Archive for the ‘MMA’ Category

You have fought thirty-six times in four countries in just over ten years. You have held championship titles in three organizations, never having a belt taken from you in the ring. You spent years at the pinnacle of your sport by fighting some of the very best to ever compete, while they were in their prime, and you beat them all. You tasted defeat early and spat it back out, refusing to drink from the cup again for nine years, six months and 4 days. Millions upon millions the world over have endeared themselves to you. You lit up the faces of children all across Russia when you carried the Olympic torch. You raised the pulses of everyone who laid eyes on you in the ring, rather they be an opponent or spectator. You are the G OAT and no one has a bad word to say when asked,

“What do you think of Fedor Emelianenko?”

 

 

Humble, fearless, focused, loving, spiritual, respectful, the GREATEST, these are the words associated with the Fedor Emelianenko. Fedor has always been a quiet, calm man who never pined for the big life. He had no interest in moving to America or Japan or England, Fedor just wanted to be with his friends and family and he wanted to support them. Fedor wanted to push himself to be better at all things and he found in martial arts what he did best. From Sambo to MMA, “the Last Emperor” rose from just another Russian citizen to the most revered man in the world of combat sports. His fan base spans the globe. Fedor has talent, drive, focus, and toughness but most importantly he had mystique. He was so quiet and humble you could never figure out what was he was thinking. If you got one of the rare opportunities to ask him, his answers were either too cryptic or perhaps just too simple and honest for you to discern any real information. Fedor wasn’t going to bad mouth his opponent to try to get inside the other man’s head to gain some advantage. Or did he do it another way? Was his quiet, reserved demeanor and almost inhuman calmness just a clever ruse to make people uneasy? No one can know but Fedor. We know it wasn’t the look of him that did it.

The undersized, Russian heavyweight was short, balding, and pudgy, not exactly wielding the average fighter’s physique. It didn’t stop him from quickly reaching stardom when he began to fight in Japan. Fedor was to be tested there; gone was the level of competition in RINGS, now he would be fighting in Pride. At the time Pride was the biggest name in the sport and as such had many of the best fighters in the world fighting in their events. Fedor would never lose a single match in Pride, defeating fellow legends of the sport like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Kazuyuki Fujita, Gary Goodridge, Kevin Randleman, Mirko “Cro Cop”, and Mark Coleman all in their primes. He didn’t always win with flash or superior skills. In fact some victories just seemed to be a battle of wills. Nothing epitomized this more than Emelianenko’s fights with Nogueira. He would take a beating if he had to but you could not break his will. Someone’s will had to break and you could be certain it would not be his. In his time in Japan he reigned as the heavyweight king of the world for three and a half years. It wasn’t just what Fedor did that made him the greatest, it was how he did it.

He wasn’t bigger and stronger than everyone. He wasn’t the greatest tactician to ever strap on 4 oz. gloves. He wasn’t the most prolific wrestler the world had ever seen. He wasn’t even the most technical striker to step into the ring. He was, however, as tough as they come. Fedor Emelianenko had a heart the size of Russia and a chin chiseled from quartz mined in the Ural Mountains, fists harder that could drive a coffin nail, and a will that would not be broken. Fedor lost a fight early in his career, his 5th fight, on a technicality. He was cut and if you’re cut you lose. It was nearly a decade before Fedor tasted defeat again. When Fedor walked into the arena in San Jose, CA no one in the world expected Fedor to lose. When Fedor found himself trapped in the guard of Werdum it looked like so many of his previous wars, all of which he has won. Even when you saw the leg come up and over to secure the triangle choke you just knew he was going to step into it and pull out, like he did against Nogueira so many times but . . . he didn’t. When his hand tapped in submission for the first time in his professional life the world sat, stunned. Everyone watching went silent. This was a fluke and it would never happen again, right?

That “fluke” took place in June of 2010 and The Emperor didn’t fight again until February of 2011. His first fight coming off of a loss in over a decade was the main event in the quarterfinal round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. He was a 5 to 1 favorite and was all but scheduled to fight Alistair Overeem, a highly regarded Heavyweight and the Strikeforce Champion, or get a rematch with the only man to truly defeat him, Fabricio Werdum. Everything was set up beautifully for maximum drama. Once Fedor defeated Silva and moved into the next round the world would be guaranteed a bout of epic anticipation that would reverberate throughout the world rankings.

As usual on February 12th, 2011 the smaller, older Emelianenko stepped into the ring as a heavy favorite, this time over the giant Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Fedor’s face locked in the same expressionless, determined gaze. The bell sounds. The fighters begin to circle and exchange blows. Silva moves about smoothly, towering over Emelianenko but, undeterred, Fedor charges in with punches landing some heavy shots and eating a few for his trouble. They engage one another in a clinch against the cage, Silva pressing on Fedor trying to tire him out. They are reset to the center of the ring and it begins again. Fedor striking . . . the fight going from standing to the clinch and eventually to the ground . . . twenty seconds . . . a flurry from both men . . . a right, a left, a right. Swinging wildly and connecting repeatedly are both fighters. DING DING! A close round, much closer than anyone expected. Fedor’s trainers speak to him in Russian, Silva’s in Portuguese. The bell sounds again. Fedor moves forward toward the center of the cage, unloading a huge overhand right and is met by the powerful, lowered shoulder of Silva. The GOAT on his back and cannot shake the bigger man from his perch. He begins to eat punishing blow after blow to the head but he defends himself and continues to try escaping his predicament. Emelianenko rolls over in an attempt to sneak out the back and the humongous BJJ black belt has the Emperor right where he wants him, but he can’t submit him. Fedor’s will shall not be broken again. He survives the rear naked choke attempt and he is again under Silva taking punishment. Another rear escape attempt and Silva tries again to choke him out. For nearly 5 minutes straight Fedor is being smothered, squeezed, choked, and pounded on by a 280 pound man whom has every intention of finishing this fight without the judges’ input. All this punishment, yet he’s still there, still fighting . . . twenty-five seconds . . . Silva has Fedor in a knee bar, but Fedor still has the capacity to reverse into a leg lock attack of his own . . . 10 seconds . . . both men attacking the other’s leg. DING DING! As Fedor rises to his feet you can’t help but notice that his right eye is completely swollen shut from the abuse but his expression is the same. His will has not been broken and he is prepared to go into the third and final round to finish this fight.

The referee and doctors call a stop to the fight. A good decision as Fedor was completely blind in his right eye due to the immense swelling. The facial expression now changes. I know that look, that’s sadness. He knows what we’re all about to hear but all hope we aren’t. This may very well be the last time we ever see him in the cage. If we never see Fedor Emelianenko fight again, we can all be proud to say we’ve seen the greatest and that we’re just fine with that.

You, Fedor Emelianenko, were the greatest heavyweight of all time, without a doubt.  Millions would say the greatest to ever step in the ring. For a decade you captivated millions and reigned atop the sport as a valiant, humble, deserving champion. In the end you went out the way a warrior should, in a blaze of glory. You took more punishment than any man should ever be able to take in a fight and you took it from a man 50 pounds larger than you and smiled, ready to go in for more. You owe us nothing, and we all owe you the immense respect you have given every opponent that you have faced. You are the GOAT. You are Fedor Emelianenko.

 

Don’t sleep on Jake Shields (26-4-1). You can bet your ass GSP (21-2) is not. He is up at Tristar right now working his dick off (Do robot aliens have dicks?). Shields has 4 titles to his credit and his resume is littered with former and current champions that have fallen to him.

Jake-Shields pierre006

Quick rundown of some of Jake Shields’ marquee wins on his resume.

  • UD over Japanese legend “Mach” Sakurai (35-12-2) in ’02
  • MD over UFC’s current “#1 MW Contender” Yushin Okami (26-5) in ’06
  • UD over Carlos Condit (26-5) same night as the Okami fight.
  • Subbed Mike Pyle (20-7-1) in ’07
  • Subbed Paul Daley (26-9-2) in ’08
  • Subbed Robbie Lawler (18-7[1]) in ’09
  • UD over current Dream MW champ Jason Miller (24-7[1]) in ’09
  • UD over former PRIDE MW (205lb) Champ and current SF LHW #1 contender Dan Henderson (26-8) last year.

Not that GSP’s  record needs pointing out but here are a few of his.

  • UD over Karo Parisyan (19-6[1]) in ’04
  • UD over Jason Miller (24-7[1]) in ’05
  • Subbed Frank Trigg (20-8) in ’05
  • TKOd Sean Sherk in (36-4-1) ’05
  • SD over BJ Penn (16-7-1) in ’06T
  • KOd Matt Hughes (45-8) in ’06 [avenging his first loss]
  • UD over Josh Koscheck (15-5) in ’07
  • Subbed Matt Hughes in ’07 for interim UFC WW belt [closing the trilogy]
  • TKOd then UFC WW Champ Matt Serra (11-7) in ’08 [avenging only other loss]

Since the Serra fight, when he regained the title, GSP has successfully defended it 5 times against Jon Fitch, BJ Penn, Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy, and Josh Koscheck with 4 of those 5 wins coming via UD. I mention this because between Shields and St. Pierre I expect to see either one of the most boring staring contests ever or one of the most (relatively) exciting chess matches ever and it  going to judges’ decision. I don’t see anyone out-pointing GSP but don’t sleep on Shields.

If Georges does indeed go on to defeat Shields, he is supposedly set to make a permanent move to the Middleweight division where a “super fight” between himself and current MW Champ and fellow P4P constant Anderson Silva. GSP has many times stated that if he makes the move up in weight class it will be permanent and only when he feels there is nothing left for him at Welterweight.  Having already defeated all of the top competition (BJ Penn, John Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Dan Hardy, etc.) in the division at least once and many of them multiple times, beating Shields seems like the last thing to do before setting sail for the new world. Shields plans to wipe his ass with GSP and D-Dubya’s plans and force St. Pierre to hang out at Welterweight just a bit longer. Current #1 contender Yushin Okami, the last man to “defeat” Anderson Silva, is likely rooting very hard for Shields to pull off the upset as a GSP win would most certainly wreck his title shot. So in a fight with title implications in two divisions, directly affecting no less than 6 fighters’ future fight plans, there is certainly a lot on the line. Jake Shields just might shake the world with a win but Vegas, the MMA community, and history all say that the Canadian Alien will do his regular thing  and pull off another win over a quality opponent. I’m sure Anderson Silva, BJ Penn, Jon Fitch,  and many many fans are rooting for a GSP victory. I’m also certain that Jake Shields’ friends in the “Scrap Pack” and the 209 and a few upset loving fans are probably the only people, aside from Yushin Okami and Jake himself, rooting for the Belt Collector to add more hardware to his trophy case.

MMAPlayground.com Fight Companion
Strikeforce – Fedor vs. Silva

SERDAFIED

Fight My Pick My Wager
– VS – Fedor Emelianenko

Fight ends in round 2

KO / TKO

[none]
Antonio “Big Foot” Silva
[Underdog]
Fedor Emelianenko
– VS – Sergei Kharitonov

Fight ends in round 1

KO / TKO

[none]
Andrei “Pitbull” Arlovski Sergei Kharitonov
– VS – Ray Sefo

Judge’s decision

Unanimous/majority decision

[none]
Valentin Overeem Ray “Sugarfoot” Sefo
– VS – Shane Del Rosario

Fight ends in round 1

KO / TKO

[none]
Lavar “BIG” Johnson Shane Del Rosario
– VS – Chad Griggs

Fight ends in round 2

KO / TKO

[none]
Chad “The Gravedigger” Griggs Gian Villante
– VS – John Cholish

Fight ends in round 1

Submission / Tapout

[none]
John Cholish Marc Stevens
– VS – John Salgado

Judge’s decision

Unanimous/majority decision

[none]
John “Greco” Salgado
[Underdog]
Igor Gracie

 


Fight My Pick My Wager
– VS – Forrest Griffin 

Judge’s decision

Unanimous/majority decision

[none]
Forrest Griffin Rich “Ace” Franklin
– VS – Anderson Silva 

Fight ends in round 3

KO / TKO

[none]
Anderson “The Spider” Silva Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort
– VS – Jon Jones 

Fight ends in round 1

KO / TKO

[none]
Ryan Bader
[Underdog]
Jon Jones
– VS – Miguel Torres 

Judge’s decision

Unanimous/majority decision

[none]
Antonio Banuelos
[Underdog]
Miguel Torres
– VS – Jake Ellenberger 

Judge’s decision

Unanimous/majority decision

[none]
Carlos Eduardo “Ta Danado” Rocha
[Underdog]
Jake Ellenberger
HOT 

– VS –

BOUT

Kyle Kingsbury 

Fight ends in round 2

Submission / Tapout

[none]
Ricardo Romero Kyle Kingsbury
– VS – Mike Pierce 

Fight ends in round 3

KO / TKO

[none]
Kenny Robertson Mike Pierce
– VS – Norifumi Yamamoto 

Judge’s decision

Unanimous/majority decision

[none]
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson
– VS – Chad Mendes 

Fight ends in round 3

Submission / Tapout

[none]
Chad “Money” Mendes Michihiro Omigawa
– VS – Gabe Ruediger 

Judge’s decision

Unanimous/majority decision

[none]
Gabe Ruediger Paul Taylor
– VS – Donald Cerrone 

Judge’s decision

Unanimous/majority decision

[none]
Paul Kelly
[Underdog]
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone


Dynamite!! 2009 Was an insanely awesome card and culminated with Aoki snapping Hirota’s humerus in half…

ept_sports_mma_experts-797868878-1262321045

the best part is that Aoki was Dream’s lightweight champ and Hirota was Sengoku’s lightweight champ. Just the idea of the two promotions coming together for such a monumental card is astounding.  There was a SRC HW title fight, a Dream HW fight, the finale for the Dream Super Hulk (open weight) Grand Prix, and several K-1 bouts but the fights between Dream and Sengoku’s guys alone would make up a robust and sizeable card.

  • LW bout: Aoki (Dream LW champ) vs. Hirota (SRC LW champ)
  • HW bout: Overeem vs. Fujita
  • FW bout: “Kid” Yamamoto vs. Kanehara (SRC FW champ)
  • LW bout: Kawajiri vs. Yokota
  • FW bout: Tokoro vs. Man Kim
  • MW bout: Manhoef vs. Misaki
  • WW bout: Sakurai vs. Gono
  • FW bout: Takaya vs. Omigawa
  • HW bout: Shibata vs. Izumi

Please, step into my FANTASY world where time and contracts and money mean nothing. The only thing that matters is the fans getting to see what they want. Let’s put together a PPV card worth $100, the greatest MMA card ever held.

Season’s Beatings 2011

Saturday December 24th 2011 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas

The UFC and Strikeforce execs have signed off to put a card together and each has agreed to send at least two champions each to the face-off. We have been asked to help assemble this card and as such I’ll get the conversation started. I’ll throw some names into the hat from each division of each promotion and list the champions from all the divisions. We’ll try to get 11 bouts. Nine UFC vs. Strikeforce (7 bouts with non title holders 2 bouts UFC Champ vs. SF Champ)bouts,  a title bout or super fight(i.e. Silva vs. GSP) for the UFC, and a Strikeforce title match or big ticket fight (i.e. Jason Miller vs. Nick Diaz), maybe the HW GP Final. I have left off the Featherweight and Bantamweight divisions of the UFC since Strikeforce doesn’t have those divisions. However, either division could be the division the UFC uses for a title fight. Let’s take a look at some of the guys listed here and start the debate… I’ll add some of your good cards to the post as well.

UFC

Champs

ufc-belt

  • Heavyweight – Cain Velasquez
  • Light-Heavyweight – Mauricio Rua
  • Middleweight – Anderson Silva
  • Welterweight – Georges St. Pierre
  • Lightweight – Frankie Edgar
  • Featherweight – Jose Aldo
  • Bantamweight – Dominic Cruz

Heavyweights

  • Junior dos Santos
  • Roy Nelson
  • Brock Lesnar
  • Shane Carwin
  • Frank Mir
  • Big Nog’

Light-Heavyweights

  • Rashad Evans
  • Rampage Jackson
  • Jon Jones
  • Lyoto Machida
  • Ryan Bader
  • Lil’ Nog’

Middleweights

  • Chael Sonnen
  • Michael Bisping
  • Chris Leben
  • Wanderlei Silva
  • Yushin Okami
  • Nate Marquardt

Welterweights

  • Josh Koscheck
  • Jon Fitch
  • Thiago Alves
  • Dan Hardy
  • BJ Penn
  • Diego Sanchez

Lightweights

  • Gray Maynard
  • Kenny Florian
  • BJ Penn
  • George Sotiropoulos
  • Jeremy Stephens
  • Clay Guida

Strikeforce

Champs

Strikeforce Belt

  • Heavyweight – Alistair Overeem
  • Light-heavyweight – Rafael Calvacante
  • Middleweight – Ronaldo Souza
  • Welterweight – Nick Diaz
  • Lightweight – Gilbert Melendez

Heavyweights

  • Fedor Emelianenko
  • Fabricio Werdum
  • Antonio Silva
  • Andrei Arlovski
  • Sergei Kharitonov
  • Brett Rogers

Light-Heavyweights

  • Dan Henderson
  • Gegard Mousasi
  • Muhammed Lawal
  • Renato Sobral
  • Roger Gracie

Middleweights

  • Cung Le
  • Jason Miller
  • Tim Kennedy

Welterweights

  • Paul Daley
  • Marius Zaromskis
  • Scott Smith
  • KJ Noons
  • ….

Lightweights

  • JZ Calvan
  • KJ Noons
  • (if they can get off their ass and pull him up) Eddie Alvarez
  • Lyle Beerbohm
  • Billy Evangelista
  • Justin Wilcox
  • Ryan “The Natural Light” Couture

So the only big promotion MMA left are the Dynamite!! 2010 and Soul of Fight cards in Japan. The cards have been fully updated on the SERDAFIED MMA Schedule page, but I’ll run through some of the names you guys should watch out for.Soul of Fight next Thursday will feature the exciting lightweight Marlon Sandro, top welterweights Kazuo Misaki and Mamed Khalidov, and the always thrilling Maximo Blanco.

Here are a few good reasons to watch Dynamite!! 2010 on HDNet next Friday (Keep in mind both will be in Japan and will take place during the day here.) on New Year’s Eve as usual. The Dynamite!! card will feature two DREAM title fights. The main event will be a rematch between current featherweight champ Bibiano Fernandes and Hiroyuki Takaya,who is coming off of back to back wins, followed by a bout between high-flying, limitlessly entertaining striker Marius Zaromskis and the Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba for the DREAM welterweight strap. Sakuraba, coming off two straight losses, is a strange pick for the title fight as I’d liked to have seen Jason Miller take on the Lithuanian but I suppose he is still hunting down Nick Diaz.  The card also boasts a “hybrid” K1/MMA bout between Shinya Aoki and Yuichiro Nagashima as well as fighters such as tough American Jason High vs former welterweight champ “Mach” Sakurai, the soon to be filthy-fuckin-rich Minowaman, and Caol Uno the, recently released, aging former UFC fighter looking to get his career back on track.

We’ll be back to action with American based promotions immediately though as the UFC 125: Edgar vs Maynard card is set for the next night, January 1st. The very next weekend Showtime will air Strikeforce Challengers 13 live from Nashville, TN on Friday the 7th. Then on January 22nd UFC Fight for the Troops 2 will go down at Fort Hood.

I‘ve recently been giving a lot of thought to children training and competing in mixed martial arts (MMA). I’ve asked a few parents and insiders what their opinions are. Surprisingly many are for the training aspect of the different disciplines at a very early age but don’t want their children in the danger associated with the sport of MMA. I have even spoken with a few parents who feel that their children would be safer and ultimately better served, character wise, to train in martial arts than to pursue traditional contact sports like football or hockey. This is not meant to be a purely persuasive argument for children in MMA but more so as an informational source to help parents and society in general better understand the sport and its parts (Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Boxing, Muay Thai, and Judo) before they demonize it.

(A shot from a youth class @ Dauntless Practical Martial Arts in DE.)

As with anything else relating to the rapidly expanding sport of MMA it has its pros, cons, and more than its share of detractors. More often than not these nay sayers are ignorant about the sport. They see the cage and the blood and their mind is made up. “Journalists” write articles like this piece on DailyLobo.com. I don’t write about fashion, figure skating, competitive cheer leading, ballroom dancing, ballet, or cervical cancer NOT only because all of them have nothing to do with American Manliness but mainly cause I don’t know a thing about it except that I don’t like it. Therefore I keep my lips firmly sealed. Some people are inclined to see MMA and take it at face value…

…these denouncers of all things violent only see the blood. They refuse to see the hard work, self discipline, and mutual respect involved in the sport. Most of them do not even know what MMA is. They know it as ultimate fighting or cage fighting, as it’s described in this horribly biased 2008 article from MSNBC NBC Sports. I’m not going to paint a sailboat on calm seas and tell you that MMA is the safest and best sport for people to participate in or that our children should or shouldn’t participate. I agree with some of the statements made in the aforementioned article, although no quote came with any context. Administrator of the Oklahoma Professional Boxing Commission, Joe Miller was quoted as saying,

“There’s too much potential for damage to growing joints,”

but there is no context and the quote used isn’t even a complete sentence. I agree that the danger to a child’s body is much greater than that of adults. I don’t think that there should be full contact bouts between 8 year olds but at the same time I do feel that training in the martial arts at such a young age helps to build character and a stern mindedness within our youth that is missing from our society today. The respect and self-confidence that is instilled through martial arts is a universal attribute that all kids need. Of course martial arts are not the only paths to having respectful and confident well mannered children, but it is an option. We, as Americans, have sent our children, myself included, to Karate and Tae Kwon Do classes at these ages for decades. I remember being 7 years old in Tae Kwon Do with full contact sparring. There were, of course, safety precautions taken such as head gear, mouth piece, shin and foot pads, and a padded flak jacket for rib and organ protection. If that was safe for me in 1992 then 18 years later what is the difference in allowing our children to do the same thing in other disciplines of martial arts?

In my home town of Memphis, TN there are multiple martial arts training facilities that offer youth classes. One of the more prominent gyms in the area offering a youth program is Memphis Judo & Jiu-Jitsu. The Judo/Jiu-Jitsu program they offer is for ages 5-12 both male and female. When I spoke with an instructor he described the classes as focused on technique and discipline while serving to keep the kids active and healthy as BJJ is a great exercise. The drills are converted into a game format that helps to keep the kids interested and motivated. The children are paired together by size to keep the activities both fair and safe. Advanced (dangerous) joint locks like Americanas, Heel Hooks, or Omoplatas nor strikes are taught with the kids to prevent injury to their under-developed skeletal structure.  Their site describes the classes as:

The Judo & Jiu-Jitsu student learns: focus, goal setting, goal achieving, dealing with aggression without over reacting, rolls, falls, throws, pins, escapes, positional control, ground grappling and more. Best of all, Judo and Jiu-Jitsu provides an opportunity for fun, fellowship, thinking and exercising–all at the same time!

There are other gyms that don’t institute the strikeless, free-form learning technique that Memphis Judo & Jiu-Jitsu, opting instead for a more direct training method. Gyms such as Mantis Boxing Factory in McAllen, TX, operated by Shifu Israel Flores, takes a graduated approach starting as young as 3 years old.  The 3 -5 year old classes are focused on improving motor skills such as balance and coordination while teaching “age appropriate self-defense”. The class also promotes life skills such as self-discipline, respect, and sharing. In the 6 – 13 classes the students begin to train in “complete self-defense” and  Mantis Boxing or “Ultimate Weapons training”. Next is a video of Shifu Flores presiding over a sparring match between a 7 and 8 year old students.

Even with all the padding and the trainer over watch is this too much? Similarly, is this video from a 2008 Pankration tournament show senseless violence or spirited competition?

So, again, I ask of you…Where are the lines when our children and MMA  cross? I have provided opinion and shared sources for training. If you are interested please contact your local gym and talk with the instructors. Maybe just sit in on a class and make a judgement for yourself. Maybe these ages are too young. There are high school MMA clubs. Would you allow your children to participate in that?