By Zach Arnold | January 31, 2012
Just wanted to give everyone thanks for the support I received for yesterday’s article about the state of affairs in Japan. It’s an article that left a bitter taste in my mouth because of the way things are going in the country, but what can you do? As an update to what I touched upon yesterday, this happened:
- George Sotiropoulos and Leonard Garcia have been scratched from the UFC Japan 2012 card. Eiji Mitsuoka is replacing Sotiropoulos against Gomi and a replacement is being booked now for Garcia. Visa issues no doubt make things tricky in Japan.
- New Japan, the one tepidly solid wrestling organization in Japan, was transferred from parent owner Yukes (video game maker) to Bushiroad (card game maker). Bushiroad was the main sponsor of the G-1 tournament last year and it’s boss is a big wrestling supporter. There had been rumblings in the last month or so that things weren’t too hot on the balance sheet for New Japan in the post-tsunami time frame. Yuji Nagata and other wrestlers said that they were not told about the sale until it was finalized and that it came as a surprise to the roster. That’s corporate wrestling ownership for you.
On a side note, it is interesting that of the many items that I discussed yesterday about Japan, the NOAH ‘black money’ scandal is the one that, by far, I got the most reaction to both from MMA & wrestling fans. If you’re wondering what kind of image effect it could have on NOAH, take a look at what’s happened to the New York Mets image-wise in the post-Bernie Madoff time frame. Challenges ahead.
Here’s Forrest Griffin talking about fighting Tito Ortiz soon and how both men view each other as an easy fight. I’ve noticed for match previews on HDNet that Bas Rutten is giving his own individual rankings for particulars in fighter skill sets. It’s based on a 1-to-5 scale. I notice Bas is generous in giving 4’s to both Forrest and Tito in many categories, with Tito getting a 5 for wrestling and Forrest getting a 5 for strength but 4’s across the board. I don’t think it’s that close of a fight at this point but, hey, that Ryan Bader win still seems fresh in people’s minds.
Here’s the inimitable Greg Jackson being interviewed about the upcoming Nick Diaz/Carlos Condit and Rashad Evans/Jon Jones fights. Take note of Bas’ rankings of Nick and Carlos — he has Carlos as a 4 in striking, wrestling, grappling, speed, strength, and endurance. He has Nick as a 4 in all categories except grappling & endurance, where he has a 5 for each. I think BJ Penn might dispute that 4 rating for striking.
As for how well Nick Diaz/Carlos Condit is doing at the gate in Las Vegas for an advance… our friend Brian says that there are plenty of seats available. The Las Vegas market is still really soft right now and they had a show on December 30th with Alistair Overeem & Brock Lesnar, which is quite the gap in star power from the upcoming show.
As for Bones/Rashad, the initial odds have Jon Jones as a 6-to-1 favorite (85%) with Rashad as a 4-to-1 underdog (+400). For most fans, they don’t see a path to victory for Rashad in this fight so I suspect it will be 24/7 over-crank on the soap opera ‘former teammates’ aspect to promote this fight and get a solid PPV buy rate figure.
On an additional side note, if you’re wondering where Fox got those UFC Middleweight & Light Heavyweight Top 10 rankings lists this past weekend to air on TV,
they are lists Ariel Helwani compiled Ariel Helwani says they’re not his rankings. People took notice of this because of Dana’s stance of UFC not producing Top 10 rankings for various reasons (including my opinion that he doesn’t want to give agents/fighters any sort of peek into his mindset as far as who he thinks is more valuable).
If you’re looking for better odds on upcoming fights, here’s the latest edition of MMA Oddsbreakers. A sampling of some upcoming odds that might pique your curiosity:
- UFC on FX 2 (3/3 Sydney, Australia) — UFC Flyweight Tournament Semi-Finals, Ian McCall +215 vs. Demetrious Johnson -285 and Yasuhiro Urushitani +400 vs. Joe Benavidez -600
- UFC on Fuel 2 (4/14 Stockholm, Sweden) — Antonio Rogerio Nogueira +205 vs. Alexander Gustafsson -265
- Bellator 60 (3/9 Hammond, Indiana) — Featherweight Title, Joe Warren +195 vs. Pat Curran -255
The two odds that stick out to me are Little Nog at +205 and Curran at -255 as really solid potential plays.
** Odds are published here for entertainment & discussion purposes only.