The full tittle is in fact even scarier: “Super Hulk Tournament ~World Superman Championship~”. Or as I like to call it "SHTWSC". The match-up is confirmed and will take place on May 26th. Also set to participate are Bob Sapp, Sokoudjou, Gegard Mousasi and Mark Hunt. The full line-up is not yet complete, a major match-up will be announced closer to the event according to organizers (My tip Michael J. Fox vs. King Kong Bundy).
Since his fall from grace Conseco has been making ends meet by fighting in several exhibition bouts . In 2007 former football player Vai Sikahema accepted a challenge to fight Canseco for a reported $30,000. An ill prepared Conseco was knocked out the in the first round. Most recently Canseco fought radio host and former child star Danny Bonaduce; the three-round battle ended in a majority draw. The fight was heavily publicized on the Howard Stern show.
Outside the “Hulk” tournament there is in fact some credible MMA taking place including a pretty big lightweight bout between Tatsuya Kawajiri and J.Z.Calvan and a welterweight title fight between Ronaldo Jacare vs. “Mayhem” Miller.
How can you not like Don Frye? The guy is a total legend and an originator of the game. He is known as "The Predator", yet has a face that looks like a catcher's mitt with a porn-stache glued on. Seriously, he's larger than life in Japan. Frye is the man for more reasons than I can name. Scientific experiments indicate that if you're one of the fans that don't know who Don Frye is, you're 80% more likely to "train UFC", think Forrest Griffin's stand-up is awesome and generally exhibit other douche bag like symptoms.
I recently discovered a video in which some no name, jobber-assed, wannabe MMA star named Sonny Westbrook attacks Don in a hotel lobby. From what I can gather, Sonny thought Frye disrespected him and blah blah blah, you get the gist. Anyways, this no-name attacks Frye:
Seeing this pissed me off. You’ve never heard of Sonny Westbrook, and you probably never will, because if this video is any indication of this guy’s lack of bravery and respect for the game, he will never amount to anything in the sport.
THIS fight, more specifically Don Frye(in this fight) is one of the best examples of pure balls-out-fighting I've ever seen. In fact, there are two fights that really stand out for Frye. Here they are:
I would be lying if I tried to say that Frye isn’t getting a little old, but he’s still plugging away as he seems like the kind of guy that would rather die than retire. He picked up a KO victory over Bryan Pardoe in January of last year, but lost his last match via knee bar submission to Ikuhisa “Minowaman” Minowa at DEEP’s Gladiator event in August of 08. Don Frye is a legend of MMA and a shoe-in for a spot in the UFC hall of fame. His head is like cement, he's proven on the ground, he can strike hard with his hands, and he is entertaining as hell to watch. Respect to The Predator.
Did you know: Don is tied for fastest Knockout in UFC history (00:08) with James Irvin.
More fighters test positive for recreational drugs than performance enhancing drugs. But still a low percentage for the actual amount of recreational drug usage that is involved in the sport. We've seen guys like Baroni and Randleman get busted, but the testing is random. It should mandatory for every fighter, at every event. It seems that recreational drugs - like coke, pot and others are very popular among fighters as well. The current state of affairs is simply too lax.
Only Rampage is able to get away with that.
MMAMania reported that the UFC is looking at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia
as a destination for the event. It appears previous plans to host UFC 101 in Portland, Oregon have fallen through. B.J. Penn will fight Kenny Florian for the lightweight championship while Forrest Griffin will make his return against Thiago Silva. Brandon Vera vs. Matt Hamill was planned for the card but has now been moved to UFC 102.
"Hi, My friend wants to fight Kimbo, do you know who I can contact. Please email me back to make this fight happen."
Kimbo has taken a break from fighting and is currently contemplating his next career move.
"Hey, Do you guys make up emails sent in to you like 60 minutes does?"
Ben Dover, London
Absolutely not Mr. Dover. All these emails are completely legitimate.
"Greetings, do you think a lot of MMA fighters take steroids. I think there are ways to get around these tests. A lot of guys like Bob Sapp have fought in the US and never tested positive. Very rarely do you see UFC guys test positive anyways, even the under card guys rarely test positive. Do you really think they're all clean?"
Tyrone, I know I take steroids. My balls are so small, they’re on verge of becoming raisins. On a serious note, steroids should be legalized. Private sporting organizations should have the right to determine whether their athletes can or cannot use them in competition.
(Hard to believe that this guy let us down.)
In Shooto, Bushido, and the closing days of Pride, a truly unique fighter emerged in the land of the rising sun. A Japanese fighter with the heart of a lion. He had fists of stone and a chin that should have had an ‘out of order’ sign hanging off of it. What’s more, this young fighter truly fought balls out, standing toe to toe and banging with the best at a time when going to the mat was the norm for Japanese fighters.
Undefeated in the Shooto organization, “The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi won an impressive fourteen straight fights. While he clearly dominated the competition, his time at Shooto did not make him the renowned figure he would become. With most of his wins coming by way of decision, his true punching power and rock solid chin were yet to be tested. After suffering his first loss in 2003 to Joachim “Hellboy” Hansen, Gomi lost to another top-rate fighter in B.J. Penn at Rumble on the Rock 4.
The loss to Penn would mark the beginning of the Gomi many of us would come to love and admire. He moved to the fledgling Bushido promotion (an offshoot of Pride FC), and scored his first three victories via TKO in the first round. For audiences who had grown to expect little more than Jujitsu and Judo from their native fighters, the Japanese fans instantly fell in love with their fellow countryman, who stood and traded with the fiercest foreign competitors.
One of Gomi’s most notable rivalries was against the American fighter Charles “Krazy Horse” Benett. More than simply a match of fighters, many Japanese MMA fans saw this as a showdown between America and Japan. While Benett’s punching power was unquestionably on par with Gomi’s, Benett proved to be consistently disrespectful to refs, fighters, fans, and the Bushido organization as a whole. Before his title shot, Benett would make constant claims that Gomi was ducking him, and that the Japanese promotion was protecting him. In 2005, at Bushido 5 in Osaka, Benett got his wish and the two faced off. The victory went to Gomi at 5:52 of the first round due to a kimura, but Benett never tapped. While many fight fans were happy to see the loud-mouthed Benett defeated, there could be no denying that the ‘victory’ was sour at best. This would prove to be one of the first clear examples of Japanese fight promotions showing a bias towards Gomi. The reasons behind this bias can only be politely speculated on, but frankly speaking, the hyper-nationalism so predominant in Japanese MMA promotions was likely the dominant factor.
In the semi-finals of the lightweight tournament at Bushido seven, Gomi faced off against a Brazilian by the name of Luiz Azeredo. While Gomi would go on to win a decision, this match would mark the beginning of the end for the Fireball Kid. After catching Azeredo with a hook, the referee moved to end the fight. With a sudden, blatant disregard for the rules and the ref, Gomi (in one of the most cowardly acts witnessed by this MMA fan) jumped on his unconscious opponent and continued his attack. Officials and team members from both sides flooded into the ring in an attempt to restore order. Gomi would later issue an apology to the fans in which he claims that ‘adrenaline’ was the cause of his unsportsmanlike conduct.
In 2005, Gomi became the Pride Lightweight Champion by defeating Tatsuya Kawajiri and Hayato Sakurai in the promotion’s eight-man, tournament. Next, he would suffer a first round triangle choke submission in a non-title fight against Marcus Aurelio. Gomi would rematch against Aurelio for the title at Bushido 13 in 2006. This ‘match’ was comparable to the Silva/Leitis debauchery that we were exposed to at this year’s UFC 97, with neither fighter willing to…fight. Gomi would win the match via split-decision, but it would serve as more of a blemish for the Fireball Kid, than a solidification of his champion status.
Gomi’s next notable performance came at Pride 33 as he took on Nick Diaz. This bout against Diaz was arguably one of the best MMA matches in recent history. The two traded devastating blows throughout the fight, and while Diaz definitely sustained more visible damage, he ended Gomi in the second with a rarely seen gogplata submission. This victory for Diaz was subsequently changed to a no-contest by the NSAC after Diaz tested positive for wacky tobaccy. There is still controversy surrounding this ruling as marijuana is clearly not a performance enhancing drug. In fact, many make the claim that marijuana slows reaction time and generally reduces performance levels, so if Diaz beat Gomi in such an impressive fashion while under the influence of a performance inhibiting drug, then this MMA fan would love to have seen what Diaz could’ve done to Gomi without the ‘aide’ of weed . Gomi’s management made the claim that marijuana gave Diaz a higher pain threshold which allowed him to endure more punishment than usual.
In May of 2006, Zuffa purchased (and subsequently closed down) the Pride promotion. Soon after, a new Japanese promotion by the name of World Victory Road popped up. In the promotion’s first two events, Gomi defeated Duane Ludwig and some no-name Korean fighter, both in unimpressive fashions with a TKO due to a cut and a decision.
Gomi competed again in November of 2008, and January 2009 against two unknowns. He lost both matches in an unimpressive fashion, and subsequently disappeared from the MMA scene altogether.
In a recent interview, Gomi was asked about his latest performances and his leaving the MMA scene. In yet another seemingly half-hearted apology, Gomi said that he had been focusing on the development of his gym (Rascal Gym), and included that he is not the fighter he once was. The interviewer then pointed out that the name of the last event in which he performed so poorly was “Road to Gomi” (Translated from Japanese). Gomi reiterated that he does not think he is the fighter he once was, and said that he was sorry.
Takanori Gomi had all the tools and talent to be one of the greatest lightweights ever. What’s more, he had the whole nation of Japan behind him. While the Fireball Kid certainly had his time in the sun, and while few can deny the impact he’s had on the sport; when looking at his career in a general sense, it’s had to deny the bitter taste left in my mouth. I could easily wrap this up by simply saying that Gomi is a wash-up who should join Sakuraba in the annals of mediocrity. And I will.
This. Greatest hype video ever.
You've come a long way in past two years. What have you changed?
I changed my diet, I changed my coach and when I really think about it – I changed everything. From my girlfriend to my training and diet. Before I ate a lot of vegetables that are healthy but contained little energy. Now I mainly eat a horse meat, rice and protein shakes. I got rid of my old coach who was in charge of my fight strategies. It simply wasn't working. I just started to think about what I had to do to become a better fighter.
I kid you not that is an accurate translation. The interview was conducted by Croatian sports magazine Index. (Translation by Robert K)
Silva did not have an “off night”. Like Liddell in his past five fights, Silva was exposed. Let him come to you and he’ll choke. When forced to create opportunities, he was too scared pull the trigger. He choked against Cote and he chocked against Leites. And no, Anderson is not bored or disinterested. Those are the excuses of MMA geeks to justify their lame P4P lists.
His reputation was built on mediocre competition. He has dominated the UFC’s weakest division. Outside his very impressive win over Dan Henderson his record is not that special. If you cant finish Cote and if you cant finish Leites, two of the most undeserving UFC fighters to ever receive a title shot, who the can you finish.
UFC 97: Redemption (April 17th)
Anderson Silva -510 vs. Thales Leites +450
Chuck Liddell -160 vs. Mauricio Rua +140
Antoni Hardonk +215 vs. Cheick Kongo -265
Luis Cane -245 vs. Steve Cantwell +200
David Loiseau -120 vs. Ed Herman +110
Marcus Davis -110 vs. Chris Lytle -105
David Bielkheden +200 vs. Mark Bocek -260
Jason Macdonald -110 vs. Nate Quarry -110
Matt Wiman +120 vs. Sam Stout -125
Denis Kang -355 vs. Xavier Foupa-Pokam +300
Kingdom MMA 1 (April 18th)
Jason Miller -420 vs. Kala Hose +335
UFC 98: Evans vs. Machida (May 23rd)
Lyoto Machida -200 vs. Rashad Evans +170
Matt Hughes -260 vs. Matt Serra +215
Andre Gusmao -235 vs. Houston Alexander +215
Dave Kaplan +121 vs. George Roop -125
Pat Barry -265 vs. Tim Hague +255
Frank Edgar +235 vs. Sean Sherk -260
Editors Note: Lines from UFC 99 have been provided courtesy of our European friends over at Partybets. Visit them if you're looking for a solid place to bet online on any of the upcoming MMA cards.
UFC 99: The Comeback (June 13th)
Rich Franklin -130 vs. Wanderlei Silva +115
Cain Velasquez -330 vs. Heath Herring +310
Watch as Chuck masterfully mumbles over a wide range of issues from Dana's recent outburst to his relationship troubles. Remember we were the ones that broke the news a couple of months back. Read the original Jayden James Chuck Liddell post here.
UFC 97 Odds
Anderson Silva -650
Thales Leites +450
Chuck Liddell -210
Mauricio Rua +170
Krzysztof Soszynski -150
Brian Stann +120
Luiz Canem -325
Steve Cantwell +250
Nate Quarry -105
Jason MacDonald -125
David Loiseau -140
Ed Herman +110
Mark Bocek -260
David Bielkheden +200
Sam Stout -150
Matt Wiman +120
Cheick Kongo -325
Antoni Hardonk +250
Denis Kang -500
Xavier Foupa Pokam +300
Anderson Silva should return to top form against an inexperienced and unproven contender. There are three to four middleweights who are more deserving of a title shot. The odds makers have it right, I cant see this bout going beyond the first round.
Liddell is desperate for a win however loss will effectively end his light heavyweight career. Rua is in a similar position. Since making his UFC debut Shogun has not shown us a second of the type of form that has made him one of the most dangerous light heavyweights in the world. However fans and pundits are underestimating the talented and dynamic Brazilian. Liddell is vulnerable to leg kicks and Shogun will expose him in that department like Jardine did.
Aoki has been looking absolutely unstoppable in his last 3 fights. Three successive submission victories and an incredible run in 2008 catapulted the Japanese star into my top ten pound for pound list. This result once again proves how difficult it is to be a legitimate contender in two divisions.
By the way if you had followed my tips in my best bets for April post you could have cashed in on this result.
There were quite a few upsets last night. Monson beating Sergei was a shocker. Despite being out of the limelight I considered Kharitonov one of the best heavyweights in the world and one of the few men that were credible threats to Fedor.
Just released, the official poster for UFC 98: Evans vs. Machida. The UFC has stepped up their game when it comes to promotional posters. UFC 96, UFC 97 and UFC 98 have all been pretty awesome.
This is from WEFC 1: Bring It On, (ISCF Sanctioned) on June 29, 2002. Its Griffin's fifth professional MMA bout, he had been fighting pro for 8 months. The first 3 rounds were close, and the fight went to decisive fourth round.
Featuring Kenny Florian, a preview of WEC 40, Miguel Torres and Bobby Lashley.
This is another must watch documentary by Rakontur, the makers of Cocaine Cowboys 1 and 2. Entitled "Dawg Fight" it follows the insane culture of street fighting.
A pretty cool tribute video to Tapout clothing co founder Charles “Mask” Lewis, Jr. on yesterdays UFC Fight Night 18.
This is Dana Whites infamous Fight Night 18 video blog host by the good folks at Break.
A determined and focused Miguel Torres is a scary proposition. WEC 40 takes place this Sunday, April 5th on Versus at 9pm ET.
One of the best tribute videos to Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida I've seen yet. (Music by Beethoven: Symphony No 5.)
Leading the way is Sportsbook currently offering lines on UFC Fight Night 18, UFC 97, UFC 98, UFC 99 and UFC 100. The Malta based operation has become a must have bookmaker for MMA fans. They’ve come a long way since changing hands in 2006. Payout times have turned around significantly while its poker platform has doubled in traffic.
Full UFC Fight Night 18 odds should be posted later today though lines for the main card have been out for a week now. In the main event former WEC star Carlos Condit takes on Dutch striker Martin Kampmann. Lines makers cant split the two welterweights. Both are available at the -110 mark. Make sure to lines shop, all fight odds are currently available at our favored MMA betting destinations Sportsbook, Bookmaker/Betcris and Betus.
Bellator Fighting Championships hold their first card this weekend. A talented line-up that includes Jorge Masvidal and Eddie Alvarez make it must watch viewing on ESPN Deportes. Lines are currently available at Betcris and Bookmaker.
Dream 8 takes place on April 5th and is headlined by welterweight tournament bout between Shinya Aoki and Hayato Sakurai. Also featured on the card is top heavyweight fighter Sergei Kharitonov, Ikuhisa Minowa and Murilo Rua. Full card odds are only available at Betcris/Bookmaker.
On April 18th it's the long awaited showdown between lightweight legends Chuck Liddell and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 97. Despite coming off a devastating knockout loss to Rashad Evans "The Iceman" is -200 favorite to get past former Pride star "Shogun" Rua. "The Iceman" needs an impressive performance to remain a serious light heavyweight contender according to Dana White. Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites is co-headlining the card. At -500 "The Spider" should make quick work of Leites
Concluding a busy month is Jason Miller's return to MMA. Mayhem will face the talented Kala Hose at Kingdom MMA 1 on Apr 18th. The MTV star is a -450 favorite to get past "Kolohe".
I get many emails asking me to release my plays earlier than a day or two before the event. This is a rarity for me but as I see a number lines moving sharply in the upcoming days and weeks. I'll make an exception for the regular readers of this column. Below are five of my selected best bets for this month, available to you weeks before the event. Make sure to get on these plays as soon as you can. I promise these numbers will start moving within days.
Best Bets For April
* Mauricio Rua at +165 (Bookmaker) over Chuck Liddell.
* Hayato Sakurai +200 over Shinya Aoki. (W)
* Jorge Masvidal at -350 over Nick Agallar. (W)
* Eddie Alvarez at -500 over Greg Loughran. (W)
* Jason Miller -450 over Kala Hose.