The Ronda Show: A Glimpse at the UFC 184 Main Event

As MMA fans, we should cherish every single time Ronda Rousey fights. She isn’t going to be here forever. Even with her budding star power and excellent displays of brutality, it’s still hard to get amped up for this weekend’s pay-per-view card. Sure, injuries ravaged the Main Event, but what card hasn’t been hit by the bug lately?

16 seconds.

16 seconds.

Ronda Rousey is a unique occupant of this MMA bubble we all occupy. We should all make an effort to tune in whenever she fights, even if that involves suffering through Alan Jouban vs. Richard Walsh fight on the MAIN CARD… Ms. Rousey will go down as a legend. As a pioneer. She very well could be the best athlete in the UFC today. If we even give the slightest of a damn about the growth and legitimacy of this sport, we should have some eyes on the Main Event Saturday night.

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Can 35-year-old Frank Mir capture ‘Bigfoot’ Silva?

The answer is no. Simply, no.

Why, ALar?

Why, ALar?

In most of my blogs, I try to take a deep dive into the strategy and backstory behind UFC main events. For this one, I am going to more or less ask HOW and WHY Frank freakin’ Mir is headlining a UFC event in 2015.

Frank Mir has lost his last four fights. Usually after three the ol’ pink slip in the locker trick is pulled, but not for former Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir. I get it. He has a hell of a comeback story that you can spit out before every fight, but at this point, is he even competitive?

In a recent MMAJunkie article, he spouted out the quotation, “People train way too hard in the sport of MMA.” What?!?! Mr. Mir hasn’t been a world renowned gym rat throughout his career, but damn, give the viewing public some hope heading into this thing. Did I mention he was on TRT DURING the four fight losing streak?

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Let’s take a quick look at those four L’s on his resume. Due to future opponent Alistair Overeem’s own testosterone fiasco, Mir was shifted into the UFC 146 Main Event for a date with Junior Dos Santos. JDS proceeded to obliterate the slower Mir in just over seven minutes. Next up, Frank welcomed Daniel Cormier to the UFC. The current Light Heavyweight contender controlled Mir for 3 rounds with relative ease. Little to no offense was seen from Fransisco Santos Mir III in that tilt. Sure, that’s a tough two-fight run. Let’s toss him in there with another old-school grappler, Josh Barnett. Surely, Frank and The Warmaster will make the Octagon look like the staging floor for this year’s ADCC, right? Wrong.

Barnett flash KO’d Mir with a knee in the first round. Add in an utter domination at the hands of Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir has looked WELL past his prime since May of 2012. He hasn’t seen cage time since last February, yet here he is, headlining a already light UFC card.

Even with Bigfoot coming off a KO loss to Andrei Arlovski, I still fully expect him to put one of his metric ton fists on Mir’s chin and end this thing early. If this card isn’t a prime example of the UFC stretching itself too thin, I don’t know what is.

Mir1

 

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No love: Prepare yourself for some Brandon Thatch scented violence!

Bring it, Broomfield!

Bring it, Broomfield!

Why go see 50 Shades of Grey this weekend when there is some ol’ fashioned cage fighting going down in Colorado?!? A little Rocky Mountain MMA has all the roughness, ruckus, and sadism you could ever ask for!

My loyal readers may or may not know who Brandon Thatch is. After Saturday night, you certainly will. To those “hardcore” readers out there, this headline probably woke you up from a PED news induced coma and you subsequently thanked the good lord that there was some serious human cockfighting taking place this weekend.

Photo props to EKC.

Photo props to EKC.

Opposing every MMA blogger’s favorite wunderkind Thatch will be Lightweight stalwart Benson Henderson. Henderson is making a short notice trek up to Welterweight in order to rid his mouth of the bad taste that his last loss to Cowboy Cerrone left. As much of a “Smooth” detractor as I’ve been over the years, I thought he beat Cowboy straight up. I believe the community at large thought that as well…

Even though their name recognition may be in different stratospheres, Thatch is a hell of a test for Henderson. The sharps in Vegas even have the two going off even, which frankly I’m shocked by. You’re telling me that a dude that has only beaten the likes of Justin Edwards and Paulo Thiago in the UFC has a fair shot at taking down the one-time Lightweight king?!??! Just take a look at these two videos and tell me you don’t think he does…

First off, Hatch is a HUGE welterweight. His lanky frame reminds me of Matt Brown, yet it seems someone just ran Brown through a Xerox machine at 1.5X and Thatch was created. Both brawlers throw every hard part of their body at their opponents with reckless abandon and won’t quit until the referee intervenes. Frankly, I dig that. The old kill or be killed mentality still rings true in some distant corners of MMA. Will that mindset work against such a noted strategist as Henderson? I think so.

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You’re going to need those Illuminati forces on your side, Benson.

Henderson is jumping into this scrap pretty quickly after going 15 minutes with Cowboy. According to the judges, Cowboy maintained range and aggression when matched up with Bendo and outpointed him. In this fight, you think Ben would attempt to right any of his wrongs in the Cowboy fight by being the obvious aggressor. As evident above, that is not the right move against a cutthroat barbarian like Thatch. Dos Anjos walked at Henderson and demonstrated to the world that the slick wrestler had a fault to his game. I believe Brandon Thatch will do just the same as he rises up another ladder on the way to stardom.

Thatch is massive. While Henderson has long dwarfed his fellow 155ers, he will be lacking a distinct advantage against “Rukus.” The lengthy Thatch will cut off the cage on Bendo and provide some trademark brutality and finish the former champ in the second round. Bold, I know! Thatch by TKO.

What a 'do.

What a ‘do.

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No More Heroes

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Why. Just why.

We all know what news broke last night. As an MMA fan and supporter, it was saddening. Disappointing, even. I’ll be damned if it wasn’t totally sobering. One of our stars, our most lethal hero, one of the last mythical beings that fought in a cage for a living, was brought down to Earth with the thunderous force of a positive PED test.

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Training Mask Karate Training

We posted on this a long time ago as a Training Mask review.  Here’s a recent workout from the Meriden Martial Arts Club featuring new and old models of the mask.

After several sessions with the masks, Derek and I noted it saps your explosiveness and mental acuity pretty quickly.  You can tell because we slow down and goof up a lot!

Have you tried using the Training Mask for traditional karate training?  If so, what are some suggestions?

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Dan Henderson is fighting tonight! Rejoice!

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Whew! This one almost flew right by me! With the McGregor madness just subsiding and the simmering fervor for the return of Anderson Silva next week, this seriously compelling FOX card almost soared right under my radar.

The headlining bout is a legitimate number one contender feud between Alexander Gustafsson and ‘Rumble’ Johnson. Let me tell you, I am JAZZED up for this one. Rarely do two fighters with such contrasting styles get in the cage with “it all” on the line. The precursor to this scrap will be the return of Dan Henderson to the cage, this time back at 185. Can the 44 year old keep up his comeback ways against the ‘Young Vagabond‘ Gegard Mousasi? Find out after the jump!

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Spinning Webs: Let’s Predict the UFC 183 Main Event

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Finally, the time is now! Anderson Silva is coming back to the cage to add another victim to his web. On January 31st, Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz will tangle in one of the biggest fights in recent memory. When the legend of Anderson Silva matches up against the cult of personality that is Nick Diaz, who knows what will happen, but all that is certain is that I will be sitting comfortably in front of the TV screen to watch what madness goes down. Get my prediction for this heated tilt after the jump!

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#HotTake: Daniel Cormier will DISMANTLE Jon Jones

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It’s going down. This Saturday night has that special tingly feeling about it. That feeling that only comes around once in a blue moon in today’s MMA landscape. Ever since the “Year of the Superfight” was declared, I was expecting this combat sports induced sensation to be occurring on a monthly basis, but I can’t remember the last time I felt this way before a big fight. (Alright, maybe I lied, the last time I was this amped up for a fight it likely involved Anderson Silva…)

Arch-enemies and natural foils Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier will finally do the damn thing in the cage at UFC 182 in dusty Las Vegas. After raucous pre-fight antics and an unfortunate injury delay, the day is here and boy, it is going to be some kind of fun. That is, if you are a Daniel Cormier fan.

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Moai Martial Arts 2014 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog, and we share it each year with you.  Thanks for making this site so much fun.  Let’s have another great year together! – Bill

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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3rd Annual Moai Martial Arts Year End MMA Awards

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Here we are again. It’s that time of year where I toss on my finest tuxedo t-shirt and reminisce on the year that was in this wacky sport we call mixed martial arts. Was it a banner year for dude’s fighting in cages? No, not even close. As 2014 comes to a close, (with some serious litigation in the near future) the sport’s largest organization seems to be on wobbly legs for the first time in years.

Now, let’s forget about all that dense lawyer-speak and celebrate the good times we had in the eight sided cage this year. What was your favorite fight of the year? Who had the best year once the bell sounded? And as always, I’ll down a 40 ounce bottle of malt liquor and make some bold predictions for 2015! First, we have to dust off that crystal ball and see how well prophecies held up these last 12 months.

ALar’s Bold Predictions for MMA in 2014 (Written in December 2013):

RondaRousey_HeadshotBelt

Got one thing right!

 

First up, my thoughts on the champs at year’s end 2014:

Women’s Strawweight: Carla Esparza (1/1. Boom! Good job, me!)

Women’s Bantamweight: Ronda Rousey (Duh. The sun also sets in the west…)

Flyweight: John Dodson (Too bad, we never got to see the rematch. JD’s knee will keep him out of action until early 2015.)

Bantamweight: Urijah Faber (My 2014 Fighter of the Year got his title shot in February, but suffered an odd early TKO loss. His homie TJ Dillashaw avenged his loss later in the year. I get half credit for at least picking a Team Alpha Male guy, right?)

Featherweight: Chad Mendes (Aldo vacates to fight Pettis at 155) (Who knows what would have happened if Pettis was healthy… Mendes gave Aldo all he could handle in October, but it just wasn’t enough to dethrone the king.)

Lightweight: Anthony Pettis (Genius, ALar, genius…)

Welterweight: Johny Hendricks (Debatable, but it looks like he may get another crack at the strap…)

Middleweight: Chris Weidman (Anderson wins at 168, promptly retires) (What was I smoking with that addendum? Still, another point for the good guy!)

Light Heavyweight: Daniel Cormier (Defeats Jones. Jones then moves up to Heavyweight, gets immediate title shot) (If only UFC 182 was a few weeks earlier I could add another tally in the win column!)

Heavyweight: Jon Jones (Cain Velasquez hasn’t fought since Bush was in office. That’s H.W., if you’re wondering…)

4/10 ain’t too bad in a year where it seems every champion spent most of the time cheering on contenders from the first row while nursing some sort of ailment.

Other Predictions:

Why, man? Why?

Why, man? Why?

The ‘Year of the Superfight’ moniker proves to have come about a year too early. We see Pettis/Aldo and Jones/Velasquez in the second half of 2014. (Injuries stink.)

Nick Diaz comes out of retirement and faces Carlos Condit. And wins. (Wrong again, but I am GEEKED out for UFC 183. Don’t be scared, homie!)

BJ Penn defeats Frankie Edgar at 145. Announces move back to 155 and faces Nate Diaz. (Woof. BJ Penn looked like an old-timey saloon brawler in that tilt. Had nothing left to offer. Sad, but still one of the greatest to ever do it.)

Chael Sonnen retires from MMA and becomes full-time analyst at FOX Sports 1. (Replace retires with “Kicked out of the sport for being on every PED known to man” and FOX Sports 1 with “ESPN”.)

After all the trash talk, Ben Askren loses his second fight in ONE FC. (Nope. But who is Nobutatsu Suzuki, anyway?)

The UFC’s digital distribution network’s price point proves to be a detriment to sales. $9.99/Month price tag is dropped to $7.99/Month by mid-year. (Wishful thinking…)

Bellator folds. (No, but I get half credit for the Rebney regime coming to an end right? Hail Coker!)

Now, on to the awards. Get your champagne ready!

champagne1

Wooo!

 

Fight of the Year

matt

There are some popular choices out there:

Matt Brown v. Erick Silva

Johny Hendricks v. Robbie Lawler I or II (I was better…)

Jose Aldo v. Chad Mendes

But there can only be one winner!

2014 Fight of the Year: Chris Weidman v. Lyoto Machida from UFC 175

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Who saw this coming?

 

Sure, Chris Weidman was the Middleweight Champion entering 2014, but had we really seen him tested? Much of the MMA community wrote of his two shocking defeats of Anderson Silva as “flukes” and thought the elusive, slimmed down Dragon could really jar the Champ’s chops.

And boy, did he! Weidman and Machida demonstrated a masterclass on movement, MMA wrestling, and striking in the 25 minutes they were locked in the cage. As the fight closed, the two combatants engaged in a furious exchange that surely would see the Dragon strike down the clumsy American wrassler, right? Wrong! Weidman bobbed and weaved his way through Machida’s strikes and answered each and every one with a stinging straight or bludgeoning hook. Post fight, we all realized that Chris Weidman just stood toe to toe with one of the greatest strikers the history of the sport. He was legitimized as our reigning Middleweight king, and therefore Weidman/Machida was my pick of FOTY in 2014.

Fighter of the Year

Pick me, ALar! Pick me..

Pick me, ALar! Pick me..

The typical pick across the MMA blogosphere for this award has been the UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler. Now, don’t get me wrong, Mr. Ruthless’ 2014 was astonishing. The guy was no doubt one of the most prolific fighters within the sport’s premiere organization, but I am going to take a right turn with this one.

My choice? Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.

FOX UFC Saturday: Ultimate Media Day

Why? Well, if you watched the UFC’s self-produced Year in Review, Cowboy was all over that thing like flies on horse dung. He kicked off the year with a jaw-shattering KO of Adriano Martins and followed that up with a shocking submission of the uber-talented Edson Barboza. Oh, dang? He can knock your teeth out or out grapple BJJ purple belts? This Cowboy character might have something going for him!

"Ouchies!"

“Ouchies!”

Next up, in his first UFC headlining tilt, Cowboy walked into Jim Miller’s turf in the Dirty Jerz and straight up smacked him silly with another thunderous leg kick. Still, Cowboy saved his best performance for the year’s biggest card. He welcomed the highly touted Eddie Alvarez to the UFC with a beating that a big brother would give to a smaller, slower little brother.

UFC 178 - Cerrone v Alvarez

With a win at UFC 182 over Myles Jury, Cowboy could be just a shot and a beer away from a UFC title shot. Did I mention Cerrone put together a 4-0 2014 while incessantly swigging Budweiser, wakeboarding, and generally living out the definition of American Bad Ass? All in all, he wins the Fighter of the Year award, and rightfully so.

WTF Moment of the Year

"Wrestler"

“Wrestler”

If you remember last year, my WTF Moment of the Year was Vitor Belfort’s general existence. As for this year, I had plenty of options to choose from:

CM Punk and HIS general existence

Rampage’s return made a late run…

The UFC Champions and their “injury bug”

But one thing stands head and shoulders above the rest… CHRIS CARIASO’S SUIT at UFC 178 is my WTF Moment of the Year. Did this guy waltz into a Marshall’s and grab the first suit he saw? Did he not realize he was going to be in front of a flash enabled camera for the entire week leading up to his HEADLINING fight on one of the biggest cards of the year? The guy could have been holding UFC gold at the end of the night and he was walking around in the same suit he wore to his cousin’s wedding six years ago.

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Where do you shop? Baby GAP???

 

 

With Conor McGregor stylin’ and profilin’ on that stage and Dana White wearing a black on black ensemble that likely cost more than my 2009 Toyota Corolla, no one could throw a style tip to Chris Cariaso? The guy looked like a deer frozen in a set of oncoming headlights leading up to the event, but good God, his mimicry of a part-time valet at a Cracker Barrel didn’t help his career advancement. Let’s hope that suit doesn’t make another appearance anytime soon…

Alright, now let’s get down to the nitty gritty… 2015 prediction time!

We’ll start with the year end champions:

conor-mcgregor

‘Sup?

 

Women’s Strawweight: Carla Esparza. PVZ isn’t ready yet.

Women’s Bantamweight: Ronda Rousey. Cyborg isn’t coming around any time soon.

Flyweight: John Dodson. Get that belt, man!

Bantamweight: TJ Dillashaw.

Featherweight: Conor McGregor?!?! Loses to Aldo in April. Aldo moves up to fight Pettis. McGregor faces Mendes or Edgar at the year end show.

Lightweight: Anthony Pettis. Takes out Aldo.

Welterweight: Rory MacDonald. Pains me to type that…

Middleweight: Jacare Souza. Why not? A Weidman/Jacare Trilogy is the stuff of dreams.

Light Heavyweight: Daniel Cormier. That’s right!

Heavyweight: Jon Jones. What?!?!?!

Bold and Beer Fueled Predictions for 2015!

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Always fresh!

 

CM Punk loses his first UFC fight.

Brock Lesnar joins the UFC. Defeats Alistair Overeem and is granted a title shot.

Anderson Silva defeats Nick Diaz, asks for GSP fight when speaking with Joe Rogan.

Dan Henderson, both Nogueiras, Shogun Rua, and Josh Barnett retire from the sport.

Though, one of the above listed will first welcome Rampage Jackson back to the UFC.

The lawsuit against the UFC stalls and no major movements are made by either party.

Massive backlash against the Reebok design team leads to Dana White having to make a public statement about individual fighter branding. One fighter will be cut due to a kerfuffle about the uniform.

Joe Rogan announces plans to leave the UFC broadcasting gig. Hopefully Brian Stann is groomed as his successor.

Two Champions will fight, with belts on the line.

Fighter pay will still be an issue heading in to 2016…

2015 New Year celebration

 

Happy New Year, fools! Let’s hope for a 2015 filled with fantastic fights and entertaining antics. See you on the other side!

 

 

 

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