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MMA Live (June 25th, 2009) show recap

By Zach Arnold | June 28, 2009

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Hosts this week: Jon Anik, Franklin McNeil & Rich Franklin in a dapper suit & tie

The show opened up with talk about Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida. Rich said we wouldn’t expect anything less and that Clay showed the tenacity he always does. FM said that he did not expect the fight to be as good as it turned out to be. Was it fight of the year? Rich said yes, because the fighters moved from wrestling to the stand-up game to the ground game and displayed all facets of MMA. FM said that other than Miguel Torres vs. Mizugaki, this was the best fight of the year. (They quickly forget about Faber vs. Brown II!)

The discussion transitioned into the 10-point must system. Changes needed? Rich said that it’s tough for fighters because you don’t know what judges are awarding points for – cuts? Most damage? He noted that the amount of damage Clay got in his fight against Diego certainly impacted scoring. Franklin M said the Clay/Diego fight was not tough to score with the 10-pt must system and that Diego won R1 10-8. FM said that no one has a viable alternative right now for the current scoring system, but that it’s tougher in MMA because in boxing you have 10 rounds for eliminator bouts and 12 rounds for championship fights, whereas you have 3 rounds in MMA for non-title fights and 5 rounds for title bouts.

Is Diego Sanchez now the automatic #1 contender in the UFC Lightweight division? FM says no and that Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard can make cases for the next title shot.

Who has a better future in UFC, James Wilks or Ross Pearson? Both men said Wilks, but FM pointed out that Pearson faced a man in Andre Winner who knew his strengths and was similar, so we may have not seen the best of Ross Pearson just yet.

Rich said that Joe Stevenson was on top of his game against Nate Diaz and got an impressive victory. Franklin said the key for Joe’s revival is to improve his stand-up game against other opponents, since they are taller than he is.

411 segment – Eddie Alvarez talk, Vitor Belfort to UFC, Machida vs. Shogun, Andrei Arlovski a free agent, MMA unlikely in NY in 2009, Arona returning in September, TUF 9 fighter salaries run down

Next up was talk about Joey Villasenor’s win over Mr. Cyborg at the Strikeforce show in Washington state. FM said it was a ‘fair’ performance but that clearly the layoff hurt Joey’s cardio. Sure, Joey was the better striker and succeeded in that sense, but he was getting tagged by Cyborg and the punches weren’t crisp. Rich said that taking a year brings up issues of ring rust and conditioning, along with the fact that nerves come into play. We’ll see what happens in Joey’s second fight back from the layoff.

Jorge Gurgel over Conor Heun… Rich said he didn’t expect anything less… another exciting fight from a Brazilian black belt that never takes a fight to the ground. Room for criticism? Rich said that Gurgel went to Boston to work with Mark Dellagrotte on his stand-up and that he did execute the game plan he wanted to do. Not the most intelligent plan, but it did the trick.

Shifting onto Bellator talk about Hector Lombard and Eddie Alvarez. Anik made a comparison between Hector Lombard and Mike Tyson. FM agreed, noting that Lombard can sense when a fighter is hurt and he finishes them off. He goes after a cut and takes care of business. A tough out. Rich said that when you prepare for a guy like Lombard, to see him go four rounds in a fight means that you have to prepare for his conditioning. It makes him that more dangerous because he can keep up his pace over several rounds. Next was talk about Eddie Alvarez getting three submission wins in Bellator. Anik said that Alvarez is creeping into the discussion as being in the top 3 of best Lightweights in the world.

Jon Anik interviewed Bjorn Rebney, Bellator CEO. Rebney said that he leaves it to the fighters to control their careers, as their performance in the cage is the only equalizer. He said that MMA fans approach him and are responding to Bellator’s creative direction, which is to run the operation like a pure sport and not be heavily invested in creative matchmaking like other promoters. He says he will stick with the current Bellator format to create new challengers for his company’s champions. He is ready to make a move to an English language station for season two and should make an announcement within the next 30-45 days. There are now lots of people who want to partner up with Bellator for licensing and other business partnerships.

Next up was a “Fancam” segment with Duane Wallace, a young man dressed in a gray shirt and tie asking what Cheick Kongo can do to fix his fight weaknesses. Rich said he needs to focus 100% on training for wrestling takedowns. No strand-up training. If he can defend the takedown, he can become a real threat.

There was an interview with Bobby Lashley.

Next up, an interview with Jake Rossen. Rossen correctly predicted that Sapp vs. Lashley would not be that competitive. He said that Lashley could determine where the fight would end up and how he would finish off Sapp. Rossen said that Jason Guida was a tougher opponent than Bob Sapp because Guida has a better skill set. When Sapp fights, after a minute he needs all of the oxygen in the arena in order to keep up. When asked about Tom Atencio fighting, Rossen said that it’s Jose Canseco syndrome in terms of rich guys who want to treat MMA as the next skydiving in that they want to train and do something dangerous for fun. Rich said that when promoters like Atencio and Dana White talk about fighting, it has a WWE feel to it but that it does get his attention.

Next up is the best segment on the show, an MMA for Dummies segment with Miguel Torres taped at the Florian Martial Arts Center. Torres did a demonstration of the front neck lock (guillotine) and explained that a common mistake fighters make when applying the hold is that they wrap their legs around the fighter’s body and then just fall back. This actually takes away from the leverage and pressure of the hold, so the key when applying the hold is to keep your body up from the ground and turn to a side so that you get that pressure which will allow you to extend your hips.

E-mail question: Do you think the UFC PPV ticket sales in Dallas on 9/19 could suffer from the NCAA football game between Texas Tech and Texas? I figure that would discourage most Texans to go out and spend money on that date.

FM said that it’s college football and it’s Texas, so there will be an impact, but the UFC fan base is so rabid that they’ll draw fine. Rich said that the game, if it’s in the afternoon, will be over in time for people to watch the UFC show that night.

E-mail question: I believe the UFC has the best fighters in the world, but there are other great fighters in other organizations like WEC. Would a merger between UFC and WEC be good for the sport and why? (The e-mailer is Loren Kelly from Eureka, California, Never heard of that area before.)

Rich said that he’s not sure about the two promotions being under one umbrella given that WEC focuses on lighter-weight fighters and that UFC has so many guys under contract already that it would be impossible to put on enough shows to get fighters all the work they need. Franklin said that it wouldn’t benefit MMA as a whole, but it would make it easier for reporters to cover all the major fighters in the business. He said that when UFC is in Philly on 8/8, WEC will have a show the next day in Las Vegas with Miguel Torres and that most East Coast reporters will go to the UFC show but not fly out to watch WEC.

Buy or sell Diego Sanchez as the #1 Lightweight contender? Both Rich and FM sold.

Fact or fiction – Rich Franklin will headline UFC 103. Both passed, with Rich saying that he has to renegotiate his current deal with Zuffa.

Over/under on Vitor Belfort vs. Anderson Silva happening in six months – Franklin says under because Dana is so interested. Rich said over because Vitor will fight in August, need some recovery time, then probably fight one person in UFC before getting a fight against Anderson.

Show recommendations

Having watched MMA Live for about two months now, there are some improvements needed to upgrade the show.

  1. Tighten the show format to 30 minutes (try three 10 minute segments).
  2. Make it a requirement for a fighters segment each week on the show in terms of demonstrating holds and talking about fight strategy. Give fans access to fighters that they don’t get anywhere else.
  3. Instead of talking about fights, show actual fight highlights. This is easy to do with Bellator footage, since it’s on ESPN Deportes. Instead of saying Eddie Alvarez has three submission wins, show a video package where you splice those three submission wins together right from the shows that aired on ESPN-D. Make MMA Live more than just a pure ‘commentary’ show.
  4. Put the shows online on Tuesdays instead of late Thursdays. By the time major MMA events happen on the weekend, any predictions or analysis of those upcoming shows is already old material on MMA Live. Make the content have more of a shelf life.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 4 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

4 Responses to “MMA Live (June 25th, 2009) show recap”

  1. Dave2 says:

    The 10-point must system is fine but I do think the rules need to be more clear. Watching the Sanchez vs. Guida fight, I thought Sanchez was the clear winner. It wasn’t even close. But considering the fight is scored by effective striking, grappling, aggression and ring control, you could argue that Guida’s lay n pray wrestling won him both effective grappling and ring control even though he didn’t do a whole lot with his dominant position. IMO, just because you have dominant position, doesn’t mean you are winning the fight. You have to do something with that dominant position besides blanketing a guy and using some weak Ground n Pound. You better be trying to go for a submission or bettering your position so you can get in some effective strikes. Even though Diego was on the ground, he was obviously the aggressor/main damage dealer and doing more from the bottom than Guida did from the top. Unfortunately it seems like being in dominant position is overly-rewarded by the current rules and judges.

  2. jt says:

    The 10 point must system is fine, but you\’ve got to change the criteria. PRIDE had the right idea, damage and submission attempts should be the ultimate factors when scoring a fight.

    On the rare circumstance that this is even, then bring in cage control.

    No one will change this, though. No one is willing to step out of the Zuffa model. IFL has been the only company with balls (not brains), and tried to do something different.

  3. Dave2 says:

    jt, yeah I like your idea. Damage and good (not crappy ones) submission attempts should be given more weight than dominant position and ring control just like PRIDE but unlike PRIDE, there should be a 10-point must. The whole fight scoring system of PRIDE can be more confusing at times I admit. Sometimes in a fight you are left wondering, “well fighter A was winning for the first 10 minutes but fighter B was winning for the last 5. So does that mean fighter B wins because he finished strong or does fighter A win because he won most of the fight?” It’s needlessly confusing. 10-point must is simple to understand and follow.

    As for cuts, that shouldn’t matter. There have been many cases where the more busted up fighter won the fight. Rocking a fighter (or better yet) knocking them down should score way more points than busting them open with strikes. That’s how they see it in boxing and kickboxing. Don’t see why MMA should be different there. All you have to do to cut a guy badly is cleanly elbow them in the face when you have dominant position. That doesn’t win you a fight.

  4. Tradition Rules says:

    The Sanchez/Guida fight was a great fight.

    Sanchez dominated the first round, it wasn’t even close.

    But the second and third rounds were MUCH closer, with Guida on top and in control a good portion. But Sanchez was so good in his guard, striking from the bottom.

    Guida & Sanchez are two of my personal favorites:

    Sanchez for his excellent skill & exciting style & Guida for his tenacity. A shame he isn’t fighting Japan, as Japanese fight fans would love him in his losing fights more then they would love many fighters who win,…you know, him having “toukon” and all that, but he really does display fighting spirit not backing down at all, not being afraid to lose and never losing his cool even when hurt.

    He needs to work on his stand-up though, and a little bit on his kicks, even if just low/leg kicks. His wrestling is awesome, but in all his loses, it has been because he couldn’t do that one extra thing to open up his opponent’s game plan to score.

    Work on the boxing, leg kicks somewhat, and maybe some knees. His elbows and punches in the clutch are fine, but he needs to be able to defend himself more and work his srtikes in the stand up better. He has decent strikine power, he just needs to know how to direct it when he doesn’t have his hands on his opponent.

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