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UFC, WEC, Affliction, EliteXC and other MMA notes

UFC 80 Aftermath and Fighter Notes

BJ Penn– Good win over Stevenson. He did everything BJ does, but his striking looked better than I can remember. Looks good for him against any of the bulldog type LWs, Sherk, Edgar, Griffin etc..

Joe Stevenson– Im not sure what to make out of the loss, he allowed BJ to establish dominant position from the opening bell. Terrible begining to the fight and was never able to overcome what took place. Joe probably gained some valuable experience and he’s still very young, but he’s been around long enough to know how to fight to his strengths. Headscratcher.

Paul Taylor – high energy guy who stands a chance against anyone who will stand long enough to trade a few combinations.  His ground game is not good, no offensive moves and problems escaping.  Anyone with decent takedowns will give him real problems.

Paul Kelly– sloppy punching, his superior size was the real reason he won.  A technically sound puncher will give him problems, especilly one with a td defense.

 Kendall Grove- looks like the plan is to use strength to push your way into his chest so he can’t get off, then muscle him.  Looked bad against Rivera, not sure if he can take the next step into defeating ranked opponents.  Strength will always be his weakness.

Jorge Rivera- great win. Hopefully he comes back as a favorite next time, I am not a believer.

Wilson Gouveia- dominated by Lambert until his one punch got home.  Not impressed with the win.

Jason Lambert- controlled all phases of the match until he got tagged, strangely tried a few takedowns when he was dominating the standu.  He should learn from this and comeback better.  Good underdog against even opponents.

Gabriel Gonzaga– dont give up on him, hes young and Werdum is a borderline top 10 fighter.  He will never be a cardio machine.  Any fighter that has a history of smart fighting into late rounds should be favored over him.   He was much better against Couture.

Fabricio Werdum– solid win but nothing to change my opinion about him.  He is going to struggle if he cant get the fight to the mat.  Even on the mat his submissions can be nuetralized and hes got nothing really.

Marcus Davis- on time, in shape and ready to go. Too bad the fight was not longer for him, but its another impressive win, injury free.

Jess Laudin– Davis is slightly out of his comfort zone.

January 24, 2008 Posted by | BJ Penn, Fabricio Werdum, Gabriel Gonzaga, Joe Stevenson, Kendall Grove | Leave a comment

UFC Odds and EzFlyer’s UFC 74 Preview

UFC 74: Respect – Fight & Betting Line Analysis
by Matt Corenzwit
BetOnFighting.Com Staff Writer

MMA Odds Maker Nick Kalikas and www.BetOnfighting.com have released this weekends Official UFC 74 “Respect” Odds.

Rejoice, mixed martial arts fans, the wait is nearly over! At long last, the UFC is back in full swing this coming weekend and it isn’t stopping there. Following UFC 74: Respect, September is filled to the brim with three more events & the premier of The Ultimate Fighter 6. It’s a good time to be a UFC fan, and there are certainly some excellent opportunities across the board. UFC 74 is headlined by Randy Couture & Gabriel Gonzaga, who will be competing for the coveted Heavyweight crown, while potential #1 contender matches take place at 170 & 155 lbs.

Main Card

Gabriel Gonzaga (-150) Vs. Randy Couture (+120):

Many questions will be answered in Saturday’s Main Event, featuring Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture & challenger Gabriel Gonzaga. Can “The Natural” hold his own against his larger foe in a grappling affair? Was Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s knockout at the hands (or feet!) of Gonzaga a fluke? When will age catch up with the 44 year old champ? No matter the result, we will get some answers & in exciting fashion.

Enter the challenger: Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga. A burly yet athletic 240+ lbs, the accomplished Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner boasts a substantial submission acumen. He is also a very tenacious fighter who presses forward very well & can end a fight in any round. If that wasn’t enough, he proved in his last fight against the vaunted Mirko “Cro Cop” that he has tremendous knockout power, delivering one of the more brutal high kicks in the sport’s history.

Champion Randy Couture (“Captain America”, “The Natural”, etc.), a decorated wrestler whose nickname count is exceeded by his UFC championships (and that’s saying something!), is coming off of his magnificent recapture of the Heavyweight belt. Coming out of retirement, the then forty-three year old stunned the mixed martial arts world by dominating the 6’8 incumbent champion, Tim Sylvia. A master of game plan, Couture has an unbreakable spirit and competitive edge, which has driven him throughout his hall of fame career.

On paper, Gonzaga, the larger, younger, & perceivably stronger fighter is a clear-cut favorite. He has a much better finishing game and it’s impossible to overlook Couture’s age. However, sports fans, this is why we have the actual matches. Couture’s been there. He’s tasted championship glory in multiple divisions & has succumbed to defeat as well. He has gone five grueling rounds on multiple occasions. People have discounted & doubted him countless times in the past, and yet he’s come through. Couture finds a way. He’s my pick to click at a nice slight-underdog price of +120. If you like Gonzaga, I’d recommend that you wait a bit & let the waves of Couture fans drive his price down.

Georges St. Pierre (-250) Vs. Josh Koscheck (+200):

These two welterweight fighters have more to prove than anyone on the card. For Koscheck, a win over GSP would cement him as the #1 contender at 170 lbs. GSP, on the other hand, who had worked so hard to get the belt last November, lost in his first title defense to the vastly inferior underdog, Matt Serra. While Koscheck dearly wants the respect he has not yet earned in most fans’ eyes, GSP wants to validate himself & prove that his loss in April was a fluke.

Josh Koscheck is arguably the best wrestler in MMA at the moment, period. He is an outstanding athlete with a practically unstoppable takedown game. Steadily expanding his skill set, he proved he can control the standup aspect in his last fight, where he dominated the previously unbeaten Diego Sanchez. Georges St. Pierre is a terrific wrestler in his own right (he is a Canadian Olympic team alternate), but it doesn’t stop there. While Koscheck still has a lot to learn, GSP already has all of the tools. He can end the fight a variety of ways & has faced (and defeated) much stiffer competition.

Bodog FightKoscheck’s first few fights were snoozers, wherein he applied the sort of “Lay-n-Pray” that has turned even hardcore MMA fans into boo-birds. He employs the tactic when he recognizes his inferiority to a given opponent (in a given area), and attempts to smother his adversary. He doesn’t even look to improve position or finish the fight, he tries to merely dominate position as if it was a wrestling match. Most experts predict him to try this very tactic from the get-go. He’s difficult to stop when he sets his mind to it.

Does that make Koscheck worth a shot as +200? I’d beg to differ. GSP, like Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Fedor Emelianenko, and a select few others, is impossible to hold down. He is a cardio machine who is dangerous from the opening bell through the final moments. What’s more, he displayed the type of sprawl against Matt Hughes, Sean Sherk, & Frank Trigg that’s capable of stuffing takedowns from anyone. I firmly believe that GSP wants to win more than ever after his last outing & that Koscheck will not be able to hold him down. GSP opened around the -200 area, and it’s a surefire bet there, but I still like him at -250.

Joe Stevenson (-275) Vs. Kurt Pellegrino (+215):

Wrestler/submission specialist Joe “Daddy” Stevenson matches up with a mirror image of himself in Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino. This may very well be the match to determine the #1 contender at 155 lbs, especially in Stevenson’s case. As stacked as the lightweight division currently is, Joe has probably had the most impressive victories over the last year. He’s shown off some of his submission skills in choking out Dokonjonosuke Mishima & Melvin Guillard, while against Yves Edwards, he utilized superior wrestling & ground ‘n pound. As aggressive & strong on the mat as anyone in the division, Stevenson is quite a force, especially given his size.

Pellegrino has very much the same style, training with the likes of Hermes Franca on a daily basis. Neither fighter is particularly adept on his feet, so expect this fight to hit the ground pretty fast. No matter who has the top position, Stevenson, aggressive as he is, will be on the offensive for as long as the fight lasts. They really do have practically identical styles, but Stevenson is flat-out better at every aspect of MMA. He’s bigger, stronger, and more aggressive. I can’t see Pellegrino winning. I’d be betting on Joe even if the line was around -400.

Kendall Grove (-225) Vs. Patrick Cote (+185)

TUF 3 meets TUF 4 in the lone middleweight bout of the evening. Kendall Grove continues to climb the 185 lb ladder with remarkable improvement while Cote looks to build off of his first UFC victory. While Cote is a well versed fighter who has been around the game longer, he still struggles with the ground game every time we see him. He’s also fought tougher competition & has trained with most of Canada’s top fighters. Grove, however, is still a very young fighter who is growing by leaps and bounds at every turn. He showed tremendous grit and determination in a hard fought victory over Ed Herman. In his next fight, he dominated every aspect of the fight against a supposed superior wrestler in Chris Price, and his superb aggressiveness & technique against Alan Belcher were a joy to watch.

If Cote can keep the fight standing while attempting to deliver some power shots, he has a chance. Frankly, he’s never done that in the UFC. Every time he’s been aggressive, he’s been taken down and turned into a pretzel on the canvas. In his lone win, he was content to land shots simply for the judges and showed no urgency to finish the fight at any point in time. If he takes the same approach against Grove, he will be at the mercy of the Hawaiian’s 6’6 frame/reach & consequently picked apart. Kendall is the superior fighter and only getting better. -225 is a fantastic price for Grove I’d not soon pass up.

Roger Huerta (-425) Vs. Alberto Crane (+345):

Believe it or not, -425 is the best price yet offered for Huerta, as the UFC has been trying to build him up as the next big thing in the Lightweight division. Huerta has been downright impressive. His fights are always exciting, and short of the first round of his most recent outing against the impressive Douglas Evans, He’s dominated every fight he’s had. Many naysayers will point to that first round as a sign of weakness, or criticize his lack of finishing ability against Leonard Garcia. I whole-heartedly disagree. I give credit where it is due in both cases, to Evans & Garcia (and lest we forget, Huerta still won both fights). He’s a dynamic striker, grappler, and a terrific athlete. While he hasn’t been tested to the degree of some other lightweights, he does show immense skill & promise.

Crane is an up-and-coming lightweight at 8-0, seven wins coming via submission. He’s not fought in any of the big shows yet, and has certainly not fought anyone as skilled as Huerta. The longer the fight remains on the feet, the better it is for Roger, although if and when it hits the ground, expect him to be in the dominant position. Huerta takes this fight by any way he chooses and -425 really isn’t a terrible price compared to his previous bouts. That said, I’d abstain from action on this one. +345 isn’t worth a risk on an unknown like Crane.

Under Card:

Clay Guida (-155) Vs. Marcus Aurelio (+125):

Why this match up is relegated to the under card is beyond me. They will probably incorporate it into the PPV broadcast if/when fights end prematurely, to help fill the time. As usual, my pick for “fight of the night” comes from the lightweight division. Clay Guida is an extremely diligent & hardworking fighter who presses forward for fifteen straight minutes. He’s a terrific wrestler and he proved in his last fight (a tough decision loss to Tyson Griffin) that his gas tank can carry him throughout a fight. Though somewhat lacking in the standup department, he’s a very exciting fighter who never quits.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire…Clay’s coming off of two heated matches with top notch competition (Griffin & Din Thomas) and heading into a match with Marcus Aurelio. Aurelio is the first of the former PRIDE lightweight standouts to come over to the UFC. He is an elite-level grappler who is best known for his arm-triangle choke of the world’s #1 rated lightweight, Takanori Gomi. Although Aurelio dropped a decision to Gomi in a rematch and has been inactive for several months, he is still as tough as they come. Aside from complacency when on his feet, he is competent in all areas of MMA. He has a better finishing game than Guida & will probably have to do so off of his back.

My first inclination was to say: Guida by decision. I haven’t wavered tremendously, but I have to go with Aurelio for the +125 price. He’s more capable of finishing the fight from the bottom than Guida is from the top, let alone if he can somehow secure a dominant position. Either way, I’m excited to see these two 155’ers in action!

Thales Leites (-285) Vs. Ryan Jensen (+225):

If Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt, and the rest of the middleweight division isn’t paying attention, Thales Leites may give them a rude awakening. After a tough decision loss in his octagon debut against Martin Kampmann, Leites has quickly rattled off two phenomenal performances, in so doing utterly decimating Pete Sell & Floyd Sword. He’s a terrific grappler with an impressive & ever improving takedown game. Although unlikely to rack up knockouts like Anderson Silva or Chuck Liddell, he is also a formidable standup fighter.

Leites is opposed by Ryan Jensen, a solid grappler in his own right. Jensen was set to take on Travis Lutter, before Lutter pulled out with an injury. This will be his toughest test by far, and the smart money is on him faltering in his UFC debut. Like Stevenson vs. Pellegrino, Thales Leites is better at every facet of MMA, and a very safe bet.

Renato Sobral (-200) Vs. David Heath (+160)

It’s been a rough year for “Babalu” Sobral. He dropped his title bid and lost his impressive win streak against Chuck Liddell. He then returned in March only to gas in the second round succumbing to Jason Lambert via a vicious knockout. He’s run into problems with the law. That said, this is the very same fighter who was in the top-10 of the 205 lb ranks for several years. The same man who was on a terrific run including a submission win over the young Shogun and once gave Fedor a run for his money.

David Heath was looking great up until his most recent fight. He was unbeaten, including a 2-0 mark in the UFC, and is a formidable wrestler/ground’n’pounder. Given the current issues & questions surrounding Sobral, David Heath would have been a good bet. However, in his last outing, he was practically undressed by Ryoto Machida, exposing deficiencies in standup, takedowns, etc. If the Babalu we saw last year comes back, he takes this easily. If the distractions & disappointments have disrupted his training, Heath is a solid underdog bet. I don’t see Babalu getting his third straight loss, but mainly I’d advice passing unless the line shifts dramatically in either direction.

Frank Mir (-160) Vs. Antoni Hardonk (+135):

Contrasting styles are rarely exemplified more than in the night’s “other” heavyweight tilt. The former champ, Mir, has shown a tremendous lack of standup ability since his return from his motorcycle accident. He’s demonstrated a proclivity to turtle up and stop fighting when he’s getting hit, instead of the old Frank Mir, who would retain guard & look for submissions. If given free reign on the mat to fight his fight, however, he is still a tremendous grappler for a heavyweight.

Antoni Hardonk, a dynamic striker under the tutelage of kickboxer Ernesto Hoost, is extremely dangerous on his feet. Although this is his third UFC fight & he’s been fighting MMA off and on since 2001, his takedown defense and ground game are atrocious. In his last fight, he was taken down at will by Justin McCully and had no answer. He had nothing off of his back and could not even get back to his feet. Tremendously contradicting styles (and glaring opposing weaknesses) make this an interesting fight. I like Hardonk given his odds & Mir’s lack of standup, even if he pulls guard, I just don’t think he can take many hits. Hardonk by first round KO.

August 21, 2007 Posted by | Alberto Crane, Antoni Hardonk, Babalu, Betting, Clay Guida, David Heath, Frank Mir, Gabriel Gonzaga, Georges St. Pierre, GSP, Joe Stevenson, Josh Koscheck, Kendall Grove, Kurt Pellegrino, Marcus Aurelio, MMA, MMA betting, Patrick Cote, Randy Couture, Roger Huerta, Ryan Jensen, UFC, UFC 74, UFC Betting, UFC Odds | Leave a comment

UFC 74 Odds: Respect – Preview

By Damon Durante

With more than a month and a half gone by since the last UFC event, fans of MMA are chomping at the bit for the night of August 25th.

With the Heavyweight Championship of the world on the line as well as a former Welterweight title holder doing battle, UFC 74 is sure to provide an epic showcase of UFC talent.

The night starts with a matchup between TUF alumni Patrick Cote (+190) and Kendall Grove (-240). Grove remains undefeated in the octagon and looks to continue his rise to the top of the middleweight division by taking out Cote, who is 1-5 in the UFC, losing to the likes of Tito Ortiz, Chris Leben and Travis Lutter. Cote salvaged his UFC career with a unanimous decision victory over Scott Smith at UFC 67 but a loss to Grove here could spell the end for this Canadian submissions expert.

Next up, Kurt Pelligrino (+210) goes toe to toe with Joe Stevenson (-280) in a clash of lightweight up and comers. At the tender age of 25, Stevenson has had 39 MMA fights and is a stellar 4 -1 in UFC matches. Pellegrino last fought back in April on the Stevensen vs. Guillard undercard at UFC Fight Night taking a first round submission victory over Nate Mohr.

The return of former Welterweight Champ and UFC superstar Georges St. Pierre (-250) is one of the most anticipated comebacks in recent UFC history. St. Pierre was expected to dominate the UFC’s Welterweight division after his annihilation of former champ Matt Hughes. He was dethroned by unlikely victor Matt Serra in the first round of his only ever title defense. He looks to get back into championship form as he takes on TUF 1 alumni Josh Koscheck (+200) who is on a 5 fight winning streak in the octagon and coming off a big time win over Diego Sanchez at UFC 69.

After gracing the cover of sports illustrated, Roger Huerta’s (-500) meteoric rise through the UFC has been astounding. His already stellar record of 20 – 1 – 1 is combined with a perfect 4 – 0 in the octagon. He is facing UFC newcomer Alberto Crane (+350) who boasts and undefeated mma record of 8 – 0 and a reputation as a submissions machine.

Finally, the main event of the evening pits two unlikely combatants together for the UFC Heavyweight Championship Belt. Unlikely because current title holder Randy Couture (-115) was a heavy underdog against Tim Sylvia at UFC 68 before grinding out a solid unanimous decision, and his opponent Gabriel Gonzaga (-115) was never supposed to defeat (let alone knock out) Croatian superstar Mirko Cro Cop.

Two fighters that were never supposed to face each other squaring off to prove that beyond a belt, there are few things that a fighter covets more in the world of MMA than respect.

Here are some other notable lines for UFC 74 – Respect:

Renato Sobral (-300) Vs. David Heath (+230)

Sobral needs a solid victory here to keep his UFC career alive

Frank Mir (-180) Vs. Antoni Hardonk (+150)

The comeback trail continues for Frank Mir.

Clay Guida (+100) Vs. Marcus Aurelio (-130)

A solid matchup af two battle tested lightweights.

BetUS is your source for UFC betting lines, UFC odds, MMA betting, fight articles and free picks. Join BetUS today to get in on the action, and wager at our Sportsbook.

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August 17, 2007 Posted by | Alberto Crane, Babalu, Betting, Clay Guida, David Heath, Frank Mir, Gabriel Gonzaga, Georges St. Pierre, GSP, Joe Stevenson, Josh Koscheck, Kendall Grove, Kurt Pellegrino, Marcus Aurelio, Patrick Cote, Randy Couture, Roger Huerta, UFC 74 | Leave a comment

MMA Power Rankings

Current MMA rankings are based on zewkey.com members’ rankings after each major MMA event. The (+100) is a form of power ranking MMA fighters, estimating the approximate  UFC odds differential between the fighters. The MMA power rankings are for all organizations and rank MMA fighters worldwide. Voice your opinion on the MMA rankings in our forum.


Heavyweight Rankings:

  1. Fedor
  2. Big Nog (+200)
  3. Gabriel Gonzaga (+200)
  4. CroCop (+220)
  5. Randy Couture (+300)
  6. Josh Barnett (+300)
  7. Tim Sylvia (+280)
  8. Andrei Arlovski (+320)
  9. Fabricio Werdum (+380)
  10. Brandon Vera (+380)

Light Heavyweight Rankings:

  1. Shogun Rua
  2. Dan Henderson (even)
  3. Quinton Jackson (even)
  4. Chuck Liddell (+60)
  5. Wanderlei Silva (+100)
  6. Sokoudjou (+100)
  7. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+180)
  8. Ricardo Arona (+220)
  9. Rashad Evans (+280)
  10. Alistair Overeem (+260)

Middleweight Rankings:

  1. Paulo Filho
  2. Anderson Silva (+20)
  3. Dan Henderson (+20)
  4. Rich Franklin (+80)
  5. Matt Lindland (+100)
  6. Denis Kang (+100)
  7. Nate Marquardt (+100)
  8. Yushin Okami (+120)
  9. Kendall Grove (+130)
  10. Brock Larson (+130)

Welterweight Rankings:

  1. Georges St. Pierre
  2. Matt Hughes (+20)
  3. BJ Penn (+60)
  4. Josh Koscheck (+60)
  5. Diego Sanchez (+120)
  6. Jon Fitch (+120)
  7. Nick Diaz (+180)
  8. Karo Parisyan (+180)
  9. Jake Shields (+200)
  10. Matt Serra (+300)

Lightweight Rankings:

  1. Sean Sherk
  2. Takanori Gomi (+50)
  3. BJ Penn (+60)
  4. Hayato “Mach” Sakurai (+100)
  5. Tatsuya Kawajiri (+100)
  6. Gilbert Melendez (+120)
  7. Shinya Aoki (+120)
  8. Joe Stevenson (+100)
  9. Joachim Hansen (+160)
  10. Tyson Griffin (+160)

August 14, 2007 Posted by | Alistair Overeem, Anderson Silva, Andrei Arlovski, BJ Penn, Brandon Vera, Brock Larson, CroCop, Dan Henderson, Denis Kang, Diego Sanchez, Fabricio Werdum, Fedor, Gabriel Gonzaga, Georges St. Pierre, Gilbert Mendez, GSP, Jake Shields, Joachim Hansen, Joe Stevenson, John Fitch, Josh Barnett, Josh Koscheck, Karo Parisyan, Kendall Grove, Mach Sakurai, Matt Hughes, Matt Lindland, Matt Serra, Nate Marquardt, Nick Diaz, Paulo Filho, Quinton Jackson, Randy Couture, Rashad Evans, Ricardo Arona, Rich Franklin, Sean Sherk, Shinya Aoki, Shogun Rua, Sokoudjou, Takanori Gomi, Tim Sylvia, Tyson Griffin, Yushin Okami | Leave a comment

UFC 74 Betting – An Early Look

Let’s start with the fact that the odds makers know what they’re doing when it comes to UFC events. The betting line favorite has won 75% of the time. Half the upsets that occurred were by fighters that were less than 2-1 underdogs, which is considered a very close matchup. Which means, statistically, when a fighter is listed at +200 or more he will lose almost 93% of the time. Wow!

 

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Another interesting fact is that of the previous 13 UFC Championship bouts 6 have gone the underdog. A point can be made about fighters on their way up looking to cash in on their title shot. There is also the long standing sports cliche that its easier to win the title than hold onto it.

Couture vs Gonzaga: UFC Heavyweight Title so you have got to take a serious look at the underdog, who is currently Couture. If you look at the list of underdog winners, you will see that most are younger fighters. Gonzaga should be the hungrier fighter and he certainly has all the physical edges in this fight. Couture was impressive in his win over Sylvia and showed us all what makes him great; a smart game plan, strong wrestling, and great conditioning. Sylvia was the perfect opponent for Randy to pull the upset against, Gonzaga will pose a completely different challenge though. Gonzaga is not going to let Randy set the pace, he’s going to push the intensity early and 43 year old lungs like long sustained efforts, not short extreme bursts. Gonzaga will be quick and strong enough to control where and when the fight takes place. Couture’s gameplan could be rendered completely useless if he is simply reacting to what Gonzaga does, which is very likely. Gonzaga will let it loose in an effort to win, unlike the calculating attack of Sylvia which played into Randy’s current skill set. Its a bad matchup for Randy.

Bodog Fight

Georges St Pierre vs Josh Koscheck: Koscheck is more than a 2-1 underdog currently, so we rule him out right? Common sense tells me no way, Koscheck has succeeding at every stage in his career and is the best wrestler in MMA. He knows how to train and execute a winning plan.

“I will definitely say GSP has plenty more tools to beat Kos, than vice versa. However, Kos has the best shoot in MMA and he’ll eventually get GSP down. Question really is, how strong GSP’s wrestling is against a Division 1 NCAA champ. Hughes placed 6th and 8th in both his years, whereas Koscheck was undefeated at 42-0 and won first.” -Forum

But looking back at the guys that pulled off major upsets I see that most of them were by striking. Kos is not known as much of a striker, he’s improving, but GSP is too good.

“Kos definitely has the momentum right now, although GSP wasn’t phased at all when he lost to Hughes. He came back and destroyed Trigg like nobody else. If GSP comes back like that, seeking vengeance, it might be a very short fight with Koscheck getting submitted via RNC.-Forum

August 9, 2007 Posted by | Gabriel Gonzaga, Georges St. Pierre, GSP, Josh Koscheck, Randy Couture, UFC, UFC 74, Uncategorized | Leave a comment