Monday Blog: Weight Schmeight, Says Mousasi

May 18, 2009

Update: Weekend Rundown
By Brian Knapp ([email protected])
Monday, 10:20 p.m. ET: UFC hall of famer Dan Severn snapped a two-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision victory against Steven Eakins in the featured bout at Gladiator Challenge “The Beast” on Saturday at the Elko Indian Colony Gymnasium in Elko, Nev.

The ageless Severn (88-16-7), who turns 51 next month, has reeled off 11 victories in 13 fights, though he entered his match with Eakins (0-1-1) having dropped consecutive decisions to William Richey and Pavel Botka.

Severn last appeared in the UFC in 2000, when he submitted to strikes from Pedro Rizzo. He has won more than 60 bouts since turning 40.

Bedard Wins, Announces Retirement

World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Jeff Bedard submitted Jason Georgianna with a rear-naked choke in the main event at The Fight Party “Revenge” on Saturday at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth, Ga. Bedard announced his retirement following the match.

Bedard (12-2), who turned 39 in February, put Georgianna away 3:20 into round two, as he posted his third consecutive victory. A Palace Fighting Championship and Gladiator Challenge veteran, Georgianna (8-5) has lost two straight and three of his last four.

Meanwhile, fellow WEC castoff Micah Miller also made a successful return to his home state, as the American Top Team standout delivered a third-round technical knockout against Josh Pulsifer. Miller controlled much of the action against the game Pulsifer (7-4), eventually wearing him down en route to the stoppage 3:41 into the final stanza.

Still only 22, Miller (11-3, 1 NC) bounced back from his unanimous decision loss to Yoshiro Maeda at Dream 7 in March. He has rattled off four wins in six fights.

Sylvia vs. Mercer: The Bumble in Birmingham
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 8:25 p.m. ET: Once scheduled for a New Jersey Adrenaline card -- before that state commission coughed up a patronizing chuckle and shook its collective head “no” -- a flashing-neon-light-of-dumb boxing match between Tim Sylvia and Ray Mercer is now set to go off June 19 at an optimistically spacious 17,000-seat Birmingham, Ala., arena.

As the above promotional video shows, the 48-year-old Mercer moves with the speed and grace of someone who shouldn’t be granted a license to work over a heavy bag, much less anything with a nervous system.

And what of Sylvia, the once-feared UFC heavyweight champion who’s gone from challenging Fedor Emelianenko to toiling in a state with no athletic commission -- and in a boxing match against someone who’s about to test positive for Metamucil?

Those curious to see how a competent mixed martial artist will fare in a stand-up bout are better served anticipating Andrei Arlovski’s June 27 debut on a Golden Boy card. Opponent is TBA.

TBA could be a kangaroo, and it would be less farcical than this fight.

Weekend Rundown
By Brian Knapp ([email protected])
Monday, 5:30 p.m. ET: Carlton Haselrig stopped Chris Larkin on first-round strikes in the featured bout at Iron Will Fighting Championship 1 on Saturday at the Johnstown Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown, Pa.

Haselrig, a 43-year-old former Pro Bowl offensive lineman with the Pittsburgh Steelers, needed just 3:18 to dispatch Larkin, as he pressed him against the cage and unleashed a volley of punches that left the referee no choice but to intervene. Haselrig (3-1), the only man to win six national wrestling championships at the collegiate level, bounced back nicely from his first professional defeat -- a submission loss to Joe Abouata at a Battle Cage Xtreme show in July.

Meanwhile, Charlie Brenneman, a member of the Matt Hughes-founded H.I.T. Squad, won for the third time in as many fights, as he submitted Chris Thomas 1:17 into the second round of their co-main event bout. Brenneman (8-1) has finished his last three opponents in two rounds or less.

ATT’s Da Matta Victorious

Marcos da Matta, the head Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor at American Top Team, submitted Chris Thorne with a rear-naked choke and remained unbeaten as a professional at an Xtreme Fight Nights show on Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The end came 2:24 into round one, as da Matta (6-0) cinched a rear-naked choke and coaxed the tapout.

On the undercard, Yuri Villefort, the younger brother of International Fight League veteran and current UFC welterweight hopeful Danillo Villefort, submitted Will Florentino with an opening-round guillotine choke. Villefort, 18, needed just 2:28 to pull off the submission.

Kleczkowski Captures Gladiator Gold

David Kleczkowski upended Pat O’Malley to capture the middleweight championship at Gladiators Cage Fighting “Clash of the Titans” on Saturday at the Milwaukee Harley-Davidson Showroom in Milwaukee. Kleczkowski (10-5) ended the five-round bout quickly, as he submitted O’Malley 2:09 into round one and snapped his nine-fight winning streak in the process.

An Adrenaline MMA veteran, Kleczkowski has rattled off four wins in five fights. He has secured six of his 10 career wins by submission.

You Bet: Wanderlei Wagers on His Future
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 3:35 p.m. ET: Living and training in Las Vegas has apparently been a bad influence on Wanderlei Silva. The once-feared Brazilian bomber has reacted to former friend Anderson Silva training with June 13 opponent Rich Franklin by offering to wager $50,000 that he’ll beat Franklin silly.

"If Anderson believes in Franklin so much, bet $50,000 and let's see who takes the money,” Silva said. “… I go to knock him out. I have trained so much and Rich won't last two rounds. ... I put these [sic] amount and Anderson or his sponsors, Ed Soares or Joinha, bet another part. Who wins takes the money.”

There’s something foreboding about the fractured English of Brazilian fight athletes. It’s very Old Testament. (“He speaks the nonsense! And for this, I shall deliver onto him the unhappy death!”)

Fortunately for Silva, prizefighting doesn’t look upon participants wagering on themselves with the same distain as, say, a Pete Rose. But considering his increasingly softening jaw, Silva might want to insist on 2-1 odds for himself.

Scrooge Alert: Time Warner to Drop HDNet
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 1:50 p.m. ET: It’s not uncommon for cable companies and broadcasters to nickel and dime each other to death during renewal negotiations: Part of the combat strategy is to perform some proverbial take-the-ball-home sulking by announcing that the station will be leaving the lineup. The idea is, viewers will begin to see the cable provider as the antagonist.

Viacom did this to spectacularly tasteless effect earlier this year, running ads that depicted children’s idol Spongebob Squarepants sobbing because Time Warner had reached an impasse in negotiations. The caption may as well have read, “Time Warner boils puppies.”

HDNet might want to consider running a similar ad, this time of Fedor Emelianenko or Melvin Manhoef leaking the tears. With carrier negotiations stalled, the MMA-heavy channel is set to go dark at the end of the month for the roughly 15 million cable subscribers served by Time Warner.

If true -- and there’s always potential for a late-hour agreement to be reached -- it’s possible next Tuesday’s Dream 9 card will be the last live Japanese fight event seen by those customers for a long, long time.

Bellator VII Goes Viral
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 12:50 p.m. ET: Installment siete of ESPN Deportes’ Bellator Fighting Championships went off Friday in Chicago. Headlining Omar de la Cruz and Lyman Good advanced to the welterweight tournament finals in June by defeating Dave Menne and Jorge Ortiz, respectively. (De La Cruz’s crushing right hands have to be worse than soda for tooth enamel.)

On the undercard, Kerry Vera, wife of UFC light heavyweight Brandon Vera, made a successful MMA debut against Leslie Smith, winning via unanimous decision. Credit to Bellator for advancing the cause for equal rights: Women’s bouts are a full five minutes in duration, not the three used (for no discernable reason) in other promotions.

Weekend Lowlights: Aina, Eastman, Puder
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 11:45 a.m. ET: With four events and dozens of bouts taking place this past weekend, odds increased exponentially that something bizarre would happen.

As usual, the laws of mathematics did not disappoint. Topping an otherwise entertaining Strikeforce Challengers broadcast debut Friday was a brow-furrowing finish to the Billy Evangelista/Mike Aina main event: Aina, considered a grounded fighter at the moment in question, was kneed in the shoulder by Evangelista. Aina proceeded to gesticulate and mewl like he had been struck in the head. More curiously, he complained of jaw pain on the side of his face where he had -- or rather, hadn’t -- been struck.

Referee Herb Dean declared it a disqualification victory for Aina, but the replay’s contradictory footage turned the crowd sour. I am not an eager advocate of claiming fighters “look for a way out” or embellish fouls so they can head home early, but no rational person can claim Evangelista’s strike came anywhere near Aina’s head. We may now have MMA’s first “phantom knee.”

Across the dial, Friday’s Maximum Fighting Championship 21 card opened with a bang when Aaron Lofton filed a damaged-goods report to the package of Marvin Eastman; Eastman shook it off and marred Lofton’s previously perfect 6-0 record with a TKO loss.

In Internet pay-per-view action, former WWE prospect Daniel Puder returned from a sabbatical to take a shaky win over Jeff Ford at Saturday’s Call to Arms in Ontario, Calif. After landing a kick, Ford lost his balance, fell and injured his shoulder. TKO via Magoo.

Puder allegedly taunted Ford for the slip, which failed to endear him to the crowd.

Flawless UFC Victories
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 9:20 a.m. ET: In anticipation of Saturday’s UFC 98 bout between “elusive” defensive tactician Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans, we’ll be taking a weeklong examination of past main event fights where athletes inflicted maximum damage with only minimal payback.

(Not that we’re being audited by any blogging authority, but choices are limited to fights between evenly matched, competent and capable professionals that went at least two rounds. Fedor Emelianenko looking flawless against Zulu shouldn’t get anyone’s neurons firing.)

The best kind of fight: looking like you haven’t been in one.

Dan Severn vs. Oleg Taktarov (Ultimate Ultimate 1995, Dec. 16, 1995)

If Severn successor Mark Coleman is the “Godfather of ground-and-pound,” Severn deserves his due for being the great-grandfather of same -- he just never really bothered with the pound.

Paired against the durable Taktarov in the finals of an all-star UFC tournament, Severn spent the cumulative 30-minute regulation and overtime period completely shutting down Taktarov’s submission game. Taktarov would repeatedly roll for a leg, only to be denied and end up on the receiving end of Severn’s offense. And while his stand-up slapping is open for derision, his head butts on the mat left Taktarov looking as though a hammer mistook his face for a nail.

Taktarov absorbed dozens of them, spent most of the fight on his back and landed only one clean punch in return. By evening’s end, a huge stain of blood smeared the canvas. None of it belonged to Severn.

Don’t misunderstand: This is a monotone fight, second only to Severn/Ken Shamrock II on a list of bouts more mind-numbing than a DMV line. But Severn should be accorded respect for spending a half-hour in the ring with a solid representative of sambo without getting cranked or bruised … and for nabbing a UFC-at-its-most-gladiatorial title without looking like he had fallen into a wood chipper.

Sherdog in Fight! Magazine

Monday, 3:05 a.m. ET: Sherdog was born at Boeing. Yes, Boeing the aircraft manufacturer. That’s where Jeff Sherwood began building the Web site in 1997. Check out an inside account of Sherdog’s history, as told by Joe Hall, in this month’s issue of Fight! Magazine.

Also in the issue: Neal Taflinger visits Matt Hughes’ hometown in search of the real Hughes, Danny Acosta takes on "UFC Undisputed 2009" and Editor Donovan Craig profiles Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male.

Weight Schmeight, Says Mousasi
By Loretta Hunt ([email protected])
Daniel Herbertson/

Could Mousasi flourish in the UFC?
Monday, 3:00 a.m. ET: Becoming a poster boy for MMA diehards and under-active housewives everywhere, Gegard Mousasi will officially begin his “Weight is Just a Number” campaign in May.

Mousasi (24-2-1), who relinquished his Dream middleweight title in January to face bulkier opposition and (hopefully) bigger competitive challenges, will join monsters like Hong Man Choi and Bob Sapp in the promotion’s freakish “Super Hulk” tournament on May 26 in Yokohama, Japan.

But when it comes to the battle of the scales, are Mousasi’s eyes bigger than his body mass?

The 23-year-old standout draws hardheaded Samoan and 2000 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion Mark Hunt in the first round. Skimming this tale of the tape, Hunt could weigh anywhere between 280 and 300 pounds come fight time. Mousasi tells that he’ll shoot for 98 kilograms, or a whopping 216 pounds.

Tipping his hat to martial arts’ purists that believe a true champion can succeed against any opponent ginormous or small, the surprisingly shy and unassuming Mousasi stands firmly in Camp Cajones.

So don’t go telling the Armenian-born Holland-based fighter that he might be biting off more than he can chew.

“Fedor [Emelianenko] is also small,” Mousasi told in an exclusive interview last January. “Mike Tyson was also very small for a heavyweight, but he beat the crap out of people.”

Once the dust settles on the “Super Hulk” experiment though, the 6-foot-1 Mousasi’s future might lie in the 205–pound division, whose cup runneth over into the UFC’s Octagon.

If Mousasi is really looking for a challenge, light heavyweights like UFC champion Rashad Evans, Forrest Griffin, and even middleweight king Anderson Silva –- who’s been known to moonlight at 205 pounds –- would all be engaging opposition for sure. However, they’re not on Mousasi’s radar just yet.

“I think it would be good fights, but those fights I don’t concentrate on because they are only UFC. I don’t think about those fights,” he said.

In fact, Mousasi doesn’t see an Octagon debut in his future, at least not in 2009. He plans to make his stateside debut for Affliction in August, while staying loyal to the promotion that has given him leniency in his recent pursuits.

“I want to stay with Dream because they have treated me very well,” Mousasi said in January. “It feels like, if I go to UFC, I let them down. I want to go to boxing too. I’d like to fight Vitor Belfort in boxing. I think that would be a good, interesting fight that people would want to see.”

Forget boxing. How about an MMA bout in August? There’s little doubt Mousasi would turn that down if Affliction could pull it off this summer.

As for Hunt, Mousasi seems to have his strategy all etched out, although he isn’t at liberty to share it.

“It’s not about the weight. It’s about how I can fight better,” Mousasi wrote cryptically in an email to shortly after his bout with Hunt was announced. “Trust me, I am going to win.”

Check the blog all day for more entries.

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