Browsing all articles tagged with Bellator
Oct
28

Washington Sportsjam MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings: October 2011 Edition

It has been a busy month in MMA. Three UFC champions defended their belts and welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre was scheduled to defend his before an injury delayed his match this weekend. In other organizations Bellator is gaining steam while Strikeforce looks like more and more of a lame duck each month. With the elite fighters abandoning Strikeforce for the UFC, the Bellator roster is starting to shape up as the second best in North America.

There is a bit of shakeup in the rankings with Jose Aldo dropping from the Top-5 to the “In Consideration” rankings and Dominick Cruz replacing him at the five spot. Aldo has looked lackluster in his two UFC title defenses while Cruz has continued to look solid.

1. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion, Record 29-4)

In the Yushin Okami fight Silva avenged his most recent loss and extended his title-defense streak to an astounding nine times. He beat one of his most qualified challengers yet both mentally and physically. His in-ring mind-games showed how he can force an opponent into his gameplan. Unfortunately, it also showed why he is losing fans despite his massive talent. Love him or hate him, he’s the most dominant fighter in the world right now.

Next Fight – TBA

2. Georges St-Pierre (UFC Welterweight Champion, Record 22-2)

GSP was not able to dominate Jake Shields the way he dominated his six previous challengers. However he once again held off a red-hot challenger by not playing into their game and exploiting their weaknesses. It may not have been exciting but it was the smart move. He still looks unbeatable in the Welterweight division.

Next Fight – TBA vs.  Carlos Condit

3. Jon Jones (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Record 14-1)

Jones proved he was for real in his first title defense. He beat Rampage Jackson thoroughly and in all aspects of the fight. He kept Rampage at range with varied striking, forced him to defend from submission attempts, and was never predictable. His critics say he’s never been tested; the truth is no one has been able to find a chink in his armor. Jones is so good in so many ways and is always improving. Right now his only weakness is his ego.

Next Fight – vs. Lyoto Machida @ UFC 140 12/10/11

4. Cain Velasquez (UFC Heavyweight Champion, Record 9-0)

After the reigns of the hulking Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar, Velasquez proved that winning in the UFC required more than strength, power, and wrestling top-control. When Velasquez defeated Lesnar he proved that he was better all-around fighter than Brock and that he could contest with anyone in any aspect of a fight. There are a few UFC Heavyweights in his same class, but he’ll be a hard guy to take a belt from.

Next Fight – vs. Junior Dos Santos @UFC on Fox 11/12/11

5. Dominick Cruz ↑(UFC Bantamweight Champion, Record 19-1)

The “Dominator” continues to control the bantamweight division. In July, Cruz avenged his only career loss by outpointing Uriah Faber. At the beginning of this month he held off Demetrious Johnson, the only fighter with more speed at his weight class. Cruz’s critics complain his style is boring, but no one can accuse him of not working. He fights at a breakneck pace. That combined with his odd stand-up movement, his excellent takedowns, and complete ground game makes him a tough nut to crack. He’s also just a few more fights away from cleaning out the division of contenders.

Next Fight – TBA

Other fighters in consideration: Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, Cole Konrad, Hector Lombard, Gilbert Melendez

Oct
12

The UFC Needs a Minor League – Point/Counterpoint:Part 2

Last week, we discussed why the UFC needs a secondary league. This week we are going to look at the negative side of a minor-league creation. This isn’t a reply to the points raised in the last article but rather a separate list of the disadvantages.

The UFC has too much programming to fill to cut the Roster
The UFC just signed a huge deal seven year deal with Fox. Fox will broadcast 10-12 events a year in addition to two seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. With that amount of fights to program, the UFC will no longer need to create pay-per-view events. But if they do or don’t, that’s lot of events that are going to need fights and fighters to fight.

The Showtime deal becomes meaningless if Strikeforce becomes Triple A

When Strikeforce had elite MMA artists in their fold and the majority of the UFC events had to be watched on pay-per-view, the league was an appealing option for Showtime. Now, that the UFC is going to have the large presence on network TV and basic cable, why would you watch its lesser promotion on a pay cable channel? It loses a lot of it appeal, especially since Bellator is also on basic cable and is quickly surpassing Strikeforce as the #2 North American organization.

The Contenders shake themselves out naturally
There is an idea that current roster bloat in the UFC means that not everyone gets the shot they deserve. This is not true; it’s simply harder to get to the top of the mountain of challengers. A good demonstration of this is in the trio of welterweights Charlie Brenneman, Rick Story, and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson”.

A few months ago Brenneman replaced Nate Marquardt as Rick Story’s opponent at a UFC Live event. The Story-Marquardt matchup would have had title implications as Story was hot up-and-comer with five wins in a row, and Marquardt had contended for the UFC middleweight belt before. Brenneman surprised everyone by soundly out-wrestling Story and winning by decision. At the UFC Live event on October 1st, Brenneman’s opponent was Johnson, another fighter on a roll. Brenneman was vastly outmatched by Rumble and quickly TKO’d.

While some fighters have obvious style advantages over others, a UFC title contender has to be well-rounded in all aspects nowadays.  In two fights we learned that neither Brenneman nor Story is a legitimate title threat right now and that Anthony Johnson likely is.

The Ultimate Fighter and a minor league are redundant
The main reason the UFC doesn’t need a minor league is that they basically already have one with The Ultimate Fighter. While the reality contest has not produced a justifiable championship contender in recent seasons that is not its ultimate goal. The overarching goal is to supply the UFC with fresh blood. It does that fine.

The recent TUF winners and runner-ups will likely fight a few years in the UFC, hovering around the top ten in their weight-class. Then they’ll either be dropped from the UFC, become gatekeepers, or become belt-challengers. Not every move to the majors produces a star in any sport. But simply adding new guys to the conversation is enough to consider it a successful minor league.

So, what’s the actual conclusion? I don’t know. I’ve just made the arguments for both sides of the issue and each point I’ve made can be countered against. I do know that the UFC has successfully helped move itself and MMA into the mainstream media. That alone is exciting and I’m looking forward to see what develops next.

Sep
27

Washington Sportsjam MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings: September 2011 Edition

Yet again, the top of the rankings remain the same. Jon “Bones” Jones looked dominant in his win but he’s far away from a ruling his weight class the way Silva or St-Pierre do. One month after entering the “In Consideration” rankings “Dangerous” Dan Henderson leaves it as he leaves Strikeforce.  Cole Konrad gains entry based on his spotless record.

1. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion, Record 28-4)

In the Yushin Okami fight Silva avenged his most recent loss and extended his title-defense streak to an astounding nine times. He beat one of his most qualified challengers yet both mentally and physically. His in-ring mind-games showed how he can force an opponent into his gameplan. Unfortunately, it also showed why he is losing fans despite his massive talent. Love him or hate him, he’s the most dominant fighter in the world right now.
Next Fight – TBA

2. Georges St-Pierre (UFC Welterweight Champion, Record 22-2)

GSP was not able to dominate Jake Shields the way he dominated his six previous challengers. However he once again held off a red-hot challenger by not playing into their game and exploiting their weaknesses. It may not have been exciting but it was the smart move. He still looks unbeatable in the Welterweight division.

Next Fight – vs.  Carlos Condit @ UFC 137 10/29/11

3. Jon Jones (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Record 14-1)

Jones proved he was for real in his first title defense. He beat Rampage Jackson thoroughly and in all aspects of the fight. He kept Rampage at range with varied striking, forced him to defend from submission attempts, and was never predictable. His critics say he’s never been tested; the truth is no one has been able to find a chink in his armor. Jones is so good in so many ways and is always improving. Right now his only weakness is his ego.

Next Fight – TBA vs. Rashad Evans

4. Cain Velasquez (UFC Heavyweight Champion, Record 9-0)

After the reigns of the hulking Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar, Velaszquez proved that winning in the UFC required more than strength, power, and wrestling top-control. When Velasquez defeated Lesnar he proved that he was better all-around fighter than Brock and that he could contest with anyone in any aspect of a fight. There are a few UFC Heavyweights in his same class, but he’ll be a hard guy to take a belt from.

Next Fight – vs. Junior Dos Santos @UFC on Fox 11/12/11

5. Jose Aldo (UFC Featherweight Champion, Record 19-1)

Aldo may have gutted out a win against his most game challenger yet, but he did not look like his usual self in his first UFC title defense. His ground game and cardio were terrible, especially in a the final round where he allowed the challenger Mark Hominick to stay in top-position for the final few minutes. Hominick ground-and-pounded away while Aldo just laid there. He wasn’t his usual exciting self in the standup either, relying on more technical striking. He may have mashed up Hominick’s face and won his first UFC title defense, but he didn’t look anything like the dominant WEC champion he once was.

Next Fight – vs. Kenny Florian @UFC 136 10/8/11

Other fighters in consideration: Dominick Cruz, Frankie Edgar, Cole Konrad, Hector Lombard, Gilbert Melendez

 

 

Apr
27

Mark’s MMA Corner Episode 1

The experiment continues! This is the second of the test podcasts I’ll be doing in the next few weeks. Reminder that you can download the first one the Tennis Tangent here. This is Mark’s MMA Corner and it concentrates on MMA. My main topics are going to be the UFC,Strikeforce, and Bellator. I got a little behind on this test schedule because I got sick. We’ll be recording two podcasts soon as well so it may be a while for the last batch. Podcasts on the United and Sports Videogaming are coming. As always let me know what you think and what podcast you’d like to see become a mainstay.

Episode 1 Topics

UFC 129 Preview

Strikeforce Diaz vs. Daley Recap

Bellator Tournament recap and finals preview

Update 5/6/11: Check out Mark’s MMA Corner on iTunes!

Apr
2

Episode 48 – The April Fool’s Show?

Mark is joined by Tom Threlkeld from DC Pro Sports Report for a discussion on the Redskins Draft,the Caps playoff chances, the Nats, Wizards, and United rebuilding efforts, and some MMA talk! Please check out Tom’s site at DC Pro Sports Report!

Please remember to vote and rate us on iTunes! Or if you’re not using iTunes as your podcast manager subscribe through the feed!

Redskins

  • Tom from DC Pro Sports Report previews of the Redskins draft and a breakdown of their needs

Capitals

  • Caps regain 1st place in the Southeastern Divison, clinch playoff spot
  • Goaltending carousel – Holtby goes back and forth from Hershey to DC. Neuvirth appears to be the starter for the playoffs?
  • With recent injuries and the goalies returning from inactivity will the Caps be healthy enough for the playoffs?

Wizards

  • Flip tries outs 5 Rookies on the floor
  • Do the Wiz have the right pieces in place for rebuilding?

MMA

  • UFC Parent company Zuffa buys only remaining American rival Strikeforce
  • Bellator Championships debut on MTV2
  • Jon Jones beat Shogun Hua to become youngest UFC champion ever

MLB

  • Preview of the Nats upcoming season

United

  • United signs Charlie Davies
  • Does United have the right pieces in places to rebuild?