The Flying Knee MMA Your Source For The Latest In MMA News and Analysis Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:00:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 UFC on Fox 11: Werdum vs Browne Preview and Predictions Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:00:01 +0000 Live on Saturday, April 19, 2014 from the Amway Center in beautiful Orlando, Florida we will be treated to yet another great night of fights. We have bouts with top ten implications in both middleweight and lightweight divisions, as well as a pivotal matchup in the woman’s bantamweight division. And to cap it all off we get a main event between Travis Browne and Fabricio Werdum to see who’s the next challenger for Cain Velasquez’s heavyweight title! Let’s get to it.

Yoel Romero vs Brad Tavares

Yoel Romero is a former Olympic wrestler and a very powerful striker. His come from behind win at Fight Night 35 this past January, again Derek Brunson, pushed his winning streak to three in a row. With an overall record of 7-1 (with seven knockouts) and at the age of 36, Romero knows his time is now or never, and will be looking for a thrilling finish.

In the opposite corner there’s Brad Tavares. At just 26 years old, he’s an up and comer in the middleweight division. A recent decision victory over Lorenz Larkin at Fight Night 35 made it five in a row for the Kailua, Hawaii native. The main card of a nationally televised card is the perfect place for Tavares to have a breakout performance and vault himself into the top 10.

Who wins the fight and how

With three straight spectacular finishes, in fights he was likely supposed to lose, Romero has defied the odds many times in recent outings – and I believe this fight to be no exception. Tavares is ten years Romero’s junior, and in a great position to make a title run. However, his five most recent wins have all come via lackluster decision against somewhat lesser competition. He’s shown no killer instinct or a need to finish. He seems content to lay back and use his skills to outpoint his opponents en route to a decision win. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, as usually it could be seen as pretty smart because a win is a win, but against a beast like Romero, it could (and will) prove to be extremely dangerous. Romero is no longer an Olympic caliber wrestler, so I think Tavares will get a few takedowns throughout the fight. However, I see Romero getting takedowns as well, and doing a lot more damage with them. He will land strong combinations on the feet and hurt Tavares. He wears him down in the first two rounds and as the fighters come out for the third round Romero lands a big right hand that drops Tavares. Romero swarms Tavares from side control, landing numerous unanswered blows until the fight is waved off.

The final verdict

Romero defeats Tavares via third round TKO

Edson Barboza vs Donald Cerrone

Edson Barboza is on a three fight win streak, capped off with a majority decision win over Danny Castillo at UFC on Fox 9 (a fight I felt was a pretty obvious 28-28 draw). An impressive striker, who has nine knockouts in thirteen career wins, you can be sure he will be looking to take his opponent out in highlight reel fashion.

The 22-6 Cerrone has quietly put together two straight wins, in which he’s looked very well rounded and on point. An equally impressive striker, Cerrone only boasts 3 wins via knockout, but 14 via submission. This would suggest a strong advantage on the mat, but will he take the fight there?

Who wins the fight and how

This is a fight many MMA fans have been dreaming out for last past few years. Two of the lightweight divisions best strikers going at it, standing toe-to-toe. I see no reason this fight won’t end up being great, however I don’t see these two standing and trading for the full 15 minutes. These two both have incredibly hard leg kicks and I think it will be interesting who throws them more often and how many get checked. For my money I’m going to say Barboza throws and lands them more often. They stand for the entire first round, both fighters landing heavy shots, but Barboza ultimately taking it 10-9. A minute into the second round, after his leg is lit up a little longer, Cerrone puts his ego aside and uses his fight IQ. He fakes an overhand right and shoots in for a single leg, taking Barboza to the ground. After taking a few shots, Barboza turns, exposing his back. Cerrone takes advantage and quickly sinks in both hooks, and after a brief scuffle, the rear naked choke. Barboza resists as long as he can, but eventually taps out. Cerrone is on a serious roll and back in the top 10.

The final verdict

Cerrone defeats Barboza via second round submission

Liz Carmouche vs Miesha Tate

At UFC 168, Miesha Tate became the first woman to take champion Ronda Rousey out of the first round. Although she eventually succumbed to the armbar, she showed great defence, and hit Rousey with a few good strikes. Losing 3 of her past 4, Tate will be looking to get back on the winning track and prove to the world she’s a top woman’s bantamweight.

Standing in her way is Liz Carmouche. “Girl-Rilla” most recently suffered a set back to now number one contender, Alexis Davis at UFC Fight For The Troops. Now just 1-2 in the UFC, Carmouche will also be out to prove a point, that she isn’t going anywhere and should still be feared at 135lbs.

Who wins the fight and how

Although Miesha Tate has lost two in a row, they came to the number one and two woman in the bantamweight division, Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano. Liz Carmouche is very tough, and definitely deserves to be in the UFC. Unfortunately for her, I see Miesha having the advantage anywhere the fight goes. The former Strikeforce woman’s bantamweight champion, Tate, will be looking to get the fight to the ground and land hard ground and pound, and earn herself a statement win. I see her taking Carmouche down after a little bit of a struggle in the opening round. Landing hard shots, Carmouche eventually escapes to her feet and the round ends there. Second round begins and Tate again gets a takedown. From guard she works at singling out an arm. She then passes Carmouche’s guard into side control, and just as she did to Marloes Coenen years ago, she slaps on an arm-triangle choke. Squeezing tighter and tighter, it’s only a few seconds before Carmouche taps out.

The final verdict

Tate defeats Carmouche via second round submission

Travis Browne vs Fabricio Werdum

Travis Browne is 16-1-1 overall (with 12 knockouts) in MMA, and has won three in a row, in absolutely devastating fashion. His most recent win came back at UFC 168, when he knocked Josh Barnett unconscious in exactly a minute with vicious elbows. At 31 years old Browne is ready to earn this victory and take on Cain Velasquez at the end of 2014.

To do that he will have to take out longtime star heavyweight Fabricio Werdum. Also a winner of three in a row, and 6 of his last 7, Werdum is looking to finally achieve stardom and earn his shot at the title. With improved striking, and nine submission victories, Browne will have a tough task ahead of him in this one.

Who wins the fight and how

This is probably one of the toughest fights I’ve ever had to call. Both men are on serious rolls, and have a rightful claim to the number one contenders spot. For me it all came down to one thing: who has the hotter hand? Right now that’s quite obviously Travis Browne. Three fights, and three highlight reel knockouts in 2013, Browne is motivated, hungrier than ever, and asked for this fight – he wants to prove he’s number one and earn his spot. Werdum, on the other hand, has fought just once since June 2012, and was willing to wait almost a year for a title shot. Unfortunately for him, things didn’t materialize the way he expected, and now he’s got to go up against the monster, Browne. Although Werdum has a world-class ground game, he has to get the fight to the ground first, and that’s easier said than done. If you haven’t seen what happens when you try to take Travis Browne down, watch his fights against Gabriel Gonzaga and Josh Barnett. Needless to say, he makes you pay. There’s no doubt in my mind that if Werdum can get the fight to the mat he can submit Browne. But I do not see it happening. Browne’s takedown defence has proved to be superb as of late. The fight will remain on the feet, where Browne should have a decisive advantage. Picking apart Werdum on the feet and avoiding any big shots, I believe halfway through the first round Browne lands a right hand on Werdum’s temple, dropping him. Werdum turtles in pain, and Browne jumps on him like a man possessed. It only takes a few unanswered shots before the referee steps in and calls a halt to the bout. It’s all over and we have a new number one contender for the heavyweight title!

The final verdict

Browne defeats Werdum via first round knockout

The rest of the card

Nurmagomedov defeats Dos Anjos via unanimous decision
Alves defeats Baczynski via second round KO
Masvidal defeats Healy via unanimous decision
Payan defeats White via SPLIT decision
Magalhaes defeats Zachrich via second round submission
Mein defeats Perpetuo via first round TKO
Ortiz defeats Borg via unanimous decision
Bektic defeats Skelly via third round TKO
Lewis defeats May via first round KO

After a 3-1 Fight Night 39, which pushes my 2014 to 28-9-1, I look to continue my success and achieve a perfect 4-0 next Saturday night. Enjoy!

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Threats To The Throne: The Best Challengers To The UFC’s Current Champions Tue, 08 Apr 2014 14:00:12 +0000 The toughest thing about being a UFC Champion is constantly having to defend your title against the absolute best fighters in the world. It’s very rare for a champion to get an easy fight as a champion, though it has happened.

Currently the UFC is full of dominant champions that have torn through their respective divisions. All of these champions don’t count on losing their titles any time soon, but most have a dominate contender in their division that is their biggest threat. Here are the biggest threats to the current UFC Champions.

*Note* These are the biggest threats based on style, depth of division and dominance against the rest of the division. They are not necessarily the next in line for a title shot, but would put up the toughest fight compared to the rest of the division.

Heavyweight: Travis Browne

Excluding a TKO loss to Bigfoot Silva where Browne injured his hamstring mid-first round, Happa has been taking names and beating the best in the Heavyweight division. He has looked near perfect, and has shown the ability to comeback while down in a fight (vs. Overeem) and has shown he has knockout power (vs. Struve, Overeem, Barnett).

Velasquez has good, orthodox striking and fantastic wrestling. Browne’s unorthodox and powerful striking could present problems for Cain, as well his takedown defence and elbows could make Cain hesitate when try for takedowns, especially against the cage.

Light-Heavyweight: Daniel Cormier

The more popular decision would be Gustafsson, but I picked Cormier over Gustafsson because Jones has already defeated Gus, and in my opinion, Cormier presents a better challenge to Jones. Cormier is the best wrestler in the 205 division, and we have yet to see much of Jones on his back. If history shows us anything, it’s putting your opponent in unfamiliar territory will get you the crown.

Cormier has fought beasts in the heavyweight division, and if the likes of Bigfoot Silva, Josh Barnett, Roy Nelson and Frank Mir couldn’t blast Cormier, I think Jones will have a tough time finishing the Olympian on his feet.

Middleweight: Lyoto Machida

This was probably the toughest decision of all the weight divisions, as the Middleweight division is stacked full of talent. I don’t think that Jacare could take Weidman down, let alone submit him, and I don’t see Anderson Silva coming back and winning a third fight. That leaves us between Machida and Vitor Belfort, who have both looked phenomenal lately, but who are both completely different fighters.

Belfort is known for his first round aggression, something that I could see Weidman surviving, and even countering. Machida is known for being an elusive puzzle, something that the champion could have a tougher time figuring out. Machida also has tremendous takedown defence, so in a stand-up war, it’s anyone’s fight. Luckily this fight will occur on July 5th at UFC 175, and is the only fight on my list that has already been set.

Welterweight: Rory MacDonald

MacDonald coming from Tri Star is the main reason for MacDonald getting the edge over the others in the Welterweight division. When it comes to styles, MacDonald fights similar to GSP. At the beginning of his career he was a finisher, and is now a very technical fighter. This time though, MacDonald has an edge as his camp has studied Hendricks, and can apply what went wrong in the GSP fight to him fighting Hendricks.

Lightweight: Josh Thomson

In a loss to Ben Henderson, Josh Thomson showed that he has what it takes to become the next UFC Lightweight Champion. With a broken hand, Thomson controlled where the fight took place, taking Henderson down numerous times. Pettis’ biggest weakness is his wrestling, something that Thomson can capitalize on.

Thomson is also a well-versed striker, and is the only person to finish Nate Diaz with strikes. Thomson can stand with Pettis, trading high-kicks and spinning attacks, but Thomson will have the wrestling advantage in his back pocket, which will make him far more confident than Pettis when it comes to standing and trading.

Featherweight: Chad Mendes

The only two fighters who can be justified as Aldo’s biggest threat are Chad Mendes and Cub Swanson. Both have fought Aldo, both were knocked out in the first round by a knee, and both have been on a tear lately in the division. The reason I give Mendes the edge over Swanson is what he showed in the first fight, and what he has shown since.

Mendes’ problem in the first fight was not being able to take Aldo down. He controlled Aldo the entire round, but couldn’t get him down. The reason for why was that he was not setting up his shots with his striking. With his added striking game, Mendes can stand and trade with Aldo, this time setting up his takedowns. He has what it takes to control the fight by being confident this time both with his stand-up and his wrestling game.

Bantamweight: Urijah Faber

Is it too early to say that Renan Barao has cleaned out the Bantamweight division? He has finished the two most dangerous men in the division in Faber and MacDonald, and the next challenger in line is 1-1 against Top 10 bantamweights. Many would say that when it comes to overall skill, Faber is better than Dillashaw, and that both have very similar styles, so to put Dillashaw ahead of Faber as the biggest threat wouldn’t work. Although I doubt that Faber will get another title shot, he is the only person currently in the division that I could see beating Barao, and that says a lot about the skill of Barao, considering he’s defeated Faber twice.

Flyweight: Ian McCall

This is my risky pick, as Johnson seems to be in the same place as Barao. Both Johnson and Barao won their titles by a close decision over the best fighter in the division. In the rematch against said fighter, they got the finish in the first round. Between those fights, both looked dominate against the rest of their division.

I’m very close to switching McCall with Dodson, as Dodson nearly beat Johnson, but McCall has had Johnson’s number before, and even though Johnson won the re-match, McCall showed once that he had what it takes to beat the champion. I still see Johnson beating McCall, as Johnson has improved by leaps and bounds since, but I do think it’s Johnson’s greatest threat.

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EA Sports UFC Gameplay Series Featuring Bruce Lee Reveal [Video] Tue, 08 Apr 2014 13:30:30 +0000 Following weeks of hype and anticipation, the UFC and EA Sports have finally revealed the mystery character that will be available in the new UFC game.

“I am so excited about this opportunity to bring my father back to videogames!” said Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee’s daughter, CEO of Bruce Lee, LLC and Chairperson of the Bruce Lee Foundation. “I’m thrilled that fans can now interact with him in a new way. The EA SPORTS UFC development team has been incredible to work with, and they’ve done a great job capturing the look and feel of my father. I think people will love getting a chance to fulfill a fight fantasy by playing Bruce Lee in the new UFC game.”

“There’s no debate, Bruce Lee is the father of mixed martial arts,” said Dana White, UFC President. “He believed not one style of fighting was the best and that you had to have a little piece of everything to be a complete fighter. He was proven right when the first UFC event took place in 1993.”

EA Sports UFC is set for release June 17 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Watch the clip below:

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Olympic Silver Medalist Yoel Romero’s Path to the UFC [Video] Tue, 08 Apr 2014 13:00:23 +0000 Cuban born Olympic silver medalist Yoel Romero, who has one of the latest additions to a talent-stacked middleweight division, is the latest feature on Ultimate Insider, as he details his path from amateur competition and the Olympics, to UFC fighter. Romero is 3-0 since joining the UFC, with all three fights ending in  brutal KO/TKO. His last fight against Derek Brunson won him ‘Fight of the Night’ honours as well.

Romero is expected to face Brad Tavares at UFC on Fox 11, which takes place April 19, 2014 at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

Watch the feature below:

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Adult Film Star Christy Mack Talks MMA and Fighter Pay Tue, 08 Apr 2014 12:00:20 +0000 Top adult film star Christy Mack discusses  how she got in the business, her love for MMA, dating a mixed martial artist, and even spoke out regarding the issues with fighter pay. The 22 year old is currently dating Bellator welterweight War Machine, who has been out of competition with an injury since a submission loss at Bellator 104. He was scheduled to take part in the latest Bellator welterweight tournament, yet injuries forced him to remain on the sidelines.

Watch the interview below:

Video courtesy of: The Fight Network

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UFC Fight Night 39: Nogueira vs Nelson Preview and Predictions Mon, 07 Apr 2014 15:55:31 +0000 On Friday, April 11, 2014, live from Abu Dhabi we will witness an exciting day of fights. With the prelims beginning at 11:30am ET, and the four bout main card at 2pm ET you’ll have to call in to work sick to see this one. With names like Minitauro Nogueira, Roy Nelson and Tatsuya Kawajiri I will explain to you why it will be worth it in the end.

Let’s get started.

Beneil Dariush vs Ramsey Nijem

Well, as far as UFC debut’s go, they don’t get much better than Beneil Dariush’s. In a minute and forty five seconds, back at Fight Night 35 in January, he showed a calm demeanor, powerful hands and slick submissions. He took out longtime UFC veteran Charlie Brenneman
via rear naked choke. He showed a lot of skill and promise, and he will look to continue his role against Ramsey Nijem.

Nijem, a former Ultimate Fighter runner up, recently halted a two fight losing streak. Also at fight night 35, Nijem claimed a decision victory over Justin Edwards. He will look to earn his fifth UFC win in style on Friday night.

Who wins the fight and how

Don’t get me wrong, I like Ramsey Nijem. He’s skilled and he is a good fighter. But I see Dariush being a serious contender at 155lbs. Whether it was the fact that he didn’t have time to show nerves, or maybe because he didn’t have any, Dariush looked like a veteran in his fight with Brenneman. He dropped Charlie with a big hook, and swarmed on him, and I expect to see the same thing in this fight. Dariush knocks Nijem down, quickly hovers over top of him and reigns down punches until the referee is forced to step in. First round finish and we’ve got a new threat at lightweight!

The Final Verdict

Dariush defeats Nijem via first round TKO

John Howard vs Ryan LaFlare

Winner of eight of his last nine fights, John Howard had possibly the most impressive performance of his career this past December, in a lopsided unanimous decision win over Siyar Bahadurzada at UFC 168. Showcasing impressive striking and Matt Hughes like slams, he’ll be looking to make it five wins in a row, and two straight inside the octagon when he takes on undefeated Ryan LaFlare.

At 10-0 in MMA as well as 3-0 in the UFC, Ryan LaFlare is a scary, scary man in the welterweight division. He showcased a great chin, good pace, excellent wrestling and transitions in his most recent win, which came on short notice against Court McGee back at UFC on Fox 9.

Who wins the fights and how

John Howard had a slam for the ages in his bout against Bahadurzada, unfortunately he wont be able to do that against a superb wrestler like LaFlare. Not only that, but in his bout against LaFlare, any time McGee was able to get him down, he popped right back up or was able to easily transition to a more advantageous position for himself. Although I give the power advantage to Howard, I believe LaFlare will be able to avoid most strikes, and the one’s that do connect his chin will be able to withstand. I see this as a fast paced, exciting battle, much like LaFlare’s fight with McGee. I see LaFlare getting takedowns, pressing the action and dominating Howard in every aspect of this fight. Howard is tough and durable, so I don’t see him being finished, but he will be significantly outworked and lose this fight. I think LaFlare is a severely underrated prospect and I think this will be a big statement fight for him, expect to see this guy in the top ten by the end of the year.

The Final Verdict

LaFlare defeats Howard via unanimous decision (30-27×3)

Clay Guida vs Tatsuya Kawajiri

Tatsuya Kawajiri made his long awaited UFC debut this past January at Fight Night 34, when he defeated a very game Sean Soriano via second round rear naked choke. At 33-7-2, fighting since 2000, Kawajiri is a veteran of the sport, and has proven to be a relentless fighter, proving in the Soriano fight that when he gets a hold of you he doesn’t let go.

Longtime UFC veteran Clay Guida is 30-14 in MMA and 10-8 in the UFC. He recently suffered his first stoppage loss via strikes, when he was thoroughly dominated and finished by #1 contender Chad Mendes. Now 1-1 at 145lbs, at the age of 32 Guida should still have plenty left in the tank and has a chance to restore his fan base with an exciting performance.

Who wins the fight and how

Although you may forget, Clay Guida is actually capable of having good fights. Producing classics against the likes of Roger Huerta, Diego Sanchez and former champion Benson Henderson, those fights all had one thing in common: an extremely game opponent, ready to push Guida to his limits. Fortunately for him, and us as MMA fans, Tatsuya Kawajiri is about as game as it’s going to get. He’s 35 years old and knows he’s not getting any younger, his time for a run at the title is now. And if you saw his post fight speech against Soriano, you’d know he’s hungry for the opportunity. However, Clay Guida feeds off of that sort of energy and I believe (and severely hope) we will see a glimmer of the old Guida in this fight. Although he was outwrestled against Mendes at UFC 164, that does not diminish his skills, as Mendes is seen as the best wrestler in the division. I see Kawajiri coming straight at Guida, and Clay meeting him right in the centre of the octagon. They will test each other out on the feet before the takedown battle begins. I see Guida getting Kawajiri down more often than not. However, Kawajiri will be able to scramble to his feet in the first round, and when he can’t he will reverse positions and attempt submissions. I see Tatsuya possibly taking the first round, and although the second and third will be close I see Guida riding out top position and landing steady ground and pound. It will be a close and exciting fight that could possibly go either way, and the judge’s scores will reflect that. In the end though, I see the judges making the right call and awarding the fight to Guida via SPLIT decision.

The Final Verdict

Guida defeats Kawajiri via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

Roy Nelson vs Minitauro Nogueira

The main event of this card features two 37 year old veterans, neither of whom is a top 10 heavyweight. However don’t let that discourage you. That just means they’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain with an exciting performance. One has some of the heaviest hands in the division, while the other has the best submission resume in heavyweight MMA history.

He’s just 3-4 in his last seven fights, but “Big Nog” Minitauro Rodrigo Nogueira is always dangerous. Although he was most recently submitted via armbar by Fabricio Werdum back in June of 2013, Big Nog still has 21 submissions on his resume. As well, he showed us he has power in his hands back at UFC 134 when he brutally knocked out Brendan Schaub. He is a threat where ever the fight goes.

And then there’s Roy Nelson. Although he too possesses a good ground game, his last nine wins have all come via form of knockout, so it is very clear he will want the fight to remain standing. He’s 19-9 in MMA, 6-5 in the UFC, and although he’s lost his last two in a row, to Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic, Roy Nelson is always dangerous.

Who wins the fight and how

As you can probably tell, this is a fight that has no business being a main event, but both fighters have recognizable names and it’s a Fight Pass event, so it is what it is. As for the fight itself I see it being quite mediocre. Both fighters have significantly slowed and if it goes past three rounds, I can’t see it favouring either man. Lucky for them, and us I see this fight ending in the second round. I see the first round being back and forth, with neither guy landing anything significant. Then as the second round starts, both men come out, and after a few seconds of back and forth pawing, Nelson lands his trademark right hand, and Big Nog’s night is over. It’s a highlight reel finish that gives Nelson a little bit of hope, and Noguiera the wake up call he needs to retire.

The Final Verdict

Nelson defeats Nogueira via second round knockout

The rest of the card
Rosholt defeats Omielanczuk via second round TKO
Yahya defeats Bedford via unanimous decision
Leites defeats Smith via unanimous decision
Craig defeats Camozzi via unanimous decision
Alers defeats Omer via second round submission

Although it’s not the most stacked card I truly believe most bouts on this card will thoroughly surpass expectations. I’m very confident in the four picks I’ve made, and with a 25-8-1 main card record for 2014 I’ll get four steps closer to the 30 win mark. Enjoy the fights everybody and thanks for reading!

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Brand Perception: Why Twitter Wars Are Never Good Mon, 07 Apr 2014 14:00:41 +0000 Twitter is one of the most prominent media platforms for Mixed Martial Arts.  Over the years Twitter has shown itself to be both a brand enhancer and a brand detractor for fighters and promoters alike. Last week, World Series of Fighting’s Vice President and matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz was involved in a little “Beef” with both Josh Burkman and Vinny Maghalaes. Burkman had tweeted earlier that he wanted to be released from his WSOF to go elsewhere. Maghalaes meanwhile, was saying he didn’t blame Burkman because Abdel-Aziz was difficult to deal with.

That’s when it all went down. The WSOF exec not only defended himself on Twitter, but he went above and beyond, openly tweeting about the money that was offered to Maghalaes. Maghalaes countered that he was offered a much less amount. In the end, cooler heads prevailed as both Burkman and Maghalaes resolved their issues and letting everyone in the Twitter-verse know as well. Both fighters mentioned having spoken with Abdel-Aziz on the phone, and saying it was resolved.

Which brings up the question “Why didn’t Abdel-Aziz do that in the first place?” It’s commonplace to say social media is bigger than ever, and that people should watch what they say online, yet we find ourselves here again. This is an interesting case however, because this time it’s an executive making comments on social media. MMA fans are used to the occasional Dana White tweet where he calls someone an idiot, but White responds in a way that doesn’t hurt his brand’s reputation. Dana’s personal responses to fans on Tweeter doesn’t represent the UFC as whole. The problem with Abdel-Aziz saying what he did was because MMA fans aren’t familiar enough with him enough to know whether that’s his personal response or the promotions. Any negative backlash against Abdel-Aziz would be transferred to World Series of Fighting he works for them.

As a new promotion, World Series of Fighting needs to ride the current wave of momentum. We’ve since many promotions rise and fall in the past: Elite EX, Affliction, and the IFL just to name a few. WSOF is in a somewhat stable position having secured a TV contract with NBC Sports. The last two cards (WSOF 8 & WSOF 9) both had payrolls of over $250,000. Assuming they continue to pay fighters around the same amount for every card WSOF will be investing a substantial amount of money per card. In order to ensure they can continue to do business the promotion needs to prove to the broadcaster that they can not only keep the viewers they have, but attract more.

Part of attracting more viewers comes with signing better talent. WSOF has done a fairly good job signing Okami, Palhares, and just recently re-signing Burkman. Through their consistent talent acquisition and by paying free agents their market rate, WSOF has proven themselves to be a viable alternative to Bellator. Another part of signing top level talent comes to how the fighters themselves are treated. This is where WSOF dropped the ball. Imagine how much better it would’ve looked if Burkman had tweeted out that his contract situation was resolved without Abdel-Aziz going public on Twitter? Their crisis management would’ve been praised. The MMA community would’ve said “That’s how a dispute should be resolved; behind closed doors”. Instead all this is made public, and even though it was worked out, there’s still a sense of doubt behind WSOF. Are there executives really hard to deal with, or was this just one isolated incident? This one small instance doesn’t hurt their brand overnight. As long as they keep producing quality fight cards and treating their fighters well, they will be fine. But if this becomes a reoccurring theme, with fighters going public with their unhappiness, WSOF could be facing some serious issues in the near future.

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Perspective: Analyzing Jake Shield’s UFC Release Mon, 07 Apr 2014 05:30:27 +0000 Earlier today, Zuffa cut Jake Shields from their UFC roster. On the UFC’s website they have him listed as the number 11 (sic #12) Welterweight in the world, but if we are being honest with ourselves he should definitely be ahead of many of the men put in front of him. He holds recent wins over Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia who are both above him for whatever reason. Jake Shields is a bonafide top 10 Welterweight, former Strikeforce Champion, former UFC title challenger and holds notable wins over 4 of the UFC’s top 10 welterweights and a win over the 12th ranked one as well, and Zuffa decided that wasn’t good enough to keep working for them.

In the immediate aftermath of this release there has been a large outcry from the MMA media. The general bent is some chicken little-esque hand wringing about the UFC turning MMA away from sport and towards some form of wild cage kickboxing. I’m not here to join that throng. I do not, for one second, think Zuffa released Jake Shields because he is a grappler. They released him because he is not entertaining, pure and simple.

To be a grappler does not mean to be boring. Lay and pray is boring. Wall and stall is boring. Active grappling, guard passing, sweeps, submissions, aggression and technique are not boring. In fact, heated grappling exchanges are some of the most entertaining aspects of the sport. That’s why people watch MMA instead of kickboxing. They want all facets. Jake Shields does not bring all facets to the cage. Shields is a hell of a grappler. One of the best in the organization. And that is all he has got. His standup game is spectacularly horrendous. He is one of the (dwindling) few fighters who looks like he has no idea what his hands are for when vertical and has only heard of throwing a punch but never actually done it. His striking consists almost entirely of a tepid jab and kicks at range. People call Lyoto Machida a point fighter but he has a healthy number of NO’s on a resume. Jake Shield’s could spend 15 minutes kickboxing an armless opponent and I have serious doubts he could get the finish. In short, he makes Matt Hughes’ hands look devastating.

This lack of striking does not preclude one from Zuffa employ. After all, that’s why Jake Shields has 8 fights in the UFC including a title fight. But if you are a one trick pony, you damn sure better be able to pull off that one trick over and over again. Because as soon as it stops working for you, and you have no plan B, well then you end up putting on fights like Shields vs. Hector Lombard. Jake Shields has one trick and it is to grapple. On the ground he is a wizard and thoroughly exciting and one of the most dangerous men in the division. On his feet he is no danger to a fighter’s health or safety and only middlingly to their win-loss record. And herein lies the crux of the matter. In his 8 UFC fights Jake Shields is 10 for 81 in takedown attempts. That is a percentage of 12.35% which is horrific. Even more recently he is 1 for 37 in his last 3 fights! That’s just slightly over 3%! No one likes watching a guy desperately lean on another guy or shoot wild doubles from outside with no set-up. It is embarrassing, and boring as all get-out. The same way the MMA media openly mocks fighters who “bro out” and act foolish everytime someone won’t stand and bang with them is the same way we should react when Jake Shields misses his twelfth double-leg shot of the round.

Being a grappler does not mean you are boring. Being a boring grappler means you are boring. Chael Sonnen is a grappler. And Chael has received 3 title shots and could go on a streak of 13 losses and it would not matter a tick towards his employability by UFC brass. Before Sonnen reinvented himself on the mic, he was a middling prospect who is best remember for tapping and then reneging in the WEC. He was thoroughly underwhelming even in victory. But Chale adapted himself and is one of the biggest stars the UFC has and his style has absolutely nothing to do with it. Chael Sonnen’s bread and butter is double legs and inside the guard grinding. It is what the general public perceives as “boring.” But no one cares because he brings other things to the table so even when he throws out a dud like the Bisping fight, fans still want to see him. Jake Shields brings missed takedowns and terrified striking to the table and that is it.

I am not saying he should have been cut. I strongly disagree with the decision made by Zuffa. He is a top 10 welterweight and they propone to be a legitimate sporting league where the best come to prove their mettle. But this cut is less damning than the Jon Fitch cut was made only no one seems to remember that because of Fitch’s failings in his post UFC career (At the time Fitch had less losses, and frankly looked better than Shields has recently). But to suggest this was because Shields was a grappler is just inaccurate. Zuffa doesn’t care about grappling vs. striking. If they did half their belts wouldn’t be owned by NCAA All American wrestlers. They care about putting fans in seats. And Jake Shields was a guy who put fans in the lines for the concession stands whenever he fought.

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Legend 3: Paul Daley vs Alexander Surjko Full Fight [Video] Sun, 06 Apr 2014 05:58:13 +0000 Former Strikeforce welterweight title challenger Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley took part in the Legends 3 kickboxing event on Saturday night in Milan, where he met Alexander Surjko in one of the feature fights of the evening. The main event of the card featured K-1 MAX champion Murthel Groenhart facing Dzhabar Askerov.

Watch the full fight below:

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Holly Holm Suffers Fractured Arm at Legacy FC 30 Sun, 06 Apr 2014 05:51:47 +0000 While newly-crowned Legacy FC champ Holly Holm may have earned a highlight reel finish in her main event performance in front of her hometown crowd, she also suffered a fractured arm, which will likely, keep her out of competition for a significant period of time.

Holm defeated Juliana Werner via head-kick TKO in the fifth round of their title fight on Friday evening.

Watch the highlights from her victory below:

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