Maia renews emphasis on submissions
Like so many fighters before and after him, Maia failed to do a thing against the iconic middleweight champion. Splitting four fights over the next two years, including a lopsided decision loss to Chris Weidman in January 2010, Maia was propelled to shed 15 pounds and begin anew at welterweight.
“I needed to be reborn,” Maia said over the phone from his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, where he’ll meet Jon Fitch on Saturday during the pay-per-view portion of UFC 156. “I felt when I was hitting guys or going for a takedown at 185, sometimes it was like hitting a wall. Now in this weight division, it’s more fair for me.”
Competing at his natural weight (around 185 pounds on fight night) also has helped, as has a renewed emphasis on submissions.
“Now that I learned I’m able to do well with boxing, I was able to train more jiu-jitsu again,” he said. “I’ve come back to my grappling.”
A Demian Maia that is more interested in taking his opponents down and submitting rather than striking is a dangerous threat to any fighter at 170 lbs. He has looked fantastic so far at welterweight, and a decisive win over Jon Fitch this Saturday will only further launch him back into title contention.
If the 39-year-old has any regrets in his octagon career, it’s that he wasn’t able to move up to middleweight to fight for a title. He said he would have fought Evan Tanner for the belt if Tanner had beaten his longtime friend Rich Franklin at UFC 53, but Franklin won, and told the UFC he wouldn’t face Franklin at the conclusion of “The Ultimate Fighter 2.”
“Anderson Silva,” Hughes said of the fighter he most wanted to face. “I always wanted to go up to 185 to put the belts together.”
Instead, Hughes settled in at welterweight. He said his first rematch with Penn, which saw him earn a third-round TKO, and a first-round TKO of Royce Gracie remain among his favorite memories in the UFC.
The potential Hughes-Tanner bout has been a good MMA trivia question for a long time. It's also interesting to think about what would have been if Frank Trigg had finished what he started in the first round against Hughes at UFC 52. It would have been him as a coach on "TUF 2" against Franklin.
“What can Askren do to me, actually?” Amoussou asked MMAjunkie.com this past fall while in Orlando, Fla., shooting promotional spots for Bellator’s current eighth season. “He cannot punch, and he cannot kick – so there’s no way he can knock me out. He can’t submit me. So the only thing he can maybe do is lay and pray. That’s it.
“But even if he manages to do it for one round, I’m going to kick his ass in the next. There are five rounds, and I’ll be ready for five rounds.”
And when Askren says he believes Amoussou’s chance to win comes in the first 90 seconds, and after that drops pretty much to zero, Amoussou is comfortable with the assessment.
“At least he’s aware he’s going to lose the fight in the first 90 seconds,” he said. “He’s aware of the situation, and I think it’s good for him.”
I can totally understand Amoussou's decision to go for broke whenever he and Askren are on the feet together, but that sort of style is going to lend its hand into a chance for an easy takedown for Askren.
If I were Amoussou, I would absolutely be concentrated on going for the KO, but also be prepared for the fact that this bout is going to take place primarily on the ground, where a full training camp of nothing but wrestling and BJJ would have one at least prepared to the best of their ability.
“He weights 205 pounds now because he is already thinking about the weight cut to face GSP,” said Camoes, who works with the likes of Erick Silva, Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante and Ronald “Jacare” Souza at X-Gym. “Anderson cutting about six pounds from the middleweight division and St-Pierre gaining six pounds from the welterweight limit would be a fair decision for both of them and to the crowd to see a great fight.
“It would be a crime Anderson Silva fighting at 170 pounds. He could hit that weight, but his physical decreases would be enormous. We’ve got to respect Georges St-Pierre, who isn’t only a fighter, but a monster, physically talking. If they fight as welterweights, GSP should have a considerable advantage.”
The only logical scenario for this fight is a catchweight. Silva feels he would be at the disadvantage moving to welterweight and St. Pierre feels the same way about moving to middleweight.
Georges St-Pierre Says He’ll Fight Anderson Silva “When it Makes Sense”
“I’m not scared of him (Silva) — it’s just that I will take this fight when it makes sense for me. I just came back from an injury, there’s money to be made, there are fights in my weight class, other challenges out there, and if I fight him, I will have to gain weight, while he will have to lose weight, and then afterwards, I won’t be able to come back to my weight class.
First and foremost, I have things to do at 170 pounds. When I am ready and when I want the fight, that’s when it will happen.”
After such a long layoff, I'd like to see St. Pierre get in a few more fights before he meets Silva. Potential fights with Nick Diaz and Johny Hendricks are exciting alternatives.
'Embarrassed' MacDonald Wants Condit Revenge
“I respect him completely, he’s one of the guys I respect most in the sport. His outlook and his attitude is great. But I feel like I was embarrassed in that fight. I want to prove to myself and the world that I am the better fighter and I want revenge for the embarrassment I felt that night. Everyone has their own opinion of the fight, but at the end of the day I lost and was embarrassed. It is what it is. I plan to be the world champ.”
MacDonald originally fought Condit in 2010 and after dominating for the better part of two rounds, Condit began to take control and went on to secure a stoppage with just 7 seconds left in the third round.
[Glove Touch: MMA Mania]
“It could happen of course,” he said. “It definitely can happen, but for me, that’s far ahead in time. Right now, I’m not thinking about that. I can’t. My main thing right now is to get better, and then when I’m going to fight, to get ready to win the fight, what I need to do to win and beat the guy. I need to focus on one thing at a time.
“You never know what’s going to happen in the future,” he continued. “A lot of things can change. There are a lot of big fights coming up. Chris Weidman, I’ve seen him in training. He’s at a different level. He can be world champion if he fights Anderson first. So, this fight is not written in blood. If all goes well and all the stars are aligned, yeah, maybe one day it will happen. But right now, I just came back and I need to fight Carlos Condit. We’ll see what’s going to happen next.”
St-Pierre said that he understands the fans’ interest in the match, and said that he, too, has a desire to engage in a superfight that helps MMA “reach the next level.” But right now, it’s only something he can discuss in general terms, because there is no offer for it directly in front of him.
And with that, GSP gives another bland answer when it comes to fighting Anderson Silva. It seems like he's been on the fence about it for a few years now. Personally, I'm not sure that it's a fight he's ultimately comfortable with taking due to the severe negative impact it could have on his legacy if he were to lose. Nobody wants to be remembered as number two.
Dan Hardy: Pay Structure May Affect Fighters' Strategy
“We’ve all seen him fight. We saw his fight against [Diego] Sanchez and all those other crazy ones where they were back-and-forth wars. He’s got a great pace and he’s a fantastic fighter. So really, for me, that showed that he made the choice of going in there and fighting that way. And whether that was down to his coaches convincing him or what, I don’t know, but I do think a lot of the responsibility is on the fighter.
“But at the same time, I think pay scale could be an issue as well. I think that there could be a way of paying people so there’s not a massive amount of money resting on winning and losing. I mean, 50 percent of purse pretty much is a win bonus for most people. If you win the fight, you get double the money. For a lot of people, double the money is what they need in order to cover their training camps. It’s really difficult. We need a little bit more money turning towards the fighters and we need the fighters with a bit more of an aggressive work ethic.”
Hardy's take on things is definitely something that's part of the equation here. However, there are other factors. The biggest is the UFC's ability to cut struggling fighters. Three losses and you're out has been the policy for years now, with a handful of exceptions for certain guys. We're starting to see cuts after two consecutive losses as well as two defeats in three fights more and more, especially with those fighters that don't carry any sort of name value.
Pay certainly has something to do with it, but job security has more. In Guida's case though, it may not have been either of the two. It could have just been the plan employed by his camp. It's not the first time that Guida has been conservative in fights since joining Jackson's. Just ask Anthony Pettis.
Nick Diaz, World Champion Braulio Estima Agree to Meet in BJJ Superfight
Braulio Estima, one of the best Jiu-Jitsu players in the world, will welcome Nick Diaz back to the world of BJJ.
The Diaz vs. Estima BJJ superfight, which will be contested at 180 pounds, will take place at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo on May 12 in Long Beach, Calif., according to WJJE officials.
The 31-year-old Estima has won a plethora of BJJ competitions over the past decade. He most recently defeated Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in a super-fight at the 2011 edition of the prestigious Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling Championship and won gold medals at the 2009 ADCC tournament in the 88kg and Absolute divisions. He is currently training with the Blackzilians in South Florida in preparation for his MMA debut later this year.
Online gaming company 888 announced Thursday that mixed martial arts champion Georges St-Pierre is the company’s newest global ambassador. The current UFC Welterweight title holder recently signed a 12-month deal with 888 that will see him participate in the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event, as well as several other poker tournaments around the globe.
“I am very excited to become a global brand ambassador for Team 888poker,” St-Pierre said. “I have wanted to play poker for a while now as it is a great game of skill. It is not just your cards versus my cards; it is you versus your opponent. However, the most important aspect of my partnership with 888poker is that we are going to generate a great deal of money for my foundation that dedicates its efforts towards anti-bullying causes.
Touch of gloves to Cagewriter for the find.