Tag Archives: wrestling

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.

Striking

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.

Wrestling

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.

Grappling

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.

Conditioning/Cardio

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.

Experience

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.

Conclusion

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

Advertisements

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.

Brock Lesnar to return to the UFC?

Hey guys, how’s it going? I know, it’s been almost a month since my last post. Life gets in the way, unfortunately. Well…that and Diablo 3! BUT, I am back and what a plethora of going-ons there has been in the world of mixed martial arts, these past four weeks! Junior Dos Santos successfully defended his title, Cain Velasquez made a return in vintage form, Jason “Mayhem” Miller has retired, Nick Diaz has been suspended for marijuana use, Alistair Overeem has been suspended for nine months for steroid usage…the list is endless.

But to celebrate my grand return to the wonderful world of WordPress.com, I decided to report on my all-time favourite fighter who despite making a return to the political circus that is professional wrestling, has spun up the rumour mill like few others can. This man, my friends, is former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar.

Brock was seen just this past Saturday night in Las Vegas attending UFC 146. No doubt he was there not just to watch the fights, but to see how his former nemesis Frank Mir would fare against a man whom Lesnar almost fought, current heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos. For those of us that watched it, we all saw Mir lose in a really, really bad way and I’m sure Brock was smiling in some small way when it happened. To some however, this seems like more than just a coincidence.

Conspiracy theories of the MMA variety are flying out everywhere on the web now.  See for yourself. Is Brock indeed setting himself up for a UFC return? Is he playing an angle with the WWE? Is Dave Meltzer full of his usual crap? Or is Brock just being a good ole MMA fan? Sound off!!

Jones’ Next Fight Confirmed

Hey guys, how’s it going? I know, I know. I’m late to the party since it’s been almost a week since UFC 145 and Jon Jones (16-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) successfully defended his light-heavyweight title against his former training partner and friend, Rashad Evans (17-2-1 MMA, 12-2-1 UFC). The fight itself wasn’t quite the barn burner people expected, but I enjoyed it as a technical display of skill and watching Evans be bloodied up for his troubles was fun too.

Image

So with that fight now behind us, we move on to the next man who will challenge Jones for the title: former PRIDE middleweight and welterweight champion, as well as former Strikeforce light-heavyweight chamption, Dan “Hendo” Henderson (29-8 MMA, 6-2 UFC). I believe this will be Jones’ toughest fight to date because Henderson has by far the most experience out of anyone Jones has fought up to now and Hendo is as tough as they come; just ask Mauricio Rua. I still think Jones will win the eventual showdown because he’s just that good, but this is MMA after all, and anything can happen.

Image

As always, your thoughts are welcomed and appreciated.

UFC 145’s Main Event Keys to Victory

I think if you ask most MMA fans how badly they want to see Jones vs. Evans this weekend, the answer would be a unanimous one: very, very much so. This fight has been postponed at least twice now and it’s finally going to happen Saturday night. With that said, here is my breakdown of how I believe the fight will pan out.

Striking

I give a slight edge to Rashad because he has knocked people out before. Just ask Chuck Liddell or Shawn Salmon (poor guy). His KO power is there; he just hasn’t used it lately. Jones definitely has the advatange though when it comes to overall striking game because his style is very unorthodox (as we’ve all seen with those spinning back elbows of his) and his range is the longest in the entire UFC roster at 84″. However, Jones has not demonstrated one-punch KO power as of yet as his finishes have come via submission or TKO. I also believe that Rashad will know how to work around Jones’ long reach because they used to train together. Rashad does have a suspect chin though, as we saw in his fights against Thiago Silva and Rampage Jackson so if Jones starts landing bombs, it could be a short night for ‘Suga’.

Advantage: Evans

Cardio

Both men are well-conditioned athletes. They have no problem going a solid three rounds at least and I haven’t seen either of them gas in a fight so I think they could last five rounds if it goes that far.

Advantage: Tie

Wrestling

Rashad is an NCAA Division 1 wrestling champion and Jon Jones is both an NJCAA Junior Collegiate Champion and NJCAA All-American from Iowa Central Community College. Rashad has the advantage on paper but I give this to Jones because he has had great success in mixing up his wrestling with his clinch work and used to great effect when beating down his opponents. Look at what he did to Shogun and Rampage. Rashad’s wrestling is good but when I think about it, I think of the Rampage fight when he telegraphed just about every single takedown he went for and they looked pretty standard to me. With Jones’ long reach and considerably better conditioning than an overweight Rampage, I don’t see Rashad shooting in at will, lest he be clocked with one of Jones’ knees.

Advantage: Jones

Grappling

Rashad is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt but hasn’t submitted anyone since 2004 so it’s a mystery as to how good he is off of his back. Jones on the other hand uses submissions to great effect. He choked out Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, and Ryan Bader and looked amazing doing it. Based on that, I would give the advantage to Jones because he is submitting fighters on an almost regular basis and Rashad is too busy either with finishing fights with strikes or going to a decision.

Advantage: Jones

Final Prediction

Based on the information presented above, it’s 2-1 in Jonny ‘Bones’ Jones’ favour, so I say he will win this fight by either submission in the third round or unanimous decision. He could very well win by TKO as well but I think Rashad will be too busy looking to get inside of Jones’ reach and take the fight to the mat as opposed to striking with a spider (with apologies to Anderson Silva). For that reason Jones will look use to his submission skills and prove that he is the best LHW fighter in the world today.

I welcome your thoughts.

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?

Image

Dana White & Soccer: Could MMA Overtake It?

Recently Dana White quipped,

“I’m not a big hockey fan. But I respect how talented you have to be to play hockey. Soccer? That’s a whole other ball. Can’t stand soccer. It’s the least-talented sport on Earth. There’s a reason three-year-olds can play soccer. When you’re playing a game when the net is that big and the score is 3-1 (and that’s a blowout) are you kidding me? You know how untalented you have to be to score three times when the net is that big?”

I’m not a soccer fan either, but then again, I’m not a fan of any major mainstream sport; baseball, basketball, hockey, or whatever else is popular these days. I find them boring and in some cases, pretentious to watch. Soccer and hockey in particular are painful to watch because I see people literally pour their entire lives into one match and when their favoured team loses, they go on a rampage and act as though their entire world has come to a fiery, destructive end. It’s sad, really.

Do I think MMA could rival soccer in popularity one day? Yes. I do.

Why? Because fighting is a global thing. The martial arts transcend national borders and many nations have their own proprietary fighting system, e.g. Thailand & muay thai, Korea & hapkido, America & freestyle wrestling, Japan & <take your pick>, etc… Everyone in the world can relate to fighting.

It probably won’t happen in my lifetime because MMA is still working on being accepted at a national level here in North America and the UFC has only recently expanded into Asia and is still working on Europe at large. But I do think it’s possible; one day.