Jul 19, 2012 - When Rampage Jackson took a random
potshot at Chael Sonnen late last week, he just had to know
middleweight's most active mouth would eventually return the favor. Well, it
didn't take long. But we'll get to that later.
For now, let's focus on the man who just dealt with two years of Sonnen sound
bytes, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. With the "Gangster from West Linn" out of
the picture, a mish-mash hoard of contenders have begun jockeying for the
division's next title shot.
The two men most commonly brought up are noted face-destroyerChris Weidman and he of the 25-fight streak, former
Bellator champ Hector Lombard. If Lombard can bruise past Tim Boestch this
Saturday, both he and Weidman would carry a legitimate claim to fight Silva.
Or, at least they would in the eyes of most fans. I preface that because
apparently "The Spider" isn't too impressed by either man, so much so that he
might actually be reluctant to sign on the dotted line.
(Note: the Morning Report will take a hiatus tomorrow but will return in
full force on Monday with all news, notes and fallout from UFC 149.)
5 MUST-READ STORIES Silva doesn't want to fight Lombard or Weidman. According to reports
from UFC Tonight, Anderson Silva and his management team aren't interested in fighting Hector Lombard
or Chris Weidman because they aren't "money making pay-per-view events." Barao, Faber talk waiting for Cruz. Renan Barao reiterated he will wait for Dominick Cruz to recover if he wins
on Saturday night. Meanwhile, Urijah Faber said he will continue to fight opponents as the interim
champion if Cruz remains on the shelf. Koscheck vs. Ellenberger. A welterweight match-up pitting Josh
Koscheck against Jake Ellenberger has been booked as the co-main event of UFC 151. Henderson calls Jones "young and sloppy." Legendary light heavyweight
Dan Henderson was somewhat dismissive of his upcoming opponent
Jon "Bones" Jones, saying the young champ was "sloppy," "still has a lot to
learn" and hasn't fought anybody like him. Boetsch plans to spoil party. Middleweight bruiser Tim Boetsch
discussed his spot in the division pecking order, whether he was intimidated by
his upcoming opponent Hector Lombard, and how he's relishing the chance to play spoiler.
MMA Fighting scores this round 10-8 for Chael Sonnen.
Watching 6-foot-11, 255-pound Stefan Struve get stuck in a rodeo barrel may be one of the
better things you'll see today.
I'm going to warn you right now. If you're at all squeamish, you really,
really do not want to watch this video.
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS Announced yesterday (Wednesday, July 18, 2012): UFC 151: Josh Koscheck (17-6) vs. Jake
Ellenberger (27-6) booked as co-main event UFC
152: Vinny Magalhaes (9-5, 1 NC) vs. Igor Pokrajac (25-8) UFC
153: Rony "Jason" Mariano Bezerra (11-3) vs. TBA UFC 153: Cezar "Mutante" Ferreira (5-2) vs.
TBA Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman: Lumumba Sayers (6-2) vs. Anthony Smith (16-8)
I've watched more or less every major UFC and Strikeforce event with the same
dude for the last 4 years. He's my best friend from high school and I've known
him for 12 years or so. After watching Keith Jardine take a shellacking from
Roger Gracie, this buddy of mine turns to me and says something that I think is
"Watching Jardine fight is kind of weird. On the one hand, it's fun...but
it's also kind of sad."
On reflection, I had to agree. The fight was only fun because Jardine had his
ass thoroughly kicked by Gracie and was basically treated like nothing more than
a warm body in the ring for two rounds, up until Gracie, presumably, gassed from
a weight cut in which Roger managed to weigh the same as myself despite having
around, oh, 7 inches of height on me.
The thing is, watching Jardine's fight with Gracie showed that this wasn't
just a case of an aging fighter getting a glass chin, unable to take shots any
longer. More distressingly, it started to look like Jardine's skillset had
deteriorated. He showed no takedown defence to speak of. Furthermore, his
striking has always been "unorthodox" but it looked like something entirely
different on Saturday night. Exchanges, and basically all significant offence
from Keith, seemed to involve Jardine putting his head down and throwing a
series of wild hooks in succession, almost all of which would be three miles
away from landing. The leg kicks were gone, straight punches were nowhere to be
seen, and no bodywork was in sight. I've heard of K-1 level striking but, quite
honestly, much of Jardine's output on the feet looked like Bum Fights level
Jardine's unorthodox, rangy striking has frustrated many opponents over the
years. Rampage, Liddell, Griffin, many of the sports greats have struggled with
the puzzle it presented. Apparently, however, in 2012, there no longer is a
puzzle; it's just a guy throwing sloppy hooks without planting his feet and from
a huge distance away from his target, striking in a manner that at times seemed
more akin to flailing than boxing.
Now, I said that the issue was the deterioration in skill and technique that
disturbed me and not a glass jaw, but that's really what makes the case for
Jardine's hanging it up so much stronger - he's already shown signs of a
questionable chin. His fight with Mousasi was considered a near miracle given
that in the UFC, it had become almost a guarantee that he was going out, or at
least dropped, anytime he fought anybody with a modicum of punching power.
Perhaps the clearest evidence of this, however, came in his first fight outside
of the UFC against Trevor Prangley in Shark Fights.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on
Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in Monday's column.