de Souza – He has done well in MMA and is a legend on the ground

3.       Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira – His MMA career merits him a top spot.

4.        Royce Gracie

5.        Ricardo Almeida

6.        Rousimar Palhares

7.        Jake Shields

8.       Shinya Aoki

9.       Vinny Magalhes – The TUF 8 cast member is a stud on the ground and as of now he is NOT better than Nogueira

10.   Robert Drysdale – I was hesitant to put him on this list because he just started in MMA, but he very well may be the best BJJ practitioner in the world right now

11.    Roger Gracie

12.   Waggney Fabiano

13.   Alexandre “Xande” Ribeiro

14.    Fabricio Werdum

15.   Dean Lister

16.    Dustin Hazelett

17.    Nate Marquardt

18.    Thales Leites

19.   B.J. Penn

20.   Nate Diaz

21.   Frank Mir

22.   Gabriel Gonzaga

23.   Ricardo Arona

24.   Rani Yahya

25.   Renato “Babalu” Sobral

26.   Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

27.   Andre Galvao

28.   Vitor Belfort

29.   Marcio Cruz

30.   Jeff Monson

31.   Mark Kerr

Sengoku 6 Results and Thoughts

Quick Results:

  • Jorge Santiago def. Kazuhiro Nakamura via TKO (strikes) — Round 3, 0:49
  • Satoru Kitaoka def. Kazunori Yokota via unanimous decision
  • Sergey Golyaev def. Takanori Gomi via split decision
  • Muhammed Lawal def. Fabio Silva via TKO (strikes) — Round 3, 0:41
  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def. Moise Rimbon via unanimous decision
  • Jorge Masvidal def. Seung Hwan Bang via unanimous decision
  • Joe Doerksen def. Izuru Takeuchi via TKO (punches) — Round 3, 4:13
  • Satoru Kitaoka def. Eiji Mitsuoka via submission (heel hook) — Round 1, 1:16
  • Kazunori Yokota def. Mizuto Hirota via unanimous decision+
  • Kazuhiro Nakamura def. Yuki Sasaki via unanimous decision^
  • Jorge Santiago def. Siyar Bahadurzada via submission (heel hook) — Round 1, 1:10
    • The big winners of the night: Jorge Santiago and Satoru Kitaoka.  They were the grand prix winners
    • The big news may be that Gomi lost a split decision to the Russian, Golyaev. 
    • Kitaoka commented on fighting Gomi or Golyaev:

    I have no need to fight that Russian fighter. If it was me in there tonight, I would have crushed that Russian in seconds. I had a tougher time than Gomi — my two fights tonight and my training for them — so that’s why I said what I said [when I challenged Gomi in the ring]. Anyone have a problem with that?  I do believe that this weight class is comfortable for me. I don’t typically like to show just how hard I train, but from August to October, I had the hardest training of my life. Mitsuoka was tough he was able to sprawl on my takedown initially, and I felt that it gave him confidence, but I was able to feel out the rest of his abilities and end the fight. If I were to fight him 10 times, I would probably win two or three times, because I think he’s that strong. Still, those two or three times would be impressive showings for me.

    • WVR says they still plan to match up Takanori Gomi and Satoru Kitaoka on January 4th for the lightweight title
    • Also, Kazuo Misaki will take on Jorge Santiago for the middleweight title on January 4th. Santiago said:

    I’ve been waiting for Misaki a long time. I fought here against [Yuki]Sasaki the first time and made my way up. I fought twice today and thought I was gonna have a belt, but I didn’t get it — I have to fight again. How long do I have to fight to get the belt? I beat everybody. Come on. Where’s Misaki

    • Muhammed Lawal continued to impress with his win over Fabio Silva
    • Takanori Gomi ought to be out of any discussion about being  a top 3 lightweight in the world.  Overrated!

    Sengoku 6 Preview and Predictions

    Sengoku 6 will be held November 1st and will feature the conclusions of the middleweight and lightweight grand prixs as well as several additional fights…

    Non-Tournament Bouts:

    Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Rimbon Moisa

    I am a big Nogueira fan (both Nogueiras).  The littler of the Nogueiras is a star in Japan.  He is also widely consdiered one of the best non-UFC light heavyweight fighters.  I would love to see him against consistently tougher competition.  The only place he will find that at 205 lbs is in the UFC.  I do not look for this to be much of a fight as Nogueira is a world class fighter and grappler.  Nogueira has solid wins in his career over guys like Sakuraba, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Alistair Overeem, Guy Mezger, and Dan Henderson.  Most recently, he is coming off of a win at Affliction’s first card over Edwin DeWees.  I predict that Nogueira will land a few hard blows to Moisa and then take him down and win by rear naked choke in round 1. 

    Takanori Gomi vs. Sergey Golyaev

    Takanori Gomi has for a long time been considered the best or at least a top 3 lightweight in the world.  However, he has been inactive lately and certainly has not fought tough competition.  Golyaev is not a bad fighter, but he is not in Gomi’s league skill wise.  He has not beaten many top level guys, in fact, he has lsot to the elite guys he has fought such as Joachim Hansen, Rich Clementi and Kurt Pellegrino.  Gomi on the other hand has been in there and won with some of the best in the world.  Gomi dominated in PRIDE boasting wins over guys like Marcus Aurelio, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Hayato Sakurai, Jens Pulver and Tatsuya Kawajiri.  I do not see Gomi losing this fight.  Gomi is rumored to be facing the winner of the lightweight grand prix for the Sengoku lightweight title.  I honestly cannot see Gomi losing to any of the lightweight in this tournament either.  Gomi beat Seung Hwan Bang in his last outing, but looked really unimpressive.  Therefore, I pick Gomi to win by unanimous decision, even though the KO or TKO is likely. 

    Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal vs. Fabio Silva

    Might Mo looked very, very impressive in his MMA debut against a very tough fighter in Travis Wiuff.  Lawal is a solid wrestler who looks to have great ground and pound skills.  He should have no problem in this fight.  He is a star in the making, especially in Japan.  I think that Lawal will be impressive again and will win this fight by way of TKO in round 1.

    Lightweight Semi-Finals

    Satoru Kitaoka vs. Eiji Mitsuoka

    Mitsuoka is coming off of a win over highly touted Rodrigo Damm.  He also has an impressive resume with wins over guys like Joachim Hansen, Samy Schiavo, and Gleison Tibau.  His opponent Satoru Kitaoka has an impressive win list also, boasting wins over guys like Cage Rage Welterweight Champ Paul Daley, WEC welterweight champ Carlos Condit, and UFC fighter Kurt Pellegrino.  This is a tough fight to pick.  I am very tempted to pick Kitaoka because of the wins he has over Condit and Daley, but I am going to pick Mitsuoka by unaimous decision.

     Mizuto Hirota vs. Kazunori Yokota

    Hirota has a big win over Ryan Schultz in his first fight in the tournament.  I expect Hirota to make it to the finals, but I expect him to win by a decision.

    Seung Hwan Bang vs. Jorge Masvidal (Lightweight Reserve Bout)

    Bang lost his last fight to Takanori Gomi.  Masvidal beat Ryan Schultz.  I think in the end Masvidal is too good and will win this one by TKO in round 1.  Keep an eye on Masvidal he could be a replacement and win the tournament though I won’t pick that. 

    Lightweight Finals:

    Hirota/Yokota vs. Mitsuoka/Kitaoka

    If my picks are correct the finals will be Mitsuoka vs. Hirota.  I would pick Mitsuoka to win that fight by decision.

    Middleweight Grand Prix Semi-Finals:

    Yuki Sasaki vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura

    Sasaki is a verteran of MMA who has fought nearly everywehre including the UFC.  However, I think Sasaki is the underdog in this fight.  Nakamura who is a top 25 light heavyweight who has amde a smart drop down to 185.  Following a unsuccessful stint in the UFC Nakamura will try his hand at Sasaki.  I pick Nakamura to win this fight by decision. 

    Jorge Santiago vs. Siyar Bahadurzada

    Santiago is the clear favorite to win this tournament because he is clearly the most talented of the guys in the competition.  He has a solid resume with good wins over good fighters.  He also is a UFC veteran who struggled inside the octagon, but has won his last 5 fights (Logan Clark, Yuki Sasaki, Sean Salmon, Trevor Prangley, and Jeremy Horn).  We have yet to really see what Siyar the Afghan Killer can do.  By the way, his nickname, “The Afghan Killer”, I have to wonder about the meaning of it.  I know he is from Afghanistan, but does the “Afghan Killer” mean that he is a killer of Afghans or that he is an Afghan who is a killer.  That is my deep thought of the day.  Nevertheless, I pick Santiago to win this fight by a submission in round 1.

    Joe Doerksen vs. Izuru Takeuchi (Middleweight Reserve Bout)

    I know that Takeuchi will have home ring advantage, but in the end Doerksen will prove to be too good, especially on the ground.  I pick Doerksen to win by first round submission. 

    Middleweight Finals:

    Sasaki/Nakamura vs. Santiago/Bahaduzada

    My prediction is that Nakamura and Santiago will square off in the finals.  If both come into the fight injury free then I think Santiago will have an advantage stepping in.  I would say he will have better cardio and that he will win his fight before it gets to a decision.  Therefore I think that the final will consist of Santiago trying to take down the judoka and then submitting him.  Santiago will win the middlweight grand prix and in doing so will earn a shot at Kazuo Misaki for the middleweight title. 

    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)

    Evaluating Affliction

    One of the questions that I keep thinking about is whether or not Affliction in here to stay and whether or not they will compete with the UFC.  No one disagrees that UFC is the standard of MMA right now, but Affliction is making up ground quickly.  It has been a tell tale sign of a slight change that Affliction has signed so many guys lately including many of the stars from the now defunt IFL, which was bought by the parent company of the UFC, Zuffa.  Affliction has signed Champs Roy Nelson and Vladimir Matyushenko.  They have signed lightweight star Chris Horodecki and are rumored to have welterweight champ Jay Hieron.  Affliction is cleaning up the free agents and doing better in that regard than even the UFC as of late.  So, what is there to judge a promotion…

    1. Fighter Talent – Fight promotions are fight promotions.  There are other factors that come into play, but primarily if a promotion does not have top level talent they will not stay relevant.

    2. Show Quality –  While good fighters is essential, the promotion must put on a good show.  They must entertain fans.  This includes exciting fights, good commentators and a solid show production.  Promotions have to build shows people will come to or buy.

    3.  Solid Managment –  Managment is important to a fight promotion, not just anyone can do it.  A promotion may suceed or fail based ont he business savvy of the fight promoter or president.  The PR, fighter pay, contracts, TV deals, etc. all come into play here.

    With that said, let’s see how Affliction is doing…

    1. Fighter Talent…

    There is a lot of hype around Affliction’s fighter talent.  Here is who I can think of off hand that they have and will use on their cards

    • Fedor Emelianenko
    • Andrei Arlovski
    • Josh Barnett
    • Tim Sylvia
    • Ben Rothwell
    • Roy Nelson
    • Pedro Rizzo
    • Paul Buentello
    • Aleksander Emelianenko
    • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
    • Tito Ortiz
    • Vladimir Matyushenko
    • Renato “Babalu” Sobral
    • Mike Whitehead
    • Edwin DeWees
    • Vernon White
    • Vitor Belfort
    • Matt Lindland
    • Jay Hieron
    • Mike Pyle
    • J.J. Ambrose
    • Chris Horodecki

    I went to HDNet’s Rankings to see how many Affliction Fighters were ranked in the top 100 pound for pound or top in their divisons  here is the results.

    (Pound for Pound Rank, Divison Rank)

  • Fedor Emelianenko (2, 1)
  • Andrei Arlovski (25, 4)
  • Josh Barnett (27, 5)
  • Tim Sylvia (55, 7)
  • Ben Rothwell (81, 12)
  • Roy Nelson (84, 13)
  • Pedro Rizzo (NR, 19)
  • Paul Buentello (NR, NR)
  • Aleksander Emelianenko (76, 10)
  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (85, 13)
  • Tito Ortiz (87, 15)
  • Vladimir Matyushenko (66, 12)
  • Renato “Babalu” Sobral (92, 16)
  • Mike Whitehead (NR, NR)
  • Edwin DeWees (NR, NR)
  • Vernon White (NR, NR)
  • Vitor Belfort (NR, NR) – Unfairly I’d admit
  • Matt Lindland (22, 5)
  • Jay Hieron (59, 11)
  • Mike Pyle (NR, NR)
  • J.J. Ambrose (NR, NR)
  • Chris Horodecki (NR, NR)
  • Put this into perspective, out of the top 100 the promotions faires like this in pound for pound top 100 fighters…

    • UFC -39
    • Affliction – 13
    • DREAM -12
    • WEC – 10
    • EliteXC – 10
    • Strikeforce – 5
    • World Victory Road – 3

    The point is that Affliction’s talent is overrated. 

    • They are right about the level of DREAM talent wise
    • They are no where near the talent level of the UFC
    • 10 of the Affliction guys that appeared on the rankings list have fought in the UFC before.  Some have been sucessful.  There are several former UFC champs (Sylvia, Barnett, Rizzo, Ortiz and Arlovski), however most of them did no better than fair in the UFC (see Matyushenko, Hieron, et. al)
    • Most of the top Affliction guys are in the second half of their careers and are past their prime.  They still have fight left in them, don’t get me wrong, but not for the long haul
    • What happens if two or three of those gusy get injured?  Affliction is hanging their hat on Fedor, Barnett, Arlovski and Ortiz.  They cannot keep putting everyone on every card, they will run out of match-ups.
    • To their credit, they can put on good fights.  The talent isn’t bad.  Their guys can fight exciting fighter, but they have exciting fights at tough man competitions. They need to sign younger talent and more talent.

    Show Quality…

    • I cannot judge them solely on their sole show.  Affliction needs to improve their show quality as far as commentating, interviews and production is concerned
    • Also, I thought with the exception of the last 3 fights the card wasn’t what it was billed to be
    • They are nowhere near the UFC level as far as enjoyability to watch

    Solid Managment:

    • The UFC with Dana White and the Fertitas is still the managment standard.  I have problems with the UFC and Dana White’s managing style.  I don’t like his constant expletives, I don’t like the way he trashes other promotions, I don’t like the stubborness he exhibits with signing guys like Lindland and Barnett, and even Fedor.  However, Dana is crafty.  Atencio is no Dana White.  Watch his video below where he can’t remember Josh Barnett’s name and he is the main event for the second show. 
    • Affliction does have the deep pocketed Donald Trump behind them which helps.  Trump is a business guiness, but he doesn’t neccessarily know MMA.  The money helps thought he same way it helped having Lorezon and Frank in the UFC early days when they lost tons of money.

    Here is the point folks…Affliction is a solid upstart company.  They may be around for a while, but before we jump ont he bandwagon and label them peers to the UFC and competitors to the UFC let them get through a few shows first.  Let’s see how much money they lose after 3 events.  Let’s see how many fights they can do after 3 card.  They could compete, but as for now it is the UFC and then everyone else.  Zuffa is sitting pretty in the MMA world.  They are the big leagues, everything else is just the minors.  Affliction, EliteXC and DREAM are in the same boat and in a year from now at least one of them will be non-existent.

    Best Non-UFC Fighters

    Here are the best non-UFC fighters.  This shows where the UFC is stacked and where they lack.  There competition is mainly in Affliction at heavyweight and DREAM at lightweight.  Here are the best non-UFC guys that the UFC should look to sign if possible. 

    Rank

    Heavyweight

    Light Heavy

    Middleweight

    Welterweight

    Lightweight

    1

    Fedor Emelianenko

    Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

    Paulo Filho

    Jake Shields

    Takanori Gomi

    2

    Andrei Arlovski

    Ricardo Arona

    Matt Lindland

    Carlos Condit

    Shinya Aoki

    3

    Josh Barnett

    Rafael Feijao

    Robbie Lawler

    Jay Hieron

    JZ Calvancante

    4

    Tim Sylvia

    Vladimir Matyushenko

    Kazuo Misaki

    Nick Thompson

    Eddie Alvarez

    5

    Ben Rothwell

    Babalu Sobral

    Gegard Mousasi

    Mach Sakurai

    Mitsuhiro Ishida

    6

    Mirko Cro Cop

    Tito Ortiz

    Vitor Belfort

    Mike Pyle

    Joachim Hansen

    7

    Roy Nelson

    Steve Cantwell

     “Jacare” de Sousa

     

    Tatsuya Kawajiri

    8

    Aleks Emelianenko

    Brian Stann

    Jason Miller

     

    Josh Thomson

    9

    Antonio Silva

     

    Melvin Manhoef

     

    Gilbert Melendez

    10

    Alistair Overeem

     

    Murilio Rua

     

    Vitor Ribeiro

    11

     

     

    Cung Le

     

    Jamie Varner

    12

     

     

    Denis Kang

     

    Ryan Schultz

    13

     

     

    Joey Villasenor

     

    KJ Noons

    14

     

     

    Frank Shamrock

     

    Nick Diaz

    15

     

     

    Yoshihiro Akiyama

     

    Caol Uno

    16

     

     

    Jorge Santiago

     

     

    17

     

     

    Chael Sonnen