Archive for the ‘UFC/MMA/Boxing’ Category

JC Breaks Down UFC 117
August 10, 2010

He didn’t get to hang out with Chris “The Crippler” Leben at Remy’s (a la your humble editor and NewsCenter 5’s Sean Kelly), but that’s because our MMA guru JC was too busy paying attention to the actual card. Here’s his review:

The dust has settled on another exciting UFC event and while the talk since Saturday night has centered around the surprisingly competitive main event, a large part of the evening went just as expected.

-Jon Fitch solidified himself as the “Best of the Rest” in a welterweight division dominated by Champion Georges St-Pierre, with a snooze-fest unanimous decision over Thiago Alves. Fitch finds himself in a precarious position atop the UFC contenders as he’s beaten everybody (outside of GSP) but his style of fighting is such that very few will spend the money to watch him fight as the main event.

-Clay Guida did what Clay Guida does. Not sure if it says more about the fight or about me, but the only part of this fight that I rewound and watched over again was when Guida pushed his corner-man’s head out of the way so he could let out a burp that appeared to originate from the depths of his soul. It was classic Guida.

-Matt Hughes continued his resurgence, with a nice submission on Ricardo Almeida that had Almeida passed out in the Octagon.

-Junior dos Santos proved everyone right (except me) and dominated Roy Nelson for three rounds. As good as Nelson looked against his first two UFC opponents, dos Santos shined a light on some glaring weaknesses in Nelson’s game. It’s hard to believe Nelson will do well against his next rumored opponent in Shane Carwin. He couldn’t take dos Santos down and Carwin will be tougher, with his wrestling pedigree. It’d also be hard to believe Carwin wouldn’t send Big Country into a dream within a dream within a dream if he connected on half the shots Junior did.

-Christian Morecraft made Stefan Struve look like Mushmouth after the beating he delivered in round 1. Unfortunately for Morecraft, the doctors let Struve continue in spite of a bottom lip that appeared to be falling off. I’m surprised to see nothing has been made of Struve’s cheapshot after the tap coming out of the 2nd round. Morecraft hadn’t even pulled his hand back from the tap before Struve hammered him with a leg kick. Shortly thereafter, Morecraft was out cold.

-Nothing can be said about the Silva/Sonnen fight that hasn’t been said already. It ended exactly as expected, but the beginning and middle were beyond shocking. To his credit, Sonnen offered no excuses after the fight (unlike Silva). He gave credit to Silva and said his heart was broken. If he showed this much class leading up to the fight, he probably would’ve heard less boo’s entering the ring. Of course, it also would’ve resulted in much fewer PPV buys (and thus, likely less $$ for Sonnen).

Up Next

Make no mistake, Shaq is not the biggest thing to come to Boston this summer. In less than three weeks, Dana White brings the UFC to his hometown for the first time. This card offers something for everybody. BJ Penn, one of the top pound-for-pound fighters of all time, looks to take his title back from Frankie Edgar. UFC Legend (and star of the upcoming Sly movie “The Expendables”) Randy Couture takes on the first legitimate cross-over challenge from a boxing champion in James Toney. Westwood native Kenny Florian (who operates the Florian Martial Arts Center in Brookline with his brother Keith) takes on rising star Gray Maynard for what’s likely to be for a title shot against the Penn/Edgar winner and Brockton’s own Joe Lauzon will face off against Ultimate Fighter castoff Gabe Ruediger. Previews and predictions will come as we get closer to fight night.

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UFC 117 Preview
August 6, 2010

Editor’s Note: Our MMA guru JC checks in with his preview of Saturday’s big UFC 117 card in Oakland. It’s the start of some heavy coverage as we get ready for UFC 118 at the Garden on August 28. Next up, lightweight star (and Boston’s own) Kenny Florian joins us for TD Bank Sports OT on Sunday, August 15 at 11:30. He’ll be talking about his big fight versus Gray Maynard at UFC 118.

Six days after watching new poster-boy Jon “Bones” Jones dismantle Vladimir Matyushenko, the UFC travels to Oakland Saturday to continue its busiest month since December 2008 with UFC 117.

Main Event

Not too long ago Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva was considered by many to be the “Baddest Man on the Planet”. A few fights later, Silva has come no closer to defeat but has fallen so far off the mountaintop that UFC President Dana White threatened to cut his title-holder after his unanimous-decision over Demian Maia.

Silva’s opponent is former Oregon State House candidate Chael Sonnen. Like any good politician Sonnen has talked a big game. Against any other champion, Sonnen’s Clubber Lang impression would have made him public enemy #1, but Silva holds that title too. Saturday night we’ll see if Sonnen’s game plan is as sharp as his tongue.

Prediction: The question is not whether Silva will win, but which Silva will show up. Will the Champ toy with Sonnen for 5 rounds and coast to another victory, putting Dana White in the unenviable position of having to consider putting his money where his mouth is and cut a title-holder coming off nine straight title defenses? Or will the Spider shut Sonnen up in the ring with the type of performance that catapulted him to the top of the UFC? My vote is somewhere in between. Sonnen will take the Spider down Saturday night, but Silva’s still dangerous on his back and Clubber Jr. is susceptible to submissions and will eventually get caught.

Silva wins by submission in the 2nd.

The Rest

Jon Fitch vs. Thiago Alves – Contrasting styles in this fight. Fitch is all wrestling and puts together some major snoozefests. On the other hand, ten of Alves’s sixteen victories have come by knockout or TKO. Prediction: GSP showed the world the gameplan to beating Alves and it’s right in Fitch’s wheelhouse. Take him down and grind him out. Fitch by unanimous decision.

Clay Guida vs. Rafael dos Anjos – Fan favorite Guida is back after losing two of three and takes on the young Brazilian dos Anjos. Prediction: Guida lays on him for three rounds and dos Anjos spends Sunday pulling hair out of his mouth. Guida by decision.

Matt Hughes vs. Ricardo Almeida – UFC Legend Matt Hughes is back and looking for his third straight victory after dropping two straight (Alves & GSP). After taking a step down in competition, Hughes is enjoying some success in the twilight of his career (take note, Iceman). Prediction: Hughes by decision.

Junior dos Santos vs. Roy Nelson – Fans in Oakland haven’t seen a belly like Nelson’s since JaMarcus Russell left town. Fortunately for Nelson, the belly is all they have in common. Casual fans will think it’s some kind of joke when the mullet-wearing Nelson enters the ring, but the joke is on dos Santos if he doesn’t take Big Country Nelson seriously. Perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the night pits the young prospect dos Santos against the wily old veteran in Nelson. A shot at the UFC Heavyweight title is on the line in this fight and word is that the loser is already slotted to take on Shane Carwin. Prediction: Nelson by TKO.

UFC Reserves Date At TD Garden
December 19, 2009

Heard from the folks at the Ultimate Fighting Championship today – confirming what every fight fan in town has been waiting for. The UFC has reserved August 28, 2010 as the date for its first ever card in Massachusetts. The event at the TD Garden won’t be officially announced for a few months, but just the reservation is enough to get mixed martial arts junkies buzzing.

This was all made possible when Governor Patrick signed legislation last month regulating mixed martial arts in Massachusetts. The UFC will not run in any state that does not have a regulatory commission or similar rules. That left smaller groups featuring up and coming fighters, like the WCF (which runs the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington – worth checking out) as the only options for fans.

So who’s going to be on this card? UFC President Dana White is promising a HUGE card. Heavyweight contender Frank Mir (now training with Mark DellaGrotte, who runs SitYodTong in Somerville) should be due to fight around that time, but whether he faces nemesis (and heavyweight champ) Brock Lesnar remains to be seen. Lesnar is still recovering from a serious intestinal illness and may never fight again.

Dover native and lightweight star Kenny Florian will definitely be on that card. We’ve done several features on Kenny in the past (you can watch the interviews here) and he’s made no secret that it would fulfill a lifelong dream to fight in front of the hometown crowd. It would also bring a huge publicity boost to the Florian Martial Arts Center in Brookline, run by Kenny and his brother/coach Keith.

Other local fighters who will likely find their way onto the card: Maine’s Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis, Joe Lauzon of East Bridgewater, Gabriel Gonzaga, a big Brazilian who trains in Ludlow, and Jorge “El Conquistador” Rivera of Milford. With all of the MMA centers popping up all over New England, this list may very well grow by the time August rolls around.

KenFlo Ready To Make The Jump
August 1, 2009

On Saturday, August 8 in Philadelphia, Dover native Kenny Florian will challenge mixed martial arts legend B.J. Penn for the UFC lightweight title. And after watching him train a few nights ago at the training center he and his brother run in Brookline, I’m pretty sure he’s going to pull it off.

There’s something different about the fighter known as KenFlo, even from when we last caught up with him nearly two years ago. He’s definitely more confident, and seems comfortable with his now established role not as a UFC up and comer, but a legitimate star.

In many ways, he’s become one of the main faces of the promotion. Between breaking out in the first season of the Ultimate Fighter reality show, to winning his last six fights (the last three against big time competition: Joe Lauzon, Roger Huerta, Joe Stevenson), and adding broadcasting to his resume (color commentary at WEC 41, hosting MMA Live on ESPN.com, and he’ll be filling in for Joe Rogan at the next Ultimate Fight Night), it’s hard not to bring up his name when talking UFC.

So the time seems just about right for him to make the leap. And with lawmakers set to create a regulatory commission for MMA in Massachusetts (the bill passed the Senate 34-1, and is expected to be a done deal by October), we could be seeing a UFC show (with a Fan Fest) at the TD Garden by next summer. Let’s say Kenny wins the belt. He’d be on track to make one defense before possibly defending the title in front of the home crowd (and let’s face it, he’d fight on that card no matter what). How cool would that be for not only Florian and his family, but all the fight fans here in Massachusetts.

Here are the links to the uncut interview with Kenny.

Part 1: Opening Florian Martial Arts Center

Part 2: Regulating MMA in Massachusetts

Part 3: Training to face BJ Penn

Part 4: Bringing the title to Massachusetts

Part 5: Life after fighting

Part 6: Brock Lesnar

To check out the slideshow, CLICK HERE.

For more on the Florian Martial Arts Center CLICK HERE.

To go back to TheBostonChannel.com, CLICK HERE.

KenFlo Getting It Done
April 7, 2008

Congratulations to Dover’s Kenny Florian.

The rising star in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight division pummeled Bridgewater’s Joe Lauzon at the UFC Fight Night show Wednesday night in Broomfield, Colorado. This despite revealed he had suffered two bulging discs and a herniated disc in his back during training!

Florian (9-3) escaped several submission attempts near the end of round one, including a mean looking heel hook from Lauzon. In round two, Florian simply outwrestled Lauzon, getting the mount and raining down punches and elbows until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight about 1:30 into the round.

The TKO win likely sets up Florian (who trains at Mark DellaGrotte’s Sityodtong gym in Somerville) for a shot at the current lightweight champion, B.J. Penn.

Kenny will also be filling in for UFC Color Commentator (and another guy with Bay State ties) Joe Rogan at the UFC 83 show later this month.

From The Vault: UFC Star Kenny Florian
March 28, 2008

Another addition to our YouTube collection is our profile earlier this month on mixed martial artist (and Dover native) Kenny Florian, a rising star in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight division.

Florian (who got his break on the 1st season of the Ultimate Fighter reality show) was gracious enough to let us in to his training sessions at Sityodtong USA, a gym in Somerville run by master trainer Mark DellaGrotte (himself a trainer on the 4th season of the Ultimate Fighter).

The atmosphere in the gym was great. There must have been 50 people packed into the small basement space. It was so hot and humid the camera lens fogged up immediately. But it was great to see how these fighters, who have to master so many techniques, train for a fight.

Kenny takes on East Bridgewater product Joe Lauzon on Wednesday, April 2nd live on UFC Fight Night on Spike TV. The winner will probably get a shot at the lightweight title currently held by B.J. Penn.

Here the original story we posted on The Boston Channel, complete with slideshows and more links on Kenny and Sityodtong. And then, check out the piece!

-SI

More On Micky
March 24, 2008

To learn more about Micky Ward’s “Team Micky Foundation,” please click here.

To order Irish Thunder: The Hard Life And Times Of Micky Ward by our own Bob Halloran, click here.

The Hard Life And Times Of Micky Ward By Bob Halloran

For those of you who missed our reports on Micky’s life after boxing, fear not, we’ve posted them on WCVB’s YouTube page.

First, Bob Halloran reports on Micky’s new career as a trainer. One of his prospects is his own nephew, Sean Eklund. Then, Bob and Micky sit down with Ed Harding to talk about Micky’s tough upbringing, the most brutal fights of his career, his charity work, and the movie being made about his life.