UFC 131 Weigh-In Results: All Fighters On Target

nullThe biggest heavyweight clash since Lesnar vs. Velasquez is official.

Both Junior dos Santos and Shane Carwin stepped on the scales for UFC 131 weigh ins on Friday and Carwin came in at 245 pounds while dos Santos weighed in at 239.

Carwin looked healthy after nearly a year away from competition due to back surgery while dos Santos looked solid and trim, as he is somewhat of a lighter heavyweight.

The big question at the weigh in was how Kenny Florian would look as he makes his 145-pound debut. Florian came in at 146 pounds and is official to take on Diego Nunes, who weighed in at 145 pounds.

Check out the rest of the weigh-in information after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Early Betting Odds for UFC 131

nullUFC 131 is set to go down this Saturday and BetOnFighting.com has the early odds for this weekend’s event.

10 bouts have odds thus far and in the main event, Junior dos Santos is a slight favorite at -180 against Shane Carwin, who has a money line of +150. This matchup is a battle of two powerful strikers and will likely end up with a brutal KO one way or another. The question of the bout will be about which fighter can take a punch better than the other.

In the co-main event, Kenny Florian is a clear favorite at -280 for his featherweight debut against Diego Nunes, who has odds of +200. Florian is a veteran of the octagon and one of the top lightweights in the world, but is now making the drop to 145 pounds. Nunes is a bit of an unknown to UFC fans, but a very tough challenge for Florian to open with.

For the rest of the odds to UFC 131, check out the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

UFC 131 Preview: Junior dos Santos vs. Shane Carwin

nullThe UFC heavyweight division should clear up on Saturday night when two of the top contenders face off in the main event of UFC 131.

Both men are powerful strikers and hard to get to the ground with their strength and size. It is likely this fight ends in the first five minutes with a brutal KO. The question is, which fighter will land the big punch.

Here is a look at both fighters heading into this contest.

Shane Carwin (12-1) – Carwin was a collegiate wrestler and he arguably has the most powerful hands in the division. His four wins in the octagon have all come by first round KO in under four minutes. He had Brock Lesnar reeling before gassing out in the second round in his last UFC fight. Now, coming off of back surgery, it will be interesting to see if Carwin has lost anything in his time off. Can he still supply the same power and will he have the cardio to go more than five minutes in need be? We haven’t seen Carwin tested on the ground, but that is because nobody has been able to get him to the ground.

Junior dos Santos (12-1) – Junior is also 12-1 in his MMA career and he is 6-0 in the UFC with four wins by KO. Dos Santos has big hands and a lot of quickness, and he is supposed to be a very sound jiu-jitsu fighter as well, but he has never had his fights go to the ground due to his dominance in the striking game. Junior has been taken past the first round twice in the UFC and still held up strong. He did start to fatigue against Roy Nelson, but it was more from throwing so many punches rather than being in danger of losing. Junior probably feels he is the better striker in this matchup, but that has yet to be determined.

Who Will Win: I actually like the underdog, Carwin, in this matchup. I think he can match dos Santos in striking and he won’t be taken to the ground where he could be submitted. Junior has yet to face someone with the skill set and size of Carwin, and I think that will be the deciding factor in this fight. Carwin can take a punch, and he can certainly dish them out. One big strike from Carwin will rattle dos Santos and open the door for another first round TKO for Carwin.

Your weekly MMA TV Schedule update

nullIt’s another Sunday night, which means we have another MMA on TV update.

This week is pretty thin during the week as The Ultimate Fighter wrapped up its season, but the weekend still features another big UFC PPV, UFC 131.

- On Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, the Countdown to UFC 131 debuts on SpikeTV. The hour-long program will take an inside look at key fighters for this Saturday’s PPV event. The main aspect of the show will focus on the main event between heavyweights Junior dos Santos and Shane Carwin. The show will replay on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET and 2 a.m. ET on Versus as well as midnight on Friday on SpikeTV.

- On Friday at 10 p.m. ET, HDNet will air Maximum Fighting Championship 30: Up Close & Personal live from the Mayfield Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta. The main event is a lightweight showdown between Drew Fickett and Brian Cobb while Marcus Davis and Pete Spratt meet in a fight between two UFC veterans.

- On Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on PPV, UFC 131 will take place from the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia. Carwin and dos Santos face off in the main event while Kenny Florian makes his featherweight debut against Diego Nunes. Demian Maia also faces off with Mark Munoz in a middleweight bout while Donald Cerrone takes on Vagner Rocha in a lightweight contest. Some of the prelim bouts will air live on SpikeTV at 8 p.m. ET and other bouts are expected to air live on Facebook.

Top 10 Heavyweight Rankings

nullWe have worked our way back around to the heavyweights in the rankings list.

The division has been pretty quiet for the last two months, but June will provide some big shakeups with UFC 131 and the second half of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.

So, without further ado, here is the list.

1. Cain Velasquez (9-0): The UFC Heavyweight Champion continues to await his next opponent while recovering from shoulder surgery. Newly married, Velasquez will find out whether Junior dos Santos or Shane Carwin is next at UFC 131.

2. Junior dos Santos (12-1): Junior appears to be the top contender in the UFC heavyweight division, but he has to prove it next weekend against Shane Carwin. Originally set to face Brock Lesnar, dos Santos will now face one of the toughest strikers in the division in Carwin. The fight should be explosive and end with a brutal KO.

3. Shane Carwin (12-1): Carwin had hit a bit of a funk after having back surgery following his loss to Lesnar last summer, but now he finds himself with a little bit of luck. With Lesnar injured, Carwin now immediately jumps into the title picture with a win over dos Santos at UFC 131.

Read the rest of this entry »

5 June bouts to mark down on your calendar

nullThe month of June is stacked for MMA fans.

Over the next month, three UFC shows will take place, including one PPV. The second half of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix will be held as well, and Bellator will kick off its next season.

With that in mind, here are the top five bouts I am most looking forward to in June.

1. June 4 – Ultimate Fighter Finale – Anthony Pettis (13-1) vs. Clay Guida (28-11) – The main event of this Saturday’s Ultimate Fighter Season 13 Finale is the fight I’m most looking forward to. Anthony Pettis is set to make his UFC debut after ending the WEC as its lightweight champion with his “Showtime Pettis Kick” against Ben Henderson. His first challenge is a big one, as he takes on perennial UFC lightweight contender, Clay Guida. Both men possess great problems for the other as Pettis has the size and striking edge while Guida has the grappling edge. Both fighters will also leave everything in the cage, which should make for an exciting 15 minutes of action, if the fight goes that long.

2. June 18 – Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix – Alistair Overeem (34-11) vs. Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1) – Something has to give between the top two heavyweights in Strikeforce. It was odds to see them placed against one another in the first round of this Grand Prix, but as a fight fan, I won’t complain. Both men have been hyped up as top-of-the-line heavyweights in any organization, but someone has to live up to that hype, and someone’s hype will come crashing down. Overeem has been a bully in the cage as of late, just over-powering opponents with his striking while Werdum was the man to end Fedor’s long reign as king of MMA. Whose style will play out and allow them to advance in the grand prix?

Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Heyman working with UFC fighters

nullOne story that emerged on the MMA front this past weekend was that new UFC 131 main eventer, Shane Carwin, is working with Paul Heyman.

For those of you not familiar with Heyman, he was the creator of ECW – Extreme Championship Wrestling, and also spent time in the WCW and WWE. He was the “manager” of Brock Lesnar during his stint in the WWE and has remained a close friend of Lesnar over the years.

Here are some snipits of just what Heyman is doing with Carwin, courtesy of Bloody Elbow.

This is not a deal with UFC, but the production company that does the Countdown special and Spike TV hired Heyman to help with the Countdown show for UFC 131. His role was to help Brock Lesnar promote the fight, and with Lesnar pulling out, they asked him if he’d instead work with Carwin, which he’s doing. It’s not a UFC hire. The idea of Heyman working with UFC in teaching fighters how to promote matches (and how not to) isn’t the world’s worst idea.

I know some MMA fans will probably freak out over this and start to worry that the UFC is working toward pro wrestling, but that is not the case.

What the UFC needs is some better mic men. Not to say a fighter can’t speak with his actions in the octagon, but to sell a fight and a PPV, the UFC needs to have some guys that can compel the average fan to pay money to watch them fight.

There is a reason that Brock Lesnar is a huge draw and that Tito Ortiz still is relevant in the UFC. That is because they both have hype skills and pull emotions out of the viewers.

Shane Carwin is a beast of a fighter and really exciting to watch, but to hear him talk, he is somewhat robotic. Heyman will do his best to tap into the personality of Carwin, and hopefully sell his main event bout at UFC 131 with Junior dos Santos.

Carwin excited for opportunity to face dos Santos

nullWhen word came that Brock Lesnar was unable to fight at UFC 131 against Junior dos Santos in June, it seemed like a no-brainer to throw Shane Carwin into the main event.

The burly heavyweight was excited at the chance to step in for Lesnar and didn’t want to let an opportunity pass him by, as he said in his blog.

I was training and my phone was blowing up so I looked over and saw some missed calls from Dana and Joe Silva.  I reached out to my manager to see what was going on and he informed me that we are taking Lesnar’s spot for 131.

Junior is a serious fight and not the type of fight that you would normally take on a 30 day notice but I have a dream to chase and I do not have a lot of time to chase it.  This is an opportunity to put myself in contention for the title.  I know my Coaches will have me ready so I have everything to gain.

My manager said “This is where you belong” and I am going to make sure I do everything I can to prove him right.

Please help make UFC 131 one of the biggest cards in the year.

I hope Brock is able to recover.  I look forward to facing him again one day.

Carwin has been out of action since July 3 of last year when he lost by submission to Lesnar in the second round. Since that time, Carwin underwent back surgery.

For dos Santos, this fight is a big change in styles, as he will now face a striker that is able to match his power and ability. Carwin can wrestle too, but he looks more for the quick knockout than the takedown.

It should be an explosive fight that I can’t see getting past the first round.

Lesnar pulls out of UFC 131 due to diverticulitis

nullIt’s been a bad week for the UFC.

After already having its UFC 130 main event cancelled, the company announced today that Brock Lesnar is pulling out of his UFC 131 main event fight with Junior dos Santos due to a second bout of diverticulitis, the same illness that shelved the former champion a few years ago.

MMAFighting.com’s Michael David Smith had all the info.

In a blockbuster announcement Thursday afternoon, UFC President Dana White revealed that Brock Lesnar is once again suffering from diverticulitis and will not be able to fight at UFC 131. Instead, the main event on that fight card will be Junior dos Santos vs. Shane Carwin.

“I want to thank the UFC, I want to thank Mr. White and I want to apologize to Junior dos Santos and Spike TV,” Lesnar said. “This is an unfortunate situation for me. I dodged a bullet about two years ago with diverticulitis, at that time not knowing what the problem was. … Diverticulitis is something that never goes away. It’s something I’ve dealt with since the first occurrence and I’ve been battling it.”

Lesnar said that he has been feeling sick for three months and has been on antibiotics, and that “It didn’t allow me to train to my full capabilities. I was forced to make a decision to go back to the doctor this week.” Lesnar said he spent 14 hours talking to doctors at the Mayo Clinic this week, and although he insisted that the illness won’t end his career and that he won’t retire from MMA, he said there’s simply no way he can fight as scheduled in June.

The loss of Lesnar will really hurt the PPV draw of UFC 131, as Lesnar’s last two fights brought in over 1 million buys for the company.

While the fight between dos Santos and Carwin is very intriguing, Lesnar is one of the UFC’s biggest stars. More importantly, it appears that this diverticulitis could be a problem all of Lesnar’s life and jeopardize his MMA career.

Well, these types of things like to happen in three’s, so if UFC 132 main eventers Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz are smart, they will start wrapping themselves in bubble wrap now.

Brock Lesnar top paid MMA star

nullIn the world of not surprising news, ESPN released the list of top paid athletes in 30 different sports and Brock Lesnar was the top-paid MMA star of the last year.

Lesnar brought in $5.3 million according to the report, which factors in all the money he made through the UFC as part of base salary and earnings. That total doesn’t include endorsements, appearance fees, or sponsorship money.

Needless to say, Brock Lesnar is doing pretty well.

Some may argue that Lesnar shouldn’t be the highest-paid athlete in MMA, but the numbers back up the fact that he should. Lesnar’s PPV events do over $1 million buys, which put more money in the UFC’s pocket, thus putting more money in his pocket.

Love him or hate him, he is a draw, and the UFC is paying based on who will make them the most money, not just who is the best fighter.

Jon Fitch is a great fighter, but people aren’t lining up to see him fight on the main event of a card.

Lesnar made a base salary of $400,000 for his win over Shane Carwin at UFC 116, which means that he has some hefty bonuses and gate percentages in his contract.

On a side note, Lesnar ranked 12th on this list of highest paid athletes in each sport, just edging women’s tennis star Kim Clijsters. Essentially that means that MMA ranks about 12th on the pay scale of all sports.

While it is unknown just how much money most fighters make these days, it is clear that you can make a healthy living in MMA if you climb your way to the top and you are a polarizing figure.