Posts tagged: Tim Sylvia

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

Affliction: Back To The Basics

When the popular clothing brand Affliction, which markets itself to fighters and fans of “extreme” sports, launched Affliction Entertainment in June of 2008, the MMA world was very optimistic. It was the makings of what could potentially be the next major promotional organization. One that would gather up all the great fighters not signed under the UFC. However, many remained apprehensive as it was unclear if Affliction was poised for greatness or destined for bankruptcy.

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Affliction: Banned, took place a month later in Anaheim, California at the Honda Center. The fight card was stacked, and would include a fight between former Pride FC heavyweight champion Fedor Emeliankenko and former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia. It also featured two other heavyweight and one light heavyweight fight, each including a former UFC champion.

With an exciting fight card, free to watch undercard, live performance from the band Megadeath, and famed ring announcer Michael Buffer, it seemed that Affliction had the ability to achieve all the fan’s expectations.

The event had a total attendance of 14,832, grossing $2,085,510 at the gate and well over 100 thousand pay-per-view buys which generated somewhere in the ball park of another $2.1 million. This made their total revenue from the event around $4.2 million.

Banned was considered a mini success; nearly selling out the Honda Center and experiencing record high pay-per-view purchases, more than any MMA promotional company other than the UFC.

However, everything hadn’t played out as well as things seemed. Behind the facade of a packed Honda Center and solid pay-per-view numbers, Affliction Entertainment had taken a hard financial hit. What seemed like a healthy growth in the company; was in reality the beginnings of a bloody financial ulcer.

Affliction had purchased nearly one quarter of total gate earnings themselves and total fighter payroll for the event was $3,332,100; more than three quarters of estimated revenue. After fighter salaries, many expenses were still unpaid. With less than a million dollars left to do so, Affliction was bleeding profusely.

In January of this year, six months after Banned, Affliction: Day of Reckoning was scheduled to take place. Another stacked fight card featuring Emelianenko defending his title against former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski, and former light heavyweight UFC champion Vitor Belfort in a 195 pound catchweight fight; meant another stacked payroll.

The event which once again took place at the Honda Center, had 13,255 in attendance with a total gate of $1,512,750, and was projected to have between 150,000 and 200,000 PPV buys. But with a reported payroll of $3,318,660 plus bonuses, the financial hemorrhage was only made more profuse.

Affliction: Trilogy was scheduled to take place on the first of this month, nearly seven months since their last event. The main card was destined to be an MMA classic, featuring the much anticipated match up between Emelianenko and former UFC & Pride sensation, Josh Barnett.

To the shock of the MMA world, Barnett was forced to pull out of the fight 10 days prior to the event due to positive steroid tests. The fight that was supposed to pull Affliction Entertainment out of bankruptcy was now the final nail in the coffin for the company.

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Ridiculous payrolls, long periods of time between events, and lack of hype and advertisement had all taken their toll and on July 24, Affliction Entertainment declared bankruptcy.

Although Affliction Entertainment is no more, Affliction Clothing was a separate entity and is still a vibrant company. They once again have a deal with the UFC to sponsor fighters. It was a falling out between the two companies in January of last year that had lead to the formation of the now defunct Affliction Entertainment.

The fate of the fighters signed with Affliction is uncertain. However, it is suspected that the UFC will pick up the contracts of some 22 or so fighters left out in the cold by the cancelation of Trilogy. But for right now, their fate is largely uncertain. What we can be certain about is that when the UFC decides to sign some of the best fighters in the world, it can only mean exciting things for MMA fans.

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