Dana White stands firm, Marquardt done with the UFC

nullI guess it wasn’t an emotional reaction from Dana White after all.

Just minutes after Nate Marquardt was declared unable to compete at UFC Live 4, White stated that Marquardt was done with the UFC.

Now, despite Marquardt’s tearful apology and a hoard of Twitter followers trying to influence White to rethink his decision, the UFC President stood firm about his choice during the UFC 132 Pre-Fight Press Conference on Thursday. Here is what White told MMAFighting.com.

“Nate’s done,” said White. “I’m done with Nate. Listen, Nate’s a really nice guy. He’s a really sweet, nice, humble guy, but the facts are the facts and it is what it is. It’s easier to go after a guy like Josh Barnett. He’s just callous and rude and he’s a d–k. So when he does it it’s easier to just go, you know what, f–k Josh Barnett. The difference is, Nate’s such a sweet, nice guy, but the same results.”

“The difference with Chael and Marquardt, is we can talk about everything in the Chael incident. We can’t with Marquardt. I’ve seen some of the stuff people are saying. You think I’m this crazy, emotional psycho. Give me a break. This isn’t the first time. Everybody’s like, ‘Oh, give him a second chance.’ This would be like the fourth time.”

“He tested positive before, then apparently he was on suspension with New Jersey, because his levels were high, then he comes into [Pittsburgh] and he doesn’t pass his medicals. Now you tell me: is that the fourth chance? Or is that a second chance? Sounds like a fourth chance to me.”

It appears that Marquardt’s run with the UFC is indeed over and he probably only has himself to blame. Hopefully he still is able to land on his feet in some capacity.

UFC 132 Preview: Ryan Bader vs. Tito Ortiz

nullWill this be the swan song for “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy”?

One of the first superstars of MMA was Tito Ortiz, but on Saturday, he can be facing his last appearance in the octagon if he is unable to beat, or maybe just compete, against Ryan Bader.

Bader was one win away from perhaps fighting for the UFC Light Heavyweight championship, but he was dominated by current champ, Jon Jones.

Here is a breakdown of both fighters heading into this contest.

Tito Ortiz (15-8-1) – Ortiz is 0-4-1 in his last five fights and he hasn’t picked up a victory since 2006. Ortiz is a strong wrestler, but he has never quite evolved in his striking and many of the top light heavyweights have been able to match his wrestling ability. His last loss saw him taken down by Matt Hamill, and Ryan Bader appears to be a more explosive wrestler than Hamill.

Ryan Bader (12-1) – Bader ran through the UFC until facing Jones, but he picked up some solid wins along the way. Bader has used a mixture of takedowns and big hooks to beat his opponents. While he isn’t a great technical striker, he has some good power. He is able to fake takedowns and follow up with a big overhand hook because his opponents are too busy preparing for the shot. Bader is very athletic and can push a good pace for a 15-minute fight. Bader did struggle with the wrestling of Jon Jones, and Ortiz does have some good explosiveness in his takedown attempts.

Who Will Win – Ortiz is skilled, but he just doesn’t have what it takes to beat today’s superior MMA fighters. Bader is a better version of what Ortiz was in his prime. I see Bader being able to stuff Ortiz’ takedown attempts and Bader being able to get Ortiz down a few times each round. I also see Bader getting the best of the striking exchanges in this fight. Look for Bader to win by decision.

Top 10 Lightweight Rankings

nullThe lightweight division is as impressive a group as any in MMA.

The top 10 list features a number of different styles and contenders, but each fighter could arguably beat everyone else on the list.

Still, here are my updated top 10 lightweight rankings.

1. Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) – Edgar holds on to the top spot as he still is the UFC champion. An injury kept him from facing Gray Maynard in their long-awaited trilogy fight, but those two should collide soon and be able to settle the score as to who deserves to be the champion.

2. Gray Maynard (10-0-1) – Maynard is still unbeaten but missed out on his opportunity to win the championship when he had Edgar beaten at UFC 125. Now, he will have to wait for a third shot at Edgar this fall where he can perhaps prove to the world that he is the top lightweight in the world.

3. Gilbert Melendez (19-2) – Melendez could legitimately compete for the UFC title, but he hasn’t had the opportunity to do so. Now that the UFC is tapping into Strikeforce, perhaps a champion vs. champion bout is in the near future. Until then, Melendez looks as if he will continue to tear up Strikeforce competition.

Read the rest of this entry »

UFC 132 Preview: Chris Leben vs. Wanderlei Silva

nullThe idea of Chris Leben and Wanderlei Silva fighting each other is enough to get any fight fan excited.

However, a fight that gets this kind of hype rarely lives up to expectations.

Still, this contest should be a slugfest and has me excited for Saturday.

Here is a breakdown of the fight.

Wanderlei Silva (33-10-1) – Silva hasn’t fought in over a year since he won a decision over Michael Bisping. He is one of the top strikers of all time as he has some pretty notorious KO victories. Over recent year, Silva has struggled with a weaker chin, as he was KO’d in three of his last five losses. Silva is also just 2-5 in his last seven fights, but he is still one of the most feared men in all of MMA.

Chris Leben (25-7) – Leben is coming off a TKO loss to Brian Stann at UFC 125, which derailed a nice train of momentum he had going for him. Leben has some big hands, but tends to struggle with grapplers and crisp technical strikers. Stann, Michael Bisping, and Anderson Silva each picked Leben apart in the octagon.

Who Will Win: When I talk about technical striking, Wanderlei Silva isn’t necessarily in that discussion. He loops big punches that take a long time to deliver. Leben isn’t necessarily real technical either. This basically comes down to which fighter will land the big punch first. I think Leben has a real good shot to win, but my gut just won’t let me pick him. I will take Silva by TKO in the second round.

NSAC’s Keith Kizer explains Testosterone Replacement Treatment and its role in MMA

The Nate Marquardt-testosterone replacement treatment story is something that has become a hot-button issue in today’s MMA.

It was first brought to light this past fall with Chael Sonnen and now has become the reason Nate Marquardt couldn’t compete at UFC Live 4 last Sunday and subsequently was fired by Dana White and the UFC.

Nevada State Athletic Comission’s Executive Director, Keith Kizer, spoke to Tapout about TRT and how it can be properly done and why it is important in MMA.

Cleary the athletic commissions feels that TRT is an acceptable thing for fighters that need it, but the rules still seem a little lenient.

Marquardt says high testosterone level is what caused failed test, going through hormone replacement therapy

nullNate Marquardt went all Chael Sonnen on us.

During Tuesday’s edition of the MMA Hour, Nate Marquardt appeared live in studio with his manager Lex McMahon as they spoke to Ariel Helwani to address his firing from the UFC for a failed medical exam prior to his UFC Live 4 bout with Rick Story.

According to Marquardt, he has been battling low testosterone levels since August of 2010 and began hormone replacement therapy under the advisement of his doctor.

Marquardt had been altering his therapy sessions in terms of frequency and intensity and that caused his testosterone levels to alter.

Three weeks prior to the fight, Marquardt discovered that his testosterone levels were too high to get licensed for the fight. He stopped doing the therapy sessions, but they didn’t bring his levels back to an acceptable level by the time the medical exam took place on Saturday.

The Pennsylvania Athletic Commission suspended Marquardt indefinitely for the failed test, but Marquardt stated that his testosterone levels are now at an acceptable level and he is in the process of getting his license back.

Marquardt also indicated that the hormone therapy was an issue for his UFC 128 bout with Dan Miller, but he still tested at an acceptable level prior to the bout, so he was cleared to fight.

Marquardt says that he used to take andro over the counter until 2005, which he thinks may have led to his low testosterone levels.

Still, Marquardt was fired from the UFC for the failed test on Saturday. Now, remember that Chael Sonnen was caught with high testosterone levels following his bout with Anderson Silva last year and he has not fought again since, but he was never fired by the UFC.

Should the UFC give Marquardt another chance? Did Marquardt tell the whole story?

I am sure we have not heard the last of this.

UFC 132 Preview: Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber

nullCan Dominick Cruz learn from past mistakes or is history doomed to repeat itself?

That’s the main storyline heading into Saturday’s UFC Bantamweight Championship bout.

Faber beat Cruz by submission in just 1:38 back at WEC 26 on March 24, 2007. Cruz is now a much different fighter, but will it matter against his rival?

Here is a breakdown of both fighters and my pick for this contest.

Dominick Cruz (17-1) – The bantamweight champion has won his last eight bouts since the loss to Faber. He has been on a tear as of late, dominating each of his opponents. Cruz uses a lot of footwork with his striking as he keeps his opponents from being able to settle in. Cruz also has very explosive takedowns, which he likes to use late in rounds to put an exclamation point on his dominance. Cruz has managed to easily defeat strikers and grapplers in his recent string of wins.

Urijah Faber (25-4) – Faber is one of the all-time greats for the lighter weight fighters. He has very quick hands and a strong wrestling base. He also has developed solid submission skills over his storied career. Faber has had 20 of his 25 wins come by stoppage with 13 coming by submission. Typically Faber likes to use his quick hands to work jabs and combinations. If the fight goes to the ground, Faber uses his strength to control the fight and usually finds a way to work in a submission.

Who Will Win – Both men are unorthodox, but I don’t see a scenario where Cruz isn’t able to use his style and make Faber have to take chances. That will open the door for Cruz to get his takedowns and control the fight. Faber may have the quickest hands Cruz has ever faced, but Faber has yet to fight someone that has the style that Cruz currently has. It was a problem for his teammate, Joseph Benavidez, and I see it being a problem for him as well. I will take Cruz to successfully defend his title by unanimous decision.

Your weekly MMA TV schedule update

nullA Sunday UFC event threw off our weekly TV update, so here it is on Monday night.

This week, the TV focus is solely on UFC 132, as the premiere MMA organization puts on a pretty strong card on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

- On Wednesday, the Countdown to UFC 132 premiers on SpikeTV at 1:12 p.m. ET. The UFC lists the time, which seems like an odd time to begin a show. The show will go in depth about the key bouts of UFC 132. It will re-air on SpikeTV on Thursday at 11 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m. It will also re-air on Versus on Thursday at 7 p.m.

- Prior to the UFC PPV on Saturday, SpikeTV will air UFC 132 Prelims Live at 8 p.m. The two free prelims on SpikeTV are expected to be a pair of lightweight showdowns as Melvin Guillard faces off with Shane Roller and George Sotiropoulos takes on Rafael Dos Anjos.

- At 9 p.m. ET, UFC 132 airs live on PPV. The main event of the card features a bantamweight championship bout between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber. In the co-main event, strikers Chris Leben and Wanderlei Silva meet in a middleweight clash. Light Heavyweights Tito Ortiz and Ryan Bader will also face off in a featured bout.

Early UFC 132 Betting Odds: Cruz Favored over Faber

nullUFC 132 takes place this Saturday night from Las Vegas and our friends at BetOnFighting.com have released their odds for six of the bouts on the card.

In the main event, UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz is a slight favorite to beat challenger Urijah Faber. Cruz has odds of -130 while Faber has a money line of +100.

Faber is the only blemish on Cruz’ record, but Cruz is a much different fighter now and Faber has somewhat underwhelmed in his short time at bantamweight.

In the co-main event, Wanderlei Silva (-185) is favored to beat Chris Leben (+155) in what should be a slugfest in the middleweight division. Both men are standup fighters that like to trade punches. You would expect someone to get KO’d in this one.

Silva has the more impressive wins list, but his chin is not nearly as strong as it once was. Leben isn’t a great technical striker, but when he hits you, it does a lot of damage.

In what could be Tito Ortiz’ final bout with the UFC, he is a heavy underdog (+365) in his contest with wrestling standout Ryan Bader (-465).

Bader has just one loss in his career, to current champion Jon Jones. Ortiz hasn’t won a fight since beating Ken Shamrock in October of 2006. He hasn’t beaten anyone currently relevant since he beat Forrest Griffin in a close decision in April of 2006.

Check out all the current odds for UFC 132 after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Shields vs. Ellenberger to take place at Ultimate Fight Night 25

nullIn some news that was quietly released on Sunday, it appears we have a main event for UFC Fight Night 25, dubbed “Battle on the Bayou”.

MMAFighting.com reported Sunday night that welterweights Jake Shields and Jake Ellenberger will collide. First rumors thought the bout may take place in San Jose at UFC 138, but it was announced on Tuesday that it will take place at UFC Fight Night 25.

Though the fight has not yet been made official by the UFC, sources close to the bout confirmed to MMA Fighting last week that the fighters have agreed to the planned matchup for this fall.

While a location for the fight is not yet certain, one possibility is the UFC’s planned Nov. 19 card in San Jose, Calif. That will be the promotion’s debut in the northern California city, about 40 miles south of the San Francisco Bay area, where Shields lives and trains. That event is likely to be UFC 138, though it has not yet been made official by the UFC.

Shields (26-5-1) is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 129 while Ellenberger (25-5) has won four in a row. His last win was a first round KO of Sean Pierson at UFC 129.

Ellenberger is one of the promotion’s top rising welterweights and this will be the biggest fight he has had to date. His striking should be vastly superior to that of Shields, but his takedown defense and grappling will certainly be tested.