Tag Archives: Shogun

UFC 128 Preview

Fresh on the heels of acquiring rival promotion Strikeforce, the UFC surges onward toward the mission of becoming the end-all, be-all for professional mixed martial arts. The card for UFC 128 shouldn’t slow momentum one bit.

Here’s GASB’s analysis and picks for the main card, available on Pay Per View.

• Heavyweight bout (206-265 lbs): Mirko Cro Cop v. Brendan Schaub

Zuffa likes to start PPV events with extremely interesting match-ups and potentially explosive fights. Cro Cop v. Schaub fits that formula to a tee.

Cro Cop is a perennial favorite amongst veteran fight fans. His stunning KO’s and TKO’s in Pride won the hearts of hardcore MMA junkies the world over. We’re speaking of a man who knocked out Wanderlei Silva with a headkick of legend in both combatant’s prime.


Unfortunately, and as with many Pride stars that tried to integrate into UFC since, the results since Pride’s demise have been mixed at best.

One of the most shocking moments in MMA history occurred when Gabriel Gonzaga landed a flush headkick knockout (Cro Crop’s own signature move) in the first round of Cro Cop’s second UFC fight.  That was followed by  a loss to Cheick Congo, a handful of TKO’s over the division’s lower-tiered talent, and two losses at the hands of the heavyweight elite (Junior dos Santos, Frank Mir).

Brendan Schaub is very much from the newer school of MMA, in picking up the sport well after its mainstream breakthrough and acceptance. He came into the sport after a failed run at the NFL (peaking at a practice squad spot on the Buffalo Bills) and came into the UFC via a reality show.


The fact of the matter is that while he’s only been in the sport for just over three years, his overall athleticism has allowed him to excel and experience some early success.

The ceiling is still high, and his next run of fights will determine how far he will go.

GASB favors: Brendan Schaub, likely by unanimous decision. Obviously Cro Cop has one-kick, one-punch knockout potential and the fight could go the other way in the blink of an eye, but expect Schaub to employ a similar gameplan to his last fight (coincidentally a decision victory over Gonzaga).


• Middleweight bout (185 lbs): Nate Marquardt v. Dan Miller

Here we have yet another fight wherein the fighters are essentially a mixed bag of inconsistent wins and losses against the broad talent spectrum that is the UFC’s middleweight division.

Accordingly, it should produce an almost equally unpredictable result.

Nate Marquardt comes in with extremely impressive striking-based stoppages versus Martin Kampmann and then a Brazilian hat trick comprised of Wilson Gouveia, Demian Maia, and Rousimar Palhares. But he’s also gotten snagged in decision losses to Chael Sonnen and Yushin Okami, effectively thwarting his second run at Anderson Silva’s title belt.

Dan Miller was absolutely on fire until he hit a three-tiered brick wall of some of the middleweight division’s best in Chael Sonnen, Demian Maia, and Michael Bisping.

In literally a year and six days, he went from being one of the hottest prospects in the division to, at best, the jury still being out. Since that string of losses, he sunk a nice guillotine in on Joe Salter at UFC 118 and fought well enough to split the vote in his favor over Joe Doerksen at 124. It’s difficult to know what kind of fighter we can expect to see when Miller enters the cage this weekend.

GASB favors: Nate Marquardt, like by a strike stoppage. It’s been a frustrating couple of years for both men and Marquardt will be blowing off steam at Miller’s expense.


• Lightweight bout (155 lbs): Jim Miller v. Kamal Shalorus

GASB absolutely loves this matchup and is arguably more excited about this fight than the main event — which is to say quite a lot.

Jim Miller (yes, the younger brother of Dan) has a had a fantastic MMA career and comes in with what GASB would consider a far more sound background amongst the “modern” crop of fighters 29 and under. Whereas a fighter like Brandan Schaub burst onto the scene after a very short period of training and acclimation, Miller has a much farther reaching background in the neo-classical sense of “must-haves” necessary to consistently excel in the modern game (namely wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu).

IT'S MILLER TIME (No, I am not above shitty puns.)

Miller wrestled Division I at Virginia Tech and is a black belt in BJJ under Jamie Cruz. Accordingly, aside from an early career loss versus current UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar and losing a decision to Gray Maynard at ‘The Bully’s’ prime, Miller has handled business against very serious competition.

In GASB’s opinion, there has not been a more formidable opponent in all of Miller’s career than Kamal Shalorus. The casual fight fan might make the mistake of looking at this matchup as a successful UFC vet facing a promising challenger making his UFC debut.

Please, don’t be “that guy.”

Kamal Shalorus is an absolute assassin. With Kamal, you’re looking at world-class wrestling abilities and results from tournaments all across the globe from a man that currently grapples with Randy Couture stateside. You’re getting a fighter who trains his BJJ under Reslon Gracie, Daniel Morales, and Phil Cardella. If the preceding information has opponents thinking “defend the takedown,” Kamal is well aware and will often capitalize with lightning-fast boxing that can render a TKO in mere seconds.

GASB favors: Kamal Shalorus, likely by rear naked choke. WEC fans know what they’re getting in Kamal Shalorus. This Saturday, under the biggest spotlight of his career, he will show the rest of the world what’s in store for the lightweight division in the coming years.


• Bantamweight bout (135 lbs): Urijah Faber v. Eddie Wineland

This fight should serve its purpose of effectively introducing and integrating the lighter weight classes of WEC into the UFC.

While Urijah’s body might be giving him diminishing returns at this point, he still possesses a high level of athleticism, talent, and excitement across his game. The lighter weight class seemed to suit him well in his last fight versus Takeya Mizugaki and reports out of Team Alpha Male’s camp have him looking better than ever.

GASB has confidence that the former icon that essentially defined WEC for many years will rise to the occasion and truly show that the bantamweight division can and will be a tremendous addition to the promotion at large.

HE WON'T DO YOU ANY FABERS (Told you I'm not above puns.)

Eddie Wineland is the perfect guy to go toe-to-toe with Urijah at this point. His last two WEC fights were absolutely explosive (check out his slam on Ken Stone and TKO v. Will Campuzano to get a sense of the momentum he’s coming in on). Urijah is known for his trademark high-energy, relentless overall attack. Wineland is an excellent counter-striker and should be able to read and anticipate a lot of what Urijah hurls at him.

It will be a wonderful dynamic to keep your eye on throughout the fight.

GASB favors: Urijah Faber, likely by rear naked choke. Unless Wineland simply catches Urijah in the middle of a Faber-flurry, Urijah should be able to force the one mistake that will get Wineland to give up his back.


• MAIN EVENT: Light Heavyweight Championship bout (205 lbs): Maurício “Shogun” Rua v. Jon “Bones” Jones

Praise be to Allah (or whatever pygmy deity you worship out there – props to Chael Sonnen) for putting Rashad “Suga” Evans down and praise be to Joe Silva for giving us Jon Jones in his place.

Fight fans everywhere have been high on Jon Jones from the onset. His unorthodox, lightning fast striking has humbled everyone in its path. It’s like watching the nature channel when a pride of lions need to feast.

Jones was handed his title shot within seconds upon defeating his toughest challenge to date in Ryan Bader. In what was supposed to be the unstoppable force versus the immovable object, the unstoppable force barely broke a sweat.  Jones absolutely dominated Bader for the duration of round one before sinking in a guillotine for the win and “Submission of the Night” honors.

Unquestionably, nobody’s star, nobody’s potential right now can eclipse the hype train that is Jon Jones.

Standing across the cage will be a true MMA champion and warrior in the form of Maurício “Shogun” Rua. The man is a legend and he walks to the ring holding the scalps of some of the greatest fighters MMA has ever produced. Consider for a moment how completely insane it is that one man was able to convincingly dismantle Alistair Overeem (twice!), Rampage Jackson, Big Nog, Kevin Randleman, Mark Coleman, Chuck Liddell, and Lyoto Machida.

Rua did in all of them (and several others) before the age of 30.


Essentially, the hype train that’s backing Jones and the fighter himself need to heed the history and the top level well-roundedness of Rua’s game. At the same time, the old guard of Pride freaks and team Rua all need to understand that he’s going up against a fighter that possesses a unique and freakishly unorthodox skill-set the likes nobody has ever seen.

Expect fireworks.

GASB favors: Jon Jones, likely by knockout. The meteoric rise of this young fighter is approaching (prime) Tyson-esque excitement and critical mass. After the sheer dominance over Bader, the sky is absolutely the limit on where Jonny Bones goes from here forward.

– Brent Eyestone


UFC 106 preview

Ed’s note: This preview was written by GASB MMA writer Tony Silipigno.

As far as top-to-bottom UFC pay-per-views go, this is a solid effort. While most people would agree when I say that main event leaves much to be desired, the undercard more than makes up for it. I would consider this a must-buy event. All the match-ups are pretty straightforward style vs. style, but I bet that we see some fireworks Saturday night.


Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz:

Finally, the rematch that absolutely no fans were clamoring for.

In one corner we have Forrest Griffin, a comically oversized light heavyweight fresh off of his incredibly embarrassing loss to middleweight king Anderson Silva. Across from him, another comically oversized light heavyweight fresh out of surgery and a loss to light heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida. I will give the UFC a pass this time due to the amount of injuries that have plagued the main events of this fight card, but nothing makes me more heated than a card headlined by two guys coming off losses.


The only reason I care to watch this fight is to see how Tito Ortiz looks after finally surgically repairing his body. Tito has been complaining about nagging injuries for as long as I can remember and it is finally time to show us the new Tito. We all remember when Ortiz had the capacity to beat people not named Ken Shamrock, and it would be wonderful to see him back to his old form.

His previous win over Griffin was underwhelming to say the least and it came at a time when Forrest was still relatively green. This time he is hoping to remove the doubt and silence the critics.

His opponent, Forrest Griffin, is also in an interesting position. After somehow managing to snag the 205 lb belt, (something that baffles me to this day) it has been nothing but disappointment.

After being soundly blown out by Rashad Evans and Anderson Silva, Forrest is staring right in the face of the dreaded three straight losses. While I am sure that Griffin is nowhere near the UFC chopping block, it is still certainly something he must consider.

I see this fight playing out much like the first. Forrest Griffin isn’t particularly good at anything and Tito Ortiz is particularly good at taking people down and elbowing them in the face while making no attempt to pass their guard. I’m sure Tito will take Griffin down in round one and spend five minutes trying to fillet his face with his elbows. The question is whether or not he will falter in the second round like he did in their first meeting.


If he does, I believe he and Forrest will have a sloppy kickboxing match for two rounds and make it interesting. Neither guy has the power to finish the other standing so expect a decision.

My prediction: Tito has two good rounds of elbowing Griffin’s face and they re-enact a toughman competition in round 3. Tito by UD.


Josh Koscheck vs. Anthony Johnson:

After making me look like a complete idiot at UFC 104, Anthony Johnson comes right back to face Josh Koscheck. If Johnson takes this fight like he did his last, he should be in line for a title shot.  His opponent is considerably more dangerous this time around though. I really hope that Koscheck keeps his head on and uses his incredible wrestling and cardio advantage to win, but I don’t think he will.

Josh gets into a firefight in the first round and Johnson makes him pay for it with a KO for the highlight reel.

Amir Sadollah vs. Phil Baroni:

Finally, the “New York Badass” is back in the UFC.


This fight is tailor-made for Phil to get submitted almost instantaneously as the opening bell rings, but I would love to see him make it interesting. I’ll do this — 90% chance Amir snags an arm in the first round. 10% chance he comes out, chin in the air, throws a jab, and gets concussed by Baroni for his troubles. Either way I hope Baroni gets some mic time afterwards. Also, Dear UFC: Please give me Baroni vs. Marcus Davis next. PLEASE!

Luis Cane vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira:

This is easily the fight I am looking forward to the most.

Both of these guys are right up at the top of the 205lb heap.  Luis Cane has heavy hands, but didn’t look great in his last fight. Rogerio has all the advantages of his brother minus the enormous amount of ring-wear. I see “Lil” Nogueira out pointing Cane on his feet en route to a third round submission and setting himself up for the winner of Griffin-Ortiz.

As I write this, Karo Parisyan has pulled out of UFC 106. I hope they find a suitable replacement to face Dustin Hazelett, or move Marcus Davis vs. Ben Saunders to the televised card. The dark matches should be pretty good, hopefully Davis-Saunders and Grove-Rosholt make it to the televised card since I think they will be the most entertaining.

That does it for this UFC 106 preview. I will be back for UFC 107, and if anyone was wondering what I think, the judges robbed Brandon Vera last Saturday, just like they did Shogun the card before.

I hope this isn’t a developing trend in the UFC.

UFC 104 Preview

Ed’s note: This was written by GASB MMA writer Tony Silipigno and is only being posted under my name due to technical issues.UFC 104

UFC 104


Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

Words cannot express how excited I am for the showdown between “Shogun” Rua and Lyoto Machida.

I have been a devoted “Shogun” fan since he tore up Pride Fighting Championship’s Light Heavyweight division in 2005 and have been waiting for the day he gets his shot at the UFC gold. The man has true knockout ability and he is no slouch on the ground. However, since coming to the UFC, Shogun’s performances have left something to be desired and the excuses aren’t going to cut it this time around.



First there was the submission loss to Forrest Griffin (really? Forrest Freaking Griffin?) Then there was the nausea-inducing Mark Coleman Fight, which by the end of, I was honestly rooting for the old man. Shogun claims these recent poor performances are due to a nagging knee injury and his recent marriage and honeymoon.

Now, fresh off of knee surgery and a knock out win over an aging Chuck Liddell, Shogun is once again a title contender since Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans are too busy playing reality show. This fight will finally prove whether or not Shogun is really back to his old self, which is an odd thing to say about a 27-year-old.

Standing in his way, however, is Lyoto Machida. I like Machida, I really do, but I am not completely sold on him yet. I know, I know, he is undefeated, and the reigning champion, but look at the men he has fought in order to get here.

I’m not saying it is Lyoto’s fault, nor am I saying that he wouldn’t win these fights, but Lyoto has somehow managed to snag the 205lb strap without fighting Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, Shogun, Rampage Jackson, Ricardo Arona, Rogerio Nogueira, Forrest Griffin, Dan Henderson, or Renato Sobral. You think he would cross paths with at least one of these guys in 15 fights.

Don’t get me wrong: Machida is a fighter unlike any Rua has ever faced. The man truly has his own style. His blend of Precise counter-striking, deceptive foot sweeps and ground-grappling ability is wrapped in a style never before seen in the UFC. Machida also possesses power in his hands when he wants to go for the knockout, and he has a smothering jiu-jitsu game at his disposal. He also possesses a cool head and an ability to strategize that would make Napoleon blush. He has looked borderline invincible during his title run and he is definitely the champion for a reason.



However, until Lyoto defeats a perennial contender I couldn’t possibly pick him to win this fight. This is his big chance.

My prediction: Shogun has more tools than anyone Lyoto has fought up to this point and seems to know his own strengths and weaknesses pretty well. If his cardio is there, Shogun wins by decision, possibly late sub. Of course, if Shogun shows up in the shape he did against Coleman and Griffin, he is going to sleep in the second.

Whatever the outcome, this is a true “can’t miss” fight.


Cain Velazquez vs. Ben Rothwell: I see Cain winning on points, but not before Big Ben puts him on ice skates at least twice. See Velasquez vs. Kongo

Josh Neer vs. Gleison Tibau: Once again, the UFC baffles me by putting two mediocre fighters on the main card. These two will undoubtedly fight to a decision, and I would put money on the boo-birds making an appearance during this bout. Gleison can barely make 155 and it shows in his cardio and Josh Neer is the opposite of exciting. To top it all off, both these guys are coming off boring decision losses. As someone who has to drop $50 on these fights, I say shame on you UFC.

Joe Stevenson vs. Spencer Fisher: This fight should be entertaining. These are two guys who are constantly just a few rungs below the top of the ladder, but always bring it in the cage.

I can see Joe Stevenson winning based on his brute strength on the mat. I can also see him fighting stupid and getting picked apart on his feet by fisher. Hopefully Joe has satisfied his need to box and just grinds out a one-sided albeit unimpressive victory. This will be much to the chagrin of the UFC matchmaker since it is unlikely Joe “Daddy” will be getting a title shot anytime soon.

Anthony Johnson vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida: One thing readers of my articles will come to find out: I love Judo.

A well-executed Judo throw is like poetry in motion. Hell, it even makes me forgive Karo Parisyan’s unbelievably bad attitude. Yoshi Yoshi’s fight against “The artist formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver,” forever made me a fan. I also make it a habit to root for international fighters.



If either of these guys wins impressively, they will be on the fast track to a crack at George St.Pierre’s belt. Here’s looking forward to some nice Judo before Johnson gasses out and taps to a kimura early in the third.


There are only two dark matches really worth writing about, and one of them is only because I am a Pat Barry fan boy.

Antoni Hardon vs. Pat Barry: The fact that this fight is dark while Tibau/Neer is on the main card is infuriating. This fight will be fireworks, plain and simple.

Both of these guys are here to throw punches and kicks until the guy in front of them is reduced to a quivering mass of flesh. Pat Barry won me over with his “Techno-Viking” impersonation:

And his aggressive, yet technical striking. Antoni Hardonk frustrates me because he trains with arguably the best kickboxer of all time (Ernesto Hoost) and the king of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (Rickson Gracie) yet he constantly underachieves in the octagon.

Pat is a bad style match up for Antoni even with his height and reach disadvantage. Barry takes it by TKO in Round 2.

Yushin Okami vs. Chael Sonnen: The MMA gods hate Yushin Okami.

His (dubious) loss against Rich Franklin is the only blemish on his record since 2006. He also is the last person to record a win against middleweight king Anderson Silva. I know is was a DQ, but the UFC could easily spin that into a title shot, (remember that time you paid to see Matt Hughes fight Royce Gracie?) Yet, for some reason, he toils away in un-televised matches quietly amassing wins over quality competition.

Look for him to roll right through Sonnen with a third round submission.

Well that’s it for this installment of the GASB: MMA edition. Comments are always welcome