Browsing all articles tagged with MMA
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
6

The UFC Needs a Minor League – Point/Counterpoint: Part 1

With the recent purchase by Zuffa, LLC (UFC’s corporate owner) of both the WEC and Strikeforce many are wondering what will become of those brands and their fighters. One option is to create a minor league system out of these two organizations. In two articles I am going to explore why the UFC should create a junior promotion and why it shouldn’t. In today’s article we’ll be exploring why they should. Next week, we’ll look at the counter-point.

Here is what I propose – Zuffa should keep the Strikeforce banner and turn it into a minor league with the same seven weight classes as the UFC. Strikeforce does not have men’s featherweight and bantamweight divisions currently, but there are plenty of fighters at those weights who fought in the WEC. The new Strikeforce should be a stepping stone into the big leagues. Young, unproven fighters will have place to prove themselves without being pushed in the deep end right away. Veterans on the downturn can be given a second chance to fight themselves back into contention and give the younger competitors valuable experience. Maybe winning a title and defending it once is an automatic promotion to the UFC. Or it could be as simple as a five fight winning streak. Here a few reasons why a minor league system is necessary.

There a too many talented fighters to simply make large cuts

While the UFC could use some new blood at the heavier weight classes some of the lighter ones are packed already. UFC.com lists 58 welterweight fighters and 54 lightweight contenders. There is no way that all of those challengers can be given a fair shake based on the UFC’s scheduling. Put some of the less-proven and over-the-hill fighters in Strikeforce and let them work their way up to the UFC.

The reasons for getting kicked out of the UFC are too varied and inconsistent

There are three main reasons a fighter will get the boot from the UFC -

1. The Fighter loses three straight fights.

2. Unsportsmanlike conduct.

3. Failed drug tests.

Those are all valid reasons, but UFC President Dana White seems to be the lone decider of who the rule applies to. For example, Dan Hardy has lost four straight fights but does not seem to be in danger of losing his UFC contract. Meanwhile other fighters are cut after just two straight losses.  Paul Daley was banned for life from the UFC for hitting the aforementioned Hardy after their fight had ended. Yet, British star Michael Bisping spit at his defeated opponent Jorge Rivera and was simply fined. He remains one of the UFC’s biggest starts and is even coaching the current season of The Ultimate Fighter. Top ten middleweights Chael Sonnen and Nate Marquardt failed drug tests in similar manners. Marquardt was cut unceremoniously while the UFC was willing to schedule Sonnen’s fight this Saturday in Texas because he couldn’t meet other state’s athletic requirements.

There are obviously other factors at work in the decision to cut someone. How exciting their fights are, how marketable they are, the level of competition they lost to, and their relationship with Dana White and the UFC are all big ones.  In my opinion, that’s putting too much faith in Dana White. Can you imagine if Roger Goodell had the power to cut players from NFL teams?  Instead of relying on subjective judgment the UFC should demote a fighter after three straight losses, an instance of unsportsmanlike conduct, or a failed drug test. The fighter would instantly be assigned to Strikeforce. It would be a clear demotion, but also give the fighter a path back to the UFC if they perform well and keep their act clean.

The Ultimate Fighter is failing

The Ultimate Fighters is the UFC TV reality program which rewards the winner with a fight contract. It started off strong but has not produced a meaningful contender since the fifth season. It turns out fighting a bunch of other inexperienced combatants does not prepare one for the level of competition in the UFC.  A number of former TUF winners have been released from the UFC.

How about instead of rewarding a TUF winner with competition they’re likely not ready for they are awarded a Strikeforce deal instead? They can fight other up-and-comers and UFC demotions and ease into the higher level of opposition.

There is already a TV deal in place for Strikeforce

I’m certainly not the first one to point this out: UFC Should Consider Extending Contract With Showtime, Keep Strikeforce Brand Alive. But, I agree with the argument, the TV deal is in place and Zuffa should use it to extend the Strikeforce brand. You will notice that article points out a number of similar advantages to those previously mentioned.

The UFC is simply getting too large to be contained in one fight promotion. A Triple-A organization solves a myriad of upcoming issues for Zuffa. Next week we’ll be looking at the problems it may cause.

Oct
5

Episode 58 – We Want… John Beck?

Bryan, Mark, and Jake break down the Redskins win over the Rams and look ahead to the Eagle’s after the bye. The guys also talk about Romo’s collapse, Detroit’s chances of winning the NFC north, and the biggest surprises in the NFL so far. Plus MAA and Bryan’s final Cap’s preseason recap.

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

 

 

Jul
30

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

Once again there is no change in the rankings because no top champions competed in the past month. UFC Bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz did successfully defend his title against WEC legend Uriah Faber. However, his win wasn’t dominant enough to catapult him into the top five.

1. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion, Record 28-4)
The “Spider” is an easy pick here, being the most dominant UFC champion of all-time. Since winning the UFC Middleweight belt in 2006 Silva has defended it a record of eight times ( He has also won 13 consecutive fights in the UFC). Until someone can dethrone him and take his belt, he owns this spot.
Next Fight – vs. Yushin Okami @UFC 134 8/27/11

2. Georges St-Pierre (UFC Welterweight Champion, Record 22-2)
GSP was not able to dominate Jake Shields they 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. Nick Diaz @ UFC 137 10/29/11

3. Jon Jones (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Record 13-1)
Jones has looked unstoppable since he joined the UFC but many thought he would look more human once he fought the elite fighters. Turns out he doesn’t. He made just as quick work of former champ Shogun Hua as he did every other fighter he’s faced. While he still has to prove he can defend the title, he’s on a hot-streak right now and looks unbeatable.
Next Fight – vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson @UFC 135 9/24/11

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 139 11/19/11

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,Hector Lombard, Gilbert Melendez, Alistair Overeem