Looks like somebody is cranky and needs a nap!
Anderson Silva v. Forrest Griffin – I’m very intrigued by this bout. Future analysis to follow.
Keith Jardine v. Thiago Silva – This fight is going to be a real test for Silva. If he drops this fight to Jardine, then he’s going to be relegated to lower level contendership for several fights, while a win can throw him back in the hunt. Keith Jardine could use a quality win, but I don’t think a loss will have a huge bearing on his current status. Future analysis to follow.
Right now is something of a dead period for MMA activity. There’s some M-1 goings on in Japan, but everyone is pissed off because the Fedor/Aoki exhibition is being blacked out until May 4th. That’s fine, I can wait, Sengoku Eighth Battle is coming up on lovely HDNet. Unfortunately I don’t have HDNet, so I will have to seek out other ways of viewing the bouts. It’s also kind of a downer when you realize the “Ninja of Love” isn’t matched up in the tournament bracket with “Korean Zombie” denying us a superfight of the decade. The Sengoku event will at least feature Xande Ribeiro, Leo Santos, Maximo Blanco, and Stanislav Nedkov. Anyone named Stanislav is aces in my book.
Things in Japan aside, the US is always busy with regional promotions, such as the XFC (their event in Knoxville last weekend was fantastic), UWC, and Bellator (who I consider regional based upon their recent market entry). The real event of note is just under a month away with UFC 98 Evans/Machida, but it’s still a ways off. It looks like I’ll just be practicing the Undisputed demo in the mean time.
Well, it’s finally here, the UFC Undisputed demo has been released, and finally fans of MMA have a game to represent the sport. I’m going to bypass detailed discussions of game features as that data is more readily available and better presented elsewhere. Without further ado..
– The game looks wonderful. Graphically the game is immersive, the fighters look solid and appropriately built to correspond with their real life counterparts. Blood flies and sticks to the mat. When you has a fighter on his back against the cage, he is bent as he should be. The little cutscenes between rounds look good, enhance the damage, and even feature accurate corners such as John Hackleman. I’ve detected very little clipping, and a few moments of phantom movement where the replay shows an elbow connecting for a knockout rather than the punch which was thrown. This is similar to the moments in Madden where slow motion on the replay shows a player catching a football through his own hand, or at an insane angle. I don’t consider it to be detrimental in the slightest to the gameplay, enjoyment, or result mechanics.
-The sound is good, there’s rock music in the menus, and all the sounds you’d associate with watching a UFC event on television are there. The opening music, weird prefight chant sounding music, and of course Goldberg and Rogan. Video game commentary is limited, at best across the sporting genre, but UFC Undisputed actually exceeded my expectations here. Rogan recalling Chuck’s battles with Randy Couture, and Goldberg describing the athletic background of Rua’s family, combined with the play by play was refreshing. I expected much worse from the commentary, and while it does get repetitive, it was not a negative for the game.
-The fight itself is where the real magic happens. First, I highly recommend completing the tutorial as this game is deep. If you don’t complete the tutorial, then I don’t want to hear any whining about the game being to hard to pick up. The control itself is nice, the shoulder buttons control level, and face buttons correspond to different limbs that you strike with. Transitioning will take practice as will the ground game. The ground game is executed very well, with most criticism coming from the fact that submissions are difficult. My take is that neither man is really a submission fighter, we all know Chuck is a sprawl and brawl guy, and Shogun seems to use his ground game more for control to strike than submissions. I’ll look more at submissions when I can play with Demian Maia, or another specialist more known for them. The grapple stick works well for movement, initiation of the clinch, and takedown attempts.
All in all, I’ve got the game in my must buy list, and you should check it out.
Well, it’s another wacky day in MMA news. The way things are getting announced lately, I expect BJ Penn and GSP to team up in a tag matching pitting themselves against Brock Lesnar. Seriously, check this out…
Shinya Aoki vs. Fedor Emelianenko in an exhibition match at the upcoming M-1/DEEP event. Just goto Bloody Elbow for all of the details. This is going to be wildly entertaining, and is described by some to be akin to an open weight match from a grappling tournament. That said, if Aoki somehow overcomes all the odds and manages to catch Fedor in a sub, then everyone’s P4P list is going to get rearranged. How could you justify saying Fedor is #1 when he can get subbed by a lightweight. BJ Penn is salivating at the possibility of challenging Fedor here. The other sneaky subplot of an Aoki victory will be Mach Sakurai charging up the P4P list to a top 5 spot. Fedor winning lends no credibility to anything so will remain undiscussed.
Andrei Arlovski has a scheduled debut now, but no opponent has been found. Hopefully they can sign Boxcar Barry for this highly important bout. Arlovski is probably going to look really nice in the ring, and continue to show some of the skill he showed in the Fedor fight. My concern for him is that he’ll also show the same chin he showed in the Fedor fight. We’ll see how this turns out.
It’s beginning to look more and more like Cheick Kongo is getting the next Heavyweight title shot after all this Lesnar/Mir drama is sorted out. Of course, Dana has already said Kongo is a contender. Speculation aside, let’s consider the ramifications of a Kongo title shot. I’ll try to keep this simple:
1. In a number 1 contender bout, I believe Shane Carwin would handle Kongo.
2. Should Lesnar defeat Mir, then I believe Lesnar would handle Kongo.
3. Should Mir defeat Lesnar, then Mir would likely handle Kongo.
Kongo has a great UFC record thus far, but he’s yet to face a real top tier competitor. I can appreciate grooming him as an appropriate title contender, but nonetheless, he’s at a huge disadvantage against either of these 3 fighters. He even came in at 232 in his last fight, I have a hard time seeing he’s going to outgrapple either of the 3 men. I don’t know how his technique stacks against Mir standing, and his size is a huge disadvantage against Lesnar and Carwin’s size and power. He’d be a good person to test the newly unified champion, and setup an end of year match with Carwin, but he’s got a lot of ground to make up.
– Shogun took a solid step in the right direction. He looked much better, more comfortable, and properly conditioned for this fight with Chuck. I’d like to see him match up with Vera or Jardine.
– Chuck is done as far as being considered a contender for a title is concerned. He has had an incredible run, and has the right to retire on his terms. I don’t think he’s at the point where he’s endangering himself, but at the same time, I don’t know what meaningful fight is out there for him.
– Luiz Cane is a dangerous competitor, and will give anyone some trouble.
– It’s unfortunate about the Leites/Silva fight. The flamewars have already started, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. Some are calling the fight boring, some question Silva’s possible P4P ranking, some blame Leites for flopping, some are saying that it should be considered a stalemate, and so on. I was entertained. I saw things I had never seen before, I saw a champ fighting a challenger who wasn’t a match, and I saw a challenger crumble at his inabillity to threaten any damage. Thales Leites is a solid fighter, but he made some mistakes in this fight. Anderson Silva is a great fighter who simply evaded, slipped, and defended Leites’s attacks. The fight made me hungry to see him fight GSP. GSP has a huge test against Alves coming in July, I say let Silva defend against Yushin Okami, and if things fall into place, then setup GSP/Silva as a superfight this holiday season.
Anderson Silva v. Thales Leites – I’m kind of disapppointed by the fact that no one is giving Leites a real shot in this fight. Anderson is clearly dominant in the standup and clinch domains of this fight, and he can definitely hold his own against anyone on the ground. Thales could possibly hit an unexpected shot on Silva, or make the right moves on the ground to end the fight. That credit given to Thales aside, I think this is Anderson’s fight to lose.
Chuck Liddell v. Shogun – Three years ago, I would’ve laughed at picking Chuck in this fight, and now I’m laughing if you pick Shogun. Chuck has actually spent time trying to evolve his game by bringing solid BJJ guys, gold medalist boxing coaches, and by working his wrestling much more than usual. Tie this into guys from ATT saying that Chuck is in the best shape of his life, his nutrition is awesome, and that Antonio Banuelos gets all their stains out when doing the laundry. Shogun is still goofing around with running his own fight team and hiring BJ’s old conditioning coach. I really want to see the old Shogun who stomps and soccer kicks everyone in his way, but I’m afraid we’ll see him go a path similar to Crocop.
Krzystzof Soszynski v. Brian Stann – Nothing against Brian Stann, I usually tear up hearing the stories of people who have defended my freedoms, but he’s still a too young in his fighting career for the Polish Experiment.
Cheick Kongo v. Antoni Hardonk – Hardonk may pull off some crazy submission victory, but Kongo is training with the Whoolphslayre. Need I say more?
Luiz Cane v. Steve Cantwell –
I could watch that all day…
Vinicius Magalhaes v. Eliot Marshall – Vinny hasn’t responded too well to guys with superior standup, and Marshall fits that bill. The deciding factor is Vinny’s BJJ being strong enough to submit Marshall.
Denis Kang v. Xavier Foupa-Pokam – Kang does have a history of underachieving.
Jason MacDonald v. Nate Quarry – Quarry should be better in the standup, but is susceptible on the ground. MacDonald is pretty solid on the ground. Plus, I’ve gotta pick CrossFit guys when I can.
David Loiseau v. Ed Herman – The Crow is back!
Ryo Chonan v. TJ Grant – No problems here
David Bielkheden v. Mark Bocek – I like David to get a submission here.
Matt Wiman v. Sam Stout – Both of these guys will be ready to go, but I think Wiman is a little sharper.
All in all, a very watchable card. You know any card with a Spider, a Pirahna, Professor X, The Crow, a Robot, Iceman, and Shogun is out of a comic book.
So Strikeforce was last night, and lots of suckers thought picking a middle aged man not named Randy Couture to win a fight against a game opponent was a good idea. Let’s not even take into account that people were ignoring the fact that Frank Shamrock doesn’t exactly have a ground game any longer, bad knees, lackluster takedown defense, and reach disadvantage.
The real story that Strikeforce has stirred up is the state of women’s MMA. I’m afraid to say it’s still in the dark ages too. The women’s division is essentially a collection of bouts at catchweights. The face of women’s MMA, Gina Carano, can not be relied on to make weight in a division that has been built around her. To top it off, Cyborg Santos, arguably the best fighter in the division, fails to make weight. I really hope that there’s a reason why Cyborg failed to make weight, but if this happens again then my faith about the potential of the women’s division will be rocked to the core. The real losers in all of this are the women who are competing, making their contracted weight, and having their fighting future possibly threatened by the stars in the division.
One thing I love about MMA is how it blends the strengths of sports and entertainment. When fighters fail to make weight, it upsets that balance.
There’s not much happening right now after the busy past couple of weeks:
-Miguel Torres and Takeya Miyuzaki put on a fight of the year candidate last Sunday, but people giving the fight to Miyuzaki should get their vision checked. Miyuzaki fought a great fight, had good strategy, and solid stamina (though he wilted a bit in the championship rounds). Both competitors have solid chins, and Miyuzaki swung for the fences, and had demonstrated noticeable improvement in his standup. Torres had trouble with Takeya at first, so what does he do? He adapted, first by pulling guard. When that didn’t work, he went to the clinch. From the clinch he was able to dole out considerable punishment with dirty boxing and his muay thai skills. Miyuzaki showed that he belonged, and I would love to see a rematch. 135 is looking more and more competitive with Bowles coming back soon, Benavidez winning over Curran, Miyuzaki being game against anyone, and even Jeff Curran is someone you want in the division.
-The UFC game demo was on and now it’s not on. Please let it be a good game.
–Anderson Silva doesn’t like Wanderlei’s drop to 185. I’m glad he’s open to fighting his former training partner and possibly friend, but seriously, does Wanderlei really pose a threat to Anderson at this point? Let’s see how he does against Rich Franklin.