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Cyborg, Mousasi Shine at Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg

Posted by Gene Morris on August 16, 2009

Gina Carano may (emphasize may, especially after the beating she took tonight) have the prettiest face in all of women’s MMA, but there is no doubt who the best fighter in the world is.

Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos was too much for Carano in the main event of the Strikeforce show Saturday night in San Jose.  Carano showed guts and heart in surviving as long as she did, but she was overwhelmed by Santos’ attacking, push forward style.  Carano’s counter striking looked good at times, but it was Santos who dictated the pace.

The crowd was rabid and loud during the entire 4:59 of the fight.  The atmosphere surrounding the slug fest was impressive, but it remains to be seen if Strikeforce can market a legitimate women’s fight without Carano’s face plastered all over the posters.

Mousasi destroys Sobral

The most impressive fighter on the card may have been Gegard Mousasi.  The much hyped 24-year old Armenian was making his debut in the United States and he did not disappoint in winning the Strikeforce light-heavyweight championship.

Sobral, a former UFC light-heavyweight contender known for his slick jui-jitsu was supposed to be the biggest test of Mousasi’s career.  But within a minute of the opening bell Mousasi became a household name in the MMA world.  He knocked Sobral out cold with a barrage of punches with Sobral on his back.  And in a show of sportsmanship, Mousasi let up when he saw Sobral’s eyes roll into the back of his head, even though referee John McCarthy was slow to jump in.

Mousasi put himself on the map with the hardcore fans after winning the DREAM middle-weight grand prix tournament in 2008, but knocking Sobral out and winning the Strikeforce light-heavyweight title should increase his exposure exponentially.

Mousasi now faces the same question as Cyborg; who are they going to fight next?  He proved himself to be the best light-heavyweight in the entire organization, and a move to the UFC may be in his future.

Melendez beats one-dimensional Ishida, Werdum submits Kyle

Gilbert Melendez won a fight for the Strikeforce interim lightweight title against Mitsuhiro Ishida in the first of three title fights on the card.  Champion Josh Thompson is still on the shelf with an ankle injury, and there was never much doubt that Melendez would win this fight.

His striking was superior, and he nullified Ishida’s wrestling, which was really the only thing the Japanese fighter had in his arsenal.

Former UFC contender Fabricio Werdum, who was originally scheduled to fight Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, easily submitted journeyman Mike Kyle in the nights opening bout.  The only surprising thing about this fight was that it took the jui-jitsu black belt 1:24 to submit Kyle.  I thought it would be over before that.

Werdum, who was dropped from the UFC after being knocked out by Junior Dos Santos in his previous fight, will now most likely be in the mix for a match with Fedor Emelianenko.

Overeem has not defended his title since winning it nearly two years ago.  His last two scheduled fights have been postponed do to injuries he suffered in a bar room brawl earlier this year.


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Gina Carano Set to Battle “Cyborg” Santos In Women’s MMA Mega Fight

Posted by Gene Morris on August 15, 2009

Strikefocrce: Carano vs. Cyborg is set to take place this evening in San Jose, California. Strikeforce is the undisputed #2 mixed martial arts promotion in the United States, behind only the UFC.

The headline battle tonight pits two women against each other, the first time a women’s fight has ever headlined a major event.

Former American Gladiator Gina “Conviction” Carano will step into the cage against Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos to determine the first ever women’s 145-lb champion.

Carano has long held the key to the fortune of women’s mixed martial arts. Blessed with great Muay thai skills to go with an undeniable sex appeal, Carano’s success will most likely define whether the sport sticks around in the long term.

But there is no doubt that this evenings fight is the talk of the MMA world, and will likely garner some main stream attention if the fight lives up to the expectations.

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Anderson Silva Shows Why He’s the Best in the World After Destroying Forrest Griffin

Posted by Gene Morris on August 9, 2009

Forrest Griffin emerged from the locker room and strolled towards the ring with cheers and support being rained down upon him by the packed house in the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.

Anderson Silva slowly strolled down to the cage to his normal “Ain’t No Sunshine” by DMX, bobbing to the beat, forshadowing what was to come.  The crowd booed and jeered Silva, upset over his two pervious lackluster performances while defending his middle weight title against Patrick Cote and Thales Leites.

After the introductions both men danced around the center of the cage, going through the normal feeling out process.

But then Silva flipped the switch.  He dropped his hands, brazenly taunting Griffin to throw his best shot.  No matter how hard Griffin tried, Silva ducked all of Griffin’s shots with his head movement, an unloaded on the former light heavyweight champion after each missed barrage.

It quickly became apparent that Griffin was no match for Silva’s advanced striking, and the Brazillian knocked Griffin down twice, before finally ending the fight with a step back jab that put Griffin to sleep.

The question coming into the fight was whether Silva would show his old skills and engage and destroy like he had in previous fights.  That was quickly answered as Griffin became the 5th opponent in the UFC that Silva has finished in the first round.

As Griffin sprinted from the cage and back to the locker room right after the fight ended, the next question involving Silva emerged.  Who is going to stop him?

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UFC 101 Betting Predictions

Posted by Gene Morris on August 6, 2009

With UFC 101 coming up Saturday night in Philadelphia, I thought it would be interesting to look at the current wagering lines on Bodog Sportsbook and put my predictions down in writing.

Because these will be based on the betting lines, there will obviously be some match ups that I wouldn’t feel comfortable playing. Also, keep in mind that predicting the underdog would result in a much better pay out than just picking the favorites. To keep everything uniform I’ll use 100 units over each event.

BJ Penn (-280) vs. Kenny Florian (+220)

I think Kenny Florian is a great competitor and has improved fight by fight since losing a title match to Sean Sherk back at UFC 64. In his last two fights he’s defeated contenders Joe Stevenson and Roger Huerta, even finishing Stevenson in the first round.

But I still believe BJ Penn’s skill will be to much for him to handle. Penn is a world class fighter whose talent has never been questioned. The only thing holding him back was his lack of desire and conditioning. Apparently BJ has left the comfort of Hawaii to seriously train for this fight in California with trainer Marv Marinovich, and I believe his cardio will be in tip top shape, especially coming back from his loss in January to Georges St-Pierre.

Penn addressed his training situation earlier in the summer when he posted this vlog on Youtube.

No disrespect is meant to Florian, but a dedicated and in shape BJ Penn would beat just about any other 155-lb fighter in the entire world. And Florian is no different.

Prediction: BJ Penn (-280) over Kenny Florian
Bet: Bet 55 to win 20

Anderson Silva (-365) vs. Forrest Griffin (+285)

This fight is going to be a huge test for Silva, who is moving up to the 205-lb weight class for the second time in the UFC after defending his 185-lb belt with two lackluster fights over the last nine months. Silva toyed with Patrick Cote for three rounds before Cote blew out his knee at UFC 90. He had a similar uninspired performance at UFC 97 against Thales Leites, a fight in which Leites refused to engage and Silva won in a decision.

Forrest Griffin is the perfect opponent for Silva coming off those last two fights. Griffin will have no problem engaging, and is known as one of the toughest fighters in the UFC. After defeating Quintin “Rampage” Jackson for the Light Heavyweight Championship at UFC 86, Griffin dropped the belt to Rashad Evans in December at UFC 92.

The original Ultimate Fighter winner is someone else who has greatly improved right before our eyes. His victory over Shogun Rua at UFC 76 put Griffin on the map as a legitimate contender, but it was always known that he would stand and slug with anyone put in front of him.

Silva has the better striking between these two, although Silva is a better striker than just about anyone in the UFC. He hasn’t been tested much on the ground, but Griffin has a solid ground game himself.

Because he’s moving up in weight and fighting a tough as nails competitor in Griffin, I wouldn’t have expected Silva to be such a heavy favorite. Griffin is a massive 205-lb fighter, and I think his size and strength will give Silva problems.

While I wouldn’t be shocked to see Silva fire out of the chute and use his plethora of kicks, punches, knees, and elbows in an early demolition of Griffin, I’m feeling Forrest in an upset. I think he will grind Silva down, and possibly finish him in the third round.

Prediction: Forrest Griffin (+285) over Anderson Silva (-365)
Bet: 20 to win 57

Ricardo Almedia (-160) vs. Kendall Grove (+130)
Bet: Almeida (-160), Bet 15 to win 9

Josh Neer (-250) vs. Kurt Pelligrino (+190)
Bet: Pelligrino (+190), Best 10 to win 19

Final Bets:
BJ Penn (-280), Bet 55 to win 20
Forrest Griffin (+265), Bet 20 to win 57
Ricardo Almeida (-160), Bet 15 to win 9
Kurt Pelligrino (+190), Bet 10 to win 19

Non-betting: Johny Hendricks decision over Amir Sadollah

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Fedor Emelianenko Signs With Strikeforce

Posted by Gene Morris on August 3, 2009

The consensus #1 heavyweight in the world, Fedor Emelianenko signed a deal with Strikeforce this afternoon, spurning the offers of MMA’s top promotion, the UFC.

It had been reported in recent days that the UFC had conceded to nearly everyone of the demands from Fedor’s management team. The one demand that killed negotiations was the demand that M-1 Global be made a co-promoter with any company that signed Fedor.

That was too much for UFC President Dana White, who stated earlier in the week that he did everything possible to bring Fedor to the UFC so he could be matched up against the best fighters in the world.

While Strikeforce could present Fedor some interesting fights, including heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem and former UFC fighter Fabricio Werdum, none of the possible fights would generate the buzz or financial success of a match up between Fedor and UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.

Lesnar is most likely to defend his title against the winner of the Shane Carwin-Cain Velasquez fight in October.

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Affliction: Trilogy Event Canceled

Posted by Gene Morris on July 24, 2009

Just days after the positive drug test of main event fighter Josh Barnett sent Affliction into a frenzy looking for an opponent for heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, the company has confirmed reports earlier today that the event was canceled, according to MMAjunke.com

Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio told MMAjunkie the event was scrapped in large part due to the loss of Barnett.  Altough there were reports yesterday that middleweight Vitor Belfort had verbally agreed to step in a face the much larger Fedor, no contracts were ever signed.

What was looking to be an amazing three week stretch for the MMA world, with Affliction: Trilogy on August 1st, UFC 101 featuring a lightweight title fight between BJ Penn and Kenny Florian on August 8th, and a Strikeforce event headlined by the long awaited Gina Carano-Cyborg fight, has been tarnished.

The Strikeforce event was supposed to feature four titile fights, but over the last few weeks the heavyweight title fight featuring Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum was scrapped due to injury, and today a welterweight title fight between Nick Diaz and Joe Riggs was canceled as well.

What does this once again prove?

The UFC is king, and it will be extremely difficult for any other promotion to put even a dent in their armor.

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Josh Barnett Tests Positive; Fight With Fedor Off

Posted by Gene Morris on July 22, 2009

Josh Barnett's career faces another bump in his career with a positive test forcing him to withdraw from a heavyweight championship match against Fedor Emelianenko

Josh Barnett's career faces another bump in his career with a positive test forcing him to withdraw from a heavyweight championship match against Fedor Emelianenko

First reported by Sherdog this morning, Affliction’s third ever MMA event is in peril after Josh Barnett tested positive for a banned substance and will not be granted a license by the California State Athletic Commission.

Vitor Belfort, who was already on the card fighting Jorge Santiago in a middleweight bout, has agreed to move up to replace Barnett and fight Fedor.

That in itself is an absolute joke.  But the biggest joke is Barnett, who is already well known for failing drug tests.  After winning the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 36 in a fight against Randy Couture, Barnett was stripped of the title after testing positive for steroids.  He then continued his career in Japan, where there is no drug testing.

With just 10 days before the fight, Affliction lacked a viable option to salvage its main event.  The fate of the promotion rested upon the success of this event, and with the two most interesting main card fights now off it would be shocking if Affliction ever put on another event.

Fedor needs to take this as a sign that the UFC is where he needs to fight.  Brock Lesnar is waiting, and with the UFC hype machine behind it, that would be the biggest fight in the history of MMA.

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Bisping Wakes Up, Opens Mouth Again

Posted by Gene Morris on July 21, 2009

MMAjunkie.com reported that the UFC will return to England in November for UFC 105, and along with recent Ultimate Fighter winners Ross Pearson and James Wilkes, Michael Bisping will be involved in the event.

According to MMAjunke, (via the Manchester Evening News) Bisping is looking for a “top fighter” in his return.

Really? Bisping has never beaten any of the top fighters in either the middleweight or light-heavyweight divisions in the UFC. He was exposed by Dan Henderson at UFC 100, where he showed he is not ready to hang with the top contenders.

A suitable opponent was brought up in the comment section of the MMAjunkie article; Patrick Cote.

Cote is also coming of a loss, when he was defeated by Anderson Silva at UFC 90.

Cote is known for his strong chin and his explosive power in his hands. Seeing what he might do to Bisping would be rather enjoyable. Here’s a Cote highlight reel.

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Michael Bisping Video

Posted by Gene Morris on July 16, 2009

This is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while, and just adds to the point that rivalries make any contact sport, especially combat sports like MMA, so much more interesting.

Glad to see that Bisping got knocked off, hopefully I don’t have to hear him run his mouth for a while.

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Shane Carwin Not Happy With Brock Lesnar’s Antics

Posted by Gene Morris on July 14, 2009

Shane Carwin, one of the few heavyweights in the UFC who can match Brock Lesnar’s size and power, was not at all pleased with Brock’s antics after the UFC 100 main event.

Carwin wrote on his blog , Shane-Carwin.com, about the overall event Saturday, and had some harsh words for the champ.

The flipping off of the fans that just lined your pocket with millions of dollars is just LAME. He may be a Champion but he has a long ways to go before he earns the respect of a Champion. The fans are why we do this Brock, this sport is not about fat paychecks and drama it is about hard work and sacrifice for a shot to do what you did last night. It doesn’t matter how much money you make if you can’t earn your peers respect and the respect and love of the greatest sporting fans in the world. We have no scripts in this sport, no pre-determined earning amount and no pre-determined outcomes. It doesn’t matter if you win or loose it matters how you win or loose. (sic)

Just reading that and imagining Brock’s reaction makes me excited.  No offense to Cain Velasquez, another impressive contender that will meet Carwin at UFC 104 in October to determine the #1 contender to Lesnar’s belt, but I REALLY hope Carwin wins and these two monsters can square off in the cage.

So yes, it’s refreshing to see St.-Pierre show his opponents tons of respect, wreck them for five rounds, then respect them after, this trash talking thing is a lot of fun.

You can also see White discussing his reactions to Lesnar’s antics with ESPN’s first take here.

Below is Lesnar’s apology at the press conference after the event.  Notice the bottle of Bud Light sitting in front of him.

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