V.21 No.5 | 2/2/2012
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
From Juárez, With Punches
Diego Sanchez and Carlos Condit strive to corner the UFC's Welterweight division
By Ari LeVaux
Burque-raised fighters followed parallel paths through the fight game. Will they be forced to face off in a title fight?
Hangover Sports Roundup
Lobos get back on track, Evans and Sonnen victorious
By Justin Goodrum [ Mon Jan 30 2012 11:55 AM ]
After suffering difficult losses to league leaders San Diego State and UNLV, New Mexico needed a confidence boost to regain their momentum in the Mountain West Conference. A 85-52 beatdown of Colorado State on Wednesday confirmed the Lobos are still a force to be reckoned with. On Saturday afternoon, UNM continued to beat up on teams they were favored against by cruising to a 71-54 victory over the TCU Horned Frogs. Tony Snell's team leading 18 points and Kendall Williams’ 14 points contributed to a solid 48.3 field goal percentage. The Lobos also receive some good news in the form of Colorado State pulling the 17-point upset over No.12 San Diego State. Head coach Steve Alford has to be happy his team's stretch of 2-2 has put UNM only a game back from the league lead. If New Mexico can split the season series against Aztecs and Rebels, the league championship is within reach.
UFC on Fox 2
With no college football and average basketball teams on television, the Ultimate Fighting Championship had a chance to gain the eye of the causal sports fan. Hardcore mixed martial fans may have overacted in describing the bouts as terrible, but new viewers of the sport may need another couple of shows before they get hooked.
Phil Davis thought he was ready for the big-time but got humbled for five rounds by Rashad Evans. While Davis showed improved standup, he was unable to cause any significant damage—allowing Evans to score constant takedowns. Round after round Evans passed Davis’ guard and gain dominate positions to land hard shots. Even though Evans was aggressive, the fight lacked highlight reel moments or constant back and forth action. The judges reflected Evans’ dominance by scoring all the rounds (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) in a unanimous decision. While some may have changed the channel during the main event, Evans earned a title shot and opportunity to fight rival Jon Jones. Once April comes around, the hype machine will guarantee media buzz and a good PPV buy rate for the UFC.
Once Mark Muñoz went down to injury, Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping garnered all the attention from media and fans. Some thought the fight was slow and boring, but instead it should be remembered for as an exciting bout. Sonnen tried to bully Bisping with takedowns and ground and pound, but Bisping stood up and landed hard shots. Rounds one and two were close but Sonnen gained some extra energy in the final round and dominated the action. Opinions differed on Twitter but leaned toward Bisping getting the decision. But the judges saw Sonnen's takdowns being the difference and scored the fight (30-27, 29-28, 29-28). His pro wrestling promo after the fight should add some additional interest in a rematch against Middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Let’s hope Silva finally agrees to the bout, because it could be the most watched title fight in UFC history.
In the opening bout, Chris Weidman ground out a spilt decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) over Demian Maia. Both men looked gassed throughout the bout but Weidman had a decent excuse, taking the fight under 11 days notice. Maia knew about the fight months in advance and put on an awful performance. Weidman's victory establishes him as a top-10 Middleweight while Maia goes to 1-2 and may be on the verge of being cut.
V.21 No.3 | 1/19/2012
MMA star Gina Carano debuts in one lean, mean action machine
By Devin D. O’Leary
Must be nice to be Steven Soderbergh. After kicking off the indie film revolution of the ’90s with sex, lies, and videotape, he went on to helm mainstream hits (Out of Sight, Ocean’s Eleven), Oscar winners (Erin Brockovich, Traffic), existential science-fiction films (Schizopolis, Solaris), micro-budget pay-per-view experiments (Bubble, The Girlfriend Experience) and even a TV series or two (“K Street,” “Unscripted”). Few, if any, filmmakers have had the freedom to build such a diverse résumé. Right now, Mr. Soderbergh could be producing and directing Ocean’s Fourteen and no one would be blinking an eye. Instead, he’s off making a low-budget, digital video action flick starring a first-time actor.
V.20 No.49 | 12/8/2011
Hangover Sports Roundup
Holm tastes defeat, Team Jackson goes 2-0, Tebow wins again
By Justin Goodrum [ Mon Dec 5 2011 11:17 AM ]
New Mexico Combat Sports
Holly Holm hadn't lost since 2004 and was finally starting to get the attention of the casual fight community. With her successful debut in mixed martial arts in 2011, a win over top contender Anne Sophie Mathis could have broken Holm onto the mainstream sports radar. The two fighters met Friday night at Route 66 Casino in front of a raucous crowd of Holm supporters. What started out as a back and forth war, turned into Mathis hitting Holm with heavy shots that left the crowd in stunned silence. Despite Holm taking a extreme amount of damage in round six, the referee refused to stop the fight and left Mathis to finish Holm off with a brutal knockout. With the loss, Holm's MMA career may take a backseat as she is most likely to seek a rematch. With trainer Mike Winklejohn backing her, this loss shouldn't define her career as Holm processes the ability to rebound and continue her success in whatever combat sport she chooses.
Two Team Jackson Fighters fought on the national stage on “The Ultimate Fighter” season finale. Bantamweight John Dodson has been on the radar of MMA fans with his appearance on the Tapout reality series. Since his run to the finals, Dodson has showed superstar potential with his fighting style and personality. Team Alpha Male's T.J. Dillashaw posed a tough challenge, but Dodson’s punching power proved to be the difference. Despite the early stoppage, Dodson looked impressive and may turn into a future title contender. Diego Brandao looked to upstage his teammate when he fought Dennis Bermudez in the Featherweight final. They delivered perhaps one of the best rounds of the year in a down-to-the-wire fight, Then, during the closing seconds, Brandao nailed a textbook perfect armbar which forced Bermundez to tap immediately. Brandao earned the contract, but Bermundez’ performance shoul guarantee him a spot in the UFC. Brandao proved he's more than one-dimensional with submission skills but will need to improve his conditioning to evolve into a top fighter.
Tim Tebow may be the sports media’s darling, but he's also turning out to be a legitimate quarterback. Since Tebow has taken the starting quarterback position, every sports talk show has ran the Tebow topic into the ground. The constant discussion has overshadowed Tebow’s story of overcoming many critics’ doubts about his ability and unconventional style. Despite facing another mediocre opponent, the Minnesota Vikings, Tebow had the best performance of his young career. Two touchdowns and 202 yards passing fueled another 4th quarter game-winning victory. The 35-32 win gives the Denver Broncos a share of the division with the Oakland Raiders. Whether Tebow turns into an elite quarterback really doesn't matter—his grit and ability to win prove he belongs in the NFL.
V.20 No.46 | 11/17/2011
AP photo by Jason Redmond
UFC debut lasts 64 seconds, Pacman escapes Marquez, Lobo football finally gets hard earned victory
By Justin Goodrum [ Mon Nov 14 2011 2:43 PM ]
UFC on FOX
After all the controversy this past week, Saturday delivered an action-packed night of combat sports action. First up was the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s debut on regular TV, which featured a bout for the UFC Heavyweight Title. Along with the fight, hardcore MMA fans were curious about how FOX would introduce new viewers to the sport. For the most part, they delivered a professional broadcast, treating the fight as a legit sporting event instead of a punk rock show. Gone were the “gladiator intro” and generic rock music and in its place were highlights of both fighters and analysis from UFC personalities. As for the fight, reigning champion Cain Velasquez was rumored to be battling some nagging injuries headed into his bout with Junior Dos Santos. With Dos Santos’ KO of Velasquez taking only 64 seconds, it was hard to tell if injuries affected the former champ. Dos Santos has one-punch knockout power and can finish any heavyweight in mixed martial arts. The victory was impressive considering Dos Santos had a meniscus tear a week before and couldn't walk. Despite the short fight, fans should be happy with a knockout as a first impression to casual viewers rather than a boring five round decision. But FOX's choice to not air the Clay Guida / Ben Henderson fight was the obvious major misstep of the night. Henderson and Guida put on a fight-
Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez
Next up was the conclusion of the epic trilogy between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. Their first two matchups were controversial but thrilling fights that displayed what truly makes the sport of boxing special. After Pacquiao’s victory over Marquez in their second fight, Pacman's career skyrocketed into mainstream America while Marquez campaigned for another shot at Pacquiao. So after three years, Marquez got his wish and on Saturday took advantage of the opportunity. The first half of the fight was razor close with both fighters throwing punches with caution. But then Marquez started outboxing Pacquiao by landing crisp, hard punches. Pacquiao was shockingly tentative and couldn't let his hands go. With the momentum swinging to Marquez' favor, Pacquiao trainer Freddy Roach knew his fighter was behind and pushed Pacman to pick up the action. Pacquiao’s punch output increased and grew even stronger towards the end of the bout. When the fight concluded, most fans and experts had Marquez winning a close decision victory. But when the judges gave the result, one judge scored a draw, while the other two scored the fight for Pacquiao. Fans in the arena and Twitter users were outraged over the decision. Marquez clearly deserved the victory but in the judges’ perspective he didn't have a defining moment that made a case for him getting the win. As for Pacman, he escaped with the win and is unlikely to grant Marquez another fight and will now try to await a possible fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Despite the struggles of Lobo Football, it’s been a landmark year for Lobo sports. Both cross-country teams earned bids for the NCAA championships and the men’s soccer team has had a dream season going undefeated and winning the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title. So on senior night, the football team finally enjoyed the taste of victory with their win over the UNLV Rebels . For the first time this season the Lobos kept a lead for the majority of the game. Their 14-7 lead disappeared early in the fourth quarter but Lobo senior Carmen Messina caused a fumble and the Lobos recovered. Then quarterback B.R. Holbrook drove the Lobos down the field setting up a Demarcus Rogers touchdown. The New Mexico defense held steady and got the 21-14 victory. Despite having only two games left in the season, getting its first win will improve the team's confidence and could lead to the Lobos ending the season on a high note.
V.20 No.41 | 10/13/2011
David J. Phillip
Brewers get beastly, Edgar makes another comeback, Patriots humble Jets
By Justin Goodrum [ Mon Oct 10 2011 12:14 PM ]
There's no love lost between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals. Both teams engaged in trash talk throughout the season, which came to a boiling point in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. St. Louis controlled the tempo with David Freese’s three-run homer in the top of the fourth inning. But the Brewers went into their signature “beast mode” and delivered a six-run fifth inning. Prince Fielder's two-run homer, Ryan Braun’s two-run RBI double, along with a Yuniesky Betancourt two-run homer gave the Cardinals pitching nightmares. The 9-6 win was huge for Milwaukee, but the series is far from over as the teams split their season series. Despite barely making the playoffs, the Cardinals still have the pitching advantage and could easily win their home games. But they'll have to find a way to win Game 2 without their best pitcher, Chris Carpenter.
Whoever said real life couldn't mimic Rocky movies has obviously never seen UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar fight before. Edgar fought Grey Maynard on Saturday night for the third time to settle their rivalry. On New Year’s Day of this year, both men fought to a controversial draw that saw Maynard almost knock out Edgar in the first round. Edgar recovered and did enough to convince the judges to rule the fight a draw. Their third encounter shockingly resembled their second fight with Maynard nailing Edgar with a huge uppercut in the first round. Edgar survived and Maynard failed to take advantage. During rounds two and three, Maynard was conservative, allowing Edgar to pull even in the fight. Then during round four, Edgar made Maynard pay for a takedown attempt and finished the fight with a dramatic knockout to retain the title. After two failed attempts, Maynard will have to climb back up the difficult rankings to get another shot at the title. Edgar may get matched up with Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez or fight the Ben Henderson-Clay Guida winner.
Also in MMA, it looks like Anderson Silva maybe seeing Chael Sonnen back in the octagon sooner rather than later. Brian Stann was poised to become breakout fighter of the year with a win over Sonnen. But the 14-month layoff did not bother Sonnen as he dominated Stann with his wrestling, eventually submitting him with an arm-triangle choke. However, the impressive victory was not enough as Sonnen insulted Silva and challenged him to a fight during Super Bowl weekend. Sonnen even put his career on the line if he lost, but with a victory told Silva he had to leave the Middleweight division.
The New York Jets struggles continue as the New England Patriots used their running game to frustrate the Jets defense. Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a breakout performance with a career best 136 yards and two touchdowns to lead his team to the 30-21 victory. The Jets were down most of the game but managed to make a compelling comeback from 13 points down in the fourth quarter. But the Patriots used good clock management and sealed the game with a field goal with 1:03 remaining. Jets coach Rex Ryan shouldn't panic, despite losing his third game in a row; but losing one more could send the locker room into disarray.
V.20 No.39 | 9/29/2011
UFC 135: Jones vs. Rampage preview
By Justin Goodrum [ Fri Sep 23 2011 1:39 PM ]
When Jon Jones defeated former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Shogun Rua, many fans declared Jones the leader of the new generation of mixed martial arts. Jones’ physical characteristics and unorthodox fighting style has created signature highlight knockouts and submissions. MMA may be seen as a complicated science but Jones has passed all his tests flying colors. But on September 24th, he faces the most difficult test of his career when he defends the title against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Lately Jackson has been known more for intimating reporters and lackluster fights than his punching power and vicious takedowns. But Rampage claims he's in the best shape of his career after moving his training camp to Denver, Colo. Even his weight cut has gone smoother than normal by making weight a week early. Jackson has even gone so far as to use psychological warfare by claiming Jones has a spy in his camp. Jones denies the accusation, but based on fan uproar and unwarranted media attention, this story could work to Rampage's advantage.
Despite Jones destroying his competition, critics and fans question if he can fulfill his title as the future of MMA. Bones' ability to take a punch has never been tested and despite the submission victories, its unknown what ability Jones has when he's put on his back. Also since capturing the belt, Jones has attracted more mainstream spotlight by appearing in Bud Light and K-Swiss commercials as well as late night talk shows. Meanwhile, Jackson knows the pressure of becoming champion and losing luxuries such as privacy and anonymity. It's hard to predict if Jones can excel under the magnified spotlight or crumble under the pressure.
But Jones remains a 5 to 1 favorite for a reason and should win a decision victory. Rampage has more than a 'puncher chance' but Jones' natural gifts along with his conditioning will be too much for Jackson to overcome.
Co-Main Event: Josh Koscheck vs Matt Hughes
UFC 135 also has a co-main event featuring one of the greatest welterweight fighters ever against a top welterweight contender. Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes was set to face Albuquerque's own Diego Sanchez, but a hand injury forced Sanchez to withdraw from the fight. Josh Koscheck had planned to move to the middleweight division, but when hearing of the open slot, he jumped on the opportunity. Both men are looking to rebound off bad losses and Hughes faces a must-win situation. Hughes looked terrible against B.J. Penn and needs a win to keep his career alive. Meanwhile Koscheck looks to overcome his failure to capture the welterweight title from George St. Pierre and prove he's fully recovered from his eye injury. Koscheck has youth on his side and should smother Hughes with constant double leg takedowns en route to a decision win.
Editor’s note: Check out Justin Goodrum’s weekly MMA podcasts at http:/
V.20 No.38 | 9/22/2011
Sergio Salvador salvadorphoto.com
The Lighter Side of Cage Fighting
Big opportunities for small fighters as the UFC warms up to a new weight class
By Ari LeVaux
MMA’s premiere league, the UFC, is catching on. President Dana White has promised a Flyweight division, possibly as soon as 2012.
V.20 No.25 |
Hangover Sports Roundup
Mexico surprises U.S., Kongo beats Berry in amazing UFC comeback
By Justin Goodrum [ Mon Jun 27 2011 4:28 PM ]
2011 Gold Cup
UFC on Versus
V.20 No.22 |
Bosh lifts Heat, Tapia rises again, Guida upsets Pettis
By Justin Goodrum [ Mon Jun 6 2011 1:37 PM ]
Mixed Martial Arts
V.20 No.14 | 4/7/2011
Tom Bear Photography
The Mother Ship
Will Albuquerque become a hub for women’s MMA?
By Ari LeVaux
A major consolidation in the sport of mixed martial arts has left female fighters uncertain about their futures.
V.20 No.11 | 3/17/2011
Tomorrow: Alibi live-blogs from UFC 128 in Newark
By Ari LeVaux [ Fri Mar 18 2011 2:00 PM ]
On Saturday, March 19, I'll be live-blogging from UFC 128 in Newark, N.J., as two UFC fighters who train at Jackson's MMA here in Albuquerque will be competing. Nate Marquardt will face Dan Miller in a middleweight bout, and Jon “Bones” Jones will face “Shogun” Rua for the light-heavyweight title. Stop by alibi.com tomorrow for behind-the-scene updates.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Volleyball, check. Hot wings, check. MMA, not so much.
By Ari LeVaux
If you’re into beach volleyball, you probably already know about Sneakerz. The vibe around the sandy court is coastal and chill, even as cars whiz by on San Mateo. But it can’t be that chill—one of those jerks made our waitress cry, after all.
V.20 No.5 |
Post UFC 126 press conference highlights
plus, an exclusive interview with Fabio Borges
By Ari LeVaux [ Mon Feb 7 2011 9:32 PM ]
From the presser:
Jon Jones sits next to Shogun Rua as they answer questions about their upcoming title fight.
Vitor Belfort enters the press conference and congratulates Anderson Silva, just as Silva is explaining the tension between he and Vitor. Silva then discusses what a fight between himself and Georges St. Pierre would look like.
Immediately post-presser: Steven Seagal discusses the front kick he trained with Anderson, and how happy he was when Anderson landed it on Vitor's face. Seagal is interrupted by the same fake nose wearing Brazilian goofball journalist who interrupted the presser.
Hangover Sports Roundup
Rodgers gets championship belt, Silva channels inner Seagal
By Justin Goodrum [ Mon Feb 7 2011 4:15 PM ]
Super Bowl XLV
Despite Christina Aguilera screwing up the national anthem and another horrible halftime show, viewers were treated to an entertaining football game. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers performed well enough to make even the most loyal Brett Favre fan embrace a new era of Packer football. Rodgers' three touchdown throws combined with three Steeler turnovers left too much for Pittsburgh—lead by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger—to overcome. “Big Ben” had the chance to lead a fourth quarter comeback but couldn't get past the top ranked Packers defense. The 31-25 victory marked the fourth Super Bowl victory for Green Bay.
Football fans should savor this Super Bowl as it could be the last game they see for a while. Labor talks between the owners and players are moving at snail-like pace and could lead to a lockout. Hopefully both sides can come to an agreement or it will be hockey and soccer highlights on Sunday nights.
Greg Jackson's fighter Jon Jones was expecting to move up the light heavyweight rankings with a victory over Ryan Bader. Jones' second-round choke of Bader earned him new recognition and a title shot against champion Maurício "Shogun" Rua. Former champ Rashad Evans had to pull out due to an injury in practice, opening the door for Jones. Evans injury (while unfortunate) maybe a blessing in disguise as Jones presents a more dynamic match-up against Shogun. Jones youth and unpredictability could aid mixed martial arts' break into the popular sports culture. No matter what happens, Jones potential is limitless.
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