Phil Baroni, recently released by Strikeforce, has signed with UFC in a somewhat bizarre move. A guy who couldn’t hack it in a company with lower-caliber competitors is now moving on to the biggest game in town. Good luck, Phil!
Archive for the ‘UFC’ Category
As we reported a bit earlier, UFC is now personally invested in being Strikeforce’s direct competition, in a move that will almost assuredly work out in the UFC’s favor. Dana White seems to be taking this whole “Fedor Emelianenko” thing pretty seriously, so now he’s set the wheels in motion for head-to-head programming. The first thing that came to my mind when I heard about this was remembering the actions of another bombastic promoter encountering something similar in the late 1980s: one Vince McMahon.
While the then-WWF and their rivals the NWA always were involved in indirect competition, something changed in 1987 when a scheduling war erupted.
Strikeforce has done it now! They’ve woken the sleeping giant. UFC President Dana White is going at them now with both barrels. MMA fans will now have a choice this weekend: they can watch Gina Carano vs. Cris Cyborg in the first ever major show headlined by women, OR they can watch select bouts from UFC 100 on SPIKE TV. The show was headlined by a UFC Heavyweight title fight between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir.
The UFC now seems likely to counter program any major card by a competitor. It made a similar move last year when it went head to head with Affliction: Banned. In that case, the UFC actually aired a live Fight Night card. Although this show isn’t big enough to warrant it, I suspect Fedor Emelianenko’s debut in October will be met with stiffer resistance.
Early reports explained away Forrest Griffin’s bizarre post-fight behavior by saying he had to leave the Octagon the way he did to receive medical attention. MMA Weekly is putting that rumor to rest. The only thing hurt was his feelings after being dismantled by Anderson Silva.
Reports surfaced on Sunday that Griffin had suffered a jaw injury and that was the reason for his hasty exit, but MMAWeekly.com was able to confirm with representatives from Zinkin Entertainment, Griffin’s management group, that he is physically fine following the Saturday night fight.
Griffin suffered no broken jaw and he is physically okay, said the Zinkin representative, but emotionally he is definitely not dealing well with the loss.
This bizarre behavior, moreso than the humbling loss, may affect the average UFC fan’s perception of Griffin. He seemed like a regular guy, but breaking down in tears and refusing to meet with the media post-fight is not regular behavior. This self-help author would not approve.
Our own Jonathan Snowden says Anderson Silva must be pretty good to turn the angriest sports town in America into a virtual love-in.
Silva was booed vociferously every time he appeared on camera. Griffin, whose fight with Stephan Bonnar capped off the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and helped save the sport of MMA, is a huge fan favorite everywhere the UFC goes. When he came out to punk band The Dropkick Murphys, the crowd erupted.
When the fight was over, their roles were reversed. Silva was bathing in the crowds love, cheered even as he carried on in an unintelligible stream of Portuguese. Griffin didn’t stick around to do the traditional post-fight interview. As he slunk out of the ring and departed for the back, appearing very much like a scolded child, the fans booed wildly. Such was the power of Silva’s showing. After lackluster performances in his last two fights, the fighter UFC President Dana White has called the best pound for pound fighter in the world, was back in the crowd’s good graces.
After Forrest Griffin’s stunning loss to Anderson Silva he bailed out of the cage and disappeared. “He might be in Georgia by now, he ran out and I haven’t seen him since,” UFC President Dana White said. It turns out the intense Griffin wasn’t just a bad sport; he was injured early in the fight and seeking medical attention. He suffered a dislocated jaw and was having trouble hearing.
Griffin, who had promised his coaches to try to clinch with Silva and take him down, instead stood right in front of the dangerous Brazilian striker. Griffin’s straight forward attack was entirely ineffective. Silva, hands dangling dismissively below his waist, kept his feet moving and knocked Griffin down three times in the first round. It was a dominating performance by one of the UFC’s greats and sent the former champion Griffin back to the drawing board.
Two UFC Champions showed why they are on most people’s list of the very best pound-for-pound fighters in the world by doing more than beating the competition. B.J. Penn, and especially Anderson Silva, looked like they were a different class of fighter than their opponent. This bears mentioning, as Silva fought a former champion in Forrest Griffin and Penn fought the consensus #1 contender. Silva knocked out Griffin in the first round and Penn choked out Kenny Florian in the fourth round to retain his lightweight title.
Champ B.J. Penn def. Kenny Florian via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 4, 3:54. Penn retains the lightweight title.
Anderson Silva def. Forrest Griffin via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 3:23 (non-title fight).
Johny Hendricks def. Amir Sadollah via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 0:29.
Ricardo Almeida def. Kendall Grove via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Kurt Pellgrino def. Josh Neer via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Prelim spoilers after the break
Apparently losing to the best fighter in the world, the much bigger Georges St. Pierre, didn’t automatically make B.J. Penn washed up. He waited for three rounds, hanging around on the fence and occasionally punching his opponent Kenny Florian in the face.
And then, out of nowhere, he decided to finish the fight. Florian had been trying in vain to take Penn down all fight long. B.J. was successful on his first takedown attempt and almost immediately passed to full mount. From there it was academic. Florian is a black belt in Jiu Jitsu. Penn is a prodigy, a Gracie black belt who was tapping out Ralph Gracie when he was a teenager.
Penn’s next defense will be against Diego Sanchez. It will be a very different fight. Sanchez, whatever his flaws, will push B.J. Penn the whole fight, however long it lasts.
It was an embarrassing performance for Forrest Griffin, a former Light Heavyweight Champion. Anderson Silva, the Middleweight Champion, made him look silly. He outclassed him and made sure the crowd knew it. Silva didn’t even feel the need to raise his hands, daring Forrest to try to hit him.
Instead of trying to overpower Silva like he had hinted he might, Griffin stuck to his regular style. He was a pitter patter volume fighter trying to trade with a much better and faster opponent. That ended with Griffin on the mat quitting after a jab, then departing the cage in a fury.
Silva, who was booed hard pre-fight seemed to get the crowd back, and if it was happening in a place like Philly, you can imagine he was regaining favor from fans nationwide. After Silva defends against Dan Henderson, who can he fight at light heavyweight? If he’s already beaten a former champion, could a 205-pound title shot be next?
Forrest Griffin has long been one of the UFC’s most popular fighters. Through four years of hard work, he’s also become one of the best. Griffin, famously, works harder than anyone else in the sport of MMA. The result is a fighter who can test his opponent for five long rounds and can more than hold his own both on the ground and on his feet.
Anderson Silva is the anti-Griffin. It’s not that he doesn’t work hard: he certainly does. It’s just that every thing he does comes so naturally. While Griffin struggles to maintain good footwork, Silva flows around the cage, a natural killer. Even Griffin’s supposed weight advantage seems moot. Looking like a young Jack Johnson, it seems Silva even puts on extra bulk gracefully.
In almost every category, Silva has the distinct advantage. If it’s a pretty fight, where the guys stand at a normal distance and trade strikes, Forrest is a dead man. But in close, in the trenches, when things get ugly, this is his opportunity. A source close to his camp tells me Griffin’s gameplan is to create this ugly fight. If you see a fight where Forrest is pushing Silva against the cage, leaning on him, trying to bully him…this may still result in a knockout win for Silva from the Thai clinch. But Griffin will have gone out fighting his fight.