UFC Quick Quote: Tito Ortiz is ’still a force to be reckon with’ based on UFC 98 main event
“Well, to start it off, I think Machida will win by what Joe Rogan calls, ‘elusiveness!’ or in my words ‘hit and run.’ This will be a great test for Evans to find the range to get the takedown. Machida is the favorite in my experience with both fighters. Never mind there’s only one of the fighters that are undefeated truthfully. That mark one on Rashad’s record isn’t a draw. It’s nice to see that one guy I almost submitted will be the champ and the other that I beat is the champ. I’m still a force to be reckon with.”
– Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz tells PunchDrunkGamer.com that he’s still got game because he’s given the UFC 98: “Evans vs. Machida” main event participants all they could handle. “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” battled current 205-pound champ, “Sugar” Rashad” to a draw at UFC 73: “Stacked” back in July 2007, but more than likely would have won the bout if he didn’t get docked a point for grabbing the fence in the second round. He then had Machida in big trouble courtesy of a triangle/armbar submission attempt late in the third round of their bout at UFC 84: “Ill Will” in May 2008. He eventually dropped the contest to “The Dragon” via clear-cut unanimous decision. So what say you … is Tito Ortiz still a major player at 205 pounds or can he still compete (and beat) the best in the world?
Dana White's UFC 98 Video Blog - Episodes 1 and 2
Check out Dana White's video blogs as he meets up with fans during the midnight release of UFC 2009: Undisputed, and gets left an interesting message on the sidewalk.
In the second video, Dana makes an appearance on the Opie and Anthony show, hangs out with Jimmy Fallon, and more.
Arlovski vs. Rogers added to June 6 Strikeforce event
Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski will step in for injured Strikeforce heavyweight titleholder Alistair Overeem against Team Bison member Brett “The Grim” Rogers at “Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields” on June 6.
Overeem has pulled out of the fight with a hand injury.
The Fight Network learned of the heavyweight contest from sources close to both fighters.
Rogers (9-0) is coming off a second-round TKO win over Abongo Humphrey at “Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz” on April 11. A veteran of the now-defunct Elite Xtreme Combat organization, Rogers boasts wins over heavyweight sluggers Jon Murphy and James Thompson.
Arlovski (15-6), meanwhile, has not seen action since challenging Fedor Emelianenko for the WAMMA heavyweight title at “Affliction: Day of Reckoning” on January 24. Training under Freddie Roach, one of boxing’s most highly acclaimed coaches, the Belarussian hopes to rebound from a first-round knockout against “The Last Russian Emperor” and move one step closer to putting gold back around his waist.
“The Pitbull,” who will be making his first appearance for the California-based Strikeforce promotion, was initially rumored to make his professional boxing debut in the aftermath of the loss to Emelianenko. But Arlovski is now set to return to his mixed martial arts roots against the less experienced Rogers.
A former UFC heavyweight champion, Arlovski has recorded wins over Roman Zentsov, Vladimir Matyushenko, Wesley Correira, Tim Sylvia, Paul Buentello, Fabricio Werdum, Ben Rothwell and Roy Nelson throughout his 10-year career.
The winner of this fight will likely go on to challenge heavyweight kingpin Overeem for the title later this year.
The Man with Two Souls
A rising star in his ethnic home of South Korea -- and at once a celebrated and reviled athlete in Japan -- Yoshihiro Akiyama represents by far the UFC’s greatest East Asian acquisition to date. Though reaction to his signing was subdued in the West, hearing he had opted to sign with the American mixed martial arts juggernaut -- instead of landing with Sengoku or K-1 -- was big news for fans in Japan in South Korea.
“I did consider fighting in Japan, but because of my age and the notion that the major leagues are in the US, I felt that the major leagues of MMA was the UFC,” Akiyama says. “No one can really go to the UFC just because they want to. The chances are very limited. I received the offer, and since it was my dream to fight on a larger stage, everything all came together at the right time, and I decided to go.”
As one of the best talents raised in Japanese MMA, Akiyama seems more than worthy to step into the Octagon. However, pundits view Akiyama’s ancestry and celebrity as an ethnic Korean as the keys to Zuffa’s plans, should the company expand into South Korea. Akiyama’s stardom in that country extends beyond combat sports and borders on that of a bona fide pop star.
Surprisingly, Akiyama does not believe his heritage alone will help the UFC grow in Korea. In fact, he expresses reservations with the idea and voices concern over the pervasive and trite overemphasis on national and ethnic identity.
“I think a lot of people tend to focus too much on nationality, and when they try to assert or put me into either category [Korean or Japanese], I’m saddened by it,” he says. “A lot of ‘Zainichi’ Koreans (ethnic Koreans living in Japan) feel the same way -- where they don’t know if they’re Korean or if they’re Japanese.”
Like many ethnic Koreans born, raised and living in Japan, Akiyama has dealt with the difficulties of fitting into two cultures, under constant scrutiny and with little room for foreign inclusivity; the consequences can be seen in his struggles in judo and MMA over the past eight years. Nevertheless -- unlike his harshest critics and detractors -- he harbors no bitterness; that allows him to reconcile and appreciate both identities.
Rising from the Slums
In Brazil, where an estimated 50 million people live in favelas, or slums, it’s common for a child to dream of changing his or her life through sports.
In years past, kids have aspired to follow in the footsteps of soccer idols like Romário and Ronaldo, both of whom were born in the Rio de Janeiro favelas. Nowadays, the popularity of mixed martial arts in Brazil and the growth of its international market have attracted more athletes from these poor communities who aim to become the next Wanderlei Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira or Anderson Silva.
*one of the best reads in a long time*
Chuck Liddell: War on retirement ‘blown way out of proportion’
“It’s like if you’re a kid and your parents don’t get along. They both called me up and talked to me, and they both love me and have my best interests at heart. I love both guys, and I’m not going to take sides. They’ve never liked each other. But they’ve always kept it quiet out of respect for me. Now that it’s going back and forth, it’s been blown way out of proportion.”
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell is uncomfortable with the public feud that he erupted between his longtime trainer, John Hackleman, and his boss and good friend, UFC President Dana White, over his retirement. White feels the “Iceman” — who has suffered three knockouts in his past five fights — “is past his prime, doesn’t need the money, and there is no purpose in risking permanent injuries.” Hackleman feels Liddell should be able to make up his own mind. Perhaps the only thing that will end this saga is a decision from Liddell, which is apparently still in the works.
Howard Davis Jr.: Chuck Liddell Should Take a Year Off, Retirement Decision Should Be His to Make
American Top Team boxing coach and Olympic gold medalist Howard Davis Jr. spoke with me about his work with Chuck Liddell prior to his UFC 97 loss against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Contrary to what some people believe, Davis said he really did work with Liddell for about two and a half months, and while he didn’t change his style he did try to add a couple tools to Liddell’s game. Here Davis talks about what Liddell’s recent loss means for his career, and whether he thinks the former UFC champ should call it quits like Dana White is insisting he do. He also touches on the addictive “drug” of being a world champion fighter, and why he thinks Liddell has seemed more vulnerable in recent bouts – and it’s not because he’s getting old.
Sport vs. Spectacle
In 1870, Jem Mace and Joe Coburn were tossed into competition with each other to decide the world’s bare-knuckle boxing champion -- a sport that played host to some horrific injuries. (Death, for example.)
Mace and Coburn contested the title for an astounding three hours and 45 minutes.
Neither man landed a single blow.
Not long after, someone made an attempt on Mace’s life.
To say it was someone who bought a ticket to that fight is perhaps not unreasonable.