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ufc99_posterUFC 99 will air live at 3 PM EST (with a replay at the normal 10 PM slot) from Cologne, Germany. It is the UFC’s first trip to Germany.

You would think that the PPV before UFC 100 would not be that interesting. After getting past the surface of no titles, etc. this card is very promising.

Cheick Kongo Vs. Cain Velasquez

This is possibly the match-up with the most immediate significance. The winner is nearing title shot status in the heavyweight division. Kongo has four straight wins after a disappointing loss to Heath Hearing this time last year. Cain is 3-0 in the Octagon and has only seen the 2nd round once in some impressive wins. Both fighters come from great camps; Kongo the Wolfslair and Cain is at AKA.

I have gone back and forth on this one regarding what I think is going to happen. Cain is a wrestler by nature and Kongo is a striker. My initial reaction was Cain would impose his will and thus win the fight. I looked at the line and Cain is nearly a 2:1 favorite. I was shocked that Kongo is such an underdog.

Kongo has shown good take-down defense in recent outings. If Kongo can keep it on the feet he has a great chance at getting a big win.

I am truly split here—and have gone from wanting to put up a few hund-o on Cain to maybe even swaying the other way with the odds egging me on. (more…)

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marty cordovaIf you needed any more proof about steroids in baseball during the 90’s… here is a picture of Marty Cordova, American League Rookie of the Year in 1995.

For those who aren’t up on their latest Marty Cordova factoids; Cordova is now working for the UFC. He is a frequent guest on Dana White’s video blogs.

The picture seems to be from a number of years ago when, clearly, Marty was on ‘roids in shape and playing in the Majors.

We can add this to the steroid manifesto…

Dana White UFC 99 Video Blog – 6/8/09 [YouTube]

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gsp-penn-press-conference

For the true mixed martial arts fan, it’s the biggest fight in the history of the sport. Hands down. Two of the top 5 pound for pound fighters in the world going head to head.

GSP is the 170 pound champ while Penn is the champion at 155. On Saturday the two will step into the octagon and go to war. The prize? The 170 pound strap. Here is a brief synopsis of the back story. (more…)

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UFC 91 will certainly go down as a historic night. It was a night of great fights. Nine of the ten fights finished. Not to mention we have a new heavyweight champion.

Prediction wise I hit 4/5 on the main card only missing the main event. I also said that there would be a ton of fights that would finish. On top of that, I gave three guaranteed wins that all panned out. However, my bet of the night, the main event going 3 rounds, fell a bit short.

Hazelett, Maia and Gonzaga all wowed as promised. Florian showed that he is legit and is the undisputed number 1 contender at 155. Lesnar proved that he is legit. These were 5 important wins for the UFC to build talent and entertaining fights going forward.

We should have seen this coming in the main event. It all makes sense now.

Who did Brock Lesnar defeat for the heavyweight title when he came to the WWF? The Rock, the star of the movie The Scorpion King. Couture played a major role in The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior. What was I thinking? Why didn’t I see this? I could have gone 5/5.

I will be excited to see what the PPV buy numbers end of being after the lofty goal that Dana White and the UFC set of 1.2 million buys.

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ufc-91-lesnar-coutureUFC 91: Couture vs Lesnar will emanate live from the MGM Grand Las Vegas this Saturday. It is being billed as the biggest fight in UFC history.

Frankly, it is up there, depending on how you’re measuring. Dana White says it is the biggest fight because they expect 1.2 buys on PPV. This would break the old record of 1.05 million that Ortiz-Liddell II did. It would actually shatter that record. I thought it to be conceivable that UFC 91 gets close to 1 million PPV buys but 1.2 is a big difference. There is precedent here though. Lesnar’s first fight carried UFC 81: Breaking Point to 650,000 buys. At the same time a better UFC 87: Seek and Destroy card did about 625,000 buys. This means that to achieve what the UFC’s research has predicted–they will be doubling Lesnar’s average buy rate.

The thing that this card has that the others did not is another huge name across the octagon from Lesnar. Although Mir and Herring are two of the best they are not marketable in the way Couture is. In fact, Couture is one of America’s favorite fighters all time.

I recently re-watched the Couture-Silvia fight and that place exploded during and after Couture’s victory. I expect the same for whoever the victor is this Saturday.

Here is a look at the main card; later this week a look into the undercard and the betting lines which are slowly developing as of Wednesday afternoon.

Dustin Hazelett Vs. Tamdan McCrory

The Hype:

This one has been bumped up to the main card due to an injury to Amir Sadollah. I’m glad too; Dustin Hazelett has some of the tools to be a great Welterweight. He is only 22 and has 6 fights in the Octagon under his belt. His only loss in the last two years was to Josh Koscheck. McCrory is also 22 and has a 2-1 record in the Octagon. At 6’4, he is a tall guy at 170.

The Fight:

The one place that one of these fighters should have a definite advantage is Hazelett on the ground. Dustin has world-class BJJ skills. Assuming that he can get the fight to the ground I would look for him to finish from there.

Prediction-Hazlett (Submission, R2)

The Aftermath:

I’ve been waiting for Hazelett to get a shot at the main card for several months; that Koscheck lost set him back a bit. This is his shot to fight in front of a huge audience.

Nate Quarry Vs. Demian Maia

The Hype:

These guys have 9 combined fights in the Octagon. Only 1 of those 9 fights has gone to the judges. These guys are finishers.

The Fight:

I really like Maia to continue he streak of 3/3 submission finishes in the UFC. Both this and the Hazelett fight have Submission of the Night written all over them.

Prediction-Maia (Submission, R1)

The Aftermath:

The UFC will have to increase to competition for Maia.

Gabriel Gonzaga Vs. Josh Hendricks

The Hype:

Gonzaga has stepped in the Octagon with the likes of Mirko Filipovic and Randy Couture. He upset Cro Cop but lost to Couture. His only other two losses; both to Ferbricio Werdum. I think Gonzaga would rip Werdums arm right off his body currently. Josh Hendrickshas been around, although this will be his first time in the Octagon.

The Fight:

From what I have heard Hendricks is no stranger to the ground. He knows some good BJJ and is a very good wrestler. Gonzaga is likely both a better striker and still better yet on the ground than Hendricks. When you break the fight down to areas like this; I give Gonzaga the edge. Hendricks has nothing to lose and everything to gain with a big victory hear. A scary though for Gonzaga.

Prediction-Gonzaga (Submission, R1)

The Aftermath:

Gonzaga has to win to once again be taken seriously in the Heavyweight picture but Hendricks is no joke. Gonzaga will still have work to do before he get a real quality name opponent again but this would be a start.

Kenny Florian Vs. Joe Stevenson

The Hype:

Florian and Stevenson are the two number one contenders for the stap at 155. Technically, Kenny could have had a title shot before this fight but due to Penn-GSP II that has been put off. Not only has Kenny been okay with being put on the back burner but he has even taken an extremely tough when he could have pushed for a cake-walk leading upto an eventual title shot.

Stevenson is an extrodinary talented figher. He might be underrated still. The line for this fight has continuously moved to favor Florian more and more. The mauling at the hands of BJ might still be in peoples minds.

The Fight:

Stevenson has publicly stated that he cannot believe that he is the underdog in this fight. I can’t help but agree that it is shocking at how much of a dog he is. I am a Florian fan–being that he is from and has a school outside of Boston. That can always through a wrench into the thought process when it comes to making educated picks.

Alot of time it is easy to just pick a guy and say that he will win by decision but as you can see from my picks so far all of these main card fights have a great chance of being finished in one manner or another. I believe this one to be no exception.

I will take Florian here; he trains not only as hard as anyone but also as smart.

Prediction-Florian (TKO, R2)

The Aftermath:

If Florian doesn’t show well it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities that he could lose his title shot. Certainly Stevenson would be very public about wanted a rematch with Penn if he does win on Saturday.

Randy Couture Vs. Brock Lesnar

The Hype:

Too much to fit here. It’s the old school Hall of Famer against the new, young upstart beast.

The Fight:

Two world-class wrestlers who both have no problem throwing punches. Couture took down a 6’8 Tim Sylvia seemingly with ease. Lesnar is a way better wrestler than Sylvia and has a much lower base. Lesnar is also stronger than Syvlia but much less experienced.

Couture can game-plan with the best of them, probably better. If Lesnar’s camp get it in his head that he needs to take Randy down and control him on the ground then he has a shot. I can’t see Randy getting TKO’d on the ground, he is just too experienced and talented but Lesnar can still win rounds from that position.

On the other hand Couture could pick Lesnar apart on the fight and expose his stand-up or he could take a similar ground and pound approach that I mentioned Lesnar should take.

Prediction-Couture (Unanimous Decision)

The Aftermath:

This fight is essential one side of a four man tourney. The other side being the Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira-Frank Mir fight at UFC 92. Those are four of the most dynamic heavyweights in the world. I don’t know who would make the best title unification bout.

Lesnar can silence all the critics that say he doesn’t deserve to be in this title mix with a mix and Couture can salitfy himself as the greatest ever with another huge win.

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Everyone is going wild with this Anderson Silva stuff. So he did not finish Cote. That does not mean that he is not the greatest in the world today. Here is why:

This is what Anderson had to say about not finishing Cote in the first two rounds (a first for his UFC career):

“My game plan since the beginning was fight five rounds, inducing him to commit mistakes and capitalize on that during the first three rounds and look for the knockout during the fourth and fifth rounds. It was working, and the biggest proof of that is that I almost didn’t waste any blows. I connected with a couple of good punches and knees, but unfortunately he got hurt and the fight was over. This is not my fault.”

For a guy with so many spectacular knockouts, we tend to forget just how intelligent this guy fights. This is a great strategy which was working great until Cote went down… then it looks like Silva didn’t finish the job. He didn’t have the time to.

Silva absolutely won the first two rounds. A similar start to the third round would have put Cote on the ropes and forced him to be reckless, thus putting Anderson in position to end the fight. I am so confident in Silva and his camps ability to gameplan for a fight that, still l after seeing rounds 1 and 2, I would be willing to bet that the fight would have been stopped by Silva if not Cote’s unfortunate injury.

I’m not sure why White is saying things like he thought he was in an “alternate universe”. You know it’s bad when Dana White, the  biggest Anderson Silva fanboy of all, is questioning the fight. This just shows how much confidence the UFC had in Cote to begin with.

Like I’ve said his next fight should be at 205. I’ve also said Liddell looks like a candidate for an opponent.  Wanderlei, Forrest, Rampage and Rashad Evans are booked up for the time being. Anderson has already beat Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin. Lyoto Machida could make the fight into a bore-fest and kill the hype. It really seems like far and away the best choice.

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The pop heard ’round the world
The Allstate Arena was filled with over 15,000 Chicago area UFC fans who paid a total of $2.8 million in revenue at the gate which was a new record. First, you have to feel for Patrick Cote. His knee popped out of place in a freak incident last night after re-aggravating a past injury. To that point in the fight he was holding his own with Anderson. On the other hand Silva was a bit slower to get his rhythm than in previous contests. Cote was hanging in there and was in position to make something happen if not for the unfortunate injury. No word just yet on the severity of Cote’s knee injury. We wish him a speedy recovery.

The Muscle Shark
Sean Sherk showed that he is still a dominate fighter at 155 with a brilliant performance against a good Tyson Griffin. This also just goes to show just how dominant BJ Penn has become at lightweight. He dismantled Sherk at UFC 84 by keeping him on the outside and not allowing Sherk to get anything going on his feet.

Junior Dos Santos lives up to my hype
In one of the biggest upsets in recent UFC history, Dos Santos did exactly what I said he would and dismantled Werdum on his feet. Dos Santos will certainly take home the KO of the Night bonus and I will happily take my $300. Thank you Junior.

Werdum showed up out of shape after saying that after this fight he wanted to be in line for a title shot once the heavyweight title situation is worked out. No chance this is happening anytime soon now. There also seemed to be a bit of bad blood between the two Brazilian born fighters which was interesting to see.

“Another boring-ass wrestler” wins
Gray Maynard took the decision home but looked visibly disappointed that he couldn’t finish the fight.

The best Thiago Alves yet
Alves seems to have his weight under control which is not easy for someone of his size at 170. His cardio looked good and his muy thai is devastating. He was humble in his win but we are talking about a guy who is on a 7 fight win streak; 9 out of his last 10 with the only loss coming to Jon Fitch. Also except for last night those other 6 wins have all been by stoppage. He should be in line for the Winner of GSP/Penn. Can you imagine the difference in size between Penn and Alves? They would be fighting with about 15 pounds between them easily.

Kos has nothing to be ashamed of
I noticed that Dana White immediately went over the Josh Koscheck after the fight concluded. I would imagine that he reassured him that this would not drastically move him down the welterweight rankingsince he took the fight on 2 weeks notice. Kos performed well but I think he really should have used more energy trying to get take down rather than throwing with Alves; that’s a loosing battle.

Time to make history
So Silva couldn’t stop Cote in 2 rounds but I don’t think that was his game plan at all. He was weary of Cote’s heavy right and didn’t want to give him a punchers chance. Thus he keep his distance and chose his spots very carefully. He is a smart fighter and is not reckless yet we are so used to seeing these spectacular finishes. Next up should be a top contender at 205. Could it be the winner of Rampage Jackson and Wanderlei Silva? Those are three guys who can stand-up and bang, making for a fun fight.

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