Monthly Archives: May 2010

UFC 114: Rashad Evans wrangles a win over Rampage Jackson in a snoozer of a fight (Fight Video)

Here is a truism: the UFC depends on our addiction to cheap thrills to cash in on fights like the one they sold off as a headliner between Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans last night.  How bad was it? Well you head the  boos from fans not to mention a fight that, more often than not,  looked like a boxing match  instead of  an all-out mixed martial arts contest. Google Quinton Rampage Jackson vs Rashad Evans UFC 114 video.

So what went wrong? Well, nothing really. Things played out the way we expected. We had seen this coming a mile and called it right here. We had even suggested that the whole thing be put on  for free as a token of fan appreciation.  The fan who yelled “I want my money back!” at the end of the fight would certainly have appreciated it.

There  just was nothing in Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson or their styles to make this an interesting fight at all. And win or lose none of them would have been in a position to challenge Shogun for the light heavyweight title as rumored. Not Rampage and certainly not Rashad.

Rashad Evans Wins UFC 114

Rashad Evans wins UFC 114 – but is he ready for Shogun prime time? Probably not.

As things turned out, the more motivated pugilist, Rashad Evans, won – and in the process proved that he had developed a lot as a person and a fighter.  The knockdown and near knockout at the beginning of the 3rd found proved that Rashad had a tough chin inspite of the way he was knocked out cold in the  Machida fight. The fight also proved that Rampage  Jackson was in the audience watching this fight from the outside instead of the octagon where he belonged – and only he can tell us why that was.

The year-long lay-off (the so-called “rust” defense), the cutting of weight from a doughy 250lbs to 205lbs, the resignation from UFC and the B.A. Baracus brouhaha aside, there was a little tell-tale detail about mind-set before the fight. Weeks before the UFC 114, Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson gave  interviews about their impending fight. Rashad Evans was within his body: centered. Rampage Jackson appeared out of sorts – suspended somewhere between his physical head and a faraway place only he knew about.   If you were looking for a reason why Rampage was gonna lose his fight last night, this  was one of them.

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Link to all other UFC 114 fight videos (MMAShare.Com at MMABettingBlog)

UFC 114 like the proverbial tree in the forest: A non-event looking for eyes and ears

So Rashad “Suga” Evans (16-1) and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (30-7) are finally gonna face off May 29 at UFC 114. Well, it must be true  since the banners are flying. But the real question is who fuckin’ cares? Certainly not us here at Cyberaxis.  Why? Well because it is just not an interesting fight. Not by an octagonal mile. Rashad Evans vs Rampage Jackson is a showdown between a slugger who can take serious punishment and a thumper who can also get down.  If the UFC had its head screwed on right, it would stage this fight as a fan-appreciation freebie. What would be more Fan Expo than a freebie for the hard-bitten fans?


Nuttin’ but winners all around.

Rampage “Call Me Mr T” Jackson gets to have his ass whupped live on TV and the fans get to enjoy a low-calorie  freebie while the world gawks at the wonder of the un-choreographed mayhem that is MMA. Can you say “mo better fans”? What’s there not to like Dana?

Rashad and Rampage were originally scheduled to fight in UFC 107 as the finale to their coaching rivalry in The Ultimate Fighter 10 TV show.  The anticipated fight fell apart after Jackson accepted a film role as  B.A. Baracus in the remake of the The A Team.

Evans vs Jackson Faceoff

Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans at UFC 96: WWE theater sans the tights. Send in the clowns.

For the money, this fight has so little going for it that we would rather see two MMA grannies  go at it Beverly Hillbilly style. We mean seriously, who friggin’ cares if a more fresh thumper  (Rashad Evans) edges out a veteran slugger  from the golden edge of Pride (Quinton Jackson)? Not us here at Cyberaxis.  And it certainly doesn’t help matters that this fight was hatched in the froth of an over-dramatized TV show. The souped-up story-line  resulted in the fake  face-off at the end of UFC 96 after Rampage’s thumping of Keith Jardine (Heave! See  pic on the right.)  Vince McMahon would have been proud.

The UFC is, among other things, in the business of creating froth, substantive or otherwise – the latter being synonymous with hype. It is our job to call it as we see it. UFC 114 in the UFC trying trying to tie up the loose ends of bad decisions(dropping the Machida vs Jackson ball)  and mishaps (Jackson being incensed enough to temporarily quit the UFC.)  This is the MMA equivalent of the a promotional organization (the UFC) making wide turns. A measure of the irrelevance of this fight is that it can fall off the face of the earth and nothing in MMA will move. If Rampage wins, he proves he still got the mojo – tick, tock, tick, tock (Rampage probably never recovered from the  knees he received from Shogun in Pride.) If  Evans wins, chalk one up for fresh talent – the noobs who are about to take over the dojo.

In case you missed it, we think Evans will edge out Rampage on the strength of  his freshness, strength and quickness. He may not have the experience that Jackson has, but he has fewer injuries. Read that less banged up. The MMA Betting Blog is  giving Rampage a slight edge (Rampage -130 Evans +100. ) The other thing going for Evans is that Rampage probably doesn’t have as much fire in the belly as he lets on. He is probably not over the  B.A. Baracus thing and the brouhaha that surrounded  it.  How much is Rampage’s mind in this fight? Well, let’s just say, we wouldn’t put our money on it.

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The Machida Era Is Over! Shogun knocks out Machida at UFC 113 to become new light-heavyweight champion

UFC 113 started with a dance  reminiscent of UFC 104 with Mauricio Shogun Rua stalking a retreating Machida. Shogun was Fred Astaire to Machida’s Ginger Rogers. But Shogun’s motives were more sinister than the coat-tailed meister of dance lore. That soon become clear because 3.52 minutes into the first round, Shogun  pounced on  Machida with a blow to the left temple. Machida fell back and an energized Shogun  followed him to the ground with blows which knocked Machida out cold by the fifth or sixth blow. By the time of Shogun’s victory was announced, Machida’s left eye had become all bloodied  and swollen almost  shut.

The long and short of this? Machida and his team had worked hard to plug up the holes in Machida’s game – namely the vulnerability to leg kicks and the need for an effective deterrent to Shogun’s  advances but the end result was not enough to stop Shogun.  Among the reason Shogun won tonight were the following:

1.  Machida was never effective at establishing a tactical  perimeter that Shogun respected.  Without this, Machida had zero tactical deterrence.  In any case maintaining such a perimeter would have called for an alteration of  Machida basic M.O.  and conditioned instincts. Put another way Machida just didn’t have enough of a hard offense to give Shogun pause before advancing on him.

2.  Machida could not handle being hit and brutalized mentally. Its not in his past – and probably not in his future. We do not advocate the Wanderlei Silva school of pugilism because it leads to brain damage – but it does have its merits – namely the ability to deter advancers.

3.  Machida could not handle being hit and brutalized physically. Read that no chin.  Machida had no chin.  Shogun took strikes better than Machida.  Simple.

4.  Machida’s takedowns at 1.46″ and 2.42″ didn’t work because Shogun was able to get up using his strength. And while on the ground, he used his tactical advantage to avoid being brutalized.

5. The stand-up clinches at the edge of the octagon worked against Machida in the same way they worked against Frank Mir in the Mir/Carwin fight. Besides the sneaky punches, Shogun was wailing on his knee – which did not bode well for Machida’s legs – his mode of  rear and lateral mobility.

6.  Shogun deployed an effective run-and-gun strategy at about 2.30″ with Machida doing the running and Shogun doing the gunning. The strategy paid off as Shogun caught Machida with a strike to the face at 2.34″ which clearly snapped Machida’s head back. This was one of the points at which Machida could have been brought down. We raised this point in our article “In Search of the Machida Killer.”

After viewing the fight, go back to the replay sequence at 4.35″ in the video link below for an amazing  precis of the entire fight in compressed time  because it dramatizes the points that made Shogun the winner and Machida the loser. That amazing sequence starts with Machida throwing a knee to Shogun’s midsection and then following with a straight left fist strike at the same time that Shogun is deploying a looping right punch. Machida misses with a strike that could have brought Shogun down but Shogun’s loopy hook finds its mark on Machida’s left temple. Machida promptly goes down. Shogun smelling bacon piles on and unloads a flurry of strikes to the head and face  in the  guard position and Machida goes limp  before the last three blows.

Shogun stops hitting Machida before the referee even moves in to stop the fight. Now there is class for you to make up for what was missing in the Daley/Koscheck fight. Shogun goes onto to steal hearts and minds with his congratulation of all the mothers, his mom and his wife who has just had a baby on the occasion of the impending Mothers’ Day.  We could see dudes tearing up over their beer  suds.

But the bottom-line for the hard-bitten fans was that a wrong had been righted and order had been restored to the Light Heavyweight Division. The senile judges of UFC 104 could now be encouraged to take early retirement.

Google Lyoto Machida vs Mauricio Shogun, UFC 113 video.

Mauricio Shogun Rua

UFC 113 and the younger face of the new Light Heavyweight Champion of the UFC, Mauricio Shogun Rua. Compared to Shogun, Machida is a softie. Yes, you read that right, a softie.

Our Hit & Miss on Paul Daley vs Jeff Koscheck: Our Cyberaxis call was off on Paul Daley vs Jeff Koscheck,  but not by much. We missed the end result: a win by Koscheck over Paul Daley in a lackluster wrassling game that had fans booing, but not the underlying analysis. It is clear that result would have been totally different had Jeff Koscheck decided to go toe-to-toe with Paul Daley like he said he might out of sheer cockiness. He did not – because his momma didn’t raise a fool. Paul Daley is hard. Jeff Koscheck is soft.  From the opening round he cowered behind a crappy ground game that did not result in any pounding or effective submission holds.  Paul Daley is too strong for that shit. And with 36 seconds left in the first round, Jeff Koscheck did the old fake-a-roo worthy of a European League soccer player after a knee that could have hit him in the face clearly missed his mug.  He lived up to his mamma’s boy rep (Daley’s characterization) when he carried on for a minute or two like he had been kneed in the face, a ruse that stopped the fight for about a minute or two while the referee got to the bottom of things. When it was clearly established that Koscheck had not been kneed in the face, the fight promptly resumed with Koscheck falling back on the tried and true – the wrestling which yielded  ground-with-nary-a pound. The fans booed intermittently. Koscheck had reneged on facing Daley on a front that could have produced fireworks, but perhaps at Koscheck’s expense. He did what GSP, Matt Hughes and a couple of others routinely do; i.e. go technical and incremental  on the fans’ dime and wangle decision wins out of three rounds. A win is a win, right? Well, yes and no. I do not see fans buying into Koscheck stock any time too soon. Read that tickets. Read that draws.  There a the win and then there is the power and there is the glory. Jeff Koscheck just had a win at the price of a cheap ticket. The down side of this is that he is now destined to be the coach of  The Ultimate Fighter TV show opposite George St. Pierre. This sets him up for a snoozer of a finale with GSP at the end of the season. Who is gonna be watching this one? Not us here at Cyberaxis. For Dana White, it goes on to show the wisdom of delaying some announcements about who is gonna do who until fighters have actually deported themselves in completed fights.  In our view Koscheck doesn’t deserve to be on that show. What is he gonna teach future UFC grunt? Oi vei!

Koscheck as octagonal provocateur & Daley as dick-headed dolt: You already know of what happened 5 seconds after the end of the final round (Paul Daley walked up to Jeff Koscheck and sucker punched him in the face. That was a travesty unseen and unheard of in the UFC and none of us at Cyberaxis  condone such behavior.

Now that the cat is out of the bag – well, kinda – it turns out that Daley must be one of the dumbest dicks fighting in MMA. Whether its relative youth or dumb gone dumber in the heat of the moment, it appears he deserves harsh punishment. Being afforded a license to fight pay carries with it responsibilities fairly similar to those of  a driving license.  One cannot be reckless  without consequence.

Now having said that the question remains about what punishment would be befitting  Daley’s crime.  What the athletic commission is gonna do is still out there. The UFC, through Dana White, has indicated that it has cut Daley from UFC fights for life. We think that is too way too harsh. A two year suspension would have been tough enough. Cutting Daley for life is like using a hammer to squash a gnat. Overkill at its worst. The thing you’ll probably hurt beyond the gnat is the furniture.

Soon after the unfortunate incident, we had maintained that that the non-sweet nothings Koscheck had whispered in  Daley’s ear should have been considered as possible mitigating circumstances, depending on what those non-sweet nothings were.  (See Koscheck’s remarks on the ESPN post-fight show)  Well, it turns out that there isn’t much there to mitigate the seriousness of what Daley did.

“I know people will make a big deal about what Koscheck said to me after the fight, but that didn’t play a factor. He said I was a (expletive) and that I couldn’t get up and whatever. I think he is just trying to make a bad situation worse,” (Paul Daley)

That is it. End of story. If Josh had said something worse than that, Daley would have coughed it up in his own defence. So as things stand now, he doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on except the overly harsh punishment he has received to date at the hands of the UFC. Daley’s official apology, published  through the Daily Telegraph, seems to have done little to change his situation.

On top of the fact of being a certifiable jerk, Koscheck’s words can never justify what Daley did. On top of that, what ticked Dana off among other things was Daley’s dumb response, when asked why he had punched Koscheck. He reportedly said that he hadn’t heard the bell – which was certifiable B.S. If he had deferred his answer, he might have had a better chance to clear his mind and say something honest and substantive at after the post-fight hubbub.

“He’s done.  He will never be back. I don’t care if he goes all over the world, goes on a winning streak, becomes the best 170-pound fighter in the world or even the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, he’s never fighting in the UFC again.”(Dana White, UFC President on ESPN post-fight show)

That is pretty strong stuff that may not be reversible in the future.  One of the things working against Daley’s  is that as a 170 pounder, he is fairly disposable and Dana White knows that  he will never be desperate for a 170 pounder the way he is desperate for heavyweights like Fedor Emelianenko. In this biz fame is kind of measured by the pound  – Brock Lesnar and company being cases in point.

We hope that if Daley doesn’t melt down in the next couple of years and demonstrates an enviable work ethic outside the UFC, he may, through intermediaries, be allowed to come back for a second chance.  The inauspicious aspect of this timetable is that in two years he will be about Shogun’s age, which in MMA terms is prime time territory. So his best bet is to go out and fight like the UFC never existed, and only come back if comeback opportunities present themselves.  We will keep our fingers crossed. Meanwhile we can predict that Jeff Koscheck will fizzle within that time – not to mention losing fans as layers of his dick-hood are peeled layer after layer.

And then Kimbo Slice showed up but minus his cardio to lose in a lop-sided fashion to crazyman Matt Matrione whose grin bespoke of someone in an altered state of consciousness. About half-way through the fight a friend remarked that Kimbo Slice  should have stayed with busting street bums. As marginally unconscionable as that sounded, there was a grain of truth in it.

Mauricio Shogun Rua - Eerie Mix

Shogun Rua: “Portait of an MMA Grunt as a Young Man” – An eerie mix of sweet and scary.

Shogun Rua Going Forward: How long Shogun will hold onto the Light Heavyweight is anybody’s guess. There are just too many credible challengers to the throne he now holds. If he can hold on for just a couple of years, besides upping the ante on the skill factor, Shogun would be a marketer’s dream because his Q-factor is off the charts. The easy going manner, the smile and the ethic are poised to make him millions (See what he said to the camera after his victory was announced.)

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ESPN Post-fight UFC 113 Show

Koscheck wins the title, Daley shown the door (Dave Metzer, Yahoo Sports)

Pep Talk – Justice is served (Larry Pepe, Fight)

Dana White sends message to fans, fighters (Franklin McNeil, ESPN)

A Few Thoughts Before UFC 113

The minutes are ticking down before UFC 113. The moment of truth is here as much for Lyoto Machida as for Mauricio Shogun Rua. Both fighters are talking up a storm but that is not what’s gonna make the difference tonight. The clue to the outcome is written all over UFC 104  – which is to say that Shogun is gonna edge Machida in actual assault – if not an actual win. He is not afraid of Machida so he has the ability to forge this creative space where he can initiate or counter anything Machida throws at him.

One thing fans can count on: This is gonna be a Technical Lolapalooza – the stuff that MMA is made at its core. Its unfortunate that as accomplished as these fighters are, the  matchup still lacks the branding catchet inspite of what Dana White says.  MMA fandom has just not evolved to a point where two Brazilian wunderkinds can command the kind of attention that Brock Lesnar – a Johnny-come-lately to the world of MMA commands.

Machida will partly be fighting against himself in the sense of the style that this  fight is gonna impose on him.  He is gonna have to attack more which means less of the run-and-gun school of fighting he is accustomed to – the same style he has been criticised for. Enforced aggression will take him out of his fighting comfort zone and that will play into Shogun’s hands.  The odds-makers who favor Machida think they have got it, but they are wrong. A new champion is gonna be crowned tonight and for the record its gonna be Mauricio Shogun Rua. Noone deserves it more.

Lyoto Machida vs Dana White & Related Stuff: UFC 104 threw Machida for a similar loop it threw Frank Mir after  UFC  81 and 100. He never recovered his balance after – Frank  Mir that is. Machida shows signs of being a bit off balance after a UFC 104 victory that was pooh-poohed as much by fans as the UFC head honcho. And Machida’s recent attempt to criticize Dana White for his post fight remarks shows a guy who is fighting  with shadows instead of taking responsibility for his sub-par performance at 104. That is just more evidence that Machida and the Machida camp are just not as savvy as they could be when it comes to the public relations aspect of this business.

Sit back and enjoy the fight.

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Josh Koscheck vs Paul Daley @UFC 113: Trash Talking As An Olympic Sport

Except that there is something different about the two guys talking about this fight. Fakers need not apply because both are  talking out of the gut of mutual contempt, fear and or loathing. This verbal back and forth – this trash-talking lolapalooza has a different feel to it.  And as anyone who has ever been involved in a schoolyard fight will tell you, this is  stuff that  knock-down drag out fights are made of,  from the bare-knuckle verbal jousting to battle royales inside the octagon that deploy every fiber in the body – the fighter and the viewer’s.

Paul Daley Living Large

Paul Daley Psyche-out Valedictorian, kickin' it with a not-so-secret admirer outside the octagon. Come Saturday, will he come at Jeff Koscheck harder than "mamma's boy" (his characterization) has ever dreamed of?

This, among other things,  is the reasons why Daley ( 23-8-2) vs Koscheck (16-4)  is gonna be the fight of the night. Machida vs Rua is old news. The rubber match protagonists may go the distance but Daley vs Koscheck are NOT (gonna go the distance.) There is just too much energy surrounding this fight to preclude the convulsive leap across the synaptic gap.

Koscheck vs Daley is about balls and Josh Koscheck wants to prove to the MMA hood that his are bigger and blacker (not to mention hairier) than Paul Daley’s.  Paul Daley thinks Koscheck is a “mamma’s boy” who is blowing hot air out of his rear end. Daley thinks Koscheck has a wrong-headed view about his chances  because he has never been hit like the way he is gonna be hit on Saturday night. Koscheck says the hook  is all Daley has and Daley owns up to that but counters by saying that Koscheck will have to avoid being cudgeled by his deadly hook for 15 long minutes – an almost guaranteed impossibility. And as if the stakes were not stratospherically high enough already – Koscheck says he  m-i-g-h-t    j-u-s-t    d-e-c-i-d-e    t-o    s-t-a-n-d   a-n-d   b-a-n-g   w-i-t-h  the  British Banger because he is just that cocky.  Oh yeah? Well, this  to us  just smells like teen spirit  – down to the aura of invincibility and proclivity for braggadocious  high-jinks  both of which account for a high rates of early deaths among teens.

When two young toughs lock verbal horns the way  Koscheck and Daley have done, you have to go beyond  their words to something more than cerebrated intentions. When you do that you find that Josh Koscheck is angry where Paul Daley is just full of rock-steady conviction about what is gonna go down. Listen to Paul Daley’s tone of voice, delivery and body language when he is talking about this fight. This is one dude, who, like Brock Lesnar, is very much in touch with this physical and mental mojo. Look at how this sangfroid and self-presentation is gonna play out even in the fighter’s warm-up rooms before the fight.   If Daley decides to stand with Koscheck he is gonna go down like a rock  against all booking odds. If he  decides to go to the ground and deploy all his tools, he may have a chance  – but even then its not a done deal. Reason? Paul Daley is one strong mofo who should never be counted out by bookies the way they have. Reason? Well, the reason is that he  can take a pounding better than  Koscheck can.

Our call? Paul Daley wins this fight by knockout  in the first or second round.  Check the date and time stamps on this post  and take  your screen shots if in doubt.

While Koscheck may have improved his game a little, he is not yet ready for stand-up prime-time. The fact that Paul Daley has never been knocked out outright in his 6 loses does not bode well for Koscheck in the stand-up scenario. His best bet is to shoot early and shoot often with intent to keep things on the ground.  Koscheck has knocked Daley by saying that he has defeated a bunch of nobody’s without mentioning the spectacular fashion in which he has knocked them out beyond the numbers (7 straight KOs and 11 TKOs vs Koscheck’s 3 straight KO and 2 TKOs). Koscheck’s dig fails to stand up to scrutiny when fans realize that that is the same argument some people were making against Shane Carwin’s chances in his fight with Frank Mir. And the most match on Koscheck’s side for the purpuses of this fight is his loss Thiago Alves who brings to the octagon a similar arsenal as Paul Daley. We will go into a bit more detail about our position before the fight  if time allows.

Meanwhile we say go with the guy who is convincingly feeling this fight in his bones and in his gut: Paul Daley in the first or second round!

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A relatively out-of-condition Paul Daley loses to a nervy Nick Diaz! (Cyberaxis)