10 Fights that Changed the Course of Careers
Take his career as a whole and Matt Hughes -- who competes Saturday for the first time since a second devastating loss to Georges St. Pierre -- is unquestionably the most accomplished 170-pound athlete to ever don a pair of open-fingered Ouano gloves.
With a list of casualties including B.J. Penn, Sean Sherk, and even St. Pierre himself, Hughes has run the gauntlet in one of the deepest talent pools in the sport. Yet the defining image fans will carry into his bout against Thiago Alves in London's O2 arena is his arm being torqued at unnatural angles at the hands of St. Pierre last December.
That sobering defeat could turn out to be the fulcrum on which Hughes' career now swings. Snapped from his perpetual dominance of the division, he may be more cognizant of his physical limitations and opponents may be less fearful of his abilities.
In properly melodramatic form: the St. Pierre loss could be the beginning of the end.
It wouldn't be the first time that five or 10 minutes managed to stall career momentum for good. Other athletes have had experiences that reduced them to shells of their former selves. Inversely, some fights have taken fighters to new levels of popularity and performance.
The psychological and physical reverberations of a good beat down -- taken or given -- can last the duration of a fighter's ring life.
Some examples, in ascending order of impact:
Despite injury, Chuck Liddell moving on and headed to London
At one time, UFC 85 was looking as if it might be one of the cards of the year. With a main event of Liddell against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, it almost didn't matter who was on the rest of the card.
Despite injury, Chuck Liddell moving on and headed to London
Thiago Alves: Perfect Timing
It seems that his Saturday fight against Matt Hughes at UFC 85 was "perfect timing" for Thiago Alves. A win not only means he'll have beaten perhaps the greatest welterweight ever, but it almost certainly means he'll be the #1 contender and get the first shot at the Georges St. Pierre-Jon Fitch winner.
Andre Gusmao Set For UFC Debut (Again)
Sources inside Andre Gusmao's camp have confirmed the fighter will make his UFC debut at UFC 87. He was originally expected to have debuted at UFC 81, but those plans were scrapped when it was discovered that Gusmao was still under contract to the IFL.
Mir's Coaches Revealed for TUF 8
The Ultimate Fighter 8 features former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir and current interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira as the head coaches. Two of Mir’s assistant coaches have been revealed according to a report on Tatame.com. Rafael Alejarra will serve as strength and conditioning coach, while multiple time Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion Robert Drysdale will take on the role, of course, of jiu-jitsu coach.
I haven't watched a single episode of TUF 7, but i am telling you right now i will watch every single episode of TUF 8 if only to witness Robert Drysdale. for a JJ fan like me this season will be incredible. i get to watch 2 of the best JJ fighters in MMA and also one of the best pure JJ fighters there is. i am really stoked that Drysdale will be one of Mir's coaches
This is gonna hurt: UFC serves Tito Ortiz with cease and desist for new book
The long arm of Zuffa law apparently extends to estranged former champions who write books and wear their belts on the covers.
Tito Ortiz — who just satisfied the final fight on his contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) — has been served with a cease and desist because his recently released autobiography, “This is Gonna Hurt,” violates the intellectual property rights of the mixed martial arts promotion, according to MMAPayout.com.
“The Huntington Beach Bad Boy,” according to the report, needed to get the stamp of approval from the UFC to sport the belt on the cover of the book. And he apparently did not get the green light or overlooked the clause in his contract.
UFC 85: MARQUARDT EYEING LEITES, TITLE SHOT
Hopefully Thales Leites is avoiding black cats and walking under ladders this week. He is scheduled to face Nathan Marquardt Saturday night in London at UFC 85, a bout that has been in the works for more than a year and a half. But due to issues regarding attaining a visa and injuries, both previously scheduled dates for this fight have fallen apart.
Mere days away, it looks as if this time Marquardt vs. Leites will finally happen, pitting two of the top middleweights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship against each other.
Leites has a strong background in competitive jiu-jitsu and enters the Octagon at the O2 Arena with a 12-1 professional record in mixed martial arts. His only loss in the UFC was in his promotional debut, dropping a decision to Martin Kampmann. He has since won three straight.
The only seven-time King of Pancrase in Japan and with more than 30 professional bouts to his credit, Marquardt has gone 5-1 in the UFC, his only misstep being a TKO loss to current middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Kampmann's Comeback Starts In London
He was one step away from a shot at Anderson Silva and the UFC middleweight title when disaster struck. Martin Kampmann blew out his knee, and for the 16 months since his injury, he has waited on the sidelines and watched fighters like Michael Bisping and Yushin Okami pass him in the rankings. Now the 26-year-old Dane finds himself in the back of the line again.
At the same time, "Hitman" is happy just to return to the Octagon. "I've been rehabbing my knee for quite a while, then getting back into training slowly one step at a time," Kampmann told Sherdog.com. "For the last couple of months, I've been back here in Vegas, training pretty hard for my fight."
His return bout takes place Saturday in London against fellow striker Jorge Rivera. On British soil Rivera is 4-1, with his lone defeat coming at the hands of Anderson Silva. He also recently ruined Kendall Grove's comeback fight by knocking him out in a mere 80 seconds. "I wasn't happy about him beating Kendall because he's a friend and a training partner of mine," Kampmann said. "His record doesn't bother me, though. It doesn't matter if we fight in the U.K. or the U.S. the result is still going to be the same."
Even after more than a year on the shelf, Kampmann remains optimistic for his middleweight encounter with Rivera. "Jorge is a tough guy but seems to be a little inconsistent," he said. "Sometimes he doesn't look that good, and other times he's a beast, so I'm preparing for the worst. I'm ready to take the fight anywhere it goes. I'll trade with him or I'll go to the mat with him either way I'm sure I can beat him. My knee is completely healed up, and I'm ready to fight."
London will be the closest to home Kampmann has fought in two and a half years. Obviously the likeable fighter from Aarhus, Denmark, is hoping for support from his countrymen. "I expect a lot of people from back home to be coming over now that it's a lot closer than usually," he said. "That's going to be cool. I have friends and fans from the U.K., too, so I'm sure there's going to be good support for my fight."
Xtreme Couture, the camp where Kampmann prepares when he is in the United States, has recently added some excellent new trainers and sparring partners. Kampmann, who holds the rank of "captain" at the Las Vegas gym, meaning that he is one of the main instructors, is full of praise for his new teammates. "Shawn Tompkins has been there for a while now, and he's got a great insight in the stand-up game," he said. "Ronaldo Jacaré and Robert Drysdale have come in more recently, and obviously they have a lot of skills. I have learned a lot from both of them. I also had the pleasure of cornering Jacaré for his last fight, and he looked great. I think he will win the [Dream middleweight] tourney."
By training with world-class teammates like the aforementioned trio, Kampmann, who started out as a pure kickboxer six years ago, has added some new assets to his already well-rounded game. "You don't really improve anything by sitting on the couch," he said. "So for the first six months after injuring my knee, I didn't have the chance to do much. But after that, I've been trying to improve all aspects of my game. I worked a lot on my wrestling lately; I feel it has gotten better."
In no way overlooking the tough-as-nails Rivera, Kampmann hasn't lost sight of his ultimate goal in the UFC: a title fight against Anderson Silva. "He's a tough guy, really bad ass," Kampmann said. "I enjoy watching him fight. Everybody can be beaten though, and that includes him, too."
Kampmann, who is 3-0 in the UFC and 15-2 overall, could get a chance to prove that point in a future title bout. To resume his march down the road to Silva, however, he must first go through Rivera.
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.