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Bellator 59 Preview

November 26, 2011 2 comments

Bellator wraps up their fifth season tonight with what will be their final event of 2011.  And while they’ll have a hard time topping last week’s amazing event, it looks like we’ll see a really good card to end the season.

We’ll see two tournament final contests where the next contenders at heavyweight and bantamweight will be determined.  Thiago Santos vs. Eric Prindle will compete for a shot at Heavyweight Champion Cole Konrad, while we’ll see an exciting bout between Alexis Vila and Eduardo Dantas for a chance to take on Bantamweight Champion Zach Makovsky.

The remaining televised card looks pretty interesting with two lightweight contests.  Kurt Pellegrino makes his debut with Bellator when he takes on Patricky Freire.  The two men had to be pulled apart at the weigh ins yesterday, so this could be a heated contest.  We’ll also see former UFC prospect Phillipe Nover take on Marcin Held.  The winner of both of these fights will likely get spots in next season’s lightweight tournament.

Bellator 59 will air live on MTV2 at 9:00 PM EST/8:00 PM CST with a replay shown at 11:30 PM EST/10:30 PM CST.  The Spike.com preliminary fights will also begin at 7:00 PM EST/6:00 PM CST.  MTV2 also has a block scheduled between the replays to show some kind of Bellator highlights and I’m not sure what that will consist of.  It might just be 30 minutes of sweet submissions presented as soft porn, who knows?

Heavyweight Tournament Finals: Thiago Santos (10-1) vs. Eric Prindle (9-1)

The winner of this contest will be the number one contender to Cole Konrad’s “King of the Fat Boys” title.  I’m kinda coming around on this group.  They put on generally exciting fights and I’m even being followed on Twitter by Ron Sparks.  I almost hate calling Bellator heavyweights “fat boys”, but…well, they are pretty fat.

So here we have Eric Prindle, who loves knocking people out, against a good submission artist in Thiago Santos.  I don’t see this fight going a full three rounds, so the question is what is more likely: a Prindle knockout or a Santos submission?

I’m of the opinion that Santos will be victorious in this one.  I think he’ll be able to bring Prindle down early and tap him out.  That he defeated Neil Grove in the tournament semifinals is impressive, since Grove is a very good fighter.  Prindle is extremely one dimensional and I have a hard time seeing him taking out Santos in this one.

Bantamweight Tournament Finals: Alexis Vila (11-0, No. 8 BW, No. 8 FLW) Eduardo Dantas (12-2)

I’ve been on the Alexis Vila bandwagon since day one.  I’m a huge flyweight supporter and I expected big things from one of the top fighters at 125 pounds in this tournament.  Vila has lived up to the hype, notably by taking a brutal KO win over Featherweight Champion Joe Warren.

But Eduardo Dantas has come into this tournament and has been impressive himself.  He defeated Ed West and Wilson Reis, two Bellator mainstays, in order to advance to this point.  His only real loss came against Masakatsu Ueda in July 2009 and Dantas has quickly emerged as a top fighter at 135 pounds.

Vila has been my favorite since day one and I’m going to stick with that, but I think Dantas can push this fight to a close decision.  Alexis Vila has the skills to end a fight in a split second, but he has more than enough wrestling to control and grind out fights.  We’ll probably see a little bit of both here, Dantas being a capable striker and ground fighter as well.  Vila should take a decision and will be a huge challenge to reigning champion Zach Makovsky.

Lightweight: Kurt Pellegrino (16-6, No. 19 LW) vs. Patricky Freire (9-2)

I see this fight a lot like I see the heavyweight tournament finals, except these guys weigh 110 pounds less than either of the heavyweight contenders.  Pellegrino is one of the better grapplers at 155 pounds, while Patricky Freire has some great power.

We know that Pellegrino can hang with some of the better fighters at lightweight based on his time in the UFC.  Patricky “Pitbull” has only lost twice in his career: to another Freire in Willamy and the new Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler.  Freire’s knockout wins over Toby Imada and “Razor” Rob McCullough were absolutely fantastic and showed that this kid can knockout some of the best.

But Pellegrino is a veteran who has never been knocked out.  While he’s lost to more of the big name fighters at 155 pounds, he does hold victories over Rob Emerson, Josh Neer, and Junior Assuncao amongst many other good fighters.  He’s a two time Submission of the Night winner and one time Fight of the Night winner in the UFC so this is another guy who can put on exciting fights.

I think Pellegrino will ultimately come out on top here.  I see him controlling the majority of the fight and taking a decision win over Patricky, but the Pitbull can end this fight at any time.  I think Pellegrino has the pedigree to be victorious here, but expect anything in what should be a heated affair.

Lightweight: Phillipe Nover (6-3-1) vs. Marcin Held (11-2)

Dana White held former UFC prospect Phillipe Nover in high regard, calling him the next George St-Pierre or Anderson Silva.  Then Nover lost to Efrain Escudero, Kyle Bradley, and Rob Emerson before being cut from the promotion.  Maybe he’ll be the next Jon Koppenhaver instead!

As for Marcin Held, you might remember him from a prompt submission loss to Michael Chandler in the opening round of Bellator’s last lightweight tournament.  Held will look to be successful in his first Bellator fight since that loss.

I think we’ll see most of this fight contested on the ground and going in Nover’s favor.  Held is a very good fighter, but I’m hopeful that Nover is getting back on track after a rough UFC run.  The guy was way over-hyped, but he’s still a talented prospect with a lot of upside.  I think he’ll take a surprising win in this contest.

Catchweight (175 lbs.): Karl Amoussou (12-4-2) vs. Jesus Martinez (6-1)

Welterweight: LeVon Maynard (11-8) vs. Christopher Wing (3-1)

Featherweight: Brylan Van Artsdalen (5-2) vs. Scott Heckman (8-3)

Middleweight: Gregory Milliard (1-2) vs. Brandon Saling (6-4)

Catchweight (175 lbs.): Lucas Pimenta (4-0) vs. Doug Gordon (11-10)

Categories: Event Preview

UFC 139 Preview

November 19, 2011 2 comments

This card is crazy deep and crazy awesome.  Seriously, UFC 139 is going to be a fucking fantastic event.  Just look at these fights!  The preliminary card is pretty great, we’ll see two interesting fights on Spike TV, and an incredible main card with some title relevant fights and some crazy battles that should leave the fans very happy.

Shogun Rua will fight the returning Dan Henderson in the main event in a very important and what should likely be a very exciting fight.  It’s amazing that these two never fought in PRIDE, but we’ll be seeing it live tonight.  The winner of this contest is at most one fight away from title contention, while timing might dictate that the winner gets an immediate title shot.

Wanderlei Silva and Cung Le will not go to a decision, I just have no clue who will win this contest.  The winner of Urijah Faber vs. Brian Bowles will also be getting a title shot at reigning UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz.  Martin Kampmann vs. Rick Story should be a fun contest between two top welterweights, while Stephan Bonnar faces Kyle Kingsbury in a fight that’s only on the main card because of Bonnar’s name.  Tom Lawlor vs. Chris Weidman is perhaps my favorite fight on the preliminary card, though Gleison Tibau vs. Rafael dos Anjos could be a very good contest.

UFC 139 airs live on pay-per-view tonight at 9:00 PM EST/8:00 PM CST with the Spike TV prelims starting at 8:00 PM EST/7:00 PM CST.  The Facebook prelims begin at 6:00 PM EST/5:00 PM CST.  As always, you can view my picks for the event over at Tapology!

Light Heavyweight: Mauricio Rua (20-5, No. 4 LHW) vs. Dan Henderson (28-8, No. 6 LHW)

Middleweight: Wanderlei Silva (33-11-1, 1 NC, No. 18 MW) vs. Cung Le (7-1)

Bantamweight: Brian Bowles (9-1, No. 3 BW) vs. Urijah Faber (25-4, No. 5 BW)

Welterweight: Martin Kampmann (17-5, No. 9 WW) vs. Rick Story (13-4, No. 14 WW)

Light Heavyweight: Stephan Bonnar (13-7) vs. Kyle Kingsbury (11-2, 1 NC)

Light Heavyweight: Ryan Bader (12-2, No. 25 LHW) vs. Jason Brilz (18-4-1, No. 20 LHW)

Bantamweight: Michael McDonald (13-1, No. 21 BW) vs. Alex Soto (6-0-1)

Middleweight: Tom Lawlor (7-3, 1 NC, No. 22 MW) vs. Chris Weidman (6-0, No. 25 MW)

Lightweight: Gleison Tibau (23-7, No. 22 LW) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (15-5)

Catchweight (141 lbs.): Miguel Torres (39-4, No. 9 BW) vs. Nick Pace (6-2)

Welterweight: Matt Brown (12-10) vs. Seth Baczynski (14-6)

Catchweight (158 lbs.): Danny Castillo (11-4) vs. Shamar Bailey (12-4)

Categories: Event Preview

Bellator 58 Preview

November 19, 2011 Leave a comment

I am really, really excited for Bellator tonight.  I’d be even more excited if it wasn’t going head to head with a stacked UFC 139 card.  Well, kinda head to head – it’s another early start for Bellator this week, even though that happens to coincide with the Facebook preliminary fights for the UFC.  But still, I think these four fights on TV will be four of the strongest we’ve seen on Bellator.

Eddie Alvarez will defend his Lightweight Title against undefeated Missouri wrestler Michael Chandler.  Mizzou has pumped out some of the stronger MMA competitors from their wrestling program and Chandler seems to follow in that line of fantastic fighters.  Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard will also be in non-title action taking on veteran fighter Trevor Prangley.

Marlon Sandro will make his return to Bellator following his tournament finals loss to Pat Curran.  He’ll be taking on former WEC and IFL competitor Rafael Dias, while we’ll see a top notch women’s match at 115 pounds.  Jessica Aguilar will look to avenge her very first loss against Lisa Ellis-Ward, who hasn’t fought in 14 months.

Bellator 58 airs live on MTV2 from 7:00 PM EST/6:00 PM CST with a replay shown at 11:00 PM EST/10:00 PM CST.  The Spike.com preliminary fights will air at 5:00 PM EST/4:00 PM CST.  I would try to catch as much of Bellator tonight as possible so long as it doesn’t interfere with your UFC viewing.  This should be a stellar event tonight.

Lightweight Title: (c) Eddie Alvarez (22-2, No. 5 LW) vs. Michael Chandler (8-0)

The questions about this fight have nothing to do with Eddie Alvarez, who has undoubtedly established himself as one of the top two lightweights not in the Zuffa family (along with Shinya Aoki).  With his wins over fighters like the once highly regarded Roger Huerta, top ranked featherweight Pat Curran, and Tatsuya Kawajiri, Alvarez is absolutely a fantastic talent.

Rather, we need to be asking how good is Michael Chandler.  The difference in this fight is going to be finding out how talented Chandler really is in his very young career.  Is this too big of a jump for Chandler just more than two years into his fighting career or is the wrestler ready for the challenge of the Bellator Champion?

I think we can safely say that Chandler is a better wrestler than Alvarez, who is certainly no slouch himself, but Chandler has never seen a fighter who can strike like Eddie Alvarez can.  Chandler has no choice but to utilize his wrestling to try and control this fight and take a decision.  Can he do that for 25 minutes?  Would he be able to avoid Alvarez’s fantastic boxing?  Would he even be able to take the champ down?

Frankly, I haven’t seen enough from Michael Chandler at this point to prove he can do that.  He’s certainly a good fighter with a ton of potential, but I don’t know that he has it in him to be a world champion at this point.  Eddie Alvarez will win and he will score the TKO victory in the middle rounds of this contest.

Catchweight (195 lbs.): Hector Lombard (21-3, No. 6 MW) vs. Trevor Prangley (23-8-1)

Trevor Prangley is a veteran fighter and has made a big name for himself with big wins in Strikeforce and the UFC.  He’s a solid wrestler with good submission skills and has defeated fighters like Matt Horwich, Chael Sonnen, Travis Lutter, and Keith Jardine.  Even with the right odds, I might be willing to put some money down on Trevor Prangley.  At +600, you could stand to make some money if Prangley were to score the upset victory.

But that would be a serious, serious, upset over Hector Lombard.  To give you an idea of how long Lombard’s winning streak is, his only two losses came during his time with PRIDE, a promotion that hasn’t been active in nearly five years.  He definitely hasn’t fought the toughest fighters and Trevor Prangley fits the mold of talented but unimpressive fighters that Prangley is known to handle.  Lombard will probably knock Prangley out in this one before defending his title once more against Alexander Shlemenko.

Featherweight: Marlon Sandro (19-3, No. 10 FEW) vs. Rafael Dias (15-8-2)

Marlon Sandro’s loss to Pat Curran may have been disappointing, but Rafael Dias has had a real tough go of it for a couple of years.  He had a rough run going 1-3 in the WEC and has only started to bounce back in the last couple of months.  Dias has won twice in 2011, though his two wins are over fighters (Chris Ensley and Jay Ellis) with a combined 16-59 record.  That doesn’t mean very much when you’re fighting a guy like Marlon Sandro.

Sandro didn’t look extremely impressive in Bellator prior to his loss to Pat Curran, taking a couple of uninspired decision victories.  Given the criticism we’ve seen of Japanese MMA, you can’t help but wonder if Sandro is a top caliber fighter as we may have expected.  I don’t think we’ll see a drop off against Rafael Dias, but we might see some issues for Sandro in a future featherweight tournament.  Look for Sandro to take a decision tonight.

Women’s Featherweight: Jessica Aguilar (11-4, No. 7 WFW) vs. Lisa Ellis-Ward (14-6)

For this post, I’ll go ahead and copy the entry I wrote over on Gals Guide to MMA.  Every week, I’ll be writing a post exclusively in the fan post section of Gals Guide detailing the top women’s MMA fights for the week with analysis and predictions.  With that in mind, here’s what I wrote earlier in the week.

This is a fight of the week candidate right here.  Jessica “Jag” Aguilar and Lisa Ellis-Ward are two of the top 115 pound fighters in MMA.  Aguilar was a 2010 Bellator tournament semifinalist before losing to eventual tournament winner and Bellator 115 pound Champion Zoila Frausto-Gurgel.  Though just a BJJ purple belt, her submission game is outstanding and she’s proved that against stiff competition like Elsie Henri and Valerie Coolbaugh.  Her win over Carla Esparza earlier this year was probably the biggest in her career.

Ellis-Ward was easily a top five fighter before dropping out of the rankings earlier this year due to inactivity.  She has wins over some of the top talent in WMMA including Aisling “Bash” Daly and (GASP) Jessica Aguilar!  That’s right, these two met in 2006 with Ellis-Ward taking the submission victory.  Ellis-Ward also has two losses to Megumi Fujii, who has long been one of the best female fighters in the world.

Given Ellis-Ward’s inactivity and Aguilar’s recent success, I like Jag to avenge her loss in this contest.  Aguilar could be a top contender for Bellator’s 115 pound title, and frankly, I’d love to see a 2012 women’s tournament for the promotion.  Zoila Frausto-Gurgel needs to get to work defending her title and with talent like Aguilar, Fujii, and Ellis-Ward out there, I could definitely see this happening.

Middleweight: Brett Cooper (15-7) vs. Jared Hess (11-3-1)

Middleweight: Jonas Billstein (9-1) vs. Herbert Goodman (18-11)

Welterweight: Ailton Barbosa (10-2) vs. Valdir Araujo (8-3)

Bantamweight: Farkhad Sharipov (13-4) vs. Fabio Mello (8-6)

Lightweight: Cosmo Alexandre (0-1) vs. Avery McPhatter (2-2)

Categories: Event Preview

UFC on Fox – Velasquez vs. dos Santos Preview

November 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, tonight is going to be a pretty big night.  The UFC makes its debut on American network television, airing live on the Fox network.  And we start off with a massive Heavyweight Title fight between champion Cain Velasquez and challenger Junior dos Santos.  This long awaited fight was moved from pay-per-view to this event so the UFC can make a huge bang with their very first Fox event.

This will be the only fight airing live tonight on Fox is Velasquez vs. Dos Santos, though the remaining contests will be broadcast on FoxSports.com or on Facebook.  This is an unusually strong batch of streaming fights given the structure of the events tonight.  Clay Guida will take on Ben Henderson in what appears to be a Lightweight Title eliminator, the winner likely taking on Frankie Edgar in early 2012.

None of the other contests are particularly title relevant, though we have some fun contests tonight.  Ranked featherweights Dustin Poirier and Robert Peralta take on Pablo Garza and Mackens Semerzier, respectively.  Cub Swanson and Ricardo Lamas will also be squaring off at 145 pounds.  Darren Uyenoyama will fight Japanese star Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto” and we’ll see Cole Escovedo, Aaron Rosa, and Mike Pierce all in action tonight.  This should be a great night of fights.

UFC on Fox – Velasquez vs. dos Santos airs live on Fox at 9:00 PM EST/8:00 PM CST with the fights on Facebook/FoxSports.com beginning at 4:50 PM EST/3:50 PM CST.  SpikeTV is airing UFC Unleashed all day long, while Fox’s sister station Fuel is also broadcasting various UFC programming throughout the day.  If you’re interested in my picks for this event, you can check them out over at Tapology.com.  I encourage you all to sign up over there since you can rank your favorite fights and fighters, predict upcoming fights, and interact with an entire MMA community.

Heavyweight Title: (c) Cain Velasquez (9-0, No. 1 HW) vs. Junior dos Santos (13-1, No. 2 HW)

Lightweight: Clay Guida (29-11, No. 7 LW) vs. Ben Henderson (14-2, No. 10 LW)

Featherweight: Dustin Poirier (10-1, No. 17 FEW) vs. Pablo Garza (11-1)

Bantamweight: Darren Uyenoyama (6-3, No. 24 BW) vs. Norifumi Yamamoto (18-4, 1 NC)

Featherweight: Cub Swanson (15-4) vs. Ricardo Lamas (10-2)

Featherweight: Robert Peralta (15-3, No. 18 FEW) vs. Mackens Semerzier (6-3)

Middleweight: Mike Pierce (12-4) vs. Paul Bradley (18-3, 1 NC)

Light Heavyweight: Aaron Rosa (16-4) vs. Matt Lucas (14-2)

Bantamweight: Cole Escovedo (17-8) vs. Alex Caceres (5-4)

Welterweight: DaMarques Johnson (12-9) vs. Clay Harvison (9-3)

Categories: Event Preview

Bellator 57 Preview

November 12, 2011 Leave a comment

After a week off, Bellator is back with two huge tournament final matches!  And there’s certainly no better week for Bellator to make its return than the week of Pacquiao vs. Marquez and the first ever UFC event on Fox.  Though the card is starting two hours earlier than normal, it still has some solid online fights from the UFC to contend with.

It’s disappointing that this card is up against such stiff competition since we have some interesting fights.  The season five middleweight and welterweight tournaments will come to a close, while there’s an interesting light heavyweight battle and a number of solid lightweight contests.  I know I’ll be watching and everyone else should try to check the fights out as well!

It’s important to note that this is Bellator’s first event under new ownership.  Viacom just purchased Bellator Fighting Championships in a move that should position Bellator as a legitimate rival to the UFC, especially if the move to Spike comes to fruition.  These next few years are going to be great for MMA with both the UFC and Bellator both making major strides.

Bellator 57 is live on MTV2 at 7:00 PM EST/6:00 PM CST with a replay at 11:00 PM EST/10:00 PM CST.  The Spike.com prelims have been initially listed as starting at 5:00 PM EST/4:00 PM CST, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they started sooner.  Be sure to check Spike.com for more info.

Welterweight Tournament Finals: Ben Saunders (12-3-2) vs. Douglas Lima (20-4)

Here are two fighters that are both new to the Bellator title scene.  Saunders and Lima would be interesting challenges for Askren, though I’m getting ahead of myself in discussing that fight.  Saunders is a very dynamic and very exciting fighter who is very good at finishing fights.  Lima, a former MFC Champion, also finishes his fights and knows how to put on a show himself.

This could be one of the best fights of the night, including the UFC fights.  This will be a war from the opening bell and I see these men going all out.  Because of this, I’m predicting an early stoppage victory for Ben Saunders.  However long the fight goes, it will be interesting, but I think Saunders will take advantage of the initial frenzy by knocking Lima out.

Middleweight Tournament Finals: Alexander Shlemenko (42-7, No. 24 MW) vs. Vitor Vianna (12-1-1)

Alexander Shlemenko has solidified himself as one of the top middleweights in Bellator, but I really like what Vitor Vianna brings to the table.  Vianna is super tough and his only loss came against Thiago Silva, where Vianna was stopped with an arm injury in November 2006.  Both men have finished more than 75% of their wins, though I think Vianna is more balanced with solid striking and great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

I don’t think Vianna will want to stand and strike with Shlemenko, as he’ll be at a bit of a disadvantage.  If he can find a way to take Shlemenko down, he will win this fight.  Period.  Shlemenko’s only ground defense is to look at the referee and complain about the fight not being stood up.  Vianna can keep this fight on the ground, so long as he brings the fight there to begin with.

I anticipate this being a tight contest, but ultimately, I think we’ll see Shlemenko pull off a close split decision victory.  Shlemenko will be able to do enough to stay standing so he can assault Vianna with his impressive striking.  A win from Vianna wouldn’t shock me, but I don’t think he’ll be able to pull it off.

Light Heavyweight: Roger Hollett (12-3) vs. John Hawk (6-3)

Talented Canadian Roger Hollett will make his Bellator debut against John Hawk, who defeated Allan Weickert for Bellator less than two months ago.  I don’t feel particularly strongly about either fighter, though Hollett looks to have the stronger background.  I’ll take Hollett by submission in this contest.

Lightweight: Alexandre Bezerra (11-1) vs. Doug Evans (13-9)

Doug Evans is good at two things: submitting fighters and losing.  Evans has eight submission victories and nine losses, three losses coming each by submission, knockout, and decision.  Bezerra has gone 3-0 in Bellator, finishing all three fights in extremely impressive fashion.  I think we’ll see “Popo” Bezerra submit Evans in this one and hopefully, Bezerra will finally get a shot in a Bellator tournament.

Lightweight: Chris Horodecki (18-3) vs. Mike Corey (11-2)

I have a feeling we couldsee an upset in this contest.  Corey is coming in to fight Horodecki on pretty short notice, since Ricardo Tirloni was forced to withdraw from this fight due to injury.  I’m not at all a Horodecki fan as he’s always rubbed me the wrong way, though he is a very talented fighter.

Corey, a former IFL competitor like Horodecki, is a talented wrestler who has had some success with submissions in the past and I wonder if he’ll be able to control Horodecki enough to take the win?  I see this fight going late and I think Horodecki will ultimately score the victory, but I think Corey could make it competitive.

Lightweight: Ashkar Morvari (12-4) vs. Dave Jansen (15-2)

Lightweight: Eric Moon (7-6, 1 NC) vs. Josh Shockley (7-1)

Light Heavyweight: Shawn Levesque (1-1) vs. Matt Van Buren (4-0)

Bantamweight: Chuck Mady (5-5) vs. Denis Puric (3-3)

Lightweight: Mike Sledzion (3-1) vs. Taylor Solomon (2-3)

Categories: Event Preview

UFC 138 Preview

November 5, 2011 Leave a comment

First off, I believe the above poster is fan made.  Whether or not it is, I really like it.  The UFC’s posters are generally shit and they should just depend on fans to make a ton of cool posters.  I know that would likely be a logistical nightmare, but fuck it.  That’s right, I say fuck it.

In regards to today’s free UFC 138 card, I kinda like it.  I’m a huge MMA dork and generally don’t care who is fighting, so that’s a good thing.  Some of these fights are pretty fun like Leben vs. Munoz and Pickett vs. Barao, while it will be good to see Thiago Alves back in action.  Perosh vs. Diabate will also be a big styles clash that could end up being a great fight.

Okay, in regards to watching the event: the Facebook fights begin right now.  Like, immediately.  1:40 PM EST/12:40 PM CST, so get ready to enjoy those.  The main event starts at 4:00 PM EST/3:00 PM CST, but it will air on tape delay in the U.S. at 8:00 PM EST/7:00 PM CST.  Kinda lame, since it would be nice to view it life, but I guess that’s just the hand we’ve been dealt.  FREE UFC!  Just enjoy it!

Middleweight: Chris Leben (22-7, No. 12 MW) vs. Mark Munoz (11-2, No. 20 MW)

Bantamweight: Brad Pickett (20-5, No. 6 BW) vs. Renan Barao (26-1, 1 NC, No. 25 BW)

Welterweight: Thiago Alves (18-8, No. 12 WW) vs. Papy Abedi (8-0)

Lightweight: Terry Etim (14-3) vs. Edward Faaloloto (2-2)

Light Heavyweight: Anthony Perosh (11-6) vs. Cyrille Diabate (17-7-1, No. 18 LHW)

Featherweight: Michihiro Omigawa (12-10-1, No. 12 FEW) vs. Jason Young (8-4)

Welterweight: Justin Edwards (7-1) vs. John Maguire (16-3)

Bantamweight: Chris Cariaso (11-3) vs. Vaughan Lee (11-6-1)

Heavyweight: Philip De Fries (7-0, 1 NC) vs. Rob Broughton (15-6-1)

Welterweight: Chris Cope (5-1) vs. Che Mills (13-4, 1 NC)

Categories: Event Preview

UFC 137 Preview

October 29, 2011 1 comment

First this card looked stacked with GSP vs. Diaz and Penn vs. Carlos Condit.  Then it still looked pretty awesome with GSP vs. Condit and Penn vs. Diaz.  Finally, GSP gets hurt and can’t compete so we’re left with Penn vs. Diaz and a shitty co main event.  Now I like all of these fights, but there’s no way Kongo vs. Mitrione should be a second billed fight under any circumstances.  Things might be different if Condit accepted a fight with Josh Koscheck, but that just wasn’t in the cards.

Still, Penn vs. Diaz is going to be an amazing fight and there’s plenty to like about this card.  Roy Nelson vs. Cro Cop is a fun, if not irrelevant contest, Hatsu Hioki makes his UFC debut against George Roop, Scott Jorgensen gets bumped up to the main card, and we’ll see a really awesome fight between Dennis Siver and Donald Cerrone.

UFC 137 will air live on PPV at 9:00 PM EST/8:00 PM CST with two preliminary fights on Spike at 8:00 PM EST/7:00 PM CST and Facebook fights beginning at 6:15 EST/5:15 CST.  I would probably order this event just because Penn vs. Diaz is going to be insane.  The other fights all have the potential to be fun, especially with fights at bantamweight and featherweight, not to mention king fat boy Roy Nelson in action.

Welterweight: B.J. Penn (16-7-2, No. 3 WW) vs. Nick Diaz (25-7, 1 NC, No. 4 WW)

Heavyweight: Cheick Kongo (11-6, No. 16 HW) vs. Matt Mitrione (5-0)

Heavyweight: Roy Nelson (15-6, No. 13 HW) vs. Mirko Filipovic (27-9-2, 1 NC)

Featherweight: Hatsu Hioki (24-4-2, No. 2 FEW) vs. George Roop (12-7-1, No. 21 FEW)

Bantamweight: Scott Jorgensen (12-4, No. 4 BW) vs. Jeff Curran (33-13-1)

Lightweight: Dennis Siver (19-7, No. 14 LW) vs. Donald Cerrone (16-3, 1 NC)

Catchweight (148 lbs.): Tyson Griffin (15-5, No. 11 FEW) vs. Bart Palaszewski (35-14)

Light Heavyweight: Brandon Vera (11-5, 1 NC) vs. Eliot Marshall (10-3)

Middleweight: Chris Camozzi (15-4) vs. Francis Carmont (16-7)

Middleweight: Dustin Jacoby (6-0) vs. Clifford Starks (7-0)

Lightweight: Ramsey Nijem (4-2) vs. Danny Downes (8-2)

Categories: Event Preview

Bellator 56 Preview

October 29, 2011 1 comment

Okay, so tonight should probably be a big deal for Bellator.  We’ll see Ben Askren defend his Welterweight Title and the semifinals of the injury riddled heavyweight tournament will take place.  Unfortunately, I’m worried that this is all leading to a big disappointment for Bellator.

Ben Askren puts on fights that are far less than exciting and I’m not sure that Jay Hieron will be able to stop Askren from making this a 25 minute wrestling contest.  The heavyweight talent in Bellator is also quite lacking and we’re likely going to see four fat boys gas out and put on some very sloppy fights.

Bellator 56 airs live on MTV2 at 9:00 PM EST/8:00 PM CST with a replay shown at 1:00 AM EST/12:00 AM EST.  I certainly hope I’m wrong with my predictions about this event and Bellator generally delivers some very fun fights, but we’ll have to see what happens tonight.

Welterweight Title: (c) Ben Askren (8-0, No. 10 WW) vs. Jay Hieron (22-4, No. 15 WW)

This is definitely the biggest challenge in Ben Askren’s young career.  A victory here for the champ will answer a lot of questions about his legitimacy as a top welterweight.  Hieron is in the midst of a ten fight winning streak which includes three successful fights in Bellator’s last welterweight tournament.

I think this fight is going to be pretty tight and I see one of two things happening: Askren is dominant with his wrestling and takes a unanimous decision or Hieron catches Askren and wins by TKO.  Frankly, I just think Askren is such a dominant wrestler that he’ll be able to retain his title in this contest.

Heavyweight Tournament Semifinals: Thiago Santos (9-1) vs. Neil Grove (11-4-1)

So this fight was originally going to be Mike Hayes vs. Blagoi Ivanov.  Hayes was replaced by Santos due to injury and then the already eliminated Grove replaced the injured Ivanov.  The result?  A fight I could care less about!  I think we’ll see Grove take the victory here.

Heavyweight Tournament Semifinals: Eric Prindle (8-1) vs. Ron Sparks (8-0)

Oh look, another fight I don’t care about!  I’m going to go out on a limb and say this fight is going to be a miserable fucking train wreck.  I’m sorry if that sounds negative, but honestly, this is going to be a fat boy collision for the ages.  I’ll take Sparks by TKO, but really, what does it matter?

Middleweight: Rudy Bears (13-9) vs. Marcio Navarro (7-7)

Featherweight: Adam Schindler (9-2) vs. Jeremy Spoon (11-0)

Light Heavyweight: Kelvin Tiller (1-1) vs. Dan Spohn (6-0)

Lightweight: Willian De Souza (1-2) vs. Emanuel Brooks (4-0)

Featherweight: Jeimeson Saudino (1-0) vs. Jacob Akin (0-1)

Bantamweight: Aaron Ely (1-0) vs. Owen Evinger (7-1)

Heavyweight: Daniel Gallemore (0-1) vs. Derrick Ruffin (1-3)

Categories: Event Preview

Bellator 55 Preview

October 22, 2011 2 comments

Bantamweight tournament semifinals!  How exciting this should be!  I really like the fighters remaining in this tournament and I know we’ll see a great finals regardless of who wins tonight.  Alexis Vila is probably the most talented fighter remaining, but Marcos Galvao, Ed West, and Eduardo “Dudu” Dantas are great competitors in their own right.

I like the light heavyweight bout we’re seeing, even at the contracted weight of 210 pounds.  I also wish that the Efrain Escudero fight was on the main card, since he’s a fighter with some name power.  I guess it’s still possible that Tirloni vs. Gable could get bumped down to the prelim card.

Bellator 55 airs live on MTV2 tonight at 9:00 PM EST/8:00 PM CST with a replay shown at 1:00 AM EST/12:00 AM CST.  The preliminary fights will also be live on Spike.com at 7:00 PM EST/6:00 PM CST.  I’ve never seen the Spike.com fights before so I’m glad to get a chance to tonight.

Bantamweight Tournament Semifinals: Alexis Vila (10-0, No. 8 BW, No. 8 FLW) vs. Marcos Galvao (10-4-1)

Hey look, it’s the last two fighters to beat Joe Warren!  Yes, I know Galvao lost his decision to Warren, but I felt that he pretty clearly won their fight at Bellator 41.  Alexis Vila left absolutely no doubts when he punched Joe Warren in the face very, very hard and Joe Warren decided to go to sleep.

I’ve long been a proponent of the flyweight division so just imagine how pleased I am with Alexis Vila’s success.  He’s one of the most talented fighters at flyweight and he proved against Joe Warren that he’s also one of the most talented bantamweight fighters.  Galvao is a very capable fighter who has competed in some big bouts for Shooto and the WEC.  He’s looked great in Bellator thus far.

I really like Vila to win another bout by knockout.  He has such fantastic power and Galvao proved in the WEC that he’s a little vulnerable to heavy handed fighters.  Vila is as well-rounded a fighter as there is in the lighter weight classes, even at 40 years old.

Bantamweight Tournament Semifinals: Ed West (17-5) vs. Eduardo Dantas (11-2)

Ed West’s only loss in Bellator was in the previous bantamweight tournament, where he lost to Zach Makovsky for the vacant Bellator Bantamweight Title.  “Dudu” Dantas started this tournament quite impressively by defeating Wilson Reis.  He also holds a victory over top flyweight Shinichi Kojima back from Dantas’ days in Shooto.

Dantas is a much more well-rounded fighter than Ed West, who hasn’t finished a fight with strikes in his eight year career.  Dantas holds a handful of submission wins and definitely shows off his strikes, just like we saw against Wilson Reis.  West might be 9-1 in his last ten fights, but he really lacks any significant wins.  I’ll take Dudu by decision in this contest.

Light Heavyweight: Christian M’Pumbu (18-3-1) vs. Travis Wiuff (64-14, 1 NC)

I’m looking forward to this one, if only because we don’t always see fighters with over 60 wins in competition.  Wiuff certainly has the experience edge since few fighters have 80 fights under their belt.  Wiuff is a very busy fighter, but unlike similar fighters such as Dan Severn, Wiuff actually has a handful of quality wins including victories over Jeff Monson, Chris Tuchscherer, and Kazuyuki Fujita.

But I really like Christian M’Pumbu, who is the reigning Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion.  M’Pumbu looked extremely impressive in the his three tournament fights and has shown great striking with five TKO victories in his last five wins.  M’Pumbu may be a slightly undersized light heavyweight, but I’ll be damned if he isn’t a super talented fighter.

I have a hard time seeing Wiuff winning this fight and I see him being M’Pumbu’s latest knockout victim tonight.  I expect big things from Christian M’Pumbu so long as they can bring in the talent necessary to challenge him at 205 pounds.  Based on what we’ve seen from Zach Makovsky, I don’t have very high hopes for that.

Lightweight: Ricardo Tirloni (13-1) vs. Steve Gable (5-1)

You know what I did today?  I spent five hours at the 2011 Pinball Expo in Wheeling, IL.  It was pretty cool seeing so many machines, especially since it was just $20 for all you can play.  I probably played 100 games on 67 different tables (I counted how many I played).  That’s a great use of a Saturday and of $20.

I did have some concerns while I was there.  For instance, the germs.  Oh man, can you imagine how many filthy, disgusting hands are touching those machines.  I had to wash my hands very generously during my time there.  Thankfully, this was in a nice hotel so the restrooms were quite lovely.

Also, think about this: are you more likely to see pedophiles or prostitutes at such an occasion?  You know that both of them are there, pedophiles preying on the children and prostitutes preying on the sad, lonely men in attendance.  I think the quantity of pedophiles is higher, but it’s easier to pick out the prostitutes.  Pedophiles probably look forward to the Pinball Expo all year long and would play pinball whether or not there were children.  Prostitutes stand out like a sore thumb.  I think I saw a handful of them.

I think I saw one guy there with an escort, like he brought a prostitute date.  He was in his 40s and wore tennis shoes with his khaki pants.  She was quite young and quite thin, wore tight jeans, and was showing her midriff.  She was not exceptionally pretty and I could imagine her having been paid for.  I guess you have to maintain appearances at Pinball Expo time.

Oh, uhh…Ricardo Tirolni wins.  I know this isn’t a pinball blog, but maybe it should be.

Catchweight (210 lbs.): Richard Hale (17-4-1) vs. Carlos Flores (5-0)

Lightweight: Cesar Avila (6-1) vs. Efrain Escudero (17-3)

Middleweight: Edgar Garcia (10-2) vs. Jacob Ortiz (10-2)

Lightweight: Erin Beach (2-1) vs. Roscoe Jackson (1-4)

Featherweight: Nick Piedmont (5-2) vs. Jade Porter (7-2)

Middleweight: Steve Steinbeiss (8-4) vs. Dano Moore (5-5)

Categories: Event Preview

Bellator 54 Preview

October 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m looking forward to tonight’s Bellator, event if I won’t be able to watch live on account of the Anthrax and Testament show at the Congress Theater tonight.  Bellator will continue their season five welterweight tournament, while we’ll see Bantamweight Champion Zach Makovsky in a non-title match against veteran Ryan Roberts.

Of course, I do have some questions about tonight’s event.  Does this middleweight tournament even matter when the winner will inevitably get beaten by champion Hector Lombard?  Alexander Shlemenko, the best in the current field, has already lost to Lombard and I don’t think the other three middleweights would stand a chance.

And what good does it do to have a champion like Zach Makovsky when he never defends his title?  This might be the last time we see him compete in Bellator this year, where he will only have fought two non-title contests.  Makovsky will surely have a tough title fight when he takes on the winner of the current bantamweight tournament (presumably Alexis Vila), but that seems like a waste for this talented of a fighter to compete so sparingly.

Nonetheless, tonight’s show should be a very good one.  Prospect Rene Nazare, who is now 3-0 in his Bellator career, shouldn’t be forgotten.  Nazare will likely ensure himself a spot in the next lightweight tournament with a win here.  Speaking of that tournament, it’s shaping up to be a good one should it take place in season six.  Nazare, Kurt Pellegrino, Patricky Freire, Phillipe Nover, Marcinb Held, and the loser of Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler seem to be likely participants in what could be a very talented field.

Until then, we have Bellator 54 airing live tonight on MTV2 at 9:00 PM EST/8:00 PM CST with a replay shown at 1:00 AM EST/12:00 AM CST.  I’d love to see this replay, but I also don’t much like the idea of staying up until midnight.  I’ll probably be quite tired by that time on account of being an old person, but we’ll see.

Middleweight Tournament Semifinals: Alexander Shlemenko (40-7, No. 24 MW) vs. Brian Rogers (8-2)

We’re going to see some fireworks in this one with both fighters favoring their strikes.  25 of Shlemenko’s 40 wins have come by some form of knockout, while all but one of Rogers’ eight wins have been by (T)KO.  These things lead me to believe that Shlemenko and Rogers will spend a significant amount of time punching one another.

Both fighters are very tough and rarely ever get knocked out, so I won’t be surprised if this one goes the full 15 minutes.  I give Shlemenko the edge just because he has the experience and he’s a very scary striker.  His only loss in recent memory was the aforementioned defeat to Lombard and Shlemenko has been very good otherwise.  I think we’ll see Shlemenko take a unanimous decision victory.

Middleweight Tournament Semifinals: Bryan Baker (16-2) vs. Vitor Vianna (11-1-1)

Bryan Baker has quietly put together an awesome career in just under four years.  He holds wins over Jared Hess, Joe Riggs, Jeremy Horn, Sean Loeffler, Matt Horwich, Rory Singer, Jesse Forbes, and he’s defeated Eric Schambari twice.  His only two losses have been against fellow tournament competitor Shlemenko and top UFC contender Chael Sonnen.  Meanwhile, Vitor Vianna beat…I don’t know, Sam Alvey?  Francis Carmont?  It just doesn’t sound the same.

I see Baker taking an early TKO victory.  Vianna is a tough opponent and a great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, but Baker’s put together such a stellar resume and I have every expectation of him winning this bout.

Bantamweight: Zach Makovsky (13-2, No. 17 BW) vs. Ryan Roberts (16-9-1, 1 NC)

Zach Makovsky, awesomely known as “Fun Size”, is definitely one of the top two or three fighters in Bellator.  He’s a supremely talented bantamweight and he will win this fight.  Ryan Roberts has been around a while and has some solid wins over guys like Nick Mamalis and Jeff Lentz, but Makovsky is one of the rising bantamweight talents in all of MMA.

Lightweight: Rene Nazare (10-0) vs. Jacob Kirwan (8-3)

Rene Nazare will stay undefeated.  I have no reason to believe that Jacob Kirwan has a chance here.  Nazare is being built as a force at 155 pounds and he’s delivered so far.  He’s actually injured two of his three opponents in Bellator thus far, proving to be a legitimate dangerous fighters.  Look for Nazare to finish this fight.

Middleweight: Daniel Gracie (5-3-1) vs. Duane Bastress (3-1)

Light Heavyweight: Tim Carpenter (7-1) vs. Ryan Contaldi (7-3-1)

Middleweight: Lewis Rumsey (6-6) vs. Joey Kirwan (7-5)

Women’s Middleweight: Andria Caplan (0-0) vs. Adrienne Seiber (1-1)

Bantamweight: Brian Kelleher (4-1) vs. Claudio Ledesma (4-2)

Categories: Event Preview