Friday, June 27, 2008

Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Thomson - short preview

I'm interested in this event almost solely because of the main event, in which Gilbert Melendez defends his Strikeforce lightweight belt against Josh Thomson. There are some other okay fights on the card but only one great. One of the better fights has been canceled due to Joe Riggs not getting his license to fight. Riggs was supposed to face Luke Stewart who is a good grappler and up-and-comer at least in the regional Californian scene. Bobby Southworth, probably best known for being on the first season of the Ultimate Fighter, will fight Anthony Ruiz for the Strikeforce light heavyweight title, not very exciting in my opinion. I find the bout between Nam Phan and Billy Evangelista to be a bit more interesting. Both fighters have pretty good records, 14-4 and 6-0 respectively, and will probably put on an competitive fight. Also on this card is the "new Cung Le", Ray Daniels. I hadn't heard of him prior to this match and this is his MMA debut. He comes from a karate background and is supposed to have a flamboyant style. Even though i don't know much about his opponent, Jeremiah Metcalf, he has some submission wins on his record. The ground game is usually the traditional martial artists' cryptonite. Maybe we'll see a flashy K.O. from Daniels or maybe he'll get caught in a submission, either way I expect it to end in the first round.

Now back to the main event. Melendez-Thomson is a quality lightweight fight. Melendez is one of the most frenetic fighters I've seen, he pushes forward non-stop. Thomson is also very skilled and well-rounded. An interesting fact is that these two have trained together pretty much, sometimes up to three times a week. They are still very respectable towards each other, so it's no grudge match, which is fine by me. I think Melendez will win this one, he is just too much to handle for most opponents. Thomson's chance is to out-wrestle Melendez and put him on his back. Melendez has said that he might possibly make 145 lb again, he fought at 143 lb in Shooto, which would open up for a dream match against Urijah Faber. That fight would possibly be the best fight ever.

Ray Daniels karate highlight:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Anderson Silva moving up to light heavyweight

As you might know Anderson Silva has accepted a fight against James Irvin on the July 19th UFN card. This fight will be Silva's first in the light heavyweight division. Silva is the reigning UFC middleweight champion and by many considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He has recently looked almost unstoppable and finished his last seven opponents within the two first rounds. Considering his dominance, a move up in weight seems natural.

Still, I'm a bit torn on this fight. Last year was dubbed the year of upsets in the MMA community and fans and journalists were wishing for more consistency. Now, here we have Anderson Silva who could really establish a legacy. Of course if he can dominate the light heavyweight division like he has dominated middleweight he will be in the run for all-time best fighter. If his move up is permanent, I would have liked him to take on a more relevant opponent than Irvin and not on short notice. Irvin is not a top ten fighter, but he has big punch which he showed in his last fight, the 8-second(!) knock out of Houston Alexander. In the end I think Silva's superior technique earn him another K.O.

Regardless of the outcome of the fight it might be that this is a one-and-done deal for Silva and that he will return to middleweight. The first contender for his title at middleweight is, in my opinion, Yushin Okami. Okami is the last man to defeat Silva, albeit via disqualification after an illegal kick. See that fight in the end of this post. That fight was at 175 pounds, which is 30 pounds less than the 205-pound limit for the light heavyweight. So it's not like Silva has to move up in weight. Well, the future will tell which way he Silva decides to go.

Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami:

Dustin Hazelett vs. Josh Burkman

If you haven't seen this fight, do it. It was a prelim to the Ultimate Fighter Season 7 Finale and it should have been on the main card instead of for example Riddle-Rivera.

Spoiler warning!

Dustin Hazelett showed some really impressive BJJ technique. In the first round he had some really good submission attempts and what was even more impressive was how he transitioned from one submission to the next. Josh Burkman also had his moments and connected with some good punches. In the second round Hazelett finally got his submission. And it was sweet! Hazelett had Burkman in a whizzer and jumped into an armbar. Hadn't seen that set up before.

Hazelett is still a young fighter, so I predict a bright future for him. He still needs to work on his wrestling though, especially since the welterweight division is full of good wrestlers. I'm looking forward to seeing Hazelett fight again and hope that it will be on the main card.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Welcome to On MMA

Hello and welcome to my brand new blog On MMA. Here I will share my opinions on the contemporary mixed martial arts scene. First a short presentation of me and the purpose of this blog

I've been a fan of MMA since about 2001 and have been training BJJ for about 4,5 years. I try to follow all the major international MMA promotions. These will also be the main focus of my posts. The plan is to provide discussion on things in the world of MMA I find interesting, break down and predict fights and review events. I hope someone will find my writing at least a bit interesting and maybe even thought provoking. If you agree or disagree with me or just have something to say please post a comment or send me an e-mail to DanOnMMA[at]