The Moment Of "Truth"
He seemed too good to be true.
With his first four UFC bouts totaling just more than eight and a half minutes combined, Brandon Vera emergence as a top heavyweight in 2005-06 made fans take notice. He could punch and kick with wicked effect, and he was a top-notch technician in all phases of the grappling game. A technical gem of sorts, with an engaging smile and easygoing charisma to boot. He had pedigrees galore extensive training with world class wrestlers, sublime submissions and explosive athleticism that left fans double taking when he stopped foes. Like the savage head kick that dispatched Justin Eilers or the wicked quick guillotine he used to tap out Assuerio Silva.
But facing former heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia last October, "The Truth" had a dose of hard luck that mushroomed, both in and out of the cage, sending him away with his first loss and managerial problems that sidelined him for several months. Sylvia was supposed to be the acid test to see if Vera was ready for a title shot. Instead, Vera broke his thumb with the first punch of the bout, then struggled en route to a three-round decision loss. "I broke my left thumb with the first punch I threw, got three screws in two places," Vera said. "I thought it was dislocated at first, and I was trying to put it back in, but that didn't work."
The two spent much of the fight clinched on the cage, with Vera giving up 6 inches and 40 pounds to the 6-foot-8, 265-pound Sylvia. With his injured hand, he was unable implement his game plan, and like many of Sylvia's opponents, found himself smothered by the gargantuan ex-champ. "I only had one arm to push him forward with, instead of two, which you need," Vera said. "He was the biggest guy in the division. I'm definitely not nervous about fighting anybody ever again."
It wasn't a blowout by any means, but the fireworks he'd shown in previous efforts were absent. "I've seen the tape a few times. Maybe I could strike more. We did get off the jab and combos, but it hurt to jab," he said. "I don't know what I could've done more. I look at it and say, ‘Kick more, you retard!'" Suddenly, Vera looked human injured thumb and all. Then he had a fallout with his manager at the time, with both parties settling in arbitration. He didn't get fights due to his legal entanglements, and, with the lackluster showing against Sylvia, was one step away from appearing on the back of a milk carton, as far as fans were concerned.
The exile ends Saturday. Facing Fabricio Werdum at UFC 85 in London, Vera has the chance to get back on track and revitalize a career that was stuck in limbo. Werdum, a world-champion submission grappler, is one of the few MMA heavyweights who might be able to best Vera on the ground. "It's a little different," Vera said. "Trying to do jiu-jitsu, that would be a stupid choice. I will do MMA jiu-jitsu and punch him. No pretty, technical setups. I won't go heads up with Werdum. I don't know if my jiu-jitsu is superior or worse, but obviously, it's his strong point."
Eric Del Fierro, Vera's standup coach, said that while they haven't been tweaking too much of his charge's training regimen -- which consists of flying back and forth between Chula Vista, Calif., and Virginia to train with ground instructor Lloyd Irvin -- there are some minor changes for Werdum. "Brandon's assets are the same. He's a strong kicker and moves like a light heavyweight, real good footwork," Del Fierro said. "We worked on his power and speed for this fight. He's aggressive and comes in to finish. The only thing we've [changed] is working on different stances, lowering his center of gravity."
Keeping the bout on the feet would definitely be to Vera's advantage. Werdum has beaten Gabriel Gonzaga twice, looking impressive on both occasions, but he found himself befuddled and stymied in a decision loss to Andrei Arlovski whose takedown defense and striking left the Brazilian largely unable to engage. Arlovski didn't press the issue, content to take a snoozer decision. Given the same circumstances, history indicates Vera will try and close the show. Yet with a record of 10-3-1, Werdum has faced impressive competition and has never been stopped. It's the kind of challenge Vera relishes. With five fights left on his UFC contract, he is back in the mix and a big win could make up for the lost time he spent dealing with his legal issues and the loss to Sylvia.
Heavyweight champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will take on ex-champ Frank Mir in December Vera dispatched Mir in 69 seconds in November 2006 so there's no reason to think a strong showing against Werdum wouldn't put his name on the short list of potential challengers. But he wants to earn it, to get back to the delicious position of being the guy on everybody's lips -- the heir apparent to the heavyweight belt.
"It all depends on how I look," Vera said of a possible title shot should he win. "Werdum is ranked five or six in the world. He's for sure the best fighter I've fought in my career to date. I'm sure I'm the most well-rounded heavyweight. If I squeak out a decision, I won't ask for one; but if I beat him soundly, [maybe]." And a showdown with Nogueira a living legend among hardcore fans for his gutsy battles in Pride before he joined the UFC would be the ultimate gut check. Nogueira is as tough as any fighter in the game, with the kind of blood-soaked resilience and heart you can't teach. You can spike him on his head (Bob Sapp) batter him with relentless ground and pound (Fedor Emelianenko) or send him staggering with crushing blows (Tim Sylvia) but he recovers and keeps battling.
Nogueira took the vacant UFC belt from Sylvia after Randy Couture (Pictures)'s split with the organization earlier this year. The bout was a roughneck encounter that saw Sylvia put heavy leather on the Brazilian for two taxing rounds, before he was taken down and submitted in a dramatic reversal of fortunes. "Honestly, Tim Sylvia summed it up best. He was whipping Nog's ass the first 10 minutes, then all of a sudden Nogueira wins. Nog's a soldier," Vera said. "He's the guy that would jump on a grenade in war and then put his guts back together and go shoot them up. You really have to fight Nog, fight to finish him, but fight smart. His MMA jiu-jitsu is so well rounded and so good. It's hard to do."
Vera/Werdum offers up some stylistic similarities, as Vera will be facing a world-class submission stylist. The fight could offer up a preview of how he might fare against the champion, or it could be a tough setback should Vera have another night like the loss against Sylvia.
"The Truth" will out.
In The Gym: Marcus Davis Preps For UFC 85
Sherdog.com's Greg Savage and Dave Mandel sat down with Marcus Davis (Pictures) to discuss his bout against Mike Swick (Pictures) this weekend at UFC 85.
In this exclusive look into the welterweight's training camp, the "Irish Hand Grenade" shares his thoughts on how the contest will unfold.
More in depth - Tito on Stern Radio
hey mod or anyone - sorry this isnt posted the right way but the site this is taken from is very messy and hard to navigate.
more long winded version of Tito with Howard Stern
Summary from Marksfriggin.com a Stern fan site:
Tito Ortiz Visits. 06/03/08. 9:00am
During the break Howard took a call from a guy who talked about how great Rosie was during that interview. Howard said that she was an excellent interview. He got back to his commercial after letting the guy go.
After the break we heard a prank call that High Pitch Eric made to a pharmacy about some ''twat cream.'' Howard came back a short time later and had fighter Tito Ortiz some in. Tito came in dressed in a suit so Howard asked him to model it for them since it was one of his company's suits.
Tito is leaving the UFC and moving on to another company. Howard said that Tito is complaining that they don't get paid what they deserve from the UFC so he's moving on. The boxers only get about 3 percent of the money that comes in. Tito said that he thinks that they should be getting 10, 20 or even 30 percent. He said that he made about $210,000 the last time he fought.
Howard asked what kind of numbers the Pay-Per-View events get. Tito said it's about a million at $50 bucks per subscription. Howard said that's like 50 million and he's looking for some of that money.
Tito won't even mention the name of the guy who runs the UFC because he's moving on to a better place. He told Howard that he'd do the same thing if he were him. He said that if you're not with the company, you're against the company. Tito said that he's with his own company now and he's going to go out and find the toughest guy he can to fight him.
Howard asked Tito if he's ever lost to anyone. Tito said that he just lost 2 weeks ago to a guy who was running away from him for 3 rounds. He said that he asked the guy to stop pussing out and just fight but he kept running away.
Howard asked Tito what to do in a street fight. Tito told him to talk his way out of it, that's what he does. He said that he doesn't need someone pulling a gun on him because he doesn't' know those Matrix moves.
Howard heard that Tito wasn't allowed into the press conference at the UFC the last time he fought. Tito said that a woman tried to stop him from getting in there so he told her to call security because he was going in. He said that he wasn't going to let them stop him from doing that.
Howard said that Tito is with Jenna Jameson right now but they have no plans to get married. Tito said that they are going to have kids eventually and they are working on that. He said that he's been having sex without protection. Howard told Tito that he doesn't want any kids himself so he wears a condom all the time. Howard said that he'd imagine that Tito would be able to impregnate her pretty quick if he was trying.
Howard read that Tito and Jenna were investigating Scientology and wondered what they have found out. Tito said that they have looked into a lot of religions but the whole Scientology thing might be too intense.
Howard asked Tito why he waited a month to bang Jenna. Tito said that it was all about respect. Howard also asked him about cheating on his first wife which he wrote about in his book ''This Is Gonna Hurt: The Life of a Mixed Martial Arts Champion.''
Howard asked Tito about his family life, which he also wrote about, and how his mother was addicted to heroin. Tito said that both of them were addicted to heroin and they both basically abandoned him. He said that he never brought his friends back to the house because he didn't want them to see the trailer they were living in or the stuff they left behind while they were doing heroin.
Tito said that he spoke to his father about 5 months ago after telling him that he never wanted to see him again. Tito said that his father basically quit on his family and that's what he sat down and talked to him about.
Tito talked about how great his ex-wife is and how she and Jenna get along. Howard asked him if he would ever want to get the two of them into bed together. Tito said that he would never want that and Jenna wouldn't either. Howard said that he knows Jenna and he thinks that she loves women. Tito said that she's over all of that and she wants to start a family now.
Tito said that he and Jenna have a lot of fun together and they don't need anyone else in the bedroom to do it. Howard was thinking that she was becoming a prude to get over the porn star stigma but Tito said that she's not a prude at home.
Howard asked Tito about dealing drugs as a kid and if his parents kind of got him into that. Tito said that he did that to pay rent. He said that he didn't understand anything at all back then. He said that he managed to get into wrestling and got a scholarship to college and he wanted to teach for a while but then he got into the UFC.
Howard asked Tito if his teeth were real because they looked perfect. Tito said they were real and he's managed to keep them because he's been so dominant in the fights. He said that he's 33 now but he wants to get out by the time he's 36. He said he wants to do promotions and find the next Tito Ortiz when he's done fighting himself.
Howard asked which martial arts is the best to learn. Tito said that kids should learn to wrestle because it can teach kids a lot. Howard asked if he ever had a penis slip out when he was wrestling. Tito said that has never happened. He said that he's glad it never did.
Howard gave Tito some plugs for some appearances he was making in the area and for his book. You can find out more at TitoOrtiz.com. Howard asked Tito when he last banged Jenna. Tito told him he'd have to use his imagination there.
High Pitch Eric called in to challenge Tito to a fight. Howard hung up on him half way through his challenge. Gay Ramone called in next and asked if he had ever had his asshole eaten out. Tito said that he hasn't had that done but he has had men come on to him. He said he has no problem with that and has some gay friends. Artie said he fantasizes about Tito beating the shit out of Gay Ramone.
A caller asked Tito why he can't just admit that the other fighter who beat him 2 weeks ago was just a better fighter. Tito said he never said he wasn't. Another guy said that he agrees with Tito and said that he did think that the other guy was running away from Tito. Howard wrapped up and went to break a short time later.
Tito Ortiz plans to launch own fight promotion
Tito Ortiz, a former UFC light heavyweight champion who's likely concluded his service to the organization, expects to launch his own fight promotion and co-promote shows with some of the sport's already established organizations.
Ortiz, who's currently promoting his new autobiography "This is Gonna Hurt," briefly mentioned his plans while a guest on today's Howard Stern Show.
Ortiz, who fulfilled the terms of his UFC contract after suffering a unanimous-decision loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 84, also criticized the UFC's pay scale and took a swipe at his recent opponent during the interview.
When asked about the UFC, Ortiz said he was "moving to a bigger and better company." When asked which one, he said he plans to launch his own.
"I'll be doing my own promotions and I'll possibly be co-promoting with some other companies already in the business," he said.
However, when asked about fighting on CBS (which has a deal with EliteXC), the 33-year-old said it was "possible."
Ortiz, who made $210,000 in his latest fight (according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission and Ortiz himself), estimated that UFC fighters are making only "about three percent" of the UFC's per-event take "if they're lucky." He said that prompted his decision to get in the fight-promotion business.
As for his latest fight, Ortiz said the UFC knowingly scheduled an opponent that would "run away from me for three rounds."
"There were a few times when I was like, 'Come on, man. Don't puss out. Let's fight,'" Ortiz said.
In The Gym: Alves Ready For Hughes
Sherdog.com's Greg Savage and Dave Mandel sat down with American Top Team welterweight Thiago Alves who takes on Matt Hughes this weekend at UFC 85.
In this exclusive look into Alves' training camp, "The Pitbull" discusses the contest and shares his thoughts on how the bout will unfold.
Hughes has expressed his desire to have a fight with Matt Serra "after he beats Alves" Big mistake to be looking past Alves one of the greatest WW's in the world.
With his newly honed takedown defense which he improved with Ferguson (a Judo expert) dangerous striking and all around ability I expect him to be fighting the winner of GSP/Fitch later this year.
WAR PITBULL !!!!
Marcus Davis is the Nostradamus of MMA
When Britain can’t beat Marcus Davis, that’s when “Britain Adopts Marcus Davis.” Or at least that’s what the UK Sun’s headline read after Marcus Davis KO’d Liverpool’s Jason Tan in Belfast, Ireland, at UFC 72, submitted Walsall’s Paul Taylor in UFC 75 at the O2 Arena, and knocked out London-based Jess Liaudin at UFC 80 in Newcastle. This Saturday, Davis will hop the pond for the fourth time in as many fights to take on Mike “Quick” Swick at UFC 85 in London, in what has finally become friendly confines for the Maine native.
“Swick’s going into my backyard,” Davis says, “because I’ve already been there, I’ve fought there—I’m very comfortable there. Not that I’m thinking that’s going to affect him. I mean, it’s never affected me to go into anyone’s back yard, and I’ve done it a lot. I’ve always been the bad guy. I fought on a Marine base [against Shonie Carter] and he was a Marine. I fought Pete Spratt in Houston, he was from Houston. I fought Paul Taylor in London, he was from England. I’ve always fought guys in their hometowns, and I’ve always beaten them. But Swick’s going over there, and he’s going to be the outsider.”
Whether or not his adopted hometown fans will come to his aid, one thing that seems inevitable is that pairing Mike “Quick” Swick and Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis will make for a super-charged war with plenty of immediate action. In all three of the aforementioned overseas fights, Davis won in the first round. In 2007 alone, Davis stole the show by earning four post-fight bonuses for knockout, submission and fight of the night. Of his eleven straight victories dating back to April of 2006, only two of those fights have gone the distance, and eight of them never made it past the opening round. In other words, Davis works fast. One might say faster than Quick, lately.
UFC Quick Quote: Karo Parisyan is a gatekeeper
“Karo Parisyan is kind of like the gatekeeper of the division….”
– UFC President Dana White last night referred to one of the top welterweights in the sport, Karo Parisyan, as a gatekeeper for the 170-pound division during the “UFC Countdown” to 85 hour-long special on Spike TV. White was talking about how impressive it was that Thiago Alves was able to take him out UFC Fight Night 13 and get a crack at Matt Hughes in the main event at “Bedlam” this Saturday in London, England. Perhaps White has a different definition of gatekeeper, but in most circles that is not necessarily a desirable distinction — especially for a fighter who was supposedly knocking on the door to a title shot before the loss and has just three losses in 11 attempts inside the Octagon.
Dante Rivera vs Matthew Riddle Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale fight slated
Dante Rivera and Matthew Riddle will clash at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 Finale at The Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, June 21 at 9 p.m. ET on SpikeTV, according to MMAWeekly.com.
Both contestants are currently competing as middleweights on this season of the show; however, both have been eliminated from the 16-man tournament-style format.
Rivera defeated John Wood via submission (kimura) to earn a spot in the fighter house during the debut episode. He then went on to outpoint Brandon Sene in a three-round “sudden victory” match, propelling him into the next round.
In his next match, Rivera went up against Jesse Taylor and had no answers for his relentless takedowns and wrestling skills. He went on to lose the match — and his chance at a six-figure contract — via decision.
Riddle, of course, is famous for the brutal jaw-breaking knockout of Dan Simmler in the first episode, as well as living in his mother’s basement and not having a driver’s license.
Michael Bisping is ‘better at everything than’ Jason Day at UFC 85
“He’ll be in good shape. He’s got a good record with lots of experience. He has all of those TKOs, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for his jiu-jitsu too. With that said, I really don’t think that will be a problem for me. As I said before, I have got that side of my game pretty much worked out. To be honest, he seems like a great guy. I have a lot of respect for him stepping up at short notice, and there’s no need to trash talk and drag this fight to the gutter. I just feel I am better at everything than he is. I’m ready for the challenge. I just hope he’s training hard and comes in great shape, so we can put on an exciting fight for the fans and let the best man win on the night.”
“The Count” shares his thoughts on his upcoming fight with Jason Day at UFC 85: “Bedlam” at the O2 Arena in London, England, on Saturday, June 7 at 3 p.m. ET on pay-per-view. To hear what his counterpart has to say click here. This is shaping up to be a very intriguing fight — color me curios.
Couture says he is okay not fighting again
I'm confident I'll fight again. I'm also OK with the idea that it may not happen," Couture said Saturday at the opening of his seventh Xtreme Couture gym. "I may get a bad (court) ruling and I can't really see myself at this point going back and fighting two more times for the UFC if that's what the state says I have to do. So there's the potential I could be done fighting and I'm OK with that too."
Kimmons replaces Sakara at TUF 7 Finale
Veteran middleweight Rob Kimmons (20-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will finally get a shot in the UFC when he replaces an injured Alessio Sakara (12-7 MMA, 3-4) at The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale.
Kimmons will meet Rob Yundt (6-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at the event, which takes place June 21 at The Palms Las Vegas.
A source from the Kimmons camp told MMAjunkie.com that the fighter was recently offered and signed for the bout. Sakara, meanwhile, told us that a broken ankle forced his withdraw from the Spike TV event.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Justin McCully planned for UFC 86
Former top UFC heavyweight contender Gabriel Gonzaga (8-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) will likely return from the first back-to-back losses of his career when he meets Justin McCully (8-3-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at UFC 86.
Sources close to both fighters tell MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the heavyweights recently accepted the bout and that it should be finalized shortly.
UFC 86 takes place July 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and airs live on pay per view.
Gonzaga, who began his UFC career with a 4-0 record, hasn't fought since a January second-round TKO loss to Fabricio Werdum at UFC 80. The televised bout was a rematch from their September 2003 meeting at Jungle Fight 1 in Brazil. Werdum TKO'd Gonzaga in that event, as well.
Prior to the loss, Gonzaga fought at UFC 74 in August 2007 and suffered a third-round TKO to UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture.
McCully, meanwhile, will return to action for the first time since his April 2007 unanimous-decision victory over Antoni Hardonk. McCully, part of Tito Ortiz's Team Punishment, had been a rumored opponent for Frank Mir, but the bout was apparently scrapped when the former champ was selected to coach opposite current champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on the upcoming eighth season of "The Ultimate Fighter."
UFC 84 fighters test clean
All fighters tested as part of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's May 24 event in Las Vegas have tested clean for performance-enhancers and drugs of abuse.
Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer today confirmed the clean UFC 84 tests in an email sent to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"UFC 84: Ill Will" took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. B.J. Penn defended his UFC lightweight title against former champ Sean Sherk in the night's main event.
Both fighters passed tests prior to the event as part of the NSAC's new year-round, random drug testing initiative.
UFC 85: Marcus Davis expects a knockout
Marcus Davis is perhaps the most underrated fighter in the welterweight division right now. A contestant on season two of “The Ultimate Fighter,” he has become one of the most improved fighters in the sport today. When Davis first started in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, he was known mostly as a boxer, but has improved his jiu-jitsu game substantially since.
He will look to continue his ride at UFC 85 against another Ultimate Fighter alumna, Mike “Quick” Swick. Knowing he was going to fight Swick pretty early on, Davis has been preparing for a while.
“I had a feeling the fight was going to happen way back at the UFC that happened at Ohio,” Davis commented. “I had already been offered the contract to fight Mike Swick, and I signed it. Since then, I've been focusing on this fight. I'm ready to get in and get it over with.”
Since The Ultimate Fighter, Davis has increased his strength and stamina tremendously and it has shown in his last few fights. The “Irish Hand Grenade” is looking to beef up even more for this fight.
“This is the longest training camp I had ever. I wanted to gain muscle mass. The heaviest I got was 193 pounds, but it was 193 pounds with eight percent body fat.”
Matt Wiman- Are You A Believer?
For men of faith like Matt Wiman, the quarter inch surgical tape and gauze that constitute the wrap beneath hands donning 5 ounce fingerless gloves are symbols of a path that he merely is on, not directing. The Christian pugilist is not a new species of athlete, but merely one that reveals a newer dimension when presented to the world.