This season’s Ultimate Fighter featuring Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen has so far proved to be entertaining. Episode 2 aired Tuesday night, and featured the first quarterfinal matchup and the first fight since the 16 contenders for the TUF 17 entered the house. Gilbert Smith of team Jones squared off against Luke Barnatt of team Sonnen. Many were puzzled by Jones choosing to put his number four pick up against the number one pick of Sonnen, including some of Smith’s teammates. In any case everybody’s doubts were correct when Barnatt scored a late KO of Smith in the second round of their match. Until that point, the fight was pretty much a draw, which can also raise the question, just how good is Sonnens number one pick. In any case Team Sonnen now has the advantage. On next week’s episode Chael Sonnen went with his No. 2 pick Uriah Hall to matchup against Team Jones’ No. 6 pick Adam Cella.
In other new UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture inked a mutil- year deal with Spike TV according to several media outlets. Couture will be a part of Bellators new reality based series that will be aired on Spike TV to fill the void for the departing TUF, Dana White obviously wasn’t happy about the decision. However, he was happy about Nick Diaz’s behavior in Montreal to promote his upcoming bout with GSP at UFC 158. White said Diaz, was cooperative, and even hung around to sign autographs for the fans.
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture will debut as a coach on the upcoming Bellator MMA reality show.
Couture has signed into a multi-year deal with Spike TV, a property of Viacom, to appear in multiple projects for the cable channel, as well as other possible ventures within the media conglomerate’s family of networks. As a part of the multi-faceted agreement, Couture’s first role will be as a coach in the forthcoming Bellator MMA reality Series, which begins shooting in February and airs later this year.
For those wondering, Couture is one of the few fighters who still remain in control of their rights and freedom to use his likeness outside of the UFC.
Spike TV will hold a media conference call next Tuesday (Feb. 5, 2013) that will include the “The Natural”, and will go into more detail surrounding the decision to join Bellator on Spike TV.
The UFC nor any Zuffa reps have commented yet on this news release, but is expected to make some sort of comment within the coming hours, if not days.
Just two days before Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Brandon “The Truth” Vera, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida and Ryan “Darth” Bader all compete to be the next challenger for the UFC light heavyweight championship at UFC On FOX (live on FOX at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) three of the biggest icons in the 205lbs division’s history weigh-in with their predictions.
With each man having faced at least one of the UFC On FOX fighters, Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz break down Rua vs Vera and Machida vs Bader.
Chuck Liddell, former UFC light heavyweight champion, fought Shogun
On Shogun vs Vera: “I like Shogun in this one. I think the incentive to get a shot at his belt will really make him come out all guns blazing and of course he can hit. I know that after he hit me (UFC 97). They both kick very, very hard. I’d love to see them both kick-box in the center of the Octagon, I think that would be a really exciting fight if they go ahead and go that way.
“I remember when Vera was mouthing off about winning the heavyweight title, then coming down to 205lbs and beating me for my belt. He was always nice to me, though, he was just talking himself up. Now he has the chance to fight his way to a title shot. I expect to see the best Vera we’ve seen in a long time, but I think Shogun has this.”
On Machida vs Bader: “Bader has to take him down and not get caught on the way in. That’s going to be the fight right there. After Tito caught him and knocked him almost out, I think there’s a question on Bader’s chin, but he has to take chances to get the win. Bader has to go forward, throw punches and set up the takedown. But I always side with the striker. I’m going for Machida to catch him coming in and stopping him.”
Randy Couture, former two-time UFC light heavyweight champion, fought both Vera and Machida
On Machida vs Bader: “Machida is elusive with a very unique style. From fighting him last year (UFC 129) I know he comes at you from a very different place with his strikes. It is not a boxing or Thai stance like most MMA fighters throw from, it is that karate stance. It is very distracting when you are trying to set up on him because his positioning is always not what you’d expect. Plus he’s a great athlete, a very underestimated athlete with explosive power. For Bader, same as everyone, the real challenge is finding out a way to get to Machida consistently.
“To do that, Bader has to wrestle him as much as possible. Bader is certainly capable of getting his hands on Machida – he’s a NCAA wrestler and – what’s more – he can really hit. Bader has to mix up his takedowns, wrestling along the fence and throw in the right hand; he has to make Machida guess. It is tough to predict how well Bader will do with scoring the takedowns, as Machida has great defense, but that has to be the key for Bader.
“Even Jon Jones – with all that speed and range – couldn’t really hit Machida in their fight. Remember Machida backed up and hurt Jones in that first round. I think Bader needs to get the takedown very quickly in the fight before Machida hits his stride or he will have problems.”
On Shogun vs Vera: “With Brandon against Shogun, first of all, Vera is a very smart and instinctive fighter. He made adjustments very quickly against me in our fight (UFC 105) to make it very hard to take him down. I had to fight the second and third rounds very differently than I planned to because Brandon was so good at adapting.
“He also hurt me very badly with a kick to the liver in the second round. I don’t think Brandon realized how badly he’d hurt me with that kick. He let me off the hook, and I was in great shape and was able to recover. But he can hurt Rua for sure with his strikes.
“Brandon has been on the down and out for a couple of years, but there was a time when people were saying he could win the heavyweight and light heavyweight titles at the same time. But something happened mentally and he went off the boil. Now he’s got a big chance to play spoiler here. He’s got a great set of tools to make the upset. He’s the better wrestler, he can hang on the feet, and he’s got very little to lose. He can let it all hang out and – mentally – be right there, he has a shot.
“Rua is still one of the top contenders for the belt and should be feeling the pressure to impress on the night. But he’s had issues with his knees and you can’t discount that. He has to be favored to win this – he’s the guy with more big wins, championship experience, and he’s the one with serious ambitions of being a two-time UFC champion at the weight. It is Rua’s fight but don’t discount the upset.”
Tito Ortiz, former UFC light heavyweight champion, fought Machida and Bader
On Machida vs Bader: “When I fought him (UFC 84) Machida was still on the way up, no one had really any time to work out and study his style, and it was a very frustrating experience for most of the fight. He throws some very unique strikes, and his wrestling, because of that sumo background, is underrated.
“He’s very dangerous up close, people don’t think about that because he’s so good at range, but let me tell you, that knee to the guts he hit me with was no fun at all. Thankfully I was in shape because that shot really took the wind out of me. He was a little easier to control on the ground and I was able to get him in a triangle. That was in deep, man, but he is very talented and has heart and he fought through it. I think Bader needs this on the ground as much as possible.
“With Bader, I had my way with him (UFC 132). I landed a big shot and tapped him out with a choke, but I think losing like that made him make adjustments and I think he can still be a champion some day. I think Bader could take this.”
On Shogun vs Vera: “This is Shogun’s fight to lose. He has the advantages, he has the experience and he must feel that he can win the title back and won’t want to miss out on that shot. Vera did have a lot of hype on him at one time, but he didn’t live up to that. Now this is his last chance to get into that top level position, and he should be inspired, man. He has to let it all go because his back is against the wall. I used to hate and love that feeling. I know what he’s feeling right now, like he has the world against him, but – at the same time – he can say to the world “Screw you!” by scoring the upset. I think Shogun should win, but Vera winning would be a heck of a story and, if he can do it, good for him.”
With the sports world buzzing about the UFC debut of former world boxing champion James Toney, some of the biggest names in boxing and MMA have come together to offer their opinions on his epic fight with Hall of Famer Randy Couture on Aug. 28. Before the two legends lock horns inside the Octagon® at TD Garden in Boston live on Pay-Per-View, we take a look at the thoughts, opinions, and predictions of some of the world’s finest fighters and personalities.
UFC light heavyweight Phil Davis. Prediction: Couture by Decision “It would be great for a guy like James Toney to build a name for himself in MMA but I’m going to have to go with Couture because of the cage experience that he has. It should be an entertaining fight. I feel like it could go the distance. I’m going to say it will go three rounds and Couture will win 29-28.”
Andre Berto – WBC welterweight champion – father Dieusel Berto fought in UFC 10 “I think it’s going be a good fight. Everybody knows Randy is not gonna stand up with James. If he does, it will be a short night. Most likely Randy is going to try to take James down and try to submit him so UFC can be glorified that they’re better than boxing. Hopefully James Toney has been working on his wrestling and ground skills. If so, it’ll be very entertaining.”
“Terrible” Terry Norris – Former world junior middleweight champion and pound-for-pound king “I just wish James luck and may the best man win. We know if it was just straight up boxing, James would knock Couture out, but James is fighting Couture’s fight and he’ll have his hands full.”
Dan Hardy, UFC Welterweight “I respect him greatly as a boxer, and I admire him for backing up his words by actually stepping into the Octagon. Floyd Mayweather talked a ton of crap about UFC fighters, but he ultimately didn’t have the balls to come and back his big mouth up. James Toney does have balls.”
WEC featherweight Chad Mendes. Prediction: Couture by TKO “Randy Couture will win this fight. I think he’ll win by first-round TKO.”
Miguel Cotto – reigning WBA junior middleweight champion. Prediction: Couture “Two great fighters, one trained in MMA and one in boxing. In a boxing match, I give it to Toney and in an MMA fight; I have to go with the MMA fighter (Couture).”
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans “(Toney’s) inside fighting capabilities could serve him well given Randy Couture’s clinch game. Look at the Frank Mir and Shane Carwin fight – most of the damage was done to Frank Mir against the cage. But if you get a guy like James Toney who knows how to strike off the cage, and who makes a living with inside fighting … I think that could lend some promise to James Toney. It could be a short night if a guy like James Toney lands one of those shots on the inside. He’s definitely the best true boxer out there in the UFC.”
Greg Haugen – former world lightweight champion – fought Vinny Pazienza, Ray Mancini, Julio Cesar Chavez, and Pernell Whitaker. Prediction: Toney “Unless Toney is fat and out of shape, he will destroy Randy. His standup game is way too strong for him. Remember, James is one of the most skilled guys out there if he is in good shape.”
Michael Bisping, UFC Middleweight “I can’t wait to see it to be honest. Can Randy double-leg him inside 10 seconds and do a number on him? Of course he can. But what if Toney lands one shot? That’s what makes this so interesting. What if?”
Paulie Malignaggi – Former world junior welterweight boxing champion. Prediction: Couture “The problem is, most boxers, even in their prime, would not last in MMA. These guys know how to grapple and kick, and the same could be said the opposite way – no MMA guy is gonna last in the ring with a boxer if they’re boxing. You’re going into somebody else’s domain. And not that Couture is a spring chicken, but if you look at James Toney, he’s always a guy who’s been a close-range fighter – shoulder rolls, dips, counterpunches. He never really had an outside game that was so special. He had slow feet and was plodding, but he had good upper body movement. You can’t do that in MMA, especially with Couture, who was a Greco-Roman wrestler. He’ll just wrestle him, take him down, choke him or ground and pound him. I don’t see how James Toney can win the fight, even if Couture is the older guy, but the best to both guys.”
WBA junior welterweight champion Amir Khan. Prediction: Couture “Toney has to make his punch count right away, but Couture will be watching for that. In any fight, you need a plan B and I don’t think Toney has one in a UFC fight.”
UFC welterweight Carlos Condit. Prediction: Couture “Wrestling will be the dominant force in this fight, regardless of how well James Toney can punch or how hard he can hit. He won’t be able to set up his shots like he would in boxing, and Randy Couture is the kind of fighter to capitalise on every little mistake he makes. Randy has made a whole career out of overcoming opponents with tactics and strategies, and Toney will probably be his easiest puzzle yet. We all know Toney has only his punching to fall back on, so Randy won’t have to work too hard to grab a hold of him and get him in his domain. Couture’s too experienced and too good at what he does.”
Sechew Powell – Number one IBF junior middleweight contender “I think if James can keep the fight on his feet he has a decent chance, but the minute they take the fight to the ground it’s over.”
WEC bantamweight contender Joseph Benavidez. Prediction: Couture by TKO “James Toney is just a boxer and MMA is a whole different sport. Your skills go down in boxing when you’re worried about being taken down. I don’t think someone can come in with just one background and fight a world-class MMA fighter.”
WBA heavyweight champion David Haye. Prediction: Couture via submission “I admire Toney’s courage, but six months of training isn’t going to be enough. As a UFC fan, I know two or three years wouldn’t be enough. He’s delusional here. Couture isn’t only going to end his UFC career inside a minute, he is most likely going to break James’s arm or leg and end his boxing career too.”
Christy “The Coal Miner’s Daughter” Martin – Women’s boxing pioneer. Prediction: Couture “I have never watched a UFC Pay-Per-View event, but I will be watching JT. I want James to win, but he’s stepping into Couture’s domain, therefore I think it will be Couture stopping James with his ground game.”
Steve “2 Pounds” Forbes – Former IBF super featherweight champion “It’s an interesting matchup. I think the question for Toney is, is he insane or is he a genius? He’s not taking on a regular MMA fighter; he’s taking on a legend in every sense of the word, but not only that, he’s doing it in Couture’s discipline and that takes guts. If Toney is successful, then he has opened up a whole new avenue for himself and other boxers to go into MMA. Toney has always been a risk taker and he’s fearless, and for that I root for him to do well. But I also love Captain America (Couture) because he’s from my birthplace of Oregon and has done great things in the sport. I hope it’s a good match.”
Steve Cunningham – IBF cruiserweight champion. Prediction: Couture “Toney’s got a puncher’s chance, but this isn’t boxing, and Couture’s not gonna stand and trade punches with him. This is Randy’s sport and I see him winning. Plus, he should be extra fueled to win this fight because of the disrespect from Toney, but I hope it’s an awesome fight either way.”
UFC welterweight Nick Ozipczak. Prediction: Couture “I’m just going to say what everybody’s thinking, and that’s that Toney only has a puncher’s chance here. That puncher’s chance will only last in the opening thirty seconds of the fight, too. Unless Toney lands something significant on Couture early, he’ll be taken down and it will be a definite first-round stoppage for ‘The Natural’. I can see Couture winning either via ground-and-pound for by submission but, whatever it is, it will happen early. If a miracle happens and Toney gets back to his feet at any stage, he’ll then find his punches won’t have much sting on them, as he hasn’t developed the muscles in his arms to cope with the grappling aspect and then the punching.”
UFC middleweight Patrick Cote. Prediction: Couture “If Randy underestimates his boxing skills it would be a big mistake. But how is James Toney going to react to wearing 4-ounce gloves because he’s used to the bigger gloves in boxing? He has some skills and he has punching power, but in MMA you have to be well-rounded so I think Randy will be too much for him.”
Fres Oquendo – heavyweight boxing contender – lost 12 round split decision to Toney in 2008 “James’ only chance is if he connects clean on Randy’s chin like Ray Mercer did against former UFC heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia. If not, I see Randy taking James down and that will be the beginning of the end of James’ MMA debut. Number one, because James has no legs, as I showed the world when we fought, and two, he has no ground game experience, which gives Randy the edge.”
UFC lightweight Terry Etim. Prediction: Couture “James Toney was a fantastic boxer, and one of the best to ever do it, but he’s a novice mixed martial artist. That’s the key in this fight and the reason why Randy Couture will dominate him. Toney probably still has one danger shot which can switch Randy’s lights out, but the likelihood is he won’t be in any position to land it at any stage in the fight. As soon as Randy gets a hold of him, the fight’s pretty much over. Randy won’t be foolish enough to stand and box with a guy like Toney, so he’ll be looking for his comfort zone from the off. Randy is the worst kind of opponent for Toney, because he’s a veteran guy, very experienced and knows how to execute game plans.”
WEC bantamweight contender Scott Jorgensen. Prediction: Couture by TKO “I’m a wrestler, man. Couture is going to double leg him, take him down and beat him until he taps to strikes. It’ll be Couture by first-round ground-and-pound. I’d like to see Randy drag it out for three rounds but I don’t think Toney has the heart for that.”
Former two-weight boxing champion Ricky Hatton. Prediction: Toney within a minute or Couture “James has a very good sense of timing, so there’s a chance he will land the one shot he needs and score a win right away. But, having been ringside at Randy’s fight with the much bigger Brock Lesnar, I think it is almost certain Couture will be able to maul Toney to the fence, take him down, and finish him there.”
UFC lightweight Paul Kelly. Prediction: Couture “It’s Randy Couture all the way for me, as I’m a massive fan of Randy and the way he goes about his work. He’s been an inspiration to me for many years, and I can’t see how James Toney walks into mixed martial arts and beats one of its greatest fighters. There’s no doubt Toney is a great fighter in his own right, as a boxer, but he’s done nothing so far as a mixed martial artist. Couture, on the other hand, has done it all and has experienced every single situation you can possibly confront in the Octagon. This sport is all new to Toney. He may have had nearly 100 boxing matches, but he hasn’t had one MMA match. I see Randy taking him down and finishing him quickly and in devastating fashion.”
Former WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown. Prediction: Couture by submission “Randy by rear-naked choke in the first round”
UFC lightweight Andre Winner. Prediction: Couture “I’ve been reading quotes from Toney on forums and websites, and he’s saying he’s going to come out in a normal boxing stance and won’t change his game at all. If that’s the case, unless he catches Randy very early on, he’s just going to end up on his back. If he’s not willing to learn or adapt, he’ll get pummelled. I think he’s a great boxer, but my money is on Randy, so long as he plays it smart and exposes Toney’s weaknesses. If they get into a clinch, Toney will struggle with Randy’s sheer strength and size. Toney’s a big guy, but he never started out as a big guy, and has gradually put on a lot of weight, but it’s fat weight. Randy’s a decent-sized guy and has that natural grappling strength that all great wrestlers I have. I believe that will shock Toney on the night.”
Jeff Mayweather – Renowned trainer and former pro boxer “I think it should be interesting. Toney has the advantage in a stand up match, but if he gets taken down Couture should win because he has way too much experience. I heard Toney was working with a top grappler and doing real well but I don’t think you can take a crash course in something like that and perfect it. And vice versa, there’s no way Couture could become a great boxer overnight, so I think a lot will be determined after the very first blow. I will be watching it for sure and I’m pulling for James Toney because I know him personally, not because he’s a boxer. These are two different sports and I think that they both have their own fanbase, but the two of them combined will make this a huge event.”
WEC bantamweight Brad Pickett. Prediction: Couture by TKO “Obviously Randy Couture will win by first-round TKO. He’s a wise, old dog and he won’t try to prove any points on his feet. He’s going to close the distance, push him against the cage and take him down, mount him and win by ground-and-pound. Now, it’s a funny game and things can happen but if I was going to bet my house on it that’s what I think will happen.”
Australian boxing champion Danny Green. Prediction: Couture “Toney is a slow starter and Randy will tear him apart.”
On Saturday, Aug. 7, Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) legend Randy “The Natural” Couture will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Oakland A’s vs. Texas Rangers 1:10 pm game. First pitch is set for 12:55 pm and will be caught by A’s first baseman and die-hard UFC fan, Daric Barton.
Couture, a three-time former heavyweight champion and two-time light-heavyweight champion, is the only five-time champion in UFC history. He is also the only athlete in UFC history to win a championship after becoming a Hall of Fame member and one of only two men to win UFC titles in two weight classes. At 47 years old, Couture is still one of the top fighters in the sport today.
Couture is town promoting UFC 117: SILVA vs. SONNEN held that night at Oracle Arena. His next fight is scheduled for Aug. 28 when he takes on boxing legend James Toney at UFC 118: EDGAR vs. PENN 2 at the TD Garden in Boston, Mass.
Saturday, Aug. 7
Oakland A’s vs. Texas Rangers, 1:10 pm (Ceremonial first pitch set for 12:55 pm)
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, CA 94621
Most Successful Horror Movie Series – SAW – Producers Oren Koules and Mark Burg accepted the Guinness World Record for the ‘Most Successful Horror Movie Series’ with $732 million total global box office sales.
Most Successful Sports Movie Franchise – Rocky – Stars of the upcoming theatrical releaseThe Expendables and co-stars of Rocky IV, Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren, accepted the Guinness World Record for the ‘Most Successful Sports Movie Franchise for Rocky’, grossing $1,251,372,491 throughout its six installments, running from Rocky (November, 21 1976) to Rocky Balboa (December 20, 2006).
Highest Rated Animated Sci-Fi Television Series - Airing on Cartoon Network, the popular CGI series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, received the record for the ‘Highest Rated Sci-Fi Animation Show on TV’ averaging a viewership of 4 million at its launch. On hand to accept the award were Supervising Director Dave Filoni, CG Supervisor Joel Aron and Lead Designer Kilian Plunkett.
Most Ultimate Fighting Championships Heavyweight Championship Bouts Won – With seven wins between 1997 and 2008, Randy Couture accepted the Guinness World Record for the ‘Most Ultimate Fighting Championship Heavyweight Championship Bouts Won’.
Most WWE Royal Rumble Championships Won - ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin was presented with the Guinness World Record for the ‘Most Wins of the World Wrestling Entertainment Royal Rumble’ with three wins in 1997, 1998, and 2001.
Most Chocolate Bars Eaten in One Minute – The record-breaking bonanza continued with THQ setting the record for the Most Chocolate Bars Eaten in One Minute. The record of 3 Milky Ways was set jointly by Pat Bernaletti and Joey Chestnut to highlight the release of THQs Red Faction: Armageddon.
Highest Rated Animated Series (Current) – Futurama – With a favorable 80% rating on Metacritic.com, FUTURAMA creator Matt Groening and executive producer David X. Cohen accepted the award for the highest rated animated series currently on television.
Most Eisner Awards in One Category – Todd Klein accepted the record for the most Eisner Comic Award wins in one category. Klein received 15 wins in the Best Letterer/Lettering category from 1993 to 2008.
Tallest Structure Built With Interlocking Bricks – LEGO – Julie Stern, Brand Relations Manager for LEGO, accepted the award for the tallest structure built with interlocking plastic bricks. The structure was 99 ft 1 in high and was constructed by children and adults at an event organized by Lego Norway in Oslo, Norway, on April 24, 2010.