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« | Home | »

UFC 98 (5/23 Las Vegas)

By Zach Arnold | May 22, 2009

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Steve Cofield: Sean Sherk left the MGM Grand Garden Arena without taking urine drug test

Event results: MMA Opinion | AOL Fanhouse | MMA Weekly | Sherdog | MMA Torch | Bloody Elbow | MMA Junkie | Five Ounces | MMA Frenzy

Make your predictions for the PPV buyrate. Over/under… 550,000 buys?

As it currently stands:

Dark matches

Main card

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 68 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

68 Responses to “UFC 98 (5/23 Las Vegas)”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    In terms of quality, this is a very strong PPV card. I’m also interested in a few of the undercard fights.

    Still, UFC 98 has the potential to be a very boring PPV. With the exception of Irvin/McFedries, each of the fights has a chance of being a boring decision.

  2. klown says:

    Finally Okami on the main card!

    This is his chance to make an impression on the fans.

  3. Steve4192 says:

    There is nothing wrong with decisions as long as they high-paced decisions. Remember, the fight that ‘saved the UFC’ (Griffin-Bonnar 1) went to a decision.

    I think Sherk-Edgar has a ton of potential to turn into a Griffin-Guida type of scramblefest. Both guys are excellent wrestlers whose primary strength is their quickness & cardio on the mat and some slick technical boxing skills on their feet.

    I am really excited for Evans-Machida, though I will admit that fight has the potential to turn into the type of cat & mouse technical battle that will only be appreciated by a small percentage of the viewing audience.

    Finally, Dan Miller will definitely push the pace against Okami. If anyone can get an exciting performance out of Okami, it is Miller.

    Serra-Hughes is the only fight on the main card that doesn’t do a lot for me. That fight has lost a lot of steam in the nearly year and a half that have passed since the end of TUF 6. Serra has been out of commission for over a year and Hughes looks like a shell of his former self.

    The undercard should produce some exciting finishes, as Yoshida-Gusmao-Nover-Berry are all way better than their opponents and Larson-Wilson looks like an extremely competitive matchup between two guys with contrasting styles.

  4. The Citizen says:

    Can’t wait to see James Irvin fight again! I’d be happy to watch 3 out of the top 5 fights. UFC should be booking better cards.

  5. 45 Huddle says:

    Off topic here, but still news worthy…. UFC 101…. BJ Penn vs. Kenny Florian… and…. DRUM ROLL PLEASE….

    Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin… According to MMA Junkie

    WOW!!! They put a guy who almost always moves forward against Silva. I can’t see Silva losing this fight. Griffin doesn’t have enough power to hurt Silva. Still, should be a really entertaining fight. This makes 4 UFC PPV’s in a row I am really excited for (98-101)… And the TUF 9 Finale is great on paper too. After 3 sub-par numbered events, this is good to see.

    My only problem is that Silva should be defending the Middleweight Title, but if he is slated to fight the winner of Bisping/Henderson, then this fight wouldn’t really hurt the timing of that fight.

  6. IceMuncher says:

    Nice card.

    I’m expecting Sherk vs Edgar to look a lot like Sherk’s fight with Tyson Griffin. Fast, lots of crisp striking but not much power, and it ends in decision. If Sherk wants, he can also make this fight look like Maynard vs Edgar, but I think he’ll stand.

    Okami vs Miller is a good match-up, but like all Okami fights it has the potential to kill momentum in an otherwise good card.

    Irvin vs McFedries should a slugfest that ends by TKO before the third round.

    It seems I’m the only person that’s looking forward to Hughes vs Serra. I see Hughes taking it easily and finishing his career on a high note.

    The main event is fantastic. ‘Nuff said.

  7. Ultimo Santa says:

    I can definitely see Evans sitting back and waiting for an opening to attack (like he did vs. Liddell) and of course Machida’s entire strategy hinges on backpedaling.

    This could definitely be Silva/Leites all over again, but without the BJJ flopping.

  8. robthom says:

    I wonder if this is the end of the road for alexander?

    This card looks pretty sparse laid out like that.

    Sherk/edgar should be interesting, and luckily the main event is dynamite!

  9. 45 Huddle says:

    Sherdog continues to show how horrible they are:

    Jake Rossen writes about Griffin/Silva: “If true, it’s a pretty classic example of the UFC’s passive-aggressive punishment program for athletes who have temporarily fallen out of favor.”

    Later on, John Morgan of MMA Junkie gets this quote from Silva’s manager, Ed Soares: “We kind of came to the UFC, and we wanted to do a fight at 205 (pounds). (UFC President) Dana White threw out the option (of Forrest Griffin), and I thought it was a great option.”

    It’s like Sherdog isn’t even trying to cover their bias towards Zuffa since the White/hunt incident.

  10. EJ says:

    I’ll be the first to say it Forrest by decision and Kenflo by TKO, I love these 2 match-ups and don’t be surprised to see a very surprising and historic UFC PPV in Philly can’t wait.

  11. klown says:

    Silva-Griffin is very interesting – it’s one match-up I hadn’t thought of for some reason. This what Silva needs, a tough fight against a large, powerful striker who presses the pace.

    Props to Griffin for always taking the most challenging fights, like his choice to fight Rua, who was as feared as Silva at the time.

  12. Oops! says:

    Very curious about Tim Hague. Has potential and is canadian. I’m biased.

  13. Ultimo Santa says:

    EJ…

    Forrest is going to beat A.Silva? Wow…bold prediction. I wouldn’t put any money on that one if I were you.

    KenFlo beating BJ Penn is seeming more and more plausible though. It will certainly answer a lot of questions about both men.

    I’m a terrible guesser, but on 5/23 I have:

    Sherk R3 decision
    Okami R3 decision
    Irvin R3 KO (right hook)
    Serra R2 submission (armlock)
    Machida R5 decision

  14. ilostmydog says:

    Irvin/McFedries making it out of Rd 1 is a bold prediction.

  15. Ultimo Santa says:

    Irvin and McFedries are both durable so I’m thinking they might trade conservatively at first, and then start swinging for the fences towards the end…of course it could also last 14 seconds.

  16. EJ says:

    “EJ…

    Forrest is going to beat A.Silva? Wow…bold prediction. I wouldn’t put any money on that one if I were you.”

    Eh, not really the old killer Anderson would make me think twice but the new technical Anderson is going to get beat.

  17. Ultimo Santa says:

    I guess it all depends on if we’re going to see the Machida-fied Anderson Silva or not.

    If A.Silva DOES makes it three in a row and refuses to engage against Griffin, I wonder what Dana White’s reaction will be?

    Stripping his title? Condemning him to to the undercard? Fighting only in the live Fight Night shows on free TV?

  18. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Anderson doesn’t generate buys or ratings on Spike either.

    Anderson Silva vs Forrest…weird. That’s one that I definitely didn’t see coming. FG could set himself up for an instant title shot by beating down Silva, I’d think, even though he’d be fighting a guy one class down.

  19. Ultimo Santa says:

    “Anderson doesn’t generate buys or ratings on Spike either”

    Yeah, I know. I’m just sayin’. If he pulls this crap again Dana has to take some sort of decisive action. He can’t keep putting A.Silva in the main event.

    It’s funny talking about A.Silva “going up in weight” to fight Griffin, since he’s naturally 5-10 pounds lighter than Fedor.

    It’s almost silly for A.Silva to remain in a division that he’s already cleaned out (and doesn’t want to be in). Strip his title and let him fight Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight.

    I’d rather see Henderson vs. Bisping for the Middleweight Title, and start the division fresh with new match-ups and title contenders.

  20. EJ says:

    To me this is a great move by Dana because either way Anderson is going to have to fight, Forrest won’t let him get away with throwing one punch at a time and dancing around. He is going to throw punches and kicks in combinations and will probably force him to stop some takedowns pushing the pace for all 3 rounds.

    So either this will be a return to form for Anderson, or he’ll get beat and exposed as not being the p4p stud that he was before he started talking about retirement.

  21. robthom says:

    “…and start the division fresh with new match-ups and title contenders.”

    Very much agreed.

    Anderson is just stunting the division at this point. Nobody can get a chance to mature in the cage and get their confidence up before its their turn to be led to slaughter just to keep anderson busy.

    If anderson wont make the decision to move from his comfy spot (that he apparently also disdains) and challenge himself again, then he needs to be coerced by Dana and Co.
    Dana will be just as responsible if he does nothing about it.

    But anderson said he’ll fight whoever Dana tells him to. So I’m happy to see that it appears that Dana is finally coming to the same conclusion.

    And its a good fight too IMO.

    They’re not throwing anderson under a bus as punishment, but Forrest does have a good chance and will make anderson work for it one way or the other.

  22. Alan Conceicao says:

    My guess is under, probably in the 420-450K range, with a “confirmed estimate” of 600,000 buys right after.

  23. David M says:

    Whose dick is Drew McFedries sucking to get on the main card? Other than the main event, this card sucks.

  24. Dave says:

    I think 500k is a safe bet. LHW title match and Hughes/Serra face-off. The Hughes/Serra fight would have meant a lot more a while back but whatever.

  25. Mike Rome says:

    Probably a bit under. Depends on whether they mainly promote Hughes/Serra or Machida/Evans. If they went all out for Hughes/Serra it could hit 550.

  26. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Over. Hughes, Serra, Evans, Sherk, this is a card full of a lot of recognizable names.

    Really looking forward to Evans and Machida.

  27. IceMuncher says:

    I’m over as well, but barely. LHW title fight + Hughes vs Serra puts it at 650k I think.

  28. klown says:

    Under.

    Sherk

    Sonnen

    XFP

    Serra

    Machida

  29. Ultimo Santa says:

    Right after they were coaches on the Ultimate Fighter, Hughes/Serra had so much heat I felt like they could do 750,000 buys by themselves.

    But with Hughes’ reputation a little tarnished from some big losses, and Serra’s inactivity, I think their fight has lost some of it’s luster.

    Machida is never going to be a draw. He can’t speak a word of English, doesn’t have an impressive physique, fights very conservatively, and looks like a printer repairman.

    I’m calling 450,000 buys. Most people are going to save their cash for the big draws – Lesnar and GSP.

  30. The Gaijin says:

    Sherk
    Miller
    Professor X
    Hughes
    Evans

    450k

  31. The Gaijin says:

    “Over. Hughes, Serra, Evans, Sherk, this is a card full of a lot of recognizable names.”

    Recognizable =/= draws.

    Hughes was a crappy draw – got a big boost b/c of the Royce fight, but I think he’s done as a “draw” after his recent losses and non-activity, especially since the TUF build up is so far gone.

    Sherk is not a draw at all.

    Serra can talk crap but he’s never been a draw without GSP + belt involved and he’s been on the shelf for so long.

    I think Rashad is becoming a big name draw, but he’s been put in there with Machida who (unfairly) is labelled as a boring fighter with seemingly little following. I could see there being HUGE fan backlash if this is another points-karate/elusive fight on the heels the Leites-Silva debacle.

  32. Ultimo Santa says:

    “Sherk
    Miller
    Professor X
    Hughes
    Evans”

    HOLY CRAP! One of the X-Men is fighting next weekend?

    I’d love to see Matt Hughes vs. Wolverine.

    “I could see there being HUGE fan backlash if this is another points-karate/elusive fight on the heels the Leites-Silva debacle.”

    You don’t need Professor X’s psychic abilities to see that coming.

    Machida NEVER moves forward – he only attacks when an opponent rushes. And Greg Jackson is way too smart to let Evans rush in, so he’ll be elusive too, like he was vs. Liddell.

    I predict a decision.

  33. Brandt says:

    Under 550k. Machida/Evans headliner? Casual fans don’t like Machida (at least the ones I’ve seen/heard) and Evans has little draw so far although he may grab some viewers since he KO’d the UFC’s ex-poster boy.

  34. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    I have issues with the definitions of “casual” that are floating around out here.

    Laying down 40+ dollars for three hours of fights on television pretty much excludes you from being casual, I think, and it seems like there are over a million of those fans out there.

    Machida’s got more draw than I think people give him credit for. It’s interesting who fans decide to support and who they don’t. For instance, we know based on the numbers that Anderson Silva doesn’t have the same level of interest that the top LHWs have.

    I wonder how much of that is the fighters, and how much of it is the perception that they’re fighting in a competitive division where anything can happen that has implications for fighters that you know and care about.

    Welterweight has that, LHW has that, Heavy has that (mysteriously, it seems like people latch on to the Gonzagas [raises hand] and the likes even if they haven’t necessarily “earned” it, not to mention the Carwins who have massive support). Middleweight not so much, and I’m interested in finding out why.

    Anyway, we have the continuing storyline of the Welterweights, the fight that was put off between two guys that just can’t seem to put it behind them until they’ve squared off in the cage, and you’ve got the LHW title. Who’s going to be defending it against Rampage? These are, IMHO, bigger questions than who is Silva going to go five rounds with that doesn’t deserve it.

  35. robthom says:

    “Finally Okami on the main card!”

    I’m not so sure just what to make out of a statement like that. But its fascinating nevertheless!
    🙂

  36. robthom says:

    “Laying down 40+ dollars for three hours of fights on television pretty much excludes you from being casual, …”

    Not necessarily, IMO.

    A get the impression that a lot of awesome drunk frat boys with plenty of money but plenty less discerning taste pay a healthy portion of our rent.

    But I dont think they care so much about MMA specifically as much as about something totally awesome and extreme to impress their friends.

    But on the other hand, thats how I discovered UFC #1(2).

    So something hip to do today can, and in the case of something so addictive as MMA, become a hardcore hobby into adulthood.

  37. klown says:

    That statement was made pre-injury 🙂

    Okami has an excellent base as a fighter but needs a bit more aggression. I think he has potential to evolve into an exciting fighter given the right competition.

    This kind of transition for a “boring” but highly technical fighter is exemplified by Machida. After many technically brilliant but “boring” decision wins, Machida has begun showing more aggression and finishing fights.

    If Wanderlei defeats Franklin, they should match Wanderlei with Okami for a #1 contender fight. A fight against an opponent who relentlessly presses forward like Wanderlei, has the potential to elicit a great performance from Okami. If not, he’ll be annihilated and the UFC won’t have to stress about marketing him anymore.

    Not to mention it would be a legitimate #1 contender fight. If Wanderlei scores back-to-back wins over Franklin and Okami, there is no denying his desire to face Anderson.

  38. klown says:

    Ultimo,

    Machida speaks English.

  39. robthom says:

    I definitely agree that Okami deserves a spotlight.

    Probably not the precious pedestal that a more charming technique gets, but any fighter with authentic skills, which Okami does have, deserves highlighting in a real sport!

    Which MMA should always be whenever possible.

    If Okami does live up to all his potential eventually, maybe even get the belt, that could be a major crowbar for getting UFC back into Japan!

  40. klown says:

    I am so pumped for Evans-Machida. I haven’t been this excited for a fight since GSP-Penn…

  41. Mark says:

    It’s going to hinge on how well they sold the Hughes-Serra co-main. IMO they didn’t sell it very well and it seemed like they’re banking on fans remembering their season of TUF, which is ancient history now. So I’ll say at least 500K.
    —-
    Forrest Griffin couldn’t even knock out Ken Shamrock, so Anderson Silva is going to do what he did to Leben to him if he walks forward.
    ——
    Yuck, Limp Bizkit is going to perform at UFC 100. UFC can’t get any better than them? Why not go get Crazy Town and Orgy while we’re getting such nu-metal heavy hitters, Dana.

  42. skwirrl says:

    I’m going with Zack’s prediction for Affliction 2. 20,000 Noobs hate Machida and Rashad is overrated. Much of the rest of the card is crap with the exception of the new and improved Larson fight

  43. 45 Huddle says:

    Machida, Hughes, Xavier, Miller, & Sherk.

    Over 550,000 PPV Buys, probably 650,000 for this event. Three reasons for this.

    1. There hasn’t been a PPV for a while, so their is some build-up (even despite the Silva/Leitas fiasco).

    2. Hughes/Serra will carry the additional PPV buys, something Machida & Evans can’t do.

    3. UFC Video Game just came out.

  44. CapnHulk says:

    Speaking of the video game, have any of you tried out the demo? It’s actually a lot of fun and pretty deep. The controls take a while to get used to, and some of the animations(Facial animations in particular) are a tad wonky, but I was pretty impressed.

  45. 45 Huddle says:

    I am 1-3 on the main card so far. This is why I don’t bet on MMA.

    I thought Hughes/Serra was a very hard fight to score by round. However, looking at the overall fight, I thought Hughes won, so I don’t feel bad for Serra losing this fight.

    The biggest shock of the night to me was Frankie Edgar and his improved stand-up. That and Sherk kind of looked old.

  46. CapnHulk says:

    What a great finish!

  47. 45 Huddle says:

    Machida = WOW!!

    There is definitely a difference between being elusive (Machida) and not going for a finish (Silva).

    Machida was exciting. Rampage doesn’t stand a chance.

  48. Lester G. says:

    A great tactical fight. Machida is a deserving champion. He sees everything in slow motion; a thinking man’s fighter. He can potentially hold the belt for a very long time.

  49. Zach Arnold says:

    Antonio Inoki is laughing now, considering that Machida was his last protege. The old man got that one right.

  50. Jonathan says:

    It seems no one can defend the 205 belt since Chuck.

    I think that will change with Machida.

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