Saturday, February 26, 2011

UFC 127 Preview

Since I have been blogging about UFC, I don't think I've ever seen a card I have been so unenthusiastic about. I'm definitely not paying for this, and I may even watch the Ring of Honor iPPV rather than this. It's not the main event so much as the undercard that bores me to tears (aside from Noke-Camozzi).
Welterweight bout: B.J. Penn (16-7-1) vs. Jon Fitch (23-3)
So we have the legendary BJ Penn taking on Jon Fitch. Penn gets the hunger here, as he has won three of his last 5. And those two losses are at the hands of the same person: the current champion who beat Penn, Frankie Edgar. I'm sure Penn would love his redemption against Edgar for the trilogy. Fitch has fought in 8 straight decisions, losing 1. I always am going to favor a fighter who can win by submission or KO more than decision. The only caveat is that Penn's last two losses were both decisions.
Winner: Penn
Middleweight bout: Michael Bisping (20-3) vs. Jorge Rivera (19-7)
I make no mystery about my personal disdain for Michael Bisping. I think he's the worst human being in MMA. It does not mean he isn't a good fighter, which makes me hate him so much more because I have to admit he's good. I like Jorge Rivera, a military man who has very crazy eyes. Rivera does actually have the momentum winning 4 of his last 5, as opposed to Bisping's 3. The numbers say to go with Rivera, but I'm going to go with Bisping as long as he's still Michael Bisping.
Winner: Bisping
Lightweight bout: George Sotiropoulos (14-2) vs. Dennis Siver (17-7)
Sotiropoulos is getting the rare chance to fight a UFC fight in his home nation. He will have the hometown advantage & the better win/loss record. He also has the momentum with 8 wins in a row. Siver is 6 for his last 7. What I like about Siver is that he has a wider range of victories than the Aussie.
Winner: Siver
Welterweight bout: Chris Lytle (30-17-5) vs. Brian Ebersole (46-14-1)
This should be a pretty interesting fight. These are two well-experienced veterans. Ebersole has fought 62 MMA fights in 30 years. What had you done by the time you were 30? (Here's a hint for me: I hadn't fought in 62 MMA fights.) How do you pick a winner here? My pick will be Lytle based on more fights in the higher caliber stage.
Winner: Lytle
Middleweight bout: Kyle Noke (18-4-1) vs. Chris Camozzi (14-3)
This fight will be hard for me to be unbiased, so bear with me. I'm a big Camozzi fan, mostly for being a follower of Team Darius, and one that I introduced him to. I also like Kyle Noke from their season on The Ultimate Fighter together. Both are coming off 4-fight win streaks. I'm going to go with Noke because he's fighting in his home country.
Winner: Noke

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Who Can Feed Me Popcorn?

Thank you, A-Rod, for giving us something we can always talk about. During the Super Bowl, he was spotted being fed popcorn by Cameron Diaz. For the video, click here. Now Cameron Diaz is not my cup of tea. Sorry, something about being touched by A-Rod just gives me a really scuzzy feeling. He's getting made fun of by the sports media, and probably rightfully so. I'm sure his team is going to have some fun with him and rightfully so. But in his defense (and I am usually the last to defend A-Rod), that WAS Cameron Diaz.
In honor of Cameron Diaz feeding A-Rod, I decided to come up with my own list of who I would like to feed me popcorn.
10. Megyn Kelly-I know she is the enemy, but she doesn't need to engage me in political discussions. Just look hot, blond and feed me popcorn. And then we'll talk sports, movies and the snacks we're eating. Like popcorn.
9. Yvonne Strahovski-Sarah on "Chuck" and one of the most beautiful women on television. I can tell you the very moment I became infautated with her. If it was not the first episode of Chuck, it had to be the second one. She was dressed in her pig tails, and the skirt and caused me shudders in places I hadn't known shudders before.
8. Nina Dobrev-My CW actresses on this list are brief so bear with me. My wife and I started watching Vampire Diaries a few weeks ago and since then, she has forsaken everything else in the world so she can watch it. And say what you want about the Salvatore brothers, but Dobrev on this show definitely makes this a pleasant experience. I would take any popcorn she tried to feed me.
7. Allison Brie-An actress who cut her acting chops on Hannah Montana, Brie has proven her versatility by playing the roles of Trudy Campbell on Mad Men and Annie Edison on Community. This season on Community she wore a red kimono. That was the moment she made this list. If you saw it, you know what I am talking about.
6. Gabrielle Union-I still remember the first time I saw Gabrielle Union. It was Bring It On. Before you ridicule me, Eliza Dushku Kirsten Dunst in a cheerleading movie. 'Nuff said. I was immediately smitten with Ms. Union and learned her name and have been madly infatuated ever since. What's crazy is that this woman is 38 and doesn't look a day over 25 still.
5. Jenny Wade-Honey Pie from the "Feast" movies, Liz Traynor from "The Good Guys" and she was on some show called "Reaper." ( I hate Tyler Labine so I never watched it.) She is very funny in real life (No, really, check out her Twitter feed) and I think would make whatever moment I spent with her unforgettable.
4. Olivia Munn-For a minute, take away the hotness. You have a funny geek. For geeky men, the geekier, the hotter. Daily Show correspondent, Maxim cover girl, cast member of Perfect Couples, what a perfect package. Did I mention she's really hot?
3. Arianny Celeste-There are fewer more beautiful women. Who has a better job in the world than a woman who walks around in a bikini every five minutes, gets to sit, wear a robe, drink her official bottled water and wave at the camera when they walk by? And if I was sitting in a luxury box with her, if the woman wanted to give me popcorn, I'd let her.
2. Christina Hendricks-By far one of the most beautiful women on television, known as the legendary Joan Holloway on Mad Men and one of the greatest feminine figures (both as a character and a body) in television history. She's exquisite on "Mad Men" and even more exquisite when not playing Joan.
1. My wife- Of course, with that beautiful smile and golden hair, there's nobody else in the world I would rather spend a romantic evening with. I also love her company and getting to explain to her really important things, like where the designated hitter stands on the field or that fielders have a choice of who they can tag out. She's so adorable and I love her so much. Plus, nobody looks hotter in a Chase Utley shirsey.
Only problem here... I don't like popcorn. Oh, well. If any of these women tried feeding me popcorn, I'd let them nonetheless.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Strikeforce Preview-Fedor vs. Silva "Clash of the Titans"

So you have to forgive my pun about the clash of the titans. There are 5 fights featured. This means some big boys with some big slugging. Lots of Goliath fighting Goliath.
Heavyweight Grand Prix quarterfinal bout: Fedor Emelianenko (32-2, 1 NC) vs.  Antonio Silva (15-2)
I love me some Antonio Silva. He looks like the henchman to a villain in a bad action film. You know, the one the action star has to defeat before he fights the arch-villain. Fedor looks like the arch-villain in that self-same  action film. The fun part is that they fight with the fury of arch-villains. Fedor is one of the greatest legends in MMA history. He's lost twice in 11 years of MMA fighting. That's 5 more years than Silva has had. Experience and hunger go to Fedor (Fedor lost his last fight so he needs this more.). Momentum and size go to Silva. I'm chickening out and predicting Fedor.
Winner: Fedor
Heavyweight Grand Prix quarterfinal bout: Andrei Arlovski (15-8) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (17-4)
I'm going to be honest. I love the Pit Bull Arlovski. He's one of my favorite heavyweights in this tourney. But it doesn't mean he's going to be the best. I know nothing of Kharitonov. Arlovski gets the hunger, size and experience (experience fighting in the states as well). Kharitonov gets the momentum. Arlovski's lost his last 3. Kharitonov has won 4 of his last 5. I'll be going for the Pit Bull, but I'm going with Kharitonov for the victory.
Winner: Kharitonov
Heavyweight Grand Prix reserve bout: Shane Del Rosario (10-0)  vs. Lavar Johnson (15-3)
Usually Strikeforce fights don't excite me but turn out pretty good in the long run. This is one that excites me. Del Rosario has never made it to the third round. Johnson has made it to the third round once (and it was a TKO). Johnson has been on a 7-fight win streak. One thing is for certain. This will be a slugfest. I'm going with Johnson just because Del Rosario can only hold his unbeaten streak for so long.
Winner: Johnson
Heavyweight Grand Prix reserve bout: Chad Griggs (9-1) vs. Gianpiero Villante (7-1)
This is going to be another slugfest between the big boys. Griggs is the guy who humiliated Bobby Lashley. Neither fighter have ever gone the distance. Griggs has been to the third round twice. Villante has been to the second round twice. Both fighters will be sucking wind like a Ultimate Fighter prelim. I may be wrong on this one, but I'm thinking Griggs puts him out.
Winner: Griggs
Heavyweight Grand Prix reserve bout: Valentijn Overeem (28-25) vs. Ray Sefo (2-0)
The Dutch brother of Alastair Overeem is taking on the Kiwi kickboxer-turned-MMA-fighter. Don't let that 2-0 record fool you. He is VERY experienced in combat sports, just not in the sacred confines of "The Octagon." Also, don't think that Overeem's record is all there is to him. Only two fights in his career have ended in decisions. Whether he ends it or not, there will be an ending. I'm going with Overeem.
Winner: Overeem
To follow me on Twitter, click here. For Facebook, click here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Michael Vick Gets a Key to the City?

First of all, before I continue this article, I need to come clean that I am an Eagles fan. I admit that at the beginning. I also grew up in Arlington and consider myself a very proud member of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Why I am an Eagles fan rather than a Cowboys fan is another story for a long time. But before I get into this subject, I need to disclose the fact I'm not going to be entirely neutral.

I remember when Michael Vick signed with the Eagles. It wasn't my first choice, but I remembered him from his playing days with the Falcons. If they found the great player in Michael Vick, I knew I could take the past as long as the future seemed to change.

Anybody can be a felon. Anybody can make a mistake. I'm pretty sure I make a few of those a day. My wife will probably tell you I make many. Have I done some things I wish I hadn't done? Sure. Taking my year-old-daughter to a Rangers-Cubs game in June in Texas, seeing "Southland Tales" with my wife, going to a high school for three years with my wife and never noticing her. How many times have we been tempted to steal something, to speed, to run that red light or stop sign, to murder, to commit adultery? We are all just one mistake from becoming a convicted felon.

Michael Vick was convicted. I am not doubting his guilt or innocence. The guy did it, received his punishment like a man and did his time. Except something happened that made him unique. Vick moved on. Yes, there is a scarlet letter that will forever be on his chest because of his background with dogfighting. Vick had made some really bad choices on whom he chose to spend his time with. But he began to make some better decisions (like working with Tony Dungy, a man whose veracity or sincerity is never doubted). And slowly, he began to make up for everything he had ever done in the way every sports player does-he played well.
Whether you like it or you don't, that is the way to overcome any wrong you've ever done. Play well.

Now I know that playing well doesn't excuse him for everything he did wrong. And I don't think he's entirely immune from all his past sins. There are still consequences for what he did, and there always will be. But I think he's gone out there and will live his life like he's supposed to. He's been a good story that you can make a mistake and still rise above it. His story is a story of redemption. For that he was being rewarded.

Would I give him the key to the city? Probably not. There's people out there who deserve it more, I'm sure. But I don't have a city, so it's not my choice to choose who I want to give it to. If I'm wanting to tell a story of redemption, I might tell one with Nate Newton or Josh Hamilton or some other athlete in D/FW who has risen above his past. There's many stories to tell here. I'm not sure Vick is the best one.

To read the full article, click here. There is some fool who tries to bait Vick outside in a hall somewhere. This is nothing more than some bush-league reporter making a pathetically desperate attempt for attention.

Maybe I have a different perspective on this, but I understand the cruelty to animals. I cry every time I hear Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" like the rest of us. But what about the DUI's? How long before somebody takes out a family of four? What about somebody arrested for domestic assault? Will Smith of the Saints was "arrested, charged with domestic abuse battery after allegedly grabbing his wife by hair and pulling her down the street." Now tell me. Between Smith and Vick, which is worse? And if your choice is Vick for being worse, go see a doctor. You have no pulse.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

UFC 126 Preview

Well, UFC 126 is shaping up to be a really great night of fighting. I wasn't too excited and then began breaking down the card. I am now really pumped for this night.
UFC Middleweight Championship bout: Anderson Silva (27-4) (c) vs. Vitor Belfort (19-8)
The Spider. With respect to GSP, Silva is the greatest fighter of this generation. 7 title defenses in a row. That is completely unprecedented. He's the Tiger Woods, the Michael Phelps, the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. He's our shining star. Facing him is a well-traveled veteran. Belfort fought at UFC 12. Yes, I typed that right. Looking at his wins is like a "Who's who?" of MMA history: Wanderlei Silva, Randy Couture & Rich Franklin. In all fairness, so are his losses: Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture & Tito Ortiz. I WANT to see Belfort win. I'm the guy who cheers against Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning & Sidney Crosby, just because they're good. But I don't know that Vitor will be able to crush The Spider.
Winner: Silva
Light Heavyweight bout: Forrest Griffin (17-6) vs. Rich Franklin (28-5, 1 NC)
I don't think I overshoot their importance in this industry to say these two are living legends. Franklin, former Middleweight Champion, versus Griffin, former Light Heavyweight Champion and winner of the first Ultimate Fighter. This is the Clash of the Titans, but no Harry Hamlin chin or Liam Neeson yelling "Release the Kraken." I'm not really sure how to pick a winner here. I'm not even sure who I'll be rooting for. Magic 8 Ball says...
Winner: Griffin
Light Heavyweight bout: Jon Jones (11-1) vs. Ryan Bader (12-0)
There are not two fighters more alike. (Ok, maybe the Nogueira twins.) Don't let that 1 loss fool you. It came from downward illegal elbows. Not since "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes has a man's elbows been so lethal. Jones is completely lethal. Facing him is former Arizona State All-American wrestler Ryan Bader. Both of these fighters are so deep and can end you so many ways. My home is Team Bader (under threat of my wife), but my gut tells me Jones wins.
Winner: Jones
Welterweight bout: Jake Ellenberger (23-5) vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha (9-0)
For lack of a better term, it looks like Ellenberger is a stepping stone here. Rocha has made it to the second round once. The guy has submitted his eight opponents with six different moves. Ellenberger is still nothing to laugh at. Two wins in a row against John Howard & Mike Pyle. Ellenberger is my upset watch, but I'm going with Rocha.
Winner: Rocha
Bantamweight bout: Miguel Torres (38-3) vs. Antonio Banuelos (18-6)
Banuelos is on more of a momentum recently with 4 of his last 5. Torres has only 3 wins. What excites me about this fight is that Torres has NEVER gone to a decision. Banuelos has, but Torres seems to be a finisher. Looking at the numbers, how do you not like Torres?
Winner: Torres
To follow me on Twitter, click here. For Facebook, click here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sting to WWE?

I can't decide if there are more theories on whether Sting is going to the WWE or how many Ultimate Warriors there were. You know that the WWE is loving all this buzz. It seems that rather than hating and insulting the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC), they are learning how to use us. The IWC loves wrestling and they are a part of wrestling now whether WWE likes it or not. For example, look at Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg at WrestlemaniaXX or the Edge/Lita/Matt Hardy storylines. We as the IWC are generating a lot of buzz around this storyline.

There are wrestlers that I like and then there are wrestlers who mean a lot to me: Rowdy Roddy Piper, Undertaker, La Parka, Octagon, Arn Anderson, Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, New Jack, Necro Butcher, Terry Funk. And then there's Sting.

I started watching wrestling in the mid-90's, a few months before the first night Scott Hall walked through the crowd and started the nWo. Sting was the center of the company, the franchise. Sting was the embodiment of everything good and right with the world. He didn't cuss, he always did the right thing for the kids (the little Stingers). Everything that Hulk Hogan said he was, Sting actually lived. Sting was the hero. Regardless of Hogan and Savage, the company began and ended with Sting.

I loved Sting. I had his action figure (I still do actually. I held onto it for my kids.). Blue tights and spiky blond hair. One time in Psychology in high school, we were supposed to bring in something that reminded us of ourselves. I brought in my Sting action figure. I don't remember all the reasons I chose him to represent me, probably because he never gave up, he always did the right thing and, quite frankly, was a hero of mine. I also remember in creative writing in high school, writing a 2 or 3 page short story on Sting in the rafters waiting to descend. Right, I was a big nerd, but I idolized my wrestling heroes, and he was at the top of that list.

And for those of you who are new to the wrestling world, it was different then. You had something called "dream matches." We used to talk about them all the time. I always wanted to see Sting vs. Bret Hart (major disappointment), Shane Douglas (post-ECW) vs. Ric Flair, Giant (Big Show) vs. Undertaker. To a lesser extent, we still have the dream matches today. AJ Styles or Samoa Joe vs. anybody in WWE, Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Mistico, anybody in Ring of Honor vs. anybody in WWE, Japanese wrestler vs. American wrestler, Hogan vs. Austin. But it's not like it once was. Sting was on everybody's dream list.

Now, the rumors are flying rampant that Sting is going to WWE. Is part of me excited? I gues... But how do I really feel about this? Let's look at the former WCW wrestlers who joined after Vince bought WCW.

Ric Flair-Ric Flair was treated like a secondary figure in Evolution, nicknamed Judge Smalls by some people in the IWC. He was given the send-off he deserved (and then promptly squandered), but the time before that was a waste of a legend. Not that Flair wasn't to blame for all of it, and not that he wasn't a main-eventer of a focal point of the company, but he was not the Flair I knew in '96.

Scott Steiner-WCW ended with Scott Steiner on top. When he came to the WWE, they put him in the main event program without giving him any credibility. And I'm not sure whether it was Triple-H tanking it or Steiner just had all that ring-rust, but it went down as one of the worst matches in Royal Rumble history. Inexplicably, within a few months, he was in a tag team with Test where they were both wanting to hump Stacy Kiebler.

Goldberg-We all know what happened with Goldberg. Matter of fact, I even remember hearing Sting do an interview (with I think) where he said "From the moment they put the wig on Goldberg..." There was a vignette where Goldust walked into Goldberg's dressing room and put his wig on Goldberg, since they were related somehow. (You read that right. I can't make this up.) To relive this awful segment, click here. The Goldberg character was destroyed after that.

History is filled with dozens more WCW wrestlers who could have been a lot bigger, but the WWE didn't understand what to do with them: Lance Storm, Hugh Morrus, Chuck Palumbo, Elix Skipper. There were a few successful ones: Gregory Helms (who became the Hurricane and had a very successful run), Chavo Guerrero (but was he successful because he was Eddie's nephew after Eddie died?), Rey Jr. (but was he successful because he was Eddie's best friend after Eddie died?), Booker T ("All Hail King Booker!").

I have this weird phobia around Sting in the WWE. I look at the names above there, and I don't see how creatively this can be good. I like how the WWE is pushing some younger talent right now, and they are bringing in successful indy talents and actually using them right. But the WWE has always had a hard time with things they don't understand, like Sabu, Taz, Goldberg and ECW. I don't see them all of a sudden knowing how to use Sting. I believe they CAN make his tenure and time special. But it doesn't mean they will.

Nothing against Steve Borden, but the biggest match of his career was in late 1998. It's possible he still may be able to go, but sometimes things are better left in the past. I'm sure a lot of us remember the Vader of the early 90's very well. But for every great memory of Vader, there is this. Sting and Undertaker might be able to pull out the match to end all matches, but if it's going to be bad, I would make rather leave Sting on the last night of Nitro defeating Ric Flair.

Let the man take his spot in the Hall-of-Fame, maybe being inducted by Dusty Rhodes or somebody who idolized him as a kid. Let him do a run-in at the PPV like Hogan did on Muhammed Hussan at Wrestlemania a few years ago. Let's put out a Sting DVD compiled by Sting and people who understood who and what Sting did. I'm just not sure I want to see him in an active schedule in the WWE.

To follow me on Twitter, click here. For Facebook, click here.