The Fight Nerd

June 2, 2014

UFC Fight Night 42: Henderson VS Khabilov Breakdown

Filed under: Features — Tags: , , — The Fight Nerd @ 2:26 PM


Benson Henderson can be a frustrating fighter to follow. On the one hand he holds a career record of 20-3 and has held lightweight championship titles in two different promotions, most recently UFC. On the other hand, he hasn’t been nearly as convincing in the ring as his record or potential suggest he should, often leaving decisions in the hands of the judges (sometimes with controversial results) instead of leaving no doubt against opponents many feel he is clearly superior to.

Still, he has earned his place at the top of UFC’s Lightweight division, where he currently sits as the number one contender for Austin Pettis’s title. The fact that Pettis has beaten Henderson twice (with a championship on the line both times) and given Henderson his only UFC loss adds a certain aspect to Henderson’s next bout with the intriguing Rustam Khabilov.

The two meet this weekend at UFC Fight Night 42 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the first time UFC is holding an event in the state. Albuquerque is also the adopted hometown of the Russian-born Khabilov, who could become a serious contender in the lightweight division if he is able to upset Henderson.

Khabilov has many around the sport wondering just how good he can be, and this fight is a prime opportunity to figure that out. He holds a career 17-1 record, including 3-0 in UFC, and his one career loss came via split decision in 2010. His first two fights after signing with UFC were impressive victories over Vinc Pichel and Yancy Medeiros. In those fights he dominated while displaying a flair for suplexing his opponents that is rarely seen in MMA. While his most recent fight in November against Jorge Masvidal wasn’t quite as dominant, he still secured a unanimous decision victory and his overall body of work has solidified him as a fringe contender for the top spot in his weight class.

Henderson, however, is anything but a fringe contender. Since losing the Lightweight title to Pettis in August he has won his only fight while limiting his risk in order to properly to stay in the championship picture. To that end, Khabilov could be dangerous if Henderson looks past him to a time when the currently-injured Pettis is accepting fights again.

Henderson, for his part, seems to know what he is getting in to. He recently called Khabilov a “tough kid,” while displaying an impressive knowledge of Khabilov’s fight style. That dedication to scouting combined with Henderson’s talent and past performance are the reason he is the big favorite heading in to the fight, with almost every sportsbook on installing him as a 2/5 favorite less than a week away from the fight.

While Khabilov is fighting for respect and will have the hometown advantage, it might be just a little too early in his promising career to expect a victory over one of the division’s top names. Add Henderson’s desire and focus to avenge his previous losses to Pettis and the blow a loss would deal to his contendership, and Henderson seems like a solid bet.

No matter what, the June 7 fight should pit the Lightweight Division’s present against one of the more promising faces of it’s future.


April 15, 2014

“Beyond the Lion’s Den” Book Review

Filed under: Product Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 1:00 PM

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There were very few names in the early days of no-holds-barred combat that were universal, and Ken Shamrock was one of them. The first King of Pancrase in Japan and inaugural UFC Super Fight Champion, early UFC events were often headlined with Ken, and his name and star power grew when he jumped ship to join the WWF. However, Ken’s story has not been one of pure success, but one marred with all sorts of obstacles, and this is where the story begins in Tuttle Publishing’s “Beyond the Lion’s Den” book.

Co-written by Erich Krauss, who also worked on various instructional books and DVD’s with Randy Couture, Matt Lindland, Anderson Silva, and Lyoto Machida to name a few, Shamrock’s book is the direct sequel to Ken’s first book, Inside the Lion’s Den. Shamrock gives us a succinct recap of the events leading up to where the first book ended, which includes some new stories about fighting in Japan and his incident with the Nasty Boys, and brings us up to speed with his fight at the Ultimate Ultimate 2 and explains why he initially left the UFC, what happened during his time off from MMA and entered the WWF, and how the time on the road led to the birth of many of those problems.

Ultimately, it was the traveling around to pro-wrestle that fed the feud between Ken and Frank, his break-up with his dad, the fall of the Lion’s Den, and Ken’s problems with alcoholism. The book also covers his time in Pride and his fights against Kazuyuki Fujita and Don Frye, and his return to the UFC with his first fight with Tito Ortiz and rematch with Kimo Leopoldo. Since this particular book came out in 2005, we will have to wait for a third book to give us the rest of the story after this, but it was great to read the continuing story of Ken after his first book ended.

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As opposed to Ken’s first book, which was 80% autobiography and maybe 20% techniques, this book is quote the opposite, with over 200 pages of techniques. It’s a very diverse book that covers striking, submissions, takedowns, guard passes, clinch fighting, using the cage fence or wall in a fight, and combination tecniques that many fans will recognize as moves that Ken had done in his own fights. My favorite has to be the sunset flip into the hammer lock (AKA the Northern Lights Suplex into Kimura that Ken did to Matt Hume during the first King of Pancrase tournament). There are also a ton of moves that we have never seen Ken do (dude, he does an omoplata in this book!), but it was refreshing to see this variety of techniques in a book, especially when you do consider that this book is nine years old now.

The techniques are well-written and easy to understand, and surprised me with how detailed they were, as well as with the selection of maneuvers. Krauss was surely a big part of that, and his efforts paid off as he went on to do some amazing books that would come out in the next few years. The team of Shamrock and Krauss was an excellent pairing, and gave us a very complete book about Ken Shamrock and building a complete MMA arsenal.

Overall, I really liked this book, and that is without wearing nostalgia glasses. Sure, the Ken Shamrock we know and love today is a very different one, who has seen better days, but at least is on the mend and working on himself. The Ken from this book is one in progress, working to achieve what he has done today, which to me, was peace of mind. That might be one of the best things about this book, is seeing where he is today and where his journey has taken him. The book itself stands out, and if you are a fan of old school MMA, this is the book for you. Newer fans to the sport might not be as interested, but the techniques will certainly catch your interest.

You can order Beyond the Lion’s Den: The Life, The Fights, The Techniques from for around $22, and is a good value for a good book that is filled with info. I suggest getting the first book as well, since it is only $7 these days, to complete the set. Ken has always been a polarizing part of MMA, and as a fan of the early days of MMA/ NHB fighting, I am happy that I finally got this book in my own library and can add more great stories to my knowledge of the game.

April 11, 2014

GSP has successful knee surgery, unsure about return to Octagon

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — The Fight Nerd @ 12:27 PM


Georges St. Pierre had a successful surgery on his left knee earlier this week in LA, and he does not seem downbeat at all about the upcoming road to rehab to get himself back to normalcy.

According to a report from Canada’s “The Globe and Mail”, the former UFC welterweight champ will not let this operation affect his overall training, but is still not positive about stepping back into the cage.

“I climbed Everest once before and I’m going to climb it again — if I want to,” St-Pierre told The Canadian Press on Thursday. “It’s not a problem for me. . . . Anyway I didn’t plan to come back to competition before 2015.

“And if I want to come back, when I want to come back, I’ll do it again. I’ll have all the tools to do it again. I’m not going to be less strong or less athletic — I’m going to be just better.”

“I’ll have two bionic knees,” he added.

GSP has reconstructive surgery on his left knee back in 2011, which sidelined him for some time, and with this current operation behind him, the former champ expects to resume training in five months, with full sparring in six to seven months.

GSP also told the writer of the original post that if he does ever come back to the UFC, drug-testing better be the best possible format availabe: “It’s not personal to one fighter,” he said. “It’s personal to me. It’s something that has to be done, I believe.”

March 27, 2014

Old School MMA Review: UFC 9 – Clash of The Titans

After a long delay, the Old School MMA Review returns with a look at one of the worst (if not worst of all time) events in the history of the UFC.

From Detroit, Michigan, “UFC 9: Clash of the Titans” was the first UFC event to bypass the one-night eight-man tournament format, and replace it with a card of single fights with essentially no meaning whatsoever, aside from the main event, a rematch between Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn for the UFC Superfight Title, which featured 35 minutes of stalking around the ring and nary a strike thrown.

Also on UFC 9, the underwhelming octagon debuts of Amaury Bitetti, Matt Anderson, and Rafael Carino, the return of previous losers Zane Frazier and Cal Worsham, and the one-time appearance of arguably one of the greatest athletes that has ever graced the UFC, Mark Schultz. This is an event for the ages, stuffed to the brim with internet polls, filler, and all sorts of other irrelevant nonsense as Zane Simon and The Fight Nerd do their best to survive this awful event, and make you suffer in return for making us have to sit through it! Enjoy!

If you want to watch UFC 9 for yourself, grab the official DVD of this event from Amazon at this link here.

UFC Fight Night 40 Quick Preview

Filed under: Features — Tags: , , — The Fight Nerd @ 12:55 PM


As UFC Fight Night 40 edges closer, the fascinating main card at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio looks set to give fans another thrilling night of fights. Opening the main card in Ohio will be Chris Cariaso versus the unbeaten Louis Smolka in the flyweight division. With a 6-3 record inside the Octagon, the experienced Cariaso goes into the fight with more UFC appearances than his opponent has professional fights, and that could be the difference in this bout.

Next up on the card is the heavyweight clash between Australian Soa Palelei and promotional newcomer Ruan Potts. With two straight KO wins since returning to the UFC, Palelei will be a strong favorite to see off the untested South African Potts, with everything pointing to an early finish for the big Aussie. Palelei has been undefeated since 2011, and is an easy pick for winner by whatever he wants in this match.

Next up, William Macario and Neil Magny meet in an evenly matched welterweight match-up, with both fighters looking to win second straight bouts inside the Octagon. While Magny has the greater top level experience, Macario has the tools to possibly surprise the Betfair odds and take the win. Both fighters are looking to keep their confidence high after returning to the winners circle, and neither man will want to go the distance either, so expect to see Macario push for a finish with Magny holding on and trying to grind it out.

Erik Koch will be looking to follow up his impressive TKO victory over Rafaello Oliveira with a win again Daron Cruickshank. The 25-year old has mixed it with the best throughout his time in the sport and will be a comfortable favorite in this lightweight fight. Cruickshank is coming off his epic spinning wheel kick knockout against Mike Rio back in January, but Koch seems to be the more explosive of the pair. Look out for this one to be fight of the night material!

Heading to Ohio on the back of two straight defeats, Costas Philippou is in desperate need for a win against Lorenz Larkin in the co-main event. But despite his relatively low profile, Larkin had been building up a decent run before his points loss to Brad Tavares in January and the Californian will be confident of handing the Cypriot fighter his third straight UFC defeat.

The main event of the night sees Matt Brown look to continue his ruthless tear through the welterweight division when he meets Erick Silva. Brown will enter the Octagon on a six-fight winning run and will be a firm favourite with Betfair, but Silva showed what he is capable of with his bonus-winning KO victory against Takenori Sato in February.

UFC Fight Night 40: Brown vs. Silva is set for May 10, 2014 at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.

March 13, 2014

Robbie Lawler credits return to sparring with rise in UFC

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 10:18 PM

This weekend at UFC 171, Robbie Lawler gets a crack at the UFC welterweight title, a long and arduous journey behind him that has spanned his time as a top dog in Strikeforce all the way to his return in the UFC. A recent interview on Yahoo! Sports revealed a surprising fact about Lawler’s training camps during his tenure in Strikeforce – that he stopped sparring during his fight camps!

Lawler has gone 3-0 since his return to Zuffa land, and the sportsbook odds are in his favor for this championship bout, but it took a drastic change in his training to get him to where he is now. Back in the summer of 2012, after losing to Lorenz Larkin at “Strikeforce:Rockhold VS Kennedy”, Lawler opted to stop having intense sparring sessions in his gym, eliminating it completely from his regimen. Kevin Iole has the details, via Monte Cox:

He basically didn’t spar before facing Larkin, in effect going 180 degrees away from the aggressive sparring philosophy he was brought up with at the Miletich camp, and it left him unprepared.

“We talked after that and we both realized that he needed to spar some,” Cox said. “Not sparring kept him concussion-free, but in this sport, you need to spar some to be able to see the openings and get your timing and all of that.”

Lawler also stated that he never felt truly ready to be the best fighter that he saw himself being, but it seems that things have begun to click for the MMA veteran, and it might be enough to get him the belt that has eluded him so long during his journeyed career.

Lawler will meet Hendricks (whose last appearance in the octagon was a controversial loss to the now retired Georges St. Pierre) in what is expected to be either a five-round brawl that will go the distance, or a very short and violent scrap, this weekend at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas at UFC 171. Welterweights Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley will also meet on the main card, along with Diego Sanchez VS Myles Jury, Jake Shields VS Hector Lombard, and Ovince St. Preux VS Nikita Krylov

February 27, 2014

NSAC bans use of TRT, UFC is okay with that

Filed under: Lead Story,News — Tags: , , — The Fight Nerd @ 7:24 PM

Earlier today, the Nevada State Athletic Commission banned testosterone-replacement therapy, AKA TRT, from all combat sports in their state. NSAC chairman Francisco Aguilar was quick to note that he hoped the Association of Boxing Commissions would take notice of this and make this a universal change.

“I would encourage the ABC to look at this issue for all commissions in all states across the country,” Aguilar said. “I think it’s important that there be a standard and I think [the NSAC] is not afraid to set that standard.”

UFC President Dana White issued a statement regarding the decision:

“The Ultimate Fighting Championship fully supports the decision made today by the Nevada State Athletic Commission regarding the immediate termination of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). We believe our athletes should compete based on their natural abilities and on an even playing field. We also intend to honor this ruling in international markets where, due to a lack of governing bodies, the UFC oversees regulatory efforts for our live events. We encourage all athletic commissions to adopt this ruling.”

This announcement comes two months before Vitor Belfort is scheduled to face Chris Weidman for the middleweight title at UFC 173 on May 24 in Las Vegas. Belfort previously has been approved to use TRT in his past three fights, all of which took place conveniently in Brazil.

Currently, the UFC has six fighters that are approved for TRT use in Nevada: Dan Henderson, Shane Roller, Todd Duffee, Chael Sonnen, Frank Mir and Forrest Griffin.

January 17, 2014

Rich Franklin can not retire on MMA earnings, will have to work again to “live comfortably for the rest of my life”

Filed under: News — Tags: , — The Fight Nerd @ 1:53 AM

Former UFC middleweight Champion Rich “Ace” Franklin spoke with Fight Hub recently to discuss fighter pay, and the topic inevitably came to how life after fighting has been for Franklin. What might surprise some fans is that, while Franklin was one of the top dogs in the octagon for a long time, he is not rolling in the dough that one would hope a champ would make.

Franklin had this to say during the interview:

I leave comfortable, but. Here’s the thing…the reality of my situation is I’m not…and you can tell this based on my career, my persona, I’m not the guy that’s rolling around in $250,000 sports cars. I’ve never spent money on stuff like that. I live a very modest lifestyle and I will probably the rest of my life.

I find value in experiences rather than material things. I’m the kind of person who would spend money to like, go observe lions in their natural habitat before I would buy a brand new sports car or something like that.

So, with that being said, I’ve made enough money that I could live my modest lifestyle comfortably for a little while, but I couldn’t retire for the rest of my life. If I could just retire for the rest of my life and never work, I don’t know that I would have opened up ZeLin as a business venture. Instead I would have just taken my passion for teaching people and would have done lifestyle lectures and motivational speeches for fun. I would do a bunch of charity work. I’ve done tons of things in the past for disabled veterans, for children’s hospital here in Cincinnati, I’ve been involved in a lot of different things.

So, I’m not going to put it on cruise control the rest of my life. I’m going to need another financial source to make money to live comfortably for the rest of my life.

My funds would definitely run out before my heartbeat did, that’s for sure.

Franklin was grateful for the way the UFC had consistently treated him and always followed through with him when they said they would do things. Unfortunately, Franklin was champ in the odd transition time when the UFC was just beginning to get more mainstream recognition, and fighter pay was still generally awful (Nate Quarry was paid 10K to fight Franklin for his belt way back at UFC 56 in 2005). Thankfully, the fighters of this era are doing much better in terms of finances, but the question begs to be seen how well the fighters will be once they hang up the gloves.

Transcript via Bloody Elbow

December 29, 2013

Anderson Silva breaks leg at UFC 168, UFC releases official statement

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 12:02 PM


UFC 168 was a great card, marred by one of the most gruesome finishes in UFC (and possibly MMA) history.

At the start of the second round in the Anderson Silva VS Chris Weidman rematch, Silva threw a low kick that Weidman checked, like you would with any other low kick. Unfortunately, Silva’s leg snapped in grizzly fashion, leaving him tumbling to the ground in agony as the Vegas audience gasped in confusion and disgust.

Silva was stretchered out of the arena and was unable to offer much in terms of updates at the post-fight press conference. Earlier today, Zuffa released the following statement regarding Anderson Silva’s injury.

“Following Saturday evening’s UFC 168 main event, former champion Anderson Silva was taken to a local Las Vegas hospital where he underwent surgery to repair a broken left leg. The successful surgery, performed by Dr. Steven Sanders, the UFC’s Orthopedic Surgeon, inserted an intramedullary rod into Anderson’s left tibia. The broken fibula was stabilized and does not require a separate surgery. Anderson will remain in the hospital for a short while, but no additional surgery is scheduled at this time. Recovery time for such injuries may vary between three and six months.

“Anderson is deeply touched by the outpouring of support from his fans and the entire MMA community. There has been no immediate decision about his future, and he would kindly ask for privacy at this time as he deals with his injury and prepares to return home to recover.”

At the post-fight press conference, Weidman said that he was checking the kicks with his knees intentionally to hurt Silva so that he would stop kicking him (a common defense), but he had no idea or intention that it would break his opponents leg so badly.

Photo by Esther Lin on MMA Fighting

December 22, 2013

“Old School MMA Review” UFC 8 – The David VS Goliath Tournament

The Old School MMA Review team is back with one of the all-time greatest UFC tournaments!

February 1996 saw the UFC leave American soil for the first time ever, with the company heading to Puerto Rico with their one-night tournaments. For this event, all of the first round matches were built around the “David VS Goliath” concept, which meant each match had a huge weight difference featuring a smaller “David” battling a heavier “Goliath”. Most importantly, this event saw the MMA debuts of both Don Frye and Gary Goodridge, as well as the octagon return of Superfight Champion, Ken Shamrock, and his challenger who had not set foot into the octagon since UFC 3, Kimo Leopoldo.

Plus, the re-emergence of “The Polar Bear” Paul Varelans, Scott Ferrozo and his orange “Fear Me” tarp, the ever-present threat of the Chupacabra, and Christopher Penn… for some reason.

If you want to check out UFC 8 for yourself, you can pick up the official DVD of this event at this link here.

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