Posts tagged: Frank Mir

Carwin Continues Momentum with KO, GSP wins decisively at UFC 111

Fans flooded the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Saturday for the UFC’s first title fights of 2010 at UFC 111.

The main event between welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and challenger Dan Hardy, built up by the return of UFC Primetime on Spike TV, was not as competitive as expected. St. Pierre performed to his strength, taking Hardy down with ease every chance he got, improving his position and landing ground-and-pound.

St. Pierre vs. Hardy

St. Pierre took away Hardy’s greatest chance of winning the fight by eliminating the stand up, and his gameplan worked effectively as Hardy was unable to do much damage over the five-round contest. St. Pierre was successful on all nine of his takedown attempts and attempted eight submissions throughout the fight according to compustrike.com, including a deep armbar and then a kimura, which were both close to ending the fight.

St. Pierre outstriked Hardy 130-22 and executed his gameplan to perfection. He retained his title via a unanimous decision victory: 50-45, 50-44, 50-43.

In the co-main event, undefeated heavyweight phenom Shane Carwin continued his domination of the UFC heavyweight roster by running through Frank Mir and earning the interim heavyweight championship. Carwin shot in on Mir and drove him to the fence, off of the opening exchange, where he landed strong knees and punches.

After a separation by the referee, Carwin pinned Mir back to the fence, where he landed a flurry of hooks and uppercuts, which dropped Mir. Carwin took his back and pounded him unconscious, ending the fight at 3:48 into the first round. Carwin outstriked Mir 68-3 in the contest and won “Knockout of the Night” honors.

New Jersey native and crowd favorite Kurt Pellegrino earned “Submission of the Night” honors by beating second-degree BJJ black belt Fabricio Camoes at his own game. Pellegrino defended the takedown successfully and outstriked the Brazilian 59-15 in the bout. He locked in a rear-naked choke and got the tap from Camoes at 4:20 into the second round.

Carwin vs. Mir

After a failed CT scan due to a brain irregularity, just 2 days prior to the event, Thiago Alves was forced out of a scheduled rematch with Jon Fitch. Ben Saunder’s match with Jake Ellenberger was scratched from the card and Saunders was rescheduled to face Fitch in the second main card fight.

Fitch wanted nothing to do with the standup of the muay thai expert, and rather worked to take down Saunders from the clinch through most of the fight. Fitch took Saunders down several times, controlled the fight, and landed some good ground-and-pound in the final two minutes. After three rounds, all three judges scored the bout 30-27 in favor of Fitch.

In the first match of the evening New Jersey native Jim Miller faced Mark Bocek in a back and forth battle. Bocek continuously went for the takedown and succeeded in getting the fight to the ground four times. However, Miller landed effective strikes from his back and attempted submissions, including a guillotine and then a kimura, which almost ended the fight in the first round.

Bocek controlled the second round and even mounted Miller. The fighters exchanged on the feet for most of the third round and Miller ended the fight by taking Bocek’s back. Miller outstriked Bocek 53-36 and won a close unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the contest 29-28.

Miller vs. Bocek

A light-heavyweight bout between Rodney Wallace and Jared Hamman earned “Fight of the Night” honors. Hamman won the fight via unanimous decision and it was featured last on the pay-per-view broadcast. All fighters earning bonus honors received $65,000.

Rousimar Palhares received a disciplinary suspension of 90 days after winning a preliminary card fight against Tomasz Drwal. Palhares ended the fight 0:45 into the first round via heel hook, but failed to release the submission until being forced off of Drwal by the referee.

UFC 111 marked the first time that a UFC pay-per-view was aired live in HD on the big screen. The event was available in 300 select movie theaters across the country. Two preliminary fights were broadcast live on Spike and drew 1.2 million viewers, according to MMApayout.com

Overall, the Prudential Center had an attendance of 17,000 and a total gate of $4 million. The next UFC event, Ultimate Fight Night 21, will feature a main event between Kenny Florian and UFC newcomer Takanori Gomi. The event will be held at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C., and will air live on Spike Wednesday, March 31, at 8 p.m. EST. The event will be followed by the premier of the eleventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter” on Spike at 10 p.m. EST.

UFC 111 – Spike TV Prelim Fights

UFC 111 PPV Pt. 1

UFC 111 PPV Pt. 2

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Mir Focused on Carwin, but Lesnar rematch is Big Picture

It is no secret that UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and contender Frank Mir have a bitter relationship, to say the least. However, Mir will have to get through heavyweight powerhouse Shane Carwin (11-0) at UFC 111 before he can enact his dream of regaining the undisputed heavyweight title from Lesnar.

Frank Mir

On Saturday, Mir will have the chance to guarantee himself the next shot at Lesnar with a win over Carwin in a bout, scheduled for five rounds, for the interim heavyweight championship. The fight is scheduled as the co-main event of the evening at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev., Mir is a former UFC heavyweight and interim heavyweight champion. Mir, a black belt in kenpo karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, currently trains with Team Sityodtong in Boston, Massa., under owner and head trainer Mark DellaGrotte. He earned his black belt in BJJ under Ricardo Pires after only five years of training.

Currently holding a professional MMA record of 13-4, Mir is an accomplished grappler and renowned submission artist whose standup has drastically improved with each appearance in the octagon. He is the 2007 NAGA absolute division champion. Of his 13 victories, eight have come by way of submission.

After winning the UFC championship in a match with Tim Sylvia at UFC 48 in 2004, at the age of 25, Mir faced a potentially career ending injury. He was left with a broken femur and torn ligaments in his knee after a motorcycle accident, and was told that he may never walk again, let alone fight. Mir was stripped of his title after 14 months.

In 2006, nearly 2 years later, Mir returned to the octagon. In 2008, Mir shocked the world by submitting rising star Brock Lesnar in the first round at UFC 81, in a match in which he was clearly outsized and not favored to win.

Mir vs. Lesnar I - UFC 81

After running through Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the interim heavyweight championship at UFC 92, Mir faced Lesnar in a rematch for the undisputed heavyweight championship in the main event of UFC 100.

Lesnar, a NCAA national champion wrestler, took Mir down with ease in the first round and smothered him, landing effective ground-and-pound. In the second round Mir landed a left elbow followed by a flying knee that rocked Lesnar, but he gave up the takedown in doing so. Lesnar continued to land brutal ground-and-pound from the top position until the match was stopped at 1:48 into the second round via TKO.

In the co-main event of UFC 107, Mir faced off with muay thai and kickboxing ace Cheick Kongo. Mir beat Kongo at his own game, dropping him with a lead left hook less than a minute into the fight. Mir then locked in a guillotine and choked Kongo unconscious, ending the fight at just 1:12 into the first round.

Carwin, a NCAA division II national champion wrestler and boxer with incredible knockout power, presents a huge challenge to Mir. In Carwin’s 11-fight MMA career, he has earned six victories via knockout or TKO and 11 first round stoppages.

With all of his losses coming by way of TKO, Mir is not known for his ability to take a punch, especially while fighting off of his back. Carwin’s wrestling background and powerful punches could prove dangerous to Mir. However, Mir’s submission game will present a threat to Carwin should the fight go to the ground, and Mir is perhaps the more technically sound striker. Mir recently stated that he believes that Carwin is a more dangerous version of Lesnar.

Carwin showed a good chin in his last fight against Gabriel Gonzaga and was able to get off of his back in a matter of seconds. With his 11 career fights lasting just over 12 minutes, it will be difficult for Mir to study Carwin for weaknesses, so he will likely stick to his normal training regimen.

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Live pay-per-view coverage of UFC 111 will begin at 10 p.m. EST

Frank Mir on ESPN – 3/25

Countdown to UFC 111

Vera To Play The Role of Gatekeeper at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones

Brandon “The Truth” Vera (11-4) broke onto the scene five years ago as a young, up-and-coming heavyweight prospect with intentions of proving himself by beating the best competition that the UFC had to offer.

Vera ran through opponents in the two years that followed, but was denied his title intentions due to defeats from more experience UFC veterans.

Brandon Vera

On Sunday, for the first time, Vera will play the role of “the gatekeeper” when he faces young, up-and-coming light-heavyweight prospect Jon “Bones” Jones (9-1) in the main event of UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colo.

Fighting out of San Diego, Calif., Vera is a former WEC heavyweight champion. Vera, a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, currently trains with both Team Lloyd Irvin and Alliance MMA in San Diego. He has also trained at Linxx Academy and Hybrid Academy.

Vera gained experience wrestling in high school and continued wrestling at Old Dominion University, and then with the United States Air Force. However, he is best known in the MMA world for his effective muay thai skills.

Through the first four years of his MMA career Vera went a perfect 8-0, with seven of his wins coming by way of stoppage and four earned in UFC competition. Arguably his most impressive performance came at UFC 65 when he stopped Frank Mir at just 1:09 into the first round via TKO (punches).

In his next two matches Vera saw a step up in competition, losing a decision to Tim Sylvia and a TKO to Fabricio Werdum. These back-to-back losses, to much larger opponents, prompted Vera’s move to light-heavyweight competition. Vera now holds a 3-2 record as a light-heavyweight. His two losses came via close and controversial decisions.

Vera vs. Fabiano Scherner

MMA veteran, TUF cast-member and UFC newcomer Krzysztof Soszynski (19-9-1) went the distance with Vera at UFC 102. Vera won a unanimous decision by controlling the fight, avoiding the takedown and dominating on the feet with strong kicks and combinations.

Vera saw a step up in competition in his next fight as he went the distance with UFC Hall of Famer and five-time UFC champion Randy “The Natural” Couture in the main event of UFC 105. Couture controlled the fight from the clinch utilizing dirty boxing while Vera dominated the striking from the feet, hurting Couture badly with kicks and combinations in each round.

Vera was caught in Couture’s clinch, fighting off the takedown, for the majority of the competition. However, Vera landed very effective strikes from the feet. He dropped Couture in the second round, but was unable to finish him. After bearing an assault from the clinch Vera landed a series of body kicks that hurt Couture in the third round and followed up by taking him down and transitioning to full mount. The fight ended with an intense exchange.

All three judges scored the bout 29-28 in favor of Couture. The ruling surprised Vera and was very controversial.

Jon Jones is a young (22 year old) prospect with impressive striking and wrestling skills. Vera’s muay thai skills will be much more relevant in his upcoming fight than in his last two, which saw him trapped in his opponent’s clinch for the majority of the fight. However, Vera, a BJJ brown belt, will likely have an advantage in the unlikely case that the fight goes to the ground.

Vera has been in Jones’ situation a number of times early in his UFC career. Jones will face the toughest test in his young MMA career at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones. For Vera, a victory will likely put him back in the title-mix.

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The event will air live on Versus at 9 p.m. EST

Wolfslair Academy, Growing Roster and Reputation

Quickly established as arguably the top facility and fight team in Europe, Wolfslair MMA Academy is now gaining a strong reputation as one of the leading gyms in the MMA world today.

Michael Bisping training at Wolfslair

Wolfslair Academy is a gym located in Widnes, United Kingdom, which has both produced and recently signed several UFC stars and other elite level fighters.

Co-owners and managers Anthony McGann and Lee Gwynn established the fight team as MMA fans with the goal of creating the top MMA facility in the U.K. They quickly achieved their goal and the facility continues to grow.

The gym gained notoriety primarily due to its signing of U.K. based UFC star Michael Bisping. Bisping’s appearance as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) created recognition for the gym, because several of its staff members were featured as trainers on the show.

With the recent signings of former UFC light-heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and heavyweight Cheick Kongo, the gym added two huge names and talented fighters to its roster. These signings have attracted new fighters to the gym for training purposes, as well as more publicity, and sponsorship and endorsement opportunities.

Rampage and Dave Jackson

The trainers at Wolfslair Academy are not internationally recognized MMA figures like the staff of many top-level gyms in the U.S. However, the team’s trainers are extremely experienced and have many achievements within their fields, making them very effective coaches and gaining them praise from fighters.

Wolfslair’s talented training staff, access to the public, and its appeal to traveling fighters and prospective fighters in Europe are its main strengths. These factors contribute greatly to the gym’s rapid growth and success as a business.

The head coach at Wolfslair is Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo black belt Mario “Sukata” Neto. Neto, the gym”s jiu-jitsu coach, is a one-fight UFC veteran and holds a 10-5 professional MMA record against top-level opponents. Neto has many accomplishments in the world of martial arts, including winning the grand masters in BJJ, winning a Vale Tudo championship in Russia and earning a third-degree black belt in BJJ. He was featured as one of Bisping”s coaches on TUF.

Boxing coach Tony Quigley and his son Tony Quigley Jr. are an integral part of the gym”s coaching staff. Rampage was impressed by the instruction of online casino Quigley and his son upon coming to train at Wolfslair, and now spends a substantial amount of his time working with them. Junior Olympic gold medalist Tony Quigley Jr. is a professional boxer with a record of 13-2.

Rampage and Kongo with Tapout members in Wolfslair apparel

Thai boxing coach Dave Jackson is renowned within the muay thai community for his expertise as a coach and his uniquely effective style of muay thai. Jackson has worked extensively with Rampage and Kongo. Kongo was very impressed with Jackson”s style of muay thai and instruction while initially training at Wolfslair, and he has now refined his skills training under him. Jackson was featured as one of Bisping”s coaches on TUF.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and 3-1 professional MMA fighter Kazeka Muniz is Wolfslair”s wrestling coach. Gwynn is the gym”s strength and conditioning coach in addition to being a co-owner.

The gym currently holds a roster with several UFC veterans, including Michael Bisping, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Cheick Kongo, Paul Kelly, and Mario “Sukata” Neto. Other notable fighters include Alex Cook, Tom Blackledge, Lukasz Les, Henrique Nogueira, Curt Warburton and Abdul Mohamed. Many top-level fighters travel to Wolfslair for training purposes, including Andre Arlovski, Ian Freeman, Dean Lister, Tiki Ghosn and Ricco Rodriguez.

Rampage recently took a leave from the UFC to star in the upcoming film, “The A Team.” A dispute with UFC President Dana White also contributed to his decision. Rampage coached the most recent season of TUF along with Rashad Evans. The two light-heavyweights are scheduled to fight on May 29 at UFC 114 in Las Vegas, Nev.

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Paul Kelly is 1-1 since making the move to the UFC lightweight division. Kelly looks to improve his record when he faces Matt Veach on April 10 at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi.

After going 9-2 since his UFC debut, Cheick Kongo has lost his last two fights to top heavyweights Cain Velasquez and Frank Mir. Kongo hopes to avenge his losses and get back in the title picture with a win over Paul Buentello in the upcoming UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones on Mar. 23 in Broomfield, Colorado.

Cheick Kongo Training with Michael Bisping & Teammates @ Wolfslair (2008)

Another title shot for Nogueira reigns possible

As Ultimate Fighting Championship hits Australia for the first time viagra cheap at UFC 110 on Feb. 20, 2010, heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira looks to add his 33rd win in MMA competition.

Nogueira vs Velasquez will occur at UFC 110

Nogueira (32-5-1, 1 NC), 33, represents Brazil as he takes a trip to Sydney to highlight the main card at UFC 110 against undefeated heavyweight United States figher Cain Velasquez (7-0-0).

Despite Velasquez’ winning record and fierce wrestling style, Nogueira, also known as Minotauro, brings experience to the table with a black belt in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo.

Although Nogueira only has five losses, one of those losses came in one of his last two bouts, and was not pretty for the Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil native. UFC 92 (12-27-2008) in Las Vegas, Nev. marked the end of a reign for Minotauro. When 3-1 underdog Frank Mir took the octagon, he immediately took control of the fight, knocking down Nogueria twice with boxing moves. In the second round, Nogueria tried to establish his jabs, but Mir continued to land the big shots, finishing off with back-to-back left hands and the referee stopping the fight. With 1:54 in the second round, Nogueria lost the bout and the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship.

Nogueira would fare better in his next fight, which occurred Aug. 29, 2009 at UFC 102. The event would have taken place about one year earlier had Randy Couture not retired in Oct. 2007. In the meantime, Nogueira would win the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship and become the first fighter to ever hold both PRIDE and UFC belts.

Couture and Nogueira squared off in what would be known as the “loser’s bracket” of the UFC’s mini heavyweight tournament. However, the fight also highlighted the event, being named “Fight of the Night” when all was said and done.

Couture opened the fight strong with some great avoidance and defensive tactics to remain in the stand up game. Eventually, Nogueira’s fists took advantage, taking Couture to the ground and allowing him to get a tight brabo choke on Couture. The second round saw Couture in one of his weaker states, the half guard, for most of the round. Finally, things slow down as Nogueira slowed down his offensive attacks in round three. Despite Couture’s late round efforts with some ground blows, it was not enough. Nogueira took the fight with a unanimous decision: 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.

Looking towards UFC 110, Nogueira sees that a win will likely earn him the right for a future title bout – an honor that his undefeated opponent, Velasquez, will not let go easily. Velasquez has built a reputation to be one of the most talked about heavyweights in the mixed martial arts world, today.

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If Velasquez has any chance of winning this fight, it is with a technical and sound game. Nogueira on the other hand would be best suited to stick to his normal routine, where he has proven that he can win over 80-percent of the time.

Too Much For Mir

Too big, too smart, too strong – Brock Lesnar last Saturday at UFC 100 proved to be all of these and more when he avenged his only loss in a TKO win against Frank Mir.

Mir got the best of Lesnar during their first match up with an opportune kneebar submission in the first round, handing the rookie his first and only professional loss during UFC 81.

Since then Lesnar has accomplished much, capturing the heavy weight title from MMA legend Randy Couture and earning a unanimous decision over top contender Heath Herring. He has repeatedly and without relent, telling fans what a changed fighter he is. He was not bluffing. The Lesnar of their first match up was clearly not the same man who TKO’d Mir in the second round last Saturday.

Just a week ago it seemed that Mir had thoroughly read the “Brock Lesnar Manual.” In an interview with cagewriter, Mir seemed to know exactly what Lesnar’s game plan was going to be. “If a guy wrestled in college, typically you’ll watch his training sessions, and it’ll look like a college wrestling practice. So they’re not looking to use their striking to win fights. He will stay within his comfort zone,” said Mir. He also seemed confident in his ability to overcome Lesnar in his weaker area, “striking is a phenomenal way to win fights. I’m light years ahead of most guys in the heavyweight division.”

When the first round bell sounded, both men took little time in going to the canvas in what seemed to be a continuation of their first meeting. They fumbled around on the ground for a few seconds, until Lesnar situated himself in a suitable position to pound away at Mir’s face. Just like their first encounter. However, this time around there were two vast improvements in Lesnar’s game. He did not leave his legs vulnerable and he kept his chest very close to Mir’s, limiting his motion.

As the first round came to a close, it became very clear that Lesnar was the superior fighter. Mir would need to exploit one of Lesnar’s mistakes, but with his game greatly polished since their first meeting, this did not seem likely.

Round two saw a little burst of offensive action from Mir, who tried to execute his game plan and win the fight on his feet. Once Mir was backed up to the cage however, Lesnar took him back to the ground and pound. After about five seconds of Mir having his face smashed into the canvas, the fight was stopped.

Many fans counted Mir out, and were only shocked when the fight made it to the second round. Even though Lesnar had the edge, Mir’s slick style and experience made the fight very competitive. With each fighter now owning a win over the other, could a trilogy be in the foreseeable future? If anyone can defeat Lesnar in a huge heavyweight title upset, we know Mir is the one man capable of pulling it off.

Take 2: Lesnar vs. Mir

At UFC 100,  Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir are scheduled for an encore, hopefully giving fans another great fight. However, very much has changed since their first showdown. When Lesnar and Mir met each other for the first time at UFC 81, Lesnar was just breaking into the UFC. It was only Lesnar’s second fight in the UFC, and only his third MMA fight ever. Lesnar’s “pro wrestling,” career could have hardly gained him any legitimate fighting experience. Mir was a former UFC heavyweight champion and an 8 year UFC veteran.

As many expected, Mir won the fight, but hardly dominated against the rookie. Mir also showed much vulnerability as he was unable to avoid Lesnar’s takedowns. Many felt Mir captured the victory only through capitalizing on some of Lesnar’s rookie mistakes; such as leaving himself vulnerable on the “ground and pound.”

Most UFC fans see their fight at UFC 100 as having a very different outcome. Let’s compare these two athletes on three different important points in an effort to better analyze how their next showdown might play out.

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Brock Lesnar

Who did he fight last, what was the outcome?

Lesnar last fought at UFC 91 against MMA legend Randy Couture for the heavy weight title. Couture is a MMA veteran with 25 fights under his belt and over 12 years of experience. It was only Lesnar’s fourth fight in the UFC, and the biggest challenge of his young career. Lesnar pulled out the TKO win for the heavy weight championship against a very formidable opponent — though some question if Couture was too old and washed up — and is now considered one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC.

What has he done to improve as a fighter since their last meeting?

Many UFC fans believe that Lesnar lost their first match up because of over-eagerness and mistakes due to inexperience. However, since their first meeting, Lesnar has shown a vast improvement in his ability to stay calm and less anxious. Take Lesnar vs. Herring for example. In that fight, Lesnar was flying all across the cage, clearly over-anxious. However, in his fight with Couture, he was calm and much less wild. This vast improvement took place in only a one-fight period. Considering Lesnar is a fast learner, heralded NCAA wrestling champ, and a beast with natural power, this rematch should prove to be very interesting; especially now that Lesnar has “found himself” in the cage.

What are his advantages when fighting Mir?

Lesnar’s biggest advantages are his size and power. He is 6’3 and 265 pounds, making him almost 30 pounds heavier than Mir as well as one of the largest and most powerful men in the UFC. But unlike most big men that tire more quickly and are limited in their agility, Lesnar is not plagued by these problems.

He showed no signs of fatigue during a hard fought three rounds against Heath Herring. He is also very agile, which he clearly demonstrated in his first fight with Mir, taking him down almost immediately, and then dominating, for the most part, on the ground with his superior agility and strength (until Mir’s leg lock, which I don’t think he’ll be lucky enough to pull off this time around).

Frank Mir

Who did he fight last, what was the outcome?

Mir last fought at UFC 92 against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the interim heavyweight title. Nogueira was a huge MMA veteran with 37 total fights. Mir won the fight with a strong TKO victory in the first round.

What has he done to improve as a fighter since their last meeting?

Mir was already very well-rounded when they first met. His superior experience became clear when he turned a ferocious beating, and potentially devastating loss, into a leg lock which ended the fight and earned him the victory. There is always room for improvement, but I don’t know how much Mir has improved other than in his experience. I think he will mostly be the same fighter.

What are his advantages when fighting Lesnar?

His biggest strength in fighting Lesnar for the second time, is his experience from their first fight. He knows about Lesnar’s strong ground game, but also knows what to look for when exploiting Lesnar. Mir knows he is not as good a wrestler as Lesnar, but his upright game is much better. Mir’s clearest advantage will be to force Lesnar to stay on his feet, where he is less experienced. He got lucky on the ground against Lesnar in their first fight. Lesnar will not likely make the same mistakes in their second.

Most people consider Mir to be a big underdog this time around. However, Mir is no stranger to being the underdog and has been for most of his big fights. Fans should be advised not to sleep on Mir during this fight. Mir still has much to offer the UFC, and while Lesnar’s star is rising, Mir’s star has far from gone out.

Crossing Over: Brock Lesnar

Everyone knows that professional wrestling is highly entertaining, the athletes are extremely skilled, and very real injuries do occur – but all the action, fake! When athletes make the transition from “professional wrestling,” into other sports, there is justifiably a large amount of skepticism about the ability of that athlete to successfully perform. Last year, Brock Lesnar, of WWE/WWF fame, made the bold transition from performer and entertainer, to prize fighter. Lesnar however, does have legitimacy for his transition.

Lesnar had a stellar amateur wrestling career. He went 33-0 his senior year of high school, and moved on to wrestle at Bismarck State College, in Bismarck, North Dakota. At Bismarck, Lesnar excelled, gaining NJCAA All American status and became the 1998 NJCAA heavy weight champion. After two years at Bismarck, he was granted a wrestling scholarship to the University of Minnesota for his junior and senior years. At Minnesota he gained NCAA All American status, and was crowned the 2000 NCAA heavy weight champion. A star was born, but his career after college was uncertain. Lesnar turned to “professional wrestling” as an outlet through which he could continue his success.

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Lesnar signed with the World Wrestling Federation, later the World Wrestling Entertainment in 2000, and began his training in what is essentially the “professional wrestling” minor leagues. He was called up in 2002 to join the roster, and his star quickly began to rise. Lesnar was set to defeat The Rock, the WWE’s biggest star at the time, and was crowned the heavy weight champion. After having reached the pinnacle of what he could accomplish in “professional wrestling,” Lesnar stayed in the wrestling game for two more years, until calling quits with hopes of going to the NFL. Lesnar was good enough to get looks from the Vikings, and was allowed to play with them in the preseason. How ever, he was cut late in the 2004 preseason, but given an invitation to be their representative in NFL Europa, which he declined.

Lesnar, with not much else to do, shifted his attention to MMA. After wrestling one year in Japan, and being defeated there, he decided to shift his sights to the UFC, which had gained much popularity since his WWE days. on February of 2008, Lesnar made his debut appearance on UFC 81 against former heavy weight champion Frank Mir. He was defeated but not deterred, and has been creating waves in the sport since. With the UFC having high expectations for his career after the Mir fight, at UFC 82 he fought Heath Herring, a veteran of MMA, and won by UD after three rounds. This was a big step for Lesnar. MMA icon, and heavy weight champion Randy Couture was to be Lesnar’s next opponent at UFC 91. To the surprise of many, Lesnar won via a technical knockout in the second round, and was crowned the new champion. The sport had its newest star, and Lesnar had achieved the success he could not find in “pro wrestling,” or football.

UFC 100, is scheduled to happen on July 11th. It is a milestone for the UFC, marking their 100th event and how far the UFC has come in only 16 years since their start in 1993. A rematch between Lesnar and Mir is scheduled to take place, and is one of the headlining fights on the card.

Lesnar’s successful transition is a rarity in sports. He is a testament to the incredible athleticism and perseverance of mixed martial artists. His star is on the rise, and he will surely find his greatest success in the UFC.

From UFC 1 to 100: Evolution of the UFC

To see athletes of different or similar fighting practices challenge each other – that has always been the goal behind the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

That goal has come a long way since the UFC’s conceptual development in 1991. The original concept was a single event tournament to discover the world’s best fighting style. The tournament aired in 1993, and was a mini-success, with nearly 90,000 Pay Per View buys. At the time the tournament aired, the entire concept of “mixed martial arts,” as we know it today, did not really exist. The tournament placed athletes of only one fighting art against each another, pitting boxers against Karate, and wrestlers against jiu jitsu and everything in between. Most times, fighters did not know what to do to handle the other opponent as they had never faced someone of that particular art, and the matches were often lacking in entertainment value. Another problem also existed. There were no weight classes, usually setting opponents together with huge size differentials. While this proved to be entertaining at times, this was not practical, especially if the UFC had any desire to be a legitimate organization.

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Due to its success, the UFC became a recurring tournament, but many aspects of the tournament needed to be addressed. With a tag-line that read “there are no rules!” and “fighting techniques” such as hair pulling, groin strikes and head butting allowed; the UFC had to revamp it’s entire concept if there was any hope in becoming a permanent fixture in the sporting community.

The tournament had aired five times but in 1995, it started to gain negative popularity, attracting wide press coverage from all over the nation, most of it very unfavorable. Political action was quickly taken against the UFC, and Senator John McCain led the campaign, calling the UFC “human cock fighting.” It was dropped shortly after by major cable and pay per view providers, and in 1997, 36 states had banned no-holds-barred fighting. The UFC was launched into the abyss of sports, thought by many to never be seen again.

However, in response to all the criticism, and much to the surprise of many, the UFC began to cooperate with state athletic commissions. The transformation of the UFC into a legitimate sporting event began to take place. The rules were revamped, eliminating the “dirty” aspects of the tournament like hair pulling, groin shots, and head butting, as well as putting an emphasis on the core elements of the UFC as we know it today; striking, grappling, and punching. With UFC 12 came the introduction of weight classes, UFC 14 mandatory gloves, UFC 15 the banning of strikes to the back of the head and neck, and UFC 21 the introduction of 5 minute rounds. By 1999, the UFC had evolved into a full-fledged sport, almost ready to be accepted by both politicians, and the sporting community. With UFC 28 in 2000, the final step was taken in legitimizing the UFC as an athletic organization, and the New Jersey State Athletic Commission sanctioned the event.

In 2001 the UFC was sold to Zuffa LLC and Dana White. With UFC 33 in September of that year, came it’s returned to main stream cable television and PPV. With effective advertisement and a partnership with the Spike TV network in 2005 for the development of the currently running show, The Ultimate Fighter, now in season 9, the UFC quickly gained mainstream popularity.

On July 11th, UFC 100 is scheduled to take place, and will mark a very important milestone for the UFC. Sixteen years and 100 events since its creation in 1993; from a no-holds-barred tournament with sumo wrestlers and kick boxers to what it is known as today. The card will be headlined by Frank Mir vs. Brock Lesnar. Ten other fights are on both combined main, and undercard, for an event that is sure to out do the last; something the UFC seems to accomplish with all their recent events.

Despite much adversity, the UFC is the quickest growing sport in American and a far cry from its early no-holds-barred days. It is no longer just a tournament but a multimillion dollar organization and mainstream sporting event. The fighters that participate in the UFC are no longer athletes of two very different fighting arts. This current generation of fighters has a very mixed array of skills, and study everything from wrestling to Jiu Jitsu. The UFC is beginning to reach global audiences, and recently held its first event, UFC 99 early this month, in mainland Europe. With good fights, smart advertising, and entertaining television, the UFC’s future is very bright.

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