Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 2.15.13 Goodbye Wrestling Edition
Hello one and all, it’s Friday again! More importantly it’s the day after Valentine’s day, so you don’t have to worry about remembering it until next year. Hopefully you all enjoyed the event, even if you’re single and just commiserated with others about your status. Tomorrow there’s a big free event on Fuel TV, it’s early in the day because it’s live from the UK but it features an interim title actually being defended. There’s also lots of news, including the heavyweight title picture getting clearer and the return of The Walking Dead. What can I say, zombies just make me happy. So with all of that to get through let’s get you Locked in the Guillotine and see how long you can last.
Just a couple of quick thoughts this week, so if you haven’t seen it yet or aren’t interested just scroll down until you see the news graphic. I was surprised to see Daryl leave with Merle, then was surprised at my surprise. Daryl is nothing if not loyal, and his loyalty to his brother comes first and foremost. I do have to wonder how long those two will stick together though, Daryl isn’t the same man he was before, while Merle remains pretty much the same. It should be interesting at any rate. The Governor losing an eye and his zombified daughter seems to be pushing him more towards a ruthlessness akin with his graphic novel counterpart. Rick needs to deal with his grief issues, because talking with the dead on a rotary phone and seeing his dead wife is only going to cause big problems. I was very surprised at the turn Glen has taken, he’s changed a lot since we first met him and I really want to see where he goes with this new attitude.
OK, enough zombies, let’s look at MMA related news, because there was plenty of it.
Goodbye Cyborg: Chris Cyborg, through her agent Tito Ortiz, has requested a release from her UFC contract. The sticking point seems to be her inability, or unwillingness, to cut down to 135lbs to compete in the UFC’s female bantamweight division. Now I’m not in a position to say if Cyborg can’t make the weight, only her and her legitimate doctor’s can make that call, but if she truly doesn’t want to or is unable this is probably for the best. Female MMA is an experiment as far as the UFC is concerned right now, and that experiment is limited to one weight class and is under much scrutiny. Cyborg has tested positive for steroids in the past, and at this stage developing a brand new division with women that type of past is a huge question mark. I do have to imagine that there will be an opportunity for Cyborg to return should she be able to make the weight and the UFC decides to keep WMMA around.
Loophole for NY: News about MMA possibly being legalized in the state of New York is always big news, and this week something new broke. This week attorney’s for Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, were in court with New York city officials and the judge urged both parties to settle their dispute. Apparently there is a loophole in the current law that criminalizes MMA based around “third party sanctioning”. This is big news because the UFC has been hoping to run a show in Madison Square Garden for a long time now, not to mention the hundreds of fighters from the state who could now actually fight there instead of having to travel out of state. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one, but unless something big comes out this looks good for getting MMA into New York.
Cain get’s his challenger: UFC 160 will feature a heavyweight main and co-main event. In the main event UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will defend his newly won title against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. The co-main event will feature former champion Junior dos Santos taking on Alistair Overeem and likely determining the next challenger. I was a little surprised at this news, because in his UFC debut Bigfoot Silva was absolutely massacred by Cain Velasquez. I mean massacred, look up the fight, or just pictures if you don’t believe me. That said, Bigfoot is 2-0 since then, stopping Travis Browne and Alistair Overeem with strikes. Bigfoot was expected to lose both of those fights, but won both with impressive knockouts. I don’t expect him to fare any better against Cain this time, but at the same time it’s hard to deny him the opportunity after two impressive stoppages.
As for JDS and Overeem, these two have been wanting to fight each other for awhile now and the fight was pretty much inevitable. I don’t like Overeem’s chances against the former champion, dos Santos will be looking to make a statement and get another shot at Cain Velasquez. I also read something about Overeem recently that got me thinking about him, and I’m not sure how successful he’ll be at the top level of MMA. The end result is I fully expect a third fight between Velasquez and dos Santos late this year or early next.
The IOC has lost its mind: Tuesday the International Olympic Committee announced it was cutting both freestyle and greco-roman wrestling from the 2020 Olympic games. The stated reasons were a low level of international interest, low press coverage, confusion about the rules between freestyle and greco-roman, and the desire to attract younger viewers.
I cannot begin to express my disappointment and anger at this news. Wrestling has been a staple of the Olympic games going back to ancient Greece, and was one of the main sports when the Olympics were revived in 1896. Maybe I’m something of a purist, because I was a little annoyed at the inclusion of BMX racing into the Olympic games, but fortunately I am not alone in my outrage. The United States, Russia, Japan, and other countries have expressed outrage, as have numerous personalities associated with the sport of wrestling. I understand the IOC’s desire to attract younger viewers, and hold events that draw large numbers but to cut wrestling, that’s just asinine. I have a difficult time believing that wrestling draws less attention than rhythmic gymnastics, equestrian events, kayak and canoe races, handball, fencing, sailing, or field hockey.
Now the IOC will have an opportunity to add one of eight possible sports to the 2020 games, and we can only hope that wrestling will return. As for what this means for MMA, we could see wrestling become less prevalent. It will always be an important part of MMA, but it now seems more unlikely that we’ll see high level international competitions and competitors entering into the world of MMA. In fact, assuming wrestling remains absent from Olympic competition, you could well see a drop off in the level of collegiate wrestling. The Olympics were the only goal for wrestlers after collegiate, without that goal it’s quite possible we’ll see fewer truly high level wrestlers due to the lack of recognition and international goals to shoot for. At any rate we could also see a bunch of younger fighters entering MMA because they have no international goals, and they’ll become interested in MMA immediately after their collegiate careers are over.
The UFC finally brings a title fight to the UK this week when the interim Bantamweight title will be defended in the main event. For a Fuel TV card this is actually shaping up to be a good morning/afternoon of fights. Let’s take a look at the main card.
Che Mills vs. Matt Riddle: Che Mills, the original Joe Rogan “killer” is back taking on Matt Riddle. Mills has some serious skills standing, but his wrestling has always been a big weakness. Wrestling also happens to be Riddle’s strength, so you can guess where this is going. Assuming Riddle doesn’t test positive for marijuana again, I think he takes this by decision or late submission.
James Te-Huna vs. Ryan Jimmo: Ryan Jimmo was part of one of the worst fights in MMA history when he fought Sokodju, and his seven second KO of Anthony Perosh doesn’t erase that from my mind. Across the cage from Jimmo is James Te-Huna, a fighter I’ve actually enjoyed during his UFC tenure. Te-Huna has some legitimate power in his hands, and as long as he’s prepared for the clinch fest that Jimmo is likely to bring I think he can win this. I’m going with Te-Huna by stoppage, likely in the first or second.
Gunnar Nelson vs. Jorge Santiago: Hey, Jorge Santiago is back in the UFC again. Santiago is a tough fighter to get a read on, he’s got some solid skills all around and his grappling can be quite good. Unfortunately he doesn’t quite seem to have the best chin, Mamed Khadilov knocked him out with a hammer fist from the bottom, or the best defensive wrestling. Enter Gunnar Nelson, an extremely talented submission artist with a huge upside as far as MMA is concerned. I just can’t pick Santiago here, he hasn’t been consistent enough. I think Nelson finishes him with strikes, possibly on the ground, in the second.
Jimi Manuwa vs. Cyrille Diabate: You know, for all the faults in the game of Cyrille Diabate the guy always comes to fight and is rarely in a boring fight. Diabate is a legitimate world class striker, and that’s bad news for Manuwa who’s best attribute is his punching. Diabate has also been working on his ground game, and while he’s never going to be a great submission artist his work in the grappling department was evident in his last fight when he submitted Chad Griggs in the first round. I just don’t think Manuwa has much of a chance here, Diabate picks him apart striking and finishes him in the second or third.
Cub Swanson vs. Dustin Poirier: This is a tough fight for me because I like both guys. Cub Swanson has been on a tear lately, he stopped George Roop, Ross Pearson, and Charles Oliveira with strikes. I don’t know what Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn have been doing with him but he’s started looking like a possible title challenger. Across the cage is Dustin Poirier, who was actually close to a title shot before he got choked out by The Korean Zombie last year, but rebounded by choking out Jonathon Brookins. I think Poirier has a ton of upside, but he doesn’t seem capable of putting everything together. His striking offensively is decent, but he has no head movement and gets hit far too often. He’s much smoother on the ground though, and if he is able to get Cub Swanson down he could easily grab a choke during a transition. Unfortunately for Poirier his striking defense will bite him here because Swanson should take this one. I would love to see Poirier move to a different training camp and get the striking coaching he needs because he could be a real force.
Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald: The main event sees Renan Barao defend the interim bantamweight title against Michael McDonald. McDonald has been looking great in the UFC, his grappling both on top and bottom is very good, his striking is technical and powerful, the one knock on him was his cardio. Across from him is Renan Barao, a man who’s looked like an absolute beast. Barao has great submissions and some nasty striking, and his takedown defense is good as well. Barao was never in any kind of danger when he beat Urijah Faber for the interim title, and he’s looking to be the first interim champion since Andrei Arlovski to actually defend the title. I’m kind of torn here because I want to pick Michael McDonald. I’ve been a fan of his since I saw his UFC debut against Edwin Figueora, but I have such a hard time picking against Renan Barao. Barao has shown no weakness in his game, and has given me no reason at all to pick against him. I’m going with Barao by decision here, but I’m kind of pulling for McDonald with the upset.
OK ladies and gentlemen, that does it for this week in the world of MMA news. For those of you who also frequent the Movie zone here you know that Mark Radulich is part of a podcast series titled “The Long Road to Ruin” and I managed to bribe my way onto the newest edition where the Paranormal Activity franchise will be discussed. I also plan on being part of the 411 Ground and Pound radio this week, so you’ll be hearing a lot of me if you follow those. I plan on seeing all of you back here next Friday. Until then, you’ve escaped the Guillotine, hope your week goes well everyone.