Pros Picks: Liddell vs. Rua
A few years back, a showdown between Chuck Liddell and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua would have been a fight fan’s dream matchup. Liddell was the defending UFC light heavyweight champion and at the top of his game while laying out opponents like kitchen tile. Rua was on a meteoric rise through Pride Fighting Championships’ ranks, rivaling Liddell’s fistic floor masonry in Japan. Before Zuffa bought out Pride, it seemed like a full-scale tilt between these two explosive knockout artists would never materialize.
Thankfully the fight will finally come to fruition this Saturday at UFC 97 in Montreal, but like Liddell’s stellar conquest of Rua’s former Chute Boxe teammate Wanderlei Silva, the matchup is being purchased off the shelf a few years after its expiration date. Looking at his most recent bouts, Liddell’s age appears to be catching up to him and the 39-year-old icon just might be a bit past his fighting prime.
Rua, 27, has had a rocky transition to the cage, where his stamina has been harshly tested. Once feared for his heavy, looping punches, Liddell has been knocked out at the hands of Quinton Jackson and Rashad Evans in the last two years. Rua was soundly beaten by Forrest Griffin and nearly suffocated in a near hilarious, though triumphant, scuffle with fighting fossil Mark Coleman.
Luckily for the fans though, Liddell-Rua should still be an all-out war, a skirmish that could wind up being a “fight of the year” candidate when all is said and done. Will Liddell’s experience and hunger to recapture his title, along with a new striking coach, earn him another highlight-reel knockout? Will Rua have made the necessary adjustments to avoid exahaustion and finally get on the tear that UFC fans expected from him from the start?
Many professional trainers and fighters think they have the answer to those questions. Sherdog.com recently polled dozens of the pros in an attempt to get a read on the pulse of the MMA elite. Some were a little hesitant to comment on the fight, but the brave ones put their names and reputations on the line and boldly picked a winner.
Nate Quarry talks UFC 97 & Video Games!
PDG: UFC 97 in Montréal, Canada is a pretty stacked card; what fights are you looking forward to seeing that night?
Quarry: Any time that you get a chance to fight on a card with Chuck Liddell and Anderson Silva, it is a real treat. I have been a fan of Chuck's for a long time and we are also friends. So being able to be there and to say I fought on the same card as Chuck Liddell is a real honor. That is something that I will always remember.
Frank Trigg offers to "retire" Frank Shamrock
UFC, PRIDE and Strikeforce veteran – and co-host of MMAjunkie.com Radio – Frank Trigg (19-6) is currently on a four-fight win streak, yet he doesn't know where or when his next bout will take place.
But on Wednesday's edition of MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio), Trigg identified one opponent he believes would be easy prey: Strikeforce middleweight Frank Shamrock (23-10-2).
"They can have me fight him any time they want up there," Trigg said. "Put it back at 180 (pounds) again, and I'll put him into retirement. It's not that difficult. Frank Shamrock's only got like two or three fights left in his life."
Trigg fought once for the California-based organization, defeating Falaniko Vitale in October 2008. The 36-year-old said he would love the opportunity to return to the organization in a chance to prove just how far Shamrock has fallen in recent defeats to Nick Diaz and Cung Le.
"How much [expletive] can you talk to Frank Shamrock?" Trigg asked. "He's not that good. The sport has passed him by.
"Do you really want to be seen training on Lamaze balls? Is that really what you want to do? That's what he does. Half of his techniques are done on Lamaze balls. I'm like, 'OK. That's really interesting. That's great. Who's teaching you your takedown defense?'"
Trigg questioned Shamrock's commitment to preparation for his April 11 main event with Diaz at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
"You live in [expletive] San Jose," Trigg said. "There's like 75 great wrestlers that live right down the street from you. You don't train with any of them? That doesn't make any sense to me.
"You're a great striker, you're incredibly athletic, you have a great ability to talk before the fights, you've got a great ability to sell the fight. But then you're striking hasn't changed. Your ability, your flexibility, your ability to hit your punches hasn't changed. You haven't learned – knowing full well against a guy who's going to do takedowns – how to stop a takedown and how to keep it on your feet where you would have had a shot to win.
"But then, you're on your feet and you got out-punched by a jiu-jitsu guy. It doesn't make any sense."
While Trigg's career has been filled with bouts against the world's top competitors, he last fought in a unanimous-decision win against an unheralded Danny Babcock. While the win certainly wasn't a career-builder, Trigg insists Shamrock's current 1-3 streak proves he's no longer relevant.
"The sport's just passed [Shamrock] by," Trigg said. "It's the same thing I said to Ken (Shamrock). It's the same thing I said to Mark Coleman. It's the same thing I said to Tito Ortiz: The sport has passed you by.
"You haven't adjusted. You haven't learned. You haven't spent the time being in the academy every day trying to learn. You're out there [expletive] around doing other stuff when you're not training. It's not smart anymore for this sport...
Dodging bullets and prison visits keep Houston Alexander focused for UFC 98
After opening his UFC career with two first-round TKO wins, Alexander has now dropped three-straight contests. But despite the struggles, "The Assassin" recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that he's not worried about losing his place in the UFC.
"I'm not feeling any pressure at all," Alexander said. "When you have children, the only pressure you feel is taking care of your kids. As far as the world, or pleasing anybody else, I don't feel any pressure from that."
It's not that Alexander isn't working to turn his situation around. In fact, the Nebraska native is focused on doing exactly that when he daces Andre Gusmao (5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at UFC 98 in May.
"I've kind of stepped up a little bit," Alexander said. "We've been going to different camps and dealing with different bodies and different individuals. It's been working out really good."
Ed Herman: It’s win or get cut at UFC 97
“I think this is going to be a really exciting fight. Hopefully it’s Fight of the Night or Ass Whooping of the Night. I’m looking to finish him as fast as I can…I’ve lost two in a row and if I lose another fight, the UFC will probably cut me so I’m trying to keep my job. It’s rough times. It’s a bad economy, so I gotta keep my damn job so I can keep living. I respect Loiseau, but on the 18th, I’m going in there to beat his ass.”
– Ed Herman — middleweight finalist on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 3 — talks about his upcoming fight with hometown favorite David Loiseau at UFC 97 from The Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on April 18. “Short Fuse” is looking to rebound from back-to-back losses and prevent himself from being a victim of a contractual “Spring Cleaning.” That might not be so easy against “The Crow,” who also is fighting to remain on the UFC roster. The former middleweight contender was invited back to the Octagon after putting together a solid 4-2 record outside of the promotion. Loser leaves town? Perhaps not if they can pull off fight of the night. What say you?
Frank Shamrock: Nick Diaz kicked my ass
“I give everything to Nick Diaz. I knew he was a dangerous opponent. Nick kicked my a– tonight; there’s no two ways about it. Nick was just the better man. He hit me in the guts, and that was about all the juice I had. I doubled over, and he put a whoopin’ on me. This is my hometown; this is my arena. I’m 36. I’m still going. I’ll be back here. Don’t even worry about it. There’s always tomorrow.”
-Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Frank Shamrock (23-10-2) comments on his main event bout with Nick Diaz at the Strikeforce event that took place on April 11 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. Shamrock — who defeated Diaz’ mentor Cesar Gracie in just 21 seconds back in 2006 – found himself on the other end of the whoopin’ for a change. Diaz was dominant from start to finish and left the usually insolent Shamrock both humbled and respectful after the show. What’s left now for the 36-year old Shammy going forward? Time will tell…
UFC Quick Quote: Rich Franklin wants to train with Wanderlei Silva after their date in Deutschland
He had invited me to train at his gym in Las Vegas before this fight had been scheduled. I have enormous respect for Wanderlei Silva … I’m always in Vegas and intend to train at his academy after this fight. We’re great fighters but UFC wanted to make this fight …. [Silva] is very strong, fast and has knockout power in his hands. Everything I know it’s going to be a big fight. He has victories over Rampage in PRIDE and Jardine in UFC. He’s still hazardous as he was in PRIDE and is still exciting in action. I’m training my clinch, training hard to avoid his Muay Thai clinch. I’m training wrestling and jiu jitsu as well and the rest of the aspects I have trained as I usually do to face other fighters.”
– Get the snorkels ready! Former middleweight champion Rich Franklin reveals (via Fighters Only Magazine) his intentions to train alongside Wanderlei Silva after the pair collide in a 195-pound catchweight bout during the UFC 99: “The Comeback” main event from the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany, on June 13. Both fighters are in must win situations. Who ya got?
MMA Quick Quote: Frank Shamrock is a fight fixer and a robber … not a legend
“I know he doesn’t want to go to the ground with me ’cause I’d tap him out quick and probably embarrass him. So he’ll try to trade strikes. I don’t mind…. We’ll like I said he’s weak on the ground so he’ll be doing everything to keep it standing. He thinks he’s a great striker and I want to see how great…. He’s not a legend to me. Back in the day he was fighting fixed matches in Japan and supplementing himself with who knows what. Before that he was in a California Youth Prison for robbing houses. If that’s your idea of a legend you might want to reassess your thinking.”
– Nick Diaz tells how he really feels about former UFC middleweight champion and mixed martial arts pioneer, Frank Shamrock, in a recent interview. Shamrock and Diaz are slated to touch ‘em up tomorrow night (April 11) at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, Calif., during the main event at Strikeforce: “Shamrock vs. Diaz.” And it can’t come soon enough — the two have traded back-and-forth barbs for months. Now it’s time to let the fists fly and let them do all the talking inside the cage.
Exclusive Frank Shamrock Interview
Frank Shamrock has a lot to say in this interview, including what he thinks of his brother, his upcoming opponent, and why he isn't regarded as one of the legends of the sport.
Frank also unveils what his plan will be to celebrate once he knocks Nick Diaz out.
Check it out.
Steinbeiss talks about cancelled UFN 18 Fight
PDG: How did you find out that your fight with Ryan Jensen was canceled?
Steinbeiss: We were about 30 seconds away from stepping up onto the stage for weigh-ins and right then they pulled us aside and said that the fight wasn't going to go on because of the Adderall thing.
PDG: That had to be pretty disappointing considering all the work that you put in to prepare yourself for that fight.
Steinbeiss: Most people have no idea; I made the weight and was ready to go through the weigh-ins and then pound some Pedialyte. 10 weeks of hard training and then the day before the fight you find out it is canceled. It certainly took the wind out of my sails.
Michael Bisping ‘too quick’ and ‘too fast’ for Dan Henderson at UFC 100
Spending so much time around him has given me confidence. Obviously I grew up in MMA watching Dan Henderson fight and he was a hero for me. I watched him win two belts in two weight divisions [in Pride FC]. I am looking forward to the fight and I’m going in really confident that he is going to lose … in fact I know he is going to lose. I am going to win every minute of every round for the whole fight. I am going to be too quick for him, too fast. His striking is no where near my level. All I’ve got to watch out for is a big right hand and the clinch. As long as I avoid that I think it’s my fight to lose.”
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 3 light heavyweight winner, Michael Bisping, keeps up the confidence as his showdown with Dan Henderson at UFC 100 on July 11 draws closer. “The Count” has been talking a good game to promote the middlweight showdown, saying previously that Henderson is “nowhere near his level.” In this interview, Bisping once again takes a shot at another top contender, Demian Maia, calling him a “one-trick” pony who he would “stuff like a Christmas Turkey” is the two ever met inside the Octagon. The winner of the match up between Bisping and Henderson, as well as Maia, are the front runners to challenge for the 185-pound title next. The next few months should be very interesting for the suddenly crowded middleweight class.
to the mania page.
Diego Sanchez: One win away from UFC title shot at 155 pounds?
Currently on a three-fight win streak, UFC welterweight-turned-lightweight Diego Sanchez (20-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) believes he's one solid win away from a shot at the UFC's lightweight 155-pound title.
And on the most recent episode of HDNet's "Inside MMA," Sanchez said the UFC feels the same way.
"I have been given word that a dominating victory over Clay Guida, which I intend to do, will be put me right in my spot for the title shot," Sanchez said.
Sanchez meets Guida at the Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale on June 20 in Las Vegas.
Sanchez, winner of season one of "The Ultimate Fighter," went through a rough stretch in 2007 with back-to-back decision losses to Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck - the first two losses of his then-five-year-old career.
Sanchez believes his first-round TKO win over Florian in 2005's original Ultimate Fighter Finale, and his size advantage in his new division, prove he's ready for the challenge.
"Being one of the biggest 155-pounders is going to give me a great edge," Sanchez said. "I've beat Kenny Florian in a decisive fashion, so I put myself as a No. 1 contender - and I'm here to prove that."
Brock Lesnar on UFC 100: "Is Frank really hurt, or is he just scared?"
A knee surgery Mir deemed necessary forced the rescheduling of the bout, but in the most recent episode of HDNet's "Inside MMA," Lesnar said he's not sure the move was made for the right reasons.
"I'm a little disappointed that it got pushed back," Lesnar said. "In my mind, is Frank really hurt, or is he just scared?"
Mir submitted Lesnar with a knee bar at UFC 81 in February 2008. Lesnar's first trip to the octagon - and his just his second career fight - Mir found himself in trouble early in the contest, but took advantage of a restart by referee Steve Mazagatti to lock in the fight-ending maneuver.
Lesnar said he's learned his lesson regarding the over-aggressive approach that cost him the bout.
"The biggest thing was that you've got 15 minutes," Lesnar said. "As soon as I entered the octagon, there were a few other key factors that played into why I rushed the fight. But those would be just plain old excuses.
Wand Breaks Down Liddell-Shogun
“… I told him: Liddell is not Coleman. He is an aggressive guy, has heavy hands and does not give up. If he hits you on the chin, probably a KO. Shogun has a very aggressive style and has to be in very good shape, with much cardio, because he doesn’t stop. He goes with punches, kicks, knees and takedowns. With him there’s no asking to stop. So he has to give good attention to the cardio because his style requires much cardio. He is a very talented guy, but age comes for everyone, including him. Then with time he will realize that nowadays we … must have a higher preparation. The guys are always getting better here. Shogun is a guy who can win the belt soon. He is in the front of the line. I believe in him. I think he’ll have a great performance against Liddell. I would not be surprised if he knocks him out or submits him. If he gets a takedown, I think it ends in the second round by submission.”
Wanderlei Silva has faith that his former Chute Box training partner and good friend, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, will finish former light heavyweight champion, Chuck Liddell, when the pair collide at UFC 97: “Redemption” from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on April 18. Shogun has battled injuries, as well as serious fatigue, in his two performances inside the Octagon since coming over from Pride FC to much fan fare in late 2007. He has certainly not lived up to the hype as the best 205-pound fighter in the world, losing to Forrest Griffin via submission in his debut and having trouble putting away what should have been a very overmatched Mark Coleman earlier this year. Rua needs to prove that he can hang with the big cats in the UFC. And an impressive win over “Iceman” would do just that.
UFC Quick Quote: Bobby Lashley wants to prove he belongs in the UFC
I’ve had dialogue with (the UFC) over the past few days. They know where my mind frame is. I hold the UFC in high regard and I believe the UFC is a place where you have to be at a certain level before you get there. I want to be a serious contender for a title before I go in there. When I get to the UFC, I want people to say ‘Bobby is good enough to go for the title.’ I would like to be holding a 5-0 or 6-0 record, somewhere around there before going into the UFC. If I can take what I do in practice and put that into a match — then you’ll see a whole different Bobby than what you saw the other day.
-Fresh off his unanimous decision victory over Jason Guida at “March Badness,” former WWE superstar and decorated amateur wrestler Bobby Lashley tells host Larry Pepe on MMAmania.com’s exclusive presentation of Pro MMA Radio that his ultimate goal is to be a major player in the UFC — but understands that he must first become a reputable fighter prior to a potential debut. Lashley (2-0) looked a bit green against Guida last Saturday night in only the second MMA match of his career, but vows to improve and work his way to the top.
New Jamie Varner Interview
WEC Lightweight Champion Jamie “C-4” Varner recently spoke with PDG about his recovery from injuries sustained in his victory against “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone, the fans that hate and when he will return to defend his belt.
PDG: Obviously, people are going to want to see a rematch between you and “Cowboy” Cerrone; any objections?
Varner: I will smash his face in. I was kicking his ass in the first round of our fight but I broke my hand and that is when the fight changed. That was the first fight in my career where I actually got hurt. I would like to think that the odds of that happening again are very slim and I think that a rematch would be an easy fight.
BJ Penn: ‘We have to defend the (UFC) lightweight title’
We’re looking for a return, we have to defend the lightweight title. It’s been long, it’s been overdue since we defended the lightweight title. I had to heal up some of my injuries that I suffered from the Georges St. Pierre fight. I’m all good now so we’re gonna move forward with my same team, my same camp and we’re gonna make a run to defend the lightweight title — I think it’s either late July or early August.
-UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn talks about returning to the 155-pound division just hours after his hearing in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) regarding the accusations he made about current welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre getting greased up in between rounds of their championship superfight at UFC 94 “St. Pierre vs. Penn 2? back on January 31. While the controversy is far from over, it’s refreshing to hear “The Prodigy” speak about getting back to business in the lightweight division — where a handful of contenders (including Kenny Florian) are eagerly awaiting his return.
Demain Maia likes Shogun’s chances against Chuck Liddell
"[Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is] super professional … He’s away from Curitiba (Shogun’s home town) and it’s good for him to get more concentrated. He’s on the right way, but [it is] still far from the fight, still has four weeks. He’ll get to the top now. I don’t know about Chuck, how is his preparation, but I think Shogun is very talented and, well trained, is hard to be beat…. I don’t think that the fight with Coleman was bad. It was a very intense fight, maybe he got tired more, but I think he fought well. He got tired, that’s normal. People forget that Coleman fought with Fedor few time ago and did a great fight, he is very tough… It’s not because he’s 45 that that you have to go there and kill him.”
In an interview with undefeated middleweight contender Demian Maia talks about helping Mauricio “Shogun” Rua prepare for his upcoming 205-pound battle against former division champion Chuck Liddell at UFC 97: “Redemption” on April 18. Maia is perhaps the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist currently on UFC roster, winning all five of his fights inside the Octagon with insane submissions. He makes it look so easy. Might he be showing “Shogun” a thing or two to surprise the “Iceman” on fight night with a ground attack? We will see soon enough.