October 31, 2009

Dan Henderson: The Bobby Hull of MMA

By E. Spencer Kyte (espencerkyte@mmaratings.net)

Dan Henderson is the Mixed Martial Arts version of Bobby Hull.

For those unfamiliar with the career and biography of "The Golden Jet," Hull was one of the NHL's preeminant stars, sniping goals from the left wing for the Chicago Blackhawks in larger quantities than anyone before him, including Maurice "The Rocket" Richard.

But in 1972, Hull grew unhappy with being chronically underpaid and threatened to sign with the upstart WHL. Even though his contract demands seem unreasonable, the owners banded together, came up with the money and landed one of the marquee names in the sport to help sell their brand.

Dan Henderson is Strikeforce's version of Bobby Hull.

Sure they already have the consensus top heavyweight the sport has to offer in Fedor Emelianenko, but ask anyone invested in the Mixed Martial Arts industry and they'll confirm for you that Joe Smith in Springfield has no idea who "The Last Emperor" is and therefore, his value is somewhat limited.

But thanks to The Ultimate Fighter, even the most casual of MMA fans is fully aware of Dan Henderson, even if only in his capacity as the coach of Team USA in their battle against Team UK.

While Strikeforce has been busy assembling a talented roster, including their recent signing of DREAM Welterweight Grand Prix champion Marius Zaromskis, having a stable full of unknown talents isn't going to convince the average fan to tune in to Showtime.

Though names like Emelianenko, Mousasi and Shields may be the true mark of talent in the organization, Henderson is without question the biggest name outside of the hardcore fans. He is a fighter that people who spend minimal amount of time reading blogs like this can name and a recognizable addition that could bring new fans to the growing organization.

At this stage in their development - and Strikeforce is still very much in the developmental stage and not yet near equal footing with the monolith that is the UFC - acquiring names to attract fans is part of the plan. Why else do you think the UFC was signing everyone under the sun over the summer? It sure wasn't to capitalize on all the Phil Baroni merchandise sales...

But now, the UFC is taking an undoubtedly well-calculated risk, as fellow Bleacher Report writer Darren Wong accurately broke down in his most recent effort. For them, Henderson is not worth the large financial commitment he is seeking, as despite his name recognition, he is not a major PPV draw.

With Henderson, Strikeforce gains the one thing they need most right now: a recognizable name that can draw the attention of casual MMA fans away from the UFC vacuum. Once you're watching, the even more talented members of the roster have the capability to captivate you.

Henderson wasn't heading into this round of contract negotiations with the intention of becoming the MMA version of Bobby Hull. Up until ten days ago, he still believed a deal could be worked out with the UFC and a change of address would not be necessary.

Bobby Hull probably thought the same thing when he told the Chicago Blackhawks he would leave if they didn't pay him what he thought he was worth.

But "The Golden Jet" flew to Winnipeg, bringing name recognition to the otherwise unknown World Hockey Association.

Can Dan Henderson do the same for Strikeforce?

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October 30, 2009

For The UFC, Less Could Mean More

By E. Spencer Kyte (espencerkyte@mmaratings.net)

When news broke earlier in the week that Brock Lesnar was forced to pull out of his UFC 106 title defense against Shane Carwin, Mixed Martial Arts writer Josh Nason asserted that the sudden shift in schedules highlighted a bigger UFC problem: too many events.

Let's make one thing clear right off the top: the chances of the UFC deciding that they're running too many pay-per-view events in a year are about the same as Bob Arum and Bernard Hopkins being next year's inductees into the UFC Hall of Fame.

But hypothetically speaking, what would 2009 have looked like if the UFC cut the number of shows in half, combining cards and assembling stronger lineups?

While the company bank accounts would be a little lighter thanks to seven less opportunities to collect $50 from thousands of people, fight fans would have been treated to some seriously stacked shows.

January - UFC 93 / UFC 94

Georges St-Pierre vs. BJ Penn for the UFC Welterweight Title
Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson
Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva
Mark Coleman vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
Stephan Bonnar vs. Jon Jones

Preliminary Card to feature Jeremey Horn, Rousimar Palhares, Alan Belcher, Marcus Davis, Chris Lytle, Nathan Diaz, Clay Guida and Jon Fitch.

March - UFC 95 / UFC 96

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Keith Jardine
Diego Sanchez vs. Joe Stevenson
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shane Carwin
Nate Marquardt vs. Wilson Gouveia
Josh Koscheck vs. Paulo Thiago

Also featuring Dan hardy, Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen, Junior dos Santos, Gray Maynard, Brandon Vera and Kendall Grove.

May - UFC 97 / UFC 98

Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites for the UFC Middleweight Title
Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title
Chuck Liddell vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra
Sean Sherk vs. Frankie Edgar

Also featuring Cheick Kongo, Luis Arthur Cane, Nate Quarry, Dennis Kang, Chael Sonnen, Dan Miller, Brock Larson and Kryzsztof Soszynski.

July - UFC 99 / UFC 100

Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir for the UFC Heavyweight Title
Georges St-Pierre vs. Thiago Alves for the UFC Welterweight Title
Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping
Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva
Marcus Davis vs. Dan Hardy

Also featuring Mirko Cro Cop, Mike Swick, Ben Saunders, Spencer Fisher, Jon Fitch and the debut of Yoshihiro Akiyama.

September - UFC 101 / UFC 102

BJ Penn vs. Kenny Florian for the UFC Lightweight Title
Randy Couture vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin
Keith Jardine vs. Thiago Silva
Nate Marquardt vs. Demian Maia

Also featuring Chirs Leben, Brandon Vera, Ed Herman, Ricardo Almeida and Brandon Vera.

November - UFC 103 / UFC 104

Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title
Rich Franklin vs. Vitor Belfort
Cain Velasquez vs. Ben Rothwell
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Junior dos Santos
Tyson Griffin vs. Hermes Franca

Also featuring Martin Kampmann, Josh Koscheck, Joe Stevenson, Anthony "Rumble" Johnson and Yushin Okami.

You wouldn't find many people complaining about putting out some of their hard-earned for fight cards with multiple title fights and the collection of creations pushing two cards together would have yielded.

As much as the UFC is clearly the big dog in the Mixed Martial Arts yard, there is no denying that they're currently in a bit of a crunch when it comes to finding names for the top of the marquee.

No disrespect to any of the four fighters set to headline the next two events, but are Randy Couture vs. Brandon Vera and Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin really the kind of fights that are going to sell pay-per-views and put more butts in seats than normal?

While UFC 106 would certainly do far better with the inclusion of the Lesnar - Carwin title fight, the fact of the matter is that Josh Nason is right; the UFC has been going so hard for so long that they're at a stage where one injury can take a card from being a "must-see" to a "you-must-be-kidding-me" event.

Even combining the two November events the way they stand now doesn't yield one of the best cards of the year, with or without a contracted schedule. Here's how it would look:

Randy Couture vs. Brandon Vera
Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin
Mike Swick vs. Dan Hardy
Josh Koscheck vs. Anthony "Rumble" Johnson
Michael Bisping vs. Denis Kang

While all of those are somewhat interesting fights, it's not a card that 600,000 people would spend $50 on, is it? Though 600,000 is a respectable number of PPV buys, the goal is to keep getting bigger and bigger and events with one or two truly engaging fights isn't the way to achieve that growth.

Opponents to this line of thinking will argue that a reduced number of pay-per-view shows would create less opportunities for the fighters who call the middle of the pack home and to an extent, that is correct.

Though they wouldn't have as many opportunities on PPV, cutting back on the multi-million dollar spectacles would free up a large chunk of change to expand the Fight Night brand or create a new avenue to introduce those fighters.

Truthfully, the casual fans aren't tuning into a UFC pay-per-view event to see Kendall Grove versus Ricardo Almeida anyway, so why not give them a chance to shine and gain exposure for free, while showcasing the best the company has to offer when you're asking the fans to open their wallets?

The evidence of potential success is there, as some of the more criticized cards of the year (UFC 97, UFC 102) get an impressive pick-me-up from their contracted companion. The Anderson Silva - Thales Leites fight would certainly have been a lot easier to stomach if it followed Lyoto Machida winning the Light Heavyweight title, while the Hughes - Serra grudge match would have fit perfectly as the #3 or #4 fight on the same card, instead of being a boring co-main event at UFC 98.

Does anyone actually expect the UFC to decide to reduce the number of mass moneymaking opportunities they offer each year?

Of course not, but in turn, the UFC shouldn't be surprised if fans decide to hold onto their money for a month or two, waiting for a truly great card like UFC 108 looks like it could be, while skipping the mediocre match-ups being offered in between.

More often than not, quality will win out over quantity or like my mom used to tell us all the time, "Sometimes, less is more."

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October 29, 2009

Welcome to the Official MMA Ratings Store

MMA Ratings, your source for in depth MMA analysis and opinion, and your only source for fight and event rankings, is now bringing you the best in MMA clothing and fight gear.

Make MMA Ratings your source for all your MMA gear and clothing. Our store is owned and operated by MMA fighters and fans who want to share their enthusiasm and love for the sport with our customers. Our passion is reflected in our store, and in the performance you can expect in all our products and in your shopping experience.

Special thanks to Scott Miller with a MMAadnet for his help with designing our new logo and banners. They really go the extra mile!

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October 27, 2009

Breaking down Machida vs Rua

By Eric Kamander Subscribe to Articles by Eric Kamander

Yesterday I brought up the appearance of impropriety as the UFC's, and MMA's, single biggest obstacle. And specifically I was referring to this appearance as the result of inconsistent, or even faulty, officiating. As I mentioned it seems that after every event there is some controversy over the refereeing or judging. But how much of that is the fault of the officials, and how much is simply a matter of ambiguous rules. For now let's take a look at that some of the ambiguity that goes into judging for fans and officials alike.

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October 26, 2009

The UFC's biggest obstacle is evident at UFC 104

By Eric Kamander Subscribe to Articles by Eric Kamander

At this past weekend's UFC 104 I think we had a look at the single biggest obstacle facing the UFC today in their effort of constant expansion. While the main event was filled with controversy, it didn't start with Shogun's questionable loss the to The Dragon.

Let's look at some of the preliminary fights that were not scheduled to be televised. The airing Chael Sonnen vs. Yushin Okami was questioned and it was suggested that they could have shown Kyle Kingsbury vs. Razak Al-Hassan. And the topic of Zuffa's nefarious motives for making and airing fights are frequently discussed. I usually despise such talk, but this is the one case where I agree that Zuffa had a motive, but I definitely support it. And this touches on a few topics.

Sonnen vs. Okami was an entertaining fight. Far better than anything I ever expected from this matchup a "lay and pray wrestler" vs. "a slow starter." This fight really answered questions about the contendership of the middleweight division. I'm personally happy about the results as I've always felt Okami never deserved a title shot and was actually over hyped as a result of his DQ win against Anderson Silva and a result of the hype that always occurs any time a title shot is announced.

Put aside whether or not Okami actually deserved a title shot. When you consider the amount of talk of Zuffa improperly keeping Okami from a title shot, despite the fact that there have been many extenuating factors involved in Okami's lack of a title fight, it is perfectly reasonable that Zuffa choose to televise this fight. It answers questions to address the legitimacy of their match making.

On the flip side Kingsbury vs. Al-Hassan was a questionable decision and I think one agenda Zuffa has demonstrated is a reluctance to release (not just not televise) questionable officiating - and rightly so.

We always talk about other promotions competing with Zuffa, but the single biggest obstacle Zuffa has to be wary of is one which they have little control over: the appearance of impropriety. If the general public gets the impression that mixed martial arts is fixed, it will turn off the masses and the UFC.

Many people have decided that MMA is a sham after the scoring of the Machida/Rua fight. It seems that after every event the one constant is that there was some officiating mishap. While the Zuffa brass work internally to try and address this very legitimate concern as best they can, it makes perfect sense that, when given the option, they choose not to release a fight that only exacerbates the problem.

What Zuffa can do to actually address questionable officiating is a bigger issue, but take a look at the UFC 104 post event press conference and Cecil Peoples explanation for why he scored the Machida/Rua fight the way he did.

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October 25, 2009

Dream 12: The Cage of the Rising Sun

Dream 12Click the stars to rate how good you think this was.

Dream 12: The Cage of the Rising Sun, promoted by Fighting and Entertainment Group, took place October 25 at the Osaka Castle Hall in Osaka, Japan. The event marked the first time Dream used a hexagon cage. Fights consisted of three five-minute rounds, as used in the North American system, though elbows will remained illegal. HDNet broadcast the event live in the United States.

Picks and Predictions for Dream 12: Caged Heat

1Tomoya MiyashitaKeisuke FujiwaraDecision (Unanimous)35:00
2Kuniyoshi HironakaWon Sik ParkTKO (Eye Injury)15:00
3Yoshiro MaedaChase BeebeSubmission (Rear-Naked Choke)13:36
4Dong Sik YoonTarec SaffiedineDecision (Split)35:00
5Katsuyori ShibataTokimitsu IshizawaTKO (Punches)14:52
6Kazushi SakurabaZelg GalesicSubmission (Kneebar)11:40
7Marius ZaromskisMyeon Ho BaeKO (Head Kick)10:19
8Eddie AlvarezKatsunori KikunoSubmission (Arm-Triangle Choke)23:42
9Alistair OvereemJames ThompsonSubmission (Guillotine Choke)10:33

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Dream 12 - 9. Alistair Overeem vs. James Thompson

Heavyweight bout: Alistair Overeem defeated James Thompson via submission (guillotine choke) at 0:33 of round 1.

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Dream 12 - 8. Eddie Alvarez vs. Katsunori Kikuno

Lightweight bout: Eddie Alvarez defeated Katsunori Kikuno via submission (arm triangle choke) at 3:42 of round 2.

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Dream 12 - 7. Marius Zaromskis vs. Myeon Ho Bae

Welterweight bout: Marius Zaromskis defeated Myeon Ho Bae via KO (Head Kick) at 0:19 of round 1.

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Dream 12 - 6. Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Zelg Galesic

Middleweight bout: Kazushi Sakuraba defeated Zelg Galesic via submission (kneebar) at 1:40 of round 1.

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Dream 12 - 5. Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tokimitsu Ishizawa

Middleweight bout: Katsuyori Shibata defeated Tokimitsu Ishizawa via TKO (Punches) at 4:52 of round 1.

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Dream 12 - 4. Dong Sik Yoon vs. Tarec Saffiedine

Middleweight bout: Dong Sik Yoon defeated Tarec Saffiedine via split decision.

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Dream 12 - 3. Yoshiro Maeda vs. Chase Beebe

Featherweight bout: Yoshiro Maeda defeated Chase Beebe via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:26 of round 1.

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Dream 12 - 2. Kuniyoshi Hironaka vs. Won Sik Park

Lightweight bout: Kuniyoshi Hironaka defeated Won Sik Park via TKO (Corner Stoppage) at 5:00 of round 1.

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Dream 12 - 1. Tomoya Miyashita vs. Keisuke Fujiwara

Featherweight bout: Tomoya Miyashita defeated Keisuke Fujiwara via unanimous decision at 5:00 of round 3.

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Dream 12: The Cage of the Rising Sun (Predictions)

Dream 12Click the stars to rate how good you think it will be.

Dream 12: The Cage of the Rising Sun, promoted by Fighting and Entertainment Group, is to take place October 25 at the Osaka Castle Hall in Osaka, Japan. The event will mark the first time DREAM has used a hexagon cage. Fights will consist of three five-minute rounds, as used in the North American system, though elbows will remain illegal. HDNet will broadcast the event live in the United States.

Picks and Predictions for Dream 12: Caged Heat

Middleweight bout: Kazushi Sakuraba (184.8) vs. Zelg Galesic (187)
Welterweight bout: Marius Zaromskis (167.2) vs. Ho Bae Myeon(166.8)
Middleweight bout: Tarec Saffiedine (182.6) vs. Dong Sik Yoon (184.8) *
Featherweight bout: Chase Beebe (138.6) vs. Yoshiro Maeda (138.2)
Lightweight bout: Eddie Alvarez (153.6) vs. Katsunori Kikuno (154)
Featherweight bout: Keisuke Fujiwara (138.2) vs. Tomoya Miyashita (138.6)
Middleweight bout: Katsuyori Shibata (183.3) vs. Tokimitsu Ishizawa (183.3)
Lightweight bout: Kuniyoshi Hironaka (154) vs. Won Sik Park (154)
Heavyweight bout: Alistair Overeem (253) vs. James Thompson (277.2)

* Dong Sik Yoon will face Tarec Saffiedine, who replaces Paulo Filho after Filho failed to show up.

Preceding the official announcement of Dream 12, an unverifiable video showing a postcard advertisement for the event was posted on YouTube on August 10, 2009. Depicting the official date, location, time, and ticketing information for the event, the postcard, similar in appearance, and style to previous Dream handouts, displayed what could be an accurate representation of potential participants for the event on it's flipside.

On August 21, 2009, a brief promotional video for Dream 12 appeared on the official Dream YouTube channel. In the video, footage of a production meeting with Event Producer Keiichi Sasahara is intertwined with fight footage from previous Dream events.


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October 24, 2009

UFC 104: Machida vs. Rua

UFC 104Click the stars to rate how good you think it was.

UFC 104: Machida vs. Shogun was held on October 24, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. As with UFC 103, a portion of the preliminary card aired live and commercial-free during an hour long block on Spike.

Sherdog Play-by-Play UFC 104 Play-by-Play
Picks and Predictions for UFC 104: The Machida Era
Sherdog preview UFC 104 Preview: The Main Card, The Prelims

1Stefan StruveChase GormleySubmission (Triangle Choke)14:04
2Kyle KingsburyRazak Al-HassanDecision (Split)35:00
3Jorge RiveraRob KimmonsTKO (Punches)31:53
4Chael SonnenYushin OkamiDecision (Unanimous)35:00
5Patrick BarryAntoni HardonkTKO (Punches)22:30
6Ryan BaderEric SchaferDecision (Unanimous)35:00
7Anthony JohnsonYoshiyuki YoshidaTKO (Punches)10:41
8Joe StevensonSpencer FisherSubmission (Elbows)24:03
9Gleison TibauJosh NeerDecision (Unanimous)35:00
10Cain VelasquezBen RothwellTKO (Punches)20:58
11Lyoto MachidaMauricio RuaDecision (Unanimous)55:00

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UFC 104: Machida vs. Rua - 11. Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio Rua

Light Heavyweight Championship bout: Lyoto Machida defeated Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) to retain the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.

Fightmetric TPR Report FightMetric TPR Report

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UFC 104: Machida vs. Rua - 10. Cain Velasquez vs. Ben Rothwell

Heavyweight bout: Cain Velasquez defeated Ben Rothwell via TKO (punches) at 0:58 of round 2.

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UFC 104: Machida vs. Rua - 9. Gleison Tibau vs. Josh Neer

Catchweight (157 lb) bout: Gleison Tibau defeated Josh Neer via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

The fight will be held at a catch-weight of 157 pounds as both fighters failed to make their original contracted weight of 155 pounds.

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UFC 104: Machida vs. Rua - 8. Joe Stevenson vs. Spencer Fisher

Lightweight bout: Joe Stevenson defeated Spencer Fisher via TKO (strikes) at 4:03 of round 2.

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UFC 104: Machida vs. Rua - 7. Anthony Johnson vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida

Catchweight (176 lb) bout: Anthony Johnson defeated Yoshiyuki Yoshida via (TKO (strikes) at 0:41 of round 1.

Yoshida agreed to a catchweight after Johnson weighed-in at 176lbs.

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UFC 104: Machida vs. Rua - 6. Ryan Bader vs. Eric Schafer

Light Heavyweight bout: Ryan Bader defeated Eric Schafer via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-26, 30-27).

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UFC 104: Machida vs. Rua - 5. Patrick Barry vs. Antoni Hardonk

Heavyweight bout: Patrick Barry defeated Antoni Hardonk via TKO (strikes) at 2:30 of round 2.

Patrick Barry and Antoni Hardonk were each awarded $60,000 bonuses for Fight of the Night. Patrick Barry was awarded a $60,000 bonus for Knockout of the Night.

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UFC 104: Machida vs. Rua - 4. Chael Sonnen vs. Yushin Okami

Middleweight bout: Chael Sonnen defeated Yushin Okami via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

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UFC 104: Machida vs. Rua - 3. Jorge Rivera vs. Rob Kimmons

Middleweight bout: Jorge Rivera defeated Rob Kimmons via TKO (strikes) at 1:53 of round 1.

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UFC 104: Machida vs. Rua - 2. Kyle Kingsbury vs. Razak Al-Hassan

Light Heavyweight bout: Kyle Kingsbury defeated Razak Al-Hassan via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).

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UFC 104: Machida vs. Rua - 1. Stefan Struve vs. Chase Gormley

Heavyweight bout: Stefan Struve defeated Chase Gormley via submission (triangle choke) at 4:04 of round 1.

Stefan Struve was awarded a $60,000 bonus for Submission of the Night.

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UFC 104: Machida vs. Rua (Predictions)

UFC 104Click the stars to rate how good you think it will be.

UFC 104: Machida vs. Shogun is to be held on October 24, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. As with UFC 103, the UFC announced a portion of the preliminary card will air live and commercial-free during an hour long block on Spike. Currently, the Ryan Bader vs. Eric Schafer and Antoni Hardonk vs. Patrick Barry fights will be shown on Spike in the U.S and ESPN in the UK.

UFC President Dana White originally confirmed that the winner of the Shane Carwin vs. Cain Velasquez fight will become the #1 Contender for Brock Lesnar's UFC Heavyweight Championship, however, on August 20 it was reported the bout was off and that Carwin would fight Lesnar at UFC 106 instead and Velasquez will fight against Ben Rothwell.

Picks and Predictions for UFC 104: The Machida Era
Sherdog preview UFC 104 Preview: The Main Card, The Prelims

Chase Gormley who was slated to face Ben Rothwell will instead face Stefan Struve. An injured Sean Sherk will be replaced by Josh Neer.

UFC 104 Weigh-ins:
Lyoto Machida (202.5) vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (204.5)
Cain Velasquez (238) vs. Ben Rothwell (265)
Gleison Tibau (157) vs. Josh Neer (156.5) *
Joe Stevenson (155.5) vs. Spencer Fisher (155)
Anthony Johnson (176) vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida (170) **
Ryan Bader (205.5) vs. Eric Schafer (205.5)
Antoni Hardonk (249.5) vs. Patrick Barry (237)
Yushin Okami (185) vs. Chael Sonnen (185)
Jorge Rivera (185) vs. Rob Kimmons (185)
Kyle Kingsbury (205.5) vs. Razak Al-Hassan (204.5)
Stefan Struve (243.5) vs. Chase Gormley (262)

* The Tibau-Neer fight will be held at a catch-weight of 157 pounds. Both fighters failed to make their original contracted weight of 155 pounds.
** Johnson vs. Yoshida will be held at 176 pounds after Johnson missed weight.


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MMA World Expo

By Eric Kamander Subscribe to Articles by Eric Kamander

I just came back from New York City's first ever World MMA Expo.

It was filled with the usual things you would expect at this sort of event: grappling demonstrations, MMA clothing merchants, supplement dealers, scantily clad ring girl wannabees. Overall I have to say the whole things was a bit unimpressive. That said I still had a good time for the few hours I hung around.

Wanderlei Silva was there all day signing autographs in an octagon, and the line out side it was so long I think it might have taken me that long to get one. I settled for this picture from outside the cage.

I talked to Rich Clementi for a while. He was really cool. He has a fight coming up in Cage Wars. I asked him about the fight between Anthony Johnson and Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC 104 tonight (considering that Rich submitted Anthony Johnson at UFC 76). He was pretty down on Johnson for not making weight, but he predicted that Johnson will still knock out Yoshida, as this was why the fight was made. I'm glad I got to tell him that I for one enjoyed his fight with Gray Maynard (and that's the truth).

I met Phil Nurse, the trainer from Jackson's Fighting Systems who recently appeared in an episode of The Ultimate Fighter. He was really nice. I wanted to ask him if he would take a picture with me rubbing Vaseline on my chest, but after watching the Muay Thai demonstration he had done earlier I didn't think it was a good idea.

I got to meet Scott Jorgensen, who is currently ranked #10 in MMA Ratings' Bantamweight Rankings. Another cool guy, which I already new from his recent interview posted on MMA Ratings. It was good to meet him and let him know that all of us here at MMA Ratings thought he won that fight with Antonio Banuelos.

While I was there I met with Dr. Silk. He gave me a free posture check and realignment. It was all good. But I have to say that Miguel Charles from 24/7 Bodyworks, the man in the picture, really worked some magic on my back and gave me some words of wisdom that I really appreciated. I highly recommend looking him up if you have some back or neck pain!

When you're hitting the heavy bag, do you ever wish that the bag would move like a real opponent? Like when you throw a kick and then you have to step back and reset? I always wished I had a heavy bag that would move around when you hit it. Well these guys over at GlideBoxx have made that machine. If you look at the contraption holding the heavy bag, it allows the bag to move in every direction and adjustable bungees let you modify the give. We all tried it out and it works exactly like you would hope. Kudos to them.

There were also some cool Muay Thai, BJJ and Judo demonstrations. I was originally planning on going tomorrow, but I think I'll take my kids to the zoo if the weather holds up.

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October 23, 2009

Picks and Predictions for Dream 12: Caged Heat

By Nicholas Bailey (nbailey@mmaratings.net)

Dream 12 represents Fight Entertainment Group's concession to the modern age of MMA, adopting the cage (and no, they are not the first Japanese promotion to do so) and the standard three fives round system (and they are the last Japanese promotion to do so, Guy Mezger's disinformation campaign aside). While it is great to see ace fighters get a chance to fight in a proper venue (and don't even try to argue otherwise; the ring is wrong, end of story), it's frustrating to see that most of the top talent in the promotion will not be on this card, which features a lot of squash matches and filler fights that aren't even worth talking about. Fortunately, we at least have a few relevant and interesting bouts (Kikuno/Alvarez and Beebe/Maeda)in addition to the gross splatterfests we're sure to get from Overeem and Galesic.

Alistair Overeem (-1200) vs. James Thompson (+900)

Overeem is perfectly insulated here. He obviously outmatches Thompson, but Overeem’s shoddy chin has been an equalizing factor throughout his career. However, Thompson, as big as he is, is a very light puncher with an even worse chin, so chances are he won’t survive one of the 260-lb Overeem’s improved punches to throw back, and even if he does throw, he is such a bad puncher that it probably won’t land, and even if it does, it probably won’t be hard enough to rattle even Overeem.

So then, Overeem will either decapitate him with enormous punches or simply guillotine him to death after Thompson rushes into a clinch. Silliness all around, then. I guess Overeem needed this kind of fight to continue rehabbing his “injury” that has been keeping him out of Strikeforce. At least fans will get a chance to view the ever-improving physique and skill set of Overeem, who managed to pack on 30lbs of muscle over about 15 months while simultaneously learning to punch correctly. Alistair Overeem by KO round 1.

Some were taking Overeem at -700, but even then I feel that was far too much chalk to lay down for a fighter that’s had as much trouble remaining consistent as Overeem.

Zelg Galesic (-155) vs. Kazushi Sakuraba (+138)

This is a fight where neither man is capable of standing up to the other’s offense. Galesic is brilliant offensively, with brutal strikes of all sorts, but he’s a boom or bust fighter. He doesn’t have fantastic gas, and he trains for groundfighting at a kickboxing gym or something, so he either decapitates his opponent or falls over and gets submitted. Sakuraba obviously has the submission chops to exploit this, but he’s a very broken down old man that’s had brain problems. He has no chin anymore, and with his knees at about a Frank Shamrock level (that is, more shot that your typical Die Hard bad guy), he’ll have trouble completing takedowns on an athletic young man, even if Galesic can’t wrestle very well.

So, Halloween will come early this year, with Galesic wreaking untold horrors on a stiff and prone Sakuraba, making it all the more irresponsible when Dream tries to book him against Bob Sapp on New Years. Zelg Galesic by KO round 1.

If you follow my twitter, you might have been able to get on Galesic at +110, or at least -105, which represents an excellent bet, especially since you can make it risk-free with the current odds on Sakuraba. I’d suggest doing that, since you never know what kind of shenanigans can happen in Japan surrounding one of their stars, and Sakuraba does still have legitimate submission skills Zelg lacks.

Marius Zaromskis (-370) vs. Myeon Ho Bae (+300)

Zaromskis, despite his killer run through Dream’s welterweight tournament, is still a much more gifted offensive fighter than defensive, so if Myeon gets into the driver’s seat early he has a legitimate shot at picking up the win. Let’s not forget that Ikemoto took this guy to a competitive decision not too long ago. That said, Myeon Ho Bae is woefully unprepared for this kind of offense. Fighting primarily in the Mars promotion against low-level competition, he simply hasn’t ever dealt with someone that brings the kind of firepower Zaromskis does. He’s a tough fighter, but he isn’t tough enough to survive headkicks like Marius throws, so he’ll only be competitive until he gets tagged, at which point it will be all downhill. Marius Zaromskis by TKO round 1.

Chase Beebe (-140) vs. Yoshiro Maeda (+113)

A close, competitive fight, which is about the last thing Chase Beebe needs after being completely burglarized in the decision “loss” to Mike Easton a few weeks ago. Maeda has well-rounded skills, especially his striking. Beebe can probably hang on the feet, but his biggest advantage is in his wrestling and positional grappling. The fight will be nip-and tuck throughout, but Beebe should be able to take the more dominant positions and work from there. Beebe also has the advantage in that Maeda is more prone to making errors that get him finished, so if Chase stays aggressive and pressures Maeda, he might give up a submission or catch a big strike and go down hard. Chase Beebe by decision.

While I feel Beebe should be more than a -140 favorite, I also think that the likelihood of this fight going to decision introduces more variables than I’d like to see. Dream is experimenting with a lot of rule changes here, and experimentation leads to questionable decisions, so it really is a toss-up what the judges will see in a fight here, so I am staying away.

Eddie Alvarez (-355) vs. Katsunori Kikuno (+300)

This fight is too much too soon for Kikuno. The guy has a very interesting style, with the robot-stiff upper-body and wide Karate stance, and it’s hard to beat kicking someone’s guts in with a crescent kick as a “finishing move”, but Alvarez is just too much for him, experience wise. Anyone that can get repeated hard knockdowns on Joachim Hansen has an enormous amount of power in his hands, although Eddie doesn’t have a fantastic chin, so if he lands on Kikuno, it will likely be game over for the Karate fighter. However, Andre Dida is a better striker than Alvarez and similarly has enormous power, and Kikuno handled him easily. However, in his Bellator fights, Alvarez worked on his game by showing off the takedown/ground and pound game that he used when he was first fighting professionally. Kikuno won’t be able to defend against that, as he is still very green on the floor, so Alvarez will be able to ride him to a decision if he fights a smart fight, especially in a cage. Eddie Alvarez by decision.

If you’re a big Karate fanboy, you can do much worse than betting on Kikuno at +300, and I really think he could handle Eddie on the feet if Alvarez tried to make this a K-1 max bout, but I will stay off, with better bets available this weekend.

My Plays:
2u on Zelg Galesic at (+110) to win 2.2u

Place your bets:

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