Friday, March 4, 2011

Can't get enough MMA, this is your weekend

If last night's free UFC on Versus 3 card wasn't enough to satisfy your MMA hunger, don't worry there's more in store for you. Whether you are a hardcore fan for the sport of mixed martial arts or just a casual fan wanting to know more, this is the weekend you've been waiting for.

Besides the UFC card last night, tomorrow night, Saturday, there are two major fight cards being put on by rival promotions Strikeforce and Bellator. The Strikeforce card, live from Columbus, OH, will be televised on Showtime, while Bellator will be kicking off their fourth season from Lemoore, CA for the first time on MTV2. However, before we look at tomorrow, let's take a look back at last night.

On the heels of UFC 127, which seemed to leave more questions than answers, UFC on Versus 3 provided an entertaining night of free fights both on the Versus network and Facebook. Between the live prelims aired on UFC's Facebook page and the main card on TV, the UFC gave us no less then eight free entertaining fights. So much for those that say Dana White and the UFC brass doesn't look out for their fans.

The main event also ended being 'Fight of the Night' as welterweight (170 lbs.) Diego 'call me Dream, not Nightmare' Sanchez (23-4, 6 KO's 9 subs) won a unanimous, but highly disputed, decision over Martin 'Hitman' Kampmann (17-5, 7 KO's 6 subs). While it was a close fight, all three judges scored it 29-28 for Sanchez; I on the other hand had the same score albeit for Kampmann. Apparently, I wasn't the only one that saw it my way as a chorus of boos rang out throughout the arena when the decision was rendered.

Long story short, while Sanchez was the obvious aggressor, attempting no less than 15 takedowns in three rounds while chasing down Kampmann, one look at his face will tell you the 'Hitman' was actually living up to his name. Kampmann, was precise with his punches as he turned Sanchez's face into ground beef while making him look like a zombie from an old George Romero 'Night of the Living Dead' movie by the end of the fight. Also, for those that appreciate the aggressor versus the counter puncher type of fighter, I'll just say that of the 15 takedowns Sanchez attempted, he was only able to score one in the last round, in which Kampmann was able to get up and escape.

To his credit, Sanchez did inflict some damage on Kampmann while they were standing, opening a cut on his opponent, but I didn't feel it was as much as what he received. He could barely speak clearly in his post fight interview, which leads me to another issue surrounding Sanchez. Always an eccentric in his training and lifestyle, he came into this fight looking extremely soft physically. Truthfully, not just soft, but actually out of shape. He's never looked this way his entire career. Also, he came in with a clean shaven skinhead look, which isn't against the law, but it makes you wonder if there are issues outside of fighting that Sanchez is dealing with. Things that make you go hmmmmm?

Onto Strikeforce tomorrow night and the main event between reigning light-heavyweight (205 lbs.) champion Rafael 'Feijao' Cavalcante (10-2, 9 KO's 1 sub) and former Pride champion & UFC veteran Dan 'Hendo' Henderson (26-8, 11 KO's 2 subs). Cavalcante, who's coming off his championship winning TKO victory over former champ Muhammad 'King Mo' Lawal last August, appears to have everything on his side, including age, as the product of the renowned 'Blackhouse' team is riding a three-fight win streak.

Meanwhile Henderson (pictured above), a 40 year old former Olympic wrestler and pioneer of this sport, who fought back @ UFC 17 in just his third pro fight, is coming off a knockout decimation of Renato 'Babalu' Sobral back in December. Winner of four out of his last five, Henderson the wrestler is known for a his rocket right hand that can put people to sleep with one punch; just ask UFC contender Michael Bisping. However, I don't think it will be enough to surpass the multi-talented Cavalcante who is hitting his peak and has multi-purpose skills, along with KO power of his own, to deal with Henderson. I expect Father Time to finally catch up with 'Hendo' and 'Feijao' to win via a fourth or fifth round TKO.

As for Bellator, they start their fourth season with a dynamite card featuring four quarterfinal fights in the welterweight division. Always using the tournament format to crown champions, which I like, they have stacked the field this year in this division that has created some intriguing match-ups. Some of the names featured include former champion Lyman 'Cyborg' Good, perennial contender Dan 'The Handler' Hornbuckle, former Judo Olympian Rick Hawn and former UFC & Strikeforce veteran Jay 'The Thoroughbred' Hieron.

Also sprinkled into the mix are some very promising up and comers, which Bellator is known for promoting and turning into household names. As previously stated, Bellator also signed a new TV contract in the off-season with MTV, to feature all shows exclusively on MTV2, every Saturday throughout the season. With their telecast starting at 9PM eastern time and Strikeforce beginning an hour later on Showtime, I suggest you get new batteries for the remote control, so you can click back and forth and enjoy all the action. For a MMA fan, it really doesn't get much better than this.

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