Tag Archives: gsp

Keys to Victory & Prediction for UFC 148’s main event

This Saturday night, all the talking comes to a halt, all the anticipation comes to a head…it all ends. Chael Sonnen (27-11-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC) will put up or shut up as he fights Anderson “The Spider” Silva (31-4 MMA, 14-0 UFC) for the UFC middleweight championship. Everyone who follows MMA to some extent knows how the first fight went. Sonnen beat Silva up for 4.5 rounds before being caught in a “hail Mary” triangle choke, thrown up by Silva halfway through the fifth round. Since then, Sonnen has not let up with the trash talk, insulting everything about Silva, from his wife, to his home country of Brazil. Silva remained quiet on the matter until he made a recent outburst  that made everyone stand-up, GSP included.

Again, none of this will matter come Saturday night when the two warriors square off in UFC 148’s main event. Let’s have a toe-to-toe breakdown of the two fighters and I’ll end with a prediction of who will win this weekend.


This one is obvious. The advantage goes to Silva who hits with laser-point accuracy and knows how to hurt people. From his famous front face kick that knocked down Vitor Belfort at UFC 146 to the back-peddling jab that KO’ed Forrest Griffin at UFC 101, Silva is a striking guru in every sense of the word.

Sonnen certainly has a solid left jab and he did hit Silva with some solid shots in their first fight, not to mention knocking Silva down at least once and staggering him prior to that. But it’s going to take more than a good jab to get Anderson to the ground where Sonnen wants him.


Again, the advantage here is obvious and it goes to Sonnen. Chael is a former NCAA Division I All-American,  a former NCAA Division I champion, and was in the Pac-10 Conference in 1997. All of these awards hail from the University of Oregon. Sonnen took Silva down at will in their first fight and Silva never had an answer for Sonnen’s thunderous takedowns. Wrestling has always been Silva’s Achilles’ Heel, despite him being arguably the greatest fighter in the world.


Silva is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and like wrestling for Silva, BJJ is Sonnen’s Achilles’ Heel. Eight of Sonnen’s career losses have come by way of submission. However in the first fight, Chael neutralized the majority of Silva’s submission attempts from the botton and even attempted an arm triangle at one point. Sonnen’s submission game is ever-improving as noticed in his fight with Brian Stann at UFC 136 in which he won with an arm triangle. I also attribute Sonnen’s triangle choke loss to Silva the first time not solely to sloppy submission defence but also to him simply being tired and became lazy. As a result, Silva saw an opening and went for it.

But at the end of the day, you have to give the advantage to Anderson because again, he is a black belt and Chael and submission defence are like oil and water.


I would give the advantage to Sonnen purely because he is a wrestler. Wrestlers are known for what seem like endless gas tanks because when they train at the academic level in wrestling, it’s very grueling work and very tiring. You don’t achieve what Sonnen did at the University of Oregon if you can’t fight for 25 minutes. Sonnen has also gone the distance more so than Silva in his MMA career so he is used to fighting into the later rounds, whereas Silva is more adept at finishing a fight early on. The few times we have seen Silva go the distance, he has slowed down as seen in his fight with Demain Maia at UFC 112.


This could be argued as a toss-up given that both men have been fighting for a very long time. Anderson however, has been the UFC middleweight champion since 2006; a staggering six years! That’s unheard of in the MMA world. As a result, he has consistently fought top-level talent in each of his fights and for the most part, looked good while doing it.

Sonnen has been around the block, fighting in several different promotions throughout his career. He’s been in Pancrase, the IFC, Bodog, the WEC, and currently, the UFC. His experience gained is no joke as he worked hard to make his way up the ladder, to the spot as the No. 2 ranked middleweight in the world behind the champion.


At the current tally, it’s two advantages for Silva, two for Sonnen, and with the experience not being a tie-breaker, it’s three in total for both men. But who really has the advantage, in the end?

Chael P. Sonnen

No, I’m not crazy. Chael is inside Anderson’s head. Don’t believe me? Read Silva’s comments on what he’s going to do to Chael this Saturday night and watch the UFC 148 press conference from earlier today and you tell me that heated staredown wasn’t due to Silva’s emotions getting the better of him. Silva is a smart fighter. True, but if he lets his emotions get the better of him, he will leave himself open to Sonnen’s takedowns and we will see a better version of Chael than in their first fight. Chael will not stop pushing forward, he take Silva down, and punish him. Unless Silva has become a wrestling master, which I highly doubt, I don’t see this fight going Anderson’s way. Let’s not forget too that part of the reason Sonnen did so well in the first fight was because Silva couldn’t get Sonnen’s timing down and given Silva’s fighting style as a counter-puncher, the night almost went very badly for him.

FINAL PREDICTION: Chael Sonnen wins via unanimous decision


Endless injuries in MMA a result of fans’ demands?

If you’ve been following the latest UFC fight cards, along with the fighters who were supposed to be fighting on each one, you would have noticed that each and every card is suffering from fighters backing out due to injuries sustained in training camp. First it was Dominick Cruz, then it was Brian Stann, then it was Michael Bisping, then it was Jose Aldo, then it was Vitor Belfort…the list is seemingly endless at this point.

Dana White has also chimed in on the issue.

I wonder though. No doubt the injuries are a result of training too hard, but are fighters training harder because that’s what fans expect?

I’m sure most of you have seen this image floating around the web:

Just Bleed guy aka James Ladner

While the UFC has done a pretty good job of shedding the barbarian image away from contemporary mixed martial arts, there are fans who are still very impatient and to some extent, uneducated viewers who prefer to see aggressive stand-up strike fests as opposed to calculated, thought out chess games. What I am suggesting is that in some small way, because the MMA hype train is moving so quickly and the UFC is offering so much so fast, fighters are now under pressure to perform even harder than usual and as a result, are being injured more often in training. Why are they under pressure? Because fans love it when fighters go all out (see Sanchez/Guida or Henderson/Rua for confirmation) and the UFC knows that such fights will sell more tickets rather than seeing GSP wrestle his way into a decision and play it safe.

I welcome your thoughts and comments on the matter.

If I created a pro fighter…

I was thinking about this just now and I want to take a moment and have some fun with this. Nowadays, a fighter has to be well-rounded if he wants to succeed in the cage and one day, fight for (and win) a world title. MMA has come a long way since 1993 where it was all about being good at one thing, to the days of Pride FC where the best fighters were excellent at one particular discipline but had some functional knowledge of one or two other arts. Now, a fighter has to know a little bit of everything and be really good at it if he wants to get anywhere. So without further ado, here are the characteristics that would comprise my ideal fighter. They are in no particular order.

1. The accuracy of Anderson Silva

2. The boxing of Junior dos Santos

3. The wrestling of GSP

4. The strength, power, and explosiveness of Brock Lesnar

5. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of Damian Maia

6. The conditioning of Cain Velasquez

7. The reach of Jon Jones

8. The unorthodox strikes of Lyoto Machida

9. The tenacity of Chael Sonnen

10. The speed of Jose Aldo

11. The kickboxing of Alistair Overeem

What about you? What does your ideal fighter look like?


Reflections on Brock Lesnar

As the UFC moves forward into a bold 2012, we have a lot to look forward to. GSP will return to defend his title after being out for nearly a year due to a knee injury, Rampage Jackson will be retiring, Jon Jones and Rashad Evans will finally square off for the light-heavyweight championship, and Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva will have their much anticipated middleweight title rematch later this year in Brazil.

One player however who will be sorely missed, by both UFC President Dana White’s wallet and myself, is former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar (5-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC). Given all that Lesnar accomplished in the world of MMA in such a short period, it seems fitting to reflect back on those accomplishments and see what kind of legacy Brock Lesnar left behind.

Brock made his professional MMA debut on June 2, 2007 at the K-1 Dynamite!! USA show against Min-Soo Kim of Korea. Lesnar had made the announcement of his joining the MMA promotion in 2006 at the end of of K1 Hero’s Las Vegas show. It took him all of one minute and nine seconds to overwhelm Kim and win via submission due to strikes. Considering Lesnar has lunchboxes at the ends of his arms, that’s not surprising in the least.

Not content with performing in the minor promotion, Lesnar found Dana White at UFC 77 and pleaded with White to let him have a chance at fighting in the UFC. Dana was at first sceptical, telling Brock, “This is not the place where you want to learn how to fight”. Lesnar’s feeling was, “Either I’m good at this or I’m not.” Sure enough, a deal was reached and Brock made his UFC debut at UFC 81 against former heavyweight champion and Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu ace, Frank Mir (16-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC). When the fight started, Brock immediately shot in for a takedown at a speed matched only by men that are half his size. Referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped the fight a few seconds into it and took away a point from Brock, citing repeated blows to the back of the head. Mir had a chance to recover though it was short-lived because when the fight began a second time, Lesnar caught Mir with two flush right hand punches that sent him down to the canvas. Lesnar then unleashed a flurry of punches, escaped an armbar attempt, only to be caught in a fight-ending kneebar by Mir from the bottom due to his inexperience in professional MMA. The fight lasted a total of one minute and 30 seconds.

Lesnar’s next fight was booked for UFC 87 against Heath Herring (28-14-1 MMA, 2-3 UFC), a veteran from the days of Pride FC in Japan. It was a fight that you really had to see to believe, as Lesnar broke Herring’s orbital bone with a thunderous right hand that sent Herring spinning backwards across the cage less than 20 seconds into the start of the first round. Lesnar went on easily dominate Herring for three full rounds and won via unanimous decision. His next fight, much to the shock and in some cases disgust of MMA fans, was against Randy Couture (19-11 MMA, 16-8 UFC) for the heavyweight title. Brock went to win via TKO in the second round, declaring him the UFC heavyweight champion and with the win, solidified his presence at the top of the UFC food chain.

Conflict was brewing however in his former foe Frank Mir, who had just won the interim heavyweight strap from Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (33-7-1-1 MMA, 4-3 UFC) at UFC 92. A rematch finally happened at UFC 100 on July 11, 2009 when Brock won via brutal KO in the second round. Lesnar also displayed his ability to learn from past mistakes and to be more patient in a fight as opposed to rushing into things. For those of you who haven’t seen the fight I highly recommend looking it up but be forewarned: if you’re squeamish, look away from Frank’s face at the end of it because it resembles something that comes out of a meat grinder whilst processing hamburgers. After avenging his only loss, Brock Lesnar seemed poised to become to dominant heavyweight champion for years to come.

Unfortunately, his body had other plans. While preparing for his second title defense against Shane Carwin (12-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC), Brock came down with a severe intestinal disorder known as diverticulitis. While the fight with Carwin was originally set for UFC 106 on November 21, 2009, it was delayed all the way until July 3, 2010 due to Lesnar’s recovery schedule. When the fight finally happened, no one knew what to expect. Would Lesnar be able to deal with Carwin’s proven one-punch KO power? Would Shane be able to prevent Brock’s thunderous takedowns being an accomplished amateur wrestler himself? Would Brock really be at 100%?

Sure enough, those questions and more were answered. Shane caught Brock with a big uppercut in the first round, causing Brock to pedal backwards and cover up, run from the punches, ultimately leading to Lesnar turtling up on the ground, hanging on for dear life as Shane reigned down a flurry of punches no one had ever imagined would be coming Brock’s way as opposed to the opposite. Lesnar managed to survive the onslaught as Carwin punched himself out and was exhausted coming into the second round. Brock took advantage of that fact as he took Shane down and submitted him with a textbook arm triangle. Was I cheering loudly at the bar when I saw this? Oh brother, you have no idea. This fight demonstrated two things. Lesnar had tremendous heart as any other fighter would have crumbled beneath Shane’s punches and that he was evolving as mixed martial artist. Having beaten the heavy handed Shane Carwin, it seemed like nothing could get in Brock’s way at this point.

I guess someone forgot to tell Cain Velasquez (9-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) whom Brock fought on October 23, 2010 at UFC 110. Cain not only showed superior cardio but vastly superior striking to Brock’s, which had Lesnar running backwards like a scared rabbit and at one point, showing off his dance skills across the octagon. Lesnar lost via TKO in the first round and also left with a nasty scar on the left side of his face which is still visible to this day.  More importantly however, he lost the heavyweight championship. At this point, fans really started to question Brock’s credibility as a fighter given the poor striking skills he exhibited in the fight with Cain.

Brock admitted he had a severe deficiency with his striking game in an interview with Fighters Only! magazine in the June 2011 edition. He knew he had things to work on, so he began the rebuilding process. In the meantime, he signed on as a coach for season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter opposite fellow heavyweight and KO artist, Junior Dos Santos (14-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC). Brock went on to coach the winning finalist Tony Ferguson, but unfortunately, came down with another bout of diverticulitis and had to withdraw from his fight with Junior. Shocked doesn’t begin to describe what I was feeling at that point.

Junior went on to beat Brock’s replacement for their fight at UFC 131. Ironically enough, it was Shane Carwin. Junior won via UD and then went on to defeat Cain Velasquez for the heavyweight strap at UFC on Fox 1. While all of this was happening, the UFC was busy signing Alistair Overeem (48-11-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC). Overeem’s arrival was lauded by fans and critics alike and his debut fight set for UFC 141 was set to be opposite none other than Brock Lesnar, who would return to the octagon after having been out of action for over a year due to his illness. Brock claimed to be back at 100% fighting health and said he was ready to regain his belt.

The night of the fight told a different story. While walking out to the cage, you could tell Brock wasn’t the same. He didn’t have the same look of pure killer rage that filled his visage when he fought Frank the second time. He looked tired and withered which is not how you want to approach a title eliminator match. Alas, it was Overeem who walked away the victor as he floored Lesnar with a vicious liver kick in the first round only to finish up with punches on the ground, the most striking of which (no pun intended) was a shot to the gut. Brock took to the microphone and uttered a phrase I shan’t soon forget: “tonight was the last time you’ll see me in the octagon.” It still echoes with me to this day.

So in review, what did Brock Lesnar accomplish?

  1. Heavyweight championship in only his third professional fight
  2. Tied for most title defences in the heavyweight division
  3. Consistently fought top-level competition throughout his career in the UFC
  4. Highest paid mixed martial artist in history at $5.3 million (ESPN Magazine, May 2011)
  5. Highest number of PPV draws in UFC history (none of the events he headlined brought in less than one million buys)

I’d say that’s pretty darn impressive for a guy who entered the sport with zero experience and got by mostly due to his athleticism and wrestling ability. Whatever you decide to do in future Mr. Lesnar, I wish you the best of luck. Shine on you crazy diamond. You will be missed.