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The playbook: Looking at upcoming attractions in Japan & UFC

By Zach Arnold | January 31, 2012

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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:

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:

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.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 18 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

18 Responses to “The playbook: Looking at upcoming attractions in Japan & UFC”

  1. RST says:

    We haven’t seen Bones on his back.

    Shad cant beat him standing up but he can probably do enough to survive for awhile.

    He should invest his strategy in getting Bones down and on his back IMO.

    Preferably using the opportunity for some GNP.
    But if he can just get him there and keep him there, just lay on him, he could also eck out a lawyerball win just for positioning.

    I agree, Lil Nog is much more capable than that.

  2. Mike Lewis says:

    Ariel Helwani said on twitter that the rankings were nothing to do with him.

  3. Steve4192 says:

    I don’t get how you can say Tito-Forrest isn’t a close fight. Both of their previous fights have been very close, and the last one was only a couple of years ago. They are both on the back end of their careers and have begun the slow slide into mediocrity that happens to all aging athletes. I don’t see this fight playing out much differently than the first two. Both guys will have their moments and the fight will end in another nail-biting decision. It’s a pointless rubber match between two fading veterans, but it should be very competitive.

  4. Steve4192 says:

    On an unrelated note, those skill ratings that Bas puts out are useless. He gives everybody fours and fives across the board. He might as well use a two point scale.

    • Chuck says:

      Yeah, those videogame-style stats are extremely silly. What about when they are tired or drained? Are they still registering 4’s and 5’s at that point?

      With the transfer of power in New Japan, will things get better? The new owner is a mark Zach said, so I guess it won’t matter. Just like the case with TNA/Impact Wrestling. The owner (Dixie Carter) is a money mark and will keep TNA afloat regardless how poorly they do. But they still get better TV ratings than just about anything else on Spike (not UFC related) so I guess Spike is content,

  5. 45 Huddle says:

    1) No way Jon Jones is a 6 to 1 favorite. People in MMA seem to think that because a fighter puts on a non-wreckless, technical clinic…. That somehow it means they are inferior. That’s just not the case. Rashad Evans is about as great as you can get in any division without actually holding a belt. I’m still picking Jon Jones, but Rashad Evans has the best chances of beating him compared to anybody else. It should be 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 at the worst.

    2) Griffin/Ortiz 3 is a great retirement fight for Tito Ortiz. There first 2 fights were really close. They match up nicely. And their personalities really sell the fight.

    3) For the Flyweight Tournament, I see it going pretty clear cut…. Benevidez vs. Johnson in the finals with Benevidez becoming the 1st Flyweight Champion.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      And I should note….

      The May FOX card should be….

      1) Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin
      2) Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller
      3) Johny Hendricks vs. Ellenberger/Sanchez Winner

      Ortiz vs. Griffin bring in the viewers. The other two fights will likely be exciting, which is what they need. It’s the perfect telecast card for the 3rd FOX.

      • RST says:

        Agreed about tito/Forrest.

        That would be a perfect fight to prove to fox the kind of numbers that they are capable of, while simultainiously being something I’d rather not pay for.


        It is a goodish fight, but a better free one.

  6. 45 Huddle says:

    4.7 Million average for the 2nd FOX Show. Did a 3.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic, which is really good.

    Both are down from the first show, but that’s not a shock because it was a Heavyweight Title Fight.

    Still is solid ratings. Not a blockbuster, but their ability to bring in younger viewers helps.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Internally Yahoo! has been a mess for years. Not shocking, but not a positive for MMA coverage either.

      Remember a few months ago I commented how the BE guys take shots at the UFC for no reason….

      This article is probably one of their worst offenses in a while. These 2 cards have absolutely nothing to with each other. Different sports. Took place on different sides of the Atlantic. One was on broadcast TV the other was on cable.

      And yet they have to bash the UFC in order to prop up the kickboxing card. I just don’t understand why somebody would follow MMA so much that they write articles on it…. If all they want to do is put it down even when the topic has nothing to do with the sport itself.

      Special kind of bad going on at BE…..

      • Dave says:

        Jeez, you know, I gotta chime in here. I wasn’t happy with how Fraser left me high and dry to go to BE midway through 2011 on no notice, but I can assure you that no one is pulling his strings to “bash” the UFC to make other things look better.

        He’s simply using the platform at his disposal to tell more people about Kickboxing.

        Never mind that it, as an argument, is hard to refute; if you were a combat sports fan and watched both, there was one that was clearly more entertaining.

    • RST says:

      Well thats to bad about Meltzer, but I think he’ll find another home quickly.

      As far as yahoo, I’m thinking good riddance.

      As if yahoo wasn’t atrocious enough in the first place, now they’ve decided to up the annoyance ante by adding that unique taint of the paypal experience.

      Despite a few casualties I consider this good news.

      • Steve4192 says:

        “Cagewrite Blog members Steve Cofield & Maggie Hendricks are reported to be staying with the team.”

        So Doyle as possibly Meltzer are out of work but talentless hacks like Cofield and Hendricks get to stick around? Jesus H Christ. With decisions like that, Yahoo deserves to die.

  7. Mark says:

    1) UFC will dip into their “greatest hits” and dust off the first Chuck/Tito build for Evans/Jones. And I see no way Rashad wins. Even if he does get Jones down, with those limbs he probably has a ridiculous guard to hold him from doing anything for the stand up.

    2) I’ve seen complaining about Nogueira as the underdog, but they should at least be even. We’ve seen too many guys his age come in right at the “one fight too many” marking point where they get picked apart by the younger guy to say they should coast on name value any longer. I am not saying this will happen to Nogueira, but especially since all he did was beat a mentally and physically broken down Tito in his last fight, I’d personally never bet on him.

    3) I get so weirded out when I see those UFC rankings my mind can’t comprehend them and I never see who is ranked where. I am so used to “RATINGS ARE EVIL!” talking points. Plus when I saw the first Fox one with Overeem ranked so high, I was laughing too hard to notice the rest. I knew after 2 years of “K-1 DOESN’T COUNT! HE NEVER BEAT SOMEBODY TOP 10 RANKED!” now Overeem was going to be defended by those same people, and I almost passed out from laughing so hard.

    4) While admittedly I am biased since I am a long time Observer subscriber (surely I’ve given enough money to put one of Dave’s kids through college) Meltzer is the last guy Yahoo should fire. Yeah, he’s goofy with the “MMA = real pro wrestling” and “real sports build” quirks. But the man has been covering MMA as long as anybody else out there. From 1995 he was probably the best writer NHB had before they went mainstream. They’d probably cut him since he’s not going to be able to take on more work due to WON coming first, but if they can’t keep him on part-time they are crazy.

    I say cut Iole and just have UFC’s press releases run in his place for free. Same difference.

  8. Dave says:

    Since I’ve never been around Helwani in person, I have to wonder; if he just an insufferable dick or is that socially awkward? First in the video for MiddleEasy he comes across as really condescending, then that twitter interaction with Jose is just all kinds of awful.

    I guess when you make Ariel Helwani money the little people don’t matter? I don’t know.

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