Fight News

Sunday, May 27, 2007

UFC 71 - Jackson Takes Title

Another big UFC upset - Rampage Jackson caught Chuck Liddell with a blow that stunned the title holder. Jackson jumped upon the lo-hawk haired champ and reigned down a few more blows before Big John McCarthy lept in to end the fight.

Liddell had looked timid from the start. The fight lasted about 30 seconds.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

UFC 71 Undercard

Light Heavyweights: Keith Jardine (12-3-1) vs. Houston Alexander (6-1-0)
Jardine Last UFC Appearance: December 30, 2006 - Defeated Forrest Griffin via TKO with punches at 4:41 of the first round.
Alexander Last UFC Appearance: UFC debut.
Alexander Last MMA Fight: March 31, 2007 - Fought Todd Allee to a no-contest in 3:23 of the first round at Extreme Challenge 76.

Speaking of a challenger that might push Liddell, Keith Jardine is lining up to be that man. Following decision wins over Mike Whitehead and Wilson Gouveia, and a decision loss to Stephan Bonnar that many felt could have gone to him, Jardine did what no one else has been able to do, out strike Forrest Griffin, picking up an impressive first round win and leapfrogging him on the list of potential challengers for the Iceman. His opponent, Houston Alexander, is an unknown quantity, looking to play spoiler in his UFC debut. His lone MMA loss was in 2001, so he has been successful on smaller shows. He is obviously looking to make a big splash in the Light Heavyweight division, but given Jardine's popularity, I can't see UFC sacrificing a potential main event (Jardine vs. Griffin II or Jardine vs. Liddell) here. I'll pick Jardine to win, but that's with practically no knowledge of Alexander, so I wouldn't put money on it.

Middleweights: Terry Martin (17-2-0) vs. Ivan Salaverry (12-4-1)
Martin Last UFC Appearance: February 3, 2007 - Defeated Jorge Rivera via knockout at 14 seconds of the first round.
Salavarry Last UFC Appearance: August 6, 2005 - Lost to Nate Marquardt via unanimous decision.
Salavarry Last MMA Fight: July 22, 2006 - Defeated Art Santore at 4:18 of the second round at WFA: King Of The Streets.

Terry Martin seemed to be floundering in his attempts to impress in UFC. He was racking up wins on other MMA shows, but his first UFC appearance saw him lose to James Irvin due to a flying knee in 2005. In 2006, he got another chance in UFC, this time against Jason Lambert, but lost again. Still he kept winning on other shows, so UFC brought him back again this past February, where he wowed fans with a 14 second destruction of Jorge Rivera, catching an attempted kick and shoving him to the ground before landing a few punches and knocking him out. Suddenly, Martin had new life in UFC, and a chance to impress on PPV against K-1 and UFC veteran Ivan Salaverry, who scored submission wins over Tony Fryklund and Joe Riggs before losing a decision to Nate Marquardt. Martin is a better striker, but Salavarry is no slouch in that department (he beat Art Santore on the WFA show with a high kick and a slew of strikes that busted open Santore), and has superior submission skills. I doubt Salavarry will charge out with a kick like Rivera, and Martin is in for a fight, and fight I don't think he will win. I'm picking Salaverry to win.

Middleweights: Kalib Starnes (9-2-1) vs. Chris Leben (16-3-0)
Starnes Last UFC Appearance: October 14, 2006 - Lost to Yushin Okami via TKO at 1:40 of the third round.
Leben Last UFC Appearance: December 30, 2006 - Lost to Jason MacDonald via submission to a guillotine choke at 4:03 of the second round.

A fight between two well known competitors (thanks to SpikeTV) who are trying to get back on track in the Middleweight division. Leben came back from the highlight reel knockout loss to Anderson Silva by knocking out Jorge Santiago with a punch in the second round. Then he encountered Jason MacDonald, aka "The TUF Killer". Leben avoided MacDonald's takedowns in the first round, but in the second, MacDonald finally scored with one after a punch and sunk in a guillotine choke to hand Leben a loss. So, it was an up and down 2006 for Leben, who faces Kalib Starnes, who came off his reality show stint to beat Danny Abbadi with a rear naked choke in round one (which surprised no one) in his first UFC fight. A big step up in competition for his second fight saw Starnes on the losing end against Yushin Okami when Starnes was taken down and just couldn't stop Okami from pounding him in the third round. Both men need this win if they want to line up behind Nate Marquardt, Rich Franklin, MacDonald and Okami for a shot at Anderson Silva's Middleweight Title. I'm thinking Leben is more determined, and knows that another high profile loss is something that could really be detrimental to his career at this point. However, Starnes beat Jason MacDonald on a NFC show once, and took Okami to the third round, so I'm picking him in what could be a close fight.

Welterweights: Josh Burkman (19-3-0) vs. Karo Parisyan (24-4-0)
Burkman Last UFC Appearance: January 25, 2007 - Defeated Chad Reiner via unanimous decision.
Parisyan Last UFC Appearance: December 13, 2006 - Defeated Drew Fickett via unanimous decision.

This is probably the fight I am most looking forward to on the show. Parisyan has been "Mr. Stamina" since losing to Georges St. Pierre via decision in 2004. He's picked up six wins since then, five via decision (he also had one decision loss, to Diego Sanchez), beating Shonie Carter, Nick Diaz, Chris Lytle, Nick Thompson, and current Welterweight Champion Matt Serra. His last fight saw him survive a nasty cut in round two against Drew Fickett before using takedowns to take the third round and the fight. Josh Burkman had some impressive first round wins over Sam Morgan (KO with a slam in 21 seconds) and Drew Fickett (submission with a guillotine in 1:07) before suffering a loss to Jon Fitch. Since then, he has picked up decision wins over Josh Neer and Chad Reiner, proving he can go the distance when neccesary. His strategy again Chad Reiner in his last fight was simply to keep taking his opponent down over and over, picking up each round on the way to a unanimous decision. He won't be able to do that against Parisyan though. Burkman will have to be at his best against Parisyan, and ready to go the distance again, because you know Parisyan will be. I'm picking Karo in what could be the "sleeper fight" on the show.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

UFC 71: Chuck Liddell's Revenge?

There's only one man that has beaten Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell that Liddell hasn't paid back with a beating. Chuck Liddell will get the chance to scratch that name off his vengeance list on May 25th when he faces Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in 2007 UFC 71.

Liddell has won his last seven matches, all by knockout or technical knockout. The Iceman hasn't tasted defeat since he faced Quinton Jackson in the PRIDE 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix. Liddell was the UFC representative in the event, while Jackson was signed on with PRIDE when he beat Liddell badly in a TKO decision.

Since his loss to Rampage, Liddell has torn through the UFC with seven straight victories. All seven wins have come by knockout or TKO and have included two knockouts of Randy Couture and two TKO's of Tito Ortiz. Liddell is known as an excellent striker with pure power and he can also take out his opponent with quick accurate leg strikes. He's a well-rounded grappler, but if he has one weakness it would be on the ground in the octagon. If Liddell has his way the only thing on the ground will be Jackson, as he sprawls out on the mat after taking some wicked shots to the head.

Liddell may be a big betting favorite in this match and is considered by many to be the best MMA fighter in the world today, but don't count out Jackson. Jackson is nicknamed 'Rampage' for a reason, because he's an extremely powerful beast that is known to KO his opponents with lethal power slams. Jackson made his UFC debut versus Marvin Eastman in February at UFC 67 and finished off Eastman in the second round with a flurry of uppercuts that sent Eastman to the floor.

Liddell enters this match with a lifetime MMA record of 20-3, while Jackson is 26-6 in his MMA career. Liddell puts his UFC World Fight Heavyweight Championship title on the line in this fight and Jackson could make a real name for himself in the UFC if he can end Liddell's long reign at the top.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Fight of the Century - Oscar De La Hoya Vs Floyd Mayweather

From a wagering perspective, the Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather fight could emerge as the richest boxing event in Las Vegas' modern era.

Betting on the bout is expected to amount to several million dollars at the host MGM-Mirage properties alone, approaching or exceeding the handle generated by the second Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield heavyweight fight in 1997, said Robert Walker, director of race and sports book operations for MGM-Mirage.

"People see this as the biggest boxing match in a long time, and no one's sure when another one is going to happen, so people are betting accordingly," Walker said. "It's like the Super Bowl, where people bet more than they do on a regular weekly basis because they know it's the last game of the season."

Mayweather, who puts his unbeaten record and unofficial title of the sport's best pound-for-pound fighter on the line Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, is a minus-180 favorite (risk $1.80 to win $1) against De La Hoya. (Odds are subject to change.)

In the round proposition, bettors are required to risk $2.50 to $3 to win $1 that the fight will last 11 1/2 or all 12 rounds, depending on the odds at each sports book.

The price on Mayweather to win represents a drop from the opening line of about minus-220, indicating most of the money has been wagered on underdog De La Hoya.

At MGM-Mirage properties, Walker said , he has accepted plenty of wagers on De La Hoya in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. Walker has also been fielding inquiries on six-figure bets, though no gambler has risked that much yet. Several six-figure bets are expected to come in by the weekend, Walker said.

The tickets on De La Hoya could outnumber those on Mayweather by 3-to-1, Walker said, although most of the larger wagers will be on Mayweather - a typical pattern for a fight based in Las Vegas, where the betting public traditionally supports the underdog at the sports book windows.

"De La Hoya is by far the most popular fighter out there," Walker said. "Mayweather might be the favorite, and De La Hoya might be the underdog, but Oscar is the draw."

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