|The MMA News Feed - UFC 90 Predictions and Much More
By Matthew Degonzaque (Oct 25, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
In this week’s edition of the MMA news feed we’ll be taking a look at last weekend’s UFC 89 card featuring Michael Bisping defeating Chris Leben in the main event. I’ll also look at who Bisping is going to face next as well as who his opposing coach on TUF 9 will be. I’ll look at Ken and Frank Shamrock signing to fight one another. I’ll also give my predictions on this Tonight’s UFC 90: Silva versus Cote PPV and the shocking news that the EliteXC promotion has shut down!
UFC 89 Results
Last Saturday, the UFC held one of their few non-PPV UFC events. UFC 89 emulated from Birmingham, England with Michael Bisping returning to his home country to take on TUF 1 alumnus Chris Leben in the main event. The results of the show, tape delayed on Spike TV, went like this:
Michael Bisping defeats Chris Leben by UD (30-27 twice, 29-28).
Keith Jardine defeats Brendon Vera by UD (29-28 on all cards).
Luis Cane defeats Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou by TKO 4:15 in round 2.
Chris Lytle defeats Paul Taylor by UD (30-27, 29-28 twice).
Marcus Davis defeats Paul Kelly by SUB 2:16 in round 2.
Let's start off with the main event, Bisping managed to remain undefeated at Middleweight with a decision win over Chris Leben. It didn't take a genius to figure out the strategies for both fighters. Leben was looking to come in and do what he always has done, brawl and look for the big knockout shot. Bisping was looking to avoid being lured into a stand up fight with Leben and instead looked to stick and move and pick apart his slower opponent. Leben came forward in the first round and managed to land some big shots on Bisping, who spent most of the first round on the defense. Leben spent most of the first round chasing Bisping trying to draw him into a slug fest. I gave Leben the first round, but that was as good as it got for “The Crippler”. Afterwards, Bisping's game plan began to take effect as he managed to out box Leben for the entire second round. The success of Bisping's game plan showed as throughout the second and third round as Leben's face quickly was battered and bloodied. Leben's lack of success at drawing Bisping into a brawl showed at the end of the 2nd and 3rd as he put his hands behind his back, stuck his chin up in the air and dared Bisping to take a shot at him. The move didn't work (except in the 3rd, when Bisping kicked Leben in the face as the round ended). The end result was a clear decision win for Bisping.
On the under card: Keith Jardine continued his on again/off again career as he defeated Brendon Vera by decision in the co-main event. The main event puts Jardine back on the path to a possible title shot. Although with the way his career goes who knows if it will ever happen as Jardine usually follows up a big win with an even bigger loss. But if Jardine can manage to stay on the winning side of things, than a rematch with Forrest Griffin seems like an obvious choice for a future title fight. I'm not sure what's next for Vera, but I'm guessing UFC gives him at least one more chance before cutting his contract. Vera is 1-3 in his last four fights and went from being one of the UFC's hottest prospects to someone who looks to be a slight notch above journeyman status in the UFC. Luis Cane outlasted Rameau Thierry “The Predator” Sokoudjou and stopped him in the second round. Chris Lytle vs. Marcus Davis seems to be a natural after both guys pulled off wins on the under card.
Overall, UFC 89 was a decent show. But like I said before, it’s a good thing that this card wasn't a PPV as none of the fights were very memorable and besides Bisping's coaching job on TUF 9, absolutely nothing was on the line on this card.
Bisping to fight Franklin/Henderson winner?
Michael Bisping’s next test inside the Octagon will be by far his toughest.
Announced as a coach for season nine of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, Bisping will meet the winner of the UFC 93 bout between one-time middleweight champion Rich Franklin and former dual Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Dan Henderson. The Franklin-Henderson victor will also coach against Bisping on TUF; a Spike TV representative on Sunday confirmed shooting on the show’s ninth season would commence in late (credit: Sherdog)
If Bisping wants to be able to get past someone of the skill level of either Rich Franklin or Dan Henderson, then he is going to need to bring a lot more to the table than what he brought against Chris Leben. That stick and move strategy that Bisping used to win last at UFC 89 may work against Leben and most of the fringe contenders in the 185lb division, but Franklin and Henderson are another kind of fighter. I have always believed that, after Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin was the best striker at 185lbs. I think Franklin will easily be able to work Bisping in the stand up department. That might be a match up that Bisping would want to go to the ground with, although Franklin is no slouch on the ground either. Bisping would have a better chance of standing up with Henderson. Henderson is more of a wild striker than Franklin and can sometimes rely too much on his big right hand. But Henderson’s wrestling would give him a big advantage against Bisping because he could probably control ‘The Count’ on the ground.
Either way, Bisping’s next fight will be without a doubt the toughest of his career. He’ll likely have 8-10 months to prepare before the fight happens so hopefully he’ll be up to the challenge by the time TUF 9 ends and he has to face one of the two men.
As for coaching skills, Franklin has already coached season 2 of TUF with one of his fighters, Rashad Evans, winning the heavyweight tournament. Henderson would be an interesting person to coach opposite Bisping as he already runs Team Quest California and has Jason Miller, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and Matt Lindland at his disposal and could use them as secondary coaches on the show.
EliteXC is dead
Less than two years following the formation of ProElite, Inc., the group notified employees and fighters Monday it was shutting its doors effective immediately, multiple sources confirmed to SI.com.
Through its partnership with Showtime and later CBS, which in 2008 agreed to broadcast four live EliteXC events in primetime, EliteXC gained a tremendous amount of visibility. The company, however, hemorrhaged tens of millions of dollars during its 22 months in operation.
In September, Showtime, which owned a 20 percent stake in ProElite, entered into preliminary negotiations to purchase a controlling interest in the company. When those negotiations failed, said a source inside ProElite who asked not to be identified, funding dried up and the company was forced out of business.
Beginning with Rumble on the Rock, ProElite purchased numerous MMA promotional brands around the world, including King of the Cage, Cage Rage, ICON, and Spirit MC. While these companies remained in operation, the focus was EliteXC, which held 17 events starting with its first card Feb. 10, 2007.
EliteXC's third card with CBS on Oct. 4 was also its last as a promoter. Headlined by the controversial Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson, the event made headlines with discussion surrounding the legitimacy of the main event between Ferguson and Seth Petruzelli. The bout is currently under investigation by the Florida State Athletic Commission (credit: Sports Illustrated.com)
I can safely say that I didn’t see this one coming. I mean, it was funny to make jokes about Kimbo’s loss as the downfall of EliteXC, but even with that and all of their money issues I didn’t think the promotion would actually fold this week. I mean, it appeared that Tito Ortiz could possibly be signing with them. They just came off of a huge rating on CBS that I thought would at least guarantee them another television special on the network. But I guess there was just too baggage for the organization for it to stay afloat.
First off, the company made the stupid mistake of spending all of its money and losing $60 million dollars in less than two years. That’s more than what Zuffa lost in the first 4 years it owned the UFC. ProElite was stupid in buying up all of the smaller MMA brands, which were losing money themselves, like ICON, King of the Cage etc. ProElite officials liked to claim that it was because they wanted to build up their roster. But that is lame because even after they acquired all of those promotions they still had a shallow talent pool of fighters.
I think also the promotion also was run by the wrong officials. You had Gary Shaw, a boxing promoter, trying to run an MMA company like he would a boxing show. He signed Kimbo Slice due to his underground popularity despite the fact that Kimbo is an amateur MMA fighter at best and he tried to build Kimbo up like you would a boxing star and basically gave him easy opponents to build up his record and give him national exposure. I mean, did Shaw really think that MMA fans were going to watch every card and buy PPV’s (which were inevitable had the promotion not died) and watch Kimbo win his first 20-25 fights against handpicked opposition before he fought someone dangerous? MMA isn’t like that. Fighters get thrown into the fire when the fight in the big promotions.
In his 1st four MMA fights, BJ Penn fought Din Thomas, Caol Uno and Jens Pulver for the title. Each man was a certifiable top 5 fighters at lightweight at the time BJ fought them. Brock Lesnar has already fought a former world champion and a top 10 contender in his two UFC fights after having only one MMA fight outside of the UFC beforehand. MMA fans don’t have the tolerance to stand by as someone gets big paydays, but it spoon fed. If you want to make big money in this sport, you generally need to be fighting the best available opposition out there. Give credit to Kimbo for finding a way to make easy money for easy fights, but he was a disaster waiting to happen and it all began after the first EliteXC CBS card.
The terrible leadership continued after the first card on CBS got horrible reviews when the referee saved Kimbo from taking a loss. As a result, Gary Shaw was shown the door and remained in a “consultant”. Instead of bringing in someone with experience to run the promotion, they instead left the promotion to be run by Shaw’s son Jared. Jared Shaw was someone looked to be more interested in being a flunky for Kimbo Slice than an executive for a fight company. Meanwhile, people like former ICON promoter T. Jay Thompson was always on the outside looking in; not invited to meetings with CBS, the company’s day to day operations, flying to events on his own dime, not being allowed backstage to events and his suggestions to help the company being ignored. Little Shaw never did anything to really help the promotion grow and it was never truly revealed what his day to day activities for ProElite were other than exchanging trash talk with KJ Noons and trying to sneak peeks at Gina Carano when she strips to make weight.
CBS and Showtime were still supposedly in negotiations to purchase the company even after Kimbo was knocked out in 14 seconds by last minute replacement Seth Petruzelli. The final nail in the coffin was only a couple of days after the show when Seth Petruzelli publicly said that ProElite officials had paid him extra money to stand with Kimbo Slice instead trying to go down to the ground.
"The promoters kind of hinted to me, and they gave me the money to stand and trade with him. They didn't want me to take him down, let's just put it that way. It was worth my while to try to stand up and punch with him."-Seth Petruzelli
Controversy immediately erupted following this statement and the media jumped all over this. Petruzelli, realizing the dark cloud that he just brought down over his big win, began to back pedal and say that he was misquoted.
But Petruzelli changed his story to many times for people to count. News soon came out that the Florida athletic commission, which sanctioned the event, was investigating the promotion for trying to tamper with the outcomes of fights by offering fighters money to fight a certain way. That was the death knell for EliteXC, Seth Petruzelli and his big mouth. While I don’t think anything will happen to ProElite, as they can just claim they offered him a normal knockout, fight of the night or submission bonus like the UFC does, as they having been saying in the press. Petruzelli has come out and said that he received his ‘knockout bonus’ before the fight even took place. After all of this negative publicity, CBS and Showtime wanted nothing to do with the promotion and ended negotiations. ProElite then informed its employees that they were shutting down.
I don’t condone ProElite’s actions, if they are found guilty of anything, but there is no doubt that Seth Petruzelli made the dumbest move of his career here. Petruzelli is a journeyman who flunked out of the UFC and took a year off of fighting. The Kimbo fight was his comeback. Yet the guy found the golden ticket and knocked out Kimbo Slice. Even with his average skills he was set to make some big money in the promotion, possibly in a rematch with Kimbo or a fight against Tito Ortiz. But instead less than two weeks later he was one of the main reasons the promotion is dead and now his career is a question mark.
Ironically, with the exception of EliteXC’s two biggest names; Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano, I doubt most of the top talent will have a problem finding another promotion to call home. I wouldn’t be surprised if Robbie Lawler and Jake Shields signed with the UFC before the end of the year. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Joey Villasenor, Brett Rogers, Antonio Silva (when his suspension is up) and Benji Radach wound up in the Octagon sooner rather than later. Seth Petruzelli also may get a chance to return to the UFC or he could follow Kimbo around trying to get a rematch.
Guys like Nick Diaz, Eddie Alvarez, and Murilo Rua already have names in Japan and I could see them going to DREAM or Sengoku. KJ Noons has expressed interest in having an boxing career as much as an MMA career so I could see him heading to Affliction based on their new relationship with Golden Boy promotions.
Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano are question marks. EliteXC was the first promotion to feature women’s MMA on a regular basis. UFC has already said they have no interest in holding women’s MMA on their cards. So where can Gina Carano and everyone that wants to face her go? Strikeforce and HDNet fights have held women’s fights in the past, but they don’t offer quite the notoriety that fighting in the UFC would. I wouldn’t seeing Zuffa owned WEC give women’s fights as it gives them national exposure on the Versus network, although I don’t think Zuffa is truly interested in the work they would need to put in (like adding more than one women’s weight class) to make it work long term.
Kimbo Slice has to be careful where ever he signs next. UFC wants nothing to do with and no other promotion is going to baby him like EliteXC did. He is going to be facing some make-or-break fights in the future. A lot of promoters are going to look to use Kimbo to build their guys up so they’ll have to be even more careful where they go if they want to preserve what’s left of his mystique. Kimbo’s manager has already said that he is interested in going to Japan for fights. I’ll be interested in seeing if DREAM and/or Sengoku-who have used Mirko Cro Cop, Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett in their promotions-have interest in Kimbo. I’d also be interested in seeing how they’d use him in their promotion. Give him dangerous fights or turn him into a sideshow act that the Japanese fans love i.e.-Bob Sapp and Giant Silva. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wound up fighting Giant Silva or Bob Sapp in Japan.
Shamrock versus Shamrock in 2009?
Brothers Ken and Frank Shamrock have sparred, both physically and verbally, for the better part of 15 years.
Older brother Ken, a UFC Hall of Famer, has said that younger brother Frank, a former UFC titleholder, is an ungrateful punk who disrespected their father, Bob. Not to be outdone, Frank has accused Ken of guarding his turf with excessive zeal. He also accuses Ken of ruthlessly degrading him and labeling him a subpar talent. In March, the mudslinging reached a different level of enmity, as Frank accused Ken of being a steroid abuser.
It comes as no surprise, then, that the brothers are on the cusp of settling the intra-familial drama that has simmered for so long. They have each signed a contract, in principle, to settle their family feud in a most public fashion: they will face off, in a cage, in a pay-per-view contest.
There are plenty of particulars to iron out, like the date (probably sometime in April), the venue (none has been chosen) and the promotional and broadcast partners to be involved (Elite XC, CBS, and Showtime, with perhaps some other co-promoters), before what is believed to be the first brother vs. brother faceoff in fight history becomes a 100 percent done deal.
"We've both signed a contract to fight each other," younger brother Frank Shamrock told ESPN.com. "Ken is down with it. We talked about it two years ago, and we've agreed materially to fight."
"Will the fight happen? Absolutely," Ken Shamrock told ESPN.com. "He's got a buttkicking coming to him. Everything I've learned, everything I have bottled up in me, is going to come out on him. I've still got love for Frank, but I'm angry at him." (credit: ESPN.com)
With the recent news that EliteXC has shut down operations, I wonder how much of a possibility there is of this fight still coming off. Not many other promotions can afford the salaries that Ken and Frank are going to want for this kind of fight. UFC is out of the question as they have a poor relationship with both fighters, Frank and Dana White have had heat for about 6 years and Ken is actually suing the UFC right now for breach of contract (they cut him with one fight left on his contract in 2006). Affliction could probably put on the fight, I’m guessing they’d be interested since Frank and Ken could put on a bigger buyrate than most of the stars they already have. Their last PPV drew around somewhere between 50,000-85,000 PPV buys. The Shamrocks can do better than that.
But who knows if Affliction would be interested in putting on a PPV featuring two past their prime fighters; Ken is 44 years old and Frank is 35. Ken hasn’t won a fight since 2004 and Frank is 1-2 in his last 3 fights. Both Shamrocks have a relationship with Strikeforce; Frank has fought for them in 3 out of his last 4 fights and Ken does commentary for their late night show Saturday on NBC. Strikeforce has had talks with NBC about having a live card and the Shamrock brothers throwing down could be a great debut for a live card on NBC.
Personally, I’d prefer that Shamrock vs. Shamrock didn’t happen. I mean, I’d find it a little awkward as a fan to watch two brothers (even if they are adopted) fight each other. Just imagine how their father must feel. Regardless of what both Ken and Frank say, I bet Bob Shamrock watching his two sons beat each other up isn’t going to be a treat. At this point, there is little doubt that the fight would be competitive. Neither fighters are passed their primes, but Frank at least still has a couple of good fights left in him. Ken meanwhile, has been knocked out 5 times in a row. This fight should be a relatively easy win for Frank and I’m guessing he is using this as a springboard to a higher profile and much bigger paydays.
Emelianenko and Arlovski to fight on Jan. 24th
Affliction has finally confirmed that Fedor Emelianenko-Andrei Arlovski will indeed take place January 24 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Prior to the release of the commercial, Affliction would only say that the main event and January 24 date would probably happen, but wouldn't confirm the details 100%.
Vladimir Matyushenko, Jay Hieron, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Renato "Babalu" Sobral, Josh Barnett, Chris Horodecki, Matt Lindland and Vitor Belfort are all being advertised for the event. (credit: mmafighting.com)
The main event pays for the entire card itself in my opinion. While the buyrate will be questionable, Emelianenko-Arlovski is much more attractive than Emelianenko-Sylvia was for the average MMA fan. Despite going 1-2 in his trilogy with Tim Sylvia, Arlovski is generally regarded as a much better fighter than Sylvia and only lost to circumstances of the time (caught with a shot he didn’t see coming in the rematch, too gunshy in the rubber match). Arlovski has looked much better and more aggressive since leaving the UFC. He destroyed Ben Rothwell, who people were calling a serious top 10 contender before Arlovski defeated him. Arlovski also showed impressive standup when he stopped Roy Nelson on less than a week’s notice on EliteXC’s last card.
Arlovski has the more superior standup to Fedor, but Fedor has shown in his fights against Mirko Cro Cop and Tim Sylvia that he can out strike a striker. Arlovski is known for having a questionable chin due to some of his knockout losses in the past, but it’s not like he has ever lost to someone not known for having heavy hands. Tim Sylvia, Ricco Rodriguez and Pedro Rizzo were all former top contenders in the heavyweight division and Arlovski has only gotten better since losing to them.
I think it’s a good fight and I think Arlovski has the potential to give Fedor more problems than anyone he has fought in the past few years. Arlovski is without a doubt the most dangerous fighter than Fedor has fought since 2005. I think Arlovski might land some good shots on Fedor, but Fedor will still manage to take Arlovski down and submit him in either the first or second round.
UFC 90 Preview
UFC 90 is this Saturday and its coming from Rosemont, Illinois. This is the list of the fights that will take place at the event:
UFC Middleweight Championship: Champion Anderson Silva (22-4) vs. Patrick Cote (14-4)
Sean Sherk (32-3-1) vs. Tyson Griffin (12-1)
Thiago Alves (15-3) vs. Josh Koscheck (11-2)
Grey Maynard (5-0) vs. Rich Clementi (32-12-1)
Fabricio Werdum (11-3-1) vs. Junior Dos Santos (6-1)
Silva vs. Cote: Silva should take this one easily. The only reason Cote is getting this shot is because Okami was injured and couldn’t fight for the rest of the year. Silva has beaten up so many fighters in the division that Cote is one of the few guys left in the UFC Middleweight division that Silva hasn’t fought yet. Cote is not an elite fighter, he has good stand up but it pales in comparison to Silva’s. He has a good chin, but so has everyone else Silva has fought in the UFC and they haven’t been able to stand up to his flurry of offense. Cote’s ground game is mediocre while Silva has submitted Dan Henderson and Travis Lutter, ground specialists. Silva is just the better fighter, plain and simple. Silva should win this by knockout in the 1st or 2nd round. The only thing that has me wondering about this fight is all of Silva’s talk about retiring lately and whether or not the champion is completely focused on this fight. That could give Cote the advantage he needs to pull off the upset. But I think Silva is enough of a professional to bring his A game and I think if he does he will take apart Cote.
Sherk vs. Griffin: This is Sherk’s chance to get back into title contention after being thrashed by BJ Penn last May. This is Tyson Griffin’s chance to be recognized as a legitimate contender in the division. Both guys are very similar fighters. They’re main strength is their wrestling and their cardio. They are not known for having great stand up due to their small frames and neither have great submissions or ground and pound. There game is using their wrestling and cardio to outwork their opponent. Proof: Griffin’s last 5 fights have ended in decision and he hasn’t stopped an opponent since David Lee at UFC 63. Sherk hasn’t finished someone since 2005 and his last 3 wins are by decision; two of which were 5 rounder’s.
This one is going to a decision. I have a feeling that this is going to go a lot like Penn-Sherk in that both guys are going to strike instead of using their ground skills to win the fight. I don’t see Sherk and Griffin shooting on each other and having a ground battle, who knows if they would be able to get each other on the ground anyway. I see them trying to outbox each other and I think it will be a very competitive bout. I think Griffin will win a split decision.
Alves vs. Koscheck: Koscheck is taking this fight on about a week’s notice. Diego Sanchez was originally supposed to be fighting Alves but sustained an injury and dropped out of the fight. Koscheck was supposed to headline the December 10th UFC: Fights for the Troops card before he agreed to fight Alves. If he doesn’t get injured in this fight apparently he will still fight Yoshiyuki Yoshida in the main event. I’m not sure how this fight will go; Alves has already been defeated by Jon Fitch, a teammate of Koscheck who is an even more accomplished wrestler than Fitch. Alves is coming off two knockout wins over Karo Parisyan and Matt Hughes though. Alves missed weight for the Hughes fight though, coming in 4lbs heavy, and forcing Hughes to accept the fight as a catch weight despite giving up a lot of size. Alves has been suspended in the past for taking illegal supplements to help him make weight so who knows what kind of condition he is going to be in heading into this bout if he is able to make weight properly. Also, I’m not sure what kind of condition Koscheck is going to be in. Rumor is this one is a number 1 contender bout for the GSP’s welterweight title. I’m going to go with Koscheck pulling off the upset and defeating Alves by decision.
Maynard vs. Clementi: Maynard is a future prospect at 155lbs. Clementi is a journeyman who has managed to go on a bit of a hot run in the UFC, winning his last 4 fights in the Octagon. His winning streak ends here as Maynard out works Clementi on his back and wins either by late stoppage or one sided decision.
Werdum vs. Junior Dos Santos: I don’t know anything about Dos Santos here. His record is 6-1 and his only defeat is by submission in the 1st round to someone he already defeated. There are no recognizable names on his fight record. Werdum seems to be getting his career back on track with stoppage wins over Gabriel Gonzaga and Brendon Vera. The lack of name and unimpressive fight record have me naturally leaning toward Werdum winning, but I won’t make a prediction on this one because I know nothing about Junior Dos Santos.
Overview: The undercard looks interesting and I’m especially looking forward to Koscheck/Alves, Sherk/Griffin on the main card. I’m also hoping they find time on the live card to show Hermes Franca vs. Marcus Aurelio, which is on the prelims. The main event though, it’s a testament to how much Anderson Silva has cleaned out the middleweight division. In a little more than two years he’s defeating Rich Franklin twice (TKO1 and TKO2), Dan Henderson (SUB 2), Travis Lutter (SUB 2), Chris Leben (KO1), Nate Marquardt (TKO1) and James Irvin (KO1).
Silva was given the fight against Irvin at 205 because he is already beginning to explore the idea of going up to 205lbs and taking part in some mega fights before walking away from the sport. I don’t blame him as Cote is the best the division can put in front of him right now and Cote is a journeyman. So basically what I’m saying is the undercard has some fights that can be very interesting, I’m also expecting Anderson Silva to win an easy ‘Knockout of the Night’ bonus in the main event.
That’s all for this week, tune into the news feed next week when I go over the results of UFC 90 and more!
Questions or comments,
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