Archive for February, 2013

Experts’ Predictions for UFC 157: Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche

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All three of SI.com's experts predict that Ronda Rousey will defeat Liz Carmouche by submission. (AP)

All three of SI.com’s experts predict that Ronda Rousey will defeat Liz Carmouche by submission. (AP)

SI.com analysts Dave Doyle, Loretta Hunt and Jeff Wagenheim provide their predictions for UFC 157 on Saturday.

Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche

DOYLE: An Iraq War vet with three tours of duty, Carmouche won’t be intimidated by Rousey like so many other opponents. She’ll probably even be the first to really tag Rousey, putting a scare into Dana White in the process. But when push comes to shove, the armbar wins out. Rousey by submission, round two.

HUNT: I was surprised that the UFC selected Carmouche as a first opponent for its superstar women’s champion. Carmouche is unpredictable, capable in multiple disciplines (decent striking, better ground game), and able to adapt mid-fight. That said, Carmouche will have to get close to Rousey to beat her, where the Olympic judo bronze medalist is at her strongest. Rousey by submission.

WAGENHEIM: How do I say this without mischaracterizing Carmouche as some mannequin being stood in the octagon just to create the appearance of Rousey not being in there alone? Liz is very much a live opponent, tough and aggressive. She’s a real fighter. But Ronda is unreal. She’s showed herself to be at a whole different level than every past opponent, and she’ll make that evident again on Saturday. Rousey by submission.

Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida

DOYLE: One of these days, age is finally going to catch up to Henderson, who hasn’t fought in a year and a half. He’s gotten into precarious situations in his last two fights (against Fedor Emelianenko and Mauricio Rua) and rallied to win. This time, he won’t be so lucky. Machida by TKO, round three.

HUNT: Machida has been flying a bit under the radar, but he’s training diligently and improving proportionately. At age 42, Henderson’s career is winding down, and stamina has never been his strong suit. Let us not forget that he hasn’t fought in 15 months and is coming back from a recurring knee injury (He’s had ACL surgery in the past, too). He’s still got fight-finishing power in both hands, but I’d wager Machida will stay far out of range for them. Machida by decision.

WAGENHEIM: Machida is elusive and tricky and dangerous, but Hendo has been solving puzzles of all shapes and sizes for a long time. Old man Dan actually gets an assist here from Rousey and Carmouche, because with the women being in the main event, this clash of ex-champs is just a three-rounder. That way, the 42-year-old won’t lose steam. Henderson by decision.

Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar

DOYLE: Faber’s career pattern in recent years has been to lose competitive matches to champions and dominate the rest of the competition. Until proven otherwise, I’ll stick with that assumption. Faber by third-round submission.

HUNT: Menjivar doesn’t depend on fighting to put food on his family’s table and his calm, methodical style reflects that. Faber will likely push the pace, which will take Menjivar out of his comfort zone a bit, but if the Salvadorian-Canadian can keep it together, he might find his opening. Menjivar by submission.

WAGENHEIM: Faber is just 3-3 in his last six fights, but look at the losses: to José Aldo, Dominick Cruz and Renan Barão. Urijah loses to the best… and bests everyone else. Faber by decision.

Court McGee vs. Josh Neer

DOYLE: With the UFC handing out pink slips left and right, the loser of this might be out of a job. In the end, McGee’s size in his drop to welterweight should be too much for the former lightweight Neer. McGee by decision. 

HUNT: Both are coming off back-to-back losses, but McGee is younger in this game, with more yet to accomplish. He’ll have to deal with a durable veteran who’s equally comfortable going toe-to-toe and tangling on the ground, but the gritty McGee’s hunger should pull him through. McGee by decision.

WAGENHEIM: This is a fight for survival, as both men are on two-fight losing streaks and understand the perils of continuing that downward trend. McGee by decision.

Josh Koscheck vs. Robbie Lawler

DOYLE: The veteran Lawler still drops big bombs, but he’s dangerously close to being in the “puncher’s chance” stage of his career. Koscheck by decision. 

HUNT: What a fight to kick off this historic pay-per-view — two fighters who truly enjoy the dance that is MMA striking. Since Lawler’s current training situation is a mystery and Koscheck has likely assimilated to his new surroundings following his dramatic departure from AKA, the latter has the clear advantage. In addition, Koscheck, an accomplished collegiate wrestler, can shoot in on Lawler at any time should things go array on its feet. Koscheck by TKO.

WAGENHEIM: Koscheck seems to have slipped a bit in the welterweight pecking order, but he hasn’t slipped far enough to let this one get away. Koscheck by KO.


  • Published On Feb 22, 2013
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s next opponent announced: Robert Guerrero

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    Robert Guerrero (right) last fought in Nov. 2012, when he defeated Andre Berto. (AP)

    Robert Guerrero (right) last fought in November 2012, when he defeated Andre Berto. (AP)

    Pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. will defend his WBC welterweight title against Robert Guerrero on May 4, Mayweather announced on Tuesday. The fight will be televised on Showtime Pay Per View.

    Mayweather’s deal with Showtime is a comprehensive, groundbreaking agreement that requires Showtime to collaborate with parent company CBS to promote Mayweather’s fights. The agreement provides opportunities for Mayweather to fight as many as six times over the next 30 months.

    The deal with Showtime ends a 23-fight run for Mayweather fighting on HBO.

    – Chris Mannix

    MANNIX: With Showtime getting Mayweather-Guerrero, what happens to HBO?

    GALLERY: Floyd Mayweather’s greatest hits


  • Published On Feb 19, 2013
  • Broner Beats Rees With 5th-Round TKO

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    With his victory over Gavin Rees, Adrien Broner improved his career record to 26-0. (Tim Larsen/AP)

    With his victory over Gavin Rees, Adrien Broner improved his career record to 26-0. (Tim Larsen/AP)

    ATLANTIC CITY — Three thoughts from Adrien Broner’s fifth round technical knockout of Gavin Rees…

    This was predictable You can’t blame Broner for the matchmaking. He wanted to fight Ricky Burns before Burns priced himself out of the fight, and he is in a 135-pound division without many notable challengers. Rees was a former 140-pound champion but he was in way too deep with Broner, whose speed and power were considerably better than Rees’s. Rees had some nice moments in the early rounds, peppering Broner with shots to the head and body. But when Broner turned it on, Rees had no shot. He went down on a savage uppercut in the fourth round and was flattened again in the fifth before cornerman Gary Lockett threw in the towel. “He hits incredibly hard for a lightweight,” Rees said. “I knew he was going to be powerful, but his power really stunned me. He’s not a superstar in the making, he’s already there. No one has ever treated me like that in boxing. He is going to go a very long way.

    Lot of Floyd Mayweather in Broner From the blinding hand speed to the shoulder roll defense to the in-ring swagger, Broner is, in many ways, a young Mayweather, one with even more power. But there is one big difference: At 23, Mayweather was unhittable; Broner takes a lot of shots. Part of it is because Broner is more offensive minded than Mayweather, but that attitude leaves him open for big shots. Broner has as much pure talent as anyone in boxing, but his willingness to take shots could make him vulnerable to bigger punchers.

    It’s Burns, or move up There is only one legitimate fight for Broner in the 135-pound division, and it’s Burns, who will try to unify the lightweight titles when he takes on Miguel Vazquez on March 16th. Burns doesn’t have great power, but he is tall (5-foot-10) and skilled and should give Broner a decent fight. If a Burns fight can’t be made, Broner should move up to 140-pounds, arguably the deepest division in boxing. Broner is on the cusp of stardom; a couple of years fighting some of the top junior welterweights could make him one.


  • Published On Feb 17, 2013
  • Quick Jabs: Klitschko and Potevkin bicker, Broner talks more smack, Pacquiao’s next fight

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    A cocky Adrien Broner has already irritated opponent Gavin Rees before their Saturday bout. [SAUL/Landov]

    A cocky Adrien Broner has already irritated opponent Gavin Rees before their Saturday bout. (SAUL/Landov)

     

    • Unified heavyweight titleholder Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin continue to do a maddening dance around each other. While Klitschko-Povetkin is one of the few legitimate heavyweight fights that can be made today — Povetkin is undefeated and owns a minor piece of the heavyweight crown — it doesn’t appear to be close to happening anytime soon.

    From Povetkin’s point of view, Klitschko is using the media to create an appearance that Povetkin doesn’t want the fight.

    “For a long time I’ve wanted to fight with Klitschko,” Povetkin said. “They have a strong team and because of that factor they manipulate the public and make it appear that they want to fight me and I’m the one avoiding him. Klitschko is a strong opponent and it is difficult to predict the outcome of our fight, but every Russian boxer enters the ring to win and does not feel fear from anyone. For me, what counts is that my coach , Kostya Tszyu, believes in me.”

    Klitschko, as you might expect, disagrees. In an interview with Boxing Scene, Klitschko cited the fact that Povetkin has had two chances to fight him, and both times found a way out.

    “The statements that they make just show they are not serious,” Klitschko said. “I am really concerned again that I will waste my time. We will negotiate and then we are going to win the purse again. Then again nobody is going to show up at the press conference. I really am kind of frustrated with this but like I said I am really looking forward to this fight.”

    “I think and I hope that it is eventually going to happen. Boxing fans know the history of Povetkin and me, and as I said before I respect him as a fighter, he is an Olympic champion and WBA regular champion. I am just really concerned about the team that works for him. I was frustrated last time but I hope the fight is going to happen of course.”

    Read More…


  • Published On Feb 13, 2013
  • Manny Gamburyan injured, out of UFC 157

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    Manny Gamburyan

    A fractured elbow will keep Manny Gamburyan out of UFC 157. (Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

    UFC featherweight Manny Gamburyan, scheduled to fight Chad Mendes on Feb. 23 on the UFC 157 undercard, suffered a broken thumb and fractured elbow Thursday night during a training session. The injuries will force him to withdraw from the Mendes bout.

    While the Gamburyan-Mendes matchup was crucial to helping the Armenian-born Gamburyan climb the featherweight ranks again, the bout had both historic and personal significance for the fighter.  He’s had a longstanding friendship with headliner Ronda Rousey, with whom he’s trained judo since she was a child. Gamburyan told SI.com in an interview last month that he sought out UFC president Dana White to ask him for the opportunity to appear on the same card as Rousey.  “It’s an honor to fight on the same card as her,” he told SI.com in the interview.

    It’s now an honor, it appears, that will have to wait for his recovery.

    There was no immediate response from a UFC spokesman about plans to replace Gambuyran.
           — Melissa Segura


  • Published On Feb 08, 2013
  • UFC Primetime will delve into Rousey-Carmouche

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    Ronda Rousey

    Ronda Rousey will appear in her first UFC fight on Feb. 23. (Jeff R. Bottari/Getty Images)

    By now, even the most casual of mixed martial arts fans have heard the hubbub surrounding Ronda Rousey’s debut bout against former marine Liz Carmouche. Most have heard about the historic nature of the UFC 157 fight on Feb. 23, how it marks the first time two women will compete in the octagon.

    The gender-bending issues presented in the fight? Check.

    Issues of sexual orientation in sports brought to light by the openly lesbian fighter, Carmouche?

    Traditional constructs of feminism?

    And just good, solid title fighting?

    Check, check and check. UFC 157 offers all of these elements.

    Capturing these themes is the debut episode of UFC Primetime: Rousey v. Carmouche, airing Thursday night on Fox Sports Network. The show gives a voice and context to the two women who’ve tossed social stereotypes around the way that they’ll throw each around other come fight night.  The Zuffa-produced Primetime is arguably the most spellbinding MMA television we’ll see this year. (And yes, I know. It’s only February.)

    While the show has long been know for unprecedented access to fighters, the first episode of the three-part series features the most raw and emotionally gripping personal stories we’ve seen to date.

    Rousey has told the story of her early-childhood speech problems, her close relationship with her father, and the devastating impact of his death, in several high-profile outlets, including SI. In Primetime, we hear a few, never-told-before memories of him. Most compellingly, Rousey describes what it’s like talk about him.  SI won’t ruin it for you, but hearing her describe how it feels to relive his life and death is gut wrenching.

    Carmouche is as magnetic as her much more famous counterpart.  Her grace and poise as the undisputed underdog are endearing.  Primetime tells of her coming to grips with her sexuality and the struggles, both financial and logistical, of being an under-the-radar fighter.  As Carmouche takes the viewers through her day, she easily slips into the roll of the All-American Every Woman. It’s easy to understand the devotion she elicits from her dedicated fan base, the Lizbos.

    Primetime is well told and well worth your time.  It’s greatest achievement is the dexterity with which it handles these fighters’ delicate and complex histories while simultaneously treating them not so much as female fighters but simply fighters. – Melissa Segura


  • Published On Feb 07, 2013
  • UFC suspends Thiago Tavares for failed drug test, reveals Vitor Belfort’s use of TRT

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    Thiago Tavares has been suspended 9 months after failing a drug test. (AP)

    Thiago Tavares has been suspended 9 months after failing a drug test. (AP)

    It was Friday evening, a little over 24 hours before a featherweight championship bout in Las Vegas that the UFC was hyping as a superfight. But the chatter in the various online meeting places of mixed martial arts fans was about a different fight, one that took place nearly two weeks earlier and 6,000 miles away.

    The circulating rumor that Vitor Belfort had failed a drug test following a Jan. 19 victory eventually reached Michael Bisping, who had a vested interest in the matter because he was Belfort’s opponent in that middleweight bout in Sao Paolo, Brazil. In fact, had Bisping won that night, he’d have earned a shot at the division’s champion, Anderson Silva. But the Brit had his hopes doused and his senses scrambled by a second-round head kick that led to a Belfort TKO.

    Now Bisping was wondering if he’d been in a fair fight. “About a certain someone who I fought recently failing his drug test,” he wrote on Twitter. “I hope it’s not true.”

    Well, it’s not.

    UFC president Dana White insisted over the weekend that while there had been an “irregular” test result, it did not involve Belfort. And on Wednesday the fight promotion issued a press release announcing that the failed drug test belonged to lightweight Thiago Tavares, whose results showed the presence of the anabolic steroid Drostanolone. The substance did not exactly enhance the 28-year-old Brazilian’s performance, as he was knocked out in less than two minutes by Khabib Nurmagomedov. Tavares was handed a nine-month suspension by the UFC, which assisted the new Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA, or Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission, in overseeing regulatory aspects of the event.

    However, that’s not the end of the story. In the same press release, the UFC revealed that Belfort competed while undergoing an approved regimen of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Vitor has been evasive whenever questions about TRT have been raised. And when he met with reporters prior to Saturday night’s fights in Las Vegas, and Bisping’s accusatory tweet was mentioned, the 37-year-old implied that what you see is all natural. “I think people get jealous,” he said with a smile, “when a guy at my age is destroying these people getting title shots.”

    Jealous, perhaps, or maybe just uncomfortable. Belfort has broken no rules. Neither has Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, Quinton Jackson, Frank Mir or anyone on the growing list of MMA fighters who’ve received athletic commission exemptions to use TRT to maintain their testosterone levels. But make no mistake: Legal or not, that’s a performance enhancing substance, allowing an aging veteran to punch and kick like a younger man. And when you see a KO like the one Belfort put on Bisping, you’ve got to wonder when this sport will take a stand. What’s at risk in MMA, after all, is much greater than in other sports. The worst thing a baseball player on a PED can do is wreck some pitcher’s ERA. An enhanced fighter poses a far scarier threat.

    —Jeff Wagenheim


  • Published On Feb 06, 2013
  • Quick Jabs: Geale likely to fight Soliman next, Alexander-Brook postponed

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    Having defeated Anthony Mundine, Daniel Geale might face Sam Soliman next. (AP)

    Having defeated Anthony Mundine, Daniel Geale might face Sam Soliman next. (AP)

    • IBF middleweight champion Daniel Geale settled a score last week when he avenged his lone loss, winning a unanimous decision over countryman Anthony Mundine. Despite Mundine’s protests — and who knows what fight he was watching — it was a clean win for Geale, who was the more active and more accurate puncher. Geale’s promoter, Gary Shaw, would like to bring Geale to the U.S. next for a big fight but Shaw told SI.com that he received a letter yesterday from the IBF ordering him to begin negotiations with representatives for Australian Sam Soliman, who became Geale’s mandatory challenger after upsetting Felix Sturm last week. Geale isn’t going to give up that belt, so expect a fight against Soliman in Australia later this year.

    • Hey Russell Crowe: Learn how to score a fight.

    • Devon Alexander’s welterweight title defense against Kell Brook may be snakebitten. For the second time, Alexander-Brook has been postponed, this time due to a right biceps injury suffered by Alexander in training. Alexander-Brook had originally been scheduled for January 19th but was postponed until February 23rd. With Alexander-Brook off, Cornelius “K9” Bundrage’s junior middleweight title defense against Ishe Smith has been elevated to the main event of the Showtime televised card.

    • While the middleweight title matchup between Gennady Golovkin and Nobuhiro Ishida on March 30th in Monte Carlo is a gross mismatch — if that fight goes more than three rounds, I’ll be shocked — the show does have an intriguing undercard. Super middleweight prospect Edwin Rodriguez (22-0) will take on Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna (19-0) while former light heavyweight champion Zsolt Erdei (33-0) will challenge former 168-pound title challenger Denis Grachev (12-1). The undercard fights will be part of the Monte Carlo Million Dollar Super Four. The finals of tournament will take place July 13 in Monaco, with the winner taking home $600,000, the loser $400,000.

    • Think there is some interest in the May 25th rematch between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler in the U.K.? Promoters of the event report that more than 8,000 tickets sold in the first hour and that the O2 Arena, capacity 17,000, is expected to be sold out. Froch, who said he would have retired if he lost to Lucian Bute last year, says he will likely quit if he loses to Kessler.

    • Attention fellow media members: Reporting that someone is near death, as a British tabloid did with Muhammad Ali last week, is not cool. And it’s shameful when you’re wrong. According to an Ali’s daughter, May May, the 71-year old Ali, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, is not dying. The family released a photo of Ali in a Ravens jersey watching the Super Bowl. The reports stemmed from comments made by Ali’s brother, Rahman.

    • According to super middleweight challenger Adonis Stevenson’s promoter, Yvon Michel, Stevenson will fight for a vacant IBF title sometime in June. Neither Carl Froch, the reigning IBF titleholder, or Mikkel Kessler, who will face Froch in May, has shown interest in facing Stevenson, and according to Michel the title will become vacant after that fight. In the meantime, Michel said Stevenson will face Darnell Boone in March in an attempt to avenge his only career defeat.

    • Man, has Andre Dirrell wasted some prime years of his career.

    • Kelly Pavlik continues to sound like a man who doesn’t intend to stay retired.

    • We have a presumption of innocence in this country, but when it comes to performance enhancing drugs the assumption is that anyone connected with them through published reports is probably using them. That’s why Yuri Gamboa is going to have to submit to blood and urine testing for the rest of his career if he hopes to restore any credibility to it. Gamboa has yet to publicly respond to charges made in a Miami New Times report that linked him to an alleged PED peddler in south Florida. But regardless of what he says, Gamboa is going to have to prove, through testing, that he is a clean fighter.

    -Chris Mannix


  • Published On Feb 05, 2013
  • Overeem, Aldo and Edgar top the lucrative UFC 156 purses

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    Frankie Edgar

    Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar were handsomely rewarded for their UFC 156 bout [Eric Jameson/AP]

    The Nevada State Athletic Commission released the reported purses from Saturday night’s UFC 156 fight card, headlined by Jose Aldo’s unanimous decision win over Frankie Edgar.  These amounts do not include performance-based bonuses given to fighters.

    Fighter Purse Win Bonus Total
    Jose Aldo

    $120,000

    $120,000

    $240,000

    Frankie Edgar

    $120,000

    $120,000

    $240,000

    Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

    $107,000

    $67,000

    $174,000

    Rashad Evans

    $300,000

    $300,000

    Antonio Bigfoot Silva

    $70,000

    $0

    $70,000

    Alistair Overeem

    $285,714.29

    $285,714

    Demian Maia

    $60,000

    $60,000

    $120,000

    Jon Fitch

    $66,000

    $66,000

    Ian McCall

    $9,000

    $9,000

    Joseph Benavidez

    $30,000

    $30,000

    $60,000

    Evan Dunham

    $23,000

        $23,000

    $46,000

    Gleison Tibau

    $33,000

    $33,000

    James Hieron

    $12,000

    $12,000

    Tyron Woodley

    $43,500

    $43,500

    $87,000

    Bobby Green

    $10,000

    $10,000

    $20,000

    Jacob Vokmann

    $22,000

    $22,000

    Isaac Vallie-Flagg

    $10,000

    $10,000

    $20,000

    Yves Edwards

    $21,000

    $21,000

    Dustin Kimura

    $8,000

    $8,000

    $16,000

    Chico Camus

    $8,000

    $8,000

    Franciso Rivera

    $8,000

    $8,000

    $16,000

    Edwin Figueroa

    $10,000

    $10,000

     — Melissa Segura


  • Published On Feb 04, 2013
  • Tim Bradley to defend welterweight belt against Ruslan Provodnikov

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    Tim Bradley

    Tim Bradley reportedly turned down a multi-millon dollar rematch agaisnt Lamont Peterson. (Joe Klamar/Getty Images)

    Welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley, who scored a controversial decision win over Manny Pacquiao last June, will defend his belt against Ruslan Provodnikov on March 16 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

    Bradley (29-0) has been idle since defeating Pacquiao. He reportedly turned down a multi-million dollar offer to face Lamont Peterson in a rematch in December and has consistently stated that he is looking for new, serious challenges.

    Provodnikov (22-1) is riding a five-fight winning streak after suffering his first career loss to Mauricio Herrera in 2011.

    The fight will have the normal 147-pound welterweight limit. Provodnikov has campaigned at junior welterweight for his last four fights.

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Feb 02, 2013


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