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World Series of Fighting: Signs Jake Shields to exclusive, multi-fight deal

  

                                                              PHOTO: WSOF

LAS VEGAS (April 21, 2014) - World Series of Fighting continues to build an extremely stacked welterweight division with the addition of former Strikeforce champion and UFC title contender Jake Shields.

With the addition of Shields, the World Series of Fighting welterweight division is now one of the best on the planet with such top talent as current champion Rousimar Palhares and top contenders Jon Fitch, Josh Burkman, Steve Carl, and Gerald Harris.

The California-based fighter recently announced that he signed a multi-fight deal with the promotion and is expected to debut in the World Series of Fighting decagon in July. He brings a 29-7-1 record into the cage and will make his first appearance against an opponent to be named shortly.

Shields has beaten a very impressive who’s who list of fighters that includes Dan Henderson, Carlos Condit, Paul Daley, Robbie Lawler, Tyron Woodley, Demian Maia, Martin Kampmann, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Jason Miller and Yushin Okami.

Shields is ranked as a top-10 welterweight and has built himself a hall-of-fame worthy resume in 15 years of professional fighting. The 35-year-old is a proud member of the “Skrap Pack,” where he trains alongside some of MMA’s best, including Gilbert Milendez as well as Nick and Nate Diaz. He also works closely with coach Tareq Azim at his Empower gym in San Francisco.

Shields, an American Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, previously held the EliteXC welterweight title, as well as the Strikeforce middleweight championship. “I have so much to prove, and I will become the World Series of Fighting welterweight champion,” Shields said. “I’m really looking forward to fighting at my new home with World Series of Fighting.  I think that when you look at the World Series of Fighting welterweight roster, there is no denying that they’re housing many of the world’s best, and I’m proud to be a part of that group.”

“Jake has been a top fighter in professional mixed martial arts for years now, ” World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo said. “You know you’ve got one of the best in the world when you sign someone who has won multiple championship belts and has had 15-fight win streaks over some of the world class fighters he’s beaten. This kid is an extremely tough, proven warrior capable of beating anyone who stands in his way. I’m extremely proud we were able to sign him and I will continue bringing fighters of this caliber to World Series of Fighting.”

NASCAR Nationwide Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contenders

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2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contenders

Justin Allgaier
Michael Annett
Alex Bowman
Austin Dillon
Parker Kligerman
Kyle Larson
Ryan Truex
Cole Whitt



2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contenders

Dakoda Armstrong
Tanner Berryhill
Chad Boat
Chris Buescher
Ty Dillon
Chase Elliott
Dylan Kwasniewski
Tommy Joe Martins
Ryan Reed

2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contenders 
Ben Kennedy
Mason Mingus
Tyler Reddick
Tyler Young

NASCAR Executive Marcus Jadotte Leaving?

Photo Credit Getty Images & NASCAR1
NASCAR Executive Marcus Jadotte Leaving Organization
Jadotte to Serve as NASCAR Consultant for Multicultural Development;
Teneo Strategy to Broaden NASCAR Public Affairs Capabilities
 
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 16, 2014) – NASCAR announced today that Marcus Jadotte, vice president of public affairs and multicultural development, will be leaving the organization. Jadotte will serve as a consultant as NASCAR continues to evolve its diversity and multicultural development initiatives throughout the organization. Additionally, NASCAR will expand its existing relationship with Teneo Strategy, a strategic advisory firm which has worked with NASCAR since 2013, to support its public affairs activities.
 
“During his nine years at NASCAR, Marcus has made a truly meaningful impact on our business,” said NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France. “Thanks in large part to Marcus’ passion and leadership, we have become a leader in diversity and inclusion among the sports industry, and we will continue to deepen our commitment in the years ahead. We are grateful for his years of dedicated service to NASCAR.”
“The NASCAR ecosystem reaches nearly every facet of the American economy, so it was particularly gratifying to have worked with leading NASCAR stakeholders and to have contributed to the sport’s development over the last nine years,” Jadotte said. “I am especially grateful for the professional support and friendship I have received from Brian France and NASCAR President Mike Helton during my tenure.”
Among his accomplishments since joining NASCAR in March 2005, Jadotte led the development of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) and NASCAR Pit Crew Development programs. These initiatives focus on developing the skills of promising female, Asian, Latino and African-American drivers and crew members in NASCAR. Jadotte has effectively overseen NASCAR’s relationship with Rev Racing, which operates teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for the NASCAR D4D program, resulting in an increase in minority participation and on-track success.
NASCAR D4D will continue under the leadership of Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president, racing operations (to whom Jadotte reported). The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program and annual NASCAR Diversity Awards also are among a number of diversity and inclusion programs started by Jadotte that will continue at NASCAR.

Sorry ‘Bones,’ but Junior dos Santos insists UFC champ Jose Aldo is the best pound-for-pound fighter in MMA

Home cooking? Or is JDS spitting the truth?

Jon Jones may be running roughshod over the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight division since 2008, but Jose Aldo has been doing the same in the featherweight division for nearly a decade.

And that’s why Junior dos Santos claims Aldo, not Jones, is the true pound-four-pound best fighter in all of mixed martial arts (MMA).

“Cigano” said as much during a recent fan chat (via MMA Fighting):

“There are a lot of great fighters right now. It’s complicated, but I’ll choose Jose Aldo. It’s not because I’m at Nova Uniao now. I’d have answered this question the same way before. It’s impressive what Aldo has done in his division. I know that a lot of people are talking about Jon Jones, and he really is a phenom, he’s really good, but Aldo is at the top and defending his title for a lot longer. Jose Aldo is the man right now.”

As it stands, Jones is No. 1 on the official UFC rankings while Aldo is close behind at the No. 2 spot.

For some, Aldo included, the pound-for-pound rankings are “f—ing usless” and hold no merit. For others, it’s simply a way to measure a fighter’s success and skill level. So, lets take a look at their respective accomplishments, shall we?

Jones boasts a 19-1 record (13-1 UFC) which includes 10 straight victories inside the Octagon, eight of those coming by way of knockout or submission. “Bones” also became the youngest champion the UFC history when he defeated Mauricio Rua at UFC 128.

He also holds the record for most consecutive title defenses in the division with six. In addition, Jon’s only loss came via disqualification after he rained down some illegal elbows on Matt Hamill in a fight he was clearly dominating.

As for Aldo, the Brazilian bomber is the proud owner of a 24-1 record (6-0 UFC) which includes a 17-fight win streak that dates back to his World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) days where he was also the 145-pound champion.

He, too, is the proud owner of six straight title defenses. Aldo’s first and only loss was in 2005 in a fight that was contested at lightweight.

One can argue, however, that Jones’ level of competition has been stronger than that of Aldo’s. No disrespect to the rest of the featherweight division, of course.

With stats and accomplishments such as those, either of those men can easily lay claim to the top spot. Of course, pound-for-pound qualifications may vary, depending on who you ask.

Nevertheless, while JDS acknowledges “Bones” as a “phenom,” he strongly believes Aldo deserves to sit atop of the pound-for-pound rankings. Anyone (dis) agree?

I bet you thought you’d never see the day when Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva weren’t even in the discussion … or did you?

Icewoman: Dana White calls Ronda Rousey his new Chuck Liddell

Perhaps there’s no better compliment in MMA than being compared to “The Iceman.”

Ronda Rousey will face Alexis Davis on July 5, 2014, in the co-main event of UFC 175 in Las Vegas, Nevada, in what will be “Rowdy’s” fourth attempt to defend her women’s bantamweight strap.

See how that bout came together here.

It will also mark her third fight in the span of seven months, after disposing of Miesha Tate at UFC 168 last December and Sara McMann a month and a half later at UFC 170.

It’s that “fight anywhere, anytime,” attitude that has made her a fan favorite and gotten her in ZUFFA’s good graces. A company woman, if you will.

In fact, White recently labeled Rousey his “new Chuck Liddell,” citing that she is willing to take on all comers at any given moment and revealed it was Ronda who asked him to book her for another fight so quickly.

He showered the former Judoka with praise during a recent media scrum:

“Ronda called me and says, ‘I want to fight.’ Ronda is my new Chuck Liddell, man, seriously. She is my new Chuck Liddell. She will fight anybody, anywhere, at anytime. She wants to stay busy, she wants to keep fighting. You tell her she can’t fight and she’ll say, ‘Fuck you, I want to fight.’ She will fight back-to-back, she will fight on 24 hours notice. She’s the new Chuck Liddell.”

If fighting wasn’t keeping her busy enough, Rousey is also off conquering Tinseltown, appearing in movies such as “Fast and Furious 7″ and “Entourage.”

No rest for the weary.

Ironically enough, Liddell, too, had a cameo in the television version of “Entourage.”

Indeed, “The Iceman” was the original company man that helped the promotion get to where it is today, while Ronda has become a pioneer herself, paving the way for women to make their presence felt inside the Octagon after becoming the first woman to ever sign a deal with the Las Vegas, Nevada – based promotion backin 2012.

According to White, she might be a bigger star than Chuck, or any other present or former UFC fighter, for that matter.

Even bigger than this box office draw.

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Glover Teixeira wins his WEC debut by knocking out Carlton Jones

“For me, it is very important to finish the fight. I just want to be the best man on the planet. That’s the motivation. That’s why we’re in this sport. I have a dream, I want to get that title.”

–Glover Teixeira

In May 2006, Royce Gracie returned to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to fight Matt Hughes in the main event of UFC 60, which took place inside the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Less than 200 miles away, a young Brazilian up-and-comer named Glover Teixeira made his World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) debut at WEC 20: “Cinco de Mayhem,” inside Lemoore’s Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino.

Not that anyone was paying attention.

Despite the fact that he was cornered by John Hackleman, head trainer of then-UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, there was very little to be excited about when talking about the future of Teixeira. Billed as “The Brazilian Pitbull,” he was just 2-2 in his young mixed martial arts (MMA) career.

And fresh off a unanimous decision loss to the talented but unheralded Ed Herman.

That’s probably why he was paired off against Carlton Jones, a 32-year-old slugger with a penchant for dropping bombs. Known as “The Councilman,” Jones was coming off a loss to Shane Carwin at WEC 17 after trying — quite unsuccessfully — to out-punch the monstrous “Engineer.”

Both fighters were on the rebound and ready to throw down in “The Golden State.”

Here’s what happened:

Teixeira enters the cage as Tool’s “Sober” blares over the loudspeakers. Jones counters with nondescript death metal. Quick touch of gloves and both men unleash hell, fists flying, Don Frye vs. Yoshihiro Takayama-style. The Brazilian takes one clean to the dome and dives for a takedown, but is easily denied.

They immediately reset and start swinging for the fences in a wild, artless display of heavy leather.

Jones lumbers in for the killing blow and gets taken down as punishment for his aggression. “Welcome to Tie-share-uhs world,” says the hapless color commentator. Less than a minute into the fight and Teixeira already has side control before effortlessly transitioning to mount.

Those jiu-jitsu black belts sure do come in handy.

Jones employs the Resident Evil defense, when a fighter — complete with vacant expression — sticks both arms straight out and moans. It does little to keep Teixeira from raining down punches and referee John Shirley has no choice but to intervene.

“Once ‘The Pitbull’ locked his jaws,” mused the play-by-play man, “It was all over, as Carlton couldn’t solve the puzzle.”

The win did more than just mark a successful debut with WEC, it kicked off a 20-fight winning streak that has spanned nearly eight years. In addition, five of those 20 wins have taken place inside the Octagon, and helped propel Teixeira into a light heavyweight title shot.

Where reigning division kingpin Jon Jones will be waiting.

They’ll hook ‘em up in the main event of the aptly-named UFC 172: “Jones vs. Teixeira” pay-per-view (PPV) event this Saturday night (April 26, 2014) from inside the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland, in a 205-pound showdown that will likely send the winner into a title defense against Alexander Gustafsson.

For more on UFC 172 click here.

MLB: Here’s what you need to know at a glance…

imgres

Justice: Boston to show strength on Patriots Day

Braun, Davis HRs lift Brewers after benches clear

What’s Next: A’s, Brewers lead the pack

Puig hits decisive HR as Dodgers stifle D-backs

Nationals edge Cardinals on Span’s walk-off sac fly

And a few more things you need to see:

Red Sox walk off in ninth

Red Sox walk off in ninth

Dustin Pedroia comes around to score on a throwing error by David Lough, giving the Red Sox a 6-5 walk-off win over the Orioles.

Ian Kinsler scores from first base on a walk

Ian Kinsler scores from first base on a walk

Can’t knock the hustle.

Sports on Earth: Not done yet

Sports on Earth: Not done yet

Injuries have slowed Mark Teixeira, but the Yankees hope he has something left.

'Iron Man' heckles Mike Trout

‘Iron Man’ heckles Mike Trout

Check out the chatter from Tony Stark.

Photo of the Day: Rockies Mohawk Guy, Easter edition

Photo of the Day: Rockies Mohawk Guy, Easter edition

Beauty.

Michael Bisping: ‘I want to leave Tim Kennedy in a pile of piss and blood, begging the referee to rip me off him’

 
 

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Another international season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) has drawn to an end, culminating with an exciting mid-week Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) card that takes place later this evening (Weds., April 16, 2014) on FOX Sports 1. Take a look at the special fighters and fights from the “Bisping vs. Kennedy” event who have the potential to haul in one or more of UFC’s new performance-based bonuses.

There are several fun mid-week mixed martial arts (MMA) matches set to take place tonight (Weds., April 16, 2014) from Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is set to pull the trigger on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): “Nations” Finale, which will showcase several talented fighters scattered throughout the card.

In addition to the trash-talking main event between Michael Bisping vs. Tim Kennedy, TUF: “Nations” Finale features a patriotic “Canada vs. Australia”-themed co-main event between Patrick Cote and Kyle Noke, two TUF titles up for grabs, a bad blood Featherweight scrap (Dustin Poirier vs. Akira Corassani) and a Sarah Kaufman vs. Leslie Smith rematch, one of 2013′s hidden treasures.

Indeed, with all the potential for heart-racing action, it will be interesting to see who secures some extra cash with UFC’s new performance-based bonuses. Therfore, let’s take a look at who are most likely to impress later this evening on FOX Sports 1:

Michael Bisping (Fighting Tim Kennedy): Bisping may not be a clear-cut No. 1 Middleweight title challenger, but he is definitely a very skilled and experienced martial artist. His game is pretty much the perfect foil to Kennedy’s, who is essentially a less impressive Chael Sonnen with better submission defense. The submission defense won’t matter here, though, because Bisping won’t let this fight hit the mat. Between shrugging off takedown attempts, Bisping will have his way with Kennedy on the feet en route to an easy, impressive decision win. Barring a fluke, Bisping is one of the best bets as a bonus winner on this card.

Patrick Cote & Kyle NokeThat’s your “Fight of the Night” pick, Maniacs. Two guys with good firepower, iron chins and lots of heart and experience. I was impressed with Noke’s win over Charlie Brenneman and I’m excited to see him back in action after his most recent performance in Sept. 2012. Despite Alessio Sakara gifting Cote a win by bludgeoning the back of his head after hurting him badly, “The Predator” showed he still belongs in the Octagon thanks to his exciting back-and-forth win over Bobby Voelker. Both men look a lot faster at 170 than 185 pounds; therefore, expect this to be a high-paced, back-and-forth battle.

Dustin Poirier (Fighting Akira Corassani): I cannot believe this fight is happening … what a mismatch. Poirier is good at everything and is coming off an incredibly impressive win over Diego Brandao. Corassani is good at what, exactly? His striking is poor and it is just shocking that he has a three-fight win streak in UFC. Robbie Peralta is a fairly impressive win, sure, but he’s no where near Poirier’s level. This is going to end violently; in fact, I really don’t see how Poirier could not win impressively.

Sarah Kaufman & Leslie SmithAnother possible “Fight of the Night” candidate is actually a rematch from Invicta FC 5 almost one year ago. Their first fight was very exciting, with Smith nearly finishing Kaufman in the second round, only to claw back to take a split decision. As much as I don’t find women’s MMA to have the same quality as its male counterpart, there’s no denying that the women fighters put on good fights. And that’s something you can expect here. Smith is also coming off a loss coming into her Octagon debut, which should give her extra incentive to try to notch a win here.

Ryan Jimmo (Fighting Ryan O’Connell): “The Real OC” is out of his element here, making his UFC debut against Jimmo. O’Connell strikes me as neither a great athlete nor a good technician, and I expect to see Jimmo take this one with ease. “Big Deal” may get a bad rap for some boring performances, but he has some legit wins and O’Connell really doesn’t. O’Connell’s four career losses are all finishes, and I expect nothing less from Jimmo.

Mark Bocek (Fighting Mike de la Torre): Bocek — who can be considered a UFC veteran at this point — welcomes promotional newcomer Mike de la Torre to the Octagon at this event. De la Torre is pretty athletic and has some promise, but for the most part, he’s fairly raw … and has lost three times via submission (Bocek’s bread-and-butter). Expect de la Torre to bring the fight to Bocek early, but to be quickly dispatched for an impressive submission victory from the Canadian.

And there you have it. TUF: “Nations” Finale has some decent fights on tap, as well as some fighters who are poised to turn in memorable performances. These types of sleeper events can be surprisingly spectacular, especially with the sweet blend of fighters and fights about to hit Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1.

Enjoy the show!

Michael Bisping: ‘I want to leave Tim Kennedy in a pile of piss and blood, begging the referee to rip me off him’

Posted: 15 Apr 2014 08:00 PM PDT

Call me crazy, but I do believe Michael Bisping dislikes Tim Kennedy.

Michael Bisping has been involved in a war of words with just about every single one of his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) opponents.

From jawing back-and-forth with Dan Henderson on the set of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 9, to trading insults with Alan Belcher, to his war of words with Jason Miller, Bisping is no stranger to heated rivalries.

Like this one.

But, during a recent interview with FOX Sports, you get the sense that his beef with Tim Kennedy is indeed personal and the dislike “The Count” has for the former Strikeforce veteran is “as real as it gets.”

So much so, that the brash Brit is determined to hurt Kennedy in the most violent way imaginable to the point that he will be begging for the fight to be stopped after he finds himself lying in a pool of his own bodily fluids.

Bisping’s words:

“I’m going to fight with a lot more venom, a lot more intensity. Maybe some guys that throws them off, but for me, it’s the worst thing you can do, pissing me off. I’m an emotional guy and I fight way better when I’m like that. This will be a stoppage for sure, you ain’t going to see a decision. I haven’t come up here to Quebec for a mixed martial arts contest. I’ve come up here to beat Tim Kennedy up in the most violent way as I can possibly do. I want to hurt him, I want to leave him on the floor in a pile of piss and blood and he begs the referee to rip me off him and then I never want to hear Tim Kennedy’s name mentioned in the same sentence as me ever again.”

If that threat sounds familiar, it should, that’s because it’s the same promise Bisping made when he was scheduled to face off against Mark Munoz at UFC Fight Night 30. Of course, the fight never took place because “The Count” was forced out of the bout with an eye injury.

Indeed, Kennedy has succeeded in getting under the skin of Bisping thanks to videos such as this one. And during yesterday’s (April 14, 2014) face off between the two combatants, “The Count” unloaded a verbal tirade on the former Army Ranger.

According to Bisping, the “mind games” Kennedy insists on playing will prove to be his downfall, as all they have done is increased the British brawler’s intensity and put him in the zone.

And when the two talented middleweights hit the center of the Octagon in the main event of tomorrow night’s (April 16, 2014) main event of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): “Nations” Finale at Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City, Bisping intends to show Kennedy that he’s in way over his head.

MLB: Here is what you need to know at a glance

imgres

Pineda, Ellsbury lift Yanks in first meeting with Sox

Brewers solve Lee in Philadelphia to cap 6-0 trip

Abreu’s latest multihomer effort carries White Sox

Strasburg’s 12 K’s, Desmond’s slam key Nats’ sweep

Generations merge as Giants bid farewell to ‘Stick

And a few more things you need to see:

Must C: Catch

Must C: Catch

Red Sox right fielder Daniel Nava lays out for a diving catch to rob Yangervis Solarte of a hit

Larry Walker bowls a perfect game, is a Canadian hero

Larry Walker bowls a perfect game, is a Canadian hero

The former NL MVP has now been part of a perfecto in both baseball and bowling.

Joe Mauer accepts Silver Slugger Award with adorable twin daughters

Joe Mauer accepts Silver Slugger Award with adorable twin daughters

Target Field’s cute factor significantly increased.

Sports on Earth: Just a Sea Dog

Sports on Earth: Just a Sea Dog

Red Sox prospect Henry Owens has been living up to his substantial hype — but the club is being cautious.

Ryan Dempster attends Cubs game; can you spot what's out of place?

Ryan Dempster attends Cubs game; can you spot what’s out of place?

He decided to watch his former team play from the stands. Things got stranger from there.

 

 

 

Pujols’ 494th HR powers 1-hitter from Richards, ‘pen

V-Mart’s HR in 10th takes Nathan off the hook in LA

Werth’s grand slam in 8th caps wild victory

Papi pens another chapter with late go-ahead HR

Crew now 5-0 on the road after three-run eighth

And a few more things you need to see:

Ervin's excellent debut

Ervin’s excellent debut

Ervin Santana wins Braves debut, allowing three hits over eight scoreless innings, striking out six.

The new R.B.I. Baseball 14 is here

The new R.B.I. Baseball 14 is here

The amazing new game has launched in the Apple App store and on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Here's how Billy Hamilton's unique speed can change a game

Here’s how Billy Hamilton’s unique speed can change a game

When is a single worth more than one base? When it’s a Billy Hamilton single.

Sports on Earth: Calculated speed demon

Sports on Earth: Calculated speed demon

The current Cardinal with the most stolen bases for the club is none other than Yadier Molina.

Watch Jose Abreu hit his first career home run ... and get the silent treatment

Watch Jose Abreu hit his first career home run … and get the silent treatment

Who doesn’t love the silent treatment?

Clay Guida vs Tatsuya Kawajiri: UFC Fight Night 39 ‘Fight of the Night’ early pick

 

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Two featherweights who have been around the mixed martial arts (MMA) block, Clay Guida and Tatsuya Kawajiri, will collide in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 39, which takes place later this afternoon (Fri., April 11, 2014) from du Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. And it’s going to be a good fight.

In the stacked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 145-pound division, making a name as a new Featherweight contender is no small task. However, two big names in the sport, Clay Guida and Tatsuya Kawajiri, have recently joined the ranks.

More important, “Carpenter” and “Crusher” will hook ‘em up later this afternoon (Fri., April 11, 2014) on Fight Pass in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 39 from du Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Guida, whose UFC tenure began all the way back in 2006, has become known for many different kinds of performances. Even though he has put on terrific fights in his bouts with Roger Huerta, Diego Sanchez and Ben Henderson, he has also turned in some miserably boring performances, most notably in his wins against Anthony Pettis and Gray Maynard.

Maynard fight excluded, Guida’s fights tend to be exciting when his opponent is competent enough to thwart his stifling top game. Against “The Bully,” the fight was boring mostly because Guida’s gameplan seemed to be a concerted effort to do anything but fight, while Maynard was completely inept at cutting off the cage and keeping the caveman in front of him.

When Guida can’t get the takedown, he tends to rush forward with reckless abandon, throwing wildly with quick forward movements, putting the pressure on his opponent to counter a constantly moving and attacking target. When he gets caught, he continues to throw aggressively, even if he is clearly hurt by his opponent.

Kawajiri has been a well known mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter for some time, making his name in Japan for promotions such as Dream, K-1, Pride FC and Shooto. His style is the embodiment of his nickname, “Crusher,” leveraging terrific wrestling ability and physical strength to bring the fight to his opponent. His striking doesn’t tend to be his main focus, but he does sport strong, fairly technical boxing skills with good power in his hands.

The key to this match being an exciting is Kawajiri’s wrestling ability, both defensively and offensively, which is probably enough to give Guida problems. Guida will be unable to have his way with Kawajiri, meaning that this fight will either be played out on neutral terms on the feet or we’ll see Guida taken down and put under pressure.

Should either of those scenarios happen, expect Guida to fight like a mad dog to gain the upper hand. He’ll attempt to make up for the skill discrepancy in the striking department with constant pressure, which should set the pace for a terrific back-and-forth struggle for supremacy.

Clinch battles will be technical, but high paced, while the striking portion of this fight could be very interesting, leading me to believe this fight will be the most exciting on an otherwise weak UFC Fight Night 39 card. Indeed, expect Clay Guida and Tatsuya Kawajiri to deliver a very fun fight in Abu Dhabi … perhaps even the “Fight of the Night.”

History in the making: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira proves once and for all that jiu jitsu works

Posted: 10 Apr 2014 09:00 PM PDT

“If you have any knowledge at all of jiu jitsu, it’s just not going to work. If you literally have never heard of anything and have no idea what they’re doing, okay, kind of like the first UFC, yeah jiu jitsu works. It’s kind of like trickery, basically. If you have any idea about any of the tricks, it’s just not going to work, unless you’re a complete idiot and fall for it. Maybe I should re-phrase it and just say, jiu jitsu doesn’t work on me.”

Dave Herman, June 2011

Dave Herman was struggling to stay afloat in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight division.

Despite an impeccable record on the international mixed martial arts (MMA) scene, where the Indianan racked up a staggering 21 wins against just two losses, “Pee Wee” had been knocked out in consecutive fights by towering Dutch “Skyscraper,” Stefan Struve, and then again by portly power puncher Roy Nelson.

Getting clocked by “Big Country” left him at just 1-2 inside the Octagon.

But the silver lining on his cloud of defeat was his submission defense. Herman had never been tapped in 25 professional fights and considered himself to be submission-proof. After all, if Jon-Olav Einemo — who once defeated Roger Gracie in Abu Dhabi — couldn’t force his surrender, then no one could.

Especially not an aging Brazilian coming off a devastating arm injury.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was one of the bigger names to cross over from PRIDE FC, in the days following ZUFFA’s hostile takeover. In fact, if a certain Russian “Emperor” hadn’t made his way to “The Land of the Rising Sun,” there’s a strong chance “Minotauro” would have spent several years atop the 265-pound throne.

It was not to be.

To make matters worse, Nogueira was nearly put down by Heath Herring after making his way to the United States way back at UFC 73. But just like he did so many times throughout his storied combat sports career, “Big Nog” persevered, battled back, and took home the win.

The writing, however, was clearly on the wall.

Nogueira — above all else — was known for his durability. But in seven trips to the Octagon, the fading Brazilian had been knocked out twice before suffering his first submission defeat. And not just any submission, either, but the kind of medieval bone crunching that nearly ended his career.

“When I grabbed it and started cranking,” opponent Frank Mir would later recall, “it just crushed like twisting a bag of potato chips.”

Ouch.

Naturally, major surgery (metal plate + 16 screws) was required to repair his mangled wing and the rehabilitation process kept him on the sidelines for over 10 months. The promotion teased a fight against hulking Parisian Cheick Kongo, but ultimately settled on the struggling Herman.

“I’m not concerned about his jiu jitsu game because as we all know, jiu jitsu doesn’t work,” Herman declared just days before the fight. “I’m not worried about being submitted by Nogueira at all.”

Their heavyweight showdown was scheduled to take place in the UFC 153 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event on Oct. 13, 2013, inside the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Not only did Nogueira have the homefield advantage, he had the motivation to prove he could still be competitive after nearly having his arm torn off.

And making “Pee Wee” eat crow was just an added bonus.

“This guy talk a lot of shit,” Nogueira said in the build-up to their South American slugfest. “He’s never been submitted? He never fought that level on the ground. I can be the first one to do it.”

From our UFC 153 play-by-play:

Nogueira drops Herman with a left hook then dives on top of him! He’s in side control and passes to full mount. Herman tries to buck but Nogueira is on top of him with both hooks in. Nogueira dives for an armbar and Herman has his arms locked together and he escapes the position. They scramble and get back to their feet. Nice straight left scores for Nogueira and he attempts a takedown but Herman is on top. Nogueira has double underhooks in his deep half guard and he’s working for a sweep but Herman postures up and backs away. Nogueira dives in and lands with a nice left and right hand. He lands a heavy left hand and takes Herman down again. Nogueira passes to mount and he dives for an armbar again but Herman is defending. Herman tries to spin free and Herman flips over. Nogueira has the arm extended and Herman taps out!

After all that pre-fight trash talk, Dave Herman was forced to wave the white flag.

Nogueira was unable to make it two in a row after falling to Fabricio Werdum in their 2013 rematch, a submission loss that forced “Minotauro” back into surgery to repair ligament damage. After another lengthy layoff, he’s back on the scene and ready for one last run at the division title.

Waiting for him will be Roy Nelson.

They’ll do the deed in the UFC Fight Night 39 main event scheduled for tomorrow (April 11, 2014) inside Du Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, on a rare Fridayafternoon fight card streamed only on the promotion’s new “Fight Pass” digital network (results here). Will jiu jitsu work one last time for the aging legend?

We’ll find out in less than 24 hours.

Pacquiao vs Bradley 2 24/7 episode 2 full HBO video replay

Posted: 10 Apr 2014 07:30 PM PDT

Want Pacquiao vs. Bradley updates around the clock? HBO’s got you covered (insert pun on show title here). We’re closing in on the year’s biggest boxing rematch and HBO’s coverage is on point, bringing you the second episode of its traditional “24/7″ series. In the latest installment, watch Manny Pacquiao shoot hoops and Timothy Bradley do some slow-mo cardio training with badass montage music in the background, plus plenty of padwork and sparring. Most important, see Pacquiao’s adorable little dog get angry at his posse. And it’s all narrated by the smooth voice of Liev Schreiber — a fine a way to set the stage for this showdown for which anyone could ask! To watch the first “24/7″ episode of “Pacquiao vs. Bradley 2″ click here.

Legacy FC 30 results: Holly Holm knocks out Juliana Werner (head kick) in Albuquerque

In news that will surprise no one, Holly Holm improves to 7-0 in her budding mixed martial arts (MMA) career.

Former three-division boxing champion and top female bantamweight mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Holly Holm (7-0) kept her perfect record intact by knocking out Juliana Werner in the Legacy Fighting Championship (LFC) 30 headliner on Friday night (April 4, 2014) inside Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

It was a complete blowout.

“Julie” demonstrated one hell of a chin and took “The Preacher’s Daughter” someplace she had never been inside the cage — and that’s the fifth round. Unfortunately, the Brazilian was outstruck and outclassed for the duration of the fight, unable to match Holm’s superior blend of speed, power, and technique, finally succumbing to a fifth-round head kick knockout (watch it here).

Here are the full Legacy FC 30 results:

Holly Holm def. Juliana Werner via technical knockout
Flavio Alvaro def. Donald Sanchez via unanimous decision
Ray Borg def. Nick Urso via submission (rear-naked choke)
Enrique Briones vs. Adrian Cruz ruled a draw
Martin Sano def. Clint Roberts via submission (rear-naked choke)
Kamarudeen Usman def. Lenny Lovato via technical knockout

The event aired live on AXS TV.

After her championship win in front of a raucous hometown crowd, Holm expressed interest in a possible Cris Cyborg pay-per-view (PPV) fight later this year (more on that here). But is she better suited for a championship showdown against Ronda Rousey?

Perhaps…

As the UFC women’s bantamweight champion continues to clean out her division, the promotion has been scouring the globe for possible title contenders (even here). Not that it doesn’t already have a handful of talented bantamweights already in its employ, but the division is still in its infancy.

Every little bit helps.

Hopefully, the second round of negotiations between UFC and Team Holm don’t end the way the first round did, with UFC President Dana White effectively slamming the door on “The Preacher’s Daughter.”

Time will tell.

An Interview With: MICHELLE WIE Saturday April 5th

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THE MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, everyone.  We would like to welcome Michelle Wie into the interview room, a solid 1‑under par round today, sitting one shot out of the lead.  Just take me through the day out there and how pleased are you with your performance today.

 

MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, it felt good to start off with a birdie.  Just after that really just couldn’t get anything going.  But I held on in the middle and the front nine, and the back nine was just a whole lot of pars.  But it felt good.  Par is a good score out here.  Just couldn’t get anything going today, but at the same time I’m happy with the 71 today.  Hopefully I can get things going again this weekend.

 

THE MODERATOR:  When you come off such a great round as yesterday and to be up near the top of the leaderboard, how does that change your approach when you come into round 2?  Is it really just try to maintain?  Do you think about going low?  What was your mental approach today?

 

MICHELLE WIE:  You know, I just went out there and I just really took it hole by hole.  I know the holes that are birdieable, so I went out there and tried to attack those.  I knew the holes that par is a good score.  So I really just attacked it hole by hole.  It doesn’t really matter what I shot yesterday.  I really just kind of focused on that particular hole.

 

THE MODERATOR:  When you’re in a major now heading into the weekend, to see yourself up near the top of the leaderboard, do you let yourself get excited, or are you pretty much focused on what you have to do tomorrow?

 

MICHELLE WIE:  I’m really excited.  It’s fun being on or near the top of the leaderboard.  But try not to look forward too much.  It’s a long way ’til Sunday; two days is a long way to go.  But at the same time I am very excited.

 

 

 

Q.  That stinger fairway wood shot off the tee has really become your go‑to shot to keep the ball in play.  Is that something you’re totally comfortable with now?

 

MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, it’s kind of always been my shot in my bag.  I’ve been kind of bringing it out a little bit more.  But yeah, it’s definitely good.

 

 

 

Q.  You were in the final Sunday pairing in Thailand; what was it like to be back in that situation, and what did you learn from that that will help you this week?

 

MICHELLE WIE:  It was a lot of fun.  I was really excited.  I was nervous.  And I think I learned a lot from it.  I think I was in contention for a little while, like really close to Anna.  I caught up to her.  Obviously she played really well coming down the stretch, but definitely learned a lot from it.  I can definitely use that experience this weekend.

 

 

 

Q.  Can you talk about maybe how you’ve gotten less technical over the years?  Is that a true statement?

 

MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, you know, I’ve tried ‑‑ it’s always a battle for me just because I’m such a perfectionist when I’m out there.  I try to do everything perfectly.  I just really just am trying not to look at my swing, just really feel it and just try not to be perfect, just kind of get it in the ballpark and just feel it and kind of just hit some shots rather than trying to make a perfect swing every time.

 

 

 

Q.  When did you start trying to make a conscious effort to do that?

 

MICHELLE WIE:  Well, I’ve always kind of made a conscious effort of it, but I really told myself this last October not to really look at my swing, maybe looked at my swing maybe twice since then.  So I really haven’t looked at any of my swings.

 

 

 

Q.  It looked like yesterday and today you made some pretty tough par saves at various times during the round.  Is that a sign that you’re just comfortable with your overall game as much as hitting that stinger or making a few putts?

 

MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, I think that’s the beauty of majors.  You kind of have to do that.  It’s not like ‑‑ we have tournaments where you’re going to have birdie chances every hole.  There are some tough holes out there.  I was really proud of myself for making those par saves today, and hopefully on the weekend it won’t have to be that difficult.  Hopefully make it a little bit easier on myself, but I was proud of myself today.

 

 

 

Q.  You were talking about getting less technical.  How difficult is that when you get yourself to a point, and I know it’s easy to look at your golf swing and keep looking at it.  How difficult was it when you made that decision not to look at it?

 

MICHELLE WIE:  It was hard.  I almost felt like a little bit of an addict.  I was like, I really want to look at it, am I doing it right.  But once I stopped looking at it, I like don’t even want to look at my swing anymore just because I don’t want to start relying on my eyes again.  I just really am starting to rely on my body and how it feels, and I think I’ve really gotten into tune with how I’m moving.

 

 

 

Q.  Does that take you back to when you first started playing?  Do you feel like you did maybe early on in your career?

 

MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, I think so.  I think definitely when I was younger, way younger, I just tried to hit the ball hard.  I really just wanted to hit it far, so I definitely think I’m kind of going back towards that.

 

 

 

Q.  After you missed the short putt on 18 and walked away with par there, then on that next par‑5 did you hit it in the trees and it came out and you ended up with a birdie?

 

MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, it was a pretty lucky shot there.  I thought it was for sure OB.  But hit the tree luckily, bounced back into the middle of the fairway, and it was a good birdie.  I was really happy about that.

 

 

 

Q.  Sometimes you just need a little luck, right?

 

MICHELLE WIE:  Exactly.

 

 

 

Q.  We’ve talked a lot about confidence and how it’s coming back for you in spades.  Not to be a downer or anything, but at what point did you feel the least amount of confidence?  Is there a point in your career that you can point to?

 

MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, for sure.  I think there was a couple of points.  I don’t think it was just one moment.  I just really struggled with injuries.  I really struggled with my health, as well.  I was just not healthy.  I was not feeling well.  And you just go out there and you’re grinding and you’re grinding and you don’t see any improvement, and I think that’s when you get most frustrated, the most like ‑‑ that’s the least confidence.  I think it was beginning of last year, end of two years ago, when I really struggled with my putting.  I think that’s when I just wasn’t comfortable at all.  But I’m just really grateful that I went through that just because I know how I came over it, and if I ever get not confident and get back into that, I know how to get past it now.

 

THE MODERATOR:  Always about a learning game, right?  You learn from everything that you go through, and we’re glad to see you back up here near the top of the leaderboard again, and wishing you the best of luck this weekend.

 

MICHELLE WIE:  Thank you.

 

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An Interview With: LEXI THOMPSON

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THE MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, everyone.  We would like to welcome in our current co‑leader Lexi Thompson, shot a fantastic 8‑under par 64, the lowest second‑round score ever shot here at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, very nice round.  Just take me through the day.  It looked like you were just on fire out there.  What was really working well in your game today?

LEXI THOMPSON:  Yeah, well, I had a little bit of a slow start.  I parred my first five holes.  But I struggled a bit yesterday on the greens, just struggled to get my putts to the hole, but I figured out some things after my round yesterday with my putting and some of my iron shots.  So I would say mainly just committing to my iron shots, hitting some good ones in there and draining some nice putts on the back nine especially.

THE MODERATOR:  You’ve been playing some great golf.  We watched you play really well at the Kia Classic last week.  Your play was what secured the No. 1 spot for the U.S. in the International Crown by moving up in the rankings.  What has been the biggest key for you, the biggest difference in your play of late and how much confidence did that bring into this week?

LEXI THOMPSON:  Well, I would say especially last week, I just went into last week and just tried to have fun out there, laugh in between shots, get my mind off the game, and same thing with this week.  Just go out there and relax.  Even though it’s a major, it’s just a golf tournament, so just going out there and having fun.  But I worked extremely hard in the off‑season on my short game and just trying to get my game a lot more consistent.  I think that’s showing in the last few weeks, so hopefully it’ll show even more.

 

Q.  Can you get a little technical with us about your putting and what you’ve worked on in the last six months?

LEXI THOMPSON:  In the last six months I went through quite a dramatic change.  I had moved really close to the ball to get my eye line more over it to see my line.  It’s not something I’ve been used to.  Even as a little kid I stood far away from the ball and took the putter inside.  So I just went right back to that, just go where I’m most comfortable and feel I can make the putt.  I really think putting is pretty much all confidence.  So I moved farther away and just take one look at the hole and just knock it in.  Hopefully.

 

Q.  How long did it take to get comfortable with that?

LEXI THOMPSON:  With moving back far away?  It probably took me a good month or so because I putted the other way a few months, so I had gotten quite used to that putting stance.  But when I moved back, it was definitely where I was more comfortable.  It took me about a month or so to get back used to it.

 

Q.  You’ve played this tournament four times.  You played it once as an amateur.  Do you feel comfortable on the golf course now?  Do you feel like you’ve learned enough about it?  Obviously 64 is pretty good.

LEXI THOMPSON:  Yeah, I feel really comfortable on this golf course.  I always say this is my favorite tournament of the year, just coming here it’s so beautiful, like really nice weather, and the fans are amazing.  I really enjoyed this week out of the year probably the most out of them all.  But yeah, I’m really comfortable with the golf course.  I get to hit a lot of drivers, so I just aim up the right side and hit my little draw.  I really enjoy it out here.

 

Q.  Was there any point during the round today where you said to yourself something special is going on out here, the hole looks like a bucket?

LEXI THOMPSON:  I wouldn’t say I saw there was something special going on, I was just trying to stay in the moment and focus on each shot, not really think about what I was shooting.  But yeah, I had the same confidence over every shot, just committing to my line and just being confident over every shot or every putt, and I just tried to do that the whole way throughout, even at the beginning of the round.

 

Q.  You’ve been playing in majors since you were 12 years old.  What have you learned that’s maybe helping you now?

LEXI THOMPSON:  I would say the biggest thing I’ve learned over the years is just staying patient.  Majors, they don’t shoot crazy low in majors usually, so even if you’re just parring, missing a few birdie putts, you just have to stay patient with it and know you can take advantage of a few holes and get the birdies there, and that’s what I’m kind of realizing here.  You have plenty of birdie holes out there, so even if you miss a few birdie putts, you’ve just got to keep on plugging away and get those looks with the birdies.

 

Q.  Did you have to learn how to stay patient?  Was that a hard process?

LEXI THOMPSON:  Yeah, I think that’s definitely a huge learning process I’ve gone through because sometimes I’ll have a good amount of birdie chances and miss a few and get a little impatient.  As long as you’re hitting it well and you get those looks, you just have to tell yourself that they’ll fall eventually and just go out with a confident attitude.

 

Q.  Can you just give us a couple of your highlights today, your favorite putts that dropped or something that we might have missed?

LEXI THOMPSON:  I would say probably my favorite putt I dropped today was on No. 1, my 10th hole.  It was quite a bit breaker, so it was pretty cool to watch it go in hole.

 

Q.  How long was that putt?

LEXI THOMPSON:  It was probably almost 30 feet.

 

Q.  How much break did it have?

LEXI THOMPSON:  I played it a good at least five feet out, so it was pretty cool to watch.  And then the 18th hole, I went for it in two today and hit a hybrid to about 20 feet.  I made birdie, but I love playing that hole.  It’s so scenic, and embracing all the fans walking up to the greens is always a great feeling.

 

Q.  Can you take us through your last hole?

LEXI THOMPSON:  Yeah, I went for it in two, I had 235 front, got in a greenside bunker, hit my bunker shot up to about 10 feet and made it.

 

Q.  Yesterday you had 35 putts, today 25.  Did you make any adjustments overnight or they just went in today?

LEXI THOMPSON:  Yeah, well, I putted a little bit after my round yesterday.  I just had a little bit of speed issues yesterday.  I didn’t really commit to my lines, and I came up short a lot yesterday.  I just went out today and picked my line and sped up my tempo a little bit with my putting and just went up to it and said I’m going to knock it in.

 

Q.  You’ve won LPGA events, but to see your name at the top of the leaderboard at a major tournament going into the weekend, what kind of feeling is that like, and what do you do now kind of looking forward to the next two rounds?

LEXI THOMPSON:  It’s a great feeling to have.  Obviously this is one of my main goals, to win a major this year, especially the Kraft Nabisco would be a huge honor.  But no different attitude going into the weekend.  I’m still going to go out there, have fun, stay patient with each shot, pick my line and just commit to every golf shot and just have fun out there.

 

Q.  Just in case you do end up paired with SeRi, I’m trying to think back, you might have been too young when she was in her prime.  Do you remember her coming up and what do you know about SeRi?

LEXI THOMPSON:  Well, I’ve played with SeRi quite a bit.  I don’t know too much about her accomplishments, but I obviously show she’s an amazing player and great role model.  But yeah, I mean, it would be great to be paired up with her.  She’s an amazing player.  But I’m just going to go out there and play my own game.  This tournament has so much history behind it, so it would be a huge honor to win it obviously, but just going into the weekend with the same attitude.

 

Q.  You were a little young in 1998 when she won the U.S. Women’s Open.

LEXI THOMPSON:  Yeah, I was only three.

 

Q.  Sort of playing off that theme, SeRi was just in here and talking about some of the things she’s learned over the years and how her attitude just sort of changed.  You’re 19; can you even see what that would be like to be like a 17‑year veteran at some point and facing that evolution of your game and your life, or is it still kind of too far out there?

LEXI THOMPSON:  It’s pretty far away.  I haven’t looked too much into the future.  I’m just trying to take one tournament at a time.  This is what I’ve always wanted to do, play out on the LPGA.  To be like a Se Ri Pak and be a veteran out here and winning that many times would be a great honor.  Like I said, this has been my dream since I was a little girl to play out here.  Seems like I’ve been out here a while just only being 19.  But I look forward to the years to come to play out on the LPGA.

THE MODERATOR:  Thank you so much for joining us, and best of luck this weekend.

 

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