Coaches Assigned to Two New Seasons of The Ultimate Fighter
The coaches picked for the upcoming seasons of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF 16 for the states and TUF: The Smashes for AUS & UK) have been announced.
For TUF 16, which will show a return to the pre-taped format, is slated to feature Roy “Big Country” Nelson and Shane Carwin, who will make his return to action at the season finale against Nelson, as coaches of a group of 16 welterweight UFC hopefuls.
For TUF: The Smashes, which will feature [presumably] lightweight and welterweight fighters (tryouts were held for applicants 155-170lbs), will be coached by Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson and George Sotiropoulos.
When Fights Fall Flat: Who’s to Blame
In the aftermath of UFC on FX 4’s lackluster main event last Friday night the camp at Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting and MMA has come under fire, specifically the game plans that Jackson comes up with for the fighters under his tutelage.
Many blame Jackson’s game plans for the unusual performance turned in by Clay “The Carpenter” Guida during his five-round main event bout with Gray “The Bully” Maynard. Guida’s “stick & move” transformed into “move & run” as he was increasingly outstruck by Maynard, most notably in the last three rounds.
But is the game plan to blame here? The coach, even? Or should perhaps the fighter alone be held responsible for his actions in the octagon?
Certainly there is an exception to every rule but if a fighter fails to deliver we should first look at the fighter, himself, before we aim our scrutinizing eyes at those who gave him a strategy going into the bout.
It is the job of the coach or trainer to give their fighter a game plan, a method with which to play to his own strengths in a way that neutralizes those of his opponent and exploits his weaknesses. That said, it’s the duty of every fighter to utilize that game plan; it’s their job to take that game plan with them into the octagon, implement it successfully and consistently, and use it as long as it’s useful.
The problem on Friday wasn’t just that Clay’s style was completely unrecognizable from the man we’re used to seeing swing for the fences - he also strayed from his game plan, and not in a good way. As the fight progressed he became less and less aggressive; it became less about picking shots and more about getting out of the way of an increasingly frustrated Maynard, who’s notorious for hitting “like a Mack Truck”. Greg Jackson can lecture all he wants between rounds and yell out instructions every second of the 25 minutes of the fight, but it was up to Guida to listen to his corner, actively engage in the exchanges and try to win the fight a different way than by the judges’ scorecards.
After all, point-fighting is risky business: if you want to ensure you win then finish the fight, don’t let the judges finish it for you. While “stick and move” and picking your shots is, by no means, the same thing as point fighting, I won’t go off on a tangent involving the many differences. But the point is that Guida did a little too much of both and not enough of anything else.
As to why people shouldn’t necessarily be blaming Greg Jackson’s game plans, here are a few reasons I can think of off the top of my head: Jon Jones, Carlos Condit, Andrei Arlovski, Shane Carwin, Brian Stann, Donald Cerrone, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Diego Sanchez and Georges St. Pierre.
These are all fighters trained by Greg Jackson who have, undoubtedly, been handed a game plan or two by the man and used them. Whether they’re ground fighters or stand up fighters, that is a list of men who consistently display aggression, actively engage in their fights, and only point fight on the rare occasion that it guarantees them a win (and there’s nothing wrong with that as winning is, and should be, any professional fighters #1 priority above all else).
Blame Greg Jackson all you want for the way Clay Guida performed; but the truth of the matter is that it’s up to the fighter to excite the fans, not the coach. There are some prime examples of fighters who get game plans from the same man and do a lot more with them. I mean, look at Jon Jones, he seamlessly blends game plan and adaptation to make for a very smooth performance during pretty much every single fight.
And if you want to go into the whole “well it’s hard to win when your coach gives you a completely different game plan than you’re used to” subject then take a look at Carlos Condit, who won the interim welterweight belt (love it or hate it) by simply sticking to the game plan Greg Jackson gave him, even though it was a stylistic 180 from his normal technique and even in the face of the man known for playing with his opponents’ minds so much that they abandon their strategies quicker than passengers off sinking ships that have caught on fire in the middle of an oil spill (which is, to say, quickly).
In the end, let’s give Guida the benefit of the doubt; after all, he has handed in some stellar performances and we shouldn’t just forget about those because he tried something that didn’t quite work out this time. Let’s see what he does with this new direction. He’s still working on his stick and move and he’s kind of in the middle of a big transition here with his fighting style.
And, in case you were too busy screaming obscenities at your television to notice, his footwork and head movement were aces - I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything so beautiful. It was completely unorthodox and, thanks to that bottomless gas tank of his, constant throughout the fight. Give the man a little time to put it all together, keep working on how to explode and retract his power and I think we’ll eventually see a work of art - a man who can bob and weave like no other just so he can punish his opponents with shots while they’re too busy trying to find him.
I say we bitch about this until the end of the week and then put it to rest so we can have the weekend to recharge and gear up for fight week. Silva vs Sonnen II is happening next Saturday and you can bet your sweet ass you’re gonna need your beauty sleep for that one because you Will Not. Want. To Blink.
Objective Perspective: Silva vs Sonnen II
Going into UFC 148, there are a lot of burning questions in the minds of MMA fans & media alike.
Has Silva made the right adjustments in order to properly neutralize Sonnen’s wrestling (which saw the champ on his back at the mercy of Chael’s ground and pound numerous times)?
Will Sonnen once again outstrike the man said to be the greatest striker in the UFC, besting his previous record for the amount of punishment handed to the Brazilian in his career all in a matter of 25 minutes?
For that matter, with adjustments made on the end of both parties, will Sonnen still pose a test to Silva, thus proving that it was Sonnen’s own abilities, not the fight or the circumstances surrounding it, that saw him manage to knock the middleweight champ around unlike any other for 4 1/2 rounds two years ago? Or will this go-round prove that their last meet was a fluke, that Silva didnt take Sonnen seriously enough back then but this time, with an acute awareness of Sonnen’s skills, he’ll be able to tuck away the Oregon native as easily as his previous opponents?
From my perspective, I blasphemously don’t care who wins.
Would it be cool to see Chael Sonnen take the belt, thus being the first in 6 years to solve the puzzle of Anderson Silva? For sure. Do I also want to see Anderson Silva pull off some crazy beautiful submission move, as he is so apt to effortlessly do? Hell yeah.
Regardless of who wins and who loses, I want to see something spectacular. And if any match up this summer is guaranteed to show the spectator’s something spectacular regardless of the victor, it’s this one.
Sonnen wants that belt, that’s undeniable. Not only did he promise his late father that he would win a championship, but this circumstance is gruelingly personal with astronomically high stakes. In their last bout Chael stunned the world as he, to quote commentator Joe Rogan, ”beat [Silva] pillar to post for the better part of five rounds” only to be submitted in the last two minutes of the fight with a triangle choke. He feels he won regardless of the miracle sub Silva pulled off, and many fans agree with him; he’s set out to prove that he’s not only the better fighter, but the better man. This time, walking into this fight, Chael saw Anderson’s belt and raised him a career; if Chael wins, Anderson has to leave the UFC middleweight division. If Anderson wins, Chael leaves the Ultimate Fighting Championship forever. At least that’s what he claimed after his recent win over Michael Bisping snagged him his contendership position, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he stuck to his word.
Silva wants to prove that he’s still a puzzle, a mystery man that no one has ever truly defeated in the UFC. He wants to hurt the man who insulted him, his country, his countrymen, and his family. He doesn’t just want to keep his belt, he wants to seek revenge for the one man who has been able to make him fall down and look human in his years with the UFC.
All that is enthralling, but here’s why I don’t care who wins.
Simply put, I don’t have a favorite.
I respect Sonnen as a fighter because he’s not a pussy. He doesn’t quit, through pain, injury, and struggle he’ll keep on trucking. He’s got the biggest mouth in the UFC but he backs up everything he says, word-for-word, with his work in the octagon. He’s got incredible heart and he’s inarguably one of the most entertaining personalities in the game.
That said, there are things that I don’t like about Chael Sonnen. His style of trash talk is not always my favorite. I feel he’s a bit full of himself sometimes.
That being said, there are things I don’t like about Anderson Silva.
His win over Demian Maia was an embarassment to the sport, to the UFC, and to himself. It showed that he was full of himself, arrogant, and had little respect for the fans or the sport. If it was so easy to fight Maia that he was could so confidently dance around the octagon, he should’ve finished his opponent instead. He should’ve delivered to the fans, fans who paid for tickets or paid for the PPV, another beautiful finish, rather than doing the goddamn tango all the way to a decision.
Unlike Rich Franklin’s prediction for the fight, I think this time around will be another bout filled to the brim with fire, excitement, and heart. For goodness sake; Anderson Silva participated in trash talk for the first time in God knows how long because Chael Sonnen gets under his skin that much. How could this not be a fantastic fight?
No matter who wins, I expect a spectacular fight. If it’s a 30-second finish or five rounds of insane back-and-forth action, I’ll be a happy camper. $125 nose bleed seats? I doubt I’ll regret that purchase as long as I live.
get-your-color-on asked: I personally never clicked with the whole Overeem craze. I never got excited during his fights and I just overall didn't care for him. He got off way to easy.
Yeah, by the time the craze really started I’d already known who he was for a little bit and started to realize there was some crazy stuff going on with his body changes, especially considering he was a grown ass man before his body blew the hell up.
His slap on the wrist is laughable and has only served to make the punishment handed out to Diaz look even that much more harsh. Overeem’s license was denied and he can’t reapply for 9 months for a substance that is absolutely undeniably banned for use in or out of competition without specific approval by the NSAC. Diaz was suspended for nearly a year and fined him well over $60,000 - for an infraction that they have no definitive proof he even committed.
There’s something to be said for consistency but apparently NSAC, its commissioners, its judges, and its refs have not heard it.
Why Alistair Overeem is Pretty Much Dead to Me
Since The Reem tested positive for testosterone, every victory he’s picked up in the last few years has been brought in to question.
To think that March was an isolated incident is naive. Looking at his body transformation and the change in his performance in recent years, it’s hard not to think that he’d just been lucky not to get caught up until March of this year. And don’t get me started on the implications of the whole nonsense between him and NSAC that went on before he faced Brock Lesnar at UFC 141.
I never really cared much about Alistair Overeem; he was never one of those fighters whom I really clicked with or felt the motivation to keep an eye on. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know. But then he tests positive for testosterone and receives what is arguably the most laughable slap on the wrist from any athletic commission in recent memory, thus cementing his name on my ‘shit list’.
The short and sweet of it is that I question all of his accomplishments over the past few years and I don’t think he actually deserves to be where he is today. I’m not saying they should lower his ranking or put him back at the bottom of the ladder for a title shot, as there is no concrete proof that he’s used tesosterone or other PED’s in the past, but I think his victories are now quite hollow and meaningless. Any success he’s achieved through his performances in recent bouts is now kind of a joke and I feel for the fighters who’ve faced him in these past few years and whom now have to wonder if that tarnish on their record came at the hands of a man using performance enhancing drugs (not to mention the nagging question of, if he was using PEDs, would they have won had he really been clean).
The bright side of it is that all the controversy surrounding Alistair’s case has sort of forced the UFC to take a second and actually consider climbing up the mountain of independent testing. So thanks for that, I guess, Overeem.
In Case You Blinked
Written by LuLuMMA The UFC is a fast-paced organization; if you so much as blink then you’ve missed a plethora of exciting developments. And that’s what gathers us here today; I’m here to catch you up on all the things you may have missed.
1. So. Many. Injuries.
More matchups have been added to the growing list of those affected by injured fighters.
We recently learned that Vitor Belfort broke his hand during training and is forced out of his UFC 147 bout against Wanderlei Silva.
Update: The UFC has brought in former middleweight champion Rich Franklin to replace the injured Belfort, in what will be a rematch between “Ace” and “The Axe Murderer”. Cung Le, Franklin’s opponent before being pulled to fight Silva, will now face Patrick Côté at the UFC 148 event.
Within 48 hours of each other, the two Thiagos in the UFC 149 card pulled out of their bouts due to injuries. Thiago Silva pulled out of his match with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua due to a recurring back injury that will require surgery. Thiago Alves pulled out of his match against Siyar Bahadurzada, who was initially the replacement for an injured Yoshihiro Akiyama.
Update: Shogun Rua will now face Brandon Vera in the headlining bout at UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs Vera. Bahadurzada is slated to meet Chris Clements, the fight still to take place at UFC 149.
On Thursday, two major events were effected by injuries. Both Michael Bisping, set to face Tim Boetsch at UFC 149, and Brian Stann, slated to welcome newcomer Hector Lombard at UFC on FOX 4, sustained injuries and were forced out of their respective bouts.
Update:Hector Lombard will now meet Tim Boetsch at UFC 149.
2. Ronda Rousey vs Sarah Kaufman
Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey’s first title defense is slated for August 18 in San Diego, California against number one contender Sarah Kaufman.
3. The Prodigy Returns
BJ Penn has officially come out of retirement, accepting the challenge of rising welterweight star Rory MacDonald. No official word yet from the UFC brass on when and where the fight will take place, but the general concensus is that it will take place at UFC 152 in Toronto.
That’s all for now. Keep an Eye out for more In Case You Blinked as news and developments emerge.