The Sports Inquirer

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Verbal Submission Podcast 5 #sportsinquirer #verbalsubmissionpodcast — July 10, 2017

Verbal Submission Podcast 5 #sportsinquirer #verbalsubmissionpodcast

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In this edition of the Verbal Submission Podcast, we discuss UFC 213, UFC Fight Night, UFC Ultimate Fighter Finale, Bellator 180 and the official announcement of the Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather fight.

Audio below:

Verbal Submission Podcast 3 — April 24, 2017

Verbal Submission Podcast 3

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In this edition of the Verbal Submission Podcast, we discuss UFC Nashville, Cub Swanson, Diego Sanchez, Bellator 178, Demetrius Johnson’s place in MMA history and loopholes in potential Conor McGregor/Floyd Mayweather bout.

Audio below:

Passing the Guard: MMA Thoughts 2.2.16 — February 2, 2016

Passing the Guard: MMA Thoughts 2.2.16

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By E. Marcel Pourtout, Editor

Music to listen to: Entangled (live) by Genesis

-Anthony Johnson quick submission of Ryan Bader shows clear divide in UFC light heavyweight division. Coming into UFC on Fox 18 earlier this month, we knew that the depth of the the division wasn’t the strongest especially with Jon Jones’ suspension still in place. Viewers hoping to see Bader provide a challenge to the top-level of the division had little optimism when he shot into Johnson for a takedown in the first round. Johnson defended it, got Bader’s back and proceeded to gain the knock out on punches from up top.

We’ve seen Johnson fight current UFC champion Daniel Cormier already and suffer a loss. This provides impetus at the highest level for us to see Jones/Cormier 2, most likely at UFC 200 to gain some clarity in the division.

 

-Sage Northcutt loss not worst thing for career. The 19-year old came into his UFC on Fox 18 contest against Bryan Barberena with the promotional backing of the organization that prompted him into the main card of a network television broadcast. While Northcutt had shown promise in previous fights, his relative lack of experience didn’t match the hype.

What we ended up seeing is the veteran Barberena take advantage of Northcutt novice skills on the ground and promptly sank in an arm triangle for a submission victory.

I’m not a grappler (I need to take some classes) but from seeing the comments of other fighters, grapplers and even Joe Rogan on the broadcast, it looks like Northcutt submitted to a hold that the majority of others on the UFC roster would have countered and avoided losing to.

Even with this, Northcutt isn’t in bad shape. In most cases, he would have been in this prediciment at some dojo without cameras, tapped and learned a lesson from his instructor. We witnessed this on Fox. The potential is there for him to become an elite fighter and even a champion. He isn’t there yet. Not everyone is Jon Jones and can make it through the majority of his career without a loss.

I’ve personally seen Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, Matt Hughes, B.J. Penn, Fabricio Werdum, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, Wanderlei Silva and countless other world champions and some of the best to ever fight in MMA lose a fight and then comeback and achieve greatness. I’m not saying that Northcutt is going to make it to that level but if you’re going to be the best in a sport like MMA, setbacks are going to happen.

The best move for Northcutt will be to get back in the gym, work on his ground defense and continue to develop.

 

-Changing UFC 196 to UFC on Fox 18 was wise move. This Saturday, we were supposed to get UFC 196 which featured a main event of Werdum vs. Cain Velasquez for the heavyweight title. Velasquez gets injured (not a surprise at this stage of his career) and Stipe Miocic stepped up to face the champion Werdum. A day later Werdum pulls out of the new fight due to injuries of his own, therefore that fight is off as well.

Jones threw his hat in the ring to fight for the legitimate title, not an interim one but the UFC balked at that. Smart move by the way.

In the end, the fight card wasn’t cancelled but moved to Fox with Johny Hendricks facing Stephen Thompson in the main event.

First, if the heavyweight division wasn’t so top heavy, I’d say that Velasquez has permanently placed himself outside of the title picture due to the continued injuries. However, he’s still a viable name and there’s not much standing in his way for a future title shot.

I don’t want to call dirty pool on Werdum but if he agreed to the Miocic fight to than pull out of it after it was announced, that’s not cool. He has the right to not want to fight a new opponent on relatively short notice (this is professional fighting, not a bar fight) as a champion but a promise like that can’t be broken. If the UFC made the Miocic decision without consulting Werdum (not entirely improbable), that’s a bad move by the promotion.

I’m happy that the fight card is still in tact so that those fighters can get paid and that’s the most important thing. Sure, the UFC loses money not having pay-per-view buys even if it was going to have a low buyrate but it will make up for it in the future.

The fans get to see a free fight card and that’s great too.

 

-Wise move by Benson Henderson to move to Bellator. I’ve seen people criticizing this move, mainly Dana White (why is he so salty every time a fighter leaves the promotion) but its good for Henderson.

If the asinine Reebok sponsorship deal wasn’t enforced in the UFC right now, I believe Henderson would still be in the promotion. There were still fights available for him in the 155-pound division and personally think he would have an impact in the 170-division as well.

However, while Bellator may not offer as much money as the UFC and there are conflicting reports about that, Henderson will make up for it in sponsorships.

Henderson has been around a long time and may have four or five fights left in him. Best to take advantage of the healthy body now before it breaks down. Furthermore, if Henderson lights it up at Bellator, he’ll have leverage to get a new, more lucrative deal with promotions domestic and foreign.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

 

Passing the Guard: MMA Power Rankings January 2016 — January 12, 2016

Passing the Guard: MMA Power Rankings January 2016

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By E. Marcel Pourtout, Editor

Music to listen to: Jam On It by NEWCLEUS

Here are my mixed martial arts power rankings for January 2016 along with other thoughts in the sport.

Heavyweight:

  1. Fabricio Werdum (20-5-1)
  2. Cain Velasquez (13-2)
  3. Alistair Overeem (40-14, 1 NC)
  4. Stipe Miocic (14-2)
  5. Andrei Arlovski (25-11, 1 NC)

Thoughts: Werdum’s dominant win over Velasquez in June 2015 in Mexico for the UFC title makes him the clear choice for the top spot. A strong argument can be made that Werdum has emerged as the best heavyweight in history and outside of Fedor, Big Nog and Bas Rutten (seriously, look up his resume especially in Pancrase), that’s not a ludicrous claim.

Werdum fights Velasquez again this February with the winner possibly facing free agent Overeem who was impressive in a win over Junior Dos Santos late in 2015. Miocic is moving up the ranks after beating Arlovski in the first round of their match earlier this month.

Light Heavyweight:

  1. Jon Jones (21-1)
  2. Daniel Cormier (17-1)
  3. Anthony Johnson (20-5)
  4. Alex Gustafsson (16-4)
  5. Ryan Bader (20-4)

Thoughts: Contemplated taking Jones off the list completely due to his suspension from the UFC, we haven’t seen him fight since January 2015 and he has no scheduled fights. However, I’m using a policy seen other places that won’t eliminate a fighter from the rankings until 16 months of inactivity so the clock is ticking. Jones is the best light heavyweight in the world, possibly the best in history in all weight classes.

Cormier has made his mark with wins over Johnson and Gustafsson in the past year. We’re assuming that Jones returns this year and we can finally see the rematch for the undisputed UFC champion. The rest of the division moves along with Johnson and Bader fighting later this month.

Middleweight:

  1. Luke Rockhold (15-2)
  2. Chris Weidman (13-1)
  3. Yoel Romero (11-1)
  4. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (22-4, 1 NC)
  5. Vitor Belfort (25-11)

Thoughts: For a division that used to lack intrigue and was dominated by Anderson Silva less than three years ago, the middleweights have become interesting as a unit. First, the man who took Silva’s UFC title in Weidman was soundly defeated by Rockhold by fourth-round TKO last month. The plan was probably for Romero, who defeated Souza in a close decision last year, to get first crack at Weidman but literally today news came out of a possible failed drug test for the Cuban wrestler.

We’ll probably have to run back Rockhold.Weidman for a second time or we can see the champ seek revenge on Belfort who holds a victory over Rockhold.

Welterweight:

  1. Robbie Lawler (27-10, 1 NC)
  2. Rory MacDonald (18-3)
  3. Tyron Woodley (14-3)
  4. Carlos Condit (30-9)
  5. Johny Hendricks (17-3)

Thoughts: Tremendous effort earlier this month by Lawler to earn a decision win over Condit earlier this month to retain the UFC title. It was a close fight but I ultimately scored it for Lawler. Having Condit fourth is cruel but I think that Woodley and MacDonald are better fighters at the moment of writing this post. Check back in with me in a few days and I’ll probably have a different opinion. Woodley looks to be next in line to face Lawler which seems fair because its a fresh matchup. I wouldn’t mind seeing MacDonald get another crack at Lawler in a rematch of my 2015 Fight of the Year.

The biggest loser in the top-tier of the division looks to be Hendricks who went from former UFC champion to pulling out of his last scheduled bout against Woodley due to weight cutting issues that ended with a trip to the hospital. Hendricks is still a viable contender for a title shot but I’m reserved on ranking him ahead of the other fighters until I see him in action next month against Stephen Thompson.

Lightweight:

  1. Rafael dos Anjos (25-7)
  2. Anthony Pettis (18-3)
  3. Donald Cerrone (28-7, 1 NC)
  4. Eddie Alvarez (26-4)
  5. Will Brooks (16-1)

Thoughts: RDA was dominant in his UFC title defense against Cerrone last month cementing himself as the top lightweight in the world. He will now defend his title against featherweight champion Conor McGregor in March. There will be plenty of time to analyze the fight but I’m placing RDA as the favorite. He’ll be the bigger fighter and can match McGregor in many areas.

The rest of the division will shake itself out with Pettis and Alvarez fighting in a top-contender battle later this month, Cerrone moving up to welterweight to face Tim Means next month and Brooks, our first Bellator fighter in the rankings, doing work for that promotion.

Featherweight:

  1. Conor McGregor (19-2)
  2. Jose Aldo (25-2)
  3. Frankie Edgar (20-4-1)
  4. Chad Mendes (17-4)
  5. Max Holloway (15-3)

Thoughts: When you defeat Aldo in 14 seconds, that puts you at the top of the division. McGregor’s next step is a move up to lightweight which I don’t like. A division should be cleared out before someone makes a move up and Edgar is a viable contender. However, the UFC is most likely catering to the wishes of the Irishman. McGregor has struggles making featherweight so lightweight should be an easier weight cut. Edgar looks to be waiting in the wind.

Bantamweight:

  1. T.J. Dillashaw (12-2)
  2. Dominick Cruz (20-1)
  3. Renan Barao (33-3, 1 NC)
  4. Urijah Faber (33-8)
  5. Aljamain Sterling (12-0)

Thoughts: Dillashaw and Cruz finally fight this month for the UFC title. I think Cruz is the better fighter but the layoff is a concern and Dillashaw has been sharp lately especially in his wins over Barao. Faber looks at this fight with strong interest because he’s most likely in line for a fight with the winner and his extensive history with both fighters. Sterling is arguably the biggest MMA free agent that no one is talking about.

Bellator MMA announces agreement with Royce Gracie — October 8, 2014

Bellator MMA announces agreement with Royce Gracie

image001Release from Bellator MMA:

Known simply as the pioneer of mixed martial arts, Royce Gracie is widely considered the most influential and important figure the sport has seen. Engaging in some of the most memorable fights in MMA history during his time with the UFC and PRIDE Fighting Championships, Gracie has now joined Bellator as an official brand ambassador.

“To call Royce a legend would be an absolute understatement,” Bellator President Scott Coker said. “Royce and the Gracie family are directly responsible for making this sport what it is today and we are incredibly fortunate to have him be a part of the Bellator family. Royce will serve in many different capacities for Bellator and I look forward to our fighters, staff and most importantly, our fans, in having the chance to interact with one of the most iconic figures in sports.”

“I have known Scott for a long time and have always respected him as not only a promoter but as a martial artist who has always treated fighters with respect and truly understands their value,” Gracie said. “Bellator and Viacom want to give fans exciting fights and enable fighters to continue to grow and most importantly provide for their family, and it’s something I want to be a part of. UFC has done a great job over the past twenty years in building this sport and taking it globally and I’m glad to have been part of that, but Bellator is a growing organization I am honored to be a part of, and with the dedicated and talented people already associated with the company, we can further the growth of mixed marital arts as a sport worldwide.”

Gracie will immediately be involved with Bellator including promotion for Bellator 131, which is headlined by a light heavyweight showdown between Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar, along with a lightweight title fight between Michael Chandler and Will Brooks on November 15. Moving forward Gracie will host seminars, be involved in autograph and promotional appearances, as well as aiding in the international expansion of Bellator around the world. Bellator and Gracie will also be involved in a co-branded merchandise line that will debut in 2015.

Passing the Guard: Bellator MMA announces bout for November card — September 22, 2014

Passing the Guard: Bellator MMA announces bout for November card

mmaBellator MMA has announced an additional fight to its Bellator 131 card which will take place on Nov. 15 from the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, Calif. Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal will meet Tom DeBlass in a light heavyweight bout.

Originally scheduled to meet in September, DeBlass withdrew from the fight against Lawal after suffering an injury that forced the New Jersey native out of the fight. Lawal went on to fight Dustin Jacoby at Bellator 123, and earned a knockout victory.

The night will also feature Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz return to the Bellator cage against “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar in another light heavyweight bout, while Will Brooks and Michael Chandler will battle for the vacant Bellator Lightweight Title.

With the addition, Bellator 131 now features:

Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Tito Ortiz (17-11) vs. Stephan Bonnar (15-8)

Lightweight Feature Fight: Michael Chandler (12-2) vs. Will Brooks (14-1)

Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: King Mo (13-4) vs. Tom DeBlass (9-2)