Posts Tagged ‘Frankie Edgar’

Photo: Courtesy of Bob Fisher www.pugilpix.com

Photo: Courtesy of Bob Fisher http://www.pugilpix.com

By: Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

When the itch returned long after the scars faded, BJ Penn certainly felt confident. When the fight was announced and the The Ultimate Fighter began filming, he looked to be in great shape.

Were we seeing a rededicated BJ Penn? A champion reincarnated, back to rebuff his already stellar reputation. Could the legend rise again?

Before the show aired many wondered allowed, “Could he even make 145 lbs?” Then when the show did air we saw a very slim and apparently rededicated Penn. His training looked to be on point, his diet was under control (thanks to Mike Dolce) and he looked better than ever. For a guy who had a hard time making weight at 170 and 155lbs, Penn seemed to ready for Frankie Edgar.

Then the door closed. After the first salvo of strikes were fired it became apparent that the itch should have remained unscratched. Penn never looked comfortable and appeared like he wanted to be anywhere but in that cage. The instincts he relied on in the past betrayed him. All Penn could do was minimize the beating by relying on defensive tactics. He simply stopped throwing punches.

Frankie Edgar punctuated their 3 fight history with the finish he so yearned for. Edgar dominated the first 2 rounds, with his superior movement and power takedowns. Penn was never able to mount any offense from his back, and eventually in the 3rd round, after busting him up with elbows and punches, Herb Dean called a stop to the action.

Still, the legend rose. Refusing to stay down, a battered Penn popped back to his feet as soon as the fight was stopped. Not in protest, but because he is a true champion, and true champions are never down long.

Many will question the gameplan. Why was he standing so erect? Why wasn’t he able to step on the gas? The answer is Frankie Edgar. Its not just his clever nickname, its also the reason Penn lost. Penn maybe the legend, but its obvious he is no longer a world class fighter. Frankie Edgar, however showed the level differential between good and great. The win will certainly cement Edgar’s future title hopes, as he continues to chase the 145 lbs crown.

BJ Penn, however remained true to his prefight word and informally retired from the sport for the second time. The one sided beatings that ended Penn’s storied career (Diaz, MacDonald, and Edgar respectively) will fade from our memories. The bad performances will be excused, and instead we will remember one of the toughest fighters who has ever competed. BJ Penn fought in 5 divisions (145-205lbs) and wore two divisional belts (170lbs 155lbs). He is a lock for the UFC hall of fame, and although no longer known as Baby J he will always be known as the Prodigy.

Hopefully other fighters approaching that stage of their careers were watching. The itch will never go away being a fighter is mentality, not an occupation. Soon the fight is no longer in a cage, but with yourself to stay out of one.

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UFC 162 is set to take place Saturday Night in Las Vegas. The main card is stacked with a talent pool that all but guarantees one of the most exciting nights of mixed martial arts ever.  With a few lack luster cards in recent history, the company is betting this card will reverse that trend.

The main card is headlined by two champions, one current and one former. Both fighting to cement their respective legacies. Frankie Edgar is attempting to come back after losing his last three fights, all title fights, and in the eyes of many, he was robbed of victory not once or twice but in every fight. For the first time in years Edgar will fight in a 3 round non title bout.

Anderson Silva is the other legend fighting in the main event. I don’t think anyone would argue if you called him the greatest mixed martial arts in the history of the sport. Since joining the UFC middleweight division, Silva has rattled off 16 consecutive victories and has defended the title against all comers, including Chael Sonnen twice. Although age is creeping up on the champion, he never seems to show any cracks on fight night.

Both Charles Oliveira and Chris Weidman have been touted as the future of the sport since they began landing leather in the octagon. Oliveira started his career off strong, but has since run into a few speed bumps. However, his talent has never been in question and his pedigree certainly merits caution.

Chris Weidman, on the other hand has never lost. In fact, rarely has he even been in trouble. Weidman introduced himself as a title contender loudly with a standing elbow KO of Mark Munoz that put the entire division on alert. Like Sonnen, (the only man to ever have any measure of success against Silva in the UFC) Weidman possesses and incredible wrestling game and could stymie the striking of Silva by smothering him. However unlike Sonnen, Weidman is also a high level striker. Which creates other challenges for the champion. Many UFC fighters and professionals are picking Weidman.

 

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
Dennis Siver vs. Cub Swanson

This is an interesting match up, in the very cluttered 145 lbs division. I don’t believe the winner will get a title shot, but he will definitely be on a short list of contenders. Siver is ridiculously strong at this weight, the former 170 lbs fighter utilizes and assortment of strikes, but his best asset may be his ability to absorb punishment. Cub Swanson is one of the most dynamic strikers in all of MMA, and has been on a tear since his loss to Ricardo Lamas. Swanson will need to avoid the kicks of Siver, and bring the fight into his kitchen. The only way this fight is going to the ground, is if Siver has no other choice but to take Swanson down. Speed is going to be the difference. Winner Swanson via UD rd 3
Tim Boetsch vs. Mark Munoz

Both fighters need victories if they have any ideas at making a title run. Munoz hasn’t fought in quite some time, but his training has been well documented and he looks to be in amazing shape. Tim Boetsch may not be the most exciting fighter to watch, but he gets the job done. A true grinder, Boetsch is known for winning wars of attrition, however this will not be one of those fights. Winner Munoz via TKO rd 2
Roger Gracie vs. Tim Kennedy

Both fighters will be making their promotional debuts, after being folded into the mix when the now defunct Strikeforce promotion closed its doors. Gracie will need to utilize his submission game to control the fight. Kennedy although not primarily known as a striker, will hold a decisive advantage in this department. Kennedy does not want to try his luck inside the guard of a Gracie! Winner Kennedy via TKO rd 1

Co Main Event
Frankie Edgar vs. Charles Oliveira

Frankie Edgar has single handily ruined fight journalism. There are no more ways to describe him. Every pun, or analogy has been used and abused. So I will spare you any more Rocky references. However, the guy is not a character he is a real fighter. Edgar’s chin and ability to take and give punishment simultaneously is Gatti-esque. His fights with Gray Maynard, Benson Henderson, and Jose Aldo are three of the best fights I have ever seen!

Oliveira is the young gun. At 23 he has already accomplished so much inside the cage. His muay thai has improved tremendously, and has removed him from the ranks of the one trick pony fighters. But his former one trick, his jujitsu, may be the absolute best in the division. This fight is being billed as David vs Golliath, with Edgar being billed as David. I disagree, Oliveira is David, and unfortunately for him, this time Golliath wins! Winner Edgar via TKO rd 3

Main Event

Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman – for middleweight title

Many professionals and fight aficionados are picking Weidman to win this fight. On paper, his style is an absolute nightmare for a guy like Silva. Weidman is young, strong as an ox, and he has an entire workshop of tools that he can use. His striking left Mark Munoz and Uriah Hall in a heap, he has submitted Tom Lawler, and in his fight against Demian Maia he proved he could avoid the submission game, in order to grind out a victory. The man has won in every conceivable way, at every level he has competed on. However, he is fighting a man that has never lost in the UFC, in 16 fights.

Anderson Silva is not only the baddest man alive, he is an artist inside that cage. He paints the bloodiest of canvases, with the precision of a surgeon. He is coy, sometimes arrogant in the cage. Often times, he plays possum and lures his opponents into a false sense of success only to break them in an instance. However at times has also looked aloof when his competition, refused to engage or laid prone in hopes of inducing the grind. Chris Weidman will offer no such luxury for Silva. He will bring the fight from the opening bell, and will be in the champions face from the onset. However, how long he remains there is the question. Unlike many of the professionals that are picking Weidman, I am picking Silva. Why? I have 16 reasons! Winner Silva via Submission rd 3

by: Jonathan King

JOSEPH BENAVIDEZ VS IAN MCCALL
 
This fight is an interesting match up. Both fighters can stake a claim for a title shot against champion Demetrious Johnson with a decisive win. Benavidez is as strong as they come in the 125 lbs weight division. His wrestling maybe the best in the division. Ian McCall brings a very dynamic striking game to the table. McCall is 0-1-1 against the current champion. Benevidez will need to avoid McCall’s counter punching to secure a take down. If he is able to bring the fight to the mat, he may be able to secure the win. McCall will need to utilize his wrestling defense, to avoid any take downs. However, if he does get put on his back McCall will need to stay active from the bottom as he has in the past. Both fighters bring a contrasting style that should provide great entertainment.
 
Prediction: Joseph Benavidez Unanimous Decision.
 
JON FITCH  VS DEMIAN MAIA
 
Very often we hear the term “Grinder” when referring to a fighters style. No one exemplifies that label better than Jon Fitch. Fitch has been a contender at the 170lbs division for nearly a decade. His wrestling and conditioning, have become legendary. He has wins over some of the biggest names in the sport, and has even gone the distance with Georges St Pierre. His only sign of weakness came by way of a  flash KO at the hands of Johnny Hendricks. Demian Maia is also known as a legend. His grappling and jujitsu game may be one of the most feared in the sport. At 185 lbs, Maia was out gunned by stronger fighters. Now comfortable at 170 lbs, Maia’s power increase will only serve to strengthen his grappling. 
 
Prediction: Jon Fitch Unanimous Decision
 
ALISTAIR OVEREEM VS ANTONIO SILVA
 
In his first fight after being suspended for having testosterone in his system, Alistair Overeem is already looking for a title shot. Unfortunately for him, standing in his way is another mountain sized heavyweight named Antonio Silva. Silva is coming off a dominating win over Travis Browne, and feels that Overeem is disrespecting him.  With a long history of animosity between the two fighters, stemming from their camp decisions (Silva left the Blackzilians and rejoined American Top Team once Overeem signed on with the camp) there should be no shortage of heavy exchanges. Overeem will hold a clear advantage in the striking department, while Silva will have an edge if the fight goes to the ground. Both fighters have extremely heavy hands, and are capable of knocking the other out. 
 
Prediction: Alistair Overeem via TKO
 
RASHAD EVANS VS ROGERIO NOGUEIRA
 
Rashad Evans may be the most talented fighter in the UFC without a belt. His wrestling background, and versatile striking have kept Evans at the top of the division, since his brief reign as champion. He will need to utilize his excellent head movement to counter the tremendous boxing skills of Rogerio Nogueira. “Lil Nog” (as he is known) for a long time has been over looked in 205 lbs division. Known for his precision boxing skills Nogueira like his brother is also deadly on the ground. If he is able to stagger Evans, or somehow able to drag him to the mat, he will have a distinct advantage. As dynamic as his boxing is, Evans will still have an advantage on his feet through sheer athleticism alone. Evans will look to land effectively at distance, setting up his own take downs in order win the fight. However, if he is too aggressive in Nogueira’s guard, he could very easily get caught in a submission. 
 
Prediction: Rashad Evans via 2nd rd TKO
 
MAIN EVENT FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT
 
FRANKIE EDGAR V JOSE ALDO (CHAMPION)
 
Jose Aldo is one of the most dynamic fighters in any weight class. His combination of speed and technique have laid waste to an all star cast of opponents. His reign at the top, has never been challenged and his name is very often mentioned at the top of the pound for pound rankings. Frankie Edgar embodies the dark horse spirit. His history of exciting fights, and come from behind win seem to be from the pages of a Hollywood script. Edgar’s chin and ability to recover may be his best attribute in a very crowded quiver of mma weapons. If Edgar is able to close the distance and grab a hold of Aldo he might be able to slow the pace and grind on the champion. Both fighters are no strangers to late rounds, and both can take a punch so look for this fight to head into deep water. However, lets not forget one very important wild card in this fight, the referee. Steve Mazzagatti could play a role in a questionable stoppage!
 
Prediction: Frankie Edgar via Split Decision
 

by Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Professional Baseball, Football, Basketball, and Hockey all share one common trait. They all have extensive off seasons. Athletes are able to recover, rest, and regenerate. Slowly the athletes prepare in preseason workouts and scrimmages, allowing their bodies to peak physically in accordance with the lengthy season ahead. Still these athletes consistently fall pray to injury. Pugilistic or martial arts based sports are not given the luxury of off seasons. Although they do not compete every day, they fight everyday. Simply because that is how fighters train, they fight.

A Mixed Martial Arts gym is quite an amazing site. To the untrained eye, it would appear that teammates would be fighting with intent to injure or to at least appear victorious. However, that is not the case. The art of sparring and pulling punches while training allows fighters to train somewhat safely, in a rather chaotic environment. Still, accidents happen and injuries result.

Recently, the UFC scrapped the entire UFC 151 card due to events that stemmed originally from an injury. The soap opera that ensued after Dan Henderson tore his knee is well documented. Challenges were made, egos inflated, feelings were hurt, sour grapes resulted, and several fighters were left without pay-days. Some blamed Jon Jones for not accepting a replacement fight Chael Sonnen on short notice, some blamed the UFC for not having a backup plan, or for having a deep enough card. Blame however, has become last weeks discerning water cooler topics for MMA fans. Now a chronic issue, a solution has become tantamount too accountability.

With the news that both Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, and Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo are both injured, the fate of the main event for UFC 153 is in jeopardy. The fight world is again left in limbo. Jackson sustained a undisclosed training injury, while Jose Aldo has a rather serious foot injury. With the both headlining fights scrapped the UFC is scrambling to avoid a second cancellation in less than a month.

The recent rash of injuries, and a ever expanding roster the UFC is posed with its most vexing problem of late. One solution would be to have larger purse fights on the under-cards. The younger fighters that use these spots for growth and opportunity could be given a minor league event or showcase that would enable them to advance. This would enable the company too move more recognizable names into the Pay Per View slots. In Pride established fighters such as Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Vitor Belfort, and both Nogueira brothers have fought multiple times in slots that would be considered to be under-card bouts in the UFC. The answer may not be easy, but the need to find a solution has become glaringly apparent.

Dana White, Joe Silva and the Ferttita brothers have already discussed possible ways to deal with the injury bug. Having fighters in a sort of ‘standby’ status has worked once or twice, most notably with Michael Bisping. However replacing a Jose Aldo v Frankie Edgar title fight in Brazil, may be impossible to replace.

UFC 144 Fight card Analysis Part 1

by Jonathan M. King

Yoshihiro Akiyama versus Jake Shields

Jake Shields is looking to break out of the fighting and life doldrums. Following his title loss to St. Pierre, Shields lost his father and manager Jack suddenly at the age of 67. Jack Shields was a great mentor and friend to several of the Cesar Gracie fighters, and his loss is still being felt. After the death of his father, Shields then saw his contenders position smashed away by Jake Ellenberger knees. In just 53 seconds, Shields for the first time lost consecutive fights. He will be looking to rebound against Yoshihiro Akiyama who is coming down in weight, following his 3 consecutive losses at the 185 lbs weight class. Although on the later end of his career “SexyYama” is still a dangerous striker. Prediction: Shields submission rd 1

Yushin Okami versus Tim Boetsch

Yushin Okami posesses that rare combination of pedigree, performance, and longevity in MMA, he earned his ass whooping at the hand of Ander son Silva. Tim Boetsch has been grinding out wins, by his whole career. Grappling himself either into a decision win, or submission victory in 5 of his last 6 wins. In his last 16 fights Yushin Okami has lost to Jake Shields, Anderson Silva, and Chael Sonnen, and Rich Franklin; with the Silva fight being the only one that ended early. With his history of fighting on big stages, Prediction: Okami via Decision

Hatsu Hioki versus Bart Palaszewski

After winning in his octagon debut against George Roop, Hatsu Hioki is looking to continue his rise to the top of the division. This time Hioki will stand toe to toe with Bart Palazewski. Palazewski is coming off an impressive octagon debut of his own, seeing him knock out UFC vet Tyson Griffin in 2:45. This bought is another classic showdown between striker and submission fighter, however the submission fighter (Hioki) has never been knocked out! Prediction: Hioki via submission rd 2

Anthony Pettis versus Joe Lauzon

First of all, this is my prediction for fight of the night. With 21 wins in his MMA career, Joe Lauzon seems to always be the underdog. His last fight against Melvin Guillard was meant to be a launching point for Guillard’s title shot. However, 47 seconds into round 1, Lauzon dropped and choked out those fiery title hopes. Anthony Pettis has fought and beat just about everyone he has been in front of, including the man challenging for the division title, Benson Henderson. Prediction: Pettis via decision

 


Edson Barboza(10-0 MMA) recently solved Terry Etim’s(15-4 MMA) sleeping disorder at UFC 142, by introducing him to heal therapy. Barboza’s spinning heel kick landed squarely across Etim’s jaw, instantly forcing his limp body to fall dramatically. like a fallen tree.
As the crowd watched in shock, the referee dove to protect the unconscious fighter. In his native Brazil, initial shock briefly staved off Barboza’s celebration. However soon, the young fighter was in tears as he celebrated in his native tongue!

The knockout overshadowed a very good performance by Terry Etim. The three rounds leading up to the knockout were very entertaining, and the UFC acknowledged that by awarding the bout “Fight of the Night” honors. For their efforts each fighter was awarded a $65,000 bonus. Barboza, also earned another $65,000 with the flashy “Knockout of the Night” bonus. The payday was by far the young Brazilian’s largest to date. The attention has already put Barboza’s name in mouths of pundits as a possible contender for the 155 lb title.

Barboza has a very rough road ahead, before he can be ready for those expectations. The lightweight division, is by far the UFC’s deepest division, regarding talent. With fighters such as Renan Berao, Donald Cerrone, Nate Diaz, Benson Henderson already underneath champion Frankie Edgar, Barboza’s success is still not assured.

In order to make it to the elite ranks in the lightweight division, Edson Barboza will most likely have to face a fighter such as: Joe Lauzon, Thiago Tavares, Sam Stout, or even Melvin Guillard or Jim Miller. If Barboza can show his striking prowess against fighters of this caliber, then it will be time to start putting expectations on time-lines. Until then, just make sure to tune in for his fights, because they are usually exciting.