The MMA 5&1 02.24.14: Pettis vs Alvarez
Posted by Jon Butterfield on 02.24.2014
Carla Esparza is your "&1" Model of the Week and Anthony Pettis faces Eddie Alvarez in this week's Vs! Plus thoughts on the results out of UFC 170, Cyborg Justino going to 135 pounds and more!
Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania's MMA 5&1! If you missed any of the major stories from the past week, this is the place to catch up – and while you're catching up, let us know you're opinions at the bottom of the page! There's also a Versus section where you get to determine the winner of another sweet fantasy fight, as well the infamous 1 section, which is always worth checking out. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: This work may not be ENTIRELY my own... but I did contribute... slightly...
Oh, and on an unrelated note, thanks to Remo Signori for the original (and now supposedly unrecognizable) banner-work...
Last week on Versus, Renan Barao continued his impressive winning streak with a 36-13 victory over Demetrious Johnson, giving the UFC Bantamweight Champion an impressive 73.47 % in the final count! As good as the UFC Flyweight Champion is, the brilliant Brazilian is just too talented to overlook, and after going 2-0 here on Versus, we'll give him a well-earned break this week!
Also, in the third-place play off, Ronda Rousey outpointed Cristiane Justino to the tune of 52-27, amounting to a 65.82 % majority. Right now, Rousey appears to be the absolute best of Women's MMA, and her recent crushing first round victory over Olympic silver medallist Sara McMann only furthers her cause. More on this later in the article, but for now, how about a fresh match up?
That's right, following on from the debate over who really has the best fighters in the world, we're pitting UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis against Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez. The UFC were very close to bringing Alvarez in recently, only for Bellator to pull out all the stops to retain the then-top contender. Alvarez's response? Rematching Michael Chandler and regaining the highly-prized strap. Anthony Pettis, however, may be the best pure striker at 155 lbs, and his grappling isn't too shoddy either. Will Pettis rip through Alvarez in his inimitable buzzsaw-like style, or will the veteran Alvarez come up with a killer gameplan and inflict Pettis' first defeat since Clay Guida outwrestled him in his UFC debut? YOU DECIDE!
But that's not all! We're also going to pit current top contenders and former champions Michael Chandler and Benson Henderson against one another. Both are incredibly talented athletes with well-rounded games, and both have been involved in dazzling encounters with the men that now hold the gold. Chandler-Alvarez I and Henderson-Pettis I may be two of the finest fights in MMA history, and I suspect the way these two match up, this would be a doozey as well! Who wins, Chandler or Henderson?
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd nooooooooooooow, the MMA 5:
News broke this week that American channel AXS TV will be airing episodes of two-on-one "MMA-based show" Hip Show: Arena Combat, featuring numerically lopsided fights in a playpen-style set consisting of padded flooring and soft obstacles. There is nothing soft or padded about the combat, however. Observe:
Having been aware of the Russian version of this show since its inception, I have to say I'm not a fan of this at all. Creating an adrenaline junkie-style reboot of Mixed Martial Arts simply isn't something I think the world needs right now, especially considering that MMA isn't universally accepted or understood yet. With the exception of the ever-growing coverage of the UFC, MMA is still a marginalised sport the world over and the subject of attacks from dissenters who claim the sport is too violent or marketed too heavily towards gladiator-style showdowns to ever really dominate the mainstream. What I'm saying is, Hip Show: Arena Combat may look even MORE appetising to someone whose sole interest in MMA is the violence, but to myself, this is a mockery of athletic competition.
The top MMA companies in the world pride themselves on pitting the best fighters with the best records against each other and seeing who wins, how, and what differences are born stylistically from each fight – Hip Show: Arena Combat cannot make any such claim given that the identity of the fighters seems to be secondary to the concept itself. That's never going to be a good thing.
So, the question is, will Hip Show: Arena Combat be a success or failure? How long will it last alongside companies like Legacy FC and MFC on the AXS TV network? And will YOU be watching, even if it's out of morbid curiosity? Let me know in the comments, folks!
Well anyone who voted in last week's Versus match between Ronda Rousey and Cristiane Justino may just see whether their prediction will come true or not, as Invicta FC Featherweight Champion Justino has announced her intention to drop to 135 lbs.
‘Cyborg', also a dominant former Strikeforce Women's Featherweight Champion, recently stated her goal to ‘retire' Rousey in the same manner as she retired Gina Carano, the former poster girl of American WMMA – but it remains to be seen if she can safely and effectively cut the ten pounds to meet bantamweight opponents in her current stomping ground, Invicta FC. Justino says she now has her sights set on the Invicta 135 lb crown, and her reputation will almost certainly catalyse any such title shot against the current reigning Bantamweight Champion, the undefeated Lauren Murphy.
We know who most people are picking in this potential WMMA superfight – but do you think it will actually happen?! Justino's current challenge is for a champion vs champion fight, but will the UFC be happy to promote such a bout? Will Dana White even want to risk Rousey against an opponent like Justino? Can Justino even make weight, let alone capture the 135 lb title? And, perhaps more importantly, would you pay for this fight, or has the ship already sailed on this one?
Nate Quarry recently spoke out about the financial side of life as a UFC fighter – and the UFC's plan to impose ‘uniforms' on its fighters. Quarry dismissed the idea that recognizable names are necessarily earning and keeping large salaries, and that forcing fighters to wear branded UFC apparel could limit their options going forward.
Quarry said: "People seem to forget that we're taxed like everyone else. So it may sound really attractive to the average person – ‘This guy made $100,000 in his three fights.' Well, take 30 percent right off the top, and then you're down to $70,000. Then, generally, it's 20 percent for your main camp. Now you're down to $56,000, and if you're fighting for the UFC, they give you two plane tickets and one hotel room. So you've got a plane ticket for yourself and your head coach. You don't see just anyone with one cornerman. I was never going to allow my cornermen to pay to support me. It's almost like you're paying your way through college, and you hope at the end, you get a good enough degree to where you'll make some serious cash."
He added of the uniforms that: "To me, that's just one more opportunity where the UFC could make it so much easier for the fighters to make extra money, since they're not getting paid much," but also admitted that the UFC was generous at times: "I can't say enough times how great the UFC has been for me. Dana White personally decided to pay for my back surgery that brought me back. ‘The Ultimate Fighter' first season gave me my life in MMA. But it wasn't a charity. They didn't just dip into their pockets and throw all this money at me or the other fighters.
"It's a business. They're making money. They're making a ton of money."
You can read the entire interview here. So what do you think after reading Quarry's comments? Are the UFC right to impose their own branded apparel on fighters? Are fighters chances to earn as strong as they could be? And who, ultimately, should be rewarded for the success of the promotion?
As Quarry himself states, "I would like to see the fighters of the UFC be appreciated... Realize that this is why we're big. People don't buy pay-per-view because of Dana White. They buy it because of the fighters."
One FC star Ben Askren recently stated that he believed the company would soon become a ‘global power', and grant him a ‘huge platform' to exhibit his skills. Askren, who penned a deal with the Asian-based MMA outfit following his release from Bellator, is expected to debut in May – and given his dominance in the United States, it's likely he will enter as a huge favourite no matter who One FC name as his opponent.
Of course, the UFC's refusal to sign Askren has led to plenty of talk about whether Dana White is making a mistake in allowing an elite welterweight to fight elsewhere, but is it a blooper from the UFC President, or a wise decision? Askren has long been derided as being ‘boring', often out-wrestling opponents at the expense of the other elements of MMA – but with the UFC possessing several outstanding wrestlers amongst it's numbers at 170 lbs, would fights like Askren vs Ellenberger, Askren vs Hendricks, and even Askren vs Condit have been more entertaining (and interesting) than the UFC appear to have given credit for?
Should Zuffa have signed him? How well would he have fared in the UFC? And how convinced are you that One FC will continue to grow to eventually rival companies like the UFC and Bellator? Let us know in the comments section!
UFC 170 is in the books, and Ronda Rousey emerged as the victor in the battle of the Olympic medallists, stopping Sara McMann thanks to a debilitating knee to the body.
While McMann appeared to pop immediately to her feet, referee Herb Dean jumped in before Rousey could deliver too many blows to her fallen opponent, much to McMann's chagrin. While neither Dana White nor Rousey saw a problem with the finish, it did leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth. While the fight wasn't particularly well-hyped, it seemed to be over all too soon, and the fun of seeing two elite fighters compete was short-lived. But was Dean right to step in when he did? Or was McMann okay to continue? Certainly the question will be asked many times in the near future, as McMann inevitably lobbies for a rematch – but whether she gets it or not remains to be seen.
In the co-main event, Daniel Cormier steamrollered promotional newcomer Patrick Cummins, recording a first round KO. Cummins had fanned the flames of this encounter, playing up his success in a training exercise in a bid to convince fans he was in with a chance of winning. That proved to be something of a mistake for Cummins, as a motivated Cormier made perfect weight in his 205 lb debut, and preceded to lay a beating on the game newcomer. So did Rashad Evans, who was forced to withdraw from the bout at late notice, dodge a bullet? Or would he have out-boxed Cormier and exposed the gap in class between the light heavyweight and the heavyweight divisions?
Rory MacDonald defeated Demian Maia in a welterweight tilt despite getting mounted in the first round, the Canadian successfully rallying across the second and third stanzas to take a crucial unanimous decision. While Maia was overbearing from top control, there is no question who the better striker was, with MacDonald reducing Maia to frequent desperate shots from the outside that were easily thwarted. Don't let that description fool you, however, for this was no boring hit-and-run encounter, as MacDonald pushed for the finish and clocked Maia numerous times – but the end just wouldn't come. The question now is, where does MacDonald go from here in the welterweight division? Is he worthy of facing the winner of the Lawler-Hendricks fight for the vacant UFC Welterweight title? Is such a fight appealing? And did MacDonald do enough to win over some of those who turned against him after recent performances? He says the fire's back – do you believe him?
In other results, Stephen Thompson stopped Robert Whittaker in the first round, and Mike Pyle overwhelmed TJ Waldburger late in the third and final stanza.