Articles in Category: MMA

Big Dan: Boldly Confronting Lay & Pray

on Thursday, 19 January 2012. Posted in MMA

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Big Dan: Boldly Confronting Lay & Pray
When some leg-slicking humper plays heated blanket paddy-cake with a guy for 15 or 25 minutes, we decry the ignorance of MMA judges and the reluctance of refs to punish the humpers for doing nothing to improve position, land damaging shots or work towards a submission.

Official UFC Rankings?

Written by Coach Rich Ruenzi on Monday, 16 January 2012. Posted in MMA

Official UFC Rankings?

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Official UFC Rankings?

Okay, you caught me.  I really don’t have the official UFC rankings which is a shame as there is nothing I’d rather report and discuss.  I’ve checked with the UFC’s official website, Google, Bing, and several other sources to find the official UFC rankings but have found nothing.  Don’t get me wrong, I found plenty of MMA rankings.  Everyone from Sherdog to MMA Junkie seems to have rankings.  Even the USA Today has a rankings list for all to see.  The problem is that none of those rankings seem have any bearing on who is actually the highest ranked contender for any given UFC title.  The only rankings which seem to matter are the UFC rankings which of course appear to be a highly guarded secret.

We have to be certain that the UFC does, in fact, have official rankings. Don’t we? After all, time and time again we’ve heard Dana White mention which fighter is now the #1 ranked contender when announcing who will next challenge for the title. More often than not, when asked to comment about the standing of a fighter, White will respond, “He’s in the mix”. One would have to assume, "In the Mix," means they are top 5, correct? Maybe even top 3?

Defending the Champ

on Saturday, 07 January 2012. Posted in MMA

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Defending the Champ


“Introducing your NEW champion…”

And now we hate him.  We are not absolutely sure why, but we know there is a reason.  We will figure it out soon.  In the meantime, let’s make a case for how unworthy he is of the belt.  Type our hearts out through our favorite social networking site, or about all of the fighters that would walk all over the champ.  Nod aggressively while reading Chael Sonnen’s latest interview transcript about how he could easily dismiss of this new champion.  Explain that the new champion’s recent string of wins can be attributed to either:

1)    Pure, downright, out and out luck.
2)    Lack of any real competition.

Nevermind that he is a professional fighter.  Nevermind that you were dumbfounded when he defeated all of his challengers.  Nevermind that he has made you eat your words time and time again.  Nevermind the sheer improbability needed for a fighter to have that many “lucky” wins in a row.  He is now the champion and there’s a problem with that, right?

Condit vs. Diaz: It’s Still A Fantasy Fight

on Thursday, 15 December 2011. Posted in MMA

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Condit vs. Diaz:  It’s Still A Fantasy Fight
Remember the years MMA message boards were filled with thread titles asking, ‘What if [insert non-Zuffa promotion champion] fought [insert UFC champion]?’  No?  Well I do.  You couldn’t help but read the fantastical idea and dream for a second.  Then, reality.  Your brain soared through the millions of bits of facts and data that you know about legal mumbo-jumbo all leading to the sad truth that an inter-promotion fight would not happen because of contracts and other nonsense that does not interest fans.  All the while, another part of your brain was trying to figure out the perfect persuasive argument to tweet Dana White in hopes that he would agree to create a one-fight fantasy event between each promotion’s champions.  Meticulously planning out this scenario, you realized you could never fit such a Cochran-like dissertation into 140 characters.  You’d lower your head after your split second emotional rollercoaster and move to some other thread with an intriguing lesson in four letter words regarding Fedor’s status in the MMA world.

Back Sports Page MMA Roundtable: Inaugural Edition

on Thursday, 08 December 2011. Posted in MMA

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   Back Sports Page MMA Roundtable: Inaugural Edition
Back Sports Page is pleased to present to you our first-ever MMA roundtable. As the MMA section of BSP is but a helpless, prostrate chrysalis, waiting to burgeon into a magnificent and beauteous Monarch, we felt it prudent to put on display the considerable and peerless acumen of our crack staff of MMA journalists. As such, enjoy this inaugural edition of The Back Sports Page MMA Roundtable, with queries from our indefatigable leader, Seth Kamens, posted to each of our contributors who go on to summarily answer the living hell out of them.

Questioning Kenny Florian's Validity as a Title Challenger

on Thursday, 25 August 2011. Posted in MMA

Kenny Florian Title Fight


Kenny Florian is an Ultimate Fighter runner-up, two-time lightweight title challenger and about to add featherweight challenger to that list. Florian established himself as an elite lightweight in the biggest promotion in the MMA world, the UFC. He beat all challengers, whether rising prospects or legends of the sport. Though the one thing that has eluded him is the golden strap, two-time lightweight challenger Florian made the decision to drop to featherweight in hopes that a size advantage would finally make him into a champion.

His first fight was against once beaten Brazilian Diego Nunes. Nunes proved to be a tough first fight for Florian but tired out in the second and third rounds and Florian took a decisive victory. Afterwards, it was announced that Florian would be given his third attempt at a title against featherweight king Jose Aldo. The question immediately became, how deserving was he? He only had one contest in the featherweight division; why not have him take a few fights before giving him another shot at the belt? In order to be worthy of a title fight, one must win their last fight against a good opponent, perform well in big fights, and possess marketability and availability. Let’s see how Florian measures up.


Win your last fight against fight against a good opponent: Florian had a decisive victory against once beaten Diego Nunes at UFC 131. Nunes is a talented young fighter who was sporting a 16-1 record heading into the fight. Nunes seemed to get the better of Florian in the first round but Florian came back and controlled the young Brazilian in the second and third rounds with effective boxing and by taking down and passing the guard of Nunes.

Perform well in big fights: This is an area where Florian falls short: he’s lost both of his title fights, in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter, and his title eliminator against Gray Maynard.  


Marketability: Florian is possibly the biggest name in the 145 pound division. He was a runner-up on the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter, is currently an analyst for ESPN, and is known as one of the funnier personalities in the UFC. He also finishes many of his fights with his great submission game and legendary elbows.

Availability: You can’t fight for the title if you aren’t available to fight for it. Chad Mendes was a popular pick for the title shot, but he was already tied up with a fight against Rani Yahya. Hatsu Hioki is another very deserving featherweight but he has yet to have a fight in the promotion and the UFC doesn’t like to give fighters immediate title fights unless it’s a title unification bout.

Florian meets three of the four requirements to fight for a title, so is he the perfect challenger? No, but it doesn’t change the fact that he still is a worthy one, and one that champion Jose Aldo will certainly have his hands full with.


Top 10 MMA Prospects

on Sunday, 31 July 2011. Posted in MMA


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Top 10 MMA Prospects

10. Charlie Brenneman- Before Brenneman’s fight with Rick Story I probably would have put Story at six on this list.  However, the largely unrecognized Brenneman capitalized on Nate Marquardt being pulled from his scheduled fight with Story and took the fight on a day’s notice.  He was a heavy underdog but came in and out-wrestled and out-struck Story on his way to stealing all the momentum Story built up after beating Thiago Alves.  Brenneman was already a bright spot in young MMA fighters, but his bout with Story was an extra boost to his career.

Tales of a Fighter

on Sunday, 10 July 2011. Posted in MMA

Vol. 1 - Mike Corey

This is the beginning of a series that will focus on the question all of us mixed martial arts fans want answered.  What does it truly take to be a professional MMA fighter?  And the only way to know is by asking the pros themselves.  The journey from an amateur to becoming a pro is often brutishly long and filled with adversity.  For those who have embarked on this treacherous trail, few will ever be able to make a career out of it.  This series will tell the true life tales of those who have.

Five things to take away from UFC 131

on Friday, 17 June 2011. Posted in MMA

UFC 131 Observations

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Five things to take away from UFC 131


1. 1. Throw Donald Cerrone a bone. Cerrone was a powerhouse in the WEC but has yet to fight anybody of note in the UFC and has picked apart both of his opponents. His opponent at UFC 131, Vagner Rocha, was a one dimensional BJJ expert who was given a seminar on Muay Thai by Cerrone in their fight. Rocha continually attempted and failed takedowns and is the only person who I’ve ever seen try a baseball slide as a way of taking his opponent down. Cerrone has proved that he’s a legitimate 155-pounder in the UFC and should receive an interesting matchup in his next fight. The most fitting opponrent is Anthony Pettis. Both are WEC all-stars and Pettis had a title shot lined up before his loss to Clay Guida. Cerrone has been the clear winner of both his UFC fights, so a bout between the two just seems obvious.


Georges St. Pierre takes on all challengers, even outside the UFC

on Thursday, 09 June 2011. Posted in MMA

Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz

We all know the story of Georges St. Pierre, a superman  that comes as close to perfect as an MMA fighter can be, but what of his UFC 137 opponent Nick Diaz? If GSP is a major summer blockbuster then Diaz is a comic book available at most book stores near you, it has a good following but it’s not Inception.


Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson

on Saturday, 05 March 2011. Posted in MMA

The timeless and seemingly ageless Dan Henderson vies for Strikeforce gold for the second time in three fights on Saturday. His last two title shots left something to be desired, so what's in store for the affable, bridge-sporting, legally embattled Team Quest guru as he faces surging yet another elite Black House champion in Rafael Cavalcante?

Dan Henderson vs. Rafael Cavalcante – For Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Title

Henderson's been moderately uneven these last several years, having most recently handed Babalu yet another grotesque highlight reel KO loss to add to his growing resume of such. Prior to that, he worked Jake Shields a bit early en route to being out-wrestled (something of a rarity) and taken to a decision loss for the Strikeforce middleweight title. Feijao is the heavy-handed Black House striker notable for handing Mo Lawal his first loss in a battle for Mo's title, a fight in which Mo was heavily favored. He's only lost twice in his career; in the legitimate example, he was TKO'd by journeyman Mike Kyle and prior to that, he was disqualified for an illegal kick years before his recent resurgence.

UFC on Versus 3: Sanchez vs. Kampmann

on Wednesday, 02 March 2011. Posted in MMA


The KFC Yum! Center in Kentucky may be the best example of advertising gone wrong in sports arena branding, but it is also the host of this Thursday night’s third UFC event to be held on Versus.

Martin Kampman and Diego Sanchez will headline a fairly decent show for a free card, as they look for relevance in the welterweight title picture.


Both fighters last competed at UFC 121 this past October with Sanchez winning a vintage and gutsy decision against Brazilian Paulo Thiago, while Kampmann dropped a split decision against No. 1 contender Jake Shields.

Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix...Start Your Engines

on Monday, 14 February 2011. Posted in MMA

The first leg of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix kicks off this Saturday night at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. Not since the days of the Pride Fighting Championships i has a promotion assembled a more talent- rich group of heavyweights. Literally every top heavyweight not associated with the UFC will take part in this tournament. The last man standing will stake his claim as the world’s best.