Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 4.11.14: Big Nog and Big Country
Posted by Robert Winfree on 04.11.2014
News and thoughts on Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva moving to UFC 173 while JDS vs. Stipe Miocic heads to Fight Night 48, UFC 174's main card being revealed, a preview of tonight's Fight Night 39 and more!
Hello everyone, and thank you for getting Locked in the Guillotine again. It's been quite a somber week hasn't it? John Pinette, Mickey Rooney, and The Ultimate Warrior all died very recently, of those three only Rooney was over the age of 55. Don't take your lives, or the lives you touch, for granted folks. Mark Radulich and Gavin Napier did a special podcast remembering the Warrior and it's in the player if you'd like to listen in. I'd like to briefly apologize to everyone for the lack of a 411 Ground and Pound radio show last week, but between relatively high apathy towards the upcoming card and going up against Wrestlemania 30 we decided to take a week off. Rest assured, the show will be back this Sunday and we'll be hitting all the MMA news. Fortunately the Radulich in Broadcasting network has more than just the one show, feel free to listen to something as you're going about your daily routine, I'm almost positive there's something in the list you'll enjoy.
Listen To Pop Culture Internet Radio Stations with Mark Radulich on BlogTalkRadio
Alright, let's get into the MMA news.
Shields gets released: The UFC released welterweight fighter Jake Shields this week in the wake of his loss to Hector Lombard. A couple of weeks ago on the Ground and Pound radio show we discussed the possibility of Shields getting the ax, though I must admit I was a little surprised that it actually happened. Shields had an overall UFC record of 4-3 and one No Contest. My personal speculation, and please remember that it is just that, is that Shields and the UFC couldn't agree on a new contract. My understanding was that the Lombard fight was the final one on Shields contract, and given how much money the UFC was giving him compared to his value to the company, I believe the two sides couldn't agree on new terms. Shields is still a highly skilled fighter and will easily find a home in Bellator, the World Series of Fighting, or ONE FC. ONE FC is the home of Ben Askren, another notoriously boring fighter, and the two could actually get time to go backwards if they meet for that promotion's welterweight title. No word as of this writing as to where Shields will be going, but realistically he should have no trouble finding another promotion to work for.
Card shuffling: UFC 173 took a hit last week when the scheduled main event for the middleweight title had to be moved to UFC 175 after champion Chris Weidman suffered a knee injury. The event got another title fight as the main event, UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao defending his title against TJ Dillashaw. Well the UFC has further shifted that card around, the co-main event has been changed. The grudge match between Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen will now be the co-main event and the previous co-main event, a heavyweight clash between former champion Junior dos Santos and Stipe Miocic, will take the main event for Fight Night 42, which also serves as the finale of the third season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. While in some ways this is a lateral move, both fights are roughly the same in terms of relevance and quality, the Silva and Sonnen encounter being shifted is an attempt to get a heated confrontation on a PPV which should theoretically help boost the buyrate for the event. This likely pushes the predicted buyrate more towards the 300k range than it would have been prior, so good on the UFC.
Also this week UFC 174 got a main card announced. Headlining the event will be UFC Television flyweight champion Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson will be defending his title against Ali Bagautinov. Johnson has fought on FOX for his last three fights, in fact Johnson has been on just one PPV card in his last seven fights so it's time to see if all that exposure will translate into PPV buys. Bagautinov is 3-0 in the UFC and hasn't lost a fight since 2011, his last fight was a unanimous decision win over John Lineker. Bagautinov is likely the best challenger Johnson will get right now, especially as the champion has defeated the second best fighter in the division, Joseph Benavidez, twice and the second was a devastating first round knockout for the champion. The co-main event for UFC 174 is currently set to be Rory MacDonald taking on Tyron Woodley, the winner would be all but guaranteed a title shot once UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks is back to training and fighting. Rounding out the card are Kiichi Kunimoto vs. Daniel Sarafian, Mike Easton vs. Yves Jabouin, and Roland Delorme vs. Michinori Tanaka. The event will be held June 14 at The Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada.
Nate Diaz speaks: Well this is likely to get ugly in a hurry, but UFC lightweight fighter Nate Diaz opened up about his issues with the UFC this week. Diaz claimed, among other things, that "I don't get paid sh*t," and "I think I'm the biggest draw in the lightweight division." Diaz further complained about the structure of his contract, claiming that his teammates (likely referencing older brother Nick, Jake Shields, and Gilbert Melendez) make substantially more money than he does. Melendez recently got a new contract with the company, a deal that made some waves once the details were made readily available. Nate Diaz currently has a 60k/60k deal, he is payed $60,000 to show up and fight, and another $60,000 should he win. This doesn't take into account sponsor money or discretionary bonuses given out by the UFC, and also doesn't take into account taxes or manager fees. I'm not personally sure how much room Diaz has to complain as there are plenty of fighters who have contracts for 20k/20k, and a few lower than that. This isn't the first time a fighter in the UFC has brought up the issue of pay, and it's unlikely to be an issue that goes away in the near future. If you believe UFC President Dana White's assertion about the place of the UFC among the ranks of professional sports, then UFC fighters are grossly under compensated. Diaz and his assertion about being the biggest draw in the division, well, the division is seriously lacking in drawing power but I'd probably still place Benson Henderson ahead of him, and if current champion Anthony Pettis had another fight under his belt in the promotion he'd likely be a shoe in for the top spot in terms of drawing. As it stands, Diaz isn't the top draw in the division, but given the lack of star power and drawing ability, he isn't as far off base as you might think.
Well the UFC is back in the saddle, and returning to Abu Dhabi for the first time since UFC 112 when Frankie Edgar upset BJ Penn for the UFC lightweight title and Anderson Silva danced around for five rounds with Demian Maia. The headliner is a heavyweight clash between Antonio "Minotauro" Rodrigo Nogueira and Roy Nelson. Let's take a look at the whole card.
Ramsey Nijem vs. Beneil Dariush: This should be a decent opener. Nijem has some skills, he's got power in his ground and pound, a good top game, and some solid wrestling. Unfortunately his wrestling isn't as explosive as it should be, his chin is far from bulletproof, and his striking defense is horrible. Beneil Dariush had a successful UFC debut, knocking down and then choking out Charlie Brenneman. Given Nijem's suspect chin and Dariush's power I'm inclined to go with Dariush to land a punch and finish off the former TUF finalist.
John Howard vs. Ryan LaFlare: John Howard is a solid fighter, good striking and a never say die attitude. Sadly, his wrestling defense and defensive grappling are suspect and Ryan LaFlare is a good to great wrestler. Outside of a miracle haymaker, which has worked for him in the past, Howard is going to get schooled on the mat by LaFlare en route to losing a decision.
Clay Guida vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri: I don't like Clay Guida, that's long been established, but I also know that he wins most of his fights. Guida's gameplan is pretty simple, he uses crazy movement, gets his opponent against the fence, scores a double leg takedown and holds top position until you either force him off or the round/fight ends. That's all he does, that's really all he's ever done, and if you can stop that you will beat him, plain and simple. I'm not sure Kawajiri can stop him. While Kawajiri has good wrestling, he's also not faced a strong wrestler since he was massacred by Gilbert Melendez in Strikeforce. I'm not sure Kawajiri can stop the takedowns from Guida, so Guida likely takes a decision here.
Roy Nelson vs. Antonio "Minotauro" Nogueira: There was a time I would have really enjoyed this fight. Those days were when Nogueira still had a great chin and dynamic grappling game. While Big Nog still has some solid submission chops, there's just so much mileage on his body at this point he should likely have retired a couple of fights ago. Nelson has good grappling, but lately has started relying on his incredible punching power to win fights. Big Nog isn't mobile enough to avoid the power punch, doesn't have the same recuperative powers he used to, and is likely going down here. Nelson has lost his last two fights and really needs a win here, and I think he'll land a huge punch that drops Big Nog and finishes him.
And on that note you've escaped another Guillotine. The 411 Ground and Pound radio show will be back this Sunday at 9pm eastern standard time. This will be the first show with me as permanent host, so please give a listen, and we'll be breaking down the action fro UFC Fight Night: Nelson vs. Nogueira. I'll be back here next week, and also breaking down the event, so until then keep your heads up and your necks safe.