THE ART OF WAR AS STRATEGIZED BY ST PIERRE
“The clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him.”
- Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”
Current UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre may not have studied the famous text by Chinese General Sun Tzu, but he certainly employs his strategies in all of his fights.
Whether it was out wrestling Josh Koscheck, putting a ground clinic together against Matt Serra, or simply overpowering Matt Hughes, St. Pierre has taken the best weapon away from each of his opponents and made it his own strength.
Now St. Pierre faces his toughest challenge to date at UFC 87 when he faces top contender Jon Fitch, who is an extremely well rounded and dangerous fighter in all parts of his game. Despite the odds making him a huge favorite, St. Pierre isn’t looking past Fitch at all.
“A lot of people make me try to see through Jon Fitch and I don’t want that. I made a mistake once, I don’t want to do it again,” said St. Pierre alluding to his loss to Matt Serra. “Jon Fitch is probably the most dangerous guy I’ve fought so far, he’s a new breed of mixed martial arts fighter. Very well rounded.”
PENN MOVING TO 170 REGARDLESS OF UFC 87 OUTCOMES
"I don't think he'll get the winner of Fitch and GSP, said the UFC president. "He wants to fight GSP if GSP wins the title. GSP has a win over him. He wants to try to beat GSP. I don't think he'd move up if Fitch won."
Penn disagrees, commenting, "I'd feel okay facing anyone for the welterweight title."
"Jon Fitch is a great opponent, a tough opponent, but St. Pierre brings the whole backing of Canada with him to a fight," stated Penn. "Fan base, this sport, it's entertainment. It would be great to put on a big fight with me and St-Pierre, but then again, it’s about me fighting the best fighter and if Fitch goes down and proves he’s the best fighter, then he’s the man.”
Pros Pick: UFC 87
With one of the more intriguing tripleheaders in recent memory taking place at UFC 87 on Saturday, Sherdog.com turned to the pros for predictions on Georges St. Pierre vs. Jon Fitch, Roger Huerta vs. Kenny Florian and Brock Lesnar vs. Heath Herring.
Herring won't hesitate to take out Lesnar...
MINNEAPOLIS – Heath Herring chuckled at the mention of what undoubtedly is the biggest mistake of his professional life.
For the last 13 months, rarely has a day gone by where someone hasn’t asked the fighter known as “The Texas Crazy Horse” about the events of UFC 73.
A career-defining and, perhaps, career-changing victory was in his grasp and he hesitated. He looked at a fallen Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and hesitated. Herring didn’t pounce on Nogueira and finish him after a kick to the head nearly knocked Nogueira out.
Thales Leites vs. Goran Reljic signed for UFC 90
Thales Leites (13-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and Goran Reljic (8-0 MMA, 1-0) have agreed to meet in a middleweight bout at October's UFC 90 pay-per-view eveent.
A source close to Leites said bout agreements were recently signed and that fight is now official.
Leites was expected to fight in September at UFC Fight Night 15 but will instead return at UFC 90, which takes place Oct. 25 at Allstate Arena just outside Chicago.
Leites will go for his fith straight victory in the UFC since suffering a unanimous-decision loss to Martin Kampmann at his 2006 octagon debut. The 27-year-old Brazilian most recently scored a split-decision victory over Nate Marquardt at UFC 85, though the win was aided by Marquardt's two costly point deductions.
Leites will now meet undefeated Crotian Reljic, who will drop to middleweight for the fight. The fighter, who competed throughout Eastern Europe before signing with the UFC, scored a second-round TKO of Wilson Gouveia at UFC 84. It was his eighth straight victory -- and the seventh to come via stoppage.
Jorge Rivera's daughter dies suddenly
My heart goes out to the family.
Janessa M. Rivera
Janessa M. Rivera CRANSTON, R.I. Janessa Marie Rivera, 17, passed suddenly at Kent County Hospital, Warwick, R.I., on Aug. 5, 2008, after being stricken.
Alessio Sakara vs. Joe Vedepo likely for UFC Fight Night 15
Another Midwest-based fighter could make his UFC debut when the organization heads to Omaha next month.
A source close to UFC newcomer Joe Vedepo (7-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the middleweight fighter has verbally agreed to meet Alessio Sakara (12-7 MMA, 3-4 UFC) at next month's UFC Fight Night 15 event.
The bout has not been signed, but bout agreements should be distributed shortly, the source said.
UFC Fight Night 15 takes place Sept. 17 at the Omaha Civic Auditorium and airs on Spike TV. The event, co-headlined by Nate Diaz vs. Josh Neer and Mac Danzig vs. Clay Guida, precedes the debut episode of "The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir."
Vedepo, a part of the Cedar Rapids-based Team Hardrive MMA, won the Midwest Cage Championship middleweight belt with a June victory over Brian Green (15-10). Both fighters entered the bout knowing that a major-league contract offer could be on the line. The bloody, back-and-forth main-event fight ultimately ended via a third-round verbal submission in favor of Vedepo.
The 25-year-old former light heavyweight and stand-out high school wrestler has never gone to decision; he's won four fights via knockout and three by submission.
Sakara, meanwhile, will look to push his UFC record to .500. He most recently suffered a loss to Chris Leben at UFC 82 in March. The hard-hitting Italian's other losses have come to Houston Alexander, Drew McFedries and Dean Lister; victories have come over James Lee and Victor Valimaki via knockout, and Elvis Sinosic via unanimous decision.
The American Top Team fighter has lost four of his past six fights.
Jason Lambert vs Jason Day UFC 88 fight set
Jason Lambert (23-8) and Jason Day (17-7) will meet inside the Octagon at UFC 88: “Breakthrough” at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga., on September 6.
MMAmania.com was able to independently confirm the booking, which was originally posted over at FiveOuncesOfPain.com.
“The Punisher” appears to be making the drop to middleweight after competing most of his career in the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions. Perhaps back-to-back losses to 205-pounders Wilson Gouveia and Luis Arthur Cane, respectively, convinced Lambert to try his luck in the 185-pound division.
Lambert has three losses in his last five attempts within the eight-sided cage.
Day was victorious in his debut for the promotion against Alan Belcher at UFC 83: “Serra vs. St. Pierre 2? in April, upending Alan Belcher via first round technical knockout. The Canadian product was then stopped himself in the same fashion less than two months later when he locked horns with Michael Bisping at UFC 85: “Bedlam.”
Dana White impressed with Heath Herring 2.0
“The thing about Heath Herring is that he not only says he’ll fight anyone, he proves it because he gets in there and does it. But he kind of always teetered between being a success and mediocrity. He’d win one, he’d lose one, and he just sometimes struck you as a flabby guy who wasn’t particularly dedicated. He’s all of a sudden changed his tune, and he’s much more serious and focused and dedicated. And when Heath Herring is focused and in shape, he’s a tough guy for anyone to beat.”
– UFC President Dana White tells Yahoo!Sports.com that he likes what he sees with the improved Heath Herring, who has adopted a new nutritional program and re-dedicated himself to training. Perhaps the massive man who will stand across from him inside the Octagon, Brock Lesnar, at UFC 87: “Seek and Destroy” this weekend has lit a fire under the “Texas Crazy Horse.” It should be real interesting to see how this unfolds on Saturday night.
BJ Penn On Future, Plans For DEC 27 Showdown
In an exclusive video interview with MMAWeekly.com at last weekend’s International Mixed Martial Arts Expo, Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion B.J. Penn spoke about his future plans.
In a meeting with UFC president Dana White last week, Penn extended his UFC contract for “a couple more years,” and said a Dec. 27 return to the Octagon is imminent.
Penn returned to the gym recently after a two-month layoff. After realizing a gap between his talents and ambition, Penn poured himself into training over the last year and a half, delivering stellar performances against Jens Pulver, Joe Stevenson, and Sean Sherk in the process. Now the undisputed champion, Penn needed to take a break before his intensity compromised his health.
“It came to the point where it was like, if you don’t do this it’s going to hurt you really bad down the road,” he said.
Healed up from nagging injuries, Penn is again eyeing the welterweight and lightweight divisions for December. Two benchmark fights happen at this weekend’s UFC 87 event in Minnesota: Georges St. Pierre vs. Jon Fitch and Kenny Florian vs. Roger Huerta. The result of those contests could very well determine Penn’s next two opponents. He made it clear that his preference is for the 170-pound division, which means that he is watching the main event of UFC 87 very closely.
‘Rush’ to judgement: An exclusive interview with UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre
It’s impossible for mixed martial arts fans to agree on who is the best fighter in the world. But one thing they can agree on is that UFC welterweight champion Georges “Rush” St. Pierre is on the very short list of names for consideration.
At 16-2 and just 27 years of age, the Canadian phenom has already been through a meteoric rise and fall - and subsequent rise in the annals of UFC superstardom.
“There were problems” the champ tells me when I ask him about the difficulties in his past, including his loss to Matt Serra. “But part of growing up is recognizing what is wrong and then doing what is right”.
St. Pierre had the unenviable task of growing up in the public spotlight. And in that spotlight, sometimes you’re only as good as your last fight.
Yet that seems to be an approach that ‘Rush’ has embraced heading into his fight against Jon Fitch at UFC 87. No more looking back on what he’s done. Conversely, no more looking ahead to what he might do.
“Jon Fitch is my focus right now. Nothing else.”
I spoke to the St. Pierre at 35,000 feet, en route to Minneapolis for his August 9 showdown with Jon Fitch at UFC 87: ‘Seek and Destroy’. We covered everything from training in Brazil to a possible showdown with Anderson Silva.
And what about all that talk from BJ Penn about gunning for a rematch?
Check it out.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Georges, first and foremost thank you for taking the time to talk with us again at MMAmania. Let’s get the requisite health question out of the way. How are you feeling physically?
Georges St. Pierre: I am 110%. I am in the best shape of my life.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): How good does it feel to have the two Matt’s (Serra and Hughes) finally behind you?
Georges St. Pierre: It is a relief and it is good for my health, but I cannot relax because there are still so many challenges ahead of me. There is no resting anymore.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): On Saturday you’ll be facing Jon Fitch who trains with Josh Koscheck - one of the few fighters that took you to a decision. Does that put you at a disadvantage coming into this fight?
Herring confident of success
Heath Herring will head into the Octagon against Brock Lesnar at UFC 87 on Saturday with no sense of fear.
Former WWE star Lesnar is looking to get his UFC career up and running following his defeat to Frank Mir at UFC 81, but he has been pitched in at the deep end against veteran Herring.
Herring, known as The Texas Crazy Horse, will not underestimate Lesnar but feels he has come up against better fighters during his career.
“I’ve fought bigger guys than him and better wrestlers than him,” Herring told ufc.com. “My experience is definitely a major advantage for me.
Emerson: I have the edge
Rob Emerson believes he has a psychological advantage over Manny Gamburyan ahead of their meeting at UFC 87.
The pair will meet at lightweight on the undercard to Goerges St-Pierre’s bout with John Fitch in Minnesota on August 9.
Gamburyan is a former national junior judo champion and is likely to fight on the inside and take the bout to the floor.
Emerson is aware of Gamburyan’s tactics and feels their sparring sessions on The Ultimate Fighter 5 give him the edge.
“Prior to the (TUF 5) show, we did go against each other in the tryouts and he couldn’t take me down,” Emerson told ufc.com. “I think that got to him.
Chris Wilson Looks To Prove His Worth At 87
Fighting on short notice and going against a red hot Jon Fitch isn’t exactly a dream scenario for an MMA fighter making his Octagon debut. Five months ago at UFC 82, Chris Wilson was placed in that exact predicament. After surviving three rounds against arguably the second best welterweight in the world, Wilson knew he officially belonged in the UFC. This Saturday at UFC 87, the former Sportfight welterweight Champion looks to rebound and get his first UFC win when he faces American Top Team member, Steve Bruno. MMARated.com’s Jeffrey Lee recently caught up with “The Professor” to talk about his loss to Fitch, preparing for Bruno and his place in the UFC’s welterweight division.
Interview w/ UFC Lightweight Champ BJ Penn
Michael Moody had the chance to speak with UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn this past weekend in Long Beach, CA and he talked about numerous topics in this two part interview.
Some of the topics covered include, his greatest challenge, GSP Vs. Fitch, licking blood off his gloves, should fighters unionize, fighting for other promotions other than the UFC, his favorite movie, his diet and more.
Explosive Dana White Radio Interview
Explosive Dana White Radio Interview
Dana White just got finished with an explosive radio interview on Hardcore Sports radio. I don't have a link yet, and I joined halfway, but here are some highlights:
--He is obviously very unhappy with Roger Huerta. He basically called him a moron for complaining and bitching about PR. Said he hasn't beat anyone to justify millions of dollars that he's demanding, but if he beats Kenny Florian it's a different story. (This week in the Observer, Dave Meltzer reported Huerta is asking for a bigger contract than BJ Penn has.)
--Rampage Jackson is "okay" now. After he was arrested, he was in psych evaluation, and they found there was no psych problem. It was exhaustion and dehydration that caused delirium, and he will be at UFC 87. He has legal problems, but he is physically and mentally better. From the sound of this, they are 100% behind him.
Razor Rob, Rampage, Tiki and the cops
From "Razor" Rob McCullough's latest blog:
"That night, I ended up being the sober driver for my boys, Rampage, Tiki and Ryan “Loco.” The nite ended up with us on the side of the road pulled over by the police for speeding. After getting a ticket, the cops were super cool and asked if they could take some pics with their camera phones. They shook our hands as we left. I suppose that could’ve ended up a lot worse."
Check out Razor Rob's entire blog here:
Roger Huerta and UFC ‘far apart’ on contract extension
Roger Huerta is getting a ton of attention lately. And it appears to be for all the wrong reasons.
“El Matador” has perhaps his biggest test to date this weekend when he takes on Kenny Florian at UFC 87: “Seek and Destroy” at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn., on August 9. With a win he will likely distinguish himself as the clear-cut number one contender in the division.
But he may never get to challenge for the title even if he does win if he can’t ink a contract extension, which is a very real possibility if things don’t change soon, according to Dave Meltzer at WrestlingObserver.com.
Here’s his analysis:
“Huerta, who has one fight left on his contact after the Florian fight, is far apart with UFC on terms for a renewal. Huerta, who has gotten a new agent, was asking for six-figures guaranteed per fight as well as points on the PPV, in negotiations that haven’t gone well for some time. That’s a better deal then [BJ] Penn, so he wasn’t going to get it. The UFC position is that they groomed Huerta and pushed him hard and were careful of his opponents, with the exception of Clay Guida….”