V.21 No.5 |
Condit captures UFC interim welterweight title
Opponent NIck Diaz threatens retirement, protesting the decision
In a highly technical and strategic fight, Albuquerque's Carlos Condit defeated Nick Diaz via decision. The judges' verdict has Diaz fans crying fowl, claiming Condit was "running" from the fight by not allowing Diaz to trap him against the cage and tee off on him. According to Fightmetric, the UFC's official statistics provider, Condit outstruck Diaz 151 to 105 in significant strikes, a big margin.
Not surprisingly, Condit's head coach Greg Jackson agrees with the decision and defends the strategy. "A stick-and-move game plan against a guy that’s such an amazing fighter and such a tough guy as Diaz, for me is a no-brainer," Jackson says. "If you look at the numbers, we hit him many more times than he hit us."
After the decision was announced, Diaz said he would retire in protest. Interestingly, Diaz' last opponent, B.J. Penn, also retired after Diaz beat him.
With the win, Condit holds the UFC's interim welterweight title. He says he'll wait until November—when injured welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre is expected to be healthy—to fight St-Pierre and unify the belts. Many are calling for a rematch between Condit and Diaz, but with Diaz' retirement, it's unclear how that would work.
In the edition of the Alibi that's on stands, I profiled Condit and his teammate Diego Sanchez, who fights Jake Ellenberger on Wednesday, Feb. 15.
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
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
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
V.20 No.49 | 12/8/2011
Hangover Sports Roundup
Holm tastes defeat, Team Jackson goes 2-0, Tebow wins again
New Mexico Combat Sports
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
UFC on FOX
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
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
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://thelowblow505.mevio.com/
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
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
2011 Gold Cup
UFC on Versus
V.20 No.22 |
Bosh lifts Heat, Tapia rises again, Guida upsets Pettis
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?
Nobody's Smiling Tour: Common • Jay Electronica • Fly Union • hip-hop at Sunshine Theater
Stuffing Strut at Cerrillos Hills State Park
Gypsy at Rodey TheatreMore Recommented Events ››